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Insights Daily Current Events, 26 March 2015

Insights Daily Current Events, 26 March 2015

PRAGATI

Prime Minister of India recently launched multi-purpose and multi-modal platform PRAGATI (Pro-Active Governance and Timely Implementation).

What is it?

  • PRAGATI is a unique integrating and interactive platform.
  • The platform is aimed at addressing common man’s grievances, and simultaneously monitoring and reviewing important programmes and projects of the Government of India as well as projects flagged by State Governments.

Unique features:

  • The PRAGATI platform uniquely bundles three latest technologies: Digital data management, video-conferencing and geo-spatial technology.
  • It also offers a unique combination in the direction of cooperative federalism since it brings on one stage the Secretaries of Government of India and the Chief Secretaries of the States.
  • With this, the Prime Minister is able to discuss the issues with the concerned Central and State officials with full information and latest visuals of the ground level situation. It is also an innovative project in e-governance and good governance.
  • It is a three-tier system (PMO, Union Government Secretaries, and Chief Secretaries of the States).
  • Prime Minister will hold a monthly programme where he will interact with the Government of India Secretaries, and Chief Secretaries through Video-conferencing enabled by data and geo-informatics visuals.
  • Issues to be flagged before the PM are picked up from the available database regarding Public Grievances, on-going Programmes and pending Projects.
  • The system will ride on, strengthen and re-engineer the data bases of the CPGRAMS for grievances, Project Monitoring Group (PMG) and the Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation. PRAGATI provides an interface and platform for all these three aspects.
  • It will also take into consideration various correspondences to PM’s office by the common people or from high dignitaries of States and/or developers of public projects.
  • It is also a robust system for bringing e-transparency and e-accountability with real-time presence and exchange among the key stakeholders.

The system has been designed in-house by the PMO team with the help of National Informatics Center (NIC).

Sources: PIB.

 

Sagarmala: Concept and implementation towards Blue Revolution

The Union Cabinet chaired by the Prime Minister recently gave its ‘in-principle’ approval for the concept and institutional framework of Sagarmala Project.

What is it?

The Sagarmala project seeks to develop a string of ports around India’s coast. The prime objective of the Sagarmala project is to promote port-led direct and indirect development and to provide infrastructure to transport goods to and from ports quickly, efficiently and cost-effectively. Therefore, the Sagarmala Project shall, inter alia, aim to develop access to new development regions with intermodal solutions and promotion of the optimum modal split, enhanced connectivity with main economic centres and beyond through expansion of rail, inland water, coastal and road services.

The Sagarmala initiative will address challenges by focusing on three pillars of development, namely

  • Supporting and enabling Port-led Development through appropriate policy and institutional interventions and providing for an institutional framework for ensuring inter-agency and ministries/departments/states’ collaboration for integrated development,
  • Port Infrastructure Enhancement, including modernization and setting up of new ports, and
  • Efficient Evacuation to and from hinterland.

Details:

  • In addition to strengthening port and evacuation infrastructure, it also aims at simplifying procedures used at ports for cargo movement and promotes usage of electronic channels for information exchange leading to quick, efficient, hassle-free and seamless cargo movement.
  • The Sagarmala initiative would also strive to ensure sustainable development of the population living in the Coastal Economic Zone (CEZ). This would be done by synergising and coordinating with State Governments and line Ministries of Central Government through their existing schemes and programmes such as those related to community and rural development, tribal development and employment generation, fisheries, skill development, tourism promotion etc.
  • A National Sagarmala Apex Committee (NSAC) is envisaged for overall policy guidance and high level coordination, and to review various aspects of planning and implementation of the plan and projects. The NSAC shall be chaired by the Minister incharge of Shipping, with Cabinet Ministers from stakeholder Ministries and Chief Ministers/Ministers incharge of ports of maritime states as members.

Sources: PIB.

 

India vote at U.N. not anti-gay, explains government

Under criticism for voting against the U.N. Secretary-General’s decision to extend marriage benefits to LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender) couples or same-sex couples, India sought to explain that the vote was more about principle rather than its “anti-gay rights” content.

Details:

  • India was among 43 countries, along with China, Saudi Arabia and Pakistan, which voted for the Russian resolution to withdraw benefits to same-sex couples. The resolution was defeated by the UN General Assembly vote.
  • India had abstained from voting on a previous resolution against LGBT discrimination that was passed by the UNGA in September 2014.
  • The resolution at the UNGA was proposed by Russia, a country that decriminalised homosexuality in 1993 but enforced a ban on gay propaganda.
  • India and Pakistan were the only two South Asian countries to vote for the Russian resolution. While Sri Lanka voted against the resolution, along with the U.S. in a bloc of 80 countries, Bhutan, Nepal and the Maldives abstained and Afghanistan did not vote.
  • EU member states and the US lobbied hard against the resolution.

India, explaining the move, said it was a “complex issue” concerning whether nationals of a state “were governed by their laws or governed by the decision of others”.

The UN now recognises all same-sex couples married, regardless of their nationality.

Sources: The Hindu.

 

 

US L-1B work visas

US President recently announced an easing of the process to obtain L-1B work visas for corporate executives, a move that could end the large scale harassment of IT professionals from India and make it easier for companies there to bring employees to America.

  • Large scale decline of L-1 visas was a major hindrance in Indian companies investing in the US.

L-1B visa: allows corporations to temporarily move workers from a foreign office to a U.S. office in a faster, simpler way.

  • This visa is a non-immigrant visa which allows companies operating both in the US and abroad to transfer certain classes of employee from its foreign operations to the US operations for up to seven years.
  • These are given for workers with specialized knowledge.
  • The employee must have worked for a subsidiary, parent, affiliate or branch office of US company outside of the US for at least one year out of the last three years.

Benefits for the US:

  • This could benefit hundreds of thousands of non-immigrant workers and their employers, that in turn, will benefit the US economy and spur additional investment
  • It would attract larger foreign direct investment to the U.S.

 

Sources: The Hindu, BS.

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