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PIB/AIR Updates

PIB/AIR Updates

The Press Information Bureau, commonly abbreviated as PIB, is a nodal agency of the Government of India and as such adds authenticity to the facts and figures. It entails Programes, Policies, initiatives and other updates of the Government of India. It is a great source for awareness on national issues. Further there are selective articles on personalities and their contribution to the world, which add to the knowledge base of an aspirant.

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1

National Steel Policy | PIB Summary

No document Available

The Union Cabinet chaired by the Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi has given its approval for National Steel Policy (NSP) 2017.

National Steel Policy | Introduction

The new Steel Policy enshrines the long term vision of the Government to give impetus to the steel sector.  It seeks to enhance domestic steel consumption and ensure high quality steel production and create a technologically advanced and globally competitive steel industry.

National Steel Policy | Background

Owing to the strategic importance of the sector along with the need to have a robust and restructured policy in present scenario, the new NSP, 2017 became imminent. Though, National Steel Policy 2005 (NSP 2005) sought to indicate ways and means of consolidating the gains flowing out of the then economic order and charted out a road map for sustained and efficient growth of the Indian steel industry, it required adaptation in view of the recent developments unfolding in India and also worldwide, both on the demand and supply sides of the steel market.

Key features of the NSP 2017

  • Create self-sufficiency in steel production by providing policy support & guidance to private manufacturers, MSME steel producers, CPSEs,
  • Encourage adequate capacity additions,
  • Development of globally competitive steel manufacturing capabilities,
  • Cost-efficient production,
  • Domestic availability of iron ore, coking coal & natural gas,
  • Facilitating foreign investment,
  • Asset acquisitions of raw materials &
  • Enhancing the domestic steel demand.

National Steel Policy | Details

The policy projects crude steel capacity of 300 million tonnes (MT), production of 255 MT and a robust finished steel per capita consumption of 158 Kgs by 2030 – 31, as against the current consumption of 61 Kgs. The policy also envisages to domestically meet the entire demand of high grade automotive steel, electrical steel, special steels and alloys for strategic applications and increase domestic availability of washed coking coal so as to reduce import dependence on coking coal from about 85% to around 65% by 2030-31.

National Steel Policy | Highlights

  • The Indian steel sector has grown rapidly over the past few years and presently it is the third largest steel producer globally, contributing to about 2% of the country’s GDP.  India has also crossed 100 MT mark for production for sale in 2016-17.
  • The New Steel Policy, 2017 aspires to achieve 300MT of steel-making capacity by 2030. This would translate into additional investment of Rs. 10 lakh Crore by 2030-31.
  • The Policy seeks to increase consumption of steel and major segments are infrastructure, automobiles and housing. New Steel Policy seeks to increase per capita steel consumption to the level of 160 Kgs by 2030 from existing level of around 60 Kg.
  • Potential of MSME steel sector has been recognised. Policy stipulates that adoption of energy efficient technologies in the MSME steel sector will be encouraged to improve the overall productivity & reduce energy intensity.
  • Steel Ministry will facilitate R&D in the sector through the establishment of Steel Research and Technology Mission of India (SRTMI). The initiative is aimed to spearhead R&D of national importance in iron & steel sector utilizing tripartite synergy amongst industry, national R&D laboratories and academic institutes.
  • Ministry through policy measures will ensure availability of raw materials like Iron ore, Coking coal and non-coking coal, Natural gas etc.  at competitive rates.
  • With the roll out of the National Steel Policy-2017, it is envisaged that the industry will be steered in creating an environment for promoting domestic steel and thereby ensuring a scenario where production meets the anticipated pace of growth in consumption, through a technologically advanced and globally competitive steel industry. This will be facilitated by Ministry of Steel, in coordination with relevant Ministries, as may be required.

2

Moscow Talks | AIR Spotlight

Moscow Talks were aimed at detailed consultations on Afghan issues in a six-party format involving Russia, Afghanistan, Pakistan, China, Iran and India at the level of special envoys on Afghanistan and senior officials. It was a renewed attempt at finding a peaceful end to the lingering unrest in conflict-ridden Afghanistan.

Moscow Talks | Response from Afghanistan

The Afghan Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MoFA) has said that the consultative meeting in Moscow is a positive step in promoting regional cooperation and solidarity in the war against terrorism, however, the meeting is not an alternative for peace talks between government and Taliban.

Moscow Talks | Re-entry of Russia in Afghan scene

  • Although it is believed that the meeting will not be able to bring Taliban to the negotiating table, the involvement of Russia in the Afghanistan’s affairs is an important step in this regard. The Russian initiative is significant due to the return of Moscow to the region as an active player, but had led to apprehensions in Kabul and New Delhi that it was trying hard to bring in Taliban into the mainstream so as to combat its perceived real threat of the so-called ISIS.
  • Moscow has hosted at least two meetings on Afghanistan in less than two months in a bid to bring the much-awaited Afghan peace negotiation process between the government and the Taliban group back on track.
  • Some of the political commentators believe that Russia’s interests in Afghanistan’s political situation and the thaw in ties between Russians and the Taliban would further complicate the war in Afghanistan.

Moscow Talks | India’s concerns

  • The exclusion of Afghanistan and India were objected by the two countries from the previous round of talks raising concerns among officials in Kabul regarding Russia’s intentions.
  • At the Moscow talks, the Russians made it clear that they consider the government of Afghanistan as the legitimate representative of the Afghan people, and not the Taliban.
  • The Russians added that they maintained contacts with the Taliban only due to their concerns and with intention to support Afghan government in potential peace talks.
  • Afghanistan and India were previously concerned about unsubstantiated media reports that Russia was reaching out to the Taliban, and even holding secret talks with the outfit.
  • Reports suggest that the issue of exclusion was raised by Foreign Secretary S. Jaishankar during his talks with the Russian delegation at the Heart of Asia conference in Amritsar in early December last year.
  • Further, NSA KC Ajit Doval’s meeting with Russian Security Council secretary on 31st January 2017 paved the way for India’s inclusion. The Indian side was represented by MEA Joint Secretary (PIA Division) Shri Gopal Bagley (the new spokesperson of MEA).

Moscow Talks | Analysis

  • China and Pakistan were present at the previous round of talk in Moscow in December 2016, while India, Iran and Afghanistan’s representatives’ have been invited for the first time in this round of talk.
  • India is concerned and has been observing Russia-led efforts for talks with Taliban, with officials apprehensive about the normalisation of the terror groups which continues to have strings attached to Pakistan military establishment.
  • The argument that Taliban was fighting with ISIS in pockets of Afghanistan did not find many takers in New Delhi, as Indian officials believe that most of the IS fighters are mainly repurposed Taliban members.

Moscow Talks | India’s stance on Afghanistan peace issue

  • India had pointedly pronounced during the discussions that Afghanistan should have the right to choose with whom to hold talks and that the choice should not be dictated by other countries.
  • India on its part noted that “it was essential to end all forms of terrorism and extremism that beset Afghanistan and our region and to ensure denial of territory or any other support, safe havens or sanctuaries to any terrorist group or individual in countries of our region.”

Moscow Talks | Conclusion

Much to the relief of Afghanistan and India, all six countries agreed that the ‘red lines’ for engagement with the Taliban – which include giving up violence, abiding by Afghan constitution and cutting ties with al Qaida – have to be met. All the participants agreed to strengthen efforts to promote the intra-Afghan reconciliation, while maintaining the leading role of the current government of Afghanistan. Participants have also agreed in favour of broadening this format, primarily by adding the countries of Central Asia to it. A sustainable peace solution requires a political solution, free from the use of violence and conflict. Afghanistan has the legitimate right to choose the manner in which it wishes to draw out the action plan for a peaceful transition of its society from the current violent streams.

3

Sampada | PIB Summary

No document Available

The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs, chaired by the Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi has given its approval for re-structuring the schemes of the Ministry of Food Processing Industries (MoFPI) under new Central Sector Scheme – SAMPADA (Scheme for Agro-Marine Processing and Development of Agro-Processing Clusters) for the period 2016-20 coterminous with the 14th Finance Commission cycle.

Sampada | Background

Food Processing Sector has emerged as an important segment of the Indian economy in terms of its contribution to GDP, employment and investment. During 2015-16, the sector constituted as much as 9.1 and 8.6 per cent of GVA in Manufacturing and Agriculture sector respectively.

About SAMPADA

  • The objective of SAMPADA is to supplement agriculture, modernize processing and decrease agri-waste.
  • SAMPADA is an umbrella scheme incorporating ongoing schemes of the Ministry like Mega Food Parks, Integrated Cold Chain and Value Addition Infrastructure, Food Safety and Quality Assurance Infrastructure, etc. and also new schemes like Infrastructure for Agro-processing Clusters, Creation of Backward and Forward Linkages, Creation / Expansion of Food Processing & Preservation Capacities.
  • The SAMPADA is a comprehensive package to give a renewed thrust to the food processing sector in the country. It includes new schemes of Infrastructure for Agro-processing Clusters, Creation of Backward and Forward Linkages and Creation / Expansion of Food Processing & Preservation Capacities aim at development of modern infrastructure to encourage entrepreneurs to set up food processing units based on cluster approach, provide effective and seamless backward and forward integration for processed food industry by plugging gaps in supply chain and creation of processing and preservation capacities and modernization/ expansion of existing food processing units.
  • The implementation of SAMPADA will result in creation of modern infrastructure with efficient supply chain management from farm gate to retail outlet. It will not only provide a big boost to the growth of food processing sector in the country but also help in providing better prices to farmers and is a big step towards doubling of farmers’ income. It will create huge employment opportunities especially in the rural areas. It will also help in reducing wastage of agricultural produce, increasing the processing level, availability of safe and convenient processed foods at affordable price to consumers and enhancing the export of the processed foods.

Sampada | Measures taken by Government to boost food processing and retail sector

  • To provide impetus to investment in food processing and retail sector, govt. has allowed 100% FDI in trading including through e-commerce, in respect of food products manufactured and / or produced in India. This will benefit farmers immensely and will create back – end infrastructure and significant employment opportunities.
  • The govt. has also set up a Special Fund of R 2000 crore in NABARD to make available affordable credit at concessional rate of interest to designated food parks and agro processing units in the designated food parks.
  • Food and agro–based processing units and cold chain infrastructure have been brought under the ambit of Priority Sector Lending (PSL) to provide additional credit for food processing activities and infrastructure thereby, boosting food processing, reducing wastage, create employment and increasing farmers’ income.

4

General Anti Avoidance Rule (GAAR) | AIR Spotlight

No document Available

GAAR is basically a set of rules designed to give Indian revenue authorities the right to scrutinise and tax, transactions which they believe are structured solely to avoid taxes. The rules would be applicable to all taxpayers.

GAAR | Background

  • It was originally proposed in Direct Tax Code of 2009 and was postponed for implementing it.
  • It will address those cases which are technically not illegal but those cases which are not ethical i.e. to say the cases which are concerned with ‘tax avoidance’ and not ‘tax evasion’.
  • General Anti Avoidance rule (GAAR) is a set of rules or a framework which helps the revenue authorities decides whether a particular transaction has commercial substance or not. 

GAAR | Concerns

  • GAAR gives more unilateral/arbitrary powers to the revenue authorities. Therefore, the industry is concerned about the ambit and the arbitrary interpretations the revenue authorities may have regarding the GAAR provisions.
  • Tax experts point out given the limited timeframe for taxpayers and tax authorities to understand the pending guidelines, it will be practical to defer the effective date for implementation by a reasonable period.
  • The guidelines should clarify that GAAR is a deterrent provision, and not a tax collection provision. It should be invoked only in cases of patently abusive, contrived and artificial arrangements.
  • Another issue faced by tax experts is that there are no specific penalty provisions in case GAAR provisions are invoked. Accordingly, tax authorities are likely to take recourse to two broad categories under normal penalty provisions – “under-reporting’’ (entailing 50 per cent penalty) and “mis-reporting” (entailing 200 per cent penalty).
  • It is critical to have guidelines laying down objective criteria for distinguishing cases of gross abuse from other cases, as well as clarifying the situations or circumstances and providing parameters for initiating and levy of penalty.
  • It is important to implement the provisions of GAAR in a way that they do not lead more litigation.
  • It will override tax treaty provisions and tax officials are allowed to deny tax benefits if a deal is found without any commercial purpose other than tax avoidance.

GAAR | Importance

  • It will allow the government to raise more revenue. It empowers the revenue authorities to generate more revenue from all those transactions which are not paying their taxes.
  • The objectives of any tax laws are to promote or incentivise real investments. It ensures that investments are maximised to the advantage of the national economy.
  • The entire GAAR activity would also the Government to meet its fiscal deficit target (under the FRBM Act) with the enhanced tax revenues for the government.
  • It creates a better business environment for the people to recognise that the state exists for the purpose of bringing genuine investments. This would recognise India as a serious country promoting free and fair trade practices rather than providing free tax advantages.

 GAAR | Conclusion

It will be implemented from 1st April, 2017 and the government has considered the minimum threshold where the GAAR provisions can be implemented. The genuineness of the transactions remains intact and only covers those transactions which have been taking an advantage of the loopholes present and the small tax players will not to be harassed.

5

Swachh Bharat Mission | AIR Spotlight

No document Available

The Swachh Bharat Mission status report 2015 states that more than half of the rural population defecates in open. As per 2011 census more than 68% of rural population were going for open defecation. The data from UNICEF and other studies has declared that almost 400 children under the age of  5 years in India die due to diarrhoea linked to poor sanitation and hygiene.

Due to lack of toilet facilities in the school premises, many of the girl students leave their education mid-way and remain uneducated. The government had started the  “Nirmal Bharat programme” which stressed on toilets for girl child in schools.

If 50% of the population remains uneducated because of lack of toilets, it is the liability on the nation and actually a shame on our country.

Swachh Bharat Mission | About

  • Swachh Bharat is a very holistic approach of the government and elimination of open defecation is one part of it.
  • The major part of the scheme is to keep clean every part of city, village and home It also entails Swachh Bharat in people’s mind. 
  • The prime minister nominated 9 celebrities and asked them to bring in 9 more people so that the chain effect will continue and the people will take it up.
  • People have taken it up in the social media by spreading the massage through innovative ways.
  • Swachh Bharat has to be a mission of the people, by the people facilitated by the Government.
  • Swachh Bharat should be a passion rather than a mission. People should be passion to see their country clean in every aspect.

Swachh Bharat Mission | Solutions

  • It is the high time that we need a model village in each district which will have a repercussion in other villages.
  • An important step is to create the mindset in the people that elimination of open defecation is for their good and which improves their health. The girl child and the women are exposed to insecurity.
  • Whenever people have to use toilets, there has to be water and electricity. The move to make India clean has to start with the schools and homes with a focussed attention for usability of the toilets.
  • Villages have very small houses and much clustered places where there is no place to construct toilets. The ideal solution is to have mohalla toilets designated to each house where people will keep their toilet clean by seeing others. One advantage is that when the toilets are outside the home, there will be a peer pressure to keep it clean.
  • For India constructing toilets is like a social work and not a development work. Once it is seen as a development work with country’s image, then the thrust will come and the people will realise how important it is and we should not lag behind other countries.
  • The simple process to have safe drinking water is to boil the water. The bigger challenge is to make water available in the rural areas. There are many hand pumps which are not working.
  • In schools it is the responsibility of the teachers and they have to be oriented to ensure that the child knows about hygiene which also includes knowing how to use a toilet.

Swachh Bharat Mission | Conclusion

People would have to clear their mind discarding all the old system of working. We have to bring in Swachh Bharat in overall perspective. It should not remain as elitist, fun oriented business; rather it has to be very seriously taken. The student community has to take a big role in this. This is project which should be taken forward by the civil society in a big way. The Swachh Bharat mission has created moral sense, awareness and responsibility. India is a vast country, so it takes lot of time to reach out to all the people.

6

Indian And Japan On Railway Safety | PIB Summary

No document Available

The Union Cabinet chaired by the Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi has given its ex-post facto approval to the signing the Memorandum of Cooperation (MoC) with Japan on Railway Safety. The MoC has already been signed in February, 2017.

Railway Safety | Areas covered by the Memorandum of Cooperation (MoC)

  1. Track Safety (e.g. rail welding, rail inspection, track circuit etc.)
  2. Latest technology related to railway track safety (automatic inspection technology etc.)
  3. Rolling stock safety (e.g. maintenance etc.)
  4. Any other relevant railway safety matter jointly determined by both the sides within the scope of this MoC with consideration for major railway accident preventions based on the analysis of accident causes.

Railway Safety | Significance to Indian Railways

  • Dispatch of experts.
  • Training of core staff in Japan.
  • Sharing of information and best practices.
  • Facilitating the participation of other institutions, organization and ministries, including contribution of National Traffic Safety and Environmental Laboratory of Japan to Research Design and Standards Organisation, Ministry of Railway, Government of India (RDSO), subject to their respective national laws and regulations where appropriate and possible.

7

The United States Of America (Around the World)

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The episode is of 5 minutes and talks about The United States of America and aims is to highlight India’s bilateral relations with The United States of America in an interesting radio format, bringing to the listeners the different aspects of the country after detailed research and airing the bytes of the Indian ambassador of each country.

If you like what you see here please click one of the share buttons below and help fellow aspirants.

8

7th Pay Commission Recommendations On Pay Benefits | PIB Summary

No document Available

The Union Cabinet chaired by the Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi approved important proposals relating to modifications in the 7th CPC (Central Pay Commission) recommendations on pay and pensionary benefits in the course of their implementation. Earlier, in June, 2016, the Cabinet had approved implementation of the recommendations with an additional financial outgo of Rs 84,933 crore for 2016-17 (including arrears for 2 months of 2015-16).

The benefit of the proposed modifications will be available with effect from 1st January, 2016, i.e., the date of implementation of 7th CPC recommendations. With the increase approved by the Cabinet, the annual pension bill alone of the Central Government is likely to be Rs.1,76,071 crore. 

Pay Commission | Important decisions taken

Pay Commission | Revision of pension of pre – 2016 pensioners and family pensioners

  • The modified formulation of pension revision approved by the Cabinet will entail an additional benefit to the pensioners and an additional expenditure of approximately Rs.5031 crore for 2016-17 over and above the expenditure already incurred in revision of pension as per the second formulation based on fitment factor.  It will benefit over 55 lakh pre-2016 civil and defence pensioners and family pensioners.
  • In order to provide the more beneficial option to the pensioners, Cabinet has accepted the recommendations of the Committee, which has suggested revision of pension based on information contained in the Pension Payment Order (PPO) issued to every pensioner.
  • The revised procedure of fixation of notional pay is more scientific, rational and implementable in all the cases. The Committee reached its findings based on an analysis of hundreds of live pension cases.
  • The modified formulation will be beneficial to more pensioners than the first formulation recommended by the 7th CPC, which was not found to be feasible to implement on account of non-availability of records in a large number of cases and was also found to be prone to several anomalies. 

Pay Commission | Disability Pension for Defence Pensioners

  • The Cabinet also approved the retention of percentage-based regime of disability pension implemented post 6th CPC, which the 7th CPC had recommended to be replaced by a slab-based system.
  • The issue of disability pension was referred to the National Anomaly Committee by the Ministry of Defence on account of the representation received from the Defence Forces to retain the slab-based system, as it would have resulted in reduction in the amount of disability pension for existing pensioners and a reduction in the amount of disability pension for future retirees when compared to percentage-based disability pension. 
  • The decision which will benefit existing and future Defence pensioners would entail an additional expenditure of approximately Rs. 130 crore per annum.

9

Vijayawada International Airport | PIB Summary

No document Available

The Union Cabinet chaired by the Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi has given its approval for the declaration of Vijayawada Airport as Vijayawada International Airportas per the provisions of Andhra Pradesh Reorganisation Act, 2014.

Vijayawada International Airport | Significance

The proposal will add to improved connectivity to the State capital. It will provide wider choice of services at competitive costs to the air-travellers and give a boost to domestic/international tourism and socio-economic development of Andhra Pradesh by bringing in international passengers and cargo traffic.

Vijayawada International Airport | Background

  • Declaration of an airport as International Airport depends upon traffic potential and demand from airlines for operation of international flights.
  • Further, availability of Ground Lighting Facilities, Instrument Landing System for operation of aircrafts at night, adequate runway length to cater to medium capacity long-range aircraft or equivalent type of aircraft, availability of Customs, Immigration, Health and Animal & Plant Quarantine Services are also required for international operations.
  • The declaration of Vijayawada Airport as International has been taken up in accordance with the provisions of Andhra Pradesh Reorganisation Act, 2014 and keeping in view the passenger traffic growth, demands from airlines and Andhra Pradesh Government. Airports Authority of India has undertaken upgradation of requisite infrastructure and facilities for international operations.

10

VIDYA VEERTA ABHIYAN | PIB Summary

No document Available

Union Minister of Human Resource Development Shri Prakash Javadekar launched the VIDYA VEERTA ABHIYAN here in New Delhi.

VIDYA VEERTA ABHIYAN | About the campaign

  • Through this campaign a wall of valour will be built in colleges and universities across the country and this will be built on contributory funding by students and teachers on voluntary basis.
  • This wall will be 15X20 feet in size and will depict the portraits of all the 21 Paramveer Chakra recipients. This will help revive and re-energize the patriotic fervour in our young minds.

VIDYA VEERTA ABHIYAN | Significance

The Minister said organising of such events help in changing atmosphere in our colleges and universities. It is just to revive the patriotic feeling in our youth.

11

Two New Circuits Added To Maharaja Express | PIB Summary

No document Available

The Indian Railway PSU, Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation Ltd (IRCTC) has decided to start two new circuits of their flagship luxury train Maharaja Express, this year.

Maharaja Express | About the new circuits

  • These two new trips have been named as “Southern Sojournand “Southern Jewels” which will cover prominent destinations in West and South India.
  • The Southern Sojourn will cover Goa, Hampi, Mysore, Ernakulam, Kumarakom and Trivandrum. The Southern Jewels will cover Chettinad, Mahabalipuram, Mysore, Hampi and Goa.
  • The Southern Sojourn – Monsoon Special shall start from Mumbai on 24th June 2017 & stop at Goa, Hampi, Mysore, Cochin, Alleppey before terminating at Trivandrum.
  • The Southern Jewels – Monsoon Special shall depart from Trivandrum on 1st July 2017 and terminate at Mumbai covering Chettinad, Mahabalipuram, Mysore, Hampi and Goa. Each journey shall be of 8 Days/7 Nights duration.

Background of Maharaja Express

Maharajas’ Express commenced its operations in 2010, and since then the train has become the Leading Luxury Train of the World with comparisons to the Royal Scotsman and the Eastern and Oriental Express. The train is the recipient of the coveted Leading Luxury Train of the World Award for the last five years in a row since 2012.

Features of Maharaja Express

The 23 coach long Maharajas’ Express, with a capacity of 88 guests, is a cut above other luxury trains in each aspect – the cabin experience, on-board dining, the excursions and events organized for guests. The train has state of the art features with on-board water filtration plant, spacious cabin sizes with no bunk beds, two bars cum lounges, two restaurants and of course a well-trained on-board team to cater to global expectations.

12

“One IP- Two Dispensaries” And “Aadhaar Based Online Claim Submission” Schemes

No document Available

Minister of State (I/C) for Labour and Employment, Shri Bandaru Dattatreya launched two schemes “One IP- Two Dispensaries” and “Aadhaar based Online Claim Submission” on the occasion of International Labour Day today.

One IP – Two Dispensaries scheme

  • ESIC has given an option to an Insured Person (IP) to choose two dispensaries, one for self and another for family through an employer. This will benefit all IPs, especially migrant workers who are working in other than home State, while their families are living in their native States.
  • Because of non-availability of option of second dispensary, the dependant members of family are often deprived of medical benefits. By introducing the concept of ‘One IP- Two Dispensaries’, IP as well as their family members would now be able to get treatment from either of the dispensaries and in case of emergency from any ESI Institution.
  • As of now, around 3 crores IPs are covered under ESIC and total number of beneficiaries i.e. IPsand their family members is over 12 crores.

Aadhar based Online Claim Submission Scheme

  • Under Aadhaar based Online Claim Submission scheme all EPF Members who have activated their UAN and seeded their KYC (Aadhaar) with EPFO will be able to apply for PF final settlement (form19), Pension withdrawal benefit (Form10-C) and PF part withdrawal (Form31) from the their UAN Interface directly.
  • The three forms collectively form more than 80% of EPFO’s claim workload.
  • Members can complete the whole process online and they neither need to interact with the employer nor with the EPFO field office to submit online claim.
  • They are not required to give any supporting document while preferring online PF part withdrawal case. Member’s applying online will be taken as his self-declaration for preferring the advance claim.

Other measures taken by Labour Ministry

  • Government has recognised the importance of labour and the contribution of workers and is dedicated to their welfare. It is ensuring job security, wage security and social security to them.
  • Government is trying to provide social security to the workers of unorganised sector also. The recently launched scheme ‘SPREE’ by ESIC the new accounts of 77 lakh individuals and 66 thousand establishments have been opened and EPFO has also added around 50 lakhs new accounts in its recently launch scheme. 34 million registrations have already been done on National Career Service (NCS) Portal.

13

President Of Turkey Visits India | PIB Summary

No document Available

President of the Republic of Turkey, H.E. Mr. Recep Tayyip Erdogan, paid a State Visit to India from 30 April-01 May 2017.

Agreements/MoU’s signed during the visit

  • Cultural Exchange Program for 2017-2020
  • MoU for Cooperation between Foreign Service Institute of India and Diplomacy Academy of Turkey
  • Agreement between the Government of the Republic of Turkey and the Government of the Republic of India on Gainful Occupation for Family Members of the Members of Diplomatic Mission or Consular Post
  • MoU between Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI), India and Information and Communication Technologies Authority (ICTA), Turkey
  • Cooperation Agreement between Press Trust of India (PTI)and Anatole Agency (AA) of Turkey.

 Counter-Terrorism

  • The two Leaders exchanged views on other international issues of common concern, most notably the fight against terrorism.
  • The two Leaders reiterated their strong condemnation of and resolute opposition to terrorism in all its forms and manifestations, wherever committed and by whomever, and declared that there could be no justification for terrorism anywhere. Both sides urged all countries and entities to work sincerely to disrupt terrorist networks and their financing, and stop cross-border movement of terrorists.
  • Both Leaders strongly condemned the use of double standards in addressing the menace of terrorism and agreed to strengthen cooperation in combating terrorism both at the bilateral level and within the multilateral system. In this regard, they called for early conclusion of negotiations on the Comprehensive Convention on International Terrorism.

14

Real Estate Act Comes Into Force | PIB Summary

No document Available

Ending the nine year long wait, regulation of real estate sector involving over 76,000 companies across the county becomes a reality from tomorrow i.e May 1, 2017 with the Real Estate Act (Regulation & Development), 2016 coming into force. 

Real Estate Act | Highlights

  • With all the 92 Sections of the Act coming into effect from tomorrow, developers shall get all the ongoing projects that have not received Completion Certificate and the new projects registered with Regulatory Authorities within three months i.e by July end. This enables the buyers to enforce their rights and seek redressal of grievances after such registration. 
  • Real Estate Act coming into force after a nine year wait marks the beginning of a new era making buyer the King while developers benefit from the confidence of the King in the regulated environment.
  • The Act ushers in the much desired accountability, transparency and efficiency in the sector with the Act defining the rights and obligations of both the buyers and developers.

Real Estate Act | Regulations

  • Ahead of the Act coming into force, Ministry of Housing & Urban Poverty Alleviation has formulated and circulated Model Real Estate Regulations for adoption by the Regulatory Authorities in the States/UTs.
  • Under these Regulations, developers are required to display sanctioned plans and layout plans of at least 3 feet X 2 feet size at all marketing offices, other offices where properties are sold, all branch offices and head office of the promoters in addition to the site of project.
  • Real Estate Regulatory Authorities may take decisions on all issues preferably through consensus failing which through voting with Chairman using Casting Vote in case of a tie. There shall be quorum for the meetings of the Regulatory Authorities and if a meeting is adjourned due to lack of such quorum, such meeting can take place without quorum. Members of Regulatory Authorities shall declare interest if any in the matters coming up for discussion and shall not participate therein.

Provisions of Real Estate Act

  1. Depositing 70% of the funds collected from buyers in a separate bank account in case of new projects and 70% of unused funds in case of ongoing projects;
  2. Projects with plot size of minimum 500 sq.mt or 8 apartments shall be registered with Regulatory Authorities;
  3. Both developers and buyers to pay the same penal interest of SBI’s Marginal Cost of Lending Rate plus 2% in case of delays;
  4. Liability of developers for structural defects for five years; and
  5. Imprisonment of up to three years for developers and up to one year in case of agents and buyers for violation of orders of Appellate Tribunals and Regulatory Authorities.

15

CBDT Signs Unilateral Advance Pricing Agreements | PIB Summary

No document Available

The Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) has entered into two Unilateral Advance Pricing Agreements (APAs) with Indian taxpayers, strengthening the Government’s commitment to foster a non-adversarial tax regime. Both the agreements also have a “Rollback” provision in them.

Advance Pricing Agreements | Highlights

  • The 2 APAs signed yesterday pertain to Information Technology and Banking & Finance sectors of the economy. The international transactions covered in these agreements include Software Development services, IT enabled services and KPO services.
  • With these, the total number of APAs entered into by the CBDT has reached 154, which includes 11 bilateral APAs and 143 unilateral APAs. The CBDT expects more APAs to be concluded and signed in the near future. The approach and functioning of the officers in the APA teams have been appreciated and acknowledged by the industry in India and abroad.

Advance Pricing Agreements | Background

  • The APA Scheme was introduced in the Income-tax Act in 2012 and the “Rollback” provisions were introduced in 2014.
  • The scheme endeavours to provide certainty to taxpayers in the domain of transfer pricing by specifying the methods of pricing and setting the prices of international transactions in advance.
  • Since its inception, the APA scheme has evinced a lot of interest from taxpayers and that has resulted in more than 700 applications (both unilateral and bilateral) being filed so far in about five years.

What is Advance Price Agreement?

  • An APA (Advance Price Agreement) which is entered into between a taxpayer (eg: an Indian company which has cross-border transactions with related parties such as a foreign parent company) and the CBDT provides transfer pricing certainty for a nine year period (with rollback).
  • A rollback enables taxpayers to retrospectively apply the APA agreed upon for a period of past four years. In India, the rollback provisions came into effect recently, in October 2014. In case of bilateral APAs, the foreign related party and the tax authorities of the foreign country are also involved.

Advance Pricing Agreements | Significance

The progress of the APA Scheme strengthens the Government’s resolve of fostering a non-adversarial tax regime. The Indian APA programme has been appreciated nationally and internationally for being able to address complex transfer pricing issues in a fair and transparent manner.

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Water Conservation Programme | PIB Summary

No document Available

Union Water Resources, River Development and Ganga Rejuvenation Minister Sushri Uma Bharti launched Bundelkhand Water Conservation Programme at Bandri in Sagar District of MP

Water Conservation Programme | About

  • Ministry has prepared a master plan for artificial recharge of ground water in Bundelkhand region.
  • In UP region of Bundelkhand, around 1100 percolation tanks, 14000 small check dams/Nala bunds and 7200 Recharge pits/shafts have been identified.
  • In MP region of Bundelkhand, around 2000 percolation tanks, 55000 small check dams/Nala bunds and 17000 Recharge shafts have been identified.
  • As a part of ground water exploration, 234 wells in UP are proposed to be constructed in five districts of Bundelkhand i.e., Banda, Hamirpur, Jalaun, Chitrakoot and Mahoba. Similarly, 259 wells in MP are proposed to be constructed in the districts of Datia, Sagar, Damoh, Tikamgarh, Chhatarpur and Panna in the Bundelkhand region of the State.

Water Conservation Programme | Other initiatives

Ministry of Water Resources has taken up new initiatives under National Ground Water Management Improvement Schemes (NGMIS) with an objective to effectively improve ground water conditions in stressed blocks, ensure sustainability of resource both quantitatively and qualitatively, participatory approach in ground water management and institutional strengthening.

In Bundelkhand region of UP, six districts covering an area of 11851 sq km have been considered under this initiative. In Bundelkhand region of MP, five districts covering an area of 8319 sq km have been considered under this initiative.

Water Conservation Programme | ISBIG

  • The Minister informed that Incentivization Scheme for Bridging Irrigation Gap’ (ISBIG) scheme is being prepared by the Ministry with an objective to complete CADWM works along with correction of system deficiencies in canal network for bridging the gap between Irrigation Potential Created (IPC) and Irrigation Potential Utilised (IPU), improving the water use efficiency in irrigation and providing assured supply of water to every farm field and transfer of control and management of irrigation system to the Water Users’ Associations (WUAs).
  • In Bundelkhand region of UP, Betwa and Gursarai canal, Rajghat canal, Ken canal system, Gunta Nala dam and Upper Rajghat canal with target to bridge 17,1030 hact under this scheme is being proposed. The scheme will benefit Jhansi, Jalaun, Hamirpur, Lalitpur and Banda districts in Bundelkhand region.  In Bundelkhand region of MP Rajghat Canal Project with target to bridge 68007 ha under this scheme is being proposed. The scheme will benefit Tikamgarh and Datia districts.

Water Conservation Programme | Marathwada

Similar programme for Marathwada region of Maharashtra is also being launched. Seven schemes with target to bridge 53365 ha gap between IPC and IPU are being proposed. The scheme will benefit Aurangabad, Latur, Nanded, Prabhani, Nanded, Solapur and Osmanabad districts and involve an expenditure of Rs. 250 crore. An area of 3727 sq.km in Marathwada is proposed to be covered under National Ground Water Management Improvement Schemes involving an expenditure approximate of Rs. 380 crore. Aquifer mapping of 9101 sq. km. of area in Marathwada has been completed. Management Plan of 7775 sq. km has been submitted to Maharashtra government. Under Fast track implementation of water conservation schemes 50 new water bodies with estimated cost of about Rs. 60 crores with tentative potential creation of 5000 ha would be taken up.

17

Eastern Peripheral Expressway | PIB Summary

No document Available

The Minister of Road Transport & Highways Shri Nitin Gadkari did an aerial survey of the ongoing construction work of the 135 km long Eastern Peripheral Expressway that runs from Kondli – Ghaziabad- Palwal.

Eastern Peripheral Expressway | About

  • The Peripheral Expressway Project comprises two expressways –Western Peripheral Expressway (WPE) and Eastern Peripheral Expressway (EPE) connecting NH-1 and NH-2 from Western and Eastern side of Delhi.
  • The EPE and WPE constitute one combined project forming a Ring Road around Delhi with a total length of 270 km. About 183 km length passes through the State of Haryana whereas the remaining about 87 km length passes through the State of Uttar Pradesh.
  • Once complete, the two expressways together will allow a bypass for traffic not meant for Delhi and headed towards the neighbouring states of Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Haryana, Punjab, Jammu and Kashmir. This will not only decongest Delhi but also cut down pollution by almost 50 percent.
  • The Expressway is planned to be equipped with the latest, world class smart technology and road safety features like intelligent highway traffic management system, video incident detection system and a closed tolling system where the toll will be charged on the distance travelled.
  • EPE will be the country’s first Green Highway, with landscaping, plantation with nearly 2.5 lakh trees and fully lit by solar energy. There will also be facilities for rainwater harvesting at short distances. The Highway will also have roadside amenities like petrol pumps, motels, restaurants etc.

Eastern Peripheral Expressway | Significance

  • The Expressway will greatly benefit farmers, traders and the people of the NCR region and neighbouring states of UP, Uttarakhand, as a whole by providing better road connectivity in the region. The projects will give a major boost to the transport infrastructure of the region, making it speedier, more efficient and less polluting, which in turn, will give a boost to the economy as a whole.
  • The projects will create both direct and indirect jobs. The construction work of EPE has generated 40 lakh man-days of employment. 2100 engineers and 5200 workers are employed daily. Besides this, the local population would be involved in creating and maintaining the green belt. The roadside amenities will provide markets for local produce.

Eastern Peripheral Expressway | Other initiatives

  • An efficient and integrated transport system is necessary to bring down logistics cost and give a boost to the economy. Twelve expressways are also being constructed in other parts of the country, including Delhi- Meerut, Delhi-Jaipur, Delhi–Ludhiana-Amritsar-Katra, Mumbai – Vadodara, Bangaluru-Chennai, Hyderabad-Vijaywada-Amravati, Hyderabad-Bangaluru, Nagpur – Hyderabad and Amravati Ring Road Expressway.
  • The Government is fast moving towards meeting its target of building 2 lakh km of National Highways. Starting from around 57000 km of NH we have reached a figure of 103933 km. He said that the pace of construction of National Highways across the country has risen very fast. A record 16000 km of NH construction work was awarded this year. He said the award target for the coming year is 25000 km. He also said that the daily rate of construction has gone up from about 2 km per day three years back to about 22 km per day at present.

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First UDAN Flight Under RCS | PIB Summary

No document Available

The Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi will flag off the first UDAN flight under RCS on Shimla-Delhi sector tomorrow. Simultaneously, Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi will also flag off the inaugural UDAN flight on Kadapa – Hyderabad and Nanded-Hyderabad sectors.

UDAN flight | Background

The Ministry of Civil Aviation is committed to providing air connectivity to currently underserved and unserved airports. To make air travel accessible to citizens in regionally important cities, the Ministry launched ‘Ude Deshka Aam Naagrik’ (UDAN) Regional Connectivity Scheme in October, 2016.

The UDAN Scheme was developed through extensive consideration of various issues and consultations with stakeholders. This is a first-of-its-kind scheme globally to stimulate regional connectivity through a market-based mechanism.

UDAN flight | Filing the gaps in regional connectivity

The AAI followed a transparent bidding process by inviting interested bidders and airline operators to submit their Initial Proposals under the provisions of Regional Connectivity Scheme and subsequently inviting counter proposals against such Initial Proposals. The routes and networks are awarded to bidders who submitted valid proposals and quoted the lowest viability gap funding (VGF) from the government for such routes and networks.

The Airports Authority of India (AAI), the implementing agency, have issued Letter of Awards for 27 proposals received under RCS-UDAN. Key features of the proposals awarded by AAI include:

  • Airports to be connected: 27 currently served airports, 12 currently underserved airports and 31 currently unserved airports (for a total of 70 airports) will be connected through these 27 proposals.
  • Geographical spread: There is a good geographical spread in the proposals: 24 airports in the western, 17 in north, 11 in south, 12 in east and 6 in north-eastern regions are proposed to be connected. 22 states and 2 Union Territories will be connected through these 27 proposals.
  • Routes and network: 16 awarded proposals are for single routes (connecting two cities) and 11 are for networks (connecting three or more cities). Six proposals have been bid with zero viability gap funding (VGF) reflecting the fact that there is potential latent demand.
  • VGF Outflow: 27 proposals will require a VGF of around Rs. 200 crores and will provide around 6.5 lakh RCS seats.

UDAN flight | Salient features

  • The airfare for a one-hour journey of appx. 500 km on a fixed wing aircraft or for a 30-minute journey on a helicopter would be capped at Rs. 2,500, with proportionate pricing for routes of different stage lengths and flight duration.
  • The selected airline operator would have to provide 50% of the flight capacity (subject to a minimum of 9 and a maximum of 40) as RCS Seats for operations through fixed wing aircraft and a minimum of 5 and a maximum of 13 RCS Seats on the RCS Flights for operations through helicopters and would be given a three years’ exclusivity of operations.
  • To reduce the cost of operations of airlines on flying such routes, a financial stimulus in the form of concessions from Central and State government, airport operators and the Viability Gap Funding to the interested airlines would be provided to kick-off operations from such airports, so that the passenger fares are kept affordable.
  • State Government will provide a certain share of VGF (20% for States other than North-East States where the ratio will be 10% of VGF determined). In this regard, till now 19 States and 3 UTs have signed MoU whereas 5 more States have given consent to sign MoU.

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IICA And NSDC To Forge Collaboration On Skills And CSR | PIB Summary

No document Available

Managing Director & CEO, National Skill Development Corporation (NSDC), while on an invited visited to the Indian Institute of Corporate Affairs (IICA) yesterday, mentioned the “areas of synergy” and “common grounds” that both the organisations can identify for working together.

Scope of cooperation

  • The two organisations can collaborate in areas including but not limited to MSME, Corporate Governance, CSR, Business Innovation, E Governance and Corporate Communication.
  • The visit by the MD of NSDC was aimed at exploring synergy and partnership between the two institutions, which in turn, would lead to effective collaborative work.
  • The teams from both organisations should work towards closing a MoU within a specified period of time. The areas of CSR, skill, entrepreneurship, innovation, MSMEs provided ample opportunity to both the organizations to bring together mutual synergies and contribute to policy priorities of the Government.

IICA

Indian Institute of Corporate Affairs (IICA) is an autonomous organisation working under the aegis of the Ministry of Corporate Affairs. Set up as the premier organisation that aims at providing astute and credible intellectual leadership in corporate regulation, governance and running sustainable businesses, IICA is a capacity development and service delivery institute. The institute works through a network of Schools and Centres based in its campus at Manesar in Haryana.

