April 18th – April 24th (Week 3)

  1. Price Stabilization Fund
  • Department of Agriculture and Cooperation, Ministry of Agriculture, has announced the setting up of a “Price Stabilization Fund” (PSF) to tackle the problem of price shocks in agricultural commodities in India
  • The initial corpus would be Rs 500 crore
  • The corpus would be used to advance loans to state governments/UTs and Central agencies to support procurement and distribution interventions to prevent sudden price rises
  1. Regulate prices of all drugs: Standing Committee on Chemicals and Fertilizers
  • According to the Panel, the prices of all drugs must be regulated by the National Pharmaceutical Pricing Authority (NPPA) by placing them in the National List of Essential Medicines (NLEM)
  • Currently, the NLEM includes 509 drugs, which are defined as “essential” and whose prices are regulated by the NPPA
  • The latest report of the Standing Committee observes that all drugs are “essential” and need to be made affordable in public interest through price regulation
  1. ITIs brought under Ministry of Skill Development and Entrepreneurship
  • Central government has transferred training and apprentice divisions of the Directorate General of Employment and Training (DGET) from the Union Labour Ministry to Ministry of Skill Development and Entrepreneurship
  • The DGET comprises 12000 Industrial Training Institutes (ITIs) across the country, which will be under the new ministry now
  • The plan for setting up 25 new Advanced Training Institutes for skill development will also come under the Skill Development Ministry now
  1. Priority Sector Lending
  • The Reserve Bank of India revamped norms to include sectors such as social infrastructure, renewable energy and medium enterprises under Priority Sector Lending(PSL)
  • Target for Public Sector Lending will remain at 40%
  • Loans to food and agro processing units as well as for building agriculture infrastructure will now be considered under 18% farm lending target
  • 8% of loans will be given to small and marginal farmers and 7.5% of loans to micro enterprises

April 25th – May 1st  (Week 4)

 

  1. Schemes Approved under Nirbhaya Fund
  • Ministry of Women and Child Development has been assigned as the nodal Ministry to appraise the Nirbhaya Fund and monitor the progress of Schemes sanctioned under the Nirbhaya Fund
  • Out of a total amount of Rs. 3,000 crore allocated to Nirbhaya Fund till date, following proposals/schemes have been approved
    1. Security for women in Public Road Transport in the Country (Rs. 1405 Crore)
    2. Setting up an emergency response system to attend women in distress (Rs. 321.69 Crore)
    3. One Stop Centre for Women affected by violence (Rs. 18.58 Crore)
    4. Scheme for Universalisation of Women Helpline (Rs. 69.49 Crore)
  1. Approval for Atal Mission for Rejuvenation and Urban Transformation
  • The Cabinet has approved the Atal Mission for Rejuvenation and Urban Transformation of 500 towns and cities (AMRUT) with an outlay of Rs.50,000 crore. The mission will focus on ensuring basic infrastructure services
  • Implementation of this Mission will be linked to promotion of urban reforms such as e-governance, devolving funds and functions to urban local bodies etc. 10 percent of allocation will be given as incentive based on achievement of reforms during the previous year
  • Under this Mission, states will only submit State Annual Action Plans to the Centre for broad concurrence based on which funds will be released. In a significant departure from JNNURM, Central Government will not appraise individual projects
  • Central assistance will be to the extent of 50 percent of project cost for cities and towns with a population of up to 10 lakh and one-third of the project cost for those with a population of above 10 lakh
  1. Import Duty on Sugar
  • In order to provide protection to domestic sugar industry, the Cabinet has hiked import duty to 40% from current 25% and withdrawn duty free import of raw sugar
  • It has also removed a 12.36% excise duty on ethanol supplied for blending with petrol. Ethanol is added to petrol as a green measure to reduce the use of fossil fuel
  1. Compensatory Afforestation Fund Bill, 2015
  • The Union Cabinet has approved introduction of the Compensatory Afforestation Fund Bill, 2015 in Parliament during the current session
  • The proposed legislation seeks to provide an appropriate institutional mechanism, both at the Centre and in each State and Union Territory, to ensure expeditious utilization in efficient and transparent manner of amounts realised in lieu of forest land diverted for non-forest purpose

May 2nd – May 8th (Week 1)

  1. Modification in Mega Food Park Scheme Guideline
  • The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs has approved the modification in Mega Food Park Scheme guideline to allow central agencies to hold more than 26% equity in mega food parks
  • The Mega Food Park Scheme aims at facilitating establishment of a strong food processing industry backed by an efficient supply chain. Under the scheme, financial assistance of unto Rs. 50 Crore is given to setup mega food parks
  • Central Government sanctioned 17 Mega Food Parks across 11 states in March 2015, taking the total number of sanctioned food parks in the country till date to 42
  1. Approval to Operationalization of Social Security Schemes
  • The Union Cabinet has approved the operationalization of the Atal Pension Yojna (APY), Pradhan Mantri Jeevan Jyoti Bima Yojana (PMJJBY) and the Pradhan Mantri Suraksha Bima Yojana (PMSBY)
  • Under APY, subscribers would receive a fixed minimum pension per month at the age of 60 years. The Central Government would co-contribute 50 percent of the total contribution of subscriber or Rs. 1000 per annum
  • PMJJBY is a life insurance scheme and PMSBY is an accidental coverage scheme
  1. Hike in FIPB’s Foreign Investment Approval Limit
  • The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs(CCEA) has approved the proposal to review of the investment limit for cases requiring prior approval
  • Finance minister will clear proposals up to Rs. 3,000 crore recommended by Foreign Investment Promotion Board (FIPB). This is expected to speed up approvals for foreign investment
  • Recommendations of FIPB on proposals of more than Rs.3000 crore would be placed for consideration of CCEA. The CCEA would also consider the proposals which may be referred to it by the FIPB
  1. Approval of REITs as Financial Instrument under FEMA
  • The Union Cabinet has approved to allow the Real Estate Investment Trusts (REITs) as an eligible financial instrument under the Foreign Exchange Management Act (FEMA) 1999
  • The approval is expected to enable foreign investment inflows into the completed rent yielding real estate projects, which is, as of now, prohibited under the FEMA Regulations
  • As a result of this decision, entities registered and regulated under the SEBI (REITs) Regulations 2014 will be able to access foreign investments which as of now are prohibited under the FEMA Regulations

May 9th – May 15th (Week 2)

  1. Approval to New Urea Policy 2015
  • The Union Cabinet has approved the New Urea Policy 2015 for the next four financial years. The policy aims at encouraging urea units to become more energy efficient, rationalizing the subsidy burden and incentivizing them to maximize production
  • The MRP of urea for the farmers has been kept the same at Rs. 268 per bag of 50 kgs. excluding local taxes while for neem coated urea, it has been kept at Rs. 282 per bag
  • Government has decided to continue the existing subsidy rates for Phosphatic and Potassic (P&K) fertilizers under the Nutrient Based Subsidy (NBS) policy for the current year
  • The Government expects to revive closed urea units at Gorakhpur in Uttar Pradesh, Barauni in Bihar, Talcher in Odisha and Ramagundam in Telangana
  1. Approval to “Namami Gange” – Integrated Ganga Conservation Mission
  • The Union Cabinet has approved the flagship “Namami Gange” Program which integrates the efforts to clean and protect the Ganga river in a comprehensive manner. The program has a budget outlay of Rs. 20,000 crore for the next 5 years
  • The program would be implemented by the National Mission for Clean Ganga (NMCG), and its state counterpart organizations i.e., State Program Management Groups (SPMGs)
  • In order to improve implementation, a three-tier mechanism has been proposed for project monitoring comprising of a) High level task force chaired by Cabinet Secretary assisted by NMCG at national level, b) State level committee chaired by Chief Secretary assisted by SPMG at state level and c) District level committee chaired by the District Magistrate
  • The Centre will now take over 100% funding of various activities/ projects under this program
  1. CCEA’s Policy Push to Highway Sector
  • The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) has approved two major policy initiatives aimed at giving a push to highway sector in the country
  • The CCEA has approved a comprehensive Exit Policy framework that now permits developers to divest 100 percent equity, two years after completion of construction. This would help unlock equity making it potentially available for investment into new projects
  • The CCEA has approved a special intervention for the projects that are in the advanced stage of completion but are stuck due to lack of additional funds. NHAI has been authorized to provide funds to such projects from within its overall budget on a loan basis at a pre-determined rate of return
  1. Approval for Road Project to Link 100 Districts
  • The Government has approved the Rashtriya Rajmarg Zila Sanjoyokta Pariyojna which entails development of 6,600 km of highways at an estimated cost of about Rs 60,000 crore
  • The project will lead to up-gradation of National Highways connecting 100 districts in the country

 

May 16th – May 22rd (Week 3) 

  1. 30 new cold chain projects sanctioned by the government
  • The Minister for Food Processing Industries announced the setting up of 30 new cold chain projects in the country (in addition to the 17 Mega Food Parks mentioned in an earlier Swaniti policy update)
  • The total government support to the 30 projects would be Rs 274.9 crore, which is expected to generate a further investment of Rs 470 crores.
  • The total capacity of these projects will be 1.12 lakh tonnes of cold storage, and 11.1 lakh litres of milk per day. It will also result in the addition of 209 reefer or refrigerated container vehicles.
  1. National Action Plan for Skill Training of Persons with Disabilities (PWDs)
  • This programme has been launched by the Department for Empowerment of Persons With Disabilities, Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment, with the goal of training 5 lakh PwDs over the next 3 years and 25 lakh PwDs by 2022.
  • An MOU has been signed between Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment and Skills Development Network Trust (SDNT), Bangalore for implementation of the National Action Plan.
  • SDNT will develop ICT based content for PWD skill training and co-invest up to Rs 60 crore in the next 4 years under the action plan.
  1. New policy for rural call centres/ BPOs
  • The Minister for Communications and Information Technology, Shri Ravi Shankar Prasad recently announced that the government has finalized a policy for setting up of call centres in rural and peri-urban areas.
  • 48000 seats have been approved for government support as part of the policy in different parts of the country.
  • It was earlier (April 2015) announced that the government would be providing capital subsidy to BPO operators who are willing to set up call centres in rural areas. The subsidy amount would be Rs 100000 per seat,  or 50% of the initial capital cost, whichever is lower.

