Current Affairs December 2016 - National


News 1 - Supreme Court ordered Status Quo on Sutlej-Yamuna Link canal land

Supreme Court

A bench of Justice Pinaki Chandra Ghose and Justice Amitava Roy of the Supreme Court ordered status quo on land acquired for the construction of the Sutlej-Yamuna Link canal's stretch in Punjab.

The court also appointed Union Home Secretary, Chief Secretary of Punjab and the Director General of Punjab Police as receivers in the dispute between Punjab and Haryana. The controversial 1981 water-sharing agreement came into being after Haryana was carved out of Punjab in 1966.

News 2 - Union Cabinet approves Mumbai Urban Transport Project (MUTP) — Phase III


The Union Cabinet has approved the Mumbai Urban Transport Project Phase–III. The estimated cost of project is Rs. 8,679 crores with the completion cost of Rs. 10,947 crores. The project is expected to be completed in the next 5 years during 13th Plan period.

The areas covered by this project are Thane, Palghar, Raigad and Mumbai districts of Maharashtra. The Mumbai suburban railway network on Central and Western Railways has 376 Kms based routes and there are five corridors.

News 3 - Union HRD Minister launched ‘Vittiya Saksharata Abhiyan’

Vittiya Saksharata Abhiyan

Union Minister for Human Resource Development, Shri Prakash Javadekar launched the ‘Vittiya Saksharata Abhiyan’ in New Delhi.

He appealed to the young students to come forward and join ‘Vittiya Saksharata Abhiyan’ to encourage, create awareness and motivate all people around them to use a digitally enabled cashless economic system for transfer of fund. He also launched a webpage where students can register themselves, give continuous feedback and suggestions on the initiative.

News 4 - Garbage from Ghazipur landfill site to be used to make highways


Garbage from the Ghazipur landfill site in east Delhi will be used for road expansion projects by the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI). The garbage piled up at the site will be cleared by 2018.

The East Delhi Municipal Corporation signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI), the Union Ministry of Road Transport and Highways, and the Union Urban Development Ministry in this regards.

News 5 - The Union cabinet approves Rs. 2,000 Crores for displaced families from PoK


The Union Cabinet chaired by the Prime Minister Narendra Modi, approved the Home Ministry’s proposal of Rs. 2,000 crore development package for the displaced people of Pakistan occupied Kashmir (PoK) living in the country.

Each family will get around Rs. 5.5 lakhs as aid to enable them to earn an income and subsist their livelihood. The amount will be released to the State government for disbursal to eligible families through Direct Benefit Transfer.

News 6 - ESIC increases the monthly wage limit to Rs. 21,000


In a bid to bring more workers from the unorganized sector under the health insurance scheme, the Employees State Insurance Corporation, ESIC has increased the monthly wage limit to 21,000 rupees.

Earlier the coverage under the ESIC scheme was enhanced to 15,000 rupees in 2010. The upward increase in revision would add about 35 lakh new members to the ESIC pool.

At present, 2 crores 14 lakhs persons are enrolled under this scheme.

News 7 - Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) Signs MoU with Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR)

ICMR Signs with ICAR

The Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) signed a MoU with Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR) for cooperation in zoonoses, anti-microbial resistance, nutrition and pesticide residues. The MoU will strengthen the ties between the two organizations and energize environment of mutual cooperation and collaboration.

This collaboration is aimed at developing guiding inputs for National Action Plan on anti-microbial resistance regarding limiting resistance emanating from antibiotic use in feed animals and spreading into the environment.

News 8 - Portal ‘E-Box’ launched by WCD Ministry to register online complaints of child sexual abuse


Union Minister Maneka Gandhi launched an online complaint box for reporting child sexual abuse, the POCSO e-Box in New Delhi. Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO), e-Box, is an online complaint management system for easy and direct reporting of sexual offences against children and timely action against the offenders under the POCSO Act, 2012.

The facility is available on the NCPCR website. Anyone, a victim or an adult, can visit the website and file a complaint about a child facing sexual abuse. There are pictorial aides to make the procedure simple for young children.

News 9 - Union Government launches Stanpan Suraksha mobile app to promote breastfeeding

Stanpan Suraksha

The Union Tribal Affairs Ministry in association with Breastfeeding Promotion Network of India (BPNI) have developed and launched the ‘Stanpan Suraksha’ mobile application to promote breastfeeding and keep a check on inappropriate promotion of baby food items in the country.

The app also has a city-wise database of trained breastfeeding counsellor who can educate and aid mothers during antenatal and postnatal period.

News 10 - Supreme Court approved action plan to deal with air pollution in Delhi NCR

Air Pollution

The Supreme Court has approved the Graded Response Action Plan of the Union Government to tackle the different levels of pollution in Delhi-NCR region. The enforcement of action plan will be under orders of Environment Pollution (Control and Prevention) Authority (EPCA).

The court also directed the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) to set up more monitoring stations in Delhi-NCR within six months and upgrade existing infrastructure.

News 11 - India, Qatar signed four agreements including visa and cyberspace

India Qatar

India and Qatar inked four agreements on visas, cyberspace and investments, which are as follows −

  • Holders of diplomatic, special and official passports of the two countries visa-free travel between the two countries.

  • Protocol on technical cooperation in cyber space and combating cybercrime was signed.

  • Letter of intent for negotiations on an agreement on grant of e-visa to businessmen and tourists of the two countries.

  • MoU that will provide a framework for project experts for Indian companies in Qatar, including through participation in infrastructure projects in Qatar undertaken for the 2022 FIFA World Cup.

News 12 - Petroleum Minister inaugurated the fifth IEF-IGU Ministerial Gas Forum

Dharmendra Pradhan

Petroleum Minister Dharmendra Pradhan inaugurated the fifth International Energy Forum (IEF) and the International Gas Union Ministerial Forum in New Delhi. The forum is being held as a parallel event to the 3-day Petrotech-2016.

