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PIB – 28 July 2021




Focus: GS I- Ancient History

Why in News?

India gets its 40th World Heritage Site.

  • Dholavira, the Harappan City in the Rann of Kutch, Gujarat inscribed on UNESCO’s World Heritage List

About the Harappan city of Dholavira

See the source image
  • Dholavira, a Harappan city, is one of the very few well preserved urban settlements in South Asia dating from the 3rd to mid-2nd millennium BCE.
  • Being the 6th largest of more than 1,000 Harappan sites discovered so far, and occupied for over 1,500 years, Dholavira not only witnesses the entire trajectory of the rise and fall of this early civilization of humankind, but also demonstrates its multifaceted achievements in terms of urban planning, construction techniques, water management, social governance and development, art, manufacturing, trading, and belief system.
  • With extremely rich artefacts, the well preserved urban settlement of Dholavira depicts a vivid picture of a regional centre with its distinct characteristics that also contributes significantly to the existing knowledge of Harappan Civilization as a whole.
  • The property comprises two parts: a walled city and a cemetery to the west of the city.
  • The walled city consists of a fortified Castle with attached fortified Bailey and Ceremonial Ground, and a fortified Middle Town and a Lower Town.
  • A series of reservoirs are found to the east and south of the Citadel.
  • The configuration of the city of Dholavira, during its heyday, is an outstanding example of planned city with planned and segregated urban residential areas based on possibly differential occupational activities, and a stratified society.
  • Technological advancements in water harnessing systems, water drainage systems as well architecturally and technologically developed features are reflected in the design, execution, and effective harnessing of local materials.
  • Unlike other Harappan antecedent towns normally located near to rivers and perennial sources of water, the location of Dholavira in the island of Khadir was strategic to harness different mineral and raw material sources (copper, shell, agate-carnelian, steatite, lead, banded limestone, among others) and to facilitate internal as well as external trade to the Magan (modern Oman peninsula) and Mesopotamian regions.
  • Dholavira is an exceptional example of a proto-historic Bronze Age urban settlement pertaining to the Harappan Civilization (early, mature and late Harappan phases) and bears evidence of a multi-cultural and stratified society during the 3rd and 2nd millennia BCE.
  • The earliest evidence can be traced back to 3000 BCE during the early Harappan phase of the Harappan Civilization.
  • This city flourished for nearly 1,500 years, representing a long continuous habitation.
  • The expansive water management system designed to store every drop of water available shows the ingenuity of the people to survive against the rapid geo-climatic transformations.
  • Water diverted from seasonal streams, scanty precipitation and available ground was sourced, stored, in large stone-cut reservoirs which are extant along the eastern and southern fortification.
  • To further access water, few rock-cut wells, which date as one of the oldest examples, are evident in different parts of the city, the most impressive one being located in the citadel.
  • Such elaborate water conservation methods of Dholavira is unique and measures as one of the most efficient systems of the ancient world.


Focus: GS II- Regulatory Bodies

Why in News?

Under the National Organ Transplant Programme (NOTP) a National Level Tissue Bank (Biomaterial Centre) for storing tissues has been established at National Organ and Tissue Transplant Organisation (NOTTO), New Delhi.

About National Organ and Tissue Transplant Organization (NOTTO)

It is a National level organization set up under Directorate General of Health Services, Ministry of Health and Family Welfare.

The Government of India is implementing National Organ Transplant Programme (NOTP) to promote organ donation and transplantation across all States/Union Territories (UTs)including Karnataka.  The provisions under the programme include:

