POLICY WATCH

Policy Watch – December 14th, 2017

Important policy updates from 8th December, 2017 – 14th December, 2017.

Infrastructure

A Push for Sustainable Urban Transport

The Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs and the GIZ, of Germany have signed an agreement to promote sustainable urban transport, by means of technical cooperation. An investment of Euro 4 million by GIZ will be made for carrying the plan out in three cities, i.e.,Coimbatore, Bhubaneshwar and Kochi, over a period of three years.

For more information: PIB Release

Health

Active Trachoma Eliminated

A survey commissioned for, by the Health Ministry, has shown that active trachoma has been eliminated as an infectious public health problem, causing blindness world over. Being the first country to begin an anti-trachoma national plan in 1963, the elimination of the disease in its active form, which is seen among children, is an achievement for which the Ministry will seek a WHO certificate.

For more information: The Tribune

New Initiatives Launched to Promote Universal Health Coverage

The Minister of Health and Family Welfare has launched a number of initiatives on furthering universal health coverage. One of such initiatives is Lakshya Labour Room Quality Improvement Initiative, which will seek to improve the quality of care provided in labour rooms. A mobile application to ensure safe delivery, for health workers placed in peripheral areas has also been launched. Achievements of programs such as Mission Indradhanush, PM Dialysis Program and AMRIT Pharmacies were also highlighted at the launch. A plan to transform 1.5 lakh sub health care centres has also been announced.

For more information: PIB Release

Innovation

Online Bill Tracking System in Indian Railways

CRIS has developed an online platform, Indian Railways E-Procurement System, which will aid vendors and agencies on Indian Railways to track the status of their bills at each stage, and get paid within 30 days of generation of receipts. This measure will help in facilitating e-procurement and settlement of bills in a more transparent manner. User manuals are also available online, to guide vendors in getting themselves registered on the portal.  

For more information: Economic Times

Public Procurement Portal Launched for MSMEs

The Minister of State for MSME has launched a portal for the purpose of monitoring implementation of public procurement from MSEs by Public Sector Enterprises at the central level. The portal will facilitate the agendas of Ease of Doing Business and Make in India.

For more information: The Hindu Business Line

2-Day National Workshop on Role of Sakhi One Stop Centres

The Minister of Women and Child Development will inaugurate a two-day national workshop on the role and significance of Sakhi One Stop Centres in strengthening response to violence. Around 400 functionaries from such centres from across the states and UTs will participate in the workshop. The scheme, Sakhi, seeks to integrate multiple levels of assistance, from medical to legal aid, for the benefit of women affected by violence.

For more information: PIB Release

NIC-CERT Set Up to Prevent Cyberattacks

The Government has set up the NIC-CERT centre that will help in preventing and mitigating cyber attacks on government portals and networks. Sector wise CERTs (Computer Emergency Response Teams) will also be established for sectors like Power and Finance.

For more information: The Hindu

Skills and Employment

BPO Schemes Result in Over 10,000 Jobs

The India BPO Promotion Scheme and the North East BPO Promotion Scheme has resulted in creation of 10,297 jobs in small towns across 19 States and UTs, and across 5 States in case of the North East BPO Promotion Scheme. Incentives provided under the schemes and establishment of shared service centres have led to an increase in digital inclusion. Incentives for generating employment for women are also provided.

For more information: Business Today

POLICY WATCH

Policy Watch – December 7th, 2017

Important policy updates from 1st December, 2017 – 7th December, 2017.

Health & Hygiene

National Nutrition Mission

The Cabinet has approved Rs. 9046 crore for the purpose of National Nutrition Mission. This body will aid in monitoring and supervising the initiatives taken by ministries to eradicate malnutrition. The targets set by the Government include a reduction in stunting, anaemia among women and children by 2% and 3% respectively. The programme will cover districts in a phased manner.

For more information: Live Mint

Arogya 2017

The Minister for Commerce and Industry inaugurated the first ever International Conference and Exhibition on AYUSH and Wellness, ‘Arogya 2017’. In partnership with FICCI, the Government has organised the event to showcase the significance of traditional systems of medicine. Delegates from India and about 60 countries are taking part in the event. The government has announced that it will be collaborating with other countries in this field.

