Daily Current Affairs for 16th Aug 2023

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Pradhan Mantri Uchchatar Shiksha Abhiyan

Why in news?

Recently, the Ministry of Education made it mandatory to implement the National Education Policy (NEP) to avail funds for the next three years, under the Pradhan Mantri Uchchatar Shiksha Abhiyan (PM-USHA).

  • Currently, 14 States and Union Territories are yet to sign a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Ministry.


  • Ministry of Education has launched Pradhan Mantri Uchchatar Shiksha Abhiyan (PM-USHA) in June 2023.
  • It is a Centrally Sponsored Scheme (CSS).

PM-USHA focuses on the following pillars:

  • Equity Access and inclusion in higher education
  • ICT – based Digital Infrastructure.
  • Enhancing Employability through Multidisciplinary.
  • Developing Quality Teaching & Learning processes,
  • Accreditation of Non Accredited Institutions and improving accreditation.

Key Features:

  • MERU Transformation: It provides Rs 100 crore each to 35 approved state universities to foster multidisciplinary research and education.
  • Model Degree Colleges: The plan contains clauses for the creation of new model degree colleges.
  • Grants are distributed in order to strengthen institutions.
  • Emphasis on Rural and Aspirational Areas & Gender Parity: PM-USHA prioritises remote areas afflicted by Left-Wing Extremism (LWE), aspirational neighbourhoods, and regions with low Gross Enrollment Ratio (GER).



National Manuscripts Bill, 2023

Why in news?

According to reports, the Ministry of Culture is planning to introduce the National Manuscripts Bill 2023, in the Winter Session of Parliament.

What is a Manuscript?

  • A manuscript is any handwritten composition that has at least 75 years of age and substantial scientific, historical, or aesthetic significance. It can be on paper, bark, fabric, metal, palm leaves, or any other material.

The Objectives of National Manuscripts Bill are:

  • Document and catalogue Indian heritage texts wherever they may be, in India or abroad,
  • Maintain accurate and up-to-date information about them, and
  • Detail the conditions under which they may be consulted.

Key Features:

  • National Manuscripts Authority (NMA): The Bill envisages setting up the National Manuscripts Authority (NMA).
  • Composition: 10 Members and the Union Minister of Culture is the Chairperson of this body.
  • In terms of digitisation, conservation, preservation, editing, and publication work on manuscripts, the NMA would be the top policy-making organisation.
  • The NMA would have civil court authority to control how access to manuscripts is distributed, and it would also have an investigation branch to look into thefts and text-related vandalism.
  • Also, it would prevent the manuscripts from being damaged or stolen.
  • In order to offer fellowships and scholarships for the study of manuscripts, it may work with universities and other academic institutions or agencies.



RICO ACT: The Anti Mafia Law In The USA.

Why in news?

Recently, former United States President Donald Trump faced criminal charges in a Georgia state court.

  • According to reports, he violated RICO, an anti-organised crime law.

What is RICO?

  • In order to combat organised crime, particularly the mafia, US politicians created the federal Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations (RICO) Act in 1970.
  • Thereafter, similar legislation with varying modifications was passed in the majority of American states.
  • At least two prior offences must have been committed, and participation in a criminal enterprise over an extended period of time is one of the primary elements under the federal RICO statute.
  • Complexity: It may be more difficult to establish a common criminal intent between Trump and his co-defendants than it is to establish an actual RICO violation.



Cauvery Water Dispute

Why in news?

Recently, the Tamil Nadu government sought the Supreme Court’s intervention to make Karnataka immediately release 24,000 cubic feet per second (cusecs) from its reservoirs.

  • Karnataka has contended that lower rainfall in the Cauvery catchment has led to poor inflow to its own reservoirs.
  • Three states and one Union Territory: Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Karnataka and Puducherry)
  • Cauvery river known as ‘Ponni’ in Tamil, originate from Brahmagiri Hill of the Western Ghats in southwestern Karnataka.
  • Tributaries: Arkavathi, Hemavathi, Lakshmana Theertha, Shimsa, Kabini and Harangi.

What does constitution says?

Article 262 of the Constitution deals with the adjudication of water disputes.

  • Article 262 (1): Parliament may, by law, provide for the adjudication of any dispute or complaint with respect to the use, distribution or control of the waters of, or in, any inter-State river or river valley.
  • Article 262 (2): Notwithstanding anything in this Constitution, Parliament may, by law, provide that neither the Supreme Court nor any other court shall exercise jurisdiction in respect of any such dispute or complaint as is referred to in clause (1).

Supreme Court’s 2018 Judgement:

To resolve the matter, the CWDT (Cauvery Water Disputes Tribunal) was established in 1990 under the Inter-State River Water Disputes Act, 1956. However, the CWDT’s decision was challenged by the SC (Supreme Court).

