Current Affairs December 2017 - National


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1 - Ministry of NE development announced Rs 90 cr for Northeast hill area development

NE

Minister of State for Development of North Eastern Region announced 90 crore rupees for Northeast Hill Area Development, starting from Tamenglong district, in the first phase, for a period of two years. It is done to introduce an exclusive hill area development programme and ensure equitable development of all the districts of the State. Over the last three years, the handloom and textile products from Northeast have been given due boost.

2 - Centre increased the agricultural education budget by 47.4%

Centre

The government of India increased the budget of Agricultural Education by 47.4% in 2017 as compared to the financial year 2013-14. It is first-of-its-kind that all Graduate Level Courses of Agriculture and its related subject have been declared as Professional Courses, in which agricultural graduates will be able to get a better opportunity from professional work in the future. The main objective of this programme is to provide confidence and complete skills to agricultural Graduates while studying at undergraduate level.

3 - Cabinet approved setting up of National Nutrition Mission

National Nutrition Mission

The Union Cabinet approved setting up of National Nutrition Mission with a three-year budget of Rs.9046.17 crore commencing from 2017-18. The NNM is an apex body that monitors, supervises, fix targets and guide the nutrition related interventions across the Ministries. National Nutrition Mission is aimed at mapping of various schemes contributing towards addressing malnutrition and setting-up Nutrition Resource Centres, involving masses through Jan Andolan for their participation on nutrition through various activities, among others.

4 - India and Singapore inked agreement on navy cooperation

navy cooperation

India-Singapore bilateral agreement for navy cooperation was inked at the 2nd defense ministers’ dialogue between the two countries. It was done to increase cooperation in maritime security, joint exercises, temporary deployments from each other’s naval facilities and mutual logistics support. Prior to this agreement, Singapore and India have also made progress in defence industry cooperation, with the signing of the terms of reference for the Defence Industry Working Group in August 2016.

5 - India, Cuba sign MoU for enhanced cooperation in health sector

Cuba

India and Cuba signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) for enhanced cooperation in the health sector. The objective of the MoU is to establish comprehensive inter-ministerial and inter-institutional cooperation between the two countries in the field of health by pooling technical, scientific and financial and human resources.The MoU between the two sides is important for exchanges in the health sector and to develop institutional framework. The government will also form a Joint Working Group for implementation of the MoU.

6 - India and Italy sign MoU for cooperation in Agriculture and Phytosanitary issues

Phytosanitary

India and Italy signed a new MoU for cooperation in Agriculture and Phytosanitary issues that will replace the one signed in 2008. The MoU identifies areas of mutual cooperation in agriculture machinery, training, investment, institutional linkages, precision farming, cattle breeding and fisheries.The Indian government also raised the issue of Indian exports of grapes and rice suffering on account of arbitrary Maximum Residue Levels (MRLs) set by European Commission.

7 - Health Ministry and Rotary India sign MoU for achieving immunization target

Health Ministry

A Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) was signed between the Ministry of Health & Family Welfare (MoHFW) and Rotary India to provide support and accelerate the efforts under Polio Eradication Programme. The key areas for collaboration will be −

  • Social mobilization of beneficiaries, especially in urban slums and undeserved areas having no mobilizers.

  • Support to the members of NCC, NYK, NSS etc. in their efforts of community mobilization.

  • Generating awareness through innovative approaches for Polio Eradication Programme, Routine Immunization including Mission Indradhanush, Intensified Mission Indradhanush and Measles-Rubella.

8 - UNESCO recognised Kumbh Mela as cultural heritage of humanity

Kumbh Mela

India's Kumbh Mela has been recognised by United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, UNESCO as an intangible cultural heritage of humanity at its 12th session in South Korea. The inscription of elements on the list helps countries which are a part of UNESCO’s convention for safeguarding cultural heritage to mobilise international cooperation and assistance. Kumbh Mela is considered to be the largest peaceful congregation of pilgrims on earth, attended by millions irrespective of caste, creed or gender.

9 - Indian Prime Minister Inaugurated B R Ambedkar International Centre

DAIC

Indian Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi inaugurated the “Dr. Ambedkar International Centre” at New Delhi. The statue of Dr. B.R. Ambedkar was unveiled at the centre. DAIC will be a centre for research on social and economic issues and act as a think-tank for inclusive growth, and related socio-economic matters.DAIC has been constructed at the cost of Rs. 195 crores. The center has been envisioned on the study of the subjects which Dr. Ambedkar dealt with in his life time and to afford and promote human rights, equality and upliftment of society.

