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Cabinet approves International Solar Alliance (ISA): Signing of the Framework Agreement
Dec 28,2016

The Union Cabinet, chaired by the Prime Minister, Shri Narendra Modi has given its ex-post facto approval to the proposal of Ministry of New & Renewable Energy (MNRE) for ratification of ISAs Framework Agreement by India. ISA was launched jointly by the Prime Minister of India and the President of France on 30th November, 2015 at Paris on the side-lines of the 21st CoP meeting of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change.

The ISA will strive to bring together more than 121 solar resource rich nations for coordinated research, low cost financing and rapid deployment. The foundation stone of the ISA Headquarters was laid at Gwal Pahari, Guragaon in Haryana. India has already committed the required support of operationalization of ISA. ISA will put India globally in a leadership role in climate and renewable energy issues. It will also give a platform to showcase its solar programmes.

Background

The Agreement was opened for signature on the sidelines of 22nd CoP meeting at Marrakesh, Morocco. The Agreement invokes the Paris Declaration on ISA and encapsulates the vision of the prospective member nations. UNDP and World Bank have already announced their partnership with the ISA. Till now, 25 nations have signed the Framework Agreement.

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Cabinet approves need-based sale of surplus land of four Pharmaceutical PSUs
Dec 28,2016

The Union Cabinet chaired by the Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi has approved the sale of surplus land of Hindustan Antibiotics (HAL), Indian Drugs & Pharmaceuticals (IDPL), Rajasthan Drugs & Pharmaceuticals (RDPL) and Bengal Chemicals & Pharmaceuticals (BCPL), as would be required, to meet their outstanding liabilities. In this way, the national assets would be utilized in the best national interest.

The sale would be through open competitive bidding to government agencies and the outstanding liabilities will be met from the sale proceeds. Voluntary Retirement Scheme (VRS) / Voluntary Separation Scheme (VSS) will also be implemented in these Public Sector Undertakings.

The remaining part of the land will be managed in accordance with the guidelines of the Department of Investment & Public Assets Management (DIPAM) and Department of Public Enterprises (DPE).

After meeting the liabilities, steps will be taken to close IDPL and RDPL. The option of strategic sale will be explored for HAL and BCPL. The Department of Pharmaceuticals, the administrative department for these undertakings, will take time bound follow-up action.

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Nearly 1.2 Million People to Benefit from All-Weather Roads under US$ 235 Million Bihar Rural Roads Project, India
Dec 28,2016

The World Bank has approved a US$ 235 million credit for the Bihar Rural Roads Project to improve and effectively manage the states rural road network.

The project will support the construction of about 2,500 km of rural roads under the Mukhiya Mantri Gram Sampark Yojana (MMGSY). The roads will be constructed using cost-effective designs and will incorporate engineering measures that ensure road safety. The project will also suggest better contract management practices to avoid time and cost over-runs. This will gradually help transform the Rural Works Department (RWD) into a modern and high-performing road agency capable of building and maintaining its road assets on a sound technical and financial footing.

This project will provide all-weather road access to some 1.2 million people, most of whom belong to the poor and vulnerable sections of society (30 percent of the people who are to benefit live below the poverty line and about 48 percent of them are women). The project will generate direct employment of about 20 million person days for local laborers through a rural road construction and maintenance program. The Government of Bihar has made road connectivity to each habitation among its top seven priorities. In addition, its aim is to bring all parts of the state within five hours of travel time from the capital city of Patna. While Bihar has constructed about 60,000 km of rural roads in the last decade, nearly 49 percent of its people still lack access to an all-weather road.

Catalyzing connectivity and enhancing mobility is a critical plank for transforming rural India,n++ said Junaid Ahmad, World Bank Country Director in India. By investing in Bihars rural roads, this project is in fact tapping into the vast potential of the states agriculture and agro-based industries - a sector critical for higher non-farm employment opportunities and increases in rural wages.

An important aspect of the project will be the use of climate resilient and cost-effective engineering designs using local materials and industrial by-products. The project will also use the alluvial sand that accumulates on large tracts of arable land after floods. This is expected to save more than 25 percent in construction costs for rural roads, said Ashok Kumar, Highways Engineer and World Banks Task Team Leader for the project. The state Rural Works Department will also undertake a climate vulnerability assessment of the existing rural road network, with a focus on floods, and incorporate suitable remedial measures in its road design, construction, and maintenance program.

The RWD will prepare a road safety action plan for rural roads. Road safety engineering measures such as improved lane markings, protection structures, and road signs will be provided for. The project will also undertake simple road safety audits during the design and construction stage as well as consult with local communities to identify their requirements for any road safety enhancements.

