(Topic: Bilateral Agreement)
About- Prime Minister of the Republic of India, is currently on an official visit to Japan during which they undertook a comprehensive review of the Special Strategic and Global Partnership as outlined in the “India and Japan Vision 2025” set forth on 12 December 2015. They acknowledged the significant progress in bilateral relations over the past two years since PM Modi’s visit to Japan in August-September 2014.
Synergising the Partnership
- The two Prime Ministers appreciated the deep civilisation links between the people of the two countries, including the common heritage of Buddhist thought, and underscored their shared commitment to democracy, openness, and the rule of law as key values to achieve peaceful co-existence. They welcomed the high degree of convergence in the political, economic and strategic interests of the two countries that provides an enduring basis for a long-term partnership.
- Underscored the rising importance of the Indo-Pacific region as the key driver for the prosperity of the world. They stressed the core values of democracy, peace, the rule of law, tolerance, and respect for the environment in realising pluralistic and inclusive growth of the region.
- They further stressed that improving connectivity between Asia and Africa, through realising a Free and Open Indo-Pacific region, is vital to achieving prosperity of the entire region. They decided to seek synergy between India’s “Act East” Policy and Japan’s “Expanded Partnership for Quality Infrastructure,” by closely coordinating, bilaterally and with other partners, for better regional integration and improved connectivity as well as industrial networks based on the principles of mutual consultation and trust.
- Reviewing the deepening interdependence and complexity of the global agenda, the two Prime Ministers also decided to expand common space and their cooperation on global challenges such as climate change, countering terrorism and violent extremism, reform of the United Nations (UN) including the United Nations Security Council (UNSC), as well as maintaining rules-based international order.
- Keeping in mind the immense potential for combining Japan’s capital, innovation and technologies with the rich human resources and economic opportunities available in India’s high-growth economy, the two Prime Ministers underlined the need to intensify cooperation in high technology, space, clean energy and energy sector development, infrastructure and smart cities, bio-technology, pharmaceuticals, ICT, as well as education and skills development to strengthen and deepen their Special Strategic and Global Partnership.
Building a Stronger Partnership for Safer and Stable World
- Stressing the role of India and Japan for stability and prosperity in the Indo-Pacific region, the two Prime Ministers reiterated the need to further consolidate their security and defence cooperation. They welcomed the entry into force of the two Defence Framework Agreements concerning the Transfer of Defence Equipment and Technology and concerning Security Measures for the Protection of Classified Military Information.
- Need to further expand defence engagement through greater two-way collaboration and technology cooperation, co-development and co-production, by expediting discussions for determining specific items including through the Joint Working Group on Defence Equipment and Technology Cooperation.
- Appreciated the successful Annual Defence Ministerial Dialogue held in New Delhi, Japan’s regular participation in the Malabar Exercise and the International Fleet Review off the coast of Vishakapatnam. They reaffirmed their desire to further deepen bilateral security and defence dialogues, through the “2+2” Dialogue, Defence Policy Dialogue, Military-to-Military Talks and Coast Guard-to-Coast Guard co-operation. They also welcomed that, with the inaugural air force staff talks held earlier this year, the two sides now have institutional wide ranging dialogue mechanism in place covering all three services. The two Prime Ministers shared their intention to expand dialogue and cooperation in the defence sector to cover exchange of observers in humanitarian assistance and disaster relief (HA/DR) exercises, and exchange and training of personnel in other fields.
- PM of India conveyed his appreciation for Japan’s readiness to provide its state of the art defence platforms such as US-2 amphibian aircraft. It symbolises the high degree of trust between the two countries and the distance that Japan and India have covered in advancing their bilateral defence exchanges.
Partnership for Prosperity
- Prime Minister Modi briefed Prime Minister Abe about his Government’s efforts to accelerate economic development through innovative initiatives such as “Make in India,” “Digital India,” “Skill India,” “Smart City,” “Swachh Bharat” and “Start-Up India.” Prime Minister Abe expressed Japan’s firm support for these initiatives by sharing its advanced skills and technologies, through active mobilisation of Japanese public and private sector investments, including through ODA. The two Prime Ministers underscored that these initiatives provide significant opportunities for further collaboration between private sectors of India and Japan.
- The two Prime Ministers welcomed the steady progress made in the Mumbai-Ahmedabad High Speed Rail (MAHSR) Project, a flagship project between the two countries, through the discussion in the Joint Committee meetings held thrice in 2016.The target schedule of the MAHSR Project that the General Consultant will start its work in December 2016, that the construction work will commence by the end of 2018, and that the operation will start in 2023.
- Emphasised the critical importance of human resource development in high speed rail technology, operation and maintenance in a planned manner, including the commencement of preliminary work on establishment of HSR Institute and development of its training programme. The two Prime Ministers recognised the importance of accelerating the MAHSR Project by holding the Ground Breaking Ceremony in 2017. The two Prime Ministers noted with satisfaction, the growing collaboration between India and Japan in the modernisation and expansion of conventional railway system in India.
- The two Prime Ministers decided to cooperate on the human resource development in the manufacturing sector in India through “Manufacturing Skill Transfer Promotion Programme.” This programme will enhance the manufacturing base of India and contribute to “Make in India” and “Skill India,” through training 30,000 persons over next 10 years with Japanese style manufacturing skills and practices through the establishment of the Japan-India Institutes for Manufacturing (JIM) and the Japanese Endowed Courses (JEC) in engineering colleges designated by Japanese companies in India in cooperation between the public and private sectors. The first three JIMs under the Programme would start in summer 2017 in the States of Gujarat, Karnataka and Rajasthan.
- The two Prime Ministers welcomed the steady progress to realise 3.5 trillion yen of public and private financing to India in five years under the “Japan-India Investment Promotion Partnership.” They also welcomed the progress in the projects at the Western Dedicated Freight Corridor (DFC), the Delhi-Mumbai Industrial Corridor (DMIC) and the Chennai Bengaluru Industrial Corridor (CBIC). The two Prime Ministers also confirmed the importance of securing appropriate implementation of ODA projects.
- Prime Minister Modi appreciated the significant contribution of Japan’s ODA in the development and modernisation of infrastructure in India. In this regard, the two Prime Ministers welcomed progress in the ODA projects in urban transportation sector such as the Chennai and Ahmedabad Metro, the Mumbai Trans Harbor Link project, and the introduction of the Intelligence Transport System along the Eastern Peripheral Highway in Delhi. Prime Minister Abe expressed Japan’s intention to support the upgrading of the ship-recycling yards of Alang, Bhavnagar District of Gujarat.
- The two Prime Ministers expressed their strong commitment to work together to enhance connectivity, and welcomed the progress of the projects to enhance road connectivity in North Eastern India. They decided to build upon their cooperation in the field of smart cities to develop smart islands by initiating consultations to identify technologies, infrastructure, development strategies and management processes that would facilitate development of smart islands in an efficient and effective manner.
- Prime Minister Modi appreciated the provision of ODA loan to the irrigation project in Jharkhand, and the preparatory survey for forest resource management in Odisha and irrigation improvement in Rajasthan and Andhra Pradesh
- Prime Minister Modi appreciated Japan’s efforts to support the construction of a Convention Centre in Varanasi and recognised its symbolic importance as a sign of strengthening bilateral ties.
