3.7 lakh schools students given National Means-Cum-Merit Scholarship. 3.30 lakh scholarships granted to meritorious students of colleges in the last 3 years. Total amount of scholarship given to students by UGC, AICTE and Central Government is Rs. 1273 cr. 9.65 lakh school girls sanctioned incentive amount of Rs 3000/- under National Scheme of incentive to Girls for secondary education
Special scholarship to 24,200 J&K students to complete professional courses in best colleges throughout the country
National Scholarship Portal has been created as one stop solution for all scholarship needs. More than 2 Crore students have registered on this portal
STAND UP INDIA (Finance)
To promote entrepreneurship among SC/ST and Women launched by PM on 5th April, 2016. To benefit at least 2.5 lakh entrepreneurs.
Capital subsidy under New scheme ATUFS (Amended Technology Upgradation Fund Scheme) in Textile Sector will create over 30 lakh jobs, especially for women
Pradhan Mantri Yuva Yojana (MSDE)
In order to encourage entrepreneurship among youth the scheme was launched on 9th November 2016. The scheme aims at creating a culture of Entrepreneurship amongst youth by motivating, educating and equipping them with basics skills of entrepreneurship.
The scheme will be launched in 2200 Institutes of Higher Learning (colleges/universities/polytechnics), 300 schools, 500 ITI’s and 50 Entrepreneurship Development Centres (EDCs)
The entrepreneurship education will be provided along with the formal education courses through Facilitated Blended Model, which is a combination of e-Learning and Class room teaching
The course curriculum is based on experiential learning and emphasises on Learning by Doing. E Cell is an important component of the scheme which build entrepreneurial capabilities in the students by virtue of exposing them to the real-life situations. Hand holding of the participating institutes and students will be provided through a network of 55 Regional/Nodal Hubs spread across the country
The Odisha government has launched Ama Gaon, Ama Vikas (Our Village, our development) to reach out to the people in rural areas and involve themselves in the developmental activities.
Mobile video vans for ‘Ama Gaon Ama Vikas’ program will move across the State to highlight various welfare schemes at villages in the state. Through these Wi-Fi enabled latest technology video wall vans, people can directly send their grievances to the Chief Minister’s Office at the Secretariat in Bhubaneswar.
Union Minister of Drinking Water and Sanitation launched the Swajal pilot project at Rajasthan recently. Swajal is a community owned drinking water programme for sustained drinking water supply.
The project ensures the availability of clean drinking water to every household round the year and also generates employment. Under the scheme, 90% of the project cost will be taken care by the Government and the remaining 10% of the project cost will be contributed by the community.
The Operations and management of the project will be taken care by the local villagers
A major part of the blame for the sheer difference in the performance of ISRO and DRDO has to taken by the Ministry of Defence as well. The Ministry of Defence has failed to evolve with time and is manned with bureaucrats devoid of any specialized knowledge of strategic and defence affairs. Their idiosyncratic tendency to cancel tenders at the whiff of a gossip of a wrong doing, without taking the issues of national security and priority for weapons, their tendency to manage issues of technology with a bureaucratic mindset and sheer inability to harness the potential of the private sector has done much harm.
The real reason for which ISRO has succeeded is because it always had the free hand to perform without the needless bureaucratic hurdles to throttle their work. ISRO works directly under the supervision of the Prime Minister as part of the Department of Space and is managed by specialized technocrats rather than generalist bureaucrats.
‘The Space Commission formulates the policies and oversees the implementation of the Indian space programme to promote the development and application of space science and technology for the socio-economic benefit of the country. DOS implements these programmes through, mainly Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO), Physical Research Laboratory (PRL), National Atmospheric Research Laboratory (NARL), North Eastern-Space Applications Centre (NE-SAC) and Semi-Conductor Laboratory (SCL). The Antrix Corporation, established in 1992 as a government owned company, markets the space products and services.'
Contrast this with the ad-hoc manner in which Ministry of Defence operates and the arms length distance it keeps from the end users of defense products, i.e. the Indian Army, Air Force and Navy. The Ministry of Defence completely lacks a strategic intent and has failed to create a Defence Commission on the lines of Space Commission to formulate policies and oversee implementation.
Further, it has failed to create a dedicated cadre of personnel with impeccable understanding of defense issues and issues related to the importance of development of indigenous capabilities. Fact of the matter is that defence PSUs or the DRDO were never taken to task everyone was happy with the lackadaisical approach and the dependence on imports.
One of the roots of the putative independence movement is a sense of Catalan identity distinct from that of much of the rest of Spain—an identity rooted in language, culture and history. Yet, it should not be overlooked that a growing dissatisfaction with fiscal transfers within the kingdom of Spain, which many Catalonians believe hurt their region disproportionately, was, and remains, an equally important driver of the desire for independence.
Like most federal unions, the Spanish central government engages in fiscal redistribution among regions, which, effectively, transfers resources from “have” regions to “have-not” regions. A 2012 research paper, by economist Núria Bosch of the Institut d’Economia di Barcelona, finds that Catalonia contributes 119% of national fiscal resources compared to the national average, but receives only 102% of the national average after central government redistribution—knocking it from third to ninth in the fiscal league table.
What about India? Central statistical authorities do not release such data to the public, but my IDFC Institute colleague, Praveen Chakravarty, has estimated that a sizeable quantum of inter-state fiscal redistribution occurs between have and have-not states through the Centre’s taxing and spending policies. For example, for every Rs100 that the average citizen of Maharashtra contributes to Central coffers, he or she receives Rs15; by contrast, the average citizen of Bihar receives Rs420 for every Rs100 that he or she contributes.
The crux is this: Resentment and separatist zeal in Catalonia have been fuelled by the feeling among many residents that their hard work and thrift are paying for the alleged indolence, welfare dependency culture, and absence of entrepreneurial ethos in lagging regions.
Could India witness a Catalonian-style separatist movement from have states on the back of the potent brew of fiscal and cultural elements? For a nation that has combatted numerous armed insurgencies, this question is not outlandish. The mix of economic and cultural sources of alienation amongst have states is perhaps strongest in Tamil Nadu, where there exists a pre-existing vein of pan-Tamilian nationalism that may be tapped by vote-getting politicians.