Compared to international average, the share of gas in India's primary energy basket is only at about 6.5 percent and the government have set a target to raise the share from the current level to 15 percent.

News 13 - Government announced incentives for cashless transactions


The Union Government announced package of incentives and measures for promotion of digital and cashless economy in the country.

Key Measures:

  • 0.75% discount on diesel and petrol to consumers who pay through digital means.

  • Rs. 10 lakh free accident insurance cover to passengers on booking of Railway ticket through online mode.

  • Buying general, life insurance policies and renewal premiums from PSU insurers’ websites will attract 10% and 8% discount, respectively.

  • No service tax will be charged on all digital transaction up to Rs. 2000.

  • Merchants would not be required to pay more than Rs. 100 as monthly rental for PoS terminals/Micro ATMs/mobile POS through Public sector banks.

News 14 - Eleven MoUs Signed, Web Portals of 3 Start-Up Funds Launched during PETROTECH 2016


On the last day of the Petrotech-2016, 11 Memorandum of Understandings were signed. Summary of the agreements signed are as follows −

  • Consortium Agreement between Indian Oil as Lead Member and HPCL & BPCL in relation to pre-project activities for establishment of West Coast Refinery and Petrochemicals Project in Maharashtra through creating a joint venture company amongst the Parties.

  • MoU with IIT, Guwahati for supporting OIL’s start up initiative.

  • MoU with IIT, Mumbai for supporting ONGC’s Start-Up Initiative.

  • Setting up 5 2G ethanol plants in various parts of the country.

  • Portal were also launched by ONGC, OIL and IOCL under “Start-Up India”.

For detailed information on the MoUs signed, you can click on the following link: (Ref Date: 07/12/2016)

News 15 - India signed a Civil Nuclear Co-Operation Agreement with Vietnam

Civil Nuclear Co-Operation Agreement

India signed a Civil Nuclear Co-Operation Agreement with Vietnam. The agreement was signed in New Delhi in the presence of Lok Sabha Speaker Sumitra Mahajan and visiting President of Vietnam's National Assembly Nguyen Thi Kim Ngan.

Ngan is the first woman to head the National Assembly of Vietnam.

Vietnam is the 14th country with which India signed the civil nuclear deal. India had signed a similar civil nuclear agreement with Japan in November 2016.

News 16 - Cabinet approved an MoU between India and Vietnam on Cooperation In the field of Information Technology (IT)

India and Vietnam

The Union Cabinet has given its ex-post facto approval to the MoU between India and Vietnam on Cooperation in the field of IT.

This MoU aims to develop a long-term and sustainable cooperation based on equality and mutual interest in the areas of IT in line with each country’s laws and regulations. The MoU will remain in force for a period of five years and will be renewable by mutual written consent between India and Vietnam. It will be implemented by establishing a Joint Working Group on IT with representatives from both the countries.

News 17 - Cabinet approves an MoU between India and Afghanistan on Cooperation in the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space

India and Afghanistan

The Union Cabinet has given its ex-post facto approval to the MoU between India and Afghanistan on cooperation in the peaceful uses of outer space.

This MoU will benefit both the countries in the following manner:

  • Development of space sector in Afghanistan.

  • Burnish India’s credentials as a nation with advanced space technology, one that can also assist other countries;

  • Afghanistan will move towards selfreliance in the space sector;

  • Help deepen bilateral ties and mutual understanding and trust between India and Afghanistan;

  • Provide India with a foothold in Afghanistan’s strategic space and communication sector.

News 18 - Cabinet approves an MoU between India and Thailand on Cooperation in controlling narcotic drugs and psychotropic substances

India and Thailand

The Union Cabinet has given its approval to the MoU between India and Thailand in controlling narcotic drugs, psychotropic substances, their precursors and chemicals and drug abuse.

The MoU is an effective framework to deal with all issues requiring mutual assistance and cooperation in the above areas. It will facilitate effective institutional interaction between India and Thailand. The MoU, once in force, would help in curbing transnational narcotics trafficking.

News 19 - Cabinet approves an MoU between India and United Kingdom (UK) for Cooperation in the Field of Intellectual Property

India and UK

The Union Cabinet has given its ex-post facto approval to the MoU between India and United Kingdom (UK) for Cooperation in the Field of Intellectual Property (IP). The MoU was signed on 7.11.2016.

The MoU seeks to establish a wide-ranging and flexible mechanism for developing and furthering the cooperation in the development of automation, new documentation and information systems in IP. It provides an opportunity for collaboration in training programs, exchange of experts and technical exchanges and outreach activities.

News 20 - Cabinet approves an MoU between India and United Kingdom (UK) to support Ease of Doing Business in India

India and United Kingdom

The Union Cabinet has given its ex-post facto approval to the MoU between India and United Kingdom (UK) to support Ease of Doing Business in India.

The MoU shall enable exchange of officials from both the Governments to facilitate sharing of best practices, offering technical assistance and enhanced implementation of reforms. The UK government has shown interest to offer expertise in the following areas −

  • Support to small businesses and start ups
  • Starting business and registration
  • Paying taxes and tax administration
  • Insolvency
  • Construction permits
  • Getting electricity
  • Risk based framework for inspection and regulatory regimes
  • Trading across the borders
  • Competition economics
  • Getting credit
  • Drafting of laws and regulations
  • Reducing stock and flow of regulation
  • Impact assessment of regulations

News 21 - Cabinet approves Reforms to Boost Employment Generation and Exports in the Made-ups Sector

Made-ups Sector

The Union Cabinet has given its approval to the reforms to boost employment generation and exports in the Made-ups Sector.

