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International Gandhi Awards for Leprosy


President of India Presents International Gandhi Awards for Leprosy

      WHY IN NEWS:

The President of India, Shri Ram Nath Kovind, presented the International Gandhi Awards for Leprosy to Dr N.S. Dharmashaktu.



For PRELIMS periodicity aim and significance of this award is very important.

For MAINS go through background of this award.


The President of India, Shri Ram Nath Kovind, presented the International Gandhi Awards for Leprosy to Dr N.S. Dharmashaktu under the Indian nomination (individual) category and the Leprosy Mission Trust under the institutional category

International Gandhi Awards for Leprosy

Gandhi Memorial Leprosy Foundation, a pioneering organisation established in 1951 in the field of leprosy in India, has instituted the award titled “International Gandhi Award” in 1986.


Mahatma Gandhi had evinced keen interest for over 50 years in mitigating the sufferings of persons affected by leprosy.

The need to shed stigma against leprosy and adopt a humanitarian approach were amply demonstrated by the Father of Nation by nursing and caring leprosy patients.

Leprosy work was accorded importance by Gandhiji by including it in his 18 point constructive programme.

To perpetuate memory of this service and scientific approach of Gandhiji, the GMLF has instituted the “International Gandhi Award” in 1986.


The Award is presented once in two years and consists of Rs. 2 lakhs as cash award, a Medallion and a Citation.


Two awards are presented either to individuals or institutions.


The Award is given to a Leprosy Worker or Institution who/which has undertaken work in the field of leprosy for a period of not less than 10 years and made significant contribution in any aspect of leprosy work, resulting in the amelioration of the suffering of leprosy patients and enabling them to lead normal life.

The Award is open to medical, paramedical or non-medical and social workers in leprosy field.

The candidate has to be nominated by a person of prominence in the field of leprosy.

      IASbhai WINDUP: 

We need to empower those who have been discriminated on account of leprosy through advocacy and information dissemination.


Lucknow Declaration


Lucknow Declaration Adopted at the 1st India-Africa Defence Ministers Conclave, 2020

      WHY IN NEWS:

The first India-Africa Defence Ministers’ Conclave held in Lucknow on February 06, coinciding with DefExpo-2020, adopted the Lucknow Declaration.



For PRELIMS there are some key points highlighted go through them.

For MAINS this pact stands a symbol of unity for Indo-African relations.


Ministry ? Ministry of Defence


1.   We, the Defence Ministers and Heads of Delegation from African countries and the Defence Minister of the Republic of India held the first ever India Africa Defence Ministers’ Conclave during the 11th edition of the biennial defence exhibition DEFEXPO INDIA 2020 at Lucknow, India on 6th February 2020.

2. India-Africa Framework for Strategic Cooperation further cemented our multi-faceted partnership. We welcome the organisation of this first IADMC in the run-up to India-Africa Forum Summit-IV.

3.We vividly recall India’s contribution to defence and security in the African continent through

  • Setting up of Defence Academies and Colleges in Nigeria, Ethiopia and Tanzania;
  • Deployment of training teams in several African countries including Botswana, Namibia, Uganda, Lesotho, Zambia, Mauritius, Seychelles, Tanzania;
  • Goodwill ship visits;
  • Provision of defence equipment and ammunitions and various other measures,
  • Including Defence Training Programmes.
  • We also acknowledge contribution of Indian defence forces in humanitarian assistance and disaster relief operations such as during cyclone IDAI in Mozambique in 2019 and evacuation of stranded persons of 41 countries through Djibouti on 2018 and various other such operations over the years, including in Madagascar.

4.We appreciate initiation of Africa India Field Training Exercises with the first ever AFINDEX in March 2019 and agree that it will further strengthen cooperation in defence preparedness and security.

5.We recognise that peace and security are a key priority for both India and African countries. More so, “Silence The Guns: Creating conducive conditions for African Development” is the African Union’s theme of the year. This vision is to achieve ‘a conflict-free Africa, prevent genocide, make peace a reality for all and rid the continent of wars, violent conflicts, human rights violations, and humanitarian disasters.

6. India has participated in almost all the peacekeeping operations in Africa, along with many other African countries. We recall joint efforts of India and Africa in peacekeeping and anti-piracy operations. 

