Morning briefing: Skill development takes leap as govt okays sector mentor committees

GN Bureau | November 17, 2015


#Skill Development   #Entrepreneurship   #UNICEF   #gas pricing   #petroleum   #insurance policy   #Asaduddin Owaisi   #Islamic State   #Maggi noodles   #Paris attacks   #CBI   #CVC   #CBI   #Ranjit Sinha   #vehicle sales   #Syed Akbaruddin   #United Nations  

The Skill Development and Entrepreneurship Ministry has approved setting up mentor committees which would act as integrated panels for creating model curricula for skill training courses. This is a significant effort to create a unified system for development of curricula and courses for skill development trainings in the country, the ministry said in a statement. The effort came in light to address the existing duplicity of mandate between Mentor Councils and Sector Skill Councils.

Presently, any individual skilled in short term courses being imparted under various schemes of the government finds it difficult to move ahead in his/her journey in vocational education. The committees would also provide guidance on restructuring of courses offered under National Council of Vocational Training, suggest indicative input norms such as equipment requirements and duration of training.

Three-day conference on malnutrition begins today
To combat malnutrition, stunting and developmental delays in children, the state government and the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) are organising a global meet in Mumbai on complementary feeding. The discussions held during the meeting may provide a basis for updating the existing complementary feeding guidelines. The three-day conference "First Foods: A Global Meeting to Accelerate Progress on Complementary Feeding for Young Children," will begin from Tuesday and will be attended by delegates from 38 countries, 15 states in India and representatives of academic institutions, specialists, researchers and delegates from United Nations agencies like UNICEF, World Health Organisation (WHO), World Food Programme (WFP) and Food ans Agriculture Organisation (FAO). Experts and delegates will share their experiences in implementing complementary feeding programs and presentations will be conducted. On November 19, which is the concluding day of the workshop, an
India-specific session will be conducted and an action plan will be prepared.

Govt proposes to free gas pricing, start revenue sharing for exploration
India wants to follow the revenue-share model for all oil and gas blocks auctioned out for exploration. In a draft paper put up for feedback, the petroleum ministry has recommended a shift to the revenue-share model, a uniform licensing model, and freedom to the explorer to price and market oil and gas. The deadline for comments on the draft paper, titled New Fiscal and Contractual Regime for Award of Hydrocarbon Acreages, is November 30. Seeking to revive interest in oil and gas exploration by simplifying rules, the ministry on Monday invited comments from stakeholders on a consultation paper on new fiscal and contractual regime for award of hydrocarbon acreages. International players like BP and private operators including Reliance Industries as well as state-owned Oil and Natural Gas Corp (ONGC) have been seeking pricing freedom as the current rates make new investments unviable.

Simpler and easy-to-settle farm insurance policy soon
The Modi government is finalising a new farm insurance policy with lower premiums and simpler norms for prompt payments, reports Hindustan Times. Hoping to ameliorate a farm crisis and quell criticism that it is paying more attention to industrialisation, the whole point of a new farm insurance policy is to make it “simpler and easy to settle”, an official said. Less than a quarter of India’s farmers insure their crops under three state-bankrolled polices, which are cumbersome and archaic. A back-to-back drought in half the country this summer has shrunk farm incomes and stoked a rural crisis, posing a political challenge for the government.

Islamic State a blot on Islam, says Asaduddin Owaisi
All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen chief and firebrand Muslim leader Asaduddin Owaisi on Monday said that terror group Islamic State (IS) is a blot on Islam and everybody needs to condemn its activities. The Lok Sbha member from Hyderabad said IS should not be linked with religion and the world should unite to fight it. “We all need to condemn IS activities and world should understand that it has nothing
to do with Islam,” Owaisi said when reporters sought his reaction to a controversial statement by Uttar Pradesh minister Azam Khan on Paris terror attacks. The Samajwadi Party leader had said that the Paris terror attacks were the result of the action of global superpowers like America and Russia and “history will decide who is a terrorist”.

Food regulator moves SC against lifting ban on Maggi noodles
Food regulator FSSAI on Monday moved the Supreme Court against the Bombay high court order lifting the ban on Maggi noodles in the country. Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) approached the apex court, terming the high court’s August 13 order as “erroneous” and questioned the sanctity of the samples provided for re-test to government-approved labs. In its petition, FSSAI has contended that the high court “erred” by asking Nestle, the Indian arm of the Swiss company itself, to provide the fresh samples instead of asking a neutral authority to do so. Earlier, the high court had quashed the orders of FSSAI and Maharashtra food regulator FDA, which had banned nine variants of Maggi noodles in the country. It had said that the principles of natural justice were not followed in executing the ban as the manufacturer was not given a hearing. The court had allowed Nestle
to go in for fresh testing of five samples of each variant of the noodles at three independent laboratories in Punjab, Hyderabad and Jaipur which were accredited with National Accreditation Board for Testing and Calibration Laboratories (NABL).

