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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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Mineral Production during January 2017 was 5.3% higher as compared to January 2016
Mar 17,2017

The index of mineral production of mining and quarrying sector for the month of January (new Series 2004-05=100) 2017 at 146.1, was 5.3% higher as compared to January 2016. The cumulative growth for the period April- January 2016-17 over the corresponding period of previous year has been (+) 1.4 percent.

The total value of mineral production (excluding atomic & minor minerals) in the country during January 2017 was Rs. 22775 crore. The contribution of Coal was the highest at Rs. 9535 crore (42%). Next in the order of importance were: Petroleum (crude) Rs. 5591 crore, Iron ore Rs. 2657 crore, Natural gas (utilized) Rs. 2192 crore, Lignite Rs.901 crore and Limestone Rs. 587 crore. These six minerals together contributed about 94% of the total value of mineral production in January 2017.

Production level of important minerals in January 2017 were: Coal 652 lakh tonnes, Lignite 51 lakh tonnes, Natural gas (utilized) 2650 million cu. m., Petroleum (crude) 31 lakh tonnes, Bauxite 2248 thousand tonnes, Chromite 259 thousand tonnes, Copper conc. 13 thousand tonnes, Gold 139 kg., Iron ore 186 lakh tonnes, Lead conc. 28 thousand tonnes, Manganese ore 221 thousand tonnes, Zinc conc. 168 thousand tonnes, Apatite &Phosphorite 75 thousand tonnes, Limestone 269 lakh tonnes, Magnesite 22 thousand tonnes and Diamond 3670 carat.

The production of important minerals showing positive growth during January 2017 over January 2016 include: Zinc conc. (87.0%), Lead conc. (36.7%), Gold (35.0%), Diamond (31.8%), Iron ore (26.5%), Bauxite (22.4%), Manganese ore (21.4%), Lignite (19.1%), Natural gas (utilized) (11.3%), Copper conc. (8.8%), Coal (3.7%) Petroleum (crude) (1.3%) and Magnesite (0.1%). The production of other important minerals showing negative growth are: Chromite [(-) 17.2%], Apatite &Phosphorite [(-) 14.8%] and Limestone [(-) 3.6%].

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NTPC Clocks Highest Ever Annual Cumulative Gross Generation of 263.95 BU
Mar 17,2017

NTPC Group achieved highest ever cumulative gross generation of 263.95 Billion Units (BU) till yesterday during current year surpassing previous annual best of 263.42 BU recorded in Financial Year 2016-17. Generation of Group NTPC registered an annual growth of 4.71% over last year.

NTPC Pit Head Coal stations, having capacity of 25840 MW, recorded day PLF of 95.71% on 16-3-17 and cumulative monthly PLF of 91.4% in the month of March,2017 till date. 29 Units of NTPC coal plants have generated at a PLF of more than 100% on 16-3-17.

NTPC stations have continued excellent performance in the current month with Vindhyachal station, Indias largest power station having capacity of 4760 MW, achieving highest ever day generation of 114.254 MU at PLF 100.01% on 8-3-17. Mouda station also recorded highest ever day Generation of 31.2 MU on 9-3-17 and Solar Generation of NTPC touched maximum generation of 2.353 MU on 12-3-17.

NTPC is the largest power utility in the country playing a major role in meeting the power needs of the country thus contributing to its economic and social development by contributing nearly 24 % of countrys generation. NTPC has a vision to be the Worlds Leading Power Company, Energizing Indias Growth. Known for its efficient operations and consistent performance NTPC is the third largest power company in terms of coal based power generation capacity, 2ndin PLF, 3rdin machine availability and 7thin terms of electricity generation, among the top twenty coal based power generating companies globally.

NTPC has total installed capacity of 48,188 MW from its 19 coal based, 7 gas based, 10 solar PV, one Hydro and 9 Subsidiaries / Joint Venture power stations. Company has capacity of over 23,000 MW under implementation at 23 locations across the country including 4300 MW being undertaken by joint venture and subsidiary companies. NTPCs First coal mine Pakri-Barwadih at Hazaribagh became operational in December 2016. First wind power project of NTPC- Rojmal Wind Energy Project 50 MW is being set up in the State of Gujarat.

NTPC recently inaugurated 100 kWp Floating Solar PV plant, the largest of its kind in India as on date, indigenously developed as a part of Make in India initiative, at RGCCPP Kayamkulam, Kerala.