In addition to providing all-weather roads, the project will help the Rural Works Department to preserve and upgrade existing road assets and strengthen its institutional effectiveness. This will facilitate inclusive growth, economic development and access to markets for rural Bihar, added Ashok Kumar.

The credit is from the International Development Association (IDA) - the World Banks concessionary lending arm - with a maturity of 25 years, including a 5-year grace period.

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Cabinet approves Road Connectivity Project for Left Wing Extremism Affected Areas
Dec 28,2016

The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs, chaired by the Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi, has approved a Centrally Sponsored Scheme namely Road Connectivity Project for Left Wing Extremism (LWE) Affected Areas to improve the rural road connectivity in the worst LWE affected districts from security angle.

The project will be implemented as a vertical under Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojana (PMGSY) to provide connectivity with necessary culverts and cross-drainage structures in 44 worst affected LWE districts and adjoining districts, critical from security and communication point of view. The roads will be operable throughout the year irrespective of all weather conditions.

Under the project, construction/upgradation of 5,411.81 km road and 126 bridges/Cross Drainage works will be taken up at an estimated cost of Rs.11,724.53 crore in the above district. The fund sharing pattern of LWE road project will be same as that of PMGSY i.e. in the ratio of 60:40 between the Centre and States for all States except for eight North Eastern and three Himalayan States (Jammu & Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh & Uttarakhand) for which it is 90:10. Ministry of Finance will have to allocate to Ministry of Rural Development Rs.7,034.72 crore for this project during the period of implementation 2016-17 to 2019-20.

Ministry of Rural Development will be the sponsoring Ministry as well as the implementing Ministry of this project. The likely duration of implementation of the project is four years from 2016-17 to 2019-20.

The Road Connectivity Project for LWE Affected Areas is envisaged in LWE States including the 35 worst affected LWE districts which account for 90% of total LWE violence in the country and 9 adjoining districts critical from security angle as per the inputs and lists of roads / districts provided by the Ministry of Home Affairs. The roads taken up under the scheme would include Other District Roads (ODRs), Village Roads (VRs) and upgradation of the existing Major District Roads (MDRs) that are critical from the security point of view. Bridges up to a span of 100 meters, critical from security angle would also be funded on these roads.

The PMGSY guideline does not permit construction/upgradation of MDRs. However, keeping special circumstances of LWE areas in view, MDRs would be taken up under the scheme as a special dispensation. The National Highways and the State Highways would be excluded from this project. The roads to be constructed under the scheme have been identified by the Ministry of Home Affairs in close consultation with the State Governments and the security agencies, by following a process of extensive consultation.

Background:

Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojana (PMGSY) was launched on 25th December, 2000 as a Centrally Sponsored Scheme with the objective to provide all-weather road connectivity to all eligible unconnected habitations in rural areas of the country. The programme envisages connecting all eligible unconnected habitations with a population of 500 persons and above (as per 2001 Census) in plain areas and 250 persons and above (as per 2001 Census) in Special Category States namely Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, Manipur, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Nagaland, Sikkim, Tripura, Himachal Pradesh, Jammu & Kashmir and Uttarakhand, Tribal (Schedule-V) areas, the Desert Areas (as identified in Desert Development Programme) and in Select Tribal and Backward Districts (as identified by the Ministry of Home Affairs/Planning Commission). For most intensive Integrated Action Plan (IAP) blocks as identified by Ministry of Home Affairs the unconnected habitations with population of100 and above (as per 2001 Census) are eligible to be covered under PMGSY.

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Cabinet approves Road Connectivity Project for Left Wing Extremism Affected Areas
Dec 28,2016

The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs, chaired by the Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi, has approved a Centrally Sponsored Scheme namely Road Connectivity Project for Left Wing Extremism (LWE) Affected Areas to improve the rural road connectivity in the worst LWE affected districts from security angle.

The project will be implemented as a vertical under Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojana (PMGSY) to provide connectivity with necessary culverts and cross-drainage structures in 44 worst affected LWE districts and adjoining districts, critical from security and communication point of view. The roads will be operable throughout the year irrespective of all weather conditions.

Under the project, construction/upgradation of 5,411.81 km road and 126 bridges/Cross Drainage works will be taken up at an estimated cost of Rs.11,724.53 crore in the above district. The fund sharing pattern of LWE road project will be same as that of PMGSY i.e. in the ratio of 60:40 between the Centre and States for all States except for eight North Eastern and three Himalayan States (Jammu & Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh & Uttarakhand) for which it is 90:10. Ministry of Finance will have to allocate to Ministry of Rural Development Rs.7,034.72 crore for this project during the period of implementation 2016-17 to 2019-20.

