Goaltide Daily Current Affairs 2021

Aug 30, 2021

Current Affair 1:
Indian defence land policy

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India has approved a new defence land policy—almost after 250 years—that will significantly change the way defence land is managed at present.

The Ministry of Defence is the largest landowner in India—controls 17.95 lakh acres of land.

With the implementation of new laws, the armed services will be able to create equal value infrastructure (EVI) in exchange for allowing use of properties for public projects or other non-military purposes. The unutilized defence land can be used for construction of key public projects such as metros, roads, railways, flyovers and others.

Anomalies in defence land management

The old defence land policy included rules outlined during the British era:

  • Use of defence land for non-military purposes was not allowed since the first British cantonment was established in Bengal’s Barrackpore in 1765
  • Bungalows and quarters in the cantonment zones could not be sold or occupied by people other than the defence personnel
  • As such procedures of defence land management are obsolete and irrelevant in terms of the current infrastructure requirements, updating the defence lands policy has been a long-standing demand by many government authorities.

The defence land is managed by the Directorate General of Defence Estates and as a huge proportion of this land is unutilized, human resources are required to safeguard these areas, increasing the need for additional armed forces.

Why amending the Defence Land Policy is necessary?

The Indian government announced plans to ease restrictions on defence land acquisition for use in public projects. As a large proportion of defence lands lies in prime locations across the country, civilian authorities are justified in demanding these lands for use in development of public projects. This will help set up key public amenities in accessible locations and benefit citizens at large.

It is imperative to monetize and develop UNUSED regions to serve both the defence and general public requirements.

Defence land policy: Initiatives

The defence ministry has taken several initiatives to manage defence land in an effective way.  A few of these initiatives are as follows:

The new defence policy covers the following major points:

  1. Eight equal value infrastructure (EVI) projects have been identified for the armed forces in lieu of the land procured from them, which will be used for either public projects or other non-military activities. In case the EVI is less than the actual cost of the defence land, the Ministry of Defence will receive the remaining funds.
  2. In case lands are located within the cantonment zones, the value will be evaluated by a committee led by local military authorities. If the defence land is outside the cantonment zones, the value will be decided by the respective district magistrate.

Transformative adaptation: Ways to improve India’s long-term food security

Going forward, tackling the twin challenges of climate change and food insecurity will require bold, innovative approaches. Beyond certain climate ‘tipping points’, some food systems will not be able to continue existing in their current forms.

‘Transformative adaptation’ — defined as promoting long-term resilience by changing the fundamental attributes of a system in response to actual or expected climate change and its effects — could be part of the answer to this crisis.

Transformation contrasts with incremental adaptation, the currently prevalent practice of trying to maintain existing food systems through less dramatic measures like more drought-tolerant varieties of familiar crops and more efficient water management.


Current Affair 2:
One Year of National Education Policy


In July 2020, the Indian government launched the National Education Policy (NEP) 2020 to replace the old education policy (National Policy on Education (NPE), 1986) and meet the evolving needs of new-age learning skills including digital education.

In July 2021, the new policy completed one year and brought significant changes in the Indian education sector.

Key Developments under NEP 2020

In the past one year (July 2020 onwards), the Indian education sector recorded significant developments as part of the NEP implementation. Key developments are as follows:

1. Technical courses in regional languages


In July 2021, Union Minister of Education, Mr. Dharmendra Pradhan announced to introduce technical subjects in regional languages such as Malayalam, Gujarati, Hindi, Bengali, Kannada, Tamil, Telugu and Marathi. In line with this, the government also announced that 14 engineering colleges across eight states have initiated technical education (B.Tech course) in five regional language (Hindi, Bengali, Marathi, Telugu and Tamil) to cater to the marginalised section of the society.

The government also launched subjects in Indian sign language at secondary level in the country for inclusion in higher education.

2. Online degree programmes

In line with the government’s NEP 2020, in 2021, the University Grants Commission (UGC) allowed universities to offer online degree courses and expand further in the education sector, while supporting career growth of students.

NEP 2020 enabled the top 100 universities in the country to extend online degree courses and enhance accessibility.

In line with the government’s goal to implement NEP, key EdTech players are leveraging strategic partnerships to offer online courses to students in India.

For examples:

In June 2021, upGrad, an EdTech company, in collaboration with O.P. Jindal Global University and Jamia Hamdard University introduced online education programmes such as Master of Computer Applications, Bachelor of Business Administration, Master of Business Administration and courses on corporate and financial law.

In June 2021, Imarticus Learning in partnership with JAIN (Deemed-to-be University), Bengaluru, introduced online degree programmes such as BBA in banking and finance.

In March 2021, Great Learning, an EdTech firm, joined forces with JAIN (Deemed-to-be University), Bengaluru, to introduce online degree programmes such as BBA, MBA and MCA.

3. Revised pattern of board examination

In line with the NEP 2020, the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) announced to increase the number of analytical, competency-based and multiple-choice questions to assess the critical and creative thinking capabilities of students and make them industry-ready for employment.