NSDC

The National Skill Development Corporation, (NSDC) is a unique Public Private Partnership in India, working under the Ministry of Skill Development & Entrepreneurship. It aims to promote skill development by catalysing creation of large, quality, for-profit vocational institutions. NSDC provides funding to build scalable, for-profit vocational training initiatives. Its mandate is also to enable support systems such as quality assurance, information systems and train the trainer academies either directly or through partnerships.

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Ten New Swachh Iconic Places | PIB Summary

No document Available

The second quarterly review meeting on the Swachh Iconic Places (SIP), an initiative of Ministry of Drinking Water and Sanitation under Swachh Bharat Mission, was held today at Mata Vaishno Devi Shrine, in Katra, Jammu and Kashmir. Ten Swachh Iconic Places are already implementing action plans in phase 1. 

Newly added places (under Phase II)

  1. Gangotri,
  2. Yamunotri,
  3. Mahakaleshwar Temple, Ujjain,
  4. Char Minar, Hyderabad,
  5. Church and Convent of St. Francis of Assissi, Goa,
  6. Adi Shankaracharya’s abode Kaladi in Ernakulam,
  7. Gomateshwar in Shravanbelgola,
  8. Baijnath Dham, Devghar,
  9. Gaya Tirth in Bihar and
  10. Somnath temple in Gujarat.

Existing places (under Phase I)

  1. Ajmer Sharif Dargah
  2. CST Mumbai
  3. Golden Temple, Amritsar
  4. Kamakhya Temple, Assam
  5. Maikarnika Ghat, Varanasi
  6. Meenakshi Temple, Madurai
  7. Shri Mata Vaishno Devi, Katra, J&K
  8. Shree Jagannath Temple, Puri
  9. The Taj Mahal, Agra
  10. Tirupati Temple, Tirumala.

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e-SOT And e-PRAN Cards | PIB Summary

No document Available

With a view to digitally empower the Atal Pension Yojana (APY) subscribers and improve the quality of service, the facility of online viewing of the statement of transaction – e-SOT and also the e-PRAN card have been launched.

More than 45 lacs APY subscribers are likely to be benefitted. The APY subscribers can visit the website: www.npscra.nsdl.co.in or www.npstrust.org.in under the Atal Pension Yojana Section to avail these value added facilities.

About E-SOT and E-PRAN Card facility

  • By providing the APY/PRAN Acct details and Savings Bank Account number details, the APY subscriber can view one’s APY Account Statement. Even for the APY subscriber who does not have his APY PRAN number readily available can also avail these facilities by providing one’s Date of Birth and Savings Bank Account number details.
  • This online tool enables the Subscribers to view his complete details of APY account like transaction details, pension amount, pension commencement date, nominee name, associated bank name etc. Even though the feature is a self-servicing tool but the service providers can also access the feature on behalf of their customer to improve the quality of customer service.
  • PY Subscribers can print their e PRAN card and get it laminated for their future reference if needed. In case of any changes in the demographic details in the APY account, the subscribers can re-print their e-PRAN which shows the updated subscriber records.

About Atal Pension Yojana

The Atal Pension Yojana (APY) was launched by the Prime Minister of India Shri Narendra Modi on 09th May, 2015 and became operational from 1st June, 2015.

  • APY is available for all citizens of India in the age group of 18-40 years. Under the APY, the subscribers would receive a minimum guaranteed pension of Rs. 1000 to Rs. 5000 per month from the age of 60 years, depending on their contributions, which depends on the age of the subscriber at the time of joining the APY.
  • The Same amount of pension is paid to the spouse in case of subscriber’s demise. After the demise of both i.e. Subscriber & Spouse, the nominee would be paid with the pension corpus.
  • There is option for Spouse to continue to contribute for balance period on premature death of subscriber before 60 years, so as to avail pension by Spouse.
  • There are tax benefits at entry, accumulation and pension payment phases. If the actual returns on the pension contributions during the accumulation phase are higher than the assumed returns for the minimum guaranteed pension, such excess returns are passed on to the subscriber, resulting in enhanced scheme benefits.

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Make In India Gets Metro Boost | PIB Summary

No document Available

The Make in India initiative was launched by Prime Minister in September 2014 as part of a wider set of nation-building initiatives. Devised to transform India into a global design and manufacturing hub, Make in India was a timely response to a critical situation: by 2013, the much-hyped emerging markets bubble had burst, and India’s growth rate had fallen to its lowest level in a decade.

Components

  • 75% of metro cars, 25% of critical equipment and sub-systems to be produced in the country.
  • Several signalling equipment also to be procured indigenously.
  • Metro companies to undertake in-house maintenance and develop local expertise.
  • Rolling stock and signalling equipment norms standardized covering 90% of imports.
  • Mandatory Tender Conditions to encourage Make in India brought into immediate effect.
  • Eligibility criteria for suppliers also to be standardized in two weeks

Make In India | Introduction

With rapid expansion of metro rail projects in the country, Ministry of Urban Development has taken several far reaching decisions to promote Make in India campaign. These include stipulating certain mandatory conditions to be incorporated in Tender Documents of metro companies for procurement of metro cars and related critical equipment and sub-systems, procurement of only Made in India signalling equipment besides standardizing technical parameters for rolling stock (metro coaches) and signalling equipment.

Make In India | Details

The new mandatory Tender Conditions and standardized norms for a wide range of equipment, approved by the Ministry of Urban Development have been circulated to all the metro companies making them effective immediately.

Make In India | Significance

These initiatives will incentivize setting up manufacturing facilities in the country by increasing the volumes of procurement of rolling stock and all kinds of equipment by removing variations in the present technical norms for rolling stock and signalling equipment. This will in turn result in reduction of cost through economies of scale.

Make In India | Mandatory conditions

The Ministry has stipulated the following mandatory conditions to be incorporated in Tender Documents:

  • Minimum 75% of the tendered quantity of metro cars shall be manufactured indigenously with progressive indigenization of content, for which the contractor may either establish independent manufacturing facility in India or partner with Indian manufacturers, if the procurement is more than 100 cars;
  • To facilitate ease in maintenance through easy availability of spares beyond the warranty period, an identified list of critical equipment and sub-systems shall be included in the Tender Document for ensuring indigenous manufacturing of a minimum of 25% of such equipment, either by Original Equipment Manufacturers themselves by establishing a wholly owned subsidiary in India or through Indian manufacturers;
  • Requirement of metro cars at State level shall be clubbed to enable applicability of local procurement norms; and
  • To develop in-house expertise on long term basis, metro companies with large size fleet to undertake in-house maintenance.

Make In India | Additional measures

The Ministry has concluded the long pending standardisation of norms for rolling stock and signalling equipment applicable to over 90% of the present imports. Further, to promote indigenous manufacturing, the Ministry has stipulated procurement of 9 types of signalling equipment from within the country. Metro companies have also been directed to develop maximum possible local competence so that knowhow and technical support is available within the country. Indian companies have to be associated with production of a wide range of signalling and train control project equipment.

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The Make in India initiative was launched by Prime Minister in September 2014 as part of a wider set

No document Available

NITI Aayog | VISION DOCUMENT, STRATEGY & ACTION AGENDA BEYOND 12TH FIVE YEAR PLAN

Replacing the Five Year Plans beyond 31st March, 2017, NITI Aayog is in the process of preparing the 15-year vision document keeping in view the social goals set and/ or proposed for a period of 15 years; A 7-year strategy document spanning 2017-18 to 2023-24 to convert the longer-term vision into implementable policy and action as a part of a “National Development Agenda” is also being worked upon. The 3-year Action Agenda for 2017-18 to 2019-20, aligned to the predictability of financial resources during the 14th Finance Commission Award period, has been completed and will be submitted before the Prime Minister on April 23rd at the 3rd Governing Council Meeting

NITI Aayog | REFORMS IN AGRICULTURE

Model Land Leasing Law

Taking note of increasing incidents of leasing in and out of land and suboptimal use of land with lesser number of cultivators, NITI Aayog has formulated a Model Agricultural Land Leasing Act, 2016 to both recognize the rights of the tenant and safeguard interest of landowners. A dedicated cell for land reforms was also set up in NITI. Based on the model act, Madhya Pradesh has enacted separate land leasing law and Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand have modified their land leasing laws. Some States, including Odisha, Andhra Pradesh and Telangana, are already at an advance stage of formulating legislations to enact their land leasing laws for agriculture.

Reforms of the Agricultural Produce Marketing Committee Act

NITI Aayog consulted with the States on 21 October 2016 on three critical reforms –

  1. Agricultural marketing reforms
  2. Felling and transit laws for tree produce grown at private land
  3. Agricultural land leasing

Subsequently, Model APMC Act version 2 prepared. States are being consulted to adopt APMC Act version 2.

Agricultural Marketing and Farmer Friendly Reforms Index

NITI Aayog has developed the first ever ‘Agriculture Marketing and Farmer Friendly Reforms Index’ to sensitise states about the need to undertake reforms in the three key areas of Agriculture Market Reforms, Land Lease Reforms and Forestry on Private Land (Felling and Transit of Trees). The index carries a score with a minimum value “0” implying no reforms and maximum value “100” implying complete reforms in the selected areas.

As per NITI Aayog’s index, Maharashtra ranks highest in implementation of various agricultural reforms. The State has implemented most of the marketing reforms and offers the best environment for undertaking agri-business among all the States and UTs.  Gujarat ranks second with a score of 71.50 out of 100, closely followed by Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh. Almost two third States have not been able to reach even the halfway mark of reforms score, in the year 2016-17. The index aims to induce a healthy competition between States and percolate best practices in implementing farmer-friendly reforms.

Reforming Medical Education

A committee chaired by Vice Chairman, NITI Aayog recommended scrapping of the Medical Council of India and suggested a new body for regulating medical education. The draft legislation for the proposed National Medical Commission has been submitted to the Government for further necessary action.

NITI Aayog | DIGITAL PAYMENTS MOVEMENT

Digital economy

  • An action plan on advocacy, awareness and co-ordination of handholding efforts among general public, micro enterprises and other stakeholders was prepared. Appropriate literature in print and multimedia was prepared on the subject for widespread dissemination. Presentations/ interactions were organized by NITI Aayog for training and capacity building of various Ministries/Departments of Government of India, representatives of State/UTs, Trade and Industry Bodies as well as all other stakeholders.
  • NITI Aayog also constituted a Committee of Chief Ministers on Digital Payments on 30th November 2016 with the Chief Minister of Andhra Pradesh, Chandrababu Naidu, as the Convener to promote transparency, financial inclusion and a healthy financial ecosystem nationwide.  The Committee submitted its interim report to Hon’ble Prime Minister in January 2017.
  • To incentivize the States/UTs for promotion of digital transactions, Central assistance of Rs. 50 crores would be provided to the districts for undertaking Information, Education and Communication activities to bring 5 crore Jan Dhan accounts to digital platform.
  • Cashback and referral bonus schemes were launched by the Prime Minister on 14.4.2017 to promote the use of digital payments through the BHIM App.
  • Niti Aayog also launched two incentive schemes to to promote digital payments across all sections of society – the Lucky Grahak Yojana and the Digi Dhan Vyapar Yojana – Over 16 lakh consumers and merchants have won Rs. 256 crores under these two schemes.
  • Digi Dhan Melas were also held for 100 days in 100 cities, from December 25th to April 14th.  

NITI Aayog | ATAL INNOVATION MISSION

The Government has set up Atal Innovation Mission (AIM) in NITI Aayog with a view to strengthen the country’s innovation and entrepreneurship ecosystem by creating institutions and programs that spur innovation in schools, colleges, and entrepreneurs in general. In 2016-17, the following major schemes were rolled out:

  • Atal Tinkering Labs (ATLs): To foster creativity and scientific temper in students, AIM is helping to establish 500 ATLs in schools across India, where students can design and make small prototypes to solve challenges they see around them, using rapid prototyping technologies that have emerged in recent years.
  • Atal Incubation Centres (AICs): AIM will provide financial support of Rs.10 crore and capacity buidling for setting AICs across India, which will help startups expand quicker and enable innovation-entrepreneurship, in core sectors such as manufacturing, transport, energy, education, agriculture, water and sanitation, etc.

NITI Aayog | INDICES MEASURING STATES’ PERFORMANCE IN HEALTH, EDUCATION AND WATER MANAGEMENT

As part of the Prime Minister’s Focus on outcomes, NITI has come out with indices to measure incremental annual outcomes in critical social sectors like health, education and water with a view to nudge the states into competing with each other for better outcomes, while at the same time sharing best practices & innovations to help each other – an example of competitive and cooperative federalism.

NITI Aayog | SUB-GROUP OF CHIEF MINISTERS ON RATIONALIZATION OF CENTRALLY SPONSORED SCHEMES

Based on the recommendations of this Sub-Group, a Cabinet note was prepared by NITI Aayog which was approved by the Cabinet on 3rd August, 2016. Among several key decisions, the sub-group led to the rationalization of the existing CSSs into 28 umbrella schemes.

NITI Aayog | SUB-GROUP OF CHIEF MINISTERS ON SWACHH BHARAT ABHIYAN

Constituted by NITI Aayog on 9thMarch, 2015, the Sub-Group has submitted its report to the Hon’ble Prime Minister in October, 2015 and most of its recommendations have been accepted.

NITI Aayog | SUB-GROUP OF CHIEF MINISTERS ON SKILL DEVELOPMENT

Constituted on 9th March, 2015, the report of the Sub-Group of Chief Ministers on Skill Development was presented before the Hon’ble Prime Minister on 31/12/2015. The recommendation and actionable points emerging from the Report were approved by the Hon’ble Prime Minister and are in implementation by the Ministry of Skill Development

NITI Aayog | TASK FORCE ON ELIMINATION OF POVERTY IN INDIA

Constituted on 16th March, 2015 under the Chairmanship of Dr. Arvind Panagariya, Vice Chairman, NITI Aayog, the report of the Task Force was finalized and submitted to the Prime Minister on 11th July, 2016.The report of the Task Force primarily focusses on issues of measurement of poverty and strategies to combat poverty. Regarding estimation of poverty, the report of the Task Force states that “a consensus in favour of either the Tendulkar or a higher poverty line did not emerge. Therefore, the Task Force has concluded that the matter be considered in greater depth by the country’s top experts on poverty before a final decision is made. Accordingly, it is recommended that an expert committee be set up to arrive at an informed decision on the level at which the poverty line should be set.” With respect to strategies to combat poverty, the Task Force has made recommendations on faster poverty reduction through employment intensive sustained rapid growth and effective implementation of anti-poverty programs.

NITI Aayog | TASK FORCE ON AGRICULTURE DEVELOPMENT

The Task Force on Agricultural development was constituted on 16th March, 2015 under the Chairmanship of Dr. Arvind Panagariya, Vice Chairman, NITI Aayog. The Task Force based on its works prepared an occasional paper entitled “Raising Agricultural Productivity and Making Farming Remunerative for Farmers” focusing on 5 critical areas of Indian Agriculture. These are (i) Raising Productivity, (ii) Remunerative Prices to Farmers, (iii) Land Leasing, Land Records & Land Titles; (iv) Second Green Revolution-Focus on Eastern States; and (v) Responding to Farmers’ Distress. After taking inputs of all the States on occasional paper and through their reports, the Task Force submitted the final report to Prime Minister on 31st May, 2016. It has suggested important policy measures to bring in reforms in agriculture for the welfare of the farmers as well as enhancing their income.

NITI Aayog | TRANSFORMING INDIA LECTURE SERIES

As the government’s premier think-tank, NITI Aayog views knowledge building & transfer as the enabler of real transformation in States. To build knowledge systems for States and the Centre, NITI Aayog launched the ‘NITI Lectures: Transforming India’ series, with full support of the Prime Minister on 26th August 2016. The lecture series is aimed at addressing the top policy making team of the Government of India, including members of the cabinet and several top layers of the bureaucracy. It aims is to bring cutting edge ideas in development policy to Indian policy makers and public, so as to promote the cause of transformation of India into a prosperous modern economy. The Deputy Prime Minister of Singapore, Shri Tharman Shanmugaratnam, delivered the first lecture on the topic: India and the Global Economy. On November 16th, 2016, Bill Gates, Co-Founder, Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, delivered the second lecture in the series under the theme: ‘Technology and Transformation’.

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Award Scheme For Dairy Cooperatives | PIB Summary

No document Available

As part of the innovative initiatives under the “White Revolution” umbrella Schemes, the Department of Animal Husbandry, Dairying and Fisheries has supported the National Dairy Development Board(NDDB) developed initiative of “Quality Mark” Award Scheme for dairy Cooperatives to promote and encourage enhancement of safety, quality and hygiene of milk and milk products manufactured by dairy cooperatives.

  • National Dairy Development Board (NDDB) is in the process of registering the quality mark logo under Trademarks Act, 1998 

Award Scheme For Dairy Cooperatives | Objectives

  • It is aimed at bringing about process improvement in the entire value chain from producer to the consumer to ensure availability of safe and quality of milk and products both for the domestic and foreign market.
  • The Quality Mark” Award Scheme for dairy Cooperatives in the country has been initiated to instil confidence in the consumers for the quality of milk being marketed by them by ensuring availability of safe and good quality milk and milk products.

Award Scheme For Dairy Cooperatives | About the scheme

  • The initiative does not propose any new/ additional system for Food Safety and Quality Management but lays down minimum standards against each link of the processes required for ensuring quality and safety.
  • The NDDB is in the process of registering the quality mark logo under Trademarks Act, 1998. The Dairy units which meet the criteria for award of quality mark will be allowed to use the logo on the package containing milk and milk products and the award of the quality mark shall be specific for location of the dairy unit as well as for the process for a particular product. The mark may be applied to the packaging or printed on a label affixed to the package. The logo/symbol of quality mark on milk and milk product packages indicates that the dairy unit has adopted and implemented all the processes required as per the food safety and quality management system for manufacture of milk and milk products as per the set quality parameters.

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$ 375 Million Loan For Developing National Waterway-1 | PIB Summary

No document Available


In a major boost towards realising country’s ambitious inland waterways project, the World Bank has approved a $375 million loan for capacity augmentation of National Waterway-1(River Ganga) under Jal Marg Vikas Project (JMVP). 

About National Waterway I

  • The government is developing NW-1 (River Ganga) under JMVP from Haldia to Varanasi (1390 Km) with the technical and financial assistance of the World Bank.
  • Under the project, there are going to be three multi-modal terminals–one each at Varanasi (Uttar Pradesh), Sahibganj (Jharkhand), and Haldia (West Bengal), two inter-modal terminals- at Kalughat and Ghazipur, a new Navigation Lock at Farakka, five Roll on-Roll off (Ro-Ro) terminals, development of Ferry services at Varanasi, Patna, Bhagalpur, Munger, Kolkata and Haldia and Vessel repair and maintenance facilities.

About Jal Marg Vikas Project

  • Jal Marg Vikas Project also includes proposal for Performance Based Maintenance Dredging Contract for Provision of Least Assured Depth (LAD) of 3 metres between Farakka to Kahalgaon, and Sultanganj to Barh; LAD of 2.5 metres between Barh to Doriganj, and Doriganj to Ghazipur; and LAD of 2.2 metres between Ghazipur to Varanasi.
  • In addition, the project will enable IWAI setting up of River Information Service System on NW -1 for the first time in India. River Information System (RIS) are equipment, hardware and software information technology (IT) related services designed to optimize traffic and transport processes in inland navigation. 
  • JMVP will also support the design and development of low draft vessels capable of carrying up to 2000 tonnes of cargo in shallower depths. 

Significance of NW-1

  • NW-1 is a waterway of national significance passing through Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Jharkhand and West Bengal, serving the major cities of Allahabad, Varanasi, Ghazipur, Bhagalpur, Patna, Howrah, Haldia and Kolkata, and their industrial hinterland including several industries located in the Ganga basin.
  • The Rail and Road corridors in this region are heavily saturated. Hence, the development of NW-1 would provide an alternative, viable, economical, efficient and eco-friendly mode of transport. The waterway will act as a catalyst in the socio-economic development of the regions by creating new business and employment opportunities.

26

Brahmos Missile Supersonic Cruise Missile | PIB Summary

No document Available

ndian Navy successfully undertook the firing of BrahMos Land Attack Supersonic Cruise Missile from a ship today. This variant of Long Range BrahMos Missile was fired from Indian Naval Ship Teg, a Guided Missile Frigate, on a target on land.

About | Land Attack Variant

  • BrahMos Missile has been jointly developed by India and Russia, and its Anti Ship variant has already been inducted into Indian Navy.
  • Majority of the frontline ships of Indian Navy, like the Kolkata, Ranvir and Teg classes of ships, are capable of firing this missile.
  • Land Attack variant of BrahMos Missile provides Indian Naval Ships the capability to precisely neutralise selected targets deep inland, far away from coast, from stand-off ranges at sea.
  • This successful maiden firing of BrahMos Land Attack Supersonic Cruise Missile has significantly enhanced the prowess of Indian Navy and has placed India into the club of select few nations.

Details about BrahMos

  • BrahMos is a two-stage missile with a solid propellant booster engine as its first stage which brings it to supersonic speed and then gets separated.
  • The liquid ramjet or the second stage then takes the missile closer to 3 Mach speed in cruise phase.
  • Stealth technology and guidance system with advanced embedded software provides the missile with special features.
  • The missile has flight range of up to 290-km with supersonic speed all through the flight, leading to shorter flight time, consequently ensuring lower dispersion of targets, quicker engagement time and non-interception by any known weapon system in the world.
  • It operates on ‘Fire and Forget Principle’ adopting varieties of flights on its way to the target. Its destructive power is enhanced due to large kinetic energy on impact. Its cruising altitude could be up to 15 km and terminal altitude is as low as 10 meters. It carries a conventional warhead weighing 200 to 300 kgs.

27

C-DOT Common Service Platform | PIB Summary

No document Available

Expected for Prelims this year

C-DOT | Background

  • Government of India’s announcement of Smart Cities project in mission mode has generated a lot of interest.  The concept of smart cities is incomplete without intervention of communication and Information Technology. 
  • A network of wireless sensors, a reliable public communication infrastructure and innovative applications working on big data and analytics will help us realise smart cities.
  • Innovative local solutions will have to be found for local problems. Though this offers great opportunities to industry, including, MSMEs and start-ups. But adoption of standards will ensure that solution developers do not reinvent the wheel but devote their energies to the actual building of product and on innovations. Further, the interoperability will be another dividend of a standards based approach.
  • Telecommunications Standards Development Society, India (TSDSI), the Indian Telecom Standards Development Organisation (SDO) and European Telecommunications Standards Institute (ETSI), an established and highly respected, 29 years old telecom SDO have joined hands to unroll a collaboration project on ICT Standardisation in an endeavour of creating awareness about telecom standards and promoting their wider adoption.

About C- DOT

Recognising C-DOT’s R&D strengths, an India – European Union project called India-EU Cooperation on ICT-Related Standardisation, Policy and Legislation’ is organising a workshop on Future proof smart cities with a common service layer: a standards driven approach at C-DOT campus at Mehrauli, New Delhi on 21st April 2017.  Some of the global smart cities will be sharing the standards driven approach they have adopted for building smart cities in their countries.

C-DOT | Highlights of the workshop

The workshop aims to provide a platform where foreign and Indian experts from IoT and M2M forums, academia, R&D, industry and senior officials from Ministries of Communications, Urban Development and Electronics and Information Technology and cities named in Indian Smart Cities project can interact to share knowledge and experiences. It is also planned to enrich the interaction by inviting City Councillors from Europe and Korea who have actually implemented smart city projects in their respective cities.

C-DOT’s offering

  • C-DOT has developed CCSP (C-DOT Common Service Platform), the one M2M standards compliant common service platform which can be deployed on any off-the-shelf generic server platforms or cloud infrastructure. The business application providers can deploy their oneM2M compliant applications in either co-located infrastructure or on any public or private cloud.
  • Using the CCSP platform from C-DOT, the smart cities can reap all the benefits of using a standards compliant horizontal service layer and thus be more efficient, economical and future proof.
  • Along with the CCSP C-DOT has also developed various oneM2M indigenously designed hardware nodes like AND (Application Dedicated Node), ASN (Application Service Node) and MN (Middle node).
  • To effectively showcase the strength of the platform, C-DOT has also developed various applications like Smart Living, Smart Street Light, Carbon Footprint Monitoring Application and Power Monitoring which are fully oneM2M compliant.
  • C-DOT has also participated in two international interoperability events where the CCSP and the ADN were tested for interoperability with many other oneM2M compliant nodes from various international organisations like Interdigital, Herit, Huawei, HPE, NTT, KETI, LAAS-CNRS etc. C-DOT also participated in the conformance testing with ETSI.

Conclusion

C-DOT PDO is ready to bring yet another revolution by taking internet connectivity to every nook and corner of the country like it did in the 1980s when PCOs changed the Indian telecom scene in by taking telephones to rural India. C-DOT hopes that PDOs would bring next telecom revolution by taking internet connectivity to the masses. Like PCOs, the PDOs would enable small shop owners increase their income by selling data vouchers. This will also encourage village-level entrepreneurship and provide strong employment opportunities, especially in rural and semi urban areas.

28

Legal Aid Initiatives Launched | PIB Summary

No document Available

Minister of Law & Justice and Electronics & IT launched three key legal aid initiatives of the Department of Justice – including Pro bono legal services’, ‘Tele law service’ and ‘Nyaya Mitra scheme’.

Legal Aid  Initiatives | Significance

  • The three initiatives were aimed at fulfilling the department’s core mandate of enhancing ‘access to justice’for the poor and vulnerable communities, including making accessible quality and effective legal aid for them.
  • The initiatives launched by the department are to supplement the efforts of NALSA (National Legal Services Authority) and not to overlap the activities undertaken by the legal services authorities.

Pro bono legal Services

  • The Pro bonolegal services’ initiative is a web based platform, through which interested lawyers can register themselves to volunteer pro bono services for the underprivileged litigants, who are unable to afford it.
  • The Department of Justice has launched the online application for this initiative on its website gov.in. Through this online portal, litigants from marginalised communities (including members of scheduled castes and scheduled tribes, women, children, senior citizens, persons with low income and persons with disabilities) can also apply for legal aid and advice from the pro bono lawyers.

Legal Aid  Initiatives | Mainstreaming Legal Aid through Common Service Centre

  • The Department of Justice and NALSA are partnering with CSC- E- Governance Service Limited for mainstreaming legal aid to the marginalized communities through the Common Service Centers (CSCs).
  • This initiative, called ‘Tele Law’, is aimed at facilitating delivery of legal advice through an expert panel of lawyers – stationed at the State Legal Services Authorities (SLSA). The project would connect lawyers with clients through video conferencing facilities at CSCs, operated by para legal volunteers. For this purpose, this initiative would also play a pivotal role in empowering 1000 women para legal volunteers.

 Legal Aid  Initiatives | Engagement of Nyaya Mitra

  • The Nyaya Mitra scheme, which is aimed at reducing pendency of cases across selected districts, with special focus on those pending for more than 10 years.
  • Functionalized through a retired judicial or executive officer (with legal experience) designated as the ‘Nyaya Mitra’, the project would be operated out of District Facilitation Centres, housed in CSCs. Nyaya Mitra’s responsibilities would include among others assistance to litigants who are suffering due to delay in investigations or trial, by actively identifying such cases through the National Judicial Data Grid, providing legal advice and connecting litigants to DLSA, CSC Tele Law, other government agencies and civil society organisations.
  • He/she shall also refer the marginalized applicants to Lok Adalats for dispute resolution and render assistance towards prison reforms within the district, in coordination with the district judiciary and other stakeholders.

This initiative would be launched in 227 districts including 27 districts from North East and Jammu & Kashmir and 200 districts from Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Maharashtra, Rajasthan, Odisha, Gujarat, West Bengal etc. and would be operated out of CSCs

29

Central Order For Sugar | PIB Summary

No document Available

The Union Cabinet chaired by the Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi has given its approval for extending the validity of the existing Central Order For Sugar for a further period of six months from.

Central Order For Sugar | Objective

  • The main objective of the decision is to enable the State Governments to issue control order with the prior concurrence of Central Government, for fixing stock limits/licensing requirements in respect of sugar, whenever need is felt by them. This is expected to help in the efforts being taken to improve the availability of these commodities to general public at reasonable rates, and control the tendencies of hoarding and profiteering.
  • The current decision will be notified by the Government and communicated to all the States/UTs for further action at their end.

Central Order For Sugar | Background

  • The Cabinet in its meeting earlier decided to enable the States to regulate supply, distribution, sale, production, stock, storage, purchase and movement etc, in respect of sugar for a period up to six months.
  • The prices of sugar are being monitored by the Department of Food & Public Distribution regularly at factory gate as well as in the domestic market. In September, 2016 it was noticed that the retail prices had shown a sudden spurt. The price rise appeared to be more on sentiment than actual shortage. In order to regulate supply of sugar and address issue of speculative prices, fixing of appropriate stock limit on need basis was essential. In addition, despite adequate availability of stocks for consumption in the current season, hoarding and consequent profiteering is anticipated due to drop in production over previous year and hence further extension of stock limit would be needed.

Central Order For Sugar | Other initiatives to control price rise of sugar

  • To support the sugar sector, the Government had recently extended soft loan assistance of Rs.4305 crores to the industry which has been directly credited to farmers account on behalf of sugar mills through banks benefitting about 32 lakh farmers.
  • Also a performance based production subsidy has been extended @Rs.4.50 per quintal of cane crushed which was directly credited to the farmers account on behalf of sugar mills.
  • In order to maintain domestic prices at reasonable levels, the Government has allowed import of a restricted quantity of 5 lakh MT of raw sugar at zero duty by millers/refiners having their own refining capacity. This restricted quantity will help the sugar industry to augment their liquidity and enable them to pay cane dues of farmers.

30

National Commission For Backward Classes (Repeal) Bill, 2017 | PIB Summary

No document Available

The Union Cabinet chaired by the Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi has given

  1. Ex-post facto approval for introduction of –
  • Constitution (One Hundred and Twenty-third Amendment) Bill 2017 and
  • National Commission for Backward Classes (Repeal) Bill, 2017 in the Parliament; and
  1. Approval for retention of posts/incumbents and office premises held by the existing National Commission by the proposed new National Commission

Proposed amendments

  • Constitution of a Commission under Article 338B for socially and educationally backward classes by name of National Commission for Backward Classes; and
  • insertion of Clause (26C) under Article 366 with modified definition viz. “socially and educationally backward classes” means such backward classes as are so deemed under Article 342A for the purpose, this Constitution and,

Purpose of Bill

  • Repeal of the Act, along with Savings Clause for namely the National Commission for Backward Classes (Repeal) Bill, 2017; and
  • Dissolution of the National Commission for Backward Classes with effect from such date as the Central Government may appoint in this behalf and the National Commission for Backward Classes constituted under sub-section (1) of Section 3 of the said Act shall stand dissolved.

Appropriation of posts

  • Appropriation of the sanctioned 52 posts, along with incumbents wherever filled of the existing National Commission for Backward Classes in the proposed National Commission for Backward Classes to be constituted under Article 338B; and
  • Retention of the office premises of the existing National Commission (for Backward Classes), by the National Commission (for Backward Classes) to be constituted under Article 338B.
    The above decisions will lead to overall welfare of socially and educationally backward classes.

The proposed Act of repeal is necessary in view of setting up of the National Commission for (Backward Classes) by insertion of Article 338B of the Constitution. The decision will also enable effecting continuity in the functioning of the National Commission (for Backward Classes) under Article 338B.

31

State Governments For External Assistance | PIB Summary

No document Available

The Union Cabinet chaired by the Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi has approved the policy guidelines to allow financially sound State Governments to borrow directly from bilateral ODA (Official development Assistance) partners for implementation of vital infrastructure projects.

State Governments For External Assistance | About the approval

  • The Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority (MMRDA), a State Government entity, has also been allowed to borrow directly from Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) Official Development Assistance (ODA) loan for implementation of Mumbai Trans Harbour Link (MTHL) project.
  • The estimated project cost for Mumbai Trans-Harbour Link (MTHL) is Rs.17,854 crore, out of which JICA loan portion is expected to be Rs.15,109 crore.

State Governments For External Assistance | Significance of approval

  • The guidelines will facilitate the State Government entities to directly borrow from the external bilateral funding agencies subject to fulfilment of certain conditions and all repayments of loans and interests to the funding agencies will be directly remitted by the concerned borrower.
  • The concerned State Government will furnish guarantee for the Loan. The Government of India will provide counter guarantee for the loan.

State Governments For External Assistance | Significance of external assistance

  • External assistance today plays a supportive role in financing major infrastructure projects, social sector projects and in building up institutional capacity.
  • The role of external assistance has gained further significance in view of the large gap in funding requirements for major infrastructure projects implemented by the State Governments in order to acquire competitive strength under the globalized economic framework.
  • Several State agencies are implementing major infrastructure projects of national importance. These projects, even if viable and sound, have huge funding requirements and borrowing by the State Governments for such projects may exhaust their respective borrowing limits. Therefore, in order to accelerate the pace of investment in major infrastructure projects in the country without compromising the need for external assistance for other sectors, an enabling provision in the existing guidelines was considered necessary to facilitate direct borrowing by the State Government entities from bilateral external agencies.
  • This dispensation will allow the financially sound State entities to directly borrow and repay the loan required for major infrastructure projects without burdening the State exchequer. The approval of these guidelines reiterates Government’s commitment to promote inclusive growth and strengthen the economy.

State Governments For External Assistance | Background

Presently, external development assistance from bilateral and multilateral sources is received by the Government of India

  1. for projects/programmes in the Central sector;
  2. for projects executed by Central Public Sector Undertakings; and
  3. on behalf of the State Governments for State sector projects/programmes to be implemented by the State Governments and/or local bodies and public sector undertakings. The existing guidelines do not allow direct borrowings by the State Government entities from external agencies.

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Digital Payments – Figures And Facts | PIB Summary

No document Available

Digital Payments – Figures And Facts post covers the timeline of events that happened across the country in lieu of digitising the economy of India, an initiative taken by the Government since his announcement of demonetisation of high value currencies.

Digital Payments | Introduction

  • Lucky Grahak Yojana and Digi Dhan Vyapar Yojana launched on 25.12.2016
  • 100 Digi Dhan Melas held in 100 cities all over the country.
  • 100-day long information, education and communication campaign led by NITI Aayog to make digital payments a mass movement in India.

Results

  • At least 15,000 institutions have gone cashless across just these 100 rural and urban cities across each one of the 27 states and 7 UTs.
  • With a turnout of over 15 lakhs from cities, small towns and villages, the melas have enabled lakhs to open new bank accounts as well as create new Aadhaar cards.
  • 258 crore of prize money won by 16 lakh winners, including customers and merchants belonging to different corners of the country and from varied walks of life.
  • The lucky winners of the Mega Draw felicitated by the Prime Minister in Nagpur.

BHIM App and QR Codes launched

  • BHIM App has already created a new world record by registering 1.9 crore downloads in just four months since its launch in December, 2016.
  • India haso seen an unprecedented increase in number of transactions made using several user-friendly digital payment methods viz. UPI, USSD, AePS.
  • Volume of all digital transactions increased by about 23 times with 63,80,000 digital transactions for a value of Rs. 2425 crore in March 2017 compared to 2,80,000 digital transactions worth Rs.101 crores till November 2016.
  • Aadhaar Enabled Payments have increased from 2.5 crore in November 2016 to over 5 crores in March 2017.
  • Immediate Payment Service (IMPS) transactions have also increased from 3.6 crore to 6.7 crore during the same period.

BHIM-Aadhaar, the merchant interface of the BHIM App

  • It will pave the way for making digital payments by using the Aadhaar platform.
  • Any Indian citizen can pay digitally using their biometric data like their thumb imprint on a merchants’ biometric enabled device which could be smart phone having a biometric reader.
  • Any citizen without access to smart phones, internet, debit or credit cards will be able to transact digitally through the BHIM Aadhaar platform.
  • Already, 27 major banks are now on board with 7.15 lakh merchants so that they can start accepting payments using BHIM Aadhaar.

ONBOARDING

  • Total Onboarding (including syndicate update): 7.15 lakhs ,  Transactions: 12.62 lakh
  • Aadhar:1.75 Lakh
  • BHIM/UPI 4.79 lakh
  • QR Code:1.68 lakh

BHIM – Cash back and Referral Bonus Schemes

  • To ensure that the culture of digital payments permeates down to the grassroots.
  • Under the Referral bonus scheme both the existing user who refers BHIM and the new user who adopts BHIM would get a cash bonus credited directly to their account.
  • Under the Cashback scheme the merchants will get a cash back on every transaction using BHIM. Both schemes are to be administered by MEITY and implemented by NPCI.
  • Outlay of Rs. 495 crores for a period of six months.

75 Townships declared Less Cash Townships

  • In order to achieve the target of 2500 crore digital transactions during the current financial year, the Prime Minister announced about 75 townships spread all over India as ‘less-cash townships’.
  • A less-cash township is one where the deployment of payment acceptance infrastructure is complete, all the families in the township are covered under training programs.
  • Selected townships on the basis of third party assessment by Price Waterhouse Coopers (PWC)
  • Townships with more than 80% of the total number of transactions being done through digital modes of payments during the review period are included in this list.
  • These townships are likely to generate over 1.5 lakh digital transactions every day thereby leading to about 5.5 crore digital transactions in a year.

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Report On Draft Ganga Act | PIB Summary

No document Available

The committee constituted to prepare draft Ganga Act submitted its report to the Union Minister of Water Resources, River Development and Ganga Rejuvenation.

Draft Ganga Act | About the Committee

  • The Chairman of the committee Justice Shri Girdhar Malviya (Retd.) said that it was a big challenge for them but they could meet it successfully. He thanked the officials of Union Water Resources Ministry and National Mission for Clean Ganga for their cooperation to the committee.
  • The Ministry of Water Resources, River Development and Ganga Rejuvenation constituted this committee in July last year to prepare draft Ganga Act. Justice Shri Girdhar Malviya (Retd.) was the Chairman of the committee. Other members were: Shri V.K.Bhasin, Ex-Secretary, Legislative Department, Govt. of India, Prof. A.K. Gosain, IIT Delhi and Prof. Nayan Sharma, IIT Roorkee. Shri Sundeep, Director, National Mission for Clean Ganga was the Member Secretary.
  • 79-year-old Justice Malviya who is Chairman of Ganga Mahasabha is associated with Ganga conservation movement. The Mahasabha was founded by his grandfather and founder of BHU Mahamana Pandit Madan Mohan Malviya.

Draft Ganga Act | Highlights of the report

  • The committee recognized the enormous challenges being faced to maintain the wholesomeness (Nirmalta and Aviralta) of National River Ganga perpetuated due to over stressed water demand from agricultural, domestic and industrial sectors, on one hand and realized pressure on account of sustaining the religious faith, historical and social belief on other hand.
  • The challenges become more complex with no possible increase in availability of water in river course in comparison to the increasing demands but on the contrary apprehension of decreasing flow owing to climate change affects.

Draft Ganga Act | Details about the report

  • The draft Act addresses the critical issues pertaining to National River Gaga on its Cleanliness (Nirmalta) and uninterrupted e-flow (Aviralta) and provides corresponding provisions thereof.
  • The committee has adopted certain stricter provision to increase accountability and responsibility for use of resources made available by National River Ganga. The option and provision made in suggestive bills available with National Mission for Clean Ganga (NMCG) were also considered and discussed by the committee.

34

Clean Water Technology | PIB Summary

No document Available

The Department of Biotechnology and Department of Science and Technology, Ministry of Science and Technology are collaborating with The India-Canada Centre for Innovation Multidisciplinary Partnerships to Accelerate Community Transformation and Sustainability (IC-IMPACTS), to promote multidisciplinary research partnerships. Five projects addressing the issue of Clean Water Technology are being implemented by the Departments at the total cost of Rs. 572 lakhs with matched funding from Canada.

Clean Water Technology

  • Biosensors for detection of toxins – impedance-based handheld biosensors for assessment of the water quality and a nanoparticle based water treatment system to eliminate toxins and microorganisms in water. Toxins which will be detected are cyanotoxin (microcystins, anatoxins) and microorganisms (Enterococcus, Salmonella, Staphylococcus).
  • Heavy metal detection and removal – Plastic cartridges for colour based test monitoring kit for detection of multiplex heavy metal. Developing fixed bed bio-char columns to remove heavy metals from waste water.
  • Bio-recovery from waste water (waste to wealth) – Integrated pilot-scale 915 MHz MW-AOP for advanced anaerobic digestion system for resource recovery
  • Survey to identify and explore alternatives in domestic water management –technology and financial appropriateness of water and wastewater infrastructure in selected cities of India

These Technologies are currently being developed with the aim that these technologies will be implemented in India.  Prior art is available for the technologies being developed. The technologies are being adapted and modified for Indian conditions. Technologies developed will be taken for feasibility studies and shall be implemented on pilot scale within two years.

