▼ Zero Hunger Programme in three districts of India! [09-20-17]
This programme will be launched in addition to what the government has planned to deal with the issue of malnutrition through various other initiatives under its goal to make India malnutrition free by 2022.
Three districts - Gorakhpur in Uttar Pradesh, Koraput in Odisha and Thane in Maharashtra - will initiate India's ambitious 'Zero Hunger' programme through interventions in farm sector on October 16 (World Food Day).
Though many more districts will eventually be covered under this dedicated farm-based programme in sync with India's Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end hunger by 2030, these three would act as a model of an integrated approach to deal with hunger and malnutrition by adopting suitable agricultural\horticultural practices.
The programme will ensure suitable methods of measuring the impact of intervention. There will be intensive training programme in order to identify the nutritional maladies in each district and the appropriate agricultural/horticultural and animal husbandry remedies.
The Programme will be initiated by the Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR) in association with the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR), the M S Swaminathan Research Foundation and the Biotechnology Industry Research Assistance Council (BIRAC).
The concerned state governments will also be involved in the programme which consists of organisations of farming system for nutrition, setting up genetic gardens for biofortified plants/crops and initiation of a 'Zero Hunger' training.
A genetic garden for biofortified plants/crops contains the germplasm of naturally biofortified crops or such crops through plant breeding. It has plants and crops that help supplement micro-nutrient deficiencies, including iron, iodine, vitamin A and zinc among others.
MS Swaminathan and Zero Hunger Programme
- It is hoped that such an integrated programme will help us achieve the zero hunger district goal surely and speedily, led by MS Swaminathan who is popularly known as father of 'green revolution' in India.
- The 'Zero Hunger' programme, planned in Koraput, Thane and Gorakhpur districts, will focus on agriculture, nutrition and health in a symbiotic manner: MS Swaminathan
- This programme will be launched in addition to what the government has planned to deal with the issue of malnutrition through various other initiatives under its goal to make India malnutrition free by 2022.
- Under the UN-approved SDGs, which were adopted by countries including India in 2015, the government is expected to ensure sustainable food production systems and implement resilient agricultural practices in the country.
▼ The Vijay Mallya Effect: Fugitive Economic Offenders Bill 2017 approved! [09-20-17]
The Union Law ministry has approved Fugitive Economic Offenders Bill, 2017 to empower government to confiscate property of economic offenders and defaulters who flee India.
The Bill seeks to deter economic offenders from evading the process of Indian law by fleeing the country.
It was drafted in pursuance of Finance Minister Arun Jaitley’s 2017-18 Budget speech promising legislative changes or even new law to confiscate the assets of such fugitives.
The Finance Ministry had prepared the draft Cabinet note on the bill and sought the law ministry’s opinion on it.
Features of Bill
It defines fugitive economic offender as any individual against whom warrant for arrest in relation to economic offence has been issued and person has left the country and refuses to return to India to face criminal prosecution.
The burden of proof for establishing that an individual is fugitive economic offender will be on authorities.
The proposed bill will be applicable in cases where the value of offences is over INR 100 crore.
It will allow Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU), the premier technical snoop wing under the finance ministry, to file an application for declaration of fugitive economic offender for confiscation of their assets.
The bill entrusts responsibility to try such cases to the courts under Prevention of Money Laundering Act, 2002 (PMLA).
The bill has provision for appointment of an administrator to dispose off property of fugitive offender to pay off the creditors. Besides, it has provisions to override provisions of other existing laws.
Law ministry wants Saving Clause to be incorporated in the Bill before it is introduced in Parliament. Saving clause provides for certain exception(s) in a statute.
It enables repealed law to be in force with respect to some existing rights as provisions of the proposed bill has bearing on the provisions of existing laws.
The existing laws under which such fugitive economic offender are tried include Recovery of Debts Due to Banks and Financial Institutions Act (RDDBFI), Securitisation and Reconstruction of Financial Assets and Enforcement of Security Interest Act, 2002, (SARFESI) and Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code
Need for this Bill
- In the recent past, there have been instances of big-time offenders, including economic offenders, fleeing the country to escape reach of jurisdiction of Indian courts.
- Most recently, Vijay Mallya, chief of erstwhile Kingfisher Airlines who owes over INR 9,000 crore to various Indian banks, had fled India to escape legal proceedings in connection with the loans.
- Such cases have several deleterious consequences as it hampers investigation in criminal cases, wastes precious time of courts of law and undermines the rule of law of the country.
- The law ministry observed that necessary constitutional safeguards in terms of providing hearing to the person through counsel allowing him time to file a reply, serving notice of summons to him and an appeal to the High Court have been provided for in the bill.
