PIB – 14th Feb 2021
Measures to improve Work Culture and Transparency in the Ministry of Agriculture & Farmers Welfare
To improve work culture, transparency, accountability and achieve better results some new/innovative measures that have been adopted are:
- Use of Information and Communication Technology for compilation, dissemination and submission of information is being done.
- To ensure transparency, online Public Grievance/ Right to Information System/ Bhavishya Portal has been initiated for online disposal of Public Grievance/RTI/Pension matters.
- For clearance of import & export certification of agriculture commodities i.r.o Plant Quarantine, an online Plant Quarantine Information System (PQIS) is being implemented. All guidelines, Standards, SOPs and timelines for clearance of import & export etc. have been uploaded in the public domain.
- For registration of pesticides, a Computerized Registration of Pesticide (CROP) portal is being implemented. Details of The Insecticide Act, 1968, its rules, amendments (if any), details of registered/banned pesticides, pesticides in schedule, minutes of Registration Committee meetings etc. are regularly being updated in the public domain.
- Public Guarantee System (PGS)- India portal for certification of organic produce, Jaivik Kheti Portal for Marketing and one MIS for MOVCDNER scheme are operational.
- PFMS is operational for accounting and bills settlement, purchase is through Government e-Marketplace (GeM) Portal, marking attendance is through biometric machines.
- Observance of Swachatta and keeping office premises neat and clean, ensuring regular sanitization, thermal scanning and oximeter for COVID-19 pandemic protection.
- Direct Benefit Transfer (DBT) in Agriculture Mechanization and Centralized Farm Machinery Performance Testing Portal applications have been developed to improve transparency and accountability in transfer of subsidy amount in beneficiaries account and execution & monitoring of all activities related to testing of agricultural machines at Farm Machinery Training & Testing Institutes at M.P, Haryana, Andhra Pradesh and Assam.
- The online process of disposal of non-seeds through e-auction from 2019 onwards has been started by National Seeds Corporation (NSC).
- The PoS machines for promoting cashless transactions have been introduced in all our sale counters from December 2016 onwards by NSC.
- E-tenders introduced to purchase seeds which are not available with the Corporation for which e-portal established during 2015-16 onwards by NSC.
The following positive impact has been seen:
- Punctuality of the staff has increased.
- Purchase in the office has become easy and time efficient through the Government e-Marketplace (GeM) portal.
- Most public grievances including RTI application/appeals have been disposed off/resolved within the stipulated time frame.
- Various measures taken as described above have created an overall positive impact on all officers/staff and work culture and efficiency has increased over the years.
- Better service delivery to stakeholders including State governments, farmers etc. has been ensured.
Indian astronomers detect huge optical flare in one of the oldest astronomical objects
- Indian Astronomers have reported one of the strongest flares from a feeding supermassive black hole or blazar called BL Lacertae. Analysis of the flare from this blazar, one of the oldest astronomical objects, can help trace the mass of the black hole and the source of this emission. Such analysis can provide a lead to probe into mysteries and trace events at different stages of evolution of the Universe.
- Blazars or feeding supermassive black holes in the heart of distant galaxies receive a lot of attention from the astronomical community because of their complicated emission mechanism. They emit jets of charged particles traveling nearly at the speed of light and are one of the most luminous and energetic objects in the Universe.
- BL Lacertae blazar is 10 million light-years away and is among the 50 most prominent blazars that can be observed with the help of a relatively small telescope. It was among the 3 to 4 blazars that was predicted to be experiencing flares by the Whole Earth Blazar Telescope (WEBT), an international consortium of astronomers.
- A team of astronomers led by Dr. Alok Chandra Gupta from Aryabhatta Research Institute of Observational Sciences (ARIES), an autonomous institute of the Department of Science & Technology, Government of India who had been following the blazar since October 2020 as part of an international observational campaign detected the exceptionally high flare on January 16, 2021, with the help of Sampurnanand Telescope (ST) and 1.3m Devasthal Fast Optical Telescopes located in Nainital.
- The data collected from the flare observed will help calculation of the black hole mass, size of emission region, and mechanism of the emission from one of the oldest astronomical objects known, hence opening a door to the origin and evolution of the Universe.
Status of Skilled Youths in India
- The Ministry of Skill Development and Entrepreneurship (MSDE) is implementing its flagship demand-driven Centrally Sponsored Scheme, Pradhan Mantri Kaushal VikasYojana (PMKVY), for imparting short duration skill development training through Short-Term Training (STT) and Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL) to youth across all States/ Union Territories (UTs).
Other important schemes being implemented by MSDE which are not linked to placement are given below:
(i) Jan Shikshan Sansthan (JSS) Scheme: This Scheme aims at providing vocational skills to non-literates, neo-literates as well as school dropouts by identifying skills that have a market in the region of their establishment.
(ii) National Apprenticeship Promotion Scheme (NAPS): This Scheme is for promoting apprenticeship training and increasing the engagement of apprentices by providing financial support to industrial establishments undertaking apprenticeship programme under The Apprentices Act, 1961. Training consists of Basic Training and On-the-Job Training / Practical Training at the workplace in the industry.
(iii) Craftsmen Training Scheme (CTS): Long term training programme in 137 trades are provided through 14,788 ITIs in the country.