Policy Watch – September 14th, 2017

Important policy updates from 8th September 2017 – 14th September 2017


WiFi for all Panchayats by March 2019

The government is attempting to cover nearly 5.5 lakh villages with WiFi facility by March 2019, with an ambitious Rs 3,700-crore plan. Broadband services with about 1,000 megabits per second (1 gbps) benefitting 1 lakh gram panchayats by the end of this year has been planned. Under the new telecom policy, the government will focus on linking some 40,000 villages and increase the availability of regular Internet access facility to 70 crore people, from 30 crores, by 2022. As of July 2017, 2,21,925 kilometers of optical fiber cable (OFC), covering 1,00,299 gram panchayats, were laid and 25,426 GPs provided with broadband connectivity.

For more information: Live mint

Ground Water Management

The Central Ground Water Board, under the Ministry of Water Resources, and the Indian Institute of Science have signed a MoU for enabling ground water flow and management of ground water. The study will cover an area of 48,000 sq. km., over a period of a year. The report will provide information as to which areas will face ground water level reduction in the years to come. This input will enable effective management so that a balance between demand and supply can be attained.

For more information: Business Standard

Foundation Stone Laid for India’s First Bullet Train

The Prime Minister of India and Japan laid the foundation stone of India’s first bullet train between Mumbai and Ahmedabad. The PM spoke of this corridor taking the shape of a development zone in the years to come. Based on the financial and technical support being provided by Japan, the project is expected to transform the region into a single economic zone, along with providing fast paced connectivity.

For more information: Live Mint

Integrated Cargo Terminal at Imphal

With financial aid from Trade Infrastructure for the Export Scheme of the Ministry of Commerce and Industry, the Airports Authority of India will develop an integrated cargo terminal at Imphal airport. This will provide an impetus to the export of handicraft and perishable items. It will also help establish better connectivity and improve trade relations with South East Asia and between India and ASEAN nations.

For more information: Business Standard

Milk Processing and Basic Development Fund

To improve the condition of milk cooperatives by employing better technology and infrastructural upgrade, a separate fund will be set up, at the cost of 10,881 crores, from 2017-18 to 2028-29. This fund will aid in setting up an efficient system for milk procurement, electronic equipment for testing milk adulteration and expanding processing infrastructure, etc.

For more information: The Hindu Business Line


Draft Model Law on Contract Farming

A draft model law on contract farming is in the making, with an aim to address issues such as price volatility and ensure better prices for farm produce. A regulated system for registering contracts with an authorised state agency will make concerned farmers less vulnerable to market fluctuations. Once the draft is made public and taking into account the suggestions provided by relevant stakeholders, a Model Contract Act is expected to be formulated in November. The Act is expected to incorporate legal safeguards, along with a dispute resolution system so as to avoid instances of exploitation of farmers by private companies.

For more information: Times of India


Regional Conference on Best Practices

The Department of Administrative Reforms and Public Grievances organised a two-day regional conference on the subject of good governance and replication of best practices. The conference was organised, in order to create a platform for discussing citizen centric rule implementation, establish citizen friendly administration. Around 25 states/UTs were represented at the conference. Presentations on good governance index were made and the programs sponsored by the Prime Minister (Pradhan Mantri Crop Insurance Scheme, Deen Dayal Upadhyay Grameen Kaushalya Yojana, Digital Payment and Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana [Urban and Rural]) were recommended to be replicated.

For more information: Business Standard

‘m-Aadhaar’ – ID Proof for Travellers

The Ministry of Railways has permitted the use of m-Aadhaar (Aadhar details that can be downloaded using a mobile application by UIDAI), as an acceptable proof of identity for railway passengers travelling in reserved classes. The app will work only if the phone number is linked with Aadhaar accounts.

For more information: Deccan Chronicle

“Container Terminal of the Year” Award

The Jawaharlal Nehru Port Container Terminal was awarded this container Terminal of the Year Award at the Gateway Awards, 2017, for the innovative strategies that were employed to ensure a hassle free and smooth delivery of containers. The Gateway Award has been established to identify and encourage best practices and innovation in the maritime space.

For more information: PIB Release

Indian Secretariat Standards Become the Benchmark

The Malaysian Association of Company Secretaries has adopted the standards issued by the Institute of Company Secretaries of India, in order to develop their own standards.

For more information: Business Standard


Workshop on Role of International Financial Agencies

The Department of Economic Affairs organised a workshop on the role and participation of multilateral agencies in developing capacities of states and union territories. It also focussed on the potential of the agencies to contribute and on the steps taken by the Government for securities market. Participants included Principal Secretaries and Additional Chief Secretaries of Finance departments, senior officers from the Ministry of Finance, IMF South Asia Regional Training and Technical Assistance Center(SARTTAC), World Bank, Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank and New Development Bank.

