Chief Executive of UK Research and Innovation, Professor Mark Walport,  is on a two-day visit to Delhi, at the invitation of Principal Scientific Adviser to the Government of India, Professor K. VijayRaghavan met and addressed the Prime Minister’s Science, Technology and Innovation Advisory Council (PM-STIAC).

Chaired by Professor K. VijayRaghavan, the PM-STIAC is an overarching body that assesses specific science and technology domains in India, and formulates interventions and roadmaps. It advises the India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi on all matters of science, technology and innovation.

Professor Mark met the PM-STIAC and delivered a lecture on the creation of UK Research and Innovation (UKRI), one of the most significant reforms in the UK’s research and innovation funding landscape in the last 50 years. Launched in April 2018 as an independent, non-departmental public body, UKRI brings together the functions of the seven Research Councils, Innovate UK and a new organisation, Research England.

The PM-STIAC monitors the implementation of the Prime Minister’s vision for the nation. Speaking at the recent the 106th Indian Science Congress, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said ‘Science is universal, but tech must be local’ and coined the phrase ‘Jai Anusandhan’ , emphasising the importance of research and innovation.

In October 2018, UKRI India office celebrated a decade of India-UK research and innovation partnership, which is transformative and changing lives for people both in India and the UK, creating new shared economic opportunities through research and innovation, one of the fastest growing bilateral areas of collaboration.

Professor Mark Walport, said: “In a world that depends on science and innovation to help address shared challenges, the creation of Prime Minister’s Science, Technology and Innovation and Innovation Advisory Council comes at an exciting time for both India and its international partners.  The UKRI-India collaboration has come a long way to provide solutions through its high-quality joint programmes and to prepare for future challenges.”

Professor K. Vijay Raghavan, said: “The ultimate goal of building a prosperous society and economy can be achieved through effective quality research, innovation and policies. As most of the challenges faced today are global in nature, it is important that India effectively leverages international science and technology collaboration to address these issues. Science and technology as major drivers that help transform a nation, PM-STIAC is committed to taking India into the next era of its science excellence.”

 “The ultimate goal of building a prosperous society and economy can be achieved through effective quality research, innovation and policies. As most of the challenges faced today are global in nature, it is important that India effectively leverages international S&T collaboration to address these issues. Science and technology as major drivers that help transform a nation, PM-STIAC is committed to taking India into the next era of its science excellence.

The PM-STIAC members include Dr VK Saraswat, Member NITI Aayog, Dr AS Kiran Sharma, former Chairman ISRO, Professor Ajay Kumar Sood, IISc, Major General Madhuri Kanitkar, Dean, Armed Forces Medical College, Professor Sanghmitra Bandopadhyay, Director, Indian Statistical Institute, Professor Manjul Bhargava, Princeton University, Professor Subhash Kak, Oklahoma State University, and Shri Baba Kalyani, MD Bharat Forge.

Secretaries of most of the Indian research funding agencies, such as the Department of Agricultural Research & Education, Department of Atomic Energy, Department of Biotechnology, Department of Defence Research & Development, Department of Higher Education, Department of Science and Technology, Department of Space Indian Council of Medical Research, and Ministry of Earth Sciences are also part PM-STIAC.

Professor Mark accompanied by Dr Tim Wheeler, Director International UK Research and Innovation, will also visit three Newton-Bhabha joint research projects that highlight the joint efforts of research communities working on optimal use of agricultural nitrogen, promotion of solar energy and the effects of air pollution on human health. The Newton-Bhabha fund is a partnership that brings together UK and Indian scientists, researchers and innovators to find joint solutions to global challenges. It is delivered by 7 UK delivery partners in collaboration with their Indian counterparts through equal partnership and matched resources.

***

KSP/GK/nb

Read more: Chief Executive of UK Research and Innovation...

 

          The Union Cabinet chaired by Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi has been approved the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between India and France on technical bilateral cooperation in the field of new and renewable energy. The MoU was signed on 3rd October, 2018.

Salient Features

          India and France aim to establish the basis for a cooperative institutional relationship to encourage and promote technical bilateral cooperation on new and renewable issues on the basis of mutual benefit, equality and reciprocity. The technical cooperation will cover joint research working groups, pilot projects, capacity building programs, study tour, case studies and the sharing of experience/expertise.

Benefits

          The MoU will help in strengthening bilateral cooperation between India and France.

AKT

Read more: Cabinet approves MoU between India and France on...

Marking the adoption of e-mobility, Department of Economic Affairs, Ministry of Finance, Government of India has signed an agreement with Energy Efficiency Services Limited (EESL), an entity under Ministry of Power for deployment of 15 Electric Vehicles for their officers. Also, 28 charging points (24 Slow charging points, 4 Fast Charging Points) have been installed at North Block for charging these vehicles. With these 15 EVs, Department of Economic Affairs is expected to save over 36,000 litres of fuel every year and will also lead to a reduction of over 440 tonnes of CO2 annually.

 

Speaking on the occasion, the Union Minister of Finance and Corporate Affairs, Shri Arun Jaitley, said, “Electric mobility, is an attractive, sustainable and profitable solution to mitigate the climate change and to reduce the risk posed by vehicular emission to public health. EVs have the potential to support India’s growth by enhancing manufacturing, job creation, and technical capabilities. We are glad to be a part of India’s mission of rapid adoption of e-mobility.”

 

Union Minister of State (IC) for Power and New & Renewable Energy, Shri R K Singh said, “The Indian Government is committed to usher in an era of clean, green and future-oriented technologies in the country. Today, we have achieved yet another milestone in that direction. The Government is promoting e-mobility by taking a lead in changing the fleet of cars used for official purposes with electric cars and at the same time creating the right policy framework enabling this ecosystem and to support its adoption.”

 

With this development, the Department of Economic Affairs, Ministry of Finance begins its transition towards a reduced carbon footprint and a more environmentally sustainable future. It also marks its participation in India’s e-mobility goal. Several stakeholders across the nation are already implementing many initiatives to support electric mobility with more expected to join the effort.

 

The Department of Expenditure has also issued an office memorandum for all the government offices in Delhi/NCR to switch to electric vehicles. Adoption of electric vehicles will reduce dependence on oil imports and promote power capacity addition in India thereby enhancing energy security of the country. It will further reduce GHG emissions from the transport sector and also reduce the impact of pollution level in the cities.

 

EESL has received an encouraging response from Central Government departments and across states. So far, Agreements and MoUs have been signed with Central and State Government departments in Delhi, Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh, Andaman & Nicobar Administration and Telangana. EESL is in advanced negotiations with other state governments across India. The recent guidelines on charging infrastructure provide a thrust to private & public charging stations ensuring access & availability for consumers. Further, the inclusion of CCS & CHAdeMO under charging infra standards is set to encourage automakers to offer higher range EVs. This will remove barriers like range and build confidence for EV consumers.

 

Towards enabling the Indian government’s e-mobility vision, EESL first plans to replace the government’s 5,00,000 conventional internal combustion engine (ICE) cars with electric variants. EESL has also established charging infrastructure across all states where EVs are being deployed.

 

The signing ceremony took place in the august presence of Shri Arun Jaitley, Union Minister of Finance and Corporate Affairs; Shri R.K. Singh, Minister of State (IC) for Power and New & Renewable Energy; Shri Ajay Bhushan Pandey, Secretary, Department of Revenue; Shri Ajay Narayan Jha, Finance Secretary & Secretary (Expenditure); Shri Subhash Chandra Garg, Secretary, Department of Economic Affairs; and Shri Ajay Bhalla, Secretary, Ministry of Power.

*****

RCJ/MS

Read more: Shri Arun Jaitley inaugurates electric vehicle...

 The 106th session of Indian Science Congress (ISC), 2019 concluded in Lovely Professional University, Jalandhar today.  The five-day session was inaugurated by Hon’ble Prime Minister ShriNarendraModiand attended by Union Science &Technology Minister Dr. Harsh Vardhanon 3rd January, 2018.  As a part of the Indian Science Congress, Women’s Science Congress was held which was inaugurated by Union Minister for Textiles & Industry Smt. SmritiZubinIraniand concluded by Union HRD Minister ShriPrakashJavadekar.  Science Communicators’ Meet was inaugurated by Minister for Electronics & IT Shri Ravi Shankar Prasad.  The Children’s Science Congress was inaugurated by the Nobel Laureates AvramHershko from Israel and F.DuncanM.Haldane from USA. 

