21 August 2017


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16 August 2017

Nutrition Value of Food under MDMS

Nutrition Value of Food under MDMS
The cooking cost which includes the cost of vegetables, pulses, oil, condiments & fuel is being upwardly revised annually since 01.04.2010. The cooking cost has been enhanced by 7% w.e.f. 01.07.2016 and it now stands at Rs.4.13 and Rs.6.18 per child per day for primary and upper primary stages respectively. Besides the above, the Central Government provides 100% funding for foodgrains, transport assistance, kitchen devices and Management/Monitoring Expenses. Several State/UT Governments are also contributing additional funds over and above their minimum mandatory share under Mid Day Meal Scheme.  Food grains under mid day meal scheme are provided through Food Corporation of India (FCI) to States/UTs at rates under National Food Security Act i.e Rs. 2 and Rs. 3 per kg for wheat and Rice respectively.  The economic cost of wheat is Rs. 23.45 per kg and that of rice is Rs. 32.67 per kg.
The Central Government has notified the Mid Day Meal Rules, 2015 in September, 2015 under the National Food Security Act, 2013.  These Rules, inter-alia, provide that hot cooked meal provided to children shall be evaluated and certified by the Government Food Research Laboratory or any other laboratory accredited or recognized by law so as to ensure that the meal meets with the prescribed nutritional standards and quality.  The samples are to be collected at least once in a month from randomly selected schools or centralized kitchens for testing by such laboratories.
The Mid Day Meal Guidelines prescribe the following nutritional content and calorie count to achieve the objectives of the Scheme in the mid day meal: 
For children of Primary classes
For children of Upper Primary classes
A) Nutritional Norms (Per child per day)
12 gms
20 gms
B) Food Norms (Per child per day)
100 gms
150 gms
20 gms
30 gms
50 gms
75 gms
Oil & fat
5 gms
7.5 gms
Salt & condiments
As per need
As per need
This information was given by the Minister of State (HRD), Shri Upendra Kushwaha today in a written reply to a Rajya Sabha question.

Robust Statistical systems – A Tool for Good Governance

Robust Statistical systems – A Tool for Good Governance
The role of Statistics in formulation, monitoring and evaluation of developmental policies needs no emphasis.  Statistics is also required for improving transparency and accountability in the implementation of policies through better understanding and control on delivery of public services. To cater to the requirements, a robust statistical system needs to be in place for collection, validation, compilation and dissemination of data. The roots of statistical system in India can be traced in Kautilya’s Arthsastrha and AbulFazal’s Ain-i-Akbari. During the British era, the Indian statistical system started getting the shape and Prof P. C. Mahalanobis ‘father of Indian Statistical System’ laid the foundation of modern statistical system. I also acknowledge the contribution made by Prof. P. V. Sukhatme particularly in the field of Agriculture Statistics.

Keeping the importance of statistics in view, the Ministry of Statistics & Programme Implementation (MoSPI) was created in the year 1999 by bringing the Department of Statistics and Department of Programme Implementation under one umbrella. To oversee the entire gamut of official statistics, the National Statistical Commission (NSC) was set up in 2005.

            At present, India has a laterally decentralized system of statistics over different Ministries at the Centre and a vertically decentralized system between the Centre and the States and the Union Territories. The authority of collection of statistics on any subject generally vests in the organization that is responsible for that subject. My Ministry through Central Statistics Office (CSO) and National Sample Survey Office (NSSO), plays a pivotal role in streamlining of collection of statistics over activities under its direct control, while we also assist the other agencies wherever such assistance is required.

The adoption of UN Fundamental Principles of Official Statistics by the present Government is a reiteration of its commitment to good governance. In keeping with the spirit of considering official data as Public Goods, the Ministry is making available data of various large scale surveys to users. While all published reports are available for free download from the Ministry’s website, detailed data of surveys is made available at nominal charges to academics, researchers, etc. However, while doing so it is ensured that identity particulars of survey respondents are not shared, thereby honouring the principle of maintaining confidentiality of respondents.

The NSSO of my Ministry conducts regular socio-economic surveys on various subjects across the country. During last three years, surveys were conducted on Domestic Tourism Expenditure and Household Consumption Expenditure on Services & Durable goods, Unincorporated Non-Agricultural Enterprises and Enterprise focussed Survey of Services Sector. Based on the experience and understanding acquired during the ‘Enterprise Focussed Survey on Services Sector’ carried out in 2016-17, the possibility of conducting an Annual Survey of Services Sector in line of Annual Survey of Industries will be explored. In the year of 2017-18, NSSO is undertaking surveys on Household Consumer Expenditure and Household Social Consumption on Education and Health. In 2018, two surveys, one on Disability and one on Sanitation, Hygiene & Housing have been planned. To assess the conditions of farmers and villagers, a Situation Assessment Survey of Agricultural Households and a Debt & Investment Survey are proposed to be undertaken in 2019.

