Press Information Bureau (PIB)- 16th Sept to 21st Sept, 2017

Press Information Bureau (PIB)- 16th Sept to 21st Sept, 2017 (CAO PIB Weekly Compilation)



Successful Development Trials of Astra Missile

{Science and Technology}


In news

The final Development Flight Trials of AstraBeyond Visual Range Air to Air Missile (BVRAAM) were successfully conducted over the Bay of Bengal, Off the Coast of Chandipur, Odisha during 11-14 Sep 2017.

Highlights

  • A total of seven trials were conducted against Pilotless Target Aircrafts (PTA)
  • The missions included engagement of target at very long range, engagement of high manoeuvring target at medium range and multiple launches of missiles in salvo to engage multiple targets.
  • All the sub-systems including the indigenous RF Seeker performed accurately, meeting all the mission parameters and objectives. Two missiles were also launched in the combat configuration with warhead and the targets were neutralized.
  • This effort for building a state-of-the-art BVRAAM by Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO), together with Indian Air Force (IAF) has completed the development phase of the weapon system successfully.
  • More than 50 public and private industries have contributed in building the Astra weapon system.

President of India launches ‘Swachhta hi Seva’ Campaign 

{Social issue}


To take the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan at a higher level, Shri Ram Nath Kovind, The President of India, on September 15, 2017, launched a nationwide sanitation campaign, ‘Swachhta hi Seva’ (Cleanliness is Service), at Ishwariganj village in Kanpur

The President also administered ‘Swachhta hi Seva’ oath to all present there whereby they pledged to create a healthy, clean, and new India.

This ‘Swachhta hi Seva’ campaign aimed to strengthen the flagship program ‘Swachh Bharat Mission’.

After the launch of this campaign, the President honoured village-level champions who contributed to making Ishwariganj village ‘Open Defecation Free’.

The President also launched the Solid and Liquid Waste Management activities in the village which is the next major step in Swachhta after getting the villages Open Defecation Free.

Before launching of this campaign, the President addressed the people out there and said India is on a war for Healthy and clean India. He also stressed on the responsibility of making India clean on not only the sanitation personnel but on the entire country.

He said every person in this country is Nation Builder (Rashtra Nirmata). Together we should make the effort to clean our houses, public places, villages and cities. The aim is all-round cleanliness and hygiene everywhere, with implications for health and sanitation and overall prosperity of our people. Achieving the goals of the Swachh Bharat Mission expeditiously will be an appropriate tribute to the Father of the Nation, Mahatma Gandhi.


India Signs 76 Million US Dollar Loan Deal with Japan International Cooperation Limited


In news

The Government of India signed a loan deal worth $76 million with Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) today, for a project to upgrade the environment management plan at Alang-Sosiya ship recycling yards.

Benefits of this project

  • This project will help the Alang-Sosia ship-recycling yards to comply with international safety & environmental regulations.
  • This will attract more business at the recycling facilities at Alang, thereby further consolidating India’s share in the global ship-recycling industry.
  • This project will also help in safeguarding the marine and coastal environment. The use of advanced decontamination technology will rule out the possibility of fire accidents in oil and chemical tankers, thereby ensuring workers safety.
  • The project is expected to result in increase in direct employment from 50,000 to 92,000 people and in-direct employment from 1.5 lakhs to 3 lakh people.

30th Anniversary of Montreal protocol and 23rd World Ozone Day Celebrated

{Climate Change}


Highlighting the strength of the active collaboration between the government,  industries and all stakeholders in the implementation of Ozone Depleting Substances (ODS) phase-out programme in the country, Union Minister of Environment, Forest and Climate Change.

Pan-India awareness campaign

  • Addressing a gathering at the celebrations of the 30th anniversary of the Montreal Protocol and 23rd World Ozone Day here today, with the theme– “Caring for all life under the Sun”, the Minister made a special mention of the Pan-India awareness campaign launched by the Environment Ministry on the occasion.
  • This campaign was among the most widespread engagements of the Ministry for awareness generation, carried out with the active partnership of States through schools and academic/research institutions spread across the country.
  • The awareness campaign saw a participation of about 28 lakh students in more than 13, 000 schools and reached out to 214 districts across 16 states of the country. The Minister also spoke of the strong policy leadership given by India during the negotiations for the Kigali Amendment to the Montreal Protocol.

