Policy Watch – November 16th, 2017

Important policy updates from 10th November 2017 – 16th November 2017.

Agriculture

MOU Approved Between India and Philippines

The Union Cabinet chaired by Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi has given its approval for signing a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between India and Philippines in the field of agriculture and related fields. The MoU will improve bilateral cooperation in the field of agriculture and will be mutually beneficial to both countries. It will promote understanding of best agricultural practices in the two countries and will help in better productivity as well as improved global market access.

For more information: Business Standard

Crop Residue Management

Burning of crop residue in the states like Punjab, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh and Rajasthan also contributes in increasing environmental pollution levels.  National Green Tribunal has directed the Delhi government and these four northern states to take strict measures to deal with this serious biennial threat. In this regard, Agriculture Ministry issued an advisory to the state governments to create awareness among the farmers about the harmful effect of straw burning and also asked them to provide the residue management machines and equipment such as Zero Till Seed Drill, Happy Seeder, Straw Baler, Rotavator, Paddy Straw Chopper/ Mulcher, Gyro Rake, Straw Reaper, Shredder, etc., to farmers through Custom Hiring Centres or village level Farm Machinery Banks.

For more information: PIB Release

Human Resource Development

NTA will Conduct Entrance Examinations

The Union cabinet on Friday cleared a proposal for the creation of a National Testing Agency (NTA), which will conduct all entrance tests that are at present being done by the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE). The NTA would initially conduct those entrance examinations that are currently being conducted by the CBSE. Other examinations will be taken up gradually by the NTA. Under the NTA, the entrance examinations will be conducted online at least twice a year, to give adequate opportunity to the candidates to bring out their best. Establishment of NTA will benefit about 4 million students appearing in various entrance examinations. It will, over time, relieve the CBSE, AICTE, IITs, IIMs and other agencies from the responsibility of conducting these entrance tests, thus enabling them to focus more on their core mandate.

For more information: Hindustan Times

NCERT Conducts The Largest Survey To Assess Learning Levels

The largest ever National Achievement Survey(NAS), based on the learning outcomes, was conducted among 25 lakhs school children from 1.1 lakh schools for Classes III, V, and VIII by NCERT across 700 districts on Monday. It was an exercise to understand the gaps in learning in government and government-aided schools. For the first time, the survey will be based on learning outcomes wherein a comparative analysis will be done up to the district level. Students of Classes III and V were assessed on their language, mathematical and environmental studies (not for class III) abilities while for Class VIII it was science and social science instead of environmental studies.

For more information: Times of India

Finance

GOI Launched The BHARAT-22 Exchange Traded Fund (ETF)

The Government of India launched today the BHARAT-22 Exchange Traded Fund (ETF) managed by ICICI Prudential Mutual Fund targeting an initial amount of about Rs.8,000 crore. This new fund offer is open till November 17, 2017. The Units of the Scheme will be allotted 25% to each category of investors. In this ETF, the Retirement Fund has been made a separate category of investors. In case of spill-over, an additional portion will be allocated giving preference to retail and retirement funds. There is a 3% discount across the board. The strength of this ETF lies in the specially created Index S&P BSE BHARAT-22 INDEX. This Index is a unique blend of shares of key CPSEs, Public Sector Banks (PSBs) and also the Government-owned shares in blue-chip private companies like Larsen & Tubro (L&T), Axis Bank and ITC.
For more information: PIB Release

Women and Child Development

WCD Ministry Celebrates “Hausala 2017”

The Ministry of Women and Child Development will celebrate the Child Rights Week (Hausla 2017) from 16th to 20th November 2017. The country celebrates the Children’s Day on 14th November and the International Child Rights Day is celebrated on 20th November every year. The period between the two important events will be celebrated as Child Rights Week by WCD Ministry by hosting an Inter CCI Festival for the children who reside in Child Care Institutions (CCIs). The commemoration of the festival “Hausala 2017” will provide an occasion to showcase the talents of children from CCIs from various child care institutions across the country and provide them with a space to express their dreams and aspiration.   Children will be participating in various events like Bal Sansad, painting competition, athletics meet, football, chess competition, and speech writing.  The following events are proposed to be organized:

For more information: PIB Release

Development of North-East Region

Northeast To Get India’s First ‘Air Dispensary’

The Northeast will soon get a helicopter-based air dispensary, the first of its kind, to serve the people in remote areas in the region. The Union Ministry of Development of Northeast (DONER) has already contributed Rs. 25 crore as part of the initial funding for this initiative. For a few months, the DoNER Ministry explored the idea of introducing a helicopter-based dispensary/OPD service in far-flung areas, where no doctor or medical facility is available and the patient does not have access to medical care. The proposal put forward by the Ministry of DoNER has been accepted and is in the final stages of the process in the ministry of civil aviation.

For more information: NDTV

Power

NPP Launched

Minister of State (IC) for Power and New & Renewable Energy, launched the National Power Portal (NPP). The portal may be accessed at http://npp.gov.in. It is a centralised system for Indian Power Sector which facilitates online data capture/ input (daily, monthly, annually) from generation, transmission and distribution utilities in the country and disseminate Power Sector Information (operational, capacity, demand, supply, consumption etc.) through various analysed reports, graphs, statistics for generation, transmission and distribution at all India, region, state level for central, state and private sector.

For more information: PIB Release

Policy Watch – November 9th, 2017

Important policy updates from 3rd November 2017 – 9th November 2017.