During five days, significant lectures from three Nobel Laureates; 20 Plenary Sessions & several sectional symposia with top authorities from DRDO, ISRO, DST, ICAR, CSIR, ICMR, AICTE, NAAC, UGC, ISCA, the USA, UK Universities, were attended bynearly 30,000 participants.More than fifteen thousand delegates participated at this  scientific meet.

An exhibition ‘Pride of India’ was also held during the event wherein 150 organisations including DRDO, DST, Min/o Earth Sciences, CSIR, ICAR, ICMR, NPCIL, and various other scientific departments and universities participated.  The major attractions of the exhibition were the replicas of Akash Missiles, Brahmos missiles, GSLV-MK III, Astrosat satellite, INSAT-4A, IRNSS Satellite.

 The major attractions were the 55-feet, 25-ton massive robot ‘Metal Magna’ installed at the entrance gate. A giant microscope and a trainer plane were also displayed.

During the ISC, a solar-powered driverless bus designed and created by the students of Lovely Professional University was also inaugurated.  A Time capsule with items representing today’s technology and India’s scientific prowess was buried to be opened after 100 years.

The event played a vital role in stimulating scientific research effort and raising the scientific temperament in the country and the world. During concluding ceremony, 37 awardees in the categories of Young Scientists, Best Poster presentation and Pride of India-Science Exhibition were honoured. The event at LPU, which commenced with lighting of ‘VigyanJyot’, was handed over to General President elect for 2019 K S Rangappa for organization of 107th ISC.

While making concluding remarks of the event, General President, Indian Science Congress Association (ISCA) 2019, Dr Manoj Kumar Chakrabarti highlighted that 106th edition of ISC provided the best platform to exchange ideas and innovations among scientists gathered from across the world.He also applauded the invaluable contribution of Indian Scientists and all at different events of ISC-2019, particularly the scientific temperament of people of Punjab who participated in huge numbers.

*****

GK/nb           

 

Read more: Five Day 106th Session of Indian Science...

Air pollution is one of the biggest global environmental challenges of today. A time bound national level strategy for pan India implementation to tackle the increasing air pollution problem across the country in a comprehensive manner in the form of National Clean Air Programme (NCAP) was today launched by Union Minister of Environment, Forest and Climate Change, Dr. Harsh Vardhan in New Delhi.

“Collaborative and participatory approach involving relevant Central Ministries, State Governments, local bodies and other Stakeholders with focus on all sources of pollution forms the crux of the Programme.” said the Union Environment Minister.Dr Harsh Vardhan further informed that taking into account the available international experiences and national studies, the tentative national level target of 20%–30% reduction of PM2.5 and PM10 concentration by 2024 is proposed under the NCAP taking 2017 as the base year for the comparison of concentration. “Overall objective of the NCAP is comprehensive mitigation actions for prevention, control and abatement of air pollution besides augmenting the air quality monitoring network across the country and strengthening the awareness and capacity building activities.” the minister further added.

 

CEO NITI Aayog , Shri Amitabh Kant who was also present at the launch said that NCAP is a path breaking initiative and one of the most critical and most significant programme as it addresses one of the most alarming challenges of urbanization i.e. air pollution. “Today cities occupy just 3% of the land, but contribute to 82% of GDP and responsible for 78% of Carbon dioxide emissions; cities though are engines of growth and equity but they have to be sustainable and it is in this context that NCAP being a very inclusive program holds special relevance.” said Shri Kant.

 

The NCAP will be a mid-term, five-year action plan with 2019 as the first year. However, the international experiences and national studies indicate that significant outcome in terms of air pollution initiatives are visible only in the long-term, and hence the programme may be further extended to a longer time horizon after a mid-term review of the outcomes. The approach for NCAP includes collaborative, multi-scale and cross-sectoral coordination between the relevant central ministries, state governments and local bodies. Dovetailing of the existing policies and programmes including the National Action Plan on Climate Change (NAPCC) and other initiatives of Government of India in reference to climate change will be done while execution of NCAP.

 

There will be use of the Smart Cities program to launch the NCAP in the 43 smart cities falling in the list of the 102 non-attainment cities. The NCAP is envisaged to be dynamic and will continue to evolve based on the additional scientific and technical information as they emerge. The NCAP will be institutionalized by respective ministries and will be organized through inter-sectoral groups, which include, Ministry of Road Transport and Highway, Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas, Ministry of New and Renewable Energy, Ministry of Heavy Industry, Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs, Ministry of Agriculture, Ministry of Health, NITI Aayog, CPCB, experts from the industry, academia, and civil society. The program will partner with multilateral and bilateral international organizations, and philanthropic foundations and leading technical institutions to achieve its outcomes.

City specific action plans are being formulated for 102 non-attainment cities identified for implementing mitigation actions under NCAP. Cities have already prepared action plans in consultation with CPCB. Institutional Framework at Centre and State Level comprising of Apex Committee at the Ministry of Environment Forest and Climate Change in the Centre and at Chief Secretary Level in the States are to be constituted.

In addition, sectoral working groups, national level Project Monitoring Unit, Project Implementation Unit, state level project monitoring unit, city level review committee under the Municipal Commissioner and DM level Committee in the Districts are to be constituted under NCAP for effective implementation and success of the Programme.

 

Other features of NCAP include, increasing number of monitoring stations in the country including rural monitoring stations, technology support, emphasis on awareness and capacity building initiatives, setting up of certification agencies for monitoring equipment, source apportionment studies, emphasis on enforcement, specific sectoral interventions etc.

 

The launch ceremony was attended by more than 150 participants representing central and state governments, industries, national & international organizations, Universities and research institutes from across the country.

The list of 102 cities chosen for this intervention is as follows:

 

Non-Attainment cities with respect to Ambient Air Quality India
(2011-2015) and WHO report 2014/2018

 

Sl. No

State

Cities Sl. No

Cities

1

Andhra Pradesh

  1.  

Guntur

  1.  

Kurnool

  1.  

Nellore

  1.  

Vijaywada

  1.  

Vishakhapatnam

2

Assam

  1.  

Guwahati

  1.  

Nagaon

  1.  

Nalbari

  1.  

Sibsagar

  1.  

Silchar

3

Chandigarh

  1.  

Chandigarh

4

Chattisgarh

  1.  

Bhillai

  1.  

Korba

  1.  

Raipur

5

Delhi

  1.  

Delhi

6

Gujarat

  1.  

Surat

  1.  

Ahmedabad

7

Himachal Pradesh

  1.  

Baddi

  1.  

Damtal

  1.  

Kala Amb

  1.  

Nalagarh

  1.  

Paonta Sahib

  1.  

Parwanoo

  1.  

Sunder Nagar

8

Jammu & Kashmir

  1.  

Jammu

  1.  

Srinagar

9

Jharkhand

  1.  

Dhanbad

10

Karnataka

  1.  

Bangalore

  1.  

Devanagere

  1.  

Gulburga

  1.  

Hubli-Dharwad

11

Madhya Pradesh

  1.  

Bhopal

  1.  

Dewas

  1.  

Indore

  1.  

Sagar

  1.  

Ujjain

  1.  

Gwalior

12

Maharashtra

  1.  

Akola

  1.  

Amravati

  1.  

Aurangabad

  1.  

Badlapur

  1.  

Chandrapur

  1.  

Jalgaon

  1.  

Jalna

  1.  

Kolhapur

  1.  

Latur

  1.  

Mumbai

  1.  

Nagpur

  1.  

Nashik

  1.  

Navi Mumbai

  1.  

Pune

  1.  

Sangli

  1.  

Solapur

  1.  

Ulhasnagar

13

Meghalaya

  1.  

Byrnihat

14

Nagaland

  1.  

Dimapur

  1.  

Kohima

15

Orissa

  1.  

Angul

  1.  

Balasore

  1.  

Bhubneshwar

  1.  

Cuttack

  1.  

Rourkela

  1.  

Talcher

16

Punjab

  1.  

DeraBassi

  1.  

