26 December 2013

‘E-Inclusion: IT Training for Rural Sc/St/Women Beneficiaries’ Project Launched

‘E-Inclusion: IT Training for Rural Sc/St/Women Beneficiaries’ Project Launched
The Department of Electronics and Information Technology (DeitY), Ministry of Communications & Information Technology, launched the ‘E-Inclusion: IT Training for Rural SC/ ST/ Women Beneficiaries’ Project here today. Shri Kapil Sibal, Minister of Communication & IT, formally launched the Project by releasing the Handbook titled ‘E-Literacy: Towards Empowering Rural India’ containing profiles of 50 beneficiaries who have successfully undertaken the basic IT training programme under the E-Inclusion project. Shri Sibal also felicitated ten beneficiaries by distributing certificates to them on the successful completion of the programme. Around 100 beneficiaries, which included young boys, girls and women, including the Village Level Entrepreneurs (VLEs) attended the event from the states of Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh, Odisha and West Bengal.

The Project is part of the Government of India’s initiative under the National e-Governance Plan (NeGP) for creating a transparent and accountable governance model for enabling service delivery at the doorstep of citizens. To achieve this mission, DeitY has setup over 100,000 Common Services Centers (CSCs) on a Public-Private-Partnership (PPP) model. CSCs are the front-end delivery points for government, private and social sector services to the citizens of India.

Shri Kapil Sibal mentioned that Digital Literacy is an enabler for empowering communities and providing them real freedom. The Government initiative for making one person in every family e-Literate is a step in that direction. This is in fact a revolution for enabling citizen’s participation in nation building. By making the girls and boys in rural India to become digitally literate, the Government is achieving the objective of empowering and enabling them to acquire information, knowledge and skills. This would also help in enhancing the employability of these young men and women. Besides this, this will go a long way in bridging the digital divide. He suggested that in this task we should also involve States, industry associations such as NASSCOM, NGOs and other stakeholders. He also mentioned various government projects that are in the pipeline like the National Optical Fibre Network (NOFN), Aakash 4.0, etc. He was hopeful that NOFN will enable delivery of health, education, agriculture and other services in a seamless manner at the doorsteps of the citizens.

Shri J. Satyanarayana, Secretary, DeitY, on this occasion mentioned that India stands at third position globally in the field of ICT. He spoke about the various dimensions of E-Inclusion – Digital Literacy, Financial Inclusion, E-Governance, E-Livelihoods and how to mainstream physically disabled into the digital movement. He stated that Government is actively considering to provide e-Literacy to 10,00,000 (10 lakh) men and women living in rural India at a cost of Rs. 100 crore. The CSCs will be utilized to achieve this target. This would cover one block in every State and one individual in every family will be made e-Literate. 

Key Indicators of Urban Slums in India

Key Indicators of Urban Slums in India
The National Sample Survey Office (NSSO), Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation has released the key indicators of urban slums in India, generated from the data collected in its 69th round survey during July 2012 to December 2012. The last survey on slums was conducted as part of the 65th round of NSS (July 2008- June 2009).

Slums are part of urban environment and they are identified by the presence of features of living conditions that are undesirable viz. overcrowding, lack of hygiene and sanitation, inadequacy of drinking water, and poor construction, etc. Any compact settlement with a collection of poorly built tenements, mostly of temporary nature, crowded together, usually with inadequate sanitary and drinking water facilities in unhygienic conditions, provided at least 20 households lived there, was considered a slum for the survey. Such a settlement, if not a notified slum, was called a non-notified slum. Both notified slums i.e. areas notified as slums by the concerned municipalities, corporations, local bodies or development authorities and other slums were covered in the survey.

The number of slums, the number of slum-dwelling households, and the proportions of slums having access to specific facilities that are known to be absent in many slums have been estimated from the data for States and all India. The survey covered the entire urban area of the country. The key indicators are based on the central sample, surveyed by officials of NSSO, consisting of 3832 urban blocks spread over all States and Union Territories. At the all-India level, a total of 881 slums were surveyed in these urban blocks.

The ‘Key Indicators of Urban Slums’ presents estimates in respect of notified/non-notified slums for all-India (based on all surveyed slums) and for States where the number of notified/non-notified slums surveyed was 10 or more, provided the total number of slums surveyed in the State was 20 or more. Following this principle, separate Statewise indicators are presented for the States of Andhra Pradesh, Bihar, Chhattisgarh, Gujarat, Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Odisha, Rajasthan, Tamil Nadu, Uttar Pradesh and West Bengal.

Some of the salient findings of the survey are as follows:


· A total of 33,510 slums were estimated to be present in the urban areas of India. About 41% of these were notified and 59% non-notified. (Annex-I).

· Maharashtra, with an estimated 7723 slums, accounted for about 23% of all slums in urban India, followed by Andhra Pradesh, accounting for 13.5%, and West Bengal, which had a share of about 12%.

· Of the 19,749 non-notified slums estimated to exist in urban India, Maharashtra accounted for about 29%, West Bengal for about 14%, and Gujarat for about 10%.

· Out of an estimated 13,761 notified slums in urban India, Andhra Pradesh had about 23%, Maharashtra about 14%, and Madhya Pradesh, West Bengal and Tamil Nadu about 9% each.


· An estimated 8.8 million households lived in urban slums, about 5.6 million in notified and 3.2 million in non-notified slums. (Annex-I)

· The notified slums formed 41% of all slums but housed 63% of all slum-dwelling households in India.

· As many as 38% of slum households of urban India were estimated to be living in Maharashtra, and 18% in Andhra Pradesh.

· Of slum households in non-notified slums, 40% were estimated to be present in Maharashtra, and 9% each in Gujarat and West Bengal.


· At the all-India level the average slum size was estimated at 263 households. The average notified slum had 404 households and the average non-notified slum had only 165. (Annex-II)

· For notified and non-notified slums taken together, average slum size was highest in Maharashtra (433), followed by Karnataka (392) and Andhra Pradesh (352).

