PIB May, 2019
1st May, 2019
- Workshop on “Space Warfare and Technology” has been organized by Directorate of Indian Defence University
Directorate of Indian Defence University (IDU) is organizing a two day workshop on “Space Warfare and Technology” for senior and middle level officers from the three Services on 02-03 May 19 at the Purple Bay, India Gate Circle, New Delhi. The workshop intends to cover Weaponisation and Militarisation of Space, preparation for Absorption of High-End Technology for Self-Sustenance in Space Operations, Space Innovations and Technology Exploitation, Inertial Navigation Systems and Sensors, legal aspects of military use of space, Building Capacity – Training, Human Resource and Research & Development, Adversarial Capability in Space Domain & Way Forward for Indian Armed Forces.
Lt Gen PJS Pannu, Deputy Chief of Headquarters Integrated Defence Staff will deliver the welcome address followed by keynote address by Lt Gen PS Rajeshwar, Chief of Integrated Defence Staff. This will be followed by talks from eminent speakers from the industry, academia, IITs, ISRO, DRDO, think tanks and Services to share their pragmatic knowledge and research on various aspects of space warfare and technology.
This workshop is relevant especially in light of Defence Space Agency being raised and three Services energising their own capabilities. It is to be seen as to how the Defence Space Agency will fit in the entire gambit of space domain utilisation in our country and efficiently perform its role for which it is being raised.
- Indian Coast Guard Efforts for Cyclone ‘FANI’
Indian Coast Guard (ICG) initiated series of pre-emptive measures from first sign of weather disturbance in Bay of Bengal on Apr 23, 2019 and implemented lessons learnt from Cyclone Ockhi to ensure safety of lives at sea. Extremely Severe Cyclonic Storm Fani is presently 260 nautical miles SE of Vishakhapatnam and likely to intensify further and cross Odisha coast between Gopalpur and Chandbali to the south of Puri around May 03, 2019.
Pre-Emptive Measures – One Week in Advance
Consequent to formation of low pressure in south East Bay of Bengal around April 23, 2019, Indian Coast Guard initiated series of pre-emptive measures to prevent loss of fishermen lives. ICG formations were put on high alert and high state of preparedness. Fisheries Authorities, State Authorities and local administration were warned since April 23, 2019 onwards for precautionary measures. Close liaison is being maintained with the State Administration, various departments and Indian Meteorological Department to ensure wide spread precautionary measures in the affected areas. Indian Coast Guard Remote Operating Stations located in Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, Odisha and West Bengal is issuing Security/ Safety messages on radio in Vernacular languages.
Indian Coast Guard ships and aircraft were deployed along the East coast since April 24, 2019 for issuance of advisories and warnings in vernacular languages to fishermen at sea and for their safe return to ports. International Safety Net (ISN) was activated on April 24, 2019 in the Bay of Bengal by Maritime Rescue Coordination Centres (Chennai/ Mumbai) requesting transiting Merchant vessels to advise and warn fishermen to return harbour/ take shelter at nearest fishing harbour and render assistance, if required and is continuing since them.
Transmission of Navigational Telex (NAVTEX) warnings commenced on April 24, 2019.Preparedness meetings were conducted by Chief Secretaries at Chennai on April 24, 2019 and Kolkata on April 30, 2019. The meetings were attended by ICG representatives.
Deployment of ICG Surface and Air Assets- Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh and Puducherry coast – nine ships, Odisha and West Bengal – five ships, Indian Coast Guard Ships have been kept standby for mobilization of Disaster Relief Material in coordination with State Authorities at Chennai and Vizag. Four Dornier sorties are being launched every day on an average for alerting fishing boats from Chennai, Bhubaneswar and Kolkata.
Safety of Fishing Boats- ICG coordinated with Fisheries Authorities of respective states and confirmed that no fishing boats are presently operating at sea. Additionally ICG ships and aircraft deployed at sea are also keeping lookout for warning/shepherding of fishing boats if sighted/located at sea.
Special Community Interaction programmes at 12 places were conducted at Tuticorin, Pamban, Villupuram, Chennai, Krishnapatnam, Nizampatnam, Visakhapatnam, Uppalanaka (Kakinada), Paradip, Haldia, Gopalpur and Frazergunj for fishermen and coastal populace for undertaking safety measures.
2nd May, 2019
- Government and IIT-Delhi to set up a Centre of Excellence for Waste to Wealth Technologies
To commemorate the 150th birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi, the Office of the Principal Scientific Adviser (PSA) to the Government of India and Indian Institute of Technology Delhi (IIT Delhi) have come together to bring the best of science and technology to implement waste management in India.
Principal Scientific Advisor to the Govt of India, Prof K. Vijay Raghavan and Director, IIT Delhi, Prof V. Ramgopal Rao signed a Memorandum of Understanding today in New Delhi for setting up a Centre of Excellence for Waste to Wealth Technologies for implementation of sustainable, scientific and technological solutions for waste management, through validation and deployment of available technologies for transformation of waste to wealth.
The waste to wealth mission project has been approved under the recently constituted Prime Minister’s Science Technology and Innovation Advisory Council (PM-STIAC), which is an overarching body for assessment, creation and implementation of major scientific, technology and innovation interventions for India. The partnership will provide an effective platform for stakeholders to bring together integrated approaches for effective recycle, reuse and resource recovery of waste.
Speaking about the MoU with the Office of the PSA, Prof V. Ramgopal Rao, Director, IIT Delhi, said that we have identified this as a focus area for the institute and many faculty members across the departments and centres at IIT Delhi are already working on a variety of projects related to waste management. “The Idea is to consolidate all possible Waste to Wealth Technologies, learn from the best practices followed worldwide, and implement them on the ground for Indian cities.”, said Prof Rao.
IIT Delhi is already closely involved with the waste management aspects of Delhi and many faculty members are closely involved with the Delhi administration in addressing the waste management issues.
The immediate objective is to implement technologies that are available with various national and international academies, industries, research laboratories and other agencies by way of setting up pilot projects on-site effectively and successfully, and demonstrating the proof of concept of the technology under Indian condition. This will be carried out by creating a strong collaborating network between IIT Delhi, and other national and international stakeholders through the aegis of the office of the PSA. The long-term goal is to create circular economic models for waste management, by leveraging big data analytics and frontier technologies to streamline waste in India. The overall outcomes would involve treating waste and generating different forms of energy, thereby making India a waste free nation, with zero greenhouse gas emission and no health hazard. Under the initiative, a waste to wealth programme management centre will also be set up at IIT Delhi.
The office of the PSA acts as a ‘think-tank’ and ‘action-tank’ for science, technology and innovation activities. The office plays a catalytic and synergistic role to strongly connect government ministry, academia and industry, to evolve relevant policies, make recommendations for the relevant scientific departments and ministries, and implement scientific interventions in various sectors of national priority.
The Indian Institute of Technology Delhi (IIT Delhi) is one of the premieres educational and research institutions of India, offering a variety of world class bachelors, post graduate and research programs across multiple streams with an expert pool of 550 professors engaged in research important for the society and industry.
3rd May, 2019
- ICG efforts towards Cyclone ‘FANI’ in Bay of Bengal
Extremely Severe Cyclonic Storm ‘Fani’ commenced making landfall around 0819hrs between Gopalpur and Chandbali in Odisha, today. Indian Coast Guard has initiated series of pre-emptive measures from April 23, 2019 onwards with the first sign of low pressure in South East Bay of Bengal.
- 34 Disaster Response Teams (DRTs) were kept standby at various places.
- 02 CG ships, ICGS Sagar and ICGS Shaurya sailed from Chennai with helicopter embarked onboard ICGS Shaurya for aerial surveillance and assistance to affected areas.
- 02 CG ships, ICGS Samudra Paheredar and ICGS Shaunak sailed from Visakhapatnam with potable water, lifesaving equipment and Gemini craft embarked. ICGS Shaunak sailed with helicopter embarked for air surveillance/ assistance to stranded people.
- ICG Disaster Response Teams were dispatched for assistance at Fishing Hamlets and Port areas of Gopalpur post cyclone Fani crossed the coast.
- ICG Dorniers kept standby to carry out surveillance/ assessment post landfall.
- Medical teams have been augmented at Paradip, Haldia and Gopalpur for emergency medical management.
- Food packets and potable water has been kept standby at ICG stations for immediate distribution.
- Real time communication is being maintained with all ICG Stations, SDMA control rooms and Disaster Response Team.
- NCMC has reviewed rescue and relief operations in cyclone hit areas of Odisha, West Bengal and Andhra Pradesh
Cabinet Secretary Sh. P. K. Sinha today reviewed rescue and relief measures in the cyclone affected areas of Odisha, West Bengal and Andhra Pradesh with the States and Central Ministries/Agencies concerned in the aftermath of cyclone FANI.