Sensex, Nifty rise for second day
Indian stocks advance, tracking a rebound in Asian shares amid fading concern about the geopolitical impact of the terror attacks in Paris. At 9.30 am, the 30-share S&P BSE Sensex is trading higher by 102.80 points, or 0.4%, at 25,862.90, while the 50-share Nifty of the National Stock Exchange (NSE) is up 34.25 points, or 0.44%, to 7,840.85.  The rupee strengthens for a fourth consecutive session, trading higher at 65.94 per US dollar compared with its previous close of 65.99, after India’s trade deficit narrowed to an 8-month low due to declining international crude oil prices.

Asian shares surge after Wall Street takes Paris attacks in stride
Asian stocks rose across the board on Tuesday, relieved after seeing Wall Street take the Paris attacks in stride and surging overnight, while expectations for a December rate hike by the Federal Reserve kept the dollar on a bullish footing. MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan rose 1.6%, bouncing from a 6-week low struck the previous day on risk aversion triggered by the assault on the French capital. South Korea's Kospi was up 1.3%, Australian shares gained 1.4% and Shanghai shares climbed 1.7%. Japan's Nikkei added 1.6%. Asia took early leads from Wall Street, which surged on Monday as investors decided Friday's attacks in Paris would have little long-term impact on the US economy and corporate earnings. The Dow rose 1.4% and the S&P 500 surged 1.5%. European equities had also held firm on Monday, with the pan-European FTSEurofirst 300 index edging up 0.16% and France's CAC dipping only 0.12%.

CBI, CVC yet to provide documents for probe against ex-CBI chief Ranjit Sinha
Former CBI special director M L Sharma, who is heading a team that is investigating ex-CBI chief Ranjit Sinha's meetings with the high-profile accused in the coal block allocation case, on Monday complained that the agency has failed to provide the complete set of documents for the probe. dna in a series of investigative reports had exposed Sinha's meetings with the accused last year. A series of investigative reports by dna last year had exposed Sinha's meetings with the accused in the coal block and 2G spectrum scams at his 2 Japath residence. Sharma also alleged that the Central Vigilance Commission has declined to provide the details about its opinion on various cases in which the agency had decided to file closure reports at the instance of its director. In a letter to the Supreme Court bench, which has appointed him for further investigation into Sinha's alleged attempts to scuttle the probe in coal cases, Sharma mentioned the status of the investigation so far.

India’s October oil demand highest in 5 months on vehicle sales
Fuel demand in the country touched a five-month high in October as demand for vehicles ahead of the festive season led to a surge in the consumption of diesel and petrol. Oil demand during the month shot up 17% to 15.2 million metric tons from a year earlier, the highest since May, according to data published by the oil ministry’s Petroleum Planning and Analysis Cell. Diesel use rose 16% to 6.34 million tonnes, while petrol consumption increased 14% to 1.85 million tonnes. With the onset of the festival season, passenger car sales jumped 22% in October, while industrial production rose 3.6% in September from a year earlier.

Verdict reserved on arbitrator dispute between RIL, govt
Reserving the verdict in the dispute between Reliance Industries Ltd (RIL) and the Union government over appointment of a third arbitrator in the KG Basin case, the Supreme Court on Monday said further appointments will be on hold until there is clarity on what the appropriate forum to hear the case is. The Arbitration and Conciliation (Amendment) Ordinance 2015, approved on October 23, changes the manner in which disputes over appointment of arbitrators between parties are to be settled by courts. The ordinance is silent about whether it applies retrospectively, especially since Reliance Industries’ application for appointment of the third arbitrator was filed before the same. Reliance Industries had moved the apex court over selection of the third neutral arbitrator to head the three-member arbitral panel to decide the gas pricing issue that arose in relation to production-sharing contracts (PSC) the company entered into with the government in 1994.

Syed Akbaruddin appointed as India's envoy to United Nations

External affairs ministry's former spokesperson Syed Akbaruddin has been appointed as the Ambassador/Permanent Representative of India to the United Nations at New York. Akbaruddin will replace Asoke Kumar Mukerji as the Permanent Representative of India at the UN. Currently an Additional Secretary in the MEA, Akbaruddin served as the ministry's official spokesperson from 2011 to April 2015.Prior to 2011, he was on deputation for four years at the International Atomic Energy Agency in Vienna.

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