Policy Watch – January 11th, 2018

Important policy updates from 5th January 2018 – 11th January 2018.

Technology & Innovation

CSIR to Develop Eco-friendly Firecrackers

The Council of Scientific and Industrial Research will be developing a cost-effective technology to make e-crackers. With concerns increasingly being raised over the use of polluting firecrackers, this initiative by different labs at the CSIR will go a long way in addressing this issue. An inter-ministerial expert committee has also been constituted to mentor the labs in taking this initiative forward, along with a proposal to meet the manufacturers of firecrackers, so as to fully be a part of this program.

For more information: Economic Times  

Drones to Monitor Railway Projects

The West Central zone of the Indian Railways has procured and conducted a trial run of drone cameras in all its zones. The cameras will aid in monitoring railway projects, oversee track maintenance, monitor relief and rescue operations, crowd management and other railway related infrastructure. Real-time information regarding safety and security of concerned infrastructure will prove to be an important resource for the Railways.

For more information: The Hindu

1st PIO-Parliamentarian Conference

The Prime Minister of India inaugurated the first PIO-Parliamentarian Conference in New Delhi. The conference witnessed participation of a diverse group of PIO (Person of Indian Origin) parliamentarians, representing over 20 democracies of the world. Sharing of best practices with each other and inviting partnerships from the PIO community in some of the Government’s flagship schemes are some of the highlights of the Programme.

For more information: PIB Release

Army Technology Seminar

The Indian Army organized the second edition of the Army Technology Seminar, highlighting the need for equipment and technology for the Indian Army. Participants ranging from serving officers to DRDO scientists to representatives from the Industry sector and academia were present. The role of indigenous technology and ‘Make in India’ initiative also formed an important discussion point at the seminar.

For more information: PIB Release

Dharma-Dhamma Conference

The President of India inaugurated the Dharma-Dhamma Conference on ‘State and Social Order in Dharma-Dhamma Traditions’ in Nalanda. Nalanda University has organised this in collaboration with the Centre for Study of Religion and Society, India Foundation, Ministry of External Affairs and the Vietnam Buddhist University, as part of the Silver jubilee celebration of the ASEAN-India Dialogue Partnership. By focussing on the common roots and shared traditional diversities between India and the ASEAN nations, the growth of economic and diplomatic endeavors between the two was suggested.

For more information: Business Standard


Paperless Parliament

The Government has proposed to introduce paperless administration and digitised proceedings in the Parliament and State assemblies. As part of the Digital India initiative, the Government aims to extend automation in State legislatures and the Parliament as well.

For more information: The Hindu

India’s First All-Women Railway Station Enters Limca Records

India’s first all-women railway station, Matunga, on the Central line (Mumbai), managed by a staff of 41 women, has entered the Limca Book of Records.The Central Railway General Manager, D.K. Sharma, undertook this initiative with a focus on women empowerment. Earlier, the Mumbai region of Railways had set a record by inducing the first woman driver on Central Railway in 1988, and also by introducing the world’s first suburban ‘Ladies Special’ trains on it’s Western line in 1992.

For more information: The Economic Times

Online Portal for Monitoring Interest Subsidies under DAY-NULM

The Housing and Urban Affairs Ministry has entered into an agreement with the Allahabad Bank, for the purpose of setting up a web portal, which will process interest subsidies granted under the Deendayal Antyodaya Yojana-National Urban Livelihoods Mission. This is meant to ensure that the subsidies provided, reach the beneficiaries, and that faster payment of subsidies are made.

For more information: The New Indian Express

Railway Vendor Registration System

A new registration system has been launched by the Indian Railways to make procurement of all items online. The system will enable small and medium enterprises to also do business with the Indian Railways, and at the same time ensure that no company attains a monopoly over such transactions with the Railways. Open electronic bidding for all items will also lead to a greater transparency in the procurement process.  

For more information: The Economic Times

Jail Reforms for Women Prisoners

The Ministry of Women and Child Development and the National Commission for Women have proposed to introduce a new set of jail reforms for ensuring better conditions in the prison for women. Other than focussing on ensuring the provision of basic amenities ranging from medicinal, hygienic, educational and legal information, skill-oriented training programmes are also being planned, in association with the Ministry of Skill Development and Entrepreneurship. National Law University, Delhi has also been approached to prepare a prison manual for women inmates.

For more information: Hindustan Times


All Railway Stations to be Equipped with Wi-Fi

As part of the Digital India initiative, nearly 8500 railway stations will be equipped with wifi facilities at a cost of Rs 700 crore. The stations will also include the ones in rural and remote areas. Of these stations, close to 7300 stations have been selected to provide services not only to passengers but also to local people residing in rural and remote areas. This will help in promoting e-governance and taking it across rural areas.

For more information: Economic Times

Bharat Net Broadband in over 1 lakh Gram Panchayats

Under phase one of the Bharat Net Project, 1,01,370 gram panchayats have been provided with broadband facility. Rest of the 1.5 lakh panchayats are slated to be covered by end of 2018. In order to ensure the successful implementation of the Digital India programme, the Government is attempting to finish the second phase of the project earlier than decided timeline. The Government is also planning to incentivise Bharat Net stakeholders to ensure timely and better performance.

For more information: Deccan Herald


With an aim to carry out effective freight management and aid traffic flows, the Railway Ministry has launched Smart Freight Operation Optimisation & Real Time Information (SFOORTI) application. Some of the features of the app include analysis of zonal/divisional traffic, the end to end rake movement on geospatial view and a view of expected traffic at interchange points to better evaluate daily performance.

For more information: Business Standard

MPLAD Scheme to be Extended till 2020

The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs has approved the continuation of the Members of Parliament Local Area Development (MPLAD) scheme till the end of the 14th Finance Commission, i.e., March 2020. An annual allocation of Rs 3,950 crore and a total outlay of 11,850 crores over the period of next three years has been made. An additional allocation of Rs 5 crore per year for monitoring the implementation by independent agencies has also been approved. This will also provide for capacity building and training of concerned officials.

For more information: The Economic Times