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PIB 28th December 2020

  1. Single-use plastics
  2. National Medicinal Plants Board
  3. International Blue Flag
  4. Country’s First Pneumococcal Conjugate Vaccine
  5. New Health Management Information System (HMIS)
  6. Adopt a Heritage: Apni Dharohar, Apni Pehchaan  Project


Focus: GS 3;Conservation, environmental pollution and degradation, environmental impact assessment.

Why in News?

Vice President calls for mass media campaign to educate people on single use plastics

About Single Use Plastic

  • Single-use plastics are goods that are made primarily from fossil fuel based chemicals (petrochemicals) and are meant to be disposed of right after use often, in mere minutes.
  • Single-use plastics are most commonly used for packaging and service ware, such as bottles, wrappers, straws, and bags.
  • Single-use plastic products often have a smaller environmental footprint than reusable items.
  • Many items considered “single-use” are actually able to be reused, or recycled, which gives them a second life.
  • The single-use plastic ban is expected to cover six single-use plastic items initially including plastic bags, straws, cups, plates, small bottles and certain types of sachets.
  • The ban will cover manufacturing, usage and import of such items.
  • In June 2017, Costa Rica announced its intention to completely eradicate single-use plastic by 2021 , the first country in the world to do so.
  • The statement that India would phase out single-use plastics by 2022 was a reiteration of the commitment that the Indian government made in 2018.
  • On World Environment Day (June 5), 2018, the then environment minister Harsh Vardhan had announced that single-use plastics would be phased out by 2020.
  • Not only does banning single-use plastic reduce pollution, but it also reduces demand for plastic production that’s contributing to global climate change.
  • But beyond these impacts, the bans have cultural effects, companies are forced to innovate, rethinking their designs and sourcing sustainable materials.
  • Many governments outlawed conventional plastic bags, allowing only the use and production of “biodegradable” bags.
  • “Biodegradable” plastic items often do not degrade automatically in the environment and especially not in the ocean. They require exposure to prolonged high temperatures, above 50°C. Such conditions are met in incineration plants, but very rarely in the environment.
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About Impacts of Mismanaged Single-Use Plastic
  • The Worst Effects of Plastic Pollution as explained below;-
  1. Physical impact on marine life (entanglement, ingestion, starvation),
  2. Chemical impact (the buildup of persistent organic pollutants like PCBs and DDT),
  3. Transport of invasive species and pollutants from polluted rivers to remote areas in the ocean.
Impacts of mismanaged single-use plastics 
Cost of inaction: 
If we don't improve our consumption patterns and waste management practices, 
by 2050 there will be around 12 million metric tonnes of plastic litter in landfills and in the 
Contaminates soil 
and water 
Choke waterways and 
exacerbate natural disasters 
By 2050, an estimated 
99% of seabirds will have 
ingested plastic 
Block sewage 
systems and provide 
breeding grounds for 
economic loss 
in tourism, fishing and 
shipping industries 
High cost of transport to 
centralized plant of lightweight 
foamed plastics due to difficulty 
in recycling at local plants 
Future costs of removal of 
accumulated plastic litter 
in the environment 
mosquitoes, raising the risk 
of malaria transmission 
Release toxic chemicals and 
emissions if burned Welfare 
losses (visual pollution) 
Food chain 

About Priority actions to minimize single-use plastics
  • Improve waste management systems.
  • Promote eco-friendly alternatives to phase out single-use plastics.
  • Educate consumers to make environmentally friendly choices.
  • Enable voluntary reduction strategies.
  • Ban or introduce levies on the use and sale of single-use plastic items.

Please click on this link for detailed explanation about Solid Waste Management Rules 2016


Focus: GS 2;Issues relating to development and management of Social Sector/Services relating to Health, Education, Human Resources.

Why in News?

