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Despite severe setback to the crops on account of natural calamities, total food grains production had been increased to 253.16 million tones in FY16
Apr 11,2016

Union Agriculture & Farmers Welfare Minister, Shri Radha Mohan Singh said that government is taking concrete steps to remove debt problems of the farmers. He further said that Government has increased Agricultural Credit target Rs. 9 lakh crore for the year 2016-17 to bring the farmers within institutional fold. He added that government is taking long term measures to remove the problems of the farmers.

Shri Singh observed that inspite of a severe loss to the crops owing to unseasonable rainfall, hailstorm and other natural calamities, the whole food grain production which was 252.02 million tons in 2014-15 as per second advance estimate (15 February 2016), it has been increased to 253.16 million tones on 2015-16. He said that, the government has to double the farmers income in the next five years as is announced in the budget 2016-17. Honble Prime Minister has suggested 7 points to achieve the target.

Increase in Production: The Government has increased budgetary provision in irrigation sector. Government aims at more crop per drop. Government policy is focused on water preservation and irrigation. Government is working hard to increase the productions of other crops along-with paddy and oilseeds.

More income less input: We can get higher productivity from the seeds when it get right amount of nutrients from the soil. Soil health card scheme can help in this regard. We are providing useful information to the farmers. In this programme, farmers will invest less and get more. It is necessary to regularize the cost of farming and to maintain the productivity of crops. Soil health promotion programme has been initiated for the preservation of soil health.

Government has decided last year to produce only neem coated urea so that plants get nutrients easily. Rs 20,000 per acre are being provided to the farmers to encourage them to adopt organic farming.

To increase the income of farmers by reducing their marketing expenditure: A national agriculture market is being set up for electronic trading. In this programme, 585 agriculture mandis of India will be connected to each other. The farmers will get maximum price of their crops and the interference of mediators will be reduced to a greater extent. Direct foreign investment is also being encouraged in this field.

Agriculture risk security: Under Prime Minister Fasal Bima Yojana, the farmers will be benefited on account of natural calamities like storms, earthquake and cyclone etc.

To reduce post-production losses production: The government of India has promoted region based strategy according to the climatic diversity of every state and region by implementing unified Horticulture Development Mission so as to develop horticulture sector as a whole. Under this mission, the government aims to promote technical setup, extension of area under horticulture crops, post-harvest management, processing and marketing etc. India ranks second on global scenario in horticultural crops after China.

Value addition: Government is promoting processed food industry so as to make value addition in agricultural products. Not only this, but government is also chalking out its programme through different schemes to increase the production of fruits and vegetables and its processing with assistance of Ministry of Food Processing Industry. The government aims to increase it to 25% by 2025 in comparison of 10% in existing scenario.

Auxiliary Activities: With Honble Prime Ministers vision, this task will be executed partly through livestock, dairy, poultry, bee keeping, agriculture ponds and fisheries. Simultaneously, the efforts are being made to increase the income of farmers by planting trees in fields and installing solar panels there.

Shri Singh informed that to increase availability of seeds in north east states, National Seeds Corporation had asked Govt of West Bengal, Jharkhand and Bihar to provide land to establish production centres. West Bengal and Jharkhand have given land and it is hoped that Bihar will do the same. Minister also said that to establish an institution like Central Institute of Agricultural Engineering, Bhopal, Maharashtra, Gujarat, Bihar were requested to provide land. Maharashtra, Gujarat and Uttar Pradesh have given land and it is hoped that Bihar will provide the land for the same.

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Composite leading indicators continue to point to signs of easing growth in the OECD area
Apr 11,2016

Composite leading indicators (CLIs), designed to anticipate turning points in economic activity relative to trend, continue to point to signs of easing growth in the OECD area as a whole.

The CLIs continue to point to easing growth in the United States,the United Kingdom, and Japan, with a similar outlook now expected in Germany and Italy.

The outlook is for stable growth momentum in the Euro area as a whole. In India and France, growth momentum is stabilising. Signs of growth stabilisation are also emerging in China and Canada.

In Russia and Brazil the CLIs continue to point to a loss in growth momentum.

