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Expanding Economies in Asia Deliver 60% of Global Growth n++ ADB
Apr 07,2017

Growth is picking up in two-thirds of economies in developing Asia, supported by higher external demand, rebounding global commodity prices, and domestic reforms, making the region the largest single contributor to global growth at 60%, says a new Asian Development Bank (ADB) report.

In its new Asian Development Outlook (ADO) 2017, ADB forecasts gross domestic product (GDP) growth in Asia and the Pacific to reach 5.7% in 2017 and 2018, a slight deceleration from the 5.8% registered in 2016. ADO is ADBs flagship annual economic publication.

n++Developing Asia continues to drive the global economy even as the region adjusts to a more consumption-driven economy in the Peoples Republic of China (PRC) and looming global risks,n++ said Yasuyuki Sawada, ADBs Chief Economist. n++While uncertain policy changes in advanced economies do pose a risk to the outlook, we feel that most economies are well positioned to weather potential short-term shocks.n++

Industrial economies are gathering growth momentum, with the US, euro area, and Japan expected to collectively grow by 1.9% in 2017 and 2018. Rising consumer and business confidence and a declining unemployment rate have fueled US growth, but uncertainty over future economic policies may test confidence. The euro area continues to strengthen, but its outlook is somewhat clouded by uncertainties such as Brexit. Meanwhile, Japan remains dependent on its ability to maintain export growth to continue its expansion.

The PRCs growth continues to moderate as the government implements measures to transition the economy to a more consumption-driven model. Overall output is expected to slow to 6.5% in 2017 and 6.2% in 2018, down from 2016s 6.7%. Efforts to maintain financial and fiscal stability will continue to be a modest drag on growth going forward, but continued structural reform will help to maintain growth in the governments target range.

South Asia remains the fastest growing of all subregions, with growth reaching 7% in 2017 and 7.2% in 2018. In India, the subregions largest economy, growth is expected to pick up to 7.4% in fiscal year (FY) 2017 and 7.6% in FY2018, following the 7.1% registered last FY. The impact of the demonetization of high-value banknotes is dissipating as the replacement banknotes enter circulation. Stronger consumption and fiscal reforms are also expected to improve business confidence and investment prospects in the country.

Overall growth in Southeast Asia is forecast to accelerate further with nearly all economies in the region showing an upward trend. The region will grow 4.8% in 2017 and 5% in 2018, from the 4.7% recorded last year. Commodity producers such as Malaysia, Viet Nam, and Indonesia will be boosted by the recovery of global food and fuel prices.

Growth in Central Asia is expected to reach 3.1% in 2017 and 3.5% in 2018, on the back of rising commodity prices and increased exports, albeit with large heterogeneity among countries in the region. Meanwhile, countries in the Pacific will reach 2.9% and 3.3% growth over the next 2 years as the regions largest economy, Papua New Guinea, stabilizes following a fiscal crunch and Fiji and Vanuatu recover from natural disasters.

Regional consumer price inflation is projected to accelerate to 3% in 2017 and 3.2% in 2018 from the 2.5% registered in 2016 on the back of stronger consumer demand and increasingly rising global commodity prices. Inflation projections for the next 2 years, however, are well below the 10-year regional average of 3.9%.

Risks to the outlook include higher US interest rates, which will accelerate capital outflows, although this risk is mitigated to some degree by abundant liquidity throughout the region. The effects of US monetary policy tightening are likely to materialize only gradually, giving governments in Asia and the Pacific time to prepare adequately. Economies with flexible exchange rates may experience deeper currency depreciation and subsequent higher inflation, while managed currencies will tend to forfeit export price competitiveness.

On the domestic front, rising household debt in some Asian economies is a rising risk. Authorities can counter this risk through prudent macro-prudential policies, such as requiring tighter debt-to-income ratios for loans. Authorities may also have to intervene more decisively in housing markets to cool speculative demand and head off asset bubbles.

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Steady Reform Progress Fueling Indias Growth Pick Up n++ ADB
Apr 07,2017

Indias fast growth will resume with gross domestic product (GDP) expanding by 7.4% in fiscal year (FY) 2017 and 7.6% in FY2018 supported by reform measures, says a new Asian Development Bank (ADB) report.

