UAE top source of inward remittances in 2016-17: RBI
According to the Reserve Bank of India’s survey of inward remittances for 2016-17, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) has emerged as the top source of inward remittances, while Kerala has received the maximum funds sent from abroad. UAE’s share in total remittances was 26.9%, followed by the United States (22.9%), Saudi Arabia (11.6%), Qatar (6.5%) and Kuwait (5.5%). According to the survey, 82% of the total remittances received by India originated from eight countries — UAE, the U.S., Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Kuwait, Oman, the United Kingdom and Malaysia. Among destinations, Kerala has the highest share with 19%, followed by Maharashtra (16.7%), Karnataka (15%), Tamil Nadu (8%) and Delhi (5.9%). Kerala, Maharashtra, Karnataka and Tamil Nadu together received 58.7% of total remittances. More than half of remittances received by Indian residents were used for family maintenance, i.e., consumption (59.2%), followed by deposits in banks (20%) and investments in landed property and shares (8.3%). Remittances essentially represent household income from foreign economies arising mainly from the temporary or permanent movement of workers to source economies. The rupee drawing arrangement (RDA) is the most popular channel of remittances which accounts for 75.2% of remittances, followed by SWIFT (19.5%), direct transfers (3.4%) and cheques and drafts (1.9%). Private banks got the lions share in total remittances with 74.1%, while public sector banks share was 17.3% and the remaining with foreign banks.
Nirmala Sitharaman & Yogi Adityanath launched defence industrial corridor in Aligarh
Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman and Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath launched the first phase of UP Deference Corridor in Aligarh, Uttar Pradesh. Six nodal points have been identified for the corridor in UP, viz. Agra, Aligarh, Lucknow, Kanpur, Chitrakoot and Jhansi. Stakeholder interactions have already been held in Lucknow, Kanpur, Agra and Jhansi. All the interactions have seen huge response from the industries in and around the locations. When the ‘Make in India’ initiative was launched by the Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi in September 2014 to transform India into a global design and manufacturing hub, Defence Manufacturing was identified as one of the 25 key sectors. The announcement of setting up of two corridors – one in Tamil Nadu and the other in UP- exclusively for defence manufacturing in the current year’s budget, is a logical continuum to this policy of the Government. In the intervening period of almost 4 years, several steps have been taken to promote indigenisation in the defence sector. The inclusion of the Indigenous Design, Development and Manufacture (IDDM) category and giving it the top priority in capital acquisition, introduction of the Make Procedure, simplification of the licensing process and modification of the offset policy, are some of these steps. Introduction of a more industry friendly Defence Production Policy, further revisions to the offset policy, simplification of export and import processes are also in progress and are likely to be implemented soon. While these steps are all in the right direction, there is a need for focussed action at a localised level and develop specialised zones dedicated to various facets of defence production.
Cabinet approves continuation of Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojana beyond 12th Five Year Plan period
The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs, chaired by the Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi has given its approval for continuation of Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojana (PMGSY) beyond 12th Five Year Plan period. The fund sharing pattern will be same. Habitation (population 250+) would be covered by March, 2019. PMGSY-II and habitations under identified LWE blocks (100-249 population) would be covered by March 2020. Initially the targets of PMGSY were to be achieved by March 2022, however, the sunset date of achievement of PMGSY-I was pre-poned to March, 2019, with enhanced fund allocation and changed funding pattern i.e. in the ratio of 60:40 between the Centre and State for all States except for 8 North Eastern and 3 Himalayan States (Jammu & Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh & Uttarakhand) for which it is 90:10. The Task of connecting 1,78,184 eligible unconnected habitations under PMGSY on its way towards completion by March, 2019. So far, 95% habitations have been sanctioned, of which 91% habitations have been connected including 16,380 habitations connected by the States from their own resources. Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojana (PMGSY) was launched on 25″ December, 2000 with the objective to provide All-Weather road connectivity to the eligible unconnected habitations in rural areas of Country. The programme envisages connecting all unconnected habitations with a population of 500 persons (as per 2001 Census) and above in plain areas. Also eligible are the unconnected habitations with 250 persons and above (Census 2001) in Special Category States’ namely North-East, Sikkim, Himachal Pradesh, Jammu & Kashmir and Uttarakhand, the Desert areas (as identified in Desert Development Programme) and 88 Selected Tribal and Backward districts as identified by the Ministry of Home Affairs/Planning Commission. For Most intensive Integrated Action Plan (IAP) blocks as identified by Ministry of Home Affairs, the unconnected habitations with population 100 and above (as per 2001 census) is eligible to be covered under PMGSY.
Haryana to roll out Ayushman Bharat scheme on August 15
The Haryana government will launch the Ayushman Bharat-Haryana Health Protection Mission on August 15 to provide cashless healthcare facilities to beneficiaries at empanelled hospitals. On a pilot basis, the scheme would be implemented in one government hospital in each of the 22 districts, one ESI hospital and one medical college. A decision to this effect was taken in a meeting held under the chairmanship of Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar. Under the scheme, families identified by the Socio-Economic and Caste Census (SECC) would be provided with coverage of Rs 5 lakh. Every family figuring in the defined SECC 2011 database would be entitled to claim benefits under the scheme. Each beneficiary would be issued a card with a unique QR code and he/she would have to produce it at the hospital. A total of 15.50 lakhs families, including 9,25,014 in rural and 6,26,761 in urban areas, that figure in the SECC-2011 database would be entitled to claim the benefits. Around 58 government and 32 private hospitals in the state would be empanelled for successful implementation of the scheme by August 15 for the pilot project.
Curtain Raiser: Exercise SCO Peace Mission 2018
As part of Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) initiatives, SCO Peace Mission Exercise is conducted biennially for SCO member states. The joint exercise for the year 2018 will be conducted by Central Military Commission of Russia from 22 August to 29 August 2018 at Chebarkul, Chelyabinsk, Russia. This will be a historic occasion due to the maiden participation of India post becoming a full member of the SCO in June 2017. The exercise will involve tactical level operations in an international counter insurgency or counter terrorism environment under SCO Charter. The Indian contingent is primarily composed of troops from infantry and affiliated arms & services along with Indian Air Force. This exercise marks a major milestone in the multilateral relations of SCO member nations. The Indian contingent has been put through a strenuous training schedule which includes firing, heliborne operations, combat conditioning, tactical operations and house intervention drills. The joint exercise will strengthen mutual confidence, interoperability and enable sharing of best practices among armed forces of SCO Nations. It will be a landmark event in the history of SCO defence cooperation.