Press Information Bureau-June 2015
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Inland Waterways Economically Most Viable Sector
- Inland Waterways is economically most viable sector and, as such, it should be an integral part of infrastructure development in the country.
- Development of inland waterways would lower the logistics cost of production and, in turn, make the prices of the products more competitive in the global market.
- Moreover, this sector has a huge potential for generating employment for the youth.
- The feasibility of joint ventures are also being explored as Centre and State Governments have to work together to bring this sector in the forefront of infrastructure development.
- Government plans to establish facilities for ship-building and ship-repairing at Guwahati, Kandla and Andaman & Nicobar in near future.
Bansagar Crisis Resolved with Intervention of Sushri Uma Bharti
- On the request of Union Minister of Water Resources, River Development & Ganga Rejuvenation, Madhya Pradesh has ordered release of water from Bansagar Dam in Madhya Pradesh to Uttar Pradesh.
- This has resolved the water supply crisis which had arisen due to earlier refusal of Madhya Pradesh to release water to Uttar Pradesh from Bansagar dam on the grounds of non-release of share of O&M funds by Uttar Pradesh to Madhya Pradesh.
- Bansagar Project has been constructed as per the agreement reached between the Governments of Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh and Bihar on the September 16, 1973 for sharing the waters of River Sone and the cost of the Bansagar which became operational in 2005.
Media campaign to promote Nabakalebar as an international festival
- Nabakalebar, the periodical renewal of the wooden images of Lord, Jagannath, Balabhadra, Subhadra and Sudarshan.
- After the year 1996, next Nabakalebar festival is going to happen in 2015.
- The PuriRathYatra will be named as Nabakalebar RathYatra in 18th July 2015 is going to be special for everyone throughout the world.
1000 more stores to be opened under ‘Jan Aushadhi Scheme”
- The Government proposes to soon open 1000 more stores under the ‘Jan Aushadhi Scheme’ to make available quality generic medicines at affordable prices through these special outlets.
- These stores will be opened for the underprivileged that would be provided medicines at a price of 60-70% less than the market price.
- The stores will be renamed, rebranded and will increasingly involve B. Pharma and M. Pharma qualified unemployed populace.
First-ever Post-Graduate course on Northeast to be introduced from next year
- As yet another new initiative to bring mainstream India closer to the North-East Region (NER), the first ever Post-Graduate Course in Northeastern Studies will be introduced from next year.
- starting from the forthcoming semester beginning August 2015, Jamia Millia Islamia University, New Delhi will start an “Option Paper” in Northeastern Studies for students undertaking exam for Masters Degree in the University.
- An institutionalized study and research on Northeast India will provide inputs for professionals and policy makers on key issues relating to the region and thus help create a bridge between the policy making desk and the realities on the ground.
IAP Health Phone programme
- The IAP HealthPhone programme is the world’s largest digital mass education programme for addressing the malnutrition in women and children.
- This programme is launched by the Indian Academy of Pediatrics (IAP) in partnership with the Ministry of Women and Child Development, UNICEF and supported by Vodafone India.
- This programme aims to tackle the challenge of malnutrition in mothers and children across India.
Indian Naval Ships Enter Freemantle (Perth), Australia
- In consonance with India’s ‘Look East’ and ‘Act East’ policy, two ships of the Indian Navy’s Eastern Fleet (INS Satpura and INS Kamorta), Flag Officer Commanding Eastern Fleet (FOCEF) called on the port of Freemantle, Perth, Australia.
- It may be recalled that four ships of the Eastern Fleet are on an operational deployment to South Indian Ocean and South China Sea since mid-May 2015.
- As a part of the deployment, INS Satpura, the indigenously built guided missile stealth frigate, INS Kamorta, the latest indigenous Anti Submarine Warfare corvette had participated in IMDEX 15 and SIMBEX at Singapore.
BBIN Motor Vehicle Agreement
- The Cabinet has approved signing of the Bangladesh, Bhutan, India and Nepal (BBIN) Motor Vehicle Agreement for the Regulation of Passenger, Personal and Cargo Vehicular Traffic amongst BBIN.
- The agreement will be signed on 15th June at the BBIN Transport Minister’s meeting in Thimpu, Bhutan.
- Signing of the BBIN agreement will promote safe, economical efficient and environmentally sound road transport in the sub-region and will further help each country in creating an institutional mechanism for regional integration.