Odisha informed that extensive damage to telecommunications and power infrastructure had been caused in Puri, Bhubaneswar and other areas. However, due to advance precautionary measures taken and large scale evacuation, the loss of human lives was minimal. West Bengal reported mild impact of the cyclone while Andhra Pradesh informed of heavy rainfall and some damage to crops and roads in Srikakulam district.
Cabinet Secretary directed Ministry of Power and Department of Telecommunications to immediately assist Odisha Government by providing electrical poles, gang workmen and Diesel Generator sets of varying capacities for quick restoration of power supply. The transmission line supplying power to Bhubaneswar is expected to be restored by today. Department of Telecommunications indicated that mobile services would be restored partially by today. The Railways, which suffered major damages to its infrastructure, have cleared the mainline and would start part of operations using Diesel operated locomotives by today. Flights to Bhubaneswar would resume operations by this afternoon. No damages to ports and refinery installations were reported. NDRF has moved 16 additional teams for rescue and relief work in Odisha and has removed fallen trees and other obstacles on most of the roads.
Health Ministry has decided to postpone the NEET exam in Odisha scheduled for May 5th based on the advice of Odisha Government. It is also moving teams of public health experts to assist the State Government in preventing outbreak of any epidemic.
Reviewing the relief efforts, Cabinet Secretary directed that officers of Central Ministries/ Agencies should remain in close touch with Odisha State Government and provide all required assistance expeditiously. Enough supplies of food, medicines, drinking water and other essential supplies have been kept in readiness to be airlifted as per the requirements projected by the States. Railways and Civil Aviation Ministries have made arrangements for free transportation of relief material to the cyclone affected areas.
Chief Secretaries/Principal Secretaries of Andhra Pradesh, Odisha and West Bengal participated in the NCMC Meeting through Video Conference. Senior Officers from the PMO, Ministries of Home Affairs, Defence, Shipping, Civil Aviation, Railways, Petroleum and Natural Gas, Power, Telecommunications, Steel, Drinking Water and Sanitation, Food Processing, Health, Fisheries, IMD, NDMA and NDRF also attended the meeting.
6th May, 2019
- India and U.S. Hold Bilateral Trade Meeting
India and the United States held the India-U.S. Bilateral Trade meeting in New Delhi today. Suresh Prabhu, Minister of Commerce & Industry and Civil Aviation, Government of India and Mr. Wilbur Ross, Secretary of Commerce, United States of America co-chaired the bilateral meeting.
Both the co-chairs,Suresh Prabhuand Mr. Wilbur Rossappreciated the strong, robust and growing bilateral ties between India and the U.S. across the entire spectrum of trade and commerce. Both sides expressed satisfaction over the progress during the year 2018, with bilateral trade in Goods and Services registering a growth of 12.6% from $ 126 billion in 2017 to $142 billion in 2018.
India appreciated the US Trade Winds Indo-Pacific Business Forum and Mission initiative 2019, being held at New Delhi. The forum will bring together distributors, representatives and partners and enable them to increase sales by taking part in business-to-business meetings from 8-10thMay, 2019, across India.
Both co-chairs also complimented the new bilateral private sector led Small Business Interaction initiative, the US – India SME Forum, held today in the forenoon in New Delhi. This is the first event of its kind and would pave the way for collaboration and partnership between the U.S. and Indian small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in the areas of manufacturing and services.
Both sides also discussed various outstanding trade issues. Both sides agreed to engage regularly at various levels to resolve outstanding trade issues by exploring suitable solutions, which are mutually beneficial and promote economic development and prosperity in both countries.
Both sides agreed to deepen economic cooperation and bilateral trade by ensuring greater cooperation amongst stakeholders, including Government, businesses and entrepreneurs.
- Launch of Fourth Scorpene Class Submarine – VELA
Vela, the fourth Scorpene class submarine being constructed by Mazagon Dock Shipbuilders Limited for the Indian Navy, was launched today, on 06 May 2019, by Mrs Veena Ajay Kumar, wife of Dr Ajay Kumar, IAS, Secretary Defence Production, who was the Chief Guest on the occasion. VAdm AK Saxena, CWP&A was also present during the launching ceremony. This event reaffirms the steps taken by Mazagon Dock Shipbuilders Ltd (MDL) in the ongoing ‘Make In India’ programme, which is being actively implemented by the Department of Defence Production (MoD).
The submarine was towed to Mumbai Port Trust, for separation from the pontoon, after which she will undergo rigorous trials and tests, both in harbour and at sea before delivery to the Indian Navy.
The contract for the construction and Transfer-of-Technology for six Scorpene class submarines in series has M/s Naval Group (formerly DCNS) of France as ‘Collaborator’ and are being built by MDL.
Cmde Rakesh Anand, Chairman and Managing Director, MDL said on the occasion that with the launching of the P15 B Destroyer ‘Imphal’ on 20 April 2019 and the, launching of Vela on 06 May 2019, were indeed some of the major events for MDL so far this year.
Presently Eight Warships and five submarines are under construction at MDL. MDL is one of the India’s leading shipyards with a capacity to meet requirements of the Indian Navy.
The Scorpene class of submarines can undertake multifarious tasks typically undertaken by any modern submarine which include anti-surface as well as anti-submarine warfare. The transfer of technology involves appropriate technical support by Naval Group to MDL in the field of construction, integration and tests of the submarines in India which is achieved through transfer of technical data package to MDL through information system as well as on job training to MDL’s personnel on critical technologies.
Leveraging the experience and the transfer-of-technology of the Scorpene project, with enhanced and upgraded infrastructure, MDL, is ready for undertaking construction of the future submarines.
7th May, 2019
- 59th BRO Raising Day
Border Roads Organisation (BRO) is celebrating its 59th Raising Day here today. BRO is a leading road construction agency under the Ministry of Defence with a primary role of providing road connectivity in border areas. It executes road construction and maintenance works along the Northern and Western frontiers primarily to meet the strategic requirements of the Army and is responsible for over 53,000 Km roads. The BRO has also constructed roads in friendly foreign countries like Bhutan, Myanmar, and Afghanistan etc. thus contributing towards our strategic objectives in the region.
In 2018-19, BRO executed 991 Km of Formation Cutting, 1965 Km Surfacing, Rs. 1518 Crores Permanent Works, and 2817 M of Bridge construction and undertook resurfacing of 1778 Km roads along our Northern and Western Borders. The work done by BRO registered a jump of more than 12% in 2018-19 over the previous financial year.
In line with the overall thrust of the Government to enhance overall strategic connectivity along our borders, the BRO is fully geared up to meet the challenges that lie ahead and has accordingly undertaken an exercise for organizational re-structuring and simplification of procedures with adequate delegation of financial powers to executives. The organisation is now executing works with a combination of departmental, contractual and EPC mode, thus enhancing our capabilities manifold. Necessary co ordination between BRO and Army units / Formations at all levels is also being ensured to plan and execute creation, up-gradation and maintenance of infrastructure along our borders to meet our overall tactical and strategic goals.
On this occasion, Director General Border Roads, Lt Gen Harpal Singh conveys his greetings to all Veterans and BRO Personnel and calls upon all ranks of the Organisation to continue on the path of excellence with renewed vigour and dedication.
- Initiatives by Commerce Ministry to Boost Trade with African Countries
The Commerce Ministry and Indian High Commissions and Embassies of eleven African countries arranged an interaction over Digital Video Conference (DVC) over two days, on 3rd and 6th May 2019, with the Indian business community in Africa. The interactions with Indian Diaspora were held in Tanzania, Uganda, Kenya, Zambia, and Mauritius, Nigeria, Mozambique, Ghana, South Africa, Botswana, and Madagascar. This initiative was held in order to build an effective engagement with the Indian Diaspora in Africa in order to further deepen and strengthen India-Africa trade ties.
The DVC was attended by over 400 members of Indian business community in 11 African countries.
India’s total trade with the African region during 2017-18 was USD 62.69 billion (8.15% of India’s total trade with the World). India’s share of exports to African countries as a percentage of India’s total exports to the world was of the order of 8.21% in 2017-18. Africa region’s share in India’s total imports from the World accounted for 8.12% in 2017-18.
Today, African countries present immense opportunities for India with the world’s largest land mass, 54 countries, a population growing to be almost equivalent to that of India, huge mineral resources, oil wealth, a youthful population, falling poverty levels and increasing consumption patterns.
Thus, Africa has a huge demand for new business models for market entry, stable market access, entrepreneurship and investments in transport, telecom, tourism, financial services, real estate and construction.
