It is during our darkest moments that we must focus to see the light.-Aristotle Onassis

ORANGE COLOUR: Important for Prelims.

RED COLOUR: Important for Mains.


BLUE COLOUR : Important Links/Survey.

PINK COLOUR: Reports/Themes/Summits.

‘Over 40% govt. schools don’t have power, playgrounds’


‘Over 40% govt. schools don’t have power, playgrounds’

      WHY IN NEWS:

Parliamentary panel identifies critical infrastructure gaps

MINISTRY?Ministry of Human Resource Development


For PRELIMS this survey is important as it mentions a new concept UDISE.

For MAINS understand the budgetry drawbacks and evaluate the whole issue with respect to GOAL NUMBER 4 SDG- quality education for all.


  • Almost half the government schools in the country do not have electricity or playgrounds, according to a report submitted by the parliamentary panel on education.
  • Parliamentary Standing Committee on Human Resource Development (HRD) expressed concern that budgetary allocations saw a 27% cut from proposals made by the School Education Department. Despite proposals for ₹82,570 crore, only ₹59,845 crore was allocated.


The panel “expressed dismay” at the stark deficits in the government school infrastructure, citing the latest survey data.

Only 56% of schools have electricity, with the lowest rates in Manipur and Madhya Pradesh, where less than 20% have access to power.

Less than 57% of schools have playgrounds, including less than 30% of schools in Odisha and Jammu and Kashmir, according to the Unified District Information System for Education (UDISE) 2017-18 survey.


Unified District Information System for Education (UDISE) initiated in 2012-13 integrating DISE for elementary education and SEMIS for secondary education is one of the largest Management Information Systems on School Education covering more than 1.5 million schools, 8.5 million teachers and 250 million children.

UDISE+ (UDISE plus) is an updated and improved version of UDISE.

The entire system will be online and will gradually move towards collecting data in real time.

Data from 2018-19 will be collected through this software.

It will improve the quality and credibility of the data provided thereby making it analysis more robust and accurate .

With the introduction of this system it will be easier for the States and UTs to monitor the progress of the schools and to reduce the time taken in data collection and analysis.

      IASbhai WINDUP: 

Expected Outcomes of UDISE

  • Real time and quality data
  • Data analytics to identify factors affecting school performance in terms of enrolment, retention etc.
  • Time series data to study the trend over years and monitor improvement/growth
  • Track Key Performance Indicators
  • School and teacher rationalisation

The panel recommended that the HRD Ministry collaborate with the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme to construct boundary walls, and work with the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy to provide solar and other energy sources so that schools have access to power.

The panel recommended that these core schemes get additional funds at the revised estimates stage.

SUGGESTED READING : http://udiseplus.gov.in/

Red Panda: traps still snare endangered mammal


Though hunters lose interest in Red Panda, traps still snare endangered mammal

      WHY IN NEWS:

Report on wildlife trade reveals drop in poaching in India and Bhutan; Nepal however, reported 25 incidents

SYLLABUS COVERED: GS 3:WWF:Biodiversity:Conservation:Fauna


For PRELIMS we have mentioned all the important data which can be asked in upcoming Prelims 2020.

For MAINS understand the trends in poaching and the need of community based participation in awareness campaigns.


The iconic and endangered Red Panda (ailurus fulgens) has fewer hunters because the younger generations of people across its Himalayan habitat are losing interest in animal products, a new study by wildlife trade monitoring network TRAFFIC has found.


At risk: The species has been hunted for meat and fur, besides illegal capture for pet trade.


The red panda is slightly larger than a domestic cat with a bear-like body and thick russet fur.

The belly and limbs are black, and there are white markings on the side of the head and above its small eyes.

Red pandas are very skillful and acrobatic animals that predominantly stay in trees. Almost 50% of the red panda’s habitat is in the Eastern Himalayas.

They use their long, bushy tails for balance and to cover themselves in winter, presumably for warmth.

Primarily an herbivore, the name panda is said to come from the Nepali word ‘ponya,’ which means bamboo or plant eating animal.