For more information: Outlook India

Health and Environment

International conference- Low cost Technology in e-Health Care

The Minister of State for Health and Family Welfare inaugurated the 7th International Conference on the use of low-cost technology in e-health care services. The focus was laid on the need to effectively make use of the Digital India initiative while providing health care services, and the use of e-applications, to make services economical, accessible and transparent. The Minister of State also praised the doctors who had taken the initiative to treat their patients using e-applications, instead of travelling to distant areas.

For more information: Business Standard

First Homeopathy Virology Laboratory

India’s first virology laboratory has been set up at Dr. Anjali Chatterjee Regional Homeopathy Research Institute in Kolkata, at a cost of Rs. 8 crores, recognised by the Calcutta University. The laboratory, inaugurated by Union minister of state for AYUSH, will give an impetus to developing techniques and new medications for challenging medical problems, and at the same time, to provide a platform to carry out quality research in the field.

For more information: Hindustan Times

Open Defecation Free Cantonment Boards

The Defence Minister felicitated ten cantonment boards for acquiring the status of Open Defecation Free (ODF) at a function held in Banaras Hindu University. The efforts of children as ‘Swahhta Doots’ was appreciated and the involvement of Defence Ministry in promoting cleanliness was highlighted. The cantonment boards that won the award include Bareily, Jabalpur, Mathura and Varanasi.

For more information: PIB Release


In memory of Swami Vivekananda’s Chicago Address

The Prime Minister addressed students on the 125th anniversary of Swami Vivekananda’s Chicago address, on the subject, ‘Young India, New India’. He spoke of Swami Vivekananda’s vision for the youth of the country, and the significant role he saw the youth playing, in the progress of the nation. He called upon the younger generation to take inspiration from the ideas propagated by Swami Vivekananda and spoke of the government’s commitment to work tirelessly for fulfilling the aspirations of the youth.

For more information: India Today

Start-Up Conference

The Centre for Industrial Policy and Promotion organised the second start-up conference in New Delhi, with participants ranging from senior officials from states and UTs, representatives from industries, to funding agencies, investors and start-ups themselves. Topics of discussion include state government led administrative reforms and their role in fostering an enabling and start-up friendly environment and fund creation aspects in states along with simplifying rules for encouraging more start-ups. The Government of India has extended tax benefits to 67 start-ups till date, under the Startup India, Stand Up India program.

For more information: PIB Release

Nari Shakti Puraskar

The Ministry of Women and Child Development has opened its application process for the Women Power Award, which is given away every 8th of March, on International Women’s Day. The award seeks to recognise the efforts made by any individual and institution, towards empowering women and enabling their economic and social growth. The last date to receive the nomination is 15th October 2017.

For more information: PIB Release

Uniformed Women in Prison Administration

The first National Conference on Uniformed Women in Police Administration was organised over a period of two days. Discussions were held around the issues of service reforms and they also adopted a resolution. These conferences will be held twice a year to make an assessment of the progress concerning the implementation of the resolution.

For more information: PIB Release


All-Women Sagar Parikrama

An all- women team of the Navika Sagar Parikrama set sail on INSV Tarini. The six-member crew will circumnavigate the globe in approximately 165 days. This also happens to be the first time in India that an all women crew has undertaken the circumnavigation of the globe. The expedition is seen as contributing to attain the objectives of National Policy for women empowerment.

For more information: PIB Release


MoU with Morocco

The Cabinet approved the signing of a MoU with Morocco, to cooperate in the field of health. The areas of cooperation include drug regulation, maternal, neonatal and child health, non-communicable diseases, to name a few

For more information: PIB Release

Policy Watch – September 7th, 2017

Important policy updates from 1st September 2017 – 7th September 2017


Rajaswa Gyan Sangam

The purpose of organizing the conference is to facilitate a two-way communication between policy makers and the officers working in field offices. This is seen as a step that will increase the efficiency in collecting revenue and ensuring that policies are implemented on the ground effectively. The conference will also serve as a platform to deliberate and discuss on problems ensuing while implementing policies.

For more information: PIB Release

“New India- Will Be by Me”

The Ministry of Parliamentary Affairs and Container Corporation of India, along with Bandra railway station in Mumbai, organized an exhibition/ cultural program, in order to promote the resolve of “New India”. The Exhibition also focuses on the freedom movements of the country (1857-1947). These programs will be organized at 39 locations across the length and breadth of the country, with a focus also on the vision for New India(2017-2022). Information will also be disseminated regarding various Central Government schemes.

