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IASbaba PIB Weekly : Press Information Bureau – 22nd Oct to 28th Oct, 2017

  • IASbaba
  • October 30, 2017
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IASbaba's Press Information Bureau
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IASbaba Press Information Bureau 22nd to 28th October 2017

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GS-2

India’s First Pradhan Mantri Kaushal Kendra for Skilling in Smart Cities

(Topic: Issues relating to development and management of Social Sector/Services relating to Health, Education, Human Resources)

Objective: To provide skill training for unemployed youth through its short-term training (STT) module and contribute to the capacity building of municipal employees through Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL) program

Affirming synergies with the Government of India’s flagship programs, the new skill development centres underscore the commitment of the Ministry of Urban Affairs & Housing (MUHA) and the Ministry of Skill Development & Entrepreneurship (MSDE) to support skilling in smart cities.

For a Skilled India:

SAATHI (Sustainable and Accelerated Adoption of efficient Textile technologies to Help small Industries)

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

Under this initiative, Energy Efficiency Services Limited (EESL), a public sector entity under the administrative control of Ministry of Power, would procure energy efficient Powerlooms, motors and Rapier kits in bulk and provide them to the small and medium Powerloom units at no upfront cost.

  • The use of efficient equipment would result in energy savings and cost savings to the unit owner and he would repay in installments to EESL over a 4 to 5 year period. This is the aggregation, bulk procurement and financing model that EESL has successfully deployed in several sectors like LED bulbs, Smart Meters and Electric Vehicles.
  • The unit owner neither has to allocate any upfront capital cost to procure these equipment nor does it have to allocate additional expenditure for repayment as the repayments to EESL are made from the savings that accrue as a result of higher efficiency equipment’s and cost savings.
  • The aggregation of demand and bulk procurement will also lead to reduction in capital cost, benefits of which will be passed on to the Powerloom units so that their repayment amount and period would reduce.

Powerloom sector in India –

  • It is predominantly an unorganized sector and has a large number of micro and small units which produce 57 percent of the total cloth in the country.
  • There are 24.86 lakhs Powerloom units in this country, most of whom use obsolete technology.
  • With a view to upgrading the technology, the Government of India has been implementing the INSITU upgradation of plain Powerlooms as part of Power Tex India under which plain Powerlooms are attached with process control equipment leading to higher productivity, better quality and more than 50 percent additional value realisation.

So far 1.70 lakhs plain Powerlooms have been upgraded under the scheme, with a total Government of India subsidy of Rs. 186 crores.

CVC to develop Integrity Index of 25 Organizations

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

Integrity index: Development of the Integrity Index-based on bench-marking of internal processes and controls within an organisation as well as management of relationships and expectations of outside stakeholders

The Integrity Index will bring out annual scores/rankings of Public Sector Undertakings/Public Sector Banks and Financial Institutions/Departments/Ministries of Government of India by linking the essential drivers of vigilance with long term efficiency, profitability and sustainability of public organizations and create an internal and external ecosystem that promotes working with Integrity in public organizations.

  • Define what constitutes Integrity of Public Organizations
  • Identify the different factors of Integrity and their inter-linkages
  • Create an objective and reliable tool that can measure the performance of organizations along these above factors
  • Validate the findings over a period of time to improve upon the robustness of the tool that measures Integrity
  • Create an internal and external ecosystem that promotes working with Integrity where public organizations lead the way.

 

Government of India and the Asian Development Bank (ADB) Sign $300 Million Loan to Promote Further Fiscal Reforms in West Bengal

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

Objective: To improve the quality of public service delivery

The Second West Bengal Development Finance Program targets a further increase in public investment through reduction of unproductive expenditure, and savings from efficiencies in revenue collections. The Program will build on earlier intervention under Phase I of the project through the $400 million Program that targeted a comprehensive fiscal consolidation program in the state.

  • The new Program will not only target public investment but would also support private investments more directly by creating an infrastructure facility to support project preparation, development, and appraisal, with emphasis on public-private partnerships in health and education. It also seeks to simplify the registration and licensing procedure for micro, small and medium enterprises.
  • Spread over two years, the Program will also carry forward reforms such as linking medium term expenditure plans to actual budgets, supported by strengthening internal audit system, and enhancements in the integrated financial management system (IFMS). Other activities under the program include improved tax monitoring and continued support for information technology systems in strengthening tax and land administration.
  • Capital outlay as a percentage of gross state domestic product is expected to rise to 2.2% by FY2022 under the second program, with improved budget allocations geared toward development expenditure.
  • Accompanying the loan is a technical assistance grant of $500,000 to strengthen key institutions responsible for carrying out fiscal management reforms in the state.

