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PIB 19th March


  1. ISRO to launch 36 missions in 2020-21
  2. Ministry of Jal Shakti on Aquifer Mapping
  3. Draft National Water Policy
  4. Implementation of PM’s 15 Point Programme by Ministry of Minority Affairs


Focus: GS-III Science and Technology, Prelims

Why in news?

  • Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) has planned 36 missions including satellites and launch vehicles for the fiscal year 2020-21.
  • ISRO will send up 10 earth observation satellites during 2020-21.

Details of the missions in 2020-21

  1. Earth observation satellite- 10
  2. Communication satellite- 3
  3. Navigation satellite- 2
  4. Space science satellite- 3
  5. Technology Demonstration- 1
  6. PSLV- 10
  7. GSLV MK II- 3
  8. GSLV MK III- 1
  9. Small Satellite Launch Vehicle- 2
  10. Gaganyaan ( Unmanned)- 1

Completed Missions in 2019-20

During the current fiscal year of 2019-20, till date 11 out of the total targeted missions have been completed.

  1. Earth observation satellite- 4
  2. Communication satellite- 1
  3. Space science satellite- 1
  4. PSLV- 4
  5. GSLV MK III- 1
  • Indian Space Programme is focused on peaceful uses of Outer Space.
  • Towards this, Space Technology should be used for benefit of the country and society, provide solutions for developmental activities and address problems of the society at large.


  • The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) is the space agency of the Government of India.
  • ISRO has its headquarters in the city of Bengaluru.
  • The prime objective of ISRO is to use space technology and its application to various national tasks.
  • The Indian space programme was driven by the vision of Vikram Sarabhai, considered the father of the Indian space programme.

How ISRO came to be?

  • The Indian National Committee for Space Research (INCOSPAR) was established in the tenure of Jawaharlal Nehru under the Department of Atomic Energy (DAE) in 1962, with the urging of scientist Vikram Sarabhai recognizing the need in space research.
  • INCOSPAR grew and became ISRO in 1969, also under the DAE.
  • In 1972, Government of India had setup a Space Commission and the Department of Space (DOS), bringing ISRO under the DOS.
  • The establishment of ISRO thus institutionalized space research activities in India.
  • ISRO is managed by the DOS, which reports to the Prime Minister of India.

Significance of ISRO in the International Community

ISRO has had international cooperation since its inception. Some instances are listed below:

  1. Establishment of TERLS, conduct of SITE & STEP, launches of Aryabhata, Bhaskara, APPLE, IRS-IA and IRS-IB/ satellites, crewed space mission, etc.
  2. ISRO operates LUT/MCC under the international COSPAS/SARSAT Programme for Search and Rescue.
  3. India has established a Centre for Space Science and Technology Education in Asia and the Pacific (CSSTE-AP) that is sponsored by the United Nations.
  4. India is a member of the United Nations Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space, Cospas-Sarsat, International Astronautical Federation, Committee on Space Research (COSPAR), Inter-Agency Space Debris Coordination Committee (IADC), International Space University, and the Committee on Earth Observation Satellite (CEOS).
  5. Chandrayaan-1 carried scientific payloads from NASA, ESA, Bulgarian Space Agency, and other institutions/companies in North America and Europe.


Focus: GS-III Environment and Ecology, Prelims

Why in news?

Central Ground Water Board (CGWB) is implementing National Aquifer Mapping and Management program (NAQUIM), which envisages mapping of aquifers (water bearing formations), their characterization and development of Aquifer Management Plans to facilitate sustainable management of Ground Water Resources.


  • Out of the nearly 25 lakh km2 of mappable area in the country, so far aquifer maps and management plans have been developed for an area of 11.8 lakh km2 covering various parts of the country.
  • Aquifer mapping across the country is being undertaken on assessment unit (Block/Taluka/Mandal/Firkka) level.
  • CGWB collects ground water data, which is available in public domain and can be accessed through the web-site of CGWB. All persons/institutions/organisations including GPs can use this data for ground water management.

