Press Information Bureau (PIB)- 15th January to 21st January, 2017

Press Information Bureau (PIB)- 15th Jan to 21st Jan, 2017 (PIB Weekly Compilation)


Union Commerce Ministry launches SEZ India app

{Economic Development}

Source: PIB

The Union Ministry of Commerce and Industry (MOCI) has launched a mobile application named “SEZ India” under its broader e-Governance initiative to help the Special Economic Zone (SEZ) Units and Developers.

It will help the SEZ Units and Developers to find information easily and track their transactions on Online System.

It will also facilitate them to file all their transactions digitally through SEZ Online system and track the status on the go through the SEZ India mobile app.

 The app has four sections

  • SEZ Information:It consists of compendium of the SEZ Act, 2005, MOCI Circulars, SEZ Rules, 2006, details of SEZs and Units etc. and gives up to date comprehensive details on all these aspects.
  • Trade Information:It gives access to important information and tools such as Foreign Trade Policy (FTP), Hand Book of procedure, Customs & Excise Notification, Duty Calculator and MEIS Rates.
  • Contact Details: It consists of contact details of all Development Commissioners Office, DG System, DGFT, DGCI & S and SEZ online.
  • SEZ online Transaction:It dynamic submenu that tracks the Bill of Shipping/Entry Bill processing status and also does verification. It also helps the Exporters/Importers to track status of Shipping Bill/ Bill of Entry integration and processing in the EDI system of the ICEGATE.

The new Adoption Regulations, 2017

{Rights Issues}

Source: PIB
Adoption Regulations, 2017 framed by ‘Central Adoption Resource Authority’ (CARA) as mandated under section 68 (c) of Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act, 2015 shall be effective from 16 January 2017. The Adoption Regulations, 2017 replace the Adoption Guidelines, 2015.

  • The Adoption Regulations have been framed keeping in mind the issues and challenges faced by CARA and other stake holders including the Adoption Agencies & Prospective Adoptive Parents (PAPs).
  • This will further strengthen adoption programme in the country by streamlining the adoption process.
  • Transparency, early deinstitutionalisation of children, informed choice for the parents, ethical practices and strictly defined timelines in the adoption process are the salient aspects of the Adoption Regulations.

Salient features of the Adoption Regulations, 2017:-

  1. Procedures related to adoption by relatives both within the country and abroad have been defined in the Regulations.
  2. Validity of Home Study Report has been increased from two to three years.
  3. The time period available to the domestic PAPs for matching and acceptance, after reserving the child referred, has been increased to twenty days from the existing fifteen days.
  4. District Child protection Unit (DCPU) shall maintain a panel of professionally qualified or trained social workers.
  5. There are 32 Schedules annexed to the Regulations including model adoption applications to be filed in the Court and this would considerably address delays prevalent in obtaining the Court order.
  6. CARA shall be facilitating all adoptions under the JJ Act, 2015 through Child Adoption Resource Information & Guidance System (CARINGS) and all kinds of adoptions, including adoptions by relatives shall be reported to CARA which would enable safeguards for all adopted children by maintaining their record and ensuring post adoption follow up.

Saksham – 2017

{Public Policy}

Source: PIB

  • Saksham – 2017 (Sanrakshan Kshamta Mahotsav) is aimed to create awareness amongst masses towards judicious utilization and conservation of petroleum products along with use of energy efficient appliances and switching to cleaner fuels.
  • The programme is being organized by PCRA (Petroleum Conservation Research Association) and other Oil & Gas PSUs under the aegis of Ministry of Petroleum & Natural Gas.
  • It is a month long awareness programme. During one-month long drive, workshops will be held for drivers of commercial vehicles and housewives, cooks on adopting simple fuel saving measures.
  • Saksham – 2017 also aims to educate on various steps for fuel conservation through activities like Quiz Show, Saksham Asian Cycling Championship, Walkathons, concerts and other activities across the country.

National Alliance against online Child sexual abuse and exploitation

{Rights Issues}

Source: PIB

The Ministry of Women & Child Development is planning to form a National Alliance against Online Child Sexual Abuse and Exploitation.