  • The SC’s final judgment came in 2018. It declared the Cauvery a national asset, largely upheld the water sharing achieved by the CWDT, and reduced water sharing from Karnataka to Tamil Nadu. He also asked the Center to inform the Cauvery Management Scheme.
  • In June 2018, the central government established the “Cauvery Water Management Authority” and the “Cauvery Water Regulation Committee” to ensure the implementation of the judgement. Since then, the two bodies have been holding meetings to take stock of the situation.

Way forward

States must adopt a cooperative, unity-based approach to watershed planning for sustainable, environmentally sound solutions. Long-term improvements include reforestation, river connections, and microirrigation. A distress-sharing formula is needed for all concerned states.




Why in news?

  • Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi during his Independence Day speech at Red Fort said that the government has plans to increase the number of ‘Jan Aushadhi Kendras’ from 10,000 to 25,000.
  • He said the government is working to increase the number of ‘Jan Aushadhi Kendra’ (subsidised medicine shops) from 10,000 to 25,000.

Pradhan Mantri Bhartiya Janaushadhi Pariyojana (PMBJP)

  • In November 2008, with an objective to make generic medicines available at affordable prices to all, the Department of Pharmaceuticals under the Ministry of Chemicals and Fertilizers launched the “Jan Aushadhi Scheme”.
  • To reinvigorate the supply of affordable generic medicines with efficacy and quality equivalent to that of branded drugs, the scheme was revamped as “Pradhan Mantri Bhartiya Jan Aushadhi Yojana” in 2015.
  • To provide further momentum to the ongoing scheme, it was again renamed as “Pradhan Mantri Bhartiya Jan Aushadhi Pariyojana” (PMBJP).

Objectives of the Scheme

  • The scheme aims at educating the masses about generic medicines and that high prices are not always synonymous with high quality.
  • It intends to cover all therapeutic groups and create demand for generic medicines through medical practitioners.

Features of the Scheme

  • Under PMBJP, Pradhan Mantri Bhartiya Janaushadhi Kendras (PMBJK) are set up across the country so as to reduce the out of pocket expenses for health care.
  • The Bureau of Pharma PSUs of India (BPPI) under the Department of Pharmaceuticals is involved in coordinating, procuring, supplying and marketing generic medicines through PMBJK.
  • The procured generic medicines are sold at 50% to 90% lesser prices as compared to the market prices of branded medicines.
  • All drugs procured under this scheme are tested for quality assurance at NABL (National Accreditation Board Laboratories) accredited laboratories and is compliant with WHO GMP (World Health Organisation’s Good Manufacturing Practices) benchmarks. Government grants of up to 2.5 Lakhs are provided for setting up of PMBJKs.
  • They can be set up by doctors, pharmacists, entrepreneurs, Self Help Groups, NGOs, Charitable Societies, etc. at any suitable place or outside the hospital premises.

Jan Aushadi Kendras

  • Bureau of Pharma PSUs in India (BPPI) are running Jan Aushadhi Kendras as a part of Pradhan Mantri Bhartiya Janaushadhi Pariyojana.
  • These are the centers from where quality generic medicines are made available to all.\
  • 726 districts of the country have Jan Aushadhi Kendras. The number of kendras stood at 7,500 now. 
  • The product basket of the Pradhan Mantri Bhartiya Janaushadhi Pariyojana( PMBJP) has evolved from a mere 131 products in 2014 to 1,449 medicines and 204 surgical items.

Generic Medicines

  • Generic medicines are unbranded medicines that are equally safe and have the same efficacy as that a branded medicine in terms of their therapeutic value.
  • The prices of generic medicines are much cheaper than their branded equivalent.




Why in news?

  • Speaking from the ramparts of the Red Fort on the 77th Independence Day, Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi announced the launch of the ‘Vishwakarma Yojana’. The scheme is planned to benefit individuals skilled in traditional craftsmanship.

About the scheme

  • Prime Minister Vishwakarma Kaushal Samman (PM-VIKAS) scheme has been announced for traditional artisans and craftsmen in the budget 2023-24.
  • A package of assistance has been conceptualized for encouraging traditional arts and handicrafts. The scheme will be benefiting individuals skilled in traditional craftsmanship, particularly from the OBC community.
  • It will enable the country’s artisans to improve the quality, scale, and reach of their products, integrating them with the Micro, Small and Medium-scale Enterprises (MSME) value chain
  • To help the artisans to improve their products’ quality, scale, and reach by providing financial support, advanced skill training in modern digital techniques, and efficient green technologies and thereby integrating them with local and global markets through the Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSME) value chain linkage.
  • Weavers, goldsmiths, blacksmiths, laundry workers, barbers, and such families will be empowered through the ‘Vishwakarma Yojana’, which will begin with an allocation of around 13-15 thousand crore rupees.

Objectives of the scheme

  • The main objective of the scheme is to improve the status of the craftsmen in the country.
  • The scheme will achieve its objective by increasing the caliber of the artisans by increasing the reach of their goods
  • The scheme is to be put into the MSME Value chain.
  • The scheme will provide financial support to the artisans.
  • Skills and training programs for traditional and age-old crafts will be conducted. People will be encouraged to learn the art.
  • The latest technology skills will be imparted during the training programs.
  • Artisans will be taught to use the latest technologies in their workmanship to increase productivity and profit. This is to be done without disturbing the traditional practices involved in the craft making.
  • Artisans and craftsmen will be introduced to paperless payments.
  • The entire program is to be integrated with the MSME sector.
  • Government of India will work hard to take the arts and crafts to international markets.

