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Prime Minister to launch Accessible India Campaign for Physically disabled people n important aim of the society is to integrate persons with disabilities in the society so that they can actively participate in society and lead a normal life. Ideally, a disabled person should be able to commute between home, work place and other destinations with independence, convenience and safety. The more persons with disabilities are able to access physical facilities, the more they will be part of the social mainstream. With firm commitment of the government towards socio-economic transformation of the persons with disabilities there is an urgent need to create mass awareness for universal accessibility. DEPwD is also in the process of creating a mobile app, along with a web portal for crowd sourcing the requests regarding inaccessible places. With the app, downloaded on his/her mobile phone, any person would be able to click a photograph or video of an inaccessible public place (like a school, hospital, government office etc.) and upload the same to the Accessible India portal. The portal will process the request for access audit, financial sanction and final retrofitting of the building to make it completely accessible. The mobile app and portal will also seek engagement of big corporates and PSUs to partner in the campaign by offering their help to conduct access audit and for accessibility- conversion of the buildings/transport and websites. India is a signatory to the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNCRPD). Department of Empowerment of Persons with Disabilities (DEPwD), Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment, has formulated the Accessible India Campaign (Sugamya Bharat Abhiyan), as a nation-wide campaign for achieving universal accessibility for PwDs. The campaign targets three separate verticals for achieving universal accessibility namely the built up environment, transportation eco-system and information & communication eco-system. The campaign has ambitious targets with defined timelines and will use IT and social media for spreading awareness about the campaign and seeking commitment / engagement of various stakeholders. The Department has asked various State Govts. to identify about 50 to 100 public buildings in big cities and also identify citizen centric public websites, which if made fully accessible would have the highest impact on the lives of PwDs. Once identified, “Access Audit” of these buildings and websites will be conducted by professional agencies. As per the audit findings, retrofitting and conversion of buildings, transport and websites would be undertaken by various government departments. This will be supported by the Scheme of Implementation of Persons with Disabilities Act (SIPDA), an umbrella scheme run by the Department of Empowerment of Persons with Disabilities (DEPwD) for implementing various initiatives for social and economic empowerment of PwDs. Article 9 of UNCRPD casts an obligation on all the signatory governments to take appropriate measures to ensure to persons with disabilities access, on an equal basis with others, to the physical environment, to transportation, to information and communications, including information and communications technologies and systems, and to other facilities and services open or provided to the public, both in urban and in rural areas. Persons with Disabilities (Equal Opportunities. Protection of Rights and Full Participation) Act 1995 under Section 44, 45 and 46 also categorically provides for non-discrimination in participation, non-discrimination of the roads and built up environment. As per Section 46 of the PwD Act, the States are required to provide for : i) Ramps in public buildings ii) Provision of toilets for wheelchair users iii)Braille symbols and auditory signals in elevators or lifts iv) Ramps in hospitals, primary health centres and other rehabilitation centres. Article 9 – Accessibility of UNCRPD 1. To enable persons with disabilities to live independently and participate fully in all aspects of life, States Parties shall take appropriate measures to ensure to persons with disabilities access, on an equal basis with others, to the physical environment, to transportation, to information and communications, including information and communications technologies and systems, and to other facilities and services open or provided to the public, both in urban and in rural areas. These measures, which shall include the identification and elimination of obstacles and barriers to accessibility, shall apply to, inter alia: Buildings, roads, transportation and other indoor and outdoor facilities, including schools, housing, medical facilities and workplaces; Information, communications and other services, including electronic services and emergency services. 2. States Parties shall also take appropriate measures to: Develop, promulgate and monitor the implementation of minimum standards and guidelines for the accessibility of facilities and services open or provided to the public; Ensure that private entities that offer facilities and services which are open or provided to the public take into account all aspects of accessibility for persons with disabilities; Provide training for stakeholders on accessibility issues facing persons with disabilities; Provide in buildings and other facilities open to the public signage in Braille and in easy to read and understand forms; Provide forms of live assistance and intermediaries, including guides, readers and professional sign language interpreters, to facilitate accessibility to buildings and other facilities open to the public; Promote other appropriate forms of assistance and support to persons with disabilities to ensure their access to information; Promote access for persons with disabilities to new information and communications technologies and systems, including the Internet; Promote the design, development, production and distribution of accessible information and communications technologies and systems at an early stage, so that these technologies and systems become accessible at minimum cost.