THE MONTREAL PROTOCOL ON SUBSTANCES THAT DEPLETE THE OZONE LAYER

  • Montreal Protocol, formally Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer, international treaty, adopted in Montreal on Sept. 16, 1987, that aimed to regulate the production and use of chemicals that contribute to the depletion of Earth’s ozone layer.

The meeting called for international cooperation in research to convention of Ozone layer

  • Involving ozone-depleting chemicals (ODCs) and
  • Empowered the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) to lay the groundwork for the Montreal Protocol.

A BRIEF BACKGROUND of MONTREAL PROTOCOL

  • The year 2017 marks the 30th Anniversary of the Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer.
  • The Montreal Protocol is one of the most successful global environmental treaties, the implementation of which has not only led to the phase-out of around 98% of ozone depleting chemicals, but also averted more than 135 billion tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent emissions.
  • Nearly 2 million cases of skin cancer per year have been averted globally. The Montreal Protocol is the only environmental treaty which enjoys universal ratification of 197 UN member countries.
  • During the Kigali negotiations, India piloted the concept of two base lines and a differentiated phased down time schedule to factor in the needs of developing countries. This was the first time in the Montreal Protocol that the concept of two baseline has been adopted both for developed and developing countries.

INDO-USA Joint Exercise Yudh Abhyas – 2017

{International Relations}


Exercise Yudh Abhyas – 2017, a joint military exercise between Indian and US armies commenced this morning at Joint Base Lewis McChord, Washington, USA with a brief and impressive opening ceremony. In inaugural remarks, he highlighted the common shared beliefs of democracy, freedom, equality and justice that are precious to both the nations.

  • During the two-week long exercise soldiers from both countries will hone their tactical skills in counter insurgency and counter terrorist operations under a joint brigade headquarter.
  • Both sides will jointly train, plan and execute a series of well-developed tactical drills for neutralization of likely threats that may be encountered in UN peace keeping operations. Experts from both sides will hold detailed discussions to share their experience and expertise on varied operational topics.

First ever National Conference on “Mission Mode to address Under-Nutrition” to be held in New Delhi

{Health issue}


In news

The Ministry of Women and Child Development will hold the first ever National Conference in New Delhi tomorrow on Mission Mode to address Under-Nutrition in the country.

This conference is being organized by the Ministry of Women & Child Development in collaboration with Ministry of Drinking Water and Sanitation and Ministry of Health & Family Welfare, keeping in mind the goal of “Malnutrition Free India-2022”.

Key Points

At least one district has been selected from each State/UTs so that the action taken in the selected district can be emulated in the other districts also,

Its  aims at bringing convergence at District/Block levels of the three key Departments (Health & Family Welfare, ICDS/Social Welfare and Drinking Water and Sanitation) wherein a roadmap would be drawn to evolve an appropriate strategy in tackling the problem of stunting, under-nutrition and wasting comprehensively and conclusively.

Some of the important sessions  conference include efficacy of food fortification, sustainable solution through breast feeding, dietary diversification, improving maternal & child health through Mission Indradhanush, improving program delivery effectiveness, accelerating Real Time Monitoring among others.

Mission Indradhanush

The ultimate goal of Mission Indradhanush is to ensure full immunization with all available vaccines for children up to two years and pregnant women.

The Mission is strategically designed to achieving high quality routine immunization coverage while contributing to strengthening health systems that can be sustained over years to come. In the last few years, India’s full immunization coverage has increased only by 1% per year. The Mission has been launched to accelerate the process of immunization and achieve full immunization coverage for all children in the country.

The Government has identified 201 high focus districts across 28 states in the country that have the highest number of partially immunized and unimmunized children.


Union Home Minister operationalises the New Intelligence Set-up of SSB

{Internal Security}


In news

Union Home Minister Shri Rajnath Singh operationalised the New Intelligence Set-up of the Sashastra Seema Bal (SSB). This marked the culmination of a long pending aspiration of the Force following approval of the Union Home Minister.

  • SSB has been mandated with the responsibility of guarding the Indo- Nepal and Indo-Bhutan borders where there are no restrictions on the movement of people on either side. The border population on both sides have strong regional, cultural and economic ties.