It would be short-sighted to dismiss such statements as merely political bravado. Many Spaniards dismissed similar statements coming from Catalonian leaders in the lead-up to the recent independence referendum as political posturing to help strike a more favourable deal, and that nation is now in crisis: lesson learnt.
The lesson for India is clear. The need of the hour is to move away from the over-centralizing tendencies of the Centre—which have characterized all dispensations—and towards a model which takes fiscal and policy devolution to the states seriously.
The 122 years old Cauvery water sharing dispute has been a bone of contention between Karnataka and Tamil Nadu since the time of the British Raj. Cauvery river water dispute started in 1892 between Madras Presidency and the Princely state of Mysore. Madras disagrees to Mysore administration’s proposal to build irrigation systems, arguing that it would impede water flow into Tamil Nadu. Later in 1924 an agreement was reached and allowed construction of the Krishnaraja Sagar dam in Mysore. The agreement was to be valid for 50 years.
Between 1960 and late 1980s, Karnataka built four dams on Cauvery – Hemavati, Harangi, Kabini and Suvarnavathy. Tamil Nadu, the lower riparian state, argued that this put them in a precarious situation approached Centre for setting up Cauvery Tribunal in 1986. After the SC direction, Centre had setup a Cauvery Water Dispute Tribunal (CWDT).
In 2007, CWDT passed the final award and allotted 30 tmc to Kerala, 270 tmc to Karnataka, 419 tmc to Tamil Nadu and 7 tmc to Puducherry. On 16 February 2018, clearing all the pending cases and the confusion, SC awarded Karnataka 14.75 tmc ft of Cauveri water from Tamilnadu’s share. This means that the annual water release obligation of Karnataka reduces to 177.25 tmc ft, compared to 192 tmc ft as per the tribunal award.
Keeping in mind the global status that Bengaluru has attained, an additional 4.75 tmc ft has been awarded to it in order to implement the existing water supply schemes. The remaining 10 tmc ft can be used to expand agricultural activities.
By upholding the approach of the Cauvery Water Dispute Tribunal, while slightly modifying its award, the Supreme Court has boosted the prospects of a viable water-sharing arrangement among the riparian States. It has highlighted that no single State has primacy in accessing water resources and that rivers are national assets.
Factor like changing rainfall pattern, rainwater harvesting, the potential of soil water capture, catchment degradation and local water systems are hardly given any attention. Prime among these unresolved issues is the framing of a deficit formula for sharing water, and construction of hydel project (Mekedatu Hydel Project) on the common boundary of the river.
Both the parties should see this order as a fair and scientific adjudicative process. They should pose no further impediment to the smooth implementation of the order. Centre should comply with the court’s direction and set up the Cauvery Management Board and Water Regulation Committee as part of the scheme.
Finally, the test of the efficacy of the judgment in resolving the Cauvery dispute would be in the effectiveness of the implementation mechanism and achieving equitable water distribution in deficit years.
NFRA will replace the existing National Advisory Committee on Accounting Standards (NACAS), which is an extension of another SRO ( Self-Regulatory Organisation) the ICAI.
NFRA will act as an independent regulator for the auditing profession, which was one of the key changes brought in by the Companies Act, 2013. Accordingly, NFRA would be an oversight body and look to monitor the functioning of auditors, and its jurisdiction would extend to all listed companies as well as large unlisted public companies.
Further, the NFRA will also have the powers to investigate into matters relating to misconduct of any member or a firm of chartered accountants. Thus, it can issue summons, inspect books, registers and documents of any professional/firms probed and also impose penalties and detain members from a firm.
ICAI will continue regulating private and public unlisted companies below a particular threshold, which is yet to be announced. Further, the ICAI will also continue with its advisory role on accounting and auditing standards.
According to the National Crime Records Bureau report, in 2016, more than 8,000 cases of human trafficking were reported in India while 23,000 victims were rescued in the same year (61 per cent of them were children). Forty five per cent of these victims were trafficked for the purpose of forced labour, followed by sexual exploitation for prostitution (22 per cent). This is, perhaps, the first time that data from Anti Human Trafficking Units has been collated to reflect on the statistics of trafficking.
This new law, however, takes care of all aspects of human trafficking: Prevention, rescue and rehabilitation. It includes aggravated forms of human trafficking like forced labour, begging, trafficking by administering chemical substances or hormones on a personfor the purpose of early sexual maturity, trafficking of a woman or child for the purpose of marriage or under the pretext of marriage or after marriage.
It provides punishment for promoting or facilitating trafficking of persons, which includes producing, printing, issuing or distributing unissued, tampered or fake certificates, registration or stickers as proof of compliance with Government requirements; or commits fraud for procuring or facilitating the acquisition of clearances and necessary documents from Government agencies
All these aspects have been covered under the new law. The Bill also provides for designated courts in each district for time-bound trial and repatriation of victims — within a period of one year from taking into cognizance. This is welcome move. The Bill also provides for seizing of property located in foreign lands which is a good effort to deal with such crimes. A dedicated mechanism is proposed to be created under this law at each district, State and Central levels to implement the Bill in its entirety.
The Bill also provides for an existing agency with all its manpower and resources, the National Investigation Agency under the Ministry of Home Affairs to perform the tasks of anti-trafficking bureau at the national level shall prove to be more expedient than creating a new body for the same.
the Immoral Traffic (Prevention) Act 1956 (ITPA), which covered only commercial sex or in the common lingua, the ‘brothels’ or ‘brothel related issues or as they call it ‘prostitution’ wherein the women victims got re-victimised in 70-80 per cent of cases, happened to be for soliciting, which means that the trafficked victim herself becomes victimised.
Coffee Board has applied for registration of Araku coffee under Geographical Indications to protect the unique identity of the coffee grown by the tribal communities of Araku Valley in Visakhapatnam district of Andhra Pradesh. Arabica coffee from the Araku Valley area has gained popularity as a high quality speciality coffee internationally, through the “Integrated Coffee Development Project.”
Arakku valley is situated near the Odisha border in Vishakapatinam District of Andhra Pradesh. It is a valley in the Eastern Ghats inhabited by different tribes. It is also home to several tribes and they perform the Dimsa and Mayur dances during the Itika Pongal, the popular hunting festival in the month of April.
