Current affairs jan 14.

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Current affairs jan 14.

  1. 1. Anand Sharma Expresses Optimism for Economy in 2014 The Union Minister of Commerce & Industry Shri Anand Sharma expressed optimism for the economy in 2014. In a statement, Shri Sharma said: In 2013, India was rated as the most favored investment destination globally. The bold decisions of the UPA Government for liberalizing Foreign Direct Investment Policy in key sectors such as civil aviation, retail and telecom have resonated with the global community and we have seen results in the last few months. The Government will continue its endeavour for liberalizing the FDI Policy further in the coming weeks to ensure that India retains its leadership position for attracting foreign investments. I am also happy to see that manufacturing seems to be on the mend and there is visible rebound in industrial activity. The Indian economy has inherent strengths which give it resilience from external pressures and the series of steps taken by the Government both on the fiscal and current account front have yielded positive results. The coming months will see a greater push for development of industrial corridors across the country and work will commence for establishment of the first few cities along the Delhi-Mumbai Industrial Corridor. I expect that with greater foreign investment and technology collaborations, Indian manufacturing will also move up the value chain and acquire greater competitiveness globally.
  2. 2. PARAM Supercomputer Among the Most Power Efficient Systems of the World The Centre for Development of Advanced Computing (C-DAC) has achieved a significant milestone with PARAM Yuva II supercomputer being ranked 1st in India, 9th in the Asia Pacific Region and 44th in the world among the most power efficient computer systems as per the Green500 List announced at the Supercomputing Conference (SC`2013) in Denver, Colorado, USA. Supercomputers, in general, consume a lot of electrical power and produce much heat that necessitates elaborate cooling facilities to ensure proper operation. This adds to increase in the Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) of a supercomputer. To draw focus towards development of energy efficient supercomputers, Green500 ranks computer systems in the world according to compute performance per watt, thus providing a world ranking based on energy efficiency. Energy consumed by supercomputers is measured at various Levels – L1, L2, L3 - for purpose of reporting. As the level increases, accuracy and rigor of measurement exercise also increases. It is also a measure of our capability and noteworthy that C-DAC is the second organization worldwide to have carried out the Level 3 measurement of Power versus Performance for the Green500 List.
  3. 3. Shri Kapil Sibal, Minister for Communications & Information Technology, has congratulated C-DAC for this significant achievement. He said that supercomputing is very important for the all round advancements in the country, and the Government is planning a big impetus for capacity building and advanced R&D in this area. He would expect many more contributions from C-DAC, as a key player, in this endeavour. PARAM Yuva – II uses hybrid technology – processor, co-processor and hardware accelerators - to provide the peak compute power of 520.4 Teraflop/s using 210 kiloWatt power. The interconnect network comprises of homegrown PARAMNet- III and Infiniband FDR System Area Network. This system is designed to solve large and complex computational problems. The system has 200 Terabytes of high performance storage, and requisite system software and utilities for parallel applications development.
  4. 4. VVIP Choper Agreement with AgustaWestLand International Ltd. (AWIL) Terminated The Government of India has terminated with immediate effect the Agreement that was signed with M/s. AgustaWestLand International Ltd. (AWIL) on 08 February, 2010 for the supply of 12 VVIP/VIP helicopters on grounds of breach of the Pre-contract Integrity Pact (PCIP) and the Agreement by AWIL. Based on the opinion received earlier from the Attorney General of India, it has been the view of the Government that integrity-related issues are not subject to arbitration. However, AWIL has since pressed for arbitration and appointed an arbitrator from its side. In view of this, MoD sought afresh the opinion of the Attorney General. With a view to safeguard the interests of the Government, MoD has nominated Hon’ble Mr Justice BP Jeevan Reddy as its arbitrator.
  5. 5. In a major achievement for the power sector, Southern Grid synchronously connected with the National Power Grid Indian power system becomes one of the largest operating synchronous grids in the world The Southern Grid has been synchronously connected to the rest of the Grid in the country. With this, the mission of ‘One Nation – One Grid – One Frequency’ has been successfully accomplished. The southern grid connectivity was achieved on the evening of December 31, 2013 through commissioning of Raichur-Solapur 765 kV single circuit transmission line by Power Grid Corporation of India Limited, the Central Transmission Utility of the country, interconnecting the Southern grid synchronously with the rest of the national power grid facilitating bulk transfer of power across regional boundaries. This line of 208 circuit kilometers (ckm) and 765/400 kV substations at Raichur and Sholapur has been commissioned five months ahead of its contractual schedule i.e. 31st May, 2014 at a cost of approximately Rs.815 crores. With this interconnection, Indian power system has entered into a new era and become one of the largest operating synchronous grids in the world with about 232GW of installed power generation capacity. Synchronous integration of Southern Grid with rest of the national power Grid shall not only augment the inter-regional power transfer capacity of Southern region but also relieve the congestion being experienced in few transmission corridors. This will be a great boost for further economic growth of the country. It is likely to take a few months before power flow over this line is stabilized.
  6. 6. Indian Power System is operating through five Regional Grids and a Pan India synchronous grid was envisaged for optimal utilization of the generation resources in the country. Till now, four regional grids namely Northern, Eastern, Western and North-eastern regions (NEW grid) were connected synchronously and Southern Region (SR) was connected to this NEW grid through HVDC links. Synchronous interconnection of SR with NEW grid was envisaged through high capacity 765 kV Raichur – Sholapur lines, as an ultimate step towards establishment of an “All India Synchronous National Grid” facilitating bulk transfer of power across regional boundaries..
  7. 7. Honest implementation of the New Land Acquisition Act will curb the Maoist menace, says Jairam The Right to Fair Compensation and Transparency in Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Resettlement Act 2013 has come into force from today and the Land Acquisition Act 1894 stands repealed and cannot be invoked in any other acquisition proceedings from this day forth. Briefing the media here, the Minister for Rural Development Shri Jairam Ramesh said that if implemented properly, the new Act will help in curbing the maoist menace in States like Jharkhand, Odisha and Chhattisgarh. He said that under the old Act of 1894, the tribals in these states were not given adequate compensation even after large scale displacements. The Minister underlined that the 13 Central Acts under which land can also be acquired have to be amended within one year to bring them at par with the new Land Acquisition Act as far as compensation to the land losers are concerned. The Minister said, to aide and facilitate the implementation of the new Act the Ministry of Rural Development is now taking the following steps:
  8. 8. Rules Rules are intended to bring clarity to certain key processes defined in the parent law. Work on a set of draft Rules to the new Act began almost immediately in the wake of the new law being passed by both houses on September 5 th , 2013. A draft set of Rules had been prepared after a nationwide consultation process with stakeholders from across the spectrum and it was submitted to the Law Ministry for approval. · These Rules, as finalized by the Law Ministry, have now been notified officially in the Gazette for the formal consultation with the public. While the Ministry has carried out a process of consultation prior to the preparation of these draft rules, the law requires a formal declaration to seek comments from the public for 45 days. · These Rules will lay down processes for the conduct of Social Impact Assessment and will also provide details for obtaining the consent of affected families. · However it must be pointed out that the new law can function and operate even without the Rules coming into force. Given that the law was drafted as a complete and self-containing statute, the absence of Rules is not a detriment to the law being invoked.
  9. 9. Other Highlights of the Ministry Apart from the revolutionary Land Acquisition Act which will provide just and fair compensation to farmers while ensuring that no land can be acquired forcibly, the year also saw Rural Development Ministry coming out with phase II of the Pradhan Mantri Gramin Sadak Yojana (PMGSY) to build and upgrade rural roads. While the existing PMGSY scheme will continue, under PMGSY phase II, the roads already built for rural connectivity will be upgraded to enhance village infrastructure and better rural connectivity. Another significant achievement was granting approval for setting up of an independent society for transforming livelihoods and lives of rural households with an emphasis on women in tribal areas. The Rural Development Ministry`s proposal to set up the Bharat Rural Livelihoods Foundation (BRLF) with a corpus of Rs 500 crore in partnership between the government and private sector organisations was another highlight of the Ministry. The Ministry also announced important changes to its flagship MGNREGA programme seeking to ensure permanent and durable asset creation in rural areas and introduction of penalty for delayed wage payments.
  10. 10. .. “Incredible India Promotional Calendar 2014” launched by Ministry of Tourism The Ministry of Tourism today launched the ‘Incredible India Promotional Calendar 2014.” The calendar containing 24 photographs on double sided paper was launched by Tourism Secretary Mr. Parvez Dewan in a function in the Capital today. Launching the calendar, Mr. Dewan said that every State has been covered and suitable regions/ regional balance has been maintained. All the north-eastern States have also been represented in the calendar. Mr. Parvez Dewan said that the calendar captures the rich variety and wide spectrum of destinations offered by India. The calendar has also been launched digitally wherein it can be seen at the website of the Ministry www.incredibleindia.org. All the pages of the calendar have been made available through high resolution photographs on the website. The January month shows the Kalpeni Island, Lakshadweep and Spiti Valley, Himachal Pradesh. The February month takes the travellers to the Siang River, Arunachal Pradesh and Aizawl, Mizoram.
  11. 11. • The month of March captures the Junagarh Fort, Gujarat and the Royal Bengal Tiger and Sunderbans, West Bengal. Keeping in view the festival of Baisakhi, the month of April has the picture of Golden Temple and Sri Meenakshi Temple, Madurai, Tamilnadu. The month of May depicts the scene of the Betla National Park, Jharkhand and the Great Buddha, Bodh Gaya, Bihar whereas the month of June shows the pictures of Manda Peak, Uttarakhand and Humayun’s Tomb, Delhi. July month is depicted with the photos of Cave Temples & Monastries of Ellora, Maharashtra and Chitrakoot Falls, Chattisgarh. The pictures of the Jagannath Temple, Tripura and the Classical Dance Raas Leela, Manipur adorn the calender month August. Aayi Mandapam, Puducherry and the Tirumala Venkateswara Temple of Andhra Pradesh are shown with the month of September. October shows the Diu Fort, Daman & Diu and Dzukou Valley, Nagaland. The calendar ends with the pictures of One-horned Rihonceros, kaziranga, Assam, Basilica of Bom Jesus, Goa and Lingdum Monastery, Sikkim & Signature Golf Course, Gurgaon, Haryana for the months of November and December respectively.
