Press Information Bureau (PIB)- 24th June to 30th June, 2017

Press Information Bureau (PIB)- 24th June to 30th June (PIB Weekly Compilation)


India’s biggest municipal bonds programme launched in Maharashtra:


Source: PIB

To finance its 24×7 water supply project, the Pune Municipal Corporation has launched India’s biggest municipal bonds programme. The project looks to raise Rs 2,264 crore in five years.

What are Municipal Bonds?

  • Municipal bonds are debt instruments through which a corporation or municipality raises money from individuals or institutions.
  • The civic body floating the bonds returns the principal amount on a maturity date with a specific amount of interest. There are usually two kinds of bonds – general bonds, where money is raised without mentioning the cause in particular, and revenue bonds, where funds are raised for income-generating projects and revenue from the projects is used to repay the buyers.

Amendment of the Social Security Agreement between India and the Netherlands


Source: PIB

The Union Cabinet has approved Amendment of the bilateral Social Security Agreement (SSA) between India and the Netherlands by incorporating the “Country of Residence” Principle into the said SSA.

India- Netherlands                   

  • The circumstances where the “country of residence” principle will apply to a few instances of Indian nationals include the following:
  • An Indian worker who dies in the Netherlands and has his/her spouse and children living in India.
  • An Indian worker who gets disabled while working in the Netherlands and returns to India.


  • A bilateral Social Security Agreement, (SSA) was signed between India and the Netherlands on 22nd October 2009 and came into force on 15th June
  • The SSA allows exemption from double contribution to the social security system in both jurisdictions, exportability of accumulated social security benefits across jurisdictions (applicable even to the self-employed), and totalization of serving periods.
  • Beginning 1st January 2013, a new social security legislation came into force in the Netherlands, consequent to which the Netherlands began to apply the “country of residence” principle on certain social security benefits exported to other countries.
  • The principle sought, is to bring in equity in exportability of social benefits to the class of Dutch citizens who reside outside the Netherlands.

As on date, India has signed and operationalized SSAs with 18 countries – Australia, Austria, Belgium, Canada, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Hungary, Japan, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Sweden, Switzerland and South Korea.

EEPC India opens Technology Centre in Bengaluru


In news:

EEPC India, the apex organisation of the country’s engineering exporters has launched ‘EEPC India Technology Centre’ in Bengaluru.


The centre would provide a single window platform for all technology solutions for engineering industry. The centre will facilitate product innovation, designing process improvement, new product development etc. It will operate like a library of information in the fields of technology, international standards and industry 4.0 etc. The centre would have arrangements with leading R&D Labs and institutions for providing experts with relevant engineering fields to connect with Video conferencing with various engineering clusters in various parts of the country.

About EEPC India:

  • EEPC India is the premier trade and investment promotion organization in India. It is sponsored by the Ministry of Commerce & Industry, Government of India and caters to the Indian engineering sector.
  • As an advisory body it actively contributes to the policies of Government of India and acts as an interface between the engineering industry and the Government.
  • Set up in 1955, EEPC India now has a membership base of over 12,000 out of whom 60% are SMEs.
  • EEPC India organizes a large number of promotional activities such as buyer-seller meets (BSM) – both in India and abroad, overseas trade fairs/exhibitions, and India pavilion/information booths in selected overseas exhibitions to demonstrate the capabilities of Indian engineering industry and to provide the overseas buyers with true value as propagated by Brand India.
  • India Engineering Exhibition (INDEE) is EEPC India’s own brand and is one of the largest expositions of engineering in the world. This has been happening for the last few decades and is established as the largest and most important showcase for Indian engineering.
  • EEPC India facilitates sourcing from India and boosts the SMEs to raise their standard at par with the international best practices. It also encourages the SMEs to integrate their business to the global value chain.

‘MERIT’ – A web portal


Source: PIB

A web portal- MERIT (Merit Order Despatch of Electricity for Rejuvenation of Income and Transparency) was recently launched by the Ministry of Power.

Key facts:

  • The portal has been developed by Ministry of Power in association with POSOCO and Central Electricity Authority.
  • The portal displays extensive array of information regarding the merit order of Electricity procured by State(s) such as daily state-wise marginal variable costs of all generators, daily source-wise power purchases of respective states/UTs with source-wise fixed and variable costs, energy volumes and purchase prices.
  • The web-portal also give information regarding reasons for deviation from merit order such as must run conditions, transmission constraints etc.

The advantages of “Merit” Portal are as follows:        

  • Empowerment of the Consumer and participative governance.
  • Transparent information dissemination pertaining to marginal variable cost and source wise purchase of electricity.
  • Promotes economy and efficiency in operations.
  • Demystifies the utility portfolio and its complexity.
  • Optimization of the power procurement costs.
  • Facilitates renewable integration and handling of the variability and uncertainty of renewables.
  • Indication of supply side reliability, adequacy, and cost of power procurement.

