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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.
Trai Mark Zuckerberg affirms net neutrality but backs zero-rating plans in his internet.org at his visit to India Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg said his company is committed to net neutrality but supported zero-rating plans which have been criticised by many as violative of the principles of free Internet. Internet.org is a partnership between social networking services company Facebook and six companies (Samsung, Ericsson, MediaTek, Opera Software, Nokia and Qualcomm) that plans to bring affordable access to selected Internet services to less developed countries by increasing efficiency, and facilitating the development of new business models around the provision of Internet access. critics: It has been criticized for violating net neutrality and favoring Facebook’s own services over its rivals. Internet.org as “being just a Facebook proxy targeting India’s poor” as it provides restricted Internet access to Reliance Telecom’s subscribers in India. In May 2015, Facebook announced that the Internet.org Platform would be opened to websites that met its criteria. Facebook Zero, is an initiative by Facebook to improve Internet access for people around the world. What is Net Neutrality? Net neutrality is the principle that Internet service providers and governments should treat all data on the Internet the same, not discriminating or charging differentially by user, content, site, platform, application, type of attached equipment, or mode of communication. The term was coined by Columbia University media law professor Tim Wu in 2003. How did net neutrality shape the internet? 1. web users are free to connect to whatever website or service they want. ISPs do not bother with what kind of content is flowing from their servers. This has allowed the internet to grow into a truly global network and has allowed people to freely express themselves. 2.To start a website, you don’t need lot of money or connections. Just host your website and you are good to go. If your service is good, it will find favour with web users. This has led to creation Google, Facebook, Twitter and countless other services. They succeeded because net neutrality allowed web users to access these websites in an easy and unhindered way. What will happen if there is no net neutrality? If there is no net neutrality, ISPs will have the power to shape internet traffic so that they can derive extra benefit from it. For example, several ISPs believe that they should be allowed to charge companies for services like YouTube and Netflix because these services consume more bandwidth compared to a normal website. Basically, these ISPs want a share in the money that YouTube or Netflix make. Without net neutrality, the internet as we know it will not exist. Instead of free access, there could be “package plans” for consumers. Lack of net neutrality, will also spell doom for innovation on the web. It is possible that ISPs will charge web companies to enable faster access to their websites. Those who don’t pay may see that their websites will open slowly. This means bigger companies like Google will be able to pay more to make access to Youtube or Google+ faster for web users but a startup that wants to create a different and better video hosting site may not be able to do that. Instead of an open and free internet, without net neutrality we are likely to get a web that has silos in it and to enter each silo, you will have to pay some “tax” to ISPs. What is the state of net neutrality in India? Legally, the concept of net neutrality doesn’t exist in India. TRAI(Telecom Regulatory Authority of India), which regulates the telecom industry, has tried to come up with some rules regarding net neutrality several times.But no formal rules have been formed to uphold and enforce net neutrality. However, despite lack of formal rules, ISPs in India mostly adhere to the principal of net neutrality. There have been some incidents where Indian ISPs have ignored net neutrality but these are few and far between. (courtesy:Business standard, Times of India) Leave a Reply You must be logged in to post a comment.
Mark Zuckerberg affirms net neutrality but backs zero-rating plans in his internet.org at his visit to India Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg said his company is committed to net neutrality but supported zero-rating plans which have been criticised by many as violative of the principles of free Internet. Internet.org is a partnership between social networking services company Facebook and six companies (Samsung, Ericsson, MediaTek, Opera Software, Nokia and Qualcomm) that plans to bring affordable access to selected Internet services to less developed countries by increasing efficiency, and facilitating the development of new business models around the provision of Internet access. critics: It has been criticized for violating net neutrality and favoring Facebook’s own services over its rivals. Internet.org as “being just a Facebook proxy targeting India’s poor” as it provides restricted Internet access to Reliance Telecom’s subscribers in India. In May 2015, Facebook announced that the Internet.org Platform would be opened to websites that met its criteria. Facebook Zero, is an initiative by Facebook to improve Internet access for people around the world. What is Net Neutrality? Net neutrality is the principle that Internet service providers and governments should treat all data on the Internet the same, not discriminating or charging differentially by user, content, site, platform, application, type of attached equipment, or mode of communication. The term was coined by Columbia University media law professor Tim Wu in 2003. How did net neutrality shape the internet? 1. web users are free to connect to whatever website or service they want. ISPs do not bother with what kind of content is flowing from their servers. This has allowed the internet to grow into a truly global network and has allowed people to freely express themselves. 2.To start a website, you don’t need lot of money or connections. Just host your website and you are good to go. If your service is good, it will find favour with web users. This has led to creation Google, Facebook, Twitter and countless other services. They succeeded because net neutrality allowed web users to access these websites in an easy and unhindered way. What will happen if there is no net neutrality? If there is no net neutrality, ISPs will have the power to shape internet traffic so that they can derive extra benefit from it. For example, several ISPs believe that they should be allowed to charge companies for services like YouTube and Netflix because these services consume more bandwidth compared to a normal website. Basically, these ISPs want a share in the money that YouTube or Netflix make. Without net neutrality, the internet as we know it will not exist. Instead of free access, there could be “package plans” for consumers. Lack of net neutrality, will also spell doom for innovation on the web. It is possible that ISPs will charge web companies to enable faster access to their websites. Those who don’t pay may see that their websites will open slowly. This means bigger companies like Google will be able to pay more to make access to Youtube or Google+ faster for web users but a startup that wants to create a different and better video hosting site may not be able to do that. Instead of an open and free internet, without net neutrality we are likely to get a web that has silos in it and to enter each silo, you will have to pay some “tax” to ISPs. What is the state of net neutrality in India? Legally, the concept of net neutrality doesn’t exist in India. TRAI(Telecom Regulatory Authority of India), which regulates the telecom industry, has tried to come up with some rules regarding net neutrality several times.But no formal rules have been formed to uphold and enforce net neutrality. However, despite lack of formal rules, ISPs in India mostly adhere to the principal of net neutrality. There have been some incidents where Indian ISPs have ignored net neutrality but these are few and far between. (courtesy:Business standard, Times of India) Leave a Reply You must be logged in to post a comment.