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South Asia Remains Worlds Fastest Growing Region, but Should Be Vigilant to Fading Tailwinds
Apr 11,2016

Led by robust growth in India, South Asia shows resilience in the face of turbulent international markets and remains the fastest-growing region in the world, with economic growth forecasted to gradually accelerate from 7.1 percent in 2016 to 7.3 percent in 2017, a World Bank report said.

According to the twice-a-year South Asia Economic Focus, the regions economic performance prospects remain strong due to its limited exposure to global turbulence, coupled with increasing investment activity.

However, there are also signs of fading tailwinds. Capital flows to the region have declined and remittances from oil exporting countries have started to weaken. Fuel and food prices remain low but are unlikely to keep falling. As a result overall output growth is slower than previously anticipated and inflation has recently been creeping up.

Given its weight in the region, India sets the pace for South Asia as a whole. Economic activity is expected to accelerate from 7.5 percent in FY2016 to 7.7 percent in FY2017 based on the expectation of strong private investment, a push in infrastructure spending, an improved investment climate, and deleveraged corporate and financial balance sheets.

n++South Asia has been resilient to global turbulence due to its limited exposure to slowdowns in other major economies coupled with the tailwinds of favorable oil prices, capital flows, and remittances,n++ said Annette Dixon, World Bank South Asia Vice President. n++However, fiscal and financial vulnerabilities remain and countries should strive to address them through generating revenue and creating more fiscal spacen++

The reports analysis of fiscal policy across the region suggests that governments need to find a balanced path towards fiscal consolidation.

n++Fiscal policy has a wide range of impacts for development. The fiscal deficit affect macroeconomic stability, capital expenditures are needed for growth, and taxes and social spending matter for equity,n++ said World Bank South Asia Chief Economist Martin Rama. n++With the currently low oil prices, this is also an opportune time for South Asian policy makers to introduce or expand explicit carbon taxes. This would improve environmental and fiscal sustainability at the same time.n++

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Consumer protection laws need updating to improve trust in e-commerce
Apr 11,2016

Countries should modernise their consumer protection laws to address new risks posed by online commerce, including n++freen++ apps and peer-to-peer Internet transactions, according to new OECD guidelines for member countries and emerging economies.

The OECD Recommendation on Consumer Protection in E-Commerce says people buying online are entitled to the same level of protection as with conventional transactions. It calls on governments to work with business and consumer groups to determine legal changes that could improve consumer trust in e-commerce.

In particular, it suggests consumer protection laws should cover online apps and services offered for free in exchange for gaining access to the users personal data.

While consumers are increasingly drawn to the convenience and choice of online commerce, concerns about privacy, payment security or legal recourse in case of a problem mean that many others remain wary. Other concerns include online product safety risks and doubts over whether consumer reviews are genuine.

While 75% of consumers in OECD countries access the Internet each day, a recent OECD report found that only one person in two made an online purchase in 2014. Those who did not cited security and privacy concerns as the main reasons holding them back.

The Recommendation - which is not legally binding but puts peer pressure on countries to take action - says businesses should not misrepresent or hide terms and conditions likely to affect a decision to buy or try to conceal their identity or location. Nor should they engage in deceptive practices related to the collection or use of personal data. They should take special care in marketing targeted at children or other vulnerable consumers.

Provisions should be made to ensure consumers understand the terms and conditions relating to the acquisition and use of digital content like online music and movies - the fastest growing e-commerce category and often sold with legal or technical usage limitations. Consumers should also have access to easy-to-use mechanisms to resolve domestic and cross-border e-commerce disputes in a timely manner.

The guidelines cover business-to-consumer e-commerce and addresses issues arising from the relationship between consumers and the Internet platforms that enable consumer-to-consumer transactions.

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Government constitutes a Three Member Committee for Content Regulation of Government Advertising
Apr 11,2016

Ministry of Information & Broadcasting in compliance with the Supreme Court directions dated 13 May 2015 has constituted a three member committee to address the issues related to Content Regulation in Government Advertising. The committee would be chaired by Shri B.B. Tandon, Former Chief Election Commissioner of India and members of the committee includes Shri Rajat Sharma, Chairman and Editor-in-Chief of India TV and President of the News Broadcasters Association and Shri Piyush Pandey, Executive Chairman and Creative Director, South Asia, Ogilvy & Mather.