One of the major initiatives taken by the Hon’ble Prime Minister after assuming office was the Swachh Bharat Mission. NSSO conducted a rapid survey on Swachhta Status during May-June 2015 covering 3788 villages and 2907 urban blocks. The survey gave the baseline position of the situation on the availability and accessibility of toilets and solid waste and liquid waste management.

The data collected by NSSO on employment-unemployment in India is presently available at an interval of about 5 years. Considering the importance and the fact that the employment data is required more frequently for effective policy interventions, we have launched the Periodic Labour Force Survey (PLFS) from April 2017. Now, the employment data for urban areas would be available every quarter, while that for rural areas on annual basis. This survey will also give data on distribution of workers by industry and occupation, as also on workers employed in informal sector, besides condition of employment of the workers. In this survey, we have replaced the traditional approach of using paper schedules for filling-in information at the field level by the Computer Assisted Personal Interviewing (CAPI) method.

The data will be directly entered into Tablets from the field by the field workers using a specialised software developed by my Ministry in collaboration with the World Bank. By combining the tasks of data collection and data entry, this process will save substantial time. We intend to extend this technique to various other surveys of NSSO in due course of time.

Recently, we have also revised the measurement standards of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) to make them better compliant with the United Nations System of National Accounts (SNA), 2008. Further, due to advancement of the Budget session to 1st February, 2017, my Ministry has revised the Advance Release Calendar of Annual and Quarterly Estimates of GDP and policy of revision of Annual & Quarterly Estimates of GDP and related Macro-economic Aggregates to make available the estimates before the presentation of Budget 2017-18.  Work has been initiated towards revising the present base 2011-12 to 2017-18.

To reflect the structural changes taking place in the industrial sector more accurately, the base year of Index of Industrial Production (IIP) has been revised to 2011-12. The new series of IIP with base 2011-12 was released in May 2017. The methodology has been changed in the new series to make the indices more robust and representative. We are also planning a web portal for collecting data from the respondent units. On operationalization, this will considerably reduce the time lag in release of the monthly index from the current 42 days.

My Ministry has also revised the Base Year of the Consumer Price Index (CPI) from 2010 to 2012. The revised series was launched in January 2015. The Reserve Bank of India uses Consumer Price Index (Combined) as the key measure of inflation for formulating the Monetary Policy of India.

To ensure standardisation of procedures, National Accounts Division of CSO and Survey Design & Research Division of NSSO have been certified ISO-9001:2008 compliant for quality of performance. The Ministry has also been making all efforts towards e-governance. Some of the achievements are:

§  To facilitate the users, new website of the Ministry was launched last year which has been designed and developed as per the prescribed guidelines.
§  Bharatkosh, e-receipt portal gateway, is being used by Indian users for dissemination of Unit level data of NSS, ASI and Economic Census. The process of online payment by non-Indians for supply of data has been initiated.
§  Creating of a web-based Survey Data Catalogue/ Micro Data Archive to disseminate NSS Survey, ASI and Economic Census Data.

            The Programme Implementation Wing of my Ministry deals with implementation of Members of Parliament Local Area Development Scheme (MPLADS), monitoring of Central Government’s projects costing more than Rs. 150 crore and the Twenty Point Programme (TPP).

            My Ministry has been responsible for the policy formulation, release of funds and prescribing monitoring mechanism of MPLADS. A new Integrated MPLADS Portal has been developed for use of all stakeholders, namely, Hon’ble Members of Parliament, State Nodal Authorities, District Authorities and Citizens. This Portal is an attempt towards ensuring transparency and making Citizens aware of the implementation of the Scheme. The MPLADS Portal also provides an opportunity to the Citizens for suggesting the developmental works in their areas to the Hon’ble Members of Parliament. To give a boost to completion of works undertaken under MPLADS, particularly old pending projects, officers from my Ministry are visiting the States to review the progress with senior officers of State Governments, including the Chief Secretaries. To imbibe systemic improvements in the design and implementation of the Scheme and to ensure optimum utilization of Government Funds, the Guidelines on MPLADS have been modified with changing requirements as well as on advice / feedback received from the stakeholders, including members of public, Hon’ble Members of Parliament, Comptroller and Auditor General of India (C&AG), etc.

Our Government is committed to the welfare of the less privileged. It has been made mandatory for the durable assets created under MPLADS to be friendly to persons with disability, wherever feasible. Retrofitting in existing durable assets created under MPLADS to make them friendly to persons with disability has also been permitted. All moveable assets specifically permissible under Guidelines on MPLADS such as school buses, ambulances, etc. procured with MPLADS funds must be friendly to persons with disability.

