6th Joint Trade Committee Meeting between India and Myanmar

The 6th India – Myanmar Joint Trade Committee (JTC) Meeting co-chaired by Smt. Nirmala Sitharaman, Minister of Commerce & Industry from India and Dr. Than Myint, Union Commerce Minister from Myanmar was held on 27th June 2017 at New Delhi. The Joint Trade Committee plays a key role in facilitating issues related to enhancement of the bilateral economic partnership between the two countries. 

Addressing the meeting The Minister stated that both countries have long history of shared religious, linguistic and ethnic ties. Myanmar is India’s gateway to South East Asia and ASEAN with which India is seeking greater economic integration through ‘Act East’ Policy. Myanmar shares a long land border of over 1600 Kms with India as well as a maritime boundary in the Bay of Bengal. Our bilateral relationship has been further strengthened by the high level exchanges between our countries. Prime Minister of India visited Myanmar in November 2014 for the Twelfth India-ASEAN Summit. State counsellor of Myanmar visited India in October 2016

Stating that Trade and Commerce play a significant role in the bilateral relationship of the two countries, Smt.Sitharaman noted that India’s trade with Myanmar grew by 6.01% from USD 2.05 bn in 2015 -16 to USD 2.18 bn in 2016-17. The total export achieved in 2016-17 was 1.11 USD Billion, reflecting an annual growth of 3.79%. The import stood at 1.06 USD Billion showing a growth of 8.43%. 

The Minister stated that the bilateral trade between either countries has a much larger untapped potential. She sought the cooperation of the Myanmar side in actively pursuing enhanced road, sea and air connectivity between the two countries. Highlighting the progress made by India in various components of the Kaladan Multimodal Transport Project, she sought the cooperation of the Myanmar to expedite work on their side. She highlighted the need for the Myanmar side to allow expeditious completion of the inland waterway works linking the Port of Sittwe to the Myanmar hinterland. She drew the attention of the Myanmar side to an expeditious negotiation of a Motor Vehicle Agreement bilaterally which would facilitate seamless movement of cargo vehicles. 

During the meeting discussions were held on exploring the feasibilities of direct shipping lines with Sittwe port and Vizag/ Chennai. Similarly, the need for direct air connectivity with Chennai/ Guwahati was discussed. 

Noting the progress made on border trade, ever since both countries did away with barter trade and opened the border posts for normal trade w.e.f. 1.12.2015, the Minister sought the cooperation of Myanmar side in quick finalisation of the Mode of Operation(MoO) for making the Border Haats functional on the ‘India-Myanmar border’. It was noted that 10 points spread across 4 states viz., Arunachal Pradesh, Mizoram, Nagaland and Manipur, have been identified for operationalising Border Haats. Both sides also agreed to explore opening of two new Border Trade Points at Pangkhuwa and Zoninpuri. 

Both sides also agreed to deepen their engagements in some of the mutually identified core sectors. Comprehensive MoUs would be explored in areas of Health Care and Textiles. The MoUs on capacity building between RBI and CBM signed on 22 September, 2015 and on cooperation in the field of Power Sector signed on 19 October, 2016 will be operationalised quickly. The proposed MoU between RBI and Central Bank of Myanmar on currency exchange rate fixation also needs to be expedited. Myanmar side was also requested to explore the suggestion of opening of a Counsellor Office in the North-East. 

Minister also highlighted that Project Development Fund for CLMV is under implementation. Since the first Inter-Ministerial Meeting on 25.4.2017, projects have been identified for preparation of DPRs and new areas have been identified for conducting pre-feasibility studies. Project identified for Myanmar for preparation of DPR includes setting up of a Multi-Specialty Hospital and/ or Medical College and an Educational Institute in Myanmar. It is proposed to consider Nursing and Paramedics Education for the pre-feasibility studies for the FY 2017-18. The Minister sought the cooperation of Myanmar in extending all assistance to EXIM Bank to facilitate implementation of the Projects. 

Smt. Sitharaman stated that the 4th India – CLMV Business Conclave has emerged as the main B to B forum for countries of the region and India. The 5th Edition is now poised to be organized in Cambodia. She expressed the hope that the Conclave along with JTIF set up by the Ministry will help faster growth of business to business contacts and FDI inflows between the two countries. 

The Minister requested the Government of Myanmar and its business community to actively partner in India’s initiatives to strengthen her manufacturing capacities, viz ‘Make in India’ and stated that India is also ready for a similar move in Myanmar. She expressed hope that together we can deepen our manufacturing capabilities, learn from each others experiences and create a better regional platform for trade and commerce. 

