Indiaís overall retail market to reach Rs 47 lakh crore by 2016-17: Study

India’s overall retail market to reach Rs 47 lakh crore by 2016-17: Study - Click to Download

India’s overall retail market to reach Rs 47 lakh crore by 2016-17: Study
 

Growing at a compounded annual growth rate (CAGR) of 15 per cent overall retail market in India including both organized and unorganized sectors is likely to reach a whopping Rs 47 lakh crore by 2016-17 from the level of Rs 23 lakh crore recorded in 2011-12, according to a joint study by apex industry body ASSOCHAM and Yes Bank.

“Organised retail, which constituted a meagre seven per cent of total retail in 2011-12 is estimated to grow at a CAGR of 24 per cent and attain 10.2 per cent share of total retail by 2016-17,” according to a study titled ‘FDI in Retail: Advantage Farmers’ jointly conducted by The Associated Chambers of Commerce and Industry of India (ASSOCHAM) and Yes Bank.

“Rising incomes will be primary driver of this growth in the retail sector,” said Mr D.S. Rawat, secretary general of ASSOCHAM while releasing the findings of the study.

“Favourable demographics, increasing urbanization, nuclearisation of families, rising affluence amid consumers, growing preference for branded products and higher aspirations are other factors which will drive retail consumption in India,” said Mr Rawat. “Both organized and unorganized retail are bound not only to coexist but also achieve rapid and sustained growth in the coming years.”

On the supply side, this growth will be supported by expansion plans of existing players and the entry of new players, noted the study.

However, the inefficiencies in current supply and presence of numerous intermediaries are difficult to curtail, it added. “Lack of basic infrastructure like roads, power, water and others is a major shortcoming that needs to be addressed in order to procure as well as supply on a pan India basis.”

“Dearth of skilled manpower, numerous clearances required to set up a retail outlet, lack of basic infrastructure like roads, power, water and others certain major bottlenecks hampering the growth of retail segment and required to be addressed effectively in order to procure and supply on a pan-India basis,” said Mr Rawat.

“Modernisation of traditional markets through public-private partnership (PPP), initiating uniform license regime applicable nationwide thereby doing away with numerous permits currently required for establishment of retail outlets, facilitating innovative banking solutions to ensure credit availability to unorganized retailers and farmers from financial institutions, stringent rules against collusion and predatory pricing and a code of conduct for organized retail sector for dealing with their suppliers,” added the ASSOCHAM secretary general while listing major policy recommendations to spur growth in India’s overall retail sector.

“The store-based retailing is likely to witness a CAGR of 7.6 per cent during 2011-16 and will grow by 44 per cent in absolute terms during this period,” further highlighted the ASSOCHAM-Yes Bank study. “Within store-based retailing, grocery retailers are forecasted to grow at a CAGR of 8.9 per cent during 2011-16 and non-grocery retailers will grow at six per cent in current sales value terms.”

“Amid traditional grocery retailers, kirana stores will continue to be the largest contributor to value share by 2016 and is likely to account for 61 per cent share in constant value sales,” it added.

While, hypermarkets are likely to see rapid growth between 2011-16 registering a CAGR of 13.4 per cent-87.4 per cent in absolute terms. Modern grocery retailers as a whole would grow at a CAGR of 11.7 per cent between 2011-16 as compared to 8.2 per cent for traditional grocery retailers, further noted the study.

More jobs visible in schools, colleges than industries

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More jobs visible in schools, colleges than industries: ASSOCHAM survey
 

While there is an overall slowdown in the job market, the maximum numbers of high-end white collar vacancies being filled up at this point of time are in the area of academics-schools and colleges, followed by healthcare and engineers required in the infrastructure projects, an ASSOCHAM survey has shown.

The survey shows that almost 50 per cent of the jobs being advertised in newspapers relate to the academics, although the trend may stay short-term since the teaching jobs are mostly filled at the end of academic sessions, so that the schools and colleges re-open for the new sessions with full strength of the faculty.