The report titled “Assessment of illegal trade-related threats to Red Panda in India and selected neighbouring range countries” has looked at a ten-year period from July 2010 to June 2019, and analysed poaching and illegal trade of the species.

However, the reddish-brown arboreal mammal, not closely related to the iconic black-and-white giant panda, is falling to traps laid for other animals, such as the musk deer and wild pigs.

“The news is both good and bad for the red panda, whose survival is crucial for the eastern and north-eastern and the eastern Himalayan forests,”

The only living member of the genus Ailurus, the Red Panda is listed as ‘endangered’ on the IUCN Red List of threatened species.

The animal has been hunted for meat and fur, besides illegal capture for the pet trade.

An estimated 14,500 animals are left in the wild across Nepal, Bhutan, India, China and Myanmar.


About 5,000-6,000 red pandas are estimated to be present in four Indian states – Arunachal Pradesh, Meghalaya, Sikkim and West Bengal.

This is the second-largest population after China (6,000-7,000).

Nepal accounts for 580 animals, while Bhutan and Mynamar have no estimate of the animal’s population.


Red pandas have been reported from 11 districts of Arunachal Pradesh, which is presumed to hold the largest red panda population in the country.

The report said, indicating that younger people were not keen on using the pelt or meat of the animal.

None of the markets had any parts or products made of parts of the red panda for sale,”

The report also recommended trans-boundary law enforcement co-operation through the use of multi-government platforms like SAWEN (South Asia Wildlife Enforcement Network).

South Asia Wildlife Enforcement Network



  • To take initiatives for bringing harmonization and standardization in laws and policies of member countries concerning conservation of wild fauna and flora;
  • To document the trend of poaching and illegal wildlife trade, and related threats to the natural biodiversity within and across countries in the region;
  • To strengthen institutional responses to combat wildlife crime by promoting partnership with relevant institutions for research and information sharing, training and capacity building, and technical support; and
  • To encourage member countries to prepare and implement their National Action Plans to combat wildlife crime and to collaborate towards effective implementation of such plans.
  • To strengthen, promote and co-ordinate regional co-operation for curbing illegal wildlife trade that threatens the wild flora and fauna of South Asia.


SAWEN is now a legitimate intergovernmental organization with endorsement of the SAWEN Statute by five countries namely Sri Lanka, India, Nepal, Pakistan and Bangladesh.


SAWEN operates its activities from the Secretariat based in Kathmandu, Nepal.

      IASbhai WINDUP: 

Neither India nor Bhutan had reported any incidences of poaching or illegal trade in Red Pandas in the study period.

“This may indicate that traditional demand for such products has reduced over time and might be indicative of the success of awareness campaigns undertaken in the areas,”

Need for community- based conservation and protection for the species as its habitat stretches across remote areas.


Military Cooperation Group dialogue with U.S. postponed


Military Cooperation Group dialogue with U.S. postponed

      WHY IN NEWS:

Visit of Defence Secretary Mark Esper is also in question

SYLLABUS COVERED: GS 3:Military Cooperation


For PRELIMS look for the purpose of such dialogues and know its significance.

For MAINS you should dive in deep about Indo-Pacific region and how will this summit influence the incomplete dialogue session.


The India-U.S. Military Cooperation Group (MCG) dialogue, scheduled for later this month, has been cancelled in view of the COVID-9 outbreak, and the proposed trip of U.S. Defence Secretary Mark Esper is also in question, defence sources said on Sunday.


  • The MCG is a forum to review the progress of defence cooperation between India’s Integrated Defence Staff and the USINDOPACOM at the strategic and operational levels.
  • The Integrated Defence Staff was responsible for coordination among the armed forces before the appointment of the Chief of Defence Staff.
  • The MCG was to have reviewed the decisions taken at the 2+2 dialogue and the recent visit of President Donald Trump to India.
  • Further, it was to follow up on the visit and fast-track the decisions, including that on 24 MH-60R multi-role helicopters.
As part of improving defence cooperation and interoperability, India is considering a U.S. request for posting liaison officers at the USINDOPACOM and the USSOCOM.


