1, October 2016

1.Modi calls for ‘Swachhagraha’

Source: The Hindu

Reiterating the importance of recycling and reusing waste to create wealth, called for “Swachhagraha” or insistence on cleanliness, like Mahatma Gandhi’s “Satyagraha”.

About India Sanitation conference (INDOSAN)

  • INDOSAN is envisaged as an annual national event, that seeks to brings together all stakeholders working in sanitation. Thus, it will be one platform for a shared vision for Government, NGOs, academicians, researchers, partner agencies and corporates.
  • It will create an opportunity for collective understanding, collective vision of the key elements of the Swachh Bharat Mission programme as sanitation is seen as a citizen movement with involvement of all sectors of the society.
  • INDOSAN will discuss on all these approaches, learnings, emerging innovations for the benefit of all.
  • Besides, each state will share their approaches most suitable to them to reach the goal of making India Open Defecation Free (ODF) by the year 2019 which marks 150th Birth Anniversary of Father of the Nation Mahatma Gandhi.

2.Informing people about schemes of the Minority Affairs Ministry


Empowerment of minorities, poor, weaker sections is “Raj Dharma” of the NDA Government. Addressing a huge gathering during first mega “Progress Panchayat” at Bichor village in Mewat, Haryana.

Schemes such as

Seekho aur Kamao –  The scheme aims at upgrading the skills of minority youth in various modern/traditional skills depending upon their qualification, present economic trends and market potential, which can earn them suitable employment or make them suitably skilled to go for self-employment.

Nai Manzil – The ‘Nai Manzil’ scheme has been launched, for the first time in Jammu and Kashmir.

Nai Manzil Scheme is an integrated Education and Livelihood Initiative for the Minority Communities. The scheme aims to benefit the minority youths who are school-dropouts or educated in the community education institutions like Madrasas, by providing them an integral input of formal education (up till Class VIII or X) and skill training along with certification. This will enable them to seek better employment in the organised sector and equipping them with better lives. The scheme covers the entire country.

Nai Raushni – The objective of the scheme is to empower and instill confidence among minority women, including their neighbours from other communities living in the same village/locality, by providing knowledge, tools and techniques for interacting with Government systems, banks and other institutions at all levels.

Empowerment of women per se is not only essential for equity, but also constitutes a critical element in our fight for poverty reduction, economic growth and strengthening of civil society. Women and children are always the worst sufferers in a poverty stricken family and need support.

 Ustaad – USTAAD (Upgrading the Skills and Training in Traditional Arts/Crafts for Development) Scheme

  • The objective of the scheme is to preserve rich heritage of traditional arts and crafts of minorities and build capacity of traditional artisans and craftsmen.
  • Its purpose is to establish linkages of traditional arts and crafts with the national and international market and ensure dignity of labour to artisans and provide employment opportunities and a better future to the youths belonging to the minority community.
  • It will be funded by the Central Government and will prepare skilled and unskilled artisans and craftsmen to compete with major companies in terms of quality of products.
  • It will be administered by the Union Ministry of Minority Affairs across the country.

The scheme was launched in Varanasi to improve sordid conditions of weavers of world famous Banaras Saree, belonging to minority communities.

Nai Udaan – Nai Udaan- Scheme for Support to Minority Students for preparation of Main Examination, who clear Prelims conducted by Union Public Service Commission, Staff Selection Commission, State Public Service Commissions etc.

Besides, “Pradhanmantri Jan Vikas Karykram” (MsDP) has been providing basic amenities such as school, hospitals, roads and other infrastructure in Minority concentrated areas. Employment oriented schemes are our priority. “Employment to every hand” is Government’s commitment.

3.Commodities trading may open to foreigners

Source: The Hindu

The Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) has initiated talks with the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) to allow foreign portfolio investors into the commodity derivatives market.

The FPI regulations emanated from FEMA (Foreign Exchange Management Act) and any kind of foreign money coming into the country has to have RBI approval.

The regulator is also keen to allow other participants such as banks, mutual funds and insurance companies in the commodities market but will do so in a phased manner after talking to other regulatory bodies.

New commodities

The regulator will soon give the go-ahead for options trading in one commodity each from the agri and non-agri segment.

On the recommendation of SEBI, the government has also allowed futures trading in new commodities like diamond, brass, pig iron, eggs, cocoa and tea.

Further, the advisory committee is also deliberating on issues such as improving the liquidity of the contracts.

