Around 13 villages, surrounding the proposed 9900 MW Jaitapur Nuclear Power Project, have passed a resolution against the plant even as Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is scheduled to visit India during which he is likely to seal the pending civil nuclear agreement.
Japanese companies Mitsubishi, Toshiba and Hitachi provide technology to French Areva and the U.S. – based Westinghouse and GE respectively. These companies are responsible for setting up nuclear plants at Jaitapur in Maharashtra, Mithivardi in Gujarat and Kovvada in Andhra Pradesh.
The resolution cite radioactivity, nuclear waste, unproven EPR technology to be used in the project and cost of the electricity are the reasons behind their opposition.
While the land acquisition process for the project is already over, it has not moved ahead since several techno-commercial agreements are yet to be finalised.
Policy shift angers fishing community
Fishing communities in Kerala and the other coastal States are up in arms against the constitution of an expert committee by the Central government to revise the National Marine Fisheries Policy, without ensuring the representation of stakeholders.
A survey initiated by the expert committee to elicit response to the preparation of the revised fisheries policy has also come under fire from fishermen organisations who feel that it failed to address their livelihood concerns and the key issues affecting the marine fisheries sector
Preparations for long-range missile launch from ship
Close on the heels of the successful firing of a long range surface-to-air-missile (LR-SAM), often referred to as Barak-8, from an Israel naval platform, the missile jointly developed by India’s Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) and Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) will now be test-fired from India’s new class of stealth destroyers under P15-A, INS Kolkata and INS Kochi.
Technicians from the DRDO, the IAI and BDL (Bharat Dynamics Limited which is producing the advanced missile) are configuring the sensors, especially the MFSTAR (multifunction surveillance and threat alert radar) active phased array radar, and ancillary systems on board INS Kolkata to fire the missile from the ship
Minister of State for Finance Jayant Sinha expressed the hope that the Goods and ServicesTax would be implemented soon, and prove to be one of the biggest game-changers inIndia’s history.
The GST constitutional amendment bill is stuck in the Rajya Sabha, having been passed in the Lok Sabha in May,2015.
Tax rate of 22%, 1% extra levy for manufacturing states, 1/3rd seats for Centre in GST council, Alcohol and tobacco outside the ambit of GST for at least 5 years
What the Congress is demanding
Tax rate of 18%, Levy should be removed, Only 1/4th representation for the Centre in the GST council, Alcohol and tobacco to be included in GST within 5 years.
India’s polio fight
After nearly five polio-free years, and with the launch of the inactivated polio vaccine (IPV) injection in the national immunisation programme November 30, 2015 India will be pushing for “endgame polio”.
The injectable vaccine, which uses killed polio viruses, will be used alongside the oral polio vaccine (OPV).
For now, immunisation using IPV will be restricted to Bihar, Chhattisgarh, Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh and West Bengal. In the first quarter of 2016, it will be expanded to the other Northern and Northeastern States and in the second quarter, will encompass the four southern States and Maharashtra
Though cheap and easy to administer, OPV has an inherent safety issue — in rare cases, live viruses used in a weakened form can turn virulent, spread within communities and cause polio in unprotected children.
IPV aims to prevent vaccine caused polio cases, where viruses used in OPV cause flaccid paralysis. Till date, India, like many other countries, has been relying on an OPV campaign-style programme several times a year to keep the naturally-occurring wild polioviruses at bay.
All three strains of the poliovirus (type 1, type 2 and type 3) are used in OPV. Of these, type 2 is responsible for more than 95 per cent of VDPV cases. Ironically, type 2 wild poliovirus had been eradicated since 1999. Since then, all type 2 cases have been caused solely by vaccine polioviruses.
The move also marks a shift in addressing vaccine-derived poliovirus cases, with the Global Polio Eradication Initiative removing the type 2 strain globally from OPVs.
IPV when used in combination with OPV can quickly boost immunity against poliovirus and ofer double protection.
