Polity & Governance
- Centre amends definition of a start-up
- National Commission for Women holds Interactive Meeting with State Commissions for Women
- RBI Dy. chief selection norms eased
- Prices of 31 more drugs capped
- In-flight Wi-Fi Net access soon
- Dhola sadiya bridge: India’s longest river bridge
Bilateral & International Relations
- 2017 Global Platform for Disaster Risk Reduction
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Polity & Governance
Centre amends definition of a start-up
In order to promote entrepreneurship in the country, the Government of India has amended the definition of a Startup.
Objectives of the move:
- The changes are an effort to ensure ease of starting up new businesses to promote the Startup ecosystem and build a nation of job creators instead of job seekers.
What changes have been made to the definition of Startups?
Age of Startup increased:
- Taking into account the long gestation period by Startups to establish, an entity shall be considered as a Startup up to seven years from the date of its incorporation/ registration (from earlier 5 years).
- However, in the case of Startups in the Biotechnology sector, the period shall be up to ten years from the date of incorporation/ registration.
No Letter of Recommendation required:
- No letter of recommendation from an incubator/industry association shall be required for either recognition or tax benefits
Potential of Job and Wealth Creation:
- The scope of definition has been broadened to include scalability of business model with potential of employment generation or wealth creation.
Significance of the move:
- The tweak in the definition will help the entities to avail government sponsored venture funding and tax and other benefits.
- It will create more jobs and promote entrepreneurship under the Start-up India scheme.
About Startup India:
- Startup India was launched by the Government of India on 16th January, 2016 to build a strong eco-system for nurturing innovation and Startups in the country to drive economic growth and generate large scale employment opportunities.
National Commission for Women holds Interactive Meeting with State Commissions for Women
The National Commission for Women recently organised an Interactive Meeting of the State Commissions for Women with a view to strengthening the process of NCW’s networking with State Commissions for Women and to gain from each other’s experience.
- The meeting was attended by Chairpersons, Members and Member secretaries of various State Commissions for Women.
- After the meeting, NCW came up with a slew of recommendations.
- State Commissions for Women should take up with their respective State Government for setting up of Hostels for girls and women.
- State Commission should pro-actively coordinate and send feedback on the complaint matters forwarded to them by NCW in the last six months.
- SCWs may pursue with the state Government on the implementation of the Supreme Court judgment on ban of un-regulated sale of acids with a view to prevent horrific crimes against women specifically acid attacks.
- The National Commission for Women (NCW) is a statutory body of the Government of India, generally concerned with advising the government on all policy matters affecting women.
- It was established in January 1992 under the provisions of the Indian Constitution, as defined in the 1990 National Commission for Women Act.
- The objective of the NCW is to represent the rights of women in India and to provide a voice for their issues and concerns.
- The commission regularly publishes a monthly newsletter, Rashtra Mahila in both Hindi and English.
RBI Dy. chief selection norms eased
The government has relaxed the selection criteria for Reserve Bank of India Deputy Governor’s appointment and opened the post for private sector candidates.
Who can apply?
As per the latest notification by the RBI,
- Applications for the post can just be a board member or a full time director having 15 years of experience in banking and financial market operations.
- Candidates from beyond its traditional recruitment base. Besides practicing bankers from both private and public sectors, it makes even consultants who have worked closely with banks eligible for the post.
Pay & Perks:
- As per the notification, the appointment will be for a term of three years in the pay scale of Rs 2,25,000 pr month and the age limit has been capped at 60, which could be relaxed in exceptional cases.
- The RBI has traditionally appointed four deputy governors: Two of them are from within the central bank, one is an economist generally from the government, and the other is from the banking sector.
- So far, the deputy governor from the banking sector has been from the public sector banks.
Prices of 31 more drugs capped
The National Pharmaceutical Pricing Authority (NPPA) has capped the prices of 31 more drugs.
