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Environment Minister Constitutes Monitoring Committee to Oversee Outbreak of H5 Avian Influenza; Committee to Submit Daily Report
Oct 24,2016

Acting swiftly on the reports of mortality among the birds in National Zoological Park, Delhi NCR and other parts of the country due to H5 Avian Influenza Virus, Minister of Environment, Forest and Climate Change, Shri Anil Madhav Dave, has directed to constitute a monitoring committee for overseeing outbreak of H5 Avian Influenza in the country. The composition of committee is as follows :-

1. Member Secretary Central Zoo Authority Chairman

2. Director National Zoological Park Member Convenor

3. Deputy Inspector General of Forest (WL) Member

The committee will oversee the daily incidences of H5 Avian Influenza in National Zoological Park and other Zoos of the country and submit a daily report to the Environment Minister.

There has been no mortality among the free-ranging birds of the National Zoological Park. However, to control the disease following actions are being taken :-

1. Active surveillance continues in the zoo;

2. Zoo is being screened regularly for any dead bird;

3. Bio-security measures continue;

4. Zoo remains closed for the safety of visitors and to control the disease;

5. A team of doctors from Animal Husbandry Department visited Delhi Zoo for monitoring ;

6. A team of medical doctors visited and examined exposed employees of the zoo and medication was provided.

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NABARD sanctions Rs 19702 crore loan to NWDA for 50 irrigation projects under Long Term Irrigation Fund (LTIF)
Oct 21,2016

As a sequel to the path breaking initiative announced by Hon ble Union Finance Minister Shri. Arun Jaitley in his Budget speech 2016-17 to set up Long Term Irrigation Fund (LTIF) in National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development (NABARD), NABARD has sanctioned a loan of Rs 19,702 crore to National Water Development Agency (NWDA), the agency of Ministry of Water Resources, RD & GR, towards central government share in 50 identified irrigation projects from 11 states. This would help create additional irrigation potential of 39.14 lakh hectares under these projects in 11 states.

NABARD handed over the sanction letter of loan amounting to Rs 19,702 crore and a cheque for Rs 1,500 crore towards first instalment of loan disbursement to NWDA Top officials of the Government of India and Directors of the Board of NABARD were present on the occasion.

Loan released by NABARD to NWDA would be disbursed to the respective State Governments as central share in the projects sanctioned.

Speaking on the occasion, Shri Arun Jaitley said that this development was a part of the vision of Honble Prime Minister to double farmers income by 2022, for which providing assured irrigation to farmers was one of the important prerequisites. The loan towards the central share of assistance to state governments will ensure front loading of resources so that the identified incomplete irrigation projects under Pradhan Mandtri Krishi Sinchai Yojna [PMKSY] are executed in time. He further stated that this unique initiative would help complete not only the irrigation structures but also the Command Area Development works which are central to ensuring full utilization of irrigation potential created. He highlighted that the initiative would bring additional 76 lakh ha area under irrigation and to a great extent mitigate water scarcity and drought situations in project areas. He appreciated the initiative of the Ministry of Water Resources, River Development & Ganga Rejuvenation and NABARD and indicated that Ministry of Finance is committed to support this endeavor. He advised the agencies to undertake very close monitoring of the progress of work to ensure timely completion of projects.

Sushree Uma Bharati, Hon ble Minister of Water Resources, River Development and Ganaga Rejuvenation said that she was commited to ensure that the project works are completed by the state governments as scheduled and exhorted them to complete the required formalities in time. She shared the vision of Honble Prime Minister to ensure Har Khet ko Paani and n++Per drop more cropn++ which the Ministry is endeavoring to translate into reality. She emphasized that the irrigation potential would be enhanced through participation of farmers. She also highlighted a strong monitoring mechanism put in place to ensure that the money is effectively utilized.

Dr Harsh Kumar Bhanwala, Chairman, NABARD said that besides supporting the central share component, NABARD would also be extending 15 year loan support to the willing state governments at reasonable rate of interest to meet their share in the identified irrigation projects. The total fund requirement is expected to be of the order of Rs 78, 535 crore in the next four years up to 2020, with the shares of the central and state governments at Rs 31,342 crore and Rs 46,253 crore, respectively. He said that through LTIF the irrigation potential in the country was expected to go up by 11.50 % in the next four years.

Shri Shashi Shekhar, Secretary, Ministry of Water Resources, River Development and Ganaga Rejuvenation informed that the programme will be implemented in a Mission mode and the ministry was gearing up for very close monitoring of this massive programme.

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Ude Desh Ka Aam Naagrik : Civil Aviation Ministrys Regional Connectivity Scheme n++UDANn++ Launched
Oct 21,2016

The Ministry of Civil Aviation took a major step towards making flying a reality for the small town common man. The Civil Aviation Minister Shri P Ashok Gajapathi Raju launched the Ministrys much awaited Regional Connectivity Scheme n++ UDANn++ in New Delhi today. UDAN is an innovative scheme to develop the regional aviation market. It is a market-based mechanism in which airlines bid for seat subsidies. This first-of-its-kind scheme globally will create affordable yet economically viable and profitable flights on regional routes so that flying becomes affordable to the common man even in small towns.