Comm. & Information Technology

Deen Dayal SPARSH Yojana launched

Minister of Communications Shri Manoj Sinha launched a Pan India scholarship program for school children called Deen Dayal SPARSH Yojana to increase the reach of Philately. Under the scheme of SPARSH (Scholarship for Promotion of Aptitude & Research in Stamps as a Hobby), it is proposed to award annual scholarships to children of Standard VI to IX having good academic record and also pursuing Philately as a hobby through a competitive selection process in all postal circles. Briefing the media after the launch of the scheme, Shri Sinha said that under the scheme, it is proposed to award 920 scholarships to students pursuing Philately as a hobby.

For more information: PIB Releases

Agriculture

ASCI & GAA agree for the establishment of Centers of Competence/Excellence.

Union Agriculture and Farmers Welfare Minister Shri Radha Mohan Singh welcomed the Shri. Peter Bleser, German Federal Minister for Food and Agriculture. Talking about the cooperation, he told that six JWG meetings have taken place since 2008 and now, Agriculture Skill Council of India (ASCI) and German AgriBusiness Alliance (GAA) have agreed to cooperate the establishment of Centers of Competence/Excellence in Agriculture, while the cooperation in seeds sector is active as project implementation agreement for the next phase (January 2017 to December 2018) had been signed in May 2017.

For more information: Business Standard

Petroleum & Natural Gas

Cyclothon against use of petrol, diesel

A first of its kind premier Cyclothon event was flagged off from New Delhi’s Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium. This event was organized under the dynamic leadership of, Minister for Petroleum & Natural Gas and Skill Development & Entrepreneurship, Shri Dharmendra Pradhan. It attracted around 5000 participants from all walks of life including officials from various Ministries and the Oil Industry, Sports personalities, Celebrity star Farhan Akhtar, school and college children cycling professionals, amateurs, and housewives. Shri Dharmendra Pradhan, himself lead the 5 km Green Ride amidst great excitement and fan-fare to create awareness for the cycle.

For more information: PIB Release

Youth Affairs and Sports

Egypt Offers its Excellence Centers for Training Indian Sports Teams.

The Minister of State (Independent Charge) for Youth Affairs and Sports, and Minister of State for Information & Broadcasting, Col Rajyavardhan Rathore met his Egyptian counterpart Mr. Khaled Abd El Aziz on the sidelines of World Youth Forum at Sharam El Sheikh, Egypt. Mr. Aziz praised Indian leadership for taking long-term decisions in a quick and decisive way and offered their center of excellence like the Olympic Centre for the short-term training programme for Indian sports teams. Col Rathore informed him about the decision of hiring Egyptian trainers and support staff for squash. Col Rathore also asked the Egyptian Minister to encourage local students to take up seats in Indian universities meant for foreign students.

For more information: Business Standard

Human Resource Development

Union HRD Minister inaugurates ‘Chintan Shivir’

Union HRD Minister Sh. Prakash Javadekar inaugurated a two-day National Workshop “Chintan Shivir” organized by Department of School Education and Literacy, Ministry of Human Resource Development in New Delhi. The main aim of the workshop is to provide holistic education relevant for 21st century India and to bring together key stakeholders from various NGOs, private sector and individuals to deliberate on key themes in the education sector. Speaking on the occasion HRD Minister informed that workshop mainly focuses on five themes i.e. Digital education, Life Skill education, Experimental learning, Physical Education and Value education.

For more information: PIB Release

Coal

CIL Launches A New App “Grahak Sadak Koyla Vitaran App”.

The coal ministry has launched a new mobile application to facilitate Coal India customers to lift coal through road. The ‘Grahak Sadak Koyla Vitaran App’ will help the company to achieve transparency in coal despatch operations, monitor whether the despatches are made on the fair principle of first in first out and keep track of all activities from the issuance of sale order to physical delivery of coal by road. This app is a step towards transparency in the system of loading programme and despatch.

For more information: Economic Times

Women and Child Development

Government Launches “SHe-Box” Online Portal.

The Women and Child Development ministry launched an online platform to enable women employees of the central government to file complaints related to sexual harassment at the workplace.She said the platform will cater to central government employees in the beginning and thereafter, its ambit will be widened to include the private sector as well. “We are also going to soon conduct a national survey to assess the nature and magnitude of sexual harassment at the workplace”. The online complaint management system — ‘SHe-box’ (sexual harassment electronic box) — hosted on the website of the Women and Child Development Ministry, also seeks to ensure “effective implementation” of the Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace (Prevention, Prohibition, and Redressal) Act, 2013.

For more information: Indian Express

Policy Watch – November 2nd, 2017

Important policy updates from 27th October 2017 – 2nd November 2017

Finance

NPS increased from 60 years to 65 years

The government has increased the maximum age of joining the National Pension System (NPS)-Private Sector from the existing 60 years to 65 years. “Now, any Indian citizen, resident or non-resident, between the age of 60 and 65 years, can also join NPS and continue up to the age of 70 years,”. Subscribers joining NPS after the age of 60 years will have an option of normal exit from NPS after completion of 3 years. This initiative will allow a larger segment of society, particularly senior citizens, to reap benefits of NPS and plan for their regular income.

For more information: Financial Express

PFMS for all Central Sector Schemes

The Union Finance Minister, Shri Arun Jaitley launches the mandatory use of Public Finance Management System (PFMS) for all Central Sector Schemes; He states that PFMS would ensure that the benefits of the various government schemes reach the last mile; Shri Jaitley further said that due to the monitoring of funds through PFMS, one can know the actual status of utilization of funds by the multiple implementing agencies of the Central and the State Governments. The Finance Minister specifically mentioned about the implementation of various Schemes through Direct Benefit Transfer (DBT) mechanism in this regard.

