National Digital Literacy Mission (NDLM) initiated with the vision to make at least one person in every family digitally literate with digital literacy skills by 2020.
Target is to provide digital literacy to 6 crore rural households. The outlay for this project is Rs.2,351.38 crore to usher in digital literacy in rural India by March,.2019.
· 2 lakh 50 thousands gram panchayats to be connected with WiFi, Hotspot enabled broadband connection.
The target for National Digital Literacy Mission (NDLM) was to train 10.00 Lakh candidates, which was achieved in June 2016.
The target for Digital SakshartaAbhiyan (DISHA) was 42.50 Lakh Candidates which has been achieved in December 2016. Under Pradhan Mantri Digital SakshartaAbhiyan, target is to make 6 crore adults digitally literate in two years.
· Aadhaar enrolment has increased to 120.7 Crore (As on 31 march 2018) from 63.22 cr (as on 31stMay, 2014)
Nearly 100% of the adult (18+years) population has Aadhaar (as on 31st March, 2018) from 62% (as on 31st May, 2014).
Number of unique bank accounts linked with Aadhaar has increased to 59.15 cr (as on 31st March, 2018) from less than 7 cr (as on 31st May, 2014). Since September, 2016 58.3 Crore mobile SIM cards have been issued using Aadhaar eKYC.
125 Banks have joined Aadhaar Enabled Payment System (AEPS), leading to an increase in AEPS transactions from just 0.46 Crore on 31st May, 2014 to 141.16 Crore on 31st March, 2018.
Aadhaar enrolment trend during March, 2014 to May, 2014 was about 3-4 lakh per day and about 5-6 lakh per day till October 2016. Since Demonetization, the Aadhaar enrolment/ Update requests are in the range of 3-4 lakh per day. More than 1 cr Income Tax Payee have linked their Pan Card with Aadhaar.
Jeevan Pramaan: Aadhaar based platform for biometric authentication of the pensioners and senior citizens. Since its launch on 10 November 2014, over 150.15 lakh pensioners have registered on the portal till date, which was 16.54 lakh in 2016. As per the latest data available around 3.87 Aadhaar based PoS terminals have been introduced
· As on December 2017, around 2.92 lakh CSCs are active and offering digital services like Aadhaar enrolment, Ticket booking, of utilities and other e Governance services to citizens from 2.15 Lakh Gram Panchayats, which was only 2.29 Lakh 2016.
· This has developed digital entrepreneurs among poor, marginalised, Dalits and women of India.
· More than 52,000 women are working in these Centres that provide digital services like ticket booking, tele medicines, Jan Aushadhi, Aadhaar service to people.
· BharatNet Project will enable delivery of high-speed broadband services in over 2.5 lakh villages benefitting more than 200 million rural Indians.
· Over One lakh Gram Panchayats (GP) across the country connected with high speed optical fibre network as per the declared deadline of 31 Dec 2017, under BharatNet Phase 1
· As on 6th May 2018, 2,72,690 km Optical Fibre Cable has been laid covering 1,15,461 GPs out of which 1,09,278 GPs have been made Service Ready.
· Overall Tele-density in the country increased from 75% in Jun 2014 to 94% in Sep 2017. 280 million subscribers added in last three years.
· Smartphone penetration doubled from 190 million in 2014 to 390 Million in 2017
· Two thirds (~ 66%) increase in the internet coverage –251 million users in Jun 2014 to 429 million in Sep 2017
· No. of mobile BTS (Base Transceiver Stations) doubled in the country from 7.94 Lacs in May 2014 to 16.75 Lacs in Dec 2017
· Optic Fibre Cable coverage doubled from 7 Lacs KM in May 2014 to 14 Lacs KM in Dec 2017
· Average mobile data usage per subscriber grew 25 times – from 62 MB per month in 2014 to 1.6 GB per month in 2017
· Cheapest tariff globally – Rs. 300 per GB in 2014 to Rs. 21 per GB as on Sep 2017, tariff reduction of 93%
· Five times growth in broadband access from 61 million subscribers in Mar 2014 to 325 million subscribers in Sep 2017
· Five times jump in FDI inflows in Telecom Sector – from $ 1.3 Bn in FY 2014 to $ 6.1 Bn in FY 18 (till Sep’17)
· Total no. of telephone subscriptions is 1206.71 million as on September,2017. Out of which 501.99 million connections are in rural areas and 704.89 million are in urban areas. Country’s total tele-density is 93.40%. In rural areas it is 56.71% and in urban areas it 173.15% during September 2017
· Wireless telephony constitutes 98.04% of all subscriptions (September 2017)
· Total number of internet subscribers is 445.96 million at the end of Dec-17.