35

Business Reform Action Plan 2017 | PIB Summary

No document Available

The Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion (DIPP), Ministry of Commerce and Industry, in partnership with the World Bank Group, released the Business Reform Action Plan – BRAP 2017 for implementation by States/UTs.

Business Reform | About

The BRAP includes 405 recommendations for reforms on regulatory processes, policies, practices and  procedures spread across 12 reform areas, that is, labour regulation enablers; contract enforcement; registering property; inspection reform enablers; single window system; land availability and allotment; construction permit enablers; environmental registration enablers; obtaining utility permits; paying taxes; access to information and transparency enablers and sector specific reforms spanning the lifecycle of a typical business.

Business Reform | Highlights

  • This year there are 103 new set of reforms (out of 405) focusing on central inspection system, online land allotment system, online single window system for granting construction permits, registration under Inter State Migrant Workmen (RE&CS) Act, 1979, approval for boiler manufacturer and boiler erector etc.  BRAP 2017 also includes two new sectors i.e. Healthcare and Hospitality.
  • DIPP will carry out a comprehensive business-to-government (B2G) feedback exercise this year whereby feedback will be taken from businesses on the quality of implementation of the reforms claimed by the States and UTs. For each State/UT, the scores will be aggregated over all the surveys conducted to yield an overall score for the State/UT.
  • The feedback scores will be used to generate a ranking of States/UTs in terms of reform implementation. Such a ranking will be different from the last year’s ranking, which was a ranking of de jure reforms (or reforms based on evidence submitted by States).

36

Boost To Digital Payments Promotion On Ambedkar Jayanti | PIB Summary

No document Available

Commemorating the 126th birth anniversary of Dr. Bhim Rao Ambedkar, Prime Minister, Shri Narendra Modi will launch several crucial initiatives to further the digital payments revolution in India on April 14th this year.

Digital Payments | Highlights

  • The initiatives include, the launch of BHIM Aadhaar platform for merchants, cash back and referral bonus schemes for BHIM and declaring about 75 townships going less-cash.
  • PM will also felicitate the winners of the Mega draw of the two major incentive schemes to promote digital payments, viz. Lucky Grahak Yojana and Digidhan Vyapaar Yojana.
  • These initiatives would further promote the digital movement that the country embarked upon and reinforce the vision of Baba Saheb for social empowerment of all through financial inclusion.

Digital Payments | Significance of BHIM App

  • BHIM-Aadhaar, the merchant interface of the BHIM App, to be launched by the Prime Minister will pave the way for making digital payments by using the Aadhaar platform.
  • This will enable every Indian citizen to pay digitally using their biometric data like their thumb imprint on a merchants’ biometric enabled device which could be smartphone having a biometric reader.
  • Any citizen without access to smartphones, internet, debit or credit cards will be able to transact digitally through the BHIM Aadhaar platform, thus realizing Dr. Ambedkar’s vision of social and financial empowerment for all.
  • Already, 27 major banks are now on board with 3 lakh merchants so that they can start accepting payments using BHIM Aadhaar.  

Future initiatives –

  • Further, the Prime Minister will launch two new incentive schemes for the BHIM – Cashback and Referral bonus – with an outlay of Rs. 495 crore for a period of six months. This is to ensure that the culture of digital payments permeates down to the grassroots.
  • Under the Referral bonus scheme both the existing user who refers BHIM and the new user who adopts BHIM would get a cash bonus credited directly to their account. Under the Cashback scheme the merchants will get a cashback on every transaction using BHIM. Both schemes are to be administered by MEITY and implemented by NPCI.

Digital Payments | Conclusion

India’s digital prowess has been acknowledged by leading economists and to quote Raoul Pal, “India provides the ability to operate in the real time transactions such as lending, bank or mobile account that normally can take few days are now instant. The revolutionary digital infrastructure will soon be able to process billion more transactions than Bitcoins ever had.”

37

India’s Foreign Trade | PIB Summary

No document Available

TRADE BALANCE

  • MERCHANDISE: The trade deficit for April-March, 2016-17 was estimated at US$ 105722.55 million which was 10.95% lower than the deficit of US$ 118716.53 million during April-March, 2015-16.
  • SERVICES: As per RBI’s Press Release dated 13th April 2017, the trade balance in Services (i.e. net export of Services) for February, 2017 was estimated at US$ 5825 million. The net export of services for April- February, 2016-17 was estimated at US$ 59302 million which is lower than net export of services of US$ 64429 million during April- February, 2015-16. (The data for April-February 2015-16 and 2016-17 has been derived by adding April-February month wise QE data of RBI Press Release).
  • OVERALL TRADE BALANCE: Overall the trade balance has improved. Taking merchandise and services together, overall trade deficit for April- March 2016-17 is estimated at US$ 46420.55 million which is 14.49 percent lower in Dollar terms than the level of US$ 54287.53 million during April-March 2015-16. (Services data pertains to April-February 2016-17 as February 2017 is the latest data available as per RBI’s Press Release dated 13th April 2017)

38

Establishment Of The Bimstec Grid Interconnection | PIB Summary

No document Available

The Union Cabinet chaired by the Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi has approved the proposal of the Ministry of Power for Signing of “Memorandum of Understanding for Establishment of the BIMSTEC Grid Interconnection. It will be signed among member states of BIMSTEC at the upcoming 3rd BIMSTEC Energy Ministers’ Meeting to be held in Nepal shortly.

Bimstec Grid | Background

  • The Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation (BIMSTEC) is an international organisation involving a group of countries in South Asia and South East Asia viz. Bangladesh, India, Myanmar, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Bhutan and Nepal. The “Plan of Action for Energy Cooperation in BIMSTEC” was formulated in the first BIMSTEC Energy Ministers’ Conference held in New Delhi on October 4, 2005.
  • In this plan, under the “BIMSTEC Trans-Power Exchange and Development Project”, it was decided that a Task Force led by Thailand, with representatives of member countries, will give a report on draft MoU for grid interconnections.
  • Total five meetings Task Force for BIMSTEC on Trans-power Exchange were held and the draft MoU for establishment of BIMSTEC Grid Interconnection was finalized by the Task Force on 16th Mar 2015.
  • In the BIMSTEC Leaders’ Retreat 2016, held in Goa on 16th October 2016, the Leaders decided to expedite the signing of the MoU on BIMSTEC Grid Interconnection. Eventually, during the 4th meeting of BIMSTEC Senior Officials on Energy held on 11th-12th January 2017, the MoU was discussed and finalized.

Bimstec Grid | Impact

This MoU will provide a broad framework for the Parties to cooperate towards the implementation of grid interconnections for the trade in electricity with a view to promoting rational and optimal power transmission in the BIMSTEC region. This MoU will facilitate –

  • the optimization of using the energy resources in the region for mutual benefits on non-discriminatory basis subject to laws, rules and regulations of the respective Parties; 
  • the promotion of efficient, economic, and secure operation of power system needed through the development of regional electricity networks;
  • the necessity of optimization of capital investment for generation capacity addition across the region; and
  • power exchange through cross border interconnections.

39

Oil Palm Area And Production In India | PIB Summary

No document Available

The Union Cabinet chaired by the Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi has approved measures to increase oil palm area and production in India.  These include –

  1. Relaxation of land ceiling limit for oil palm cultivation under NMOOP (National Mission on Oilseeds and Oil Palm).
  2. The Cabinet approved relaxation in restrictions for providing assistance to more than 25-hectare area also under NMOOP to attract corporate bodies towards oil palm and derive maximum benefit of 100% FDI.
  3. Revision of norms of assistance under Mini Mission-II of NMOOP.
  1. The Cabinet further gave its approval to revise the norms of assistance mainly for planting materials, maintenance cost, inter-cropping cost and bore-well to make oil palm plantations attractive.

Oil Palm Area | Impact

  • To encourage oil palm plantation on large scale by corporate bodies and to utilize wastelands. By relaxing restrictions under NMOOP, private entrepreneurs/cooperative bodies/joint ventures will show their interest in investment in oil palm plantation and availing the NMOOP support.
  • To encourage farmers for oil palm cultivation in a bigger way. The revision of cost norms will motivate fanners for oil palm plantation.
  • Annual Action Plan (AAP) of the State / Agencies will be approved by Department of Agriculture, Cooperation & Farmers Welfare on revised cost norms. The private entrepreneurs/ cooperative bodies/ joint ventures will be invited by the respective state Governments for oil palm plantation in their state.
  • At present, the programme is being implemented in 12 States, namely, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu. Mizoram, Odisha, Kerala, Telangana. Chhattisgarh, Gujarat, Arunachal Pradesh, Nagaland & Assam. Nearly 133 districts are under oil palm cultivation in these 12 states, However, all the potential states of Oil palm are covered under NMOOP.
  • There will be some financial implication in relaxing restrictions of area and up-scaling the norms of subsidies but the same would be accommodated within NMOOP fund. Therefore, no additional funds would be required.

Oil Palm Area

The norms of assistance for various interventions were decided on the basis of prevailing prices at the time of formulation of the NMOOP programme. In view of large investment towards the cost of planting material, digging of pits, planting, manuring, irrigation and maintenance of plantation for four years without any income, farmers particularly small and marginal have shown reluctance in taking up oil palm plantation. Besides, in North Eastern States, which have good potential for oil palm needs additional investment in land preparation being hilly terrain.

Oil Palm Area | Background

  • Edible Oil is an important component of household food basket. The total production of edible oil in the country is about 9 million MT. while the domestic requirement is around 25 million MT. The gap between demand and supply is being met through imports, which amounted to Rs. 68,000 crores in 2015-16.
  • Palm oil contributes 70% of vegetable oil import and is one of the cheapest oil due to high productivity per hectare.
  • Oil Palm is one of the world’s most efficient crop in terms of yield of vegetable oil per ha and today it is largest source of vegetable oil in the world. Malaysia, Indonesia, Nigeria, Thailand and Columbia are the major oil palm producing countries.

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Cab Safety Measures | PIB Summary

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Cab Safety Measures, recommended by the Ministry of Women and Child Development, concerning safety of women commuters availing of cab services have been included in the new Taxi Policy Guidelines. These measures have been recommended by the WCD Minister, Smt Maneka Sanjay Gandhi to the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways and Shipping (MoRTH). 

Cab Safety Measures | Background

  • The recommendations come in the background of numerous cases of sexual harassment of women in cabs being reported to Smt. Maneka Gandhi on social media after women took to Twitter and Facebook to flag their ordeal. 
  • Following this, the WCD Minister held a meeting with radio cab service providers to find a solution to the grave problem. Based on this, the WCD Minister wrote to Sh. Nitin Gadkari , Minister of Road Transport and Highways and Shipping to incorporate the necessary safety measures in the regulatory guidelines being prepared by MoRTH. 

Cab Safety Measures | Recommendations of WCD Ministry

  • The taxis should be mandatorily fitted with GPS panic devices. 
  • For the safety of women and child passengers, the central locking system in the taxis should not be allowed.
  • The driver’s identification along with the photo and registration number of the vehicle should also be prominently displayed in the taxi.
  • Violation of the stipulated rules by the taxi operators/drivers should be strictly dealt in accordance with law.
  • Sharing of seat should be subject to willingness of passengers.

Cab Safety Measures | Other measures

Women commuters have been expressing their concern via social media to Smt Maneka Gandhi regarding safety in taxis. The WCD Minister has launched a hashtag, #HelpMeWCD, where any woman or child facing harassment/ violence can directly report their cases by tweeting.

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Blue Revolution | PIB Summary

No document Available

Realizing the immense scope for development of fisheries and aquaculture, the Government of India has restructured the Central Plan Scheme under an umbrella of Blue Revolution.

The restructured Central Sector Scheme on Blue Revolution

Integrated Development and Management of Fisheries (CSS) approved by the Government provides for a focused development and management of the fisheries sector to increase both fish production and fish productivity from aquaculture and fisheries resources of the inland and marine fisheries sector including deep sea fishing

Components of the scheme

  • National Fisheries Development Board (NFDB) and its activities.
  • Development of Inland Fisheries and Aquaculture.
  • Development of Marine Fisheries, Infrastructure and Post-Harvest Operations.
  • Strengthening of Database & Geographical Information System of the Fisheries Sector.
  • Institutional Arrangement for Fisheries Sector.
  • Monitoring, Control and Surveillance (MCS) and other need-based Interventions.
  • National Scheme on Welfare of Fishermen.

About the Blue Revolution scheme

  • Integrated Development and Management of Fisheries is being implemented in consultation with all States & UTs. Besides the activities undertaken under both the marine and inland sectors, no specific role for the coastal states has been defined. 
  • The Blue Revolution is being implemented to achieve economic prosperity of fishermen and fish farmers and to contribute towards food and nutritional security through optimum utilization of water resources for fisheries development in a sustainable manner, keeping in view the bio-security and environmental concerns. 
  • Under the scheme, it has been targeted to enhance the fish production from 107.95 lakh tonnes in 2015-16 to about 150 lakh tonnes by the end of the financial year 2019-20. It is also expected to augment the export earnings with a focus on increased benefit flow to the fishers and fish farmers to attain the target of doubling their income. 
  • The Department has prepared a detailed National Fisheries Action Plan-2020(NFAP) for the next 5 years with an aim of enhancing fish production and productivity and to achieve the concept of Blue Revolution. The approach was initiated considering the various fisheries resources available in the country like ponds & tanks, wetlands, brackish water, cold water, lakes & reservoirs, rivers and canals and the marine sector. 

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Universalising the Facility Of Institutional Delivery | PIB Summary

No document Available

As per National Family Health Survey (NFHS-IV 2015-16), institutional delivery in rural areas is 75.1%. As per data available through National Family Health Survey (NFHS), Institutional delivery in rural areas has increased from 31.1% in 2005-06(NFHS-III) to 75.1% in 2015-16(NFHS-IV).

Institutional Delivery | Key steps taken by Government of India

  • Promotion of institutional deliveries through Janani Suraksha Yojana (JSY), a conditional cash transfer scheme.
  • Janani Shishu Suraksha Karyakaram (JSSK) entitles all pregnant women delivering in public health institutions to absolutely free and no expense delivery, including caesarean section. Similar entitlements have been put in place for all sick infants accessing public health institutions for treatment.
  • Operationalization of Sub-Centers, Primary Health Centers, Community Health Centers and District Hospitals for providing 24×7 basic and comprehensive obstetric care.
  • Capacity building of health care providers in basic and comprehensive obstetric care with a strategic initiative Dakshata to enable service providers in providing high quality services during childbirth at the institutions.
  • Mother and Child Tracking System is being implemented to ensure antenatal, intranatal and postnatal care along-with immunization services.
  • Engagement of more than 9.90 lakh Accredited Social Health Activists (ASHAs) to generate demand and facilitate accessing of health care services by the community.
  • Establishing Maternal and Child Health (MCH) Wings at high caseload facilities to improve the quality of care provided to mothers and children.
  • Newer interventions to reduce maternal mortality and morbidity- Diagnosis & management of Gestational Diabetes Mellitus, Hypothyroidism during pregnancy, Training of General Surgeons for performing Caesarean Section, Calcium supplementation during pregnancy and lactation, De-worming during pregnancy, Maternal Near Miss Review, screening for Syphilis during pregnancy and Dakshata guidelines for strengthening intra-partum care.
  • The Pradhan Mantri Surakshit Matritva Abhiyan (PMSMA) has been introduced with the aim of conducting special ANC checkups for pregnant women (in their 2nd / 3rd Trimesters of pregnancy) in the country on 9th of every month by Medical Officer/OBGY specialist in the government health facilities and also through Private sector on voluntary basis for tracking of high risk pregnancy to ensure institutional deliveries.
  • Enhancing the availability of human resources particularly in high priority districts(HPDs) through a slew of measures like – improving retention of specialists, medical officers and nursing personnel particularly in difficult areas through special incentives; hiring of contractual personnel including MOs and Nurses particularly for operationalization of comprehensive RMNCH services at Delivery Points.
  • To sharpen the focus on the low performing districts, 184 High Priority Districts (HPDs) have been prioritized for Reproductive Maternal New-born Child Health+ Adolescent (RMNCH+A) interventions for achieving improved maternal and child health outcomes.
  • The government has framed a set of Performance Based Incentives for the human resource working in these HPDs.
  • Referral transport for pregnant women, sick neonates and sick infants is being provided by the States as per their local needs, using different models i.e. 108/102 which include a network of emergency response vehicles using toll free number, government ambulances, available transport under public private partnership etc.

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Shodhganga | PIB Summary

No document Available

Shodhganga | Background

  • The University Grants Commission (Minimum Standards and Procedure for Award of M.Phil./ Ph.D Degrees), Regulation, 2016, mandates that after successful completion of the evaluation process and before the announcement of the award of the M.Phil./Ph.D. degree(s), the Institution concerned shall submit an electronic copy of the M.Phil. dissertation /Ph. D. thesis to the Information and library Network (INFLIBNET), for hosting the same so as to make it accessible to all Institutions/Colleges.
  • To implement this provision of the UGC Regulations, 2016, Shodhganga repository was set up. The task of setting-up of this repository was assigned to INFLIBNET Centre, Gandhinagar – an Inter-University Centre of the University Grants Commission (UGC).

Objectives of Shodhganga

  • Develop a national repository of theses and dissertations with an intuitive interface which enables submission of electronic version of theses and dissertations by Universities in India and facilitates search, browse and downloading of theses available in the repository;
  • Avoid unnecessary duplication and repetition that, in effect, is wastage of huge resources, both human and financial;
  • Providing access to Indian theses and dissertations in open access to world-wide academic community and making visibility of Indian research to other countries;
  • Extend access to plagiarism detection software to eligible universities; and
  • Fund eligible Universities (that are under purview of the UGC) for digitization of back lists of theses submitted to their universities.  

Salient features of Shodhganga

  • Shodhganga facilitates Universities to deposit their theses in the respective Departments / Centres.
  • The system also permits online or offline submission of theses by students on voluntary basis.
  • Shodhganga interface supports basic search, advanced search and subject-wise browsing.

 Note – INFLIBNET Centre, Gandhinagar has informed that no University has, so far, responded negatively or shown reluctance to join the scheme.

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Initiatives By AICTE | PIB Summary

No document Available

With a view to improve the standards of technical education and to provide competent technical manpower for the Make-In-India campaign, the All India Council of Technical Education – AICTE has approved the following package of measures to be implemented by all the technical institutions

  • AICTE | Induction training: Every student, on admission, shall be put through a mandatory Induction training to reinforce the fundamental concepts and the required language skills required for the technical education.
  • AICTE | Revision of curriculum:  Every affiliating Technical University shall constitute subject-wise industry consultation committee (ICC) with the mandate of examining the existing curriculum and for making suitable changes in the curriculum every year. This process shall be completed in the month of December each year for the courses to be offered in the coming Academic year. Each institution, while applying for approval, shall certify completion of this process, which will be mandatory.
  • AICTE | Mandatory internships: Every student in technical institution shall do three internships each spanning 4 to 8 weeks before completion of the under-graduation. The responsibility will be on the institution for helping the students in finding suitable industry or organisation for the internship.
  • AICTE | Industry readiness: All students passing out of the undergraduate courses shall be imparted technical and soft skills required for working in the industry encompassing – managerial skills, entrepreneurial skills, leadership skills, communication skills, team-working skills and technical skills. 
  • AICTE | Promoting innovation/start-ups: There shall be efforts at every level for promoting innovation and creativity in the students. The innovation drives like Hackathon shall be promoted, so that innovative ideas would emerge that can be incubated in the start-up centres.
  • AICTE | Exam reforms: The final exams being conducted by the institutions shall test the understanding of the concepts and the skill – rather than the subject knowledge. A model exam format would be prepared and shared with the institutions and the technical universities for suitable adoption. This aspect would be reviewed at the time of approval.  
  • AICTE | Training of teachers: Every teacher in each of the technical education disciplines shall mandatorily undergo an annual refresher course delivered through SWAYAM portal, encapsulating all the major advances in the field of their study. Online courses would also be prepared and delivered through the SWAYAM platform for improving the pedagogical techniques of the teachers. The participation in the courses by at least 50% of the faculty would be a mandatory condition for approval of the institution. Similarly, there should be leadership training to the heads of the institutions once in 2 years. These trainings would also be hosted through the SWAYAM platform.
  • AICTE | Mandatory accreditation: At least half of all the programmes in the technical institutions shall be accredited through the NBA before 2022. Unless there is credible progress each year, the approval of the institutions can be refused. In order to assist the institutions in meeting the mandatory requirements for applying for accreditation, a separate mechanism will be put in place.

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Unnat Bharat Abhiyaan | PIB Summary

No document Available

The Ministry of Human Resource Development (MHRD) along with the Ministries of Rural Development and Panchayati Raj has agreed to link all Higher Education Institutes (HEIs) with rural development processes under Unnat Bharat Abhiyaan (UBA).

Unnat Bharat Abhiyaan | Highlights

  • In this regard, a Tripartite Agreement between MHRD, Ministry of Rural Development and Ministry of Panchayati Raj was also signed as an attempt to bring about substantial improvements in the formulation and delivery of developmental schemes in the rural areas.
  • It is envisaged that representatives of Higher Education Institutions interact with local bodies and community in selected village clusters and provide knowledge inputs into the Gram Panchayat Development Plans.
  • MHRD, Department of Higher Education has formulated this scheme and first phase is under implementation in several parts of the country. Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Delhi has been designated as the Coordinating Institute.
  • The MHRD has advised all the HEIs which are funded by the Central /State Government and all institutions approved by the regulatory bodies, to adopt clusters of backward Gram Panchayats / villages in their vicinity and apply their knowledge and expertise to improve the infrastructure in the Gram Panchayats (GPs).
  • HEIs in the districts are expected to carry out detailed field study, participate in conceptualising & preparation of community-level development plans along with the Rural Development and Panchayat Raj personnel by providing technical, managerial inputs and by suggesting innovative solutions to the issues faced in the day-to-day lives of the households therein, in the areas of livelihoods, energy security, environment and basic living amenities.
  • The institutions have been advised to continue their engagement with chosen Panchayats and offer assistance to the Rural Development and Panchayat Raj personnel.  The programme is to be implemented over the next two years, with additional clusters. 

Unnat Bharat Abhiyaan | Role of the three ministries

  • Ministry of Human Resource Developmentto oversee that selected Higher Educational Institutions (HEIs) adopt (5) panchayats each in consultation with the District Collectors and use their knowledge base to find solutions for the issues of basic amenities & livelihood opportunities faced by the rural communities and thereby help in bringing about a qualitative change in the economic change in the economic and living standards of the people.
  • As per the Tripartite Agreement, the role of the Ministry of Rural Development is to facilitate effective participation of District Collectors, DRDAs and other authorities to assist the institutions in preparation of the Gram Panchayat Development Plan (GPDP) and convergence of plan resources wherever possible.
  • The role of the Ministry of Panchayati Raj is to issue instructions to all State Governments and local bodies regarding the involvement of knowledge institutions in the GPDP process to operationalise the tie up between the organizations in the interest of quality GPDP preparation in the selected clusters.

Few leading Private Educational Institutions and deemed Universities are involved in the programme.

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NMCP | PIB Summary

No document Available

About NMCP

The main objective of the National Manufacturing Competitiveness Programme (NMCP) is to enhance the global competitiveness of manufacturing Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) by intervening through following components –

  • Lean Manufacturing Competitiveness Scheme,
  • Design Clinic Scheme,
  • Technology & Quality Up-gradation support for MSMEs (TEQUP),
  • Promotion of ICT in manufacturing Sector,
  • Building Awareness on Intellectual Property Rights (IPR),
  • Entrepreneurial & Management Development of SMEs through incubators,
  • Enabling Manufacturing Sector to be Competitive through Quality Management Standards (QMS) and Quality Technology Tools QTT (This component has been subsumed under ZED certification scheme).

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Swachhagraha | PIB Summary

No document Available

The Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi will inaugurate the exhibition entitled Swachhagraha Bapu Ko Karyanjali – A Mission, An Exhibition’ on the occasion of 100th Anniversary of Champaran Satyagrah tomorrow in National Archives of India (NAI) Janpath, New Delhi.

Swachhagraha | Highlights

  • This exhibition is a humble tribute to Gandhi Ji on hundred years of his first experiment of Satyagraha in India, in Champaran and is an attempt to sensitize future generations to fulfill Gandhi’s dream of ‘Swachh Bharat’, where society’s reflection would be as clean as the thoughts within, of every citizen of India.
  • This digital and experiential exhibition strives to connect the essential principles of Satyagrah ‘Jeevan-Chakra’ evolved by Gandhi Ji, with the elements of Swachhagraha, the movement.
  • The exhibition will be open for public in NAI campus for one month and later on, it will be taken to other cities of the country as Mobile exhibition.
  • Prime Minister will launch an “Online Interactive Quiz” on the occasion which will continue for 30 months till October, 2019. 

About Champaran Satyagraha

  • Gandhi Ji was initially reluctant to visit Champaran. Rather, he had hardly knew where Champaran was and was unaware of the conditions of the farmers who cultivated Indigo.
  • Upon his arrival in Patna on 10th April 1917 and thence to in Motihari on 15th April, he immediately realized that his stay there would be a long haul.
  • The drama of Champaran has been succinctly depicted in this exhibition. During his stay, Gandhi Ji delved in detail with the problems of people.
  • Social practices of scavenging, illiteracy, issues covering women and health were found to be the main impediments. These obstacles were common to the political issues that Gandhi Ji confronted. Satyagraha was the weapon he employed to overcome hurdles on both these fronts. 
  • The Champaran Satyagraha changed the dynamics of Indian politics, catapulting Gandhi Ji to the forefront of India’s freedom struggle. For the first time, people of India realized the power of non-violence and passive resistance, based on action.

Swachhagraha | Significance of the mission

  • Gandhi Ji’s freedom struggle culminated in India’s independence on 15th August 1947. Though politically independent, India has long since grappled with the same vital issues that Gandhi Ji came face to face with in Champaran, that of health, sanitation, clean water, cleanliness, lack of awareness and education etc.
  • This exhibition is an attempt to link Gandhi Ji’s core principles of Satyagraha with contemporary issues, a movement to improve conditions through Swachhagraha. The younger generation of India needs to understand its importance. In fact, we all need to.

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Security Features – ECI-EVMs | PIB Summary

No document Available

VERY IMPORTANT for Prelims + GS 2 Governance, Polity + GS 4 Ethics

In the recent past, there have been some queries in the minds of common people about the security features of Electronic Voting Machines – EVMs  of Election Commission of India (ECI). The Election Commission has, time and again, stated that ECI – EVMs and its systems are robust, secure and tamper-proof.

What is meant by Tampering of EVM?

Tampering means alteration in the software program written either on existing microchips of Control Unit (CU) or introducing malicious software program by inserting new microchips in CU and also making keys – pressed in Ballot Unit (BU) not record faithfully in the Control Unit.

Are the ECI- EVMs hackable?

NO

M1 (model one) of EVM machines were manufactured till 2006 and had all necessary technical features making M1 non-hackable contrary to claims made by some activists.

On the recommendations of the Technical Evaluation Committee in 2006, M2 model of EVMs produced after 2006 and up to 2012 incorporated dynamic coding of key codes thereby enabling transfer of the key – press message from  Ballot Unit (BUs) to  Control Unit (CUs), in an encrypted form as an additional security feature. It also contains Real time setting of each key press so that sequencing of key presses including so called malicious sequenced key presses can be detected and wrapped.

Further, the ECI- EVMs are not computer controlled, are stand alone machines and not connected to the internet and /or any other network at any point of time. Hence, there is no chance of hacking by remote devices.

The ECI-EVMs do not have any frequency receiver or decoder for data for wireless or any external hardware port for connection to any other non-EVM accessory or device. Hence no tampering is possible either through hardware port or through Wireless, Wi-Fi or Bluetooth device because CU accepts only encrypted and dynamically coded data from BU. No other kind of data can be accepted by CU.

Can ECI – EVMs be manipulated by Manufacturers?

Not Possible

There is very stringent security protocol at manufacturer level regarding security of software. The Machines have been manufactured in different years starting from 2006. After manufacturing, EVMs are sent to State and district to district within a State. The manufacturers are in no position to know several years ahead which candidate will be contesting from a particular constituency and what will be the sequence of the candidates on the BU. Also, each ECI-EVM has a serial number and the Election Commission by use of EVM – tracking software can find out from its database which machine is located where. So, any manipulation at manufacturing stage is ruled out. 

Can Trojan Horse be incorporated into the chip in CU?

Sequence of voting in EVM eliminates the possibility of injection of Trojan Horse as mentioned below. The stringent security measures by ECI make it impossible to introduce Trojan Horse in the field.

Once a ballot key is pressed in CU, the CU enables BU for registering the vote and waits for the key pressing in the BU.  During this period, all keys in the CU become Inactive till the entire sequence of casting of that vote is complete.  Once any of the keys (candidates vote button) is pressed by a voter in BU, the BU transmits the key information to CU.  The CU gets the data and acknowledges it by glowing the corresponding LED lamps in BU.  After the enabling of ballot in CU, only the ‘first key press’ is sensed and accepted by CU.  After this, even if a voter keeps on pressing the other buttons that is of no use as there will not be any communication between CU and BU as the result of those subsequent key presses, nor will BU register any key press.  To put it in other words, there can be only one valid key press (the first key press) for every ballot enabled using CU.  Once a valid key press (voting process) is complete, until another ballot enabling key press is made there will not be any activity between the CU and the BU.  Hence, sending of any malicious signal, by way of so called ‘sequenced key presses’, is impossible in the Electronic Voting Machines being used in the country.

Are Old model ECI-  EVMs still in use?

M1 model of EVM machines were produced up to 2006 and were last used in 2014 General Elections. In 2014, EVM machines which completed 15 years of economic life and also because M1 were not compatible with VVPAT (voter-verified paper audit trail), ECI decided to discontinue use of all M1 EVMs manufactured upto 2006. There is a Standard Operating Procedure laid down by ECI to discard EVMs. The process of destruction of EVM & its chip is carried out in the presence of Chief Electoral Officer of the state or his representatives inside the factory of manufacturers. 

Can ECI – EVMs be Physically Tampered with/ their components be changed without anyone noticing?

In addition to the existing security features in earlier models M1 & M2 of ECI-EVMs, the new M3 EVM produced after 2013 have additional features like Tamper Detection and Self Diagnostics. The tamper detection feature makes an EVM inoperative the moment anyone tries to open the machine. The Self diagnostic feature checks the EVM fully every time it is switched on. Any change in its hardware or software will be detected.  

A prototype of a new model M3 with above features is going to be ready shortly. A Technical Experts Committee will examine it and then production will commence. About Rs. 2,000 crores have been released by the Government to procure M3 EVMs with above additional features and new technological advancements.

What are the latest technological features to make ECI – EVMs tamper proof?

The ECI-EVMs use some of the most sophisticated technological features like one time programmable (OTP) microcontrollers, dynamic coding of key codes, date and time stamping of each and every key press, advanced encryption technology and EVM-tracking software to handle EVM logistics, among others to make the machine 100% tamper proof. In addition to these, new model M3 EVMs also have tamper detection and self-diagnostics as added features. Since, software is based on OTP the program cannot be altered, re-written or Re-read. Thus, making EVM tamper proof. If anyone make, attempt, the machine will become in operative.

Do the ECI-EVMs use foreign technology?

Contrary to misinformation and as alleged by some, India do not use any EVMs produced abroad.  EVMs are produced indigenously by 2 PSUs viz. Bharat Electronics Ltd., Bengaluru and Electronics Corporation of India Ltd., Hyderabad. The Software Programme Code is written in-house, by these two companies, not outsourced, and subjected to security procedures at factory level to maintain the highest levels of integrity. The programme is converted into machine code and only then given to the chip manufacturer abroad because we don’t have the capability of producing semi-conductor microchips within the country.

Every microchip has an identification number embedded into memory and the producers have their digital signatures on them. So, the question of their replacement does not arise at all because microchips are subjected to functional tests with regard to the software. Any attempt to replace microchip is detectable and can make EVM in-operative. Thus, both changing existing programme or introducing new one are detectable making EVM in-operative.

What are the possibilities of manipulation at the place of storage?

At the district headquarters, EVMs are kept in a double-lock system under appropriate securityTheir safety is periodically checked. The officers do not open the strong room, but they check whether it’s fully protected and whether the lock is in proper condition or not. No Unauthorized person can get access to the EVMs at any point of timeDuring non-election period, Annual Physical Verification of all EVMs is done by DEOs and report sent to ECI. Inspection & checking have recently been completed.

To what extent are allegations of EVM tampering in local body polls true?

There is a misunderstanding in this regard due to lack of knowledge about jurisdiction. In case of elections to Municipal bodies or Rural bodies like Panchayat Elections, the EVMs used do not belong to the Election Commission of India. Above local bodies elections come under the jurisdiction of State Election Commission/s (SECs), which procure their own machines and have their own handling system. ECI is not responsible for functioning of EVMs used by SECs in above elections.

What are the different levels of checks and balances ensuring tamper proofing of ECI-EVMs?

First Level Checking: BEL/ECIL engineers certify originality of components after technical and physical examination of each EVM, undertaken in front of representatives of political parties. Defective EVMs are sent back to factory. The FLC Hall is sanitized, entry is restricted and no camera, mobile phone or spy pen is allowed inside. Mock poll of at least 1000 votes is conducted on 5% EVMs selected randomly by reps of political parties and the result shown to them. The entire process is video graphed.

Randomization: EVMs are randomized twice while being allocated to an Assembly and then to a polling booth ruling out any fixed allocation. Mock Poll at polling station is conducted in front of polling agents of candidates on the poll day, before polls begin.

After Poll, EVMs are sealed and polling agents put their signature on the seal. Polling agents can travel upto strong room during transportations.

Strong Rooms: Candidates or their representatives can put their own seals on the strong rooms where polled EVMs are stored after the poll and also camp in front of strong room.  These strong rooms are guarded 24×7 in multilayers.

Counting Centres: The polled EVMs are brought to the Counting Centres and Unique IDs of the seals and CU are shown to reps of candidates before start of counting.

Can a manipulated ECI- EVMs be re-inducted in the polling process without anyone coming to know?

Question does not arise.

Looking at the above series of fool-proof checks and balances that are undertaken by the ECI to make EVMs tamper proof, it is evident that neither the machines can be tampered-with nor defective machines can get re-inducted into the polling process at any point of time because Non ECI -EVMs will get detected by the above process and mismatch of BU & CU. Due to different level of stringent checks and balances neither ECI-EVMs can leave the ECI system nor any outside machine (Non-ECI –EVM) can be inducted into the system.

Why have Developed Nations like the US and European Union not adopted EVMs and some have discontinued?

Some countries have experimented with electronic voting in the past. The problem faced with the machines in these countries was that they were computer controlled and connected to the network, which in turn, made them prone to hacking and hence totally defeating the purpose.  Moreover, there were not adequate security measures and safeguards in their corresponding laws regulations for security, safety and protection. In some countries, Courts struck down the use of EVMs on these legal grounds only.

Indian EVM is stand-alone whereas, USA, The Netherlands, Ireland & Germany had direct recording machines.  India has introduced paper audit trail, though partly.  Others did not have audit trail. Source code is closed during polling in all of the above countries. India also has closed source burnt into memory and is OTP.

ECI-EVMs, on the other hand, are stand-alone devices not connected to any network, thus making it impossible for anyone to tamper with over 1.4 million machines in India individually. EVMs are most suited for India, looking at the country’s past poll violence and other electoral malpractices like rigging, booth capturing etc. during the polls.

It is worth mentioning that in contrast with countries like Germany, Ireland and the Netherlands. Indian Laws & ECI regulations have in-built adequate safeguards for security & safety of EVMs.  Besides Indian EVMs are far superior on account of secured technological features. Indian EVMs also stand apart because VVPATs going to be used with EVMs in phases to make entire process transparent for voters.

In case of The Netherlands, rules regarding storage, transport and security of machine were lacking. Machines produced in The Netherlands were also used in Ireland & Germany. In a judgment in 2005, German Court found voting device ordnance unconstitutional on the ground of violation of the privilege of the public nature of election& the basic law. So, these countries discontinued the use of machines produced in The Netherlands.  Even, today many countries including USA are using machines for voting

ECI – EVMs are fundamentally different from the voting machines and processes adopted in foreign countries. Any comparison based on computer controlled, operating system based machines elsewhere will be erroneous and ECI – EVM cannot be compared with.

What is the status of VVPAT enabled machines?

The ECI has conducted elections in 255 assembly constituencies and nine Lok Sabha constituencies using Voters Verified Paper Audit Trail (VVPAT). The use of M2 and new-generation M3 EVMs along with VVPAT is the way forward for further confidence and transparency of the voters.

49

Kolkata- Khulna-Dhaka Bus Service Flagged Off From Kolkata | PIB Summary

No document Available

A Kolkata-Khulna-Dhaka bus service was ceremoniously flagged off from Kolkata today.

Highlights

  • Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi, his counterpart from Bangladesh Smt. Sheikh Hasina and the Chief Minister of West Bengal Smt Mamata Banerjee jointly initiated the ceremony from Hyderabad House in New Delhi.
  • This is a part of several initiatives being taken to strengthen bilateral relations and provide better road and rail connectivity for citizens of both the countries.
  • Senior Ministers and high level officials from the Government of West Bengal and visiting delegates from Bangladesh participated in the flagging off ceremony held at Kolkata today. 

About the Kolkata-Khulna-Dhaka bus service

  • The bus services are being operated on the Kolkata-Dhaka and Kolkata- Dhaka-Agaratala routes in addition to the newly introduced Kolkata-Khulna-Dhaka bus service.
  • They are being run by the State Transport Corporations of West Bengal and Tripura, besides Bangladesh Road Transport Corporation.
  • Now, for the first time, Kolkata and Khulna are being directly connected through a bus route. In the 409 Km long bus route from Kolkata via Khulna to Dhaka, two buses will run three days a week from both sides.

50

Bharat Ke Veer | PIB Summary

No document Available

The Union Home Minister Shri Rajnath Singh will inaugurate the web portal and mobile application named Bharat Ke Veer 

Bharat Ke Veer | Highlights

  • The portal is an IT based platform, with an objective to enable willing donors to contribute towards the family of a braveheart who sacrificed his/her life in line of duty. The Minister of State for Home Affairs Shri Kiren Rijiju and actor Akshay Kumar will also participate in the function.
  • The site “Bharat ke Veer” will be available on web portal as well as mobile application.
  • The amount so donated will be credited to the account of ‘Next of Kin’ of those Central Armed Police Force/Central Para Military Force soldiers. This domain allows anyone to financially support the bravehearts of his/her choice or towards the “Bharat Ke Veer” corpus.

Bharat Ke Veer |  Objective

Aims to enable donors to contribute towards the family of a braveheart who sacrificed life in line on duty.

About Bharat Ke Veer portal and app

  • This website is technically supported by National Informatics Centre (NIC) and powered by State Bank of India.
  • To ensure maximum coverage, a cap of 15 lakh rupees is imposed and the donors would be alerted if the amount exceeds, so that they can choose to divert part of the donation to another braveheart account or to the “Bharat Ke Veer” corpus.

“Bharat Ke Veer” corpus would be managed by a committee made up of eminent persons of repute and senior Government officials, who would decide to disburse the fund equitably to the braveheart’s family on need basis.

51

WPI AND CPI BASED INFLATION | PIB Summary

No document Available

Wholesale Price Index (WPI) inflation stood at 5.2 per cent in January 2017, which was the highest in the last 29 months. Consumer Price Index (combined) declined to 3.2 per cent in January 2017 from 3.4 per cent in December 2016. The rise in WPI inflation during January 2017 was mainly due to rise in inflation of Fuel and Power.

Steps taken by Government to control inflation

The Government has been successful in bringing down the prices of essential commodities through astute food supply management. The steps taken include –

  1. increased budgetary allocation for Price Stabilization Fund in the budget 2017-18 to check volatility of prices of essential commodities, in particular, of pulses;
  2. created buffer stock of pulses through domestic procurement and imports;
  3. announced higher Minimum Support Prices so as to incentivize production;
  4. issued advisory to States/UTs to take strict action against hoarding and black marketing under the Essential Commodities Act 1955 and the Prevention of Black-marketing and Maintenance of Supplies of Essential Commodities Act, 1980;
  5. imposed 20 per cent duty on export of sugar; and
  6. reduced import duty on potatoes, wheat and palm oil.

NOTE – Headline inflation is also called CPI (Combined) i.e. CPI (Rural + Urban). It is NOT WPI anymore.

Core Inflation includes ‘Headline CPI minus food and fuel components’.

ANTI-DUMPING DUTY

  • Imposed on products which have prices less than their fair normal values.
  • Imposed under the multilateral WTO regime.
  • Recommended by Ministry of Commerce (Directorate General of Anti-Dumping and Allied Duties DGAD), while the Finance Ministry imposes it.

COUNTERVAILING DUTIES

  • Anti-subsidy duties – Trade import duties imposed under WTO rules to neutralise the negative effects of subsidies.
  • Imposed according with the GATT Article VI after investigating that a foreign country subsidises its exports, injuring domestic producers in the importing country.