For more information: PIB Release

Home Affairs

MHA boost “Make in India” for arms Manufacturing

The Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) on 30-10-2017 has liberalised the Arms Rules to boost Make in India manufacturing policy of the Government as also to promote employment generation in the field of manufacturing of arms and ammunition. The liberalisation of the Arms Rules will encourage investment in the manufacturing of arms and ammunition and weapon systems as part of the Make in India programme. The liberalised rules are expected to encourage the manufacturing activity and facilitate the availability of world-class weapons to meet the requirement of Armed Forces and Police Forces in sync with country’s defence indigenization programme.

For more information: Business Standard

Railways

International Conference on Green Initiatives & Railway Electrification

Sh. Piyush Goyal inaugurated International Conference on Green Initiatives & Railway Electrification organised by Ministry of Railways through Institution of Railways Electrical Engineer (IREE) India on 27th October 2017. On this occasion, he states that “Indian Railways is working with a renewed attitude and confidence. The mindset of Indian Railways has changed. Indian Railways is working with “will do/can do” spirit. Indian Railways is working in a mission mode and coming up with solutions to the problems. Indian Railways is working with a commitment to serve in a time bound manner for the common people. This conference shall ensure to find solutions to all the bottlenecks with a view to implementing the electrification in mission mode.

For more information: Economic Times

Japan to Cooperate in Rail Safety.

Ministry of Railways (GoI) had requested Japan’s Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism (MLIT) for technical cooperation in Rail Safety. Responding to Ministry of Railway’s request, MLIT deputed a team of Japanese Railway experts to India to assess incidents of rail breakage and suggest measures to improve safety in train operations. The Memorandum of Cooperation on Railway safety was signed on 17.2.2017 between Ministry of Railways (GoI) and MLIT, Japan. Now, on 31.10.2017, Hon’ble Railway Minister Sh. Piyush Goyal along with Centre for Responsible Business (CRB) and other Board Members met Japanese delegation comprising members of terms of reference (TOR) mission and members from the rail-related industries over incidents of rail breakage and suggested measures to improve safety in train operations.

For more information: Business Standard

Shipping

Indian Minister Flags Off RORO from Chennai To Mongla

Indian Minister of Shipping Nitin Gadkari on 30-10-2017 digitally flagged off a RoRo cum general cargo vessel M.V. IDM DOODLE carrying a consignment of 185 trucks from Chennai Port to Mongla port in Bangladesh. He informed that these trucks, which are being exported by M/s.Ashok Leyland Ltd. was being sent to Bangladesh through the land route till now, travelling a distance of about 1500 km. Transport through the sea route will save about 15-20 days of travel time. For this trip alone that involves transport of 185 trucks, a total of about 3 lakh vehicle-km of road travel will be saved as the land route is longer  and much time is lost at the congested Petrapole-Benapole checkpoint at the Indo- Bangladesh border.  

For more information: Marinelink

Micro, Small & Medium Enterprises

MSME Launches ‘Samadhaan’ Portal

Union Minister of State (Independent Charge) Sh. Giriraj Singh launched MSME Delayed Payment Portal – MSME Samadhaan (http://msefc.msme.gov.in) on 01-11-2017. The Portal will empower the MSE’s to see the current status  & register their new cases relating to delayed payments by Central Ministries/Departments/CPSEs/State Governments etc.

For more information: Business Standard

Education

Cabinet approves amendment in the NCTE Act, 1993

The Union Cabinet chaired by the Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi has given its approval for introduction of a Bill in Parliament to amend the National Council for Teacher Education Act, 1993, namely the National Council for Teacher Education (Amendment) Act, 2017 to grant retrospective recognition to the Central/State/Universities who are found to be conducting teacher education courses without NCTE permission till the academic year 2017-2018. The retrospective recognition is being given as a onetime measure so as to ensure that the future of the students passed out/enrolled in these institutions isn’t jeopardized. The amendment will make students studying in these Institutions/Universities, or already passed out from here, eligible for employment as a teacher. With a view to achieving above mentioned benefits, Deptt. of School Education & Literacy, Ministry of Human Resource Development has brought about this amendment.

For more information: Business Standard

Agriculture

Cabinet approves RKVY as RKVY-RAFTAAR for three years

The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs chaired by the Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi, has approved the continuation of Rashtriya Krishi Vikas Yojana (RKVY) as Rashtriya Krishi Vikas Yojana- Remunerative Approaches for Agriculture and Allied sector Rejuvenation (RKVY-RAFTAAR) for three years i.e. 2017-18 to 2019-20.  The financial allocation of the scheme will be Rs. 15,722 crore with the objective of making farming as a remunerative economic activity through strengthening the farmer’s effort, risk mitigation and promoting agri­business entrepreneurship.

For more information: PIB Release

Policy Watch – October 26th, 2017

Important policy updates from 20th October 2017 – 26th October 2017

Infrastructure

Road Projects worth Rs 6.92 Lakh Crore Announced

Infrastructure projects aimed at improving the road sector, worth Rs. 6.92 lakh crore has been announced. The recent announcement has estimated building 83,677 km of roads over the next five years and ensuring employment generation of 14.2 crore days of work. This includes the Bharatmala project that is underway, which seeks to connect India with highways stretching up to 34,800 km, at a cost of Rs 5.35 lakh crore.  

For more information: Live mint

Piped Natural Gas Project in Odisha

Under Pradhan Mantri Urja Ganga, the Oil Minister has launched supply of environment-friendly piped natural gas to 255 houses in Chandrasekharpur area in Bhubaneshwar, Odisha. With a view to developing more industries in the eastern belt, in states like Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Jharkhand, Odisha and West Bengal, such pipelines will be built, under the Pradhan Mantri Urja Ganga project.

