NIIF has partnered with DP World to create an investment platform for ports, terminals, transportation and logistics businesses in India.
The platform will invest in opportunities in the ports sector, and beyond sea ports into areas such as river ports and transportation, freight corridors, port-led special economic zones, inland container terminals, and logistics infrastructure including cold storage.
An India-UK Green Growth Equity Fund (GGEF) is also being set-up under the fund of funds vertical of NIIF.
National Investment and Infrastructure Fund (NIIF) is a fund created by the Government of India for enhancing infrastructure financing in the country.
NIIF was proposed to be set up as a Trust, to raise debt to invest in the equity of infrastructure finance companies such as Indian Rail Finance Corporation (IRFC) and National Housing Bank (NHB).
The objective of NIIF is to maximize economic impact mainly through infrastructure development in commercially viable projects, both greenfield and brownfield, including stalled projects
It is a political and economic organisation of 10 SE Asian nations. Formed in 1967. HQ : Jakarta, Indonesia
Founding members were Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, and Thailand i.e. all 10 current members were not founding members
Current members are: Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, Brunei, Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar (Burma), Vietnam
Accelerating economic growth, social progress, and sociocultural evolution among its members,
Protection of regional stability
Providing a mechanism for member countries to resolve differences peacefully
‘The ASEAN Way’: Doctrine that the member countries will largely mind their own business when it comes to internal matters of member countries
ASEAN Plus Three: Was created to improve existing ties with the China, Japan and South Korea.
ASEAN Plus Six : includes ASEAN + China, Japan, South Korea, Australia, New Zealand and India
India Has and FTA with ASEAN (operational since 2010), Shares border both land/marine, Large number of Indian origin people living in these countries
Latest Summit: Vientiane (Laos), Sep 2016. Manila (Philippines), April 2017. Theme "Partnering for change, engaging the world"
The IONS is a regional forum of Indian Ocean littoral states launched by India in February 2008.
It is a voluntary initiative that seeks to increase maritime co-operation among navies of the littoral states of the Indian Ocean Region (IOR) by providing an open and inclusive forum for discussion of regionally relevant maritime issues.
It endeavours to generate a flow of information between naval professionals that would lead to common understanding and possibly cooperative solutions on the way ahead. These states are represented by the heads of their navies.
Under the IONS charter of business adopted in 2014, the forum has working groups on Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief (HADR), Information Security and Interoperability (IS&I) and maritime security (anti-piracy).
Members to IONS: There are 35 members – navies of the IONS which have been geographically grouped into the following four sub-regions:
South Asian Littorals: India, Bangladesh, Maldives, Pakistan, Seychelles and Sri Lanka
West Asian Littorals: Bahrain, Iran, Iraq, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, UAE and Yemen
East African Littorals: Comoros, Djibouti, Egypt, Eriteria, France, Kenya, Madagascar, Mauritius, Mozambique, Somalia, South Africa, Sudan and Tanzania
South East Asian and Australian Littorals: Australia, Indonesia, Malaysia, Myanmar, Singapore, Thailand and Timor Leste.
Observer Countries: China, Japan etc.
Nutrient-rich millets have got a boost with the Union government deciding to declare 2018 as the ‘national year of millets’. This decision has been taken following a request by Karnataka, which is the country’s leader in the millet sector.
Significance of this move : Dedicating a year for millets will not only increase awareness about its health benefits, but also result in higher demand for these drought-resistant varieties, resulting in remunerative prices for poor and marginal farmers.
What are Millets ? Millet is a common term to categorize small-seeded grasses that are often termed nutri-cereals or dryland-cereals, and includes sorghum, pearl millet, ragi, small millet, foxtail millet, proso millet, barnyard millet, kodo millet and other millets.
Benefits of Millets:
An important staple cereal crop for millions of small holder dryland farmers across sub-saharan Africa and Asia, millets offer nutrition, resilience, income and livelihood for farmers even in difficult times. They have multiple untapped uses such as food, feed, fodder, biofuels and brewing. Therefore, millets are Smart Food as they are Good for You, Good for the Farmer and Good for the Planet.
