Government agencies to import further 90,000 MT pulses for buffer stock

The Government today ordered further import of 90,000 MT pulses, consisting of 40,000MT Masur, 20,000 MT Tur, 20,000 Desi Chana and 10,000 MT Urad for the buffer stock. The decision to this effect was taken in a meeting of Price Stabilization Fund chaired by Union Consumer Affairs Secretary, Shri Hem Pande here today. With this order total import of pulses for buffer stock stands now 1, 76,000 MT. Domestic procurement of pulses has also to reached to 1,20,000 MT as on August 23,2016. The government agencies have been also been directed to gear up for domestic procurement for coming crop of pulses, which is expected to good this year. 

The meeting reviewed the procurement and distribution of pulses from buffer stock. So far about 40,000 MT have been allocated to the States the buffer stock for distribution not more than Rs. 120/kg. These pulses are provided to the States– Tur at the rate of Rs. 67/kg and Urad at the rate of Rs. 82/kg. 

Inter Ministerial Committee on prices of essential commodities also met today to review availability and prices of essential commodities.. The meeting observed that prices of pulses have come down but have not reflected in retail. It was of the opinion that States must be asked to take immediate action under Essential Commodes Act to ensure that decline in prices id also reflected in retail also. 

The meeting was attended by senior officials of Ministry/Department of Agriculture, Food, Commerce, Revenue, MMTC, NAFED etc

Chief Minister of Arunachal Pradesh meets Dr. Mahesh Sharma to discuses tourism related issues in Arunachal Pradesh

The Chief Minister of Arunachal Pradesh Shri Pema Khandu met Dr. Mahesh Sharma, Minister of State (I/C) for Culture and Tourism here today to discuss the issues for promotion of tourism and development of tourist infrastructure in Arunachal Pradesh.
Shri Pema Khandu said that there are many important tourist destinations in Arunachal Pradesh including many religious and pilgrimage tourist places which are to be developed and promoted. He emphasized that Arunachal Pradesh has great tourist potential which needs to be harnessed properly.
Dr. Mahesh Sharma assured the visiting Chief Minister that the Ministry of Tourism wants to help Arunachal Pradesh in promoting tourism, especially high-end tourism preserving natural beauty and eco-system of the State. Many tourism schemes in the State can be promoted with the help of North-East circuit and Prasad scheme. He said that economic air fare packages will also boost the tourism sector in Arunachal Pradesh.

President Shri Pranab Mukherjee writes to President of Italy conveying condoles on loss of lives in earthquake in Italy

The President of India, Shri Pranab Mukherjee has written to His Excellency Mr. Sergio Mattarella, the President of the Italian Republic, conveying his condolences on the loss of lives and destruction of properties in the earthquake in Central Italy. 

In his message, the President has said, “I was deeply saddened to hear of the earthquake that struck Central Italy. 

On behalf of the people of India I offer heartfelt condolences to those who have lost family members or seen their homes and property destroyed. We pray for the speedy recovery of the injured and for the success of the rescue efforts launched by your Government and local authorities”.

President Shri Pranab Mukherjee’s message on the eve of Independence Day of Moldova

The President of India, Shri Pranab Mukherjee has extended his greetings and felicitations to the Government and people of the Republic of Moldova on the eve of their Independence Day (August 27, 2016). 

In a message to His Excellency Mr. Nicolae Timofti, the President of the Republic of Moldova, the President has said, “On behalf of the Government, the people of India and on my own behalf, it is with great pleasure that I extend warm greetings and felicitations to Your Excellency and to the people of the Republic of Moldova as you celebrate the 25th anniversary of Moldova’s independence. 

This year also marks 25 years of diplomatic relations between India and Moldova. We greatly value the warm and friendly relations between our two countries based on our shared values and mutual understanding. I am confident that our multifaceted cooperation will continue to expand in all spheres to the benefit of our two peoples. 

I take this opportunity to convey my best wishes for Your Excellency’s good health and well-being and for the progress and prosperity of the friendly people of the Republic of Moldova.”

Smt Maneka Sanjay Gandhi launches POCSO e-Button for children to file complaints of sexual abuse