4.India takes up curbs on IT workers with Canada

Source: The Hindu

  • India has taken up the issue of Canada’s Temporary Foreign Workers Entry Programme
  • It has acted as a barrier for the Indian IT companies investing in Canada to source professionals. This is because the norms for temporary entry have become more stringent due to the programme.
  • Trade Minister of Canada has assured that a Parliamentary panel is examining these issues and some concerns may be addressed.
  • They agreed to conclude negotiations on a Foreign Investment Promotion and Protection Agreement (FIPA) as well as a Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA).

5.Supreme Court gives last chance to Karnataka to release Cauvery water

Source: The Hindu

The apex court simultaneous asked the Centre to set up the Cauvery Water Management Board. So that the Board can visit the Cauvery sites to check the ground realities.

The court slammed Karnataka for flouting its orders and creating a situation by which the majesty of law is dented.

Constitution says:

On a plain perusal of Article 144, it is clear as crystal that all authorities in the territory of India are bound to obey the orders of the Supreme Court and render assistance and aid for the implementation of the orders of this court.

6.T.N. tops list of endemic flowering plants

Source: The Hindu

Almost one of every four species of flowering plants found in India is endemic to the country, a recent publication by the Botanical Survey of India (BSI).

Of these, Tamil Nadu accounts for the highest number of species with 410, followed by Kerala with 357 and Maharashtra with 278.

In India:

Of the 18,259 flowering plants reported in the country, 4,303 (over 23 per cent) are found only in India, as per scientific data in a recently released book, Endemic Vascular Plants of India.

When it comes to the geographical distribution of endemic plants, the Western Ghats tops the list with about 2,116 species, followed by the Eastern Himalayas with 466 species.

According to scientists, these two regions are among the biodiversity hot spots of the country.


 Qualify as a hotspot a region must meet two strict criteria: it must contain at least 1,500 species of vascular plants (> 0.5% of the world’s total) as endemics, and it has to have lost at least 70% of its original habitat.


Himalaya: Includes the entire Indian Himalayan region (and that falling in Pakistan, Tibet, Nepal, Bhutan, China and Myanmar)

Indo-Burma: Includes entire North-eastern India, except Assam and Andaman group of Islands (and Myanmar, Thailand, Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia and southern China)

Sundalands: Includes Nicobar group of Islands (and Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, Brunei, Philippines)

Western Ghats and Sri Lanka: Includes entire Western Ghats (and Sri Lanka)

7.Thailand confirms SE Asia’s first Zika-linked birth defects

Source: The Hindu

The World Health Organization urged countries in the region to take stronger measures to contain the virus.

Authorities in Thailand have confirmed that two cases of babies with microcephaly, or abnormally small heads, were caused by the Zika virus, the first such cases found in Southeast Asia.

The disease is spread primarily by mosquitoes, and WHO urged private citizens as well as governments to take strict mosquito control measures.

Mosquitoes are a constant concern in Thailand because they also transmit malaria, dengue fever and chikungunya.

Zika Virus:

  • Zika virus disease is caused by a virus transmitted primarily by Aedes mosquitoes.
  • People with Zika virus disease can have symptoms including mild fever, skin rash, conjunctivitis, muscle and joint pain, malaise or headache.
  • There is scientific consensus that Zika virus is a cause of microcephaly and Guillain-Barré syndrome.
  • Zika virus is a mosquito-borne flavivirus that was first identified in
  • Zika virus infection is a serious threat to the health and wellbeing of a pregnant woman and her unborn child.
  • Countries across the region must continue to strengthen measures aimed at preventing, detecting and responding to Zika virus transmission.

8.With EU, India ratification, Paris treaty to get closer to entering into force

Source: The Hindu

European Union ministers approved the ratification of the Paris Agreement at a historic meeting of the Environment Council. This decision brings the Paris Agreement closer to entering into force.

As of now, 61 countries, accounting for almost 48 per cent of global emissions have ratified the deal. India, which accounts for 4.1 per cent of global emissions, has agreed to ratify the deal on October 2.

The 28 EU member nations together account for close to 12 per cent of global greenhouse gas emissions. The addition of EU and India, therefore, will take the cumulative emissions of ratifying parties to over 64 per cent, which is well beyond the 55 per cent minimum required for the treaty to enter into force.

The Agreement shall enter into force on the thirtieth day after the date on which at least 55 Parties to the Convention accounting in total for at least an estimated 55 per cent of the total global greenhouse gas emissions have deposited their instruments of ratification, acceptance, approval or accession with the Depositary.


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