This initiative of the Commerce Ministry emphasizes the need for a multipronged strategy for further enhancing trade and investment ties between the two regions. Commerce Ministry recognizes that for formulating an effective export strategy it is imperative to engage the Indian business community in Africa for mutual gain for both sides as trade relations between the people of same origin instil greater confidence amongst trade partners.
The Indian community in Africa is playing a vital role in all fields like politics, business and education. As per the latest available estimates the current strength of the Indian Diaspora in the African countries is 2.8 million out of those 2.5 million are PIOs and rest 220967 are NRIs. Total overseas Indians are 30.83 million of which 17.83 million are PIOs and 13 million are NRIs. (Ministry of Overseas Indian Affairs, 2016). Indian Diaspora in Africa constitutes 9.11% of the total Diaspora of India.
The inherent strength of India in Africa is its rich and vast Diaspora which has established strong links with the political, economic and social fabric of the African continent. In order to formulate a strategy to boost India-Africa Trade & Investment, the Indian Diaspora in Africa has to be leveraged further in order to ensure that the strategy is effective. Suggestions were sought from the India business community.
The major issues highlighted by the Indian Business Community in these 11 countries are:
- Improving the Line of Credit system and developing a facility for an affordable and competitive funding.
- Setting up of Indian Banks/financial institutions in Africa
- Enhanced Buyers’ Credit facility for promotion of trade between the two regions
- Reviewing and liberalizing visa policies from both sides
- Need for direct flights between the India and African countries
- Exploring the possibility of rupee trade to address the issue of shortage of dollars in region.
- Creation of common database of buyer-suppliers in the two regions for facilitating matchmaking for enhancement of bilateral trade.
- Development of a robust trade dispute settlement mechanism
- More frequent and structured country/sector specific trade exhibitions in Africa
- Establishment of country chapters of FICCI or CII in Africa
- Frequent visits of policy makers, chamber of commerce and investors for familiarization with local business and investment regime for informed decisions
8th May, 2019
- ‘Sanskrit Flag’
The Vice President of India, Shri M. Venkaiah Naidu has complimented students from Karnataka, here today, for learning Sanskrit and trekking up to 12,000 feet on Himalayas and hoisting the Sanskrit Flag as part of ‘Sahyadri to Himadri’ expedition.
As many as 46 students, including girls from Vasavi Primary and High School at Shivamogga called on the Vice President to share their experiences. The expedition was organized by Samskrita Bharati, a non-profit organisation working to revive Sanskrit.
Addressing the students and expedition team, who belonged to different age brackets from 11 years to 64 years, the Vice President wanted everybody to learn mother tongue and other languages including Sanskrit. He said Sanskrit is known as the mother of all languages and pointed out that scholars in western countries are doing research on Vedas, Upanishads and Sanskrit literature.
The Vice President emphasized the importance of Sanskrit as the invaluable window to Indian cultural treasure house as well as the origin of most Indian languages. He wished that students should be encouraged to learn this language to understand the depth and richness of Indian heritage. “We shouldn’t neglect Sanskrit, Governments and Educational institutes should provide an opportunity to learn Sanskrit”, he added.
Addressing students who have successfully completed a trekking expedition ‘Sahyadri to Himadri’ organized by Samskrita Bharati, Shri Naidu said that expeditions such as the one undertaken by them not only exposes them to different people, languages, cultures, and traditions but also inculcates the feeling of oneness and helps in national integration.
Shri Naidu advised students to develop an affinity towards nature and stressed the importance of protecting nature and preserving culture for a better future. “Love and Live with Nature,” he told them.
Saying that students must spend half the school time in classrooms and the remaining time in the playgrounds, Shri Naidu asked students to focus their energies on aspects such as sports, games, arts, dance, music, and crafts. The Vice President also wanted the students to develop an inquisitive mind and understand subjects in a concept-based manner rather than by rote method. He stressed that it was important to learn to do things and develop a pragmatic outlook.
Shri Naidu, while expressing concern over the spread of lifestyle diseases advised all of them to develop the habit of practicing Yoga or Exercise and not get swayed by junk food and always eat healthy food. The Vice President also asked students not to get disappointed or disheartened if they did not get the expected marks and told them that the report card was not the end of education.
9th May, 2019
- IN Ships Kolkata and Shakti has undertaken Group Sail with Naval Ships of Japan, Philippines and the USA
IN Ships Kolkata and Shakti carried out Group Sail with naval ships of Japan, Philippines and the United States of America in the South China Sea from 03 May to 09 May 19. The six-day long Group Sail had participation of six combatants from the four participating countries and included the Guided Missile Destroyer INS Kolkata and Fleet Support Ship INS Shakti of India, Helicopter Carrier JMSDF Izumo and Guided Missile Destroyer JMSDF Murasame of Japan; Frigate BRP Andres Bonifacio of Philippines and Arleigh Burke Class Destroyer USS Williams P Lawrence of USA. The Group Sail was aimed to deepen the existing partnership and foster mutual understanding among participating navies.
The ships undertook various exercises en route which included formation manoeuvring, underway replenishment runs, cross-deck flying and exchange of Sea Riders. The Group Sail exercise with naval ships of Japan, Philippines and United States showcased India’s commitment to operating with like-minded nations to ensure safe maritime environment through enhanced interoperability.
IN Ships are on return passage from their successful deployment to South and East China Seas as part of the annual Eastern Fleet Over Seas Deployment during which they visited Cam Ranh Bay, Vietnam, Qingdao, China and Busan, South Korea. Whilst at Qingdao, both the ships had participated in the International Fleet Review (IFR) as part of the 70th Anniversary Celebration of PLA (Navy). During the ships’ stay in Busan, the IN Ships took part in the Opening Ceremony of Maritime Security (MS) Field Training Exercise (FTX) under the aegis of ADMM-PLUS.
On departing Busan, both the ships participated in ADMM-PLUS MS FTX Phase I exercises from 01 May to 03 May 19 off South Korea with Navies of Brunei, China, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore, South Korea and the USA. Group Sail progressed from 03 May to 09 May. The Phase II of ADMM-PLUS MS FTX is scheduled from 09 May to 12 May 19 in the South China Sea. On completion of Phase II, all participating ships including IN Ships Kolkata and Shakti are scheduled to attend the closing ceremony of ADMM-PLUS MS and participate in the International Maritime Defence Expo (IMDEX) 2019 in Singapore.
10th May, 2019
- WTO Ministerial Meeting of Developing Countries in New Delhi
A WTO Ministerial meeting of developing countries is being hosted by India in New Delhi on 13-14 May 2019. Sixteen developing countries, Six Least Developed Countries (LDC)(Argentina, Bangladesh, Barbados, Benin, Brazil, Central African Republic (CAR), Chad, China, Egypt, Guatemala, Guyana, Indonesia, Jamaica, Kazakhstan, Malawi, Malaysia, Nigeria, Oman, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, Turkey, Uganda)and DG, WTO are participating in the meeting.
Ministers from Bangladesh, CAR and South Africa have confirmed their participation. Vice Ministers, senior officials and ambassadors will be representing other countries.
The two-day meeting will be interactive in order to provide an opportunity to the Ministers to discuss various issues and the way forward. On the first day, there will be a meeting of senior officers of the participating countries followed by a dinner hosted by Union Minister of Commerce & Industry for the heads of delegations. On the 2nd day, the Ministerial Meeting will be held.
The meeting is being held at a time when the multilateral rule-based-trading system is facing serious and grave challenges. In the recent past, there have been increasing unilateral measures and counter measures by members, deadlock in key areas of negotiations and the impasse in the Appellate Body, which threaten the very existence of Dispute Settlement Mechanism of the WTO and impact the position of the WTO as an effective multilateral organisation. The current situation has given rise to demands from various quarters to reform the WTO.
This meeting at New Delhi is an effort to bring together the developing countries and Least Developed Countries on a platform for sharing common concerns on various issues affecting the WTO and work together to address these issues.
The two-day meeting also provides an opportunity to the developing countries and LDCs to build consensus on how to move forward on the WTO reforms, while preserving the fundamentals of the multilateral trading system enshrined in the WTO. The deliberations will aim at getting a direction on how to constructively engage on various issues in the WTO, both institutional and negotiating, in the run up to the Twelfth Ministerial Conference of the WTO to be held in Kazakhstan in June 2020.
11th May, 2019
- India calls to strengthen India-Vietnam ties
On the penultimate day of his four-day official visit to Vietnam, the Vice President of India, Shri M. Venkaiah Naidu continued his high-level engagement by holding talks with Vietnam’s Prime Minister, Mr. Nguyen Xuan Phuc on a wide range of issues and underscored the importance of strengthening the Comprehensive Strategic Partnership between the two nations to ensure peace and security in the region.