The three member committee was selected by a three member panel constituted by Ministry of I&B after obtaining advice from Ministry of Law & Justice. The selection panel for constitution of the Committee was headed by Justice (Retd.) Chandramauli Kumar Prasad, Chairman, Press Council of India. The Terms of Reference of the Committee has been prepared by Ministry of I&B in consultation with Ministry of Law and Justice which includes the structure, functions and powers, duties and responsibilities of the Committee.

Supreme Court had directed to constitute the body for ironing out the creases that are bound to show from time to time in implementation of the judgement of Apex Court on Content Regulation of Government Advertising. As per the Terms of Reference, the Committee would, inter-alia, address complaints from the general public of violation on the implementation of the guidelines set out by Honble Supreme Court. The Committee would also take suo motu cognizance of any violation / deviation of the guidelines of Honble Supreme Court and recommend corrective action to the Ministry /Department. The Committee may recommend suitable changes to the Supreme Court guidelines to deal with new circumstances and situations that may arise from time to time, without making major policy changes within the policy direction of Supreme Court. The Committee shall not be bound by any legal rules of evidence and may follow such procedure that appears to it to be fair and proper for swift settlement of grievances. For all decisions of the Committee, the view of majority would prevail.

The tenure of the members would be initially for a period of two years which shall be extendable by one year at a time, but overall extension should not be more than two times. The Committee would be operational from Delhi and Directorate of Advertising and Visual Publicity would facilitate day to day functioning of the Committee.

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TAPI Pipeline to Bring Sustainable, Cleaner Energy to India
Apr 11,2016

Shareholders of the TAPI Pipeline Company (TPCL) signed an Investment Agreement witnessed by petroleum ministers and senior government officials of Turkmenistan, Afghanistan, Pakistan and India and senior Asian Development Bank (ADB) officials. The TAPI pipeline will pave the way for the delivery of sustainable natural gas supplies to India.

The Investment Agreement provides an initial budget of over $200 million to fund the next phase of the Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India (TAPI) natural gas pipeline. This includes funding for detailed engineering and route surveys, environmental and social safeguard studies, and procurement and financing activities, to enable a final investment decision, after which construction can begin. Construction is estimated to take up to 3 years.

n++TAPI is a partnership that will bring about economic integration and prosperity in the region. It will not only provide a long-term and sustainable gas supply to India but also allow the country to improve its energy supply mix,n++ said K.D. Tripathi, Secretary of Indias Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas.

TPCL will build, own, and operate the TAPI pipeline, which once completed, will transport up to 33 billion cubic meters of natural gas annually from Turkmenistan for the next 30 years. The pipeline stretches about 1,600 kilometers from the Afghan/Turkmen border to the Pakistan/Indian border

n++TAPI exemplifies ADBs key role in promoting regional cooperation and integration over the past 20 years. It will unlock economic opportunities, transform infrastructure, diversify the energy market for Turkmenistan, and enhance energy security for the region,n++ said Sean OSullivan, Director General of ADBs Central and West Asia Department.

Acting as TAPI secretariat since 2003 and as transaction advisor since 2013, ADB has been instrumental in the progress of the TAPI pipeline to date. In the latter role, ADB helped establish TPCL, select Turkmengaz as consortium leader, and finalize the Shareholders and Investment Agreements.

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CCRH has signed two MOUs with Canada and Armenia during two day International Convention on WHD
Apr 11,2016

Central Council for Research in homoeopathy (CCRH) has signed two MOUs with institutions of higher education of Canada and Armenia. These MOUs between CCRH and College of Homeopaths of Ontario, Canada and another between CCRH and Yerevan State Medical University, Armenia, were signed during two day International Convention on World Homoeopathy Day.

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Investment Agreement Signed for TAPI Pipeline
Apr 11,2016

The shareholders of the TAPI Pipeline Company (TPCL) signed an Investment Agreement witnessed by petroleum ministers and senior government officials of Turkmenistan, Afghanistan, Pakistan and India, and senior Asian Development Bank (ADB) officials. It will pave the way for long-term natural gas supplies that will give a major boost to the signatory countries economies and energy security.

