President of India’s Message on The Eve of National Day of Argentina

The President of India, Shri Pranab Mukherjee has extended his greetings and felicitations to the Government and people of the Argentine Republic on the eve of their National Day (May 25, 2017).

In a message to His Excellency Ing. Mauricio Macri, the President of the Argentine Republic, the President has said, “On behalf of the Government, the people of India and on my own behalf, I extend warm greetings and felicitations to you and to the Government and people of Argentina on the occasion of your National Day.

The friendship between our two countries has traditionally been warm and fruitful. Our recent high-level engagement has contributed to the further diversification of our cooperation. We both seek to explore all opportunities and our mutual complementarities to enhance our economic ties. 

I avail this opportunity to extend to Your Excellency, my best wishes for your happiness and well-being as well as for the progress and prosperity of the people of Argentina”. 


Key Achievements and Initiatives of Department of Financial Services for providing Social Security and Credit to various sections of society and ensuring Financial Inclusion

Through its Major Schemes, Department of Financial Services is ensuring financial inclusion, providing social security to the people as well as providing credit to various sections of the society. The major achievements of various schemes under the Department are highlighted below.

1.      Pradhan Mantri Jan Dhan Yojana (PMJDY)

The deposit base of PMJDY accounts has expanded over time. As on 05.04.2017, the deposit balance in PMJDY accounts was Rs. 63,971 crore in 28.23 crore accounts. The average deposit per account has more than doubled from Rs. 1,064 in March 2015 to Rs. 2,235 in March 2017.  22.14 crore RuPay cards have been issued under PMJDY.

The Bank Mitra network has also gained in strength and usage. The average number of transactions per Bank Mitra, on the Aadhaar Enabled Payment System operated by Bank Mitras, has risen by over eightyfold, from 52 transactions in 2014-15 to 4,291 transactions in 2016-17.

2.      Pradhan Mantri Jeevan Jyoti Bima Yojana (PMJJBY)

As on 12th April, 2017, Cumulative Gross enrolment reported by Banks subject to verification of eligibility, etc. is about 3.1 Crore under PMJJBY. A total of 63291 claims were registered under PMJJBY of which 59770 have been disbursed. 

3.      Pradhan Mantri Suraksha Bima Yojana (PMSBY)

As on 12th April, 2017, Cumulative Gross enrolment reported by Banks subject to verification of eligibility, etc. is about 10 Crore under PMSBY.  A total of 12816 claims were registered under PMSBY of which 9646 have been disbursed. 

4.      Atal Pension Yojana (APY)

As on 31st March, 2017, a total of 48.54 lakh subscribers have been enrolled under APY with a total pension wealth of Rs. 1,756.48 crore.

5.      Pradhan Mantri Mudra Yojana     

Under the scheme a loan of upto Rs. 50000 is given under sub-scheme ‘Shishu’; between Rs. 50,000 to 5.0 Lakhs under sub-scheme ‘Kishore’; and between 5.0 Lakhs to 10.0 Lakhs under sub-scheme ‘Tarun’.

As per latest data, loans extended under the Pradhan Mantri Mudra Yojana (PMMY) during 2016-17 have crossed the target of Rs. 1,80,000 crore for 2016-17. Sanctions currently stand at Rs. 1,80,528 crore. Of this amount, about Rs. 1,23,000 crore was lent by banks while non-banking institutions lent about Rs. 57,000 crore.

Data compiled so far indicates that the number of borrowers this year were about 4 crore, of which over 70% were women borrowers. About 18% of the borrowers were from the Scheduled Caste Category, 4.5% from the Scheduled Tribe Category, while Other Backward Classes accounted for almost 34% of the borrowers.

6.      Stand Up India Scheme

The Scheme facilitates bank loans between Rs.10 lakh and Rs.1 crore to at least one Scheduled Caste/ Scheduled Tribe borrower and at least one Woman borrower per bank branch for setting up greenfield enterprises. This enterprise may be in manufacturing, services or the trading sector.

As on 11th April, 2017, Rs 5807.7 crore has been sanctioned in 28444 accounts. Of these, women hold 22708 accounts with sanctioned loan of Rs 4740.11 crore, Scheduled Caste persons hold 4487 accounts with sanctioned amount of Rs 825.17 crore while Scheduled Tribe persons hold 1249 accounts with a sanctioned amount of Rs. 242.43 crore.