The Vice President is scheduled to deliver the keynote address at the 16th UN Day of Vesak Celebrations on May 12, reiterated during his talks with the Prime Minister that cordial and friendly relations between India and Vietnam have been strengthened by bonds of Buddhism and Hinduism.
Referring to the growing cooperation between two nations in different fields, Shri Naidu informed the host Prime Minister that India was ready to partner with Vietnam in satellite construction, both for civilian and non-civilian uses. He also assured him that India remains committed to extend cooperation in training and capacity building of Vietnam’s defence forces as that country’s requirement.
On bilateral trade, the Vice President expressed confidence of achieving the target of USD 15 billion by 2020.
Observing that Indian companies were increasingly looking to invest in emerging sectors like renewable energy and energy conservation, infrastructure, agriculture, agro-products, textiles, pharma and oil and gas, Shri Naidu informed him of India’s commitment to address various issues relating to market access and trade barriers.
Seeking Vietnam Prime Minister’s personal intervention in facilitating the entry of Indian pharmaceutical products into their country, the Vice President assured him that the Indian companies can provide high tech health systems and medicines for public health in Vietnam at an affordable cost. This will make health services more affordable and reduce the insurance burden on the Government of Vietnam, he added.
Regarding oil and gas exploration in Vietnam, Shri Naidu sought an extension of up to 10 years for OVL (ONGC Videsh Limited) contract, which is due to expire in 2023. He said that OVL has invested more than USD 530.00 million in exploration and exploitation of oil and gas in Vietnam and was exploring possibility of another gas discovery that may entail additional investment of around USD 136.00 million. He also wanted extension of Production Sharing Contract by Petro Vietnam by two years.
The Vice President also reiterated India’s support to Vietnam for the non-permanent membership of the UNSC for 2020-21 and thanked Vietnam for its support to India to be a permanent member of an expanded UNSC. Shri Naidu said that India has strong interest in Indo-Pacific region. India’s approach and vision to Indo-Pacific is SAGAR – Security and Growth for All in the Region.
Earlier, inaugurating a ‘Jaipur Foot Artificial Limb Fitment Camp’ held at the Indian Embassy under ‘India for Humanity’ programme to mark the 150th Birth Anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi, the Vice President said the core philosophy of India from time immemorial has been to share and care and emphasized the need to pay attention to the deprived sections.
Stating that the iconic Jaipur Foot provided mobility, a sense of dignity and an ability to live life fully to the differently abled, Shri Naidu lauded Bhagwan Mahaveer Viklang Sahayata Samiti, for providing the services free of charge. Earlier in the morning, the Vice President visited Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum and paid homage to the Vietnamese Revolutionary Leader, Ho Chi Minh. The Vice President also attended a Gala Dinner Reception hosted by the Chairperson of the National Assembly of Vietnam, Ms. Nguyen Thi Kim Ngan at the National Convention Centre.
13th May, 2019
- DRDO Successfully has successfully conducted Flight Test of ABHYAS
Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) conducted successful flight test of ABHYAS – High-speed Expendable Aerial Target (HEAT) from Interim Test Range, Chandipur in Odisha today. The flight test was tracked by various RADARS & Electro Optic Systems and proved its performance in fully autonomous way point navigation mode.
The configuration of ABHYAS is designed on an in-line small gas turbine engine and uses indigenously developed MEMS based navigation system for its navigation and guidance. The performance of the system was as per simulations carried out and demonstrated the capability of ABHYAS to meet the mission requirement for a cost effective HEAT.
- Inaugural Session of WTO Ministerial Meeting in New Delhi
Commerce Secretary, Dr. Anup Wadhawan, welcomed senior officials of participating delegations from Developing and Least Developed Countries (LDCs) who are meeting in New Delhi over two days to discuss key issues and challenges facing the multi-lateral trading system.
Speaking at the inaugural session, Commerce Secretary said that the existential challenges to the multilateral rules based trading system are manifest in a spate of unilateral measures and counter measures, deadlock in key areas of negotiations and the impasse in the Appellate Body. The logjam in the Appellate Body is a serious threat to the dispute settlement mechanism of the WTO and the implementation function of the Organization. The fundamentals of the system are being tested through a tide of protectionism around the world vitiating the global economic environment. The situation does not bode well for developing countries, including the LDCs.
The harm that the institutional failure due to the collapse of the Appellate Body will cause will be felt more in Developing Countries including LDCs who need the protection of the rules based system more than developed countries. There is an urgent need to engage constructively to preserve the system and come up with constructive solutions to the problem.
The situation in the WTO has spurred a strong discourse for reforming the WTO, which unfortunately is characterised by a complete lack of balance. The reform agenda being promoted does not address the concerns of the developing countries. The discussions in the meeting being held in New Delhi give a chance to reaffirm the resolve to keep development at the centre of the reform agenda. The reform initiatives must promote inclusiveness and non-discrimination, build trust and address the inequalities and glaring asymmetries in existing agreements. These asymmetries are against the interest of developing countries including LDCs. There is a need to work together to put issues of importance for developing countries and their priorities in the reform agenda.
There has been no active engagement or movement on key issues of concerns for developing countries including LDCs in the negotiating agenda. Agriculture remains a key priority for a large membership of WTO representing the developing world. However, there is a strong push to completely relegate existing mandates and decisions and work done for the past many years, to the background.
Discipline on fisheries subsidies are currently under negotiation at the WTO with intense engagement to understand the issues and work out a meaningful agreement by December 2019. The MC11 decision on fisheries subsidies clearly mandates that there should be an appropriate and effective special and differential treatment for developing countries. It is important for developing countries including LDCs to collectively work for a fair and equitable agreement on disciplines in fisheries subsidies, which takes into consideration the livelihood needs of subsistence fishermen and ground realities in our countries, and protects our policy space to develop capacities for harnessing our marine resources.
India believes that developing countries need to work together to protect their interests in the WTO negotiations through preservation of the core fundamental principles of the WTO. The two-day meet gives an opportunity to the participating countries of developing a shared WTO reform proposal on issues of priority and interest for developing countries. This will help in building a common narrative on issues of importance for Developing Countries including LDCs.
14th May, 2019
- Outcome of the WTO Ministerial Meeting of Developing Countries
- We, the Ministers and high-level officials from Arab Republic of Egypt, Barbados, Central African Republic, Federal Republic of Nigeria, Jamaica, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, Malaysia, People’s Republic of Bangladesh, People’s Republic of China, Republic of Benin, Republic of Chad, Republic of India, Republic of Indonesia, Republic of Malawi, Republic of South Africa, Republic of Uganda and Sultanate of Oman met in New Delhi, on 13 and 14 May 2019, to discuss recent developments at the WTO and explore ways for working with all Members to strengthen the multilateral trading system.
- We reaffirm the pre-eminence of the WTO as the global forum for trade rules setting and governance. We note with concern the multiple challenges confronting the rules-based multilateral trading system and agree to work together with all WTO Members to strengthen the WTO, make it more effective and continue to remain relevant to the diverse needs of its Members, in line with objectives of the WTO.
- We re-affirm that the dispute settlement system of the WTO is a central element in providing security and predictability to the multilateral trading system. This has proved to be more effective and reliable as compared to its predecessor, GATT. We note with concern that Members have failed to arrive at a consensus in the selection process to fill vacancies in the Appellate Body. This ongoing impasse has weakened the dispute settlement system and threatens to completely paralyze it by December 2019. We, therefore, urge all WTO Members to engage constructively to address this challenge without any delay in filling the vacancies in the Appellate Body, while continuing discussions on other issues relating to the functioning of the dispute settlement mechanism.
- An inclusive multilateral trading system based on equality and mutual respect should ensure that all WTO Members abide by WTO rules and abjure any form of protectionism. The core value and basic principles of the multilateral trading system must be preserved and strengthened, particularly with a view to building trust among Members. To this end, we urge WTO Members to adopt measures that are compatible with WTO rules to avoid putting the multilateral trading system at risk.
- Multilateral avenues, based on consensus, remain the most effective means to achieve inclusive development-oriented outcomes. Members may need to explore different options to address the challenges of contemporary trade realities in a balanced manner. We note that in the post-MC 11 phase, many Members have evinced interest in pursuing outcomes in some areas through joint initiatives approach. The outcomes of these initiatives should be conducive to strengthening the multilateral trading system and be consistent with WTO rules.
- We recall that international trade is not an end in itself but a means of contributing to certain objectives, including raising standards of living. Special and Differential Treatment is one of the main defining features of the multilateral trading system and is essential to integrating developing Members into global trade. Special and Differential Treatment provisions are rights of developing Members that must be preserved and strengthened in both current and future WTO agreements, with priority attention to outstanding LDC issues.