In its new Asia Development Outlook (ADO) 2017 report, ADB notes that the deceleration to 7.1% registered last year was due in part to slower investment growth. Also contributing to the moderation was the impact of the governments demonetization of high-value currency notes, though this effect is seen as largely temporary. ADO is ADBs flagship annual economic publication.

n++An array of important reforms has propelled Indias economic success in recent years,n++ said Yasuyuki Sawada, ADBs Chief Economist. n++A continued commitment to reform n++ especially in the banking sector n++ will help India maintain its status as the worlds fastest growing major economy.n++

Indias growth in FY2016 was fueled by agriculture and government services. Industrial growth, however, slowed to 5.8% over the last 12 months from 8.2% in FY2015. Growth in services moderated to 7.9% due to slowdowns in finance and real estate. Net foreign direct investment (FDI) in the country remained strong at $36.7 billion in FY2016 following the governments efforts to simplify guidelines and allow FDI in key economic sectors.

Moving forward, the ADO expects growth to accelerate through increased consumption, as more new bank notes are put in circulation, and as planned salary and pension hike for state employees are implemented. The public sector will remain the main driver of investment as banks continue to wind down balance sheets constrained by high levels of stressed assets. Exports are forecast to grow by 6% in the coming year.

Inflation, meanwhile, is expected to accelerate to 5.2% in FY2017 and 5.4% in FY2018 as the global economy recovers and commodity prices rebound.

The assessment notes risks from higher oil prices as India imports nearly 80% of its fossil fuel needs. A rapid increase in the price of oil could undermine the countrys fiscal position, stoke inflation, and swell the current account deficit. The report estimates that a $1 increase in oil prices raises the import bill by nearly $2 billion. In FY2016, rising oil prices resulted in a 37.6% increase in Indias import bill. To mitigate Indias vulnerability to oil price swings, the government has proposed reducing dependence on imported oil by 10% over the next 5 years through more efficient domestic production and increased private investment into the sector.

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Tamil Nadu, MP, UP, AP, Chattisgarh lead in implementing urban poverty alleviation programmes
Apr 06,2017

Tamil Nadu, Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Andhra Pradesh and Chattisgarh are ahead of other States in addressing urban poverty during the last three years i.e 2014-17.

Tamil Nadu is in the forefront in assisting urban poor with subsidized loans for self-employment through setting up of individual and group micro enterprises and formation of Self-Help Groups under DeenDayalAntyodaya Yojana-NULM (DAY-NULM) and Uttar Pradesh led in skilling urban poor. Madhya Pradesh stood second in skill training and providing loans support.

Details of performance of leading States under different components of DAY-NULM are as below:

StateNo of urban poor given
skill trainingNo of beneficiaries
gven subsidized loansSelf-Help Groups
formedTamil Nadu

1,04,448

30.25824,245Madhya Pradesh1,17,13326,558  8,973Uttar Pradesh1,89,83114,13815,954Andhra Pradesh   45,23615,61712,278Chattisgarh   30,022  8,18514,393West Bengal   64,277  2,41810,871Karnataka   38,007  8,799  5,021Maharashtra   29,317  8,202  6,921Bihar   29,762     890  8,390Telangana   12,546  3,18210,097Gujarat   12,090  2,216  7,186

National Urban Livelihoods Mission (NULM) was launched in September,2016 with the objective of reducing the poverty and vulnerability of urban poor households by enabling them to access gainful self-employment and skilled wage employment opportunities for improvements in their livelihoods on a sustainable basis. NULM which was launched in 790 cities and towns in 2013 was subsequently extended to all the statutory 4,041 cities and towns in February, 2016.

During 2014-17, 8,07,187 urban poor were given skill training, 1,35,158 beneficiaries were given subsidized bank loans for setting up own enterprises and 1,62,285 Self-Help Groups have been formed for taking up income augmenting activities with the support of bank loans.

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Geo-tagging of agriculture assets created under Rashtriya Krishi Vikas Yojna (RKVY): Shri Radha Mohan Singh
Apr 06,2017

A MoU was signed between Rashtriya Krishi Vikas Yojana (RKVY) and National Remote Sensing Centre (NRSC) for geotagging of agriculture land.