7. We commit to continue our collaboration in the fields of peace and security including conflict prevention, resolution, management and peace building through exchange of expertise and training, strengthening regional and continental early warning capacities and mechanisms, enhancing the role of women in peace keeping and propagating the culture of peace.

8.We call for deeper cooperation in the domain of defence industry including through investment, joint ventures in defence equipment software, digital defence, research & development, provisioning of defence equipment, spares and their maintenance on sustainable and mutually beneficial terms.

9.We recognise the common security challenges such as terrorism and extremism, piracy, organised crime including human trafficking, drug trafficking, weapon smuggling and others and we agree to collaborate to tackle them together.

10.We condemn, in the strongest terms, the growing threat of terrorism and acknowledge that it constitutes a major threat to peace and security in the region.

11. We call for strengthening the UN Counter-Terrorism mechanisms and to ensure strict compliance with the UN Security Council sanctions regime on terrorism. We urge the international community to envisage the adoption of Comprehensive Convention on International Terrorism in the UNGA.

12. We recognize the importance of the oceans and seas to the livelihoods of our peoples and that Maritime security is a pre-requisite for the development of Blue or Ocean economy. We seek to increase our cooperation in securing sea lines of communication, preventing maritime crimes, disaster, piracy, illegal, unregulated and unreported fishing through sharing of information and surveillance.

13. We seek to significantly increase maritime security through mutual cooperation.

14. We encourage enhanced cooperation between India and Africa on the evolving concept of Indo-Pacific and welcome the AU vision for peace and security in Africa that coincides with India’s vision of SAGAR (Security and Growth for all in the Region).

15.We support the great strides in reducing the number of violent conflicts in the African continent. We intend to continue to support the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) and other Africa led efforts to enhance peace and security.

16.We support initiatives such as African Peace and Security Architecture (APSA), Silence The Guns in Africa and Agenda 2063.

      IASbhai WINDUP: 

India and African nations had previously adopted declarations during the India-Africa Forum Summit in New Delhi in April 2008, India-Africa Forum Summit-II in Addis Ababa in May 2011 and the Third India-Africa Forum Summit, held in Delhi in October 2015 and the India-Africa Framework for Strategic Cooperation.

All these declarations had worked to strengthen the multi-faceted partnership between India and Africa.


Gender Parity Index (GPI)


Various steps have been taken to bring gender parity in School Education; GPI increased from 0.92 in 2014-15 to 1.0 in 2018-19 for Higher Education – HRD Minister

      WHY IN NEWS:

Hot from PIB!

SYLLABUS COVERED: GS 2:3:GPI:Samagra Shiksha Programme:MHRD


For PRELIMS GPI and Samagra Shiksha program are important.Analysis has been mentioned below.

For MAINS note down the equitable measures taken at centre and state level.


Ministry ? Ministry of Human Resource Development


Ratio of girls to boys (gender parity index) in primary, secondary and tertiary education is the ratio of the number of female students enrolled at primary, secondary and tertiary levels of education to the number of male students in each level.

To standardise the effects of the population structure of the appropriate age groups, the Gender Parity Index (GPI) of the Gross Enrolment Ratio (GER) for each level of education is used.

Gender Parity Index (GPI) at various levels reflects equitable participation of girls in the School system.

However, under Samagra Shiksha – an Integrated Scheme for School Education (ISSE), bridging Social and Gender Gaps in School Education continues to be one of the major objectives.


To bring gender parity and equity in School Education, various interventions  have been targeted for girls under Samagra Shiksha which include:

  • opening of schools in the neighbourhood as defined by the State,
  • provision of free text-books to girls up to Class VIII,
  • uniforms to all girls up to class VIII,
  • provision of gender segregated toilets in all schools, teachers’ sensitization programmes to promote girls’ participation
  • provision for Self-Defence training for the girls from classes VI to XII,
  • stipend to CWSN girls from class I to Class XII,
  • construction  of  residential  quarters  for  teachers  in  remote/hilly  areas/in areas with difficult terrain.

            In addition to this,

To reduce gender gaps at all levels of school education and for providing quality education to girls from disadvantaged groups, Kasturba Gandhi Balika Vidyalayas (KGBVs) have been sanctioned in Economically Backward Blocks (EBBs) under Samagra Shiksha.  

As per All India Survey on Higher Education (AISHE) Report 2018-19, there is an increase in Gender Parity Index in Higher Education across the country. It has increased during the last five years from 0.92 in 2014-15 to 1.0 in 2018-19.

