Thursday, May 5, 2011



Delhi – Mumbai Industrial Corridor Project 
The Government of India has accorded ‘in-principle’ approval to the ‘Delhi-Mumbai Industrial Corridor’ (DMIC) Project outline in August, 2007.  The DMIC project aims at creating a strong economic base with a globally competitive environment and state-of-the-art infrastructure to activate local commerce, enhance investments and attain sustainable development.  It is proposed to develop this industrial corridor in a band on either side of the Western Dedicated rail Freight Corridor, covering parts of the States of Uttar Pradesh, Haryana, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Gujarat and Maharashtra The development of the DMIC is in two phases.  Six Investment Regions and six Industrial Areas have been identified to be taken up for development during the first phase. Out of this, 7 nodes have been taken up initially for development.  A rough estimate of the various projects to be implemented to develop the corridor is around US $ 90 – 100 billion.   A significant portion of the required investment is proposed to be met through Public Private Partnership (PPP).  DMICDC has requested Government of India’s assistance for infrastructure projects under the DMIC that are not amenable to PPP mode.  

Financial Package to Farmers
Export performance is dependent on a host of factors such as demand and supply condition (both domestic and international), Import intensity of the product, global prices and price elasticity, exchange rate etc. Government extends support to export sector in the form of schemes for neutralization of duties on inputs required to manufacture the export product, import of capital goods at concessional duty for technological upgradation and measures for procedural simplification and rationalization. In addition, Government has sought to provide support / incentives to the different export sectors, in particular, the labour intensive sectors, which are affected not only by the global situation but also the incentives being extended by our competing countries to their exporters. Various measures taken include export incentives under Vishesh Krishi and Gram Udyog Yojana (VKGUY), Focus Market Scheme (FMS), Focus Product Scheme (FPS), Market Linked Focus Product Scheme (MLFPS) for market expansion and product diversification, concessional export credit, interest subvention for specified sectors. These measures are reviewed and rationalized from time to time. 

Setting up of NEPA
A proposal to set up a National Environment Protection Authority (NEPA) or a National Environment Assessment and Monitoring Authority (NEAMA) to strengthen enforcement and monitoring of compliance of environmental statutes and to improve environmental planning and management is in a conceptual stage.Its focus is on environmental impact assessment and coastal zone management. The details and time schedule for setting up of the Authority are yet to be formalized.

National Action Plan on Climate Change Issues
The National Mission for Sustainable Agriculture (NMSA), is one of the eight Missions under the National Action Plan on Climate Change (NAPCC). It seeks to address issues regarding ‘Sustainable Agriculture’ in the context of risks associated with climate change by devising appropriate adaptation and mitigation strategies for ensuring food security, enhancing livelihood opportunities and contributing to economical stability at the national level. The Programme of Action (POA) proposed under the Mission Document would be operationalized by mainstreaming adaptation and mitigation strategies in ongoing research and development programmes and in flagship schemes including; Rashtriya Krishi Vikas Yojana (RKVY), National Horticulture Mission (NHM), National Food security Mission (NFSM) etc. through a process of selective up scaling and course correction measures.

The mission document on NMSA has been approved for implementation of various interventions to address the issues of climate change in agriculture sector. The Expert committee on impacts of Climate Change setup by Ministry of Environment and Forests under the chairmanship of Shri. R Chidambaram, Principal Scientific Advisor to the Government of India, assessed the impact of anthropogenic climate change on six areas viz. Water Resources, Natural Ecosystem, Coastal Zone management, Climate Modelling, Health, and Agriculture. The status reports of these sectors have been prepared and many of the recommendations have been subsumed in various missions under the National Action Plan on Climate Change.

Agro Bio-Diversity

The Government had recently organized a National Consultation on Agro-biodiversity Management under the auspices of Indian Council of Agriculture Research (ICAR).Its aim is to formulate a scheme to make better use of biodiversity to improve production. The ICAR is taking specific steps to develop strategies for harmonizing the agro biodiversity management by undertaking collection, introduction, evaluation, and documentation and conservation activities. Under the Agro-forestry project for managing the biodiversity in woody perennials through collection, evaluation and documentation of important agro-forestry tree species, germplasm of 184 species have been collected including documentation of germplasm of neem, shisham, acacia, jatropha and pongamia.

Some of the important floral and faunal bio-resources which have withstood the process of natural selection and have potential production traits are enlisted and used through conventional and molecular breeding techniques for production of improved varieties. About 3000 agri-horti crop germplasm have been collected, screened, identified and 1400 of them have been preserved in gene bank. Bio-organics from weed flora as crop growth promoter have been developed. The prospective plan (Vision 2025) has been prepared accordingly to achieve the overall growth in agricultural production by better utilization of bio-diversity of cereals, pulses, fruit crops, vegetable & spices, animal husbandry, fisheries and pest management.The views of State Governments were sought in developing the prospective plan for increasing the agricultural production in the country. The vision document 2025 has already been circulated to all the State agriculture and allied departments.

Environment Protection by Corporates

A Charter on Corporate Responsibility for Environment Protection (CREP) covering 17 categories of highly polluting industries has been formulated by the ministry of Environment and Forests , in association with the Central Pollution Control Board,. Industrial sector specific action points for each category were identified and listed for implementation after consulting various stakeholders. A few examples of these action points are augmentation of air pollution control devices in cement sector, more stringent emission norms for cement plants located in urban areas or critically polluted areas and installation of low NOX burner in new petroleum oil refineries. Task forces have been constituted to oversee the implementation of these action points. The system of furnishing of Annual Environment Statements by the consented authorised Units is in place as per rules framed under Environment (Protection) Act, 1986. The provision is implemented by the concerned State Pollution Control Board/Pollution Control Committee. 

Coal Based Thermal Power Projects
Ministry of Environmental and Forests have accorded environmental clearances to 47 coastal based thermal power projects after following the process as provided in the Environmental Impact Assessment Notification, 2006 and Coastal Regulation Zone Notification 1991.

Developmental projects, including thermal power projects, are required to undertake the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) studies and prepare Environment Management Plan (EMP), for mitigating the environmental impacts, which are then appraised by the Expert Appraisal Committee for thermal Power plant constituted by the Ministry. The project level Environment Impact Assessment studies are undertaken by the project proponent and not by the Ministry. 

NRCP to Restore Water Quality in Rivers

With a view to restoring water quality of rivers in the country, the Government has launched the centrally sponsored scheme of National River Conservation Plan (NRCP) which covers polluted stretches of 38 rivers in 178 towns spread over 20 States. Rivers Mahanadi and Brahmani in Orissa are among them. The pollution abatement works taken up under the Plan include interception and diversion of municipal sewage, setting up of sewage treatment plants, creation of low cost sanitation facilities, setting up of electric and improved wood crematoria and river front development. Sewage treatment capacity of 4064 mld (million litres per day) has been created so far in the country under the Plan. For improvement of water quality of lakes, the Government has undertaken a program of National Lake Conservation Plan (NLCP) under which 61 lakes in 14 States at an estimated cost of Rs. 1028.20 crore have been covered. With the completion of the NRCP and NLCP programme and through effective operation & maintenance of the assets being created, water quality of these rivers and water bodies is expected to improve contributing to rejuvenation of their bio-diversity. Deaths and mortality of fishes due to pollution in various rivers and water bodies have been reported. Occurrence of such in rivers and lakes are on account of depletion in oxygen and release of toxic materials due to disposal of sewage or industrial wastes. 

Joint Forest Management on Care and Share Basis

 A large number of local people have been included in the Joint Forest Management for the conservation and management of forests on care and share basis. The records available in the Ministry of Environment and Forests reveal that more than 237 lakh local people are members of 1,06,482 Joint Forest Management Committees (JFMCs) in the country.

Declaration of Dandi as Eco-Sensitive Zone

Dandi, the famous site of Gandhij’s Salt Satyagarh, has been declared as an ecosensitive zone. The Ministry of Environment and Forests has issued a draft Notification vide S.O. 2566(E), dated 13th October, 2010 declaring Dandi and adjoining three villages namely, Matwad, Samapor and Onjal under Environment (Protection) Act, 1986 as eco sensitive area. This draft Notification proposes to restrict industrial activities, mining, large scale tourism etc., in the ecological sensitive area. 

Naxals Surrender and Rehabilitation Policy
In order to bring naxalites into the mainstream, the States have their own surrender and rehabilitation policies.  Government of India has approved revised guidelines for surrender-cum-rehabilitation of naxalites in the naxal affected States which inter alia provides for an immediate grant of Rs.1.5 lakh, a stipend of Rs. 2000 for three years, vocational training and incentives for surrender of weapons.

Brain Gain Scheme
The Government is in the process if formulating a legislative proposal in order to set up Universities focusing on research and innovation. The Bill also contains provisions to attract talented scholars from all over the world to these Universities to undertake teaching and research.

Awareness Generation on RTI
Some study reports have brought out that awareness about the Right to Information Act, particularly in rural areas, is low. A sum of Rs. 17.90 crore was spent on a plan scheme on Right to Information during 2008-09 and 2009-10 of which about Rs. 6.10 crore was spent on awareness generation. An amount of Rs. 0.77 crore has been spent on awareness generation during 2010-11. Government has taken following steps to create awareness about the Right to Information Act; (i) launch of awareness generation campaigns through radio, television and print media; (ii) display of posters in Hindi and six regional languages in rural areas; (iii) publication of five Guides on the Act; (iv) providing funds to the State Information Commissions and the State Administrative Training Institutes for awareness generation; (v) launch of logo on RTI; (vi) launch of a portal on RTI etc. 

Brahmos Block III Successfully Test Fired
The BRAHMOS Block III+ version was successfully test fired from the Interim Test Range (ITR) in Orissa. This landmark test once again established the mountain warfare capability of the supersonic cruise missile with new guidance scheme incorporating large scale manoeuvre and steep dive with precision strike capability. Naval ship placed with telemetry stations confirmed the accuracy of the mission and marked it as a text book launch. Defence Minister Shri AK Antony congratulated the DRDO and BrahMos team with this highly successful launch of the new version of BrahMos. In this launch campaign the missile was put though extreme conditions and it successfully went through all complicated manoeuvres as envisaged in the battlefield in mountain terrains following the exact flight path given to it, said Dr. A. Sivathanu Pillai, CEO & Managing Director of BrahMos Aerospace. High ranking army officers, who witnessed the launch, congratulated the BrahMos and DRDO team with this achievement which will provide unmatched capabilities to the Indian Armed forces. 

National Authority for Chemical Weapons Convention gets ISO 9001 Certification 
The National Authority for Chemical Weapons Convention (NACWC), a part of Cabinet Secretariat has been commended by the premier world body, the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) on getting ISO 9001:2008, Certificate. The award is in recognition of the highly successful performance of the National Authority. India’s Ambassador to Netherlands Ms. Bhaswati Mukherjee presented a copy of the certificate to the Director General Of the OPCW at a function in Hague. The Director General of the OPCW, Mr. Ahmad Uzumen said that the Indian example is a role model for other countries. The ISO 9001 Certificate makes the National Authority for Chemical Weapons Convention (NACWC) the first among all 188 member nations of OPCW to attain this distinction. It is also the first Government of India department to have qualified for ISO 9001:2008 certification. This is part of Prime Minister’s efforts to enhance administrative efficiency and accountability of Government departments.

The Cabinet Secretary, Mr. K. M. Chandrasekhar, who is leading the reform effort in the Government, has asked other government departments to follow the example of his department. It is part of Cabinet Secretariat’s integrated policy of performance management in Government. The integrated system for defining, documenting, improving, communicating and auditing of processes has already led to considerable improvements in the operations of the Indian National Authority both in quantitative and qualitative terms.

The Indian delegation has been approached by several countries including Japan, Sri Lanka, Italy, Kenya, Uganda, etc. for information and technical assistance for obtaining similar certification for their respective national authorities. 

Bio-Engineering Measures for Development of Degraded Land

As per studies conducted by Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR), it has been concluded that soil erosion is one of the factors responsible for the decline in agricultural output across the country. The major causes of soil erosion are deforestation, overgrazing, forest encroachment, shifting cultivation, extension of cultivation to marginal lands, development activities like mining and road construction, urbanization, etc. The ICAR has also developed several location specific bio-engineering measures for development of degraded land. Based on these findings/recommendations, Ministry of Agriculture is implementing various Watershed Development Programmes, namely; National Watershed Development Project for Rainfed Areas (NWDPRA), Soil Conservation in the Catchments of River Valley Project and Flood Prone River (RVP&FPR), Reclamation and Development of Alkali & Acid Soils (RADAS) and Watershed Development Project in Shifting Cultivation Areas (WDPSCA) for prevention of soil erosion, land degradation and sustaining foodgrain production across the country. Ministry of Rural Development is also implementing a major Integrated Watershed Management Programme (IWMP) for restoring ecological balance by conserving and developing degraded lands in the country. 

Tribal University Set Up in Amarkantak
The Indira Gandhi National Tribal University (IGNTU), Amarkantak became functional recently. In this regard the State Government of Madhya Pradesh handed over possession of 370 acres of land to the University. The University has since embarked upon construction of prefabricated Portal Frame Structure, with 87,000 square feet plinth area. The University is presently running 22 courses and programmes at undergraduate level. As on date the total number of students studying in the undergraduate courses at Amarkantak is 769, out of which 392 are Scheduled Tribe, 80 Scheduled Caste and 255 girl students. The University has already established its Regional Campus at Manipur with a couple of programmes and the State Government has recently handed over possession of about 300 acres of land for establishment of a permanent campus. The IGNTU has also been approached by the State Governments of Andhra Pradesh, Orissa, Kerala and Gujarat to open its Regional Campuses in their respective States. 

Expansion of BrahMos Complex

The Government has already approved expansion of BrahMos Aerospace Thiruvananthapuram Limited (BATL) to establish an integration complex for the BrahMos missile on the land owned by Indian Air Force (IAF). The necessary funding has also been provided. The construction activity will start once the land is made available by the IAF after they get suitable land for construction of housing for Airmen.
An autonomous body "National Institute for Research & Development in Defence Shipbuilding (NIRDESH)", under Registration of Society Act 1860 has been registered recently with its headquarters at Beypore, Kozikode, Kerala.

Permissible activities as stipulated in para 1 of Schedule-I of Mahatma Gandhi NREGA are as under:

(i) water conservation and water harvesting;
(ii) drought proofing (including afforestation and tree plantation; 
(iii) irrigation canals including micro and minor irrigation works; 
(iv) provision of irrigation facility, horticulture plantation and land development facilities to land owned by households belonging to the Schedule Castes and Schedule Tribes or Below Poverty Line families or to beneficiaries of land reforms or to the beneficiaries under the Indira Awas Yojna of the Government of India or that of small farmers or marginal farmers as defined in the Agriculture Debt Waiver and Debt Relief Scheme, 2008. (The benefits of works on individual lands have been extended to small and marginal farmers vide notification dated 22.7.2009) 
(v) renovation of traditional water bodies including desilting of tanks; 
(vi) land development; 
(vii) flood control and protection works including drainage in water logged areas; 
(viii) rural connectivity to provide all-weather access. 
(ix) Construction of Bharat Nirman, Rajiv Gandhi Sewa Kendra as Village Knowledge Resource Centre and Gram Panchayat Bhawan at Gram Panchayat level (included vide Notification dated 11.11.2009). 
(x) any other work which may be notified by the Central Government in consultation with the State Government. 

Use of Organic Fertilisers on the Rise
With the increase in awareness about soil health and importance of balanced and judicious use of fertilizers, farmers are using organic fertilizers, including vermicompost, compost and biofertilizers to maintain soil health and its productivity. Production of organic fertilizers which was 2136 lakh tonnes in 2008-09 has increased to 3486 lakh tonnes in 2009-10 is an indication of growing use. The Government is encouraging production of organic fertilizers by providing financial assistance under National Project on Organic Farming (NPOF), National Horticulture Mission (NHM) and National Project on Management of Soil Health and Fertility (NPMSHF). Financial assistance is also available for organic fertilizers under Rashtriya Krishi Vikas Yojana (RKVY). 

Major Initiatives to Stop Ship Collusion Near Indian Ports
Some of the major initiatives taken to stop ship collusion near Indian ports are as follows:
        Establishment of Long Range & Identification System (LRIT) on the Indian Coast.
        Restrictions on old vessels in Indian territorial waters and exclusive economic zone, through              executive orders issued by the Directorate.
        Stringent Port State and Flag State implementation and inspections of older vessels in Indian ports
        Establishment of safety fairways, Traffic Separation Schemes, Recommended routes in coastal waters on the west coast of India
        Issuance of Merchant Shipping notices  with regard to ship reporting, navigational warning system, towing and voyage permission  guidelines and mandatory inspection by Mercantile Marine Department of ships loading Iron Ore fines in monsoon months
The Minister also informed that to ensure the environmental security of Indian waters, the Government has ratified International Conventions to prevent pollution from ships and the relevant provisions have been enacted in the Merchant Shipping Act (M.S. Act 1958. Additionally, following are the International conventions that are under consideration: -

        The Bunker Convention 2001 that deals with mandatory insurance to deal with compensation from pollution from bunker oil from ships is under consideration for ratification by the Government of India.
        Limitation of Liability for Maritime Claims (LLMC) Protocol 1996, that deals with enhancing the existing limit of claims from ships prescribed in the LLMC 1976 convention is under the consideration for ratification by the Government of India and
        The Wreck Removal Convention 2007that mandates the owners to have a mandatory insurance cover for wreck removal when such vessels becomes the wreck anywhere in the coast of India including  territorial eaters and EEZ, is under consideration for ratification by the Government of India.

Measures Being Taken for Prevention of Oil Spills
As a measure for prevention of oil spills at the Indian ports, Indian Coast Guard being a nodal agency for National Oil Spill Disaster Contingency Plan has directed all the ports to pre-pare Local Oil Spill Disaster Contingency Plan. Tier-1 pollution response equipments as per “National Oil Spill Disaster Contingency Plan (NOS-DCP)” has been maintained at many ports. Regular inspection of ships and patrolling of water has been carried out. Tankers above 25 years of age are not allowed to enter the ports. Regular rounds are taken in the ports andstrict vigilance is maintained for any pollution. Penalty is also imposed on the concerned party even if a minor oil spill is noticed.  

Action Plan to Check Corruption
In order to promote good governance in the country, the Central Vigilance Commission has formulated a draft “National Anti Corruption Strategy” (NACS), as a guiding policy document. The proposed Strategy aims at systematic and conscious reshaping of the country’s national integrity system. The draft Strategy recommends a set of action to be taken by the Government and a set of action by the political entities, judiciary, media, citizens, private sector and civil society organizations. This is an ongoing process. The Commission reviews the progress of implementation of its recommendations on annual basis. 

Project 'Vigeye' Launched

The Central Vigilance Commissioner, Shri P.J. Thomas has said that the Commission has been continuously working to enhance the standards of vigilance administration and trying to evolve a more preventive, proactive and predictive vigilance regime. He said that efforts at modernising the vigilance framework are underway which include development of new models of preventive vigilance, adoption of risk management approach and aligning the vigilance function with the corporate governance framework. the Project 'VigEye' was also launched by the Commission. This will provide for a more user-friendly platform for interface between the CVC and the citizens who are harassed by corruption or those who want to disclose information about corrupt activities.
‘VigEye’ an acronym for Vigilance Eye, implies that the citizens would act as the eyes of the Commission in keeping vigil on public affairs. Citizens are encouraged to stand up against corruption by becoming a ‘VigEye’.

ntroducing the ‘VigEye’, Shri Srikumar, Vigilance Commissioner said that it will help build up the vision of proactive and predictive vigilance. Project ‘VigEye’ will help to knit India by Team Work where is T is for transparency using technology, E is for empowerment bringing efficiency, A is for accountability through audit trials, M for Mutual cooperation help measurement helping Team India to fight against corruption. The advantages of ‘VigEye’ include simplified process of filing complaints and it will provide authentic identity of the complainant. ‘VigEye’ would be completely digitised and it will give online access to vigilance information.

Economic and Social Schemes for Elders
At present, the Ministry of Social Justice & Empowerment is implementing the Scheme of IntegratedProgramme for Older Persons (IPOP) with a view to improve the quality of life of destitute senior citizens by providing financial assistance to non-governmental organizations (NGOs) for running and maintenance of old age homes, day care centres and mobile medicare units, multi-facility care centres for older widows, physiotherapy clinics for older persons, help-lines and counsellingcentres for older persons, sensitizing programmes for children particularly in schools and colleges, training of caregivers to the older persons, awareness generation programmes for older persons, etc. Under Indira Gandhi National Old Age Pension Scheme (IGNOAPS), Central assistance is given towards pension @ Rs. 200/- per month per beneficiaries to persons above 65 years belonging to a household below poverty line which is meant to be supplemented by at least an equal contribution by the States so that each beneficiary gets at least Rs.400/- per month as pension. Various concessions like income tax rebate, rail and air fare, special medical facilities, etc. are also provided to senior citizens by the Government.

Sustainable Urban Development

The efforts that Government is making for sustainable urban development include promotion of reforms relating to governance, environment, financial management, land management and inclusive development. The overall policy framework for promotion of Sustainable Urban Development is enunciated through the Jawaharlal Nehru Urban Renewal Mission (JNNURM), National Urban Transport Policy (NUTP), National Urban Sanitation Policy (NUSP), National Mission on Sustainable Habitat and Service Level Benchmarking (SLB).

JNNURM seeks to promote sustainable urban development through better financial management, land management, community participation, transparency, environmental management, Governance, inclusive development and administration. The NUTP seeks to promote sustainability through modal shift towards public transport and focusing on movement of people rather than vehicles. The NUSP focuses on improving performance on key sanitation parameters in urban areas.

The NMSH seeks to promote sustainability of habitats through improvements in energy efficiency in buildings, urban planning, improved management of solid and liquid waste including recycling and power generation, modal shift towards public transport and conservation and adaptation. The Service Level Benchmarks promote sustainability through better measurement and monitoring of performance that include key aspects related to sustainability against desirable standards and focusing on outcomes rather than outputs.

MEGA Tourist Project at Nagarjuna Sagar Project

The State Government of Andhra Pradesh has informed that Nagarjuna Sagar Project is the highest rock structure in the world and the largest man-made multipurpose project in Asia. Development, promotion and implementation of tourism projects are primarily undertaken by the State Governments/Union Territory (UT) Administrations. However, the Ministry of Tourism provides Central Financial Assistance (CFA) for tourism projects, identified in consultation with them, subject to availability of funds and inter-se-priority under various schemes of the Ministry.

Preserving Tribal Languages

Under the scheme of Grants-in-Aid to Tribal Research Institutes (TRIs), the Ministry of Tribal Affairs provides funds to the State governments, on 50:50 sharing basis, for various activities performed by these Institutes such as conducting research on various aspects of tribal life including their languages, art and culture, setting up of tribal museums for exhibiting tribal artifacts, promotion of tribal culture etc. The Central Institute of Indian Languages (CIIL), Mysore under the Ministry of Human Resource Development has conducted programmes on data collection, description,documentation and material production in a number of these languages as part of the normal activities during the XI Five Year Plan, which include:

1.      Dimensions of Language Endangerment
2.      Descriptive Study of Languages of the North East
3.      Speech Sciences project
4.      North Eastern Languages Development
5.      Language Information Services of India
6.      Bhasha Mandakini North East
7.      Lexicography and material production

Promotion of E-Commerce

The Information Technology Act, 2000 has been enacted for promotion of E-Commerce in the country. The Act provides legal validity to the electronic records and digital signature. Office of Controller of Certifying Authorities (CCA) has been set up for implementation of Public Key Infrastructure (PKI) in the country for authenticity and integrity of on-line transactions using digital signatures. Standards to be used, have been described in the IT Act. Department of Information Technology (DIT) has also initiated R&D activities in the area of E-Commerce on mobile platform by supporting research projects at IIT Madras for developing mobile payments framework in India.
The growth of digital signatures has picked up in the last three years. Many Government online applications have been PKI enabled. Examples include;
- MCA 21 of the Ministry of Corporate Affairs for filing company returns
- Online filing of applications with DGFT for import/export licenses
- Online filing of income tax returns 
- e-procurement
- e-tendering
- Banking Applications
- Railway Booking for authenticating agents.

Setting UP of Tiger Reserves

The “in-principle” approval has been accorded by the National Tiger Conservation Authority for creation of four new tiger reserves, and the sites are: Biligiri Ranganatha Swamy Temple Sanctuary (Karnataka), Pilibhit (Uttar Pradesh), Ratapani (Madhya Pradesh) and Sunabeda (Orissa). Besides, the States have been advised to send proposals for declaring the following areas as Tiger Reserves: (i) Bor (Maharashtra)  (ii) Suhelwa (Uttar Pradesh)  (iii) Nagzira-Navegaon (Maharashtra) (iv) Satyamangalam (Tamil Nadu) The country level tiger estimation using the refined methodology is done once in every four years for an assessment of the status of tiger, co-predators, prey animals and habitat. As per the findings of the all India Estimation of tiger using the refined methodology done in 2008, the total country-level population of tiger is 1411 (mid value); the lower and upper limits being 1165 and 1657 respectively.

The recent assessment of tiger population is based on determining spatial occupancy of tigers throughout potential tiger forests and sampling such forests using camera traps in a statistical framework. This assessment is not comparable to the earlier total count using pugmarks owing to several shortcomings in the latter. The details of the last such assessment done in 2008 are at Annexure-I. Initiatives have been taken for the 2nd All India estimation of tigers using the above refined methodology. 

Increasing Forest Cover

The forest cover of India has increased from 65.9 million ha. to 69.09 million ha. i.e. an increase of 3.13 million ha. This has been stated in the  State of Forest Report, 1997 and India State of Forest Report, 2009 published by Forest Survey of India, Dehradun. The Ministry is providing funds under National Afforestation Progamme (NAP) Scheme for regeneration of degraded forest and adjoining areas in the country. As on 31.03.2010, 800 Forest Development Agency (FDA) projects have been approved in the country to treat an area of 1.69 million hectare which gets reflected in increase of forest cover.
 National Environment Appellate Authority

        The Parliament has enacted the National Green Tribunal (NGT) Act, 2010.This has come into force on 18th October, 2010. As per the provisions of the NGT Act, 2010, the National Environment Appellate Authority (NEAA) established under the NEAA Act, 1997 stands dissolved and the cases pending before the NEAA stand transferred to the NGT. 

Seshachalam Hill Ranges as Biosphere Reserve

        The hill ranges spread in parts of Chittoor and Kadapa districts of Andhra Pradesh have been designated as Seshachalam Biosphere Reserve in Andhra Pradesh on 20th September, 2010. The decision is based on the proposal submitted by the Government of Andhra Pradesh. This biosphere reserve will cover an area of 4755.997 Km2.

Bill on Protection of Women against Sexual Harassment at Work Place
        The Government introduced ‘The Protection of Women against Sexual Harassment at Workplace Bill, 2010’ in Lok Sabha on 07.12.2010 with the object to provide protection to women against sexual harassment at all workplaces both in the public and private sector, whether organised or unorganised and for the prevention and redressal of complaints of sexual harassment. Women who are employed as well as those who enter the workplace as clients, customers or apprentices besides the students and research scholars in colleges and universities and patients in hospitals are sought to be covered under the proposed legislation. However, domestic workers working at home are not covered. The National Commission for Women (NCW) suggested a draft Bill after holding consultations with various stake holders.

In the draft Bill, provisions for constitution of Internal Complaints Committees, Local Complaints Committees dispute resolution prior to inquiry, maintenance of confidentiality etc. have been proposed. The important recommendations of the NCW have been incorporated in the Bill. The NCW recommended covering domestic workers under the proposed legislation. However, the Government has decided to exclude domestic workers from the definition of employee as it may be difficult to enforce the provisions of the Bill within the privacy of homes and it may be more practical for them to take recourse to the provisions under criminal law. 

‘USHA’ Scheme
          The Ministry of Housing and Urban Poverty Alleviation is implementing a Central sector scheme called Urban Statistics for HR and Assessments (USHA). The scheme supports National Resource Centre on Data base, MIS, Surveys, Monitoring, Impact Assessment, Action Research and Capacity Building relating to Urban Poverty, Slums, Housing, Building Construction and other Urban Statistics.

USHA is a scheme for supporting development or urban statistics and no programme has been started by the Government for development of slums under USHA. However, the Government has announced a new scheme called Rajiv Awas Yojana for slum dwellers and urban poor aimed at ushering in a Slum-Free India through provision of Central support to States that are willing to assign property rights to slum dwellers. 

         Addressing professional certification needs of higher learning of its personnel below officers rank including recognition of ‘in service’ training, Indian Air Force (IAF) today, signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Indira Gandhi National Open University (IGNOU), launching ‘Akashdeep’– a project registering existing airmen training institutes as Community Colleges enabling all serving airmen to obtain a Bachelor’s degree within 8-13 years of their service. Under the arrangements, the two modules of the Joint Basic Phase Training (JBDT) will enable airmen to earn credit points that would be transferred to IGNOU for completing their Certificates, Diplomas and Associate Degrees in Arts, Science, Commerce, Business Administration, Hotel Management, Hospitality services, Medical services, Para Medical Sciences, Office Management, Automobile Trade performing skill, Music, Instrument Music. Subsequent to this, an airman can enroll for a one-year distance learning programme with IGNOU leading to award of Bachelor’s Degree. Better qualified human resources will help IAF in gainful utilization of its resources. The programme, while validating IAF training curriculum is also one among the several welfare measures for its personnel. Project Akashdeep also signifies IAF’s association with sky and its quest for knowledge. 

Low Altitude Digital Lakshya-2 Successfully Flight Tested

         The Defence Research and Development Organization (DRDO) successfully conducted the flight test of Lakshya-2, the Pilotless Target Aircraft (PTA), at very low altitudes. The users have indicated their requirement of flying the PTA at 15 to 25 metres above sea level to simulate trajectory of low-level cruise missiles. Accordingly Aeronautical Development Establishment (ADE), Bangalore prepared Lakshya-2 with necessary hardware and software for meeting the user requirements. The flight test was of 32 minutes duration controlled by Ground Control Station and the low altitude flight was proved over 10km range. The flight was stable and well controlled. Mobile launcher to launch the PTA from anywhere and GPS to locate for recovery were used successfully. The pilotless aircraft also demonstrated its manoeuvring capability simultaneously simulating manoeuvring attacking aircrafts. The system has been designed so that two Lakshya targets can be flown and controlled by the Common Ground Control Station. 

India’s first Sea Plane Service
          The seaplane, that has captured the imagination of people, mainly through James Bond movies, has finally arrived in India too. Union Civil Aviation Minister, Praful Patel today launched the first Seaplane of the Pawan Hans Helicopters Ltd, and aptly named it ‘Jal Hans’, at a ceremony held at the Juhu Aerodromme in Mumbai.

Describing the launch of seaplane operations as dream coming true, Praful Patel said the government plans to expand the services to most of the popular island and coastal destinations. He said “the Centre is permitting 100% foreign direct investment in this sector and service providers like Pawan Hans should float a subsidiary to run a fleet of seaplanes.” The ‘Jal Hans’ seaplane is the Cessna Caravan 208 A Amphibian fitted with modern navigation features of any large jet. It has a total seating capacity of 10 of which 8 are passenger seats. It can travel upto 250 kms in about an hour and can land on most calm waters. It can also land on ground using the wheels configuration. 

DRDO Demonstrates Indigenous Aerostat System
          The DRDO demonstrated its indigenously designed and developed aerostat system capable of carrying electro-optic and COMINT payloads for surveillance. Trials of the system have been concluded on Saturday, December 25, 2010. These included surveillance all over Agra and interception of variety of communications. ELINT and RADAR payloads are also being developed indigenously. This platform is a result of development of a number of high end technologies in the field of aerodynamic design of balloon, fabrics, fabrication, hydraulic winch, electro-optic tether, high pressure helium cylinder manifold, active pressure control system etc in association with large and medium sized Industrial partners. 