Shri Radha Mohan Singh said that Rashtriya Krishi Vikas Yojana (RKVY) works for the development of Agriculture & allied sectors by motivating the states. More than 1.5 lakh assets have been created/ developed under this scheme in agriculture, horticulture, livestock, fisheries and dairy sectors. It is imperative to formulate a national index of the assets to understand them, systemize them and to reduce the gap between demand and supply.

Agriculture Minister said that the government is committed to transparency in governance. Shri Singh said that development of space-related technologies to prepare the list of the assets and their utilisation is a progressive step. Being aware of the realistic status of assets will not only be helpful in monitoring and utilising, but also be extremely useful in formulating development schemes in the agriculture sector. Agriculture Minister added that it will also help in avoiding duplication and pave the way for harmonising a balance between the various schemes of the ministry.

Shri Radha Mohan Singh further added that there is unlimited scope for agriculture development by utilising satellite and remote sensing technologies. The government wants farmers to avail the benefits provided by these technologies. Shri Singh said that by utilising space-related technologies farmers will get timely information about pesticide/residue testing labs, storage infrastructure and agriculture markets.

Agriculture Minister informed that the space technology needs to be developed in the areas such as land resource mapping, pesticides management, soil health mapping, crop yield estimation as well as the identification and assessment of floods like calamities, inland fisheries, animal species identification and sheep rearing and when the technology is developed, the farmers can enjoy quick and instant benefits.

Shri Singh said very soon farmers would utilise the internet and mobile phones to obtain agriculture related information such as fertility of soil, the quantity of fertiliser to be used, condition for sowing potential pests aggression, estimation of yield, godowns, cold storage, agriculture markets as well as identification and availabilities of animal species.

Agriculture Minister showered both the teams as well as states with praise for applying space and remote sensing technologies to monitor agriculture-related assets under RKVY.

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Steady reform progress fueling Indias growth pick up: ADB
Apr 06,2017

Indias fast growth will resume with gross domestic product (GDP) expanding by 7.4% in fiscal year (FY) 2018 and 7.6% in FY2019 supported by reform measures, says a new Asian Development Bank (ADB) report.

In its new Asia Development Outlook (ADO) 2017 report, ADB notes that the deceleration to 7.1% registered last year was due in part to slower investment growth. Also contributing to the moderation was the impact of the governments demonetization of high-value currency notes, though this effect is seen as largely temporary. ADO is ADBs flagship annual economic publication.

An array of important reforms has propelled Indias economic success in recent years, said Yasuyuki Sawada, ADBs Chief Economist. A continued commitment to reform n++ especially in the banking sector - will help India maintain its status as the worlds fastest growing major economy.

Indias growth in FY2017 was fueled by agriculture and government services. Industrial growth, however, slowed to 5.8% over the last 12 months from 8.2% in FY2016. Growth in services moderated to 7.9% due to slowdowns in finance and real estate. Net foreign direct investment (FDI) in the country remained strong at $36.7 billion in FY2017 following the governments efforts to simplify guidelines and allow FDI in key economic sectors.

Moving forward, the ADO expects growth to accelerate through increased consumption, as more new bank notes are put in circulation, and as planned salary and pension hike for state employees are implemented. The public sector will remain the main driver of investment as banks continue to wind down balance sheets constrained by high levels of stressed assets. Exports are forecast to grow by 6% in the coming year.

Inflation, meanwhile, is expected to accelerate to 5.2% in FY2018 and 5.4% in FY2019 as the global economy recovers and commodity prices rebound.

The assessment notes risks from higher oil prices as India imports nearly 80% of its fossil fuel needs. A rapid increase in the price of oil could undermine the countrys fiscal position, stoke inflation, and swell the current account deficit. The report estimates that a $1 increase in oil prices raises the import bill by nearly $2 billion. In FY2016, rising oil prices resulted in a 37.6% increase in Indias import bill. To mitigate Indias vulnerability to oil price swings, the government has proposed reducing dependence on imported oil by 10% over the next 5 years through more efficient domestic production and increased private investment into the sector.

ADB, based in Manila, is dedicated to reducing poverty in Asia and the Pacific through inclusive economic growth, environmentally sustainable growth, and regional integration. Established in 1966, ADB is celebrating 50 years of development partnership in the region. It is owned by 67 members - 48 from the region.