Aim of the alliance:
The alliance aims to develop a comprehensive outreach system to engage parents, schools, communities, NGO partners and local governments (PRIs and ULBs) as well as police and lawyers to ensure better implementation of the legal framework, policies, national strategies and standards in relation to child protection and child rights.


Child sexual abuse is a multi-layered problem which negatively impacts children’s safety, health and well being. Research from world-wide indicates that children’s exposure to violence and abuse is associated with long-term physical, psychological, and emotional harm. Child abuse is finding new forms and channels through mobile and digital technologies.

  • Online child abuse and exploitation amplifies existing forms of offline bullying, stalking and harassment. It also facilitates the sexual exploitation of children through the production and dissemination of child sexual abuse materials and by facilitating the sexual exploitation and trafficking of children. Online abuse knows no national boundaries.
  • Even though India has a comprehensive legal framework for protection of child rights in the form of Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act 2015, POCSO Act, 2012 along with RTE Act 2009 and recently amended Child Labour (Prohibition and Regulation) Amendment Act, 2106, there is limited awareness of online risks for children, both among parents and guardian and children themselves.

The National Alliance on Child Sexual Abuse and Exploitation has the following broad objectives:

  • Bring a common definition of child pornography including amendment of acts (Information technology Act, POCSO Act).
  • Set up a multi-member secretariat based in MWCD with a portal inclusive of a hotline for reporting and strengthening existing service delivery systems.
  • Provide a platform for Government/ NGOs and other child rights activists for networking and information sharing.
  • Document and showcases success stories and best practices in terms of prevention of online abuse and exploitation of children.
  • Inform and educate member organisations, parents, teachers, front line service providers and children on the rights of the children and various issues related to online child abuse and exploitation.
  • Provide a forum for advocacy for child rights and policy inputs based on research and studies.

“Nagaland Health Project”

{Health issue}

Source: PIB

A financing agreement for IDA credit of US$ 48 million for the ‘Nagaland Health Project’ was recently signed between India and the World Bank.

The Objectives of the project are to improve health services and increase their utilization by communities in targeted locations in Nagaland.

  • Communities in targeted locations will benefit from project activities at the community and health facility levels while the population of the state as a whole will benefit from improvements in higher-level facilities as well as system-wide investments.
  • The project will directly benefit about 600,000 people. It will support and complement existing systems and mechanisms involving communities under the National Health Mission.

About IDA:

The International Development Association (IDA) is the part of the World Bank that helps the world’s poorest countries. Overseen by 173 shareholder nations, IDA aims to reduce poverty by providing loans (called “credits”) and grants for programs that boost economic growth, reduce inequalities, and improve people’s living conditions.

  • IDA complements the World Bank’s original lending arm—the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD). IBRD was established to function as a self-sustaining business and provides loans and advice to middle-income and credit-worthy poor countries. IBRD and IDA share the same staff and headquarters and evaluate projects with the same rigorous standards.
  • IDA is one of the largest sources of assistance for the world’s 771 poorest countries, 39 of which are in Africa, and is the single largest source of donor funds for basic social services in these countries.
  • IDA lends money on concessional terms. This means that IDA credits have a zero or very low interest charge and repayments are stretched over 25 to 40 years, including a 5- to 10-year grace period. IDA also provides grants to countries at risk of debt distress.
  • In addition to concessional loans and grants, IDA provides significant levels of debt relief through the Heavily Indebted Poor Countries (HIPC) Initiative and the Multilateral Debt Relief Initiative (MDRI).

Cabinet approves the repealing of the obsolete and redundant laws

{Public Policy}

Source: PIB

The Union Cabinet chaired by the Prime Minister has given its approval for introduction of the Repealing and Amending Bill, 2017 to repeal 105 Acts.


The two-member committee constituted by the PMO, the Law Commission and the Legislative Department had identified 1824 redundant and obsolete Central Acts for repeal. Four Acts have so far been enacted to repeal 1175 Central Acts between May, 2014 and August, 2016 by the Parliament.

