Committee

Govt sets up committee to strengthen NCC, NSS

The govt has decided to form a committee under former education secretary Anil Swarup, seeking suggestions to strengthen National Cadet Corp & National Service Scheme. The Committee will deal with issues like expansion, strengthening training infrastructure & reducing manpower deficiency. The Committee will also submit recommendations for building “synergy” between these 2 institutions.

Panel to tackle pollution around Taj Mahal

The government has formed a committee comprising officials of the environment ministry, experts from NEERI, IITs and various other forums to look into the issue of industrial pollution around the iconic Taj Mahal. The committee will be headed by C K Mishra, Secretary, Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change. The committee will take up the problems on a case-to-case basis.

MCA to review offences under Companies Act

The Ministry of Corporate Affairs (MCA) has constituted a 10 Member Committee to review the penal provisions in the Companies Act, 2013. The Committee will review the provisions relating to non-compoundable offenses and recommend whether any such provisions need to be re-categorized as a compoundable offense. The committee is headed by the Secretary of Ministry of Corporate Affairs.

Haryana Governor gets additional charge

Haryana Governor Kaptan Singh Solanki has been given the additional charge of Himachal Pradesh by President Ram Nath Kovind. Solanki would discharge the functions of the Governor of Himachal Pradesh, during the absence of Himachal Governor Acharya Devvrat. Solanki has previously served two terms as a member of the Rajya Sabha and has been a member of various Parliamentary committees.

Panel for automatic suspension in RS

The rules review committee set up by Rajya Sabha Chairman M. Venkaiah Naidu has submitted its interim report. It made two key recommendations: automatic suspension of wilful offenders and changing question-hour timing. The two-member committee is headed by the former secretary general of Rajya Sabha V.K. Agnihotri. The report has to be approved by the Rules Committee of the Upper House.

Olympic torch relay to start in Fukushima

Organizers of the Tokyo 2020 Olympics say the torch relay will start in Fukushima, an area hit by the 2011 earthquake, tsunami and nuclear disaster. The relay will start on March 26, 2020 in Fukushima and will head southward to Okinawa before making its way north again and arriving in Tokyo on July 10. The route was approved by the organizing committee.

Panel drafting education policy gets extension

Union Human Resource Development Ministry has extended till August 31 the term of K Kasturirangan Committee drafting a new education policy. The panel headed by K Kasturirangan, the former ISRO chief, was supposed to submit its report by June 30. This is the third extension granted to the panel. The existing National Education Policy was framed in 1986 and revised in 1992.

Senior Congress leader Jacob passes away

Senior Congress leader and former Meghalaya Governor M M Jacob passed away at the age of 90. Jacob, a former Union Minister, had also served as deputy chairman of the Rajya Sabha in the 80s. Hailing from Ramapuram, Jacob had served as General Secretary and Treasurer of Kerala Pradesh Congress Committee & Chairman, Kerala State Seva Dal Board and an elected member of AICC for many years.

UN member states approve USD 6.69 bn

The UN member states have approved a 6.69 billion US Dollar budget for 13 peacekeeping operations for the year 2018-19. It is the second year in a row, the committee has made significant cuts to the overall peacekeeping budget. The United States is the biggest contributor to the United Nations.

Boost to Higher Education

The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs approved the proposal for expanding the scope of Higher Education Financing Agency (HEFA). HEFA’s scope expanded to meet the rising financial requirements of educational infrastructure in the country. HEFA is a Non ­Profit, Non Banking Financing Company for mobilising extra-budgetary resources.

Repatriation agreement of Bru persons

An agreement has been signed by Government of India, Governments of Mizoram and Tripura and Mizoram Bru Displaced People’s Forum (MBDPF). Persons presently in temporary camps in Tripura will repatriate to Mizoram and a Committee under Special Secretary will coordinate the implementation of this agreement. India will provide financial assistance for rehabilitation of Brus in Mizoram.

The committee on NPAs submits its report

The Sunil Mehta committee formed to tackle Non-Performing Assets (NPAs) & creating credit capacity submitted its report. The Sunil Mehta panel presented project ‘Sashakt’ and has recommended a five-pronged strategy. The plan will result in creating additional jobs by reviving businesses and will bring in credible long term external capital to limit the burden on the domestic banking sector.

Panel to upgrade norms for data collection

Government has set up a 13-member committee to upgrade the norms for computation of economic data at states & districts level. The Committee for Sub-National Accounts will be headed by Ravindra Dholakia, a retired professor of IIM Ahmedabad. Panel has been asked to review concepts, definitions, data sources & requirements for preparation of State Domestic Product & District Domestic Product.

