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Biggest challenge is to bring unorganized sector under the ambit of pension society: Chairman, Pension Fund Regulatory and Development Authority
Mar 20,2017

The biggest challenge in providing income security in old age was to bring the unorganized sector, which accounts for 85 per cent of the countrys labor force, under the ambit of pension. Pension schemes offered must therefore be well-regulated and supported by the government as this segment lacks awareness about pensionary benefits. Given the heterogeneous nature of the unorganized sector and the labor force which is constantly on the move in search of work, it was necessary to provide a pension system with portability. Also, it was essential to raise the financial literacy of the people to encourage them to join pension schemes. This was stated by Mr. Hemant G. Contractor, Chairman, Pension Fund Regulatory and Development Authority (PFRDA), at FICCIs second annual conference on the pensions sector on the theme India: Moving Towards a Pensioned Society.

Mr. Contractor said that Indias organized sector, which comprised 15 per cent of the working population, was well covered under varied pension schemes. However, he pointed out that because of instances in the past of people being cheated by Ponzi schemes there was lack of trust and confidence which was keeping organized sector workers away from pension schemes. Hence, it was essential to bring about awareness about pension schemes and make the policies transparent and easy to manage.

He said that there was a segment, people below the poverty line aged over 60 years, which was unable to make any savings during their lifetime. In order to support them the government was providing people below the poverty line with a small amount as pension, this needed to be stepped up. The Chairman said that PFRDA and FICCI were closely involved in organizing seminars across the country to spread awareness and propagate pension schemes such as NPS among corporates.

Highlighting several challenges in augmenting participation in the pension society, Mr. Amitabh Chaudhry, Chairman, FICCIs Insurance and Pensions Committee and Managing Director and CEO, HDFC Life Insurance Company, said that the presence of multiple regulators in the sector, withdrawal before retirement leading to wasteful expenditure, lack of clarity on portability, high disparity in tax treatment of different pension products and non-alignment of pension funds with inflation were some of the deterrents, which needed to be addressed.

Mr. Chaudhary said that initiatives were being undertaken to promote enrolment in pension schemes. Awareness campaigns were being run and efforts were being made to reach out to people with transparent policies and communication. He added that technology integration was needed across the value chain and pension fund managers needed more autonomy to reach out to larger number of prospective consumers.

Prof. Mukul Asher, Professor, Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy, National University of Singapore, said that there was a need for policy coherence and organizational coordination. Besides, policy reforms had become more urgent, including extending retirement age. Also, there was a need to set up National Pension Research Centre both by the government and industry to assimilate data and other information to help in increasing the pension coverage in the country.

Prof. Asher said that rapid ageing required coordination between pension and healthcare systems and organizations as well. He suggested shifting of ESIC from the Labor Ministry to the Health Ministry. Prof. Asher added that PHI which was Purpose of the organization, Habit of the stakeholders and Incentive structure for the organization and members should be taken into account for enlarging pension coverage.

Mr. Naveen Aggarwal, Partner, COO- Tax, KPMG in India, said that with increasing industrialization and urbanization, the joint family structure was being replaced by nuclear families. The combination of these factors makes it imperative for the policy makers to pay urgent attention to the enormous challenge of providing income security after retirement. A pension system thus would provide protection against the risk of poverty in old age and help in building pension savings during working life to finance retirement. The journey towards a pensioned society would require greater emphasis on implementing pension reforms.

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More emphasis needs to be given towards employeesn++n++ retirement planning: FICCI-KPMG white paper
Mar 20,2017

In order to embark upon the ambitious journey towards a pensioned society, India would require a systemic approach for designing a coherent pension system. As a measure of the enormity of the challenge that India faces, the 2011 Census showed that only 12 per cent of the Indian working population (i.e. approximately 58 million) were covered under any pension plan. The pension savings of the covered population are also not adequate.

This translates into the challenge of only a very small portion of the Indian working population being protected against old-age income insecurity. Further, the population projections suggest that the elderly residents (people aged 60 and above) will triple from 2010 to 2050 and the number of elderly will reach 331 million in India by 2050. A combination of aging population, weakening of the joint family support system and low pension penetration makes it imperative for policymakers to pay urgent attention to the enormous challenge of providing income security after retirement.