· State-level average slum sizes of notified slums varied widely. For Maharashtra the average was over 1000 households whereas for Chhattisgarh, it was only 84.

· About 56% of slums in the million-plus cities and 58% of those in other urban areas had less than 150 households.

· About three-quarters of non-notified slums (77% in the million-plus cities and 74% in other urban areas) had less than 150 households. About 40% of the notified slums, both in million–plus cities and also in other urban areas, had 150-450 households.


· At all-India level 44% of slums – 48% of notified slums and 41% of non-notified slums – were located on private land.

· In about 60% of all slums, the majority of houses had pucca structures. The proportion of such slums was 85% among notified slums but only 42% of non-notified slums.

· At the all-India level 71% of all slums had tap as major source of drinking water, the figure being 82% for notified slums but only 64% for non-notified slums.

· The phenomenon of absence of electricity in slums appeared to be largely confined to non-notified slums. At all-India level only 6.5% of all slums had no electricity – the corresponding figures being 11% for non-notified slums but only 0.1% for notified slums.

· In about 66% of all slums, the road within the slum used by the dwellers as main thoroughfare was a pucca road. The proportion was 83% for notified slums and 55% for non-notified slums.

· At the all-India level 31% of slums had no latrine facility, the figure being 42% for non-notified and 16% for notified slums.

· About 31% of all slums had no drainage facility – the figure being considerably higher for non-notified slums (45%) than for notified slums (11%).

· At the all-India level, 27% of all slums had no garbage disposal arrangement – the figures being about 38% for non-notified slums and about 11% for notified slums.

· In an estimated 32% of all slums, the approach road to the slum usually remained waterlogged due to rainfall. The figure was 35% for notified slums and 29% for non-notified slums.

· At the all-India level 24% of slums benefited from welfare schemes such as Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission (JNNURM), Rajiv Awas Yojana (RAY), or any other scheme run by the Central Government or State Government or any local body. The proportion benefiting from such schemes was 32% among notified and 18% among non-notified slums.

An Empowered Consumer is an Asset to the Nation

An Empowered Consumer is an Asset to the Nation
24th December is observed as “National Consumer Rights Day” in India, since on this day the Consumer Protection Act, 1986 was enacted. The Consumer Protection Act provides for effective safeguards to consumers against various types of exploitations and unfair dealings, relying mainly on compensatory rather than a disciplinary or preventive approach.

With a large consumer base of 1.27 billion ( 52% males and 48% females) constituting nearly 17.31% of the world’s population, the demography of Indian consumer shows an interesting pattern pointing towards a young consumer base which believes in market mechanism. 30 % of the population lives in urban areas and the rest in rural. The diversity itself is a major challenge for any consumer protection regime.

The Constitution of India provides for protection of rights of an individual and also enjoins the State to adhere to the Directive Principles. The source of consumer rights lies in the Fundamental Rights enshrined in our constitution. The Consumer Protection Act provides for protection of the basic rights of a consumer.

Consumer Movement in India

Though the consumer movement in India is as old as the trade and commerce, yet, there was no systematic movement in the country for safeguarding the interests of consumers till the Consumer Protection Act was enacted in 1986, based on the United Nations guidelines with the objective of providing better protection of consumers’ interests. The Act applies to all goods and services unless specifically exempted, and covers private, public, and cooperative sectors and provides for speedy and inexpensive adjudication. The Act also provides for setting up of Consumer Councils to promote consumer welfare. The Act seeks to promote and protect the following six rights of the consumers:

· The right to be protected against marketing of goods and services which are hazardous to life and property;

· The right to be informed about the quality, quantity, potency, purity, standard and price of goods and services, as the case may be, to protect the consumer against unfair trade practices;

· The right to be assured of access to a variety of goods and services at competitive prices;

· The right to be heard and assured that consumer interest will receive due consideration at appropriate forums;

· The right to seek redressal against unfair or restrictive trade practices or unscrupulous exploitation of consumers;

· The right to consumer education.

The Consumer Protection Act

The Consumer Protection Act, 1986 lays down the rights of the consumers and provides for promotion and protection of the rights of the consumers. The first and the only Act of its kind in India, it has enabled ordinary consumers to secure less expensive and often speedy redressal of their grievances. The Act mandates establishment of Consumer Protection Councils at the Centre as well as in each State and District, with a view to promoting consumer awareness. The provisions of this Act cover ‘goods’ as well as ‘services’. The goods are those which are manufactured or produced and sold to consumers through wholesalers and retailers. The services are in the nature of transport, telephone, electricity, housing, banking, insurance, medical treatment, etc.

A written complaint, can be filed before the District Consumer Forum for goods/services valued upto Rs.20 lakh, State Commission for value upto Rs one crore and the National Commission for value above Rs one crore, in respect of defects in goods or deficiency in service. The service can be of any description and the illustrations given above are only indicative. However, no complaint can be filed for alleged deficiency in any service that is rendered free of charge or under a contract of personal service.

The remedy under the Consumer Protection Act is an alternative in addition to that already available to the aggrieved persons/consumers by way of civil suit. In the complaint/appeal/petition submitted under the Act, a consumer is not required to pay any court fees but only a nominal fee. Consumer Fora proceedings are summary in nature. The endeavour is made to grant relief to the aggrieved consumer as quickly as in the quickest possible, keeping in mind the provisions of the Act which lay down time schedule for disposal of cases. If a consumer is not satisfied by the decision of a District Forum, he can appeal to the State Commission. Against the order of the State Commission a consumer can come to the National Commission.

Government Initiatives

· ‘Jago Grahak Jago’ Though the consumer movement is slowly gaining ground in our country as the success of consumer movement mainly depends upon the level of consumer awareness generated in the country by educating the consumers about their rights and responsibilities. Within India itself, the level of consumer awareness varies from State to State depending upon the level of literacy and the social awareness of the people. Educating more than 120 crores people of various categories of population, particularly those in rural areas where consumers are more susceptible to exploitation, on various subject matters of consumers interests being dealt by different Ministries / Departments, is a herculean task. For the 11th plan the scheme has received an allocation of Rs. 409 crores to launch an effective Multi- Media campaign. The scheme under the brand name of ‘Jago Grahak Jago’ has carved out a niche for itself. For the 12th plan an allocation of Rs. 409.29 crores has been made.

