India Current Affairs 2017

Latest India Current Affairs and Current Affairs related to Government policy, polity and administration in India. India’s National Current Affairs updates for 2017

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Draft steel policy anticipates Rs. 10 lakh crore investments

The Steel Ministry has released new draft National Steel Policy of 2017, envisaging to double India’s domestic steel production capacity to 300 million tonnes by 2030-31.

The draft policy anticipates a requirement of Rs. 10 lakh crore of fresh investments to meet production goal and expects creation of at least 11 lakh new jobs in the process.

Key Features of Policy
  • Two alternatives vision: (i) Create a globally competitive steel industry that promotes inter-sectoral growth (ii) Create a self-sufficient steel industry that is technologically advanced, globally competitive and promotes inclusive growth.
  • Focuses on: Impediments like high input costs, import dependency, availability of raw materials and financial stress plaguing the sector. Couple of factors such as the demand and production of sponge iron are still under discussion.
  • Gas-based steel plants: Proposes gas-based steel plants and technologies such as electric furnaces to bring down use of coking coal in blast furnaces in order to cut down reliance on expensive imports of coking coal.
  • Public sector firms in the steel sector: They should aim for economies of scale. The will be encouraged to divest their non-core assets through mergers and restructuring.
  • Greenfield steel plants along India’s coastline: These plants will be set up under the aegis of Sagarmala project to tap cheap imported raw materials such as coking coal and export the output in a more cost-effective manner.
  • Cluster-based approach: It will be pursued, especially for micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) to ensure easy availability of raw materials, optimum land use and economies of scale.

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Committee constituted to set rules for implementation of Disabilities Act, 2016

The Union Government has constituted committee (Working Group) to frame uniform rules for the states to avoid delay in proper implementation of the Rights of Persons with Disabilities Act, 2016 across the country.

The Committee will be headed by Secretary from Department of Empowerment of Persons with Disabilities (DEPwD). It will submit its report within three months.

Composition: It will comprise of representatives from the Union Ministry of Health, DoPT, Labour, Legislative Department and representatives from NGOs as members.

It will also have Principal Secretary/Secretary, Social Welfare Department from Karnataka, Gujarat, Odisha, Assam, Madhya Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh.

Terms and References of Committee: Suggest model draft rules for the states in order to have a uniform rules across the country and also to avoid delay in finalization of rules by any state.

Rights of Persons with Disabilities Act, 2016

  • The Act was notified in December 2016, after it received assent of President. It comprehensively covers a whole spectrum of problems from physical disabilities to mental illness and multiple disabilities under it.
  • It raises number of disabilities from 7 to 21. It also raises reservation in government jobs for persons with benchmark disabilities from present 3% to 4% and in higher education from 3% to 5% per cent.
  • It includes mental illness, autism, spectrum disorder, cerebral palsy, muscular dystrophy, chronic neurological conditions, specific learning disabilities, speech and language disability, sickle cell disease, deaf ,blindness, acid attack and Parkinsons disease under the definition of disability.
  • The Act aims to bring Indian laws in line with the United Nations Convention on Rights of Persons with Disabilities, to which India became a signatory in 2007.
  • Once it comes into effect, every child with benchmark disability between the age group of 6 and 18 years will have the right to free education.

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Government shifts disinvestment advising role to Department of Economic Affairs

The Union Government has transferred the advising role of Department of Investment and Public Asset Management (DIPAM) on utilisation of the proceeds from disinvestment to the Department of Economic Affairs (DEA).

This announcement comes after the Union Cabinet approved an alternative mechanism to decide the modalities to do with stake sales in PSUs, so as to speed up the process and to streamline the disinvestment process.

Key Facts
  • The DEA in the Union Finance Ministry will now be in charge of financial policy in regard to the utilisation of proceeds of disinvestment channelised into the National Investment Fund (NIF).
  • The National Investment Fund was created in 2005 in which the proceeds from the disinvestment of Central Public Sector Enterprises (CPSEs) were to be channelised.
  • During his Budget speech 2016-17, Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley had announced renaming the previously known Department of Investment as DIPAM.

Earlier the Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) had given its approval to Alternative Mechanism to decide the modalities to do with stake sales in PSUs. Under this mechanism, the quantum of disinvestment in a particular Central Public Sector Undertaking (CPSE) will be decided on a case-by-case basis subject to Government retaining 51% equity and management control.

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