For more information: Live mint

SAATHI- to Empower Textile Units

The Ministry of Power and Textiles will collaborate under the initiative, Sustainable and Accelerated Adoption of Efficient Textile Technologies to Help Small Industries (SAATHI), to supply energy efficient power loom and other equipment to small and medium powerloom units in the country. The Energy Efficiency Services Limited (EESL) will procure energy efficient powerlooms in bulk with no upfront cost, and provide them to textile units, who will be required to repay to EESL in instalments over only a four to five year period. Workshops will be organised in clusters in Erode, Surat and Ichalkaranji to demonstrate how the scheme will benefit such units.

For more information: Economic Times

Start-up Programmes in Oil & Gas Sector

Aiming to encourage innovation and entrepreneurship in the energy sector, new programmes have been launched in this direction. Around 10 Public Sector Undertakings operating under the Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas have set up a corpus of Rs 320 crore, to support such initiatives, and have selected close to 30 start-up projects to extend support to, in the first phase of the scheme.

For more information: Free Press Journal

Economy

2.1 Trillion Bank Recapitalisation Plan

The Central Government has approved a state bank recapitalisation plan worth 2.1 trillion rupees. With a view to revive investment and clear the banks’ bad debts, recapitalisation bonds, equity insurance and some amount of budgetary support will aid in clearing off bad loans and improve credit flow.

For more information: Live mint

Health

First BIMSTEC Meeting on Traditional Medicine

The Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation, an international organisation consisting of Bangladesh, India, Myanmar, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Bhutan and Nepal, as member states, organised its first meeting to deliberate on Traditional Medicine. The meeting also witnessed discussions on the scope for technical cooperation and research collaboration among the member states in this field, in order to further promote and strengthen traditional medicinal knowledge.

For more information: PIB Release

Youth & Skills

Pradhan Mantri Kaushal Kendra in Smart Cities

The first skilling centre, Pradhan Mantri Kaushal Kendra, for smart cities has been inaugurated. This is a step forward in keeping with the Centre’s emphasis on supporting skilling in smart cities. In collaboration with the New Delhi Municipal Corporation, the National Skill Development Corporation will seek to set up-skilling centres for smart cities, will provide training to unskilled youth under its Short-Term Training module and also extend support in carrying out capacity building exercises for employees of the municipal corporation.

For more information: India Today

Innovation

Website for CIPAM

A website for the Cell for IPR Promotion and Management has been launched by the Minister of Commerce and Industry, as a step towards effectively implementing the National Intellectual Property Rights Policy. Awareness and sensitization revolving around IPR and regular updates will be displayed on the website. It will also make known initiatives taken by the government to strengthen the IPR regime in the country.

For more information: PIB Release

Policy Watch – October 19th, 2017

Important policy updates from 13th October 2017 – 19th October 2017

Infrastructure

Sampoorna Bima Gram Yojana

The Central Government has launched the Sampoorna Gram Bima Yojana, with a view to benefit rural India, with better life insurance services. This scheme will ensure that at least one identified village in a revenue district will be covered with a minimum of one Rural Postal Life Insurance policy each. The coverage of Postal Life Insurance has also been expanded to include people involved in professional careers such as doctors, engineers, Chartered Accountants, lawyers, bankers, etc., as opposed to just government and semi-government employees, as of now.

For more information: Financial Express

Health

All India Institute of Ayurveda

Set up in Delhi, under the aegis of the ministry of AYUSH, the first ever All India Institute of Ayurveda was inaugurated by the Prime Minister. The prime focus of the institute is to create a harmonious relationship between traditional Ayurveda knowledge and modern-day technology and diagnostic methodology.

For more information: The Indian Express

Innovation

Women of India Festival

The Ministry of Women and Child Development successfully organised the Women of India Organic Festival in Delhi Haat. The festival witnessed a display of organic products, spices and cosmetics, presented by female farmers and entrepreneurs from around 25 states. Aimed at strengthening women-led groups and the local economy of communities, the festival seeks to also promote organic farming, in the process. Held annually, this year’s event registered record sales worth Rs.1.84 crore.

For more information: PIB Release

#IamThatWoman – To Target Gender Bias

The Ministry of Women and Child Development has launched an online campaign, #IamThatWoman, with the aim to put an end to gender bias. The campaign will seek to highlight stories wherein women have made a major contribution towards making lives better for other women. The campaign will be active on various social media platforms, enabling users to share numerous such motivational stories, and encourage the idea of women helping fellow women, shaking off existing and contradictory stereotypes.

For more information: Deccan Herald

Adopt a Heritage Initiative

Launched along with the Incredible India 2.0 Campaign, this initiative is an attempt towards promoting tourism in India, with the aid of social media and an increased presence on digital platforms. Under this initiative, heritage sites will be taken up for maintenance by the public, private enterprises and individuals. Active cooperation of both the Ministry of Culture and the Archaeological Survey of India has been sought by the Tourism Ministry in this initiative.

For more information: The New Indian Express

Women Biotech Incubator

Providing an impetus to the empowerment of women scientists, and acknowledging their centuries-long contribution to the field of science and technology, the Union Minister of Science and Technology inaugurated the first Women Biotech Incubator at the Golden Biotech Park for Women Society in Chennai. This step will encourage more and more innovative ideas to take the shape of enterprises and further encourage women entrepreneurs.

For more information: PIB Release

Policy Watch – October 12th, 2017

Important policy updates from 06th September 2017 – 12th October 2017

International Relation

India & South Africa mark 20 years of Cooperation in Science & Technology

An Indian delegation led by the Union Minister for Science and Technology will participate in the celebration of 20 years of cooperation between India and South Africa in the field of science and technology. The focus will be on cooperating and developing renewable energy alternatives, along with launching a program called ‘Mandela-Gandhi Grassroots Innovation Programme’, to develop solutions for problems facing the common masses at the grassroots level.