· Consumer Welfare Fund

The Central Excise and Salt Act, 1944 (1 of 1944) was amended in 1991 to enable the Central Government to create the Consumer Welfare Fund where the money, which is not refundable to the manufacturers etc., is credited. The money credited to the Fund is to be utilized by the Central Government for the welfare of the consumers in accordance with the Rules framed. The fund has been set up by the Department of Revenue, but the Ministry of Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution will operate it.The overall objective of the consumer Welfare Fund is to provide financial assistance to promote and protect the welfare of the consumers and strengthen the voluntary consumer movement in the country particularly in the rural areas.

· Consumer Clubs

This scheme was launched in 2002, according to which a consumer club shall be set up in each Middle/High/Higher Secondary school/college affiliated to a government recognized Board/University. This scheme has been decentralised and transferred to the Governments of States/UTs with effect from 1.04.2004. All interested NGO/VCOs shall apply to the Nodal Officer in the Food, PD & Consumer Welfare Department of the respective States/UTs.

· Promoting Research

This scheme has been launched with a view to sponsor research and evaluation studies in the field of consumer welfare to provide solution to the practical problems being faced by the consumers, to sponsor seminars/workshops/ conferences on the consumer related topics, and to have necessary inputs for the formulation of policy/programme/scheme for the protection and welfare of the consumers. The Indian Institute of Public Administration, New Delhi, has been identified as the nodal organization to administer the scheme.

· National Consumer Helpline

A National Consumer Helpline project has been established in collaboration with Delhi University, Department of Commerce. Consumers can call from anywhere in India to the number 1XXX-XX-4000 from MTNL/BSNL lines free of charge and get advice regarding their problem as a consumer. The Helpline has been formally launched on 15.3.2005 on the World Consumer Rights Day and is functional on all working days from 9.30 A.M to 5.30 P.M.

· CORE Centre

The Consumer Online Resources and Empowerment Centre has been conceived to function as the most scientific and effective system of collection, dissemination and redressal of consumer related information and complaints. It was launched on the World Consumer Day i.e. on 15th March, 2005. Consumers can now register their complaints in the CORE Centre through the websitewww.core.nic.in. They can also have access to wealth of information regarding Consumer issues through this website.

· State Consumer Welfare Fund

States/UTs have to set up their own Consumer Welfare Fund by making a one-time contribution of an amount proportionate to the number of districts, by the Centre (Department of Consumer Affairs) and the State Government in the ratio 50:50 (Centre : State). In case of special category States, like North Eastern States, Sikkim, J&K, Uttaranchal A&N Islands and Lakshdweep the ratio will be 90:10 (Centre : State).

National Consumer policy

Increased global trade and the development of Internet have provided new opportunities for consumers, leading to new forms of unfair and unethical business practices. With the change in the global scenario and the market dynamics the consumers have also changed. Children and young adults and women – who often lack experience as consumers – are more significant forces in markets, as are the growing number of older adults who sometimes face unique marketplace challenges. This requires consumer protection authorities to be more vigilant and active. The sophistication of retail markets is increasing the role of consumers. The greater empowerment of consumers has also led to greater responsibilities for them to manage their own affairs. Here comes the need to make suitable policy prescriptions to protect consumer rights.

The draft National Consumer policy envisages to promote the rights and interests of consumers and ensure a high level of consumer protection, contributing to protecting the health, safety and economic interests of consumers as well as promoting their right to information, education and to organise themselves to safeguard their interests. It will endeavour to achieve effective implementation of various consumer welfare schemes through progressive consumer related legislations and active participation of all stakeholders; Central and State Governments, academic and research institutions, schools and colleges, voluntary consumer organizations and civil society, business and above all the consumers themselves to create an effective consumer movement in the country.


An empowered consumer is an asset to the nation and therefore today, it is widely acknowledged that the level of consumer awareness and protection is one of the major indicators of development in any country.

Mr. Mikhail Kalashnikov: Designer of AK-47 ( ”Avtomat Kalashnikova 1947″) passed away

Mr. Mikhail Kalashnikov: Designer of AK-47 ( ”Avtomat Kalashnikova 1947″) passed away

the Russian gun designer whose AK-47 rifle became the weapon of choice for many national armies and guerrillas around the world, died at the age of 94. Mikhail Kalashnikov, the inventor of iconic AK-47 rifle, died at the age of 94.

About AK- 47 ( ”Avtomat Kalashnikova 1947″)
The name of the rifle is ”Avtomat Kalashnikova 1947,” the year it went into production.

It is a selective-fire, gas-operated 7.62×39mm assault rifle and has a rate of fire of 600 rounds-a-minute. The AK-47 has only eight moving parts can be broken down and reassembled in 30 seconds and will work in conditions that would render many other small arms inoperable. Invented by Mikhail Kalashnikov, who received numerous honors including the Hero of Socialist Labor and Order of Lenin and Stalin Prize.

Cabinet approved FTA in trade and services with ASEAN

Cabinet approved FTA in trade and services with ASEAN

The Cabinet approved a Free Trade Agreement (FTA) in trade and services with the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN).

Objective: To promote the movement of Indian professionals in the 10-nation ASEAN. The Agreement on Investment would protect, promote and increase foreign investment flows into the country and also removes and barriers.

Note: The Comprehensive Economic Cooperation (CECA) between India and ASEAN was signed in 2003. The Cabinet approved the Agreement on Trade Goods under the CECA with the ASEAN in July 2009.