Gobindgarh

  1.  

Jalandhar

  1.  

Khanna

  1.  

Ludhiana

  1.  

NayaNangal

  1.  

Pathankot/Dera Baba

  1.  

Patiala

  1.  

Amritsar

17

Rajasthan

  1.  

Alwar

  1.  

Jaipur

  1.  

Jodhpur

  1.  

Kota

  1.  

Udaipur

18

Tamilnadu

  1.  

Tuticorin

19

Telangana

  1.  

Hydrabad

  1.  

Nalgonda

  1.  

Patencheru

20

Uttar Pradesh

  1.  

Agra

  1.  

Allahabad

  1.  

Anpara

  1.  

Bareily

  1.  

Firozabad

  1.  

Gajraula

  1.  

Ghaziabad

  1.  

Jhansi

  1.  

Kanpur

  1.  

Khurja

  1.  

Lucknow

  1.  

Muradabad

  1.  

Noida

  1.  

Raebareli

  1.  

Varanasi

21

Uttarakhand

  1.  

Kashipur

  1.  

Rishikesh

22

West Bengal

  1.  

Kolkata

23

Bihar

  1.  

Patna

  1.  

Gaya

  1.  

Muzaffarpur

 

***

GK

Read more: Government launches National Clean Air Programme...

Press Information Bureau
Government of India
Ministry of Communications
09-January-2019 12:57 IST

Year End Review 2018: Ministry of Telecommunications
  • Six-fold increase in Government spending on telecommunications infrastructure and services in the country – from Rs. 9,900 crores between 2009-14, to Rs. 60,000 crores (actual + planned) between 2014-19
  • Tariff reductions benefiting consumers across the country:
    • Average voice tariff declined by 67% – from an average per minute tariff of 51 paise in June 2014 to 11 paise in June 2018
    • Average data tariff declined by 96% - from Rs. 269 per GB in 2014, to Rs. 12 per GB in June 2018
  • Restoring the trust between Government and Citizens through a smooth and transparent auction of spectrum in 2015 and 2016 – more than 1382 MHz sold, realising an upfront payment of approximately Rs. 65,000 crores
  • For the spectrum auction of October, 2016, DoT received an Excellence Award from CVC in November 2017, for “Transparency in e-auction of spectrum in 2016”
  • Telecom service providers now have sufficient spectrum available to offer their sevices; the regime of spectrum shortage is a thing of the past
  • Under the BharatNet project, which is expected to trigger the era of Broadband in rural India, nearly 50% of the total 2.5 Lakh Gram Panchayats (GPs) in the country have been connected through high-speed OFC network by October 2018, as compared to 59 GPs in June 2014; plan to complete the remaining GPs by March 2019
  • Network for Spectrum (NFS) project for Defence – project approved in July 2012; no cable laid until May 2014; 51,000 km of Optical Fibre Cable (OFC) laid in the last 4 years
  • Under BharatNet and NFS projects, OFC laid at a peak rate of 800 km per day, with an average of more than 200 km per day – a record of sorts
  • As a result of its’ role in the BharatNet project, ITI Ltd. was able to report a net profit of Rs. 102 crores (without grants) for the year 2017-18
  • Proactive engagement, planning, and investment to leverage new technologies for the welfare of citizens – High-Level Forum (HLF) for 5G India set up which submitted its report in August 2018; 5G test beds established through Industry-Academia partnership and government support; 5G field trials to be conducted over the next 12 months

 

  • Highlights in Figures
    • Increase in overall tele-density in the country – from 75% in June 2014 to 93% in March 2018, adding 305 million new subscribers
    • Mobile Internet subscriptions more than doubled – from 233 Million in March 2014 to 491 Million in June 2018
    • Over 107% increase in internet coverage – from 251 million users in June 2014 to 512 million in June 2018
    • Number of mobile Base Transceiver Stations (BTS)more than doubled – from 7.9 lakh in May 2014 to more than20 lakh in May 2018
    • Country-wide OFCcoverage doubled – from 7 lakh km in May 2014 to 14 lakh km in May 2018
    • Average mobile data usage per subscriber grew 51 times – from 62 MB per month to 3.2 GB per month
    • Cheapest data tariff globally – from Rs. 300 per GB in 2014 to Rs. 12 per GB in June 2018, tariff reduction of 96%
    • Highest mobile data consumption globally at 3.4 Billion GB per month
    • Seven times growth in broadband access – from 61 million subscribers in March 2014, to 447 million subscribers in June 2018
    • Digital payment transactions through mobile grew four times– from 168 million in November 2016 to 600 million now
    • Five times jump in FDI inflows in Telecom Sector – from USD 1.3 billion in  2015-16, to USD 6.2 billion in 2017-18
    • Connecting the Unconnectedareas in the country:
      • Left-Wing Extremism Affected Areas – 2335 mobile towers installed in Phase I, at a total outlay of Rs. 4,781 crores; 4072 towers approved for installation in Phase II, with a total outlay of Rs. 7,330 crores
      • Biggest ever Telecom Spend in the North-East Region –Ongoing projects with a total outlay of more than Rs. 10,800 crores, connecting border areas, highways, and unconnected villages
      • Submarine cable connectivity to Andaman and Nicobar Islands, in addition to strengthening connectivity within the islands and in Lakshadweep – at an outlay of Rs. 2,250 crores
      • Extensive expansion of the Wi-Fi eco-system in rural areas,with an outlay of Rs. 10,000 crores – 25,000 hot-spots by BSNL in rural exchanges, 7,000 hot-spots (e-Choupals) by Common Service Centres (CSCs); Additional 1 million Hotspots planned by March 2019
    • Key reforms to facilitate the operation of a Robust, Competitive, and Sustainable Telecom Sector:
      • Spectrum sharing and trading allowed – to boost competition
      • Spectrum harmonisation – resulting in freeing up spectrum for auction
      • Sharing of passive (e.g., fibre, towers) and active (e.g., BTS) infrastructure
      • Deferred Payment Liabilities – to reduce financial stress in the sector
      • Easing of Right of Way (RoW) Rules and Charges – Ease of Doing Business
      • Full mobile number portability
      • Virtual Network Operators (VNO) license introduced – for effective infrastructure utilisation
      • Input credit for VNO licensees allowed to ease tax burden
    • The National Digital Communications Policy (NDCP) 2018 – summarises our Aspirations and Determination:
      • Missions – NDCP 2018
        • Connect India – Universal broadband coverage at 50 Mbps
        • Propel India – Attracting investments worth USD 100 Billion
        • Secure India – A strong, flexible, and robust communications infrastructure and data protection regime
      • Objectives – NDCP 2018
        • Providing Broadband to all by 2022
        • Adding 4 million jobs in the sector
        • Digital Communications sector to grow to 8% of India’s GDP by 2022 (present 6%)
        • To bring India tothe top 50 rank(from present 134) in the ICT Development Index of the International Telecom Union
        • Net positive international trade in the sector – through increased local manufacturing and exports, and lower imports
        • Ensuring Digital Sovereignty of the country

 

Department of Posts – Highlights and Achievements

 

