In a significant decision to fast-track India’s domestic nuclear power program, and give a push to country’s nuclear industry, the Union Cabinet chaired by the Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi has given its approval for construction of 10 units of India’s indigenous Pressurized Heavy Water Reactors (PHWR). The total installed capacity of the Plants will be 7000 MW. The 10 PHWR project will result in a significant augmentation of nuclear power generation capacity.
Focus – Cabinet approves construction of 10 units of India’s indigenous Pressurized Heavy Water Reactors (PHWR)
India has current installed nuclear power capacity of 6780 MW from 22 operational plants.
Another 6700 MWs of nuclear power is expected to come on-stream by 2021-22 through projects presently under construction.
In a first of its kind project for India’s nuclear power sector, the ten new units will come up in the fleet mode as a fully home-grown initiative. It would be one of the flagship “Make in India” projects in this sector.
With likely manufacturing orders of close to 70,000 crores to the domestic industry, the project will help transform Indian nuclear industry by linking our goal of a strong nuclear power sector with our indigenous industrial capacities in high-end technologies.
This Project will bring about substantial economies of scale and maximize cost and time efficiencies by adopting fleet mode for execution. It is expected to generate more than 33,400 jobs in direct and indirect employment. With manufacturing orders to domestic industry, it will be a major step towards strengthening India’s credentials as a major nuclear manufacturing powerhouse.
The ten reactors will be part of India’s latest design of 700 MW PHWR fleet with state-of-art technology meeting the highest standards of safety.
The approval also marks a statement of strong belief in the capability of India’s scientific community to build our technological capacities. The design and development of this project is a testament to the rapid advances achieved by India’s nuclear scientific community and industry. It underscores the mastery our nuclear scientists have attained over all aspects of indigenous PHWR technology. India’s record of building and operating PHWR reactors over the last nearly forty years is globally acclaimed.
The Cabinet’s decision reflects the Government’s commitment to prioritize the use of clean power in India’s energy mix, as part of low-carbon growth strategy and to ensure long-term base load requirement for the nation’s industrialization.
It also supports India’s commitment to sustainable development, energy self-sufficiency and bolsters global efforts to combat climate change.
For skills development of youth in coastal areas, the Ministry of Shipping signed a MoU with theMinistry of Rural Development in New Delhi today. The MoU is for SAGARMALA convergence – Ministry’ prestigious project and Ministry of Rural Development’s flagship program DeenDayalUpadhyayGrameenKaushalyaYojana (DDU GKY).
Highlights | SAGARMALA convergence
DDU-GKY is expected to bring in its skilling expertise to provide skilling for the coastal communities, thereby preparing them to take advantage of the job opportunities that are expected to come up in the maritime sector following port-led development under Sagarmala.
This MoU will meet the exact skill needs of industries in the port and maritime sector and provide the coastal communities right skills for better opportunities emanating from the large scale impact of Sagarmala projects.
With skill development, there will be close involvement of the coastal communities in Sagarmala and will make them contributors in the economic development and will ensure the inclusive growth of the coastal districts of the country.
The Centre is planning to facilitate fisherman with mechanized trawlers that will allow them to fish till 30-40 Nautical Miles in the international ocean. This will generate employment opportunities for youth in coastal areas, as fishing is a big industry, which involves processing, packaging, and export of fish and other sea produce.
There is a need to develop tourism around lighthouses in coastal areas, as this will provide employment to rural youth in these areas.
Analysis | SAGARMALA convergence
After this MoU agreement, rural youth and women of coastal areas will be able to develop skills for Maritime, Shipping and Port Management. Under the skill development pilot project, around 7,000 persons have been already been trained and out of this 600 people have been already got employment.
The Coastal Communities are key stakeholders in the Sagarmala Programme and their skill development and livelihood is an important objective of the program. A budget of Rs.100 Cr. has been allocated under Sagarmala for coastal community development activities.
Before execution, understanding the exact requirement is a key step and therefore, an on-ground survey for an accurate understanding of skill needs of 21 coastal districts has been done so that the training programs can be aligned to the exact requirements.
Along with the Skill gap studies, District Action Plans have been made in consultation with the State Governments and districts concerned and training will commence from May 2017. Specific training needs have been identified for more than 60000 trainees in the next phase through more than 100+ skill projects.
Significance | SAGARMALA convergence
The primary goal of the Skills and Livelihoods in Sagarmala is to meet the exact skill needs of industries in the port and maritime sector and provide the coastal communities right skills for better opportunities emanating from the large scale impact of Sagarmala projects.