My Ministry monitors the ongoing Central Sector Infrastructure Projects costing Rs150 crore and above on time and cost overruns, through its Online Computerised Monitoring System (OCMS) on the basis of information provided by the project implementing agencies. The OCMS serves as a reliable MIS tool for review of projects by the Administrative Ministries and Cabinet Secretariat, as well as the PMO through its PRAGATI meetings. A number of other steps have been taken to ensure timely completion of projects. It is because of these measures and painstaking efforts that the cost overruns have come down from 19% in March 2014 to 11.2% in January 2017.   

            My Ministry’s future roadmap envisages a large number of important initiatives.

Firstly, Technology will increasingly be used in data collection through the technique of Computer Assisted Personal Interview (CAPI) on cloud server, online web portals, etc. and for maintaining the activity of Ministry for Digital India/e-Governance/e-Kranti.

Secondly, we have initiated actions on formulation of National Policy on Official Statistics consistent with the United Nations Fundamental Principles of Official Statistics. Adoption of these principles aims to ensure data quality through consistent and transparent procedures in data collection, compilation and compliance with the laid down practices.

We are also exploring developing a framework for bringing out National Factsheet of the Indian Economy with 100 indicators, on a quarterly basis using data provided by various source Ministries/ Departments through a dynamic user-friendly Dashboard, and 13 indicators on annual basis.


More than 16 percent of our population comprises of the scheduled castes. Owing to a long history of social exclusion, a section of our society was not exposed to opportunities of personal growth and development. This section was called ‘Depressed classes’ by Babasaheb Ambedkar. Coming from the same social background Babasaheb was cognizant of the needs and challenges of the community. In course of his public life, Babasaheb scaled great heights of achievement. After being educated at institutions of eminence worldwide, he came back to homeland to work in the furtherance of interest of the community.

Being the chairperson of the drafting committee of the constitution of India, he ensured special preference is given in education and employment to people coming from the so-called depressed classes. Apart from affirmative action in specific sectors, he also ensured political representation of socially and politically deprived segments of our society through reservation of seats in union parliament and state legislatures. However no such measures were adopted in nomination to the upper house of the parliament (Rajya Sabha) and the state legislative councils.

Dalit Icons

History is often a product of interactions between individuals and circumstances. Similarly, Dalit history is fraught with examples of heroes and heroines who successfully contested the challenges thrown upon them by the prevailing social order and emerged subsequently with renewed strength. Dakshayani Velayudhan was a first Dalit woman to be a member in the constituent assembly of India that went on to draft the Constitution of this country. Babu Jagjivan Ram again was the member of the first union cabinet of independent India. He played a stellar role as defense minister of India during the 1971 war that led to birth of a new nation. Gary Bass, noted American diplomat and author of ‘The Blood Telegram’, refers to him as the most hawkish defense minister. Likewise, there are many legends who sacrificed their present in the interest of the future of the Dalit community.

Constitutional Safeguards

Globally, there are strong constitutional measures to ensure justice to the weaker segments of the society. American society is hugely diverse in nature. Historically, American citizens who are of African- American origin have had suffered unfortunate predicament by the dominant nativists. Keeping this in mind, American policy makers had made clauses for ‘Affirmative Action’ and ‘Positive Discrimination’. Such policy measures are usually envisioned to warrant effective representation in key areas and equitable distribution of national resources. 

Indian experience also entails similar constitutional scheme to empower those who were left behind in the course of history of our nation. There are many important provisions enshrined in the constitution for the same.

Article 17 is a considered a pioneering effort towards bringing social reforms. By enacting this Article, the government of independent India acted earnestly to abolish the scourge of social discrimination. The Constitution-makers not only provided for criminalizing any form of social discrimination but also punishing those who practice such discriminations.

Similarly, Article 46 states, “The state shall promote with special care the educational and economic interest of the weaker sections of the people, and in particular, of the Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes, and shall protect them from social injustice and all forms of exploitation.” To achieve this objective, Article 15(4) empowers the State to make special provisions for the advancement of any socially and educationally backward class of the citizens and for SCs. This article enabled the State to reserve seats for SCs in educational institutions.

Article 335 is an enabling provision which allows relaxation in qualifying marks for admission in educational institutes or promotions for SCs/STs. Similarly, Article 243D mentions reservation of seats for the Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes in every Panchayat.

While Article 243T provides for reservation of seats for the Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes in every Municipality, Article 330 makes provision reservation of seats for the Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes in the House of the People and Article 332 in the Legislative Assemblies of the States.

The Scheduled Caste and Schedule Tribe (Prevention of Atrocities) act, 1989 is another protective legislation intended for providing a legislative umbrella against caste based violence and discrimination. Only recently some important amendments were effectuated by adding more teeth to it. The list of offences inflicted upon the person from socially deprived communities has been made more exhaustive like garlanding with footwear, imposing or threatening a social or economic boycott etc. This amendment has also added a separate chapter according rights to victims and witnesses.