The liaison officer at the USINDOPACOM is likely to be a Navy officer, while the one at the USSOCOM will probably be an Army officer.

The U.S. Indo-Pacific Command Area of Responsibility:


As a result, domestic disaster response is a priority for almost every military in the region.

Militaries are also assisting their neighbors in disaster response operations.

One of six geographic Unified Combatant Commands, commander reports to the President of the United States through the Secretary of Defense and is supported by four component commands: U.S. Pacific Fleet, U.S. Pacific Air Forces, U.S. Army Pacific, and U.S. Marine Forces, Pacific.

USINDOPACOM protects and defends, in concert with other U.S. government agencies, the territory of the United States, its people, and its interests.

With allies and partners, USINDOPACOM is committed to enhancing stability in the Asia-Pacific region by promoting security cooperation, encouraging peaceful development, responding to contingencies, deterring aggression, and, when necessary, fighting to win.

      IASbhai WINDUP: 

India is considering a U.S. request for posting liaison officers at the U.S. Indo-Pacific Command (USINDOPACOM) and the U.S. Special Operations Command (USSOCOM).

This was to be discussed at the dialogue.


Women Transforming India Awards


NITI Aayog organizes the Fourth Edition of the Women Transforming India Awards

      WHY IN NEWS:

Raksha Mantri Shri Rajnath Singh felicitates 15 winners on International Women’s Day



For PRELIMS just the organizers and theme is to be remembered !

For MAINS this can fetch an extra mark if supported with a answer related to social issues.


NITI Aayog organized the Fourth Edition of the Women Transforming India Awards today and Hon’ble Raksha Mantri, Shri Rajnath Singh, presided over as the chief guest of the event and conferred the WTI Awards.


WTI Awards are NITI Aayog’s initiative to highlight the commendable and ground-breaking endeavours of India’s women leaders and changemakers.

The theme of this year’s WTI is “‘Women and Entrepreneurship.’”.

Since 2018, the Awards have been hosted under the aegis of NITI Aayog’s Women Entrepreneurship Platform with a special focus on entrepreneurship.


Launched on International Women’s Day, two years ago, the Women Entrepreneurship Platform has become a forum dedicated to educating, enabling and empowering women entrepreneurs.


Women Entrepreneurship Platform, a flagship initiative of NITI Aayog, has announced the fourth edition of Women Transforming India (WTI) Awards, which is being organised in collaboration with the United Nations.

      IASbhai WINDUP: 

WTI Awards seek to recognise women entrepreneurs who are challenging the status quo and breaking stereotypes through businesses and enterprises that are providing innovative developmental solutions to build a dynamic New India.


Women Scientists Scheme (WOS-A)


Women Scientists Scheme (WOS-A)

      WHY IN NEWS:

WOS-A scheme provides platform to women scientists and technologists for pursuing research in basic or applied sciences:Dr Savleen Kaur

MINISTRY?Ministry of Science & Technology
SYLLABUS COVERED: GS 1:3:Issues related to women:Society:Scheme


For PRELIMS we have covered significance,eligibility and detailed analysis of this scheme.


In the year 2018 Dr Savleen Kaur from Chandigarh was working with a tertiary health care unit in Ophthalmology at Post Graduate Institute of Education and Research in Chandigarh. She had neither the salary nor a full time job. But what she had was an ardent wish to pursue research.


The “Women Scientists Scheme-A (WOS-A)” for research in basic and applied sciences has been evolved in this context, by the Department of Science and Technology (DST) for providing opportunities to women scientists and technologists between the age group of 27-57 years who desire to return to mainstream science and work as bench-level scientists.

Through this endeavour of the Department, a concerted effort would be made to give women a strong foothold into the scientific profession, help them re-enter into the mainstream and provide a launch pad for further forays into the field of science and technology.



(1) Physical and Mathematical Sciences [PMS] (2) Chemical Sciences [CS] (3) Life Sciences [LS] (4) Earth and Atmospheric Sciences [EAS] (5) Engineering & Technology [ET].