  • Average annual Speed Post revenue more than doubled – from Rs. 788 crores between 2006-14 to an average revenue of Rs. 1,682crores between 2014-18.
  • Revenue of Rs. 415 Crores from the e-Commerce business in 2017-18, with a growth of more than 20% over the previous financial year
  • Established a separate Parcel Directorate, in order to focus on this growing business segment; 42 parcel centres and 242 nodal delivery centres have already been established to handle increased volume of consignments
  • Launched at all 650 IPPB branches co-located in District HQ Post Offices along with 1,01,173 Access Points
  • IPPB will offer a 360-degree financial services suite across multiple channels – to benefit the unbanked and under-banked
  • IPPB Stats (between 1st Sep 2018 and 1st Jan 2019):
    • Total Accounts Opened:20.11 Lacs
    • Cumulative Value of Transactions: INR 561 Crores
    • Cumulative Volume of Transactions:  12.87 Lacs
  • 995 DoP ATMs are now inter-operable with other Banks.
  • Sukanya Samridhi Scheme: Out of total 1.52 Crores enrolments, 1.31 crores done through Post Offices
  • Aadhar Enrolments & Updation Centres have been made functional in 13,352 Post Offices across the country till date; more than 8 Lakh enrolments and 29 lakh updates have already been completed in these centres
  • 254 Post Office Passport Seva Kendras (POPSKs) started across the country in collaboration with the Ministry of External Affairs – to provide passport services through POPSKs/PSKs in each parliamentary constituency; more than 17.5 lakh passport appointments have already been processed in these POPSKs.
  • Postal Life Insurance (PLI) and Rural Postal Life Insurance (RPLI) – insurance products from the DoP, with the unique feature of ‘low premium, high bonus’; renewed drive to extend the benefits of these products to promote financial inclusion in the country
  • Total Assets Under Management (AUM) (including GOI Special Securities/Floating Rate Bonds) in PLI and RPLI increased by 2.0 times between March 2014 and September 2018 – from Rs. 25,856 crores to Rs. 93,068 crores
  • Benefits of Postal Life Insurance (PLI) are no longer limited to Government and Semi-Government employees; this facility is now also available to professionals (teachers, lawyers, engineers, doctors, CAs) and employees of listed companies of NSE and BSE
  • Under SampoornaBima Gram Yojana, at least one person insured from each household in 2,529 villages nation-wide; 10,000 villages targeted by March 2019
  • A philately scholarship scheme called Deen Dayal SPARSH (Scholarship for Promotion of Aptitude &Research in Stamps as a Hobby) Yojana was introduced in November, 2017 to promote Philately among children; under the scheme, 920 scholarships will be given every year to school-children who demonstrate interest in philately. This year as of now 83,861 students have applied under the Scholarship Scheme.
  • Department of Posts has been issuing stamps on people centric themes. Some of the themes on which stamps have been issued recently are – Ramayana, Mahabharata, Indian Cuisine, Solar System, Safdarjung Hospital etc.
  • Circular Postage Stamps to mark the commencement of 150th Birth Anniversary celebrations of Mahatma Gandhi were issued by Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi on 2nd October 2018. This is the first time in the history of Independent India that Circular Postage Stamps have been issued.
  • Technology investments in the Department have increased from Rs. 434 crores between 2010-14 to about Rs. 1087 crore (upto Sep, 2018) between 2014-18.
  • More than 1.29 lakh SIM based handheld devices are in use by Gramin Dak Sewaks in Branch Post Offices.
  • 5.21 crore transactions have been processed successfully on National Automated Clearing House (NACH) platform since December 2016, handling more than Rs. 3,904crores
  • Postman mobile application has been introduced to update the delivery information of accountable mail, including cash on delivery, on a real time basis

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SNC

Read more: Year End Review 2018: Ministry of...

United States has been blocking the appointment of members of the WTO Appellate Body on some systemic and procedural issues. About 1/4th of the 164 WTO members, including India, have expressed concerns on the matter at every relevant WTO meeting. Further, India along with EU and 12 other countries have submitted a communication to the WTO General Council for addressing the issues raised by United States on functioning and operations of Dispute Settlement Body, including appointment of Appellate Body members.

 

India has 7 disputes at WTO which are at different stages of settlement. India is defending its interest in these disputes with the help of experienced Law Firms.

 

  1. DS430 - Import of poultry and poultry products from United States, Complainant: India,
  2. DS436 - Countervailing duty by United States on Indian steel products, Complainant: India,
  3. DS456 - National Solar Mission dispute with United States, Complainant: United States,
  4. DS510 - United States’ Sub-Federal Renewable energy programme, Complainant: India,
  5. DS518 - India-certain Measures on imports of iron and steel products from Japan, Complainant: Japan,
  6. DS541 - Export Subsidies measures of India, Complainant: United States,
  7. DS-547 - United States-Certain measures of Unites States on steel and aluminium products, Complainant: India.

 

This information was given by the Minister of State of Commerce and Industry, C. R. Chaudhary, in a written reply in the Lok Sabha today.

***

MM/SB

Read more: Issues at WTO

Shri RK Singh, Union Minister of State (IC) for Power and New & Renewable Energy announced the completion of the project to replace 50,000 conventional electricity meters with smart meters in the New Delhi Municipal Council (NDMC) area here today. Energy Efficiency Services Limited (EESL), a Super Energy Service Company (ESCO) under Ministry of Power has implemented this project. With this, NDMC has become the first distribution company (DISCOM) in India to implement 100 per cent smart metering solution. The adoption of smart meters will enhance consumer convenience and rationalise electricity consumption.

Speaking on the occasion, Shri RK Singh said, “India is making rapid strides in providing universal access to affordable power. The Government of India is accelerating the adoption of smart meters to ensure efficient management of electricity by checking data-entry errors, billing inefficiencies, and cutting the costs of manual meter reading through web-based monitoring system. Smart Meters will revolutionise the power sector through their vast cascade of benefits including reduced AT&C losses, better health of DISCOMs, incentivisation of energy conservation and ease of bill payments. Further, this move will generate skilled employment for the youth. I congratulate EESL on implementing the programme successfully.”

The occasion was graced by Shri Hardeep Singh Puri, Union Minister of State (I/C) for Housing and Urban Affairs, Shri Anil Baijal, Lieutenant Governor of Delhi, Shri Ajay Kumar Bhalla, Secretary, Ministry of Power, Govt. of India

Shri and Shri Naresh Kumar, Chairman, NDMC

 

EESL and NDMC also signed an MoU to install public e-charging stations. The initiative is undertaken to collaborate on promoting Electric Vehicles (including two wheelers) in the NDMC area.

The event also included the launch of smart meter feature on NDMC 311 mobile application enabling the consumers to access various services at the tap of a finger. The smart meter tab has been added to NDMC app’s home screen. Through this convenient and easy-to-use app, consumers can now get complete clarity on their energy habits and consumption through detailed and personalised insights. Rounded Rectangle: FEATURES OF NDMC’s SMART METER MOBILE APPLICATION - 311• My Profile: Shows the user’s profile• Today’s Details: Provides latest consumption and instantaneous reading• Consumption Pattern: User’s consumption pattern for the last 7, 15 and 30 days. This helps in comparing one’s historical consumption with their current one• Complaints: Users can register complaints for quick resolution• Manage Accounts: If you have more than one meter at your premises,you can check the details by putting the consumer and meter number as mentioned in ‘step 6’• Load pattern: Shows the load pattern of the household• FAQ: Provides answer to all the basic and frequently asked questions • Energy Saving Tips: A quick guide on saving energy in our day-to-day life• Contact Us: To contact the relevant department, in case of any issue

 

 

 

Within a short duration, 50,000 smart meters have been installed and integrated with the NDMC IT legacy system. The adoption of Smart Meters will lead to total annual savings of Rs. 12.47 crores to NDMC which include revenue due to improvement in billing efficiency. The AT&C losses are estimated to be 12.63 percent (Source: DERC Tariff Order FY2018-19).

 

Smart meters are part of the overall Advanced Metering Infrastructure solution (AMI) that measures and records consumers’ electricity usage at different times of the day and sends this information to the energy supplier through over-the-air communication technology. This gives consumers better access to information and enables them to make more informed decisions on the use of electricity in their homes, leading to reduced power wastage, and providing long-term carbon and financial savings.

NDMC will benefit from enhanced consumer satisfaction level resulting from better complaint management, faster restoration of outages, awareness of optimised consumption pattern, and improvement in system stability, reliability and transparency.

Commenting on the feat, Shri Naresh Kumar, Chairman, NDMC said, “NDMC has adopted the Smart Meters Programme as a part of aligning with the Government’s plan to upgrade our national energy system. We aim to play a vital role in India’s journey towards becoming a lower-carbon economy and an energy-secure nation. We are glad to lead the way in India’s smart meter revolution.”

Speaking at the occasion, Shri Rajeev Sharma, Chairman, EESL said, “We are pleased to support NDMC in their pursuit of energy sustainability and adoption of future-ready technologies like Smart Meters. Thrust on such efficient systems is critical for consumption and growth in a sustainable manner enabling the consumers to make informed decisions about their energy behaviour.”