  12. 12. The Tourism Secretary also highlighted the efforts of the Ministry on revamping the website of Incredible India. He said that the print ready material would be made available on the website which would facilitate the professionals in the tourism industry to bring out brochures and other publicity material. This information would be provided in 10 languages – English, Arabic, Chinese, Russian, Spanish, French, Korean Japanese, Portugese, Italian, German in addition to Hindi. Mr. Dewan also highlighted the fact that information about 15 Sound and Light Shows have been provided through YouTube in Dolby sound which is the first of its kind in the entire world.
  13. 13. Additional allocation of foodgrains to States/Union Territories for natural calamities/festivals/additional requirements The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs has approved, that subject to availability of foodgrains in the Central Pool, allocation of foodgrains for festivals and natural calamities to States/ Union Territories (UTs) will be made at Minimum Support Price (MSP) and MSP derived prices for wheat and rice respectively, and at economic cost for any other additional foodgrains requirement of the States/UTs. The CCEA has also approved the revision in price of allotment made to the Government of Uttarakhand for flood relief in the current year from economic cost to MSP/MSP derived prices in consonance with this decision regarding allocation for calamity relief. Background: The Government of India allocates foodgrains to States/UTs under the Targeted Public Distribution System (TPDS). However, requests are received from State Governments and UT administrations for additional allocation on account of either higher coverage of population under the Targetted Public Distribution System (TPDS) or for natural calamities such as droughts, floods, earthquakes etc. or festivals like Onam, Kumbh Mela, Char Dham Yatra, Amarnath Yatra etc. The Government has been making additional allocation of foodgrains on the basis of the Cabinet`s instructions in February, 2000 and E-GoM`s decision dated 17.9.2009 at Open Market Sale Scheme (OMSS) prices, economic cost or MSP/MSP derived prices at present.
  14. 14. Security for women in public road transport in the country The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs has approved setting up of a unified system at the national level (National Vehicle Security and Tracking System) and State level (City Command and Control Centre) for Global Positioning System (GPS) tracking of the location of emergency buttons in and video recording of incidents in public transport vehicles, in 32 cities of the country with a population of one million or more according to the 2011 census. The implementation of the project will help in: i) Mapping of routes of public vehicles; ii) Tracking of vehicles on the route; iii) Highlighting of violations through visual and text signals; iv) Panic button alert to transport and police through visual, text and voice. v) Permit, registration and licence cancellation based criteria for enforcement. (vi) Providing safety and security to women / girl child in distress in minimum response time.
  15. 15. The total estimated cost of the project will be Rs.1405 crore. The project will be implemented within a period of two years after allocation of funds to set up a National Level Vehicle Security and Tracking System and City Command & Control Centre with installation of GPS / CCTV / Panic buttons in public road transport. The scheme for security for women in public road transport has been formulated with purpose of improving safety and protection of women from violence by using information technology in the following manner: I. Tracking of all public transport vehicles: This shall be done in accordance with Sections 72, 74, 75 and 76 of Central Motor Vehicle Act, 1988. Defaults will be reported and updated on the data base of the vehicle. II. Emergency button in all public transport vehicles: The button will generate an alarm in the system. For vehicles which are also provided with facilities for video recording, the City Command and Control Centre can receive pictures of actual incidents and raise an alarm with the nearest police and transport patrol to reach the bus. III.Video recording in public transport vehicles with large seating capacity: Incidents recorded will be kept for seven days in the on-board unit and can be used as evidence and arrest of accused in case of any incident.
  16. 16. Background: Women play an important role in the economy, politics and social sectors of a country. People from smaller towns, including a large number of women, move to cities in search of jobs or studies. With increasing participation of women in the economic sphere, safer mobility of women is essential. As most people, particularly women and the girl child, cannot afford their own transportation, they depend on public transport. The Justice JS Verma Committee constituted in December, 2012 to look into the possible amendments in the criminal laws related to sexual violence against women made various recommendations for public transport vehicles in its report. The Report of Justice (Retired) Ms. Usha Mehra, Commission of Enquiry constituted under the Commission of Enquiry Act, 1952 to look into the incident of gang-rape and assault on a woman on 16.12.2012 in Delhi suggested measures for safety and security of women in the NCT of Delhi and NCR.
  17. 17. Centrally sponsored scheme for establishment of new medical colleges attached with existing district/referral hospitals The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs has approved the proposal of the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare relating to the Centrally sponsored scheme for establishment of new medical colleges attached with existing district/referral hospitals. The approval is for establishment of 58 new medical colleges by upgradation of existing district hospitals in deficient states with intake capacity of 100 MBBS seats in each medical college. This will result in an increase of about 5800 seats. The central assistance share will be of Rs. 8457.40 crore and State/UT share of Rs. 2513.70 crore. The funding pattern will be 90:10 by Central and State Governments respectively for North Eastern States and special category States and in the ratio of 75:25 for other States. The total cost of establishment of the one medical college is approximately about Rs.189 crore. The distance between the district/referral hospital and the medical college shall be within 10 kms and on two pieces of land.
  18. 18. Minimum Support Price of Raw Jute for 2014-15 season The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs has approved the Minimum Support Price (MSP) for 2014-15 season for TD-5 grade of Jute at Rs.2400 per quintal for the entire country. This is an increase of Rs.100 per quintal over the MSP announced by the Government for the last season. The increase in the MSP of raw jute is expected to encourage farmers to step up investment in jute cultivation and thereby production and productivity of jute in the country. In order to incentivize farmers for the production of higher grades, the premiums for TD-3 and TD-4 varieties of raw jute will be maintained at 20 percent and 8 percent respectively in relation to the price of TD-5. The Jute Corporation of India (JCI) would continue to act as the nodal agency to undertake price support operation at MSP in jute growing states.
  19. 19. The World Bank assisted Rural Drinking Water Supply and Sanitation Project for Low Income States of Assam, Bihar, Jharkhand and Uttar Pradesh The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs has approved the implementation of the Rural Water Supply and Sanitation Project for Low Income States (RWSSP-LIS) of Assam, Bihar, Jharkhand and Uttar Pradesh with World Bank assistance over a period of six years (from 2013-14 to 2019-20). The project is expected to directly benefit a rural population of about 78 lakh persons including 44 lakh Scheduled Castes and more than 8 lakh Scheduled Tribes, with improved piped water supply cov ering approximately 17,400 habitations in 2,150 Gram Panchayats (GPs) in the following 33 districts of the four States: a) Assam: 7 districts (Hailakandi, Kamrup, Jorhat, Morigaon, Bongaigaon, Sonitpur and Sibsagar) with an estimated population coverage of about 14 lakh. b) Bihar: 10 districts (Patna, Begusarai, Munger, Muzzafarpur, West Champaran, Nalanda, Nawada, Saran, Purnia and Banka) with an estimated population coverage of about 24 lakh. c) Jharkhand: 6 districts (East Singhbum, Dumka, Garwah, Palamu, Saraikela-Kharsawan and Khunti) with an estimatedpopulation coverage of about 12 lakh. d) Uttar Pradesh: 10 Eastern UP districts (Gorakhpur, Kushi Nagar, Deoria, Basti, Ghazipur, Ballia, Allahabad, Sonbhadra, Bahraich and Gonda) with an estimated population coverage of about 28 lakh.
  20. 20. The key features of the project are: (i) Strengthening and empowering of Panchayati Raj Institutions (PRIs) as well as ensuring direct involvement of beneficiary communities in the scheme implementation. Schemes will be implemented with integral involvement of GPs. (ii) Sanitation in conjoint approach with water is conceptualized as an integrated component of the proposed project, (iii) The project will implement pilot programs such as 24/7 water supply provision in select areas, and new technologies such as use of solar energy, (iv) There shall be an intensive Capacity Building programme for all stakeholders down to the GP level, (v) Intensive Information, Education and Communication (IEC) and Behavioural Change Communication (BCC) programs will be carried out. (vi) The project will support the universal provision of household connections, meters for bulk water supply, and promotion of household meters, wherever appropriate, (vii) There will be a focus on monitoring and surveillance of drinking water quality, (viii) Grievance redressal measures of a GP, District and State level will be captured by the Monitoring and Evaluation (M&E) system proposed under the project,
  21. 21. (ix) Technical, financial, procurement and social audits during scheme planning, implementation and O&M will be conducted, (x) Demonstration of beneficiary support for the schemes through a one time upfront community contribution (Rs. 450 per household/ Rs. 225 for SC/ST household) towards capital cost, (xi) The Project will adopt a phased approach for achieving full Operation and Maintenance (O&M) cost recovery through user fees. The project will improve access and usage of piped drinking water supplied into individual homes. Women and children will benefit significantly from project intervention as they currently bear most of the burden of securing daily water supplies. The Project will improve sanitation conditions in the targeted districts by adopting the convergence approach with the Nirmal Bharat Abhiyan (NBA) and the National Rural Drinking Water Programme (NRDWP) and saturate the project area in terms of access to water supply, household and institutional toilets and solid and liquid waste management. 24 quality affected (arsenic/fluoride/iron) districts will be covered under the program to provide potable water.
  22. 22. The rural population will benefit from effective IEC and Behavioural Change Communication (BCC) programs. The total Project cost of Rs. 6,000 crore will be financed through Government of India [from the National Rural Drinking Water Programme (NRDWP) allocation – 33 percent], State Government (fund sharing as per NRDWP guidelines – 16 percent), beneficiary contribution (1 percent) and external financing (World Bank-IDA funds – 50 percent). Government of India will repay the amount of US$ 500 million extended as credit by the World Bank over a period of 25 years with 1.25 percent interest rate. Background: The 12 th Five Year Plan for Rural Water Supply envisages achieving piped water supply coverage for 50 percent rural population in the country with 30 percent rural population having household tap connections. This project is therefore conceptualized to provide a focused thrust in the four low income states of Assam, Bihar, Jharkhand which have less than 10 percent piped water coverage) and Uttar Pradesh (Eastern) which has high incidences of JE/AES cases.
