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Cabinet approves revised cost estimate of Punatsangchhu-II Hydroelectric Project in Bhutan
Jul 13,2016

The Union Cabinet has given its approval for Revised Cost Estimate (RCE) of Rs 7290.62 crore for the ongoing 1020 MW Punatsangchhu-II Hydroelectric Project (HEP) in Bhutan. The total cost escalation for the project, at this stage, is Rs.3512.82 crore.

The Project will provide surplus power to India and thus augment power availability in the country and would enable project works to proceed smoothly without interruption.

The bilateral agreement to execute the Punatsangchhu-II HEP was signed between India and Bhutan in April, 2010 at the approved cost of Rs. 3777.8 crore (March 2009 price level) with funding by Government of India as 30% grant and 70% loan at 10% annual interest to be paid back in thirty equated semi-annual installments.

The factors behind cost escalation are due to inflation from March 2009 to March 2015, change in surface power house to underground power house, increase in capacity from 990 MW to 1020 MW, additional requirements due to Bhutans National Transmission Grid Master Plan and adverse geological condition encountered during the project.

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Cabinet approves Pradhan Mantri Kaushal Vikas Yojana
Jul 13,2016

The Union Cabinet chaired by the Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi has approved the Pradhan Mantri Kaushal Vikas Yojana (PMKVY) with an outlay of Rs 12000 crore to impart skilling to one crore people over the next four years (2016-2020). PMKVY will impart fresh training to 60 lakh youths and certify skills of 40 lakh persons acquired non-formally under the Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL). The target allocation between fresh trainings and RPL will be flexible and interchangeable depending on functional and operational requirements.

The Scheme, completely aligned to the Common Norms as notified earlier, would move to a grant based model where the training and assessment cost would be directly reimbursed to training providers and assessment bodies in accordance with the Common Norms.

Financial support to trainees will be given in the form of travel allowance, boarding and lodging costs. Post placement support would be given directly to the beneficiaries through Direct Benefit Transfer (DBT). Disbursement of training cost to training partners will be linked to Aadhaar and biometrics for better transparency and targeting. Skill training would be done based on industry led standards aligned to the National Skill Qualification Framework (NSQF).

In view of the recommendations of the sub group of Chief Ministers on Skill Development regarding the need to address the unique skill requirements of different States, State Governments would be involved through a project based approach under the PMKVY 2016-20 with 25% of the total training targets, both financial and physical, being allocated under this stream of the Scheme. The financial amount/budget for achieving 25% of the total training targets of next phase of PMKVY would be directly allocated to the States.

Mobilisation, monitoring and post training placement of trainees will be done through Rozgar Melas (placement camps) and Kaushal Shivirs (mobilization camps). There will be special focus on placement of trainees with incentives/disincentives linked to placement as envisaged in the Common Norms. A project based approach for Non formal training for traditional jobs is also proposed. PMKVY will, in addition to catering to domestic skill needs, also focus on skill training aligned to international standards for overseas employment in Gulf countries, Europe and other overseas destinations. There will be scholarship for student undergoing training in high end job roles under the Scheme.

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Cabinet approves disinvestment of 15% in NBCC
Jul 13,2016

The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) has approved the disinvestment of 15% paid up equity of National Buildings Construction Corporation (NBCC) out of Government of Indias 90% shareholding.

It would result in estimated receipts of Rs 1706 crore approximately to the Government. However, the actual realization amount will depend upon the market conditions and the investor interest prevailing at the time of actual disinvestment.

The disinvestment would further broadbase NBCCs shareholding and enhance the disinvestment receipts for making them available to the Government for utilization as per Disinvestment Policy. In order to inculcate a sense of belongingness amongst the employees of NBCC, it has also been decided to allot additional shares to the eligible and willing employees at a discount of 5% to the Issue/discovered (lowest cut off) price of the OFS.

NBCC was incorporated on 5th November, 1960 as a wholly owned Government of India enterprise under the administrative control of the Ministry of Urban Development with the objective of becoming a leading company in the field of construction, engineering and project management consultancy services.