May 23rd – May 29th (Week 4)  

  1. 17 new solar parks approved by the government
  • The Ministry of New and Renewable Energy has approved setting up of 17 new solar parks and plans to auction 15,877 MW of solar power capacity this year.  This decision will help the government achieve its target of increasing renewable energy capacity five fold to 175,000 MW by 2022
  • The government is also exploring the possibility of dollar tariffs to encourage foreign investment in solar parks
  • The government plans to create job opportunities for about 50,000 unemployed educated youth by engaging them as solar entrepreneurs to set up 20,000 MW of capacity
  1. Central Government Eases Rules for Merger & Acquisition
  • Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion, in a new FDI circular clarified that the approval of Foreign Investment Promotion Board (FIPB) will not be be required for mergers and acquisitions in sectors where FDI is allowed under automatic route
  • The circular also said that government permission will not be required for issuing employees stock option plans in sectors under automatic route
  • Earlier this month, government had enhanced the powers of FIPB to take decisions on investments worth up to Rs. 3,000 crore
  1. Direct Benefit Transfer for Food Subsidy to Roll Out on a Pilot Basis
  • Direct benefit transfer (DBT) scheme for disbursal of food subsidy to the beneficiaries will be rolled out in Puducherry in June. Under DBT, instead of subsidised grain, the identified beneficiaries will get cash transferred to their accounts allowing them to purchase grain from any shops
  • In March, the food ministry had decided to roll out DBT in PDS on a ‘pilot basis’ in only two Union territories – Puducherry and Chandigarh
  • A high-level committee (HLC) on restructuring of Food Corporation of India (FCI) had earlier recommended a gradual introduction of cash transfers in PDS, starting with large cities with over 1 million population and then extending it to grain surplus states and then giving option to deficit states to opt for cash or physical grain distribution

 

May 30th – June 5th (Week 1)  

  1. 1000 more stores to be opened under “Jan Aushadhi Scheme”
  • The Government has proposed to open 1000 more stores under the ‘Jan Aushadhi Scheme’ to make available quality generic medicines at affordable prices through these special outlets.
  • The stores will make medicines available to the underprivileged at a price of 60-70% less than the market price
  • The government further plans to rename, rebrand and involve B. Pharma and M. Pharma qualified unemployed youth
  1. IAP HealthPhone programme launched to tackle malnutrition
  • The IAP HealthPhone programme is a digital mass education programme for addressing malnutrition in women and children. The program has been launched by Indian Academy of Pediatrics (IAP) in partnership with the Ministry of Women and Child Development, UNICEF and supported by Vodafone India.
  • The IAP HealthPhone is a public-partnership initiative that leverages the increasing penetration of mobile phones in the country to educate over 6 million girls and women between 13 and 35 years of age and their families on better health and nutrition practices by 2018
  • The programme will achieve its objectives by widely promoting and distributing four re-edited videos from the Poshan (nutritional videos) series, in 18 Indian languages
  • As a partner, Vodafone will enable its customers to view/download the videos free of data charges and will also send out approximately 300 million text messages to its subscribers every year to promote the viewing of the four videos.
  1. Development of Trunk Infrastructure in Dholera Special Investment Region
  • The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs has approved the construction of Trunk Infrastructure components in the activation area of 22.5 sq. km. of  Phase-1 the Dholera Special Investment  Region (DSIR) in Gujarat in the Delhi Mumbai Industrial Corridor (DMIC) Project
  • The total cost of the project is estimated to be approximately Rs. 2784.83 crore which will be invested by DMIC Trust as equity in the city/node SPV
  • The trunk infrastructure components are:

1) Roads and Services

2) ABCD building complex (Phase-1)

3) Water Treatment Plant (WTP),

4) Sewage Treatment Plant (STP) and

5) Common Effluent Treatment Plant (CETP)

  • Trunk Infrastructure development is proposed to commence in FY 2015-16 for the above mentioned infrastructure projects and is likely to be completed by FY 2018-19 after all necessary approvals.

 

June 6th – June 12th (Week 2)

  1. First draft policy for medical device regulation released
  • Central Government released its first policy draft to regulate the four billion dollar medical device industry that produces goods ranging from thermometers to surgical tools.
  • The draft proposes the launch of a regulatory body called the National Medical Device Authority that amongst other things will work to promote local industry and ensure safe practices.
  • Currently, India imports more than seventy percent of all its medical devices from countries like the United States.
  1. Central Government to begin comprehensively collecting employment data for policy-making
  • As part of the 12th plan proposal, the Ministry of Statistics and Program Implementation will begin collecting annual and quarterly survey on the current state of employment across all industries and sectors.
  • Currently organizations like the National Sample and Survey Organizations and Bureau of Public enterprises either collect employment data periodically or with a focus on a specific sector. These organizations will continue to collect data.

 

June 13th – June 19th (Week 3)

  1. Minimum support prices for key agricultural commodities increased
  • The CCEA has approved the increase in MSP for key commodities, which will take effect from 1st October 2015.
  • The decision was based on the recommendations of the Commission for Agricultural Costs and Prices (CACP), with the exception of pulses, where a bonus of Rs 200 per quintal over and above the CACP recommendation has been granted.
  • The MSP for following crops have been increased by different amounts: Paddy from Rs. 1360 to Rs. 1410, Bajra from Rs. 1250 to Rs. 1275, Maize from Rs. 1310 to Rs. 1325, Arhar from Rs. 4350 to Rs. 4625 and Moong from Rs. 4600 to Rs. 4850.
  1. 2,000 MW of Solar PV Power Projects to be awarded in Batch III of Phase II of the JNNSM
  • The government has decided to award over 2000 MW of grid-connected solar PV (photovoltaic) projects to private solar power developers (SDPs) on “Build-Own-Operate” basis
  • The Centre would provide Viability Gap Funding (VGF) to make these projects economically viable
  • Apart from 2000 MW of additional capacity, the initiative is expected to create 12000 jobs and reduce 3.41 million T of COemissions annually.
  • The total investment expected under this initiative is Rs 12000 crore, while VGF of Rs 2100 crore would need to be contributed by the government over a 6 year period between 2016-17 and 2021-22.
  1. Two new decisions regarding the National Dairy Plan, Phase-1
  • National Dairy Plan Phase-1 (NDP-I) was approved for implementation in 14 milk states by the National Dairy Development Board through implementing agencies (EIAs) from 2011-12 to 2016-17.
  • The Union government has decided to include Uttarakhand, Jharkhand and Chhattisgarh in the list of eligible states. With this, the number of eligible states will now be 18 (including the new state of Telangana).
  • The share of tribal population in Jharkhand and Chhattisgarh is quite high. Hence there is substantial scope for development of milch animals to give higher yields and better quality of dairy products. Uttarakhand has potential for programmes like Fodder Development and Village Based Milk Procurement. For these reasons, these 3 states have been included under the Plan
  • Additionally, the implementation period has been extended by one year till 2018-19.

 

 

June 20th – June 26th (Week 4)  

  1. Smart Cities Mission launched
  • The Prime Minister officially launched the Smart Cities Mission on 25th June.
  • The Mission would be based on a flexible approach to make our cities smarter. The first stage in the Mission would involve competition among cities in a state on the basis of which 100 cities in India would be shortlisted (the total number of cities that can be shortlisted has been fixed by the Ministry of Urban Development for each state).
  • In Stage-II, Smart City Plans prepared by the cities would be evaluated, and funds would be released by MoUD based on these plans. A total of Rs 500 crore would be given to each city, with Rs. 200 crore in the first year and Rs 100 crore in subsequent years. An additional assistance of Rs 2 crore for preparing the Smart City Plan for Stage-II.
  • Smart city development could be based on 3 approaches – redevelopment, retrofitting and greenfield
  1. AMRUT (Atal Mission for Rejuvenation and Urban Development) launched for urban development 
  • The AMRUT Mission would seek to improve urban amenities in 500 cities and towns in the country. The number of towns and cities chosen for each state has been fixed
  • Implementation of this Mission will be linked to promotion of urban reforms such as e-governance, constitution of professional municipal cadre, devolving funds and functions to urban local bodies, review of Building bye-laws, improvement in assessment and collection of municipal taxes, credit rating of urban local bodies, energy and water audit and citizen-centric urban planning.
  • Central support will be to the extent of 50 percent of project cost for cities and towns with a population of up to 10 lakh and one-third of the project cost for those with a population of above 10 lakh.
  • The Union Cabinet also approved funding under AMRUT for partially completed projects under JNNURM.
  1. Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana (PMAY) launched to address low-cost housing deficit
  • The Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana (PMAY) was also launched to create 2 crore additional affordable houses by 2022.
  • A Central of Rs 1 lakh per house would be provided on an average to each beneficiary. The share of states in the total funding for the scheme has not been fixed, and has been left to the states to decide.
  • This grant could be utilized by a state government in any slum redevelopment project in the state to make it viable
  • Under Affordable Housing in Partnership with Private and Public Sector, 35% of houses shall be for economically weaker sections and the minimum project size shall be above 250 houses
  • An interest support @ 6.50% would be paid after sanction of loan to the beneficiary.
  • Under the scheme, ownership of houses would be in the name of woman or jointly with the husband
  • Under In-situ slum redevelopment, private developers will be chosen through open tendering. It would be the developers’ responsibility to provide transit accommodation during construction period.
  1. Pharma Price Data Bank launched
  • The Union Minister of Chemicals and Fertilizers launched the Pharma Price Data Bank in Bengaluru on 26th June.
  • The Data Bank would be managed and operated by the National Pharmaceutical Pricing Authority (NPPA), and will help manufacturers and consumers in verifying drugs available in the market
  • The data bank can be used by pharmaceutical manufacturers, marketing, importing and distributor companies to make online submission of mandatory information and data as prescribed under the Drugs Price Control Order, 2013.