7.      Varishtha Pension Bima Yojana (VPBY)

The revived Varishtha Pension Bima Yojana (VPBY) was formally launched by the Finance Minister on 14.08.2014 based on the budget announcement made during 2014-15 and has been opened during the window stretching from 15th August, 2014 to 14th August, 2015. Thus all those who subscribe to the VPBY during this period will receive an assured guaranteed return of 9% under the policy. As per LIC, a total number of 3,23,128 policies with corpus amount of Rs. 9073.20 crore have been subscribed to the Scheme.

8.      Other Initiatives

The Government of India in the Interim Budget of FY 2014-15, announced the setting up of Venture Capital Fund for Scheduled Castes under the head Social Sector Initiatives in order to promote entrepreneurship among the Scheduled Castes (SC). The scheme is operational since 16.01.2015 with a present corpus of Rs. 290.01 crore contributed by Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment, Govt. of India (Rs. 240.01 crore) and IFCI Ltd. as sponsor and investor (Rs. 50 crore).  As of 15.03.2017, IFCI Venture Capital Fund Ltd. has sanctioned and disbursed Rs. 236.66 crore and Rs. 109.68 crore to 65 and 32 beneficiaries, respectively under the scheme since launch of the scheme.

The Credit Enhancement Guarantee Scheme (CEGS) for Scheduled Castes (SCs) was announced by Govt. of India in the Union Budget of 2014-15 wherein a sum of Rs.200 crore was allocated towards credit facility cover for young and energetic start-up entrepreneurs, belonging to SCs, who aspire to be part of neo middle class category with an objective to encourage entrepreneurship in the lower strata of the society resulting in job creation besides creating confidence in SCs.

Banks have undertaken Financial Literacy programmes through 718 Financial Literacy and Credit Counselling Centres (FLCCs). A total of 17,422 skilling centres have been mapped with branches and literacy centres, and financial literacy imparted to 7 lakh students. The literacy materials have been developed in regional languages and disseminated.

Card acceptance infrastructure: To augment card acceptance infrastructure for use of debit cards, a major drive was undertaken between December 2016 and March 2017, resulting in an increase in the number of Point of Sale (PoS) terminals by an additional 12.54 lakh, up from 15.19 lakh as on 30.11.2016. Further, to improve such infrastructure in villages, 2.04 lakh PoS terminals have been sanctioned from the Financial Inclusion Fund by NABARD.


Nominations for Padma Awards- 2018

Nominations for the Padma Awards, 2018 is presently open and the last date for receipt of the nominations for the Padma Awards 2018 is September 15, 2017.

The nominations/recommendations for the Padma Awards will be received online only on the Padma portal designed by MHA, which is available on the address

No other mode of nomination/recommendation will be accepted. Nominations received after September 15, 2017 will also not be considered.

For further details click 'Awards and Medals' on the Union Home Ministry's website:

The statutes and rules relating to these awards are available on the Union Home Ministry's website with the link


Shri J P Nadda Congratulates New WHO Director-General, Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus

Shri J P Nadda, Union Minister for Health and Family Welfare today congratulated Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus on his appointment as Director-General of the World Health Organization (WHO) and stated that India looks forward to working with the new Director-General of WHO to build a strong, resilient health system, especially in developing countries, to mitigate any vulnerability to health crises. Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus was nominated by the Government of Ethiopia, and will begin his five-year term on 1st July 2017.
Earlier, Shri Nadda addressed the Plenary Meeting of the 70th World Health Assembly, at Geneva. The Union Health Minister spoke on the theme – ‘Advancing the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development: building better systems for health.’
“India remains committed to ensuring quality and affordable healthcare for all. We have made strategic investments under the National Health Mission and the national disease control programmes. We are committed to further strengthening the health systems,” Shri Nadda said.
Shri Nadda also informed the participants that the National Health Policy, 2017 lays down the roadmap for various milestones and targets. “To translate the Policy into affirmative action, we are working with the States, Union Territories, academicians and development partners. A National SDG-3 Task Force has been set up with representation of key ministries, agencies and experts,” he said.
Reiterating the commitment of the government, the Health Minister said that India is committed to achieving universal health coverage (UHC). He further added that health systems strengthening and universal comprehensive primary health care through Health and Wellness Centres has been identified as non-negotiable strategies towards UHC. “We plan to achieve more than 90% immunization coverage by 2020. We are rolling out universal population-based screening for common NCDs. There is more stress on quality improvement in public health service delivery. We plan to provide essential Drugs & Diagnostics-free of cost in public health facilities,” Shri Nadda stated.