Govt funds ECGC, NEIA to boost exports

The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) approved the capital infusion of Rs 2000 crore in Export Credit Guarantee Corporation (ECGC) and Rs 1040 cr to National Export Insurance Account Trust (NEIA). The capital infusion of ` 2000 crore in ECGC would to boost exports and benefit MSMEs in the country. The grant to NEIA would promote infrastructure for export projects.

35th CSMC Meeting of PMAY

Ministry of Housing & Urban Affairs has approved the construction of 3 lakh more affordable houses for urban poor under Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana (Urban) at 35th Central Sanctioning And Monitoring Committee (CSMC). The total investment is of Rs. 8,692 Cr with central assistance of Rs.3,782 Cr. After including Rajiv Awas Yojana, the total number of houses under PMAY(U) would be 51 lakhs.

Panel to lay down standards for metro systems

Prime Minister Narendra Modi has approved the proposal of setting up of a committee to lay down standards for metro rail systems in India. The committee will be headed by retired Indian Engineering Service (IES) officer E Sreedharan, also known as “Metro Man”. Sreedharan served as the managing director of Delhi Metro between 1995 and 2012.

Bank heads to appear before parliament panel

Heads of 11-state owned banks will apprise a parliamentary committee about the problems of mounting bad loans and increasing fraud cases. They will be appearing before the standing committee on finance, headed by veteran Congress leader M. Veerappa Moily, which is looking into issues relating to banking sector. The rising number of frauds and NPAs have become a serious cause of concern.

Arjit Basu: New MD of State Bank of India

23 : The appointments committee of the cabinet has appointed Arijit Basu as the new Managing Director of State Bank of India till October 31, 2020. Prior to this, Basu was heading the corporate accounts group as the Deputy MD. SBI’s Managing Director B. Sriram will take charge as the MD and CEO of IDBI Bank after existing Chief MK Jain got recently appointed as the RBI Deputy Governor.

World’s 1st Humanitarian Forensics Centre

The world’s 1st International Humanitarian Forensics Centre was launched at Gandhinagar, Gujarat. It is a joint venture of International Committee of the Red Cross in India, Bhutan, Nepal and the Maldives. The Centre will conduct various academic and professional programmes, training, research and provide technical expertise to support operations in the field of humanitarian forensics.

BBB recommends for promotion of 22 PSB GMs

The Banks Board Bureau (BBB) has recommended 22 general managers to be elevated as executive directors at various public sector banks. The Appointments Committee of Cabinet headed by PM will take the final decision in this regard. BBB was set up in February 2016 as an autonomous body– based on the recommendations of the RBI-appointed Nayak Committee. It was the part of Indradhanush Plan.

IRDAI set up panel to review marketing firms

IRDAI has formed a panel to review the regulations pertaining to insurance marketing firms. The committee is headed by Suresh Mathur, Executive Director, IRDAI, with nine more members. The new distribution channel of insurance marketing firms was introduced in 2015 by IRDAI, with the objective of increasing insurance penetration in the country through an area-wise registration approach.

Panel to vet insurance marketing firm norms

Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority of India (IRDAI) has formed a committee to review regulations governing the Insurance Marketing Firms (IMF). Such firms, which serve as a distribution channel for insurers, are governed by regulations announced about three years ago. IRDAI had approved IMF in 2015 as a measure to increase insurance penetration in the country.

BBB recommends elevation of 22 GMs at PSBs

Banks Board Bureau (BBB), the advisory body formed by the government for selection of candidates for top level board appointment, has recommended 22 general managers to be elevated as executive directors at the various public sector banks. The Appointments Committee of Cabinet will take the final decision in this regard. This is the first major exercise undertaken by the BBB.

Bellandur largest septic tank of Bengaluru

A committee appointed by the National Green Tribunal (NGT) has said that the Bellandur lake in Bengaluru has become the “largest septic tank of the city”. The report states that the lake’s water-holding capacity has shrunk due to the dumping of garbage and construction waste, among other things. Agara and Varthur were the other waterbodies inspected by the panel.

SEBI panel to study direct overseas listing

The Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) has constituted an expert committee to examine the possibillity of allowing unlisted Indian companies to do a direct equity listing overseas. The expert committee will comprise 9 members. Currently, Indian companies can only use the depository receipts route to list on the overseas exchanges.

