01, April 2017

Paramparagat Krishi Vikas Yojana (PKVY) taken up to encourage organic agriculture.

1.WCD Ministry intends to set up National Women Entrepreneurship Council to promote women entrepreneurs

Source: PIB

The Ministry of Women & Child Development, Government intends to set up National Women Entrepreneurship Council (NWEC).

  • NWEC will promote entrepreneurship as it would be the umbrella organization for socio-economic gender parity, financial inclusion and economic empowerment of women in India. However, no final decision has been taken as yet.

Key facts:

The existing online e-marketing portal, Mahila E-haat aims at tapping the potential of the women population as also for providing better avenue to markets for selling their products/services, thereby accelerating growth, providing opportunities and expanding India’s reach domestically and also internationally.

Following schemes to ensure economic development of women in the country:

  • Support to Training and Employment Programme for Women (STEP) to ensure sustainable employment and income generation for marginalized and assets-less rural and urban poor women across the country;
  • Rashtriya Mahila Kosh (RMK) to extend micro-finance services to bring about socio-economic uplift Ent of poor women;
  • National Mission for Empowerment of Women (NMEW) to strengthen the overall processes that promote all round development of Women;
  • Scheme for Adolescent Girls-Sabla for all-round development of adolescent girl of 11-18 years by making them self-reliant by facilitating access to learning, health and nutrition;
  • Working Women Hostels for ensuring safe accommodation for women working away from their place of residence;
  • Maternity Benefit Programme has been contributing towards better enabling environment by providing cash incentives for improved health and nutrition to pregnant and nursing mothers;
  • Gender Budgeting has been adopted as a tool for mainstreaming gender perspective at various stages of planning, budgeting, implementation impact assessment and revisiting of policy / programme objectives and allocations;

2.National Conference on Autism – Ministry of Social Justice & Empowerment

Source: PIB

A “National Conference on Autism” is being organized here on 3rd April, 2017 by The National Trust for the welfare of Persons with Autism, Cerebral Palsy, Mental Retardation and Multiple Disabilities under Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment.

World Autism Awareness Day

  • People affected by Autism face challenges in many areas of their lives. Thus educating the public about Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) and raising Autism awareness has been the focus of large scale initiatives in many countries.
  • In 2007, the UN General Assembly declared 2nd April as World Autism Awareness Day (WAAD) and since 2008, 2nd April is being observed across the World as World Autism Awareness Day to increase awareness about Autism among general masses worldwide.

The Conference will provide an excellent opportunity to obtain information about latest developments in education / skilling and inclusive living of persons with autism, apart from deliberations on latest research on medical aspects. It will also be an excellent forum to meet various parents, experts and professionals to interact on the best practices.

3.Cabinet approves signing of Agreement for CIRDAP establishment Centre in Hyderabad

Source: PIB

The Union Cabinet chaired by the Prime Minister has given its approval for signing of an Agreement between Ministry of Rural Development and Centre on Integrated Rural Development for Asia and the Pacific (CIRDAP) for establishment of CIRDAP Centre at National Institute of Rural Development and Panchayati Raj (NIRD&PR), Hyderabad.

Key facts:

  • CIRDAP Centre in NIRD&PR premises would give NIRD&PR an advantage of having first-hand knowledge of networking with organizations specialized in rural development programmes which in turn would help in building a repository of institutional knowledge for NIRD&PR.
  • This Centre will also help NIRD&PR to enhance its status in the region through linkages with other Ministries/Institutes in the CIRDAP Member Countries (CMCs).
  • The faculty of the NIRD&PR and the Ministry officials would benefit from exchange visits to the best practices in the CMCs. The scope of work of the Centre is to focus on the implementation of integrated rural development, particularly poverty alleviation programmes within CMC member countries.(Not all countries)

Background

  • The CIRDAP is a regional Inter – Governmental and autonomous institution which came into existence in 1979 at the initiative of the countries of Asia Pacific region and the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) of the United Nations (UN) with support from several other UN bodies and donors.
  • India is one of the key founder members of this Organisation.
  • Its Headquarters is located at Dhaka, Bangladesh.
  • The objective of CIRDAP is to promote regional cooperation and act as a serving institution for its member countries for promotion of integrated rural development through research action, training, information dissemination etc.
  • CIRDAP has one sub – regional office in Jakarta, Indonesia. This sub – regional office of CIRDAP in south-east Asia (SOCSEA) was established in Jakarta, Indonesia in 1997. The objective was to assist and expand CIRDAP membership and its resources, to conduct training research and pilot projects relevant to South East Asian region. There are 46 countries in Asia Pacific Region, therefore CIRDAP has great potential for expansion for which they would be assisted by CIRDAP Centres.