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JVs with PSUs for Nuclear Power Generation
Apr 06,2017

Nuclear Power Corporation of India Limited (NPCIL), a Public Sector Enterprise (PSE) of the Department of Atomic Energy has entered into Joint Ventures with some of the PSUs for setting up nuclear power projects.

The details of the Joint Ventures are as follows:

JV NameIncorporated
onJV PartnerShareholding  Ratio
(NPCIL : JV Partner)Anushakti Vidhyut Nigam Limited27.01.2011NTPC Limited51 : 49NPCIL - Indian Oil Nuclear
Energy Corporation Limited06.04.2011Indian Oil Corporation Limited74 : 26NPCIL - NALCO Power Company Limited 02.03.2012National Aluminum Company 74 : 26

A well established system of information security is in place in Nuclear Power   Corporation of India Limited (NPCIL) in line with the policies and guidelines issued  by the Department of Atomic Energy (DAE), comprising of both administrative   measures and technical control systems. The systems are periodically reviewed both internally and by external teams comprising of members from other units of DAE for effecting improvements. Detailed procedure for control of confidential information is also in place.

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544 ULBs Signs MoU with EESL For Led Street Lights
Apr 06,2017

544 Urban Local Bodies (ULBs) have entered into an implementation agreement with Energy Efficiency Services Limited (EESL) for replacement of street lights with LED street lights till 03.04.2017.

The target is to replace 3.5 crore conventional street lights by LED street lights, till March 2019. As on 03.04.2017, over 19.67 lakh conventional street lights have been replaced with LED street lights. EESL is playing an important role as a catalyst in replacing the lights, while several other suppliers are also engaged in the same.

Proposal for replacement of conventional street lights with LED street lights has been submitted to remaining States by EESL. In order to encourage States/UTs to join this programme, Ministry of Power has also written to all the States/UTs requesting them to participate in this programme.

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Investment and private consumption push OECD GDP growth up to 0.7% in Q4 of 2016: OECD
Apr 06,2017

Real GDP in the OECD area increased by 0.7% in the fourth quarter of 2016, compared with 0.5% in the previous quarter, according to provisional estimates. Investment and private consumption made the largest contributions to OECD growth of 0.3 and 0.5 percentage point, respectively (up from 0.0 and 0.3, respectively in the third quarter of 2016.)

For 2016 as a whole, OECD annual GDP grew by 1.8%, mainly driven by private consumption (which contributed 1.4 percentage point) and to a lesser extent by government consumption and investment (each contributing 0.3 percentage point). Net exports and destocking dragged annual OECD growth down by minus 0.1 percentage point each.

Drivers of GDP growth varied across the Major Seven economies

In the United Kingdom, GDP increased by 0.7% (up from 0.5%). Significant destocking in the fourth quarter (which contributed minus 1.6 percentage point, compared with 1.2 percentage point in the previous quarter) was more than offset by a strong rebound in foreign trade (1.7 percentage point, up from minus 1.4).Private consumption added another 0.4 percentage point.

In Canada, GDP growth slowed to 0.6% (down from 0.9% in the previous quarter), mainly reflecting destocking (which contributed minus 0.7 percentage point, compared with 0.4 in the previous quarter). The contribution from investment also decreased significantly (minus 0.3 percentage point, down from 0.0). These negative contributions were partially offset by a strong improvement in net exports and increased government consumption (1.3 and 0.1 percentage point respectively, up from 0.3 and minus 0.1).

In the United States, GDP growth slowed to 0.5%, compared with 0.9% in the previous quarter, mainly reflecting a reduced contribution from net exports (minus 0.5 percentage point, down from 0.2 in the previous quarter) and also, albeit more moderately, from government consumption. These effects were partially offset by positive contributions from private consumption, stockbuilding and investment.

In Germany, GDP growth picked-up to 0.4% (up from 0.1% in the previous quarter), driven by higher private consumption, government consumption and investment (0.2 percentage point each, from 0.1, 0.0 and 0.0 respectively). These positive contributions were slightly offset by net exports (minus 0.4 percentage point, from minus 0.3).

GDP increased by 0.4 % in France (up from 0.2% in the previous quarter), mainly reflecting a rebound in the foreign trade balance (0.1 percentage point from minus 0.6) and increased contributions from private consumption and investment (0.3 and 0.1 percentage point respectively, from 0.0 each). These positive contributions were partially offset by destocking (minus 0.2, from 0.7).