- We stress the importance of technical assistance and capacity building provided to developing Members, in particular LDCs, including through the Enhanced Integrated Framework, Aid for Trade and other tools. We urge Members to continue doing so.
- The process of WTO reform must keep development at its core, promote inclusive growth, and fully take into account the interests and concerns of developing Members, including the specific challenges of graduating LDCs. The way forward must be decided through a process that is open, transparent and inclusive. We agree to work collectively with the aim to develop proposals to ensure that our common interests are reflected in the WTO reform process.
- WTO rules seek to foster an open and non-discriminatory trade regime. In order to instil confidence among the Members, it is imperative that the Ministerial Conferences of the WTO are organized in a more open, transparent and inclusive manner. WTO notification obligations must consider the capacity constraints and implementation related challenges faced by many developing Members, particularly LDCs. In the WTO, a more cooperative and gradual approach is the best way in dealing with the issue of transparency, where many developing Members struggle to comply with their notification obligations.
- Some WTO agreements, for example the Agreement on Agriculture, contain imbalances and inequities that prejudice the trade and development interests of developing Members. There is a need to provide adequate policy space to the developing Members to support their farmers through correcting the asymmetries and imbalances in this Agreement on priority. This should be undertaken on the basis of work done and progress already made in the past, and provides further flexibilities to the LDCs and Net Food Importing Developing Countries. It is really time that cotton receives concrete and appropriate responses it deserves.
15th May, 2019
- Project ‘SPARROW-CBIC’
Online writing of APARs in SPARROW for IRS (C&CE) Officers has already been implemented w.e.f. 2016-17. As part of CBIC’s constant endeavor for better HR management, online writing of APARs in SPARROW has now been launched for over 46,000 Group B & C officers of CBIC, working in its various formations all across the country.
The Project has been inaugurated by Shri P.K.Das, Chairman, CBIC today from the Board Office, North Block, New Delhi in presence of Member (Admn)-CBIC Shri A.K. Pandey, and officers of DGHRM-CBIC. The Directorate General of Human Resource Management (DGHRM), the HR arm of CBIC is the implementing Agency of this ambitious project. It is being implemented in over 400 formations of CBIC across the country.
SPARROW-CBIC is one of its kind in terms of Scale/ number of employees covered as far as Central Government Departments are concerned. It brings a complete change in APAR management of such large number of Group ‘B’ & ‘C’ Officers/ Staff of CBIC, which would, in turn, lead to better HR Management.
This Project leverages modern technology for enhancing the overall efficiency and morale of the huge workforce working in Central GST and Customs formations of CBIC. The Project is an important milestone in the journey towards digitisation and paper less working.
- We agree to consult on various issues of common interest to developing Members, including comprehensive and effective disciplines on fisheries subsidies with appropriate and effective Special & Differential Treatment provisions for developing Members.
- We urge WTO Members to expedite the process of accession of new Members.
- We reiterate our commitment to work towards strengthening WTO by promoting development and inclusivity for the benefit of all Members.
- MoU Signed for Rudraksh Plantation in Ganga Basin
A Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) was signed between National Mission for Clean Ganga, HCL Foundation and INTACH for taking up a project of ‘Plantation of Rudraksh Trees in Uttarakhand’ as a part of CSR initiative under the ‘Namami Gange’ Programme. While the project aims at planting 10,000 Rudraksh trees in the catchment area of river Ganga in Uttarakhand in association with local community and other stakeholders, it will also help in generating income for people residing in those areas. The tripartite MoU was signed by representative from HCL Foundation, INTACH and Shri Rozy Agarwal, Executive Director (Finance) from NMCG on 14th May 2019 in the presence of Shri Rajiv Ranjan Mishra, Director General NMCG and Shri G. Ashok Kumar, Executive Director (Projects).
Shri Rajiv Ranjan Mishra, Director General, NMCG said that Namami Gange Mission aims at providing comprehensive and sustainable solutions for a cleaner ecosystem along the stretch of 97 towns and 4,465 villages on the Ganga stem and a public-private partnership will provide the initiative a much-needed impetus. He congratulated HCL Foundation and INTACH for coming forward and joining hands with NMCG in this endeavour.
16th May, 2019
- India sets the tone at COP meetings of Basel, Rotterdam and Stockholm conventions held in Geneva.
The joint meetings of three conventions on chemicals and waste that is the fourteenth meeting of the Conference of the Parties (COP) to Basel Convention on the Control of Transboundary Movement of Hazardous Wastes and their Disposal (COP 14) was held along with the ninth meeting of the COP to Rotterdam Convention on the Prior Informed Consent Procedure for Certain Hazardous Chemicals and Pesticides in International Trade and the ninth meeting of the COP to Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants. The theme of the meetings this year was “Clean Planet, Healthy People: Sound Management of Chemicals and Waste”.
An Indian delegation of Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change, and comprising other ministries such as Agriculture, Chemicals, and Electronics and Information Technology participated in the meeting held in Geneva, Switzerland, from 29 April to 10 May 2019.
In Basel Convention, two important issues were discussed and decided, i.e. technical guidelines on e-waste and inclusion of plastic waste in the PIC procedure. The draft technical guidelines stipulated the conditions when used electrical and electronic equipment destined for direct reuse, repair, refurbishment or failure analysis should be considered as non-waste. India had major reservations regarding these provisions as in the name of re-use, repair, refurbishment and failure analysis there was a possibility of dumping from the developed world to the developing countries including India in view of the growing consumption of electronic equipment and waste across the world. The Indian delegation strongly objected the proposed decision on these guidelines during plenary and did not allow it to be passed by the conference of the parties (COP).
Many rounds of multilateral and bilateral negotiations happened under the aegis of the Convention Secretariat in order to address India’s concerns which were supported by a large number of other developing countries. On the final day of the COP, a modified decision was adopted in which all the concerns raised by India were incorporated.
These were: dumping of e-waste in developing countries; recognition that the interim guideline has issues and further work is required specially on the provision on distinguishing waste from non-waste; the guidelines were adopted on an interim basis only; the tenure of the expert working group was extended to address the concerns raised by India; and the usage of interim guidelines to be done only on a pilot basis.
Due to the strong intervention by the Indian delegation, it was possible to defend the country’s interest against the potential dumping of e-waste by developed countries and thereby opened a window for further negotiations and corrections in the interim technical guidelines on e-waste.
Under the Basel Convention, another major achievement of COP 14 was the decision to amend the convention to include unsorted, mixed and contaminated plastic waste under PIC (Prior Informed Consent) procedure and improve the regulation of its transboundary movement. This is a significant step taken towards addressing plastic pollution which has become a major environmental concern across the globe.
Further, Basel Convention has also adopted partnership on plastic which was welcomed by the Indian delegation. These steps will help prevent the illegal dumping of plastic wastes in developing countries. India has already imposed a complete prohibition of import of solid plastic waste into the country. India has also made an international commitment to phase-out single-use plastic. India fully supported this exercise and one of the members of the Indian delegation was co-chair in the contact group which negotiated this agreement for amendment in the annexes of Basel Convention to bring plastic waste under PIC procedure.
Under the Stockholm Convention the COP decided to list “Dicofol” in Annex A without any exemption. The “PFOA” was also listed with some exemptions in the Annex A of the Stockholm Convention. Under the Rotterdam Convention, two new chemicals (Phorate and HBCD) were added in the list for mandatory PIC procedure in international trade.
- Nuclear Power is safe and can meet increasing energy demand
The Vice President of India, Shri M. Venkaiah Naidu has said that nuclear electricity could significantly reduce Greenhouse Gas Emissions and has the potential to meet increasing energy demand in the country.
Addressing Scientists and the Staff of Atomic Minerals Directorate for Exploration and Research (AMD), in Hyderabad today, on the occasion of 70 years of exploration and research by the organization, he pointed out that climate change was one of the foremost environmental concerns today.
Stating that the need of the hour was to ensure that modern technologies were safer and reliable, the Vice President observed that nuclear power was one of the reliable and safe energy options and commended India’s record of operating our nuclear fleet for over 40 years without any serious incident.
Shri Naidu said India’s abiding interest in nuclear energy grew out of a deep conviction that the power of atom could be harnessed to help the country to achieve human and societal development. He said that India has consciously made a strategic choice to pursue a low-carbon growth model in the coming decades and added that reducing pollution was a major challenge.
Appreciating the efforts of AMD in adopting state-of-the-art exploration techniques in search of different strategic minerals, the Vice President said it was heartening to know about the availability of more than 3 lakh tonnes of uranium oxide reserves and around 1200 million tonnes of Beach sand Mineral resources in our country. “More significantly, the quantum leap in Uranium resource augmentation by AMD from around 1 lakh tonnes during first 60 years of activities and a subsequent addition of around 2 lakh tonnes in the next 10 years is really commendable”, he added.