23 December 2013

Highest ever power generation capacity added in a year RGGVY reforms undertaken to benefit the poor

Power generation capacity addition exceeds target in 2012-13
Highest ever power generation capacity added in a year
RGGVY reforms undertaken to benefit the poor
Financial Restructuring Plan to strengthen the State- owned DISCOMs
Grid security and grid discipline becomes priority
Two more UMPPs reach bidding stage under revised bidding norms
6.5 million tons of oil equivalents saved in the PAT scheme within a year of its launch

Year End Review of Ministry of Power

Year End Review-2013

Power is imperative to the overall development of a nation. Be it faring well on the healthcare index or ensuring that every child goes to school, availability of electricity is closely linked to these as well as other indicators of progress. Managing energy resources well not only ensures economic progress but also social development.

The year 2013 saw several important decisions and critical steps  being taken to speed up the languishing power projects, remove bottlenecks, and interact closely with all stakeholders whether state governments, ministries, or the private sector to make power generation a seamless process.

Installed Capacity/Capacity Addition and Power Generation:
The total installed capacity of the power sector stood at 2,29,252 MW by 31st October 2013 with the private sector contributing a significant 72,927 MW and including 12% from Renewable sources. The power sector saw a total capacity addition of 20,622.8 MW during 2012-13 which is the highest record of capacity addition in a year so far with a little less than half of it coming from the private sector and also exceeded the target of 17956 MW  for the year 2012-13. For the year 2013-14 a capacity addition target of 18,432 MW including 2000 MW of nuclear power has been set, with the highest contribution of 7859 MW expected from the private sector. A capacity addition of 7,008 MW has already been achieved till 10.12.2013.
24th May, 2013 was a historic day in for power generation in India with the highest ever generation of 128 GW in a day.
 Power generation in India is still heavily reliant on coal and gas with thermal accounting for more than 80% of annual power generation. State owned NTPC emerged as the largest power producer in the country accounting for more than 28% of power produced in the country in 2012-13.
The total power generation of 912 Billion Units in 2012-13 from conventional sources fell only marginally short of the target. The power generation target for 2013-14 is 975 BU out of which 562 BU was already achieved by 31st October, 2013.
 Power Supply position in the country has improved during the current year (2013-14). The energy and peak shortages in the country have reduced from 8.6% & 9.0% during April-2012 - Nov, 2012 to 4.5% & 4.2% respectively, during April- Nov, 2013.
Inspite of bottlenecks , it was possible to add 17107 ckm of transmission lines during the year 2012-13 and it is proposed to lay 18674 ckm of transmission lines during 2013-14, out of which 7620 ckm is already achieved till November 2013.   Number of substations targeted for the period are 35363 MVA and achieved upto Nov 2013 are 26180 MVA. Purnea- Bihar Sharieftransmission line which was commissioned this year  became the  first transmission line in the private sector .
Work is now on on transmission voltages of -+800kV HVDC & 1200kV 1200kV UHVAC after  Conserving Right-of-Way (RoW), minimizing impact on natural resources, coordinated development of cost effective transmission corridor, flexibility in upgradation of transfer capacity of lines matching with power transfer requirement became  major areas of concern in development of transmission network in the country.
The southern grid connectivity got fast-tracked in the current year and 60 per cent of the work got completed with the establishment of 315 towers.  The grid connectivity is likely to be completed by January, 2014.
R-APDRP (Restructured-Accelerated Power Development and Reforms Programme)
 Under R-APDRP, government gives financial assistance for setting up automated systems of energy data collection and energy accounting and incentives by way of grants for reducing AT & C losses. Projects worth Rs. 37,189.82 cr are now under implementation.
RGGVY (Rajiv Gandhi Grameen Vidyutikaran Yojana)
The government has been able to surpass the targets set for the RGGVY under the Bharat Nirman programme. Since its inception, electrification works in 1.08 (96%) lakh un-electrified villages, 3.03 lakh (79%) partially electrified villages have been completed and free electricity connections to 2.13 crore (77%) BPL households have been released under RGGVY as on 15.11.2013. Reforms introduced in RGGVY this year are meant to ensure energisation of villages as compared to mere electrification.  Now, villages with just 100 people will also get access to electricity while there has been an increase in prescribed load for a BPL household to 250 watts (up from 40 watts)  and for an APL household to 500 watts (up from 250 watts).
Financial Restructuring of State DISCOMs
To rescue the state owned DISCOMs from their financial difficulties, the scheme of Financial Restructuring Plan was notified this year. The scheme provides for various measures to ensure financial and operational discipline for the state owned DISCOMs and support from the GOI in the form of Transitional Finance Mechanism.  The scheme has been successfully implemented in Tamil Nadu, UP, Rajasthan and Haryana. FRPs have also been finalised for states of Bihar, Jharkhand and Andhra Pradesh.
Rationalisation of tariffs has already been carried out by 24 SERCs/JERCs.

Grid Security & Grid Discipline
Managing the world’s third largest power transmission system grid is an increasingly complex task. India faced major grid failures in July 2012. To ensure grid security, islanding scheme for Delhi has been completed while that for UP, Punjab and Haryana under finalisation. Unscheduled drawals were strictly controlled during the peak season this year. Discoms were asked to ensure compliance within +/- 150 MW or 12% of their schedules irrespective of frequency. Feeder transmission lines were identified for disconnection in case of violation of overdrawal limits.  Installation ofSyncro Phasor Management Units for real time network management at a cost of Rs 655 cr was also approved.

Further, the establishment of Power System Operation Corporation (POSOCO) as an independent wholly owned Government of India Company, under the administrative control of Ministry of Power, is under consideration of the Government of India.

Smart Grid
14 Smart Grid Pilot projects identified in 2012 were approved for 50% funding by Government of India in July 2013.
The Smart Grid Vision and Road map document for India was released during Power Minister’s Conference on 10th Sep’13. Activities for planning the launch of National Smart Grid Mission have been initiated.