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.
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
Best IAS And KAS Coaching Centre In Bangalore India among top 5 most promising markets globally :Survey India has emerged as one of the five most promising markets for businesses globally, says the annual global CEO survey of consultancy giant PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) released at the WEF Annual Meeting. The survey pointed out: India offers one of the best opportunities for both domestic as well as global companies. The confidence level among Indian CEOs remains higher than the global average although they have also become less confident since last year about the growth prospects of their own companies. CEOs in India (64 per cent), Spain (54 per cent) and Romania (50 per cent) stand out as more optimistic. CEOs are less optimistic about prospects this year and those who think global growth would improve over the next 12 months have declined to 27 per cent from 37 per cent seen in 2015. 90 per cent of the Indian CEOs cited inadequate basic infrastructure as a major threat and 80 per cent mentioned exchange rate volatility and 77 per cent cited over-regulation. USA, China, Germany, the UK and India are the top five markets considered most important for overall growth prospects by the respondents, according to the The survey covered 1, 409 CEOs spread across 83 countries. India have given strong indication of general uplift in sentiments by showing much more confidence than their global counterparts when it comes to revenue growth for their companies. Around 75 per cent of Indian CEOs believe there are more growth opportunities for their companies today than three years ago. 93 per cent of Indian CEOs agree that tax is a business cost that needs to be efficiently managed like any other business cost. 87 per cent agree that a stable tax system is more important than low rates of tax . Cyber security is also a worry for 61 per cent of CEOs, representing as it does (pose) threats to both national and commercial interests PricewaterhouseCoopers: PricewaterhouseCoopers is a multinational professional services network. It is the largest professional services firm in the world, and is one of the Big Four auditors, along with Deloitte, EY and KPMG. Vault Accounting 50 has ranked PwC as the most prestigious accounting firm in the world for seven consecutive years, as well as the top firm to work for in North America for three consecutive years. As of 2015, PwC is the 6th-largest privately owned organization in the United States.
Best IAS And KAS Coaching Centre In Bangalore National food security act 2013 implementation likely in all the States/UTs The National Food Security Act, 2013 (also Right to Food Act) is an Act of the Parliament of India which aims to provide subsidized food grains to approximately two thirds of India’s 1.2 billion people. It includes the Midday Meal Scheme, Integrated Child Development Services scheme and the Public Distribution System it also recognizes maternity entitlements. The total number of States/UTs now implementing the Act is 25. By April.2016 it is likely to be implemented in all remaining States /UTs. Recent initiatives of the government in NFSA 2013 : Digitisation of ration cards is one of the important components for making PDS leak proof, 97% cards across the country have been digitised, and soon 100 % will be digitised. All the 36 States/UTs have online system for redressal of PDS grievances. Direct Cash Transfer of food subsidy to the beneficiaries started in Chandigarh and Puducherry in September this year. Procurement policy for paddy modified to ensure reach of MSP operations to more farmers. As a result huge paddy procurement has been made during Kharif season. The Central Government decided to share 50% (75% in the case of Hilly and difficult areas) of the cost of handling & transportation of foodgrains. Minister for Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution recommended for providing milk and eggs – pulses etc. under the schemes. Online allocation of foodgrains implemented in 19 states/UTs. Transparency portal to display all operations of TPDS launched in 27 States/UTs. Relief for farmers: The procurement policy has been modified and private firms have been allowed to procure paddy from farmers in a cluster, identified by the respective state government in the states of Assam, Bihar, Eastern Uttar Pradesh, Jharkhand and West Bengal.These states lack necessary infrastructure. Department of Food and Public Distribution had recommended an increase in the import duty to address the drop in international prices of imported oils was affecting the prices of domestically. Import duty on Crude oils has been increased from existing 7.5% to 12.5% and the import duty on refined oils from existing 15% to 20%. The Government took several measures to facilitate payment of cane price arrears by infusing liquidity into the sector. A scheme for extending soft loans to the extent of Rs. 6000 crore to the sugar industry was notified last year Government decided to pay a production linked subsidy of Rs 4.50 per quintal cane in 2015-16 season directly into beneficiary account. The export incentive on raw sugar has been increased from Rs 3200/MT to Rs. 4000/MT. The Government has enhanced import duty on sugar from 25% to 40% to discourage imports. Blending targets under Ethanol Blending Programme scaled up from 5% to 10%. as a result the cane price arrears came down from 21, 000 cr last year to 2700 cr in January 2015 . Reforms in FCI: “Depot Online” system initiated in 30 sensitive depots, to bring all operations of FCI Godowns online and to check reported leakage. The FCI has been asked to take up construction modern silos for storage of total 100 lakhMT capacity at different locations in the country under PPP mode which will help in maintaining the quality of foodgrains, minimize losses and ensure rapid bulk movement of foodgrains. Government revised the buffer norms in January, 2015 for better management of foodgrain storage. In order to ensure quality of products and services for common consumer, the Government introduced Bureau of Indian Standards Bill, 2015 in Parliament to replace 29 years- old BIS Act. Consumer Protection Bill 2015 that seeks to simplify and strengthen consumer grievance redressal procedure introduced in the Parliament this year. This was stated by Shri Ram Vilas Paswan, Minister of Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution while briefing the media about programmes, policies and future road map of his Ministries
