1. Seed Development Programme
Context: A seed development programme has been prepared by Sugar fed, in coordination with PAU, Sugarcane Breeding Institute, Karnal and National Federation of Cooperative Sugar Factories for better cane yield.
About the Programme
- A DNA test was done on sugarcane variety CO-238 in the Sugarcane Breeding Institute, Coimbatore. The samples of the seed were sent from Gurdaspur and Ajnala areas that revealed that it is not pure and has parentage of other multiple varieties.
- Though the CO-238 variety of sugarcane is considered to be high-yielding and grown on almost 50 per cent of the area under cane cultivation in Punjab but according to Shivrajpal Singh Dhaliwal, sugarcane incharge, Sugarfed, the reason for impure variety in the state was its late recommendation in 2014-15, though it was cleared for cultivation in other states in 2009.
- To solve this, he said thataround 20 lakh seed samplings of pure varieties have been distributed to farmers in this season and from this year onwards, single-technique cultivation will be used to increase yield.
Single-Bud Cultivation Technique
- This method comprises of selecting seeds, peeling sugarcane leaves which includes peeling leaf sheaths of sugarcane seeds first before the seeds are chopped after the seeds are selected then chopping off tails of lower parts from growing points for 4 to 5 cm and old stems away from the ground for 80 to 100 cm, and using most middle sugarcane stems as the sugarcane seeds.
- Afterwards the seeds are chopped by removing bad and wormy bugs then soaked and four buds per meter for the seeds with strong tillering ability, i.e. one bud every 25 cm is placed.
- Then five buds per meter for the seeds with weak tillering ability, i.e. one bud every 20 cm is placed, wherein the sugarcane buds are placed upwards or towards both sides when the seeds are placed, and the sugarcane buds cannot be placed downwards
- Afterwards base fertilizers are applied, these are covered with mulching films and finally seedling inspection is done.
- The single-bud planting method of the sugarcane has the advantages of high budding rate and difficulty in disease infection, and the yield of the sugarcane can reach more than eight tons per mu in normal years.
2. Rainwater Harvesting to be done in Ropar Schools
Context: The schools in Ropar have decided with the help of district administration that to overcome the problems of depleting ground water, water recharge systems will be set up in a large number of government schools of the district.
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- A pilot project has been set up under which the water recharge system has already been operationalised successfully at Chanauli village in the NurpurBedi block. It was earlier notified as an overexploited zone by the Central Ground Water Board.
- The project is expected to save over 10 lakh liters of water as the rooftop area of the school building is 1,580 square meter.
- The depletion of groundwater level will be put into check due to these measures.
- These projects will inculcate the habit of saving water into the minds of youth.
3. Lambi farmers worry about Waterlogging
Context: The cotton crop of Lambi village has suffered a lot of damage due to waterlogging and is major cause of worry for the farmers.
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- Standing cotton and paddy crop in nearly 12 villages in Lambi has suffered extensive damage due to incessant rain and waterlogging.
- Cotton crop has damaged 100 per cent due to waterlogging. If rainwater is not drained out soon, then paddy will also suffer damage.
- Waterlogging is described as the saturation of soil with water. Soil may be regarded as waterlogged when it is nearly saturated with water much of the time such that its air phase is restricted and anaerobic conditions prevail.
- The Saturated soil conditions inhibit root growth, limit leaf area expansion, enhance disease pressure, and hinder photosynthesis. While the top growth of plants uses carbon dioxide and release oxygen as a by-product, a plant’s roots require oxygen for growth.
4. National award in the name of an Amritsar-based engineer
Context: The management of the Indian Institute of Technology/ Indian School of Mining (IIT-ISM), a premier institute in Dhanbad, (Jharkhand) has announced a national award in the name of an Amritsar-based engineer Jaswant Singh Gill posthumously.
About the award
- The name of the award is Jaswant Singh Gill Memorial Industrial Safety Excellence Award.
- It carries award money of Rs 50,000.
- Jaswant Singh Gill came into light when he risked his life to save 65 miners trapped in a coal mine.