The system has been designed, developed and integrated by the Aerial Delivery Research & Development Establishment (ADRDE), Agra Cantt, a premier laboratory under the Defence Research & Development Organization (DRDO) working in the field of parachutes, lighter than air systems, floatation systems and aircraft arrester barriers. ADRDE has developed and supplied various types of parachutes for wide range of applications viz. Paradropping men, weapons, Combat Vehicles, Stores etc, braking of fighter Aircraft and Recovery of payloads pertaining to missiles, UAV and space missions. Over the last few years, ADRDE has diversified into the field of lighter-than-Air (LTA) technologies and developed small and medium size Aerostats. Recently, ADRDE has developed a state-of-the-art medium size helium filled Aerostat and successfully test flown up to one km altitude at Agra. 

Navratna Status to PSUs
          As per the criteria laid down by the Government, the Schedule 'A' and Miniratna Category - I Central Public Sector Enterprises, which have obtained 'excellent' or 'very good' rating under the Memorandum of Understanding system in three of last five years, and have composite score of 60 or above in six selected performance parameters are eligible to be considered for grant of Navratna status.

Disinvestments of Sick PSUs
          As per Public Enterprises Survey 2008-09, there are 38 Central Public Sector Enterprises (CPSEs) which have been incurring losses continuously for the last three years (2006-07 to 2008-09). The total loss incurred by these CPSEs was Rs.12057.93 crore during the last three years (2006-07 to 2008-09).
The Government have set up Board for Reconstruction of Public Sector Enterprises (BRPSE) vide Resolution in December 2004 as an advisory body to advise the Government, inter alia, on disinvestment/closure/sale of chronically sick/loss making companies, which cannot be revived. Based on the recommendations of BRPSE, the Government have taken decision for disinvestment/ Joint Venture in respect of 8 CPSEs and closure of 1 CPSE. While deciding on disinvestment/closure/joint venture, the interest of the employees is protected.

NTPC is Now 33000 MW + Company

          Unit # 7 of 500 MW of NTPC -Korba has been commissioned as per schedule. With this, the total capacity of NTPC group exceeds 33,000 MW. The installed capacity of NTPC group has become 33,194 MW.With the coming of unit#7, the total installed capacity of Korba Super Thermal Power Station has become 2600 MW. NTPC plans to be a 75000 MW company by 2017 and has over 16000 MW capacity under construction at various locations. 

Programme to Develop Bio-Pesticides and Bio-Insecticides
           Department of Biotechnology has established an area of Bio-pesticides and Crop management in 1989. Development of cost effective and commercially viable production candidate biocontrol agents / bio-pesticides and demonstrating their field efficacy under different ecosystems in various economically important crops have been undertaken. Several production cum demonstration units were set up in various states for mass production. Collection, maintenance and supply of Nucleus cultures of biocontrol agents and host insects to the various production units was done by setting up two repository centres at Tamil Nadu Agriculture University, Coimbatore and National Bureau of Agriculturally Important Insects (NBAII) Bangalore. Several capable Integrated Pest Management (IPM) modules were developed for various economically important crops. In addition, sustained preservation of ecosystem was also demonstrated in adopted villages. The cost effectiveness of bio-pesticide technology in IPM and non-IPM plots of various crops was established. 

Swavalamban Benefit for NPS Account Holders
           Under the Swavalamban guidelines approved by the Govt. of India, all NPS accounts opened in 2009-10 will be entitled to the benefit of Government co-contribution of Rs. 1,000 subject to fulfilling the prescribed eligibility criteria. A list of eligible account holders is available on the Website of Pension Fund Regulatory & Development Authority (PFRDA) as well as the concerned PoPs. The PFRDA has requested the concerned NPS account holders to submit the requisite declaration form to the PoPs at the earliest to avail of the Swavalamban benefit. A copy of the Swavalamban declaration form can be downloaded from the website of the PFRDA / PoPs / NSDL. 

Kolkata Metro Railway gets the Status of 17th Zone of Indian Railways

             Metro Railway, Kolkata got the status of 17th Zone of Indian Railways. The Indian Railways is presently having 16 Zonal Railways namely; Central (Mumbai), Western (Mumbai), Eastern (Kolkata), South Eastern (Kolkata), Northern (New Delhi), North Eastern (Gorakhpur), Northeast Frontier (Guwahati), Southern (Chennai), South Central (Secunderabad), East Coast (Bhubneshwar), North Central (Allahabad), North Western (Jaipur), South East Central (Bilaspur), West Central (Jabalpur) and South Western Railways (Hubli).

At present, Metro Railway, Kolkata is operating over a length of about 25 Kilometres but it is on the threshold of a high growth phase. A number of new works have been sanctioned recently, as a result of which the network of Metro Railway, Kolkata would expand fast. Kolkata Metro, India’s first became a reality on October 24, 1984 with the commissioning of partial commercial service from Esplanade to Bhowanipur (now Netaji Bhavan) over 3.40 km. route. Other stations were opened at different stages and services on the entire stretch of Metro were introduced from Dum Dum to Tollygunge on September 27, 1995. There are 16 stations in this section. The status of Zonal Railway to this Metro would give greater autonomy to Metro Railway, Kolkata.


Joint Military Exercise with China and Japan
SL No.
India-China Joint Military Exercises:
First Joint Army Exercise 'Hand-in-Hand'
Kunming (China)
December 19-27, 2007
Second Joint Army Exercise 'Hand-in-Hand'
Belgaum (India)
December 4-14, 2008
PASSEX (Passage Exercise) between Navies of two countries
Off Quingdao(China)
April 16, 2007
India-Japan Joint Military Exercises:
PASSEX (Passage Exercise) between Navies of two countries
Off Kochi
April 10, 2007
PASSEX (Passage Exercise) between Navies of two countries
Off Mumbai
August 8-9, 2007
PASSEX (Passage Exercise) between Navies of two countries
Off Mumbai
May 16, 2008
PASSEX (Passage Exercise) between Navies of two countries
Off Mumbai
August 23, 2008
PASSEX (Passage Exercise) between Navies of two countries
Off Goa
May 10, 2009
             There is no proposal consideration of Government to have joint military exercises with Myanmar and Sri Lanka.
Purchase of Globemaster Planes from Boeing
A Letter of Request (LOR) has been issued to the Government of United States of America for procurement of C-17 Globemaster-III aircraft for Indian Air Force (IAF) from United States of America, through Foreign Military Sales (FMS) route. In response, Letter of Offer and Acceptance (LOA) has been received, which is being progressed.  A technology scan was carried out as per the Defence Procurement Procedure 2008 which brought out that the C-17 Globemaster-III aircraft best meets the operational requirements of a Very Heavy Transport Aircraft (VHETAC) class for the Indian Air Force.
India’s Commitment to Kyoto Protocol
India is fully committed to the Kyoto Protocol. The talks for further emission reduction commitments of Annex-I Parties in the Second Commitment Period (Post 2012) are undergoing since 2005. India, along with South Africa and 35 other like minded countries had earlier submitted a proposal calling for Annex-I Parties to agree to at least 40% emission reduction commitment by 2020 as compared to their 1990 levels. India has been one of the major beneficiaries of the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM), a flexible mechanism under the Kyoto Protocol and would like that this mechanism to continue and be further strengthened.
There has been no agreement till date and the negotiations on the targets of Annex-I Parties for the second commitment period and other relevant issues are ongoing for a possible decision at the sixteenth Conference of Parties (COP-16) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and sixth Meeting of Parties (MOP-6) to the Kyoto Protocol presently being held at Cancun, Mexico.
International Conference on Environmental Research in Mauritius
The Third International Congress of Environmental Research (ICER-10) was organized jointly by Journal of Environmental Research and Development (JERAD), Bhopal and the University of Mauritius on September 16-18, 2010 at the University of Mauritius. The theme of the Conference was Energy, Environment and Development.
 The main objectives of the Conference were to:
i. Enhance the knowledge in the field of Environmental Research and Development.
ii. Form study groups for mapping vulnerable areas in different countries which are prone to natural disasters

iii. Present and discuss research papers in various fields of Environment for the betterment of the society

Around 600 academicians, scientists, industrialists, environmentalists, professors, NGOs and research scholars from around 58 countries participated including 300 from India. 

Environmental Agreement at Nagoya
Over 7,000 delegates representing Governments, UN agencies, and others met in Nagoya, Japan from 18-29th October, 2010 for the tenth meeting of the Conference of the Parties (CoP-10) to the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD). India, which is a Party to the CBD, also participated in this meeting

The main outcomes of CoP-10 are: adoption of the Nagoya Protocol on Access to Genetic Resources and the Fair and Equitable Sharing of Benefit Arising from their Utilisation; adoption of Strategic Plan for the CBD for the period 2011-2020; and activities for resource mobilisation.
As a country rich in biodiversity and associated traditional knowledge, adoption of the Nagoya Protocol on Access and Benefit Sharing (ABS), holds special significance for India. The ABS Protocol sets out rules and procedures for prior informed consent of the country providing the genetic resources and fair and equitable sharing of benefit arising from the utilisation of these resources and associated traditional knowledge based on mutually agreed terms. The Protocol also has provisions for compliance, including monitoring of the use of these resources at designated check-points. The Protocol is expected to address concerns of India and other biodiversity-rich countries of misappropriation of their genetic resources and associated traditional knowledge. The ABS Protocol shall be open for signatures by Governments from 2nd February, 2011 to 1st February, 2012 at the United Nations Headquarter, 2012. Follow-up action by Governments would include signing and thereafter ratification of the Protocol.

Steps for NRI’s in Education Field

Ministry of Overseas Indian Affairs provides Scholarship to Overseas Indians under Scholarship Programme for Diaspora Children (SPDC). Under this programme, 100 scholarships every year upto US $ 3600/- per annum are offered to PIO/NRI students for Undergraduate courses in Engineering/ Technology Humanities/ Liberal, Arts, Management etc. Ministry of Human Resource Development has reserved 15% supernumerary seats in All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE) approved institutions offering technical courses to foreign nationals /Persons of Indian Origin/ Children of Indian workers in Gulf countries. University Grant Commission (UGC) has also issued guidelines to all universities to create 15% supernumerary seats in all the Universities/Departments to foreign nationals /Persons of Indian Origin/ Children of Indian workers in Gulf countries. 5% supernumerary seats out of the above 15% are earmarked for children of Indian workers in Gulf Countries under both AICTE notification /UGC guidelines.

Deployment of Soldiers of Foreign Mission

7322 Indian Army personnel are presently deployed in various United Nations Peacekeeping Missions
Indian Army is presently participating in 07 (Sevn) UN Peacekeeping Missions. They are : UNIFIL (Lebanon), UNDOF (Golan Heights Israel/Syria), MONUSCO (Democratic Republic of Congo), UNMIS – (Sudan), UNOCI (Ivory Coast Cote'd Ivoire), MINUSTAH (Haiti) and UNMIT (East Timor).

India and France to work together towards bilateral cooperation. 

India and France has signed a Letter of Intent for bilateral Cooperation between the two countries. Shri Subodh Kant Sahai, Minister of Food Processing Industries said on the occasion that France is ranked 5th in the list of India’s trading partner among EU countries. India is the 13th largest investor in France. There are about 90 Indian companies in France and have invested in IT, Phamaceuticals, plastic industry, auto parts, etc. After IT and Biotech, India is set to witness the next revolution in the Food Processing Industry. The Government of India has set an investment target of around Rs. 1 lakh crore by 2015 in the Food Processing Sector. The sector is expected to grow by 20% and value-addition to increase by 35% by 2015, the Minister emphasised. The Minister said that India produces 10% of world’s fruit and 13% of vegetable. The research in food processing technology can be an important area of cooperation between the two countries as the levels of food processing are far higher in France as compared to India. France can identify their premier institutes conducting research in the field so that Indian counterparts can be identified for exchange of ideas. The specialties of the French industries in cultivating the specific variety of standard size of vegetables for the purpose of canning and bottling are well known internationally. The exchange of the information and technology in this field will be of immense help to the industries in India, Shri Sahai emphasised. Shri Sahai stressed France to be a partner in this vital sector of India’s economy. 

International Cooperation in Education
The Ministry has signed exclusive exchange programmes in the form of Educational Exchange Programme (EEP) or Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the following ten countries to strengthen international cooperation in the field of education during the Eleventh Five Year Plan (2007-2012):


NRI Investment in India
The Ministry of Overseas Indian Affairs has set up an Overseas Indian Facilitation Centre (OIFC) as a not-for-profit-trust, in partnership with Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) to promote investment amongst the overseas Indians. The center is a ‘One Stop- Shop’ for serving the interests of the overseas Indian Community and has mandate to cover two broad areas viz. investment facilitation and Knowledge Networking.  OIFC also assists the States in India to project investment opportunities to Overseas Indians. It has reached out to various state governments to become its partners. The State Governments of Kerala, Karnataka, Gujarat, Orissa and Punjab have taken up membership of OIFC as State Partners.  These States are being encouraged to actively promote their investment projects / opportunities through OIFC. It also conducts the investment meet overseas to promote investment.

Recommendations of International Commission

  All the mobile telephone service providers are required to conform to the limits of radiation as prescribed by International Commission on Non Ionizing Radiation Protection (ICNIRP) as per the Access Service license amendment dated 4.11.2008. Latest detailed instructions, issued by Department of Telecommunications (DoT) vide letter dated 8.4.2010, mandates that all Base Station Transceivers (BTSs) should be self certified by the telecom service providers as meeting the radiation norms by 15.11.2010.  Accordingly, self certifications have been submitted by the telecom service providers for more than 3,80,000 BTS that the radiation level are within the ICNIRP prescribed limits. Telecom Enforcement Resource & Monitoring (TERM) Cells of DOT have started verification of radiation level of the BTS and all the BTSs checked so far have been found to be conforming to ICNIRP norms.

A committee, setup in 2006 under the Director General, Indian council of Medical Research (ICMR) to study the effects of radiations from mobile phone towers and related aspects, concluded that “overall there is not enough evidence to show direct health hazards of Radio Frequency exposure from mobile Base Stations”. ICMR has further initiated a study in the year 2010 to examine the effects of Radio Frequency Radiation on human health. Various studies have also been conducted by World Health Organization (WHO) and ICNIRP. Fact Sheet No. 193 of 2010 of WHO states that “A large number of studies have been performed over the last two decades to assess whether mobile phone pose a potential health risk. To date, no adverse health effects have been established for mobile phone use”.

“TAPI Gas Pipeline – Harbinger of Economic Growth”

“TAPI Pipeline Project has the potential of becoming the new 'Silk Route' between Central Asia and South Asia. It would bring our countries closer and impart a new momentum to our age-old relations. Our Prime Minister has described the TAPI project the 'Pipeline of Peace'. The Project would enable flow of 38 mmscmd gas to India. This will not only aid the rapid economic growth of India but of all the participating countries in this Project. We are all equal stake holders in this project, and together we must ensure its success.  India strongly believes in regional cooperation, and this pipeline will be a testament to regional cooperation and solidarity. Our region has abundant natural resources, as also the capacity to utilize those resources. The TAPI gas pipeline will be the harbinger of economic growth and prosperity to us all. Through the Inter-Governmental Agreement and the GPFA, we have laid the foundation of the project. In the days ahead, we must together address all the attendant issues so that our common dream becomes a reality soon.” 
Trade with Korea and Japan

India proposes to boost economic ties with Japan and Korea. Every year there is a bilateral summit meeting at the Prime Minister level between India and Japan. The Korean President held a summit meeting with the Prime Minister of India in January, 2010. India has signed a Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA) with Republic of Korea. This agreement came in to force from 1-1-2010. The agreement with Korea covers not only Trade in Goods but also investment, Services and bilateral cooperation in other areas of mutual benefit. Conclusion of negotiations for a Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA) with Japan was declared during the Prime Minister’s visit to Japan on 25th October, 2010. The CEPA is to be signed at Ministerial level on completion of necessary formalities by both side. Japan has put 87% of its tariff lines under zero duty category for India. Most of the items are of India’s export interest. These agreements are expected to deepen economic engagement, in terms of trade in goods and services, investment and cooperation and contribute to mutual prosperity. 

India Gets Membership of the Eurasian Group on Anti-Money Laundering and Combating the Financing of Terrorism (EAG)

India today gained membership of the Eurasian Group which is a Financial Action Task Force (FATF) styled regional body, responsible for enforcing global standards on anti-money laundering (AML) and combating the financing of terrorism (CFT). The decision to apply for the membership was taken by the Finance Minister, Shri. Pranab Mukherjee in December 2010.The support for India's membership was unanimous. The Plenary meeting of the Eurasian Group is currently underway in Moscow. India is the 9th member of the group. The other members are Russia, China, Turkmenistan, Serbia, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, Belarus and, Kazakhstan. The group also has 16 nations and 15 organizations as observers

The role of the member nations of the group in achieving AML and CFT goals is of particular significance in the view of their geographical location which is close to the epicentre of terrorism. In addition to playing its own role in fighting terror, India is committed at the highest levels of the Government to adopt, enforce and contribute to international best practices in AML and CFT
As a nation that has been amongst the first to suffer at the hands of terrorists, India understands the human and financial loss to counties that are in the crosshairs of such groups. India would, therefore, individually and collectively face this challenge. Through this membership, India would learn from the experience of the member nations and also contribute to the collective effort in achieving AML CFT goals. In the process, India would be able to work towards achieving a more transparent stable financial system by ensuring that financial institutions are not vulnerable to infiltration or abuse by organized crime groups. 

India Post Celebrates 60 Years of Diplomatic Ties Between India and Mexico 

India Post issued a set of two commemorative postage stamps last evening to commemorate the completion of 60 years of Diplomatic relations between India and Mexico. The stamps depict the costumes / dances of Mexico and India. India and Mexico established diplomatic relations in 1950. A bilateral Joint Commission, established in 1984, at Minister of State (External Affairs) level, has the mandate to oversee and take forward all aspects of the bilateral relationship. One of the stamps shows the Kalbelia Dance of Rajasthan in India. It is a vigorous dance form performed by women. The dancers embellish themselves in traditional black skirts with silver embroidery. The dance, set to folk songs, reminds one of the graceful movements of a snake. The sensual rhythm increases in tempo and vigour with the increase of the beat. Male participants take care of the musical part of the dance. They use different instruments (such as Pungi, Dufli, Been, Khanjari, Morchang & Dholak) to create the rhythm on which the dancer performs. The other stamp shows the Jarabe Tapatio. Each region and state in Mexico presents the Mexican dance form in a style that reflects its own unique customs and traditions. The Jarabe Tapatio, or the Mexican Hat Dance, is one of the most beloved dance forms in Mexico and is considered as the national dance of Mexico. While the women wear the traditional china poblana, which includes a fringed blouse, a skirt and a shawl, the men are dressed in an ornate charro or cowboy suit. The dance gained immense popularity when the famous ballerina, Anna Pavalova, incorporated it in her repertoire. 

India & Italy to Sign MoU for Greater Co-Operation in Road Infrastructure Sector

India and Italy have agreed to sign a Memorandum of Understanding for enhancing bilateral technical cooperation in road infrastructure sector and greater involvement of Italian Infrastructure companies in the highways sector in India. The need for a MoU was felt and agreed upon during the bilateral discussions between Shri Kamal Nath, Minister for Road Transport and Highways and Italian Minister for Economic Development, Mr. Paolo Romani in Rome on Wednesday. It was also decided that a trade delegation comprising of officials from the Italian Economic Development Ministry, Foreign Ministry and about 200 business delegates representing various sectors including Infrastructure would be visiting India in the early 2011. 

MoU on Mutual Understanding and Cooperation in the Field of Elections Between the Election Commission of India and the Central Election Commission of the Russian Federation

The Election Commission of India and the Central Election Commission of the Russian Federation signed a Memorandum of Understanding on mutual understanding and cooperation in the field of elections in New Delhi. The Memorandum was signed by the Chief Election Commissioner of India Dr. S. Y. Quraishi and the Chairman of the Central Election Commission of Russian Federation H.E. Mr. Vladimir Yevgenyvich Churov in the presence of Dr. Man Mohan Singh, Hon’ble Prime Minister of India and H.E. Mr. Dmitry Medvedev, President of Russian Federation. The Memorandum of Understanding follows a long tradition of bilateral exchanges and cooperation between the two Electoral Commissions. The MoU between the two Commissions covers exchange of knowledge and experience in the field of organizational and technical development of electoral process, support in exchanging information, materials, expertise and organizing training of personnel, facilitating relationships with other electoral authorities and organizations, production and distribution of materials pertaining to electoral systems, voting technology, voters’ education and awareness and increasing the participation of women, minorities and invalids in the electoral process. There are provisions for identifying and evaluating priority areas of cooperation in organizational and technical field of activities and recommending and preparing instruments designed to identify activities, programmes and projects to be executed.

After signing of the MoU, a bilateral meeting was held between Chief Election Commissioner, Dr. S. Y. Quraishi and H.E. Mr. Churov. Mr. H.S. Brahma, Election Commissioner of India was also present. Dr. Quraishi offered ECI’s training facilities to Russian election officials and also invited them to witness the conduct of elections in various states in the country next year. In response, Mr Churov said, a Russian delegation would visit India during the next schedule of elections. The Chairman of the Russian CEC invited Dr. Quraishi to Russia to see the technological upgradation at polling stations and also their experience with electronic voting system. The two heads of Commissions discussed further details of cooperation including voting by non-resident citizens, measures of voters education and means to reduce cost of voting etc. 

India, Russia Sign Contract to Design and Develop FGFA

A Contract for Preliminary Design of the Indo-Russian Fifth Generation Fighter Aircraft was signed between Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL), Rosoboronexport and Sukhoi. The Project involves design and development of a Fifth Generation Fighter Aircraft that will have advanced features such as stealth, supercruise, ultra-maneuvrability, highly integrated avionics suite, enhanced situational awareness, internal carriage of weapons and Network Centric Warfare capabilities. The aircraft to be jointly developed is termed Perspective Multi-role Fighter (PMF). PMF draws upon the basic structural and system design of the Russian FGFA Technology Demonstrator with modifications to meet IAF specifications which are much more stringent. The broad scope of bilateral cooperation during the joint project covers the design & development of the PMF, its productionization and joint marketing to the third countries. Programme options include the design & development of a twin seater variant and the integration of an advanced engine with higher thrust at a later stage. 

Today's contract is only the first in a series of such contracts which will cover different stages of this complex programme. The total cost including options and the value of production aircraft will make this the biggest Defence programme ever in the history of India involving production of over 200-250 aircraft.  The Contract was signed by Mr. A Isaykin, General Director, Rosoboronexport and Mr. M Pogosyan, General Director RAC MiG & Sukhoi from the Russian side and Mr. Ashok Nayak, Chairman, HAL and Mr. NC Agarwal, Director (D&D), HAL from the Indian side at Delhi. 

Governor General of New Zealand, Sir Anand Satyanand to be Chief Guest of Pravasi Bharatiya Divas -2011

The Governor General of New Zealand, Sir Anand Satyanand will be the Chief Guest of forthcoming 9th Pravasi Bharatiya Divas (PBD)-2011. The Minister of Overseas Indian Affairs, Shri Vayalar said that more than 1300 delegates of overseas Indian community across the world are expected to participate in the PBD-2011. He said that so far, delegates from 38 countries have registered for participating in the event. He further said that the effort is to have a more meaningful and interactive event that would address issues and concerns of the overseas Indian community effectively. He said that overseas Indians have emerged as important constituents of their adopted countries. They have contributed to transforming the economies, participating in political process and added value to thought and innovation of their destination countries.

The Minister said that the theme of PBD-2011 is "Engaging the Global Indian”. The event will be held from 7th to 9th January-2011 at Vigyan Bhawan, New Delhi. The event is organised by the Ministry of Overseas Indian Affairs (MOIA), in partnership with the Ministry of Development of North Eastern Region along with eight North Eastern States and the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII). He said that the Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh will inaugurate the convention on 8th January. The President, Smt Pratibha Devisingh Patil will confer the Pravasi Bharatiya Samman Awards-2011 to distinguished PIOs/NRIs and will deliver the Valedictory Address on 9th January. 

Highlighting the main features of the convocation, Shri Ravi said that the Ministry of Development of North Eastern Region (DONER) and eight North Eastern States will be partner of 9th PBD. A special session focusing on the North East is being held on 7th January, 2011 besides a special plenary session ‘Investment opportunities in North Eastern Region’ on 8th January, 2011. He said that the focus of PBD-2011 is going to be on the young overseas Indians. In an endeavour to connect with and engage the younger generation of the overseas Indians with emerging India, a plenary session on “Engaging with the young overseas Indian” is being organized. He also informed that two pre-conference seminars on health and education sectors are being organized. The annual PBD oration is being called the C.K. Prahalad Memorial Lecture, which to be delivered by Dr. Gautam Ahuja of the University of Michigan. The PBD-2011 would be web cast online and summary of proceedings put out each day. The interactive website would provide an opportunity for the Diaspora to participate in the conference from any corner of the world, he added.

India and Sri Lanka to hold Joint Naval Exercise in 2011

India and Sri Lanka decided on a series of measures to enhance defence cooperation between the two countries. The decisions include conducting a joint naval exercise between the navies of the two countries in 2011, holding formal annual defence dialogue and staff level talks between the Navy and Armies of the two countries beginning next year. The decisions were taken by the two sides at the Defence Secretary level talks in Colombo today. The Indian side was led by the Defence Secretary Shri Pradeep Kaumar and the Sri Lankan side by Mr Gotabhaya Rajapakse.

Senior officers of the three Services, Coast Guard, MoD and the Ministry of External Affairs also took part in the discussion. The Sri Lankan side was assisted by the Commanders of the three Services. New Delhi and Colombo have common security concerns including the security and safety of sea lanes of communication. Both sides agreed that these common concerns will form the basis for bilateral exchanges. In today’s meeting the two sides also reviewed major ongoing projects including reactivation of airfields in war torn areas of Sri Lanka. It was decided that the Chief of Indian Air Force will visit Sri Lanka next month.

Tourist Visa on Arrival to be Introduced for Nationals of Four More Countries 
In order to promote tourism, Tourist Visa on Arrival (TVOA) scheme was introduced for a year for the nationals of five countries, namely, Japan, Singapore, Finland, Luxembourg and New Zealand with effect from 01.01.2010. The scheme has been found to be useful by foreign nationals. Up to November 2010, 5664 nationals availed the facility of TVOA. Now, Government of India has decided to extend the Tourist Visa on Arrival (TVOA) scheme for the nationals of these five countries. Further, it has been decided to introduce TVOA scheme for the nationals of Cambodia, Laos, Vietnam and Philippines with effect from 01.01.2011. TVOA shall be allowed for a maximum validity of 30 days with single entry facility by the Immigration Officers at Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai and Kolkata Airports. As per the new Scheme to be introduced with effect from 01.01.2011, the foreigners of the above-mentioned countries may also avail of TVOA for up to 30 days for medical treatment, for casual business or to visit friends/relatives, etc. The TVOA facility shall not be applicable to the holders of Diplomatic/Official Passports. Further, TVOA shall not be granted to the foreigners who have permanent residence or occupation in India. Such persons can visit India on normal visa, as applicable. 

Setting up of JCERDC with US

An agreement has been signed between United States (US) Department of Energy and Government of India on 4th November 2010 for setting up of an Indo-US Joint Clean Energy Research and Development Centre (JCERDC) to Enhance Cooperation on Energy Security, Energy Efficiency, Clean Energy, and Climate Change. The goal for the Centre is to spur truly collaborative Research and Development (R & D) between US and Indian Researchers on potentially breakthrough clean energy technologies

Indian and US governments have committed $5 million per year for five years (subject to yearly appropriations) for the Center and the consortia will match the government funding with their own funds. Under this arrangement, both the governments have agreed to invite the proposals through a joint India - US Funding Opportunity Announcement in the three priority areas of building efficiency, solar energy, and advanced biofuels. 

