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PIB 17th July


  1. PM Keynote Address at ECOSOC: UN’s 75th Anniversary
  2. Char Dham road project: Bhagirathi Eco-Sensitive Zone
  3. Mobile App of PM SVANidhi launched
  4. Automotive technology e-portal: ICAT


Focus: GS-II International Relations

Why in news?

Prime Minister delivered a keynote address virtually at the 2020 High-Level Segment of the United Nations Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) session.

Details and Highlights

  • This was the first address by PM to the broader UN membership since India’s election as a non-permanent member of the Security Council.
  • The theme of the High-Level Segment of the ECOSOC this year is “Multilateralism after COVID19: What kind of UN do we need at the 75th anniversary”.
  • PM recalled India’s long association with the ECOSOC and the UN’s developmental work, including for the Sustainable Development Goals.
  • He also recalled the support provided by the Indian government and Indian pharma companies for ensuring medicine supplies to different countries, and for coordinating a joint response strategy among SAARC countries.

United Nations Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC)

  • The United Nations Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) is one of the six principal organs of the United Nations, responsible for coordinating the economic and social fields of the organization.
  • The Council serves as the central forum for discussing international economic and social issues and formulating policy recommendations addressed to member states and the United Nations system.
  • High-level political forum (HLPF) is meeting under the auspices of ECOSOC every year in July.
  • The national reviews of progress in implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development (Voluntary national reviews) are presented and serve as a basis for the reviews by HLPF.
  • The Council consists of 54 Members States, which are elected yearly by the General Assembly for overlapping three-year terms.

United Nations Organisation (UNO)

Since it is the 75th Anniversary of the UNO, it is important for aspirants to learn about the Organisation. It is also the 75th Anniversary of World War II, hence, even that becomes important.

  • The United Nations (UN) is an intergovernmental organization that aims to maintain international peace and security, develop friendly relations among nations, achieve international cooperation, and be a centre for harmonizing the actions of nations.
  • It is the largest, most familiar, most internationally represented and most powerful intergovernmental organization in the world.
  • The UN is headquartered on international territory in New York City.
  • The UN was established after World War II with the aim of preventing future wars, succeeding the ineffective League of Nations.

Main Organs of United Nations

  1. United Nations General Assembly (UNGA),
  2. United Nations Security Council (UNSC),
  3. The Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC),
  4. United Nations Trusteeship Council,
  5. The International Court of Justice (ICJ),
  6. UN Secretariat.

All the 6 were established in 1945 when the UN was founded.


Focus: GS-III Environment and Ecology, Industry and Infrastructure

Why in news?

In a review meeting of the Chardham Project via Video Conferencing, Union Environment Minister informed that the Zonal Master Plan (ZMP) has been accorded approval by the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEF&CC).


  • The Bhagirathi Eco-Sensitive Zone notification was issued by the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEF&CC) keeping in view the requirements of the local people without affecting their rights and privileges and also ensuring eco-friendly development for their livelihood security.
  • The Bhagirathi Eco-Sensitive Zone notification mandated the State Government of Uttarakhand to prepare ZMP to be implemented under the supervision of the Monitoring Committee.
  • The ZMP is based on watershed approach and includes governance in the area of forest and wildlife, watershed management, irrigation, energy, tourism, public health and sanitation, road infrastructure, etc.
  • The approval of ZMP will give a boost to conservation and ecology of the area and also to undertake developmental activities as permitted under ZMP.
  • The approval of ZMP will give a boost to conservation and ecology of the area and also to undertake developmental activities as permitted under ZMP.
  • The approval will also pave way for faster execution of the Chaar Dhaam Project.

What are Eco-Sensitive Zones (ESZs)?

  • Eco-Sensitive Zones or Ecologically Fragile Areas are areas within 10 kms around Protected Areas, National Parks and Wildlife Sanctuaries.
  • ESZs are notified by MoEFCC, Government of India under Environment Protection Act 1986.
  • In case of places with sensitive corridors, connectivity and ecologically important patches, crucial for landscape linkage, even area beyond 10 km width can also be included in the eco-sensitive zone.
  • The basic aim is to regulate certain activities around National Parks and Wildlife Sanctuaries so as to minimise the negative impacts of such activities on the fragile ecosystem encompassing the protected areas.

Activities Allowed in ESZs

  • Prohibited activities: Commercial mining, saw mills, industries causing pollution (air, water, soil, noise etc), establishment of major hydroelectric projects (HEP), commercial use of wood, Tourism activities like hot-air balloons over the National Park, discharge of effluents or any solid waste or production of hazardous substances.
  • Regulated activities: Felling of trees, establishment of hotels and resorts, commercial use of natural water, erection of electrical cables, drastic change of agriculture system, e.g. adoption of heavy technology, pesticides etc, widening of roads.
  • Permitted activities: Ongoing agricultural or horticultural practices, rainwater harvesting, organic farming, use of renewable energy sources, adoption of green technology for all activities.

