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IASbaba Press Information Bureau (PIB)- 29th Aug to 4th Sep, 2016

  • September 7, 2016
  • 2
IASbaba's Daily Current Affairs Analysis, IASbaba's Daily News Analysis
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GS-1

President’s message on the eve of canonization of Mother Teresa

(Topic:  Important personalities)

President expressed his happiness to learn that Mother Teresa will be canonised by Pope Francis on September 4, 2016 at Vatican City.

Mother Teresa-

  • Mother Teresa saw herself as ‘small pencil in the hands of the Lord’ and went about her work quietly, offering smiles and warm human gestures. Mother Teresa provided dignity and respect to those who had been defeated by life. She was a messiah of the poor and a pillar of support for the weak and suffering. Her simple manners touched the hearts of millions of people of all faiths.
  • Mother Teresa established the Missionaries of Charity in 1950 with the mission of caring for, “the hungry, the naked, the homeless, the crippled, the blind, the lepers, all those people who feel unwanted, unloved, uncared for throughout society, people that have become a burden to the society and are shunned by everyone”. Today, the branches of Missionaries of Charity in several countries continue their service to humanity, reaching out to the needy, regardless of their religion or social status.
  • In recognition of Mother Teresa’s selfless and dedicated services, a grateful nation conferred on her India’s highest civilian award ‘Bharat Ratna’ in 1980.
  • Mother Teresa often said: “What the poor need most is to feel needed, to feel loved. There are remedies and treatments for all kinds of illnesses, but when someone is undesirable, if there are no serving hands and loving hearts, then there is no hope for a true cure”. Her message of love continues to inspire millions of people around the world.

 

GS-2

BRICS convention on Tourism to be held in Khajuraho, Madhya Pradesh

(Topic: Important International institutions, agencies and further structure, mandate)  

About- Ministry of Tourism is organising the “BRICS Convention on Tourism” on September 01-02, 2016 in Khajuraho Madhya Pradesh as a precursor to the The BRICS Summit to be held in Goa on October 15-16, 2016.

Highlights of programme-

  • Two day event will comprise of inter- Governmental exchange of views and ideas, Panel discussions on Technology, Innovation in Tourism, and Cooperation between the BRICS countries for promoting intra-regional tourism.
  • B2B meetings between the India Travel Trade and their counterparts from the BRICS countries will also be organised. Elements of Culture, handicrafts and cuisine from different regions of Indiawill be showcased during the convention.

 

14th ASEAN-India Summit and 11th East Asia Summit in Vientiane, Lao PDR

(Topic: Important International institutions, agencies and further structure, mandate)  

Summits will be attended by- Heads of State/Government of the 10 ASEAN and 18 East Asia Summit Participating Countries respectively

India’s engagement with the ASEAN and wider Asia-Pacific region- It has acquired further momentum following the enunciation of the ‘Act-East Policy’ by PM at the 12th ASEAN-India Summit and 9th East Asia Summit in Myanmar in November 2014.

Highlights-

  • At the 14th ASEAN-India Summit, PM and ASEAN Leaders will review ASEAN-India cooperation and discuss its future direction under each of the three pillars of politico-security, economic and socio-cultural cooperation.
  • They will also exchange views on regional and international issues of mutual interest and concern. 2017 will mark 25 years of India’s dialogue partnership with ASEAN, to celebrate which a number of commemorative activities will also be announced by Prime Minister.

ASEAN and India-

  • ASEAN is a strategic partner of India since 2012. India and ASEAN have 30 dialogue mechanisms which meet regularly, including a Summit and 7 Ministerial meetings in Foreign Affairs, Commerce, Tourism, Agriculture, Environment, Renewable Energy and Telecommunications.
  • Minister of State for External Affairs, recently attended the ASEAN-India Foreign Ministers’ Meeting and EAS Foreign Ministers’ Meeting in Vientiane on 25-26 July 2016. Minister of State for Commerce and Industry, attended the ASEAN Economic Ministers + India Consultations & EAS Foreign Ministers’ Meeting held in Vientiane on 6 August 2016.

Trade between India and ASEAN-

  • It stood at US$ 65.04 billion in 2015-16 and comprises 10.12% of India’s total trade with the world.
  • ASEAN-India economic integration process has got a fillip with the creation of the ASEAN-India Free Trade Area in July 2015, following the entry into force of the ASEAN-India Trade in Services and Investment Agreements.
  • Conclusion of a balanced Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement will further boost our trade and investment ties with the region.

