PIB ( 1st to 15th AUGUST)
1-Pending RTI Applications
- Central Information Commission (CIC) has informed that 23,978 second appeals/complaints are pending as on 26-07-2018.
2-Unnat Bharat Abhiyan 2.0
- Unnat Bharat Abhiyan is inspired by the vision of transformational change in rural development processes by leveraging knowledge institutions to help build the architecture of an Inclusive India.
- The Mission of Unnat Bharat Abhiyan is to enable higher educational institutions to work with the people of rural India in identifying development challenges and evolving appropriate solutions for accelerating sustainable growth.
- It also aims to create a virtuous cycle between society and an inclusive academic system by providing knowledge and practices for emerging professions and to upgrade the capabilities of both the public and the private sectors in responding to the development needs of rural India.
Objective of the scheme are
- To engage faculty and students of higher educational institutions in understanding rural realities.
- Identify and select existing innovative technologies, enable customization of technologies or devise implementation methods for innovative solutions as required by people.
- To allow higher educational institutions to contribute to devising systems for smooth implementation of various Government Programs.
- To build an understanding of the development agenda within institutes of Higher Education and an institutional capacity and training relevant to national needs, especially those of rural India.
- To re-emphasize the need for field work, stake-holder interactions and design for societal objectives as the basis of higher education.
- To stress on rigorous reporting and useful outputs as central to developing new professions.
- To provide rural India and regional agencies with access to the professional resources of the institutes of higher education,
especially those that have acquired academic excellence in the field of science, engineering and technology, and management.
- To improve development outcomes as a consequence of this research. To develop new professions and new processes to sustain and absorb the outcomes of research.
- To foster a new dialogue within the larger community on science, society and the environment and to develop a sense of dignity and collective destiny.
3-Need to Address Root Cause Behind Man-Animal Conflict”
- Strongly emphasizing the need to address the root cause behind the man-animal conflict, Union Minister for Commerce & Industry, pointed out that the man-animal conflict is an existential crisis not for the animals, but for human beings.
- underlined the fact that protection of wilderness and forests is a must to protect any wildlife species.
- The Minister stressed the urgent need to focus on human population to optimize conservation efforts.
- Current population estimates for Asian elephants in the country, as per 2017 Census, are about 30,000. Asian elephants are confined to South Asia and South East Asia and about 60 per cent of global population of Asian elephants is found in India
- In order to conserve the Asian Elephants the Project Elephant started in 1992, with the objectives of
- conservation and protection of viable population of wild elephants in their natural habitats in the country;
- restoration of natural habitats and traditional corridors/migratory routes or movement paths used by the elephants, wherever necessary, through eco-restoration, acquisition etc;
- ensuring safeguards against poaching and other threats;
- mitigation and control of human elephant conflicts;
- welfare and management of captive elephants; and
- creating a viable mechanism to ensure inter-state and regional and national level coordination in protecting and conserving the elephant and its ranges.
causes of man-animal conflict
- Increased disturbance due to collection of fuel wood, fodder, NTFPs, water etc. from the forests has also increased the incidences of man-animal conflict
- people have to go deeper and deeper, year by year for fetching firewood Decreased prey base
- Habitat fragmentation and shrinking of habitats
impact of man wildlife conflict
- Injury or loss of human lives or animals
- Crop damage , livestock depredation
- Damage to human property and destruction of habitat
- Capacity building of forest guards
- Increased vigilance and protection of identified locations using hi-tech surveillance tools like sensors for knowing Animal movements – Eg. Buxa forest
- Construction of highways/railways bypassing wildlife rich areas like Trans-Canada Highway bypassed Banff National park
- Expansion of protected reserves : in-situ and ex-situ habitat conservation measures will help in securing animals their survival and reduced conflict with humans
- Safe animal zones creation: re-locating of animal habitats away from residential and commercial centres will serve to minimize animal-man conflict for illegal and self-interested motives
- Community based rehabilitation measures: making community responsible for resolution of animal-man conflict will aid in decentralized approach of governance for wildlife preservation. For ex it is done Keibul Lamjao National Park, Kaziranga national park, Sundarbans etc;
- Partnering with WWF which provide tailor made solutions to man wildlife conflict with community and species in consideration
4-Dam Safety Bill
Context of the Bill:
- The Bill provides for proper surveillance, inspection, operation and maintenance of all specified dams in the country to ensure their safe functioning.
- The Bill provides for constitution of a National Committee on Dam Safety which shall evolve dam safety policies and recommend necessary regulations as may be required for the purpose.
- The Bill provides for establishment of National Dam Safety Authority as a regulatory body which shall discharge functions to implement the policy, guidelines and standards for dam safety in the country.