4.Cabinet approves ratification of 2 ILO conventions on prohibiting child labour

Source: PIB

The Union Cabinet has given its approval for ratification of two fundamental conventions of International Labour Organization (ILO) concerning with Child Labour.

They are Minimum Age Convention (No 138) and Worst Forms of Child Labour Convention (No 182). Now these conventions will be legally binding.

Key facts

  • Minimum Age Convention (No 138) or Convention 138: It is concerned with minimum age for admission to employment. So far, it has been ratified by 169 countries.
  • Worst Forms of Child Labour Convention (No 182) or Convention 182: It is concerned with the prohibition and immediate action for elimination of the worst forms of Child Labour. It has been ratified by 180 countries.

Background

  • The Government has adopted multipronged strategy including both project based approach and stringent legislative measures to address the concerns related to child labour in the country.
  • However, there is a need to further ensure a safe and fulfilled future for the children by ensuring proper implementation of provisions of Child and Adolescent Labour (Prohibition and Regulation) Act, 1986 which completely prohibits children employment below 14 years in any occupation or process.
  • Recent initiatives taken by Government to eradicate child labour also needs to be maintained for elimination of child labour for attainment of Sustainable Development Goals by 2030.

Significance:

  • The ratification of these conventions will be step ahead in direction of achieving goal of eradication of child labour from country as it would be legally binding to comply with the provisions of the Conventions.
  • By ratifying these conventions, India will also join majority of the countries who have adopted the legislation to prohibit and place severe restrictions on the employment and work of children.

International Labour Organisation (ILO)

  • The ILO is a United Nations agency dealing with labour issues, particularly international labour standards, social protection, and work opportunities for all.
  • It was established in 1919 as an agency of the League of Nations and is headquartered in Geneva, Switzerland. India is a founder member of the ILO.
  • At present, it has 187 members.
  • The principal means of action in the ILO is the setting up of International standards in the form of Conventions, Recommendations and Protocol. So far India has ratified 45 Conventions, out of which 42 are in force. Out of these 4 are Core or Fundamental or Conventions.

5.Government approves Rs. 2,256 crore outlay for Project Saksham to bolster the information technology network for the new GST regime

Source: PIB

Project Saksham is the name given to CBEC’s IT Infrastructure Project.

Key facts:

  • This IT Infrastructure project will enable not just the implementation of Goods and Services tax (GST) but also support all existing services in Customs, Central Excise and Service Tax.
  • In addition, it will also enable extension of the Indian Customs Single Window Interface for Facilitating Trade (SWIFT) and other taxpayer-friendly initiatives under Digital Indian and Ease of Doing Business of CBEC.
  • The Central Board of Excise and Customs (CBEC) IT systems need to integrate with the Goods and Services Tax Network (GSTN) for processing of registration, payment and returns data sent by GSTN systems to CBEC, as well as act as a front-end for other modules like audit, appeal and investigation.
  • Project Saksham will enable setting up of an information exchange mechanism with GSTN through the use of pre-agreed Application Programming Interface (API) or other secure methods of message exchange.
  • There is no overlap in the functions to be performed by the systems of CBEC and GSTN.
  • CBEC’s systems will be required to process data pertaining to Registration, Returns and Payment Modules which will be transmitted by GSTN to CBEC for backend processing. For other modules related to statutory tax functions such as Audit, Investigation etc.
  • CBEC systems would provide front end interface to tax payers.

IT infrastructure is also required for continuation of CBEC’s e-services in customs, central excise and service tax, implementation of taxpayer services, extension of SWIFT initiative and integration with government initiatives such as e-Taal, e-Nivesh and e-Sign.

6.CCEA approves amendments in Mega Power Policy 2009

Source: PIB

  • The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) has approved amendments in the Mega Power Policy, 2009 to push 31 GW stranded projects entailing an investment of Rs 1.5 lakh crore.
  • The initiative mainly aims at bringing down power tariff for making electricity more affordable and achieving the ambitious goal of 24X7 power for all.