For more information: PIB Release

Major Financial Support for Namami Gange Mission

Business and trade leaders from India have pledged to support the Mission with nearly Rs 500 crores. This will be used for developing amenities and required infrastructure in and around the river. The Government is inviting financial support from the private sector, in a way that the industries can support a project of their choice, to clean the river.

For more information: Business Standard

Agriculture

10 Crore Soil Health Cards Distributed

In the first phase (2015-17), 100 million Soil Health Cards have been distributed, and the Ministry of Agriculture aims to provide them to all 120 million farm holdings by December, 2017. The National Portal of the Soil Health Card contains information regarding the online registration of soil samples and the test results, based on which, the recommendations are processed.

For more information: India Today

Industry

Maharashtra Launches Industrial Policy for Women

Maharashtra has become the first state to frame a specific industrial policy for women. The policy provides for a capital subsidy of up to Rs 1 crore, based on where the unit is located, to first generation women entrepreneurs investing in Micro, Small or Medium Enterprises (MSMEs). Incentives such as lower power tariffs and higher interest subsidies will also be provided. The policy also seeks to incentivise women entrepreneurs in industrially backward regions, along with some benefits extended to existing women entrepreneurs as well.

For more information: The Indian Express

Energy

International Solar Alliance

International Solar Alliance has become the first treaty based international government organisation, ratified by 19 countries, that will be based in India. The initiative, jointly launched by India and France, attempts to reduce obstacles for deploying solar projects on a large scale, by increasing cooperation and coordination between solar-rich countries lying between the Tropics of Cancer and Capricorn. It also aims to reduce costs incurred, by aggregating demand from member nations and accordingly invite tenders.

For more information: Live Mint

Innovation

B R Ambedkar International Centre

The Prime Minister inaugurated the B R Ambedkar International Centre in New Delhi. It established with the intent to develop it as an important centre to conduct research on socio-economic issues. It will also seek to promote the teachings of Dr. B R. Ambedkar.

For more information: PIB Release

National Conference on Reforms in PDS

With an aim to introduce reforms in the existing Public Distribution System (PDS), the Government organised a two-day national conference in Vijayawada, Andhra Pradesh. Representatives from 20 states participated in the Conference, along with visiting fair price shops and godowns to get an exposure to the devices and new technology being used and on-ground functioning of the system.

For more information: Business Standard

Security & Defence

Border Protection Grid in States Bordering Bangladesh

The Home Minister has announced that the Government will establish a Border Protection Grid, in order to secure the Indian States bordering Bangladesh better. This is aimed at reducing the instances of illegal activities and creation of both physical, and non-physical barriers to entry.

For more information: The Indian Express

POLICY WATCH

Policy Watch – November 30th, 2017

Important Policy Updates from 24th November, 2017 – 30th November, 2017.

Infrastructure

30.76 Lakh Houses Sanctioned Under PMAY

Since the launch of Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana (Urban), in June,2015, 30.76 lakh houses have been sanctioned, of which, about 4.13 lakh houses have been constructed, and 15.65 lakh houses are currently at various stages of construction. A national workshop was also held on PMAY (Urban) and Swachh Bharat Mission (Urban), where reforms such as stamp duty exemption and single window clearance were highlighted.

For more information: The Indian Express

115 Districts Identified for Rapid Transformation

As a step towards achieving a New India by 2022, the Government has identified 115 backward districts to make rapid changes in. A senior officer will be appointed in these districts, of the Additional Secretary and Joint Secretary level, who will be responsible for bringing about this transformation, by apprising the district administration of the mission and by keeping a tab on scheme implementation and monitoring reforms. Of the districts selected, some have been affected by violent extremism, some by leftist extremism, and some from Jammu and Kashmir and the North East.
For more information: Business Standard

Housing Complexes for the Economically Weaker Sections in Mizoram

The President of India inaugurated housing complexes for the economically weaker sections under the Basic Services to Urban Poor (BSUP) scheme. 1096 dwelling units are slated to come up in four locations of the State, at a total cost of Rs. 91.01 crore.