East Asia Summit-

  • East Asia Summit is the premier leaders-led forum in the Asia-Pacific.
  • Since its inception in 2005, it has played a significant role in the strategic, geopolitical and economic evolution of East Asia.
  • Apart from the 10 ASEAN Member states, East Asia Summit includes India, China, Japan, Republic of Korea, Australia, New Zealand, United States and Russia.
  • India, being a founding member of the East Asia Summit, is committed to strengthening the East Asia Summit and making it more effective for dealing with contemporary challenges.
  • At the 11th East Asia Summit, Leaders will discuss matters of regional and international interest and concern including maritime security, terrorism, non-proliferation, irregular migration, etc.
  • Three statements/declarations are expected to be adopted at the EAS, viz.-
  • Vientiane Declaration on Promoting Infrastructure Development Cooperation in East Asia
  • EAS Declaration on Strengthening Responses to Migrants in Crisis and Trafficking in Persons
  • EAS Statement on Non-Proliferation.
  • A Joint Statement on the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) Negotiations is expected to be adopted at a separate ceremony after the EAS.

 

Eighth Meeting of the Heads of SAARC Statistical Organisations (SAARCSTAT)

(Topic: Important International institutions, agencies and further structure, mandate)  

About- India is hosting the three-day meeting and delegates from SAARC Member States and other international organizations viz., FAO, PARIS 21, and ADB attended the Meet.

Theme- “Trade Statistics – Merchandise & Services”

 Highlights-

  • Emphasized on- Greater regional cooperation for mutual development, to accelerate free trade in goods and services in the Region.
  • Reducing Asymmetry in Trade data amongst SAARC countries- Reducing asymmetry in bilateral trade data is an issue which requires serious attention from the data compilers.  Although India has taken up the issues of data reconciliation with a few countries like China, Brazil, Vietnam, Philippines, South Korea, Japan, South Africa, Sri Lanka but much more needs to be done to bring down the asymmetry to an acceptable level especially in the SAARC Region.

Key essentials-

  • To simplify operation and formulate transparent rules of origin
  • Implementation of trade facilitation measures
  • Harmonization of standards relating to Technical Barriers to Trade (TBT) and sanitary and phyto-sanitary measures
  • Harmonized, streamlined and simplified Custom procedures
  • Elimination of non-tariff and para-tariff barriers
  • Policy initiatives for comparable statistics and smooth & efficient transit and transport facilities.

Why needed?

  • It will provide an opportunity to the SAARC Members countries to review the implementation of the recommendations made in International Merchandise Trade Statistics (IMTS) 2010 and Manual on Statistics of International Trade in Services (MSITS) 2010 and help in better understanding of the existing economic statistics frameworks and guidelines such as the System of National Accounts (2008 SNA), Balance of Payments (BPM6) and the Guidelines on Integrated Economic Statistics.

Positive outcome for India-

  • Deliberations in the meeting will help to transfer knowledge and good practices amongst the participating countries that will help to improve the quality of official statistics on international trade in goods and services.

India has decided to offer two slots to SAARC Member countries in Training Programmes conducted by the National Statistical Systems Training Academy.

India and the United States Sign the Logistics Exchange Memorandum of Agreement (LEMOA)

(Topic: Bilateral, regional and global groupings and agreements involving India and/or affecting India’s interests)

About- India and the United States have signed the Logistics Exchange Memorandum Of Agreement (LEMOA).

What is LEMOA?

Logistics Exchange Memorandum of Agreement is a facilitating agreement that establishes basic terms, conditions, and procedures for reciprocal provision of Logistic Support, Supplies, and Services between the armed forces of India and the United States.

In detail-

  • Logistic Support, Supplies, and Services include- Food, water, billeting, transportation, petroleum, oils, lubricants, clothing, communication services, medical services, storage services, training services, spare parts and components, repair and maintenance services, calibration services, and port services.
  • Reciprocal logistic support- It would be used exclusively during authorized port visits, joint exercises, joint training, and humanitarian assistance and disaster relief efforts.
  • Logistics support- For any other cooperative efforts shall only be provided on a case-by-case basis through prior mutual consent of the Parties, consistent with their respective laws, regulations and policies.
  • Provision of Logistic Support, Supplies, and Services from one Party to the other would be in return for either cash payment or the reciprocal provision of Logistic Support, Supplies, and Services.
  • Agreement does not create any obligations on either Party to carry out any joint activity. It does not provide for the establishment of any bases or basing arrangements.

Benefit- Agreement will significantly enhance the operational capacity of the Indian Armed Forces, including in their response to humanitarian crises or disaster relief.

 

India and Myanmar sign an MoU in the field of Traditional Medicine

(Topic: Bilateral, regional and global groupings and agreements involving India and/or affecting India’s interests)

About- Ministry of AYUSH signed a MoU on cooperation in the field of Traditional Medicine with the Ministry of Health & Sports of Government of Myanmar in New Delhi.

