Wednesday, 20 February 2019

HRD Minister launches Operation Digital Board

Operation Digital Board (ODB) is a revolutionary step to boost quality education in the country – Shri Prakash Javadekar

The Minister of Human Resource Development, Shri Prakash Javadekar launched Operation Digital Board to leverage technology in order to boost quality education in the country. Addressing a press conference in New Delhi today, the Minister of Human Resource Development said that Operation Digital Board is a revolutionary step which will make the learning as well as the teaching process interactive and popularize flipped learning as a pedagogical approach. Shri Prakash Javadekar disclosed that the digital board will be introduced all over the country in government and government aided schools from class 9th onwards as well as in higher education institutions. The process will begin from the coming session of 2019 itself, the Minister explained. He further said that ODB aims at converting a class room into a digital class room and in addition to availability of e-resources at any time and at any place to students, it will also help in provisioning of personalised adaptive learning as well as Intelligent Tutoring by exploiting emerging technologies like Machine Learning, Artificial Intelligence & Data Analytics. An expert committee has worked out optimum configuration of the Digital Class Rooms under ODB.

The Union Minister said that the biggest challenge facing education sector in the country is maintaining acceptable quality standards across the country. Although we have good number of premier institutions, which compete with the best in the world, a large number of higher education institutions and schools needs improvements in quality teaching-learning, as the students coming out of these institutions find themselves unsuitable for the requirements of the society and market. The spread of educational technology and connectivity has given an opportunity to resolve this issue and aim at equity in educational standards. 

Shri Javadekar also stated that the launching of e-Pathshala, DIKSHA, NROER,NPTEL, e-pgpathshala SWAYAM and SWAYAM-Prabha DTH Channels etc. by MHRD have provided adequate content of high quality which can be taken to every classroom, and thereby facilitating blended learning and flip class learning. These pedagogical interventions can adequately raise the standards of teaching, irrespective of the location of the Schools and Colleges/Institutes. Such technology enabled learning can also inspire teachers across the country to raise their own standards of teaching.

Implementation in Higher Education Institutions(HEIs)

UGC will be the implementing agency for ODB in HEIs. UGC in its Commission meeting held on 29th Jan 2019, has passed a resolution for extending digital education to every classroom in the country by 2022. It is estimated that there would be 5 lakh classrooms in the institutions which are aided by Centre or State Governments. Out of this, based on the readiness, UGC proposed to take up 300 universities and about 10,000 colleges in the first phase covering 2 lakh classrooms.

Such Institutions with readiness to implement would be preferred. For this purpose, UGC will put in place a Portal for all the public funded HEIs to log-in and opt for the scheme giving details of this facility.

For the 2 lakh class rooms, the cost is estimated at Rs. 2000 crores. This can be implemented as a Central scheme, as a loan from HEFA.

Implementation in Schools

Digital / SMART board will be provided in all Government and Government – aided schools having Secondary and Sr. Secondary classes.

Nearly 1.5 lakh Secondary / Sr. Secondary schools will be covered under the scheme in collaboration with the State and UTs

Courtesy: pib.gov.in

Affect of a Western Disturbance over Northwest India during next 48 hours

Analysis of Weather Conditions

A Western Disturbance as a trough in middle and upper troposphere over Pakistan and neighbourhood and its induced upper air cyclonic circulation over Northwest Rajasthan and adjoining areas of Haryana and Punjab would affect northwest India during next 48 hours. This is the 6th Western Disturbance affecting Northwest India during this month.

Weather Forecast during next 48 hours
  • Widespread rainfall/snowfall activity would occur over Jammu & Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh and Uttarakhand till tomorrow.
  • Widespread light to moderate rainfall/thundershowers would occur over Punjab, Haryana, Chandigarh and fairly widespread over West Uttar Pradesh.
  • Scattered rainfall activity/thundershowers would occur over Rajasthan and over East Uttar Pradesh.
Weather Warnings
  • Heavy rainfall/snowfall would occur at a few places over Jammu & Kashmir and at isolated places over Himachal Pradesh and Uttarakhand on 20 & 21 February. Thunderstorm accompanied with isolated hailstorm is very likely in these states on 20 & 21 February.
  • Thunderstorm accompanied with hailstorm, lightning & strong surface winds is very likely at a few places over Punjab and isolated places over Haryana, Chandigarh, West Uttar Pradesh and Rajasthan during next 48 hours.
Forecast for Delhi/NCR

Overcast conditions with light to moderate rain/thunderstorm activity accompanied with hailstorm, lightning and strong surface winds very likely till tomorrow.