Speaking on the occasion Shri Raju expressed hope that the first flight under the scheme would be able to take off by January next year. He said the scheme had been prepared after a lot of stakeholder consultation and called for support from all players to make it a success.

Also speaking on the occasion the Minister of State for Civil Aviation Shri Jayant Sinha said that the objective of the scheme was n++Ude Desh Ka Aam Naagrikn++ He said this scheme ensure affordability, connectivity, growth and development. It would provide a win-win situation for all stakeholders - citizens would get the benefit of affordability, connectivity and more jobs. The Centre would be able to expand the regional air connectivity and market. The state governments would reap the benefit of development of remote areas, enhance trade and commerce and more tourism expansion. For incumbent airlines there was the promise of new routes and more passengers while for and start-up airlines there is the opportunity of new, scalable business. Airport operators will also see their business expanding as would original equipment manufacturers .

The scheme UDAN envisages providing connectivity to un-served and under-served airports of the country through revival of existing air-strips and airports. The scheme would be in operation for a period of 10 years.

UDAN has a unique market-based model to develop regional connectivity. Interested airline and helicopter operators can start operations on hitherto un-connected routes by submitting proposals to the Implementing Agency. The operators could seek a Viability Gap Funding (VGF) apart from getting various concessions. All such route proposals would then be offered for competitive bidding through a reverse bidding mechanism and the route would be awarded to the participant quoting the lowest VGF per Seat. The operator submitting the original proposal would have the Right of First Refusal on matching the lowest bid in case his original bid is within 10% of the lowest bid. The successful bidder would then have exclusive rights to operate the route for a period of three years. Such support would be withdrawn after a three year period, as by that time, the route is expected to become self-sustainable.

The selected airline operator would have to provide a minimum of 9 and a maximum of 40 UDAN Seats ( subsidized rates )on the UDAN Flights for operations through fixed wing aircraft and a minimum of 5 and a maximum of 13 Seats on the Flights for operations through helicopters. On each such route, the minimum frequency would be three and maximum of seven departures per week. Route networks would also be encouraged under the scheme to achieve economies of scale and optimal usage of aircraft.

The fare for a one hour journey of appx. 500 km on a fixed wing aircraft or for a 30 minute journey on a helicopter would now be capped at Rs. 2,500, with proportionate pricing for routes of different stage lengths / flight duration.

This would be achieved through (1) a financial stimulus in the form of concessions from Central and State governments and airport operators and (2) a Viability Gap Funding to the interested airlines to kick-off operations from such airports so that the passenger fares are kept affordable.

n++ Central Government would provide concessions in the form of reduced excise duty, service tax, permission to trade ASKMs for Non-RCS (UDAN) Seats and flexibility of code sharing at the RCS (UDAN) airports.

n++ State governments will have to lower the VAT on ATF to 1% or less, besides providing security and fire services free of cost and electricity, water and other utilities at substantially concessional rates.

n++ Airport operators shall not impose Landing and Parking charge and Terminal Navigation Landing Charges in addition to discounts on Route Navigation Facility Charges.

A Regional Connectivity Fund would be created to meet the viability gap funding requirements under the scheme. The RCF levy per departure will be applied to certain domestic flights.

The partner State Governments (other than North Eastern States and Union Territories where contribution will be 10 %) would contribute a 20% share to this fund. For balanced regional growth, the allocations under the scheme would be equitably spread across the five geographical regions of the country viz. North, West, South, East and North-east.

The States have a key role under the scheme. The selection of airports where UDAN operations would start would be done in consultation with State Government and after confirmation of their concessions. It may be recalled that revival of dysfunctional airports and starting operations on un-served airports has been a long standing demand of most States and this will be addressed through UDAN to a large extent.

The UDAN is likely to a give a major fillip to tourism and employment generation in the hinterland. Through introduction of helicopters and small aircraft, it is also likely to significantly reduce travel timings in remote and hilly regions, as well as islands and other areas of the country.

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First installment of Rs. 1500 crore released to states as central assistance for 99 prioritized irrigation projects under AIBP
Oct 21,2016

Union Minister for Water Resources, River Development and Ganga Rejuvenation Sushri Uma Bharti announced today the release of first installment of Rs. 1500 crore to the states as central assistance for 99 prioritized irrigation projects under Accelerated Irrigation Benefits Program (AIBP). This amount has been released for 50 projects in the states of Gujarat, Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Manipur, Odisha, Punjab, Rajasthan and Telangana

The Minister said is historic day for AIBP as it will mark a new beginning for these projects. She said total funds required for completion of all the 99 identified projects have been estimated at Rs.77595 crore (Rs.48546 crore for project works and Rs.29049 crore for CAD works) with estimated CA of Rs.31342 crore. Likely potential utilization through these projects is estimated to be 76.03 lakh hectare (Lakh ha). Sushri Bharti said accordingly a proposal was made for providing Central Assistance and State share for above mentioned 99 projects through NABARD. The Minister said these projects will cover all most all drought prone districts of 18 States of country and will also go a long way to contain the incident of suicide by farmers. She expressed the hope that with regular monitoring the speedy implementation, the Government would be able to complete all the 99 projects well ahead of the schedule.

