1)WTO Ruling against India:- WTO has ruled India’s export promotion schemes (e.g. Merchandise Exports from India Scheme,
Export Oriented Units Scheme,
Special Economic Zone Scheme,
Export Promotion Capital Goods Scheme
and Duty Free Imports for Exporters Scheme etc) to be export contingent and in the nature of prohibited subsidies under the Agreement on Subsidies and Countervailing Measures and thus inconsistent with WTO norms. The Panel has given time-frame of 90-180 days for withdrawal of these schemes.
India has appealed to WTO appellate body but due to non-functioning of Appellate Body, the appeal has been kept in suspension.
Till the appeal is disposed of, India is under no obligation to implement the recommendations of Panel.
2)Rashtriya Vayoshri Yojana:- Department of Social Justice and Empowerment has launched a Central Sector Scheme namely “Rashtriya Vayoshri Yojana” (RVY) on 1st April, 2017 with the objective to provide the senior citizens, living below poverty line and suffering from any of the age related disability/ infirmity with such assisted living devices which can restore near normalcy in their bodily functions, overcoming the disability/ infirmity manifested.
Devices viz. walking sticks, elbow crutches, walkers/crutches, tripods/quadpods, hearing aids, wheelchairs, artificial dentures and spectacles are provided free of cost to senior citizens belonging to BPL category who suffer from age related disabilities/infirmities.
- The Scheme is implemented through the ‘Artificial Limbs Manufacturing Corporation (ALIMCO)’, (a Public Sector Undertaking under the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment) as the sole implementing Agency.
- The Scheme of RVY is entirely funded from Senior Citizens’ Welfare Fund (SCWF).
3)Greenco Rating System :-GreenCo Rating, developed by Confederation of Indian Industry (CII), has been acknowledged in India’s Intended Nationally Determined Contribution (INDC) document, submitted to United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) in 2015, as a proactive voluntary action of Indian industry / private sector towards combating climate change.
Indian Railways as Green Industrial Units started with ‘GreenCo’ certification in 2016-17.
4)Small Farmers Agri-Business Consortium :- The Government established Small Farmers’ Agri-Business Consortium (SFAC) as a Society in 1994 to facilitate agri-business ventures by catalyzing private investment through Venture Capital Assistance (VCA) Scheme in close association with financial institutions.
The setting up of State level SFAC as counterpart agency of Central SFAC for agribusiness projects was part of the Scheme.
SFAC is also registered as Non-Banking Financial Institution (NBFC) by Reserve Bank of India (RBI).
SFAC is an autonomous society promoted by Union Ministry of Agriculture, Cooperation and Farmers’ Welfare.
5)Starch-Based “Hemostat” developed at Institute of Nano Science to stop blood loss :- Scientists at the INST (Institute of Nano Science and Technology), that operates under the Department of Science & Technology, have developed starch based ‘Hemostat’.
The starch-based ‘hemostat’ are developed to stop rapid blood loss during accidents, as it physically absorbs excess fluid and concentrates the natural clotting factors in blood.
2)Gender Social Norms Index report, released by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).
The first UNDP Gender Social Norms Index analyzed data from 75 countries, which are collectively home to more than 80 per cent of the global population, and found new clues to the invisible barriers women face in achieving equality – potentially forging a path forward to breaking through the so-called “glass ceiling.