It is expected that the close involvement of the coastal communities in Sagarmala will make them contributors in the economic development and will ensure the inclusive growth of the coastal districts of the country.
Shri M.Venkaiah Naidu to Chair the Governing Council Meeting in Nairobi from today.
Shri Naidu also to chair Bureau meeting of Asia-Pacific Ministers’ Conference on Housing & UD
India has been unanimously elected as the President of the UN-Habitat, an organ of the United Nations’ Organisation (UNO) that promotes socially and environmentally sustainable human settlements across the world, after 10 years. UN-Habitat reports to the United Nations General Assembly.
Since the UN-Habitat came into being in 1978, it is only the third time that India has been elected to lead this important organisation after 2007 and 1988.
As an inter-governmental policy-making and decision-making body, the Governing Council of UN-Habitat seeks to promote an integrated and comprehensive approach to human settlements, assist the countries and regions in addressing human settlement problems and strengthen cooperation among all countries on the human settlement issue.
The theme of the 26th Meeting of the Governing Council to be chaired by Shri M.Venkaiah Naidu from today is “Opportunities for effective implementation of the New Urban Agenda” with the focus on inclusive, sustainable and adequate housing for a better future and planning and financing sustainable urbanisation and integrated human settlements.
The New Urban Agenda was adopted by the world community at Quito, Ecuador last year.
India’s efforts for sustainable urban development
Shri Naidu elaborated on the integrated, inclusive and sustainable urban development model of India through various new missions like Atal Mission for Rejuvenation and Urban Transformation (AMRUT), Smart City Mission, Swachh Bharat Mission and Pradhan MantriAwasYojana. He said these missions are addressing deficits in different kinds of infrastructure including affordable housing in a convergence mode.
The Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion (DIPP) and World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO)have signed an agreement to establish Technology and Innovation Support Centers (TISC).
About TISC Program
WIPO’s Technology and Innovation Support Centers (TISC) 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 (IP) rights.
Services offered by TISCs may 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.
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 project.
CIPAM will also act as the main intermediary between WIPO and TISC host institutions and coordinate all the activities of the National TISC network.
Over 500TISCs operate worldwide and establishing TISC in India will give the host institutions access to the Global Network. In upcoming years CIPAM is planning to establish TISC’s in Universities, State Science Councils, R&D institutions etc. TISC will give an impetus to Knowledge sharing, sharing of best practices among the TISC’s, capacity building, generation and commercialization of IPs.
Shri Ravi Shankar Prasad, Hon’ble Union Minister for Electronics & Information Technology and Law & Justice today inaugurated the NIELIT Bhawan, a new state of the art green building of the National Institute of Electronics and Information Technology ( NIELIT Centre ) at Dwarka, New Delhi.
Features of NIELIT Centre
NIELIT has endeavoured to lead by example and is empowering youth through Skill Development and Capacity Building initiatives.
In addition to Digital Literacy, the demands for skill in basic Cyber Security concepts has also increased manifold, and NIELIT is equitably poised to address this challenge.
For effective implementation of skill development programmes including Government of India’s initiatives at PAN India level, NIELIT should strive to ensure that it has the presence through at least one own Centre in each state.
What is NIELIT Centre?
NIELIT is a key part of the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY) is engaged in Capacity Building and Skill Development of youth all over India.
With the addition of a new campus, NIELIT has added another feather in its cap. Incidentally, NIELIT has PAN India presence through 36 own Centres and about 9000 training partners.
Highlights of the event
Shri Ravi Shankar Prasad, Union Minister for Electronics & IT, Law & Justice inaugurates NIELIT Bhawan at Dwarka, New Delhi.
The Minister directs all concerned departments to pool resources to transform India into a truly digitally literate state at the earliest.
NIELIT launches e-Content Courses to cater to the areas with the shortage of training facilities.
NIELIT registered a growth of 175% in last 5 years.
NIELIT has launched 70 Apps for Android based Smart Phones on various topics of CCC (Course on Computer Concepts) course in 11 languages.
51 Skill Oriented courses of NIELIT have been aligned with NSQF at different levels.
In the last five years, NIELIT has skilled about 33 lakh candidates.
PAN India presence of NIELIT own Centres increases from 22 to 36 in the last 4 years. More Centres are in pipeline.
More about NIELIT Centre
National Institute of Electronics & Information Technology (NIELIT),(erstwhile DOEACC Society), an Autonomous Scientific Society under the administrative control of Ministry of Electronics & Information Technology (MoE&IT), Government of India, was set up to carry out Human Resource Development and related activities in the area of Information, Electronics & Communications Technology (IECT).
