Current Affairs

Prelims Spotlight (18-4-18)


  • Commerce and Industry Minister launched the FIEO GlobalLinker, a digital platform for MSME Exporters.
  • This initiative will help in expanding India's multi-focused export strategy and also aid in connecting art and artisans to the market.
  • At least 300 Geographical Indications will be registered very soon, which will give a major boost to exports.
  • FIEO GlobalLinker is setup with a view to make the business growth of SMEs simpler, more profitable and enjoyable.


  • Atal Pension Yojana (APY), a pension scheme for unorganised sector workers such as personal maids, drivers, gardeners etc, was launched in June 2015 by the government. This social security scheme was introduced as a replacement to previous government's Swavalamban Yojana NPS Lite, which wasn't well accepted by people.
  • APY aims to help these workers save money for their old age while they are working and guarantees returns post retirement. The scheme also promises a co-contribution by Central Government of 50% of the total prescribed contribution by a worker, up to Rs. 1000 per annum, but only to those who joined APY before 31.12.2015. Further, this co-contribution would be made only for 5 years, from FY 2015-16 to 2019-20 in the eligible cases subject to conditions mentioned below.
  • You are eligible for the Atal Pension Yojana if you are:

1. An Indian citizen

2. Have a valid bank account

3. Are between 18 and 40 years of age.

Why it was in news

  • Atal Pension Yojana (APY) is being implemented through the APY Service Providers comprising of Public Sector Banks (PSBs), Private Sector Banks, Regional Rural Banks (RRBs), Cooperative Banks and Department of Post both in urban and rural areas across the country.
  • The total number of subscribers registered under APY as on 12th April 2018 has crossed 97.60 lakhs.
  • Atal Pension Yojana provides minimum guaranteed pension ranging between Rs. 1000/- to Rs. 5000/- per month for the subscriber from the age of 60 years.


  • A Loan Agreement for IBRD loan of USD 48 million for the “Meghalaya Community - Led Landscapes Management Project (MCLLMP)” was signed with the World Bank.
  • The Objective of the Project is to strengthen community-led landscapes management in selected landscapes in the State of Meghalaya. The Project consists of three components: (i) Strengthening Knowledge and Capacity for Natural Resource Management; (ii) Community-led landscape planning and implementation and (iii) Project Management and Governance.
  • Meghalaya’s natural resource such as land, water sources and forests is a source of livelihood for a majority of the population in the State.
  • The Project will help manage these depleting resources, by strengthening the communities and traditional institutions.
  • Restoration of degraded and highly degraded landscapes under the Project will increase water for local communities and improve the soil productivity which will in turn increase incomes and reduce poverty.


  • The Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojana (PMGSY) is a nationwide plan in India to provide good all-weather road connectivity to unconnected villages. Of 178,000 (1.7 lakh) habitations with a population of above 500 in the plains and above 250 in the hilly areas planned to be connected by all-weather roads, 82% were already connected by December 2017 and work-in-progress on the remaining 47,000 habitations was on-track for completion by March 2019 (c. December 2017).
  • This Centrally Sponsored Scheme was introduced in 2000 by the then-prime minister of India Atal Behari Vajpayee. The Assam Tribune has reported that the scheme has started to change the lifestyle of many villagers as it has resulted in new roads and upgrade of certain inter-village routes in Manipur.
  • The aim was to provide roads to all villages
  • with a population of 1000 persons and above by 2003
  • with a population of 500 persons and above by 2007
  • in hill states, tribal and desert area villages with a population of 500 persons and above by 2003
  • in hill states, tribal and desert area villages with a population of 250 persons and above by 2007

Why it was in news

  • Roads are primary to any development agenda. PMGSY, since its inception in 2000, has been able to provide connectivity to 1,52,124 habitations (85.37% against 1,78,184 eligible habitations).
  • Sensing the importance and urgency of rural roads for national development the target date for completion of PMGSY-I has been preponed from 2022 to 2019.
  • Working towards this accelerated target, sanctions have been given to 1,66,012 habitations (93%) against the target of 1,78,184 eligible habitations.
  • PMGSY through its all-weather roads has contributed this key ingredient of development to 11,499 new unconnected habitations for the first time in 2017-18.
  • This centrally sponsored programme implemented in partnership with the state governments, has seen greater focus and consistent improvement in pace and quality in the last three years.
  • The pace of construction of PMGSY roads reached an 8 year high of 134 kms per day in 2017-18 as against an average of 73 kms during the period 2011 to 2014. A total of 48,751 kms of PMGSY roads, connecting 11,499 eligible habitations have been constructed in 2017-18 at an average rate of 134 kms per day.
  • PMGSY II was launched in 2012-13, so far, 13 states have moved to stage II of the programme. As against a target of 50,000 km, 32,024 km has been sanctioned and 17,705 km road length has been upgraded. Other states are likely to move to PMGSY II in FY 2018-19.


