10 million additional jobs can be created in electronics and BPO sector in two years’ time: Shri Ashwani Vaishnaw


The Minister for Communications, Electronics & Information Technology and Railways, Shri Ashwini Vaishnaw has said that 10 million additional jobs can be created in the electronics and Business Processing (BPO) sector in the coming two years, given the strides the start-up sector is making in the country.



Shri Ashwini Vaishnaw inaugurating the National Level Start-up Initiative




While inaugurating the National Level Start-up Initiative organized by the Software Technology Park of India (STPI) and Electronics and Computer Software Export Promotion Council (ESC), here today, the Minister said that the electronics sector alone could create additional jobs between 2.5 – 3 million and the BPO sector could make available 8 million jobs in the coming two years, which will be a substantial addition to the existing level of employment.



Shri Ashwini Vaishnaw addressing the National Level Start-up Initiative




Shri Ashwini Vaishnaw referred to three megatrends that are unfolding in the country as envisioned by the Prime Minister, Shri Narendra Modi. Foremost among them is determination to emerge as the technology leader powered by the country’s talent pool, ingenuity, high level of computer literacy, and commitment to excel. “We have now an ecosystem that gives importance to merit and talent, that can power innovations and disruptions,” he said, adding that such a dispensation never existed before. There is a visible drive to proliferate frontier technologies in areas like telecom, electronics, railways, and other related areas to help India to emerge as a technology leader.



Shri Ashwini Vaishnaw addressing the National Level Start-up Initiative




Next in importance, the Minister said, is the manufacturing segment which is witnessing the mindboggling number of innovations, particularly in the mobile telephone system where India has become a major exporter now as against a net importer a few years ago. “It’s a marvellous achievement which we are trying to emulate in other segments including railways, chemicals, power and semiconductor” he said, adding that a lot of R&D efforts are currently underway to Fasttrack technological excellence in various segments.


Diversity is another trend that is discernible now, the Minister observed. This is achieved by digitally connecting tier 2 and 3 cities so that entrepreneurship can be nurtured from these cities to widen the bandwidth of the development. Of the 64 digital hubs that have been implemented, 54 are in small cities and towns, which will have a remarkable impact on the proliferation of start-ups in the country.



Releasing a report on Start-up Ecosystem Beyond Tier 1 cities




Earlier, welcoming the delegates, the Chairman, ESC, Shri Sandeep Narula explained the rationale of the ESC-STPI start-up initiative. 13+ State Conclaves were organized covering Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Punjab, U.P., Rajasthan, Tamil Nadu, Telangana, Gujarat, Haryana, West Bengal, Maharashtra, New Delhi, and Odisha. After scrutiny by the Knowledge Partner – Grant Thornton (GT), around 300 Start-ups were invited to join these State Conclaves against 700+ nominations received. Now, the Jury at the national level will select 40 start-ups after a rigorous process of filtering to participate at the US exposure meeting for building industry linkages, interface with venture capitalists, etc. to be held on 10-11 January 2023.




Shri Narula underscored the need for developing an Indian model of start-ups sensitive to the country’s needs, which should not give too much focus on valuation but on sustainability leading to inclusive growth.




Shri Arvind Kumar, Director General, STPI while explaining various schemes initiated by STPI, said that presently the start-up infrastructure in the country is considerably toned up. There are facilities for funding and mentoring start-ups. The government policies also have been start-up and MSME friendly. For instance, he said, the current government has done spectrum allocation and implementation in a record time, while earlier allocations took considerably longer time.




Ms Padmaja Ruparel, Founding Partner, of IAN Fund mentioned various avenues available for funding start-ups in the country, which never existed before.




Shri Vicky Bahl, Partner, Grant Thronton described the global start-up landscape and stressed the need for India to align with it to move in the value chain.




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Canada – Additional steps to deliver timely passport services for Canadians as travel restrictions ease around the world 

With pandemic restrictions easing around the world, interest in travel is growing among Canadians, and demand for new or renewed passports is growing along with it. Service Canada is experiencing increases in passport processing times, and is responding by prioritizing those travelling imminently and ensuring that those with less urgent needs can access the right service channels for them.

May 17, 2022              Gatineau, Quebec              Employment and Social Development CanadaWith pandemic restrictions easing around the world, interest in travel is growing among Canadians, and demand for new or renewed passports is growing along with it. Service Canada is experiencing increases in passport processing times, and is responding by prioritizing those travelling imminently and ensuring that those with less urgent needs can access the right service channels for them.