MoU-

  • Both countries share a heritage of religious, linguistic and ethnic ties.
  • Myanmar has a substantial population of Indian origin.
  • Further, Myanmar is our gateway to South East Asia and ASEAN with which India has been seeking greater economic integration through India’s ‘Look East’ and ‘Act East’ Policy.
  • In recent years, the relationship of the two countries has been marked by close contacts at the highest political level including cooperation in the field of health and medicine.
  • MoU will enhance bilateral cooperation between the two countries in the areas of traditional medicine.

 

Cabinet apprised of MoU between CERT-In India and CERT-UK 

(Topic: Bilateral, regional and global groupings and agreements involving India and/or affecting India’s interests)

About- Union Cabinet under the Chairmanship of PM has been apprised of the MoU signed on 20th May, 2016 between Indian Computer Emergency Response Team (CERT-In) and Ministry of Cabinet Office, UK (as represented by CERT-UK, a unit of the Cabinet Office on Cyber Security).

Aim- To promote closer cooperation between India and the United Kingdom for exchange of knowledge and experience in detection, resolution and prevention of security-related incident

Help- To strengthen cyber space of countries, capacity building and improving relationship between them.

MoU-

  • Participating countries can exchange technical information on Cyber attacks, response to cyber security incidents and find solutions to counter the cyber attacks.
  • They can also exchange information on prevalent cyber security policies and best practices.

 

India US Strategic and Commercial Dialogue

(Topic: Bilateral, regional and global groupings and agreements involving India and/or affecting India’s interests)

About- Following the decision of Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi and President Obama in 2015 to elevate the India-US Strategic Dialogue to a Strategic and Commercial Dialogue, reflecting the significance of the trade and economic engagement between the two countries, India and the United States will meet for the 2nd Strategic and Commercial Dialogue (S&CD) in New Delhi.

Two sides had agreed on four work streams to facilitate economic development initiatives-

  • Infrastructure collaboration and smart cities
  • Ease of doing business
  • Innovation and Entrepreneurship
  • Standards

Some of the major areas of intervention following the CEO Forum recommendations are as follows-

  • In line with the CEO Forum recommendations to boost the renewable energy sector, the both sides are working on the US-India Energy Finance Initiatives, which is expected to mobilise upto $400 million by 2020.
  • Similarly, to ease the defence production procedures, the Government of India has introduced a new Defence Procurement Procedure which has made it much simpler to take advantage of the immense opportunity for defence production in India.
  • Government of India has shortlisted 33 cities for development as smart cities and will be collaborating with U.S on three of these. Also, the U.S.-India CEO Forum developed a Smart Cities Strategic Framework
  • In addition, given the focus on Innovation and Entrepreneurship, various policies and measures, including the creation of Sister Innovation Hubs, and develop the Innovation ecosystem in the country. There has been very productive U.S-India CEO Forum-led Digital Infrastructure Best Practices Exchange Workshops in New Delhi, Jaipur, and Visakhapatnam from August 2-5, 2016.
  • Both sides are working together to encourage participation of all stakeholders in the regional Global Connect conference to be held on September 15, 2016 in New Delhi.
  • FDI reforms: As part of FDI reform measures, the FDI policy has been further simplified and conditions relaxed. Norms have been relaxed in brownfield pharma sector, processed food, defence production, railways etc.
  • FDI inflow trends: Reforms undertaken in the recent months have shown positive results and FDI inflows into India have increased at a time when globally, there is decline in the investment flows. Total FDI inflow into India which was at US$ 36 billion during 2013-14 increased to US$ 44.2 billion in 2014-15 and has further shown an increasing trend as during the year 2015-16, India received US $ 55.4 billion as FDI, the highest in a year so far.
  • FDI from USA: FDI from USA has also shown a positive growth trend and during the years 2013-14, 2014-15 and 2015-16 it was US$ 806 mill. US$ 1824 mill. And US$ 4190 mill. rspectively. This corresponds to an increase of 500% in two years.

 

Launch of ‘Pharma Sahi Daam’ Mobile App

(Topic: Government schemes and policies)

About- Union Minister of Chemicals & Fertilizers and Parliamentary Affairs has appealed to the industry leaders, State Governments, other departments and civil society in pooling efforts to make available medicines at affordable prices to the common man.

Pharma Sahi Daam App-

  • Mobile App. developed by NPPA which shows the MRP fixed by NPPA for various scheduled drugs on real time basis.
  • National Pharmaceutical Pricing Authority (NPPA) has come out with ceiling price of 368 new drugs within 6 months of the issue of New National List of Essential Medicines-2015.

