17, December 2016

1.Rights of Persons with Disabilities Bill – 2016 Passed by Parliament

Source: PIB

Minister of Social Justice and Empowerment, that in the “Rights of Persons With Disabilities (RPWD) Bill, the Disability has been defined based on an evolving and dynamic concept and the types of disabilities have been increased from existing 7 to 21 and the Central Government will have the power to add more types of disabilities.

What are all to be include?

Language Disability and Specific Learning Disability have been added for the first time.

    • Acid Attack Victims have been included.
    • Dwarfism, muscular dystrophy have has been indicated as separate class of specified disability.

 

  • The New categories of disabilities also included three blood disorders, Thalassemia, Hemophilia and Sickle Cell disease.

 

Background

  • Persons with Disabilities (Equal Opportunities, Protection of Rights and Full Participation) Act, 1995 is the principal Act for the empowerment of Persons with disabilities.
  • There  has been drastic changes in disability sector such as understanding disability and its social model of definition, new technology and process of rehabilitation etc. 
  • Further, India signed the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNCRPD) and subsequently ratified the same on 1st October, 2007. The Convention came into effect on 3rd May 2008. 
  • Being a signatory to the Convention, India has an international obligation to comply with the provisions of the Convention.
  • Keeping in view the fact that the existing Act of 1995 is not fully in conformity with the UNCRPD, a need was felt to have a rights-based legislation with a strong institutional mechanism.
  • Based on these consultations, amendments to the Bill have been proposed which would widen the scope of new Law and also provide a framework to enable  the Persons with Disabilities to enjoy their enjoyment rights equally with others.

The Union Cabinet has approved the proposal of the Department of Empowerment of Persons with Disabilities (Divyangjan) to incorporate these amendments in the Rights of Persons with Disabilities Bill, 2014 during the ongoing winter Session of Parliament.

The new Bill with amendments proposes to repeal the existing Persons with Disabilities (Equal opportunities, Protection of Rights and Full Participation) Act, 1995.

The salient features of the proposed Bill with incorporation of the amendments are:

  1. The  persons with disabilities enjoy their rights equally with others.
  2. Disability has been defined based on an evolving and dynamic concept.
  3.  The types of disabilities have been increased from existing 7 to 21 and the Central Government will have the power to add more types of disabilities.-

        They are: Blindness, Low-vision, Leprosy Cured persons, Hearing Impairment (deaf and hard of hearing), Locomotor Disability,   Dwarfism, Intellectual Disability, Mental Illness, Autism Spectrum Disorder, Cerebral Palsy, Muscular Dystrophy, Chronic Neurological conditions,  Specific Learning Disabilities, Multiple Sclerosis, Speech and Language disability, Thalassemia, Hemophilia, Sickle Cell disease, Multiple Disabilities including deafblindness, Acid Attack victim, Parkinson’s disease.

 

    1. Additional benefits have been provided for persons with benchmark disabilities. Every child with benchmark disability between the age group of 6 and 18 years shall have the right to free education.
    2. For strengthening the Prime Minister’s Accessible India Campaign, stress has been given to ensure accessibility in public buildings (both Government and private) in a prescribed time-frame.
    3. It has been proposed to increase reservation from 3% to 4% in Government jobs for certain persons or class of persons with benchmark disability.
    4. The Bill provides for penalties for offences committed against persons with disabilities.
    5. Broad based Central & State Advisory Boards on Disability have been proposed to be set up as policy making bodies.

 

  • Speech and Language Disability and Specific Learning Disability have been added for the first time. Acid Attack Victims have been included. Dwarfism, muscular dystrophy have has been indicated as separate class of specified disability. The New categories of disabilities also included three blood disorders, Thalassemia, Hemophilia and Sickle Cell disease.

 

It is expected that the proposed rights based legislation with more Rights and Entitlements and strong monitoring agencies at the National and State Levels will achieve empowerment and inclusion of Persons with Disabilities in the society in a satisfactory manner.

Once Rabindra Nath Tagore’s observed in one of his poems which come in my mind and I quote: “The problem is not how to wipe out the differences but how to unite with the differences intact.”

2.Make in India ‘Power Sector’- Achievement Report

Source: PIB

Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion- Ministry of Power

Power Sector

The power sector in India has witnessed a major addition in capacity in the last 2 years, making India the fifth largest installed capacity in the world.

    • As of October 2016, the installed power capacity was 307.28 GW.
    • Private capacity generation has increased to 124 GW in FY2015- 16, which constitutes 41% of the total power generated in the country.

 

  • The Government aims to generate two trillion units (kilowatt hours) of energy by 2019 and is undertaking initiatives aimed at doubling the current production capacity to provide 24×7 electricity for residential, industrial, commercial and agriculture use.