- Prime Minister Abe commended Prime Minister Modi’s strong commitment to improve business environment in India, and welcomed reforms undertaken for liberalising investment policies, simplifying and rationalising taxation system through the passage of historic Goods and Services Tax Bill, Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code and other measures.
- The two Prime Ministers welcomed the progress related to Japan Industrial Townships JITs including the focused planning by selecting a few areas out of the twelve JITs for pilot implementation and special investment incentives. They also agreed to continue to engage in consultation and cooperation in development of JITs.
- Prime Minister Abe also expressed appreciation for the facilitation provided by the “Japan Plus” for the Japanese companies in India and the coordination by the “Core Group” chaired by Cabinet Secretary for the facilitation of Japan-India Investment Promotion Partnership. The two Prime Ministers noted with satisfaction that the bilateral Strategic Economic Dialogue, Financial Dialogue and meetings on Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA) were held successfully this year and underlined the importance of these dialogues and their subcommittees to deepen bilateral cooperation. They also welcomed the entry into force of the Agreement on Social Security in October 2016, which would reduce costs of business and further facilitate human and economic exchanges between India and Japan.
- The two Prime Ministers confirmed the importance of implementing the “Japan-India Make-in-India Special Finance Facility” of up to 1.5 trillion yen by Nippon Export and Investment Insurance (NEXI) and Japan Bank for International Cooperation (JBIC) to promote direct investment of Japanese companies in India. They welcomed the Memorandum Of Understanding (MoU) between the National Investment and Infrastructure Fund (NIIF) and Japan Overseas Infrastructure Investment Corporation for Transport and Urban Development (JOIN) to explore funding for infrastructure projects in India.
Working together for a cleaner and greener future
- Recognised that access to reliable, clean and affordable energy is critical for economic growth of both countries, and in this regard, they welcomed the Japan-India Energy Partnership Initiative laid by the Japan-India 8th Energy Dialogue held in January 2016. They further desired to strengthen bilateral energy cooperation as it will contribute not only to the energy development of both countries, but also to worldwide energy security, energy access and climate change issue. They also reaffirmed their intention to promote transparent and diversified Liquified Natural Gas (LNG) market including elimination of destination clause.
- Welcomed the early entry into force of the Paris Agreement on climate change, and reaffirmed their commitment to work together in developing the rules for successful implementation of the Agreement. They also shared the intention to hold as early as possible further consultations on the Joint Crediting Mechanism (JCM).
- Prime Minister Abe welcomed Prime Minister Modi’s efforts, particularly in the area of renewable energy, including the establishment of the International Solar Alliance.
- The two Prime Ministers welcomed the signing of the Agreement between the Government of Japan and the Government of the Republic of India for Cooperation in the Peaceful Uses of Nuclear Energy which reflects a new level of mutual confidence and strategic partnership in the cause of clean energy, economic development and a peaceful and secure world.
- Collaboration between their private and public sector entities in environmentally friendly energy efficient technologies, the two Prime Ministers underlined the importance of promoting further cooperation in such areas as clean coal technologies and popularisation of eco-friendly vehicles including hybrid vehicles, electric vehicles etc.
- The two Prime Ministers expressed their intention to achieve an early conclusion of the Hong Kong International Convention for the Safe and Environmentally Sound Recycling of Ships, 2009.
Laying the Foundation of a Future-oriented Partnership
- Recognised the vast potential for deeper bilateral collaboration of science and technology to fundamentally transform societies. They also stressed the importance of enhancing space cooperation, and welcomed the signing of the MOU between JAXA and ISRO.
- They also appreciated extending cooperation in the area of marine, earth and atmospheric sciences, including through the Memorundum of Cooperation (MOC) between the Ministry of Earth Science and JAMSTEC. They noted the progress made in bilateral IT and IoT cooperation through the bilateral Joint Working Group on IT and Electronics, the Japan-India IoT Investment Initiative in cooperation with JETRO, and Joint Committee on Science and Technology.
- Both nations welcomed the successful holding of the “Asian Ministerial Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction 2016” in New Delhi, following the Third UN World Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction. They recognised the potential for cooperation in the area of disaster management and disaster risk reduction. They also acknowledged the importance of the World Tsunami Awareness Day to raise awareness, promote better understanding of risks and develop tools to address it.
- The two Prime Ministers also welcomed progress of cooperation in the field of healthcare including antimicrobial resistance, stem cell research, pharmaceuticals and medical devices. They also noted the opportunities for collaboration between Indian and Japanese pharmaceutical companies in light of the target regarding the quantitative share of generic medicines in Japan.
Investing in People for a Durable Partnership
- Stressed the need to further strengthen the opportunities for tourism, youth exchange and educational collaboration, and decided to mark the year 2017 as a year of India-Japan friendly exchanges in the field of culture and tourism. They welcomed the MOC in the field of Cultural Exchange. They expressed their strong desire to promote tourism flows between the two countries and noted with satisfaction the inaugural meeting of India-Japan Tourism Council and look forward to the second meeting in Japan in 2017. They also welcomed the planned opening of the Japan National Tourism Organisation (JNTO) office in Delhi in FY 2016.
- Prime Minister Abe announced a relaxation of visa requirement for Indian students and expressed his intention to expand the number of visa application sites for Indian nationals to twenty. Prime Minister Abe thanked Prime Minister Modi for extending the Visa on Arrival facility as well as long-term ten-year visas to Japanese tourists and investors.
- Briefed about Japan’s new initiative “Innovative Asia” to enhance exchange of skilled human resources in Asia. Hoped that this initiative would provide Indian students new avenues to avail of scholarship and internship opportunities and would further foster innovation
- The two Prime Ministers noted with satisfaction the successful realisation of the first bilateral High-Level Policy Dialogue on Education, and stressed the need to further strengthen collaboration in education including through expanded university-to-university institutionalised links. The two Prime Ministers also underscored the importance of sharing the best practices regarding the education models, and initiatives such as SAKURA Science Plan (Japan-Asia Youth Exchange Programme in Science) under which young Indian students and researchers visit Japan.
- Welcomed the signing of the MOC on Sports between the Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports of India and the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology of Japan to promote sharing of experiences, skills, techniques, information and knowledge, with a special focus on Tokyo 2020 Olympics and Paralympics.
- Stressed the importance of increased interaction between all levels of the government, between parliament members, and between Prefectures and States. They welcomed the signing of the MOU between the State of Gujarat and Hyogo Prefecture on mutual cooperation. They also expressed satisfaction at the strengthened ties between the City of Kyoto and Varanasi, two ancient cities integral to their respective cultural heritage
- Prime Minister Modi welcomed the growing interest in Japan in celebrating the International Day of Yoga. Prime Minister Modi also encouraged the Japanese Yoga enthusiasts to avail of Indian scholarships for training in the most reputed yoga institutes in India.
- Recognised the importance of the empowerment of women and the need to strengthen cooperation in this area, including efforts through conferences such as the World Assembly for Women (WAW!).
- Sharing the view that the future of Asia needs to build on the positive influence of traditions of non-violence, tolerance, and democracy in Asia, the two Prime Ministers welcomed the symposium on “Shared Values and Democracy in Asia” held in Tokyo in January 2016 and looked forward to the next conference in 2017.