An online complaint box for reporting child sexual abuse, the POCSO e-Box was launched by the Minister for Women and Child Development, Smt. Maneka Sanjay Gandhi in New Delhi today. Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO), e-Box, is an online complaint management system for easy and direct reporting of sexual offences against children and timely action against the offenders under the POCSO Act, 2012. Minister of State for Women and Child Development , Smt Krishna Raj, Secretary WCD, Ms Leena Nair, NCPCR Chairperson, Smt Stuti Kacker and other senior officials of the WCD Ministry and NCPRC were present on the occasion.
Speaking on  the occasion, Smt Maneka Gandhi said that the idea of an e-Box came out of a police initiative in which physical complaint boxes were placed in schools. The e-Box will make it possible to implement it on a large scale throughout the country. A large number of incidents of abuse are against close relatives and so they get pushed under the carpet, the Minister said. E-Box is very simple to operate and will help to maintain the confidentiality of the complaint, Smt Maneka Sanjay Gandhi explained.
Smt Krishna Raj said that all efforts should be made to generate awareness about the e-Box so that more and more children can come out with their suffering. Highlighting the lifelong trauma of a child suffering from abuse , Mrs Stuti Kacker said that the online facility has been created so that the child can be given immediate help.
The e-Box is incorporated prominently in the home page of National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR) website  where a user has to simply push a button named POSCO e-Box. This will navigate to a page with a window containing an animation movie. The animation movie reassures the child that whatever has happened to him/her is not his/her fault and she/he need not feel guilty and that NCPCR is a friend which will help her. After the user presses the arrow on this page, it navigates  to another page where he/ she has to select at least one picture option (describing the category of harassment) and fill the form with details such as mobile number, e-mail and description of the harassment followed by  the ‘submit’ button. The complaint is then registered and a unique auto-generated complaint number is flashed.
Sexual offences against children are rampant but only a small percentage gets reported. According to a study, about 53% of children surveyed, reported having faced one or the other form of sexual abuse in their lifetime.  In most cases, the offender is a family member/near relative or an acquaintance.  The child victim in such cases generally does not report these offences.  Sexual abuse scars the psyche of the affected child for  entire life. A child who is sexually abused has to face very serious consequences such as cognitive impairment, violent and risk behaviour including depression and anxiety. Feeling shame and guilt with poor interpersonal relationship & self esteem are other consequences of sexually abused children.  
Being concerned about such offences against children, the  Government enacted POCSO Act, 20012 to protect them from offences of sexual assault, sexual harassment and pornography, while safeguarding the interest of the child at every stage of the judicial process, by incorporating child friendly mechanisms for reporting, recording of evidence, investigation and speedy trial of offences through designated Special Courts.   Any human being up to the age of 18 years is recognised as a child under the POCSO Act.

DANICS officers seek DoPT intervention for cadre review

A delegation of DANICS (Delhi Andaman & Nicobar Islands Civil Service) Officers’ Association led by its President, Shri Vishvamohan and General Secretary, Shri Balwan S. Jaglan, called on Union Minister of State (Independent Charge) for Development of North Eastern Region (DoNER), MoS PMO, Personnel, Public Grievances, Pensions, Atomic Energy and Space, Dr Jitendra Singh here yesterday and sought the intervention the Department of Personnel and Training (DoPT) for timely promotion and cadre review of their services. 

The officers, most of them of senior level, posted on crucial administrative assignments in Union Territory areas of Delhi, Daman, Diu, Dadra, Nagar Haveli, Andaman & Nicobar and Lakshadweep, explained to the Minister how they were performing their duties in arduous and difficult situations, but feeling disillusioned because of delay in their career progression. 

In a memorandum submitted to Dr Jitendra Singh, the officers pointed out that the administrative responsibilities in the Union Territories are shouldered by DANICS officers at cutting edge and middle levels. They are posted in different positions as DM / ADM / SDM, Special Commissioner / Special Secretary, Additional Commissioner / Additional Secretary, Deputy Commissioner / Deputy Secretary, etc. but, in spite of performing duties in onerous circumstances, they feel deprived of legitimate growth in career and therefore sought the intervention of the Department of Personnel & Training (DoPT). 

The officers also expressed concern about acute stagnation in DANICS services which, they alleged, not only leads to financial loss but also denies the opportunity to grow in career. They alleged that, as against the prescribed 8 years, it is sometimes taking them as many as 28 years for induction into IAS. The example of this, they pointed out, was that the 1989 batch of DANICS officers is still awaiting induction into IAS even as 2008 batch officers have also become eligible by now. 

The officers complained that there is no career progression after 18 years, as a result of which, in the absence of timely promotions, many officers get superannuated in Rs.8700 Grade Pay itself without induction into IAS. The worst affected, they alleged, were the SC / ST officers, some of whom joined the service late due to age relaxation available to them. 

Requesting the Minister for his immediate intervention, the officers pleaded for justice and fair deal. 

Dr Jitendra Singh gave a patient hearing to the delegation and said that the civil services officers are a valuable instrument of governance in whichever capacity they serve and whichever State or Union Territory they are assigned to. He assured them that the DoPT will try to address their grievance as best as possible.

PM’s speech on the occasion of ‘Transforming India’ Lecture

His Excellency Shri Tharman Shanmugaratnam, Deputy Prime Minister of Singapore
My Fellow Ministers,
Chief Ministers,
Invited speakers and friends,

There was a time when development was believed to depend on the quantity of capital and labour. Today we know that it depends as much on the quality of institutions and ideas. Early last year, a new institution was created, namely, the National Institution for Transforming India or NITI. NITI was created as an evidence based think tank to guide India’s transformation. 