The cabinet approved budget of Rs. 6,006 crores for the apparel package with the objective of creating large scale direct and indirect employment of up to 11 lakh persons over the next three years in the made-ups sector. Key points −

  • Providing production incentive through enhanced Technology Upgradation Fund Scheme (TUFS)

  • Extension of Pradhan Mantri Paridhan Rozgar Protsahan Yojana (PMPRPY) Scheme (for apparel)

  • Extension of Rebate of State Levies (ROSL) (for apparel) Scheme

News 22 - Cabinet approves Nutrient Based Subsidy rates for Phosphatic and Potassic fertilizers for the year 2016-17

Nutrient Based Subsidy

The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs has approved the proposal of half yearly review of Nutrient Based Subsidy (NBS) rates for Phosphatic and Potassic (P&K) fertilizers for the year 2016-17.

(Per Kg subsidy rates in Rs.)

Period N (Nitrogen) P (Phosphorus) K (Potash) S (Sulphur)
2nd half of FY 2016-17 (from October’16 to March’17) 15.854 13.241 15.470 2.044

News 23 - Cabinet approves the proposal of the Election Commission for the procurement of Control and Ballot Units during 2017–18 and 2018–19

Election Commission

The Union Cabinet has approved the proposal of Election Commission for purchase of 4,10,000 Ballot Units (BUs) and 3,14,000 Control Units (CUs) during 2017-18 and 4,35,306 Ballot Units and 71,716 control units during 2018-19 at a tentative unit cost of Rs. 7,700/- and Rs. 9,300/- respectively. The total estimated cost will be Rs.1,009.6 crore.

The purchases will be made through Bharat Electronic Ltd.(BEL), Bangalore and Electronics Corporation of India Ltd. (ECIL), Hyderabad.

News 24 - PMFBY has provided coverage to 366.64 lakh farmers (26.50%)


The Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bima Yojana (PMFBY), as on date, has provided coverage to 366.64 lakh farmers (26.50%) and at this rate it is likely to exceed the target of 30% coverage for both Kharif and Rabi seasons in 2016-17.

In terms of total area covered, the achievement has been significant amounting to a total area of 388.62 lakh hectare and sum insured of Rs. 141339 crore. The Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bima Yojana was recast as a new scheme by the Government as the earlier existing insurance schemes were not meeting the full requirements of the farmers for insurance coverage.

News 25 - Cabinet approves Pune Metro Rail Project Phase – 1

Pune Metro Rail Project

The Union Cabinet has approved the development of Pune Metro Rail Project Phase – 1. The Pune Metro Rail Corridor will be covering a length of 31.254 km comprising with two corridors i.e. Corridor – 1 {Pimpri Chinchwad Municipal Corporation (PCMC) to Swargate} and Corriodor – 2 (Vanaz to Ramwadi).

The total completion cost of the metro rail corridor will be Rs. 11,420 crores. The project is scheduled to be completed in five years from the date of start of work as per the Detailed Project Report (DPR).

News 26 - Government Released Rs 1667.99 Crores and Rs 366.47 Crores for Installation of Solar and Wind Energy Projects

Solar and Wind Energy Projects

The total installed capacity in the country from solar power was 8727.64 MW and from wind power was 28279.40 MW as on 31.10.2016. This was stated by Shri Piyush Goyal, Minister of State (IC) for Power, Coal, New & Renewable Energy and Mines in a written reply to a question in Lok Sabha today.

Shri Goyal further informed that Ministry has released amount of Rs. 1667.99 Crores and Rs. 366.47 crores for installation of solar and wind energy projects respectively till 31st October 2016 in different State/UTs. “The potential of wind and solar in the country has been estimated to be 302251 MW and 784990 MW respectively”, he added.

News 27 - Setting up two National Kamdhenu Breeding Centre’s

Kamdhenu Breeding Centres

Government is undertaking establishment of two National Kamdhenu Breeding Centre’s in the Country. An amount of Rs.25.00 Crore has been released to Madhya Pradesh for establishment of National Kamdhenu Breeding Centre in Itarsi, Hoshangabad in Northern region of India and Rs 25 crore has been released to Andhra Pradesh for establishment of National Kamdhenu Breeding Centre in Chintaladevi, Nellore in Southern region of India.

Under the Rashtriya Gokul Mission, all the bull mother farms available with State governments and State Implementing Agencies/ State Livestock Development Boards are covered for modernization and strengthening of existing infrastructure.

News 28 - Organic farming on the Banks of Ganga River


A Memorandum of Understanding has been signed between Ministry of Water Resources, River Development and Ganga Rejuvenation and Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers Welfares to promote organic clusters on the banks of Ganga in 5 Ganga basin States namely Uttarakhand, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Jharkhand and West Bengal. It is proposed to cover 136 gram panchayats/villages under the program.

The Paramparagat Krishi Vikas Yojana (PKVY) program components will be converged with Namami Ganga program to implement the organic cluster in these Ganga basin States. A financial assistance of 14.95 lakhs for 3 years shall be provided per cluster towards organic farming practices and Participatory Guarantee System (PGS) of Certification.

News 29 - Government launched “DigiShala” channel to educate Rural India on Cashless Transaction


Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology launched a TV channel named ‘DigiShala’. It is a free-to-air channel. To educate, enable and inform citizens about cashless economy, the government has also initiated ‘Digi Dhan Abhiyan’.

‘DigiShala’ is aimed at enabling and empowering citizens who will be informed and educated about various digital payment options through step by step demos of digital payments using UPI, USSD, Aadhar-enabled payment systems, e-Wallets and cards.