The aspiration of a pensioned society would need greater emphasis on implementing pension reforms. A lot of effort and planning is needed for building sufficient capacity, scalability and support for implementation of such reforms.

For the white paper, KPMG in India again conducted an Employer Pension Plans Survey this year similar to the survey conducted in the year 2015, to have an overview of the pension plans from company representatives from diverse sectors (industrial markets, IT/BPO, automotive, healthcare, financial services, consumer markets, etc.). In all, 167 business entities responded to the survey.

The survey highlights that a majority of the employers are of the view that more emphasis needs to be given towards employeesn++n++ retirement planning. The survey responses indicate that tax benefits are considered as the primary reason to opt for NPS similar to the results of Employer Pension Plans Survey of 2015. A majority of respondents felt that the contribution towards retirement savings should be in the range of 20-30 percent of onen++n++s salary.

n++n++Social security for the old age is an important issue in the public policy discourse of any country. In India, this has been high on the priority list of the government that has taken a series of measures to extend the reach of social security net. FICCI has also identified pensions as a key area for its work and is engaged with all the stakeholders to evolve policies that can help the growth of this sector. The FICCI-KPMG knowledge paper released on the occasion of our Pensions Conference is a good reference tool that provides information on the priorities of the Indian corporate sector with regard to pension planning for employees. We hope that this paper will prove to be a key input in policy discussions in this important arean++n++, said Dr. A Didar Singh, Secretary General, FICCI.

n++n++Given the large gap in pension coverage, both the regulators, EPFO and PFRDA, along with the government and industry need to collaborate and build a comprehensive and sustainable pension system in India. Significant efforts are required for building sufficient institutional capacity for implementing pension reforms in Indian++n++, said Ms. Parizad Sirwalla, Partner and Head, Global Mobility Services, Tax, KPMG in India.

Some of the other important findings of the Employer Pension Plan Survey, 2017 are as follows: n++h

The system of automatic enrolment of employees under the EPF regime is largely prevalent. Around 84 per cent of the respondent companies mandatorily enroll their employees for EPFO membership, irrespective of the salary level n++h

Nearly 55 per cent of the survey respondents confirmed that employees in their organisations are exercising the option of contributing to Voluntary Provident Fund (VPF) n++h

Around 82 per cent of the respondent companies are contributing towards PF on full basic salary of the employees while 13 per cent restrict the same on statutory monthly limit of INR 15,000 n++h

Thirty six per cent of the respondent companies have registered for National Pension System (NPS). Further, almost 33 per cent of organisations that currently do not have NPS, are considering to register for NPS n++h

Tax benefits for employees continue to be the primary motivator (52 per cent of the respondents) for employers to opt or consider NPS in this yearn++n++s survey as well. A large number of respondents (42 per cent) view employee empowerment for pension planning as one of the motivating factors for opting/considering NPS n++h

Further, almost 57 per cent of the respondents stated that there has been an increase in NPS enrolment due to Finance Act, 2016 announcement regarding tax benefits on withdrawal of NPS contributions

Only 29 per cent of the respondents have set up superannuation fund (SAF) for their employees. Of the 94 respondents, which do not have SAF, only 10 organisations have plans to set up an SAF n++h

A large majority of the respondents (around 92 per cent) agree on the importance of tax savings as an important consideration for voluntary contributions to retirement plans.

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V.O.Chidambaranar Port Handles Record Traffic of 36.91 Million Tonnes
Mar 20,2017

V. O. Chidambaranar Port, has crossed the previous financial years traffic of 36.85 million tonnes on 17 March 2017, 14 days ahead of the completion of the current financial year.

The Port has handled a record traffic of 36.91 Million tonnes till 17 March 2017, with an impressive cargo growth at 4.77% as compared with the same period of last financial year. The cargoe that contributed to this record performance includes, Coal to NTPL (64.11 %), Wheat (433.61%), Lime Stone(8.37%), Phosphoric Acid(106.42%), Fertilizers(16.07%), Fertilizer Raw Materials(7.18%), Construction Materials(28.75%), and Containerised cargo(5.02%).

The Port has also created an achievement in container traffic by handling 613,617 TEUs upto 17.03.2017 and crossed the previous financial years record traffic of 611,714 TEUs.