The Way Ahead:

The key initiatives undertaken by the Union Government for social and economic security are enumerated below:-

·         Financial Inclusion of the Poor: Prime Minister Jan Dhan Yojana.  This is a very significant scheme that strives to end Financial Untouchability by ensuring that the economically weaker sections have access to bank accounts.

·        Expansion of Social Security Net. This has been achieved through Pradhan Mantri Suraksha Bima Yojana (Accident Insurance), Atal Pension Yojana (Unorganized Sector) and Pradhan Mantri Jeevan Jyoti Yojana (Life Insurance), which provide social and economic security to the marginalized sections of the society.
        Stand up India- This scheme was recently launched to boost the spirit of entrepreneurship among the most vulnerable groups of the society. The specific groups are Scheduled caste, scheduled tribes and women. Under the umbrella of this scheme every single branch of a public sector bank is asked to support one entrepreneur each from women and SC/ST. category.

       Declaration of Panchtirth by GoI- The government of India has decided to dedicate 5 key places related with Babasaheb as Panchtirth which means places of pilgrimage to inspire the present generation Dalits. The state government of Madhya Pradesh has established a grand memorial at Mhow, the birthplace of Babasaheb. Government of Maharashtra has purchased the house situated at 10, King Henry Road in London where Babasaheb pursued his higher education. The Prime Minister Sh. Narendra Modi inaugurated this during his visit to the city in 2015.

These schemes clearly highlight that the present government is committed to the cause of upliftment of Dalits and other disadvantaged sections of the population. As outlined, various landmark initiatives have been initiated under the present regime to eliminate poverty and empower the weaker sections of the society.

Much has been done, much needs to be done.

India’s Changing Transport Landscape

India’s Changing Transport Landscape
The progress of a country is closely linked to the efficiency with which it transports its man and material. A good transport system aids economic growth by providing essential connectivity between available resources, centres of production and the market.  It is also a vital factor in promoting balanced regional growth by ensuring the  delivery of goods and services to the last man in the remotest part of the country. 

Despite  having one of the most extensive transport networks in the world, India has, for long, been plagued by very slow and inefficient movement of passenger and freight.  The sector is faced with many challenges. The penetration of the transport network in remote areas and difficult terrains is inadequate. Highways are narrow, congested, and poorly maintained, leading to slow movement of traffic, valuable loss of time and a heavy burden of pollution. Accidents are rampant , leading to the loss of nearly 1.5 lakh lives every year. A very high percentage of the freight moves on roads even though it has been established that this is the costliest mode of transport, with the highest pollution burden. Rail transport is cheaper and more environment friendly than road transport, but the network is slow and inadequate,    while the waterways which are the cheapest and most environment friendly of the three are grossly underdeveloped. The result of this unfavourable modal mix is high logistics costs that make our goods non competitive in the international market. 

This narrative has, however, started changing since the last three four years. The government has made it a major  priority to build a world class transport infrastructure in the country, that is cost effective, easily accessible to everyone, safe, creates minimum load of pollutants  and relies on indigenous inputs to the maximum possible extent. This has involved  strengthening the available infrastructure by leveraging world class technology, building new infrastructure and modernizing the legislative framework to support this work.  This has also involved partnering with the private sector and creating and nurturing an enabling environment for such partnership.

National highways  constitute just two percent of the country’s road network but carry 40 percent of the traffic load. The government is working hard to augment this infrastructure both in terms of length and quality. Having started with about 96,000 km of national highways in 2014, we now have over 1.5 kms and soon hope to reach  2 lakh kms. The upcoming Bharatmala Programme will  link border and international connectivity roads, develop economic corridors,  inter corridors and feeder routes, improve connectivity of national corridors, build coastal and port connectivity roads, and greenfield expressways. This means that all areas of the country will have easy access to national highways.

The North East region, naxal affected areas, backward and interior areas are being given special attention in terms of building road connectivity.  Bridges like the Dhola Sadia in Assam and state of the art tunnels like Chenani Nashri  in Jammu and Kashmir are coming up to shorten distances in  difficult terrains and make remote areas more easily accessible. High density traffic corridors like the Vadodara-Mumbai, Bangalore-Chennai and Delhi-Meerut routes can look forward to  world class, access controlled expressways, while travel to places of religious and tourist importance  like the Char Dham and the Buddhist Circuit will get faster and more convenient. 