June 27th – July 3rd (Week 1)  

  1. Pradhan Mantri Krishi Sinchayee Yojana (PMKSY) Launched
  • The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) approved PMKSY.  The scheme will have an outlay of Rs. 50,000 crore over a period of five years (2015-16 to 2019-20). The allocation for the current financial year is Rs. 5300 crore
  • The major objective of the PMKSY is to achieve convergence of investments in irrigation at the field level, expand cultivable area under assured irrigation, reduce wastage of water, enhance recharge of aquifers etc.
  • The programme architecture of PMKSY aims at a ‘decentralized State level planning and execution’ structure, in order to allow States to draw up a District Irrigation Plan (DIP) and a State Irrigation Plan (SIP)
  • The programme will be supervised and monitored at the national level by an Inter-Ministerial National Steering Committee (NSC) headed by the Prime Minister. At the state level the scheme is to be administered by a State Level Sanctioning Committee (SLSC) to be chaired by the Chief Secretary of the respective States.
  1. Scheme for Promotion of National Agriculture Market Launched
  • The CCEA approved Central Sector Scheme for Promotion of National Agricultural Market through Agri-Tech Infrastructure Fund (ATIF). The Department of Agriculture & Cooperation (DAC) will set it up through the Small Farmers Agribusiness Consortium (SFAC) by creation of a common electronic platform deployable in selected regulated markets across the country.
  • An amount of Rs. 200 crore has been earmarked for the scheme from 2015-16 to 2017-18.  This includes provision for supplying software free of cost by DAC to the States and Union Territories (UTs) and for cost of related hardware/ infrastructure to be subsidized by the Government of India up to Rs. 30 lakh per Mandi (other than for private mandis)
  • 585 regulated markets across the country will be integrated with the common e-platform to provide farmers and traders with access to opportunities for purchase/ sale of agri-commodities at optimal prices in a transparent manner across the country
  • For integration with the e-platform, the States/UTs will need to undertake prior reforms in respect of (i) a single license to be valid across the State, (ii) single point levy of market fee and (iii) provision for electronic auction as a mode for price discovery
  1. Digital India Initiative Formally Unveiled
  • The Prime Minister formally launched the Digital India, which is an umbrella programme to transform India into a digitally empowered society and knowledge economy
  • Under the programme various initiatives like Digital Locker System, Online Registration System for Hospitals, National Scholarship Portal, Bharat Net (Digital Highway) and Next Generation Network (NGN) have been launched
  1. National Policy for Skill Development and Entrepreneurship 2015 Approved
  • The Union Cabinet approved National Policy for Skill Development and Entrepreneurship 2015. The Policy acknowledges the need for an effective roadmap for promotion of entrepreneurship as the key to a successful skills strategy
  • The Vision of the Policy is “to create an ecosystem of empowerment by Skilling on a large Scale at Speed with high Standards and to promote a culture of innovation based entrepreneurship which can generate wealth and employment so as to ensure Sustainable livelihoods for all citizens in the country”.
  • To achieve this Vision, the policy focuses on addressing key obstacles to skilling and aligning supply and demand for skills. In the entrepreneurship domain, the Policy seeks to educate and equip potential entrepreneurs, both within and outside the formal education system.

July 4th – July 10th (Week 2)

  1. E-governance initiatives launched by the Ministry of Commerce and Industry under “Digital India”
  • Under the Digital India initiative of the government, the Ministry of Commerce and Industry has launched several new e-governance initiatives for promoting fisheries and aquaculture exports under the Marine Products Export Development Authority (MPEDA).
  • m-KRISHI” has been launched as a mobile app for aquaculture operations. This pilot project is currently being implemented in Gujarat, and will be scaled up at an all-India level in the next 3 months. This app will provide an easy tool for book keeping, advisory services and weather information.  It is an Android mobile application which has been developed by MPEDA and TCS Innovation Lab, Mumbai (as part of its CSR initiative).
  • Under another initiative, farmers can dial at different numbers for getting price information on various kinds of shrimps (+918590100800 for Vannamei shrimp and +918590200800 for BT shrimp). The prices (indicative C&F price in Indian Rupee) are obtained from INFOFISH (an Inter governmental organization of FAO) published data. The price information to farmers will provide them the current market trends enabling them to make an informed decision on harvest of their produce.
  • Two additional e-governance initiatives were launched,  aimed at providing Single window solution to exporters and other stakeholders through two new websites (Portals), namely (i) Online MPEDA Registration portal for Exporters, and (ii) MPEDA Portal mpeda.gov.in
  1. Slew of “Green Initiatives” approved by the government
  • At the 6th Meeting of the CAMPA Advisory Council, the Union Minister for Environment and Forests, Shri Prakash Javadekar, announced several new green initiatives. The important initiatives are mentioned below:
  • A Nagar Van Udyan Yojana (Urban forestry) for the creation of city forests in under 200 municipal bodies will be piloted, and 50 cities are initially expected to join the scheme. Rs 50 crore have been earmarked for the purpose.
  • Rs 75 crores have been earmarked GIS-based forest monitoring. A “tree census” will also be carried out by the Forest Survey every 5 years (instead of the earlier 20 years).
  • Additionally, funds have also been earmarked for conservation of endangered species, and for the setting up of a “School Nurseries Programme” for students of Classes V to IX.
  1. “Kayakalp” Initiative launched by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare
  • The Health Ministry has invited NGOs to adopt wards / sections in government run hospitals under its “Kayakalp Initiative” New Delhi would be the first city under the initiative.
  • The NGOs can innovate in terms of improving cleanliness in the wards, premises and toilets, and for provisioning of amenities such as water coolers, fans and to improve the general ambience in government hospital wards.
  • Under the programme, Health Secretaries have been asked to involve public representatives, MPs and MLAs of their areas.
  • The programme will be initially piloted in 3 government hospitals in New Delhi – Lady Hardinge Medical College, RML Hospital and Safdarjung Hospital, and eventually scaled up to cover all public health institutions in India. Overall, five awards will be granted under the scheme- best 2 District Hospitals in each state, best 2 Community health centres and 1 Primary health centre in each district.

July 11th – July 17th (Week 3) 

  1. Make in India – Intellectual Property Initiatives (IPR)
  • Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion has developed a multipronged strategy to develop IPR regime in India.
  • 50% fee reduction has been provided to MSMEs to seek protection for their innovations.
  • 10% rebate granted to online filing of IPR applications and documents
  1. Skill India
  • National Skill Development Policy, 2015 released and National Skill Development Mission along with Pradhan Mantri Kaushal Vikas Yojana was launched.
  • Skill training of 120 lakh youth targeted in 2015-16. While 60% of the training would be done through Ministry of Skill Development and Entrepreneurship, the balance would be done by the other 20 ministries of Government of India. Targets for each ministry would be announced soon.
  • 24 lakh youth to be skilled under the Pradhan Mantri Kaushal Vikas Yojana in 2015-16.
  1. Creation of Intra-State Transmission Systems
  • Cabinet Committee of Economic Affairs has approved the creation of intra state transmission system in the States of Andhra Pradesh, Gujarat, Himachal Pradesh, Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra and Rajasthan. The initiative would cost Rs 3419.47 crore, with funding coming from the National Clean Energy Fund (NCEF).
  • The system will facilitate transmission of renewable power from generation centres to load centres in these states.
  • 48 new grid sub – stations with total capacity of 17100 Mega Volt Ampere (MVA) will be set up in these 7 states over a period of 3-5 years.
  • 20% of the cost the initiative would be covered by the State Government
  1. Redevelopment of Railway Stations through open bidding
  • Union Cabinet has given approval for redevelopment of Railway Stations through open invitation from interested parties with their designs and business ideas.
  • This will allow Ministry of Railways to develop up to 400 stations which fall under the ‘A-1’ and ‘A’ category, generally located in metros, major cities, pilgrimage centres and tourist destinations.
  • The move will support Indian Stations Development Corporation Ltd. (ISDC), which is responsible for redevelopment of Railway Stations. It will also encourage innovative ideas.

 

 

July 18th – July 25th (Week 4)

  1. Deendayal Upadhyaya Gram Jyoti Yojana Launched  
  • The Prime Minister launched Deen Dayal Upadhyaya Gram Jyoti Yojana (DDUGJY) on 25th July 2015 in Patna. The DDUGJY is one of the flagship programmes of the Ministry of Power and aims to facilitate 24x7 supply of power
  • The scheme focuses on feeder separation (rural households & agricultural) and strengthening of sub-transmission & distribution infrastructure including metering at all levels in rural areas. Rajiv Gandhi Grameen Vidyutikaran Yojana (RGGVY) has been subsumed in the new scheme as its rural electrification component
  • The major components of the scheme are feeder separation; strengthening of sub-transmission and distribution network; Metering at all levels (input points, feeders and distribution transformers); Micro grid and off grid distribution network & Rural electrification – already sanctioned projects under RGGVY to be completed
  • The Scheme has an outlay of Rs 76000 crore for implementation of the projects under which Government of India shall provide Grant of Rs 63000 crore. A total of Rs 14680 crore worth projects have already been approved
  1. Implementation of Solar Irrigation Project
  • The Ministry of New and Renewable Energy is implementing programme for installation of 1,00,000 of Solar Pumps for irrigation and drinking water through State Nodal Agencies and NABARD
  • Under this scheme, Ministry provides 30% capital subsidy to farmers for installation of Solar Pumps for irrigation purpose through State Nodal Agencies. State Government may also provide additional subsidy through own funds. Ministry also provides 40% subsidy with mandatory loan to farmers for irrigation purpose through NABARD.
  • Till now 63,436 pumps were sanctioned to various State Government agencies and 30,000 solar pumps were sanctioned to NABARD

 

July 26th – July 31st (Week 5)

  1. Promotion of National Agriculture Market
  • The Government has recently approved a Central Sector scheme for Promotion of National Agriculture Market (NAM) through Agri-Tech Infrastructure Fund (ATIF) for implementation during 2015-16 to 2017-18 with a budget of Rs.200 crores
  • The Scheme envisages implementation of NAM through Small Farmers Agribusiness Consortium (SFAC), which is an autonomous organization under the Department of Agriculture and Cooperation (DAC)
  • It provides for a pan-India electronic trading portal which will network selected Agricultural Produce Marketing Committees (APMC) market yards to create a unified national market for agricultural commodities.
  • The e-platform will be deployed in selected 585 regulated whole sale markets across the country based on the States having carried out prior reforms in their marketing laws in respect of (i) a single license to be valid across the State, (ii) single point levy of market fee and (iii) provision for electronic auction as a mode for price discovery.
  1. Provisions of National AYUSH Mission

