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Nov 2020

Mar 23, 2021

Bill to Combine 7 Castes in TN

  • Rajya Sabha passed the Constitution (Scheduled Castes) Order (Amendment) Bill-2021 to club seven castes in poll-bound Tamil Nadu under one nomenclature of Devendrakula Vellalars.
  • The passage in Rajya Sabha completes the parliamentary approval process. Lok Sabha had passed the bill last week and it will now go to the President for his assent.
  • The bill was passed after a reply by Social Justice and Empowerment Minister Thaawar Chand Gehlot on the matter.

Bihar First State to Have Own Ethanol Policy

  • The Bihar Cabinet has approved the Ethanol Production Promotion Policy, 2021, becoming the 1st Indian State to have an ethanol promotion policy. The policy allows the extraction of ethanol, which was restricted to sugarcane, from surplus quantities of maize as well. The new policy would permit ethanol production in Bihar from all feedstocks permitted by National Policy on Biofuels, 2018, and subsequently by the National Biofuel Coordination Committee.
  • So far, the government of India has granted permission for ethanol production from B-heavy molasses, C-heavy molasses, grains unfit for human consumption, sugarcane juice, sugar, sugar syrup, surplus rice and maize.
  • The Ethanol Production Promotion Policy, 2021, of Bihar promotes new standalone ethanol manufacturing units by providing them additional capital subsidy at 15% of the cost of plant and machinery up to a maximum of Rs. 5 crore.

Mar 21, 2021

Raj Kumar Singh Launches Gram Ujala Scheme

  • India has launched the "Gram Ujala Scheme" to provide the cheapest LED bulbs in the rural areas. The scheme was launched by the Union Power and New and Renewable Energy Minister, Raj Kumar Singh.
  • The Gram Ujala Scheme is an ambitious scheme which offers the world's cheapest LED bulbs in rural areas.
  • This is the first such scheme in India. It provides the LED Bulbs in these areas at a mere Rs. 10. This scheme also furthers its climate change strategy and strengthen the self-reliance credentials.
  • The scheme does not come with the government's support or subsidy. Under the scheme, the bulbs are offered by the state-run Energy Efficiency Services Ltd's subsidiary Convergence Energy Services Ltd (CESL). 

LS Nod to Bill Allowing pvt Sector in Mine Exploration

  • The Lok Sabha cleared a significant Bill to allow private players in mineral exploration. Only 10 per cent of India's geological mining potential is currently explored with corresponding rates for South Africa and Australia (comparable mineral potential as India's) considerably high.
  • The sector contributes 1.75 per cent to India's GDP as against 7.5 per cent in South Africa and 7 per cent in Australia. "We will raise this to 2.5 per cent of the GDP," said Coal and Mines Minister Pralhad Joshi moving The Mines and Minerals Development and Regulation Amendment Bill 2021 to amend the 1957 law.

Mar 20, 2021

J&K LG Inaugurates Project "Awaam Ki Baat"

  • Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir, Lieutenant Governor, Manoj Sinha, initiated the project "Awaam Ki Baat" – a Radio program by launching its website at Raj Bhavan, Jammu. The half-an-hour long Radio program to be aired every third Sunday of the month (to start from April), is one of the many sequential steps of a broader program aimed at disseminating the progressive steps taken by the government and providing the public with a platform to speak, write and interact with the administration, thereby voicing their suggestions, ideas and creative proposals.
  • Awaam Ki Baat is the novel initiative of the Office of the Lieutenant Governor, Jammu and Kashmir which aims at disseminating the progressive steps taken by the administration and seeks public feedback to make the process interactive, participative and people-centric. The platform appreciates the heterogeneity of our Union Territory.

Experts Committee for Startup India Seed Fund Scheme

  • The government has constituted an experts advisory committee which will be responsible for the overall execution and monitoring of the Startup India Seed Fund Scheme.
  • According to an office memorandum of the Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade (DPIIT), the committee will evaluate and select incubators for allotment of funds under the scheme, monitor progress and take all necessary measures for efficient utilisation of funds towards fulfilment of objectives of the scheme.
  • DPIIT had in February notified the operational guidelines to provide financial assistance to startups for proof of concept, prototype development, product trails, market entry and commercialisation.

Mar 19, 2021

Rajya Sabha Passes Bill to Hike FDI in Insurance

  • The Bill to hike the foreign direct investment (FDI) limit in the insurance sector to 74 per cent provides adequate safeguards so that control, ownership, and money collected from policyholders stays within the country, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman told Parliament.
  • Insurance is a highly regulated sector where every product, its pricing, investment and marketing is regulated in the country, Sitharaman said in response to a debate on the Bill in the Rajya Sabha. The Bill was later passed by the Upper House.
  • The decision to increase the FDI limit from the current 49 per cent was taken after the sector's regulator Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority of India (IRDAI) held detailed consultations with stakeholders.
  • The Bill provides that no insurer shall, directly or indirectly, invest policyholders' funds outside India. Indian companies that have foreign investment will also be required to retain a specific percentage of profits as a general reserve.

Mar 17, 2021

Rajya Sabha passes National Commission for Allied & Healthcare Professions Bill, 2020

  • The Rajya Sabha today passed the National Commission for Allied and Healthcare Professions Bill, 2020. The Bill seeks to regulate and standardise the education and practice of allied and healthcare professionals.
  • It defines 'allied health professional' as an associate, technician, or technologist trained to support the diagnosis and treatment of any illness, disease and injury.
  • The Bill has a provision to set up the National Commission for Allied and Healthcare Professions. Under the legislation, a provision has been made that no person is allowed to practice as a qualified allied and healthcare practitioner other than those enrolled in a State Register or the National Register.  
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