The issue and subscribed equity capital as on 31 March 2016 was Rs 120 crore. Government of India holds 90% of the equity i.e. 54 crore share. The face value of each NBCC share is Rs 2. The balance 10% of the equity is held by the Public.

The NBCC IPO (Initial Public Offer) was launched in March 2012, when the GoI divested 10% paid up equity capital of NBCC out of its 100% shareholding and got the Company listed on the stock Exchanges. The GoI realised Rs 124.97 crore as proceeds towards the share sale.

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Cabinet approves revival of defunct Fertilizer Units in Gorakhpur, Sindri and Barauni
Jul 13,2016

The Union Cabinet has approved the revival of defunct Fertilizer Units in Gorakhpur, Sindri and Barauni. These include two closed urea units of Fertilizer Corporation India (FCIL) at Sindri (Jharkhand) and Gorakhpur (Uttar Pradesh) and Barauni (Bihar) unit of Hindustan Fertilizers Corporation (HFCL). These three fertilizers units would be revived by means of Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV) of Public Sector Units (PSUs) namely, National Thermal Power Corporation (NTPC), Coal India Limited (CIL), Indian Oil Corporation Limited (IOCL) and FCIL/HFCL, through nomination route.

The setting up of new units at Sindri, Gorakhpur and Barauni will meet the growing demand of urea of Bihar, West Bengal and Jharkhand. It will also ease the pressure on railway and road infrastructure due to long distance transportation of urea from Western and Central Regions and thereby saving in Govt. subsidy on freight. It will also accelerate the economic development of the region. Apart from growth of regional economy, this unit will create opportunities for 1200 direct and 4500 indirect employments.

GAIL (India) has planned to lay a gas pipeline from Jagdishpur to Haldia. These units will serve as anchor customer for this pipeline and ensure its viability. Commissioning Jagdishpur-Haldia gas pipeline (JHPL) is important for development of critical infrastructure in Eastern India and will have multiplier effect on economic growth of the region.

The CCEA earlier had approved gas pooling for urea sector which will enable these units to get gas at pooled price on its revival which will make the urea units globally competitive.

These units were lying defunct since their closure during 1990-2002. Therefore, the units and other associated facilities were lying unutilized. It is important to mention here that there is no functional urea unit in the Eastern part of the country except two small units at Namrup (Assam). Earlier in 2015, Government had approved revival of these three units through bidding route. However, the bidding process could not be carried forward due to receipt of only one application each against Request for Qualifications (RFQs) for revival of Gorakhpur and Sindri units of FCIL.

The annual consumption of urea in the country is approximately 320 lakh tonnes, out of which 245 lakh tonnes are produced indigenously and rest is imported. To enhance the production of urea indigenously, Govt. had earlier also approved the revival of Talcher (Odisha) & Ramagundam (Telangana) units of FCIL by PSUs through nomination route.

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Indias industrial production rises 1.2% in May 2016
Jul 12,2016

Indias industrial production (IIP) increased 1.2% in May 2016 over May 2015, while snapping 1.4% dip recorded in the previous month. The manufacturing sector production rebounded 0.7%, after two months of decline, contributing to the rise in industrial output in May 2016. The mining output rose 1.3% in May 2016, but the electricity generation growth eased to five-month low of 4.7%.

As per the use-based classification, the basic goods output moved up 4% in May 2016 over a year ago, while the output of intermediate goods moved up 3.6%. The consumer goods output moved up 1.1%, but that of capital goods plunged 12.4% in May 2016. Within consumer goods, the production of consumer durables increased 6%, but that of consumer non-durables declined 2.2% in May 2016.

The IIP growth in April 2016 has been revised downwards to (-) 1.4% in the first revision compared with (-) 0.8% reported provisionally. Meanwhile, the growth in February 2016 has also been revised downwards to 1.9% at the final revision from 2% at first revision as well as reported provisionally.

In terms of industries, fourteen (14) out of the twenty two (22) industry groups in the manufacturing sector have shown positive growth during the month of May 2016 as compared to the corresponding month of the previous year.

The industry group office, accounting & computing machinery has shown the highest positive growth of 18.8% followed by 14.8% in machinery & equipment and 10.1% in medical, precision & optical instruments, watches and clocks.

