National Current Affairs – UPSC/KAS Exams- 18th October 2018

Mission Antyodaya


Topic: Government Schemes

In news: Kulgod village has emerged as  the most developed village in the country under the Antyodaya scheme of the Centre.

About Mission Antyodaya:

  • Mission Antyodaya’ seeks to converge government interventions with Gram Panchayats as the basic unit for planning by following a saturation approach by pooling resources – human and financial – to ensure sustainable livelihoods. The mission ranks the panchayat according to their development during the mission.


  • A Gram Panchayat is the basic unit for monitoring transformation and for ranking on the basis of objective criteria. Given the diverse size of Gram Panchayats, 5,000 Clusters comprising of nearly 50,000 Gram Panchayats have been selected by the States purposively for implementing the ‘Mission Antyodaya’ Framework.
  • These Gram Panchayats display high level of social capital and have the ability to implement rapid Rural Transformation for poverty elimination.
  • Mission Antyodaya encourages partnerships with network of professionals, institutions and enterprises to further accelerate the transformation of rural livelihoods. Self Help Groups (SHG) are enablers to convergence approach due to their social capital and their proven capacity for social mobilisation.
  • The thrust is not only on physical infrastructure but also on social infrastructure with strengthening of agriculture, horticulture, animal husbandry activities with utmost priority given to SHG expansion in Mission Antyodaya clusters.
  • Capacity for financial and social audit would also be built at grassroot level. This would be accomplished by convergence of frontline worker teams, cluster resource persons (CRPs) and professionals at the Gram Panchayats/ Cluster level. Cluster facilitation team would also be provided at the block level.
  • Over 25 departments and ministries of Central and State Governments will be participating in this Mission through their specific programmes and schemes.
  • ‘Mission Antyodaya’ is expected to unleash the latent potential of participating GPs through convergence and concerted actions of all the stakeholders and propel these GPs in a virtuous cycle of development.


Government e Marketplace


Topic:Government Schemes

 In news: Government eMarketplace (GeM) organised a workshop on Health on GeM, in partnership with Ministry of Health and Family Welfare was aimed to sensitise potential vendors, suppliers and buyers from various parts of the country and different government agencies on the proven benefits of GeM and encourage them to procure more using this platform.

 About e Market Place:

  • Government e-Marketplace (GeM) is a one stop portal to facilitate online procurement of common use Goods & Services required by various Government Departments / Organizations / PSUs.
  • GeM aims to enhance transparency, efficiency and speed in public procurement. It provides the tools of e-bidding, reverse e-auction and demand aggregation to facilitate the government users achieve the best value for their money.
  • All Central government and State Government Ministries/Departments including its attached/subordinate offices, Central and State autonomous bodies, Central and State Public Sector Units and local bodies etc. are authorized to make procurement through GeM portal.
  • The “Seller(s)” on GeM will be the OEMs (Original Equipment Manufacturers) and/or their authorized channel partner(s)/ resellers (having any general authorization / dealership of the OEM to sell their product in open market) and e- Marketplaces.

 Source:The Hindu

Unified payments interface (UPI)


Topic: Indian Economy

 In news: The Reserve Bank of India has released the guidelines for interoperability between prepaid payment instruments (PPIs) such as wallets and cards that will effectively allow users of popular payment wallets such as Paytm, Freecharge, Mobikwik, PhonePe and PayZapp, among others, to transfer money from one wallet to another.

More on the Topic:

  • The rules on interoperability of prepaid payment instruments (PPIs) do not force PPIs such as wallets to permit such transfers; instead, these guidelines are for “participating PPI issuers, who choose to adopt interoperability”.
  • Interoperability allows compatibility between payment systems and once implemented, a user will be able to transfer funds between wallets and also from their wallets to bank accounts.
  • Where PPIs are issued in the form of cards, the cards shall be affiliated to the authorized card networks. “PPI issuers operating exclusively in specific segments like meal, gift and mass transport system may also implement interoperability”.
  • The National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI) will issue handle to the PPI issuers after taking risk management aspects into consideration.

Unified Payments Interface:

  • Unified Payments Interface (UPI) is an instant real-time payment system developed by National Payments Corporation of India facilitating inter-bank transactions. The interface is regulated by the Reserve Bank of India and works by instantly transferring funds between two bank accounts on a mobile platform.
  • Services Provided: Unified Payments Interface is a real time inter bank payment system with send or request money. Any UPI client app may be used and multiple bank account may be linked to single app. Money can be sent or requested with following methods
  • Virtual Payment Address (VPA): Send or request money from/to bank account mapped using VPA.
  • Mobile number: Send or request money from/to bank account mapped using mobile number.
  • Account number&IFSC: Send money to bank account.
  • Aadhaar:Send money to bank account mapped using Aadhaar number.
  • QR code:Send money by QR code which has enclosed VPA, Account number and IFSC or Mobile number.

Source:The Hindu

Swastha Bharat Yatra


Topic: Government Initiatives

In News: The government launched a national campaign ‘Swasth Bharat Yatra’ on the World Food Day under which a pan-India cycle rally is being organised to sensitise people about eating safe food and be healthy.

More on the Topic:

  • The campaign has been launched by the central government, in association with states. The FSSAI is leading this campaign to create consumer awareness about eating safe and nutritious food for becoming healthy.
  • In this rally, about 7,500 cyclists are expected to participate in over 18,000 km travelling across six tracks through almost every state and UT over 100 days to propagate a powerful message ‘Eat Right India’.
  • Each day 150 volunteer cyclists and a convoy including the ‘Eat Right Mobile Unit’ and ‘Mobile Food Testing Unit’ would travel across the country to build awareness around food safety, combating food adulteration and healthy diets.


India, China set to resume drill


Topic: International relations

In news: India and China will resume the annual joint Army exercise ‘Hand-in-Hand’ in China’s Chengdu region, an Army official said. The drill was cancelled last year due to tense relations in the aftermath of the Doklam standoff.

 More on the topic:

  • Following the Wuhan summit between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Chinese President Xi Jinping, the two countries have initiated several measures to normalise relations.
  • The scope of the exercise is to understand transnational terrorism and evolve joint drills for the conduct of counter terrorism operations, in addition to Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief operations.
  • The exercise will be held in three phases familiarisation, basic training and the joint exercise.

Source:The Hindu

Ask Disha


Topic: e-governance- applications, models, successes

In news: Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation (IRCTC) has launched Artificial Intelligence (AI) powered chatbot– Ask Disha ((Digital Interaction to Seek Help Anytime) to help its users answer various queries.

 More on the Topic:

  • It is a Digital Interaction feature enabled by artificial intelligent chat bot. It is a first of its kind initiative for any Indian government website.
  • ‘Ask Disha’ can be used by Indian Railways passengers to get their questions answered.
  • The ‘Ask Disha’ chat bot is available on the right-hand side bottom corner of the IRCTC website. Once the user starts typing in a query, the chat bot auto suggests some options.
  • According to IRCTC the chat bot will “improve its knowledge” over a period of time, expanding its ambit of questions to ensure greater efficiency in catering to queries of users.
  • The ‘Ask Disha’ chat bot has been jointly developed by IRCTC and CoRover Private Limited.
  • Some of the salient features of ‘Ask Disha’ include 24*7 customer query support, quick response time to queries and multi-tasking.

Source:The Hindu

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