PIB Notes – Feb 13, 2014

1. President’s greetings on the occasion of Guru Ravidas Jayanti

The life and work of Guru Ravidasji are of direct relevance to our aspirations to build a more just and egalitarian society. The Guru showed people how to cast away parochialism and prejudice. He taught that one is distinguished not by one`s caste but by one`s actions. His noble message of love, truth and religious harmony is relevant for all times to come.

Who is Guru Ravidasji ?

Guru Ravidass Ji was a North Indian Guru mystic of the bhakti movement who was active in the 15th century CE. Venerated in the region of Uttar Pradesh as well as the Indian state of Maharashtra, his devotional songs and verses made a lasting impact upon the bhakti movement. He is often given the honorific Bhagat or Sant. He was a socio-religious reformer, a thinker, a theosophist, a humanist, a poet, a traveler, a pacifist and a spiritual figure.  — Source Wikipedia

2. President opens 45th Conference of Governors, asks Governors to represent the centre in the states and states in centre.

The agenda for the two-day Conference of Governors includes external and internal security environment, development issues in Scheduled Areas and North Eastern region, improving the quality of higher education and making disaster management more effective.

In his opening address at the Conference, the President said the Role of Governors is as a bridge between States and Centre. Governors have to ensure that State Governments act according to the Constitution while safeguarding the interests of the state. This is the unique responsibility of a Governor as they represent the Centre in the State and the State at the Centre. The President called upon Governors to remain alert and ensure that the coming general election to the 16th Lok Sabha is peaceful and conducive to free expression of the will of the people. The President said Governors must also ensure that the pluralistic character of our nation is not tarnished in any manner.

The President said during his address to the Governors and Lt. Governors through video-conferencing on July 25, 2013, a suggestion emerged that Groups of Governors should be constituted to deliberate upon issues such as the Role of Governors as a bridge between States and Centre; Areas under Sixth Schedule of the Constitution, North Eastern Council and related issues; Areas under the Fifth Schedule of the Constitution, Role of Governors as Chancellors of educational institutions in improving the quality of higher education and Disaster Management. The groups of Governors have submitted reports with invaluable suggestions. These suggestions would serve as useful input for policy makers.

The President advised Governors to spend more time touring inside the states and closely monitor the implementation of Traditional Forest Dwellers (Recognition of Forest Rights) Act, 2006 for benefits to reach the tribals of Scheduled Areas. Measures to strengthen Autonomous District Councils and extend certain features of the Panchayati Raj Institutions should be also considered. The President also called upon Governors to be pro-active as Chancellors in taking up the cause of higher education to bring excellence in State institutions.

Speaking on Disaster Management, the President said India, is among the most disaster-prone countries in the world. About 58.6 per cent of its landmass is prone to earthquakes; over 40 million hectares (12 per cent of land) is prone to floods; 68 per cent of the cultivable area is susceptible to drought; and, out of the 7,516 km coast line, about 5,700 km is prone to cyclones. The Disaster Management Act, 2005 has brought a change in the approach to disaster management, from a relief-centric to a holistic and integrated approach encompassing prevention, mitigation, preparedness, response, relief, reconstruction and rehabilitation. There is need for effective implementation of this Act.

3. The Government has approved a new Science Technology and Innovation (STI) Policy-2013 to suit the present condition.

The STI Policy seeks to:

(i) Enhance India`s global share of scientific publications from the present 3.5% to 7.0%;

(ii) Establish world class infrastructure for Research and Development (R&D) in some select areas;

(iii) Make careers in science, research and innovation attractive enough for talented and bright minds;

(iv) Create an environment for enhanced private sector participation in R&D, technology and innovation;

(v) Seed S&T based high risk Innovation;

(vi) Participate in international R&D projects that are high end science.

The Policy seeks to establish a strong and viable Science, Research and Innovation System for High Technology-led path for India.

India has made significant growth in the field of science and technology during the last five years. There has been a continuous increase in investment in R&D in the country. The Gross expenditure on R&D in the country has doubled from Rs.24,117 crores in 2004-05 to Rs. 53,041 crores in 2009-10. India ranks 9th globally in terms of scientific publications output as per the latest UNESCO Science Report-2010. Its global share in scientific publications increased significantly from 2.8% in the year 2005 to 3.5% in the year 2010.