  • Setting up of State Organ and Tissue Transplant Organisations (SOTTOs) in each State/UT.
  • Setting up of National/ Regional/State Bio-material centres.
  • Financial support for establishing new Organ Transplant/retrieval facilities and strengthening of existing Organ Transplant/retrieval facilities.
  • Training to transplant experts including surgeons, physicians, transplant coordinators, etc.
  • Financial support for hiring of Transplant Coordinators to medical colleges and trauma centres.
  • Post-transplant immune-suppressant drugs to Below Poverty Line (BPL) patients.
It has following two divisions:
  1. National Human Organ and Tissue Removal and Storage Network
  2. National Biomaterial Centre
National Human Organ and Tissue Removal and Storage Network
  • This has been mandated as per the Transplantation of Human Organs (Amendment) Act 2011.
  • The network will be established initially for Delhi and gradually expanded to include other States and Regions of the country. Thus, this division of the NOTTO is the nodal networking agency for Delhi and shall network for Procurement Allocation and Distribution of Organs and Tissues in Delhi.
  • National Network division of NOTTO would function as apex centre for All India activities of coordination and networking for procurement and distribution of Organs and Tissues and registry of Organs and Tissues Donation and Transplantation in the country.
  • The following activities would be undertaken to facilitate Organ Transplantation in the safest way in shortest possible time and to collect data to develop and publish National registry
National Biomaterial Centre (National Tissue Bank)
  • The Transplantation of Human Organs (Amendment) Act 2011 has included the component of tissue donation and registration of tissue Banks.
  • It becomes imperative under the changed circumstances to establish National level Tissue Bank to fulfill the demands of tissue transplantation including activities for procurement, storage and fulfil distribution of biomaterials.
  • The main thrust & objective of establishing the centre is to fill up the gap between ‘Demand’ and ‘Supply’ as well as ‘Quality Assurance’ in the availability of various tissues.
  • Coordination for tissue procurement and distribution
  • Donor Tissue Screening
  • Removal of Tissues and Storage
  • Preservations of Tissue
  • Laboratory screening of Tissues
  • Tissue Tracking
  • Sterilization
  • Records maintenance, Data Protection and Confidentiality
  • Quality Management in tissues
  • Patient Information on tissues
  • Development of Guidelines, Protocols and Standard Operating Procedures
  • Trainings
  • Assisting as per requirement in registration of other Tissue Banks


Focus: GS III-Agriculture

Why in News?

The Government of India has approved and launched the Central Sector Scheme of “Formation and Promotion of 10,000 Farmer Producer Organizations(FPOs)” to form and promote 10,000 new FPOs till 2027-28 with a total budgetary outlay of Rs.6865 Cr.

About the scheme:

Nodal: Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers welfare

  • It is a Central Sector Scheme titled “Formation and Promotion of Farmer Produce Organizations (FPOs)” to form and promote 10,000 new FPOs.
    • More than 86% of farmers in India are small and marginal. if these small, marginal and landless farmers are aggregated into FPOs, it would help them to enhance the economic strength & market linkages of farmers. This in turn will help in enhancing their income.

About Farmer producer organizations:

Nodal: Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers welfare

  • This is a Central Sector Scheme which receives funding from Government of India.
  • It will also improve the market access for members.
  • Further, “One District One Product” cluster will be created to promote specialization.
  • In the FPOs, agricultural and horticultural produces will be grown and cultivated to leverage the economies of scale.
  • Small and marginal farmers do not have the economic strength to apply production technology, services and marketing including value addition.
  • Through the formation of FPOs, farmers will have better collective strength for better access to quality input, technology, credit and better marketing access through economies of scale for better realization of income.
Implementing Agencies (IAs)

There are presently nine implementing agencies namely,

  1. Small Farmers Agri-Business Consortium (SFAC),
  2. National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development (NABARD),
  3. National Cooperative Development Corporation (NCDC),
  4. North Eastern Regional Agricultural Marketing Corporation Limited (NERAMAC),
  5. Small Farmers Agri-Business Consortium Haryana (SFACH),
  6. National Agricultural Cooperative Marketing Federation of India (NAFED),
  7. Watershed Development Department (WDD)- Karnataka
  8. Tamil Nadu-Small Farmers Agri-Business Consortium (TN-SFAC) and
  9. Foundation for Development of Rural Value Chains (FDRVC)- Ministry of Rural Development (MoRD).