Shri Naidu also expressed confidence that exploration efforts of AMD in different parts of the country, including Cuddapah Basin would lead to more uranium mines.
With several favourable geological domains spread across length and breadth of the country which can host potential Uranium, Rare Metals and REE deposits, the Vice President said it would be possible to achieve self-sufficiency in atomic mineral resources for sustainable growth of our Nuclear Power Programme. Considering the steep demand for power in the country, the role of nuclear energy in future would be quite significant. “We need to develop new and more efficient technologies to utilise our resources to the maximum”, he added.
17th May, 2019
- MRSAM Firing Trials
The Indian Navy achieved a significant milestone in enhancing its Anti Air Warfare Capability with the maiden cooperative engagement firing of the Medium Range Surface to Air Missile (MRSAM). The firing was undertaken on the Western Seaboard by Indian Naval Ships Kochi and Chennai wherein the missiles of both ships were controlled by one ship to intercept different aerial targets at extended ranges. The firing trial was carried out by the Indian Navy, DRDO and Israel Aerospace Industries.
The successful conduct of the test has been the result of sustained efforts by all stakeholders over the years. DRDL Hyderabad, a DRDO Lab, has jointly developed this missile in collaboration with Israel Aerospace Industries. The MRSAM has been manufactured by Bharat Dynamics Limited, India.
These Surface to Air Missiles are fitted onboard the Kolkata Class Destroyers and would also be fitted on all future major warships of the Indian Navy. With the successful proving of this cooperative mode of engagement, the Indian Navy has become a part of a select group of Navies that have this niche capability. This capability significantly enhances the combat effectiveness of the Indian Navy thereby providing an operational edge over potential adversaries.
20th May, 2019
- Protection of Ongole cattle breed
The Vice President of India, Shri M. Venkaiah Naidu has lamented the neglect of the indigenous Ongole cattle breed and called for protecting and promoting the animal, which has become popular all over the world.
Releasing a Compendium on Ongole breed of cattle at the Swarna Bharat Trust in Vijayawada today, the Vice President asserted that cattle wealth was national wealth and pointed out that Brazil which has imported these cattle and produced hybrid Ongoles was earning huge revenue through export.
‘Unfortunately, India is not focusing enough attention on our own breed”, he added.
Shri Naidu said the time has come for promoting Ongole cattle breed in a big way and also take up research on the animal, which is known for its toughness, high milk yield, tolerance to tropical heat and disease resistance.
The 1200-page Compendium traces the history of the animal from 1885 to 2016 by providing information from 13 books and 80 research findings on Ongole Cattle.
Lauding the efforts of Agricultural scientist, Mullapudi Narendranath and former Joint Director, of Animal Husbandry Department, Adusumilli Madhusudan Rao for compilation of the Compendium, he felicitated them.
The Vice President also wanted the officials to expedite the works at National Kamadhenu Breeding Centre, Chintaladevi in Nellore District, which was set up when Shri Naidu was the Union Minister.
Observing that agriculture was facing many challenges, the Vice President stressed the need for multi-pronged efforts from all stakeholders to double the income of farmers by making agriculture sustainable and profitable. He urged farmers to take up backyard poultry and in house dairy for fetching additional income.
He also expressed his anguish over the degeneration of values, principles and tolerance levels and lack of discipline in present-day politics and warned that it would be harmful to democracy unless the situation was remedied.
The Vice President also inaugurated a medical camp organized jointly by Aayush Hospitals, Rainbow Hospitals and Shankara Netralaya in the premises of Swarna Bharat Trust and cautioned people against the growing incidence of non-communicable diseases due to life style changes.
Underlining the importance of maintaining proper lifestyle by undertaking regular physical exercise, yoga and consuming healthy diet, he warned that eating instant food would lead to constant diseases.
Touched by a news item describing the manner in which a disabled girl, Saisree overcame her handicap and scored a good rank in SSC exams, Shri Naidu invited her parents and the girl to the Swarna Bharat Trust and presented a cheque for Rs.50,000, which comprises Rs,25,000 from his salary and another Rs. 25,000 donated by his son, Shri Harshavardhan on behalf of Muppavarapu Foundation run by his family members and promised her parents further help if they continue to support her with her studies.
- World gets the redefined units of measurement of kilogram, Kelvin, mole and ampere
After decades of ground-breaking laboratory works, the world’s scientific and technical community, in a landmark and historic decision taken in the recent open session of the General Conference on Weights and Measures (CGPM) at BIPM on 16 November 2018, has unanimously adopted the resolution to redefine four of the seven base units, the kilogram (SI unit of weight), Kelvin (SI unit of temperature), mole (SI unit of amount of substance), and ampere (SI unit of current). This decision has now enabled scientists and researchers to base the SI units entirely on fundamental properties of nature, which will ensure their ongoing refinement and improvement for years to come. The fundamental constants are invariants of time and space and successfully replaced the artifact based units, and aptly opened up the new era for quantum world by linking all seven base units to fundamental constants/quantum standards.
The new SI is being implemented worldwide from 20th May 2019 i.e. the World Metrology Day. The World Metrology Day (WMD) is celebrated annually on this very day as the Metre Convention was signed by representatives of seventeen nations on May 20, 1875. The Convention set the framework for global collaboration in the science of measurement and in its industrial, commercial and societal applications.
DG CSIR, Shri Shkehar C. Mande present on the occasion congratulated the NPL in bringing out the new units and said that quantum computing, artificial intelligence (AI), Industry 4.0, space enabled communications, are some of the international challenges of the near future and it is necessary for India, the fastest growing economy to make the triumphs to meet the above challenges with the support of quantum metrology based quality infrastructure.
The whole metrology world, especially the National Metrology Institutes (NMIs) are celebrating this year’s WMD as mark for the new beginning of metrology, based on constant of nature on a large scale. CSIR-NPL, the NMI of India have kept the strides going in these fields and started the R&D efforts in establishing the new SI, alongside the international implementations from 20th May 2019.
On this historic day, CSIR-NPL introduced redefined SI Units to nation in terms of constant of nature through a series of events, delivering lectures, releasing theme (The International System of Units – Fundamentally Better) based poster of BIPM; release of NPL’s designed posters introducing redefined SI to nation highlighting fundamental constant of nature and impact of metrology on all walks of human life; release of poster on technologies transferred, commercialized, patents filed / granted, number of customer served through testing and calibrations by CSIR-NPL during 2018-2019, release of poser on Bhartiya Nirdeshak Dravya (BND) and release of new NPL certified BNDs.
As a national responsibility and keeping in view of the importance and recognition of new revision of SI, the CSIR-NPL has also prepared documents on i) NPL Policy on Metrological Traceability, ii) recommendations on the proposed changes to be incorporated in the National Council of Educational Research and Training (NCERT), New Delhi textbooks and implement the new changes to impart cotemporary education to its students and iii) recommendations on the proposed changes to be incorporated in syllabi of metrology courses in graduate engineering and academic courses being taught in All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE), Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs), National Institutes of Technology (NITs), and other academic institutes.
On this occasion CSIR-NPL also published a book entitled, “Redefined SI Units and Glimpses of NPL Metrological Activities” of almost 100 pages to percolate and disseminate the information accommodating details on new changes, posters and documents mentioned above and role of NPL in strengthening the Indian metrological infrastructure for the govt. representatives, policy makers, regulator, certification bodies, academic institutions, industries and public as a whole.
21st May, 2019
- 8th Indo – Myanmar Coordinated Patrol
Myanmar Navy Ship UMS King TabinShweHtee (773) and UMS Inlay (OPV-54) have arrived Port Blair on 20 May for the ‘Opening Ceremony’ of the 8th Indo-Myanmar coordinated patrol (IMCOR), at Andaman and Nicobar Command. The Myanmar delegation led by Commodore Htein Win, Commander, Ayeyarwady Naval Command, called on Cmde Ashutosh Ridhorkar, VSM, Naval Component Commander on 20 May 19.
The CORPAT initiative between the two navies is meant to address issues of terrorism, illegal fishing, drug trafficking, human trafficking, poaching and other illegal activities inimical to interest of both nations. Started in Mar 2013, the CORPAT series has enhanced the mutual understanding and fostered improved professional interaction between the two navies for maritime interoperability.