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Foreign Tourist Arrivals (FTAs) and Foreign Tourist Arrivals (FTAs) on e-Tourist visa during February 2017
Mar 17,2017

Ministry of Tourism compiles monthly estimates of Foreign Tourist Arrivals (FTAs) & FTAs on e- Tourist Visa on the basis of Nationality-wise, Port-wise data received from Bureau of Immigration (BOI).

The following are the important highlights regarding FTAs & FTAs on e-Tourist Visa from tourism during the month of February, 2017.

Foreign Tourist Arrivals (FTAs):

n++ The number of FTAs in February, 2017 were 9.56 lakh as compared to FTAs of 8.47 lakh in February, 2016 and 7.61 lakh in February, 2015.

n++ The growth rate in FTAs in February, 2017 over February, 2016 is 13.0% compared to 11.3% in February, 2016 over February, 2015.

n++ FTAs during the period January- February 2017 were 19.40 lakh with a growth of 14.7%, as compared to the FTAs of 16.91 lakh with a growth of 9.0% in January- February 2016 over January- February 2015.

n++ The percentage share of Foreign Tourist Arrivals (FTAs) in India during February 2017 among the top 15 source countries was highest from Bangladesh (17.46%) followed by UK (12.20%), USA (11.83%), Russian Fed. (4.29%), Canada (4.26%), France (3.25%), Germany (3.11%), China (2.96%), Sri Lanka (2.91%), Australia (2.62%), Malaysia (2.55%), Japan(2.26%), Thailand (1.83%), Afghanistan (1.73%), and Nepal (1.50%).

n++ The percentage share of Foreign Tourist Arrivals (FTAs) in India during February 2017 among the top 15 ports was highest at Delhi Airport (31.86%) followed by Mumbai Airport (16.10%), Haridaspur Land checkpost (9.44%), Chennai Airport (6.72%), Goa Airport (5.58%), Bengaluru Airport (5.14%), Kolkata Airport (4.75%), Cochin Airport (2.61%), Hyderabad Airport (2.49%), Gede Rail Land checkpost (2.43%), Ahmadabad Airport (2.03%), Amritsar Airport (1.49%), Trivandrum (1.37%), Ghojadanga land checkpost (1.24%) and Gaya Airport (1.24%).

Foreign Tourist Arrivals on e-Tourist Visa

n++ During the month of February, 2017 total of 1.70 lakh tourist arrived on e-Tourist Visa as compared to 1.17 lakh during the month of February 2016 registering a growth of 45.2%.

n++ During January- February 2017, a total of 32.18 lakh tourist arrived on e-Tourist Visa as compared to 20.54 lakh during January-February 2016, registering a growth of 56.7% .

n++ The percentage shares of top 15 source countries availing e- Tourist Visa facilities during February, 2017 were as follows:

UK (26.1%), USA (11.0%), France (7.3%), Russian Fed (7.3%), China (5.1%), Germany (4.8%), Canada (3.9%), Australia (3.4%), Korea (Rep.of) (2.2%), Netherlands (1.9%), Ukraine (1.5%), South Africa (1.5%), Spain (1.3%), Singapore (1.2%) and Sweden (1.2%).

The percentage shares of top 15 ports in tourist arrivals on e-Tourist Visa during February, 2017 were as follows:-

New Delhi Airport (42.0%), Mumbai Airport (19.6%), Dabolim (Goa) Airport (13.3%), Chennai Airport (6.3%), Bengaluru Airport (4.9%), Kochi Airport (3.6%), Kolkata Airport (2.3%), Hyderabad Airport (2.0%) Trivandrum Airport (1.7%), Amritsar Airport (1.7%), Ahmadabad Airport (1.5%), Jaipur Airport (0.5%), Tirchy Airport (0.4%), Gaya Airport (0.2%)and Lucknow Airport(0.1%) .

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Foreign Tourist Arrivals (FTAs)n++ and n++Foreign Tourist Arrivals (FTAs)n++ on e-Tourist visa during February 2017
Mar 17,2017

Ministry of Tourism compiles monthly estimates of Foreign Tourist Arrivals (FTAs) & FTAs on e- Tourist Visa on the basis of Nationality-wise, Port-wise data received from Bureau of Immigration (BOI).

The following are the important highlights regarding FTAs & FTAs on e-Tourist Visa from tourism during the month of February, 2017.