· Batch 1 auction successfully completed in 2015 after a gap of 9 years.
Ø 96 new FM channels in 55 cities were started Ø Government received Rs. 1103 Cr by auction & Rs.1600 Cr as migration fee from FM Channel owners
· Batch II of Phase III Auctions concluded in 2017 Ø 66 FM channels for 48 cities allotted Ø Government realized Rs 200.24 cr through auction · Auction of 683 channels in 236 cities in subsequent batches. These auctions will yield estimated revenue more than Rs. 1,100 crore
Community Radio · 201 Community Radio Stations operational across India. · Subsidy increased for setting up of CRS from 50 % to 90% in the North Eastern States &75% in other States, subject to a maximum limit of Rs. 7.5 lakhs
Akashvani Maitree · Exclusive service for Bangladesh and Bengali Diaspora launched by All India Radio
24x7 Kisan Channel Launched by Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi on 26 th May, 2015.
The World Bank released today a Human Capital Index (HCI) as part of the World Development Report 2019.
Broader theme of the World Development Report (WDR) this year is “The Changing Nature of Work”. As part of this report, the World Bank has launched a Human Capital Project (HCP). The HCP programme is claimed to be a program of advocacy, measurement, and analytical work to raise awareness and increase demand for interventions to build human capital. There are three components of HCP- a cross-country human capital measurement metric called the Human Capital Index (HCI), a programme of measurement and research to inform policy action, and a programme of support for country strategies to accelerate investment in human capital.
The HCI has been constructed for 157 countries. It claims to seek to measure the amount of human capital that a child born today can expect to attain by age 18. The HCI index values are contended to convey the productivity of the next generation of workers, compared to a benchmark of complete standard education and full health.
The HCI has three components:
Survival, as measured by under-5 mortality rates;
Expected years of Quality-Adjusted School which combines information on the quantity and quality of education (quality is measured by harmonizing test scores from major international student achievement testing programs and quantity from number of years of school that a child can expect to obtain by age 18 given the prevailing pattern of enrolment rates across grades in respective countries); and
Health environment using two proxies of (a) adult survival rates and (b) the rate of stunting for children under age 5.
UNDP constructs Human Development Index (HDI) for several years. The HCI uses survival rates and stunting rate instead of life expectancy as measure of health, and quality-adjusted learning instead of merely years of schooling as measure of education. HCI also excludes per capita income whereas the HDI uses it. Two significant changes from HDI are exclusion of income component and introduction of quality adjustment in learning. Exclusion of income element and introduction of quality adjustment makes HCI far less representative of Human Capital Development than the Index claims it to be.
The first HCI published today at the Annual Meetings of the Fund Bank comes with a conclusion that for 56% of the world’s population the HCI is at or below 0.50; and for 92% it is at or below 0.75. Hence only 8% of the population can expect to be 75% as productive as they could be.
The HCI measures the Index outcomes for each country as a fraction of maximum value of 1. As expected the advanced economies such as North America and Europe mostly have HCI value of above 0.75, while South Asia and Sub Saharan Africa have the lowest HCI among the regions. The HCI for India has been estimated at 0.44. The quality adjusted learning has been measured in case of India by using the data as old as 2009.
The key observations regarding HCI for India in the Report are as under: · Human Capital Index: A child born in India today will be only 44 per cent as productive when she grows up as she could be if she enjoyed complete education and full health.
· The HCI in India for females is marginally better than that for males.
· Further, there has been marked improvement in the HCI components in India over the last five years.
· Probability of Survival to Age 5: 96 out of 100 children born in India survive to age 5.