National award winning film ‘I Cannot Give You My Forest’ inspired by the issues of Niyamgiri Adivasis Nandan Saxena and Kavita Bahl’s film ‘I Cannot Give You My Forest’ is the story of Struggle for the survival of Adivasis in Niyamgiri. The film has won this year’s National award in the category of Best Environmental Film. The main theme of the film is an intimate poetic window into the lives of the Kondh, the original dwellers (Adivasis) of the forests of Niyamgiri in Odisha State. This film is about those peoples relationship with the forest. It highlights environmental issues and focus on struggle of tribals in day-today life. The Kondha are indigenous tribal groups of India. They live in Odisha, a state in eastern India. Their highest concentration is found in the blocks of Rayagada, Kashipur, Kalyansinghpur, Bissam cuttack and Muniguda. The Kondhas are believed to be from the Proto-Australoid ethnic group. Their native language is Kui, a Dravidian language written with the Oriya script. The Kondha are adept land dwellers exhibiting greater adaptability to the forest environment. However, due to development interventions in education, medical facilities, irrigation, plantation and so on, they are forced into the modern way of life in many ways. Their traditional life style, customary traits of economy political organization, norms, values and world view have been drastically changed over a long period. One sub-group of Kondhas is the Dongria Kondhas. They are called Dongria or dweller of donger and settle in higher altitudes due to their economic demands. They have a subsistence economy based on foraging, hunting & gathering but they now primarily depend on a subsistence agriculture i.e. shifting cultivation. The Dongrias commonly practice polygamy. By custom, marriage must cross clan boundaries (a form of incest taboo). The clan or “Puja” is exogamous, which means marriages are made outside the clan (yet still within the greater Dongoria population). The form of acquiring mate is often by capture or force or elopement. However, marriage by negotiation is also practiced. The Dongrias are great admirer of aesthetic romanticism. Their pantheon has both the common Hindu gods and their own. The gods and goddesses are always attributed to various natural phenomena, objects, trees, animals, etc. Vedanta Resources, a UK based mining company, is threatening the future of this tribe as their home the Niyamgiri Hill is rich in bauxite. The bauxite is also the reason there are so many perennial streams. The tribe’s plight is the subject of a Survival International short film narrated by actress Joanna Lumley. In 2010 India’s environment ministry ordered Vedanta Resources to halt a sixfold expansion of an aluminium refinery in Odisha. As part of its Demand Dignity campaign, in 2011 Amnesty International published a report concerning the rights of the Dongria Kondh. Vedanta has appealed against the ministerial decision, but the tribal leaders have promised to continue their struggle whatever the decision in a key hearing before India’s supreme court (in April 2012). In 2013 A three-member bench of the Supreme Court directed the village councils of Rayagada and Kalahandi to take a decision within three months on whether the project can go ahead after considering any claims of cultural, religious, community and individual rights that the forest dwellers of the region may have. The ruling linked the constitutional provision for the protection of Scheduled Tribes as enshrined in Article 224 with protection of religious rights under Articles 25 and 26 and the Forest Rights Act. After years of controversy and confusion, Vedanta’s project to mine bauxite on a forested hill considered sacred by an ancient tribe has been stopped by the Indian government.
