The newly-sworn in NDA government at the Centre has taken
four major decisions related to farmers' and traders welfare in the first
meeting of the Union Cabinet.
It has approved the extension of PradhanMantriKisanSammanNidhi
(PM-KISAN) to all the farmers in the country. Earlier the benefit of the scheme
was applicable to farmers having two hectares of land.
Briefing reporters after the Cabinet meeting in New Delhi last
evening, Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar said, nearly 14 crore 50 lakh
farmers will be now covered under the revised scheme. The Minister said, total
burden on the exchequer will be over 87,000 crore rupees for the year 2019-20.
He said, over three crore farmers have been benefited so far. Six thousand
rupees per year is being given in three instalments to the farmers, under the
In another major decision, the Centre approved the
PradhanMantriKisan Pension Yojana under which small and marginal farmers will
get a minimum fixed pension of 3,000 rupees per month on attaining the age of 60
years. The beneficiaries should be in the age group of 18 to 40 years. Mr Tomar
said, the central government will also contribute an equal amount to the pension
fund. He said, the scheme aims to initially cover 5 crore farmers in the first 3
The Cabinet cleared a pension scheme for small traders. Briefing
reporters in New Delhi last evening, Information and Broadcasting Minister
PrakashJavdekar said, the scheme is meant to provide universal social security
to all shopkeepers, retail traders and self-employed persons. They will be given
a minimum monthly pension of 3 thousand rupees on attaining the age of 60 years.
Altogether 3 crore retail traders and shopkeepers will be benefited under this
There is relief likely for thousands of air travellers
affected due to the closure of Pakistan airspace as India lifted curbs on
use of its skies on Friday.
“The ball is now in Pakistan’s court. Most likely they will also
open up,” a senior official said on the condition of anonymity.
“Temporary restrictions on all air routes in the Indian airspace
imposed by the Indian Air Force on 27 February 2019 have been removed,” the IAF
posted on Twitter. The IAF communicated its decision in a letter to the Airports
Authority of India (AAI).
Pakistan shut its airspace for all flights on February 27
following the IAF airstrike at a Jaish-e-Mohammad camp in Balakot. According to
Indian officials, 11 entry and exit points, which are located between Jammu and
Kashmir and Gujarat, were also closed for flights to and from Pakistan as a
The government official also said that AAI has written to U.N.’s
aviation watchdog, International Civil Aviation Organisation, as well as
countries like Pakistan, Afghanistan, Oman and Iran informing them of the
Since the imposition of its ban, Pakistan has gradually opened
its airspace for most airlines, barring those that enter the country from its
eastern border after traversing India.
India’s GDP grew at 5.8% in the January-March 2019 quarter,
dragging down the full year growth to a five-year low of 6.8%. The
unemployment rate in the country rose to a 45-year high of 6.1% in 2017-18,
as per official data released on the first day of the second term of the
Addressing a press conference on Friday, Economic Affairs
Secretary Subhash Chandra Garg said the slowdown, caused by temporary factors
such as liquidity crunch, is likely to continue in the April-June 2019 quarter,
with the demand picking up from the second quarter onwards.
Asked about India losing the fastest growing nation tag to China
with a quarterly growth of 5.8%, Mr.Garg, who is also the Finance Secretary,
said, “Quarterly numbers don’t matter…it is basically annual growth… At 6.8%
annual growth, India is still the fastest growing nation… China is still lower.”
During the year, the slowdown in the economy was led by sluggish
growth in the agriculture, forestry and fishing sector (2.9% growth), the mining
sector (1.3% growth) and in manufacturing (6.9%).
The sectors which saw growth rate of over 7% were public
administration, defence and other services, construction, financial, real estate
and professional services, and electricity, gas, water supply and other utility
The unemployment data, which was released a day after Prime
NarendraModi took oath for the second term, confirms an earlier leaked version
of this survey that claimed that joblessness was at a 45-year high.
Former ISRO chief Dr.Kasturirangan led Committee submitted
the draft National Educational Policy (NEP) to HRD Minister Ramesh
PokhriyalNishank in New Delhi yesterday.