- He was also awarded Sarvottam Jeevan Raksha Padak by President of India in November 1991.
5. Golden Temple Mail train completes 92 years of historic run
Context: The Golden Temple Mail, earlier known as the Frontier Mail, completed 92 years of its run as it chugged out of the Amritsar railway station.
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- The Frontier Mail was the longest train link in the Indian Subcontinent by the British government and was inaugurated in 1928.
- The Frontier Mail was formally renamed as the Golden Temple Mail in September 1996.
- The train was highlighted in The Times in London in 1930 when it described the Frontier Mail as ‘one of the most famous express trains under the British Empire’ which was also known for its punctuality.
6. Suicide Cases rise in Punjab
Context: As per the NCRB report, Punjab figured second in the category of significant percentage-wiseincrease in suicides in 2019 over 2018 with 37.5 per cent rise. From about 1,714 cases in 2018, the state reported 2,357 cases in 2019. Punjab was onlysecond to Bihar which recorded a 44.7 per cent increase.
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- Punjab has recorded a steep rise in the number of the suicide cases.
- The main factors behind rise in suicide case is reported as:
- Domestic violence cases reported to the city police.
- Depression, Unemployment and in some cases financial problems too.
7. Protests against Central government’s agri-ordinances by farmers in Punjab
Context: The farmers across Punjab have been demanding to withdraw the three ordinances passed by the central government viz. ) Farmers’ Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Ordinance, The Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement on Price Assurance and the Farm Services Ordinance, and an amendment in the Essential Commodities Act, 1955.
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- The proposed legislations by the central government seek to provide barrier-free trade for farmers’ produce outside notified farm mandis and empower farmers to enter into farming agreements with private players before production for sale of agri-produce.
- These also seek to include private players in agriculture and promote the hurdle-free sale of produce, but the farmers argue that they will bring about corporate dominance.
- The farmers have been opposing the ordinances as they are of the view that
- The ordinances would pave the way for ending the Minimum Support Price (MSP) regime, which will spell doom for Punjab and the whole nation.
- Farmers want the legislations to secure the Minimum Support Price (MSP) of all crops including fruits and vegetables.
- Farmers are also of the view that the government is trying to present these as a big step towards agricultural reforms in the form of “One Nation, One Market” but they will result in ‘company rule’ in the agricultural sector
- The Bills relate to the three ordinances issued by the Union Government on June 5, 2020, for permitting trade in agricultural produce outside the physical boundaries of the set-up agricultural market under APMC Act, easing restrictions under the Essential Commodities Act and facilitating contract farming.
8. Startup Ranking: Northern States laggard
Context: In the recent Startup rankings by the Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade (DPIIT), no state from the north region has featured in the top rankings.
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- Ranking of States on Support to Startup Ecosystems has been released by the Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade (DPIIT).
- The states were classified into five categories:
- Best Performers
- Top Performers
- Aspiring Leaders
- Emerging Startup Ecosystems
- In the northern region, access to seed capital and venture funding support is difficult as compared to top-performing states.
- Punjab and Haryana were placed under the Aspiring Leaders’ category.
9. Punjab Jails are in bad shape as per National Crime Records Bureau report
Context: As per a recent report by National Crime Records Bureau(NCRB), which is headquartered in New Delhi, Punjab jails are in bad shape due to highest pending complaints of rights abuse. Also it is among the top three jails in India in custodial suicides & unnatural deaths.
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- According to the NCRB report following are the important highlights:
- Punjab prison system needs urgent correctional measures as the state has topped in the number of human rights abuse complaints in the country, besides being among the top three states in the categories of jail escape, parole jump, custodial suicide and unnatural deaths.
- The report released on Monday in New Delhi said as many as 180 prisoners complained to the State Human Rights Commission (SHRC) in Punjab, followed by Madhya Pradesh (64) and Maharashtra (45) in 2019.
- The report said with 103 (out of 180) pending complaints of human rights abuse, Punjab was on the top in the country as per the pendency of complaints list. Punjab is second on the dubious list of unnatural deaths in the jail with 20 cases. As many as 29 such incidents were reported in Uttar Pradesh jails while West Bengal reported 12.