The Government of India recently approved and notified National AYUSH Mission (NAM) which inter-alia makes provision for the following:-

  • Co-location of AYUSH facilities at Primary Health Centers (PHCs), Community Health Centers (CHCs) and District Hospitals (DHs) including Yoga and Naturopathy
  • Up gradation of exclusive State Government AYUSH Hospitals and Dispensaries including Yoga and Naturopathy
  • Setting up of up to 50 bedded integrated AYUSH Hospital including Yoga and Naturopathy.
  • Upgradation of State Government Educational Institutions. Setting up of new State Government AYUSH Educational Institutions in the State where it is not available
  • Under the flexible components of the scheme of NAM, provision has been made for Grant-in- aid to the Yoga Wellness centers and Naturopathy hospitals

August 1st – August 7th (Week 1)

  1. Composite Caps on Foreign Investment
  • The Government, on 30.07.2015, introduced composite caps on foreign investments in the country, so that uniformity and simplicity are brought across the sectors in Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) policy for attracting foreign investors. Composite cap is applicable across the sectors.
  • With the introduction of composite caps foreign investment shall include all types of foreign investments, direct and indirect, regardless of whether the said investments have been made under Schedule 1 (FDI), 2 [Foreign Institutional Investor(FII)], 2A [Foreign Portfolio Investor(FPI)], 3 [Non-Resident Indian(NRI)], 6 [Foreign Venture Capital Investor(FVCI)], 8 [A Qualified Foreign Investor(QFI)], 9[Limited Liability Partnership (LLP)] and 10 [Depository Receipts(DRs)] of Foreign Exchange Management Act (FEMA) (Transfer or Issue of Security by Persons Resident Outside India) Regulations.
  • Foreign Currency Convertible Bond (FCCBs) and DRs having underlying of instruments which can be issued under Schedule 5, being in the nature of debt, shall not be treated as foreign investment. However, any equity holding by a person resident outside India resulting from conversion of any debt instrument under any arrangement shall be reckoned as foreign investment. The measure is expected to bring clarity in FDI policy and boost foreign investment.
  1. ‘STEP’ Scheme for Economic Empowerment of Poor Women
  • The Ministry of Women and Child Development (MWCD) has revised ‘Support to Training and Employment Programme for Women (STEP) Scheme Guidelines in December, 2014
  • The STEP Scheme aims to provide skills that give employability to women and to provide competencies and skill that enable women to become self-employed/ entrepreneurs. The Scheme is intended to benefit women who are in the age group of 16 years and above across the country.
  • The grant-in-aid under the Scheme is given to institutions/ organizations including NGOs. The assistance under STEP Scheme will be available in any sector for imparting skills related to employability and entrepreneurship.
  • The maximum duration of the project is 18 months and the maximum number of beneficiaries in a project shall not exceed 200. The financial assistance to meet a maximum of 90% of the project cost can be sanctioned by the Government of India. The remaining 10% will have to be borne by the implementing agency from its own resources.

    The financial assistance under STEP will be subject to the following limits:

    S.No.

    Cost Item

    Ceiling per beneficiary

    (3 month course)

    Ceiling per beneficiary

    (6 month course)

    1.

    Training Cost

    Rs. 14,000

    Rs. 20,000

    2.

    Food & Travel Cost

    Rs.   4,000

    Rs.   8,000

    Total Cost

    Rs. 18,000

    Rs. 28,00

August 8th – August 14th (Week 2)

  1. Soft Loan to Sugar Mills
  • The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) has approved a soft loan scheme to the extent of Rs. 6000 crore for the current sugar season in order to infuse liquidity into the sugar industry and facilitate clearing of cane dues arrears.
  • The CCEA has mandated that banks pass on the financial assistance directly to the cane growers after obtaining the list from the mills.
  • The government has mandated that mills are required to discharge 50 percent of cane dues payable by 31.8.2015 to become eligible for the loan. The Government has provided one year moratorium on this loan, and will bear the interest subvention cost to the extent of Rs. 600 crore for the said period.
  1. Strengthening of drug regulatory system in the country
  • The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs has approved the proposal for strengthening the drug regulatory system both at the Central and the State levels at a total cost of Rs.1750 crore.
  • The strengthening / up-gradation of the system will be spread over a period of three years. Out of the total amount of Rs 1750 crore, an amount of Rs.900 crore will be spent on strengthening central structures and Rs.850 crore will be made available to the State Governments, after signing a Memorandum of Understanding.
  • The up-gradation will include provision of additional equipment and manpower in existing drug testing laboratories; setting up of new laboratories for testing drugs, medical devices and cosmetics; making mobile drug testing laboratories available; creation of additional manpower for regulatory structures, including for new and emerging areas such as stem cell, regenerative medicine, biologicals and medical devices in addition to drugs.
  1. Decisions for meeting situation of deficit rainfall
  • The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs has approved the proposal of the Department of Agriculture & Cooperation, Ministry of Agriculture for initiating a series of farmer friendly interventions in the wake of deficient rainfall as per IMD forecast of below average monsoon.
  • CCEA approved following interventions/measures to be initiated by State governments in the eventuality of drought deficit rainfall situation:
  • Implementation of Diesel Subsidy Scheme for protective irrigation of crops with an allocation of Rs. 100 crore; Enhancement of ceiling on seed subsidy to partially recompense the farmer for the additional expenditure incurred in resowing and purchasing appropriate varieties of seeds; Implementation of drought mitigating interventions on perennial horticulture crops with an additional allocation of Rs. 150 crore under Mission for Integrated Development of Horticulture (MIDH); Implementation of Additional Fodder Development Programme (AFDP) as a sub-scheme of Rashtriya Krishi Vikas Yojana (RKVY) with an allocation of Rs. 50 crore during 2015-16 for ensuring availability of fodder.

August 15th – August 21st (Week 3)

  1. Vidya Lakshmi Portal for Facilitating Education Loans Launched
  • A web-based portal viz. Vidya Lakshmi (www.vidyalakshmi.co.in) was launched on the occasion of Independence Day i.e. 15th August, 2015 for the benefit of students seeking Educational Loans.
  • The Portal has been developed and maintained by NSDL e-Governance Infrastructure Limited (NSDL e-Gov).
  • Launch of Vidya Lakshmi Portal is a part of the larger Pradhan Mantri Vidya Lakshmi Karyakram (PMVLK) which aims at ensuring that no student misses out on higher education for lack of funds.
  • Vidya Lakshmi Portal is a first of its kind portal providing single window for Students to access information and make application for Educational Loans provided by Banks and also track their applications as well as apply for Government Scholarships.
  1. Accessible India Campaign Launched
  • Department of Empowerment of Persons with Disabilities (DEPwD), has formulated the Accessible India Campaign (Sugamya Bharat Abhiyan), as a nation-wide campaign for achieving universal accessibility for PwDs.
  • The campaign targets three separate verticals for achieving universal accessibility namely the built up environment, transportation eco-system and information & communication eco-system.
  • The Department has asked various State Governments to identify about 50 to 100 public buildings in big cities and also identify citizen centric public websites, which if made fully accessible would have the highest impact on the lives of PwDs. Retrofitting and conversion of buildings, transport and websites would be undertaken by various government departments.
  1. Modifications in Guidelines of Atal Pension Yojana
    • The Atal Pension Yojana (APY) was launched by Govt. of India on 9th May, 2015. APY provides a minimum guaranteed pension of Rs.1000 per month to Rs. 5000 per month, to the age group of 18-40 years.

Certain modifications have been made in the scheme guidelines to increase its acceptability amongst informal sector workers:

  • The individual subscribers shall have an option to make the contribution on a monthly, quarterly, half yearly basis instead of on a monthly basis earlier
  • APY account will not be deactivated and closed till the account balance with self-contributions minus the Government co-contributions becomes zero due to deduction of account maintenance charges and fees.
  • Also the penalty on delayed payment has been simplified to Rs. 1 per month for contribution of Rs. 100, or part thereof, for each delayed monthly payment instead of different slabs given earlier.
  • Similarly, premature exit from the scheme before sixty years of age was not permitted earlier except in exceptional circumstances. Now the modified provision permits the subscriber to voluntarily exit with certain conditions.

August 22nd – August 28th (Week 4)

  1. ‘SEHAT’ Telemedicine Initiative Launched
  • AIn order to provide healthcare facilities in rural areas, the Central Government launched a telemedicine initiative, ‘SEHAT’ in collaboration with Apollo Hospitals.
  • In furtherance to digital India objective, at least one Common Service Center (CSC) will be set up in every Panchayat. There will be around 2,50,000 access points for delivery of various Government to citizen services.
  • Under ‘SEHAT’ initiative, CSCs will provide diagnostic services and promote sale of generic drugs through collaboration with Ministry of Health – by setting up of the Jan Aasudhi Stores.
  • Common Service Centers have been delivering tele-consultation services with support from Apollo and Medanta in some areas and now with this initiative the tele consultation services are being extended to 60,000 CSCs across the country.
  1. List of 98 Cities Selected under Smart Cities Mission Released
  • Ministry of Urban Development announced a list of 98 cities and towns selected for development as smart cities.
  • These cities and towns were nominated by respective States and Union Territories at the end of first stage of ‘City Challenge’ competition in which all the urban local bodies in each State and UT were evaluated based on their financial and institutional capacities and past track record.
  • In terms of profile, 24 cities are capital cities, 24 are business and industrial centers, 18 are of cultural and tourism importance, 5 are port cities and 3 are educational and healthcare hubs.
  • Complete list of selected smart cities can be found at: http://pib.nic.in/newsite/PrintRelease.aspx?relid=126384

August 29th – September 3rd (Week 5)

  1. Government’s Partnership to Accelerate Financial Inclusion
  • India is joining the UN-based Better than Cash Alliance, which comprises of governments, companies and international organizations, targeting greater financial inclusion.
  • The partnership will focus on promoting digital financial services and making it easier for people to access their accounts.
  • The announcement was made on the one year anniversary of Pradhan Mantri Jan Dhan Yojana (PMJDY), under which 180 million new accounts have been opened with deposits totaling more than 223 billion Rupees ($3.4 billion). The Better than Cash Alliance would be India’s technical, research, and policy partner and would support India in the program.
  1. Smart National Common Mobility Card
  • Ministry of Urban Development has come out with a Smart National Common Mobility Card model to enable seamless transport by different transportation systems across the country along with retail shopping and purchases.
  • Globally there is no nationwide common card except in Singapore, where interoperability is confined to the city.
  • The Ministry has tasked National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI) with development and management of the card system. Centre for Development of Advanced Computing (C-DAC) will be responsible for developing standards and hardware for metro gates along with related ecosystems. Funding of Rs 4.4 crore has been approved in this regard.
  1. Launch of Sahaj- an online platform for LPG connections
  • In line with Digital India, Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas launched Sahaj which will allow customers to register for new LPG connections online as well as make on line payments.
  • The initiative was launched in 12 cities which was accompanied by interactions with customers and distributers through video conferencing. It will be launched pan-India soon.