Steps taken by Government-

  • Amendments will be made soon to empower NPPA in gathering data and taking appropriate decisions for the drugs included in the NLEM but market data is not available.
  • Pursuing the case for making an independent Ministry for Pharmaceuticals so that all decisions regarding the industry could be taken under a single roof.
  • Minister advocated a ‘3A’ approach to achieve health security for every citizen of India. Universal Healthcare can be achieved only by ensuring the Availability, Affordability and Accessibility (3A) of medicines to the common man.
  • Pharmaceutical industry has risen to almost US$37 billion and Indian medicines are being exported to over 200 countries. Pharmaceutical is a sunrise industry and the Government is keen to provide support to it through various means like pharmaceutical parks, medical devices parks, pharmaceutical clusters and promotion of innovation through Atal Innovation Scheme.
  • Two pronged strategy is being adopted to provide cheap medicines to the common man- one is through regulating the prices by NPPA and another is opening of PM Jan Aushadhi Stores. Within one year, 3000 PM Jan Aushadhi Stores will be opened in the country covering all districts and tehsils. Most of the medicines in Jan Aushadhi Stores cost 30 to 40 per cent as compared to the market cost and no medicine in Jan Aushadhi Store is more than 50 per cent of the market cost.

 

Launch of “Mera Aspataal / My Hospital” initiative

(Topic: Government schemes and policies)

Mera Aspataal Initiative

  • Health Minister informed that the ICT-based Patient Satisfaction System (PSS) “Mera Aspataal / My Hospital” for implementation in public and empanelled private hospitals is envisaged to empower the patient by seeking his / her views on quality of experience in a public healthcare facility.
  • Multi-channel approach will be used to collect patients’ feedback i.e. web portal, mobile application, Short Message Service (SMS), Interactive Voice Response System (IVRS).

Steps taken by Government-

  • Ministry has launched the Pradhan Mantri Surakshit Matriva Abhiyan (PMSMA) to provide fixed day assured quality ANC services to pregnant women on the 9th day of every month across the country.
  • These services will be provided by obstetricians and physicians. A key pillar of this program is voluntary partnership of private doctors.
  • Free Drugs Services Initiative, the Free Diagnostics Services Initiative, the District Hospital Strengthening support, roll out of comprehensive primary health care, Quality Assurance Programme and the Kayakalp awards – all represent initiatives intended to reduce fragmentation of care, improve quality of care and reduce out of pocket expenses.
  • Under National Health Mission various steps taken for pregnant women, reducing Infant Mortality Rate, Maternal Mortality Rate and reducing out-of-pocket expenditure for the patients
  • Union Health Minister also released operational framework on management of common cancers, Guidance Note for Outsourced Call Centre for tele-consultation, grievance redressal and providing information about schemes.
  • Health Minister also gave away awards to the states on the basis of Health Indicators and Service Delivery. The best performing large states for decline in IMR was given to Haryana and West Bengal.
  • In this category the best performing small states were Nagaland and Tripura. Similarly, for service delivery in public health facilities Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh were awarded amongst large states and Sikkim and Himachal Pradesh were awarded amongst small states. Best performing Union Territory was Dadar and Nagar Haveli.

 

PM launches Saurashtra Narmada Irrigation Project

(Topic: Government Schemes and policies)

About- PM unveiled a plaque to launch the Saurashtra Narmada Irrigation (SAUNI) Project at Sanosara in Gujarat.

Aim- To satiate the water and irrigation needs of the perennially parched regions of Saurashtra in Gujarat
Highlights-

  • Inaugurated the first phase of SAUNI project in which nearly 10 dams and reservoirs of Rajkot, Jamnagar and Morbu would be filled up with the water of Narmada river
  • Simultaneously, water would also be pumped into Uund-4 reservior

SAUNI Project-

  • Saurashtra Narmada Avtaran Irrigation Yojana aims at diverting the excess floodwater from Sardar Sarovar Dam to fill up 115 dams of the water-scare Saurashtra region through a network of canals and pipelines.
  • First phase would irrigate 4.13 lakh hectares of land
  • Roject is an engineering marvel that will quench thirst of 11 drought prone district of Saurastra and bring fresh life to the region.

 

Gujarat becomes the first state to distribute 2 crore LED Bulbs under UJALA 

(Topic: Government schemes and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation)

 About- Under the Government of India’s Unnat Jyoti by Affordable LEDs for all (UJALA) scheme, Gujarat has become the first state to distribute 2 crore LED bulbs. Gujarat has reached this milestone in just 96 days and over 42 lakh households have already benefitted from the scheme.