Ministry of Rural Development will be the sponsoring Ministry as well as the implementing Ministry of this project. The likely duration of implementation of the project is four years from 2016-17 to 2019-20.

The Road Connectivity Project for LWE Affected Areas is envisaged in LWE States including the 35 worst affected LWE districts which account for 90% of total LWE violence in the country and 9 adjoining districts critical from security angle as per the inputs and lists of roads / districts provided by the Ministry of Home Affairs. The roads taken up under the scheme would include Other District Roads (ODRs), Village Roads (VRs) and upgradation of the existing Major District Roads (MDRs) that are critical from the security point of view. Bridges up to a span of 100 meters, critical from security angle would also be funded on these roads.

The PMGSY guideline does not permit construction/upgradation of MDRs. However, keeping special circumstances of LWE areas in view, MDRs would be taken up under the scheme as a special dispensation. The National Highways and the State Highways would be excluded from this project. The roads to be constructed under the scheme have been identified by the Ministry of Home Affairs in close consultation with the State Governments and the security agencies, by following a process of extensive consultation.

Background:

Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojana (PMGSY) was launched on 25th December, 2000 as a Centrally Sponsored Scheme with the objective to provide all-weather road connectivity to all eligible unconnected habitations in rural areas of the country. The programme envisages connecting all eligible unconnected habitations with a population of 500 persons and above (as per 2001 Census) in plain areas and 250 persons and above (as per 2001 Census) in Special Category States namely Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, Manipur, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Nagaland, Sikkim, Tripura, Himachal Pradesh, Jammu & Kashmir and Uttarakhand, Tribal (Schedule-V) areas, the Desert Areas (as identified in Desert Development Programme) and in Select Tribal and Backward Districts (as identified by the Ministry of Home Affairs/Planning Commission). For most intensive Integrated Action Plan (IAP) blocks as identified by Ministry of Home Affairs the unconnected habitations with population of100 and above (as per 2001 Census) are eligible to be covered under PMGSY.

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It is vital to eliminate convenience charge by the banks, says TRAI Chairman RS Sharma
Dec 28,2016

n++Cost, Convenience, and Confidence are crucial factors for a successful Digital Payment System implementation in India,n++ said Shri R. S. Sharma, Chairman, Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) during a seminar on n++Demonetization to Digital Remonetizationn++ held at FICCI, Federation House.

FICCI organised an ICT policy dialogue with the agenda to discuss the challenges and opportunities that lie before the ICT sector, government and the regulators following the demonetization move. During his address Shri R. S. Sharma highlighted the pillars of Digital India and mentioned the need of an effective Digital Infrastructure, and how availability and affordability of digital solutions formulates the base of Digital Remonetization. The TRAI chairman highlighted how JAM Trinity creates a robust system within India, which further creates a digital inclusion with 1.1 billion Aadhar users across India.

Shri R. S. Sharma recommended that, in order to create a well operational and sustainable digital and cashless economy, it is vital to eliminate convenience charge by the banks. He firmly suggested that interoperatable or interlinked digital wallets can additionally support the digital payment systems of India. Among other number of recommendations by TRAI chairman, Shri Sharma also mentioned that the implementation of Bharatnet will be faster and effective with PPP model, and further combined with Digital Cable Television System, India will reach a new level of digital connectivity.

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Centre launches IVRS platform to address the problem of call drops
Dec 28,2016

Department of Telecommunications (DoT) has been taking various initiatives to address the problem of call drops faced by subscribers in mobile networks. The Telecom Service Providers (TSPs) have installed more than 1,30,000 additional BTSs (Base Transceiver Stations) across the country during the period from June 2016 to October 2016 and further plan to install more than 1,50,000 additional BTSs across the country up to 31st March 2017.

In order to obtain direct feedback from subscribers and use that feedback to solve the problem of call drops, DoT has launched an Integrated Voice Response System (IVRS) system in Delhi, Mumbai, Punjab, UP, Uttarakhand, Maharashtra and Goa on 23rd December 2016. The IVRS system will be extended to the entire country very soon.

Subscribers will receive an IVRS call from the short code 1955. They will be asked a few questions on the subject of call drops such as- n++Are they facing call drops in their area or not? They can also send a toll-free SMS to the same short code 1955, containing the location of city/town/village, where they might be facing the problem of frequent call drops. The feedback of the subscribers will be shared with the Telecom Service Providers so that they can take corrective steps in the identified areas, to improve the mobile network for addressing the problem of call drops.