Working Jointly for Strengthening Rules-based International Order in the Indo-Pacific Region and Beyond
- Stressed the potential that the collaboration of India and Japan have in realising prosperous Indo-Pacific region in the 21st century. They decided to draw on the strength of shared values, convergent interests and complementary skills and resources, to promote economic and social development, capacity building, connectivity and infrastructure development in the region.
- Underscored the importance of India-Japan dialogue to promote cooperation and collaboration in Africa, with the objective to synergise their efforts and explore specific joint projects including in the areas of training and capacity building, health, infrastructure and connectivity. In this regard, they also expressed their intention to work jointly and cooperatively with the international community to promote the development of industrial corridors and industrial network in Asia and Africa.
- Welcomed the prospects of cooperation between the two countries for promoting peace and prosperity in South Asia and neighboring region, such as Iran and Afghanistan, through both bilateral and trilateral cooperation, inter-alia, in the development of infrastructure and connectivity for Chabahar. They directed their officials to expeditiously work out details for such cooperation.
- Welcomed the holding of trilateral dialogue among Japan, India and the United States, and strengthened coordination and cooperation in such areas as HA/DR, regional connectivity as well as maritime security and safety. Welcomed continued and deepened trilateral dialogue among Japan, India and Australia.
- Welcoming the progress in strengthening the East Asia Summit (EAS) process as the premier leaders-led forum to discuss regional political, economic and security issues, the two Prime Ministers decided to work together towards making the Summit a more dynamic proactive process. They welcomed the convening of the EAS Ambassadors’ Meeting in Jakarta and the establishment of the EAS Unit within the ASEAN Secretariat. They stressed the importance of enhancing maritime cooperation and regional connectivity within the EAS framework.
- Expressed their willingness to shaping and strengthening the evolving regional architecture through enhanced cooperation in ASEAN-led fora such as ASEAN Regional Forum, ASEAN Defence Ministers’ Meeting Plus, Expanded ASEAN Maritime Forum and coordination of their actions to tackle global and regional challenges including maritime security, terrorism and violent extremism, and climate change.
- Both Nations condemned terrorism in strongest terms in all its forms and manifestations in the spirit of “zero tolerance.” They noted with great concern the growing menace of terrorism and violent extremism and its universal reach. They expressed their condolences to the bereaved families of the victims of both countries in the recent terrorist attacks including in Dhaka and Uri. They called upon all countries to implement the UNSC Resolution 1267 and other relevant resolutions designating terrorist entities. They called upon all countries to work towards eliminating terrorist safe havens and infrastructure, in disrupting terrorist networks and financing channels, and stopping cross-border movement of terrorists.
- Reiterated their commitment to respecting freedom of navigation and over flight, and unimpeded lawful commerce, based on the principles of international law, as reflected notably in the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS).
- Recognising India as the largest democracy and a fast growing large economy in the Asia-Pacific region, Japan firmly supports India’s membership in the APEC. Decided to work towards liberalisation and facilitation of trade and investment in the Asia-Pacific region.
- Reaffirmed to cooperate towards conclusion of modern, comprehensive, high quality and mutually beneficial Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) Agreement. Decided to work towards liberalisation and facilitation of trade, including through WTO’s Trade Facilitation Agreement and through enhanced trade in goods and services, and investment in the Asia-Pacific region. Reaffirmed the importance of enhancing communication and cooperation on excess capacity in steel industries including through the formation of the Global Forum on steel excess capacity as called for by the G20 leaders this year
- Reaffirmed their shared commitment to the total elimination of nuclear weapons. Stressed the importance of early entry into force of the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT). They called for an immediate commencement and early conclusion of negotiations on a non-discriminatory, multilateral and internationally and effectively verifiable Fissile Material Cut-off Treaty (FMCT) on the basis of Shannon Mandate. They also expressed their resolve towards strengthening international cooperation to address the challenges of nuclear proliferation and nuclear terrorism.
- Recognised the importance of effective national export control systems. Japan welcomed India’s recent accession to the Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR) and the Hague Code of Conduct against Ballistic Missile Proliferation (HCOC) and its intensified engagement with the export control regimes.
- The two Prime Ministers reaffirmed their commitment to work together for India to become a full member in the remaining three international export control regimes: Nuclear Suppliers Group, Wassenaar Arrangement and Australia Group, with the aim of strengthening the international non-proliferation efforts.
Bilateral Trade agreement between India and Bhutan
(Topic: Bilateral Agreement)
About- Commerce and Industry Minister and Minister for Economic Affairs, Royal Government of Bhutan signed the Agreement on Trade, Commerce and Transit between India and the Royal Government of Bhutan.
- To enhance trade between the two countries through trade facilitation by improving procedures, cutting down on documentation and adding additional exit/entry points for Bhutan’s trade with other countries.
- It is also expected to further strengthen the excellent relations between the two countries.
Trade and Commerce Agreement-
- The first Agreement on Trade and Commerce between Bhutan and India was signed in 1972. Since then, the Agreement has been renewed four times. The last Agreement was renewed on July 28, 2006 and was valid till July 29, 2016.
- The validity of the Agreement was extended for a period of one year or till the date of coming into force of the new Agreement, whichever is earlier, by exchange of diplomatic notes between the two countries.
Ministry of Road Transport & Highways13-November, 2016 17:30 IST
India, Myanmar and Thailand Friendship Motor Car Rally, 2016 Flagged-off
(Topic: Bilateral Agreement)
About- The Minister of State for Road Transport and Highways, Shipping and Chemical Fertilizer flagged off a Friendship Motor Car Rally from India Gate lawns in Delhi to Bangkok.
Objective- To improve connectivity by road in the South-East Asian region and to sensitize the stakeholders of India Myanmar and Thailand Motor Vehicle Agreement regarding potential benefits of such a regulatory regime.
- This rally will also play an important role in developing the economic, transport and cultural relations between the three countries.
- Give a boost to the ‘Act East Policy’ and will improve our relationship with our neighbouring countries.
Basic purpose of this rally would be to- Sensitize people about the fact that an all weather road, connecting New Delhi and Bangkok would soon be operational . With the opening of Trilateral highway, it would become a reality to travel from New Delhi to Bangkok by road.
- The rally caravan will cover a distance of 5,722 KMs along the IMT Trilateral Highway with about 80 participants from all the three countries, in 20 Indian made vehicles on a journey from Delhi to Bangkok over 19 days.
- Ceremonial flag off will also be held in other cities and state capitals enroute like Sarnath, Bodhgaya, Patna, Siliguri, Guwahati, Shillong, Kohima and Imphal and Began and Yangoon in Myanmar and Bangkok in Thailand.
- The rally that will conclude at Bangkok on 2nd December, 2016, will further cement cultural and economic ties among the three nations and highlight the potential benefits of connectivity and integration in the region and in keeping with India’s focus on its close neighborhood.
- A trial run of passenger vehicles on the IMT Trilateral Highway up to Naypitaw in Myanmar was carried out during 9-14 November, 2015 in which Indian vehicles travelled to Myanmar on Imphal -Mandalay -Bagan- Naypitaw route and back and Myanmar vehicles joined the Indian vehicles on the return journey from Naypitaw to Imphal and returning to Myanmar.