Committee to set up Asset Reconstruction Comp

Finance Minister Piyush Goyal announced setting up of a committee to give recommendations on formation of an Asset Reconstruction Company. The committe will give recommendations in two weeks for faster resolution of stressed accounts. The committee will be formed under Sunil Mehta, non-executive chairman of Punjab National Bank.

HP to scrap semester system in UG courses

The Himachal Pradesh government has decided to do away with semester system in undergraduate (UG) courses and revert to annual examination system. HP Govt had set up a review committee headed by former vice-chancellor to review RUSA (Rashtriya Uchchatar Shiksha Abhiyan) and it has recommended reverting back to annual examination system. The RUSA was introduced in the state in 2013.

Min of Water Resources accepts major projects

The Advisory Committee of the Ministry of Water Resources, River Development and Ganga Rejuvenation has accepted two major irrigation/multipurpose projects and four flood management schemes/master plans. The Kaleshwaram Project of Telangana and The Upper Pravara (Nilwande-II) Project of Maharashtra are two projects. The Advisory Committee met in Central Water Commission, New Delhi.

RBI hikes repo rate to 6.25%

The six-member monetary policy committee (MPC) of the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) increased the repo rate by 25 basis points to 6.25%. This is the first rate hike in four-and-a-half years; the last was in January 2014. The MPC arrived at the unanimous decision as the outlook for inflation had become ‘uncertain’ following a surge in international crude oil prices.

Govt forms 3 key panels for PM’s museum

6 : In a major push towards setting up a unique museum in Delhi on the ‘Prime Ministers of India’, the Culture Ministry has formed three high-powered panels that will work to implement the project. One committee will focus on project implementation. While the other two will concentrate on choice and development of content for museums.

RBI’s Monetary Policy Committee began meeting

RBI’s Monetary Policy Committee headed by RBI Governor Urjit Patel began its 3-day meeting in Mumbai on June 4. Due to certain administrative exigencies, the six-member committee is meeting for three days instead of the usual two days. It was in January 2014 that the RBI had last raised the short-term lending rate to 8% since then it has either reduced it or maintained status quo.

Committee to spread Mahatma Gandhi’s legacy

Government has set up an executive committee under the chairpersonship of Narendra Modi to “spread Mahatma Gandhi’s legacy” among the people at national & international level. Committee comprises of cabinet ministers, renowned Gandhians, social activists & public figures. Panel was formed after the 1st meeting of National Committee to commemorate the 150th birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi

Panel ‘must’ for reviewing ratings

Credit rating agencies (CRAs) will have to form a review committee of mostly independent members to decide on any request for a rating review. CRAs will have to disclose on their website all ratings that are not accepted by an issuer for at least 12 months. SEBI has proposed these measures as part of its attempts to strengthen the governance, accountability and functioning of CRAs.

Deliberations on Punchhi commission report

Standing committee of the Inter-State Council has completed deliberations on Punchhi Commission’s recommendations. Punchhi Commission deals with the responsibility and jurisdiction of the Centre during major outbreaks of communal and caste violence. Government had constituted this Commission on Centre-State Relations under the Chairmanship of former CJI Madan Mohan Punchhi on April 27, 2007.

3rd Mission Innovation Ministerial in Sweden

23 : India will be participating in the 3rd Mission Innovation Ministerial that will be held at Malmo-Sweden. Mission Innovation is a global platform of 23 countries & EU aimed at accelerating clean energy innovations through enhanced government funding, public-private sector partnership& enhanced global cooperation. India is the founding member of Mission Innovation & part of Steering Committee

Discussion on governance, data privacy

Justice B N Srikrishna, who heads the committee on framing new data protection norms for India, will chair a panel discussion on governance to be held in New Delhi. The event is hosted by India International Centre (IIC) in collaboration with NITI Aayog and Centre for Policy Research (CPR). The discussion on ‘Future of Governance’ will focus on various aspects related to data privacy.

Lalit Kala Akademi gets new Chairman

Artist and sculptor Uttam Pacharne has been appointed as the chairman of the Lalit Kala Akademi. Currently, he is a member of the advisory committee, Kala Academy, Goa. He is the recipient of National Lalit Kala Award and Maharashtra Gaurav Puraska from Government of Maharashtra. The Lalit Kala Akademi or National Academy of Art is India’s national academy of fine arts.

