Parliamentary panel proposes rehab scheme for Nagas
A Parliamentary panel has recommended the Ministry of Home Affairs
(MHA) prepare a detailed and generous rehabilitation-cum-settlement scheme
for the cadres of National Socialist Council of Nagaland (Isak-Muivah), the
group that signed a Naga Framework Agreement with the Centre in 2015.
The panel also wondered at the delay in concluding the Naga peace
talks “when all other stakeholders other than the Government appear to be
eager to conclude it.” Any further delay may harm the progress achieved in
the last few years, it said.
“NSCN (IM), being the largest group in the entire region, would
have thousands of cadres who must be adequately settled to make the
agreement successful and to prevent the emergence of any splinter groups the
government should, nevertheless, stay prepared for any scenario that may
emerge in the aftermath of this agreement, and keep security forces on the
alert,” the panel said in its report.
After signing a Framework Agreement with the NSCN-IM, the largest
group representing the Nagas, the Centre signed a preamble in November 2017
with six Naga National Political Groups (NNPGs) to hold discussions to find
a solution to the issue lingering on for decades.
The NSCN-IM has been fighting for ‘Greater Nagaland’ or Nagalim —
it wants to extend Nagaland's borders by including Naga-dominated areas in
neighbouring Assam, Manipur and Arunachal Pradesh, to unite 1.2 million
Good quality education the most potent way to reduce poverty : Vice
The Vice President of India, Shri M. Venkaiah Naidu has said that
good quality education was one of the most potent ways to reduce poverty,
achieve gender equality, and create more jobs. He said that improving the
quality of education, revamping the curriculum to teach Indian values and
transforming classrooms into centres of joyful learning was the way forward.
Addressing a gathering Shri Naidu stressed upon the need to keep
innovating curricula, infrastructure, pedagogy, teaching and examination
methodology and our technology tools so that the students are well prepared
to face the challenges of 21st century.
He said that such endeavours would help us overcome the most
pressing problems of the 21st century, from mitigating climate change to
cleaner energy, from ensuring better agricultural productivity to water
conservation, from combating hunger to efficient waste management.
Saying that India holds an important place in the global education
arena, Shri Naidu stressed the need to improve the quality of education to
suit to the requirements of the world
He opined that India cannot continue with sub-optimal efficiency
at the crucial juncture in our history where education, knowledge and skill
define country’s soft power.
The Vice President also stressed upon the need to invest more
resources and energy to further strengthen our education system, starting
from the roots, from primary, all the way up to post-doctoral education.
Shri Naidu observed that Innovation and Entrepreneurship were the
twin engines that propel India to a new era of economic prosperity and
social inclusion. He said that it was time to make India the favourable
environment for innovation and the most attractive destination for
RBI raises limit of collateral free farm loans
The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) on Thursday raised the limit of
collateral-free agricultural loans to ₹1.6 lakh from the current ₹1 lakh
with a view to help small and marginal farmers.
The Central bank also decided to set up an internal working group
(IWG) to review agricultural credit and arrive at a workable policy
solution.The Interim Budget had also announced measures to boost the farming
sector in addition to annual payment of ₹6,000 to small and marginal
Currently, the banks are mandated to extend collateral-free
agricultural loans up to ₹1 lakh. This limit was fixed in the year 2010
“Keeping in view the overall inflation and rise in agriculture
input costs since then, it has been decided to raise the limit for
collateral-free agriculture loans from ₹1 lakh to ₹1.6 lakh.
“This will enhance coverage of small and marginal farmers in the
formal credit system,” said the Central bank’s “Statement on Developmental
and Regulatory Policies”.
In spite of this, there remain issues related to agricultural
credit such as regional disparity and the extent of coverage, among
others.“There is also the issue of deepening long-term agricultural credit
for capital formation,” the RBI said while announcing setting up of the IWG.
Pension for unorganised sector to roll from next week
All unorganised sector workers up to 40 years of age can subscribe
to the PradhanMantriShram Yogi Maandhan (PMSYM) scheme, which entails a
minimum monthly pension of ₹3,000, from February 15, a Labour Ministry
The scheme, announced by Finance Minister PiyushGoyal in the
Interim Budget, is targeted at unorganised sector workers with monthly
income of up to ₹15,000.
Mr.Goyal had said it would benefit 10 crore workers in the next
five years. The scheme would provide them with an assured pension of ₹3,000
from the age of 60 years on a monthly contribution of a small amount during
their working life.