  • The Repealing and Amending Act, 2015 (17 of 2015) repealing 35 Acts; The Repealing and Amending (Second) Act, 2015 (19 of 2015) repealing 90 Acts;
  • The Appropriation Acts (Repeal) Act, 2016 (22 of 2016) repealing 756;
  • Appropriation Acts including Appropriation (Railways) Acts;
  • The Repealing and Amending Act, 2016 (23 of 2016) repealing 294 Acts.

Key facts:

The 105 laws, which would be repealed once the bill is passed, include the 2008 amendments to the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, The President’s Emoluments and Pension Act and the Vice-President’s Pension Act.

Till date, 73 ministries/departments including Legislative Department have given their comments whereby they have agreed to repeal 105 Acts and disagreed to repeal about 139 Acts.

Cabinet approves amendment in Modified Special Incentive Package Scheme

{Public Policy}

Source: PIB

The Union Cabinet has given its approval for amendment in the Modified Special Incentive Package Scheme (M-SIPS) to further incentivize investments in Electronic Sector and moving towards the goal of ‘ Net Zero imports’ in electronics by 2020.

  • Besides expediting investments into the Electronics System Design and Manufacturing (ESDM) sector in India, the amendments in M-SIPS are expected to create employment opportunities and reduce dependence on imports.
  • The projects already received under the scheme have the potential to generate employment to the extent of upto one million persons (direct and indirect).
  • The Policy covers all States and Districts and provides them an opportunity to attract investments in electronics manufacturing.

A separate Committee headed by Cabinet Secretary and comprising of CEO, NITI Aayog, Secretary Expenditure and Secretary, MeitY will be set up in respect of mega projects, envisaging more than Rs. 6850 crore (approx. USD 1 Billion) investments.


The Cabinet had, in July, 2012 approved the M-SIPS to provide a special incentive package to promote large scale manufacturing in the Electronic System Design and Manufacturing (ESDM) sector.

  • The scheme provides subsidy for capital expenditure – 20% for investments in Special Economic Zones (SEZs) and 25% in non-SEZs.
  • The Scheme was amended in August, 2015   for scope enhancement and simplification of procedure.
  • The Scheme has attracted investments in the ESDM sector to the tune of Rs. 1,26,838 crore, of which investments of around Rs. 17,997 crore have been approved by the MeitY.
  • The M-SIPS has been able to create positive impact on investment in electronics sector.

Cabinet approves India’s Membership in the International Vaccine Institute (IVI), South Korea

{International Relations}

Source: PIB

  • The Union Cabinet chaired by the Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi has given its approval to the proposal for India’s taking full membership of the International Vaccine Institute (IVI) Governing Council.
  • The move involves payment of annual contribution of US $ 5,00,000 to the International Vaccine Institute (IVI), Seoul, South Korea.

International Vaccine Institute (IVI), Seoul, South Korea, established in 1997 on the initiatives of the UNDP, is an international organization devoted to developing and introducing new and improved vaccines to protect the people, especially children, against deadly infectious diseases.


  • In the year 2007, with the approval of Cabinet, India joined IVI.
  • India is a long-term collaborator and stake-holder of IVI.
  • In December, 2012 the Board of Trustees (BOT) of IVI approved the formation of its new governance structure. As per the new governance structure of IVI, a member State has to contribute to the IVI by paying a portion of its core budget. Since India is classified in Group-I, it has to pay an annual contribution of US $ 50,000.

Union HRD Minister launches ‘ShaGun’ – a web-portal for Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan

{Public Policy},{Education}

Source: PIB

The Union HRD Minister launched a dedicated web portal ‘ShaGun’ for the Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan.

  • ‘ShaGun’aims to capture and showcase innovations and progress in Elementary Education sector of India by continuous monitoring of the flagship scheme – Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan (SSA).
  • The Union HRD Minister also unveiled the ‘Toolkit for Master Trainers in Preparing Teachers for Inclusive Education for Children with Special Needs’, which has been prepared by World Bank in collaboration with Ministry of Human Resource Development.

Ensuring that “all children acquire at least the minimum levels of learning” from Class I to Class VIII under Right to Education Act, 2009.


Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan (SSA) is a flagship programme for achievement of Universalization of Elementary Education (UEE) in a time bound manner, as mandated by 86th amendment to the Constitution of India making free and compulsory Education to the Children of 6-14 years age group, a Fundamental Right.

  • The original Article 45 in the Directive Principles of State Policy in the Constitution mandated the State to endeavour to provide free and compulsory education to all children up to age fourteen in a period of ten years.
  • The National Policy on Education (NPE), 1986/92, states: “In our national perception, education is essentially for all… Education has an acculturating role. It refines sensitivities and perceptions that contribute to national cohesion, a scientific temper and independence of mind and spirit – thus furthering the goals of socialism, secularism and democracy enshrined in our Constitution”
  • ShaGun, which has been coined from the words ‘Shala’ meaning Schools and ‘Gunvatta’ meaning Quality, has been developed with a twin track approach
  • First, is the Repository with an engaging interface that focuses on positive stories and developments in the field of School Education
  • Secondly, it has an online monitoring module to measure state-level performance and progress against key educational indicators.

MoU between India and the United Arab Emirates on the Mutual Recognition of Certificates of Competency

{International Relations}

Source: PIB

The Union Cabinet has approved the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between India and the United Arab Emirates on the Mutual Recognition of Certificates of Competency.

Key facts:

  • The proposed MoU will pave way for recognition of maritime education and training, certificates of competency, endorsements, training documentary evidence and medical fitness certificates for seafarers issued by the Government of the other country in accordance with the provisions of Regulation 1/10 of the Standards of Training, Certification and Watchkeeping (STCW) Convention, and cooperation between the two countries in training and management of seafarers.
  • The MoU will ensure that the education, training and assessment of seafarers, as required by the STCW Convention, are administered and monitored in accordance with of the STCW Code for each type and level of training assessment involved.

STCW convention:

The International Convention on Standards of Training, Certification and Watchkeeping for Seafarers (or STCW), 1978 sets qualification standards for masters, officers and watch personnel on seagoing merchant ships.

  • STCW was adopted in 1978 by conference at the International Maritime Organization (IMO) in London, and entered into force in 1984. The Convention was significantly amended in 1995.
  • The 1978 STCW Convention was the first to establish basic requirements on training, certification and watch keeping for seafarers on an international level.
  • Previously the standards of training, certification and watch keeping of officers and ratings were established by individual governments, usually without reference to practices in other countries. As a result, standards and procedures varied widely, even though shipping is extremely international by nature.
  • One important feature of the Convention is that it applies to ships of non-party States when visiting ports of States which are Parties to the Convention.

MoU for Cooperation in SMEs for IORA Member States

{Development and Employment}

Source: PIB

Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) constitute more than 90% of all business enterprises in the world and provide nearly 70% of global employment.

  • SMEs contribute significantly to economic development, employment generation, inclusive growth and export promotion in most of the IORA countries.
  • Focusing on SMEs makes business sense as SMEs is at the core of inclusive growth and connects micro-enterprises and the informal sector with larger firms and international value chains. However, they face grave challenges in accessing finance, technology and innovation, skilled labour and knowledge, economies of scale and expanding markets.

IORA Member States have agreed to explore creation of a platform for IORA SMEs and governments to enhance market access and internationalization;

  1. Promote access to finance,
  2. Foster innovation as a key competitive advantage and
  3. Build capacity in management and entrepreneurship.

With the above in mind, a Workshop to draft a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) for cooperation in SMEs for IORA Member States.

  • It is proposed that the draft MOU will include mechanisms for SMEs to interact, participate in trade fairs, facilitate buyer-seller meetings and visits of delegations, acquire appropriate technology and explore trade and investment opportunities.
  • Women’s economic empowerment is also to be considered, as it is an important core cross-cutting issue as a driver of economic growth and inclusive development that requires strengthened institutions, programs and legislation.

The Workshop is being organized by the Government of India, through the Ministry of Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSME) in collaboration with the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA).


The Indian Ocean is the world’s third largest ocean. It carries half of the world’s container ships, one third of the world’s bulk cargo traffic and two thirds of the world’s oil shipments. It is a lifeline of international trade and transport. The region is woven together by trade routes and commands control of major sea-lanes.