Key points

  • SSB has been declared as the Lead Intelligence Agency (LIA) for both the Indo-Nepal and Indo-Bhutan borders.
  • Thus, it was felt that a well-knit intelligence network of the highest capabilities that can function and deliver would be the prime requirement of comprehensive Border Management.
  • This was quite essential as the operations of SSB have to be Intelligence based so as to prevent criminals and smugglers from taking advantage of the friendly borders with Nepal and Bhutan.
  • MHA has accordingly sanctioned 650 posts in various ranks from Battalion to Frontier Headquarters.
  • This makes the task much more challenging and demands highest alertness to check illegal activities like smuggling of arms, Fake Indian Currency Notes (FICN), drugs and human-trafficking.

WARB

  • On the occasion, the Union Home Minister launched the Welfare and Rehabilitation Board (WARB) Mobile App for CAPF personnel. The App is available on Google Play store and is user friendly.
  • It contains various useful features to facilitate retired CAPFs and Assam Rifles personnel to get their genuine grievances redressed, seek skill development training through National Skill Development Corporation under “Pradhan Mantri Kaushal Vikas Yojana, re-employment and other relevant and important information.
  • This mobile App shall also help retired personnel to have better co-ordination with WARB and its field formation at states/UTs and district level.

‘Sanrakshan’ scheme

  • SSB Wives’ Welfare Association “SANDIKSHA” has taken up the task to help out wards of such martyrs under the ‘Sanrakshan’ scheme. “SANDIKSHA” is providing financial help to children of martyrs who are still studying in school, colleges and universities to continue their studies.

1st AICTE-ECI Chhatra Vishwakarma Awards -2017

{Science and Technology}


All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE) and Engineering Council of India (ECI), felicitated the award winners of “AICTE-ECI Chhatra Vishwakrma Awards” of AICTE approved Degree & Diploma level Technical Institutions/Universities.

AICTE-ECI Chhatra Vishwakarma Awards

The ‘AICTE-ECI Chhatra Vishwakarma Awards’ are an epitome for motivating individuals and institutions/ organizations to raise their performance in their specific domains leading to significant contribution towards the growth & development of the nation.

  • These Awards are given in following categories separately for Degree and Diploma Students (including students from AICTE approved Community College) for providing an innovative solution “To convert existing institutes into smart institute using innovative approaches:
    • Category-I: Outstanding Student Engineers (3 Awards each in Civil, Electrical, Mechanical, Electronics Engineering, Computer Science and Biotechnology streams or their allied branches)
    • Category-II: Outstanding Teachers Awards (3 Awards each in Civil, Electrical, Mechanical, Electronics Engineering, Computer Science and Biotechnology streams or their allied branches)
    • Category-III: Outstanding Institutions Awards (3 Awards) based on the maximum number of awards won from the above two categories and other criteria.

Study of Prime Minister’s Employment Generation Programme (PMEGP) by Management Development Institute (MDI), Gurugram

{Development and Employment}


In news

Minister of State (Independent Charge) for Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSME), Shri Giriraj Singh was presented with Evaluation Study of Prime Minister’s Employment Generation Programme (PMEGP) conducted by Management Development Institute (MDI), Gurugram.

The institute was entrusted with the task of conducting Evaluation Study of PMEGP in January, 2017.

Objective

The aim of the study was examine the impact of the scheme in terms of employment generation and improvement in income of the rural and urban artisans and unemployed youth. major problems in implementation of Scheme and ways to resolve them and to make recommendations on making further improvements in the Scheme.

Key facts

  • Scheme has been able to provide Sustainable Employment. Units set up under the scheme provided employment throughout year and for large number of years.
  • Scheme has good reach, it has targeted at almost all sections of the society (based on social background, education background, location etc)

Problem Areas

  • Delay in the process of sanctioning of loans at different stages.
  • Hypothecation & collaterals asked for.
  • Physical verifications & delay in adjustment of margin money.
  • Records keeping, hand holding, access of data & reporting by implementing agencies.
  • Marketing for products.

