21 Jul 2017

Global Crude oil price of Indian Basket was US$ 47.74 per bbl on 19.07.2017

The international crude oil price of Indian Basket as computed/published today by Petroleum Planning and Analysis Cell (PPAC) under the Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas was US$ 47.74 per barrel (bbl) on 19.07.2017. This was higher than the price of US$ 47.36 per bbl on previous publishing day of 18.07.2017.
In rupee terms, the price of Indian Basket increased to Rs. 3070.82 per bbl on 19.07.2017 as compared to Rs. 3046.92 per bbl on 18.07.2017. Rupee closed stronger at Rs. 64.32 per US$ on 19.07.2017 as compared to Rs. 64.33 per US$ on 18.07.2017. The table below gives details in this regard:

First meeting of Integrated Monitoring and Advisory Council (IMAC) held on 19th July 2017

Petroleum Minister chairs meet of apex body on “Roadmap to achieve 10% reduction in import dependency in O&G by 2021-22”

Importance of concerted and coordinated efforts by all Ministries, stressed upon

Energy Conservation and efficiency, Oil demand substitution, tapping Bio-fuels, waste to wealth etc. highlighted at meeting
Minister of State (I/C) for Petroleum and Natural Gas, Shri Dharmendra Pradhan chaired the first meeting of apex body for policy formulation and implementation of ‘Roadmap to achieve target of 10 % reduction in import dependency in oil and gas by 2021-22 under an institutional mechanism ‘Integrated Monitoring and Advisory Council’ (IMAC) which was held on 19th July, 2017. 

Inclusion of more holidays in national calendar

The Government has received proposal to make Patriots Day, observed on 13th August, and Ningol Chakkouba, which coincides with Bhai Duj, as restricted holidays and include them in the National Calendar. 
As per existing policy, the Central Government administrative offices observe 17 holidays in a year.  Out of these 17 holidays, 14 are pre-notified, compulsory holidays, which include three National holidays, namely, Republic Day, Independence Day and Mahatma Gandhi’s birthday.  The remaining three holidays are required to be selected, by the Central Government Employees Welfare Coordination Committee (CGEWCC), functioning in respective states, from another list of 12 occasions.  In addition, individual employees are allowed two restricted holidays in a year to be selected from a notified list of such Restricted Holidays.

Reservation for sportspersons in services

As per extant instructions, Ministries and Departments can recruit meritorious sportspersons to Group ‘C’ posts under the Government of India up to 5% of the vacancies in any year subject to the condition that these including all other reservations do not exceed 50% of the total number of vacancies proposed to be filled up by direct recruitment.
Consolidated instructions on incentives for sportspersons including recruitment under sports quota have been issued vide Department of Personnel and Training’s OM No 14034/01/2013-Estt.(D) dated 3rd October 2013. At present no proposal to increase the quota is under consideration of the Government.

Appointments under Central Staffing Scheme

The Central Staffing Scheme (CSS), which is in operation for decades, provides a systematic arrangement for selection and appointment of eligible officers from the participating services at the level of Deputy Secretary, Director, Joint Secretary, Additional Secretary and Secretary in the Central Government. The appointment of officers from the participating services at the Centre is an ongoing process, which includes shift/elevation of officers from one Ministry/Department to another, due to empanelment, on administrative grounds, etc. During the last three years, 798 IAS officers and 578 Non-IAS officers were appointed under the CSS. 21 officers of the All India Services from Jharkhand cadre have been appointed during this period under the CSS. 

Incubation Centres in Universities

15 Technology Business Incubators (TBI) have been approved by this Ministry in collaboration with Department of Science and Technology (DST) in the year 2016 across various Centrally Funded Technical Institutions with 100% funding from DST. The DST has also supported 93 Technology Business Incubators and Science & Technology Entrepreneurs Parks in various universities/institutions.

Re-Evaluation Policy of CBSE

There have been some variations in totaling of marks during verifications of marks/scrutiny which have been communicated to the students and revised marks statement issued.  This year total No. of 106981 cases of Verification of Marks has been received in all the 10 Regions of the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE). The said variations are due to totaling of marks, unassessed portion, transfer of marks from inside the answer book to the main cover page.
The orders of the Hon’ble Court have been complied by the CBSE for scrutiny of the answer scripts. A notice in this regard has been issued by the CBSE dated 28.06.2017.

Review of Deemed University Status

Presently, Institutions Deemed to be Universities are regulated by the University Grants Commission (UGC) as per the provisions of UGC (Institutions Deemed to be Universities) Regulations, 2016. As per the Regulations, there is a provision for mandatory intensive external review of every Deemed to be University once in every five years based on the criteria prescribed by the UGC from time to time. Only those Institutions Deemed to be Universities are not reviewed by the UGC which are accredited with highest grade by National Assessment and Accreditation Council (NAAC) or all their eligible Courses are accredited with highest grade by National Board of Accreditation (NBA) for two continuous cycles. The review of such Institutions Deemed to be Universities can be done by the Institution itself through external peer review mechanism. 

Bhagavad Gita in School Education

Content related to ‘Bhagavad Gita’ is already included in National Council of Educational Research & Training (NCERT)’s Class XII Sanskrit text book, namely, Shashwati, Part-II (Chapter IV: Karma Gauravam) since 2007-08. The National Curriculum Framework-2005 brought out by NCERT states that to strengthen our cultural heritage and national identity, the curriculum should enable the younger generation to reinterpret and re-evaluate the part with reference to new priorities and emerging outlooks of a changing societal context. The document further states that the cultural diversity of this land should continue to be treasured as our special attribute.