Government launches VAJRA scheme


Source: PIB

In a bid to bring together the Indian scientists abroad and India-based researchers for conducting joint researches in India, the Department of Science and Technology (DST) has launched a scheme named ‘Visiting Advanced Joint Research Faculty’ (VAJRA).

Key facts:

  • The Visiting Advanced Joint Research (Vajra) faculty scheme is a dedicated programme for foreign scientists and academicians, with emphasis on non-resident Indians, persons of Indian origin and overseas citizens of India to work as adjunct faculty in the government-funded academic and research institutions.
  • Under this scheme, scientists or senior researchers abroad – of Indian origin or otherwise – can collaborate with faculties here.
  • Under the scheme, foreign researchers would receive endowments at par with those in their own countries. The endowments for faculties would be US $15,000 in the first month of residency and US $10,000, for the remaining months.
  • The idea of the scheme is to bring the best of the world to India and conduct research here. The broad areas of research like energy, health, advance material and others would be promoted under the scheme.

City Liveability Index

Source: PIB

The Ministry of Urban Development has launched the ‘City Liveability Index’ for measuring the quality of life in 116 major cities including smart cities, capital cities and cities with a population of above one million each.

City Liveability Index

  • In a first of its kind Index to be introduced in the country, cities will be assessed on a comprehensive set of 79 parameters to capture the extent and quality of infrastructure including availability of roads, education and health care, mobility, employment opportunities, emergency response, grievance redressal, pollution, availability of open and green spaces, cultural and entertainment opportunities etc.
  • The Index is a Common Minimum Reference Framework to enable the cities know where they stand in terms of quality of life and the interventions required to improve the same.

The Swasth Saarthi Abhiyaan (SSA) and the The Swasth Saarthi web application


In news:

The Swasth Saarthi Abhiyaan (SSA) and the The Swasth Saarthi web application have been inaugurated.

About the SSA:

  • The Swasth Saarthi Abhiyaan (SSA) is a two month long mega campaign focusing on providing preventive healthcare to the auto, taxi and bus drivers of the region.
  • SSA, an initiative of Indraprastha Gas Limited (IGL).
  • The SSA event is a unique initiative to address the major issues being faced by public transport drivers of the region, with almost all of them being users of CNG.

The Swasth Saarthi web application:

This will enable the drivers undergoing the health checkups during the campaign to access their health records online from anywhere.

A ‘Fuel Conservation Workshop’ for drivers was also organized by Petroleum Conservation Research Association (PCRA) as a part of Saksham 2017the mass Oil and Gas Conservation Campaign. The campaign is also being supported by Delhi Police to disseminate the message of road safety and responsible behavior among the drivers.

6th Joint Trade Committee Meeting between India and Myanmar


In news:

The 6th India – Myanmar Joint Trade Committee (JTC) Meeting was held at New Delhi. The Joint Trade Committee plays a key role in facilitating issues related to enhancement of the bilateral economic partnership between the two countries.

Importance of Myanmar:

  • Both India and Myanmar have long history of shared religious, linguistic and ethnic ties.
  • Myanmar is India’s gateway to South East Asia and ASEAN with which India is seeking greater economic integration through ‘Act East’ Policy.
  • Myanmar shares a long land border of over 1600 Kms with India as well as a maritime boundary in the Bay of Bengal.

Trade relationship:

India’s trade with Myanmar grew by 6.01% from USD 2.05 bn in 2015 -16 to USD 2.18 bn in 2016-17. The total export achieved in 2016-17 was 1.11 USD Billion, reflecting an annual growth of 3.79%. The import stood at 1.06 USD Billion showing a growth of 8.43%.
The bilateral trade between either countries has a much larger untapped potential.

Highlights of JTC meeting:      

  • India sought the cooperation of the Myanmar side in actively pursuing enhanced road, sea and air connectivity between the two countries.
  • India sought the cooperation of the Kaladan Multimodal Transport Project work of their side and an expeditious negotiation of a Motor Vehicle Agreement bilaterally which would facilitate seamless movement of cargo vehicles.
  • During the meeting discussions were held on exploring the feasibilities of direct shipping lines with Sittwe port and Vizag/ Chennai. Similarly, the need for direct air connectivity with Chennai/ Guwahati was discussed.
  • India sought the cooperation of Myanmar side in quick finalisation of the Mode of Operation(MoO) for making the Border Haats functional on the ‘India-Myanmar border’. 10 points spread across 4 states viz., Arunachal Pradesh, Mizoram, Nagaland and Manipur, have been identified for operationalising Border Haats.
  • Agreement to explore opening of two new Border Trade Points at Pangkhuwa and Zoninpuri.
  • Comprehensive MoUs would be explored in areas of Health Care and Textiles.