Significance of the scheme

  • The scheme aims to make India self-reliant. Also, it will gain India’s global reputation.
  • Several Indian arts and crafts have huge demand in the global market even today. For instance, Kashmiri shawls and Rajai are famous in Turkey, Iran, etc.
  • According to Hinduism, Vishwakarma is the god of crafts. He makes chariots, weapons, and palaces for gods. He built Lanka Palace for Ravan, Dwarka for Lord Krishna, and Indraprastha for the Pandavas.




Why in news?

  • Information and Broadcasting & Sports and Youth Affairs Minister Shri Anurag Thakur, hosted more than two hundred Sarpanches from Border Villages, under the Vibrant Villages Programme with their spouses at Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium in New Delhi.

About the VVP

  • The Vibrant Villages Programme (VVP) launched as a Centrally Sponsored Scheme, envisages comprehensive development of identified villages in 46 blocks abutting northern border in 19 districts of Arunachal Pradesh, Sikkim, Uttarakhand, UT of Ladakh and Himachal Pradesh.
  • These border villages, once termed the ‘Last Villages of India’ have been termed the ‘First Villages’ of India.
  • The Vibrant Villages Programme was announced in the Union Budget 2022-23 (to 2025-26) for the development of villages along the northern border.
  • It will cover 2,963 villages in total and in the first phase, 663 will be taken up.
  • Its objective is to improve the quality of life of people living in border villages.
  • There will be no duplication with the Border Area Development Programme.
  • The district administration will create Vibrant Village Action Plans with the assistance of Gram Panchayats.

Objectives of the Programme

  • The scheme assists in identifying and developing economic drivers based on natural resources, local resources, human resources and other resources of northern border villages.
  • Developmen of sustainable eco-agribusinesses based on the ‘one village-one product’ concept through community-based organisations, cooperatives, and non-governmental organisations (NGOs).
  • Exploiting tourism potential by promoting traditional knowledge, local-culture and heritage.
  • Growth is centred on the “hub and spoke model,” which promotes social entrepreneurship and the empowerment of youth and women through skill development and entrepreneurship.

Significance of the Programme

  • It would help in the effective monitoring of the battalion and border areas.
  • It can be used by ITBP to recuperate, rest and train its personnel.
  • It strengthens the security grid on the Line of Actual Control (LAC).
  • This decision has been taken in the context of India-China issues along the LAC in Ladakh.
  • Chinese PLA troops are still present in the Demchok and Depsang Plains. China is also boosting its infrastructure along the Line of Actual Control (LAC).




Why in news?

  • Under the auspices of Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav, the Union Minister for Animal Husbandry and Dairying, Shri Parshottam Rupala has unveiled the ‘A-HELP’ (Accredited Agent for Health and Extension of Livestock Production) programme along with an Infertility Camp, in the State of Gujarat.
  • The Department of Animal Husbandry and Dairying, Government of India, is spearheading these initiatives as part of the Pashudhan Jagrati Abhiyaan under Inclusive Development.

About the Programme

  • The ‘A-HELP’ programme aims to empower women by engaging them as trained agents who contribute significantly to disease control, artificial insemination under the Rashtriya Gokul Mission (RGM), animal tagging, and livestock insurance. 
  • To achieve this, State Veterinary Universities, in close coordination with State Animal Husbandry Departments, will spearhead workshops, awareness camps, and seminars across various districts.
  • These engagements aim to disseminate crucial knowledge on disease control, appropriate nutrition, and timely medical interventions for livestock.
  • Importantly, aspiring students in these districts will also partake in practical training sessions, enhancing their grasp of scientific livestock management techniques.
  • These camps aspire to engage a minimum of 250 farmers and proprietors, providing them with actionable insights to enhance their livestock’s reproductive health and overall productivity.
  • Collaborations with experts from Indian Immunological Ltd. further enhance the initiative’s efficacy by ensuring the provision of essential nutritional supplements, mineral mixtures, dewormers, and medicines. 

Significance of the Programme

  • ‘A-HELP’ programme and the Infertility Camp can mark a significant stride towards empowering women, enhancing livestock productivity, and advancing the socio-economic landscape of the region.
  • The programme highlighted the pivotal role played by livestock and women in the comprehensive development of the livestock sector, particularly in Gujarat.
  • The crux of this campaign lies in equipping farmers with knowledge and resources that address critical areas of livestock health, disease management, and animal infertility concerns.
  • This holistic approach seeks to empower the farming community, offering them both knowledge and tangible resources to foster the well-being and prosperity of the nation’s invaluable livestock.
  • These efforts are expected to have a far-reaching impact on rural communities, elevating their socio-economic prospects and solidifying India’s position as a major player in the global livestock market.

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