Draft National Policy on Capital Goods and Engineering A draft base paper on National Policy on Capital Goods was prepared by the Department of Heavy Industry (DHI)- Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) Joint Task Force on Capital Goods and Engineering. WHAT ARE CAPITAL GOODS? Any tangible assets that an organization uses to produce goods or services such as office buildings, equipment and machinery. Consumer goods are the end result of this production process. “Capital Goods” sector comprises of plant and machinery, equipment / accessories required for manufacture / production, either directly or indirectly, of goods or for rendering services, including those required for replacement, modernization, technological upgradation and expansion. It also includes packaging machinery and equipment, refrigeration equipment, power generating sets, equipment and instruments for testing, research and development, quality and pollution control. Capital goods sector is extremely crucial for the development of the country’s economy for the following two important reasons: – 1.Capital Goods is considered as a strategic sector and development of domestic capabilities is essential from a national self-reliance and security perspective . 2.Capital Goods sector has multiplier effect and has a bearing on the growth of user industries as it provides critical inputs, i.e., machinery and equipment to the remaining sectors covered under the manufacturing activity. The capital goods sector contributes 12% to the total manufacturing activity (which is about 15% of the GDP). It is a large and diverse sector in India with a market size of INR 2, 50, 000 Cr in 2013–14 and a domestic production of close to INR 1, 92, 000 Cr. The sector is estimated to grow to a market size of approx INR 4, 65, 000 Cr in 2016–17 with domestic production of approx INR 4, 00, 000 Cr. The sector is a major employer, with close to 13, 00, 000 people employed across various sub-sectors. The sector has grown at the rate of 15% per annum over the last decade. Heavy electrical and power plant equipment is the largest sub-sector contributing to approx 65% of total capital goods requirement. The sector contributes significantly to exports with over Rs 52, 000 crores in 2013-14 which have grown at approx 20% per annum over the last decade. The sector also imports to the extent of Rs. 1, 14, 500 crore, which is 37% of the total demand of capital goods. The capital goods component in industrial production has lagged in recent years due to slow pace of domestic demand leading to growing dependence on imports and following slow growth in the world economy. Further, in the globalized world and as trade barriers in the form of tariffs are reduced, not all capital goods manufacturers have been able to tap the global opportunity. Today, the sector has witnessed a gradual improvement and registered a positive growth from April to December 2014 at 5.7%. Key Issues: Imports continue to address ~35-40% of domestic demand for capital goods with the proportion being significantly higher in “critical components” segment for each subsector. Machine tools, heavy electrical and power plant equipment are sub-sectors that are particularly weak in self reliance with ~40% of demand being met by imports. Indian share in global exports in the capital goods sector is still low, ranging between 0.1% and 0.6%, across various sub-sectors. In contrast, share of global exports for China ranges between 7.7% and 16.3% depending on the sub sector. The prospects for growth of the capital goods sector in India have always been projected to be good. Basis this, industry has invested significantly in capacity while the market 3 growth has not been commensurate with the same. This has led to large blocks of underutilized capacity, waiting to capitalize on the latent demand in the market. Beyond 4-5 large players, the market is fragmented with the majority of operative units in the SME sector. These SMEs are challenged vis-à-vis large foreign competitors with low operating scale and issues related to access to capital. Historically, lower appetite for capital investment in R& D and limited know-how of process technologies, the technology profile of domestic products ranges from basic to intermediate. Support facilities, technology development institutions and skilled man-power continue to lag behind global standards Cost disabilities such as higher cost of power, finance and infrastructure leading to higher operating cost. Vision: “To increase the share of capital goods contribution from present 12% to 20% of total manufacturing activity by 2025” Mission Become one amongst top 10 capital goods producing nations of the world 4 – Raise exports to a significant level of at least 40% of total production. objectives: Creating an Eco-system for globally competitive Capital Goods Sector. Creation and Expansion of Market for Capital Goods Sector Promotion of Exports Human Resource Development Technology & IPR Introduction of Mandatory Standards Focus on SME Development
China’s Renminbi Is Approved by I.M.F. as a Main World Currency The Chinese renminbi was anointed as one of the world’s elite currencies , a milestone decision by the International Monetary Fund that underscores the country’s rising financial and economic heft. The move will help pave the way for broader use of the renminbi in trade and finance, securing China’s standing as a global economic power. Just four other currencies — the dollar, the euro, the pound and the yen — have the I.M.F. designation. IMF members can use the Special Drawing Rights (SDR) list to obtain currencies to meet balance-of-payments needs. The Fund also issues its crisis loans – crucial to struggling economies like Greece – valued in SDRs. The yuan’s entry into the IMF list takes effect on October 1, 2016. The decision puts the Bank of China under pressure to provide more transparency in line with its peers, such as the Federal Reserve and the European Central Bank. Special Drawing Rights (SDR): An international type of monetary reserve currency, created by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) in 1969, which operates as a supplement to the existing reserves of member countries. Created in response to concerns about the limitations of gold and dollars as the sole means of settling international accounts, SDRs are designed to augment international liquidity by supplementing the standard reserve currencies. You can think of SDRs as an artificial currency used by the IMF and defined as a “basket of national currencies”. The IMF uses SDRs for internal accounting purposes. SDRs are allocated by the IMF to its member countries and are backed by the full faith and credit of the member countries’ governments.
