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Focus: GS Paper – 2, Poverty, Welfare Schemes, Government Policies & Interventions, Issues Relating to Development

Why in news?

Cabinet approves continuation of Pradhan Mantri Awaas Yojana – Gramin (PMAY-G) beyond March 2021 till March 2024.

Key points:

  • The continuation of scheme till March, 2024 ensures that the remaining 155.75 lakh households within overall target of 2.95 crore houses under PMAY-G.
  • It would be provided assistance for construction of Pucca houses with basic amenities to achieve the objective of “Housing for All” in rural areas.

About Pradhan Mantri Awaas Yojana – Gramin (PMAY-G):


To provide pucca house to all who are houseless and living in dilapidated houses in rural areas by 2022.


Under PMAY, the cost of unit assistance is to be shared between Central and State Governments in the ratio 60:40 in plain areas and 90:10 for North Eastern and hilly states.


  • Identification of beneficiaries eligible for assistance and their prioritisation to be done using information from Socio Economic and Caste Census (SECC).
  • The list will be presented to Gram Sabha toidentify beneficiaries who have been assisted before or who have become ineligible due to other reasons.


  • PMAYG (Pradhan Mantri Awaas Yojana Gramin) is a housing for all scheme for rural and restructured form of IAY (Indira Awaas Yojana).
  • The ministry responsible for the implementation of this PMAY-G scheme is the Union Ministry Of Rural Development.
  • The houses that are built under this scheme will be more focused on the quality of construction. This is ensured by employing skilled masons who will do quality work with suitable local materials.
  • The scheme’s payment is made electronically by directly transferring the money to the Aadhar card-linked bank accounts or post office accounts of the beneficiary.
  • The assistance for construction of toilets shall be leveraged through convergence with Swachh Bharat Mission-Gramin (SBM-G), MGNREGS or any other dedicated source of funding.


Focus: GS Paper – 1, GS Paper – 2: Water Resources, Inter-State Relations

Why in news?

The Union Cabinet has approved the funding and implementation of Ken-Betwa inter-linking of rivers project. 

Key points:

  • It is the first project under the National Perspective Plan for interlinking of rivers.
  • The total cost of Ken-Betwa link project has been assessed at Rs.44,605 crore at 2020-21 price levels.  
  • The Union Cabinet has approved central support of Rs.39,317 crore for the project, covering grant of Rs.36,290 crore and loan of Rs.3,027 crore. 
  • This project involves transfer of water from the Ken to the Betwa River through the construction of Daudhan Dam and a canal linking the two rivers.
  • The Project is proposed to be implemented in 8 years with state of the art technology. 
  • This project also comprehensively provides for environment management and safeguards.


  • The project will pave the way for more interlinking of river projects in India and also showcase to the world our ingenuity and vision. 
  • Irrigation & drinking water: Provide an annual irrigation of 10.62 lakh ha, drinking water supply to a population of about 62 lakhs . Immense benefit to the water starved Bundelkhand region, spread across the states of MP and UP. 
  • Agriculture & Employment: Boost socio-economic prosperity in the backward Bundelkhand region on account of increased agricultural activities and employment generation.
  • Migration: It would also help in arresting distress migration from this region. 
  • Rejuvenate Biodiversity: Few are of the view that the introduction of dams inside the water scarce regions of panna tiger reserve (MP), will rejuvenate the forests of the reserve that in turn will pave the way for Rich Biodiversity in the region.
  • Electricity Production: Generate 103 MW of hydropower and 27 MW solar power.

Ken and Betwa Rivers:

  • Ken and Betwa rivers originate in MP and are the tributaries of Yamuna. 
  • Ken River is one of the major rivers in the Bundelkhand region of central India and flows through the states of Madhya Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh. It passes through Panna tiger reserve.
  • The confluence of the Betwa and the Yamuna Rivers takes place in the Hamirpur town.