About the project:

EESL has funded and built the Smart Metering (AMI) Solution in the project area. It will also operate and manage the system enabling NDMC to benefit from smart meters with zero upfront financial investment. NDMC’s repayment to EESL will be through the monetisation of energy savings, resulting from enhanced billing accuracy, avoided meter reading costs and other efficiencies. This includes the immediate elimination of the cost of manual meter readings. These savings further enable NDMC to invest in value-added services for its consumers. 
 

NMDC’s large-scale adoption of smart meters is a significant measure towards future-ready technologies. Smart meters pave the way for the smart grid as they enable two-way real-time communication between DISCOMs and consumers through GPRS technology.          

Implementing smart meters is one of the operational performance parameters under the Government of India’s Ujwal DISCOM Assurance Yojana (UDAY). The scheme would help in reducing AT&C losses. It will also help in monitoring round-the-clock power supply eventually leading to greater efficiency and a pathway to meeting the government’s vision of 24X7 Power for All. Under its Smart Meters National Programme, EESL aims to replace 25 crore conventional meters with smart meters in India.

 

*****

RCJ/MS

Read more: Shri RK Singh inaugurates Smart Meter Project in...

 

DEPARTMENT OF FERTILIZERS (DoF)

1.      Neem Coating of Urea

 

·      Neem Coating achieved w.e.f.: -

ü  1st September, 2015 in respect of entire quantity of indigenously produced urea and w.e.f.

ü  1st December, 2015 in respect of imported urea

·      As per the interim report of study by DAC&FW in 2016, the benefits of use of Neem Coated Urea are as under: -

ü  Improvement in soil health

ü  Reduction in usage of plant protection chemicals

ü  Reduction in pest and disease attack

ü  An increase in yield of paddy, sugarcane, maize, soybean, Tur/Red Gram

ü  Diversion towards non-agricultural purposes negligible.

ü  Due to slow release of Nitrogen, Nitrogen Use Efficiency (NUE) of Neem Coated Urea increases resulting in reduced consumption of NCU as compared to Normal urea.

 

2.      Introduction of 45 kg bag of urea: -

 

·      On 1st March, 2018, DAC&FW has notified the MRP of 45 kg bag of urea at Rs 242 per bag and a period of two months from the date of DAC&FW gazette notification given to urea units as lead time to ensure smooth implementation of the policy.

·      DAC&FW has been requested to conduct a study regarding the impact of introduction of 45 kg bag on urea sales during the ongoing Kharif Season as well as the upcoming Rabi Season.

 

3.      Dealer/Distribution Margin: -

 

—  From 28th March, 2018 DoF revised Dealer’s Margin from Rs.180/200 per MT of Urea (for Private Agencies/Institutional Agencies) to Rs.354 per MT of Urea.

—  Rs 354/MT being paid uniformly to all Dealers/Distributors effective from 1st April, 2018,on the quantity sold through POS devices only.

—  Benefits of increasing dealer margin: -

ü  Enhance the financial viability of Dealers/Distributors post DBT implementation.

ü Around 23,000 Dealers across the country benefitted.

 

4.      New Urea Policy – 2015

 

·      Effective from 1st June 2015.

·      Objectives: -

ü  to maximize indigenous urea production;

ü  to promote energy efficiency in the urea units; and

ü  to rationalize the subsidy burden on the Government of India

Achievements of NUP-2015: -

·      The production of urea during the year 2016-17 and 2017-18 was 242.01 and 240.92 LMT, which is significantly higher than the production of urea during 2012-13 (225.75LMT) and 2013-14(227.15 LMT).

 

5.      Amendment to NUP – 2015: Target Energy Norms

 

·      DoF, on 28th March, 2018, notified the following in respect of Target Energy Norms:

ü  In respect of11 urea manufacturing units,target energy norms have come into force w.e.f. 1stApril, 2018.

ü  In respect of remaining 14 urea units, existing norms extended for further period of 2 years with penalties,in consultation with the Ministry of Finance.

·      Target energy norms to be continued upto 31st March, 2025.  An expert body under NITI Aayog constituted to recommend the energy norms to be achieved from 01st April, 2025.

 

6.      New Investment Policy- 2012

 

·      The Government announced New Investment Policy (NIP)-2012 on 2nd January, 2013 and its amendment on 7th October, 2014 to facilitate fresh investment in urea sector and to make India self-sufficient in the urea sector. 

·      Under NIP- 2012 read with its amendment, Matix Fertilizers & Chemicals Limited (Matix) set up a Coal Bed Methane(CBM) based Greenfield Ammonia-Urea complex at Panagarh, West Bengal with the installed capacity of 1.3 MMT per annum. 

·      The commercial production of Matix started on 1st October, 2017.

·      Chambal Fertilizers & Chemicals Limited proposed to set up a brownfield project with capacity of 1.34 MMT at Gadepan, Rajasthan.

 

7.      Revival of Barauni, Sindri, Gorakhpur, Talcher & Ramagundam units

 

(a)   Gorakhpur, Sindri and Barauni unitsof FCILbeing revived through nominate route by forming a JV of nominated PSUs by setting up gas based newammonia-urea fertilizer plants of 1.27 MMTPA capacity each.   

·         A JV company by name Hindustan Urvarak & Rasayan Limited (HURL) formed with shareholding of 29.67% of NTPC, IOCL & CIL each and 10.99% of FCIL/HFCL

·         The pre-project activities completed in respect of all the three projects.

·         Environmental clearance obtained.

·         Gas supply & transportation agreement signed with GAIL (India).

·         Lump sum turnkey (LSTK) contracts for the 3 plants have been awarded.

·         State Governments of Uttar Pradesh, Bihar & Jharkhand waived off stamp duty with respect to Gorakhpur, Barauni &Sindri projects respectively.

·         GoI approved interest free loan equivalent to Interest during construction component of Rs 422.28 crore, 415.77 crore and 419.77crore for Gorakhpur, Sindri and Barauni projects respectively to HURL’s at a total value of Rs. 1257.82 crores. The repayment to be spread over a period of 11 years.

·         Construction works have begun in all three projects, which are progressing as per the overall schedule.

·         These projects are likely to start production in FY 2021-22.

 

(b)   Talcher unitof FCIL in Odishabeing revived through ‘Nomination Basis’ by forming JV of nominated PSUs.

·         JV company named as Talcher Fertilizers Ltd. (TFL). Equity of GAIL, RCF & CIL in TFL is 29.67% each & FCIL’s 10.99%.

·         New Ammonia Urea plant of 1.27 MMTPA capacity based on Coal Gasification Technology being set up

·         MoU with IOCL for supply of petcoke from Paradip refinery signed.

·         Power Price Parity for Bridge Linkage Coal approved by Ministry of Coal.

·         Captive coal mine allotted.

·         Environment Clearance for the project received.

·         Financial appraised of project DFR done. 

·         Site preparation work commenced.

·         Bids for coal gasification and ammonia-urea project opened.

·         The Talcher Project likely to start production in FY 2022-23.

 

(c)    Ramagundam unit of FCILbeing revived through nomination route by forming JV of nominated PSUs

·        JV company named as Ramagundam Fertilizers & Chemicals Ltd. (RFCL) has been formed.

·        Equity of NFL & EIL is 26% each and FCIL’s 11%.

·        RFCL being revived by setting up a gas based fertilizer plant of 1.27 MMTPA capacity.

·        Contract for laying of Gas pipe line awarded to GSPL India Transco Ltd (GITL), a subsidiary of Gujarat State Petronet Ltd (GSPL).

·        Gas Supply agreement signed with GAIL.

·        Water & Power connectivity being executed by State Govt. at their expense.

·        Cumulative progress of RFCL project as on 30.11.2018 is 92.6%.

·        The project is targeted to be commissioned by FY 2019-20.

 

8.      Direct Benefit Transfer (DBT)

 

·         The DoF has successfully implemented DBT in the entire country. The Pan India rollout of DBT completed in March 2018.

·         100% subsidy on various fertilizer grades being released to fertilizer companies on basis of actual sales made by the retailers to beneficiaries. Sale of all subsidised fertilizers to farmers/buyers is made through Point of Sale (PoS) devices installed at each retailer shop and the beneficiaries to be identified through Aadhaar Card, KCC, Voter Identity Card etc.