For more information: PIB Release


App to Apply for Farm Registration

The Agricultural & Processed Food Products Export Development Authority (APEDA) has developed an integrated system for concerned stakeholders, for the purpose of facilitating farm registration and certification of certain vegetables and fruits meant to be exported. A mobile app is also in place, which can help farmers carry out their farm registration process and track the status of the same. The app will also assist state agriculture departments in obtaining real time details of farm location, farm products, inspection details, etc.

For more information: Business Standard


National Nutrition Strategy

NITI Aayog has unveiled a national strategy to ensure that each and every child, adolescent girl and woman attains a favorable nutritional status by 2022. The Integrated Child Development Services Scheme will be broadened to develop the National Nutrition Mission. There is a significant role to be played by the Steering Group, envisaged to monitor the progress made.

For more information: Hindustan Times


Swachh Vidyalaya Puraskar 2017

The Department has taken new initiative for the furtherance of Swachh Vidyalaya Campaign and instituted Swachh Vidyalaya Puraskar in 2016-17 to recognize, inspire and celebrate excellence in water, sanitation and hygiene practices in schools. The schools were given an award of Rs. 50,000/- each as additional school grant, to be utilized for swachhta related activities, which was digitally transferred to them, along with a Certificate.

For more information: NDTV

DIKSHA Portal Launched

The Vice President of India inaugurated DIKSHA Portal on the occasion of Teachers’ Day, along with presenting the National Teachers Award, 2016. DIKSHA is a digital platform to equip teachers with skills, using technology and by making the utmost use of the digital infrastructure that is in place. It will provide free online courses for teachers in both online and offline modes.

For more information: PIB Release


UJALA in Malaysia

The Energy Efficiency Services Limited (EESL), under the Ministry of Power, has launched the UJALA Scheme in Melaka, Malaysia. The EESL will be distributing about 1 million 9W LED bulbs, replacing 18W CFLs, along with a 3-year replacement warranty against any technical defects. The Chief Minister of Melaka appreciated the idea of this scheme and highlighted how adopting this practice will be an environment-friendly approach, promote clean energy and improve quality of life of people in the region.

For more information: PIB Release


National Integration Tour

The Indian Army is organizing tours to kindle the spirit of national integration for students from ;J&K and the North Eastern states. The tour organized for students from Leh, comprised of interaction with Army Officials and visits to various places of cultural and historical significance, in Chandigarh and Delhi.

For more information: PIB Release


FASTag lanes- Electronic Toll Collection

The National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) has moved a step towards realizing the mission of Electronic Toll Collection, by operationalizing one dedicated FASTag lane at all toll plazas. FASTag is a device that employs Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) technology, making direct toll payments from linked prepaid accounts- available both online and offline through banks and Common Service Centres. Two mobile applications- MyFASTag and FASTag Partner, have also been launched to facilitate the availability of FASTags. More lanes will be dedicated to electronic toll collection, as the penetration of FASTag increases.

For more information: Deccan Chronicle

Tribal Affairs

‘Festival Offers’ Inaugurated

The Minister of Tribal Affairs inaugurated ‘Festival Offers’ for the promotion of tribal products, and thus empowering tribal artisans. The Ministry plans to open exhibition cum sale outlets for tribal products and inviting artisans from all over the country. Additionally, in order to boost marketing and sale, the Tribal Co-operative Marketing Development Federation of India Limited (TRIFED) has launched a wide range of initiatives, such as discount schemes for government employees, festival discounts and other offer packages.

For more information: PIB Release

“North East Calling”

The Ministry of Development of North Eastern Region is organizing the ‘North East Calling’ programme on the 9th and 10th of September. The event is being held in order to promote the art, culture, cuisine, handicrafts, and tourism of North East India, which will also showcase various products and activities of the region. A range of competitions will also be held in schools and colleges, on the theme of North East, with the main two-day event to be hosted at India Gate lawns.

For more information: PIB Release


Social Media Campaign to Promote Geographical Indications (GIs)

The Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion and the Intellectual Property Rights Promotion and Management Cell have begun a social media campaign to promote Indian Geographic Indicators, aimed at educating people about intellectual property rights. Such a step will aid the process of keeping the intellectual heritage of Indian products secure and will be in keeping with the ‘Make in India’  campaign. This will also help the rural economy, by protecting the generation old procedures and techniques used by weavers and traditional craftsmen.