  23. 23. Central Government to Release More Funds for Control of Pollution in Yamuna River in Delhi The Union Ministry of Urban Development has approved the proposal for release of 2nd installment of Rs. 7128 lakhs for the project of laying interceptor sewers along the 3 major drains for abatement of pollution in the Yamuna River in Delhi. The approval was given at the recently held meeting of the Central Sanctioning and Monitoring Committee (CSMC) on JnNURM under the chairmanship of Dr. Sudhir Krishna, Secretary, Union Ministry of Urban Development. The approved cost of the project is Rs. 135771.00 lakhs with a total central share of Rs. 47520.00 lakhs. The physical progress of the project is about 55 percent with delay in the project being caused by delay in getting permissions from the Department of Forests and the Railways Authorities and also in acquisition and handing over of land by the DDA. The project is likely to be completed by March, 2014. The CSMC also approved a new project of BRTS of 31 Km for the city of Amritsar in Punjab. The approved cost of the project is Rs. 49554.00 lakhs with a central share of 50 percent. The proposal will now be processed for approval of Shri Kamal Nath, Union Minister of Urban Development and Shri P. Chidambaram, Union Finance Minister. The CSMC approved the proposal for the release of 4th installment of Rs. 3678.00 for BRTS Phase II of Ahmedabad. The physical progress of the project as reported is 79 percent and the project is likely to be completed by March, 2014.
  24. 24. India Signs Credit Afreement with World Bank for Rajasthan Road Sector Modernisation Project An agreement for credit of US$ 160 million (equivalent) from World Bank for the Rajasthan Road Sector Modernisation Project was signed today at New Delhi by Mr. Nilaya Mitash, Joint Secretary, Department of Economic Affairs Ministry of Finance o n behalf of the Government of India and Mr. Manoj Jain, Acting Director, New Delhi Office on behalf of World Bank. Similarly the Project Agreement was signed by Mr. J.C.Mohanty, Principal Secretary, Public Works Department on behalf of Government of Rajasthan. The Objective of the project is to improve rural connectivity, enhance road safety and strengthen road sector management capacity of the state of Rajasthan. Project Components: The new project has three main components: (i) Rural Connectivity Improvement; (ii) Road Sector Modernisation and Performance Enhancement; (iii) Road Safety Management. The closing date of RRSMP is December 2018.
  25. 25. The Lokpal And Lokayuktas Bill, 2013 Receives the Assent of the President Published in the Gazette of India as Act No. 1 of 2014 The Lokpal and Lokayuktas Bill, 2013 has received the assent of the President of India. It has now been published in the Gazette of India, Extraordinary, Part-II, Section-1, dated the 1st January 2014.
  26. 26. Security for women in public road transport in the country The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs has approved setting up of a unified system at the national level (National Vehicle Security and Tracking System) and State level (City Command and Control Centre) for Global Positioning System (GPS) tracking of the location of emergency buttons in and video recording of incidents in public transport vehicles, in 32 cities of the country with a population of one million or more according to the 2011 census. The implementation of the project will help in: i) Mapping of routes of public vehicles; ii) Tracking of vehicles on the route; iii) Highlighting of violations through visual and text signals; iv) Panic button alert to transport and police through visual, text and voice. v) Permit, registration and licence cancellation based criteria for enforcement. (vi) Providing safety and security to women / girl child in distress in minimum response time.
  27. 27. The total estimated cost of the project will be Rs.1405 crore. The project will be implemented within a period of two years after allocation of funds to set up a National Level Vehicle Security and Tracking System and City Command & Control Centre with installation of GPS / CCTV / Panic buttons in public road transport. The scheme for security for women in public road transport has been formulated with purpose of improving safety and protection of women from violence by using information technology in the following manner: I. Tracking of all public transport vehicles: This shall be done in accordance with Sections 72, 74, 75 and 76 of Central Motor Vehicle Act, 1988. Defaults will be reported and updated on the data base of the vehicle. II. Emergency button in all public transport vehicles: The button will generate an alarm in the system. For vehicles which are also provided with facilities for video recording, the City Command and Control Centre can receive pictures of actual incidents and raise an alarm with the nearest police and transport patrol to reach the bus. III.Video recording in public transport vehicles with large seating capacity: Incidents recorded will be kept for seven days in the on-board unit and can be used as evidence and arrest of accused in case of any incident.
  28. 28. Background: Women play an important role in the economy, politics and social sectors of a country. People from smaller towns, including a large number of women, move to cities in search of jobs or studies. With increasing participation of women in the economic sphere, safer mobility of women is essential. As most people, particularly women and the girl child, cannot afford their own transportation, they depend on public transport. The Justice JS Verma Committee constituted in December, 2012 to look into the possible amendments in the criminal laws related to sexual violence against women made various recommendations for public transport vehicles in its report. The Report of Justice (Retired) Ms. Usha Mehra, Commission of Enquiry constituted under the Commission of Enquiry Act, 1952 to look into the incident of gang-rape and assault on a woman on 16.12.2012 in Delhi suggested measures for safety and security of women in the NCT of Delhi and NCR.
  29. 29. Central Government to Release More Funds for Control of Pollution in Yamuna River in Delhi The Union Ministry of Urban Development has approved the proposal for release of 2nd installment of Rs. 7128 lakhs for the project of laying interceptor sewers along the 3 major drains for abatement of pollution in the Yamuna River in Delhi. The approval was given at the recently held meeting of the Central Sanctioning and Monitoring Committee (CSMC) on JnNURM under the chairmanship of Dr. Sudhir Krishna, Secretary, Union Ministry of Urban Development. The approved cost of the project is Rs. 135771.00 lakhs with a total central share of Rs. 47520.00 lakhs. The physical progress of the project is about 55 percent with delay in the project being caused by delay in getting permissions from the Department of Forests and the Railways Authorities and also in acquisition and handing over of land by the DDA. The project is likely to be completed by March, 2014. The CSMC also approved a new project of BRTS of 31 Km for the city of Amritsar in Punjab. The approved cost of the project is Rs. 49554.00 lakhs with a central share of 50 percent. The proposal will now be processed for approval of Shri Kamal Nath, Union Minister of Urban Development and Shri P. Chidambaram, Union Finance Minister. The CSMC approved the proposal for the release of 4th installment of Rs. 3678.00 for BRTS Phase II of Ahmedabad. The physical progress of the project as reported is 79 percent and the project is likely to be completed by March, 2014.
  30. 30. Central Government to Release More Funds for Control of Pollution in Yamuna River in Delhi The Union Ministry of Urban Development has approved the proposal for release of 2nd installment of Rs. 7128 lakhs for the project of laying interceptor sewers along the 3 major drains for abatement of pollution in the Yamuna River in Delhi. The approval was given at the recently held meeting of the Central Sanctioning and Monitoring Committee (CSMC) on JnNURM under the chairmanship of Dr. Sudhir Krishna, Secretary, Union Ministry of Urban Development. The approved cost of the project is Rs. 135771.00 lakhs with a total central share of Rs. 47520.00 lakhs. The physical progress of the project is about 55 percent with delay in the project being caused by delay in getting permissions from the Department of Forests and the Railways Authorities and also in acquisition and handing over of land by the DDA. The project is likely to be completed by March, 2014. The CSMC also approved a new project of BRTS of 31 Km for the city of Amritsar in Punjab. The approved cost of the project is Rs. 49554.00 lakhs with a central share of 50 percent. The proposal will now be processed for approval of Shri Kamal Nath, Union Minister of Urban Development and Shri P. Chidambaram, Union Finance Minister. The CSMC approved the proposal for the release of 4th installment of Rs. 3678.00 for BRTS Phase II of Ahmedabad. The physical progress of the project as reported is 79 percent and the project is likely to be completed by March, 2014.
  31. 31. Gross direct tax collections during april-december of the current financial year 2013-14 is up by 12.33 percent and stood at rs. 4,81,914 crore as against rs. 4,29,023 crore in the same period last year Gross direct tax collections during April-December of the F.Y. 2013-14 is up by 12.33 percent at Rs.4,81,914 crore as against Rs.4,29,023 crore in the same period last year. While gross collections of Corporate taxes have shown an increase of 9.35 percent and stood at Rs.3,10,126 crore as against Rs. 2,83,605 crore during the same period in last year. Gross collection of Personal income tax is up by 18.53 percent and stood at Rs.1,67,589 crore as against Rs. 1,41,385 crore during the same period in last year. Net direct tax collection is up by 12.53 percent and stands at Rs. 4,15,328 crore, as compared to Rs. 3,69,067 crore in the same period in the last fiscal. The collection of Securities Transaction Tax (STT) stands at Rs. 3427 Crore showing the growth of 4.04 percent. The Wealth Tax collection has posted a growth of 11.92 percent and stood at Rs. 742 crore as against Rs. 663 crore during the same period in last year.
  32. 32. Pravasi Bharatiya Divas-2014 to Connect India Diaspora Across Generations India’s efforts to engage with the India Diaspora will receive a shot in the arm when the three-day Pravasi Bharatiya Divas from January 7, 2014to January 9, 2014 is organised in Delhi at Vigyan Bhawan which will seek to connect persons of Indian origin and non- resident Indians across generations. The main event will be inaugurated on January 8, 2014 by the Prime Minister of India. The President of India, Mr. Pranab Mukherjee, will deliver the valedictory address on January 9th and will confer the Pravasi Bharatiya Samman Awards. Addressing a press conference Minister of Overseas Indian Affairs, Sh. Vayalar Ravi said the purpose of the PBD is to have a meaningful integration with overseas Indians that would address their issues and concerns. The PBD Convention provides a unique platform for overseas Indians to interact among themselves and with the Government of India and the Governments of various Indian States. It is forum where the Government of India showcases investment opportunities in India and its potential in various sectors.