This scheme provides a research grant which includes the fellowship of the applicant and cost of small equipments, contingencies, travel, consumables etc. Institutional overhead charges and House Rent Allowances are not included in total project cost.


  1. EMPLOYMENT: Candidates in regular employment are not eligible for WOS-A. However, women scientists who are availing any temporary positions in research or academics may apply in the scheme but they have to leave their earlier assignment if WOS-A project approved.
  2. AGE: The minimum age to apply is 27 years and maximum is 57 years. Women scientists, less than 27 years of age are not eligible.
    1. Women Scientists who have completed PG in basic Sciences, graduation or PG in professional courses and Ph.D. and have break in career are eligible for WOS-A.
    2. Candidates who are registered in Ph.D and receiving any fellowship are not eligible to apply.
  4. BREAK IN CAREER: Minimum 2 years’ break is required after Ph.D award.

      IASbhai WINDUP: 

  • Women constitute an important section of the workforce. However, in the present situation a large number of well-qualified women scientists have been left out of the S&T activities due to various circumstances.
  • The problems faced are several but significantly, most often the “break-in-career” arises out of motherhood and family responsibilities.
  • The options for revival of their profession are meager in current system due to restriction in age and qualification/experience criterion.

‘Knowledge Involvement in Research Advancement through Nurturing’ (KIRAN)


Women scientists receive international exposure through Indo-U.S. Fellowship for WISTEMM

      WHY IN NEWS:

DST’s ‘Knowledge Involvement in Research Advancement through Nurturing’ (KIRAN) encompasses women-exclusive schemes

MINISTRY?Ministry of Science & Technology
SYLLABUS COVERED: GS 3:Issues related to society:Schemes


For PRELIMS understand both the initiatives WISTEMM and KIRAN. They are important for Prelims 2020!


The Indo-U.S. Fellowship for Women in Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics and Medicine (WISTEMM)”program of Department of Science and Technology(DST) in association with Indo-U.S. Science & Technology Forum (IUSSTF) have provided international exposure to several women scientists.


Around 20 women scientists have visited 20 leading institutions across the United States of America for furthering their research work and to get trained in the state of the art technologies related to their research.

WISTEMM aims to provide opportunities to Indian Women Scientists, Engineers & Technologists to undertake international collaborative research in premier institutions in U.S.A, to enhance their research capacities and capabilities.

The programme is run for two categories of women scientists:

  1. Women Overseas Student Internship (Module I) for women students pursuing PhD, and
  2. Women Overseas Fellowship (Module II) for women with PhD degree and holding regular positionat any recognized institution/laboratory in India.

The fellowship is for bright Indian women Citizen within the age bracket of 21 to 45 years.

Knowledge Involvement in Research Advancement through Nurturing (KIRAN)

In the year 2014, DST restructured all women specific programmes under one umbrella called Knowledge Involvement in Research Advancement through Nurturing (KIRAN), which encompasses women-exclusive schemes and encourages them to foster their career by not only undertaking research in Science and Technology (S&T) but also focusing on S&T solutions of issues & challenges at the grassroots level for social benefits.


The aim of the program is to provide opportunities to Indian Women Scientists, Engineers and Technologists to undertake collaborative research and gain exposure to excellent research facilities at international level.


The mandate of KIRAN Program is to bring gender parity in S&T through gender mainstreaming.


KIRAN-IPR is implemented by TIFAC with grant-in-aid from DST.

Women Scientist Scheme (WOS) addresses challenges faced by S&T qualified women primarily due to social responsibilities.

Technology Information, Forecasting and Assessment Council (TIFAC) is an autonomous organization set up in 1988 under the Department of Science & Technology to look ahead in technologies, assess the technology trajectories, and support technology innovation by network actions in select technology areas of national importance.

      IASbhai WINDUP: 

Providing avenues to women scientists and technologists for capacity building, knowledge and skill enhancement at global level is another objective achieved through its international component called ‘International Fellowship for Women in Science’.



 Let us ‘Discuss’

      IASbhai WINDUP: 

Let us know what you think about this in the comment section.



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