The World Urban Forum is the biggest non-legislative, bi-yearly conference of the United Nations to discuss Sustainable Urbanization and Cities. The focus of the WUF9 was to localize and scale up the implementation of the New Urban Agenda : Cities for All, Cities 2030 to help to achieve the sustainable development goals (SDGs).
The Action Framework for Implementation of the New Urban Agenda (AFINUA) included 5 groups of subjects: 1. National Urban Policies, 2. Urban Legislation, Rules & Regulations 3. Urban Planning & Design, 4. Urban Economy & Municipal Finance, 5. Local Implementation.
The outcome of WUF9 was presented in form of Kuala Lumpur Declaration. KL Declaration highlights some of the challenges in front of urbanization like limited opportunities, inequitable access to the city, violations of human rights, inequalities, social, cultural, gender-based inequalities, environmental degradation
The points which came to the forth during WUF9 are 1. Global recognition of City as the central unit of governance and the increasing importance of urban governments and urban leaders internationally. 2. Participation of the Grassroots organizations and actual Slum Dwellers and their vital feedback regarding Housing, Infrastructure and Urban Planning issues. 3. Need for the resilient development along with the climate change adaptations
Challenges for India in the implementation of NUA
The first challenge for India will be to bring a comprehensive National Urban Policy (in conformity with NUA) in consultation with all the states, local governments and other stakeholders. Also, the legal framework will be required for the policy for effective and timely implementation at all levels, especially at local level. All the states will also have to do this exercise (of bringing the comprehensive urban policy at the state level).
Today, cities from the developed world are autonomous to a large extent having the power to make decisions regarding overall urban management and financial planning. Larger autonomy is recommended for cities in New Urban Agenda too. How far will India’s federal structure allow decision-making power and financial autonomy for cities is yet to be seen.
India has not yet decriminalized transgender and LGBT community. There are still rules and practices discriminating against women. If India wants to extend Right to City for all irrespective of gender, she needs to make the legal system inclusive. For that, India will have to change laws to give equal rights to women and gay community. This is a bit complicated matter because it does not come under the jurisdiction of urban governance.
The NUA which is based on the principle of inclusiveness, recommends city governments to extend the Right to City to all the migrants including international refugees. However, migration is a sensitive matter for India, especially in the areas like Mumbai, Delhi, Jammu & Kashmir and entire North East India. Any change in migration strategy will have Political, Social & Economic consequences. The handling of the issue will involve not just urban governments but political leadership at central and state levels.
At present, India may be demographically young country, however, a sheer number of the old people having age more than 60 years and persons having a disability is significant (8% and 2.2% respectively out of 120 crore population in 2011). The proportion of old will increase to 20% by the year 2050 and India will have 34 crores old people out of 170 crores total population then. Providing old and disabled with physical & digital access to the city and ensuring economic inclusion will be a huge task for India.
A recent study by researchers based at IIT Delhi and University of California, Berkeley suggests that climate change could reduce levels of the highly toxic fine particulate matter of size smaller than 2.5 microns (PM2.5) in the air above the Indian landmass. As a result, premature deaths in India due to ailments such as ischemic heart disease, stroke, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, lung cancer, and acute lower respiratory infection, which are linked to air pollution, are likely to go down.
Maharashtra makes drip irrigation mandatory for sugar cane cultivation
In a significant move, the Devendra Fadnavis government in Maharashtra on Tuesday decided to make drip irrigation mandatory for sugar cane cultivation over 3.05 lakh hectares in the state. Farmers who opt for drip irrigation will be given loans at 2% rate of interest with a cap of Rs85,400 per hectare.
The decision follows concerns raised by environmentalists and irrigation experts about over-exploitation of water. Currently, sugar cane is grown over 9.42 lakh hectares in Maharashtra (2017-18) and only 2.25 lakh hectares is covered by drip irrigation. The remaining area under sugar cane cultivation uses flood, canal, and sprinkler irrigation systems that consumer more water as compared to drip irrigation.
The environmental lobby has often argued that one of the major causes of chronic drought in Marathwada is cultivation of sugar cane that disproportionately exploits the limited irrigation potential in Maharashtra.
Only 18% of Maharashtra’s cultivable land—22.5 million hectares—is irrigated. A Maharashtra Water and Irrigation Commission formed under former Central Water Commission chairman Madhav Chitale has pointed out that sugar cane cultivation consumes 71% of Maharashtra’s irrigated water.
The state cabinet on Tuesday approved a pilot project that will be implemented with loan from the National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development (Nabard), Maharashtra agriculture minister Pandurang Phundkar said. Phundkar added that the pilot project would be implemented on a priority basis in Marathwada districts which accounts for 25% of Maharashtra’s total sugar cane cultivation.
Karnataka takes historic decision to have separate State flag
Karnataka government, on Thursday, took a historic decision to have separate State flag. The decision was taken at a meeting convened by Chief Minister Siddaramaiah to discuss the recommendations of the nine-member flag committee. The committee had recommended yellow, red and white with the State emblem in the middle. The meeting was attended by representatives of Kannada organisations, littérateurs and official representatives.
In the tri-colour Stage flag, white symbolises peace with State emblem. While yellow symbolises the auspiciousness and well-being of Kannadigas, the red colour symbolises courage.
If centre agrees to the proposal, Karnataka will be second state in the country to have a separate State flag, after Jammu and Kashmir. This is due to J&K's special status under the Constitution. “There is no opposition for States to have separate flag in the Constitution. But, the State flag will always fly below the National flag, as prescribed,”
For special category status category states, the Centre pays 90 per cent of the funds required in a centrally-sponsored scheme as against 60 per cent in case of normal category states, while the remaining funds are provided by the state governments.
While the Constitution does not have any provision for categorisation of any state as a Special Category Status (SCS) State, but considering the fact that some areas in India are historically disadvantaged as compared to others, the Centre has assisted states with funds in the past allocated by the former Planning Commission body called the National Development Council (NDC).