 

 

Basic Minimum Wages for Central Sphere Workers Revised

(Topic: Basic minimum wages)

Following decisions have been taken by the Government-

  • The Bonus Amendment Act will be implemented strictly. The Central Government will pay Bonus for the years 2014-15 and 2015-16 based on revised norms. A government notification in this regard is being issued immediately.
  • Central Government will take necessary steps to resolve the cases pending in High Courts/Supreme Court with regard to payment of Bonus
  • Registration of the contract workers and their staffing agencies is mandatory as per law and states will be advised to strictly implement the same. Erring contractors will face appropriate action for any violation in this regard.
  • Issue of giving social security benefit to the unorganised sector (eg., Anganwadi, Mid-day meal, Asha volunteers etc.) will be examined by a committee which will give its report at the earliest.
  • Advisories will be issued to all the States Governments to ensure that registration of Trade Unions takes place within 45 days.

 

GS-3

Maiden annual joint disaster relief exercise ‘prakampana’ inaugurated

(Topic: Disaster and Disaster management)

About- Maiden Joint Disaster Management Exercise named Prakampana (‘Cyclone’ in Sanskrit) has been inaugurated at Visakhapatnam

 

Aimed at- Synchronising resources and efforts of all agencies involved in disaster management.

 

Participants- Several dignitaries from various Central and State Government agencies, representatives from PSUs located in Visakhapatnam, Professors, University reps and experts in the field of disaster management are participating in the exercise in addition to armed forces viz. Indian Army, Indian Navy and Indian Air Force.

 

Highlights-

  • Three-day long exercise is being conducted by the Eastern Naval Command in liaison with concerned Centre and State authorities
  • Concerned agencies were aimed at highlighting their existing capabilities in dealing with such natural disasters and was followed by a Table Top Exercise (TTX) at Maritime Warfare Centre, inside Naval Dockyard on a simulated scenario of a super cyclone hitting an urban city akin Hudhud.
  • All stake holders’ officials who were tasked to formulate a comprehensive Disaster Management Plan to cater for the pre-event action and post disaster action plan.
  • TTX enabled better understanding of each other’s peculiarities so as to bring all agencies to a common understanding of Disaster Management for better synergy and co-ordination in planning relief operations.
  • Humanitarian and Disaster Relief (HADR) capability demonstration began with display of air assets of IN and IAF at Naval Air Station followed by demonstration of HADR IN Ships at Naval Dockyard, and a Static Demonstration of HADR assets of all participating stake holders at HADR Campsite near Samudrika grounds.

 

CBDT signs 20 Unilateral Advance Pricing Agreements with Indian taxpayers

(Topic: Indian economy and issues relating to planning, mobilization of resources’, growth, development and employment)

About- Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) entered into twenty (20) Unilateral Advance Pricing Agreements (APAs) with Indian taxpayers. Many of these agreements also have a “Rollback” provision in them.

APA Scheme-

  • APA Scheme was introduced in the Income-tax Act in 2012 and the Rollback provisions were introduced in 2014.
  • Scheme endeavours to provide certainty to taxpayers in the domain of transfer pricing by specifying the methods of pricing and determining the arm’s length price of international transactions in advance for the maximum of five future years.
  • Further, the taxpayer has the option to rollback the APA for four preceding years. Since its inception, the APA scheme has attracted tremendous interest among Multi National Enterprises (MNEs) and that has resulted in more than 700 applications (both unilateral and bilateral) having been filed in just four years.
  • 20 APAs signed in these two days pertain to various sectors of the economy like Information Technology, Banking & Finance, Insurance, Human Resources, Pharmaceutical, Solar Energy, Oil & Gas, Foods & Beverages, Telecommunications and NGO.
  • International transactions covered in these agreements include Software Development Services, IT enabled services, Investment Advisory Services, KPO services, Contract manufacture, Contract R&D services, Import of components, Support services, Export of goods, Management services, Brand Royalty, Technical services, Engineering design services, Selling & Marketing services, Network operation & maintenance services, General & Administration services, HR consultancy services, etc.
  • With these signings, the total number of APAs entered into by the CBDT has reached 98. This includes 4 bilateral APAs and 94 unilateral APAs. A total of 33 unilateral APAs and 1 bilateral APA have already been concluded in five months of the current Financial Year as against 55 in Financial Year 2015-16. The CBDT expects more APAs to be concluded and signed in the near future.
  • Progress of the APA Scheme strengthens the Government’s commitment to foster a non-adversarial tax regime. The approach and functioning of the officers in the APA teams have been appreciated and acknowledged by the industry in India and abroad.