Key recommendations

  • Increased availability of field officers (They are a key connect between beneficiary and agencies and are currently sparse)
  • EDP Training content needs to be more relevant and rigorous. On line EDP could be encouraged.
  • Content partnership/Integration with MOOCs (Massive Open Online Coursewares) of recognized reputational technical and managerial institutes (such as IITs and IIMs)
  • Agencies could consider hiring interns from leading management institutions (India/Abroad) to further handholding of beneficiaries
  • Integration with Aadhar to authenticate the trainee identity and progress.
  • For motivating beneficiaries to repay loans – The people whose Margin Money has been successfully adjusted, need to be rewarded with an option of 2nd round of subsidized loans (at say 15% of subsidy).
  • Enforcement of deadlines (either of 60 or 90 days) on banks to decide about decision (acceptance or rejection) of the loan application

viii.            Cash credit account (CCA) component of the loan could be reduced. Maximum CCA may range up to 40% of total loan.


Prime Minister Employment Generation Programme (PMEGP)

{Development and Employment}


  • The Scheme is implemented by Khadi and Village Industries Commission (KVIC), as the nodal agency at the National level.
  • At the State level, the Scheme is implemented through State KVIC Directorates, State Khadi and Village Industries Boards (KVIBs) and District Industries Centres (DICs) and banks.
  • The Government subsidy under the Scheme is routed by KVIC through the identified Banks for eventual distribution to the beneficiaries / entrepreneurs in their Bank accounts.

Objectives

  • To generate employment opportunities in rural as well as urban areas of the country through setting up of new self-employment ventures/projects/micro enterprises.
  • To bring together widely dispersed traditional artisans/ rural and urban unemployed youth and give them self-employment opportunities to the extent possible, at their place.
  • To provide continuous and sustainable employment to a large segment of traditional and prospective artisans and rural and urban unemployed youth in the country, so as to help arrest migration of rural youth to urban areas.
  • To increase the wage earning capacity of artisans and contribute to increase in the growth rate of rural and urban employment.

Nature of assistance: The maximum cost of the project/unit admissible under manufacturing sector is Rs.25 lakhs and under business/service sector is Rs.10 lakhs.

Who can apply?

  • Any individual, above 18 years of age. At least VIII standard pass for projects costing above Rs.10 lakhs in the manufacturing sector and above Rs. 5 lakhs in the business / service sector.
  • Only new projects are considered for sanction under PMEGP.
  • Self Help Groups(including those belonging to BPL provided that they have not availed benefits under any other Scheme), Institutions registered under Societies Registration Act,1860; Production Co-operative Societies, and Charitable Trusts are also eligible.
  • Existing Units (under PMRY, REGP or any other scheme of Government of India or State Government) and the units that have already availed Government Subsidy under any other scheme of Government of India or State Government are NOT eligible.

Dr Jitendra Singh to inaugurate first ‘Pension Adalat’

{Governance}


In news

Dr Jitendra Singh will inaugurate the first ‘Pension Adalat’. He will also award the Pensioners for their outstanding contribution towards ‘Anubhav’ – a platform for retiring employees for sharing their experience of working with Government.

Moving ahead from e-governance to m-governance, a Mobile App has been created to avail the services of Pensioners’ Portal which will also be launched by Dr Jitendra Singh .

Objective

To create awareness about the post-retirement entitlements as well as an advance planning for life after retirement.


Cabinet approves Revamped Khelo India Programme

{Sports}


This programme strives to promote “Sports for All” as well as “Sports for Excellence.

The Union Cabinet chaired by the Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi has approved the revamped Khelo India programme.

ObjectiveImage result for Khelo India Programme

This marks a watershed moment in the history of Indian sports, as the Programme aims at mainstreaming sport as a tool for individual development, community development, economic development and national development.

The revamped Khelo India Programme would impact the entire sports ecosystem, including infrastructure, community sports, talent identification, coaching for excellence, competition structure and sports economy.

Salient features

  • An unprecedented Pan Indian Sports Scholarship scheme, which would cover 1,000 most talented young athletes each year across select sports disciplines.
  • Each athlete selected under the scheme shall receive an annual scholarship worth Rs. 5.00 lakh for 8 consecutive years.
  • This is the first time ever that a long-term athlete development pathway would be made available to gifted and talented youngsters to excel in competitive sports and will create a pool of highly competitive athletes who can compete to win at the world stage.
  • The Programme aims to promote 20 universities across the country as hubs of sporting excellence, which would enable talented sports persons to pursue the dual pathway of education and competitive sports.
  • The Programme also aims at creating an active population with healthy life-style.
  • The Programme would cover about 200 million children in the age group of 10-18 under a massive national physical fitness drive, which will not only measure the physical fitness of all children in the age group, but also support their fitness related activities.