      IASbhai WINDUP: 

Under Samagra Shiksha, State Specific Projects for varied interventions under equity, including menstrual health and hygiene are emphasized for enhancing access, retention, quality and reducing drop-out of girls in schools by promoting enrolment drives, retention and motivation camps, gender sensitization modules etc.

Moreover,  State Specific Projects are sanctioned by the Project Approval Board as per the Annual Work Plans proposed by the State/UT concerned. Such projects include Life Skills, Awareness programmes, Incinerators, Sanitary Pad Vending Machines.


National Means-cum-Merit Scholarship Scheme’ (NMMSS)


National Means-cum-Merit Scholarship Scheme (NMMSS) has helped to reduce the drop-out rate at the secondary and senior secondary classes- HRD Minister

      WHY IN NEWS:

The Scheme was evaluated by the National Institute of Planning and Administration (NIEPA).

SYLLABUS COVERED: GS 3:Education:Scheme


For PRELIMS you have to understand how, for whom and the process of scholarship in detail.

For MAINS pros and cons of such scholarship has to be evaluated.


Under the Scheme one lakh fresh scholarships @ of Rs.12000/- per annum per student are awarded to selected students of class IX every year and their  continuation/renewal  in classes X to XII for study in a State Government, Government-aided and Local body schools. There is a separate quota of scholarships for each State/UT.
Ministry ? Ministry of Human Resource Development

National Means-cum-Merit Scholarship Scheme’ (NMMSS)

The Centrally Sponsored Scheme “National Means-cum-Merit Scholarship Scheme (NMMSS)” was launched in May, 2008. The objective of the scheme is to award scholarships to meritorious students of economically weaker sections to arrest their drop out at class VIII and encourage them to continue the study at secondary stage.

The scheme is boarded on National Scholarship Portal (NSP) since 2015-16.


Scholarship of Rs. 6000/- per annum (Rs.500/- per month) per student is awarded to selected students every year for study in classes from IX to XII in State Government, Government aided and local body schools.


  • Students whose parental income from all sources is not more than Rs. 1,50,000/- are eligible to avail the scholarships. There is reservation as per State Government norms.
  • The students shall have minimum of 55% marks or equivalent grade in Class VII examination for appearing in selection test for award of scholarship (Relaxable by 5% for SC/ST).
  • The students should be studying as regular student in government, local body and government-aided schools. The students studying in “Kendriya Vidalayas and “Jawahar Vavodaya Vidlayas” are not entitled to get scholarship under this scheme.
  • Similarly, those students studying in Residential Schools run by the State Government Institutions, where facilities like boarding, lodging and education are provided and students studying in private schools are also not eligible for the scholarship under this scheme.
  • At the time of selection for the award of scholarship the candidate must have scored at least 55% marks or equivalent grade in Class VIII examination. There will be 5 % relaxation for SC/ST.
  • The scholarship at the Secondary and higher Secondary stage or equivalent Classes IX to XII is payable for a maximum period of four years for studies in India only.


The selection of students for award of the scholarships is made through an examination conducted by the State Governments.

The States/UTs are already conducting the examination for nominating the students for the national level (second stage) examination conducted by the NCERT.

The same examination shall be used for selection of candidates for the award of Means-cum-Merit Scholarships in the State/ UT.

The data reveals that about 70.1 % beneficiary students are unable to continue their studies without this scholarship and students are very conscientious about their studies as well as the need to perform well after qualifying in NMMS Scheme.

      IASbhai WINDUP: 

As per the evaluation study report, the scheme helped poor families in sending their meritorious children for secondary and senior secondary education and has therefore recommended for increasing the scholarship amount from Rs. 500/- to Rs. 1000/- per month for class IX and class X students and Rs. 1500/- per month for Class XI and XII students to make the scheme more attractive and effective. Accordingly, with the approval of Expenditure Finance Committee the rate of scholarship has been enhanced from Rs. 6000/- to Rs. 12000/- per annum with effect from 1st April, 2017.  

As on date approx 16.93 lakh scholarships have been sanctioned to the Students across the country.