 

Cabinet approves simplification and liberalisation of the Foreign Direct Investment Policy, 2016 in various sectors

(Topic: Indian economy and issues relating to planning, mobilization of resources’, growth, development and employment)

Radical Changes for promoting Food Products manufactured/produced in India: It has now been provided that 100% FDI under government route for trading, including through e-commerce, is permitted in respect of food products manufactured and/or produced in India.

 

Foreign Investment in Defence Sector up to 100%

  • Earlier FDI regime permitted 49% FDI participation in the equity of a company under automatic route. FDI above 49% was permitted through Government approval on case to case basis, wherever it is likely to result in access to modern and ‘state-of-art’ technology in the country. In this regard, the following changes have inter-alia been brought in the FDI policy on this sector
  • Foreign investment beyond 49% has now been permitted through government approval route wherever it is likely to result in access to modern technology or for other reasons to be recorded.
  • FDI limit for defence sector has also been made applicable to Manufacturing of Small Arms and Ammunitions covered under Arms Act 1959.

Review of Entry Routes in Broadcasting Carriage Services: FDI policy on broadcasting carriage services has also been amended. New sectoral caps and entry routes are as under:

 

Pharmaceutical: The earlier FDI policy on pharmaceutical sector provides for 100% FDI under automatic route in greenfield pharma and FDI up to 100% under government approval in brownfield pharma. With the objective of promoting the development of this sector, 74% FDI under automatic route has been permitted in brownfield pharmaceuticals. FDI beyond 74% would be permitted through Government approval route.

 

Civil Aviation Sector

  • The earlier FDI policy on Airports permitted 100% FDI under automatic route in Greenfield Projects and 74% FDI in Brownfield Projects under automatic route. FDI beyond 74% for Brownfield Projects is under government route.
  • With a view to aid in modernization of the existing airports to establish a high standard and help ease the pressure on the existing airports, 100% FDI under automatic route has now been permitted in Brownfield Airport projects
  • As per the earlier FDI policy, foreign investment up to 49% was allowed under automatic route in Scheduled Air Transport Service/ Domestic Scheduled Passenger Airline and regional Air Transport Service. This limit has now been raised to 100%, with FDI upto 49% permitted under automatic route and FDI beyond 49% through Government approval.
  • For NRIs, 100% FDI will continue to be allowed under automatic route. Foreign airlines would continue to be allowed to invest in capital of Indian companies operating scheduled and non-scheduled air-transport services up to the limit of 49% of their paid up capital.

Private Security Agencies: The earlier policy permitted 49% FDI under government approval route in Private Security Agencies. Since Private Security Agencies are already required to get license under PSAR Act 2005, the requirement of putting them through another line of Government approvals through FIPB has now been done away with for FDI up to 49%.  Accordingly, FDI up to 49% is now permitted under automatic route in this sector. FDI beyond 49% and upto 74% is permitted through Government approval route.

 

Establishment of branch office, liaison office or project office: For establishment of branch office, liaison office or project office or any other place of business in India if the principal business of the applicant is Defence, Telecom, Private Security or Information and Broadcasting, it has provided that approval of Reserve Bank of India would not be required in cases where FIPB approval or license/permission by the concerned Ministry/Regulator has already been granted.

 

Animal Husbandry: As per FDI Policy 2016, FDI in Animal Husbandry (including breeding of dogs), Pisciculture, Aquaculture and Apiculture is allowed 100% under Automatic Route under controlled conditions. The requirement of ‘controlled conditions’ for FDI in these activities has now been done away with.

 

Single Brand Retail Trading: Local sourcing norms have been relaxed up to three years, with prior Government approval, for entities undertaking Single Brand Retail Trading of products having ‘state­ of ­art’ and ‘cutting edge’ technology. For such entities, sourcing norms will not be applicable up to three years from commencement of the business i.e. opening of the first store for entities undertaking single brand retail trading of products having ‘state-of-art’ and ‘cutting-edge’ technology and where local sourcing is not possible. Thereafter, sourcing norms would be applicable.

 

 

Grant of Permanent Residency Status to Foreign Investors

(Topic: Indian economy and issues relating to planning, mobilization of resources’, growth, development and employment)

About- Union Cabinet under the Chairmanship of PM has approved the scheme for grant of Permanent Residency Status (PRS) to foreign investors subject to the relevant conditions as specified in the FDI Policy notified by the Government from time to time.

Benefit- Scheme is expected to encourage foreign investment in India and facilitate Make in India Programme. Under the Scheme, suitable provisions will be incorporated in the Visa Manual to provide for the grant of PRS to foreign investors.

