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India attracted US$ 6.24 bn total FDI inflow during April, 2021

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Measures taken by the Government on the fronts of Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) policy reforms, investment facilitation and ease of doing business have resulted in increased FDI inflows into the country. The following trends in India’s Foreign Direct Investment are an endorsement of its status as a preferred investment destination amongst global investors:

  • India has attracted total FDI inflow of US$ 6.24 billion during April, 2021and it is 38% higher as compared toApril, 2020 (US$4.53 billion).
  • During April, 2021FDI Equity inflows amountingto US$ 4.44 billion were reported in the country which is an increase of 60% over the FDI Equity inflow of April, 2020 (US$ 2.77 billion).
  • During April, 2021,Mauritius is the top investing country with 24% of the FDI Equity inflows, followed by Singapore (21%) and Japan (11%).
  • ‘Computer Software & Hardware’ has emerged as the top sector during April, 2021 with around 24%share of the total FDI Equity inflow followed by Services Sector (23%) and Education Sector (8%) respectively.
  • Karnataka is the top recipient state during April, 2021 with 31% share of the total FDI Equity inflows, followed by Maharashtra (19%) and Delhi (15%).

Source: PIB

MoD signs contract with GSL for construction of two Pollution Control Vessels for Indian Coast Guard

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Ministry of Defence signed a contract with Goa Shipyard Ltd (GSL) for construction of two Pollution Control Vessels (PCVs) for Indian Coast Guard (ICG) at a cost of about Rs 583 crore, on June 22, 2021. These Special Role ships will be indigenously designed, developed and built by GSL. The acquisition is under ‘Buy Indian – Indigenously Designed Developed & Manufactured (Buy Indian-IDDM)’, the highest priority category for defence capital procurements. The acquisition will significantly augment the capability of ICG to respond to Oil spill disasters at sea and also enhance Pollution Response (PR) efficiency. These two vessels are scheduled for delivery by November 2024 and May 2025 respectively. 

At present, ICG has three PCVs in its fleet at Mumbai, Visakhapatnam and Porbander to carry out dedicated Pollution Surveillance, Oil spill monitoring/Response operations in Indian EEZ and around islands. The new PCVs planned are for pollution response requirements in Eastern and the ecologically sensitive Andaman & Nicobar Regions. The vessels, with capability of operating helicopter onboard, will have many advanced features with modern PR equipment of niche technology for containing, recovering and dispersing of marine oil spill. 

While meeting the objectives of AatmaNirbhar Bharat Abhiyan, the contract would further boost the indigenous shipbuilding capability and increase employment opportunities in the shipbuilding sector that involves around 200 MSME vendors.

Source: PIB

CCI approves acquisition of additional equity shareholding by Heineken International B.V. of United Breweries Ltd.

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The Competition Commission of India (CCI) approves acquisition of additional equity shareholding by Heineken International B.V. (“HIBV”) of United Breweries Limited (“UBL”)under Section 31(1) of the Competition Act, 2002, yesterday.

The proposed transaction relates to HIBV’s potential acquisition of additional equity stake up to a maximum of approximately 16.40 percent shareholding in UBL.

HIBV is an investment holding company and is itself not engaged in any business activity. It is a direct/ indirect shareholder for all non-Dutch companies that form part of the Heineken Group. Heineken Group is an international group of companies engaged in the production, manufacture, packaging, distribution, marketing and sale of beer, non-alcoholic beer, cider and cider-based beverages, and a range of other beverages.

UBL is a public limited company incorporated under the Companies Act, 1956 and is principally engaged in the manufacture, sale and distribution of beer in India. UBL’s shares are listed on the BSE Limited and the National Stock Exchange of India Limited. Detailed order of the CCI will follow.

Source: PIB

PM launches M-Yoga App on 7th International Day of Yoga 2021; GoI & WHO have developed the app

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Prime Minister Narendra Modi launched ‘WHO M-Yoga’ App while addressing on the occasion of 7thInternational Day of Yoga. M-Yoga app will provide many videos of Yoga training and practice based on common Yoga protocol in many languages. Terming this as a great example of fusion of modern technology and ancient science, the Prime Minister expressed the hope that M-Yoga app will help in spreading Yoga world over and will contribute to the efforts of ‘One World,One Health’.

The Prime Minister said: “When India proposed the International Day of Yoga in the United Nations, the spirit behind it was to make this Yoga science accessible to the entire world. Today, India has taken another important step in this direction along with the United Nations and WHO. Now the world is going to get the power of the m-Yoga app. In this app, many videos of Yoga training will be available in different languages of the world based on the common Yogaprotocol. It is also a great example of the fusion of modern technology and ancient science. I am sure the m-Yoga app will play a big role in expanding Yoga across the globe and making the efforts of One World, One Health a success.”

