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PIB 5th January 2021

  1. STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) 
  2. PM CARES Fund
  3. Blue Economy
  4. Toycathon-2021 and Toycathon Portal
  5. Statement on Climate of India during 2020
  6. Rastriya Kamdhenu Aayog
  7. UnnatJyoti by Affordable LEDs for All (UJALA) and Street Lighting National Programme (SLNP)
  8. Swasth Vayu Non-invasive Ventilator 


Focus: GS 3;Science and Technology- developments and their applications and effects in everyday life.

Why in News?

Vice President calls for bridging gender divide in STEM-related employment

Need to update engineering curricula to ride data science revolution- VP Shri Naidu

About STEM

  • STEM is a curriculum based on the idea of educating students in four specific disciplines  science, technology, engineering and mathematics  in an interdisciplinary and applied approach.
  • This term is typically used when addressing education policy and curriculum choices in schools to improve competitiveness in science and technology development.
  • It has implications for workforce development, national security concerns and immigration policy.
  • The focus has been on STEM fields and education for them since the late 20th century, when the ongoing shortage of technology workers began.
  • Learners will be involved in planning, managing and providing scientific research as well as professional and technical services including laboratory and testing services, and research and development services.
About Gender Divide in STEM related Employment in India as compared to world
  • India produces the highest percentage of women STEM graduates in the world about 40 %.
  • Only 28.4% of the world’s researchers are women and in India, only 14% of the researchers are women, according to a 2015 report by United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO).
  • The under-representation in post-graduate and doctoral studies too needs to be rectified expeditiously.
  • The gender gap in science is a reflection of the global gender gap across health, education, economic opportunity and politics which has closed by only 4% in the past 10 years, with the economic gap closing by just 3%.
  • The World Economic Forum has observed that it will take another 118 years to close this gap completely.
  • The proportion of women in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) is the lowest in South and West Asia at almost 19%, Central Asia has the highest proportion at 47%, closely followed by Latin America and the Caribbean at 44.3%.
  • In countries near India, women employed as researchers in STEM is similar in Bangladesh at 14%, while Pakistan, China and Sri Lanka have 30%, 34.5% and 35% female researchers, respectively.
About Reasons for Gender Divide in STEM
  • India has been a patrilineal society with the notion that women need not take on jobs, and that this notion has only recently been revised.
  • Masculine culture
  • lack of sufficient early exposure to computers, physics and related areas compared to boys in early childhood 
  • Gender gap in self-efficacy
About Government Iniatives to Bridge Gender Gap and Future
  • The Government’s efforts in improving number of girl students in IITs has led their number went up from just 8 percent in 2016 to nearly 20 percent now. 
  • The Department of Science & Technology’s ‘Women Scientists Program’ as a laudable initiative that encourages women to take up careers in science and math’s.
  • we must celebrate our women scientists and create role models for the girl child in the field of science.
  • The importance of making science education available in local languages it will help students in understanding the subject better and will help in innovation. 
  • No doubt, mathematics and science as subjects are enticing, exciting and invigorating to the human mind. 
  • But more than just being numbers and tool for finding new discoveries, they have, more importantly, been the lifeline of human progress.
  • Mathematics and science drive technological innovations, which in turn advances the mode of production of goods and ultimately propels the economy.
  • Thus, mathematics and science can bring innovations that will make the common man’s life comfortable.


Focus: GS 2;Welfare schemes for vulnerable sections of the population by the Centre and States and the performance of these schemes; mechanisms, laws, institutions and Bodies constituted for the protection and betterment of these vulnerable sections.

Why in News?