·         A Project Monitoring Cell setup in the Department to oversee implementation of DBT exclusively.  24 State Coordinators appointed across all States to monitor the on-going DBT activities.

·         A dedicated 15-member Multi-lingual Help Desk set up to provide quick response to the queries of wide range of stakeholders across the country as a preparatory to DBT implementation.

 

9.      Policy on Promotion of City Compost: -

 

·      The Government of India approved a policy on promotion of City Compost, notified by the DoF on 10.02.2016 granting Market Development Assistance of Rs. 1500/- for scaling up production and consumption of city compost.

·      From 28.9.2016, to increase sale volumes, compost manufacturers willing to market city compost allowed to sell city compost in bulk directly to farmers. This boosted city compost sales to 199061.91 MT during 2017-18 from 96584.00 MT in 2016-17.  An increasing trend in financial year 2018-19 observed. During the current year, the overall sale of city compost by marketers and manufacturers in bagged and bulk form till November, 2018 is 183378 MT. 

·      Fertilizer companies marketing city compost covered under the Direct Benefit Transfer (DBT) for Fertilizers.  

·      Fertilizer Companies adopted 384 villages for promoting the use of City Compost.

 

10.    Use of Space technology in Fertilizer Sector: -           

 

·      DoF commissioned a three year  Pilot Study on “Resource Mapping of Rock Phosphate using Reflectance Spectroscopy and Earth Observations Data” by National Remote Sensing Centre under ISRO, in collaboration with Geological Survey of India(GSI) and the Atomic Mineral Directorate (AMD).

·      The   MoU for the propose study signed on 21.08.2017. Letter of Authorization for release of funds of Rs. 31.40 lakh issued by the DoF on 10.05.2018.  

·      The work on first phase is in progress.  Preliminary Data processing for the phosphate mapping is completed. Spectral analysis of samples collected during field work is completed. 

 

 

DEPARTMENT OF PHARMACEUTICALS (DoP)

 

1.      ‘Pradhan Mantri Bhartiya Janaushadhi Pariyojana’ (PMBJP) (As on 30.11.2018)

 

·      4504 PMBJP Kendras functional in 35 States/UTs of the country.

·      800+ medicines and 154 surgicals & consumables available in the product basket.

·      625 medicines and 32 surgicals & consumables available in CWH of BPPI for sale.

·      PMBJP guidelines amended to provide incentives to PMBJP Kendras run by private entrepreneurs on the basis of their purchase of medicines (from Distributor/ Central Warehouse/ Regional Warehouse) in a month. The incentive given @ 15% of monthly purchase subject to a ceiling of Rs. 10,000/- per month upto a total limit of Rs. 2.5 lakhs.

·      Use of point-of-sale software by PMBJP Kendra will not be a mandatory condition for receipt of incentives. The applicants belonging to weaker sections like SC/ST/Differently abled are provided medicines worth Rs. 50,000/- in advance within the incentive of Rs. 2.5 lakhs.

·      For north eastern states, naxal affected areas and tribal areas, the rate of incentive will be 15% of monthly purchase subject to a ceiling of Rs. 15,000/- per month upto a total limit of Rs. 2.5 lakhs.

 

2.      National Institute of Pharmaceutical Education and Research (NIPER):

 

·      Directors at NIPER Hyderabad and Hajipur appointed in June 2018 and November 2018 respectively. Now, all NIPERs have regular Directors.

·      Constitution of BoG for other six NIPERs in process.

·      60% work of construction of NIPER Guwahati campus completed.

·      50 acres of IDPL land allotted to NIPER Hyderabad.

·      Govt. of West Bengal recently allotted 10 acres of land at Nadia District for NIPER Kolkata.

·      Department decided to accept 12.5 acres of land allotted by State Govt. for NIPER Hajipur.

·      Construction of regular campus approved for NIPER Ahmedabad and Guwahati only @ Rs 103.88 crores each. Rs 100.00 crores each approved for equipment to NIPER Ahmedabad, Guwahati & Hyderabad while Rs 55.00 crores each to NIPER Hajipur, Kolkata &Raebareli.

·      The matter of starting B. Pharma courses discussed in the 33rdmeeting of Steering Committee of NIPERs held under Chairmanship of Secretary, Pharmaceuticals on 1.10.2018 at NIPER Kolkata. NIPERs have initiated procedural formalities for starting the undergraduate courses from next academic session.

·      NIPER Mohali has bagged rank Number 1, NIPER Hyderabad as Number 6 and NIPER Ahmedabad as Number 14 in NIRF Survey 2018 conducted by M/oHRD.

 

3.             Medical Devices Sector:

 

·      The DoP issued guidelines for implementation of Public Procurement (Preference to Make in India) Order, 2017 related to Medical Devices on 15.06.2018.

·      Further, the DoP, on 16.10.2018, amended the guidelines clarifying that USFDA/CE Certifications etc. shall not be mandatory for those medical devices for which Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS) standards exist. This move is expected to boost manufacturing of indigenous medical devices.

·      The Department approved a sub-scheme termed as Development of Common Facility Centre for Medical Devices (DCFC-MD) under the umbrella scheme for Development of Pharmaceuticals Industry. It aims to give financial assistance for creation of Common Facility Centers (CFC) in the upcoming Medical Device Parks. This is expected to lower down the cost of manufacturing of indigenous medical devices and hence making it more competitive.

 

4.             Scheme for Development of Pharmaceutical Industry:

 

·      Central Sector Scheme with a total financial outlay of Rs. 480 crores.

·      Objective to ensure drug security in the country by increasing the efficiency and competitiveness of domestic pharmaceutical industry with the following sub-schemes:

ü Assistance to Bulk Drug Industry for Common Facility Centre -Rs. 200 crores earmarked; creation of common facilities in any upcoming Bulk Drug Park promoted by State Governments/State Corporations;

ü Assistance to Medical Device Industry for Common Facility Centre -Rs. 100 crores earmarked; creation of common facilities in any upcoming Medical Device Park promoted by State Governments/State Corporations;

ü Pharmaceuticals Technology Upgradation Assistance Scheme (PTUAS) - Rs. 144 crores earmarked; facilitate Small and Medium Pharma Enterprises (SMEs) to upgrade their plant and machinery to World Health Organization (WHO)/Good Manufacturing Practices (GMP) standards;

ü Assistance for Cluster Development - Rs. 30 crores earmarked; creation of common facilities in any pharma clusters including Bulk Drug, Medical Device, Ayurvedic, Unani and Cosmetics Units; and

ü Pharmaceutical Promotion Development Scheme (PPDS) - Rs. 6 crores earmarked; promotion, development and export promotion in Pharmaceutical sector; 22 events conducted during January, 2018 to November, 2018.. The said scheme; 3rd India Pharma 2018 and India Medical Device 2018 held at Bengaluru from 15-17 February 2018.

 

5.             ‘Affordable & Quality HealthCare for All’ - Availability of Cheaper Medicines

 

·         NPPA has fixed retail prices of the 357 new drug under DPCO 2013 in 2018.

 

·         Cardiac Stents to cost 85% lesser

ü Ceiling price of Coronary Stents revised w.e.f. 12thFebruary, 2018. All types of cardiac stents now available in the price range of Rs. 7,923 to Rs. 28,849.

ü Bare Metal Stents(BMS), having 10% market share, capped at Rs. 7,923;

ü Drug Eluting stent (DES), having 90% market share, capped at Rs. 28,849; 

ü Millions of Heart patients in the country to save up to Rs. 1 lakh;

ü Total estimated savings to consumers around Rs. 4547 crores.

 

·      Knee Implants to cost 69% lesser

ü Knee Implant ceiling prices fixed w.e.f.16thAugust, 2017 for one year; further extended for one year w.e.f. 15thAugust, 2018.

ü Various types of knee implants now available in the price range of Rs. 54,720 to Rs. 1,13,950.

ü Total estimated savings to consumers around Rs. 1500 crores.

 

 

DEPARTMENT OF CHEMICALS & PETROCHEMICALS (DoCPC)

 

1.    Petroleum, Chemicals and Petrochemical Investment Regions (PCPIRs):

·       The Government of India approved setting up of 4 PCPIRs in the States of Gujarat (Dahej), Andhra Pradesh (Vishakhapatnam–Kakinada), Odisha (Paradeep) and Tamil Nadu (Cuddalore- Nagapattinam).