It showed that while the campus placements by the IT companies, one of the largest employers of the white collar workforce, have remained confined largely to the top-rung institutions, B.Tech pass-outs in majority of the private colleges are hunting desperately for openings.

“The supply has certainly exceeded demand in so far as the line of  B.Tech –I.T or Computer Science is concerned. The mushrooming growth of the private colleges in every nook and corner of the country has added to the supply-line while the general economic slowdown has impacted the intake. Moreover,  students followed the herd pattern while seeking admissions – with 65 -70 per cent of them opting for these disciplines with the result that there is an over-supply while the quality of the products remains an area of concern," the  paper noted. Similar is the situation the MBA pass- outs.

Vacancies for filling healthcare jobs are being seen more often now. Most of the jobs on offer are for sales and marketing in the pharmaceutical companies which are also filling few vacancies in the area of research, though in small number. But, the number is significant in the service delivery of healthcare – in hospitals, polyclinics, diagnostic centres etc.

Though the infrastructure sector has been passing through severe slowdown, some green shoots seem visible, purely going by the number of job openings seen in the newspapers. “Some projects in ports and airports seem to be looking up and the employment opportunities look visible,” the ASSOCHAM paper noted. However, the jobs are still far and few in infrastructure.

“The infrastructure is one area where a large number of jobs can be created, provided the projects take off. The multiplier will then be seen in higher employment in steel, cement, road-building, construction..with a clear bias for the civil engineers,” the chamber Secretary General Mr D S Rawat said.

He said even if companies in infrastructure have orders in hand, they are not confident enough to go in for fresh hiring unless a clear positive trend-line emerges.  There are no jobs visible in construction sector like the real estate, telecom, non-banking finance companies, stock broking firms etc. These sectors used to once dominate the hiring calendars.   

In the academics, private schools are advertising more than the colleges at this point of time since the academic session for the schools begin in April, whereas for the colleges it would be in July-August.  The trend would reverse for the higher education institutions after a couple of months. For most of the academics in the colleges, the Phds or the Net qualification is required while for schools, post-graduation and the B.Eds or M.Eds in specialised subjects are required. 

In terms of regions, the western and southern regions remain on top followed by north in academics while for the healthcare , new job spots are visible even in eastern India and in states like Bihar. The jobs for the NGOs and the multilateral organisations are well-spread out with more emphasis in less developed states in the eastern region.

The paper said, the overall job scenario for the white collar remains unenthusiastic with the corporates not making fresh investment. The situation is not likely to change much at least till general elections and the economic cycle is not likely to look up before the second quarter of the fiscal, 2014-15.

First Preliminary Report on Status of Women in India Presented

First Preliminary Report on Status of Women in India Presented - Click to Download

 

 

Press Information Bureau
Government of India
Ministry of Women and Child Development

First Preliminary Report on Status of Women in India Presented

The High Level Committee on Status of Women has presented its first copy of the Preliminary Report to the Minister for Women and Child Development, Smt. Krishna Tirath, here today.

The High Level Committee identified Violence Against Women, Declining Sex Ratio and Economic Disempowerment of Women as three key burning issues which require immediate attention of the nation, and action by the government.

The flagged recommendations for immediate action are as follows:

1.      That the constitutional promise of a right-based approach needs to be promoted for positive outcomes to enhance the status of women.

2.      That there is an urgent need to formulate National Policy and Action Plan for Ending Violence Against Women impacting the life cycle of female population at every stage of her life.

3.      Institutional mechanisms should be strengthened and well resourced. The Minister for Women and Child Development should be of cabinet rank, thus reflecting the Government’s concern with women’s issues.

4.      Currently large amount of resources continue to be directed towards child development under the Ministry of Women and Child Development. Increased resources would enable prioritization of gender concerns as well.

5.      Further, the MWCD should engage with, participate in and draw from international debates. It is also not out of place to point out that the Concluding Observations of the CEDAW Committee should be revisited and acted upon by Government of India as part of our international commitments to uphold women’s rights.