National Medicinal Plants Board Launches Consortia for Medicinal Plants

About National Medicinal Plants Board (NMPB)

  • National Medicinal Plants Board (NMPB), Ministry of AYUSH envisages the necessity of connectivity between stakeholders in the supply chain and value chain of Medicinal Plants.
  • In order to promote medicinal plants sector, the Government of India has set up National Medicinal Plants Board (NMPB) on 24th November 2000.
  • Currently the board is located in Ministry of AYUSH (Ayurveda, Yoga & Naturopathy, Unani, Siddha & Homoeopathy), Government of India.
  • The primary mandate of NMPB is to develop an appropriate mechanism for coordination between various ministries/ departments/ organizations in India and implements support policies/programs for overall (conservation, cultivation, trade and export) growth of medicinal plants sector both at the Central /State and International level. 
Aim and Objective of NMPB
  • To meet increasing demand for medicinal plants, the NMBP focusses on in-situ & ex-situ conservation and augmenting local medicinal plants and aromatic species of medical significance.
  • To meet increasing demand for medicinal plants, the NMBP focusses on in-situ & ex-situ conservation and augmenting local medicinal plants and aromatic species of medical significance.
  • NMPB also support programs for quality assurance and standardization through development of Good Agricultural and Collection Practices (GACPs), development of monographs laying down standards of quality, safety and efficacy; development of agro-techniques and credible institution a mechanism for certification of quality of raw drugs, seeds and planting material. 
  • Overall, NMPB’s main objective is the development of medicinal plants sector through developing a strong coordination between various ministries/ departments/ organizations for implementation of policies / programs on medicinal plants.
About Recent Developments of NMPB
  • To establish the linkage between the farmers and manufacturers, a ‘Seed to Shelf’ approach is being introduced, wherein, aspects related to Quality Planting Materials (QPM), Good Agriculture Practices (GAP’s), Good Post Harvest Practices (GPHP’s) would be addressed.
  • In the first phase NMPB consortia is proposed for medicinal plant species – Ashwagandha (Withania somnifera), Pippali (Piper longum), Aonla (Phyllanthus emblica), Guggulu (Commiphora wightii), Satavari (Asparagus racemosus).


Focus: GS 3;Conservation, environmental pollution and degradation, environmental impact assessment.

Why in News?

International Blue Flag hoisted at 8 beaches across the Country.

About International Blue Flag

  • The iconic Blue Flag is one of the world’s most recognised voluntary awards for beaches, marinas, and sustainable boating tourism operators.
  • In order to qualify for the Blue Flag, a series of stringent environmental, educational, safety, and accessibility criteria must be met and maintained.
  • The Blue Flag is a certification by the Foundation for Environmental Education (FEE) that a beach, marina, or sustainable boating tourism operator meets its standards.
  • The Blue Flag is a trademark owned by FEE which is a not-for-profit non-governmental organisation consisting of 65 organisations in 60 member countries.
  • Blue Flag certification is a globally recognised eco-label accorded by “Foundation for Environment Education in Denmark” based on 33 stringent criteria.
  • Spain has the highest number of Blue Flag beaches at 578, followed by Turkey where 436 beaches now hold the eco-label.
  • The main objectives of the Blue Flag Programme are to improve understanding of the coastal environment and to promote the incorporation of environmental issues in the decision-making processes of local authorities and their partners.
  • Blue Flag is an international award presented to well-managed beaches with excellent water quality and environmental education programmes. 
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About India Blue Flag Certification Progress
  • Minister for Environment, Forest and Climate Change Shri Prakash Javadekar virtually hoisted the international blue flags in 8 beaches across the country.
  • India secured the International Blue Flag Certification for these beaches on 6th October 2020, when an International Jury comprising of member organizations UNEP, UNWTO, UNESCO, IUCN, ILS, FEE etc.
  • The neat and clean beaches are an indicator that the coastal environment is in good health and the Blue Flagcertification is a global recognition of India’s conservation and sustainable development efforts.
  • The beaches where the International Blue Flags were hoisted are Kappad (Kerala), Shivrajpur (Gujarat), Ghoghla (Diu), Kasarkod and Padubidri (Karnataka), Rushikonda (Andhra Pradesh), Golden (Odisha) and Radhanagar (Andaman & Nicobar Islands).
  • India started its journey of sustainable development of coastal regions on World Environment Day in June’ 2018 by launching its beach cleaning campaign – I-AM- SAVING-MY-BEACH simultaneously at 13 coastal states and thereafter implementing ministry’s coveted program BEAMS(Beach Environment & Aesthetics Management Services).
  • The introduction of BEAMS program in 10 coastal states have resulted into international level of cleanliness at beaches with over 500 tonnes of solid waste collected, recycled and scientifically disposed at these beaches reducing the menace of marine litter by over 78% and marine plastic by over 83%.
  • Approximately 11000 KL of water was saved by recycling & reuse with BEAMS program, which has resulted into an increase in footfall at these beaches by over 85% cumulative.
  • The Environment Minister further informed that hundred more such beaches will be made Blue Flag in coming 3-4 years and highlighted that cleaning beaches needs to be a made a “Jan Andolan” not only for its aesthetic value and tourism prospects, but more importantly towards reducing the menace of marine litter and making coastal environment sustainable.


