1. Khelo India
After the first edition of the Khelo India School Games 2017, the second edition, the games has become an initiative of the Central Government, has expanded in its scope, and will allow participants to compete in two categories (under 17 and under 21).
About Khelo India –
The Khelo India programme has been introduced to revive the sports culture in India at the grass-root level by building a strong framework for all sports in India and establish India as a great sporting nation.
To accomplish the above objectives, Khelo India programme has been divided into 12 verticals, namely:
- Play Field Development
- Community Coaching Development
- State Level Khelo India Centres
- Annual Sports Competition
- Talent Search and Development
- Utilization and Creation/Upgradation of Sports Infrastructure
- Support to National/Regional/State Sports Academics
- Physical fitness of school children
- Sports for Women
- Promotion of sports amongst people with disabilities
- Sports for Peace and Development
- Promotion of rural and indigenous/tribal games
Talented players identified in priority sports disciplines at various levels by the High-Powered Committee will be provided annual financial assistance of INR 5 lakh per annum for 8 years.
Khelo India School Games are a part of the Khelo India programme.
There are 16 disciplines as follows:
Archery, Athletics, Badminton, Basketball, Boxing, Football, Gymnastics, Hockey, Judo, Kabaddi, Kho- Kho, Shooting, Swimming, Volleyball, Weightlifting, and Wrestling.
2. The National Mission on GeM (NMG)
The National Mission on GeM (NMG) was launched on 5th September 2018 to accelerate the adoption and use of Procurement by Major Central Ministries, States and UTs and their agencies (including CPSUs/PSUs, Local Bodies) on the GeM platform.
Objectives of the NMG:
- Promote inclusiveness by catapulting various categories of sellers and service providers
- Highlight and communicate ‘values add’ by way of transparency and efficiency in public procurement, including corruption free governance.
- Achieve cashless, contactless and paperless transaction, in line with the Digital India objectives.
- Increase overall efficiency leading to significant cost saving on government expenditure in Procurement.
- Maximizing ease in availability of all types of products and services bought by Government buyers.
- GeM is a short form of one stop Government e-Market Place hosted by Directorate General of Supplies and Disposals (DGS&D) where common user goods and services can be procured.
- GeM has recorded about $1.5 billion worth of transactions since it was launch 18 months ago.
3. National e-Vidhan Application
Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs and Water Resources, River Development and Ganga Rejuvenation, gave details on the status of implementation of National e-Vidhan Application (NeVA) Project.
Himachal Pradesh is already the first Digital Legislature of the country.
- It is a Mission Mode Project (MMP) comes under the Digital India Programme.
- Ministry of Parliamentary Affairs (MoPA) is the ‘Nodal Ministry’ for its implementation in all the 31 States/UTs with Legislatures.
- The funding for e-Vidhan is provided by the MoPA and technical support by Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MietY).
- The funding of NeVA is through Central Sponsored Scheme i.e. 60:40; and 90:10 for North East & hilly States and 100% for UTs.
Aim of NeVA:
It aims to bring all the legislatures of the country together, in one platform thereby creating a massive data depository without having the complexity of multiple applications.
Highlights of NeVA:
- Paperless Assembly or e-Assembly is a concept involving of electronic means to facilitate the work of Assembly.
- It enables automation of entire law making process, tracking of decisions and documents, sharing of information.
- Through the cloud technology (Meghraj), data deployed can be accessed anywhere at any time.
- The live webcasting of Lok Sabha TV and Rajya Sabha TV is also available on this application.
- Doordarshan has already been enabled with provision to incorporate similar facility in respect of State Legislatures.
The Delhi High Court set aside the government decision to ban private firms from producing and selling oxytocin, a drug used for inducing labour contractions and controlling bleeding.
Observations made by the Court:
The government’s decision was arbitrary and unreasonable. There was no scientific basis behind the Centre’s decision restricting private companies from making or supplying the drug, which helps new mothers lactate, to prevent its alleged misuse in the dairy sector for increasing milk production.
As per the Centre’s April 27 notification, the state- run Karnataka Antibiotics and Pharmaceuticals Ltd (KAPL) was solely allowed by the Centre to make the drug to meet the country’s needs.
Why was it banned?
The drug is misused in the dairy industry where livestock is injected with Oxytocin to make them release milk at a time convenient to farmers.