6.      The parliamentary Committee on Empowerment of Women must examine the gender implications of all proposed legislations. There is also a need for the Committee to meet more often, and its meetings should be open to civil society groups as observers.

7.      The role of the National Commission for Women must go beyond reactive interventions to fulfill the proactive mandate of studying, recommending and influencing policies, laws, programmes and budgets to ensure full benefits to the stake holders.

8.      The National Commission for Women, as an apex body is responsible for and answerable to 50% of the Indian population. In keeping with this, the selection and composition of the members must be made through an institutionalized and transparent process. A selection committee comprising of experts must be given the task of searching, identifying and selecting the members who must be professionals of proven expertise.  Appointments must be made keeping professional capability in mind and not political affiliations.

9.      Gender Responsive Budgeting coupled with gender audits should be taken more seriously to reflect purposive gender planning.

10.  The development paradigm must have a major thrust on decentralization which would result in larger numbers of women participating in the developmental process.

11.  Legislation for 50 per cent reservation for women in all decision-making bodies should be enacted.

12.  Assessment of the status of women in India should be a regular feature. It took 25 years for the first Status Report and now 40 years to constitute the present High Level Committee.  There should be a regular mechanism for continuous examination and assessment of status of women and reporting back publically to the nation and women of India on a bi-annual basis.

 

The Government of India had set up a High Level Committee on the Status of Women to undertake comprehensive study to understand the status of women since 1989 as well as to evolve appropriate policy interventions based on a contemporary assessment of women’s needs vide this Ministry’s Resolutions No. 4-5/2009-WW dated the 27th February, 2012 and 29th June, 2012 comprising of the Chairperson, Member Secretary and seventeen Members.

 

Consequent upon the resignation of the Chairperson, Member Secretary and three Members of the Committee, the High Level Committee is reconstituted as under, w.e.f 21 May 2013-

1

Dr. Pam Rajput

Chairperson

2

Dr. Smrit Kaur

Member

3

Ms. Razia A. R. Patel

Member

4

Dr. Mridul Eapen

Member

5

Ms. Manira Pinto

Member

6

Ms. Monisha Behal

Member

7

Ms. Kavita Kuruganti

Member

8

Prof. Darshini Mahadevia

Member

9

Dr. Amita Baviskar

Member

10

Ms. Bindu Ananth

Member

11

Ms. Rita Sarin

Member

12

Dr. Ravi Verma

Member

13

Dr. R. Govinda

Member

14

Secretary, WCD

Member Secretary

 

The Committee will conduct an extensive literary survey on the status of women in India from 1989 onwards. It will prepare a report on the socio-economic, political and legal status of women in India. The report will be submitted to the Ministry of Women and Child development within two years period. 

Committee to deal False Advertisement set up

Committee to deal False Advertisement set up


The Central Consumer Protection Council (CCPC) headed by K V Thomas decided to set up a sub-committee on 3 February 2014. The CCPC is under the Union Ministry of Consumer Affairs The committee will issue guidelines to monitor the advertisements as currently there is no any legal safeguard available for consumers to deal with the false advertisements.
If the claims made by whitening creams proved un phenomenal as advertised, Consumer should have right to claim compensation not only from the advertisers but also from the celebrities endorsing the product.
The committee will submit its recommendations by the end of February 2014

Union Budget 2014 - 15

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Union Budget 2014 - 15:

Amid constant interruptions by some members, Finance Minister P. Chidambaram began presentied the interim budget for 2014-15 in the Lok Sabha Monday, expressing concerns confronting the economy today and how his government has navigated so far to address the challenges.

This was India's 83rd budget and the 9th such personal exercise for Chidambaram.

The main budget for the financial year 2014-15 will be presented by the new government that will come to power after the general elections, the schedule for which are likely to be announced by the Election Commission soon.

Union Budget 2014 - 15 Highlights:

* Plan expenditure in 2014-15 at Rs.5 lakh 55,322 crore; non-plan expenditure at Rs.12 lakh 7,892 crore.

