26, September 2017

2nd India-Indonesia Biennial Trade Ministers’ Forum Meeting

  • The 2nd Biennial Trade Ministers Forum (BTMF) meeting was held at New Delhi between delegations led by the Minister of Commerce and Industry of India, Shri Suresh Prabhu and the Minister of Trade of the Republic of Indonesia, Mr. Enggartiasto Lukita
  • Both Ministers agreed for convening early meeting of the Working Group on Trade & Investment and the Working Group on Trade Facilitation & Remedies, to address the issues impeding trade and identifying means of facilitating trade and investment between India and Indonesia. These Working Groups will also look into facilitation of services and areas of mutual interest between both the countries.
  • The Ministers agreed to deepen economic cooperation and bilateral trade by having greater cooperation of the stakeholders, including Government business, entrepreneurs etc. The Minister of Commerce and Industry of India urged his Indonesian counterpart to utilise the opportunities presented by the ‘Make in India’, ‘Invest India’ and ‘Start-up India’ initiatives.

1.Shri Rajnath Singh to launch PENCIL Portal at the National Conference on Child Labour

Source: PIB

Children are valuable assets for any country who need to be nurtured for the better future of the country. The census 2011 showed a substantial decline in child labour as compared to the data of Census 2001, but a lot is required to be done to protect their childhood.

  • Realizing the multifaceted nature of this problem, Government has embarked on a holistic and multi-pronged approach to eliminate child labour from the country in a phased manner.

Child Labour (Prohibition & Regulation) Amendment Act, 2016

  • Government has enacted the Child Labour (Prohibition & Regulation) Amendment Act, 2016 which came into force with effect from 1st September, 2016. With this amendment, employment of a child below 14 years is completely prohibited in any occupation or processes.
  • This is a historic progression since the inception of the Act in 1986, when a complete ban in engaging children below 14 years is foreseen as a reality by this amendment.: First time the age of child is linked with the age of the child in the Right of Children to free and Compulsory Education Act, 2009.
  • Also, for the first time the definition of adolescent has been introduced and the ambit of the Act is enhanced to include adolescent in the age group of 14-18 years. The amendment prohibits the employment of adolescent in hazardous occupations and processes.

Key facts:

  • Government has taken several initiatives subsequent to the enactment of the Child Labour (Prohibition and Regulation) Amendment Act, 2016 to strengthen the governance of the legislative provisions.
  • This include Framing of State Action Plan and circulating to all States/ UTs for enforcement of the Amended Act, Framing of Child Labour (Prohibition and Regulation) Amendment Central Rules subsequent to the Amendment in the Act (notified vide notification dated 02.06.2017) and Review of the Schedule of hazardous occupations and processes by Technical Advisory Committee. A series of stakeholder consultations have taken place to develop these initiatives.

The National Child Labour Project (NCLP) Scheme initiated in the in 1988 to rehabilitate working children by eliminating  all forms of child labour through identification and withdrawal of all children in the Project Area from child labour, Preparing children withdrawn from work for mainstream education along with vocational training. NCLP has been revised expanded and aligned to the new legislative provisions.

  • The legislative changes have been accompanied by creation of additional institutional mechanisms at the district, state and national level for identification and rescue, along with revamping the rehabilitation scheme and a centralized database for case to case monitoring and accountability.
  • The Standard Operating Procedure (SoP) is aimed at creating a ready reckoner for trainers, practitioners and monitoring agencies to ensure complete prohibition of child labour and protection of adolescents from hazardous labour ultimately leading to Child Labour Free India.
  • The genesis of the portal is in the felt need to create a robust implementing and monitoring mechanism for both enforcement of the legislative provisions and effective implementation of the NCLP especially in the backdrop that the subject of Labour is in the concurrent list and enforcement to a large extent depends of respective State Governments. It was felt that an online portal which connects Central Government to State Government, District and to all Project Societies would provide a mechanism for implementation.

In this backdrop the online portal PENCIL was conceptualized. PENCIL Portal has following components:

  1. Child Tracking System
  2. Complaint Corner
  3. State Government
  4. National Child Labour Project
  5. Convergence

2.PM launches Pradhan Mantri Sahaj Bijli Har Ghar Yojana “Saubhagya”

Source: PIB

The Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi has launched a new scheme Pradhan Mantri Sahaj Bijli Har Ghar Yojana –“Saubhagya” to ensure electrification of all willing households in the country in rural as well as urban areas.

