IASCLUB PIB News Summary : 17 July 2019

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Cabinet approves extension of the term of the Fifteenth Finance Commission up to 30th November, 2019

The Union Cabinet chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi has approved the extension of the term of Fifteenth Finance Commission up to 30th November, 2019.

More in news:

  • It will enable the Commission to examine various comparable estimates for financial projections in view of reforms and the new realities to finalise its recommendations for the period 2020-2025.


  • The Fifteenth Finance Commission has been constituted by the President on 27tn November, 2017 in ‘ pursuance of clause (1) of article 280 of the Constitution and Finance Commission (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act, 1951. The Commission was to submit its Report on the basis of its Terms of Reference (ToR) by 30th October, 2019 covering a period of five years commencing from 1st April, 2020.
  • The constitution of the Commission has been in the backdrop of various major fiscal/budgetary reforms introduced by the Union Government in the past four years like closure of the Planning Commission and its replacement by NITl Aayog, removal of distinction between Non-Plan and Plan expenditure, advancing the budget calendar by one month and passing of the full budget before commencement of the new financial year i.e. on 1st February, introduction of Goods and Services Tax (GST) from July 2017 and New FRBM architecture with debt and fiscal deficit path.
  • The ToR of the Commission takes into account the above fiscal/budgetary reforms. The task of determining the expenditure and receipts of the Union and State governments based on which the Commission shall make its recommendations is time consuming, as checks for data consistency across time and data sets become challenging.

Inter-Institutional Agreement between India and USA for cooperation in the field of medicine

The Union Cabinet chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi has given ex-post facto approval to the Inter-Institutional Agreement between India and the USA in the areas of regenerative medicine and 3D bioprinting, new technologies, exchange of scientific ideas/information and technologies, and joint use of scientific infrastructure.


  • The joint research projects, training programmes, conferences, seminars etc. under this Agreement will be open to all qualified scientists and technologists, and will be supported on the basis of scientific merit and excellence.  Scientific research and technology development in the areas of regenerative medicine and 3D bio-printing will have potential for generation of new Intellectual Property, processes, prototypes or products.
  • Both institutes anticipate the general academic exchange contemplated under the Agreement will lead to the development of specific projects, each of which may have academic, clinical and commercial implications.
    Salient features:
  • The objective of the Agreement is to contribute towards the development of research and education of both the Institutions through academic collaboration. The general areas of common interest where collaboration and exchange of knowledge are intended for both include:
  • Exchange of faculty members and students for training, study and research especially in the areas on 3D Bioprinting;
  • Execution of joint research projects; and
  • Exchange of information and academic publications.


  • In line with Govt. of India’s stress on stronger and long-term cooperation between the Government of India and the United States of America for mutual benefit in the areas of Science and Technology, Sree Chitra Tirunal Institute for Medical Sciences and Technology (SCTIMST), Trivandrum, an Institute of National Importance under the Department of Science and Technology (DST), Government of India, has entered into an Agreement on Academic Cooperation with the Wake Forest University Health Sciences on behalf of its Institute for Regenerative Medicine (WFIRM), North Carolina, USA.

Incredible India Campaign Wins Pata Gold Award 2019

The Incredible India “Find the Incredible You” campaign released globally by the Ministry of Tourism during 2018-19 has been declared winner of the PATA (Pacific Asia Travel Association) Gold Award 2019 in the “Marketing – Primary Government Destination” category. This year’s awards attracted 198 entries from 78 organisations and individuals worldwide.

  • The Ministry of Tourism, as part of its promotional initiatives annually releases Global Media Campaigns under the ‘Incredible India’ brand-line in the Television, Print, Digital and Social Media, in key and potential source markets overseas.
  • To take the Campaigns to the next level, the ‘Incredible India 2.0’ Campaign was launched in September 2017, which marks a shift from generic promotions undertaken across the world to market specific promotional plans and content creation. The campaign focuses on digital and social media and the promotion of Niche Tourism products of the country.
  • As part of the 2.0 Campaign, five new television commercials were produced by the Ministry, which were aired globally in the television, digital and social media. These were:
  • Yoga   :           “The Yogi of the Racetrack”
  • Wellness :      “The Reincarnation of Mr. and Mrs. Jones”
  • Luxury  :        “The Maharani of Manhattan”
  • Cuisine  :       “The Masala MasterChef”
  • Wildlife :       “The Sanctuary in Paris”
  • The campaign strategy was to shift the focus from the external experience of tourist destinations to the internal experience of travelers themselves. This series of transformative experiences was brought alive through unique storytelling in the format of autobiographies of travelers, with the tagline “Find the Incredible You”.
  • The series of films have received a very good response and have registered over 153 million views on social media. They were earlier awarded the First Prize in the category of TV Cinema Spot at the International Golden City Gate Tourism Awards at Berlin in March 2019.

PATA Gold Awards:

  • PATA Gold Awards are given to tourism industry organizations and individuals making outstanding contribution towards the successful promotion of the travel industry throughout the Asia Pacific Region. The winners of the awards set industry standards for excellence and innovation and serve as examples for others to follow.


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