The Finance Minister in his budget speech of 2016 had announced for creation of dedicated Long Term Irrigation Fund (LTIF) in NABARD with an initial corpus of about Rs. 20,000 crore and an amount of Rs.12517 crore was provided as budgetary resources and market borrowings during 2016-17.

The Union Cabinet on July 27, 2016 had approved establishment of the Mission to ensure completion of 99 prioritized projects in phases by December 2019 including Command Area Development and Water Management (CAD&WM). The arrangement of funds for Central share/Assistance (CA) has been made by taking loan from NABARD as per year-wise requirements which could be paid back in 15 years time keeping a grace period of three years. Further, the State Governments, if required, may borrow funds from NABARD for the States Share.

Central Government launched the AIBP in the year 1996-97 to provide Central Assistance to major/medium irrigation projects in the country, with the objective to accelerate implementation of such projects which were beyond resource capability of the States or were in advanced stage of completion. Priority was given to those projects which were started in Pre-Fifth and Fifth Plan period and also to those which were benefiting Tribal and Drought Prone Areas. From the year 1999-2000 onwards, Central Loan Assistance under AIBP was also extended to minor surface irrigation projects (SMI) of special category States (N.E. States & Hilly States of H. P., Sikkim, J&K, Uttaranchal and projects benefiting KBK districts of Orissa). Since its inception, 297 Irrigation / Multi Purpose Projects have been included for funding under AIBP. Out of this 143 projects have been completed and 5 projects were foreclosed. An irrigation potential of 24.39 Lakh ha. has been created through these projects. The cumulative Central Loan Assistance / Grant provided to States under AIBP to all of above project till March 31, 2015 was Rs. 67539.52 crore. Twenty five States got benefited from the programme.

During 2015-16, Pradhan Mantri Krishi Sinchayee Yojana (PMKSY) was launched with an aim to enhance physical access of water on farm and expand cultivable area under assured irrigation, improve on farm water use efficiency, introduce sustainable water conservation practices etc. Major and medium irrigation/multipurpose irrigation projects are being funded under PMKSY-AIBP and Repair, Renovation and Restoration (RRR) of Water Bodies, Surface Minor Irrigation (SMI) projects and CAD&WM projects are being funded under PMKSY-Har Khet Ko Pani (HKKP). During 2015-16, Central Assistance of Rs. 2327.82 crore was released for projects under AIBP and CA of Rs. 1905.81 crore was released for projects under CADWM, SMI and RRR of water bodies together. Total CA of Rs 4233.63 crore was released during 2015-16 for PMKSY (AIBP+HKKP)

The issues related to implementation of projects under PMKSY-HKKP including prioritization of projects were deliberated in the Committee headed by Shri Brijmohan Agrawal, Minister (Water Resources) of Chhattisgarh. As per the information supplied by concerned States to the Committee, 99 projects have been identified for completion upto 2019-20. 23 projects (Priority-I) have been identified to be completed by 2016-17 and another 31 projects (Priority-II) have been identified to be completed by 2017-18. The balance 45 projects (Priority-III) have been identified to be completed by December 2019.

One of the major reasons for the projects to remain incomplete was inadequate provision of funds by the concerned State Governments. As a result, large amount of funds spent on these projects were locked up and the benefits envisaged at the time of formulation of the projects could not be achieved. This was a cause for concern and initiative was required at the national level to remedy the situation.

A Mission has been established vide order dt September 07, 2016 with the Officer on Special Duty in the Ministry of Water Resources, River Development and Ganga Rejuvenation (MoWR, RD & GR) as the Mission Director for completion of the identified 99 projects including development of their command area. Mission would be responsible for overall coordination and outcome focused monitoring of all components of PMKSY for achieving its targets.

A Council headed by CEO, NITI Aayog and having Secretary(WR, RD & GR), Secretary (A&C), Secretary (RD) and Secretary(Finance), Chairman, NABARD as members, has been established vide order dated September 07, 2016 which shall look after the overall implementation of works and policy matters. Chief Secretaries (or their representative) of the States having large number of projects to be completed under this programme i.e. Andhra Pradesh, Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, Odisha and Telangana shall also be members. Further, one of Chief Secretaries (or his representative) from rest of the States implementing projects, under this programme, shall also be a member by rotation. The Mission Director would be the Member Secretary of the Council. The Council shall be responsible for overall implementation of project works, coordination and monitoring in a manner so as to complete identified 99 projects as per targets. The Council would be responsible for overall supervision of the Mission to achieve its objectives and shall also undertake monitoring and course correction, where required during implementation.

A High Level Empowered Committee (HLEC) comprising Finance Minister, Minister (WR, RD & GR), Minister of Agriculture, Cooperation and Farmers Welfare, Minister of Rural Development, Vice Chairman, NITI Aayog has also been constituted vide order dt September 07, 2016 which would review the progress of the identified 99 projects and other components under PMKSY and also provide policy guidance for mid-term course correction.

Further, online monitoring as well as physical monitoring at various levels including third party monitoring has been contemplated for ensuring completion of these projects as planned. Expression of Interest (EOI) has already been sought for finalizing the agency in this regard. A MIS system and mobile based application being prepared in this regard in consultation with NITI Aayog is in advance stage of development.