The Investment Agreement provides an initial budget of over $200 million to fund the next phase of the development of the Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India (TAPI) natural gas pipeline. This includes funding for detailed engineering and route surveys, environmental and social safeguard studies, and procurement and financing activities, to enable a final investment decision, after which construction can begin. Construction is estimated to take up to 3 years.n++The financial support committed by the shareholders of TAPI under this investment agreement is a true testament of their intention to get this historic project off the ground and running,n++ said Yagshygeldi Kakayev, Deputy Chairman of the Cabinet of Ministers of Turkmenistan. n++Turkmenistans vision is strongly aligned with that of its TAPI neighbors to make this project a reality and to deliver a truly regional project that will address energy demands and support economic prosperity and security in the region.n++TPCL will build, own, and operate the TAPI pipeline, which, once completed is expected to transport up to 33 billion cubic meters of natural gas annually from Turkmenistan to Afghanistan, Pakistan and India over 30 years. The pipeline stretches about 1,600 kilometers from the Afghan/Turkmen border to the Pakistan/Indian border.n++TAPI exemplifies ADBs key role in promoting regional cooperation and integration over the past 20 years,n++ said Sean OSullivan, ADBs Director General for the Central and West Asia Department. n++TAPI will unlock economic opportunities, transform infrastructure, diversify the energy market for Turkmenistan, and enhance energy security for the region.n++

Acting as TAPI secretariat since 2003 and as transaction advisor since 2013, ADB has been instrumental in the progress of the TAPI pipeline to date. In the latter role, ADB helped establish TPCL, select Turkmengaz as consortium leader, and finalize the Shareholders and Investment Agreements.

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Highest ever 94 MTPA capacity added in Port sector in 2015-16
Apr 11,2016

Union Minister of Shipping, Road Transport and Highways Sh. Nitin Gadkari has said that the Financial Year 2015-16 has been historic for the Port sector in the country, with 94 MTPA capacity added through 34 capital investment projects which is the highest in major ports history. Briefing newspersons after the 2nd meeting of the National Sagarmala Apex Committee (NSAC) in New Delhi today, the Minister said that Kandla became the 1st Major Port to reach 100 Mn Tonne traffic in a year helped by 20% improvement in port efficiency while JNPT became the 1st Major Port to reach Rs. 1,000 Crore of net profit helped by 12% of efficiency improvement. He added that Paradip Port achieved highest coal loading volumes of 24 Mn Tonne with 30% efficiency improvement. He informed that port efficiency improvement has added 50 MTPA of cargo handling capacity leading to high returns for ports with comparatively low investments.

Stating that the ports have continued their recovery, Shri Gadkari informed that operating profit margins for Major Ports improved from 27% in FY 2013-14 to 39% in FY 2015-16. The Major Ports have increased their operating profits from Rs. 3593 Crore in 2014-15 to Rs. 4,268 Crore in 2015-16, registering increase of about Rs,. 670 Crore. He said that efficiency improvement has lowered logistics cost for the trade, creating a estimated benefit of Rs. 400-500 Crore per year and turnaround time has reduced by over 40% in Paradip, Tuticorin and Vizag. Shri Gadkari said projects worth Rs. 72,818 Crore have been awarded for port modernization and new port/ terminal development.

While emphasizing on need for pushing port and port led development, Shri Gadkari said that the forthcoming Maritime India Summit would be a game changer. He added that port led development has potential for direct employment generation for 40 lakh persons while indirectly for 60 lakh persons.

The NSAC also approved the National Perspective Plan on Sagarmala.

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Centre releases Rs.12, 230 Crore to States for MGNREGA
Apr 11,2016

Union Minister for Rural Development Shri Birender Singh said that the Ministry of Rural Development has released a central share of Rs. 12,230 Crore to the States in connection with the implementation of its flagship programme Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act. The Minister also underlined that this fund release will take care of the pending wage liability of the States for the previous Financial Year (2015-16) and help the States to run the Programme during the new Financial Year (2016-17). He reiterated that the Government is committed to ensuring flow of adequate resources for fulfilling the programme objectives. The Ministry has also decided to maintain 60:40 wage-material ratio at the District level now to ensure creation of good quality assets in the rural areas.