Oxytocin is also used to increase the size of vegetables such as pumpkins, watermelons, eggplants, gourds, and cucumbers.
Carbetocin: The World Health Organization (WHO) has come up with a safe and effective alternative to the controversial drug oxytocin.
While Oxytocin, must be stored and transported at 2–8 degrees Celsius, and becomes less effective when exposed to heat, Carbetocin does not require refrigeration and retains its efficacy for at least three years even if it is stored at 30 degrees Celsius, and in 75% relative humidity.
5. Global Nutrition Report-2018
• The Global Nutrition Report was conceived following the first Nutrition for Growth Initiative Summit (N4G) in 2013 as a mechanism for tracking the commitments made by 100 stakeholders spanning governments, aid donors, civil society, the UN and businesses.
Highlights of the report:
Global burden of malnutrition “remains unacceptably high and progress unacceptably slow”. Under- nutrition accounts for around 45% of deaths among children under five in low- and middle-income countries.
Overweight and obesity has led to around 4 million deaths and 120 million healthy years of life lost across the globe, with around 38.9% adults found to be overweight.
Among children under five years of age, 150.8 million are stunted, 50.5 million are wasted and 38.3 million are overweight; while 20 million babies are born underweight each year, it says.
The impact of malnutrition on global economy is close to US$3.5 trillion per year, with obesity alone costing US$500 billion per year.
A major section of the study looks at the quality, nutrient content and type of food consumed across the globe. The results suggest a disparity between developed and emerging markets, says the report.
The report says that regardless of wealth, school-age children, adolescents and adults are consuming too many refined grains, sugary foods and drinks, and not enough fruits, vegetables and whole grains.
Where India stands?
India holds almost a third (31%) of the global burden for stunting, the prevalence of which differs from state to state. As per the UNICEF, stunting, or low height for age, is caused by long-term insufficient nutrient intake and frequent infections.
Stunting varies greatly from district to district (12.4% to 65.1%), with 239 of 604 districts accounting for stunting levels above 40%. The differences between districts were a result of multiple factors, including gender, education, economic status, health, hygiene, and other demographic factors.
India is the country with the largest number of children who are stunted at 46.6 million, followed by Nigeria (13.9 million) and Pakistan (10.7 million). The urban prevalence of stunting on average 19.2% compared with 26.8% in rural areas.
While wasting, or low weight for height, affects a greater proportion of rural children than urban. India again tops the list with the most number of wasted children at 25.5 million, followed by Nigeria (3.4 million) and Indonesia (3.3 million).
India is also among the countries with more than a million children who are overweight. As part of the report, a case study in Rajasthan found that key areas of infant and young child feeding and micronutrient supplementation were underfunded.
6. Swachhta Pakhwada
- As a part of the Swachhta Pakhwada of Ministry of Civil Aviation (2018), the 15 day cleanliness drive, has successfully been observed in M/o Civil Aviation and all of its organization.
• Started in April 2016.
• The objective is to bring a fortnight of intense focus on the issues and practices of Swachhta by engaging GOI Ministries/Departments in their jurisdictions.
• An annual calendar is pre-circulated among the Ministries to help them plan for the Pakhwada activities.
• The Ministries observing Swachhata Pakhwada are monitored closely using online monitoring system of Swachhata SamikSha where action plans, images, videos related to Swachhata activities are uploaded and shared.
7. Mukhyamantri Tirth Yatra Yojana’
Delhi state government has launched the ‘Mukhyamantri Tirth Yatra Yojana’ which offers free travel packages for senior citizens from Delhi to five religious circuits.
Highlights of the scheme:
Who can avail this offer?
- 1,100 senior citizens from every constituency of Delhi will be able to avail this facility at one go.
- Under this free pilgrimage scheme, a Delhi resident above 60 years will be eligible to take free pilgrimage along with his or her spouse.
- There is no income criterion but preference will be given to those from economically weaker sections on first-come-first-serve basis.
- Employees of central, state and local government or autonomous bodies are not eligible for the scheme.
- The applicant can also take along an attendant above the age of 20 years, if he or his spouse is above 70 years. The expenditure of the attendant will also be borne by the Delhi government.
- Those selected for pilgrimage will be covered with an insurance of Rs 1 lakh each.