Impact

  • The power of sport in promoting gender equity and social inclusiveness is also fully recognized and special measures are provided for to achieve these objectives.
  • The programme also aims at engaging youth living in disturbed and deprived areas, in sporting activities, to wean them away from unproductive and disruptive activities and mainstream them in the nation-building process.
  • The programme strives to raise the standards of competition, both at school and college level, to have maximum access to organized sports competitions.
  • It also includes the use of latest user-friendly technology in all aspects of sports promotion such as, use of mobile apps for dissemination of sports training; National Sports Talent Search portal for talent identification; interactive website for indigenous sports; GIS based information system for locating and using sports infrastructure, etc.
  • This programme strives to promote “Sports for All” as well as “Sports for Excellence.”

Environment Ministry to conduct five rounds of Quiz – ‘Prakriti Khoj’ across the Country 

{Environment}


In news

The Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change will hold a quiz on environment – ‘Prakriti Khoj’ throughout the country.  The quiz is planned in five rounds and the qualifying round will begin on September 25, 2017 by paying tribute to Pandit Deen Dayal Upadhyaya on his birth anniversary.Image result for Prakriti Khoj

  • Second Round:  30th October to 3rd November 2017
  • Third round: 20-24, November 2017
  • Fourth round: 4-6, December 2017
  • Fifth round:18-20, December 2017

The quiz will be conducted online though multiple-choice questions. Thematic areas like climate change, biodiversity, forest and wildlife, pollution, waste management, etc.

A separate web portal – www.ngc.nic.in and www.pkeq.nic.in, containing information on the quiz has been developed by the Ministry.

Why this quiz is organized?

This environment awareness initiative – “Prakriti Khoj had been launched on September 5, 2017.  It has been launched with an aim to reach out to young, aspiring minds of school students through a fun-filled interactive learning mode for triggering a sense of awareness towards environment protection and conservation.

This quiz, in a way, will provide a unique platform for students to measure their awareness levels regarding environmental issues and motivate them to participate in major programmes of the Ministry related to conservation and protection.


Attaining New Heights in Biotechnology 

{Science and Technology}


The Department of Biotechnology (DBT) under the Ministry of Science & Technology,  has taken many steps to brings about a paradigm shift in biotechnology in the country’s North-East Region (NER).

  • Eyeing an inclusive growth, DBT has announced a series of new programs and missions to turn this into a reality.
  • DBT has established a dedicated ‘North Eastern Region Biotechnology Programme Management Cell (NER-BPMC)’, with an annual investment of Rs. 180 crores, to evolve, implement and foster biotechnology research in the north east states.

They are,

  1. Phyto-Pharma Plant Mission: This is a Rs 50 crore Mission aimed at conservation and cultivation of endangered and threatened endemic medicinal plants, and discovery of new botanical drugs for unmet medical needs using the rich traditional ethno-botanical knowledge and biodiversity of these statesand at the same time also improve availability of authentic and quality botanical raw material on sustainable basis for a boom in the phyto-pharmaceutical industry.

DBT has announced launch of the Phyto-pharmaceutical Mission in NER with three major objectives:

  • Captive cultivation of selected medicinal plants of NER, which have great demand to ensure supply of authentic and quality botanical raw material to the user industries in the country.
  • Development of technology packages for production of GMP grade medicinal plant extracts for export markets.
  • Production of safe and efficacious phytopharmaceuticals from medicinal plants of NER for unmet medical needs using modern scientific tools and following global standards.
  1. Brahmaputra Biodiversity and Biology Boat (B4)on the Brahmaputra River, a major ecology hotspot, in NER, in collaboration with DONER, B4 will establish a large barge on the river with a well-equipped laboratory for analysis of all components of the entire ecosystem of the river and surroundings.
  • The B4 will link to all the local research institutions along the river, as well as national and international laboratories.
  • B4 will have capability to analyse soil, water, environment, plant and animal life, human health and agriculture and an  equal component that involves local citizens in the experimental process of science in data generation and management.
  1. Frugal microscopy through the Foldscope: a frugal microscope assembled from simple components, including a sheet of paper and a lens, is acting as a tool connecting students and science from the region, with the rest of the country.