NIELIT is engaged both in Formal & Non-Formal Education in the area of IECT besides development of industry oriented quality education and training programmes in the state-of-the-art areas.
NIELIT has endeavoured to establish standards to be the country’s premier institution for Examination and Certification in the field of IECT. It is also one of the National Examination Body, which accredits institutes/organisations for conducting courses in IT in the non-formal sector.
The Union Cabinet chaired by the Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi has given its approval for National Steel Policy (NSP) 2017.
National Steel Policy | Introduction
The new Steel Policy enshrines the long term vision of the Government to give impetus to the steel sector. It seeks to enhance domestic steel consumption and ensure high quality steel production and create a technologically advanced and globally competitive steel industry.
National Steel Policy | Background
Owing to the strategic importance of the sector along with the need to have a robust and restructured policy in present scenario, the new NSP, 2017 became imminent. Though, National Steel Policy 2005 (NSP 2005) sought to indicate ways and means of consolidating the gains flowing out of the then economic order and charted out a road map for sustained and efficient growth of the Indian steel industry, it required adaptation in view of the recent developments unfolding in India and also worldwide, both on the demand and supply sides of the steel market.
Key features of the NSP 2017
Create self-sufficiency in steel production by providing policy support & guidance to private manufacturers, MSME steel producers, CPSEs,
Encourage adequate capacity additions,
Development of globally competitive steel manufacturing capabilities,
Domestic availability of iron ore, coking coal & natural gas,
Facilitating foreign investment,
Asset acquisitions of raw materials &
Enhancing the domestic steel demand.
National Steel Policy | Details
The policy projects crude steel capacity of 300 million tonnes (MT), production of 255 MT and a robust finished steel per capita consumption of 158 Kgs by 2030 – 31, as against the current consumption of 61 Kgs. The policy also envisages to domestically meet the entire demand of high grade automotive steel, electrical steel, special steels and alloys for strategic applications and increase domestic availability of washed coking coal so as to reduce import dependence on coking coal from about 85% to around 65% by 2030-31.
National Steel Policy | Highlights
The Indian steel sector has grown rapidly over the past few years and presently it is the third largest steel producer globally, contributing to about 2% of the country’s GDP. India has also crossed 100 MT mark for production for sale in 2016-17.
The New Steel Policy, 2017 aspires to achieve 300MT of steel-making capacity by 2030. This would translate into additional investment of Rs. 10 lakh Crore by 2030-31.
The Policy seeks to increase consumption of steel and major segments are infrastructure, automobiles and housing. New Steel Policy seeks to increase per capita steel consumption to the level of 160 Kgs by 2030 from existing level of around 60 Kg.
Potential of MSME steel sector has been recognised. Policy stipulates that adoption of energy efficient technologies in the MSME steel sector will be encouraged to improve the overall productivity & reduce energy intensity.
Steel Ministry will facilitate R&D in the sector through the establishment of Steel Research and Technology Mission of India (SRTMI). The initiative is aimed to spearhead R&D of national importance in iron & steel sector utilizing tripartite synergy amongst industry, national R&D laboratories and academic institutes.
Ministry through policy measures will ensure availability of raw materials like Iron ore, Coking coal and non-coking coal, Natural gas etc. at competitive rates.
With the roll out of the National Steel Policy-2017, it is envisaged that the industry will be steered in creating an environment for promoting domestic steel and thereby ensuring a scenario where production meets the anticipated pace of growth in consumption, through a technologically advanced and globally competitive steel industry. This will be facilitated by Ministry of Steel, in coordination with relevant Ministries, as may be required.
The Union Cabinet chaired by the Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi has given its ex-post facto approval to the signing the Memorandum of Cooperation (MoC) with Japan on Railway Safety. The MoC has already been signed in February, 2017.
Railway Safety | Areas covered by the Memorandum of Cooperation (MoC)
Latest technology related to railway track safety (automatic inspection technology etc.)
Rolling stock safety (e.g. maintenance etc.)
Any other relevant railway safety matter jointly determined by both the sides within the scope of this MoC with consideration for major railway accident preventions based on the analysis of accident causes.
Railway Safety | Significance to Indian Railways
Dispatch of experts.
Training of core staff in Japan.
Sharing of information and best practices.
Facilitating the participation of other institutions, organization and ministries, including contribution of National Traffic Safety and Environmental Laboratory of Japan to Research Design and Standards Organisation, Ministry of Railway, Government of India (RDSO), subject to their respective national laws and regulations where appropriate and possible.
Recently the 3rd meeting of the NITI Aayog’s Governing Council was held at Delhi. With an aim to transform India (as called by the Prime Minister), the NITI Aayog has envisioned an aspiring agenda for the country to be achieved by the year 2032.
