Insights Daily Current Affairs, 02 September 2016
Paper 2 Topic: Issues relating to development and management of Social Sector/Services relating to Health, Education, Human Resources, issues relating to poverty and hunger.
National Workshop on Autism Tools INCLEN and ISAA
A meeting of Master Trainers from all parts of the country was recently held at the ‘National Training Workshop on Autism using International Clinical Epidemiology Network (INCLEN) and Indian Scale of Assessment of Autism (ISAA) Tools’. It was organized by the Ministry of Social Justice & Empowerment.
- The workshop is the first of its kind in India. More than 75 professionals (Clinical Psychologist, Pediatrician and Psychiatrist) participated from 18 States.
The aim of the workshop was to train and empower health care professionals like paediatricians, psychologists & psychiatrists to be trained as Master Trainers. These Master Trainer will further train required number of professionals in their respective States.
- One is INCLEN Tool developed under INCLEN study – “Neuro Developmental Disorder in Children in India”.
- The other tool is ISAA – “Indian Scale of Assessment of Autism”, developed by the Ministry of SJ&E through NIMH, as a research project.
Autism is a neuro-developmental disorder spanning entire life. There is no definitive cure.
- The effect of autism can be minimized by early diagnosis and with the right interventions. Hence, it is of paramount importance that children with Autism are identified early and started on intervention.
- Though the Government had notified Autism as a disability in 2001, it had not been issuing certificates.
- Department of Empowerment of Persons with Disabilities, under MoSJ&E has notified guidelines on 26th April 2016 to pave the way for constitution of boards and issuing of disability certificates for Autism.
Paper 2 Topic: Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation.
Government notifies National Apprenticeship Promotion Scheme
Government has notified National Apprenticeship Promotion Scheme. It is for the first time a scheme has been notified to offer financial incentives to employers.
- The Scheme has an outlay of Rs. 10,000 crore with a target of 50 Lakh apprentices to be trained by 2019-20.
- 25% of the prescribed stipend payable to an apprentice would be reimbursed to the employers directly by the Government of India.
- The scheme also supports basic training, which is an essential component of apprenticeship training by sharing of basic training cost with basic training providers in respect of apprentices who come directly to apprenticeship without any formal trade training (fresher apprentices).
- All transactions including registration by employers, apprentices, registration of contract and payment to employers will be made as online mode.
- Eligible employers shall engage apprentices in a band of 2.5% to 10% of the total strength of the establishment. Employers need to register on the apprenticeship portal and must have TIN/TAN and any one of EPFO/ESIC/LIN.
- Brand Ambassadors will be appointed for states and for local industrial clusters to act as facilitators and promoters to promote apprenticeship training.
Apprenticeship Training is considered to be one of the most efficient ways to develop skilled manpower for the country. It provides for an industry led, practice oriented, effective and efficient mode of formal training.
- The National Policy of Skill Development and Entrepreneurship, 2015 focuses on apprenticeship as one of the key components for creating skilled manpower in India. The policy proposes to work pro-actively with the industry including MSME to facilitate tenfold increase opportunities in the country by 2020.
Paper 3 Topic: infrastructure.
Incorporation of Sagarmala Development Company
As part of the efforts to promote port-led development in the country, the Sagarmala Development Company (SDC) has been incorporated under the Companies Act, 2013.
- SDC will be under the administrative control of the Ministry of Shipping.
- It will have an initial Authorized Share Capital of Rs. 1,000 Crore and a Subscribed Share Capital of Rs. 90 Crore.
- SDC will Identify port-led development projects and assist the project SPVs in project development and structuring activities, bidding out projects for private sector participation, putting in place suitable risk management measures for strategic projects cutting across multiple States / Regions and obtaining requisite approvals and clearances.
- Since the Identified projects will be undertaken by multiple agencies, SDC will also work as the nodal agency for coordination and monitoring of all the currently identified projects as well as other projects emerging from the master plans or other sources.
- SDC will undertake the preparation of the detailed master plans for the Coastal Economic Zones (CEZs) identified as part of the NPP and provide a framework for ensuring the integrated development of Indian maritime sector.
- Other important role assigned to SDC is to manage the coastal community development scheme and fund coastal community development projects identified under the Sagarmala Programme. The projects considered would be specific time-bound local interventions and innovative in nature.
- It will also be raising funds as debt/equity (as long term capital), as per the project requirements/ by leveraging resources provided by the Government of India and from multi-lateral and bilateral funding agencies. SDC will also aim to increase the scope of private sector participation in project development.
