The Gist of Press Information Bureau (PIB): May 2016

The Gist of Press Information Bureau: May 2016

SAG Perfect 10 for India in Boxing

It all went as scripted for Indian women pugilists who crushed any chance of a final-day surprise beating their Sri Lankan opponents convincingly to bag all the three gold medals on offer on the closing day at the 12th South Asian Games in Shillong. MC Mary Kom, L Sarita Devi and Pooja Rani clinched the yellow metal in their respective categories to make it a perfect 10 for India in boxing at the NEHU, SAI Special Area Games in Shillong.

Earlier the Indian men had grabbed all seven gold medals on offer to set the platform for a clean sweep in the discipline. It was none other than the famed MC Mary Kom who set the tempo for the Indians on Tuesday morning, handing over her animated Sri Lankan rival Anusha Dilrukshi a first round technical knockout. India thus clinched all the gold medals on offer in boxing to add fillip to its gold rush in the 12th South Asian Games.
Interest Rates of Small Saving Schemes to be recalibrated

The National Savings Schemes (NSSs) regulated by the Ministry of Finance offer complete security of investment combined with high attractive returns. These schemes also act as instruments of financial inclusion especially in the geographically inaccessible areas due to their implementation primarily through the Post Offices, which have reach far and wide.

The small savings interest rates are perceived to limit the banking sector’s ability to lower deposit rates in response to the monetary policy of the Reserve Bank of India. In the context of easing the transmission of the lower interest rates in the economy, the Government also has to take a comprehensive view on the social goals of certain National Small Savings Schemes. Accordingly, it has been decided that the following shall be implemented with effect from 1.4.2016 with regard to National Savings Schemes:

1. The Sukanya Samriddhi Yojana, the Senior Citizen Savings Scheme and the Monthly Income Scheme are savings schemes based on laudable social development or social security goals. Hence, the interest rate and spread that these schemes enjoy over the G-sec rate of comparable maturity viz., of 75 bps, 100 bps and 25 bps respectively have been left untouched by the Government.
2. Similarly the spread of 25 bps that long term instruments, such as the 5 yr Term Deposit, 5 year National Saving Certificates and Public Provident Fund (PPF) currently enjoy over G-Sec of comparable maturity, have been left untouched as these schemes are particularly relevant to the self-employed professional and salaried classes. This will encourage long term savings.
3. The 25 bps spread that 1 yr., 2yr. and 3 yr. term deposits, KVPs and 5 yr Recurring Deposits have over comparable tenure Government securities, shall stand removed w.e.f. April 1, 2016 to make them closer in interest rates to the similar instruments of the banking sector. This is expected to help the economy move to a lower overall interest rate regime eventually and thereby help all, particularly low-income and salaried classes.
4. The interest rates of all small saving schemes would be recalibrated w.e.f. 1.4.2016 on a quarterly basis as given under, to align the small saving interest rates with the market rates of the relevant Government securities;
5. The compounding of interest which is biannual in the case of 10 yr National Saving Certificate (discontinued since 20-12-2015), 5 yr National Saving Certificate and Kisan Vikas Patra, shall be done on an annual basis from 1.4.16.
6. Premature closure of PPF accounts shall be permitted in genuine cases, such as cases of serious ailment, higher education of children etc,. This shall be permitted with a penalty of 1% reduction in interest payable on the whole deposit and only for the accounts having completed five years from the date of opening.
7. In pursuance to the decision as mentioned in Para 4 above, the rates of interest applicable on various small savings schemes for the quarter from April to June 2016 effective from 1.4.2016 would be notified in March, 2016.

The above changes have been brought with the objective of making the operation of National Saving Schemes market-oriented in the interest of overall economic growth of the country, even while protecting their social objectives and promoting long term savings.

All 360 toll plazas in India to have e-tolling system by April

Union Minister for Shipping, Highways and Road Transport Shri Nitin Gadkari today announced that e-Tolling system on all the 360 toll plazas in the country will be operational by April this year. “We have already put this project on fast track and we expect the system to be operational before April this year,” Shri Gadkari said.

The Minister said a Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV) will be formed to implement this project. Shri Gadkari said the introduction of e-tolling will reduce waiting time at toll plazas and save cost and fuel. The Minister also said that his Ministry is now focusing on Hybrid Annuity and Engineering, Procurement, Construction (EPC) models for development of road projects. “Road projects worth Rs 380,000 crore that were stalled have been revived and Rs 100,000 crore contract order has been issued in the North East region” Shri Gadkari added.

The Minister said that India’s national road highway length has been raised to 152,000 km from 96,000 km and is expected to cross the 200,000 km milestone by April-May. In Maharashtra, the road length has been raised to 22,000 km from 7,000km, he said. Stressing on the advantage of water transport and its cost advantage, Shri Gadkari said the government plans to promote inland water transport in a big way . “On Ganga, our Ministry is building three multi modal hubs at Varanasi in Uttar Pradesh, Sahibganj in Jharkhand and Haldia in West Bengal. We plan to create 30 water ports on this stretch and overall 500 water ports across the country,”
The government would also invest Rs 80,000 crores on modernisation and mechanisation of major ports, besides building three new major ports Colachal in Tamil Nadu, Sagar in West Bengal, Vadhawan at Dahanu in Maharashtra.

12th South Asian Games ends

It was an evening of mixed emotions and sombreness as the curtains came down on the 12th South Asian Games 2016 at the Indira Gandhi Athletic Stadium, Guwahati. The 12-day sporting extravaganza ended with a closing ceremony that complimented a grand opening ceremony suitably showcasing the rich culture of the host region. Filled with unbridled excitement and fervour of the participants and people , the stadium at Sarusajai exploded in revelry and celebration of the sports , friendship and togetherness.

Athletes from the eight nations — Nepal, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Sri Lanka, Maldives, Pakistan, Afghanistan and India — were accompanied by 1200 volunteers into the stadium during the march past. The Games involved about 4500 participants, including around 2600 athletes, in 22 disciplines held in Guwahati and Shillong.

Signing of BRICS Memorandum of Understanding on cooperation in the fields of STI

The Union Cabinet chaired by the Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi today was apprised about signing of BRICS Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on cooperation in the fields of Science, Technology and innovation. India signed BRICS Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on cooperation in the fields of Science, Technology and Innovation(STl) in March 2015 at Brasilia, Brazil on the sidelines of 3rd BRICS STI Ministerial meeting. The MoU envisages promotion of cooperation in the field of science, technology and innovation among BRIGS countries by means of mutually agreed S&T events and activities. The objectives of the MoU are to establish a strategic framework of cooperation in STI to address the common global, and regional socio-economic challenges utilizing shared experiences and complementarities in STI among the BRICS countries; co-generate new knowledge and innovative products, services and processes etc.

The Ministry of Science and Technology from Indian side and the counterpart Ministries from other BRICS countries are the nodal Ministries/ Departments for realizing the objectives of the BRICS MoU on STI Cooperation which shall be on the basis of mutually agreed areas of cooperation, modes and mechanisms and joint funding as per national norms of respective BRICS member countries.

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