Nutritionally superior to wheat & rice owing to their higher levels of protein with more balanced amino acid profile, crude fiber & minerals such as Iron, Zinc, and Phosphorous, millets can provide nutritional security and act as a shield against nutritional deficiency, especially among children and women.
The anaemia (iron deficiency), B-complex vitamin deficiency, pellagra (niacin deficiency) can be effectively tackled with intake of less expensive but nutritionally rich food grains like millets.
Millets can also help tackle health challenges such as obesity, diabetes and lifestyle problems as they are gluten free, have a low glycemic index and are high in dietary fibre and antioxidants.
Adapted to low or no purchased inputs and to harsh environment of the semi-arid tropics, they are the backbone for dry land agriculture.
Photo-insensitive & resilient to climate change, millets are hardy, resilient crops that have a low carbon and water footprint, can withstand high temperatures and grow on poor soils with little or no external inputs. In times of climate change they are often the last crop standing and, thus, are a good risk management strategy for resource-poor marginal farmers.
Context : Nasa has begun testing its new probe - Parker solar probe - that will ‘touch the sun’, when it launches into space this summer. ‘Parker Solar Probe will travel through the sun’s atmosphere, closer to the surface than any spacecraft before it, facing brutal heat and radiation conditions and ultimately providing humanity with the closest-ever observations of a star.’
Aims of the mission : It will study the outer atmosphere of the sun, known as the corona. To measure the corona, the probe will reach an orbit within four million miles (6.5 million km) of the sun. The Parker Solar Probe (PSP) is also aimed at collecting vital information about the life of stars and their weather events. This will help scientists improve how we predict dangerous solar flares, which can disrupt satellites and power supplies here on Earth.
Benefits of the mission : The mission can help scientists to better understand solar flares – brief eruptions of intense high-energy radiation from the sun’s surface that can knock out communications on Earth. According to Nasa, observations from this new vantage point will also help to uncover the physics of how stars work, and could improve our ability to predict space weather. These events have impacts on Earth as well as the satellites and astronauts in space.
Why study the corona ? The corona is the sun’s outer atmosphere. It is unstable and produces solar wind and flares. Millions of tons of highly magnetised material can erupt from the sun at speeds of several million miles an hour. Therefore, we need to get closer to it in order to understand how it works.
How solar flares impact earth ? Solar flares can damage satellites and have an enormous financial cost. The charged particles can also threaten airlines by disturbing the Earth’s magnetic field. Very large flares can even create currents within electricity grids and knock out energy supplies. Geomagnetic storms are more disruptive now than in the past because of our greater dependence on technical systems that can be affected by electric currents.
Context : Mounting pressure on New Delhi to give an early consent to the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership — a mega regional trade pact being negotiated by sixteen nations — the 10-member ASEAN expressed hope that India would not let the bloc down in its efforts to conclude the agreement this year.
India has, however, refused to take responsibility for the long-winding negotiations and has stressed that it is important to address the sensitivities and aspirations of all participants.
Conflicting issues : India is not comfortable with the ambitious dismantling of import tariffs being pushed for by the ASEAN, especially as it would also mean allowing duty-free access to Chinese goods. The Indian industry does not want the country to commit to high levels of liberalisation as it fears that it could get out-priced in the domestic market.
India has also stressed on the need for other RCEP members to deliver in the area of services to arrive at an agreement. So far proposals in the area of services, including on work-visas for movement of professionals, have been disappointing with no member ready to make meaningful contributions.
What you need to know about RCEP ? RCEP is proposed between the ten member states of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) (Brunei, Burma (Myanmar), Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, Vietnam) and the six states with which ASEAN has existing FTAs (Australia, China, India, Japan, South Korea and New Zealand).
RCEP negotiations were formally launched in November 2012 at the ASEAN Summit in Cambodia. RCEP aims to boost goods trade by eliminating most tariff and non-tariff barriers — a move that is expected to provide the region’s consumers greater choice of quality products at affordable rates. It also seeks to liberalise investment norms and do away with services trade restrictions.