· Expected Years of School: In India, a child who starts school at age 4 can expect to complete 10.2 years of school by her 18th birthday.
· Harmonized Test Scores: Students in India score 355 on a scale where 625 represents advanced attainment and 300 represents minimum attainment.
· Learning-adjusted Years of School: Factoring in what children actually learn, expected years of school is only 5.8 years.
· Adult Survival Rate: Across India, 83 per cent of 15-year olds will survive until age 60.
· Healthy Growth (Not Stunted Rate): 62 out of 100 children are not stunted. 38 out of 100 children are stunted, and so at risk of cognitive and physical limitations that can last a lifetime.
· Gender Differences: In India, HCI for girls is marginally higher than for boys.
There are serious reservations about the advisability and utility of this exercise of constructing HCI. There are major methodological weaknesses, besides substantial data gaps. For instance, for the schooling parameter, though quantity is assessed using enrolment rates reported by UNESCO, quality is gauged using harmonized test scores from major international student achievement testing programs. Due to lack of availability of an authoritative and uniform test score, about 9 different test scores and systems using varying methodology have been claimed to have been harmonized by the World Bank. None of the 9 systems cover more than 100 countries, with some have very limited regional coverage. This makes the methodology quite complex and non-uniform. For some countries, average national scores in a particular year and in some cases in selected cities or states have been used as predictors of education potential and future economic growth. As most nations have country-wide assessments of elementary education, which could have been used, this is not a reasonable approach. For India, the data for quality of education pertains to 2009 assessment by PISA, which was conducted for only two states, namely Himachal Pradesh and Tamil Nadu. The methodology for harmonization is hugely suspect, the data quite dated and consequently the results quite non comparable.
The use of PISA and TIMSS scores raises questions of possible conflict of interest as the methodology for testing is largely controlled by non UN agencies and is not globalized unlike the methodology of UNICEF and WHO that are used for health and survival indicators.
The purpose of the Index has been stated to be to create political incentive for increased spending on health and education. Unfortunately, the indicators used for measured the Index are so slow moving that none can really be excited about setting out the programme of Index improvement. Adult survival rates, stunting, and under 5 mortality are outcome indicators will change at a relatively slow rate as compared to process indicators used in computing for example the Ease of Doing Business.
Several key factors, on the other hand, seem to have been neglected. As against the variability of outcomes for similar levels on investment, it would be more useful to developing countries if the Index focused on enabling them to measure and improve the cost-effectiveness of their spending on health and education. Also, the differences in development outcomes arising from governance issues, political systems, socio-cultural context, and legacy issues have been totally ignored. The metric of HCI is too simplistic at one level and too ignorant of development realities at another.
Analysed in the context of India, the HCI score for India does not reflect the key initiatives that are being taken for developing human capital in the country.
The Samagra Shiksha Abhiyan has been launched to focus on access and quality of education for the benefit of 197 million school children. Through the Ayushman Bharat Programme, India has now launched the world’s largest Health Insurance initiative providing 500 million citizens with adequate health coverage, and transforming 150,000 Health Centres into Wellness Centres to provide comprehensive primary healthcare services.
Sanitation coverage has expanded from 38% in 2014 to 83% in 2018 under the Swachh Bharat Mission. This has been made possible through the construction of over 72 million toilets and simultaneous societal reforms driven through strong political will. The Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana has reduced drudgery and improved the health of about 38 million women by providing them with LPG connection to replace firewood and coke based cooking stoves. In pursuing with the agenda of financial inclusion, the Pradhan Mantri Jandhan Yojana has provided access to formal banking services to over 328 million persons.
The share of account ownership among rural adults has more than doubled from 33% in 2011 to 79% in 2017, significantly bridging the rural-urban gap. Financial inclusion and the Aadhaar identification system has enabled India to make direct cash transfer of about US$ 64 billion to citizens, thus improving governance and social protection.
These initiatives are transforming human capital in India at rapid pace and very comprehensively touching upon the lives of millions of people living in rural and tribal areas.
The qualitative aspects of improved governance that have a strong correlation with human capital development cannot be and have not been captured by the way the HCI has been constructed. The gap in data and methodology overlook the initiatives taken by a country and, in turn, portray an incomplete and pre-determined picture.
