1, November 2016

1.NITI Aayog launches the first ever Agricultural Marketing & Farm Friendly Reforms Index.

Maharashtra ranks first

Source: PIB

The low levels of productivity, growth and incomes ailing the farm sector in India and causing immense agrarian distress.

Without undertaking radical reform it is impossible to transform agriculture and double farmers’ income. However, state governments have been extremely lax in implementing much needed reforms to modernize agriculture and create a favourable policy and market environment for farmers.


NITI Aayog has identified three key areas for reform and is now persuading states to undertake the reforms. The areas identified for immediate reforms are:

  1. Agricultural market reforms
  2. Land lease reforms
  3. Reforms related to forestry on private land – felling and transit of trees.


  • That apart, NITI Aayog has launched an index to rank States and UTs that is based on implementation of seven provisions proposed under model APMC Act, joining eNAM initiative, special treatment to fruits and vegetables for marketing and level of taxes in mandis.
  • These indicators reveal ease of doing agribusiness as well as opportunities for farmers to benefit from modern trade and commerce and have wider option for sale of her/his produce.
  • These indicators also represent competitiveness, efficiency and transparency in agri markets.
  • The second area of reforms included in the index is relaxation in restrictions related to lease in and lease out agricultural land and change in law to recognise tenant and safeguard land owners liberalisation.
  • The third area included in the index represent freedom given to farmers for felling and transit of trees grown on private land. This represent opportunity to diversify farm business.
  • The Index is named as “Agricultural Marketing and Farmer Friendly Reforms Index” and it has a score which can have minimum value “0” implying no reforms and maximum value “100” implying complete reforms in the selected areas. States and UTs have been ranked in terms of the score of the index.

Rank holders:

  • The state of Maharashtra achieved first rank in implementation of various reforms. The state has implemented most of the marketing reforms and it offers best environment for doing agribusiness among all the states and UTs.
  • Gujarat ranks second with a score of 71.5 out of 100, closely followed by Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh.
  • Almost two third states could not reach even halfway mark of reforms score. Major states like U.P., Punjab, West Bengal, Assam, Jharkhand, Tamil Nadu and J&K are in this group.


Some states and UTs either did not adopt APMC Act or revoked it. They include Bihar, Kerala, Manipur, Daman and Diu, Dadra and Nagar Haveli, Andaman and Nicobar. They are not included in the ranking.

2.Rashtriya Ekta Diwas pledge and Integrity pledge – Ek Bharat Shreshtha Bharat  Scheme

Source: PIB

The Pledge required everyone to dedicate to preserve the unity, integrity and security of the nation in the spirit of unification of the country made possible by the vision and actions of Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel besides resolving to make own contribution to ensure internal security of the country.

Vigilance Awareness Commences Across Indian Railways

Source: PIB

The observance of Vigilance Awareness Week, 2016 commenced across Indian Railways with a Pledge taking ceremony by Officers and staff.

The Central Vigilance Commission has given the theme of “Public participation in promoting integrity and eradicating Corruption” for the Vigilance Awareness Week this year.

The Pledge is aimed to reinforce commitment of officials towards bringing about integrity and transparency in all spheres of their activities and to fight corruption with vigour.


Vigilance Awareness Week, various events will be organized around the theme of anti-corruption by the field units of the Railways.

 There is a special focus on sensitizing the youth and to achieve this objective. 

Two “Integrity Pledges” will also be taken on-line by citizens and organisations/corporates to reinforce their commitment for incorruptible governance.

Central vigilance commission:

The Central Vigilance Commission was set up by the Government 1964 on the recommendations of the Committee on Prevention  of Corruption, headed by Shri K. Santhanam, to advise and guide Central Government agencies in the field of vigilance. Thus the Central Vigilance Commission Act 2003 (No45 0f 2003) came into effect from that date.

CVC is conceived to be the apex vigilance institution, free of control from any executive authority, monitoring all vigilance activity under the Central Government and advising various authorities in Central Government organizations in planning, executing, reviewing and reforming their vigilance work.

The Commission shall consist of:

  • Presently, the body consists of central vigilance commissioner along with 2 vigilance commissioners.
  • They are appointed by the President of India on the recommendations of a committee consisting of Prime Minister, Union Home Minister and Leader of the Opposition in Lok Sabha (if there is no LoP then the leader of the single largest Opposition party in the Lok Sabha).
  • Their term is 4 years or 65 years, whichever is earlier.
  • It submits its report to the President of India.
  • The Central Vigilance Commissioner or any Vigilance Commissioner can be removed from his office only by order of the President on the ground of proved misbehavior or incapacity after the Supreme Court, on a reference made to it by the President, has, on inquiry, reported that the Central Vigilance Commissioner or any Vigilance Commissioner, as the case may be, ought to be removed. CVC is advisory body.


3.10th Indo-Nepal Joint Exercise Surya Kiran Commences

Source: PIB

  • Indo-Nepal Joint Military Exercise Surya Kiran-X commenced at Army Battle School, Saljhandi, Nepal. It is the tenth in the series of such exercise between the two nations.
  • Notably in the series of military training exercises undertaken by India with various countries, Surya Kiran series with Nepal is the largest in terms of troop’s participation.
  • The aim of this exercise is to conduct battalion level joint training with emphasis on Counter Terrorism in mountainous terrain. Aspects of Disaster Management have also been included in the exercise.
  • The Joint Battalion Level Exercise will enhance defence co-operation and relations between the two nations.
  • It is an ideal platform for the contingent of both nations to share their experience and gain mutually.
  • The Exercise will be yet another step towards taking traditional friendship between the two nations to greater heights.

4.World Bank to rank cities on ‘ease of living’

Source: The Hindu

The World Bank Group will bring out an ‘ease of living’ index that will rank cities globally.