Foreign Tourist Arrivals (FTAs):

n++ The number of FTAs in February, 2017 were 9.56 lakh as compared to FTAs of 8.47 lakh in February, 2016 and 7.61 lakh in February, 2015.

n++ The growth rate in FTAs in February, 2017 over February, 2016 is 13.0% compared to 11.3% in February, 2016 over February, 2015.

n++ FTAs during the period January- February 2017 were 19.40 lakh with a growth of 14.7%, as compared to the FTAs of 16.91 lakh with a growth of 9.0% in January- February 2016 over January- February 2015.

n++ The percentage share of Foreign Tourist Arrivals (FTAs) in India during February 2017 among the top 15 source countries was highest from Bangladesh (17.46%) followed by UK (12.20%), USA (11.83%), Russian Fed. (4.29%), Canada (4.26%), France (3.25%), Germany (3.11%), China (2.96%), Sri Lanka (2.91%), Australia (2.62%), Malaysia (2.55%), Japan(2.26%), Thailand (1.83%), Afghanistan (1.73%), and Nepal (1.50%).

n++ The percentage share of Foreign Tourist Arrivals (FTAs) in India during February 2017 among the top 15 ports was highest at Delhi Airport (31.86%) followed by Mumbai Airport (16.10%), Haridaspur Land checkpost (9.44%), Chennai Airport (6.72%), Goa Airport (5.58%), Bengaluru Airport (5.14%), Kolkata Airport (4.75%), Cochin Airport (2.61%), Hyderabad Airport (2.49%), Gede Rail Land checkpost (2.43%), Ahmadabad Airport (2.03%), Amritsar Airport (1.49%), Trivandrum (1.37%), Ghojadanga land checkpost (1.24%) and Gaya Airport (1.24%).

Foreign Tourist Arrivals on e-Tourist Visa

n++ During the month of February, 2017 total of 1.70 lakh tourist arrived on e-Tourist Visa as compared to 1.17 lakh during the month of February 2016 registering a growth of 45.2%.

n++ During January- February 2017, a total of 32.18 lakh tourist arrived on e-Tourist Visa as compared to 20.54 lakh during January-February 2016, registering a growth of 56.7% .

n++ The percentage shares of top 15 source countries availing e- Tourist Visa facilities during February, 2017 were as follows:

UK (26.1%), USA (11.0%), France (7.3%), Russian Fed (7.3%), China (5.1%), Germany (4.8%), Canada (3.9%), Australia (3.4%), Korea (Rep.of) (2.2%), Netherlands (1.9%), Ukraine (1.5%), South Africa (1.5%), Spain (1.3%), Singapore (1.2%) and Sweden (1.2%).

The percentage shares of top 15 ports in tourist arrivals on e-Tourist Visa during February, 2017 were as follows:-

New Delhi Airport (42.0%), Mumbai Airport (19.6%), Dabolim (Goa) Airport (13.3%), Chennai Airport (6.3%), Bengaluru Airport (4.9%), Kochi Airport (3.6%), Kolkata Airport (2.3%), Hyderabad Airport (2.0%) Trivandrum Airport (1.7%), Amritsar Airport (1.7%), Ahmadabad Airport (1.5%), Jaipur Airport (0.5%), Tirchy Airport (0.4%), Gaya Airport (0.2%)and Lucknow Airport(0.1%) .

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Rank of Andhra Pradesh in Human Development Index among 21 major States of India was 9 in 2011-12
Mar 17,2017

According to the report Human Development in Andhra Pradesh prepared for Government of Andhra Pradesh by Center for Economic and Social Studies in 2016, the rank of Andhra Pradesh in Human Development Index(HDI) among 21 major States of India was 12 in 2004-05 and 9 in 2011-12. Moreover, as per the said report, the districts of Andhra Pradesh with a lower HDI in 2004-05 have improved their HDI status faster compared to the other districts by 2011-12. This reflects declining inequalities in HDI across the districts. The same is evident in case of the three components of HDI, viz., standard of living, health and education.