Emphasis on clearances & removing bottlenecks
 Large number of power projects have been held up for want of environment and forest and other clearances and due to fuel supply bottlenecks especially with regard to coal and gas. This year the emphasis has been to follow up on these aspects with a sense of extreme urgency. As a result, as many as nine important hydro electric projects received environmental, forest and wildlife clearances this year including Teesta- IV in Sikkim, Kol Dam in HP, Tawang-II in Arunachal Pradesh, Loktak in Manipur among others.

With the concerted efforts made by MOP, Power Unities have already signed fuel supply agreements for 157 Units totalling around 71,000 MW upto 27.11.2013 out of a total of 78,000MW.

To ensure good quality coal to power producers, the Ministry of Power (MoP) had taken up with Ministry of Coal (MoC) for introduction Third Party Sampling in supply of coal.  Coal India Ltd. has appointed an agency for Third Party Sampling.  Third Party Sampling became operational from October onwards. 

 Pass Through Mechanism was also introduced in the current year to allow power producers of competitively bid power projects to pass on the hike in fuel cost like imported coal into the tariff. Hike in fuel costs affect the viability of power projects whose tariff is not charged on cost plus basis.
Due to shortfall in production of domestic coal by 75 MT, Power Utilities have been advised to import 50 MT of imported coal as per the equivalent Gross Calorific Value (GCV) of the imported coal.

In a major victory for the power sector, the government decided that the total domestic gas supply to fertilizer sector be capped at their present level of 31.5 MMSCMD and all additional domestic gas from the year 2013-14, 2014-15 and 2015-16 will be allotted to power sector to help improve generation.

Ultra Mega Power Projects
The revised Standard Bidding Documents for Ultra Mega Power Projects (UMPPs) were introduced this year which include several features that are designed to boost investors’ confidence. On the basis of these revised Bidding Documents, two UMPPs have been brought to bidding stage ie  Odisha and Cheyyur (Tamil Nadu) UMPPs . These UMPPs will provide an investment opportunity of over Rs.40000 crore to private sector both domestic and overseas and would lead to a capacity addition of about 8000 MW.
4 UMPPs have so far been transferred to the selected developer namely (iMundra in Gujarat, (ii) Sasan in Madhya Pradesh, (iii) Krishnapatnam in Andhra Pradesh and (iv) Tilaiya inJharkhand.All the five Units (5X 800 MW) of Mundra has been commissioned.
Sasan first Unit (1X 660 MW) commissioned in May, 2013.

Several other UMPPs are in the pipeline ie (iNayunipalli in Andhra Pradesh, (ii) Husainabad in Jharkhand, (iii) Bijoypatna in Bhadrak district for coastal location and Narla & Kasinga inKalahandi district for inland location in Odisha, (iv) UMPP in Bihar and (v) sites in Tamil Nadu and Gujarat for second UMPPs (Site yet to be finalized).

 Special Focus on Jammu & Kashmir and North-Easter Region (NER)
24 hours power supply was assured to distant Leh and Kargil areas by the full commissioning of the Nimu Bazgo and Chutak Hydro Projects in J&K this year. The Transmission line from Srinagar to Leh was approved which will provide the much needed electricity to the Ladakh region. In J & K, 14 projects (3 projects in 10th Plan and 11 projects in 11th Plan) have been sanctioned under RGGVY. Cumulatively, as on 15.11.2013, the electrification works in 192 UE villages and 3,018 PE villages have been completed and free electricity connections to 64,255 BPL households have been released. 
Adequate funding will be made available to Arunachal Pradesh for their sub-transmission projects. The Northeast Agra link to transmit clean energy from the North-Eastern and Eastern region of India to the city of Agra across a distance of 1,728 kilometers has already been inaugurated. Foundation stone was laid for Bishwanath-Chairyali (6000 MW)  HVDC link for evacuation of power from Hydro projects in NER. Due to constant pursuance with DONER, EGOM has been set up for resolving issued concerning clearances and infrastructure requirements for Hydro Projects in the North-East. 
Efforts on war footing being made for speedy clearances to hydro electric power projects in the J & K and NER like  Dibang Central (3000 MW) by NHPC in Arunachal Pradesh, TipaimukhCentral (1500 MW) by NHPC in Manipur, Pakal Dul (1000 MW) under Joint Venture in J&K, Subansiri in Assam among others.

Energy Efficiency & Energy Saving
The Perform, Achieve and Trade (PAT) scheme under the National Mission for Enhanced Energy Efficiency (NMEEE) has already helped to save 6.5 million tons of oil equivalent within a year of its launch last year.

Various Energy Efficiency Policies of Government of India have resulted in an Avoided Generation Capacity to the tune of 10,836 MW during 11th plan period.

The participating units of 2013 National Energy Conservations Awards programme have achieved an annual monetary savings of Rs. 4141 Crores. These units have also saved energy equivalent to the energy generated from a 711 MW Thermal Power Station.

It has been mandatory from this year onwards that all ministries/departments while procuring appliances will ensure that they show the threshold BEE star rating carried against them. This scheme of public procurement of energy efficient appliances will help to save 15-20% energy use of these offices equivalent to avoided installation of a 250 MW capacity thermal power plant.

Institutional Mechanism to address problems faced by the power sector
For the first time, two conferences of state power Ministers and Secretaries were held in a year. Also for the first time two meetings were held with heads of CERC/SERCs this year. Advisory group of industrialists, consultants and economists has been set up to come up with joint solutions to problems facing the power sector. The group meets very frequently. Frequent meetings of Parliament Consultative Committee are being held on critical issues facing the power sector. 
In a nutshell this has been an action packed year for the power sector wherein all the stakeholders worked with a determination to take this sector to a new high.