EU to support India's ICA proposal
The European Union (EU) will support India's proposal for an International Consultation and Analysis (ICA), which is likely to be a controversial topic at the United Nations climate change conference at Cancun. Sources in the EU said they were interested in an ICA but not as a condition for funding. As far as the EU was concerned, money was being given for concrete action and it had committed €7.2 billion as fast start funding till 2012. Of this amount, €2.2 billion has already been mobilised. The EU attached a lot of importance to transparency and, adaptation to climate change was a major component of the funding. The EU was the largest contributor to overseas development assistance and it accepted the fact that fast start funding should be new, though there was no international agreed definition on what was new and additional. Transparency in the delivery of fast start funding was vital. The EU would report annually on the implementation of its fast start commitments.
India, China to be global leaders in manufacturing competitiveness
India, along with China, will become global leaders in manufacturing competiveness by 2015, according to the recently published 2010 Global Manufacturing Competitiveness Index. The competitive index is a collaboration between Deloitte and the U.S. Council on Competitiveness, which has been quoted in the latest issue of the United Nations Industrial Development Organisation (UNIDO)'s quarterly magazine, ‘Making it: industry for development'.
Based on the views of over 400 senior manufacturing executives worldwide, the index has rated the current overall manufacturing competitiveness of 26 countries. And, in five years' time (2015), it has said the world's top ten countries in manufacturing competitiveness will be ranked as follows: China, India, Republic of Korea, Brazil, the U.S., Mexico, Japan, Germany, Poland and Thailand.  In effect, the index has thus revealed that a new world order for manufacturing competitiveness has emerged. “The rise of three countries in particular — China, India and the Republic of Korea — appears to parallel the rapidly growing and important Asian market,” the news report in the UNIDO magazine has said. According to senior manufacturing leaders, who participated in the study, the most important drivers of global manufacturing competitiveness are the classic factors of production — labour, materials and energy.
The next four drivers are “contributory” government forces; economic, trade, financial and tax systems; the quality of physical infrastructure; government investments in manufacturing and innovation; and the legal and regulatory system.  A review of the countries featuring in the index has indicated that several newcomer economies are soaring in importance as manufacturing hubs.
India, France step up space ties
The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) has signed two more commercial agreements with Ariannespace, the French commercial launch services company, ISRO Chairman K. Radhakrishnan said in his address during French President Nicolas Sarkozy's visit to the space agency. Indian satellites GSAT 8 and GSAT 10 would be launched in 2011 and 2012. The launch cost is estimated to be Rs. 250 crore for each satellite. Ariannespace has launched 12 Indian communications satellites on a commercial basis so far.  The ISRO has also renewed its five-year contract (of 2005) with EADS Astrium, a European satellite system specialist that provides civil and defence space systems and services. The ISRO envisaged that this alliance between its commercial arm, the Antrix Corporation Limited, and the EADS Astrium “will jointly address the commercial market for communications satellites with payload power below 4 kw and a launch mass in the range of two to three tonnes.”
Two satellites jointly developed by the French space agency CNES and the ISRO would be launched by PSLV next year, the ISRO chief said. Megha-Tropiques, a space mission to study the tropical atmosphere, would be launched in May 2011; while Saral, an altimetry technology mission, would be launched by December 2011.
In IAEA fuel plan, India sees role as supplier
Indian support for a multi-million dollar International Atomic Energy Agency plan to create a ‘fuel bank' of low enriched uranium for use by countries with a small or start-up civil nuclear energy programme is intended to signal its willingness to be a supplier nation.  The fuel bank plan was adopted last week by the IAEA governing body, of which India is a member, by 28-0 with six abstentions. India voted for the resolution, which is intended to provide fuel to countries accepting full scope safeguards — international inspections — on all their nuclear activities. This means India, along with the five “official” nuclear weapons states as defined by the Nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty, will be ineligible to draw on the bank. So will Pakistan and Israel and, presumably, North Korea, until it reverses its withdrawal from the NPT. India believed that there was a considerable potential in the use of thorium-based fuels for light-water reactors (which conventionally use LEU) that would allow both the “proliferation-resistant use of fissile material” as well as higher energy output. Unlike the 2009 Russian proposal on a fuel bank — India abstained from voting on it — the latest IAEA resolution does not require recipient countries to abjure enrichment activities of their own.
Nevertheless, India made it clear in its explanation of vote at Vienna that “the right of any member state to carry out research and development on nuclear fuel cycles for peaceful purposes should not be affected by these arrangements.” Nonaligned countries such as Brazil, Egypt and South Africa have tended to view Western-sponsored proposals for a nuclear fuel bank as an instrument to deny them the right to pursue their own enrichment programmes. In its explanation of vote at the IAEA, India said artificial restrictions should not be imposed on supplier states which are in a position to support such fuel supply arrangements. India is comfortable with a plan which requires recipient states to be parties to the NPT, but warned that such a condition could not be imposed on suppliers. “India is not a party to the NPT. India, therefore, is not bound by the decisions of the NPT Review Conference. Nothing in the resolution can derogate the rights of member states of the IAEA as provided in its Statute. Similarly, we believe that the implementation of the resolution, including the role played by the DG, should remain strictly within the bounds of the Statute of the IAEA and the respective safeguard agreements between member states and the Agency.”
IUCN in the process of assessing freshwater biodiversity of India
The freshwater biodiversity of the country is being assessed by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN). It is after a gap of 13 years that the freshwater biodiversity of the country, including fish, molluscs, insects and plants, is being assessed using the IUCN Red List Categories and Criteria. The last such assessment was held in 1997. The assessment of the biodiversity of freshwater bodies in north India has been completed and the results updated in the Red List of the agency. The list is considered a comprehensive inventory of the global conservation status of plant and animal species. It has nine classifications namely extinct, extinct in the wild, critically endangered, endangered, vulnerable, near threatened, least concern, data deficient and not evaluated. The classification of species threatened with extinction —vulnerable, endangered and critically endangered — is carried out after assessing the biological factors related to extinction risk like the rate of decline of the population, population size, the area of geographic distribution, degree of population and distribution fragmentation. The assessment also aims at determining the conservation status of key freshwater species within the hotspot and the associated river basins in southern India. Information on threats to ecosystems and livelihood information was also part of the evaluation process.
India, France to enforce curbs on terror outfits
India and France decided to enhance their operational cooperation to expeditiously process extradition requests, curb money-laundering for terrorism and enforce the international sanctions regime against terrorist organisations. “Our two governments will coordinate their endeavours in international bodies, such as the Financial Action Task Force, in order to define common positions and promote concrete initiatives. France and India call on all countries to become part, as a matter of urgency, of all international counter-terrorism conventions,” said a joint statement, which was issued after a summit meeting between Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and the visiting French President, Nicolas Sarkozy.
Both sides also reiterated the importance of adhering to the sanctions against the Al-Qaeda and the Taliban, as established by the United Nations Security Council Resolution 1267 and subsequent resolutions, and the need to preserve the regime's credibility. Terming international terrorism one of the core issues in “bilateral strategic cooperation,” the joint statement expressed support for the India-initiated draft Comprehensive Convention on International Terrorism to address this problem at the multilateral level. The two countries reaffirmed their determination to work for a stable Afghanistan, with Mr. Sarkozy and Dr. Singh welcoming their countries' contribution towards and efforts at the reconstruction and security of the country. They also underlined the need for adequate development of the Afghan National Security Forces to enable Afghanistan to defend its sovereignty and independence.
The joint statement resolved to work together in making the G-20 a more effective tool for reforming the international monetary system. The two countries also decided to remain united in reforming the Security Council, countering the financing of terrorism and money-laundering, effectively combating climate change and utilising diplomatic tools to resolve the Iranian issue. Recognising India's non-proliferation record, France agreed to work with India towards India's increased participation in international non-proliferation initiatives and full membership of multilateral export control regimes.
France and India expressed themselves in favour of making the G20 as effective as possible so that it better reflected today's world and challenges. With the French presidency of the G20 having just begun, India's dual participation in the G20 and the Security Council for 2010/2011 presented a “historic opportunity” to step up joint work in the two bodies, the statement said.  They supported international cooperation to reduce the risk of terrorists acquiring nuclear weapons or material and reiterated their support for immediate negotiations in the Conference of Disarmament for a multilateral treaty to ban the production of fissile material for use in nuclear weapons or other nuclear explosive devices.

OVL to sign Satpayev oil field contract

In another step towards addressing the energy security concerns, Kazakhstan agreed to give India 25 per cent stake in its Satpayev oil field, agreement for which will be signed in February. ONGC Videsh Ltd. (OVL), the overseas arm of ONGC, will invest about $400 million in the prospective Satpayev oilfield in the Caspian Sea. Satpayev is situated in the highly prospective region of North Caspian Sea and in proximity to at least four fields. A peak output of 2.87 lakh barrels a day is envisaged from the 256-million tonnes of reserves in the field. Kazakh national oil firm KazMunaiGaz will be the operator of the field, holding the remaining 75 per cent stake. The initial agreement for OVL and its partner Mittal Investment Sarl, getting 25 per cent stake in the Satpayev, was signed during Kazakhstan President Nursultan Nazarbayev's state visit in January 2009 and an exploration and production contract had been under discussion since then.
India, France ink two pacts on nuclear safety
Besides the five agreements in the nuclear field that were announced on December 6 by the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) during the visit of French President Nicolas Sarkozy, two more agreements between India and France were signed here on the same date in the area of nuclear safety. The first is an agreement between the Atomic Energy Regulatory Board (AERB) and the French Nuclear Safety Authority (ASN). This is for exchange of technical information and cooperation in regulation of nuclear safety and radiation protection. It was signed by AERB Chairman S. S. Bajaj, and ASN Chairman Andre Claude Lacoste. The second agreement is on technical cooperation between the AERB and the French Institute for Radiation Protection and Nuclear Safety (IRSN). Called the AERB-IRSN Framework Agreement for general cooperation in nuclear safety, it was signed by Mr. Bajaj and Jacqus Repussard, Director General of IRSN.

The agreement covers areas such as exchange or secondment of staff, exchange of materials or software, joint studies and joint projects in the area of nuclear safety. However, since the AERB would be involved in the technology assessment and review of the European Pressurised Reactors (EPRs), this agreement provided for general exchange of information on the EPR technology in the development of the review process by AERB. IRSN is the technical support organisation for the ASN just as the Bhabha Atomic Research Center (BARC) is for the AERB. This agreement basically extends to the AERB the earlier scientific and technical cooperation that was in existence for over 10 years between the IRSN and the BARC.

EU-India Summit 

India and the 27-member European Union have agreed to strengthen cooperation on a wide range of issues, including counter terrorism, a new initiative to improve cultural ties, on legal agreements on extradition, and above all, to redouble efforts to ensure that by early next year a free trade agreement is ready for signatures. European Council president Herman Van Rompuy met Prime Minister Manmohan Singh along with European Union Commission president Jose Manuel Barroso in  the EU-India Summit at the EU headquarters in Brussels. The relationship between India and the European Union does not have the same hyper-resonance as New Delhi's other bilateral relations. Yet, as the annual EU-India summit testifies, both sides are engaged on issues of vital importance.
The 11th summit, , was significant for several reasons. Both sides hope to conclude a free trade agreement by the spring of 2011. EU is among India's biggest trading partners. Last year, the two-way trade in goods and services was worth €69 billion. The 27-nation EU is also a big investor in India. The Broad Based Trade and Investment Agreement, in the works since 2007, aims to dismantle tariffs on most products traded by the two sides.  Expectations are that it could push bilateral trade to as much as €100 billion. But the negotiations had stumbled on EU insistence over including a clause on sustainable development that would hold trade and investors to strict human rights, particularly labour rights, and environmental standards. India had resisted this.
The EU had indicated it would not let this condition stand in the way of the agreement, but it is in India's own interests to follow best practices while ensuring adequate protection to the interests of domestic trade and industry and the workforce. Both sides are also trying to negotiate two other major irritants — a dispute over intellectual property rights relating to Indian-made generic drugs, and the resistance of EU member-states to free movement of Indian professionals. The accommodation of Indian concerns on both is crucial to a satisfactory trade agreement. This was the first EU-India summit to be held after the Lisbon Treaty came into force a year ago. Among other measures, the Treaty aims to raise EU influence in global affairs.
TAPI project
Terming the Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India (TAPI) pipeline project as the new ‘Silk Route' between Central Asia and South Asia, Union Petroleum and Natural Gas Minister Murli Deora said, adding that this will aid in rapid economic growth of not only India but also participating countries. The project would enable flow of 38 mmscmd gas to India. “India strongly believes in regional cooperation, and this pipeline will be a testament to regional cooperation and solidarity. The TAPI gas pipeline will be the harbinger of economic growth and prosperity to us all. Through the Inter-Governmental Agreement and the GPFA, we have laid the foundation of the project,” he said.
Manmohan-Wen hotline becomes operational
The much-awaited hotline between Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao has become operational.  During two rounds of talks the two leaders held here on Wednesday night and Thursday morning, it was also decided that from now on the Foreign Ministers of the two countries will meet annually. Mr. Wen insisted that apart from attending the BRIC summit in Beijing next year, Dr. Singh should pay a stand-alone visit to China as part of a new mechanism of regular exchange of visits at the top level. Having achieved their earlier trade target, India and China have set their sights on a higher figure — $100 billion — over the next five years. But sources said there was no mention of how this would be achieved.
To New Delhi's satisfaction, a joint statement issued on Thursday saw Beijing agreeing to gradually resolve the problems faced in China by three Indian star performers in the world market — pharmaceuticals, IT and agro products.  India and China also agreed to set up a CEO's forum and signed a banking agreement. But Indian resistance ensured the Chinese proposal for a regional trading arrangement found no mention in the joint communiqué.

India to get access to GLONASS

India and Russia signed an agreement to share high-precision signals from the Global Navigation Satellite System (GLONASS) for defence as well as civilian use. The agreement was signed on the sidelines of the Russian President Dmitry Medvedev's Indian visit. As per the agreement, Russia will provide access to the GLONASS high-precision navigation signals to India. Russia currently has a total of 26 GLONASS satellites in orbit, of which 23 are operational. GLONASS is the Russian equivalent of the United States' global positioning system that allows users to determine a near precise position of any object to within metres.  Notably, in March this year, the Russian Federal Space Agency Roscosmos, the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) and Russian Navigation Information Systems (NIS) GLONASS signed a ‘Memorandum of Cooperation'. Later, representatives from NIS-GLONASS and ISRO's commercial arm, Antrix Corporation, agreed to set up a joint venture providing navigation and information services on the GLONASS/GPS platform.

5th International Conference on Federalism in Ethiopia

The Fifth International Conference on Federalism will be held at Addis Ababa in Ethiopia from December 13-16, 2010. The International Conferences on Federalism are organised by the Government of the host country in partnership with the Forum of Federations, Canada. These conferences provide a platform for practitioners and experts to share experiences on the challenges associated with operation of federal and federal-type systems. The International Conferences on Federalism were initiated in 1999 by the Forum of Federations, Canada with the Conference in Mt. Tremblant, Canada. This was followed by the Second Conference in 2002 in St. Gallen, Switzerland, Third in Brussels, Belgium, in 2005, and Fourth in New Delhi, India, in 2007. 

Sri Lanka-Pakistan pact

Sri Lanka and Pakistan have agreed to promote dialogue on security and defence issues, including training of security forces personnel. A joint statement issued by Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari said that at a meeting with his Sri Lankan counterpart Mahinda Rajapaksa, both leaders condemned terrorism in all its forms. Pakistan was one of the key allies of Sri Lanka in its fight against the LTTE. Besides, Sri Lankan defence personnel at various levels are trained in Pakistan. The joint statement said Mr. Zardari felicitated Mr. Rajapaksa on the defeat of terrorism in Sri Lanka. Mr. Rajapaksa reiterated appreciation for the assistance provided by Pakistan. “Both leaders agreed on the need for an increase in the frequency of high level visits between Sri Lanka and Pakistan, including at the summit level and at the level of the Parliaments, especially based on Parliamentary Friendship Associations established in each of the national Parliaments,” it said.

World Social Security Forum 2010
The global financial and economic crisis has reaffirmed the key contribution of social security to social stability and economic recovery. The World Social Security Forum took place in Cape Town, South Africa, 29 November - 4 December 2010. This unique global event gathered over one thousand leaders and administrators of social security institutions, policy-makers, representatives of international organizations and social policy experts from more than 100 countries. 

2010 in the top three warmest years: WMO

The year 2010 is almost certain to rank in the top three warmest years since the beginning of instrumental climate records in 1850, according to data compiled by the World Meteorological Organization (WMO). A WMO statement said the global combined sea surface and land surface air temperature for 2010 (January–October) is now estimated at 0.55 degrees Celsius plus or minus 0.11 degrees Celsius above the 1961–1990 annual average of 14 degrees Celsius. At present, 2010's nominal value is the highest on record, just ahead of 1998 and 2005. The data also indicates that the January-October 2010 temperatures are near record levels. The final ranking of 2010 will not become clear until November and December data are analysed in early 2011.
Preliminary operational data from November 1 to 25 indicate that global temperatures from November 2010 are similar to those observed in November 2005, indicating that global temperatures for 2010 are continuing to track near record levels. However, monsoon season rainfall averaged over India was only 2 per cent above normal, and it was well below normal in north-eastern India and Bangladesh, which had its driest monsoon season since 1994.

Only limited land areas had below-normal temperatures in 2010, the most notable being parts of western and central Siberia in Russia, parts of southern South America, interior Australia, parts of northern and western Europe, eastern China and the southeast United States. It was the coldest year since 1996 for the northern European region, and since 1998 for northern Asia, mainly due to below-normal temperatures during winter.  A number of northern European countries are also likely to have their coldest year since 1996, including the United Kingdom, Germany, France and Norway.


BASIC countries firm on second commitment to Kyoto Protocol

BASIC (Brazil, South Africa, India and China) countries on Monday outlined three issues that were non-negotiable and this included the necessity of a second commitment period to the Kyoto Protocol. The outcome at Cancun must be built on an agreement on a second commitment period of the Kyoto Protocol, they declared. The other two issues were, need to accelerate disbursement under the fast-start finance programme in the form of new and additional resources through a multilaterally supervised mechanism and recognition of the importance of continued dialogue on Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) as part of the technology development and transfer issues.
The BASIC had stated that they do not want funds under the fast-start finance programme; that it should go to smaller countries in dire straits. Even on the International Consultation and Analysis (ICA) proposal made by India, there seems to be an agreement among the BASIC, though initially China initially did not play the ball. India and China have been talking on this issue and a consensus was achieved. However, a lot of technical and financial support was needed for this and that the process should not be intrusive, but be non-punitive and facilitate the building of trust. Given that the ICA was voluntary, the frequency of reporting emissions should be on a par with what the Annexe 1 or (developed) countries would do as part of the Measurement Reporting and Verification (MRV) . China was keen on continuing with a second commitment period to the Kyoto Protocol.  It had budgeted 200 billion yuan on reducing per capita energy consumption and another 2,000 billion yuan on various energy efficiency measures in the next five-year plan.

Second phase of commitment to Kyoto Protocol

 As the high-level segment of the U.N. climate change conference began in Cancun, the second period of commitment to the Kyoto Protocol (KP) has become a contentious issue. After Japan's statement on the opening day of the conference last week that it was not in favour of committing itself to a second phase, things had taken a downturn. The first period of commitment to the KP expires in December 2012 and there is a feeling that deciding on the second phase of commitment can wait until then, according to some countries. Last year in Copenhagen, several countries already made commitments and these can be taken forward till 2012. The European Union (EU) said it was willing to consider a second commitment period under the KP as part of a wider outcome, including the perspective of a global and comprehensive framework engaging all major economies. It called for strengthening the Protocol and backing it up with “an equally robust” outcome under the Convention track. The EU and its 27 member States wanted a balancing package with essential elements such as adaptation, technology, finance, REDD plus and capacity-building, it added. However, the Alliance of Small Island States (AOSIS) and some African countries are insisting on a binding agreement and the situation has become rather fluid at the conference. Tillman J. Thomas, Prime Minister of Granada and chairperson of AOSIS, a group of 43 members, was categorical about delaying a second commitment period.

The United Nations Environment Programme GAP Report, which was released on Wednesday, clearly stated that the current emission pledges were far from adequate to limit the global temperature rise to 1.5 degrees as advocated by more than 106 countries.
The 14 Pacific Island Developing States threatened with extinction if sea levels rise, said there was little room for compromise and called for a fair solution. Cancun should take the world one step closer to a two-track legally-binding outcome in Durban next year, they said. The Group of 77 and China too felt the time had come to secure an outcome that fulfilled the mandate stipulated in Bali. It also called for establishing a second commitment period under the KP, ensuring emission reduction by developed countries and to avoid the gap between the first commitment period and the second commitment period. The 49-member group of the Least Developed Countries called for an adaptation fund, finances, but mainly stressed avoiding a gap between the first and second periods of commitment.

In Cancun, protest breaks out against REDD

The protest, organised by La Via Campesina and other groups with an estimated 3,000-5,000 people, was against market-based solutions to climate change and opposed Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD) plus, a proposal that seeks to help people manage forests and sequester carbon, among other things. Representatives of the Bolivarian Alliance for the Peoples of Our America which comprises nations of South America and the Caribbean (ALBA) countries also expressed their solidarity with the people.

Political chicanery in Ivory Coast

The risks of another civil war in Côte d'Ivoire have increased sharply, as the incumbent president, Laurent Gbagbo, refused to step down after losing the election to Alassane Ouattara — whose emphatic 54 to 46 per cent win has been confirmed by the United Nations. Mr. Gbagbo has persuaded the national constitutional council, headed by a crony, to annul the result of the Ivory Coast's first election in a decade. Mr. Ouattara and Mr. Gbagbo have been sworn in at separate events. The risks are exacerbated by memories of the previous conflict, which raged from 2002 to 2007 and intensified the country's North-South polarisation. In the Nigerian capital, Abuja, a seven-state emergency meeting of the regional economic grouping, the 15-member Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), has suspended Ivory Coast and called on Mr. Gbagbo to accept the election result; Ivory Coast was not represented at the meeting. The African Union, for its part, has nominated former South African President Thabo Mbeki as its mediator. The U.N. Operation in Côte d'Ivoire (UNOCI) has 9,000 troops but is limited mainly to monitoring and assistance, though it can confiscate arms and other matériel brought into the country in violation of a U.N. resolution.

Divergent positions on Kyoto Protocol

The yardstick of success of the United Nations climate change conference will be the anchoring of the pledges made at Copenhagen in 2009 on critical issues, and if there is a political intent to take the Kyoto Protocol forward into a second phase of commitment. Japan's refusal to commit to a second phase of the Protocol has hung like a dark shadow over the conference all along. However, it is not the case that talks did not make progress, and the Mexican government has pushed hard for results. The conference, which ended recently , had seen a lot of technicalities being discussed to take the pledges made at Copenhagen forward, and the Mexican government took a more decentralized process by forming smaller groups to discuss thorny issues and then tabling them in a plenary. While Bolivia had issues with this process, things have moved forward in key areas. However, some sticky issues that persisted were transparency or the International Consultation and Analysis (ICA) and Measurement Reporting and Verification (MRV) , finance, technology transfer, reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation (REDD) plus, and land use, land use change and forestry (LULUCF).

There were “strong and divergent positions” on the continuation of the Kyoto Protocol. Discussion on the critical areas of ICA, anchoring the pledges made at Copenhagen and legal forms were led by the developed countries, with the U.S. making an issue of the technology transfer mechanism being operationalised. The thorny issue of Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) has been taken forward for discussion so that it does not affect a conclusion here on this issue. On REDD plus, matters of national and sub-national accounting were contentious, but the main issue was that the U.S. wanted some closure on ICA for the other key decisions to be finalised. It is critical to anchor the Copenhagen pledges within the framework of the Kyoto Protocol by developed countries and in long-term cooperative action under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) for developing countries. It is important for India that the Kyoto Protocol parties anchor their commitment within that framework, so that the protocol continues.

The commitment to the setting up of a green fund last year was also an issue of contention, with the U.S. again merely wanting a decision to establish the fund and carrying forward the modalities of funding. Developing countries, however, want a decision at Cancun on this crucial aspect. NGOs pointed out that the phrase ‘new and additional' (for funding) has been removed from the text under discussion, and in return, timelines have been set for countries to give the money. The $30 billion fast-start finance announced at Copenhagen has been controversial with countries not really coming forward with funding, and with much of it not being new or additional. While there is a consensus on REDD plus, there are problems with the financial mechanism and accounting processes. According to the latest analysis by the Climate Action Tracker, an independent online climate policy assessment system, the current negotiating texts for forests and for the use of allowances after 2012 will significantly weaken the ambition level of developed countries emission reduction targets. The analysis warns that loopholes in the draft text would widen the emissions gap between countries' targets and what is needed to limit warming to below two degrees Celsius or 1.5 degrees Celsius. While no one expected a second commitment period for the Kyoto Protocol to be finalised at Cancun, at least a strong indication or political will to continue the protocol is crucial. It is important that the Copenhagen pledges be formalised under the UNFCCC.

Security Council eases sanctions on Iraq

The United States, tying up loose ends as its occupation of Iraq winds down, pushed through three Security Council resolutions that lifted restrictions left over from the confrontation with Saddam Hussein. One resolution permits Iraq to develop a civilian nuclear programme and import materials once banned because they could possibly be used to help develop unconventional weapons. A second resolution formally shuttered the dormant, widely corrupt oil-for-food programme. And the third gives the country control over most of its oil assets starting July 1, 2011, while simultaneously lifting the protection that shielded post-invasion Iraq from countless legal claims. Council resolutions that demand that Iraq resolve disputes with Kuwait were left intact. Working out final agreements on issues ranging from border demarcation to items stolen from the Kuwaiti national archives will be a priority for the next Iraqi government, said Mr. Zebari, so that Iraq can free itself of all Security Council restrictions imposed since 1990.

Iraq still faces at least $22 billion in outstanding financial claims, according to U.N. figures, much of it owed to Kuwait. Iraq will continue to set aside five percent of its oil revenues in a special account to pay off reparations from the war Saddam initiated in August 1990. Foreign governments, Westerners forced to serve as human shields and companies that lost business because of Saddam's invasion of Kuwait have been among those waiting for the U.N. protections to be lifted so they could pursue court action. The resolutions have no substantial implications for American policy, but to create a sense of occasion Vice-President Joe Biden presided over the vote in the Security Council. The United States holds the rotating council presidency this month.

China, Pakistan ink deals worth $15 billion

Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao went on a three-day visit to Pakistan. Through the day packed with engagements for Mr. Wen, the Pakistani leadership's endeavour was to convey to China its gratitude for being a steadfast friend, whose leader chose to visit Pakistan in its hour of trial. China is the only P-5 country to send a head of state/government to Pakistan this year, while the other four permanent members of the U.N. Security Council paid high-level visits to India on their calendar this yearEven from outside P-5, such a high-level visit to Pakistan has become a rarity. Mr. Wen's visit to the country carries as much weight as the slew of agreements worth billions signed by his delegation. Besides agreements/memoranda of understanding worth $15 billion, Mr. Wen announced a $410-million package for flood relief.

Ghauri test fired

Pakistan successfully test fired Hatf V (Ghauri) — a Medium Range Ballistic Missile — capable of carrying both conventional and nuclear warheads over 1,300 km. Lauding the 11-year-old Army Strategic Force Command (ASFC) for the successful launch, Prime Minister Syed Yusuf Raza Gilani said the test was a signal to the world that Pakistan's defence capability was impregnable and should never be challenged. According to a press release issued by the Inter Services Public Relations, the launch was conducted by the Strategic Missile Group of the ASFC on the culmination of a field training exercise.

U.N. norms on disappearances

The International Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance enters into force on December 23, marking the end of a long struggle to get enough number of countries to ratify the convention to make it a legal instrument. Almost four years after its adoption by the General Assembly of the United Nations, the Convention eventually reached the 20th ratification, which was necessary for it to come into effect. According to International Coalition Against Enforced Disappearances, (, Iraq was the 20th country that ratified this international treaty. As many as 88 countries have signed the convention but only 21 have ratified it. Seven countries recognise competence of the Committee to receive individual and interstate complaints. Japan only accepted interstate complaints. India and Maldives signed the convention on February 6, 2007, says the website. No other country from the region has signed, acceded or ratified it.

Russian Parliament approves New START

The Russian-American New START treaty won preliminary approval of the Russian Parliament, even as Moscow rejected as “unacceptable” the U.S. Senate ratification resolution. The State Duma, Lower House of Parliament, supported the treaty by a 350-56 majority in a first of three votes, but postponed its final approval till next year. In Russia, international treaties must be approved by both Houses of Parliament in contrast to the U.S. Russia's President Dmitry Medvedev hailed the pact as “a cornerstone of stability in the world and Europe for decades to come”.



The BRIC (Brazil, Russia, India and China) grouping will become BRICS with the inclusion of South Africa. The third BRIC summit in China next year will see South African President Jacob Zuma present as an observer. Membership of the soon-to-be five nation grouping will then be frozen for some time. This means that aspirants for membership like Egypt and Indonesia will have to wait till the BRICS stabilises.

India is comfortable with the planned inclusion of South Africa as both countries consult each other on a wide variety of international issues. The G-4 countries (Japan-India-Germany-Brazil) regularly have consultations with South Africa on the expansion of the U.N. Security Council to include more permanent members. On climate change, with the exception of Russia, the others form the BASIC that pushes the interests of developing countries and thwarts attempts by the West to impose its agenda. The emerging countries consistently push for a fair and effective solution to the climate change issue, while reflecting the charter of the U.N. Framework Convention, especially the principle of equity and common but differentiated responsibilities. South Africa's presence would, however, detract from the IBSA (India, Brazil, South Africa), which diplomats feel has not gained much traction despite Prime Minister Manmohan Singh observing at its last summit of the trilateral having come into its own.

China's dams in Xinjiang region

China's dam-building spree in its far-west Xinjiang region has triggered concerns in the neighbouring Kazakhstan, where officials say two main rivers have begun to see water-levels recede at an alarming rate. Officials from the Central Asian nation are expected to raise the issue with Beijing early next year and press for more information on hydro-projects in Xinjiang. The Irtysh and Ili rivers, crucial to Kazakhstan's water security, have their source in Xinjiang. Since 2000, China has accelerated development in the region, which has seen intermittent ethnic unrest. China and Kazakhstan are now close to signing an agreement on quality protection, which will ensure that Xinjiang's industrial development will not continue to adversely reduce water quality in the two rivers.

UNMIN prepares for exit

Even as the United Nations Mission in Nepal (Unmin) begins to pack up as its term ends on January 15, differences have sharpened among Nepali political forces on Unmin's future and alternative arrangements. The caretaker government led by Madhav Kumar Nepal has emphasised that it will not request the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) for another extension. The UNSC had granted an extension to the U.N. mission “for the last time” in September. This had come right after a political agreement among Nepali forces to finish the remaining tasks of the peace process in four months.

Under its current mandate, Unmin monitors more than 19,000 former Maoist combatants of the People's Liberation Army (PLA) and 3000 weapons in seven cantonments and 21 camps, as well as a restricted number of Nepal Army (NA) personnel and arms. It also heads the Joint Monitoring Co-ordination Committee, a dispute resolution mechanism that includes NA and PLA representatives. The government has argued that peace agreements require the Maoists to transfer to the PLA under the all-party “Special Committee for Supervision, Integration and Rehabilitation of Maoist armed personnel”. The committee recently constituted a 12-member secretariat, which has proposed a mechanism consisting of retired and serving state security personnel to be stationed in the 28 Maoist camps to monitor arms and personnel — the task performed by U.N. armed monitors.


Coastal Security Scheme Phase –II

Coastal Security Scheme (Phase-II) has been approved by the Government for implementation for a period of 5 years from 1st April, 2011. The approved financial outlay of scheme is around Rs.1,579 crore. The scheme will cover all the nine coastal States and four Union Territories. The salient features of the Coastal Security Scheme (Phase-II) are as below:

The approved financial outlay of scheme is around Rs.1,579 crore. After detailed consultations with nine coastal States, four Union Territories, Coast Guard and Indian Navy, the Coastal Security Scheme Phase-II has been finalised and approved. This scheme was discussed in the fourth meeting of the ‘National Committee on Strengthening Maritime and Coastal Security against threats from the Sea’ headed by Cabinet Secretary on November 23, 2010. The implementation of the scheme will be done by the concerned coastal States and Union Territories.

Weaver Friendly Textile Policy

The handloom sector is a part of the National Textile Policy 2000. The Government of India is following a policy of promoting and encouraging the Handloom Sector through a number of programmes and schemes to increase production, productivity and efficiency and enhance the income and socio-economic status of weavers by upgrading their skills and providing infrastructure and marketing support and essential inputs.
               Integrated Handlooms Development Scheme (IHDS)

This scheme provides need based inputs to a “Cluster” of 300-500 Handloom or a “Group” of 10-100  weavers for making them self-sustainable by providing them financial assistance for margin money, working capital, new looms and accessories, skill upgradation, marketing opportunities and for construction of workshed.
               Handloom Weavers’ Comprehensive Welfare Scheme

This comprises of two separate schemes viz. the Health Insurance Scheme (HIS) for providing Health Insurance to the Handloom weavers andMahatma Gandhi Bunkar Bima Yojana (MGBBY) for providing Life Insurance Cover in case of natural/ accidental death, total/partial disability due to accident.

               Marketing & Export Promotion Scheme (MEPS)

This scheme provides marketing opportunities and infrastructure support through design development and marketing linkages to assist in the sale of the Handloom products both in domestic and international market.

               Mill Gate Price Scheme

This scheme makes available all types of yarn at Mill Gate Price to the eligible handloom agencies to facilitate regular supply of basic raw material to the handloom weavers and to optimize their employment potential.

               Diversified Handloom Development Scheme

This scheme provides assistance for technological  and skill upgradation of weavers for design and product development through 25 Weavers’ ServiceCentres and 05 Indian Institutes of Handloom Technology all over the country to improve the productivity and earnings of the handloom weavers.

In addition to the above, the Government of India has taken up 4 Mega Handloom Clusters at Sivasagar (Assam), Varanasi (Uttar Pradesh)Virudhunagar (Tamilnadu) and Murshidabad (West Bengal) with a maximum project cost of Rs. 70.00 crore each for overall and holistic development of more than 25000 handlooms.

Setting up of Commission for Judicial Reforms

The government has, in principle, decided to set u a “National Mission for Delivery of Justice and Legal Reforms”, which inter-alia, propose to undertake strategic initiatives to reduce the period of pendency in the courts from an average of 15 years to an average of three years by 2012. The detailed action plan is to be formulated under various strategies by the National Mission when set up, taking into account also ongoing activities. For speedy disposal of cases Government have already implemented initiatives likes increase in strength of Judges in Supreme Court and High Courts, amendment in Cr. P.C. to limit the number of adjournments to three, enactment of Gram Nyayalayas Act, 2008, Computerisation of Courts, release of funds as per Thirteenth Finance Commission recommendations for setting up of morning/ evening/ shift courts, strengthening alternative dispute Resolution system, Lok Adalats etc. 