Bridging Gender Gap in IITS

Out of 2264 female candidates who were allotted seats in Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs) in 2016, 848 joined IITs. The admission process for the current year is not over. To improve female enrolment in the B.Tech. Programmes in IITs, a Committee under the chairmanship of Director, IIT-Mandi was constituted by the Joint Admission Board (JAB) to suggest suitable measures. The report of the Committee was considered by the IIT Council in its 51st meeting held on 28.04.2017 and decided to increase female enrolment from the current 8% to 14% in 2018-19, 17% in 2019-20 and 20% in 2020-21 by creating supernumerary seats.

Collaboration with Foreign Universities

The University Grants Commission (UGC) has notified, on the 11th July, 2016, the UGC (Promotion and Maintenance of Standards of Academic Collaboration between Indian and Foreign Educational Institutions) Regulations, 2016 regarding collaboration between Indian Higher Educational Institutions and Foreign Higher Educational Institutions leading to the award of a degree. The regulations are available at http://www.egazette.nic.in/WriteReadData/2016/170684.pdf. As per these regulations, Indian Universities and Colleges having the highest grade of accreditation/threshold accreditation, and conforming to other eligibility conditions as laid down in the regulations, can apply online to the UGC for starting twining arrangement with Foreign Educational Institutions (FEI) having the prescribed quality.

Quality Education Under RTE Act

The Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education (RTE) Act, 2009 lays down the duties of the appropriate Government and the local authority to ensure that good quality elementary education conforming to norms and standards is provided, curriculum and courses of study are prescribed in a timely manner, and teachers are trained. In order to focus on quality education, the Central RTE Rules have been amended on 20th February, 2017 to include reference on class-wise, subject-wise Learning Outcomes. The Learning Outcomes for each class in Languages (Hindi, English and Urdu), Mathematics, Environmental Studies, Science and Social Science up to the elementary stage have, accordingly, been finalized and shared with all States and UTs. These would serve as a guideline for States and UTs to ensure that all children acquire appropriate learning level. 

Shri Rajnath Singh chairs meeting of Home Minister’s Advisory Committee for Daman & Diu

The meeting of Advisory Committee associated with the Minister of Home Affairs for the UT of Daman & Diu was held here today under the Chairmanship of Union Home Minister Shri Rajnath Singh.
Shri Rajnath Singh mentioned that he had visited Daman & Diu during February last year and reviewed coastal security, development and governance issues. The Home Minister reviewed the status of  implementation of different Central Schemes such as Swachh Bharat Abhiyan, PAHAL, Aadhar enrolment, Aadhar seeding of Bank accounts, DBT and PM Mudra Yojana.   He expressed his satisfaction on the progress made in various sectors in the Union Territory of Daman & Diu.
The members of the Advisory Committee had suggested 36 agenda items relating to different fields of developments in the UT of Daman & Diu.  The matters relating to improving the air and road connectivity were discussed in detail.  The Secretary, Ministry of Civil Aviation informed that for the overall development of air connectivity in Diu district, 4 days a week flights are operating between Mumbai-Diu-Mumbai.  He further informed that under the Regional Connectivity Scheme (UDAN) of the Ministry of Civil Aviation, seven days connectivity to Diu airport for operating flights between Ahmedabad-Diu-Ahmedabad will be operational shortly.

FM to formally launch Pradhan Mantri Vaya Vandana Yojana (PMVVY) tomorrow; PMVVY is a Pension Scheme announced by the Government of India exclusively for the senior citizens available from 4th May, 2017 to 3rd May, 2018; The Scheme can be purchased offline as well as online through Life Insurance Corporation of India

The Union Minister for Finance, Defence and Corporate Affairs will formally launch the Pradhan Mantri Vaya Vandana Yojana (PMVVY) tomorrow in the national capital. PMVVY is a Pension Scheme announced by the Government of India exclusivelyfor the senior citizens aged 60 years and above which is available from 4th May, 2017 to 3rd May, 2018. The Scheme can be purchased offline as well as online through Life Insurance Corporation (LIC) of India which has been given the sole privilege to operate this Scheme.

Following are the major benefits under the Pradhan Mantri Vaya Vandana Yojana (PMVVY):

·         Scheme provides an assured return of 8% p.a. payable monthly (equivalent to 8.30% p.a. effective) for 10 years.
·         Pension is payable at the end of each period, during the policy term of 10 years, as per the frequency of monthly/ quarterly/ half-yearly/ yearly as chosen by the pensioner at the time of purchase.
·         The scheme is exempted from Service Tax/ GST.

FM: Entry into force of the WTO-Trade Facilitation Agreement (TFA) on 22nd February, 2017 is a major milestone for the global trading system; Releases National Trade Facilitation Action Plan today.

The Union Minister of Finance, Defence and Corporate Affairs, Shri Arun Jaitley said that the entry into force of the WTO-Trade Facilitation Agreement (TFA) on 22nd February, 2017 is a major milestone for the global trading system. The Finance Minister Shri Arun Jaitley was speaking after releasing the National Trade Facilitation Action Plan (NTFAP) here today in the national capital. He said that with the release of this Action Plan today, we look forward to ensuring compliance with the TFA and also, impetus to trade facilitation. The Finance Minister further added that this Action Plan gives a time bound map, not only for implementing TFA, but also for India’s initiatives for trade facilitation and Ease of Doing Business which goes beyond TFA. 

Compensation to Indian Nationals dying abroad

At present, there is no scheme of Government of India that provides compensation in respect of Indian nationals dying abroad.

However, there is a mandatory insurance scheme, the Pravasi Bharatiya Bima Yojana for emigrant workers who need Emigrance Clearance for overseas employment. The scheme has been further strengthened recently which will be beneficial to Indian emigrant workers.