In the past, the NDC considered factors such as difficult and hilly terrain, low population density and/or a sizeable share of tribal population, strategic location along borders, economic and infrastructural backwardness, and non-viable nature of state finances. The NITI Aayog, which has replaced the Planning Commission, has no power to allocate funds — therefore, the discretion that the ruling party at the Centre had to dole out special favours to states through the Plan panel, no longer exists.
The Centre says the Fourteenth Finance Commission effectively removed the concept of Special Category States after its recommendations were accepted in 2015. The Centre, Arun Jaitley has said, was willing to provide the “monetary equivalent” of a special category state to Andhra Pradesh but would not be able to grant the “special status” that was restricted only to the north-eastern and three hilly states by the 14th Finance Commission.
It is a part of the efforts of the Government to encourage institutional arbitration for settlement of disputes and make India a centre of robust Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) mechanism.
The Amendments in the Act of 1996 will facilitate achieving the goal of improving institutional arbitration by establishing an independent body to lay down standards, make arbitration process more party friendly, cost effective and ensure timely disposal of arbitration cases.
Salient features :
To facilitate speedy appointment of arbitrators through designated arbitral institutions by the Supreme Court or the High Court, without having any requirement to approach the court in this regard. It is envisaged that parties may directly approach arbitral institutions designated by the Supreme Court for International Commercial arbitration and in other cases the concerned High Courts.
The amendment provides for creation of an independent body namely the Arbitration Council of India (ACI) which will grade arbitral institution and accredit arbitrators by laying down norms and take all such steps as may be necessary to promote and encourage arbitration, conciliation, mediation and other ADR Mechanism and for that purpose evolve policy and guidelines for the establishment., operation and maintenance of uniform professional standards in respect of all matters relating to arbitration and ADR mechanism. The Council shall also maintain an electronic depository of all arbitral awards,
The ACI shall be a body corporate. The Chairperson of ACI shall be a person who has been a Judge of the Supreme Court or Chief Justice or Judge of any High Court or any eminent person. Further, the other Members would include an eminent academician etc. besides other Government nominees,
It is proposed to amend sub section (1) of section 29A by excluding International Arbitration from the bounds of timeline and further to provide that the time limit for arbitral award in other arbitrations shall be within 12 months from the completion of the pleadings of the parties.
A new section 42A is proposed to be inserted to provide that the arbitrator and the arbitral institutions shall keep confidentiality of all arbitral proceedings except award. Further, a new section 42B protects an Arbitrator from suit or other legal proceedings for any action or omission done in good faith in the course of arbitration proceedings.
A new section 87 is proposed to be inserted to clarify that unless parties agree otherwise the Amendment Act 2015 shall not apply to (a) Arbitral proceedings .which have commenced before the commencement of the Amendment Act of 2015 (b) Court proceedings arising out of or in relation to such arbitral proceedings irrespective of whether such court proceedings are commenced prior to or after the commencement of the Amendment Act of 2015 and shall apply only to Arbitral proceedings commenced on or after the commencement of the Amendment Act of 2015 and to court proceedings arising out of or in relation to such Arbitral proceedings.
Background: The Arbitration and Conciliation Act, 1996, was amended by the Arbitration and Conciliation (Amendment) Act, 2015 in order to make arbitration process user friendly, cost effective and ensure speedy disposal and neutrality of arbitrators. However, to give a boost to institutional, arbitration vis-a-vis ad hoc arbitration and to remove some practical difficulties in applicability of the Arbitration and Conciliation (Amendment) Act, 2015.
Despite the creation of the New Development Bank and some of the initiatives to boost economic ties between BRICS members, there is a sense that the BRICS is starting to encounter limitations to further integration.
One of the ways to overcome this may be to shift the focus from trade liberalization or large-scale integration towards building a wider framework of integration and cooperation in the developing world that opens new gateways for cooperation among BRICS and their partners across continents.
This kind of framework may be realized through China’s initiative to create a BRICS+ circle that according to China’s foreign minister Wang Yi will represent a new platform for the South-South cooperation via holding dialogues with other major developing countries or groups of developing countries to establish a more extensive partnership.
Thus, rather than expanding the core set of BRICS members, the BRICS+ initiative seeks to create a new platform for forging regional and bilateral alliances across continents and aims at bringing together the regional integration blocks, in which BRICS economies play a leading role. Accordingly, the main regional integration blocks that could form the BRICS+ platform include Mercosur, South African Customs Union (SACU), EEU, SAARC, as well as the China-ASEAN FTA. Altogether, in such a setting, 35 countries form the BRICS+ circle.
The main modalities of cooperation between BRICS+ countries could involve the following:
A platform for trade and investment integration. The BRICS+ network could encourage expanding the set of FTAs/PTAs across individual countries or regional blocks of the BRICS+ grouping. Trade alliances do not have to follow the standard path of comprehensive FTAs, but could also involve targeted/limited liberalization via preferential agreements (PTAs)
Cooperation in international organizations, including the Bretton Woods institutions, to increase the consolidated voting share. In the IMF, the consolidated share of the BRICS is just below the 15% mark. The addition of BRICS+ partners would raise the consolidated share of the vote by 1-2 percentage points, depending on the exact composition of the BRICS+ circle.
Cooperation between development banks and other development institutions formed by BRICS+ economies, namely the Eurasian Development Bank (EDB), the Development Bank of South Africa (DBSA), the SAARC Development Fund (SDF), Mercosur Structural Convergence Fund (FOCEM), China Development Bank (CDB), China-ASEAN Investment Cooperation Fund (CAF), and the New Development Bank (NDB). Within this group of development institutions, the NDB could potentially perform a coordinating role with respect to BRICS+ initiatives
Use of national currencies/payment systems: the BRICS+ circle could serve as an extensive platform for the creation of BRICS+ countries’ payment systems and expansion in their use.
There are eight states in Northeast: Arunachal Pradesh, Mizoram, Assam, Manipur, Meghalaya, Tripura, Sikkim, Nagaland.
There are nearly 220 languages spoken in the Northeast, It is a mix of Tibetan, South-east Asian and East Indian Cultures.
Northeast is the only part of India that the Mughal Empire could not conquer.
The Ahom Dynasty, which ruled the Northeast for 600 years, is the longest unbroken Dynasty in Indian history.
The world's largest river island, the Majuli and the world's smallest river island, Umananda both are in the Northeast.