SAFEGUARD DUTY

  • Imposed to ensure that imports in excessive quantities do not harm the domestic industry.

Temporary in nature.

52

IFSC Becomes Operational | PIB Summary

No document Available

Section 18 of the Special Economic Zones Act, 2005 provides for the setting up of an International Financial Services Centre – IFSC in a Special Economic Zone (SEZ). Subsequent to the approval received under the Act, the country’s first International Financial Services Centre (IFSC) has become operational at the Gujarat International Finance Tec-City (GIFT), Gandhinagar.

IFSC | Tax benefits announced in Budget 2016-17

  • The companies located in international financial services centre shall not be liable to dividend distribution tax.
  • Minimum Alternate Tax shall be charged at the rate of nine per cent from units located in international financial services centre.
  • The transaction in foreign currency of sale of equity share or units of equity oriented funds or units of a business trust taking place on a recognized stock exchange established in international financial services centre shall not be liable to securities transaction tax. It is also proposed that the gains arising from transfer of such long term capital asset shall be exempt from tax.
  • The transaction in foreign currency of sale of commodity derivatives taking place on a recognized association established in international financial services centre shall not be liable to commodity transaction tax.

Apart from the above, financial concessions prevailing at the moment as per the Special Economic Zones Act, 2005 and the Special Economic Zones Rules, 2006 will be applicable to IFSCs within the SEZs. Guidelines and regulations have also been brought out by the sectoral Ministries/ Regulators, viz, Ministry of Corporate Affairs, Reserve bank of India, Securities and Exchange Board of India and Insurance Regulatory Development Authority of India with a view to facilitate the setting up of businesses in IFSC.

53

Healthcare In Public Sector | PIB Summary

No document Available

Healthcare | Details

  • According to National Family Health Survey 3 (NFHS -3) (2005-06), the primary source of health care for 69.5 percent households in urban areas and 62.5 percent households in rural areas was private healthcare sector. However, recently completed NFHS-4 (2015-16) reveals that for around 52 percent households in urban areas and around 44 percent households in rural areas private sector is the main source of health care when they are sick.
  • In case of Rajasthan, NFHS-4 data indicate that around 36 percent households in urban areas and around 33 percent households in rural areas generally seek healthcare from private sector when household members get sick.
  • Public health being a State subject, the primary responsibility to improve the quality of healthcare services in public health facilities, lies with the State Governments. However, under National Health Mission (NHM), financial and technical assistance is provided to the States/UTs to strengthen the health services.

Steps taken by the Government to improve healthcare in public sector

  • National Quality Assurance Programme has been rolled out to improve quality of care in government health facilities.
  • Kayakalp’ award scheme for transforming public hospital by improving Sanitation, Hygiene, Upkeep, Infection Control Practices and waste management practices has been implemented. All facilities from Primary Health Centres (PHCs), Community Health Centres (CHCs), District Hospitals to central government hospitals are given annual award after assessment on defined criteria.
  • NHM Free Drugs and Diagnosis Initiatives to reduce cost of care and improve quality in public facilities.
  • Setting up of New AIIMS Institutions.
  • Upgradation of district hospitals to medical college hospitals in districts without any medical colleges to improve access to tertiary care within districts.
  • Pradhan Mantri National Dialysis Services Programme to provide free dialysis services to poor in district hospitals.
  • The Pradhan Mantri Surakshit Matritva Abhiyan (PMSMA) to provide quality antenatal care on 9th of every month in government hospitals, with voluntary private sector participation.
  • Biomedical Equipment Management & Maintenance Program (BMMP) to ensure uptime of bio-medical equipment in public health facilities.
  • Health and wellness centres to provide comprehensive primary healthcare at Sub-Centre/PHC level.
  • Cartridge Based Nucleic Acid Amplification Test (CBNAAT) Specialized machines which enable accurate diagnosis of drug resistant TB within a few hours facilitating diagnosis and treatment of Drug Resistant TB have been set up in 628 districts.
  • Strengthening the healthcare facilities to Indian Public Health Standards norms with funding under NHM.
  • Establishing public health facilities in underserved areas.

54

Promotion Of Ayush Medicines | PIB Summary

No document Available

Government has accorded exclusive policy support for the growth and development of Ayush Medicines systems.  In this direction, Government has implemented mainstreaming of it’s strategy under National Health Mission and National AYUSH Mission to support States for strengthening AYUSH infrastructure and services.

Apart from the allopathic and the Ayush Medicines system, no other alternative systems of medicine have so far been recognized by Ministry of Health & Family Welfare.

National AYUSH Mission

  • Government of India approved and notified Centrally Sponsored Scheme of National AYUSH Mission (NAM) which envisages better access to Ayush Medicines services, strengthening of AYUSH educational institutions, facilitate the enforcement of quality control of Ayurveda, Siddha and Unani & Homoeopathy (ASU&H) drugs and sustainable availability of ASU&H raw-materials by promotion of medicinal plants in the States/UTs during 12th Plan. 
  • Under NAM, Government of India provides financial assistance to the States/UTs to develop and promote AYUSH System of medicine in the country, State/UT wise through following activities –
  • Co-location of AYUSH facilities at Primary Health Centers (PHCs), Community Health Centres (CHCs) and District Hospitals (DHs).
  • Upgradation of exclusive State Government AYUSH Hospitals and Dispensaries.
  • Setting up of up to 50 bedded integrated AYUSH Hospital.
  • Upgradation of State Government Educational Institutions.
  • Setting up of new State Government AYUSH Educational Institutions in the States where it is not available.
  • Strengthening of State Government/Public Sector Undertakings (PSU) Ayurveda, Siddha, Unani and Homoeopathy (ASU&H) Pharmacies and Drug Testing Laboratories (DTL).
  • Cultivation and promotion of Medicinal plants.

55

Contribution Of Handloom And Handicraft Sectors | PIB Summary

No document Available

The production and export of handloom cloth and garments during year 2015-16 was 720 crore sq. metres and Rs.2353 crore respectively.

Issues

  • Most of the handloom weavers and handicraft artisans live in rural areas.
  • Overall there has been a growing demand for handicraft products both in domestic and international markets.
  • Several interventions have been implemented by the Government to help Indian crafts artisans to adopt to change global trends.

Government schemes

  1. Handloom Sector
  • National Handloom Development Programme (NHDP)
  • Yarn Supply Scheme (YSS)
  • Handloom Weavers’ Comprehensive Welfare Scheme (HWCWS)
  • Comprehensive Handloom Cluster Development Scheme (CHCDS) (for development of 8 Mega handloom clusters)
  1. Handicrafts Sector
  • Ambedkar Hastshilp Vikas Yojana
  • Marketing Support & Services Scheme
  • Research & Development Scheme
  • Mega Cluster Scheme

56

Growth Of Air Cargo | PIB Summary

No document Available

As per the statistics furnished by Airports Authority of India (AAI), total passenger traffic (both domestic and international) at all Indian Airports during 2016-17 (Apr’16-Feb’17) witnessed a growth rate of 18.9%. Total Growth Of Air Cargo at all Indian Airports during 2016-17 (Apr’16-Feb’17) was of 9.3%.

Growth Of Air Cargo | Steps taken by the Government

  • The Ministry of Civil Aviation (MoCA) has got the Dwell-Time study conducted at six major airports in the recent past to identify the reasons for higher dwell time in Indian Airports and corrective action(s) required. The free period for air cargo has been reduced from 72 hours to 48 hours w.e.f. 1st April, 2017.
  • The concept of 24x7customs clearance of Import/Export Cargo has been initiated at 13 airports.
  • The concept of ”Single Window” has been launched by Customs w.e.f. 1st April,2016 in phased manner which inter-alia ensures on-line clearance from various regulatory agencies.
  • For handling International Cargo at its airports, AAI has provided Automatic Storage & Retrieval System (AS&RS) as well as Elevated Transfer Vehicle (ETV) facilities for handling both import and export cargo respectively at Chennai & Kolkata Airports.
  • All the International Air Cargo Terminals managed by AAI are well equipped with sufficient storage space, cargo handling equipment, cold rooms for perishable cargo and other basic facilities.
  • The Common User Domestic Cargo Terminal (CUDCT) concept has been introduced for maximum utilization of facilities.
  • AAI has prepared a road map to create cargo infrastructure and facilities at 24 AAI Airports initially provide impetus to economic growth and development on Pan-India basis to ensure harmonious growth of all regions in India.

57

Geotagging Of Assets | PIB Summary

No document Available

What is Geotagging?

Geotagging is the process of adding geographical identification like latitude and longitude to various media such as a photo or video. Geotagging can help users find a wide variety of location-specific information from a device. It provides users the location of the content of a given picture.

What is Geo-mapping?

A visual representation of the geographical location of geotagged assets layered on top of map or satellite imagery

Importance of geotagging

  • Several assets are created in the states under various schemes of the Ministry of Agriculture.  Under RKVY also, states have been utilising substantial amount of funds for creation of infrastructure/assets in agriculture and allied sectors such as soil testing labs, pesticide testing labs, bio fertiliser setting units, custom hiring centres, vaccine production units, veterinary diagnosis labs, dispensaries, milk collection centres, fish production units, godowns, cold storage, shade nets, pandals for vegetable cultivation   etc.
  • Monitoring of such wide spread activities is of paramount importance to states and Government of India to understand flow of funds, inventorising the assets, bringing in transparency, planning of assets for future, and finally informing the farmers about the facilities available.
  • PM on several occasions emphasised on use of technology for reporting of assets created through geo-tagging. Finance Minister also highlighted monitoring of MGNREGA assets through Geotagging in his budget speech.
  • Geotagging for monitoring of assets is already started in Ministry of Rural Development for MGNREGA and Department of Land Resources for monitoring of watershed activitiesin the states. Postal department has also geotagged the post offices using NRSC Bhuvan Platform.

Geotagging | Who does it?

  • National Remote Sensing Agency (NRSA), ISRO at Hyderabad: This centre of ISRO has a software platform, Bhuvan that allows users to explore a 2D/3D representation of the surface of the Earth. It also acts as a platform for hosting government data. Bhuvan Application Services that are diversified and relevant for many ministries were released.
  • NRSC (National Remote Sensing Centre) is involved in mapping of resources (Postal, GAIL, Forest etc) as well as monitoring of assets created under various schemes of Ministry of water Resources, Ministry of rural development etc.
  • The assets created under RKVY could be monitored by Geotagging them using BHUVAN, a geo-platform of National Remote Sensing Centre (NRSC) of ISRO, Hyderabad. In future, the location of the infrastructure created and distances from each other could also be utilised for arriving at distribution of assets and optimum number of that particular asset required in a district or state.  The process involves development of a mobile app for mapping the assets through photographs and Geo-tagging (providing geo co-ordinates) before hosting on to DAC –RKVY platform that would be specially created for RKVY monitoring.

Proposal for geotagging of infrastructure /assets created under RKVY

  • Therefore, it is proposed to prepare inventory of the assets created in the last one decade (2007-2017) under RKVY through Geotagging technique.  National Remote Sensing Centre (NRSC), wing of Indian Space Research Organisation is providing technical support to RKVY division and has come up with a detailed procedure for the same. The institute is involved in preparation of the required app, imparting training to the states etc. The trained officers at the field level will take the photographs (with details of latitude, longitude, year of creation etc.) of the assets and upload on to the Bhuvan-RKVY platform of NRSC.
  • So far NRSC has developed RKVY app, training manual, imparted training to 17 states regarding use of the app. The organisation will provide technical backstopping till the Geotagging exercise is completed. Pilot work has been initiated in 4 states of Orissa, Maharashtra, Bihar and Karnataka.

58

INS Shardul | PIB Summary

No document Available

In keeping with India’s national objective of ensuring a secure and stable regional environment to allow unhindered economic and social development, not just in India, but also in the Indian Ocean Region, INS Shardul is on a two-month long deployment in the South Indian Ocean with an aim to provide surveillance support in the region.

About INS Shardul

  • INS Shardul is a Landing Ship Tank (Large) of the Indian Navy whose primary role is to transport troops, vehicles, armaments and accomplish all objectives of an amphibious operation which primarily includes landing of combat equipment and personnel to an Amphibious Objective Area.
  • INS Shardul has the capability to launch and recover Marine Commandos through sea as well as by helicopters. In addition, the ship can act as a ‘Hospital Ship’ with facilities provided in containerised form as well as a ‘Fleet Tanker’ for limited mission/ exercise.
  • The ship is routinely deployed with the First Training Squadron and is responsible for the ab-initio sea training of Young Officers of Indian Navy.

59

Joint UK-India Fund | PIB Summary

No document Available

    Joint UK-India Fund | Details

    • Namely a Green Growth Equity Fund, it aims to leverage private sector investment from the City of London to invest in Green Infrastructure Projects in India. Both Governments reaffirmed their commitment to anchor invest up to £120 million each (i.e. totally £ 240 million) in the Joint Fund which will be established under the NIIF framework.
    • India and the UK announced the launch of an Early Market Engagement for the joint UK-India Fund, namely a Green Growth Equity Fund which aims to leverage private sector investment from the City of London to invest in green infrastructure projects in India.

    Joint UK-India Fund | Highlights

    • Fund aims to raise around £500 million, with the potential to unlock much more in future.
    • The initial investments will focus on India’s rapidly growing green energy and renewable market and that a Fund Manager is expected to be selected in the next few months.
    • Progress will be accelerated through early market engagement via the publication of a blueprint, with the aim to identify additional and complementary sectors for fund investments.

    Joint UK-India Fund | Governing principles

    The governing principles for the Fund are

    • Developmental (i.e. for the purpose of inclusive economic growth)
    • Sustainable (i.e. commercially viable)
    • Replicable (i.e. attract investors to successive funds)
    • Leverageable, attracting both Indian, UK based and global capital into the fund as well as into investee companies/projects
    • Governed in line with best practice

    Joint UK-India Fund | About NIIF

    • The National Investment and Infrastructure Fund (NIIF) has been created by the Government of India (GoI) to catalyze capital from international and domestic investors into infrastructure and allied sectors in India.
    • The GoI has committed INR 20,000 crores (USD 3 billion) to be managed by NIIF Limited, the manager of NIIF, through one or more funds to be set up in partnership with non-GoI investors.
    • A component of NIIF’s investment strategy will be to anchor equity, quasi-equity and debt funds in partnership with investors targeting investments in the relevant sectors in India.
    • NIIF will operate on the basis of three principles in implementing this strategy: commercial, additional and in partnership with others.

60

Agreement on Audio Visual Co-Production | PIB Summary

No document Available

    The Union Cabinet chaired by the Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi has approved the agreement on Audio Visual Co-Production India and Bangladesh.

    Audio Visual Co-Production | Salient features

    • The Agreement would cover co-production of films, documentaries, and animations films.
    • An audio-visual co-production made in accordance with the proposed Agreement shall be entitled to all the benefits which may be accorded to any national audio-visual work by both countries in accordance with their respective laws and regulations.
    • It will lead to exchange of art and culture among the two countries and create goodwill and better understanding among the peoples of both the countries.
    • Co-productions provide an opportunity to create and showcase our soft power.
    • It leads to generation of employment among artistic, technical as well as non-technical personnel engaged in the arena of Audio-Visual Co- production including post-production and its marketing, thus adding to the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of both the countries.
    • The utilization of Indian locales for shooting raises the visibility / prospect of India as a preferred film shooting destination across the globe.

    India has so far entered into audio-visual co-production agreements with Italy, United Kingdom, Germany, Brazil, France, New Zealand, Poland, Spain, Canada, China and the Republic of Korea.

61

Cooperation in the field of Health and Medicine | PIB Summary

No document Available

    The Union Cabinet chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi has approved the MoU between India and Australia on cooperation in the field of Health and Medicine.

    Areas of cooperation

    • Communicable diseases such as Malaria and TB;
    • Mental Health and Non-Communicable Diseases; 
    • Anti-Microbial Resistance and responding to public health emergencies;
    • Regulation of Pharmaceuticals, vaccines and medical devices;
    • Digital Health;
    • Tobacco Control; and
    • Any other area of cooperation decided mutually between the two countries. 

    The MoU will involve cooperation through joint initiatives in the Health Sector and strengthen bilateral ties between India and Australia.

62

Cooperation in the field of Mass Media | PIB Summary

No document Available

    The Union Cabinet chaired by the Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi has approved the MoU on Cooperation in the field of Mass Media between India and Bangladesh.

    Salient features of the MoU

    • Both the countries to facilitate training/study tour of personnel in the field of mass media and public relations.
    • Encouraging the exchange of experts in the field of Mass Media
    • Encourage cooperation between educational, training and research institutions in the field of Mass Media & Communication. Also facilitating exchange of publications generated by these institutions.
    • Co-operation and Sharing experiences in the field of regulations of the Mass Media activities and statistical data relating to the Mass Media.
    • Facilitating accredited mass media representatives to set up offices in the creation of conditions necessary for performance of professional duties on the basis of reciprocity.

63

Promotion of NIMZ | PIB Summary

No document Available

    Government notified the National Manufacturing Policy (NMP) on 4th November, 2011 with the objective of enhancing the share of manufacturing in GDP to 25% and creating 100 million jobs over a decade or so.  National Investment and Manufacturing Zones – NIMZ are one of the important instruments of the Policy to achieve its objectives.  So far Government has granted ‘in-principle’ approval to the fourteen NIMZ (outside the DMIC region).

    List of NIMZ

    • Nagpur in Maharashtra
    • Prakasam in Andhra Pradesh
    • Chittoor in Andhra Pradesh
    • Medak in Telangana
    • Hyderabad Pharma NIMZ at Rangareddy and Mahabubnagar Districts in Telangana.
    • Tumkur in Karnataka
    • Kolar in Karnataka
    • Bidar in Karnataka
    • Gulbarga in Karnataka
    • Kalinganagar, Jajpur District in Odisha
    • Ramanathapuram District of Tamil Nadu
    • Ponneri Taluk, Thiruvallur District, Tamil Nadu
    • Auraiya District in Uttar Pradesh and
    • Jhansi District in Uttar Pradesh

    Of these, the NIMZ at Prakasam in Andhra Pradesh; Medak in Telangana and Kalinganagar, Jajpur district in Odisha have been granted final approval.

    Eight Investment Regions along the Delhi Mumbai Industrial Corridor (DMIC) project have also been announced as NIMZs.

     Details

    • Ahmedabad-Dholera Investment Region, Gujarat
    • Shendra-Bidkin Industrial Park city near Aurangabad, Maharashtra
    • Manesar-Bawal Investment Region, Haryana
    • Khushkhera-Bhiwadi-Neemrana Investment Region, Rajasthan
    • Pithampur-Dhar-Mhow Investment Region, Madhya Pradesh
    • Dadri-Noida-Ghaziabad Investment Region, Uttar Pradesh
    • Dighi Port Industrial Area, Maharashtra; and
    • Jodhpur-Pali-Marwar Region in Rajasthan

64

Belmont Forum Secretariat | PIB Summary

No document Available

    The Union Cabinet chaired by the Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi has given its approval for signing of the Collaborative Agreement with French National Research Agency (ANR), France for supporting the Belmont Forum Secretariat from January, 2015 to December, 2017 at a total estimated expenditure of Euro 40,000. The Cabinet also approved continued financial support to Belmont Forum Secretariat beyond 2017.

    Belmont Forum Secretariat | Highlights

    • The Belmont Forum, created in 2009, is a high level group of the world’s major and emerging funders of global environmental change research and international science councils. It provides an opportunity to identify study and deliver international environmental research priorities, for the society, in an accelerated way through trans­national research collaboration between natural and social scientists and alignment of international resources
    • India is a member of Belmont Forum, besides Australia, Brazil, Canada, European Commission, France, Germany, Japan, Netherland, South Africa, UK and USA Ministry of Earth Science (MoES), represents India in the Belmont Forum since 2012.
    • In order to coordinate the activities of the Belmont, a Secretariat is hosted by one of the Belmont forum member on rotational basis. ANR, France is hosting the Secretariat from January, 2015 to December, 2017. Expenditure for hosting the Secretariat will be borne by Belmont Forum member countries in kind or cash contribution.

    Belmont Forum Secretariat | Impact

    • The Agreement will help to maintain a certain degree of continuity in the operations of the Forum and also help in smooth coordination of the activities of Belmont Forum. 
    • As India is already participating in 4 Collaborative Research Actions (CRAs) and Secretariat will be coordinating the activities of Belmont Forum, Indian scientific community will ultimately benefit from this agreement.

    Belmont Forum Secretariat | Background

    • Since the inception of Belmont Forum in 2009, its operations were being handled by a part-time secretariat associated with the respective Chairs of the Belmont Forum.
    • As the Co-chairs are rotational, the Secretariat also rotates and sometime co-chairs are from different Continents with different time zone. 
    • In order to maintain a certain degree of continuity in the operations of the Forum, establishment of a Full-time Secretariat was agreed upon by Belmont Forum members, on rotational basis.
    • ANR, France has agreed to host the Secretariat from January, 2015 to December, 2017.

65

Crime and Criminal Tracking Network | PIB Summary

No document Available

    The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs, chaired by the Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi has approved the proposal of the Ministry of Home Affairs for extension of the implementation phase of the Crime and Criminal Tracking Network and Systems (CCTNS) Project for another year beyond 31st March 2017.

    Crime and Criminal Tracking Network | Highlights

    • The extension would help in achieving the remaining objectives of the project comprehensively. The maintenance phase of the Project will continue till 2022 as approved earlier. With a total outlay of Rs. 2000 crore, a sum of Rs. 1550 crore, which was the total allocation to the project so far, has been spent till 2016-17.
    • The Inter-Operable Criminal Justice System (ICJS) aims to integrate the CCTNS project with the e-courts and e-prisons databases in the first instance and with the other pillars of the criminal justice system – Forensics, Prosecution, Juvenile homes and a nationwide Fingerprint data base of criminals in a phased manner. The integration will be achieved by providing access to the Judiciary, Police and Prisons through a desktop dashboard to facilitate expeditious and informed decisions and aid investigations.

    Crime and Criminal Tracking Network | Impact

    • Citizen portals in all states and Centre that will facilitate transparency and speed in police service delivery, online registration of complaints and reporting and search of missing persons and stolen goods in self-service mode.
    • Pan-India search on complete National Crime and Criminal database that is accessible to the Investigating Officers throughout the country.
    • Search facility will be available to Police in regional languages for improved inter-state tracking of criminal movement.
    • Reliable network connectivity to all Police Stations in the country.
    • National level crime analytics that will be published at, increased frequency to help policy and law makers in taking data backed timely actions and in making appropriate policy interventions.
    • Integration with various e-Governance projects such as Aadhaar, National Population Register, Vaahan Project of the Ministry of Surface Transport, Passport Seva and National Emergency Response System Project thus increasing the synergies and benefit accrued from these individual systems. It will expedite various kinds of police verification requests and investigation.
    • Advanced features such as biometric based identification, trend and pattern analytics etc. that will be incorporated to enhance hi-tech investigation capability.
    • ICJS that will be available to all pillars of the criminal justice system helping improve its service delivery.

    Crime and Criminal Tracking Network | Achievements

    • In the last one year following significant outcomes have been achieved by the Project:
    • More than 83% Police Stations in the country are entering 100% FIRs through CCTNS software.
    • 120 lakhs FIR have been entered in CCTNS system till date. Legacy Crime records since 2004 have also been migrated to the CCTNS database. In all around seven crore records are now available in the national crime database.
    • 31 States/UTs have launched their portals which provide various services like registration of complaints, verification of criminal antecedents/litigation of individuals/property, obtaining NOC from police for events for law and order clearance, search of missing person search, matching unidentified dead bodies, Vehicle related enquiries, antecedent verification for issue of passport etc.
    • The ICJS dashboard has been implemented by integrating CCTNS with e-Courts and e-prisons and has been launched on a trial basis with select central investigation agencies. v • Software for Prosecutions and Forensics has been developed and is currently being rolled out in Bihar, Telangana and Puducherry.

    Crime and Criminal Tracking Network | Background

    Originally approved in 2009, the Project aims to:

    • deliver various web based police related services to citizens.
    • facilitate a pan-India search of crime and criminal records of individuals through a national database.
    • generate crime and criminal reports at the state and central level to inform policy interventions and
    • computerise police processes.

    In 2015, an additional objective of establishing a basic platform for an Inter-Operable Criminal Justice System (ICJS) was added to the Project.

66

Powertex INDIA | PIB Summary

No document Available

Very Important

    The Government has launched PowerTex India, a comprehensive scheme for powerloom sector development, simultaneously at over 45 locations in the country.

    Powertex INDIA | Highlights

    • Launching the scheme in Bhiwandi, Thane district, Maharashtra, the Union Textiles Minister, Smt. Smriti Zubin Irani said that Bhiwandi will be known for resurgence in Powerloom sector.
    • Recalling that the powerloom sector alone employs over 44 lakh people, the Minister said that the scheme will especially benefit small powerloom weavers.

    Components of POWERTex

    • In-situ Upgradation of Plain Powerlooms
    • Group Workshed Scheme (GWS)
    • Yarn Bank Scheme
    • Common Facility Centre (CFC)
    • Pradhan Mantri Credit Scheme for Powerloom Weavers
    • Solar Energy Scheme for Powerlooms
    • Facilitation, IT, Awareness, Market Development and Publicity for Powerloom Schemes
    • Tex Venture Capital Fund
    • Grant-in-Aid and Modernisation & Upgradation of Powerloom Service Centres (PSCs)

67

GST Bill Passed | PIB Summary

No document Available

Lok Sabha on Wednesday passed four important legislations which are expected to launch the ‘Goods and Services Tax’ – GST Bill from 1st of July this year.

About GST

  • The GST has been billed the biggest reform post-independence. When the ‘one nation one tax’ regime starts, it would be a huge boost to the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) and Prime Minister Narendra Modi. The GST would also see a drop in the prices of many Fast Moving Consumer Goods (FMCG).
  • The GST will subsume the Central Excise, Service Tax, Value Added Tax (VAT) and other local taxes to create a uniform market across the country. GST is also expected to have a buoyant effect on India’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) growth rate.
  • Analysts feel that GST could boost India’s GDP by two percent.

Legislative procedure

  • Voting took place in the Lok Sabha late on Wednesday for the passage of the Central GST Bill, the Integrated GST Bill, Compensation GST Bill and the Union Territory Bill.
  • Now, the 29 states and the two Union territories which have a sitting legislature (Delhi and Puducherri) will have to ratify the fifth important GST legislation, the State GST Bill.

Highlights

  • Allaying the fears of some of the Members on the landmark legislation, Finance Minister assured the House that the States and the Centre have pooled their sovereignty in the GST Council.
  • The recommendation of the rates will come from the Council. The States have two thirds vote in the GST Council and only one third voting is enjoyed by the Centre. The GST Council has been authorised to only make a recommendation regarding the model law.
  • The Finance Minister said the GST was likely to make a large number of commodities ‘slightly cheaper’. He also said that by doing away with the concept of ‘tax on tax’, the GST would help in curbing inflation. Mr. Jaitley informed the House that the GST Council was working on the basis of consensus and all items would come under the ambit of the new indirect tax regime.
  • Despite feeling that they are not yet prepared to embrace the new tax regime, traders in India have come forward as a partner with a unique plan to help government achieve its goal.
    Central Association if Indian Traders (CAIT), an umbrella body of trade and business associations, has planned to launch ‘Mission GST’ — a national campaign in which the confederation plans to train 5,000 trade leaders from all across the country as ‘master trainers’.
  • “The GST will be rolled out in the next 90 days. Keeping this target in mind, the master trainers will empower and educate the trading community on various aspects of GST across the country. CAIT has roped in tax practitioners, chartered accountants and consultants in this drive. The aim is to provide training to traders, right from state capitals to tehsils,” said a statement by the CAIT.

Issues

While, GST is an e-compliance taxation system and altogether different from current tax regime, nearly 70 percent of traders don’t have computers and they go in for manual accounting. Now they have to adopt digital technology.

68

Protection of Forests | PIB Summary

No document Available

India is one of the mega diversity countries in the world with different types of forests. Officially 20 per cent of geographical area in the country is under forest cover. The National Forest Policy (1988) aims to increase the forest cover to one third. One of the main approaches is the protection of forests in India.

Protection of Forests | Issues

  • According to India State Forest Report released in 2015, the forest cover has increased by 5081 square kilometres between 2013 – 2015, increasing the carbon sinks by 103 million tonnes.
  • Though Mizoram has the highest 93 per cent forest cover, many north eastern states have experienced decline in green cover. The country faces numerous challenges in implementing its policies to protect and grow forests.
  • Protection of forests is done through implementation of Forest Conservation Act (1980) and through establishment of protected areas. The Government of India has established 597 Protected Areas of which 95 are National Parks and 500 Wild Life Sanctuaries. These comprise about 5 per cent of the geographical areas of the country. Different type of forests and scrub jungles are host to the diverse wild life including the tigers, elephants and lions.
  • Due to the rising population there is enormous pressure on forest land for extraction of forest based industries and encroachment for extension of agriculture. The rising conflicts between conserving forests for generating ecosystem services and diversion for developmental project poses one of the biggest challenges in managing the forest resources. 
  • It is estimated that the demand for timber is growing at a faster speed from 58 million cubic meters in 2005 to 153 million cubic meters in 2020. The annual growth of the forest stock can only supply 70 million cubic meters of timber, forcing us to import hard wood timber from other countries.

Protection of Forests | Steps taken by Government

  • In India 67 per cent of the rural household depend on firewood for cooking. About one million deaths are reported annually caused by the fumes of firewood for cooking.  In order to address this problem, Pradhan Mantri LPG Scheme ‘Ujjwala Yojana’ is implemented by Ministry of Petroleum and Gas that provides free LPG connections to BPL families in remote rural areas. This has provided access to clean and efficient energy to a large number of families in the countryside.
  • The Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) has given the call to celebrate world forestry day for 2017 with the theme of ‘forests and energy’.  The emphasis is to develop wood as a major source of renewable energy, to mitigate climate change and fostering sustainable development. By developing community wood lots and delivering clean and energy efficient wood stoves, millions of people in developing economies will have access to cheap and reliable supply of renewable energy.
  • The Climate Change Action Plan and the Green India mission attempts to address the issue of development of wood energy by establishing large scale tree plantations with the help of community participation.
  • National Afforestation Programme (NAP) aims at eco regeneration of degraded forests and Green India Mission (GIM) aims at increasing the forest cover along with improving the quality of the forests, including the farm and agro forestry.
  • Under GIM, six million hectares of plantations will be established every year on degraded forest land.
  • One of the main pillars of afforestation is to regrow the forests in lieu of diversion of the forest land for developmental purposes. Both the houses of Parliament passed the Compensatory Afforestation Bill in 2016. With a provision of Rs 42000 crores, and annual outlay of Rs 6000 crores will be made available to states to facilitate conservation, improvement and expansion of forest resources in the country. This Act provides institutional framework at both central and state levels to implement the compensatory afforestation programme. Additionally, this will generate 15 crore man days of direct employment in the remote forest areas of the country helping tribal population. 

Protection of Forests | Challenges

While implementing these green schemes, India faces enormous challenges.

  • The climate change directly impacts the survival of planted saplings.
  • The extension of dry areas and desertification is another big challenge that needs to be tackled with proper interventions. 

There is need for participatory models of afforestation in which the local knowledge helps to regenerate and manage the forest resources.

Protection of Forests | Way forward

  • Realising the strength of the tribal knowledge systems, the Prime Minister said” if there is someone who saved the forests, it is our tribal communities, and for them saving forests is part of the tribal culture”.
  • He called upon the people to take the pledge to collectively work to conserve forests and increase the tree cover. More forests mean more water that benefits farmers and future generations.
  • In ancient Indian tradition the Rishis, or those who are the learned and sages get energy from the forests. According to Rabindranath Tagore, life in forest is the highest form of cultural evolution. The sages derived intellectual and spiritual energy from the forests, living near trees and water streams.

Protection of Forests | Conclusion

Though the United Nations Food and Agricultural Organisation has laid out ‘wood energy from the forests’ as the main theme of International Forest Day, Indian tradition assigns much higher status and value to the living energy of the forests to attain spiritual and cultural regeneration of life. This seems to be more holistic in understanding the links between forests and energy.

69

Core Industries | PIB Summary

No document Available

The Core Industries are covered by the Index of Industrial Production (IPP)

Core Industries  | About the IIP

  • The Eight Core Industries comprise nearly 38 % of the weight of items included in the Index of Industrial Production (IIP).
  • The combined Index of Eight Core Industries stands at 180.1 in February, 2017, which was 1.0 % higher compared to the index of February, 2016. Its cumulative growth during April to February, 2016-17 was 4.4 %.

Core Industries | Summary

Coal

Coal production (weight: 4.38 %) increased by 7.1 % in February, 2017 over February, 2016. Its cumulative index during April to February, 2016-17 increased by 2.8 % over corresponding period of previous year.

 Crude Oil

Crude Oil production (weight: 5.22 %) declined by 3.4 % in February, 2017 over February, 2016. Its cumulative index during April to February, 2016-17 declined by 2.8 % over the corresponding period of previous year.

Natural Gas

The Natural Gas production (weight: 1.71 %) declined by 1.7 % in February, 2017 over February, 2016. Its cumulative index during April to February, 2016-17 declined by 1.9 % over the corresponding period of previous year.

Refinery Products (93% of Crude Throughput)

Petroleum Refinery production (weight: 5.94%) declined by 2.3 % in February, 2017 over February, 2016. Its cumulative index during April to February, 2016-17 increased by 5.9 % over the corresponding period of previous year.

Fertilizers

Fertilizer production (weight: 1.25%) declined by 5.3 % in February, 2017 over February, 2016. Its cumulative index during April to February, 2016-17 increased by 2.1 % over the corresponding period of previous year.

Steel (Alloy + Non-Alloy)

Steel production (weight: 6.68%) increased by 8.7 % in February, 2017 over February, 2016. Its cumulative index during April to February, 2016-17 increased by 9.1 % over the corresponding period of previous year.

Cement

Cement production (weight: 2.41%) declined by 15.8 % in February, 2017 over February, 2016. Its cumulative index during April to February, 2016-17 declined by 0.7 % over the corresponding period of previous year.

Electricity

Electricity generation (weight: 10.32%) increased by 1.5 % in February, 2017 over February, 2016. Its cumulative index during April to February, 2016-17 increased by 5.0 % over the corresponding period of previous year.

70

Cashless Transaction In Indian Railways | PIB Summary

No document Available

In order to help passengers and incentivize the Cashless Transaction or payment through digital modes for booking of reserved tickets,

  • service charge on online booking of tickets has been withdrawn for the tickets booked from 23.11.2016 to 31.03.2017.
  • Approximately, an amount of`184 crore has not been realized from passengers on account of service charge and service tax thereon on reserved tickets booked online from 23.11.2016 to 28.02.2017.

Cashless Transaction | Steps taken to promote

  • The facility of online booking of reserved ticket has been provided through Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation (IRCTC) website. The payment for tickets booked through IRCTC website is made through various cashless modes such as net banking, through credit/debit cards, cash cards and e-wallets
  • The facility of booking unreserved ticket including journey, season and platform tickets through mobile phone has been introduced in all suburban sections of Central, Western, Southern, Eastern, South Central, South Eastern and Delhi-Palwal section of Northern Railway.  Additional payment options under the digital modes have also been introduced to widen the scope of digital payments for purchase of unreserved tickets.
  • The facility of renewal of season tickets through IRCTC website has been provided for suburban train services on Western and Central Railways wherein payment is made through electronic mode.
  • It has been decided to install 10,000 Point of Sale (POS) machines in association with State Bank of India at various locations of Indian Railways i.e. PRS locations, UTS locations, Parcel/Goods locations.
  • An advanced Beta version of the mobile application for booking of reserved tickets has also been launched by IRCTC giving additional options of cashless payment.
  • Service charge applicable on transactions against credit/debit cards for purchasing journey tickets at Unreserved Ticketing System (UTS)/ Passenger Reservation System (PRS) counters has been withdrawn.
  • Online booking facility for accredited press correspondents on the basis of registered ID card has been launched.
  • International Credit/ Debit cards issued outside India are accepted for booking of e-tickets through IRCTC website.
  • Free accidental insurance cover of up to `10 lakh for confirmed/RAC passengers in case of tickets booked online from 10.12.2016 to 31.03.2017.
  • Provision of 0.5% discount on season tickets purchased through digital means with effect from 01.01.2017.
  • Provision of 5% discount on payment made online for availing services like online booking of retiring rooms with effect from 01.01.2017.
  • Catering stalls have also been instructed to provide options for making cashless payments.

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Efficiency Of Thermal Power Plants | PIB Summary

No document Available

  • The Government has taken several measures to improve the efficiency of coal based thermal power plants & improve the air quality in the vicinity of these plants. These are as follows:

    1. Supercritical technology has already been adopted for thermal power generation. The design efficiency of Supercritical units is about 5% higher than typical 500 MW subcritical units and these (supercritical) units are likely to have correspondingly lower fuel consumption and CO2 emissions in ambient air. A capacity addition of 39,710 MW based on supercritical technology has already been achieved and 48,060 MW of supercritical is in the pipeline.
    2. All Ultra Mega Power Projects (UMPPs) are required to use supercritical technology.
    3. Coal based capacity addition during 13th Plan shall be through super-critical units.
    4. Indigenous research is being pursued for development of Advanced Ultra Supercritical Technology (A-USC) with targeted efficiency improvement of about 10% over supercritical unit. Indira Gandhi Centre for Atomic Research (IGCAR), NTPC and BHEL have signed an MoU in August 2010 for development of 800 MW A-USC indigenous demonstration plant with main stream pressure of 310 kg/cm2 and temperature of 710/ 720 deg C.
    5. A capacity of about 7751.94 MW of old and inefficient unit has already been retired till date.
    6. To facilitate State Utilities/IPPs to replace old inefficient coal based thermal units with supercritical units, Ministry of Coal, Government of India has formulated a policy of automatic transfer of LOA/Coal linkage (granted to old plants) to new (proposed) super-critical units.
    7. Perform Achieve and Trade (PAT) Scheme under National Mission on Enhanced Energy Efficiency is under implementation by BEE (Bureau of Energy Efficiency). In PAT cycle–II, individual target for improving efficiency has been assigned to 154 thermal power stations.
    8. High efficiency Electrostatics Preceptor (ESP) are installed to capture Particulate Matters (Fly ash) from Flue gases.
    9. Low NOX burners are installed for reducing NOx emission from flue gases.
    10. SO2 emission control is achieved through dispersion of flue gases through tall stacks (275 metres) to reduce the concentration of polluting gases at ground level.

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India’s Longest Tunnel | PIB Summary

No document Available


  • The Prime Minister, Shri Narendra Modi, will dedicate to the nation, India’s longest tunnel (road) – the 9-kilometre-long “Chenani – Nashri Tunnel” – on April 2nd, 2017.

    India’s Longest Tunnel | About

    • India’s Longest Tunnel on NH-44 which connects Jammu with Srinagar, will reduce travel time between the two cities by up to two hours. It achieves a distance-reduction of 31 kilometres, bypassing snow-bound upper reaches. The estimated daily fuel savings are to the tune of Rs. 27 lakhs.
    • Besides avoiding large scale deforestation and tree-cutting, the tunnel will provide a safe, all-weather route to commuters travelling from Jammu and Udhampur, to Ramban, Banihal and Srinagar.
    • The tunnel is equipped with world-class security systems, and is expected to boost tourism and economic activities in the State of Jammu and Kashmir.

    India’s Longest Tunnel | Salient features

    • It is a single-tube bi-directional tunnel, with a 9.35 metre carriageway, and a vertical clearance of 5 metres.
    • There is also a parallel escape tunnel, with “Cross Passages” connecting to the main tunnel at intervals of 300 metres.
    • It also has smart features such as an Integrated Traffic Control System; Surveillance, Ventilation and Broadcast Systems; Fire Fighting System; and SOS call-boxes at every 150 metres.
    • The project has been completed at a cost of over Rs. 2500 crore.

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E-Cinepramaan | VERY IMPORTANT

No document Available

  • Minister for Information and Broadcasting, Shri M Venkaiah Naidu has said that E-Cinepramaan – the Online Film Certification System of CBFC would facilitate the Hon’ble Prime Minister’s vision of Ease of Doing Business and Digital India. The complete automation of the Film Certification Process would enable Good Governance making the entire process transparent and efficient.

    E-Cinepramaan | Objectives

    The objective is to eliminate the need for human interface to the extent possible. The new online certification system would be an important step in making the CBFC Office paper less and would enable effective monitoring & real time progress tracking for both CBFC Officials and the applicant (Producers). More online initiatives would be introduced in the Ministry as part of the roadmap for transparent Governance. The Minister stated this at the launch function of the Online Film Certification System of CBFC here today.