- BBIN countries will be benefited by mutual cross border movement of passenger and goods for overall economic development of the region. The people of the four countries will benefit through seamless movement of goods and passenger across borders.
Inflation Falls, GDP Surges: Economy Looks up After a Three-Year Gap
- Firstly, India’s poor economic growth and high domestic inflation between April 2011 and May 2014 had visibly shrunk opportunities in the world’s second most populous nation.
- Secondly, increased domestic consumption and high GDP growth in India could change the economic outlook of both the country and the world. India’s economic stability and growth means a lot to the world, especially after China’s economy showing signs of stress and slow-down.
- India’s economic weightage is now the highest ever assigned to any emerging market. International rating agencies have predicted that India would surpass China’s economic growth rate at the end of 2015-16.
- Of the total Indian assets under management by foreign portfolio investors, half the amount is under the custody of Global Funds, Asia Pacific and EM funds. "In the long-term, foreign funds' weightage to India will gradually rise.
- While the government is building a national consensus to amend the Constitution to implement the Goods and Services Tax (GST), it will put in place a state-of-the-art indirect tax system by April, 2016.
- The achievements and programmes are certainly raising the quality of life of Indians and have long-term positive impact on economy. India is back on high growth path. International agencies are betting big on India.
NamamiGange: River Polluters Can't Go Scot Free; ISRO Powered App on Cards
- In a determined bid to combat pollution in the river Ganga, a highly sophisticated digital system will be launched shortly to pin down habitual polluters by involving people in river front cities.
- Highly placed sources told UNI that an app, using state-of-the-art technology, has been developed with the help of ISRO (Indian Space Research Organization) to involve people who can now click pictures of polluters-mainly industry, habitual offenders and other source of pollution by their mobiles and upload same on the new app for action.
- The ambitious Namami Gange project officials will soon initiate action on the visual which through the satellite system is set to pin the location for swift and suitable action.
- Once the picture of polluted stretch is uploaded, officials said, it could not be erased and would have comprehensive details like location, date and time.
- Several crore rupees were spent earlier on the Ganga action plan (GAP) over decades but the river remained polluted.
- ''Namami Gange'' is an integrated Ganga conservation mission under National Ganga River basin authority of the Ministry of Water Resources and River development. It is to invoke nature conservation for improved livelihood with a boost to job & irrigation.
- The Ganga, which is ironically also the world’s fifth most polluted river, now floats hopes of regaining its grandeur and sanctity by year 2020.
- “Taking a leaf from the unsatisfactory results of the earlier Ganga Action Plans, the Centre also plans to provide for operation and maintenance of the assets for a minimum 10-year period, and adopt a PPP/SPV approach for pollution hotspots.”
Consume with Care:
The man who plants a tree is one who is giving a lasting gift to humanity, says the Rig Veda.
- The Father of our Nation Mahatma Gandhi says ““Earth provides enough to satisfy every man's needs, but not every man's greed.”
- Again, as an African proverb reminds us “We do not inherit the earth from our ancestors; we borrow it from our children.
- World Environment Day (WED) is primarily an initiative of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP).
- The day is being celebrated all over the world and it has enjoyed relative success in achieving carbon neutrality, focusing on the forest management, reducing greenhouse effects, promoting bio-fuels production by planting on degraded lands, use of hydro-power to enhance electricity production, encourage common public to use solar water heaters, energy production through solar sources, developing new drainage systems, promoting coral reefs and mangroves restoration in order to get prevented from flooding and erosion including other ways of environmental preservation.
- The WED theme for this year is "Seven Billion Dreams. One Planet. Consume with Care."
- U N Secretary General Mr Ban Ki Moon exhorted, "Although individual decisions may seem small in the face of global threats and trends, when billions of people join forces in common purpose, we can make a tremendous difference."
Protection of Environment for Sustainable Development
- The protection of environment is needed for sustainable development. The Industrial pollution, degradation of forests, depletion of ozone layer, the greenhouse gases results in global warming and climate which will have an adverse impact on environment and human health.
- There are several provisions provided in Indian Constitution for Protection of environment.
- There are certain legislations enacted viz. Environment Protection Act, Wildlife Preservation Act, Biodiversity Conservation Act, water and Air pollution prevention Acts etc The Judiciary playing a vital role in protection of Environment.