For more information: The Telegraph

First Long-Distance Train Upgraded Under Operation Swarn

The Sealdah-New Delhi Rajdhani Express is the first long-distance train to have been upgraded to the intended ‘Gold Standards’ under the Railways’ Operation Swarn. The program seeks to upgrade approximately 15 Rajdhani and 15 Shatabdi trains, at a total cost of around Rs. 25 crore. The facilities include LED lighting,vinyl wrapping on toilet doors, CCTVs installed around the doors and aisle areas, night signage, and revamped berths and other facilities for additional passenger convenience.

For more information: Financial Express

Youth & Skills

Skill India and Airbnb to Build Capacity of Hospitality Sector Entrepreneurs

The National Skill Development Council, Tourism and Hospitality Sector Skill Council and Airbnb have signed an agreement to assist and empower micro entrepreneurs in the hospitality sector. They aim to create a skill development module for entrepreneurs, along with accommodation facilities. This step will provide a boost to the Skill India Mission as global best practices will be sought to be emulated across the sector.

For more information: Economic Times

Energy

Saubhagya Scheme Launched in Manipur

The Pradhan Mantri Sahaj Bijli Har Ghar Yojana (Saubhagya) was launched in Manipur. The scheme seeks to achieve universal household electrification in all parts of the country. The total amount spent on this scheme is close to 16,320 crore, which includes a huge amount of budgetary support as well.

For more information: The Assam Tribune

Education

Projects Worth Rs. 2066.73 crore Sanctioned for Research in Higher Education

The Higher Education Funding Agency has approved projects worth Rs. 2066.73 crore. In the first phase, the IITs at Bombay, Delhi, Madras, Kharagpur, Kanpur and the NIT at Surathkal have been selected. This funding will aid in developing the research infrastructure of these institutions. The funds raised under HEFA will be provided to institutions in addition to the grants provided by the Government.

For more information: The New Indian Express

Economics

GDP Growth Rebounds in the Second Quarter

From a three- year low of 5.7%, India’s GDP in the second quarter has increased to 6.3%. At constant prices, the GDP has been estimated at 31.66 lakh crore, as opposed to 29.79 lakh crore in the second quarter of 2016-17.  Sectors such as manufacturing, electricity, water supply, gas and other utility services have registered a growth of over 6 percent.

For more information: Live mint

Innovation

Global Entrepreneurship Summit

The 8th edition of the Global Entrepreneurship Summit was launched in Hyderabad, for the first time in South Asia, with the theme, ‘Women First, Prosperity for All’. People from across the world were present at this event, where Prime Minister Narendra Modi urged entrepreneurs to invest in India and the summit’s major focus was enabling support for women entrepreneurs and fostering global economic growth. Sessions and workshops to exchange entrepreneurial ideas, network and consultation were also organised.

For more information: Economic Times

Intensive Program to Train Elected Women Representatives of Panchayat

An intensive training program has been launched by the Minister for Women and Child Development, to train elected women representatives of the Panchayati Raj Institutions. They aim to train approximately 20,000 representatives, selecting nearly 50 from each district. The training is aimed at ensuring that women effectively perform their role as elected representatives.

For more information: Business Standard

International Tourism Mart

The Ministry of Tourism, along with the North Eastern States, has organised the 6th edition of the International Tourism Mart, in Guwahati, with the aim to bolster tourism in the North Eastern Region. Discussions on promotion of cultural ties with the ASEAN region will be held, beside providing a platform for the tourism fraternity and entrepreneurs from the north Eastern States to interact with buyers, media, government agencies and stakeholders in this field.

For more information: The Assam Tribune

3-Day India- Afghan Cultural Festival Inaugurated in Delhi

The 3-day India- Afghan Cultural Festival was inaugurated by the Minister of State for Culture and his counterpart from Afghanistan. The festival will focus on shared values and cultural commonalities of the two countries, along with exhibitions of art, handicrafts and music.

For more information: Business Standard

POLICY WATCH

Policy Watch – November 23rd, 2017

Important policy updates from 17th November, 2017 – 23rd November, 2017.