Jeevan Raksha Padak series of awards are given to a person for meritorious act of humane nature in saving the life of a person. The award is given in three categories, namely, Sarvottam Jeevan Raksha Padak, Uttam Jeevan Raksha Padak and Jeevan Raksha Padak. Persons of either sex in all walks of life are eligible for these awards. The award can also be conferred posthumously.
The decoration of the award (medal, certificate signed by the Home Minister and lump sum monetary allowance) is presented to the awardee in due course by the respective State Government to which the awardee belongs.
National Girl Child Day is celebrated on 24 Jan
The ‘Bharat Parv’ event is being organized by the Government of India at the Red Fort, Delhi from 26th to 31st January, 2018 as part of the Republic Day 2018 celebrations. The prime objective of organizing the event is to generate a patriotic mood, promote the rich cultural diversity of the country and to ensure wider participation of the general public. The Ministry of Tourism has been designated as the nodal Ministry for the event
BCIM stands for Bangladesh-China-India-Myanmar. It is a sub-regional organisation
It aims at greater integration of trade and investment between the four countries. BCIM economic corridor is an initiative conceptualised for significant gains through sub-regional economic cooperation within the BCIM.
The multi-modal corridor will be the first expressway between India and China and will pass through Myanmar and Bangladesh. BCIM evolved from ‘Kunming Initiative’ (A platform in 1990s).
MTCR (USA based) : encourages members to not export missile and missile technology with special focus on missiles carrying payload of 500 kg to distances more than 300 km. It also extends to chemical and biological missiles as well. MTCR is a voluntary regime with no legal requirements on members and no enforcement measures. The category I items are restricted and severely discouraged from exporting and category II items are mildly discouraged. India is only one of the recognised nuclear powers who are members (China is also not a member).
Australian Group : Informal group of countries who seek to ensure that exports do not contribute to chemical and biological warfare. India is a member but not China. This means that chemical and biological items can be imported by India and other nations can export to it. However, it is not a legally binding agreement.
Wassenaar agreement To promote transparency in trade of conventional arms and dual use goods. Members need to be signatories of Nuclear Non Proliferation Treaty. Members have to apply export controls to prevents arms from reaching terrorists. India became a member although it is not a signatory to NPT.
Current Indian economy is of 2.5 trillion USD. GDP for year 2018-19 to be seen At 7.4%. Growth to be seen from 8% to 15%. Fiscal Deficit 3.5% of GDP (17-18 ) and target 3.3% (18-19). MSME's turnover up to Rs.250crs tax slab will be 25%. No changes in Personal Income Tax structure.
LTCG on equity 10% applicable on above 1 lac investments. SEBI to mandating large corporates for 25% Debt from market
Corporate Tax of 25% extended to companies with turnover up to Rs 250 cr in financial year 2016-17. Standard deduction of Rs 40,000 allowed for transport, medical reimbursement for salaried tax payers
India's agricultural production is at a record high level today. 275 million tonne foodgrains and 300 million tonne fruits and vegetable have been produced in the country.
The FM said the government wants farmers to earn 1.5 times the production cost, and the Minimum Selling Price (MSP) for the Kharif Crops has been set at 1.5 times the produce price. Jaitley said the Centre will work with states to ensure that all farmer get a fair price.
Agricultural market and infra fund of Rs 2000 crore fund will be set up to strengthen the market connectivity. A sum of Rs 500 cr will be allocated for Operation Green to be launched. It will promote agricultural products.
Aayushman Bharat programme: 1.5 lakh centres will be set up to provide health facilities closer to home. Rs 1,200 crore to be allocated for this programme
Flagship National Healthcare protection scheme, with approximately 50 crore beneficiaries. Up to Rs 5 lakh per family per year for secondary and tertiary care hospitalisation. World's largest government-funded healthcare programme
National Health Protection Scheme to provide hospitalisation cover to over 10 crore poor and vulnerable families
The Government announced two major initiatives in health sector, as part of Ayushman Bharat programme. This is aimed at making path breaking interventions to address health holistically, in primary, secondary and tertiary care systems, covering both prevention and health promotion.
Health and Wellness Centre :
The National Health Policy, 2017 has envisioned Health and Wellness Centres as the foundation of India’s health system. Under this 1.5 lakh centres will bring health care system closer to the homes of people.
