Kerala to soon see off its overseas emigrants with Shubhayatra scheme
The State government of kerala has launched a groundbreaking scheme called ‘Shubhayatra’. The scheme aims to provide much-needed financial support to first-time overseas emigrants from Kerala, facilitating a positive and productive migration ecosystem.
With a financial assistance of up to ₹2 lakh, a tax holiday for six months, and attractive interest subvention, the scheme intends to help eligible candidates cover the incidental expenses associated with overseas employment.
The Shubhayatra Solution: Soft Loan and Financial Assistance
The ‘Shubhayatra’ scheme offers a comprehensive solution to address the financial hurdles faced by aspiring overseas job seekers.
The scheme will provide a soft loan called ‘foreign employability skilling assistant’ which covers preparatory expenses for migration. The loan amount will be proportional to the salary offered to the candidate by their employer in the recipient country.
To ensure the successful implementation of the scheme, the State government will collaborate with nationalized and scheduled banks. These banks will be responsible for offering the soft loans to eligible candidates.
Additionally, the government will provide financial support for interest subvention and grant a six-month tax holiday for the loan.
Financial Allocation and Repayment
In support of the ‘Shubhayatra’ scheme, the Kerala government has allocated ₹2 crore in the current financial year for providing tax holidays and interest subvention to emigrants.
The tax holiday and interest subvention aim to alleviate the financial burden on first-time emigrants and promote higher quality professional migration from the State.
Candidates who avail of the soft loan will have a grace period of up to three years to repay the borrowed amount.
This flexible repayment plan is expected to ease the transition for emigrants and allow them to focus on establishing themselves in their overseas careers without immediate financial stress.
‘Shubhayatra’ scheme: Enhancing Quality and Economic Development
‘Shubhayatra’ scheme will significantly enhance the quality of professional migration from Kerala. As the largest remittance-receiving State in India, Kerala’s economy is closely linked to its emigration history. Therefore, creating a conducive and productive ecosystem for affordable and quality migration from the State is of utmost importance for its sustained development.
India successfully concludes trials of anti-tank guided missiles
India’s indigenous Nag Anti-Tank Guided Missile (ATGM) and the variant of HELINA (Helicopter-launched NAG) Weapon System called ‘Dhruvastra’ are set to be inducted into the Indian army and Indian Air Force (IAF) after clearing all the trials. Both the Nag ATGM and Helina (Dhruvastra) missiles are developed by Defence Research and Development Organisation(DRDO) and manufactured by Bharat Dynamics Limited(BDL). Nag is the surface-to-air missile and Dhruvastra is the air-to-surface missile.
About Nag ATGM:
NAG also known as Prospina, is a third generation Anti-Tank Guided Missile with Fire and Forget top attack capability. Nag ATGM developed under the integrated guided missile development programme (IGMDP), which also includes four other missiles Agni, Akash, Trishul and Prithvi.
The Nag has an operational range of up to 4 km and is armed with a tandem High- Explosive Anti-Tank (HEAT) warhead.
Nag ATGM measures approximately 1.834 meters in length, has a diameter of 0.158 meters, and weighs around 44 kilograms.
About Helina (Dhruvastra):
Helina is an Air to Surface Missile system launched from Advanced Light Helicopter (ALH).ALH is fitted with two Twin launchers, one on each side, each carrying eight missiles.
It has the operational range up to 7km and length of 1.946m, and a diameter of 0.150m.
It has a High Resolution Imaging Infrared Seeker (IIR) operating in the Lock on Before Launch(LOBL) mode and capable of automatic target detection and tracking in adverse weather conditions.
Note: In 2022, DRDO has successfully flight tested at high-altitude ranges as part of user validation trials.
Health Ministry prohibits sale of Ketoprofen and Aceclofenac
According to a notification issued by the Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare on July 31, 2023, the production, sale, and distribution of ‘ketoprofen’ and ‘aceclofenac’, along with their formulations, for animal use is prohibited under section 26A of the Drugs and Cosmetics Act, 1940 (23 of 40).
The recommendation of this ban was made by the Drugs Technical Advisory Board (DTAB).
What are Ketoprofen and Aceclofenac?
These are non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) which are frequently employed to relieve pain and inflammation in both humans and animals. However, when vultures and other raptor species consume treated carcasses, it is still observed to have adverse effects on their health.
Reasons for implementing this ban
India experienced a significant decline in its vulture population during the 1990s, attributed to the use of diclofenac in cattle.
Given their slow breeding rate and potential high mortality rates, without proper control measures, vultures could face the risk of extinction.
Despite the subsequent ban on the drug, it will be a long time before the vulture population fully recovers.