For more information: PIB Release

Innovation

India Water Week

The Union Water Resource Ministry organised the fifth edition of India Water Week on 10th October. Major issues deliberated upon include water, food, and energy security as an essential requirement for sustainable development and water for the purpose of inclusive growth. Along with a multidisciplinary conference, an exhibition, showcasing the best of technologies and solutions created to meet existing challenges was also arranged. A number of states like Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu, Rajasthan, and Gujarat participated as sponsors for the event.

For more information: Times of India

Rashtriya Sanskriti Mahotsav

The city of Ahmedabad will play host to the Rashtriya Sanskriti Mahotsav, from 7th to 9th October. The Ministry of Culture has been organizing this fest since 2015, with the intention to showcase the rich cultural and traditional heritage of India, in the form of her Handicrafts, Painting, Sculpture, Cuisine, etc. The festival will also witness to the performance by various artists.

For more information: PIB Release

Health & Family Welfare

Intensified Mission Indradhanush

A major immunization drive has been launched by the Prime Minister in Gujarat. The Intensified Mission Indradhanush has been initiated in order to reach every child below 2 years of age and pregnant women, yet to be covered under the Scheme. A seven-day drive will be undertaken every month, till January 2018, in 173 districts across 24 states.

For more information: Live mint

Beti Bachao Beti Padhao Week

The Ministry of Women and Child Development will celebrate the Beti Bachao Beti Padhao week from 9th – 14th October, signifying International Girls’ Day on 11th October, on the theme “The Daughters of New India”. Mass awareness campaigns with the intent to sensitize communities and reinforce gender equality will be undertaken.

For more information: Business Standard

Rs. 100 crore Clean Water Initiative

The President of India launched a Rs.100 crore clean water initiative, led by Mata Amritanandamayi Math, in Kerala. The ‘Jivamritam’ filtration system, which seeks to provide clean drinking water to 10 million villagers across the country, was inaugurated, and the first phase of its installation will be completely funded by the Math.

For more information: Economic Times

Upgradation of ESIC Hospital in Guwahati

The Union Minister of State for Labour and Employment laid the foundation stone for the upgradation of the ESIC Model Hospital in Guwahati, which is slated to be immensely useful for beneficiaries of the Employees’ State Insurance Scheme in the North East. The hospital will provide facilities such as OPD, ICU, operation theatre, radiology, physiotherapy, etc. The upgradation of the hospital into a 100-bed hospital will benefit around 7 lakh families in the region.

For more information: The Assam Tribune

First Conference with NGOs

The Ministry of Women and Child Development has organised the first-ever conference with partner NGOs working on policies related to women and children. Many significant issues will be discussed, such as challenges faced at the implementation stage at the grassroots level, sharing of insights on existing women and child development schemes, etc. This will pave the way to analyze drawbacks in the current scenario and based on constructive criticism, formulate better mechanisms to implement the schemes, in consultation with concerned NGOs.

For more information: PIB Release

Infrastructure

Over Rs. 7 Crore Approved for Clean Ganga

Eight projects worth over Rs.7 crore have been approved by the National Mission for Clean Ganga. Four of these projects include the establishment of Sewage Treatment Plants in West Bengal, Uttar Pradesh and Bihar. The rest include three bio-remediation projects treating wastewater and one concerning monitoring of river Ganga.

For more information: The Hindu Business Line

Value Engineering Programme for Highways

The Ministry of Road Transport and Highways, in a move towards giving impetus to use of new technology, materials, and equipment in highway projects, will implement ‘Value Engineering Programme’. This step will promote the use of new technology, to cut down costs of projects and at the same time, making them environment-friendly. An experts’ panel will also be in place to review matters involving new technologies and other technical issues that may arise.

For more information: Economic Times

Policy Watch – October 5th, 2017

Important policy updates from 29th September 2017 – 05th October 2017

Energy

Push for Electric Vehicles

The state-owned Energy Efficiency Services Ltd will procure 10,000 electric vehicles from Tata Motors Ltd in two phases. 500 vehicles will be supplied by November 2017 in the first phase. This step is seen as a major step towards making a significant shift towards electric vehicles by 2030.

For more information: Live mint

Health & Innovation

Five more States declared Open Defecation Free

Five more States viz., Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Chattisgarh, Jharkhand and Haryana have reached the milestone of making all cities and towns ‘Open Defecation Free’ as the Swacch Bharat Mission completed three years. This was announced by the Minister of Housing and Urban Affairs Shri Hardeep Singh Puri while speaking at a programme on the occasion of the third anniversary of the mission. The Minister also stressed on the need for ‘lifestyle change’ to realise the objective of Swacch Bharat as envisioned by Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi.

For more information: Business Standard

Reduction in Infant Mortality Rate

The latest Sample Registration Survey data shows a major 8% decline in the Infant Mortality Rate in India in 2016, from 37 per 1000 live births (2015) to 34 per 1000 live births (2016). The gender gap between mortality rates has also come down to below 10%, indicating a positive impact of the ‘Beti Bachao Beti Padhao’ scheme. Although, the divide between IMR in rural and urban India remains, with rural India seeing more infant deaths.

For more information: Hindustan Times

Rural Gujarat Declared ODF

The President of India declared rural Gujarat open defecation free on the 2nd of October. On the occasion, tribute was paid to the Father of the Nation and the achievement associated to him and his vision of clean India.

For more information: Times of India

Walkathon on International Senior Citizens’ Day

Union Minister of Social Justice and Empowerment, along with the Minister of State, around 5000 participants and other dignitaries participated in the walkathon organised at India Gate, marking the International Day of Older Persons on 2nd October. The commitment of the government to promote the welfare of senior citizens, in the light of various schemes being run for their benefit, was highlighted. Such form of a mass awareness campaign is being organised since 2005 at India Gate on this day.