 

Highlights:

The electricity generation (including renewable energy) in the country grew by 5.9% to 738,027 Million Units (MUs) during FY 2016-17 (April to October) as compared to 696,664 MUs during FY 2015-16 (April to October).

As a result of rationalization of freight charges for domestic coal and reduction of imports, the cost of power to the power utilities has reduced to INR 3.04 per kWh (April to June 2016) from INR 3.19 per kWh (April to June 2015).

The Government has also taken initiatives to attract infrastructure development through foreign collaboration. Five power projects are being built in the country with foreign project developers in HP, Odisha, Andhra Pradesh and Maharashtra.

Policy Initiatives & Investments

FDI Policy:

  • 100% FDI is allowed under automatic route for projects of power generation (except atomic energy), transmission, distribution and trading.
  • Government has also allowed FDI up to 49% under the automatic route in Power Exchanges registered under the Central Electricity Regulatory Commission (Power Market) Regulations.

Fiscal Incentives Re-financing of Stressed Assets – To address the refinancing options of stressed assets, new guidelines for S4A, 5/25 and SDR have been issued by RBI on November 10, 2016 to recast the debt restructuring schemes and repayment schedules based on asset-liability management risk.

Integrated Power Development Scheme (IPDS)

  • Is aimed at ensuring 24X7 power for all.
  • Both Private and State Power Departments will be eligible for financial assistance to strengthen their urban infrastructure including sub-transmission & distribution networks in urban areas and metering of distribution transformers/feeders/consumers.
  • The IT enablement of distribution sector and strengthening of distribution network component has been subsumed under IPDS.

National LED Programme

Domestic Efficient Lighting Programme (DELP) and Street Light National Programme (SLNP) have been initiated through which household lighting and street are being replace with LEDs

Deen Dayal Upadhyaya Gram Jyoti Yojana (DDUGJY) in December, 2014 with a goal to provide continuous supply of electricity to rural India.

  • Under this scheme, adequate infrastructure is being developed to provide access to electricity for all villages through separation of agriculture & non-agriculture feeders, strengthening and augmentation of sub-transmission and distribution infrastructure including metering at distribution transformers, feeders and consumers and rural household electrification.

Ease of Doing Business initiatives

Government has undertaken several initiatives under ease of doing business specially to promote hydroelectric power generation.

3.Swasthya Raksha Programme

Source: PIB

‘Swasthya Raksha Programme’ launched by the AYUSH Ministry to promote health and health education in villages

Aims  and objectives:

  • To organize Swasthya Rakshan OPDs, Swasthya Parikshan Camps and Health/Hygiene awareness programme
  • Awareness about cleanliness of domestic surroundings and environment.
  • Provide medical aid/incidental support in the adopted Colonies/villages.
  • Documentation of demographic information, food habits, hygiene conditions, seasons, lifestyle etc., incidence/prevalence of disease and their relation to the incidence of disease.
  • Assessment of health status and propagation of Ayurvedic concept of pathya-apathya and extension of health care services.

Initiatives  undertaken so far

  • Developed IEC material (Banners, hoardings, posters, handouts) in Hindi, English and 07 regional languages.
  • Swasthya  Rakshan OPDs organized in each village on    weekly basis for providing treatment  for various disease conditions.
  • Swasthya Parikshan Camps organized on weekly basis.
  • Survey is undertaken in the identified villages to identify prevalent diseases. Individual Health screening of people have been done.
  • For Health Promotion and health education, mass campaigning through rallies, Nukkad Nataks focussing on personal, environmental and social hygiene are being for creating awareness about hygiene.

Swasthya Rakshan Program has been initiated through Central Council for Research in Ayurvedic Sciences (CCRAS), Central Council for Research in Unani Medicine (CCRUM), Central Council for Research in Homoeopathy (CCRH) and Central Council for Research in Siddha (CCRS)

  1. Indigenously Developed Sonars

Source: PIB

The Government has formally inducted four types of indigenously developed SONARS that will boost its underwater surveillance capability .

  • Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) has developed many systems for Indian Navy.
  • Some of the major systems are Heavy Weight Torpedo (Varunastra), Advanced Torpedo Defence System (Mareech), Multi Influence Ground Mines, etc.
  • Recently,  on  18th  November 2016, Kochi  based  Naval  Physical  Oceanographic Laboratory (NPOL)  of  DRDO.
  1. Abhay (Compact Hull-Mounted Sonar for Small Ships & Shallow Water Crafts):

Induction of Abhay (by replacing the vintage Russian sonar) enables indigenous sonar system to be installed on small ships, thereby enhancing the ASW surveillance capability of the fleet to smaller vessel, like Shallows Water Crafts, Light Frigates & Patrol Vessels, which was hitherto limited to frigates and destroyers.

  1. HUMSA-UG (Upgrade for the Hull-Mounted Sonar Array (HUMSA) Series of Sonar Systems for Ships):

It enables smooth upgrade of the capabilities of the indigenously-developed legacy Sonar System HUMSA, by drastically minimizing the existing hardware and addressing technology obsolescence issues, which is currently operational on-board on 18 ships.