* Fiscal deficit to be at 4.1 percne in 2014-15

* Duties cut to revive economy

* Excise on small cars/two-wheelers lowered to 8 percent, on SUVs to 24 percent, on large cars to 20 percent

* Blood banks exempted from service tax

* Research funding organisation to be created to promote scientific R&D

* Rs.65,000 crore for fuel subsidies

* India's economy at 11th; aiming to be third

* Fiscal deficit at 3 percent

* PPP model to be increasingly viewed

* All taxes on exports to be waived for manufacturing sector

* Plan expenditure at Rs.5 lakh 55,322 crore in 2014-15

* Defence expenditure enhanced 10 percent to Rs.2 lakh 24,000 crore

* Budgetary support to railways at Rs.29,000 crore in 2014-15

* One rank one pension demand accepted; to be implemented with Rs.500 crore in 2014-15

* Two projects sanctioned under Nirbhaya Fund; original Rs.1,000 crore made non-lapsable; another Rs.1,000 crore granted

* Central assistance of Rs.3,38,562 lakh crore in 2014-15

* Construction underway for 50,000MW of conventional power

* Four solar generation plants of 500 MW each to be constructed in 2014-15

* Four solar generation plants of 500 MW each to be constructed in 2014-15

* Community radio to be promoted with Rs.100 crore

* Growth estimated in 2013-14 at 4.9 percent

* No policy paralysis

* 100 million jobs to be created in a decade

* 19 oil blocks allocated

* Seven new airports under construction

* WPI inflation at 5.05 percent in January

* Core inflation at 3 percent

* Food grain production in 2013-14 estimated at 263 million tonnes

* Exports estimated at $326 billion in current fiscal

* Over 29,000 MW of power capacity added during fiscal

* Challenges we face common to emerging economies

* India not unaffected by events in global economy

* Fiscal deficit at 4.6 percent

* Current account deficit at $45 billion

* Hope to add $15 billion to forex reserves

Railway Budget 2014 - 15

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Railway Budget 2014 - 15:

Railway Minister Mallikarjun Kharge presented the interim rail budget for the next fiscal Wednesday sans much fanfare with no hike in fares or freight rates, and announced 72 new trains and connectivity to two more northeastern states.

In what was his personal first and the last such exercise in the 15th Lok Sabha for the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government, Kharge also promised a new tariff-setting body and said work on eastern and western freight corridors was progressing well.

The minister only read a part of his speech, for all of 14 minutes in the lower house of parliament. The full speech copy, along with the other documents that included a vote on account for the first four months of the next fiscal, was laid on the table of the house.

The minister announced that 72 new trains were being introduced, including 17 premium trains, 38 express trains, 10 passenger trains, four suburban trains and three diesel locomotive inter-city trains for medium distances.

He said despite the resource constraints, the targets for the current fiscal were fully achieved, with some 2,207 km of new lines, adding two more northeastern states on the country's railroad map this fiscal -- Arunachal Pradesh, Meghalaya.

Anticipating a healthier economic growth, the freight traffic target, he said, was also proposed higher at 1,101 million tonnes -- an increment of 49.7 million tonnes over the current year's revised target of about 1,052 million tonnes.

In terms of electrification of the network, 4,556 km railway line was completed this fiscal, against the target of 4,500 km, while the target of doubling the gauge was also surpassed with 2,227 km, against 2,000 km.

Train services will also start for Vaishno Devi shrine at Katra in Jammu and Kashmir.

He said three new rail factories in Bihar, Uttar Pradesh and West Bengal have already been commissioned -- a wheel plant at Chhapra, a coach factory in Rae Bareli and a diesel component factory at Dankuni, respectively.

"Specially designed coaches for adverse weather conditions have been inducted for rail travel in Kashmir valley. Also corrosion-resistant and lighter wagons to carry extra pay-load and higher speed of up to 100 km per hour have been developed," he said.

As far as safety is concerned, there are no unmanned level crossings left, the minister said, even as induction-based cooking was introduced in the pantry cars to prevent fire and improved audio-video systems installed to warn road users of approaching trains.