Focus: GS Paper – 2, GS Paper – 3: Public Distribution System (PDS), Health, Issues Relating to Poverty & Hunger, Food Security, Issues Related to Children

Why in news?

Centre targets distribution of 35 LMT of Fortified Rice till March 2022 in Phase 1.

Key points:

  • The Government of India has approved Centrally Sponsored Pilot Scheme on “Fortification of Rice & its Distribution under Public Distribution System” for a period of 3 years beginning in 2019-20.
  • It aims to address anaemia and micro-nutrient deficiency in the country.
  • Department of Food and Public Distribution in association with Ministry of Women & Child Development and Department of School Education & Literacy has started distribution of Fortified Rice under Integrated Child Development Scheme (ICDS) and PM POSHAN across the country.

About Food Fortification:

  • It is defined as the practice of adding vitamins and minerals to commonly consumed foods during processing to increase their nutritional value.
  • It is a  safe strategy for improving diets and for the prevention and control of micronutrient deficiencies.
  • It is a cost-effective strategy with demonstrated health, economic and social benefits.
  • Since the nutrients are added to staple foods that are widely consumed, this is an excellent method to improve the health of a large section of the population, all at once.
  • As per the Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR) website, 21 varieties of biofortified staples including wheat, rice, maize, millets, mustard, groundnut had been developed by 2019-20.


  • Maternal and child undernutrition cause 45% of all deaths in children under five in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs)
  • A particularly widespread problem in LMICs is hidden hunger, or a chronic lack of essential vitamins and minerals in the diet.
  • Deficiencies in one or more micronutrients such as iron, zinc, and vitamin A compromise the physical and cognitive capacity of millions of people.
  • Overall, it has been estimated that micronutrient deficiencies account for about 7.3% of the global burden of disease, and iron and vitamin A deficiency rank among the 15 leading causes of the global disease burden, contributing to the deaths of over one million children annually.
  • Currently, 15.3% of the country’s population is undernourished, and India has the highest proportion of “stunted” (30%) and “wasted” children (17.3%) below five years of age, as per the FAO’s recent report, ‘The State of Food Security and Nutrition in the World, 2021’.

About Fortification of Rice

  • It refers to the addition of key vitamins and minerals to increase the nutritional value of rice.
  • The fortified Rice generally contains Vitamin A, Vitamin B1, Vitamin B12, Folic Acid, Iron and Zinc.
  • Rice can be fortified by adding a micronutrient powder to the rice that adheres to the grains or spraying the surface of ordinary rice grains in several layers with a vitamin and mineral mix to form a protective coating.


Focus: GS Paper III – Science & Technology

Why in news?

Air version of BrahMos supersonic cruise missile successfully test-fired from Sukhoi 30 MK-I off Odisha coast.

Key points:

  • BrahMos is a Joint Venture between India (DRDO) and Russia (NPOM) for the development, production and marketing of the supersonic cruise missile. 
  • Major airframe assemblies which form the integral part of the Ramjet Engine are indigenously developed by Indian Industry.
  • These include metallic and non-metallic airframe sections comprising a Ramjet fuel tank and pneumatic fuel supply system.
  • BrahMos is the potent offensive missile weapon system already inducted into the Armed Forces.


  • The launch is a major milestone in the BrahMos development. 
  • It clears the system for the serial production of air-version BrahMos missiles within the country.

About BRAHMOS supersonic cruise missile:

  • It is a joint venture between India and Russia.
  • Brahmos is named on the rivers Brahmaputra and Moskva.
  • It is a two-stage (solid propellant engine in the first stage and liquid ramjet in second) air to surface missile with a flight range of around 300 km.
  • India’s entry into the Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR) has extended the range of the BRAHMOS missile to reach 450 km-600km, a shade above its current MTCR capped range of 300 km.
  • The missile can be launched against ships and land-based targets.
  • It operates on ‘Fire and Forget’ Principle and is one of the heaviest missiles, weighing up to 2.5 tonnes
December 2023