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PIB – 16 DECEMBER 2021




Focus: GS Paper – 1, GS Paper – 2, Conservation, Important International Institutions

Why in news?

UNESCO inscribes ‘Durga Puja in Kolkata’ on the Representative List of Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity.

Key points:

  • The Intergovernmental Committee of UNESCO’s 2003 Convention on Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage made this decision during its 16th session being held at Paris, France from 13th to 18th December 2021.
  • It is a recognition of the confluence of our rich heritage, culture, rituals and practices and a celebration of the feminine divinity and the spirit of womanhood.
  • With the inscription of Durga Puja in Kolkata, India now has 14 intangible cultural heritage elements on the prestigious UNESCO Representative List of ICH of Humanity.
  • In recent years, the  ICH elements that saw inscriptions areKumbh Mela (inscribed 2017), Yoga (inscribed 2016) among others.

About Durga Puja:

  • It is an annual Hindu festival originating in the Indian subcontinent which reveres and pays homage to the Hindu goddess Durga and is also celebrated because of Durga’s victory over Mahishasur.
  • It is a five-day festival which begins on the fifth night of the nine-day Navratri festival and ends on the tenth day, which is Dashami.
  • During this time, people collectively worship and invoke Goddess Durga, who is regarded as the feminine energy of the cosmos, also known as ‘Shakti’.
  • It is not only is a celebration of the feminine divinity but is a consummate expression of dance, music, crafts, rituals, practices culinary and cultural aspects.
  • The festival transcends the boundaries of caste, creed and economic classes and joins the people together in its celebration.


  • UNESCO is the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization.
  • It seeks to build peace through international cooperation in education, sciences and culture.
  • UNESCO’s programmes contribute to the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals defined in the 2030 Agenda, adopted by the UN General Assembly in 2015.
  • The Organization has 193 Members and 11 Associate Members.
  • It is headquartered in Paris, France.
  • India is a signatory of the 2003 UNESCO Convention which aims for the Safeguarding of the Intangible of the Intangible Heritage along with traditions and living expression. 
  • Intangible cultural heritage means the practices, representations, expressions, knowledge, skills – as well as the instruments, objects, artifacts and cultural spaces associated with them that communities, groups and, in some cases, individuals recognize as a part of their cultural heritage.


Focus: GS Paper – 3: IT & Computers, E-Governance

Why in news?

Cabinet approves an incentive scheme for promotion of RuPay Debit Cards and low-value BHIM-UPI transactions (P2M)

Key points:

  • Under the scheme, the acquiring banks will be incentivised by the Government, by way of paying percentage of value of transactions (P2M) done through RuPay Debit cards and low-value BHIM-UPI modes of payments.
  • This scheme will facilitate acquiring Banks in building robust digital payment ecosystem and promoting RuPay Debit card and BHIM-UPI digital transactions, across all sectors and segments of the population and further deepening of digital payments in the country.
  • It will also help in making accessible digital modes of payments to unbanked and marginalized populations, who are outside of the formal banking and financial system.
  • It will further spur research and development and innovation in fintech space, and will help the Government in further deepening of digital payments in various part of countries.
  • The scheme has been formulated in compliance with the Budget announcements (FY 2021-22) by the Governmentto give further boost to digital transactions in the country.

About RuPay Card Scheme:

  • It is India’s indigenous card scheme created by the National Payments Corporation of India.
  • It was created to fulfil the Reserve Banks of India’s desire to have a domestic open loop and multilateral system of payments in India.
  • RuPaY facilities electronic payments at all Indian banks and institutions and competes with Mastercard and Visa in India.
  • All Indian companies with an annual turnover exceeding Rs.50 crore (US$6.6 million) are required to offer RuPay payment options to their customers.
  • The card can also be used for transactions in Singapore, Bhutan, UAE, Bahrain and Saudi Arabia.
  • As of July 2018, RuPay Debit cards have been issued to banks across India.
  • Apart from the main private-sector and public-sector banks, RuPay cards are also issued by cooperative banks (scheduled cooperative banks, district cooperative banks, state cooperative banks, urban cooperative banks) and regional rural banks (RRBs) in the country.

About Bharat Interface for Money-Unified Payments Interface (BHIM-UPI):

  • It was launched on 30th December 2016 to bring in Financial Inclusion to the nation and a digitally empowered society.
  • It is developed by the National Payment Corporation of India (NPCI).
  • It makes the payment simple, easy and quick transactions using Unified Payments Interface (UPI).
    • Unified Payments Interface (UPI): It is a system that powers multiple bank accounts into a single mobile application of any participating bank.
  • This will enhance the ease of living and ease of travelling through cashless transactions at the touch of a button.


Focus: GS Paper – 2, GS Paper – 3: Government Policies & Interventions, Growth & Development, Indigenization of Technology, Industrial Policy

Why in news?