Kharge, who has been holding the railway portfolio only for the past eight months, spoke of the role played by the railways in India's social and economic development and the lack of physical and financial resources to carry this mandate forward.

"It's time we take note of the investment and other urgent needs of the railways."

Ranked among the world's top five, the Indian railroad network ferries 23 million people and 2.65 million tonnes of goods daily from 7,083 stations on 12,000 passenger and 7,000 freight trains over more than 64,000 route km.

It is also among the largest employers with an estimated 1.4 million people on its rolls.

Industry did not have much reaction to offer but to seek some reforms when the regular rail budget is presented by the next government.

"Revamping rail tariff, allowing foreign direct investment in railways and encouraging joint ventures and public-private partnerships must be explored to access funds. This will infuse the necessary momentum to rail infrastructure upgradation," CII said.

FICCI welcomed the setting up of an independent rail tariff authority, among other measures. "This will help develop an integrated, transparent and dynamic pricing mechanism for the passenger and freight segments of the Indian Railways."

 

Highlights Of Interim Railway Budget 2014-15 :

Following are the highlights of the Interim Railway Budget 2014-15 presented in the Lok Sabha by Railway Minister Mallikarjun Kharge:

- No change in passenger fares and freight charges

- 72 new trains to be introduced: These include 17 premium trains, 38 express trains, 10 passenger trains, 4 MEMU and 3 DEMU

- Three trains will be extended and frequency of three other trains will be increased

- Proposed outlay of Rs.64,305 crore with a budgetary support of Rs.30,223 crore

- Gross traffic receipts targeted at Rs.1,60,775 crore with passenger earnings of Rs.45,255 crore, goods Rs.1,05,770 crore and other coaching and sundry earnings Rs.9,700 crore

- 19 new lines to be taken up for survey in fiscal 2014-15

- Surveys for doubling five existing lines will also be taken up during the year

- Meghalaya and Arunachal Pradesh to be brought on railway map

- Independent Rail Tariff Authority set up to advice on fares and freight

- Gross traffic receipts pegged at Rs.1,60,775 crore

- Working expenses pegged at Rs.1,10,649 crore, which is Rs.13,589 crore higher than the revised estimates for the current fiscal

- Freight earnings target set at Rs.94,000 crore. Loading target raised to 1,052 million tonnes

- Services on Udhampur-Katra section to start soon. It will take passengers to the foothills of Vaishno Devi shrine

- Allowing Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) in railways is under consideration

- Emphasis on attracting higher investments from private sector

- Three new factories - Rail Wheel Plant in district Chhapra, Bihar; Rail Coach Factory at Rae Bareli in Uttar Pradesh; and Diesel Component Factory at Dankuni, West Bengal, have become functional and commenced production during 2013-14

- Operating ratio budgeted at 89.8 percent

- Fund balances pegged at Rs.12,728 crore

- Pension outgo budgeted at Rs.27,000 crore in 2014-15 against Rs.24,000 crore in the current fiscal

- Ordinary working expenses placed at Rs.1,10,649 crore, higher by Rs.13,598 crore from the current financial year

- An independent Rail Tariff Authority to be set up to advise the government on fixing fares and freight charges

- State governments of Karnataka, Jharkhand, Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh, and Haryana have agreed to share cost of several rail projects in their respective areas.

Tamilnadu Budget 2012-13 Highlights

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Tamilnadu Budget 2012-13 Highlights:

  • 10 lakh farmers to be brought under insurance scheme.
  • 100 crore to Equitable Development of State.
  • 1000 Crore for Thane Puyal affected Region.
  • 3000 new buses to be bought with Rs. 548 Crore.
  • Annadanam Scheme in 50 more Temples.
  • Around Rs. 3068 crore subsidy for TN Electricity Distribution.
  • Around Rs. 740 crore to widen 1500 km road.
  • E-chalan system in Madurai, Coimbatore, Nellai and Tirchy.
  • Food Production target Rs 1.20 crore metric ton.
  • Goverment Employees Insurance Raised to Rs 4 Lakh.
  • Laptop for VAO at Rs. 22.49 crore.
  • New State Disaster Management Team.
  • No VAT for Fertilizers.
  • Patta for 1 lakh houses.
  • Rs 50,000 cr for 20,000 Solar Street Lights.
  • Rs 950 crore for National Rural Health Scheme.
  • Rs. 1.93 crore to create employment opportunities in private sector.
  • Rs. 20.75 crore to recover land grab.
  • Rs. 200 Cr for New Urban Poor Scheme.
  • Rs. 400 crore for 4340 Police quarters.
  • Rs. 4000 crore loan for crops through co-operative society.
  • Rs. 50 crore for integrating rivers.
  • Rs. 65 crore Road Safety.
  • Rs. 736.15 crores for Courts.
  • Tamilnadu GDP Growth 9.2%.

UPSC aspirants now get two more attempts

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UPSC aspirants now get two more attempts

The government has announced that two additional attempts with a consequential age relaxation be given to all candidates appearing for the Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) examinations.

The Ministry of Personnel in an order said: ‘The central government has approved two additional attempts to all categories of candidates with effect from Civil Services Examination 2014, with consequential age relaxation of maximum age for all categories of candidates, if required.’

This move comes after Rahul Gandhi met aspirants of civil services examination, who demanded that they be given age relaxation and a chance for three fresh attempts.

As per the existing rules, a candidate appearing for the UPSC exams is permitted four attempts with the age limit being 30 years.

This order comes as a boon for candidates who belong to the general category as such aspirants will get two more attempts to till the age of 32 to crack the prestigious exams.

The candidates from Other Backward Classes are permitted to take seven attempts. There is no restriction on the number of attempts by candidates who belong to the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes categories.

Indiaís GDP to grow at 5.6 percent in 2014-15

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India’s GDP to grow at 5.6 percent in 2014-15

New Delhi, Feb 6 (IANS) India’s economic growth is likely to accelerate 5.6 percent in 2014-15 from the projected growth of less than five percent in the current fiscal ending March, according to economic think-tank NCAER.

For the current financial year the country’s gross domestic product (GDP) growth is expected to remain in the range of 4.7 to 4.9 percent, the National Council of Applied Economic Research (NCAER) said in a report.

Industry growth is likely to accelerate to 3.8 percent in the financial year beginning April 1, 2014 from the projected 1.6 percent expansion in 2013-14.

“Services sector has not been immune from the overall slowdown. However Services exports may prove an exception mainly due to expected growth in demand of IT services in the West. In 2014-15, the services sector growth is projected at 5.6 percent,” the NCAER said.

The wholesale price index (WPI) inflation is expected to remain at 6.2 percent in the current fiscal and ease marginally to 6 percent next fiscal, it said.

India ranks lowest in US chamberís global IP index

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India ranks lowest in US chamber’s global IP index

India is ranked lowest in the US Chamber of Commerce’s 2014 International Intellectual Property (IP) Index, a survey of 25 countries with diverse economies reflected in varying market size, level of development and geography.

Similar to the inaugural index, India continued to score lowest, most notably in categories relating to patents, copyrights and international treaties in the second edition of the chamber’s Global Intellectual Property Centre (GIPC) index released Wednesday.

According to a chamber media release, out of every country having been documented in both the 2012 and 2014 GIPC Index, India finished last in both editions, as the country continues to allow for the deterioration of its IP climate.

“Despite its declared competitive agenda to embrace ‘Decade of Innovation’, India is heading towards the wrong path to undermine all IP rights, stifling India’s investment, international trade, and India’s own innovative potential,” the report said.

“The continued use of compulsory licenses, patent revocations, and weak legislative and enforcement mechanisms raise serious concerns about India’s commitment to promote innovation and protect creators,” it said.

The report evaluates 30 factors indicative of an IP environment that fosters growth, including protection and enforcement of patents, trademark, copyrights, trade secrets, and participation in relevant international treaties.

