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India plans to construct six more fast breeder reactors Bharatiya Nabhikiya Vidyut Nigam Limited, the implementing arm of the Department of Atomic Energy, has plans to construct six new Fast Breeder Reactors over the next 15 years. Country’s first 500-MWe Prototype Fast Breeder Reactor (PFBR) at Kalpakkam, around 70 km from Chennai, being set up by BHAVINI, is expected to become critical in March or April 2016. Prototype Fast Breeder Reactor components has been installed successfully. Reactor assembly internals have been kept in poised condition for pre-heating prior to Sodium filling. Innovative techniques/tools were developed and deployed to ensure complete cleanliness of reactor internals including dummy sub-assemblies and to maintain dust free environment. Various mechanisms viz., fuel handling, under sodium scanning, periscope, eddy current flow meter and core monitoring thermocouples were checked for smooth performance within reactor assembly before filling nitrogen. The main drive motors for the sodium pumps have been commissioned under no load condition after integrating the variable frequency drive systems. The integrated performance of pumps and motors will be demonstrated after filling of sodium in the respective systems. This prototype fast breeder reactor uses MOX fuel, which is a combination of plutonium and uranium oxide. The Bharatiya Nabhikiya Vidyut Nigam Ltd. (BHAVINI) is a government-owned corporation of India established in 2004 in Chennai. One of the public sector undertakings, it is wholly owned by the Union Government and is responsible for the construction, commissioning and operation of all Stage II fast breeder reactors envisaged as part of the country’s three stage nuclear power programme. BHAVINI is administered by the Department of Atomic Energy (DAE). Once the first fast breeder reactor, called Prototype Fast Breeder Reactor (PFBR) goes into commercial power production, BHAVINI will be the second power utility in India after Nuclear Power Corporation of India (NPCIL), to use nuclear fuel sources to generate power. The Prototype Fast Breeder Reactor (PFBR) is a 500 MWe fast breeder nuclear reactor presently being constructed at the Madras Atomic Power Station in Kalpakkam, India. The Indira Gandhi Centre for Atomic Research (IGCAR) is responsible for the design of this reactor. As of 2007 the reactor was expected to begin functioning in 2010 but now it is expected to achieve first criticality in September 2015. Total costs, originally estimated at 3500 crore (35 billion Rupees, 450 million euros) are now estimated at 5, 677 crore (750 million euros). The Kalpakkam PFBR is using uranium-238 not thorium, to breed new fissile material, in a sodium-cooled fast reactor design. The power island of this project is being engineered by Bharat Heavy Electricals Limited, largest power equipment utility of India. The surplus plutonium (or uranium-233 for thorium reactors) from each fast reactor can be used to set up more such reactors and grow the nuclear capacity in tune with India’s needs for power. The PFBR is part of the three-stage nuclear power program. India has the capability to use thorium cycle based processes to extract nuclear fuel. This is of special significance to the Indian nuclear power generation strategy as India has one of the world’s largest reserves of thorium, which could provide power for more than 10, 000 years, and perhaps as long as 60, 000 years.
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
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.
The Supreme Court laid down norms for state governments to select public prosecutors and government advocates and limited the earlier discretion they had to accommodate lawyer supporters of the ruling party. in choosing government lawyers, the state must look for competence and not appoint anyone with a criminal background. Though appointment of PPs and several layers of government advocates for district courts in Uttar Pradesh was in question, the judgment of Justices Vikramjit Sen and A M Sapre will have a salutary effect on other states too. The bench said, “It is beyond cavil that it is in the interest of the dispensation of criminal justice that competent counsel possessing integrity should alone be appointed, since otherwise, there is a strong miscarriage of justice. In choosing them, the state will not only have to be satisfied of their forensic competence, but also that they are bereft of any criminal antecedents.” It clarified that strict selection process to be appointed by states in choosing government lawyers did not mean there would be any security of tenure for them. Justice Sen said, “The state, like any other litigant, must have the freedom to appoint counsel in whom it reposes trust and confidence. The only expectation is that the choice made by the state should not be such as could defeat the sacred and onerous responsibility of ensuring that justice is meted out to all citizens.” Referring to an earlier judgment in Johri Mal case, the bench said the SC had categorically rejected the claim of a lawyer for continuous renewal of appointment as a government advocate. “We entirely agree with this exposition of law, ” the bench said. The bench agreed with the apex court’s Johri Mal judgment, in which it had said district counsel did not have a statutory right for renewal of tenure and the state government enjoyed discretionary power in this regard. State of Uttar Pradesh v. Johri Mal 2004 1. A distinction is to be borne in mind between appointment of a Public Prosecutor or Additional Public Prosecutor on the one hand, and Assistant Public Prosecutor, on the other. So far as Assistant Public Prosecutors are concerned, they are employees of the State. They hold Civil posts. They are answerable for their conduct to higher statutory authority. Their appointment is governed by the service rules framed by the respective State Government. 2. The appointment of the Public Prosecutors, on the other hand, is governed by the Code of Criminal Procedure and/or the executive instructions framed by the State governing the terms of their appointment. Proviso appended to Article 309 of the Constitution of India is not applicable in their case. Their appointment is a tenure appointment. Public Prosecutors, furthermore retain the character of legal practitioners for all intent and purport. They, of course, discharge public functions and certain statutory powers are also conferred upon them. Their duties and functions are onerous but the same would not mean that their conditions of appointment are governed by any statute or statutory rule. Article 309 of Constitution “Recruitment and conditions of service of persons serving the Union or a State”.
Sixth Schedule Government to set up National Tribal Advisory Council M_Id_441113_Tribals Government has decided to set up a National Tribal Advisory Council for effecting monitoring and implementation of various tribal welfare schemes. The council will be chaired by the Prime Minister and will meet once or twice in a year. There has been significant improvement in terms of infrastructure in education sector for tribals but the quality of education has not improved in the same way. Referring to the problems of sixth scheduled states of northeast, government decided to hold a regional conference for them in Guwahati. There is a need for more effective community participation for the success of various tribal welfare schemes. Background: The Fifth Schedule to the Constitution of India contains provisions concerning the administration and control of Scheduled Areas and Scheduled Tribes. Fifth Schedule Part B of paragraph 4 speaks about Tribes Advisory Council : If the President so directs, each State having Scheduled Areas and also any State having Scheduled Tribes but not Scheduled Areas, of a Tribes Advisory Council consisting of not more than twenty members of whom, as nearly as may be, three-fourths shall be the representatives of the Scheduled Tribes in the Legislative Assembly of the State. If the number of representatives of the Scheduled Tribes in the Legislative Assembly of the State is less than the number of seats in the Tribes Advisory Council to be filled by such representatives, the remaining seats shall be filled by other members of those tribes. The duty of the Tribes Advisory Council to advise on such matters pertaining to the welfare and advancement of the Scheduled Tribes in the State as may be referred to them by the Governor. It empowers the Governor to make rules prescribing or regulating, as the case may be, the number of members of the Council, the mode of their appointment and the appointment of the Chairman of the Council and of the officers and servants thereof; the conduct of its meetings and its procedure in general; and all other incidental matters. What are sixth schedule states? The Sixth Schedule to the Constitution of India contains provisions concerning the administration of tribal areas in the States of Assam, Meghalaya, Tripura and Mizoram.
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