03, November 2017

Indo – Kazakhstan Joint Exercise “PRABAL DOSTYK 2017” Begins

  • A fourteen day joint training exercise “PRABAL DOSTYK – 2017” between the Indian Army and the Kazakhstan Army commenced today with the Opening Ceremony at Bakloh, Himachal Pradesh.
  • The joint exercise is aimed at enhancing the military ties between the two countries as also at achieving interoperability between the two armies.

1.Pradhan Mantri Krishi Sinchayee Yojana

Source: PIB

  • Government of India is committed to accord high priority to water conservation and its management. To this effect Pradhan Mantri Krishi Sinchayee Yojana (PMKSY) has been formulated with the vision of extending the coverage of irrigation ‘Har Khet ko pani’ and improving water use efficiency ‘More crop per drop’ in a focused manner with end to end solution on source creation, distribution, management, field application and extension activities.

Approval given by:

The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs chaired by Hon’ble Prime Minister has accorded approval of Pradhan Mantri Krishi Sinchayee Yojana (PMKSY) in its meeting held on 1st July, 2015.

The major objective of PMKSY is

  • To achieve convergence of investments in irrigation at the field level,
  • Expand cultivable area under assured irrigation,
  • Improve on-farm water use efficiency to reduce wastage of water,
  • Enhance the adoption of precision-irrigation and other water saving technologies (More crop per drop),
  • Enhance recharge of aquifers and introduce sustainable water conservation practices by exploring the feasibility of reusing treated municipal waste water for peri-urban agriculture and
  • Attract greater private investment in precision irrigation system.

PMKSY has been conceived amalgamating ongoing schemes viz.

  • Accelerated Irrigation Benefit Programme (AIBP) of the Ministry of Water Resources,
  • River Development & Ganga Rejuvenation (MoWR,RD&GR),
  • Integrated Watershed Management Programme (IWMP) of Department of Land Resources (DoLR) and
  • The On Farm Water Management (OFWM) of Department of Agriculture and Cooperation (DAC).
  • The scheme will be implemented by Ministries of Agriculture, Water Resources and Rural Development. Ministry of Rural Development is to mainly undertake rain water conservation, construction of farm pond, water harvesting structures, small check dams and contour bunding etc.

Monitoring committee

  • State Level Sanctioning Committee (SLSC) chaired by the Chief Secretary of the State will be vested with the authority to oversee its implementation and sanction projects.
  • The programme will be supervised and monitored by an Inter-Ministerial National Steering Committee (NSC) will be constituted under the Chairmanship of Prime Minister with Union Ministers from concerned Ministries.
  • A National Executive Committee (NEC) will be constituted under the Chairmanship of Vice Chairman, NITI Aayog to oversee programme implementation, allocation of resources, inter ministerial coordination, monitoring & performance assessment, addressing administrative issues etc.

2. 7th Asian Ministerial Energy Roundtable in Bangkok – INTERNATIONAL ENERGY FORUM

Source: PIB

“Natural Gas : Overcoming Market and Policy Hurdles to the Golden Age of Gas” delivered by Minister of Petroleum and Natural Gas at the Plenary Session of 7th Asian Ministerial Energy Roundtable at Bangkok, Thailand.

  • Natural Gas, despite being a clean and green fuel with significant potential, is yet to achieve its rightful place in global energy markets.
  • The main obstacles are lack of adequate infrastructure, market imperfections and uncompetitive practices which prevent global population from fully benefitting from the benefits of gas.

Currently in India

  • Coming to India, our gas uptake is less 6.5% of India’s primary energy basket against a global average of more than 24%. Government of India has envisioned to increase the share of natural gas in India’s energy mix to 15% by 2030
  • India is currently the world’s fourth-largest importer of LNG, behind Japan, South Korea and China
  • Last year, India imported approximately 19 Million metric tons of LNG, an increase of around 15% over the previous year. India also has domestic gas production of almost the same amount. Fertilizer, Power & City Gas Distribution are the three main sectors which contribute to the natural gas demand in India.
  • In coming years, industrial sectors such as refinery and petrochemicals, ceramics and glass, cement, steel and sponge iron, paints and dyes, chemicals and auto manufacturing are expected to give a boost to natural gas demand in the country
  • India to increase domestic production of gas and also to promote the usage of gas
  • Introduced pricing and marketing freedom for gas producers in future exploration bidding rounds.
  • India is developing a Natural Gas Trading Exchange where both imported LNG and domestically produced gas can be traded.

