European Union & India establish an Investment Facilitation Mechanism

European Union (EU) and India today announced the establishment of an Investment Facilitation Mechanism (IFM) for EU Investments in India. The mechanism will allow for a close coordination between the European Union and the Government of India with an aim to promote and facilitate EU investment in India.

 

This agreement builds on the Joint Statement of the 13th EU-India Summit held in Brussels in March 2016, where the EU had welcomed India’s readiness to establish such a mechanism and leaders from both sides had reaffirmed their shared commitment to oppose protectionism and to work in favour of a fair, transparent and rule-based trade and investment environment.

As part of the IFM, the EU Delegation to India and the Department of Industrial Policy & Promotion (DIPP), Ministry of Commerce & Industry, agreed to hold regular high-level meetings to assess and facilitate “ease of doing business” for EU investors in India. This will include identifying and putting in place solutions to procedural impediments faced by EU companies and investors in establishing or running their operations in India.

Trade and Investment are key elements of the EU-India Strategic Partnership launched in 2004. Along with being the first trade partner in goods and services, EU is one of the biggest providers of foreign investment in India, with a stock exceeding US$ 81.52 billion (more than 4.4 lakh crores INR) as of March 2017. There are currently more than 6,000 EU companies present in India, providing direct and indirect employment to over 6 million people.

Source: PIB

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India’s first solar-powered 1600 HP DEMU train

Indian Railways’ first solar-powered 1600 HP DEMU (Diesel Electric Multiple Unit) is ready! In line with the vision to use renewable energy, Indian Railways has unveiled a new broad gauge solar-powered train that it says is a “path-breaking” leap towards making trains “greener and more environment-friendly”. The solar power DEMU train has six trailer coaches and is expected to save about 21,000 litres of diesel and ensure a cost saving of Rs 12 lakh per year.

Normally, DEMU trains provide power for its passenger comfort systems – lights and fans – from a diesel driven generator fitted on its Driving Power Car (DPC). IROAF has developed this system with a smart MPPT inverter which optimises power generation on a moving train to cater to full load even during the night. The unique feature of Battery Bank through storage battery ensures sufficient electricity when the sunlight is not available.

Northern Railway launched the first DEMU service on Indian Railways in 1994. Today, NR has 3 DEMU sheds having highest DEMU holding on Indian Railways. Shakurbasti DEMU shed of Northern Railway has been a pioneer in the field of green powered DEMUs – CNG & Solar powered. The very first CNG fitted DEMUs were run by Shakurbasti.

Now the first Solar panel powered DEMU train will also be maintained and operated by DEMU shed, Shakurbasti of Northern Railway. This pioneering effort makes a transition towards clean energy and reduction in the carbon emission.

Source: PIB

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National Strategic Plan For Malaria Elimination

Shri J P Nadda, the Union Minister of Health and Family Welfare launched the National Strategic Plan for Malaria Elimination 2017-22.
The Strategic Plan gives details about year wise elimination targets in various parts of the country depending upon the endemicity of malaria in the next 5 years.

Recalling the launch of the National Framework for Malaria Elimination (NFME) last year, Shri Nadda had stated that NFME outlined India’s commitment to eliminate malaria by 2030.

National Strategic Plan for Malaria Elimination (2017-22) gives strategies for working towards the ultimate goal of elimination of malaria by 2030.

Encouraging results have been achieved in the North East India and the efforts are now focussed in other states such as Jharkhand, Odisha, Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh and Maharashtra.

Features of the plan

The strategies involve strengthening malaria surveillance, establishing a mechanism for early detection and prevention of outbreaks of malaria, promoting the prevention of malaria by the use of Long Lasting Impregnated Nets (LLINs), effective indoor residual spray and augmenting the manpower and capacities for effective implementation for the next five years.

About Malaria

  • Malaria is a mosquito-borne infectious disease affecting humans and other animals caused by parasitic protozoans (a group of single-celled microorganisms) belonging to the Plasmodium type.
  • Malaria causes symptoms that typically include fever, feeling tired, vomiting, and headaches. In severe cases, it can cause yellow skin, seizures, coma, and/or death.
  • The methods used to prevent malaria include medications, mosquito elimination and the prevention of bites. There is no vaccine for malaria. The presence of malaria in an area requires a combination of high human population density, high anopheles’ mosquito population density and high rates of transmission from humans to mosquitoes and from mosquitoes to humans.

 

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India’s First TISC in Punjab | PIB Summary

The Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion (DIPP), Ministry of Commerce & Industry, Government of India, signed an Institutional agreement with the Punjab State Council of Science and Technology in New Delhi today to establish India’s first Technology and Innovation Support Centre (TISC) at Patent Information Centre, Punjab, under the World Intellectual Property Organization’s (WIPO) TISC program.