Key facts:

  • The States and Union Territories are required to complete the works of household electrification by the 31st of December 2018.
  • The beneficiaries for free electricity connections would be identified using Socio Economic and Caste Census (SECC) 2011 data. However, un-electrified households not covered under the SECC data would also be provided electricity connections under the scheme on payment of Rs. 500 which shall be recovered by DISCOMs in 10 instalments through electricity bill.
  • The solar power packs of 200 to 300 Wp with battery bank for un-electrified households located in remote and inaccessible areas, comprises of Five LED lights, One DC fan, One DC power plug. It also includes the Repair and Maintenance (R&M) for 5 years.

The expected outcome of the Scheme is as follows:

  1. Environmental upgradation by substitution of Kerosene for lighting purposes
  2. Improvement education services
  3. Better health services
  4. Enhanced connectivity through radio, television, mobiles, etc.
  5. Increased economic activities and jobs
  6. Improved quality of life especially for women

How will it work?

  • With no subsidy component for monthly electricity consumption, the Gram Panchayat and public institutions in the rural areas will be authorised to carry out billing and collection tasks which have been pain points for the discoms.
  • For those household where the national electricity grid can’t reach, households will be provided with solar power packs along with battery banks. State-run Rural Electrification Corporation is the nodal agency for the scheme.

3.TRIFED Signs MoU with Amazon – Minister of Tribal Affairs Inaugurates National Workshop on Minimum Support Price for Minor Forest Produce

Source: PIB

Minister of Tribal Affairs Shri Jual Oram inaugurated the National Workshop organized by TRIFED on “Minimum Support Price (MSP) for Minor Forest Produces (MFP) scheme – Taking it to the next level for a Fair and Equitable Deal to the Tribals” Ministers of State for Tribal Affairs.

TRIFED:

  • “TRIBES INDIA” showrooms managed by TRIFED, offer a wide range of Tribal Products from different parts of the country, which include Metal Craft, Tribal Textiles, Jewellery, Tribal Paintings, Cane & Bamboo, Pottery, Gifts and Novelties, Organic and Natural products sourced from tribals at their places of habitats from higher Himalayas (Bhutia tribes in the Uttrakhand, Bodh & Kinnaura tribes in Himachal Pradesh) in the North and (Toda & Irula Tribes in Nilgiri Hills) in the South and from North Eastern States (Tangkhul Naga, Bodo, Konyak & Dimasa Tribes) to the desert of Rajasthan and Rann of Kutch (Bhil, Garasia, Rathwa, Gamit Tribes ) in the West.
  • There is fabulous collection of tribal paintings mainly Saura from Orissa, Gond from Madhya Pradesh, Warli from Maharashtra and Pithora from Gujarat.

Background:

  • Government of India has taken a number of initiatives for socio economic development of tribals like introduction of Forest Rights Act, PESA Act and has been implementing schemes for development of MFP by providing financial support to State TDCCs and TRIFED for market development of MFPs. Recognizing the critical importance which MFP hold for tribals and its potential to create large scale employment opportunity thereby, helping in reducing poverty and increasing empowerment of tribals particularly women and poor people of the poorest and backward districts of the country, Govt. of India has now decided to introduce an ambitious scheme of providing fair price for the MFP collected by tribals through Minimum Support price (MSP).
  • The scheme has been started with the objective of providing fair price to MFP gatherers, enhance their income level and ensure sustainable harvesting of MFPs. The MSP scheme seeks to establish a framework to ensure fair prices for the produce collected by them, assurance of buying at a particular price, primary processing, storage, transportation etc while ensuring sustainability of the resource base. It is a holistic scheme for development of MFP trade and covers 24 non-nationalized / non-monopolized MFPs namely.

4.India’s Mars Orbiter Mission completes 3 years in orbit

Source: The Hindu

India’s Mars Orbiter Mission has successfully completed 3 years in orbit.

Background:

The country had on 24 September 2014 successfully placed the Mars Orbiter Mission spacecraft in the orbit around the red planet, in its very first attempt, thus breaking into an elite club. ISRO had launched the spacecraft on its nine-month-long odyssey on a homegrown PSLV rocket from Sriharikota in Andhra Pradesh on 5 November 2013. It had escaped the earth’s gravitational field on 1 December 2013.

The Mars Orbiter Mission:

  • The Rs450-crore MOM mission aims at studying the Martian surface and mineral composition as well as scan its atmosphere for methane (an indicator of life on Mars).
  • The Mars Orbiter has five scientific instruments—Lyman Alpha Photometer (LAP), Methane Sensor for Mars (MSM), Mars Exospheric Neutral Composition Analyser (MENCA), Mars Colour Camera (MCC) and Thermal Infrared Imaging Spectrometer (TIS).
  • This mission made India to become one of the four nations in the world to send space mission to Planet Mars.
  • India became the first country in the world to insert a spacecraft into the Martian orbit in its very first attempt



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