News 30 - Indonesia and India inked three MoUs

Indonesia and India

Indonesian President Joko Widodo and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi signed three agreements in the fields of youth and sports, fishing and cooperation between the Bureau of Indian Standards and the National Standardization Agency of Indonesia.

The MoU on fishing was inked to tackle illegal fishing. The President of Indonesia and the Prime Minister of India agreed to hold annual Summit meetings, including on the margins of multilateral events and emphasized the importance of further consolidating the security and defence cooperation between the two countries.

News 31 - Union Minister of Road Transport laid foundation for 17 road projects in Manipur

Nitin Gadkari

Union Minister of Road Transport Nitin Gadkari announced 17 road projects at a cost of Rs. 1152 crores for Manipur, which includes construction of Barak and Makru bridges on National Highway no 37 Imphal-Jiribam road, Ukhrul -Toloi-Tadubi projects covering 115 km, Sinzawl-Tuivai projects covering 162 km and Tamenglong-Khongsang road covering 40 kms.

Various projects will be looked after by Public Works Department of Manipur. Ministry assured that Imphal-Jiribam road will be repaired within three years.

News 32 - India’s first Cybersecurity Engagement Centre launched in New Delhi


Software giant Microsoft launched cybersecurity engagement centre (CSEC) in the Delhi region to tackle cyber threats in the country and develop a secure tech-space for users. It is an initiative for India’s digital transformation. It will involve an investment of $1 billion yearly in the field of security research, innovation and development.

Microsoft’s other cybersecurity centers are located in Singapore, Tokyo, Seoul, Beijing, Berlin and Washington DC. Centre will be operated in union with the Redmond DCU team which involves over 100 legal and technical experts worldwide.

News 33 - National Resource Centre for Tribal Livelihood launched at Odisha

National Resource Centre

Union Ministry of Tribal Affairs in collaboration with UNDP and National Scheduled Tribes Finance and Development Corporation, launched “Vanjeevan” the National Resource Centre for Tribal Livelihood issues at Bhubaneswar, Odisha.

Vanjeevan is a program to identify the problems in livelihood issues in select districts of six states having low HDI of tribal people in two phases. The program will focus on the identification of local resources, facilitate utilization of funds and serve as a platform for livelihood mapping and skill gap analysis for tribal entrepreneurship development.

News 34 - Kolkata-Mizoram trade route to be opened via Myanmar


Kolkata-Mizoram trade route via Myanmar will be opened and become a reality soon as Sittwe port will be built by India in Myanmar. Trade route involves arrival of shipments at Sittwe port from Kolkata and transfer to smaller freight carriers into Mizoram.

Construction of Sittwe port is the first phase of an integrated $500-million project being funded by India. India is funding to build route because it will reduce the cost and distance of movement from Kolkata to Mizoram.

News 35 - India Signs Grant Agreement with the IBRD for USD 5.19 million

Agreement with IBRD

An agreement for GEF Grant of USD 5.19 Million for “Additional Financing for Financing Energy Efficiency at MSMEs Project- Programmatic Framework for Energy Efficiency” was signed by Shri Raj Kumar, Joint Secretary (MI), Department of Economic Affairs and World Bank (India) on behalf of IBRD.

The Development Objective of the project was to increase demand for energy efficiency investments in MSME. The proposed additional financing (AF) would be used to help further scale up the initiatives taken up under the parent project.

News 36 - Rajya Sabha passed the Rights of Persons with Disabilities Bill

Disabilities Bill

Rajya Sabha passed the Rights of Persons with Disabilities Bill, 2014, complying with the UN Convention on Rights of Persons with Disabilities, to which India became a signatory in 2007. Persons with disabilities shall have the right to equality such as equal opportunity in employment, legal capacity and equal protection and safety in situations of risk.

At least 5% seats in all government institutions of higher education and those getting aid from the government are required to reserve seats for persons with benchmark disabilities.

News 37 - The 6th APMC on Housing and Urban Development held in New Delhi

Housing and Urban Development

Union Urban Development Minister M Venkaiah Naidu inaugurated 6th edition of three day Asia Pacific Ministerial Conference on Housing and Urban Development (APMCHUD) in New Delhi. 68 countries’ senior officials witnessed conference and decided to adopt Delhi Declaration. Various strategies were planned for the New Urban Agenda adopted at Quito, Ecuador.

Main objective of the conference was to address issues regarding sustainable growth, urban population growth, climate change challenges and rising levels of air pollution.

News 38 - Cabinet approves replacement of ‘Major Port Trusts Act, 1963’

Major Port Trusts Act

The Union Cabinet approved the proposal of Ministry of Shipping to replace the Major Port Trusts Act, 1963 by the Major Port Authorities Bill, 2016. This will empower the Major Ports to perform with greater efficiency on account of full autonomy in decision making and by modernizing the Institutional structure of Major Ports.

The Bill is aimed at reorienting the governance model in central Ports to landlord port model in line with the successful global practice. This will also help in bringing transparency in operations of Major Ports.

News 39 - e-Tourist visa extended to citizens of 161 countries


The Government has extended the facility of e-Tourist Visa for citizens of 161 countries. The number of foreign tourist arrivals on eTourist Visa (e-TV) during January to November 2016 was 9,17,446, registering a growth of 168.5% over same period of previous year.

The e-visa scheme was launched on November 27, 2014. Under the scheme, an applicant receives an email authorizing him or her to travel to India after it has been approved. The tourist can travel with a print-out of this authorization.

News 40 - NITI Aayog announces Lucky Grahak Yojana and Digi-Dhan Vyapar Yojana

Lucky Grahak and Digi-DhanVyapar Yojana

NITI Aayog announced the launch of the schemes Lucky Grahak Yojana and the DigiDhanVyapar Yojana to give cash awards to consumers and merchants who utilize digital payment instruments for personal consumption expenditures.