The initiatives taken by the Government to further increase the HDI in the country include:

n++ Promoting institutional deliveries, strengthening of health infrastructure, training of service providers in management of emergency obstetric care and skilled birth attendance, providing ante-natal and post-natal care, organising village health and nutrition days, engagement of an accredited social health activist (ASHA) in the community, establishing referral systems including emergency referral transport, training of service providers in integrated management of neo-natal & childhood illness, training of ASHAs in Home based new born care, training of health care providers in essential new-born care and resuscitation, providing new-born care at all levels, promoting exclusive breastfeeding and complementary feeding, establishment of nutritional rehabilitation centres, strengthening routine immunization programme, focussing on reduction in morbidity and mortality due to acute respiratory infections (ARI) and diarrhoeal diseases, introduction of name based web enabled tracking of pregnant women & children (Mother and Child Tracking System) to ensure antenatal, intra-natal and postnatal care to pregnant women and care to new-borns, infants and children.

n++ Enactment and operationalisation of Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education (RTE) Act, 2009, SarvaShikshaAbhiyan, Mid-Day-Meal Scheme, National Programme for Education of Girls at Elementary level, setting up of Kasturba Gandhi BalikaVidyalaya, MahilaSamakhya programme, scheme for providing quality education in Madarasas.

n++ Improving the purchasing power of the people through various income generating schemes including Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme.

n++ The National Food Security Act, 2013 aims to provide for food and nutritional security in human life cycle approach, by ensuring access to adequate quantity of quality food at affordable prices to people to live a life with dignity.

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Clarification by Central Board of Direct Taxes on rollback provision in the revised India-Korea Double Taxation Avoidance Agreement
Mar 17,2017

The Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) has clarified that under the revised India-Korea Double Taxation Avoidance Agreement (DTAA), applications for bilateral Advance Pricing Agreement (APA) involving international transactions with Associated Enterprises in Korea for the APA period beginning Fiscal Year 2017-18 can be filed along with request for rollback provision in prescribed form. Such requests for rollback provision shall be processed in accordance with the provisions of Income Tax Act i.e. section 92CC(9A) of the Income Tax Act 1961, and the applicable Income Tax rules in this regard. Inclusion of rollback provision in such bilateral APAs would also be subject to the applicable regulations in Korea. The CBDT has issued the present clarification in response to the queries received from taxpayers regarding availability of rollback provision in respect of bilateral APA applications for APA period beginning F.Y 2017-18.

The existing DTAA between India and Korea was signed on 19th July, 1985 and was notified on 26th September 1986. A revised DTAA between India and Korea for the Avoidance of Double Taxation and the Prevention of Fiscal evasion with respect to taxes on income was signed on 18th May 2015 and entered into force on 12th September 2016. Amongst other changes, the revised DTAA incorporates para 2 in Article 9 (Associated Enterprises). Article 9(2) of the revised India-Korea DTAA provides recourse to the taxpayers of both countries to apply for Mutual Agreement Procedure (MAP) in transfer pricing disputes as well as apply for Bilateral APAs for APA period beginning F.Y. 2017-18.

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Surplus Coal availability has resulted in Declining of Coal Imports: Shri Piyush Goyal
Mar 17,2017

Union Minister of State (I/C) for Coal, Power, New & Renewable Energy and Mines, Shri Piyush Goyal, said that the total coal imports have been consistently reducing over the last three years. In 2016-17, as on 31 December 2016, the figure has reduced to 144.87 MT as compared to 146.12 MT for the same period in 2015-16. Further, the total coal imports in 2015-16 was 199.9 MT as compared to 217.8 MT in 2014-15.

In the power sector, the coal being imported for blending with domestic coal has been decreasing. The quantity of coal imported by the power utilities in 2015-16 decreased to 37.1 MT from 48.5 MT in 2014-15.

In 2016-17, up to 31 January 2017, the power utilities have imported 16.6 MT coal as against import of 31.6 MT during the same period in 2015-16. For 2016-17, estimated coal demand on provisional basis has been assessed to be 884.87 MT, of which respective demand of steel, cement and captive power including fertilizer sector, has been assessed to be 56.62 MT, 34.37 MT & 91.11 MT respectively.

In 2016-17, there has been decline of coal stocks at pitheads of CIL as well as at Power Plants, as shown below:

 Year /Coal Stocks

(MT)

2014-152015-162016-17
(as on 05.03.17)
Pit Head (CIL)53.4757.6456.33Thermal Power Plants26.1038.8726.48

Shri Goyal further informed that to enhance production from the coal mines and introduce the state of the art technology along with global best practices, 39 projects (9 projects post 2014) with Surface miners, Powered Support Long Wall (PSLW) and Continuous Miner (CMs) have been sanctioned and implemented in CIL as an ongoing process till now.