- The United Nation Organization passed several UN conventions like Ramsar Convention on protection of wetlands, and UN convention on Biodiversity etc.
- Global warming is the term used to describe a gradual increase in the average temperature of the Earth’s atmosphere and its oceans, a change that is believed to be permanently changing the Earth’s climate.
- The changing climate patterns, and especially increased frequency and severity of extreme events, will increase vulnerability to the natural disasters, both slower on set ones such as drought and rapid onset disaster such as flood and cyclones.
- The role of forests in the national economy and in ecology was emphasized in the 1988 National Forest Policy, which focused on ensuring environmental stability, restoring the ecological balance, and preserving the remaining forests.
- The 2009 Indian national forest policy document emphasizes the need to combine India's effort at forest conservation with sustainable forest management.
- Conservation of Biodiversity is the need of the hour.
- The Biological Diversity Act, 2002 is a federal legislation enacted by the Parliament of India for preservation of biological diversity in India, and provides mechanism for equitable sharing of benefits arising out of use of traditional biological resources and knowledge.
- A lot of Acts like Biodiversity Conservation Act, environment Protection Act, Wildlife Preservation Act, Water Pollution Prevention Act, Air Pollution Prevention Act etc. are enacted from time to time for environment preservation.
Green Energy has got a Boost
- The solar energy which accounted for mere one per cent of nearly two lakh mw of power generated in the country, is being pursued with renewed vigour.
- The target of 20,000 Mw of solar power proposed to be installed in the country has been reset by the NDA government to achieve five time more at one lakh mw of solar power by 2022.
- The overall renewable energy share at the moment is around 6 per cent.
- Thermal power dominated, accounting for nearly 60 per cent of power generation.
- Wind power, which has already caught on in some parts of the country particularly in the coastal region is proposed to be stepped up to 60,000 mw of power generation by 2022.
- China, which had huge capacity for manufacture of solar photovoltaic cells, has stepped up skill development and has created enough manpower to install up to 20,000 mw of solar power annually.
- India at the moment lacked requisite manpower to scale up solar power generation.
- The existing trained manpower in the country can at best install up to 2000 mw of solar power annually.
- So government will have to make concerted effort on this front as massive huge scaling up is required on skill development to achieve one lakh mw of solar power generation by 2022.
- India is also working on building a consortium of 50 countries with abundant solar radiation, to pool research and technological advancements to improve its accessibility to the poor and in the remote areas.
- The cost of electricity from solar photo-voltaic cells is coming down drastically. With solar power costs coming down, there is a possibility solar power generation would become very attractive without subsidy in not too distant future.
- India receives solar energy equivalent to about 500 trillion kWh per annum, more than enough to provide for the entire country’s needs.
- India produces around two lakh MW of power and one fourth of Rajasthan Thar desert is enough generate much of solar power.
- Gujarat tops the list of solar power generation with over 600 mw followed by Rajasthan with over 500 mw.
- Madhya Pradesh and Andhra Pradesh are too catching up now with huge solar power plant of 1000 Mw coming up just as in Rajasthan.
India joins the Multilateral Competent Authority Agreement (MCAA) on Automatic Exchange of Information (AEOI)
- India joined the Multilateral Competent Authority Agreement on Automatic Exchange of Financial Account Information on in Paris, France, along with Australia, Canada, Costa Rica, Indonesia and New Zealand.
- Ninety-four countries have committed to exchange information on an automatic basis from 2017 onwards as per the new global standards on automatic exchange of information, known as Common Reporting Standards (CRS) on Automatic Exchange of Information (AEOI).
- For implementation of these standards in India and with a view to provide information to other countries, necessary legislative changes have been made through Finance (No. 2) Act, 2014, by amending section 285BA of the Income-tax Act, 1961.
- Necessary rules and guidelines are being formulated in consultation with financial institutions.
IAF Concludes Operations in Earthquake Hit Nepal
- A mammoth Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief (HADR) task was carried out by the IAF from 25 Apr 15 to 04 Jun 15.
- Within four hours of the earthquake that struck Nepal, IAF swung into action and routed one C-130J aircraft, two C-17, one IL-76, airlifting 295 NDRF personnel, 46.5 tonnes of load and five sniffer dogs.
