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  • 07-06-2021

Union Minister of Rural Development, Agriculture and Farmers Welfare & Panchayati Raj Releases A Model Panchayat Citizens Charter (GS Paper 4 Citizens Charter) 

Context

A Model Panchayat Citizens Charter/ framework for delivery of the services across the 29 sectors, aligning actions with localised Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) as prepared by Ministry of Panchayati Raj (MoPR) in collaboration with National Institute of Rural Development & Panchayati Raj (NIRDPR) was released by Union Minister of Rural Development, Agriculture and Farmers Welfare & Panchayati Raj through virtual program for the Panchayats to adopt & customise.

Key Points

The Citizen Charter would ensure transparent and effective delivery of public services for sustainable development and enhanced citizen service experiences; deepening inclusive and accountable Local Self Governments by incorporating diverse views while designing and delivering services.

The aim of establishing a Citizen charter is to provide services to the people in a time bound manner, redressing their grievances and improving their lives. 

This will help in making the citizens aware of their rights on the one hand, and to make the Panchayats and their elected representatives directly accountable to the people, on the other hand. 

The basic objective of the Gram Panchayat Citizen Charter is to empower the citizens in relation to public services and to improve the quality of services without any prejudice, and in accordance with the expectations of the citizens. 

Panchayats constitute the third tier of government in the rural areas and represents the first level of Government interaction for over 60 per cent of the Indian populace. Panchayats are responsible for delivery of basic services as enshrined under article 243G of the Constitution of India, specifically in the areas of Health & Sanitation, Education, Nutrition, Drinking Water.

Citizen’s Charter 

The Citizen’s Charter is a voluntary and written document that spells out the service provider’s efforts taken to focus on their commitment towards fulfilling the needs of the citizens. 

The concept of a citizen’s charter was initiated by former British Prime Minister John Major in the year 1991. 

It was started as a national programme intended to improve the quality of public services. In 1998, in the UK, the concept was renamed ‘Services First’.

Principles of Citizen’s Charter 

Quality – Improving service quality.

Choice – Wherever possible.

Standards – Specifically mention what to expect and how to go about if standards are not met.

Value – For taxpayers’ money.

Accountability – At the level of the individual and the organization.

Transparency – Transparency in rules/schemes/procedures/grievances.

Source: PIB

Union Minister of Rural Development, Agriculture and Farmers Welfare & Panchayati Raj Releases A Model Panchayat Citizens Charter eg classes

 

NTPC joins UN’s CEO Water mandate to step up work on water conservation with reduce, reuse and recycle (GS Paper 2 International Organisations)

Context

NTPC Ltd, India’s largest power utility Under Ministry of Power has become a signatory to the prestigious UN Global Compact’s CEO Water Mandate. 

Key Points

NTPC has already taken a series of measures across its plant locations on sound water management. 

NTPC will further imbibe the 3 R’s (reduce, reuse, recycle) for water conservation and management while carrying out its core business activity of power generation.

CEO Water Mandate

The CEO Water Mandate is a UN Global Compact initiative to demonstrate commitment and efforts of companies to better their water and sanitation agendas as part of long term Sustainable Development Goals. 

The CEO Water Mandate is designed to assist companies in the development, implementation, and disclosure of comprehensive water strategies and policies. 

It also provides a platform for companies to partner with like-minded businesses, UN agencies, public authorities, civil society organizations, and other key stakeholders.

The growing crisis in both water and sanitation in many parts of the world poses a wide range of risks and in some instances, opportunities – for companies in all industries. 

NTPC is committed to proactively address water sustainability issues through implementing Water Policy, which will serve as a directive for establishing water management strategies, systems, processes, practices and research initiatives.

Source: PIB

NTPC joins UN’s CEO Water mandate to step up work on water conservation with reduce, reuse and recycle eg classes

 

Performance Grading Index (PGI) 2019-20 for States and Union Territories (GS Paper 2 Education)

Context

Recently union Education Minister approved the release of Performance Grading Index (PGI) 2019-20 for States and Union Territories of India. 

The Government has introduced the Performance Grading Index with a set of 70 parameters to catalyse transformational change in the field of school education.

It is initiated by the Department of School Education and Literacy (DoSEL).

Background

The PGI for States and Union Territories was first published in 2019 with reference year 2017-18. 

The PGI : States/UTs for 2019-20 is the third publication in this series. 

Objectives

The PGI exercise envisages that the index would propel States and UTs towards undertaking multi-pronged interventions that will that will bring about the much-desired optimal education outcomes. 

The PGI helps the States/UTs to pinpoint the gaps and accordingly prioritise areas for intervention to ensure that the school education system is robust at every level.

Performances of States and Union Territories

Punjab, Chandigarh, Tamil Nadu, Andaman & Nicobar Islands and Kerala occupy the highest grade (Grade A++) for 2019-20.

Most of the States/UTs have improved their grade in PGI 2019-20 compared to the earlier years.

Andaman & Nicobar Islands, Arunachal Pradesh, Manipur, Puducherry, Punjab and Tamil Nadu have improved overall PGI score by 10%, i.e., 100 or more points.

Andaman & Nicobar Islands, Lakshadweep and Punjab have shown improvement by 10% (8 points) or more in the PGI domain: Access.