The countries of the Indian Ocean Rim vary considerably in terms of their areas, populations and levels of economic development. They may also be divided into a number of sub-regions (Australasia, Southeast Asia, South Asia, West Asia and Eastern & Southern Africa), each with their own regional groupings (such as ASEAN, SAARC, GCC and SADC, to name a few).

IORA Membership

The Indian Ocean Rim Association (IORA) is an international organization with 21 Member States – Australia, Bangladesh, Comoros, India, Indonesia, Iran, Kenya, Madagascar, Malaysia, Mauritius, Mozambique, Oman, Seychelles, Singapore, Somalai, South Africa, Sri Lanka, Tanzania, Thailand, UAE and Yemen

Interaction with Beneficiaries of Up-scaled: Revised 2013 Lean Manufacturing Competitiveness Scheme (LMCS)

{Development and Employment}

Source: PIB

Lean Manufacturing Competitiveness Scheme (LMCS) is a part of National Manufacturing Competitiveness Programme (NMCP) under Ministry of MSME

  • It aims at improving the overall productivity of MSMEs by reduction of wastes with the help of lean manufacturing concepts.
  • This scheme was started in 2009 as a pilot project in 100 clusters and based on its success; this scheme has been up-scaled for 500 more clusters.

Key facts:

National Productivity Council has been associated with this scheme since inception as National Monitoring and Implementation Unit (NMIU).

  • Till-date 200 MSME Clusters have been formed encompassing sectors such as Automobile, Engineering, White Goods, Handicrafts, Diamond Processing, Food Processing, Readymade Garments & Textile Cluster etc.
  • The beneficiary MSMEs has witnessed an average increase in productivity level in the range of 20 to 25%. Besides, depending upon the type of clusters, the average increase in inventory turnover has been reported as 25% and the achievement in respect of reduction in manufacturing lead time in the range of 5 to 30%.
  • National Productivity Council organized a media interface with 10 MSME beneficiaries during which they actively participated to share their achievements accruing from implementing Lean Manufacturing Tools and Techniques.
  • Majority of beneficiary units have reported manifold monetary savings during each stage of the implementation. The other intangible benefits that accrued were safer workplace management, improved quality environment-friendly production capacities, business opportunities and high morale of workforce.
  • The beneficiary units to contribute to Make in India initiative of Govt. of India.
  • The MSMEs has been very encouraging as regards the implementation of the scheme by NPC as well as its effectiveness towards ease of doing business for their sector as a whole.

India participates in JITSIC meeting on ‘Panama Papers’

{Indian Economy}

Source: PIB

The government is continuing its efforts to retrieve money stashed away illegally in foreign banks, including those in Panama, even as it hunts black money evaders at home.

India participated in the Joint International Taskforce on Shared Intelligence and Collaboration (JITSIC) meeting held in Paris where 30 Revenue Authorities shared their findings on investigations arising from the Panama Papers;

  • Including the role of tax intermediaries such as financial institutions, advisers etc, who facilitate tax evasion.
  • The meeting included sharing of best practices and information between participating member countries based on legal instruments under the tax treaties and OECD and Council of Europe Multilateral Convention.

What are the Panama Papers?

The files show how Mossack Fonseca clients were able to launder money, dodge sanctions and avoid tax.

In one case, the company offered an American millionaire fake ownership records to hide money from the authorities. This is in direct breach of international regulations designed to stop money laundering and tax evasion.

What do The Panama Papers reveal?

  • Individuals who have set up offshore entities through the Panama law firm.
  • Some of the Indians floated offshore entities at a time when laws did not allow them to do so
  • some have taken a technically convenient view that companies acquired is not the same as companies incorporated
  • some have bunched their annual quota of remittances to subscribe to shares in an offshore entity acquired at an earlier date.
  • Still, some others have received income earned abroad and deposited it in the entity to avoid tax.
  • Some have opened a bank account to keep payoffs in government contracts, or held “proceeds of crime” or property bought with money made illegally in Trusts/ Foundations.