For more information: Business Standard


Push for Early Setting up of BRICS Credit Rating Agency

At the BRICS Summit held in Xiamen, Prime Minister Mr.Modi pitched for an early setting up of a  separate credit rating agency, to cater to the financial needs of member countries of BRICS and other developing countries. India has always highlighted the issues concerning the three major rating agencies and held that creation of a new agency will help tackle problems of emerging markets and economies.

For more information: The Hindu

Policy Watch – August 31st, 2017

Important policy updates from 25th August 2017 – 31st August 2017


RBI Annual Report- Post Demonetisation Update

The Annual Report released by RBI has published trends detected in counterfeit notes in the banking system for the year 2016-17. As per the report, 762,072 counterfeit notes were detected in the system and it was 20.4% higher than the previous year. Approximately 98.96% of SBNs are reported to have come back to the RBI, post demonetization.

For more information: Livemint

To view the RBI Report: Report

NITI Aayog’s Three Year Action Agenda

The Finance Minister, Sh. Arun Jaitley, unveiled NITI Aayog’s Three Year Action Agenda, which forms an integral part of its 15-year Vision Document of India. A number of policy initiatives have been prescribed, with a major focus on reforms in the agricultural and Industrial sectors. Additionally, job creation is a concern addressed in the report, by suggesting reforms in the exports sector, leading to more competitiveness, more output and naturally, more jobs.

For more information: Economic Times

To view the Agenda document: Niti Aayog

GST FAQs For Taxpayers

The Central Board of Excise and Customs (CBEC) has published a list of frequently asked questions related to GST law, procedures, tax rates, etc., for the benefit of taxpayers. This can be accessed here. Key words or topics can be used to search for information, under the ‘Services’ tab. Information on matters ranging from handicraft to mining can be found on the website.

For more information:  PIB Release

GDP Estimates for the First Quarter (April-June) Released

The estimates, released by the Central Statistics Office (CSO), have indicated a growth rate of 5.7%, lower than the 7.9% growth recorded in the corresponding quarter last fiscal year, and the 6.1% recorded in the  previous quarter.

For more information: PIB Release


DARPG Grievance Study Analysis of 20 Ministries released

The analysis report indicates that steps are being taken to bring all ministries and departments under the e-office mission mode project by the end of this year. Major issues and grievances are being identified so that solutions can be sought appropriately. The department is also in the process of developing Development Goal Manual and a Good Governance Index. A Project Management Unit and a dedicated team has been put in place to monitor reforms in consultation with concerned Ministries and Departments and to understand the impact of such reform measures.

For more information: PIB Release

PM’s 21st Interaction via PRAGATI

The 20 previously held PRAGATI meetings has led to a cumulative review of 183 projects and Public Grievances’ Resolution review in 17 sectors. The focus of this meeting’s review was on progress made in grievance redressal with regard to patents and trademarks. Some other projects reviewed include the Smart Cities Mission among the nine vital infrastructure projects in road, railways and power, worth over Rs.56,000 crore. Emphasis was also laid on the use of space technology for empowering tribals by determining their rights.

For more information: India Today

UP Chief Minister’s Helpline

The state government of Uttar Pradesh has proposed to operationalise a 1000- seater grievance cell in Lucknow, called as the ‘Chief Minister’s Helpline’, for the purpose of handling as many as 80,000 calls a day from residents across the state. The CM’s helpline will arm citizens with a very important tool – of simple calling up a number and reaching the CMO with their grouse and getting an assured timeline for redressal. This move aims to solve citizens’ grievances at their doorstep in a time-bound manner.

For more information: Economic Times


Swachh Bharat Media Awards

Giving an impetus to the Swachhta Mission,started in 2014, the 2nd of October, 2017, will witness awarding of media organizations, for their contribution in making Swachhta, a janaandolan through awareness generation and other initiatives. This is also the third anniversary of the Swachh Bharat Mission. Organizations are expected to send their entries by the 10th of September. The Ministry of Drinking Water and Sanitation will set up a jury who will evaluate the entries to select winners.  

For more information: PIB Release

National Nutrition Week (1st- 7th September)

The main objective of this initiative is to give a boost to the magnitude of awareness generation programmes on the importance of nutrition, with the concerted effort of various Community Food and Nutrition Extension Units and other concerned departments in States and UTs. The theme for the event is “Optimal Infant & Young Child Feeding Practices: Better Child Health”.  Many activities are being organised at state, district and village levels, including workshops and lectures, for the benefit of state and district level officers.

For more information: PIB Release


Smart Agriculture Conclave (30th- 31st August, 2017)

Ministry of Science and Technology’s Department of Bio-Technology organised the conclave for the purpose of creating a roadmap, to set up “FarmerZone”, a cloud service collating important agricultural data. This zone will serve as a multi purpose window addressing concerns of the farmers anywhere in the world. The conclave was organised to discuss about issues that farmers face and find solutions for the same, using cloud technology.