Courtesy: pib.nic.in

India Signs Loan Agreement with the World Bank for USD 35 Million for “Assam State Public Financial Institutional Reforms Project”

An agreement for IBRD Credit of USD 35 Million from World Bank for “Assam State Public Financial Institutional Reforms Project” was signed today at New Delhi. The agreement was signed by Shri Raj Kumar, Joint Secretary (MI), Department of Economic Affairs on behalf of the Government of India and Mr. John Blomquist, Acting Country Director, World Bank (India) on behalf of the World Bank. The Implementing Entity Agreement was signed by Additional Chief Secretary (Finance), Department of Finance, on behalf of Government of Assam, and the Country Director (India) on behalf of the World Bank. 

The programme size is USD 44 million, of which USD 35 million will be financed by the Bank, and the remaining amount will be funded out of State Budget. The programme duration is 5 years. 

The objective of the project is to improve predictability and transparency in budget execution and efficiency in tax administration in Assam. The project will benefit the citizens of Assam through efficient processes, enhanced transparency and better service delivery (such as electronic payments and collections for services, better public procurement, and enhanced taxpayer services) provided by public institutions. 

Courtesy: pib.nic.in

Shri Kalraj Mishra Gives Away National Awards for MSME 2015

Also Launches Digital MSME Scheme

3 MoUs Exchanged with SAP India, Intel and HMT
National Awards for MSME 2015 was organized here today. Shri Kalraj Mishra, Union Minister for MSME gave away the MSME Awards 2015. Since the United Nations has declared 27th June as the UN Day for MSMEs, the Ministry of Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises has selected this day for distributing National Awards to Micro, Small and Medium Entrepreneurs for their outstanding performance, to express the gratitude of the Government to the achievers in this field which is so important for the national economy.
Shri Giriraj Singh and Shri Haribhai P. Chaudhary, Ministers of State for MSME were also present to grace the occasion. Shri KK Jalan, Secretary MSME, Shri Surendra Nath Tripathi, Development Commissioner, Shri. Vinai Kumar Saxena, Chairman, KVIC, Shri C.P. Radhakrishnan, Chairman, Coir Board also were present on the occasion.
On this occasion the Union Minister for MSME Shri Kalraj Mishra also launched ‘Digital MSME Scheme’ and handed over three Memorandums of Understandings to SAP India, Intel and HMT respectively. These steps would further boost Ministry’s effort towards making the Digital India Mission successful. The Digital MSME Scheme is revolving around Cloud Computing which is emerging as a cost effective and viable alternative in comparison to in-house IT infrastructure installed by MSMEs. In cloud computing, MSMEs use the internet to access common as well as tailor-made IT infrastructure including software for managing their business processes. Cloud computing is free from the burden of investment on hardware/software and infrastructural facilities. Therefore CAPEX converts into OPEX. This scheme would encourage MSMEs towards this new approach i.e. Cloud Computing for ICT adoption
Speaking on the occasion, Shri Kalraj Mishra, Union Minister for MSME informed that for the year 2015 the total number of National Awardees are 56 for various categories, including 50 for Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises and 6 for Banks. He also said that the Ministry of MSME is making concrete efforts in line with ‘Digital India’ and ‘Make in India’ visions of the Speaking on the occasion, Sh. Kalraj Mishra, Hon’ble Union Minister (MSME) informed that for the year 2015 the total number of National Awardees are 56 for various categories, including 50 for Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises and 6 for Banks. He also said that the Ministry of MSME is making concrete efforts in line with ‘Digital India’ and ‘Make In India’ visions of the Hon’ble Prime Minister. He congratulated the award winners for achieving excellence in various fields and expressed his hope that other enterprises in the sector would emulate the examples set by the awardees. He exhorted the MSME sector to walk the path of ZED and Lean manufacturing to make Hon’ble Prime Minister’s dream a reality.
Union Minister of State for MSME, Shri Haribhai P. Chaudhary stated that the importance of MSMEs and their contribution to the economic and social development of India could not be overemphasized. The MSME sector including Khadi & Village Industries and Coir Sector is the largest employer, after agriculture. The MSMEs have shown growth of over 10% in recent years, this being more than that recorded by the large corporates. The MSMEs provide employment to over 110 million persons through over 50 million enterprises producing over six thousand products. In view of its importance in the national economy, the MSME Sector has always been in the top priority of the present Government. He also listed out the achievements made in MSME sector during the last three years. Further, the Government has also extended the coverage of the loans covered under the Credit Guarantee Scheme from Rs. 1 Crore to Rs. 2 Crore and the corpus of Credit Guarantee Fund has also been enhanced from Rs. 2500 crore to Rs. 7500 crore to facilitate collateral free loans to Micro & Small Enterprises.
Union Minister of State for MSME, Shri Giriraj Singh stated that M/o MSME, as per the vision of Hon’ble Prime Minister, has taken a number of steps for ‘ease of doing business’ and ‘Digital India Mission’. Udyog Adhaar Memorandum launched in September, 2015, an online portal linked with Aadhaar number, can be filed within few minutes with no fee and on self certification basis. Furthermore, MSMEs can now access information on all schemes implemented by the Ministry on a single window at MyMSME mobile app.
Recognizing the achievements of successful entrepreneurs in the MSME sector, in the form of exceptional entrepreneurial capability, excellent product quality and excellence in exports, Innovation and Lean Manufacturing Techniques, the Union Government decided to encourage them by giving the national awards. The First, Second and Third National Awards carry a cash prize of Rs. 1,00,000/-, in each category, a certificate and a trophy. Special Awards are given to honour one outstanding woman entrepreneur, one outstanding entrepreneur from SC/ST community and one entrepreneur from North Eastern Region, and the best divyang entrepreneur. The event aims not only to recognize the contribution made by the entrepreneurs but also aims to encourage the participation of rural and urban population in the country’s trade and commerce including the economically and socially backward people.
The awards are also given to Banks in recognition of their outstanding efforts in providing credit support to the Micro and Small Enterprises. Three National Awards each under two categories namely Excellence in MSE lending and Excellence in lending to Micro Enterprises to Public Sector Banks are given. The First and Second Awards in each category are given to the major Public Sector Banks & a special award is given to one of the Associate Banks of State Bank of India. The awards are given in the form of Trophies along with Certificates.

