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    • Late fee waived for all tax-payers who could not file the GSTR 3B for the month of July 2017 : The Goods and Services Tax (GST) tax was introduced on 1st of July 2017.  The last date for payment of GST for the month of July 2017 was 25th August 2017.  September 04, 2017
    • The details : Payment of GST is complete only when amount of tax payable is debited from electronic cash/credit ledger. Now late fee for all taxpayers who could not file GSTR 3B for the month of July 2017 has been waived, but not the interest on late payment of Tax liability. GSTR 1 is to be filed by all taxpayers by 5th of September 2017 and GSTR 2 and GSTR 3 to be filed by all taxpayers by 10th and 15th of September 2017 respectively. Taxpayers who have committed errors in GSTR 3B will be able to put the correct details in GSTR 1-2-3. However, interest will be leviable from all taxpayers who have not discharged their complete Tax liability for July 2017 by 25-08-2017. 
    • PM's upcoming visit to China and Myanmar : Prime Minister, Shri Narendra Modi will be attending 9th BRICS Summit in Xiamen, China from 3-5 September 2017. Prime Minister will also be on the state visit of Myanmar from 5-7 September 2017. September 04, 2017
    • The details : At the BRICS Summit, he plans to have bilateral dialogue with leaders of 10 countries including BRICS partners and the observer nations. In Myanmar he will meet President U HtinKyaw and her Excellency Daw Aung San Suu Kyi. He would also be visiting the heritage city of Bagan where the Archaeological Survey of India had renovated the Ananda Temple.
    • President of India allocates portfolios of the Council of Ministers  The President of India, as advised by the Prime Minister, directed the allocation of portfolios among the members of the Union Council of Ministers. He also administered the oath of office and secrecy at the Rashtrapati Bhavan.
    • PM's fifth interaction with Additional Secretaries and Joint Secretaries : Prime Minister Modi met and interacted with over 90 Additional Secretaries and Joint Secretaries serving in the Government of India. This was the last of five such interactions. During the interaction, officers shared their experiences on subjects such as governance, social welfare, tribal development, agriculture, horticulture, environment and forests, education, project implementation, urban development and transportation. September 04, 2017
    • The details : The Prime Minister urged the officers to work towards simplification of governance processes. He said well executed projects and schemes should serve as case studies, so that their success can be emulated. Highlighting the current positive global environment in favour of India, the Prime Minister asked officers to work with clear objectives towards creating a New India by 2022.
    • President of India to visit Gujarat from September 3 to 4, 2017 : The President of India, Ram Nath Kovind will visit Gujarat from September 3 to 4, 2017. He will be chief guest at the launch of various social welfare programmes in Mehsana on the occasion of the 83rd birthday of Rashtrasant Acharya Padmasagarsuriji. On September 4, 2017 he will lay the foundation stone of ‘Saurashtra Narmada Avataran Irrigation Yojana’ (SAUNI) Phase-II Link-4 at Rajkot.    September 04, 2017
    • Ministry of Home Affairs : Shri Rajnath Singh inaugurates YUVA – a skill development programme – YUVA is Delhi Police initiative under Pradhan Mantri Kaushal Vikas Yojana these kind of initiatives improve the image of the police among common man. 30 August 2017
    • The details : This initiative aims to connect with youth by upgrading their skill as per their competencies. It will help them to get a gainful employment under Pradhan Mantri Kaushal Vikas Yojna under the Ministry of Skill Development. Delhi Police has tied up with National Skill Development Corporation (NSDC) and Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) for providing mass job linked skill training for the selected youth. National Skill Development Corporation shall be providing skill training to the youth under ‘Pradhan Mantri Kaushal Vikas Yojna’ (PMKVY) and CII will provide job linked training through its Sector Skill Councils who are connected to industry and thereby provide job guarantee. 
    • Ministry of Agriculture : Shri Radha Mohan Singh address a gathering at “100 years of Excellence In Sugarcane Research and “New India Manthan – Sankalp Se Siddhi” events organise by ICAR – Union Agriculture and Farmers Welfare Minister, Shri Radha Mohan Singh addressed a gathering at “100 years of Excellence In Sugarcane Research: variety 205 to variety 0238” (sugarcane variety) and “New India Manthan – Sankalp Se Siddhi” events, organised by ICAR- Sugarcane Breeding Institute, Regional Centre, Karnal here.  30 August 2017
    • The details : Shri Singh informed the gathering that with the help of Sir Dr Venkatraman, for the first time, hybrid clone variety 205 (Saccharum officinarum and Saccharum spontaneum) was developed for sub-tropical climate, which was launched in 1918 for commercial farming. The hybrid clone led to 50% increase in sugarcane production in North India and popular species like Saccharum Barberi and Saccharum Sinensis were left far behind. Comments by Shri Radha Mohan Singh – First hybrid clone species 205 was developed for sub-tropical climate and it was launched in 1918 for commercial farming. Sugarcane farmers can make the best of intercropping technique and increase their income by growing oilseeds, pulses, potatoes, and cucumber with cane.
    • Ministry of Commerce and Industry : Fourth Session of the India-Tanzania Joint Trade Committee (JTC) held at New Delhi on 29th August – Highlights – It was mentioned that Tanzania is one of the most important countries in Africa in so far as India’s bilateral co-operation in various sectors is concerned. With an investment of US $ 2.2 billion, Tanzania is among the top 5 investment destinations for India. The Indian side conveyed to the Tanzanian side that the potential areas for Tanzania in India include Light oils and petroleum or bituminous minerals, motor cars and vehicles, medicaments etc Similarly, Metals and Minerals, dried cashew nuts in shells from Tanzania are required in India.  30 August 2017
    • The details : The Tanzanian side encouraged co-operation in the field of Fisheries, Industrial Development including Industrial Research and Development and SMEs Development, Information, Communication and Technology, Labour and Employment, Information, Culture, Arts and Sports. The Indian Duty Free Tariff Preference Scheme of which Tanzania is a beneficiary has boosted considerably Tanzanian export to India in recent years. India and Tanzania agreed to enhance sectoral co-operation based on respective needs and comparative advantage for mutual benefit.
    • PMO : PM speaks to Maharashtra CM on the situation arising due to incessant rain in Mumbai and surrounding areas; assures all possible support from Center – The Prime Minister has spoken to the Chief Minister of Maharashtra Shri Devendra Fadnavis on the situation arising due to incessant rain in Mumbai and surrounding areas. Prime Minister has assured all possible support from Center to the Government of Maharashtra in mitigating the situation due to heavy rains in parts of the state.    30 August 2017
    • Ministry of Home Affairs : Indian Police contingent makes a record breaking haul of 321 medals during the recent World Police & Fire Games held in the US – During the felicitation function of 2015 World Police & Fire Games on August 07, 2015, the Union Home Minister Shri Rajnath Singh had mentioned that the Indian Police Contingent must come back with not less than 300 medals in 2017 World Police & Fire Games and the target was achieved successfully.    30 August 2017
    • The details : A 101-member Indian Police contingent has returned with a record breaking haul of 321 medals from the World Police & Fire Games held in USA earlier this month. The contingent bagged 151 Gold, 99 Silver and 71 Bronze medals in the seven events they participated in the Games held in Los Angeles, California, from August 7-16, 2017.  It is a rarest of the rare occasion where each team member won a medal irrespective of individual or relay events in which they participated. In these games, about 8,000 and more sportspersons from 68 countries from all over the world took part in about 83 events whereas Indian Police contingent participated only in seven sports events i.e. Athletics, Archery, Wrestling, Boxing, Judo, Swimming & Shooting and gave their best performance breaking earlier records. 
    • Ministry of Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution : Centre imposes stock holding limit on sugar producers for September & October 2017 to check sugar prices – Limits imposed to prevent artificial hoarding by mills during the festive season.  29 August 2017
    • The technicalities : In exercise of the powers conferred by section 3 of the Essential Commodities Act, 1955 (10 of 1955)  read with the clause 5 of the Sugar (Control) Order, 1966, the Central Government hereby  directs that no producer of sugar shall hold any stock of sugar in excess of quantities at the end of the month as mentioned below:- (a) September, 2017:  21% of the total sugar available with them during 2016-17 sugar season, (b) October, 2017: 8% of the total sugar available with them during 2016-17 sugar season. Although the Govt. had removed a release order mechanism (through which it used to control the sale of sugar by mills every month) as part of its move to decontrol the sugar sector in 2013, it resorted to imposing temporary restrictions on stock piling by mills during the festival season last year as well. (Food Minister - Ram Vilas Paswan)
    • Ministry of Road Transport and Highways : Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi inaugurates and does BhoomiPoojan for NH projects worth Rs 15,100 crores in Rajasthan – Long Pending, 6-Lane, Cable Stayed Bridge across river Chambal at Kota inaugurated .    29 August 2017
    • The targets : Road Tranport and Highways Minister, NitinGadkari says Centre to spend Rs 2 lakh crores in the next 5 years for building National Highways in Rajasthan. Among the projects inaugurated was a 6-Lane Cable Stayed Bridge across river Chambal at Kota . Built at a cost of  Rs.278 crores, this bridge marks the completion of the East-West corridor which had been pending since 2006.
    • Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports : National Sports & Adventure Awards 2017 – President of India Shri Ram NathKovind today conferred National Sports & Adventure Awards 2017 in a ceremony held at Rashtrapati Bhawan. Minister of State (Independent Charge) for Youth Affairs and Sports - Shri Vijay Goel – was also present.    29 August 2017
    • List of Awards given :  The awards given were -  (i) Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna 2017, (ii) Dronacharya Awards 2017, (iii) Arjuna Awards 2017, (iv) Dhyan Chand Award 2017, (v) Tenzing Norgay National Adventure Award 2017, (vi) MaulanaAbul  Kalam Azad (MAKA) Trophy 2016-17,  (vii) Rashtriya  Khel   Protsahana  Purushkar, 2017
    • Ministry of Textiles : Union Minister Smt. Smriti Zubin Irani inaugurated the 92nd Foundation Course, LBSNAA – Smt. Smriti Irani, Hon'ble Textiles & I&B Minister's message to the Officer Trainees (OTs) - "Be sensitive to the under-privileged, look upon yourselves as custodians of citizens of India". The participants of 92nd Foundation Course represent 17 civil services of India and three services of Bhutan.  In all, 369 Officer Trainees are participating in the 92nd Foundation Course, including 11 officers from Bhutan. 
    • PMO : Visit of Prime Minister to China and Myanmar (September 3-7, 2017) – At the invitation of the President of People’s Republic of China, Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi will visit Xiamen in China’s Fujian province during September 3-5, 2017 to attend the 9th BRICS Summit.   29 August 2017
    • Broader visit :  Subsequently, Prime Minister will pay a State visit to Myanmar from September 5-7, 2017 at the invitation of H.E. U HtinKyaw, President of the Republic of the Union of Myanmar. This will be Prime Minister Modi’s first bilateral State visit to Myanmar. During the visit, Prime Minister will hold discussions with State Counsellor Daw Aung San Suu Kyi on matters of mutual interest and also call on President U Htin Kyaw. In light of the Dokalam crisis and easing out, the coming weeks are important.
    • Ministry of Youth and Sports Affairs - Minister – Vijay Goel (BJP), MoS (Independent Charge) : National Sports Museum to be established in New Delhi  First of its kind in India Where? At Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium, New Delhi Aim:To popularise sports as a way of life within the country It will showcase the India’s achievements in sports along with focussing on traditional sports within the country  24 August, 2017   29 August 2017
    • Objective : It aims to go beyond the classical approach of a collection of memorabilia to become an interactive venue of interest for all age groups. It will also act as an educational hub and offer an opportunity for the young to delve into sporting activity. On these lines, it is proposed that the Museum will have audio-visual display of rules and legacy events pertaining to various sports as part of education for the budding sportspersons, a well-equipped library of sports and physical fitness, painting gallery and an amphitheatre for screening of legacy matches, contests, games, etc.
    • Connecting the dots: This initiative when seen in congruence with the SwasthBachcheSwasth Bharat Initiative launched recently by Hon’ble HRD Minister Prakash Javadekar seems like India is surely gearing up to become a strong contender in 2024 Paris Olympics if not the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.
    • Ministry of Road Transport and Highways - Minister – Nitin Gadkari (BJP) : Cabinet approves MoU between India and Nepal for laying down implementation arrangement for construction of a new Bridge over Mechi River at Indo-Nepal border. Where is Mechi? Mechi Zone in Nepal is along its easternmost border touching the Indian states of Sikkim and West Bengal to the East and Bihar to the South. The Mechi river runs along the border between India and Nepal next to the Siliguri (Chicken’s neck) corridor (South Eastern Nepal). Mechi Bridge is the ending point of Asian Highway 02 in India leading to Nepal and provides critical connectivity to Nepal   August 24, 2017
    • Importance: The construction of the bridge will improve regional connectivity and has potential to strengthen cross border trade between both the countries and cementing ties by strengthening industrial, social and cultural exchanges. 
    • Cost: The estimated cost of construction of the bridge is Rs.158.65 crore, which would be funded by Government of India through ADB loan.  Additional Fact: India shares 1800 kms of border with Nepal through 5 states viz. Uttarakhand, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Sikkim and West Bengal.
    • Ministry of Railways - Minister – Suresh Prabhu (BJP) : Cabinet approves Closure of loss making Bharat Wagon and Engineering Company  What is BWEL? Bharat Wagon Engineering Company Limited (BWEL) is a Central Public Sector Enterprise (CPSE) under Ministry of Railways. The company is engaged in the manufacture and repair of wagons, and has two manufacturing units – at Mokama and Muzaffarpur in Bihar. 24 August, 2017
    • Background: BWEL was incorporated on 4th December 1978 as a CPSE after taking over two sick private sector companies - Arthur Butler & Company, Muzaffarpur and Britannia Engineering Company, Mokama. The Company was referred to BIFR (Board for Industrial and Financial Reconstruction) in December 2000 and was declared ‘sick’(loss making) in the year 2002. The Company has remained sick ever since.
    • Why is it being shut down? Due to poor physical and financial performance of the company for more than 10 years despite financial and other support by Ministry of Railways combined with low probability of its revival in future.
    • NITI Aayog - Vice Chairman – Rajiv Kumar : NITI Aayog calls for applications for ‘Mentor India’ What is Mentor India? A strategic nation building initiative to engage leaders who can guide and mentor schools students in 900+ Atal Tinkering Labs (ATL) established by Atal Innovation Mission (AIM) in schools across India. The Govt. plans on increasing the number to 2,000 ATLs by 2017.   24 August, 2017
    • What is AIM? NITI Aayog’sAtal Innovation Mission (AIM) is Government of India’s flagship program to promote innovation and entrepreneurship. What are ATLs? ATLs are dedicated works spaces where students (from Class 6th to Class 12th) learn innovation skills and develop ideas that will go on to transform India. The labs are powered to acquaint students with state-of-the-art equipment such as 3D printers, robotics & electronics development tools, IoT& sensors, etc. 
    • Objective: The labs are designed to spur the spark of creativity, and go beyond regular curriculum and text book learning. The labs will let students explore skills of future such as design and computational thinking, adaptive learning and artificial intelligence. Connecting the dots: This program is a big step towards making a structural reform in the not just the labour sector, but also innovation and entrepreneurship. It can be seen as an extension of the Skill India initiative on the lines of the apprenticeship model followed in technically advanced countries such as Germany. Steps like these will be instrumental in harvesting the true potential of India’s demographic dividend.
    • Ministry of Food Processing Industries - Minister – Harsimrat Kaur Badal (Shiromani Akali Dal) Cabinet approves New Central Sector Scheme - "Pradhan Mantri Kisan Sampada Yojana" : The CCEA (Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs) has approved renaming of the new Central Sector Scheme - SAMPADA (Scheme for Agro-Marine Processing and Development of Agro-Processing Clusters) as "Pradhan Mantri Kisan Sampada Yojana (PMKSY)"  24 August, 2017
    • Objectives: 1. To supplement agriculture, modernize processing and decrease agri-waste, 2. To create modern infrastructure leading to the growth of food processing sector, 3. To create huge employment opportunities especially in the rural areas, 4. To help in providing better prices to farmers (big step towards doubling of farmers’ income) 5. To create availability of safe and convenient processed foods at affordable price to consumers, 6. To enhance the export of the processed foods 
    • Statistics : PMKSY with an allocation of Rs.6,000 crore is expected to leverage investment of Rs.31,400 crore, handling of 334 lakh MT agro-produce valuing Rs.1,04,125 crore, benefitting 20 lac farmers and generating 5,30,500 direct/indirect employment in the country by the year 2019-20. Background : PMKSY is an umbrella scheme incorporating ongoing schemes of the Ministry like Mega Food Parks, Integrated Cold Chain and Value Addition Infrastructure, Food Safety and Quality Assurance Infrastructure, etc. and also new schemes like Infrastructure for Agro-processing Clusters, Creation of Backward and Forward Linkages, Creation/Expansion of Food Processing & Preservation Capacities. Additional Fact : Chairman of CCEA is the Prime Minister. 
