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PIB – 02 July 2021




Focus: Security Forces

Why in News ?

7th edition of Indian Ocean Naval Symposium (IONS), a biennial event, was hosted by the French Navy at La Réunion from 28 June to 01 July 2021.

About Indian Ocean Naval Symposium (IONS)

  • The Indian Ocean Naval Symposium (IONS) are a series of biennial meetings among the littoral states of the Indian Ocean region.
  • It provides a forum to increase maritime security cooperation, providing a forum for discussion of regional maritime issues and promote friendly relationships among the member nations.
  • The IONS a regional forum of Indian Ocean littoral states, represented by their Navy chiefs, was initiated and launched by India in February in 2008.
  • Subsequent seminars and meetings of the ‘Conclave of Chiefs’ have been held at the commencement of each two year IONS Chairmanship in United Arab Emirates in 2010, South Africa in 2012, Australia in 2014, Bangladesh in 2016 and Iran in 2018.
  • In 2020 the IONS Chairmanship rotated to France and in 2022 to Thailand.
  • The IONS is a security construct for the Indian Ocean Region which is similar to the Western Pacific Naval Symposium.
  • It is a voluntary initiative among the navies and maritime security agencies of the member nations.
  • In addition to the symposiums, numerous other activities like workshops, essay competitions and lectures are also held under the umbrella of the organization.
  • In the last ten years, the organisation has grown significantly and has a membership of 32 nations.
  • Over the years, member nations have conducted seminars, bilateral meetings and multilateral exercises to strengthen maritime security in the region.
  • While operations such as Search and Rescue and High availability disaster recovery(HADR) require multi-lateral cooperation and interdependence amongst member nations, the growing importance of the Indian Ocean has been an enabler that provided the right fillip to the initiative.
  • The countries in the IOR sit astride the most vital Sea Lines of Communication for international trade and regional prosperity.
  • It is well-accepted that global trade can only flourish in an environment that is free from threats of maritime terrorism, piracy and human trafficking and IONS seeks to provide a cooperative architecture to strengthen security mechanisms, enhance inter-operability and enable speedier response to emerging contingencies.
About Members of IONS
  • The South Asian Littorals: Bangladesh, India, Maldives, Pakistan, Seychelles, Sri Lanka and United Kingdom (British Indian Ocean Territory).
  • The West Asian Littorals: Iran, Oman, Saudi Arabia and United Arab Emirates.
  • The East African Littorals: France (Reunion), Kenya, Mauritius, Mozambique, South Africa, and Tanzania.
  • The South East Asian and Australian Littorals: Australia, Indonesia, Malaysia, Myanmar, Singapore, Thailand and Timor-Leste.
  • The observers of IONS are China, Germany, Italy, Japan, Madagascar, the Netherlands, Russia and Spain.
South Asian Members 
West Asian Members 
East African Members 
Observer Countries 
South East Asian and Australian


Focus: GS II- Education

Why in News?

Union Education Minister released the Report on Unified Information System for Education Plus (UDISE+) 2019-20 for School Education in India.

Key Facts

  • As per the UDISE+ report 2019-20, Gross Enrolment Ratio at all levels of school education has improved in 2019-20 compared to 2018-19.
  • Pupil Teacher Ratio (PTR) has improved at all levels of school education.
  • The UDISE+ system of online data collection from the schools was developed in the year 2018-19 to overcome the issues related to manual data filling in paper format and subsequent feeding at the block or district level, which was in practice in the UDISE data collection system from 2012-13.
  • According to the report, in 2019-20, enrolment of girls from primary to higher secondary is more than 12.08 crore. This is a substantial increase by 14.08 lakh compared to 2018-19.
  • In year 2019-20, more than 90% schools in India had hand wash facility as compared to only 36.3% in 2012-13.
  • The UDISE+ report shows a remarkable improvement in the number of schools with functional electricity with functional computers internet facility in 2019-20 over the previous year.
  • Between 2012-13 and 2019-20 the Gender Parity Index (GPI) at both Secondary and Higher Secondary levels have improved.
  • More than 80% schools in India in 2019-20 had functional electricity. This is an improvement by more than 6% over the previous year 2018-19.
  • Enrolment of Divyang students has increased by 6.52% over 2018-19.
  • More than 82% schools conducted medical check-up of students in 2019-20. It is an increase by more than 4% compared to previous year 2018-19.
  • More than 84% schools in India had a library/reading room/ reading corner in 2019-20. It shows an improvement of nearly 4% compared to the previous year.
  • Number of schools having functional computers increased to 5.2 lakh in 2019-20 from 4.7 lakh in 2018-19. Number of schools having internet facility increased to 3.36 lakh in 2019-20 from 2.9 lakh in 2018-19.