Seven prominent National Parks of India are located in Northeast.
Shillong is considered as the Rock Capital of India.
Mawsynram in Meghalaya holds the Guinness World Record for being the Wettest Place on Earth.
Sualkuchi in Assam is one of the World's largest weaving villages where the entire population is engaged in weaving Silk Fabrics.
Mugs, the Golden Silk of Assam, is not produced anywhere else in the World.
It is the cleanest region in India. Mawlynnong in Meghalaya is the cleanest village in entire Asia.
70% of the country's Orchids are found in Northeast.
Mizoram and Tripura are among the states with the highest Literacy rate in India.
There is no Dowry culture in entire Northeast.
Kurnool solar park is the worlds largest solar park with an installed capacity of 1000 MW.
MNRE Grid connected rooftop and small solar power plants scheme allows central financial assistance of 30% in general category states and 70% in special category states for residential, Government / PSU and institutional sector.
MNRE launched solar city scheme with aim to develop 60 cities across India. Aims at minimum 10% reduction of conventional energy demand. Also aims to motivate local government to adopt renewable energy tech and energy efficient measures.
Cochin is worlds first airport to completely work only on solar energy.
In Banasur sagar, kerela worlds largest floating solar plant is installed.
Role played by the CJI as master of the roster should be a more consultative process than it is today
Justice Shah termed as “strange and something to be questioned” the decision of Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra to keep out all four of the top five judges of the Supreme Court, other than himself, of all constitutional matters.
The present Chief Justice’s actions may have been exercised in individual capacity, but are indicative of a deeper malaise affecting the Indian judiciary,” the former Chief Justice of the Delhi High Court said. Justice Shah said that the current system of appointing judges under the collegium system needed a “relook”. He termed it as an “opaque system that the judges have constructed for themselves”.
Justice Shah said the Indian judiciary should take a cue from better judicial practices around the world including the principles of neutral case assignment - a system designed to prevent the risk of judicial panels being packed
While the concept of a ‘welfare state’ is as old as Ashoka's reign, it is only in modern times that it has received renewed favour. In modern times, many European countries such as Germany, Finland, Sweden, Norway, France, Belgium etc have been classified as welfare states. In these countries, government looks after healthcare and education, and takes steps to bring down inequality among the people as well as root out poverty and unemployment.
Take the case of inequality. There is a heated debate going on about the growing inequality in the world. But should we focus on lowering inequality or removing poverty? Bibek Debroy in the Foreword (The Ill-Fare State in India) to this book argues, "Poverty is an absolute concept, while inequality is relative. There is an impression that increases in inequality, real or perceived, are bad....There is a difference between inequality in access to inputs (physical and social infrastructure, financial products and so on) and inequality in outcomes (income).
Everyone would like India to be equitable. But equity should be interpreted in terms of access to inputs and we should be legitimately upset if there is inequity in that. However, why should there be equality in outcomes? This is a hangover of the socialism introduced in the preamble to the Constitution, as a result of which, a political party cannot be registered in India unless it abides by the principles of socialism.
The 2008 financial crisis can be directly tracked down to the US government welfare initiative to provide universal home ownership. It is also well-known that the European countries are heavily debt-laden (including many of the modern welfare states). These can also be sourced to the profligate spending policies in the name of helping people.
“Citizen Services” developed in-house by NCRB. This single App is a bouquet of various essential police related services to the citizen. The App can be used by citizen for various services such as Complaint Registration & Status Check, View FIR Detail, SOS – Stay Safe, Locate Police Stations, Vahan-Samanvay, Emergency Contact List, Police Stations Telephone Directory etc.
NCRB is the Nodal Agency for authentic source of Data on crime, accidents, suicides, and prisons for policy matters and research. Bureau is implementing & monitoring agency for implementation of Crime & Criminal Tracking Network System (CCTNS), a Mission Mode Project under the National e-Governance Plan of Government of India. The project aims at creating a comprehensive and integrated system for enhancing the efficiency and effectiveness of policing in the country
NCRB also imparts training in Information Technology (IT) and Finger Print Science for Indian Police Officers as well Foreign Police officers. Areas covered during the training are Cyber Crime Investigation & Digital Forensics, CCTNS, Advanced Fingerprint Science, Network & e-Security, Coloured Portrait Building System, etc. Four Regional Police Training Centres (RCPTCs) in Hyderabad, Gandhinagar, Lucknow and Kolkata also conduct similar courses for lower functionaries of Indian Police. These courses at RPCTC’s are sponsored by NCRB in term of honorarium and study material to facilitate capacity building at regional levels.
India’s first national coastal policing academy, National Academy of Coastal Policing (NACP) to train police forces in effectively safeguarding country’s shoreline will start functioning from April 2018. It will be launched from campus of Gujarat’s Fisheries Research Centre located in coastal Okha town in Devbhumi Dwarka district of Gujarat.
The first-of-its-kind national coastal policing academy will be created and run by multi-agency team of paramilitary and defence forces to sharpen response and skills of marine forces of multiple states which have sea lines.
It will train police personnel and other security agencies staff in maritime laws, seamanship, boat work, navigation, weapons handling, usage of sea guidance and surveillance gadgets and survival skills for long haul operations on sea or during distress times when they may get stranded in these territorial waters running up to 12 nautical miles from shore.
The Bureau of Police Research and Development (BPRD) will pilot establishment and running of academy. The Border Security Force (BSF), Indian Navy and Indian Coast Guard (ICG) will form core to run academy. The BSF will also provide security to campus. Indian Navy an ICG will help design training curriculum, provide skilled trainers and ensure access to jetties and boats for trainees of academy. Gujarat government will provide two interceptor boats stationed at Okha to academy. It will have faculty from Indian Navy, ICG and BSF.
India has 7,517-km long coastline and has 12 major ports and 187 minor or intermediate ports. India’s territorial waters end at 12 nautical miles while EEZ stretches to 200 nautical miles from the coast. At present there is no institute that trains marine or coastal police forces subjects related to coastal policing and security in professional manner. The need for training academy was specially felt after India faced major sea-borne terror attack in November 2008 in Mumbai (financial capital of country) planned and articulated from Pakistan.