  33. 33. Sh Ravi said that the key focus area of PBD 2014 is Youth PBD on January 7th. The event is expected to open new horizons of a strong network of Young Overseas Indians to contribute to India’s engagement with youth in all sectors. The Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports will be the Partner Minstery for the event. India is a young nation and youth is one of the engines that drive a nation and if we are to propel India to greater heights, we need to harness this energy, Hence, it is in the fitness that the 12th editions of PBD is focusing on youth, the Minister added. He said that India is fast emerging as a youthful and exuberant nation where approximately 50 percent of the working population falls in the age group 18-35 years. There has been a sharp reversal in migration trends and a number of experienced and educated NRIs are now returning home to use their knowledge to build an inclusive and economically sound future for the country. This led to the creation of a unique synergy where in young Indians worldwide are now set to shape the future of the Indian growth story. This synergy is expected to be directed by the core principal of inclusive prosperity and driven by innovation and technology.
  34. 34. Sh. Vayalar Ravi said that the demographic dividend expected from this synergy is the one which creates a self sustaining impetus where in young Indians are expected to contribute towards all the variables that determine economic growth. They are attracting investment into the economy; being more educated than their previous generations they are providing the human capital required to service industrial growth; and finally are working towards building institution that are becoming a medium of change in society, he added, On the first day a session on ‘Aspiration of Diaspora Youth’ will be held during the Youth PBD. Followed by concurrent session on ‘Sharing a Common Heritage: ‘The Emotional Connect’, and on Young Achievers. On January 8th, after the inauguration session, Plenary sessions on ‘India’s Growth & Development Agenda’, ‘India’s Soft Power and ‘PBD Oration’ will be held. The final day of PBD will witness sessions on ‘Investment Opportunities in State’ and “Parallel State Sessions’ Concurrent sessions on ‘Innovation and Technology’; ‘Healthcare Opportunity in India’; ‘Meeting of Diaspora organization’; ‘Making India the Hub of Media & Entertainment Industry’ and “Issues of NRIs in the Gulf’ will be organised. PBD 2014 will showcase the participation of the state governments, corporate, financial institutions, NGOs and other sectors through the Exhibition that is behind the Vigyan Bhawan.
  35. 35. Growth of 6.3 percent in the number of Foreign Tourist Arrivals (FTA’s) in the month of December, 2013 There has been a growth of 6.3 percent in the number of Foreign Tourist Arrivals (FTA’s) in the month of December, 2013 as compared to FTA’s in the month of December, 2012. The following are the important highlights regarding FTAs and FEEs from tourism during the month of December 2013. Foreign Tourist Arrivals (FTAs): • FTAs during the Month of December 2013 were 8.00 lakh as compared to FTAs of 7.53 lakh during the month of December 2012 and 7.37 lakh in December 2011. • There has been a growth of 6.3% in December 2013 over December 2012 as compared to a growth of 2.2% registered in December 2012 over December 2011. • FTAs during the period January to December 2013 were 68.48 lakh with a growth of 4.1%, as compared to FTAs of 65.78 lakh with a growth of 4.3% during January to December 2012 over the corresponding period of 2011.
  36. 36. Foreign Exchange Earnings (FEEs) from Tourism in rupee terms and US$ terms • FEEs during the month of December 2013 were ` 11,680 crore as compared to ` 10,549 crore in December 2012 and ` 8,870 crore in December 2011. • The growth rate in FEEs in rupee terms in December 2013 over December 2012 was 10.7% as compared to 18.9% in December 2012 over December 2011. • FEEs from tourism in rupee terms during January to December 2013 were ` 1,05,836 crore with a growth of 12.0%, as compared to the FEEs of ` 94,487 crore with a growth of 21.8% during January to December 2012 over the corresponding period of 2011. • FEEs in US$ terms during the month of December 2013 were US$ 1.886 billion as compared to FEEs of US$ 1.931 billion during the month of December 2012 and US$ 1.688 billion in December 2011. • The growth rate in FEEs in US$ terms in December 2013 over December 2012 was a negative growth of 2.3% as compared to the growth of 14.4% in December 2012 over December 2011. • FEE from tourism in terms of US$ during January to December 2013 were US$ 18.133 billion with a growth of 2.2%, as compared to US$ 17.737 billion with a growth of 7.1% during January-December 2012 over the corresponding period of 2011.
  37. 37. Amendment no. 2 to the Notice Inviting Applications for the Spectrum Auction by the Department of Telecommunications The Department of Telecommunications (DoT), Ministry of Communications & Information Technology, has issued the 2nd Amendment to the Notice Inviting Applications (NIA) for the Spectrum Auction of 1800 MHz band and 900 MHz band. As per the Amendment, some changes have been made in some parts of Clause Nos. 2, 3, 4, 6, 8 and Annexure 2A. The details of the Amendment are available on the website of DoT. Meanwhile, as per the first Amendment to the NIA, the Department issued clarifications on the queries raised about the NIA on 2nd January 2014 which are also available on the DoT website. As per the revised schedule of the Auction process, the last date for submission of application is January 15, 2014.
  38. 38. Prithvi Launch Successful A missile unit of the elite Strategic Forces Command (SFC) successfully launched a Prithvi missile today from the test range at Chandipur, off the Odisha Coast as part of a scenario based live launch training exercise. The launch was flawless and achieved all its targeting and technical parameters set out for the training exercise. ‘The launch was conducted as a culmination to a strategic training exercise. The aim of this exercise was to validate our readiness by undertaking launches in various contingencies’, said an SFC spokesperson. Prithvi missiles are indigenously produced and are equipped with improved high accuracy navigation and manoeuvring system. Inducted into India’s Strategic Forces Command in 2003, the Prithvi missile, the first missile to be developed under India’s prestigious IGMDP strengthens India’s nuclear deterrence
  39. 39. 4th India-South Korea Finance Ministers Meeting to Discuss Macro Economic Situation and Policy Responses, Cooperation Among Both Countries in Trade and Investement as Well as in Taxation and Finance Matters Among Others The 4th Indo-Korea Finance Ministerial meeting will be held tomorrow in the national capital. The meeting will be attended by the Finance Minister of India, Mr. P. Chidambaram along with Mr. Sumit Bose, Finance Secretary, Dr. Arvind Mayaram, Secretary, Department of Economic Affairs, and other senior officials on behalf of the Government of India while Mr. Hyun Oh Seok, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Strategy and Finance, Republic of Korea along with Mr. Yoon Tae Yong, Director General, International Economic Affairs Bureau, Mr. Gwak Bum Gook, Director General, Treasury Bureau and Mr. Han Myung Jin, Director General, Tax Analysis and International Tax Affairs Bureau among others on behalf of the Republic of Korea.
  40. 40. Both the sides will discuss Macro Economic outlook of the world economy in general and of the two countries in specific along with general directions of policy responses to the same. Besides it, both the sides will also discuss about cooperation between the two countries under multi-lateral framework including the G20 and EAS and direction of bilateral collaboration. Both the sides will also discuss issues of mutual cooperation in trade and investment including establishing a road map for mid-term and long term cooperation between Korea and India, cooperation between custom authorities and reducing difficulties in customs clearance, permitting SME cooperation between Korea and India and providing more investment opportunities in both the countries. The two sides will also discuss revision of the Korea-India Double Taxation Convention (DTAC), bi-lateral cooperation between supervising agencies in the financial sector and cooperation in permission obtaining process to establish branches of Korea commercial banks in India. Both the sides will have general discussion on policies for permitting infrastructure development in India and Korea with opportunities for further cooperation.
  41. 41. Shri Ghulam Nabi Azad launches the Rashtriya Kishor Swasthya Karyakram (RKSK) Shri Azad: Rksk will Comprehensively Address the Health Needs of the Country’s Adolescent Population Shri Ghualm Nabi Azad, Union Minister for Health and Family Welfare launched the Rashtriya Kishor Swasthya Karyakram (RKSK), here today. He also inaugurated the three-day National Adolescent Health Consultation. The Union Health Minister, Shri Ghulam Nabi Azad while addressing the gathering stated that the programme will comprehensively address the health needs of the 243 million adolescents, who account for over 21% of the country’s population. He said that so far the efforts have been partial, confined to sexual and reproductive health, that too at select government facilities. The Rashtriya Kishor Swasthya Karyakram (RKSK) will bring in several new dimensions, which he listed as- mental health, nutrition, substance misuse, gender based violence and non-communicable diseases. The programme introduces community based interventions through peer educators, and is underpinned by collaborations with other Ministries and State governments, knowledge partners and more research. Referring to the strategic approach to RMNCH+A(Reproductive, Maternal, New born, Child Health + Adolescent) in which `A` denotes adolescents, unveiled last year at Mahabalipuram, the Health Minister said that new focus on adolescents is in recognition of the fact that without adolescent health, maternal and child health outcomes may continue to elude us.
  42. 42. Shri Ghulam Nabi Azad said that the 5 by 5 RMNCH+A matrix has been developed which lists out the 5 high impact interventions under each of the 5 pillars, all of which need to be implemented together, at the same time, with high coverage and quality. Speaking at the occasion, Sh K Desiraju, Health Secretary said that the programme is an effort to move away from a ‘doctor-driven’ effort towards a holistic and participative programme. The RKSK recognizes that all adolescents need attention even before the occurrence of any disease or problem, and in order to make informed decisions and choices. Highlighting the salient features of the programme and the need for an enhanced and sharper focus on adolescents, Smt Anuradha Gupta, Addl. Secretary and Mission Director, NRHM stated that adolescents present a unique opportunity to reap the country’s demographic dividends. This, she pointed out, will not be possible without investing in their health needs. She explained that lifestyle and behavior related diseases such as substance abuse, inflicting self harm, tendency towards gender-based violence, low nutrition and physical inactivity, which begin and occur more during this phase, are fast becoming the causes for the highest mortality in this age group. She stated that in the coming years in the developing countries, seven out of ten deaths will be due to non-communicable diseases.