Launch of ‘Kahin Bhi-Kabhi Bhi’ medical facilities for ESIC beneficiaries of Delhi
(Topic: Labour and Employment)
About- Minister of State (Independent Charge) for Labour and Employment, launched the ‘Kahin Bhi-Kabhi Bhi’ medical facilities for ESIC beneficiaries of Delhi and Inaugurated the ‘06 bedded Day Care Unit’ of ESI Dispensary.
Kahin Bhi Kabhi Bhi Intiative-
- ESIC has taken an initiative in the form of ‘Kahin Bhi Kabhi Bhi’ for ESIC beneficiaries of Delhi.
- Kahin Bhi means- any dispensary/Hospital and Kabhi Bhi means – any time. Now, all the network of dispensaries of Delhi has been made accessible to insured persons and their family members all the time. It will save his/her time and effort to avail services it closer to his workplace or home or any place.
Outcome- Now, insured persons and their family members of Delhi need not to visit ESIC Hospital for minor ailments requiring only day care like Diarrhoea, high grade fevers, acute asthama attacks, abdominal pain, chest pain etc. Besides this, in future, Day Care Centres will be developed in three more ESIC Dispensaries in Delhi having high OPD attendance in Nandnagari, Mangolpuri and Jwalapuri which will cover all zones of Delhi.
- ESI Corporation has decided to open six bed Day Care Centres in various ESI Dispensaries, all over the country.
- These Centres will become a complete unit in itself with medical facilities.
- To further improve the medical services to patients from working class, facilities like Dental Care, Physiotherapy, Yoga, X-Ray Plant on PPP Model, Mother and Child Tracking, courier services to deliver medicine at Insured Person doorsteps will also be provided.
- All 04 ESIC Hospitals of Delhi at Basaidarapur, Rohini, Okhla and Jhilmil will also be converted into Super Speciality Hospitals.
- ESIC has become one of the largest social security organizations, offering a better and brighter service for all the ESIC beneficiaries making every Insured Person feel like a VIP.
- ESIC Dispensary Dwarka has now become a complete unit in itself with medical facilities like General OPD Care, Family Welfare Services, full time Laboratory and X-Ray and Diagnostic care.
MSDE Announces Launch Of Pradhan Mantri Yuva Yojana To Scale Up An Ecosystem Of Entrepreneurship For Youngsters
(Topic: Skill Development)
About- Marking the 2nd Foundation Day of Ministry of Skill Development and Entrepreneurship, Minister of State(I/C) for Skill Development and Entrepreneurship launched the Pradhan Mantri YUVA Yojana, MSDE’s flagship scheme on entrepreneurship education and training.
Pradhan Mantri YUVA Yojana has national and international best practices of learning in entrepreneurship education.
- The scheme spans over five years (2016-17 to 2020-21) with a project cost of Rs. 499.94 crore, and will provide entrepreneurship education and training to over 7 lakh students in 5 years through 3050 Institutes.
- It will also include easy access to information and mentor network, credit, incubator and accelerator and advocacy to create a pathway for the youth.
Institutes under the PM’s YUVA Yojana include-
- MSDE’s two institutions dedicated to entrepreneur education and training – NIESBUD and IIE- have trained more than 7 lakh trainees including 2,600 persons from more than 125 countries in the field of entrepreneurial skills till date. After becoming a part of this Ministry, these two institutes are now focusing on mentorship of budding entrepreneurs across the country.
- 2200 Institutes of Higher Learning (colleges, universities, and premier institutes), 300 schools, 500 ITIs and 50 Entrepreneurship Development Centres, through Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs).
Ministry of Skill Development and Entrepreneurship’s (MSDE) efforts in-
- Ensuring alignment to common norms, district level committees, best practices, special projects, disadvantage groups and a robust model for monitoring and validation and emphasised the needs for States to come forward and handhold districts in making all skill initiatives a success at the local level.
- MSDE has plans to disburse around INR 7000 crore to states to help align them with the centre’s skill development agenda and work in conjunction with them to ensure a robust ecosystem.
- MSDE also unveiled the Lab Guidelines towards standardisation of lab equipment across skill development training centres in India.
- These guidelines specify the number of job roles that can be done in a lab, standard lab layout, and available brands of equipment which should be used.
- These guidelines will pave a pathway in increasing the employability of trained candidates across States ensuring industry standards.
- Emphasising on the importance of being self-sustainable, MSDE announced the institutionalisation of National Entrepreneurship awards for first generation achievers below 30 years, for the very first time.
- Entrepreneurship Awards are proposed to be given on 16 January 2017.
- The young entrepreneur will be awarded in various sectors contributing to the economy of our country.
- Equal emphasis has been given to recognize the meaningful contribution of ecosystem builders in this award process. Equal focus has been given to recognize young people from socially disadvantaged groups.
9th International Regulatory Cooperation Meeting for Herbal Medicines Inaugurated by AYUSH Minister
About- The Minister of State for AYUSH (Independent Charge), inaugurated the 9th Annual Meeting of International Regulatory Cooperation for Herbal Medicines (IRCH) in New Delhi.
Organised by– Ministry of AYUSH in New Delhi from 8-10 November, 2016. Over 33 delegates from 17 countries are participating in the three day-long Annual Meeting of IRCH.
- International Regulatory Cooperation for Herbal Medicines (IRCH), established in 2006, is a global network of regulatory authorities created by World Health Organization (WHO) responsible for regulation of herbal medicines.
- Objectives of IRCH meeting are to-
- Globally promote and facilitate the safe use of herbal medicines, through regional initiatives, sharing information and fostering dialogue
- Facilitate and strengthen cooperation between national regulatory authorities by sharing experience, information and knowledge related to the regulation, quality, safety and efficacy of herbal medicines
- Further discuss existing requirements and standards to promote the regulation, quality, safety and efficacy of herbal medicines
- Recommend future activities to WHO related to the quality and safety of herbal medicines
- Refer issues to the International Conference of Drug Regulatory Authorities and other bodies, where ever needed, for further discussion related to the quality and safety of herbal medicines.
India takes a lead in TB research in a unique mission mode to End TB
About- Tuberculosis (TB) is one of India’s severest health crises. It kills two Indians every three minutes and more than 1,000 people every day.
India TB Research and Development Corporation (ITRDC)
- It is a flagship initiative by ICMR, aims to bring together all major national and international stakeholders to develop new tools (drug, diagnostics, vaccines) for TB.
- The vision of the corporation is “To achieve Elimination of TB from India by investing in new tools (drugs, diagnostics, and vaccines) as well as provide these solutions to the world.”
India has the highest TB burden in the world. The Global Tuberculosis Report 2016 released in October 2016 by the World Health Organisation updated the estimate of incidence – that is, the number of new tuberculosis cases in a year – to 2.8 million in 2015. The updated estimate of tuberculosis deaths, excluding deaths of HIV-positive people, is 478,000 in 2015 and 483,000 in 2014.
- The aim is to reduce the incidence on new TB cases by 95% and reduce mortality by 95%.
- Research will be accelerated to improve cure rates and to accelerate decline in new cases.