Centre sets up a negotiation panel on river Mahanadi and its tributaries


Source: PIB

Seeking to resolve disputes over sharing of river waters among five states including Odisha, the Centre has constitued a negotiation committee to assess availability and utilisation of waters of Mahanadi and its tributaries.

River  Mahanadi and will consider claims of Odisha, Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra and Jharkhand regarding availability and utilisation of waters of these rivers.

Key facts:

  • The committee has been set up with reference to complaint of state of Odisha under section 3 of the Inter-State River Water Dispute (ISRWD) Act, 1956 regarding utilisation of waters of Mahandi basin.
  • The committee will be chaired by Member (WP&P), Central Water Commission and will have 11 other members comprising representatives from the States of Odisha, Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra and Jharkhand, Union Ministries of Agriculture, Environment Forest and Climate Change, Water Resources, River Development and Ganga Rejuvenation, India Meteorological Department and Central Water Commission.

Tributaries: Seonath River: The Seonath River is the longest tributary of Mahanadi

Left: Seonath, Mand, Ib, Hasdeo

Right: Ong, Jonk, Telen

Bhargavi, Bhramani, Daya, Devi, Hasdeo, Ib, Jonk, Kuakhai, Kushabhadra, Mand, Ong, Pairi, Shivnath, Sondur, Surubalijora, Tel, Telen river.

The major tributaries of River Mahanadi are Hadso and Tel rivers, The Tel River flows in Sonpur District of Orissa. Tel is the second largest river of Orissa. The Hadso river is an important tributary of Mahanadi River, flowing in Madhya Pradesh.

Mahanadi water dispute between Odisha and Chhattisgarh

  • The 850km length of the Mahanadi river is divided almost equally between Chhattisgarh, where it born, and downstream Odisha. Last year Odisha government opposed barrages that Chhattisgarh has been constructing.
  • Odisha government alleges that these barrages are meant to feed industrial projects and will block the flow of water into Odisha whose dependence on the river is greater. Chhattisgarh has denied this allegation pointing out that much of the river in Odisha flows untapped and straight into the sea.

Health Ministry to launch population based prevention, screening and control programme for five non-communicable diseases

{Health issue}

Source: PIB

Non-Communicable diseases (NCDs) which are Cardiovascular Diseases (CVDs) such as heart attacks and stroke, Diabetes, Chronic Respiratory Diseases (Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Diseases and Asthma) and Cancer inter alia account for over 60% of all mortality in India.

  • Of these, nearly 55% are premature mortality.
  • This imposes a financial and social cost on families and the country. According to the World Economic Forum, India stands to lose $ 4.58 trillion (Rs 311.94 trillion between 2012 and 2030 due to non-communicable diseases.

Key facts:

  • As part of the National Health Mission, the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare is launching population based prevention, screening and control programme for five common non-communicable diseases, namely Hypertension, Diabetes, and Cancers of oral cavity, breast and cervix.
  • On February 4th coinciding with World Cancer Day, Union Health and Family Welfare Minster is expected to launch the programme.
  • In the first phase, the population based screening component will be rolled out in 100 districts in 32 states and UTs with about 1000 sub-centres undertaking screening.
  • ASHAs(Accredited social health activists (ASHAs)) will also be capturing information on major risk factors so that persons at risk could be counselled on leading healthy lifestyles to prevent onset of NCDs.
  • In subsequent phases, Chronic Obstructive Respiratory diseases will be included and the programme will be scaled up to cover other districts. Support to states will also be provided for community health promotion and prevention efforts, and referral and treatment.


  • Noncommunicable diseases are the leading killer today and are on the increase.
  • Nearly 80% of these deaths occurred in low- and middle-income countries
  • More than nine million of all deaths attributed to noncommunicable diseases (NCDs) occur before the age of 60. Around the world, NCDs affect women and men almost equally.

Noncommunicable diseases:  Prevention and Control of NCDs

Millions of deaths can be prevented by stronger implementation of measures that exist today.

These include policies that promote government-wide action against NCDs:

  1. stronger anti-tobacco controls
  2. promoting healthier diets,
  3. physical activity,
  4. reducing harmful use of alcohol;
  5. along with improving people’s access to essential health care.


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