  43. 43. The RKSK programme defines an adolescent as a person within 10-19 years of age, in urban and rural areas, includes both girls and boys, married and unmarried, poor and affluent, whether they are in school or out of school. This broad definition helps to address the myriad problems of adolescents across various groups and categories, she stated. The programme emphasis seven ‘Cs”- coverage, content, communication, counselling, clinics and convergence. She stated that active use of new technologies and social media platforms will form an integral part of the programme to reach the adolescents in their own spaces, with strategic partnerships with communities and peers. The Health Minister also launched the handbooks on strategy frameworks which includes the framework for monitoring, supervision and evaluation of the programme once it is rolled out; the handbook on operational framework which will help to translate the programme into action; and the resource pack for the ANMs, ASHAs, medical officers, LHVs and peer educators. Also present at the launch function were Ms. Kate Gilmore, Deputy Executive Director, UNFPA, Ms. Fredika Meijer, UNFPA representative for Bhutan and India, senior officers from the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, Health Secretaries from different States, and representatives from UNICEF.
  44. 44. Improving travel experience of NRI youth is high on Civil Aviation Ministry’s agenda: K.C. Venugopal Shri K.C. Venugopal, Minister of State for Civil Aviation, has underlined the Govrnment’s commitment to improve the travel experience of the youth who search for greener pastures across the world. Addressing a session on ‘Young Achievers’ at the Youth Pravasi Bharatiya Divas, the Minister said, “Air India as the National Carrier is indebted to the Overseas Indians and always offers you the opportunity to fly you around. Air India had a bad time combating with debts. Now we are regaining the ground. We are happy that the improved customer confidence is being reflected in the bookings as well. There were certain issues and concerns about the performance of Air India Express, the low cost carrier from Air India Group. Air India Express is specially designed for Gulf sector services. The process of empowering Air India Express as an independent business entity is progressing. We have rolled out many initiatives to make Air India Express complaint free. We have also increased our services to Gulf Sector, and on time performance is monitored at the apex level to ensure customer satisfaction. To hear from the NRIs personally about their concerns about Air India Express, I started a mail service too”, he said.
  45. 45. The Minister said that every generation of NRIs has its own specific opportunities and challenges. The long cultural exchange and bartering between the countries have set the soil ready for larger acceptance of young Indians. He said, “The second generation NRIs are the ambassadors of a resurgent India, which has opened its doors for the world. Ambition, innovation and management expertise in international trade are the trademarks of a successful Young Indian. They have enhanced footsteps of Indian business across the world. Even in Kerala, we have many such young investors who ventured to go out from their middle class houses in small towns to international business hotspots. However, the expectation levels and competencies of new generation NRIs are manifold compared to their predecessors. They deserve more handholding and enabling policies by the Indian Government. It is a fact that there are initiatives to motivate the young investors back home in India. But I do believe that we have to expand our net so that a government umbrella for Young Overseas Indians can be set up. Such a body will have to extract data regarding investment potential in each sector, may tie up prospective cash flow for various PPP models, may ensure single window clearance for NRI investments etc.” “As a country and a responsible government we are committed to provide young Indians similar opportunities elsewhere, so that they can confidently invest in India. It is high time that we need to develop our own engineering research and reduce dependence on the borrowed technologies. In this liberalized economy now we can afford to integrate R&D into the prime business of Indian companies. The companies also need to promote the synergy between industries & education,” said Shri Venugopal
  46. 46. PBD should evolve non-formal and seamless connect for Diaspora and Indian youth: Manish Tewari The aspirations of Diaspora youth and resident Indians were articulated here on the opening day of Pravasi Bharatiya Divas (PBD) with Shri Manish Tewari, Minister for Information and Broadcasting, stating that while border control, visa regulations and immigration formalities were the ground realities in connecting the global youth, it was undeniable that the march of technology, through the use of the internet, has enabled them to become a part of the global conversation. Speaking at the Plenary Session of Youth PBD, Shri Tewari said that the internet represented the largest ungoverned space on earth and every two days more data is produced than since the dawn of civilization to the year 2000. This technology has given rise to a virtual civilization that allows young people who have the desire and passion to connect with others with similar aspirations around the world. The Minister said that during his overseas travel in recent months he has discovered that the younger generation has a common aspiration: to make a life for themselves and make the world a better place to live in. In this context, Shri Tewari suggested that PBD should evolve a non-formal connect in an unstructured manner to allow the youth across the world to connect with one another seamlessly.
  47. 47. The session provided insights into India’s fast emergence as a youthful and exuberant nation where approximately 50% of the working population falls in the age group of 18- 35 years. There has been some reverse migration in which a number of experienced and educated NRIs are now returning home to use their knowledge to build an inclusive and economically sound future for the country. This has led to the creation of a unique synergy wherein young Indians worldwide are now set to shape the future of the Indian growth story. This synergy is expected to be directed by the core principle of inclusive prosperity and driven by innovation and technology.
  48. 48. Greater connectivity Between Indian and Diaspora Youth Will Result In Creation of Wealth and Prosperity: Shri Vayalar Ravi Shri Vayalar Ravi, Minister of Overseas Indian Affirs, Launches Youth Session of the 12th Pravashi Bharatiya Divas Minister for Overseas Indian Affairs, Shri Vayalar Ravi, today called for greater connectivity between Indian and diaspora youth ‘which should eventually result in economic cooperation leading to the creation of wealth, livelihoods and prosperity.’ Shri Ravi was addressing the youth session of the 12th Pravasi Bharatiya Divas. Today’s session precedes the main session of the three day event to be formally inaugurated by the Prime Minister, Dr Manmohan Singh, tomorrow. Minister for Youth Affairs and Sports, Shri Jitendra Singh, also addressed the session. The following is the full text of his speech: I am very happy and privileged to meet you in this youth session of the 12th edition of Pravasi Bharatiya Divas in New Delhi. As you know, Pravasi Bharatiya Divas is being celebrated on the 9th of January every year to mark the return of our greatest Pravasi, Mahatma Gandhi from South Africa. Thus, Pravasi Bharatiya Divas is of great importance as it symbolises the struggle for freedom of our mother country, India.
  49. 49. The Pravasi Bharatiya Divas fosters a new bond between India and her overseas Indian citizens who work and live in various parts of the world for generations. The PBD will be formally inaugurated by the Hon’ble Prime Minister tomorrow. Today we are meeting for the special sessions organised for youth. It is very heartening to see young diaspora delegates from second and third generations of people of Indian origin in this august gathering. Your mother country, India has been recognising and appreciating the valuable contribution of its diaspora by granting Pravasi Bharatiya Samman Awards to its distinguished diaspora members who have excelled in various fields. On this occasion, I would like to mention that we will have the privilege of having Datuk Seri G. Palanivel, Federal Minister for Natural Resources and Environment, Government of Malaysia as our Chief Guest for this 12th edition of the Pravasi Bharatiya Divas. This 12th Pravasi Bharatiya Divas is very significant in view of the fact that a Youth PBD is being celebrated on the first day. India’s Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports is the partner Ministry for this event. You have already heard my colleague, Shri Jitendra Singh, who is in charge of this Ministry. Considering the fact that the youth population in India is one of the largest in the whole world, this makes India a very youthful and vibrant country. It is estimated that more than 50% of our working population is between the age group of 18- 35 years and are contributing immensely to the growth and development of our great country India.
  50. 50. It is also exhilarating to note that diaspora youth are also excelling in various fields and contributing immensely to the growth of their host countries, in the same way their parents and forefathers did. Many young people of Indian origin are beginning to occupy important positions of leadership in their countries. It is also pertinent to note that the youth diaspora is upholding the great traditions and cultural heritage of their mother country India, thereby setting valuable examples for the youth population of their host countries. It is necessary for our youth to interact with their Pravasi counterparts and today’s sessions provide an important forum for this. The various sessions of this Youth PBD like ‘Aspirations of Diaspora Youth’, ‘Sharing a Common Heritage: The Emotional Connect’ and that on ‘Young Achievers’ should witness meaningful dialogue and interaction between eminent speakers from among the representatives of Indian Diaspora and the Youth delegates. It is hoped that these sessions will also serve to inform the participants of India’s cultural heritage. They will also expose the youth diaspora from various countries to the opportunities for growth and development India’s growing economy presents today. Indeed, the interactions today should foster greater connectivity between Indian and diaspora youth, which should eventually result in economic cooperation leading to the creation of wealth, livelihoods and prosperity.
  51. 51. The Ministry of Overseas Indian Affairs has been in the forefront in engaging the youth diaspora residing in various countries by introducing various schemes and projects like Know India Programme (KIP); Study India Programme (SIP) and Scholarship Programme for Diaspora Children (SPDC). These schemes and programmes have benefitted the diaspora youth as well as the diaspora children immensely by exposing them to the cultural heritage and the growth and development story of their mother country, India. It is our endeavour to further enrich and expand these programmes so that our young diaspora continue to benefit and stay connected to their mother country. This association will be mutually beneficial to all of you and your host country as well as to your ancestral country, India. It is my hope that the deliberations in today’s meetings will throw up new ideas for us to engage more with Pravasi youth.
  52. 52. Government to unveil a new National Youth Policy with the vision of empowering the youth of the country to achieve their full potential: Jitendra Singh The Minister of Youth Affairs and Sports Shri Jitendra Singh has said that the Government of India is in the process of introducing a new National Youth Policy with the vision of empowering the youth of the country to achieve their full potential. Addressing the youth session of the 12th Pravasi Bharatiya Divas here today, he said, the new Youth Policy focuses on Developing the Youth into a productive work force, by providing them the right education and skills and promoting entrepreneurship, Developing a strong and healthy generation through effective healthcare and promotion of a healthy lifestyle and sports, Promoting social values and spirit of community service, Effectively engaging with the youth and facilitating their participation in governance process and Inclusive policies to take care of disadvantaged sections of youth and the youth with special needs. He said, The Government of India, through the proposed new National Youth Policy, also intends to promote ‘social entrepreneurship’ as an attractive employment proposition and to create an enabling policy regime for setting up of venture funds and provide angel investment that the social entrepreneurs require. This would facilitate setting up of social ventures in India by the Overseas Indians.