SUGGESTED READING : https://mhrd.gov.in/nmms



154 Clusters Approved During 2018-20 Against a Target of 100 Under Sfurti Scheme

      WHY IN NEWS:

Union Minister for Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises and M/o RT&H, Shri Nitin Gadkari informed the Lok Sabha in a written reply today that 154 Clusters when approved during 2018-20 against a target of 100 under Scheme of Fund for Regeneration of Traditional Industries (SFURTI) to promote traditional Industries and Artisan.

SYLLABUS COVERED: GS 3:Industries:MSME:Schemes


For PRELIMS this scheme details are important;Provisions;Management;Funds etc


 In the year 2018-19, 70 proposals and in 2019-20 (till 31.01.2020), 84 proposals have been approved, which is a substantial jump over the period from 2014-15 to 2017-18, when against a target of 71 clusters to be set up during 12th Five Year Plan period, 72 clusters were approved till 2017-18.
Ministry ? Ministry of Micro,Small & Medium Enterprises


  • SFURTI is Scheme of Fund for Regeneration of Traditional Industries.
  •  Govt. of India has launched this scheme in the year 2005 with the view to promote Cluster development.


  • To organize the traditional industries and artisans into clusters to make them competitive and provide support for their long term sustainability and economy of scale;
  • To provide sustained employment for traditional industry artisans and rural entrepreneurs;
  • To enhance marketability of products of such clusters by providing support for new products, design intervention and improved packaging and also the improvement of marketing infrastructure;
  • To equip traditional artisans of the associated clusters with the improved skills and capabilities through training and exposure visits;
  • To make provision for common facilities and improved tools and equipment for artisans to promote optimum utilization of infrastructure facilities;
  • To strengthen the cluster governance systems with the active participation of the stakeholders, so that they are able to gauge the emerging challenges and opportunities and respond to them in a coherent manner;
  • To build up innovated and traditional skills, improved technologies, advanced processes, market intelligence and new models of public – private partnerships, so as to gradually replicate similar models of cluster – based regenerated traditional industries
  • To look for setting up of multi-product cluster with integrated value chain and a strong market driven approach for viability and long term sustainability of the cluster;
  • To identify and understand cluster‟s target customers, understand their needs and aspirations and develop and present product lines to meet the requirement.
  • To develop specific product lines out of the currently offered diversified basket of heterogeneous products based on the understanding of the target consumer segment.
  • To make a paradigm shift from a supply driven selling model to a market drive n model with the right branding, focus product mix and correct positioning and right pricing to make the offering holistic and optimal for each of the focus categories.
  • To tap the E-Commerce as a major marketing channel given the outreach and the growing market penetration of E-Commerce, the re is a need to devise a quick strategy to make its presence felt in the E – Retail space.
  • To make substantial investment in the area of product design and quality improvement. There is a need to standardise the quality of inputs and processes so that the products meet the quality benchmarks.


  • Artisans, workers, machinery makers, raw material providers, entrepreneurs, institutional and private business development service (BDS) providers.
  • Artisan guilds, cooperatives, consortiums, networks of enterprises, self-help groups (SHGs), enterprise associations, etc.
  • Implementing agencies, field functionaries of Government institutions/organisations and policy makers, directly engaged in traditional industries.


  1. Khadi and Village Industries Commission – for Khadi and Village Industry clusters
  2. Coir Board – Coir based clusters


The Scheme cover s three types of interventions namely  “soft interventions‟, ‘hard interventions’ and ‘thematic interventions‟.

  • SOFT INTERVENTIONS – General awareness, counselling, motivation and trust building; Skill development and capacity building; Institution development;etc
  • HARD INTERVENTIONS – Creation of facilities such as Multiple facilities for multiple products and packaging wherever needed; Common facility centres (CFCs); Raw material banks (RMBs); Up-gradation of production infrastructure; Tools and technological up-gradation; Warehousing facility; Training center etc
  • THEMATIC INTERVENTIONS – cross – cutting thematic interventions at the sector level including several clusters in the same sector with emphasis on both domestic and international markets .


Type of clusters Per Cluster Budget Limit
Heritage Clusters (1000 – 2500 artisans) Rs 8.00 crore
Major Clusters (500 – 1000 artisans) Rs 3.00 crore
Mini – Clusters (Upto 500 artisans) Rs 1.50 crore

      IASbhai WINDUP: 

SFURTI scheme is to organize the traditional industries and artisans into clusters to make them competitive, provide support for their long term sustainability, to provide sustained employment for traditional industry artisans & rural entrepreneurs, to enhance marketability of products etc.