10 - Minister of State for MSMEs launched public procurement portal for MSEs

MSMEs

A Public Procurement Portal ‘MSME Sambandh’ was launched by Shri Giriraj Singh, Minister of State (Independent Charge) for MSME. The objective of the portal is to monitor the implementation of the Public Procurement from MSEs by Central Public Sector Enterprises. The portal would gel with the ease of doing business and ‘Make in India’ initiatives of the Government of India.Micro and Small Enterprises would be able to access the information about the products being procured by CPSEs. Thus, it would help the MSEs in participating in the procurement process.

11 - Union Minister Ravi Shankar launched first NIC-CERT to prevent, predict cybe-attacks on government utilities

NIC-CERT

Electronics and Information Technology Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad launched first NIC-CERT, a setup of National Informatics Centre to prevent and predict cyber-attacks on government utilities. NIC-CERT has been setup with the objective of creating a comprehensive framework that integrates world class security components and inbuilt threat intelligence for detection, prevention and incident response. Using the tools, the team will correlate events that would help in generating a canvas of the attack surface and identify the vulnerabilities and possible exploits.

12 - Home Ministry released Rs 174 crore to six states for border development

Home Ministry

Home Ministry released Rs 174 crore to six states having an international border for development of infrastructure in forward areas under the Border Area Development Programme (BADP). The states that will be benefited include Himachal Pradesh, West Bengal, Assam, Manipur, Gujarat and Uttar Pradesh. The centrally-funded BADP programme covers all villages within 10 kilometers of the international border in 17 states. Schemes under BADP include activities relating to Swachhta Abhiyan, skill development programmes, promotion of sports activities, promotion of rural tourism, border tourism, protection of heritage sites.

13 - India to host 3rd Annual Meeting of Board of Governors of AIIB

Annual Meeting

The 3rd Annual Meeting of the Board of Governors of AIIB will be hosted by India at Mumbai in June 2018. The theme of the meeting will be Mobilizing Finance for Infrastructure: Innovation and Collaboration. The MoU was signed by Joint Secretary (Multilateral Institutions Division) in Department of Economic Affairs, Sameer Kumar Khare, and AIIB’s Vice-President and Corporate Secretary Danny Alexander.

14 - India Signed Loan Agreement with World Bank for US$ 250 Million for SANKALP Project

SANKALP

India has signed a Financing Agreement for IBRD loan of USD 250 million for the “Skills Acquisition and Knowledge Awareness for Livelihood Promotion (SANKALP) Project” with the World Bank. The Objective of the project is to enhance institutional mechanisms for skills development and increase access to quality and market-relevant training for the work force. The Key result areas for the project include Institutional Strengthening at the National and State Levels for Planning, Delivering, and Monitoring High-Quality Market Training, Improved Quality, Market Relevance of Skills Development.

15 - India and Morocco sign MoU for enhanced cooperation in healthcare

India and Morocco

India and Morocco signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) for enhanced cooperation in the health sector. The MoU was signed by Shri J P Nadda, Union Minister of Health & Family Welfare and Dr. Abdelkader Amara, Ministry of Health, Kingdom of Morocco. The main areas of cooperation include the following −

  • Non-communicable diseases, including child cardiovascular diseases and cancer;

  • Drug Regulation and Pharmaceutical quality control;

  • Communicable Diseases;

  • Maternal, child and neonatal health;

  • Hospital twinning for exchange of good practices and

  • Training in administration and management of health services and Hospitals

16 - JIPMER signed MoU with Marrakech Mohamed VI University Hospital, Morocco

JIPMER

The Jawaharlal Institute of Post Graduate Medical Education and Research (JIPMER), Puducherry signed a MoU with Marrakech Mohamed VI University Hospital, Morocco. The focus areas under this MoU will be Tele-Health Care, Health Education, technical support in controlling epidemics and support in rendering second opinion on various complicated cases. JIPMER is an Indian central government funded institute with autonomy to run its internal administration.

17 - Government approved draft legislation banning instant Triple Talaq

Triple Talaq

The Union Cabinet has approved proposal to introduce the Muslim Women (Protection of Rights on Marriage) Bill, 2017, to make instant triple talaq or talaq-e-biddat, void and illegal. The bill is designed to provide a shield for Muslim women. According to the Bill, practice of instant triple talaq, would attract a jail term of three years for the husband. The Bill would give power to the victim to approach a magistrate seeking a “subsistence allowance” for herself and minor children.