On the other hand, electrical machinery & apparatus has shown the highest negative growth of (-) 41.1%, followed by (-) 8.1% in furniture; manufacturing and (-) 7.6% in luggage, handbags, saddlery, harness & footwear; tanning and dressing of leather products.

Some important items that have registered high positive growth include woollen carpets 67.0%, di ammonium phosphate 59.3%, aviation turbine fuel 48.2%, air conditioner (room) 38.6%, scooters and mopeds 32.1% and petrol 20.2%.

Some important items showing high negative growth during the current month over the same month in previous year include cable, rubber insulated (-) 89.8%, sugar (-) 69.1%, aluminium foils (-) 65.8%, polythene bags including HDPE and LDPE bags (-) 48.9%, cement machinery (-) 48.5%, marble tiles/ slabs (-) 44.5%, HR sheets (-) 39.9%, cashew kernels (-) 27.5% and vitamins (-) 25.6%.

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CPI inflation flat at 5.77% in June 2016
Jul 12,2016

The all-India general CPI inflation was flat at 5.77% in June 2016 (new base 2012=100), compared with similar reading of 5.76% in May 2016. The corresponding provisional inflation rate for rural area was 6.20% and urban area 5.26% in June 2016 as against 6.45% and 4.89% in May 2016. The core CPI inflation fell to 4.39% in June 2016 from 4.49% in May 2016. The cumulative CPI inflation rose to 5.67% in April-June 2016 compared with 5.09% in April-June 2015.

Among the CPI components, inflation of food and beverages surged to 7.38% in June 2016 from 7.20% in May 2016 restricting the decline in CPI inflation. Within the food items, the inflation galloped for vegetables to 14.74%, cereals and products 3.07%, sugar and confectionery 16.79% and fruits 2.64%. On the other hand, inflation declined for milk and products 3.43%, non-alcoholic beverages 3.76%, egg 5.51%, meat and fish 6.60%, and pulses and products 26.86% in June 2016.

The inflation for housing rose to 5.46%, while that for miscellaneous items declined to 3.85% in June 2016. Within the miscellaneous items, the inflation for health eased to 4.73%, education 5.36%, household goods and services 4.38%, personal care and effects 5.85%, and recreation and amusement 4.19%, while increased for transport and communication to 1.15% in June 2016.

The inflation for clothing and footwear declined to 5.01% in June 2016, while the CPI inflation of fuel and light also eased to 2.92% in June 2016.

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Foreign tourists arrival on e-Tourist Visa surges 138% in June 2016
Jul 12,2016

A total of 36,982 tourists arrived in June 2016 on e-Tourist Visa as compared to 15,557 during the month of June 2015 registering a growth of 137.7%. The Government of India has extended e-tourist visa scheme for citizens of 37 more countries w.e.f 26 February 2016 taking the tally to 150 countries.

In January- June 2016, a total of 4,71,909 tourist arrived on e-Tourist Visa as compared to 1,26,214 during January-June 2015, registering a growth of 273.9%.

This high growth may be attributed to introduction of e-Tourist Visa for 150 countries as against the earlier coverage of 76 countries.

The percentage shares of top 10 source countries availing e-Tourist Visa facilities during May, 2016 were as follows: USA (23.22%), UK (14.16%), China (6.91%), Australia (5.59%), France (4.10%), Germany (4.03%), Canada (4.02%), Singapore (2.62%), Malaysia (2.53%) and Spain (2.40%).

The percentage shares of top 10 ports in tourist arrivals on e-Tourist Visa during June, 2016 were as follows: New Delhi Airport (42.15%), Mumbai Airport (22.94%), Bengaluru Airport (9.95%), Chennai Airport (9.80%), Hyderabad Airport (3.76%), Kochi Airport (3.52%), Kolkata Airport (2.72%), Ahmadabad Airport (1.16%), Tiruchirapalli Airport (1.15%) and Trivandrum Airport (1.08%).