The policy draft recommends incorporation of Indian knowledge
systems in the curriculum, constituting a National Education Commission and
curbing arbitrary fees hikes by private schools.
The expert panel also proposed massive transformation in Teacher
Education by moving all teacher preparation and education programmes into large
multidisciplinary universities or colleges.
It added that the topics will include Indian contribution to
mathematics, astronomy, philosophy, psychology, yoga, architecture, medicine, as
well as governance, polity, society, and conservation course on Indian knowledge
The existing NEP was framed in 1986 and revised in 1992.
India will lose access to preferential trade terms with the
U.S. under the latter’s Generalised System of Preferences (GSP) programme, a
Senior State Department official told reporters in Washington DC on
The official, who did not want to be named, said the restoration
of benefits remained a possibility if underlying trade issues were resolved, but
the withdrawal of India’s GSP eligibility, was “a done deal”.
President Donald Trump had written to the U.S. Congress on March
4 stating his intention to withdraw GSP benefits for India, saying India had
failed to assure Washington that it would provide “equitable and reasonable
access to the markets of India”.
However, U.S. lawmakers had written to the administration,
asking that a final decision be put on hold until the Indian elections
concluded. Twenty-five lawmakers also wrote to the administration in May to
request that GSP benefits not be cancelled as it would represent “a step back,
not forward” and harm U.S. companies.
The lawmakers had urged further negotiations with India. Indian
exports to the U.S. worth $5.6 billion are covered by GSP, although India gets
only $190 million in tariff savings.
Nevertheless, the programme impacts crucial Indian sectors
including textiles, leather, engineering goods, gems and jewellery.
Washington will impose a 5% tariff on all goods from Mexico
increasing to as much as 25% — until “illegal migrants” stop coming through
the country into the U.S., President Donald Trump said on Thursday.
“On June 10th, the United States will impose a 5% Tariff on all
goods coming into our Country from Mexico, until such time as illegal migrants
coming through Mexico, and into our Country, STOP,” he tweeted. “The Tariff will
gradually increase until the Illegal Immigration problem is remedied, at which
time the Tariffs will be removed,” he wrote.
According to a White House statement, the tariff will rise to
10% on July 1, then increase by 5% increments each month until topping out at
25% on October 1. “Tariffs will permanently remain at the 25% level unless and
until Mexico substantially stops the illegal inflow of aliens coming through its
territory,” the statement said
Mexican President Andrés Manuel LópezObrador struck a
conciliatory tone in a letter to Mr. Trump following the tariff announcement. “I
express to you that I don’t want confrontation,” he wrote. “I propose deepening
our dialogue, to look for other alternatives to the migration problem.”
The announcement came a day after border agents in El Paso,
Texas detained the largest single group of migrants they had ever encountered —
The Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) has warned of
a potential public health disaster if action was not taken to completely
prohibit and dissuade the use of Electronic Nicotine Delivery Systems (ENDS)
or e-cigarettes given that the nicotine delivered by these devices adversely
affect almost all systems in a human body.
E-cigarette use adversely affects the cardiovascular system,
impairs respiratory immune cell function and airways in a way similar to
cigarette smoking and is responsible for severe respiratory disease. It also
poses risk to foetus, infant, and child brain development, the council noted in
a white paper released on Friday.
Given the harmful health effects e-cigarettes pose to users, as
well as passive exposure, failure to make appropriate interventions at the right
time — by bringing together all stakeholders under one umbrella to prevent this
impending epidemic of e-cigarettes use — could lead to a public health disaster
in India, Dr.Bhargava asserted.
With any benefit that e-cigarettes may offer as a tobacco
cessation aid yet to be established and evidence suggesting that there were
risks of both dual use and the initiation to tobacco addiction among
non-smokers, these products, on balance, had a net negative impact on public
health, the ICMR noted.
In its response, Association of Vapers India (AVI) in a
statement said that the white paper does not present the true picture.