29 , November 2017

The Appointments Committee of the Cabinet (ACC) has appointed senior bureaucrat Badri Narain Sharma as Chairman of National Anti-Profiteering Authority (NAA) under Goods and Services Tax (GST) regime. Prior to this appointment, he was additional secretary in Department of Revenue, Finance Ministry.

1.First edition of International Symposium to Promote Innovation & Research in Energy Efficiency (INSPIRE 2017) kicked off in Jaipur
Source: PIB

The first edition of the International Symposium to Promote Innovation & Research in Energy Efficiency (INSPIRE 2017) was kicked off in Jaipur today. The five-day symposium is being organized by Energy Efficiency Services Limited (EESL) in partnership with The World Bank, and Alliance for an Energy Efficient Economy (AEEE).

  • INSPIRE 2017 is an International Conference that brings together various stakeholders such as policy makers, innovators, financiers, influencers to showcase best practices in the sector.
  • It provides a platform for energy efficiency community to discuss energy efficiency policies, market transformation strategies, emerging technologies, delivery and business-model driven transformations.
  • It is further designed to provide global and national thought-leaders and implementers to expand perspectives on energy efficiency and spur ideas and solutions that will help leverage the full potential of energy efficiency and bring its multiple co-benefits to the fore.
  • A mobile app for EESL’s various programmes was launched. This app will allow consumers to connect with the organisation for its various programmes, lodge complaints and track real time complaint status.
  • Further, citizens can now access the real-time status of Street Lighting National Programme (SLNP) dashboard at state, district and Urban Local Body (ULB) levels across the country.

Energy efficiency will be the key in mitigation of climate challenge. India’s unified action plan for climate change outlines many steps which simultaneously advance India’s development and climate change-related objectives.

Other programmes of Government:Through an innovative market-led approach towards energy efficiency, India has charted its progress towards being a low-carbon economy, through implementation of large scale zero subsidy initiatives like Unnat Jyoti by Affordable LEDs for All (UJALA), Street lighting National Programme, Electric vehicles, Smart Meter programme, Solar Rooftop projects etc.

2.Program to train Elected Women Representatives of Panchayati Raj Institutions
Source: PIB

The Minister of Women and Child Development, launched an intensive training program for Elected Women Representatives (EWRs) of Panchayati Raj Institutions and Master Trainers, in New Delhi.

This capacity building program is being organized by National Institute of Public Cooperation and Child Development (NIPCCD) of the WCD Ministry which will ultimately train approximately twenty thousand EWRs covering nearly 50 EWRs from each district by March, 2018.

Training two lakh women sarpanches across the country will help bring following important changes:

  • It will help to create model villages.
  • It will help prepare women as political leaders of the future.

The training program will include simple engineering skills will give them an insight into women’s issues as well as focus on education and financial matters,

The Minister disclosed that awards will be given to the Master Trainers to those who have succeeded in empowering EWRs of their areas. The Minister also appreciated the initiatives taken by some states to specify certain minimum education level for sarpanches and panchayat members.

The Capacity building of Elected Women Representatives (EWRs) is critical to empower women to participate effectively in the governance processes. This will help them assume the leadership roles expected of them and guide their villages towards a more prosperous future.  About 150 master trainers and 450 EWRs attended today’s program.

3.Global Entrepreneurship Summit 2017
Source: PIB

Prime Minister Narendra Modi and US President Donald Trump’s advisor and daughter Ivanka Trump jointly inaugurated 8th annual Global Entrepreneurship Summit (GES 2017) in Hyderabad, Telangana. The mega event was co-hosted by National Institution for Transforming India (NITI) Aayog and US Government n partnership with Telangana Government.

The Global Entrepreneurship Summit is being held for the first time in South Asia in Hyderabad, India, from November 28-30 2017. With the theme of “Women First, Prosperity for All,” this will be the first GES in which women are the majority, over 52.5 per cent, of the participants. 

This year’s summit theme demonstrates the commitment of the U.S. and Indian governments to the principle that when women are economically empowered, their communities and countries thrive.  Women entrepreneurs help drive innovation and job creation, as well as address the world’s greatest and most critical challenges.


