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President of India Launches ‘100 Million for 100 Million’ Campaign

The President of India, Shri Pranab Mukherjee marked his 81st birthday by launching a ‘100 Million for 100 Million’ Campaign organized by the Kailash Satyarthi Children’s Foundation at Rashtrapati Bhavan today (December 11, 2016).
●    Speaking on the occasion, the President said that he was delighted to launch the campaign led by Nobel peace prize winner, Shri Kailash Satyarthi, from Rashtrapati Bhavan, an institution which symbolises our Republic’s commitment to democracy, pluralism and secularism.
●    The President said this global effort to mobilize 100 million youth for shaping a better future of 100 million children who are less privileged is the beginning of a change which was long overdue. It is only appropriate that this campaign begins from India, which has one of the largest populations of youth in the world. He expressed hope that the campaign, as it runs for five years, will have a path-breaking impact on the lives of children across the globe. He urged all children and young people from India and abroad to join this campaign and be the torchbearers for a vibrant, compassionate and happy world where every child is free from want, fear and exploitation.
●    The ‘100 Million for 100 Million’ Campaign aims to mobilise 100 million youth and children for 100 million underprivileged children across the world, to end child labour, child slavery, violence against children and promote the right of every child to be safe, free, and educated, over the next 5 years.
●    Earlier in the day, the President inaugurated twin tower apartments for staff of Rashtrapati Bhavan; Navachara-II, a hall for permanent exhibition of grassroots innovations at Rashtrapati Bhavan and a museum of vintage carpets & tapestries of Rashtrapati Bhavan.
 

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'Ek Bharat Shrestha Bharat' Scheme Launched

The Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi inaugurated a Digital Exhibition – “Uniting India : Sardar Patel” organized by the Ministry of Culture on the occasion of Rashtriya Ekta Diwas  the birth anniversary of Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel, former Deputy Prime Minister and Home Minister  of India in National Science Centre, New Delhi today. 
●    He also launched a Web Portal on Sardar Patel and a Souvenir on “Ek Bharat Shreshtha Bharat’’ scheme. Memorandums of Understanding (MoUs) signed between some States and Union Territories were also exchanged on the occasion.  The Union Home Minister Shri Rajnath Singh and the Minister of State (I/C) for Culture and Tourism Dr. Mahesh Sharma were also present.
●    Speaking on the occasion, the Prime Minister paid tribute to Sardar Patel, for his great contributions to the nation, and said such great individuals can never be forgotten.  He spoke at length about Sardar Patel’s role in integrating the nation, by convincing princely states to join the Union. The Prime Minister gave several illustrations to explain how the “Ek Bharat Shreshtha Bharat” initiative can build bonds between the people of various States of India.
●    Shri Rajnath Singh in his address said that Sardar Patel was the architect of modern political India. He united 565 princely State to be part of India. He hailed Sardar Patel as the Chanakya who fulfilled the dream of Chanakya by uniting India. To maintain unity and integrity of our country will be our true tribute to Sardar Patel.
 

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'Yatri Mitra' in Aid of Assistance Seeking Rail Passengers to be Launched

In an initiative to improve the railway travel experience of elderly, differently-abled and ailing passengers, the Ministry of Railways has announced the launch of ‘Yatri Mitra Seva’ to simplify access to wheelchairs, battery operated cars and porter services. The scheme will be operational at all major railway stations.
•    ‘Yatri Mitra’ or ‘Passenger Friend’ can be an assistant or any other person nominated for the purpose. 
•    In a communication sent to all Zonal Railways, the Railway Board said the IRCTC may provide the service ‘free of cost’ through some NGO, charitable trust, PSUs, etc.
•    Once the service is booked, the IRCTC will ensure that the ‘Yatri Mitra’ is made available at the coach when the passenger arrives at the designated railway station.
•    The ‘Yatri Mitra’ would contact the passenger on the mobile number given at the time of booking and confirm the expected time of arrival.
•    In Chennai Central and Egmore railway stations, there are about 30 wheelchairs and five battery operated cars.