“This scheme may be called the PradhanMantriShram Yogi Maandhan,
2019. It shall come into force on the 15th day of February, 2019....the
unorganised workers have option to become the members of the scheme, on and
from the 15th day of February, 2019,” the notification issued by the Labour
The scheme would cover unorganised workers who are working or
engaged as home-based workers, street vendors, mid-day meal workers, head
loaders, brick kiln workers, cobblers, rag pickers, domestic workers, washer
men, rickshaw pullers, landless labourers, agricultural workers amid
construction workers, among others.
However, informal workers will not be eligible for the scheme if
they are covered under the National Pension Scheme, the Employees’ State
Insurance Corporation Scheme or Employees’ Provident Fund Scheme.
India terms Pak PM’s remark as an insult to Indian citizens
India has termed Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan's remarks
about its minorities as an egregious insult to all citizens of India. It
said, Pakistan Prime Minister's latest attempts to play with minority
sentiment will be rejected by the people of India.
In response to the media queries in this regard, External Affairs
Ministry Spokesperson Raveesh Kumar said, Pakistan’s Prime Minister has yet
again demonstrated his lack of understanding about India’s secular polity
He said, he overlooks the obvious fact that adherents of all
faiths choose to live under the democratic polity and the progressive
Constitution of India.
Mr Kumar said, India has eminent leaders of all faiths who occupy
its highest Constitutional and official positions and in contrast, Pakistani
citizens of non-Islamic faith are barred from occupying high Constitutional
The minorities are often turned away from government bodies like
the Economic Advisory Council of their Prime Minister, even in ‘naya
Pakistan. He said, Pakistan would do well to focus on its domestic
challenges and improve conditions of its citizens rather than try and divert
U.S may end zero tariffs concession given to India
India could lose a vital U.S. trade concession, under which it
enjoys zero tariffs on $5.6 billion of exports to the United States, amid a
widening dispute over its trade and investment policies, people with close
knowledge of the matter said.
A move to withdraw the Generalised System of Preferences (GSP)
from India, the world’s largest beneficiary of a scheme that has been in
force since the 1970s, would be the strongest punitive action against India
since President Donald Trump took office in 2017, vowing to reduce the U.S.
deficit with large economies.
Mr. Trump has repeatedly called out India for its high tariffs.
Indian Prime Minister NarendraModi has courted foreign investment as part of
his Make-in-India campaign to turn India into a manufacturing hub and
deliver jobs to the millions of youth.
The trigger for the latest downturn in trade ties was India’s new
rules on e-commerce that restrict the way Amazon.com Inc. and Walmart-backed
Flipkart do business in a rapidly growing online market set to touch $200
billion by 2027.
That, coming on top of a drive to force global card payments
companies such as Mastercard and Visa to move their data to India and the
imposition of higher tariffs on electronic products and smartphones, left a
broader trade package the two sides were working on through last year in
The GSP was tied to the trade package and since that deal had
slipped further away, the U.S. was considering withdrawing or scaling back
the preferential arrangement, people familiar with the matter said.
::SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY::
Scientists decode Indian gut microbiome
By studying the faecal samples of over 100 healthy people from
Madhya Pradesh and Kerala, researchers from the Indian Institute of Science
Education and Research (IISER) Bhopal have decoded the Indian gut microbiome
and have created a gene catalogue.
Constructed using multiple omics approaches such as genomics and
proteomics, the catalogue contains details on the different genes coded by
the gut bacteria and the functions carried out by the bacteria.
This study also compared the gut microbiome of Indians with people
in China, the U.S. and Denmark. The Indian gut microbiome showed higher
levels of Prevotella bacteria compared to the other populations.
Faecal samples from 53 people from Madhya Pradesh and 57 from
Kerala were used to construct the microbial gene catalogue. The catalogue
contains 1,551,581 genes and 943,395 genes out of them were identified as
unique to the Indian population.
“So about 9% (almost one million) microbial genes were found
unique to our population, and were not identified in the integrated
microbial gene catalogue constructed from other populations across the
globe,” adds Prof. Sharma.
Using large-scale metabolomics, the study also identified the
different faecal metabolites (end products after microbial metabolism) of
the Indian samples and mapped their association with the gut microbial
According to Mr.Dhakan, a drug made and tested in the U.S. may not
work for the Indian population. So understanding the gut microbiome will
help customise drugs and also develop new strategies for tackling the
metabolic diseases by correcting the imbalance in the gut microbiome.
International Paralympics Committee lifts Russia’s doping ban
The International Paralympics Committee (IPC) today said that it
will conditionally readmit Russia by next month, lifting a suspension
imposed over a doping scandal. A Kremlin spokesman responded by saying
Russia is delighted.
The IPC says the ban will be lifted by 15th, providing the Russian
Paralympic Committee (RPC) adhere to strict criteria.
In August 2016 the IPC suspended the RPC because it was necessary
and proportionate to the situation they faced and essential to ensure a