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Food inflation in India comparatively lower in the last six months as compared to the global food inflation based on the Food Price Index of FAO
Mar 18,2017

Food inflation as measured by the Consumer Food Price Index (CFPI) in India was comparatively lower in the last six months as compared to the global food inflation based on the Food Price Index of Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) (Table 1). Table 1: Food inflation based on FAO Food Price Index and CFPI (in per cent)Sep-16Oct-16Nov-16Dec-16Jan-17Feb-17FAO Food Price Index10.18.810.811.016.917.2CFPI4.03.32.01.40.62.0Source: Food and Agriculture Organization and Central Statistics Office.

Overall supply of food items has been comfortable. As per the second advance estimates (2nd AE) of production of food grains 2016-17 released by Department of Agriculture, Cooperation and Farmers Welfare, the production of total food grains is estimated to increase to 271.98 Million Tonnes in 2016-17 as compared to 253.16 Million Tonnes in 2015-16 (2nd AE). Pulses production is estimated to increase to 22.14 Million Tonnes in 2016-17 as compared to 17.33 Million Tonnes in 2015-16 (2nd AE).

As per the Macroeconomic Impact of Demonetisation- A Preliminary Assessment of the Reserve Bank of India (RBI), the impact of demonetisation on inflation in the near-term stemmed mainly from moderation in food inflation, especially perishables, as inflation excluding food and fuel remained broadly unaffected. The Government has taken a number of measures to control inflation, especially food inflation. The steps taken, inter alia, include, (i) increased budgetary allocation for Price Stabilization Fund in the budget 2017-18 to check volatility of prices of essential commodities, in particular, of pulses; (ii) created buffer stock of pulses through domestic procurement and imports; (iii) announced higher Minimum Support Prices so as to incentivize production; (iv) issued advisory to States/UTs to take strict action against hoarding and black marketing under the Essential Commodities Act 1955 and the Prevention of Black-marketing and Maintenance of Supplies of Essential Commodities Act, 1980; (v) imposed 20 per cent duty on export of sugar; and (vi) reduced import duty on potatoes, wheat and palm oil.

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GOI signatory of CbC MCAA pertaining to tax coopertion
Mar 18,2017

The Government is a signatory of Multilateral Competent Authority Agreement for automatic exchange of Country-by-Country Reporting (CbC MCAA) pertaining to tax cooperation to enable automatic sharing of Country-by-Country information

The Multilateral Competent Authority Agreement (MCAA) for automatic exchange of Country-by-Country (CbC) Reports has been developed by the Organisation of Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) to facilitate amongst countries the automatic exchange of CbC Reports filed by Multinational Enterprises (MNEs). The MCAA has been developed to take forward the commitment of G-20 and OECD member countries, under the Base Erosion and Profit Shifting (BEPS) Project, to usher in a completely new Transfer Pricing documentation regime. The CbC Report is expected to provide countries with vital information to help them assess transfer pricing risks and select cases for audit. Detailed audit of such high-risk cases would help prevent profit shifting by MNEs through the transfer pricing mechanism. India signed the MCAA for CbC on 12/05/2016 and shall exchange CbC Reports from 2018.

As per the information available, 57 countries have signed the MCAA for CbC till date. Some of the recent signatories are Russian Federation, Mauritius, Indonesia and Gabon.

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Number of e-filed Income Tax Returns in Financial Year 2016-17 (till 28 February 2017) was 4.21 Cr
Mar 18,2017

The number of e-filed Income Tax Returns in Financial Year 2016-17(till 28 February 2017) was 4.21 Cr. which represented an increase of twenty-one percent over the number filed during the corresponding period of last financial year.

The number of e-returns processed in Financial Year 2016-17 (till 28 February 2017) was 4.30 Cr.(this included the returns filed during Financial Year 2016-17 as well as backlog for earlier years).

The total amount of refund issued in the current fiscal (including refund arising out of rectification, appeal effect etc.) is Rs. 1,48,459 crore (till 28 February 2017).

The Government accords high priority to expeditious issue of refunds, particularly to small taxpayers. During Financial Year 2016-17, as on 10 February 2017, 98% of the refunds of less than Rs. 50,000/- have been issued and only 2% remain to be issued. Majority of these cases relate to recently filed tax returns or where the taxpayers response to the Department is awaited.