Ladakh, a cold desert at an altitude of 3000-3500 meters above sea level, has low rainfall rate of 50mm
Due to this glaciers are the only source of water, but over years with increasing effects of climate change, rainfall and snowfall patterns have been changing, resulting in severe shortage and drought situations
The artificial glacier is an intricate network of channels and structures built on the upper slope of a valley to divert water from the main river of the glacier melt and then freeze it in winter in cascades which melt in summer in time for the sowing season
Fondly called the “glacier man”, Mr. Norphel has designed over 15 artificial glaciers in and around Leh since 1987
Flexible policy for defence procurement
The Defence Procurement Procedure (DPP) 2015, to be released soon, will have several measures to ensure a level playing field for Micro, Small and medium enterprises (MSMEs), Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar said
DPP details the rules and procedures on how the government can procure defence equipment. The first DPP was drafted in 1992 and has since been revised several times.
The DPP levels are ‘Buy Global’ — outright purchase from foreign manufacturers; ‘Buy and Make’ and ‘Buy and Make (Indian)’ — meaning buying from foreign/Indian vendor followed by Transfer of Technology and production in India; and ‘Make (Indian)’ – complete development in India.
The government is trying to reduce the contracting process for procurement of defence equipment to three years from the present average of about five years
ECONOMY 8% growth would trigger employment
India needs to grow at 8 per cent for decades so as to create the required amount of employment for the country’s working-age population
This building of production capacity involves developing hard assets, such as roads, ports, rails connectivity,and others s well as soft assets like skills and an innovation eco-system
Six ‘game-changers’ . The first, was putting in place universal social security through the JAM trinity (Jan Dhan Yojana, Aadhaar, and Mobile). “In100 days the government has en-sured that 100 per cent of families have bank accounts and 90per cent of MGNREGA payments are being done directly into the accounts. This is historic,revolutionary.”
The second was the various schemes and initiatives, such as the Krishi Sinchayee Yojana and providing agri-credit and crop insurance,the government has under taken for the upliftment of farmers.
The third is endeavor to create employment through Skill India mission
The government would soon be launching a major initiative around startups, a Startups Yojana of sorts.
Public investment is pouring into transportation, including railways. There was virtually no capital investment in railways in the last 10 years. Now Rs.8.5 lakh crore will be investment in rail-ways during this government’s term. Public investment in general is up 40 per cent over its levels last year.
The Indradhanush revamp plan is do-ing more for banks than any-thing since nationalisation.
This involves empowering the States in terms of the devolution of taxes. The devolution share was increased from 32per cent to 42 per cent, a change of 10 per cent. The earlier largest change was in the order of 2.5per cent.
BS-V and BS-VI norms for 4-wheelers
The government on Saturday said it has advanced the date for implementation of the roll out of Bharat Stage(BS) stage V and VI norms for four-wheelers by three years.
The ministry has decided to implementBS-V norms from April 1, 2019.BS-VI norms, which aim at substantial reduction in NOx/4C levels will be implemented from April 1, 2021, it added. This reflects a firm commitment to play a major role in reducing vehicular emissions. Draft norms for two- and three-wheeler categories will be notified shortly with advanced timeline similar to the four wheeler category
Aircraft import norms eased
Carriers requiring to import aircraft will now only have to get the initial approval of the regulator, the Di-rectorate General of Civil Aviation(DGCA), instead of the ministry,according to a government statement.
The Ministry of Civil Aviation has delegated the power to grant initial No Objection Certificate orin-principle approval for import or acquisition of aircraft to theDGCA, two days after the RBI relaxed norms for remittances of money for import of aircraft, helicopters and other aviation-relatedpurchases by airlines.
As per the existing procedure,Scheduled Operators (airlines)and Regional Scheduled Operators have to seek approval from the ministry for import of aircraft.
The delegation of power is be-ing done in order to simplify procedures as compliance of variousCivil Aviation Requirements are regulated by the DGCA