Courtesy: pib.gov.in

DPIIT launches second edition of States’ ranking on Startup initiatives

After the successful first edition of States’ Startup Ranking in 2018, where 27 States and 3 Union Territories participated, Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade (DPIIT) today released second edition of Startup Ranking for 2019.

The Startup Ranking framework aims to rank the States/UTs for establishing a robust ecosystem for supporting Startups. The framework also encourages States and UTs to identify, learn and replicate good practices from each other.

The Ranking Framework 2019 comprises of 7 pillars and 30 action points. The pillars will assess States’/UTs efforts acrossinstitutional support, simplifying regulations, easing public procurement, incubation support, seed funding support, venture funding support and awareness and outreach related activities. The ranking exercise aims to evaluate measures taken by States/UTs during the assessment period from May 1, 2018 to June 30, 2019.

DPIIT has prepared the framework after several rounds of consultation with State and UT Governments. The framework has evolved distinctly as compared to last year with major emphasis on collecting feedback from Startups and other important stakeholders from the Startup ecosystem. The States/UTs are to submit their reforms on the State Startup Ranking dashboard hosted on www.startupindia.gov.in.

DPIIT also proposes to recognise States and UTs for their exemplaryperformance in seven pillars of the ranking framework. As part of the Ranking 2019 exercise, DPIIT will recognize innovative Startup programs and initiatives from State/UT Governments.

The launch of the ranking framework in 2018 galvanized the States/UTs into action, thereby giving impetus to the Startup movement across the country. Till date, 25 States and UTs have launched their dedicated Startup policies to incentivize Startups in their jurisdiction. The Startup Ranking 2019 is expected to take forward the Startup ecosystem in the country and give impetus to the vision of India becoming a Startup Nation.

Courtesy: pib.gov.in

Text of PM’s Press statement during state visit of Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia to India

Your 
रॉयल हाईनेस मोहम्मद बिन सलमान बिन अब्दुल-अज़ीज़ अल सौद,

सदेकी, 
मरहबा बिकुम फिल हिंद।

फ्रेंड्स, 

भारत में उनके पहले राजकीय दौरे पर रॉयल हाईनेस और उनके डेलीगेशन का स्वागत करते हुए मुझे बहुत खुशी हो रही है। भारत और सऊदी अरब के आर्थिक, सामाजिक और सांस्कृतिक सम्बन्ध सदियों पुराने हैं। और यह सदैव सौहार्द-पूर्ण और मैत्री-पूर्ण रहे हैं। हमारे लोगों के बीच के घनिष्ठ और निकट संपर्क हमारे देशों के लिए एक सजीव सेतु यानि living bridge है। हिज मेजेस्टी की, और रॉयल हाईनेस आपकी, व्यक्तिगत रुचि और मार्गदर्शन से हमारे द्विपक्षीय सबंधों में और भी प्रगाढ़ता, मधुरता और शक्ति आई हैं। आज, 21वीं सदी में, सऊदी अरब, भारत के सबसे मूल्यवान strategic partners में है। यह हमारे विस्तृत पड़ोस में है, एक करीबी दोस्त है और भारत की ऊर्जा सुरक्षा का महत्वपूर्ण स्रोत भी है। 2016 में सऊदी अरब की मेरी यात्रा के दौरान, हमने अपने संबंधों को विशेष रूप से, ऊर्जा और सुरक्षा के क्षेत्रों में कई नए आयाम दिए थे। आपसे अर्जेन्टीना में 2 माह पहले हुई मुलाकात के परिणाम-स्वरूप सुरक्षा, व्यापार और निवेश के क्षेत्रों में हमारी strategic partnership के सार ने नया विस्तार लिया है। मुझे खुशी है कि आपके सुझाव की रूपरेखा के अनुसार, हम द्विवार्षिक शिखर सम्मेलन और स्ट्रेटेजिक पार्टनरशिप काउंसिल की स्थापना के लिए सहमत हुए हैं। इनसे हमारे संबंधों को मज़बूती, गति और प्रगति का लाभ मिलेगा।