September 5th – September 11th (Week 1)

  1. Approval of National Offshore Wind Energy Policy
  • The Union Cabinet has given its approval to the National Offshore Wind Energy Policy
  • With this approval, the Ministry of New & Renewable Energy (MNRE) has been authorized as the Nodal Ministry for use of offshore areas within the Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) of the country and the National Institute of Wind Energy (NIWE) has been authorized as the Nodal Agency for development of offshore wind energy in the country and to carry out allocation of offshore wind energy blocks, coordination and allied functions with related ministries and agencies.
  1. Introduction of Sovereign Gold Bonds Scheme
  • The Union Cabinet gave its approval for introduction of the Sovereign Gold Bonds Scheme, as announced in the Union Budget 2015-16.
  • The scheme will help in reducing the demand for physical gold by shifting a part of the estimated 300 tons of physical bars and coins purchased every year for Investment into gold bonds and thus help reduce India’s CAD
  • The issuance of the Sovereign Gold Bonds will be within the government’s market borrowing programme for 2015-16 and onwards. The actual amount of issuance will be determined by RBI in consultation with the Ministry of Finance.
  1. Introduction of Gold Monetization Schemes
  • The Union Cabinet gave its approval for introduction of Gold Monetization Schemes (GMS), as announced in the Union Budget 2015-16.
  • As part of GMS, Gold Deposit Scheme (GDS) and Gold Metal Loan (GML) schemes have been revamped. The risk of gold price changes will be borne by the Gold Reserve Fund that is being created.
  • The scheme will help in mobilizing the large amount of gold lying as an idle asset with households, trusts and various institutions in India and will provide a fillip to the gems and jewellery sector.
  1. Approval of Spectrum Trading Guidelines
  • Close on heals of the decision on spectrum sharing, the Union Cabinet has approved a proposal of the Department of Telecommunications on guidelines for spectrum trading arising from the recommendations of the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI)
  • Spectrum trading will be allowed only between two access service providers. In December, 2013, the then Government had approved in-principle the spectrum trading but the detailed guidelines were not issued.
  • Spectrum trading will lead to greater competition, provide incentives for innovation; better data services etc. This also facilitates ease of doing business in India by allowing free play in the commercial decisions and leads to optimization of resources.
  1. Review of FDI Policy in White Label ATM Operations
  • The Union Cabinet has given its approval to permit Foreign Direct Investment (FDI), up to 100 percent, under the automatic route, in the activity of White Label ATM (WLA) Operations subject to certain conditions.
  • This decision will ease and expedite foreign investment inflows in the activity and thus give a fillip to the Government’s effort to promote financial inclusion in the country, including the Pradhan Mantri Jan Dhan Yojana

September 12th – September 18th (Week 2)

  1. Launch of Pradhan Mantri Khanij Kalyan Yojana (PMKKY)
  • Central Government has announced the launch of Pradhan Mantri Khanij Kalyan Yojana (PMKKY), which aims at welfare of areas and people affected by mining related operations.
  • TUnder the scheme, development projects to complement the ongoing schemes of Central and State governments would be implemented. Funds generated by District Mineral Foundations (DMFs) would be utilized by the same. DMFs were mandated to be set up in all districts affected by mining operations under Mines and Minerals (Development and Regulation) Amendment Act, 2015.
  1. Approval of Shyama Prasad Mukherjee Rurban Mission
  • Union Cabinet has given its approval to Shyama Prasad Mukherjee Rurban Mission (SPMRM) with an outlay of Rs 5142.08 crores.
  • The mission aims to develop clusters of smart villages, which would be well delineated areas with planned layouts, as notified by the States / UTs. These cluster plans would be integrated with the respective District Plans.
  • The clusters will comprise of geographically contiguous Gram Panchayats with a population of 25,000 to 50,000 in plain and coastal areas and a population of 5000 to 15000 in desert, hilly or tribal areas.
  1. Approval of additional employment under MGNREGA
  • Union Cabinet has given ex-post facto approval to provide additional 50 days of unskilled manual work over and above the 100 days assured in the current financial year.
  • This would be applicable to such rural areas where drought or natural calamities have been notified.

September 19th – September 25th (Week 3)

  1. Mega Credit Campaigns being conducted by PSBs between 25th Sep-2nd Oct
  • Mega credit campaigns are being conducted by Public Sector Banks to generate greater credit to micro enterprises and provide sound ecosystem for promotion of entrepreneurship, under Pradhan Mantri Mudra Yojana (PMMY).
  • MUDRA has been established as a subsidiary of SIDBI with an initial corpus of Rs 5000 crore to provide refinance to all banks for small business loans.
  • There are about 5.77 crore small business units in the country in the informal sector which are targeted for benefit under the scheme. During the current financial years, up to 22nd September, a total of 35.6 lakh borrowers have availed credit under the scheme to the tune of Rs 24,123 crore.
  1. BIS to develop standards for 43 products under Make in India programme
  • Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS) has taken up development of standards for 43 products identified by the Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion (DIPP) for manufacturing quality products in the country under Make in India programme.
  • It has been decided to revise the National Building Code to promote safe and environment friendly construction in the country. Besides, it has also been decided to develop or upgrade standards for basic consumer services like potable water and waste collection or disposal.
  1. Ministry of Women and Child Development and Vedanta sign MoU to develop 4000 Anganwadis
  • The partnership would aim at developing ‘next generation’ Anganwadis which will not only provide supplementary nutrition and basic health services but aim at improving participation of women in community development.
  • Vedanta will build the Anganwadi centres, for which they will commit Rs 400 cr. These anganwadi centres will be built in the states of Andhra Pradesh, Assam, Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Odisha, Rajasthan, Telangana and Uttar Pradesh among others. These model Anganwadis will be built in clusters of 25-30 in a particular district with multifunctional capabilities. The land for the Anganwadis will be provided by the Gram Panchayats.

September 26th – October 2nd (Week 3)

  1. Notification of Mid Day Meal Rules, 2015
  • Central government has notified Mid Day Meal Rules, 2015 in accordance with the provisions of the National Food Security Act, 2013. The rules have been finalized by Ministry of HRD after consultation with the States and other related Central Ministries.
  • Salient provisions include – entitlement of every child within the age group of six to fourteen years to hot cooked meal of adequate nutritional standards, monitoring of the scheme by School Management Committees and testing of meals by accredited labs to ensure quality of nutrition.
  1. Launch of Green Highways Policy
  • Green Highways (Plantation, Transplantation, Beautification and Maintenance) Policy, 2015 aims at greening of Highway corridors with participation of the community, farmers, private sector, NGOs, and government institutions.
  • Under the policy, 1% of the total project cost of all highways projects will be kept aside for the highway plantation and its maintenance. It is estimated that about Rs. 1000 crore per year will be available for plantation purpose.
  1. Successful Launch of India’s Multi Wavelength Space Observatory ASTROSAT
  • India’s Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle successfully launched ASTROSAT, India’s first multi wavelength space observatory along with six foreign customer satellites.
  • ASTROSAT is designed to observe the universe in the visible, ultraviolet, low and high energy X-ray regions of the spectrum. The scientific satellite mission endeavours for a more detailed understanding of our universe.

October 3rd – October 9th (Week 1)

  1. Launch of KISAN Project and Hailstorm App
  • KISAN (Crop Insurance using Space Technology and GeoInfomics) Project, prepared by Department of Agriculture, envisages use of GIS, GPS and Smartphone technology in better yield estimation to imporve the performance of crop insurance program.
  • The KISAN project will be implemented by Mahalanobis National Crop Forecast Centre (MNCFC), an attached office of Department of Agriculture, in collaboration with ISRO Centres, India Meteorological Department, CCAFS, State Agriculture Departments and State Remote Sensing Centres.
  1. World Bank Assisted Neeranchal Project under Pradhan Mantri Krishi Sichai Yojana
  • Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs has given its approval to implement the World Bank assisted National Watershed Management Project ‘Neeranchal’ with a total outlay of Rs 2142.3 crore.
  • The project will be implemented at the national level i as well as in the nine States of Andhra Pradesh, Chattisgarh, Gujarat, Jharkhand, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Odisha, Rajasthan and Telangana.
  • Neeranchal aims to reduce surface runoff of rainwater, increase recharge of groundwater, and improve availability of water in rainfed areas.
  1. Success of e-Tourist Visa Scheme
  • The e-Tourist Visa scheme was launched by Government of India on 27th November, 2014. The scheme provides for Tourist Visa on Arrival to citizens of 113 countries at 16 airports in India. Earlier, the facility was restrcited to only 12 countries.
  • During January-September 2015, a total of 2,01,705 tourists arrived on e-Tourist Visa as compared to 19,290 during January-September 2014 registering a growth of 945.6%.
  • USA, UK and Australia are the top three source countries availing the facility.