Focus: GS III- Technology

Why in News ?

Prime Minister interacted with the beneficiaries of Digital India through video conference on the occasion of ‘Digital India’ completing six years since its launch.

About Digital India Programme:

Nodal: Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology

  • The digital India programme was launched on July 1, 2015, by the prime minister.
  • The digital India initiative was launched with a vision to transform India into a digitally empowered society and knowledge economy.
  • The need of the hour is to to bridge the gap between the system and facilities, service and service between the government and the public.
  • It also means a transparent, non-discriminatory system and an attack on corruption.
  • The digital India drive helps to makes the task like obtaining driving license, birth certificate, paying electricity bill, paying water bill, filing income tax return, all the processes have become very easy, very fast with the help of Digital India.
The programme has three vision areas

Digital infrastructure as a utility for every citizen : includes availability of high speed internet for delivery of  services to citizens; digital identity for every citizen; mobile phone and bank account enabling citizen participation in digital and financial space; shareable private space on a public cloud; and safe and secure cyber-space.

Governance and services on demand : Seamlessly integrated services across departments or jurisdictions,  services availability in real time from online and mobile platforms, digitally transformed services for improving ease of doing business, leveraging GIS for decision support systems and development. 

Digital empowerment of citizens by bridging the digital divide in the country : universal digital literacy, accessible digital resources universally, all documents/certificates to be available on cloud, availability of digital resources/services in Indian languages and portability of all entitlements through cloud.

Digital India aims to provide
  • Broadband highways;
  • Universal access to mobile connectivity;
  • Public internet access programme;
  • e-governance: reforming government through technology;
  • e-Kranti electronic delivery of services;
  • Information for all;
  • Electronics manufacturing;
  • IT for Jobs;
  • Early harvest programmes;


Focus: GS III- Indian Economy

Why in News ?

Union Cabinet has approved a Reforms-based and Results-linked, Revamped Distribution Sector Scheme.

About the Scheme

  • The Revamped Distribution Sector Scheme aims to improve operational efficiencies and financial sustainability by providing result-linked financial assistance to DISCOMs for strengthening of supply infrastructure.
  • The Scheme would be available till the year 2025-26.
  • REC (Rural electrification corporation) and PFC (Power finance corporation) have been nominated as nodal agencies for facilitating implementation of the Scheme.
  • It is proposed that the currently ongoing approved projects under the Schemes of IPDS, DDUGJY along with PMDP-2015 for the Union Territories of Jammu & Kashmir (J&K) and Ladakh would be subsumed in this Scheme.
  • The assistance will be based on meeting pre-qualifying criteria as well as upon achievement of basic minimum benchmarks by the DISCOM evaluated on the basis of agreed evaluation framework tied to financial improvements.
  • Implementation of the Scheme would be based on the action plan worked out for each state rather than a one-size-fits-all approach.
  • The funds under these Schemes would be available for the identified projects under IPDS and for the approved ongoing projects under Prime Minister’s Development Program (PMDP) for the Union Territories of J&K and Ladakh under IPDS and DDUGJY till 31 March, 2023.
Scheme Objectives
  • Reduction of AT&C losses to pan-India levels of 12-15% by 2024-25
  • Reduction of ACS-ARR gap to zero by 2024-25
  • Developing Institutional Capabilities for Modern DISCOMs
  • Improvement in the quality, reliability, and affordability of power supply to consumers through a financially
  • Sustainable and operationally efficient Distribution Sector.

December 2023