Some of the schemes followed by India to distribution of Gas:

  • Under a scheme called Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana, we have distributed 30 million LPG cooking gas connections to poor households with government subsidy.
  • Multilateral organizations like the UN Women, the World Bank and others have shown great interest in our LPG schemes and delegations from several countries have approached us to know about our experience and initiatives.
  • An initiative called Gas4India in collaboration with industry bodies.
  • Natural gas is the natural choice for green economy, and will complement our huge program of 175 Gigawatts of solar, wind and other renewable energy.

Gas4India:

  • Gas4India is a unified cross-country, multimedia, multi-event campaign aimed at promoting the use of natural gas in the country in order to move towards a gas-based economy.
  • It will communicate the national, social, economic and ecological benefits of using natural gas as the fuel of choice to every citizen.
  • Public and private sector companies working in the sector will promote the natural gas sector under this campaign

7TH ASIAN MINISTERIAL ENERGY ROUNDTABLE- INTERNATIONAL ENERGY FORUM:

India is the current Chair of the IEF which is the largest inter-governmental organisation in the field of oil and gas comprising 72 member countries, accounting for 90% of global supply and demand of oil and gas. Members include developing, developed, OPEC, Non-OPEC and G20 countries. 18 of the G20 countries are members of IEF.

  • The Government of Thailand will host this prestigious biennial event, which is a key feature of the global energy dialogue promoted under the neutral banner of the International Energy Forum.

Background:

  • In previous AMER events, IEF Ministers have recognised their interdependence and placed an emphasis on the need for trust and dialogue in building and sustaining partnerships.
  • AMER6 was convened between the adoption of the United Nations Sustainable Development Agenda (UNSDA) 2030 and the Paris Agreement in 2015 to discuss Asian energy market dynamics.
  • This culminated in the endorsement of a proposal by the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia to establish an Asian Energy Efficiency Knowledge Sharing Framework under the IEF that has since been adopted by the 2nd G20 Energy Ministers Meeting (Beijing, June 2016) and the IEF15 Ministerial (Algiers, September 2016).
  • AMER7 will build upon these outcomes to strengthen established partnerships and forge new bonds accordingly. This event shall ultimately underpin the development of the increasingly complex and dynamic relationships between energy producers and consumers in Asia and beyond.

3.Various schemes and programs initiated by the Government to achieve the target of Doubling of Farmers’ Income by 2022

Source: PIB

The Ministry is working towards achieving the goal. And to achieve this target, the Prime Minister has advocated a seven-point strategy:

  • Special focus on irrigation with sufficient budget, with the aim of “Per Drop More Crop”.
  • Provision of quality seeds and nutrients based on soil health of each field.
  • Large investments in Warehousing and Cold Chains to prevent post-harvest crop losses.
  • Promotion of value addition through food processing.
  • Creation of a National Farm Market, removing distortions and e-platform across 585 Stations.
  • Introduction of a New Crop Insurance Scheme to mitigate risks at an affordable cost.
  • Promotion of ancillary activities like poultry, beekeeping, and fisheries.

Government has launched a number of schemes and programs to Double Farmers’ Income:

  • Pradhan Mantri Krishi Sinchai Yojana,
  • Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bima Yojana,
  • Paramparagat Krishi Vikas Yojana,
  • Soil Health Card,
  • Neem-Coated Urea and
  • e-NAM Schemes are few of our flagship programs that aim to improve the productivity and earnings of our farmers.
  • Agriculture Minister said that RKVY guidelines are being changed to include entrepreneur development. DAC&FW has prepared a roadmap for production of pulses to the tune of 24 million tonnes by 2017-18. A dedicated micro-irrigation fund with an initial corpus of Rs.5000 crores has been set up by NABARD to achieve “Per Drop More Crop”.