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Environment Ministry Issues Notification, Provides Six-Months Window to Get Environmental Clearance to Deal With Cases of Violation
Mar 17,2017

The Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEF&CC) has provided a six months window, as a one-time opportunity to the units, which have not obtained prior environmental clearance to apply for the same. Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEF&CC) and State Environment Impact Assessment Authorities (SEIAAs) have been receiving proposals under the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) Notification, 2006 for grant of Terms of Reference (ToR) & Environmental Clearance (EC) for projects which have started the work on site, expanded the production beyond the limit of environmental clearance or changed the product mix without obtaining prior EC.

The Ministry had issued Office Memoranda (OM) dated 12 December 2012 and 27 June 2013 and laid down a process for grant of EC to such cases of violation. However, High Court of Jharkhand had passed an order dated the 28 November 2014, declaring some of the provisions of said OM dated 12 December 2012 void and had further held that action for alleged violation would be an independent and separate activity. Subsequently the above two O.Ms were quashed by the NGT vide order dated 7th July, 2015, mainly on the ground that the Environment Impact Assessment Notification, 2006 provides for prior environmental clearance, so no procedure can be laid through O.Ms for post environment clearance. It was cited that O.M. cannot amend a notification, which is a subordinate legislation.

In view of the above, the Ministry issued the notification vide S.O 804 (E) dated 14 March 2017 to bring such projects and activities in compliance with the environmental laws at the earliest point of time, rather than leaving them unregulated and unchecked. As such units are more polluting if they are not brought under the environment compliance regime, but the process for such violators has to be stringent and punitive.

The salient features of notification are as follows:

n++ This is a one-time opportunity for six months to apply for environmental clearance to units which are in violation on date of the notification i.e. 14 March 2017.

n++ The States / SPCBs will take action under Section 19 of the E (P) Act, 1986 for violation.

n++ All the cases of violation, irrespective of category, will be appraised as category n++An++ projects by respective sector Expert Appraisal Committee (EAC) at Central level. So, violation cases can only be appraised at the level of Ministry.

n++ The EAC will first examine the proposal with an angle that the project or activity is a permissible activity at the site on which it has come up. If it is not then the recommendation of EAC will be for closure.

n++ Respective EAC will prescribe the specific ToR for assessment of ecological damage, Remediation Plan and Natural and Community Resource Augmentation Plan (NCRAP) in addition to general ToR required under EIA Notification, 2006 for undertaking EIA/EMP.

n++ The idea is to take away the economic benefit (if any) derived by the company due to violation and pay for the remediation of damage caused due to violation.

n++ The plan shall be prepared as an independent chapter in the EIA report by the accredited consultants. The collection and analysis of data for assessment of ecological damage shall be done by an environmental laboratory duly notified under E(P) Act, 1986 / accredited by NABL/CSIR.

n++ The EAC shall stipulate the implementation of EMP, comprising remediation plan and NCRAP corresponding to the ecological damage assessed and economic benefit derived due to violation as a specific condition of EC.

n++ The project proponent will also be required to submit a bank guarantee equivalent to the amount of remediation plan and NCRAP with the SPCB.

n++ No consent to operate or occupancy certificate will be issued till the project is granted the EC.

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Current Northeast Budget around Rs 50,000 Cr: Dr Jitendra Singh
Mar 17,2017

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 said that the current budget for Northeast for 2017-18 is around Rs. 50,000 crore which is significantly higher than that in earlier years and is also an indication of high priority that the Modi Government accords to the development of that region.

Dr Jitendra singh said that the 10 % contribution from budget of the each of the 56 non-exempted Union Ministries earmarked for Northeast, amounts in total to over Rs. 43,000 crore which was earlier around Rs. 33,000 crore.

In addition, he said, the Railway budget for Northeast is to the tune of Rs. 5,500 crore, the budget for special roads scheme for Northeast is Rs. 150 crore and the budget for BTC, KAATC & DHATC amounts to about 120 crore. The DoNER Ministry budget, per se, for 2017-18 is also increased up to Rs. 279.45 crore, he added.

Dr Jitendra Singh said, both the pace of the various projects as well as the percentage expenditure of the allocated funds has shown significant rise during the last 3 years, as a result of certain pro-active steps taken by the DoNER Ministry under the leadership of Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi. For example, he said, the process of submission of approval of DPRs has been expedited using the help of modern technology and portals. Similarly, he said, the services of Space Centre in Shillong are being solicited for appropriate and accurate preparation of Utilization Certificates without wasting time. Result of this, he said, is that while in April 2016, the amount of around Rs. 1158 crore was pending on account of delayed Utilization Certificates but, as on February 2017, the same pending amount got reduced to Rs. 206.5 crore.