Home Affairs

‘National Integration Week’

‘National Integration Week’ will be observed from November 19 – 25  with a view to fostering and reinforcing the spirit of communal harmony across the country amidst ongoing debate over the issue of intolerance. Union Home Minister Sh. Rajnath Singh has asked the central and state governments to organise and celebrate the ‘Qaumi Ekta Week’ so that the message of communal harmony and national integration could reach out to every part of the country and society. This occasion provides an opportunity to reaffirm age old traditions and faith in the values of tolerance, co-existence and brotherhood in a multicultural and multi-religious society. “The observation of ‘Qaumi Ekta Week’ will also help to highlight the inherent strength and resilience of our nation to withstand actual and potential threats to the eclectic and secular fabric of our country, and nurture a spirit of communal harmony in its widest sense,

For more information: Economic Times

New and Renewable Energy

Panel Discussion on Innovative Financing and Market Evolution.

Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE) and Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) organised a panel discussion on ‘Innovative Financing and Market Evolution to achieve 175 GW Renewables by 2022’ at the India Pavilion, CoP (Conference of the Parties) 23, Bonn, Germany. Speaking about the government’s interventions, P C Maithani, Adviser, MNRE said policies are being drafted on a continuous basis to address challenges as the market evolves. Dr. Ajay Mathur, DG, The Energy and Resources Institute (TERI) stressed upon the need to push for higher research in storage technology which could complement the infirm renewable power. There is an imminent need to look at bringing down storage costs.

For more information: PIB Release

Health and Family Welfare

Ministry Notifies Amendment to Food Safety & Standards Regulations

Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, through FSSAI, has notified amendment to Food Safety & Standards (Contaminants, Toxins & Residues) Regulations, 2011. This notification contains maximum permissible limits of various antibiotics in meat and meat products including chicken. Maximum permissible limits of 37 antibiotics and 67 other veterinary drugs are prescribed for chicken. Through this notification, objections and suggestions have been invited from all the stakeholders including general public within 30 days of the notification.

For more information: Business Standard

Shipping

CSL’s Rs 970 crore facility to make India self sufficient in ship repair.

The Minister of Shipping, Road Transport & Highways and Water Resources, River Development and Ganga Rejuvenation Shri Nitin Gadkari has laid the foundation stone of a Rs 970-crore International Ship Repair Facility (ISRF) for Cochin Shipyard Limited. The facility is being built at Cochin Port Trust where CSL has leased out a 40-acre plot for the project. He  said that Cochin is all set to become a global ship repair hub. The International Ship Repair facility will be a State of the Art facility that can handle a major chunk of small and medium sized vessels plying in India. CSL will set up a ship lift system of size 130 m x 25 m with lifting capacity of 6000 tonnes and 6 work stations. The facility can repair up to 85 vessels, and CSL will thereby  be almost doubling the number of ships that can be repaired every year.

For more information: PIB Release

Finance

No Proposal Under Consideration to Withdraw Bank Cheque Book Facility

In a section of the media, it has appeared that there is a possibility that the Central Government may withdraw bank cheque book facility in the near future, with an intent to encourage digital transactions. It is denied that there is any proposal under consideration of the Government to withdraw bank cheque book facility. In this regard, it is emphasized that while the Government is committed to transform India into a less cash economy and promote digital and electronic transactions through multi-pronged initiatives, cheques are an integral part of the payments landscape, and form the backbone of trade and commerce, by being negotiable instruments, which often serve as the security for underlying trade transactions.

For more information: Economic Times

Logistics Sector granted Infrastructure Status.

In a major push to developing an integrated logistics framework in the country including industrial parks, cold chains and warehousing facilities – the government has granted infrastructure status to the logistics sector, enabling the industry to access cheaper finances.To adopt a coherent approach for the development of logistics infrastructure. The  former director general of Directorate General of Supplies and Disposals (DGS&D) Binoy Kumar has been appointed as a special secretary in charge of logistics in the commerce and industry ministry earlier this month. Considering a proposal by the commerce ministry, the finance ministry decided to include logistics in the master list of infrastructure sub-sectors. The government has defined “logistics infrastructure” to include a multimodal logistics park comprising an Inland Container Depot (ICD), Cold Chain facility and a warehousing facility with a minimum investment for each category. Development of logistics will give a boost to both domestic and export markets.

For more information: Live Mint

India Signs Loan Agreement with World Bank

A Guarantee Agreement for IBRD/CTF loan of USD 98 million and Grant Agreement for USD 2 million for the “Shared Infrastructure for Solar Parks Project” was signed with the World Bank. At that moment Mr. Sameer Kumar Khare, Joint Secretary (MI), Department of Economic Affairs on behalf of Government of India, and Mr Hisham A. Abdo, Acting Country Director, World Bank India, on behalf of the World Bank was present. The objective of the project is to increase solar generation capacity through establishment of large-scale parks in the country.