  53. 53. Here is the full text of Minister’s speech: “I would like to compliment the Ministry of Overseas Indian Affairs for creating an excellent platform, in the form of the Pravasi Bhartiya Divas, for engaging with the distinguished Indian Diaspora from across the world and more so, for deciding to celebrate the first day of the Pravasi Bhartiya Divas this year as the Youth PBD. I also express my gratitude for an opportunity to share my views with all of you on this occasion. The youth are the most important and dynamic segment of the population in any country. In India, 27.5% of the population belong to the 15-29 year age group while 41.3% are in the 13-35 years age group. By the year 2020, the population of India is expected to have a median age of 28 years only as against 38 years for US, 42 years for China and 48 years for Japan; making India one of the youngest nations in the world. This “demographic dividend” is a fantastic opportunity which we must capitalise on. A significant section of Indian Diaspora consists of highly skilled young professionals, who have been successful in their respective spheres of work and have earned a name for themselves as well as for the country of their origin making us proud. A recent trend in the past few years has been that a number of young Indians have started returning home – attracted by opportunities created by the fast-growing Indian economy. Most of these individuals are highly skilled young men and women who are either taking senior management positions or are setting up their own enterprises in emerging industries. Many of them have also started working on developing self-sustaining non-for-profit institutions that work towards promoting various social causes like access to quality education, health education, gender empowerment, social cohesion, etc.
  54. 54. I am glad to mention that the Government of India is in the process of introducing a new National Youth Policy with the vision of empowering the youth of the country to achieve their full potential. The new Youth Policy focuses on: (i). Developing the Youth into a productive work force, by providing them the right education and skills and promoting entrepreneurship. (ii). Developing a strong and healthy generation through effective healthcare and promotion of a healthy lifestyle and sports. (iii). Promoting social values and spirit of community service. (iv). Effectively engaging with the youth and facilitating their participation in governance process. (v). Inclusive policies to take care of disadvantaged sections of youth and the youth with special needs.
  55. 55. In this context, the two youth volunteer networks created by the Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports, Government of India, with pan-India presence, namely, Nehru Yuva Kendra Sangathan (NYKS) and National Service Scheme (NSS) can play a very crucial role. NYKS currently has about 8 million non-student youth volunteers enrolled through about 2.80 lakh youth clubs across rural India. NSS has about 3.25 million student volunteers in senior secondary schools and colleges all over the country. These networks promote social values and the spirit of community service. I encourage the Overseas Indian community to connect to these networks and work with them. In fact, some of brightest NSS volunteers, who have been chosen to participate in the Republic Day Parade this year, are present here today and so are some NYKS volunteers. This is an opportunity for the Indian Diaspora to interact with them. The Government of India, through the new National Youth Policy, also intends to promote ‘social entrepreneurship’ as an attractive employment proposition and to create an enabling policy regime for setting up of venture funds and provide angel investment that the social entrepreneurs require. This would facilitate setting up of social ventures in India by the Overseas Indians. I wish to add that my Ministry will seriously work to create an institutional framework under which the Overseas Indians will get an opportunity to come and work with NYKS, NSS or other Social Organisations in India, thereby further strengthening their ties with India.
  56. 56. India And Korea Share A Common Vision Towards Building An Equitable And Just Politico-Economic International Order: FM The Union Finance Minister Shri P. Chidambaram said that India and Korea share a common vision towards building an equitable and just politico-economic international order. Shri Chidamabaram said that relations between India and Korea are based on strong historical ties, shared cultural heritage, commitment to democracy and a mutual desire to establish and strengthen long-term comprehensive strategic partnership. The Finance Minister Shri Chidambaram was speaking at the 4 th India-Korea Finance Ministerial Meeting here today. The Finance Minister stressed that India’s economic fundamentals are strong. He said that between 2005 and 2007, India achieved its growth potential – in fact exceeded it – and recorded growth rates of over 9 percent. During the 20-year period from 1991 to 2011, the average growth rate was close to 7 percent. As is evident, even in face of most adverse global factors, we have remained as one of the fastest growing economies in the world, the Minister added. He said that in this uncertain global situation, both India and Korea can and should articulate common positions and play a vital role in international economic diplomacy.
  57. 57. The Union Finance Minister Shri P. Chidambaram said that to promote domestic and foreign investments in infrastructure, we have taken two major steps: First, a Cabinet Committee on Investment (CCI) has been set-up to expedite decisions and clearances for implementation of projects. This is headed by the Prime Minister. Second, is the creation of Infrastructure Debt Funds (IDFs) to raise low-cost long term resources for refinancing infrastructure projects. The Finance Minister said that he is confident that Korean companies will make good use of these opportunities to our mutual advantage. The Finance Minister Shri Chidambaram said that India is in the process of deepening policy reforms in its financial sector and addressing gaps in the overall regulatory architecture. The Finance Minister said that India and Korea could collaborate more intensively in this area through experience sharing. Financial inclusion remains a very high priority for us, the Minister added. He said that we had constituted the Financial Sector Legislative Reforms Commission (FSLRC) to review and rewrite the legal- institutional framework of the Indian financial sector laws. Its recommendations are currently being examined for implementation, he added. The Finance Minister Shri Chidambaram said that since the country’s growth potential is around 8%, several steps have been in the recent months to reverse the economic slowdown, rein in the fiscal stress and improve investment climate. These measures inter- alia include liberalization in the FDI regime, measures to improve performance of the manufacturing sector, promotion of exports, banking reforms, deepening of financial markets, and fiscal consolidation. He said that in the case of POSCO plant in Orissa, he is made to understand that the land acquisition process has been completed.
  58. 58. Beside the Finance Minister Shri P. Chidambaram, Shri Sumit Bose, Finance Secretary, Dr Arvind Mayaram, Secretary, Department of Economic Affairs, Shri K.P. Krishnan Additional Secretary along with other senior officers from the Ministry of Finance were part of the Indian delegation. Korean side was led by Mr. Hyun Oh Seok, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Strategy and Finance, Republic of Korea along with Mr. Yoon Tae Yong, Director General, International Economic Affairs Bureau, Mr. Gwak Bum Gook, Director General, Treasury Bureau and Mr. Han Myung Jin, Director General, Tax Analysis and International Tax Affairs Bureau among others. Following is the text of the Agreed Minutes of the Fourth India-Korea Finance Ministerial Meeting which were signed here today at the end of the aforesaid Meeting by both the Finance Ministers i.e. the Finance Minister of India Shri P. Chidambaram and Mr Hyun Oh Seok, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Strategy and Finance, Republic of Korea: “The Fourth Korea-India Finance Minister’s Meeting (hereinafter the "Finance Minister’s Meeting") was held here today between the Ministry of Strategy and Finance of the Republ ic of Korea (hereinafter “Korea”) and the Ministry of Finance of the Republic of India (her einafter “India”).
  59. 59. The delegation of the Republic of Korea (hereinafter the "Korean side") was led by Mr Oh-Seok Hyun, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Strategy and Finance and the delegation of the Republic of India (hereinafter the "Indian side") was led by Shri P.Chidambaram, Minister of Finance. Both sides exchanged views on macroeconomic outlook and policy directions and measures necessary to reinforce cooperation under the multilateral framework and appreciated the deepening and developing bilateral economic cooperation. Both sides had in-depth discussions on issues of mutual interest in areas of trade and investment, public service and fiscal affairs, taxation and finance, and infrastructure development and cooperation. Macroeconomic Developments and Policy Directions Both sides exchanged views on the current economic situation and policies of each country, and recognized the need for strengthening economic cooperation between the two countries.
  60. 60. Cooperation between Korea and India under Multilateral Framework Both sides recognized the need to strengthen cooperation under the multilateral framewor k, and agreed to facilitate discussions at the G20 level and regional cooperation forums to actively address other global issues. Cooperation in Trade and Investment Both sides underscored the need to evolve a vision for medium and long-term cooperatio n between the two countries for systematic and close bilateral cooperation, and agreed th at identified research institutes of the two countries would jointly discuss this subject. The India-Korea Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreemen t (CEPA) has contributed to enhancing trade and investment flows between the two count ries. It has brought the two economies closer. Both sides agreed to continue their consulta tions on the CEPA. In order to enhance trade relations, both sides further agreed that, i n case either Customs Authority notifies its counterpart of difficulties encountered in the process of Customs clearance, the two Authorities will make efforts to address the difficu lties expeditiously.
  61. 61. Both sides agreed to make efforts to promote SME cooperation between th e two countries by sharing knowledge and experience gained on SME policie s and by creating strategic industrial partnerships for investment and technic al cooperation. Cooperation in Public Service and Fiscal Affairs Both sides shared the view that a financial management i nformation system contributes to strengthening of a nation’s financial mana gement. Both sides agreed to boost mutual benefits through closer cooperat ion in the subject. Both sides agreed on the importance of management of state proper ty and agreed to strengthen cooperation in the development of systems that will enable the management of state property. Furthermore, both sides agreed to promote the sharing of id eas for efficient management of state property and hold regular meetings on the issue whe n required. Both sides agreed to cooperate and work together to imp rove public procurement systems including e-procurement systems. Both si des agreed to cooperate to facilitate mutual exchange between the public pr ocurement entities of Korea and India. The Korean side proposed cooperation through a Knowle dge Sharing Programme (KSP) in order to facilitate mutual economic cooper
  62. 62. In accordance with the MOU on cooperation between the Ministry of Strategy and Finance of Korea and the Ministry of Finance of Indi a, both sides agreed to promote a short-term training course for identified o fficials of the two Finance Ministries at a mutually agreed location and time. Cooperation in Taxation and Finance Both sides agreed to make an effort to conclude the revision of the Korea-India D ouble Taxation Avoidance Convention (DTAC) expeditiously after reviewing their respect ive positions on major pending issues for the revision. Both sides agreed to consider issue of license necessary to establish Bank B ranches and offices in each other’s country if an applicant bank is judged to have qualified based on relevant laws, regulations and eligibility requirement s. Both sides shared recognition of the necessity for cooper ation in financial supervision and agreed to discuss and conclude an MOU o n financial supervision between The Reserve Bank of India and the Financial Services Commission, Korea.