MPC to meet for three days from June 4

The Reserve Bank of India has advanced the Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) meeting by a day to June 4 and also increased the duration to three days. It is for the first time that the MPC will meet for three days. The six-member MPC, headed by the RBI Governor, sets the benchmark interest rate. MPC was set up by amending the Reserve Bank of India Act, 1934, through the Finance Act 2016.

Cabinet okays defence spectrum budget hike

The Cabinet Committee on Infrastructure approved increasing the budget for laying of ‘alternative communication network’ for defence services. The alternative communications network is being set up in lieu of airwaves vacated by the Defence Ministry for civilian use. The project is being implemented by state-run Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited (BSNL).

RBI issues guidelines on NSFR

18 : The RBI issued detailed Net Stable Funding Ratio (NSFR) guidelines to ensure that banks maintain a stable funding profile in relation to the composition of their assets and off-balance sheet activities. The guidelines on NSFR are in line with global norms prescribed by the Basel Committee. The NSFR would be applicable for Indian banks at the solo as well as consolidated level.

New method to solve PSU disputes

Cabinet has approved a mechanism within the government for speedy resolution of commercial disputes of central public sector enterprises without cases going to courts. A new two-tier mechanism will be put in place of the existing Permanent Machinery of Arbitration mechanism to resolve such commercial disputes.Cabinet decision is based on the recommendations of the Committee of Secretaries.

Mukul Rohatgi appointed as eminent jurist

Senior advocate Mukul Rohatgi has been appointed as an eminent jurist in the selection committee for appointment of the Lokpal. The post of eminent jurist in the Lokpal selection panel was lying vacant since the death of senior advocate P P Rao. Rohatgi was appointed as Attorney General of India after the Narendra Modi government assumed power in May 2014.

Committee for securing airport cargo terminals

Govt has constituted a special committee to suggest ways for better-securing airport cargo terminals in the country against terror threats. It will chalk out an anti-sabotage & counter-terror plan that can be deployed at the un-guarded air cargo terminals. Committee will have representatives from Home Ministry, CISF, Bureau of Civil Aviation Security, IB & few other cargo handling agencies.

Panel to look into black money recovery

A parliamentary panel headed by Murali Manohar Joshi will study the recovery of black money & performance of public sector banks. 30-member Estimates Committee has decided to study a host of subjects related to various ministries in the year 2018-19. The panel will also look into the import of uranium for nuclear plants, mining activities & environment among other matters.

Committee constituted to advise 15th FC

15th Finance Commission has constituted an advisory council to advise & assist them on any issue or subject related to Terms of Reference of the Commission. The council will assist in the preparation of any paper or research study and will be led by Arvind Virmani, President of the Forum for Strategic Initiatives. The chairman of 15th Finance commission is N. K. Singh.

Committee to review conduct of business in RS

The Chairman of Rajya Sabha – Venkaiah Naidu has constituted a 2-member committee to review rules of procedure & conduct of business in the House. The committee will be headed by former Secretary General of the Rajya Sabha, Dr V. K. Agnihotri. The formation of this committee comes with an aim to improve the day-to-day functioning of the two houses of the Parliament.

Panel for revamp of Indo-Nepal treaty

The final report of a bilateral committee — appointed to advise governments in Delhi and Kathmandu — is likely to suggest that the 1950 India-Nepal Peace and Friendship Treaty should be revised. The Eminent Persons Group (EPG) was appointed in February 2016 to suggest measures for improving the bilateral ties. The committee consists of eight members with four persons representing each side.

SEBI proposes changes to public issue norms

SEBI has proposed some changes in public issue norms, including shorter time period for price band announcement & lesser disclosures about group companies at time of IPO. The time period for announcing price band for Initial public offerings (IPO) will be reduced to 2 working days from current 5 days. These proposals are based on suggestions made by SEBI’s Primary Market Advisory Committee.

First meet of Defence Planning Committee

The new Defence Planning Committee (DPC) met for the first time under the chairmanship of National Security Advisor Ajit Doval. The DPC will draft National Security Strategy (NSS) and other doctrines as well as ushering reforms in the country’s higher defence management and planning. The Chief of Integrated Staff in the Ministry of Defence will be the member secretary of DPC.

Krishonnati Yojana to be continued

Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs has approved continuation of Umbrella Scheme Green Revolution – Krishonnati Yojana in the Agriculture Sector beyond 12th Five Year Plan to 2019-20. Umbrella scheme comprises of 11 Schemes. The schemes aim to develop the agriculture & allied sector in a holistic & scientific manner to increase the income of farmers by enhancing production & productivity.