Service Canada’s ability to serve Canadians swiftly was affected by the unprecedented volume of applications and the obligation to impose in-person capacity limits for both clients and staff to protect the health and safety of those visiting and those working inside Service Canada Centres.

Service Canada is pleased to announce the reopening of all passport service counters across the country. Reopening measures were implemented the week of May 9 following a brief trial period. They mark a return to pre-pandemic in-person service capacity, with a 40% increase in capacity at service counters. Capacity in waiting rooms has also been significantly expanded, and Service Canada has also taken additional measures to simplify and expedite passport processing.

A number of measures have been put in place to make it easier for Canadians to access passport services, and to improve and streamline processing to better meet their needs.

Service Canada has hired 600 new employees specifically to support the processing of passport applications, opened more dedicated passport intake counters in over 300 Service Canada Centres, opened additional processing hubs, and created a new workload management and processing technology to increase efficiency, all while meeting health protocols. Service Canada continues to hire and train more employees, and teams at the passport office, processing and call centres are working overtime every day and on weekends to increase processing capacity. This includes opening select Service Canada Centres on Saturdays for passport service.

A simplified renewal process now allows applicants to renew an expired passport if it was issued in the last 15 years. The simplified process is also available to those who had their passport lost, stolen or damaged. Applicants do not need to have a guarantor or provide their original documents, such as proof of citizenship or photo identification. They simply need two photos, two references, their completed form and the applicable fees. These changes make renewing a passport easier and faster, while maintaining the highest level of program integrity.

Service Canada has also launched eservices.canada.ca/reservation/, an online appointment-booking tool that applicants can access 24 hours a day, 7 days a week from their computer, tablet or cellphone to book their appointment online. The tool also directs them to the right location to submit their passport applications. Service Canada recognizes that some circumstances cannot wait for an appointment:

Anyone who needs a passport within two business days must visit one of the specialized passport sites (Service Canada Centres – Passport Service) offering urgent pick-up service. Proof of travel is required.
Those travelling within 25 business days can use the walk-in service at one of the 35 specialized passport sites (Service Canada Centres – Passport Service). Appointments are recommended, and proof of travel is required. Please note that wait times at these sites may be long due to the current demand.
For anyone travelling in more than 25 days (or with no specific travel date), over 300 Service Canada Centres are available to receive passport applications in person. No proof of travel is needed. These applicants also have the option to mail in their applications.

Although processing times are currently longer than prior to the pandemic, 98% of Canadians who apply in-person at a specialized passport office currently receive their passports in less than 10 business days. In March and April 2022, Service Canada received approximately 500,000 applications for passports, and is therefore prioritizing those with more imminent travel.

Canadians should make sure they have valid passports well before booking travel. If they do need a passport, or need an existing passport to be renewed, they should apply well before they book their trip to ensure it can be delivered in time. 

“Service Canada and its employees work hard to deliver the services Canadians need, where and when they need them. We do this by planning for surges in demand, adapting our processes where and when we can, and taking advantage of technology to streamline our processing and intake. Our teams are currently responding to a significant surge in demand for passports, working hard to maintain our service standards and get Canadians the documents they need to travel. We thank Canadians for their patience during this time, and continue to encourage them to plan ahead and apply early if they need passport services.”

– Lori MacDonald, Senior Associate Deputy Minister of Employment and Social Development and Chief Operating Officer for Service Canada

From April 1, 2020, to March 31, 2021, Service Canada issued 363,000 passports. From April 1, 2021, to March 31, 2022, this number grew to 1,273,000 passports issued, with over 960,000 being issued between September 1, 2021, and March 31, 2022.

Service Canada expects to receive 4.2 million passport applications during the 2022–23 fiscal year. 

In April 2021, approximately 69,000 applications were received, compared to 261,000 applications in April 2022. 

Since April 1, 2022, Service Canada has issued 210,219 passports.

Canada – Canada commits $2 billion in additional health care funding to clear backlogs and support hundreds of thousands of additional surgeries

Canadians are rightfully proud of their publicly funded health care system. Ensuring accessible, public, high-quality health care is ever critical as we adapt to a post-pandemic reality. The COVID-19 pandemic has delayed an estimated 700,000 surgeries and other medical procedures, resulting in an increase of waitlists and backlogs. The federal government is today taking further action to help provinces and territories deliver quicker access to health care, reduce the backlog accumulated during the pandemic and support hundreds of thousands additional surgeries.