These centres will provide comprehensive health care, including for non-communicable diseases and maternal and child health services.
These centres will also provide free essential drugs and diagnostic services.
Contribution of private sector through CSR and philanthropic institutions in adopting these centres is also envisaged.
National Health Protection Scheme :
The second flagship programme under Ayushman Bharat is National Health Protection Scheme, which will cover over 10 crore poor and vulnerable families (approximately 50 crore beneficiaries) providing coverage upto 5 lakh rupees per family per year for secondary and tertiary care hospitalization.
The Tribal Sub-Plan (TSP) aims to bridge the gap between the Schedule Tribes (STs) and the general population with respect to all socio-economic development indicators in a time-bound manner.
TSP is not applicable to states where tribals represent more than 60% of the population.
Funds under TSP are required to be put into a separate head of account, to strengthen administrative arrangements for proper utilisation and monitoring of TSP funds.
Presently, funds at the end of the financial year were not being transferred into a non-lapsable pool of TSP fund, that could be utilised later. (i) efforts should be made towards optimal utilisation of allocated TSP funds for a given financial year; and (ii) a non-lapsable fund should be created to pool funds that could not be utilised in a financial year.
Global Programme of Action for the protection of the marine environment from land-based activities (GPA): The GPA is the only global intergovernmental mechanism directly addressing the connectivity between terrestrial, freshwater, coastal and marine ecosystems.
It was created in 1995 when over 108 governments declared “their commitment to protect and preserve the marine environment from the impacts of land-based activities, through the Washington Declaration.
UNEP hosts the GPA Coordinating Unit and coordinates some activities in support of the programme. Intergovernmental Review Meetings (IGR) are organised every 5 years, it is a forum where Governments and other stakeholders meet to review the status of the implementation of the GPA and decide on action to be taken to strengthen its implementation.
Three such meetings have been held so far, none have been hosted by India. The GPA secretariat has established and is strengthening three global multi-stakeholder partnerships: the Global Partnership on Nutrient Management (GPNM), the Global Partnership on Marine Litter (GPML) and the Global Wastewater Initiative (GWI).
Gross Domestic Product (GDP): The Central Statistics Office (CSO) has estimated the GDP growth to be 6.5% in 2017-18 as compared to 7% in 2016-17. The average GDP growth rate from 2014-15 till 2017-18 is expected to be 7.3% as compared to the average 7.5% between 2014-15 and 2016-17.
Gross Value Added (GVA): The GVA (at constant prices) is estimated at 6.1% in 2017-18 as compared to 6.6% in 2016-17. The agriculture and industry sectors are expected to grow at 2.1% and 4.4% respectively, while the service sector is estimated to grow at 8.3%.
Inflation: The Consumer Price Index (CPI) based inflation was 3.3% in 2017-18 (April- December). The average food inflation was 1.2% for the same period. CPI inflation was below 3% in the first quarter of 2017-18, because of low food inflation, and marginally rose to 3% in the second quarter.
Current Account Deficit (CAD) and fiscal deficit: India’s CAD increased from 0.4% of GDP in 2016-17 to 1.8% of GDP in the first half of 2017-18. This has been attributed to an increase in merchandise imports relative to exports. As of November 2017, the fiscal deficit stood at 112% of the budget estimate. The fiscal deficit is 3.2% (budget estimate) of GDP in 2017-18 as compared to 3.5% of GDP in 2016-17.
Increase in taxpayers: Under GST, the number of unique indirect taxpayers increased by over 50% (3.4 million). Voluntary compliance also increased under GST, with 1.7 million voluntary registrants. 13% of the estimated 71 million non-agriculture enterprises were registered under the GST network.
GST and states: The distribution of GST base among states is linked to their GSDP, with Maharashtra (16%), Tamil Nadu (10%), Karnataka (9%) having the highest share. GST data shows that a state’s GSDP per capita has a high correlation with its export share in the GSDP. Five states account for 70% of India’s exports - Maharashtra, Gujarat, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, and Telangana.