Cabinet renames minority development programme

Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs has renamed the Multi-sectoral Development Programme as Pradhan Mantri Jan Vikas Karyakram. The restructured programme aims to provide better socioeconomic infrastructure facilities to minority communities, particularly in the field of education, health & skill development. The scheme would extend to 308 districts compared to 196 districts at present.

Government aid to reduce sugarcane dues

The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs has given its approval to provide financial assistance of Rs. 5.50 per quintal of cane crushed in sugar season 2017-18 to sugar mills. This will help sugar mills to clear cane dues of farmers. The assistance shall be paid directly to the farmers on behalf of the mills.

Meeting to plan Gandhi’s birth anniversary

President Kovind will preside over the first meeting of the national committee set up for the commemoration of the 150th birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi next year. The 114-member committee will discuss the policies, plans and preparatory activities for the commemoration of the birth anniversary. The birth anniversary will be commemorated from 2nd October 2019 to 2nd October 2020.

Subhash Chandra appointed as IRDAI Chairman

Former IAS Officer Subhash Chandra Khuntia was appointed as the new Chairman of Insurance Regulatory Development Authority of India (IRDAI) for three-years. Khuntia will succeed T S Vijayan, who completed his five-year term in February. His appointment was approved by Appointments Committee of the Cabinet (ACC). IRDAI regulates Insurance sector of the country.

India, Nepal to review bilateral trade treaty

India and Nepal have agreed to review bilateral trade treaty. The decision was taken at the meeting of India-Nepal Inter Government Committee on Trade, Transit and Cooperation to Control Unauthorised Trade, held in Kathmandu. The two sides also discussed amendments to the bilateral Treaty of Transit signed in 1999 to further facilitate transit movement of Nepal’s trade with third countries.

Expert panel to probe Film Archive issues

The I&B ministry has constituted a 5 member expert committee to look into the condition of films as well as the storage vaults at the National Film Archive of India (NFAI).The committee will also suggest ways and means to preserve the films in a better manner. The committee comprises filmmakers Shaji N Karun, Ketan Mehta, Piyush Shah and former NFAI director K S Sasidharan.

Saraswati Samman for Sitanshu

Eminent Gujarati poet Sitanshu Yashaschandra’s poetry collection “Vakhar” has been chosen for the Saraswati Samman for 2017.The selection for the award is made by a high level ‘Chayan Parishad’ (selection committee), presided over by former secretary general of Lok Sabha, Subhash C Kashyap. The Saraswati Samman is awarded annually by the K K Birla Foundation.

India-Nepal IGC meeting began in Kathmandu

India-Nepal Inter-Governmental Committee (IGC) meeting on trade, transit and cooperation to control unauthorised trade in Kathmandu started on 26th April.The meeting provides a regular platform to review the implementation of past trade and transit agreements.IGC also deliberate upon day-to-day problems in regulation of Nepalese traffic-in-transit and issue of Indian investments in Nepal.

23rd meeting of Western Zonal Council

Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh chaired the 23rd meeting of Western Zonal Council at Gandhinagar, Gujarat.During the last 3 years or so, two Council meetings and 3 Standing Committee meetings of the Western Zonal Council were held. Zonal Councils were set up under the States Reorganization Act, 1956 to foster Inter-State co-operation and co-ordination among the States.

National Bamboo Mission restructured

The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs approved Centrally Sponsored Scheme of National Bamboo Mission under National Mission for Sustainable Agriculture.The mission is to ensure holistic development of the bamboo sector. The Mission will focus on the development of bamboo in limited states where it has social, commercial and economical advantage, particularly in the North Eastern region.

Cabinet approves MSP for Raw Jute

The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs, chaired by the Prime Minister has given its approval for the increase in the Minimum Support Price (MSP) for Raw Jute.The increased MSP is based on recommendations of Commission for Agricultural Costs and Prices. The Jute Corporation of India will be the Central Nodal Agency to undertake price support operations at MSP in the Jute growing states.

EAM to attend India-Mongolia Joint Committee

External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj will co-chair the 6th round of India-Mongolia Joint Consultative Committee meeting with her Mongolian counterpart in Ulaanbaatar.The meeting will discuss trade, economic, cultural and scientific co-operation. Mrs Swaraj became the first Indian External Affairs Minister to visit the Mongolia in 42 years.

