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ECONOMY-DEVELOPMENT

India’s Forex Reserves Reach Historic High Of USD 516.362 Bn

India’s special drawing rights with the IMF rose by 5 million dollars to reach 1.453 billion dollars.

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NEW DELHI: India’s foreign exchange reserves have swelled by 3.108 billion dollars to reach a fresh all-time high of 516.362 billion dollars in the week ended 10th July 2020.

Foreign currency assets, a major part of the overall reserves, rose by 2.372 billion dollars to 475.635 billion dollars.

In the previous week, the reserves had increased by 6.416 billion dollars to end at 513.54 billion dollars. Gold reserves surged by 712 million dollars to end at 34.729 billion dollars.


India’s special drawing rights with the International Monetary Fund rose by 5 million dollars to reach 1.453 billion dollars, while the country’s reserve position also increased by 19 million dollars to 4.545 billion dollars.

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ECONOMY-DEVELOPMENT

Zoram Mega Food Park In Mizoram To Create 5,000 Jobs, Benefit 25,000 Farmers

It will provide direct and indirect employment to 5,000 persons and benefit about 25,000 farmers.

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AIZAWL (Mizoram): The Union Food Processing Minister Harsimrat Kaur Badal inaugurated a mega food park in Mizoram on July 21, 2020, that will benefit around 25,000 farmers and generate around 5,000 job opportunities. The Minister virtually inaugurated the park in the presence of Minister of State for Food Processing Industries Rameswar Tel and DoNER Minister Jitendra Singh and other senior Ministers of Mizoram.

The Zoram Mega Food Park is expected to immensely benefit farmers of the north-eastern state, which has an abundance of unique varieties of fruits and vegetables. Further, the modern infrastructure for food processing will benefit the farmers, growers, processors and consumers of Mizoram and adjoining areas immensely. The food park will also give a big boost to the growth of the food processing sector in the state.

The 55-acre Zoram food park is located at Khamrang village in Kolasib District, Mizoram. It is promoted by Zoram Mega Food Park Pvt Ltd.


It is the first mega food park operationalized in Mizoram. It is expected to provide direct and indirect employment up to 5,000 persons and benefit about 25,000 farmers in the core processing centre (CPC) and primary processing Centre(PPC) catchment areas.

The Zoram mega food park has been set up at a cost of Rs 75 crore. It is expected to leverage an additional investment of about Rs 250 crore in about 30 food processing units in the park and would eventually lead to an annual turnover of about Rs 450-500 Crores.

The Park also has a common administrative building for office and other uses by the entrepreneurs and 03 Primary Processing Centres (PPCs) at Champhai, Thingfal and Thenzawlhaving facilities for primary processing and storage near the farms in the catchment area to benefit farmers.


Till now, a total of 88 ministry-supported food processing projects have been sanctioned in the North Eastern Region, among which 41 have been implemented. The projects worth approximately Rs 1,000 crore have been sanctioned with subsidy support of around Rs 520 crore.

According to the Food Processing Minister Harsimrat Kaur Badal, when the 88 projects get fully completed, they would create processing and preservation capacity of about 8.66 lakh tonnes to handle agro produce worth Rs 2,166 crore.

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AGENTS OF CHANGE

‘Achche Din’ For You As ‘Consumer Protection Act, 2019’ Comes Into Force

The Act provides for punishment for manufacture or sale of adulterant/spurious goods.

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NEW DELHI: The Consumer Protection Act, 2019 came into force yesterday. Briefing the media about the new law through a video conference in New Delhi yesterday, Consumer Affairs Minister Ram Vilas Paswan said that this new Act will empower consumers and help them in protecting their rights through its various notified Rules and provisions.

He said the Act includes the establishment of the Central Consumer Protection Authority, CCPA to promote, protect and enforce the rights of consumers.

The CCPA will be empowered to conduct investigations into violations of consumer rights and institute complaints or prosecution, order a recall of unsafe goods and services, order discontinuance of unfair trade practices and misleading advertisements, impose penalties on manufacturers or endorsers or publishers of misleading advertisements.


Paswan said that the rules for the prevention of unfair trade practice by e-commerce platforms will also be covered under this Act. The gazette notification for establishment of the Central Consumer Protection Authority and rules for prevention of unfair trade practice in e-commerce are under publication.

Details:

The new Act provides for simplifying the consumer dispute adjudication process in the consumer commissions, which include, among others,  empowerment of the State and District Commissions to review their own orders, enabling a consumer to file complaints electronically and file complaints in consumer Commissions that have jurisdiction over the place of his residence, videoconferencing for hearing and deemed admissibility of complaints if the question of admissibility is not decided within the specified period of 21 days.


The Minister said an Alternate Dispute Resolution mechanism of Mediation has been provided in the new Act.  This will simplify the adjudication process.

A complaint will be referred by a Consumer Commission for mediation, wherever scope for early settlement exists and parties agree for it.

The mediation will be held in the Mediation Cells to be established under the aegis of the Consumer Commissions.  There will be no appeal against settlement through mediation.

The Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission Rules, there will be no fee for filing cases up to Rs. 5 lakh.