Simplification in Procedure for Getting Passports

The Government has decided to print personal details on passports in both Hindi and English languages.  The pre-printed portion of the passport is already in Hindi and English languages.

            The Government has implemented with effect from 24 June, 2017 a new scheme under which senior citizens of the age of 60 years and above and minor children upto the age of eight years would be given a discount of 10 per cent on the applicable passport fee on fresh application for passports.

Fishermen in Custody of Sri Lanka

The number of Indian fishermen in the custody of Sri Lankan authorities as on 17 July 2017 is 81 (eighty one).
Government regularly takes up the matter of early release and repatriation of Indian fishermen with the Government of Sri Lanka. Our High Commission in Colombo provides humanitarian and legal assistance to the apprehended fishermen. As a result of sustained diplomatic efforts, Government has so far secured the release of 174 fishermen in Sri Lankan custody in 2017.

Persons Prosecuted Under Prevention of Money Laundering Act

As per information received from the Directorate of Enforcement, New Delhi, the prosecution complaint has been filed against 53 persons, who are absconding, under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act, 2002. The list is attached as Annexure-A.

The Ministry of External Affairs has not received any request from the Directorate of Enforcement, New Delhi or from the Ministry of Home Affairs for extradition of persons mentioned in the list in connection with cases under Prevention of Money Laundering Act, 2002.

‘Plant more Saplings to stop the Imbalance in Nature’: Environment Minister

Union Minister of Environment, Forest and Climate Change, Dr Harsh Vardhan has said that people should plant more and more saplings to stop the imbalance in nature. Leading the sapling plantation programme at Ashoka Garden, Ashok Vihar here today, Dr. Harsh Vardhan termed the planting of saplings as a divine work. He said that not only should everyone plant saplings, but should also care for the plants as a member of one’s own family. The Minister said that trees have a very important place in our lives. “They not only help in making the environment pure, but also provide life-giving oxygen, fruits, flowers, shade and cool the environment”, Dr. Harsh Vardhan said. 

National Zoological Park Celebrates Tenth Birthday of White Tiger Vijay

National Zoological Park, New Delhi (Delhi Zoo) celebrated 10th birthday of White Tiger (Vijay) today. The purpose of this celebration was to create awareness about tiger and the importance of food chain in our ecosystem. A group of students and staff from Ramjas School, Sector 4, R.K. Puram attended the programme. 

Severe Weather Warning – 20 to 24 July,2017

India Meteorological Department has issued severe weather warning for 20th to 24th July, 2017 as below:


Heavy to very heavy rain at isolated places with extremely heavy falls very likely over Madhya Maharashtra 

and South Interior Karnataka. Heavy to very heavy rain at a few places very likely over Konkan & Goa. 

Swachh Bharat Mission picks up great momentum & on way to target

The Government today said that Swachh Bharat Mission has picked up great momentum now and it is hopeful to achieve the target of Swachh Bharat by 02.10.2019. Replying to a question in the Lok Sabha, the Minister of State for Drinking Water and Sanitation Shri Ramesh Chandappa Jigjinagi said that the Sanitation Coverage, which was 41.80% on 2.10.2014, has increased to 65.07% on 17-07-2017. He said that a total of 2, 09,099 Villages, 95,521 Gram Panchayats, 1,411 Blocks and 149 District have been declared Open Defecation Free (ODF) as on 17-07-2017. In addition, 5 States namely Sikkim, Himachal Pradesh, Kerala, Uttarakhand and Haryana have also been declared ODF.

Indian Director General of Military Operations Raises Issue of Specific Targeting of Civilians by Pakistan

Indian Director General of Military Operations (DGMO) Lt Gen AK Bhatt spoke to his Pakistani counterpart at 1530h today. Consequent to unprovoked and coordinated ceasefire violations onto Indian civilians along the Line of Control, Pak DGMO was informed of action by Pakistani troops wherein they had deliberately targeted civilian villages and then fired at school children while they were being evacuated. This, he was told does not behove of any Army. The Indian Army as professional force takes due care to avoid targeting of civilians and Pak Army was expected to do the same. 

Paika Rebellion of Odisha

Pre-dating what has been popularly regarded as the fist war of independence in 1857, the Paika Bidroha (Paika Rebellion) of 1817 in Odisha briefly shook the foundations of British rule in the eastern part of India. Paikas were essentially the peasant militias of the Gajapati rulers of Odisha who rendered military service to the king during times of war while taking up cultivation during times of peace. They unfurled the banner of rebellion against the British under the leadership of Baxi Jagandhu Bidyadhara as early as 1817 to throw off the British yoke.

Visit of the Commerce and Industry Minister to Geneva for discussions on WTO related issues

The Commerce and Industry Minister, Smt Nirmala Sitharaman, visited Geneva on 18-19 July 2017 to, inter-alia, hold consultations with representatives of key WTO member countries, Director General WTO and Secretary General, UNCTAD.

During her meeting with the Director General, WTO, Commerce & Industry Minister mentioned the kind of outcomes India would like to see at the upcoming Eleventh Ministerial Conference of the WTO (‘MC11’). She particularly stressed that the MC11 outcomes must include a permanent solution on public stockholding for food security purposes (PSH) on which there is a Ministerial mandate. She urged DG, WTO to follow up vigorously to support the efforts to reach finality on PSH and the agricultural Special Safeguard Mechanism. She stressed that any attempts at seeking outcomes on new issues such as e-commerce and investment facilitation should not be at the cost of other long pending issues on the agenda of the Doha Round.