Objective

The objective of the Technology and Innovation Support Centre is to stimulate a dynamic, vibrant and balanced Intellectual Property Rights (IPRs) system in India to foster creativity and innovation, thereby promoting entrepreneurship and enhancing social, economic and cultural development by establishing a network of Technology and Innovation Support Centres in India.

Services offered by Technology and Innovation Support Centre include

  • Access to online patent and non-patent (scientific and technical) resources and IP-related publications;
  • Assistance in searching and retrieving technology information;
  • Training in database search;
  • On-demand searches (novelty, state-of-the-art and infringement);
  • Monitoring technology and competitors;
  • Basic information on industrial property laws, management and strategy, and technology commercialization and marketing.

Details

  • The Cell for IPR Promotion and Management (CIPAM) is designated as the National Focal Point for the TISC national network.
  • As the national focal point, CIPAM shall identify potential host institutions, assess their capacities and support them in joining the TISC program.
  • CIPAM will also act as the main intermediary between WIPO and TISC host institutions and coordinate all the activities of the national TISC network.

Significance

WIPO’s Technology and Innovation Support Centre program provides innovators in developing countries with access to locally based, high-quality technology information and related services, helping them to exploit their innovative potential and to create, protect, and manage their Intellectual Property Rights (IPRs).

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Directly Elected Mayors

Last week, the Maharashtra cabinet approved a proposal for direct election of the village sarpanch, the head of the Gram Panchayat. Earlier, the sarpanch was elected indirectly, by elected representatives.
Currently, the head of the municipal corporation, the mayor, is merely a ceremonial authority and executive decisions are carried out by the municipal commissioner appointed by the state government.

The direct elections for the posts of sarpanch and municipal council president need to be extended to municipal corporations that govern larger urban areas.India needs directly elected and empowered mayors for all its big cities.

Case for directly elected mayors

  • It helps in the construction of central leadership. Several countries have successful mayors go on to head national governments. For instance,
  • The current presidents of Indonesia and Turkey—Joko Widodo and RecepTayyipErdoğan—had previously served as mayors of Solo and Istanbul, respectively.
  • Both Jiang Zemin and Zhu Rongji were mayors of Shanghai before reaching the highest echelons of Chinese national politics.
  • While Jawaharlal Nehru and Vallabhbhai Patel honed their administrative skills as mayors of Allahabad and Ahmedabad, Subhas Chandra Bose served as the chief executive officer of the Calcutta Corporation before stepping into the role of Calcutta’s mayor.

Directly Elected Mayors: Challenges

  • The state governments do not want to let go of their powers. The resources generated from the cities are used to lubricate the political economies in rural areas.
  • Another issue is the short tenure of mayors in many states. For instance, the BMC mayor’s tenure is two-and-a-half years—hardly enough to create lasting changes in a large metropolis.
  • Sometimes, directly elected mayors run into corporations dominated by members of rival political parties. This leads to snags in day-to-day governance.
  • Since power lies largely with state and Central governments, the new dynasties that proliferate in Indian politics also prefer the parliamentary and legislative bastions controlled for generations rather than proving their mettle by transforming a city.
  • A solution can be found in a private member Bill that was introduced in the Lok Sabha by Congress parliamentarian Shashi Tharoor last year. Tharoor’s Bill on direct elections for mayors included a provision for a mayor-in-council that would be nominated by the directly elected mayor. Such a council, with an executive role, has existed in Kolkata and has performed reasonably well.

Source: The Indian Express

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SASEC Road Connectivity Programme

The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs chaired by the Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi has given its approval for up-gradation and widening of 65 km of Imphal-Moreh Section of NH-39 in Manipur at a cost of Rs. 1630.29 crores.
The development of the road infrastructure is of paramount importance to improve connectivity and progress of the Manipur and to ensure that the administrative set up reaches the isolated and remote habitats.
The project will improve connectivity between Imphal with the eastern part of the state. Based on the existing and projected traffic requirements the NH-39 will be widened to 4 lanes between Lilong village and Wanginj village, while the stretch between Wanginj village to Khongkhang will be upgraded to 2 lanes with a paved shoulder.

The project is being developed with ADB’s loan assistance under the South Asian Sub-Regional Economic Cooperation (SASEC) Road Connectivity Investment Program which aims at up-gradation of road infrastructure in Bangladesh, Bhutan, Nepal and India (BBIN) in order to improve the regional connectivity among BBIN nations.

Source: Press Information Bureau

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