Indian Renewable Energy Development Agency Limited (IREDA) is a Mini Ratna (Category – I) Government of India Enterprise under the administrative control of Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE).
IREDA is a Public Limited Government Company established as a Non-Banking Financial Institution in 1987 engaged in promoting, developing and extending financial assistance for setting up projects relating to new and renewable sources of energy and energy efficiency/conservation with the motto: “ENERGY FOR EVER”.
To give financial support to specific projects and schemes for generating electricity and / or energy through new and renewable sources and conserving energy through energy efficiency. To maintain its position as a leading organization to provide efficient and effective financing in renewable energy and energy efficiency / conservation projects.
To increase IREDA`s share in the renewable energy sector by way of innovative financing. Improvement in the efficiency of services provided to customers through continual improvement of systems, processes and resources. To strive to be competitive institution through customer satisfaction.
It identifies roles, responsibilities and directions of member countries of WHO SEARO region to make their countries free from this disease. It commends increased attention, investments and efforts directed at tackling region’s major burden of tuberculosis (TB).
It also expresses concern that most low-burden countries are yet to establish last mile programmes for early ending of TB. It reiterates firm intent to implement response in each of our nations that is demonstrably adequate for ending TB by 2030 and meeting milestones for 2020 by collectively reaching out to missing 2 million BT cases and 150000 multidrug-resistant cases.
Department of Fertilizers is in process to roll out DBT in fertilizer sector nationwide. DBT will entail 100% payment to fertilizer companies on sale of fertilizers to farmers at subsidized rates. The DBT in fertilizer sector being implemented is slightly different from normal DBT implemented for other schemes. Under it, the subsidy will be released to the fertilizer companies instead of the beneficiaries, after the sale is made by the retailers to the beneficiaries. The subsidy will be released on submission of claims generated in the web-based online Integrated Fertilizer Monitoring System (iFMS) by fertilizer companies.
Urea Subsidy is part of Central Sector Scheme (CSS) of Department and is wholly financed by Central Government of India through budgetary support. It also includes Imported Urea subsidy which is directed towards import to bridge gap between assessed demand and indigenous production of urea in the country. It also includes freight subsidy for movement of urea across the country.
The use of chemical fertilizers have played pivotal role in making India self-reliant in food grain production and provide very vital input for growth of Indian agriculture. For sustained agricultural growth and to promote balanced nutrient application, urea is made available to farmers at statutorily controlled price.
The fertilizer subsidy mainly is difference between delivered cost of fertilizers at farm gate and MRP payable by farmer. It is given to fertilizer manufacturer/importer by Central Government. At present, there are 31 urea manufacturing units, out of which 28 urea units use Natural Gas as feedstock/fuel and remaining 3 urea units use Naphtha as feedstock.
The India-based Neutrino Observatory (INO) project has got a fresh lease of life with the Ministry of Environment and Forests (MoEF) taking it up as a special case and granting it environmental clearance to set up the lab in Bodi West hill
MoEF’s Expert Appraisal Committee (Infra 2), after detailed deliberations on the proposal and submissions by the project proponent, recommended this at its meeting on March 5. According to the minutes of the meeting available in the public domain, the EAC was given to understand that though the proposals were not within its scope, the Ministry wanted it to consider this as a special case.
The panel was informed that there was no scope for radioactivity and leaching of water and these have been explained to the courts. The project proponents clarified that studies showed there would be no impact of blasting on any habitation in the vicinity.
While granting EC, the committee stipulated specific conditions, of which two are key for the project to take off. One is the consent to establish and operate to be obtained from the Tamil Nadu Pollution Control Board (TNPCB). Also, the INO team has to obtain the necessary forest and National Board for Wild Life clearances as per law. The Mathikettan Shola National Park in Idukki district, Kerala, is situated within five km from the project site.
The National Commission on Farmers — as the panel headed by the agricultural scientist was called — did not elaborate on what really constituted “weighted average cost of production” in its report submitted in October 2006. The Commission for Agricultural Costs and Prices (CACP), on the other hand, gives three definitions of production costs: A2, A2+FL and C2
A2 costs basically cover all paid-out expenses, both in cash and in kind, incurred by farmers on seeds, fertilisers, chemicals, hired labour, fuel, irrigation, etc. A2+FL cover actual paid-out costs plus an imputed value of unpaid family labour. C2 costs are more comprehensive, accounting for the rentals and interest forgone on owned land and fixed capital assets respectively, on top of A2+FL.
The accompanying table gives all-India weighted average A2, A2+FL and C2 production costs for 14 crops, as projected by the CACP for the current 2017-18 kharif season.
The announced MSPs, it turns out, are Swaminathan formula-compliant — i.e. providing more than 50 per cent return — with respect to A2 costs for all the 14 crops, barring jowar (sorghum), ragi and sunflower. The average paid-out A2 costs for paddy, for instance, is estimated at Rs 840 per quintal. The MSP of Rs 1,550, then, works out 84.5 per cent more than this cost. However, for jowar, this year’s MSP of Rs 1,700 per quintal is just 40 per cent above the A2 cost.
Moreover, when it comes to A2+FL, the Swaminathan formula of 50 per cent return over cost is satisfied only in three crops: bajra (pearl-millet), arhar (pigeon-pea) and urad (black gram). It’s even worse with regard to C2, where the 50 per cent profit recommendation is not met for a single crop. In the case of jowar, ragi, moong (green gram), sunflower, sesamum, nigerseed and cotton, the MSPs don’t even cover — leave alone provide a return over — C2 costs.
POSHAN Abhiyaan was launched by the Prime Minister recently in Jhunjhunu ,Rajasthan.
The abhiyan may include the following nutrition strategies and interventions supplementary nutrition, IYCF(Infant and Young Child Feeding)immunisation, food fortification, adolescent nutrition, dietary diversification maternal health Behavior change communication is the key component of POSHAN Abhiyaan for converting it into Jan Andolan (People’s movement).
The Executive Committee is the Apex body for all Nutrition related activities under the POSHAN Abhiyaan. National Council on India’s nutritional challenges under chairmanship of Vice Chairman, NITI Aayog, has been set up under the POSHAN Abhiyaan.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi recently said India will fully eliminate tuberculosis by 2025, a good five years ahead of the global deadline of 2030, and has already started working towards achieving this goal.