PM CARES Fund Trust allocates Rs.201.58 crores for installation of 162 dedicated PSA Medical Oxygen Generation Plants in public health facilities


  • The Prime Minister’s Citizen Assistance and Relief in Emergency Situations Fund (PM CARES Fund) was created on 28 March 2020, following the COVID-19 pandemic in India.
  • The fund will be used for combating, and containment and relief efforts against the coronavirus outbreak and similar pandemic like situations in the future. 
  • Although the documentation for the constitution of the fund has not been made public, the Government of India has stated that the Prime Minister of India is the chairman of the fund, and that trustees include the Minister of Defence, Minister of Home Affairs and Minister of Finance in the Government of India.
  • The PM CARES Fund has faced criticism for the lack of transparency and accountability in relation to its establishment, functioning, and accounts.
  • The total amount of funds donated and the names of donors have not been publicly disclosed, and the fund is privately audited.
  • The Government of India has initially claimed that the fund is a private fund, and denied that the PM CARES Fund is a public fund for the purposes of transparency laws such as the Right to Information Act 2005, even though the Fund uses government infrastructure and the national emblem of the Government of India.
  • In December 2020, the Government of India reversed its stance and admitted that the PM CARES Fund was a public fund, but still refused to disclose information regarding it under the Right to Information Act 2005.
  • There are currently several ongoing cases at the Supreme Court of India and several High Courts in relation to the Fund.
About Prime Minister’s National Relief Fund(PMNRF)
  • Prime Minister’s National Relief Fund (PMNRF) in India is the fund raised to provide support for people affected by natural and man made disasters.
  • Natural disasters covered under this include flood, cyclone, earthquake etc. Man made disasters include major accidents, acid attacks, riots etc.
  • The fund is also allotted to the people for treatment like cancer, kidney transplantation, heart surgery etc.
  • The fund was first consolidated during the time of the first prime minister of India Jawaharlal Nehru.
  • Difference between PMCARES and PMNRF in the below table;-
PMNRF (Prime Minister National Relief Fund)PM CARES Fund [Prime Minister’s Citizen Assistance and Relief in Emergency Situations Fund]
PMNRF (Prime Minister National Relief Fund) was established in January 1948.PM CARES Fund was established on 27th March 2020.
PMNRF was established by the first Prime Minister of India, Jawaharlal Nehru.The PM CARES Fund was established by the current Prime Minister of India, Narendra Modi.
The initial purpose of establishing PMNRF (Prime Minister National Relief Fund) was to help the people displaced due to partition of India and Pakistan.The PM CARES fund was established with the objective of helping people affected by COVID-19 pandemic.
Chairman of the Prime Minister National Relief Fund (PMNRF) is the Prime Minister of India. Other members are from Tata Trusts, representatives of FICCI, Congress President.Chairman of the PM-CARES fund is the Prime Minister of India. The Prime Minister has the power to nominate members. The other members of the PM CARES Fund are the Defence Minister, Home Minister and Finance Minister.
The minimum amount one can donate in the Prime Minister National Relief Fund (PMNRF) is Rs 100.PM CARES Fund allows option for Micro donation, one can donate as low as Rs 10 in the PM CARES Fund.
PMNRF focuses on all kinds of natural disasters and calamities like Cyclones, Earthquakes, Floods, Tsunamis etc. The PMNRF funds are also utilized for acid attack victims, cancer treatments, kidney transplants etc.PM CARES fund is exclusively used for COVID-19 purposes.
The Prime Minister’s National Relief Fund (PMNRF), which was set up in 1948, is not audited by the Comptroller and Auditor General of India (CAG)CARES Fund is not being audited by the CAG, and is being audited by a private party appointed directly by the Government of India instead.


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

Why in News?