फ्रेंड्स,

आज हमने द्विपक्षीय संबंधों के सभी विषयों ​​पर व्यापक और सार्थक चर्चा की है। हमने अपने आर्थिक सहयोग को नई ऊंचाइयों पर ले जाने का निश्चय किया है। हमारे अर्थतंत्र में साऊदी अरब से संस्थागत निवेश को सुविधाजनक बनाने के लिए, हम एक ढांचा स्थापित करने पर सहमत हुए हैं। मैं भारत के इंफ्रास्ट्रक्चर में सऊदी अरब के निवेश का स्वागत करता हूँ।

Your Royal Highness,

आपके 'विज़न 2030' और आपके नेतृत्व में हो रहे आर्थिक सुधार, भारत के प्रमुख कार्यक्रमों जैसे कि 'मेक इन इंडिया', 'स्टार्ट-अप इंडिया' के पूरक हैं। हमारे ऊर्जा संबंधों को स्ट्रेटेजिक पार्टनरशिप में तब्दील करने का समय आ गया है। दुनिया की सबसे बड़ी रिफाइनरी और स्ट्रेटेजिक पेट्रोलियम रिज़र्व में सऊदी अरब की भागीदारी, हमारे ऊर्जा संबंधों को buyer-seller relation से बहुत आगे ले जाती है। हम अक्षय ऊर्जा के क्षेत्रों में अपने सहयोग को मज़बूत करने पर सहमत हुए हैं। हम इंटरनेशनल सोलर अलायंस में सऊदी अरब का स्वागत करते हैं। परमाणु ऊर्जा के शांतिपूर्ण उपयोग, विशेष-रूप से वाटर डीसेलिनेशन और स्वास्थ्य के लिए, हमारे सहयोग का एक और आयाम होंगे। विशेषकर अपने strategic वातावरण के संदर्भ में, हमने आपसी रक्षा सहयोग को मज़बूत करने और उसका विस्तार करने पर भी सफल चर्चा की है। पिछले साल भारत साऊदी अरब में प्रतिष्ठित जनाद्रियाह समारोह में 'गेस्ट ऑफ ऑनर' था। आज हमने अपने सांस्कृतिक संबंधों को और मज़बूत करने का लक्ष्य रखा है। व्यापार और पर्यटन को बढ़ाने हेतु साऊदी अरब के नागरिकों के लिए ई-वीज़ा का विस्तार किया जा रहा है। भारतीयों के लिए हज़ कोटे में वृद्धि के लिए हम His Majesty और Royal Highness के आभारी हैं। 2.7 मिलियन भारतीय नागरिकों की सऊदी अरब में शान्तिपूर्ण और उपयोगी उपस्थिति हमारे बीच एक महत्वपूर्ण कड़ी है। रॉयल हाइनेस ने साऊदी अरब की प्रगति में उनके सकारात्मक योगदान की प्रशंसा की है। आपने हमेशा उनकी भलाई का ख्याल रखा है। इसके लिए उनका आभार और दुआएं आपके साथ हैं।

फ्रेंड्स, 

पिछले हफ्ते पुलवामा में हुआ बर्बर आतंकवादी हमला, इस मानवता विरोधी खतरे से दुनिया पर छाए कहर की एक और क्रूर निशानी है। इस खतरे से प्रभावशाली ढंग से निपटने के लिए हम इस बात पर सहमत हैं कि आतंकवाद को किसी भी प्रकार का समर्थन दे रहे देशों पर सभी संभव दबाव बढ़ाने की आवश्यकता है। आतंकवाद का इंफ्रास्ट्रक्चर नष्ट करना और इसको समर्थन समाप्त करना और आतंकवादियों और उनके समर्थकों को सजा दिलाना बहुत जरूरी है। साथ ही अतिवाद के खिलाफ सहयोग और इसके लिए एक मज़बूत कार्ययोजना की भी ज़रूरत है, ताकि हिंसा और आतंक की ताकतें हमारे युवाओं को गुमराह न कर सकें। मुझे खुशी है कि सऊदी अरब और भारत इस बारे में साझा विचार रखते हैं।