- The Bill provides for constitution of a State Committee on Dam Safety by State Government.
Functions of the National Dam Safety Authority:
- It shall maintain liaison with the State Dam Safety Organisations and the owners of dams for standardisation of dam safety related data and practices.
- It shall provide the technical and managerial assistance to the States and State Dam Safety Organisations.
- It shall maintain a national level data-base of all dams in the country and the records of major dam failures.
- It shall examine the cause of any major dam failure.
- It shall publish and update the standard guidelines and check-lists for the routine inspection and detailed investigations of dams and appurtenances.
- It shall accord recognition or accreditations to the organisations that can be entrusted with the works of investigation, design or construction of new dams.
- It will also look into unresolved points of issue between the State Dam Safety Organisation of two states, or between the State Dam Safety Organisation of a State and the owner of a dam in that State, for proper solution.
- Further, in certain cases, such as dams of one State falling under the territory of another State, the National Authority shall also perform the role of State Dam Safety Organization thereby eliminating potential causes for inter-state conflicts.
Need for a legislation:
There are over 5200 large dams in India and about 450 are under construction. Plus there are thousands of medium and small dams. Due to lack of legal and institutional architecture for dam safety in India, dam safety is an issue of concern. Unsafe dams are a hazard and dam break may cause disasters, leading to huge loss of life and property.
5- Integrate to Innovate Programme for energy Startups
- Invest India has joined hands with energy sector companies to offer a unique lab-to-market opportunity for Indian startups through the Integrate to Innovate Programme.
- Integrate to Innovate is a 3-month corporate acceleration programme for energy startups housed at the corporate premises.
- The application for the programme is hosted on Startup India Hub – an online platform bringing together all stakeholders of the Indian startup ecosystem. The programme provides an opportunity for collaboration and conversation around valuable energy transitions, offering startups an opportunity to bring their ideas to life with the guidance and support from corporates.
- The selected startups will receive a cash prize grant of upto ₹ 5 Lakh per startup along with an opportunity to pilot their product with corporates.
- The corporates would offer them access to technology, technical and commercial mentorship and access to potential customers through the corporate network of partners.
- Entries are invited from innovators across various stages of the energy life-cycle—generation, transmission and distribution, storage and consumption—in multiple sectors such as households, farm, industry, infrastructure, building, utility and transport.
- The winners will be assessed on select parameters such as the breakthrough nature of the innovation, business viability and scalability potential.
In these categories specific areas of interest for the Integrate to Innovate programme include:
- Home Automation
- E-commerce marketplaces for smart home products and installer/support services
- Rooftop solar & home energy storage
- EV and EV infrastructure
- Gas powered trucks
- Waste to Value
- Grid and micro-grids
- Storage battery
- Sensors, drones, data analytics, workforce mobility
- Metering, Billing & Customer analytics
- Demand response & distributed energy resource management systems
- Transactive energy, blockchain based energy trading and energy marketplaces
- Energy efficiency and cooling
- B2B e-markets
- Automation efficiency
- Predictive asset management (IoT and AI)
6-Special Package to Boost Export of Textiles
- India has the potential to become one stop sourcing destination for brands and retailers from ASEAN.
- There are opportunities for textile manufacturers from ASEAN to invest here and cater to domestic market as well as exports because of competitive advantages available in India including availability of raw material, trained man-power and presence of the entire textile value chain. Further, 100% FDI is allowed in the textile sector under automatic route.
- To increase exports of textile and apparel, Government has announced a Special Package for garments and made-ups sectors.
- the rates under Merchandise Exports from India Scheme (MEIS) have been enhanced from 2% to 4% for apparel and made-ups from November 2017.
- Government is also providing interest rate subvention for pre and post shipment credit for the textile sector and gives assistance to exporters under Market Access Initiative (MAI) Scheme.
Further, following steps are being taken by the Government for promoting the export of Handloom and Handicrafts:
- Assistance for marketing study, branding, participation in Fairs and Exhibitions, Buyer-Seller Meets in India and abroad etc. through Marketing and other Schemes.
- setting up of 8 mega clusters in the country for increasing manufacturing and exports.
- providing skill upgradation training to artisans and carpet weavers.
- refunding excise and customs duties for importing inputs through Duty Drawback channel.
- Providing assistance for manufacturing new and Innovative designs as per need.
- Providing modern and improved tools to improve the production technique of artisans.
- Employment generation and export by encouraging apparel and garment industry, which will provide employment to women in particular and increase India’s share in global exports.
- Promotion of Technical Textiles, a sunrise sector, for export and employment
- Promoting conversion of existing looms to better technology looms for improvement in quality and productivity
- Encouraging better quality in processing industry and checking need for import of fabrics by the garment sector.