- The state is also second in the countryin the number of suicides in the prisons. Of the total 116 suicides in the country, Uttar Pradesh reported the highest number (20) followed by Punjab (13) and West Bengal (11) during 2019.
- The state was third in incidents of escape from police custody. Highest of such cases were reported by Uttar Pradesh (25) followed by Maharashtra (17) and Punjab (14). The state was, however, fourth to re-arrest of the escapees. During the year 2019, a total of 468 persons escaped from lawful custody and 231 persons were arrested again.
- In 2019, only one firing incident in jail was reported from Punjab, in which, one inmate died. Punjab figured high in the number of the release of under trials and on parole. Punjab released 8,116 under trials followed by 6,822 in Rajasthan. Of the 205 prisoners who jumped parole, maximum absconders were reported by Rajasthan (48) followed by Gujarat (41) and Punjab (35).
Information About National Crime Records Bureau
- The National Crime Records Bureau, abbreviated to NCRB, is an Indian government agency responsible for collecting and analyzing crime data as defined by the Indian Penal Code (IPC) and Special and Local Laws (SLL).
- NCRB is headquartered in New Delhi and It is part of the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA), Government of India.
- NCRB was set-up in 1986 to function as a repository of information on crime and criminals to assist the investigators in linking crime to the perpetrators.
- It was set up based on the recommendation of the Taskforce,1985 and National Police Commission,1977 by merging the Directorate of Coordination and Police Computer (DCPC), Inter-State Criminals Data Branch of CBI and Central Finger Print Bureau of CBI.
- Earlier Statistical Branch of Bureau of Police Research and Development (BPR&D) was also merged with NCRB but was later de-merged.
10. Over-exploitation of groundwater in Punjab.
Context: In a recent assessment report by Department of Water Resources, River Development and Ganga Rejuvenation, Punjab has topped in the country in over-exploitation of groundwater. The 79 per cent of the assessment units showed the annual groundwater extraction to be more than the assessed annual extractable groundwater resources.
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The main reasons for overexploitation are as follows:
- Irrigation accounts for over 96 per cent of groundwateruse in Punjab.
- A major reason for over-exploitation of groundwater is the largescale cultivation of paddy in Punjab, which is water-intensive and the dependence on groundwater over the canal or river water in many parts of the state.
- Monsoon is an important factor in the recharge of groundwater. The rains in Punjab this season have been 10 per cent below the long period average so far.
- From June 1 to September 14, the state received 391.3 mm against the normal of 437.2 mm, according to the India Meteorological Department.
- According to a Central Ground Water Board (CGWB official), the wheat and paddy cropping pattern in Punjab has led to a manifold increase in demand for water.
- About 90 per cent of the state’s area is underlain by quaternary alluvial deposits that are important sources of abundant and dependable groundwater supplies which are being exploited.
11. Seven more Village courts announced by Punjab Chief Minister
Context: The Village courts, being called as ‘Gram Nyalayas’, to provide easy and speedy justice in the rural areas have been ordered by the Punjab’s Chief Minister under the directives of the Punjab and Haryana High Court.
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- The new nyayalayas would be set up at Patran in Patiala district, Tapa in Barnala, BassiPathana in Fatehgarh Sahib, Dera Baba Nanak and Dhar Kalan in Gurdaspur, Raikot in Ludhiana and Chamkaur Sahib in Rupnagar.
- As per the proposal cleared by the Department of Home Affairs and Justice, these nyayalayas will cover only the gram panchayats of the sub-divisions and not towns.
- The number of such courts in the state will go up to nine, as two village courts at KotIsse Khan in Moga district and Nangal in Rupnagar are already functional.
- The Constitution of India under Article 39-A mandates for free legal aid to the poor and weaker sections of society.
- In its 114th report, the Law Commission of India recommended the establishment of Gram Nyayalayas for providing speedy, substantial and inexpensive justice to the common man.