Central Ground Water Board (CGWB)

  • CGWB is a subordinate office of the Ministry of Water Resources, Government of India and it is the National Apex Agency entrusted with the responsibilities of providing scientific inputs for management, exploration, monitoring, assessment, augmentation and regulation of ground water resources of the country.
  • Central Ground Water Board was established in 1970 by renaming the Exploratory Tube wells Organization under the Ministry of Agriculture, Government of India. It was merged with the Ground Water Wing of the Geological Survey of India during 1972.
  • Major activities being taken up by Central Ground Water Board include macro/micro-level ground water management studies, exploratory drilling programme, monitoring of ground water levels and water quality through a network of ground water observation wells comprising both large diameter open wells and purpose-built bore/tube wells (piezometers), implementation of demonstrative schemes for artificial recharge and rainwater harvesting for recharge augmentation.

The National Project on Aquifer Management (NAQUIM)

  • NAQUIM is an initiative of the Ministry of Water Resources, Government of India, for mapping and managing the entire aquifer systems in the country.
  • The vision of the National Project on Aquifer Management is to identify and map aquifers at the micro level, to quantify the available groundwater resources, and to propose plans appropriate to the scale of demand and aquifer characteristics, and institutional arrangements for participatory management.


Aquifer Ground Water
Unconfined aquifer 
Confined aquifer
  • An aquifer is an underground layer of water-bearing permeable rock, rock fractures or unconsolidated materials (gravel, sand, or silt).
  • Groundwater can be extracted using a water well.
  • The study of water flow in aquifers and the characterization of aquifers is called hydrogeology.
  • Related terms include aquitard, which is a bed of low permeability along an aquifer, and aquiclude (or aquifuge), which is a solid, impermeable area underlying or overlying an aquifer.
  • If the impermeable area overlies the aquifer, pressure could cause it to become a confined aquifer.
  • Aquifers occur from near surface to deeper than 30,000 feet.
  • Those closer to the surface are not only more likely to be used for water supply and irrigation, but are also more likely to be topped up by the local rainfall.


Focus: GS-III Governance, Prelims

Why in news?

With a goal to address the present challenges in water sector, revision of National Water Policy 2012 has been envisaged by the Department of Water Resources, River Development and Ganga Rejuvenation, Ministry of Jal Shakti and a drafting committee has been constituted on 5th November, 2019 to revise the National Water Policy.


  • Central Government formulated the National Water Policy in 1987, which was subsequently reviewed and revised in the year 2002 and 2012.
  • The National Water Policy has been sent to all States/ UTs for appropriate action.
  • Since the adoption of National Water Policy 2012, many challenges including water scarcity have emerged significantly in water sector.

Steps taken the Government towards National Water Policy

  • The Inter-State River Water Disputes (Amendment) Bill, 2019 was introduced in Lok Sabha on 25.07.2019 and was subsequently passed by Lok Sabha.
  • Ministry of Jal Shakti has prepared a draft National Water Framework Bill and draft River Basin Management Bill, 2018, which have been circulated to States / UTs for comments.
  • Dam Safety Bill, 2019 was prepared and introduced in Lok Sabha on 29th July, 2019. The bill was subsequently passed by Lok Sabha.
  • National Water Informatics Centre has been established under National Hydrology Project.
  • Central Water Commission has completed a study titled “Reassessment of Water Availability in India using Space Inputs”.
  • Central Ground Water Board has prepared a conceptual document titled “Master Plan for Artificial Recharge to Ground Water in India” during the year 2013, which envisages construction of different types of artificial recharge and rainwater harvesting structures in the country.
  • A web based Water Resources Information System (India WRIS) has been set up and all unclassified data of Central Water Commission and Central Ground Water Board have been uploaded on the website.


Focus: GS-II Social Justice, Prelims

Why in news?

The Prime Minister’s New 15 Point Programme for the Welfare of Minorities (PM’s New 15 PP) is an overarching programme covering various schemes/initiatives of the participating Ministries/Departments, and  is implemented throughout the country.


