150th birth anniversary Current Affairs - 2020

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Government and IIT-Delhi signs MoU to set up a Centre of Excellence for Waste to Wealth Technologies 

To commemorate 150th birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi on 2 October 2019, the Office of Principal Scientific Adviser (PSA) to Government of India and Indian Institute of Technology Delhi (IIT Delhi) signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) in a move to come together and to bring best of science and technology to implement waste management by setting up a Centre of Excellence for Waste to Wealth Technologies in India.

Key Highlights

  • The waste to wealth mission project has been approved under Prime Minister’s Science Technology and Innovation Advisory Council (PM-STIAC).
  • The GoI and IIT-Delhi partnership will provide an effective platform for stakeholders to bring together integrated approaches for effective recycle, reuse and resource recovery of waste.
  • IIT Delhi had already identified waste to wealth as a focus area and many of its faculty members are already working on a variety of projects related to waste management.
  • The focus is to consolidate all possible Waste to Wealth Technologies, learn from best practices followed worldwide, and implement them at ground level at Indian cities.

Centre of Excellence for Waste to Wealth Technologies

It will work for implementation of sustainable, scientific and technological solutions for waste management, by validating and deploying available technologies for transformation of waste to wealth.

It will work on two terms of Objective:

  1. The immediate goal: is to set up an on-site pilot projects. This would effectively and successfully demonstrate proof of concept of technology under Indian condition. For this, technologies available with various national and international academias, industries, research laboratories and other agencies will be implemented.

It will be carried out by a strong collaborating network between IIT Delhi, and other national and international stakeholders under the aegis of PSA office.

  1. The long-term goal: is to streamline waste in India by creating circular economic models for waste management by using big data analytics and frontier technologies. The outcomes would involve waste treatment and generating different forms of energy, resulting in making India a waste free nation, with zero greenhouse gas (GHG) emission and no health hazard.

Under it, a waste to wealth programme management centre will also be set up at IIT Delhi.

Principal Scientific Adviser (PSA) office

  • It acts as a ‘think-tank’ and ‘action-tank’ for science, technology and innovation activities in India.
  • It plays a catalytic and synergistic role to strongly connect government ministry, academia and industry, in evolving appropriate policies, making recommendations for relevant scientific departments and ministries, and implementing scientific interventions in various sectors of national priority.


  • It is an overarching body with function of assessing, creating and implementing major scientific, technology and innovation interventions in India.
  • It has identified nine national missions to address major scientific challenges in India.
  • Through these nine missions, it aims to facilitate collaboration to solve complex problems and to ensure sustainable development.
  • Waste to wealth is one of the 9 Missions.

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Cabinet approves Special Remission Scheme for prisoners

Union Cabinet has approved to grant Special Remission to Prisoners as part of commemoration of 150th birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi to be observed in 2019. This decision is considered as befitting commemoration and homage to father of nation and humanitarian values Mahatma Gandhi stood for.

Following five categories of prisoners will be considered for special remission

  • Women and Transgender convicts: 55 years of age and above and who have completed 50% of their actual sentence period.
  • Male convicts: 60 years of age and above and who have completed 50% of their actual sentence period.
  • Physically challenged/disabled convicts: They will convicts with 70% disability and more and who have completed 50% of their actual sentence period.
  • Terminally ill convicts.
  • Convicted prisoners who have completed two-third (66%) of their actual sentence period.

In pursuance of this decision, Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) will issue advice to all States and UTs asking them to process cases of eligible prisoners based on above five categories.  State Governments will place recommendations of Committee before Governor for consideration and approval under Article 161 of the Constitution. After the approval, prisoners will be released three phases.

In Phase-l, prisoners will be released on 2nd October, 2018 (i.e. on birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi), in Phase-ll prisoners will be released on 10th April 2019 (anniversary of Champaran Satyagrah) and in Phase-Ill on 2nd October 2019 (birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi).

Special remission under this consideration will not be given to prisoners who have been convicted for offence for which sentence is of death or death sentence commuted to life imprisonment; cases of convicts involved in serious and heinous crimes like rape, human trafficking, dowry death and convicted under UAPA, POTA, TADA, FICN, POCSO Act, FEMA, Money Laundering, NDPS, Prevention of Corruption Act, etc.

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