Dr Jitendra Singh appreciated some of the State Governments like Assam and Sikkim which had expedited the pace of various development projects. He said, in order to simplify procedures, he had suggested to the State Governments to constitute their own State Level Empowered Committee (SLEC) to finalize and approve the DPR and send them directly to the concerned Ministry with the Ministry of DoNER functioning as facilitator or adjunct so that the timeline of the process gets shortened.

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National Health Policy, 2017 approved by Cabinet Focus on Preventive and Promotive Health Care & Universal access to good quality health care services
Mar 16,2017

The Union Cabinet chaired by the Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi in its meeting on 15 March 2017, has approved the National Health Policy, 2017 (NHP, 2017). The Policy seeks to reach everyone in a comprehensive integrated way to move towards wellness. It aims at achieving universal health coverage and delivering quality health care services to all at affordable cost.

This Policy looks at problems and solutions holistically with private sector as strategic partners. It seeks to promote quality of care, focus is on emerging diseases and investment in promotive and preventive healthcare. The policy is patient centric and quality driven. It addresses health security and make in India for drugs and devices.

The main objective of the National Health Policy 2017 is to achieve the highest possible level of good health and well-being, through a preventive and promotive health care orientation in all developmental policies, and to achieve universal access to good quality health care services without anyone having to face financial hardship as a consequence.

In order to provide access and financial protection at secondary and tertiary care levels, the policy proposes free drugs, free diagnostics and free emergency care services in all public hospitals.

The policy envisages strategic purchase of secondary and tertiary care services as a short term measure to supplement and fill critical gaps in the health system.

The Policy recommends prioritizing the role of the Government in shaping health systems in all its dimensions. The roadmap of this new policy is predicated on public spending and provisioning of a public healthcare system that is comprehensive, integrated and accessible to all.

The NHP, 2017 advocates a positive and proactive engagement with the private sector for critical gap filling towards achieving national goals. It envisages private sector collaboration for strategic purchasing, capacity building, skill development programmes, awareness generation, developing sustainable networks for community to strengthen mental health services, and disaster management. The policy also advocates financial and non-incentives for encouraging the private sector participation.

The policy proposes raising public health expenditure to 2.5% of the GDP in a time bound manner. Policy envisages providing larger package of assured comprehensive primary health care through the Health and Wellness Centers. This policy denotes important change from very selective to comprehensive primary health care package which includes geriatric health care, palliative care and rehabilitative care services. The policy advocates allocating major proportion (upto two-thirds or more) of resources to primary care followed by secondary and tertiary care. The policy aspires to provide at the district level most of the secondary care which is currently provided at a medical college hospital.

The policy assigns specific quantitative targets aimed at reduction of disease prevalence/incidence, for health status and programme impact, health system performance and system strengthening. It seeks to strengthen the health, surveillance system and establish registries for diseases of public health importance, by 2020. It also seeks to align other policies for medical devices and equipment with public health goals.

The primary aim of the National Health Policy, 2017, is to inform, clarify, strengthen and prioritize the role of the Government in shaping health systems in all its dimensions- investment in health, organization and financing of healthcare services, prevention of diseases and promotion of good health through cross sectoral action, access to technologies, developing human resources, encouraging medical pluralism, building the knowledge base required for better health, financial protection strategies and regulation and progressive assurance for health. The policy emphasizes reorienting and strengthening the Public Health Institutions across the country, so as to provide universal access to free drugs, diagnostics and other essential healthcare.

The broad principles of the policy is centered on Professionalism, Integrity and Ethics, Equity, Affordability, Universality, Patient Centered & Quality of Care, Accountability and pluralism.

It seeks to ensure improved access and affordability of quality secondary and tertiary care services through a combination of public hospitals and strategic purchasing in healthcare deficit areas from accredited non-n++governmental healthcare providers, achieve significant reduction in out of pocket expenditure due to healthcare costs, reinforce trust in public healthcare system and influence operation and growth of private healthcare industry as well as medical technologies in alignment with public health goals.

The policy affirms commitment to pre-emptive care (aimed at pre-empting the occurrence of diseases) to achieve optimum levels of child and adolescent health. The policy envisages school health programmes as a major focus area as also health and hygiene being made a part of the school curriculum.