  • The performance of schemes/initiatives of Ministries / Departments included in the PM’s New 15 PP, is evaluated by the concerned Ministry/ Department and is a continuous process.
  • The schemes of Ministry of Minority Affairs meant exclusively for the centrally notified minority communities viz. Muslims, Christians, Sikhs, Buddhists, Parsis and Jains are also evaluated from time to time.
  • The Ministry implements various welfare schemes for minority communities across the country including Jammu and Kashmir, as per the guidelines of the respective scheme.
  • Ministry of Minority Affairs has adopted a multi-pronged strategy by way of implementation of various schemes which aim at educational empowerment, employment-oriented skill development, infrastructure support, etc. for the upliftment of living standards of the six centrally notified minorities (Muslims, Sikhs, Christians, Buddhists, Parsis and Jains).

Schemes Implemented by MoMA

Educational Empowerment Schemes

  1. Scholarship Schemes – Pre-Matric Scholarship, Post-Matric Scholarship and Merit-cum-Means based Scholarship. Since 2014-15,  3.74 crore scholarships have been provided.
  2. Naya Savera – Free Coaching and Allied Scheme with the aim to enhance skills and knowledge of students and candidates from minority communities to get employment in Government Sector/ Public Sector Undertakings, jobs in private sector and admission in reputed institutions in technical and professional courses at under-graduate and post-graduate levels.
  3. Nai Udaan – a scheme for providing support to minority candidates clearing Prelims conducted by Union Public Service Commission,  State Public Service Commissions etc.,  to adequately equip them to compete for appointment to Civil Services in the Union and the States.
  4. Padho Pardes – A scheme for providing interest subsidy on educational loans for overseas studies to enable students from minority communities to pursue higher education.
  5. Maulana Azad National Fellowship Scheme provides financial assistance to students from notified minority communities, to pursue higher education such as M. Phil and Ph. D. In addition, the Maulana  Azad Education Foundation implements the following two schemes:
  6. Begum Hazrat Mahal National Scholarship for meritorious girls belonging to minorities from class IX to XII.
  7. Gharib Nawaz Employment Programme.

Economic Empowerment Schemes

  1. Seekho aur Kamao (Learn & Earn): It is a skill development initiative for minorities and aims to upgrade the skills of minority youth in various modern/traditional skills depending upon their qualification, present economic trends and market potential, which can earn them suitable employment or make them suitably skilled to go for self-employment.
  2. Upgrading Skill and Training in Traditional Arts/Crafts for Development (USTTAD) – The scheme aims at capacity building and upgrading of the traditional skills of master craftsmen and artisans; documentation of identified traditional arts/crafts of minorities; set standards of traditional skills; training of minority youths in various identified traditional arts/crafts through master craftsmen; develop national and international market linkages; and preservation of languishing Arts/Crafts. Hunar Haats are organized in various parts of the country, which provides direct and indirect employment to skilled artisans and craft persons.
  3. Nai Manzil – A scheme to provide education and skill training to the youth from minority communities.
  4. National Minorities Development Finance Corporation (NMDFC) Loan Schemes which provide concessional loans for self-employment and income generating activities for the socio- economic development of the backward sections amongst the notified minorities.
  5. Priority Sector Lending by Banks.

Infrastructure Support Schemes

Pradhan Mantri Jan Vikas Karyakram (PMJVK)– aims at improving the socio-economic conditions of minorities and providing basic amenities so as to improve their quality of life and reduce imbalances in the identified Minority Concentration Areas.  The major projects approved under the Education Sector and for Skill Development, include Residential Schools, School buildings, Hostels, Degree Colleges, ITIs, Polytechnics, Sadbhav Mandaps, Health Centers, Working Women Hostels etc.  80% of the resources under the scheme are earmarked for projects related to Education, Health and Skill Development.  Further 33 to 40% of resources are allocated for women centric projects.

February 2024