4.FASTag mandatory for new cars from Dec. 1

Source: The Hindu

  • Come December 1 and it will be mandatory for all new four-wheelers to have FASTag devices fixed on the front windscreens by automobile manufacturers or authorised dealers.
  • A FASTag is a device that employs radio frequency identification (RFID) technology for making toll payments directly from the prepaid or savings account linked to it. It is affixed on the windscreen of the vehicle and enables the commuter to drive through toll plazas, without stopping for cash transactions.
  • FASTag is presently operational at about 370 toll plazas across National Highways. The system is inter-operable and the same FASTag can be used across all toll plazas under the National Electronic Toll Collection (NETC) programme.
  • The notification follows amendment to Central Motor Vehicle Rules, 1989 by the central government as per powers vested in it under Motor Vehicles Act, 1989.

5.Sexual abuse complaints can be lodged online

Source: The Hindu

Women employees working in government departments can now lodge complaints of sexual harassment at work place online and can monitor action being taken on them too.

Significance

  • The Department of Personnel and Training (DoPT) has recently written to all Central government departments asking them to inform the women employees about many such features of Sexual Harassment electronic-Box or SHe-Box — launched by the Ministry of Women and Child Development on July 24.
  • Once a complaint is submitted to the SHe-Box, it will be directly sent to the Internal Complaints Committee (ICC) of the concerned ministry, department, public sector undertakings, autonomous body, etc., having jurisdiction to inquire into the complaints.
  • The SHe-Box also provides an opportunity to both the complainant and nodal administrative authority to monitor the progress of inquiry conducted by the ICCs.
  • Any woman working or visiting any office of central government can file complaint related to sexual harassment at work place through this SHe-Box, the DoPT order issued yesterday said.
  • The status of complaints can be viewed at any time by pressing the tab ‘View Status of Your Complaints’ within SHe- Box, it said, asking all the government organisations to inform all employees working under them about the various features of the SHe-Box.

The SHe-Box portal can be accessed at www.shebox.nic.in/.

6.ISA, EBRD ink pact on solar energy

Source: The Hindu

The International Solar Alliance (ISA) and the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) signed a Joint Financial Partnership Declaration for the promotion of solar energy.

Significance

  • ISA is working for deployment of over 1000 GW of solar energy and mobilising more than US$ 1000 billion into solar energy by the year 2030.
  • Similarly, the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) is keenly interested to increase its green financing portfolio to 40% of its annual business.
  • To this effect the EBRD launched Green Economy Transition Approach in 2015. Till date, the EBRD has invested more than €4 billion directly in renewable energy, supporting projects in over 20 countries and funding more than 6.5 GW of capacity.

Background:

  • The International Solar Alliance is an initiative jointly launched by the Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi and the President of France on 30th November 2015 at Paris, in the presence of the Secretary General of the UN, on the side lines of COP21 UN Climate Change Conference.
  • The main objective of ISA is to undertake joint efforts required to reduce the cost of finance and the cost of technology, mobilize more than US $ 1000 billion of investments needed by 2030 for massive deployment of solar energy, and pave the way for future technologies adapted to the needs of 121 countries lying fully or partially between the Tropics.
  • So far 43 countries have signed the Framework Agreement of the ISA, and out of which 14 have also submitted the Instrument of ratification to the depository i.e. Ministry of External Affairs, Government of India.
  • ISA will be the first international inter-governmental treaty based organization to be headquartered in India.

Isa: – ISA is proposed to be a multi country partnership organization with membership from solar resource rich countries between the two tropics

  • The International Solar Alliance is a treaty based international inter-governmental alliance of 121 solar resource rich countries lying fully or partially between the Tropics of Cancer and Capricorn.
  • vision and mission of the International Solar Alliance is to provide a dedicated platform for cooperation among solar resource rich countries where the global community, including bilateral and multilateral organizations, corporates, industry, and other stakeholders, can make a positive contribution to assist and help achieve the common goals of increasing the use of solar energy in meeting energy needs of prospective ISA member countries in a safe, convenient, affordable, equitable and sustainable manner.
  • International Solar Alliance (ISA) is conceived as a coalition of solar resource rich countries to address their special energy needs and will provide a platform to collaborate on addressing the identified gaps through a common, agreed approach.



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