Further, to ensure expeditious disposal of backlog of refunds upto Rs. 5,000/- in non scrutiny cases pertaining to Assessment Years 2013-14, 2014-15 and 2015-16, instructions have been issued to field units to issue refunds in these cases without adjustment against the outstanding demand.

The law provides that income-tax returns are to be processed within a period of one year from the end of the financial year in which the return is made. Efforts have been made to shorten the timeframe over the years through greater thrust on automation, smoothening the process for e-filing, and proactive monitoring. During the current fiscal, 90% of the refunds have been issued within 60 days and 67% within 30 days of filing of return

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Insurance Laws (Amendment) Act, 2015 empowers IRDAI to initiate prosecution with fine & imprisonment for violation of insurance related legislations
Mar 18,2017

As per Insurance regulatory and Development Authority of India (IRDAI), the performance of private insurance companies are assessed through the following: -

i.) Analysis of the financial statements and corporate governance report of the insurance companies on annual basis.

ii.) Analysis of the statement of expenses of management and payment of commission on an annual basis.

iii.) Analysis of the unclaimed amount of policyholders on half-yearly basis.

iv.) Monitoring/review of the various returns filed by the insurance companies under the Public Disclosures.

v.) Compliance of the returns regarding the statutory auditors on an annual basis.

vi.) Analysis of the solvency returns filed by the non-life insurance companies on a quarterly basis.

vii.) Offsite monitoring is done on an ongoing basis, which includes review of various returns / reports filed Monthly, Quarterly, Half-yearly and Annually by all the insurance companies as per the provisions of the statute and the regulations. This includes among others, New Business Performance, Claims performance and Grievance Redressal.

viii.) The Authority carries out periodical onsite inspection of the insurers to examine the compliance of the insurers to various statutory and regulatory provisions. In case of any deviations / violations are noticed, appropriate regulatory actions are taken including directing the insurers to initiate corrective actions, wherever necessary.

ix.) The Authority also takes into cognizance any violations observed during the course of reviewing the complaints received from the customers and initiates suitable corrective measures wherever required.

Further, IRDAI publishes a comprehensive Annual Report containing the performance of both public and private sector insurance companies, various regulatory initiatives taken and the major trends of the Insurance Sector. This report is placed on the table of the Parliament every year. This report also contains the Regulatory actions taken against insurance companies.

The Insurance Laws (Amendment) Act, 2015 empowers IRDAI to initiate prosecution with fine and imprisonment upto 10 years for violation of insurance related legislations and also to initiate adjudication proceedings and levy penalties upto Rs.25 crore.

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Small Finance and Payment banks have to comply with all regulatory and supervisory frameworks that are applicable to commercial banks
Mar 18,2017

Reserve Bank of India (RBI) issued guidelines for licensing of small finance banks and payments banks on November 27, 2014 and granted in-principle approvals to 10 applicants to set up small finance banks and to 11 applicants to set up payments banks.

The guidelines for small finance banks provide inter-alia that (i) eligible promoters could be resident individuals/professionals with 10 years of banking and finance experience including companies controlled by them etc. (ii) shall primarily undertake basic banking activities of acceptance of deposits and lending to unserved and underserved sections (iii) The minimum paid-up equity capital for small finance banks shall be Rs. 100 crore and (iv) all prudential norms and regulations of RBI as applicable to existing commercial banks including requirement of maintenance of Cash Reserve Ratio (CRR) and Statutory Liquidity Ratio (SLR).

The guidelines for payment banks provide inter-alia that (i) eligible promoters can be non-bank Pre-paid Payment Instrument (PPI) issuers; and other entities like mobile telephone companies etc. (ii) shall primarily accept demand deposits upto maximum balance of Rs. 1,00,000 per individual customer. (iii) Issue ATM/debit cards, payments and remittance services. (iv) maintain CRR with the Reserve Bank on its outside demand and time liabilities and invest at least 75 per cent of its n++demand deposit balancesn++ in SLR eligible Government securities/treasury bills.

Licensed under Section 22 (1) of the Banking Regulation Act, 1949, Small Finance and Payment banks have to comply with all regulatory and supervisory frameworks that are applicable to commercial banks with suitable calibrations in view of the differentiated scope of such banks.

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Government to conduct field trial with plastic banknotes at five locations of the country
Mar 18,2017

It has been decided to conduct a field trial with plastic banknotes at five locations of the country. Approval for procurement of plastic substrate and printing of bank notes of Rs.10 denomination on plastic banknote substrates has been conveyed to RBI.