The amended scheme would give a boost to “Make in India” in the textiles sector; it is expected to attract investment to the tune of one lakh crore rupees, and create over 30 lakh jobs.
7- 195 One Stop Centres are functional in the country to support women-affected by violence
- The Ministry is implementing Scheme for setting up One Stop Centre since April 2015 to support women-affected by violence.
- Under the scheme, it has been envisaged that One Stop Centre would be set up in every district across the country in phased manner.
- So far,195 One Stop Centres are functional in the country to provide single window services such as medical aid, police assistance, legal aid/case management, psychosocial counseling and temporary shelter to women affected by violence.
- Ministry has approved setting up of five One Stop Centres at Thiruvanatapuram, Thissur, Mallapuram, Kannur, Wayanad districts of Kerala.
8- PM reviews performance of key infrastructure sectors of Transport and Housing
- The average road length constructed per day in FY 17-18 was 26.93 km, as compared to 11.67 km in FY 13-14.
- The Prime Minister was informed about progress made in digitisation of the transport sector. Over 24 lakh RFID tags have been issued so far, and over 22 percent of toll revenue now comes from electronic toll collection.
- The “Sukhad Yatra” App, which provides information about road conditions, and facilitates lodging of complaints, has seen over one lakh downloads so far.
- Under the Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojana, rural roads have now connected 88 percent of all eligible habitations. Over 44,000 villages have been connected in the period from 2014 to 2018, as compared to about 35,000 in the preceding four year period.
- The “MeriSadak” App has been launched in 10 regional languages,
- GIS Mapping of roads is underway, and 20 States have so far been hosted on the Geospatial Rural Road Information System (GRRIS). Green technologies, and non-conventional materials such as waste plastic and fly ash, are being used in rural road construction.
- In the railways sector, there has been significant addition in capacity and rolling stock. Additions in “new lines, doubling and gauge conversion” between 2014 and 2018, was to the extent of 9528 kilometres, which is 56 percent higher than the preceding four year period.
- Similarly, in the aviation sector, passenger traffic has grown by over 62 percent in the four year period between 2014 and 2018, as against 18 percent in the preceding four year period. Under the UDAN scheme, 27 airports are now operational in tier 2 and tier 3 cities.
- In the ports sector, traffic volume in major ports increased by 17 percent in the period between 2014 and 2018.
9- New Defence Production Policy
- A draft Defence Production Policy 2018 has been prepared which provides a focused, structured and significant thrust to development of defence design and production capabilities in the country.
- The draft policy has been shared with all concerned stakeholders for their views before notification.
salient features of the Draft Policy
- Creation of a dynamic, robust and competitive defence and aerospace industry as an important part of the ‘Make in India’ initiative.
- Creation of a tiered defence industrial ecosystem in the country.
- Reducing current dependence on imports and strive to achieve self-reliance in development and manufacture of weapon systems / platforms.
The Policy mandates for Transfer of Technology or enhanced Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) for domestic production in the event of non-availability of manufacturing capabilities in the country.
10- Cases pending in Supreme Court and NGT
- The number of cases related to environmental issues pending in the Supreme Court of India is around 110 and 3573 in the National Green Tribunal.
11- Cabinet approves MoU between India and Indonesia on Health cooperation
The MoU covers the following areas of cooperation:-
- Research and development, active pharmaceutical ingredients (API) and IT-based medical equipment;
- Human Resource Development;
- Health services; and
- Any other area as may be mutually agreed upon.
12- Cabinet approves raising of four additional battalions of National Disaster Response Force
- The objective of raising four additional battalions is to reduce the response time keeping in view the vast geographic area of the country.
- These four battalions will initially be raised as two battalions in Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP) and one battalion each in Border Security Force (BSF) and Assam Rifles (ARs).
- Later these four battalions will be converted into NDRF battalions. Based on the vulnerability profile, these four battalions will be placed in Jammu and Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand and Delhi National Capital Region.
- NDRF is a specialized force, which has been created in the year 2006 for the purpose of specialist response during the natural and man-made disaster or threatening situation.
- At present there are 12 battalions in NDRF which are deployed strategically across the country to provide immediate response.
- Government has allowed 100% FDI under automatic route in educational institutions
- As per consolidated FDI Policy, 2017, the Government has allowed Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) up to 100% under automatic route in the educational institutions subject to applicable laws/sectoral rules/regulations/ security conditions.
13-National Energy Storage Mission (NESM)
- The Expert Committee referred has proposed a draft NESM with objective to strive for leadership in energy storage sector by creating an enabling policy and regulatory framework that encourages manufacturing, deployment, innovation and further cost reduction.