Courtesy: pib.nic.in

Shri Piyush Goyal, Minister of State (Independent Charge) for Power, Coal, New and Renewable Energy and Mines chairs 5th Geoscience Advisory Council Meeting

Shri Piyush Goyal, Minister of State (Independent Charge) for Power, Coal, New and Renewable Energy and Mines, addressed the 5th Geoscience Advisory Council (GAC) Meeting in New Delhi today. Mines Secretary Shri Arun Kumar, DG GSI Shri M Raju and other Ministries’ Official members, Scientific Institutions and Non-Official members of the GAC participated in the daylong deliberations. 

The 5th GAC discussed issues related to Geophysical techniques for exploration of concealed/deep seated mineral deposits, Mineral System Research and advanced techniques for exploration of subsurface mineral deposits, and the strategy for exploration, augmentation of mineral resources and mining of Rare Earths/Rare Minerals and other strategic resources. Shri Piyush Goyal @PiyushGoyal, Minister of State (Independent Charge) for Power @MinOfPower, Coal @CoalMinistry, New and Renewable Energy @mnreindia and Mines @MinesMinIndia, asked the scientific community working in the field of geosciences and mineral system research to add value to the mineral wealth of the country especially in the area of strategic and critically important metals and minerals. At the same time there has to be a harmony between wealth creation and preservation of ecology and environment for sustainable development. 

Geoscience today constitutes a huge and fast expanding canvas. Apart from Ministry of Mines, the members comprise Secretaries of Earth Sciences, Science and Technology, Environment and Forests, Atomic Energy, Niti Aayog, Space, Water resources, Coal and Steel. Other Official members are heads of the scientific organisations like Geological Survey of India, Atomic Minerals Directorate for Exploration and Research, Indian Metrological Department, National Institute of Oceanography, Central Arid Zone Research Institute, Wadia Institute of Himalayan Geology, Birbal Sahani Institute of Palaeobotony, National Geophysical Research Institute and Head of Geology ONGC. Up to 12 non-official members are nominated by the Ministry of mines from amongst the persons who have long experience and expertise on geophysical policy and R&D. 

The GAC advises the Ministry of Mines on geoscientific policy matters in general and the role and direction of the GSI in particular prioritizing GSI thrust areas etc. 

Courtesy: pib.nic.in

UD Ministry seeks Swachh action plans from DUSIB and 3 MCDs in a week

Ministry of Urban Development today sought Action Plans from Delhi Urban Shelter Improvement Board (DUSIB) and the three Municipal Corporations of Delhi in a week’s time for construction of required number of Community and Public Toilet seats and Individual Household Toilets for making Delhi ‘Open Defecation Free’ at the earliest. 

Shri Durga Shanker Mishra today held detailed discussion with the officials of DUSIB and the three MCDs in this regard and stressed on the need to make the national capital ODF by October this year. He directed these agencies to come with necessary action plans for further discussion on July 4th. 

Issues relating to availability of land for building toilets at 24 locations along railway tracks were discussed in details. Joint teams of DUSIB and Northern Railway were asked to undertake site inspection at these locations for making available mobile toilets or pre-fabricated toilet units with septic tanks as appropriate and report at the next meeting. 