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Gartner Says Enterprises Must Use Digital Economics to Fully Exploit the Value of Digital Business
Oct 21,2016

Organizations that have been able to cause real market disruptions have done so because they have applied digital economics to exploit new value creation opportunities, according to Gartner, Inc.

The deepening and widening of digital business initiatives puts CIOs, chief data officers (CDOs) and digital leaders at the center of creating measurable new business value. These leaders are uniquely positioned to connect digital technology advances with emerging flexible business models to fuel growth, said Chris Howard, vice president and distinguished analyst at Gartner. Digital technologies are expanding the value of traditional products and services by using data, content, algorithms, analytics, and the connections between economic agents in a digital ecosystem. Some organizations, such as GE, Uber, Hitachi and Monsanto, are already beginning to change the basis of competition by exploiting digital value to fuel business growth. They have understood that the framework for exploiting the value of digital business is digital economics.

Gartner defines digital economics as the creation, consumption and control of value associated with digital products, services and assets in organizations. Digital economics creates a framework for organizations to understand and account for how much of an organizations business value can be defined as potential or realized digital value. It guides CIOs and CDOs in creating new value mechanisms and complementing or extending existing ones. By doing so, they are able to monetize the value of digital innovation and link that value with the organizations business objectives.

All too often IT leaders focus value creation more narrowly, with the result that most digital initiatives are aimed at operational improvements, rather than value transformation, said Saul Judah, research director at Gartner. While this tactical approach to digital value can result in very real process and financial improvements, the greatest potential for digital value lies in more strategic initiatives, such as creating new markets, empowering employees, changing the basis of competition and crossing industry boundaries.

To tap into this value, IT leaders should begin by engaging with business leaders to identify the sources of digital value, catalog existing digital assets, products and services, and assess and assign value to them. Digital products, assets and services can be understood, cataloged and valued based on several methods:

Using Infonomics to Exploit Information as an Asset

Information, such as customer data and digital content, is increasingly understood as an asset. These assets have real business value measured, for example, by intrinsic value or market value. Organizations invest in increasing the quality and consistency of their customer contact data so that they can, for example, run marketing campaigns that yield better returns. The theory of infonomics applies information valuation techniques to information assets and can be used by organizations to understand its business value as an asset.

Exploiting the Economics of Connections

Gartner predicts that by 2018, the new economics of connections will drive organizations to increase investments in connected physical assets and systems by 30 percent. Connections between people, businesses and things have business value. That business value exists in the connection itself (for example, charging for usage of an API) as well as the asset being exchanged through the connection. Economic value, therefore, is a function of the number, context and usage of connections in the enterprise.

Exploiting the Power of Algorithms

Algorithms and analytics offer accelerators of value and are themselves of exchangeable and monetizable value. An analytics process may use algorithms in its creation, which could also be monetizable through an algorithmic marketplace, making it available to enterprises of all types and sizes to use.

Without a corresponding economic framework, these elements of digital value remain a loose collection of digital tools and techniques, said Mr. Judah. IT leaders should establish a digital economic framework that connects digital value to a renovated economic architecture. This will help them establish a strategic, commercially sustainable foundation for creating new markets and new revenue sources.

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Government to release Chana through NCDEX also from its buffer stock
Oct 21,2016

The meeting of Inter-Ministerial committee on prices held here today under chairmanship of Secretary Department of Consumer Affairs, Shri Hem Pande reviewed prices and availability of pulses. It was decided that besides offering Chana (chickpea) to the State Governments, its significant quantity should be released immediately through NCDEX (National Commodity & Derivatives Exchange Limited) also to cool down prices.

The meeting also suggested exploring possibility to use KVIC outlets for distribution of pulses besides postal network. The committee was informed that Department of Consumer Affairs is working on modalities with Department of Post to start distribution of pulses through its network at the earliest. The subsidized pulses are already being distributed through Kendriya Bhandar, Safal and NCCF in Delhi and NCR Region, NCCF is also selling the pulses in some other metros also.

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Fitch: Indian Telco Outlook Negative Amid Intense Competition
Oct 21,2016

Fitch Ratings expects the Indian telcos credit profiles to weaken amid intense competition and high capex requirements in 2017. Pricing power could be eroded as incumbents retaliate against new entrant Reliance Jios (part of Reliance Industries (BBB/Stable)) cheaper data tariffs and free voice and text.

The top-fours - Bharti Airtel Limited (Bharti, BBB-/Stable), Vodafone India, Idea Cellular and Rcom/Aircel - revenue market share will rise to around 84% (2016: 79%) as they gain market share from smaller telcos; we expect Reliance Jio to gain less than a 2% revenue market share in 2017 but to act a major price-disruptor to the sector.

Industry revenue growth could slow to the mid-single-digits (2016: 7%-8%) due to lower data revenue growth, as data tariffs could decline by at least 15%-20%. The EBITDA margin of the top-four telcos could decline by 150bp-200bp (2016 average: 34%) due to lower tariffs and increased marketing spend as data competition rises. Most telcos FCF will be negative, as cash generation is likely to fall short of capex requirements.

