Current Affairs – January 2018

Cabinet approves MoU between India and Canada for cooperation in field of S&T

The Union Cabinet approved Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Canada for cooperation in field of Science & Technology. The MoU was concluded by Department of Science and Technology (DST) with Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council (NSERC) of Canada.

Salient features

The MoU will provide mechanism and help to foster scientific cooperation between Research & Development (R&D) and academic institutions of India and Canada. Under it, an innovative model of R&D cooperation between India and Canada will be implemented.

Under this MoU, India-Canada Centre for Innovative Multidisciplinary Partnership to Accelerate Community Transformation and Sustainability (IC-IMPACTS) programme will be supported to promote multidisciplinary research partnerships between both countries.

The R&D projects will be aimed at accelerating social transformation by providing solutions through application of S&T. The participants will include researchers from scientific organizations, academia and R&D laboratories from India and Canada.

Identified areas of mutual cooperation under the MoU include safe and sustainable infrastructure and integrated water management. This will help to develop institutional networking and support establishment of connections between scientific organizations, scientists and specialists of both countries.

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CCEA approves continuation of Members of Parliament Local Area Development Scheme

The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) has given its approval to continuation of Members of Parliament Local Area Development Scheme (MPLADS) till term of 14th Finance Commission i.e. 2020.

The continuation of scheme will entail annual allocation of Rs.3,950 crore and total outlay of Rs. 11,850 crores over next 3 years.

MPLAD Scheme

The MPLAD Scheme is Central Sector Scheme launched in 1993-94. It enables Members of Parliament (both elected and nominated) to recommend works for creation of durable community assets based on locally felt needs to be taken up in their constituencies in area of national priorities like drinking water, education, public health, sanitation, roads etc.

The Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation (MSPI) is nodal ministry to coordinate work under scheme. The scheme is governed by set of guidelines (last revised in June, 2016). Under this scheme, the funds are released in the form of grants in-aid directly to the district authorities on receipt of requisite documents and as per these guidelines.

The funds released under the scheme are non-lapsable i.e. if the fund for particular work is not spent in that year, it will be carried forward to the subsequent years, subject to eligibility.

The annual entitlement under the scheme per MP at present is Rs 5 crore. Role of MPs for the projects is only recommendatory i.e. they can only recommend their choice of works to concerned district authorities who implement these works by following the established procedures of the concerned state government.

Impact

Since its inception of the scheme, a total number of 18,82,180 works for Rs. 44,929.17 crore have been sanctioned till August, 2017 from MPLADS fund. It has resulted into creation of various durable community assets which have impacted the social, cultural and economic life of the local communities in one way or the other.

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