Current Affairs 28 December

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What is the CAG audit report on Assam’s NRC?
Khanij Bidesh India Limited (KABIL)
Scheme of Fund for Regeneration of Traditional Industries (SFURTI)
“Amrit Bharat Station” scheme
CSIR, Ministry of Science and Technology Initiatives  
GS 2

What is the CAG audit report on Assam’s NRC?

A recent Comptroller and Auditor ¬General of India (CAG) report on the update exercise of the National Register of Citizens (NRC) in Assam has flagged serious irregularities, including “haphazard development” of software for the exercise, making it prone to data tampering, and flagged undue profits worth crores amassed by the system integrator (SI) by violating the Minimum Wages Act. The auditor flagged concerns in a compliance report of ‘logistical arrangements for NRC update project in Assam’ tabled in the Assam Assembly on December 24.

What is the NRC exercise?

An NRC was first created in 1951 in Assam to identify those born in India and migrants from erstwhile East Pakistan, now Bangladesh. In 2013, the Supreme Court issued directions to the Centre and State to initiate an exercise in Assam to update the 1951 register.

The final list, published in 2019, included those who could establish their Indian citizenship by being residents or descendants of people living in Assam before March 25, 1971 — the cut-off date for deportation of foreigners as per the Assam Accord of August 1985.

As many as 19.06 lakh people out of 3.3 crore applicants were excluded due to a lack of adequate documents to prove their citizenship. Several parties dismissed the final list as “faulty”. Three years later, the process is on pause as the Registrar General of India (RGI) is yet to notify the final list.

What has the CAG recommended?

The country’s top auditor sought penal measures against Wipro Limited for violating the provisions of the Minimum Wages Act and for paying data operators less than minimum wages. Secondly, the report recommended action against the State Coordinator of National Registration (SCNR) for “excess, irregular and inadmissible payments”. The CAG also recommended fixing accountability of the SCNR as the principal employer for “not ensuring compliance with the Minimum Wage Act”

Government Schemes


Ministry of Textiles

The Government had approved setting up of 7 (seven) PM Mega Integrated Textile Region and Apparel (PM MITRA) Parks to develop world class infrastructure including plug and play facility with an outlay of Rs. 4445 crore for a period up-to 2027-28. The guidelines in respect of scheme have been published and there have been multiple interactions with State Governments for inviting proposals. In response 18 proposals from 13 States have been received.  National Conference was organized on 04.05.2022 for discussion on proposals with the Senior Officers from State Governments and Industry Associations. Evaluation of proposed PM MITRA park sites was done through Gati Shakti portal to understand locational advantage. As of now detailed scrutiny for selection of sites through challenge matrix is underway.

Khanij Bidesh India Limited (KABIL)

Ministry of Earth Science

A JV Company among NALCO, HCL and MECL named Khanij Bidesh India Limited (KABIL) was formed in 2019 to identify, acquire, develop, process and make commercial use of strategic minerals in overseas locations for supply in India. KABIL is focusing on identifying and sourcing battery minerals like Lithium and Cobalt. Engagement with a few companies / projects is underway in Australia, Argentina and Chile.

Scheme of Fund for Regeneration of Traditional Industries (SFURTI)

The scheme supports establishment of collective manufacturing enterprise of artisans, to increase their production, making them produce value-added products, enhancing marketability of products.

Ministry of Micro,Small & Medium Enterprises


To address the urgent issue of air pollution due to farm stubble burning and to reduce carbon footprints of thermal power generation, the Ministry of Power has decided to revise its “Policy for Biomass utilization for power generation through co-firing in coal based power plants ” through its order dated 08.10.2021. It has been mandated that all thermal power plants to use 5% blend of biomass pellets in the co-firing with coal.

In order to support the energy transition in the country and to achieve the target of cleaner energy sources , Ministry of Power has constituted a National Mission on use of Biomass in coal based thermal power plants known as SAMARTH (Sustainable Agrarian Mission on use of Agri Residue in Thermal Power Plant) Mission. Under this National Mission, a full time body namely Mission Directorate has been constituted which is coordinating and monitoring the overall policy implementation and the targets of the National Mission.

MoP issued Model Long term Contract for Biomass supply. The Minimum tenure of Model contract shall be Seven years. This will help in developing Biomass supply chain infrastructure.

In order to encourage and send a message to the farmers to store paddy residue instead of burning it, a provision is included in Long term Model contract, which ensures Minimum 50% paddy straw in the composition of biomass pellets in the tenders for NCR plants. This condition in the Model contract will encourage the farmers for assured business and extra income.