Rcoms BB- IDR has low headroom, as its FFO-adjusted net leverage is likely to remain at around 5.5x - higher than the 4.5x threshold above which Fitch may take negative rating action. We believe that Rcoms plan to demerge its wireless business is credit neutral - as the demerger will take away an equal proportion of debt and EBITDA from Rcom. Our Stable Outlook factors in our expectation that Rcom will use the proceeds from the sale of tower assets to improve leverage, commensurate with a BB- rating.

Bhartis BBB- IDR headroom may narrow as FFO-adjusted net leverage could deteriorate to over 2.0x (FY16: 1.8x, excluding USD5bn deferred spectrum costs) due to flat EBITDA as competition intensifies. Its 2017 operating EBITDAR margin could ease to 33%-34% (FY16: 35%) as Jios high-data-allocation plan could hit Bhartis premium customer base, which accounts for the most profitability at its Indian mobile segment.

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Indian Navy Urges Indian Industry to Forge Strategic Partnership For Design and Construction of Underwater Vehicles
Oct 21,2016

Vice Admiral GS Pabby, AVSM, VSM, Controller of Warship Production & Acquisition, Indian Navy, said this is the right time for India to take a major step towards building submarines indigenously by forging a strategic partnership with the Indian industry. He urged the leading industry houses to grab the opportunity to strengthen Indians Navy and added that there is a plethora of design and development opportunities available to the private sector in manufacturing of Navy equipment for the future. He mentioned that the six submarines on offer to the private sector for under P75(I) program was yet another opportunity by MoD to integrate the private sector in strategic defence production.

Vice Adm GS Pabby said that though India entered the sphere of submarines late but it was able to quickly catch up with the complex technology. Today, Indian Navy is designing and developing many of its equipment indigenously. The Navy has also built need-based operational requirements but is now developing its capabilities and is setting up extensive infrastructure to develop submarines in India. He mentioned that the Indian Navy took a visionary step in 1986 to establish in-house submarine design capability and the proposed seminar coincides with the 30th anniversary of the Directorate of Naval Design (Submarine Design Group).

Rear Admiral CS Rao, NM, DGND (SDG), Indian Navy, presented the scope of seminar which aims to deliberate on unique challenges and complexities of submarine design and construction; with the aim to achieve national competence in submarine design and construction through industrial partnership. He mentioned that the seminar will be divided in two technical sessions wherein session 1 will focus on self-reliance in design and construction of submarines while session 2 will deliberate on design challenges in platform integration of emerging submarine technologies. During the seminar, the officers of Indian Navy, will present perspectives on the above topics and deliberate on the future requirements to be met by the industry, academia and research and development agencies.

Dr. A. Didar Singh, Secretary General, FICCI, said that the objective of the international seminar is to emphasize the design capabilities of Indian Navy and other design agencies and to hand hold Indian industry to make the best of the capabilities and how to focus on the future requirements. He said FICCI is continuously focusing on futuristic technologies and added that in order to fulfil the national aspiration of establishment of strong defence industrial base in country, there is a need to do away with licensed production. India needs to encourage innovations in design to enhance its scientific capabilities which can later be transferred to industries for commercialisation of defence technologies.

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Over 2000 visitors thronged Consumer Mela to register their grievances
Oct 21,2016

The Consumer Mela organized by Department of Consumer Affairs on 20 October at Central Park, Connaught Place in New Delhi generated enough enthusiasm among the Consumers and more than 2000 visitors thronged the Mela to register their grievances or for counseling. National Consumer Helpline Stall registered more than 200 visitors. State Bank of India reported that 100 visitors to their counter with different queries and suggestions. There were 60 visitors in the ASCI counter enquiring about misleading advertisements. FSSAI had 250 visitors while TRAI had 200 visitors in their stall.

The Mela was organized in association with the industry bodies, FICCI, ASSOCHAM, CII, PHD CHEMBER and DICCI as well as sector regulators like TRAI FSSAI, BIS etc.

The main objective of the mela was to bring the consumers and company face to face so as to resolve the grievances to the extent possible. This was also an opportunity for the consumers to register their grievances on the spot.

During the inauguration, the Minister also launched week long Consumer Awareness programme to be observed throughout the country during 20 to 27 October 2016 this year. He announced that from next year the consumer awareness week will be observed for one week from March 15, which is World Consumer Rights Day. Incidentally, the department is also observing Swachhta Pakhwada from 16 to 31 Oct 2016 . During the Mela the visitors were informed about the responsibility of the Consumers to keep their surroundings clean.

In the Mela, apart from National Consumer Helpline, BIS, FSSAI, NTH, NCDRC, Weights and Measures, reputed private companies also participated in good number. All together there were 50 stalls put up by participants.

Shri Hem Pande, Secretary Department of Consumer Affairs exhorted all the State Governments to replicate the Mela in their respective State and UTs so as to empower the Consumers.

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Government decides to issue Sovereign Gold Bonds Scheme 2016 -17-Series III
Oct 21,2016

Government of India, in consultation with the Reserve Bank of India (RBI), has decided to issue Sovereign Gold Bonds 2016-17 - Series III. Applications for the bonds will be accepted from October 24, 2016 to November 02, 2016. The Bonds will be issued on November 17, 2016. The Bonds will be sold through banks, Stock Holding Corporation of India Limited (SHCIL), designated post offices and recognised stock exchanges viz., National Stock Exchange of India and Bombay Stock Exchange.