- Implementation research will focus on finding and framing strategies to treat TB patients by involving al stakeholders. The aim is to ensure that all TV patients get assured quality diagnosis and treatment.
Initiative has been undertaken after a consensus from-
- Various Government, Non-Government and international research organizations in a high level meeting with officials from MOH&FW, DBT, CSIR, DST, TDB, WHO, Gates Foundation in Feb 2016 wherein all the members agreed to support the Corporation.
- The concept also has an in-principle by PMO for setting up a new entity. In a few months time the detailed landscape analysis of the national and global leads in four thematic areas namely diagnostics, vaccines, therapeutics and implementation research has been done and most advanced leads have been identified for taking forward.
- The first International Scientific Advisory Group (ISAG) meeting was convened on 9th and 10th November in New Delhi bringing together the eminent international and national TB experts from four thematic areas. The ISAG consisted of 6 international experts and 3 experts from India.
- The ISAG members were also appreciative of the tremendous progress made in a short span of time and the efforts put in by all the working group members in preparing a consolidated landscape analysis of all national and international leads in each area and shortlisting the leads along with their plan of action.
- The leads identified for taking ahead, the way forward & timelines were critically analysed by the Group and they identified core areas and guided on the strategy for the initiative to fight TB and achieve its goal.
New Green Urban Transport Scheme
(Topic: Urban Development)
About- Minister of Urban Development said that the Central Government is working on new policy initiatives to encourage private investments in climate friendly and sustainable public transport systems like Metro rail, Non-motorised Transport and other low carbon emitting systems in urban areas
New initiatives under consideration include– Green Urban Transport Scheme, New Metro Rail Policy, revision of Metro Acts and Standardisation and Indigenisation of Metro systems, aimed at increased private sector participation.
Green Urban Transport Scheme
- It seeks to encourage growth of urban transport along low Carbon path for substantial and measurable reduction in pollution, provide a permanent and sustainable framework for funding urban mobility projects at National, State and City level with minimum recourse to budgetary support by encouraging innovative financing of projects.
- Under this Scheme, provision of Non-motorised Transport infrastructure, increasing access to public transport, use of clean technologies, adoption of Intelligent Transport Systems (ITS) and private sector participation in urban transport projects will be increased.
- Scheme is being considered for for implementation in cities each with a population of five lakhs and above and all capital cities, Central assistance of about Rs.25,000 cr is estimated to be required which would in turn trigger private investments to meet the resource needs, over the next five years.
New Metro Policy-
- In view of the growing demand for metro rail systems in urban areas, a New Metro Policy would soon be unveiled to meet the demand through increased private sector participation.
- Policy mandates preparation of Comprehensive Mobility Plans of cities mandatory to ensure last mile connectivity with metro stations.
- It also seeks to bring in more innovative models of implementation besides increased standardization and indigenization to induce competition.
- New Metro policy seeks to ensure integration of metro projects with over all mobility needs in urban areas. Central government has so far provided an assistance of over Rs.65,000 cr including sovereign debt to metro projects in different cities of the country. As of now, 325 kms. of metro rail is in operation in Delhi, Kolkata, Chennai, Bengaluru, Mumbai and Jaipur. About 517 kms of metro rail projects are under execution and another 449 kms under planning stage, the Minister informed.
Revised Metro Acts-
- The existing two Metro Acts made in the context of Kolkata and Delhi Metros are being integrated envisaging more delegation of powers to State Governments besides promoting PPP and private initiatives.
To improve the city’s mobility, liveability and sustainability, Urban transport planning shall be people centric and aim at moving people instead of moving cars. All sections of people shall be ensured access to efficient public transport through inclusive planning.
Concern over road accident-
- Concern over one road accident every minute and one accident death every four minutes in urban areas and half of the victims being pedestrians, cyclists and those using two wheelers, so need for an affordable, comfortable, reliable and safe public transport to reduce demand for private motorized vehicles. Need for promotion of Non-motorised transport infrastructure for encouraging walking and cycling.
- NMT as a viable alternative mode of mobility would be effective if there is a close relationship between work and living place, and called for proper land use zoning, development control and building regulations to ensure success of public transport system in cities.
Under new urban sector initiatives of Smart Cities Mission and Atal Mission for Rejuvenation and Urban Transformation (AMRUT), Non-Motorised Transport is being encourages on a large scale.
Regional Connectivity Fund under UDAN To Stimulate Growth And Development of Civil Aviation Sector
(Topic: Civil Aviation)
Objective of Regional Connectivity Scheme, UDAN (Ude Desh ka Aam Naagrik) is- To enhance air passenger traffic in the country by stimulating demand on regional routes. Amount collected as Regional Connectivity Fund (RCF) will be used to provide financial support to airlines in the form of Viability Gap Funding (VGF) for operations under the Scheme.
RCF would channel funds generated from the sector to stimulate further growth and development of the sector itself. A part of the fund will also be contributed to by the states that have signed the UDAN MoU: as of date, 19 states have either signed or given their consent.
- The national scheduled airlines providing services on domestic routes where such fee per departure is levied would also be eligible under the Scheme to avail benefits of RCS.
- Similarly, even the passengers would be benefited through additional connectivity on regional routes at prices which are at or below the airfare caps.
- Thus, the funds collected from national scheduled airlines will-
- Benefit the same airlines and passengers from whom it is collected
- Further expected to lead to creation of regional air connectivity / services that would have spin-off benefits within the sector in terms of passengers taking other flights (not under RCS) and using airports / airport services that are not at concessional rates under RCS. The amount collected under the levy will be ploughed back into the sector.
Reducing costs for regional operators-
- UDAN recognizes the challenge of high costs faced by regional operators. Accordingly, the scheme brings down the operating cost for an airline by reducing taxes on aviation turbine fuel (ATF) and airport and other charges.
- Improving liquidity in the small plane leasing market will make it easy for entrepreneurs and airlines to start these routes. The winning bidder gets a three year exclusivity on the route so that the route can be matured and made profitable.
- The scheme uses the power of markets to discover to the lowest subsidy on the route. Half the seats can be sold by the winning bidder at market prices – this will also provide good information on the price the passengers on the route are willing to pay as and when the subsidy support goes away (between three and ten years).
Social obligation for a network business
- It is important to put the amount expected to be collected under this levy in context of other businesses which create connectivity and benefit from the network effect, for example, telecom and railways.
- The telecom industry in India generated annual net revenue of around Rs 1.8 lakh crores and paid 5% of its net revenues into a Universal Service Obligation (USO) fund, which collected Rs 9,835 crores in financial year 2016.
- The social service obligations of the Indian Railways manifests itself in the Rs 33,004 cr loss (in FY2015) in the passenger and coaching segment to bring connectivity to the country (this loss is on the base of passenger fares collected of Rs 42,190 cr in the same year).
Global examples of promoting regional connectivity
- The economic importance of promoting regional or remote connectivity is well understood across the world.
- Geographically large countries like the USA, Canada, Brazil and Australia among many others support regional and remote connectivity. UDAN is the first-of-its-kind scheme globally which harnesses the power of the markets to provide a public good.
- Ministry believes that this proposed levy is a small amount but which can go a long distance in bringing more travelers and cities to the Indian aviation network.
- Given the high growth in the sector we expect that the airlines could be in a position to absorb a part of the levy and not adversely impact the passengers significantly.
