PIB News 29th Oct, 2020


(General Studies- II: Governance, Constitution, Polity, Social Justice and International relations, Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation.)

 

Cabinet approves Mechanism for procurement of ethanol by Public Sector Oil Marketing Companies under Ethanol Blended Petrol Programme - Revision of ethanol price for supply to Public Sector OMCs for Ethanol Supply Year 2020-21
The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs chaired by the Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi has approved the following, including fixing higher ethanol price derived from different sugarcane based raw materials under the Ethanol Blended Petrol (EBP) Programme for the forthcoming sugar season 2020-21 during Ethanol Supply Year (ESY)  2020-21 from 1st December 2020 to 30th November 2021:

(i)    The price of ethanol from C heavy molasses route be increased from Rs.43.75 per lit to Rs.45.69 per litre,

(ii)    The price of ethanol from B heavy molasses route be increased from Rs.54.27 per lit to Rs.57.61 per litre,

(iii)   The price of ethanol from sugarcane juice / sugar / sugar syrup route be increased from Rs.59.48 per lit to Rs.62.65 per litre,

(iv)   Additionally, GST and transportation charges will also be payable. OMCs have been advised to fix realistic transportation charges so that long distance transportation of ethanol is not disincentivised,

(v)   In order to offer fair opportunity to the localized industry within the State and reduce crisscross movement of ethanolOil Marketing Companies (OMCs) shall decide the criteria for priority of ethanol from various sources taking in account various factors like cost of transportation, availability, etc. This priority will limit to the excisable boundaries of the State / UT for production in that State / UT. Same order of preference will be given thereafter for import of ethanol from other States wherever required.

 All distilleries will be able to take benefit of the scheme and large number of them are expected to supply ethanol for the EBP programme. Remunerative price to ethanol suppliers will help in reduction of cane farmer’s arrears, in the process contributing to minimizing difficulty of sugarcane farmers.

Government has been implementing Ethanol Blended Petrol (EBP) Programme wherein OMCs sell petrol blended with ethanol up to 10%. This programme has been extended to whole of India except Union Territories of Andaman Nicobar and Lakshadweep islands with effect from 01st April, 2019 to promote the use of alternative and environment friendly fuels. This intervention also seeks to reduce import dependence for energy requirements and give boost to agriculture sector.

Government has notified administered price of ethanol since 2014. For the first time during 2018, differential price of ethanol based on raw material utilized for ethanol production was announced by the Government. These decisions have significantly improved the supply of ethanol thereby ethanol procurement by Public Sector OMCs has increased from 38 crore litre in Ethanol Supply Year (ESY) 2013-14 to contracted over 195 crore litre in ESY 2019-20.

With a view to provide long term perspective to the stake holders, MoP&NG has published “Ethanol Procurement Policy on a long term basis under EBP Programme”. In line with this, OMCs have already completed the one time registration of ethanol suppliers. OMCs have further reduced the Security Deposit amount from 5% to 1% extending a benefit of around Rs. 400 Cr. to ethanol suppliers. OMCs have also reduced the applicable penalty on non-supplied quantity from earlier 5% to 1% extending a benefit of around Rs.35 Cr. to suppliers. All these would facilitate ease of doing business and achieve the objectives of Atmanirbhar Bharat initiatives.

Consistent surplus of sugar production is depressing sugar price. Consequently, sugarcane farmer’s dues have increased due to lower capability of sugar industry to pay the farmers. Government has taken many decisions for reduction of cane farmer’s dues.

With a view to limit sugar production in the Country and to increase domestic production of ethanol, Government has taken multiple steps including, allowing diversion of B heavy molasses, sugarcane juice, sugar and sugar syrup for ethanol production. As the Fair and Remunerative Price (FRP) of sugarcane and ex-mill price of sugar have undergone changes, there is a need to revise the ex-mill price of ethanol derived from different sugarcane based raw materials.

 

(General Studies-III: Technology, Economic Development, Bio diversity, Environment, Security and Disaster Management, Various Security forces and agencies and their mandate.)

 

Indian Army launches Software for Infrastructure Management
Infrastructure development has gained significant importance in many of the Army stations where major works are planned to replace vintage accommodation of pre independence era.  The process is cumbersome and time consuming involving multiple agencies. Land has also become a very scarce resource since all cantonments and military stations have now come closer to major population centres. Presently all functions towards infrastructure development and management to include ascertaining availability of land, planning and monitoring of works, environment conservation and responsive quartering policies are carried out manually, which is not only time consuming but is also in-efficient.

Realising that automation is the key to empowering all stake holders to transform and become efficient, transparent and enhance accountability, Indian Army has introduced a software named the “Infrastructure Management System (IMS)’ software which was inagurated by the COAS on the sidelines of the Army Commanders Conference on 28 October 2020.

The scope of the software package developed includes the following

•        To automate works initiation, preparation of list and its approval by the MoD.

•        To accord administrative approval and monitoring of execution by the CFA.

•        To automate availability of CAO pool accommodation, plan vacation, re-allocation and undertake maintenance.

•        To automate approval of accommodation allocation/extention for children education ground, special children and Battle/Physical casualty.