    • Ministry of Finance - Features of GST  | Basic information provided by the Ministry to the Parliament | Why important? The most important tax reform that has integrated India economically needs constant education and information campaigns to enable smooth rollout and excellent results  (Release ID :169201) 28 July, 2017 
    • (1) Goods and Services Tax (GST) is intended to bring transparency and accountability in business transactions along with the ease of doing business and rationalization in tax rates and will not pave the way for financialization of the country; (2) The foremost benefit of GST is to remove hurdles in inter-State transactions resulting in the setting up of a common market. This make ‘one nation, one tax and one market’ true in the country.Further, in case of inter-State supply, only integrated tax is to be levied while in intra-State supplies, central tax and State tax or Union territory tax is to be levied. Thus, the plethora of taxes being levied by the Centre and the States in the erstwhile regime has been replaced by simpler and more efficient taxation system; (3) GST will promote business and development by making the taxation structure easy and by eliminating the numerous taxes; (4) The GST laws have been framed in such a manner that a multitude of taxes have been replaced by one tax; (5) The details of the taxes subsumed under GST are as - (A) Taxes related to Centre: i. Central Excise duty, ii. Duties of Excise (Medicinal and Toilet Preparations), iii. Additional Duties of Excise (Goods of Special Importance), iv. Additional Duties of Excise (Textiles and Textile Products), v. Additional Duties of Customs (commonly known as CVD), vi. Special Additional Duty of Customs (SAD), vii. Service Tax viii. Central Surcharges and Cesses so far as they relate to supply of goods or services; (B) Taxes related to State - i. State VAT, ii. Central Sales Tax, iii. Luxury Tax, iv. Octroi and Entry Tax (all forms), v. Entertainment and Amusement Tax (except when levied by the local bodies), vi. Taxes on advertisements, vii. Purchase Tax, viii. Taxes on lotteries, betting and gambling, ix. State Surcharges and Cesses so far as they relate to supply of goods or services; (6) GST will improve productivity and easiness of business as the entire nation has been converted into a single market by removal of hurdles to inter-State trade; (7) Further, uniform tax rates along with reduction in the cascading effect of taxation and increased input tax credit utilization in GST would immensely benefit the nation. There is automation of all major business processes viz., registration, payment of tax, return filing, etc. 
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    • Ministry of Defence - Fifth Generation Fighter Aircraft | Inter-Governmental Agreement IGA between India and Russia for production of FGFA (Fifth Generation Fighter Aircraft) | Project in 2 phases | Why important? India lags in indigenous defence production, especially in high-tech weapons and equipments | Technology transfer and domestic production will sharply cut import costs that drain the exchequer (Release ID :169205) 28 July, 2017
    • * Inter-Governmental Agreement (IGA) has been signed in October 2007 between India and the Russian Federation for Joint Development and production of Fifth Generation Fighter Aircraft (FGFA) * Project to be executed in two phases (i) Preliminary Design (PD) Phase; and (ii) Detailed Design & Development Phase (called R & D Phase) * PD stage contract signed in December, 2010, work commenced in February 2011 and completed in June, 2013 * Rs.1535.45 Crore has been spent as on 31st March 2017 * Planned expenditure has been recommended in the IGA 
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    • Ministry of Consumer Affairs, Food & Public Distribution - Linking of Aadhaar with PDS | Govt wants streamlining of entire PDS system | All legal commitments under NFSA being fulfilled | Enrolment date for Aadhar extended by 4 months | FPS automation going on | Why important? NFSA was UPA II's flaship pro-poor scheme; being rationalised by NDA | Huge corruption across the entire PDS chain being hit hard through Aadhar and FPS automation (Release ID :169225) 28 July, 2017
    • * As per Section 7 of the Aadhaar (Targeted Delivery of Financial and Other Subsidies, Benefits and Services) Act, 2016, use of Aadhaar as identity document was made compulsory * Objectives were (a) for delivery of services / benefits / subsidies that simplifies the Government delivery processes, (b) brings in transparency and efficiency and (c) enables beneficiaries to get their entitlement directly in a convenient and seamless manner * Aadhaar obviates the need for producing multiple documents to prove one’s identity * An individual eligible to receive the subsidized food grains/Cash Transfer of Food Subsidy under NFSA and having valid Ration Cards issued by State Governments/UT Administration is required to furnish proof of possession of Aadhaar number or undergo Aadhaar authentication * Any new eligible beneficiary for receiving subsidized food grains/Cash Transfer of Food Subsidy under NFSA is also required to furnish proof of possession of Aadhaar number or undergo Aadhaar authentication * The time limit for Aadhaar enrolment of 30th June, 2017 was extended upto September, 2017 * For effective implementation of and bringing transparency in Public Distribution System (PDS), Government is implementing a scheme on “End-to-end Computerization of Targeted Public Distribution System (TPDS) Operations” * Central Govt. has asked States/UTs to opt for any of the two models of Direct Benefit Transfer – (1) Cash transfer of food subsidy into the bank account of beneficiaries or (2) Fair Price Shop (FPS) automation, which involves installation of Point of Sale (PoS) device at FPS, for authentication of beneficiaries and electronic capturing of transactions * More than 2.45 lakh FPSs have been automated across the country.
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    • Ministry of Communications - India to have 60 crore (600 m) broadband connections by 2020, as per National Telecom Policy NTP | TRAI records show 42.2 cr broadband subscribers with 32.86 internet penetration (internet subscribers / 100 people) on 31-03-2017 | Why important? India of the future is digital India; Govt's own ambitious Bharat Net programme, and Jio's disruptive entry makes these numbers interesting (Release ID :169228) 28 July, 2017
    • * Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) numbers show 42.21 cr broadband subscribers with an internet penetration (internet subscriber per 100 populations) of 32.86% as on 31st March 2017 * National Telecom Policy-2012 envisages 600 million broadband connections by the year 2020 * Government has planned the BharatNet project to provide 100 Mbps broadband connectivity to all Gram Panchayats (approx. 2.5 lakh) * Under first phase, 1 lakh Gram Panchayats (GPs) are to be connected by laying underground Optical Fibre Cable(OFC) which is under implemenation * Under Phase-II, targeted to be completed by March 2019, connectivity will be provided to remaining 1.5 lakh GPs in the country using an optimal mix of underground fibre, fibre over power lines, radio and satellite media * Provisions of last mile access to the network and broadband service provisioning shall be through Wi-Fi or any other broadband access technologies in all 2,50,000 GPs in the country * As on date, Optical Fibre Cable laid : 221,925 Kms 
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    • Ministry of Chemicals & Fertilizers - No shortage of Essential Drugs post introduction of GST, smooth supplies  being maintained | Facility for reporting shortages given by NPPA - Pharma Jan Samadhan | Ceiling prices revised recently due to GST | Why important? The impact of GST has to be handled with care, as disruptions in medicine supplies are nacceptable | Also, NPPA price ceilings are a hot topic (Release ID :169241) 28 July, 2017
    • As per All Indian Origin Chemists & Distributors Limited (AIOCD), there is no shortage of essential drugs and smooth supplies are maintained * A facility for reporting shortage of medicines by National Pharmaceutical Pricing Authority (NPPA) through helpline number 1800111255 - Pharma Jan Samadhan * NPPA has recently revised the ceiling price of scheduled formulations due to GST and have reduced the ceiling prices to the extent the excise duty component was included in the ceiling prices * Tax refund in time to be given, for expired goods 
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    • Ministry of Agriculture - Kharif Crop Sowing Crosses 791 Lakh Hectare Area | Why important? Overall area sown (cropwise) indicates the food security situation going forward, and the results of farmer inclination as per lucrative yields and also govt. policies (Release ID :169229) 28 July, 2017 
    • [ All figures in lakh ha. ] * Area sown in 2017-18 was 791.34, as compared to Area sown in 2016-17 of 765.79 * Coarse Cereals figures for the two periods were 150.19 and 145.40 * Oilseeds figures for the two years were 142.31 and 156.65 respectively.  *  Rice has been sown/transplanted in 216.23 lakh ha. in 2017-18
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    • Measures to Improve Balance of Trade (by Ministry of Commerce & Industry) |  Exports being pushed through trade basket diversification, dispute resolutions etc. | Trade deficit reduction attempted through MEIS, SEIS, SWIFT, TIES schemes etc. | Why important? Indian exports badly hit in past quarters; global trade headwinds continue; Chinese dumping a problem; Trade deficit a key concern (Release ID :168880) 24 July, 2017 
    • Efforts being made to increase overall exports by diversifying the trade basket with emphasis on manufactured goods, services, resolution of market access issues and other non-tariff barriers This is done through bilateral meetings and institutional dialogues. Indian exporters are encouraged to participate in major trade fairs in China to show-case Indian products Many measures taken to overcome the overall trade deficit include - (a) implementation of Merchandise Exports from India Scheme (MEIS) and Services Exports from India Scheme (SEIS), (b) implementation of NiryatBandhu Scheme, Single Window Interface for Facilitating Trade (SWIFT) clearance project as part of ‘Ease of doing Business’, Interest Equalization Scheme in pre and post shipment credit, Special Advance Authorization Scheme, Trade Infrastructure for Export Promotion (TIES) Scheme etc.