This mobile app will be immensely helpful in the promotion of Yoga and wellness among people around the world, especially during the ongoing pandemic. It will play an instrumental role in re-rehabilitation of the health of the Covid patients who have recovered from Covid-19, the Prime Minister said.

Background:

The Ministry of AYUSH and the World Health Organization (WHO) had jointly undertaken a project in mid 2019, focussingon mobile-Yoga. It envisaged the concept of the ‘Be Healthy, Be Mobile’ (BHBM) under the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals to achieve Universal Health Coverage by 2030. Be Healthy, Be Mobile (BHBM) initiative is a global partnership led by WHO which supports the scale up of mobile health (m-Health) technology within the scope of the National Health system to combat non-communicable diseases (NCDs).

    In order to achieve the above objectives, a memorandum of understanding was signed in July, 2019 between WHO and the Ministry of AYUSH. The m-Yoga project focused on four areas:

(1) Common Yoga Protocol for GeneralWellness; 

(2) Yoga for mental health and resilience;

 (3) Yoga for Adolescents; and

(4) Yoga for pre – Diabetics.

Building upon this, a requisite handbook and mobile applications were to be developed by Morarji Desai National Institute of Yoga (MDNIY) in consultation with the WHO technology partners. The work on the handbook is in the final stages and the currently launched app is available in two of the six official languages of the UN i.e English and Hindi. In this work, Morarji Desai National Institute of Yoga (MDNIY) played a pivotal role to facilitate preparation of Common Yoga Protocol for General Wellness of various duration(45 minutes, 20 minutes and 10 minutes), Common Yoga Protocol booklets, video shoots, their translations in 6 major UN languages and designs of the booklets under the directives of Ministry of AYUSH, GOI.

Source: PIB

India set to organise two day summit on Green Hydrogen Initiatives involving BRICS nations

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India is all set to host a two day summit on Green Hydrogen initiatives on 22nd June, 2021 involving the BRICS nations. The prestigious event offers a platform to share their respective Green Hydrogen initiatives and views on how to take it to the next level in their own countries. The online event will be held via a video conference and will conclude on 23rd June.

The event will be anchored by India’s largest power producer and one of the global energy majors,  NTPC Ltd , a Maharatna CPSU under Ministry of Power.The virtual summit will bring the best brains, policy makers and major stakeholders from the BRICS nations deliberating and discussing at length the future of Hydrogen in the energy mix.

On Day 1, the representatives from each country would be sharing respective initiatives undertaken by their countries on utilization of hydrogen and their future plans. The speakers will also share the relevance of different technologies developed on hydrogen and its priorities for their country. 

Day 2 will witness panel discussions on ideas integrating hydrogen in overall energy policy framework by different countries. The discussions to entail financing options for the emerging green hydrogen technologies and the institutional support needed to create the requisite ecosystem for the technology to flourish.

As the world rapidly moves to decarbonise the entire energy system, hydrogen is poised to play a vital  role and build on the rapid scale-up of renewable resources across the world. Hydrogen when produced by electrolysis using renewable energy is known as Green Hydrogen which has no carbon  footprint. This gives Hydrogen the edge over other fuels to unlock various avenues of green usage. However, challenges lie in terms  of technology, efficiency, financial viability and scaling up which the summit will aim to address.

Green hydrogen has innumerable applications. Green Chemicals like ammonia and methanol  can directly be utilized in existing applications like fertilizers, mobility, power, chemicals, shipping etc. Green Hydrogen blending up to 10% may be adopted in CGD networks to gain widespread acceptance.  Further scaling up with greening of hard to abate sectors (like steel and cement) through hydrogen is  to be explored. Many countries have brought out their strategies and defined targets and roadmaps  based on their resources and strengths.

Source: PIB

Sea water desalination through solar thermal forward osmosis brings relief to drought prone TN village

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Narippaiyur, a village in Ramanathapuram District, a drought prone area situated in the South-East corner of Tamil Nadu will benefit from 20,000 litres per day of fresh water produced from sea water – thanks to the solar thermal Forward Osmosis (FO) sea water desalination system installed in the place.

The customized demand driven convergent water solution through FO will supply two litres of good quality drinking water per person per day for 10,000 people in the village, successfully overcoming a major drinking water shortage in the village. The FO system facilitates high recovery, low energy consumption, potential for resource recovery, especially in solutions of high osmotic pressure, less fouling of the membrane because of low pressure operation, easier and more effective cleaning of the membrane, longer membrane life and lower operating costs.

