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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.
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
Best IAS And Kas Coaching Centre In Bangalore Delhi govt launches Bill Banvao Inaam Pao App to increase VAT collection Delhi government launched Bill Banvao Inaam Pao Scheme(Collect a Bill, win a prize) to increase VAT collection, the scheme will empower the citizens to become the part of the governance and to check menace of tax evasion. How does it work ? The customer can upload the picture of cash memo not below 100 rupees in the mobile and send the snapshot of the bill on the application or through WhatsApp. The bill must have Taxpayer Identification Number (TIN) which confirms that the seller is registered in the VAT department. After that, an unique ID would be generated for each bill. The winner would be selected through a computerised lucky draw on 15th of every month. The VAT department has about 20 teams, assisted by civil defence volunteers, to conduct checks on traders whose VAT filing evokes suspicion of evasion. If the bill issued to a customer is not reflected on the online server of the VAT department, it would mean that the outlet is evading tax. What is the prize? The prize amount would be five times the value of goods purchased. The bill should have the registration number of the dealer, full name of each item purchased and the rate of tax charged. Statistics: Out of the total tax revenue of Rs 34, 661 crore in 2015-16, the VAT department was tasked to collect Rs 24, 000 crore – 69 per cent of the total revenue collections. Despite a 30 per cent augmentation in surveillance in VAT evasion, the department has only managed to collect Rs 15, 000 crore. VAT is supposed to contribute 69 per cent, excise 12 per cent, stamps and registration 11 per cent, tax on motor vehicles 6 per cent and luxury, entertainment and betting tax 2 per cent. What is VAT? A type of consumption tax that is placed on a product whenever value is added at a stage of production and at final sale. Example: when a television is built by a company in Europe the manufacturer is charged a value-added tax on all of the supplies they purchase for producing the television. Once the television reaches the shelf, the consumer who purchases it must pay the value-added tax that applies to him or her.
Best IAS And KAS Coaching Centre In Bangalore Somnath Temple to invest in Gold Monetisation Scheme Somnath Temple Trust is all set to become first temple from Gujarat to deposit its idle gold in the Gold Monetization Scheme. The trust has around 35 kilo grams of gold and will deposit the gold which is not in day-to-day use of the temple. Prime Minister Narendra Modi is also a trustee of the Somnath Temple Trust. The management will segregate the pure gold from the whole lot to finalise the quantum of gold which can be deposited. Somanath temple: The Somnath temple located in Prabhas Patan near Veraval in Saurashtra on the western coast of Gujarat, India, is the first among the twelve Jyotirlinga shrines of Shiva. Somnath Temple is known as “the Shrine Eternal”. This legendary temple has been destroyed and rebuilt several times by Islamic kings and Hindu kings respectively. Most recently it was rebuilt in November 1947, when Vallabhbhai Patel visited the area for the integration of Junagadh and mooted a plan for restoration. The present temple is built in the Chalukya style of temple architecture or “Kailash Mahameru Prasad” style. The temple is situated at such a place that there is no land in a straight line between Somnath seashore until Antarctica. What is Gold Monetisation Scheme (GMS)? 1.It replaces the existing Gold Deposit Scheme, 1999. 2.The deposits outstanding under the Gold Deposit Scheme will be allowed to run till maturity unless the depositors prematurely withdraw them. 3.Any Resident Indians can make deposits under the scheme. 4. The minimum deposit at any one time shall be raw gold equivalent to 30 grams of gold. 5.There is no maximum limit for deposit under the scheme. 6.The gold will be accepted at the Collection and Purity Testing Centres (CPTC) . 7.The deposit certificates will be issued by banks in equivalent of 995 fineness of gold. 8.The designated banks will accept gold deposits under The Short Term (1-3 years) Bank Deposit (STBD) Medium (5-7 years) and Long (12-15 years) Term Government Deposit Schemes (MLTGD). 9.The The Short Term Bank Deposit (STBD) will be accepted by banks on their own account 10.The Medium and Long Term Government Deposit Schemes will be accepted on behalf of the Government of India. 11.There will be provision for premature withdrawal subject to a minimum lock-in period and penalty to be determined by individual banks for the STBD. 12.The interest rate in the STBD will be determined by the banks. 13.The interest rate in the medium term bonds has been fixed at 2.25% and for the long term bonds is 2.5% for the bonds issued in 2015-16. 14.The designated banks may sell or lend the gold accepted under STBD to MMTC for minting India Gold Coins (IGC) and to jewellers, or sell it to other designated banks participating in GMS. 15.The gold deposited under MLTGD will be auctioned by MMTC or any other agency authorised by the Central Government and the sale proceeds credited to the Central Government’s account with the Reserve Bank of India. 16.Earnings are exempt from capital gains tax, wealth tax and income tax. There will be no capital gains tax on the appreciation in the value of gold deposited, or on the interest you make from it. WHAT WILL THE BANKS DO WITH THE GOLD? The designated banks may sell or lend the gold accepted under the short-term bank deposit to MMTC for minting India Gold Coins and to jewellers, or sell it to other designated banks participating in the scheme.