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    • Ministry of Labour and Employment drafting four Labour Codes on Wages; Industrial Relations; Social Security & Welfare; and Safety and Working Conditions | All existing Central Labour laws being simplified, amalgamated and rationalized | Aim is to improve wage/job/social security | Why important? Outdated and complex labour codes blamed for the persistent disadvantage India faces vis-a-vis China, in manufacturing and job creation (Release ID :168891) 24 July, 2017 
    • As per the recommendations of the Second National Commission on Labour, all existing Labour Laws are being grouped into four or five Labour Codes on functional basis Ministry of Labour and Employment is drafting four Labour Codes on Wages; Industrial Relations; Social Security & Welfare; and Safety and Working Conditions respectively, by simplifying, amalgamating and rationalizing the relevant provisions of the existing Central Laws Draft codes are at pre-legislative consultation process * Legislative initiatives will improve the wage security, job security and social security of the workers National Career Service (NCS) Project getting implemented as a Mission Mode Project for transformation of the National Employment Service to provide a variety of employment related services * NCS an online Portal (www.ncs.gov.in) for providing employment services like registration of candidates and employers, posting of vacancies, job matching etc. * NCS presently has over 3.86 Cr job seekers and 14.8 lakh employers on the Portal.
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    • Climate change concerns - India's avg. temperature is up by 0.64 C over past 110 years (global 0.85 + 0.18 C) | Various initiatives including NAPCC, ESM, CORDEX | Why important? India is an enthusiastic renewable energy champion | Paris Agreement and INDCs | Various scientific approaches explained (Release ID :168939) 24 July, 2017 
    • Average Temperature during last ten years (2007 to 2016) was 26.10 C, rise in avg. temp. 0.51 C; Most parts of the country show an increasing trend except some parts of Rajasthan, Gujarat and Bihar, where negative (decreasing) trend is observed Inter-governmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report (2014) highlights that mean surface temperature of the globe has risen by 0.85 C + 0.18 C, but all India mean temperature has risen around 0.64 C over the last 110 years Climate change related initiatives - (a) A high-priority programme to address the Science issues of Global and Regional Climate Change (GRCC) with a well-equipped state-of-the-art Center for Climate Change Research (CCCR) at Indian Institute of Tropical Meteorology (IITM), Pune for interdisciplinary research and training in the area of science of climate change, (b) Development of Earth System Model (ESM) for generating future climate change scenarios. Currently, CCCR is leading “Co-ordinated Regional Downscaling Experiment (CORDEX)” for the South Asian region under the aegis of the World Climate Research Program (WCRP) of the World Meteorological Organisation (WMO) - it will provide frameworks for both the historical past and future decades, (c) The National Action Plan on Climate Change (NAPCC) 2008 outlines eight missions in specific areas of Solar Energy, Enhanced Energy Efficiency, Sustainable Habitat, Water, Sustaining the Himalayan Ecosystem, Green India, Sustainable Agriculture and Strategic knowledge for Climate Change Eight National Missions form the core of the National Action Plan, representing multipronged, long term and integrated strategies.
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    • Income Tax Department celebrates Aaykar Diwas 2017 | FM calls for a non-intrusive expansion of the tax base | Calls for higher tax-compliance from people | Takes privacy advocates head-on | Why important? Tax evasion, tax-to-GDP ratio and tax compliance are top of the mind issues | Govt's demonetisation drive and GST launch (indirect tax) resonated with calls for greater direct tax compliance | Huge privacy debate raging (Release ID :168944) 24 July, 2017 
    • ‘The Aaykar Diwas – Income Tax Day Celebrations-2017’ saw India's Finance Ministry top team appeal to the officers for working towards changing the mindset of the people and helping them become more tax compliant Shri Jaitley said that taxes are the backbone of any economy, and the mindset of people is now positively changing. Also, privacy cannot be made an excuse for non-compliance Key priorities are to widen the tax base, eliminate corruption and incentivise the honest taxpayers Also present were the Minister of State for Finance (Revenue), Shri Santosh Kumar Gangwar, Revenue Secretary, Dr Hasmukh Adhia, Chairman, and CBDT Chairman Shri Sushil Chandra. Many new technological changes for an edge in tackling tax evasion were mentioned, and new initiatives launched to tackle black money menace including the IDS 2016 were also highlighted.
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    • India gets a new President - outgoing President, and the PM congratulate and welcome him | The 14th President is the first BJP person on the chair | Only the second Dalit President of India  |  Why important? Although a constitutional post, the emerging political equations have made this an important message for future direction of Indian politics; with VP elections near, a victory will give BJP total control over all top levers of power (Release ID :168775) 21 July, 2017 
    • The President of India, Shri Pranab Mukherjee has congratulated Shri Ram Nath Kovind on his election as the 14th President of the Republic of India. In his message, he said, “I extend to you my heartiest congratulations on your election as the 14th President of the Republic of India. I also offer my best wishes to you for a successful tenure. May you lead India to the path of democracy, stability and prosperity”. The PM congratulated him, saying “Congratulations to Shri Ram Nath Kovind Ji on being elected the President of India! Best wishes for a fruitful & inspiring tenure. Gladdened by the extensive support for Shri Ram Nath Kovind Ji among MPs & across various states. I thank members of the Electoral College. I also congratulate Meira Kumar Ji for her campaign, which was in spirit of the democratic ethos & values we all are proud of ”, the Prime Minister said.
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    • Promotion of Sports in India - though sports is a state subject, but Dept of Sports and Sports Authority of India (SAI) help the States | Scheme “Khelo India – National Programme for Development of Sports” being implemented by Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports as a Central Sector Scheme | Sports Promotional Schemes being run to identify talented sports person in the age group of 8-25 years |  Why important? India being a nation of vast numbers of young, channelising energy positively becomes crucial - Sports are the best way to achieve that, (2) Achieveing international excellence in sports is still a far way away (Release ID :168705) 21 July, 2017 
    • Since sports is a state subject, the primary responsibility for promoting sports including encouraging sports among students at primary and higher secondary school level is that of States. However, Department of Sports and the Sports Authority of India supplement the efforts of the States. School Games Federation of India (SGFI) and Association of Indian Universities (AIU) have been recognized by the Government of India as National Sports Promotion Organizations (NSPOs) and are eligible for the same level of assistance as are available to National Sports Federations (NSFs). * “Khelo India – National Programme for Development of Sports” is being implemented by this Ministry as a Central Sector Scheme from 2016-17. It provides for holding of annual sports competitions in respect of priority and popular sports in two age groups of (i) under 14 and (ii) under 17 all over India to encourage mass participation of both boys and girls in Sports in both urban and rural areas No proposal to implement schemes like ‘slum-running’ from district level to state level as of now Sports Authority of India (SAI) is implementing the following Sports Promotional Schemes to identify talented sports person in the age group of 8-25 years and nurture them to excel at National and International level competition: National Sports Talent Contest Scheme (NSTC), Indigenous Games & Martial Arts, (IGMA), Akharas, Army Boys Sports Company (ABSC), SAI Training Centre (STC), Special Area Games (SAG), Extension Centre of STC/SAG, Centre of Excellence (COE), National Sports Academies (NSA)
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    • Geographical Indications tagging of Handicraft and Handloom products | 149 crafts registered under GI Act | Weavers and artisans to be benefitted | Why important? The threat of misuse of IPR and product knowledge / branding by other nations is very real, and GI tag helps make ownership claims strong (Release ID :168751) 20 July, 2017 
    • Government has started Geographical Indications (GI) tagging of handicraft and handlooms for the benefit of weavers and artisans * A total of 149 crafts have been registered under Geographical Indication Act. Marketing & Service Extension Centres provide support to artisans and weavers for registration of their crafts under GI * a Toll Free helpline number for handicraft artisans also available, in seven languages
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    • Draft Guidelines for implementation of 'Pradhan Mantri Matru Vandana Yojana' prepared by WCD Ministry | Provisions for Aadhaar linkage, Direct Benefit Transfer of Rs.5000 in beneficiary’s bank/post office accouts | PMMVY is Centrally Sponsored Scheme with cost sharing ratio between the Centre and the States & UTs with Legislature is 60 : 40 |  Why important? Regular efforts being made to empower women across the social strata; improvement of health of mother and newborn a priority given its long term impact on nation (Release ID :168734) 20 July, 2017 
    • Draft guidelines for implementation of Pradhan Mantri Matru Vandana Yojana (PMMVY) have been prepared by the Ministry of Women and Child Welfare * These provide Aadhaar linkage, Direct Benefit Transfer of Rs.5000 in beneficiary’s bank/post office account in three instalments at the stage of early registration of pregnancy, after six months of pregnancy on at least one antenatal check-up and registration of child birth & first cycle of immunisation of the child * The PMMVY is Centrally Sponsored Scheme under which the cost sharing ratio between the Centre and the States & UTs with Legislature is 60:40, for North-Eastern States & three Himalayan States, it is 90:10 and 100% Central assistance for Union Territories without Legislature. 