·       4 PCPIRs estimated to attract an investment of about Rs. 7.62 lakh crore and provide employment to around 34 lakh persons. These PCPIRs are at different stage of implementation. 

·       HPCL-GAIL completed feasibility study for 1.0 MMTPA cracker-cum-petrochemical complex at Kakinada in AP PCPIR.

·       Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change granted Environment and Coastal Region Zone (CRZ) clearance on 14.09.2017 for an area of 44445.18 hectare excluding forest land of 853.41 hectare for development of Gujarat PCPIR.

·       Master Plan for Gujarat PCPIR completed. Master Plan for Odisha PCPIR and AP PCPIR underway.

·       Tamil Nadu PCPIR region notified by the State Government.

·       A Committee co-chaired by Secretary (Petroleum) and Secretary (Chemicals and Petrochemicals) constituted to examine the issue of petrochemical demand and supply over next 15 to 20 years and to recommend policy options to the Government including recommendations regarding amendments to the existing PCPIR Policy of the Government.

 

2. Central Institute of Plastic Engineering & Technology (CIPET):

·       CIPET focuses on ‘STAR’ – Skill Development, Technology Support Services, Academic and Research in all the domains of Polymer Science & Technology.

·       Presently, 32 centres of CIPET functional across the country and 7 more are in pipeline.

·       The Foundation Stone of CIPET: Centre for Skilling and Technical Support (CSTS) – Chandrapur laid on 11thNovember, 2018 jointly by Shri Nitin Gadkari and Shri Hansraj G. Ahir.

·       An Advanced Polymer Design and Development Research Laboratory (APDDRL)being set up at Bengaluru for R&D in key areas of polymeric applications in defence, healthcare, solar energy, e-waste recycling etc.

·       CIPET tied-up with various PSUs and industries for indigenization of plastics products, technology solutions, R&D with focus on "MAKE IN INDIA" such as Defense, marine & industrial applications.

·       During 2018-19 (upto Nov, 2018), CIPET has trained 28,774 students through Long Term Skill Development Programmes and Short Term Skill Development Programmes. CIPET also rendered around 50,118 (upto Nov, 2018-19) Technology Support Service assignments / job works for plastics industries.

3.    Assam Gas Cracker Project - Brahmaputra Cracker & Polymer Limited (BCPL)

 

·      The Project dedicated to the nation by the Prime Minister of India on 5th February 2016.  The Plant is operating at more than 100% capacity continuously in the current financial year. 

·      The project has capacity to produce 2.20 lakh tonne per annum (TPA) of High Density Polyethylene (HDPE)/Linear Low Density Polyethylene and 60,000 TPA Polypropylene (PP).

 

4.    Schemes for setting up of Plastic Parks

 

·      Two new Plastic Parks in the States of Jharkhand & Madhya Pradesh (Bilaua) accorded ‘final approval’ by the Scheme Steering Committee, under the Chairmanship of Secretary (C&PC) in its meeting held on 05.12.2018.

 

 

5.    Make In India

 

·      The DoCPCis the nodal Department for implementing the provisions related to procurement of goods and services related to ‘Chemicals’sector.

·      Department has issued Public Procurement (Preference to Make in India) Order 2017 for six chemicals viz. (i) Soda Ash, (ii) Caustic Soda, (iii) Aluminium Fluoride, (iv) Carbon Black, (v) Formaldehyde and (vi) Chlorine, on 25th May 2018.

·      Further, the Department has issued Public Procurement (Preference to Make in India) Order 2017 for fourty-nine additional Chemicals, Petrochemicals, Dyestuff and Pesticides, on 23rd October 2018.

 

6.  Hindustan Organic Chemicals Limited (HOCL)

 

·      Status of implementation of the restructuring plan of HOCL (as on 30.11.2018) is as follows:

 

ü All plants of Rasayani unit except N2O4 plant have been closed down.

ü N2O4 plant has been transferred to ISRO along with 20 acres land and 131 employees associated with the plant.

ü Out of 442 acres land at Rasayani to be sold to BPCL, sale transaction for 251 acres have been completed. Sale of remaining 191 acres will be done after land survey report is cleared by the State Government.

ü Approval of the Government for sale of additional 242 acres (+/- 10%) land at Rasayani to BPCL and for lease transfer of 1000 sq m land at Kharghar, Navi Mumbai, to NALCO has been accorded on 09.10.2018.

ü For disposal of the remaining unencumbered land at Rasayani (approx. 258 acres) and Panvel land (8 acres), negotiations are underway with Govt. agencies like BPCL and MIDC.

ü All the 10 Nestle flats (Mumbai), closed down plants and utility blocks have CPC 10 been successfully e-auctioned through MSTC.

ü All the non-regular employees and about 313 regular employees of Rasayani unit have been separated through VRS/VSS.

ü Liability relating to redemption of Govt. guaranteed bonds of Rs.250 crore has been fully settled by HOCL from the GoI bridge loan.

 

·      After implementation of the restructuring plan, the Phenol/Acetone plant at Kochi unit resumed regular operations from July, 2017 and has been operating regularly since then with positive contribution. This has enabled HOCL to earn net profit of about Rs.24 crore (Prov.) from Kochi unit operations during the current FY 2018-19 (up to September, 2018).

 

 

7.  India Chem- 2018

 

·      The 10th edition of India Chem 2018 was successfully held during 04th-06th October, 2018 at Mumbai with the theme “Chemicals and Petrochemicals – Advantage India”. 

 

ü Participation from 24 countries.

ü Partner States: West Bengal, Gujarat, Odisha and Andhra Pradesh.

ü States Participation: Maharahstra, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh and Jharkhand.

ü 285 exhibiting companies.

 

·      Concurrent events held as part of India Chem 2018

 

ü Global CEOs Round Table

ü Conclave with Overseas Industry Associations coinciding India Chem 2018 organized by Indian Chemical Council

ü INDIA-JAPAN Chemicals & Petrochemicals forum, supported by Japan External Trade organization (JETRO)

ü INDIA-GERMANY Chemicals & Petrochemicals forum, supported by Indo-German Chamber of Commerce

ü FICCI Chemicals & Petrochemicals Awards Distribution Function

ü Buyer Seller Meet by CHEMEXCIL

ü Conclave on Indian Petrochemical Industry

ü Conclave on Agrochemical Industry”

 

8.  BIS Standard for Caustic Soda

 

·         In order to make revised quality standards BIS standards IS 252:2013 for Caustic Soda mandatory for both domestic makers and imports, this DoCPC has notified the order of mandation of BIS standards IS 252:2013 for caustic soda, to reduce the consumption of inferior grade caustic soda having mercury impurity.

 

 

*****

KSP/VM

 

Read more: Year End Review 2018: Ministry of Chemicals &...

A Time Capsule with items representing today’s technology and India’s scientific prowess was buried today by Nobel Laureates Avram Hershko from Israel and F.Duncan M. Haldane from USA on the occasion of the on-going 106th Indian Science Congress at Lovely Professional University, Jalandhar.

 

The Time Capsule contains 100 items that represent modern-day technology as experienced in India.  Besides replicas of Mangalyaan, Brahmos Missile and Tejas fighter jet representing India’s scientific prowess, the Capsule contains laptop, landline phone,smart phone, drone, VR glasses, stopwatch, Amazon Alexa etc.  It also includes consumer durables like air filter, induction cooktop, air fryer etc which are part of our day-to-day life.  Some other products preserved are solar panels, hard disk with latest documentaries and movies and current science books being used for teaching class 12 students and a mirror-less camera. 

The Capsule made by students from various departments of Lovely Professional University, was buried at a depth of 10 feet and will remain buried for the next 100 years.  A plaque has been erected wherein It has been written that the Time Capsule will be opened on 3rd January, 2119.

           

New technological capabilities are being added every few years.  The Time Capsule has been developed to represent the technology know-how as it stands today and will provide an opportunity for future generations to have a glimpse of today’s technology a century later. 

***

 

GK/nb

Read more: Time Capsule Buried to Preserve for 100 Years to...