In furtherance of the vision of Aatmanirbhar Bharat and positioning India as the global hub for Electronic System Design and Manufacturing, the Union Cabinet has approved the comprehensive program for the development of sustainable semiconductor and display ecosystem in the country.

Key points:

  • The program will usher in a new era in electronics manufacturing by providing a globally competitive incentive package to companies in semiconductors and display manufacturing as well as design.
  • This shall pave the way for India’s technological leadership in these areas of strategic importance and economic self-reliance.
  • The program will give an impetus to semiconductor and display manufacturing by facilitating capital support and technological collaborations.
  • Incentives of INR 2,30,000 crore to position India as global hub for electronics manufacturing with semiconductors as the foundational building block.
  • India Semiconductor Mission:
    • In order to drive the long-term strategies for developing a sustainable semiconductors and display ecosystem, a specialized and independent “India Semiconductor Mission (ISM)” will be set up.
    • It will act as the nodal agency for efficient and smooth implementation of the schemes on Semiconductors and Display ecosystem.
  • It will be led by global experts in semiconductor and display industry.
  • It will also create highly skilled employment opportunities to harness the demographic dividend of the country.
  • The program will promote higher domestic value addition in electronics manufacturing and will contribute significantly to achieving a USD 1 Trillion digital economy and a USD 5 Trillion GDP by 2025.

About Semiconductors:

  • A semiconductor is a material that allows electrical conductivity between a conductor and an insulator.
  • They have less resistivity than insulators and more than conductors. The resistance of the semiconductor decreases with an increase in temperature and vice versa.
  • Semiconductors are made from pure elements like silicon or germanium, or compounds such as gallium arsenide.
    • Doping: It is the intentional introduction of impurities into an intrinsic semiconductor for the purpose of modulating its electrical, optical and structural properties. 
  • It is very complex and technology-intensive sector involving huge capital investments, high risk, long gestation and payback periods, and rapid changes in technology, which require significant and sustained investments.
  • Importance:
    • In the current geopolitical scenario, trusted sources of semiconductors and displays hold strategic importance and are key to the security of critical information infrastructure.
    • They are the foundation of modern electronics driving the next phase of digital transformation under Industry 4.0.
    • Their reliability, compactness, low cost and controlled conduction of electricity make them ideal to be used for various purposes in a wide range of components and devices,  transistors, diodes, photo-sensors, microcontrollers, integrated chips and much more are made up of semiconductors.


Focus: GS Paper – 3: Irrigation

Why in News?

The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs has today approved implementation of Pradhan Mantri Krishi Sinchayee Yojana (PMKSY) for 2021-26 with an outlay of Rs.93,068 crore.

Key points:

  • The scheme to benefit to about 22 lakh farmers, including 2.5 lakh SC and 2 lakh ST farmers
  • An outlay of Rs. 93,068 crore, including Rs.37,454 crore central assistance to States.
  • Accelerated Irrigation Benefit Programme (AIBP), Har Khet ko Paani (HKKP) and Watershed Development components have been approved for continuation during 2021-26.

About PMKSY:

  • It is a Centrally Sponsored Scheme launched in 2015.
  • It is an umbrella scheme, providing central grants to the State Governments for specific activities detailed below.
  • Objectives:
    • To achieve convergence of investments in irrigation at the field level
    • Expand the cultivable area under assured irrigation
    • Improve on-farm water use efficiency to reduce wastage of water
    • Enhance the adoption of precision-irrigation and other water saving technologies
    • Enhance recharge of aquifers
    • Introduce sustainable water conservation practices by exploring the feasibility of reusing treated municipal wastewater for peri-urban agriculture
    • Attract greater private investment in precision irrigation system.
  • Funding: Centre- States will be 75:25 per cent. In the case of the north-eastern region and hilly states, it will be 90:10.
  • Implementation – Decentralised implementation through State Irrigation Plan and District Irrigation Plan.
  •  It consists of two major components by Department of Water Resources, River Development and Ganga Rejuvenation, namely, Accelerated Irrigation Benefits Programme (AIBP), and Har Khet Ko Pani (HKKP).
  • Accelerated Irrigation Benefit Programme : It is a flagship programme of Government of India aims for financial support to irrigation projects. 
  • Har Khet Ko Pani (HKKP): It aims for enhancement of physical access on the farm and expansion of cultivable area under assured irrigation. Under HKKP, surface minor irrigation and repair-renovation-restoration of water bodies component of PMKSY is targeted to provide additional 4.5 lakh hectare irrigation.
  • Watershed Development component: It focuses on the development of rainfed areas towards soil and water conservation, regeneration of ground water, arresting runoff and promoting extension activities related to water harvesting and management.
  • Another component of PMKSY, Per Drop More Crop is being implemented by Department of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare.
February 2024