For more information: PIB Release

Innovation And Technology

Secure Email Service for Government officials

In keeping with the Digital India initiative, the Government has decided to provide a secure email service for all its officials to use, for secure communication. As per the email policy, an email ID will be assigned to all Central and State Government officials through the National Informatics Centre. This step is slated to increase productivity by keeping the Government employees better informed and increase their participation, and is also a move towards attaining Green Government.

For more information: PIB Release

Digitised Central Public Works Department

The CPWD has undergone a digital transformation, enabling payments worth Rs.20,000 crore per year to be carried out electronically. This step will help monitor expenditure incurred on projects and efficient utilization of funds.

For more information: PIB Release

Commerce And Industry

New Industrial Policy

The Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion has set the ball rolling to draw up the new Industrial Policy, intended to make India a manufacturing hub. The new policy will subsume the National Manufacturing Policy, and will review FDI policies so as to facilitate greater transfer of technology. The DIPP has undertaken a consultative approach by creating thematic focus groups and conducting an online survey to gather inputs. The Hon’ble Minister of State for Commerce and Industry will be holding consultations with stakeholders like think tanks and a few state governments as well.

For more information: Livemint


Smart Meters for realization of Smart Grids in India

Energy Efficiency Services Ltd. (EESL), Ministry of Power, has initiated this measure as a means to reduce occurrences of AT&C losses, power theft and achieve greater energy efficiency in the process. The Pre-Bid Meeting for procuring the metres has received a very positive response from manufacturers, and has also succeeded in attracting the attention of various other stakeholders including the World Bank. About 100 companies participated in the pre-bid meeting, indicating an increased interest in India for such initiatives.

For more information: PIB Release


Pan India Handloom and Handicraft Camps

The Government of India has proposed to organize handloom and handicraft camps across India, under the ‘Hastkala Sahyog Shivir’ initiative. This initiative, dedicated to Pandit Deendayal Upadhyay Garib Kalyan Varsh, on his birth centenary year, will be held from the 7th October to 17th October. A wide variety of services and assistance will be made available to artisans and weavers to boost their business prospects. The idea is to take this forward to more than 200 block level handloom and handicraft clusters each.

For more information: PIB Release


Mission 11 Million, Trophy Tours and a lot more

Union Minister for Sports and Youth Affairs, Vijay Goel, provided an opportunity to slum children from across Delhi, to watch FIFA U-17 World Cup trophy at his residence. The kids also received footballs as gifts. Inspired by the motto of “KhelogeToKhiloge”, Mission 11 Million programme seeks to take football to 11 million kids across the country, through 15, 000 schools. This has reached 8 million kids so far, through 12, 000 schools across the country.

For more information: Business Standard

Grameen Khel Mahotsav

The first edition of Grameen Khel Mahotsav will kickstart in Delhi (28th August- 3rd September), with the aim to popularise indigenous games such as, wrestling, tug of war, athletics, etc. This event is slated to see a participation of 16,000 youth from rural Delhi. The practise of organising such events will be encouraged in other states as well, so as to enable grassroots level players to showcase their talent.

For more information: PIB Release

National Talent Search Portal

The Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports has launched a portal to identify the best sporting talent in the country. This initiative seeks to identify talented players and mould them into world champions. Steps towards achieving this will be taken by the Sports Authority of India (SAI), who will start by selecting prospective talent based on the bio-data or video uploaded on the portal. The ones selected will be trained and developed into competing athletes.

For more information: Firstpost


First set of Reforms in the Armed Forces

The first phase of reforms in the Armed Forces will begin with the aspects of redeployment and restructuring of approximately 57,000 posts of officers. These reforms are expected to be completed by the 31st December, 2019. It is part of the first ever reform exercise being undertaken in this sector. These measures are aimed at improving combat capability and for achieving an increased level of operational preparedness.

For more information: Economic Times

Policy Watch – August 24th, 2017

Important policy updates from 18th August 2017- 24th August 2017

Youth Opportunities

Be Soldiers of Development: Modi to Entrepreneurs

On the occasion of  ‘Champions of Change’ organized by Niti Aayog, Prime Minister asked young entrepreneurs to be soldiers of development. He said that we as Indians should take pride in our rich heritage and boost tourism. He encouraged them to work towards cutting down on imports and making it less-cash economy. Modi ji also mentioned GeM ( Government e Market) – a portal where small suppliers can sell their products to the government.

