Daily Current Affairs for 18th Nov 2021

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USOF Scheme

Why in News

    • The Cabinet Committee chaired by the Prime Minister has given its approval for the provision of mobile service in villages which are not covered by mobile service in aspirational districts of five states of Andhra Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, Maharashtra and Odisha.

About the project

    • The project envisages providing 4G mobile services to 7,287 villages in 44 aspirational districts of Andhra Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, Maharashtra and Odisha, which are not covered by mobile service, at an estimated cost of Rs.6,466 crore. is Rs.
    • This amount also includes operating expenses for five years. The project will be funded from the Universal Service Obligation Fund (USOF).
    • The project is to be completed within 18 months after the signing of the agreement, i.e. by November 23.
    • The work related to the provision of 4G mobile service in identified villages where these services are not available will be allotted through an open competitive bidding process.
    • This process will be completed under the existing system of USOF.


    • The existing proposal for provision of mobile services in aspirational districts of five states Andhra Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, Maharashtra and Odisha, in remote and inaccessible areas which are not covered by mobile service, will enhance digital connectivity, leading to self-reliance, Facilitation of learning, dissemination of information and knowledge, up-gradation and development of skills, disaster management, e-governance initiatives, establishment of enterprises and e-commerce facilities, provision of adequate assistance to educational institutions for knowledge and employment opportunities, indigenous manufacturing And the vision of Digital India will be fulfilled with respect to encouraging self-reliant India etc.


PMGSY-I & II and Road Connectivity Project (RCPLWEA)

Why in News

    • The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) chaired by the Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi has approved the continuation of Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojana-I and II till September 2022 to complete the remaining works of construction of roads and bridges. The proposals of the Rural Development Department have been given its approval. The CCEA also gave its approval for continuation of the Road Connectivity Project for Left Wing Extremism Affected Areas (RCPLWEA) till March, 2023.

Key point

    • Government of India launched PMGSY-I to provide connectivity to road deprived habitations with population of more than 500 in plains and more than 250 in North-East and Himalayan states.
    • Connectivity was also to be provided to habitations having population of more than 100, in selected LWE blocks. Out of a total of 1, 84,444 such habitations, only 2,432 are left.
    • Out of the total sanctioned 6, 45,627 km of roads and 7,523 bridges, 20,950 km of roads and 1,974 bridges are yet to be completed. Thus, now these tasks will be completed.
    • Under PMGSY-II, upgradation of 50,000 km of rural road network was envisaged.
    • A total of 49,885 km of roads and 765 LSBs have been sanctioned, out of which only 4,240 km of roads and 254 bridges are pending. Thus, now these tasks will be completed.
    • Most of the works under PMGSY-I and II are pending due to COVID lockdown, prolonged rain, winter, forest related issues in North-East and Hill States.
    • These states have been requesting the central government to extend the time to complete these important tasks related to the rural economy.
    • To help these states complete the remaining tasks, the deadline has been extended to September, 2022.
    • The Left Wing Extremism Affected Areas Road Connectivity Project (RCPLWEA) was launched in 2016 to improve connectivity in 44 LWE affected districts of 9 states.
    • 5,714 km of roads and 358 bridges are yet to be completed and another 1,887 km of roads and 40 bridges are being sanctioned.
    • The scheme is being extended till March, 2023 to complete these projects, which are very important from the point of view of communication and security.


    • PMGSY promotes the use of new and green technology in the construction of rural roads.
    • Locally available materials are used in road construction to promote economical and rapid construction.
    • So far more than 1 lakh km of roads have been constructed using new and green technology, out of which more than 61,000 km has been completed.
    • The state of Uttar Pradesh has recently been granted 1,255 km of road construction using Full Depth Reclamation Technology, which will not only save cost and time, but also conserve natural resources and reduce carbon emissions.
    • PMGSY envisages a three tier quality assurance mechanism to ensure the quality of road construction during and after construction.
    • The number of quality monitors and inspections has been increased both at the Central and State levels for better quality management. The ratio of satisfactory works has shown an increasing trend in recent years.