Plastic banknotes are expected to last longer than cotton substrate based banknotes. Over the years, central banks across the world have been exploring different solutions for extending the lifecycle of banknotes. These include introduction of plastic banknotes and other developments in banknote substrates for enhancing durability including use of natural fibre blends, varnish of banknotes etc.

The following actions have been taken by RBI to focus on the need to discourage people from inscription, scrawling or scribbling on any part of the notes:

i. Vide its Directive dated November 07, 2001 under Section 35 ( A) of B. R. Act, 1935 advised all banks not to write anything on watermark window of banknotes.

ii. RBI has also issued a Press Release on December 31, 2013 on n++RBIs clarification on scribbling on Banknotesn++.

iii. RBI has advised all the bank branches to display at their branch premises at prominent place, a board indicating the availability of notes exchange facility for information of general public.

iv. RBI from time to time issues instructions to banks to organize exchange melas to mop up soiled and mutilated banknotes from circulation.

v. RBI periodically issues Press Releases appealing to the members of public not to inscribe anything on banknotes as it damages the notes and poses difficulty in identifying the features of genuine banknotes.

An inter-disciplinary Standing Committee on Cyber Security has been constituted to review the threats inherent in the existing/ emerging technology and suggest appropriate policy interventions to strengthen cyber security and resilience.

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Dispensing of fake currency notes through Automated Teller Machines (ATMs)
Mar 18,2017

There have been media reports regarding dispensation of Rs 2000 notes resembling a genuine note but bearing the legend n++Children Bank of Indian++ in place of n++Reserve Bank of Indian++ from Delhi, Meerut (Uttar Pradesh), Sitamarhi (Bihar) and a few other places.

State Bank of India (SBI) has reported one such case from its ATM in SangamVihar, New Delhi on 06.02.2017. One person, working with the cash replenishment agency and responsible for placing the cash in ATMs, has been arrested.

RBI vide Master Circular 01 July 2015 has issued instructions on n++Detection and Impounding of Counterfeit Notesn++.

To keep a check on circulation of fake currency, RBI has taken the following steps:

1. Incorporating new security features /new designs in the banknotes to stay ahead of the counterfeiters is an ongoing process. New security features were added to banknotes in all denominations during the year 2005-2006. Government of India, in consultation with RBI, has initiated the process for introduction of new security features in Indian banknotes.

2. RBI regularly conducts training programmes on detection of counterfeit notes for employees / officers of banks and other organisations handling large amount of cash. RBIs website provides information to the public on security features of banknotes. Posters on Know Your Banknotes are also displayed at bank branches. Regional Offices of RBI participate in various awareness programmes where the members of public are made aware of the features of Indian banknotes and ways to identify genuine Indian banknotes. Posters, leaflets, etc. are also distributed in such awareness programmes. The contents pertaining to awareness on Indian banknotes are available in www.paisaboltahai.rbi.org.in.

3. Instructions have been issued by RBI to banks that banknotes in denominations of Rs.100/- and above should be re-issued by banks over their counters or through ATMs only if these banknotes are duly checked for authenticity/genuineness and fitness by machines. The banks should re-align their cash management in such a manner so as to ensure that cash receipts in denomination of Rs.100 and above are not put into re-circulation without the notes being machine processed for authenticity. A directive in this regard under Section 35A of Banking Regulation Act, 1949 has also been issued to all scheduled banks. In order to obviate complaints regarding receipt of counterfeit notes through ATMs and to curb circulation of counterfeit notes, it is imperative for banks to put in place adequate safeguards/checks before loading ATMs with notes. Dispensation of counterfeit notes through the ATMs would be construed as an attempt to circulate the counterfeit notes by the bank concerned. The responsibility of ensuring the quality and genuineness of cash loaded at White Label ATMs is that of Sponsor Bank.

4. The process of reporting and detection of counterfeit notes, by banks, has also been rationalized in order to safeguard the interests of common man, coming across such counterfeit notes unknowingly and bringing in improvement in reporting. Under the revised procedure, all cases of detection of counterfeit notes at the bank branches / treasuries are required to be promptly reported to Police Authorities in the following manner:

(i) For cases of detection of counterfeit notes upto 4 pieces, in a single transaction, a consolidated report as per the format prescribed should be sent to the police authorities at the end of the month.