For more information: India Today


Swasth Bachche, Swasth Bharat

‘Swasth Bachche, Swasth Bharat’ Programme is an initiative of Kendriya Vidyalaya Sangathan. It is meant to prepare a physical Health and Fitness Profile Card for more than 12 lakhs of Kendriya Vidyalaya students.

The objective of this programme is to make students and teachers and parents aware about the importance of good health. The idea is to encourage 60 minutes of physical fitness everyday Swasth Bachche, Along with this, motivating potentially outstanding performers, using technology for data capture and analytics are the objectives of the programmes.

For more information: PIB Release

“Mentor India” Campaign

NITI Aayog has launched the Mentor India Campaign to engage leaders who can guide and mentor students at more than 900 Atal Tinkering Labs. The idea is to engage leaders who will nurture and guide students in the Atal Tinkering Labs. These labs are non-prescriptive by nature, and mentors are expected to be enablers rather than instructors. Atal Tinkering Labs are dedicated works spaces where students from Class 6th to Class 12th learn innovation skills and develop ideas that will go on to transform India. The labs are powered to acquaint students with state-of-the-art equipment such as 3D printers, robotics & electronics development tools, Internet of things & sensors etc. You can apply to be mentor by filling up an application here.

For more information: PIB Release  


National Sports Museum in New Delhi

The Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports is going to establish National Sports Museum, first of its kind, at Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium, New Delhi. The aim of the Museum is to popularise the sports as a way of life within the country. Accordingly, the proposed Museum would go beyond the classical approach of a collection of memorabilia to become an interactive venue of interest for all age groups. it will display achievements of the Indian greats in sports and also act as an educational hub and offer an opportunity for the young to delve into some sporting activity.

For more information: The Indian Express


Navika Sagar Parikrama

Navika Sagar Parikrama is a project wherein a team of women officers of the Indian Navy would circumnavigate the globe on an Indian-built sailboat INSV Tarini. This is the first ever Indian circumnavigation of the globe by an all-women crew. The project is scheduled to commence in early Sep 17. The project is considered essential towards promoting Ocean Sailing activities in the Navy while depicting Government of India’s thrust for ‘Nari Shakti’. It aims at promoting women empowerment in the country and ocean sailing by the Indian Navy.

For more information: India International Times


New India Movement – A great success

The Agriculture & Farmers Welfare Ministry has planned to organize the Sankalp Se Sidhi program at 578 Krishi Vigyan Kendras (KVKs), 29 ICAR institutes/SAUs and 53 ATMAs during 19-30 August 2017. The programs comprise of Kisan Film having message of Hon’ble PM to double farmers’ income by year 2022, followed by pledge for Sankalp Se Sidhi, lecture by agriculture experts and address of the chief guest. “Sankalp Se Sidhi” program is being organized across the country to commemorate the 75th Anniversary of Quit India Movement.

For more information: PIB Release

International  Relations

Special Economic Zones in Africa

India and Japan have created a blueprint for developing SEZs in Africa. The first SEZ will come up around Mombasa port in Kenya which will focus on infrastructure, pharmaceutical, fertilisers and manufacturing. Indian firms have considerable influence and power in Mombasa port which is the gateway to the East African market.

Indian officials said New Delhi has been partnering with Japan for the development of African continent based on what two countries can do together for “economic prosperity and capacity building and development of the countries in the continent.” India giving aid to big infrastructure projects in Africa started by the UPA II government and carried forward by the NDA government.

For more information: Hindustan Times

No data from China on Brahmaputra this year

The Brahmaputra and the Sutlej are the two major trans-border rivers that enter India directly from China. There is an existing mechanism named India-China Expert-Level mechanism started in 2006 to share hydrological data during the flood season for Brahmaputra and Satluj rivers. Under the MoUs, the hydrological data is to be shared between May 15 to October 15 every year. However, the same has not been shared this year. This is hinted at China’s responsibility for the current spate of floods across the northeastern States.

According to the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC), over 16 million people have been affected by monsoon flooding across India, Nepal and Bangladesh. This is fast becoming one of the most serious humanitarian crises this region has seen in many years and urgent action is needed to meet the growing needs of millions of people affected by these devastating floods. In India over 11 million people are affected by floods in four states across the north of the country.

For more information: Mint

Policy Watch – August 17th, 2017

Important policy updates from 11th August 2017- 17th August 2017


Sports University in India

Government has taken a major step to encourage sports in India. On 10th August 2017, Bill was introduced in the Lok Sabha to set up a National Sports University. The aims and objectives of the Bill states that the National Sports University will be the first full fledged sports university in India of international standards. It is proposed to be set up the university Manipur with focus on the creation of a high standard infrastructure for the development of sports sciences and training of athletes apart from offering multidisciplinary studies and award of degrees and certificates. It will also conduct research and training of athletes in various areas pertaining to sports.