Minister of Communications Shri Manoj Sinha said that n++the platform is a channel to capture direct feedback from the consumers and this voice of the customer can be used to improve the services that are being offered to themn++. He said, initially the government will use the platform for call drops and will extend this to capture consumer feedback in other areas as well in the future.

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Number of airports to be doubled to 150 : Jayant Sinha
Dec 28,2016

n++Aviation sector is the sunrise sector of growth and going through profound changesn++, remarked Mr. Jayant Sinha, Minister of State for Civil Aviation, while addressing the 89th Annual General Meeting of FICCI.

The aviation sector has dramatic headroom for growth with 150 million passenger trips a year as compared to China with 450 million passenger trips and USA at 800 million passenger trips a year. The total revenue of airlines is Rs 1.4 lakh crore and is growing at a rate of 20%. He added that as of today 9 crore passenger travel domestically and 5 crore internationally.

He emphasized that the government is committed to safety and security and will launch the unified command of CISF in the entire aviation system.

The minister specified that there are three priorities for the government. The first is better, delightful and digital experience through AirSewa, which serves as an integrated collaborative platform. Adopting the Kaizen principle, the Ministry will bring continuous improvement in the areas of airport facilities, decrease in immigration lines, customer services etc. Second, under the Regional Connectivity Scheme, the government is working for expansion of aviation map from 75 to 150 airports in the country. Recently the airports of Kanpur and Bhatinda have become operational under the scheme.

Going ahead, he said that government is working to build airport capacity by expanding existing terminals, building new terminals and developing greenfield airports. The Minister said that Rs 2.5-3 lakh crore investment is required for airports excluding the land acquisition cost. He added that government is a developing regulatory framework for the aviation sector to make it asset class attractive.

Asked about the performance of Air India, the Minister said that all operating factors including load factor, cabin crew are looking positive. However, a clear strategy is to be defined to make it financially robust.

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Smart cities mission can aid in promoting the theatre, dance and crafts industry: FICCI - EY report
Dec 28,2016

The Smart Cities mission provides a significant opportunity to promote creative industries in India, notes an FICCI-EY report titled n++Creative arts in Indian++. Launched at the Smart cities, Art Cities, the report covers the opportunities provided by the Indian performing arts industry.

Creative clusters in Smart Cities, which are unique to the character, resources and the local community can serve as a focal point to brand a citys unique cultural identity and embrace its historic significance.

The report also includes a survey with eminent personalities in the industry to understand the challenges faced by the sector. Inadequate infrastructure has emerged as the top most challenge, with obtaining sponsorships and onerous regulations governing the sector completing the top three.

It also highlights the regulatory support the industry expects from the government, with easing out of permissions, rationalisation of entertainment tax and availability of credit emerging as the top three.

The report also highlights three key recommendations for the sustained success of the Indian theatre, dance and crafts industry:

- Form an association/ body of India theatre/ dance and craft practitioners that exclusively worked for the upliftment and promotion of the sector

- Involve the private sector to invest in the creative arts of the country by adequately incentivising them through tax incentives

- Develop creative clusters showcasing the regions local culture within Smart Cities to attract tourists and residents

This first ever report on the performing arts and handicrafts industry in India focuses on the current size of the industry, funding mechanisms, key opportunities and challenges faced by the industry, along with best practices followed in other countries and how they drive and fund creative arts.

This report is a result of over 30 interviews conducted by FICCI and EY of eminent theatre, dance and craft personalities to understand their perspective of the industry and its growth opportunities/ aspects, key challenges faced, support needed from the Government, and other best practices adopted.

Drawing on both secondary research and primary data collected through interviews, the report aims to provide recommendations to the Government on how the current status of the industry can be enhanced through adequate investment and funding measures.

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India targeting 3.5% of global trade by 2020 : Nirmala Sitharaman
Dec 28,2016

The country is targeting to achieve a share of 3.5% of the global trade by 2020 and there is a need to explore new markets for traditional industries and encourage new industries to penetrate the global markets, said, Nirmala Sitharaman, Minister of State for Commerce and Industry (Independent Charge). She was addressing the delegates at the 89th Annual General Meeting of FICCI.

In the context of increasing protectionism globally, she emphasized the importance of standards and accreditation for achieving the targeted share of global trade and also for preventing imports of sub-standard products in the country.