Rebutting the reports published in a section of media that there are arrears of wages of over Rs. 8000 crore under MGNREGA for the 2015-2016 financial year, Shri Singh said, in fact, the year 2015-16 has registered expenditure under MGNREGA to the tune of Rs. 41,371 crore, which is the highest expenditure under the programme since its inception. Out of this expenditure Rs.30,139 crore has gone towards payment of wages. This has allowed for the highest employment generation over the past three years and the best achievement on key parameters over the last three years such as works taken up, women participation (55%) and 95% of payments through electronic fund management system.

The Minister further emphasized that the Ministry of Rural Development has brought large scale reforms in the implementation of the programme in such a manner that it is oriented more towards combating the agrarian distress and meet the demand for work in drought affected areas creating durable & income generating assets mostly linked to augmentation of irrigation potential. In the year 2015-16, states were asked to provide employment where needed, particularly drought affected areas, with the assurance of making required resources available. The Ministry expanded the entitlement from 100 to 150 days of work to households in drought affected regions of ten states. 20.48 Lakh households in these regions have availed this opportunity and completed more than 100 days of work. At the national level 44 Lakh households have completed 100 days. To further bring down the delay in payment of wages, the Ministry in line with the Cabinet decision has introduced National electronic Fund Management System (NeFMS) in the current financial year.

In 2016-17, as part of their Labour Budget, the States have proposed to construct 8.82 lakh farm ponds and 10.39 lakh organic compost pits to boost the agriculture sector. The States have also proposed to construct 33 lakh Individual House Hold toilets as part of Swachh Bharat Mission and 63,000 Anganwadi centre buildings to strengthen rural infrastructure.

The road map for 2016-17 will focus on accelerating the momentum gained in employment generation while further strengthening the monitoring system.

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India`s spend on security could reach $1 bn by 2019: ASSOCHAM-Mahindra SSG study
Apr 11,2016

Indias expenditure only on security could reach $1 billion (bn) by 2019 assuming if Centre spends even 10 per cent of its budget of $1 bn allocated for AMRUT (Atal Mission for Rejuvenation and Urban Transformation) and Smart Cities Mission, according to a recent ASSOCHAM-Mahindra SSG joint study.

n++India needs to at least $4 bn in public-private partnership (PPP) mode to address cybercrime related challenges at both individual and organisational levels including cyber sexual harassment, cyber bullying, information theft, defacing website, inflicting servers with viruses and others,n++ noted the study titled New Age Crime conducted by The Associated Chambers of Commerce and Industry of India (ASSOCHAM) jointly with Mahindra SSG.

The investment amount of $4 billion could be spread across upgrading technology, training cyber professionals, counselling of victims, creating cyber cells and others.

With a view to increase the level of security across the country, India must spend at least $15 per citizen on homeland and border security on public-private partnership basis with total expenditure amounting to $15 billion (bn) by 2019, suggested the ASSOCHAM-Mahindra SSG study.

n++This will compliment Indias existing scheme of insurance for every citizen, as it would be a proactive step,n++ it added.

United States of America (USA) had incurred losses worth $3 trillion during 9/11 attacks while Al-Qaeda had spend only about $0.5 million for executing its plan. As such, post 9/11 the US increased its expenditure on security. It had allocated $1,900 per citizen for its 318 million people with a total budget of $602 bn in 2015.

The study added that India, which has experienced similar issues in the past, would be able to evolve further if it followed in the footsteps of countries like the USA.

Highlighting the huge dearth of cyber security professionals in India, the study has suggested for moving some existing resources in technology space working for government to lead cyber security projects. n++This way government projects will have some stability in this space.n++

It also emphasised upon the need for a pragmatic approach for securing people, data and processes.

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Over 1 Crore Led Bulbs Distributed in Uttar Pradesh Under n++Ujalan++ Programme , Consumers to Get Bulbs at Rs 80
Apr 11,2016

The citizens of Uttar Pradesh (UP) have replaced one crore inefficient bulbs with energy efficient LEDs, distributed under the Unnat Jyoti by Affordable LEDs for All (UJALA) programme. Shri Piyush Goyal, Union Minister of the State (IC) for Power, Coal and New & Renewable Energy , distributed the one crore oneth bulb to Sh. A.K. Singh, Managing Director of Purvanchal Vidyut Vitaran Nigam (PUVVNL) in Varanasi yesterday late evening . Given a total target consumer base of approx. 45 lakhs, UP has been the fastest state in the country to achieve this remarkable feat.