One of NITI’s functions is: 

- to mainstream external ideas into Government policies, through collaboration with national and international experts; 

- to be the Government’s link to the outside world, outside experts and practitioners; 

- to be the instrument through which ideas from outside are incorporated into policy-making. 

The Government of India and the State Governments have a long administrative tradition. This tradition combines indigenous and external ideas from India’s past. This administrative tradition has served India well in many ways. Above all, it has preserved democracy and federalism, unity and integrity, in a country of glorious diversity. These are not small achievements. Yet, we now live in an age where change is constant and we are variables

We must change for both external and internal reasons. Each country has its own experiences, its own resources and its own strengths. Thirty years ago, a country might have been able to look inward and find its own solutions. Today, countries are inter dependent and inter connected. No country can afford any longer to develop in isolation. Every country has to benchmark its activities to global standards, or else fall behind. 

Change is also necessary for internal reasons. The younger generation in our own country is thinking and aspiring so differently, that government can no longer afford to remain rooted in the past. Even in families, the relationship between the young and old has changed. There was a time when elders in a family knew more than those who were younger. Today, with the spread of new technology, the situation is often reversed. This increases the challenge for government in communicating and in meeting rising expectations. 

If India is to meet the challenge of change, mere incremental progress is not enough. A metamorphosis is needed. 

That is why my vision for India is rapid transformation, not gradual evolution.

• The transformation of India cannot happen without a transformation of governance.

• A transformation of governance cannot happen without a transformation in mindset.

• A transformation in mindset cannot happen without transformative ideas. 

We have to change laws, eliminate unnecessary procedures, speed up processes and adopt technology. We cannot march through the twenty first century with the administrative systems of the nineteenth century. 

Fundamental changes in administrative mindsets usually occur through sudden shocks or crisis. India is fortunate to be a stable democratic polity. In the absence of such shocks, we have to make special efforts to force ourselves to make transformative changes. As individuals, we may absorb new ideas by reading books or articles. Books open the windows of our minds. However, unless we brainstorm collectively, ideas remain confined to individual minds. We often hear of new ideas and understand them. But we do not act upon them, because it is beyond our individual capacity. If we sit together, we will have the collective force to convert ideas into action. What we need is a collective opening of our minds, to let in new, global perspectives. To do this, we have to absorb new ideas collectively rather than individually. It requires a concerted effort. 

As many of you know, ever since taking office, I have personally participated in structured brainstorming sessions with bankers, with police officers and with Secretaries to Government, among others. The ideas coming from those sessions are being incorporated into policy. 

These efforts have been to tap ideas from inside. The next step is to bring in ideas from outside. Culturally, Indians have always been receptive to ideas from elsewhere. It is said in the Rigveda – “आ नो भद्राः क्रतवो यन्तु विश्वतः”, which means, let us welcome noble thoughts flowing in from all directions. 

This is the purpose of the Transforming India Lecture Series. It is a series which we will attend, not as individuals but as part of a team who can collectively make change happen. 

We will draw the best from the wisdom and knowledge of eminent persons, who changed, or influenced change in the lives of many, to make their nation a better place in the planet. 

This lecture will be the first in a series. You have all been given a feedback form. I look forward to your detailed and frank feedback to help us improve this process. I request you to suggest names of experts and panelists from inside and outside India. I also request all Secretaries to Government to conduct a follow up discussion in a week’s time, with the participants from their Ministries. The purpose is to convert ideas that emerge in today’s session into specific action points relevant to each group. Wherever possible, I request the Ministers also to participate in these sessions. 

One of the greatest reformers and administrators of our time was Lee Kuan Yew, who transformed Singapore to what it is today. It is therefore fitting that we are inaugurating this series with Shri Tharman Shanmugaratnam, Deputy Prime Minister of Singapore. He is a prolific scholar and public policy maker. Apart from being Deputy Prime Minister, he is also the Coordinating Minister for Economic and Social Policies, Minister of Finance and Chairman of Monetary Authority of Singapore. In the past, he has served as the Minister of Manpower, Second Minister of Finance and Minister of Education. 

Shri Shanmugaratnam was born in Nineteen Fifty Seven and is of Sri Lankan Tamil ancestry. He earned his Bachelor’s degree in Economics at the London School of Economics. He has a Master’s degree in Economics from Cambridge University. He has another Master’s degree in Public Administration from Harvard University. At Harvard, he was honoured with the Littauer Fellow award for his outstanding performance. 

Shri Shanmugaratnam is one of the world’s leading intellectuals. I would like to give you an example of the range and sweep of his ideas. Today, Singapore’s economy depends a lot on transshipment. But if global warming melts the polar ice caps, new navigation routes may open and possibly reduce Singapore’s relevance. I am told he has already started thinking about this possibility and planning for it. 

Friends. The list of achievements and honours received by Shri Shanmugaratnam is long. But we are all eager to listen to him. Therefore, without further delay, it is with great pleasure that I welcome Shri Tharman Shanmugaratnam to this stage and request him to enlighten us on the subject of India in the Global Economy.