Informal economy: A firm is considered to be in the formal sector if: (i) it provides social security to its employees, or (ii) it is registered under the GST network. 0.6% of firms meet both of the criteria, known as the hard core formal sector. 87% of firms are purely informal, 12% of firms are registered under GST but do not provide social security. Less than 0.1% provide social security but are not registered under GST (usually GST exempted firms).
India’s formal sector non-farm payroll is greater than current perception. Formal non-farm payroll is 31% of the non- agricultural workforce based on a social security defined formality, and 53% based on a tax definition formality.
In comparison to developed countries, India collects a lower share of direct taxes in total taxes. For example, in India, states generate 6% of their revenue from direct taxes, as compared to 19% in Brazil. Rural local governments, in India, raise 6% of their total revenue from direct taxes as compared to 40% in Brazil. Urban local governments raise 44% of their revenue from their own sources.
Several states have not devolved enough taxation powers to local bodies. Further, local governments collect only a small fraction of their potential tax revenue. For example, rural local bodies collect around one third of the potential property tax. Therefore, local governments rely heavily on devolved funds from central and state governments.
These devolved funds are largely tied in nature, to either specific sectors or schemes. This constrains the ability of local governments to spend on local public good as per their own priorities.
India jumped 30 places and was ranked overall 100 in the World Bank’s Ease of Doing Business Report 2018. However, on contract enforcement it was ranked at 164. Although the government has taken steps to improve contract enforcement, economic activity is getting affected by high pendency and delays across the legal system. The backlog in High Courts by the end of 2017 was around 3.5 million cases. Delays of economic cases (company cases, arbitration cases and taxation cases) in courts are leading to stalled projects, legal costs, contested tax revenues, and consequently reduced investment. Delays in in power, roads, and railways projects led to an increase in almost 60% of the project costs.
The government and the judiciary must coordinate to introduce reforms to facilitate ease of doing business. Judicial capacity should be strengthened in the lower courts to reduce the burden on higher courts. The tax department must limit its appeals, given that their success rate is less than 30% at all three levels of judiciary (Appellate Tribunals, High Courts, and Supreme Courts). The government must increase its expenditure on the judiciary, improve the courts case management and court automation system, and create subject specific benches.
India saw high levels of investment and saving rates in the mid 2000’s followed by a pronounced, gradual decline, returning back to normal levels. The ratio of gross fixed capital formation to GDP was 26.5% in 2003, 35.6% in 2007 and 26.4% in 2017. The ratio of domestic saving to GDP, was 29.2% in 2003, 38.3% in 2007, and 29% in 2016. A fall in both private investment, and household, and government saving have contributed to such decline between 2007 and 2017.
There needs to be a focus on revival of investment. However, the decline in investment will be difficult to reverse because: (i) it stems from the balance sheet stress of companies, and (ii) its large magnitude. Easing the cost of doing business, creating a transparent, stable tax and regulatory environment, and supporting small and medium industries will help revive private investment.
The data on rainfall, temperature, and crop production shows a long-term trend of rising temperature, declining average precipitation, and an increase in extreme precipitation events. The average decline in rainfall between 1970’s and 2000’s is 26 mm in Kharif season and 33 mm in Rabi season. This has significant implications on agriculture, especially in unirrigated areas. Such changes in temperature and precipitation will result in estimated overall farm income losses of 15% to 18%, and further, 20% to 25% for unirrigated areas.
Given the rising water scarcity, and depleting water resources, there is a need to increase irrigation. Technologies of drip irrigation, sprinklers, and water management must be employed to meet this challenge.
Growth rates of agriculture and allied sectors have been fluctuating: 1.5% in 2012-13, 5.6% in 2013-14, -0.2% in 2014-15, 0.7% in 2015-16, and 4.9% in 2016-17. The uncertainty in growth in agriculture is because 50% of agriculture is dependent on rainfall.
On account of good monsoon rainfall in 2016-17, there was a rise in food grains and other crops production. As per the fourth advance estimates for 2016-17, production of food grains is estimated at 275.7 million tonnes, higher by 10.6 million tonnes as compared to 2013-14.