The features of the Bond are given below:

Product name: Sovereign Gold Bond 2016-17 - Series III

Issuance: To be issued by Reserve Bank India on behalf of the Government of India.

Eligibility: The Bonds will be restricted for sale to resident Indian entities including individuals, HUFs, Trusts, Universities and Charitable Institutions.

Denomination: The Bonds will be denominated in multiples of gram(s) of gold with a basic unit of 1 gram.

Tenor: The tenor of the Bond will be for a period of 8 years with exit option from 5th year to be exercised on the interest payment dates.

Minimum size: Minimum permissible investment will be 1 grams of gold.

Maximum limit: The maximum amount subscribed by an entity will not be more than 500 grams per person per fiscal year (April-March). A self-declaration to this effect will be obtained.

Joint holder: In case of joint holding, the investment limit of 500 grams will be applied to the first applicant only.

Issue price: Price of Bond will be fixed in Indian Rupees on the basis of simple average of closing price of gold of 999 purity published by the India Bullion and Jewellers Association Limited for the week (Monday to Friday) preceding the subscription period. The issue price of the Gold Bonds will be ` 50 per gram less than the nominal value.

Payment option: Payment for the Bonds will be through cash payment (upto a maximum of Rs. 20,000) or demand draft or cheque or electronic banking.

Issuance form: Government of India Stock under GS Act, 2006. The investors will be issued a Holding Certificate. The Bonds are eligible for conversion into demat form.

Redemption price:The redemption price will be in Indian Rupees based on previous weeks (Monday-Friday) simple average of closing price of gold of 999 purity published by IBJA.

Sales channel: Bonds will be sold through banks, Stock Holding Corporation of India (SHCIL), designated post offices as may be notified and recognised stock exchanges viz., National Stock Exchange of India and Bombay Stock Exchange, either directly or through agents.

Interest rate: The investors will be compensated at a fixed rate of 2.50 per cent per annum payable semi-annually on the nominal value of investment.

Collateral: Bonds can be used as collateral for loans. The loan-to-value (LTV) ratio is to be set equal to ordinary gold loan mandated by the Reserve Bank from time to time.

KYC Documentation: Know-your-customer (KYC) norms will be the same as that for purchase of physical gold. KYC documents such as Voter ID, Aadhaar card/PAN or TAN /Passport will be required.

Tax treatment: The interest on Gold Bonds shall be taxable as per the provision of Income Tax Act, 1961 (43 of 1961). The capital gains tax arising on redemption of SGB to an individual has been exempted. The indexation benefits will be provided to long term capital gains arising to any person on transfer of bond.

Tradability: Bonds will be tradable on stock exchanges/NDS-OM from a date to be notified by RBI.

SLR eligibility: The Bonds will be eligible for Statutory Liquidity Ratio purposes.

Commission: Commission for distribution of the bond shall be paid at the rate of 1% of the total subscription received by the receiving offices and receiving offices shall share at least 50% of the commission so received with the agents or sub agents for the business procured through them.

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Domestic manufacturing sector must gear up to face challenges from China & Robotics technology: Anant Geete
Oct 21,2016

The public and private enterprises in Indias manufacturing sector must provide quality products at an affordable cost thereby obtaining economies of scale to face challenges posed by China together with latest technologies of automation and robotics, Union Minister for Heavy Industries and Public Enterprises, Mr Anant Geete said at an ASSOCHAM event.

n++The era of globalisation has led to cut-throat competition across the world thereby making it a challenge for our manufacturing sector to survive, we need to face up to these global challenges else we might get isolated,n++ said Mr Geete while inaugurating an ASSOCHAM International Conference on Industry 4.0: Smart Manufacturing.

He said that though the government felt that pushing the industrial sector will lead to create more job opportunities but the upcoming robotics technology might lead to significant job losses.

He also said that Indias manufacturing sector has been reeling under distress during the course of past few years due to various reasons.

Highlighting how the government came to the rescue of domestic steel industry by fixing the minimum import price for steel as China was supplying finished products at the cost at which domestic industry gets raw material, he said, n++This is how China has been destabilising the domestic steel sector and more or less a similar situation is there in the entire manufacturing sector.n++

n++We need to compete with China which has spread across the world, we need to accept this challenge,n++ added Mr Geete.

The Minister said that the Prime Minister under the aegis of the governments ambitious Make in India, program has invited global investors and industrialists to come and set up their manufacturing units here in India.

n++But our first priority should be to save our domestic industry including both private and public sector enterprises as they will play the most significant role in development of programs like Make in India,n++ said Mr Geete.

He also assured the industry representatives that the government stands together with them as it will also automatically push various government programs of Make in India, Digital India, Start-up India and others.