Focus: GS II- Health

About National Pharmaceuticals Pricing Authority

  • NPPA is an organization under Department of Pharmaceuticals, Ministry of Chemicals and Fertilizers which was set up in 1997 to revise the prices of controlled bulk drugs and formulations and to enforce prices and availability of the medicines in the country, under the Drugs (Prices Control) Order (DPCO), 1995.
  • The prices are now fixed/revised under Drugs (Prices Control) Order (DPCO), 2013.
  • It also monitors the prices of decontrolled drugs in order to keep them at reasonable levels.
  • To implement and enforce the provisions of the Drugs Price Control Order (DPCO), 1995/2013  in accordance with the powers delegated to it.
  • To undertake and/or sponsor relevant studies in respect of pricing of drugs/formulations.
  • To monitor the availability of drugs, identify shortages, if any, and to take remedial steps.
  • To collect/maintain data on production, exports and imports, market share of individual companies, profitability of companies etc. for bulk drugs and formulations.
  • To deal with all legal matters arising out of the decisions of the Authority.
  • To render advice to the Central Government on changes/revisions in the drug policy.
  • To render assistance to the Central Government in the parliamentary matters relating to the drug pricing.
Drugs (Prices Control) Order (DPCO)
  • The Drugs Prices Control Order, 1995 is an order issued by the Government of India under Sec. 3 of Essential Commodities Act, 1955 to regulate the prices of drugs.
  • The Order inter alia provides the list of price controlled drugs, procedures for fixation of prices of drugs, method of implementation of prices fixed by Govt., penalties for contravention of provisions etc.
  • For the purpose of implementing provisions of DPCO, powers of Government have been vested in NPPA.


Focus: GS II- Governance

Why in News?

The Andhra Pradesh Disha (Special Courts for Specified Offences against Women and Children) Bill, 2020 has been received for assent of the President of India. 

Provisions of the Disha bill:

  • A Women & Children Offenders Registry is to be established, operated and maintained by the Andhra Pradesh Government in an electronic form.
  • This registry will be made public and will be available to law enforcement agencies.
  • Exclusive punishment of death penalty in cases relating to rape and murder of a woman where there is adequate conclusive evidence.
  • The judgment will have to be pronounced in 21 working days from date of offence in cases of rape crimes with substantial conclusive evidence.
  • The Bill prescribes life imprisonment for sexual offences against children as the existing punishment for molestation/sexual assault on children under the POCSO Act, 2012 ranges minimum of three years to a maximum of seven years of imprisonment.
  • In cases of harassment of women through email, social media, digital mode or any other form, the guilty shall be punishable with imprisonment. At present no such provision exists in the Indian Penal Code.
  • Exclusive special courts in each district of the State to ensure speedy trial. These courts will exclusively deal with cases of offences against women and children including rape, acid attacks, stalking, voyeurism, social media harassment of women, sexual harassment and all cases under the POCSO Act.
  • Constitution of special police teams and appointment of the special public prosecutor in special courts. There is no such provision in existing laws.


Focus: GS III- Indian Economy

Why in News?

Government plans to complete the BharatNet project by August 2023

  • More than 1.5 lakh Gram Panchayats connected through broadband service with BharatNet Project

About the BharatNet project

  • BharatNet is a flagship mission implemented by Bharat Broadband Network Ltd. (BBNL) – BharatNet Project is basically the National Optical Fibre Network (NOFN) that was launched in 2011 and got renamed as BharatNet project in 2015.
  • The project is being executed by BSNL, RailTel, and Power Grid and is being funded by the Universal Service Obligation Fund (USOF) and has subsumed all the ongoing and proposed broadband network projects.
  • The BharatNet Project aims to facilitate the delivery of e-governance, e-health, e-education, e-banking, Internet and other services to rural India.
  • It aims to connect all of India’s households, specifically rural households through demand, affordable high-speed internet connectivity to fulfill the objectives of the Digital India programme in partnership with the states and the private sector.
  • The Bharat Net project proposes broadband connectivity to households under village Panchayats and even to government institutions at the district level.
  • It intends to cover all 2.5 lakh Gram Panchayats for the provision of E-governance, E-healthcare, E-Commerce, E-Education, and Public Interest Access services.
  • The deadline for completion of the BharatNet Project had been extended till June 2021 from December 2020, and a notice had been issued to Tata Projects Ltd for failing to meet projected milestones.
  • The three-phase implementation of the BharatNet project is as follows
    1. The first phase envisages providing one lakh gram panchayats with broadband connectivity by laying underground optic fibre cable (OFC) lines by December 2017.
    2. The second phase will provide connectivity to all 2,50,500 gram panchayats in the country using an optimal mix of underground fiber, fiber over power lines, radio and satellite media. This is a new element of the BharatNet strategy as the mode of connectivity by aerial OFC has several advantages, including lower cost, speedier implementation, easy maintenance and utilization of existing power line infrastructure. The last mile connectivity to citizens was proposed to be provided creating Wi-Fi hotspots in gram panchayats
    3. In the third phase from 2019 to 2023, state-of-the-art, future-proof network, including fiber between districts and blocks, with ring topology to provide redundancy would be created.