Rich Diversity of Vulture Species in India
In India, there are nine vulture species, consisting of six resident species (white-rumped vulture, Indian vulture, slender-billed vulture, red-headed vulture, bearded vulture, Egyptian vulture) and three migratory species (cinereous vulture, griffon vulture, Himalayan vulture).
About Drugs Technical Advisory Board (DTAB)
DTAB is the apex authority for making statutory decisions on technical drug-related matters in India. It was established under the Drugs and Cosmetics Act of 1940.
This authority operates as part of the Central Drugs Standard Control Organization (CDSCO) and operates under the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare.
Its primary function is to offer expert advice to the Central and State Governments concerning the administration of the Drugs and Cosmetics Act of 1940 and to fulfill other functions assigned by this Act.
Ministry implemented ‘Naya Savera’ or ‘Free Coaching and Allied’ scheme
The Ministry implemented ‘Naya Savera’ scheme also known as ‘Free Coaching and Allied’ scheme to assist students/candidates belonging to the six minority communities namely Sikh, Jain, Muslim, Christian, Buddhist and Parsi by way of special coaching for qualifying examinations.
‘Naya Savera’ Scheme: OBJECTIVES
The primary objectives of the scheme are to provide specialized coaching to students from the notified minority communities in the following areas:
Preparing for qualifying examinations for admission into technical/professional courses like engineering, medical, law, management, information technology, etc., and language/aptitude examinations required for seeking admission to foreign universities.
Assisting with competitive examinations for recruitment to Group ‘A’, ‘B’, and ‘C’ services, as well as other equivalent positions under the Central and State governments, including public sector undertakings, banks, insurance companies, and autonomous bodies.
The coaching period under the scheme ranged from 3 months to 2 years.
Free Coaching and Allied Scheme: Empowering Minority Communities Since 2007
The ‘Free Coaching and Allied Scheme’ targeting candidates from minority communities was initiated on July 17th, 2007. Since its inception, the Naya Savera Scheme (also known as the ‘Free Coaching and Allied’ scheme) has benefited over 1.19 lakh beneficiaries. Among them, 12,155 beneficiaries were from the state of Andhra Pradesh.
About The Ministry of Minority Affairs
The Ministry of Minority Affairs was established on 29th January 2006, as a separate entity from the Ministry of Social Justice & Empowerment.
The ministry addresses the concerns and issues faced by the identified minority communities, namely Muslim, Christian, Buddhist, Sikhs, Parsis, and Jain.
The primary responsibilities of the Ministry encompass the formulation of comprehensive policies, strategic planning, coordination, evaluation, and review of regulatory frameworks and development programs aimed at uplifting and benefiting the minority communities.
SBI Posts Highest-Ever Quarterly Profit Of ₹ 16,884 Crore
State Bank of India (SBI), one of India’s largest public sector banks, reported its financial results for the April-June quarter of 2023-24. The bank achieved its highest-ever quarterly profit at ₹ 16,884 crore, representing a significant jump from ₹ 6,068 crore in the same period the previous year.
This remarkable performance was attributed to a decline in bad loans and increased interest income. On a consolidated basis, SBI’s net income also saw substantial growth, rising more than two-fold to ₹ 18,537 crore compared to ₹ 7,325 crore a year ago. However, despite the outstanding results, the bank’s shares declined by nearly 3 per cent due to some sequential indicators showing marginal deterioration.
Record Profit: SBI reported a net profit of ₹ 16,884 crore in Q1 2023-24, a nearly three-fold increase from ₹ 6,068 crore in the same quarter the previous year.
Consolidated Net Income: The bank’s net income on a consolidated basis soared to ₹ 18,537 crore, marking a more than two-fold increase from ₹ 7,325 crore a year ago.
Total Income: SBI’s total income in the first quarter stood at ₹ 1,32,333 crore, compared to ₹ 94,524 crore in the same period the previous year.
Sequential Numbers: Sequentially, some key indicators such as margins and net interest income showed slight deterioration, and loan loss provisions more than doubled, leading to a decline of SBI shares by nearly 3 per cent on the stock market.
Chairman’s Perspective: Chairman Dinesh Khare emphasized the importance of looking at annualized numbers rather than sequential numbers, especially in the first quarter. He explained that the first quarter is unique for banks, with many institutions holding back pay-outs or pay-ins until the last quarter of the fiscal year.
Asset Quality Improvement: SBI significantly improved its asset quality, with a notable reduction in the slippage ratio, particularly in the agri, SME, and retail books. Gross non-performing assets (NPA) declined to 2.76 per cent, down from 3.91 per cent a year ago.
Credit Growth: The bank’s credit growth stood at 13.90 per cent, with domestic advances growing 15.08 per cent to ₹ 33,03,731 crore. The growth in domestic advances was driven by SME advances and retail and personal advances.