18 - Cabinet approved National Medical Commission Bill

Medical Commission Bill

The Union Cabinet has approved National Medical Commission Bill, 2017. It will replace the Medical Council of India (MCI) with a national medical commission. The 25-member commission will include Chairman and Member Secretary. It will have 12 ex-officio members and 11-part-time members. The Commission will lay down policies for maintaining a high quality and high standards in medical education and make necessary regulations in this behalf and ensure coordination among the Autonomous Boards.

19 - Union Cabinet approved continuation of NLCPR scheme for North East till March 2020

NLCPR

The Union Cabinet has approved the continuation of the existing Non Lapsable Central Pool of Resources (NLCPR) scheme with funding pattern of 90:10 till March, 2020 with an outlay of Rs.5300.00 crore. It would enable completion of on-going projects. The Union Cabinet also approved the introduction of new Central Sector Scheme of “North East Special Infrastructure Development Scheme” (NESIDS) from 2017-18 with 100% funding from the Central Government to fill up the gaps in creation of infrastructure in specified sectors till March, 2020.

20 - Cabinet approved special package for leather and footwear sector

Leather and Footwear

The Union Cabinet has approved the special package for employment generation in leather and footwear sector. The package involves implementation of Central Sector Scheme "Indian Footwear, Leather & Accessories Development Programme”. The scheme would also help to address environment concerns specific to the leather sector, facilitate additional investments, employment generation and increase in production. It will generate 3.24 lakhs new jobs in 3 years and assist in formalization of 2 lakh jobs as cumulative impact in Footwear, Leather & Accessories Sector.

21 - Cabinet approved agreement with UNESCO

C2C

The Union Cabinet has approved the establishment of International Training Centre for Operational Oceanography, as a Category-2 Centre (C2C) of UNESCO, in Hyderabad. The center will provide an opportunity for India to emerge as a leading country in the Indian Ocean. The purpose of this Agreement is to establish a training centre towards development of capacity for the countries on the Indian Ocean Rim (IOR), African countries bordering the Indian and Atlantic Oceans, small island countries under the framework of UNESCO.

22 - Cabinet approved continuation of National Ayush Mission

National Ayush Mission

The Union Cabinet has approved the continuation of Centrally Sponsored Scheme of National Ayush Mission (NAM) from 01.04.2017 to 31.03.2020 with an outlay of Rs. 2400 crore over the 3-year period. The Mission was launched in September, 2014. The NAM is being implemented by Ministry of AYUSH with the objectives of providing cost effective AYUSH Services through supporting the efforts of State/UT Governments for providing AYUSH health services education in the country.

23 - Cabinet approved MoU between India and Colombia in the field of agriculture and fisheries

India and Colombia

The Union Cabinet has approved the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between India and Colombia in the field of agriculture and fisheries. The MoU provides for cooperation in the following fields of agriculture and Fisheries −

  • Innovative agricultural practices/approaches,

  • New agricultural mechanizations

  • Successful models of agricultural marketing

  • Marine Industrial Fishing, Aqua-culture and Research & Training in the field of Fisheries

  • Small and large ruminants (cattle, sheep, goat) and pigs productivity, diseases and diagnostics

24 - Cabinet approved second financial restructuring of Konkan Railway Corporation Ltd.

Konkan

The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs has approved the Second Financial Restructuring proposal of Konkan Railway Corporation Limited (KRCL) It is a CPSE under the administrative control of the Ministry of Railways (MoR). The conversion of Non-Cumulative Redeemable Preference Shares (RPS), amounting to Rs. 4,079.51 crore, held by President of India through Ministry of Railways, into Compulsorily Convertible Non-Cumulative Preference Shares (CCPS), has been approved.

25 - Cabinet approved capital investment subsidy to industrial units located in NER

NEIIPP

The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs has approved Capital Investment Subsidy amounting to Rs.264.67 crore to four industrial units located in North Eastern Region (NER) including Sikkim under Central Capital Investment Subsidy Scheme (CCISS), 2007 of North East Industrial Investment and Promotion Policy (NEIIPP), 2007. The CCEA has also revised financial powers for approval of capital investment subsidy claims up to Rs.500 crore which will be now approved by the Minister of Commerce & Industry. The Government of India has been implementing this Scheme to promote industrialization in North Eastern Region.