Sharing her Ministrys activities in the areas of standards, the Minister said that every year national and regional roadshows are organized to make the industry aware of the global standards and accreditation.

She also appreciated the role of service sector in exports and standardization. The share of service sector in Indias GDP has increased to 7.5% despite the severe challenges being faced by it.

R V Kanoria, Past President, FICCI, said that the world has become increasingly uncertain in the context of Brexit, referendum in Italy and other such events making it more challenging for India to bring in more investments and increasing trade.

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M-wallet retail spends may see fourfold jump in near term: Study
Dec 28,2016

Post-demonetisation, the average wallet spend for retail has witnessed a huge jump and is expected to increase from Rs 500-700 prior to Rs 2,000-10,000 in the near term, according to the just concluded joint study by ASSOCHAM and RNCOS.

n++The mobile wallet market in India has been greatly benefited by demonetisation and its share in the total mobile payment volume transactions is likely to rise from 20 per cent in FY16 to 57 per cent by FY22,n++ according to the study titled M-wallet: Scenario post-demonetisation, jointly conducted by ASSOCHAM and business consulting firm RNCOS.

n++The government has hinted of not remonetising all of the scrapped currency and aims to fill the gap by promoting digital/cashless payment mode, this is bound to further boost prospects for m-wallet sector in India,n++ said Mr D.S. Rawat along with Mr Shushmul Maheshwari, CEO & founder, RNCOS and Mr Babu Lal Jain, chairman of the ASSOCHAM National Council on Cyber & Network Security.

M-wallet transactions in India are likely to grow at a compounded annual growth rate (CAGR) of over 160 per cent to rise from just over half a billion in FY16 to 260 billion by FY22 driven by growing usage of smartphones, robust mobile internet penetration, growth of e-commerce sector together with increasing disposable incomes.

While in value terms, the m-wallet transactions in India have grown about 20 times to reach Rs 206 billion in FY16 from Rs 10 billion in FY13, highlighted the study.

n++It is anticipated that market value of m-wallet transactions in India will grow at a CAGR of over 200 per cent to reach Rs 275 trillion by FY22 from Rs 206 billion in FY16,n++ it noted.

Thus, taking over traditional payment modes, the m-wallet market in India which was estimated at about Rs 1.5 billion in FY16 will grow at over 190 per cent to reach Rs 1,512 billion by FY22.

The study also highlighted that post demonetisation, the mobile payment transaction volume in India is likely to grow at a CAGR of over 130 per cent to reach 460 billion by FY22 from just about three billion in FY16, the study noted.

While mobile payment transactions in value terms are likely to cross Rs 2,200 trillion mark by FY22 from just over Rs 8 trillion in FY16 thereby clocking a CAGR of 150 per cent.

It also highlighted that share of mobile banking segment in mobile payment market is likely to register significant increase from eight per cent in FY14 to 56 per cent in FY17.

Issues & solutions:

The study however said that it is a challenge for the sector to bring copious number of shoppers preferring cash on delivery (COD) and other modes of payment on m-wallet platform. However, with the ease of payment along with other benefits offered by m-wallets, users preferring COD will switch to the m-payment platform in the coming years as it has a significant potential to grow, and expand its user base as we go ahead.

With a view to win customers trust, companies operating in the mobile-wallet sector should take measures like providing effective, completely secure, private and reliable services, 3-D or OTP (one time password) security options, data back-up system and others to spread awareness among people.

Crystal clear policies and a common regulatory body for all m-wallets (closed, semi-closed and others) are required to bring clarity in procedures and policies between m-wallet companies and the Reserve Bank of India (RBI).

n++A strong authentication mechanism must be put in place to bind the identity of the user to the authorization of the transaction thereby being extremely mindful of authentication and risk assessment,n++ suggested the ASSOCHAM-RNCOS joint study.

As the mobile payment space evolves, the stakeholders must create secure transactions that foster consumer trust, besides, m-wallet companies must provide a much more secure payment authentication process out to the masses.

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Ministry of Railways Doubles Compensation Rate Payable to Railway Accident Victims
Dec 27,2016

Ministry of Railways has decided to revise the amounts of compensation payable in respect of Death & Injuries to the passengers involved in Accidents and Untoward Incidents. In the revised compensation rules the amount in all the categories have been doubled with respect to the existing amounts. This has been done by amending The Railway Accidents and Untoward Incidents (Compensation) Rules, 1990. The new amended rules are being now referred to as The Railway Accidents and Untoward Incidents (Compensation) Rules, 2016.