What is the Universal Service Obligation Fund (USOF)?

  • The Universal Service Obligation Fund (USOF) was established with the primary objective of providing access to ‘Basic’ telecom services to people in the remote and rural areas at reasonable and affordable prices.
  • Universal Service stands for universal, interdependent and intercommunicating, affording the opportunity for any subscriber to any exchange to communicate with any other subscriber of any other exchange.
  • The USOF proposes to meet its social, economic, political and constitutional objectives which are as follows:
    • To extend the telecommunication network.
    • To stimulate the uptake of Internet and Communication Technologies (ICT) services.
    • To bring the underserved and unserved areas of the country into the telecom spectrum and narrow down the access gap.
    • To use the pooled USO levy for an equitable distribution through target subsidies.
  • Subsequently, the scope was widened to provide subsidy support for enabling access to all types of telegraph services including mobile services, broadband connectivity, and creation of infrastructure like Optical Fiber Cable (OFC) in rural and remote areas.
  • With access to affordable telecom services in remote and rural areas, the USOF is the right step towards stemming urban migration. This would ensure to generate employment opportunities in the rural areas which would help generate more income.
Who are the partners of USOF?

As per the Department of Telecommunications, there are 24 partners of USOF. It includes:

  • Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited
  • Tata Tele Services Limited
  • Reliance Communications Limited
  • Vodafone
  • Bharti Airtel Limited, etc.


Focus: Government Policies and Interventions

Why in News?

26 States/UTs have signed MoU for implementation of the SVAMITVA scheme so far.


  • SVAMITVA (Survey of Villages and Mapping with Improvised Technology in Village Areas) scheme is a collaborative effort of the Ministry of Panchayati Raj, State Panchayati Raj Departments, State Revenue Departments and Survey of India.
  • Aim: To provide an integrated property validation solution for rural India.
  • It is a scheme for mapping the land parcels in rural inhabited areas using drone technology and Continuously Operating Reference Station (CORS).
  • The mapping will be done across the country in a phase-wise manner over a period of four years – from 2020 to 2024.
  • The scheme will help in streamlining planning and revenue collection in rural areas and ensuring clarity on property rights.
  • The scheme will enable creation of better-quality Gram Panchayat Development Plans (GPDPs), using the maps created under this programme.
  • The Gram Panchayats are constitutionally mandated for preparation of Gram Panchayat Development Plans (GPDP) for economic development and social justice.
  • The GPDP is based on a participatory process in convergence with schemes of all related Central Ministries/Line Departments related to 29 subjects listed in the Eleventh Schedule of the Constitution.
  • Present Coverage Area: The program is currently being implemented in six states – Haryana, Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand.


Focus: GS II- National organisation

Why in News?

 The Ministry, vide Gazette Notification dated 12.02.2014 had constituted National Commission for De-Notified and Nomadic and Semi-Nomadic Tribes (NCDNT) for the period of 3 years from the date of Notification.

About The National Commission for Denotified, Nomadic and Semi-Nomadic Tribes:

Nodal:  Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment

  • The National Commission for Denotified, Nomadic and Semi-Nomadic Tribes(NCDNSNT) is a national commission to study various developmental aspects of denotified and nomadic or semi-nomadic tribes in India.
  • The Commission was first was set up on 22 November 2003 and reconstituted on 16 March 2005.
  • The Government had constituted National Commission for Denotified, Nomadic and Semi-Nomadic Tribes (NCDNT) to prepare a State-wise list of castes belonging to Denotified and Nomadic Tribes and to suggest appropriate measures in respect of Denotified and Nomadic Tribes that may be undertaken by the Central Government or the State Government.
  • The Idate Commission submitted its report in January 2018. It mentioned that a permanent commission for Denotified, Semi Nomadic, and Nomadic Tribes should have a prominent community leader as its chairperson, and a senior Union government bureaucrat, an anthropologist, and a sociologist as members.
  • A Development and Welfare Board for De-Notified, Nomadic and Semi-Nomadic Communities (DWBDNCs) has been constituted and a Committee has also been set up by the NITI Aayog to complete the process of identification of the De-Notified, Nomadic and Semi-Nomadic Communities (DNCs).
  • The survey work of identification of DNT Communities and placing them in a category of SC/ST/OBC is also under process in NITI Ayog and Anthropological Survey of India (AnSI).

The Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment is implementing the following schemes for the welfare of the DNTs.

Dr.Ambedkar Pre-Matric and Post-Matric Scholarship for DNTs :
  • This Centrally Sponsored Scheme was launched w.e.f. 2014-15 for the welfare of those DNT students who are not covered under SC, ST or OBC.
  • The income ceiling for eligibility is Rs. 2.00 lakh per annum. The scheme is implemented through State Governments/UT Administrations.
  • The expenditure is shared between the Centre and the States in the ratio of 75:25.
Nanaji Deshmukh Scheme of Construction of Hostels for DNT Boys and Girls:
  • This Centrally Sponsored Scheme launched in 2014-15 is implemented through State Governments/ UT Administrations/ Central Universities.
  • The aim of the scheme is to provide hostel facilities to those DNT students; who are not covered under SC, ST or OBC; to enable them to pursue higher education. The income ceiling for eligibility is Rs. 2.00 lakh per annum.
  • The Central Government provides a maximum of 500 seats per annum throughout the country. The cost norm is Rs. 3.00 lakh per seat plus Rs. 5000/-per seat for furniture.
  • The expenditure is shared between the Centre and the States in the ratio of 75:25.
Scheme for Economic Empowerment of DNT Communities (SEED)
  • To provide coaching of good quality for DNT candidates to enable them to appear in competitive examinations.
  • To provide Health Insurance to them.
  • To facilitate livelihood initiative at community level; and
  • To provide financial assistance for construction of houses for members of these
De-notified Tribes

The term ‘De-notified Tribes’ stands for all those communities which were once notified under the Criminal Tribes Acts, enforced by the British Raj between l87l and I947.

These Acts were repealed by the Independent lndian Government in l952, and these communities were “De-Notified”.

A few of these communities which were listed as de-notified were also nomadic.

The Renke Commission (2008) was earlier commissioned to identify and list the DNT communities.


Focus: GS II- Vulnerable sections

Why in News?

The Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment has formulated a scheme “SMILE – Support for Marginalized Individuals for Livelihood and Enterprise”.


  • Two Central Sector Schemes namely Comprehensive Rehabilitation of persons engaged in the Act of begging and Comprehensive Rehabilitation for Welfare of Transgender Persons have been merged in a single scheme named SMILE.
  • It focusses on Rehabilitation, provision of medical facilities, counselling, basic documentation, education, skill development, economic linkages and so on.
  • The scheme would be implemented with the support of State/UT Governments/Local Urban Bodies, Voluntary Organizations, Community Based Organizations (CBOs), institutions and others.
  • The scheme provides for the use of the existing shelter homes available with the State/UT Governments and Urban local bodies for rehabilitation of the persons engaged in the act of Begging.
  • In case of the non-availability of existing shelter homes, new dedicated shelter homes are to be set up by the implementing agencies.
  • Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment has also initiated pilot projects on Comprehensive Rehabilitation of Persons engaged in the act of Begging in ten cities namely Delhi, Bangalore, Chennai, Hyderabad, Indore, Lucknow, Mumbai, Nagpur, Patna and Ahmadabad. These pilots are being implemented in these cities by State Governments/UTs/Local Urban Bodies and Voluntary Organizations.
  • Several comprehensive measures including survey and identification, mobilization, basic hygiene and medical facilities, providing basic documentation, etc for persons engaged in begging are undertaken under these pilots.


Focus: Facts for prelims

Key Highlights:

  • 12th Edition of Indo-Russia joint military Exercise INDRA 2021 will be held at Volgograd, Russia from 01 to 13 August 2021.
  • The exercise will entail conduct of counter terror operations under the United Nations mandate by  a joint force against international terror groups. 
  • 250 personnel from both the nations will form part of the exercise. The Indian Army contingent comprising of a Mechanised Infantry  Battalion underwent rigorous training at different locations in India to refine their drills for participation in the joint exercise. 
  • Exercise INDRA-21 will further strengthen mutual confidence and interoperability between the Indian & Russian Armies and enable sharing of best practices between the contingents of both the countries. The exercise will be yet another milestone in strengthening security cooperation and will serve to reinforce the longstanding bond of friendship between India and Russia.

May 2024