The MoUs on capacity building between RBI and CBM signed on 22 September, 2015 and on cooperation in the field of Power Sector signed on 19 October, 2016 will be operationalised quickly. The proposed MoU between RBI and Central Bank of Myanmar on currency exchange rate fixation also needs to be expedited. Myanmar side was also requested to explore the suggestion of opening of a Counsellor Office in the North-East.

The Kaladan Multi-Modal Transit Transport Project is a project that will connect the eastern Indian seaport of Kolkata with Sittwe seaport in Myanmar by sea; it will then link Sittwe seaport to Paletwa in Myanmar

CBDT entered into Five Unilateral Advance Pricing Agreement


Source: PIB

The Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) has entered into Five Unilateral Advance Pricing Agreement with Indian taxpayers. A Bilateral Advance Pricing Agreement involving United Kingdom has also been signed.

The APAs signed pertain to healthcare, information technology and gaming/animation (media) sectors of the economy.


  • The APA Scheme endeavours to provide certainty to taxpayers in the domain of transfer pricing by specifying the methods of pricing and determining the arm’s length price of international transactions in advance for the maximum of five future years.
  • Further, the taxpayer has the option to rollback the APA for four preceding years, as a result of which, tax certainty for a total period of nine years is provided. Since its inception, the APA scheme has attracted tremendous interest among Multi National Enterprises (MNEs). An APA can be unilateral, bilateral, or multilateral.

APA Benefits:

  • Certainty with respect to tax outcome of the tax payer’s international transactions, by agreeing in advance the arm’s length pricing or pricing methodology (ies) to be applied to the tax payer’s international transactions covered by the APA.
  • Removal of an audit threat (minimize rigours of audit), and deliverance of a particular tax outcome based on the terms of the agreement.
  • Substantial reduction of compliance costs over the term of the APA.
  • For tax authorities, an APA reduces cost of administration and also frees scarce resources.

11th Statistics Day celebrated

{Statistics & Socio economics GS-3}

Source: PIB

11th statistics day was celebrated on 29th JUNE ‘Administrative Statistics’ is this year’s theme for the Statistics Day.

Key facts:

  • In recognition of the notable contributions made by Late Professor Prasanta Chandra Mahalanobis in the fields of statistics, statistical system and economic planning, Government of India in 2007, designated29thJune the birth anniversary of Prof. Mahalanobis. as the “Statistics Day”.
  • The objective of celebration of this Day is to create public awareness about the importance of statistics in socio-economic planning and policy formulation and to acknowledge the contribution of Prof. Mahalanobis.
  • 29th June, 2017 marks the beginning of the125th year of birth of Prof. P.C. Mahalanobis.

Launch of Web Application for Legal Services to Prisoners


Source: PIB

National Legal Services Authority (NALSA) has launched a Web Application for free Legal Services to Prisoners and the Legal Services Management System developed through the NIC.


The application shall make the legal services system more transparent; this application will be universally useful for all the relevant authorities to monitor the grant of legal aid to the prisoners in order to ensure that absolutely no prisoner goes unrepresented right from the first day of his production in the court.

Key facts:

  • Through Web Application the State Legal Services Authorities and District Legal Services Authorities shall feed the data for each individual prison inmate in the jails within their jurisdiction, with regard to their being represented through a counsel in the court.
  • The software will be able to generate reports showing total number of inmates, number of inmates unrepresented, number of inmates represented by legal services lawyers and number of inmates represented by private lawyers.
  • All the above information can be generated State wise, District wise and also in respect of each jail. The reports can also be generated by the period of incarceration, which will in turn generate information with regard to prisoners eligible for bail under Section 436-A Cr.P.C.

New training programme ‘COMMIT’ for State Government officials


Source: PIB

A new training programme Comprehensive Online Modified Modules on Induction Training (COMMIT) for State Government officials has been launched.


The objective of this training programme is to improve the public service delivery mechanism and provide citizen centric administration through capacity building of officials who interact with the citizens on day-to-day basis.

COMMIT Programme:

  • The COMMIT programme, developed by DoPT in collaboration with United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), will supplement the existing 12-Day ITP launched in 2014-15 for newly recruited state Government officials to develop in them Generic & Domain specific competencies.
  • The programme will cover approximately 74,000 State Government officials in the financial year 2017-18.
  • It will be of 28 hours duration which will include e-Modules for 20 hours and face-to-face training for 8 hours. The 20 hours e-training would be imparted through specifically developed 12 Generic and 3 Domain specific e-Modules.
  • The modules on soft skills will be delivered as e-Modules & through face-to-face training and the domain modules will be covered through e-Modules only. The programme will be implemented through State Administrative Training Institutes (ATIs).
  • COMMIT will be launched in 6 States of Assam, Haryana, Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu, Telangana and West Bengal initially on pilot basis during the current financial year 2017-18 and within next year it is expected to cover all India level.