World Bank approved $13bn increase in capital

World Bank Group has endorsed a package of measures that include a $13 billion increase in paid-in capital.The package approved by Development Committee of Board of Governors consists of $7.5bn paid-in capital for IBRD &$5.5bn paid-in capital for IFC. World Bank Group will now be able to support drivers of long-term sustainable growth, including investments in human capital & resilience.

Cabinet approved restructured scheme

Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs has approved a restructured Rashtriya Gram Swaraj Abhiyan aimed at building infrastructure & stepping up initiatives for e-governance.The scheme will extend to all states & UTs & will include institutions of rural local govt in non-Part IX areas, where panchayats do not exist. PM Modi will launch the scheme on National Panchayati Raj Day on April 24.

Jim Bridenstine to be the new NASA chief

US Senate has confirmed President Donald Trump-nominated Representative Jim Bridenstine to serve as NASA’s 13th administrator.His confirmation following a vote in the Senate ends the longest span of time that NASA has operated without a permanent leader. Bridenstine, a pilot in US Navy Reserve currently serves on the House Armed Services Committee & Science, Space & Technology Committee.

Committee for higher defence management

To improve higher defence management, govt has constituted a committee headed by NSA Ajit Doval.Committee will prepare a draft national security strategy, work on defence diplomacy issues & improving defence manufacturing in India. It will have Chairman of Chiefs of Staff Committee, 3 service chiefs, secretaries of ministries of defence, expenditure & foreign affairs as its members.

Bihar, NE states recommended for Ranji Trophy

Sourav Ganguly-led technical committee of BCCI has unanimously recommended reinstatement of Bihar & inclusion of northeastern states in the 2018-19 Ranji Trophy.The northeastern states played BCCI U-19 tournaments last season as the Board wanted to gradually integrate them into the system. Ranji Trophy 2018-19 season is proposed to have 4 Groups with the introduction of pre-quarterfinals.

India won elections to key UN subsidiary

India has won an election to a crucial Non-Governmental Organisation committee in the UN.The UN’s Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) held elections to a number of its subsidiary bodies. The ECOSOC focusses on advancing the three dimensions of sustainable development economic, social and environmental. India topped the election to the Committee on Non-Governmental Organizations.

Oil, finance ministers can award oil blocks

The Cabinet allowed Ministers of Finance and Petroleum to award oil and gas blocks to winners in the ongoing auction.Till now, only the Cabinet headed by the Prime Minister had the powers to approve the award of a block or area for the exploration and production of oil and gas.The two Ministers will approve the award based on the recommendations of the Empowered Committee of Secretaries.

Govt forms committee to regulate online media

The I&B Ministry has constituted a committee to frame rules to regulate news portals and media websites.The committee includes secretaries of Ministries of I&B, Electronics and IT, Home, Legal Affairs and Department of Industrial policy and promotion. The committee will also have representatives of the Press Council of India, News Broadcasters Association and Indian Broadcasters Federation.

Mechanism to address taxpayers grievances

The government will put in place an IT-Grievance Redressal Mechanism to address the difficulties faced by a section of taxpayers owing to technical glitches on the GST portal.The IT Grievance Redressal committee will examine and approve the solutions for an identified issue. If a taxpayer faces problem due to failure of power supply, this mechanism shall not be available.

Cabinet approved Nutrient Based Subsidy

The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs has approved the continuation of Nutrient Based Subsidy (NBS) and City Compost Scheme beyond 12th Five Year plan till 2019-20. Government is making available fertilizers, namely Urea and 21 grades of P&K fertilizers to farmers at subsidized prices through fertilizer manufacturers. The subsidy on P&K fertilizers is being governed by NBS Scheme.

Lingayats community gets minority status

The Karnataka Government declared minority status to the Lingayats community. This comes days after the CM Siddaramaiah-led government accepted the suggestions of Nagamohan Das committee to grant a separate religion status to the Lingayats community. The decision was critised by the Veerashaiva Lingayat Samanvaya Samiti and termed as politically motivated move.

Integrated Scheme for silk industry approved

The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) approved the Integrated Scheme for Development of Silk Industry. The core objective of the scheme is to improve the productivity and quality of silk through R&D intervention. The approved proposal includes provision for the brand promotion of Indian silk through quality certification by ?Silk Mark?.

Committee to Redress FinTech Grievances

Centre has announced the formation of a steering committee to examine issues faced by the FinTech industry in India. Committee will be chaired by Subhash Chandra Garg, Secretary, Department of Economic Affairs. Decision follows an announcement made by Arun Jaitley on setting up of a group under Finance Ministry that will help devise institutional measures to spur growth of FinTech firms.