PRS-

  • The PRS will be granted for a period of 10 years with multiple entries. This can be reviewed for another 10 years if the PRS holder has not come to adverse notice.
  • Scheme will be applicable only to foreign investors fulfilling the prescribed eligibility conditions, his/her spouse and dependents.
  • In order to avail this scheme, the foreign investor will have to invest a minimum of Rs. 10 crores to be brought within 18 months or Rs.25 crores to be brought within 36 months. Further, the foreign investment should result in generating employment to at least 20 resident Indians every financial year.
  • PRS will serve as a multiple entry visa without any stay stipulation and PRS holders will be exempted from the registration requirements.
  • PRS holders will be allowed to purchase one residential property for dwelling purpose.
  • Spouse/ dependents of the PRS holder will be allowed to take up employment in private sector (in relaxation to salary stipulations for Employment Visa) and undertake studies in India.

 

Paradip to be develop as World Class Smart Industrial Port City

(Topic: Infrastructure-Ports)

About- Port city of Paradip is to develop as World Class Smart Industrial Port City.

Paradip Port city-

  • Rationale behind developing Paradip as a smart city is that Paradip already have a Major Port and strong mineral resource presence in the region, these factors will make Paradip a hub for Micro Small & Medium Enterprises (MSME).
  • Smart City at Paradip will be built on a PPP basic and it will have Multi-modal Logistics Parks (MMLPs), Industrial Parks, Residential and Commercial areas, water management system, waste recycling centre & creek development programme for tourism.
  • Greening and road beautification works worth Rs. 6 crores are already underway. The smart city will also have a Solar Energy Park of 20 MW spread over 90 acres of land. 10 MW of this is proposed to be completed by March 2017 and the rest is to be completed by December, 2017.
  • Proposed Smart City will also have dedicated drinking water supply lines and a very efficient drainage system. The road network will have dedicated lines for township and port.
  • Slums area which is currently scattered in 155 acres will be rehabilitated through Pradhanmantri Awaas Yojana.

 

Annual Report of ‘Crime in India – 2015’

(Topic: Criminal activities and steps to reduce its percentage)

About- Union Home Minister released the 63rd edition of ‘Crime in India – 2015’.National Crime Records Bureau publishes the report on annual basis, since the first edition published for the year 1953.

Report contains- Information on police recorded criminal cases pertaining to the calendar year 2015. The data for the publication has been collected from 36 States/UTs and 53 Mega Cities (having population of more than 10 lakhs).

Some of the highlights of the reports include-

  • A decrease of 4.7% under crimes against Scheduled Tribes (from 11,451 in 2014 to 10,914 cases in 2015).
  • A decrease of 4.4% under crimes against Scheduled castes (from 47,064 in 2014 to 45,003 cases in 2015).
  • A decrease of 3.1% under crimes against women (from 3,37,922 cases in 2014 to 3,27,394cases in 2015).
  • 28,69,195 cases under IPC were investigated in 2015. Out of 1,05,02,256 IPC cases, 13,25,989 cases were tried by the courts in 2015, showing conviction rate as 46.9% under IPC crimes.
  • Out of 46,46,419 cases, investigation completed in 43,46,003 cases. Cases chargesheet rate was 98.1% and conviction rate was 92.4% under Special & Local Laws (SLL) cases.
  • Properties worth Rs. 8,21,040 lakh were stolen during the year 2015 and against this loss, properties worth Rs. 1,35,019 lakh were recovered.
  • A total of 73,26,099 offence cases [29,49,400 Indian Penal Code (IPC) cases and 43,76,699 SLL cases] were reported in 2015, an increase of 1.3% over 2014.
  • An increase of 5.3% under crimes against children (from 89,423 in 2014 to 94,172 cases in 2015). Kidnapping and abduction constituted 44.5% of total cases of crimes against children.
  • An increase of 25.8% under crimes against Human Trafficking (6,877 cases in 2015 compared to 5,466 cases in 2014).

 

Union Home Minister reviews CCTNS and National Emergency Response System

(Topic: Criminal Tracking)

About- Union Home Minister reviewed the progress of two projects, namely Crime and Criminal Tracking Network and Systems (CCTNS) and National Emergency Response System (NERS).

Project aims at- Providing pan India search on National database of Crime and Criminal records and integrating all pillars of Criminal Justice System, namely Police, Courts, Prisons, Fingerprints, Forensics and Prosecution, for informed decision making.

CCTNS is a 100% centrally funded project with an outlay of Rs. 2000 crore.