Deposit Growth: Overall deposits grew by 12 per cent to ₹ 45,31,237 crore, with low-cost Casa deposits growing by 5.57 per cent to ₹ 18,66,059 crore.
Digital Acquisitions: SBI saw a significant increase in digital acquisitions, with 63 per cent of SB accounts and 35 per cent of retail asset accounts acquired digitally through Yono.
Infusions and Plans: During the quarter, SBI infused ₹ 489.67 crore into its non-life insurance arm, SBI General Insurance, and ₹ 82.16 crore into eight regional rural banks. The bank ruled out reviving the shelved IPO plan for SBI General Insurance.
Capital Adequacy: SBI’s capital adequacy ratio improved by 113 bps to 14.56
MASI Portal for Monitoring CHILD CARE HOMES
The National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR) has developed The ‘MASI’ application for real-time monitoring of Child Care Institutions (CCIs) and their inspection process across the country.
Monitoring App for Seamless Inspection (MASI): Objectives
The primary objective behind the development of the Monitoring App for Seamless Inspection (MASI) is to ensure the effective and efficient functioning of the inspection mechanism for CCIs as provided under the Juvenile Justice Act, 2015.
The app aims to synchronize the monitoring of the system by various authorities, including Child Welfare Committees (CWCs), State Inspection Committees, District Inspection Committees, Members of Juvenile Justice Boards (JJBs) and State Commissions for Protection of Child Rights (SCPCRs).
Monitoring App for Seamless Inspection (MASI): Features and Functionality
MASI serves as a single platform for inspections of all CCIs across the country, enabling any of the above-stated authorities to conduct unified inspections.
The application is linked to a monitoring portal, where automatic reports are generated, ensuring real-time updates on the status of CCIs.
Before and after the completion of the inspection cycle, regular follow-ups are conducted to ensure compliance with the Juvenile Justice Act and its rules.
The seamless functioning of MASI is facilitated by a questionnaire that authorities fill and submit through the app. Upon submission, the system automatically generates complete reports on the monitoring portal, providing comprehensive insights into the condition of the CCIs.
The Role of Child Welfare Committees (CWCs)
Child Welfare Committee (CWC) is an independent institution established under the Juvenile Justice Act, 2015.
Its primary purpose is to address and resolve issues concerning children who are abandoned, orphaned, voluntarily relinquished by parents, or lost and require care and attention.
The CWC plays a crucial role in matters concerning the growth, protection, treatment, development, and rehabilitation of such children, ensuring the provision of their essential needs and safeguarding their well-being.
TNPCB to Hold Public Hearing on Adani Kattupalli Port Expansion Amid Controversy
The Tamil Nadu Pollution Control Board (TNPCB) is set to conduct a public hearing on the proposed expansion of Adani group’s Kattupalli Port in Tiruvallur district. The project, which was initially scheduled for a hearing in January 2021 but was delayed due to COVID-19, has drawn strong opposition from environmentalists and opposition parties. The expansion aims to transform the port into a multipurpose cargo facility with extensive reclamation, triggering concerns about its environmental impact on the Ennore-Pulicat backwaters and the Pulicat lake, one of India’s largest brackish-water ecosystems.
Expansion Plans and Environmental Impact Assessment:
The Adani Group applied for environmental clearance in 2019 to expand the capacity of Kattupalli Port at an estimated cost of ₹53,031 crore. According to the “Proposed Revised Master Plan Development of Kattupalli Port,” the expansion project entails various facilities, including transloading, backup, and independent port craft facilities, waste reception facilities, and conveyor systems. The port’s area is proposed to be expanded from the current 330 acres to a vast 6,111 acres, with nearly 2,000 acres being reclaimed by dumping dredged sand into the sea.
Opposition from Environmentalists and Opposition Parties:
Environmental activists and opposition parties have voiced strong objections to the project. They argue that the expansion will transform the Ennore-Pulicat backwaters into an industrial area, posing a serious threat to the livelihoods of local fishers. Furthermore, concerns have been raised about the potential damage to the Pulicat lake, a vital brackish-water ecosystem in India. Additionally, the expansion could exacerbate coastal erosion in Tiruvallur and impact the Kattupalli barrier island, which plays a critical role in protecting the Pulicat lake. Environmental organizations have expressed concerns that the project could lead to increased flooding in Chennai as it might block the Kosasthalaiyar river, which serves as the city’s largest flood drainage system.
Delayed Public Hearing and Political Promises:
The public hearing, initially scheduled for January 22, 2021, was postponed due to COVID-19 restrictions and the contentious nature of the project. Despite promises from the ruling DMK party during the 2021 elections to deny permission for the Adani port expansion if elected to power, the hearing has been announced, leading to criticism from environmental organizations. They are urging Chief Minister M.K. Stalin not to renege on the party’s commitment and reconsider the expansion’s potential consequences.