- The notification brings under price control intrauterine devices used for birth control; Factor VIII, a life-saving medicine for haemophilic patients; morphine, a pain killer; and rifampcin, a powerful antibiotic used to treat infections such as tuberculosis and leprosy.
- With these 31 drugs, the NPPA has brought 791 medicines under price control.
- There are 829 drugs on the National List of Essential Medicines, 2015, all of which will be brought under price control.
- The NPPA periodically revises prices of essential medicines under the Drug (Pricing Control) Order (DPCO) that has about 650 formulations under it. These prices can be increased by companies by a maximum of 10% depending on inflation.
About National Pharmaceutical Pricing Authority (NPPA):
- NPPA is an organization of the Government of India which was established, inter alia, to fix/ revise the prices of controlled bulk drugs and formulations and to enforce prices and availability of the medicines in the country, under the Drugs (Prices Control) Order, 1995.
- The organization is also entrusted with the task of recovering amounts overcharged by manufacturers for the controlled drugs from the consumers.
- It also monitors the prices of decontrolled drugs in order to keep them at reasonable levels.
Functions of National Pharmaceutical Pricing Authority:
- To implement and enforce the provisions of the Drugs (Prices Control) Order in accordance with the powers delegated to it.
- To deal with all legal matters arising out of the decisions of the Authority.
- To monitor the availability of drugs, identify shortages, if any, and to take remedial steps.
- To collect/ maintain data on production, exports and imports, market share of individual companies, profitability of companies etc., for bulk drugs and formulations.
- To undertake and/ or sponsor relevant studies in respect of pricing of drugs/ pharmaceuticals.
- To recruit/ appoint the officers and other staff members of the Authority, as per rules and procedures laid down by the Government.
- To render advice to the Central Government on changes/ revisions in the drug policy.
- To render assistance to the Central Government in the parliamentary matters relating to the drug pricing.
In-flight Wi-Fi Net access soon
On-board Wi-Fi may soon become a reality as the Department of Telecommunications (DoT) has sent a revised proposal that will enable in-flight access to voice, data and video services.
- To provide on-board Wi-Fi services, the Centre will need to amend the Telegraph Act, 1885, as well as the related Indian Telegraphy Rules.
- The idea was initially floated by the communications ministry.
- The Home Ministry had raised concerns about security agencies being able to monitor data and voice transmission in the initial proposal floated by DoT under the Communication Ministry.
- However, the revised proposal has addressed the issue of flight data monitoring.
- At present, both domestic and international passengers are unable to use in-flight Internet services over Indian airspace.
- Even international airlines that offer such a facility to its passengers have to discontinue the service while the aircraft is flying over the Indian airspace.
Dhola sadiya bridge: India’s longest river bridge
PM Modi has inaugurated India’s longest river bridge – the Dhola-Sadia Bridge in Assam.
Key facts about the bridge:
- The Dhola-Sadia Bridge is a three lane bridge stretching 9.15 kilometre built over river Lohit, which is a tributary of the Brahmaputra river.
- The Dhola-Sadiya bridge is 3.55 km longer than the Bandra–Worli Sea Link in Mumbai which is the longest bridge in the country as of now.
- The bridge links Dhola in Assam to Sadiya in Arunachal Pradesh.
- It has been constructed on BOT Annuity basis at a total cost of Rs 2,056 crore.
- The bridge is part of the Arunachal Package of Roads and Highways under the Ministry’s Special Accelerated Road Development Programme for North East.
Significance of the bridge:
- Earlier, the only means to cross the Brahmaputra at this location was by ferry in the daytime, and even this was not possible during floods. The Dhola- Sadiya bridge will ensure 24X7 connectivity between upper Assam and the eastern part of Arunachal Pradesh.
- The bridge will also reduce the distance from Rupai on NH-37 in Assam to Meka/Roing on NH-52 in Arunachal Pradesh by 165km, cutting down on travel time from the current six hours to just one hour.