  1. NACS (Near-field Acoustic Characterization System (NACS) for Ship Sonars):  

It provides a simple and operationally efficient means to determine the frequency-dependent 3-D transmission and reception characteristics of the hull-mounted sonar aiding in the optimum performance and maintenance of the sonar.

  1. AIDSS (Advanced Indigenous Distress Sonar System (AIDSS) for Submarines):

It is used to signal that a submarine is in distress and thereby enable quick rescue and salvage.  It is a life-saving alarm system designed to transmit sonar signals of pre-designated frequency and pulse shape in an emergency situation, so as to attract the attention of Rescue Vessel in the vicinity.

Induction of these Systems will increase the underwater surveillance capability of Indian Naval ships.  All these Systems are to be productionised in India.

  1. The Insolvency and Bankruptcy Board of India notifies Insolvency and Bankruptcy Board of India (Liquidation Process) Regulations, 2016

Source: PIB

The Insolvency and Bankruptcy Board of India notifies Insolvency and Bankruptcy Board of India (Liquidation Process) Regulations, 2016 notified.

Regulations come into force with immediate effect

  • These Regulations prohibit an insolvency professional from acting as a liquidator for a corporate debtor if he is not independent of the corporate debtor.
  • These prohibit partners or directors of an insolvency professional entity of which the insolvency professional is a partner or director from representing other stakeholders in the same liquidation process.
  • These require the liquidator, and also registered valuer (s) and professional(s) assisting him in liquidation to make disclosures – initial and continuing – about financial or personal relationship with any of the stakeholders entitled to distribution of assets.
  • These Regulations specify the manner and contents of public announcement, receipt and verification of claims of stakeholders, reports and registers to be maintained, preserved and submitted by the liquidator, the manner of realisation of assets and security interest, and distribution of proceeds to stakeholders.
  • These Regulations provide that a liquidator should ordinarily sell the assets through auctions.
  • He may sell the assets through private sale only when the asset is perishable; the asset is likely to deteriorate in value significantly if not sold immediately or the asset is sold at a price higher than the reserve price of a failed auction.
  • He may sell an asset on standalone basis, or assets in a slump sale, assets in parcels or a set of assets collectively.
  • These Regulations provide that the fee payable to a liquidator shall form a part of liquidation cost.
  • These further provide that a liquidator shall be paid such fees and in such manner as has been decided by the committee of creditors during the resolution process.
  • In all other cases, the liquidator shall be entitled to a fee as a percentage of the amount realised net of other liquidation costs and of the amount distributed.

  1. Make in India Mining sector Report

Source: PIB

India is blessed with abundant mineral deposits and the country’s mining sector forms an important segment of the economy contributing around 2.6% to the country’s GVA (FY 2015- 16(PE))

  • India produces 90 different types of minerals (fuel, atomic, metallic and non-metallic minerals).
  • India is also the third largest coal producer, third largest steel producer, fourth largest Iron-ore producer globally and has the fifth largest Bauxite reserves in the world.
  • With barely 20% of reserves mined, India presents a major opportunity for investors.

Policy Initiatives & Investments

FDI Policy

100% FDI permitted via automatic route for mining and exploration of metal and non-metal ores including diamond, gold, silver and precious ores, and for mining of coal and lignite for captive consumption by power projects, Iron, steel and cement units.

MMDR Amendment Act, 2016 has allowed transfer of mining lease, which has been granted other than through auction and where minerals from such mining leases are being used for captive purpose.

  • This move is expected to revive the mining economy, lead to mergers & acquisitions and help in liquidation of stressed assets.
  • National Mineral Exploration Policy (NMEP, 2016) encourages private sector participation through its revenue sharing model.
  • It also emphasizes on generation and dissemination of baseline geo-scientific data by the Government as public good and creation of a National Geoscience Data Repository to promote exploration activities.
  • Implementation of this policy will promote the growth of the sector as currently India lags in base line geophysical and geochemical data creation.

Innovation & Technology

  • The Government has been proactively using technology to deter illegal mining. An MoU was signed between Indian Bureau of Mines (IBM) and National Remote Sensing Centre (NRSC), ISRO in January 2016 to undertake a pilot project on “monitoring of mining activities using satellite imagery.”
  • Mining Surveillance System (MSS) to check illegal mining through automatic remotesensing detection technology. The system is designed to check 500 meters around the existing mining lease boundary to search for any unusual activity relating to illegal mining and any discrepancy is flagged off as a trigger.
  • Star Rating Scheme has been launched to track the implementation of Sustainable Development Framework (SDF) in the mining leases. This scheme will help in recognizing good performers in the sector and will encourage all mining lease holders to strive for excellence.



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