It is looking at tweaking the methodology used in its country-wise ease of doing business rankings to better capture reforms being carried out in large and diverse nations like India.


The development comes at a time when the Indian government has launched a mission to help develop over 100 smart cities through a strategy that includes

  • city improvement (retrofitting), city renewal (redevelopment) and city extension (greenfield development) plus a pan-city initiative in which Smart Solutions are applied covering larger parts of the city.

On the World Bank Group’s Doing Business index, India had suggested that the Bank needs to take into account the reforms undertaken across the country and not just in two cities (Mumbai and Delhi) as is being considered currently for the rankings.

One of important for developing index:

  • One of the moot questions is that as you move more into high income (category), urban centres become extremely important, (including for) accommodation and so on.
  • For cities to actually generate growth, the ease of living there has got to be very important.

The index could include categories on social inclusion, cost of living, public transport, housing, education, health, environment-friendliness, crime/safety, governance and corruption, etc

Criticism from India

  • On the criticism regarding the World Bank Doing Business Report this year ranking India a lowly 130th despite several reforms carried out by the government
  • The rankings did not capture important reforms, including the laws on Goods & Services Tax (GST) and insolvency & bankrupcty as they did not come before the cut off date for this year.

Pointing out that India has made vast improvements in each of the categories and sub-categories that are part of the overall ease of doing business ranking, when reforms like the GST and bankruptcy & insolvency are included in next year’s rankings, India’s rank will improve vastly.


5.A.P., Telangana top in ease of doing business

Source: The Hindu

The world Bank, along with the Centre’s Department of Industrial Policy & Promotion (DIPP) was involved in the process of reviewing the evidence submitted by states/UTs regarding implementation of reforms for the rankings.

on the basis of a 340-point Business Reform Action Plan and their implementation by the States.

  • The Action Plan includes reforms on 58 regulatory processes, policies, practices or procedures spread across 10 reform areas spanning the lifecycle of a typical business.
  • These are mainly construction permit, environmental and labour registration, obtaining electricity connection, online tax-return filing, inspection reform, access to information and transparency, single window, land availability and commercial dispute resolution.
  • The exercise is aimed at promoting competition among states with a view to improve business climate to attract domestic as well as foreign investments.

2016 index- Rank holders:

Andhra Pradesh and Telangana have jointly topped the ease of doing business ranking, while Gujarat has slipped to the third position in the list prepared by the World Bank and the Indian government’s department of industrial policy and promotion this year.

Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh and Haryana occupied the fourth, fifth and sixth slots in the index based on the degree of implementation of the government’s 340-point Business Reform Action Plan.

The 2016 Index shows those in the list of top 10 states providing a better climate for businesses include Jharkhand (7th), Rajasthan (8th), Uttarakhand (9th) and Maharashtra (10th).

Among other major states, Odisha occupied 11th slot, followed by Punjab, Karnataka, Uttar Pradesh, West Bengal and Bihar, Himachal Pradesh, Tamil Nadu and Delhi.


6.Russia invites India to join fast reactor research project

Source: The Hindu

An official of Russia’s nuclear corporation Rosatom said the country has invited India to join in developing nuclear reactors and participate in its fast reactor research project.

A fast neutron reactor, also known simply as a fast reactor, is a type in which nuclear fission chain reaction is sustained by fast neutrons. Such a reactor needs no neutron moderator.

With fast-neutron reactors, it is possible to solve the major ecological problem of reprocessing and deactivation of the accumulated radioactive waste, at the same time providing society with much needed energy.

The trend of the fast research reactors development shows that by 2025 MBIR can be one-of-a-kind facility in the world.

Russia has offered India a new range of reactor units — the VVER-Toi (typical optimised, enhanced information) design — for the third and fourth units of the Kudankulam project that being built by Rosatom.


7.Real Estate Rules notified

Source: PIB

Union government has notified Real Estate (Regulation and Development) (General) Rules, 2016.

Notified by the Ministry of Housing and Urban Poverty Alleviation, the Rules are applicable to the five Union Territories of Andaman & Nicobar Islands, Dadra & Nagar Haveli, Daman & Diu, Lakshadweep and Chandigarh.


With notification of Real Estate Rules by the Ministry of Housing & Urban Poverty Alleviation, States and UTs are expected to do so soon.

As per the provisions of the Real Estate (Regulation and Development) Act, 2016, Real Estate Regulatory Authorities are required to be put in place by April 30, 2017 before full Act is brought into effect, the next day.

  • New rules stipulate real estate developers furnish additional information regarding the ongoing projects besides depositing 70% of unused funds in a separate bank account to ensure their completion.
  • Under the new rules, the developers will also be required to refund or pay compensation to the allottees with an interest rate of State Bank of India’s highest marginal cost of lending rate plus 2% within 45 days of the payments becoming due.
  • The developers have also been mandated to upload various information about the project including number and type of apartments or plots, garages booked, status of the project with photographs floor-wise, status of construction of internal infrastructure and common areas with photos, etc.
  • The Rules also provide for compounding of punishment with imprisonment for violation of the orders of Real Estate Appellate Tribunal against payment of 10% of project cost in case of developers and 10% of the cost of property purchased in case of allottees and agents. Compliance with reasons for punishment shall be complied within 30 days of compounding.
  • Under the Rules, adjudicating officers, Real Estate Authorities and Appellate Tribunals shall dispose of complaints within 60 days.
  • Real Estate Regulatory Authorities have been mandated to publish on their websites the information relating to profile and track record of promoters, details of litigations, advertisement and prospectus issued about the project, details of apartments, plots and garages, registered agents and consultants, development plan, financial details of the promoters, status of approvals and projects etc










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