NITI Aayog | Agenda for 2032
As we know that the five-year plans have now been replaced by a three-year action plan which will be sub-part of a 7-year strategy which itself would be a sub-part of realising a 15-year long term vision for the country.
The targets set by NITI Aayog for the next 15 years include a threefold rise in country’s GDP, Rupees 2 lakh increase in per capita GDP of the country and other necessary facilities for people such as electricity, housing with toilets and digital connectivity for all people in the country with a fully literate population having unhindered access to healthcare and most importantly, ‘a clean India with clean air and water’.
NITI Aayog | Analysis
The immediate requirement of NITI Aayog should have been to identify the immediate challenges that our country is facing to realize a developmental vision, rather than writing a manifesto-like document for coming years such as consistent poverty in the country and global environment that may affect regional inequalities among many others. Real challenges should be addressed after taking a 360-degree view of the issues around us.
It is not a herculean task for India to receive 8% GDP growth rate because in the last 25 years, the average growth rate was 6.7% of GDP. When our economy is consistently increasing at a sustainable pace, we need to bring few issues under our focus –
Inclusive growth can be achieved by providing education for all, skill development, healthcare facilities and raising expenditure on rural infrastructure to fill the concerned gaps.
Resilience in the path of realisation of development by strengthening our public institutions, regulatory environment, banking system and management of our natural resources.
Government has promised clean and quality air which is enshrined in the NITI Aayog’s agenda but this objective stands contradictory to the aspiration which envisions a private car or two-wheeler for every citizen in the country. At a time when the world is moving towards maximising environment friendly public transport and eco-friendly approach towards energy consumption, this step looks retrograde.
NITI Aayog | Primary sector development
Development of agriculture should be focused on –
Land leasing reforms
Second Green Revolution in eastern India
NITI Aayog | | Fiscal situation
The combined expenditure of Centre and States would rise by almost 92 lakh crore rupees to reach 130 lakh crore rupees by the financial year 2031-32.
India’s urban population would rise by 22 crore and reach around 60 crores by that time.
NITI Aayog also projects per capita income in the country to rise by 2 lakh rupees up to 3,14,667 rupees approximately.
Hence, the economy is expected to grow three-fold in the next 15 years. If the economy grows at an 8% average rate of GDP for the next 15 years, our nominal GDP will reach almost 469 lakh crore rupees by the year 2030 (around USD 7.25 trillion).
NITI Aayog | Social situation
NITI Aayog has also come up with indices to measure states’ performance in the field of health, education and water management. This will help states to measure the results of various social programmes and compete with each other and simultaneously share best practices and innovations in line with cooperative yet competitive federalism.
It has also suggested to club various social programmes and various centrally-sponsored schemes under 28 umbrella projects. For example – The panel has suggested few changes in Swachh Bharat Mission and other flagship schemes like skill development, poverty measurement and Atal Innovation Mission (AIM).
NITI Aayog | Conclusion
Soviet form of central planning may have its limitations but yearly targets and monitoring mechanisms can help the Government to better streamline plan performance for the ambitious goals set out by NITI Aayog. Unwavering political will and public support from all quarters will be the prerequisites to realise the true potential of the aforementioned ambitious targets.
The Minister of Road Transport & Highways Shri Nitin Gadkari did an aerial survey of the ongoing construction work of the 135 km long Eastern Peripheral Expressway that runs from Kondli – Ghaziabad- Palwal.
Eastern Peripheral Expressway | About
The Peripheral Expressway Project comprises two expressways –Western Peripheral Expressway (WPE) and Eastern Peripheral Expressway (EPE) connecting NH-1 and NH-2 from Western and Eastern side of Delhi.
The EPE and WPE constitute one combined project forming a Ring Road around Delhi with a total length of 270 km. About 183 km length passes through the State of Haryana whereas the remaining about 87 km length passes through the State of Uttar Pradesh.
Once complete, the two expressways together will allow a bypass for traffic not meant for Delhi and headed towards the neighbouring states of Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Haryana, Punjab, Jammu and Kashmir. This will not only decongest Delhi but also cut down pollution by almost 50 percent.
The Expressway is planned to be equipped with the latest, world class smart technology and road safety features like intelligent highway traffic management system, video incident detection system and a closed tolling system where the toll will be charged on the distance travelled.
EPE will be the country’s first Green Highway, with landscaping, plantation with nearly 2.5 lakh trees and fully lit by solar energy. There will also be facilities for rainwater harvesting at short distances. The Highway will also have roadside amenities like petrol pumps, motels, restaurants etc.