18 December 2013

The real winners at Bali

At the ninth ministerial meeting at Bali in Indonesia, trade Ministers, representing the 159 members of the World Trade Organization (WTO), managed to reach an agreement in the wee hours of December 6. The fact that an agreement was possible at all is seen to be as significant as the issues on which a consensus was reached. This is because the WTO and the Doha round, in particular, needed a booster shot as it were to retain their relevance.
Days before the Bali meet, discussions, among trade officials, were leading to nowhere. It was widely feared that the Bali ministerial would go the way of all its predecessors.
The Doha development round was launched way back in 2001, soon after the terrorist attack in the U.S. in a bold move to infuse confidence in world trade. Yet, several ministerials, attended by political leaders and countless negotiations involving officials at the WTO headquarters at Geneva and elsewhere, failed to produce a single agreement during the 12-long years.
So much so, the feeling was universal that the Doha round had slipped into irrelevance. Its moribund state called into question the very basis of multilateral trade that the WTO has been propagating.
A dwindling faith in multilateralism has spawned several moves to bypass the WTO. Thus, as member-countries started reposing faith in bilateral agreements among countries and regional pacts to reap short-term gains, world trade was getting ‘balkanised’, making the eventual move towards multilateral trade that much more difficult. India and other developing countries, even while actively pursuing the bilateral route and regional pacts, had every reason to worry over the long-term consequences of the drift away from multilateral trade.
In many ways, the Bali agreement was driven by a fear that the big emerging economies would be left out of two giant trade pacts in the offing. Specifically, the U.S. and the EU have launched negotiations to conclude a trans-atlantic trade agreement. Japan and ten other Pacific Rim countries are getting close to finalising a Trans-Pacific Partnership. India, Indonesia, Brazil and Russia, which are unlikely to figure in the above pacts, see in a revived WTO their best hope for having a voice in global trade.
To the WTO’s rescue

The role of the new WTO Secretary-General, Roberto Azevedo, has been very significant. In fact, many commentators say he is the real star of the Bali meet. There were apprehensions that a career diplomat from Brazil, a developing country, would not quite fit the bill. Neither the E.U. nor the U.S. had backed his candidature unequivocally. In these circumstances, Mr. Azevedo pulled off a deal, which, under WTO rules, requires unanimous support from all members.
A revived WTO is good for all countries. Its success in years to come will depend how the more intractable parts of the Doha round are taken care of.
The Bali Declaration has major implications for India and other developing countries. Of the two main issues — food security and trade facilitation — on which the agreement was reached, the former concerns India and other developing countries, which need to subsidise food for the poor, while the latter is significant for developed and developing countries. India, represented by Commerce Minister Anand Sharma, has claimed victory for holding out and eventually securing important concessions in food subsidy.
The core discussions on agriculture centred on two viewpoints on the price benchmark for the valuation of food stocks that a country can legally hold. India wanted current prices to be the basis, but that was not acceptable to the U.S. and many others.
Among other reasons, it would involve amending the Uruguay Round agreements. India, as an alternative, proposed an interim solution.
The U.S. suggestion for a sunset clause of four years was not acceptable to India. A final deal was struck to have an interim agreement until a more permanent arrangement was worked out. So, obviously, many more rounds of discussions are on the cards.
The interim nature of the agreement is just one of the reasons that diminish the gloss from India’s ‘victory’.

Strong provisions, weak implementation

Although the state is required to give wide publicity to the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act, the law is relatively unknown even to those who need to apply it

Amid the public outcry raging on the streets over instances of rape of children across the nation, the victimised and abused child suffers in silence. Traumatised, dejected and horrified family members of the unfortunate victims find themselves helpless, confused and unable to cope in the aftermath of the heinous crime.
Even though on May 22, 2012, Parliament passed the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act, 2012 (POCSO), which came into force on November 14, 2012, this special law to protect children from offences of sexual assault, sexual harassment and pornography, remains an unimplemented law, unknown to most and beyond the reach of those who need to apply it. Sadly, the result is that POCSO — a necessity in India where 40 per cent of the population is below the age of 18 and where over 53 per cent of children reportedly surveyed in 2007 stated that they had experienced one or more forms of sexual abuse — is not complied with despite being in the statute book. There are demands for stiff penalties, expeditious new laws and fast-track courts although POCSO, as a wholesome law, already says it all.
Until recently, various provisions of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) were used to deal with sexual offences against children as the law did not make a distinction between an adult and a child. POCSO deals with sexual offences against persons below 18, who are deemed as children. POCSO provides definitions of “penetrative sexual assault”, “sexual assault” and “sexual harassment” — the offence is considered graver if it is committed by a police officer, public servant, any member of the staff at a remand home, protection or observation home, jail, hospital or educational institution, or by a member of the armed or security forces.
POCSO provides for relief and rehabilitation as soon as the complaint is made to the Special Juvenile Police Unit or the local police, who are required to make immediate arrangements for care and protection. The intent to commit an offence, as defined under POCSO, is also punishable, besides abetment of sexual abuse against a child.
Special emphasis has been placed on ensuring the speedy disposal of trials in special children’s courts as well as following of special procedures to keep the accused away from the child at the time of testifying. Awareness
Despite POCSO enjoining the Central and State governments to take measures for giving wide publicity through the media — television, radio and print — and imparting periodic training to all stakeholders on the matters relating to implementation of POCSO’s provisions, the Act is relatively unknown. Shockingly, in the most recent rape case, the Delhi Police included the Act’s provisions in the FIR reportedly after two days of its filing on April 15, 2013. In the infamous Apna Ghar Rohtak shelter home case of May 2012, where over 100 inmates were allegedly subjected to sexual abuse, the POCSO provisions have reportedly still not been invoked against the accused. The passing of the salutary law is more than significant for a variety of reasons. It defines exclusively the crime of sexual offences against children and fulfils the mandatory obligations of India as a signatory to the United Nations Convention on the Rights of The Child, acceded to on December 11, 1992. For monitoring and implementation of the provisions of POCSO, the Act enjoins that the National Commission and State Commissions for Protection of Child Rights constituted under the Commissions for Protection of Child Rights Act, 2005, shall ensure the effective implementation of the provisions of POCSO. The Supreme Court had, in a hard-hitting directive issued on February 7, 2013, ordered all States to ensure that the regulatory and monitoring bodies are constituted and made functional. However, till date, such Commissions are either only partially-functional or effectively non-functional.
Acting upon a petition by the National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR), the High Court, in a path-breaking judgment rendered on April 9, 2013, directed Punjab, Haryana and Chandigarh to ensure that State Commissions for Protection of Child Rights become fully functional, are headed by a person who has been a Judge of the High Court, and that chairpersons and members are appointed through a transparent selection process.
The High Court further directed mandatory registration of all children’s homes, constitution and notification of children’s courts and appointment of special public prosecutors besides ordering the setting up of a proper panel to select members of various committees to be set up for child welfare.
Hence, the entire machinery for monitoring child rights has been galvanised. It has also been ordered that the National Commissions and State Commissions shall start implementing POCSO’s provisions while discharging their functions and that modules/training programmes be initiated in the Chandigarh Judicial Academy to sensitise all stakeholders on child rights and deal with cases in Children’s Court. It is now for the State governments to implement this beneficial mandate and create an effective machinery to check heinous crimes of gross sexual abuse against children.
The Justice Verma Committee Report, in one of its conclusions on child sexual abuse, holds that “there is an urgent need to audit the performance of all institutions of governance and law and order”.
We need to consolidate our efforts and focus our energies on existing laws rather than looking to amend more laws and making still further newer laws, alien to our culture, society, habits, lifestyles and harsh realities of the common man. Insofar as child sex abuse is concerned, POCSO is a wholesome law. The government must create the machinery to implement it and educate its officers besides all stakeholders on what it contains.
The state must not waste time exploring alternatives when the answers exist in a law made by Parliament for these special offences against children, the most vulnerable section of society.