March 25, 2022 – Ottawa, Ontario – Department of Finance Canada

Canadians are rightfully proud of their publicly funded health care system. Ensuring accessible, public, high-quality health care is ever critical as we adapt to a post-pandemic reality. The COVID-19 pandemic has delayed an estimated 700,000 surgeries and other medical procedures, resulting in an increase of waitlists and backlogs. The federal government is today taking further action to help provinces and territories deliver quicker access to health care, reduce the backlog accumulated during the pandemic and support hundreds of thousands additional surgeries.

Today, the federal government introduced Bill C-17 in the House of Commons, which would provide an additional $2 billion one-time top-up to provinces and territories, distributed equally per capita. This amount—in addition to the $4.5 billion Canada Health Transfer (CHT) top-up provided since the start of the pandemic—would further help provinces and territories to address immediate pandemic-related health care system pressures, particularly the backlogs of surgeries, medical procedures and diagnostics.

The Government of Canada will continue to work collaboratively with the provinces and territories to drive positive health care outcomes for Canadians. This investment is a part of the government’s promise to Canadians to protect their health. It would provide doctors, nurses, and other health care professionals with the resources they need to ensure Canadians have access to the care they deserve. Provinces and territories would be able to use this funding to support their own unique circumstances, including strengthening the health workforce.

Bill C-17 would also provide the authority for the previously announced transfer of $750 million to help municipalities deal with transit shortfalls and to improve housing supply and affordability, in partnership with the provinces and territories. This one-time payment would help cities maintain their service levels despite decreased ridership as a result of the pandemic.

“Since the pandemic began, the federal government has invested over $63 billion to support Canadians’ health and safety. Because of this strong support from the federal government, provincial and territorial balance sheets have been sheltered from the pandemic. But Canadians across the country are still facing significant backlogs of delayed surgeries and long waitlists for procedures as a result of the pandemic. This further $2 billion investment would help us continue our Team Canada approach to protecting the health and safety of Canadians as we move forward to the brighter days ahead.”

– The Honourable Chrystia Freeland, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance

“Today’s investment would help our provincial and territorial partners expedite the processing of surgeries that had been delayed due to COVID-19. This is a significant first step on the road to addressing the major health care challenges lying ahead of us, including repairing the damages caused by the pandemic and upholding the principles of universality and accessibility that are so dear to Canadians in the long-term.

– The Honourable Jean-Yves Duclos, Minister of Health

“As a registered nurse, I’ve seen first-hand the major challenges that Canadians, particularly seniors, faced during the COVID-19 pandemic. This further $2 billion investment would help us continue to support the health and well-being of Canadians and those on the frontlines of our health care system, through this difficult time and into the future.”

– The Honourable Kamal Khera, Minister of Seniors

 “The unmet mental health and substance use needs of far too many people in Canada have worsened during COVID-19. Our government is committed to improving mental health and substance use services and supports so that Canadians are able to receive timely, high quality, culturally appropriate care regardless of where they live. Moving forward, we will continue working with all our partners, and the provinces and territories to ensure that mental health care is treated as a full and equal part of our universal health care system.”

– The Honourable Carolyn Bennett, Minister of Mental Health and Addictions and Associate Minister of Health

Adrienne Vaupshas

Press Secretary

Office of the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance

Adrienne.Vaupshas@fin.gc.ca

Canada – Additional Immigration Support for Those Affected by the Situation in Ukraine

Backgrounder

Canada has been closely monitoring the situation in Ukraine, and remains steadfast in support of its sovereignty and territorial integrity. Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) is taking additional steps to support Ukrainians and people residing in Ukraine, and to make it easier and faster for Canadian citizens, permanent residents and their accompanying immediate family members to return to Canada.

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Canada has been closely monitoring the situation in Ukraine, and remains steadfast in support of its sovereignty and territorial integrity. Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) is taking additional steps to support Ukrainians and people residing in Ukraine, and to make it easier and faster for Canadian citizens, permanent residents and their accompanying immediate family members to return to Canada.

As part of the Government of Canada’s response, IRCC has taken the decision to prioritize applications for new and replacement travel documents for Canadian citizens, permanent residents and their immediate family members. Over a month ago, we implemented measures to priority process citizenship grant applications for adoption, as well as permanent and temporary residence applications for people with a primary residence in Ukraine who want to reunite or travel with family, study, work, or start a new life in Canada. Ukrainian nationals currently in Canada on a temporary basis can apply to extend their status as a visitor, student or worker. Since January 19, IRCC has approved nearly 2,000 applications from Ukrainian nationals and people residing in Ukraine across various programs.