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Indias fuel product sales rise 6.2% in June 2016
Jul 12,2016

Indias fuel product consumption or sales increased 6.2% to 15.65 mt in June 2016 over a year ago. Petcoke sales jumped 27.3% to 1.61 mt, while naphtha sales galloped 15.6% to 1.19 mt. Sales of LPG advanced 8.5% to 1.61 mt and diesel improved 1.5% to 6.39 mt. Consumption of fuel oil gained 17.3% to 0.60 mt, while that of petrol jumped 4.4% to 1.85 mt. The consumption of ATF moved up 10.8% to 0.54 mt, and bitumen 10.1% to 0.50 mt.

However, the consumption of light diesel oil declined 9.8% to 0.04 mt, lubes/greases 5.6% to 0.27 mt, others 4.3% to 0.53 mt, and kerosene 5.9% to 0.53 mt in June 2016.

Consumption or sales of fuel product increased 7.8% to 48.46 mt in April-June 2016 over April-June 2015. Sales of diesel increased 4.7%, petcoke 21.0%, petrol 10.0%, and fuel oil 22.9%. Consumption of LPG also moved up 7.8%, naphtha 7.7%, bitumen 13.9%, ATF 12.0%, lubes/greases 3.6% and light diesel oil 17.2%, but declined for others 2.1% and kerosene 7.7% in April-June 2016.

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Worldwide PC shipments declines 5.2% in Q2 of 2016: Gartner
Jul 12,2016

Worldwide PC shipments totaled 64.3 million units in the second quarter of 2016, a 5.2% decline from the second quarter of 2015, according to preliminary results by Gartner, Inc. This was the seventh consecutive quarter of PC shipment declines, but Gartner analysts said the market is showing some signs of improvement.

One of the ongoing problems in the PC market has been the price hike in selected regions due to the weakening local currency against the U.S. dollar, said Mikako Kitagawa, principal analyst at Gartner. The price issue has impacted the EMEA and Latin America regions for the past year. However, PC shipment declines became rather modest in the second quarter compared with previous quarters, which suggests a fading currency impact.

All regions except North America experienced a PC shipment decline. The Latin America region was still very weak largely because of political and economic instability. PC shipments in Latin America are expected to fall below 5 million units for the second quarter of 2016, which is a decline of more than 20% from the second quarter of 2015. These shipment results would be some of the lowest in the history of the Latin America PC industry.

While the U.K.s vote to exit the European Union did not have a major impact in the worldwide PC results in the second quarter of 2016, Gartner analysts said Brexit could potentially create uncertainty, not only in currency, but also the entire economy beyond Europe.

Lenovo maintained the No. 1 position in worldwide PC shipments in the second quarter of 2016, despite a 2.2% decline in units from the same period last year (see Table 1). This was the fifth consecutive quarter of global PC shipment declines for Lenovo. The company experienced double-digit growth in the U.S. mobile PC market, but EMEA continued to be a challenge due to inventory build during the quarter. In Asia/Pacific, Lenovos shipments declined, but the decline was less than the overall average in the region.

Table 1: Preliminary Worldwide PC Vendor Unit Shipment Estimates for 2Q16 (Thousands of Units) Company 2Q16 Shipments2Q16 Market Share (%)2Q15 Shipments2Q15 Market Share (%)2Q16-2Q15 Growth (%)Lenovo1319820.51349119.9-2.2HP Inc.1228419.11206317.81.8Dell978815.29490143.1Asus46957.346376.81.3Apple45597.147937.1-4.9Acer44176.944016.50.4Others1535423.91897528-19.1Total6429510067851100-5.2Notes: Data includes desk-based PCs, notebook PCs and ultramobile premiums, but not Chromebooks or iPads. All data is estimated based on a preliminary study. Final estimates will be subject to change. The statistics are based on shipments selling into channels.
Source: Gartner (July 2016)

HP Inc. returned to positive growth in the second quarter of 2016 after four consecutive quarters of shipment decline. HP Inc. resolved its inventory buildup, which had slowed its sell-in shipments. HP Inc. did well in EMEA to maintain the top position, but it was not able to surpass Dell in the U.S.

Dell grew faster than the industry average in all regions in second quarter of 2016. Dell did especially well in the U.S., Latin America and Japan markets. Mobile PC shipments grew across all regions except EMEA, while its desktop PC shipments declined in most regions.