As many as thirteen States and UTs have shown improvement by 10% (15 points) or more in the PGI domain: Infrastructure and Facilities. Andaman & Nicobar Islands and Odisha have shown improvement by 20% or more. 

Arunachal Pradesh, Manipur and Odisha have shown more than 10% improvement in the PGI domain: Equity.

Nineteen States and UTs have shown improvement by 10% (36 points) or more in the PGI domain: Governance Process. Andaman & Nicobar Islands, Andhra Pradesh, Arunachal Pradesh, Manipur, Punjab, Rajasthan and West Bengal have shown improvement by at least 20% (72 points or more).

Source: PIB

Performance Grading Index (PGI) 2019-20 for States and Union Territories eg classes

 

More anti-bodies produced by Covishield than Covaxin: Study (GS Paper 2 Health)

Context

Two doses of Covishield vaccine produced more antibodies than Covaxin doses, but there were relatively fewer instances of ‘breakthrough infections’ after the 

latter, reports a study of healthcare workers (HCW) in India.

Key Points of the study

The study shows that none of the participants, who were all doctors and got both doses of vaccines, were ill and only about 6% tested positive at different points of the vaccination schedule. 

While both vaccines were protective, there were differences in the protection accorded by a single dose of the vaccines.

Due to the shortage, it’s easier for people to get a single dose given that the recommended gap has been extended to as many as 12 weeks for Covishield.

For the study, 515 healthcare workers from 13 States and covering 22 cities were evaluated from January to May 2021. 

Their blood samples were also tested for the presence, quantity of anti-bodies produced and levels of the specific anti-bodies directed to the spike protein of the virus, widely held to be a proxy of protection.

A single dose of Covishield elicited about 10 times the anti-bodies than Covaxin whereas a second dose narrowed the gap somewhat, with Covishield-triggered anti-bodies about six times that of Covaxin-stimulated ones, the study found.

Immunity

Protection from an infectious disease. 

If you are immune to a disease, you can be exposed to it without becoming infected.

Vaccine

A product that stimulates a person’s immune system to produce immunity to a specific disease, protecting the person from that disease. 

Vaccines are usually administered through needle injections, but can also be administered by mouth or sprayed into the nose.

Vaccination

The act of introducing a vaccine into the body to produce immunity to a specific disease.

Immunization

A process by which a person becomes protected against a disease through vaccination. 

This term is often used interchangeably with vaccination.

Covaxin vs Covishield

Developer

Covaxin has been developed by Hyderabad-based Bharat Biotech International Ltd in association with the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) and the National Institute of Virology (NIV).

Covishield has been developed by the Oxford-AstraZeneca and is being manufactured by the Serum Institute of India (SII).

Type of Vaccine

Covaxin is an inactivated viral vaccine. 

Covishield has been prepared using the viral vector platform which is a totally different technology.

Doses

There is no difference between the two vaccines in terms of dosage. Both of them are administered as 0.5ml in the upper arm region.

But, the dosing schedule for both vaccines however varies. The second dose of Covaxin is scheduled after 4-6 weeks after the first dose, while for Covishield vaccines it is 84 days or 12-16 weeks after the first dose.

Storage Guidelines

Both Covishield and Covaxin can be stored at 2-8° Centigrade, which is a household refrigerator temperature. 

This makes both the vaccines most suited for Indian conditions as most of the vaccines here are kept at the same temperature range.

This also makes the transportation and storage of both vaccines easier.

Efficacy

Both the vaccines have shown more than satisfactory results ever since the inoculation started in India.

The effectiveness of the Covishield vaccine is nearly 90% as per the global reports and Covaxin’s 81% according to interim 3rd phase trial results.

Source: The Hindu

More anti-bodies produced by Covishield than Covaxin eg classes

 

Defence Ministry clears deal for 6 submarines under Project-75I (India) (GS Paper 3 Defence)

Context

Recently the Defence Acquisition Council (DAC), headed by Defence Minister approved the issuance of a Request For Proposal (RFP) for the construction of six conventional submarines under Project-75I at an estimated cost of ₹43,000 crore. 

At a meeting, it also approved the procurement of air defence guns and ammunition for the Army at an approximate cost of ₹6,000 crore.

Key Points

This is a landmark approval, being the first case processed under the Strategic Partnership (SP) model. 

This would be one of the largest ‘Make in India’ projects and it will create a tiered industrial ecosystem for submarine construction in India.

With this approval, India would be enabled to achieve its 30-year submarine construction programme envisioned by the government to acquire national competence in their building and for Indian industry to independently design and construct them.

The SP model of the Defence Procurement Procedure (DPP) aims to promote the role of Indian industry in manufacturing and build a domestic defence industrial ecosystem.

Defence Acquisition Council

The Defence Acquisition Council is the highest decision-making body in the Defence Ministry for deciding on new policies and capital acquisitions for the three services (Army, Navy and Air Force) and the Indian Coast Guard.

The Minister of Defence is the Chairman of the Council.

It was formed, after the Group of Ministers recommendations on 'Reforming the National Security System', in 2001, post Kargil War (1999).

Project 75 India or P75I

Project 75 India or P75I will be the first under the strategic partnership model, promulgated in 2017 to boost indigenous defence manufacturing. 

The first submarine built under the project is likely to be delivered by 2030.

Source: The Hindu

Defence Ministry clears deal for 6 submarines under Project-75I eg classes