Apart from adding kilometers, we are also committed to make the highways safe for travel.  For this, a multi-pronged approach has been adopted that includes incorporating safety features in road designs, rectifying known accident black spots,  , proper road signages, more effective legislation, improved vehicular safety standards, training of drivers, improved trauma care and enhanced public awareness. Under the Setu Bharatam programmes all railway level crossings are to be replaced with over bridges or under passes and an inventory with structural rating of all bridges on national highways  is being created so that timely repair or rebuilding actions can be undertaken. 

The Motor Vehicle (Amendment) Bill has been passed by the Lok Sabha, and awaits passing by Rajya Sabha.  The Bill addresses road safety issues by providing for stiffer penalties,  making fitness certification of vehicles and issue of drivers licenses transparent by computerizing it and minimizing human intervention, statutory provisions for protection of good Samaritans and recognition of IT enabled enforcement systems.   

The issue of reducing pollution is being addressed through a programme for replacement of old vehicles, adopting  BS-VI emission norms from 1stApril 2020, developing plantations along highways by involving the local participation and Electronic Toll Collection based on RFID tags called FASTags that will reduce waiting time at toll plazas.  The use of alternate fuel like Ethanol, Bio-CNG, Bio-Diesel, Methanol and electricity is being promoted and some of these are already running in some cities on an experimental basis. 

Looking at the cheaper and greener water transportation, efforts are underway to utilize the navigational  potential of India’s 7500 km long coastline and over 14,000 km of inland waterways through the Sagarmala programme and by declaring 111 waterways as National Waterways. Sagarmala envisages developing ports as engines of growth. The idea is to industrialize the port areas by developing 14 coastal economic zones. This would be supported by modernization  and augmentation of the port infrastructure, improving connectivity of ports with the hinterland through  road, rail and waterways, and development of the coastal community.   It is expected that besides saving Rs 35000-Rs 40,000 crore as logistics cost annually, boosting exports by about USD 110 billion  and generating one crore new jobs,  Sagarmala will also double the share of domestic waterways in the modal mix in the next ten years. 

In addition to the above, work is already in progress on several waterways including Ganga and Brahmaputra to develop their navigational potential.  The World Bank aided Jal Marg Vikas project on Ganga aims to develop the river stretch from Haldia to Allahabad to allow navigation of 1500-2000 tonne ships. Work on building multi modal terminals at Varanasi, Sahibganj and Haldia and other necessary infrastructure on this stretch is progressing rapidly.  With this, much of the cargo movement to the eastern and north eastern parts of the country can be done through waterways, resulting in lowering of the price of commodities. Thirty seven more waterways will be developed in the next three years .

While the highways and waterways sectors are being modernized rapidly, work  is also underway for developing  an integrated transport system based on an optimal modal mix and seamless intermodal connectivity. In this context a Logistic Efficiency Enhancement Programme (LEEP) has been envisaged to enhance the efficiency of freight transportation in the country. This would include construction of fifty economic corridors,  upgrading feeder routes, developing thirty-five multimodal logistics parks with storage and warehousing facilities and  constructing ten inter-modal stations to integrate various transportation modes .

The transport sector in India is definitely transforming rapidly, and is poised  to become  the biggest enabler for the country’s  growth. As this  revolution unfolds over the Indian landscape, we can not only hope to see the country developing faster,  but also see the  benefits of progress  embracing regions and people who are still out of its bounds today.   