  63. 63. Both sides agreed to strengthen cooperation in the infrastructure sector bet ween the two countries by the signing of an MOU between the Export-Impor t Bank of Korea and India Infrastructure Financing Company Ltd in January 2 014 for the purpose of mutual exchange of information on infrastructure dev elopment projects. Both sides agreed to strengthen cooperation in bilateral trade by means of the Master Inter bank Export Credit Agreement worth USD 200 million between the Export-Import Bank of Korea and State Bank of India to be signed in January 2014, which will facilitate the pr ovision of export credit to India. Cooperation in Infrastructure Development The Indian side agreed to the proposal from the Korean si de for the two sides to sign the MOU on railway cooperation and for holding a senior officer level railway cooperation meeting between the two countries. The Indian side agreed to the proposal by the Korean sid e for the two sides to sign the Framework of Cooperation (FOC) on roads an d to hold a Joint Committee Meeting on road cooperation between the two c ountries after the FOC has been signed.
  64. 64. The Indian side requested the Korean side to encourage investment by Kore an long-term infrastructure related funds in the various infrastructure invest ment instruments that have been and are being launched in India. The Kore an side agreed to consider the same positively. The Korean side requested for facilitation from the Gover nment of India for speedy administrative support including issue of clearanc es and licenses required in the various projects that Korean companies are participating in and committed to at the State level. The Indian side agreed t o provide all possible assistance within the federal structure in India. Both sides agreed to hold the next round of air consultati ons in a mutually beneficial way recognizing the importance of air services i n promoting, economic, social and cultural exchanges and people-to-peop le interactions. The Korean side proposed to conclude an MOU including establishing cooperation chann el, a joint committee at the Director General level, for enhanced cooperation and exchang es in the field of electric power and the Indian side agreed to consider the proposal includ ing holding a joint committee meeting on cooperation in electric power at a mutually agr eed time.
  65. 65. Recognizing that a Science and Technology Cooperation fund of USD 10 million has served to implement joint research projects, both sides agreed t o step up cooperation by creating an additional joint fund of USD 10 million (with a contribution of USD 5 million by each side) to promote applied rese arch and development programmes which will be conducted jointly by acad emia, research institutes and businesses of both countries. Both sides recognized that the Korea-India Finance Ministers’ Meeting can contribute practically to reinforcing economic cooperation between the two countries and reaffirmed their commitment to making efforts to strengthen basis for mutual cooperation in the future. Both sides agreed to hold the Fifth Korea-India Finance Ministers’ Meeting in Korea in 2014.”
  66. 66. Salman Khurshid’s Call to Expatriates to Help Build India’s Brand Image By 2025, 90 crore Working Age Indians will Knock at Government’s Doors for Infrastructure and Growth Opportunities: Kapil Sibal Minister of External Affairs Sh. Salman Khurshid, has exhorted the overseas Indians to become India’s best ambassadors to spread and popularize the country’s values, beliefs, culture and heritage overseas. Presiding over the session on ‘India Soft Power’ on Day-2 of Pravasi Bharatiya Divas 2014, Sh. Khurshid called upon the delegates to be active in social networking to enable India to build its brand name and image so that deeper economic engagements are concluded with overseas economies, irrespective of their size. Addressing the session, Sh. Kapil Sibal, Minister of Communication & Information Technology and Law & Justice said, the present aspirational India will begin to inspire the remaining part of the globe by 2025, as it will have 90 crore people in the working age population, throwing a lone challenge for successive governments to provide infrastructure and growth opportunities for the people to realize their collective potential. Sh. Sibal said that by 2020, 60 crore Indians would have migrated to large cities, embracing latest technologies with the best of education at their command. This would create windows for them to unleash their potential and make India a hub to interact and interconnect with the rest of the world.
  67. 67. The revenue generated in 2006 through IT &ITEs was estimated at $40 billion which has gone up to $100 billion now. Of this, $75 billion was contributed by export earnings. This was indicative of the strides made by the Indian economy, he added. Sh. Sibal complimented the diaspora present at the convention, saying that it epitomized India’s soft power and has done India proud and hoped that it continued to serve India. Minister of Culture, Smt Chandresh Kumari Katoch in her presentation, stated that the Indian diaspora should actively spread its civilization, heritage and cultural ethos in their host countries and organize promotional events.
  68. 68. Government Introduces “Know India Programme” for NRI and PIO Youth The Government has introduced a programme named “Know India Programme” for young persons of Overseas Indians with a view to provide them an exposure to the country of their origin so that they can understand it better and more intimately. Addressing a press conference on the 2nd day of PBD -2014, Minister for Overseas Indian Affairs, Sh. Vayalar Ravi said that under the Programme, 20 young persons of Indian origin in the age group of 18 to 24 from different countries visit India extensively every year, which will provide them an opportunity to have a deeper insight into Indian people and society. Sh. Ravi said more than 900 delegates of Overseas Indians from about 50 countries have participated in this PBD and the highest number of 200 delegates are from Malaysia only. The Pravasi Bharatiya Centre in Delhi which was scheduled to be completed in September last year, will be completed very soon, he added,
  69. 69. Policy Guidelines for Television Rating Agencies in India The Union Cabinet today approved the proposal of the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting for bringing out a comprehensive regulatory framework in the form of guidelines for Television Rating Agencies in India. These guidelines cover detailed procedures for registration of rating agencies, eligibility norms, terms and conditions of registration, cross-holdings, methodology for audience measurement, a complaint redressal mechanism, sale and use of ratings, audit, disclosure, reporting requirements and action on non-compliance of guidelines etc. The proposal is based on recommendations made by the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) on "Guidelines for Television Rating Agencies" dated 11th September, 2013. Based on the recommendations of TRAI, comprehensive policy guidelines for television rating agencies have been formulated. Salient features of these guidelines are as follows: • All rating agencies including the existing rating agencies shall obtain registration from the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting. • Detailed registration procedure, eligibility norms, terms and conditions, cross-holding norms, period of registration, security conditions and other obligations have been delineated.
  70. 70. • No single company / legal entity either directly or through its associates or interconnect undertakings shall have substantial equity holding that is, 10 percent or more of paid up equity in both rating agencies and broadcasters/advertisers/advertising agencies. • Ratings ought to be technology neutral and shall capture data across multiple viewing platforms viz. cable TV, Direct-to- Home (DTH), Terrestrial TV etc. • Panel homes for audience measurement shall be drawn from the pool of households selected through an establishment survey. A minimum panel size of 20,000 to be implemented within six months of the guidelines coming into force. Thereafter the panel size shall be increased by 10,000 every year until it reaches the figure of 50,000. • Secrecy and privacy of the panel homes must be maintained. 25 percent of panel homes shall be rotated every year. • The rating agency shall submit the detailed methodology to the Government and also publish it on its website. • The rating agency shall set up an effective complaint redressal system with a toll free number.
  71. 71. • The rating agency shall set up an internal audit mechanism to get its entire methodology/processes audited internally on quarterly basis and through an independent auditor annually. All audit reports to be put on the website of the rating agency. Government and TRAI reserve the right to audit the systems /procedures/mechanisms of the rating agency. • Non-compliance of guidelines on cross-holding, methodology, secrecy, privacy, audit, public disclosure and reporting requirements shall lead to forfeiture of two bank guarantees worth Rs. one crore furnished by the company in the first instance, and, in the second instance shall lead to cancellation of registration. For violation of other provisions of the guidelines, the action shall be forfeiture of bank guarantee of Rs. 25 lakh for the first instance of non-compliance, forfeiture of bank guarantee of Rs.75 lakh for the second instance of non compliance and for the third instance, cancellation of registration. • 30 days time would be given to the existing rating agency to comply with the guidelines.
  72. 72. • The guidelines would come into effect immediately from the date of notification. The Guidelines for Television Rating Agencies in India are designed to address aberrations in the existing television rating system. These guidelines are aimed at making television ratings transparent, credible and accountable. The agencies operating in this field have to comply with directions relating to public disclosure, third party audit of their mechanisms and transparency in the methodologies adopted. This would help make rating agencies accountable to stakeholders such as the Government, broadcasters, advertisers, advertising agencies and above all the people. Background: Television Rating Points (TRPs) have been a much debated issue in India since the present system of TRPs is riddled with several maladies such as small sample size which is not representative, lack of transparency, lack of reliability and credibility of data etc. Shortcomings in the present rating system have been highlighted by key stakeholders that include individuals, consumer groups, government, broadcasters, advertisers, and advertising agencies etc. Members of Standing Committee on Information Technology had also expressed concern over the shortcomings.
  73. 73. In 2008, the Ministry of Information & Broadcasting (MIB) had sought recommendations of TRAI on various issues relating to TRPs and policy guidelines to be adopted for rating agencies. TRAI, in its recommendations in August 2008, had amongst other things recommended the approach of self-regulation through the establishment of an industry-led body, that is the Broadcast Audience Research Council (BARC). The Ministry had constituted a Committee under the Chairmanship of Dr. Amit Mitra, the then Secretary General FICCI, in 2010 to review the existing TRP system In India. The committee also recommended that self-regulation of TRPs by the industry was the best way forward. Since, the BARC could not operationalise the TRP generating mechanism, the Ministry of Information & Broadcasting sought recommendations of TRAI in September 2013 on comprehensive guidelines/accreditation mechanism for television rating agencies in India to ensure fair competition, better standards and quality of services by television rating agencies. TRAI recommendations on Guideline for Television Rating Agencies were received in September 2013. While supporting self-regulation of television ratings through an industry-led body like BARC, TRAI recommended that television rating agencies shall be regulated through a framework in the form of guidelines to be notified by MIB. It also recommended that all rating agencies, including the existing rating agency, shall require registration with MIB in accordance with the terms and conditions prescribed under the guidelines.