As per the revised Compensation Rules, compensation in case of death has been doubled from Rs. 4 lakh to Rs. 8 lakh. The new rules will come into effect from 1st January 2017. The schedule giving the amounts of both existing and revised rates are given below:

COMPENSATION PAYABLE FOR DEATH AND INJURIES

ItemExisting Amount (Rs.)Revised Amount (Rs.)PART IFor death4,00,0008,00,000PART II(1) For loss of both hands or amputation at higher sites4,00,0008,00,000(2) For loss of hand and a foot4,00,0008,00,000(3) For double amputation through leg. or thigh or amputation through leg or thigh on one side and loss of other foot.4,00,0008,00,000(4) For loss of sight to such an extent as to render the claimant unable to perform any work for which eyesight is essential4,00,0008,00,000(5) For very severe facial disfigurement4,00,0008,00,000(6) For absolute deafness4,00,0008,00,000PART III(1) For amputation through shoulder joint3,60,000 7,20,000 (2) For amputation below shoulder with stump less than 8 from tip of acromion3,20,0006,40,000(3) For amputation from 8 from tip of acromion to less than 41/2 below tip of olecranon2,80,0005,60,000(4) For loss of a hand or the thumb and forefinger of one hand or amputation from 41/2 below space tip of olecranon2,40,0004,80,000(5) For loss of thumb1,20,0002,40,000(6) For loss of thumb and its metacarpal bone.1,60,0003,20,000(7) For loss of four fingers of one hand2,00,000 4,00,000 (8) For loss of three fingers of one hand1,20,0002,40,000(9) For loss of two fingers of one hand80,0001,60,000(10) For loss of terminal phalanx of thumb80,0001,60,000(11) For amputation of both feet resulting in end bearing stumps3,60,0007,20,000(12) For amputation through both feet proximal to the metatarsophalangeal joint3,20,000 6,40,000 (13) For loss of all toes of both feet through the metatarso-phalangeal joint1,60,0003,20,000(14) For loss of all toes of both feet proximal to the proximal interphalangeal joint1,20,0002,40,000(15) For loss of all toes of both feet distal to the proximal inter-phalangeal joint80,0001,60,000(16) For amputation at hip3,60,0007,20,000(17) For amputation below hip with stump not exceeding 5 in length measured from tip of great trench-anter3,20,0003,20,000(18) For amputation below hip with stump exceeding 5 in length measured from tip of great trench anter but not beyond middle thigh2,80,0005,60,000(19) For amputation below middle thigh to 41/2 below knee2,40,0004,80,000(20 )For amputation below knee with stump exceeding 41/2but not exceeding 52,00,0004,00,000(21) Fracture of Spine with Paraplegia2,00,0004,00,000(22) For amputation below knee with stump exceeding 51,60,0003,20,000(23) For loss of one eye without complications the other being normal1,60,0003,20,000(24) For amputation of one foot resulting in end-bearing1,20,0002,40,000(25) For amputation through one foot proximal to the metatarso-phalangeal joint1,20,0002,40,000(26) Fracture of Spine without paraplegia1,20,0002,40,000(27) For loss of vision of one eye without complications of disfigurement of eye ball, the other being normal1,20,0002,40,000(28) For loss of all toes of one foot through the metatarso-phalangeal joint80,0001,60,000(29) Fracture of Hip-joint80,0001,60,000(30) Fracture o

9.3% Growth in Foreign Tourist Arrivals in November 2016 Over the Same Period in 2015
Dec 27,2016

9.3% growth in Foreign Tourist Arrivals (FTAs) in November 2016 over the same period in 2015. USA accounts for highest share of tourist arrivals followed by UK and Bangladesh in November 2016. Rs. 14, 474/- crore Foreign Exchange earned through tourism in November 2016.

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

Foreign Tourist Arrivals (FTAs):

n++ FTAs during the Month of November, 2016 were 8.91 lakh as compared to FTAs of 8.16 lakh during the month of November, 2015 and 7.65 lakh in November, 2014. There has been a growth of 9.3% in November, 2016 over November, 2015.

n++ FTAs during the period January- November, 2016 were 78.53 lakh with a growth of 10.4% as compared to the FTAs of 71.14 lakh with a growth of 4.7% in January- November, 2015 over January- November, 2014.

n++ The Percentage share of Foreign Tourist Arrivals (FTAs) in India during November, 2016 among the top 15 source countries was highest from USA (15.53%) followed by UK (11.21%), Bangladesh (10.72%), Canada (4.66%), Russian Fed (4.53%), Australia (4.04%), Malaysia (3.65%), Germany (3.53%), China (3.14%), France (2.88%), Sri Lanka (2.49%), Japan (2.49%), Singapore (2.16%), Nepal (1.46%) and Thailand (1.37%).