    • Government launched PMGSY-III in 2019 to complete 1,25,000 km of roads by March, 2025.
    • Under PMGSY-III, construction of about 72,000 km of roads has been approved so far, of which 17,750 km has been completed.
    • A total of Rs 1, 12,419 crore including state’s share is likely to be spent from 2021-22 to 2024-25 to complete all the projects of PMGSY.


    • PMGSY-I was launched in 2000 to connect road deprived habitations with population more than 500 in plains and more than 250 in North-East and Himalayan states as per Census-2001.
    • The scheme also included components of upgradation of existing rural roads for all those districts with eligible habitations.
    • In the year 2013, it was decided to include habitations having population of 100-249 as per Census 2001 in the Left Wing Extremism affected blocks identified by the Ministry of Home Affairs.
    • Out of 1, 78,184 habitations with population above 250 and population of more than 500 identified for coverage under the scheme, 1, 71,494 habitations have already been connected and 1,968 habitations are remaining as on 15th November, 2021.


    • PMGSY-II, which was approved by the Cabinet in May, 2013, envisaged completion of 50,000 km length of the existing rural road network.
    • All proposals of States/UTs have been approved.
    • Out of total 49,885 km of roads and 765 bridges sanctioned under the scheme, only 4,240 km of roads and 254 bridges are left.
    • Most of the pending projects are in the North Eastern and Himalayan States/UTs as well as in the State of Bihar.
    • CCEA on August 9, 2018 extended the extension up to March, 2020.
    • All pending projects have been targeted to be completed within the proposed extended period i.e. by September 2022.

Road Connectivity Project for Left Wing Extremism Affected Areas

    • Construction/upgradation of 5,412 km of roads and 126 bridges of strategic importance with an outlay of Rs 11,725 ​​crore in 44 districts of 9 states, namely Andhra Pradesh, Bihar, Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Odisha, Telangana and Uttar Pradesh The work was started in 2016.
    • Major impacts including job creation potential
    • Various independent impact assessment studies conducted on PMGSY have concluded that the scheme has had a positive impact on agriculture, health, education, urbanization and employment generation etc.
    • Rural connectivity is an imperative in the context of development. For the remaining habitations, all-weather road connectivity will open doors to the economic possibilities of these connected habitations.
    • Upgradation of existing rural roads will improve the overall efficiency of the road network as a provider of transport services for people, goods and services. The construction/upgradation of roads will provide both direct and indirect employment to the local people.

Implementation strategy and goals

    • Projects for which extension of time has been requested are already under implementation under PMGSY. All the projects have already been sanctioned under PMGSY-I & II. Efforts will be made by the Ministry to approve the remaining additional proposals under RCPLWEA by December, 2021.
    • The Ministry will continuously monitor the progress with the States to ensure completion of the remaining projects with extended timelines.


    • PMGSY-I for overall socio-economic development of road deprived habitations with stipulated population (more than 500 population in plain areas and more than 250 in North-East, Hill, Tribal and Desert areas as per 2001 Census). It was started with the aim of providing all-weather road connectivity. The government later launched new schemes namely PMGSY-II, RCPLWEA and PMGSY-III.
    • The present proposal is for extension of timelines for PMGSY-I, II and RCPLWEA.
    • PMGSY-III was launched in the year 2019 to connect habitations as well as rural agricultural markets, higher secondary schools and hospitals through 1,25,000 km of existing routes and major rural links and the implementation period of the scheme was March, is till 2025.


North Eastern Region Community Resource Management Society

Why in News

  • North Eastern Region Community Resource Management Society (NERCRMS), a registered society under the North Eastern Council of Ministry of Development of North Eastern Region.