This infact makes the case for an adoption of the Index by more countries somewhat remote. The hasty introduction of the HCI by the World Bank may deny the larger Human Capital Project its due despite the lofty objectives of the latter.
With the emphasis on country scores and rankings, the HCI could trivialize the importance of the Human Capital Project, which may in turn overshadow the critical issues discussed in the World Development Report on the changing nature of work.
The Government of India, therefore, has decided to ignore the HCI and will continue to undertake its path breaking programme for human capital development aiming to rapidly transforming quality and ease of life for all its children.
The provisions of the Competition Act, 2002 (“Act”) relating to the regulation of combinations as well as the Combination Regulations have been in force with effect from 1st June 2011.
A key change brought about by the present amendments is that the parties to combinations can now submit remedies voluntarily in response to the notice issued under Section 29(1) of the Act. If such remedies are considered sufficient to address the perceived competition harm, the combination can be approved. This amendment is expected to expedite disposal of such combination cases.
In another significant amendment, where the notice is found to exhibit significant information gaps, parties to combinations are allowed to withdraw the notice and refile the same. With this amendment, the parties could address the deficiencies without facing an invalidation by CCI. Further, fee already paid in respect of such notice shall be adjusted against the fee payable in respect of new notice, if the refiling is done within a period of 3 months.
Apart from these, certain consequential and other clarificatory changes have also been made in the Combination Regulations.
About Competition Commission Of India: The Competition Commission of India (CCI) was established under the Competition Act, 2002 for the administration, implementation and enforcement of the Act, and was duly constituted in March 2009. Chairman and members are appointed by the central government.
The following are the objectives of the Commission: To prevent practices having adverse effect on competition. To promote and sustain competition in markets. To protect the interests of consumers. To ensure freedom of trade.
Functions of the commission: It is the duty of the Commission to eliminate practices having adverse effect on competition, promote and sustain competition, protect the interests of consumers and ensure freedom of trade in the markets of India.
The Commission is also required to give opinion on competition issues on a reference received from a statutory authority established under any law and to undertake competition advocacy, create public awareness and impart training on competition issues.
The Competition Act: The Competition Act, 2002, as amended by the Competition (Amendment) Act, 2007, prohibits anti-competitive agreements, abuse of dominant position by enterprises and regulates combinations (acquisition, acquiring of control and M&A), which causes or likely to cause an appreciable adverse effect on competition within India.
NCVET will regulate the functioning of entities engaged in vocational education and training, both long-term and short-term and establish minimum standards for the functioning of such entities. The primary functions of NCVET will include:
Recognition and regulation of awarding bodies, assessment bodies and skill related information providers. Approval of qualifications developed by awarding bodies and Sector Skill Councils (SSCs).
Indirect regulation of vocational training institutes through awarding bodies and assessment agencies. Research and information dissemination. Grievance redressal.
Composition: The Council would be headed by a Chairperson and will have Executive and Non-Executive Members.
Benefits: This institutional reform will lead to improvement in quality and market relevance of skill development programs lending credibility to vocational education and training encouraging greater private investment and employer participation in the skills space.
This in turn will help achieve the twin objectives of enhancing aspirational value of vocational education and of increasing skilled manpower furthering the Prime Minister’s agenda of making India the skill capital of the world.
Being a regulator of India’s skill ecosystem, NCVET will have a positive impact on each individual who is a part of vocational education and training in the country. The idea of skill-based education will be seen in a more inspirational manner which would further encourage students to apply for skill-based educational courses.
This is also expected to facilitate the ease of doing business by providing a steady supply of skilled workforce to the industry and services.
Need: A need was felt for an overarching regulatory authority which could tend to all aspects of short-term and long-term skill-based training. In view of this, NCVET is envisaged as an institution which will perform the regulatory functions so far vested in NCVT and NSDA. Regulatory functions currently being carried out by the National Skill Development Corporation (NSDC) through the Sector Skill Councils (SSCs) will also be housed in the NCVET.