Further, a large number of new institutions such as Indian Institutes of Science Education and Research (IISERs), Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs), Central universities, etc. have been established providing new opportunities for science education and research in the country. Creation of centres of excellence and facilities in emerging and frontline areas in academic and national institutes, induction of new and attractive fellowships such as Innovation in Science Pursuit for Inspired Research (INSPIRE) and establishment of National Science and Engineering Research Board (SERB) have also given a boost to R&D.

The Government has taken a number of steps to attract and retain scientists by providing them attractive remuneration package and better scientific environment for development and advancement of scientific research in the country. Ramanujan Fellowship of Department of Science and Technology (DST) and Ramalingaswami Fellowships of the Department of Biotechnology (DBT) have attracted outstanding Indian scientists and engineers from all over the world to take up scientific research in our country. Both the fellowships provide a fellowship of Rs. 75,000/- pm for a period of five years along with a research grant.

Innovation in Science Pursuit for Inspired Research (INSPIRE) Faculty Award meant for young Indian scientists from all over the world to carry out quality research in the country offers fellowship equivalent to the scale of the Assistant Professor of an IIT and research grant for 5 years.

DBT – Wellcome Trust Biomedical Research Fellowship Career Programme is established to attract a strong cohort of qualified scientists working abroad to seek career opportunities in India. The recently introduced Jawaharlal Nehru Fellowship is aimed to attract eminent scientists of any country to undertake collaborative and part-time research in laboratories in India over a period of three years. It offers a honorarium of US $100,000 for a total period of 12 months work in India along with research contingency support. In addition, some of the enabling mechanisms put in place by the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) to arrest brain drain and promote R&D in India include: sharing of proceeds with scientists from sponsored projects, consultancy projects and premia and royalty received from the industry; knowledge alliance with private industry to pursue product driven R&D and establishment of incubation centers to nurture start-up companies and enable chances of commercialization; investment of knowledgebase as equity in enterprises.

4. Details of the Biotechnology parks aided by Department of Biotechnology currently functioning in the country are as follows:

 

  1. Uttar Pradesh: Lucknow BT Park-The Park has been established at Lucknow with support from DBT and started operations from 2006.
  2. Andhra Pradesh: Hyderabad BT Park-The Park has been established by CSIR-IICT and Govt. of AP with support from DBT and started operations from 2009.
  3. Tamilnadu: TICEL Bio Park (Chennai)was established by Govt. of Tamilnadu in Chennai, India and is in operation since Nov, 2004.DBT had sanctioned grant for establishing a Biotechnology Core Instrumentation Facility (BTCIF).
  4. Tamilnadu: The Golden Jubilee Biotech Park for Women (Siruseri, Kanchipuram District) was established by Govt. of Tamilnadu with support from DBT and is operationalsince 2001.

Details of achievements of the above mentioned parks after being set up:

1. Lucknow Biotech Park:

• The park has generated employment for about 200 persons. To date 7-8 companies have graduated from the incubator and another 9 companies are in incubation.

• The Park has NABL accreditation for its analytical facilities and provides service to many agro-industries in the region. The plant tissue culture facility is also certified under DBT-BCIL certification program. They have an extraction unit, a bioinformatics unit and a bio-fuel unit. The park is also hosting HRD programs for research scholars and a Biotech finishing school.

2.  Hyderabad Biotech Park:

World class facilities have been created for use by entrepreneurs on use and pay basis. There are 12 labs of 350 sq. ft each which is given out to incubate companies. Business centre approach is used in this Park and 9 companies, 74 scientists are working there.

3. TICEL Biotech Park:

• It has now achieved 100% occupancy with National and International clients. The tenancy area has 74 modules of 1525 sq.ft. each, available for clients to develop their own customized R&D labs of BSL2 standards, upgradeable to BSL3, in accordance with GLP standards.

4. Golden Jubilee Biotech Park for women

• The Park has a Lab facility for providing Quality testing and Training programs as a means of providing hands-on experience and to generate revenue streams for the Park.

It is an Entrepreneurial facility for women Scientists aided with managerial skills and capable of making small-scale investment, to independently take up the functioning of the lab.

• At present the park is fully occupied. 80% comprises of 1st generation entrepreneurs. All entrepreneurs are women. In all there are 150 workers which includes 50-60% of women both skilled/unskilled.The total annual turnover is Rs. 5 Cr.

Several State Governments/Central Institutes have submitted proposals for setting up parks in states like Assam, Karnataka, Kerala, Odisha, Madhya Pradesh, Jammu & Kashmir, West Bengal, Gujarat and Chattisgarh.