Asus, Apple and Acer are battling it out for the fourth position in worldwide PC shipments for the second quarter of 2016, as preliminary results get finalized.

In the U.S., PC shipments totaled 15.2 million units in the second quarter of 2016, a 1.4% increase from the second quarter of 2015 (see Table 2). The U.S. PC market had experienced five consecutive quarters of shipment declines. Analysts said there are still opportunities and challenges ahead for the U.S. PC market.

While vendors and channels generally have more optimistic expectations of PC sales compared with the past, there is still a chance to have a potential inventory built. This will depend on how PC market demand picks up in the second half of this year for both the business and consumer segments, Ms. Kitagawa said. The second and third quarter are typically PC buying season for the U.S. public sectors. Positive second-quarter results could suggest healthy PC sales activities among the public sectors. There is an opportunity for a Windows 10 refresh among businesses, which we expect to see more toward the end of 2016 to the beginning of 2017.

Table 2: Preliminary U.S. PC Vendor Unit Shipment Estimates for 2Q16 (Thousands of Units) Company2Q16 Shipments2Q16 Market Share (%)2Q15 Shipments2Q15 Market Share (%)2Q16-2Q15 Growth (%)Dell410527376925.18.9HP Inc.401026.3

Indirect tax collection increases 30.8% in Q1 of FY2017
Jul 08,2016

Indirect tax collection has registered healthy growth of 30.8% for the first quarter of current fiscal FY2017, as compared to the 36.3% growth in the corresponding period of previous financial year.

Once the Additional Resource Mobilization (ARM) is removed, the growth rate in Q1 is 10.2% [Customs: 11.2%, Central Excise: 13.9% & Service Tax: 4.3%].

The  details of Indirect tax revenue collections (provisional) in Q1 of FY2017 against Q1 of FY2016, along with growth rate compared with  the corresponding period of the  previous year is tabulated below as:- 

 Tax HeadBE FY2017  June            April-June% of BE achievementFY2016FY2017% GrowthFY2016FY2017% GrowthCustoms23000017414185076.3474505480815.523.8Central Excise*317000219493098241.2607879122550.128.8Service Tax23100016914182668.0445035375720.823.3Total778000562776775520.415274019979030.825.7* Exclusive of cess administered by other Departments.

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Direct tax collections jumps 24.8% to Rs 1.24 lakh crore in Q1FY2017
Jul 08,2016

The net direct tax collections surged 24.8% to Rs 1.24 lakh crore in the quarter ended June 2016, over the corresponding period last year. The main reason for this increase is the change in the requirements for advance tax payment even in respect of individuals which has been made in the last years Budget. Earlier there were only three installments of advance tax to be paid by individuals in the months of September, December and March. From the current year, individuals are also supposed to pay four installments of advance tax at the rate of 15%, 30%, 30% and 25% in the months of June, September, December and March of every Financial Year.

The collection upto June 2016 indicates that 14.63% of the annual budget target of direct taxes has been achieved in the first three months of the FY2016-17.

In terms of growth rate for corporation tax and personal income tax, the trend in gross revenue of corporation tax is indicating an increase of 13.5% while that of personal income tax (including STT etc.) a growth of 29.8%. However, after adjusting for refunds, the net growth in corporation tax is at 4.43% while that of personal income tax (including STT etc.) at 48.75% as compared to previous year .This increase is mainly due to large refunds made in the previous year as compared to the current year.

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Indias sugar production to decline 7.3% to 23.26 million tonnes in sugar season 2016-17: ISMA
Jul 08,2016

The India Sugar Mill Association (ISMA) is estimating the total acreage under sugarcane in the country at around 49.91 lakh hectares in the sugar season (SS) 2016-17, which is 5.5% lower compared with 2015-16 sugar seasons cane area of around 52.84 lakh hectares.

Uttar Pradesh, the leading sugarcane producing State in the country, is estimated to have a slightly higher area under sugarcane at 23.35 lakh hectares, as against 23.02 lakh hectares last year. ISMA is expecting a better yield in 2016-17 SS due to a substantial increase in area under the high yielding cane variety CO0238. That will increase the sugarcane production and availability for crushing by sugar mills. Further, unlike Maharashtra and North Karnataka, the weather has been good in U.P. with adequate rainfall. Thus, sugar production in U.P. in 2016-17 SS is estimated to be around 75.40 lakh tonnes, which was 68.22 lakh tonnes in 2015-16 SS.