- Also, the bill has provision for appointment of an administrator to dispose off the property to pay off the creditors.
- Besides, the provisions of the proposed law will override provisions of other existing laws.
- In the recent past, there have been instances of big-time offenders, including economic offenders, fleeing the country to escape the reach of the law.
- The finance ministry had in May sought comments from stakeholders on the proposed legislation.
- As per the draft law, a 'fugitive economic offender', means any individual against whom a warrant for arrest in relation to an economic offence has been issued and the person has left the country and refuses to return to India to face criminal prosecution.
- Also, the burden of proof for establishing that an individual is a fugitive economic offender will be on the authorities.
▼ Shaheed Gram Vikas Yojana launched in birthplace of Jharkhand freedom fighter Birsa Munda [09-20-17]
BJP president Amit Shah on 18th Sept 2017 launched the ‘Shaheed Gram Vikas Yojana’ during a programme at Ulihatu in Khunti district of Jharkhand.
Ulihatu is the birthplace of Jharkhand’s tribal icon Birsa Munda.
Shah, on the third day of his Jharkhand visit, also met the descendants of Birsa Munda and gave away gas connections, solar lamps to some of the beneficiaries.
The programme launched by Shah would provide 136 pucca houses to the dwellers of Ulihatu and a couple of other hamlets around it.
The government is providing two-room, a verandah, bathroom and toilet house.
▼ Swachhta Hi Seva: Cleanliness is Service campaign launched in UP [09-18-17]
Taking the Central Government’s ambitious cleanliness drive to a higher trajectory, President Ram Nath Kovind today kicked off the fortnight-long 'Swachhta Hi Seva' (Cleanliness is Service) campaign from Uttar Pradesh.
The campaign, aimed at highlighting the Narendra Modi government's flagship cleanliness initiative 'Swachh Bharat Mission', was launched from Ishwari Ganj village near Kanpur.
The president also made people take a pledge to keep their surroundings clean.
President Kovind also had a word of praise for those women who refused to marry into homes without any toilets.
He also appreciated actors Amitabh Bachchan and Akshay Kumar for their support to the cause.
Uttar Pradesh Governor Ram Naik expressed it was more important for a household to have a toilet than a place of worship.
The UP government has been associated with the Swacch Bharat Abhiyan and has constructed 10 lakh toilets so far.
The target is to construct 78 lakh toilets by December 31, 2017 and make the state Open Defecation Free (ODF) by October, 2018.
Total of four districts - Shamli, Bijnor, Hapur and Ghaziabad - had been made open defecation free.
By December 31, 2017, 30 districts would be brought under the ODF category, and by October next year, all the 75 districts in the state will become open defecation free.
The Doordarshan will also broadcast a world premiere of the film 'Toilet: Ek Prem Katha' on September 17.
On October 2, Gandhi Jayanti, which is also the Swachh Bharat Diwas, awards for essays, short film and painting competitions will be given.
▼ Wood is Good Campaign launched by MoEFCC [09-15-17]
The Union Ministry of Environment and Forests and Climate Change (MoEFCC) has launched “Wood is Good” Campaign under Partnership for Land Use Science (Forest-Plus).
It was launched on sidelines of two-day conference on “Sustainable landscapes and forest ecosystems: Theory to Practice” in New Delhi.
Forests are integral part of Indian culture and tradition. Government is committed to increase forest cover from 24% to 33% of geographical area and creating an additional carbon sink of 2.5 to 3 billion tons of CO2 equivalent in forests, as reflected in Internationally Nationally Determined Contributions (INDCs)
Dr. Harsha Vardhan launched the ‘Wood is Good’ campaign on the occasion under the Forest-Plus programme.
The purpose of the campaign is to promote wood as a climate-friendly resource and substitute to materials like steel and plastic as it is a renewable resource, having zero carbon footprint, unlike other materials that leave carbon footprint in their production.
While emphasising on the need to create an enabling environment through small steps such as planting more trees, the ministry also indicated the need for raising the forest cover much beyond the stipulated 33 percent.
Key Objectives of Conference to Launch Scheme
- To explore issues and opportunities for ecosystem approach to land management in India.
- To discuss how the approaches and tools developed under the Forest-PLUS programme can be used to improve forest management in India.
- To document and disseminate that learning with a wider group.
- The Partnership for Land Use Science (Forest-Plus)is a joint programme by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEF&CC) to strengthen capacity for REDD (Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation) implementation in India.
- The programme will bring together experts from both India and the United States to develop tools, technologies and methods of forest management in order to meet the technical challenges of managing forests for the health of the ecosystem, carbon stocks, biodiversity and livelihood.
- The REDD Programme is collaborative programme of Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP).