The Department of Agriculture and Cooperation and the Ministry of Agriculture have been renamed he Department of Agriculture and Cooperation and the Ministry of Agriculture have been renamed as the Department of Agriculture, Cooperation and Farmers Welfare (DAC& FW) and the Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare respectively. With a view to focus on the issues of farmers welfare, the DAC& FW has created a separate Division called ‘Farmers Welfare’ under the charge of a senior officer. Some of the important new initiatives in this context are: 1.Soil Health Card (SHC) scheme: Soil Health Card Scheme is a scheme launched by the Government of India in February 2015. Under the scheme the government plans to issue Soil card to farmers which will carry crop-wise recommendations of nutrients and fertilisers required for the individual farms to help farmers to improve productivity through judicious use of inputs. All soil samples are be tested in various soil testing labs across the country. Thereafter the experts will analyse the strength and weaknesses (micro-nutrients deficiency) of the soil and suggest measures to deal with it. The result and suggestion will be displayed in the cards. The Government plans to issue the cards to 14 crore farmers. 2 .Paramparagat Krishi Vikas Yojana (PKVY): Paramparagat Krishi Vikas Yojana (Traditional Farming Improvement Programme) has been launched by Government of India to support and promote organic farming and thereby improving soil health. This will encourage farmers to adopt eco-friendly concept of cultivation and reduce their dependence on fertilizers and agricultural chemicals to improve yields. 3. Pradhan Mantri Krishi Sinchai Yojana (PMKSY): The NDA government has launched the Pradhan Mantri Krishi Sinchayi Yojana, which heavily borrows from the Accelerated Irrigation Benefits Programme; but tries to replace the fragmented approach with an integrated approach aiming at convergence of investments in irrigation. 4. New National Crop Insurance Scheme: Agricultural Insurance in India is covered by “National Crop Insurance Programme” which was launched by UPA government in 2013 by merging three schemes viz. Modified National Agricultural insurance Scheme (MNAIS), Weather Based Crop insurance Scheme (WBCIS) and Coconut Palm Insurance Scheme (CPIS). These three schemes now serve as components of the NCIP. National Crop Insurance Programme provides financial support to farmers for losses in their crop yield, to help in maintaining flow of agricultural credit, to encourage farmers to adopt progressive farming practices and higher technology in Agriculture and thereby, to help in maintaining production, employment & economic growth. 5. National Food Security Mission (NFSM); NFSM) is a Central Scheme of GOI launched in 2007 for 5 years to increase production and productivity of wheat, rice and pulses on a sustainable basis so as to ensure food security of the country. The aim is to bridge the yield gap in respect of these crops through dissemination of improved technologies and farm management practices. 6.Mission for Integrated Development of Horticulture (MIDH); A Centrally Sponsored Scheme of MIDH has been launched for the holistic development of horticulture in the country during XII plan. The scheme, which has taken take off from 2014-15, integrates the ongoing schemes of National Horticulture Mission, Horticulture Mission for North East & Himalayan States, National Bamboo Mission, National Horticulture Board, Coconut Development Board and Central Institute for Horticulture, Nagaland. 7.National Mission on Oilseeds & Oil Palm (NMOOP); The mission would help in boosting the production of oilseeds by 6.58 million tonnes and will bring additional area of 1.25 lakh hectares under oil palm cultivation. In addition to this, it would also lead to an enhancement in productivity of fresh fruit bunches to 15, 000 kg/ha from 4927 kg/ha and increase in collection of tree borne oilseeds to 14 lakh tonne. It would increase production of vegetable oil sources by 2.48 million tonnes from oilseeds (1.70 MT), oil palm (0.60 MT) and tree borne oilseeds (0.18 MT) by the end of the 12th Plan period. NMOOP is inspired by the accomplishments of the existing schemes of Integrated Scheme of Oilseeds, Oil Palm and Maize, Tree Borne Oilseeds Scheme and Oil Palm Area Expansion programme implemented during the 11th Plan period. 