For more information: Millenium Post

One million children saved

India has avoided about 1 million (10 lakh) deaths of children under age five since 2005, owing to the significant reductions in mortality from pneumonia, diarrhoea, neonatal infections and birth asphyxia/trauma, measles and tetanus, according to study published in the latest issue of The Lancet.The ‘India’s Million Death Study’, implemented by the Registrar General of India, is the first study to directly quantify changes in cause-specific child deaths in India, nationally and sub-nationally, from 2000-15 among randomly selected homes.

For more information: Business Standard

Administration

Commission to Examine Sub-Classification of OBCs Appointed

The President of India has formally appointed a commission to look into the sub-categorisation of OBCs, in keeping with the aim to extend benefits of reservation to the more deserving people in the OBC category. The Commission, headed by Justice (Retd.) G Rohini is to submit its report within 12 weeks of the chairman assuming her charge.

For more information: DNA

Youth & Skills

NHAI Projects to Generate Employment

The National Highways Authority of India is slated to generate employment of approximately 500 million days in the next four years. This will be made possible by the construction of highways covering a distance of approximately 50,000 km. Seasonal employment opportunities for skilled and semi-skilled labour force will be created, in consultation with the Department of Skill Development and Entrepreneurship.

For more information: Financial Express

Environment and Forests

Global Wildlife Programme (GWP)

India will jointly host the Global Wildlife Programme (GWP) with World Bank and United Nations Development Programme. The programme was launched on October 2. The GWP will address issues related to illegal wildlife trade across 19 countries in Asia and Africa. It will act as a platform to exchange knowledge and coordinate in on-ground action for combating illegal poaching of wildlife and improve governance on wildlife conservation.

For more information: Economic Times

Housing and Urban Affairs

‘Swachhta Pakhwada’

Ministry of Culture and its 43 organisations observed Swachhta Pakhwada and Swachhta hi Seva Abhiyaan from 16th September to 2nd October 2017. During this campaign close to 400 activities/events were organised by the Ministry and its organizations by dedicating more than 500 effort hours for cleanliness and awareness during Swachhata Pakhwada. Various autonomous, attached and subordinated organisations under the ministry undertook various activities such as Shramdan by staff (cleanliness drive), lectures, seminars, competitions, Nukkad Natak and painting exhibitions with an objective of dissemination of the message of Swachh Bharat widely.

For more information: PIB Release

Transport

PMIS Mobile App

The Chairman of National Highways Authority of India Shri Deepak Kumar launched a world-class, a new multilingual website of the organization today. He said that within two months it will be possible for the general public to rate National Highways through this website. He also launched a Project Monitoring Information System (PMIS) Moblie App that will facilitate close, in-house monitoring of NHAI projects on a mobile phone. Shri Deepak Kumar said that the NHAI also plans to soon launch a public interface of the PMIS desktop and App versions so that the general public will be able to view the real-time status of any project across the Highway network.

For more information: Times of India

Tourism

An Enthusiastic Start of Paryatan Parv

Ministry of Tourism has launched the ParyatanParv ” celebrations countrywide on 5th October. ‘Paryatan Parv’ activities began with the flagging of the cycle rally by Smt. Rashmi Verma, Secretary, Ministry of Tourism from India Gate, New Delhi to Qutab Minar. Approximately 80 cyclists from across Delhi including members of tourism Industry Stakeholders, officials from central Ministries, doctors, teachers, students participated this rally. The other activities in the capital included a Guided Heritage Walk at Humayun’s Tomb & painting competition for children etc.

For more information: PIB Release

Policy Watch – September 28th, 2017

Important policy updates from 22nd September 2017 – 28th September 2017

Rural & Tribal Affairs

Promotion and Reach of TRIFED

The Tribal Cooperative Marketing Development Federation of India, that works towards promoting tribal culture through its art and craft, intends to scale up its operations for the greater benefit of tribal artisans. This expansion plan includes steps such as opening exclusive outlets dealing in handmade products, organising exhibitions and handicraft fairs and encouraging sales by organising Youth Entrepreneur Development Program. A ‘Tribal Craft Mark’ hologram will be used on all the products.

For more information: PIB Release

Vigyan Gram Sankul Pariyojana

The Pandit Deen Dayal Upadhayay Vigyan Gram Sankul Pariyojana, which is a Rs. 6.3 crore project, has been envisaged for the social and economic development of 60 villages in Uttarakhand. The initiative is slated to give a boost to reviving and renewing rural technologies for ensuring a sustainable model of development in clusters of villages in Uttarakhand. This three-year project will be supported by Dehradun-based Wadia Institute of Himalayan Geology and Forest Research Institute along with NGOs.

For more information: Deccan Herald

Infrastructure

‘Brain Centres’ of Smart Cities

With a view to enhanc monitoring of smart city facilities, plans to set up a digitally integrated control centre has been proposed. These centres will receive its information and other inputs through sensory equipments – ‘eyes’ and ‘ears’ installed in the smart cities, ensuring coordinated work of different urban local body agencies.

For more information: The Asian Age

Interest Subsidy on Affordable Housing Loans Extended

The Credit Linked Subsidy Scheme, under Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana, benefitting Middle Income Groups by providing an interest subsidy of 4% and 3% for loan amounts up to Rs. 9 lakh and Rs. 12 lakh respectively, was to remain applicable till December, 2017. The scheme has now been extended by 15 months till March, 2019, helping beneficiaries avail of the same for a longer duration.

