Government Schemes & Policies
- Atal Pension Yojana subscribers base crosses 1 crore mark on completion of 3 years of launch of the Scheme
Issues related to Health & Education
- WHO launches ‘REPLACE’ to eliminate trans fat in foods by 2023
- IIM Ahmedabad’s CIIE launches $25 million Bharat Inclusion Initiative
- Trade facilitation pact in services at WTO to push global economy: Suresh Prabhu
- 30 States and Union Territories participate in State Startup Ranking Framework 2018
Key Facts for Prelims
- First all-woman Post Office Passport Seva Kendra
- Indian Army Women Officers’ Mountaineering Expedition to Mt. Bhagirathi-Ii
- 16th May: National Dengue Day 2018:
- May 15: International Day of Families
- India third largest solar market in the world: Mercom Communications
- Integrated Centre for Crisis Management
- First International Rail Coach Expo held in Chennai
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Government Schemes & Policies
Atal Pension Yojana subscribers base crosses 1 crore mark on completion of 3 years of launch of the Scheme
According to Pension Fund Regulatory and Development Authority (PFRDA), Atal Pension Yojana has added over 1 crore subscribers since its launch in May 2015.
- Atal Pension Yojana (APY) was launched in May 2015 and current number of subscriber stands at 1.10 crore.
Top ten states in APY mobilisation are:
- Uttar Pradesh (1,401,631), Bihar (1,061,660), Tamil Nadu (814,917), Maharashtra (758,695), Karnataka (686,504), Andhra Pradesh (686,504), West Bengal (551,471), Madhya Pradesh (498,111), Rajasthan (497,962) and Gujarat (486,465).
About Atal Pension Yojana:
Atal Pension Yojana (APY) is a pension scheme for citizens of India focussed on the unorganised sector workers.
- Under the APY, guaranteed minimum pension of Rs. 1,000/-, 2,000/-, 3,000/-, 4,000 and 5,000/- per month will be given at the age of 60 years in turn for the contribution varying from Rs 42 to Rs 210 per month.
- The Pension Fund Regulatory and Development Authority (PFRDA) is the nodal agency for APY and is working out plans to improve reach and information dissemination.
- Any Citizen of India between 18 – 40 years of age can join APY scheme.
- Government co-contribution is available for 5 years, i.e., from 2015-16 to 2019-20 for the subscribers who join the scheme during the period from 1st June, 2015 to 31st December, 2015 and who are not covered by any Statutory Social Security Schemes and are not income tax payers.
The APY scheme follows same investment pattern as applicable to National Pension Scheme (NPS) contribution of Central government employees.
[Ref: PIB, Economic Times]
Issues related to Health & Education
WHO launches ‘REPLACE’ to eliminate trans fat in foods by 2023
World Health Organization (WHO) has launched comprehensive plan “REPLACE” to eliminate industrially-produced artificial trans-fats from global food supply by 2023.
- The elimination of trans-fats is key to protecting health and saving lives.
Six areas of action:
REPLACE is abbreviated in six strategic actions as Review, Promote, Legislate, Assess, Create awareness and Enforce.
- Reviewdietary sources of industrially produced transfats and landscape for required policy change.
- Promote replacement of industrially produced transfats with healtier fats and oils.
- Legislateor enact regulatory actions to eliminate industrially produced transfat.
- Assess and monitor trans-fat content in the food supply and changes in transfat consumption in the population…
- Create awarenessof the negative health impact of trans-fat among policy makers, producers, suppliers and the public.
- Enforce compliance with policies and regulations.
About the REPLACE campaign:
- The campaign provides step-by-step guide in six strategic actions of ‘REPLACE’ package to ensure prompt, complete, and sustained elimination of industrially-produced trans-fats from global food supply.
- Implementing six strategic actions will help achieve elimination of trans-fat and represent major victory in the global fight against cardiovascular diseases.
IIM Ahmedabad’s CIIE launches $25 million Bharat Inclusion Initiative
Indian Institute of Management Ahmedabad’s (IIMA’s) centre for innovation, incubation, and entrepreneurship (CIIE) has launched ‘Bharat Inclusion Initiative’.
About Bharat Inclusion Initiative:
- The Bharat Inclusion Initiative aims to provide a continuum of solutions to inclusion-focused tech entrepreneurs across the pre-incubation, seed and scale-up stage and help them jump to the next orbit.
- It is a $25 million initiative that will look to mentor and invest in start-ups in the early stage and seed segment over the next three-four years.
- The fund will look at start-ups in areas such as financial inclusion, livelihood, education, agriculture, and health.
- The initiative received an initial pledge of $12.5 million from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the Michael and Susan Dell Foundation, and Omidyar Network.
Trade facilitation pact in services at WTO to push global economy: Suresh Prabhu
India has pitched for inclusion of the trade facilitation pact on services in the World Trade Organisation (WTO) saying it would help promote growth of the global economy.
- On the lines of the trade facilitation pact in goods, India has submitted a detailed proposal to the WTO to negotiate a trade facilitation agreement in services (TFS).
- India is pitching for this pact as the sector contributes over 60% to the GDP and 28% to total employment.
About Trade Facilitation agreement in services:
- The TFS proposal aims at liberalising rules for movement of professionals and other steps to reduce transaction costs with a view to boost growth of the services sector.
- It will focus on issues like liberalised visa regime, long-term visas for business community and freer movement of professionals for the greater benefit of both India and the world, among others.
- The proposed agreement would set provisions on all four modes of services supply of the General Agreement on Trade in Services (GATS).
- For services supplied through “mode 3” (a foreign company setting up subsidiaries or branches to provide services in another country), it suggests streamlining the setting up of businesses through a “single window”.