Tamil Nadu IIT Madras in collaboration with Empereal – KGDS Renewable Energy have successfully established and demonstrated this system to address prevalent and emerging water challenges in Mission Mode in the village.

Ramanathapuram District, situated in the South-East corner of Tamil Nadu, is severely affected by scarcity of potable water due to salinity, brackishness and also poor sources of ground water. The district of 423000 hectares has a long coastal line measuring about 265 kilometres accounting for nearly 1/4th of the total length of the coastal line of the state.

The Water Technology Initiative, Department of Science & Technology (DST) has supported this field based effort in the district through the consortium members led by Indian Institute of Technology Madras (IITM), KGiSL Institute of Technology (KITE), Empereal– KGDS Renewable Energy (P) and ICT Mumbai.

Forward Osmosis system installed at Narippaiyur Village, Ramanathapuram District, Tamil Nadu LFR based Solar Thermal System     Solar hot water system installed at Narippaiyur Village, Ramanathapuram District, Tamil Nadu. The sea water FO technology operates at near 2 bar pressure unlike sea water RO that operatesat 50 bar pressure. It is versatile, has high energy efficiency and low operation and maintenance costs compared to other technologies.

The produced water will be supplied to the local people with the support of villagers and panchayat. This initiative of DST can pave way for scaling up the emerging technology in various coastal rural areas of the country to address drinking water shortage.

Source: PIB

Union Minister says, banks have been instructed to disburse pension expeditiously in view of COVID

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In a major reform aimed at seeking “Ease of Living” for elder citizens, Banks have been instructed to disburse Pension expeditiously in view of the current COVID pandemic. Instructions have also been issued that in case of death of a pensioner, the spouse or the family member of the deceased pensioners should not be subjected to any inconvenience by seeking unnecessary details and documents, and instead the pension should be disbursed at the earliest.

Briefing about the Circular issued by the Department of Pension & Pensioners Welfare, Union Minister of State (Independent Charge) Development of North Eastern Region (DoNER), MoS PMO, Personnel, Public Grievances, Pensions, Atomic Energy and Space, Dr Jitendra Singh revealed that some instances have been brought to the notice of the Department wherein on the death of a pensioner, the family members of the deceased were asked by the disbursing banks to submit details and documents, which are otherwise not required for commencement of Family Pension. He said, the government under Prime Minister Narendra Modi is committed to seek “Ease of Living” for all, including the pensioners and, therefore, such inconvenience to the elderly citizens has to be avoided, particularly during the time of the pandemic.

In a communique to the Heads to all the Pension Disbursing banks, it has been instructed that without causing harassment to the family members of the deceased pensioner, the pension should be commenced on the production of the Death Certificate of the deceased pensioner and in case where the pensioner had a joint account with his or her spouse, submission of a simple letter or application should suffice for the commencement of Family Pension.

 In cases where the spouse did not have a joint account with the deceased pensioner, a simple application in Form-14 bearing the signature of two witnesses should be held valid for commencement of Family Pension.

The Department of Pension & Pensioners Welfare (DOPPW) has also instructed the banks to conduct special awareness programmes to sensitise the concerned officers, in order to make them aware of the latest instructions as well as for compassionate handling of Family Pension cases.

It has also been instructed that the Bank’s website should prominently display the name and contact details of a Nodal Officer, who can be contacted by a family pensioner in the event of any inconvenience faced in processing Family Pension cases after the death of the pensioner. In addition, a half-yearly statement on progress of sanction of Family Pension cases may be submitted to the Department of Pension in the prescribed format.

It may be recalled that the current reform is a part of a series of such path-breaking reforms undertaken by the Department of Pension recently for the benefit of the pensioners, elderly citizens and their families.

Source: PIB

Ministry notifies common format for issuance of Pollution Control Certificate across country

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Ministry of Road Transport & Highways has issued a notification dated 14thJune, 2021 for a common format of the PUC (Pollution Under Control) Certificate to be issued across the country, under Central Motor Vehicle Rules 1989.The salient features of the PUCC are as under-  

(a) Introduction of uniform Pollution Under Control Certificate (PUC) format across the country and linking the PUC database with the National Register.

  (b) The concept of Rejection slip is being introduced for the first time. A common format of rejection slip is to be given to the vehicle owner in case the test result value is more than the maximum permissible value, as mandated in the concerned emission norms. This document can be shown at the service centre for getting the vehicle serviced or can be used, in case the PUCC centre device is not working properly when tested at another centre.