Venkatesh quits as BCCI selection chairman

Former India pacer Venkatesh Prasad submitted his resignation from the post of chairman of the junior national selection committee. Prasad, who cited personal reasons for stepping down, has worked as the head of the committee for 30 months. Acting president CK Khanna said that he tried convincing Prasad to stay but he had made up his mind.

Former Cabinet Secretary TSR Subramanian Dies

TSR Subramanian, former Cabinet Secretary of the Union government passed away due to prolonged illness. Subramanian, a 1961 batch officer of the Indian Administrative Service, was the cabinet secretary from August 1, 1996, to March 31, 1998. He also headed several government committees, including those on education and environment.

Nilekani to develop IT infra for ‘Modicare’

Nandan Nilekani will assist the government in developing IT infrastructure for the National Health Protection Scheme (NHPS), which seeks to cover 10-crore families.The IT infrastructure for the healthcare scheme will be of a huge scale as was required for Aadhar. Former UIDAI chairman Nilekani, the brain behind the Aadhaar is also a member of the GST return simplification committee.

Committee to study Brahmaputra

Centre has constituted a committee headed by Rajiv Kumar, Vice Chairman of the NITI Aayog to study the Brahmaputra & flood control measures in Assam & neighbouring states.Assam govt has submitted required report on flood control measures to the committee. PM Modi during his visit to Guwahati last year, announced to provide 100 crore rupees to find out a permanent solution of flood.

Germany running out of warships

The German Parliament’s Defence Committee has urged the Navy to stop deploying warships overseas, saying that the country does not have enough ships. Adding that several warships were already decommissioned due to their age, the committee blamed bureaucracy in the defence agencies as well as military contractors’ reluctance to supply necessary spare parts on time for the situation.

PBNS shortlists Siddharth for top edit job

A high-level committee has identified Siddharth Zarabi for Head of TV News in DD News and Abhijit Majumder for the position of Chief Editor, Prasar Bharati News Service (PBNS). Zarabi with 20 years of work experience is currently Executive Editor of Business TV India while Majumder is Managing Editor of Mail Today newspaper. The Prasar Bharati board is slated to meet February 15.

Panels for artificial intelligence

The ministry of electronics and IT has formed four committees to prepare a roadmap for the national artificial intelligence programme.The committees will be headed by IIT directors and experts from industry bodies.The four committees will be for citizen centric services; data platforms; skilling, reskilling and R&D; and legal regulatory and cybersecurity.

Nod for 24 new medical colleges

The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs gave its approval for setting up 24 new medical colleges in underserved areas.This will increase the under and post graduate medical seats by 18,058 and adding 248 nursing and midwifery schools.This is to be done at a total estimated cost of ?14,930.92 crore up to 2019-20.

Advisory committee on defence procurements

To expedite capital acquisitions in defence procurement, Defence Minister Sitharaman has constituted a 13-member Raksha Mantri Advisory Committee on Ministry of Defence Capital Projects.The committee will present an initial status report on the identified projects to the Defence Minister by March 31, 2018.The report shall include status of the projects issues, remedial measures etc.

India slams UN Sanctions Committees

India’s Ambassador to the United Nations Syed Akbaruddin slammed the Sanctions Committees for taking decisions beyond “the gaze of public knowledge”.Calling for reforms to make their decision-making transparent, he said, “No rationale is provided for such anonymous vetoing of a submission.”This comes after China vetoed declaring Jaish-e-Mohammad chief a global terrorist, reports said.

Separate Karnataka flag not against Const.

7 : A nine-member committee has concluded in its report to the Karnataka government that having a separate flag for the state is not against the Constitution, reports said.The committee was formed in July 2017 following demands from Kannada activists for an independent state flag.An unofficial Karnataka flag, red and yellow in colour, is often seen hoisted at public places.

Niti Aayog CEO Amitabh Kant gets extension

Niti Aayog CEO Amitabh Kant given an extension till June 30 next year, according to an official order.He was appointed the Chief Executive Officer of the government think tank on February 17, 2016 for a two-year term.The Appointments Committee of the Cabinet has approved extension of Kant’s tenure till June 30, 2019, the order issued by the personnel ministry said.

Benegal Awarded Lifetime Achievement Award

Mumbai International Film Festival (MIFF) committee has decided to bestow V. Shantaram lifetime achievement Award to veteran film producer and director Shyam Benegal.He will be awarded a trophy, cash price of 10 lakh rupees, a certificate and a shawl by Governor of Maharashtra C. Vidyasagar Rao. Benegal has been selected for his contribution to the promotion of the documentary movement.