    E-Cinepramaan | Salient features

    • In the e-cinepramaan, the status of each application would be visible online in the dashboard of the producer/concerned CBFC official.
    • In case of short films/promos/trailers less than 10 minutes, even for Examination purposes also, the producer need not visit the Office/Theatre. They can merely submit their creations online.
    • For films longer than 10 minutes, the applicant will only have to show the film at the Examining theatre and will not have to visit the CBFC Offices at all except to collect their certificates.
    • The producer/applicant would be informed by SMS/e-mail of the status of their application and any action needed, beginning from the receipt of application to the certificate collection.
    • The transparency in the system and elimination of middle men would mitigate chances of any corruption and would also avoid allegations of jumping the queue or rigging up of Examination committees.
    • The implementation of QR code on the certificates would eliminate chances of fraudulent certificates.
    • The system envisages a robust MIS system for performance tracking and efficient reporting.
    • The system has inbuilt alerts depending on the pendency of the application to ensure that time limits prescribed by the Rules are not violated.
    • Simultaneously, a new CBFC Website has also been developed bringing in new user friendly features and important information at the click of a button.

74

Development of Trade And Commerce | PIB Summary

No document Available

  • The Government has implemented certain new initiatives for the overall development of Trade and Commerce in the Country in the Foreign Trade Policy announced on 01.04.2015. The initiatives are listed below:

    Trade And Commerce | Initiatives by the Government

    • Rationalization of multiple Schemes: The New Foreign Trade And Commerce Policy (2015-20) was launched on 1st April, 2015 with a focus on supporting both merchandise and services exports and improving the ‘Ease of Doing Business’.  DGFT consolidated 5 different incentive schemes under the earlier Foreign Trade Policy 2009-14 for rewarding merchandise exports into a single scheme, namely the Merchandise Exports from India Scheme (MEIS).
    • MEIS aims to incentivize export of merchandise goods produced/manufactured in India. Rewards @ 2-5% under MEIS are payable as a percentage of realized FOB value of covered exports, by way of the MEIS duty credit scrip, which are transferable and can also be used for payment of a number of duties including the basic customs duty.   At present, 7914 tariff lines at 8 digit HS Codes are covered under MEIS scheme. DGFT launched a new Services Exports from India Scheme (SEIS) in the FTP 2015-2020. The Scheme provides rewards to service providers of notified services who are providing service from India. The rate of reward under the scheme is based on net foreign exchange earned. The present rates of reward are 3 % and 5%.
    • The Government has introduced the Interest Equalization Scheme on Pre & Post Shipment Rupee Export Credit with effect from 1.4.2015. The scheme is available to all exports under the notified tariff lines [at ITC (HS) code of 4 digit] and exports made by Micro, Small & Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) across all ITC (HS) codes. The rate of interest equalisation is 3% per annum.
    • In addition the Government continues to provide the facility of import of duty free raw materials for exports – Trade And Commerce – through schemes like Advance Authorisation, Duty Free Import Authorisation (DFIA) and duty free import of capital goods for exports through Export Promotion Capital Goods (EPCG) Scheme.
    • The Scheme for Deemed Export encourages ‘Make in India’ initiative by neutralizing the duty paid on inputs either imported or domestically sourced through refund of terminal excise duty and duty drawback at brand rate.

    Trade And Commerce | Ease of doing business under New Foreign Trade Policy 2015 – 2020

    • Reducing number of Documents: Number of mandatory documents required for exports and imports have been reduced to 3 each.
    • Introduction of simplified e-IECApplications for Importer Exporter Code (IEC) has been simplified and only two documents are required to be uploaded along with the digital photograph while applying for IEC. e-IEC has been introduced w.e.f. April 1, 2016 doing away with the issuance of physical copy of IEC. IEC has been integrated with e-BIZ portal of DIPP so that firms have choice to use either DGFT portal or e-Biz portal for making an application. IEC and EPCG applications have been integrated with e-Nivesh portal implemented by PMG set up by Cabinet Secretariat. Online Inter-ministerial consultations have been initiated for considering applications for issue of authorizations for export of SCOMET items (Special Chemicals, Organisms, Materials, Equipment and Technologies) to reduce processing time of applications.
    • Sharing of export proceeds realization Data: DGFT shares exports proceeds realization data generated by the electronic bank realization certificate (eBRC) system with 17 agencies. The eBRC system captures details of the foreign exchange received by exporters through the banking channel. DGFT has simplified various ‘Aayat Niryat Forms(format for making   applications under Schemes of FTP) bringing in clarity in different   provisions, removing   ambiguities and enhancing electronic governance.
    • A new scheme called Trade Infrastructure for Export Scheme (TIES) has been announced by the Government with the objective to enhance export competitiveness by bridging gaps in export infrastructure, creating focused export infrastructure, first mile and last mile connectivity for export oriented projects and addressing quality and certification measures. The Central and State Agencies, including Export Promotion Councils, Commodities Boards, SEZ Authorities and Apex Trade Bodies recognised under the EXIM policy of Government of India are eligible for financial support under this scheme. Indian Trade Portal launched by Department of Commerce and managed by FIEO displays information useful for export import. It contains the Trade enquiries uploaded by Indian trade missions, Tariff and Trade data of India’s major trade partners, Export Market Reports and Trade Agreements etc.
    • The Government is implementing the Niryat Bandhu Scheme with an objective to reach out to the new and potential exporters and mentor them through orientation programmes, counselling sessions, individual facilitation etc., on various aspects of foreign trade for being able to get into international trade and boost exports from India.
    • The performance indicating profit loss of the companies for the years 2014-15 and 2015-16 and till the 3rd quarter of 2016-17 are not available with the Department of Commerce.
    • India is a signatory to the World Trade Organization and is committed to Free and Fair Trade. Import/export take place depending on demand and supply.  Goods consumed by people vary in terms of characteristics and parameters given the differentiated nature of consumer demand.  In a globalised and interdependent world, no country can remain isolated.  The Government has also been taking timely measures in order to boost the exports.  The Government regularly takes stock of the changing dynamics at the global and regional level; and based on the inputs from the stakeholders including industry & trade bodies/associations and think tanks, FTP is revised/improved.

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De-Induction of TU142M | PIB Summary

No document Available

  • The Indian Navy is preparing for de-induction of TU142M Long Range Maritime Patrol aircraft after its 29 years of dedicated service to the nation. To commemorate the stellar service of the TU142M, a TU Static Display Aircraft would also be inaugurated by the Chief of Naval Staff at INS Rajali.

    About TU142M Maritime Patrol aircraft

    • The TU142M Long Range Maritime Patrol aircraft was inducted into Indian Navy at Dabolim Goa from erstwhile USSR in 1988.
    • The aircraft subsequently shifted base permanently to INS Rajali in 1992 and became the most formidable LRMR ASW aircraft of the Indian Navy.
    • The aircraft has done the Indian Navy proud by participating in all major naval exercises and operations with distinction. The aircraft saw action during operation ‘Cactus’ in Maldives and participated in operational missions off Sri Lanka to provide airborne surveillance.
    • TU142M aircraft with its 04 powerful engines, contra rotating, slender fuselage and swept wings is the fastest turboprop aircraft in the world and reportedly has been difficult to intercept by fighters.
    • With its enhanced endurance, speed, long range weapons and sensors the aircraft transformed the aspects of Maritime Reconnaissance and airborne ASW for the Indian Navy and was one of the most formidable platforms around the world.
    • Despite being in its twilight year, the aircraft performed exceptionally well during the recently conducted Naval Exercise TROPEX in Mar 2017.

    Background Information

    • INAS 312 was commissioned on 18 Nov 1976 at INS Hansa, Goa with five Lockheed L1049G Super Constellation aircraft acquired from No. 6 Squadron of the IAF. After de-induction of Super Constellation from the squadron in 1983, TU-142M LRMR ASW aircraft was inducted into INAS 312 on 16 Apr 88.
    • The squadron later shifted its base to the East Coast of India in Apr 92 and has since then been based at INS Rajali, Arakkonam (Tamil Nadu).
    • INAS 312 has the unique distinction of operating the heaviest, fastest and highest flying turbo prop in the world namely the TU-142M which has been the mainstay of LRMR and ASW operations of the Indian Navy for close to three decades.
    • Over the years, the TU-142M has rendered yeomen service to the nation and has taken part in all major exercises and operations including Operation Cactus in Maldives, Op Vijay in 1998, Op Parakram in 2002 and Anti-Piracy Operations from 2011 till date.
    • For its outstanding professionalism and momentous contribution to the Navy, the Squadron was awarded Unit Citation by the Chief of Naval Staff in the year 2002 and adjudged the Best Frontline Squadron on numerous occasions over the years. After 29 years of dedicated service, the TU-142M LRMR ASW aircraft was drawn down on 29 Mar 17.

    Way Ahead

    • The role of TU142M will now be taken on by the newly inducted P-8l aircraft.
    • The P-8I aircraft has proven all its systems and has been fully integrated into the operational grid of the Indian Navy.

76

Railways Security And Safety | PIB Summary

No document Available

  • Policing on Railways being a State subject, prevention of crime, registration of cases, their investigation and maintenance of law & order in Railway premises as well as on running trains and security of railway tracks, tunnels & bridges are the statutory responsibility of the State Governments, which they discharge through Government Railway Police (GRP)/Civil Police. However, Railway Protection Force (RPF) supplements the efforts of GRP by providing better protection and security of passenger area and passengers and for matters connected therewith. 

    Steps taken by the Railways to provide Security

    1. Proper coordination at all levels is being maintained by the Railways with Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA), State Governments, Central/State Intelligence Agencies and State Police/GRP authorities for security of railway infrastructure including railway tracks and stations over Indian Railways. The security agencies responsible for the track protection have been requested to take appropriate steps to prevent track sabotage cases.
    2. Security Help Line number 182 is made operational over Indian Railways for security related assistance to passengers in distress.
    3. An Integrated Security System consisting of surveillance of vulnerable stations through Close Circuit Television Camera Network, Access Control etc. has been sanctioned to improve surveillance mechanism over 202 railway stations.
    4. On vulnerable and identified routes/sections, 2500 trains (on an average) are escorted by RPF daily, in addition to 2200 trains escorted by GRP of different States daily.
    5. Sniffer Dog Squads are utilized at some important stations for anti-sabotage checks.
    6. Minister of Railways held a video conference with the Director Generals/Commissioners of Police of all States/Union Territories for improving passenger safety, security of tracks and railway property.

    Steps taken by the Railways to provide Safety

    Safety is accorded the highest priority by Indian Railways and all possible steps are undertaken on a continual basis including upgradation of technology to prevent trains accidents and to enhance safety.

    • These include complete track circuiting of stations, Axle Counter for Automatic clearance of Block Section Counters (BPAC), Electrical/Electronic Interlocking System, Interlocking of Level Crossing Gates, Auxiliary Warning System (AWS), Vigilance Control Device (VCD) in locomotives, Colour Light LED Signals, Train Protection Warning System (TPWS), Train Collision Avoidance System (TCAS), Fog Safe Device (FSD), use of 60kg rails and Pre-stressed Concrete Sleepers, long rail panels, better welding technology in the tracks, digital types of machines for Ultrasonic Flaw Detection (USFD), electronic monitoring of tracks using Track Recording Cars (TRC) and portable Oscillation Monitoring System (OMS), progressive use of Linke Hofmann Busch (LHB) coaches, Centre Buffer Couplers in Integral Coach Factory (ICF) design coaches, Remote Monitoring and Management of Locomotives and Trains (REMMLOT), Air Conditioning (AC) of locomotive cabs and Installation of video/voice recording system of locomotives. 

77

Down Syndrome | PIB Summary

No document Available

  • Shri Thaawarchand Gehlot, Minister for Social Justice and Empowerment inaugurated a “National Conference on Down Syndrome” in the presence of Ministers of State for SJ&E Shri Krishan Pal Gurjar and Shri Vijay Sampla here today.

    About Down Syndrome

    • Down Syndrome is a chromosomal condition associated with intellectual and learning disabilities.
    • Delayed development and behavioural problems are often reported in children with Down Syndrome.
    • Persons with Down Syndrome have 47 chromosomes as compared to 46 in majority of people.
    • This one Extra chromosome causes its own impact and slows down learning process.
    • It impacts neurological functioning causing impairment of intellectual functions e.g. analytical thinking, complex abstractions and judgement etc.
    • Good schooling, loving family, learning and work opportunities make them grow up to be responsible, loving and cheerful persons.
    • Their emotions and needs are like any other person of the same age. Accepting and respecting family/community is a big support to their growth and development.

78

Rashtriya Vayoshri Yojana | PIB Summary

No document Available

  • Ministry of Power has taken several measures to provide 24X7 affordable and environment friendly Power for All by 2019. The measures inter-alia, include the following: –

    1. Electrification of 18,452 un-electrified villages (as on 1/4/2015): As on 20/03/2017, 12,661 villages have been electrified.
    2. Preparation of state specific action plans for 24X7 Power for All, covering adequacy of generation, transmission capacity and distribution system: 24X7 Power for All documents have been signed with 35 States/UTs.
    3. Launching of scheme called Deendayal Upadhyaya Gram Jyoti Yojana (DDUGJY) for rural areas: The scheme provides for (a) separation of agriculture and non-agriculture feeders; (b) strengthening and augmentation of sub-transmission and distribution infrastructure in rural areas including metering at distribution transformers, feeders and consumers end; and (c) rural electrification.
    4. Launching of Integrated Power Development Scheme (IPDS) for urban areas: The scheme provides for (a) strengthening of sub-transmission and distribution networks in urban areas; (b) metering of distribution transformers/feeders/consumers in urban areas; and (c) IT enablement of distribution sector and strengthening of distribution network.
    5. Operationalization of Power System Development Fund (PSDF):  PSDF shall be utilized for the project proposed by distribution utilities for (a) creating necessary transmission system of strategic importance; (b) installation of shunt capacitors etc. for improvement of voltage profile in the grid; (c) installation of standard and special protection schemes; and (d) Renovation and Modernisation of transmission and distribution systems for relieving congestion; etc.
    6. Launching of Ujwal Discom Assurance Yojana (UDAY): The scheme has been launched for operational and financial turnaround of Discoms.
    7. Measures initiated for reducing the generation cost of coal based power projects: Increasing supply of domestic coal; Coal usage flexibility, Rationalization of coal linkages
    8. 56,232.6 MW generation capacity have been added during the period 2014-17 (as on 28.02.2017).
    9. Increase in electricity generation from 967 BU (Billion Unit)  in 2013-14 to 1048 BU in 2014-15 and 1107 BU in 2015-16, resulting in lowest ever energy deficit of 2.1% in 2015-16. During the current year 2016-17 (upto February 2017), electricity generation has been 1057.746 BU. Energy deficit has further reduced to 0.7% during the period April-February, 2017 which is the lowest ever.
    10. 73,798 ckm transmission lines and 1,89,948 MVA sub-station capacity added during 2014 to February, 2017.  87% increase in transmission capacity to South India from 3450 MW in April- 2014–February, 2017 to 6450 MW.
    11. Implementation of Green Energy Corridor for transmission of renewable energy.
    12. Unnat Jyoti by Affordable LEDs for All (UJALA) to replace 77 crore incandescent bulbs with LED bulbs. This will result in estimated avoided capacity generation of 20,000 MW and save 100 billion kWh per year by March, 2019. As on date, 21.8 crore LED bulbs have been distributed. In addition, over 5.36 lakh energy efficient fans and 13.37 lakh LED tube lights have been distributed.
    13. Street Lighting National Programme (SLNP) is being implemented to replace 1.4 crore conventional street lights by LED street lights. The replacement will result in avoided capacity generation of 1500 MW and save 9 billion kWh per year by March, 2019. As on date, over 18.3 lakh LED Street lights have been replaced across the country.

    New schemes under consideration

    • DDUGJY & IPDS:  Government of India Grant – 60% (85% in case of Special Category States; Utility/State contribution – 10% (5% in case of Special Category States); loan from banks/financial institutions – 30% (10% in case of Special Category States) – Additional grant from GoI on achievement of prescribed milestones – 50% of the loan component.
    • PSDF: Subject to availability of funds and admissibility, the quantum of grant towards project cost ranges from 75% to 100% for non Special Category States.  The projects from North-East and other hill States, namely, J&K, Sikkim, Himachal Pradesh and Uttarakhand are eligible for grant upto 100%.

79

Power For All | PIB Summary

No document Available

  • Ministry of Power has taken several measures to provide 24X7 affordable and environment friendly Power for All by 2019. The measures inter-alia, include the following: –

    1. Electrification of 18,452 un-electrified villages (as on 1/4/2015): As on 20/03/2017, 12,661 villages have been electrified.
    2. Preparation of state specific action plans for 24X7 Power for All, covering adequacy of generation, transmission capacity and distribution system: 24X7 Power for All documents have been signed with 35 States/UTs.
    3. Launching of scheme called Deendayal Upadhyaya Gram Jyoti Yojana (DDUGJY) for rural areas: The scheme provides for (a) separation of agriculture and non-agriculture feeders; (b) strengthening and augmentation of sub-transmission and distribution infrastructure in rural areas including metering at distribution transformers, feeders and consumers end; and (c) rural electrification.
    4. Launching of Integrated Power Development Scheme (IPDS) for urban areas: The scheme provides for (a) strengthening of sub-transmission and distribution networks in urban areas; (b) metering of distribution transformers/feeders/consumers in urban areas; and (c) IT enablement of distribution sector and strengthening of distribution network.
    5. Operationalization of Power System Development Fund (PSDF):  PSDF shall be utilized for the project proposed by distribution utilities for (a) creating necessary transmission system of strategic importance; (b) installation of shunt capacitors etc. for improvement of voltage profile in the grid; (c) installation of standard and special protection schemes; and (d) Renovation and Modernisation of transmission and distribution systems for relieving congestion; etc.
    6. Launching of Ujwal Discom Assurance Yojana (UDAY): The scheme has been launched for operational and financial turnaround of Discoms.
    7. Measures initiated for reducing the generation cost of coal based power projects: Increasing supply of domestic coal; Coal usage flexibility, Rationalization of coal linkages
    8. 56,232.6 MW generation capacity have been added during the period 2014-17 (as on 28.02.2017).
    9. Increase in electricity generation from 967 BU (Billion Unit)  in 2013-14 to 1048 BU in 2014-15 and 1107 BU in 2015-16, resulting in lowest ever energy deficit of 2.1% in 2015-16. During the current year 2016-17 (upto February 2017), electricity generation has been 1057.746 BU. Energy deficit has further reduced to 0.7% during the period April-February, 2017 which is the lowest ever.
    10. 73,798 ckm transmission lines and 1,89,948 MVA sub-station capacity added during 2014 to February, 2017.  87% increase in transmission capacity to South India from 3450 MW in April- 2014–February, 2017 to 6450 MW.
    11. Implementation of Green Energy Corridor for transmission of renewable energy.
    12. Unnat Jyoti by Affordable LEDs for All (UJALA) to replace 77 crore incandescent bulbs with LED bulbs. This will result in estimated avoided capacity generation of 20,000 MW and save 100 billion kWh per year by March, 2019. As on date, 21.8 crore LED bulbs have been distributed. In addition, over 5.36 lakh energy efficient fans and 13.37 lakh LED tube lights have been distributed.
    13. Street Lighting National Programme (SLNP) is being implemented to replace 1.4 crore conventional street lights by LED street lights. The replacement will result in avoided capacity generation of 1500 MW and save 9 billion kWh per year by March, 2019. As on date, over 18.3 lakh LED Street lights have been replaced across the country.

    New schemes under consideration

    • DDUGJY & IPDS:  Government of India Grant – 60% (85% in case of Special Category States; Utility/State contribution – 10% (5% in case of Special Category States); loan from banks/financial institutions – 30% (10% in case of Special Category States) – Additional grant from GoI on achievement of prescribed milestones – 50% of the loan component.
    • PSDF: Subject to availability of funds and admissibility, the quantum of grant towards project cost ranges from 75% to 100% for non Special Category States.  The projects from North-East and other hill States, namely, J&K, Sikkim, Himachal Pradesh and Uttarakhand are eligible for grant upto 100%.

80

Forecast of Natural Disasters By ISRO | PIB Summary

No document Available

  • ISRO is working on systems to forecast the natural disasters that could  be  used  as  input  by  States/ disaster  management  agencies.

    Highlights

    ISRO is carrying out studies to facilitate best use of the satellite derived information to develop methodologies for forecasting the natural disasters. Some of such methodologies developed include:

    1. Cyclone formation, track and Intensity: ISRO has developed methodologies for forecasting the cyclone formation, it’s track and intensity using satellite based observation. The methodology developed has been transferred to India meteorological Department (IMD) who is mandated for cyclone forecast.
    2. Flood Early Warning System: The North Eastern Space Applications Centre (NESAC) of ISRO has developed the Flood Early Warning System (FLEWS) as a Research & Development (R&D) project in Assam State in association with Assam State Disaster Management Authority (ASDMA). The FLEWS model is being used in all 25 flood prone districts of Assam. Another model for forecasting floods in Godavari floodplains in Andhra Pradesh is developed by National Remote Sensing Centre (NRSC) of ISRO. The methodology is being used by Central Water Commission (CWC). ISRO is developing similar systems for Krishna, Brahmani-Baitarani, Ghagra, Gandak, and Kosi rivers.
    3. Heavy Rainfall/ cloud burst alerts: Space Applications Centre (SAC) of ISRO has developed a model, for heavy rainfall / cloud burst alerts, which is being experimentally carried out for Indian region. The information is made available on ISRO’s MOSDAC (Meteorological & Oceanographic Satellite Data Archival Centre) website.
    4. Rainfall triggered landslide alerts for the Uttarakhand Region: An experimental early warning system for rainfall triggered landslides is developed for use along the pilgrimage route corridors leading to Gangotri, Badrinath and Kedarnath as well as along the Pithoragarh-Malpa route in Uttarakhand. The forewarning is generated based on the statistical relation between the terrain (geological, morphological) and temporal (primarily long term rainfall events) factors.
    5. Extreme weather events: ISRO has developed experimental methodologies for early warning extreme weather events such as heat wave using numerical weather predictions. The information derived is being made available on the MOSDAC website. 

    Other technologies

    • ISRO has realised two satellite missions, Viz., MeghaTropiques (launched in Oct 2011) and SARAL (launched in Feb 2013), in collaboration with French National Space Agency (CNES).
    • Presently, it is working with National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), USA towards joint realisation of a satellite mission, namely, ‘NASA-ISRO Synthetic Aperture Radar (NISAR), to be launched by 2020-21 timeframe.  The fund allocation for MeghaTropiques is Rs. 81.6 Crores, SARAL is Rs. 73.75 Crores and for NISAR is Rs. 513 Crores.

81

Fund of Fund For Start-Ups | PIB Summary

No document Available

  • The Union Cabinet chaired by the Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi has approved the following proposals with regard to the Fund of Funds of Start-ups (FFS) which was established in June, last year with a corpus of Rs. 1,000 crores.

    Fund of Fund For Start-Ups | Details

    1. Alternate Investment Funds (AIFs) supported by FFS shall invest at least twice the amount of contribution received from FFS in Start-ups qualifying as per the Gazette Notification G.S.R.180 (E) dt. 17/02/2016. Further, if the amount committed for a Start-up in whole has not been released before a Start-up ceases to be so, the balance funding can continue thereafter.
    2. It was also decided that operating expenses for carrying out due diligence, legal and technical appraisal, convening meeting of Venture Capital Investment Committee, etc. would be met out of the FFS to the extent of 0.50% of the commitments made to AIFs and outstanding. This will be debited to the fund at the beginning of each half year; i.e. April 1 and October 1.

    Fund of Fund For Start-Ups | Background

    • The Union Cabinet in its meeting had approved the proposal testablish a Fund of Funds for Start-ups (FFS) with a total corpus of Rs.10000 crores, with contribution spread over the 14th & 15th Finance Commission cycles based on progress of implementation and availability of funds.
    • It was decided that the FFS shall contribute to the corpus of Alternative Investment Funds (AIFs) for investing in equity and equity linked instruments of various start-ups at early stage, seed stage and growth stages.
    • The FFS is being managed and operated by Small Industries Development Bank of India (SIDBI).  FFS contributes to SEBI registered Alternative Investment Funds (AIFs) that may go up to a maximum of 35% of the corpus of the AIF concerned.
    • The Cabinet had decided that the corpus of Fund of Funds along with counterpart funds raised by the AIFs in which FFS takes equity would be invested entirely in Start-ups.
    • It has been pointed out to the Department during its interactions with various stakeholders that investors in the AIFs would prefer that the portfolio of AIFs is adequately diversified to manage the investment risks appropriately and if the entire pool of funds of the AIF is invested in Start-ups, it poses unacceptable risks to the investors of such AIFs.
    • The other issues raised by stakeholders were that the process of funding of Start-ups by AIFs is long drawn which starts from pitching by a Start-up, commitment by the AIF and then release of funds in tranches. Thus it is possible that before release of the final instalment the turnover of the Start-up crosses Rs. 25 crores but it still needs funds to meet its growth requirements. Besides, Start-ups need access to funds through various stages of their life cycle, viz. early stage, seed stage and growth stage.
    • It was also pointed out to the Department by SIDBI that the present provisions don’t provide for SIDBI to get compensated for activities done post sanction to AIFs.

82

Preservation of Biodiversity And Resources | PIB Summary

No document Available

  • Important steps taken by the Government for preservation of biodiversity and resources

    1. Survey, inventorization, taxonomic validation and threat assessment of floral and faunal resources;
    2. Assessment of the forest cover to develop an accurate database for planning and monitoring;
    3. Establishment of a Protected Area Network of National Parks, Wildlife Sanctuaries, Conservation and Community Reserves;
    4. Designating Biosphere Reserves for conservation of representative ecosystems;
    5. Undertaking of species oriented programmes, such as Project Tiger and Project Elephant; complemented with ex-situ conservation efforts.
    6. In addition, Biological Diversity Act 2002 has also been enacted with the aim to conserve biological resources of the country and regulation of access to these resources to ensure equitable sharing of benefits arising out of their use, under which a National Biodiversity Authority and State Biodiversity Boards in all States have been set up for implementing the provisions of the Act.
    7. The Government has put in place several measures towards ensuring that interventions and activities in forest areas do no adversely affect the biodiversity. For ensuring protection of flora and fauna within protected areas, Management Plans are prepared by State Forest Departments which inter alia include a schedule of activities to be taken up over a period of ten years.
    8. The Wild Life (Protection) Act 1972 provides for diligence to be taken before approval of any activity is accorded by the State Government within a protected area.

    Other measures of protection

    • In addition, the Central Government provides financial assistance to States and Union Territories under Centrally Sponsored Schemes such as: Integrated Development of Wildlife Habitat; Project Tiger, and Project Elephant for better protection and conservation of wildlife and their habitat; and Identification of Forest Management Scheme towards protection and management of forests.
    • The Government supports conservation of some prioritised/threatened medicinal plants harboured in specially designated Medicinal Plants Conservation Areas (MPCAs) that are primarily forested areas.
    • The National Afforestation & Eco-development Board of the Ministry promotes afforestation, tree planting, ecological restoration and eco-development activities in the country, with special attention to degraded areas as well as ecologically fragile areas.
    • Notwithstanding these measures, various non-forestry activities undertaken in forest areas for mining, industries, hydel power development, irrigation dams, railways, roads and other essential developmental activities may lead to destruction of forests and biodiversity in the diverted forest areas.
    • In order to compensate this loss of forest areas and biodiversity, compensatory afforestation on equivalent non forest land is done to compensate the loss of forest and biodiversity and such non forest lands are declared as Protected Forests/Reserve Forests under Indian Forest Act 1927.
    • In case of Central Government PSU projects, compensatory afforestation is done over twice the area of degraded forest area at the cost of user agency to improve and conserve the biodiversity in the degraded forest.

83

Promotion of AYUSH Mission | PIB Summary

No document Available

  • The Government of India has approved and notified Centrally Sponsored Scheme of National AYUSH Mission (NAM) on 29th September 2014.

    National AYUSH Mission

    1. The scheme envisages better access to AYUSH services;
    2. Strengthening of AYUSH educational institutions,
    3. Facilitate the enforcement of quality control of Ayurveda, Siddha and Unani & Homoeopathy (ASU &H) drugs, and
    4. Sustainable availability of ASU & H raw-materials by promotion of medicinal plants in the States/UTs during 12th Plan.
    5. Under NAM, the Central Government provides financial assistance to the States/UTs for encouraging Ayurveda, Yoga and Naturopathy, Unani, Siddha and Homoeopathy Centers for the health care of the people of the country as per the State Annual Action Plan (SAAP).

    Highlights of National AYUSH Mission (NAM)

    The National AYUSH Mission (NAM) inter-alia makes provision for the following: –

    1. Co-location of AYUSH facilities at Primary Health Centers (PHCs), Community Health Centers (CHCs) and District Hospitals (DHs).
    2. Up gradation of exclusive State Government AYUSH Hospitals and Dispensaries.
    3. Setting up of up to 50 bedded integrated AYUSH Hospital.
    4. Upgradation of State Government Educational Institutions.
    5. Setting up of new State Government AYUSH Educational Institutions in the State where it is not available.
    6. Strengthening of State Government/ Public Sector Undertaking (PSU) Ayurveda, Siddha, Unani and Homoeopathy (ASU&H) Pharmacies and Drug Testing Laboratories (DTL).
    7. Cultivation and Promotion of Medicinal Plants.

    Other initiatives for the promotion of AYUSH treatment

    • Under the Central Sector Scheme for Promotion of Information, Education and Communication (IEC), the Ministry takes up initiatives for propagation and promotion of AYUSH systems of medicines by organizing Arogya fairs/melas, conferences, exhibitions, seminars, workshops, symposium and also undertakes publicity through electronic multimedia/print media campaign for awareness amongst the citizens.
    • Ministry of AYUSH celebrated ‘National Ayurveda Day’ on the day of Dhanvantari Jayanti (Dhanteras). The theme for year 2016-17 i.e. the first National Ayurveda Day was ‘Ayurveda for Prevention & Control of Diabetes’ which was celebrated on 28th October 2016. Mission Madhumeh was launched on this occasion and Ministry also released a protocol for Prevention & Control of Diabetes through Ayurveda.
    • AYUSH intervention in National Program for Cancer, Diabetes, Cardiovascular disease & Stroke (NPCDCS) program is being implemented in one District each in six States viz. Bhilwara (Rajasthan), Surendranagar (Gujarat), Gaya (Bihar), Lahimpur Khiri (Uttar Pradesh), Krishna (Andhra Pradesh) and Darjeeling (West Bengal).

84

Prasad Scheme | PIB Summary

No document Available

  • Identification of new sites for development under Prasad Scheme is a continuous process subject to availability of resources and adherence to scheme guidelines.

    Prasad Scheme 

    PRASAD Scheme was launched in 2014-15 with 12 identified sites namely

    1. Ajmer (Rajasthan),
    2. Amritsar (Punjab), 
    3. Amaravati (Andhra Pradesh),
    4. Dwarka (Gujarat),
    5. Gaya (Bihar),
    6. Kedarnath (Uttarakhand),
    7. Kamakhya (Assam),
    8. Kanchipuram (Tamil Nadu),
    9. Mathura (Uttar Pradesh), 
    10. Puri (Odisha),
    11. Varanasi (Uttar Pradesh) and
    12. Vellankani (Tamil Nadu).
    • PRASAD scheme aims to create spiritual centres for tourism development within the nation.
    • To implement the PRASAD scheme a Mission Directorate has been set up in the Ministry of Tourism.
    • The Budget provision of Rs.15.60 crore was made in Revised Estimate (RE) 2014-15. 

    Prasad Scheme  | New sites added

    During 2015-16, Patna (Bihar) and in 2016-17, 12 more sites were added in the scheme for development namely

    1. Ayodhya (Uttar Pradesh), 
    2. Badrinath (Uttarakhand),
    3. Belur (West Bengal),
    4. Deoghar (Jharkhand),
    5. Guruvayur (Kerala),
    6. Hazratbal  and Katra (Jammu & Kashmir),
    7. Omkareshwar (Madhya Pradesh),
    8. Somnath (Gujarat),
    9. Srisailam and Tirupati (Andhra Pradesh),
    10. Trimbakeshwar (Maharashtra).

85

Cabinet Approves Four GST Bills | PIB Summary

No document Available

  • The Union Cabinet chaired by the Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi has approved the following four GST related bills:

    1. The Central Goods and Services Tax Bill 2017 (The CGST Bill)
    2. The Integrated Goods and Services Tax Bill 2017 (The IGST Bill)
    3. The Union Territory Goods and Services Tax Bill 2017 (The UTGST Bill)
    4. The Goods and Services Tax (Compensation to the States) Bill 2017 (The Compensation Bill)

    Details of the GST related Bills

    • The CGST Bill makes provisions for levy and collection of tax on intra-state supply of goods or services for both by the Central Government. On the other hand, IGST Bill makes provisions for levy and collection of tax on inter-state supply of goods or services or both by the Central Government.
    • The UTGST Bill makes provisions for levy on collection of tax on intra-UT supply of goods and services in the Union Territories without legislature. Union Territory GST is akin to States Goods and Services Tax (SGST) which shall be levied and collected by the States/Union Territories on intra-state supply of goods or services or both.
    • The Compensation Bill provides for compensation to the states for loss of revenue arising on account of implementation of the goods and services tax for a period of five years as per section 18 of the Constitution (One Hundred and First Amendment) Act, 2016.

    GST | Background

    The Government is committed to early introduction of GST, one of the biggest reforms, in the country as early as possible.  GST Council has decided 1st July as the date of commencement of GST.  The Finance Minister in his Budget Speech has mentioned that country-wide outreach efforts will be made to explain the provisions of GST to Trade and Industry.

86

Joint Military Exercises | PIB Summary

No document Available

  • The details of Joint Military Exercises conducted with foreign countries during the last three years and the current year are as under:

    This post is very important for Prelims

    Joint Military Exercises (Army)

    S. No.CountryExercise
    1.AustraliaEx AUSTRA HIND
    2.BangladeshEx SAMPRITI
    3.ChinaEx HAND IN HAND
    4.FranceEx SHAKTI
    5.IndonesiaEx GARUDA SHAKTI
    6.KazakhstanEx PRABAL DOSTYK
    7.KyrgyzstanEx KHANJAR
    8.MaldivesEx EKUVERIN
    9.MongoliaEx NOMADIC ELEPHANT
    Ex KHAN QUEST
    10.NepalEx SURYA KIRAN (BIANNUAL)
    11.OmanAL NAGAH (SUCCESS)
    12.RussiaEx INDRA
    13.SeychellesEx LAMITIYE
    14.SingaporeEx AGNI WARRIOR
    Ex BOLD KURUKHESTRA
    15.Sri LankaEx MITRA SHAKTI
    16.ThailandEx MAITREE
    Ex COBRA GOLD (Observer Plus)
    17.UKEx AJEYA WARRIOR
    18.USAEx YUDHABHAYAS
    Ex VAJRA PRAHAR

    Joint Military Exercises (Navy)

    S. No.CountryExercise
    1.AustraliaAUSINDEX
    KAKADU
    2.Brazil & South AfricaIBSAMAR
    3.BruneiADMM+ Exercise (Multilateral)
    4.FranceVARUNA
    5.IndonesiaIND-INDO CORPAT (Bi-annual)
    IND-INDO BILAT
    Ex KOMODO (HADR) (Multilateral)
      6.MalaysiaARF DIREx
      7.MyanmarIMCOR
      8.OmanNaseem-al-Bahr
      9.RussiaINDRA NAVY
    10.SingaporeSIMBEX
    11.Sri LankaSLINEX
    IN-SLN SF Exercise
    12.ThailandINDO-THAI CORPAT (Bi-annual)
    13.UKKONKAN
    14.USAMALABAR
    RIMPAC (Multilateral)

    Joint Military Exercises (Air Force)

    S. No.CountryExercise
    1.FranceEx GARUDA-V
    2.OmanEx EASTERN BRIDGE-IV
    3.RussiaEx AVIAINDRA-14
    4.SingaporeJOINT MILITARY TRAINING
    5.ThailandSIAM BHARAT
    6.UAEEx DESERT EAGLE-II
    7.UKEx INDRADHANUSH-IV
    8.USAEx RED FLAG

87

Small Finance And Payment Banks | PIB Summary

No document Available


  • Reserve Bank of India (RBI) issued guidelines for licensing of small finance banks and payments banks on November 27, 2014 and granted in-principle approvals to 10 applicants to set up small finance banks and to 11 applicants to set up payments banks. 

    Guidelines for Small Finance Banks

    1. Eligible promoters could be resident individuals/professionals with 10 years of banking and finance experience including companies controlled by them etc.
    2. Shall primarily undertake basic banking activities of acceptance of deposits and lending to unserved and underserved sections.
    3. The minimum paid-up equity capital for small finance banks shall be Rs. 100 crores and
    4. All prudential norms and regulations of RBI as applicable to existing commercial banks including requirement of maintenance of Cash Reserve Ratio (CRR) and Statutory Liquidity Ratio (SLR).

    Guidelines for Payment Banks

    1. Eligible promoters can be non-bank Prepaid Payment Instrument (PPI) issuers; and other entities like mobile telephone companies etc.
    2. Shall primarily accept demand deposits up to maximum balance of Rs 1,00,000 per individual customer.
    3. Issue ATM/debit cards, payments and remittance services.
    4. Maintain CRR with the Reserve Bank on its outside demand and time liabilities and invest at least 75 per cent of its “demand deposit balances” in SLR eligible Government securities/treasury bills.

    Licensed under Section 22 (1) of the Banking Regulation Act, 1949, Small Finance and Payment banks have to comply with all regulatory and supervisory frameworks that are applicable to commercial banks with suitable calibrations in view of the differentiated scope of such banks.

88

National Health Mission | PIB Summary

No document Available

    The National Health Mission (NHM) aims for attainment of universal access to equitable, affordable and quality health care services, accountable and responsive to people’s needs, with effective inter-sectoral convergent action to address the wider social determinants of health.

    National Health Mission | Key programmatic components

    1. Health Systems Strengthening including infrastructure, human resource, drugs & equipment, ambulances, MMUs, ASHAs etc under National Rural Health Mission (NRHM) and National Urban Health Mission (NUHM).
    2. Reproductive, Maternal, Newborn, Child and Adolescent Health Services (RMNCH + A)
    3. Communicable Disease Control Programmes
    4. Non-Communicable Diseases Control Programme interventions upto District Hospital level
    5. Infrastructure Maintenance- to support salary of ANMs and LHVs etc.

    National Health Mission | Objectives

    1. Reduction in child and maternal mortality
    2. Prevention and control of communicable and non-communicable diseases, including locally endemic diseases.
    3. Access to integrated comprehensive primary health care.
    4. Population stabilisation, gender and demographic balance.

89

National Health Policy, 2017 | PIB Summary

No document Available

    The Union Cabinet chaired by the Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi has approved the National Health Policy, 2017 (NHP, 2017).  The Policy seeks to reach everyone in a comprehensive integrated way to move towards wellness.

    National Health Policy | Objective

    • It aims at achieving universal health coverage and delivering quality health care services to all at affordable cost.
    • The main objective of the National Health Policy 2017 is to achieve the highest possible level of good health and well-being, through a preventive and promotive health care orientation in all developmental policies, and to achieve universal access to good quality health care services without anyone having to face financial hardship as a consequence.

    National Health Policy | Background

    • The National Health Policy, 2017 adopted an elaborate procedure for its formulation involving stakeholder consultations. Accordingly, the Government of India formulated the Draft National Health Policy and placed it in public domain on 30th December, 2014. Thereafter following detailed consultations with the stakeholders and State Governments, based on the suggestions received, the Draft National Health Policy was further fine-tuned. It received the endorsement of the Central Council for Health & Family Welfare, the apex policy making body, in its Twelfth Conference held on 27th February, 2016.
    • The last health policy was formulated in 2002. The socio economic and epidemiological changes since then necessitated the formulation of a New National Health Policy to address the current and emerging challenges.