12. Smart Ration Card Scheme rolled out by Punjab Government.
Context: Punjab Government has rolled out the Smart Ration Card Scheme to cover 1.41 crore beneficiaries across the State. Apart from this a separate state-funded scheme to provide subsidized ration to nine lakh beneficiaries not covered under the National Food Security Act (NFSA).
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- The reason for the scheme is that the Centre had capped the maximum number of beneficiaries to 1.41 crore and, despite repeated requests, had not agreed to provide subsidized ration to the deserving nine lakh people not covered under the NFSA.
- The Punjab Government had decided to cover all such left out eligible persons under a state-funded scheme, the details of which would be announced shortly.
- The Scheme would benefit in the following ways:
- It would help curb corruption and give freedom to the beneficiaries to buy from any depot.
- it as a major step towards empowering the beneficiary and would end the exploitation of beneficiaries by unscrupulous ration depot holders.
- It empowers the beneficiary to get his entitled quota of food grain from any ration depot across the state.
13. Swaran Kaur Bal: Her Life and Contribution to Punjabi Culture.
Context: Swaran Kaur Bal, aged 83, is a folklore researcher who is doing active work in preserving BolianTappe and other folklore of the Majha Region by visiting rural masses. She has also organized Tian da Mela.
Life of Swaran Kaur Bal
- Swaran Kaur Bal penned a book Majhe De Main Jami Jayi comprising songs, boliyan and tapes of Majha region in 2000. She has mentioned every single woman who has been part of the contribution.
- With the book gaining popularity among the populace, it was published four times. The maiden year of publication is 2000, followed by 2003, 2009 and 2017 by Punjabi Saath, an international literary body.
- Apart from this, she has been part of several radio station talks and Doordarshan as well. A source of encouragement for several women of her village for more than a decade, she has also promoted rural culture and folk singing in her ‘Mela Charkhe Da’ – organised at the village.
14. Faridkot teacher wins National Award
Context: Rajinder Kumar of Faridkot has won a National Award for his achievements in the field of teaching and education.
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- Rajinder Kumar is known for introducing learning through television, audio lessons and practical skills at the primary level in his school.
- He is posted at Government Primary School at Wara Bhai Ka village in Faridkot, and is among the 47 teachers selected for National Awards-2020.
- He is the only teacher in the state who has been selected by the Union Ministry of Education, Department of School Education and Literacy, for the prestigious award.
- National Award for Teachers is the award to the Teachers and is awarded by the President of India on 5th September every year to give public recognition to meritorious teachers working in primary, middle and secondary schools in India.
15. Basmati exporters threaten not to buy the crop from Punjab.
Context: The rice traders have threatened Punjab to not to buy its basmati crop due to multiple factors like fees and charges.
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- Rice exporters have threatened not to buy the basmati, citing “high fees” being levied in the state while the purchase of basmati from Haryana, Delhi, Uttarakhand and Uttar Pradesh attracts no additional charges.
- Punjab charges two per cent as Market Fee, two per cent as Rural Development Fund and 0.25 per cent as Cancer cess. Last year, basmati traders and exporters had paid Rs 97.73 crore as fees and in 2018 they had paid Rs 102.68 crore.
- The Punjab Rice Millers Export Association has stated that there should be no fee to be charged from them if they buy basmati from the States, under Center’s ordinances. Export, they say is deemed as a highly price sensitive business. The cost of Production will be risen by approximately 4.25 percent as compared to other states.
16. Improvement in Punjab’s rank in Ease of Doing Business
Context: Punjab has improved its ranking in implementation of Ease of Doing Business Reforms, published by the Department of Industry and Internal Trade, Ministry of Commerce and Industry.
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- Punjab has got 19th placein the states and union states in this ranking (improved from 2015 ranking).
- Ease of Doing Business (EODB) is a joint initiative by the Department for Promotion of Industries and Internal Trade (DPIIT) and the World Bank to improve the overall business environment in the States.
- In the year 2019, Punjab has got first rank in the overall ranking of the State business process reforms.