Rs. 3653 Crore of Amount Received from Allocation of Coal Blocks

The Coal bearing State Governments have received an amount of Rs. 3653 crores till June 2017 from the allocation of Coal blocks/Mines under the provisions of Coal mines (Special Provisions) Act, 2015. Under the aforesaid Act, provisions of the entire revenue from allocation (auction and allotment) of coal blocks / mines under the accrues to the coal bearing State Government concerned. This was stated by Shri Piyush Goyal, Minister of State (IC) for Power, Coal & New and Renewable Energy and Mines in a written reply to a question in the Lok Sabha today. 

Adequate Supply of Coal to Power Sector

During the period April, 2016 to December, 2016, the coal based power generation grew by 6.18 per cent to 674.492 Billion Units over the same period in the previous year. Dispatch of coal and coal products to power sector from Coal India Limited (CIL) sources in October, 2016 was 31.91 Million Tonnes (MT) as against 34.50 MT in October, 2015. This was stated by Shri Piyush Goyal, Minister of State (IC) for Power, Coal & New and Renewable Energy and Mines in a written reply to a question in the Lok Sabha today. This was due to more than adequate availability of coal in stock at power plants and better quality of coal resulting in improvement of Station Heat Rate and reduction in coal consumption per unit of power, despite higher generation. 

Biometric Access Control System at Airports

A project, namely, 'Bio-metric Access Control System at Airports' with a cost of Rs.33.23 crore, has been approved for implementation at 72 airports by Bureau of Civil Aviation Security, the regulatory authority of civil aviation security in India. The objective of the project is to replace the existing system of paper-based Airport Entry Permits(AEPs) and enable bio-metric enabled smart card based access control system for staff & personnel (excluding passengers) requiring entry to the airports. 

This information was given by the Minister of State for Civil Aviation Shri Jayant Sinha in written reply to a question in Lok Sabha.

Installation of Gagan System in Aircraft

Government proposes to make it compulsory to install GAGAN navigation system in all aircrafts in the country. In accordance with the provisions of the National Civil Aviation Policy, 2016, it is mandatory for all aircrafts registered in India from 1st January, 2019 to be GPS Augmented Geo Navigation System (GAGAN) enabled. 

Privatization of Airports

Passenger safety and benefit of the airports operated by private/JVC entities are governed as per the Concession Agreement and applicable laws in the country. The regulator authorities i.e. DGCA and Airports Economic Regulatory Authority of India are mandated to monitor the performance of the Airports in this regard. 

No airport in the country has been fully privatized. However, Airports Authority of India (AAI) has entrusted the Joint Venture Company (JVC), the Operation Management and Development of Delhi and Mumbai airports under Public Private Partnership (PPP) to have world class airport infrastructure in the country. AAI holds 26% equity in JVCs of Delhi and Mumbai.

Construction of Greenfield Airports

Government of India (GoI), Ministry of Civil Aviation (MoCA) has granted 'in principle' approval for setting up of 18 Greenfield Airports in the country. The list of these airport along with the estimated cost is as under: Mopa in Goa (approx. Rs. 3100 cr), Navi Mumbai (approx. Rs. 16704 cr), Shirdi (approx. Rs. 320.54 cr) and Sindhudurg (approx. Rs. 520 cr) in Maharashtra, Bijapur (approx. Rs. 150 cr), Gulbarga (approx. Rs. 13.78 cr in initial phase), Hasan (approx. Rs. 592 cr) and Shimoga (approx. Rs. 38.91 cr) in Karnataka, Kannur in Kerala (approx. Rs. 1892 cr), Durgapur in West Bengal (approx. Rs. 670 cr), Dabra in Madhya Pradesh (approx. Rs. 200 cr), Pakyong in Sikkim (approx. Rs. 553.53 cr), Karaikal in Puducherry (approx. Rs.170 cr),

Disinvestment of Air India

The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) in its meeting held on 28.06.2017 has given in-principle approval for considering strategic disinvestment of Air India and its five subsidiaries and constitution of Air India Specific Alternative Mechanism.;
To implement the decision of CCEA, appointment of Transaction Adviser, Legal Adviser and Asset Valuer shall be taken up as per terms and conditions and scope of work of Advisers/ Valuer in accordance with the model RFPs suggested by the Department of Investment and Public Asset Management.

NDDB “Logo” signifies safe and quality milk and milk Products from dairy co-operatives: Shri Radha Mohan Singh

NDDB’s Quality Mark will provide dairy cooperatives and producer institutions the much-needed brand identity and competitive edge: Shri Singh

The aim of Quality Mark “Logo” is to bring about process improvement in the entire value chain from producer to the consumer to ensure availability of quality milk and milk products: Shri Singh
Union Minister for Agriculture and Farmers Welfare Minister, Shri Radha Mohan Singh today launched National Dairy Development Board “NDDB’s” Quality Mark “Logo” at Krishi Bhawan, New Delhi. Shri Sudarshan Bhagat, Union Minister of State for Agriculture and Farmers Welfare; Shri Devendra Chaudhry, Secretary, DAHD&F and Shri Dilip Rath, Chairman, National Dairy Development Board were present on the occasion. The Agriculture Minister also presented certificates to 14 selected manufacturing units for adopting food safety and quality management systems and adhering to Quality Mark parameters.

Efforts of Ministry of Development of North Eastern Region

The measures taken by the Ministry of Development of North Eastern Region to reach out to the States of North Eastern Region in a more proactive manner, inter alia, include:-

i)      Various officials of the Ministry regularly visit and camp in the State capitals for expediting processing of reports and Utilization Certificates by the State Governments. In respect of projects taken under the scheme of Non-Lapsable Central Pool of Resources (NLCPR), the Ministry is in constant touch with the officials concerned of the State Governments through video-conferencing and other IT tools like Whatsapp, SMSs and E-mails.
ii)    Guidelines of the Ministry’s flagship scheme, Non-Lapsable Central Pool of Resources (NLCPR), have been revised to incentivize faster completion of projects taken up under the scheme. 
iii)  Automation has been enabled by launching NLCPR Project Portal through which all the required documents from the State Governments are received online in the Ministry.