फ्रेंड्स, 

पश्चिम एशिया और खाड़ी में शांति और स्थिरता सुनिचित करने में हमारे दोनों देशों के साझा हित हैं। आज हमारी बातचीत में, इस क्षेत्र में हमारे कार्यों में तालमेल लाने और हमारी भागीदारी को तेजी से आगे बढ़ाने पर सहमति हुई है। हम इस बात पर भी सहमत हुए हैं कि counter terrorism, समुद्री सुरक्षा और साइबर सुरक्षा जैसे क्षेत्रों में और मजबूत द्विपक्षीय सहयोग दोनों देशों के लिए लाभप्रद रहेंगे।

Your Royal Highness,

आपकी यात्रा ने हमारे रिश्तों के तेज विकास को एक नया आयाम दिया है। मैं एक बार फिर, हमारे निमंत्रण को स्वीकार करने के लिए रॉयल हाईनेस का शुक्रिया अदा करता हूँ। मैं उनके और प्रतिनिधिमंडल के सभी सदस्यों की भारत में सुखद प्रवास की कामना भी करता हूँ।

बहुत-बहुत धन्यवाद। 

Courtesy: pib.gov.in

4th India-ASEAN Expo Summit on 21 – 23 February 2019 in New Delhi

The 4th India-ASEAN Expo and Summit will be held on 21-23 February, 2019 in New Delhi. This is a flagship event of Department of Commerce, being organised with FICCI to carry forward the momentum and to further strengthen India-ASEAN relations under the Act-East Policy. The 4th India-ASEAN Expo and Summit, 2019 will build upon the success of the previous edition of ASEAN-India Business and Investment Meet and Expo which was held in 2018 as a precursor to India-ASEAN Commemorative Summit.

The Association of South-East Asian Nations (ASEAN) comprises of Vietnam, Thailand, Singapore, Philippines, Myanmar, Malaysia, Lao PDR, Indonesia, Cambodia and Brunei. India's relationship with ASEAN is a key pillar of our foreign policy and the foundation of our Act-East Policy.India-ASEAN trade and investment relations have been growing steadily, with ASEAN being the second largest trading partner of India,after China,with a total bilateral merchandise trade of USD 81.33 billion.

Trade Ministers of ASEAN Countries, Secretary General of ASEAN and business delegations will participate in the New Delhi Expo and Summit. The Summit is a platform for the policy makers, industry captains and business leaders to come together and forge a common vision for India and ASEAN’s mutual growth and progress. There will be various Plenary Sessions on sectoral engagements with ASEAN which will be attended by the Ministers and other eminent delegates from ASEAN and India.The Expo component of the event will have India and ASEAN Country Pavilions. 200 plus exhibitors from India and ASEAN,and more than100 buyers from ASEAN are expected to participate in the Expo. B2B and B2G meetings are also being organised. There will also be buyer-seller meetings to provide business leaders an opportunity to closely interact with their counterparts and consolidate B2B and B2G relations.

Union Minister of Commerce &Industry and Civil Aviation, Suresh Prabhuand Trade Ministers of ASEAN countries along with ASEAN Secretary General will jointly inaugurate the India-ASEAN Expo and Summit on 21st February, which will be followed by the inauguration of the exposition. The exposition will showcase the best initiatives of the business and industry from India and ASEAN countries across various sectors of mutual cooperation such as Infrastructure, Manufacturing, Manufacturing & Engineering, ICT, healthcare, tourism, environment, agriculture, science & technology, finance & banking, logistics and retail.