n++ The Percentage share of Foreign Tourist Arrivals (FTAs) in India during November 2016 among the top 15 ports was highest at Delhi Airport (32.71%) followed by Mumbai Airport (18.51%), Chennai Airport (6.83%), Bengaluru Airport (5.89%), Haridaspur Land check post (5.87%), Goa Airport (5.63%), Kolkata Airport (3.90%), Cochin Airport (3.29%), Hyderabad Airport (3.14%), Ahmadabad Airport (2.76%), Trivandrum Airport (1.54%), Trichy Airport (1.53%), Gede Rail (1.16%), Amritsar Airport (1.15%), and Ghojadanga land check post (0.82%) .

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

n++ FEEs during the month of November, 2016 were Rs. 14,474 crore as compared to Rs. 12,649 crore in November, 2015 and Rs. 11,431 crore in November, 2014.

n++ The growth rate in FEEs in rupee terms during November, 2016 over November, 2015 was 14.4% as compared to the growth of 10.7% in November, 2015 over November, 2014.

n++ FEEs from tourism in rupee terms during January- November, 2016 were Rs. 1,38,845 crore with a growth of 14.7% as compared to the FEE of Rs. 1,21,041 crore with a growth of 9.7% during January- November, 2015 over January- November, 2014.

n++ FEEs in US$ terms during the month of November, 2016 were US$ 2.141 billion as compared to FEEs of US$ 1.912 billion during the month of November, 2015 and US$ 1.853 billion in November, 2014.

n++ The growth rate in FEEs in US$ terms in November, 2016 over November, 2015 was 12.0% compared to the negative growth of 3.2% in November, 2015 over November, 2014.

n++ FEE from tourism in US$ terms during January- November, 2016 were US$ 20.671 billion with a growth of 9.1% as compared to the US$ 18.945 billion with a growth 4.3% during January- November, 2015 over January- November, 2014.

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Seventy Per Cent of Tribal Affairs Budget Already Utilized Special Attention on the Proper Implementation of Forest Rights Act
Dec 27,2016

Union Minister for Tribal Affairs Shri Jual Oram has said that 70% of his Ministrys budget for the year 2016-17 has already been released. The Minister said his Ministry has paid special attention to proper implementation of Forest Rights Act. He said as per information received from State Governments till October 2016, about 16.78 lakh individual (Forest Rights) titles have been granted over an area of 55.43 lakh acres of forest land. Further, 48,192 community (Forest Rights) titles have been distributed over an area of about 47 lakh acres of forest land.

Referring to the revision of list of scheduled tribes the Minister informed that recently Irular (including Villi and Vettaikaran) has been included in the ST list in Puducherry. He further said that to modify the list of Scheduled Tribes (STs) in Assam, Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, Tamil Nadu and Tripura, a bill namely the Constitution (Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes) Orders (Amendment), Bill 2016 has been introduced in Lok Sabha during the recent winter session of Parliament.

Shri Oram said his Ministry is collaborating with Ministry of Skill Development and Entrepreneurship (MSDE) to build a framework suited to the need and requirement of tribal people. It is planned for setting up one Multi-Skilling Institute in each of 163 priority (tribal concentrated) districts. Infrastructure funding will be shared by Ministry of Tribal Affairs and State Govt. (50:50). Recurring cost component will be funded by MSDE, under Pradhan Mantri Kaushal Vikas Yojana (PMKVY). Details of the collaboration are being worked out.

The Union Tribal Affairs Minister referred to the setting up of National Resource Centre on Tribal Livelihood (Vanjeevan) at Bhubaneswar on 22nd of this month. He said Vanjeevan will serve as an apex central institution within Ministry of Tribal Affairs to act as research and technical hub to further socio-economic development of tribal communities through comprehensive interaction of the 3Es-employment, employability and entrepreneurship. The resource center would cater to the development and promotion of sustainable livelihood avenues in the tribal areas through entrepreneurship and skill up-gradation. Vanjeevan will also forge linkages and build upon the skill building efforts of the other Central Ministries/Departments such as Ministry of Skill Development and Entrepreneurship, Ministry of Rural Development, Ministry of Micro-Small and Medium Enterprises etc.