  • Prime Ministers pledged to deepen cooperation between the Nordic countries and India, and focused their discussions on key issues related to global security, economic growth, innovation and climate change.
  • The Prime Ministers reaffirmed the importance of free trade as a catalyst for achieving inclusive growth and realising the Sustainable Development Goals.
  • The Prime Ministers acknowledged that innovation and digital transformation drive growth in an interconnected world, and underpin a growing engagement between the Nordic countries and India. The role of the Nordic countries as global innovation leaders was underlined.
  • The Nordic approach to innovation systems, characterised by a strong collaboration between public sector, private sector and academia, was discussed, and synergies were identified with India’s rich pool of talent and skills.
  • The Summit emphasised the Indian Government’s strong commitment to innovation and digital initiatives as key to prosperity and sustainable development, with national flagship programmes such as Make in India, Startup India, Digital India and Clean India.
  • Nordic solutions in clean technologies, maritime solutions, port modernisation, food processing, health, life-sciences and agriculture were mentioned. The Summit welcomed the Nordic Sustainable Cities Project aimed at supporting the Smart Cities Program of the Government of India.

  • An electoral bond is designed to be a bearer instrument like a Promissory Note — in effect, it will be similar to a bank note that is payable to the bearer on demand and free of interest. It can be purchased by any citizen of India or a body incorporated in India.
  • The bonds will be issued in multiples of Rs 1,000, Rs 10,000, Rs1 lakh, Rs10 lakh and Rs1 crore and will be available at specified branches of State Bank of India. They can be bought by the donor with a KYC-compliant account. Donors can donate the bonds to their party of choice which can then be cashed in via the party's verified account within 15 days.
  • Every party that is registered under section 29A of the Representation of the Peoples Act, 1951 (43 of 1951) and has secured at least one per cent of the votes polled in the most recent Lok Sabha or State election will be allotted a verified account by the Election Commission of India. Electoral bond transactions can be made only via this account.
  • The bonds will be available for purchase for a period of 10 days each in the beginning of every quarter, i.e. in January, April, July and October as specified by the Central Government. An additional period of 30 days shall be specified by the Central Government in the year of Lok Sabha elections.

Why it was in news

  • Random Serial Number, invisible to the naked eye, present on the Bond not linked to any party transaction or cannot be used for tracking the transactions SBI does not share the serial number with anybody, including the Government and users
  • The Government notified the scheme of Electoral Bonds on Jan. 02, 2018. Electoral Bond is a bearer instrument in the nature of a Promissory Note.
  • The Purchaser is allowed to buy electoral bond (s) only on due fulfillment of all the extant KYC norms and by making payment from a bank account.
  • The Bond does not carry the name of payee or any other details by which the buyer can be identified. Likewise no detail of political party depositing the bonds is noted on the electoral bonds. Thus, any particular bond cannot be identified or associated with any particular buyer or political party deposits it.
  • The Electoral Bonds have some built in security features to eliminate chances of forgery or presentation of fake bonds. These include a random serial number invisible to the naked eye. This number is not noted by the SBI in any record associated with buyer or political party depositing a particular electoral bond. It is, thus not linked to any party transaction when the Bank issues a bond to the buyer. As such the number is not being used or can be used to track the donation or the buyer.


  • DARPAN – “Digital Advancement of Rural Post Office for A New India” Project to improve the quality of service, add value to services and achieve “financial inclusion” of un-banked rural population. The goal of the IT modernization project with an outlay of Rs. 1400 Crore is to provide a low power technology solution to each Branch Postmaster (BPM) which will enable each of approximately 1.29 Lakhs Branch Post Offices (BOs) to improve the level of services being offered to rural customers across all the states. As on date, 43,171 Branch Post Offices have migrated under the “DARPAN” project with the aim of financial inclusion to rural population and it is targeted to complete the project by March, 2018.

Why it was in news

  • With a view to achieve total digitisation of postal operations in the country, under the IT Modernisation Plan, Department of Posts has launched DIGITAL ADVANCEMENT OF RURAL POST OFFICE FOR A NEW INDIA (DARPAN) Project, which aims to connect all 1.29 lakh Rural Branch Post Offices in the country, to enable them to do online Postal and Financial Transactions.
  • The DARPAN-PLI App, launched by Hon’ble Minister of State (I/C) for Communications and Minister of State for Railways today, will help in collection of premium for PLI and RPLI policies at Branch Post Offices anywhere in India, with online updation of the policies.
  • Further, with launch of this App, indexing of maturity claims in respect of PLI and RPLI policies can be done at Branch Post Office itself, upon which the customer will immediately be provided with the request number for further references. These two initiatives will help Department of Posts in providing better after-sales service to customers of PLI and RPLI, particularly those living in rural areas of the country.