The Cabinet in July had approved the formation of the SDC. The incorporation of SDC is part of the ambitious Sagarmala Programme by the Government of India. The concept of the Sagarmala Programme was approved by the Cabinet in March 2015.
The Sagarmala project seeks to develop a string of ports around India’s coast. The objective of this initiative is to promote “Port-led development” along India’s 7500 km long coastline.
- It aims 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 Union Ministry of Shipping has been appointed as the nodal ministry for this initiative.
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.
- Efficient Evacuation to and from hinterland.
- 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.
- It also strives 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.
Paper 2 Topic: Welfare schemes for vulnerable sections of the population by the Centre and States and the performance of these schemes; mechanisms, laws, institutions and bodies constituted for the protection and betterment of these vulnerable sections.
Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana extended to people of all Hilly States
Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas has decided to extend the benefits under Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana to the people of all Hilly States including North-East States by treating them as ‘Priority States’ and release LPG connections to the eligible beneficiaries.
- This step of the Ministry will effectively address the difficulty faced by poor people residing in the States of Jammu and Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Sikkim, Assam, Nagaland, Manipur, Mizoram, Arunachal Pradesh, Meghalaya and Tripura in accessing LPG for cooking purposes.
About Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana:
Aim of the scheme:
It aims at Providing Free LPG connections to Women from BPL Households.
Who is implementing it?
The scheme is being implemented by the Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas. This is the first time in the history of the country that the Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas would implement a welfare scheme benefitting crores of women belonging to the poorest households.
- Under the scheme, Rs 8000 crore has been earmarked for providing five crore LPG connections to BPL households. This Scheme would be implemented over three years, namely, the FY 2016-17, 2017-18 and 2018-19.
- The Scheme provides a financial support of Rs 1600 for each LPG connection to the BPL households.
- The identification of eligible BPL families will be made in consultation with the State Governments and the Union Territories.
- The scheme is being partly funded from the savings of the GiveItUp initiative.
Paper 3 Topic: indigenization of technology and developing new technology.
Army sets up design bureau to reduce dependence on imports
Indian Army has formally announced the establishment of the Army Design Bureau. This is an attempt to indigenise procurements and reduce import dependence as part of the government’s ‘Make in India’ initiative.
- Army Design Bureau will help in fast tracking procurement process and also helps in modernisation.
- ADB will also be a “single point contact” and a platform for an interaction between the army and academia, the defence public sector units (PSU), private players to understand the requirements of the army
- The bureau will give a better understanding of the requirements of army to the academia, research institutions and the industry for development of defence products.
Sources: the hindu.
Paper 3 Topic: Indian Economy and issues relating to planning, mobilization of resources, growth, development and employment.
RBI allows banks to sell stressed assets to NBFCs, other lenders
In a move to increase competition that could lead to better price discovery of stressed assets, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has allowed commercial banks to sell such loans to their competitors as well as to non-banking financial companies. Till now, banks are allowed to sell stressed loans to asset reconstruction companies.
- From now on, prospective buyers (of stressed assets) need not be restricted to securitisation or reconstruction companies.
- Banks may also offer the assets to other banks/NBFCs/financial institutions, etc. who have the necessary capital and expertise in resolving stressed assets.
- RBI has advised banks to identify assets that could be sold, at least annually, preferably at the start the year. The regulator also directed that all doubtful assets above a threshold amount be reviewed by the board periodically.
Why such move?
According to RBI, allowing a wider range of buyers for stressed assets apart from asset reconstruction companies (ARCs) or securitization companies (SCs) will help in better price discovery.
What experts say?
Experts say permitting banks to buy stressed assets is a mistake.
According to them, “Banks should not be in the business of buying and resolving stressed loans. They should ideally be incentivised to sell these loans to someone who is a specialist in the space.”
Sources: the hindu.
Facts for Prelims:
- BRICS convention on tourism: The two-day long BRICS Convention on Tourism was recently inaugurated in Khajuraho Madhya Pradesh. Representatives from South Africa, Russia and China are taking part in the convention. During the meeting, BRICS leaders proposed to constitute a permanent BRICS Working Stream on Tourism comprising of the stakeholders of the Government and private sector. The leaders also emphasized greater cooperation among the member countries for the mutual benefit for the growth of tourism and looked at the convention as a platform to interact with the travel industry partners.