- It was created in 2008 in response to UNFCCC decisions on Bali Action Plan and REDD at COP-13. Its goal is to reduce forest emissions and enhance carbon stocks in forests while contributing to national sustainable development.
▼ Nobel prize winner Kailash Satyarthi launches anti-child abuse campaign [09-11-17]
Nobel laureate Kailash Satyarthi is about to launch a new campaign against child abuse and trafficking.
It is a war on rapes, war on child sexual abuse and trafficking because these are not ordinary crimes and they cannot be solved through the business-as-usual approach– these were the Nobel winner's words on the campaign.
Two children are sexually abused every hour.
One child goes missing every eight minutes in India.
These children are trafficked– sold and bought with more than 9,000 children being trafficked in India in 2016, up nearly 25 percent from the previous year, according to the Ministry of Women and Child Development.
About 14,000 children were victims of rape and sexual harassment in 2015, data from the National Crime Records Bureau showed.
But those figures may only be the tip of the iceberg, with experts saying the government underestimates the numbers in a country where a shroud of silence surrounds such crimes.
Satyarthi hopes his "India March", which will kick off from the country's southernmost tip of Kanyakumari and finish in New Delhi on October 16 after travelling across all 29 states and seven union territories, will open people's eyes to the mounting epidemic.
Traffickers lure children, mostly from remote villages, with false promises of jobs before selling them off to brothels, factories or gangs which force them into begging.
The soft-spoken 63-year-old has been at the forefront of the drive against child labour in India, where over 10 million children are engaged in work, according to UNICEF.
He blames India's "failed" law enforcement, weak prosecution and low conviction rates for their plight.
Satyarthi founded Bachpan Bachao Andolan (Movement to Save Childhood) to rescue children working in horrifying conditions.
In 1980 he quit his job as an electrical engineer to take up the cudgels on behalf of India's most vulnerable citizens.
The married father of two recalled his first rescue operation in 1981—at a time when India had no law against child labour.
In 2014 Satyarthi jointly won the Nobel Peace Prize with Pakistani child activist Malala Yousafzai.
His movement has liberated 86,000 children from bonded labour across India and has activist networks in more than 140 countries.
In the 1990s he organised the Global March Against Child Labour, an international coalition of groups aiming to free millions of children from slavery worldwide.
▼ From sand dunes into farming land: Jordan's Sahara Forest Project [09-11-17]
Jordan, a water-poor country that is 90% desert, has launched a project to turn its sand dunes into farming land to produce food using sun and sea water.
King Abdullah II and Norway’s Crown Prince Haakon recently attended a ceremony to mark the official opening of the “Sahara Forest Project” near the southern port city of Aqaba.
In the first stage, the project aims to produce up to 130 tonnes of organic vegetables per year from an area the size of four football pitches.
It will use solar panels to provide power and include outdoor planting space, two saltwater-cooled greenhouses, a water desalination unit and salt ponds for salt production.
The project, whose funders include Norway and the European Union, is to be expanded from three hectares to around 200 hectares of desert.
▼ EESL launches UJALA scheme in Malaysia's Melaka [09-7-17]
Energy Efficiency Services Limited (EESL), under Ministry of Power, Government of India has launched UJALA (Unnat Jyoti by Affordable Lighting for All) Scheme in the State of Melaka, Malaysia.
The Scheme was launched by Chief Minister of Melaka Datuk Seri Utama Ir. Hj. Idris Bin Hj. Haron.
In due course of time, the successful Indian model of UJALA scheme has become a sought-after example for the different nations of the world and will now be implemented in Melaka to extend programme benefits to people of the region.
Under this scheme, each household in Melaka will get 10 high quality 9-watt LED bulbs at a cost of only RM 10.
The distribution of these LED bulb will take place from 28 numbers of Japerun in the region.
These Japerun are a unique community welfare and engagement centers, which are situated across the Melakan State.
Under the extensive and ever-expanding idea of UJALA, Energy Efficiency Services Limited (EESL) plans to distribute about 1 million 9W
LED bulbs, which will replace 18W CFLs.
The initiative will have the logistical assistance and facilitation support from Green Growth Asia, which is a not for profit organization.
The bulb for the UJALA scheme in Melaka comes with a 3-year free replacement warranty against any technical defects.
UJALA: Know More
- The Prime Minister of India Sh. Narendra Modi on January 5, 2015 had launched the world's largest and most extensive LED distribution programme, UJALA (Unnat Jyoti by Affordable Lighting for All).
- A simple act of change of one light bulb to LED at South Block Prime Minister's office in India heralded a movement in the entire country for considering the same change.