The other major sugar producing State, viz. Maharashtras cane area has declined in 2016-17 SS, which is mainly due to drought like situation last year, poor rainfall and lesser water availability for irrigation. As against the cane area of 10.5 lakh hectares in 2015-16 SS, the cane area is expected to come down to 7.80 lakh hectares in 2016-17. Sugar production is, therefore, estimated to be around 61.5 lakh tonnes in 2016-17 SS, as against 84.08 lakh tonnes produced in 2015-16 SS.

Similar to Maharashtra, due to lesser rainfall and drought like situation, sugarcane area in Karnataka has also declined in 2016-17. Area under sugarcane in 2016-17 SS is expected to be about 4.15 lakh hectares as against 5.10 lakh hectares in 2015-16 SS. Sugar production in 2016-17 SS is estimated to be around 32.2 lakh tonnes, as against 40.71 lakh tonnes expected to be produced in 2015-16 SS.

Sugarcane area in Tamil Nadu in 2016-17 SS has increased to 2.65 lakh hectares as against 2.50 lakh hectares in 2015-16 SS. Due to better rainfall and expected improvement in yield, sugarcane production will also increase, resulting in better sugar production of 15.6 lakh tonnes in 2016-17 SS as against 13.93 lakh tonnes produced in 2015-16 SS.

During 2015-16 SS, till 30th June, 2016, about 248.15 lakh tonnes of sugar has been produced and another 2.75 lakh tonnes is expected to be produced in the special season till September, 2016 in Tamil Nadu and Karnataka, taking total sugar production in 2015-16 SS to 251 lakh tonnes. During Oct-May SS 2015-16, about 169 lakh tonnes has been despatched and another 85-86 lakh tonnes is expected to be despatched by mills. With expected sugar exports of 15 lakh tonnes in current season, the closing balance would be 71 lakh tonnes.

As per above, ISMA estimates production of 232.6 lakh tonnes of sugar in the season 2016-17. This is about 18-19 lakh tonnes less than the current 2015-16 SS production of around 251 lakh tonnes.

With an estimated opening balance on 01 October 2016 of 71 lakh tonnes, and estimated production of 232.6 lakh tonnes, the sugar availability during the 12 months of next season will be 303.6 lakh tonnes, enough to meet the domestic sugar consumption requirement of 260 lakh tonnes in 2016-17 SS.

For the sugar season 2017-18, the opening balance of about 43 lakh tonnes as on 1st October 2017, will be sufficient to meet the countrys domestic requirement for the two months of October-November, 2017 next to next year, during which time new seasons sugar production including the sugar produced in October-November 2017, would have comfortably come into the market.

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KVK portal will Help in Monitoring at the National Level and in Providing Timely Information and Advisory to the Farmers: Radha Mohan Singh
Jul 08,2016

The Union Minister of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare, Shri Radha Mohan Singh formally launched Krishi Vigyan Kendra (KVK) portal ( today.

Speaking on the occasion the Union Minister of Agriculture & Farmers Welfare said that there are 645 Krishi VigyanKendras (KVKs) in the country. These centres are established in the Rural Districts of the country. Each KVK has direct interface with at least 1000 farmers. As the information related to KVK was not available at one place at the National Level, the farmers and other stakeholders had difficulty in accessing the information and also there was no online monitoring system at the National level to review and monitor the functioning of KVKs against the mandates and objectives. This portal will provide a platform to provide the information and advisory to the farmers and facilitate online monitoring of the KVK activities.

Shri Singh said that the KVKs are the main center of knowledge and resource in the field of agriculture at the district level and this portal will help in monitoring at the National level and in providing timely information and advisory to the farmers.

Mandate and Activities of KVKs:

The mandate of KVK is Technology Assessment and Demonstration for its Application and Capacity Development.

