09, November 2016

1.New Green Urban Transport Scheme – Minister of Urban Development

Source: PIB

Minister of Urban Development that the Central Government is working on new policy initiatives to encourage private investments in climate friendly and sustainable public transport systems like Metro rail, Non-motorised Transport and other low carbon emitting systems in urban areas.

The new initiatives under consideration include Green Urban Transport Scheme, new Metro Rail Policy, revision of Metro Acts and Standardisation and Indigenisation of Metro systems, aimed at increased private sector participation.

Scheme:

The Green Urban Transport Scheme seeks

  1. To encourage growth of urban transport along low Carbon path for substantial and measurable reduction in pollution,
  2. Provide a permanent and sustainable framework for funding urban mobility projects at National, State and City level with minimum recourse to budgetary support by encouraging innovative financing of projects.

Under this Scheme, provision of Non-motorised Transport infrastructure, increasing access to public transport, use of clean technologies, adoption of Intelligent Transport Systems (ITS) and private sector participation in urban transport projects will be increased.

2.Himachal Pradesh gets Centres nod for Pneumonia Vaccine

Source: PIB

Achieved new milestone towards expanding the coverage of full immunization in Himachal Pradesh aimed at reducing child mortality.

Union Minister for Health and Family Welfare stated this as the Health Ministry approved introduction of Pneumococcal Conjugate Vaccine (PCV) under Universal Immunisation Programme.

Himachal Pradesh will be among four other states where Pneumonia Vaccines will be introduced along with Bihar, Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh in a planned manner from 2017.

This will give a unique opportunity to the State to demonstrate the combined effect of Diarrhoea Vaccine (Rotavirus) and Pneumonia Vaccine (PCV) reduction intervention on the overall child mortality and morbidity in the State.

3.Rs. 500, Rs. 1,000 notes no longer legal tender – Text of Prime Minister’s address to the Nation

Source: PIB

Why is this scheme introduced?

  • The incidence of fake Indian currency notes in higher denomination has increased.
  • For ordinary persons, the fake notes look similar to genuine notes, even though no security feature has been copied.
  • The fake notes are used for antinational and illegal activities.
  • High denomination notes have been misused by terrorists and for hoarding black money.
  • India remains a cash based economy hence the circulation of Fake Indian Currency Notes continues to be a menace. In order to contain the rising incidence of fake notes and black money, the scheme to withdraw has been introduced.
  • The currency notes of 100, 50, 20, 10, 5, 2 and 1 rupee will remain unaffected by this decision and remain legal tender.

What is this scheme?

  • The legal tender character of the existing bank notes in denominations of ₹500 and ₹1000 issued by the Reserve bank of India till November 8, 2016 (hereinafter referred to as Specified Bank Notes) stands withdrawn.
  • In consequence thereof these Bank Notes cannot be used for transacting business and/or store of value for future usage.
  • These Bank Notes can be exchanged for value at any of the 19 offices of the Reserve Bank of India or at any of the bank branches or at any Head Post Office or Sub-Post Office.
  • The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) will issue new 500 and Rs. 2,000 notes from 10 November 2016.
  • There will no restrictions of any kind on non-cash payments by cheques, demand drafts, debit or credit cards and electronic fund transfer.

Fight against poverty:

In this effort for development, our motto has been ‘Sab Ka Saath Sab Ka Vikas’: We are with all citizens and for development of all citizens.

This Government is dedicated to the poor. It will remain dedicated to them. In our fight against poverty, our main thrust has been to empower the poor, and make them active participants in the benefits of economic progress.

  • The Pradhan Mantri Jan Dhan Yojana,
  • The Jan Suraksha Yojana,
  • The Pradhan Mantri Mudra Yojana for small enterprises,
  • The Stand-up India programme for Dalits, Adivasis and Women,
  • The Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Scheme for gas connections in the homes of the poor,
  • The Pradhan Mantri Fasal Beema Yojana and Pradhan Mantri Krishi Sinchai Yojana to protect the income of farmers,
  • The Soil Health Card Scheme to ensure the best possible yield from farmers’ fields,
  • The e-NAM National Market Place scheme to ensure farmers get the right price for their produce —these are all reflections of this approach.

In the past decades, the spectre of corruption and black money has grown.