Referring to the Minimum Support Price (MSP) to Minor Forest Produce (MFP) Shri Oram said that last month the coverage of area of the scheme has been extended beyond Schedule V States and now the scheme is applicable in all States. He said in addition to the existing 12 MFPs another 14 items have been included in the scheme. States have also been given freedom for fixing MSP 10% above or below the MSP rate decided by Ministry of Tribal Affairs.

About sickle cell anemia Shri Oram said his Ministry has taken initiative to arrest its spread so that sickle cell carriers (patients) can be cared for, and future generations can be saved from this scourge. A protocol for Sickle Cell Management was issued in March 2015 with the objective to control the spread of the disease. In this regard, workshops were conducted in States in collaboration with Department of Biotechnology for mapping of incidence of Sickle Cell Trait and disease among tribal people all over the country through State Governments. About 1.1 crore children and youth have been screened so far. A revised protocol has been issued to the States in November 2016 after consultation with Department of Health Research. As per this, apart from screening of children and youth, screening of pregnant women is also to be done, and in case one individual is identified in the family, then family members will also be screened. The programme also provides for counseling of sickle cell carriers, and management of patients with sickle cell disease, the Minister added.

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Seventy per cent of Tribal Affairs Budget already utilized
Dec 27,2016

Union Minister for Tribal Affairs Shri Jual Oram has said that 70% of his Ministrys budget for the year 2016-17 has already been released. Addressing a press conference about the achievements of his Ministry during the year 2016 in New Delhi today, the Minister said his Ministry has paid special attention to proper implementation of Forest Rights Act. He said as per information received from State Governments till October 2016, about 16.78 lakh individual (Forest Rights) titles have been granted over an area of 55.43 lakh acres of forest land. Further, 48,192 community (Forest Rights) titles have been distributed over an area of about 47 lakh acres of forest land.

Referring to the revision of list of scheduled tribes the Minister informed that recently Irular (including Villi and Vettaikaran) has been included in the ST list in Puducherry. He further said that to modify the list of Scheduled Tribes (STs) in Assam, Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, Tamil Nadu and Tripura, a bill namely the Constitution (Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes) Orders (Amendment), Bill 2016 has been introduced in Lok Sabha during the recent winter session of Parliament.

Shri Oram said his Ministry is collaborating with Ministry of Skill Development and Entrepreneurship (MSDE) to build a framework suited to the need and requirement of tribal people. It is planned for setting up one Multi-Skilling Institute in each of 163 priority (tribal concentrated) districts. Infrastructure funding will be shared by Ministry of Tribal Affairs and State Govt. (50:50). Recurring cost component will be funded by MSDE, under Pradhan Mantri Kaushal Vikas Yojana (PMKVY). Details of the collaboration are being worked out.

The Union Tribal Affairs Minister referred to the setting up of National Resource Centre on Tribal Livelihood (Vanjeevan) at Bhuvneshar on 22nd of this month. He said Vanjeevan will serve as an apex central institution within Ministry of Tribal Affairs to act as research and technical hub to further socio-economic development of tribal communities through comprehensive interaction of the 3Es-employment, employability and entrepreneurship. The resource center would cater to the development and promotion of sustainable livelihood avenues in the tribal areas through entrepreneurship and skill up-gradation. Vanjeevan will also forge linkages and build upon the skill building efforts of the other Central Ministries/Departments such as Ministry of Skill Development and Entrepreneurship, Ministry of Rural Development, Ministry of Micro-Small and Medium Enterprises etc.

Referring to the Minimum Support Price (MSP) to Minor Forest Produce (MFP) Shri Oram said that last month the coverage of area of the scheme has been extended beyond Schedule V States and now the scheme is applicable in all States. He said in addition to the existing 12 MFPs another 14 items have been included in the scheme. States have also been given freedom for fixing MSP 10% above or below the MSP rate decided by Ministry of Tribal Affairs.

About sickle cell anemia Shri Oram said his Ministry has taken initiative to arrest its spread so that sickle cell carriers (patients) can be cared for, and future generations can be saved from this scourge. A protocol for Sickle Cell Management was issued in March 2015 with the objective to control the spread of the disease. In this regard, workshops were conducted in States in collaboration with Department of Biotechnology for mapping of incidence of Sickle Cell Trait and disease among tribal people all over the country through State Governments. About 1.1 crore children and youth have been screened so far. A revised protocol has been issued to the States in November 2016 after consultation with Department of Health Research. As per this, apart from screening of children and youth, screening of pregnant women is also to be done, and in case one individual is identified in the family, then family members will also be screened. The programme also provides for counseling of sickle cell carriers, and management of patients with sickle cell disease, the Minister added.

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