To implement the mandate effectively, the following activities are envisaged for each KVK.

a) On-farm testing to assess the location specificity of agricultural technologies under various farming systems.

b) Frontline demonstrations to establish production potential of technologies on the farmers fields.

c) Capacity development of farmers and extension personnel to update their knowledge and skills on modern agricultural technologies.

d) To work as Knowledge and Resource Centre of agricultural technologies for supporting initiatives of public, private and voluntary sector in improving the agricultural economy of the district.

e) Provide farm advisories using ICT and other media means on varied subjects of interest to farmers

In addition, KVK produce quality technological products (seed, planting material, bio-agents, livestock) and make it available to farmers, organize frontline extension activities, identify and document selected farm innovations and converge with ongoing schemes and programmes within the mandate of KVK.

After the Modi Government, third party evaluation of KVKs was initiated.

1. Monthly, quarterly and half yearly monitoring was enforced.

2. The KVKs are being sanctioned to only those Institutions who have at least 5 years of experience of working in Agriculture.

3. While sanctioning KVKs to NGOs, it has been made mandatory for the host Institution to mortgage about 20.0 ha of land in the favor of ICAR.

4. The monitoring process has also been initiated at the district level in convergence with related Departments by constituting advisory committee and Action Plans.

Features of the Portal:

1. The portal provides provisions for online monitoring of KVKs which will include reporting of major events on regular basis and submission of monthly reports online.

2. The portal will also provide information on different services being provided by different KVKs.

3. Weather and Market related informations can also be accessed by the farmers and others.

4. The forthcoming programmes will also be available on the website which will benefit farmers and youth in joining different training programmes being organized by KVKs.

5. Question and answer facility will also be available for the farmers.

6. Agriculture related information of the districts will also be available on the portal.

7. The farmers and the Agricultural Officers may register themselves and seek different informations related to KVKs..

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FASTag on fast track: Crosses 10,000
Jul 08,2016

The sale of FASTag, cashless payment mechanism on toll plazas on National highways has crossed 10,000 mark in the month of June 2016. The monthly transaction through Electronic Toll Collection during the month has crossed Rs.1.0 crore.

NHAI has rolled out cashless payment mechanism (FASTag) on toll plazas on National Highways on 25.04.2016. FASTag offers near non-stop movement of vehicles through user plazas and convenience of cashless payments of toll fee with nationwide inter operable Electronic Toll Collection Services. FASTag is operational on more than 335 toll plazas on National Highways across the country.

A dedicated FASTag lane has been earmarked at 48 toll plazas on Delhi - Mumbai and Mumbai-Chennai Corridors. To facilitate purchase of FASTag by road users, Points of Sale (POS) on 23 Toll Plazas are available on these two corridors.

In order to promote cashless payment through FASTag, Government has allowed NHAI to give 10% cash back incentive on toll payments in financial year 2016-17 for FASTag users. The cash back amount for a particular month is credited back to the FASTag account at the beginning of the next month. In addition, NHAI has decided to provide FASTag to existing monthly pass holders by absorbing the one-time cost of their FASTags.

Chairman NHAI is regularly monitoring the implementation of Electronic Toll Collection on national highways. NHAI aims to cross 2 lakh FASTag by financial year end and fix dedicated lanes for ETC/FASTag on all national highways.

Use of FASTag shall increase user convenience from payments without stops at toll plazas, thus, saving on time, money and fuel. The online payments shall improve transparency of toll transactions and reduce revenue leakages, thus, improving overall efficiency and commercial competitiveness.

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Apparel Training Centre Set up in Kaduna (Nigeria) for Promoting Skill Development in Apparel Manufacturing
Jul 08,2016

An Apparel Training Centre has been established in Kaduna, Nigeria under the Cotton Technical Assistance Programme (Cotton TAP) for Africa which is being implemented by Department of Commerce, Government of India under 2nd India Africa Forum Summit. This is a first of its kind centre in Nigeria set up in partnership with Government of Nigeria. The Centre was inaugurated on 22nd June, 2016. Mr M K Dwivedi, Joint Secy in the Department of Commerce said that the Center is aimed to support and catalyze the initiative of the Government of Nigeria in realizing the objectives to rebuild the cotton & textile value chain and address the need for skilled workforce for domestic as well export-oriented apparel industry in the west African region.

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