The Government of India and World Bank sign $200 Million Loan Agreement for the Assam Agribusiness and Rural Transformation Project
(Topic: Important International institutions, agencies and fora- their structure, mandate; Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation)
Assam is simplifying several regulatory procedures related to doing business, agricultural marketing, and fisheries amongst others. The Project will support the Government of Assam –
Facilitate agri-business investments
Increase agriculture productivity by strengthening the farming systems, and market access
Enable small farm holders produce crops that are resilient to recurrent floods or droughts in the state
Raise private sector investments to promote agri-enterprises which will create better job opportunities for the youth in the State
Promote market-led production that can deal with the vagaries of climate change – will take advantage of the rapidly changing market, introduce crops that are resilient to climate change, increase production and manage risks for farmers
The Project will be implemented in over 16 Districts of Assam. Over 500,000 farming households will directly benefit from the Project. At least 30 percent women are expected to participate in project activities. Specific focus will be given to women-led enterprises and their participation in the decision-making process of farmer producer organizations.
The focus on geographic clustering of the production base for certain commodities will help agri-enterprises take advantage of existing and future market opportunities that they may not necessarily achieve alone.
The cluster approach will allow for combining efforts, making use of synergies, and pooling resources to increase the competitive advantage of these products, while at the same time share the risks involved in introducing improved products or entering previously untapped markets.
Successful clusters will also continuously innovate and adapt ‘best practices’ across agricultural value chains.
MHA gives a boost to “Make in India” in the field of manufacturing of arms
(Topic: Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation)
The Ministry of Home Affairs has liberalised the Arms Rules to boost “Make in India” manufacturing policy of the Government –
To promote employment generation in the field of manufacturing of arms and ammunition.
To encourage investment in the manufacturing of arms and ammunition and weapon systems as part of the “Make in India” programme. The liberalised rules are expected to encourage the manufacturing activity and facilitate availability of world class weapons to meet the requirement of Armed Forces and Police Forces in sync with country’s defence indigenization programme.
Trade Agreement between India and Ethiopia for strengthening and promoting trade and economic cooperation: The trade Agreement will provide for all necessary measures to encourage trade, economic cooperation, investment and technical co-operation.
Signing an Agreement between India and Armenia on cooperation and mutual assistance in customs matters: The Agreement would provide a legal framework for sharing of information and intelligence between the Customs authorities of the two countries and help in the proper application of Customs laws, prevention and investigation of Customs offences and the facilitation of legitimate trade.
Ongoing Centrally Sponsored Scheme (State Plans) – Rashtriya Krishi Vikas Yojana (RKVY) as Rashtriya Krishi Vikas Yojana- Remunerative Approaches for Agriculture and Allied sector Rejuvenation (RKVY-RAFTAAR) for three years i.e. 2017-18 to 2019-20: The scheme will incentivize States in enhancing more allocation to Agriculture and Allied Sectors. This will also strengthen farmer’s efforts through creation of agriculture infrastructure that help in supply of quality inputs, market facilities etc. This will further promote agri-entrepreneurship and support business models that maximize returns to farmers.
Rashtriya Krishi Vikas Yojana (RKVY)
Provides considerable flexibility and autonomy to states in planning and executing programmes for incentivizing investment in agriculture and allied sectors.
States initiate the process of decentralized planning for agriculture and allied sectors through preparation of District Agriculture Plans (DAPs) and State Agriculture Plan (SAP) based on agro-climatic conditions, availability of appropriate technology and natural resources to ensure accommodation of local needs, cropping pattern, priorities etc.
National priorities like Bringing Green Revolution to Eastern India (BGREI), Crop Diversification Program (CDP), Reclamation of Problem Soil (RPS), Foot & Mouth Disease – Control Program (FMD-CP), Saffron Mission, Accelerated Fodder Development Programme, etc. are being implemented through the window of RKVY.
EESL launches $454 million ‘Creating and Sustaining Markets for Energy Efficiency’ project in partnership with the GEF
(Topic: Infrastructure: Energy)
What: Recognizing India’s efforts towards a low emission-economy and focusing on energy efficiency programmes, the Global Environment Facility (GEF) has now partnered with Energy Efficiency Services Limited (EESL), under Ministry of Power, for the project ‘Creating and Sustaining Markets for Energy Efficiency’
The project will receive a composite funding of $454 million comprised of the GEF grant of $20 million and co-financing of $434 million in the form of loans and equity, including a $200 million loan from the Asian Development Bank (ADB).
EESL has proposed Energy Efficiency Revolving Fund (EERF) for sustainable funding mechanism of energy efficiency projects in the country.