The Delhi End TB Summit is being organised by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare jointly with the WHO’s South-East Asia Region Office and international coalition Stop TB Partnership.
India is also implementing the National Strategic Plan for TB elimination that is backed by Rs. 12,000 crore in funding for the next three years to ensure every TB patient in the country has access to quality diagnosis, treatment and support. The new strategic plan adopts a multi-pronged approach which aims to detect all TB patients, with an emphasis on reaching patients seeking care from private providers and undiagnosed cases in high-risk populations.
The latest Budget has proposed to set aside $100 million to provide nutritional support to TB patients. TB is the leading infectious killer in India. There were an estimated 28 lakh new cases in 2016, with over 4 lakh people succumbing to the disease, including those with TB and HIV
India’s first national academy to train police forces in effectively safeguarding the Indian shoreline will soon start functioning along the Gujarat seafront. The Union home ministry recently sanctioned the launch of the National Academy of Coastal Policing (NACP) in the newly created Devbhoomi Dwarka district.
The first-of-its-kind institution of the country will be created and run by a multi-agency team of paramilitary and defence forces and sharpen the response and skills of the marine forces of multiple states which have sea lines.
The academy will train police personnel and other security agencies staff in maritime laws, seamanship, boat work, navigation, weapons handling, usage of sea guidance and surveillance gadgets and survival skills for long haul operations on the sea or during distress times when they may get stranded in these waters running up to 12 nautical miles from the shore.
India has a vast coastline of 7,516 kms touching 13 states and union territories (UTs). It also has around 1,197 islands.
Ministry of Health and Family Welfare has recently announced the launch of program ‘LaQshya’, aimed at improving quality of care in labour room and maternity Operation Theatre (OT). The Program will improve quality of care for pregnant women in labour room, maternity Operation Theatre and Obstetrics Intensive Care Units (ICUs) and High Dependency Units (HDUs). The LaQshya program is being implemented at all Medical College Hospitals, District Hospitals and First Referral Unit (FRU), and Community Health Center (CHCs) and will benefit every pregnant woman and new-born delivering in public health institutions.
‘LaQshya’ will reduce maternal and newborn morbidity and mortality, improve quality of care during delivery and immediate post-partum period and enhance satisfaction of beneficiaries and provide Respectful Maternity Care (RMC) to all pregnant women attending public health facilities
The Program aims at implementing ‘fast-track’ interventions for achieving tangible results within 18 months. Under the initiative, a multi-pronged strategy has been adopted such as improving infrastructure up-gradation, ensuring availability of essential equipment, providing adequate human resources, capacity building of health care workers and improving quality processes in the labour room.
To strengthen critical care in Obstetrics, dedicated Obstetric ICUs at Medical College Hospital level and Obstetric HDUs at District Hospital are operationalized under LaQshya program
The Quality Improvement in labour room and maternity OT will be assessed through NQAS (National Quality Assurance Standards). Every facility achieving 70% score on NQAS will be certified as LaQshya certified facility. Furthermore, branding of LaQshya certified facilities will be done as per the NQAS score. Facilities scoring more than 90%, 80% and 70% will be given Platinum, Gold and Silver badge accordingly. Facilities achieving NQAS certification, defined quality indicators and 80% satisfied beneficiaries will be provided incentive of Rs 6 lakh, Rs 3 lakh and Rs 2 lakh for Medical College Hospital, District Hospital and FRUs respectively
India has come a long way in improving maternal survival as Maternal Mortality Ratio (MMR) has reduced from 301 maternal deaths in 2001-03 to 167 in year 2011-13, an impressive decline of 45% in a decade. India is further committed to ensuring safe motherhood to every pregnant woman in the country.
A transformational improvement in the quality of care around child-birth- relating to intrapartum and immediate postpartum care shall dramatically improve maternal and new-born outcomes.
Ever since the ceasefire agreement (CFA) of 2003, New Delhi seems to have followed three broad strategies to deal with the violence on the J&K border. These three approaches — ‘talks over bullets’, ‘talks and bullets’, and ‘disproportionate bombardment’ — have identifiable costs and benefits associated with them.
Engagement with Pakistan and quiet on the border are strongly correlated. The downside, however, is that New Delhi feels that it tried the strategy of peace and talks several times in the past and failed to get a positive response from Pakistan. This has led to a great deal of bitterness in India.
Failure of this strategy has been due to the periodic terror attacks carried out against India, infiltration into J&K and the rise of militancy in Kashmir, in all of which India sees significant contribution of the Pakistani establishment. While there are benefits of talks, they are neither consistent nor without political costs. Put differently, the costs of ‘talks over bullets’ strategy, in New Delhi’s calculation, seem to outweigh the benefits
India current strategy is for disproportionate bombardment strategy
The benefits of this disproportionate bombardment strategy are too obvious to miss. Its domestic political utility is enormous given the surprisingly few questions being asked of the government about the rising civilian and military casualties. The ‘we kill more than they do’ argument, combined with the ‘surgical strikes’ narrative, creates a powerful political discourse laden with potential electoral benefits for the ruling dispensation in New Delhi.
There are inherent costs associated with this strategy. First, the disproportionate bombardment strategy could potentially escalate to worrying levels — a rising toll could reverse popular support for the current muscular approach. Second, more killing and destruction would also steadily shrink the space available for negotiated outcomes with Pakistan. Finally, the current media frenzy surrounding the border violence and the associated nationalist sentiments could become a worry for the government if and when it wishes to negotiate with Pakistan.
Pakistan seems to adopt a three-fold strategy on the J&K border informed by its conventional inferiority vis-à-vis India: keep the violence on the border carefully calibrated without upping the ante; seek meaningful talks on Kashmir to turn down the rhetoric on Kashmir and infiltration into J&K; propose tactical measures to reduce violence on the borders such as DGMO talks and reduction in the calibre of weapons, without giving up its claims and interests in Kashmir. In other words, Pakistan is looking for either conflict management vis-à-vis the J&K border or a major dialogue process to resolve the Kashmir issue.
