The Gist of Press Information Bureau (PIB): October 2014

The Gist of Press Information Bureau: October 2014

Outcome of Brics summit-2014

Major outcomes of the 6th BRICS Summit include signing of an Agreement setting up a New Development Bank and signing of a Treaty setting up the Contingent Reserve Arrangement (CRA), which will work as a multilateral currency swap amongst BRICS Central Banks. MoS (IC) for Commerce and Industry signed these documents on behalf of India.

An MoU on technical cooperation amongst Export Credit Guarantee Agencies of BRICS countries aimed at improving environment for increasing trade opportunities among BRICS countries and an Inter-Bank Cooperation Agreement on Innovation to support financing of innovation projects of mutual interest were also signed at the Summit.

The Fortaleza Declaration issued at the conclusion of the Summit captures the discussions and consensus among the BRICS countries on a wide range of issues covering reform of global governance – both political and economic, trade, finance, regional political issues as well as global issues including WTO, terrorism, transnational organized crime, climate change, post-2015 development agenda, etc.

At the Summit India expressed support for an open, inclusive, efficient and rule-based global trading regime under the WTO that would address the aspirations of the developing countries and the special needs of the poor countries particularly in the area of food security.

The Fortaleza Declaration has endorsed that the work programme to be established after the 9th WTO Ministerial Meeting held in Bali must prioritise issues where legally binding outcomes could not be achieved including in public stockholding for food security purposes. A reference has also been made to the implementation of the Agreement on Trade Facilitation in the work programme. This clearly shows the balance and equity that been sought by BRICS Leaders in the implementation of the Bali Trade deal which in itself is a positive gain for developing countries. Relevant portion of Paragraph 21 of the Fortaleza Declaration which captures this position is reproduced below:

“…..we reaffirm our commitment to establish by the end of this year a post-Bali work program for concluding the Doha Round, based on the progress already made and in keeping with the mandate established in the Doha Development Agenda. We affirm that this work program should prioritize the issues where legally binding outcomes could not be achieved at MC9, including Public Stock-Holding for Food Security Purposes.”

Monitoring of Central Projects

Minister of State (Independent Charge) for Statistics & Programme Implementation Shri Rao Inderjit Singh has said that Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation monitors the on-going Central Sector Infrastructure Projects costing Rs. 150 crore and above on time and cost overruns, after the projects are approved by the competent authority.

As on 1st May 2014, 727 on-going Central Sector Projects were on the monitor of this Ministry. 282 projects were delayed as against their original dates of commissioning. He said, as reported by the project implementing agencies, the main reasons for delay in implementation are law and order problems, delay in land acquisition, rehabilitation and resettlement problems, fund constraints, delay in forest and environment clearances, right of way/right of use issues, delay in supply of material, contractual issues, etc.

The Minister said, major steps undertaken to ensure timely completion of Central Sector Infrastructure Projects include rigorous project appraisal; On-line Computerized Monitoring System (OCMS) for regular integrated monitoring; setting up of Standing Committees in the Ministries for fixation of responsibility for time and cost overruns; regular review of infrastructure projects by the concerned administrative Ministries; and setting up of Central Sector Projects Coordination Committees (CSPCCs) in the States under the Chief Secretaries for removal of bottlenecks and for facilitating the speedy implementation of major projects.

Development and Rejuvenation of Ganga

During 12th Plan, outlay for Rs. 2200 crore has been provisioned for National Ganga River BasinAuthority (NGRBA), which has been entrusted with the work of controlling pollution in the river Ganga.Further, Government is giving special emphasis on rejuvenation of River Ganga. Consultation with different stakeholders viz., Ministries such as Ministry of Environment & Forests; Water Resources, Ganga Rejuvenation and River Development; Urban Development; Tourism; Shipping; Drinking Water Supply and Sanitation; Rural Development, etc., as well as academics, technical experts and NGOs associated with cleaning of Ganga, is in progress. Crystallisation of action plan, including framing of its salient features, time line and likely expenditure would be known only after the finalisation of the action plan for cleaning of River Ganga. This would include issues of ecological flow in River Ganga as also curbing of pollution.