Innovate in India (i3)


Source: PIB

In a bid to create a globally competitive biopharmaceutical industry that addresses the country’s major concerns around barriers to affordable healthcare, innovate in India (i3) program has been launched.

Innovate in India (i3):

  • It is a 250 million USD program of the Department of Biotechnology (DBT) and Ministry of Science & Technology in collaboration withWorld BankIt will be implemented by Biotechnology Industry Research Assistance Council (BIRAC), a Public Sector Enterprise, set up by DBT.
  • It is a first- of-its-kind mission that brings together industry and academia to promote entrepreneurship and indigenous manufacturing in the biopharmaceutical sector.

Key facts:

  • This Mission aspires to create an enabling ecosystem to promote entrepreneurship and indigenous manufacturing in the sector. The programme will specifically focus on the development of new vaccines, bio-therapeutics, diagnostics and medical devices to better address the rising burden of diseases in the country.
  • It will also bring isolated Centres of excellence together, enhance regional capabilities and strengthen the current bio-clusters network in terms of capacities as well as quantity and quality of output.


  • This endeavor will help nurture next- generation technical skills; promote entrepreneurship; and support institutions in adoption of global innovations, technologies, and licensing models.
  • It will provide young entrepreneurs the confidence as well as the systemic support to pursue their aspirations in biotechnological innovation, and transform India into a global hub for cutting-edge biotechnology research and development.


  • Biotechnology Industry Research Assistance Council (BIRAC) is a not-for-profit Section 8, Schedule B, Public Sector Enterprise, set up by Department of Biotechnology (DBT), Government of India as an Interface Agency to strengthen and empower the emerging Biotech enterprise to undertake strategic research and innovation, addressing nationally relevant product development needs.
  • BIRAC is a new industry-academia interface and implements its mandate through a wide range of impact initiatives,be it providing access to risk capital through targeted funding, technology transfer, IP management and handholding schemes that help bring innovation excellence to the biotech firms and make them globally competitive.
  • BIRAC has initiated partnerships with several national and global partners to collaborate and deliver the salient features of its mandate.


  • “To Stimulate, foster and enhance the strategic research and innovation capabilities of the Indian biotech industry,particularly start-ups and SME’s, for creation of affordable products addressing the needs of the largest section of society”
  • BIRAC’s aim is to play a transformative and catalytic role in building a US$ 100 billion Indian bio economy.

Key Strategies

  • Foster innovation and entrepreneurship
  • Promote affordable innovation in key social sectors
  • Empowerment of start-ups & small and medium enterprises
  • Contribute through partners for capability enhancement and diffusion of innovation
  • Enable commercialization of discovery
  • Ensure global competitiveness of Indian enterprises

Impact Assessment of DAY-NRLM by IRMA


Source: PIB

The Deen Dayal Antyodaya Yojana –National Rural Livelihood Mission(DAY-NRLM) was launched in June, 2011 with the objective to organize all rural poor households in the country and continuously nurture and support them till they come out of abject poverty.

Key facts:

This was sought to be achieved through universal social mobilization by organizing at least one-woman member from each rural poor household into Self Help Groups (SHGs) and federating the SHGs at various levels, their training and capacity building, facilitating their micro-livelihoods plans, and enabling them to implement their livelihoods plans through accessing financial resources from their own institutions and the Banks.

The Mission is expected to mobilize all rural poor households (about 9 crore) by 2024-25.

Keeping in view that the Mission had been under implementation for the past five years and that it had made significant progress, an assessment of the Mission was carried out

  1. sTo evaluate the key design features, components, implementation architecture and
  2. systems established, strategies, and key processes adopted by the Mission;
  3. To assess the key processes adopted and emerging results of the mission in different
  4. component areas viz., social inclusion, institution building, financial inclusion, livelihoods promotion, and entitlements and convergence;
  5. To study the functioning of community institutions promoted;
  6. To assess preliminary outcomes/ impacts of the intervention; and
  7. To assess the implementation strategy, functioning and intermediate outcomes of
  8. Rural Self Employment Training Institutes (RSETIs)

The study indicates that the households covered under NRLM:

  1. Have a higher number of livestock assets as compared to uncovered areas;
  2. Show a higher proclivity to save in formal institutions, though the difference in the quantum of savings is not statistically significant;
  3. Have a higher loan size (about 67% more than the loan size in the uncovered areas) and are more likely to borrow from formal financial sources;
  4. Spend less on food consumption but more on education. However, the total household consumption expenditure is similar in covered and uncovered areas.
  5. Have 22% higher (net) income than the households in the uncovered areas, largely due to income from enterprises. In fact, the propensity scores estimate that covered villages on an average have 25 enterprises compared to an average of 14 enterprises in the uncovered villages.


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