  • Lucky Grahak Yojana [Consumers] − Consumers making payment through digital mode will get chance to win minimum Rs. 1000 each every day or Rs. 1 lakh per week.

  • Digi-DhanVyapar Yojana [ Merchants] − Merchants doing business using POS are eligible to win Rs. 50000 per week from 25th December 2016 to 14 April 2017.

News 41 - The Union Cabinet approved an MoU between ISRO and USGS


The Union Cabinet has been apprised of the Memorandum of Understanding signed between Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) and United States Geological Survey (USGS) for Cooperation in the exchange and use of U.S. Land Remote Sensing Satellite Data. The MoU was signed on 9th July 2016 at Bengaluru.

This MoU will enable ISRO to receive USGS’s Landsat-7 & 8 in India and USGS to receive ISRO’s Resourcesat-2 (AWiFS and LISS III) data of US region.

News 42 - India Signs Open Skies Agreement with Six Countries During ICAN 2016

Open Skies Agreement

International Civil Aviation Negotiations (ICAN) - 2016 were held recently in Nassau from 5th to 9th December, 2016. India negotiated with 17 countries and “Memorandum of Understanding” was signed with 12 countries.

India signed open Skies agreement as per NCAP 2016 that allows unlimited number of flights to six metro airports namely Delhi, Mumbai, Hyderabad, Kolkata, Bengaluru and Chennai, was signed with six countries namely Jamaica, Guyana, Czech Republic, Finland, Spain and Sri Lanka.

News 43 - India to Receive Euro 1 billion Soft Loan for ‘Green Energy Corridors’ from Germany

Green Energy Corridors

Germany will provide soft loan to the tune of Euro 1 billion for the funding of green energy corridors in both intra and inter State transmission projects, under the framework of cooperation between Govt. of India and Govt. of Germany.

Intra State transmission schemes under Green Energy Corridors (GEC) are to be funded as 20% equity of the State Govt., 40% grant from National Clean Energy Fund (NCEF) and 40% soft loan, whereas, the inter State transmission schemes are to be funded as 30% equity by PGCIL and 70% as soft loan.

News 44 - Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Yojana became operational from the 17th December

Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Yojana

The Taxation Laws (Second Amendment) Act 2016 has come into force which has provisions of levy of a total tax, penalty and surcharge of 50 per cent on the amount deposited post demonetization. The money collected from taxes and penalty on undisclosed incomes will be deposited in the Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Yojna, which in a part of the Act.

The scheme commenced from the 17th of December and would remain open for declarations up to 31st of March next year.

News 45 - India and Tajikistan sign four agreements

India and Tajikistan

India and Tajikistan signed four agreements following delegation-level talks headed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Tajik President Emomali Rahmon in New Delhi.

The agreements are as follows:

  • A memorandum of understanding (MoU) was signed on cooperation in the exchange of financial intelligence related to money laundering, related crimes and financing of terrorism.

  • A protocol was signed amending avoidance of double taxation and prevention of fiscal evasion.

  • A MoU regarding cooperation on broadcasting in exchange of audio-visual programs.

  • Initiated a document on bilateral investment.

News 46 - Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Yojna comes into effect

Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Yojna

The Government has notified changes to income tax law for the new black money disclosure scheme i.e. 'Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Yojana'. Money received under this scheme as penalty will be used for the social schemes meant for poor.

This scheme started from December 17 and declarations made under this scheme will be kept confidential. Any individual who has undisclosed income can disclose income under this scheme till March 31 2017. Any individual who declares unaccounted income, should pay a fine of 50% of the unaccounted money. 25% of the amount will remain locked in for 4 years. You can deposit the penalty on your undisclosed income in any bank or in the income tax department. Any information about black money can also be emailed on

News 47 - Rights of Persons with Disabilities Bill passed in Lok Sabha

Rights of Persons

The Lok Sabha passed "The Rights of Persons with Disabilities Bill - 2016". The Bill will replace the existing PwD Act, 1995, which was enacted 21 years back. The Rajya Sabha had already passed the Bill on 14.12.2016.

The salient features of the Bill are:

  • Disability has been defined based on an evolving and dynamic concept.

  • The types of disabilities have been increased from existing 7 to 21 and the Central Government will have the power to add more types of disabilities.

  • The office of chief commissioner and state commissioners for Persons with Disabilities which will act as regulatory bodies.

News 48 - NTPC and NALCO inked MoU to establish a 2400 MW Coal based power project


NTPC Limited and National Aluminum Company Limited (NALCO) inked a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to facilitate the setting up of a Joint Venture (JV) Company to establish a 2400 MW coal based power project at Gajmara, Dhenkanal, Odisha.

The generated power will be taken by the NALCO as a JV partner for the Brownfield expansion of its 5 lakh tonne Aluminum smelter at Angul and the Greenfield project of a 6 lakh tonne smelter at Kamakhya Nagar, Odisha. The estimated investment in all these projects will be approximately Rs. 36,000 crores.

News 49 - PM Modi laid foundation stone of first ever Indian Institute of Skills at Kanpur

Indian Institute of Skills

Prime Minister Narendra Modi laid the foundation stone of the first ever Indian Institute of Skills in the country at Kanpur, Uttar Pradesh. The institute will be open by the Skill Development Ministry in partnership with the Institute of Technical Education, Singapore.

Prime Minister also inaugurated the Kaushal Pradarshini (Skill Exhibition, between 19th to 22nd December) for the youth. The Exhibition showcased state-of-the-art vocational training practices of various sectors.

News 50 - Power Ministry launches GARV-II App to track Rural Household Electrification


Power Ministry launched the ‘GARV-II’ App to provide access to electricity to all households in the country. Under this module, village-wise and habitation-wise base line data on household electrification for all States, as provided by them, has been incorporated.