Blue Economy is going to be an important source of AatmanirbharBharat: PM

About Blue Economy

  • Blue economy is a term in economics relating to the exploitation and preservation of the marine environment.
  • Its scope of interpretation varies among organizations.
  • Blue economy in India is the sum total of economic activities sourced from marine resources i.e. Fisheries, deep sea mining, and offshore oil and gas make up a large section of India’s blue economy.
  • The blue economy has its origins in the green economy concept.
  • Green economy strategies tend to focus on the sectors of energy, transport, sometimes agriculture and forestry, while the blue economy focuses on fisheries sectors and marine and coastal resources.
  • The blue economy comprises 4.1% of India’s economy
About Significance of Blue Economy
  • The development of Blue Economy can serve as a growth catalyst in realizing the vision to become a $10 trillion economy by 2032.
  • Additionally, the Indian Ocean Region is of strategic importance to India’s economic growth as the most of the country’s oil, and gas is imported through the sea.
  • A Sustainable Blue Economy can help to achieve commitments under UN’s Sustainable Development Goals 2030, Paris climate agreement 2015 and the UN Ocean Conference 2017.
  • Climate Regulation
  • Transportation
  • Recreation
  • Medicine
  • Food
  • Economic Development
Challenges to Blue Economy
  • Unsustainable development near marine areas
  • Marine pollution
  • Impacts of climate change
  • Geopolitical issues
  • Unfair trade practices
  • Other non-conventional threats


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

Why in News?

Union Education Minister and Union Minister WCD and Textiles jointly launch Toycathon-2021 and Toycathon Portal

About Toycathon-2021

  • Toycathon 2021 is an inter-ministerial initiative organized by the Ministry of Education’s Innovation Cell with support from All India Council for Technical Education, Ministry of Women and Child Development, Ministry of Commerce and Industry, Ministry of MSME, Ministry of Textiles, and Ministry of Information and Broadcasting.
  • Currently, India’s toy market stands at around 1.5 Billion USD, which primarily is dominated by imported toys.
  • Moreover, the majority of these toys do not represent Indian heritage, civilization, and value systems.
  • Toycathon 2021 is a unique opportunity for Students, Teachers, startups, and Toy experts/professionals in India.
  • The Toycathon is based on nine themes viz. Indian Culture, History, Knowledge of India and Ethos, Learning, Education, and Schooling; Social and human values; Occupations & specific fields; Environment; Divyang, Fitness, and sport; Out of the box, creative and logical thinking and Rediscovering/redesigning traditional Indian toys.
  • The Toycathon will have 3 variants of tracks of Junior Level, Senior Level, and Startup Level, and will allow the participation of students and teachers from schools, colleges, and universities apart from startups and toy experts.


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

Why in News?

IMD issues a Statement on Climate of India during 2020

About Statement on Climate of India During 2020

  • The Climate Research and Services (CRS)of the India Meteorological Department (IMD) has issued a Statement on Climate of India during 2020.
  • The annual mean land surface air temperature averaged over India during 2020 was above normal.
  • During the year, the annual mean land surface air temperature averaged over the country was +0.290C above normal (based on the data of 1981-2010). 
  • The year 2020 was the eighth warmest year on record since nation-wide records commenced in 1901. 
  • However, this is substantially lower than the highest warming observed over India during 2016 (+0.710C).
  • The 2020 annual rainfall over the country as a whole was 109 percent of its Long Period Average (LPA) based on the data of 1961-2010.
  • The monsoon season rainfall over the country as a whole was above normal and was 109 percent of its LPA.
Normal' monsoon with a rider - Shadow on grain basket - Telegraph India


Focus: GS 2;Welfare schemes for vulnerable sections of the population by the Centre and States and the performance of these schemes; mechanisms, laws, institutions and Bodies constituted for the protection and betterment of these vulnerable sections.

Why in News?

Rastriya Kamdhenu Aayog announces Kamdhenu Gau-Vigyan Prachar-Prasar Exam

About Rastriya Kamdhenu Aayog

  • The Government of India has constituted the “Rashtriya Kamdhenu Aayog” to organize animal husbandry on modern and scientific lines and to take steps for preserving and improving breeds and prohibiting the slaughter, of cows and calves and other milch and draught cattle.
  • Constituted in 2019, the Aayog is a high powered permanent apex advisory body with the mandate to help the Central Government to develop appropriate programs for conservation, sustainable development, and genetic up-gradation of indigenous breeds of cows.
  • It comes under the Ministry of Fisheries, Animal Husbandry, and Dairying.
  • Rashtriya Kamdhenu Aayog will function as an integral part of the Rashtriya Gokul Mission.