Indian Satellites in Outer Space

At present, there are 42 Indian satellites operational in orbit. 

Out of these 42 satellites, 15 satellites are used for communication, 4 for meteorological observations, 14 for earth observations, 7 for navigation and 2 for space science purposes. During FY 2016-17, the total revenue accrued from communication satellites through leasing of INSAT/ GSAT transponders is Rs. 746.68 crore. 

Global Centre for Nuclear Energy Partnership

Project for setting up of the Global Centre for Nuclear Energy Partnership (GCNEP) in India was sanctioned during September, 2010 with a proposal for construction in phases. The construction activities of Phase-I buildings have been completed and the construction activities for the next phase is being taken up. The facility is operational in the buildings completed in Phase-I. Setting up of the facility is being done indigenously by the Department of Atomic Energy (DAE). 

Progress in INDO-US Nuclear Deal

The fruition of International cooperation in nuclear energy or Indo – US nuclear deal as has been commonly known, has resulted in enabling import of fuel for reactors placed under International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Safeguards and paved the way for setting up of large capacity Light Water Reactors (LWRs) with foreign technical cooperation. In this regard, the Government has accorded ‘in principle’ approval of five coastal sites and designated them for locating such reactors in cooperation with the Russian Federation, France & the USA. Two projects, KKNPP 3&4 (2X1000 MW) and KKNPP 5&6 (2X1000 MW), to be set up in technical cooperation with Russian Federation at Kudankulam, Tamil Nadu have been accorded financial sanction. Construction of KKNPP 3&4 has commenced. Discussions with technology partners from France and USA have commenced to arrive at viable project proposals. 

At present there are nine reactors under construction and another twelve have been accorded administrative approval and financial sanction by the government, work on which is being taken up progressively. 

PM expresses grief on tragic accident in Himachal Pradesh

The Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi has expressed grief on loss of lives in tragic bus accident in Himachal Pradesh. 

“My thoughts are with those who lost their loved ones in the tragic bus accident in Himachal Pradesh. May those injured recover quickly”, the Prime Minister said. 

PM congratulates Shri Ram Nath Kovind Ji on being elected the President of India

The Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi has congratulated Shri Ram Nath Kovind Ji on being elected the President of India.

“Congratulations to Shri Ram Nath Kovind Ji on being elected the President of India! Best wishes for a fruitful & inspiring tenure.

Legacy of Shaheed Nanak Singh is part of legacy of brave men and women who fought to make India free: Vice President

Delivers Shaheed Nanak Singh Memorial Lecture
The Vice President of India, Shri M. Hamid Ansari has said that the legacy of Shaheed Nanak Singh is part of the legacy of the brave and inspiring men and women who fought to make India free. He was delivering the Shaheed Nanak Singh Memorial Lecture ‘The Legacy of Freedom Fighters’, here today. Smt. Salma Ansari and other dignitaries were also present on the occasion.

The Vice President said that the freedom struggle was not only a struggle for independence and it was an exercise in building a nation. He further said that India was blessed that a set of people of incredible talent and wisdom graced the period marking our struggle. They possessed moral integrity of the highest order; the tallest among them was Mahatma Gandhi, he added.

President of India Inaugurates ‘Bicentenary Celebration of Paika Rebellion of Odisha’

The President of India Shri Pranab Mukharjee inaugurated the “Bicentenary celebration of the heroic Paika Rebellion of Odisha, a valiant uprising of Paikas against the British rule” organised by the Ministry of Culture here today. Minister of Tribal Affairs Shri Jual Oram, Chief Minister of Odisha Shri Naveen Patnaik, Minister of State (I/C) for Petroleum and Natural Gas Shri Dharmendra Pradhan and Minister of State (I/C) for Culture and Tourism Dr. Mahesh Sharma were present at the inaugural function.

Speaking on the occasion, the President said that it was indeed a privilege for him to be present on the occasion of inauguration of year-long celebration of Bi-Centenary of the Paika Bidroha of Odisha. He congratulated the people of the country and especially those of Odisha on the occasion. He stated that 40 years before the revolt of 1857, which was later termed as 1st War of Indian Independence against British Colonialism, a battle was fought under the leadership of Baxi Jagabandhu of Odisha. Many scholars, researchers and historians have opined that the Paika Rebellion of 1817 was India’s first organized armed rebellion against British Raj. He said that completion of two hundred years of this popular uprising was a special event. The legend of the heroics of Buxi Jagabandhu continues to inspire the people of Odisha. It is time, this struggle and sacrifice by a generation of Odia people got its due place in the annals of history. 

20 Jul 2017

Swachhta Pakhwada observed in the Ministry of Earth Sciences

Cleanliness Activities Undertaken at Stations in Antarctica and Arctic
            Swachhta Pakhwada (Cleanliness Fortnight) of Ministry of Earth Sciences and its various Organisations was organized from 16th to 30th June, 2017.  In addition to general cleanliness of the Campus of MoES and its Organisations, some additional activities were carried out like undertaking cleanliness of some villages, donating dustbins to schools and hospitals for maintaining their cleanliness, arranging drawing/ painting competitions among school children for spreading Swachhta awareness etc.  The major activities undertaken during the fortnight are:

i)                    Cleanliness drive was undertaken at the Bharati Station in Antarctica

Bharati station during winter season

Conversion of Sea Water Into Drinking Water

The National Institute of Ocean Technology (NIOT), an autonomous body of the Ministry of Earth Sciences, has indigenously developed and demonstrated Low Temperature Thermal Desalination (LTTD) technology for conversion of sea water to drinking water. Three desalination plants each with a capacity of 1 lakh litre of potable water per day, based on LTTD technology have been successfully commissioned by NIOT one each at Kavaratti, Minicoy, and Agatti islands of the Union Territory of Lakshadweep. Recently, Ministry of Drinking Water and Sanitation has approved the proposal of Lakshadweep Administration for establishment of 6 LTTD plants each with capacity 1.5 lakh liters per day in the islands of Amini, Androth, Kadamat, Chetlat, Kalpeni and Kiltan of Lakshadweep. 

