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PIB – 05 August 2021




Focus: GS II- Polity

Why in News?

Cabinet approves continuation of Centrally Sponsored Scheme for Fast Track Special Courts for further 2 years

  • 1023 Fast Track Special Courts set up for speedy disposal of cases of rape and cases under POCSO Act

About Fast-track courts :

  • Fast-track courts (FTCs) are created primarily to deal with the judicial backlog.
  • A ‘special court’ is one which is to deal with special types of cases under a shortened and simplified procedure.
  • Fast-track courts (FTCs) have been around for a long time, with the first ones being established in the year 2000.
  • However, 56% of the States and Union Territories, including Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh and Gujarat, had no FTCs.
  • Judges are appointed on the ad hoc basis.
  • Retired judges or eligible judicial officers who are selected by the High court of the respective states are the head of these courts.
Need for Fast Track courts
  • Clearing the considerable amount of pending cases
  • Expected to reduce the number of undertrials in jails
  • Need for Speedy Trial
  • Judiciary’s commitment to end sexual and gender based violence
Advantages of Fast track courts:
  • Lessening of the general caseload burden
  • Promotes specialization and professionalization
  • Improves judicial efficiency and effectiveness
  • High case clearance rate and speedy trial rate
  • Guarantees consistency and predictability
Issues Faced by FTCs
  • Non-Uniformity in Type of Cases: In a survey of FTCs conducted by National Law University Delhi, it was observed that there is a huge variation in the kinds of cases handled by these courts across States, with certain States primarily allocating rape and sexual offence cases to them and other States allocating various other matters.
  • Infrastructural Issues: Most FTCs were not set up with different infrastructure or facilities, but were often housed in an existing court. Moreover, several States appoint FTCs special judges from the current pool of judges. This substantially increases the workload of the remaining judges.
  • Technological Barrier: Several FTCs lacked technological resources to conduct audio and video recordings of the victims and many of them did not have regular staff.
  • Adhocism: Setting up of FTCs was not based on actual problems of pendency, but was often in response to specific incidents such as securities scams, rape cases and sexual harassment of children.
  • Lack of Coordination: In India, tribunals are managed by different ministries, and fast-track courts and special courts are administered under different judicial bodies, with little coordination or uniformity among them.
  • Other Issues: There are delays in getting reports from the understaffed forensic science laboratories, judges make frivolous adjournments and inadequate staff adversely affect the efficiency of the fast track courts.
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Focus: GS II- Education

Why in News?

Cabinet approves continuation of Samagra Shiksha Scheme for School Education from 1st April, 2021 to 31st March, 2026

About the scheme:

Nodal: Ministry of Education

  • It is an Integrated Scheme for school education, which is an overarching programme for the school education sector extending from pre-school to class XII and aims to ensure inclusive and equitable quality education at all levels of school education. 
  • It envisages the ‘school’ as a continuum from pre-school, primary, upper primary, secondary to senior secondary levels and subsumes the three erstwhile centrally sponsored schemes i.e. Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan (SSA), Rashtriya Madhyamik Shiksha Abhiyan (RMSA) and Teacher Education(TE).
  • The main emphasis of the Scheme is on improving the quality of school education by focussing on the two T’s – Teacher and Technology.
  • The Scheme is being implemented as a Centrally Sponsored Scheme. The fund sharing pattern for the scheme between Centre and States is at present in the ratio of 90:10 for the North-Eastern States and the Himalayan States and 60:40 for all other States and Union Territories with Legislature. It is 100% centrally sponsored for Union Territories without Legislature.
  • The vision of the Scheme is to ensure inclusive and equitable quality education from pre-school to senior secondary stage in accordance with the Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) for Education.
  • SDG-4.1: Aims to ensure that all boys and girls complete free, equitable and quality primary and secondary education leading to relevant and effective learning outcomes. SDG 4.5: Aims to eliminate gender disparities in education and ensure equal access to all levels of education.
The major interventions, across all levels of school education, proposed under the scheme are:
  • Universal Access including Infrastructure Development and Retention;
  • Foundational Literacy and Numeracy,
  • Gender and Equity;
  • Inclusive Education;
  • Quality and Innovation;
  • Financial support for Teacher Salary;
  • Digital initiatives;
  • RTE Entitlements including uniforms, textbooks etc.;
  • Support for ECCE;
  • Vocational Education;
  • Sports and Physical Education;
  • Strengthening of Teacher Education and Training;
  • Monitoring;
  • Programme Management;
  • National Component.
Major Impacts:

 The major objectives of the Scheme are to Support States and UTs in:

  • Implementing the recommendations of the National Education Policy 2020 (NEP 2020);
  • Implementation of Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education (RTE) Act, 2009;
  • Early Childhood Care and Education;
  • Emphasis on Foundational Literacy and Numeracy;
  • Thrust on Holistic, Integrated, Inclusive and activity based Curriculum and Pedagogy to impart 21st century skills to the students;
  • Provision of quality education and enhancing learning outcomes of students;
  • Bridging Social and Gender Gaps in School Education;
  • Ensuring equity and inclusion at all levels of school education;
  • Strengthening and up-gradation of State Councils for Educational Research and Training (SCERTs)/State Institutes of Education and District Institutes for Education and Training (DIET) as nodal agency for teacher training;
  • Ensuring safe, secure and conducive learning environment and maintenance of standards in schooling provisions and
  • Promoting vocational education.


Focus: GS III- Science and technology

Why in News?

Usage of Indian Regional Navigation Satellite System(NavIC system) has increased in sectors like transportation and personal mobility.

  • There is also an increase in the number of NavIC enabled smart mobile phone models in the Indian market.

About Indian Regional Navigation Satellite System

  • IRNSS is an independent regional navigation satellite system developed by the Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO).
  • The main objective is to provide reliable position, navigation and timing services over India and its neighbourhood.
  • IRNSS is a regional and not a global navigation system.
  • Unlike the widely used GPS which includes 24 satellites, NavIC has 8 satellites and their range is within India and its adjoining regions extending up to 1,500 km from the country’s border.
  • Technically satellite systems with more satellites provide more accurate positioning information. However, compared to GPS which has a position accuracy of 20-30 metres, the NavIC is able to pinpoint location to an estimated accuracy of under 20 metres.

The IRNSS constellation was named as “NavIC” (Navigation with Indian Constellation) by the Prime Minister, which provides two types of services:

  1. Standard Positioning Service (SPS) is meant for the general public.
  2. Restricted Service (RS) is an encrypted service meant for authorised users and agencies.


Focus: GS II- Government Policies & Interventions

Why in News?

With the passage in Rajya Sabha, Airports Economic Regulatory Authority of India (Amendment) Bill, 2021 got approval of both houses of Parliament

AERA Amendment Bill, 2021

  • The AERA Amendment Bill, 2021 proposes to amend the definition of major airport to include a group of airports.
  • It will allow AERA to regulate tariff and other charges for aeronautical services for not just major airports with annual passenger traffic of more than 35 lakh, but also a group of airports.
  • The government will be able to club profitable and non-profitable airports as a combination/package to bidders to make it a viable combination for investment under PPP (Public-Private Partnership) mode.
  • It will help in expanding the air connectivity to relatively remote areas and as a result, expediting the UDAN regional connectivity scheme.
  • Lack of clarity in the bill on the criterion for deciding which airports will be clubbed together to qualify under ‘a group of airports’ definition, whether it will be the passenger traffic of more than 3.5 million or some other factors too.

Airports Economic Regulatory Authority of India (AERA)

  • The Airports Economic Regulatory Authority of India Act, 2008 established the Statutory body – Airports Economic Regulatory Authority of India (AERA).
  • AERA was established to ensure that private airport operators do not misuse their monopoly, the need for an independent tariff regulator in the airport sector was felt.
  • AERA regulates tariffs and other charges for aeronautical services provided at civilian airports with annual traffic above 15 lakh passengers.
  • It also monitors the performance standard of services across these airports.


Focus: GS II- Government Policies and Interventions

Why in News?

The Vande Bharat Mission commenced on 07.05.2020 and has continued ever since.