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Central Government to open Krishi Vigyan Kendra in all the districts of the country
Oct 20,2016

The Central Government has announced opening of at least one Krishi Vigyan Kendra in all districts of the country. This will provide advanced Agriculture technical assistance to the farmers near their farms itself. Besides this, Central Agriculture and farmers welfare minister Shri. Radha Mohan Singh has also announced opening of Apiary Development Centers in ten states. Shri Singh called upon the farmers to use the residual husk after paddy farming to make organic fertilizer, in paper making and Card-board Industry and as animal feed. This will prevent the adverse effect of husk burning on the environment. Shri Singh directed that all the KVK and district Agriculture officers should apprise farmers to make appropriate use of husk. Shri Radha Mohan Singh Said that Honble Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modis Mission to increase the number of trees in the country by planting saplings on farm boundaries under National Forestry Plan should be implemented.

Shri Radha Mohan Singh said all these things in New Delhi today while interacting via video conference with all the Krishi Vigyan Kendra experts, District level officers associated with agriculture Development and progressive farmers of 12 states. It was the first occasion when the Union Agriculture and farmers welfare minister addressed the officers of Krishi Vigyan Kendra and District Agriculture officers, through video conference.

Shri Singh suggested the farmers to farm fish in paddy field, as this will provide them economic benefit. The Central Agriculture and farmers welfare minister stressed improvement of indigenous breeds in Animal husbandry and vaccination of domestic animals especially against foot and mouth disease.

During the video conference, Shri Radha Mohan Singh reiterated the resolve to modernize agriculture. Shri Singh said that farming will be modernized through use of drone and smart phones. The Central Minister declared that Skill development work is being initiated at 100 KVKs and pulses and oilseeds hubs are being established at same number of KVKs.

Shri Radha Mohan Singh appealed the youth to associate themselves with Agriculture schemes based Start-ups and instructed the KVK and Agriculture officers to help the youth in connecting with the Start-ups, so that more job opportunities may be created. Shri Singh also urged all to provide constructive assistance to the Swatch Bharat Mission. The Union Minister directed all the Krishi Vigyan Kendra Experts and district level officers associated with Agriculture development to participate in the cleanliness campaign in at least 5 villages so that more awareness on cleanliness may be created in the society.

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13.4% Growth in Foreign Tourist Arrivals in September 2016 over the Same Period in 2015
Oct 20,2016

Foreign Tourist Arrivals (FTAs) in September 2016 register a growth of 13.4% over the same period in 2015. Bangladesh accounts for highest share of tourist arrivals followed by USA and UK in September 2016. Rs. 11. 781 crore Foreign Exchange earned through tourism in September 2016.

Ministry of Tourism compiles monthly estimates of Foreign Tourist Arrivals (FTAs) on the basis of Nationality-wise, Port-wise data received from Bureau of Immigration (BOI) and Foreign Exchange Earnings (FEEs) from tourism on the basis of data available from Reserve Bank of India. The following are the important highlights regarding FTAs and FEEs from tourism during the month of September, 2016.

Foreign Tourist Arrivals (FTAs) :-

n++ FTAs during the Month of September, 2016 were 6.15 lakh as compared to FTAs of 5.42 lakh during the month of September, 2015 and 5.09 lakh in September, 2014. There has been a growth of 13.4% in September, 2016 over September, 2015.

n++ FTAs during the period January- September, 2016 were 62.07 lakh with a growth of 10.5% as compared to the FTAs of 56.15 lakh with a growth of 4.8% in January- September, 2015 over January- September, 2014.

n++ The Percentage share of Foreign Tourist Arrivals (FTAs) in India during September, 2016 among the top 15 source countries was highest from Bangladesh (20.58%) followed by USA (10.96%), UK (7.97%), Malaysia (4.98%), Sri Lanka (3.98%), Australia (3.47%), China (3.36%), Germany (2.83%), Japan (2.79%), Canada (2.58%), Nepal (2.16%), France (2.15%), Singapore (2.08%), Afghanistan (1.57%) and Pakistan (1.36%).

n++ The Percentage share of Foreign Tourist Arrivals (FTAs) in India during September 2016 among the top 15 ports was highest at Delhi Airport (30.99%) followed by Mumbai Airport (16.28%), Haridaspur Land check post (11.62%), Chennai Airport (8.30%), Bengaluru Airport (6.01%), Kolkata Airport (4.43%), Cochin Airport (3.22%), Hyderabad Airport (3.01%), Gede Rail (2.28%), Tiruchirapalli Airport (1.99%), Ahmadabad Airport (1.72%),Trivandrum Airport (1.49%), Ghojadanga land check post (1.29%), Amritsar Airport (1.01%) and Attari-Wagh Land check post (0.99%).

Foreign Exchange Earnings (FEEs) from Tourism in India in Rs. terms and in US$ terms

n++ FEEs during the month of September, 2016 were Rs. 11,781 crore as compared to Rs. 10,415 crore in September, 2015 and Rs. 9,057 crore in September, 2014.

n++ The growth rate in FEEs in rupee terms during September, 2016 over September, 2015 was 13.1% as compared to the growth of 15.0% in September, 2015 over September, 2014.

n++ FEEs from tourism in rupee terms during January- September, 2016 were Rs. 1,12,068 crore with a growth of 14.5% as compared to the FEE of Rs. 97,843 crore with a growth of 10.1% during January- September, 2015 over January- September, 2014.

n++ FEEs in US$ terms during the month of September, 2016 were US$ 1.765 billion as compared to FEEs of US$ 1.573 billion during the month of September, 2015 and US$ 1.488 billion in September, 2014.

n++ The growth rate in FEEs in US$ terms in September, 2016 over September, 2015 was 12.2% compared to the growth of 5.7% in September, 2015 over September, 2014.