Best IAS And KAS Coaching Centre In Bangalore Government announces first batch of 20 smart cities from 11 States and Delhi The Government announced the 20 winners of the Smart City Challenge competition for financing during this financial year. The winners were from 11 States and the Union Territory of Delhi and the selection was totally objective and transparent based on standardized processes. Here is the list: Rank City State 1 Bhubaneswar Odisha 2 Pune Maharashtra 3 Jaipur Rajasthan 4. Surat Gujarat 5 Kochi Kerala 6 Ahmedabad Gujarat 7 Jabalpur Madhya Pradesh 8 Visakhapatnam Andhra Pradesh 9 |Solapur Maharashtra 10 Davanagere Karnataka 11 Indore MP 12 Municipal Council Delhi 13 Combattore Tamil Nadu 14 Kakinada Andhra Pradesh 15 Belagavi Karnataka 16 Udaipur Rajasthan 17 Guwahati Assam 18 Chennai Tamil Nadu 19 Ludhiana Punjab 20 Bhopal Madhya Pradesh Smart city competition : The India Smart Cities Challenge is designed to inspire greater creativity from municipal officials and their partners, more involvement and inspiration from citizens, and the development of proposals that will produce concrete benefits in people’s lives. IN THE FIRST YEAR, CITIES WILL COMPETE FOR FUNDING: All states will use standardized criteria to pick their cities for the competition. Every state is guaranteed at least one city in the competition. Cities judged to have the best proposals will receive funding. The remaining cities will have the chance to compete again next year. The challenge will run three times : 2015-16, 2016-17, 2017-18. 2015-16 challenge: JUNE – JULY 2015: Indian states nominated cities that meet select criteria to participate in the competition. AUGUST – DECEMBER 2015: Each city formulated its own unique vision, mission and plan for a “smart city.” Their concepts reflected the city’s local context, resources, and priorities of citizens. Each city develops a pan-city and area-based proposal. JANUARY 2016: A small number of cities – those with exceptional proposals – are named winners. Remaining cities will have the chance to compete in the next competition cycle. The Challenge required municipal leaders and their partners to consult the public to develop proposals that are both sound and have a high likelihood of being implemented. Proposed solutions must strengthen the city’s governance or its physical, social, or economic infrastructure. What must be the Plan ? A Bold Vision: Each city must convey its own unique vision that reflects local context, its resources, and the priorities and aspirations of its citizens. A Pan-City Initiative: Cities should draw inspiration from smart solutions that incorporate the use of technology, information and data to improve services or results for citizens. The pan-city initiative must touch the lives of many, or potentially all, of its citizens. An Area-Based Development Plan: This plan will transform an existing place within each city, creating an exemplar for other areas in the city, or across the country, to follow. Depending on local circumstances, cities may choose one of three approaches: retrofitting, redevelopment, or greenfield development.