- As per an ICAO study, the output multipliers of aviation is 3.25 which means that every Rupees 100 spent on air transport contributes to Rupees 325 worth of indirect benefits.
- More important, the employment multiplier is 6.10 which means that every 100 direct jobs in air transport sector results in 610 jobs in the economy as a whole. Therefore, the funds which are collected from national scheduled airlines for RCF can provide a further boost to the development of regional and national economies.
Indo-Japan MOU for Marine-Earth Science and Technology (JAMSTEC)
(Topic: Earth science and Technology)
About- A Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Japan Agency for Marine-Earth Science and Technology (JAMSTEC) and the Ministry of Earth Sciences, Government of India has been approved by the Cabinet.
Objective- The advancement of academic research in the field of Earth Sciences for the benefit of the peace and human welfare
- The collaboration with JAMSTEC will not only enhance capability in the field ofatmospheric and climate research, ocean technology observation and hazard mitigation but also provide much needed exposure and hands-on experience to Indian scientists.
- The cooperation between parties and under Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) will be pursued primarily through joint survey, cruise and research and development activities, exchange of scientific visits, joint scientific seminars, workshops and meetings or exchange of information and data.
First LNG fuelled bus in the country launched in Kerala
(Topic: Petroleum and Natural Gas)
About- For the 1st time in the Country, an LNG fuelled bus has been launched by the Minister of Petroleum & Natural Gas.
Joint effort of- Petronet LNG Limited (PLL), Indian Oil Corporation Ltd and Tata Motors Ltd to introduce LNG as a fuel in commercial vehicles in the state capital
LNG fueled bus is being launched as part of a plan of the Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas to use LNG directly for mass transportation and to reduce carbon emissions in the Country simultaneously generating savings. The launch also coincided with the fourth meeting of the Group of Ministers (GoM) holding Transport portfolios.
- LNG is an environmentally friendly fuel with less number of Nox, Soxand particulate matters, as compared to any other automotive fuel. Co2 emission is also lesser than Diesel.
- LNG is greener as well as more economical as compared to Diesel. LNG is more suitable for heavy duty segment like Trucks and Buses.
- Introduction of LNG in transport segment will also help India to meet its COP21 commitment
- The Government of India has already announced that it is planning to use LNG, which is cheaper than diesel, as a fuel for Railways and long-haul transportation.
- The KSRTC, which has a fleet of 6,000 buses, has already announced plans to use natural gas.
- Ministry of Road Transport and Highways (MORTH) has already released draft notifcation for use of LNG as an automotive fuel. Final notification is expected to be released soon.
- Petroleum and Explosives Safety Organization (PESO) has formed an expert committee to form regulations for installation of LNG Fuel tank and dispensing stations, which is also expected to be released at an early date.
First Training Squadron visits Chittagong (Bangladesh)
About- Indian Naval Ships Tir and Sujata, alongwith Indian Coast Guard Ship Varuna, comprising the 1st Training Squadron, are on a visit to Chittagong, Bangladesh from 11 – 15 Nov 16 as part of their Overseas Deployment during Autumn Term 16. The Senior Officer of the 1st Training Squadron, Captain DJ Revar, would be embarked on board INS Tir.
India and Bangladesh Relations-
- India and Bangladesh have a close, long-standing relationship covering a wide spectrum of activities and interactions, which has strengthened over the years.
- The people of India and Bangladesh have close cultural bonds and a shared vision of a democratic society.
- The present deployment of the Training Squadron to Chittagong would further cement the close relations between the two nations and the two navies.
First Training Squadron
- First Training Squadron forms part of Southern Naval Command (SNC) and comprises Indian Naval Ships Tir, Shardul, Sujata, ICGS Varuna and two Sail Training Ships Sudarshini and Tarangini, all of which have been built in India.
- Primary aim of the Squadron is to impart training to Naval and Coast Guard trainees, with a 24 weeks ab-initio sea training being imparted. The trainees are imparted training in Seamanship, Navigation, Ship Handling, Boat Work, Technical aspects, etc whilst being exposed to the rigours of life at sea, so as to earn their ‘sea legs’.
- Southern Naval Command is the Training Command of the Indian Navy, which provides both basic and advanced training to officers and sailors of the Indian Navy.
- Indian Navy has also been providing training to personnel from Friendly Foreign Countries for more than four decades, wherein more than 13,000 personnel from over 40 countries have been trained.
- The Indian Navy’s focused approach for providing high quality training by constantly adapting to evolving tactics and technologies, has gained it a reputation of being one of the finest training destinations.
COP 22 focus on Afforestation, Ecosystem and Climate Change
(Topic: Climate Change)
About- On the third day of Conference of Parties (COP-22) on Wednesday, being held at Marrakech in Morocco, the India Pavilion witnessed three side-events that focused on the initiatives in afforestation and REDD+ in India, ecosystem and climate change and sustainable transportation.
Afforestation and REDD+
- Experts highlighted that forests play a crucial role in mitigating climate change, particularly in India, where nearly 25% of the area has tree cover.
- Government has asked the forestry sector to help the country meet its goal of creation of 2.5-3.0 billion tonnes of additional carbon sinks, as per the Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs).
- This target will be met using a variety of means, including- Afforestation + Reforestation+ Agro-forestry, conducted through community participation and mechanisms like REDD+.
- REDD+ stands for– Reducing Emissions by Deforestation and Degradation, an initiative finalized under the UN’s Paris Agreement in 2015.
- India has begun implementing REDD+ pilot projects, developing protocols for-Improving measurement, Reporting, and verification (MRV) and safeguard information systems (SIS).
- Emphasis was also placed on promoting the exchange of information and present potential collaborations among South Asian countries that share Himalayan and tropical ecologies organized by Indian Council of Forestry Research and Education (ICFRE), International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development (ICIMOD) and International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN).
Role of forest in climate change mitigation and adaptation
- Climate change alters existing biome types and can cause forest dieback with consequent loss of biodiversity.
- Various forest conservation oriented acts and policies in India are contributing to a reduction in carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions, stabilization and improvement of carbon stocks in forests, and conservation of biodiversity.
- India’s forests serve as a major sink of CO2, offsetting around 12% of the total greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions of the country. IUCN had elaborated about its initiatives in India.
- ICIMOD provided the information on various activities including preparation of inventory of methodology on climate change and river system in India.
- Representative of Government of Bihar provided detailed information on the initiatives on the agro-forestry and strategy to meet the climate change risk.
- India’s efforts on sustainable transport solutions, the Ministry of Railways, Government of India, with its technical partner, Council on Energy, Environment and Water, hosted the third session on “Sustainable Transport Solutions” at the India Pavilion at COP-22 in Marrakech, where the current climate negotiations are underway.
- In addition, there have been efforts to decrease fossil-fuel dependence in the transport sector, which have been incorporated by moving towards cleaner sources of energy and increasing the share of renewables in driving mobility.
‘Sustainable Transport Systems’ at the India Pavilion
- India has focused its low carbon initiatives on the development of railways, waterways, Mass Rapid Transport Systems (MRTS) and other forms of public transport.
- Initiatives such as the Dedicated Freight Corridors (DFCs) were highlighted by Executive Director, Ministry of Railways, and the Sagarmala projects on development of waterways by Deputy Secretary, Ministry of Shipping.