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SBI Composite Index remains flat in October 2016
Oct 20,2016

The yearly SBI Composite Index for October 2016 remained stationary at 50.2 (Low Growth), compared to September 2016. The Monthly Index declined marginally to 52.1 (Moderate Growth) in October 2016 from 52.6 (Moderate Decline) in September 2016.

The SBI economic research department believes in the coming months of September and October, manufacturing growth is likely to remain flat and IIP growth may even continue to remain in the negative territory. The fortnightly data of ASCB indicates that credit off-take (YoY) continues to be a laggard and is at 10.4% in 30 September 2016. However, after adjusting for UDAY bonds, bank credit growth as of September 2016 comes out to be 12.9% as compared to the actual growth of 10.4%.

The SBI economic research department expects that the credit cycle will turn for the better in a gradual manner. The good thing is that a part of the slowdown in corporate credit growth in the current fiscal is because of deleveraging by corporates and subsequent repayments. Retail credit growth continues to be strong. Additionally, about 48% of the credit upgrades in H2 FY2016 was due to better order book/ healthy demand, improvement in profit margins and efficient management of working capital.

One important feature of Indias banking system is that data on deposits rate movements and even lending rate indicates that banking industry still follows SBI rate action, be it either deposit or even MCLR rates.

Also, the SBI economic research department expects a faster rate of MCLR transmission by banks in the coming days as inflation will rapidly decelerate to sub 3.5% in November and RBI will cut rates. It even believes that inflation will materially stay below 4% beginning October, possibly for 3-4 months.

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Gartner Says Technology Will Revolutionize Primary Healthcare Over the Next Two Decades
Oct 20,2016

As the direction of automated continuous primary care moves into a new era, virtual personal health assistants (VPHAs) could replace the human interface, and do a superior job, according to Gartner, Inc. Gartner predicts that by 2025, 50 percent of the population will rely on VPHAs for primary care, finding them more responsive and accurate than their human counterparts.

Gartners Maverick research is designed to spark new, unconventional insights. It is unconstrained by Gartners typical broad consensus-formation process to deliver breakthrough, innovative and disruptive ideas from the companys research incubator to help organizations get ahead of the mainstream and take advantage of trends and insights that could impact IT strategy and the wider organization.

There is significant evidence that the majority of primary healthcare visits are of little value to the patient, and represent a massive drain on trained physician time. Physician demand is outpacing supply, begging the need for alternatives, said Laura Craft, research director at Gartner. Technology has advanced to the point where computers have become superior to the human mind; they are more accurate and consistent, and they are better at processing all the determinants of health and well-being than even the best of doctors.

Health monitoring devices that gather health data from people are the beginning of the journey away from in-person exams and diagnoses to remote and virtual monitoring. VPHAs will become the referee of all data and information and will be the interface for communicating with people on health, wellness advice and recommendations based on the processing of the data collected and the individuals health goals and needs.

Leading indicators prove that technology has advanced in this direction, and mainstream maturity is likely within 15 years, said Ms. Craft. Eliminating the physician for annual exams and primary health will happen, but, we need to recognize that this is a radical departure from primary care today. New channels of medical care create the need for changes in behavior, thinking, and perhaps even law. However, many barriers that might have been perceived as obstacles are already fading.

The Doctor Patient Relationship Barrier:

There are many indicators that show that people are adopting technology to track and manage their health and are moving past reliance on the physician for all things medical. The internet, wearables, and health and wellness apps are helping people to manage their health and are providing unprecedented access to a lot of medical information. Additionally, the millennial generation has a very different relationship with technology than its parents and grandparents, and is much more likely to use an app over a human interface.

Legal Barriers:

Medical errors will likely be reduced once human judgment is taken out of the equation. Once smart machines n++ powered by precision algorithms n++ take over, the entire notion of what constitutes medical malpractice will change.

Regulatory Barriers:

These new technologies do need to be regulated and there will be diversity from country to country in what the standards are. However, the regulatory barriers for getting devices to market are no different than getting innovative drugs and therapies approved today.

Funding Barriers:

Smart machines, virtual personal assistants and personal health hubs are just a part of a much bigger picture of how healthcare will be funded in the future. Globally, the shift toward population health management programs that emphasize lower costs, improved quality, decreased disparity and increased access, and a better experience for the patient incentivizes the use of technology to stay healthy and be connected to a care network.

Technology will not replace the primary tier of medicine for everyone. Primary care physicians will be needed to care for the chronically ill, the elderly, and special needs patients to coordinate their care and the more complex care plans their conditions call for. But for the vast majority, replacing primary and routine care with technology is within our grasp and a highly likely possibility, said Ms. Craft. People will come to prefer their VPHA to a primary care physician and will develop the same, or perhaps a better, relationship with it. It will be more accurate, more responsive and more personal. In fact, most medical professionals we shared this notion with, ultimately agreed n++ its in the future; its inevitable.

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