Myanmar ships UMS King TabinShweHtee and UMS Inlay would undertake a coordinated patrol with Indian Naval Ship Saryu from 20 – 28 May 19. The patrolling effort will be augmented by Maritime Patrol Aircraft from both the navies. The ships would patrol along the International Maritime Boundary Line (IMBL) between the two countries covering a distance of approximately 725 Kms over a period of four days. The ships will also undertake joint manoeuvres and drills during the sea phase of coordinated patrol (CORPAT) prior ‘Closing Ceremony’ of the CORPAT onboard Myanmar Naval Ship.
22nd May, 2019
- PSLV-C46 successfully launches RISAT-2B
India’s Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV-C46) today successfully launched the RISAT-2B satellite from Satish Dhawan Space Centre (SDSC) SHAR, Sriharikota in Andhra Pradesh. This was the 72nd launch vehicle mission from SDSC SHAR, Sriharikota and 36th launch from the First Launch pad.
PSLV-C46 lifted-off at 05:30 Hrs (IST) from the First Launch Pad and injected RISAT-2B into a orbit of 556 km, about 15 minutes and 25 seconds after lift-off. After separation, solar arrays of RISAT-2B were deployed automatically and ISRO Telemetry Tracking and Command Network (ISTRAC) at Bengaluru assumed control of the satellite. In the coming days, the satellite will be brought to its final operational configuration.
RISAT-2B is radar imaging earth observation satellite weighing about 615 kg. The satellite is intended to provide services in the field of Agriculture, Forestry and Disaster Management.
ISRO Chairman Dr K Sivan congratulated the launch vehicle and satellite teams involved in the mission. “With this launch, PSLV lofts 50 tonnes to space by launching 354 satellites, including national, student and foreign satellites.”
Dr. K Sivan also commended the efforts of the team involved in the realization of the piggyback payload carried onboard this mission namely, Vikram processor and low cost MEMS based Inertial Navigation System (INS) developed by Semi-Conductor Laboratory (SCL), Chandigarh and ISRO Inertial Systems Unit, Thiruvananthapuram respectively. “RISAT-2B is an advanced Earth Observation satellite with an advanced technology of 3.6m radial rib antenna”, he added.
A total number of 5,000 visitors witnessed the launch live from the Viewer’s Gallery, which is opened to the public.
ISRO is now gearing up for the launch of Chandrayaan-2 onboard GSLV MkIII during the window of July 09, to July 16, 2019, with an expected Moon landing on September 06, 2019.
- MoU for Joint Collaboration on Cancer Research
The Department of Biotechnology (DBT), M/o Science and Technology and the Department of Atomic Energy (DAE), Government of India today signed an MOU for supporting joint collaborative research programmes in the area of Cancer. Signing the MoU, Dr Renu Swarup, Secretary DBT and Shri K N Vyas, Secretary DAE expressed solidarity to work towards the common goal of tackling cancer and this is expected to bring a quantum change in the present scenario of cancer research. The DAE is represented by its Tata Memorial Centre and which also functions as the coordinating centre on behalf of The National Cancer Grid of India.
This MOU shall help strengthen the various initiatives specifically for cancer viz. Strategizing and prioritizing cancer research, development of new and affordable technologies, jointly design and fund clinical trials, coordinate and collaborate for translational research, interventions, training of manpower and infrastructure development. The clinicians shall work in coherence with Researchers to identify and develop collaborative research programmes and public health initiatives for awareness of the public at large. Various activities like joint clinical fellowships, intensive workshops on clinical research methodologies and protocol development shall work towards creating a community of trained manpower and provide a platform to utilize their acquired skills in the best possible manner.
24th May, 2019
- IAF’s AN-32 Aircraft formally Certified to Operate on Indigenous Bio-Jet Fuel
Today, IAF’s formidable workhorse, the Russian made AN-32 aircraft was formally fleet certified to fly on blended aviation fuel containing up to 10% of indigenous bio-jet fuel. The approval certificate was received at the aero-engine test facilities at Chandigarh by Air Commodore Sanjiv Ghuratia VSM, Air Officer Commanding, 3 BRD, AF on behalf of the IAF from Mr P Jayapal, Chief Executive CEMILAC.
The IAF has undertaken a series of evaluation tests and trials with this green aviation fuel for the last one year. The scope of these checks was in consonance with the international aviation standards. Today’s approval is an acknowledgement of the meticulous testing using the indigenous bio-jet fuel by the IAF.
The indigenous bio-jet fuel was first produced by the CSIR-IIP lab at Dehradun in 2013, but could not be tested or certified for commercial use on aircraft due to lack of test facilities in the civil aviation sector. On 27 July, 2018, Chief of the Air Staff Air Chief Marshal BS Dhanoa PVSM AVSM YSM VM ADC had formally announced IAF’s intention to permit the use of all its resources for testing and certifying the indigenous fuel. Since then, IAF’s flight test crew and engineers have been evaluating the performance of this fuel against international standards. This is a huge step in promoting the ‘Make in India’ mission as this bio-fuel would be produced from Tree Borne Oils (TBOs) sourced from tribal areas and farmers, augmenting their income substantially.
- Central government bans Jamaat-ul-Mujahideen Bangladesh and its manifestations
The Central Government vide notification dated 23rd May, 2019 has banned the Jamaat-ul-Mujahideen Bangladesh or Jamaat-ul-Mujahideen India or Jamaat-ul-Mujahideen Hindustan and all its manifestations under clause (a) of sub-section (1) of section 35 of the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, 1967 with immediate effect.
The notification states that the Jamaat-ul-Mujahideen Bangladesh and its formations like Jamaat-ul-Mujahideen India or Jamaat-ul-Mujahideen Hindustan and their manifestations have committed acts of terrorism, promoted acts of terrorism and have been engaged in radicalisation and recruitment of youth(s) for terrorist activities in India.
28th May, 2019
- Renewed efforts for India to gain permanent membership of the UN Security Council
The Vice President of India, Shri M. Venkaiah Naidu has called for renewed efforts by India to gain permanent membership of the UN Security Council.
Interacting with the Officer Trainees of the 2018 Batch of the Indian Foreign Service (IFS) and Bhutanese Diplomats, here today, the Vice President referred to the growing prominence of India on the world stage and underscored the need for enhancing support from world nations and building a sustained dialogue in favor of UNSC reforms.
The Vice President also stressed the need to build a consensus for expansion and democratization of a number of multilateral fora to ensure representation to a number of other emerging nations. Congratulating the young officers for choosing IFS as a profession, Shri Naidu said that the Service offered a challenging and exciting career and a unique opportunity to take India’s great civilizational and cultural ethos with its developmental aspirations to the rest of the world.
Terming the young diplomats as ‘future spokespersons, interpreters, and narrators of India’s story to the world’, the Vice President said that they would soon work on constructing new bridges of understanding between India and the rest of the world. ‘You can play an important role in shaping the geopolitics of the future and in determining the new world order’, he told them.
Shri Naidu cautioned that the return of the unwelcome tendency of protectionism would adversely impact the global effort for collective advancement. Despite the acknowledged need for an Integrated World Order, new walls are being to the free flow of goods and services and people as well, he added.
Outlining the challenges the budding diplomats would have to deal with; Shri Naidu expressed his concern over the threat posed by terrorism. Observing that no country was immune to the consequences of terrorism, he called for a united response from world nations to curb the menace of terrorism. Pointing out that India consistently took an unrelenting and uncompromising stand against terrorism, he said, “We must continue to be champions of peace”.
Referring to the unethical acts of financial fugitives, the Vice President expressed his concern over the ease with which they find safe havens in other countries. He suggested the constant updating and overhauling of Extradition Treaties and all bilateral and multilateral agreements to defend and safeguard the integrated global economic order for the collective good.
The Vice President said that the world community would need India’s participation to achieve the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, because of the problems faced by the planet today needed a humane and holistic vision. The world needs India because it needs a voice that speaks of peace, non-violence and peaceful co-existence.
Expressing his happiness that India took the lead in building sustainable development solutions, he said the International Solar Alliance launched under India’s initiative in Paris was such an example.
Stating that India was moving on the development path swiftly, Shri Naidu said that the world was looking at India with keen interest. He emphasized the need to take advantage of this momentum by capitalizing on opportunities in areas of trade, services, investments, and infrastructure. “Diplomats must be proactive in enabling Indian industries and business to tap into world markets and must do their best in encouraging foreign investment to flow into India”, he stressed.
Describing the Indian Diaspora as an asset, he said they play an important role culturally as well as economically in the countries they live in.
The Vice President urged the young officers to develop a deep understanding of the countries of their posting and explore all opportunities for improving relations between those countries and India. He advised them to uphold the principles of Integrity, Probity, and conscientiousness at all times. He asked them to be India’s articulate voices, proactive catalysts of India’s prosperity and relentless advocates of Indian values of peaceful coexistence, inclusive and sustainable development.