Exhibition ‘Return of the Three Stone Sculptures from Australia to India’ begins in National Museum

An exhibition “Return of the Three Stone Sculptures from Australia to India” has begun in National Museum, Janpath, New Delhi.  It has been organised to mark the safe return of three stone sculptures (Seated Buddha; Worshippers of Buddha; & Goddess Pratyangira) from Australia to India. These sculptures were purchased by National Gallery of Australia from the Nancy Wiener, New York in 2007 and Art of the Past, New York, 2005.

Minister of State (I/C) for Culture and Tourism Dr. Mahesh Sharma inaugurated the exhibition yesterday. He attended a special event at National Gallery of Australia (NGA) in Canberra, Australia in which Senator Mitch Fifield formally handed over three ancient artefacts stolen and smuggled out of India and inadvertently acquired by National Gallery of Australia.

Earlier, during the visit of Australian Prime Minister to India in September, 2014, the Australian government had also returned sculpture of ‘Dancing Shiva’.

This exhibition is important as it celebrates the return of rare heritage sculptures that were stolen from the country.

I.     The statue of Worshippers of the Buddha : (Satavahana, Ist Century  BCE to 2nd Century CE, Andhra Pradesh, South India, Lime Stone, size: 96.5x106.7x12.7cm).  This architecture piece adorning a stupa (possibly drum slab) is made of limestone. The panel depicts the worship of some of the Buddhist symbol (possibly chakrastambha or Bodhi tree but it is not visible as the piece is damaged at the top) kept on a throne, below which the Buddha-pada are visible. The central objects are flanked by worshipper couples on either sides in standing posture. On both the sides, male worshippers are represented first followed by the female worshippers. The most probable offering objects held in their hands are vases with flower or garlands. This sculpture was unearthed in 1970s during the excavation of a Buddhist stupa at Chandavaram (District, Prakasham) in Andhra Pradesh.

II.  Seated Buddha with large halo : (Kushan, 2nd century CE, Maholi, Mathura, Uttar Pradesh Spotted Red sand stone, size: 129.5x101.5x30.5cm). This image represents the Buddha seated cross legged (Padmasana) wearing ekansika sanghati (drapery covering one shoulder and arrayed with additional pleats). The transparent effect of the cloth is apparent through the conspicuous  marking of the navel. The image indicates that the right hand was raised in the abhaya mudra (protection pose) and the left rests on the thigh. The large halo with a scalped border (hasti nakha) emerges just above the waist. He is shown with an urna, pralamba karna (elongated ear-lobes), ushnisha and with a filing contemplation on his face.

III. Standing Pratyangira : (Chola, 13th Century CE, Tamil Nadu, South India Grey coloured granite stone, size: 125.1x55.9x30.5cm). In order to carry out his supreme task of preservation, Lord Vishnu took incarnation in the form of Narasimha in which he is represented by a human body and a lion’s head, who destroyed the demon kind Hiranykashipu, the personification of evil. The deity represented here is a tantric deity who is the female aspect of God Narasimha also known as Narasimhi. She is invoked in the Sadhanamala also. She is standing in pralambapadita pose, the face of a roaring and furious lion while the body is of a female. Flames are coming out of her head. However, the attributes tridents (trisula) and drum (damaru) in her right hands suggest her to be Pratyangira, a form of Bhairavi as per Saivite cult. The image was under worship in Vriddhachalam temple near Chennai before its theft.


President of India writes to Queen Elizabeth II conveying condolences on loss of lives in terror attack in Manchester

The President of India, Shri Pranab Mukherjee has written to Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II of the United Kingdom, conveying condolences on the loss of lives in the terror attack in Manchester.
In his message, the President said, “We are deeply shocked by terror attack in Manchester. India condemns this heinous attack in strongest terms. We stand in solidarity with the people and the Government of the United Kingdom in this difficult hour.
This is not an attack just against the UK and its people; it is an attack against the humanity and the values that we all live for. These repeated terror attacks are a grim reminder, yet again, of the need for us to intensify the global fight against terrorism. India is fully committed to working with the UK and the international community in defeating these evil forces.
The people of India join me in conveying our sincere condolences for those whom we have lost. Our prayers are also with the injured. I wish them a speedy recovery”.


PM condoles loss of lives in the bus accident in Uttarkashi; announces ex-gratia relief for the victims of accident

The Prime Minister, Shri Narendra Modi, has expressed pain over the loss of lives in the bus accident at Uttarkashi in Uttarakhand.
“My prayers and solidarity with those who lost their loved ones in the unfortunate bus accident in Uttarkashi. May the injured recover soon.”, the Prime Minister said.
The Prime Minister has announced an ex-gratia of Rs. 2 lakhs from PMNRF for the next of kin of those killed and Rs. 50,000 for those seriously injured in the bus accident.