Key facts

  • The amendment extends the time period for the provisional Mega projects (25 projects), for furnishing the final Mega certificates to the Tax authorities to 120 months instead of 60 months from the date of import.
  • However, developers will be required to keep their Bank Guarantee (in lieu of duty exemption claimed) or Fixed Deposit Receipt (FDR) alive.
  • CCEA also approved 25 projects for Mega Policy benefits in proportion to long term PPA (Power Purchase Agreement), as permitted under the policy, once specified threshold capacity of project is commissioned.
  • However, the money realized by the developer, as a result of release of proportionate Bank Guarantee will first be utilized for repayment of the Bank dues by the developer.
  • Further a suitable mechanism will be worked in consultation with Department of Revenue (Finance Ministry) for operationalisation of release of proportionate Bank Guarantee.

Way ahead:

  • This decision is expected to enable developers to competitively bid for PPAs in future.
  • Once the developer commissions the specified threshold capacity, proportional mega benefits will facilitate easing out liquidity crunch with the banks/developers and improve the viability of their projects.
  • Increased power availability will further boost country’s overall growth and also ensure that cost of power to the consumers does not increase.

7.NPPA increases stent prices by around 2%

Source: Indian Express

Drug price regulator National Pharmaceutical Pricing Authority (NPPA) has increased price of stents by around 2% after taking into account wholesale price index.

It will increase price of bare metal stents to Rs. 7,400 rupees from Rs. 7,260 and of drug-eluting stent to Rs. 30,180 rupees from Rs. 29,600.

What is coronary stent?

  • A coronary stent is a tube-shaped device placed in the arteries that supply blood to the heart.
  • It keeps the arteries open in the treatment of coronary heart diseases.
  • Bare-metal stent: It is a mesh-like tube of thin wire used in cardiac arteries was bare metal often made of 316L stainless steel. More recent stents (‘2nd generation’) use cobalt chromium alloy.
  • Drug-eluting stents: It is a peripheral or coronary stent placed into narrowed, diseased peripheral or coronary arteries that slowly releases a drug to block cell proliferation. It is often preferred over bare-metal stents because the latter carry a higher risk of restenosis, the growth of tissue into the stent resulting in vessel narrowing.

Background

  • In July 2016, stents were included in the National List of Essential Medicines (NLEM) and were added to the Schedule I of the Drug Prices Control Order, 2013, in December 2016, bringing the devices under price control.
  • In February 2017, the NPPA had brought stents under price control and capped ceiling price of coronary stents.

National Pharmaceutical Pricing Authority (NPPA)

  • NPPA is nodal government regulatory agency that controls the prices of pharmaceutical drugs in India. It functions under the aegis of Union Ministry of Chemical and Fertiliser.
  • It advices Union Government in matters relate to drug policies and pricing and revisions/changes in the drug policy. It also monitors availability of drugs, identify shortages, if any, and to take remedial steps. NPPA decides the ceiling prices of essential medicines under The Drug (Prices Control) Order 2013.

8.Notify HIV-hit children as disadvantaged group: SC

Source: The Hindu

This will enable them access to free education

In a significant step, the Supreme Court ordered State governments to consider issuing a notification under the Right to Education law, declaring children living with/affected by HIV as a ‘disadvantaged group’ deserving additional rights to help them gain free and compulsory education, a fundamental right under the Constitution.

Key facts:

  • To issue the notification under Section 2 (d) of The Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education Act of 2009, which mandates the State governments concerned to issue a notification that a child belongs to a disadvantaged group based on reasons ranging from caste, social, cultural, linguistic, geographical, gender, etc.
  • The Act makes education compulsory for children between six and 14 years of age.
  • The Bench ordered that those States which are “unwilling” to issue a notification under Section 2 (d) should file an affidavit “explaining why they consider it unnecessary” to inform that children living with HIV do not belong to a disadvantaged group. The court however noted that at least 11 States have already issued the notification.

Background:

  • The order was based on a petition filed by NGO Naz Foundation (India) Trust, represented by senior advocate, which pointed out that HIV-hit children face denial of admission, outright expulsion, segregation, breach of confidentiality to being given chores like cleaning toilets.
  • According to NACO estimates in 2012-2013, around 20.9 lakh people were living with HIV in 2011. Children less than 15 years of age account for seven percent (1.45 lakh) of all infections.

Needs:

  • India has a substantial number of HIV-positive children who are of school-going age and need to be in school.
  • Schools can play a crucial role in improving the prospects of children affected with HIV. A good school education can give children higher self-esteem, better job prospects and economic independence and create opportunities for lifting children out of poverty.

They are publicly ridiculed by school authorities, humiliated and treated unfairly in schools, to the extent that they have been segregated from other children in schools and have been made to clean toilets and classrooms,” the petition said.



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