About Functions of Rastriya Kamdhenu Aayog

  • Review existing laws, policies as well as suggest measures for optimum economic utilization of cow wealth for enhanced production and productivity, leading to higher farm income and better quality of life for the dairy farmers.
  • Advice and guide the Central Government and State Governments on policy matters concerning conservation, protection, development, and welfare of cows and their progeny.
  • Promote schemes to encourage the use of organic manure and recommend suitable measures including incentive schemes for use of dung or urine of cows in organic manure by farmers to minimize the use of chemical fertilizers.
  • Make provisions for solutions to the problems related to abandoned cows in the country by providing technical inputs to Gaushalas, Gosadans, and pinjarapoles.
  • Develop pastures or grazing lands and associate with institutions or other bodies whether private or public, for the purpose of developing pastures and Gauchars.


Focus: GS 3;Infrastructure: Energy, Ports, Roads, Airports, Railways etc.

Why in News?

Govt of India’s UJALA and SLNP completes six years of Illuminating India efficiently


  • Unnat Jyoti by Affordable LEDs for All was launched by Prime Minister of India Narendra Modi on 1 May 2015, replacing the “Bachat Lamp Yojana”.
  • The project is spearheaded by the Energy Efficiency Services Limited. In non-subsidized LED lamp distribution projects, this program is considered the world’s largest. 
  • It was launched in 2015 with a target of replacing 77 crore incandescent lamps with LED bulbs and to nullify the high-cost of LEDs that acted as a barrier previously in the adoption of energy-efficient systems.
  • The scheme was implemented to set up a phase-wise LED distribution.
  • The objective is to promote efficient lighting, enhance awareness on using efficient equipment that will reduce electricity bills and preserve the environment.
  • It is the world’s largest domestic lighting project.

About SLNP

  • Hon’ble Prime Minister, on 5th January 2015 launched Street Lighting National Programme (SLNP) to replace conventional street lights with smart and energy-efficient LED street lights across India.
  • EESL replaces the conventional street lights with LEDs at its own costs (without any need for municipalities to invest) and the consequent reduction in energy and maintenance cost of the municipality is used to repay EESL over a period of time. 
  • It is the world’s largest streetlight replacement program.


Focus: GS 3; Achievements of Indians in science & technology; indigenization of technology and developing new technology.

Why in News?

Swasth Vayu Non-invasive Ventilator developed by CSIR-NAL receives regulator nod; technology commercialized with 6 private companies

About Swasth Vayu Non-Invasive Ventilator

  • CSIR-NAL scientists along with medical professionals from CSIR-IGIB came forward to address the shortages of ventilators in the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic and indigenously designed and developed the non-invasive bilevel positive airway pressure ventilator –SwasthVayu, with additional features to treat Covid-19 patients and make the country self-reliant.
  • The performance of the device has been evaluated by the expert committee constituted by Director General of Health Services, Ministry of Health & Family Welfare, Government of India. 
  • The expert committee, after careful evaluation, has concluded that SwasthVayu may be used on Covid-19 patients who require oxygen supplementation up to 35%. 
  • SwasthVayu developed by CSIR-NAL is a microcontroller based precise closed-loop adaptive control system with a built-in biocompatible “3D printed manifold and coupler” with HEPA filter (Highly Efficient Particulate Air Filter).  These unique features help to alleviate the fear of the virus spread. 
  • It has features like CPAP, Bi-Timed, Spontaneous / AUTO modes with provision to connect Oxygen concentrator or Enrichment unit externally.
Dr Harsh Vardhan on Twitter: "CSIR- National Aerospace Laboratories (NAL)  Bangalore, a constituent of @CSIR_IND has developed a Non-Invasive BiPAP  Ventilator in a record time of 36 days to treat COVID-19 patients. @

June 2024