(ii) For cases of detection of counterfeit notes of 5 or more pieces, in a single transaction, FIRs should be lodged with the Nodal Police Station / Police Authorities as per jurisdiction.

5. In order to train bank staff engaged in cash handling on features of Indian banknotes, RBI has advised Indian Banks Association to ensure, in consultation with the banks, that all bank personnel handling cash are trained on features of genuine Indian bank notes with the objective to train all such personnel. RBI will also provide faculty support and training materials.

6. The banks have been advised by RBI that wherever counterfeit notes are detected but not impounded and reported, it will be construed as wilful involvement of the bank concerned in circulating counterfeit notes and may attract penal measures.

7. RBI has issued banknotes, in all denominations in Mahatma Gandhi Series - 2005, with a new numbering pattern. Now the numerals in both the number panels of these banknotes are in ascending size from left to right, while the first three alphanumeric characters (prefix) remain constant in size. Printing the numerals in ascending size is a visible security feature in the banknotes so that the general public can easily distinguish a counterfeit note from a genuine one.

8. Government of India in consultation with RBI has withdrawn legal tender character of banknotes in the denomination of Rs.500 and Rs.1000 issued till November 8, 2016, inter alia, to reduce the incidence of Fake Indian currency Notes. RBI has issued Rs.500 and Rs.2000 denomination banknotes in Mahatma Gandhi (New) Series. Details of the same are displayed on the RBI website for the general public. A mobile app has also been launched for creating awareness among the members of public.

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The existing customers of Subsidiary Banks will have access to SBI global network which has presence in all the time zones
Mar 18,2017

The Cabinet in its meeting on 15th February, 2017 has approved the proposal of acquisition of subsidiary banks of State Bank of India (SBI) i.e. State Bank of Bikaner & Jaipur, State Bank of Hyderabad, State Bank of Mysore, State Bank of Patiala and State Bank of Travancore with State Bank of India. It shall come into effect on 1st April, 2017. The merger is aimed at economies of scale and operational efficiency leading to improved supervision process, compliance and productivity in addition to better risk management.

Detailed plans have been chalked out for re-organisation of SBI network including branches of the Associate Banks.

The aggregation of credit exposures by six entities and its oversight by one entity, post merger, imparts focus and helps in better management of the overall credit portfolio especially stressed assets.

Unified operations and efficiency improves productivity, customer service and profitability.

The existing customers of Subsidiary Banks will have access to SBI global network which has presence in all the time zones.

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A total of 3590 hospitals and 25,732 Dispensaries provide AYUSH medical treatment in the country
Mar 18,2017

A total of 3590 hospitals providing AYUSH medical treatment in the country were functional as on 01.04.2016. These include 2820 hospitals of Ayurveda, 256 of Unani, 273 Siddha hospitals, 7 of Yoga, 30 of Naturopathy and 203 homoeopathy hospitals. The number of AYUSH dispensaries in the country as on 01.04.2016 were 25,732. The number of AYUSH registered practitioners in the country as on 01.01.2016 were 7,71,468.

The Central Government, through Centrally Sponsored Scheme of National AYUSH Mission (NAM), extends support for promotion of AYUSH healthcare to the States/UTs for co-location of AYUSH facilities at Primary Health Centres (PHCs), Community Health Centres (CHCs) and District Hospitals (DHs) for development of infrastructure, purchase of equipment & furniture and supply of essential AYUSH medicines. NAM also extends support for development of AYUSH educational institution, Quality control of Ayurveda, Siddha, Unani & Homoeopathy (ASU & H) drugs and Medicinal Plants. Further, under National Health Mission (NHM), support is provided to States/UTs for strengthening their healthcare systems including for mainstreaming of AYUSH based on the requirements posed by the States/UTs in their Programme Implementation Plans (PIPs). These supports also include support for engagement of AYUSH doctors/paramedics in public health facilities.

The AYUSH Ministry has set up National Institutes and Research Centres in a few States which will be extended to other states gradually. Post Graduate courses in AYUSH medicine have been started in these National institutes to meet the demand for good quality professionals, the Minister explained. Shri Shripad Naik also said that the AYUSH Ministry is working with the Ministry of Health & Family Welfare to provide AYUSH Medicines at the 3000 Government medical stores across the country.