Skilling Human Resources

  • Twinning R&D Programme: DBT has initiated 480 R&D twinning programs that link institutes in NER with those across the country.
  • To create an environment of training and research in medial biotechnology, DBT has supported Medical Diagnostic facilities at 11 medical colleges in NER with an investment of Rs. 40.00 crores
  • At school levels, DBT has launched the ‘Biotechnology Labs in Senior Secondary schools (BLiSS) programme’, a first of its kind in India, for schools where biotechnology labs have been set up at 88 Senior Secondary Schools from NER with an investment of Rs. 2.20 crores.
  • To provide these students with access to world-class journals and publications, the DBT e-Library consortium (DeLCON) has been launched in partnership with 18 institutions of NER, which provides access to more than 900 high impact e-journals.
  • DBT’s ‘Overseas Associateship for North East Region’ has seen 208 scientists from NER being trained overseas with Rs. 5.25 crore invested every year to support this programme.

(DBT’s BLiSS program for teachers inculcating interest in science among NER students)

{Governance}


“Hunar Haat” to be organised in Puducherry from 24th to 30th September 2017 by Ministry of Minority Affairs 

Union Minister for Minority Affairs Shri Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi today said that Ministry of Minority Affairs is organising “Hunar Haat” at Puducherry, one of renowned centre of art & culture, from 24th to 30th September, 2017 to provide market and opportunity to master artisans belonging to the Minority communities.

Key Facts

  • Master artisans from 16 states would be showcasing their traditional talent.  Artisans will bring for display and sale, a wide variety of traditional and rare Handicraft and Handloom items which include Hyderabad Pearl, Wrought Iron & Wood Carving, etc.
  • The participating artisans belong to different parts of the country. Artisans from Uttar Pradesh, Delhi, Gujarat, West Bengal, Andhra Pradesh, Assam, Bihar, Jammu and Kashmir, Jharkhand, Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh, Manipur, Nagaland, Orissa, Puducherry and Uttarakhand etc are participating.

 

The Ministry of Minority Affairs has organized “Hunar Haat” earlier also at different places. Recently, “Hunar Haat” had been organized at Baba Kharak Singh Marg, Cannaught Place in New Delhi


India to conduct the First ‘BIMSTEC Disaster Management Exercise- 2017’ from October 10-13

{Disaster Management}


In news

The Union Home Minister Shri Rajnath Singh will inaugurate the four-day First ‘BIMSTEC Disaster Management Exercise- 2017’ (BIMSTEC DMEx-2017)  on 1oth october , 2017

The Exercise will be conducted by the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) in Delhi and the National Capital Region (NCR). 

When was this decided?

At the 17th BIMSTEC Senior Officials Meeting held in Kathmandu, Nepal on February 7, 2017, it was decided that India would organize the first annual Disaster Management Exercise for the region.

Main exercises

The main exercise will comprise of Table Top Exercise (TTX), Field Training Exercise (FTX) and After Action Review (AAR) 

Highlights

This Exercise will be a platform for sharing Best Practices on all aspects of Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR), strengthening regional response and coordination for Disaster Management among the BIMSTEC member countries.

The main focus of the BIMSTEC DMEx-2017 will be on testing the region’s preparedness and resilience towards effective activation of inter-Governmental interaction/dialogue/agreements for immediate deployment of regional resources for disaster response.

Basics

BIMSTECRelated image

The Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation (BIMSTEC) is a regional organization comprising seven Member States lying in the littoral and adjacent areas of the Bay of Bengal constituting a contiguous regional unity.

This sub-regional organization came into being on 6 June 1997 through the Bangkok Declaration. It constitutes seven Member States: five deriving from South Asia, including Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Nepal, Sri Lanka, and two from Southeast Asia, including Myanmar and Thailand.

Initially, the economic bloc was formed with four Member States with the acronym ‘BIST-EC’ (Bangladesh, India, Sri Lanka and Thailand Economic Cooperation).

Following the inclusion of Myanmar on 22 December 1997 during a special Ministerial Meeting in Bangkok, the Group was renamed ‘BIMST-EC’ (Bangladesh, India, Myanmar, Sri Lanka and Thailand Economic Cooperation). With the admission of Nepal and Bhutan at the 6th Ministerial Meeting (February 2004, Thailand), the name of the grouping was changed to ‘Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation’ (BIMSTEC).