For more information: Deccan Herald

Youth Opportunities

National Skills Training Body

Skill Development Ministry is to strengthen its skilling framework plans to establish a national-level standards body for skills training. The body will be equivalent to its main education body, the Central Board of Secondary Education. Skill Minister Shri Rajiv Pratap Rudy while talking to media persons mentioned that there would be central certification system that will allow youth to move from skilling to education and vice-versa.

For more information:  Economic Times

‘SheMeansBusiness’ programme for women entrepreneurs

Odisha government has launched ‘She Means Business’ programme of Facebook for women entrepreneurs. The aim of this programme is to reduce the digital divide and empower nearly 25,000 women entrepreneurs and SHGs by giving them training on digital marketing skills within next one year. Facebook will also make a database of entrepreneurs in the state and will monitor their growth, turnover and profit after one year. Women entrepreneurs will get hands on training on digital marketing free of cost and they need not create their website to promote their business. The platform will also facilitate vertical integration.

For more  information: Times of India


Madhyamik and Uchchtar Shiksha Kosh

Cabinet has approved a single corpus fund for secondary and higher education with the name of Madhyamik and Uchchtar Shiksha Kosh. All the proceeds of secondary and higher education cess will be credited and utilised for the government’s schemes in education sector. The expenditure from MUSK will be financed only after current Gross Budgetary Support to Education is exhausted. The  Human Resource Development Ministry will be responsible for administration and maintenance of the account.

For more information: Economic Times


Economic Survey

The Economic Survey 2017, tabled in Parliament on Tuesday, projected that the country’s gross domestic product (GDP) will grow by 6.75 per cent to 7.5 per cent in in 2017-18. The mid-year survey of the economy was released by Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s chief economic adviser, Arvind Subramanian.  According to the Survey, redistribution by the government is far from efficient in targeting the poor. However, at the level of the states, competitive populism is more in evidence than competitive service delivery. Also, there has been an improvement in the financial position of states over the last few years. The Survey has advocated the concept of Universal Basic Income (UBI) as an alternative to the various social welfare schemes in an effort to reduce poverty.

For more information: Economic Survey

Financial Data Management Centre

The Law Ministry has approved a revised Cabinet proposal on the creation of the Financial Data Management Centre (FDMC) that would subsequently collect raw data directly in electronic format from the (financial) regulators. Over time, it will gradually build capacity to collect data from the regulated entities i.e. Financial Service Providers. FDMC will be set up through an Act.  However, it has received opposition from the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) as it would now no longer be the sole collector and custodian of financial data. The RBI is also against sharing raw data that it gets from banks and other market sources with FDMC as it is not obliged to share confidential client information of banks with anybody.

For more information: The Indian Express


Metro Rail Policy

Cabinet has approved a new Metro Rail Policy that defines the relationship between Centre and State for a new Metro Project. According to the  policy, States should have private participation and ensure last-mile connectivity through feeder services for a catchment area of 5km. States will need to adopt innovative mechanisms like value capture financing tools to mobilize resources for financing metro project. states will get powers to make rules and regulations and set up permanent fare fixation authorities.

For more information: The Mint

NHAI launches mobile applications

National Highways Authority of India launched two mobile Apps – MyFASTag and FASTag Partner to facilitate the availability of FASTags for Electronic Toll Collection.  The mobile Apps will ease the process, making it possible to buy or recharge FASTags at the click of a mobile button. A consumer can purchase or recharge FASTags on this App. The App also helps to keep track of transactions and provides for online grievance redressal. In addition to the above, FASTag can now be purchased online from Issuer Banks websites / NHAI website / IHMCL website and will be delivered by courier at the door step of the purchaser.

For more information: PIB Release


Website for Gallantry Awardees since Independence Launched

On 70th Independence Ministry of Defence launched an online portal dedicated to the gallantry award winners, bestowed since Independence. The website gives details of the Chakra Series awardees i.e., Param Vir Chakra, Maha Vir Chakra, Vir Chakra, Ashok Chakra, Kirti Chakra and Shaurya Chakra. The Ministry has welcomed feedback or suggestions. The portal  can be accessed at http://gallantryawards.gov.in.

For more  information: PIB Release

National Cyber Coordination Centre

The first phase of National Cyber Coordination Centre, set up to scan the country’s web traffic to detect cyber security threats, has been made operational now. NCCC, a multi-stakeholder body, will be implemented by Indian Computer Emergency Response Team (CERT-In) at Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology. NCCC scans internet traffic coming into the country to detect real-time cyber threat and alert various organisations as well as internet service providers for timely action.

