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The Union Minister of Agriculture & Farmers Welfare, Radha Mohan Singh on February 21, 2018 launched six new features of National Agriculture Market (e-NAM) Platform with an aim to make it more users friendly.

Six new user friendly features of e-NAM Platform
The new and user-friendly features of the e-NAM platform are MIS Dashboard for better analysis, BHIM payment facility by traders, mobile payment facility by traders, enhanced features on Mobile App, integration of farmer’s database, eLearning module in e-NAM website, etc.  Here are the details of these features:

1. e-NAM Mobile App
• Mobile app has been made multilingual. 
• e-NAM Mobile app is being enhanced in multi-dimension so that the entire operation for farmers can be user friendly. 
• Mandi operators can now carry out one of the critical operation of Gate Entry directly from e-NAM Mobile App. 
• This will also facilitate the farmers to do advance Gate Entry on Mobile app which in turn will reduce a lot of time for farmers coming in the Mandi and will bring huge efficiency and facilitate smooth arrival recording at the Gate.
• Farmers can now also see the progress of their lot being traded and also can see the real time bidding progress of price on Mobile App.
• Now, online payment by trader (buyer) can also be done from e-NAM Mobile App through debit card and net banking. Once farmer receives the payment, an SMS alert will be sent to him. 

2. BHIM payment facility
• The facilitation of Unified Payment Interface (UPI) through BHIM App is another milestone for the e-NAM platform. 
• It is aimed at easing out the mode of payment to farmers which will also reduce the payment realization time from buyers’ account to the pool account.
• Currently, e-NAM portal facilitates direct online payment to farmers only through RTGS/NEFT, Debit Card and Internet Banking. 

3. New and improved Website with eLearning Module
• A new website has been developed with improved and more informative features like live status of markets of e-NAM based on gate entry, latest information on events, dynamic training calendar etc.
• e-Learning module in Hindi language has also been designed and incorporated in the website so that various stake holders can learn online about how to operate the system.

4. MIS Dashboard
• MIS Dashboard has been developed, based on business intelligence with an aim to provide a greater insight into the performance of each Mandi in terms of arrival and trade. 
• It will help the Mandi Board officials and APMC Secretary to compare the performance of each Mandi on daily, weekly, monthly/quarterly and Year-on-Year Basis. 
• It will be beneficial for the Mandi Board and Mandi Secretary in planning and coordinating their operations post historical analysis.

5. Grievance Redressal Management System 
 A Grievance Redressal Management System has been developed to help Mandi Secretary to raise technology issues related to portal or software and its operation and also track the status of redressal of their query online.

6. Integration with Farmer Database
• e-NAM has been integrated with Central Farmer Database so that the registration process becomes easier and Identification of farmers can be done easily on arrival at the Mandi Gate.
• This will help in managing the load at the Gate more efficiently during peak time in Rabi and Kharif and reduce waiting time for farmers at the entry gate.

The Union Government has issued order setting up the ‘Niti Forum for North-East’. The forum will be co-chaired by the Vice-Chairman of NITI Aayog and Minister of State (I/C), Ministry of Development of Northeastern Region (DoNER). The forum will have its Secretariat in the Ministry of DoNER.

 The NITI Forum for Northeast is tasked to identify various constraints on the way of accelerated, inclusive and sustainable economic growth in the North East Region of the country and to recommend suitable interventions for addressing identified constraints. It will also review the development status in the NER.

Members of the Forum will include Secretaries of Ministries of Road Transport & Highways, Railways, Power, Water Resources, River Development & Ganga Rejuvenation, New & Renewable Energy, Health & Family Welfare, Human Resource Development, Environment, Forest & Climate Change.  Chief Secretaries of Northeastern states of Assam, Sikkim, Nagaland, Meghalaya, Manipur, Tripura, Arunachal Pradesh and Mizoram will also be members of the Forum.  Secretary, North East Council (NEC), Shillong will be Member Secretary.   Joint Secretary (NE), MHA, besides a number of experts from various fields will also be members of the Forum.

 The Forum may examine and address any other issues which are of importance but not specifically spelt out in its Terms of Reference. It may devise its own procedure to conduct its business/meetings/fields visits or constitution of Sub-Groups etc.

A regional centre for agriculture set up with Israeli collaboration will be inaugurated in Mizoram  the first of its kind in the northeast region  on March 7.

The centre has been set up to exclusively process citrus fruits. Israel will provide the expertise and professional support to run the centre, which will cater to the entire northeast, Israel Ambassador to India Daniel Carmon said during a meeting with Union Minister of State (Independent Charge) in the Ministry of Development of North Eastern Region (DoNER), Jitendra Singh. The project was a result of the collaboration between the Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare, and the governments of Israel and Mizoram.

There are 22 such centres operational in India, including in Haryana, Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Punjab. The first such centre was established in 2008 in Haryana.

Israel wants to establish one centre in each of the remaining states in India in the future.The Ministry for the Development of North Eastern Region will coordinate wherever required. It will benefit the farmers of northeastern region in the long run. It will also serve as a model of learning for other countries in the Indian subcontinent.