- For the cross-border movement of services suppliers (known as “mode 4”), it suggests simplifying work permit and visa procedures and ensuring that measures relating to taxation, fees and social security contributions do not unfairly disadvantage foreign service suppliers.
- Other suggestions include enhancing cooperation among authorities, facilitating cross-border data flows, and allowing WTO members to comment on measures before their entry into force. The proposal also foresees special and differential treatment for developing countries.
Need for Trade Facilitation in Services:
- The TFS Agreement, in conjunction with enhanced liberalization commitments, would help realize the fuller potential for trade in services.
- Global trade in services represents a contradiction in the macroeconomic sphere. It has about 70.5% of share in world GDP and 50.9% share in employment. However, relative to this, its share in global exports is lower than that of trade in goods, despite having a higher share in GDP. This dichotomy suggests that there are more barriers existing for trade in services as compared to trade in goods.
30 States and Union Territories participate in State Startup Ranking Framework 2018
30 States and Union Territories have participated in the State Startup Ranking Framework 2018 launched by Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion (DIPP).
How evaluation takes place?
- The participating States and UTs shall now be evaluated on a score of 100, against 38 action points categorized into 7 areas of intervention such as Startup Policy and implementation, Incubation support, Seed Funding, Angel and Venture Funding, Simplification of Regulations, Easing Public Procurement and Awareness & Outreach.
- In order to evaluate States/UTs in a balanced and transparent manner, the assessment will be based on the aggregate score of the documentary proofs substantiating the implementation of action points by the State/ UT Government and also feedback from Startup ecosystem beneficiaries/components.
- DIPP has appointed seven dedicated evaluation committees involving members from all relevant departments and reputed players in the ecosystem, for evaluating States’ responses in each area of intervention.
About the Ranking Framework:
- The key objective of the Startup States and UTs Ranking Framework is to encourage States and UTs to take proactive steps towards strengthening the Startup ecosystems at the local level.
- The Ranking Framework will measure the impact of each step initiated at the local level for building a strong Startup ecosystem. The Ranking Framework will also enable contnuous learning through the dissemination of good practices.
- The Ranking Framework is based on the feedback collected from Startup ecosystem stakeholders, which include startups, mentors, investors, accelerators, incubators and the government bodies. Areas which should be given greater thrust like seed funding support, women entrepreneurship are given more score.
Key Facts for Prelims
First all-woman Post Office Passport Seva Kendra
- The 192nd Post Office Passport Seva Kendra, opened recently in Phagwara in Punjab, will be the first in the country to have all-women staff.
Indian Army Women Officers’ Mountaineering Expedition to Mt. Bhagirathi-II
- Indian Army Women Officers’ Mountaineering Expedition to Mt. Bhagirathi-II (6512 metres) consisting of nine women officers, was recently flagged off.
- Bhagirathi-II is located in the Garhwal Himalayas in Gangotri National Park.
- The peak rises right above the Gangotri glacier which sets new challenges for the climbers.
- The summit is challenging owing to its technical requirements, vertical ascents, inclement and unpredictable weather conditions.
16th May: National Dengue Day 2018:
- National Dengue Day is observed on May 16 in order to create awareness regarding the viral disease.
- Dengue is contagious and can easily be spread from one person to another.
- The disease is mainly caused by 1 of the 4 closely related dengue viruses. The fever is transmitted when Aedes mosquito infected with dengue virus bites a person.
- High fever, severe headaches, nausea, joint and muscle pain are some of the symptoms of the disease, which typically starts after 6 days of being infected with it. Those with weak immune system are at the higher risk of dengue.
- The best way to prevent the disease is to try the best not to get bit by mosquitoes. Keep your surrounding clean and increase the usage of mosquito repellents. Avoid roaming in grassy areas in night. Don’t forget to close door and windows of your house. To prevent breeding of mosquitoes, avoid still water near your surroundings.
May 15: International Day of Families
- The International Day of Families is observed every year on 15th of May across world to promote awareness of issues relating to families and increase knowledge of social, economic and demographic progression that affects families which are the basic unit of society.
- The 2018 theme is “Families and inclusive societies”.
- It explores role of families and family policies in advancing Sustainable Development Goal 16 (SDG 16) in terms of promoting peaceful and inclusive societies for sustainable development.
- The day was proclaimed by United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) in 1993 by adopting resolution A/RES/47/237 and reflects importance international community attaches to families.
- Every year, UN secretary-general makes to the particular applicable motto (theme) attention.
India third largest solar market in the world: Mercom Communications
- According to recently released report by Mercom Communications, India emerged as third largest solar market in world in 2017 behind China and United States.
- Mercom Communications India is arm of global clean energy consulting firm Mercom Capital Group.
Integrated Centre for Crisis Management
- President Ram Nath Kovind inaugurated Integrated Centre for Crisis Management (ICCM) at Bhabha Atomic Research Centre (BARC) in Mumbai, Maharashtra.
- The ICCM will help nation to respond more effectively to chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear (CBRN) emergencies.
- It will monitor radiological data from a network of 504 radiation sensors across the country.
First International Rail Coach Expo held in Chennai
- The first-ever International Rail Coach Expo (IRCE) was held in Chennai, Tamil Nadu to focus on Rail Coaches and train sets.
- The three day expo was hosted by Integral Coach Factory (ICF) Chennai, under the Ministry of Railways, in coordination with CII (Confederation of Indian Industries) and RITES Ltd.
- Integral Coach Factory (ICF) is manufacturer of rail coaches located in Chennai, Tamil Nadu. It was established in 1952. It is owned and operated by Indian Railways. It primarily manufactures rolling stock for Indian Railways and also exports railway coaches to other countries.