READ MORE: https://www.iasbhai.com/sfurti-scheme-of-fund-for-regeneration-of-traditional-industries-upsc/


Missing Children


Tracking of Missing Children

      WHY IN NEWS:

Hot from PIB!



The Ministry of Women and Child Development (WCD) is hosting a web portal “TrackChild” to track the missing and found children.
Ministry ? Ministry of Women and Child Development

TrackChild Portal

The TrackChild Portal is implemented in association with various stakeholders including Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA), Ministry of Railways, State Governments/UT Administrations, Child Welfare Committees, Juvenile Justice Boards and National Legal Services Authority.

The Ministry of Women and Child Development is implementing a Centrally Sponsored Scheme, namely the Integrated Child Protection Scheme (ICPS) since 2009-10.

AIM: The objectives of the scheme are to contribute to the improvement in the well being of children in difficult circumstances, as well as to the reduction of vulnerabilities to situations and actions that lead to abuse, neglect, exploitation, abandonment and separation of children.

The Scheme, also envisages for creating a mechanism for tracking ‘missing’ and ‘found’ children under ICPS and Juvenile Justice (Care & Protection of Children) Act,2000 ( JJ Act).

This Ministry had entrusted National Informatics Centre (NIC) to develop a national portal TrackChild which not only have data on ‘missing’ children but it also have live database to monitor the progress of the ‘found’ children who are availing various services in different Child Care Institutions (CCIs) under the ICPS and the JJ Act.


The “Khoya-Paya” another citizen centric portal has also been launched in 2015.

The Ministry of WCD supports 24×7 outreach helpline service for children in distress.

This service is available through a dedicated toll free number1098, which can be accessed by children in crisis or by adults on their behalf from any place in the geographical location of India.

      IASbhai WINDUP: 

The Ministry has been using Facial Recognition System employed by Delhi Police to track the missing children, with the help of NIC.


‘Toothless’ pharma codes


Centre persists with ‘toothless’ pharma codes

      WHY IN NEWS:

Compliance should be compulsory: experts

SYLLABUS COVERED: GS 3:Pharma Industry


For PRELIMS note down the ministry and the code in breif.

For MAINS analyse this code and write a answer on it . We think this issue is important for upcoming Mains-2020


Despite several instances of breach of the voluntary Uniform Code of Pharmaceutical Marketing Practices (UCPMP) by pharma companies, and the demand from the Indian Medical Association (IMA) and doctors to make it mandatory, the Department of Pharmaceuticals (DoP), has yet again “requested companies to abide by UCPMP” — in a written communication on February 4


The DoP has “requested” companies to abide by the UCPMP.
Ministry ? Ministry of Chemicals and Fertilizers

“Pharma associations are requested to make sure that the pharma accompanies adhere to the provisions of UCPMP and no unethical promotion of pharma products be done during the conference,” concludes the letter.


Speaking about the move, health research and member of the All India Drug Action Network Malini Aisola noted that rather than taking steps towards instituting statutory regulation of unethical marketing and promotion, the DoP is still requesting companies to abide by a toothless, unenforceable UCPMP.


The Uniform Code of Pharmaceuticals Marketing Practices, 2014 (“UCPMP Code“) is a voluntary code issued by the Department Of Pharmaceuticals (“the Department“) relating to marketing practices for Indian Pharmaceutical Companies and as well medical devices industry.

The UCPMP Code provides that no gifts, pecuniary advantages or benefits in kind may be supplied, offered or promised, to persons qualified to prescribe or supply drugs, by a pharmaceutical company or any of its agents.

Further, as regards travel facilities, the UCPMP Code prohibits extending travel facility inside the country or outside, including rail, air, ship, cruise tickets, paid vacations, etc., to HealthCare Professionals and their family members for vacation or for attending conference, seminars, workshops, CME programme etc. as a delegate.

The UCPMP Code also provides that free samples of drugs shall not be supplied to any person who is not qualified to prescribe such product.

      IASbhai WINDUP: 

Interestingly, the UCPMP Code does not provide any restrictions for extending travel facilities attending seminars, workshops, CME programs, as other than delegates, for instance attending as a lecturer, speaker, faculty member, etc.

UCPMP Code does not quantify any allowable limits or any penalty/ punishment based on the quantification of grants.


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