India's indigenous light transport aircraft SARAS was successfully test flown for a second time.The flight took off from HAL's airport in Bengaluru for a text book flight.Commanded by Wing Commander U. P. Singh, Group Captain R. V.

Panicker and Group Captain K. P. Bhat of Indian Air Force- Aircraft and System Testing Establishment, this was the second of the 20 test flights planned for SARAS PT1N, before freezing the production version.The first successful test was carried out on January 24, this year.

The design and development of the aircraft is being done by CSIR-National Aerospace Laboratories, NAL.Meanwhile, Science & Technology Minister Dr Harsh Vardhan congratulated the CSIR-NAL scientists and the commanders of Indian Air Force.

The flight commanders deserve special appreciation, for their courage to fly an aircraft, which was rejected earlier.The minister also announced commendation award for the Commandant and the test crew of ASTE.

The project was dumped by the previous government, after an accident during test flight in 2009. Though the Directorate General of Civil Aviation, DGCA had exonerated the aircraft from any design flaw or poor-quality production, no effort was made to revive the project.The credit for reviving the indigenous project goes to the present government headed by Narendra Modiji, who had given a thrust to 'Make in India' mission. It is the culmination of joint team efforts of ASTE, DGAQA, CEMILAC and HAL.

After the project was revived by the present government, NAL incorporated design modifications and improvements on the SARAS PT 1 model, like 2x1200 shp engines and 104-inch diameter propeller assembles to cater to second segment climb gradient requirements, improved flight control system, rudder area, main wheel and brakes to cater to 7100 kg AUV, indigenously developed stall warning system, etc.

To celebrate the creative and cultural industries in Varanasi and to focus attention on the need for Swachhta by using cultural forms, a Sanskriti Mahotsav “Swachhagrah – Bapu ko Kaaryaanjali” is being organized on the 21st and 22nd February, 2018 at the Man Mandir Ghat and Assi Ghat in Varanasi.

The Minister of State for Culture (Independent Charge) and Environment, Forest & Climate Change, Dr. Mahesh Sharma will remain present on the second day of the event being held at Man Mandir Ghat on 22nd February, 2018. The Mahotsav will integrate the tangible and intangible heritage along the river-belt and will see the engagement of the academia, artists, artisans, writers, poets, environmental and cultural forums on the use of cultural expressions for conservation and protection of the river and the ancient city. The Swachhta drive will be steered by school-children affiliated to Ministry of Culture, Government of India’s Interpretation Centres through exhibitions, songs, puppetry, nukkad nataks and folk dances.

The 2-day event would focus on performances on the theme of ‘Swachhagraha’ presented under the rubric of ‘Swachhagraha: Bapu ko Karyanjali’.

The Mahotsav will cover a profusion of art forms from classical, folk music, dance and visual arts and would offer the chance to experience the best in established and emerging virtuosity. An exhibition on Varanasi curated by the National Archives will be showcased at the Man Mandir ghat to the creation of Virtual Museum. The National Gallery of Modern Art in partnership with the Fine Arts School of BHU will conduct painting and terracotta-sculpture workshops for students of Cultural Interpretation Centres set up in several schools by the Ministry of Culture, Government of India. Installations and large canvases drawn by children on the theme of Swachhta will be exhibited at prominent places and ghats of the city. Buses, Boats provided by the District Administration and prominent walls will be covered with graffiti art and with multicoloured murals and tags celebrating the theme of ‘Swachhagraha: Bapu ko Kaaryaanjali’.

During the Swachhagraha Music and Dance Festival the classical arts of Varanasi will be celebrated at a stage created at the Man Mandir ghat. On 21st February, the program will start with a tabla recital by 5 year old Avantika Mishra, granddaughter of Padma Vibhushan Pandit Kishan Maharaj. Children from the Interpretation Centres will perform Swachhta Geet. The duo of Pandit Narendra Mishra and Pandit Pooran Maharaj will perform on Sitar and Tabla respectively while Sanjeev and Ashwini Shankar will perform on Shahnai. In the dance segment, Saurav and Gaurav (from the Benaras Gharana) will perform Kathak dance.

A melange of colourful and traditional handicraft and textiles from Varanasi and other parts of the country will form part of a Crafts Bazaar at Assi Ghat. Art connoisseurs will get a chance to interact with artisans and watch their work in progress. The bazaar will include folk performances by folk singers and dancers from different states with special focus on Arunachal Pradesh and Meghalaya, the states paired with Uttar Pradesh under the Ek Bharat Shreshtha Bharat matrix. A small food corner will also bring out the aroma of Varanasi and tribal cuisine from Arunachal Pradesh and Meghalaya. 

On the second day of the mahotsav, the evening will open with the Swachhta Geet by children, followed by Malini Awasthi’s vocal rendition. She will be be followed by Kathak dancer, Vishal Krishna. The event will end with Shruti Sadolikar’s classical rendition. Ravindra Jaiswal, MLA, Varanasi North, Dr. Neelkanth Tiwari, MLA, Varanasi South, Saurabh Srivastav, MLA, Varanasi Cantt., Surendra Narayan Singh, MLA, Rohaniyan and Neel Ratan Singh Patel, MLA, Sevapuri will also grace the occasion.