Ending ‘VIP culture’ in public governance

The political executive and the permanent executive should realise they are public servants first and work in harmony to achieve the constitutional objectives

There is a need to arrest the ‘laal batti’ [red beacon] culture in public governance. The Supreme Court of India has been delivering a variety of judgments on matters of public governance, and these have been the subject of debate and discussion. Some of these related to the role of criminals in legislatures, the option to exercise the voting right to reject all contesting candidates by what is known as the “none of the above” option (NOTA), insisting on a fixed tenure for top civil servants’ postings, effecting the transfer of senior civil servants through a Civil Services Board, and civil servants necessarily obtaining written orders from their political masters before implementation. The latest judgment on the use of the red beacon has become a bone of contention. It is indeed timely, significant and relevant as it attacks the feudal mindset of our public servants.
A view has often been expressed that such intervention by the Supreme Court to improve the quality of public governance and democracy would amount to judicial overreach, not warranted by the spirit of the constitutional provisions. In line with this critical view, Pinky Anand, a Senior Advocate in the Supreme Court, wrote in The Hindu (“Keeping politicians at bay”, Nov. 26, 2013) raising some issues on the role of the bureaucracy and politicians, and the maintainability of the petition filed under Article 32 of the Constitution on the relationship between politicians and civil servants. The author stated: “The Supreme Court has assumed itself to be superior to Parliament and is directing Parliament to enact new laws, which seems to be violating the fundamental principle of Separation of Powers.”
But nowhere did the judgment suggest or imply such a view. Para 29 recognises Parliament’s authority to bring in legislation to set up a Civil Services Board. A reference is made to the statement by the Union government’s counsel to the effect that a draft Bill titled “Civil Services Performance Standards And Accountability Bill, 2010” was under the government’s consideration. In several cases, includingVineet Narain (1998) and Prakash Singh (2006), the Supreme Court had recommended legislation to fill the vacuum, and issued directions as an interim measure.
The Supreme Court invoked this approach in the landmark judgment in Vishaka vs. State of Rajasthan(1997), setting out guidelines to prevent sexual harassment and discrimination at the workplace. Although one may not differ with Ms. Anand in arguing that the vacuum in governance prompted the judiciary to step in, the reluctance, indifference and insensitivity on the part of governments cannot be overlooked. The main reason for such an attitude seems to be the fear of erosion of political authority in governance.
A case in point is the lackadaisical approach to the subject of electoral reforms. Although some electoral reforms were recommended by the Election Commission of India, the Law Commission and civil society organisations, ruling parties have justified their inaction on the ground that there was no political consensus. It is amazing that while many pieces of legislation are being enacted with the necessary majority, election reforms and such other governance reforms are not getting through owing to lack of political consensus. This is but lack of political will, and is based on selfish reasons of survival.
Ms. Anand questioned the competence and expertise of the petitioners in asking the “judiciary to overreach into the domain of the executive”. The petitioners made no such request. Their expertise cannot be doubted, considering that collectively they had 2,500 man-years of hands-on experience in public administration. All that they sought was action on the reports of government-appointed commissions and committees, including the Administrative Reforms Commission which was headed by political personalities.
The court’s direction on the subject of the tenure of officers is criticised as an act of “taking away the privilege of Ministers to work with the best officers of their choosing”. But the author overlooks the fact that the judgment explicitly recognises the right of the political leadership to overrule the recommendations of the Civil Services Board by stating that in such a case the reasons had to be recorded by the political masters. The judgment does not in any way impinge upon the domain of the political executive.
An obnoxious nexus
Supreme Court judgments on such matters relating to public administration should not be seen as an issue between the political class and the permanent executive. On the other hand, it has to be seen as an attempt to promote good governance and quality democracy in order to achieve the rule of law and equality of opportunities. Unfortunately, in India there is an obnoxious nexus between some members of both the political class and the bureaucracy, which has, over time, gradually resulted in deterioration of public governance.
This process seems to have started soon after Independence. Vallabhbhai Patel, India’s first Deputy Prime Minister, said in 1950: “Certain tendencies and developments in our administration and public affairs fill me with some disquiet and sadness of heart. Our public life seems to be degenerating. We talk when the paramount need is that of action. With all the sincerity and earnestness at my command I appeal to all my countrymen to reflect on what they see in and around themselves.”
This aspect was highlighted in detail by the Shah Commission report which inquired into irregularities in administration during the Emergency (1975-77). The feudal culture of public servants (and politicians in office) seems to be the bane of our public administration. And it is spreading, resulting in lack of sensitivity, efficiency and accountability in public service.
It is therefore necessary that the political executive and the permanent executive realise they are public servants first, and that it is their duty to work in harmony to achieve the constitutional objectives. Let it be clearly understood that public governance in a democracy is not the private business of any one section. It is the collective responsibility of the government as a whole.
Today, the conditions and circumstances of public administration are different from what they were some time ago. A vigilant civil society, ever-watchful media and the Right to Information Act require that politicians and the bureaucracy are held accountable and their actions remain transparent. They will frequently seek intervention by the judiciary to protect the fundamental rights under a good and effective public governance.
Caveat against power hunger