Highlights-

  • Home Minister was apprised that till date, 85% computerization has been completed and 93 lakh FIRs have been registered using the CCTNS System.
  • 32 States/UTs are sharing data with National Data Centre (NDC). It was informed that MHA is exploring alternative ways of expediting the process from the remaining four States/UTs.
  • Home Minister directed that concrete steps should be taken to overcome the challenges and expedite the implementation of the Project.
  • Project, in its next phase, envisions to create a dedicated information network for establishing high bandwidth connectivity across all pillars of Criminal Justice System.
  • Video Conferencing facilities are proposed to be expanded to facilitate Court proceedings, to harness savings of time and cost involved in security and transportation of Prisoners.
  • Home Minister reviewed the status of the NERS project which aims at rolling out pan-India single emergency number- 112, for all kinds of emergencies and distress calls from across the country.
  • Under the project, it is proposed to supplement the efforts of State Governments and UTs through provision of Hardware, Connectivity, trained call agents and other infrastructure.
  • Centre for Development of Advanced Computing (CDAC) has been engaged to provide cloud based central application for Case Records Management (CRM), Geographical Information System (GIS) and Computer Aided Dispatch (CAD).
  • MHA proposes to complete the project in two phases, taking up seven States/UTs in first phase and the rest of the Country in the second phase. Both the phases are expected to be completed by end of year 2017.

 

Minister of Railways inaugurated International Conference on Technology for Ultra High Speed Rolling Stock 

(Topic: Indian Railways)

About- Minister of Railways inaugurated International Conference on Technology for Ultra High Speed Rolling Stock jointly organised by Institute of Rolling Stock Engineers (IRSE) and Indian Railways Service of Mechanical Engineers Association (IRSMEA) with active support of Indian Railways.

Backgrounder for International Conference on “Technology for Ultra High Speed Rolling Stock”

  • Current operating speeds are 110 to 150 KMPH in general. There is only one train i.e. Gatiman Express which runs at 160 KMPH between Delhi and Agra
  • Indian Railways also producing in-house 200 KMPH fit rake based on LHB technology at Rail Coach Factory, Kapurthala which is expected to be turned out before 31st October, 2016. Also, a high speed diesel multiple unit rake capable of running at 160 KMPH with potential upto 200 KMPH is under design and manufacture at ICF, Chennai.  This rake will come out next year.
  • These efforts have so far been to achieve semi high speed i.e. 160 to 200 KMPH on Indian Railways. 9 corridors have been identified for semi high speed – Delhi-Agra, Delhi-Chandigarh, Delhi-Kanpur, Nagpur-Bilaspur, Mysore-Bangalore-Chennai, Mumbai-Goa, Mumbai-Ahmedabad, Chennai-Hyderabad, Nagpur-Secunderabad
  • There has also been a concept proving trial of Talgo type rakes which has been tested upto 180 KMPH on existing track. These explorations are also in the area of semi high speed.
  • IR have decided to built a high speed corridor based on Shinkansen technology of Japan between Ahmedabad to Mumbai with capable of running at 300 KMPH. Further, five feasibility studies are in progress for Mumbai-Delhi, Mumbai-Chennai, Delhi-Kolkata, Mumbai-Nagpur.
  • Ministry of Railways have taken a visionary step to develop a ultra high speed railway technology capable of running upto at 500 KMPH and beyond. The example of ISRO is being followed for creating cutting edge technology in India to put a country amongst the leading nations of future Railway technology in the World.
  • Types of ultra high speed technologies
  • Maglev – conventional Maglev design is based on repulsion technology which has been developed by Germany and used in China. Another type of repulsion based Maglev technology has been developed by Japan. South Korea is also working on similar concept
  • Quadlev – this is ‘Attraction’ based Maglev technology at conceptual and lab test level, developed by Dr. James R. Powell of USA who is also one of the inventors of Maglev technology. This technology promises to transport both passengers and goods at much lower costs as compared to conventional Maglev.
  • Hyper Loop technology – This technology was originally conceived by Mr. Elon Reeve Musk, CEO – Tesla Motors. This consists of passenger or goods carrying capsule like vehicles travelling inside an evacuated concrete pipe. The capsule is suspended inside the tube using Maglev principles. This technology is still under development and concept proving. However, this has capacity to travel at speeds exceeding 1000 KMPH at much lesser energy consumption as compared to conventional trains.
  • Indian Railways have decided to join the global scientific and technical community involved in development of ultra high speed railway technology as a futuristic step. If a suitable technology is identified in this process, a project sanction will be considered for further development
  • Cost of ultra-high speed technology particularly Maglev at present is higher and is comparable to underground metro systems. However, potential exists to develop technologies with much lesser cost then even elevated metro systems
  • Conference will help Indian Railways in their plan to completely metamorphosise into a modern and efficient railway system in the future capable of providing safe reliable and comfortable ultra high speed travel.

 

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