Key speakers from the Indian side include Union Home Minister, Rajnath Singh, Minister of State, Ministry of Civil Aviation, Jayant Sinha, Minister of State, Ministry of Commerce & Industry, C.R. Chaudhary and Minister of State, Agriculture Ministry, Gajendra Singh Shekhawat.

Minister of Trade of the Republic of Indonesia,Mr. Enggartiasto Lukita, Dr. Than Myint, Union Minister, Ministry of Commerce, the Republic of the Union of Myanmar, Mr. Pan Sorasak, Minister of Commerce, Kingdom of Cambodia, Ms. Chutima Bunyapraphasara, Acting Minister of Commerce of Thailand, and Mr. Lim Jock Hoi, Secretary General, ASEAN, Mr. Lee Chuan Teck, Second Permanent Secretary, Singapore Ministry of Trade and Industry, DatoLokman Hakim Bin Ali, Secretary General MITI, Malaysia and Mr. Doan DuyKhuong, Vice Chairman, Vietnam Chambers of Commerce and Industry will also address the Forum.

The 4th India ASEAN Expo and Summit will bring Indian and ASEAN businesses together to work jointly towards integrating them into regional value chains, thereby promoting mutual trade and investment.

Courtesy: pib.gov.in

Cabinet approves Swadesh Darshan Scheme: Integrated Development of Theme-based Tourist Circuits in the country

The Union Cabinet, chaired by the Prime Minister Narendra Modi has approved the following proposals:

Continuation of the Swadesh Darshan Scheme during 14th Finance Commission period and beyond;

Rs. 2055.96 crores for 60 on-going projects completing in December 2019; and

Rs. 324.09 crores for 6 projects for which substantial funds have been released and projects to be completed in September 2020.

Details:

Swadesh Darshan Scheme - Integrated Development of theme based tourist circuits is the flagship scheme of Ministry of Tourism for development of tourism infrastructure in the country. The scheme has following objectives:

i. Position tourism as a major engine of economic growth and job creation;
ii. Develop circuits having tourist potential in a planned and prioritized

manner;

iii. Promote cultural and heritage value of the country to generate livelihoods

in the identified regions;

iv. Enhance the tourist attractiveness in a sustainable manner by developing

world class infrastructure in the circuit/destinations;

v. Follow community based development and pro-poor tourism approach;

vi. Create awareness among the local communities about the importance of tourism for them in terms of increased sources of income, improved living standards and overall development of the area.

vii. Create employment through active involvement of local communities;

viii. Harness tourism potential for its effects in employment generation and economic development. 

ix. Make full use of the potential and advantages in terms of available infrastructure, national culture and characteristic strong points of each and every region throughout the country by development of theme based circuits.

Under Swadesh Darshan Scheme Ministry of Tourism is developing critical tourism infrastructure in the country in a sustainable and inclusive manner to make India into a world class tourist destination. The focus under the scheme is to develop public facilities like last mile connectivity, Tourist reception Centers, Way side Amenities, Solid Waste Management, Illumination, Landscaping, parking etc. where Private Sector is not willing to invest.

Background:

a. During the Budget speech of 2014-15 the Finance Minister made following announcement "India's rich cultural, historical, religious and natural heritage provides a huge potential for the development of tourism and job creation as an Industry. I propose to create 5 tourist circuits around specific themes and set aside a sum of Rs. 500 Crore for this purpose".

b. Subsequently in January 2015 Ministry of Tourism launched the Swadesh Darshan Scheme (Central Sector Scheme) with following five circuits Himalayan Circuit, North East Circuit, Krishna Circuit, Buddhist Circuit and Coastal Circuit. Later during 2015, 2016 and 2017, 10 more thematic circuits namely Desert Circuit, Tribal Circuit, Eco Circuit, Wildlife Circuit, Rural Circuit, Spiritual Circuit, Ramayana Circuit, Heritage Circuit, Tirthankar Circuit and Sufi Circuit were added in the scheme making it to 15 thematic circuits.

c. The third party evaluation of the scheme was carried, out by the National Productivity Council (NPC). The NPC submitted its evaluation report on 15.06.2017. Based on Evaluation midterm corrections have been made in the scheme. Development of Wayside Amenities on tourist circuits has been made sub scheme of Swadesh Darshan scheme.