October 10th – October 16th (Week 2)

  1. One time fund infusion to revive and physically complete languishing national highway projects
  • The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs gave its approval for one time fund infusion to revive and physically complete languishing national highway projects under the extension of provision available for BOT (Toll) projects to BOT (annuity) projects.
  • The decision will allow the provisions of the Policy Circular of NHAI issued in June this year on one time fund infusion for BOT (Toll) projects to be extended and made applicable in case of languishing projects on BOT (Annuity) mode. This infusion of fund would be a one-time dispensation for all such projects that have been languishing as on 1st November, 2014. All such cases and the amount of bridge fund required in each case shall be approved by the Authority, on a case to case basis.
  1. Ministry of Road Transport and Highways acquires ISO 9001:2008 Certificate
  • The Ministry of Road Transport and Highways has acquired ISO 9001:2008 certificate for monitoring, planning, development and maintenance of highway infrastructure and road transport throughout the country.
  • The ISO certificate will be applicable to all the wings of the Ministry at the head quarter at New Delhi, including the offices of the Union Minister and Minister of State, covering more than 700 employees.
  • In order to get the ISO certificate the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways developed its Quality Manual and Standard Operating Procedures in accordance with the requirements of ISO standards.

October 17th – October 23rd (Week 3)

  1. UD Ministry clears first batch of AMRUT projects for 89 cities
  • The Ministry of Urban Development has approved the first batch of state level Action Plans under Atal Mission for Rejuvenation and Urban Transformation (AMRUT) aimed at enabling water supply as per the norm and providing water supply and sewerage connections to all urban households.
  • The approved Action Plans have a total of 143 projects in 89 AMRUT cities in these 3 states. These include 47 schemes relating to ensuring water supply connections and augmenting water supply and 31 projects for expanding sewerage network services in identified cities and towns. The rest pertain to storm water drains, urban transport and green spaces and parks.
  • Under AMRUT, Central Government will provide an assistance of 50% of project cost for cities with a population of up to 10 lakhs each and one third of project cost for cities with a population of above 10 lakhs each. Rest of the project cost has to be borne by the states and urban local bodies. As per these norms, central assistance for the approved projects in three states comes to Rs.1,356.23 cr.
  1. DARPG launches Mobile app for Public Grievances portal
  • Department of Administrative Reforms and Public Grievances (DARPG) launched a Mobile Application for the Centralized Public Grievances Redress & Monitoring System (CPGRAMS) portal.
  • The Mobile App for the CPGRAMS is another innovative initiative of the DARPG, the nodal agency to formulate policy guidelines for citizen-centric governance in the country, redress of citizens’ grievances, being one of the most important initiatives of the department.
  1. Ministry of Youth Affairs & Sports constitutes All India Council of Sports
  • The Ministry of Youth Affairs & Sports has constituted ‘All India Council of Sports’, headed by Prof V.K. Malhotra, being its President in the rank of Minister of State. All India Council of Sports has, among others, Shri Sachin Tendulkar and Smt. P.T. Usha among other noted personalities.
  • The Council will be an advisory body for the Ministry of Youth Affairs & Sports and will advise the Ministry on matters relating to the promotion and development of sports and games in the country.
  • The Council may organize national, international conferences, seminars, symposia etc., for promotion of sports and games in the country.
  1. Health Ministry permits transfer of blood between Blood Banks
  • The Ministry of Health & Family Welfare has identified two major initiatives towards better utilisation of blood and blood components, as part of its commitment to ensure safe blood and enhanced access to blood products, on the recommendation of the National Blood Transfusion Council. The first step is permitting the transfer of blood from one blood bank to another. Detailed guidelines for proper and efficient transport of blood between banks have been prescribed.
  • The second step is fixing of an exchange value for surplus plasma available at some blood banks in the country. In the absence of the enabling provision, surplus plasma was traded or sold by the blood banks without any regulation whatsoever. Now an exchange value of Rs.1600/- per litre of plasma has been fixed and the blood banks with surplus plasma can exchange it for consumables, equipments etc. or plasma derived products, as per their need.

October 24th – October 30th (Week 4)

  1. Increase of financial assistance under Rashtriya Arogya Nidhi
  • Rashtriya Arogya Nidhi Was set up to provide financial assistance to patients suffering from major life threatening diseases to receive medical treatment at any super specialty government hospital.
  • The government has decided to enhance financial powers delegated to central government hospitals from Rs 2 lakhs to Rs 5 lakhs in cases where emergency surgery is required. This would curtail the procedural delay for treatment.
  1. New Initiative to raise awareness under Beti Bachao Beti Padhao
  • Ministry of Women and Child Development has launched a new initiative to spread awareness about Beti Bachao Beti Padhao, in partnership with Celltick Mobile Media Ltd. The initiative would target 100 million mobile users in India.
  • The live screen platform of celltick will allow users to access information on Beti Bachao Beti Padhao. The platform would provide a means to reach users based on their location and language of preference.
  1. Developments under Ministry of Tribal Affairs
  • Government has decided to set up a national tribal advisory council for effective monitoring and implementation of various tribal welfare schemes. The council will be chaired by the Prime Minister.
  • Ministry of Tribal affairs has directed its officials to release 50% of the tribal welfare funds to the states in the first quarter of the next financial year, and 80% of the funds by the third quarter. Ministry has urged the state government to release the funds received from centre in the same way for tribal welfare schemes.

October 31st – November 6th (Week 1)

  1. Approval for UDAY (Ujjwal DISCOM Assurance Yojana)
  • Union Cabinet has given its approval for UDAY (Ujjwal DISCOM Assurance Yojana), to be implemented by the Ministry of Power. The scheme provides for a financial turnaround and revival of power distribution companies.
  • The scheme would target improving operational efficiency of DISCOMs, reducing cost of power, reduction in interest cost of DISCOMs, and enforcing financial
    discipline of DISCOMs through alignment with state finances.
  • States not meeting milestones envisioned under the scheme will be liable to forfeit grants under Integrated Power Development Scheme (IPDS) and Deen Dayal Upadhyay Gram Jyoti Yojana (DDUGJY).
  1. Launch of SATYAM (Science and Technology of Yoga and Meditation)
  • A new program SATYAM has been launched under Ministry of Science and Technology to strengthen research in the area of yoga and meditation.
  • The program will encourage research on the effects of yoga and meditation on physical and mental health, and basic body processes. Knowledge obtained in academic institutions and other related agencies will be harnessed under the program.
  1. Additional allocation of food grains to States and UTs
  • 20 States have begun implementing National Food Security Act (NFSA), which came into force w.e.f 5.07.2013, while the rest are under TPDS. Additional allocation for APL and BPL families during the current financial year was made to non NFSA States/UTs only upto September, 2015.
  • The non-NFSA states, however, are under active preparation to implement the NFSA within the next few months. Hence the Government has decided to continue the monthly additional APL and BPL allocation to the non-NFSA States/UTs from October, 2015 to March, 2016 or till implementation of the Act in these States/UTs, whichever is earlier, at APL and BPL rates.

November 7th – November 13th (Week 2)

  1. Chief Minister’s Sub-group Report on Centrally Sponsored Schemes
  • The CM’s sub-group was constituted on March 9th, 2015 to consider the design of Centrally Sponsored Schemes and recommending ways to make their implementation more effective and outcome oriented.
  • The sub-group has recommended that the number of schemes should be reduced for improving their visibility and impact. It has highlighted that the investment in core schemes should be maintained at least at their current level. Furthermore, special attention must be given to North-Eastern and Himalayan States and UTs while determining their funding pattern.
  • According to the sub-group, existing Centrally Sponsored Schemes must be divided into two types- Core Schemes and Optional Schemes. While investment levels under core schemes will be maintained, funds under optional schemes will be transferred to states as lumpsum amounts with states having the freedom to chose the schemes they wish to implement.
  1. Launch of E-Pathshala, Saransh and Shaala Siddhi Portals
  • Ministry of Human Resource Development has launched various ICT based initiatives for school education such as e-Pathshala, Saransh and National Programme on School Standards and Evaluation Framework (Shala Siddhi).
  • E-Pathshala is a web portal which hosts educational resources for students, teachers, parents, researchers and educators. Saransh is a tool which allows the schools to identify areas of improvement in students, teachers and curriculum to facilitate and implement change. Shaala Siddhi is a comprehensive instrument for school evaluation which enables the schools to evaluate their performance in more focused and strategic manner to facilitate them to make professional judgement for continuous improvement.
  1. States to progress on rural electrification in mission mode
  • Power Ministers of all States and Union Territories have unanimously decided to ensure electrification of all the remaining un- electrified villages by 31st March 2017 in mission mode under Deendayal Upadhyaya Grameen Jyoti Yojana ( DDUGJY).
  • States have resolved to set targets for replacement for all existing conventional street lights and incandescent bulbs with LED by 2019. Nine States namely Haryana, Uttar Pradesh , Punjab, Maharashtra , Karnataka, Tamil Nadu , Madhya Pradesh , Andhra Pradesh and Telangana have decided to replace 10% of existing agricultural water pumps with energy efficient pumps including solar within one year. States whose plan documents on Power For All have not been prepared should get it expedited with the help of consultants and central team members so that all these documents are completed by 31st December 2015.

November 14th – November 20th (Week 3)

  1. Launch of TADF (Technology Acquisition and Development Fund)
  • Aimed at bridging technological gap at an affordable cost, TADF was launched under National Manufacturing Policy being implemented by Department of Industrial Policy & Promotion (DIPP).
  • The scheme provides for upto 50% or max ₹20 lakh support in direct and indirect (Eg. Patent pool) technology acquisition by MSMEs. It also provides for subsidy in technology/equipment manufacturing and incentives for green manufacturing.
  1. Unified Committee to make Curricula for Skill Development.
  • The Ministry of Skill Development & Entrepreneurship has approved the creation of “Sector Mentor Committees” that would act as integrated committees for creating model curricula for skill training courses, both long-term and short-term, in each sector.
  • The Committee will comprise of members from Government as well as Private sectors and will focus on providing long-term vocational education opportunities in various sectors. It will also be responsible for aligning all existing curricula in short-term and long-term skill competency based courses with corresponding National Occupation Standards (NOSs), Qualification Packs (QPs) and National Skill Qualification Framework (NSQF).
  1. Extension of the IDEA (Indian Development and Economic Assistance) Scheme
  • The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs approved the 2nd extension of IDEA scheme i.e. from 2015-16 to 2019-20. Under this scheme, the GoI has been extending Lines of Credit (LoC) to developing countries since 2005.
  • The projects under IDEA are selected by Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) based on diplomatic considerations and specific requests from countries, and are approved by Department of Economic Affairs (DEA). The LoCs are extended at a concessional rate through Exim Bank.