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    • Substantive Reforms in Labour Sector | Second National Labour Commission wants 4 or 5 Labour Codes grouping | Ministry for Labour and Employment working on 4 - Wages; Industrial Relations; Social Security & Welfare; and Safety and Working Conditions |  Why important? Extreme need for reform in labour laws, but stiff resistance from lobbies; success of many other reforms depends on this (Release ID :168626) 20 July, 2017 
    • * Reforms in labour laws are an ongoing process to update legislative system to address the need of the hour * To make them more effective and contemporary to emerging economic and industrial scenario The Second National Commission on Labour has recommended that the existing Labour Laws should be broadly grouped into four or five Labour Codes on functional basis. Accordingly, the Ministry has taken steps for drafting four Labour Codes on Wages; Industrial Relations; Social Security & Welfare; and Safety and Working Conditions respectively * Replaced the 56 Registers/Forms prescribed under 9 Central Laws and Rules made there under into 5 common Registers/Forms * Legislative initiatives will not only streamline compliance for establishments but also improve the wage security, job security and social security of the workers. 
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    • Indian Prisoners Abroad : 7448 Indians in 81 nations in jails | Top 3 nations with maximum Indians as prisoners are - Saudi Arabia 2046, United Arab Emirates 1376, Nepal 852 | US, Canada, EU etc. don't share data due to privacy laws | Government gets in touch and provides legal help when needed, and when info. is received | Why important? Huge size of the Indian diaspora making government sensitivity and quick reaction imperative (Release ID :168667) 20 July, 2017 
    • Due to the strict provisions of privacy laws, many countries do not share information about Indian nationals in their prisons * Broadly, 7448 Indian nationals are lodged in foreign jails in 81 countries * When information about detention/arrest of an Indian national is received by an Indian Mission/Post, it gets in touch with the local Foreign Office and other concerned local authorities to get consular access to the detained/arrested Indian national to confirm his Indian nationality and ensure his/her welfare * Government provides legal assistance on means tested basis to deserving Indian nationals, including prisoners * In some countries, our Missions also request the local governments for grant of amnesty to the arrested Indians and if any mercy petition for remission of sentences is received from the family members of the Indian prisoners, the concerned Mission forwards them to the local authorities for consideration.  
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    • Ministry of Rural Development to launch Aajeevika Grameen Express Yojana  | To help create alternative livelihoods for SHG members (women) | Access of villagers to market areas will improve | Why important? Jobs, livelihoods, connectivity of rural to urban/ markets (Release ID :168693) 20 July, 2017 
    • The Ministry of Rural Development will launch a new sub-scheme under Deendayal Antyodaya Yojana – National Rural Livelihoods Mission (DAY-NRLM) which will be named as “Aajeevika Grameen Express Yojana (AGEY)” * Main objectives of AGEY are to provide an alternative source of livelihoods to members of Self Help Groups (SHGs) under DAY-NRLM by facilitating them to operate public transport services in backward rural areas * This will provide safe, affordable and community monitored rural transport services like e-rickshaws, 3 and 4 wheeler motorised transport vehicles to connect remote villages with key services and amenities including access to markets, education and health for the overall economic development of the area * The sub-scheme will be implemented in 250 blocks in the country on a pilot basis for a period of 3 years from 2017-18 to 2019-20. * One of the options proposed to be given under the sub-scheme is that the Community Based Organisation (CBO) will provide interest free loan from its own corpus to Self Help Group member for purchase of the vehicle.
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    • Defence agreements with Russia : The mutual defence cooperation between India and Russian Federation hasn't gone down, it has only intensified | A series of cooperation agreements are in progress including those with 'Make in India' angle | Why important? The common perception that India - Russia relations are getting less intense and American is emerging as the major partner (Release ID :168527) 19 July, 2017 
    •  (1) Agreement for training of Indian armed forces personnel in the military educational establishments of the Defence Ministry of the Russian Federation (Date of signing 11.12.2014); (2) Agreement on cooperation in Aircraft flight safety. (Date of signing 21.01.2015), (3) Agreement on cooperation in the field of Helicopter Engineering. (Date of signing 24.12.2015), (4) Agreement on supply of S-400 Triumph Air Defence Missile systems to the Republic of India. (Date of signing 15.10.2016), (5) Agreement for construction of follow-on-ships of project 11356 in Russia and in India (Date of signing 15.10.2016), (6) The Government makes all efforts to encourage greater manufacturing of defence equipment in India through the ‘Make in India’ framework, including through transfer of technology arrangements; Several licensed production agreements have been implemented with Russian companies in India, such as for Sukhoi-30 aircraft, T-90 tanks, BMP-2 armoured personnel carriers etc.; Divulging the texts of such Agreements will not be in the interest of national security
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    • Growth of Civil Aviation Sector : Minster of State for Civil Aviation, Shri Jayant Sinha informed that civil aviation traffic (Indian carriers) could cross 12.5 crores in 2017-18 | Why important? Constant efforts on regional connectivity + India emerging as a top civil aviation market + a mark of economic activity and positive sentiment (Release ID :168571) 19 July, 2017 {Read more on Government Schemes}
    • * Going by the annual growth rate of 22% (provisional) for the year 2016-17, the domestic air traffic, carried by scheduled Indian carriers, could reach about 126 million passengers during 2017-18. * The provisional annual growth for the year 2016-17 for international air traffic passengers, carried by scheduled carriers is about 10 per cent.
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    • MUDRA loan to small traders: Rs. 1.37 lac crore sanctioned in FY 2015-16; Rs. 1.8 lac crore in FY 2016-17 under PMMY | Funding the unfunded being done aggressively through multiple channels | Institutional finance in the form of loans upto 10 lakh for manufacturing, processing, trading, services and activities allied to agriculture | Why important? Hot debate on fresh jobs generation has brought a sharp focus on alternatives like micro-entrepreneurship, and PMMY is for that (Release ID :168580) 18 July, 2017 {Read more on Government Schemes}
    • * Loans under Pradhan Mantri Mudra Yojana (PMMY) Scheme have been extended by banks, Non Banking Financial Companies (NBFCs) and Micro Finance Institutions (MFIs) to small/micro business enterprises since April 08th 2015 with the objective of ‘Funding the unfunded’ through institutional finance by providing loans upto 10 lakh for manufacturing, processing, trading, services and activities allied to agriculture. * Complaints about PMMY implementation are redressed in coordination with the respective Banks. Central Public Grievance Redress and Monitoring System (CPGRAMS) has received 8352 complaints against various banks in respect of the Scheme. Of these, 8194 complaints have been forwarded to respective Banks for redressal.
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    • National Food Security Act (NFSA) allocations - 45.93 lakh tons of foodgrains per month being allocated to States/UTs | Households covered under Antyodaya Anna Yojana (AAY) and priority households entitled to receive foodgrains (rice, wheat or coarse grains or any combination thereof) at subsidized prices | Why important? PDS in India and the very generously legislated NFSA has been in news for Aadhar being made compulsory to receive benefits, and more generally as govt. strives to plug leakages; also the social security net and UBI discussions (Release ID :168546) 18 July, 2017 {Read more on Government Schemes}
    • * The Government ensures Minimum Support Price (MSP) through procurement operations undertaken by the Central, State and Cooperative agencies in the States. * State Governments have been alerted from time to time to make adequate arrangements to ensure MSP to farmers. Government offers to procure farmers’ produce at MSP, however, they are free to sell it to Government agencies or in the open market as is advantageous to them.* In addition, Government has taken several steps to ensure MSP for all agricultural produce which inter alia includes setting up of procurement centre keeping in view the potential in the areas; creating awareness among the farmers of the MSP operations; making payment through arthias/co-operative societies to the farmers through Ac payee cheque/electronic mode as per prevailing situation in the states;  encouraging decentralized procurement; adopting e-procurement system; engaging private players in certain States to participate in procurement operation etc. to ensure remunerative price to farmers, The Government procured 38.65 million tonnes of Rice, 22.93 million tonnes of Wheat and 1.3 million tonnes of pulses during 2016-17 across various States. * Government has also launched a scheme developing a pan India electronic trading platform under ‘National Agriculture Market’ (NAM) aiming to integrate 585 regulated markets with the common e-market platform to ensure remunerative prices to the farmers. * Each State is being encouraged to undertake three major reforms – allow electronic trading, have a single license valid throughout the State and a single entry point market fee.  455 markets in 13 States have already been brought on the e-NAM platform.