National Commission for Enterprises in Unorganised Sector
The Government constituted the National Commission for Enterprises in the Unorganised Sector (NCEUS) under the chairmanship of Dr. Arjun Sengupta on 20.09.2004.  The Commission completed its term on 30.04.2009.  The Commission submitted its Reports including Report on Social Security for Unorganized Workers. The Report on Social Security for Unorganised Workers was submitted in May, 2006. 
Salient features of the Report of National Commission for Enterprises in the Unorganised Sector on Social Security for unorganized sector:
The National Commission for Enterprises in the Unorganised Sector (NCEUS) in its report on Social Security for Unorganised Workers had recommended a legislation for the social security for unorganised workers. The salient features of the proposed legislation are:

Social Security Benefits:

      The Central Government to formulate a scheme to be called National Social Security Scheme for unorganized workers consisting of following minimum social security benefits:
(i)    Hospitalization cover up to Rs.15,000 and  sickness cover for the registered worker during hospitalization at Rs.50 per day for a maximum period of 15 days.
 (ii)  Maternity benefit of Rs.1,000 (maximum) per delivery
(iii)  Personal accident cover in the event of death of earning head of family to the tune of Rs.25,000
(iv)  Two options for old age security: (a) Monthly old age pension of Rs.200 per month to all poor (BPL) old aged (60+) workers, and
(v) Provident Fund to all other workers (who are required to contribute to the national social security scheme).

         The State Government may formulate schemes relating to:
        Provident fund
        Employment injury benefits
        Housing schemes
        Educational schemes for children of workers
        Skill upgradation; etc.
        Funeral Assistance
        Marriage of daughters; and
        Any other schemes to enhance the socio-economic security of unorganized workers.

Setting up of National Social Security Fund:
(a)     Grants and loans from the Central Government.
(b)   Contribution from workers, employers, Governments for the specified national minimum social security given as under :
(i)      Rs. 1/- per day for BPL workers by the Central Government
(ii)    Rs. 1/- per day by the employer wherever identified. For those where employer is not identified, the contribution to be shared by the Central Government & State Government in the ratio of 3:1
(iii)   Rs. 0.75 per worker per day by the Central Government and Rs. 0.25 per worker per day by the State Government.

On the basis of the recommendations of the Commission, the Government enacted, ‘Unorganised Workers’ Social Security Act, 2008 envisaging formulation of social security schemes for these workers. The Minister of State for Labour and Employment Shri Harish Rawat gave this information in reply to a question in the Lok Sabha. The ‘Unorganised Workers’ Social Security Act, 2008 provides for constitution of National Social Security Board which shall recommend social security schemes viz life and disability cover, health and maternity benefits, old age protection and any other benefit as may be determined by the Government for unorganized workers. 

The salient features of the Act are as under:
        Section (2) provides for the definitions, including those relating to unorganised worker, self-employed and wage worker.
        Section 3 (1) provides for formulation of schemes by the Central Government for different sections of unorganised  workers on matters relating to (a) life and disability cover; (b) health and maternity benefits; (c) old age protection (d) any other benefit as may be determined by the Central Government.
        Section 3 (4) provides formulation of schemes relating to provident fund, employment injury benefits, housing, educational schemes for children, skill upgradation, funeral assistance and old age homes by the State Governments.
        Section 4 relates to funding of the schemes formulated by Central Government.
        Section 5 envisages constitution of National Social Security Board under the chairmanship of Union Minister for Labour & Employment with Member Secretary and 34 nominated members representing Members of Parliament, unorganised workers, employers of unorganised workers, civil society, Central Ministries and State Governments.
        Provision for adequate representation to persons belonging to the Scheduled Castes, the Scheduled Tribes, the Minorities and Women.
        The functions of  National Board, inter-alia, include: to recommend to the Central Government suitable schemes for different sections of unorganised workers; monitor the implementation of schemes and advise the Central Government on matters arising out of the administration of the Act.  
        Section 6 has provision for constitution of similar Boards at the State level.
        Section 7 relates to funding pattern of the schemes formulated by the State Governments.
        Section 8 prescribes record keeping functions by the District Administration. For this purpose, the State Government may direct (a) the District Panchayat in rural areas; and (b) the Urban Local Bodies in urban areas to perform such functions.
        Section 9 provides for setting up of constitution of Workers’ Facilitation Centre to (a) disseminate information on social security schemes available to them (ii) facilitate the workers to obtain registration from district administration and enrollment of unorganised workers.
        Section 10 provides for eligibility criteria for registration as also the procedure for registration under the Act.
        Sections 11-17 contain miscellaneous provisions for implementing the Act.

The Rules under the Act have been framed and the Act came into force vide notification dated 14th May, 2009.  The National Social Security Board was constituted on 18.08.2009 and held its meetings to consider extension of RSBY to other unorganized workers and formulation of other social security schemes for these workers. The Board has recommended that social security schemes viz Rashtriya Swasthya Bima Yojana (RSBY) providing health and maternity benefits, JanshreeBima Yojana (JBY) providing death and disability cover and Indira Gandhi National Old Age Pension (IGNOAP) providing old age pension may be extended to certain categories of unorganized workers.  Recognizing the need for providing social security to workers in the unorganised sector, and as a follow up to the Unorganised Workers’ Social Security Act, 2008,  it has been decided to set up a National Social Security Fund for unorganised sector workers with an initial allocation of Rs  1000 crore.  This fund will support schemes for weavers, toddy tappers, rickshaw pullers, Beedi workers etc.

As a follow up of this, the Ministry of Labour and Employment has set up:
1.      A Task Force for suggesting schemes for domestic workers.  The Task Force has submitted its report to the Government.
2.      A Task Force for suggesting schemes to provide social security to rickshaw pullers, street vendors and rag pickers.
3.      A Task Force to suggest scheme for Pension/Provident Fund for unorganised workers.
4.      A Task Force for suggesting scheme for toddy tappers and Beedi workers.

Recommendations of N.C. Saxena Committee

The Planning Commission is the nodal agency in the Government of India for estimation of poverty at the National and State levels. As per latest official poverty estimates for the year 2004-05, the total number of persons living below poverty line (BPL) for the year 2004-05 is 301.7 million accounting for 27.5% of the total population. The Planning Commission in December, 2005 constituted an Expert Group under the Chairmanship of Prof. Suresh D. Tendulkar to review alternate concepts of poverty and to recommend changes in the existing procedure used for official estimates of poverty. The Tendulkar Committee submitted its report in December, 2009 and recommended the Mixed Reference Period (MRP) equivalent Poverty Line Basket (PLB) corresponding to urban poverty ratio of 25.7% at all India level as the new reference PLB.

This new reference PLB has been applied to rural as well as urban population in all the States. The resulting estimate of the all-India rural poverty head count ratio for 2004-05 was placed at 41.8 percent, urban poverty head count ratio at 25.7 percent and 37.2 percent at all-India level which accounts for 407.6 million persons. The poverty lines for rural and urban areas based on per capita consumption expenditure of Rs.446.68 and Rs.578.80 per month respectively for the year 2004-05 recommended by the Tendulkar Committee have been accepted by the Planning Commission

Dr. N.C. Saxena Committee was set up by the Ministry of Rural Development to advise it on the suitable methodology for BPL Census and not for estimation of poverty. However, in the Report submitted by the Expert Group on 21st August 2009 it is mentioned that the percentage of people entitled to BPL status should be revised upwards to at least 50%. The committee has suggested proportionate increase in the state level poverty estimates also. The recommendations of the Expert Group and other alternative methodologies are being tested through a pilot socio-economic survey and a Participatory Rural Appraisal (PRA) exercise in order to finalize the methodology for the final BPL Census. 

National Commission for Scheduled Castes to Organize Awareness Camps to Disseminate Information About the Rights of Scheduled Castes

The National Commission for Scheduled Castes will be organizing awareness camps in all divisions/mandals of all States/UTs in order to disseminate the information about their rights and safeguards provided in the Constitution of India. The Commission during its interaction with various organizations has observed that the majority of Scheduled Caste people are not aware of their rights and they need to be informed extensively about it. It cannot be over-emphasized that unless the intended beneficiaries are aware of their rights and the various schemes/programmes being implemented by various government agencies, they will not enjoy their rights and the people cannot get fully benefited

The rights provided include reservation in government services in Group A, B, C & D. The Scheduled Caste people are provided human rights protection by way of SC/ST (POA) Act, 1989 and PCR Act, 1955 with provisions for compensation.  It may be recalled that the Third National Commission for Scheduled Castes has been constituted under Article 338 of the Constitution of India with Dr. P.L. Punia, Chairman, Shri Raj Kumar Verka, Vice Chairman, Shri M. Shivana, Shri Raju Parmar and Smt. Latha Priyakumar as members. The Commission has been assigned the duties under Clause 5 of Article 338 of the Constitution to safeguard the interest of SCs. 

Pranab Sen Committee for Slums

The Pranab Sen Committee has given a new definition for slums. It has defined a slum as “a compact settlement of at least 20 households with a collection of poorly built tenements, mostly of temporary nature, crowded together usually with inadequate sanitary and drinking water facilities in unhygienic conditions”.

The new definition of slum is different from the definition adopted by the 2001 Census of India. Accordingly to 2001 Census, slum areas broadly constitute of:

1. All specified areas in a town or city notified as ‘Slum’ by State/Local Government and UT Administration under any Act including a ‘Slum Act’;

2. All areas recognized as ‘Slum’ by State/Local Government and UT Administration which may have been formally notified as slum under any act; 

3. A compact area of at least 300 population or about 60-70 households of poorly built congested tenements in unhygienic environment usually with inadequate infrastructure and lacking in proper sanitary and drinking water facilities.  As reported by the Office of Registrar General of India (ORGI), Census 2011 will use the same definition as used by Census 2001 for delineating the slum blocks in the notified, recognized and identified slum areas of each statutory town. In addition, the Houselisting and Housing Census data will be used for earmarking the “slum like” clusters uniformly through the country. The ORGI will also identify all the House-listing Blocks (HLBs) where at least 20 households satisfying the set criterion, as recommended by the Pranab Sen Committee exist. 

Committee for Forest and Wildlife Eco-Tourism

A 7-member Committee constituted under the Chairmanship of Shir Sujit Banerjee, Secretary (Retd.), M/o Tourism, to finalise the guidelines for forest and wildlife eco-tourism. It will firm up the guidelines for forest and wildlife eco-tourism in the context of advisories issued by the National Tiger Conservation Authority, the Wildlife (Protection) Act and the Forest (Conservation) Act. It will also see the studies conducted by the Ministry of Tourism on lodges and resorts around the tiger reserves. The committee will make an appraisal of ecological issues, tourist visitation and suggest measures for carrying capacity of reserves and give recommendation for regulating tourism in ecologically sensitive non-forest areas in and around tiger reserves. The Committee started working from yesterday and will submit its final report within 45 days.
Other members of the committee are Dr.Divyabhanusinh Chavda, Dr. A.J.T. Johnsingh, r and Shri Bittu Sahgal, all three from National Board of Wild Life (NBWL), Shri R.M. Ray, Retd. Principal Chief Conservator of Forests (PCCF), Karnataka and Dr Prabhakar Dubey, Director, M/o Tourism. Dr. Rajesh Gopal, Additional Principal Chief Conservator of Forests, (APCCF) & Member Secretary, National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA) will be Member Convener of this committee.

Rangarajan panel to examine NAC suggestions on food bill 

The experts group, chaired by chief of the Prime Minister's Economic Advisory Council C. Rangarajan, was set up by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to examine the recommendations of the National Advisory Council (NAC) on the proposed National Food Security Bill. Besides Mr. Rangarajan as the chair, the group includes the member-secretary of the Planning Commission, the Secretaries of Food, Agriculture and Expenditure who are concerned with the financial implications of the programme as well as implementation of the public distribution system. Chief Economic Adviser to the Finance Minister Kaushik Basu is also on the panel. NAC chairperson Sonia Gandhi has communicated to the government the council's recommendations on the National Food Security Bill. The NAC has recommended that legal entitlements to subsidised foodgrains be extended to at least 75 per cent of the population, which translates into 90 per cent population in rural areas and 50 per cent in urban areas.

In the first phase, food entitlements should be extended to 85 per cent of the rural population and 40 per cent of the urban population. Full coverage of food entitlements should be extended to March 31, 2014. The NAC has suggested that ‘priority' (Below the Poverty Line) households (46 per cent in rural and 28 per cent in urban areas) should have a monthly entitlement of 35 kg of subsidised foodgrains at Re. 1 per kg for millets, Rs. 2 for wheat and Rs. 3 for rice. The ‘general' (Above the Poverty Line) households (44 per cent in rural areas and 22 per cent in urban areas) should have a monthly entitlement of 20 kg at a price not exceeding 50 per cent of the current minimum support price for millets, wheat and rice.

The production and procurement of foodgrains, the subsidy component and the identification of the beneficiaries are contentious issues that the Rangarajan experts group will look at. As of now, the Planning Commission has to come up with poverty estimates. However, at the last meeting of the NAC, members wanted all Dalits and tribals in rural areas covered under the proposed Bill which might entail an additional foodgrains allocation of five per cent.  A draft food Bill worked out by the NAC suggests setting up a National Food Commission to ensure implementation of the provisions of the proposed Bill and enforcement of penalties for violations. The Rangarajan panel should ideally consider also the demand of civil society groups under the Right to Food Campaign for an all-inclusive, universal public distribution system, a foolproof delivery system and decentralised production of grains, procurement and distribution that will address rampant malnutrition.

 ‘National Parties' in India

With the Election Commission taking strong action against those parties not fulfilling the minimum eligibility criteria for getting recognition as “national” or “State” parties, the number of national parties in the country has come down to six from seven. The total number of State parties is 52 and registered unrecognised parties, 1112.  Now, the six recognised national parties are the Congress, the Bharatiya Janata Party, the Communist Party of India (CPI), the CPI (M), the Bahujan Samaj Party and the Nationalist Congress Party. The Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD), which was earlier considered a national party, will henceforth be only a recognised State level party in Bihar, Jharkhand and Manipur. Its recognition in Nagaland has been withdrawn in view of its poor performance in the 2008 Assembly election there. For getting national party status, a political party should have recognition in at least four States. A “State party” is entitled to exclusive allotment of its reserved symbol to its candidates in the States where it is recognised, and a candidate of a “national Party” can use the reserved symbol throughout India.

One-man panel to examine spectrum allotment from 2001

The Union government formed a one-member committee- Retired Supreme Court Judge Shivaraj V. Patil to examine the processes and procedures followed by the Department of Telecommunications (DoT) in the grant of licences and allocation of spectrum during both the National Democratic Alliance and United Progressive Alliance regimes. He will examine the appropriateness of the procedures adopted by the DoT in the issuance of licences and spectrum allocation during 2001-2009. The committee would have the power to call for any record or summon officials for any clarification or questioning. Through the inquiry, the Ministry would be able to know the entire gamut of procedures adopted since 2001 in the allocation of licences and spectrum, including the controversial 122 licences granted in 2008.

Mullaperiyar committee

The Empowered Committee on the Mullaperiyar reservoir, led by its chairman A.S. Anand, visited the site of the Kerala Periyar Dam, the new one proposed by the Kerala government. The officials explained to the visiting team that the proposed dam was a technically feasible proposition and the State government had prepared a technical report for the same. The government was also preparing a detailed project report, the committee members were told.  The new site is 366 metres away from the existing dam and 15 bore holes have been dug in the site as preparatory work for the dam. Once the dam is constructed, only 50 hectares of land will be submerged. There would be no considerable loss to vegetation as mainly eucalyptus trees would be removed. The five-member committee has K.T. Thomas and A.R. Lakshmanan, former judges of the Supreme Court; C.D. Thatte, former secretary to the Ministry of Water Resources; and D.K. Mehta, former Chief Engineer, Central Water Commission, as members.

Ecology panel report

The Western Ghats Ecology Expert Panel (WGEEP) headed by ecologist Madhav Gadgil has decided to walk the untrodden path. In the summary report which raises environmental concerns in the Sindhudurg and Ratnagiri regions of Maharashtra and emphatically supports the rights of its people, while strongly criticising the government's role, the WGEEP gave voice to the years of protests witnessed by the regions. The report seeks to answer various questions related to the ecologically sensitive area under consideration, and the role of the ‘development projects' there. It observes that environmental laws have not been followed in many cases, along with a serious threat to civil liberties. The ‘development' had not been equitable or sustainable, the report observes.
“It is relevant to enquire not only whether the overall cost, in environmental, social, economic terms, exceed the benefits, but also as to who is benefiting, and who is paying the costs,” it states. The final report will be submitted to the Environment and Forests Ministry in March, 2011. The report also underlines the important issue of toxic dumping. “It was revealed that the Common Effluent Treatment Plant at Chiplun cannot handle the quantity of effluent it is receiving, and its functioning is highly defective. People also reported that solid toxic sludge from industries was mixed with soil and dumped in the ghat area. “It is understood that many industries at Lote are pumping toxic waste into ground-water through bore wells. Apparently, three such cases were brought to light, but there has been no action,” the report observes, adding that decision-makers at the centres of power were not aware of the ground realities.  The report says that it is important “not to rush into environmentally damaging options if there is evidence that much less damaging options are likely to become available in the near future.”


Capital requirement of Public Sector Banks

The Cabinet today approved to provide an additional amount of Rs. 6000 crore, in addition to the Rs. 15000 crore already provided in the Budget 2010-11, to ensure Tier I CRAR (Capital to Risk Weighted Assets) of all Public Sector Banks (PSBs) at 7% and also to raise Government of India holding in all PSBs to 58%. It also approved that the exact amount, mode of capitalization and other terms and conditions would be decided in consultation with the banks at the time of infusion.

During the recent global financial crisis, the Public Sector Banks (PSBs) played a pivotal role in the economy by extending credit to all the productive sectors of the economy. The Government has always given ambitious targets to the PSBs ranging from credit disbursement, deposit mobilization, enhanced business and profitability indicators to financial inclusion.

During 2008-09 the advances of PSBs increased by over 25% as against 10% by private sector banks and around 4% by foreign banks. These banks, in this backdrop, would require capital commensurate with the increase in their Risk Weighted Assets (RWAs). Though the minimum regulatory requirement of Capital to Risk Weighted Assets (CRAR) for the banks is 9%, the Government has mandated a total CRAR of 12% with 8% Tier I Capital. Keeping, all other factors, the Finance Minister, in his Budget speech for the year 2010-11 announced that capital would be infused in the PSBs so that these are able to attain a minimum 8 percent Tier I Capital by 31st March, 2011 Subsequently, Union Cabinet too had approved a sum of Rs.15,000 crore in Tier I Capital Instruments of the PSBs for the year 2010-11. 

There are many PSBs where the Government of India's holding is close to 51%. This implies that in case of need, these banks cannot access the capital market for raising additional capital by dilution of Government holding. The present capitalization process of the PSBs has presented an opportunity to the Government to raise its shareholding in the PSBs, specially in those PSBs where the Government's holding is close to 51%. This will enable the PSBs to raise additional capital from the market, in future, without depending upon the Government. An analysis shows that there are ten PSBs where the Government holding is less than 58%.

FDI in Retail Sector

As per extant policy on Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) for the retail sector, FDI is permitted, up to 51%, only in Single Brand product retailing, with prior Government approval and subject to the following conditions:- 

(i) Products to be sold should be of ‘Single Brand’ only;
(ii) Products should be sold under the same brand internationally; and
(iii) ‘Single Brand’ product-retailing would cover only products which are branded during manufacturing. 

The Government has approved 59 cases of single brand retailing since in March 2006, when FDI was allowed in Single Brand Retail, until October, 2010. 
Free Trade Agreements
 Following is the list of countries with which India entered into Free Trade Agreements since January 2004 to December 2009.

Name of the Agreement
Date of Signing
of the Agreement
Date of
Agreement on South Asia Free Trade
Area (SAFTA)
Early Harvest Scheme (EHS) under the
Framework Agreement between
India and Thailand
India - Singapore Comprehensive
Economic Cooperation Agreement
Trade in Goods under the India - ASEAN Comprehensive Economic
 Cooperation Agreement
India - Korea Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement
07.08. 2009
India - MERCOSUR Preferential
Trade Agreement
India - Chile Preferential
Trade Agreement

No commodities can enter the Indian market if they are prohibited under the Foreign Trade Policy. Whether a product is prohibited from imports or requires prior permission before imports or is freely importable is decided by the Foreign Trade Policy. Free Trade Agreements can only offer duty reduction on specific products and cannot change the import policy for any product/commodity.

Wapcos to Receive Mini Ratna Status

Shri Pawan Kumar Bansal, Minister for Water Resources will confer Mini Ratna Category-I Status on WAPCOS Limited. The Company forayed and forged ahead to secure new business in countries like Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Cambodia, DR Congo, Laos, Mozambique, Myanmar, Nepal, Nigeria, Rwanda, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Taiwan, Yemen and Zimbabwe, by virtue of which WAPCOS increased its presence in many countries and also facilitated strengthening of bilateral relations between India and other countries. Within India, the Company ventured into new fields and secured projects in Government of India’s developmental efforts such as JNNURM, PMGSY, Lakes & Wetlands, Bharat Nirman, Rural Development, Housing, Fisheries, and Solid Waste Management etc. 

India as the Next Favourite Destination for FDI
India is projected to become the second most attractive destination for FDI in 2010-12, as per UNCTAD’s World Investment Report, 2010. Government has put in place an investor-friendly policy on FDI, under which FDI, up to 100%, is permitted on the automatic route, in most sectors/activities.

This policy is reviewed, on an ongoing basis, through a consultative process and significant changes have been made in the policy regime, in recent times, to ensure that India remains increasingly attractive and investor-friendly. The FDI policy is now available in the form of a consolidated document, as Circular 2 of 2010, effective 1 October, 2010, issued by Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion. The circular is available in the public domain and can be accessed at the website of the Department of Industrial Policy & Promotion. The Government plays an active role in investment promotion, through dissemination of information on the investment climate and opportunities in India and by advising prospective investors about investment policies and procedures and opportunities. A number of joint commissions and joint working groups have been set up to promote industrial, technical and scientific cooperation with select countries. The Government has also set up CEOs’ /Business Leaders’ Fora with some countries for active business-to-business cooperation and for developing a road map for partnership and industrial cooperation. It also coordinates with apex industry associations in their activities relating to promotion of industrial cooperation, intended to stimulate flow of foreign direct investment into India. 

On Course to Achieve Export Target of US $ 200 Billion 

 India’s exports have registered a growth of 26.8% during November 2010, at US $ 18.9 billion.   During the period April-November 2010, exports have reached a level of US $ 140.3 billion at a growth of 26.7% while the imports were US $ 222 billion with a growth of 24% and a trade deficit of US $ 81 billion.  India’s imports in November 2010 were US $ 27.8 billion, up by 11.2%.    During April-November 2010, the following sectors have done well viz., engineering, gems & jewellery, petroleum and its products, leather & leather products, carpet, plastics & linoleum, cotton yarn, chemicals etc.  An export target of US $ 200 billion has been set for the year 2010-11. With the present growth trend, we are on course to achieve the export target for 2010-11.  There has been minor improvement in the GDP Growth rate of US, one of our major export destinations.  IMF has also projected a growth rate of 3.3% in GDP in 2010 and 2.9% in 2011 for US in comparison to the negative growth in 2009.

In the Foreign Trade Policy 2009-14, it has been stated that India’s merchandise exports is expected to reach US $ 200 billion in 2010-11. In order to meet these objectives, the Government planned to follow a mix of policy measures including fiscal incentives, institutional changes, procedural rationalization,enhanced market access across the world and diversification of export markets. Improvement in infrastructure related to exports; bringing down transaction costs and providing full refund of all indirect taxes and levies became the three pillars, which would support to achieve the target.

 Government has put emphasis on market diversification as our traditional exports have been hit badly due to their concentration in US and EU Regions. Since the announcement of FTP, 2009-14, focus had been to diversify our markets more into developing countries of Africa, Latin America and some parts ofOceania.   A recent preliminary study conducted by Federation of Indian Exporters (FIEO) revealed that the schemes, particularly the Focus Market Scheme (FMS) and Market Linked Focus Product Scheme (MLFPS) have played a key role to diversify the India’s export base. Out of the 27 new countries added under FMS in August 2009, exports to 15 countries registered impressive growth despite the global slowdown.

The main objectives of the SEZ Act are:  (a) generation of additional economic activity; (b) promotion of exports of goods and services; (c) promotion of investment from domestic and foreign sources; (d) creation of employment opportunities; and (e) development of infrastructure facilities.  The overwhelming response to the SEZ scheme is evident from the flow of investment and creation of additional employment in the country.
The SEZ scheme has generated tremendous response amongst the investors, both in India and abroad.  In addition to earning of foreign exchange and development of infrastructure, SEZs have also created a significant local area impact in terms of direct as well as indirect employment, emergence of new activities, changes in consumption pattern and social life, human development facilities such as education, healthcare etc.   So far, formal approvals have been granted for setting up of 580 SEZs out of which 367 have been notified. Out of the total employment provided to 6,20,824 persons in SEZs as a whole 4,86,120 persons is incremental employment generated. The total physical exports from SEZs as on 30th September, 2010 i.e. in the first two quarters of the current financial year, has been to the tune of  Rs. 1,39,841 crore approximately registering a growth of 55.8% over the exports of corresponding period of the previous financial year.    The total investment in SEZs till 30th September, 2010 is Rs.1,76,148 crore approximately, including Rs. 1,61,743 crore in the newly notified zones.  100% FDI is allowed in SEZs through automatic route.   A total of 122 SEZs are making exports. Out of this 69 are IT/ITES, 16 Multi product and 37 other sector specific SEZs. The total number of units in these SEZs is 3,139.

India has always stood for an open, equitable, predictable, non-discriminatory and rule based international trading system. RTAs, in India’s point of view, should be ‘building blocks’ towards the overall objective of trade liberalisation and should complement the multilateral trading system. In the past, India had  adopted a very cautious and guarded approach towards RTAs and was initially engaged in only a few bilateral/regional initiatives, mainly through Preferential Trading Agreement (PTA) like the Bangkok Agreement (signed in 1975) to exchange tariff concessions in the ESCAP region, the Global System of Trade Preferences (GSTP - signed in 1988) to exchange tariff concessions among G-77 member countries, and the SAARC PTA (SAPTA - signed in 1993) to liberalise trade in South Asia.  However, these engagements achieved limited results in terms of increasing trade volumes with the member countries.  Recognizing that RTAs would continue to feature permanently in world trade, India got engaged with its trading partners/blocs with the intention of expanding its export market since early part of this decade and began concluding, in principle agreements to move, in some cases, towards Comprehensive Economic Cooperation Agreements (CECA) which covers FTA in goods, services, investment and identified areas of economic cooperation.
 FTAs/PTAs under Negotiation:
S. No.

Name of the Agreement

India  Japan CEPA
Negotiations completed. The proposed agreement covers the areas of Goods, Services, Investment, Intellectual Property Rights, SPS/TBT.
India - EU BTIA

Negotiations  launched on 28th June 2007 in the areas of  Goods, Services, Investment, Sanitary and Phyto-sanitary Measures, Technical Barriers to Trade, Trade Facilitation and Customs Cooperation, Competition, IPR & GIs. Etc  Eleven rounds of negotiations held till date
India - ASEAN CECA - Services and Investment Agreement
Negotiations on Trade in Services and Investment are under way. 9 meetings of Negotiating Groups have been held so far.  Negotiations targeted to conclude by March 2011.
India – Sri Lanka CEPA
FTA in goods implemented from March 2000. Negotiations on Investments and Services underway.

India - Thailand CECA
Early Harvest Scheme on 82 items implemented. Meeting of the Trade Negotiating Committee are now being resumed.
Next meeting scheduled in Dec 2010.
India - Malaysia CECA
Negotiations concluded. CECA is expected to be signed by January 2011 and implemented with effect from 1st July, 2011.
India - Mauritius CECPA
Negotiations are at a standstill since the tenth round held on October, 2006.
6th Round of negotiations were held during Nov 11-12, 2010. Next round expected to take place in Feb. 2011
India - New Zealand FTA / CECA
Three rounds of bilateral negotiations held so far.
India –Israel FTA
First Round of negotiations took place in May 26, 2010.
India - Singapore CECA
Second review launched in May, 2010. Target to be completed by Mid 2011.
India - SACU PTA
4th round of negotiations held in Oct 2009 in New Delhi.
Indian Mercosur PTA

The PTA is being expanded by widening product coverage and deepening preferences. Second meeting of Joint Administrative Committee on India-Mercosur PTA took place in June 2010.
India  Chile PTA
The PTA is being expanded by widening product coverage and deepening preferences.   Second meeting for expansion of the India-Chile PTA took place in August 2010.

18 meetings of the Trade Negotiation Committee (TNC) have taken place.  Texts of the agreements on trade in goods, customs cooperation and trade facilitation have been finalized.  Negotiations on the agreements on service and investments are continuing.
India - GCC Framework Agreement
The 2nd round of Negotiations held in September, 2008.
India  Canada  FTA
Inaugural round of negotiation took place in Nov 2010
FTAS in Pipeline:
S. No.
India  Australia
JSG Report submitted in May 2010.
India  Indonesia
JSG Report submitted in Sept 2009.   Note sent to PMO for consideration of the  TERC to initiate the negotiations
India  Turkey  FTA
The third meeting of the JSG was held in Delhi in the 2nd half of October 2010. During this meeting discussions were held on Chapters on Goods, Services, and Investments.
India - Egypt FTA
Revised proposal for setting up of a JSG to examine the feasibility of an FTA under preparation.
India  Russia
4th Joint Task Force (JTF) meeting held in Moscow, onMay 16-17, 2010 . Fifth meeting of the JTF to be held in Oct 2010
Trilateral FTA between India-MERCOSUR – SACU
Trade Ministers of India and the member countries of MERCOSUR and SACU met in Geneva on 30th November 2009 to explore the possibility of a Trilateral Preferential Trade Agreement.
India  China
JTF report finalized in October 2007. Internal decision not to proceed with the FTA
Indian Ocean Rim-Association for Regional Cooperation
India opposed participation in the proposed PTA on the grounds that India has separate trade agreements with most IOR-ARC members.

Ministry of Finance Notification recognises Aadhaar number for Opening of Bank Accounts
A Ministry of Finance, Government of India, notification dated the 16 of December 2010 has recognized Aadhaar number issued by the Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) as an “officially valid document” to satisfy the Know Your Customer (KYC) norms for opening bank accounts
This notification is expected to promote the financial inclusion of the poor and the hitherto excluded by making it possible for them to easily establish their identity and open bank accounts

The UIDAI is facilitating opening of bank accounts for the residents at the time of enrolment for Aadhaar through partner banks and acceptance of Aadhaar as a valid KYC will make the process seamless. 

Reserve Bank pumps funds to provide liquidity
The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) said that it would conduct open market operation (OMO) auctions for purchase of government securities for an aggregate amount of Rs.48,000 crore in the next one month to ensure liquidity in the system. The RBI has also reduced the statutory liquidity ratio (SLR) of scheduled commercial banks (SCBs) from 25 per cent to 24 per cent with effect from December 18. “The above two measures are expected to inject liquidity on an enduring basis of the order of Rs.48,000 crore,” RBI said while announcing its mid-quarter monetary policy review. However, the RBI has retained the short-term indicative rates, repo rate at 6.25 per cent and the reverse repo rate at 5.25 per cent. It has also retained the cash reserve ratio (CRR) at 6 per cent.
Given the permanent reduction in the SLR by one percentage point, the additional liquidity support announced by the RBI on November 29, will now be available up to the extent of 1 per cent (instead of 2 per cent) of net demand and time liabilities (NDTL) of SCBs from December 18, 2010, to January 28, 2011. The RBI said that the policy actions in this review would result in the release of sizable primary liquidity into the system; bring down the liquidity deficit in the system close to the comfort zone of the Reserve Bank; and stabilise interest rates in the overnight inter-bank market closer to the operative policy rate of the RBI.  The apex bank said that the growth momentum of the Indian economy remained strong. However, it said “Even as inflation has moderated, it remains significantly above the comfort level of the Reserve Bank. Moreover, risks to inflation remain on the upside, both from domestic demand and higher global commodity prices.”

