Karnataka Current Affairs – KAS / KPSC Exams – 5th July 2017

Rs. 400 crore funding for 100 innovative startups

Startup

  • As many as 100 startups will get Rs. 400 crore funding under the Karnataka government’s Elevate programme to fast track the most innovative startups.
  • The official website and logo for Elevate-2017 (www.elevate.bengaluruite.biz), was unveiled by Minister of State for IT, BT and Tourism Priyank Kharge on 4th July.
  • Through Elevate, potential startups would be identified, and the government will not only help in funding but also provide technical and business support based on their need.
  • The government will hold open houses to identify startups in Mangaluru, Kalaburagi, Mysuru, and Hubballi.
  • The startups from these cities will get an opportunity to pitch their ideas to the Elevate team. Registrations for Elevate commenced on July 4 and will be open till July 18 for participants across the State
  • Experts in verticals will be asked to identify innovative startups for funding. The list of selected startups will be announced August-end at a summit in Bengaluru
  • Elevate was launched by the State government in partnership with the Deshpande Foundation, The Indus Entrepreneurs and others to empower startups to scale operations.
  • So far, 46 startups have been sanctioned Rs. 15.68 crore in the field of biotechnology (26 startups, Rs. 10.70 crore), tourism (8 start-ups, Rs. 1.80 crore) and IT (12 start-ups, Rs. 3.18 crore).

Rs. 3,675-crore scheme for quality power supply

Transformer

  • The Energy Department has taken up an ambitious scheme to improve the quality of power supply in a few urban areas from across five energy supplying companies at a cost of Rs. 3,675 crore.
  • The scheme, to be implemented in about 18 months, covers eight sub-divisions, which will be turned into “model-sub-divisions”, in Bengaluru and several other cities.
  • Announcing the scheme on Tuesday, Energy Minister D.K. Shivakumar said quality and reliability of power will be improved in these model sub-divisions through infrastructure upgrade.
  • The scheme also envisages measures to reduce energy losses, achieve cent per cent billing of all installations, improving revenue collection efficiency, and ensuring customer satisfaction, he noted.

Developing five villages

  • Meanwhile, he also announced implementation of budgetary scheme of developing five villages in each Assembly constituency as “model villages” by upgrading power infrastructure at a cost of Rs. 25 lakh to Rs. 40 lakh in each village.
  • These model villages will have solar-powered LED street lights which are fitted with timers for automatic switching on and off and creating a three-phase power network in the entire village.
  • The Minister said officials of the Energy Department had been asked to examine whether GST would have any impact on the energy sector’s finances.
  • He also announced increase in compensation in electrocution deaths from Rs. 2 lakh to Rs. 5 lakh.

Centre’s push to vocational edu in secondary schools

Secondary School

  • The Human Resource Development (HRD) Ministry has asked states to identify skilled persons in the villages and hire them as vocational teachers in schools located in their vicinity.
  • It has also finalised rules for selection of such teachers and payment of remuneration under the Rashtriya Madhyamik Shiksha Abhiyan (RMSA).
  • Prime Minister Narendra Modi had mooted the idea during a meeting on education in March last, to meet the requirement of vocational teachers in secondary schools in rural areas.
  • The faculty of skill training in rural schools had always been limited due to the absence of local industry and training institutes.
  • In view of the dearth of skilled faculty for deployment in schools, it was decided at the meeting led by the Prime Minister that services of skilled and semi-skilled persons available in rural areas can be utilised to apprentice students in vocational courses,” official sources said.
  • Under the framework for hiring such teachers, a district level vocational education committee comprising district level officer in charge of vocational education, principals, teachers and representatives from local industry and/or sector skill council will identify and engage the skilled and semi-skilled persons who are relevant to the job roles taken up in the school.

Selection criteria

  • These persons may be self-employed or wage employed.
  • They may be master craftsmen, artisans, hair stylists, beauticians, tailors, auto mechanics, grocers, retailers, tractor repairing shop, farm service centre, progressive farmers etc,” the framework stipulates.
  • However, preference will be given to persons who have been certified under National Skills Qualification Framework or those working in accredited RPL centres
  • These vocational teachers will he engaged as local resource persons, not as permanent teachers in schools
  • After their selection, they will be provided with a short-term training on pedagogical skills.
  • They will also be made aware of the objectives and features of the component of vocationalisation of secondary and higher secondary education.
  • The HRD Ministry has recently added 100 new vocational courses at the secondary school level, taking the total number of such courses to 140.

Liquor ban: State may amend excise law to circumvent SC order

Liquor Ban

  • Karnataka is mulling an amendment to the excise law on the lines of what the Punjab government did to allow liquor sale on highways to circumvent the Supreme Court’s ban.
  • With Karnataka having failed to get concrete assurance from the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways on its request to denotify certain stretches of national highways, the state government is planning to amend an existing excise law to change the definition of “liquor sale” to avoid the Supreme Court ban on watering holes within 500 metres of state and national highways
  • The state government’s justification for proposed amendment is to save over one lakh jobs due to closure of over 5,000 bars and restaurants located on national highways
  • The state government will refer the matter on possible amendment to the law to the state Law department. Based on its opinion, the government will take a decision

In Punjab

  • The Punjab government had introduced two clauses – 18-a and 19-a – to differentiate between ‘sale’ and ‘supply’ of liquor in the Punjab Excise Amendment Bill, 2017 passed in the state Assembly recently.
  • While the first clause defines sale of liquor as “transfer of consideration by a liquor vend for consumption by a purchaser at a place other than its premises”, clause 19-a defines supply of liquor as “provision of liquor for consideration at clubs, restaurants, hotels and other places on the basis of licences issued on the condition that it shall be consumed within their premises
  • This means, catering establishments will be allowed to provide liquor to customers as long as it is consumed on their premises.
  • The amended legislation also says that licensed hotels, clubs and restaurants will be entitled to continue supplying liquor even if they are located on state and national highways – notwithstanding any judgement or decree passed by a court or tribunal in that regard.
  • Following this law, the Punjab government had prevented closure of bars and restaurants located on highways. However the amended law has been challenged in the Punjab and Haryana High Court and the court had issued notice to the Punjab government seeking its reply by July 24.
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