Key point

  • This society is dedicated to transform the remote rural areas of North Eastern Region (NER) of India through various livelihood initiatives.
  • The Society has so far covered four North Eastern States, namely Arunachal Pradesh (Changlang, Tirap and Longding Districts), Assam (Karbi Anglong and Dima Hasao Districts), Manipur (Ukhrul, Senapati, Churachandpur and Chandel Districts) and Meghalaya (West Garo Hills and West Khasi Hills District).
  • Since 1999, the Society has formed 8,403 SHGs (Self Help Groups) and 2,889 NARMGs (Natural Resource Management Groups) in 2,532 villages through its project- North Eastern Region Community Resource Management Project (NERCORMP), thereby creating 1,18,843 households. have benefited.


  • The overall objective of the project is to “sustainably improve livelihoods of vulnerable groups while better managing their processed base in a manner that also includes ways that contribute to environmental protection and restoration.”
  • The Society has adopted a holistic approach to development with two broad focus areas, viz.
  • To harness and experience the great inherent potential of communities, examining their traditional value systems and culture for social mobilization, organization and capacity building, and
  • https://static.pib.gov.in/WriteReadData/userfiles/image/image002LYI3.png
    Intermediate economic and social activities and infrastructure with major emphasis on income generating activities to achieve economic transformation.

Strategies adopted to achieve the goals

  • To continuously promote an inclusive development approach in which women, the vulnerable and the poorest participate on an equal footing and platform, and in this process, realize a genuinely participatory approach.
  • Formation and establishment of viable and strong community based organizations like SHGs and NARMGs.
  • Adopting a thoughtful and conscious approach to relying on communities and delegating responsibilities to them accordingly.
  • Promoting savings and spending through revolving funds to SHGs to provide easy access to credit, with a mixed objective initially to provide credit for both consumption and income generating activities (IGA), but later on Got IGA.
  • Ensuring transparency and accountability at all levels; Initiating and promoting social audit at all levels.
  • Management of all Village Development Funds by the communities through their own bank accounts and transparently.
  • To undertake and enhance Sensitive Income Generating Activities (IGA).
  • Involving traditional institutions (TIs) and social institutions (SIS) that are in existence for the attainment of goals and objectives set out through a formal agreement.
  • Capacity building and training on regular basis covering various sectors.
  • Providing space for people (both communities and team members) to grow and encourage creativity and expansion.


Air Pollution Control Tower (APCT)

Why in News

  • Inaugurated the prototype of UP’s first air pollution control tower developed domestically by BHEL in Uttar Pradesh (UP).

Key point

  • It has been started in Sector-16A of Noida. Bharat Heavy Electricals Limited (BHEL) has indigenously developed and designed the prototype of Air Pollution Control Tower (APCT) to tackle the problem of increasing air pollution in urban areas.
  • The tower has the ability to keep the air clean within a kilometer radius.
  • To tackle air pollution in Noida region, Air Pollution Control Tower has been set up on Green Belt in Sector-16A near DND on about 400 sqm of land.
  • Noida-Greater Noida Expressway and DND Flyway are the main routes of the city. The traffic density is high on this route. Due to this, the emission of pollution from vehicles is excessive.
  • The air quality in Noida NCR drops to alarming levels every year due to the increasing cold. Due to this the public has to face a lot of inconvenience.
  • Suspended particulate matter, sulfur dioxide, nitrogen oxide and carbon monoxide, etc. together pollute the air. To solve this problem, installation of air pollution control tower is necessary.

Air pollution control tower

  • Air Pollution Control Tower is a massive structure designed to clean the air.
  • After the polluted air enters the tower, it is cleaned by several layers before it is released back into the atmosphere.
  • The air pollution control tower can be used as an air purifier on a large scale.
  • This tower has been built at the Haridwar plant of Bharat Heavy Electricals Limited (BHEL).
  • The tower has been installed by BHEL at its own cost.
  • Its operation is estimated to cost about Rs 37 lakh every year.
  • Noida Authority will bear 50 percent of this cost.

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