Union Agriculture Minister Asks Bihar Chief Minister to Help Farmers by Utilising State Disaster Response Fund

Union Agriculture Minister Asks Bihar Chief Minister to Help Farmers by Utilising State Disaster Response Fund

Union Agriculture Minister Shri Radha Mohan Singh has urged the Bihar Chief Minister Shri Nitish Kumar to help farmers, who have been affected by unseasonal rain and hailstorms during the month of February and March of this year, by utilising State Disaster Response Fund. Ministry of Agriculture has already requested all State Governments, vide, letter number 38-8/2015-DM, dated 19th March 2015, that if additional assistance over and above the State Disaster Response Fund is required, Memorandum may be submitted for consideration as per procedure for assistance from National Disaster Response Fund.

Shri Radha Mohan Singh mentioned that vide letter number 33-4/2015-NDM-I dated 20th March 2015, State Governments have been authorised to notify disaster in local context and expenditure for relief can be met from State Disaster Response Fund within the limit of 10 percent of the fund available under the State Disaster Response Fund.

For details/reference:

1.      Union Agriculture Minister Shri Radha Mohan Singh’s letter to the Bihar Chief Minister Shri Nitish Kumar
2.      Letter number 38-8/2015-DM, dated 19th March 2015, letter by Ministry of Agriculture
3.      Letter number 33-4/2015-NDM-I dated 20th March 2015, letter  by Ministry of Home Affairs
4.      Details regarding State Disaster Response Fund

TRAI issues Tariff Order (TO) prescribing framework for commercial interoperability of Customer Premises Equipment (CPE) in DTH services. 

The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) has today issued a Tariff Order (TO) namely the Telecommunication (Broadcasting and Cable) Services (Seventh) (the Direct to Home Services) Tariff Order, 2015 (2 of 2015). This Tariff Order (TO) prescribe a framework for commercial interoperability of Customer Premises Equipment (CPE) offered by the Direct-to-Home (DTH) operators to their subscribers.

Direct-to-Home (DTH) services In India have been growing at a rapid pace since they were introduced in 2003. Today, there are six private operators offering DTH services to around 73 million subscribers. As these operators have launched the services at different point of time, deploying different transmission and compression standards and encryption solutions, CPE deployed by one operator may not be compatible with the network of another operator. Therefore, if a subscriber wishes to migrate to another DTH operator or Cable TV platform, he is required to invest in the CPE/STB of the other operator. It has also been observed that there is a lack of transparency in various schemes offered by the DTH operators in the market.

The Authority is of the view that interests of Consumers in this regard can largely be protected through the provision of Commercial interoperability of CPEs and mandating transparent and upfront declaration of all charges and conditions by the DTH operators at the time of providing service. Commercial interoperability provides for an exit option to a subscriber in case he wishes to change the operator and avail the services from another DTH operator for any reason.

Salient features of this TO are as follows:-
         Transparent price declaration of all types of CPEs by the DTH operators to enable a subscriber to make an informed choice.
         Transparent and upfront declaration of installation & activation charges by DTH operators which shall not exceed Rs 450/-.
         DTH operators to mandatorily offer an outright purchase scheme called Standard Scheme for all types of CPEs on standalone basis.
         DTH operators may offer additional schemes including bundled schemes and rental schemes.
         In the rental schemes, DTH operators can charge a specified one-time interest free refundable security deposit, installation and activation charges from the subscriber during enrolment followed by specified monthly rental charges. No repair/maintenance charges are permissible from such subscribers.
         DTH operators shall cater for free maintenance and repairs of CPEs for three years after installation/activation. In case of outright purchase and hire purchase schemes, DTH operators may levy visitation charges not exceeding Rs 250/- per visit after the warranty period has elapsed.
         Subscribers shall have an option of buy-back/refund for CPEs in all the offered schemes including bundled schemes with an exception of rental schemes. In rental scheme, subscriber will get back the security deposit.
         DTH operators may prescribe a lock-in period not exceeding six months for a subscriber to remain committed. Subscribers can surrender the CPE any time subject to levy of certain charges that have been prescribed.
         DTH operators shall setup collection centers at every district headquarters to enable easy return of CPEs. Subscribers shall be provided with a toll-free telephone number for registration of request for surrender of connection.
         Subscribers shall have option of returning the CPE by paying a nominal collection charge of Rs 300/- to the DTH operator or to return the CPE at the designated collection center.
         No other charges by any other name other than those specified in the TO can be levied on the subscribers by DTH operators.
         DTH operators shall declare all current schemes on their websites while also publishing all charges for each scheme. Subscribers to be given details of the scheme opted by him. 
         DTH operators have been given a time of 60 days to align their business processes for compliance with the provisions of this TO.

The framework for commercial interoperability prescribed in the TO is expected to put in place an effective mechanism to achieve the objective of commercial interoperability. This will give a fillip to fair competition amongst DTH operators, discourage monopolistic practices and empower the subscriber with greater choice. This will further enable orderly growth of the sector. The Tariff Order is available on TRAI’s website: www.trai.gov.in.

Chinese delegation headed by Minister of Religious Affairs of China calls on Union Tourism and Culture Minister

India exploring the possibility of extending Tourist Visa on Arrival to China: Dr Mahesh Sharma

A six member delegation led by Minister of Religious Affairs of China, Mr. Wang Zuoan met the Minister of State for Culture (Independent Charge), Tourism (Independent Charge) and Civil Aviation, Dr. Mahesh Sharma in New Delhi today. Secretary, Ministry of Culture, Mr. Ravindra Singh and other senior officers of the Ministry of Culture were present in the meeting. Welcoming the delegation, Dr. Mahesh Sharma said that Buddhism is the binding force between the two countries and India values the common cultural relations with China especially those based on Buddhist links. India is keen to take forward its relationship with China and it is in this background that India is keenly exploring the possibility of extending the facility of Tourist Visa on Arrival (TVoA) to China, he said. 