The LIVE coverage of Ras Banaras Mahotsav can be seen on the Youtube channel of Sanskriti.goi from 6 pm on 21st and 22nd February 2018.

The Union Cabinet today approved an agreement signed between India and Israel on co-production of films. The agreement was inked between the two countries during the visit of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to India last month. 

Co-production of an Indian film with an international party means that Indian producer can access international funds and can collaborate on the script, talent and distribution at international level. 

The Union Cabinet chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi has given its ex-post facto approval to an agreement on films co-production between India and Israel.

Co-production of a film under this treaty will qualify to be a national production both in India and Israel.The co-produced films will also be eligible for their participation as domestic productions in film festivals of both the countries.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday inaugurated the two-day ‘UP Investors Summit’—the first such event by the Yogi Adityanath government. President Ram Nath Kovind will attend the valedictory function on the second day. 

The summit is aimed at showcasing investment opportunities and potential across various sectors in Uttar Pradesh. The mega event is being organised to bring together heads of states and governments, ministers, leaders from the corporate world, senior policy makers, heads of international institutions and academicians from around the world to further the cause of economic development in the state and promote cooperation to pave way for better investments.

Seven nations – Finland, Netherlands, Japan, Czech Republic, Thailand, Slovakia and Mauritius have been identified as country partners for the event. Several memorandums of understandings (MoUs) are expected to be signed during the summit.  

 The event comes in the backdrop of Prime Minister’s clarion call to the states to engage in the spirit of co-operative and competitive federalism for all round development of states showcasing their potential and attracting investors.  In keeping up with his promise and commitment, the Prime Minister inaugurated Global Investors summit in Guwahati on February 4 and Magnetic Maharashtra on February 18 this year.

The Union Cabinet chaired by the Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi has given approval for creation of National Urban Housing Fund (NUHF) for Rs.60,000 crores. This fund will be situated in Building Materials and Technology Promotion Council (BMTPC), an autonomous body registered under the Societies Registration Act, 1860 under the Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs.

The Ministry has so far sanctioned 39.4 lakh houses under Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana (Urban). There is a very good response from the States / UTs and nearly 2 - 3 lakh houses are being sanctioned every month. More than 17 lakh houses have been grounded and about 5 lakh houses have been completed.

Under Credit Linked Subsidy Scheme (CLSS), wherein housing for EWS / LIG / MIG beneficiaries is being sanctioned by the Banks / HFCs to the eligible beneficiaries under the PMAY(Urban), the responses have grown significantly. Nearly 87,000 Housing Loans have been sanctioned in last 8 months under the Scheme and over 40,000 applications are under consideration for approval. The target is to cater to the demand of housing shortage of nearly 1.2 crore and make available housing to all by 2022, when the Country celebrates its 75th Anniversary of Independence.

NUHF will facilitate raising requisite funds in next four years so that flow of Central Assistance under different verticals i.e. Beneficiary Linked Construction (BLC), Affordable Housing in Partnership(AHP), In-Situ Slum Redevelopment (ISSR) and Credit Linked Subsidy Scheme (CLSS) is sustained and construction of houses to address the gap in Urban Sector progresses smoothly.

Most migration today is linked, directly or indirectly, to the search for decent work opportunities,” said UN International Labour Organization (ILO) Director-General Guy Ryder in his message for World Day of Social Justice, which is annually observed on 20 February.

But many migrant workers end up trapped in jobs with low pay and unsafe and unhealthy working conditions, often in the informal economy, without respect for their labour and other human rights. They often have to pay high recruitment fees to get a job, on average over a year’s wages – this makes them highly vulnerable to forced labour and child labour.Marked this year with the theme ‘Workers on the Move: the Quest for Social Justice,’ the Day focuses on the world’s 150 million migrant workers, many of whom face exploitation, discrimination and violence and lack even the most basic protections.

If labour migration is well-governed, fair and effective, it can deliver benefits and opportunities for migrant workers, their families and their host communities. Governance should be guided by international labour standards, in particular the fundamental principles and rights at work and the relevant ILO and UN conventions. The ILO’s Multilateral Framework on Labour Migration and the General Principles and Operational Guidelines for Fair Recruitment offer further guidance.

The ILO is encouraging the adoption of fair labour migration governance frameworks at all levels – global, regional and national, including a comprehensive, integrated and “whole of government” approach that engages labour ministries together with business, and employers’ and workers’ organizations – those on the frontlines of labour markets. In 2007, the UN General Assembly proclaimed 20 February as World Day of Social Justice, inviting Member States to promote national activities in accordance with the objectives and goals of the World Summit for Social Development and the twenty-fourth special session of the General Assembly.

Retirement fund body EPFO declared 8.55% interest rate for FY18, which is 10 bps lower than 8.65% for FY17.

The decision for the body's 50 million members was taken at Employees Provident Fund Organisation's trustees' meet.