Weather Forecast System

India Meteorological Department (IMD) operates a dedicated weather and climate monitoring, detection and warning services useful for various sectors of economy. Monsoon prediction and the weather forecasting systems in the country are comparable to the best in the world. However, efforts are continuously being made to further enhance the level of efficiency of the forecasting systems

Improvement of weather forecasting services is a continuous process. Government has initiated a comprehensive modernization programme for IMD covering (i) up-gradation of observation systems (ii) advanced data assimilation tools (iii) advanced communication and IT infrastructure (iv) high performance computing systems and (v) intensive/sophisticated training of IMD personnel. Forecasts, early warning of severe weather events and advisories are issued by IMD at national, state and district levels. In order to provide early warning of severe weather events, IMD has setup a network of State Meteorological Centres to have better coordination with the state and district level agencies. 

Defence agreements with Russia

Details of defence agreements signed with Russia over the past five years is as under:
•Agreement for training of Indian armed forces personnel in the military educational establishments of the Defence Ministry of the Russian Federation. (Date of signing 11.12.2014).

Designing of Indigenous Bullet-Proof Jacket

Dr. Shantanu Bhaumik, Amrita University, Coimbatore has claimed that he has developed Bullet Proof Jackets (BPJs) which is based on thermoplastic composite materials using carbon as a reinforcement for making Hard Armour Panels of BPJ. However, in his claim he has not submitted any kind of trial result for the authentication of technology developed for BPJ.

Ex-Servicemen Status for Ex-NDA Cadets

26 cadets were declared medically unfit and withdrawn from training due to injuries during the last three years and the current year as per details given below:-
Spring Term 2014   -   05 
Autumn Term 2014  – 01 
Spring Term 2015   – 07
Autumn Term 2015 – 04
Spring Term 2016    –  01
Autumn Term 2016  – 06
Spring Term 2017    – 02
Autumn Term 2017 – NIL 
NDA cadets who are medically boarded out are not being granted Ex-servicemen (ESM) status as the NDA cadets are not yet commissioned as officers and are therefore not counted as “Servicemen”.
Government is implementing schemes for the welfare of NDA cadets .  The following schemes are being implemented:
•Ex-Gratia Awards in cases of Disablement:- The cadet on being medically boarded out is entitled for following benefits:-
oEx-gratia amount -  Rs. 3,500/- p.m.
oEx-gratia disability award – Rs. 6,300/- p.m. (100% disability).
oConstant Attendance Allowance – Rs. 3,000/- p.m. (100% disability as recommended in invaliding medical board). 
•AGIF Insurance Cover for NDA Cadets:-
oDisability:-  Rs. 7.5 Lakhs for 100 percent disability proportionately reduced to Rs.1.5 lakhs for 20 % disability. 
oEx-gratia Grant:-   Rs. 50,000/- per   cadet   being invalided out with less than 20% of   disability   in the first two years of training and Rs. 1 lakh for cadets if invalided   out   with   less  than  20%  of disability during the last year of training. 
Preference in Employment in the Government Jobs: Cadets who are invalidated out on medical grounds attributable to military training are accorded Priority-1 for the purpose of employment in Government service.
The cadet consequent to his injury is provided free medical treatment in Military Hospital, Command Hospital and Research & Referral Hospital, Delhi. The cadet is only invalidated out in the medical board if he does not recover from the injury and is found unfit for further military training with the aforesaid treatment.  The data on expenditure incurred on such treatment is not maintained.
This information was given by Minister of State for Defence Dr. Subhash Bhamre in a written reply to Shri Parimal Nathwani in Rajya Sabha.

Bomb Explosion at Jabalpur Ordnance Factory

An incident of bomb explosion occurred, involving old ammunition awaiting disposal, on 25th March, 2017 at one of the buildings of F-3 Section of Ordnance Factory Khamaria (OFK), in Jabalpur.  A Board of Enquiry (BOE) has been constituted at OFK to enquire the incident and assess the extent of damage / loss.  No casualty occurred due to the incident.
Ordnance Factories have been directed to conduct a thorough review of safety systems and procedures and following steps have been taken:
•Before storing the unserviceable explosives / ammunition in the Magazines, ensure compatibility of the explosives.

Private Sector Participation in Defence Production

The Government has finalized the policy on Strategic Partnerships in the Defence Sector. The Policy on Strategic Partnerships is intended to institutionalize a transparent, objective and functional mechanism to encourage broader participation of the private sector, in addition to DPSUs / OFB, in manufacture of major defence platforms and equipment, such as aircraft, submarines, helicopters and armoured vehicles.  It is expected that the implementation of the Policy will enhance competition, increase efficiencies, facilitate faster and more significant absorption of technology, create a tiered industrial ecosystem, ensure development of a wider skill base, trigger innovation, promote participation in global value chains as well as exports, leading to reduction in dependence on imports and greater self-reliance and dependability of supplies essential to meet national security objectives.  The policy has been uploaded on the website of the Ministry of Defence (https://www.mod.nic.in) as Chapter VII of DPP-2016.