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Union Government Launches #Gas4India Campaign to Promote Use Natural Gas in the Country

The Union Minister of State (I/C) for Petroleum and Natural Gas Shri Dharmendra Pradhan today launched #Gas4India  campaign, aimed at promoting the use of gas in the country. 
•    Public and private sector companies working in the sector have joined hands to promote the natural gas sector.
•    #Gas4India  is a unified cross-country, multimedia, multi-event campaign to communicate the national, social, economic and ecological benefits of using natural gas as the fuel of choice to every citizen who uses, or will use in the near future, gas in any way- cook, travel, light their homes, and power their business.
•    The campaign includes social engagement via Twitter, Facebook, Youtube, LinkedIn, and its official blogsite, as well as hyper local, offline events to directly connect with consumers through discussions, workshops and cultural events. 
•    Shri Pradhan launched the website, Twitter handle, facebook page and Theme song of the campaign.

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Union Government approves Rs 450 crore for five states under Swadesh Darshan scheme

The Union Government has approved 450 crore rupees for Madhya Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Tamil Nadu, Uttar Pradesh and Sikkim under the Swadesh Darshan scheme. 
•    It was approved by the Union Tourism Ministry for the development of Heritage circuit in Madhya Pradesh and Uttarakhand, Ramayana Circuit in Uttar Pradesh, North East Circuit in Sikkim and Coastal Circuit of Tamil Nadu. 
•    The Heritage Circuit in Uttarakhand: It covers Jageshwar-Devidhura-Katarmal-Baijnath sites with total project cost of approximately 83 crores rupees. 
•    Coastal circuit in Tamil Nadu: It envisages development of Chennai-Mamamallapuram-Rameshwaram-Manpadu-Kanyakumari. 
•    The total project cost is of approximately 100 crores. 
•    Ramayana Circuit in Uttar Pradesh: It envisages development of two destinations, Chitrakoot and Shringverpur. 
•    North East circuit in Sikkim: It includes development of cultural centre, paragliding centre and craft bazaar for mountaineering and meditation hall at approximate project cost of 95 crores. 
•    The Heritage Circuit in Madhya Pradesh: It covers developing Tourism Infrastructure Gwalior-Orchha-Khajuraho-Chanderi-Bhimbetka-Mandu. 
•    The total project cost is of approximately 100 crore rupees.

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First Phase of ESICS Pilot Project of Telemedicine Services inaugurated

Shri Bandaru Dattatreya , the Minister of State for Labour and Employment inaugurated the first phase of Tele-medicine services of ESIC here today for providing specialist medical services at a distance to insured workers. 
•    With this Employees State Insurance Corporation’s(ESIC) Model Hospital Basaidarapur has been connected with three ESIS dispensaries at Katihar (Bihar), Unnao (UP) and Rudarpur (Uttrachal). 
•    As the three dispansaries came live on line , the Minister interacted with staff and patients at these centres. 
•    In all, three specialized ESIC Hospitals will be connected with eight ESI Dispensaries at remote locations of the country where there are no specialized ESI healthcare services available. 
•    These include hospital at Rajaji Nagar in Bengaluru to be connected to dispensaries at Korba and Khursipar Bhilai,in Chhattisgarh. 
•    The other hospital Joka in Kolkatta to be connected to dispensaries at Shillong, Agartala and Andaman & Nicobar. 
•    Secretary Labour, OSD Labour, Members, ESI Corporation, Director General, ESIC and other dignitaries’ also graced the occasion.


 

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Odisha Government launches Biju Kanya Ratna Yojana

The Odisha Government on 3 September 2016 launched the Biju Kanya Ratna Yojana (BKRY) in three districts of the state.
•    The scheme was launched for the development of girls.
•    The scheme will be implemented for three years in Ganjam, Dhenkanal and Angul districts on a pilot basis.
•    The objective of the Biju Kanya Ratna Yojana is to improve Sex Ratio at Birth (SRB) and Child Sex Ratio (CSR) in the three districts.
•    The BKRY will ensure enrolment of girls in elementary education.
•    It will track dropout girls from schools and create a better environment for them.
•    The scheme will create awareness on gender discrimination against girls, their health, nutrition and education.
•    According to the provision of BKRY, the state government will spend 3.5 crore rupees for the three-year planned scheme, which is expected to be completed by 31 March 2019.