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    • Government providing M.S.P. to farmers | Multiple channels being used to ensure the same | Farmers free to sell their produce in open market also | Govt. procured 38.65 million tonnes of Rice, 22.93 m.t. of Wheat and 1.3 m.t. of pulses during 2016-17 across various States.  Why important? Despite all the rules, and all the hype surrounding MSP, farmers complain they do not get what is officially decided. Govt. trying to rectify situation. (Release ID :168558) 18 July, 2017
    • * The Government ensures Minimum Support Price (MSP) through procurement operations undertaken by the Central, State and Cooperative agencies in the States. * State Governments have been alerted from time to time to make adequate arrangements to ensure MSP to farmers. Government offers to procure farmers’ produce at MSP, however, they are free to sell it to Government agencies or in the open market as is advantageous to them.* In addition, Government has taken several steps to ensure MSP for all agricultural produce which inter alia includes setting up of procurement centre keeping in view the potential in the areas; creating awareness among the farmers of the MSP operations; making payment through arthias/co-operative societies to the farmers through Ac payee cheque/electronic mode as per prevailing situation in the states;  encouraging decentralized procurement; adopting e-procurement system; engaging private players in certain States to participate in procurement operation etc. to ensure remunerative price to farmers, * The Government procured 38.65 million tonnes of Rice, 22.93 million tonnes of Wheat and 1.3 million tonnes of pulses during 2016-17 across various States. * Government has also launched a scheme developing a pan India electronic trading platform under ‘National Agriculture Market’ (NAM) aiming to integrate 585 regulated markets with the common e-market platform to ensure remunerative prices to the farmers. * Each State is being encouraged to undertake three major reforms – allow electronic trading, have a single license valid throughout the State and a single entry point market fee.  455 markets in 13 States have already been brought on the e-NAM platform.
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    • Farmers Welfare Schemes | Government has rolled out a number of new initiatives like Soil Health Card Scheme, Neem Coated Urea, Paramparagat Krishi Vikas Yojana (PKVY), Pradhan Mantri Krishi Sinchayee Yojana (PMKSY), National Agriculture Market (e-NAM), Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bima Yojana (PMFBY) and Interest Subvention Schemes  | Why important? The issue of farmer incomes is now centrestage in Indian politics, and governments are striving to offer schemes and policies that target better land productivity and market access as well as crop prices (Release ID :168559) 18 July, 2017  {Read more on Agriculture}
    • * Government of India is according high priority for welfare of the farmers and is implementing several farmers’ welfare schemes to revitalize agriculture sector and to improve their economic conditions. *  The Government has rolled out a number of new initiatives like Soil Health Card Scheme, Neem Coated Urea, Paramparagat Krishi Vikas Yojana (PKVY), Pradhan Mantri Krishi Sinchayee Yojana (PMKSY), National Agriculture Market (e-NAM), Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bima Yojana (PMFBY) and Interest Subvention Scheme. * These schemes are for the benefit of all farmers.
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    • E-NAM rolling on | 455 markets from 13 states integrated | Why important? Severe agrarian distress is caused due to many reasons, not the least being poor market access and inability to sell to the best buyer (offering higher prices). e-NAM may change that through bypassing the APMCs altogether. (Release ID :168562) 18 July, 2017   {Read more on Agriculture}
    • * 585 markets across the country are targeted for integration to e-NAM by March, 2018, out of which 455 markets from 13 States have been integrated so far. * For this purpose, financial assistance of Rs. 30 lakh per market is given. This has been increased to Rs.75 lakhs per mandi in Union Budget for 2017-18.  In addition the software and a mandi analyst for a year is also provided to each mandi.
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    • National Bamboo Mission renamed as National Agro-Forestry & Bamboo Mission (NABM) | Statewise push to bamboo production as well as marketing | Why important? Agrarian distress, Income increase and augmentation for rural citizens (Release ID : 168563)18 July, 2017    {Read more on Agriculture}
    • * National Bamboo Mission renamed as National Agro-Forestry & Bamboo  Mission (NABM) is being implemented as per the set objectives and targets of the Mission.  3,61,791 ha. area have been covered in forest & non-forest land, 91,715 ha. area taken up for improvement of existing stock for higher productivity (forest & non-forest areas) under the Mission against targets of 3,62,848 ha., 69,410 ha. respectively. * Under the Mission, 108 nos. of markets (Bamboo wholesale & retail markets near villages, etc.) have been established for providing marketing avenues to bamboo farmers for their raw bamboo as well as finished products. * Besides, efforts are being made to popularize bamboo products through participation in domestic/national/international trade fairs. * Steps have already been taken & are being taken to provide assistance to farmers/bamboo growers for nursery establishment, plantations in non-forest area, imparting training for preparation of nurseries & bamboo plantations, establishing of bamboo markets for farmer products, etc.
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    • National Board for Promotion and Development of Yoga and Naturopathy (NBPDYN) constituted | It will undertake regulation of education & practice of Yoga & Naturopathy | Scheme of voluntary certification of yoga professionals being implemented in partnership with QCI | More than 10.6 lac participants in IDY under AYUSH Ministry in 2016 | Why important? Government has pushed traditional sciences and medicinal methods a lot, and Yoga is a tool for India's soft power projection globally as well (Release ID : 168550) 18 July, 2017  
    • * In addition to the IDY, a large number of people participated in the celebration of International Day of Yoga in the programmes organized by the Yoga Organisations, Ministries, Government Departments, Schools & Colleges, NCC, NSS, Nehru Yuva Kendras etc. across the country. IDY – 2017 was celebrated in all States of India and all UN countries. * The Ministry of AYUSH has constituted a National Board for Promotion and Development of Yoga & Naturopathy (NBPDYN) for regulation of education & practice of Yoga & Naturopathy. Also, Ministry of AYUSH has in association with Quality Council of India (QCI) has developed a scheme for voluntary certification of Yoga professionals.
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    • Measures Taken by Government to Protect Ancient and Traditional Knowledge of Indigenous Medicinal Systems | Traditional Knowledge Digital Library (TKDL) is a pioneering Indian initiative to prevent wrongful patenting globally | India’s rich and time-tested traditional medicinal knowledge which exists  in languages such as Sanskrit, Hindi, Arabic, Persian, Urdu, Tamil etc. is neither accessible nor comprehensible for patent examiners at the  international patent offices | Why important? Wrongful patenting by Western corporations and individuals needed to be fought in a structured manner, and TKDL does precisely that (Release ID : 168552) 18 July, 2017  Read More on TKDL
    • * TKDL contains Indian traditional medicine  knowledge available in public domain and pertains to classical/ traditional  books related to Ayurveda, Unani and Siddha in a digitized format and is  available in five international languages (English, French, German, Spanish and Japanese). * Till date 3,35,260 formulations have been transcribed, 220 wrongful patent filings have been prevented and 12 patent offices have been  provided access to TKDL database namely European Patent Office, US  Patent Office, Japanese Patent Office, German Patent Office, Canadian Patent Office, Chile Patent Office, Australian Patent Office, CGPDTM (India), UK Patent Office, and Malaysian Patent Office, Rospatent (Russia)and Peru Patent Office. * Under the Scheme funds are provided only to CSIR, the implementation agency of the TKDL Project. No funds have been allocated/ released to any State under the Scheme.
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    • Made in India for Global Health - “Sohum”- An innovative Newborn hearing screening Device | Project comes under School of International Biodesign SIB of the Dept. of Biotech, MST, GoI | It is a forward step in meeting the vast clinical needs of India - 26 million newborn each year | 1 lac of 8 lac annual hearing impaired newborn in India | Helps further the cause of "Make in India" also | Sohum uses brainstem auditory evoked response, a gold standard in auditory testing to check for newborn hearing response | Why important? The Modi government needs to push indigenous R&D to meet vast medical needs of India, and S&T / Make in India are key levers for that (Release ID :167493) 17 July, 2017
    • * The indigenously developed newborn hearing screening device – SOHUM – developed by School of International Biodesign (SIB) startup M/s Sohum Innovation Labs India Pvt. Ltd., was formally launched by the Minister of State for Science and Technology & Earth Sciences, Shri Y.S. Chowdary, in New Delhi. * This innovative medical device has been developed under Department of Biotechnology (DBT), Ministry of Science and Technology, Government of India supported (SIB). SIB is a flagship Program of the DBT aimed to develop innovative and affordable medical devices as per unmet clinical needs of India and to train the next generation of medical technology innovators in India, it is a valuable contribution to the Make in India campaign of the Government. * This Program is implemented jointly at AIIMS and IIT Delhi in collaboration with International partners. Biotech Consortium India Limited manages techno-legal activities of the Program. Sohum is a low cost and unique device which uses brainstem auditory evoked response, the gold standard in auditory testing to check for hearing response in a newborn. * As of now, this technology is prohibitively expensive and inaccessible to many. One of the most common birth disorders – congenital hearing loss – is a result of both genetic and non-genetic factors. These factors are mostly associated with resource-poor economies such as India where, unlike advanced healthcare systems, hearing impairment goes undiagnosed. * Thus, when it is discovered at 4+ years, it’s too late to reverse the damage and this leads to a host of problems such as impaired communication skills and even possible mental illness; all of which have a deep impact on the child, emotionally and economically life-long. * Globally, 8,00,000 hearing impaired babies are born annually of which, nearly 1,00,000 are in India. And all this preventable damage needs is early screening, which can facilitate timely treatment and rehabilitation.