November 21st – November 27th (Week 4)

  1. Target date for full completion of rural road connectivity under PMGSY forwarded by 3 years
  • The Government has brought forward the target date from 2022 to 2019 to achieve complete rural connectivity through all-weather roads under the Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojana.
  • TThe accelerated implementation will be achieved by providing enhanced financial allocation and through modified funding pattern. The annual allocation will increase by Rs. 5,000 crore during 2015-16 and the accepted fund sharing pattern will be in the ratio of 60:40 between the Centre and States for all States except for 8 North Eastern and 3 Himalayan States for which it will be 90:10.
  • As a result, 29,000 new habitations will be connected between 2015 to 2017 as against 13,500 between 2012 to 2014.
  1. Basic urban infra investment plans for 102 cities approved under AMRUT.
  • MoUD has approved an investment of Rs.3,120 cr for enhancing water supply, sewerage network services, storm water drains, non-motorised transport and availability of public spaces in 102 cities, under AMRUT. The ministry will provide an assistance of Rs.1,540 cr which is about 50% of the total project expenditure.
  • State level Annual Action Plans for 2015-16 have been approved with an investment of Rs.438 cr for Haryana which has 18 Amrut cities, Rs.573 cr for Chattisgarh (9 cities), Rs.416 cr for Telangana (12 cities), Rs.588 cr for Kerala (9 cities) and Rs.1,105 cr for West Bengal which has 54 Atal Mission cities.
  • With the approval, the Ministry has so far cleared a total investment of Rs.11,654 cr in 272 Atal Mission cities.
  1. 10 new/ revised schemes announced for the disabled under the National Trust
  • On December 3rd, Sugamya Bharat Abhiyan or Accessible India Campaign will be launched as a nationwide flagship campaign for achieving universal accessibility for Persons with Disabilities and to create an enabling and barrier free environment.
  • The following schemes will be launched: DISHA (Early Intervention and School Readiness Scheme), VIKAAS (Day Care), SAMARTH (Respite Care), GHARAUNDA (Group Home for Adults), NIRAMAYA (Health Insurance Scheme), SAHYOGI (Caregiver training scheme), GYAN PRABHA (Educational support), PRERNA (Marketing Assistance), SAMBHAV (Aids and Assisted Devices) and BADHTE KADAM (Awareness and Community Interaction).
  • The number of categories of disability will also be increased from 7 to 19, so that more number of disabled could be brought into the ambit of the new initiatives.

November 28th – December 4th (Week 1)

  1. Change in Implementation framework of NRLM (National Rural Livelihood Mission)
  • The Union Cabinet approved changes in the rural welfare program for a focussed and targeted intervention in poverty reduction by using the Socio Economic and Caste Census (SECC) data in NRLM to undertake planning for poverty free Panchayats.
  • The benefits of interest subvention under NRLM has been expanded to 100 more districts. Women SHGs in these districts can avail loans upto 3 lakhs at an interest rate as low as 4%, depending on the time for repayment.
  • The existing limit of allocation of 25% of NRLM funds to DDU-GKY (Deen Dayal Upadhyay Grameen Kaushal Yojana) has been removed to boost to the skill development among rural poor youth.
  1. Change in funding pattern of SSA (Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan).
  • The funds sharing pattern for SSA has been changed to be in the ratio of 60:40 between Centre and States (90:10 for 8 NE states and 3 himalayan states) with effect from 2015-16.
  • The sharing pattern was changed to 50:50 earlier from 65:35 in view of higher devolution of funds to states as recommended by the 14th Finance Commission. The latest pattern of 60:40 has been reached based on a report of the sub-group of CMs on Rationalization of Centrally Sponsored Schemes.
  1. Launch of Accessible India Campaign
  • A nationwide ‘Accessible India Campaign’ aimed at providing universal accessibility and equal opportunity for development to Persons with Disabilities has been launched with a focus on Built Environment, Public Transportation and Information & Communication Technology.
  • Under the campaign, at least 50% of government buildings in Delhi and other state capitals, 10% of govt. owned public transport, 50% of all public documents, all international airports and all A1, A & B category railway stations are required to meet the accessibility standards for persons with disability.

December 5th – December 11th (Week 2)

  1. Central Sector Scheme “Nai Manzil” gets Rs 650 Crores
  • The scheme of the Ministry of Minority Affairs has been approved with a total expenditure of Rs.650 crores for a period of five years. This includes 50% of the assistance from the World Bank.
  • The Scheme aims to benefit the minority youths who are school-dropouts or educated in the community education institutions by providing them an integral input of formal education (up till Class VIII or X) and skill training along with certification.
  1. Cabinet approves Real Estate (Regulation and Development) Bill, 2015.
  • The Union Cabinet has approved the Real Estate (Regulation and Development) Bill, 2015. It will now be taken up for consideration in the Parliament.
  • The Bill ensures mandatory disclosure by promoters to the customers through registration of real estate projects as well as real estate agents with the Real Estate Regulatory Authority. The bill will be applicable both for commercial and residential real estate projects.
  1. Cabinet approves Central Legislation to declare 106 additional inland waterways as national waterways
  • The Union Cabinet has given its approval for enacting a Central Legislation to declare 106 additional inland waterways as the national waterways. After this inclusion, the total number of national waterways will go up to 111.
  • Financial approval of the competent authority for each waterway would be taken based on the outcome of the techno-economic feasibility studies etc. that are being undertaken by the Inland Waterways Authority of India (IWAI).
  • The right over the use of water, river bed and the appurtenant land will remain with the State Government.

December 12th – December 18th (Week 3)

  1. Union Cabinet approved Policy Framework for Underground Coal Gassification
  • UCG is a method of extraction of energy from coal/lignite resources which are otherwise regarded as uneconomical to work through conventional mining methods.
  • An Inter-Ministerial Committee under the Ministry of Coal will be responsible for identification of the areas, deciding about blocks to be put to bidding or awarding them to PSUs on nomination basis.
  • The Central Mine Planning and Design Institute Limited (CMPDIL) will be the nodal agency.
  1. Amendments introduced in the Constitution (Scheduled Castes) Order, 1950
  • The Union Cabinet approved an introduction of a Bill for certain amendments in the Constitution (Scheduled Castes) Order, 1950.
  • This is to as to modify the list of Scheduled Castes in respect of Chhattisgarh, Haryana, Kerala, Odisha and West Bengal and in the Central List of Other Backward Classes of Chhattisgarh, Haryana and Kerala.
  1. Lok Sabha Passes Arbitration and Reconcilliation Amendment Bill, 2015
  • The Bill seeks to make the arbitration process more investor-friendly, cost effective and suitable for expeditious disposal of cases.
  • It aims to facilitate in making India a hub of international commercial arbitration.
  • The union cabinet had approved promulgation of this ordinance on 21.10.2015 and had recommended the same to the President.

December 19th – December 25th (Week 4)

  1. Integrated Development and Management of Fisheries
  • A central sector scheme for Integrated Development and Management of Fisheries has been approved by the CCEA at an annual outlay of ₹ 3000 crores for a period of 5 years. The scheme aims at a focussed and integrated approach for development and management of fisheries and aquaculture sector to ensure a sustained annual growth rate of 6% – 8% as against an overall annual growth rate of about 4% during the 11th Five Year Plan period.
  • The Central Sector Scheme covers development and management of inland fisheries, aquaculture, marine fisheries including deep sea fishing, mariculture and all activities undertaken by the National Fisheries Development Board (NFDB) towards realizing “Blue Revolution”. The scheme mainly focuses on increasing production and productivity from aquaculture and fisheries resources, both inland and marine.
  • The scheme provides for encouraging economically weaker sections and women co-operatives to take up fishing and fishing related activities. Besides, the scheme encompasses skill development and capacity building in fisheries and allied activities; and creation of post-harvest and cold chain infrastructure facilities.
  1. Two Mobile Apps Launched for farmers
  • The Department of Agriculture, Cooperation and Farmers Welfare released two new mobile applications aimed at providing relevant and timely information to farmers. ”Crop Insurance” app will help the farmers discover complete details of insurance cover available in their area. It will also calculate the insurance premium for notified crops, coverage amount and loan amount in case of a loaned farmer. The other app – “AgriMarket Mobile” can be used by the farmers to get the market prices of crops in the mandi within 50 km radius of the device and other mandis in the country.
  • These apps have been developed on the mKisan portal as part of the National e-Governanace Plan in Agriculture (NeGP-A). There is a provision for states to convert these applications in their local language by simply providing the names of few keywords in their language to the ministry.
  1. PPP project for rehabilitation of slum dwellers
  • 30 Public-Private Partnership (PPP) Projects proposed by Gujarat Government for rehabilitation of slum dwellers in Ahmedabd, Surat, Rajkota and Vadodara have been approved by the inter-ministerial Central Screening and Monitoring Committee (CSMC) of the Ministry of Housing & Urban Poverty Alleviation, making Gujarat the first state in the country to take up PPP Projects for in-situ redevelopment of slums in urban areas under the recently launched Prime Minister’s AwasYojana (Urban).
  • 17,580 new dwelling units will be constructed for slum dwellers living on government lands in the four cities of Gujarat by private developers. The Union Government will provide an assistance of about Rs.176 cr @ Rs.1.00 lakh per house to be built.