17. Education Department set to launch Career Guidance Portal
Context: The Education Department in collaboration with UNICEF, NGO (Aasman Foundation) and Tata Power will be launching an online portal to provide career guidance to the students.
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- This portal will give a new dimension to the School Sikhya Sudhar Muhim (Qualitative Improvement in School Education Drive).
- The portal, to be launched within a fortnight by Education Minister Vijay Inder Singla, would help more than 8 lakh students studying in Class IX to XII in the government schools across the state.
- The proposed web portal will have comprehensive information about career choices, the entrance examination for different colleges, universities, vocational institutes and scholarships.
- The portal will have information about a minimum of 450 career options, 21,000 colleges and vocational institutes within the country and abroad, 1,150 entrance exams and 1,200 scholarships.
- The present problem was two-fold concerning both the teachers and the students. On the one hand, In the absence of any such collated information till now and the teachers too lacking in required knowledge, students found it difficult to pick the right career path matching their aspirations.
- Secondly, the students had to look for the resources for themselves which was financially hard and time consuming.
18. I Rakhwali App: Punjab government initiative to make citizens ‘Greenery Saviours’.
Context: Punjab State Minister for Department of Forest &WildLife& Preservation has launched ‘I Rakhwali’ application to safeguard the forest areas in the state. Under this the citizens will be a stakeholder and they will be becoming “Greenery Saviours”.
About the Application
- The application is launched by State Minister for Department of Forest & Wildlife & Preservation Sadhu Singh Dharmsot.
- The app will help common people by providing them with the geographical location of the nurseries to get easy access to free plants and saplings.
- A common man can report illegal felling of trees and any damage to the forests.
- When an issue is reported in the app, the matter will be brought to the notice of concerned Forest Divisional Officers and they will act on it immediately and the complainants are regularly updated about actions on their complaints.
19. DPIIT rankings pick Gujarat, Andaman & Nicobar as Best State/UT in providing Strong Ecosystem for Startups
Context: Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade (DPIIT) released the 2nd Edition of ‘States on Support to Startup Ecosystems 2019’ where rankings were assigned to different states on basis of certain parameters.
- For the purposes of ranking, states/UTs are classified into five categories: Best Performers (100 Percentile), Top Performers (More than 75 to Less than 100), Leaders (More than or equal to 30 to less than or equal to 75), Aspiring Leaders (More than 10 and less than 30) and Emerging Startup Ecosystems (Less than or equal to 10).
|Category X||– Gujarat emerged as the best performer among Category X.|
– Gujarat also topped the rankings in the 2018 edition of rankings.
– Karnataka was ranked as top performer in the category. ·
– Kerala was also ranked as the top performer in this category.
– Andhra Pradesh, Assam, Chhattisgarh, Delhi, Himachal Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Uttar Pradesh, Mizoram and Sikkim were placed in Emerging Startup Ecosystems.
– Bihar, Maharashtra, Odisha, Rajasthan, and Chandigarh were placed in Leaders Category.
– Haryana, Jharkhand, Punjab, Telangana, Uttarakhand and Nagaland were placed in Aspiring Leaders Category.
|Category Y||– This category includes all North-Eastern states except Assam and all UTs except Delhi. |
– Andaman & Nicobar Islands was ranked as best performer in the category.
– Chandigarh was ranked as leader in this category.
– Mizoram & Sikkim were placed in Emerging Startup Ecosystems.
– Nagaland was placed in Aspiring Leader Category.
- The ranking framework 2019 has seven broad reform areas consisting of 30 action points ranging from institutional support, easing compliances, relaxation in public procurement norms, incubation centres, seed funding, venture funding, and awareness and outreach.
- The parameters also involved getting feedback from beneficiaries gathered through 60, 000 calls to connect with beneficiaries to ascertain real situations at the implementation level.
20. Air Pollution Management in NCR: PK Mishra Panel to initiate advance action
Context: A high level task force under the watch of Principal Secretary to Prime Minister, Dr. Pramod Kumar Mishra has been constituted to review the actions taken by different agencies to manage air pollution in NCR.