Facts for Prelims: The National Skill Development Agency (NSDA) is an autonomous body under the Ministry of Skill Development and Entrepreneurship. It coordinates and harmonizes the skill development efforts of the Indian government and the private sector to achieve the skilling targets of the 12th Plan document and beyond.
The NSDA’s role is also to anchor the National Skills Qualifications Framework (NSQF) and facilitate the setting up of professional certifying bodies in addition to the existing ones.
The workshop is part of on-going efforts to institutionalize and streamline dispute resolution to make India a hub for doing business. It encourages and highlights the need for understanding and implementing arbitration across the spectrum of commercial contracts.
Efforts by Government of India in this regard- Arbitration and Conciliation (Amendment) Bill, 2018:
The Lok Sabha has passed the Arbitration and Conciliation (Amendment) Bill, 2018. It will amend the Arbitration and Conciliation Act, 1996. The Act contains provisions to deal with domestic and international arbitration, and defines the law for conducting conciliation proceedings.
What is Arbitration? Arbitration is a settlement of dispute between two parties to a contract by a neutral third party i.e. the arbitrator without resorting to court action. The process can be tailored to suit parties’ particular needs.
Arbitrators can be chosen for their expertise. It is confidential and can be speedier and cheaper than court. There are limited grounds of appeal. Arbitral awards are binding and enforceable through courts.
Way ahead: Moving towards a New India in 2022, ensuring legal reform is a key and critical priority. Complementing ‘Make in India’ vision with ‘Resolve in India’, strong alternate dispute resolution mechanisms are important levers in encouraging the Ease of Doing Business and Ease of Living in India.
Facts for Prelims: The International Court of Arbitration is a branch of the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) and one of the world’s leading institutions for providing international arbitration services. The International Court of Arbitration is known for resolving international commercial and business disputes, administering more than half of all arbitration disputes worldwide. The ICC seat is located in Paris.
The International Chamber of Commerce is an international business organization with hundreds of thousands of member companies in over 130 countries spanning virtually every sector of private enterprise.
Benefits: This Ro-Ro facility will cut down the circuitous road route of 423 KMs that trucks take from Neamati to Majuli Island via Tezpur Road Bridge, by limiting the distance to only 12.7 KM with the use of river route.
About Majuli Island: Majuli is the first island district of the country. The island is formed by the Brahmaputra river in the south and the Kherkutia Xuti, an anabranch of the Brahmaputra, joined by the Subansiri River in the north. Majuli is the nerve centre of neo-Vaishnavite.
Majuli Island was also declared the largest river island in the world, toppling Marajo in Brazil, by Guinness World Records in 2016.
Know about IWAI: Inland Waterways Authority of India (IWAI) is the statutory authority in charge of the waterways in India. Its headquarters is located in Noida, UP. It does the function of building the necessary infrastructure in these waterways, surveying the economic feasibility of new projects and also administration.
Implications: The new norms would require hydropower projects located along the river to modify their operations so as to ensure they are in compliance. Power projects that don’t meet these norms as yet would be given three years to comply and “mini and micro projects” would be exempt from these requirements.
Flow specifications: The upper stretches of the Ganga — from its origins in the glaciers and until Haridwar — would have to maintain: 20% of the monthly average flow of the preceding 10-days between November and March, which is the dry season; 25% of the average during the ‘lean season’ of October, April and May; and 30% of monthly average during the monsoon months of June-September.
For the main stem of the Ganga — from Haridwar in Uttarakhand to Unnao, Uttar Pradesh — the notification specifies minimum flow at various barrages: Bhimgoda (Haridwar) must ensure a minimum of 36 cubic metres per second (cumecs) between October-May, and 57 cumecs in the monsoon; and the barrages at Bijnor, Narora and Kanpur must maintain a minimum of 24 cumecs in the non-monsoon months of October-May, and 48 cumecs during the monsoon months of June-September.
Designated Authority: The Central Water Commission would be the designated authority to collect relevant data and submit flow monitoring-cum-compliance reports on a quarterly basis to the NMCG, according to the notification.