December 26th – January 1st (Week 5)

  1. Approval for signing of a MoU between Ministry of Urban Development and Bloomberg Philanthropies
  • The Union Cabinet has given its approval for signing of a MoU between the Ministry of Urban Development and Bloomberg Philanthropies to support the development of Smart Cities.
  • The proposal entails Bloomberg Philanthropies to work as Knowledge Partner and support the development and execution of a Cities Challenge under the Smart Cities Mission.
  • Bloomberg Philanthropies Government Innovation Initiatives equip mayors and local leaders with practical tools and approaches to solve major challenges and enable public sector innovation to flourish.
  1. Cabinet approves formation of JV Companies with various State Governments for rail infrastructure projects
  • The Union Cabinet approved formation of JV Companies with various State Governments to mobilize resources for undertaking various rail infrastructure projects in the States.
  • Each Joint Venture would have an initial paid up Capital of Rs. 100 crore. The initial paid up capital of Ministry of Railways would be limited to Rs. 50 crore for each State.
  • This would ensure greater participation of State Governments in implementation of railway projects both in terms of financial participation as well as decision making process.
  1. Cabinet approves Rs.5000 crore for promotion of Solar Rooftops in the country
  • The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs approved the scaling up of budget from Rs. 600 crore to Rs. 5,000 crore for implementation of Grid Connected Rooftops systems over a period of five years upto 2019-20 under National Solar Mission (NSM).
  • The capital subsidy of 30% will be provided for general category States/UTs and 70% for special category States. There will be no subsidy for commercial and industrial establishments in the private sector.
  • The Government has revised the target of NSM from 20,000 MWp to 1,00,000 MWp by 2022. Out of that 40,000 MWp is to come through grid connected solar rooftop systems.

January 2nd – January 8th (Week 1)

  1. Cabinet Approval of Stand Up India Scheme
  • Union Cabinet has approved the “Stand Up India Scheme” to promote entrepreneurship among SC/ST and women entrepreneurs. The scheme aims to facilitate at least two projects per bank branch for each category of entrepreneur. The target under the scheme is 2.5 lakh approvals, to be achieved by 3 years from the launch of the scheme.
  • The scheme will provide for- refinance window through Small Industries Development Bank of India (SIDBI), creation of a credit guarantee mechanism through National Credit Guarantee Trust Company (NCGTC) along with handholding support for borrowers at pre-loan stage and during operations.
  1. Cabinet Approves creation of Credit Guarantee Fund for MUDRA loans
  • Cabinet has given approval for the creation of a Credit Guarantee Fund for Micro Units Development Refinance Agency (MUDRA) and to convert MUDRA limited into MUDRA Small Industries Development Bank of India (SIDBI) Bank as a wholly owned subsidiary of SIDBI.
  • The Credit Guarantee Fund will guarantee loans sanctioned under Pradhan Mantri Mudra Yojana with effect from 8th April, 2015 to reduce the credit risk to banks and other financial intermediaries. The fund is expected to guarantee more than Rs 1,00,000 crore worth of loans to micro and small units.
  1. 3.2% Growth in Foreign Tourist Arrivals in December 2015 over the same Period in 2014
  • Foreign Tourist Arrivals (FTAs) during the Month of December 2015 increased by 3.2% in December 2015 over December 2014 as they reached 9.13 lakh as compared to 8.85 lakh during December of last year. Similarly, the FTA’s for the period of January-December 2015 reported a growth of 4.4% over last year.
  • The Percentage share of Foreign Tourist Arrivals (FTAs) in India during December 2015 by source countries was highest from USA (18.67%) followed by Bangladesh (11.64%) and UK (11.60%).

January 9th – January 15th (Week 2)

  1. Launch of Skill Development Initiatives by Ministry of Tourism
  • Ministry of Tourism launched several skill development initiatives on National Youth Day to mark the birth anniversary of Swami Vivekananda. These include programme to groom youth interested in home delivery service and aprogramme for training of tourist facilitators.
  • The programmes will be implemented by the Indian Institute of Tourism and Travel Management. The Institutes of Hotel Management and Food Craft will also be involved in the programme for training of youth interested in home delivery service. Programme for tourist facilitators will target those enrolled with NCC and NSS.
  1. Approval of Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bima Yojana
  • Cabinet has approved the Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bima Yojana to provide a boost to the farming sector through crop insurance. The scheme provides for a uniform premium of 2% for all kharif crops and 1.5% for all rabi crops.
  • The use of technology will be encouraged under the scheme. Smart phones will be used to capture and update data on crops. This would help reduce delays in payment of dues.
  1. Use of Spatial Technology for National Highways
  • National Highway Authority of India (NHAI) has signed an MoU with National Remote Sensing Centre (NRSC), Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO), and North East Centre for Technology Application and Research (NECTAR) for use of spatial technology for monitoring and managing National Highways.
  • The use of satellite data and geospatial technology will be useful in providing inputs in highway and infrastructure projects for preparation of DPR, prefeasibility status in new alignment, upgrade/road widening, monitoring of road segments under construction and Road Asset Management System.

January 16th – January 22nd (Week 3)

  1. Launch of Start-up India Initiative
  • Central government has launched the Start-up India Initiative to encourage entrepreneurship and create a conducive ecosystem for startups. The government has unveiled an action plan and will create a dedicated Start-up fund worth Rs. 10,000 crore will be created for funding of Start-ups.
  • Start-ups will be exempted from paying income tax on their profit for the first three years. A simple exit policy, eighty percent exemption in patent fee for Start-up businesses and a self-certification based compliance system for Start-ups for 9 labour and environment laws are a part of the action plan.
  1. Project Green Port by Ministry of Shipping
  • Ministry of Shipping has started ‘Project Green Ports’ which will help in making the Major Ports across India cleaner and greener. ‘Project Green Ports’ will have two verticals – one is ‘Green Ports Initiatives’ related to environmental issues and second is ‘Swachh Bharat Abhiyaan’.
  • Green Port initiatives would include acquiring equipments required for monitoring environmental pollution, acquiring dust suppression system, setting up of sewage/waste water treatment plants/ garbage disposal plant, setting up projects for energy generation from renewable energy sources, completion of shortfalls of Oil Spill Response (OSR) facilities (Tier-1), prohibition of disposal of almost all kind of garbage at sea, improving the quality of harbour wastes etc.
  1. Cabinet approves setting up of over 5,000 MW of Grid-connected Solar PV Power Projects
  • Cabinet has approved setting up over 5,000 MW of Grid-Connected Solar PV Power Projects on build, own and operate basis by Solar Power Developers (SPDs) with Viability Gap Funding (VGF) with expected investments worth Rs. Rs 30,000 crore.
  • Installation of 5000 MW Solar PV plants will generate about 8,300 Million units per year, which caters power to almost 2.5 Million households. This would help in employment generation of about 30,000 people in rural and urban areas with reduction of about 8.525 Million T of CO2 emissions into environment every year.

January 23rd – January 29th (Week 4)

    1. Skill India- 1 lakh trade apprentices for youth over 3 years 
      • Ministry of Skill Development and Entrepreneurship in line with Prime Minister’s vision to make India skill capital of the world, yesterday signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Yashaswi Academy for Skills with an objective to exponentially expand the number of apprentices in India by committing to take necessary steps required to motivate today’s youth as well as employers to participate in the program.
      • A web-based Apprenticeship Portal was recently launched to bridge the gap between students and industry where all companies would be required to publish their trade-wise requirement of apprentices. Apprentices would also be encouraged to apply online. This will enable the beginning of the online interaction among apprenticeship applicants, companies and the Government. Companies are also encouraged to publish their apprenticeship requirement on this portal instead of submitting tedious returns and will be easier for the Government to extract data directly from the web portal.
      1. Central Registration Centre (CRC) set up by Ministry of Corporate Affairs
      • The Ministry of Corporate Affairs has launched the Central Registration Centre (CRC) with the specific objective of providing speedy incorporation related services within stipulated time frames which are in line with international best practices.
      • The CRC will process applications for name availability (INC-1 e-forms) submitted on line across the country and endeavour to process these by the end of next working day. Operations of the CRC will formally commence w.e.f. 27 January 2016 and more services will be rolled out progressively.
      • This is in pursuance of the ministry’s objective of providing greater “Ease of Doing Business” to corporates and is expected to result in speedier processing of incorporation related applications, uniformity in application of rules, eradicating discretion.

 

    1. Expert Committee set up to review Special Relief Act, 1963
    • The Legislative Department in the Ministry of Law & Justice has constituted an expert committee to review the act. The Committee will have 05 members besides the Chairman. It will examine the Act and submit its report within three months.
    • The decision has been taken in view of tremendous developments that have taken place after 1963 and also in the context of present scenario involving contract based infrastructure development, public private partnerships and other public projects involving huge investments and enforceability of the contracts thereof. The review of the Act will also ensure ease of doing business.

January 30rd – February 5th (Week 1)

  1. Report of the Companies Law Committee 
    • The Companies Law Committee was constituted in June 2015 for examining and making recommendations on the issues arising out of implementation of the Companies Act, 2013. The Committee submitted its report to the Government on 1st February.
    • The Committee has proposed changes in 78 sections of the Companies Act, 2013, which along with consequential changes, would result in about 100 amendments to the Act.  Approximately fifty amendments to the Rules have also been proposed.
    • Some of the key changes proposed are – approval of managerial remuneration by shareholders, modification of definition of associate company and subsidiary company, simplification of private placement process and easing of incorporation process.

     

    1. Formation of Joint Venture Companies with State Governments for railway projects 
    • The Union Cabinet under the Chairmanship of Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi has given its approval for allowing the Ministry of Railways to form Joint Venture Companies with the State Governments to mobilize resources for undertaking various rail infrastructure projects in States.
    • The Joint Venture Companies would be formed with equity participation of Ministry of Railways and concerned State Governments. Each Joint Venture (JV) would have an initial paid up capital of Rs. 100 crores based on the quantum of projects to be undertaken. Further infusion of fund/equity for the purpose of the projects shall be done after approval of the project and its funding at the level of appropriate competent authority.
    • The JV can also form project-specific SPVs with equity holding by other shareholders like Banks, ports, public sector undertakings and mining companies.

     

    1. DIPP and Qualcomm announce “QPrize™ – Make in India” contest for Start Ups 
    • Department of Industrial Policy & Promotion (DIPP) and Qualcomm announced India’s largest start-up contest “QPrize Make in India” on 4th February, 2016 awarding US$ 350,000 in equity investment as prize money for the winning company. The goal of this contest is to catalyze Indian entrepreneurs and start up community to drive the entire value chain from innovation to manufacturing in India.
    • The grand finale will be held at the Make in India Centre, MMRDA Grounds, Bandra – Kurla Complex and will be attended by CEOs and founders of top Start-ups from across the country.