In Japan, GDP growth was stable (at 0.3%). Lower contributions from net exports (0.2 percentage point, compared with 0.4 in the previous quarter) and private consumption (0.0 percentage point compared with 0.2) were offset by increased contributions from investment and government consumption.

In Italy, the slight deceleration of GDP growth (0.2%, compared with 0.3% in the previous quarter) reflected destocking and slowing private consumption while government consumption and net exports made positive contributions (0.1 and 0.0 percentage point respectively, from 0.0 and minus 0.2).

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Strong Passenger Demand, Record Load Factor in February 2017: IATA
Apr 06,2017

The International Air Transport Association (IATA) announced global passenger traffic results for February showing a second month of strong demand growth to begin 2017. Total revenue passenger kilometers (RPKs) rose 4.8%, compared to the same month last year. Although this was below growth achieved in January, year-to-year comparisons are distorted because February 2016 was a leap month. Adjusting for the one fewer day this year, the underlying growth rate was estimated at 8.6%, just under January 2017 increase of 8.9%. Monthly capacity (available seat kilometers or ASKs) increased by 2.7%, and load factor rose 1.6 percentage points to 79.5%, which was the highest ever recorded for February.

The strong demand momentum from January has continued, supported by lower fares and a healthier economic backdrop. Although we remain concerned over the impact of any travel restrictions or closing of borders, we have not seen the attempted US ban on travel from six countries translate into an identifiable traffic trend. Overall travel demand continues to grow at a robust rate, said Alexandre de Juniac, IATAs Director General and CEO.

IATA estimates that allowing for inflation, the price of air travel has fallen by more than 10% in real terms over the past year, accounting for more than half the growth in RPKs in early 2017.

International Passenger Markets

February international passenger demand rose 5.8% compared to February 2016, which was down compared to the 9.1% yearly increase recorded in January. Adjusting for the leap year, however, growth actually accelerated slightly compared to January. Total capacity climbed 3.4%, and load factor rose 1.8 percentage points to 78.4%.

European carriers saw February demand increase by 6.5% compared to a year ago. Traffic has resumed its growth after the terrorist disruptions in 2016, supported in part by momentum in the regional economy. Capacity climbed 3.4% and load factor surged 2.4 percentage points to 81.1%.

Asia-Pacific airlines February traffic rose 5.2% compared to the year-ago period, maintaining the strong momentum of the past few months. Intra-Asia traffic remains robust and conditions on the Asia-Europe route have continued to recover from last years terrorism-related slowdown. Capacity increased 2.9% and load factor climbed 1.7 percentage points to 79.8%.

Middle East carriers had the strongest growth, with a 9.5% demand increase in February compared to a year ago. Capacity rose 7% and load factor climbed for a fourth consecutive month to 74.3%, up 1.8 percentage points over last year.

North American airlines traffic climbed 0.3%, which was the slowest among the regions. However, adjusting for the leap year, growth was estimated at 3.4%. Traffic to/ from Asia continues to move upward but transatlantic demand has trended sideways since mid-2016. Capacity inched up 0.1% and load factor edged up 0.1 percentage point to 75.9%.

Latin American airlines saw February traffic rise 5.9% compared to February 2016. Capacity increased by 2.8%, boosting load factor 2.3 percentage points to 81.4%, highest among the regions. Robust international demand within South America is offsetting weaker traffic to North America, which has trended downward since mid-2015 and fell by 3.4% in January, the most recent month for which route-specific results are available.

African airlines continued their recovery, with February traffic up 7.1% compared to a year ago. This mainly reflects the upturn on the key route to/from Europe, offsetting struggles in the regions biggest economies of Nigeria and South Africa. Capacity rose 2.3%, and load factor jumped 2.9 percentage points to 66.0%.

Domestic Passenger Markets

Domestic travel demand rose 3.3% in February compared to February 2016, reduced from 8.7% in January, but again, the leap year effect greatly exaggerated the slowdown. Results varied widely as Australia, Brazil and the US all registered non-adjusted declines. Domestic capacity climbed 1.6%, and load factor increased 1.3 percentage points to 81.4%.

Russia has joined India and China among the fastest growing markets. Traffic is now back on its trend line prior to the collapse of Transaero in late 2015, supported by steady recovery in the economy and ruble over the past year as oil prices have firmed.