There are provisions for filing complaints electronically, credit of amount due to unidentifiable consumers to the Consumer Welfare Fund (CWF).  The State Commissions will furnish information to Central Government on a quarterly basis on vacancies, disposal, the pendency of cases and other matters.


The New Act also introduces the concept of product liability and brings within its scope, the product manufacturer, product service provider and product seller, for any claim for compensation.

The Act provides for punishment by a competent court for manufacture or sale of adulterant/spurious goods.

The court may, in case of a first conviction, suspend any licence issued to the person for a period of up to two years, and in case of second or subsequent conviction, cancel the licence.

Under this new Act, besides general rules, there are Central Consumer Protection Council Rules, Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission Rules, Appointment of President & Members in State/District Commission Rules, Mediation Rules, Model Rules and E-Commerce Rules and Consumer Commission Procedure Regulations, Mediation Regulations and Administrative control over State Commission & District Commission Regulations.

Paswan said that the Central Consumer Protection Council Rules are provided for constitution of the Central Consumer Protection Council, an advisory body on consumer issues, headed by the Union Minister of Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution with the Minister of State as Vice Chairperson and 34 other members from different fields.

The Council, which has a three-year tenure, will have Minister-in-charge of consumer affairs from two States from each region- North, South, East, West, and NER. There is also provision for having working groups from amongst the members for specific tasks.

In his concluding remarks, Shri Paswan said that in earlier Consumer Protection Act, 1986a single-point access to justice was given, which is also time-consuming.

The new act has been introduced after many amendments to provide protection to buyers not only from traditional sellers but also from the new e-commerce retailers/platforms. He said that this Act will prove a significant tool in protecting consumer rights in the country.

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ECONOMY-DEVELOPMENT

BANNED: 59 Chinese Mobile Apps That Threaten India’s Sovereignty And Integrity

There have been acute concerns relating to data security and safeguarding the privacy of Indians.

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NEW DELHI: The government of India on Monday announced the ban of 59 Chinese apps in the country. A day later one of the most popular short video applications TikTok has been taken down from Apple App Store and also Google Play Store. The government has called the decision “a targeted move to ensure safety and sovereignty of Indian cyberspace & to safeguard interests of crores of Indian mobile/internet users“.

Also Read:
(1) TikTok Underlines Need For Data Protection Bill
(2) Zoom App IS NOT SAFE: Amit Shah-Headed MHA Issues Advisory For Users

Courtesy: PIB, GoI

Electronics and IT Ministry said in a release that these apps were banned in view of the information available they are engaged in activities which are prejudicial to sovereignty and integrity of the country, defence of the country and security of a state and public order.


Geopolitics and international relations (IR) experts believe that the move is an exercise of coercive diplomacy that has, as the starting point, opted for a low-denomination item — mobile app — that has a limited impact on Indian businesses but one that has a disproportionately large presence in the mass consumer segment.

Two months ago, in April, the Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade, made it mandatory for foreign direct investment from neighbouring countries to take prior government approval.

This was also aimed at curbing opportunistic takeovers/ acquisitions of Indian companies during times of the Covid-19 pandemic, when valuations were at new lows.


Over the last few years, India has emerged as a leading innovator when it comes to technological advancements and a primary market in the digital space.

At the same time, there have been raging concerns on aspects relating to data security and safeguarding the privacy of 130 crore Indians. It has been noted recently that such concerns also pose a threat to sovereignty and security of the country.

The Ministry of Information Technology has received many complaints from various sources including several reports about the misuse of some mobile apps available on Android and iOS platforms for stealing and surreptitiously transmitting users’ data in an unauthorized manner to servers which have locations outside India.

The compilation of these data, its mining and profiling by elements hostile to national security and defence of India, which ultimately impinges upon the sovereignty and integrity of India, is a matter of very deep and immediate concern which requires emergency measures.

The Indian Cyber Crime Coordination Centre, Ministry of Home Affairs has also sent an exhaustive recommendation for blocking these malicious apps.


This Ministry has also received many representations raising concerns from citizens regarding security of data and risk to privacy relating to the operation of certain apps.

The Computer Emergency Response Team (CERT-IN) has also received many representations from citizens regarding the security of data and breach of privacy impacting upon public order issues.

Likewise, there have been similar bipartisan concerns, flagged by various public representatives, both outside and inside the Parliament of India.

There has been a strong chorus in the public space to take strict action against Apps that harm India’s sovereignty as well as the privacy of our citizens.

On the basis of these and upon receiving recent credible inputs that such Apps pose threat to sovereignty and integrity of India, the government has decided to disallow the usage of certain Apps, used in both mobile and non-mobile Internet-enabled devices.

The Scale/Impact:

TikTok had nearly 119 million active users in India and was among the top 10 apps on Google Play Store and Apple App Store. Users who still have the TikTok app on their mobile phone can still be able to use it, however, the app can’t be downloaded anymore. Most other Chinese apps banned in India are still available for download.

It must be noted that if you have the app installed on your phone you will still be able to see it on Google Play store. Once you uninstall it the TikTok app will not be visible.

For users who have the TikTok app download can still use the app and post videos but officially the platform is now banned in the country.


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