 

5. Department of Posts launches ‘e-Indian Postal Order’ for RTI Applications

ndia Post (Dept. of Posts) here today launched electronic Indian Postal Order (e-IPO) for Indian Citizens living in India. Earlier last year the Department had launched the e-IPO on 22nd March, 2013 for Indian Citizens living abroad across the globe to facilitate them for paying online fee for seeking information under the RTI Act, 2005.e-IPO can be purchased from the e-Post office portals.After paying the fee on-line one just need to annex the print-out of the receipt to the RTI application.

6. KHIDMAT Helpline

The Toll free Phone Line 1800112001 named KHIDMAT is made available for providing information about the Schemes/Programmes being implemented by the Ministry of Minority Affairs. It was launched on 8th August, 2013.

The Ministry of Minority Affairs is running many schemes and programmes such as

  • Pre-Matric Scholarship,
  • Post-MatricScholarship,
  • Merit Cum Means- based Scholarship, Maulana Azad National Fellowship,
  • Nai Roshni for Leadership Development of Minority women,
  • Sikho Aur Kamao (Learn & Earn) ,
  • Multi Sectoral Development Programme(MsDP),
  • Prime Minister’s New 15 Points Programmes.

Waqf Board Upgradation

The Ministry is also running schemes for institutional strengthening of the State/UT Waqf Boards through computerization of records of State Waqf Boards and scheme for development of urbanWaqf Properties. The Ministry has recently launched the National Waqf Development Corporation Limited (NAWADCO) on 31.12.2013 which has been established under the Companies Act 1956.

The Sachar Committee Report has advocated a stringent approach to counter encroachments and related matters in regard to wakf properties. The Sachar committee in its report, inter-alia, has recommended that the Public Premises (Eviction of unauthorized Occupants) Act, 1971 should be applied to remove encroachment from Waqf properties and arrears of rent, at market rates, should be recovered as arrear of land revenue. The Sachar Committee has also mentioned about the Waqf properties under occupation of the Governments and their agencies.

To protect the waqf properties from encroachment and for better administration of auqaf in the county, the Wakf Act, 1995, has been amended by the Central Government and the Wakf (Amendment) Act, 2013 has come into force with effect from 1st November, 2013. The Central Government is also proposing to bring a standalone legislation on the lines of Public Premises (Eviction of Unauthorized Occupants) Act, 1971 to protect waqf properties from encroachment.

The central government has launched two more schemes namely ‘Padho Pradesh’ for interest subsidy on educational loans for overseas studies for minority students and Jiyo Parsi to control the declining trend of Parsi population.

 

7. Steps taken by the Government to stop Harassment of Tourists in the Country

The ‘Public Order’ and ‘Police’ are State subjects as per the Seventh Schedule of the Constitution of India.  As such, prevention of crime, including crime against tourists/foreign tourists is the primary responsibility of the State Governments/Union Territories. The Ministry of Tourism does not compile data on crime against foreign and domestic tourists as such.

The Ministry of Tourism has taken following steps in order to ensure safety and security of tourists, including foreign tourists:

i.          The Ministry of Tourism in consultation with the State Governments/UT Administrations had proposed to set up Tourist Police at prominent tourist spots. The State Governments/UT Administrations of Andhra Pradesh, Goa, Karnataka, Kerala, Maharashtra, Himachal Pradesh, Rajasthan, Jammu & Kashmir, Uttar Pradesh, Delhi, Punjab, Madhya Pradesh and Odisha have deployed Tourist Police, in one form or the other.

ii.         The Ministry of Tourism along with all stakeholders, including the Tourism Departments of all States and UTs, have adopted the ‘Code of Conduct for Safe & Honourable Tourism’ which is a set of guidelines to encourage tourism activities to be undertaken with respect for basic right like dignity, safety and freedom from exploitation of both tourists and local residents in particular, women and children.

iii.        Ministry of Tourism is running the Social Awareness Campaign on television to sensitize the masses and the stakeholders on the traditional Indian values and concept ‘Atithi Devo Bhava’. The campaign consists of two commercials; one on sensitizing against misbehavior with tourists and the other against cleanliness of   tourist sites and streets.

iv.        The National Tourism Ministers’ Conference was convened on 18th July, 2013 in New Delhi which resolved; that the Departments of Tourism of all States and UTs will work for ensuring the safety and security of tourists, especially women.

v.         An advisory has been posted on the Ministry of Tourism website www.incredibleindia.org indicating that India remains safe destination for international Tourists including women tourists.

vi.        The Stake holders have identified focal points in their respective organizations to implement the ‘Code of Conduct for Safe & Honorable Tourism’. 

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