    National Health Policy | Highlights

    • It looks at problems and solutions holistically with private sector as strategic partners.
    • It seeks to promote quality of care, focus is on emerging diseases and investment in primitive and preventive healthcare.
    • The policy is patient centric and quality driven. It addresses health security and make in India for drugs and devices.
    • In order to provide access and financial protection at secondary and tertiary care levels, the policy proposes free drugs, free diagnostics and free emergency care services in all public hospitals.
    • The policy envisages strategic purchase of secondary and tertiary care services as a short term measure to supplement and fill critical gaps in the health system.
    • The Policy recommends prioritizing the role of the Government in shaping health systems in all its dimensions. The roadmap of this new policy is predicated on public spending and provisioning of a public healthcare system that is comprehensive, integrated and accessible to all.
    • The NHP, 2017 advocates a positive and proactive engagement with the private sector for critical gap filling towards achieving national goals.  It envisages private sector collaboration for strategic purchasing, capacity building, skill development programmes, awareness generation, developing sustainable networks for community to strengthen mental health services, and disaster management. The policy also advocates financial and non-incentives for encouraging the private sector participation.
    • The policy proposes raising public health expenditure to 2.5% of the GDP in a time bound manner. Policy envisages providing larger package of assured comprehensive primary health care through the Health and Wellness Centers’.
    • This policy denotes important change from very selective to comprehensive primary health care package which includes geriatric health care, palliative care and rehabilitative care services.
    • The policy advocates allocating major proportion (upto two-thirds or more) of resources to primary care followed by secondary and tertiary care. The policy aspires to provide at the district level most of the secondary care which is currently provided at a medical college hospital.
    • The policy assigns specific quantitative targets aimed at reduction of disease prevalence/incidence, for health status and programme impact, health system performance and system strengthening. It seeks to strengthen the health, surveillance system and establish registries for diseases of public health importance, by 2020. It also seeks to align other policies for medical devices and equipment with public health goals.
    • The policy affirms commitment to pre-emptive care (aimed at pre-empting the occurrence of diseases) to achieve optimum levels of child and adolescent health. The policy envisages school health programmes as a major focus area as also health and hygiene being made a part of the school curriculum.
    • In order to leverage the pluralistic health care legacy, the policy recommends mainstreaming the different health systems. Towards mainstreaming the potential of AYUSH the policy envisages better access to AYUSH remedies through co-location in public facilities. Yoga would also be introduced much more widely in school and work places as part of promotion of good health.
    • The policy supports voluntary service in rural and under-served areas on pro-bono basis by recognized healthcare professionals under a ‘giving back to society’ initiative.
    • The policy advocates extensive deployment of digital tools for improving the efficiency and outcome of the healthcare system and proposes establishment of National Digital Health Authority (NDHA) to regulate, develop and deploy digital health across the continuum of care.
    • The policy advocates a progressively incremental assurance based approach.

    National Health Policy | Significance

    • The primary aim of the National Health Policy, 2017, is to inform, clarify, strengthen and prioritize the role of the Government in shaping health systems in all its dimensions- investment in health, organization and financing of healthcare services, prevention of diseases and promotion of good health through cross sectoral action, access to technologies, developing human resources, encouraging medical pluralism, building the knowledge base required for better health, financial protection strategies and regulation and progressive assurance for health. The policy emphasizes reorienting and strengthening the Public Health Institutions across the country, so as to provide universal access to free drugs, diagnostics and other essential healthcare.
    • The broad principles of the policy is centered on Professionalism, Integrity and Ethics, Equity, Affordability, Universality, Patient Centered & Quality of Care, Accountability and pluralism. 
    • It seeks to ensure improved access and affordability of quality secondary and tertiary care services through a combination of public hospitals and strategic purchasing in healthcare deficit areas from accredited non-­governmental healthcare providers, achieve significant reduction in out of pocket expenditure due to healthcare costs, reinforce trust in public healthcare system and influence operation and growth of private healthcare industry as well as medical technologies in alignment with public health goals.

90

NICDIT for Industrial Corridors | PIB Summary

No document Available

91

ADB LOAN FOR VCIC | PIB Summary

No document Available

    ADB LOAN – Asian Development Bank (ADB) has approved $631 million (Rs.4165 crore) in loans and grants for infrastructure development along the Vizag-Chennai Industrial Corridor (VCIC) on 20th September, 2016.

    ADB LOAN | Break-up of the loan amount

    • $ 500 million two-tranche facility to build key infrastructure
    • $ 125 million two-tranche loan to help with industrial policies and business promotion
    • $ 5 million grant from the multi-donor Urban Climate Change Resilience Trust Fund that is managed by ADB to build climate resilient infrastructure, and
    • $1 million technical assistance to help the Andhra Pradesh local Government to manage the corridor.

    ADB LOAN | Background

    • India and ADB have signed first tranche of loan USD 375 million pact for loans and grants to develop Visakhapatnam-Chennai Industrial Corridor.
    • First tranche loan will have a 25-year term, including a grace period of 5 years, a 20 year straight line repayment method at an annual interest rate determined in accordance with ADB’s LIBOR-based lending facility.

    ADB LOAN | About Vishakhapatnam-Chennai Industrial Corridor (VCIC)

    • Visakhapatnam–Chennai Industrial Corridor (VCIC), also Vizag–Chennai Industrial Corridor, is a key part of the East Coast Economic Corridor (ECEC), India’s first coastal corridor.
    • VCIC is aligned with the Golden Quadrilateral and is poised to play a critical role in driving India’s Act East Policy and Make in India campaign.
    • The nearly 800-kilometer corridor links India with the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and East Asian economies that form the bedrock of global manufacturing economy.
    • The corridor traverses nine districts of the state of Andhra Pradesh. VCIC intends to complement the ongoing efforts of the Government of Andhra Pradesh (GoAP) to enhance industrial growth and create high quality jobs.

    ADB LOAN | Significance of VCIC

    While India’s trade with East and Southeast Asia has increased at a rapid pace in the past decade, the bulk of this trade is done through the ports on the country’s west coast. This is largely due to lack of efficient transport networks linking the production clusters in northern and central India to ports on the east coast, and insufficient container capacities at the ports to handle the volume of trade flowing to East and Southeast Asia.

    • VCIC’s long coastline and strategically located ports allow development of multiple international gateways to connect India with global value chains (GVCs) in Southeast and East Asia.
    • VCIC aligns with the national objectives of expanding the domestic market and supports India’s port-led industrialization strategy (Sagar Mala initiative).

92

Krishi Unnati Mela 2017 | PIB Summary

No document Available

    Indian Agricultural Research Institute (IARI) every year has been organising Krishi Vigyan Mela (Agriculture Science Fair) to display and popularise the latest advancement in agricultural research and technology development among farmers and end users since 1972.

    It continues to be a highly important annual event for receiving feedback from the farming community, which helps in deciding the Institute’s future research strategy. Thousands of farmers and visitors from across the country are participating in the mela every year.

    Krishi Unnati Mela 2017

    This year Krishi Unnati Mela 2017 will be organised from 15-17 March at the campus of IARI, New Delhi in jointly by ICAR and Ministry of Agriculture & Farmers Welfare.

    Krishi Unnati Mela 2017 | Attractions 

    • Digitization in agriculture
    • Organic farming
    • Agribusiness models
    • Precision farming
    • Skill building and entrepreneurship development
    • Live demonstrations on production technologies of crops, horticulture, Integrated Farming System, Protected cultivation
    • Farmers’ visits to experimental fields of IARI
    • Water use efficient technology: micro irrigation and sensor based irrigation system
    • Recycling of waste water for agriculture
    • Display and sale of various products (farm equipment, quality planting materials, bio-fertilisers, agro-chemicals, innovative farmers’ products) and machinery
    • On-spot Soil and water testing
    • KisanGosthi
    • Recognition of Innovative farmer

    Krishi Unnati Mela 2017 | Technical Session

    The technical sessions on various themes are planned to educate farmers on various agricultural technologies and Government schemes for agricultural development. A Women empowerment workshop will be organised to sensitise farm women on latest agricultural technologies and their rights.

    Krishi Unnati Mela 2017 | Glimpse

    • The three-day National Agricultural Fair, Krishi Unnati Mela 2016 was organized at the campus of IARI, New Delhi during March 19-21, 2016 in joint collaboration of DARE/ICAR and DAC, Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare.  The mela was inaugurated by Hon’ble Prime Minister of India Sh. NarendraModi.
    • Prime Minister also launched a Mobile App KisanSuvidha for providing various farmer friendly services.

93

River Water Disputes Bill | PIB Summary

No document Available

    Union Minister of Water Resources, River Development and Ganga Rejuvenation Sushri Uma Bharti introduced Inter-State River Water Disputes Bill (Amendment), 2017.

    River Water Disputes Bill | Background

    • Inter-state river water disputes are on the rise on account of increase in water demands by the States. The Inter State Water Dispute Act, 1956 which provides the legal framework to address such disputes, suffers from many drawbacks.
    • Under this Act, a separate Tribunal has to be established for each Inter State River Water Dispute.
    • Only three out of eight Tribunals have given awards accepted by the States, while Tribunals like Cauvery and Ravi Beas have been in existence for over 26 and 30 years respectively without any award.
    • Delays are on account of no time limit for adjudication by a Tribunal, no upper age limit for the Chairman or the Members, work getting stalled due to occurrence of any vacancy and no time limit for publishing the report of the Tribunal.

    River Water Disputes Bill | Highlights of the Bill

    • The Bill proposes a Single Standing Tribunal (with multiple benches) instead of existing multiple tribunals, which shall consist of one Chairperson, one Vice-Chairperson and not more than six other Members.
    • While the term of office of the Chairperson is five year or till he attains the age of 70 years, whichever is earlier, the term of office of Vice Chairperson and other member of tribunal shall be co-terminus with the adjudication of the water dispute.
    • The Bill also provides for the appointment of Assessors to provide technical support to the tribunal. They shall be appointed from amongst experts serving in the Central Water Engineering Service not below the rank of Chief Engineer.
    • The total time period for adjudication of dispute has been fixed at maximum of four and half years. The decision of the Tribunal shall be final and binding with no requirement of publication in the official Gazette.
    • The Bill also proposes to introduce mechanism to resolve the dispute amicably by negotiations, through a Dispute Resolution Committee (DRC) to be established by the Central Government consisting of relevant experts, before such dispute is referred to the tribunal.
    • The Bill also provides for transparent data collection system at the national level for each river basin and for this purpose, an agency to maintain data-bank and information system shall be appointed or authorized by Central Government.  

    River Water Disputes Bill | Significance

    The Inter-State River Water Disputes (Amendment) Bill, 2017 proposes to streamline the adjudication of inter-state river water disputes and make the present legal and institutional architecture robust.

94

Mission Fingerling | PIB Summary

No document Available

    Recognizing the potential and possibilities in the fisheries sector, Government of India has envisaged a program named Fingerling under the  ‘Blue Revolution’’ to unlock the country’s latent potential through an integrated approach.

    About the Blue Revolution

    • The Blue Revolution, in its scope and reach, focuses on creating an enabling environment for an integrated and holistic development and management of fisheries for the socio economic development of the fishers and fish farmers.
    • Thrust areas have been identified for enhancing fisheries production from 10.79 mmt (2014-15) to 15 mmt by 2020-21.
    • Greater emphasis will be on infrastructure with an equally strong focus on management and conservation of the resources through technology transfer to increase in the income of the fishers and fish farmers.
    • Productivity enhancement shall also be achieved through employing the best global innovations and integration of various production oriented activities such as: Production of quality fish seeds, Cost effective feed and adoption of technology etc. 

    About Fish Fingerling Mission

    • Fish Fingerling production is the single most important critical input visualised to achieve fish production targets under the Blue Revolution.
    • We need to establish more hatchery to produce Fry/PL required for different categories of water bodies. Barring few States that’s to in terms of fry (15-20 mm size), all States are in need of Fingerling production (standard size 80-100 mm).
    • Use of High Yielding Verities of brooders is another significant aspect to be addressed on priority. 

    Fingerling | Highlights

    • Government has identified 20 States based on their potential and other relevant factors to strengthen the Fish Seed infrastructure in the country.
    • This program with a total expenditure of about Rs. 52000 lakhs will facilitate the establishment of hatcheries and Fingerling rearing pond to ensure the fish production of 426 crores fish fingerling, 25.50 crores Post Larvae of shrimp and crab in the country.
    • This will converge in the production of 20 lakh tonnes of fish annually and will benefit about 4 million families.
    • The implementation of this program will supplement the requirement of stocking materials in the country up to a large extent, which is a much needed input to achieve the enhanced fish production.

95

Admiralty Bill, 2016 | PIB Summary

No document Available

    The Admiralty Bill (Jurisdiction and Settlement of Maritime Claims), 2016 was passed by the Lok Sabha.

    Admiralty Bill | Major features

    • The Bill aims to establish a legal framework to consolidate the existing laws relating to admiralty jurisdiction of courts, admiralty proceedings on maritime claims, arrest of vessels and related issues.
    • It also aims to replace archaic laws which are hindering efficient governance.
    • The Admiralty Bill confers admiralty jurisdiction on High Courts located in coastal states of India and this jurisdiction extends up to territorial waters.
    • There was a need for repealing five obsolete British statutes on admiralty jurisdiction in civil matters, which are 126 to 177 years old.
    • The Bill provides for prioritization of maritime claims and maritime liens while providing protection to owners, charterers, operators, crew members and seafarers at the same time.

96

National Foundation For Corporate Governance | PIB Summary

No document Available

    With the objective of fostering a culture of good governance, the National Foundation for Corporate Governance (NFCG) has accredited forty-Seven premier Indian Institutions/Organizations as National Centers for Corporate Governance.

    National Foundation For Corporate Governance  | The mission

    These centers conduct seminars, workshops conferences, directors’ orientation programmes etc. for promoting good corporate governance practices and also carry out research work in this field.

    More than 250 events have been organized and 30 research works completed under the aegis of NFCG, besides publication of compendium on corporate sector and inclusive growth.

    The research report of the foundation, which include subject such as the role of independent directors, CSR, corporate governance in energy sector, reforms in banking sector etc. have also been hosted on its website for the benefit of the Stakeholders.

    About National Foundation For Corporate Governance 

    The objectives of the National Foundation for Corporate Governance (NFCG) set up in 2003, as per the trust deed, are given as under.

    1. To provide a platform to deliberate issues relating to good corporate governance as the key to sustainable wealth creation;
    2. To sensitize corporate leaders on the importance of good corporate governance, self- regulation and directorial responsibilities- statutory, social and environmental;
    3. To stimulate and to facilitate exchange of experiences and ideas between corporate leaders, policy makers, regulators, law enforcing agencies, non-government organizations and voluntary agencies with a view to developing a framework for corporate governance reforms in the context of liberalization and globalization;
    4. To provide research, training, practice, building, standard setting, advocacy, rating, monitoring, recognition and related support in the field of corporate governance;
    5. To provide financial or any other assistance directly or indirectly for activities which seek to promote corporate governance including research and training;
    6. To develop strategies that enhance value for all stakeholders and ensure long term benefits to the shareholders and the society at large;
    7. To establish and deepen links with organizations in various parts of the world which promote corporate governance for exchange of ideas and for collaborative actions, projects and programmes;
    8. To institute national awards and recognitions for excellence in corporate governance and develop a system of corporate governance rating;
    9. To collaborate and to support, directly or indirectly, the initiative of any individual, group, organization or institution in promoting corporate governance;
    10. To develop a code of best practices for corporate governance taking into consideration the international examples and to promote its voluntary adoption by the corporate bodies;
    11. To prepare, print and publish any papers, periodicals or newspapers, books or leaflets either on its own or in collaboration with other persons/ entities through print or other media and to contribute to any papers or periodicals to disseminate information and knowledge in the area of corporate governance;
    12. To facilitate, promote, commend and collaborate on the proposals from individuals, associations and organizations for funding by national, international and multi- lateral organizations as also industry- associations, regulators and governments;
    13. To provide advice, consultancy and technical and managerial support to the beneficiaries of the Trust’s programmes through a network of advisors drawn from the industry and institutions of excellence; and
    14. Other related objects.

97

Sagar Parikarma Project | PIB Summary

    An amount of Rs.6 crores was sanctioned for the project Sagar Parikarma 1 including Rs.4.3 crores for construction of the boat, Mhadei.  An amount of Rs. 72 lakhs was sanctioned for ‘Sagar Parikarma 2’

    About Project Sagar Parikarma

    • Project ‘Sagar Parikarma’ was launched in 2007.
    • The objective of the project was solo-circumnavigation of the Globe in a sailboat.
    • This was successfully accomplished in 2009-10 by a Naval Officer.
    • After the success of ‘Sagar Parikarma  I’, in 2012-13, ‘Sagar Parikarma  II’ was undertaken with a solo ‘non-stop’ circumnavigation by another Naval Officer.

    Objectives

    1. To inspire the youths of India to develop an understanding of the sea and a sense of adventure and spirit.
    2. To instill in the young officers of the Navy a sense of national pride and achievement through a successful solo-circumnavigation voyage.

98

Steps Taken to Curb Black Money | PIB Summary

    Action against black money is an on-going process. Such actions include policy-level initiatives, effective enforcement action on the ground, putting in place robust legislative and administrative frameworks, systems and processes with due focus on capacity building and integration and mining of information through increasing use of information technology. 

    Black Money | Recent major steps in this regard

    1. Constitution of the Special Investigation Team (SIT) on Black Money under Chairmanship and Vice-Chairmanship of two former Judges of Hon’ble Supreme Court,
    2. Enactment of a comprehensive law – ‘The Black Money (Undisclosed Foreign Income and Assets) and Imposition of Tax Act, 2015’ to specifically deal with black money stashed away abroad,
    3. Constitution of Multi-Agency Group (MAG) consisting of officers of Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT), Reserve Bank of India (RBI), Enforcement Directorate (ED) and Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU) for investigation of recent revelations in Panama paper leaks,
    4. Proactively engaging with foreign governments with a view to facilitate and enhance the exchange of information under Double Taxation Avoidance Agreements (DTAAs)/Tax Information Exchange Agreements (TIEAs)/Multilateral Conventions,
    5. Proactively furthering global efforts to combat tax evasion/black money, inter alia, by joining the Multilateral Competent Authority Agreement in respect of Automatic Exchange of Information (AEOI) and having information sharing arrangement with USA under its Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FATCA),
    6. Renegotiation of DTAAs with other countries to bring the Article on Exchange of Information to International Standards and expanding India’s treaty network by signing new DTAAs and TIEAs with many jurisdictions to facilitate the exchange of information and to bring transparency,
    7. Enabling attachment and confiscation of property equivalent in value held within the country where the property/proceeds of crime is taken or held outside the country by amending the Prevention of Money-laundering Act, 2002 through the Finance Act, 2015,
    8. Enactment of the Benami Transactions (Prohibition) Amendment Act, 2016 to amend the Benami Transactions (Prohibition) Act, 1988 with a view to, inter alia, enable confiscation of Benami property and prosecution of benamidar and the beneficial owner,
    9. Initiation of the information technology based ‘Project Insight’ for strengthening the non-intrusive, information driven approach for improving tax compliance, and
    10. Launching of ‘Operation Clean Money’ on 31st January 2017 for collection, collation and analysis of information on cash transactions, extensive use of information technology and data analytics tools for identification of high risk cases, expeditious e-verification of suspect cases and enforcement actions in appropriate cases, which include searches, surveys, enquiries, assessment of income, levy of taxes, penalties, etc. and filing of prosecution complaints in criminal courts, wherever applicable.

99

No-Detention Policy | PIB Summary

No document Available


    No Detention Policy under Section 16 of the Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education (RTE) Act, 2009 stipulates that ‘No child admitted in a school shall be held back in any class or expelled from school till the completion of elementary education’. Thus, the policy covers elementary stage of schooling covering classes 1 to 8. 

    No-Detention Policy | Background

    • In pursuance of a resolution adopted in the 59th meeting of the Central Advisory Board of Education (CABE) held on 6th June, 2012, a Sub-Committee was constituted for assessment of implementation of Continuous and Comprehensive Evaluation (CCE) in the context of No-Detention provision in the RTE Act, 2009.
    • The Sub-Committee submitted its report in August, 2014. The report of the Sub-Committee was placed before CABE in its meeting held on 19.8.2015, wherein it was decided to request all States/UTs to share their views on the No-Detention policy.
    • 28 States have shared their views on the No Detention policy out of which 23 States have suggested modification to the No Detention policy.

    No-Detention Policy | Proposed changes

    In pursuance of the decision taken in the CABE Committee meeting held on 19.8.2016, another Sub-Committee under the Chairpersonship of Prof. Vasudev Devnani, Minister of Education, Government of Rajasthan was constituted on 26.10.2015 inter-alia, to review the feedback received from States/UTs on the ‘No-Detention’ policy.

    No-Detention Policy | Recommendations of the Committee

    1. There should be an examination at Class 5. It should be left to the States and UTs to decide whether this exam will be at the school, block, District or State Level.
    2. If a child fails, then allow the child an opportunity to improve. There should be additional instruction provided to children and the child should be given an opportunity to sit for another exam. If the child is unable to pass the exam in the second chance, then detain the child.
    3. At Classes 6 and 7, there should be a school based exam for students.
    4. At Class 8, there should be an external exam. In case the child fails, the child should be given additional instruction and then appear for an improvement exam. If fails again then detain. The matter regarding amendment to Section 16 of the RTE Act, 2009 is under the active consideration of this Ministry.

100

Scholarship In Foreign Universities | PIB Summary

No document Available

    Government scholarships for students undertaking higher education in foreign universities in the field of art, agriculture, law, medicine, engineering are as follows: – 

    1. National Overseas Scholarship for Scheduled Tribe Students: The scheme is implemented by the Ministry of Tribal Affairs. Under the scheme, financial assistance is provided to meritorious Scheduled Tribe students for pursuing Master level courses, Ph.D. and Post-Doctoral Research Programmes in foreign universities in the field of Engineering, Technology and Science. The family income ceiling of the candidates/parents is Rs. 6.00 lac per annum.
    1. National Overseas Scholarship for Scheduled Caste students: The scheme is implemented by the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment. Under the scheme, financial assistance is provided for pursuing Master level course and Ph.D. in foreign universities in the field of Pure and Applied Sciences, Social Science, Agricultural Science etc. The family income ceiling of the candidates/parents is Rs. 6.00 lac per annum. The number of awards available is 100 per annum.
    1. Dr. Ambedkar Scheme of Interest Subsidy on Educational Loan for Overseas Studies for the Students belonging to the Other Backward Classes (OBCs) and Economically Backward Classes (EBCs): The scheme is implemented by Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment. The objective of the scheme is to provide interest subsidy to meritorious OBC and EBC students so as to provide them opportunities to pursue higher education abroad in the field of Arts, Engineering, Medical and Agriculture. The income ceiling is Rs. 3 lakh per annum for OBCs and Rs. 1 lakh for EBCs. 50% of the outlay is earmarked to girl students.
    1. Padho Pardesh:- The Ministry of Minority Affairs  is implementing the scheme wherein interest subsidy is provided to minority students to puruse Master’s Level Courses, M.Phil and Ph.D. in foreign universities in the field of Arts, Engineering, Agriculture and Medical. The family income ceiling of the candidates/parents is Rs. 6.00 lakh per annum.
    1. The scheme is implemented by Science and Engineering Research Board, a statutory body of Department of Science and Technology. The objective of the scheme is to build national capacity where the talent supply of researchers in areas of interest to the country is sub-critical.  The selected fellow is provided US $ 24,000 per annum for a period of 4 years for undertaking the doctoral research program in Science, Technology, Engineering and Medicine from overseas top ranking universities.

101

Women Transforming India | PIB Summary

No document Available


    On the occasion of International Women’s Day 2017, NITI Aayog, in partnership with the UN in India and MyGov, presents the second edition of Women Transforming India, an online contest to celebrate women achievers, leaders and change makers from across the country.

    About Women Transforming India campaign

    • Women Transforming India was launched in 2016 as an effort to bring attention to successful stories of change realised by women at the grassroots level, within communities.
    • Twelve exceptional women, including a 104-year-old from rural Chhattisgarh, who sold her goats to build a toilet in her village or a widow from Himachal Pradesh fighting for the rights of widows and deserted women, were awarded with certificates of appreciation to acknowledge their phenomenal work in transforming societies.
    • NITI Aayog’s 15-year vision document also proposes key reforms to enable and encourage women’s workforce participation across sectors in India. This is in line with the Sustainable Development Goals, particularly Goal 5, Gender Equality, whose adoption into policy-making is being steered by NITI Aayog.

    Women Transforming India | Highlights

    This year, NITI Aayog once again aims to recognise those women in India’s workforce who are ‘breaking the glass ceiling’ and affecting positive change in their communities to further the Government of India’s mission of inclusive economic growth.

    Women Transforming India | Terms and conditions

    NITI Aayog is seeking entries in two categories:

    1. Short video and photo contest on Women Breaking Gender Stereotypes: This can be a homemade video shot on a mobile phone. Both photos and videos are to be accompanied with a short caption of less than 50 words, capturing the story of the woman.
    2. Written entries of women in the workforce: We encourage stories of women across sectors, irrespective of their educational qualifications, working in non-traditional occupations, as well as women who are working to empower other women, their neighbourhoods and societies, in any way. Stories should not exceed 500 words.

    Significance of ‘Women Transforming India’

    It is another example of the government’s deep commitment to advancing gender equality. The government’s many interventions, including Beti Bachao Beti Padhao, are testimony to its resolve to empower and educate girls, and to tackle discrimination and violence against girls and women.

    Theme for International Women’s Day, 8 March 2017

    • Women in the Changing World of Work: Planet 50-50 by 2030”.
    • This advances the Government of India’s commitment to ensure gender parity in India, with special focus on women’s economic empowerment.

102

Indo-Oman Joint Army Exercise | PIB Summary

No document Available


    Second edition of the joint exercise between the Indian and Oman Armies commenced today with the Opening Ceremony at Bakloh, Himachal Pradesh.

    About Al Nagah-Li Exercise

    • The training contingents comprised of platoon strength from both the Armies, which will be validated over 2-3 days by senior military observers of both the countries.
    • The previous edition of the Exercise was held at Muscat, Oman in 2015. 
    • The aim of this exercise is to acquaint both forces with each other’s operating procedures, improve the interoperability in conducting joint operations in the backdrop of counter insurgency/ counter terrorism environment as also to enhance the existing military relationship between the Indian Army and the Royal Army of Oman.

103

Annual training conference of NIDM | PIB Summary

No document Available

    A one-day annual training conference of the National Institute of Disaster Management was held today for inputs from various Central and State level agencies on issues of Disaster Risk Reduction.

    About National Institute of Disaster Management

    The National Institute of Disaster Management (NIDM) is the nodal national institute for training research, documentation and development of national level information relating to disasters.

    NIDM also conducts international courses for officials of African countries, SAARC Countries, Asian nations at the behest of Ministry of Home Affairs and Ministry of External Affairs.

    Highlights of training conference

    • The current paradigm of Disaster Management focuses towards a sustainable and safe development process through mainstreaming Disaster Risk Reduction into different sectors and at different levels.
    • During the conference training of trainers, capacity building through collaborative actions and building synergy in Disaster Risk Reduction were discussed in detail.
    • The conference was attended by about 50 representatives of different States, Union Territories and Central Ministries dealing with the subject.

104

IBBI recognizes two IPEs | PIB Summary

    The Insolvency and Bankruptcy Board of India (IBBI) has recently recognised two Insolvency Professional Entities (IPEs)

    Details

    • A limited liability partnership, a registered partnership firm or a company may be recognised by the IBBI as an IPE if
    1. a majority of the partners of the limited liability partnership or registered partnership firm are registered as insolvency professionals (IPs); or
    2. a majority of the whole-time directors of the company are registered as insolvency professionals, as the case may be.
    • An IPE is jointly and severally liable for all acts or omissions of its partners or directors as IPs committed during such partnership or directorship.

    What are Insolvency Professionals?

    • The Insolvency Professionals (IPs) are registered and regulated by the IBBI.
    • They have a critical role in transactions under the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code, 2016 (Code).
    • The Code and regulations made there under provide for strengthening their capacity on a continuous basis.

    For example –  The Insolvency Professional Agencies (IPAs) are obliged to promote continuous professional development of professional members enrolled with them. Similarly, the IPs have been enabled to engage other professionals as may be necessary and to use organisational resources of an IPE of which he is a partner or whole time director, as the case may be, for servicing the transactions.

    About Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code, 2016

    • The Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code, 2016 is considered as the biggest economic reform next only to GST.
    • It offers a market determined, time bound mechanism for orderly resolution of insolvency, wherever possible, and orderly exit, wherever required.
    • The Code envisages an ecosystem comprising National Company Law Appellate Tribunal (NCLAT), National Company Law Tribunal (NCLT), Debt Recovery Appellate Tribunal (DRAT), Debt Recovery Tribunal (DRT), Insolvency and Bankruptcy Board of India (Board), Information Utilities (IUs), Insolvency Professionals (IPs), Insolvency Professional Agencies (IPAs) and Insolvency Professional Entities (IPEs) for implementation of the Code.
    • With concerted efforts of all concerned, there has been considerable progress in terms of putting in place some of the key elements of the ecosystem and also operationalisation of provisions relating to corporate insolvency resolution and liquidation.
    • The debtors and creditors alike have commenced transactions under the Code.

105

ISGAN | PIB Summary

No document Available


    The Ministry of Power, Government of India is hosting the 13th Executive Committee (ExCo) Meeting of the International Smart Grid Action Network (ISGAN) at POWERGRID Corporate Center, Gurugram.

    Details

    This is the first ever Executive Committee Meeting of ISGAN being held in India and would have multiple sessions on 6th, 7th and 9th March, 2017.

    Highlights

    • Smart Grid implementation in India would get a boost from deliverables obtained through decisions and actions taken in 13th ISGAN ExCo Meeting as it aims to improve the understanding of smart grid technologies, practices and promote adoption of related enabling government policies.
    • The dynamic knowledge sharing, technical assistance and project coordination and periodic ISGAN reports on progress and projects being undertaken in the field of Smart Grids across the world would also be helpful in suitable deployment of Smart Grid technologies in India.
    • A total of 36 representatives from 18 countries namely Austria, Belgium, Canada, France, Germany, India, Italy, Japan, Korea, Norway, Russia, South Africa, Singapore, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, US and UAE are participating in this event.

    About International Smart Grid Action Network

    • It is an agreement under International Energy Agency (IEA) and consists of representatives from 25 countries across the globe.
    • India is one of the founding Member of ISGAN and Joint Secretary (Distribution), Ministry of Power, is the member representative of India. ISGAN creates a mechanism for multilateral government-to-government collaboration to advance the development and deployment of smarter electric grid technologies, practices and systems.

106

CGST & IGST Approved | PIB Summary

No document Available


    The Goods and Services Tax (GST) Council, in its meeting held today in Vigyan Bhawan in New Delhi under the Chairmanship of the Union Minister for Finance & Corporate Affairs, Shri Arun Jaitley has approved the draft CGST & IGST Bill as vetted by the Union Law Ministry. This clears the deck for the Central Government to take these two Bills to the Parliament for their passage in the ongoing Budget Session.

    CGST & IGST | Main features

    • A State-wise single registration for a taxpayer for filing returns, paying taxes, and to fulfil other compliance requirements. Most of the compliance requirements would be fulfilled online, thus leaving very little room for physical interface between the taxpayer and the tax official.
    • A taxpayer has to file one single return state-wise to report all his supplies, whether made within or outside the State or exported out of the country and pay the applicable taxes on them. Such taxes can be Central Goods and Services Tax (CGST), State Goods and Services Tax (SGST), Union Territory Goods and Services Tax (UTGST) and Integrated Goods and Services Tax (IGST).
    • A business entity with an annual turnover of upto Rs. 20 lakhs would not be required to take registration in the GST regime, unless he voluntarily chooses to do so to be a part of the input tax credit (ITC) chain. The annual turnover threshold in the Special Category States (as enumerated in Article 279A of the Constitution such as Arunachal Pradesh, Sikkim, Uttarakhand, Himachal Pradesh, Assam and the other States of the North-East) for not taking registration is Rs. 10 lakhs.
    • A business entity with turnover upto Rs. 50 lakhs can avail the benefit of a composition scheme under which it has to pay a much lower rate of tax and has to fulfil very minimal compliance requirements. The Composition Scheme is available for all traders, select manufacturing sectors and for restaurants in the services sector.
    • In order to prevent cascading of taxes, ITC would be admissible on all goods and services used in the course or furtherance of business, except on a few items listed in the Law.
    • In order to ensure that ITC can be used seamlessly for payment of taxes under the Central and the State Law, it has been provided that the ITC entitlement arising out of taxes paid under the Central Law can be cross-utilised for payment of taxes under the laws of the States or Union Territories. For example, a taxpayer can use the ITC accruing to him due to payment of IGST to discharge his tax liability of CGST / SGST / UTGST. Conversely, a taxpayer can use the ITC accruing to him on account of payment of CGST / SGST / UTGST, for payment of IGST. Such payments are to be made in a pre-defined order.
    • In the Services sector, the existing mechanism of Input Service Distributor (ISD) under the Service Tax law has been retained to allow the flow of ITC in respect of input services within a legal entity.
    • To prevent lock-in of capital of exporters, a provision has been made to refund, within seven days of filing the application for refund by an exporter, ninety percent of the claimed amount on a provisional basis.
    • In order to ensure a single administrative interface for taxpayers, a provision has been made to authorise officers of the tax administrations of the Centre and the States to exercise the powers conferred under all Acts.
    • An agriculturist, to the extent of supply of produce out of cultivation of land, would not be liable to take registration in the GST regime.
    • To provide certainty in tax matters, a provision has been made for an Advance Ruling Authority.
    • Exhaustive provisions for Appellate mechanism have been made.
    • Detailed transitional provisions have been provided to ensure migration of existing taxpayers and seamless transfer of unutilised ITC in the GST regime.
    • An anti-profiteering provision has been incorporated to ensure that the reduction of tax incidence is passed on to the consumers.
    • In order to mitigate any financial hardship being suffered by a taxpayer, Commissioner has been empowered to allow payment of taxes in instalments.

    The remaining two Bills namely, State Goods and Services Tax (SGST) Bill and the Union territory Goods and Services Tax (UTGST) Bill, which would be almost a replica of the CGST Act, would be taken-up for approval after their legal vetting in the next meeting of GST Council scheduled on 16 March 2017.

107

Shahpur Kandi Dam | PIB Summary


    In a major step today towards utilization of India’s rights on Eastern rivers of Indus basin, the mediation efforts of Ministry of Water Resources, River Development & Ganga Rejuvenation persuaded the States of J&K and Punjab to reach an agreement to resume works on Shahpur Kandi Dam project in Punjab/ J&K.

    About Shahpur Kandi Dam Project

    • The construction of Shahpur Kandi Dam project was taken up in May 1999 but later halted in 2014 due to dispute between Punjab and J&K. The Ministry of WR, RD & GR had been making all out efforts to resolve the issues and resume construction which resulted in yesterday’s agreement.
    • The project was being built with an estimated cost of Rs. 2285.81 crore (April, 2008 price level) and is included in the Scheme of National Projects by Government of India. Under the scheme, MoWR, RD & GR provides central assistance @ 90% of the balance cost of works component of irrigation and water supply.
    • The project will continue to be implemented by the Government of Punjab.  However, there will be a tripartite team headed by Member, CWC and consisting of Chief Engineers of two States to monitor the project as and when required but atleast once in three months to ensure that the construction is as per the agreement.

    Shahpur Kandi Dam | Highlights

    • The design of the project shall be as already agreed by both the states while concurrently model studies will be done to ensure that the mandated share of 1150 cusecs of water is available to the State of J&K, which will be binding on both the States.
    • The balance costs on account of compensation for land acquisition in respect of Thein Dam, as per the agreement would be paid for by the Government of Punjab promptly. In addition, jobs to the displaced people would be given by the State Government of Punjab as per the agreed R&R policy of both the State Governments.
    • The Government of Punjab would be making available to the Govt. of J&K 20% share in the total power generated at the Thein Dam at the mutually agreed rate of Rs. 3.50 per unit immediately, subject to the confirmation of the rates by the Central Electricity Regulatory Commission.
    • Both the States agreed that other issues will be referred to Arbitration mechanism provided in the agreement signed between two states of 1979 without affecting the progress of work. It was unanimously agreed that the work on the Shahpur Kandi Dam Project would resume as soon both the State Governments formally approve the agreed decisions. 

    Shahpur Kandi Dam | Significance

    The 55.5 high Shahpur Kandi dam, located in Gurdaspur district of Punjab, will help in providing irrigation facility to 5000 hectares of land in Punjab and 32173 hectares in J&K besides generation of 206 MW power.

108

Destination NorthEast 2017 | PIB Summary

No document Available

    The Union Minister of State (Independent Charge) for Development of North Eastern Region (DoNER), MoS PMO, Personnel, Public Grievances, Pensions, Atomic Energy and Space, Dr Jitendra Singh will be the Chief Guest at the ‘Destination NorthEast 2017’, to be held in Chandigarh from March 6-8, 2017.

    Destination NorthEast | Organisers

    The Ministry of DoNER in association with PHD Chamber of Commerce and Industry is organising the mega event.

    Destination NorthEast | Objective

    • The objective of Destination North East, 2017 is to showcase North East as a potential destination for investment and highlight the rich traditions and customs of the region.
    • It will also highlight the use of appropriate technologies in all sectors of development for North Eastern Region, with the major participation of Office of Principal Scientific Adviser to Government of India and Council of Scientific & Industrial Research (CSIR).

    Destination NorthEast | Highlights

    • The event would showcase the activities by various Ministries in North East and also provide an opportunity to different sectors to showcase and deliberate upon their achievements, issues and challenges.
    • The event will provide a platform to discuss and develop linkage strategies at B2B and people to people level.  
    • Destination North East, 2017 will include round table discussions and exhibition stalls showcasing various features of the North East Region in order to attract investments in Tourism, Skill Development, Food Processing, Handlooms and Handicrafts, Rural Livelihoods, Entrepreneurship and Microfinance, Horticulture and Floriculture, Medicinal & Aromatic Plants, Organic Farming and Bamboo Development.  
    • The mega event will also include cultural programmes to highlight the rich tradition and culture of the NER.
    • Performances by popular orchestra groups, – Shillong Chamber Choir and Angaraag Mahanta (Papon) will be the major attraction.

109

JNU – Best University Award | PIB Summary

No document Available

    JNU | Key facts for Prelims

    • Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU)has won the annual Visitor’s Award for the ‘Best University’, 2017.
    • Deepak Pant from Central University of Himachal Pradesh won the Visitor’s Award for ‘Innovation’ while the Visitor’s Award for ‘Research’ has been jointly won by Dr. Shyam Sunder from Banaras Hindu University and Prof. Niranjan Karak from Tezpur University

    JNU | Aim

    President Pranab Mukherjee had announced institution of these awards in 2014 with the aim of promoting healthy competition amongst Central Universities and motivating them to adopt best practices from around the world in the pursuit of excellence.

    JNU | Details of the award winners

    • The Visitor’s Award for ‘Innovation’ will be given to Deepak Pant, Department of Environmental Science, School of Earth and Environmental Sciences, Central University of Himachal Pradesh for development of a reactor for direct conversion of waste plastic to LPG in small scale.
    • The Visitor’s Award for ‘Research’ will be presented jointly to Shyam Sunder, Department of Medicine, Institute of Medical Sciences, Banaras Hindu University for his work in the area of diagnosis and treatment of Indian Kala-azar and Prof. Niranjan Karak, Department of Chemical Sciences, Tezpur University for development of renewable resource based bio-degradable hyper-branched polymer nano-composites as self-cleaning, self-healing and bio-compatible smart sustainable futuristic material.
    • The ‘Best University’ will receive a Citation and Trophy while winners of Visitor’s Award for ‘Innovation’ and ‘Research’ will receive a Citation and cash award of Rs 1 lakh.

110

INHS ASVINI | PIB Summary

No document Available

    The Defence Minister Shri Manohar Parrikar presented the Raksha Mantri’s Trophy and Citation for the best Service Hospital in the Armed Forces Medical Services (AFMS) for the year 2016 to INHS Asvini, Mumbai.

    Highlights of the event

    • Commandant of INHS Asvini Mumbai, Surgeon Rear Admiral Ravi Kalra received the awards from the Minister on behalf of the Hospital.
    • The Command Hospital (Southern Command), Pune and Command Hospital (Northern Command) Udhampur were jointly adjudged the second best Service Hospitals.

    About Raksha Mantri Trophy

    • The Raksha Mantri’s Trophy was instituted in 1989 to create a healthy competition among the Command Hospitals of the Army and its equivalent Hospitals in the Navy and Air Force.
    • The Best and Second Best hospital are adjudged on the basis of a number of objective criteria by a committee headed by DCIDS (Med).

111

Domestic Tourist Visits Data Launched | PIB Summary


    Ministry of Tourism has launched Domestic Tourist Visits (DTV) ‘provisional’ data based on the inputs received from all the States/UTs.

    Domestic Tourist Visits | Key facts

    • While surpassing the growth rate of 6.8% in Foreign Tourist Arrivals (FTAs) observed in January 2016 over January 2015, a significantly higher double digit growth rate of 16.5% has been witnessed correspondingly in the month of January 2017 over January 2016.
    • 5% Growth in Domestic Tourist visits to States/UTs during 2016 as compared to 2015 
    • Domestic Tourism in India Booming with significant growth in Domestic Tourist visits 

    Domestic Tourist Visits | Background

    • The data for DTVs, every year, is compiled by Ministry of Tourism based on the inputs received from all States/UTs.
    • Ministry of Tourism compiles data on tourist arrivals and visits to States/ Union Territories (UTs) on the basis of details received from various sources namely Bureau of Immigrationand States /UTs.