Objective

The objective of building such an alliance was to harness shared and accelerated growth through mutual cooperation in different areas of common interests by mitigating the onslaught of globalization and by utilizing regional resources and geographical advantages.

Way ahead

  • At the end of the four-day Exercise, a publication will be brought out on the outcomes and recommendations of the Joint/Common Exercise and include Agreement among BIMSTEC Nations on regional cooperation for Disaster Management and Emergency Response.
  • This would be presented to the BIMSTEC Leaders at the Summit to be hosted by Nepal in October/November, 2017.

Centre announces new PPP Policy to promote private investments in affordable housing

{Development and Employment}


Central Government has announced a new PPP Policy for Affordable Housing that allows extending central assistance of up to Rs.2.50 lakh per each house to be built by private builders even on private lands besides opening up immense potential for private investments in affordable housing projects on government lands in urban areas.

  • This policy seeks to assign risks among the government, developers and financial institutions, to those who can manage them the best besides leveraging under utilized and un-utilized private and public lands towards meeting the Housing for All target by 2022.
  • The policy gives eight PPP (Public Private Partnership) options for private sector to invest in affordable housing segment.
  • Eight PPP options, including six for promoting affordable housing with private investments using government lands have been evolved after extensive consultations with States, promoter bodies and other stakeholders.

Two models using private lands

  • The two PPP models for private investments in affordable housing on private lands include extending central assistance of about Rs.2.50 lakh per each house as interest subsidy on bank loans as upfront payment under the Credit Linked Subsidy Component (CLSS) component of Pradhan Mantri Awas yojana (Urban).
  • Under the second option, central assistance of Rs.1.50 lakh per each house to be built on private lands would be provided, in case the beneficiaries do not intend to take bank loans.

The six models using government lands are

  • DBT Model: Under this option, private builders can design, build and transfer houses built on government lands to public authorities. Government land is to be allocated based on the least cost of construction. Payments to builders will be made by the public authority based on progress of project as per agreed upon milestones and buyers will pay to the Government.
  • Mixed Development Cross –subsidized Housing: Government land to be allotted based on number of affordable houses to be built on the plot offered to private builders, cross subsidizing this segment from revenues from high end house building or commercial development.
  • Annuity Based Subsidized Housing: Builders will invest against deferred annuity payments by the Government. Land allocation to builders is based on unit cost of construction.
  • Annuity-cum-Capital Grant Based Affordable Housing: Besides annuity payments, builders could be paid a share of project cost as upfront payment.
  • Direct Relationship Ownership Housing :As against government mediated payments to builders and transfer of houses to beneficiaries in the above four models, under this option, promoters will directly deal with buyers and recover costs. Allocation of public land is based on unit cost of construction.
  • Direct Relationship Rental Housing: Recovery of the costs by builders is through rental incomes from the houses built on government lands.

Under these six Government land based PPP models, beneficiaries can avail central assistance of Rs.1.00 to Rs.2.50 lakh per house as provisioned under different components of PMAY(Urban). Beneficiaries will be identified as per the  norms of PMAY(Urban).


NITI Aayog’s SATH Program launched in Assam

{Economic Policy}


National Institution for Transforming India (NITI) Aayog’s SATH (Sustainable Action for Transforming Human capital) Program was launched in in Guwahati, Assam. The SATH program aims to provide structured support to Assam in identifying key health priorities and implement the solutions towards transforming the health and improving the well-being of people of state.

SATH program

  • The vision of SATH program is to initiate transformation in education and health sectors.
  • It embodies the philosophy of co-operative federalism to addresses the need expressed by many states for technical support from NITI Aayog.
  • The program will be implemented by NITI along with McKinsey & Company and IPE Global consortium, who were selected through a competitive bidding process.

SATH Program aims to build three selected states viz. Assam, Uttar Pradesh and Karnataka as future ‘role model’ states for health systems.

Under it, NITI Aayog will work in close collaboration with state machinery in these three selected states to design a robust roadmap of intervention, develop program governance structure, set up monitoring and tracking mechanisms, handhold state institutions through the execution stage and provide support on a range of institutional measures to achieve the end objectives.


 

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