Supply of Telecom Equipment

As per the Access Service license amendment dated 4.11.2008, all the mobile telephone service providers are required to conform to the limits of radiation as prescribed by International Commission on Non Ionizing Radiation Protection (ICNIRP). Latest detailed instructions, issued by Department of Telecommunications (DoT) vide letter dated 8.4.2010, mandates that all Base Station Transceivers (BTSs) should be self certified by the telecom service providers as meeting the radiation norms by 15.11.2010. If a site fails to meet the Electro Magnetic Radiation criterion, a penalty of Rs.5 lakh is to be levied per BTS per service provider. Accordingly, self certifications have been submitted by the telecom service providers for more than 4,16,000 BTS that the radiation level are within the ICNIRP prescribed limits. Telecom Enforcement Resource & Monitoring (TERM) Cells of DOT have started verification of radiation level of the BTS and all the BTSs checked so far have been found to be conforming to ICNIRP norms. 

For mobile handsets too, DoT has adopted ICNIRP norms imposing basic restrictions in terms of SAR (Specific Absorption Rate) value limiting to 2 Watt/Kg localized for head and trunk in the frequency range of 10 MHz to 10 GHz. Mobile handsets, being manufactured in the country as well as being imported is to comply these norms. Instructions in this regard have already been issued to manufacturers.
Further, a laboratory is being setup in the Telecommunication Engineering Centre (TEC) under DoT for testing of SAR value of mobile handsets being manufactured/imported in India.
The installed generator sets have to comply with the approved emission and noise norms of Central Pollution Control Board.  All the equipments inducted in telecom network have to adhere to international norms. As per terms and conditions of the telecom license, the licensee shall use technology/network equipment, which meets the relevant International Telecommunication Union (ITU)/Telecommunication Engineering Centre (TEC) standards/other International Standards Organization/bodies/Industry. 

Special Scheme to Popularize Science and Technology

Popularization of science and technology among all sections of the society and states is a major focus area of National Science and Technology Communication Council (NCSTC), Vigyan Prasar and many laboratories of Council for Scientific & Industrial Research (CSIR). Some of these activities address the general community. However, dedicated programmes have been organized by the Department of Science and Technology (DST) for people belonging to Scheduled Castes (SC) and Schedule Tribes (ST). These programmes are delivered through community based organizations with a focus on application of science and technology for adding value to locally available natural resources. Training workshops and science awareness activities are conducted for social groups belonging to these communities. Popularization of science among the SC/ST population is coupled also to skill development, technology information, capacity enhancement and knowledge about value addition to locally available natural resources. On an average, 20 programmes per year are being organised to address exclusively the science and technology initiatives for SC/ST population.
North Eastern Region has gained special attention from the Ministry of Science and Technology for special interventions. DST has developed a special package for promoting science education in colleges in the North Eastern Region. Support has been extended to 58 colleges for the upgradation of laboratory facilities for science education. The ministry has been organising and supporting several flagship programmes in the NE region such as National Children Science Congress; Regional Orientation Programme on “Understanding Planet Earth”; National Science Day programmes; Motivational programmes for talented students; Training courses on science writing/ journalism, etc. During 2009-10, more than 40 projects on science popularization for NE region have been supported.

CSIR has been conducting a CSIR- Programme on Youth for Leadership in Science (CPYLS) for the students of NE states through North-East Institute of Science and Technology, Jorhat. Department of Biotechnology (DBT) has implemented programmes for supporting education in life sciences and biotechnology areas. Special programmes for adding values to natural resources from the region have been conducted by DBT. 

International hub of Scientific Research

India has emerged as an international hub of scientific research during the decade largely due to the growth in number of foreign Research and Development (R & D) centers, increase in outsourced R & D, increase into R & D investment from both public and private sector, availability of scientists and engineers, rise in the scientific research publications etc. However, the interrelationship of knowledge or R & D with the other factors such as innovation, macroeconomic environment, infrastructure, health and primary education etc. needs strengthening for conversion of knowledge into inclusive growth.

According to the UNESCO's Science Report 2010, India's share in World publications is 3.7% (2008). In terms of patents, there is relatively low share of patents filed in India in comparison to those of China. According to the World Intellectual Property Indicators-2009 Report, India filed 28,940 patents in 2006-07 as compared to 2,45,161 patents filed by China.

The Government have taken various steps for the promotion and growth of scientific research in the country. These measures include, setting up of new institutions for science education and research, creation of centres of excellence and facilities in emerging and frontline areas in academic and national institutes, induction of new and attractive fellowships such as Innovation of Science Pursuit for Inspire Research (INSPIRE), strengthening infrastructure for R & D in universities, encouraging public-private R & D partnerships, fiscal incentives for R & D, national awards for outstanding R & D etc. Accordingly, the Government have enhanced XI Plan allocation for Scientific Departments to Rs. 75,304.00 crores from Rs. 25,301.35 crores during X Plan. 

Wireless-NGN: the future of communication

Wireless represents the fastest-growing segment of the telecom industry; it is poised to undergo significant technological change as 3G LTE and 4G wireless are emerging at a faster rate. At the same time, NGNs (Next Generation Networks) represent a fundamental paradigm shift in the wireline and wireless core networks from circuit switching to packet switching. The two will become highly synergistic over time and wireless-NGN integration will be both technically and economically feasible almost immediately. Next Generation Networks (NGN) are converged voice/data multi-service networks that operate in a multi-vendor environment. NGN is an architecture that provides seamless integration of both new and traditional telecommunications services across high-speed packet networks, interworking among clients of heterogeneous capabilities. Next Generation Networks (NGN) technology, is a new initiative created collectively by ITU (International Telecommunication Union ), ETSI (European Telecom Standards Institute), and 3GPP (3rd Generation Partnership Project) that aims at delivering all these new communication features on a “network agnostic” or otherwise called “heterogeneous networks” communication environment, is one where the only discriminating factors for service provisioning will be the user himself, his selected service types and the desired quality of service (QoS).

Next generation networks have finally been identified as network with the following common characteristics: convergence of various data communication types over the IP, i.e. data, multimedia, voice, video; fixed, wireless and mobile network convergence; access to a common set of services that can be provided over multiple access network types (ADSL, UTRAN, WiFi, WiMAX, etc) with features like user handover and roaming capabilities; IP-based core transport networks; possibility for using any terminal type (PC, PDA, mobile telephone, set-top boxes, etc);

seamless terminal, user and personal mobility; user-driven service creation environments; common set of services, admission policies, authentication type, always possible network accessibility regardless of the user connection type to the network. Migration of mobile networks to NGN is driven by the enhanced capability of 3G UMTS (Universal Mobile Telephone Service) access networks and standardization process is more elaborate as for fixed networks case.

Lunar eclipse coincides with winter solstice after 372 years

After a wait of 372 years, sky gazers are in for a special celestial treat as winter solstice coincides with total lunar eclipse, The last time the two astronomical events coincided was on December 21, 1638, Geoff Chester of U.S. Naval Observatory said. The eclipse cannot be seen in India as it will occur during day time but astro-lovers can see the full moon turning into a delightful shade of coppery-red from Europe, west Africa, the Americas, the Pacific Ocean, eastern Australia, the Philippines and eastern and northern Asia. Also, December 21 is the shortest day of the year as people living on the northern side of the equator will celebrate winter solstice. A solstice is an astronomical event which happens twice each year, when the tilt of the Earth’s axis is most inclined toward or away from the sun, causing the sun’s apparent position in the sky to reach its northernmost or southernmost extreme. On the day of winter solstice, North Pole points directly away from the sun and South Pole points directly towards the Sun, he said, adding the sun shines at lowest heights in northern skies and at maximum heights in southern skies. This results in the shortest day in the Northern Hemisphere, but at the same time it is the longest day in Southern Hemisphere.


50 years of CIRUS

The scientists and engineers in the Department of Atomic Energy (DAE) celebrated the Golden Jubilee of CIRUS and the Silver jubilee of DHRUVA. The 40 MW research reactor attained criticality on 10th July 1960. It was constructed under Canadian assistance. India and Canada shared the cost of about $14.14 million. CIRUS, the workhorse of BARC is a symbol of the advanced developments in nuclear science, engineering and technology in India. Dr Bhabha chose this heavy water moderated, uranium metal fuelled reactor as it would be a powerful tool for research.

Revolutionary test for TB

A new test developed for diagnosing active tuberculosis is set to revolutionise treatment of a disease that kills 1.8 million people round the world every year. It recently won approval from the World Health Organisation for a worldwide rollout over the next few years. The approval comes within three months of publication in the New England Journal of Medicine of the results of a trial conducted on 1,700 patients in five countries, including India. The new test has several advantages over the currently used smear microscopy and conventional nucleic acid-amplification method. While the sensitivity of smear microscopy is about 50 per cent, this (Xpert MTB/RIF) has 72 per cent sensitivity with one test, and 90 per cent with three tests in the case of smear-negative patients. Unlike smear microscopy, Xpert can identify rifampicin drug resistance. It correctly identified 98 per cent of bacteria that were resistant to rifampicin. In India and many other countries where multidrug resistant TB (MDR-TB) is not high, much of the testing that goes on now is mainly for diagnosing active TB and not for drug resistance. But Xpert is all set to change this: rifampicin resistance is an excellent marker of MDR-TB. Most patients who are resistant to rifampicin are also resistant to isoniazid drug. Patients who are resistant to rifampicin will need culture to find out which drugs work for them.

Top ten science breakthroughs of the year

A mechanical device that operates in the quantum realm tops the Sciencejournal's list of advances in 2010. Until this year, all human-made objects have moved according to the laws of classical mechanics. Back in March, however, a group of researchers designed a gadget that moves in ways that can only be described by quantum mechanics — the set of rules that governs the behaviour of tiny things like molecules, atoms, and subatomic particles. In recognition of the conceptual ground their experiment breaks, the ingenuity behind it and its many potential applications,Science has called this discovery the most significant scientific advance of 2010. Physicists Andrew Cleland and John Martinis from the University of California at Santa Barbara and their colleagues designed the machine—a tiny metal paddle of semiconductor, visible to the naked eye — and coaxed it into dancing with a quantum groove.

First, they cooled the paddle until it reached its “ground state,” or the lowest energy state permitted by the laws of quantum mechanics (a goal long-sought by physicists). Then they raised the widget's energy by a single quantum to produce a purely quantum-mechanical state of motion. They even managed to put the gadget in both states at once, so that it literally vibrated a little and a lot at the same time — a bizarre phenomenon allowed by the weird rules of quantum mechanics.

Science has recognized this first quantum machine as the 2010 Breakthrough of the Year.
They have also compiled nine other important scientific accomplishments from this past year into a top ten list, appearing in a special news feature in the journal's 17 December 2010 issue. “This year's Breakthrough of the Year represents the first time that scientists have demonstrated quantum effects in the motion of a human-made object,” said Adrian Cho, a news writer forScience. “On a conceptual level that's cool because it extends quantum mechanics into a whole new realm. On a practical level, it opens up a variety of possibilities ranging from new experiments that meld quantum control over light, electrical currents and motion to, perhaps someday, tests of the bounds of quantum mechanics and our sense of reality.”

The quantum machine proves that the principles of quantum mechanics can apply to the motion of macroscopic objects, as well as atomic and subatomic particles. It provides the key first step toward gaining complete control over an object's vibrations at the quantum level. Such control over the motion of an engineered device should allow scientists to manipulate those minuscule movements, much as they now control electrical currents and particles of light. In turn, that capability may lead to new devices to control the quantum states of light, ultra-sensitive force detectors and, ultimately, investigations into the bounds of quantum mechanics and our sense of reality. (This last grand goal might be achieved by trying to put a macroscopic object in a state in which it's literally in two slightly different places at the same time — an experiment that might reveal precisely why something as big as a human can't be in two places at the same time.)

The other nine

Science's list of the nine other groundbreaking achievements from 2010 follows.
Synthetic Biology: In a defining moment for biology and biotechnology, researchers built a synthetic genome and used it to transform the identity of a bacterium. The genome replaced the bacterium's DNA so that it produced a new set of proteins—an achievement that prompted a Congressional hearing on synthetic biology. In the future, researchers envision synthetic genomes that are custom-built to generate biofuels, pharmaceuticals or other useful chemicals.

Neanderthal Genome: Researchers sequenced the Neanderthal genome from the bones of three female Neanderthals who lived in Croatia sometime between 38,000 and 44,000 years ago. New methods of sequencing degraded fragments of DNA allowed scientists to make the first direct comparisons between the modern human genome and that of our Neanderthal ancestors.

HIV Prophylaxis: Two HIV prevention trials of different, novel strategies reported unequivocal success: A vaginal gel that contains the anti-HIV drug tenofovir reduced HIV infections in women by 39 percent and an oral pre-exposure prophylaxis led to 43.8 fewer HIV infections in a group of men and transgender women who have sex with men.

Exome Sequencing/Rare Disease Genes: By sequencing just the exons of a genome, or the tiny portion that actually codes for proteins, researchers who study rare inherited diseases caused by a single, flawed gene were able to identify specific mutations underlying at least a dozen diseases.

Molecular Dynamics Simulations: Simulating the gyrations that proteins make as they fold has been a combinatorial nightmare. Now, researchers have harnessed the power of one of the world's most powerful computers to track the motions of atoms in a small, folding protein for a length of time 100 times longer than any previous efforts.

Quantum Simulator: To describe what they see in the lab, physicists cook up theories based on equations. Those equations can be fiendishly hard to solve. This year, though, researchers found a short-cut by making quantum simulators—artificial crystals in which spots of laser light play the role of ions and atoms trapped in the light stand in for electrons. The devices provide quick answers to theoretical problems in condensed matter physics and they might eventually help solve mysteries such as superconductivity.

Next-Generation Genomics: Faster and cheaper sequencing technologies are enabling very large-scale studies of both ancient and modern DNA. The 1,000 Genomes Project, for example, has already identified much of the genome variation that makes us uniquely human—and other projects in the works are set to reveal much more of the genome's function.

RNA Reprogramming:  Reprogramming cells—turning back their developmental clocks to make them behave like unspecialized "stem cells" in an embryo—has become a standard lab technique for studying diseases and development.
This year, researchers found a way to do it using synthetic RNA. Compared with previous methods, the new technique is twice as fast, 100 times as efficient and potentially safer for therapeutic use.

The Return of the Rat: Mice rule the world of laboratory animals, but for many purposes researchers would rather use rats. Rats are easier to work with and anatomically more similar to human beings; their big drawback is that methods used to make "knockout mice"— animals tailored for research by having specific genes precisely disabled—don't work for rats. A flurry of research this year, however, promises to bring "knockout rats" to labs in a big way.

PSU Excellence Award for NTPC

Shri Arup Roy Choudhury, Chairman & Managing Director, NTPC Limited and Shri A.K. Singhal, Director (Finance) received the prestigious PSU Excellence Award 2010 at the Summit on India Public Sector Agenda@2015 held in New Delhi today. Shri Vilasrao Deshmukh, Union Minister of Heavy Industries & Public Enterprises presented the award to NTPC in the Best Financial Performance category. PSU Excellence Awards were organized under the aegis of Department of Public Enterprises, Indian Chamber of Commerce and Deloitte. NTPC is India’s largest power generation company with total installed capacity of over 32000 MW. Company has recently been conferred Maharatna status by Govt. of India. NTPC posted profit after tax of Rs 8728 crore with net sales of Rs. 46322 crore and total income of Rs. 49246 crore for the year 2009-10. The strong balance-sheet of the company gives it an edge in terms of resourcefulness to pursue both organic and inorganic growth opportunities. 

NTPC is headed by Shri Arup Roy Choudhury, who has an illustrious career spanning over 32 years of outstanding contribution in the fields of engineering, strategic management and business leadership. As present Chairman of Standing Conference of Public Enterprises (SCOPE), the apex body of central public sector enterprises (CPSEs), Shri Roy Choudhury has been effectively leading policy advocacy for greater empowerment of these enterprises. 

Golden Peacock Award

Bengali filmmaker Gautam Ghose's film Moner Manush (The Quest), an Indo-Bangladesh joint production, bagged the coveted Golden Peacock Award for the Best Film at the 41st International Film Festival of India (IFFI) 2010.  The film is a saga of the life and times of Lalan Faquir and his liberal sect whose message of tolerance and secularism is becoming most relevant in today's world. The Silver Peacock Award for the Best Director went to Susanne Bier of Denmark for her film In a Better World. Just Another Love Story from India and The Boy from New Zealand were the joint winners of the Special Jury Award.


SCOPE awards presented

The SCOPE (Standing Conference of Public Enterprises) excellence award in the individual category was conferred on NTPC Chairman & Managing Director Arup Roy Choudhury as outstanding chief executive while Coal India Limited (CIL) Chairman P. S. Bhattacharyya was presented the ‘Special Award of the Jury'. In the institutional category, Power Grid Corporation CMD S. K. Chaturvedi, and Bharat Heavy Electricals (BHEL) CMD B. Prasada Rao bagged the ‘Gold Trophy' in the large-scale PSE category, according to a SCOPE statement While SJVNL Chairman H. K. Sharma and BEML Chairman V. R. S. Natarajan received Gold Trophies in medium-scale PSE category, MECON Chairman A. K. Ghosh and Andrew Yule Chairman Kallol Datta were awarded ‘Gold Trophies' in the small-scale PSE and turnaround PSE categories, respectively.
The MoU awards were presented to PSEs in 12 sectors. These were awarded to Projects & Development India Ltd. (for Consultancy); Rail Tel Corporation of India Ltd. (Electronics & communications); Power Grid Corporation (Energy); Rahstriya Chemicals & Fertilisers Ltd. (Fertiliser & agro industries); Power Finance Corporation (Financial services); Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd. (Industrial); Mishra Dhatu Nigam Ltd. (Mining & minerals); GAIL (India) Ltd. (Petroleum); PEC Ltd. (Trading & services); Cochin Shipyard Ltd. (Transport); NALCO (Listed CPSE); and MECON Ltd. (Turnaround).

Tata Steel receives MAKE 2010 award

Tata Steel has got the distinction as the only manufacturing company to be feted by India's Most Admired Knowledge Enterprise (MAKE) for 2010 for ‘sustained excellence in the field of knowledge management'. The winners were selected by a panel of India-based Fortune 500 senior executives and internationally recognised knowledge management and intellectual capital experts. The MAKE panel has rated Tata Steel best (first place) in developing knowledge workers through senior management leadership. It is the only manufacturing company to achieve this feat in 2010. 

Sahitya Akademi winners

The former Union Minister, M.P. Veerendra Kumar is among the 22 who have won this year's Sahitya Akademi awards for the best works in literature. Mr. Kumar has won the award for his travelogue ‘Haimavathabhuvil' in Malayalam. The other winners include eight poets, four novelists and three short story writers. The winning poets are: Arun Sakhardande [Konkani], Vanita [Punjabi], Mithila Prasad Tripathi [Sanskrit], Sheen Kaaf Nizam [Urdu], Laxman Dubey [Sindhi], Mangat Badal [Rajasthani], Aurobindo Uzir [Bodo] and Gopi Narayan Pradhan [Nepali]. The novelists are Esther David [English], Bani Basu [Bengali], Dhirendra Mehta [Gujarati] and M.Borkanya [Manipuri]. Under the category of short stories, Nanjil Nadan [Tamil], Uday Prakash [Hindi] and Manoj [Dogri] have been chosen for the award. Among others, Rahamat Tarikere [Kannada], Ashok R.Kelkar [Marathi], Basher Bashir [Kashmiri] have won the awards for best books of criticism, Pathani Pattnaik [Oriya] under the category of ‘autobiographies' and Bhogle Soren [Santali] under ‘plays.' The awards are in the form of caskets containing an engraved copper plaque, a shawl and a cheque for Rs. One lakh.  They will be presented at a function on February 15 during the festival of letters organised by the Akademi.

Lifetime Grammys for Julie Andrews, Dolly Parton

Sound of Music star Julie Andrews, country singer Dolly Parton and jazz drummer Roy Haynes will be honoured with lifetime achievement Grammy awards next year for their artistic contribution to the recording medium. The Recording Academy has also selected punk pioneers The Ramones, Juilliard String Quartet, the Kingston Trio and 101-year-old gospel legend George Beverly Shea for the lifetime Grammys. The artists will receive their golden gramophones at an event in Los Angeles on February 12, 2011 a day before the 53rd annual Grammy Awards ceremony. The 75-year-old Ms. Andrews is best remembered for her roles in 1960s musicals like Sound of Music and Mary Poppins, for which she won a Grammy award. Ms. Parton (64) is known as the “Queen of Country Music” with 25 number-one singles. She has received seven Grammy Awards and a total of 45 Grammy Award nominations.


Umpire Decision Review System

The Umpire Decision Review System (abbreviated as UDRS or DRS) is a new technology based system currently being used on an experimental basis in the sport of cricket. The system is being used only in Test Cricket for the sole purpose of reviewing the controversial decisions made by the on-field umpires in the case of a batsman being dismissed or not. The new review system was officially launched by International Cricket Council on 24 November 2009 during the first Test between New Zealand and Pakistan at the University Oval in Dunedin. It was first used in ODIs in January 2011, in England's series against Australia.

 2018  Football World Cup to be held in Russia
Russia and the tiny Gulf state of Qatar were awarded the 2018 and 2022 World Cups after an acrimonious bidding war marred by allegations of corruption and illegal deal-making. The bombshell conclusion to two years of frenzied lobbying saw world football supremo Sepp Blatter reveal the winners following a secret ballot of 22 FIFA executive committee members in Zurich.The announcement means the World Cup will be staged in two countries which have never hosted the event before following the 2014 tournament in Brazil. Russia prevailed in the 2018 race, upsetting England and joint bids from Spain and Portugal and Belgium and the Netherlands.
Rikard Karlberg took the Indian Open crown 

Karlberg stayed a stroke off the lead,  While overnight leader Baek Seuk-Hyun dropped three strokes by 12 holes and surprise leader Manav Jaini tumbled from 11-under to choke on the 16th and 17th, the Swede came up with a stunning birdie-birdie finish to seal the $1.25 million Hero Honda Indian Open golf title. Karlberg started the day in the second spot, made history of sorts by becoming the first professional to come through the Qualifying School and win two titles in the same year at the same venue.

Serbia - maiden Davis Cup title
World No. 3 Novak Djokovic and the unheralded Viktor Troicki swept Serbia to an historic first Davis Cup title, overturning an overnight deficit to beat nine-time winner France 3-2. It will rank alongside Serbia's previous best global performances of the Olympic volleyball gold medal in 2000 and the 2001 European basketball title. It also betters the former Yugoslavia's record in the Davis Cup with three semifinal spots in 1988, 1989 and 1991 being the best outings.
India sweeps series

India secured a series whitewash against New Zealand with an eight-wicket victory. The rampant India's 5-0 ODI series sweep was set up by the bowlers.

Saina Nehwal wins Hong Kong Open
Ace Indian shuttler Saina Nehwal rallied to register a scintillating three-game victory over Shixian Wang of China to clinch the title at the Hong Kong Open in Wanchai. The 20-year-old Indian capped her career's fourth Super Series title triumph with a 15-21, 21-16, 21-17 win over the third-seeded Chinese in a gruelling one hour and 11 minutes summit clash at the Queen Elizabeth Stadium.
Saina won back-to-back titles — Indian Open Grand Prix, Singapore Open Super Series and defended the Indonesian Super Series — before clinching the gold medal in the Commonwealth Games in October.  Saina, who dropped to fourth in the world rankings, is likely to inch closer to the No. 1 spot with this resounding victory.
Sachin Tendulkar hits 50th Test century

Indian cricket Legendary Sachin Tendulkar makes his 50th international test century and became the first batsman to achieve this milestone. It is in the 4th day of the test match against South Africa at SuperSport Park he added this golden monument to his collection of records. Sachin scored 100 out of 197 balls. M.S.Dhoni was his partner when he played this historic play. Tendulkar now have 96 centuries in international cricket. He was the first player to achieve 50 centuries in all international cricket combined. Tendulkar was born on 24th April 1973 in Mumbai and widely regarded as one of the greatest batsmen. Now most of the batting records were owned by him. 

Parimarjan Negi is National champion
 Negi claimed the title he had come for after a friendly 15-move draw with Tejas Bakre in the 48th National Premier chess championship. For the 17-year-old Negi from Bharat Petroleum and a student of Amity School, the title not only brought with it a glittering trophy and a cheque for Rs. 1.25 lakh but also an unexpected bonus of Rs. 50,000 from Delhi Chess Association President Bharat Singh Chauhan for being the first National champion from the Capital. In addition, Negi also became the first Indian qualifier for the next year's World Cup to be held at Khanty Mansisyk, Russia. For the record, an undefeated Negi tallied 9.5 points, one better than runner-up and top seed G.N. Gopal, outgoing champion B. Adhiban and former winner Abhijit Kunte.

20,483 play chess under one roof, enter Guinness

Gujarat, through Ahmedabad, has staked its claim to find a place in the Guinness Book of World Records by assembling 20,483 players to play chess simultaneously on one platform.  The “Swarnim Chess Mahotsav” was organised by the Department of Sports, Youth, & Cultural activities and the Gujarat Chess Association as part of the golden jubilee celebrations of the State. Besides Chief Minister Narendra Modi, world chess champion Vishwanathan Anand was present on the occasion, and as a token, he played simultaneously with 64 participants at the Mahotsava. An official representative of the Guinness Book was present to ensure that the ceremony conformed to the rules and regulations for records. A spokesman of the State government claimed that Ahmedabad had broken the record set in current Guinness record-holder Mexico City when, on October 21, 2006, 13,446 players played chess simultaneously. The former world champion, Anatoly Karpov, was present in the record chess ceremony at Mexico City.
India bounces back, levels series
India renewed its hopes of a maiden Test series triumph in South Africa after completing an 87-run win in the second Test in Durban.

Tsunami Waves

The Indian National Centre for Ocean Information Services (INCOIS) is the institution hosting 24X7 National Tsunami Warning System (NTWS) that covers the entire Indian Ocean. The NTWS, commissioned and made operational in 2007, is capable of detecting tsunamigenic sea-bed earthquakes and to monitor tsunamis so as to provide timely early warning advisories to concerned government departments and to vulnerable community using latest communication infrastructure.

No international assistance has been sought/received to commission/upgrade existing Tsunami Warning forecasting ability. However, India has signed an Implementation Arrangement with National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), USA to assess the NOAA's Tsunami model performance vis-à-vis the model of NTWS over the Indian Ocean.  To mark thirty years of Indian presence in Antarctica a scientific expedition to South Pole was launched from the Indian Station 'Maitri' at Antarctica on 13th November, 2010. An eight member team comprising geologists, glaciologist, geophysicist apart from a doctor and vehicle engineers after travelling a journey of 2350 kms in 10 days have made it to South Pole on 22nd November, 2010. Entire mainland coastline of India along with Andaman & Nicobar and Lakshadweep Islands are vulnerable to Tsunami. 

Climate Change in North Pole

The National Centre for Antarctic and Ocean Research (NCAOR) alongwith National Institute of Oceanography (NIO), Goa have a research project for ‘Long – term monitoring of Kongsfjorden system (Ny-A lesund, Svalbard, Norway) of Arctic region for climate change studies’. The objective of the project is to establish a long-term comprehensive physical, chemical, biological and atmospheric measurement programme to study are the variability in the Arctic/Atlantic climate signal, the effect of interaction between the warm Atlantic water and the cold glacial-melt fresh water on the biological productivity and phytoplankton species composition and diversity within the fjord, the winter convection and its role in the biogeochemical cycling, the trigger mechanism of spring bloom and its temporal variability and biomass production and the production and export of organic carbon in the fjord.   Expenditure of Rs.15 crore is estimated to be incurred for the programme during current Five Year Plan.The study is to be carried out under the MoU between National Centre for Antarctic and Ocean Research (NCAOR) Goa and the Norwegian Polar Institute (NPI), Tromso, Norway. 

Emission and Effluent Standards for Relevant Pollutants to Prevent Industrial Pollution

The Central Government has notified emission and effluent standards for relevant pollutants under Environment (Protection) Act, 1986 for 74 categories of processes and industries, including 17 categories of highly polluting industries. The identification of pollutants and setting of standards have been done in consultation with various stakeholders. There are concentration based standards as well as load based standards in some cases. There may be differential norms depending upon production capacity, technology or location of industry. For example, the limit for particulate matter for cupola furnace would be 450 mg/Nm3 if the melting capacity is less then 3 tonne/hour. Similarly, the norms for Biochemical Oxygen Demand are 1000 mg/litre for wet process of Coffee industry and 100 mg/litre for dry process. In addition, there are norms for physical specifications to be followed, such as, height of chimney for a boiler, brick Kiln or cement plant.

There are 17 categories of highly polluting industries, which have been identified as Aluminium, Cement, Chlor-Alkali, Copper, Distillery, Dyes & Dye Intermediates, Fertilizer, Iron & Steel, Oil Refinery, Pesticides, Petrochemicals, Pharmaceuticals, Pulp, & Papers, Suger, Tannery, Thermal Power and Zinc. The concerned State Pollution Control Board (SPCB)/Pollution Control Committee (PCC) alongwith Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) monitor the discharges from these units.

The Central Government reiterates to CPCB and SPCBs the necessity of close monitoring of 17 categories from time to time. For effective control of industrial pollution, various steps have been taken by the Central Government, CPCB and the SPCBs/PCCs. These include, inter alia, inspection & enforcement of emission & effluent standards through issue of directions and consent mechanism, mandatory prior environmental clearance for certain new projects/expansion of projects, financial assistance for establishment of Common Effluent Treatment Plants for Small Scale Industries (SSIs) units located in industrial clusters, identification of critically polluted areas and preparation of action plans for abatement of pollution. 

Vice President Releases the Book “TARDEED”

The Vice President of India, Shri M. Hamid Ansari released a book entitled “TARDEED”, a poetic collection by Shri Nadeem Arshi (A.M. Raza Naqvi), This poetry is neither a mere flight of imagination nor it is confined to traditional topics. It pulsates with life and deals with the issues that surround us.

T.E. Srinivasan passes away
Cricket in the State, and in the country, lost a colourful personality in the death of T.E. Srinivasan. A stylist with a consciously-cultivated gait — many viewed this as attempting to imitate his idol, M.L. Jaisimha — TE sparkled in an era when the game was valued more for the pleasure of playing it than for statistical achievements.  TE exuded a spirit of nonchalance, regardless of the level of the competition. He attacked bowlers with rare relish, seeking every avenue to annihilate them. His strokes, especially on the front foot, were a treat to the eye and despair to the fieldsmen. He enjoyed hitting the ball on the rise, and invariably finished with an impeccable shot that mirrored his judgement and timing.
Golden jubilee celebrations of IIMA

The Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad, completed 50 years of its existence. The IIMA began the golden jubilee celebrations with a new record in which more than 11,000 dominoes were toppled in a series unveiling the logo for the occasion.

Richard Holbrooke passes away
Richard Holbrooke (69), President Barack Obama's Special Representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan, died at George Washington University Hospital after undergoing two surgical procedures for repairing a tear in his aorta. Mr. Holbrooke's career both began and ended in the service of American diplomacy trapped within the perimeter of unrelenting wars of occupation. As a young Foreign Service officer he was assigned to the U.S. embassy in Vietnam in 1962, where he served for six years and made important policy contributions for economic development and local political reform. In this posting he was most remembered, however, for lending his expertise to the Paris peace talks of 1968, which ultimately helped end the war.  Twenty-four years later – following successful stints as the Director of the U.S. Peace Corps in Morocco (1970-72), as Assistant Secretary of State for East Asian and Pacific Affairs under President Jimmy Carter (1977-81) and as U.S. Ambassador to Germany (1993-94) – Mr. Holbrooke again found himself shaping the course of historically significant events.
Socialist leader Surendra Mohan passes away

Renowned socialist thinker and activist Surendra Mohan passed away. Mr. Mohan, a veteran socialist leader, was a member of the Rajya Sabha from 1978 to 1984. He was also the former chairman of the Khadi and Village Industries Commission. And, even though he played a key role in the country's politics in 1977 when the Janata Party coalition government was formed at the Centre, and in 1989, when the Janata Dal was born, he always remained a behind-the-scenes party ideologue.