Indian Economy: Critical Milestones during 70 years

Indian Economy: Critical Milestones during 70 years
India’s economic history over the past 70 years has been marked by several critical milestones amongst which are the crisis years of 1966, 1981 and 1991 and India’s emergence from the economic crisis as the fastest growing major economy of the world.
India’s balance of payments position was under pressure throughout 1965. As the year 1966 opened, exchange reserves had already been reduced to a low level. In March 1966, a stand-by arrangement of US$ 200 million was approved by the IMF.  Rupee was devalued by 36.5 percent to bring domestic prices in line with external prices, to enhance the competitiveness of exports. The US dollar which was equivalent to Rs. 4.75 now rose to Rs. 7.50 and the pound sterling from Rs. 13.33 to Rs. 21. The Government declared a plan holiday. The fourth five-year plan was abandoned in favor of three annual plans in the wake of disruptions in the economy on account of two years of drought, two wars, and the devaluation of the rupee. The annual plans guided development with immediate focus on stimulating exports and searching for efficient uses of industrial assets. The devaluation failed; it did not achieve its objectives. The promised foreign aid did not materialize.
The balance of payments situation changed dramatically in 1979-80. Inflation soared from 3 percent in 1978-79 to 22 percent in 1979-80. The external terms of trade worsened significantly owing to higher prices for imported petroleum and fertilizers. Trade deficit zoomed. Government undertook deficit financing on an unprecedented scale. In 1981, to meet the short term cyclical imbalance, India drew SDR 266 million of the SDR 500 million approved under the compensatory financing facility (CFF) from the IMF. The main elements of the Government’s strategy for restoring the viability of balance of payments was an increase in the domestic production of petroleum and petroleum products, fertilizers, steel, edible oils and non-ferrous metals. India’s strategy for bringing balance of payments under control paid rich dividends. The Government voluntarily decided not to avail of the balance of 1.1 billion SDR under the Extended Fund Facility of the IMF.
The IMF programs of 1966 and 1981 helped tide over periods of high inflation and difficult balance of payments position faced at that point of time. That said, they were modestly successful in bringing economic reforms to the Indian economy. India entered the 1990s with structural rigidities and imbalances in the economy, pronounced macroeconomic imbalances despite a significant growth rate of 5 percent. Several adverse domestic and external developments precipitated in the balance of payments (BOP) crisis in 1991. From this crisis, emerged a comprehensive reform agenda backed by an IMF program which was effectively implemented.
On August 27, 1991, India approached the IMF for an 18-month stand-by arrangement in an amount equivalent to SDR 1656 million. The adjustment strategy entailed a set of immediate stabilization measures adopted in July 1991 most notably a 18.7 percent depreciation of the exchange rate and further tightening of monetary policy including increase in interest rates, designed to restore confidence and reverse short term capital outflow. A comprehensive program built around the twin pillars of fiscal consolidation and a radical structural reform to shift away from past policies was adopted. In many ways, the IMF program of 1991/92 ensured India’s integration into the global economy.
The global financial crisis which began in 2007 took a turn for the worse in September 2008 with the collapse of several international financial institutions. Indian stock markets witnessed a 60 percent loss in values, foreign portfolio investment slowed down and rupee lost 20 percent value against the dollar reaching Rs. 50/ dollar. Expectations that the Indian economy is ‘decoupled’ from the West were completely belied. A substantial fiscal stimulus was provided through two packages on December 7, 2008 and January 2, 2009. The Reserve Bank of India took a number of monetary easing and liquidity enhancing measures including the reduction in the cash reserve ratio, statutory liquidity ratio and key policy rates. The objective was to facilitate funds from the financial system to meet the needs of productive sectors.

India’s economy was one of the first in the world to recover after the global crisis. Prompt fiscal and monetary policy easing combined with a fiscal stimulus had brought growth to pre-crisis levels. Capital inflows were back on the rise and financial markets regained ground. Growth was projected to rise from 6 ¾ percent in 2009-10 to 8 percent in 2010-11. India faced challenges in managing capital flows and sterilized intervention was pursued to help reduce exchange rate volatility.
On October 8, 2016 the Indian Finance Minister addressed the International Monetary and Financial Committee (IMFC) during the Fund-Bank Annual Meetings presented India as the fastest growing major economy globally with GDP growth at 7.2 percent, foreign exchange reserves of USD 372 billion, current account deficit of (-) 1.1 percent and CPI inflation at 5.05 percent. The Government showed deep commitment to fiscal consolidation, lowering the cost of credit to private sector and help price stability. Subsidy reforms were undertaken with better targeting of subsidies by linking oil subsidies with aadhar. Government constituted an empowered monetary policy committee and fixed an inflation target of 4 percent with a tolerance level of +/- 2 percent for the period 2016-2021. The GST represents a major milestone in tax reforms. The economic transformation from an IMF program country to the world’s fastest growing major economy represents a significant success story for the Indian economy at 70.