 

Government of India and the Asian Development Bank (ADB) sign $65.5 Million Loan to support Coastal Protection in Karnataka

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

The Asian Development Bank (ADB) and the Government of India signed a $65.5 million loan agreement to continue interventions to check coastal erosion on the Western Coast in Karnataka. The loan is the Second Tranche of a $250 million financing facility under the Sustainable Coastal Protection and Management Investment Program.

Objective: The financing will be used to address the immediate coastal protection needs and for strengthening institutional capacity of Karnataka’s Public Works, Ports and Inland Water Transport Department.

  • The program has introduced innovative techniques for managing coastal erosion that will ultimately benefit local communities, and would also help address concerns pertaining to the climate change.
  • The investment program has already demonstrated the benefit of adoption of softer options such as artificial reefs, beach nourishments, and dune management for coastal protection.
  • The project will consist of eight coastal protection subprojects to address the issues of medium to severe coastal erosion resulting in protection of about 54 km of coastline in Karnataka.

Issue:

  • Karnataka’s coast supports the state’s major economic sectors, which include fisheries, agriculture, tourism, ports and other major transport and communication sectors.
  • Coastal erosion in the state, where the project is focused, poses a high risk to human wellbeing, economic development, and ecological integrity through loss of land, infrastructure, and business opportunities.
  • Under increasing threat from climate change impacts, coastal protection and management has evolved as a major challenge to development.
  • Effective and sustainable management of the shoreline is thus vital to sustainable economic and social development of the coastal regions in the state.

The Second Tranche Loan from ADB’s ordinary capital resources has a 20-year term. The State of Karnataka, acting through its Department of Public Works is responsible for implementation of overall program, which is due for completion by September 2020.

 

India and France to strengthen Bilateral Defence Cooperation as a key pillar of their strategic partnership

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

  • The Ministers reviewed ongoing initiatives to further strengthen bilateral defence cooperation as a key pillar of the strategic partnership between India and France. They also discussed regional and international developments of mutual interest.
  • A range of measures to expand military to military ties, including enhancing the scope of their joint exercises, in particular the VARUNA naval exercise scheduled in early 2018, were agreed upon. Both countries will also actively explore additional measures to facilitate operational level interactions between their respective armed forces.
  • The Ministers reiterated their strong intention to further expand bilateral cooperation on counter- terrorism. Recognising the growing significance of maritime security in the Indo-Pacific and the need for greater maritime domain awareness, India and France will further expand information sharing arrangements building upon the Technical Arrangement on Exchange of White Shipping information signed earlier this year.
  • The two Ministers also comprehensively reviewed developments in defence equipment and industry cooperation, where France is a major partner. They agreed to strongly support projects for defence manufacturing under the Make in India initiative as well as promote defence technology and R&D cooperation.

GS-3

Power sector in India

(Topic: Infrastructure: Energy, Ports, Roads, Airports, Railways etc.)

  • Ministry is in the final stages of codifying laws on a number of fronts including State Governments/DISCOMs honouring of Power Purchase Agreements (PPAs) and penalties for delinquencies
  • All DISCOMs to have tied up PPAs to cover 100% power requirements including peak loads before licenses are renewed
  • The Renewable Purchase Obligations to be made statutory
  • Made Smart Meters mandatory and penalties to be imposed for non-payment of electricity bills, inter alia.

Coastal Shipping to get a boost as Jawaharlal Nehru Port Trust and Karwar Port get Grants-in-aid under Sagarmala Coastal Berth Scheme

(Topic: Infrastructure: Energy, Ports, Roads, Airports, Railways etc.)

The Ministry of Shipping has sanctioned Rs 25 Crore as Grants-in-aid to Jawaharlal Nehru Port Trust and another Rs 50 Crore to the Government of Karnataka for Karwar Port, for developing their infrastructure, under the Coastal Berth Scheme of its flagship programme Sagarmala

The Coastal Berth Scheme aims to provide financial support to ports or state governments for creation of infrastructure for movement of cargo and passenger by sea or national waterways.