For more information: Live mint

Neighborhood Action Plan

In a bid to address the issue concerning solid waste management in Delhi and other cities, the Minister of Housing and Urban Poverty Alleviation announced the launch of Neighbourhood Action Plan, to be spearheaded in all cities form the 2nd October, marking the third anniversary of Swachh Bharat Abhiyan. The plan formulates fixing and treating garbage prior to being sent to the dumping grounds and enabling a better waste-to-compost and waste-to-energy plants performance.

For more information: Financial Express

Health

PENCIL- To Eliminate Child Labour

A Platform for Effective Enforcement for No Child Labour has been launched. The online portal seeks to provide for an integration at two levels; at the enforcement level of existing legal provisions and for the implementation of National Child Labour Project efficiently.

For more information: Financial Express

201 Districts – Open Defecation Free

The rigorous campaign promoting cleanliness in the form of Swachhta hi Seva, has led to a total of 201 districts in the country to be declared as Open Defecation Free. A wide range of activities were undertaken by various Ministerial departments and organisations to clean their surrounding areas and workplaces, while extending full support to the campaign.

For more information: PIB Release

“Jan Sampark” Program to facilitate adoption.

The Central Adoption Resource Authority (CARA) of the Ministry of Women & Child Development has started a monthly “Jan Sampark” program to enable the public to have interaction with its officials and staff for seeking information related to Adoption as well as flagging their concerns.

The first of its kind programme was held in New Delhi yesterday. Nearly 150 Prospective Adoptive Parents (PAPs), Adoptive Parents and representatives of agencies participated in the session, which lasted for more than four hours.

For more information: PIB Release

Energy

Saubhagya Launched

A scheme has been launched – ‘Saubhagya’ for free electrification of around 4 crore households in rural as well as urban areas. The total outlay of the project is Rs. 16,320 crore and the Gross Budgetary Support is Rs. 12,320 crore, with beneficiaries being identified on the basis of the Socio Economic and Caste Census, 2011 data.

For more information: Financial Express

Agriculture

Krishi Unnati Mela

The Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare organised a four-day Pandit Deen Dayal Upadhyay Centenary Krishi Unnati Mela. The fair will witness participation of entrepreneurs involved in fields such as horticulture, agriculture, animal husbandry, dairy, fisheries, from almost 18 states.

For more information: PIB Release

Innovation

Hunar Haat

The Union Minister for Minority Affairs inaugurated Hunar Haat, a platform for craftsmen and artisans to display and sell their handicrafts and handloom products, in Puducherry. Artists from 16 states participated with products on exhibit and sale such as Hyderabadi pearl, wood carving, Kantha embroidered bag, handloom sheets, handmade painting, marble items and traditionally printed fabric. Stalls were also put up offering various types of delicacies from different parts of the country.

For more information: The Hindu

National Tourism Award

With a view to promote tourism, national tourism awards have been awarded since the early 1990s, to states, union territories, classified and heritage hotels, approved travel agents, tour operators and other private organizations. A new category of award has been added this year, called the ‘swachhta award’, as part of the cleanliness drive aimed at making India clean.

For more information: Business Standard

Divyang Sarathi

The Centre launched a mobile application, ‘Divyang Sarathi’ for the benefit of persons with disabilities. The app will host a wide array of information on scholarships, employment opportunities, schemes in place, institutional system made available to them and more such relevant information available only a click away. It also intends to cater to the needs of maximum people as its information is available in both English and Hindi.

For more information: India Today

Defence

Project Yash Vidya

Based on a MoU signed between Lt Gen Ashwani Kumar and the Vice Chancellor of Yashwantrao Chavan Maharashtra Open University, a Bachelors degree programme has been designed for the army personnel. This project endeavors to provide special recognition to in-service training and other army courses that have been completed. The concerned courses, have been designed specifically by keeping in mind their relevance and usefulness, on a subsidised fee, and will better enable the careers of army personnel with important qualifications.

For more information: Business Standard

Textiles

Deendayal Hastkala Sankul

A major trade facilitation centre, the Deendayal Hastkala Sankul, has been inaugurated in Varanasi by the Prime Minister. The centre-cum-museum, along with offering an opportunity to weavers for showcasing their works globally and improving their economic prospects, also boasts of being one of the best state-of-the-art centres of the country.

For more information: The Statesman

Sports

Sports for All

The Union Sports Minister inaugurated a workshop on ‘Sports for All’, highlighting the concept of Khelo India School Games, claimed to be the best ever initiative in sports at the school level. This will provide a platform to budding sportspersons to showcase their talent, amongst whom 1000 will be selected to receive resource support worth 5 lakh rupees per year, for a period of eight years. A thousand such athletes will be presented this opportunity every year.

For more information: The Hindu

Policy Watch – September 21st, 2017

Important policy updates from 15th September 2017 – 21st September 2017

Infrastructure

New Policy for Affordable Housing

A new Public-Private Partnership policy for affordable housing has been announced, which provides for central assistance of upto 2.50 lakh rupees for each house to be constructed by private builders. This may also lead to an increase in investment by private players in affordable housing projects on government land, in urban areas.

For more information: Economic Times

Solid Waste Management in Delhi

The Minister of State for Housing and Urban Affairs has unveiled the ministry’s plan for addressing the issue of solid waste management in Delhi. A corpus of Rs 300 crore will be set aside for the project, sought from Urban Development Fund, and to be implemented by Delhi Development Authority. This measure will aid in adding 670 metric tons of waste effluents to biodegradable waste, other than preventing spread of unclean gases and other diseases.