- This, the government claims, will result in saving of petrol and diesel worth Rs 10 lakh per day.
- Given the fact that the North East is prone to high seismic activity, the bridge has been provided seismic buffers in all its 182 piers.
- The bridge promises to provide efficient road connectivity to remote and backward areas which have poor road infrastructure, which will give a major boost to overall economic development of the areas north of the Brahmaputra in upper Assam and Arunachal Pradesh.
- The bridge will also benefit the army, with convoys requiring less time to journey from Assam to the posts along the India-China border in Arunachal Pradesh. The bridge is also expected to enhance India’s defence capabilities in the northeastern region.
- The government said it will also facilitate numerous hydro power projects coming up in the state, as it is the most sought-after route for various power project developers.
Bilateral & International Relations
2017 Global Platform for Disaster Risk Reduction
The 2017 Global Platform for Disaster Risk Reduction is being held in Cancun, Mexico.
- The Global Platform is the most important international forum dedicated to the disaster risk reduction agenda, and this will be the first time it has been staged outside Geneva.
- The 2017 Global Platform will mark the first opportunity for the international community to review global progress on the implementation of the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction, which was adopted in Japan in 2015.
- More than 5,000 participants are expected, including policy makers and disaster risk managers.
About the Global Platform for Disaster Risk Reduction:
- The Global Platform for Disaster Risk Reduction is a biennial forum for information exchange, discussion of latest developments, knowledge and partnership-building across sectors.
- Its goal is to improve the implementation of disaster risk reduction through better communication and coordination amongst stakeholders.
- Its core function is to enable governments, NGOs, scientists, practitioners, and UN organizations to share experience and formulate strategic guidance for the implementation of global disaster risk reduction agreements: the 2005 Hyogo Framework for Action and its post-2015 successor the Sendai Framework.
About Sendai Framework:
The Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction (2015-2030) is an international Treaty which was adopted during the Third UN World Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction (WCDRR) held in Sendai, Japan in March, 2015.
- It is the successor agreement to the Hyogo Framework for Action (2005–2015), which had been the most encompassing international accord to date on disaster risk reduction.
- It is the first major agreement of the post-2015 development agenda, with seven targets and four priorities for action.
- The Framework is for 15-year.
- It is a voluntary and non-binding agreement which recognizes that the State has the primary role to reduce disaster risk but that responsibility should be shared with other stakeholders including local government, the private sector and other stakeholders.
- The implementation of the Sendai Framework involves adopting integrated and inclusive institutional measures so as to work towards preventing vulnerability to disaster, increase preparedness for response and recovery and strengthen resilience.
Priorities for action:
The Sendai Framework sets four specific priorities for action:
- Understanding disaster risk;
- Strengthening disaster risk governance to manage disaster risk;
- Investing in disaster risk reduction for resilience;
- Enhancing disaster preparedness for effective response, and to “Build Back Better” in recovery, rehabilitation and reconstruction.
The Seven Global Targets:
To support the assessment of global progress in achieving the outcome and goal of the Sendai Framework, seven global targets have been agreed:
- Substantially reduce global disaster mortality by 2030, aiming to lower average per 100,000 global mortality rate in the decade 2020-2030 compared to the period 2005-2015.
- Substantially reduce the number of affected people globally by 2030, aiming to lower average global figure per 100,000 in the decade 2020 -2030 compared to the period 2005-2015.
- Reduce direct disaster economic loss in relation to global gross domestic product (GDP) by 2030.
- Substantially reduce disaster damage to critical infrastructure and disruption of basic services, among them health and educational facilities, including through developing their resilience by 2030.
- Substantially increase the number of countries with national and local disaster risk reduction strategies by 2020.
- Substantially enhance international cooperation to developing countries through adequate and sustainable support to complement their national actions for implementation of this Framework by 2030.
- Substantially increase the availability of and access to multi-hazard early warning systems and disaster risk information and assessments to the people by 2030.