It has weakened the effort to remove poverty. On the one hand, now No. 1 in the rate of economic growth. But on the other hand ranked close to one hundred in the global corruption perceptions ranking two years back.

In spite of many steps taken, only been able to reach a ranking of seventy-six now. This shows the extent to which corruption and black money have spread their tentacles.

4.Support small enterprises to boost India’s exports: President

Source: The Hindu

The  Centre needs to ensure that India’s exporters, particularly those in the Small and Medium Enterprises (SME) segment, are adequately supported through appropriate policy interventions to help them tide over the present downturn.

To consider strengthening India’s institutional credit guarantee framework in the trade sector to put the country back on a high export growth path.

The framework includes the state-owned ECGC (formerly Export Credit Guarantee Corporation of India) that promotes the country’s exports by improving the competitiveness of the Indian exporters through credit risk insurance covers and related services.

Standing Committee:

The Parliamentary Standing Committee on Commerce had recently recommended that  for

  1. ECGC to play a greater role in export promotion,
  2. Support in maximum liability and
  3. Capital needed to be extended by the government.

Reasons for contraction:

A weak global demand has adversely impacted India’s exports and reviving exports in a scenario of sluggish demand worldwide will remain a serious challenge for India.

India also needs to support its SME exporters as they have the potential for accelerated growth but at the same time, it is considered a high-risk venture by commercial lenders.

ECGC:

  1. ECGC Ltd. (Formerly Export Credit Guarantee Corporation of India Ltd.), wholly owned by Government of India, was set up in 1957 with the objective of promoting exports from the country by providing Credit Risk Insurance and related services for exports.
  2. It functions under the administrative control of Ministry of Commerce & Industry, and is managed by a Board of Directors comprising representatives of the Government, Reserve Bank of India, banking, and insurance and exporting community.
  3. Over the years it has designed different export credit risk insurance products to suit the requirements of Indian exporters and commercial banks extending export credit.
  4. ECGC is essentially an export promotion organization, seeking to improve the competitiveness of the Indian exporters by providing them with credit insurance covers. ECGC keeps its premium rates at the optimal level.

5.Scientists discover water on metallic asteroid Psyche

Scientists have detected the presence of water on Psyche, the largest metallic asteroid in our solar system.

 It was detected based on the new observations from the NASA’s Infrared Telescope Facility (IRTF) in Hawaii. The telescope observations show evidence of water or hydroxyl on its surface.

Key Facts

  • The source of these hydroxyl or water molecules on Psyche remains a mystery.
  • Researchers believe that Water-rich minerals detected on Psyche may have been delivered by carbonaceous asteroids that may had impacted it in the distant past.
  • Based on the previous observations of Psyche, it was believed that the asteroid did not have water-rich minerals on its surface.

Psyche Asteroid

Psyche is made of almost pure nickel-iron metal and is about 300 kilometres across.  It is located in the asteroid belt. It is considered as the remnant core of a budding planet that was mostly destroyed by impacts billions of years ago.

NASA’s Infrared Telescope Facility (IRTF): It is a 3-meter telescope optimized for use in infrared astronomy. It is located at the Mauna Kea Observatory in Hawaii.

6.Keep birth database to curb female foeticide

Source: The Hindu

Female child is entitled to enjoy equal rights that a male child is allowed to have

Supreme Court issued a series of directions to clamp down on the crime of female foeticide, including an all-India database to keep tabs on the number and gender of new-borns.

Judgement: The menace of female foeticide corroded human values and the constitutional identity of a girl child cannot be mortgaged to any kind of social or other concept that has developed.

The Bench passed 16 directions to ensure immediate and effective implementation of the Pre-conception and Pre-natal Diagnostic Techniques (Prohibition of Sex Selection) Act and the Rules framed thereunder.

All the States and the Union Territories in India shall maintain a centralised database of civil registration records from all registration units so that information can be made available from the website regarding the number of boys and girls being born.

Incentive schemes

It also directed that States and Union Territories, which do not have any incentive schemes for the girl child, shall frame the same.

 Noting that courts hearing cases of female foeticide should expedite hearing.

The present generation is expected to be responsible to the posterity and not to take such steps to sterilise the birth rate in violation of law … dropping of sex ratio still remains a social affliction and a disease.



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