The agriculture sector has been witnessing a gradual structural change. The share of livestock in the GVA in agriculture rose from 22% in 2011-12 to 26% in 2015-16. The share of crops in the GVA fell from 65% in 2011-12 to 60% in 2015-16. The gross capital formation in agriculture declined from 8.3% in 2014-15 to 7.8% in 2015-16.
Industrial growth: The overall industrial sector growth was 5.8% in the second quarter of 2017-18 as compared to 1.6% in the first quarter. As per the estimate of national income 2017-18, industrial sector grew at 4.4% and the manufacturing sector grew at 4.6%. The eight core industries (coal, crude oil, natural gas, petroleum refinery products, fertilizers, steel, cement, and electricity) grew by 4.8% in 2016-17 as compared to 3% in 2015-16.
Infrastructure: India requires around USD 4.5 trillion worth of investments till 2040 to develop infrastructure. As per the current trend, India can raise around USD 3.9 trillion. The under investment in the infrastructure sector has been due to: (i) collapse of Public Private Partnerships, (ii) stressed balance sheets of private companies, and, (iii) delays in acquisition of land and forest clearances.
The services sector contributed 55.2% to India’s GVA in 2017-18. As per the CSO the growth of the services sector is expected to be 8.3% in 2017-18 as compared to 7.7% in 2016-17. In 15 states, services contribute to more than half of the gross state value added (GSVA). With a share of 3.4%, India is the eighth largest exporter of commercial services.
The share of real estate sector (including ownership of dwellings) accounted for 7.7% of India’s overall GVA in 2015-16. Real estate and construction together are the second largest providers of employment. As per projections, it is estimated to employ 52 million by 2017, and 67 million by 2022.
Kifayati Aawas yojna: The Central Government will create a dedicated affordable housing fund in National Housing Bank. The government has planned that by the end of 2022, everyone will have their own house. For this, more than one crore households are being constructed in the rural areas in the current and next financial year under the Pradhanmantri Awas Yojana.
Ayushman Bharat Scheme (National Health Protection Scheme): National Health Protection Scheme will be launched to cover 10 crore poor and vulnerable families. Under this, up to Rs 5 lakh will be provided to each family per year in secondary and tertiary care institutions. This scheme will have 50 crore beneficiaries. So far under the National Health Insurance Scheme, insurance cover of Rs 30,000 was available only. This is a big increase in this regard.
Kisan Credit Card to Fishermen: On the lines of the Kisan Credit Card, the Finance Minister has announced a card to fishermen and cattle owners. This will make enable them to avail the easier loans. The Government says that this will help the people associated with the milk production business in rural areas. Apart from this, financial assistance will also be provided to fisheries.
Gobar-Dhan Yojna (Galvanizing Organic Bio-Agro Resource Fund Scheme): The government announced a new scheme Gobar-Dhan (Galvanizing Organic Bio-Agro Resource Fund) scheme under its efforts to improve the lives of the villagers. The Government said that under this scheme, solid waste of dung and fields will be changed into compost, biogas and bio-CNG. He said that under the vision of inclusive society formation, the government has identified 115 districts for development.
National Bamboo Mission: Finance Minister Arun Jaitley has also proposed the proposal of National Bamboo Mission. An amount of Rs. 1,290 crore will be allocated under this scheme. This will help in the development of bamboo production as an industry. This will help the people of rural and tribal areas.
Eklavya School: As per the Finance Minister, the Eklavya schools will be established for scheduled caste students by 2022 along the lines of Navodaya schools. He said that Eklavya model residential schools will be set up in each Block having more than 50 percent tribal areas and 20,000 tribal people. These schools will be part of Navodaya Vidyalayas and besides training in sports and skill development, there will also be special facilities for preserving local art and culture.
Revitalising Infrastructure and Systems in Education (RISE): In his Budget 2018 speech, Jaitley unveiled a new scheme called Revitalising Infrastructure and Systems in Education or RISE. The RISE scheme will be financed via a restructured higher education financing agency (HEFA) that is functioning for the last two months as a non-banking financial company. It aims to lend low-cost funds to government higher educational institutions. Presently, HEFA is looking to raise Rs20,000 crore and Budget announcement hiked this number to Rs1 trillion.While HEFA was granted a budgetary allocation of Rs250 crore in the fiscal year 2018, in FY19, the lending body will be provided a budget of Rs2,750 crore.