Focus: GS 2;Issues relating to development and management of Social Sector/Services relating to Health, Education, Human Resources.

Why in News?

Dr Harsh Vardhan inaugurates Country’s First Pneumococcal Conjugate Vaccine.

“Indigenous Vaccine also a step towards Atmanirbhar Bharat, being Vocal For Local”.

About Country’s First Pneumococcal Conjugate Vaccine

  • Dr Harsh Vardhan, Union Minister for Health and Family Welfare  inaugurated India’s first pneumococcal conjugate vaccine (PCV).
  • The vaccine “Pneumosil” has been developed by the Serum Institute of India Private Limited (SIIPL) in collaboration with partners like the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.
  • Serum Institute’s first Indigenous Pneumococcal Conjugate Vaccine will be available in the market under brand name “Pneumosil” at an affordable price in single dose (vial and pre-filled syringe) and Multidose (vial) presentations.
  • “Pneumosil” has been extensively evaluated in 5 randomized controlled clinical trials and has demonstrated comparable safety and immunogenicity against licensed pneumococcal vaccines across diverse populations of India and Africa, where Pneumosil was administered to adults, toddlers and infants using different vaccination schedules.
  • During clinical trials, Pneumosilwas found to be safe and effective in the prevention of Pneumonia disease and based on which Pneumosil has been licensed by Drugs Controller General (India) in July 2020 after approval from Subject Expert Committee (SEC).
  • “Pneumosil is an example of India’s capability in Research & Development & manufacturing high end sophisticated Vaccines.
About Pneumococcal Conjugate Vaccine
  • Pneumococcal conjugate vaccine is a pneumococcal vaccine and a conjugate vaccine used to protect infants, young children, and adults against disease caused by the bacterium Streptococcus pneumoniae.
  • It’s given as a shot to children and adults. 
  • It helps prevent the spread of the infection from person to person.
  • The vaccine are against bacteria that cause these infections spread through person-to-person contact. they can lead to serious infections like pneumonia, blood infections, and bacterial meningitis.
About Pneumonia Disease
  • Pneumonia is the single largest infectious cause of death among children under five years of age worldwide, accounting for nearly 10 lakhs deaths globally.
  • Pneumonia continues to be the leading cause of mortality in children worldwide, with India accounting for 20% of those deaths and a higher burden of childhood pneumonia than any other country.
  • Pneumonia is an infection that inflames the air sacs in one or both lungs
  • A variety of organisms, including bacteria, viruses and fungi, can cause pneumonia.
  • In the United States, common causes of viral pneumonia are influenza, respiratory syncytial virus (RSV), and SARS-CoV-2 (the virus that causes COVID-19).
  • A common cause of bacterial pneumonia is Streptococcus pneumoniae (pneumococcus).
  • 12 November 2020 mark World Pneumonia Day, highlighting the world’s leading killer of children under five years old.
  • In 2020, the theme for World Pneumonia Day is “Every Breath Counts.”
World Pneumonia Day - INSIGHTSIAS


Focus: GS 2;Issues relating to development and management of Social Sector/Services relating to Health, Education, Human Resources.