In 1947, India was an infant aspiring to grow in the comity of nations. The freedom fighters undertook another task of drafting the Constitution based on other countries’ experiences.
One of the issues highlighted in the discussions at the drafting stage was the anxiety to avoid concentration of power in a few individuals as naked greed for power will destroy democratic principles. However, what has actually happened in India in the last few decades is shocking and demoralising. The best political and governance practices have been distorted and twisted by those in power.
We have to realise that there is an urgent need to change the country’s administrative culture if we have to survive as a nation. We need to get away from the leisure culture where public holidays and delays contribute to deficiencies in the delivery of public services. We need to get away from the feudal culture of politicians and civil servants, who adopt a domineering attitude while dealing with the common man. We need to get away from the hostile attitude between the politicians and civil servants vying with each other in exercise of their power.
What we need is not keeping at bay either the politician or the civil servant; what we need is a clear demarcation of their respective roles in rendering public service. The laal batti culture, frowned upon by the Supreme Court, highlights the need for urgent administrative and attitudinal change.

10 December 2013

Public Administration Paper II

Section A
Question 1 (Compulsory)

Attempt following about 150 words each. 10 marks x 5 = 50m

Q The charter act of 1853 marked the beginning of parliamentary system in India. Explain
Q Civil service neutrality is founded on the application of the principles of rule of law. Comment
Q The second generation reforms in Panchayati Raj institution have changed Panchayats from an agency of Development at local level into a political institution. comment
Q Finance commission in India performs the job of statistics aggregation. comment
Q Planning enables comprehensive and scientific understanding of problems. Examine the statement in context of planning methodology.

Question 2

Q Bureaucratic agencies, characterized by established procedures, specialization, leadership, clean objectives, are not ideal to handle disaster Management. examine with reference to the need for Administrative flexibility in managing disasters. (20 marks | 250 words)
Q The liberal -democratic ideology of the west influenced in shaping of value premises of the Indian Constitution. Discuss. (20 marks | 250 words)
Q Autonomy to public sector undertakings is a myth. Analyze in the context of the use of government Expenditure by politicians to control governments at different levels. (10 marks | 150 words)

Question 3

Q Laws are enacted without involving police in the conception stage, with the result implementation of these laws leaves much to be desired. Examine the role of police in protection of children. (10 marks | 150 words)
Q Central Secretariat is the nodal agency for administering the union subjects and establishing coordination among the various activities of government discuss. (20 marks | 250 words)
Q Is there is need to dispense with the office of the governor? Examine in the context of coalition governments. (10m | 150w)

Question 4

Q “There is a tendency of centralism in Indian federalism, but it is not because of its institutional framework but because of its socialist goals and centrally devised plan development.” explain the statement in the context of union-state relationships (20m|250w)
Q Use of information and communication technology in Panchayat’s function enhances efficiency, transparency and accountability and also induces mass ICT culture. Examine (20m|250w)
Q Judicial review of administrative tribunal’s decision defeats the very objective of establishing tribunals. Comment with reference to central Administrative tribunal. (10m|150w)

PubAd.Paper 2: Section B

Question 5 (Compulsory)

Attempt following about 150 words each. 10 marks x 5 = 50m

Q Public Administration today tends to be less of public in quantitative terms, but more responsive to public needs than before in qualitative terms. Examine with reference to citizen centric administration
Q Performance budgeting failed because it was applied to sectors/ programs where quantitative evaluation was not feasible. Examine the principles underlying performance budgeting techniques.
Q The design of the Indian police was to subjugate the India n people in the aftermath of 1857. Analyze in the context of Indian police Act of 1861.
Q Reducing the size (geographical area) of the district will provide relief to the overburdnened and overworked collector. comment
Q The concept of social audit is more comprehensive than that of traditional audit. comment

Question 6

Q Gandhian model of decentralization is similar to the process of reinventing governance. Analyze in the context of good governance. (20m|250 words)
Q Accounting is the essence of producing promptly and clearly the facts relating to financial conditions and operations that are required as a basis of management. Substantiate the statement in the context of accounting methods and techniques in government (20m|250 words)
Q Explain the important recommendations of VT Krishanamachary Committee (1952) on the Indian and State Administrative services and problems of district administration. (10m|150w)

Question 7

Q The 73rd amendment, it is felt, may accentuate fiscal indiscipline by establishing between states and local governments a system of transfers, similar to the one in place between central and state government (world d bank) Comment (20m|250w)
Q Municipal administration in India faces both structural and operational challenges. examine in context of the post 74th amendment act (20m|250w)
Q Self-help groups (SHG) have contributed to a change in the role of rural women in development from symbolic participation of empowerment (10m|150w)

Question 8

Q There is both criminalization of politics and politicization of criminals in India . Examine and identify the challenges they cause for law and order administration. (20m|250w)
Q The basic ethical problem of an administrator is to determine how he/she can use discretionary power in a way that is consistent with democratic values. comment with reference to corruption in administration (20m|250w)
Q Justify the Constitutional provisions to treat certain expenditure as charged upon Consolidate fund of India (10m|150w)

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