Conf. on ‘Inclusion of PWD in Election’

Election Commission of India hosted a one-day International Conference on the subject ‘Inclusion of Persons with Disabilities in the Election Process’ in New Delhi.Delegates at the Conference included Chairpersons of five EMBs viz. Australia, Bhutan, Guinea, Moldova & Zambia. ECI is committed to the objective that the Persons with Disabilities have the right to full electoral participation.

CPI(M) veteran Khagen Das passes away

Khagen Das, CPI(M) veteran and chairman of the Left Front Committee of Tripura, died in Kolkata on Sunday.Mr. Das, 81, died within minutes of his admission to a hospital for chest pain.He was in Kolkata to attend the party’s central committee meeting. Mr. Das served as a Minister and member of the Rajya Sabha and the Lok Sabha.

Bengal Global Business Summit

JSW Group will make fresh investments of Rs 10,000 crore in Bengal, Sajjan Jindal chairman of the steel, cement and power conglomerate announced.The 4th Bengal Global Business Summit was held from 16-17 January. The State Govt. is committed towards inclusive and sustainable development, providing increasing employment opportunities.

Sebi approves Vijay Kumar’s appointment

SEBI has approved the appointment of Vijay Kumar as the MD and CEO of NCDEX.Kumar, a former chief business officer at NCDEX, is likely to assume the office next week. He is an agro-industry veteran, having worked for Cargill and National Bulk Handling Corporation. The exchange’s selection committee had picked his name for the MD and CEO’s post from a list of 11 candidates.

Panel on Mullaiperiyar dam

Supreme Court directed the Union government to set up a special committee to exclusively prepare disaster management plans for 122 years old Mullaiperiyar dam.A three-judge Bench led by CJI Dipak Misra also directed Tamil Nadu, which owns the dam, and Kerala, where it is situated, to set up similar committees. The Mullaperiyar Dam is a masonry gravity dam on the Periyar River in Kerala.

Tirumurti appointed eco. relations secy

India’s High Commissioner to Kuala Lumpur T S Tirumurti was appointed the Secretary (Economic Relations) in the External Affairs Ministry. The Appointments Committee of the Cabinet has approved his appointment to the post, in place of Vijay Keshav Gokhale, who was recently named as the Foreign Secretary. Tirumurti is a 1985-batch of officers of Indian Foreign Service (IFS).

Fund for National Waterway-1 project

Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs, chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi gave its approval for implementation of the Jal Marg Vikas Project at a cost of Rs 5369 crore.This project is geared towards capacity augmentation of navigation on the Haldia-Varanasi stretch of National Waterway-1 (NW-1). The project is spread across four states viz. Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Jharkhand, West Bengal.

Solar-based irrigation schemes: Haryana

Haryana CM Manohar Lal Khattar directed the state irrigation department to implement the integrated solar-based micro irrigation scheme in all districts of Haryana.Mr. Khattar has constituted a committee headed by Haryana Renewable Energy Development Agency chairman to form a strategy to execute this scheme.This scheme will save electricity and water.

Crypto-currencies not legal tender: India

Bitcoins or such crypto-currencies are not legal tender and those indulging in such transactions are doing it at their own risk, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said.A committee under the chairmanship of Secretary, Department of Economic Affairs, is deliberating over the issue.A cryptocurrency is a digital asset designed to work as a medium of exchange.

Abhay Appointed Director General of NCB

Senior IPS officer Abhay was appointed Director General of Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB).He is at present working in Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF).The Appointments Committee of the Cabinet has approved his appointment to the post till November 18, 2019.The post was lying vacant after R R Bhatnagar took over as DG of CRPF in April 2017.

Committee for sub-categorisation of OBCs

The Union Cabinet gave its approval to extend the tenure of the committee set up to examine the issue of sub-categorisation of OBCs, by giving it more time till April next year to submit its report.The committee is headed by former justice G Rohini. It has the responsibility to examine the extent of inequitable distribution of reservation benefits among castes and communities.

Kaleshwaram project gets envt. nod

The Expert Appraisal Committee of the Ministry of Environment, Forest & Climate Change has accorded environmental clearance for the Kaleshwaram irrigation project in Telangana. Project envisages construction of a barrage across River Godavari near Madigadda village in Karimnagar district of Telangana. This aims to divert 180 TMC of water for providing irrigation facility in 7.38 lakh hectare