  • GES is preeminent annual entrepreneurship gathering that convenes over one thousand emerging entrepreneurs, investors, and supporters from around the It is organized annually since 2010.
  • GES 2017 aims to empower Indian entrepreneurs to pitch their ideas, build partnerships, secure funding, and create innovative products and services that will transform societies for better future.
  • It will not only bring global best practices to India, but also create irreplaceable place for India in global entrepreneurial ecosystem.
  • The four primary focus areas of GES 2017 are Digital Economy and Financial Technology, Health Care and Life Sciences, Energy and Infrastructure, and Media and Entertainment. The summit will deliberate on four key sectors, focus on critical aspects of entrepreneurship and host interactive sessions between panelists and audience.

4.Health Ministry and ICMR launch India Hypertension Management Initiative (IHMI)
Source: PIB

The IHMI aims to reduce disability and death related to cardiovascular disease (CVD), the leading cause of death in India, by improving the control of high blood pressure (hypertension), reducing salt consumption and eliminating artificial trans-fats, leading risk factors for CVD.

About IHMI:

  • The India Hypertension Management Initiative (IHMI) is a collaborative project of Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR), Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (MoHFW), State Governments, World Health Organization (WHO), and Resolve to Save Lives initiative of Vital Strategies.
  • The primary goal of this project is to reduce morbidity and mortality due to CVDs, the leading cause of death in India, by improving the control of high blood pressure, which is a leading risk factor for CVDs among adults in India.
  • The IHMI is focused on five essential components of scalable treatment of hypertension. It will support the adoption of standardized simplified treatment plans for managing high blood pressure, ensure the regular and uninterrupted supply of quality-assured medications, task sharing so health workers who are accessible to patients can distribute medications already prescribed by the medical officer, and patient-centered services that reduce the barriers to treatment adherence.
  • Data on hypertension will be improved through streamlined monitoring systems, and the lessons learned and practice-based evidence will inform further interventions to improve cardiovascular care.
  • IHMI will be progressively rolled out in 25 districts in the first two years across districts selected by the Health Ministry for expansion of active screening and intensification of treatment activities for hypertension.

Current Scenario:

Around 200 million adults in India have high blood pressure, yet control rates for the condition remain low. Studies suggest that in rural areas in India, only one quarter of people with hypertension are aware of their condition, and only around 10 percent have their blood pressure controlled. In urban areas, around 40 percent of people with hypertension are aware of their condition, and only around 20 percent have their blood pressure controlled.


  • This initiative aims to strengthen the cardiovascular disease component of the Health Ministry’s National Program for Control of Cancer, Diabetes, Cardiovascular Diseases and Stroke (NPCDCS).
  • It will focus on strengthening hypertension management and monitoring at the primary health care level, within the existing healthcare system, and is aligned with WHO’s Global HEARTS Initiative and National Guidelines.

5.SAUBHAGYA Scheme launched in Manipur
Source: PIB

The Pradhan Mantri Sahaj Bijli Har Ghar Yojana (SAUBHAGYA) was launched in Manipur. A total of approximately 1.75 lakh households (1.62 lakh rural households and 0.13 lakh urban households) of Manipur are proposed to be included under the Scheme.

  • It may be noted that Saubhagya is a scheme launched to achieve universal household electrification in all parts of the Country at a cost of Rs. 16,320 crore including Gross Budgetary Support (GBS) of Rs. 12,320 crores from Government of India.
  • Keeping in view the role of electricity in human and socio-economic development, Government of India has formulated the scheme to ensure last mile connectivity and electricity connections to all remaining un-electrified urban and rural households in the country.
  • All States and Union Territories of the country are required to complete household electrification in their respective jurisdiction by 31st March, 2019.
  • Rural Electrification Corporation Limited (REC), a Navaratna CPSE under the Ministry of Power has been appointed as the nodal agency for coordinating the implementation of the scheme.
  • The prospective beneficiary households for free electricity connections under the scheme will be identified using Socio Economic and Caste Census (SECC), 2011 data.

6.Skill India partners with Airbnb to Upskill Hospitality Entrepreneurs
Source: PIB

A tripartite Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) was signed here today between National Skill Development Corporation (NSDC) and Tourism and Hospitality Sector Skill Council (THSC) with Airbnb, the world’s leading community-driven hospitality company.

The MoU will provide hospitality skills training to hospitality micro-entrepreneurs in India. The MoU signed aims to empower more citizens, including those in rural and underserved areas to join the ‘alternate accommodation’ sector and pursue new livelihood opportunities by sharing their homes.