The data in respect of about 6 lakh villages has been mapped for tracking progress on household electrification and the status of village-wise works sanctioned under the Deen Dayal Upadhyaya Gram Jyoti Yojana (DDUGJY) for these projects has also been mapped in ‘GARV-II’ to monitor progress of works in each village.

News 51 - ‘Swasthya Raksha Program’ launched by the AYUSH Ministry

Swasthya Raksha Program

Swasthya Rakshan Program has been initiated through Central Council for Research in Ayurvedic Sciences, Central Council for Research in Unani Medicine, Central Council for Research in Homoeopathy and Central Council for Research in Siddha in selected districts/ villages.

This Swasthya Rakshan Program will organize Swasthya Rakshan OPDs and Health awareness program, create awareness about cleanliness of domestic surroundings and provide medical aid in the adopted villages.

News 52 - India and Kyrgyzstan ink 6 MoUs

India and Kyrgyzstan

India and Kyrgyzstan have inked six Memoranda of Understanding (MoU in the fields of tourism, agriculture and food industry etc after delegation level talks between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and visiting President of Kyrgyzstan Almazbek Sharshenovich Atambayev in New Delhi.

The 6 MoUs are:

  • MoU on cooperation in the field of Tourism.

  • MoU in the field of cooperation in youth exchange.

  • MoU on cooperation in the field of Youth development.

  • MoU on exchange of information on training programs of diplomats.

  • Agreement on cooperation in the field of Agriculture and Food Industry.

  • MoU on cooperation in the field of Broadcasting and exchange of audiovisual programs.

News 53 - Government revised North East Industrial and Investment Promotion Policy


The government has revised the North East Industrial and Investment Promotion Policy (NEIIP), 2007. Subsidies will be disbursed through Direct Benefit Transfer (DBT) mechanism.

Benefits available under the policy are:

  • Provides for subsidy @ 30% of the investment in plant and machinery.

  • Provides for interest subsidy @ 3% on the working capital loan.

  • Provides for reimbursement of 100% insurance premium for a maximum period of 10 years.

News 54 - Government announced a Rs. 207 crore project for protection of Majuli island

Majuli Island Protection

Minister of State for Development of North Eastern Region Dr. Jitendra Singh announced to provide 207 crore rupees for protection and development of the world heritage island Majuli located along river Brahmaputra in Assam for the upliftment of the world famous scenic island.

This amount will be spent primarily for safeguarding the land loss due to erosion and to protect the 80-kilometer length of the bank line on the right bank of river Brahmaputra along Majuli island.

News 55 - The Union Cabinet approved ordinance to amend Payment of Wages Act

Wages Act

The Union Cabinet approved an ordinance to amend the Payment of Wages Act for allowing business and industrial establishments to pay salaries through cheque or electronically in the bank accounts.

The employers will also have the option to pay wages in existing provisions of payment in current coin or currency notes. The Payment of Wages (Amendment) Bill seeks to amend Section 6 of the principal Act to enable employers to pay wages to employees through cheque or by crediting it into their bank accounts.

News 56 - Cabinet approves creation of ‘Indian Enterprise Development Service (IEDS)’


The Union Cabinet has given its approval to the Cadre review and formation of a new service in the name of Indian Enterprise Development Service (IEDS) in the Office of Development Commissioner (MSME), Ministry of Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSME).

The creation of the new cadre and change in structure will strengthen the organization as well as help to achieve the vision of “Startup India”, “Stand-up India” and “Make in India”.

News 57 - Information and Broadcasting Ministry launched Google Map toilet locator


Information and Broadcasting Minister Venkaiah Naidu launched google map toilet locator to help people find access to clean public restrooms. Google toilet locator is a pioneering attempt at providing access to a toilet facility every 500 meters in cities.

At present 504 cities and towns which also includes 4 Million-plus cities have achieved Open Defecation Free. Gujarat, Andhra Pradesh and Sikkim have declared all cities and towns Open Defecation Free.

News 58 - Shri Shripad Naik inaugurated the NE Institute of Ayurveda and Homeopathy

Ayurveda and Homeopathy

The Minister of State for AYUSH Shri Shripad Yesso Naik inaugurated the North-Eastern Institute of Ayurveda and Homoeopathy, an autonomous Institute under Ministry of AYUSH, Government of India, in Shillong, Meghalaya. With this, it became the second Ayurvedic College in the North-East Region with a Homeopathy college and the only Central Academic Institute of Ayush.

The primary aim of the Institute is to produce quality human resource in AYUSH; particularly in the Ayurveda and Homeopathy along with the Yoga systems.

News 59 - Textiles Ministry to set up Bunkar Mitra-Handloom Helpline Centre

Textiles Ministry

Textiles Ministry decided to establish a Bunkar Mitra Handloom Helpline Centre where professional queries of weavers will be answered by the experts in the field.

At present, 28 weavers’ service centers are functioning across the country to provide technical assistance to handloom weavers in improving their skills. Presently, there is no single point of contact where weavers can seek solutions for their technical issues. The call centre will be operationalized within a month.

News 60 - Enemy Property ordinance promulgated again

Enemy Property

President Pranab Mukherjee has given his assent to the Enemy Property (Amendment and Validation) Fifth Ordinance – 2016.

It will guard against claims of succession or transfer of properties left by people who migrated to Pakistan and China after wars. The amendments are aimed at plugging the loopholes in the principal Act to ensure that the enemy properties worth thousands of crores of rupees vested in the Custodian do not revert to the enemy, enemy subject or enemy firm.

