India tops global slavery index

According to the 2016 Global Slavery Index, released by Australia-based human rights group Walk Free Foundation on 31st May, an estimated 45.8 million people, including women and children, are subject to some form of modern slavery in the world, compared to 35.8 million in 2014. The report said India has the highest absolute numbers of people trapped in slavery with 18.35 million slaves among its 1.3 billion population, while North Korea has the highest incidence (4.37 per cent of the population) and the weakest government response to deal with it.

Indo German Agreement on Namami Gange Signed

An Implementation Agreement for Ganga Rejuvenation under the Namami Gange Programme was signed in New Delhi between the Ministry of Water Resources, River Development and Ganga Rejuvenation and German International Cooperation (GIZ) of Germany. The objective of the agreement is to enable responsible stakeholders at National and State level to apply integrated river basin management approach for the rejuvenation of the river Ganga. This will be based on Indo-German Knowledge exchange and practical experience on strategic river basin management issues, effective data management system and public engagement. The project will closely cooperate with other National and international initiatives including Indo-German bilateral projects like Support to National Urban Sanitation Policy (SNUSP) and ‘Sustainable Environment-friendly Industrial Production’ (SEIP).  The project duration is three years i.e. from 2016 to 2018 and the German contribution in the project will be to the tune of Rs. 22.5 crore. Initial actions will focus on the State of Uttarakhand, with scope of expansion to other upstream Ganga States.  The ultimate goal is to adopt the successful river basin management strategies used for Rhine and Danube and replicate the same, wherever possible for attaining the pristine status of river Ganga.

Source: Govt. Press release

Christine Lagarde re-appointed as Managing Director of IMF

Christine Lagarde, who steered the IMF through some troubled times including the Eupropean financial crisis, has been re-appointed as its Managing Director for a second five-year term after an uncontested election. The Executive Board of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) selected 60-year-old Lagarde to serve as IMF Managing Director for a second five-year term starting on July 5, 2016, IMF said in a statement. The Board’s decision was taken by consensus.

Solar Train on trial by Northern Railway

The Delhi division of the Northern Railway on 3rd June 2015 rolled out a non-AC coach lit by solar panels installed on its roof.  Officials said this is the first time across railways that a solar photovoltaic system for power requirements of light and fan in a broad gauge coach has been provided. The coach, on an experimental basis, was attached to the high speed self propelled-accident relief motive unit, on which Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu travelled from Delhi Cantt. to New Delhi railway station.

DD Kisan–India’s first television channel dedicated to farmers

The Prime Minister, Shri Narendra Modi, launch  DD Kisan, Doordarshan’s channel dedicated exclusively to farmers at New Delhi. The DD Kisan channel should keep an eye and inform farmers about the changes in weather, global markets etc., so that farmers can plan ahead and take the right decisions well in time.

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Pradhan Mantri Kaushal Vikas Yojana

The Union Cabinet chaired by the Prime Minister, Shri Narendra Modi, today gave its approval for the Pradhan Mantri Kaushal Vikas Yojana (PMKVY) with an outlay of Rs. 1500 crore.

This will be the flagship scheme for skill training of youth to be implemented by the new Ministry of Skill Development and Entrepreneurship through the National Skill Development Corporation (NSDC). The scheme will cover 24 lakh persons. Skill training would be done based on the National Skill Qualification Framework (NSQF) and industry led standards. Under the scheme, a monetary reward is given to trainees on assessment and certification by third party assessment bodies. The average monetary reward would be around Rs. 8000 per trainee.

Out of the total outlay of Rs. 1120 crore to be spent on skill training of 14 lakh youth, special emphasis has been given to recognition of prior learning for which an amount of Rs. 220 crore has been provided. Awareness building and mobilization efforts would be focused for attention, for which Rs. 67 crore has been provided. Mobilization would be done through skill melas organized at the local level with participation of the State Governments, Municipal Bodies, Pachayati Raj Institutions and community based organizations. The focus under the scheme is also on mentorship support and placement facilitation for which an outlay of Rs. 67 crore has been provided. An allocation of Rs. 150 crores has been made for training of youth from the North-East region.

Highlights of skill training would be that it would be done on the basis of demand assessed on the basis of recent skill gap studies conducted by the NSDC for the period 2013-17. For assessment of demand of Central Ministries/Departments/State Governments, industry and business would be consulted. A demand aggregator platform would be launched for the purpose very soon. The target for skilling would be aligned to demand from other flagship programmes launched in recent times such as Make in India, Digital India, National Solar Mission and Swachh Bharat Abhiyan. Skill training under the new scheme will primarily be focused on a first time entrants to the labour market and primarily target Class 10 and Class 12 drop outs.

The scheme would be implemented through NSDC training partners. Currently NSDC has 187 training partners that have over 2300 centres. In addition, Central / State Government affiliated training providers would also be used for training under the scheme. All training providers will have to undergo a due diligence before being eligible for participating under this scheme. Focus under the PMKVY would be on improved curricula, better pedagogy and better trained instructors. Training would include soft skills, personal grooming, behavioral change for cleanliness, good work ethics. Sector Skill Councils and the State Governments would closely monitor skill training that will happen under PMKVY.

Skill Development Management System (SDMS) would be put in place to verify and record details of all training centres a certain quality of training locations and courses. Biometric system and video recording of the training process would be put in place where feasible. All persons undergoing training would be required to give feed back at the time of assessment and this would become the key element of the evaluation framework to assess the effectiveness of the PMKVY scheme. A robust grievance redressal system would be put in place to address grievances relating to implementation of the scheme. An online citizen portal would be put in place to disseminate information about the scheme.

Delhi airport ranked No. 1

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Delhi’s Indira Gandhi International Airport (IGIA) has been adjudged the world’s best airport in the 25-40 million passengers per annum category in the Airport Service Quality (ASQ) awards given by the Airports Council International (ACI) for the year 2014. The airport improved from an ASQ score (measured on scale of 1 to 5) of 3.02 in 2007 to 4.90 in 2014. It was ranked second in 2011, 2012 and 2013.

Padma Vibhushan Award 2015

S. No Name of the Awardee Discipline State/Domicile
1. Shri L. K. Advani Public Affairs Gujarat
2. Shri Amitabh Bachchan Art Maharashtra
3. Shri Prakash Singh Badal Public Affairs Punjab
4. Dr. D. Veerendra Heggade Social Work Karnataka
5. Shri Mohammad Yusuf Khan alias Dilip Kumar Art Maharashtra
6. Shri Jagadguru Ramanandacharya
Swami Rambhadracharya
Others Uttar Pradesh
7. Prof. Malur Ramaswamy Srinivasan Science and Engineering Tamil Nadu
8. Shri Kottayan K. Venugopal Public Affairs Delhi
9. Shri Karim Al Hussaini Aga Khan (Foreigner) Trade and Industry France/UK

More details on Padma Award 2015

The Planning Commission replace by NITI Aayog

The Planning Commission, which was established in 1950 was on 1st January replaced by a new body, NITI Aayog or National Institution for Transforming India, which will serve as a policy think-tank for the central as well as state governments and have Prime Minister as its chairperson. NITI Aayog will have a CEO and a vice chairperson, to be appointed by the Prime Minister, in addition to some full-time members and two part-time members, while four union ministers would serve as ex-officio members. The NITI Aayog will have a governing council comprising of all state chief ministers and Lt Governors and will work towards fostering a ‘co-operative federalism’ for providing a “national agenda” to the Centre and states.

#NITIAayog