For more information: PIB Release

Electronics & IT

Aadhaar Data is Never Breached or Leaked: UIDAI

The Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) denied breach or leak of Aadhaar data. It was responding to reports that over 200 government websites had displayed Aadhaar-related data of beneficiaries. “The data on these websites were placed in the public domain as a measure of proactive disclosure under the RTI Act by these government and institutional websites which included beneficiaries’ name, address, bank account, and other details, including Aadhaar number, and were collected from the third party/users for various welfare schemes

For more information: The Hindu

Niti Aayog

Speakers, Entrepreneurs and Investors Selected for the 2017 Global Entrepreneurship Summit.

The 8th edition of the Global Entrepreneurship Summit (GES) is being co-hosted by the United States and India in Hyderabad, November 28-30, 2017, for which 1,500 individuals have been selected to participate. This is the first time the Summit is being held in South Asia. Since 2010, the GES has travelled to Washington D.C., Istanbul, Dubai, Marrakech, Nairobi, Kuala Lumpur, Silicon Valley. The Summit will be inaugurated by Hon’ble Prime Minister, Narendra Modi. Advisor to the President of USA, Ivanka Trump will lead the U.S. contingent to the summit, which will highlight the theme of “Women First, Prosperity for All” and focus on supporting women entrepreneurs and fostering economic growth globally. The Summit will focus on four areas viz. Energy & Infrastructure; Digital Economy & Financial Technology; Health & Life Sciences and Media & Entertainment.
For more information: PIB Release

Transforming 115 backward districts across the country.

In keeping with the Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s vision of a New India by 2022, Government has embarked upon a major policy initiative for the rapid transformation of 115 backward districts across the country. Senior Government officials of the rank of Additional Secretary and Joint Secretary have been designated as Prabhari Officers or the in-charge to coordinate the efforts of the Centre and the states in addressing the specific developmental needs of the districts.

For more information: Business Standard

Railways

More Than Three Decade Old Demand Fulfilled

Fulfilling the demand of more than three old decades of local public of Kirandul for running of an Express Train in their area, Indian Railways has extended the existing special train between Visakhapatnam-Jagdalpur upto Kirandul (in Dantewada District of Chhattisgarh with effect from 20th November, 2017. This is the first ‘Express’ category train for the people of Kirandul which is a left wing extremist affected area. Under the direction of Shri Piyush Goyal this work was expedited and the promise was fulfilled within a fortnight. This train passes through naxal area like Dantewada with full security. The inauguration for extension of this Train No. 08152 Visakhapatnam – Jagdalpur to Kirandul was done on 20th November, 2017.

For more information: Business Standard

Environment and Forests

Centre promulgates Ordinance to encourage bamboo cultivation

President Ram Nath Kovind promulgated an Ordinance, amending the Indian Forest Act, 1927 which with immediate effect exempts bamboo grown in non-forest areas from the requirement of felling/transit permit. The move will encourage bamboo plantation by farmers and help enhance their income. The Indian Forest (Amendment) Ordinance, 2017 comes a day after the Union cabinet approved the amendment. A bill to replace the Ordinance is most likely to be introduced in the Parliament during its forthcoming winter session next month.

For more information: Times of India

Corporate Affairs

Ordinance to amend the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code, 2016

The Government of India promulgated the Ordinance to amend the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code, 2016 (the Code). Earlier the President of India had given his assent to the Ordinance to amend the Code. The Ordinance aims at putting in place safeguards to prevent unscrupulous, undesirable persons from misusing or vitiating the provisions of the Code. The amendments aim to keep-out such persons who have willly defaulted, are associated with non-performing assets, or are habitually non-compliant and, therefore, are likely to be a risk to successful resolution of insolvency of a company. In addition to putting in place restrictions for such persons to participate in the resolution or liquidation process, the Amendment also provides such check by specifying that the Committee of Creditors ensure the viability and feasibility of the resolution plan before approving it.

For more information: PIB Release

POLICY WATCH

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

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

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

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

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

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