For more information: The Indian Express


Information Network on Animal Health and Productivity Database

Pashu Sanjivni component under National Mission on Bovine Productivity scheme was initiated by the Government in November 2016. Under the scheme, as on date 85 lakh milk producing animals have been identified and their data has been uploaded on Information Network on Animal Health and Productivity (INAPH) database. Under the scheme, 88 million milk producing animals out of 300 million cattle and buffaloes are being identified using polyurethane tags with 12 digit unique identification (UID) number. The Pashu Sanjivni is crucial for control and spread of animal diseases, scientific management of animals, enhanced production and productivity, improvement in quality and increase in trade of livestock and livestock products.

For more information: The Indian Express

GIS-enabled land-related information

The Centre has brought out an online database of more than half a million hectares of land assisting industry. The Geographic Information System-enabled database also has details of close to 3,000 industrial parks/clusters, as well as area-wise availability of agricultural/horticultural crops, and mineral production. The database is being developed by the Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion (DIPP) and the National e-Governance Division in the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology as well as the BISAG – an institute for space applications and geo-informatics under the Gujarat Government. The exercise is to eliminate the information asymmetry that is currently adversely affecting the country’s industrial policy-making and investments in the manufacturing sector.

For more information: The Hindu



A telemedicine project started by an Odisha-based social entrepreneur is slowly going national after the Central government adopted it as a model project two years ago. Through this micro-entrepreneurship programme the government attempts to tackle unemployment and bad health. Started in 2009, the unique model that focuses on sustainability involves training of local youth in e-medicine services and enables them to set up e-health centres in government-run primary health-care centres (PHC), community health centres (CHC) and subdivisional hospitals. These centres have created job opportunities for over 500 youth in Odisha and reached out to over five lakh patients. Under the project, local youth are trained for a month in an e-health assistance programme, after which they can apply for a bank loan to start an e-health centre in PHCs and CHCs. These telemedicine centres also create a database of personal health records of every patient walking in for future reference.

For more information: The Indian Express




National Capital Region: A Hub Of Opportunities That Needs A Development Shakeup

Soumya Garg_Delhi NCR

NCR is a unique example of inter-state regional planning and development, bringing together four administratively independent units. It is crucial for the region to develop and keep in mind the objective with which it was established.

Soumya Garg, Associate Director, Vision India Foundation, shares her insights.

Read the complete article published on Swarajya.

Policy BootCamp in Srilankan Media


The PBC ’17 delegates with Admiral Dr. J Colombage

Pathfinder Foundation Centre for Indo-Lanka Initiatives Director, Admiral Dr. Jayanath Colombage, delivered the keynote address titled ‘Indo-Lanka Strategic Ties’, at Vision India Foundation’s Policy BootCamp 2017, in New Delhi.

The complete coverage by Daily Mirror is on their website.

Policy BootCamp 2017 – A Delegate’s Perspective


Members of the classroom Vikramashila, after the last debriefing session at PBC ’17

“It was such a great experience that I am not able to make a decision as to where I should start telling my experiences. Meeting new people from all parts of the country, renowned speakers sharing their experiences and knowledge with us. It seems that these 21 days of knowledge and experience will take at least one or two years to assimilate.”

Read a complete account of Ritambhara Singh’s experience on her blog. She was a delegate at the Policy BootCamp 2017.


Solid Waste Management Rules 2016: How well they have been implemented on ground?




The 2016 Solid Waste Management Rules supersede the Municipal Solid Waste Rules, 2000, and expand the ambit of application to every urban local body, including outgrowths in urban agglomerations, census towns, areas under railways and airports. The question is, how empowered are the implementation agencies?

Dr. Nomesh Bolia, co-founder and mentor to VIF, and Apula Singh, research associate at VIF, share their analysis on how the effectiveness of these ‘too good to be true SWMR’ is dependent on the empowerment of the agencies.

Read the complete article published on The Indian Express.

The Pendency of Cases in High Courts: Hitting the Nail on the Head



Shobhit Mathur_High Court Pendency

Identifying where the problem lies with judicial pendency in the High Courts of India is a challenge. Civil Writ Petitions in 17 High Courts are the major problem. Knowing the exact problem and location can help customize the solution. With the limited resources (judges) we have, we should allocate them in an optimal manner.

Shobhit Mathur, VIF Executive Director, and Ram Prasath V R, VIF Research Intern, share the results of their simple analysis which can serve as a starting point.

Read the complete article published on The Indian Economist.