Theatre personality Ramaprasad Banik dead

Eminent thespian, Ramaprasad Banik, a protégé of the legendary Sambhu Mitra, died . Actor, director and playwright, Ramaprasad Banik virtually spent his entire lifetime in theatre, having started off at a very early age as a child artist in Putul Khela, an adaptation of Henrik Ibsen's A Doll's House, directed by Sambhu Mitra. In his years with Chena Mukh, Banik scripted, directed and acted in several plays including Pakhi, Ranee Kahini and Icchekari, said Subrata Majumdar, who is among those who knew him from his ‘Bahurupee' days and co-founded the ‘Chena Mukh.'

Jayaben Desai, architect of Asian women workers' movement, dead

Jayaben Desai, a pioneer of Asian women workers' movement in Britain, has died. The diminutive India-born Ms. Desai, who moved to Britain from Tanzania in 1969, came to be known as “lioness” for her role in leading the two-year-long strike at the Grunwick Film Processing Laboratories, north London, in the 1970s demanding union recognition for its largely Asian and female workforce. The Grunwick strike (1976-78), regarded as a seminal moment in British trade union movement, was sparked by the dismissal of Devshi Bhudia, a male worker, for working “too slowly.” Ms. Desai, who walked out in support along with other workers, including her son, was dismissed.  Most of the workers at the factory were women, mostly Indian, and as they took to the streets, led by Ms. Desai with her trademark handbag, they were fondly dubbed the “strikers in saris.” Although the workers failed to achieve their demand, the strike helped highlight the oppression of migrant women workers.

Civil rights activist Kannabiran passes away

Eminent civil rights activist and prominent lawyer K.G. Kannabiran passed away. He was the president of Andhra Pradesh Civil Liberties Committee between 1978 and 1994 and went on to become the national president of People's Union for Civil Liberties (PUCL). With Leftist leanings, he advocated a dialogue between the government and the banned Communist Party of India (Marxist-Leninist) – People's War — later known as CPI (Maoist).

Important Days in the month of December:

 December 1: World Aids Day.
 December 3: International Day of Persons with Disabilities.
 December 4: Navy Day.

 December 7: Armed Forces Flag Day.

 December 10: Human Right Day.
 December 14: National Energy Conservation Day.

 December 23: Kisan Divas Farmer's Day). 


Generating Capacity Increases to 167317 MW : Capacity addition
            There has been sizeable growth in the power sector as the generating capacity in the country has increased to 167317.36 MW as on 30.11.2010. The installed capacity sector-wise & type wise as on 30.11.2010 is given below:





Note: - R.E.S. includes SHP , BG, BP, U&I and Wind Energy.

            The details of capacity commissioned/ to be commissioned during the Eleventh Plan are given in the Table below:

Fuel –Wise Details
                                                                                                       (in MW)
Mid-term appraisal target
(Upto 15.11.2010)
Under construction

This includes a Capacity of 384 MW commissioned from additional projects

Sector –wise Details
                                                                                                             (in MW)
Mid-term appraisal target
(Upto 15.11.2010) (MW)
Under construction

This includes a Capacity of 384 MW commissioned from additional projects
Monitoring Mechanism

The Ministry of Power has adopted a robust monitoring system for the capacity addition programme so as to see that the projects are executed in time. Monitoring of power projects are carried by the Ministry at different levels i.e. bythe Central Electricity Authority, by the Ministry of Power, through the Power Project Monitoring Panel (PPMP) and the Advisory Group. The Eleventh Plan Capacity Addition Programme is also monitored by the Planning Commission, PMO and the Cabinet Secretariat, as well.


·         Ministry of Power had launched an initiative for development of coal based Ultra Mega Power Projects (UMPPs) each of about 4000 MW capacity under Case – II bidding route employing super critical technology.
·         Pit head projects are proposed as integrated proposals with corresponding, captive coal mines.  For coastal projects imported coal is proposed to be utilized.
·         The UMPPs would be environment –friendly, as super critical technology is proposed to be adopted to derive maximum thermal efficiency resulting in saving of fuel and reduced emissions.
·         The UMPPs are being developed by shell companies which are 100% subsidiaries of Power Finance Corporation Ltd.
·         Shell companies will be responsible for preparation of Project Report, tie up of various inputs/clearances, appointment of consultants, preparation of RfQ/RfP, etc.
·         Once the developer is selected, ownership of the shell company shall be transferred to the successful bidder.
·         Four UMPPs namely Sasan in MP, Krishnapatnam in Andhra Pradesh, Tilaiya in Jharkhand and Mundra inGujarat have been awarded to the developers (the first three to M/s Reliance Power Ltd. and the last one to M/s Tata Power Ltd.).
·         Two units each of 800 MW of Mundra UMPP are expected to come up in the 11th Plan.
·         Request for Qualification (RfQ) for two UMPPs namely in Sarguja District of Chhattisgarh and in Sundergarh District of Orissa have been issued. 
·         Sites in respect of Tamil Nadu UMPP and Andhra Pradesh Second UMPP have been identified.  Efforts are being made to bring them  to bidding stage at the earliest.
·         Efforts are being made for selection of sites for remaining UMPPs.

Task Force on Measures for Operationalising Open Access in the Power Sector

The Task Force on Measures for Operationalising Open Access in the Power Sector, set up under the chairmanship of Member (Power), Planning Commission, has submitted its report. 

Reconstitution of the Task Force

·         The Planning Commission vide OM dated 4.2.2010 has reconstituted an inter-Ministerial Task Force on Measures for Operationalising Open Access in the Power Sector.

·         The Task Force will examine the progress made in implementation of the recommendations made by the previous Task Force for operationalising open access in Power Sector.  Its recommendation may cover, inter-alia, the following:-

a)   Measures for implementation of the recommendations made by the previous Task Force for operationalising open access in Power Sector.
b)  Further course of action on issues pertaining to operationalising open access, listed in Part (B) of the recommendations of the previous Task Force.

Operationalisation of Power System Operation Corporation Limited   (POSOCO)

Government of India has operationalised Power System Operation Corporation Limited w.e.f 1st October, 2010. POSOCO will manage load dispatch functions earlier being managed by the CTU i.e. POWERGRID.  

Guidelines for Procurement of Electricity

The Central Government has issued amendment to the guidelines for procurement of power by Distribution Licensees through competitive bidding, under section 63 of the Electricity Act, 2003, on 21.7.2010.  The Central Government has also issued amendments to the Standard Bidding Document for long term procurement of power from Case-1 projects, where the location, technology or fuel is not specified on 21.7.2010.

Regulations notified by Central Electricity Authority under the Electricity Act, 2003

            The following regulations were notified by Central Electricity Authority under Electricity Act, 2003 in 2010:

·         Central Electricity Authority (Grid Standards) Regulations, 2010.
·         Central Electricity Authority (Installation and Operation of Meters) Amendment Regulations, 2010.
·         Central Electricity Authority (Technical Standards for Construction of Electrical Plants and Electrical Lines) Regulations, 2010.
·         Central Electricity Authority (Measures relating to Safety and Electric Supply) Regulations, 2010.

Rajiv Gandhi Grameen Vidyutikaran Yojana

            Central Government launched the scheme “Rajiv Gandhi Grameen Vidyutikaran Yojna” (RGGVY) of rural electricity infrastructure and household electrification in 2005 for the attainment of the National Common Minimum Programme (NCMP) goal for providing access to electricity to all households in the country in five years. This programme was continued in the 11th Plan with an aim to electrify about 1.15 lakh un-electrified villages and provide free electricity connections to 2.34 crores BPL households. This is one of the flagship programmes of the Central Government. In this programme, the Government is providing 90% of the project cost as subsidy.   

            Rural Electrification achievements under Rajiv Gandhi Grameen Vidyutikaran Yojana(RGGVY) during the year 2010 (from January, 2010 to November, 2010) are as under:

Rural Household (RHH)




This is included in the total RHH
            Franchisees have been deployed in 8,312 villages in 16 States during the year 2010. A scheme for supplying electricity to the rural household of the villages within radius of 5 Km of Power Stations set up by Central Public Sector Undertakings (CPSUs) has been launched in April, 2010.


            Achievements in implementation of R-APDRP during the period of January, 2010 to 15th December, 2010 are indicated below:

·         Under Part-A of R-APDRP, 48 Projects worth Rs. 216.75 crore and 18 SCADA projects worth Rs. 471.58 crore were sanctioned.

·         Under Part-B of R-APDRP, 775 projects worth Rs. 14854.43 crore have also been sanctioned.

·         Under R-APDRP Rs. 1157.98 crore as loan was released to PFC for disbursement among the Utilities against the project sanctioned for Part –A & Part-B and Rs. 45.17 crore as grant was released to PFC as fee to nodal agency. In addition, Rs. 300 crore loan is under process for release shortly.

·         The IT Implementation Agencies (ITIAs) have been appointed by Andhra Pradesh, Bihar, Chattisgarh, Chandigarh, Maharashtra, Punjab, Tamilnadu, Himachal Pradesh and Sikkim.


Achievements during 2010
            Bachat Lamp Yojana (BLY) promotes energy efficient and high quality compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs) as a replacement  for incandescent bulbs at Rs.15 each in households by leveraging the Clean Development Mechanism(CDM) benefits under the  United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change(UNFCCC). The scheme got registered as a programme of activity (PoA) with the CDM Executive Board of UNFCCC on 29.4.2010. Now the Bureau of Energy Efficiency (BEE) will act as a managing and and coordinating entity. All States/UTs will now be in a position to develop the CDM projects and get them included in the PoA as and when they are ready. The states which have initiated BLY include Goa, Gujarat, Punjab Phase II, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh Madhya Pradesh, West Bengal, Orissa, Rajasthan, Kerala, UP, Uttarakhand and Delhi. Approximately 200 lakhs CFLs have been distributed. During 2010-11 (upto 30.9.2010) an unverified energy savings of 130 MW was achieved due to this programme.

            Standards and Labeling Scheme targets high energy end-use equipments and appliances to lay down minimum energy performance standards. Labeling of air-conditioners, refrigerators, Tubular Florescent Lamps (TFLs) and distribution transformers were made mandatory on 7.1.2010. The other equipments and appliances which have been included as voluntary programme include geysers, motors, pumps sets, colour televisions, LPG stoves, and ceiling fans. During 2010-11 (upto 30.09.2010) unverified energy saving of 829 MW have been reported under the scheme.

            Energy Conservation Building Code (ECBC) sets minimum energy performance standards for new commercial buildings having a connected load of 100 kW. The Energy Efficiency measures in existing buildings have also been carried out through retrofitting.
The draft guidelines for incorporating ECBC into Municipal byelaws ofChandigarh and Haryana have been prepared. A total number of ESCOs empanelled with BEE stands 89 which include fresh empanelment. The ESCOs have been accredited and rated by CRISIL/ICRA/CARE.

            National Mission of Enhanced Energy Efficiency (NMEEE)

The Cabinet approved the National Mission in June, 2010. The objective of the Mission is to devise efficient and cost effective strategies through demand side management, initiatives and market transformation in favour of energy efficient processes, products and services. These initiatives include:

(a)               A market based mechanism to enhance cost effectiveness of improvements in energy efficiency in energy-intensive large industries which facilitate energy saving certificates that could be traded.(Perform Achieve and Trade)
(b)               Accelerating the shift to energy efficient appliances in designated sectors through innovative measures to make the products more affordable. (Market Transformation for Energy Efficiency (MTEE))
(c)               Creation of mechanisms that would help finance demand side management programme in all sectors by capturing future energy savings. (Energy Efficiency Financing Platform (EEFP))
(d)               Developing fiscal instrument to promote energy efficiency namely, Framework for Energy Efficient Economic Development (FEEED).
Baseline study on specific energy consumption for designated consumers of 8 industrial sectors have been initiated for setting targets. Energy Efficiency Financing Platform (EEFP) has been launched. MOUs have been signed with Power Trading Corporation (PTC) and Energy Efficiency Services Limited (EESL). Six large Govt. buildings have been taken up for financing.

New Dimensions added to Women & Child Development 
·         Protection of Women against Sexual Harassment at Workplace Bill 2010 introduced in Lok Sabha on 7thDecember
·         A New Scheme for Adolescent Girls: Rajiv Gandhi Scheme for Empowerment of Adolescent Girls- SABLA, launched on 19th November
·         A New Scheme for Pregnant and Lactating Women: Indira Gandhi Matritva Sahyog Yojana (IGMSY) approved in October
·         11.95 lakhs Anganwadis Operational to Provide Nutrition Support to Children
A number of new initiatives for the welfare of women and children were taken up during 2010.  In a landmark initiative, Protection of Women against Sexual Harassment at Workplace Bill 2010 was introduced in Lok Sabha on 7th December 2010. Salient features of the Bill are:
• The Bill proposes a definition of sexual harassment, which is as laid down by the Hon'ble Supreme Court in Vishaka v. State of Rajasthan (1997). Additionally it recognises the promise or threat to a woman's employment prospects or creation of hostile work environment as 'sexual harassment' at workplace and expressly seeks to prohibit such acts.

• The Bill provides protection not only to women who are employed but also to any woman who enters the workplace as a client, customer, apprentice, and daily wageworker or in ad-hoc capacity. Students, research scholars in colleges/university and patients in hospitals have also been covered. Further, the Bill seeks to cover workplaces in the unorganised sectors.

The Bill provides for an effective complaints and redressal mechanism. Under the proposed Bill, every employer is required to constitute an Internal Complaints Committee. Since a large number of the establishments (41.2 million out of 41.83 million as per Economic Census, 2005) in our country have less than 10 workers for whom it may not be feasible to set up an Internal Complaints Committee (ICC), the Bill provides for setting up of Local Complaints Committee (LCC) to be constituted by the designated District Officer at the district or sub-district levels, depending upon the need. This twin mechanism would ensure that women in any workplace, irrespective of its size or nature, have access to a redressal mechanism. The LCCs will enquire into the complaints of sexual harassment and recommend action to the employer or District Officer.
• Employers who fail to comply with the provisions of the proposed Bill will be punishable with a fine which may extend to Rs. 50,000.
• Since there is a possibility that during the pendency of the enquiry the woman may be subject to threat and aggression, she has been given the option to seek interim relief in the form of transfer either of her own or the respondent or seek leave from work.
• The Complaint Committees are required to complete the enquiry within 90 days and a period of 60 days has been given to the employer/District Officer for implementation of the recommendations of the Committee.
• The Bill provides for safeguards in case of false or malicious complaint of sexual harassment. However, mere inability to substantiate the complaint or provide adequate proof would not make the complainant liable for punishment.

The Government also launched a new scheme for adolescent girls called the Rajiv Gandhi Scheme for Empowerment of Adolescent Girls– SABLA The Scheme was launched on 19.11.2010 on the birth anniversary of Smt. Indira Gandhi to address multi-dimensional problems of adolescent girls between 11 to 18 years.  The scheme would be implemented through platform of Integrated Child Development Services (ICDS) projects and Anganwadi Centers (AWCs) initially on a pilot basis in 200 select districts across the country.  Around 1 crore adolescent girls of 11 to 18 years per annum are expected to be covered under the scheme during the initial years. The government has made an allocation of Rs. 1,000 crore for the scheme in 2010-11.

SABLA is a Centrally-sponsored scheme implemented through the State Governments/UTs with 100% financial assistance from the Central Government for all inputs except Nutrition (of Rs. 5 per day per girl) where state government would share 50% cost. ‘SABLA’ aims at empowering adolescent girls of 11-18 years by improvement in their nutritional and health status and upgrading various skills like home skills, life skills and vocational skills.  It also aims at equipping the girls on family welfare, health, hygiene etc. and information and guidance on existing public services along with aiming to mainstream out of school girls into formal or non-formal education. Nutrition would be provided to all 11 to 15 years out of school girls and all girls – whether school going or out of school-in the age of 15 to 18 years.

An integrated package of services for adolescent girls is envisaged to provide i) Nutrition provision @ Rs. 5 Per beneficiary –per day for 300 days  in a year;  ii) IFA supplementation ; iii) Health check-up and Referral Services; iv) Nutrition and Health Education NHE);  v) Counseling/Guidance on family welfare, ARSH, child care practices and home management.  Vi) Life Skill Education and accessing public services; vii) Vocational training for girls aged 16 and above under National Skill Development Programme (NSDP). The Scheme is expected to tackle the intergenerational cycle of malnutrition in an effective manner since these girls would be the mothers of the next generation.  The scheme also provides an opportunity for other ministries and departments to target these adolescent girls at the AWC through SABLA for an integrated approach.  With due attention and care given by the States and UTs in implementation of this ambitious scheme, it would in the long term yield in reduction of high  levels of anemia, MMR Child Marriages, early births and other social malpractices as also  enhance the self esteem , social and economic  status of women.

Similarly Indira Gandhi Matritva Sahyog Yojana (IGMSY)was approved by Government of India, to be implemented in 52 districts across the country on a pilot basis. It is a Conditional Maternity Benefit (CMB) scheme, aims at improving the health and nutrition status of pregnant & lactating (P&L) women. The Scheme envisages providing cash to P&L women of 19 years & above for first two live births (all Governments/PSUs (Central & State) employees will be excluded as they are entitled for paid maternity leave) during pregnancy and lactation period. Each of the beneficiaries will be paid Rs. 4000/- in three installments between the second trimester till the child attains the age of 6 months on fulfilling the following conditions:-

Cash Transfer
Rs. 1500 (at the end of second trimester)
Registration of pregnancy within 4 months
One ante natal checkup (minimum)
Attending counseling session (minimum one)
Rs. 1500 (three months after delivery)
Child birth registration
Attending growth monitoring and counseling sessions
Rs. 1000 (6 months after delivery)
Exclusive breastfeeding for 6 months & introduction of complementary feeding (self certification by mother)
Attending growth monitoring and counseling sessions

Around 13.8 lakh P & L women per annum are expected to be benefited under the scheme. IGMSY is a centrally sponsored scheme which would be implemented through ICDS infrastructure at the State, District and grassroots level Cells with 100% financial assistance from the Ministry of Women and Child Development.  

Integrated Child Protection Scheme (ICPS) was introduced in 2009-10, with the objective of creating a safe and secure environment for children in difficult circumstances.  This year, the coverage of the scheme has been expanded to 30 States which have signed Memorandum of Understanding for implementation of the Scheme. The implementation of Juvenile Justice Act, 2000 has been pursued actively and 486 Child Welfare Committees and 516 Juvenile Justice Boards have been set up till October, 2010.

In Integrated Child Development Services (ICDS) scheme the number of operational Anganwadi Centers and Projects have increased to 11.95 lakhs (out of 13.67 lakhs sanctioned) and 6615 Projects (out of 7015 sanctioned) respectively.  
Common Mother and Child Protection card for ICDS and NRHM to strengthen the curriculum of care of pregnant women and children less than three years of age was introduced. National Nutrition Week was celebrated from 1-7th September on the theme of ‘Nutrition Promotion for a Stronger Nation.’ A delegation to IBSA (India-Brazil-South Africa) Women’s Forum in Brazil visited Brasilia between 13-15 April, 2010 led by MOS(IC) WCD Smt. Krishna Tirath to participate on the issues of consequences of the impact of Global Financial Crisis on Women’s lives and violence against women. National Conference of State Ministers and Secretaries was held on 16-17 June, 2010 in New Delhi which was chaired by MOS(IC) WCD Smt. Krishna Tirath to discuss the agenda on ICDS, ICPS, SABLA, IGMSY, Domestic Violence Act, Dowry Prohibition Act and Child Marriage Prevention Act.

National Child Awards for exceptional achievements were awarded to 26 children by the President of India.  National Award for Child Welfare for 2009 to 5 institutions and 3 individuals and Rajiv Gandhi Manav Seva Award for 2009 to 3 individuals were also given.

Bal Bandhu Scheme approved under the Prime Minister’s Relief Fund for a period of 3 years to be implemented by National Commission for Protection of Child Rights NCPCR in 10 districts of 5 States namely Andhra Pradesh, Assam, Bihar, Chhattisgarh and Maharashtra with the aim to protect the rights of children in areas of civil unrest.
A composite outreach event, Vatsalya Mela combining information in all schemes and services relating to the Ministry and various events was held at Delhi Haat for six days from 14-19thNovember, 2010.

Carings is a web based MIS portal for child adoption being developed by Central Adoption Resource Authority CARA to streamline the adoption procedures and to establish transparency in the process. It will provide for provisional on-line registration of Indian parents for domestic adoption and also status tracking by the parents.  The software is in the final stage of preparation.

National Mission for Empowerment of Women: The National Mission for Empowerment of Women was launched on 8th March, 2010.  The National Mission Authority is headed by the Prime Minister with 13 participatory Ministries, Deputy Chairman of Planning Commission, Chairperson of the National Commission for Women, Chief Ministers of Andhra Pradesh and Bihar (by rotation) and 5 eminent persons from civil society as its members. The CentralMonitoring Commission (CMC) under the National Mission Authority is headed by the Hon’ble Minister of Women and Child Development. The first meeting of the CMC was held on 14th July, 2010 to take stock of all the convergence issues with different Ministries/Departments.

NeGP Focuses on e-Delivery 


National e-Governance Plan

The National e-Governance Plan was approved by the Cabinet in May 2006 with a vision to provide public services to the common man in his locality at affordable costs.  The NeGP is a multi-stakeholder programme which primarily focuses on making critical public services available and promoting rural entrepreneurship. This initiative of the Government of India aims to provide a host of services to the citizens, businesses, employees and the Civil Society in a convenient, efficient and transparent manner. Identification of services and service levels and shift from translation to transformation are at the core of NeGP, which is not about procurement of hardware and software but changing the way services are delivered to and accessed by the common man. 27 Mission Mode Projects (MNPs) and 8 Components constitute NeGP. Of these, Government of India has already approved 24 MNPs.14 MMPs have so for gone live and are delivering services electronically. Of the 1100 services targeted under NeGP, over 600 can be accessed across the length and breadth of the country. These services have been enabled by the Line Departments under the various Mission Mode Projects of NeGP as well as by State Governments that have chosen to leverage the digital service delivery infrastructure created under NeGP.

Common Services Centres (CSCs)
Over 86,000 Common Service Centres (CSCs) have been established to provide access to approximately 60 million people residing in nearly 5 lakh villages. CSCs are being established as the access points for government, private and social sector services to 600,000 villages in the country. It is estimated that over 100,000 rural micro enterprises have been created as a result of implementation of the CSC Scheme.  Moreover, through CSCs, over 100 types of services from over 20 Departments have been e-enabled.

State Wide Area Networks (SWAN)
 23 State Wide Area Networks (SWAN) have been made operational which will provide a minimum connectivity of 2 Mbps up to Block Level. SWANs will be operational in all states by June 2011 except in Goa and A&N Islands which have opted out of the Scheme.

State Data Centres (SDCs)
SDCs which is to serve as the repository of data at state level, is currently operational in Gujarat and Tripura. Formation of SDCs is under progress in 14 States viz Andhra Pradesh, Haryana, Karnataka, Maharashtra, Manipur, Meghalaya, Nagaland, Orissa, Puducherry, Rajasthan, Sikkim, TN, Uttar Pradesh, West Bengal. SDCs will be operational in 16 States by June 2011 and in 31 States by December 2011.
National Knowledge Network

 Government had decided to establish the National Knowledge Network (NKN) with scalable multiples of 10 Gbps capacity high speed data communication network. This will connect about 1500 nodes covering Institutions of higher learning, research, and governance. The initial phase of National Knowledge Network (NKN) was inaugurated by H.E. Smt. Pratibha Patil, the President of India on April 9, 2009. A core Backbone consisting of 17 Points of Presence (PoPs) have been established. Total number of operational NKN core links is 37. Around 88 institutions of higher learning and advanced research have already been connected to the network and 15 virtual classrooms have also been setup.


e-Learning is one of the thrust area for imparting education using educational tools and communication media. The vision of e-Learning is to bring high quality accessible e-learning to every one. The projects  initiated for the development of tools and technologies for promotion of e-Learning    during the year are Design  and  Development of Service Oriented Architecture based Standards Compliant e-Learning Framework with Personalized learning Features -  C-DAC, Hyderabad, Design   and  Development  of  a Framework for Adaptive   Instruction - C-DAC, Mumbai, Video Compression     and    Decompression  for   e-Learning  - C-DAC, Mumbai and National Competitiveness in Knowledge Economy, IIT, Roorkee.

Digital Library Initiatives
Department of Information Technology (DIT) has taken the Digital Library Initiatives  and as part of this, copyright free books, manuscripts, and thesis etc. have been digitized.  During the year 17 million textual pages have been digitized and web enabled under different projects.

With the vision of empowering citizens to exchange information and knowledge in local languages , under Technology Development for Indian Languages (TDIL) Programme , language  processing Software Tools  and  fonts  in all 22 constitutionally recognized languages have been made available in public domain free of cost. With TDIL’s effort new Rupee Symbol has been included in the Unicode and ISO-10646  universal character encoding Standards. World-Wide-Web Consortium (W3C) India Office has become functional under the aegis of TDIL Programme having the long term vision of proliferation of web technology standards in Indian languages for seamless web access.

Nanotechnology Initiative Programme
      The Nanotechnology Initiative Programme has been concentrating on institutional capacity building and infrastructure for Research & Development and Human Resource Development. Under this programme two major nanoelectronics centres at Indian Institute of Technology, Bombay and Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore have been set up. A nanometrology laboratory at National Physical Laboratory, Delhi is being set up. Two major projects have been initiated recently at IIT Kharagpur and IIT Delhi.  The project at IIT Kharagpur will be creating a Molecular Beam Epitaxy (MBE) cluster tool based epitaxial nano-semiconductor infrastructure and the development of high frequency devices.  The project at IIT Delhi will be creating a facility for non-silicon based technologies for nano fabrication in the area of Nanomagnetics, Nanophotonics, Nanophotovoltaics, Nanoelectronics, Nanomechanics, Biosensors, and Mesoscale Devices.

CC&BT Group :  (2010-11)
The convergence of technologies has been the major driving force of this decade, uniting the distinct information, communication and broadcast sectors. Convergence has also become the prime catalyst for creating new business opportunities in e-services and value for the end users in the ICT industry. The next generation communication and broadband technologies have made tremendous impact on the growth on the economy worldwide and has led to a better living standard and also in bridging the digital divide.With the advancement of technology in communications, computers and multimedia, innovative and low cost applications are being evolved in professional and mission critical strategic sectors. Ten projects completed during the year included development of WLAN systems, TETRA based secure communication system, Ultra Wide Band Transceiver, Broadband on Power lines, Resilient Packet Ring for MAN, Wireless Sensor Networks for agriculture monitoring and tracking mine-workers with active tags, Electronic Design Centre for SoP, Compact Antenna Test Range Facility  and Autonomous Vertical Profiler and WiFi Broadband backbone for NE region.

30 ongoing development projects are being implemented in emerging areas such as, Wi-Max mesh networks, Wi-Max QoS networks, TETRA Communication, Cognitive Radio, Software Defined Radio, OFDM transceiver, MIMO for spectral optimisation, Wireless 4G communication, Multi-media over IP, Smart Antenna, Ultra Wide Band radio, Microwave Imaging systems, Wireless Sensor Networks for vehicles, underwater, gas and landslide detection and emergency communication network, Multiple language subtitles on DTH, Hazardous Object Removal system. During the year new projects in the areas of Software Defined Radio, Cognitive Radio, White spaces, Wireless Sensor Networks (Cyber Physical Systems, Wireless Body Area Network), Cooperative Communication, Green Communication, 60 GHz Wireless Networks, Mobile Ad-hoc Network and 4G Wireless Technology are planned for initiation.

Cyber Security
Cyber Security strategy towards securing country’s cyber space has four major components viz. Security R&D, Security Policy, Compliance and Assurance, Security Incident – Early warning & Response, and  Security Training. 11 R&D projects have been  initiated in the thrust  areas.  Advanced version of cyber forensics tool kit, Enterprise Forensic System,  prototype solution of malware prevention system based on application behaviour modeling and Web-service based Information System Security Design and Operational Management Tool Suite have been  developed and tested by user organisations.  Security Policy, Compliance and Assurance initiative is aimed at enabling Government, critical infrastructure organizations and other key IT users of nation’s economy in improving the security posture of their IT systems and networks and enhance their ability to resist cyber attacks.  Eighty auditors were empanelled for audit of IT infrastructure from cyber security point of view and Second version of Crisis Management Plan has been released for countering cyber attacks and cyber terrorism.
The Indian Computer Emergency Response Team (CERT-In) is providing early security warning and incidence response as the national nodal agency for responding to computer security incidents. It creates awareness on security issues through dissemination of information on its website and operates 24X7 Incident Response Help Desk. Around 12,427 cyber security incidents have been reported, tracked and handled. The types of incidents handled were Phishing, Network scanning/probing, malicious code, Denial of Service, Email hacking, Website intrusions and website defacements.  Around 7, 43,623 Bot infected systems and 24 Command & Control servers have been tracked in India and the same has been informed to ISPs for mitigation.

DOEACC Society
            DOEACC Society, set up as Apex Body carry out Human Resource Development and related activities in the area of Information Electronics & Communication Technology (IECT). It has been conducting Courses on Computer Concepts (CCC) since the year 1999.  Approx. 4.35 lakhs candidates have appeared for the examination through online as well as offline mode (CD based) and more than 3.14 lakhs have been certified for Course on Computer Concepts (CCC). 

National Informatics Centre
e-Procurement:  Online system for procurement process starting from bid submission to payments is being implemented for NIC/NICSI. NIC's e-Procurement solution (GePNIC) has been implemented  successfully in the State Governments of Orissa, Tamil Nadu, West Bengal, Uttar Pradesh, Haryana, Chandigarh UT, NICSI, Mahanadi Coal Fields Limited (MCL) Trust.  It is also being implemented for procurements under Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojana (PMGSY) of Rural Development Ministry in 21 States, covering some of the North Eastern States. Using the GePNIC solution, from the fiscal year 2007-08 around 41, 605 tenders, worth over  Rs.62,868 crores, have been processed successfully.

Transport (VAHAN & SARATHI): Transport Computerization Management system for Vehicle Registration, Driving License implemented with 100% connectivity achieved in 29 States/UTs and  884 out of 975 RTOs (91%)  are computerized. ICT Infrastructure for State Register have been procured and commissioned for all the States/UTs and 838 out of 898 RTOs data replicated (93%). For the National Register, data has been  replicated for 797 out of 898 RTOs (89%).

Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act 2005: The portal provides informatics support for online registration, printing job cards, muster roll and other events of NREGS process life cycle. The database is linked to BPL data and is used by the States for monitoring the progress of the Project and release of funds.
Cumulative number of households which have been issued job cards till date are 11.4 crores, out of which 3.9 crore job card holders have been provided with employment.  The number of muster rolls so far are 1.66 crores.

Under the eCourts Mission Mode project, ICT infrastructure at Supreme Court and High Courts are being upgraded at Supreme Court and 18 High Courts. Funds for site preparation have been sent to 2082 district and taluka court complexes and the site preparation has been completed at 1829 court complexes. LAN has been established at 383 out of 693 court complexes. Software Roll out carried out at 746 court complexes covering 5733 courts. Further, out of the 19 pilot sites identified, the application software has been deployed at 14 pilot sites and feedback has been received from 16 HCs.
Land Records Computerization: The project has been successfully implemented in all major States with  3915 Tehsils/Taluks out of 4800 being enabled with distribution of computerized. Land Records Data of 16 States is already on public domain for online access. A  generic software “Bhunaksha” for cadastral mapping of land records for integration of RoR with cadastral maps has been developed.