- Lots of relief material for over a month were airlifted like water, field hospitals, blankets, tents, Paramedics, stretchers, medicines, prepared food, milk, utensils, vegetables, Meals Ready to Eat (MRE), RO Plants, Oxygen Regenerators, Air Force Communication Centre Vehicles, Rapid Action Medical Team (RAMT) with its transportable Operation Theatre, X-ray, Laboratory & patient beds etc.
Foreign Tourist Arrivals (FTAs) grow by 9.2%
- FEEs from Tourism ( in US$ terms) register a growth of 15% in May 2015 over May 2014 as compared to 0.2% in May 2014 over May 2013 .
- The Ministry of Tourism compiles monthly estimates of Foreign Tourist Arrivals (FTAs) on the basis of Nationality-wise, Port-wise data received from Bureau of Immigration (BOI) and Foreign Exchange Earnings (FEEs) from tourism on the basis of data available from Reserve Bank of India.
- The following are the important highlights regarding FTAs and FEEs from tourism during the month of May 2015.
Online Collection of Light Dues
- “It’s one step forward towards realizing Prime Minister’s vision of Digital India”,
- Till now, the mode of Light dues payment was only by way of physical payment.
- With a view to promote ease of business, a number of e-governance initiatives have been taken up by the Ministry of Shipping.
- As a part of the ongoing efforts, Directorate General of Lighthouses and Lightships (DGLL) has now facilitated the payment of Light dues through online mode.
Clarification Issued in the Matter of Service Tax;
- Only Air-Conditioned or Air-Heated Restaurants to Pay Service Tax; Restaurants, Eating-Joints or Messes Which Do Not Have the Facility of Air-Conditioning Or Central Air-Heating in Any Part of the Establishment are Exempt from Service Tax.
- At present, Service Tax is chargeable on services provided by restaurants, eating-joints or messes which have the facility of air-conditioning or central air-heating in any part of the establishment at any time during the year in relation to serving of food or beverages.
- Restaurants, eating-joints or messes which do not have the facility of air-conditioning or central air-heating in any part of the establishment are exempt from service tax.
- In other words, only air-conditioned or air-heated restaurants are required to pay Service Tax.
Proposal to promulgate the Negotiable Instruments (Amendment) Ordinance, 2015
- The proposed amendments to the Negotiable Instruments Act, 1881 (“The NI Act”) are focused on clarifying the jurisdiction related issues for filing cases for offence committed under section 138 of the NI Act.
- The clarification of jurisdictional issues may be desirable from the equity point of view as this would be in the interests of the complainant and would also ensure a fair trial.
- The clarity on jurisdictional issue for trying the cases of cheque bouncing would increase the credibility of the cheque as a financial instrument.
- This would help the trade and commerce in general and allow the lending institution, including banks, to continue to extend financing to the economy, without the apprehension of the loan default on account of bouncing of a cheque.
Designing in India, by India for the world
- Think of design, and kaleidoscopic images of aesthetically designed articles will float before your eyes.
- Any idea who might be behind this myriad array? More often than not, it would be an alumnus from the National Institute of Design (NID), Ahmedabad.
- One of the top design schools across the globe, NID has always evoked respect and awe not only for the Institute per se, but also for the amazing designs, a product of the fertile minds honed in the hallowed portals of NID, dotting the entire world.
- And yet, despite having traversed a long way ever since its inception in 1961, there was a twinge of something amiss. Students flocked to NID, but emerged with only a Diploma.
- Then came the historical moment in 2014, when the NID was declared as an “Institute of National Importance”, a first for any design school.
- In fact, the very first Bill that this Government introduced in the Parliament was the NID Act, 2014.
- This reflects the commitment of the present Government in taking forward 'design' as a tool for improving the quality of products and services of Indian industry. It’s a tribute to the faculty and students of NID that the Bill was passed unanimously by both the Houses of Parliament in record time.
- The Rajya Sabha passed the Bill on 7th July 2014 and Lok Sabha the very next day. The Bill got the Presidential assent on 17th July, 2014.
- Design will also act as a catalyst in “Make in India” initiative by benefitting micro, small, cottage and medium industry clusters across the country by design intervention strategies through the Design Clinic Scheme.
- Over the next 10 years, this Centre is expected to bring in revolutionary changes in passenger and freight transport facilities through sustained design research and development exclusively dedicated to the Indian Railways.
- From Earth to Space, the list is endless; NID also has a tie-up with Space Application Centre.
- Design is all set to get a fillip in India.
Thank you and All the Best