“Amrit Bharat Station” scheme

Ministry of Railways has formulated a new policy for modernization of stations named “Amrit Bharat Station” scheme. Amrit Bharat Station scheme envisages development of stations on a continuous basis with a long term vision. It is based on Master Planning for long term and implementation of the elements of Master Plan as per the needs and patronage of the station.

Broad objectives:

The scheme aims at preparation of Master Plans of the Railway stations and implementation of the Master Plan in phases to enhance the facilities including and beyond the Minimum Essential Amenities (MEA) and aiming for creation of Roof Plazas and city centres at the station in long run.

The scheme shall aim to meet the needs of the stakeholders, station usage studies as far as possible based on availability of funds and inter-se priority.

The scheme shall cater for introduction of new amenities as well as upgradation and replacement of existing amenities.

This scheme will also cover the stations where detailed techno-economic feasibility studies have been conducted or are being conducted but the work for construction of Roof Plazas has not been taken up yet, ensuring the phasing of Master Plan being suitably implemented and relocation of structures and utilities being given more emphasis in the phasing plans.

CSIR, Ministry of Science and Technology Initiatives

CSIR- IICT has developed a technology to manufacture hydrazine hydrate, which is used in agrochemicals, pharmaceuticals, and water treatment.

CSIR-NEERI has developed the RENEU Technology for the construction of wetlands that are sustainable wastewater treatment processes. RENEU was successfully implemented at Jhunsi, Prayag Raj, in readiness for the Kumbh Mela of 2019, being part of the National Mission to keep the Ganges clean for the pilgrims during the holy festival.

CSIR-NAL has developed and transferred the technology of Drishti Transmissometer that have been deployed in many airports in India. The transmissiometer is a visibility measuring system, useful for safe airport operations and landing. Drishti been installed at several airports in the country and recently the 5oth Drishti was installed at the runway of Kempegowda International Airport (KIA). The Bengaluru Airport also installed the indigenous Aviation Weather Monitoring System (AWMS) at its new runway.

Bharatiya Nirdeshak Dravya (BND 420) is India’s first home grown high purity gold reference standard developed through a collaboration among the India Government Mint (IGM), Bhabha Atomic Research Centre (BARC), CSIR-NPL and National Centre for Compositional Characterisation of Materials.

CSIR-NCL has set-up an indigenous process technology to create Dimethyl Ether (DME) from methanol. DME is a clean fuel with potential to replace diesel and will be a non-fossil additive to LPG gas. This will also help the Prime Minister Ujjwala Yojana program, by reducing LPG imports.

The first indigenously built research vessel ‘Sindhu Sadhana’ was dedicated to the nation in 2014 by Shri Jitendra Singh, the Union Minister of State for Science and Technology. The muti-disciplinary research vessel of CSIR-NIO is 80 meters long and 17.6 m wide and can accommodate 57 personnel including 29 scientists and 28 crew members. It is designed for a cruising speed of 13.5 knots and an endurance of 45 days. The research vessel has 10 laboratories which are fitted with state-of-the-art equipment facilitating high precision data and sample acquisition.

Kisan Sabha App has been developed by CSIR-CRRI to connect farmers to the supply chain and freight transportation management system. This portal acts as a one-stop solution for farmers, transporters, and other entities engaged in the agriculture Industry. More than one lakh downloads and also available in regional languages.

CSIR has developed a low-cost and portable Ksheer Scanner, a technology to detect adulterated milk.

CSIR-CCMB in collaboration with the Indian Institute of Rice Research at Hyderabad has released a new variety of rice that resists pests and is also beneficial for those with diabetes. The new Improved Samba Masuri (ISM) rice variety is resistant to Bacterial Blight (BB) and at the same time has the lowest Glycemic Index (GI) at 50.9 among all major rice varieties.

“JIGYASA” is one of the major initiatives taken up by CSIR at national level to widen and deepen CSIR’s Scientific Social Responsibility (SSR) by connecting school students to scientists at CSIR.

SARS-CoV2 pandemic and CSIR’s contributions towards mitigation:

  1. CRISPR/ Cas based paper diagnostic test (FELUDA)
  2. Dry-Swab-Direct-RTPCR Diagnostic
  3. Clinical Trials of Ayurveda based drugs
  4. Swasth Vayu Non-invasive Ventilator
  5. Oxygen Plants
  6. Make-Shift Hospitals for Covid-19 patients
  7. UV-C Virus Disinfection System that has been installed in places such as Central Hall of Parliament, Buses, railway coaches
  8. Air surveillance for SARS-CoV2 in hospitals and home settings
  9. Octacopter drones for Vaccine delivery

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