Why in News?

Dr. Harsh Vardhan, Union Minister of Health and Family Welfare digitally inaugurated the 7th National Summit on Good, Replicable Practices through a video conference.

Dr. Vardhan also launched New Health Management Information System (HMIS) along with the Operational Guidelines for TB services at AB-HWCs and the Operational Guidelines 2020 on Active Case Detection and Regular Surveillance for Leprosy.

About Health Management Information System (HMIS)

  • Health Management Information System (HMIS) is a Government to Government (G2G) web-based Monitoring Information System that has been put in place by Ministry of Health & Family Welfare (MoHFW), Government of India to monitor the National Health Mission( is a flagship programme of the Government of India to address the health needs of under-served rural areas and health concerns of the urban poor population) and other Health programmes and provide key inputs for policy formulation and appropriate programme interventions.
  • HMIS has been utilized in Grading of Health Facilities, identifications of aspirational districts, review of State Programme Implementation Plan (PIPs), etc.
  • The analytical reports generated through HMIS also provides gap analysis and evidence based course correction.
  • HMIS was launched in October 2008.
  • Currently, around 2 lakh health facilities (across all States/UTs) are uploading facility wise service delivery data on monthly basis, training data on quarterly basis and infrastructure related data on annual basis on HMIS web portal.
  • HMIS captures facility-wise information as follows:
  1. Service Delivery
  2. Training Data
  3. Infrastructure
  • The HMIS Portal facilitates the flow of physical performance from the Facility level to the Sub-district, District, State, and National level using a web-based Health Management Information System (HMIS) interface.
  • The portal provides periodic reports on the status of the health services performances and Human Resources and Infrastructure services facilities available.


Focus: GS 1;Indian culture will cover the salient aspects of Art Forms, literature and Architecture from ancient to modern times.

Why in News?

Shri Prahlad Singh Patel takes a review meeting of “Adopt a Heritage: Apni Dharohar, Apni Pehchaan” Project

About Adopt a Heritage: Apni Dharohar, Apni Pehchaan Project

  • This project is envisioned to fulfill the objective of the Government of India to provide an enhanced tourism experience to all travelers.
  • The President of India launched the Adopt a Heritage Scheme on World Tourism Day i.e., 27th September 2017. 
  • It aims at ensuring quality & inclusive provision of amenities and facilities across heritage, natural, & tourist sites through active participation of private and public sector organizations and individuals. 
  • It is clarified that ‘The Adopt a Heritage’ is essentially a non-revenue generating project.
  • The agency will be selected on the basis of the unique concept of vision bid and no financial bid is involved in the scheme.
  • The response to the project has been very encouraging as the agencies who have come forward for adoption includes not only public and private industry/individuals but also schools and law firms.
  • These agencies are referred to as Monument Mitras.
  • The companies will be responsible for building, operating and maintaining tourism infrastructure at 105 monuments and natural heritage sites up for adoption.
  • The Ministry of Tourism has the power of termination of MoU of Monument Mitras in case of noncompliance of guidelines and expression of interest (EoI), or any other reason of non-performance.
Advantages of the Adopt a Heritage
  • The project plans to entrust development, up-gradation, and maintenance of amenities and facilities at the heritage, natural & tourist sites to the Monument Mitras, coupled with innovation and technology interventions to increase awareness of these incredible treasures.
  • Corporate control of some monuments and heritage sites ensures that their maintenance and operations could be handled more professionally.
  • An agency with the best vision for the heritage site will be given an opportunity to associate pride with its CSR activities.
  • The company would also get limited visibility on the premises and the Incredible India website.
February 2024