Under the terms of the MoU, the parties agree to:

  • ESTABLISH occupation standards and competency matrices for job roles and develop the courses for hospitality entrepreneurs offering homestay and facilities, other unique accommodations and local experiences for travellers;
  • CREATE standards for certification and accreditation as per the requirements and global benchmarks of Tourism and Hospitality industry for hospitality entrepreneurs offering homestay facilities, other unique accommodations and local experiences for travellers;
  • SET the framework for long-term Council-Industry partnership;
  • STRENGTHEN the Skilled Labour Pool required by Tourism and Hospitality industry.

Scope for Growth:

  • By bringing in global best practices for the training of small hospitality entrepreneurs the domestic tourism has immense potential in India and this partnership will benefit the ecosystem by creating opportunities for women and youth.  We will extend all possible cooperation to make India a tourism hotspot.
  • This partnership will help to create more skilled, digitally-literate hospitality entrepreneurs – especially among the women and those in underserved areas – who can create a homestay in every home, offer authentic experiences in every Indian locality and help spread the benefits of tourism.

7.Telecom regulator backs Net neutrality
Source: The Hindu

The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) recommended upholding the basic principle of net neutrality by keeping the Internet open and prohibiting any service provider from discriminating on the basis of content by either blocking, throttling, or “fast-laning” any apps, websites or web services.

The regulator’s proposal to adhere to the tenets of net neutrality comes days after the US Federal Communication Commission said it would repeal the 2015 laws that aimed at upholding this broad principle of neutrality.

TRAI Recommendations:

  • Preventing discriminatory treatment: Warning against any “discriminatory treatment” including blocking, degrading, slowing down or granting preferential speeds to any content, TRAI stated, “The scope of the proposed principles on non-discriminatory treatment apply specifically to ‘Internet Access Services’, which are generally available to the public
  • Restriction on any discriminatory agreements: The service providers should be restricted from entering into any arrangement, agreement or contract, by whatever name called, with any person, natural or legal, that has the effect of discriminatory treatment based on content, sender or receiver, protocols or user equipment
  • Creation of a multi-stakeholder body: To monitor violations, TRAI has recommended the establishment of a collaborative mechanism in the form of a multi-stakeholder body which would be responsible for developing technical standards for monitoring and enforcement of the principles


  • It excludes specialised services and content delivery networks (CDNs) from scope of any rules on net neutrality that CDNs add efficiency to network by reducing latency, mitigating congestion and freeing up network capacity for other purposes. CDNs are layer in Internet networks which are outside public Internet and are used by content generators to store their data at suitable geographical locations.
  • It also calls for keeping Internet of Things (IoT ) within purview of non-discriminatory restriction with the exception of critical services.

 8.Chabahar port ready, next stage for India
Source: The Hindu

The building of Phase 1 of the Chabahar port has been completed by the Iranian side; President of Iran will inaugurate the port with all regional beneficiaries and neighbouring countries

Benefits: It will enhance trade in the region

With a final aim to connect not just to Afghanistan via rail but also to the 7,200-km International North-South Transport Corridor to Russia

Stage for India to develop the next phase:

  • The inauguration of the port will effectively pave the way for India to carry forward the next phase of construction and development of two berths for its use, particularly for trade with Afghanistan.
  • Next, the government, which has committed $500 million to the port project, will develop a free-trade area around the port, and finally will complete the loop with a $1.6-billion railway line to Zahedan.
  • India has already completed the Zaranj-Delaram highway in Afghanistan, which would facilitate the trade to Kabul and eventually beyond to Central Asia. Mr. Gadkari said the first part of India’s construction would be finished in 2018.
  • At present, India is using the port’s existing commercial route to transport more than 1.1 million tonnes of wheat to Afghanistan, of which the first consignment of 15,000 tonnes from the Kandla port came to Zaranj, via Chabahar.

9.Invest in India, PM tells entrepreneurs
Source: The Hindu

Prime Minister Narendra Modi said his government understands that an environment of transparent policies and a rule of law providing a level playing field are necessary for entrepreneurship to flourish.

Inaugurating the Global Entrepreneurship Summit (GES) here said this calling upon entrepreneurs from across the globe to “come make in India, invest in India, for India and for the world.”

The government, under its Mudra scheme of providing easy finance of up to Rs. 1 million to entrepreneurs, has sanctioned over 90 million loans worth Rs.4.28 trillion Since 2015. More than 70 million of the loans have been sanctioned to women entrepreneurs.