US airlines upward momentum in the domestic market has stalled over the past six months, notwithstanding strong readings from consumer confidence surveys.

The year has opened with some shocksn++the attempted ban on travel to the US by citizens of six countries and the restrictions on the carry-on of large electronic items from certain airports in the Middle East and North Africa on direct flights to the US and the UK. The potential implications of the Brexit talks on the air transport industry are significant and the political rhetoric of protectionism and closing of borders is adding to the ambiguity.

Its intolerable that governments continue to add to the uncertainties facing the air transport industry by failing to engage airline operational know-how on issues that can damage public confidence. The introduction of restrictions on the carry-on of large electronic devices was a missed opportunity and the result was a measure that cannot stand-up to the scrutiny of public confidence in the long term. Although Australias measures were also implemented without consulting the industry, they at least demonstrate the potential to mitigate the threat with less disruptive means. We all want to keep flying secure. And we can do that most effectively by working together, said de Juniac.

In tandem, states need to support the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) as it develops a Global Aviation Security Plan. Additionally, next month, ICAO member states will consider amendments to Annex 17 of the Chicago Convention that would require information sharing. The security experience of recent years should compel states to support this, said de Juniac.

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RBI keeps repo rate unchanged at 6.25%, hikes reverse repo rate to 6%
Apr 06,2017

The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) in its first monetary policy review has kept its key policy interest rate, repo rate, unchanged at 6.25%. however, consequent upon the narrowing of the LAF corridor to 25 basis points from 50 basis points earlier, as elaborated in the accompanying Statement on Developmental and Regulatory Policies, the reverse repo rate under the LAF is at 6.0% (5.75% earlier), and the marginal standing facility (MSF) rate and the Bank Rate are at 6.50% (6.75% earlier).

The decision of the MPC is consistent with a neutral stance of monetary policy in consonance with the objective of achieving the medium-term target for consumer price index (CPI) inflation of 4% within a band of +/- 2%, while supporting growth. The main considerations underlying the decision are set out in the statement below.

Since the February bi-monthly monetary policy statement, inflation has been quiescent. Headline CPI inflation is set to undershoot the target of 5.0% for Q4 of 2016-17 in view of the sub-4% readings for January and February. For 2017-18, inflation is projected to average 4.5% in the first half of the year and 5% in the second half.

GVA growth is projected to strengthen to 7.4% in 2017-18 from 6.7% in 2016-17, with risks evenly balanced.

Overall, the MPCs considered judgement call to wait out the unravelling of the transitory effects of demonetisation has been broadly borne out. While these effects are still playing out, they are distinctly on the wane and should fade away by the Q4 of 2016-17.

While inflation has ticked up in its latest reading, its path through 2017-18 appears uneven and challenged by upside risks and unfavourable base effects towards the second half of the year. Moreover, underlying inflation pressures persist, especially in prices of services. Input cost pressures are gradually bringing back pricing power to enterprises as demand conditions improve.

The MPC remains committed to bringing headline inflation closer to 4.0% on a durable basis and in a calibrated manner. Accordingly, inflation developments have to be closely and continuously monitored, with food price pressures kept in check so that inflation expectations can be re-anchored. At the same time, the output gap is gradually closing. Consequently, aggregate demand pressures could build up, with implications for the inflation trajectory.

Against this backdrop, the MPC decided to keep the policy rate unchanged in this review while persevering with a neutral stance. Six members voted in favour of the monetary policy decision. The future course of monetary policy will largely depend on incoming data on how macroeconomic conditions are evolving. Banks have reduced lending rates, although further scope for a more complete transmission of policy impulses remains, including for small savings/administered rates. Along with rebalancing liquidity conditions, it will be the Reserve Banks endeavour to put the resolution of banks stressed assets on a firm footing and create congenial conditions for bank credit to revive and flow to productive sectors of the economy.

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Mandatory Quoting of Aadhaar for PAN Applications & Filing Return of Income
Apr 06,2017

Section 139AA of the Income-tax Act, 1961 as introduced by the Finance Act, 2017 provides for mandatory quoting of Aadhaar / Enrolment ID of Aadhaar application form, for filing of return of income and for making an application for allotment of Permanent Account Number with effect from 1st July, 2017.