In addition to prioritizing applications, IRCC is launching a package of new immigration measures, including the following:

Establishing a dedicated service channel for Ukraine enquiries that will be available for clients both in Canada and abroad at 613-321-4243, with collect calls accepted. In addition, clients can now add the keyword “Ukraine2022” to the IRCC Web form with their enquiry and their email will be prioritized.
Implementing urgent processing of travel documents, including issuing single-journey travel documents for immediate family members of Canadian citizens and permanent residents who do not have valid passports.
Updating a Web page to provide current information on measures; this page will include content in Ukrainian for ease of reference.
Ensuring that Ukrainians currently in Canada are able to extend their stay or stay longer in Canada by prioritizing the renewal of work and study permits, and extending a policy that allows individuals to apply for a work permit from within Canada. This policy would allow temporary residents who receive a job offer to remain in Canada and start working while they wait for their work permit application to be processed.

IRCC will issue open work permits to Ukrainian visitors, workers and students who are currently in Canada and cannot go home, so they can stay longer if they wish. We will waive fees, retroactive to February 22, 2022, for certain travel and immigration documents, such as Canadian passports, permanent resident travel documents, proofs of citizenship, visitor visas, and work and study permits. Further details will be made available in the coming weeks as these measures launch.

IRCC has also taken steps to increase operational readiness in the region, including relocating staff, moving additional supplies and equipment, such as mobile biometric collection kits, in anticipation of an increased volume of requests, and adjusting operations in offices across our global network to ensure service continuity for Ukraine. Online options are available for most applications.

In support of the Government of Canada’s approach to the situation in Ukraine, the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) has an administrative deferral of removals (ADR) in place for Ukraine. An ADR is a temporary measure that can delay a removal order that would normally require a person to leave Canada immediately. The removal of these individuals would resume once the situation in their country or region stabilizes, and those who are not allowed in Canada on grounds of criminality, international or human rights violations, organized crime, or for security reasons can still be removed despite the ADR.

All immigrants, refugees and visitors, including temporary foreign workers and students, are carefully screened before coming into Canada. This screening ensures that they do not pose a threat to the health, safety or security of Canadians.

We will continue to monitor developments in the region, track application processing closely and take action where needed to support those affected by the situation in Ukraine.

Additional resources of Rs. 7,309 crore made available to States for undertaking power sector reforms


Department of Expenditure, Ministry of Finance has granted additional borrowing permission of Rs. 7,309 crore to two States for undertaking the stipulated reforms in power sector. While, Rajasthan has been allowed to borrow additional Rs. 5,186 crore, Andhra Pradesh has been allowed to borrow additional Rs. 2,123 crore as incentive to embark on the reform process.


Ministry of Finance, based on the recommendations of the Fifteenth Finance Commission, has decided to grant additional borrowing space of upto 0.5 percent of the Gross State Domestic Product (GSDP) to the States every year for a four year  period from 2021-22 to 2024-25 based on reform undertaken by the States in the power sector. This was announced by the Finance Minister in the Budget speech of 2021-22. This will make available additional resources of more than Rs. 1 lakh crore every year to the States. The objectives of the additional borrowing permissions are to improve the operational and economic efficiency of the sector, and promote a sustained increase in paid electricity consumption.


In order to avail additional borrowing space linked to Power sector reforms, the State government has to undertake a set of mandatory reforms and also meet stipulated performance benchmarks. The reforms to be carried out by the States are –


  • Progressive assumption of responsibility for losses of public sector distribution companies (DISCOMs) by the State Government.
  • Transparency in the reporting of financial affairs of power sector including payment of subsidies and recording of liabilities of Governments to DISCOMs and of DISCOMs to others.
  • Timely rendition of financial and energy accounts and timely audit. 
  • Compliance with legal and regulatory requirements.


Once, the aforesaid reforms have been undertaken by the State, the performance of the State is evaluated on the basis of the following criteria to determine the eligibility for additional borrowing in 2021-22


  • Percentage of metered electricity consumption against total energy consumption including agricultural connections
  • Subsidy payment by Direct Benefit Transfer (DBT) to consumers
  • Payment of Electricity bills by Government Departments and local bodies
  • Installation of prepaid meters in government office
  • Use of Innovations and Innovative technologies


In addition, States are also eligible for bonus marks for privatization of the power distribution companies.


The Ministry of Power is the nodal Ministry for assessment of performance of States and determining their eligibility for granting additional borrowing permission. Apart from Rajasthan and Andhra Pradesh, nine other States, namely Assam, Goa, Kerala, Manipur, Meghalaya, Odisha, Sikkim, Tamil Nadu and Uttar Pradesh have also submitted their proposals to the Ministry of Power, which are under examination. Additional borrowing permission will be issued to eligible States on receipt of recommendation from the Ministry of Power.


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