The Prime Minister also highlighted how the government was focused on reducing the regulatory burden and providing support to start-ups. “Our 1,200 redundant laws have been scrapped. 87% rules for foreign direct investment have been eased in 21 sectors, and several government procedures have been taken online. The process is yet not complete”.

Listing various other programmes of his government, he said “we are working on development of a national gas grid. A comprehensive national energy policy is also in the pipeline,”he added.

10.India supports creation of a Palestinian state:PM
Source: The Hindu

Ahead of International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People, the PM says India will continue to support nation-building activities by the Palestinians

Prime Minister of India presented his government’s position and said that India will continue to support nation building activities by the Palestinians, and urged for the creation of a Palestinian State that will co-exist ‘peacefully’ with Israel. PM further said that,

India is an active development partner of Palestine, engaged in extending technical and financial assistance to improve the lives of the Palestinian people. We will continue to support the development and nation-building efforts of Palestine

Two state solution

  • The special day marks Resolution 181 of the United Nations which called for creation of independent Israeli and Palestinian states and was adopted on this day in 1947
  • The two-state solution of the Israeli-Palestinian dispute is based on this resolution

11.No compromise on India’s interest at WTO: Prabhu
Source: The Hindu

At next month’s meeting of the World Trade Organisation’s (WTO) highest decision-making body, India will not compromise on its interests including ensuring food security as well as protecting its resource-poor and low-income farmers and fisher-folk, according to commerce minister .

India’s stance

  • Against inclusion of new issues: India will hold firm on its position against the inclusion of new issues such as ‘e-commerce’ and ‘investment facilitation’ into the ongoing round of multilateral trade negotiations, without first resolving the outstanding ones including food security
  • Doha Development Agenda (DDA): India will make sure that the ‘development agenda’ (to improve the developing countries’ trading prospects) of the talks, which began in Doha in 2001, is not subverted
  • Permanent solution to public stockholding issue: The highest priority for India was to ensure that a ‘permanent solution’, much better than a peace clause, on the issue of public stockholding for food security purposes is a part of the Buenos Aires meeting outcomes

12.India must integrate with global value chain :ADB
Source: The Hindu

ADB’s country head’s views on manufacturing sector in India. Mr Yokoyama, ADB’s country head for India expressed his views

  • The manufacturing sector’s share in India’s GDP has remained stagnant despite the government’s efforts to increase it, adding that India must do more to integrate with the global value chain in which it currently only plays a small part
  • He highlighted problems with the inequality between Indian states, the inadequate investment in the infrastructure sector and the poor planning behind urban development
  • In the absence of a proactive urbanisation strategy, what is likely is ribbon development along the highways and haphazard development around the industrial areas

The Ribbon development is road centric. This is characterized by peoples’ tendency to build as near to the main road as they can.

13.India loses billions to air pollution: UN
Source: The Hindu

India had the highest share of welfare costs (or a loss of income from labour), of about $220 billion (about Rs. 1.4 trillion), in South and South-East Asia — of a combined total of $380 billion from mortality due to air pollution, according to a report by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP).

The global mortality costs from outdoor air pollution are projected to rise to about $25 trillion by 2060 in the absence of more stringent measures.

At regional and national scale, China’s welfare costs from mortality were the highest at nearly $1 trillion followed by the Organisation for Economic Corporation and Development (OECD) countries with a combined total of $730 billion, the report added quoting a 2016 projection by the OECD.

Although certain forms of pollution have been reduced as “technologies and management strategies have advanced,” approximately 19 million premature deaths are estimated to occur annually as a result of the way societies use natural resources and impact the environment to support production and consumption, it notes.

Serious burden: UNEP Solution

UNEP called for strong high-level political commitment and engagement of the local government, civil society and other stakeholders. Report stated that,

  • The responsibility is on governments, businesses, cities and local authorities, civil society and individuals around the world to commit to act to beat pollution in all its forms

To achieve high level political commitment in key economic sectors, there is a need to go beyond the environmental ministries and include other relevant ministries such as finance, agriculture, industry, urban, transport, energy and health.

There is also a need to engage the local government, civil society organisations, business leaders, industries, trade unions and citizens at large. Reporting on the progress that comes from acting on pollution – whether through voluntary measures or formal laws – is a crucial step in this transition.

The report, ‘Towards a pollution-free planet’, was launched during the first Conference of Parties for the Minamata Convention, which addresses mercury issues, and ahead of the annual U.N. Environment Assembly, to be held in early December.


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