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Five Universities identified by UGC for Yoga department and courses from academic year 2016-17
Mar 18,2017

There are 03 institutions under the Ministry of AYUSH, which are imparting education in Yoga and Naturopathy including Yoga and Naturopathy in the country :-

(a) Central Council for Research in Yoga & Naturopathy (CCRYN), 61-65, Institutional Area, Janakpuri, New Delhi - 110 058

(b) Morarji Desai National Institute of Yoga (MDNIY), 68, Ashok Road, New Delhi -110 001

(c) National Institute of Naturopathy (NIN), Bapu Bhavan, Tadiwala Road, Pune, Maharashtra - 411001

Further, University Grants Commission (UGC) identified the following Central Universities to start the Yoga Department and courses on Yoga from the academic session 2016-17:

a. Hemwati Nandan Bahuguna Garhwal University

b. Visva Bharati, Shantiniketan

c. Central University of Rajasthan

d. Central University of Kerala

e. Indira Gandhi National Tribal University

f. Manipur University

There are 08 OPDs run by CCRYN, which provide Yoga therapy to the patients. National Institute of Naturopathy is conducting a Naturopathy & Yoga OPD at its HQ office. Apart from this, they are also running a Sanatorium for HIV+ve persons as an IPD at Panchagani, Dist. Satara.

CCRYN is in the process of establishing Yoga and Naturopathy institutions in the country; which are as under :-

(1). Establishment of 02 Post Graduate Institutes of Yoga and Naturopathy Education and Research (PGIYNER) with 200 bedded Yoga and Naturopathy hospital at Jhajjar, Haryana and Nagmangala, Karnataka.

(2). Establishment of 5 CRIs in different States of the country along with 100 bedded indoor hospital facilities to carry out in depth research studies to establish the efficacy of Yoga and Naturopathy in various remedies.

The Ministry of AYUSH has approved a proposal to establish Naturopathy Hospital, Medical College, Research Unit and Gandhi Memorial at new site Kondhwa, Pune under NIN.

The Ministry has not made any assessment regarding the interest of people towards Naturopathy and Yoga. However, there is a general trend that there is an increase in the number of people registered for Yoga & Naturopathy during last three years. Further, the diseases like digestive disorders, respiratory disorders, skeleton muscular disorders, skin disorders, non-communicable diseases such as diabetes, hypertension, cardiovascular problems, etc. are treated through Naturopathy & Yoga.

National Curriculum Framework (NCF), National Council of Educational Research and Training (NCERT) 2005 recommended Yoga as an Integral Part of Health and Physical Education. Health and Physical Education is a compulsory subject from Class I to Class X and optional from Classes XI to XII. According to National Curriculum Framework 2005, n++the entire group Health and Physical Education and Yoga must be taken together as a comprehensive Health and Physical Education Curriculum, replacing the fragmentary approach current in schools today. As a core part of the curriculum, time allocated for games and for yoga must not be reduced or taken away under any circumstancesn++. Further, they have already developed integrated syllabi on Health and Physical Education from Class I to Class X. The syllabus is available on NCERT website www.ncert.nic.in. The content of Yoga has been included from Class VI onward. It also prepared separate syllabus on Yoga from Upper Primary to Secondary Stage.

NCERT has brought out the following two textual materials for Upper Primary (VI toVIII) and Secondary Stages (IX & X):

(i) Yoga: A Healthy Way of Living (Upper Primary stage) and

(ii) Yoga: A Healthy Way of Living (Secondary Stage)

NCERT organised Yoga Olympiad from school to National Level from 18 to 20 June, 2016.

Government has constituted a National Board for Promotion and Development of Yoga & Naturopathy (NBPDYN), which will also look into the standardization of education & practice of Yoga & Naturopathy.

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15.33 lakh tonnes of pulses procured towards building the buffer stock
Mar 17,2017

The pulses procured and imported by the designated agencies are stored in their own godowns as well as godowns hired from CWC/SWC/Private parties. The storage capacity available with FCI, CWC, SWC and other state agencies along with private warehouses available in the country are adequate for storing the buffer stock of pulses.

As on 14.03.2017, Government has created a buffer of around 15.33 lakh tonnes of pulses including 4.01 lakh tonnes contracted for imports.  The variety-wise, State-wise stock available is given below in table.