    Domestic Tourist Visits | | Features of the provisional figures for DTVs

    • During 2016, the number of DTVs to the States/ UTs was 1653 million (provisional) as compared to 1432 million in 2015 registering a growth of 15.5 %.
    • The contribution of the top ten States/ UTs during 2016 stands at about 84.2% to the total number of Domestic Tourist Visits as against 83.62% recorded in 2015.
    • The top ten States in terms of number of DTVs (in millions), during 2016, were Tamil Nadu (344.3), Uttar Pradesh (229.6), Madhya Pradesh (184.7), Andhra Pradesh (158.5), Karnataka (129.8), Maharashtra (115.4), West Bengal (74.5), Telangana (71.5), Gujarat (42.8) and Rajasthan (41.5).
    • Tamil Nadu and Uttar Pradesh have maintained the first and second rank respectively in terms of DTVs in 2016.
    • Madhya Pradesh has gained several ranks to reach the third position leaving Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka and Maharashtra at the succeeding fourth, fifth and sixth positions.
    • West Bengal surpassed Telangana to attain the seventh position rendering Telangana at the eighth, followed by Gujarat and Rajasthan.

112

Endo-Atmospheric Interceptor Missile | PIB Summary

No document Available

    DRDO conducted the successful launch of the Interceptor Missile Advanced Area Defence (AAD) today from Abdul Kalam Island, Odisha.

    Interceptor Missile | Highlights

    • The endo-atmospheric missile, capable of intercepting incoming targets at an altitude of 15 to 25 kms successfully destroyed the incoming missile.
    • All the mission objectives were successfully met.
    • The weapon system radars tracked the target and provided the initial guidance to the interceptor which could precisely home on to the target and destroyed it in endo-atmospheric layer.
    • The complete event including the engagement and destruction was tracked by a number of electro-optical tracking systems using infrared imagery.
    • Radars and telemetry stations tracked the target and the interceptor till the destruction of the target.

    Interceptor Missile | Significance

    The launch has proved the Ballistic Missile Defence (BMD) prowess of the country.

113

Protection of interests of migrants | PIB Summary

No document Available

    A Government appointed Panel has recommended necessary legal and policy framework to protect the interests of the migrants in the country, stating that the migrant population makes substantial contribution to economic growth and their Constitutional rights need to be secured.

    Migrants | About Partha Mukhopadhay panel

    The ‘Working Group on Migration’ set by the Ministry of Housing & Urban Poverty Alleviation in 2015 who submitted their Report to the Government today. The 18-member Working Group headed by Shri Partha Mukhopadhay of the Centre for Policy Research has representatives of Ministries of Home, HUPA, Labour and Employment, Urban Development, Rural Development, Women & Child Development, Social Justice & Empowerment, Statistics & Programme Implementation, NITI Ayog, Registrar General of India, UNESCO, TATA Trust, Indian Institute for Human Settlements, Indira Gandhi Institute of Development Research as members.

    Migrants | Recommendations

    • The Working Group has recommended that the Protocols of the Registrar General of India needs to be amended to enable caste based enumeration of migrants so that they can avail the attendant benefits in the States to which migration takes place.
    • It also recommended that migrants should be enabled to avail benefits of Public Distribution System (PDS) in the destination State by providing for inter-State operability of PDS.
    • Referring to Constitutional Right of Freedom of Movement and residence in any part of the territory of the country, the Group suggested that States should be encouraged to proactively eliminate the requirement of domicile status to prevent any discrimination in work and employment. States are also to be asked to include migrant children in the Annual Work Plans under Sarva Siksha Abhiyan (SSA) to uphold their Right to Education.
    • Noting that money remittances of migrants was of the order of Rs. 50,000 crores during 2007-08, the Working Group suggested that the vast network of post offices need to be made effective use of by reducing the cost of transfer of money to avoid informal remittances. It also suggested that migrants should be enabled to open bank accounts by asking banks to adhere to RBI guidelines regarding Know Your Customer (KYC) norms and not insist on documents that were not required.
    • The Group suggested that the hugely underutilized Construction Workers Welfare Cess Fund should be used to promote rental housing, working Women Hostels etc., for the benefit of migrants.
    • Quoting data of Census 2011 and National Sample Survey Organisation (NSSO), the Group stated that migrants constitute about 30% of the country’s population and also of the total working force.

    Migrants | Note

    The recent Economic Survey noted that annual migration in the country increased from 3.30 million in 2011 to 9.00 million in 2016.

114

Swachhta Pakhwada | PIB Summary

    The Ministry of Women & Child Development is observing the Swachhta Pakhwada from 1st March 2017 to 15th March 2017, to raise awareness about Swachh Bharat Abhiyan among women and children.

    About Swachhta Pakhwada

    The Swachhta Pakhwada is observed by various Ministries of Government of India to achieve the goal of universal sanitation, hygiene and ‘open defecation free’ India by 2019.

    Swachhta Pakhwada | Highlights

    • As a part of nationwide activities, the Ministry has written to all the states to observe the Swachhta Pakhwada through the wide network of Anganwadi Centres (AWCs) across the country.
    • The states have been asked to carry out the following activities at the AWCs:
    1. White-washing AWCs involving local communities;
    2. Pictures, local logos on walls by local people free of cost;
    3. Cleanliness in and around AWCs;
    4. Weeding out of obsolete records etc;
    5. Divyang access to toilets may be reviewed;
    6. Review of toilets constructed;
    7. Involving private sector under CSR for Swachhta;
    8. Sketch competition, etc;
    9. Swachhta drive in and around AWCs on the banks of rivers;
    10. Celebrating International Women’s Day on 8th March, 2017.
    • Senior officials from the Ministry and associated organisations will be travelling across the country on these days and undertaking activities such as Swachhta Pledge, slogan writing and poster making competition, street play and film screening on Swacch Bharat Abhiyan, demonstration and sessions on health, hygiene and sanitation for children, waste management etc.
    • Cleanliness activities and pledges on Swachh Bharat will also be undertaken at the WCD Ministry in Delhi and its associated organisations such as CARA, CSWB, NCPCR, NCW and RMK.
    • Joint Secretary for Beti Bachao Beti Padhao will be leading specialised programmes in Beti Bachao Beti Padhao Districts with activities for girl children on the theme of Swachh Bharat. Health and sanitation needs of girl children will be highlighted. Demonstrations will be held on how to prepare nutritious recipes using indigenous ingredients and hygienic cooking behaviour and practices. Tree plantation drives will also be carried out with participation of girl children.

115

First Integrated Heliport | PIB Summary

No document Available

    The First Integrated Heliport was dedicated to the Nation by Ministry of Civil Aviation in association with Pawan Hans today at Rohini, Delhi.

    Background

    It is a part of National Aviation Policy to have four of these, one in each region and Rohini’s heliport is the first step.

    About Rohini Heliport

    • It has been completed in almost two years at a cost of nearly 100 crores.
    • It consists of a terminal building having capacity of 150 passengers, 4 hangers with parking capacities for 16 helicopters and 9 parking bays.

    Highlights

    • It has an excellent infrastructure but it should be noted that helicopter services in India are still at a nascent stage.
    • The facility will keep the cost under control as MRO facility has been incorporated.
    • This would also help in job creation.
    • The facility will be useful in providing medical emergency, public safety and enhancing tourism.

    Significance of Rohini Heliport

    • This Heliport will provide all helicopter operational facilities and will decongest busy Indira Gandhi International Airport, and also promote Regional Air connectivity through helicopters in the northern part of the country for regular passenger services, heli services, landing & parking of helicopters, Helicopters Maintenance Services (MRO), disaster management, helicopter emergency medical services (HeMS), law & order surveillance.
    • Helicopter services could become economically viable if the prevailing 25% tax on ATF was reduced.

    Future projects

    • Pawan Hans has also prepared a roadmap to connect all the major destination from this Heliport such as Ex-Delhi to Shimla, Haridwar, Dehradun Mathura, Agra, Meerut and Industrial Hubs such as Manesar, Bahadurgarh etc. They will provide air connectivity between Delhi and neighbouring cities from Rohini Heliport.
    • Regional connectivity will be fully achieved when we are able to connect at least all capital cities with district headquarters by air, which can be made possible only by combination of smaller planes and helicopters for seamless connectivity.

116

Tejaswini Project | PIB Summary


    A Financing Agreement for IDA credit of US$ 63 million (equivalent) for the Tejaswini Project –  for Socio-Economic Empowerment of Adolescent Girls and Young Women was signed with the World Bank on 23rd February, 2017.

    About Tejaswini Project

    • The project seeks to empower the adolescent girls with basic life skills and thereafter provide further opportunities to acquire market driven skill training or completion of secondary education, depending on the inclination of the beneficiary.
    • The project will be delivered in 17 Districts of Jharkhand.
    • About 680,000 adolescent girls and young women in the project Districts are expected to benefit from the program.
    • The closing date for the project is 30th June, 2021.

    Main components of Tejaswini Project

    The project has three main components –

    1. Expanding social, educational and economic opportunities
    2. Intensive service delivery
    3. State capacity-building and implementation support.

117

APEDA-GULFOOD 2017 | PIB Summary

No document Available

    Sixty-four exporters dealing into range of Agriculture and Processed Food products are participating under the banner of APEDA in the Gulf Food 2017 in Dubai.

    About APEDA

    • The Agricultural and Processed Food Products Export Development Authority is an apex organization under the Ministry of Commerce & Industry.  
    • APEDA is mandated with the responsibility for Promotion and Development of the export of various agro products.
    • APEDA’s export basket includes fresh and processed fruits and vegetables, alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages, pickles, chutneys, guar gum, poultry, meat and dairy products, confectionery, cut flowers, food grains, aromatic plants, Basmati Rice and Indian Long Grain Rice and other Indian delicacies.

    Highlights of Indian food exports

    • India is one of the largest producer of food in the world. 
    • India exports agricultural products to more than 80 countries world over.  The export of Agro products for the year 2015-16 was to the tune of USD61 million.

    Importance of UAE as a food market

    • UAE market is a potential market for Indian food products i.e.  Basmati Rice, Fresh Fruits & Vegetables, Non-Basmati Rice, Buffalo Meat, alcoholic Beverages, Sheep & Goat Meat, Processed Fruits and Juices, Cereal Preparation, Miscellaneous Processed items, Dairy Products, Milled Products, Wheat, Cocoa Products, Pulses, Other Cereals, Groundnut, Processed Vegetables, Floriculture, Guargum, etc.
    • The export of APEDA scheduled products to UAE market for the year 2015-16 was USD 1371 million.

118

Bharat Bodh | PIB Summary

    The President of India, Shri Pranab Mukherjee inaugurated an international conference on Bharat Bodh (Idea of Bharat) organized by the Indira Gandhi National Open University and Bhartiya Shikshan Mandal.

    Bharat Bodh | Highlights

    • Speaking on the occasion, the President expressed happiness over this important three-day conference Bharat Bodh. He hoped that deep insights would be gained into the idea of statecraft, governance, individual-society relations, structures, purposes and methodology of education, organic relationships with nature, and correlation between spiritual and material life.
    • The President said that Bharat has always been recognized as the storehouse of knowledge and discovery – knowledge which liberates, and discovery which fathoms the deepest thoughts of humanity and co-existence. As the origin and repository of philosophical and spiritual values, rivers of wisdom flow through the collective consciousness of our great people.
    • Speaking on the inauguration of Bharat Bodh Conference he quoted American author Mark Twain and said “India is the cradle of the human race, the birthplace of human speech, the mother of history, the grandmother of legend, and the great grandmother of tradition.
    • Our most valuable and most instructive materials in the history of man are treasured up in India only”. The President said that this was indeed true.
    • India is a land of great traditions, history and discoveries. Its people have lived in this great civilization giving rise to a unique trait of oneness overcoming the apparent contradictions, thriving on a composite culture and yet alive to the identities of its sub-parts.
    • The President said that India is a land of huge diversity. Yet all its people are living under one system, one flag and one Constitution. All of us are proud to be Indians and we celebrate this diversity.  He hoped that the deliberations at the Conference would enrich our perceptions regarding our country.   
    • The President said that the idea of Bharat flows from the eternal wisdom of our rich intellectual traditions. Constant churning and refinement has been the secret of the continuity of the Bharatiya thought through times and turbulences.
    • Our core civilizational values which are equally relevant today and which speak of love for the motherland, performance of duty, compassion for all, tolerance for pluralism, respect for women, honesty in life, self-restraint in conduct, responsibility in action, and discipline – form the Bharatiya world view.
    • The Bharatiya conceptualization of the world encompasses philosophy, knowledge systems, principles of statecraft and legality, literature, architecture, art and music and all other important spheres of life. The diverse strands of the Bharatiya thought find unity in their objectives similar to the diversity and oneness of the universe. They remain instilled with the same essential spirit residing in every being and non-being. This is manifested in the unique ways of celebrating our diversity and confluence, and change with continuity.

119

Arun-3 HEP | PIB Summary

No document Available

    The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs chaired by the Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi has approved:

    1. Investment for generation component of Arun-3 HEP (900 MW) for an estimated cost of Rs. 5723.72 crore at May 2015 Price Level.
    2. Completion period of the project shall be 60 months from the date of financial closure which is planned for September this year.
    3. Ex-post facto approval for the existing implementing agency, already incorporated in the name of SJVN Arun-3 Power Development Company (P) Limited (SAPDC) registered in Nepal as a 100% subsidiary of SJVN Limited for implementing the project.
    4. Any component of work already or being made by the Nepalese authorities shall be so certified by Central Electricity Authority (CEA) and shall be accordingly deducted from the project cost requirements.

    About the Arun-3 Hydro Project

    The project is located on Arun River in Sankhuwasabha District of Eastern Nepal. The Run-of-River scheme envisages about 70 mtr. high concrete gravity dam and Head Race Tunnel (HRT) of 11.74 Km. with underground Power House containing four generating units of 225 MW each on Left Bank.

    Arun-3 Hydro Project | Background

    • SJVN (Satluj Jal Vidyut Nigam) Limited bagged the project through International Competitive Bidding.
    • An MoU was signed between Government of Nepal and SJVN Limited for the project in March, 2008 for execution on Build Own Operate and Transfer (BOOT) basis for a period of 30 years including five years of construction period.
    • The Project Development Agreement (PDA) signed on 25.11.2014, which provides 21.9% free power to Nepal for the entire concession period of 25 years.
    • Employment generation of around 3000 persons is envisaged in construction of the project from both India and Nepal.

    Arun-3 Hydro Project | Significance

    The project will provide surplus power to India strengthening power availability in the country and will also strengthening economic linkages with Nepal. The power from the project shall be exported from Dhalkebar in Nepal to Muzaffarpur in India.

120

Cyber Swachhta Kendra | PIB Summary

    Extending the ‘Swachh Bharat’ campaign to the cyber world, the Minister of Electronics and Information Technology, today launched the Cyber Swachhta Kendra – Botnet Cleaning and Malware Analysis Centre for analysis of malware and botnets that affect networks and systems.

    About Cyber Swachhta Kendra

    • It is a part of MeitY’s Digital India initiative aimed at creating a secure cyber space by detecting botnet infections in India and to notify, enable cleaning and securing systems of end-users to prevent further infections.
    • The centre is operated by the Indian Computer Emergency Response Team (CERT-In).The Centre aims to enhance coordination between the Government and industry in order to encourage cyber hygiene among all end-users and to create a secure and safe internet ecosystem in India.
    • The Centre will operate in close co-ordination and collaboration with Internet Service Providers (ISP) and Anti-Virus companies. Whenever an infection is detected, the Centre will send alerts on the infected IP addresses to the Internet Service Providers, who in turn will inform the end-user about the malware and botnet infections on their system. The Centre will also work in close collaboration with the Banks to detect malware infections in their banking network and enable remedial actions. The launch of the Centre will help the Internet service providers and the banks to keep their networks clean and prevent cases of cyber fraud and theft.
    • The Cyber Swachhta Kendra will provide free tools for detection and removal of malicious programmes. The end-user can log on to the Cyber Swachhta Kendra Portal (cyberswachhtakendra.gov.in) and clean their systems using the free cleaning tools. Users can also educate themselves about the various cyber threats and get information on the security tips in order to secure their computers, mobiles and prevent infections in their systems.

    Cyber Swachhta Kendra | Highlights of the launch

    The Hon’ble Minister made the following announcement at the launch of Cyber Swachhta Kendra –

    • The National Cyber Coordination Centre to be operational by June 2017
    • Sectoral CERTs to be created, that would operate under CERT-In
    • CERTs are to be set up in the state level as well
    • 10 more STQC (Standardisation Testing and Quality Certification) Testing Facilities to be set up
    • Testing fee for any star-up that comes up with a digital technology in the quest of cyber security, to be reduced by 50%
    • Empower designated Forensic Labs to work as the certified authority to establish cyber crime

    Other tools launched for citizens

    1. USB Pratirodh – A desktop security solution, which protects from USB mass storage device threats.
    2. AppSamvid – A desktop solution which protects systems by allowing installation of genuine applications through white listing. This helps in preventing threats from malicious applications. 
    3. M-Kavach – An indigenously developed solution to address the security threats in mobiles.

    Cyber Swachhta Kendra | Conclusion

    India is going to take a lead in the digitization process of the world. India today joined the distinguished club of countries that have malware cleaning systems for the use of its citizens. As of now, we have 13 Banks & internet service providers using this facility. With the expanding digital footprint in the country, we can see a surge in start-ups in the area of cyber security by the end of the year.

121

Development Of Solar Parks | PIB Summary

    The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs, chaired by the Prime Minister, Shri Narendra Modi, today approved the enhancement of capacity from 20,000 MW to 40,000 MW of the Scheme for Development of Solar Parks and Ultra Mega Solar Power Projects.

    Solar Parks | Background

    Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE) is already implementing a scheme for development of at least 25 solar parks with an aggregate capacity of 20,000 MW, which was launched in December 2014. As on date, 34 solar parks of aggregate capacity 20,000 MW have been approved which are at various stages of development.

    Solar Parks| About the scheme

    The Solar Parks and Ultra Mega Solar Power Projects will be set up by 2019-20 with Central Government financial support of Rs.8100 crores. The total capacity when operational will generate 64 billion units of electricity per year which will lead to abatement of around 55 million tonnes of CO2 per year over its life cycle.

    • The enhanced capacity would ensure setting up of at least 50 solar parks each with a capacity of 500 MW and above in various parts of the country.
    • Smaller parks in Himalayan and other hilly States where contiguous land may be difficult to acquire in view of the difficult terrain, will also be considered under the scheme.
    • The capacity of the solar park scheme has been enhanced after considering the demand for additional solar parks from the States.

    Solar Parks | Significance of the scheme

    • It would contribute to long term energy security of the country and promote ecologically sustainable growth by reduction in carbon emissions and carbon footprint, as well as generate large direct & indirect employment opportunities in solar and allied industries like glass, metals, heavy industrial equipment etc.
    • The solar parks will also provide productive use of abundant uncultivable lands which in turn facilitate development of the surrounding areas.

    Solar Parks | Criteria for participation

    • All the States and UTs are eligible for benefits under the scheme.
    • The State Government will first nominate the Solar Power Park Developer (SPPD) and also identify the land for the proposed solar park.
    • It will then send a proposal to MNRE for approval along with the name of the SPPD.
    • The SPPD will then be sanctioned a grant of upto Rs.25 Lakh for preparing a Detailed Project Report (DPR) of the Solar Park. Thereafter, Central Financial Assistance (CFA) of up to Rs. 20 lakhs/MW or 30 percent of the project cost including Grid-connectivity cost, whichever is lower, will be released as per the milestones prescribed in the scheme.
    • Solar Energy Corporation India (SECI) will administer the scheme under the direction of MNRE. The approved grant will be released by SECI.
    • The solar parks will be developed in collaboration with State Governments/UTs. The State Governments/UTs are required to select the SPPD for developing and maintaining the solar parks.

122

Welfare of Handicraft Artisans | PIB Summary

    Ministry of Textiles and Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment have come together to step up interventions for the economic development of an estimated 12 lakh scheduled caste Handicraft Artisans.

    Handicraft Artisans | About the MoU

    It was signed between Development Commissioner (Handicrafts), Ministry of Textiles and National Scheduled Castes Finance and Development Corporation (NSCFDC), a Central PSU under Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment, with the objective of working together to improve the earnings of artisans across the country, belonging to Scheduled Castes categories. 

    Handicraft Artisans | Highlights of the MoU

    • The MoU provides for continuous and extensive collaboration between Office of DC (Handicrafts) and NSCDFC, aiming at the following:
    • Need assessment and gap identification through popularising various schemes by holding awareness camps.
    • Extensive need-based skill upgradation in the identified clusters having dominant presence of Scheduled Caste artisans, in the field of innovative and market-friendly designs, and adoption of modern tools and techniques.
    • Enhanced participation of Scheduled Caste artisans and their producer groups in domestic and international marketing events.
    • Working capital credit for Scheduled Caste artisans at concessional rates, by combining the benefits provided by Ministry of Textiles and Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment

    Handicraft Artisans

    It has also been agreed in the MoU that the Office of the DC(Handicrafts) through its various schemes, will support NSCDFC in formulation of project reports, undertaking field studies for identifying felt needs of Scheduled Caste artisans, in addition to extending assistance of six Regional Offices and 52 Marketing & Service Extension Centres of the Office of the DC(Handicrafts).

123

SAATHIYA & ‘SAATHIYA SALAH’ App | PIB Summary

    Ministry of Health and Family Welfare launched the SAATHIYA Resource Kit including Saathiya Salah’ Mobile App for adolescents, here today, as part of the Rashtriya Kishor Swasthya Karyakram (RKSK) program.

    SAATHIYA | Background

    • One of the key interventions under the programme is introduction of the Peer Educators (Saathiyas) who act as a catalyst for generating demand for the adolescent health services and imparting age appropriate knowledge on key adolescent health issues to their peer groups.
    • In order to equip the Saathiyas in doing so, the Health Ministry has launched the Saathiya Resource Kit (including ‘Saathiya Salah’ Mobile App).

    SAATHIYA | Highlights of the Apps 

    • The most important component and driving force of RKSK program are its Peer Educators and this resource kit has been launched to enable them to communicate with the adolescents of their community.
    • The Peer Educators will be trained across the country in a phased manner, ensuring optimum use of the resource kit, which is a ready source of a range of communication material specially designed to help the Peer Educator to be recognized and respected as ‘saathiya’, a good friend for the adolescents.
    • This Resource Kit comprises –
      1. Activity Book,
      2. Bhranti-Kranti Game,
      3. Question-Answer Book and
      4. Peer Educator Diary.

    In addition to the kit is the mobile app Saathiya Salah’ acts as a ready information source for the adolescents in case they are unable to interact with the Peer Educators.

    • The mobile app is also linked to another important piece of cost-effective information platform of a toll-free Saathiya Helpline (1800-233-1250) which will act as an e-counselor.
    • While the short films will be played by the Peer Educators at their group meetings, the activity book and games will bring about discussion and resolve adolescent queries. Encashing on mobile technology, the shy adolescents or those unable to interact with the peer educators due to family reasons, can access the information through the free mobile app as well the toll free helpline. 

    SAATHIYA | About Rashtriya Kishor Swasthya Karyakram

    Ministry of Health and Family Welfare launched Rashtriya Kishor Swasthya Karyakram (RKSK) in January 2014. RKSK identifies six strategic priorities for adolescents i.e. nutrition, sexual and reproductive health (SRH), non-communicable diseases (NCDs), substance misuse, injuries and violence (including gender-based violence) and mental health.

124

INSV Tarini | PIB Summary

    The Indian Navy’s second ocean going sailboat INSV Tarini will be inducted at a ceremony scheduled to be held at the INS Mandovi Boat Pool on evening of 18 February 2017.

    About INSV Tarini

    INSV Tarini is a sloop built by M/s Aquarius Shipyard Pvt Ltd at Divar, Goa. The sail boat Tarini is being inducted into the Navy and is slated to be the platform for First Indian All Women Circumnavigation of the Globe expedition of the Indian Navy. 

    INSV Tarini | Highlights

    • In order to promote ocean sailing activities and to encourage women empowerment, the Indian Navy conceptualized the idea of the First IndianAll Women Circumnavigation of the Globe.
    • A team of six women Officers led by Lieutenant Commander Vartika Joshi was selected for this project. These officers have done basic sail training courses at INWTC Mumbai followed by Navigation, Seamanship, Communication and Meteorology courses at various naval training schools at Kochi.
    • After completion of theoretical courses, the officers sailed INSV Mhadei to Vizag for the International Fleet Review 2016 and thereafter to Mauritius and back. Following that, they sailed the boat on a gruelling voyage to Cape Town in Dec 16.

125

104 Satellites in a Single Flight | PIB Summary

    104 Satellites were launched by ISRO. In its thirty ninth flight (PSLV-C37), ISRO’s Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle successfully launched the 714 kg Cartosat-2 Series Satellite along with 103 co-passenger satellites today morning (February 15, 2017) from Satish Dhawan Space Centre SHAR, Sriharikota.

    104 Satellites | Highlights

    This is the thirty eighth consecutively successful mission of PSLV.  The total weight of all the 104 satellites carried on-board PSLV-C37 was 1378 kg. The total number of Indian satellites launched by PSLV now stands at 46.

    104 Satellites | Cartosat-2 satellites

    • The imagery from the Cartosat-2 series satellite will be useful for cartographic applications, urban and rural applications, coastal land use and regulation, utility management like road network monitoring, water distribution, creation of land use maps, change detection to bring out geographical and manmade features and various other Land Information System (LIS) and Geographical Information System (GIS) applications.
    • The data sets could be used for urban planning of 500 cities under the AMRUT Planning Scheme. The government initiative of 100 smart city programme in which these data sets could be used for master plan preparation and detailed geospatial data preparation for rural roads and infrastructure development.

    104 Satellites

    • Of the 103 co-passenger satellites carried by PSLV-C37, two – ISRO Nano Satellite-1 (INS-1) of India. 
    • The remaining 101 co-passenger satellites carried were international customer satellites from USA (96), The Netherlands (1), Switzerland (1), Israel (1), Kazakhstan (1) and UAE (1).

    104 Satellites | Significance of the mission

    • This mission involved many technical challenges like realising the launch of a large number of satellites during a single mission within the time frame sought by the customers from abroad.
    • Besides, ensuring adequate separation between all the 104 satellites during their orbital injection as well as during their subsequent orbital life was yet another challenge associated with this complex mission.
    • With today’s successful launch, the total number of customer satellites from abroad launched by India’s workhorse launch vehicle PSLV has reached 180.

126

Collection of Statistics Act | PIB Summary


    The Union Cabinet chaired by the Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi has approved a proposal to introduce a Bill in Parliament to extend the jurisdiction of the Collection of Statistics Act, 2008 to Jammu & Kashmir on statistics relevant to any matters under any of the entries specified in the List-I (Union List) and the List- III (Concurrent List) in the Seventh Schedule to the Constitution, as applicable to Jammu & Kashmir under the Constitution (Application to Jammu & Kashmir) Order, 1954.

    Collection of Statistics Act | Aim

    The Amendment will strengthen data collection mechanism in the State of Jammu & Kashmir.

    Collection of Statistics Act | Background

    • The Collection of Statistics Act, 2008 was enacted to facilitate the collection of statistics on economics, demographic, social, scientific and environmental aspects etc.
    • The Act extends to the whole of India, except Jammu & Kashmir. The Jammu & Kashmir State legislature enacted the Jammu & Kashmir Collection of Statistics Act, 2010, which extends to the whole of the State of Jammu & Kashmir and is almost a replica of the central legislation.

    Collection of Statistics Act | Proposed Amendments

    • Provide for extending the jurisdiction of the Act to Jammu & Kashmir State in respect of matters not reserved for the State as per the Constitution (Application to Jammu and Kashmir) Order 1954;
    • Provide for appointing a nodal officer at the Centre and in each State/Union Territory to effectively coordinate data collection activities and provide consultation to Government Departments for avoiding unnecessary duplication, etc.

    Collection of Statistics Act | Need of the amendment

    • The Collection of Statistics Act, 2008 and the Jammu & Kashmir Collection of Statistics Act, 2010 are not applicable to statistical subjects falling in the Union List, as applicable to the Jammu & Kashmir under the Constitution (Application to Jammu & Kashmir) Order 1954.
    • This has created a legislative vacuum. Moreover, the concurrent jurisdiction to be exercised by the Centre in Jammu & Kashmir has also not been provided for, in the Collection of Statistics Act, 2008. The amendment is intended to address this vacuum.

127

Subsidiary banks of SBI | PIB Summary

    The Union Cabinet, chaired by the Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi has approved the acquisition by the State Bank of India (SBI) of its subsidiary banks namely State Bank of Bikaner and Jaipur, State Bank of Hyderabad, State Bank of Mysore, State Bank of Patiala and State Bank of Travancore

    The Cabinet also approved the introduction of a Bill in Parliament to repeal the State Bank of India (Subsidiary Banks) Act, 1959 and the State Bank of Hyderabad Act, 1956.

    SBI | Significance

    • The merger is likely to result in recurring savings, estimated at more than Rs. 1,000 crores in the first year, through a combination of enhanced operational efficiency and reduced cost of funds. 
    • Existing customers of subsidiary banks will benefit from access to SBI’s global network.
    • The merger will also lead to better management of high value credit exposures through focused monitoring and control over cash flows instead of separate monitoring by six different banks.
    • The acquisition under Section 35 of the State Bank of India Act, 1955 will result in the creation of a stronger merged entity.
    • This will minimize vulnerability to any geographic concentration risks faced by subsidiary banks.
    • It will create improved operational efficiency and economies of scale.  It will also result in improved risk management and unified treasury operations. 

    SBI | Conclusion

    The acquisition of subsidiary banks of State Bank is an important step towards strengthening the banking sector through consolidation of public sector banks.  It is in pursuance of the Indradhanush action plan of the Government and it is expected to strengthen the banking sector and improve its efficiency and profitability.

128

SARTTAC | PIB Summary

While inaugurating the SARTTAC, The Secretary, Department of Economic Affairs, Ministry of Finance, Government of India, Shri Shaktikanta Das said that IMF’s South Asia Training and Technical Assistance Center is a pioneering initiative of the Government of India and the International Monetary Fund (IMF).

SARTTAC I Background

  • SARTTAC is a collaborative venture between the IMF, the member countries, and development partners. The center’s strategic goal is to help its member countries strengthen their institutional and human capacity to design and implement macroeconomic and financial policies that promote growth and reduce poverty.
  • A global network of fourteen Regional Technical Assistance and Training Centers anchor IMF support for economic institution building and are complemented by global thematic funds for capacity development. They are financed jointly by the IMF, external development partners, and member countries.

SARTTAC | Highlights

  • It is the IMF’s First Fully Integrated Capacity Development Center, which brings together under one roof the two building blocks of capacity development —training and technical assistance.
  • The center will make a very strong contribution to capacity building in South Asia, which is so important for sustainable economic development, growth, and stability.
  • South Asia is a rapidly growing region that is home to one fifth of the world’s population. SARTTAC will allow the IMF to meet more of the high demand for technical assistance and training from the region. Through its team of international resident experts, SARTTAC is expected to become the focal point for the delivery of IMF capacity development services to South Asia.
  • SARTTAC, the newest addition to the IMF’s global network of fourteen regional centers, is a new kind of capacity development institution, fully integrating customized hands-on training with targeted technical advice in a range of macroeconomic and financial areas, and generating synergies between the two.
  • SARTTAC is located in world class facilities in New Delhi andis financed mainly by its six member countries — Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Maldives, Nepal, and Sri Lanka — with additional support from Australia, the Republic of Korea, the European Union and the United Kingdom.

129

Indian Seed Congress | PIB Summary


Shri Radha Mohan Singh inaugurated the function of Indian Seed Congress – 2017, in Kolkata today. The theme of the Indian Seed Congress is “Seed of Joy” which is very much in line with vision of this government to bring happiness and prosperity in the lives of farmers by doubling their farm income by 2022.

Indian Seed Congress | About the initiatives of Government

  • The availability of certified / quality seeds in the country has increased from less than 40 lakh quintal during decade of 60 to 370 lakh quintal in 2015-16.
  • The Department of Agriculture, Cooperation & Farmers Welfare has asked the State Governments to prepare variety wise seed rolling plants to meet year wise, season wise requirements of quality seeds. This seed rolling plant will fulfil the double purpose of improving the Seed replacement rate along with Variety replacement rate so that sustainable agricultural production and productivity could be ensured.

Indian Seed Congress | Highlights of the event

  • Agriculture Minister said that Indian Seed Market is growing fast and during the recent past, hybrid seed market of vegetables and cereals has shown remarkable growth.
  • Indian Seed Industry can emerge as a prominent industry for supplying seeds in international markets.
  • India has great potentiality to produce hybrid seeds especially costly vegetable seeds on cheap rates as compared to the seeds of the other countries.
  • Apart from vegetables, the hybrid seeds of maize, paddy, pearl millet and cotton may be exported to SEI and African countries in magnitude.
  • The opportunities of employment have been created for the skilled men and women and the girls in the field of agriware housing, cold chain, supply chain, dairy, poultry, meat, fisheries, horticulture, agriculture mechanization as well as micro irrigation. Skill India Mission is being implemented for imparting opportunities as well as skills to the rural youth in rural areas.

Indian Seed Congress | Seven point programme to double farmers’ income by 2022

  1. Big focus on irrigation with large budgets, with the aim of “per drop-more crop”.
  2. Provision of quality seeds and nutrients based on soil health of each field.
  3. Large investments in warehousing and cold chains to prevent post-harvest crop losses.
  4. Promotion of value addition through food processing.
  5. Creation of a national farm market, removing distortions and e-platform across 585 stations.
  6. Introduction of a new crop insurance scheme to mitigate risks at affordable cost.
  7. Promotion of ancillary activities like poultry, beekeeping and fisheries.

130

Hunar Haat | PIB Summary


Hunar Haat the second edition was inaugurated by Union Minister of State for Minority Affairs (Independent Charge) and Parliamentary Affairs Shri Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi 

Hunar Haat | About

  • It is being organized by the Minority Affairs Ministry to encourage, promote and provide national and international market to master artisans/craftsmen belonging to the Minority communities from across the country.
  • With the theme Craft Aur Cuisine Ka Sangam, the second “Hunar Haat” is being organized from 11th to 26th February, 2017 at State Emporia Complex, Baba Kharak Singh Marg, Connaught Place.

Hunar Haat | Highlights

  • This “Hunar Haat” is unique in the sense that it is showcasing crafts and traditional cuisines brought from different parts of the country.
  • “Hunar Haat” is being organized through National Minorities Development & Finance Corporation (NMDFC) under USTTAD (Upgrading the Skills & Training in Traditional Arts/Crafts for Development) scheme of Ministry of Minority Affairs.
  • A total of 100 artisans and 30 culinary experts from about 24 states and Union Territories are participating at about 130 stalls in the second “Hunar Haat”, which also has Bawarchikhana where various cuisine from different parts of the country are being showcased and the visitors can enjoy them.
  • For the first time in this exhibition very exquisite pieces of Handicraft & Handloom work like Makrana Marble products, Bandhej from Sikar, Mojri from Rajasthan, Banjara Embroidery from Telangana, Handmade Locks & Door Handles along with Phool-Patti works from Aligarh, Cocoon decorated products from Nagaland, Mizoram Traditional Crafts, etc are being showcased and sold.
  • Different cuisines from 13 states are being brought by culinary experts for this second “Hunar Haat”. Awadhi Mughlai foods from Lucknow, Dal Bati Churma & Thali from Rajasthan, Sandesh & Rasogolla from West Bengal, Malabari food from Kerala, Litti-Chokha of Bihar, Puran-Poli from Maharashtra, Dhokla & Jalebi from Gujarat, Kashmiri Wazwan from J&K, Bhutte Ki Khees, Sabudana-Kheer & Khichri from Madhya Pradesh, etc.

131

Exo-Atmospheric Interceptor Missile | PIB Summary

India successfully conducted a test wherein an incoming ballistic missile target was intercepted by an exo-atmospheric interceptor missile off the Bay of Bengal.

Interceptor Missile | About the test

  • With this commendable scientific achievement, India has crossed an important milestone in building its overall capability towards enhanced security against incoming ballistic missile threats.
  • It has entered an exclusive club of four nations with developing capabilities to secure its skies and cities against hostile threats.
  • Much details of the test have not been released about its capabilities and distinct features but it is believed that it is quite similar to THAAD missile system of the United States.

Interceptor Missile | About THAAD Missiles

  • Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) system is one of the recent addition to the US’ anti-ballistic missile arsenal.
  • It has been designed to hit missiles as they dive towards the earth, not when they go up.
  • THAAD can engage with incoming missiles at the maximum altitude of 93 miles above the surface of the Earth.
  • It seems Indian scientists have also developed a similar anti-missile system.

Interceptor Missile | Significance of the test

  • It would significantly change the power equations in Asia (including South Asia) whereby India will possess a significant shield to protect itself from the incoming ballistic missiles.
  • In an atmosphere, when our perceived adversaries are busy testing new missile systems, India’s move towards creating a shield protection is significant for the security of the nation as a whole.
  • India has now entered the elite club of four nations by having its own ‘effective’ anti-ballistic missile

132

PMGDISHA | PIB Summary

The Union Cabinet chaired by the Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi has approved ‘Pradhan Mantri Gramin Digital Saksharta Abhiyan’ (PMGDISHA) to make 6 crore rural households digitally literate.

PMGDISHA | Background

  • As per the 71st NSSO Survey on Education 2014, only 6% of rural households have a computer. This highlights that more than 15 crore rural households (@ 94% of 16.85 crore households) do not have computers and a significant number of these households are likely to be digitally illiterate.
  • The PMGDISHA being initiated under Digital India Programme would cover 6 crore households in rural areas to make them digitally literate. This would empower the citizens by providing them access to information, knowledge and skills for operating computers / digital access devices.

PMGDISHA | About

  • It is expected to be one of the largest digital literacy programmes in the world.
  • Under the scheme, 25 lakh candidates will be trained in the FY 2016-17; 275 lakhs in the FY 2017-18; and 300 lakhs in the FY 2018-19.
  • To ensure equitable geographical reach, each of the 250,000 Gram Panchayats would be expected to register an average of 200-300 candidates.
  • Digitally literate persons would be able to operate computers/digital access devices (like tablets, smart phones, etc.), send and receive emails, browse internet, access Government Services, search for information, undertaking cashless transactions, etc. and hence use IT to actively participate in the process of nation building.
  • As the thrust of the Government is on cashless transactions through mobile phones, the course content would also have emphasis on Digital Wallets, Mobile Banking, Unified Payments Interface (UPI), Unstructured Supplementary Service Data (USSD) and Aadhaar Enabled Payment System (AEPS), etc.

PMGDISHA | Implementing Agency

The implementation of the Scheme would be carried out under the overall supervision of Ministry of Electronics and IT in active collaboration with States/UTs through their designated State Implementing Agencies, District e-Governance Society (DeGS), etc.

133

Important Schemes under start-up India campaign | PIB Summary

Various Schemes and Initiatives have been undertaken under the Start-up India Stand-up India Initiative. Some of the important Schemes and Initiatives are as follows : 

Important Schemes | Ucchatar Aavishkar Yojana (UAY)

  • The objective of UAY is to promote industry and outcome-oriented research projects by students. It is being implemented under Ministry of Human Resource Development.
  • INR 475 crore has been provisioned for 2016-18.
  • 180 proposals have been received from IITs and 92 have been approved.

Important Schemes | NIDHI (National Initiative for Development and Harnessing Innovations):

  • NIDHI is an umbrella program by the DST for nurturing ideas and innovations (knowledge-based and technology-driven) into successful start-ups.
  • The 8 components under NIDHI would provide a range of funding support to start-ups from idea to prototyping, fellowship, incubation, seed support acceleration support, , i.e. it would support each stage of a budding start-up from idea to market.
  • One of these components, Startup-NIDHI, would financially support each of the selected start-ups with an ignition grant/award of INR 10 lakh.
  • Guidelines and pro-forma for submission of proposals have been published on the website.

Important Schemes | Million Minds Augmenting National Aspirations and Knowledge (MANAK) scheme of DST:

  • In context of Start-up India initiative, the INSPIRE Awards scheme is being revamped to foster culture of innovation through innovation focused programs for students.
  • The scheme has been rechristened as INSPIRE Awards-MANAK (Million Minds Augmenting National Aspiration and knowledge).
  • 10 lakh ideas will be targeted from 5 lakh schools across the country in a financial year.
  • 1 lakh top ideas will be shortlisted for an INSPIRE Award of Rs. 5,000 each, for preparation of a project/model and participation in district-level exhibitions and project competitions.
  • 10,000 best projects will be shortlisted for state-level exhibitions and project
  • Top 1,000 awardees shortlisted at the state level will be given Rs. 20,000   each for development of improved prototype for national level event.
  • Top 60 projects will be shortlisted for National Awards and mentoring and will     also      be showcased at the Annual Festival of Innovations in Rashtrapati Bhavan.

Important Schemes | Tinkering Labs

With a vision to ‘Cultivate one Million children in India as Neoteric Innovators’, Atal Innovation Mission (AIM) is establishing Atal Tinkering Laboratories (ATLs) in schools across India. 257 Tinkering Labs sanctioned under AIM (out of more than 30,000 applications).