Ministry of Environment & Forests have informed that the State Pollution Control Boards (SPCBs) are required to implement the effluent discharge standards by the industries. Action is to be taken against the defaulting industries by the SPCBs under powers delegated to them by the Central Government under relevant provisions of Water (Prevention & Control of Pollution) Act, 1974 and Environment (Protection) Act, 1986.
Further, efforts made by the Government for management of Industrial Pollution affecting Rivers includes notifying industry specific effluent standards. The Ministry of Environment & Forests has identified 764 Grossly Polluting Industries (GPIs) discharging 501 million litres per day (mld) of wastewater into Ganga and its major tributaries. 704 industries have been inspected Under NGRBA programme by the NGRBA Cell, CPCB till May, 2014. Directions have been issued to 165 industries, of which 48 are the closure directions under Section -5 of E(P) Act,1986.

Government is also promoting setting up of Common Effluent Treatment Plants (CETPs), Sewage Treatment Plants (STPs) and Environmental Surveillance of industries by CPCB, State Pollution Control Boards and Pollution Control Committees.

New Program of Financial Inclusion

The Union Finance Minster Shri Arun Jaitley said that the Government is going to launch a new program of Financial Inclusion in Mission Mode which will provide households with facilities of savings, credit, remittances, insurance and pension among others. He said that this is a marked shift from earlier effort where only opening of account was the focus of the financial inclusion drive.

The Finance Minister Shri Jaitley further said that this time the Government is targeting the individual households rather than the village. He said that there are 7.5 crore households in the country who do not have bank account so far. The Finance Minister said that the Government is targeting that every village should get a banking facility within a reasonable distance and that every household should have at least one bank account within the time frame of one year. This is a big challenge and there are several difficulties like lack of connectivity and infrastructure facilities etc, the Minister added.

The Finance Minister Shri Jaitley said that in our country where we have very low levels offinancial literacy, it is essential that people understand the importance of availing financial services which will enable them to participate in the growth story. Therefore, financial literacy will receive a special emphasis in this new programme of financial inclusion, the Minister added.

The Finance Minister Shri Jaitley said that technology has made rapid strides in recent times and, therefore, the Government must use technology, especially mobile based services in a big way to achieve the desired results. The Government has integrated provisions of access to banking facilities, account opening, financial literacy, credit availment, micro insurance and pension, the Minister added.

The Financial Inclusion Mission has two phases starting from 15thAugust this year. The first phase will get over by 14thAugust, 2015 and the second Phase by 14thAugust, 2018. Most of the activities will be done in Phase – I and insurance and pension would be covered in Phase – II. The Finance Minister Shri Jaitley said that the primary method of branchless banking has been that of the Business Correspondents. It is therefore important to ensure that the Business Correspondents have a viable business model and for this purpose Government has decided to encourage transfer of subsidies directly to bank accounts of the beneficiaries.

GSLV Project

The GSLV project has successfully launched GSLV-D5 flight with indigenous Cryogenic engine and stage on 5th January 2014 from Satish Dhawan Space Centre, Sriharikota and is currently preparing for the next flight GSLV namely, GSLV-D6.

The GSLV-F02, GSLV-D3 and GSLV-F06 flights could not accomplish the mission objectives. Subsequently, failure analysis committees were formed to (a) carry out in-depth analysis of the flight performance and identify causes for the failure, and (b) recommend corrective measures and future course of action on the GSLV Vehicle. The failure analysis committees have submitted their recommendations. Based on the suggestions made by the failure analysis committees, ISRO has implemented the modifications and improvements in GSLV, which include independent inspection and quality checks for all critical components and sub-assemblies, change of bearing housing material, revision of tolerances and seal clearances of Fuel Booster Turbo Pump of Cryogenic Engine, redesign of the Cryogenic Stage Lower Shroud, revision of connector mounting scheme and wire tunnel configuration.

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