- Due to bulk LED bulb procurement by EESL, a healthy competition rose among the manufacturers and this brought down the prices of LED bulbs in India from a range of about Rs. 300 - Rs.400 to about Rs. 70 per bulb
- UJALA’s impact in Malaysia will bring about clean energy, contribute to climate change targets and save the already dwindling energy resources.
- With a fairly large switch to LED bulbs, Melaka will be able to reduce carbon emissions by around 19,000 tonnes per year.
- Currently, over 25-crore LED bulbs have been distributed under the UJALA scheme in India, resulting in 33,828 mn kWh of energy savings per year.
- While about 13,531 crores are being saved in energy bills of consumers per annum, about 2,74,00,887 tonnes of CO2 reduction is taking place per year.
▼ #LetsTalkIP: New social media campaign by CIPAM [09-5-17]
The Cell for IPR Promotions & Management (CIPAM) under the aegis of Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion (DIPP), Ministry of Commerce and Industry, has launched a social media campaign to promote Indian Geographical Indications (GIs).
Its called #LetsTalkIP and is an ongoing movement initiated by CIPAM to make more people aware about the importance of Intellectual Property Rights.
A Geographical Indication or a GI is a sign used on products that have a specific geographical origin and possess qualities or a reputation that are due to that origin.
Such a name conveys an assurance of quality and distinctiveness which is essentially attributable to its origin in that defined geographical locality.
Darjeeling Tea, Mahabaleshwar Strawberry, Blue Pottery of Jaipur, Banarasi Sarees and Tirupati Laddus are some of the GIs.
In the recent past, the government had launched similar initiatives such as #IWearHandloom and #CottonIsCool to promote and revive traditional handwoven textiles.
This time around, CIPAM will be talking about interesting facts and stories related to GIs from across the country on its Twitter handle @CIPAM_India and Facebook Page @CIPAMIndia using #LetsTalkIP hashtag.
The government will also be coming up with various other initiatives to promote registered GIs in the future.
▼ President Kovind lays foundation for SAUNI Yojana canal [09-5-17]
President Ram Nath Kovind, who reached Ahmedabad on 2nd Sept 2017 on a two-day visit to Gujarat, laid the foundation stone of the second phase of link-IV pipeline canal of Saurashtra Narmada Avtaran Irrigation (SAUNI) Yojana at Ghela Somnath in Rajkot district.
SAUNI is an ambitious project to fill up 115 dams of water-starved Saurashtra region by diverting one million acre feet of floodwaters of Narmada.
The project envisages lifting water from various canals of Narmada project and pump it to these reservoirs by a 1,165-km-long network of giant pipelines.
The estimated project cost is INR 16,500 crore.
The second phase of this giant pipeline canal would begin from Sartanpar minor irrigation scheme near Ankadiya village of Vinchhiya and tail in Dhrafad dam in Visavadar taluka of Junagadh district.
The designed length of the second phase is 147 km.
▼ Common Food Processing Incubation Centre for Shallots launched [09-1-17]
Smt Harsimrat Kaur Badal, Union Minister for Food Processing Industries launched Common Food Processing Incubation Center for Shallots (Small Onions) in Chettikulam village.
This is in Perambalur District of Tamil Nadu through video conferencing.
Smt Harsimrat Kaur Badal said that it is a historic & auspicious occasion for Tamil Nadu and Chettikulam Village in particular.
She also congratulated Indian Institute of Food Processing Technology (IIFPT), Thanjavur for their initiatives to help double farmers’ income by 2022.
She also said that farmers in Perambalur District are producing 70000 tons of shallots per year in a cultivation area of 8000 hectares, in spite of the increasing difficulty in cultivation due to increase in prices of inputs, unpredictable weather, disease outbreak and not getting adequate prices in the market.
This Central Processing Center for Shallots in Perambalur will ensure that no shallots are getting wasted, increase farmers’ income and also ensure availability of shallots to consumers.
This Onion processing technology should be taken to all parts of India.
Mission Onion: Know More
- Central Food Processing Center for Shallots in Chettikulam, Perambalur District is part of the Mission Onion in improving the lives of Onion farmers in this area.
- This centre will help farmers’ to double their income through value addition. This centre will process Shallots and produce 4 Shallot products viz. Fresh Shallot, Peeled Shallot, Onion Powder, Onion Paste, Onion Flakes.
- IIFPT is working on Mission Coconut which will be launched next year on World Coconut Day (2nd September 2018).
- Perambalur district is the hub for small onions (Shallots) cultivation in over 8000 hectares producing around 65,000 to 70,000 tonnes every year.
- Farmers reported massive losses due to conventional methods of handling and storage.
- Stakeholders from this region expressed their need to provide technological solutions to minimize wastage, particularly during seasons with surplus production.
- The farmer producers union which will be involved in this initiative was also launched recently.