4. Availability of multidisciplinary streams in institutes

In line with the government’s NEP 2020, aiming to make higher education multidisciplinary by 2030, institutes and colleges including IIT Delhi, IIT Roorkee and IIT Kharagpur are gradually expanding to include non-engineering courses to offer students an extended opportunity to learn new disciplinaries.


In August 2020, IIT Kharagpur inaugurated the Academy of Classical and Folk Arts to offer students training programmes on performing arts, fine arts and music.

For FY21, IIT Roorkee introduced new term-wise MBA and MSc (Biotechnology) (supported by the Department of Biotechnology).

5. Data science and financial literacy in schools

In 2021, as part of NEP 2020 implementation, CBSE schools leveraged strategic partnerships with tech players such as Microsoft to introduce data science and coding skill courses in schools.

In June 2021, CBSE also collaborated with National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI) to introduce financial literacy curriculum for Class VI students.

6. New Educational Initiatives

In July 2021, on the occasion of one year anniversary of the introduction of NEP in the country, Prime Minister, Mr. Narendra Modi launched additional ten educational initiatives to boost the education landscape of the country. Key initiatives are as follows:

Academic Bank of Credit

Prime Minister, Mr. Narendra Modi launched the Academic Bank of Credit to offer opportunity for multiple entry and exit choices for students in higher education.

Artificial Intelligence

Prime Minister, Mr. Narendra Modi released a website dedicated to artificial intelligence to prepare students industry-ready and lay the foundation for an AI-driven economy.

Engineering Programmes in Regional Languages

The government announced that first-year engineering programmes will be available in regional languages FY22 onwards. In line with this, the AICTE aims to build a resource database to empower institutions to provide more programmes in regional languages and design a tool that can translate technical curriculum into 11 languages.


The government introduced NISHTHA 2.0, which is an integrated programme that was designed by NCERT (National Council of Educational Research and Training) to train teachers.

Vidya Pravesh Programme

The government launched the Vidya Pravesh programme, which is a three-month play-based school readiness programme for students in Grade I.


The government introduced SAFAL, (Structured Assessment for Analysing Learning Levels), a competency-based assessment methodology used in CBSE schools for Grades III, V and VIII.

National Digital Education Architecture (NDEAR)

The government launched National Digital Education Architecture (NDEAR) to facilitate a new educational ecosystem and establish a digital framework for self-governance for all concerned stakeholders.

The programme was designed to allow educators assess students based on their abilities and talents, enabling them to better understand their areas of specialization and how they might apply them to their career prospects.

National Education Technology Forum (NETF)

The government introduced the National Education Technology Forum (NETF) to deliver neutral, evidence-based recommendations on technology-based initiatives to central and state government associations.

Once the forum is operational, school-specific information will be gathered on how technology can be utilized to deliver academic material and what efforts are being done to improve research.

Sign Language as a Subject

In his address to mark the 1st anniversary of NEP 2020, Prime Minister, Mr. Narendra Modi said that for the first time, Indian sign language has been granted the status of a language subject. He added that the country has >3 lakh students who require sign language as part of their education and the introduction of sign language in the system would help empower those students.

Internationalization of Higher Education

In addition, Prime Minister, Mr. Narendra Modi introduced guidelines for ‘Internationalization of Higher Education’ to encourage higher teaching institutions and explore creative collaborations in areas of education and research. Moreover, this will also help provide an opportunity to the Higher Education Institutions compete at a global level.


Current Affair 3:
SVEEP (Systematic Voters’ Education and Electoral Participation)


Systematic Voters’ Education and Electoral Participation program, better known as SVEEP, is the flagship program of the Election Commission of India for voter education, spreading voter awareness and promoting voter literacy in India. Since 2009, we have been working towards preparing India’s electors and equipping them with basic knowledge related to the electoral process.

Current Affair 4:
Term of the day: Tokenization


Tokenization is the process of turning sensitive data into non-sensitive data called "tokens" that can be used in a database or internal system without bringing it into scope. Tokenization can be used to secure sensitive data by replacing the original data with an unrelated value of the same length and format. The tokens are then sent to an organization’s internal systems for use, and the original data is stored in a secure token vault.

The purpose of tokenization is to swap out sensitive data—typically payment card or bank account numbers—with a randomized number in the same format but with no intrinsic value of its own. This differs from encryption, where a number is mathematically changed, but its original pattern is still stored within the new code—known as format-preserving encryption.

Tokenization is the process of removing sensitive data from your business systems by replacing it with an undecipherable token and storing the original data in a secure cloud data vault. Encrypted numbers can be decrypted with the appropriate key. Tokens, however, cannot be reversed, because there is no mathematical relationship between the token and its original number.

Earlier when we used to make payments through cards (debit/credit) from a PoS machine or any merchant website (amazon/flipkart) then these merchants used to store our card information for further processing of data. But now with tokenization allowed by RBI, when we will submit our card details on the merchant website then a token will be generated by the card networks (VISA/MASTERCARD) and it will be sent to our mobile and this token then we will enter on the merchant website and the merchant website will not be allowed to store our exact card details.

Current Affair 5:

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