The admissible financial assistance from Central Government is 50% of the total cost of the project subject to:

(i) A maximum of ? 25 crore for projects relating to construction/up-gradation of coastal berths by Major/Non-Major Ports,

(ii) A maximum of ? 10 crore for construction of platforms/jetties for hovercrafts & seaplanes by Ports/State Governments & passenger jetties in National Waterways and islands by State Governments,

(iii) A maximum of ? 15 crore for mechanization of berths by Major/Non-Major Ports

(iv) A maximum of ? 50 crore for capital dredging of operational Non-Major Ports

(v) A maximum of ? 50 crore for construction of breakwater for existing and Greenfield Ports. The balance expenditure has to be incurred by the respective ports/concerned State Government from their own resources.

Karwar Port

  • Situated between New Mangalore Port and Mormugao Port
  • Acclaimed as one of the best natural all weather ports on the west coast and provides all weather berthing facilities for ocean going vessels
  • The only port owned and administered by the State Government

The expansion at both the ports will result in increased shipping activity, employment generation and overall improvement in the socio-economic condition in the hinterland.

India & Macroeconomic Stability: Click here to go through the comprehensive presentation (Important)

Note:

  1. Mandatory to use Public Finance Management System (PFMS) for all Central govt. schemes:
  • Help in tracking and monitoring the flow of funds to the implementing agencies – would go a long way in monitoring and tracking of any unnecessary parking of funds by the implementing agencies and thereby minimizing the cases of delay and pending payments to a large extent.
  • With the capability of providing real time information on resource availability, flows and actual utilization has tremendous potential to improve programme/financial management, reduce the float in the financial systems by enabling ‘just in time’ releases and also the Government borrowings with direct impact on interest costs to the Government.
  1. United Nations Day – 24th October
  2. Indian Badminton Player Kidambi Srikanth won at Denmark Open Super Series Premier 2017.
  3. Indian Hockey Team won the Asia Cup 2017.
  4. India’s Space Mission to Moon, “Chandrayaan-II”, will take place in 2018
  5. INSV Tarini entered Fremantle (Australia) port during its maiden voyage to circumnavigate the globe. This is the first-ever Indian circumnavigation of the globe by an all-women crew.
  6. Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion (DIPP), Ministry of Commerce and Industry, has signed an institutional agreement with the Punjab State Council of Science and Technology to establish India’s first Technology and Innovation Support Center (TISC) at Patent Information Centre, Punjab, under the World Intellectual Property Organization’s (WIPO) TISC program. Another TISC is being established at Anna University, Chennai.
  7. CORPAT (Coordinated Patrol): Demonstration of India’s commitment to its ties with Indonesia and to the maritime security in the Indian Ocean Region. The two navies have been carrying out Coordinated Patrols (CORPAT) on respective sides of the International Maritime Boundary Line (IMBL) twice a year since 2002. The aim of the CORPAT is to enhance mutual understanding and inter-operability between the navies, prosecute vessels involved in unlawful activities, conduct SAR and take measures against Sea Pollution.
  8. The Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation (BIMSTEC) is an International Organisation involving a group of countries in the South Asia and South East Asia namely, Bangladesh, India, Myanmar, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Bhutan and Nepal.
  9. While the number of physicians available is 20 per 10,000 people in developed countries, it is only six in India and the country needs 10.5 lakh doctors while we have only 6.5 lakh. The number of hospital beds per 10,000 is 40 in developed countries while it is nine in India.
  10. To reach WHO norm of one doctor per 1,000, (there is one doctor per 1700 population in India) a high-level committee of NITI Aayog has recommended the setting up of 187 more medical colleges by 2022.
  11. Conference on Consumer Protection for East, South and South-East Asian Countries with the theme of “Empowering Consumers in New Markets” – Consumer is considered as God in trade premises. ‘Grahak Devo Bhava’ is the dictum for consumer satisfaction. This is the first time an international conference on consumer protection is being organised by India for countries of the region which account for a majority of the global consumers and share common challenges and experiences. 22 countries from East, South and South-East Asia are participating in the international conference.
  12. Pension Fund Regulatory and Development Authority (PFRDA) has taken several initiatives in the past few years to increase pension coverage in the country, notably introducing e-NPS, reducing minimum contribution levels, new investment instruments, aggressive life cycle funds etc. PFRDA has now taken a further step in this direction by increasing the incentives payable to Points of Presence (POPs), the principal distributive points for National Pension System (NPS).

 

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