  74. 74. Introduction of National Youth Policy-2014 The Union Cabinet today gave its approval for introduction of the National Youth Policy- 2014 (NYP-2014), replacing NYP-2003 currently in force. The vision of NYP-2014 is to empower youth to achieve their full potential, and through them enable India to find its rightful place in the community of nations. For achieving this vision, the Policy identifies five well-defined objectives and 11 priority areas and suggests policy interventions in each priority area. The priority areas are education, skill development and employment, entrepreneurship, health and healthy lifestyle, sports, promotion of social values, community engagement, participation in politics and governance, youth engagement, inclusion and social justice. The focused approach on youth development and empowerment involving all stakeholders, as envisaged in NYP-2014, would result in development of an educated and healthy young population, who are not only economically productive, but are also socially responsible citizens contributing to the task of nation-building. It will cover the entire country catering the needs of all youth in the age-group of 15-29 years, which constitutes 27.5 per cent of the population according to Census-2011, that is about 33 crore persons.It will replace NYP-2003, to take care of developments since 2003 and future policy imperatives.
  75. 75. The NYP-2014 proposes broad policy interventions for the youth consistent with the 12thPlan priorities and does not propose any specific programme/ scheme, having financial implications. All concerned Ministries/ Department would be requested to bring focus on youth issues within the framework of their plans/ programmes/ schemes etc. Background: India is one of the youngest nations in the world and is expected to have a very favourable demographic profile in the near future. This is a great opportunity as well as a challenge. NYP-2014 seeks to suggest a framework for appropriate policy interventions by Government and non-Government stakeholders, to empower the youth to enable them to realize their full potential as also to contribute to the progress of the nation.
  76. 76. India Signs Loan Agreements With World Bank for US $ 250 Million for Uttarakhand Disaster Recovery Project The Loan Agreements for World Bank (IDA) assistance of US$ 250 million for Uttarakhand Disaster Recovery Project were signed between the Government of India and the World Bank here today. The Loan Agreement was signed by Shri Nilaya Mitash,Joint Secretary, Department of Economic Affairs, Ministry of Finance on behalf of the Government of India and Mr Onno Ruhl, Country Director (India) of World Bank on behalf of the World Bank. The Project Agreement was also signed by Shri Rakesh Sharma, Additional Chief Secretary, Uttarakhand on behalf of the Government of Uttarakhand. The objective of the project is to restore housing, rural connectivity and build resilience of communities in Uttarakhand and increase the technical capacity of the State entities to respond promptly and effectively to an eligible crisis or emergency. The primary beneficiaries of the project would be the communities in the State that would benefit from the restoration of housing, rural connectivity, and risk mitigation infrastructures. By strengthening disaster risk management systems and institutions, the Project has the potential to benefit the entire State of Uttarakhand.
  77. 77. The project will have six components which are (i) Resilient Infrastructure Reconstruction, (ii) Rural Road Connectivity, (iii) Technical Assistance and Capacity Building for Disaster Risk Management, (iv) Financing Disaster Response Expenses, (v) Project Implementation Support, and (vi) Contingency Emergency Response. The Project constitutes a large multi-sector engagement on risk and vulnerability reduction, with assistance for reconstructing damaged infrastructure, restoring connectivity and improving technical support for enhancing disaster risk management systems. The Project Design has incorporated lessons learned from previous national and global post-disaster recovery projects to ensure that the recovery is targeted, effective and is built back “smarter” in order to build resilience of local communities to risks in the future. It is a loan for an implementation period of four (4) years. Government of Uttarakhand is the implementing agency.
  78. 78. Efforts being made to set-up a National Offshore Wind Energy Agency Ministry of New and Renewable Energy is making efforts to set up a National Offshore Wind Energy Agency to explore wind generation potential in the offshore areas. Speaking on the occasion of a daylong “National Level Consultation on National Wind Energy Mission” in the capital today, Dr.Farooq Abdullah, Minister for New and Renewable Energy said that the potential of generatingpower through wind energy in the offshore areas was immense and the Ministry will approach the Union Cabinet soon for a decision. Dr. Abdullah also expressed the hope that the Finance Ministry will restore the benefits of Accelerated Depreciation for Wind Power Producers in the Interim Budget to be presented next month. The Union MNRE Minister also supported the idea of appropriate financial support to the wind power producers. The one day long National Consultation has been organised by the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy to discuss the need and scope of a National Wind Energy Mission which work towards improvinginvestment climate by resolving issues connected with resource potential, land availability, grid connectivity, clearance procedure and zoning. This initiative is part of the efforts of the Ministry to remove hurdles in wind power development in the country, and bring together all stakeholders on a common platform to work in a coordinated and concerted manner. The Consultation is being attended by industry representatives, state electricity regulators, State and Central Government officials and research and development experts.
  79. 79. NABARD Initiates A Slew of Measures for Promoting Rural Credit and Rural Infrastructure NABARD has initiated a slew of measures for improving rural credit and rural infrastructure particularly warehousing as decided at the 198th Meeting of the Board of Directors chaired by Dr Harsh Kumar Bhanwala, Chairman, NABARD, held here yesterday. The Board has approved the launch of three crop specific Pilot Projects with production and post-production interventions to be implemented through Primary Agriculture Co-operative Society (PACS). The three Pilot Projects include business models for potato in Hooghly district, West Bengal, tomato in Karnal district, Haryana, and onion in Nasik district, Maharashtra. The total outlay for the projects is Rs 37.20 crore, comprising loan and grant support from NABARD of Rs 18.43 crore and Rs 2.43 crore respectively and a subsidy support of Rs 16.34 crore from the Central/State Governments. The Pilot Projects envisage crop-specific market surveys, identification of specific market players and marketing support through establishment of Project Market Facilitation Centres (PMFCs). The Projects will provide for productivity enhancing measures and post-harvest interventions. These measures include support for irrigation particularly micro-irrigation, scientific storage facility, cold storages and setting-up of agro-service centres. The pilots will also support promotional interventions including field demonstrations, crop and activity specific training and capacity building of farmers, exposure visits, etc. for ensuring technology adoption by them.
  80. 80. NABARD has sanctioned 548 warehousing projects in seven states amounting to Rs 1,046 crore under the NABARD Warehousing Scheme (NWS). These projects on completion will create an additional storage scientific space of 11.30 lakh MT for agriculture commodities and also help in better price discovery for farmers. NABARD Warehousing Scheme 2013-14 has been formulated as per the announcement made in the Union Budget with a corpus of Rs 5,000 crore. The scheme envisages financial support for construction of warehouses, godowns, silos, cold storages and cold chain infrastructure to store agriculture produce, both in public and private sectors. As decided by its ALCO, NABARD has revised the rate of interest on refinance provided to banks for investment credit with effect from January 7, 2014. The refinance rate has been reduced by 20 basis points, and the revised rate of interest on refinance for a period of five years for Commercial Banks, State Cooperative Banks, Regional Rural Banks and Primary Urban Cooperative Banks will be 9.70%. The revised rate of interest for refinance for a period of three to five years will be 9.90%. Further, banks drawing refinance of Rs 500 crore and more in a single drawal will be allowed further reduction of 10 basis points, making the effective rate 9.60% and 9.80% respectively. However, for State Cooperative Agriculture and Rural Development Banks (SCRDBs), 10 basis points reduction is allowed for a single drawal of Rs 200 crore and above.
  81. 81. SAMARTH 2014 – A Curtain Raiser SAMARTH 2014 – Celebrating Diversity is a national festival for showcasing the abilities of Persons with Disabilities (PwDs) is being organized by the Department of Disability Affairs under the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment, Government of India during 15 – 16 January, 2014 at Siri Fort Auditorium, New Delhi. This event will be inaugurated by Smt. Sonia Gandhi, Chairperson, United Progressive Alliance. As per Census 2011, there are 2.68 crore persons with disabilities and constitute 2.22 percent of the total population of the country. The persons with disabilities form a very diverse group and include persons with impairments such as visual (18.8%), hearing (18.9%), speech (7.5%), loco- motor (20.3%), mental retardation (5.6%) mental illness (2.7%) and multiple disability (7.9%). The Constitution of India ensures equality, freedom, justice and dignity of all individuals and implicitly mandates an inclusive society for all including persons with disabilities. The Government recognises that persons with disabilities are valuable human resource for the country and seeks to create an environment that provides them equal opportunities, protection of their rights and full participation.
  82. 82. The Department of Disability Affairs under the Ministry of Social Justice & Empowerment’s mandate and rehabilitation and empowerment of PwDs. As rehabilitation is multidisciplinary, the Department has adopted a multi-pronged collaborative approach involving all the appropriate partners: Governments/UTs, Central/State undertakings, local authorities, NGOs etc. India has also signed and ratified the United Nations Convention for protection and promotion of the rights and dignity of persons with disabilities. Among the many commitments towards the said Convention, a major one is building capacity among people with disabilities and raising awareness about disability issues. SAMARTH is an important step in this direction. The objectives of organizing Samarth are to showcase the abilities and potential of PwDs; create awareness about their rights and entitlements; and provide PwDs and those working for them an opportunity for an interface with each other.
  83. 83. Sports Ministry releases Standard Operating Procedure to be followed for grant of various National Sports Awards For streamlining the procedure for grant of various National Sports Awards viz. Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna, Arjuna Awards, Dronacharya Awards and Dhyan Chand Awards to be followed by various agencies viz. the Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports, Sports Authority of India (SAI), National Anti-Doping Agency (NADA), State Governments, National Sports Federations (NSFs), and Sports Promotion and Control Boards, it has been decided with the approval of competent authority to prescribe the following Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) to be followed and kept in view in processing the cases relating to above mentioned National Sports Awards starting from inviting nominations to constitution of Selection Committees : (i) Nominations for the National Sports Awards would be called for in January each year in the prescribed application format. Last date for receipt of nominations will be 30 th April or the last working date in April each year.

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