8. National Mission for Sustainable Agriculture (NMSA); Under the National Action Plan on Climate Change, India has launched a dedicated National Mission on Sustainable Agriculture (NMSA) to define its strategies for climate mitigation and adaptation within the agriculture sector. Emission by Agriculture Sector: Agriculture is responsible for around 14% of global emissions. If the emissions from the agriculture are combined with the emissions caused by deforestation for farming, fertilizer manufacturing and agricultural energy use, this sector becomes the largest contributor to global emissions. In India, the agriculture sector accounts for 17.6% of total emissions. At the same time, it consumes some one fourth of the electricity, so, it is indirectly responsible for another 10% of the GHG emissions. When we combine these figures with the fertilizer industries, catering solely to agriculture, and use of diesel, we find that agriculture is the largest contributor of GHG in India. So there is a need that the farm sector is given priority in India’s climate mitigation strategy. 9. National Mission on Agricultural Extension & Technology (NMAET); National Mission on Agricultural Extension and Technology (NIMAET) is a new 12th Plan programme approved by outgoing UPA Government in February 2014 with an objective to spread farm extension services and mechanization. This mission has four sub-missions as under: Sub Mission on Agricultural Extension (SMAE) Sub-Mission on Seed and Planting Material (SMSP) Sub Mission on Agricultural Mechanization (SMAM) Sub Mission on Plant Protection and Plant Quarantine (SMPP) The common thread that runs across all four sub-missions is extension and technology; the four sub-missions are proposed for administrative convenience. The entire plan period outlay for this scheme is Rs. 13073.08 crore, with Government of India’s share of Rs. 11390.68 crore and State share of Rs.1682.40 crore. This scheme aims to bring maximum possible farmers within the ambit of cost effective and remunerative mechanized farming for improved productivity and sustainable farm growth in the country. It also covers seed production and plant protection along with strengthening regulatory framework for management of pesticides and plant quarantine. 10. Unified National Agriculture Markets; The National Agriculture Market (NAM) is envisaged as a pan-India electronic trading portal which seeks to network the existing Agricultural Produce Market Committees (APMCs) and other market yards to create a unified national market for agricultural commodities. NAM is a “virtual” market but it has a physical market (mandi) at the back end. 11. Rashtriya Krishi Vikas Yojana (RKVY). Rashtriya Krishi Vikas Yojana is a special Additional Central Assistance Scheme which was launched in August 2007 to orient agricultural development strategies, to reaffirm its commitment to achieve 4 per cent annual growth in the agricultural sector during the 11th plan. The scheme was launched to incentivize the States to provide additional resources in their State Plans over and above their baseline expenditure to bridge critical gaps. The RKVY covers all sectors such as Crop Cultivation, Horticulture, Animal Husbandry and Fisheries, Dairy Development, Agricultural Research and Education, Forestry and Wildlife, Plantation and Agricultural Marketing, Food Storage and Warehousing, Soil and Water Conservation, Agricultural Financial Institutions, other Agricultural Programmes and Cooperation. Incentivize the States RKVY is a State Plan Scheme. Foreign Direct Investment (FDI): As per data on sector-wise Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) inflows maintained by the Department of Industrial Policy & Promotion (DIPP), Government of India, during April 2000 to June 2015, FDI inflows in the agriculture services has been US $ 1763.57 Million (i.e. Rs.8747.4 crore) which is higher than the FDI inflows into sectors like textiles, mining and electronics. However, FDI inflows in the agriculture services during the above period has been lower as compared to computer software & hardware, telecommunications, automobiles etc. In agriculture machinery, FDI inflows during the above period has been US $ 418.65 million. To attract more FDI in agriculture sector, 100% FDI has been allowed in coffee, rubber, cardamom, palm oil tree and olive oil tree plantations, besides tea plantation in which FDI has already been allowed.