Operation Green: The goal of the scheme is to double the farmers’ income by end of the year 2022. With the budget allocation of Rs. 500 Cr, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley has announced about the Operation Green in Union Budget 2018. This scheme will facilitate the farmers of the nation. This will be in line with the operation flood. To reduce the fluctuation in the pricing of Onion, Tomatoes and Potatoes the scheme has been launched.
Prime Minister Fellowship Scheme: Finance Minister Arun Jaitley also announced the PM Fellowship Scheme during the budget. Under this, one thousand B.Tech students will be given the opportunity to do Ph.D. in IIT and IISc.
Expansion of Ujjwala Scheme: Modi Government has set a target to provide the number of free LPG connections to the poor families under the Ujjwala scheme to reach 8 crores.
Saubhagya Yojna: The government has targeted to increase the number of power connections in rural areas to 40 million households. This scheme is one of PM Modi's ambitious plans.
Expansion of UDAN Yojna: 56 airports and 31 helipads being used less than the capacity will be added in the initiative to connect common man with the ‘UDAN Yojna. Along with this, the announcement of the construction of 10 major prestigious destinations for the promotion of tourism was announced.
Kisan Urja Suraksha evam Utthaan Mahaabhiyan or KUSUM scheme will provide extra income to farmers, by giving them an option to sell additional power to the grid through solar power projects set up on their barren lands. It would help in de-dieselising the sector as also the DISCOMS
Female genital mutilation (FGM) comprises all procedures that involve altering or injuring the female genitalia for non-medical reasons and is recognized internationally as a violation of the human rights of girls and women.
It reflects deep-rooted inequality between the sexes, and constitutes an extreme form of discrimination against women and girls.
The practice violates their rights to health, security and physical integrity, their right to be free from torture and cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment, and their right to life when the procedure results in death.
Four kinds of FGM are recognised by the World Health Organization (WHO).
Clitoridectomy : Partial or total removal of the clitoris and in rare cases, the removal of the fold of skin surrounding the clitoris, called the prepuce.
Excision : Partial or total removal of the clitoris and the inner folds of the vulva called the labia minora, with or without the removal of the outer fold of vulva skin, called the labia majora.
Infibulation : Creating a seal by cuttind and repositioning labia minora and labia majora through stitching, with or without clitoridectomy, to narrow the vaginal opening.
Other harmful procedures includes scraping, piercing, incising, cauterizing and pricking the female genitalia for non-medical purposes.
As part of the proposed amendments in the Finance Bill 2018, the government has given more power to the Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) to impose monetary penalties on important market intermediaries such as stock exchanges and clearing corporations.
SEBI can also against newer categories of participants likes investment advisers, research analysts, real estate investment trusts (REITs) and infrastructure investment trusts (InvITs).
The proposed amendments to the SEBI Act and the Securities Contracts (Regulation) Act now allow the capital markets regulator to impose a monetary penalty of at least ₹5 crore on stock exchanges, clearing corporations and depositories for non-compliance with regulatory norms.
The amendments also allow SEBI to act against entities that furnish false or incomplete information to the regulator. Earlier, it could act only if the entity did not furnish any information
The whole-time members of SEBI have also been given additional powers to act against wrongdoers.
India recently flight-tested the indigenously developed Agni-I ballistic missile that can carry a nuclear payload as part of a user trial by the Army from a test range off the Odisha coast.
It has a specialised navigation system, which ensures it reaches the target with a high degree of accuracy and precision 18th version of Agni-I. The missile was inducted into service in 2004.
The surface-to-surface, single stage missile, powered by solid propellants, was launched as part of a regular training exercise by the armed forces. The missile has a specialised navigation system, which ensures it reaches the target with a high degree of accuracy and precision
The 15-metre-long Agni-I, weighing 12 tonnes, can carry payloads up to 1,000 kg.