In Delhi, DUSIB has been entrusted with the task of building Community and Public Toilet seats whose requirement is assessed to be 27,000 toilet seats of which 18,000 seats have been reported to have been made available so far. MCDs were asked to enable construction of necessary individual household toilets whose requirement is felt to be not substantial. It was reported in the meeting that so far only 1,200 applications have been received for construction of individual household toilets. 

Shri Mishra will discuss the action plans on July 4th before Minister of Urban Development Shri M.Venkaiah Naidu takes a meeting with Mayors, Municipal Commissioners and DUSIB soon thereafter. 

Courtesy: pib.nic.in

Union Sports Minister Shri Vijay Goel concludes 2-day visit to Mizoram

Minister of State (I/C) for Youth Affairs and Sports Shri Vijay Goel today concluded his 2-Day visit to Mizoram. During his visit, he inspected various sports facilities and participated in programs promoting sports and youth development activities. He was received by the State Chief Minister Shri Lal Thanhawla and the volunteers from the Nehru Yuva Kendra Sangathan.
Shri Goel said, Mizoram has always given the best Footballers and is one of the leading Indian states promoting football, He said, he is delighted to be there. The state government's support towards football is yielding results; 8 players in the Under 23 National side is a testament of the state’s sports culture.
Shri Goel visited the Sihmui Cricket Stadium which is as big as the MCG stadium. After an inspection of the facilities along with the Chief Minister Shri Lal Thanhawla, Sports Minister interacted with the officials and suggested ways and means through which maximum utilization of the stadium could be done.
In his address to the students of NYKS, NSS, NCC and SAI trainees Shri Goel announced that a Football Academy would be established within the premises of Mizoram Football Academy at Sairang. He urged them to utilize their knowledge and skills for New India and an overall nation building. On the second day of his visit Shri Goel was the chief guest in an event organized by Mission 11 Million; a legacy campaign of FIFA which targets to introduce 11 million children to football and active sports. Shri Goel also met the Governor of Mizoram Lt.Gen. (Retd.) Nirbhay Sharma.

Courtesy: pib.nic.in

25 Ministries/ Departments to turn into e-office by end of June, says Dr. Jitendra Singh

E-files increased from 8,000 to 4,62,000, says MoS (PP)
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 visited the office premises of Department of Administrative Reforms and Public Grievances (DARPG) here today, to review the implementation of the Swachhta Action Plan. The DARPG and Department of Pension and Pensioners’ Welfare are observing the Swachhta Pakhwada from 16th-30th June, 2017.

On the occasion, Dr. Jitendra Singh complimented both the Departments for undertaking various Swachhta related activities during this Pakhwada and also expressed happiness that the two Departments are working together as one team. He said that the habit of cleanliness should be practised by all and it should be the responsibility of everyone to keep their surroundings clean. Highlighting the steps taken by DARPG, he said that 25 Ministries/ Departments will be turned into e-office by the end of this month. He also said that there has been an increase of a whopping 6000%, in the number of e-files with 4,62,000 e-files generated in 2017, compared to 8,000 e-files last year.

Dr Jitendra Singh said under the guidance of Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi, the Departments are committed to provide maximum Governance to the public. He said that the process involved in the Civil Services Day has been completely transformed by DARPG in the last three years, as the participation and involvement of stakeholders has increased many folds. He said that DARPG is seen as the HR department of the Government of India. All good practices originate from this Department, he added. The Minister said that an MoU between India and Portugal on Cooperation in the field of Public Administration and Governance Reforms has been recently approved by the Cabinet. Dr Jitendra Singh expressed happiness over the fact that there has been near 100% disposal of grievances under Centralized Public Grievance Redress and Monitoring System (CPGRAMS) and 50% of the feedbacks received under Centralized Pension Grievance Redressal and Monitoring System (CPENGRAMS), have expressed satisfaction on their grievance redressal.

Secretary, DARPG Shri C Viswanath said that Modernisation and Swachhta go hand in hand and the allocation for DAPRG Modernisation has been doubled compared to last year. He said that the Department has implemented 100% e-office with digitisation of records. He also said that 58 Central Ministries/Departments and 33 States and UTs have abolished affidavits and attestation. He highlighted the various activities being undertaken by the Department during the Swachhta Pakhwada.

The DARPG is undertaking various activities like recording, reviewing and weeding out of old records, digitization of records, disposal of old and obsolete items etc. A poster(s)/ slogan competition has also been organised on the theme of Swachha Bharat. The best workstation will also be declared in the Department and appreciation certificate will be awarded to the winner. The Department has also planned to utilise Rs 10 lakhs for Swachhta related activities in the department during the current financial year. The Department of Pension & Pensioners' Welfare is also undertaking similar activities during this Pakhwada.

Senior officers of the DARPG and Department of Pension & Pensioners' Welfare were also present on the occasion. 

Courtesy: pib.nic.in