Will support the ‘proof of concept’ investments for the new technologies of super-efficient ceiling fans, tri-generation technologies & smart grid-applications and ultimately scaling up energy efficiency financing and programme development to help cover initial investment costs of identified energy efficiency programmes like street lighting, domestic lighting, five-star rated ceiling fans and agricultural pumps, in the country.
This unique model will help in addressing the upfront risks of new technologies. Further, the accrued savings from these technologies can then be used to finance additional projects, which would allow capital to revolve as a sustainable funding mechanism.
The GEF project further brings together many technical and financing partners including United Nations Environment (UN Environment), Asian Development Bank (ADB) and Kreditanstalt für Wiederaufbau (KfW) which aims to mitigate 60 million tons of CO2 eq (carbon dioxide equivalent), that will enable a total direct energy savings of 38.3 million GJ by 2022 and 137.5 million GJ by 2032. (1 GJ = 277.778 kWh)
By 2030, India is committed to achieve 40% of the installed capacity based on clean energy sources.
GEF is an international partnership of 183 countries, international institutions, civil society organizations and the private sector that addresses global environmental issues. The funding announcement was made at the launch of the GEF-6 fund which supports two projects – ‘Creating Markets for Energy Efficiency’ and ‘District Energy in Cities’.
150th birth anniversary of Sister Nivedita
Sister Nivedita’s original name was Margaret Noble; though born in Ireland, she became an Indian nation builder.
She was a pioneer in girls’ education in India and in providing health services to the poor.
Two excerpts from Swami Vivekananda’s letters to Sister Nivedita, written in Sanskrit –
In the first letter Swamiji tells Sister Nivedita that his life’s mantra is: ???????? ??????? ?????? ????????? – This translates to “Tougher than rocks; more tender than flowers”. It points to Swamiji’s ability to balance the idealism of his work with the practical aspects of everyday life.
In the second letter, Swamiji impresses upon Sister Nivedita that: ??? ?????? ??????????? ???????? ??? ?????? Or: “A person who does good to others, never meets a bad end …”
2. The Soundarya Lahari is a set of shlokas composed by Adi Shankaracharya
3. For every one additional year of education for women in reproductive age, child mortality is reduced by a huge 9.50 per cent.
4. India’s food consumption is currently valued at US $370 billion. It is expected to reach $1 trillion by 2025, in less than a decade.
5. Indian Women’s hockey team wins Asia Cup 2017.
6. Mission 11 Million (MXIM): Football outreach program
7. Bahudha approach – Emphasizes the need for a dialogue to promote a harmonious and peaceful living. Peace is an essential pre-requisite for progress of mankind, especially when the world is witnessing an increasing number of conflicts. In the context of the rise of terrorism and religious fundamentalism, which are threatening world peace like never before, the Bahudha approach is a good way to resolve even the most intractable problems.
8. Launch of MSME Delayed Payment Portal – MSME Samadhaan: To empower micro and small entrepreneurs across the country to directly register their cases relating to delayed payments by Central Ministries/Departments/CPSEs/State Governments. The portal will greatly facilitate the monitoring of the delayed payment in a more effective manner. The information on the portal will be available in public domain, thus exerting moral pressure on the defaulting organisations. The MSEs will also be empowered to access the portal and monitor their cases.
9. India’s rank has risen to 100 in the latest report compared to 130 in the Doing Business Report (by World Bank), 2017.
10. Lauh Purush – Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel
11. Clubfoot is one of the most common orthopaedic birth defects, and can cause permanent disability if not treated early.
This affects the child’s mobility and confidence. Inevitably, education and schooling suffer – and the child cannot fulfil his or her potential.
It is estimated that over 50,000 children are born annually in India with clubfoot. The exact reasons for this congenital disability are not fully known.
In India the burden of disability affects more than 10 million people. The differently-abled or Divyang as we call them deserve equal opportunities in all avenues of life. Mainstreaming their social and professional experience is a commitment for all of us.
12. 21st World Congress of Mental Health: Organised by the World Federation for Mental Health in partnership with Caring Foundation and other institutions
Our National Mental Health Survey 2016 found that close to 14 per cent of India’s population required active mental health interventions.
India’s National Mental Health Programme is building 22 centres of excellence in the field of mental health. In parallel, the District Mental Health Programme has already covered 517 of the approximately 650 districts in India
13. “PRABAL DOSTYK – 2017” between the Indian Army and the Kazakhstan Army, aimed at enhancing the military ties between the two countries as also at achieving interoperability between the two armies.
14. Deen Dayal SPARSH Yojana: Under the scheme of SPARSH (Scholarship for Promotion of Aptitude & Research in Stamps as a Hobby), it is proposed to award annual scholarships to children of Standard VI to IX having good academic record and also pursuing Philately as a hobby through a competitive selection process in all postal circles. Philately is the hobby of collection and study of Postage stamps.