Background: The notification is issued in the backdrop of ongoing ‘fast unto death’ by environmentalist and former IIT Kanpur faculty member GD Agarwal at Haridwar on issue of Ganga conservation. The 87-year-old Agrawal has been observing hunger strike since June 22 for pollution free and uninterrupted flow in the Ganga.
Facts for Prelims: About CWC: Central Water Commission is a premier Technical Organization of India in the field of Water Resources and is presently functioning as an attached office of the Ministry of Water Resources, River Development and Ganga Rejuvenation, Government of India.
Functions: The Commission is entrusted with the general responsibilities of initiating, coordinating and furthering in consultation of the State Governments concerned, schemes for control, conservation and utilization of water resources throughout the country, for purpose of Flood Control, Irrigation, Navigation, Drinking Water Supply and Water Power Development. It also undertakes the investigations, construction and execution of any such schemes as required.
About NES: What it does? The NES will rank all districts on their environmental performance and document their best green practices based on various environmental parameters.
How? The first NES will be carried out by Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change (MoEFCC) through Environmental Information System (ENVIS) and its hubs and resource partners across the country. It will be done through grid-based approach, using grids measuring 9×9 km to collect comprehensive data on various environmental parameters.
The parameters include air, water, soil quality; solid, hazardous and e-waste; emission inventory; forest & wildlife; flora & fauna; wetlands, lakes, rivers and other water bodies. It will also assess carbon sequestration potential of all the districts across the country.
Significance: The green data from this survey will provide important tool in hands of policy-makers for decision making at all levels – district, state and national. The survey will fully map and create emission inventory, provide valuation of ecosystem services and collate research in the field of environment. Initially the survey will be focusing on 55 districts and later will be scaled up to all districts in the country. The skilled manpower required for the survey will be provided from persons skilled and trained under MoEFCC’s Green Skill Development Programme.
What’s the issue? Recently, some cases of members of Gorkha community living in Assam were referred to the Foreigners Tribunals. Following this, a representation from the All Assam Gorkha Students’ had approached the Union Home Minister Shri Rajnath Singh to solve the issue.
Directions by the Centre: In a communication to the Government of Assam, MHA has listed various provisions to obviate the difficulties faced by Gorkhas in the matter of Indian citizenship. These include:
The members of the Gorkha community who were Indian citizens at the time of commencement of the Constitution, or those who are Indian citizens by birth, or those who have acquired Indian citizenship by registration or naturalization in accordance with the provisions of The Citizenship Act, 1955 are not “foreigners” in terms of section 2 (a) of The Foreigners Act,1946 as well as The Registration of Foreigners Act,1939, therefore, such cases will not be referred to the Foreigners Tribunals.
Any member of the Gorkha community holding Nepalese nationality and who has arrived in India by land or air over the Nepal border even without a passport or visa and staying in India for any length of time shall not be treated as an illegal migrant if he/she is in possession of any of the identity documents namely the Nepalese Passport, Nepalese Citizenship Certificate, voter Identification card issued by the Election Commission of Nepal, limited validity photo-identity certificate issued by Nepalese Mission in India when deemed necessary and for children between age group of 10-18 years, photo ID issued by the principal of the school, if accompanied by parents having valid travel documents.
No such document is required for children below the age group of 10 years, the communication added citing provisions of India-Nepal Treaty signed in 1950.
Exempt from Foreigner Tribunals: The cases of members of Gorkha community falling within the parameters shall not be referred to the Foreigner Tribunals for opinion as to whether the person is a “foreigner” within the meaning of The Foreigners Act, 1946.
Only those individuals, who have come from specified territories i.e. territories included in Bangladesh immediately before commencement of the Citizenship (Amendment) Act, 1985, to the State of Assam, and are not Indian citizens, can be referred to the Foreigners tribunals.
What is National Register of Citizens (NRC)? The NRC was introduced to identify illegal immigrants from Bangladesh and recognise the Indian citizens in Assam. It was first prepared in 1951 and Assam is the only state having this arrangement.
What is it? It is a high-end reconnaissance, strike and multi-role endurance unmanned aerial system, capable of being fitted with air-to-surface weapons. It is designed for both reconnaissance and strike missions.
Why in News? China has agreed to sell 48 Wing Loong II high-end armed drones to Pakistan.