Outcome of the meeting
- Meeting had been set up with Chief Secretaries of Delhi, Punjab, Haryana, Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh, Secretaries of different departments/ministries of the central government including M/o of Environment, Forest & Climate Change, Agriculture, Road, Petroleum and Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB).
- Its objective was to initiate proper precautionary and preventive measures in advance for the management of air pollution in the National Capital Region (NCR).
- In the meet it was notified that incidence of stubble burning has reduced by more than 50% in the last two years and the number of Good Air Quality Index (AQI) days have gone up.
- Government of National Capital Territory (GNCT)-Delhi was requested to ensure measures to control local sources of pollution with a support of the Ministry of Agriculture.
- To control stubble burning, it was stressed that an adequate number of teams should be deployed at ground level to ensure that no stubble burning takes place especially in the State of Punjab, Haryana and Uttar Pradesh (UP).
- The importance of effective implementation of the existing in-situ management of crop residue scheme of the Ministry of Agriculture by the States was highlighted.
- As Reserve Bank of India (RBI) included residue based power /fuel plants under priority sector lending (PSL) therefore both State and Central Governments will jointly work out action plans for rapid deployment of such units.
21. PMC bank gets AK DIXIT as new administrator
Context: RBI has appointed AK Dixit, ex-General Manager of Union Bank of India(UBI) as the new administrator of Punjab and Maharashtra Cooperative (PMC) Bank Limited with effect from September 23, 2020.
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- He will succeed J.B. Bhoria, ex-chief general manager with the central bank who stepped down from the post of administrator on September 22, 2020, due to health reasons.
- Administrator was appointed in the exercise of the powers conferred on RBI as per Banking Regulation Act, 1949 under subsections 1 and 2 of section 36AAA and Section 56.
- To assist the administrator, an advisory committee consisting of senior bankers / chartered accountants was also appointed.
- PMC bank was placed under RBI’s watch under All-Inclusive directions under sub-section (1) of Section 35 A and Section 56 of the Banking Regulation Act, 1949 which is valid till December 22, 2020.
Other News (One liners)
- GurgaddiDiwas of Second Patshahi Sahib Sri Guru Angad Dev Ji celebrated all across Punjab. He contributed 63 Shabads and Saloks (revealed verses), now registered in the Guru Granth Sahib. He formalized the present form of the Gurmukhi script and maintained and developed the institution of Langar started by Guru Nanak Dev Ji. He travelled widely and established several new centres for preaching Sikhi and started the tradition of Mall Akhara to emphasize physical well being, to go along with spiritual development.
- To make farmers more self-reliant so that they don’t have to rely solely on the advice of pesticide dealers, the district Agriculture Department has taken an initiative of providing various periodicals, published by Punjab Agriculture University (PAU). The department has made the periodicals available at various pesticides, fertilisers and seed shops in the district. It has approached all agricultural cooperative societies in the district to promote the study material among the farming community. By reading the material published by the PAU, the farmers would become wiser with respect to the use of chemicals and pesticides. It would help them save money and protect ecology.
- Chokho Akbar campaign will be started in Abohar as it has recently been declared the third most polluted city in the Swachh Survekshan. The word “chokho” is used by the Bagri populace which means beautiful. Efforts to improve the situation, 10 new community toilet blocks and seven new solid waste management sites called material recovery facilities would be set up.
- The district police have recommendedgallantry award for ASI Malkiat Singh who was shot at and injured by smugglers 10 days ago at Puhla village here. Gallantry Awards have been instituted by the Government of India to honour the acts of bravery and sacrifice of the officers/personnel of the Armed Forces, other lawfully constituted forces and civilians.
- The Education Department has decided to introduce a new subject (Welcome Life) for students of all schools associated with the Punjab School Education Board. Students of Classes VI to VIII will have to attend three periods a week for the new subject while there will be one such period a week for students of Classes IX to XII. The subject will have 100 marks (50 for theory and 50 for practical). The PSEB academic council approved the new subject during its May 14 meeting