On the occasion, Shri Goyal also announced that the price of the LED bulb in Uttar Pradesh will now be only Rs. 80. The prices of LED bulbs have dropped to Rs. 80 in the state of Uttar Pradesh because of the transparent procurement by EESL and the removal of VAT in the state. UP was the first state in the country to remove VAT on LED bulbs.

Shri Goyal also took the opportunity to launch the National Energy Efficient Fan Programme (NEEFP) in the UP. Under this Scheme, BEE 5 star rated ceiling fans of 50 Watt will be distributed to the consumers at an attractive EMI model. The Minister distributed energy efficient fans to 15 consumers at an event held in the city. The energy efficient ceiling fans will be distributed by Energy Efficiency Services Limited (EESL) in collaboration with PUVVNL in the city.

UP will also be the second state in the country to adopt the energy efficient fan programme. With the usage of 50 Watts BEE 5 Star rated ceiling fans, distributed under the National Energy Efficient Fan Programme, it is estimated that consumers electricity bills will reduce by about Rs. 700-730 per year. Therefore, the cost recovery of purchasing these fans is less than 2 years. These fans are 30% more energy efficient as compared to conventional fans, which range from 75-80 Watts. At present, two energy efficient fans will be provided to each consumer at Rs 60 a month per fan on EMI basis. This scheme will be available to the consumer on providing a copy of latest electricity bill at the designated distribution centre. The consumer can also purchase the fan by paying Rs. 1300/- upfront. A consumer can replace the technically faulty FAN up to a period of 2 years. EESL aims to distribute 1 lakh energy efficient fans over the next few months in Uttar Pradesh.

FEATURES OF NATIONAL ENERGY EFFICIENT FAN PROGRAMME:

Energy-Efficient, 50 Watts and 5-Star Rated Ceiling Fans. 2 years Warranty

These fans are 30% more energy efficient as compared to conventional fans, which range from 75- 80 Watts.

Fans being procured form leading companies.

At present, two energy efficient fans will be provided to each consumer at Rs 60 a month per fan on EMI basis.

Scheme will be available to the consumer on providing a copy of latest electricity bill along with a copy of residence proof at the designated distribution centre.

Consumers can also purchase the fan by making UPFRONT payment of Rs. 1300 for 50 watts fan

It is estimated that consumers electricity bill will reduce by about Rs 700-730 per year- which means that the cost of this fan can be recovered in less than 2 years.

Speaking on the occasion, Shri Piyush Goyal, said, n++Uttar Pradesh is a big contributor to our vision of an energy efficient India. Distribution of over one crore LED bulbs is testimony to that. Along with LED bulbs, we now offer you energy efficient fans. Energy consumption of the entire state will reduce further which will result in generating more power to be distributed to villages and other rural areas. Through the National Energy Efficient Fan Programme, you can change your old, inefficient fans to energy efficient ones, with an easy installment scheme. This will not only help you save on your electricity bill, but will also help reducing load on DISCOMs which in turn can light up many towns & villages in your state and the countryn++.

EESL through aggregation and transparent procurement has achieved a rapid decline in LED prices. EESL, in the past has pooled all the prices and successfully passed on this price advantage to the consumers and it will continue to do so in future as well.

The UJALA scheme is being monitored in a transparent manner through a national dashboard (www.delp.in). As of now, EESL has distributed over 9 crore LED bulbs and the programme has led to significant savings to the country and consumers who are using these bulbs.

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NRDC inks licence agreement for commercialising n++test kit for Microbiological Quality of Drinking Watern++, as a part of n++Make in Indian++
Apr 11,2016

The National Research Development Corporation (NRDC), under Ministry of Science & Technology, has entered into a license agreement with M/s Ramashree Chemicals, Bhopal for commercialisation of n++Test kit for Microbiological Quality of Drinking Watern++ developed by Defence Research and Development Establishment (DRDE), Gwalior, DRDO, Ministry of Defence, Govt. of India.

The company plans to take this technology across the country through a network of dealers. The kit has been licensed to more than 20 companies in India so far and is useful to ascertain the quality of drinking water especially in developing countries.