Chardham Project

  • Char Dham Expressway National Highway is a proposed two-lane (in each direction) express National Highway in the state of Uttarakhand.
  • Under the prestigious ‘Char Dham’ road project costing about ₹12,000 crore, BRO is constructing 250 km of national highway leading to the holy Hindu shrines of Gangotri and Badrinath.

The proposed highway will complement the under-development Char Dham Railway by connecting the four holy places in Uttarakhand which are:

  1. Badrinath
  2. Kedarnath
  3. Gangotri
  4. Yamunotri

The roads will be widened from 12m to 24m and the project will involve construction of tunnels, bypasses, bridges, subways and viaducts.

All of these four sites are devoted to a specific deity. Gangotri is dedicated to the Goddess Ganga, Yamunotri is dedicated to the Goddess Yamuna, Kedarnath is dedicated to Lord Shiva and is one of the 12 jyotirlingas and Badrinath, is dedicated to Lord Vishnu.


Focus: GS-III Social Justice

Why in news?

The Mobile Application of PM Street Vendor’s Atma Nirbhar Nidhi (PM SVANidhi) was launched.

Details and Advantages of the App

  • This App aims to provide user friendly digital interface for Lending Institutions (LIs) and their field functionaries for sourcing and processing loan applications of street vendors under the Scheme.
  • It is believed that launch of Mobile App will give impetus to the implementation strategy of the Scheme besides promoting paper-less digital accessing of micro-credit facilities by the Street Vendors.
  • The scheme promotes digital transactions through cash back incentives up to an amount of Rs. 100 per month.
  • Moreover, the vendors can achieve their ambition of going up on the economic ladder by availing the facility of enhancement of the credit limit on timely / early repayment of loan.


  • PM SVANidhi, short for Pradhan Mantri Street Vendor’s AtmaNirbhar Nidhi, will help street vendors resume their businesses, impacted due to the nationwide lockdown.
  • Vendors can avail of a working capital loan of up to ₹10,000, which is repayable in monthly instalments over one year.
  • On timely, or early repayment, an interest subsidy of 7% per annum will be credited to the bank accounts of beneficiaries through Direct Benefit Transfer every six months.
  • There will be no penalty for early repayment of loans.

Who will be Benefitted by this scheme?

  • Five million street vendors who were operating on or before 24 March are expected to benefit from the scheme, which will be available till March 2022.
  • The scheme is applicable to vendors, hawkers, thelewalas, rehriwalas, and theliphadwalas supplying goods and services.
  • Street vendors in peri-urban or rural areas will also be able to avail the benefits.

Implementation of PM SVANidhi

  • Urban local bodies will be playing a pivotal role in the implementation of the scheme as the lending institutions under the scheme include, Regional Rural Banks, Scheduled Commercial Banks, Cooperative Banks, Small Finance Banks, Micro Finance Institutions, NBFCs, and Self-Help Groups.
  • It is the first time that NBFCs/MFIs/SHG Banks have been allowed in a scheme for urban poor. The change is because of their ground-level presence and proximity to the urban poor including the street vendors.
  • Also, for the fast implementation of the scheme for transparency, a digital platform with a mobile app and web portal has also been developed to administer the scheme with end to end solutions. This platform will also help in integrating the vendors in a formal financial system.
  • The scheme will also incentivise digital transactions by the street vendors through monthly cashback.


Focus: GS-III Industry and Infrastructure

Why in news?

  • Five portals are being developed for specific sectors by different organizations viz, BHEL for power sector equipment, HMT for machine tools, CMFTI for manufacturing technology, ICAT and ARAI for automotive sector.
  • ICAT is developing technology platform for automotive industry called ASPIRE – Automotive Solutions Portal for Industry, Research and Education.


The objective of these portals is to create an ecosystem which will bring solution seekers and problem solvers together. These include, industry, academia, research institutes, start-ups, professionals and experts.

ASPIRE – Automotive Solutions Portal for Industry, Research and Education

  • The key objective of this portal is to facilitate the Indian Automotive Industry to become self-reliant by assisting in innovation and adoption of global technological advancements by bringing together the stakeholders from various associated avenues.
  • The e-portal will act as a one stop solution providing a technology platform which will help to bring together the various stakeholders from the Indian auto industry, providing the necessary impetus for ushering the industry into future with combined efforts.
  • Apart from acting as a solution and resource platform, the portal will also host grand challenges in line with the need of the industry as will be identified from time to time, for development of key automotive technologies.
December 2023