India, emerging as super economic power

India, emerging as super economic power
India’s economic advancement in the past 70 years is one of the most fascinating success stories. Faced with multiple woes, ranging from near absence of infrastructure to almost everything needed for economic enhancement, India’s odyssey towards economic independence was dotted with challenges. It was the determination of our founding fathers who did not give up and build the country brick by brick. The concept of Five-Year-Plan was a great beginning in the right direction, with an emphasis on eradication of poverty and woes of farmers.
There were multiple problems which had crept into the system over the years in the system and the ease of doing business was never encouraging. Foreign reserves were never assuring, while the flow of foreign direct investments (FDI) was minimal. As a result, the demand for the opening up economy began gaining momentum when Rajiv Gandhi was the country’s Prime Minister. Due to political turmoil there was not much happening till PV Narasimha Rao became the country’s Prime Minister and he opened the gate for foreign investors by liberalising norms, thus beginning the era of economic liberalisation. The pace of foreign as well as domestic investment remained sluggish during 1996 to 1999 due to political instability and Kargil War.
However, Indian economy bounced back post-Kargil War, thanks to the visionary leadership of the then Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee. In fact, the ‘feel good factor’ of liberalisation became explicit and the flow of investment and disinvestment of PSUs to fund major infrastructure projects including roads and power plants picked up momentum.Since then Indian economy has not looked back. In fact, even during the global economic crisis in 2008, Indian economy showed resurgence and maintained an upward growth rate, emerging as a bright spot for the world investors.
Now under the leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, India has become the fastest growing economy in the world, leaving behind China. A series of reforms initiated by Prime Minister Modi has significantly increased the ease of doing business in the country. That is why India is today one of the most sought after investment destination of world’s leading firms. It is, perhaps, for the first time in the history of independent India that the world’s top CEOs are committing huge investments in India on their own, a rare phenomenon indeed!
Prime Minister Modi’s demonetisation decision has created a solid ground for the formalization of Indian economy. Indian economy has suffered a lot due to its over dependence on informal or unorganised sector, which could be a major source of employment but in the process end up causing huge losses to the economy by way of tax evasion and violation of labour laws, which have negative bearing on the final output of workforce. Similarly, the landmark Goods and Services Tax (GST) is all set to give a new boost to the country’s economy. It will have long term positive impact on investment and growth.According to the International Monetary Fund (IMF), “this tax reform and the elimination of targeted subsidies are needed to widen the revenue base and expand the fiscal envelope to support investment in infrastructure, education, and healthcare.”
Targeted Delivery of Financial and Other Subsidies(Benefits and Services) Act 2016, rationalisation of subsidies, enactment of Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code 2016 and operationalisation of National Company Law Tribunal (NCLT) and National Company Law Appellate Tribunal (NCLAT) for new corporate insolvency framework are some other measures which will add lot of resilience to the country’s economy.
The World Bank has predicted India’s growth at 7.7 per cent during 2017-18, which reinforces the fact that fundamentals of Indian economy remain quite strong and are capable of absorbing the aftershocks of policy ‘disruptions’. India has all the potential to grow at a much higher pace if the Centre takes care of industrial and manufacturing sectors. IMF too has underlined the need for removing long-standing structural bottlenecks so that market efficiency improves.Indian economy had grown at 7.6 per cent in 2015-16. According to the World Bank, India’s gross domestic product (GDP) could grow at 7.7 per cent in 2017, supported by “expectations of a rebound in agriculture, civil service pay reforms supporting consumption, increasingly positive contributions from exports and a recovery of private investment in the medium term.” India’s recent growth rate of more than 7 percent annually has been the strongest among G-20 countries.
The latest OECD Economic Survey of India 2017 finds that the acceleration of structural reforms and the move toward a rule-based macroeconomic policy framework are sustaining the country’s longstanding rapid economic expansion. Liberalising norms for a wide range of FDIs will lead to a kind of surge in job and employment creation. Barring the small negative list, Prime Minister Modi has ensured that all sectors get FDIs through the automatic approval route. According to an estimate, net FDI inflows during April-December 2016-17 increased to US $ 31.18 billion from US $ 27.22 billionduring the last corresponding period. India’s foreign exchange reserves stood at US $ 367.93 billion on March 24, 2017 with the current account deficit (CAD) at sustainable level of 1.3 percent and 1.1 percent in 2014-15 and 2015-16.
If we go by other economic indicators, there are many more things to cheer about. India’s Gross Fiscal Deficit (GFD) was restricted at 3.5 percent in 2016-17.The GFD for the year 2017-18 has been pegged at 3.2 percent with a commitment to achieve three per cent next year. With the Central government under the leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi committed to enhance fiscal resilience through sustained focus on quality expenditure and higher tax realizations, India looks all set to script many more successes in the economic area, moving towards achieving the goal of economic supremacy.