 (c) There will be confidentiality of information viz. (i) Vehicle owner’s mobile number, name and address (ii) engine number and chassis number (only the last four digits to be visible, the other digits shall be masked) 

  (d) The owner’s mobile number has been made mandatory, on which an SMS alert will be sent for validation and fee.   

  (e) If the enforcement officer has reason to believe that a motor vehicle is not complying with provisions of Emission standards, he may communicate in writing or through electronic mode to direct the driver or any person in-charge of the vehicle to submit the vehicle for conducting the test in any one of the authorized Pollution Under Control (PUC) testing stations. If the driver or person in-charge of the vehicle fails to submit the vehicle for compliance or the vehicle fails to comply, the owner of the vehicle shall be liable for payment of penalty.

If the owner fails to comply with this, the registering authority shall, for reasons to be recorded in writing, suspend the certificate of registration of the vehicle and any permit granted, until such time a valid “Pollution under Control “certificate is generated.  

(f) Thus, enforcement would be IT-enabled and would help in better control over polluting vehicles. 

 (g) The QR code shall be printed on the form. It will contain the complete information about the PUC Centre.

Source: PIB

NHAI makes drone survey mandatory for all national highways projects

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Representational pic

In order to enhance transparency, uniformity and leverage latest technology, the National Highways Authority of India, under Ministry of Road Transport & Highways has made mandatory use of drones for monthly video recording of National Highway projects during all stages of development, construction, operation and maintenance.

Contractors and Concessionaires shall carry out the drone video recording in presence of Team Leader of the Supervision Consultant and upload comparative project videos of the current and last month on NHAI’s portal ‘Data Lake’, capturing various project related developments during the month. Supervision Consultants shall analyse these videos and will provide their comments on the digital monthly progress reports covering various aspects of the project development. These videos will also be used by NHAI officials during the physical inspection of the projects to check the discrepancies and rectifications made basis the earlier observations.

Additionally, Project Directors of NHAI shall undertake monthly drone survey from the date of signing of contract agreement till start of construction of the project at site and also on completion of the project. NHAI will also undertake monthly drone survey in all developed projects where NHAI is responsible for operation and maintenance.

Since these videos will be permanently stored on the ‘Data Lake’, they can also be used as evidence during the dispute resolution process before Arbitral Tribunals and Courts.

Apart from this, mandatory deployment of Network Survey Vehicle (NSV) to carry out road condition survey on the National Highways to enhance quality will enhance the overall quality of the highways as NSV uses latest survey techniques such as high-resolution digital camera for 360 degree imagery, Laser Road Profilometer and other latest technology for measurement of distress in road surface.

Source: PIB

NAFED launches fortified rice bran oil to boost healthy living

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Sudhanshu Pandey, Secretary, Department of Food and Public Distribution today E-launched “Nafed Fortified Rice Bran Oil”. On the occasion, Sudhanshu Pandey said that this initiative by Nafed will significantly reduce the country’s consumption dependence on imported edible oil in future. He also said that this will provide opportunities for Indian edible oil manufacturers further, and also will give an impetus to the Prime Minister’s Aatmnirbhar Bharat initiative. This Rice bran oil will be marketed by Nafed (National Agricultural Cooperative Marketing Federation of India Ltd).

Arun Singhal, Chief Executive Officer, Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI), Sanjeev Kumar Chaddha, Managing Director, Nafed and Atish Chandra, Chairman & Managing Director, Food Corporation of India (FCI) also present on the E-launch. On this occasion, CMD, FCI informed that recently a MoU has been signed between Nafed and FCI for the production and marketing of fortified rice kernel.

Regarding this initiative, Sanjeev Kumar Chaddha, Managing Director, Nafed said that this initiative will provide easy access to Nafed branded high quality rice bran oil, which will also give a boost to the indigenous oil manufacturing industry. It may be noted that Rice Bran oil has multiple health benefits, including lowering cholesterol level due to its low trans-fat content and high mono unsaturated and poly unsaturated fat contents. It also acts as a booster and reduces the risk of cancer due to the high amount of Vitamin E it contains. This oil is recommended by The American Heart Association and the World Health Organization (WHO) as one of the best substitutes for other edible oils. Rice Bran oil from Nafed will be fortified and it will be ensured that it will contain additional nutrients and vitamins. According to the FSSAI, fortified oil can help a person fulfil 25-30% of the recommended dietary intake for vitamins A and D. Nafed Fortified Rice Bran Oil will be available at all Nafed Stores and also on various online platforms.

Source: PIB

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