For more information: Hindustan Times

Biotechnology Boost in North East

Three major initiatives have been undertaken to promote science and innovation in the north eastern region. These are;
a) The Brahmaputra Biodiversity Biology Boat- a laboratory to study and analyse various aspects of the ecosystem, along with climate change.
b) The Foldoscope- a microscope made of paper and lens, it will be distributed in over 500 schools, colleges and scientists, with a major focus on north eastern states.
c) Pytho- Pharma project- to preserve endangered medicinal plants.

For more information: Economic Times

Administration

Government of India Press’s Revamp

17 of the Press offices of the government will be merged into 5 units, along with modernizing and revamping them. The five units will be at Rashtrapati Bhawan, Minto Road and Mayapuri in New Delhi, Nashik in Maharashtra and Temple Street in Kolkata. This measure will help in carrying out confidential and urgent printing work across the country.

For more information: Live mint

Youth Station Directors

Indian Railways will be posting young and dynamic officers at the existing 75 major (A1 category) railway stations as station directors. The officers will be entrusted with the task to ensure that the railway stations offer reliable and sensitive customer care services along with monitoring repair works on stations, among many others.

For more information: Economic Times

Energy

Auction Under SHAKTI

A new policy aimed at making coal allocations in a more transparent process, Scheme for Harnessing and Allocating Koyala (Coal) Transparently in India, was approved in May, 2017. Under this scheme, applications were invited from Independent Power Producers, with an incentive for bidders providing levelised discounted tariff to choose their preferred source(s). Bidding for the same was held for the 10 participating eligible bidders and allocation made on the basis specified. This step will help consumers with lower tariff rates and also be beneficial for the bidders as they will have the liberty to choose their preferred source.

For more information: Business Standard

Health And Environment

Cost Norms of ICDS Revised

The provision of supplementary nutrition to children, pregnant and lactating mothers, under the Integrated Child Development Scheme for Anganwadi services, will benefit about 11 crore beneficiaries every year. The amount spent on each kind of beneficiary, specified under the scheme, is slated to be increased, intending to achieve an improvement in the nutritional status of women and children.

For more information: Business Standard

Swachhta Hi Seva

The Centre has launched a nation-wide campaign, as part of the Swachh Bharat Mission, asking people to contribute to Gandhi’s aspiration of a clean India. This Ministry of Drinking Water and Sanitation initiative is being led by the strength of mass mobilization and by inviting cooperation from various sectors of the society. A major focus area is construction of toilets and making surrounding areas open defecation free. A number of activities will be organised on 2nd October, 2017, apart from various cleanliness drives planned as part of the campaign.

For more information: Live mint

National Conference on Malnutrition

The first national level conference, titled, “Mission Mode to Address Under-Nutrition”, was held in New Delhi, inaugurated by the Minister for Women and Child Development. The conference was held to discuss plan of action for achieving the target of Malnutrition Free India Mission, 2022. Ways in which various officers in administration could contribute to the vision were also discussed. The states of Chhattisgarh, Arunachal Pradesh and Gujarat were awarded for making progress in reducing instances of stunting, during the gap between the 3rd (2005-06) and 4th (2015-16) National Family Health Surveys.

For more information: Live mint

Economy

India’s External Debt Report

According to the Finance Ministry Report analysing India’s external debt, the figure has fallen by 2.7% at $471.9 billion, as of March end this year, compared to $485 billion at the end of March, 2016. This has been attributed to factors such as reduced commercial borrowings and NRI deposits. In addition to analysing important trends, the report also draws a parallel between India’s external debt with that of other countries, with an added focus on developing countries.

For more information: Economic Times

Textiles

‘Vastra’- 4 day International Textile and Apparel Fair

A four-day fair will be organised in Jaipur, showcasing products of over 250 exhibitors, from 13 states. Buyers from over 50 countries are expected to attend the event. A roundtable is also scheduled to be held, discussing how Rajasthan can be made an Apparel Hub.

For more information: Business Standard

Youth & Skills

Regional Vocational Training Institute

The foundation stone for a first of its kind training institute in Telangana was laid by the Vice- President. This institute has been envisaged as an Institute to inculcate and boost essential skills among women and to ensure advanced employment opportunities for them. To be constructed on an estimated expense of Rs 19.95 crore, the institute will be able to train around 1000 trainees every year, in a diverse range of courses such as fashion design & technology, architectural assistantship, secretarial practice, food and beverages assistant, cosmetology and front office assistants.

For more information: Hindu Business Line

Udaan Extended in J&K

The Cabinet has approved the proposal to extend an ongoing skill development project, the Special Industry Initiative for Jammu and Kashmir, till December, 2018. Of the 22,237 candidates who have completed training, 14,694 have been offered jobs. The scheme has seen a good pace of progress in the region, despite the challenges.

For more information: India Today

Sports

Scholarship for Best Players preparing for International Events

The top players preparing for Tokyo Olympics, Asian Games and Commonwealth Games will be eligible for a scholarship of Rs. 50,000 per month for their expenses. A total of 152 athletes have been selected to receive this amount as stipend, under the Target Olympic Podium scheme. The Ministry of Sports has started this initiative so that the training expenses of the players are taken care of, and they can entirely focus on the games.

For more information: DNA

Khelo India

The Union Cabinet has approved a revamped form of Khelo India scheme, enabling 1000 selected athletes to receive an annual scholarship of Rs 500,000 each for eight years. Additionally, the scheme will focus on promoting 20 universities as hubs of sporting talent. The scheme also seeks to go beyond efforts in infrastructural developments alone, to develop an entire ecosystem so as to sustain excellence in sports and connecting rural India to global platforms of sports and games.

For more information: Live mint

Policy Watch – September 14th, 2017

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

Infrastructure

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

Agriculture

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

Administration

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

Economy

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

Youth

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

Defence

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

International

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