Although none of the 25 countries surveyed received a perfect score of 30, the US received the highest score of 28.3, making it the global leader in protecting IP.

However, the US came third after Britain and France in the enforcement category.

China shows improvements in certain aspects of its patent regime. However, its overall IP environment continued to see challenges, particularly with regard to trade secret protection and enforcement, according to the report.

India Gets $307 Billion Foreign Investments In 13 Years

India Gets $307 Billion Foreign Investments In 13 Years - Click to Download

India Gets $307 Billion Foreign Investments In 13 Years

India has received $306.88 billion foreign investments since 2000 on the back of liberalisation in overseas investment norms for various sectors, including telecom, retail, defence, fiance and oil and gas, government data showed Wednesday.

“Between 1999-2004, India received $19.52 billion of foreign investment which increased to $114.55 billion between 2004-09, and increased further to $172.82 billion between 2009 to September 2013,” the commerce and industry ministry said in a statement.

The foreign direct investment (FDI) inflows have a positive impact by supplementing domestic capital, technology and skills of existing companies, including in the aviation sector, as well as through establishment of new companies, it said.

“It has indirect multiplier effect on other related sectors also, and thereby stimulates economic growth. FDI inflows also have a positive impact on the current account balance,” the ministry added.

In the past one decade the government has amended the sectoral caps and and entry routes for overseas funds in several sectors like petroleum and natural gas; commodity exchanges; power exchanges; stock exchanges, depositories and clearing corporations; asset reconstruction companies; credit information companies; tea sector including tea plantations; single brand product retail trading; test marketing; telecom services; courier services and defence.

“The review of FDI policy is done with a view to boost investor confidence, thereby stimulating FDI inflows and contributing to accelerated economic growth,” the ministry said.

 

Assam became the First State to legally ban smokeless tobacco

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Assam became the First State to legally ban smokeless tobacco

Assam became the first state to legally ban the consumption of all forms of smokeless tobacco including pan masala containing tobacco and nicotine within the State on 13 February 2014.

Taking note of the fact that smokeless tobacco accounts for 90% of oral cancers, the Act also bans the manufacture, advertisement, trade, storage, distribution and sale of the substances.

Assam’s Governor Janaki Ballav Patnaik gave his assent to the Assam Health (Prohibition of manufacturing, advertisement, trade, storage, distribution, sale and consumption of zarda, gutkha, pan masala, etc, containing tobacco and nicotine) Bill 2013 on 11 February 2014. As a result, the Bill became an Act with effect from 13 February 2014.

The Provisions of the Act

• Bans on manufacture, advertisement, trade, storage, distribution, sale of the tobacco and consumption also.

• For violating the law, one shall be punished with imprisonment up to seven years and fine between 1 lakh rupees and 5 lakh rupees.

• Consumption or possession of zarda, gutka and pan masala containing tobacco shall be punished with a fine of 1000 rupees for the first offence and 2000 rupees for each subsequent offence.

 

Although 28 States/UTs have banned similar bans under the Food Safety and Standards (Prohibition and Restrictions on Sales) Regulations, 2011. However, Assam is the first State to ban the sale of tobacco through legislature.

 

The Act has been enacted in accordance with the Food Safety and Standards (Prohibition and Restrictions on Sales) Regulations, 2011.
About Food Safety and Standards (Prohibition and Restrictions on Sales) Regulations, 2011. The Food Safety and Standards Regulations, 2011 came into effect from 5 August 2011.

The Food Safety and Standards Regulation, 2011 were issued under the Food Safety and Standards Act, 2006 which lays down that tobacco and nicotine shall not be used as ingredients in any food products.

Currently, 28 States/UT’s have issued orders for implementation of the Food Safety Regulations banning manufacture, sale and storage of Gutka and Pan Masala containing tobacco or nicotine. The States are Madhya Pradesh, Kerala, Bihar, Himachal Pradesh, Rajasthan, Maharashtra, Mizoram, Chandigarh, Chattisgarh, Jharkhand, Haryana, Punjab, Delhi, Gujarat, Uttar Pradesh, Nagaland, Andaman & Nicobar, Daman & Diu, Dadra and Nagar Haveli, Uttarakhand, Odisha, Andhra Pradesh, Goa, Sikkim, Manipur, Arunachal Pradesh, J&K and Assam.