134

Labour Reforms | PIB Summary

Undertaking the Labour Reforms the Ministry of Labour & Employment have taken several reform initiatives, both legislative reforms as well as Governance reforms through use of technology, to reduce the complexity in compliance and bringing transparency and accountability leading to better enforcement of the Labour Laws.

Labour Reforms | Undertaking by the Government

  1. Enhancing the ceiling of wage limit for the purpose of eligibility for Bonus and for the purpose of calculation of Bonus as Rs. 21,000/- per month and Rs. 7,000/- per month respectively by amending the Payment of Bonus Act 1965.
  2. Prohibition of employment of children below 14 years in all occupations and processes through amendment in the Child Labour (Prohibition & Regulation) Act, 1986.
  3. Extending the coverage of Employees State Insurance by increase in the wage ceiling from Rs. 15000/- per month to Rs. 21000/- per month.
  4. Enabling provision under the Payment of Wages Act 1936 for payment of wages through Bank accounts.
  5. Launching of unified Shram Suvidha Portal for allotment of a Unique Labour Identification Number (LIN) for establishments, filing of self-certified and simplified Online Annual Return and a transparent Labour Inspection Scheme through computerized system.
  6. Portability of Employees Provident Fund accounts through Universal Account Number (UAN).

Labour Reforms | Conclusion

The process of Legislative reforms includes consultations with stakeholders including Central Trade Unions, Employers’ Association and State Governments in the form of tripartite consultation. During recent months, several such tripartite meetings have been held for considering suggestions on various legislative reform proposals where the representatives of all stake holders/State Governments participated and gave their suggestions on the legislative proposals.

135

New umbrella scheme for empowerment of youth | PIB Summary

Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports has restructured youth affairs related schemes as follows

S. No.

Names of Schemes

(Before Restructuring)

Names of Schemes

(After Restructuring)

1.Nehru Yuva Kendra Sangathan NYKS)

Merged into a new ‘umbrella’ Scheme called Rashtriya Yuva Sashaktikaran Karyakram (RYSK)”.

2.National Youth Corps (NYC)
3.National Programme for Youth & Adolescent Development (NPYAD)
4.International Cooperation
5.Youth Hostels (YH)
6.Assistance to Scouting & Guiding Organisations
7.National Discipline Scheme (NDS)
8.National Young Leaders Programme (NYLP)
9.National Service Scheme (NSS)National Service Scheme (NSS)
10.Rajiv Gandhi National Institute of Youth Development (RGNIYD)Rajiv Gandhi National Institute of Youth Development (RGNIYD)

Analysis

Thus, while National Service Scheme (NSS) and Rajiv Gandhi National Institute of Youth Development (RGNIYD) have been retained as separate Schemes due to the distinctive nature of their operational framework, all other Schemes have been merged into a new umbrella Scheme called Rashtriya Yuva Sashaktikaran Karyakram (RYSK), a flagship programme of the Department for empowerment of the youth to enable them to realise their potential and in the process, to contribute to the nation-building process.

Purpose of the merger

The merger of 8 schemes into a single umbrella scheme is designed to achieve better synergy in implementation of these Schemes. Out of these Schemes, only the first two schemes, namely, NYKS and NYC, have field level administrative set-up for implementation of Schemes. Now, it will be possible to leverage the NYKS/ NYC administrative infrastructure for management of all the components of the new umbrella scheme, thereby facilitating more effective implementation of these Schemes.

136

Schemes for Minority Women | PIB Summary


Apart from other schemes which are available to all, including women, Ministry of Minority Affairs implements three specific schemes for women as below:-

Highlights of the schemes

  1. NAI ROSHNI – It is aimed at leadership development of Minority Women specially for development of women belonging to minority communities with an aim to empower and instil confidence in women by providing knowledge, tool and techniques for interacting with Government system and others at all levels. The scheme is implemented through selected Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) all over the country.
  2. Begum Hazrat Mahal National Scholarship for Meritorious Girls belonging to minorities implemented through Maulana Azad Education Foundation.
  3. Mahila Samridhi Yojana is implemented through National Minorities Development & Finance Corporation (NMDFC) wherein skill development training is imparted to group of women in women friendly trades. Training period is of maximum six months and raw material cost of upto Rs 1,500/- per trainee and stipend @ Rs.1000/- per trainee is provided. During the period of training, the women formed into Self Help Group, followed by infusion of micro-credit maximum upto Rs.1.00 lacs per member for the purpose of using the skill developed during the training, for income generation activities.

137

Social Security for Workers in Informal Sector | PIB Summary

In order to provide social security benefits to the workers in the unorganised sector, the Government has enacted the Unorganised Workers’ Social Security Act, 2008.

About the Unorganised Workers’ Social Security Act

The 2008 Act stipulates formulation of suitable welfare schemes for unorganised workers on matters relating to –

  1. life and disability cover,
  2. health and maternity benefits,
  3. old age protection.

Other important schemes

  1. Indira Gandhi National Old Age Pension Scheme (Ministry of Rural Development);
  2. National Family Benefit Scheme (Ministry of Rural Development);
  3. Janani Suraksha Yojana (Ministry of Health and Family Welfare);
  4. Handloom Weavers’ Comprehensive Welfare Scheme (Ministry of Textiles);
  5. Handicraft Artisans’ Comprehensive Welfare Scheme (Ministry of Textiles);
  6. Pension to Master Craft Persons (Ministry of Textiles);
  7. National Scheme for Welfare of Fishermen and Training and Extension (Department of Animal Husbandry, Dairying & Fisheries);
  8. Aam Aadmi Bima Yojana (Department of Financial Services); and
  9. Rashtriya Swasthya Bima Yojana (Ministry of Health and Family Welfare).

Further, Central Government has also launched the Atal Pension Yojana, Pradhan Mantri Jeevan Jyoti Bima Yojana and Pradhan Mantri Suraksha Bima Yojana for all citizens especially targeting unorganised workers to provide them comprehensive social security.

138

Quality of Higher Education | PIB Summary

No document Available

The Central Government has launched several initiatives viz. National Institutional Ranking Framework (NIRF), Impacting Research Innovation & Technology (IMPRINT), Uchchtar Avishkar Yojna (UAY) and Global Initiative of Academic Networks (GIAN) for the development of Quality of Higher Education in the country.

Quality of Higher Education | Mandate of the UGC

  • The UGC undertakes maintenance of standards in teaching, research and quality assurance in Universities, deemed to be Universities and Colleges through framing and notifying regulations, schemes and disbursing grants to the eligible institutions.
  • The UGC has notified several regulations with a view to sustain and improve the quality of higher education and to undertake academic reforms.
  • In order to encourage research and development in the country, UGC is implementing schemes, awards, fellowships, chairs and programmes under which financial assistance is provided to institutions of higher education as well as faculty members working therein to undertake quality research covering areas of knowledge across disciplines.

Quality of Higher Education | Initiative taken by the UGC

  1. Choice-based Credit System (CBCS);
  2. Universities with Potential for Excellence;
  3. Centre with potential for excellence in particular area;
  4. Special Assistance Programme (SAP);
  5. Basic Science Research;
  6. Major Research project;
  7. Voc. Degree Programme;
  8. DDU KAUSHAL KENDRAS;
  9. Scholarship Scheme (ISHAN UDAY) for North Eastern Region;
  10. New Methodology of Grading by NAAC;
  11. UGC (Minimum Standards and Procedure for Award of M.Phil / Ph.D. Degrees) Regulations, 2016;
  12. UGC (Credit Framework for Online Learning Courses through SWAYAM) Regulation, 2016.

139

Single Vaccine for dual protection | PIB Summary

The Ministry of Health and Family Welfare launched Measles Rubella (MR) Vaccine campaign in the country at a function in Bengaluru, here today.

Vaccine | Measles

Measles is a deadly disease and one of the important causes of death in children. It is highly contagious and spreads through coughing and sneezing of an infected person. Measles can make a child vulnerable to life threatening complications such as pneumonia, diarrhoea and brain infection. Globally, in 2015, measles killed an estimated 1, 34,200 children—mostly under-5 years. In India, it killed an estimated 49,200 children.

Vaccine | Rubella

Rubella is generally a mild infection, but has serious consequences if infection occurs in pregnant women, causing congenital rubella syndrome (CRS), which is a cause of public health concern. CRS is characterized by congenital anomalies in the foetus and newborns affecting the eyes (glaucoma, cataract), ears (hearing loss), brain (microcephaly, mental retardation) and heart defects, causing a huge socio-economic burden on the families in particular and society in general. 

About the campaign

  • The campaign against these two diseases will start from five States/UTs (Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Puducherry, Goa and Lakshadweep) covering nearly 3.6 crore target children.
  • Following the campaign, Measles-Rubella vaccine will be introduced in routine immunization, replacing the currently given two doses of measles vaccine, at 9-12 months and 16-24 months of age.
  • The MR campaign targets around 41 crore children across the country, the largest ever in any campaign.
  • All children aged between 9 months and less than 15 years will be given a single shot of Measles-Rubella (MR) vaccination irrespective of their previous measles/rubella vaccination status or measles/rubella disease status.
  • MR vaccine will be provided free- of- cost across the states from session sites at schools as well as health facilities and outreach session sites.
  • After the completion of the campaign, MR vaccine will be introduced in routine immunization and will replace measles vaccine, given at 9-12 months and 16-24 months of age of child. 

Highlights of the campaign

  • Government has taken this as an achievable target. This shall be taken up in a mission mode and rolled out in partnership with States, NGOs and development partners such as WHO, UNICEF, Gates Foundation, Lions Club, IPA, IMA, etc.
  • In the nationwide campaign, the Ministry will reach out to and cover 41 crore children in the age group of 9 months – 15 years.
  • Government has urged parents, caregivers, community leaders, teachers, anganwaadi workers and other frontline health workers to become the active part of this campaign.

Background

Measles vaccine is currently provided under Universal Immunization Programme (UIP). However, rubella vaccine will be a new addition.

Conclusion

Measles immunization directly contributes to the reduction of under-five child mortality, and with combination of rubella vaccine, will control rubella and prevent CRS in country population. Given the wide target group of the vaccination campaign, schools and educational institutions will play a critical role, and will require partnership from multiple stakeholders at all levels. 

140

Tribal Health Care Project | PIB Summary

The Tribal Health Care Research Program (THCRP) was started by the Central Council for Research in Ayurvedic Sciences (CCRAS), an autonomous organization under Central Government in 1982.

About the Project

The project involves studies of the living condition of tribal people including health Traditions (LHT); use of common medicinal plants in the area; propagation of knowledge about hygiene and prevention of diseases; and extending medical aid at door steps.

Tribal Health Care | Objectives

  • Provide health care facility to tribal population;
  • Promote healthy living among tribes; and
  • Collect and document the folk claims and local health traditions to enable research etc.

Tribal Health Care | Progress of the scheme

  • Population covered (target): 80,000
  • Population covered (actual): 89120
  • Documentation of folklore/LHT (target): 160
  • Documentation of folklore/LHT (actual): 125

141

BARAK Missile System | PIB Summary

About Barak Missile System

Long Range Surface-to-Air Missile (LR-SAM) and Medium Range Surface-to-Air Missile (MR-SAM) are jointly developed by Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO), India and M/s Israel Aerospace Industry (IAI), Israel and as per literature available in Internet, M/s IAI, Israel refers this missile as Barak-8 missile system (upgraded version of BARAK Missile System). 

Versions of the Barak Missile System

  • LR-SAM is the Ship Launch Version and Project MR-SAM is the Land Launch Version of Barak-08 Missile system. 
  • MR-SAM detects incoming enemy aircraft while they are well over 100 km away and destroys them at range upto 70 km. 
  • LR-SAM has got long range engagement capability to penetrate in deep water/land to intercept all types of aerial targets (like Subsonic & Supersonic Missiles, Fighter Aircraft, Maritime Patrolling Aircraft (MPA), Helicopter and Sea Skimming Missiles.

142

Welfare of Jute Workers | PIB Summary

Issues of jute workers

  • In order to assess the living conditions of jute workers, a study on the Socio-Economic Conditions of Jute Mill Workers was conducted in 2015-16 by National Jute Board (NJB).
  • The findings of the study, inter alia, indicate that 96.4% workers have electricity in their houses; that 91% of the families have piped water supply; that 99% of the workers have access to toilets; and that the mill workers have health coverage under ESI.

What the Government of India is doing for jute workers?

  • Government of India provides an assured market to the jute sector under the Jute Packaging Materials Act (JPM), 1987. Under this Act, Government has mandated that 90% of foodgrains and 20% of sugar be packed in jute bags.
  • The annual subsidy for this amounts to Rs 5,500 crores approximately.
  • Apart from this, the National Jute Board (NJB) has been implementing several measures for the benefit of workers, artisans and small producers and for promotion of the jute industry.  These include –
  1. Workers’ Welfare Scheme (Sulabh Sauchalaya) for improvement of sanitation, health facilities and working conditions of jute mill workers.
  2. Incentives to Children of Jute Mill Workers for extending support to the Workers’ families towards education of their children through a scholarship scheme.
  3. Export Market Development Assistance Scheme to facilitate registered manufacturer exporters of jute products to participate in international fairs and take business delegations abroad for export promotion of lifestyle and other diversified jute products.
  4. Retail Outlet of Jute Diversified Products Scheme for providing assistance to jute entrepreneurs for opening of outlets of jute lifestyle jute products in Metro Cities, State capitals, District Head Offices and Tourist spots; and
  5. Focused Market Initiatives for organising and participation in Jute Fairs, National Fairs / Regional Fairs, Export oriented fairs in India & abroad to extend marketing support to the artisans, small and micro entrepreneurs.

143

Centre of Integrative Oncology | PIB Summary

No document Available

Centre of Integrative Oncology would be inaugurated at National Institute of Cancer Prevention and Research (NICPR), Noida.

Centre of Integrative Oncology | Background

The setting up of this Centre is an outcome of the deliberations held in Indo-US Workshop on 3-4th March 2016 organized by Ministry of AYUSH, where the invited US delegates from Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS), National Institute of Health, National Cancer Institute deliberated with the eminent experts from India with expertise in Cancer research and other promising areas for two days to share experiences and work out a road map for future collaborations.

Centre of Integrative Oncology | Highlights

  • The main objective of the Centre is to build collaborations in the areas of cancer prevention, research and care.
  • This would pave the way to carry forward the ongoing bilateral dialogue and facilitate collaboration with stake holders, both national and international, like National Cancer Institute, USA.
  • The Centre would be the clearing house for information for AYUSH projects on cancer research and management.
  • The Centre would also offer 5 post-doctoral and 5 Senior Research Fellowships each year to deserving candidates to facilitate quality research in the country in the area of cancer research. The fellowship program would be launched at the inauguration.

144

Gross Enrolment Ratio (GER) of Boys and Girls | PIB Summary

As per Unified-District Information System For Education (UDISE) 2015-16, the Gross Enrolment Ratio (GER) of boys and girls at secondary level is 79.16 % and 80.97% respectively and GER of boys and girls at Senior Secondary level is 55.95% and 56.41% respectively.

GER | Analysis

  • There is no massive gap in the Gross Enrolment Ratio (GER) of boys and girls at secondary and senior secondary level in the country.
  • In case of higher education, GER of girls is marginally lower than that of boys at all India level and also in respect of most of the States.
  • Lower GER of girls in higher education as compared to that of boys could be attributed to factors such as social, cultural and religious beliefs, attitudes and practices, poverty and poor learning environment.

GER | Government initiatives

  • Under the Centrally Sponsored Scheme of Rashtriya Madhyamik Shiksha Abhiyan (RMSA), universalisation of secondary education envisages enhancing the enrolment ratio by providing a secondary school within a reasonable distance of every habitation, improving quality of education imparted at secondary level through making all secondary schools conform to prescribed norms, removal of gender, socio-economic and disability barriers.
  • The scheme provides for classrooms, science laboratory, library, computer room, art/craft/culture room, toilets, drinking water facilities etc. in new/upgradation and existing secondary schools.
  • Further, interventions like survey and identification of out of school children, awareness programmes, remedial teaching for learning enhancement, self-defence training for girls, provision of girls’ toilets, introduction of vocational education at Secondary stage, etc. have also been supported under RMSA to improve access to school education.
  • In order to encourage girls’ students for pursuing higher education, the Government is implementing scholarship/fellowship programmes for them to supplement the cost of education. For increasing participation of girls in higher education ‘Construction of Women’s hostels for colleges’ scheme is also being implemented.

145

India Innovation Index | PIB Summary

India Innovation Index was set up with an aim to rank States on the basis of innovations from 2017 

To make India an innovation-driven economy, NITI Aayog, Department of Industrial Policy & Promotion (DIPP) and Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) together launched a mega initiative “India Innovation Index” that will rank states on Innovations through country’s first online innovation index portal that will capture data on innovation from all Indian states on innovation and regularly update it in real time.

India Innovation Index | About

  • The India Innovation Index Framework will be structured based on the best practices followed in Global Innovation Index (GII) indicators and additionally by adding India-centric parameters those truly reflect the Indian innovation ecosystem.
  • This initiative will be the point of reference for all international agencies to collect India’s up to date data points for global indices and analytic.
  • This portal will be a first-of-its-kind online platform where Global Innovation Index indicators and India–centric data from various states will be coalesced and disseminated and updated periodically.
  • This will be a one-stop data warehouse and will track progress on each indicator at the National level and the State level on real-time basis. The access to this portal will be hosted on the NITI Aayog website, and NITI Aayog will update this data periodically.
  • Data collected on this portal will not only be used to ameliorate current data gaps with respect to the GII (Global Innovation Index), but be the prime source for the India Innovation Index, which will be jointly developed by NITI Aayog, DIPP and CII, in consultation with World Economic Forum, the World Intellectual Property Organization, Cornell University, OECD, UNIDO, ILO, UNESCO, ITU and others with the objective to rank Indian states as per their innovation prowess and provide impetus to them to build their respective innovation ecosystems and spur the innovation spirit among institutions and people.

About the ‘Global Innovation Index’

  • The Global Innovation Index (GII), co-published by World-Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), Cornell University and INSEAD with CII as a Knowledge Partnersince inception, has been ranking world economies including India since 2007 according to their innovation capabilities and outcomes using 82 indicators among a host of other important parameters.  It has established itself as both a leading reference on innovation and a ‘tool for action’ for policy makers.
  • India currently ranks 66th out of 128 countries on the Global Innovation Index (GII) 2016. To improve India’s rank in GII and other international indices, NITI Aayog jointly with Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) and Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion (DIPP), organized the Global Innovation Index – India Roundtable on 31st January in the capital.

146

IIIT Bill (Amendment) 2017 | PIB Summary


The IIIT Bill  – The Indian Institutes of Information Technology (Amendment)] Bill, 2017 got the approval for introduction in Parliament by the Union Cabinet chaired by the Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi 

IIIT Bill  | Background

  • The Indian Institutes of Information Technology Act, 2014 confers the status of Institutions of National Importance on the IIITs and also provides for matters connected with administering these IIITs.
  • The Government has approved creation of a new NIT at Kurnool in Andhra Pradesh as embodied in the Andhra Pradesh Reorganization Act, 2014.
  • Due to addition of a new IIIT, amendment has to be made in the IIIT Act, 2014. With this, IIITDM. Kurnool will be the fifth Member as a Centrally Funded IIIT.
  • Academic session has commenced in IITDM Kurnool in two branches of study in 2015-16.

IIIT Bill  | Key provisions

  • The IIIT Bill (amendment) provides for inclusion of Indian Institute of Information Technology Design and Manufacturing (IIITDM), Kurnool along with the other IITs in the Principal Act.
  • IITDM Kurnool will be declared as an institute of National Importance with the power to award degrees to students under the IIIT Bill (amendment)
  • The expenditure for the operationalization of IITDM Kurnool is incurred from the Plan funds of the Ministry of Human Resource Development.
  • The emerging needs of the industry and the economy, as a whole for skilled technical manpower is expected to be met from the talent pool of trained personnel of the Institute. The Institute shall be open to all persons irrespective of gender, caste, creed, disability, domicile, ethnicity, social or economic background.

147

Operation Clean Money | PIB Summary

Income Tax Department (ITD) has initiated Operation Clean Money.

Operation Clean Money

The initial phase of Operation Clean Money involves e-verification of large cash deposits made during 9th Day of November to the 30th Day of December 2016. Data analytics has been used for comparing the demonetisation data with information in ITD databases. In the first batch, around 18 lakh persons have been identified in whose case, cash transactions do not appear to be in line with the tax payer’s profile. Deposits over five lakh rupees are under scrutiny. Any deposits made under the “Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Yojna” will not fall under this operation. Any person making the shortlist would be given ten days to clarify the source of their income and if unable to do so the Income Tax Department would be issuing notices to them. A new helpline number (180042500025) has been issued to assist people in making the process easy. 

Operation Clean Money | Procedure for verification

Operation Clean money

  • Data analytics will be used to select cases for verification, based on approved risk criteria.  If the case is selected for verification, request for additional information and its response will also be communicated electronically. The information on the online portal will be dynamic getting updated on receipt of new information, response and data analytics. 
  • The response of taxpayer will be assessed against available information. In case explanation of source of cash is found justified, the verification will be closed without any need to visit Income Tax Office. The verification will also be closed if the cash deposit is declared under Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Yojna (PMGKY). 
  • The taxpayers covered in this phase should submit their response on the portal within 10 days in order to avoid any notice from the ITD and enforcement actions under the Income-tax Act as also other applicable laws.

148

Universal Basic Income Scheme | PIB Summary

The Economic Survey 2016-17 has advocated the concept of Universal Basic Income (UBI) as an alternative to the various social welfare schemes in an effort to reduce poverty. The survey juxtaposes the benefits and costs of the UBI scheme in the context of the philosophy of the Father of the Nation, Mahatma Gandhi. The Survey states that the Mahatma as astute political observer, would have anxieties about UBI as being just another add-on Government programme, but on balance, he may have given the go-ahead to the UBI.

Universal Basic Income | What does the survey say?

  • The Survey says the UBI, based on the principles of universality, unconditionality and agency, is a conceptually appealing idea but with a number of implementation challenges lying ahead especially the risk that it would become an add-on to, rather than a replacement of, current anti-poverty and social programmes, which would make it fiscally unaffordable.
  • It suggests that a more efficient way to help the poor would be to provide them resources directly, through a UBI.

Universal Basic Income | Prerequisites for implementing

Exploring the principles and prerequisites for successful implementation of UBI, the Survey points out that the two prerequisites for a successful UBI are:

  1. Functional JAM (Jan Dhana, Aadhar and Mobile) system as it ensures that the cash transfer goes directly into the account of a beneficiary and
  2. Centre-State negotiations on cost sharing for the programme.

Universal Basic Income | Why the Economic Survey favoured the UBI scheme?

The Survey says that a UBI that reduces poverty to 0.5 percent would cost between 4-5 percent of GDP, assuming that those in the top 25 percent income bracket do not participate. On the other hand, the existing middle class subsidies and food, petroleum and fertilizer subsidies cost about 3 percent of GDP.

Universal Basic Income | Conclusion

The Survey concludes that the UBI is a powerful idea whose time even if not ripe for implementation, is ripe for serious discussion.

149

Task Force for preparing Action Plan | PIB Summary

Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi has approved the constitution of the Task Force committee for preparing action plan for next three Olympic Games 2020, 2024 and 2028.

Membership of the task force

Shri Pulella GopichandOlympian and Coach
Shri Abhinav BindraOlympic Gold Medallist
Shri Rajesh KalraChief Editor , Times Group Online
Shri Om PathakSchool Sports Promotion foundation
Shri Viren RasquinhaCEO – Olympic Gold Quest
Shri S. Baldev Singh (Hockey)Coach
Prof. G.L. KhannaProfessor and Dean (Exercise and Physiology) Faculty of Applied Sciences, Manav Rachna International University, Faridabad
Shri Sandeep PradhanDirector General, Sports Authority of Gujarat (Member Convenor)

Terms of reference of the Task force

  • To suggest a comprehensive action plan including short-term, medium term and long-term measures for effective participation of Indian sportspersons in the next three Olympic Games to be held in 2020, 2024 and 2028.
  • To suggest effective methods to identify core probable/medal prospects for 2020 Olympics, their coaches and support staff.
  • To suggest effective talent identification system for 2024 and 2028 Olympics.
  • To identify components of world-class support system for elite sportspersons and lay down the pathway.
  • To suggest ways to achieve synergy in the efforts of key stakeholders within Government of India and across State Governments, IOA, National Sports Federations, NGOs, etc.
  • To suggest ways to significantly improve the standards of coaching and sports scientist within the country.
  • To suggest ways to create and upgrade sports infrastructure necessary to train top-level athletes.
  • To make suggestion regarding foreign training and exposure of top-level athletes.
  • To make recommendations on any other matters referred to the Task Force by the Government of India.

150

Meghalaya’s first ever Apparel and Garment Centre | PIB Summary

The Union Textiles Minister Smt. Smriti Zubin Irani, along with Chief Minister of Meghalaya Dr. Mukul Sangma, inaugurated the first ever Apparel and Garment Making Centre in Meghalaya, near Ampati in South West Garo Hills today.

Apparel and Garment Centre  | Background

The Apparel and Garment Making Centre is being set up as part of a landmark initiative announced by the Honourable Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi in Nagaland, on 1st December, 2014. The Prime Minister had announced that an Apparel and Garment Making Centre shall be constructed in all North Eastern states. Each Apparel and Garment Making Centre set up under the initiative is estimated to generate direct employment for 1,200 people.

Apparel and Garment Centre  | About 

  • The sprawling Apparel and Garment Making Centre, covering an area of 45,000 sq. ft, has been set up at Hatisil near Ampati, at a cost of approximately Rs. 14.26 crore, under the North East Region Textiles Promotion Scheme (NERTPS) of the Ministry of Textiles.
  • For local entrepreneurs with requisite background, required facilities to start a unit will be provided in ‘plug and play’ mode. Once such entrepreneurs get established, they can set up their own units, allowing the facility to be provided to new entrepreneurs.
  • The project will be fully funded by the Ministry of Textiles, with an estimated expense of Rs. 18.18 crores for each state. The initiative comes under the North East Region Textile Promotion Scheme (NERTPS) of the Ministry of Textiles.

Note – NERTPS is an umbrella scheme for the development of various segments of textiles, i.e. silk, handlooms, handicrafts and apparels & garments.

Apparel and Garment Centre  | Highlights of the project

  • The project is testimony to the true convergence of efforts of Central and State Governments. The Apparel Centre will create employment opportunities for both men and women of the region, thereby empowering them economically.
  • The Union Ministry of Textiles is implementing projects worth Rs. 70 crore in sericulture and weaving sectors for Meghalaya alone.
  • Around Rs. 32 crore has already been sanctioned for the state of Meghalaya, for promotion of handlooms.
  • As the region is well-known for regional dyes, Smt. Irani urged upon the weavers of the state to register with India Handloom Brand, which she said can directly connect the weavers with big multinational companies.
  • Once the centre starts functioning to its full potential, it will give an indication to investors across the country that the youth of the region are ready for economic engagement and expansion.
  • There is an apparent advantage provided by the availability of international market in neighbouring Bangladesh, and the opportunity it offers in forging business partnerships with investors of Bangladesh.
  • The weavers of the region are a ready workforce and they only require advanced training, so it is important to provide training for their technological up-gradation.

Apparel and Garment Centre  | Way forward

Dwelling on the huge potential of the region, there is a need to create industries and employment opportunities to harness the potential of sectors such as like sericulture and weaving.

151

India Post Payment Bank | PIB Summary


Finance Minister, Shri Arun Jaitley and Minister of Communications Shri Manoj Sinha launched the operations of the India Post Payments Bank (IPPB) here today as two pilot branches at Raipur and Ranchi through video conferencing from Delhi.

India Post Payment Bank  | Background

  • Given ‘in principle’ approval by the RBI along with 10 other aspirants on 19th Aug 2015, IPPB received the cabinet’s approval on 1st June, 2016 and was incorporated as on 17th Sept, 2106.
  • Today it became the second payments bank to launch its operations.
  • Having got its final banking license from the RBI on the 20th Jan 2017 it has commenced operations in record time of 10 days in partnership with the Punjab National Bank, after obtaining all necessary approvals and registrations from the RBI, NPCI etc.

India Post Payment Bank  | About

  • As mandated by the RBI, the India Post Payments Bank (IPPB) would focus on providing basic financial services such as all kinds of paymentsincluding social security payments, utility bill payments, person to person remittances (both domestic and cross-border), current and savings accounts up to a balance of Rs 1 lac, distribution of insurance, mutual funds, pension products and acting as business correspondent to other banks for credit products especially in rural areas and among the underserved segments of the society.
  • Set up us a 100% Government of India owned Public Limited Company under the Department of Posts, it will open around 650 branches in district HQ locations.
  • All 1.55 lacs post offices including the 1.39 lac of the rural post offices will be mapped to the IPPB branch at the district headquarter and function as access points for IPPB.
  • IPPB will usher in state of the art internet and mobile banking platforms, digital wallets and use innovative and emerging technologies to catalyse the shift from a cash dominant to a less cash economy.
  • The USP of IPPB will be its ability to ease access and handhold the adoption of new age banking and payments instruments among citizen of all walks of life through the delivery by postmen and Grameen Dak sevaks, savings agents and other franchisees who will take banking to door steps.
  • IPPB thus aspires to the most accessible, affordable and trusted bank for the common man with the motto – “No customer is too small, no transaction too insignificant, and no deposit too little”.

India Post Payment Bank  | Significance

  • About 650 IPPB branches will be opened by September this year and that will have a multiplier impact as far as banking in India is concerned.
  • With IPPB, banking at the doorstep will no longer remain a mere slogan, but will become a reality due to huge postal network in the country.
  • Financial Inclusion is critical for the socio-economic development of the country, but there are significant gaps in this area and a large proportion of country’s population remain unbanked or underbanked.
  • IPPB will effectively leverage the ubiquitous post office network with its pan-India physical presence, long experience in cash handling and savings mobilization, backed by the ongoing project of IT-enablement, to bridge this gap in Financial Inclusion.

152

Pulse Polio Programme | PIB Summary

The President of India Shri Pranab Mukherjee launched the Pulse Polio programme for 2017 by administering polio drops to children less than five years old, at the Rashtrapati Bhawan.

Pulse Polio | Highlights

Tomorrow, on the National Immunization Day, around 17 crore children of less than five years across the country will be given polio drops as part of the drive of Government of India to sustain polio eradication from the country.

Pulse Polio | Initiatives taken post-Polio Virus free status

Although polio virus has been eradicated from India, the risk of importation still persists from remaining three countries (Pakistan, Afghanistan and Nigeria) where poliovirus is still circulating.

  • The need still persists for the country to maintain the population immunity and sensitive surveillance till global polio eradication happens. This is maintained through National and Sub National Polio rounds along with sustained high quality polio surveillance.
  • India is conducting continuous polio vaccination at the international borders with India. A travel advisory has also been issued to vaccinate all travelers who are travelling between India and eight other countries.
  • An Emergency Preparedness and Response Plan (EPRP) is in place under which Rapid Response Teams (RRT) have been formed in all States/UTs to respond urgently to any importations of poliovirus.
  • To provide double protection to our children, Government of India has also introduced the injectable Inactivated Polio Vaccine (IPV) into its routine immunization program.

Pulse Polio | Key facts on immunisation

  • Due to high penetration of immunisation programmes, India has reduced under-5 mortality rate from 75 per 1000 live births in 2005 to 45 per 1000 in 2014 as per recent SRS estimates.
  • Rotavirus virus vaccine has been introduced as part of the UIP (Universal Immunisation Programme) last year and the Ministry is soon to introduce Pneumococcal Conjugate Vaccine that will help to reduce the burden of diarrhea, pneumonia and meningitis, and a countrywide campaign with Measles-Rubella vaccine in phased manner.
  • The innovative initiative of the Government, Mission Indradhanush, launched in 2014 has strengthened our immunization coverage and ensured that all vaccines reach our targeted beneficiaries even in remotest areas.

153

Responsible Health Care | PIB Summary

Department of Pharmaceuticals (DoP), Ministry of Chemicals and Fertilizers, along with Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI) is organising ‘Indian Pharma and India Medical Device 2017’, with the vision for responsible healthcare in Bengaluru from 11th to 13thFebruary, 2017.

Aim

 To project India as an Attractive Investment Destination and Global Hub for Pharma and Medical sector.

Themes

Medical Devices – ‘Shaping the Future-Making the Right Choices’

Pharma – ‘Shaping the future of India Pharma’

Highlights

  • This initiative will be a platform to give a push to the Indian Pharma & Medical Devices sector in becoming globally competitive.
  • It would play the role of a meeting point for International Drug Regulators, International Buyers, Investors and CEOs from the Global Pharma & Medical Devices sector that will provide ample opportunities to the participating stakeholders to network and learn amongst themselves.
  • The Conference will be a Pharma Kumbh and the highlight would be the International Drug Regulators meet. 
  • The initiatives in this three day programme are designed to focus on contemporary Policy Interventions, Ease of Doing Business, sharing best practices & fostering collaborations with the global Regulatory Framework and to deliberate on sectoral reforms which shall bring India on forefront of global attractiveness for Investments in Manufacturing and R&D in the sector.

154

Republic Day Parade – 2017 Awards announced | PIB Summary

The following have been awarded best among the participants in various categories -:

  • Best Marching Contingent amongst Services – Madras Engineer Group
  • Best Marching Contingent among Para-military forces – Central Industrial Security Force (CISF) contingent
  • Best tableau amongst 23 tableau from States/UTs – Arunachal Pradesh (depicting Yak dance), Tripura (bagged second position, depicting ‘Hojagiri’ dance)
  • Best tableaux representing Union Ministries/Departments – Ministry of Skill Development and Entrepreneurship (depicting theme – ‘Transforming India through Skill Development’)
  • Special prize – Central Public Works Department (CPWD) depicting the concept of ‘Green India-Clean India’.

155

TROPEX 17 Naval Excercise | PIB Summary

The Indian Navy’s Annual Theatre Readiness Operational Exercise (TROPEX) got underway on 24th January 2017.

TROPEX 17

  • The month long exercise will have ships and aircraft of both the Western and Eastern Naval Commands, as also assets from the Indian Air Force, Indian Army and the Indian Coast Guard exercising together.
  • The exercise is being conducted off the Western Seaboard. The last edition of the exercise was conducted in January 2015.

TROPEX 17 | Highlights

  • TROPEX has grown in scale and complexity over the years and will see participation of major surface combatants and air assets of the Indian Navy including the aircraft carrier Vikramaditya, nuclear submarine Chakra, Landing Platform Dock (LPD) Jalashwa, the recently commissioned destroyer Chennai, the P-8I long range maritime reconnaissance and anti-submarine warfare aircraft operating alongside SU-30 MKI, Jaguars, AWACS, IL-78 Flight Refuelling Aircraft of the Indian Air Force and Infantry units of the Indian Army.
  • The exercise will be conducted in various phases, both in harbour and at sea encompassing the various facets of war-fighting and combat operations.
  • TROPEX 17 exercise assumes special significance in the backdrop of the current security scenario. The exercise is aimed at testing combat readiness of the combined fleets of the Indian Navy, and the assets of the Indian Air Force, Indian Army and the Indian Coast Guard.
  • It will also strengthen inter-operability and joint operations in a complex environment.

156

Report on National MSME Policy | PIB Summary

Dr.Prabhat Kumar submits Report on National MSME Policy to Shri Kalraj Mishra

Dr.Prabhat Kumar, former Cabinet Secretary and Chairman One Member Committee for formulating National MSME Policy today presented its report to Shri Kalraj Mishra, Union Minister for Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises.

About the Prabhat Kumar Committee

  • The One Member Committee under the chairmanship of Dr. Prabhat Kumar was constituted by the Ministry of MSME on 31.12.2015 to help in formulating National MSME Policy.
  • The country does not have an MSME policy till date. Hence, the National MSME Policy will be formulated for the First Time in India.

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Clarifications on implementation of GAAR provisions | PIB Summary

Clarifications on implementation of GAAR provisions under the Income Tax Act, 1961 

The General Anti Avoidance Rule (GAAR) provisions shall be effective from the Assessment Year 2018-19 onwards, i.e. Financial Year 2017-18 onwards.  The necessary procedures for application of GAAR and conditions under which it shall not apply, have been enumerated in Rules 10U to 10UC of the Income-tax Rules, 1962.The provisions of General Anti Avoidance Rule (GAAR) are contained in Chapter X-A of the Income Tax Act, 1961.

About GAAR

  • GAAR will override tax treaty provisions and tax officials are allowed to deny tax benefits if a deal is found without any commercial purpose other than tax avoidance.
  • GAAR examines cases of aggressive tax planning involving inbound and outbound transactions, acting as a deterrent to treaty shopping.
  • The provisions of GAAR will be applicable to any tax benefit obtained from an arrangement on or after April 1.

Recent clarifications issued

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  • It has been clarified that if the jurisdiction of FPI (Foreign Portfolio Investments) is finalized based on non-tax commercial considerations and the main purpose of the arrangement is not to obtain tax benefit, GAAR will not apply.
  • GAAR will not interplay with the right of the taxpayer to select or choose method of implementing a transaction.
  • It has also been clarified that adoption of anti-abuse rules in tax treaties may not be sufficient to address all tax avoidance strategies and the same are required to be tackled through domestic anti-avoidance rules. However, if a case of avoidance is sufficiently addressed by Limitation of Benefits (LoB) provisions in the tax treaty, there shall not be an occasion to invoke GAAR. 
  • It has been clarified that if at the time of sanctioning an arrangement, the Court has explicitly and adequately considered the tax implications, GAAR will not apply to such an arrangement.
  • The proposal to apply GAAR will be vetted first by the Principal Commissioner of Income Tax /Commissioner of Income Tax and at the second stage by an Approving Panel headed by a judge of High Court.
  • The stakeholders have been assured that adequate procedural safeguards are in place to ensure that GAAR is invoked in a uniform, fair and rational manner. 

About ‘Limitation of Benefits (LoB)’ clause

  • It is an anti-abuse provision that restricts eligibility criteria for a third country (other than the contracting states) residents to obtain benefits under a Double Taxation Avoidance Agreement.
  • India has been insisting upon a LoB clause with all the concerned nations. The introduction of LoB provisions in recent Indian treaties, as in India’s treaty with Singapore and Mauritius recently, demonstrates a policy to discourage treaty shopping – where a multinational business takes advantage of favourable tax treaties in certain jurisdictions.

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Bharat Parv’ inaugurated at Red Fort, Delhi | PIB Summary

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PIB Summary

Bharat Parv, a national festival showcasing the country’s diverse culture, cuisines, handicrafts and catch glimpses of a progressive India was inaugurated by Dr. Mahesh Sharma, Minister of State (Independent charge) for Tourism and Culture at Red Fort, Delhi today.

PIB Summary | About ‘Bharat Parv’ event

Bharat Parv event is being organized by the Government of India at the Red Fort, Delhi from 26th to 31st January 2017, as part of the Republic Day 2017 Celebrations.

PIB Summary | Objective of the event

  • The prime objective of organizing the event is to generate a patriotic mood, promote the rich cultural diversity of the country, ensure wider participation of the general public and to popularise the idea of “Ek Bharat Shreshta Bharat”.
  • The Event is open to the public and entry is free.
  • The Ministry of Tourism has been designated as the nodal Ministry for the event, the highlights of which include display of the Republic Day Parade Tableaux, Performances by the Armed Forces Bands (static and moving), a Multi-Cuisine Food Court, Crafts Mela, Cultural Performances from different regions of the country and a Photo Exhibition by the Ministry of Information & Broadcasting. 

PIB Summary | Highlights of the event

  • The Cultural Performances include choreographed Folk / Tribal Dances and Music from across the country arranged through the North Zonal Cultural Centre as well as performances by cultural troupes from the different States/ UTs of the country.
  • The Food Court has 50 stalls set up by the States / UTs, National Association of Street Vendors of India (NASVI) showcasing street food from different regions as well as by the Institutes of Hotel Management and ITDC.
  • The Crafts Mela with 50 stalls showcases the diverse handicrafts of the country, arranged by the State Governments and Ministry of Textiles through the Office of the Development Commissioner of Handicrafts.
  • There are 11 Theme State Pavilions where each State would showcase their achievements and initiatives, tourism products and destinations, etc.
  • The Ministry of Information & Broadcasting has set up a Photo Exhibition on the theme “Mera Desh Badal Raha Hai, Aage Badh Raha Hai”. The big attraction of the event are the Republic Day Parade Tableaux which are stationed at the venue for the duration of the event.

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Jeevan Raksha Padak Awards 2016 | PIB Summary

The President of India has approved the conferment of Jeevan Raksha Padak Series of Awards – 2016 on 36 persons which includes Sarvottam Jeevan Raksha Padak, Uttam Jeevan Raksha Padak and Jeevan Raksha Padak.