It is clarified that such mandatory quoting of Aadhaar or Enrolment ID shall apply only to a person who is eligible to obtain Aadhaar number. As per the Aadhaar (Targeted Delivery of Financial and Other Subsidies, Benefits and Services) Act, 2016, only a resident individual is entitled to obtain Aadhaar. Resident as per the said Act means an individual who has resided in India for a period or periods amounting in all to one hundred and eighty-two days or more in the twelve months immediately preceding the date of application for enrolment. Accordingly, the requirement to quote Aadhaar as per section 139AA of the Income-tax Act shall not apply to an individual who is not a resident as per the Aadhaar Act, 2016.

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MoU signed for a joint India-UK collaborative centre in crop-science
Apr 06,2017

A Memorandum of Understanding has been signed for establishing a joint India-UK collaborative centre in crop-science. Aims and objectives of the centre are:-

n++ Establishment of a Research Centre located in India.

n++ Establishment of a joint fellowship programme in plant sciences to facilitate the exchange of PhD students and Postdoctoral researchers between the partnering UK and Indian institutions.

n++ Integration with continuing DBT-UK activities, such as the DBT-Cambridge Lectureships and the UK-India Virtual Joint Centres in Agricultural Nitrogen.

n++ Capacity building, leadership development and developing robust farmer outreach components.

The aim of the MoU is to develop a long term partnership between India and UK in Plant Sciences. Steps have been initiated and joint activities have commenced which are detailed below:-

n++ Joint Faculty Programme: The Department of Biotechnology in partnership with University of Cambridge, UK have initiated research-oriented lectureship programme at Cambridge University and a partner institute in India. The duration of lectureship is for a fixed term of five year of which three year of this will be in India and two year will be in University of Cambridge. Five applicants have been selected and are working under the joint unestablished post of Lectureship.

n++ Four India-UK Virtual Joint Centres in Agricultural Nitrogen have been established which will eventually integrate into the activities of Joint Plant Science Research Centre.

n++ Workshop Women Agriculture Scientists in Cambridge: This workshop was a direct result of the joint UK-India collaboration programme in crop science. Twenty five scientists in Agriculture were sent to Cambridge for a five day leadership training programme during 4th-10th September 2016.

The Department of Biotechnology is looking to expand global partnership and will be open to signing of such MoU with other countries. Crop science is top priority of the country and negotiations are continuing with countries such as Australia, EU for establishing programmes in Agriculture and Plant Science.

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Government allows import of only 5 lakh MT of raw sugar at zero duty through open general license: Shri Ram Vilas Paswan
Apr 06,2017

Shri Ram Vilas Paswan, Union Minister for Consumer Affairs, Food & Public Distribution said that in order to address regional production gaps and also to maintain domestic prices at reasonable levels, it has been decided by the Government to allow import of a restricted quantity of only 5 lakh MT of raw sugar at zero duty through open general license. The import shall be done with zonal quantity restrictions and will be open for only millers/refiners having their own refining capacity.

Shri Paswan further said that considering the quantity of sugar available as opening stocks and the production in the current sugar season, it is estimated that there is adequate quantity of sugar available in the country for domestic consumption.

The scheme shall be operated by the Directorate General of Foreign Trade as per their rules and regulations.

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Department of Commerce achieves 99.45% of final plan expenditure and 100% implementation of PFMS and DBT
Apr 06,2017

During the Financial Year 2016-17, Department of Commerce has expended Rs. 2454.58 Crore under Plan Schemes which works out of 99.45% of the final plan allocation. This achievement is the highest in last 5 Financial Years. In the year 2012-13 DoC has made 98.02% of expenditure under Plan Schemes, and expenditure was 96.86% in 2013-14, 96.50% in 2014-15 and 98.54% in 2015-16.

1. Public Finance Management System(PFMS)

As per the direction of Ministry of Finance & O/o CGA, PFMS which is Public Finance Management System was to be extended to all offices under control of Department of Commerce all over India. PFMS was also to be implemented in all autonomous Bodies, PSUs and other Trade Promotion offices under Department of Commerce.

In the Year 2016-17 Department of Commerce has achieved 100% implementation of PFMS in all its autonomous bodies, PSUs and Trade Promotion bodies all over India by 31st March,2017. This enables Just-in-Time release of funds to these organizations thereby preventing unnecessary parking of funds.