Production of HTT-40 Trainer Aircraft

The maiden flight of 2nd Prototype (PT-2) of Basic Trainer Aircraft (HTT-40) has been successfully completed on 19th May 2017 without any glitch.  The aircraft flew for one hour carrying out important manoeuvres, touching altitude of 20000 ft and maximum speed of 185 kmph.
Presently, the project is in advanced stage of development.  Two prototypes have been developed and produced till date and both prototypes are under flight trials.  Additionally, one more prototype will be manufactured to further speed up the development process.  Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) aims to get the aircraft certified by December 2018 which will be followed by series production.

All you need to know about Ram Nath Kovind, 14th President of India


1.BJP-led NDA's presidential candidate Ram Nath Kovind is India's 14th President.

2. Kovind will be the seventh youngest person to be anointed to the coveted post.

3.He is also the second Dalit after KR Narayanan to adorn the coveted post.

BJP-led NDA's presidential candidate Ram Nath Kovind registered an emphatic win over his rival and Opposition candidate Meira Kumar. Succeeding Pranab Mukherjee, Kovind will be sworn in as the 14th president of India on July 25.

MoU Signed Between Department Of Defence Production And GRSE

A Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) was signed between Secretary (Defence Production) Shri Ashok Kumar Gupta on behalf of the Ministry of Defence and Chairman and Managing Director (CMD), Garden Reach Shipbuilders & Engineers Limited (GRSE) Rear Adm (Retd) VK Saxena, here today. The MoU details the targets and achievements expected on various MoU performance indicators of the company during 2017-18.
The company has targeted to achieve a turnover of ₹ 1350 crore which is about 40 percent more than actual achievements of last financial year (2016-17).

Mou Signed between Department of Defence Production and HSL

Hindustan Shipyard Limited (HSL), a Schedule ‘B’ Central Public Sector Enterprise (CPSE) under the administrative control of Department of Defence Production, Ministry of Defence signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) for the financial year 2017-18 with the Ministry, here today. The annual MoU was signed between Secretary (Defence Production) Shri Ashok Kumar Gupta on behalf of the Ministry of Defence and Chairman and Managing Director HSL Rear Adm (Retd) LV Sarat Babu. 

MoU Signed Between Department of Defence Production and GSL

Goa Shipyard Limited (GSL), a miniratna Defence Public Sector Undertaking (DPSU) signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) for the financial year 2017-18, here today. The annual MoU was signed between Secretary (Defence Production) Shri Ashok Kumar Gupta on behalf of the Ministry of Defence and Chairman and Managing Director (CMD), GSL Rear Adm (Retd) Shekhar Mital.

45.93 lakh tons of foodgrains per month being allocated to States/UTs under NFSA

Under the National Food Security Act, 2013 (NFSA), the eligible households, which comprises of households covered under Antyodaya Anna Yojana (AAY) and priority households, are entitled to receive foodgrains (rice, wheat or coarsegrains or any combination thereof) at highly subsidized  prices.  There is no BPL category under NFSA. 

National Consumer Helpline receives 188 complaints from consumers against charging service charge by restaurants/ hotels during year the 2016-17

During the last financial year 2016-17, the National Consumer Helpline received 188 complaints from consumers where they have been asked to pay Service Charge by restaurants/ hotels.  The complaints are taken up with the hotels and restaurants concerned. 
The Department of Consumer Affairs issued guidelines on 21st April, 2017 on fair trade practices related to charging of service charge from consumers by hotels/ restaurants. As per these guidelines, the bill presented to the customer may clearly display that service charge is voluntary, and the service charge column of the bill may be left blank for the customer to fill up before making payment.  A customer is entitled to exercise his/her rights as a consumer, to be heard and redressed under provisions of the Act in case of unfair/restrictive trade practices, and can approach a Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission/Forum of appropriate jurisdiction.

National Consumer Helpline disposes of 1,41,037 complaints out of 1,80,920 complaints received during the period February 2017 to June 2017

NCH registers 30,587 complaints pertaining to e-commerce during the period of February 2017-June 2017
Total 1,80,920 complaints received through the National Consumer Helpline (NCH) and 1,41,037 complaints disposed of during the last five months as given in details in table below

During the period February to June 2017, NCH registered 30,587 complaints pertaining to e-commerce, which is the highest number of complaints in a sector, contributing to 17% of total complaints registered in the period i.e. 1,80,920.

Showcasing Strength of Indian Footwear Industry

India International Footwear Fair 2017 at Pragati Maidan
            A B2B  treasure   trove of   footwear  fashion  brands and  its  retail  industry will  be  featured at the  3rd edition of India International Footwear Fair 2017 (IIFF)  in Hall 14  and  18 at Pragati Maidan, New Delhi from August 4 to 6, 2017.  The fair is being organized by India Trade Promotion Organization (ITPO) especially when the exhibition complex is being revamped as the world class Integrated Exhibition-cum-Convention Centre. 
            This year, buyers  will  find  new  designs of  innovative  shoes  based  on aesthetics, design, fluidity  and  functionality in  the   fair. The event celebrates upcoming trends and style to recognize   innovation and   breakthrough talent on a national scale. IIFF features emerging technologies keeping in pace with the rapidly changing buyers’ needs and ushers in fresh opportunities in   Indian footwear market and challenges.

Growth of Civil Aviation Sector

Going by the annual growth rate of 22% (provisional) for the year 2016-17, the domestic air traffic, carried by scheduled Indian carriers, could reach about 126 million passengers during 2017-18. The provisional annual growth for the year 2016-17 for international air traffic passengers, carried by scheduled carriers is about 10 per cent.
This information was given by Minster of State for Civil Aviation, Shri Jayant Sinha in a written reply to a question in the Rajya Sabha today.