France, India to launch global solar alliance French President Francois Hollande and India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi will launch an international solar alliance aimed at eventually bringing clean and affordable solar energy within the reach of all. There is a gap at present in the application of solar technologies to the very large un-met demand for solar-powered technologies in solar resource rich countries. This gap arises primarily from lack of systematic information about the on-ground requirements as well as scarce opportunities for capacity building and training of users of technologies and finally, a shortage of suitable financing arrangements to make new technologies affordable to very poor users who require them. The potential energy from sunlight which shines on these countries throughout the year should be harnessed and used to transform lives through simple devices such as solar panels and solar appliances that already exist and need to be scaled up and made accessible where they are needed. This can dramatically improve the quality of life in rural and peri-urban areas that are currently in darkness due to lack of electricity grid. A partnership is proposed, to consist of countries, majority of whom face similar challenges resulting from low rates of energy access-such as farmers who cannot use technology to improve productivity and incomes, or a shortage of clean drinking water due to high costs of purification, or lack of modern healthcare facilities with lighting and refrigeration services, or insufficient numbers of schools with lights, fans and modern equipment. These countries need a voice on the international stage. If they can share their experiences and mobilize in order to close their technological gaps by cooperating with each other, solutions will be found and will also be scaled up leading to lower costs. This cooperation and coordination role is proposed to be filled by ISA, a grouping of countries who are keen to transform their solar resource wealth into improved lives for their people through application of solar technologies. After 2002 UN World Summit on Sustainable Development, many advocacy organizations were set up, primarily to disseminate knowledge about renewable energy. Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) number 7.1, 7.2, 7.a and 7.b clearly state that renewable energy must be given priority in the future agenda of all countries. These read as follows: “Ensure access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy for all” Mission and Vision is to provide a platform for cooperation among solar resource rich countries where global community including bilateral and multilateral organizations, corporates, industry, and stakeholders can make a positive contribution to the common goals of increasing utilizing of solar energy in meeting energy needs of ISA member countries in a safe, convenient, affordable, equitable and sustainable manner. To achieve the objectives, ISA will have five key focus areas:- a. Promote solar technologies and investment in the solar sector to enhance income generation for the poor and global environment. b. Formulate projects and programmes to promote solar applications. c. Develop innovative Financial Mechanisms to reduce cost of capital. d. Build a common Knowledge e-Portal. e. Facilitate capacity building for promotion and absorption of solar technologies and R& D among member countries. ISA is proposed to be a multi country partnership organization with membership from solar resource rich countries between the two tropics. The total Government of India support including putting normative cost of the land will be about Rs 400 crore (US$ 62 million). Government of India support of Rs 175 crore(US$ 27 million) will be utilized for creating building infrastructure and recurring expenditure. It will be provided over a 5 year period from 2016-17 to 2020-21. Opinions of world leaders: There are several countries blessed with high solar radiation. We are making efforts to bring these countries together for enhanced solar energy utilization through research and technology upgradation. These countries have immense strength and capabilities to find solutions for their energy needs through solar energy. -Narendra Modi, Hon’ble Prime Minister of India I welcome this initiative because if (these) countries can formulate ambitious targets for renewable by modifying regulatory frameworks for financing and improving technologies for lowering price of solar energy, then it will be a major contribution to the implementation of climate agreement. –Francois Hollande, President of France ISA can provide a unique focus in supporting global efforts to increase the uptake of renewable energy through the development of solar policies, the promotion of applications to reduce poverty and the facilitation of energy access. I welcome this initiative by an IRENA Member Country and the Chair of the IRENA Council, India, and look forward to supporting ISA member countries in all possible ways. –Adnan Z. Amin, Director General, IRENA
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