d. The Expenditure Finance Committee in its meeting held on 13th October 2017 has recommended an outlay of Rs. 5048 Crore for the scheme from 2017-18 till 2019-20 which includes Budgetary allocation of Rs. 3848 Crore for completion of ongoing projects and Rs. 1200 Crore for new projects. EFC has recommended that sanctions for new projects in the period 2017-2020 shall be restricted to Rs. 2500 Crore.

e. Since, its launch Ministry of Tourism has sanctioned 77 projects for Rs. 6121.69 Crores to 30 States and UTs under the scheme and has incurred expenditure of Rs. 3096.14 Crore. Out these 77 projects, physical work has started on 66 projects sanctioned from 2014-15 till 2017-18. The 11 projects sanctioned in 2018-19 are at tendering stage and no funds have been released, work on 17 projects/ major components of the project is complete and 13 projects have been inaugurated between August 2018 to January 2019.

Courtesy: pib.gov.in

Cabinet approves launch Kisan Urja Suraksha evam Utthaan Mahabhiyan

The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs, chaired by Hon'ble Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi has approved launch of Kisan Urja Suraksha evam Utthaan Mahabhiyan with the objective of providing financial and water security to farmers.

The proposed scheme consists of three components:

Component-A: 10,000 MW of Decentralized Ground Mounted Grid Connected Renewable Power Plants.

Component-B: Installation of 17.50 lakh standalone Solar Powered Agriculture Pumps.

Component-C: Solarisation of 10 Lakh Grid-connected Solar Powered Agriculture Pumps.

All three components combined, the scheme aims to add a solar capacity of 25,750 MW by 2022. The total central financial support provided under the scheme would be Rs. 34,422 crore.

The Component-A and Component-C will be implemented on pilot mode for 1000 MW capacity and one lakh grid connected agriculture pumps respectively and thereafter, will be scale-up on success of pilot run. Component-B will be implemented in full-fledged manner. 



Under Component A, Renewable power plants of capacity 500 KW to 2 MW will be setup by individual farmers/ cooperatives/panchayats /farmer producer organisations (FPO) on their barren or cultivable lands. The power generated will be purchased by the DISCOMs at Feed in tariffs determined by respective SERC. The scheme will open a stable and continuous source of income to the rural land owners. Performance Based Incentives @ Rs. 0.40 per unit for five years to be provided to DISCOMs.

Under Component B, individual farmers will be supported to install standalone solar pumps of capacity up to 7.5 HP. Solar PV capacity in kW equal to the pump capacity in HP is allowed under the scheme.

Under Component C of the scheme, individual farmers will be supported to solarise pumps of capacity up to 7.5 HP. Solar PV capacity up to two times of pump capacity in kW is allowed under the scheme. The farmer will be able to use the generated energy to meet the irrigation needs and the excess available energy will be sold to DISCOM. This will help to create an avenue for extra income to the farmers, and for the States to meet their RPO targets.

For both Component-B and Component-C, central financial assistance (CFA) of 30% of the benchmark cost or the tender cost, whichever is lower, will be provided. The State Government will give a subsidy of 30%; and the remaining 40% will be provided by the farmer. Bank finance may be made available for meeting 30% of the cost. The remaining 10% will be provided by the farmer. Higher CFA of 50% will be provided for North Eastern States, Sikkim, Jammu & Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Lakshadweep and A&N Islands.

The Scheme will have substantial environmental impact in terms of savings of CO2 emissions. All three components of the Scheme combined together are likely to result in saving of about 27 million tonnes of CO2 emission per annum. Further, Component-B of the Scheme on standalone solar pumps may result in saving of 1.2 billion liters of diesel per annum and associated savings in the foreign exchange due to reduction of import of crude oil.

The scheme has direct employment potential. Besides increasing self-employment the proposal is likely to generate employment opportunity equivalent to 6.31 lakh job years for skilled and unskilled workers. 

Courtesy: pib.gov.in

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