•        Manage cantonment roads including emergency closure.

•        Make land, works and quartering policies available on line.

•        Monitor land encroachment, Old Grant Bungalows, VIP references and transfer/exchange of land.

 

(General Studies- II: Governance, Constitution, Polity, Social Justice and International relations, Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation.)

 

Indian Railways launches OPERATION MERI SAHELI
“Meri Saheli” initiative taken for focused action on security of women travelling in trains
Operation gathering momentum across all Zones

Indian Railways has launched “Meri Saheli” initiative for focused action on security of women across all zones with an objective to provide safety and security to lady passengers travelling by trains for their entire journey from starting station to destination station.

An initiative of RPF, the Strategy of the entails interaction with lady passengers especially those travelling alone by a team of young lady RPF personnel at the originating station. These lady passengers are briefed about all precautions to be taken during the journey and told to dial 182 in case they face or see any problem in the coach. The RPF team collects only the seat numbers of the ladies and conveys them to stoppages en-route. The platform duty RPF personnel at the stopping stations en-route keep unobtrusive watch over the concerned coaches and berths and if need arises, interact with the lady passengers. RPF/RPSF escort onboard also covers all the coaches/identified berths during its duty period.

RPF teams at the destination collect the feedback from the identified lady passengers. The feedback is then analysed and corrective action, if any, is taken. If some distress call comes from a train covered under “Meri Saheli” initiative, the disposal of the call is monitored at the level of senior officers.

The “Meri Saheli” initiative was started as a pilot project in South Eastern Railway in September 2020 and after getting encouraging response from lady passengers, it was extended to all zones and KRCL w.e.f. 17.10.2020.The operation is gathering momentum.

 

(General Studies- II: Governance, Constitution, Polity, Social Justice and International relations, Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation.)

 

Dr Harsh Vardhan Launches DST initiative SERB – POWER (Promoting Opportunities for Women in Exploratory Research)
It is a scheme to mitigate gender disparity in science and engineering research funding in various S&T programs in Indian academic institutions and R&D laboratories
“Enhancement of participation and promotion of women in the research workforce is one of the prime priorities of our Government”: Dr Harsh Vardhan

Dr. Harsh Vardhan, Union Minister for Science & Technology, Earth Sciences and Health & Family Welfare today launched a Scheme titled “SERB-POWER (Promoting Opportunities for Women in Exploratory Research)”, designed exclusively for women scientists, in a function today on an e-platform.The Science and Engineering Research Board (SERB), a Statutory body of the Department of Science and Technology (DST), Government of India, has been contemplating to institute a scheme to mitigate gender disparity in science and engineering research  in various S&T programs in Indian academic institutions and R&D laboratories.

Speaking on the occasion, the Union Minister emphasized the significance of empowering the women researchers in our S&T landscape.  He said, “Integration of the gender dimension in research design has gained considerable attention in the global scenario. Enhancement of participation and promotion of women in the research workforce is one of the prime priorities of our Government”. He appreciated that DST through the Women Fellowship Scheme had introduced some significant women empowering policies and supported thousands of women researchers in the past.

 SERB – POWER Scheme will have two components namely (i) SERB-POWER Fellowship (ii) SERB- POWER Research Grants. The salient features of each of these are as follows:

A,Salient features of the SERB-POWER Fellowship:-

a)         Target: Women researchers in 35-55 years of age. Up-to 25 Fellowships per year and not more than 75 at any point in time.

b)         Components of support: Fellowship of Rs. 15,000/- per month in addition to regular income; Research grant of Rs. 10 lakh per annum; and Overhead of Rs. 90,000/- per annum.

c).        Duration: Three years, without the possibility of extension. Once in a career.

B. Salient features of the SERB – POWER Research Grants :

a)         POWER Grants will empower women researchers by funding them under following two categories:

i.          Level I (Applicants from IITs, IISERs, IISc, NITs, Central Universities, and National Labs of Central Government Institutions): The scale of funding is up to 60 lakhs for three years.

ii.         Level II (Applicants from State Universities / Colleges and Private Academic Institutions): The scale of funding is up to 30 lakhs for three years.

b.         POWER Grant will be regulated through terms of reference conforming to SERB-CRG(Science and Engineering Research Board-Core Research Grant) guidelines.

            While a Search-cum-Selection Committee constituted for the purpose will help in identifying the POWER Fellowship, the existing Programme Advisory Committee (PAC) mechanism will be used to select the POWER Research Grants.

It is proposed to institute 25 POWER Fellowships annually. A total of 50 Power Grants each will be sanctioned in Level I & Level II per annum.

It was felt that SERB-POWER Fellowships and Grants will also serve as a benchmark of recognition in the national scenario.These Schemes of the Government will definitely empower women scientists and cultivate women friendly culture in our academic and research institutions and ensure more women in leadership positions in decision making bodies.

The launch which was attended by Professor Ashutosh Sharma, Chairman, SERB & Secretary, DST, Professor Sandeep Verma, Secretary, SERB and Scientists from Ministry of Science and Technology echoed the intent of the government to bring more numbers of women scientists in the R&D ecosystem.


 










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