2. Direct Benefit Transfer(DBT)

Cabinet Secretariat has instructed that all Grants-in-Aids (GIA) and Subsides being given to beneficiaries, should be disbursed electronically through the Direct Benefit Transfer mode. As approved by Secretary, Commerce in August,2016. Seven Organizations namely: - Tea Board, Coffee Board, Spices Board, Rubber Board, Tobacco Board, APEDA and MPEDA were selected for DBT implementation in DoC by 31st March,2017.

DBT was successfully implemented in all these organizations by 31st March,2017. All the beneficiaries under these schemes, have been linked with AADHAR in most cases. Department of Commerce has thus achieved the target of 100% in DBT implementation by the stipulated timeline of 31st March,2017.

These achievements were possible due to constant monitoring and appraisal by the Department at the highest level throughout the year.

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Cabinet approves extension of implementation of Crime and Criminal Tracking Network and Systems Project by one year
Apr 06,2017

The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs, chaired by the Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi has approved the proposal of the Ministry of Home Affairs for extension of the implementation phase of the Crime and Criminals Tracking Network and Systems (CCTNS) Project for another year beyond 31st March 2017.

The extension would help in achieving the remaining objectives of the project comprehensively. The maintenance phase of the Project will continue till 2022 as approved earlier. With a total outlay of Rs. 2000 crore, a sum of Rs. 1550 crore, which was the total allocation to the project so far, has been spent till 2016-17.

The Inter-operable Criminal Justice System (ICJS) aims to integrate the CCTNS project with the e-courts and e-prisons databases in the first instance and with the other pillars of the criminal justice system - Forensics, Prosecution, Juvenile homes and a nationwide Fingerprint data base of criminals in a phased manner. The integration will be achieved by providing access to the Judiciary, Police and Prisons through a desktop dashboard to facilitate expeditious and informed decisions and aid investigations.

Impact of the CCTNS Project will lead to:

i. Citizen portals in all states and Centre that will facilitate transparency and speed in police service delivery, online registration of complaints and reporting and search of missing persons and stolen goods in self-service mode.

ii. Pan-India search on complete National Crime and Criminal database that is accessible to the Investigating Officers throughout the country.

iii. Search facility will be available to Police in regional languages for improved inter-state tracking of criminal movement.

iv. Reliable network connectivity to all Police Stations in the country.

v. National level crime analytics that will be published at, increased frequency to help policy and law makers in taking data backed timely actions and in making appropriate policy interventions.

vi. Integration with various e-Governance projects such as Aadhaar, National Population Register, Vaahan Project of the Ministry of Surface Transport, Passport Seva and National Emergency Response System Project thus increasing the synergies and benefit accrued from these individual systems. It will expedite various kinds of police verification requests and investigation.

vii. Advanced features such as biometric based identification, trend and pattern analytics etc. that will be incorporated to enhance hi-tech investigation capability.

viii. ICJS that will be available to all pillars of the criminal justice system helping improve its service delivery.

Achievements under CCTNS Project:

In the last one year following significant outcomes have been achieved by the Project:

n++ More than 83% Police Stations in the country are entering 100% FIRs through CCTNS software.

n++ 120 lakhs FIR have been entered in CCTNS system till date. Legacy Crime records since 2004 have also been migrated to the CCTNS database. In all around seven crore records are now available in the national crime database.

n++ 31 States/UTs have launched their portals which provide various services like registration of complaints, verification of criminal antecedents/litigation of individuals/property, obtaining NOC from police for events for law and order clearance, search of missing person search, matching unidentified dead bodies, Vehicle related enquiries, antecedent verification for issue of passport etc.

n++ The ICJS dashboard has been implemented by integrating CCTNS with e-Courts and e-prisons and has been launched on a trial basis with select central investigation agencies. v n++ Software for Prosecutions and Forensics has been developed and is currently being rolled out in Bihar, Telangana and Puducherry.

Background:

Originally approved in 2009, the Project aims to:

a) deliver various web based police related services to citizens.

b) facilitate a pan-India search of crime and criminal records of individuals through a national database.

c) generate crime and criminal reports at the state and central level to inform policy interventions and

d) computerise police processes.

In 2015, an additional objective of establishing a basic platform for an Inter-operable Criminal Justice System (ICJS) was added to the Project.

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