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    • President of India receives first copy of ‘Future of Indian Universities: Comparative and International Perspectives’ |  Book complied by Professor (Dr.) C. Raj Kumar, Vice Chancellor of JGU University, published by Oxford University Press | President urged everyone to foster a genuine spirit of learning using ancient Buddhist learning tradition of seeking the truth | Why important? The state of Indian colleges and Universities is a cause for concern, give pathetic unemployability levels and rapidly shifting sands of the job market in the middle of automation and global headwinds (Release ID :167496) 17 July, 2017
    • * The President received the first copy of the book ‘Future of Indian Universities: Comparative and International Perspectives’ from Nobel Laureate Professor Amartya Sen who formally released it at a function held at Rashtrapati Bhavan. * The President urged all present there to think about the future of Indian Universities as a continuation of India’s rich history and heritage of education. We would do well to take from reforms by great philosophers and visionaries, such as Tagore, who sought to revive the ancient Buddhist tradition of higher learning and research in a “common pursuit of truth” for all mankind. * As our “Universities of the Future” gear up for global competition to find their place on the tables of institutional rankings, let us not forget the difference between “world-class” and “world-minded”. * Let our “Universities of the Future” re-invent our rich past heritage of “Kautuhalshala” (An assembly of inquisitive minds raising questions), hitherto silenced by the pedagogy of rote-memorising for test. * Let our students raise important research questions and break new grounds in scientific discoveries, artistic creativity and philosophical ruminations. * Let our “Universities of the Future” help reproduce the next generation of great scientists, philosophers, artists, teachers, doctors, engineers and innovators.In the pursuit of these Kautuhalshalas, let us reinforce the glorific spirit of India where ‘shashtarth”, ‘tark’ and ‘vad vivaad’, – continuous dialectics, led to constant synthesis.  Let us produce Argumentative and Pragmatic Indians rather than intolerant and dogmatic citizens.
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    • MoU Signed between Department of Defence Production and BEL |  The focus is on PSU - Defence tieup for local projects and manufacturing | Why important? Deeper linkage between defence and allied manufacturing and MoD is crucial for the future of Indian armed forces' modernisation at manageable costs (Release ID :167494) 17 July, 2017
    • * Bharat Electronics Limited (BEL), a Navratna Schedule ‘A’ Central Public Sector Enterprise (CPSE) under the Department of Defence Production, Ministry of Defence signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) for the financial year 2017-18 with the Ministry. * The annual MoU was signed between Secretary (Defence Production) Shri Ashok Kumar Gupta on behalf of the Ministry of Defence and Chairman and Managing Director, BEL Shri MV Gowtama. The revenue from operations has been targeted at Rs. 9000 crore. * The Operating Profit to Revenue from Operations target has been set at 14 percent and PAT to Average Networth has been set at 15 percent. * Turnover from exports and increase in indigenous content are given additional focus during the year, along with other parameters like CAPEX investment and Monitoring of CAPEX projects, Reduction in Trade Receivables, and HR related parameters.
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    • Steel Production in the country  |  Crude Steel production for 2016-17 was 97.4 MMT, an 8.5% growth y-o-y over 2015-16 |  Finished Steel production for 2016-17 was 100.7 MMT with a 10.7% y-o-y growth |  Steel is a deregulated sector, and GoI is a facilitator only | National Steel Policy released | 3 units of SAIL to be strategically disinvested | Why important? The world steel markets are in a turmoil, with major crash in production as demand slumped over past few years. Govt. also wants to get out of all loss-making PSUs as part of disinvestment. Steel dumping by China another huge concerns (Release ID :167494) 17 July, 2017
    • * Consumption of finished steel grew by 2.6% in 2016-17 whereas production grew by 8.5% over previous financial year. India was net exporter of steel in 2016-17 and thus production of finished steel was sufficient to meet its present demand in the country and also for exports. * Steel being a de-regulated sector, the role of Government is that of a facilitator only, which lays down the policy guidelines and establishes the institutional mechanism/structure for creating conducive environment for improving efficiency and performance of the steel sector. *  In this role, the Government has released the National Steel Policy 2017, which has laid down the broad roadmap for encouraging long-term growth for the Indian steel industry. * The Government has accorded ‘in-principle’ approval for strategic disinvestment of three units of Steel Authority of India Ltd. (SAIL) viz, Visveswaraya Iron and Steel Plant, Bhadravati, Salem Steel Plant, Tamil Nadu and Alloy Steel Plant, Durgapur. * These three units of SAIL have been consistently making losses. The entire process of the strategic disinvestment is to be carried out with the help of Transaction Adviser (TA), Legal Adviser (LA) and Asset Valuer (AV) who would advise on appropriate mechanism of disinvestment.
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    • Agriculture and Farmers Welfare Minister Shri Radha Mohan Singh addressed & awards excellence recognition on the 89th Foundation Day of ICAR | Major role of Agri scientists in success of green revolution recognised | Huge strides in agriculture since 1951 = foodgrain production up five times, fish production 14.3, milk production 9.6 and egg production 47.5 times | India moved from food deficit in 1950s to food surplus today | Agri contributes 18% to GVA today | Soil Health Card Scheme & Organic Farming Scheme ‘Paramparagat Krishi Vikas Yojana’ initiated | 2.85 million hectares to be brought under irrigated area during/by 2012-2018; providing assistance of Rs.2,87,000 crore to the village panchayats and municipalities | Why important? Severe agrarian distress despite a bumber crop production and consequent price crashes have led to violence and unrest. The government has to solve farm problems on priority. (Release ID :167468) 16 July 2017
    • The Minister said that since 1951 foodgrain production in the country has increased five times, fish production 14.3, milk production 9.6 and egg production 47.5 times. In the Horticulture Sector, there has been a threefold increase in fruits and vegetable production as compared to1991-92. This type of development has a direct effect on the nation's food and nutritional security. The scientists have also played a key role in furthering excellence in higher education. 122 awards were presented for excellence in 19 various categories, across 3 institutes; 2 AICRPs; 12 Krishi Vigyan Kendras; 19 farmers and 80 scientists, including 30 women. The Union Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs and Agriculture and Farmers Welfare, Shri S.S. Ahluwalia, Minister of State for Agriculture & Farmers Welfare and Panchayati Raj, Shri Parshottambhai Rupala, Union Minister of State for Agriculture and Farmers Welfare, Shri Sudarshan Bhagat, Dr Trilochan Mohapatra, Secretary (DARE) & Director General (ICAR) and Vice Chancellors of Agriculture universities were also present on the occasion. The ICAR is the premier organisation that had started Green Revolution in the country and today, the country has not only come out of a food deficit situation but also has become self-sufficient in foodgrains and now it has surplus foodgrains. Contribution of agriculture and allied sectors to Gross Value Added (previously known as GDP) is 18%.  Record production of about 274 million tonnes of foodgrains in 2016-17 and it is due to the availability of technologies, quality seeds and related services being made available to the farmers. Steps have already been taken to solve the two important problems (Soil and Water) by the Government to improve agricultural production. Soil Health Card Scheme and Organic Farming Scheme ‘Paramparagat Krishi Vikas Yojana’ have been initiated to improve soil fertility on a sustainable basis. Other initiatives include improvement of irrigation through Pradhan Mantri Gram Sinchai Yojana; increasing the effectiveness of water under Per Drop More Crop; and to increase the income of farmers, e-NAM has been started. For the growth of agriculture and to cover the risks of farmers from climate adversities for agricultural development, the Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bima Yojana has received a widespread approval as a major landmark policy. He expressed happiness over the fact that the Government Soil Health Card Scheme has been made successful by the institutions of ICAR, Agricultural Universities and various development departments. The Minister expressed hope that young researchers will take special initiative for the success of government schemes.