There is then a clear mismatch between the expectations and strategies of New Delhi and Islamabad/Rawalpindi. Whereas India is looking for an end to cross-border infiltration and Pakistani involvement in Kashmir in return for an end to shelling on the border, Pakistan is desirous of a resolution of or meaningful talks on Kashmir in return for calm borders and cracking down on anti-India terror groups in Pakistan. The two sides must therefore try and find a via media between these two differing sets of expectations if they wish to bring down the violence on the J&K border that is increasingly spiralling out of control.
Renowned agricultural economist Sardara Singh Johl agrees with M.S. Swaminathan, the man credited as the father of the ‘green revolution’, on the futility of loan waivers to ease farm distress.
But he disagrees with a much-touted recommendation of the committee on tackling the farm crisis Swaminathan headed — that farmers be given a minimum support price (MSP) that’s 1.5 times the production costs — saying it was not the answer
Explaining his argument against the usefulness of MSP hikes, Johl said, “More than 80 per cent of the farmers in India are small and marginal farmers. Nearly 25 per cent of them make only distress sale at the time of harvest because they have the obligation to retire the loans they have taken.
He also questioned the current approach to the idea, saying the focus should be on the individual and not the sector. “There should be a system at district levels where the lender and the borrower can be called and the issue settled. It can be rewriting the loan or a one-time settlement or even waived.
It is the individual farmer under stress who has to be involved. By considering the farm sector as a whole, the people who really suffer are not profited,” he added.
ohl suggests a better solution would be to encourage small and marginal farmers to juggle farming with other jobs. This can be achieved by spreading the industries into villages, he added.
“In Japan, more than 90 per cent of the farmers are part-time farmers and more than 90 per cent of their income comes from outside the farm,” he said, adding that crop diversification would also help.
Union water resources minister Nitin Gadkari on Friday said the country will soon have potable water from sea at just 5 paise per litre. Trials for conversion of seawater into potable water have started in Tuticorin, Tamil Nadu.
Addressing the inaugural session of a two-day Nadi Mahotsav at Bandrabhan, Gadkari said it was unfortunate that some states were fighting over river water distribution while nobody is concerned about river water going to Pakistan. India shares 6 rivers with Pakistan.
“Water from three rivers is flowing into Pakistan. But neither does any newspaper write on it, nor does any MLA demand to stop it,” Gadkari said.
An India-UK Joint Team has won the Newton-Bhabha Fund for a project on Groundwater Arsenic Research in Ganga River Basin. The Department of Science and Technology has undertaken the project with the Natural Environment Research Council, UK, to find solutions to the water challenges faced in the pervasively arsenic-affected Ganga River Basin. The Indian team comprises representatives of the IIT Kharagpur, the National Institute of Hydrology, the IIT Roorkee and the Mahavir Cancer Sansthan and Research Centre of Patna
The UK team consists of representatives of the University of Manchester, the British Geological Survey, the University of Salford and the University of Birmingham. The team members involved with the project will try to assess how the problem of arsenic poisoning can get aggravated in the next 25 to 30 years and influence groundwater management practices and suggest water remedial technologies accordingly.
The Newton Bhabha Fund, provided by the British Council, aims to bring together the UK and Indian scientific research and innovation sectors to find joint solutions to the challenges facing India in economic development and social welfare.
The Odisha government will collaborate with Regional Integrated Multi-Hazard Early Warning System (RIMES) for strengthening its early warning services and enhancing preparedness for management of hazards in state. The partnership will be forged between Odisha State Disaster Mitigation Authority (OSDMA) and RIMES in field of drought monitoring and early warning for different natural disasters. RIMES is already working with the Tamil Nadu State Disaster Management Authority. It also help to develop one-stop risk management system for all OSDMA needs-integration of multiple data database/servers.
Both entities will ink Memorandum of understanding (MoU) for collaboration and evolve institutional mechanism between them for better coordination. The partnership will help OSDMA to strengthen its quality, prediction ability and response capacity. RIMES will provide technical support to OSDMA regarding analysis of data to be generated through automatic weather stations being installed in all gram panchayats, validation of forecast, early warning and preparedness for lightening, heat wave, flood, draught and Tsunami.
It will help OSDMA to engage integrated multi-hazard early warning system to strengthen its prediction and response capability. The collaboration will also strengthen OSDMA for more effective management of natural disasters. It will also help in transfer of best practices among different countries of world in handling natural disasters. It will also enhance warning response capacities of OSDMA by imparting specialized expert training.
The RIMES is an intergovernmental body registered under United Nations. It is owned and managed by 45 collaborating countries in Asia Pacific and Africa Region. India is chairman of the body. It was established in 2009 and was registered with UN in July 2009.
It operates from its regional early warning centre located at campus of Asian Institute of Technology in Pathumthani, Thailand. It has evolved from efforts of countries in Africa and Asia in aftermath of 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami.
Mandate: It seeks to establish regional early warning system within multi-hazard framework for generation and communication of early warning information and capacity building for preparedness and response to trans-boundary hazards. It provides information related to Tsunami and extreme weather conditions. It also acts as a test bed for emerging technologies and help to enhance performance.
Sanitation coverage in rural India has increased substantially from 39 percent in 2014 to 76 percent in January 2018, the Economic Survey 2017-18 has said. With the launch of the Swachh Bharat Mission (Gramin) on October 2, 2014, the sanitation coverage in rural India increased substantially. The number of persons defecating in the open in rural areas, which were 55 crores in October 2014, has declined to 25 crores by January 2018.
Eight states and two Union Territories, which include Sikkim, Himachal Pradesh, Kerala, Haryana, Uttarakhand, Chhattisgarh, Arunachal Pradesh, Gujarat, Daman and Diu and Chandigarh have been declared ODF completely.
The surveys conducted by the National Sample Survey Office (NSSO) and Quality Council of India (QCI) on usage of toilets by the individuals who have access to toilets reported more than 90 percent of individuals using toilets in 2016 and 2017.
The survey satisfactorily notes that there has been substantial reduction in the number of persons defecating in open in rural areas which has had positive health and economic impact in ODF areas. In a report, 'The Financial and Economic Impact of SBM in India', UNICEF estimated that a household in an ODF village in rural India saves Rs 50,000 every year.