A)    Pulses Procured Domestically

Stock of Buffer Available-State-wise and Variety-wise of Domestic Pulses As on 14.03.2017 in MTs

 S.No.

State

Tur

Moong

Urad

Chana

Masur

1

Madhya Pradesh

60090.94

28809.73

9233.53

374.61

7941.51

2

Maharashtra

270800.85

15446.92

7275.36

1126.31

0.00

3

Andhra Pradesh

582.95

702.30

3665.60

156.10

0.00

4

Telangana

175087.24

72.70

3381.41

0.00

0.00

5

Karnataka

163220.17

2105.75

5050.65

0.85

0.00

6

Gujarat

67273.00

1422.45

77.44

0.00

0.00

7

Rajasthan

0.00

19254.22

189428.97

10101.45

254.49

8

Uttar Pradesh

0.00

22729.92

0.00

0.00

382.29

9

Tamil Nadu

0.00

118.54

0.00

0.00

0.00

10

Haryana

0.00

0.00

1069.35

0.00

0.00

11

Bihar

0.00

0.00

0.00

0.00

16.20

 

Total

737055.15

90662.53

219182.31

11759.32

8594.49

B)    Imported pulses

Stock of Imported Pulses of MMTC and STC  As on 16.03.2017 in MTsStateTurUradDesi Chick peas (Chana)Red Lentils (Masur)Tamil Nadu2845322353Maharashtra2661516922283842472Andhra Pradesh453741690038000Gujarat453783148440301West Bengal9888Total1458203927551222130661

1840 Public authorities aligned with the RTI Online Portal: Dr Jitendra Singh
Mar 17,2017

The Union Minister of State (Independent Charge) for Development of North Eastern Region (DoNER), MoS PMO, Personnel, Public Grievances, Pensions, Atomic Energy and Space, Dr Jitendra Singh briefed the media on RTI Online Portal.

Dr Jitendra Singh expressed happiness that 1840 Public authorities are aligned with the RTI Online Portal till date. He said that this portal is in line with the Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modis vision of Digital India. The emphasis of the Government has always been on transparency and good governance, he added. He said that the government is persuading the states to implement the RTI Online portal. He said that it is really appreciable to persuade large number of departments to adopt this portal. The Minister also said that RTI online portal will curb delays in responding to the RTIs.

The Secretary, DoPT Shri B. P. Sharma said that RTI Online Portal (https://rtionline.gov.in) was launched in August, 2013, making it convenient for citizens to file RTI requests and First Appeals through on-line. The portal is now bilingual (Hindi & English) and can be operated through online payment of RTI fee and additional payments through SBI gateway. He informed that out of the five Action Points selected by Niti Aayog, all the Public Authorities registered with the Central Information Commission (CIC) will have to be aligned by 30.06.2017. Shri B. P Sharma said that from only 477 Public Authorities (PAs) aligned as on 01 April 2016, 1363 more PAs have been aligned with the portal as on 17 March 2017, taking the total to 1840. Moreover, 198 Public Authorities under Delhi Government have adopted DoPTs RTI web portal. This way the total PAs aligned with RTI portal becomes 2038. The remaining PAs including those from UTs of Puducherry and Chandigarh will be aligned with DoPTs RTI online Portal by 30.04.2017. Majority of the aligned Public Authorities are under the D/o of Heavy Industry, Financial Services, Ministries of Railways, Power, Steel and Health & Family Welfare etc.

During 2015-16, 175 High Commissions and Consulate General of India (CGI) abroad were also aligned with the RTI Portal. For taking forward this initiative, CICs on-line web portal launched in November, 2016 has been integrated with DoPTs RTI on-line portal in order to provide a single window to citizens for filing RTI Request, First Appeal and Second Appeal. Moreover, the RTI Online Portal with minor customization has been implemented in Maharashtra while work is under process in some other States/UTs. As close to 90% internet usage is through mobile, Mobile App for RTI is planned to be rolled out in near future. For awareness creation, a new audio spot along with the existing spot are being aired on All India Radio w.e.f. 1st March, 2017 in Hindi & 10 regional languages. New building of CIC is under construction and provision of providing Video Conferencing facility for disposal of 2nd appeals/complaints is there so that personal appearances may be dispensed with in most cases.

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