11 August 2017

Inter-Linking of Rivers

Inter-Linking of Rivers
The National Perspective Plan (NPP) was prepared by the then Ministry of Irrigation, now Ministry of Water Resources, RD & GR for water resources development through inter basin transfer of water, for transferring water from water surplus basins to water-deficit basins. Under the NPP, the National Water Development Agency (NWDA) has identified 30 links (16 under Peninsular Component & 14 under Himalayan Component) for preparation of Feasibility Reports. The pre-feasibility report of the all 30 links have been prepared and circulated to the concerned State Governments by the NWDA. After survey and investigations, Feasibility Reports of 14 links under Peninsular Component and Feasibility Reports of 2 links and draft Feasibility Reports of 7 links (Indian portion) under Himalayan Component have been completed.
Four priority links under Peninsular Rivers Component have been identified for preparation of Detailed Project Reports (DPR) viz; Ken-Betwa Link, Phase –I & II, Damanganga-Pinjal Link, Par-Tapi-Narmada link and Mahanadi-Godavari link. The preparation of DPR of a project is taken up only after consent of concerned State Governments. Based on the concurrence of the concerned States, DPRs of Ken-Betwa link project Phase-I & Phase-II, Damanganga-Pinjal link and Par-Tapi-Narmada link have been completed. The techno-economic clearance and various statutory clearances of the Ken-Betwa link project Phase-I have been accorded. The techno-economic clearance of the Damanganga-Pinjal link project has also been accorded subject to statutory clearances. The DPR of Par-Tapi-Narmada link is under technical appraisal in the Central Water Commission.
The implementation of Inter linking of Rivers (ILR) projects involves various steps such as preparation of Pre-feasibility Reports(PFRs) /Feasibility Reports (FRs) of links, negotiation and consensus among concerned States, agreement with neighboring countries if link involves area lying in those countries, preparation of DPRs of the projects, clearance from appraisal agencies which includes clearance by Ministry of Environment & Forests and Climate Change (MoEF&CC) and Ministry of Tribal Affairs (MoTA), techno-economic clearance by Advisory Committee on Irrigation, Flood Control & Multipurpose Projects of MoWR, RD & GR, investment clearance and the construction time required for the completion of the project as per the DPR.
The stage of implementation of a project would be reached after its DPR is prepared with the consensus of concerned States and the requisite statutory clearances are obtained. Thus the implementation of the projects will take varying periods of time.
No State except Kerala is opposing the Interlinking of Rivers (ILR) Programme. Further Kerala Government is opposing only Pamba-Achankovil-Vaippar link which concerns the State.
Interlinking of Rivers (ILR) programme has been taken up on high priority. The Government is pursuing the ILR program in a consultative manner.
As directed by the Hon’ble Supreme Court vide its judgment dated 27.02.2012 in the Writ Petition (Civil) No. 512 of 2002 on ‘Networking of Rivers’ alongwith Writ Petition No. 668 of 2002 a committee called “Special Committee on Interlinking of Rivers” vide Gazette Notification dated 23rd September, 2014 has been constituted.
The Special Committee on Interlinking of Rivers chaired by Hon’ble Union Minister (WR, RD & GR) as per the direction of the Hon’ble Supreme Court is expediting the progress and effective implementation in the ILR projects. Thirteen meetings of the Special Committee for ILR have been held so far and the last meeting was held on July 27, 2017 at New Delhi. Views and observations on the ILR programme have been received from various State Govts, experts and other stakeholders in the meetings of the Special Committee for Interlinking of Rivers (ILR). The Special Committee would consider all such observations appropriately while planning and formulating the ILR projects.
The Committee, after considering the views of all the stakeholders, is proceeding ahead to expedite the objectives of the interlinking of rivers as per terms of reference. Vigorous efforts have been taken up for generating consensus with development of alternative plans and also setting out road maps for implementation of mature projects.

Solar Energy Installed Capacity Touched 13652 MW

Solar Energy Installed Capacity Touched 13652 MW
               As on 31.07.2017, the cumulative Solar Energy capacity installed, as on 31.07.2017, is 13652 MW while the same at the end of 2014-15 was 3743.97 MW. This was stated by Shri Piyush Goyal, Minister of State (IC) for Power, Coal & New and Renewable Energy and Mines in a written reply to a question in the Lok Sabha today.

             The States of Andhra Pradesh, Gujarat, Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Tamil Nadu and Telangana have crossed the solar installed capacity of 1 GW, as on 31.07.2017. State-wise details are as follows:-

Sr. No.
Total cumulative capacity till 31-07-17 (MW)
Andhra Pradesh
Madhya Pradesh
Tamil Nadu

                                The Minister further stated that the Government of India has revised the National Solar Mission target of Grid Connected Solar Power projects from 20,000 MW by 2022 to 100,000 MW by 2022.  The same is sought to be achieved through rooftop solar projects (40,000 MW) and ground mounted solar projects (60,000 MW), the Minister added.

            In a written reply to another question, the Minister said that No specific ‘Solar Energy Policy’ has been formulated. However, the Government has launched following schemes to promote solar energy,:

i.      Solar Park Scheme for setting up of over 50 Solar Parks and Ultra Mega Solar Power Projects targeting over 40,000 MW of solar power projects.

ii.     Scheme for setting up 1000 MW of Grid-Connected Solar PV Power Projects by Central Public Sector Undertakings (CPSUs) and Government of India organisations with Viability Gap Funding (VGF).

iii.    Scheme for setting up 300 MW of Grid-Connected Solar PV Power Projects by Defence Establishments and Para Military Forces with VGF.

iv.    Pilot-cum-demonstration projects for development of grid connected solar PV power plants on canal banks and canal tops.

v.     Bundling Scheme - 15000 MW grid-connected solar PV power plants through NTPC Ltd./ NVVN.

vi.    VGF Scheme for setting up of 2000 MW of Grid Connected Solar PV Power Projects through SECI.

vii.   VGF Scheme for setting up of 5000 MW of Grid Connected Solar PV Power Projects through SECI.

viii.  Installation of Grid Connected Solar Rooftop Power Plants.

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