News 61 - Google India, Consumer Affairs Ministry join hands for online consumer protection

Online Consumer Protection

Google India has collaborated with Ministry of Consumer Affairs announced a nationwide Digitally Safe Consumer campaign to raise awareness about online safety. It is a part of a larger effort to help better protect consumer interest online.

Google with the help of partner agencies will work towards advocating digital security and privacy needs through 'Digital Literacy, Safety & Security' workshops through a 'Train the Trainer' model for approximately 500 people including 250 consumer organisations across the country.

News 62 - NITI Aayog launched the National Index for Performance on Health Outcomes

Health Outcomes

NITI Aayog launched the National Index for Performance on Health Outcomes to rank states towards transformative action in the Health sector.

It is meant to capture the annual incremental improvements by States, rather than focus on historical achievements. It includes indicators in the domains of health outcomes governance and information and a few key inputs and processes. A similar exercise has also been launched for the Education and Water sectors.

News 63 - Government launched mobile App 'Smart Consumer' & OCMC to provide speedy redressal of consumer grievances

Smart Consumer

The government launched a host of online initiatives including a mobile App 'Smart Consumer' and an 'Online Consumer Mediation Centre (OCMC)' to provide speedy redressal of consumer grievances.

A helpline 14404 was also launched for consumer related grievances. Besides, another initiative Microsite based on the theme Digitally Safe Consumer Campaign was also launched to help consumers for being vigilant and not falling prey to cyber frauds.

News 64 - Ministry of Textiles celebrates Good Governance Day with the Launch of New Initiatives

Ministry of Textiles

On the occasion of the Good Governance Day, 2016, Union Minister of Textiles Smt. Smriti Zubin Irani launched following initiatives of the Ministry of Textiles in New Delhi.

  • ‘JUTE-SMART’ an online portal to facilitate purchase of Jute bags from the Jute Industry by the State Procurement Agencies;

  • Dashboard for Integrated Skill Development Scheme hosted on the NIC Cloud with access to public; and

  • Bunkar Mitra − a Helpline for handholding of Handloom weavers.

News 65 - Shri Nitin Gadkari inaugurated the Sagarmala Development Company

Sagarmala Development Company

The Minister of Shipping and Road Transport & Highways Shri Nitin Gadkari inaugurated the Sagarmala Development Company in New Delhi of worth Rs. 1 Lakh Crore.

The main objective of the company is to identify port-led development projects under the Sagarmala Program and provide equity support for the project Special Purpose Vehicles (SPVs) set up by the Ports / State / Central Ministries and funding window and /or implement only those residual projects which cannot be funded by any other means.

News 66 - Ministry of Railways doubled compensation rate for accident victims

Railways Compensation

Ministry of Railways decided to double the amounts of compensation payable in respect of Death & Injuries to the passengers involved in Accidents, by amending “The Railway Accidents and Untoward Incidents (Compensation) Rules, 1990” and replacing with “The Railway Accidents and Untoward Incidents (Compensation) Rules, 2016”.

As per the revised Compensation Rules, compensation in case of death has been doubled from Rs. 4 lakh to Rs. 8 lakh. The new rules will come into effect from 1st January 2017.

News 67 - Foreign Tourist Arrivals have grown to around 9.3% in November

Foreign Tourist

There was a growth of 9.3% in Foreign Tourist Arrivals (FTAs) in the month of November 2016 over the same period in 2015 where USA accounted for the highest share of tourist arrivals followed by UK and Bangladesh in November 2016. Close to Rs. 14, 474/- crores Foreign Exchange has been earned through tourism in November 2016.

The Percentage share of Foreign Tourist Arrivals (FTAs) in India during November, 2016 among the top 15 source countries was highest from USA (15.53%) followed by UK (11.21%), Bangladesh (10.72%), Canada (4.66%), Russian Fed (4.53%), Australia (4.04%), Malaysia (3.65%), Germany (3.53%), China (3.14%), France (2.88%), Sri Lanka (2.49%), Japan (2.49%), Singapore (2.16%), Nepal (1.46%) and Thailand (1.37%).

News 68 - CPWD signs an MOU to help Bhutan in green and sustainable construction


Central Public Works Department (CPWD) signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Department of Engineering Services, Ministry of Works and Human Settlements, Royal Government of Bhutan in Thimpu.

Under the MoU for bilateral technical cooperation in infrastructure engineering, CPWD will assist in promoting sustainability in the built environment, capacity building through training of Bhutanese manpower, benchmarking in building and road sectors besides deputing engineering experts to Bhutan.

News 69 - Noida-Greater Noida Metro gets Rs. 406 crores boost from NCR Planning Board

Noida Metro

The National Capital Region Planning Board (NCRPB) has begun to release funds for the Noida-Greater Noida Metro Project by disbursing the first loan instalment of Rs. 406 Crores.

NCRPB had earlier sanctioned a loan of Rs. 1,587 Crores to Noida Metro Rail Corporation (NMRC) for the 29.70 kms Noida-Greater Noida Metro Project that is estimated to cost Rs. 5,533 Crores. The targeted date of completion of this section is April, 2018.

News 70 - Dr. Harsh Vardhan inaugurated the 24th National Children’s Science Congress


Union Minister for Science and Technology and Earth Sciences, Dr. Harsh Vardhan, inaugurated the 24th National Children’s Science Congress at Vidyapratisthan’s Institute of Information Technology, Baramati in Pune district of Maharashtra.

The five-day Science Congress will bring more than 700 child scientists under one umbrella that will give them an opportunity to showcase their talents. The top 25 projects will be shortlisted and respective students will be provided with training support.

News 71 - Centre released funds of Rs. 1981 crore for Polavaram irrigation project

Polavaram Irrigation Project

The Union government released Rs. 1981 crores issued by NABARD to the Chief Minister of Andhra Pradesh Shri N Chandrababu Naidu for Polavaram irrigation project. The Government has also released Rs. 830 crores to Maharashtra and Rs. 463 crores to Gujarat.