Referring to the recently concluded General Elections 2019, the Vice President said that people had made their choice with resounding clarity and had voted for stability.
The Secretary to the Vice President of India, Dr. I.V. Subba Rao, the Dean, Foreign Services Institute (FSI), Shri J.S. Mukul, the Joint Secretary, FSI, Shri Virendra Paul, the Course Coordinator, Shri. Amarnath Dube and others were present on the occasion.
- NSIC has signed MOU with Ministry of MSME
The National Small Industries Corporation Limited (NSIC) signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with Ministry of Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSME) for the year 2019-20. The MOU was signed by Ram Mohan Mishra, AS & DC(MSME) and CMD (NSIC) with Dr. Arun Kumar Panda, Secretary, MSME, in the presence of Alka Nangia Arora, Joint Secretary, SME, Mercy Epao, Director (SME), P. Udaya kumar, Director -P&M (NSIC) and A.K. Mittal, Director-Finance (NSIC).
The MOU envisages provision of enhanced services by NSIC under its marketing, financial, technology and other support services schemes for MSMEs in the country. The Corporation projects to increase Revenue from Operationby 22% from Rs. 2540 crore in the year 2018-19 to 3100 crore in the year 2019-20. NSIC also projects growth of 32% in Profitability during the year 2019-20. The Corporation also plans to enhance its activities in the areas of imparting entrepreneurship and skill development training by targeting 45% growth in the number of trainees.
Under the scheme of National SC-ST Hub being implemented by NSIC on behalf of the Ministry of MSME, it will be a continued endeavour to provide assistance to SC/ST entrepreneurs through different interventions and various outreach activities with the overall objectives to increase their participation in public procurement.
Dr. A.K. Panda, Secretary, Ministry of MSME, while appreciating the performance of NSIC, suggested that greater efforts should be made to expand the reach of NSIC so that it may serve larger number of MSMEs in the country.
29th May, 2019
- A series of events planned for this year’s World Environment Day
World Environment Day (WED) is celebrated on 5th June every year. Ministry of Environment, Forest & Climate Change (MoEFCC) celebrates WED focussing on the theme declared by UNEP and organizes several events. This year’s theme is ‘Air Pollution’. Keeping with the tradition, this year the main function is being held at Vigyan Bhawan on 5th June, 2019 and will be presided over by the Minister for Environment, Forest & Climate Change. The events will include launch of film competition on environment, release of several books and three thematic sessions on Air Pollution, Waste Management and Forests: the Green Lungs of cities. The World Environment Day will also be celebrated across the country in State Capitals and other places.
The theme song was launched by Secretary MoEFCC, Shri C.K. Mishra in the presence of the artists involved with the song, today in New Delhi. At the launch function Secretary said that the song is a call to action for all to come together to combat the environmental challenges of our time, urging each one of us to explore green technologies and measures to improve the quality of air and make the country and our cities less polluted.
It is noteworthy that to combat air pollution, Ministry of Environment, Forest & Climate Change has recently launched the National Clean Air programme (NCAP) which is a mid-term 5 Year Action Plan with targets of 20-30% reduction of PM 2.5 and PM 10 concentration in 102 cities, out of which 84 cities have already submitted their action plan. The main objective of NCAP is to control and abate air pollution across the country. It is a multi sectoral and collaborative approach with mainstreaming and integration.
Ministry of Environment, Forest & Climate Change, in collaboration with Bhamla Foundation, Mumbai,has produced the theme song on the subject. The song #HawaAaneDe with celebrities and influencers is intended to carry out the message of Air Pollution. The theme song is written by Shri Swanand Kirkire and sung by Shri Shantanu Mukherjee, Kapil Sharma, Sunidhi Chauhan and Shankar Mahadevan. The film has been directed by Shri Romanchak Arora.
30th May, 2019
- PRCs need to reinvent themselves to become more relevant: Health Secretary
Ministry of Health and Family Welfare is organizinga two-day orientation workshop for Population Research Centres (PRCs) to highlight the various features of the flagship schemes of the Health Ministry for concurrent monitoring. Inaugurating the national workshop today at New Delhi, Ms. Preeti Sudan, Secretary (HFW) stated there is an urgent need for PRCs to reinvent themselves to become more relevant. She further stated that PRCs should integrate with the institute they are anchored in for more thoughtful insights of local and current issues to enrich their research. At the event, Ms. Preeti Sudan also released the Rural Health Statistics (2017-18) and a Compendium of Studies Conducted by the PRCS (2017-18).
Shri Manoj Jhalani (AS&MD) and Shri D K Ojha, DDG (Stats.) along with other senior officers of the Ministry and representatives from state PRCs were also present at the function.
Secretary (Health) further stated that Ayushman Bharat is a flagship program of the government and has two components – Health and Wellness Centres (HWCs) for Comprehensive Primary Health Care and Pradhan Mantri Jan ArogyaYojana (PMJAY) for secondary and tertiary care. These components are linked to address the major challenges of ensuring continuum of care, two-way referral system and gate keeping.
Ms. Preeti Sudan said that the government is committed to strengthening 1,50,000 facilities as Health and Wellness Centres which will deliver Comprehensive Primary Health Care closer to where people live in rural and urban areas. “PRCs can provide critical research based inputs to strengthen these initiatives further,” Ms. Preeti Sudan added.
Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (MoHFW) has established the network of 18 Population Research Centres (PRCs) spread over 17 major States/UTs, with the mandate to provide, inter alia, critical research based inputs related to the Health and Family Welfare programs and policies at the national and state levels. The PRCs are autonomous in nature and administratively under the control of their host University/Institutions. The scheme started with establishment of 2 PRCs at Delhi and Kerala in 1958 and expanded to 18 PRCs with latest inclusion of PRC, Sagar during 1999. Of these, 12 are attached to various Universities and 6 are in research institutions of national repute.
The PRCs were established to undertake research projects relating to family planning, demographic research and biological studies & qualitative aspect of population control, with a view to gainfully utilize the feedback from these research studies for plan formulation, strategies and policy interventions of ongoing schemes. They are also involved in other studies given by Ministry such as Concurrent Evaluation of NRHM conducted by the Ministry throughout the country during 2008-09, large scale sample surveys of the Ministry like District Level Household survey (DLHS), National Family Health Survey (NFHS) and Longitudinal Ageing Study in India (LASI), All India study on “Rapid Appraisal of National Rural Health Mission (NRHM) Implementation in 36 Districts of 20 States of India” in the recent past. In addition, they also monitor important components of NHM Programme Implementation Plans. Till now, the PRCs have completed more than 3600 research studies since inception. They have more than 110 research papers published in prestigious international journals.
31st May, 2019
- Pension scheme to secure lives of 5 crore farmers in three years
The Union Cabinet, chaired by the Prime Minister Narendra Modi has approved a new Central Sector Scheme, a historic decision that will empower farmers across India. This is a path breaking scheme that will provide pension cover to our industrious farmers who toil day and night to keep our nation fed. It is also for the first time since independence that such a pension coverage has been envisioned for farmers.
It is estimated that 5 crore small and marginal farmers will benefit in the first three years itself. The Central Government would spend Rs. 10774.50 crore for a period of 3 years towards its contribution (matching share) for providing social security cover as envisaged under the scheme.
The salient features of this scheme are:
A voluntary and contributory pension scheme for all Small and Marginal Farmers (SMF) across the country
Entry age of 18 to 40 years with a provision of minimum fixed pension of Rs.3,000/- on attaining the age of 60 years.
For example, a beneficiary farmer is required to contribute Rs 100/ – per month at median entry age of 29 years. The Central Government shall also contribute to the Pension Fund an equal amount as contributed by the eligible farmer.
After the subscriber’s death, while receiving pension, the spouse of the SMF beneficiary shall be entitled to receive 50% of the pension received by the beneficiary as family pension, provided he/she is not already an SMF beneficiary of the Scheme. If, the death of the subscriber happens during the period of contribution, the spouse shall have the option of continuing the Scheme by paying regular contribution.
Synergy between schemes, prosperity for farmers:
An interesting feature of the Scheme is that the farmers can opt to allow his/her monthly contribution to the Scheme to be made from the benefits drawn from the Pradhan Mantri KisanSAmman Nidhi (PM-KISAN) Scheme directly. Alternatively, a farmer can pay his monthly contribution by registering through Common Service Centres (CSCs) under MeitY.
Fulfilling core promises, empowering the agriculture sector:
For seventy years after Independence, such coverage for farmers was never thought. It was in the run up to the 2019 Parliamentary elections that PM Narendra Modi first mooted such an idea, which gradually found resonance across the length and breadth of India. Such a plan was mentioned in the BJP manifesto and in the first Cabinet meeting after the formation of a new Government, it has become a reality.