E-Panchayat: Automation & strengthening of Panchayati Raj Institution’s(PRI) portals of 2.40 lakh PRI’s hosted on The package for Planning ( PlanPlus), websites of all panchayats have been launched. Panchayat Accounting(PRIASoft) and National Panchayat Directory is being finalized to operationalise. Ministry of Panchayati Raj had awarded the project of development of 12 Core Common Applications and SRS preparation  has been completed.

Immigration Visa Foreigners Registration and Tracking (IVFRT): NIC is entrusted with the task of implementing the “Immigration Visa Foreigners Registration and Tracking (IVFRT)” project at the cost of Rs.1011 crores. The project envisages building of IT infrastructure in 170 Indian Missions abroad, 77 immigration check posts, 7 FRROs and over 600 FROs.

Integrated Information System for Food Grains Management: The project which comprises different sub-modules such as DIISFM (District Information System for Foodgrains Management), IRRS (IISFM Rapid Reporting Services), DCMS (Depot Code Management System) have been deployed suiting the business logics of food Corporation of India (FCI). Following are the salient features of the work flow application:  
   Basic data collections and Transactions regarding Receipts, Issues & Dispatches of food grains at the depot level
  Off-take against allocation of food grains on different schemes of the Govt. of India
  Movement of food grains through rail
  Chemical treatment/infestation carried out on the food grains, stored in the depot
  Information related to trucks carrying food grains coming in and going out of the depot, gunnies, chemicals etc.

Smart Card based Public Distribution System (PDS): The Smart Card based PDS is targeted to convert certain manual operations happening in PDS to get automated to minimize manual intervention. This covers the Ration Card Module, License and Regulations, Allocation & Utilization, Storage & Movement, Dispatch Tracking, Commodity Issuance, and Grievance Redressal process of the PDS system. The salient features of the Web based workflow and role based application are:

     Entire ration card process is available online and details of the ration cards can   be  viewed by beneficiary
  Application process of New or Transfer ration cards made simpler
  All registers of Fair Price Shop (FPS) and their Indent process is done online
  The food grains are distributed by FPS to beneficiaries, using Smart Card

 Saakshar Bharat: A Web based MIS is being developed to carry out the activities under Saakshar Bhart Mission 2010 scheme of the Ministry of Human Resource Development (MHRD). The main objectives of this Web based application is to carry out Planning, Costing, Authorizations and Progress Monitoring. This application is being designed to be used by the MHRD, State Education Department Officials (SLMA), CEOs and other officials of the District Panchayats, Block level Officials like the BDOs and Block Pramukhs, Gram Panchayat Officials like the Gram Pradhan and Preraks (Coordinators) and the data will also be available in the public domain.

 India Portal: Single Window access for Government information dissemination and G2C services It is a gateway to over 6700 Government Websites.  In order to facilitate Standardization Guidelines for Indian Government Websites have been developed.

 Central Plan Scheme Monitoring System (CPSMS): The scheme aims at establishing a suitable on-line Management Information System and Decision Support System for the Plan Schemes (CPSMS) of the Government of India. A Central repository of all the organizations receiving funds from all the Ministries/Departments is now available for the first time at the level of Government of India. For a total of 969 Centrally Sponsored Schemes & Central Sector Schemes, disbursement to the tune of Rs 2.27 Lakh Crores (INR) was made to executing agencies through the CPSMS system.

 E-Post: It is a service under which printed or handwritten messages of customers are scanned and transmitted as email through internet. At the destination offices, these messages are printed, enveloped and delivered through postmen like other letters at the postal addresses. The service is operational in 3812 Post Offices across the country.  The Corporate e-post module facilitates registered  users to send bulk e-post messages to their customers/consumers from their database using customized message templates. 

 CONFONET: Under the “Computerization and Computer Networking of Consumer Fora in the country (CONFONET)”  scheme, all Consumer Fora in the country are being computerized and connected through a network. The exchange will financial information which helps Consumer Fora to improve the efficiency & transparency of the system, reduce their work load & also allow consumers to access the status of their cases on Internet.

 e-Office: The e-Office is a Mission Mode project of the Government aimed for conducting office procedures electronically which is expected to transform the government functioning to a more efficient mode.  Transforming the paper based office processes into electronic processes to minimize and eventually eliminate paper forms and manual forwarding is an important aspect in e-Office.   Electronic File movement and tracking along with other key enablers including the Document and Content Management, Archival and retrieval of data, Collaboration services make the whole concept of e-Office. Cabinet Secretariat, Planning Commission, Ministry of Finance, Ministry of HRD, Department of Administrative Reforms & Public Grievances (DARPG), Department of Information Technology (eGovernance Division), Department of Personnel & Training (Training Division),  Ministry of Rural Development are some of the Ministries/Departments where e-Office has been implemented.


 Prison Management System and Visitor Management System: 

NIC has developed Prison Management System & Visitor Management System and it is successfully implemented in around 50 jails across the country. In the year 2009-10, the Integrated Prison Management System (IPMS) was awarded National award for e-Governance instituted by DPARG under Exemplary Horizontal Transfer of ICT based-best Practice Silver, Government of Jharkhand. This was also implemented in 24 different jails in the State of West Bengal.

Standardization, Testing and Quality Certification (STQC): Standardization, Testing, Quality and Certification (STQC) Directorate functions  as a premier organization for Quality Assurance in the field of Electronics and Information Technology (IT) in the country. It provides Testing, Calibration, Training and Certification services through its well-developed network of test laboratories spread across the country including north-east region. The laboratories are equipped with state of the art standards and equipments. The test & calibration services are accredited as per national / international standards. Recently, test facility to evaluate solar photo-voltaic panels has been established as per international standard in the eastern region. These services have so far been utilized by more than 10,000 organisations. STQC offers software evaluation services through its network of IT Centres located in eight major States for the benefit of IT industry. These Centres have handled / executed seventy five key IT projects. Some of them are e-Passport, e-Biz, Biometric device testing (UIDAI), COMPACT and e-LEKHA, Rashtriya Swastha Bima Yojna, e- Procurement System for Indian Railways etc..

DRDO’S MBT Arjun Passes Trial by Fire, LCH Unveiled, ALH Dhruv Armed, LCA-Navy Rolls out, Kaveri Engine Undergoes Flight Test 
Government Revamps DRDO, Defence Technology Commission Next Year.  This was an excellent year for the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) with the Light Combat Aircraft Tejaspassing stages to finally take wings, unveiling of the Light Combat Helicopter and the Armed Version of ALH Dhruv and the Main Battle TankArjun finally getting bulk orders. The Government also initiated a long-awaited restructuring of the DRDO to make it leaner and give fillip to private sector participation.

First Flight of Light Combat Helicopter
            The indigenously designed and developed Light Combat Helicopter (LCH), powered by Shakti engines, undertook its inaugural flight on 29thMarch. It is laced with Forward Looking Infra Red Imaging Technology, Laser Range Finder facilities for target acquisition under all-weather conditions and data link for network centric operations. The 5.5 ton capacity helicopter is due to get its Initial Operational Clearance in December, 2011.
Armed Version of ALH Dhruv
            The Armed Version of ALH Dhruv, ALH Weapons System Integrated, ALH-WSI, was developed by HAL and is presently undergoing integration trial for armament and electro-optical systems. It is equipped with Forward Looking Infra Red and Thermal Imaging Sights Interface, a 20 mm turret gun, 70 mm rocket pods, Anti-Tank Guided Missiles and Air-to-Air Missiles.

LCA Navy rolls out
            The first LCA Navy, NP-I, rolled out from the hangars of HAL, Bangalore on 6th July, ready for the phase of Systems Integration Tests leading to Ground Runs and Taxi Trials with the first flight due to take place next year.

Kaveri crosses another milestone
            The Kaveri engine, being developed by the GTRE for the LCA Tejas, was tested under simulated altitude and forward speed conditions in February, 2010. Another engine was integrated with the IL-76 at the GromovFlight Research Institute, Moscow for the Kaveri engine’s maiden Ground and Flight tests on 3rd November. It marked another step towards obtaining certificate for flight operations for the indigenous fighter jet engine.
Interceptor Missile Tests
            The DRDO conducted the fourth in a row successful test of the Interceptor Missile, in endo-atmospheric mode at an altitude of 15 kms, at the Interim Test Range (ITR), Chandipur in Orissa on 26th July.

Brahmos Vertical Launched, and in high degree manoeuvre
            The Brahmos was successfully tested from the state-of-the-art Universal Vertical Launcher fitted on a moving warship, INS Ranvir, off Orissacoast. The Vertical Launcher will be fitted on three Project 15A Class of warships being built at MDL, Mumbai and three more on the Talwar Class ships being built at Kaliningrad, Russia. The Brahmos Block-3+ Version was successfully tested this month from ITR, establishing the supersonic cruise missile’s mountain warfare capability with a new guidance system involving large scale manoeuvring, steep dive and precision strike.

NBC Recce Vehicles handed over to Army
            The DRDO handed over four Nuclear-Biological-Chemical RecceVehicles, based on the Armoured Personnel Carrier BMP-2, to the Corps of Engineers of the Indian Army in December, thus completing an order of eight Limited Series Production (LSP). The Army has ordered another 16 NBC RecceVehicles.

New Pilot Selections System
            The DRDO signed an agreement in New Delhi this year with the IAF for series production of the Computerised Pilot Selection System. Developed by the Defence Institute of Psychological Research, New Delhi, it is a state-of-the-art embedded micro-controller-based system.

DRDO Restructuring
The Government approved the restructuring of DRDO on 13th May, following recommendations made by the Committee headed by Dr. P RamaRao, former Secretary, Department of Science and Technology. Aimed at boosting Defence Research and encouraging the private sector to participate in the vast Defence Production and R&D efforts, the proposals envisage establishment of the Defence Technology Commission with the Defence Minister in chair likely to be functional in February, 2011, decentralization of DRDO management and merger of some DRDO laboratories. The Bangalore-based Aeronautical Development Agency (ADA) will continue work with the LCA Tejas and the Gas Turbine Research Establishment (GTRE) with the development of the Kaveri engine. The development of MBT Arjun Mark-2 and Akash Mark-2 Missiles will also continue. A new commercial arm of the DRDO is also proposed to be set up as a Private Limited Company with a seed capital of about Rs.2 crores.

Major Initiatives and Achievements of Ministry of Housing and Urban Poverty Alleviation in the Year 2010
A.        POLICY
 1.         Follow up on National Urban Housing and Habitat Policy (NUHHP), 2007:
1.1       The Policy and the actionable points under the National Urban Housing & Habitat Policy, 2007 have been put on the web-site of the  The first meeting of High Level Monitoring Committee was held on 19.7.2010 under the Chairmanship of the Minister (HUPA&T). In follow up to the decisions taken by the Committee, four consultations have been organised by the Ministry to discuss the preparation of State Urban Housing and Habitat Policy and State Level Action Plans.

 1.1       Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission (JNNURM) 
                As on 15.11.2010, 1439 Projects with total Project Cost of Rs. 36482.26 crore comprising Central Share of Rs. 20130.79 crore have been approved in 881 Cities/Towns (64 Mission Cities and 817 for small towns/cities) for construction of more than 15.40 lakh Dwelling Units (DUs) under JNNURM (1028503 DUs under BSUP and 512108 DUs under IHSDP). So far 3.54 lakh DUs have been completed and 4.68 lakh DUs are under progress.  

1.2.      Progress on 3-Pro-poor Key Reforms:

  55 cities have so far undertaken internal earmarking within local body budgets for Basic Services to the Urban Poor
  50 cities in 21 States have issued the policy directives for  earmarking of at least 20-25% of developed land in all housing projects (both public and private agencies) for EWS/LIG category
  Implementation of 7- Point Charter: Provision of 7 Basic Entitlements/Services –   The Ministry has issued advisory to all States for drawing an action plan and set clear milestones for occupancy of the houses constructed under BSUP and IHSDP as early as possible.

2.1       Some Recent Initiatives under JNNURM:
   i.    Scheme of “Affordable Housing in Partnership
            The Government has launched new scheme of Affordable Housing in Partnership with an outlay of Rs. 5,000 crores for construction of one million houses for EWS/LIG/MIG with at least 25% for EWS category.  The scheme aims at partnership between various agencies/ Government/ parastatals/ Urban Local Bodies/ developers for realizing the goal of affordable housing for all.  Detailed Guidelines have been issued in this regard. 14 projects with total project cost of Rs. 792.04 Crore were approved for construction of 19,100 dwelling units under Affordable Housing in Partnership for the States of Uttar Pradesh (10 projects) and Chhattisgarh (4 projects).
ii.     Social Audit
             It has also been decided to establish an independent social audit and public accountability of JNNURM (BSUP and IHSDP) along with a Manual on Social Audit to ensure that the benefits of projects under JNNURM reach the intended poor beneficiaries and that the projects are implemented in a participatory manner involving the poor. In this regard proposals are invited from National Network of Resource Centres (NNRCs) in collaboration of reputed Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs) for conducting Social Audit Pilots of BSUP and IHSDP Projects.
 iii.     Central TPIM
            The Ministry has appointed 2 agencies as Central TPIM agencies for undertaking TPIM exercises on a sample basis to independently report to the Central Government on quality in execution of BSUP and IHSDP projects in various States/UTs. A total of 126 projects have been selected on sample basis from States/UTs for independent assessment of quality of projects.
 3.       Rajiv Awas Yojana
  The President of India, through her Address to both the Houses of Parliament in June 2009 and the Prime Minster, in his Independence Day Address, have announced the Government’s vision of a “Slum-free India” through a new scheme “Rajiv Awas Yojana”. The parameters of the proposed Rajiv Awas Yojana have been formulated and the same, along with observations by the Planning Commission thereon, have been considered by the Expenditure Finance Committee on 27.10.2010.   The Government is in the process of moving the Cabinet for approval of the Scheme parameters based on the observations by the EFC.   
  While the finalization of the scheme is underway, the Ministry launched the preparatory phase of Rajiv Awas Yojana (RAY), called the Slum Free City Planning Scheme. Under this scheme an amount of Rs. 60 crores has been released to States for undertaking slum survey, mapping of slums, developing slum information system, undertaking community mobilization, preparation of Slum-free City/State Slum-free Plans etc. before seeking support under Rajiv Awas Yojana.
  A slum MIS has been developed which is a centralized web enabled system to build an integrated robust information system on slums and the households living in these slums.  This is being used by the States to enter the data of the slums and socio-economic survey.
 The National Steering Committee under Slum-free City Planning scheme for Rajiv Awas Yojana has approved the technical guidelines on GIS mapping of slums and GIS-MIS integration are being issued to states.

C.        OTHERS

1.1        Interest Subsidy Scheme of Housing For the Urban Poor (ISHUP) -introduced in the year 2008-09 provides for interest subsidy on housing loans to the Economically Weaker Sections (EWS) and Low Income Group (LIG) as part of credit-enablement measures and encourages those households to avail of loan facilities through Commercial Banks/Housing Finance Companies for the purposes of construction/acquisition of houses and avail 5% subsidy in interest payment for loans upto Rs. 1 lakh.  The scheme aims to cover 3.10 lakh beneficiaries over the 11th Plan Period.

1.2       As on date, 2638 beneficiaries have been covered under the Scheme incurring expenditure of Rs. 2.22 crores (including the expenditure of IEC) during the Financial Year 2010-11.      
2.       Swarna Jayanti Shahari Rozgar Yojana (SJSRY)
2.1       During the year 2009-2010 an amount of Rs.421.61 crore was released to the States/UTs. During 2010-2011, an amount of Rs.563.20 crore has been tentatively allocated for States/UTs out of which, by now, an amount of Rs.371.89 crore (as on 02-12-2010) has been released to various States under this Scheme.

3.         Integrated Low Cost Sanitation (ILCS) Scheme

3.1       As on date total number of units sanctioned is 3,01,622 under which 2,51,963 units are for conversion and 49659 units are for new construction. There is a budget provision of Rs. 71.00 crore for the current financial year under the scheme.

 4.         Draft Model Real Estate (Regulation of Development) Act 200_____.
4.1      The Ministry of Housing & Urban Poverty Alleviation has drafted a draft Model Real Estate (Regulation of Development) Act 200_____.   The draft bill was put in public domain through website of the Ministry ( in August, 2009.
4.3      The second draft prepared on the basis of comments/suggestions was considered in a meeting taken by Minister of Housing & Urban Poverty Alleviation on 10.8.2010.  The bill was referred to the Ministry of Law & Justice for advice as to whether it would be appropriate to legislate in the matter by the Union Government or otherwise. Advice of the  Ministry of Law & Justice  has been received and the matter is being examined in the Ministry in the light of advice.


 1.     National Buildings Organisation (NBO): 
 1.1       A committee under the Chairmanship of Dr. Pranob Sen, Principal Adviser, Planning Commission (former Secretary, Ministry of Statistics & Programme Implementation, Government of India) was set up by Ministry of HUPA to study the slum definition and to estimate urban slum population for the whole country on the basis of available data. The Committee submitted its final Report to the Ministry of HUPA on 26th August, 2010 and the same was accepted by the Ministry.

 2.    Housing & Urban Development Corporation Limited (HUDCO) :
 2.1       The Housing & Urban Development Corporation Ltd. (HUDCO) was set up as a fully owned Government company in April, 1970 with a view to provide loans and technical support to States and City level agencies and other eligible organization for various types of housing activities and infrastructure development.

 3.         Hindustan Prefab Limited (HPL):
   HPL successfully completed the construction of Assam Rifles Memorial at their Headquarters near Shillong (Meghalaya), the first of its kind in 175 years history of the Force. 
   HPL signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with Ministry of External Affairs on 16th November, 2010 to construct 1000 houses for the Internally Displaced Persons (IDP’s) of Northern Sri Lanka as a pilot project. The total commitment of Government of India is 50,000 such houses. This is HPL’s first overseas venture.

 4.   Building Materials and Technology Promotion Council (BMTPC)
    The Council has published the Guidelines on Improving Earthquake, Wind/ Cyclone, Floods Resistance of Housing, Training Manual for Ductile Detailing, Manual for Restoration and Retrofitting of Buildings in Uttarakhand and Himachal Pradesh and Vol. VIII to XII in Aam Admi series, both in English and Hindi languages. These publications were released by the Hon’ble Minister for Housing & Urban Poverty Alleviation & Tourism during the celebration of World Habitat Day 2010.

 5.   National Cooperative Housing Federation of India:
        NCHF has been engaged in facilitating flow of funds to its member Apex Federation from the funding institutions like LIC, NHB, HUDCO, Commercial and Cooperative Banks. These Federations have mobilised a sum of Rs. 10350 crore and disbursed loans of Rs. 10909 crore to their affiliated cooperative as well as individual members for the construction/ financing of 23.94 lakh housing units in various parts of the country. The cooperative sector was asked to contribute one lakh dwelling units each year under the Two Million Housing Programme of the Government of India. During the first twelve years of the programme the cooperatives have contributed about 10.27 lakh housing units 

6.       Central Government Employees Welfare Housing Organisation (CGEWHO)
       During this year Kolkata (Ph-II) to be built on 11.3 acres of land  and Mohali (Ph-II) Housing Scheme comprising of 656 DUs have been envisaged.
     ‘Memorandum of Understanding’ regarding Gurgaon (Ph-III) Housing Scheme has been signed   between CGEWHO and M/s Capital Builders on 22ndSeptember, 2010 regarding return of land to the contractor on payment of Rs. 47.55 crore.

Social Security and Labour Agreements for Welfare of Overseas Indian Professionals & Labours
2010 was an eventful year for Ministry of Overseas Indian Affairs with several Labour and Social Security agreements signed with foreign countries for protection and betterment of Indian workers and professionals. An equally large number of initiatives were taken for constructive and mutually beneficial engagement with the Indian Diaspora.
Some highlights are given below. 


The Ministry has already signed a bilateral social security agreement with Belgium, France, Switzerland, Luxembourg and Netherlands. This year, Social Security Agreement has signed with Denmark, Czech Republic, Korea, Hungary and Norway. The Negotiations are underway Sweden, Canada, Australia, Finland, Portugal and Japan.  Exploratory talks have been held with US Social Security Administration on the India-US Totalisation Agreement on 19th and 20th May, 2010.  Both sides agreed to exchange data. Administrative Arrangements for implementation of the Social Security Agreement between India and France has been singed in Paris on 30thJune, 2010. Bilateral social security agreements protect the interests of expatriate workers on a reciprocal basis by providing for exemption from social security contribution in case of short-term contracts (provided the worker is covered under the home country’s social security system), exportability of pension in case of relocation to the home country or any third country and totalization of the contribution periods pertaining to both countries. Such agreements also make respective companies more competitive in each other’s territory since exemption from social security contribution in respect of their employees substantially reduces costs.


Protection of emigrants against exploitation and abuse is not possible in the absence of explicit commitment of the Government of the host country. To secure such commitment, India has signed labour agreements with Jordan, Qatar, UAE, Kuwait and Oman. MoUs heave signed with Malaysia, Bahrain and with Denmark this year.

First meeting of the Joint Working Group under the MoU signed on Labour Mobility Partnership between India and Denmark was held at Copenhagen on 8-9th June, 2010.  Possibilities of bilateral co-operation in facilitating mobility of workers between the two countries were discussed. First meeting of the Joint Committee between India and Oman under the Labour MoU in the field of manpower between the two countries was held in New Delhi on 24th and 25thJune, 2010.  Various issues relating to the protection of Indian workers in Oman including standarisation of the work contract were discussed. A delegation from India visited Brussels on 22nd October, 2010 to have high level dialogue with European Union on signing of Labour Mobility Partnership agreement so that other member States of EU may also sign LMPA.


Pravasi Bharatiya Divas (PBD) convention is the flagship event of the Ministry organized every year in January since 2003, with a view to connect India to its vast Indian diaspora and bringing their knowledge, expertise and skills on a common platform. The 8th edition of the Pravasi Bharatiya Divas convention was held in New Delhi from 7th to 9th January, 2010. The two day Convention was inaugurated by the Prime Minister on 8th January, 2010 and the valedictory address was delivered by the President. The President also conferred the PravasiBharatiya Samman Award on 14 distinguished PIOs/NRIs. Lord Khalid HameedCBE DL Hampstead was the Chief Guest.

The event was widely acclaimed as a grand success both for its organizational aspects and its substantive content, as also for the choice of speakers and the topicality of the themes chosen for deliberation at its various sessions. The two pre-conferences seminars on Nano-technology and Property-related issues of overseas Indians drew enthusiastic participation of all stake-holders and came in for appreciation from several quarters. The first meeting of the Prime Minister’s Global Advisory Council was another highlight of this year’s mega-event. The Convention had three Plenary Sessions - Diaspora: Role and Expectations, Diaspora: Interests and Concerns & Skills Development; six concurrent sessions - Returning to 9% Growth: Diaspora Connect , Leveraging Knowledge Networks: Global-Ink, Thousands of Fireflies: Diaspora Philanthropy, Diaspora Women in Cross-Cultural Environments, Indians and the Gulf and Future of PBDs and the Road Ahead as well as separate State Sessions. The two-day convention saw a record participation of over 1500 delegates. These included 16 Members of the Prime Minister’s Global Advisory Council and 8 PIO Ministers, besides 12 Union Ministers and 5 Chief Ministers and other Indian and PIO dignitaries.


The Regional Pravasi Bhartiya Divas (PBD)-Africa was held from 1-2 October, 2010 at the International Convention Centre (ICC), Durban, South Africa. The event was inaugurated on 1st October, 2010 by the Minister for Overseas Indian Affairs Shri Vayalar Ravi. The President of South Africa Mr.Jacob Zuma graced the closing session on 2nd October 2010. The theme of the Conference was on ‘India-Africa: Building Bridges.’ This was the 4th regional PBD Convention organized by Government of India outside India. The first such event was held on 24th September, 2007 in New York, the second on 10-11 October, 2008 in Singapore and the third on 19 September, 2009 at The Hague. PBD Africa marked the 150th anniversary of the arrivals of Indians in South Africa and coincided with the birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi.


The 5th Annual Conference of the Head of the Missions of GCC Countries,Jorden, Libya, Yemen, Malaysia and Maldives was held in  Vigyan Bhawan, New Delhi. The Conference is attended by Heads of Missions of 11 countries, senior Officials from other Ministries including the Ministry of External Affairs, Ministry of Home Affairs and representatives from the major labour sending States such asKerala, Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Punjab, Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh. The Conference would deliberate on various issues and problems relating to overseas Indian workers both at the source and destination points and how the institutional engagement between our Missions and other stakeholders in India can be strengthened for better regulation of Labour Mobility. The Conference included the new initiatives in the Emigration Policy being framed by the Ministry, review of various welfare measures at the Mission level, strengthening Grievance Redressal Mechanism at the Mission level, follow up on the Joint Working Group meetings decisions, pursuant to labour MoUs with five GCC countries etc. Several important decisions taken by the Ministry for the protection and welfare of migrant workers will also be discussed for effective implementation and follow-up.


The Ministry has set up the Indian Community Welfare Fund (ICWF) at the disposal of the Indian Missions in all the Emigration Clearance Required (ECR) countries to meet contingency expenditure in connection with the activities related to welfare of the workers in distress in the host countries. The Fund will, inter-alia, provide services - i) Boarding and lodging for distressed OIs in Household/domestic sectors and unskilled workers; ii) expenditure on incidental to and Airlifting of mortal remains to Indian or local cremation/burial of the deceased iii) Emergency medical care/air passage to the OIs in need) to the emigrants on a means tested basis.

This year it was decided that the Indian Community Welfare Fund (ICWF) will be extended to all the Missions around the world. The ICWF scheme is found very useful by the Indian Missions in mitigating the suffering of Indians, therefore, it has been decided that this scheme will extend to all the Missions. He said the fund which was originally made for all the Emigration Check Required (ECR) countries has been extended to 48 countries.  The Union Cabinet approved setting up the Indian Community Welfare Fund (ICWF) in the Indian Missions in 17 countries to meet contingency expenditure incurred by them for carrying out various onsite welfare activities for overseas Indian citizens who are in distress. The proposed Fund (ICWF) is aimed at providing the following services: (i) Boarding and lodging for distressed overseas Indian workers in Household/domestic sectors and unskilled labourers; (ii) Extending emergency medical care to the overseas Indians in need; (iii) Providing air passage to stranded overseas Indians in need; (iv) Providing initial legal assistance to the overseas Indians in deserving cases, (v) Expenditure on incidentals and for airlifting the mortal remains to India or local cremation/burial of the deceased overseas Indian in such cases where a sponsor is unable or unwilling to do so as per the contract and the family is unable to meet the cost.

The 3rd Consultation Meeting with State Governments on Emigration Management held in New Delhi.  The two-day consultation meeting is being organized to discuss various emigration and Diaspora related matters and how best the Ministry can partner with the State Governments to provide required support and guidance in effectively addressing the concerns of Overseas Indians. This meeting is an important initiative of the Ministry of Overseas Indian Affairs (MOIA) for providing a platform for the State Governments to make suggestions and recommendations to the Government of India in the matter of emigration and overseas Indians. 
 Issues like  Promotion of overseas employment opportunities by the State Governments, creating facilities for Skill Up gradation and Pre-departure Orientation / Training for potential emigrants workers, awareness Campaign by State Governments in partnership with MOIA, development of a Joint Training Module on legal migration management for all the stakeholders, quick redressal of property related grievances of NRIs, states co-operation regarding issue of ‘Nativity certificate’ for grant of OCI were focused during the meeting.


A group of 28 Indian Diaspora youth from 9 countries were the participants of 15th Know India Programme (KIP), organized by the Ministry of Overseas Indian Affairs in partnership with States of Karnataka and Himachal Pradesh. Know IndiaProgramme of the Ministry is a three-week orientation programme for Diaspora youth conducted with a view to promote awareness on different facets of life in India and the progress made by the country in various fields e.g. economic, industrial, education, Science & Technology, Communication & Information Technology, culture, etc. and face –to-face with the culture and tradition s in the field of their ancestors. These are conducted in partnership with one or two State Governments. The participants, PIOs in the age group of 18-26 years, are selected based on recommendations received from Heads of Indian Missions/Posts abroad. Selected participants are provided with full hospitality in India during the duration of the programme. 15th Know India Programme was held from 10th to 26thSeptember, 2010. 28 participants from 9 countries participated.  A two weekprogramme to Assam and Meghalaya was arranged to acquaint the PIO students about culture followed by a visit to Delhi.

More Emphasis on Popularising Jan Aushadhi Scheme
Establishment of new NIPERs.
            In September, 2009, Union Cabinet approved continuation of courses in new NIPERs atGuwahati, Hyderabad, Rae Bareli, Ahmedabad, Kolkata and Hajipur for a further period of 2 years beyond 2008-09 i.e.  upto 2010-11.  In terms of the Cabinet decision, meeting of the EFC was held in March, 2010 to appraise the DPRs submitted by the Consultant viz. Deloitte.  EFC had directed that the estimates be updated with reference to 2010 prices.  The direction of the EFC has been complied with and the meeting is being convened shortly.  Thereafter, the matter will be placed before the Cabinet for approval.  Steering Committee for new NIPERs has approved enhancement of seats for admission to PG Courses from 262 to 321 amd introduction of Ph.D Courses in new NIPERs. NIPER, Mohali has enhanced seats for admission to P.G. Courses and Ph.D from 209 to 356 in 2010.

Collaborative TB Research Project Proposal of NIPER, Ahmedabad - Sanctioned
            The project aims at “Development and Clinical evaluation of novel fixed dose combination of rifampicin and isoniazid designed to improve stability and bioavailability of rifampicin  for the treatment of tuberculosis”.  The project is in collaboration with All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS), New Delhi. Total duration of study is two years and budgetary requirement for AIIMS is Rs.48.56 lakhs and for NIPER, Ahmedabad is Rs.47.50 lakhs.  Rs.10,00,000 (Rs.Ten Lakhs only) to NIPER, Ahmedabad and Rs.34,80,000/- (Thirty four lakhs and eighty thousand only) to Director, AIIMS for Collaborative TB Research Project Proposal of NIPER, Ahmedabad and AIIMS has been released on 27.8.2010.        

Awareness Programme on Environment and Hazard Management in Pharmaceuticals Sector inIndia.
            An awareness programme was held on Environment and Hazard Management in Pharmaceuticals Sector in India at Hyderabad in collaboration with GTZ and FICCI on 12th November 2010.The programmeaimed at bringing awareness to pharmaceuticals  industry  on various aspects of environment and hazard management and to facilitate interaction among stakeholders, viz. government organizations, industry, experts and service providers. The Awareness Programme provided a platform for exchange of information and technical know-how to the Indian pharmaceutical & bulk drug in identifying problem and assessing existing gaps, and finding solution to reduce the associated hazards and environmental risks.

UNIDO Project for Pharmaceutical Cleaner Production.
            Deptt. has developed a project proposal with UNIDO. The proposal is “South-South Programmefor improving Environmental Performance, Waste Minimization and Enhancing Productivity of Pharmaceutical SMEs through the application of Cleaner Production Technique.” The proposal is under consideration of Planning Commission.  This project aims at addressing environmental pollution arising due to Pharmaindustries through technical support for dealing with environmental hazards, safety and waste minimization etc. Besides, it strengthens institutional linkage and capacity building in both the target countries-India and South Africa.

