PIB – 19th Dec 2020

Raksha Mantri Shri Rajnath Singh hands over DRDO systems to Armed Forces Chiefs

  • Shri Rajnath Singh handed over 
  1. Indian Maritime Situational Awareness System (IMSAS) to the Chief of Naval Staff Admiral Karambir Singh, 
  2. ASTRA Mk-I Missile to Air Chief Marshal Rakesh Kumar Singh Bhadauria 
  3. Border Surveillance System (BOSS) to the Chief of Army Staff General MM Naravane. 
  • Indian Maritime Situational Awareness System (IMSAS): The IMSAS is state-of-the-art, fully indigenous, high performance intelligent software system that provides Global Maritime Situational Picture, Marine planning tools and Analytical capabilities to Indian Navy. 
  • The system provides Maritime Operational Picture from Naval HQ to each individual ship in sea to enable Naval Command and control (C2). Centre for Artificial Intelligence & Robotics (CAIR), Bengaluru and Indian Navy has jointly conceptualised and developed the product and the BEL, Bengaluru has implemented it.
  • ASTRA Mk-I Missile: It is the indigenously developed first Beyond Visual Range (BVR) Missile, which can be launched from Sukhoi-30, Light Combat Aircraft (LCA), Mig-29 and Mig-29K. 
  • Globally, very few countries have expertise and capabilities to design and produce this class of weapon system.
  • Border Surveillance System (BOSS): It is an all-weather electronic surveillance system successfully designed and developed by Instruments Research & Development Establishment (IRDE), Dehradun. 
  • The system has been deployed at Ladakh border area for day and night surveillance.The system facilitates monitoring and surveillance by automatically detecting the intrusions in harsh high-altitude sub-zero temperature areas with remote operation capability. The system is being produced by Bharat Electronics Limited (BEL), Machlipatnam.

Indian Railways issues draft National Rail Plan

  • In an endeavour to address the inadequacies of capacity constraints and improve its modal share in the total freight ecosystem of the country, Indian Railways has come up with Draft National Rail Plan. 
  • A long term strategic plan called the National Rail Plan has been developed to plan infrastructural capacity enhancement along with strategies to increase modal share of the Railways. The National Rail Plan will be a common platform for all future infrastructural, business and financial planning of the Railways. This plan is being circulated among various Ministries for their views now. Railways aim to finalise the Final plan by January 2021.
  • The objective of the Plan is:
  • To create capacity ahead of demand by 2030, which in turn would cater to growth in demand right up to 2050 and also increase the modal share of Railways from 27% currently to 45% in freight by 2030 as part of a national commitment to reduce Carbon emission and to continue to sustain it. Net Zero Carbon emission by 2030.
  • To assess the actual demand in freight and passenger sectors, a yearlong survey was conducted over hundred representative locations by survey teams spread all over the country.
  • Forecast growth of traffic in both freight and passenger year on year up to 2030 and on a decadal basis up to 2050.
  • Formulate strategies based on both operational capacities and commercial policy initiatives to increase modal share of the Railways in freight to 45% by 2030.
  • Reduce transit time of freight substantially by increasing average speed of freight trains from present 22Kmph to 50Kmph.
  • Reduce overall cost of Rail transportation by nearly 30% and pass on the benefits to the customers.
  • Map the growth in demand on the Indian Railway route map and simulate the capacity behaviour of the network in future.
  • Based on above simulation identify infrastructural bottlenecks that would arise in future with growth in demand.
  • Select projects along with appropriate technology in both track work, signalling  and rolling stock to mitigate these bottlenecks well in advance.
  • As part of the National Rail Plan, Vision 2024 has been launched for accelerated implementation of certain critical projects by 2024 such as 100% electrification, multitracking of congested routes, upgradation of speed to 160 kmph on Delhi-Howrah and Delhi-Mumbai routes, upgradation of speed to 130kmph on all other Golden Quadrilateral-Golden Diagonal (GQ/GD) routes and elimination of all Level Crossings on all GQ/GD route. 

Transport Ministry invites public comments for introducing adoption of E20 fuel

  • The Ministry of Road Transport and Highways has published a draft notification seeking comments from the public for adoption of E20 fuel, i.e, blend of 20% of ethanol with gasoline, as an automotive fuel and for the adoption of mass emission standards for this fuel. 
  • The notification facilitates the development of E20 compliant vehicles. It will also help in reducing emissions of carbon dioxide, hydrocarbons, etc. It will help reduce the oil import bill, thereby saving foreign exchange and boosting energy security.
  • Benefits: Use of E20 fuel, which blends 20 percent ethanol with gasoline, reduces the tailpipe emissions of hydrocarbons and carbon monoxide, compared with traditional gasoline or E10 blends. In addition, there is no measurable impact to vehicle drivability or maintenance in conventional internal combustion engines.

Joint Communique Signed between M/O Tribal Affairs and M/O Food Processing Industries Defining Convergence Mechanism in Implementation of PMFME Scheme for Micro Food Processing Industries

  • The features of ‘Joint Communique’ are as under:
  • Prime Minister Formalisation of Micro food processing Enterprises (PM FME) Scheme.The scheme being implemented by MoFPIis a landmark initiative under AatmaNirbhar Bharat Abhiyan to support Micro Level Food Entrepreneurs, FPOs/SHGs/ Co- operatives. 
  • The program has four major components 
  1. Support to individual and groups of micro enterprises; 
  2. Branding and Marketing support; 
  3. Strengthening institutional support and 
  4. Setting up robust project management frameworks with Tribal Sub plan.
  • M/oFood Processing Industries(MoFPI) would fund for development by incubation centers in tribal focused districts under PMFME Scheme for common processing and training to tribal entrepreneurs. PMFME Scheme provides for seed capital of up to Rs.40000/- to be given to members of SHGs and others engaged in food processing for working capital and purchase of tools.
  • Role of M/oTribal Affairs (MoTA): 
  • It would identify the tribal enterprises and groups (existing/potential to be engaged) in the food processing sector including minor forest produce.MoTA through state, district and field level staff would train and build capacity for supporting and handholding of identified beneficiaries to be benefitted under PMFME scheme.
  • TRIFED would provide handholding support to Tribal SHGs and Van Dhan SHG groups and their members in preparation of DPRs, application process, getting necessary technical training, etc. so as to enable them to benefit from various provisions under PMFME scheme including for capital investment.  
  • Role of Ministry of Tribal Affairs: 
  • It is the nodal Ministry for the welfare of tribals. At the same time, there are 37 other Ministries, who have to spend an assigned percentage of their budget as per mechanism designed by NITI Aayog, under Tribal sub Plan or Schedule Tribe Component (STC) for welfare of tribals. NITI Aayog and M/o Tribal Affairs have been monitoring STC components of such Ministries regularly as per the mandate given to the MoTA in 2017.