In order to leverage the pluralistic health care legacy, the policy recommends mainstreaming the different health systems. Towards mainstreaming the potential of AYUSH the policy envisages better access to AYUSH remedies through co-location in public facilities. Yoga would also be introduced much more widely in school and work places as part of promotion of good health.

The policy supports voluntary service in rural and under-served areas on pro-bono basis by recognized healthcare professionals under a giving back to society initiative.

The policy advocates extensive deployment of digital tools for improving the efficiency and outcome of the healthcare system and proposes establishment of National Digital Health Authority (NDHA) to regulate, develop and deploy digital health across the continuum of care.

The policy advocates a progressively incremental assurance based approach.

Background:

The National Health Policy, 2017 adopted an elaborate procedure for its formulation involving stakeholder consultations. Accordingly, the Government of India formulated the Draft National Health Policy and placed it in public domain on 30th December, 2014. Thereafter following detailed consultations with the stakeholders and State Governments, based on the suggestions received, the Draft National Health Policy was further fine-tuned. It received the endorsement of the Central Council for Health & Family Welfare, the apex policy making body, in its Twelfth Conference held on 27th February, 2016.

The last health policy was formulated in 2002. The socio economic and epidemiological changes since then necessitated the formulation of a New National Health Policy to address the current and emerging challenges.

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Fitch: Fed Embarks on New Phase of Normalization
Mar 16,2017

Fitch Ratings-New York/London-15 March 2017: The US Federal Reserves (the Fed) decision to hike interest rates by 25bps represents the beginning of a new phase of US monetary policy normalization, says Fitch Ratings.

The prediction for three hikes in 2017 in the Federal Open Market Committees (FOMC) December 2016 Summary of Economic Projections was initially met with some skepticism in financial markets. However, by moving rates up again so quickly, the Fed now looks well on track to deliver. Two rate hikes within the space of just over three months and some marginal toughening up of the statement on forward guidance underscore the contrast with the glacial and hesitant approach to unwinding stimulus seen in the past few years. More broadly, Fitch believes that the recent US rate hikes could mark the beginning of a significant shift in the global interest rate environment, with benchmark US policy rates settling higher over the long term than current market expectations.

The decision to raise the Fed Funds target rate to 0.75%-1.00% marks the second rate hike in just over three months. This represents a major acceleration in Fed action. Fitch now expects a total of seven hikes in 2017 and 2018, bringing the policy rate to 2.50%. This contrasts with just two rate hikes in total between the end of 2008 and 2016.

Macro indicators through 2H16 and early 2017 reinforce the likelihood of a pickup in rate normalization over the medium term. GDP growth of 2.6% (annualized) in 2H16 was a significant recovery from 1H16, underpinned by improvements in private investment and industrial output. So far, jobs data this year have also been supportive, with the latest nonfarm payrolls, unemployment and private sector earnings figures all pointing to tightening labor market conditions.

Material fiscal easing should bolster positive domestic demand trends. President Trumps agenda of tax cuts, fiscal stimulus and deregulation in the financial services and other sectors strongly indicates that some level of growth boost is likely. Although the precise form of stimulus remains uncertain, Fitch believes that fiscal policy could add up to 0.3pp to economic growth in both 2017 and 2018. Fitch recently revised up its US growth expectations in recognition of the increased likelihood of fiscal easing, higher private investment and improving global outlook. Fitch forecasts US GDP growth to accelerate to 2.3% and 2.6% in 2017 and 2018, respectively.

Fitch does not believe that the increased pace of Fed rate hikes poses a risk to US economic growth. However, the impact from dollar strengthening could have wider global effects, especially should this result in prolonged monetary policy divergence. US rate rises, combined with fiscal stimulus, at a time when the European Central Bank and Bank of Japan are continuing to pursue ultra-loose monetary policy, should prolong the dollar strengthening trend. Rising rates and dollar strength have historically added to external financing risks for emerging markets.

Fitch believes that market expectations for a permanently lower equilibrium interest rate in the US and the continuation of ultra-loose monetary policy for several more years could be increasingly challenged. This could result in a rapid shift in consensus expectations toward a higher terminal rate and a faster pace of normalization. Notably, market consensus was not expecting a March rate hike as early as last month, although healthy macro data releases and hawkish public statements from FOMC members resulted in a quick shift in expectations ahead of the actual decision.

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