            The National Pharmaceutical Pricing Authority (NPPA), an independent body of experts in the Ministry of Chemicals and Fertilizer was formed by the Govt. of India vide Govt. of India Resolution published in the Gazette of India No. 159 dated 29.08.97. The functions of NPPA, inter-alia, relates to fixation/revision of prices of scheduled bulk drugs/formulations under DPCO’1995, monitoring and enforcement of the prices.  Powers were delegated to the NPPA by the Govt. of India vide Gazette Notification No. 637(E) dated 4th September, 1997 which includes, inter alia, the following :
(a) To fix the maximum sale prices of bulk drugs specified in the First Schedule,;
(b) To fix the retail price of scheduled formulations;
(c) To fix the ceiling price of scheduled formulations,; 
(d) To revise the prices of bulk drug and formulations; and
(e) To fix the prices of bulk drugs and formulation under certain circumstances.
Consumer Awareness  - Apart from the dissemination of information through website, efforts are being made by the NPPA to create consumer awareness through advertisement in leading newspapers (English and Hindi) and coverage through electronic media.
Online Facilities for complaints - NPPA with the help of NIC has provided the facility for online filing by manufacturers of applications for fixation / revision of formulation prices in Form III/Form IV of DPCO’95 and also online submission of price list in Form V to NPPA.

Pharmaceutical Directory - NPPA for the first time has published a directory containing 10,500 State wise addresses of Pharmaceutical Manufacturers both for bulk drugs & formulations with their telephone nos., e-mail, websites wherever possible in an organized and user friendly manner.  The directory is also available at the website of NPPA.

NPPA granted ISO 9001 : 2000  - The National Pharmaceutical Pricing Authority(NPPA) has been granted a License by the Bureau of Indian standards (BIS) which  is the premier accreditation agency of India for the Quality Management Systems certification (ISO 9001) The Licence is valid upto 10th January, 2011. NPPA successfully converted its Quality Management System from 2000 version of ISO 9001 to 2008 version of ISO 9001 in November, 2010.

Expert Advice - For providing expert advice and information, NPPA has entered in MOUs with eminent National level organizations, of which Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore and Indian Institute of Packaging, Mumbai and IIT Kanpur are noteworthy.

Computerization - In order to strengthen and streamline the working of NPPA, computerization has been initiated with the assistance of NIC.  Presently, software Integrated Management Information System (IMIS) developed by NIC is being tested for it use in NPPA.

Website Redesigning - NPPA has redesigned its existing website to make it more user friendly, provide more information on Drug Pricing, availability of medicines and related issues, working of NPPA.  The Hindi website of NPPA has also been launched on 15th May,2007. 

The Jan Aushadhi Scheme is one of the major initiative taken up during the last two years.  The main objective of the Jan Aushadhi Scheme is to ensure access to quality medicines at affordable prices for all.  Under this Scheme, 80 Jan Aushadhi Outlets have been opened in various parts of the country so far (Punjab, Haryana, Uttrakhand, Odisha, Rajasthan, Andhra Pradesh, West Bengal, Delhi and Chandigarh). Through the Jan Aushadhi Outlets about 231 generic medicines of the same quality, efficacy and potency as that of  branded medicine are being made available at very affordable prices.  A total of Rs. 2.76 Crore of medicines have supplied to these Jan Aushadhi Outlets.  Efforts are on to increase the basket of medicines to 350 covering all NLEM medicines and open Jan Aushadhi Stores in every District Hospital of the country. The Scheme is now being proposed to be expended to the sub division level.  A business Plan has accordingly been prepared for opening more than 3000 Jan Aushadhi Outlets.  For this the entire supply chain is being computerized and a professional management structure is proposed to be put in place.

            Another major aim of the Department is to have direct intervention for making available much medicines by manufacturing them from the Central Pharma Public Sector Undertakings.  Towards this end, the five CPSUs have been able to supply more than Rs. 620 crores medicines by way of Government and Institutional supply.  Besides CPSUs have also increased their trade sale to Rs. 187.50 crores in 2009-10 and have exported medicines worth more than Rs. 14.50 crores. Further, these PSUs have also been strengthened with Government assistance to enable them to produce global quality medicines.  In this context Rs. 40 crores project of HAL for manufacturing of Erythromycin Thiocynate through utilization of idle fermentors has been sanctioned.  Subsequently since 2009-10 Govt. has released Rs. 44.40 crores to BCPL making a total release of Rs. 139.40 crores out of Rs. 145.00 crore sanctioned for capital expenditure.  Also in order to help the profit making CPSUs to further grow, the Government approved de-linking of transfer of shares to the President of India.  Already results have been achieved with the upgradation of KAPL  from Schedule ‘D’ to Schedule ‘C’ PSU category by the Department of Public Enterprises and Public Enterprises Selection Board (PESB) with effect from 22nd July 2010.  Both KAPL & RDPL are having the distinction of being ‘MiniRatna’ companies as per DPE clarification.  They are profit making and have been giving dividends consistently for the last more than 15 years.

High Technology Cooperation Group (HTCG)
   HTCG sub-group meeting on “Biotechnology and Life Sciences Working Group” was held in October, 2010 on the sidelines of AdvaMed-2010 Conference held in USA.  During the meeting, detailed discussions were held and it was agreed that there was a need to develop and expand institutional linkages between the Research institutions and NIH    in US to explore cooperative possibilities in the field of medical research, biotechnology and pharmaceuticals.  The issues relating to Health IT and Pharma covigilance were also discussed during the meeting.                                 

All Round Efforts by HRD Ministry to bring in Reforms in Education Sector
The year 2010 was a landmark year for education in the country. The Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education (RTE) Act, 2009, representing the consequential legislation to the Constitutional (86th Amendment) Act, 2002, was enforced with effect from 1st April, 2010.The RTE Act secures the right of children to free and compulsory education till completion of elementary education in a neighbourhood school. The Act lays down the norms and standards relating to pupil teacher ratios, buildings and infrastructure, school working days and teacher working hours. The process of aligning the Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan strategies and norms with the RTE mandate was initiated.

         The Model Rules under the Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education Act have been prepared and circulated/sent to State Governments to adopt/adapt the same while making their own rules.

         The Central Rules under the RTE Act titled “The Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education Rules, 2010” was published in the Gazette on 9th April, 2010.

         The Central Government has issued the following Notifications on 5th April, 2010.

(i)          In exercise of the powers conferred by sub-section (1) of Section 29 of the Right of       Children to Free and Compulsory Education Act, 2009, the Central Government has authorized the National Council of Educational Research and Training would be the academic authority to lay down the curriculum and evaluation procedure for elementary education, and to develop a framework of national curriculum under clause (a) of sub-section (6) of Section 7 of the Act; and

  (ii)         In exercise of powers conferred by sub-section (1) of Section 23 of the Right of                Children to Free and Compulsory Education Act, 2009, the Central Government  has authorized the National Council for Teacher Education as the academic  authority to lay down the minimum qualifications for a person to be eligible for  appointment as a teacher.


         The National Council for Teachers Education (NCTE) has vide Notification dated 23rd August, 2010 laid down the minimum qualifications for a person to be appointed as a teacher in schools.

         Section 33(1) of the Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education Act, 2009 provides for constitution of a National Advisory Council (NAC) by the Central Government. The functions of the NAC shall be to advise the Central Government on implementation of the provisions of the RTE Act in an effective manner. The National Advisory Council was constituted under the chairpersonship of Minister of Human Resource Development.  Notification to this effect has been published in the Gazette of India on 8th July, 2010.

a)               Clarifications regarding  Duties of teachers under Section 27: “Duties relating to election to the local authority or the State Legislatures or Parliament relate to actual conduct of elections and the consequent deployment of teachers on the days of poll and counting, the time spent on training imparted to them and collection of election material for such deployment.  All other duties relating to electoral roll revisions will be undertaken on holidays and during non- teaching hours and non-teaching days.”
b)               Procedure for admission in schools under section 13(1) and section 12(1)(c) of the RTE Act – i.e. the unaided and ‘specified category’ schools shall follow a system of random selection out of the applications received from children belonging to disadvantaged groups and weaker sections for filling the pre-determined number of seats in that class, which should be not less than 25% of the strength of the class and for remaining 75% of the seats (or a lesser percentage depending upon the number of seats fixed by the school for admission under section 12(1)(c), in respect of unaided schools and specified category schools, and for all the seats in the aided schools, each school should formulate a policy under which admissions are to take place
c)               Applicability of RTE to Minority Institutions - Institutions, including Madrasa and Vedic Pathshalas especially serving religious and linguistic minorities are protected under Article 29 and 30 of the Constitution.  The RTE Act does not come in the way of continuance of such institutions, or the rights of children in such institutions and schools of minority organizations covered within the meaning of section 2(n) of the Act, will be governed by the provisions of the RTE Act, 2009.
d)              Relax the minimum qualifications required for appointment of teacher for a period not exceeding five years as required under Sub-section (2) of Section 23 of RTE Act to a state along with the prescribed format for seeking relaxation by the State.
e)               For maintaining PTR mentioned in the Schedule to the Act, the States may undertake two processes within a period of six months
i)        Rationalize the deployment of existing teachers to address the problems of urban-rural and other spatial imbalances in teacher placements and
ii)      Initiate the process of recruitment of new teachers to fill vacant posts as per the PTR stipulated in the Schedule.

 Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan is the main vehicle for implementation of RTE Act, 2009.

            2010 saw the initiation of the grading system at the class 10 level . It has   also been decided to do away with Class X board examinations from 2011 in CBSE schools affiliated up to senior secondary level, for such students who are not moving out of the CBSE System.  Further, students of class IX and X will be assessed on the basis on CCE (Continuous and Comprehensive Evaluation) to be implemented at the school level. 

            The government has decided to set up 6000 high quality model schools at the rate of one school per block.  During 2010-11, 401 model schools in 5 States have been sanctioned and Rs.229.51crore released as first instalment of central share,

             This scheme was launched in March, 2009 with the objective to enhance access to secondary education and improve its quality and the implementation of the scheme started from 2009-10. It is envisaged to achieve an enrolment rate of 75% from 52.26% in 2005-06 at secondary stage within 5 years by providing a secondary school within a reasonable distance of any habitation.
             “National Curriculum Framework for Teacher Education” developed by the National Council for Teacher Education (NCTE) was released this year. Two significant developments – the National Curriculum Framework, 2005 and the Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education Act, 2009, have guided the development of this Framework.  The document deals with preparing and re-orienting teachers for enabling the child to learn through activities, discovery and exploration of his environment and surroundings in a child friendly and child-centred manner, inclusive education, perspective for equitable and sustainable development, gender perspectives, role of community knowledge in education and ICT in schooling as well as  e-learning

             The Council of Boards of School Education (COBSE) approved in two  meetings, in the first one in Delhi a common core curriculum in Science and Mathematics, and in a later meeting in Jaipur, a common core curriculum for commerce, for the plus two stage, for the country.  Most of the Boards were in favour of the implementation of the core curriculum for science and maths  from the year 2011 and for commerce from 2012..

             An MoU was signed between the Ministry of Human Resource Development and the Ministry of Railways to develop educational infrastructure in the form of around 50 Kendriya Vidyalayas in civil sector (about 20 during the 11thPlan and the balance during the 12th Plan), 10 Residential Schools on the pattern of Navodaya Vidayalayas ( to be set up by Ministry of Railways in collaboration with Ministry of HRD on mutually agreed terms), an appropriate number of Model Degree Colleges and Technical and Management institutions of National Importance to meet the demand for education including wards of Railway employees, either as per the norms specified under the existing schemes/programmes and projects being executed by Ministry of Human Resource Development or through special programmes and projects mutually agreed by the parties or through innovative financing under Public Private Partnership Models or any combinational thereof. 

             An  NCTE Portal was launched which provides for on-line application for recognition of teacher education institutions, on-line submission of appeals, on-line registration of teacher education institutions, teacher educators and teacher trainees, and electronic processing of applications submitted on-line through MIS-integration.  

             Ministry of Human Resource Development and Unique Identification Authority of India have signed a Memorandum of Understanding on 27th October, 2010 The proposed MOU would be helpful in tracking student’s mobility by creating an electronic registry of all students right from primary/elementary level through secondary and higher education, as also between the institutions.  It would also be useful in the implementation of Mid-Day Meal Scheme.  Imprinting of UID number on performance record of individual students (Marksheet.merit certificate, migration certificate) will also be helpful to prospective employers and educational institutions.   UID number will help in tracking problems of fake degrees.  UID can also be utilized while dematting of academic certificates as also education loan and scholarship schemes.  

             The Prime Minister launched Saakshar Bharat on 8th September, 2009and it was operationalised w.e.f. 1st October, 2009.  By 31st December, 2009, which is within six months of the Government’s  decision, the Mission has been rolled out in 167 districts in 19 States, covering over 81,000 Gram Panchayats, with a budgetary outlay of Rs.2524 crore up to 31st March, 2012.   In all 3.82 crore non-literate adults will be benefited in these districts. The Government of India’s share of Rs.374.35 crore, as the first installment, has been sanctioned.  In 2010-11,  43 more districts are being taken up for implementation  of Saakshar Bharat to cover  over 11000 Gram Panchayats.


            The restructuring of the Higher Education sector, in the context of a knowledge economy that thrives on innovation, the ceaseless germination of new ideas and raising the consciousness of people, requires a new spirit of regulation that respects the autonomy of institutions amidst the need for accountability with opportunities for access to all.  The establishment of an over-arching institution with power, inter-alia, to prescribe academic standard, norms of accreditation and mechanism for financing and governance of institutions, will enhance the endeavour to promote credible standards of higher education and research in the country.  A Task Force has been constituted for aiding and advising the Government in the establishment of the Commission.  The Task Force has submitted its report to the government on 21st October, 2010.


            There is public concern that technical and medical educational institutions, and universities should not resort to unfair practices, such as charging of capitation fee and demanding donations for admitting students, no issuing receipts in respect of payments made by or on behalf of students, admission to professional programmes of study through non-transparent and questionable admission processes, low quality delivery of education services and false claims of quality of such services through misleading advertisements, engagement of unqualified or ineligible teaching faculty, forcible withholding of certificates and other documents of students.  Responding to this concern, a comprehensive legislation that would prohibit and punish such practices has been introduced in Parliament in the month of May, 2010 to provide for prohibition and punishment for adopting of unfair practices.


            Objective quality assurance frameworks are needed for the student community to make informed choices about institutions and courses.  Presently, accreditation is voluntary as a result of which less than one-fifth of the colleges and less than one-third of all universities have obtained accreditation.  Mandatory accreditation in the higher education would enable the higher education system in the country to become a part of the global quality assurance system.  A legislation has been introduced in Parliament in May this year to provide for mandatory accreditation of all institutions of higher education and creation of an institutional structure for the purpose.  This is in accordance with the general principle of moving from “inspection approval” based mechanism of recognizing institutions to a “verification assessment” method, the attainment of which has often been stressed in public policy discourses.


            A large number of foreign educational institutions are reportedly operating in the country.  Some of them are resorting to various mal-practices to allure and attract students, particularly in smaller cities and towns.  There is as yet neither any centralised policy nor regulatory regime for Foreign Educational Institutions in the country.  The regulation on entry and operation of Foreign Educational Institutions is in the public interest to maintain the standards of higher education within the country as well as to protect the interest of the student’s community.  An ideal regulatory framework could be one in which reputed institutes are able to enter and operate in terms of India’s national policy, while at the same time sub-standard or ‘fly-by-night’ operators are checked and controlled.  The legislative proposal to regulate entry and operation of foreign educational institutions has also been introduced in Parliament.

            The existing justice system suffers from delays and prolixity.  Educational disputes need a fast-track and affordable adjudication mechanism.  For this purpose, a legislation to establish Tribunals at the states and at National level, has been introduced in Parliament to perform the role of providing an independent, enforceable, speedy, fast track adjudication of disputes in a quasi-judicial manner in regard to students, teachers and other employees, between institutions and between institutions and the regulators.  This legislation has already been passed by the Lok Sabha and is before the Rajya Sabha for consideration.

            Another facilitating process has been set in motion, which contemplates creating institutions of excellence to attract world class faculty, advanced learning facilities and pure research oriented atmosphere.   Despite having one of the largest higher education systems in the world, only a few institutions of learning have been able to make a mark on the global stage.  The contribution of the alumni of the Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs), the Indian Institute of Sciences and the Indian Institutes of Management(IIMs) have been widely recognized all over the world.  Recognizing this, the government has proposed establishment of Innovation Universities aimed at world class standards.  These Universities would be at the fount of making India and global knowledge hub and set benchmarks for excellence for other Central and State Universities.  The proposal would also facilitate participation of reputed private sector agencies in establishment of these universities in PPP mode.  A legislative proposal in this regard has been already formulated by the Ministry and the proposal in the stage of inter-ministerial consultations.


            The ministry has also formulated a legislative proposal for creating and maintaining a national electronic database of academic records and awards in de-mat form.  What is envisaged is a shift from the current practice, through dematerialisation of certificates, to a technology-based solution that would ensure confidentiality, authenticity and fidelity, enabling online verification and easy retrieval of academic qualifications. Holding of academic qualifications in an electronic depository would provide immense benefit to educational institutions, students, alumni and employers by enabling online access of academic qualifications, eliminating the need for persons to approach educational institutions for obtaining transcripts of such qualifications or for verification as well as reduce the need for institutions to preserve records related to academic performance of students over a long time.  The system could also eliminate fraudulent practices such as forging of certificates and mark sheets through facilitating online verification.

            The Government has set up eight new IITs in Andhra Pradesh, Bihar, Rajasthan, Orissa, Punjab, Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh (Indore) and Himachal Pradesh.  Out of these 8, Classes for B.Tech. couses have been started from 2009-10 in IITs at Mandi (H.P) and Indore (M.P.). classes had already been started from July-August 2008 in 6 new IITs in Andhra Pradesh, Bihar, Rajasthan, Orissa, Punjab and Gujarat .
            In view of the felt need for expansion of facilities for high quality management education, during XIth Five Year Plan seven new IIMs have been established in the country.  The IIMs at Rohtak, Ranchi & Raipur have commenced their academic session from 2010-11.  The IIM at Tiruchirappalli will be operationalized in 2010-11 with executive programmes and the IIMs at Udaipur & Kashipur would become functional from 2011-12.

The Union Minister for human Resource Development unveiled a low cost computing-cum-access device in July this year. The price of the device is expected to be around $35 per piece.  The aim is to reach such devices to the students of colleges and Universities and to provide these institutions a host of choices of low cost access devices around Rs. 1500/- ($35) or less in near future.

             Indian Institutes of Technology at Bombay, Delhi, Guwahati, Kanpur, Kharagpur, Madras, Roorkee and the Indian Institute of Science Bangaloresuccessfully conducted online Graduate Aptitude Test in Engineering (GATE) 2010 for two out of 21 papers this year. Examinations in two subjects, namely Textile Engineering and Fiber Science (TF), and Mining Engineering (MN) were conducted using computers by these institutes. About 1700 candidates were registered for these examinations which were conducted simultaneously in eight cities over two shifts.

            The  web portals of the All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE) and National Board of Accreditation (NBA) at URL:// and URL:// respectively were launched in order to bring in transparency, accountability, efficiency and swiftness in its decision-making process.  Through this portal, the        processing of applications for approvals has been made on line this year.

             A landmark initiative to constitute the India-Australia Education Council has been agreed on by India and Australia A first of its kind, this Council will bring together government, academia, business and industry of both the countries to further bilateral collaboration in the education sector. Shri Kapil Sibal, Union Minister of Human Resource Development, and Ms.  Julia Gillard, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations,Australia decided upon this in a meeting held in Melbourne, Australia, in recognition of the fact that education is central to sustained, inclusive and equitable growth.

             Ministry of Human Resource Development has finalized the modalities for implementation of a new Central Scheme to provide full interest subsidy during the period of moratorium on educational loans for students belonging to economically weaker sections (with parental family income from all sources of less than Rs.4.5 lakh annually) from scheduled banks under the Educational Loan Scheme of the Indian Banks’ Association (IBA) for pursuing courses of studies in professional/technical streams from recognized institutions in India.  The modalities have been finalized in consultation with the Indian Banks’ Association. The Scheme is effective for all IBA approved educational loans sanctioned in form of eligible students’ in respect of approval course of studies from the academic year 2009-10.


Indian Institute of Management (IIM)-Kozhikode,  Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) – Kanpur and Yale University, USA have entered into a partnership to advance higher education in India through academic leadership development programmes for higher education leaders in India and through research on Indian higher education..The flagship programme of the partnership will be a new “India – Yale University Leadership Programme,” to be developed by Yale University in consultation with IIM – Kozhikode and IIT – Kanpur, that will expose university and academic leaders in India at the levels of vice-chancellor, director, and deans to the best practices of academic administration and institutional management in the United States.  


The HRD Ministry has initiated the process for the preparation of   a National Vocational Education Qualification Framework. The first two  round tables have been organized by the All India Council for Technical Education, (AICTE) for the development of a national vocational education qualification framework, the first one with regard to the automobile sector, and the second one with regard to the IT, ITES and Telecom Industry. More round tables are proposed to be organized in order to address a gamut of vocations.  Subsequent to the discussions, to develop the course curriculum, core groups have been constituted for the preparation of the curriculum for the automobile, for the telecom and for the IT sector.. These groups are to submit their recommendations to the HRD Ministry within 3 months. 

Achievements/Inititatives of Ministry of Panchayati Raj in 2010

The mandate of the Ministry of Panchayati Raj is enshrined in part IX of the Constitution (“The Panchayats”) read with Article 243 ZD of Part IXA relating to the District Planning Committees and the Eleventh Schedule which illustratively sets out a list of 29 matters, which might be considered by State Legislatures for devolution to the Panchayats in respect of the planning of economic development and social justice as well as the implementation of “entrusted” schemes of economic and social development in such a manner as to ensure that they function as “units of self-government.” Major achievements and initiatives of the Ministry in the year 2010 are as under:  A mechanism for efficient management of programmes, funds, and planning functions was worked out . The mechanism is based on switch over from the present system of ‘Advances and Disbursement’ to a system of ‘Authorization’. In this framework, each IE would be given an ‘Authorization’ for up to a certain amount based on their entitlement as per the programme guidelines.  A ‘Plan Plus’ software to facilitate integrated (cross-sectoral) District/Sub-District planning and seamless convergence of plethora of schemes and resources was developed by the Ministry. This application will integrate with the new mechanism for fund transfer and provide anunified Planning, Accounting and MIS system. 

In addition, to enable final payments to the beneficiaries, the Business Correspondents (BCs) option is being tried under various schemes. With the use of Electronic Benefit Transfer system and biometric based smart-card technology, the new mechanism is capable of integrating the BC model for the disbursal purposes. In fact Govt. of India has mooted BC model for the 97 unbanked Blocks (86 in NE alone) in the country for extending Banking services. A two day long National Conference on April 24, 2010 the occasion of the National Panchayati Raj Day to mark the promogulation of the Constitution (73rd Amendment) Act, 1992 from April 24, 1993 to provide constitutional status to the Panchayati Raj Institutions in our country. The theme of the occasion was “Roadmap for the Panchayats” It was inaugurated by the Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh. 
Connectivity to Gram Panchayats through broadband network, is included as a component in the Bharat Nirman II Programme. As on September 2010, a total of 97,392 Village Panchayats have been broadband enabled. Under Bharat Nirman II Programme, the Government has envisaged to provide broadband connectivity to all Village Panchayats.  For implementation of e-governance in Panchayats, an e-Panchayat Mission Mode Project (MMP)” has been formulated by the Ministry. Under this MMP, reports on (1) Information and Service Needs Assessment (2) Business Process Re-engineering and (3) Detailed Project Reports for each State/UT (except Delhi) have been prepared and sent to respective States/UTs for operationalising. For this MMP, MoPR has been allocated Rs.5.5 cr. in 2008-09, Rs.22.07 cr. In 2009-10 and Rs.24 cr. In 2010-11. From this amount, development of software applications to automate core functions of Panchayats has also been taken up. PRIASoft, an accounting software and PLANPlus, software for decentralized planning have already been launched. An advisory, ‘Effective implementation of PESA particularly in the context of prevailing extremism’, dated 21st May, 2010 was issued by Ministry to all PESA States. It is available on website of Ministry of Panchayati Raj,

Under the allocation for Backward Regions Grant Fund (BRGF) the allocation for Backward Region Grant Fund (BRGF) to increase by 26 per cent from Rs. 5,800 crore in 2009-10 to Rs.7,300 crore in 2010-11.  A Model Accounting System for Panchayats (MAS) and PRIASoft, a software for computerized maintenance of accounts under MAS, has been developed by the Ministry to bring in transparency and accountability in the functioning of PRIs.  Ministry of Health and Family Welfare was requested for giving the responsibility of planning and implementation of National Rural Health Mission to Panchayati Raj Institutions.  Under the Panchayat Empowerment and Accountability Incentive Scheme (PEAIS), State Governments are incentivized to devolve functions, funds and functionaries (3Fs) upon Panchayats to fulfil the Constitutional stipulation under Article 243G read with its Eleventh Schedule. Awards are given based on ranking of the States in devolution of 3Fs through a study conducted every year by an independent organization. Abudgetary provision of Rs. 10.00 Crore per annum for the year 2008-09, 2009-10 and 2010-11 was made for incentivization under PEAIS. 

All the States/UTs have been asked to involve the Panchayats to actively involve and initiate necessary steps in the scheme of uniquely identifying Indian residents to be initiated by the Uniue Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) very soon and also inform the ministry of the action taken.  India and Norway signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) for mutual cooperation on Local Governance at Oslo, the Capital of Norway. The objective of the MoU is to encourage transference of competence between India and Norway for strengthening Local Self Governance including capacity building of institutions, focusing on areas relating to achievement of Millenium Development Goals, e-governance, solution sharing and mobilisation of resources.  The Planning Commission was urged to integrate its Action Plan prepared for the Most Extremist Affected Districts (MEADs) with the holistic participatory District Plans under BRGF/DPC platforms and suggested that this plan be funded through additionality to these districts under BRGF.  Token incentives amounting to Rs. 30 crore to 17 States under the The Panchayat Empowerment & Accountability Incentive Scheme (PEAIS) during the last three Financial years. These States are: Assam, Andhra Pradesh, Chhattisgarh , Goa, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Karnataka, Kerala, Madhya Pradesh, Manipur, Orissa, Rajasthan, Sikkim, Tamil Nadu, U.P, West Bengal and Maharashtra. 

All the States particularly those affected by the Left Wing Extremism were asked to ensure proper implementation of PESA Guidelines in their areas so that the PRIs could be made stronger enough. In a letter written to all Chief Secretaries of States to States the Ministry has urged them to take all necessary steps that are required to check the deepening and widening of extremism in PESA areas. The Ministry also underlined the need to activate Gram Sabhas in a mission mode for resolving disputes, supervisining land acquition and assess the impact and delimitation of villages. 

A Memorandum of Cooperation (MoC) with Export Import Bank of India for the purpose of enhancing export possibilities of products sources from RBHs. Key activities covered under the MoC are (i) Facilitating identification of suitable exporters, willing to locate their production activities in rural areas, (ii) Fostering a mutually beneficial business relationship between such exporters and rural producers, availing of the support and facilitation of Panchayat, (iii) Facilitating wider visibility and promotion of identified products of RBHs in international markets by linking these products to EXIM Bank’s rural portal and by displaying such products at the overseas offices of EXIM Bank, (iv) Familiarizing select RBHs with the process of obtaining Ethical Trading, Fair Trade, Organic certification etc. so that market realization is better. A “National Capability Building Framework (NCBF)” has been prepared for regular and sustained capability building of elected representatives, officials and other stakeholders in Panchayati Raj, through a series of training activities that, among other things, include sectorally focused training programmes on rural development also. 

Cancun climate agreement at a glance
Scores of rich countries made pledges over the last year to cut their greenhouse gas emissions by 2020 under the Copenhagen accord but they were not incorporated in the official UN process. Cancun now formally puts those pledges into UN documentation, although they may increase or decrease in future.

For the first time, developing countries also agreed to look at how they can cut emissions in the future — but did not make specific pledges. Crucially however, none of the cuts are legally binding. Climate aid: A new climate green fund was agreed at Cancun to transfer money from the developed to developing world to tackle the impacts of climate change. Poorer countries saw this as a success because they will outnumber rich countries on a supervisory panel for the fund, which is due to be set up in 2011. But no figure was put on how much money will go into it. Separately, ministers repeated their political promise made last year at Copenhagen to raise $100bn in climate aid by 2020, starting with $30bn by 2012 for “fast track” financing.

·         Forests
Formal backing was given for the UN's deforestation scheme, Redd (reducing emissions from deforestation and degradation), under which rich countries pay poorer nations not to chop down forests and so lock away carbon emissions. But details on when and exactly what form the scheme will take — particularly whether developed countries will be able to use it to “offset” their emissions rather than make cuts at home — are still vague.Kyoto protocol: Decisions on the future of the Kyoto protocol, the current international treaty binding rich countries to cut emissions, were effectively deferred until South Africa next year. Whether countries will sign up for a second “commitment period” to cuts beyond 2012 remains to be seen.Decisions on the role that the protocol will play in an ultimate future legal document that binds the world's countries to emissions cuts — the “holy grail” of the UN negotiations — were delayed.

·         Technology transfer
The idea of transferring knowledge of clean technology between countries was backed at Cancun. A technology executive committee and a climate technology centre and network are to be set up, but there are no details on the money, where they will be based, when or by whom. Countries agreed to the principle of having their emissions cuts inspected. Such “monitoring, reporting and verification” will depend on the size of the country's economy, though who will carry out the inspections was not specified.


A.P. Singh is new CBI chief

Amar Pratap Singh, senior-most Special Director in the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), over as the new Director of the CBI. He succeeds Ashwani Kumar, who retired after completing his 27 month-long tenure. He has been a recipient of the Police Medal for Meritorious Service and the President's police medal for Distinguished Service.

R. K. Singh to head BPCL

The Centre appointed R. K. Singh as the Chairman and Managing Director of Bharat Petroleum Corporation Ltd. (BPCL). In a statement, BPCL said, Mr. Singh had been appointed by the Competent Authority as Chairman and Managing Director from the date of taking over charge of the post. A mechanical engineer from Banaras Hindu University, Mr. Singh would hold the reins of the nation's second largest public sector refining and marketing company till September, 2013. The position of Chairman and Managing Director at BPCL fell vacant in August after Ashok Sinha resigned from the job. At present, S. Radhakrishnan, BPCL Director (Marketing), was officiating as the Chairman and Managing Director of the company.  The Public Enterprise Selection Board (PESB), named Mr. Singh as its No. 1 choice to head.

Patricia Espinosa
The president of the Conference of Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).


Satyanand Mishra is the new CIC

Satyanand Mishra, currently one of six information Commissioners and an IAS officer of 1973 batch, has been selected to be the next Chief Information Commissioner. This was finalised by a panel comprising Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, Law Minister Veerappa Moily and Leader of the Opposition Sushma Swaraj. Mr. Mishra will be replacing A.N. Tiwari who has held the position of Chief Information Commissioner since October 1 this year. Mr. Tiwari was one of six ommissioners since 26 December 2005. The other five Information Commissioners are Annapurna Dixit, Deepak Sandhu, Sushma Singh, M.L. Sharma and Shailesh Gandhi.

Ruggiero to head Af-Pak mission
Frank Ruggiero, a career civil servant who served under late Richard Holbrooke, has been made the Acting U.S. Special Representative to the Af-Pak region and will be assisted by two deputies Dan Feldman and [Indian—American] Vikram Singh. He will lead the SRAP structure that Richard Holbrooke constructed.


Sanjeev Tripathi to head RAW

Sanjeev Tripathi, who heads the Aviation Research Centre (ARC), will be the new chief of the country's external intelligence agency, the Research and Analysis Wing (RAW). The ARC is a part of RAW. Mr. Tripathi, who originally belongs to the Uttar Pradesh cadre of the 1973 batch of the Indian Police Service, but was absorbed within RAW, will probably be the first RAW chief from the RAS (RAW Allied Services) cadre to head the organisation, since it came to existence more than four decades ago.

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