The total funds required for the completion of all the 99 identified projects have been estimated at Rs. 77595 crores (Rs. 48546 crores for project works and Rs. 29049 crores for CAD works) with an estimated Central Assistance of Rs. 31342 crores.

News 72 - Cabinet approved the Road Connectivity Project for the Left-Wing Extremism Affected Areas

Left Wing Extremism

The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs has approved a Centrally Sponsored Scheme namely "Road Connectivity Project for Left Wing Extremism (LWE) Affected Areas" to improve the rural road connectivity in the worst LWE affected districts from security angle.

Under the project, construction/upgradation of 5,411.81 kilometres road and 126 Bridges/Cross Drainage works will be taken up at an estimated cost of Rs. 11,724.53 crores. These funds will be shared in the ratio of 60:40 between the Centre and States for all States except for eight North Eastern and three Himalayan States (Jammu & Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh & Uttarakhand) for which it is 90:10.

News 73 - Cabinet approved the International Solar Alliance (ISA): Signing of the Framework Agreement


The Union Cabinet gave its ex-post facto approval for ratification of ISA’s Framework Agreement by India. ISA was launched jointly by India and France on 30th November, 2015 at Paris.

The ISA will strive to bring together more than 121 solar resource rich nations for coordinated research, low cost financing and rapid deployment. The foundation stone of the ISA Headquarters was laid at Gwal Pahari, Gurgaon in Haryana. Till now, 25 nations have signed the Framework Agreement.

News 74 - Centre released Rs. 250 crores for the Lucknow Metro Rail project

Lucknow Metro Rail Project

The Centre released 250 crore rupees for the Lucknow Metro Rail project which is a joint venture of Central and Uttar Pradesh Governments. The Ministry had earlier this year released Rs. 300 crores taking the total assistance provided to the Lucknow Metro to Rs. 550 crores.

Total length of metro − 23 kilometres.

Estimated Cost − Rs. 6928 crores.

Centre’s Contribution − Rs. 1,003 crores as its share of equity, Rs. 297 crores as Sub-ordinate Debt and Rs. 3,500 crores as loan assistance funded by the European Investment Bank

News 75 - Centre approved Rs 266 crore investment for Delhi under AMRUT


The Centre has approved investments of 266 crore rupees for improving water supply and sewerage networks in Delhi taking the total investment to 489 crore rupees.

The amount will be provided as assistance to the Delhi government under the 2016-17 action plan in Atal Mission for Rejuvenation and Urban Transformation (AMRUT) guidelines. As per AMRUT guidelines, the Centre will provide a total of 804 crore rupees to Delhi for the five-year mission period.

News 76 - Swachh Bharat-Health Ministry collaborate for sanitation in health centers

Swachh Bharat-Health Ministry

The Ministry of Drinking Water and Sanitation and the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare jointly launched the ‘Swachh SwasthSarvatra’ initiative. Another joint initiative, ‘Swasth Bacche Swasth Bharat’, between Ministry of Health and Family Welfare and the Ministry of Human Resource Development was also launched.

The objective of the ‘Swachh Swasth Sarvatra’ initiative is to build on and leverage achievements of two complementary programmes – Swachh Bharat Mission (SBM) and Kayakalp – of the Ministry of Drinking Water and Sanitation and Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, respectively.

News 77 - India and Singapore Sign a Third Protocol for Amending the DTAA

India and Singapore

India and Singapore have amended the DTAA for the avoidance of double taxation and prevention of fiscal evasion with respect to taxes on income, by signing a Third Protocol. Third protocol provides for source-based taxation of capital gains arising from alienation of shares acquired from 1st April, 2017 in a company resident in India.

The Third Protocol also inserts provisions to facilitate relieving of economic double taxation in transfer pricing cases. This is a taxpayer friendly measure.

News 78 - Shri Thawarchand Gehlot Launches ‘Mobile App and Facebook Page’ of ‘National Trust’

Thawarchand Gehlot

Shri Thaawarchand Gehlot, Minister for Social Justice and Empowerment, launched the ‘Mobile App and Facebook Page’ of the National Trust at a function to mark the ‘National Trust Foundation Day’ on the theme “Celebrating Inclusion”. On this occasion, many cultural performances were presented by Divyangjan children.

The objective of the function was to create awareness amongst various professionals and stakeholders and the creation of support network for these persons with disabilities by sensitizing unreached section of society.

News 79 - President approved promulgation of Specified Bank Notes Ordinance, 2016

Bank Notes

President Pranab Mukherjee approved for the promulgation of the Specified Bank Notes (Cessation of Liabilities) Ordinance, 2016. The Union Cabinet had earlier approved the ordinance. It provides for making holding of old 1,000 and 500 rupee notes after 31st of March next year an offence that will attract a fine of 10 thousand rupees or five times the cash held, whichever is higher.

The ordinance also provides for amending the Reserve Bank of India Act to provide legislative support for extinguishing the demonetised banknotes that are not returned.

News 80 - Railway Minister laid the foundation of Nadikudi-Srikalahasti project in Andhra Pradesh

Nadikudi-Srikalahasti Project

Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu laid the foundation for Nadikudi-Srikalahasti railway project and initiated several other development works in Andhra Pradesh. Mr. Prabhu flagged off the Double-Decker train between Visakhapatnam-Tirupathi besides launching hi-speed wi-fi facility in Guntur RS and ETTC new hostel building in Vijayawada and route relay interlocking system for Raidurg-Kalyandurg new railway line.

The demand for railway zone at Visakhapatnam was raised by Andhra Pradesh which is being also considered by Railway minister.