Mr. Wang Zuoan said that during the visit of Prime Minister, Shri Narendra Modi to China the focus was on cultural exchange between the two countries. Mr. Wang Zuoan said that the purpose of his visit to India is to take the cooperation between the two countries further especially in the area of Buddhist studies and exchange. The Buddhist Forum is being held in China in October this year to promote research and Budhist studies, he added. 

Both sides agreed to work towards holding a jointly curated exhibition on Xuang Zang (Hsuan tsang) in India and China . India has also proposed to host Virtual Museums on Indian Culture on Chinese platforms. 

DG, ASI and DG, National Museum will visit China for the purpose of academics and research on the cave murals of Aurangabad (Ajanta& Ellora) & Dunhuang (China). India also requested China to provide Buddhist texts, if any, in Chinese Temples to India for translation into Sanskrit. 

Secretary, Culture, Mr. Ravindra Singh informed that an exhibition on Buddhist Art was recently held in Shanghai and was visited by 3 lakh people. An exhibition of Modern Art will be organised soon in Guangzhou by NGMA of Ministry of Culture. 

Evacuation of Indian Nationals from Djibouti by the Indian Air Force (IAF) 

Consequent upon the Government of India issuing an advisory for Indian nationals to leave Yemen, the Indian Air Force(IAF) deployed two heavy transport aircraft with alacrity,  in support of evacuation operations.  In a well coordinated operation involving multi agencies,  IAF deployed  two C-17 Globemaster III aircraft, today.  These aircraft took off from Delhi early this morning and reached  Djibouti.  These two aircraft will bring back people evacuated from Yemen to India.  One aircraft will be landing at Kochi and the other at Mumbai.  

It would be pertinent to note that transport aircraft  are being utilised extensively for Human Assistance Disaster Relief (HADR) operations. The Indian Air Force, after proving its mettle in bringing succor to scores of people after Jammu & Kashmir in September last year has once again risen to the occasion and added a pioneering chapter  in Disaster Relief by bringing home the Indians evacuated from Yemen. The Indian Air Force reaffirms its commitment towards Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief Operations in support of the nation. Click here to see photo      


Indian Army Everest Massif Expedition Flagged Off 

            Fifty years ago, an Indian team, conquered the Mount Everest (Sagarmatha) for the first time.  Major A S Cheema, became the first Indian to scale the peak.
On the occasion of the Golden Jubilee year of the first ascent of the Mount Everest by India, the ‘Indian Army Everest Massif Expedition 2015’ is embarking on a challenging journey to scale the highest and the fourth highest mountain in the world, i.e. the Mount Everest and Mount Lhotse. General Dalbir Singh, the Chief of Army Staff, handed over the Expedition Flag to the team today at the Flag Off Ceremony conducted at Manekshaw Centre.
            The team is led by Maj RS Jamwal, an experienced mountaineer and comprises of 30 members.  It will split into two groups and attempt to scale the two peaks.  The team will also contribute towards resorting the ecological balance of the route by bringing down some of the non biodegradable waste left behind by generation of climbers.  The army mountaineers thus aim to give back to ‘Sagarmatha’ a measure of reverence that she merits, thus conveying a message of our Honourable Prime Minister’s vision of a clean environment.
Team will depart for Kathmandu on 04 Apr 15 and attempt to scale the peak between 16 to 31 May. Five members of the team will also participate in ‘Tenzing Hillary Everest Marathon’ from Everest Base Camp to Namche Bazar, traversing a distance of more than 42 km. Click here to see photos:   


 Evacuation of Indian Nationals from Aden by the Indian Navy 

Consequent upon the Government of India issuing an advisory for Indian nationals to leave Yemen, the Indian Navy has deployed three ships in support of the evacuation operation. In a well coordinated operation involving multiple agencies, INS Sumitra, an Offshore Patrol Vessel, which has been deployed for anti-piracy patrol in the Gulf of Aden since 11 Mar 15 was the first to undertake evacuation from Yemen. The ship was re-deployed off the Port of Aden on 30 Mar 15 and, thereafter, entered Aden Harbour in the evening of 31 Mar 15. The ship evacuated 349 Indians from Aden and is currently on passage to Djibouti. On disembarkation of these personnel at Djibouti, the ship is scheduled to return to Aden to undertake further evacuation, if required. 

IN Ships Mumbai and Tarkash also sailed from Mumbai on 30 Mar 15. The ships will escort two passenger vessels, Kavaratti and Corals, through the piracy risk area off the Coast of Somalia. These passenger vessels had sailed from Kochi on 30 Mar 15, to Djibouti. The two warships will, thereafter, be available for evacuation of Indian nationals from Yemeni ports, as required. 

Coincidentally, the Indian Navy had undertaken a large scale HADR Exercise very recently in Feb 2015. The alacrity and flexibility of the current operation once again underscores the Navy’s capability in terms of Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief (HADR). 


Union Agriculture Minister Asks Bihar Chief Minister to Help Farmers by Utilising State Disaster Response Fund Union Agriculture Minister Asks Bihar Chief Minister to Help Farmers by Utilising State Disaster Response Fund  Reviewed by Ajit Kumar on 3:09 PM Rating: 5

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