- The initiatives are aimed at increasing the share and volume of freight traffic on the more energy efficient rail and water based transport modes.
- The representative from Council on Energy, Environment and Water highlighted that the Indian Railways has taken a leadership role by planning to substitute its petroleum use with alternatives like bio-fuels, and consistently pursuing a policy of railway electrification through renewable sources of energy, with potential reduction of 138 MT of CO2 by 2030.
Ministry of Environment and Forests11-November, 2016 18:57 IST
COP 22 Discuss Climate Change Adaptability
(Topic: Climate Change)
About- The India Pavilion witnessed two major side events on Climate Change Adaptability, organised by the Ministry of Water Resources, River Development and Ganga Rejuvenation (MoWR, RD & GR) and The Ministry of Agriculture.
Climate Change Adaption- Preserving Water Resources
- The opening session, “Climate Change Adaptation – Preserving Water Resources” was moderated by Advisor, Ministry of Water Resources.
- Highlighted the initiatives taken by National Water Mission, established by the Government of India under the National Action Plan on Climate Change formulated by the Prime Minister’s Council on Climate Change for adaptation and mitigation of impact of climate change on water resources in particular and elaborated on various goals of the NWM and emphasized the achievements of the Mission in the sphere of integrated water resource management and development.
- Second session for the day, hosted by Ministry of Agriculture, was held under the chairmanship of Director General, MANAGE, Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare, Government of India.
- Through various policy initiatives and efforts around afforestation, food security, waste reduction, employment for agriculture labours, sustainable agriculture; the Government is trying to keep pace with the time and mitigate severe impacts of climate changes in agriculture.
- Detailed presentation on various policies and schemes of the Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare, on integrated farming systems, agro-forestry, Pradhan Mantri Krishi Sinchayee Yojana and integration of various departmental activities like irrigation, agriculture, rural development is ensured.
India International Trade Fair-2016
(Topic: Trade and Commerce)
About- The annual flagship event of India Trade Promotion Organisation (ITPO), the 36th India International Trade Fair (November14-27, 2016) inaugurated by the President of India, on November 14, 2016 at Pragati Maidan, New Delhi.
Theme- IITF and its ‘Digital India’ theme will project its deep commitment to fulfil the vision of the PM of India. The theme assumes special significance for highlighting country’s persistent efforts to alleviate poverty through meaningful convergence of digital technologies and e-governance.
- This year, as many as 7000 participants are taking part in the fair. The ‘Partner Country’is the ‘South Korea’ and the ‘Focus Country’ is ‘Belarus’.
- The ‘Partner States’are ‘Madhya Pradesh’ and ‘Jharkhand’ while, ‘Haryana’ is participating as the ‘Focus State’.
- Over 150 companies from 27 countries are taking part in the fair. These include: Australia, Afghanistan, Belarus, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Bhutan, China, Germany, Hong Kong, Iran, Kuwait, Kyrgyzstan, Myanmar, Netherlands, Oman, Sri Lanka, South Africa, South Korea, Singapore, Tibet, Turkey, Thailand, UAE and UK.
- Domestic participation profilecovers- All the States and Union Territories, Central Government Ministries/Departments, Public Sector Undertakings, Export Promotion Councils, Commodity Board, Financial Institutions, Corporate and non-government organisations etc.
- CAPART pavilion of the Ministry of Rural Development, Government of India is participating with around 800 rural artisans and craft persons,while 100 artisans are participating through National Minorities Development & Finance & Corporation.
Fair highlights India’s Initiatives-
- Extending India’s global appeal for investment in diverse sectors, the fair also manifests a multi-pronged strategy of Indian economy which is driven by ‘Make in India’initiative and reforms to transform trade and industry into an engine of socio- economic growth.
- The fair also provides a glimpse with updated information on various missions, schemes and initiatives, launched by the Government, Swachh Bharat Campaign, Clean Ganga Mission, Jan Dhan Yojana, Skill India, Adhar, 175 Solar Mission, Farmer Corp Insurance, Atal Mission for Rejuvenation and Urban Transformation(AMRUT), Start up & Stand up Campaign, Smart Cities, Model Villages, etc.
- These programmes will be demonstrated prominently in the display profile of the pavilions of the States and Union Territories as well as standalone pavilions.
Schemes launched by Ministry of Commerce-
- It also provides first hand information of the policies, progressive reforms and the new schemes launched by the Ministry of Commerce and Industry, Government of India under the Foreign Trade Policy (2015-2020).
- These schemes are the Merchandize Exports from India Scheme (MEIS) and Services Exports from India Scheme (SEIS). Under these schemes incentives are available for SEZs and ‘e-Biz’ for promotion of diverse sectors.
- IITF2016 is a collective effort of the ‘Team ITPO’ and its associates including different service agencies.
- It involves coordination with security agencies, various municipal wings, transport authorities, State Governments, customs, excise, media houses plethora of organisations for smooth conduct of the event.
- IITF is an annual magnum opus of the ITPO, a founding member of the Asian Trade Promotion Forum(ATPF) also a member of India Convention Promotion Bureau (ICPB) and significantly, it has been given responsibility to play a role as ‘Focal Point’ for the BRICS Trade Promotion Group based on the BRICS Contact Group on Economic and Trade Issues(CGETI).
- Apart from IITF, it holds world class fairs and expositions in the country and overseas, exploring new markets of Africa, ASEAN, Latin America, North America and CIS countries for Indian products and services.
India to Adopt International Best Practices in Fertilizer Research
(Topic: Chemicals and Fertilizers)
About- Union Minister of Chemicals & Fertilizers, while chairing the 1st meeting of Governing Council for Indian Council for Fertilizer and Nutrient Research (ICFNR) held in New Delhi.
- ICFNR, set up under the administrative control of Department of Fertilizers (DoF), Ministry of Chemicals & Fertilizers (MoCF), would be exclusively devoted to promotion of research in Fertilizer sector.
- Areas of operation of ICFNR include- Promotion of research in area of fertilizer manufacturing technology + Use of raw material and innovation in fertilizer products + Eco-friendly micro nutrients and pesticide coated slow release fertilizers + Bio fertilisers & organic fertilisers and their derivatives.
- ICFNR would be having a Governing Council and an Executive Committee for monitoring the progress in the field.
- Governing Council is chaired by the Minister of Chemicals & Fertilizers and Executive Committee is chaired by Secretary, Fertilizers. Governing Council will meet every six months and Executive Council will meet every quarter.
- ICFNR is located at National Fertilizers Limited (NFL) office, Noida.
- NFL will also provide secretarial assistance including staff for ICFNR.
- For the initial funding, seed money from the three Fertilizer PSUs viz. NFL, RCF and FAGMIL will be provided on annual basis.
- Subsequently, Government of India will provide budgetary support and the ICFNR shall be funded by Department of Fertilizers through Plan fund allocation for which a separate plan head will be created
India second largest consumer of fertilizers-
- India is the second largest consumer of fertilizers in the world after China. Indian fertilizer requirement is largely dependent on imports – around 25% in case of Urea, around 50% in case of Natural gas (feedstock), more than 50% in case of phosphatic and around 100% for potassic fertilizers.