Enforcement and implementation of this regulation, however, lies with the Commissioners of Food Safety under the State governments, as per the provisions of Food Safety & Standards Act 2006.

Other forms of tobacco including cigarette and bidi etc. are regulated by the Cigarettes and Other Tobacco Products (Prohibition of Advertisement and Regulation of Trade and Commerce, Production, Supply and Distribution) Act (COTPA), 2003.

COPTA, 2003 regulates consumption, production, supply and distribution of tobacco products, by imposing restrictions on advertisement, promotion and sponsorship of tobacco products; prohibiting smoking in public places; prohibiting sale to and by minors, prohibiting sale within a radius of 100 yards of educational institutions and through mandatory depiction of specified pictorial health warnings on all tobacco product packs.

Enforcement of the provisions thereof lies with the officers authorized for this purpose by the Central Government as well as State Governments.

Sikkim became first state to achieve 100 percent sanitation coverage

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Sikkim became first state to achieve 100 percent sanitation coverage

Sikkim became the first State in India to achieve 100 percent sanitation coverage under the Nirmal Bharat Abhiyaan Scheme on 9 February 2014. Sikkim achieved 100 per cent sanitation in rural and urban households, schools, sanitary complexes and Aanganwadi centres.

As per the latest progress report card released by the Union Ministry of Drinking Water & Sanitation, all 610577 inhabitants in Sikkim have latrines with high sanitation and hygiene

The achievement is the result of the initiative that was launched way back in 1999. In 1999 Chief Minister Pawan Chamling launched the initiative for achieving full sanitation in 7096 sq km area of the state covering both rural and urban areas in all four districts of the State.

Besides, It was made mandatory for all Gram Sabhas to take up sanitation as a top priority on their agenda.

So far, 163 panchayats in the State have been conferred monetary rewards Nirmal Gram Puruskar for developing sufficient sanitation facilities of adequate quality in their respective areas.

According to a survey conducted in 20 gram panchayats by Planning Commission, 17 village councils of Sikkim were declared as ‘best performance panchayats’, which is highest in the country.

Sikkim also topped the list among all states of the country in net performance indicators.

In 2008, Sikkim become the first ever Nirmal Rajya of the country. The status was granted for achieving total sanitation coverage. Sikkim was awarded first-ever Nirmal Rajya Award.


Background

In 1986, Union Government started the Central Rural Sanitation Programme (CRSP) primarily with the objective of improving the quality of life of the rural people and also to provide privacy and dignity to women.

CRSP adopted a demand driven approach with the name Total Sanitation Campaign (TSC) with effect from 1999.

To give a fillip to the TSC, Government of India also launched the Nirmal Gram Puraskar (NGP) that sought to recognise the achievements and efforts made in ensuring full sanitation coverage.

Encouraged by the success of NGP, the TSC was renamed as Nirmal Bharat Abhiyan (NBA). The objective is to accelerate the sanitation coverage in the rural areas so as to comprehensively cover the rural community through renewed strategies and saturation approach.

The main objectives of the NBA are as under:

•    Bring about an improvement in the general quality of life in the rural areas.
•    Accelerate sanitation coverage in rural areas to achieve the vision of Nirmal Bharat by 2022 with all gram Panchayats in the country attaining Nirmal status.
•    Motivate communities and Panchayati Raj Institutions promoting sustainable sanitation facilities through awareness creation and health education.
•    To cover the remaining schools not covered under Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan (SSA) and Anganwadi Centres in the rural areas with proper sanitation facilities and undertake proactive promotion of hygiene education and sanitary habits among students.
•    Encourage cost effective and appropriate technologies for ecologically safe and sustainable sanitation.

•    Develop community managed environmental sanitation systems focusing on solid & liquid waste management for overall cleanliness in the rural areas.