- NITI Aayog and Rocky Mountain Institute’s joint report on India’s Energy Storage Mission has proposed three stage solution approach i.e. creating an environment for battery manufacturing growth; scaling supply chain strategies; and scaling of battery cell manufacturing.
- Energy Storage is one of the most crucial & critical components of India’s energy infrastructure strategy and also for supporting India’s sustained thrust to renewables.
The draft focuses on 7 areas namely,
- Indigenous manufacturing;
- An assessment of technology and cost trends;
- A policy and regulatory framework;
- Financing, Business models and market creation;
- Research and development;
- Standards and testing; and
- Grid planning for energy storage.
13- Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Amendment Bill, 2018
The Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Amendment Bill,2018 which was passed by the Lok Sabha on 6th August 2018, has been passed by the Rajya Sabha today. Union Minister for Social Justice and Empowerment Shri Thaawarchand Gehlot today moved the Amendment Bill, 2018 in Rajya Sabha.
Point-wise details: Section 18A has been inserted to nullify conduct of a preliminary enquiry before registration of an FIR, or to seek approval of any authority prior to arrest of an accused, and to restore the provisions of Section 18 of the Act.
Section 18A, inserted in the Act, states that:-
(1) For the purpose of the PoA Act,-
(a) preliminary enquiry shall not be required for registration of a First Information Report against any person; or
(b) the investigating officer shall not require approval for arrest, if necessary, of any person, against whom an accusation of having committed an offence under the PoA Act has been made and no procedure other than provided under the PoA Act or the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973, shall apply.
(2) The provision of section 438 of the Code shall not apply to a case under the Act, notwithstanding any judgment or order or direction of any Court.
- The directions of the Hon’ble Court to conduct a preliminary inquiry within seven days by the Dy. S.P. concerned to find out whether the allegations make out a case under the PoA Act and that arrest in appropriate cases may be made only after approval by the S.S.P., would delay registration of First Information Report (FIR) and will impede strict enforcement of the provision of the POA Act.
- It may also be difficult to get the preliminary inquiry conducted within seven days as sufficient number of Dy. S.P level officers are usually not in place.
- Typically, the Dy. S.P. are located at the district level and not at taluk/block level. Other repercussions of the said directions of the Hon’ble Court are that delay in registration of FIR would result in delay in payment of admissible relief amount to the victims of atrocities admissible only on registration of FIR.
- All this would adversely affect the very objective of the Act to prevent commission of atrocities against members of SC and ST and be severely detrimental especially in heinous offences like sexual exploitation of SC/ST women including rape, gangrape, acid attacks and murder etc.
14- Disclosure of compliance under the Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace Act in the Annual Reports of Private companies now made Mandatory: Ministry of Corporate Affairs amends the Companies (Accounts) Rules, 2014
In order to ensure safe workplaces for Women in the private sector, the Ministry of Women and Child had requested Hon’ble Minister for Corporate Affairs to mandate the disclosure regarding implementation of the Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace (Prevention, Prohibition and Redressal) Act in the Directors Report of every company.
- It may be noted that Section-134 of the Companies Act, 2013 provides the disclosure framework which the Directors of every company are required to comply with in the Annual Reports.
- This section also includes the penal provisions for non-disclosure.
- The inclusion of the compliance under the Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace Act in the non-financial disclosures will ensure that the issue gets into the focus into Board of Directors of the companies
- The Ministry of Women and Child Development has been making continuous efforts to mainstream the implementation of the Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace Act, 2013. Detailed Rules under the Act were issued.
- It was ensured that all the ministries/ departments under the central government as well as the organizations working directly under them constitute the Internal Complaints Committee as mandated under them Act.
- A number of instructions have been issued by the DoPT on the request of the ministry to provide immediate relief to the women working in central government against sexual harassment at workplace.
- The ministry has also empanelled a number of entities who can provide training to any organization on effective implementation of the provisions of the Act. The ministry has provided a facility to all working women to file complaints under this Act directly with the ministry through the SHE-Box.
15- Import of Weapons / Military Equipment
- During the last three years and current year (upto June, 2018), 106 contracts have been signed with Indian vendors and 62 have been signed with foreign vendors including those from Russia, Israel, USA, France, UK and Germany for procurement of defence equipment for Armed Forces.
- The major defence equipment imported include Radars, Rockets, Artillery Guns, Rifles, Aircraft, Helicopters, Laser Designation Pods, Pods for Aircrafts, Missiles, Weapons, Simulator and Ammunition.
16-Maoist and Naxal activities in the country
- The Left Wing Extremism (LWE) situation in the country has been improving consistently and is now well under control.
- Currently 30 districts in 07 States are most affected by LWE violence.
- Total 30 districts contributed 88% of violent incidents and 94% of deaths in 2017.