New Air Traffic Control Tower at IGI Airport

The construction of a new ATC tower at IGI Airport has been completed and equipment has also been installed. The ATC tower becomes functional on full testing of the equipment and completion of training of Air Traffic Controllers and CNS Engineers.

As per the plan, the shadow mode of operations at the new ATC commences from April, 2018 and the tower becomes fully operational by October, 2018.

With the new ATC in operation and further improvements to ground infrastructure, flight operations will be more efficient and flight movements per hour is also likely to increase.

This information was given by Minster of State for Civil Aviation, Shri Jayant Sinha in a written reply to a question in the Rajya Sabha today.

Construction of New International Airports

The Ministry of Civil Aviation (MoCA) has granted 'in principle' approval for setting up of 18 Greenfield Airports and 'site clearance' approval for setting up of 7 Greenfield Airports across the country. Out of these, Mopa Airport in Goa, Navi Mumbai and Shirdi Airport in Maharashtra, Kannur Airport in Kerala, Kushinagar Airport and Jewar Airport in Uttar Pradesh, Dholera Airport in Gujarat, Bhogapuram Airport in Andhra Pradesh, Machiwara Airport in Ludhiana, Alwar Airport in Rajasthan and Rajkot Airport in Gujarat are International Greenfield Airports. The airport project at Kannur has been completed.

Upgradation of existing airports is a continuous process depending on the traffic demand, availability of land and resources, environmental clearance approval from regulatory authorities, clearance from obstruction etc.

Availability of Fertilizers far exceeds the requirement in the country: Shri Mansukh Lal Mandaviya

Union Minister of State for Chemicals and Fertilizers, Shipping, Road Transport & Highways, Shri Mansukh LMandaviya, in written replies to two questions in Lok Sabha today, said that the availability of fertilizers far exceeds their requirement in the country. Nowadays, scarcity of fertilizers has become a thing of the past in the country which has been possible due to the visionary policies of Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi, the Minister added.

While giving detailed information about the demand and supply of various chemicals fertilizers, Shri Mandaviya gave the figures of cumulative requirementsales and availability of Urea, DAP and NPK fertilizers for April – June 2017, which are as given below:

ICAR set target for achieving the goal of doubling farmer’s income

DARE/ICAR has developed 596 high yielding climate resilient crop varieties/ hybrids of field crops for cultivation in different agro-ecologies of the country during past 3 years. During 2016-17 alone record 313 field crop varieties, 51 horticultural crop varieties, 51 new farm implements, 3 vaccines, 15 diagnostic kits and breeding technology for two new fish species developed. Nutrient rich (zinc, iron, protein) varieties viz., DRR Dhan 45 (18.18 ppm Zinc) and CRR Dhan 310 (10.3% protein) of rice; WB-2 (42 PPM Zinc and 40 PPM Fe) and HPBW-01 (40.6 PPM Zinc and 40.6 Fe) of wheat,

Ensuring Minimum Support Price (MSP) to farmers

The Government ensures Minimum Support Price (MSP) through procurement operations undertaken by the Central, State and Cooperative agencies in the States. State Governments have been alerted from time to time to make adequate arrangements to ensure MSP to farmers.
            Government offers to procure farmers’ produce at MSP, however, they are free to sell it to Government agencies or in the open market as is advantageous to them.

Farmers Welfare Schemes

Government of India is according high priority for welfare of the farmers and is implementing several farmers’ welfare schemes to revitalize agriculture sector and to improve their economic conditions. The Government has rolled out a number of new initiatives like Soil Health Card Scheme, Neem Coated Urea, Paramparagat Krishi Vikas Yojana (PKVY), Pradhan Mantri Krishi Sinchayee Yojana (PMKSY), National Agriculture Market (e-NAM), Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bima Yojana (PMFBY) and Interest Subvention Scheme.  These schemes are for the benefit of all farmers. The details of the schemes are as below:

(i)         Soil Health Card Scheme:

Launched in 2015, the scheme has been introduced to assist State Governments to issue Soil Health Cards to all farmers in the country.  The Soil Health Cards provide information to farmers on nutrient status of their soil alongwith recommendation on appropriate dosage of nutrients to be applied for improving soil health and its fertility.

Rs. 834.71 crores has been allocated for NFSM-Pulses

For the year 2017-18, an amount of Rs.1720.00 crores (Government of India Share) has been earmarked for National Food Security Mission (NFSM), out of which an amount of Rs.834.71 crores has been allocated, so far, for NFSM-Pulses to States for increasing the production of pulses in the country. An amount of Rs.169.28 crores has been released so far to States for implementation of the pulses programme.

Step taken by the Government of increase the country production of Lychee

The details of lychee production in various states of the country during the last three years and the current year, State and rank-wise is given below.

Several steps taken by the Government to increase the Country’s production of fruits and vegetables including lychee are as under:

·         Mission for Integrated Development of Horticulture (MIDH), a Centrally Sponsored Scheme is being implemented during XII Plan w.e.f. 2014-15, for holistic growth of the horticulture sector covering all the horticulture crops including fruits and vegetables.

So far 455 markets from 13 States have been integrated to e-NAM

585 markets across the country are targeted for integration to e-NAM by March, 2018, out of which 455 markets from 13 States have been integrated so far.  The details are given below.  For this purpose, financial assistance of Rs. 30 lakh per market is given. This has been increased to Rs.75 lakhs per mandi in Union Budget for 2017-18.  In addition the software and a mandi analyst for a year is also provided to each mandi. 


List of markets integrated with e-NAM

Total number of markets integrated
Andhra Pradesh
Himachal Pradesh
Madhya Pradesh
Uttar Pradesh

This information was given by the Minister of State for Agriculture & Farmers Welfare, Shri Parshottam Rupala, in reply to a question in Lok Sabha today.

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