The kit is used for detection of H2S producing organism in drinking water, which are present along with coliforms. Waterborne diseases like typhoid, cholera, diarrhoea and jaundice are caused by polluted water supply. It is an inexpensive, reliable and convenient method of testing in field conditions and is approved by World Health Organization (WHO). The initiative of NRDC aids the n++Make in Indian++ Mission of the Government of India.

The formal license agreement was signed by CMD, NRDC Dr. H. Purushotham, and General Manager, M/s Ramashree Chemicals Shri V K Joshi.

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India Consumer Sentiment Falls in February: MNI India Consumer Sentiment Indicator
Apr 08,2016

Consumer sentiment fell slightly in February, partly offsetting last months rise as consumers reported a further deterioration in their personal finances and saw little hope of a turnaround in them or in the wider business environment in the long-term.

The MNI India Consumer Sentiment Indicator fell to 108.9 in February from 109.8 in January. While sentiment remained above the 100 level, meaning optimists outnumbered pessimists, it was 10.1% down on the year and stands 7.4% below last years average.

In the last 12 months, confidence has fallen nine times and in February, it remained very close to Decembers record low level. The MNI India Consumer Survey shows that not all is well with the Indian economy, with household finances under extreme pressure along with a poor outlook for business conditions. Views about the current situation fell to a historical low, while the Expectations Indicator, which is made up of three forward-looking components, eased slightly to 111.4 from 111.6 in the previous month, just a touch above Decembers series low of 110.6.

Respondents assessment of household finances worsened, with the current measure falling to a series low of 96.2. This is the first time in the history of the survey that the indicator has fallen below the 100 mark, as pessimists outnumbered optimists.

Despite their wavering confidence in household finances and the general economy, households have been relatively upbeat about the purchasing environment. The Durable Buying Conditions Indicator, which measures consumers willingness topurchase a large household good, rose to 114.0, 1.2% above last February and 2.6% above the series average.

Optimistic views on the buying environment contrasted sharply with the perception of the business environment. The Current Business Conditions Indicator remained very close to Januarys low, while fewer respondents expected conditions to improve in the long-term.

Commenting on the latest survey, Chief Economist of MNI Indicators Philip Uglow said, The more upbeat GDP data jars with our own surveillance on how consumers on the ground are feeling. Household finances are under significant pressure and respondents remain downbeat about the economy in general.

A likely cut in interest rates from the RBI could help to boost sentiment, although previous moves have only had a short-term upward impact. Meanwhile, the additional tax on services will only serve to dampen spirits further.

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Packaged commodities shall have to display products information more prominently
Apr 08,2016

Now in all the packaged commodities six mandatory information shall have to be displayed more prominently atleast at the 40 percent area of the packet, except top and bottom, so that these are easily readable by consumers. Packaged commodities rules have been amended by Ministry of Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution for this purpose. Chairing the meeting of Bureau of Indian Standards at Mussoorie yesterday evening, Union Minister of Consumer Affairs & Public Distribution, Shri Ram Vilas Paswan directed the officials of his Ministry to ensure enforcement of the amended rule from July this year positively.

According to the amendment, name of manufacture/packager/ importer, net quantity of product, manufacturing date, retail sale price and consumer care contacts shall have to be displayed in a panel of 40% of the area of the packet in readable font size. Monitoring cell will be setup to ensure strict compliance of new provision.

Shri Paswan said his Ministry is setting up quick response system to attend consumer complaints, existing National Consumer Helpline is being geared up for this purpose and now a senior level officer will monitor the disposal of complaints on daily basis. Shri Paswan expressed the hope that Consumer Protection Act, which has many unique features to safeguard interests of consumers, will be passed by the Parliament in the second part of the budget session

Reviewing the working of BIS during the Governing body meeting, the Minister asked the Bureau to formulate rules to ensure early implementation of new BIS Act so that culture of quality goods and services can be ushered in the country. He further mentioned that BIS has taken various initiatives under Make in India for standard formulation which includes items relating to renewable energy, bio-fuel, auto components, electric machinery and construction etc. BIS is also contribution to Swachh Bharat Abhiyan by formulating new standards on solid and plastic wastes management, water and waste water supply management.

He also stated that he was happy to note that the time taken for granting of registration has been reduced to half i.e 20 days. In about 95 percent of the cases, BIS is able to formulate standards within specified time norms, as indicated in Citizen Charter.

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