IASCLUB PIB News Summary : 16 July 2019

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Launching the Broadband Readiness Index for Indian States and Union Territories (2019-2022)

The Department of Telecom (DoT) and the Indian Council for Research on International Economic Relations (ICRIER) signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to develop a Broadband Readiness Index (BRI) for Indian States and Union Territories (UT).

More in news:

  • The first estimate will be made in 2019 and subsequently every year until 2022.
  • The National Digital Communication Policy (NDCP) 2018 acknowledged the need for building a robust digital communications infrastructure leveraging existing assets of the broadcasting and power sectors including collaborative models involving state, local bodies and the private sector. Accordingly, the policy recommended that a BRI for States and UTs be developed to attract investments and address Right of Way(RoW) challenges across India.
  • This index will appraise the condition of the underlying digital infrastructure and related factors at the State/UT level. Such an exercise will provide useful insights into strategic choices made by States for investment allocations in ICT programmes. In the spirit of competitive federalism, the index will encourage states to cross learn and jointly participate in achieving the overall objective of digital inclusion and development in India.
  • The framework will not only evaluate a state’s relative development but will also allow for better understanding of a state’s strengths and weaknesses that can feed into evidence-based policy making.
  • The methodology developed as a part of this research will be adapted and used on an annual basis for systematic evaluation of state-performance on metrics set out as the goals for 2022 under the new policy. As a result, ranking and understanding State/UT performance over time will be an important part of the exercise.
  • The BRI consists of two parts.
  • Part I will focus on infrastructure development based on the measurement of nine parameters. These are provided in the Table below.
  • Part II consists of demand side parameters which will be captured through primary surveys. It will include indicators such as percentage of households using computers/ laptops with internet connection, percentage of households with fixed broadband connection, internet users as a percentage of the population, smart phones density, percentage of households with at least one digitally literate member, etc. Theprimary survey will be conducted annually until 2022.

Eradicating TB by 2025

The Ministry has developed the National Strategic Plan (NSP) for Tuberculosis (2017-2025) with the goal of ending TB by 2025.

The key focus areas are:

  • Early diagnosis of all the TB patients, prompt treatment with quality assured drugs and treatment regimens along with suitable patient support systems to promote adherence.
  • Engaging with the patients seeking care in the private sector.
  • Prevention strategies including active case finding and contact tracing in high risk / vulnerable population
  • Airborne infection control.
  • Multi-sectoral response for addressing social determinants.
  • According to the World Health Organization Global TB report 2018, the estimated number of TB cases in India in 2017 was 27,40,000, amounting incidence of 204 per lakh population.
  • The Government has plans to use artificial intelligence (AI) for addressing various issues in TB like AI assisted TB Smear Microscopy and X-Ray in screening for TB. Also AI is being explored for monitoring treatment adherence and surveillance of TB disease at State and District levels.

Upliftment of Women of Backward Communities

National Backward Classes Finance and Development Corporation (NBCFDC), an organization under the aegis of Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment has the following two women specific schemes for targeted women whose annual family income is less than Rs. 3.00 lakh per annum:

(i) Mahila Samriddhi Yojana:

  • To provide Micro Finance to women entrepreneurs of Backward Classes.

(ii) New Swarnima Scheme for Women:

  • Provide term Loan to inculcate the spirit of self-dependence among the women of Backward Classes.

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