  • 128 lakh passengers travelled under the mission till 24 July, 2021

About Vande Bharat Mission

  • The Indian nationals stranded overseas due to the global coronavirus lockdown are expected to return under the Vande Bharat Mission.
  • Vande Bharat Mission is the biggest evacuation exercise to bring back Indian citizens stranded abroad amidst the coronavirus-induced travel restrictions.
  • It is also considered as the largest exercise to bring back Indian citizens since the evacuation of 177,000 from the Gulf region in the early 1990s at the start of hostilities between Iraq and Kuwait during the first Gulf War.
  • Further, the Indian Navy has also launched Operation “Samudra Setu” (sea bridge) to repatriate Indian citizens from overseas.
  • India has dispatched four Naval ships as part of the first phase of Vande Bharat mission.
  • INS Jalashwa and INS Magar are being operated as part of efforts to repatriate Indian nationals from foreign shores.
Bringing Indians 
.. Ahmedab?d 
. Hyderabad 


Focus: GS III- Infrastructure

Why in News?

India and World Bank sign $250 million project to make existing dams safe and resilient.

About Dam Rehabilitation and Improvement project (DRIP)

  • The Dam Rehabilitation and Improvement Project (DRIP) has been taken up with loan assistance of the World Bank for rehabilitation and improvement of about 223 dam Projects initially in seven States (namely Jharkhand, Karnataka, Kerala, Madhya Pradesh, Odisha, Tamil Nadu, and Uttarakhand) DRIP will be implemented over a period of six-years starting from 18th April, 2012.
  • The objectives of DRIP are to be achieved through investments for physical and technological dam improvements, managerial upgrading of dam operations, management and maintenance, with accompanying institutional reforms. 
  • Further, it is expected that the institutional development activities will lead to an improvement in the system‐wide management approach to all dams in the participating states, over and above the focus on the selected dams covered by the project.
  • The funding pattern for the scheme will be 80% from World Bank loan (50% IDA credit and 50% IBRD loan) and 20% from State/Central Government budgetary support.
  • Apart from structural and non‐structural measures for rehabilitation and improvement of identified dams, the scope of project includes the development of appropriate institutional mechanisms for safe operation and maintenance of all large dams in participating states.
  • The over progress of DRIP is being monitored by National Level Steering Committee (NLSC).

Dam Rehabilitation and Improvement Project (DRIP-2)

  • The Second Dam Rehabilitation and Improvement Project (DRIP-2) will strengthen dam safety by building dam safety guidelines, bring in global experience, and introduce innovative technologies. Another major innovation envisaged under the project, that is likely to transform dam safety management, is the introduction of a risk-based approach to dam asset management that will help to effectively allocate financial resources towards priority dam safety needs.
  • The project will be implemented in approximately 120 dams across the states of Chhattisgarh, Gujarat, Kerala, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Manipur, Meghalaya, Odisha, Rajasthan, and Tamil Nadu, and at the national level through the Central Water Commission (CWC).
  • Other states or agencies may be added to the project during project implementation.

Other important measures that DRIP-2

  • Flood forecasting systems and integrated reservoir operations that will contribute to building climate resilience;
  • The preparation and implementation of Emergency Action Plans to enable vulnerable downstream communities to prepare for and enhance resilience against the possible negative impacts and risks of climate change;
  • The piloting of supplemental revenue generation schemes such as floating solar panels.


Focus: GS II- Government Policies and Interventions, Prelims

Why in News?

CBIC has launched Compliance Information Portal (CIP).

About Compliance Information Portal:

  • CIP provides free access to information on all Customs procedures and regulatory compliance for nearly 12,000 Customs Tariff Items.
  • CIP is yet another facilitation tool developed by CBIC to empower our business as well as any interested person with up-to-date information on the legal and procedural requirements of Customs and Partner Government Agencies (FSSAI, AQIS, PQIS, Drug Controller etc.) for carrying out imports and exports. 
  • The portal would provide at the click of a button complete knowledge of all import and export related requirements for all items covered under the Customs Tariff thereby improving the ease of doing cross border trade.
  • For using CIP, one can simply enter either the Customs Tariff Heading (CTH) or the description of the goods in question to get information to step-by-step procedures, regulatory compliances requirements like License, Certificates, etc., for imports as well as exports.
  • This includes import and export through posts and courier, import of samples, reimport and reexport of goods, self-sealing facility for exporters and project imports.
  • Another important feature of CIP is a pan India map showing all the Customs seaports, airports, land customs stations etc. It also contains addresses of the regulatory agencies and their websites.

March 2024