- India is also dependent on foreign players for sourcing of technology / licensing and technological up-gradation. Hence it is of prime importance to have an indigenous research environment in India to achieve Food Security for the common man
Competition Commission of India (CCI) selected to host ICN 2018 Annual Conference in New Delhi in March –April 2018
About- Recognising the growing stature of Competition Commission of India (CCI) in the world, International Competition Network (ICN) has accepted the proposal and decided that Competition Commission of India would host the 2018 ICN Annual Conference.
Schedule- This will be held at Delhi in March –April 2018.
- ICN is an international body comprising 132 members from 120 competition jurisdictions exclusively devoted to international competition enforcement.
- ICN provides competition authorities with a specialised yet informal platform for addressing practical competition concerns, sharing experiences and adopting international best practices.
- Its members are national competition authorities and NGA (Non-governmental Advisers) which include reputed law firms, eminent persons, and think tanks of international repute.
- The ICN holds an Annual Conference which is hosted by a member competition agency. The last such Conference was hosted by Competition Commission of Singapore in April 2016 and Portuguese Competition Authority is hosting the next conference in May 2017.
- CCI is a member of the ICN since 2003.
- CCI has been set-up to prevent practices having adverse effects on competition and to promote and protect interest of consumers and to ensure freedom of trade carried on by other participants in markets in India. The Act also mandates an extra territorial jurisdiction to the Commission.
- CCI has been engaged with competition authorities of other jurisdictions and also multilateral agencies like the Organisation for Economic Cooperation & Development (OECD) and the International Competition Network (ICN).
- By virtue of this event, CCI has also been inducted as an ex-officio member of the steering group member of the ICN for a period of 3 years.
- CCI eagerly looks forward to hosting this international event which will provide a rare opportunity to attract domestic and international competition enforcement experts to deliberate on international best practices and host of competition issues being faced by the Competition agencies the world over.
Launches “Healthy India Initiative” magazine and “No More Tension” Mobile Application
About- Union Minister of Health and Family Welfare as he released the “Healthy India Initiative/Swastha Bharat-ek pehal” magazine and launched the “No More Tension” Mobile Application
Importance of such initiatives–
These initiatives will strengthen our health communications initiatives and will bring us closer to people who need our services the most.
- There is a heightened focus on preventive health along with curative health now. Awareness is very important to keep away non-communicable diseases (NCDs)”.
- NCDs are acquired lifestyle ailments, which place a very high burden through the healthcare cost.
- Efforts made- Health Ministry is working on the theme of “Catch them Young” and is working on effecting behaviour change among the young to keep away from such habits that cause NCDs. Through pictorial books, health messages shall be brought out that will educate the children and youth about healthy living habits and activities.
Healthy India Initiative/Swastha Bharat-ek pehal
- A quarterly magazine will cater to health related information and will raise awareness about healthy living.
- The magazine will cover different aspect of health: women and child health, elderly health, seasonal ailments, daily nutritional needs, safe medication practices, home remedies healthy living and many more.
- The magazine will be made available at all the government facilities up to the sub-centre and will be available free of cost.
- The e-version of this magazine is also available for download. The current issue is in Hindi and English and the next version will be available in 13 other languages.
No more Tension-
- Stress management mobile application “No More Tension” helps users to manage stress.
- Main objective of ‘No More Tension’ is to provide information to users regarding stress such as, what is stress, effects, symptoms and its management.
- The application allows the user to measure their stress level and learn various techniques like yoga and meditation to reduce stress from their lives. Currently, the application is available for download on Google play store and App store and will be available shortly on Windows.
Importance of Stress Management-
There is importance of stress management in the life of an individual and how stress affects everyone irrespective of age, gender, financial status, etc. People suffer from stress related problems due to their busy work life and hectic schedule, which in turn results in loss of productivity.
All Health Mobile Apps launched by the Health Ministry shall be available at one click on the National Health Portal (NHP)
Surya Jyoti – Photo-Voltaic (PV) Integrated Micro Solar Dome (MSD)
(Topic: Science and Technology)
About- Union Minister for Science & Technology and Earth Sciences, visited the dwelling units of Lalbagh clusters in Azadpur area of Delhi, where the PV Integrated Micro Solar Dome (MSD) – Surya Jyoti have been installed.
- Micro Solar Dome (MSD) is a clear and green energy initiative of- Department of Science and Technology. This project will also supplement the Green Energy initiatives.
- Micro Solar Dome (MSD) is a day and night lighting single device unique in its features, that has-
- Transparent semi-spherical upper dome made of acrylic material which captures the sunlight and the light passes through a sun-tube having a thin layer of highly reflective coating on the inner wall of the passage.
- It also contains a lower dome made of acrylic. There is a shutter in the bottom of the lower dome which can be closed, if light is not required in the daytime.
- It is leak proof and works throughout the day and 4 hours continuously after sunset.
- The entire development activities were taken up by an R&D Organisation under the aegis of the Department of Science & Technology.
Objective- In order to capture day light and concentrate the same inside a dark room, particularly in urban slum or rural areas which lack electricity supply, a low cost and energy efficient Micro Solar Dome has been tested and developed.
Potential Users of Device-
- Potential users of this device are the 10 million off-grid households in urban and rural spaces and several folds more that do not have reliable access to electricity.
- When these Surya Jyoti lamps, giving an illumination equivalent of a 60W incandescent lamp, are installed in 10 million households it would lead to a saving of 1750 million units of energy.
- It would also lead to an Emission Reduction of about 12.5 million ton of CO2.
- About 1000 Micro Solar domes now working in the slums of Delhi, Kolkata, Agartala, Guwahati, Bhopal and Bengaluru.
- However, demand of the product is increasing manifold as more and more people are becoming aware of the unique benefits of using the product.
- In order to cater to this ever increasing demand, an entrepreneurship development programme for manufacturing and installation of Surya Jyoti was organised during 18-22 October, 2016 in which 25 entrepreneurs and 7 voluntary organisation from 11 States of different regions were trained.
- The manufacturing process of the device is labour intensive and is expected to generate huge job opportunities. A monthly production of 6000 units is envisaged by December, 2016 which will go up to 20000 by March, 2017.
- There are about 130 number of Surya Jyoti at Lalbag and nearby areas. The latest Surya Jyoti operates in three modes, day light without any electricity, night time with solar PV and night time with conventional grid after 17 hours of operation.
- Department of Science & Technology along with Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE) will take it up for larger distribution in bigger areas. The Department is also training and giving licenses to young entrepreneurs to have their own start-ups. Self-help groups have also been trained to make these lamps and have been given licenses.
PV Intergrated Micro Solar Dome-
- PV Integrated Micro Solar Dome has been included as a product for off grid solar lighting applications by Ministry of New and Renewable Energy and is eligible for subsidy at par with other solar lighting products. Attempts are being made to integrate Surya Jyoti for subsidy in rural and urban housing schemes, MP Local Area Development Schemes and corporate social responsibility activities of public sector enterprises
- PV integrated Micro Solar Dome costs about Rs.1200 and Non-PV integrated Micro Solar Dome about Rs. 500 which would further reduce to about Rs. 900 and Rs. 400 respectively, post the scaling up of the manufacturing process.