- The applicant will have to give a self-certificate that all information being given by them is correct and they have not availed the scheme in the past.
Selection of pilgrims:
- The selection of pilgrims will be done through draw of lots and respective area MLAs will certify whether the intended beneficiaries belong to Delhi or not.
Sources: the Hindu
8. Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana – Urban (PMAY-U), being implemented by the ministry of housing and urban affairs under the mission ‘Housing for All by 2022’ since June 2015.
This is going to be a tall task given the current fiscal arithmetic. The scheme also faces headwinds such as unavailability of land in prime areas, low participation of private developers on account of brand dilution, bidding mechanism, stringent cost and time schedules resulting in low yields, increasing construction costs due to absence of bulk sourcing of materials, and lack of new technology that impacts productivity, cost efficiency and quality.
Significance of the scheme:
- PMAY-U does offer a huge opportunity for several sectors by setting off a virtuous cycle.
- One crore houses would mean an opportunity for over Rs 2 lakh crore of home loans, and incremental consumption of 80-100 million tonne of cement and 10-15 million tonne of steel.
- The construction opportunity is of about four billion square feet over the life of PMAY-U. And all that would translate into 9-10 crore incremental jobs over the execution period.
9. The government has approved a slew of measures under the National Pension Scheme (NPS). Changes approved in the National Pension System:
- Mandatory contribution by the Central Government enhanced by 4 percent from the existing 10 percent to 14 percent for employees covered under NPS Tier-I
- Central government employees will be provided with freedom of choice for selection of Pension Funds and pattern of investment.
- Payment of compensation for non-deposit or delayed deposit of NPS contributions during 2004-2012
- Contribution by Government employees under Tier-II of NPS will now be covered under Section 80 C for deduction up to Rs 1.50 lakh for the purpose of income tax at par with schemes such as General (PF), Contributory PF, Employees PF and Public PF, with lock-in period of 3 years.
- The entire withdrawal will now be exempt from income tax as the tax exemption limit for lump sum withdrawal on exit has been enhanced to 60 percent.
The move is set to benefit around 36 lakh subscribers, including approximately 18 lakh Central government employees covered under NPS.
It will cost the exchequer Rs 2,840 crore in the current financial year.
What is National Pension System (NPS)?
- National Pension System (NPS) is a government-sponsored pension scheme. It was launched in January 2004 for government employees. However, in 2009, it was opened to all sections.
- The scheme allows subscribers to contribute regularly in a pension account during their working life. On retirement, subscribers can withdraw a part of the corpus in a lumpsum and use the remaining corpus to buy an annuity to secure a regular income after retirement.
- This system is managed by PFRDA (Pension Fund Regulatory and Development Authority).
Who can join NPS?
- Any Indian citizen between 18 and 60 years can join NPS. The only condition is that the person must comply with know your customer (KYC) norms.
Can a Non Resident Indian (NRI) join NPS?
- Yes, an NRI can join NPS. However, the account will be closed if there is a change in the citizenship status of the NRI.
Sources: the Hindu
10. To promote manufacturing of electric and hybrid vehicle technology and to ensure sustainable growth of the same, Department of Heavy Industry is implementing FAME-India Scheme Phase – I [Faster Adoption and Manufacturing of (Hybrid &) Electric Vehicles in India] from 1st April 2015.
The scheme was initially up to 31st April 2017, has been extended up to 31st March 2019 or till Notification of FAME-II, whichever is earlier.
FAME-India Scheme Phase – II:
- The scheme proposes to give a push to electric vehicles (EVs) in public transport and
- It seeks to encourage adoption of EVs by way of market creation and demand aggregation. Automobile Sector:
- 100% FDI by automatic route is permitted in the automobile sector.
- Further, the sector is deregulated, both private sector and public sector are free to carry out investment in the automobile sector, including for manufacturing of Electric Vehicles and E-Buses.
- FAME India is a part of the National Electric Mobility Mission Plan. Main thrust of FAME is to encourage electric vehicles by providing subsidies.
- Vehicles in most segments – two wheelers, three wheelers, electric and hybrid cars and electric buses obtained the subsidy benefit of the scheme.
- FAME focuses on 4 areas i.e. Technology development, Demand Creation, Pilot Projects and Charging Infrastructure.
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