 

The Union Minister of Finance and Corporate Affairs, Shri Arun Jaitley along with the Minister of State (I/C) for Power and New & Renewable Energy, Shri R.K.Singh launched the induction of 15 Electric Vehicles in the Department of Economic Affairs (DEA), Ministry of Finance in New Delhi today. Finance Secretary, Ajay Narayan Jha, Shri Subhash Chandra Garg, Secretary, Department of Economic Affairs (DEA); Shri Ajay Bhalla, Secretary, Ministry of Power, Shri Anand Kumar, Secretary, Department of New and Renewable Energy and Shri G.C.Murmu, OSD, Department of Expenditure were also present on the occasion among others.

 

Marking the adoption of e-mobility, the Department of Economic Affairs, Ministry of Finance, Government of India has signed an agreement with Energy Efficiency Services Limited (EESL), an entity under the Ministry of Power for deployment of 15 Electric Vehicles for their officers. Also, 28 charging points (24 Slow charging points charging in 6 hours and 4 Fast Charging Points charging in 90 minutes) have been installed at North Block for charging these vehicles.

 

With the induction of these 15 vehicles being provided on lease basis for a period of 5 years, DEA is expected to save over 36,000 Litres of fuel every year besides leading to reduction of over 440 tonnes of CO2 annually. These vehicles are automatic and fully air-conditioned with zero emission. The Government will also save in maintenance and operating cost which is almost one fourth in comparison to an internal combustion engine.

 

With this development, the Department of Economic Affairs, Ministry of Finance begins its transition towards a reduced carbon footprint and a more environmentally sustainable future. It also marks its participation in India’s e-mobility goal of 30 percent fleet electrification by 2030. Several stakeholders across the nation are already implementing many initiatives to support electric mobility with more expected to join the effort.

 

The Department of Expenditure has also issued an office memorandum for all the Government Offices in Delhi to switch over to electric vehicles. Several stakeholders across the nation are already implementing many initiatives to support electric mobility with more expected to join the effort. Adoption of electric vehicles will reduce dependence on oil imports and promote power capacity addition in India thereby enhancing energy security of the country. It will further reduce GHG emissions from the transport sector and also positively impact the pollution level in the cities.

 

Speaking on the occasion, the Union Minister of Finance and Corporate Affairs, Shri Arun Jaitley, said that Electric mobility, is an attractive, sustainable and profitable solution to mitigate adverse impact of climate change and the threat to public health caused especially by vehicular emission. He said that EVs have the potential to support India’s growth by enhancing manufacturing, job creation, and technical capabilities. We are glad to be a part of India’s mission of rapid adoption of e-mobility, he concluded.

 

The Minister of State (I/C) Power, New & Renewable Energy, Shri RK Singh said that the Indian Government is committed to usher in an era of clean, green and future-oriented technologies in the country. Today, we have achieved yet another milestone in that direction. He said that the Government is promoting e-mobility by taking a lead in changing the fleet of cars used for official purposes with electric cars and at the same time creating the Right Policy Framework enabling this ecosystem and to support its adoption.

 

 

EESL has received an encouraging response from the Central Government Departments and across the States. So far, Agreements and MoUs have been signed with the Central and State Government Departments in Delhi, Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh and Telangana. EESL is in advanced negotiations with other State Governments across India. The recent Guidelines on charging infrastructure provide a thrust to Private & Public Charging Stations ensuring access & availability for consumers. Further, the inclusion of CCS & CHAdeMO under charging infra standards is set to encourage automakers to offer higher range EVs. This will remove barriers like range and build confidence for EV consumers.

 

Towards enabling the Indian Government’s e-mobility vision, EESL first plans to replace the Government’s 5,00,000 conventional Internal Combustion Engine (ICE) cars with electric variants. EESL has also established charging infrastructure across all the States where EVs are being deployed.

 

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 DSM/RM/KA

Read more: Department of Economic Affairs (DEA), Ministry...

 

 The fisheries and aquaculture production contributes around 1% to India’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and over 5% to the agricultural GDP.  According to Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) report “The State of World Fisheries and Aquaculture 2018” apparent per capita fish consumption in India[average(2013-15)] lies between a range of 5 to 10 Kg.

 The funds released under the various schemes supported by the fisheries division of the Department of Animal Husbandry, Dairying and Fisheries, Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare, Government of India to to promote fisheries in the country during the last three years and current year as below;

 

Financial Year

Funds Released ( In Rs. Crores)

2015-16

416.80

2016-17

424.11

2017-18

337.53

2018-19 (till date)

312.80

Total

1491.24

 

The objectives of National Fisheries Development Board (NFDB) are as below;-

  1. To provide focused attention to fisheries and aquaculture (production, processing, storage, transport and marketing).
  2. To achieve sustainable management and conservation of natural aquatic resources.
  3. To apply modern tools of research and development including biotechnology for optimizing production and productivity from fisheries.
  4. To provide modern infrastructure mechanisms for fisheries and ensure their effective management and optimum utilization.
  5. To train and empower women in the fisheries sector and also generate substantial employment.
  6. To enhance the contribution of fish towards food and nutritional security.

 

National Fisheries Development Board (NFDB)  is being implementing various schemes and components since its inception in the year 2006 for development of Fisheries in the country namely Intensive Aquaculture in ponds and tanks, reservoir fisheries development, Coastal Aquaculture, Mariculture, Seaweed cultivation,  Infrastructure: Fishing harbor and Fish Landing Centres, Fish dressing centers and solar drying of fish, Domestic marketing, Technology upgradation Projects, Human resources development programs in fisheries sectors, Deep sea fishing and tuna processing, Ornamental Fisheries, Innovative Projects Quality seed dissemination program, Cage and pen culture in open water bodies etc.  However, from  2016-17 onwards the NFDB scheme has been  subsumed in umbrella scheme of the Centrally Sponsored Scheme on “Blue Revolution: Integrated Development and Management of Fisheries” and National Fisheries Development Board (NFDB) has  become one of the major component of the said restructured scheme.  Further, there is no component-wise specific outlay made including for Inland Fisheries and Aquaculture as the schemes are demand driven.  However, Under the Centrally Sponsored Scheme on “Blue Revolution: Integrated Development and Management of Fisheries” an amount of Rs. 3000 Crores has been approved towards budget outlay for a period of five (5) years from 2015-16 to 2019-20.

 

This Information was given by the Minister of State for Ministry of Agriculture & Farmers Welfare Smt. Krishna Raj in Lok Sabha today.

 

*****

APS/RCS

Read more: Fish Production and Consumption

During the recent visit of French Foreign Minister to India, both the Governments noted that satisfactory progress had been made in pursuance of the Industrial Way Forward Agreement in 2018 between Nuclear Power Corporation of India Limited (NPCIL) and Electricite de France (EDF) and adopted the Status of Progress for implementation of Industrial Way Forward Agreement.

 

India and France are today the leading nations in the fight against climate change. The joint hosting by India and France of the Founding Conference of the International Solar Alliance (ISA) on 11th March 2018 in New Delhi and the first General Assembly in New Delhi from 2nd to 5th October 2018 has bolstered our joint resolve to fight climate change.

 

The ISA has now transformed into a treaty based international and intergovernmental organization headquartered in India. Out of 71 countries that have signed Framework Agreement of the ISA, 48 countries have deposited the instrument of ratification.  India and France share a common interest to cooperate and collaborate for the stability and prosperity of Africa, including through development oriented initiatives such as capacity building programs and joint projects.

       

The second India-France Dialogue on Africa, which took place on 11th December 2018, provided both countries an opportunity to exchange views on the latest developments in Africa as well as to explore possibilities for joint endeavour to contribute towards peace, stability and prosperity in Africa.

                       

During the visit of French President Mr. Emmanuel Macron to India in March 2018, both leaders reiterated their willingness to implement common projects in Africa. Discussion on projects to be implemented on ground are currently being discussed by the two sides.

 

This information was provided by the Union Minister of State (Independent Charge) Development of North-Eastern Region (DoNER), MoS PMO, Personnel, Public Grievances & Pensions, Atomic Energy and Space, Dr Jitendra Singh in written reply to a question in Rajya Sabha today.

 

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BB/NK/PK

Read more: INDO-France Pact For Sustainable Development 

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