Aim is to have a long term export policy for the Mineral sector.to bring stability and incentivise investments in mining sector and to provide right of first refusal to industries when mines explored by them are offered for auction.
However it is silent on issues such as Transparency in disclosing data of mining operations, enforcing free and informed consent by mining affect, safeguarding environment from harmful effects of mining, zero loss and zero waste mining, judicious capping and conserving reserves of mines. The SC noted that the economic benefit from mining should also reach those affected by it.
This may be done by depositing a fraction of the economic wealth to a fund which can be used for creating non depleting assets for the affected. PM Khanji Kshetra Kalyan Yojana is one such fund. However, such sovereign funds are existing even in countries such as Latin America and Europe.
In such nations, the fund is used to guarantee every citizen a share of the profit. Norwegian Oil fund is now the world's largest such fund which would guarantee every norwegian receives around $2 lakh.
Shagun portal has been launched to create a repository of best practices in school education and to monitor the implementation of SSA;
Swachh Vidyalaya Campaign for the provisions of separate toilets for girls and boys in every school;
Swachh Vidyalaya Puraskar was instituted from 2016-17 at District, State and national level as a next step to Swachh Vidyalaya initiative;
Padhe Bharat Badhe Bharat was launched in 2014 to ensure that students of classes I & II are able to read with comprehension as well as basic numeracy skills;
Rashtriya Avishkar Abhiyan was launched in 2015 to motivate children of the age- group of 6-18 years in study of Science, Mathematics and technology;
The Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education (RTE) Act has been amended in February, 2017 to include reference on class-wise, subject-wise Learning Outcomes to ensure that all children acquire appropriate learning level; Section23 (2) of the RTE Act has been amended in August, 2017, to extend the period of in-service training for untrained elementary teachers to 31st March, 2019 to ensure all teachers acquire minimum qualifications as laid down by the academic authority;
E-pathshala webportal (http://epathshala.gov.in/) and mobile apps (Android, iOS and Windows) have been launched in November 2015 to disseminate e-resources including e-books developed by NCERT, SCERT/ SIEs, State boards etc;
Shaala Siddhi is a comprehensive instrument for school evaluation leading to school improvement, which was launched in November, 2015;
Kala Utsav programme has been started to promote arts in education by nurturing and showcasing the artistic talent of school students at the secondary stage;
An Online Project Monitoring System (PMS), for online managment and monitoring of RMSA has been enabled from August 2014, Distribution of tablets preloaded with relevant e content in Kendriya Vidyalayas has been started on a pilot basis to connect students and their teachers for effective learning; Also, 93 Kendriya Vidyalayas (KVs) have been started during last 3 years and 62 new Navodaya Vidyalas have been sanctioned. Automated Monitoring System at the school level under Mid Day Meal Scheme has been introduced for real time monitoring of the scheme;
Indian cricketer Mahendra Singh Dhoni became the fourth wicket-keeper to effect 400 dismissals in One Day Internationals.
According to the International Intellectual Property Index released by the US Chambers of Commerce, India has climbed one place to reach at 44th rank in the list of 50 countries.
The Union cabinet approved a proposal to implement the Prime Minister’s Research Fellows (PMRF) scheme. Under this scheme, the top 3,000 B.tech graduates of the country will get grants to pursue a PhD in the Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs) and Indian Institute of Science (IISc).
The National Meet on Grassroot Informatics - VIVID 2018 has been started in New Delhi.
Jhulan Goswami has become the first cricketer to take 200 ODI wickets in the history of women's cricket.
Inflation expectation survey is conducted by RBI. Transparency International releases Corruption Perception Index.
PM Modi will become the first Indian PM to visit Palestine. The visit is declared as non-political and the PM shall announce setting up of a multi-speciality hospital in Palestine along with capacity building efforts and schools. Palestine has requested better cooperation on IT and Energy. PM shall also visit Oman and UAE both strategically and economically important countries. UAE and Oman both have significant expatriate communities that send inward remittances. Oman and India conducted joint military exercises and UAE and India signed an agreement to supply India Oil for its strategic reserves. Thus, this visits shall boost India's image in the Arab World.