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Mobile access scheme for remote and border areas soon

The USOF, which is maintained by the government, was formed to help fund projects to boost connectivity in rural areas. 
•    The money for this fund comes through a ‘Universal Access Levy,’ charged from the telecom operators as a percentage of various licenses fees being paid by them.
•    Last month, Telecom Secretary J.S. Deepak had said that about Rs.10,000 crore will be spent in the current financial year from the USO Fund to execute various digital infrastructure projects to boost connectivity in rural areas. In the last fiscal, about Rs.3,000 crore was spent from the USOF.
•    The official added that another scheme — funded by the USOF — to connect Left wing extremism (LWE)-affected areas in ten identified states in on the “verge of completion.” “Together, these will help take forward the Digital India drive.”
•    As on date, the total available fund in USOF is more than Rs.47,411.56 crore. 
•    The total collection since the scheme was started in 2002-03 stands at about Rs.78,587.31 crore, while total amount disbursed for various initiatives to boost rural connectivity is about Rs.31,175.75 crore, according to government data.
•    The Centre is also in middle of executing the Bharat Net project which aims to connect all of India’s households, particularly in rural areas, through broadband by 2017.

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Union Government notifies National Apprenticeship Promotion Scheme

Government has notified National Apprenticeship Promotion Scheme. It is for the first time a scheme has been notified to offer financial incentives to employers. The Scheme has an outlay of Rs. 10,000 crore with a target of 50 Lakh apprentices to be trained by 2019-20.
Apprenticeship Training is considered to be one of the most efficient ways to develop skilled manpower for the country. 
•    It provides for an industry led, practice oriented, effective and efficient mode of formal training. The National Policy of Skill Development and Entrepreneurship, 2015 launched by Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi focuses on apprenticeship as one of the key components for creating skilled manpower in India. The policy proposes to work pro-actively with the industry including MSME to facilitate tenfold increase opportunities in the country by 2020. 
•    25% of the prescribed stipend payable to an apprentice would be reimbursed to the employers directly by the Government of India. The scheme also supports basic training, which is an essential component of apprenticeship training by sharing of basic training cost with basic training providers in respect of apprentices who come directly to apprenticeship without any formal trade training (fresher apprentices). 
•    Online portal for ease of administering. All transactions including registration by employers, apprentices, registration of contract and payment to employers will be made as online mode. Eligible employers shall engage apprentices in a band of 2.5% to 10% of the total strength of the establishment. Employers need to register on the apprenticeship portal and must have TIN/TAN and any one of EPFO/ESIC/LIN. 
•    Brand Ambassadors will be appointed for states and for local industrial clusters to act as facilitators and promoters to promote apprenticeship training.
 

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Surrogacy (Regulation) Bill, 2016 cleared by Cabinet, to be introduced in Parliament

The Union Cabinet chaired by the Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi has given its approval for introduction of the "Surrogacy (Regulation) Bill, 2016". 
•    The Bill will regulate surrogacy in India by establishing National Surrogacy Board at the central level and State Surrogacy Boards and Appropriate Authorities in the State and Union Territories. The legislation will ensure effective regulation of surrogacy, prohibit commercial surrogacy and allow ethical surrogacy to the needy infertile couples. 
•    All infertile Indian married couple who want to avail ethical surrogacy will be benefited. Further the rights of surrogate mother and children born out of surrogacy will be protected. The Bill shall apply to whole of India, except the state of Jammu and Kashmir. 
•    The major benefits of the Act would be that it will regulate the surrogacy services in the country. While commercial surrogacy will be prohibited including sale and purchase of human embryo and gametes, ethical surrogacy to the needy infertile couples will be allowed on fulfilment of certain conditions and for specific purposes. As such, it will control the unethical practices in surrogacy, prevent commercialization of surrogacy and will prohibit potential exploitation of surrogate mothers and children born through surrogacy. 
•    No permanent structure is proposed to be created in the Draft Bill. Neither there are proposals for creating new posts. The proposed legislation, while covering an important area is framed in such a manner that it ensures effective regulation but does not add much vertically to the current regulatory structure already in place at the central as well as states. Accordingly, there will not be any financial implications except for the meetings of the National and State surrogacy Boards and Appropriate Authorities which will be met out of the regular budget of Central and State governments. 
•    India has emerged as a surrogacy hub for couples from different countries and there have been reported incidents concerning unethical practices, exploitation of surrogate mothers, abandonment of children born out of surrogacy and rackets of intermediaries importing human embryos and gametes. Widespread condemnation of commercial surrogacy prevalent in India has also been regularly published in different print-and electronic media since last few years highlighting the need to prohibit commercial surrogacy and allow ethical altruistic surrogacy. The 228th report of the Law Commission of India has also recommended for prohibiting commercial surrogacy and allowing ethical altruistic surrogacy to the needy Indian citizens by enacting a suitable legislation.
 

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