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    • DMC Smart City projects given timelines; Rs.1,240 cr worth works to begin in October | Command & Control Centre, Smart water and power grids, roads, parking, classrooms priority focus | HUA Ministry asks NDMC to lead by example in smart city making | Council asked to ensure all citizen services including bus schedules on Smart City 311 platform | NDMS seeks control over Central Vista for smart management | School enrollment and OPD registration increased after smart initiatives, says NDMC Chairman | Why important? The huge stress by Modi Government on urban housing and development. (Release ID :167461) 16 July, 2017
    • 1. Command & Control Centre, Smart water and power grids, roads, parking, classrooms priority focus, 2. HUA Ministry asks NDMC to lead by example in smart city making, 3. Council asked to ensure all citizen services including bus schedules on Smart City 311 platform, 4. NDMS seeks control over Central Vista for smart management, 5. School enrollment and OPD registration increased after smart initiatives. New Delhi Municipal Council (NDMC) has been asked by the Ministry of Housing & Urban Affairs to ensure completion of smart city projects ahead of time so as to lead by example in smart city making across the country. Of the Rs.1,800 cr Smart City Plan of NDMC, work on a range of major impactful projects will begin in phases by October this year, for which tendering is in progress. Implementation of projects worth another Rs.500 cr will begin by March next year.
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    • PM speaks in All-Party Meet prior to Monsoon session of Indian Parliament Monsoon session has arrived, and consensus necessary | GST thanksgiving to everyone | Updating on outcomes of early Budget session and benefits derived from preponement | Updates on floods in northeastern India | Tough on terrorism | Tough on illegal cow vigilantism |  Strong message against political corruption | 75th Anniversary of Quit India movement on 09-August | Presidential elections related discussions | Why important? India is passing through an important phase of change, and getting legislative work done fast is crucial for the government, hence trying to build consensus. (Release ID :167465) 16 July, 2017
    • * Monsoon Session: Respect for the time, resources and dignity of the Parliament. The need of the hour is to ensure that we make maximum use of the time in this session. Barring a few exceptions, there has been a considerable increase in parliament productivity over the past three years. * Thanks for GST. It has been in place for past 15 days and we have seen positive results in these 15 days. Check posts have been removed from the borders of many states and the movement of trucks has become easier.  Centre has been working in close co-ordination with the states to bring on board the traders who have not yet been registered on GST platform by expediting the processes at the earliest. * Outcome of the Budget Session - The budget session was convened was convened about a month ago. A major impact of advancing the budgetary process by a month has been that the funds allotted to several departments for various schemes reached before the monsoon season. According to the estimates from Controller General of Accounts, the expenditure in April-June this year has been 30% more than the same time previous year. Capital Expenditure in Infrastructure related projects has gone up by 48% over the previous year. * Floods in North Eastern States - Centre is in constant touch with the state governments and the situation is being closely monitored. Many Central Government agencies are engaged in flood rescue and relief operations. State Governments have been told to inform urgently whenever they need any assistance. * Tough on terrorism - Entire nation has been in a state of shock in the wake of the attack on Amarnath pilgrims by the terrorists. We are fully committed to maintain peace in Jammu and Kashmir and to wipe out the anti national elements from the state. * Cow vigilantism - Some anti social elements have incited violence in the name of cow protection. Those engaged in disturbing the harmony in the country are trying to take advantage of the situation.  State Governments must deal sternly against such anti-social elements. Cow is revered as the mother in our country. However, people must know that there is a law to protect the cow and the violation of law is not an alternative. * Acting against corruption - Over the past few decades, the image of political leadership has been at crossroads due to the deeds of some of the leaders amongst us. What is required that we have to be transparent in our public life and yet there should be action against corrupt leaders. The onus lies on the political parties to identify such leaders among them and segregate them from their political journey. * 75th anniversary of Quit India Movement falls on 9th August - Parliament should discuss it. * Presidential Elections : It would have been better had the Presidential election been held by consensus. However, it is a matter of satisfaction and pride that the election campaign has been a dignified one
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    • Visit of Chief of the Air Staff to France | ACM B.S. Dhanoa on a crucial trip to France, in the middle of persistent tension from both fronts - Pakistan and China - along our borders | Defence cooperation, joint air exercises, geopolitical challenges are top agenda | Indian Rafale PMT infrastructure visit | India is heavily replying on top class Rafale for a part of its IAF modernisation | Why important? Army Chief Bipin Rawat has plainly talked about a two and a hald front war, and Air Force's readiness is a crucial challenge as modernisation has lagged behind. Time to catch up. (Release ID :167462) 16 July, 2017
    • * Air Chief Marshal Birender Singh Dhanoa PVSM AVSM YSM VM ADC, Chief of the Air Staff is on an official visit to France from 17-20 Jul 17. The visit is intended to further strengthen the existing defence cooperation between the Air Forces of the two countries. The areas of cooperation presently include exchanges in military training courses, mutual visits by subject matter experts and joint air exercises.The challenges faced by the Armed Forces of both the countries in the current geo-political scenario are expected to be discussed during these meetings. The CAS will visit Headquarters of French Air Force and a few operational Air Bases. The CAS would interact with representatives of Military Aviation Industry in France and visit Indian Rafale PMT Infrastructure. The CAS is also planned to fly a sortie in Rafale. This visit of the Air Chief would provide further impetus towards increasing defence cooperation between the two Air Forces and pave the way for greater interaction and cooperation in the future.
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    • Agri Minister Shri Radha Mohan Singh says National Cooperative Development Corporation released Rs.28771.31 crore for 2014-17 compared to Rs.15143.76 crore for 2011-14 | Indian Cooperatives firmly established across sectors | One of the biggest cooperative movements in the world with 7 lac cooperatives with 40 cr members covering 97% villages | Why important? Huge scale of cooperative movement in India, from the grassroot level up, and a big success. Prosperity of crores and social stability is assured through this movement. Integral to agriculture success. (Release ID :167454) 15 July, 2017
    • Indian cooperatives are firmly established in sectors like dairy, banking, sugar, fertilisers, marketing, handloom, fisheries and construction. Cooperative societies facilitated the way of farmers by providing them with the inputs like loan, fertilisers and seeds. There are more than 7 lakh cooperatives in the country, which extends from village level committees to national level co-operative organisations. The cooperatives membership is over 40 crores and it includes about 97% villages and 71% rural households. Today, 16.9 per cent of agricultural cooperation, 29 percent of fertiliser production, 40 percent of sugar production, and 54 percent of weavers’ cooperatives etc. are being contributed to the Indian economy. Growth of sugar mills, credit committees along with dairy took place in Gujarat and Maharashtra, & the southern states witnessed the growth of fisheries and forests based cooperatives. The NCDC provides assistance to the cooperatives including grants and loans. Cooperative education and training program is an important component of cooperative development.
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    • Hon’ble President of India presents the 2.5 Croreth PMUY connection at Raghunathgunj, Murshidabad, West Bengal | The PMUY has crossed 2.5 crore LPG connections mark in 14 months, starting with the first given out in May 2016 at Ballia, UP by the PM himself |  Aim is to give 5 crore LPG connections to women from BPL households | The top two states are UP and West Bengal | First ever scheme where the MoPNG is directly involved with BPL families | Why important? The Modi government is trying hard to bring fundamental changes without giving out doles aimlessly, and schemes like PMUY are anchors in this vision. Through single-minded zeal, the initial targets are achieved and direction seems correct. (Release ID :167449) 15 July, 2017
    • * Over 600 distributorships to be commissioned in West Bengal to expand LPG coverage * The 2.5 Croreth LPG Connection under Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana (PMUY) was given out to Smt. Gouri Sarkar of Raghunathgunj by Hon’ble President of India, Shri Pranab Mukherjee in the presence of Minister of State (I/C) for Petroleum and Natural Gas, Shri Dharmendra Pradhan. This marked the completion of release of 2.5 crore LPG connections to women beneficiaries from below poverty line (BPL) households across the country under the PMUY. * PMUY has crossed the 2.5 Cr connections within a span of 14 months, launched by Hon’ble Prime Minister, Shri Narendra Modi on 1st May 2016 at Ballia, Uttar Pradesh * Shri. Dharmendra Pradhan said that after the launch of PMUY scheme by Hon’ble Prime Minister of India on 1st May 2016 at Ballia Uttar Pradesh, more than 2.49 crore connections have been released till date. Out of which largest no of connections (55 lakh) have been released in UP. He pointed out that 2nd largest number of LPG connections have been released in the state of West Bengal. Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana, is a scheme to provide clean cooking fuel to the women belonging to the ‘Below Poverty Line’ (BPL) households across the country. Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana (PMUY) aims to provide LPG connections to 5 Crore BPL households by 2019 and is a part of larger program of adding 10 Crore new LPG connections by 2019 to achieve full coverage of connections in Indian households. For the first time, the Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas is implementing a welfare scheme benefitting crores of women belonging to the BPL households. The identification of BPL families has been made on Social Economic Caste Census (SECC)- 2011 data. PMUY scheme provides assistance of Rs. 1600/- to the woman beneficiary, comprising security deposit of 14.2 Kg cylinder and domestic pressure regulator; suraksha hose; domestic gas consumer card and installation charges. In the financial year 2016-17, Oil Marketing Companies have given 3.25 Cr new connections across the country. This is the highest ever LPG connections released in any given year.
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