Eastern Peripheral Expressway | Significance
The Expressway will greatly benefit farmers, traders and the people of the NCR region and neighbouring states of UP, Uttarakhand, as a whole by providing better road connectivity in the region. The projects will give a major boost to the transport infrastructure of the region, making it speedier, more efficient and less polluting, which in turn, will give a boost to the economy as a whole.
The projects will create both direct and indirect jobs. The construction work of EPE has generated 40 lakh man-days of employment. 2100 engineers and 5200 workers are employed daily. Besides this, the local population would be involved in creating and maintaining the green belt. The roadside amenities will provide markets for local produce.
Eastern Peripheral Expressway | Other initiatives
An efficient and integrated transport system is necessary to bring down logistics cost and give a boost to the economy. Twelve expressways are also being constructed in other parts of the country, including Delhi- Meerut, Delhi-Jaipur, Delhi–Ludhiana-Amritsar-Katra, Mumbai – Vadodara, Bangaluru-Chennai, Hyderabad-Vijaywada-Amravati, Hyderabad-Bangaluru, Nagpur – Hyderabad and Amravati Ring Road Expressway.
The Government is fast moving towards meeting its target of building 2 lakh km of National Highways. Starting from around 57000 km of NH we have reached a figure of 103933 km. He said that the pace of construction of National Highways across the country has risen very fast. A record 16000 km of NH construction work was awarded this year. He said the award target for the coming year is 25000 km. He also said that the daily rate of construction has gone up from about 2 km per day three years back to about 22 km per day at present.
The Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi will flag off the first UDAN flight under RCS on Shimla-Delhi sector tomorrow. Simultaneously, Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi will also flag off the inaugural UDAN flight on Kadapa – Hyderabad and Nanded-Hyderabad sectors.
UDAN flight | Background
The Ministry of Civil Aviation is committed to providing air connectivity to currently underserved and unserved airports. To make air travel accessible to citizens in regionally important cities, the Ministry launched ‘Ude Deshka Aam Naagrik’ (UDAN) Regional Connectivity Scheme in October, 2016.
The UDAN Scheme was developed through extensive consideration of various issues and consultations with stakeholders. This is a first-of-its-kind scheme globally to stimulate regional connectivity through a market-based mechanism.
UDAN flight | Filing the gaps in regional connectivity
The AAI followed a transparent bidding process by inviting interested bidders and airline operators to submit their Initial Proposals under the provisions of Regional Connectivity Scheme and subsequently inviting counter proposals against such Initial Proposals. The routes and networks are awarded to bidders who submitted valid proposals and quoted the lowest viability gap funding (VGF) from the government for such routes and networks.
The Airports Authority of India (AAI), the implementing agency, have issued Letter of Awards for 27 proposals received under RCS-UDAN. Key features of the proposals awarded by AAI include:
Airports to be connected: 27 currently served airports, 12 currently underserved airports and 31 currently unserved airports (for a total of 70 airports) will be connected through these 27 proposals.
Geographical spread: There is a good geographical spread in the proposals: 24 airports in the western, 17 in north, 11 in south, 12 in east and 6 in north-eastern regions are proposed to be connected. 22 states and 2 Union Territories will be connected through these 27 proposals.
Routes and network: 16 awarded proposals are for single routes (connecting two cities) and 11 are for networks (connecting three or more cities). Six proposals have been bid with zero viability gap funding (VGF) reflecting the fact that there is potential latent demand.
VGF Outflow: 27 proposals will require a VGF of around Rs. 200 crores and will provide around 6.5 lakh RCS seats.
UDAN flight | Salient features
The airfare for a one-hour journey of appx. 500 km on a fixed wing aircraft or for a 30-minute journey on a helicopter would be capped at Rs. 2,500, with proportionate pricing for routes of different stage lengths and flight duration.
The selected airline operator would have to provide 50% of the flight capacity (subject to a minimum of 9 and a maximum of 40) as RCS Seats for operations through fixed wing aircraft and a minimum of 5 and a maximum of 13 RCS Seats on the RCS Flights for operations through helicopters and would be given a three years’ exclusivity of operations.
To reduce the cost of operations of airlines on flying such routes, a financial stimulus in the form of concessions from Central and State government, airport operators and the Viability Gap Funding to the interested airlines would be provided to kick-off operations from such airports, so that the passenger fares are kept affordable.
State Government will provide a certain share of VGF (20% for States other than North-East States where the ratio will be 10% of VGF determined). In this regard, till now 19 States and 3 UTs have signed MoU whereas 5 more States have given consent to sign MoU.