26 - Government signed agreement with Japan for Bullet Train Project

Bullet Train Project

A Memorandum of Cooperation has been signed between Governments of India and Japan to implement Mumbai-Ahmedabad high speed rail corridor with technical and financial assistance of Government of Japan. Government of Japan has agreed to provide 81% of the project cost at a very concessional interest rate of 0.1% with repayment period of 50 years. The project is sanctioned on the premise of transfer of technology and Make in India.

27 - 14th Inclusive Finance India Summit held in New Delhi

Finance

The 14th Inclusive Finance India Summit was held in New Delhi. The summit acts as a global platform to deliberate on issues related to Financial Inclusion, Financial Education and Financial Stability, and build a Financial Inclusion Vision 2020. The major awardees are −

  • Bharat Financial Inclusion Limited – Awarded under Microfinance Organization of the Year, Large category

  • Dr. Y. V. Reddy – Awarded for Contribution to Advancing Financial Inclusion in India Lifetime Achievement Award

  • Dr. Veerendra Heggade – Jury Special Award for Contribution to Advancing Financial Inclusion in India

28 - 4th India-Australia-Japan Trilateral Dialogue

Trilateral Dialogue

The 4th India-Australia-Japan Trilateral Dialogue was held in New Delhi. The three sides highlighted the growing convergence of their respective countries’ interests in the Indo-Pacific region and underscored their shared commitment to peace, democracy, economic growth and a rules-based order in the region. They underscored their support for ASEAN centrality in the political and security architecture of the Indo-Pacific region.

29 - President of India laid Foundation Stone of ‘NYAYA GRAM’ Project of High Court of Allahabad

NYAYA GRAM

The President of India laid the foundation stone of the Nyaya Gram project of the High Court of Allahabad. Nyaya Gram Initiative has been started to make judiciary system more accessible for the common people. Nyaya Gram will have an academy that will provide required training to the judicial officials and other employees. It will contribute to capacity of the lower judiciary in Uttar Pradesh.

30 - Ministry of Skill Development and Maruti Suzuki enter into an agreement to support Skill India in automobile industry

DGT

The Directorate General of Training (DGT), Ministry of Skill Development & Entrepreneurship, Government of India and Maruti Suzuki India Limited signed a Memorandum of Understanding to provide high employment potential trades related to automobile and manufacturing industry to youth. As a part of the agreement, Maruti Suzuki in consultation with DGT will develop specific training modules as per need of the automobile industry. The successful trainees will be eligible for employment in Maruti Suzuki or its business partners.

31 - Lok Sabha passes the Central Road Fund (Amendment) Bill, 2017

Amendment

The Lok Sabha passed the Central Road Fund (Amendment) Bill, 2017. The Bill seeks to amend the Central Road Fund Act, 2000, through which the cess levied and collected on high speed petrol and diesel is distributed for development of rural roads, national highways, railways, state roads and border area roads. The present bill seeks to allocate 2.5% of the CRF generated to accelerate the development and maintenance of national waterways by reduction of an equal percentage from the share of national highways.

32 - Government disposed 2,750 cases under Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code

Bankruptcy

According to a data from Ministry of Corporate Affairs, 2750 cases have been disposed by the government through proceedings and over 1,988 cases are pending under the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code (IBC). After notification of relevant provisions of the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code 2016 on 01.12.2016, 2,434 fresh cases have been filed before NCLT and 2,304 cases of winding up of companies have been transferred from various High Courts.

33 - Expenditure on Health Sector by GoI

Expenditure

As per Economic Survey 2016-17 Volume 2 brought out by Ministry of Finance, expenditure by Government (Central and State Governments combined) on health as percentage of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) for the last three years is as under −

  • (i) 2014-15 - 1.2%
  • (ii) 2015-16 - 1.4% (RE)
  • (iii) 2016-17 - 1.5 % (BE)

The National Health Policy 2017 envisages increasing expenditure by Government on health to 2.5% of GDP in a time bound manner by 2025. No target has been set for the current year.

34 - Cabinet approved establishing India's First National Rail and Transportation University at Vadodara

First National Rail

The Union Cabinet has approved the Ministry of Railways' transformative initiative to set up the first ever National Rail and Transport University (NRTU) in Vadodara to skill its human resources and build capability. The University will be set up as a Deemed to Be University under de novo category as per the UGC [Institutions Deemed to be Universities] Regulations, 2016. Government is working towards completing all approvals by April 2018 and to launch the first academic program in July 2018.

35 - Eastern Railway launched R-Mitra Mobile App

R-MITRA

A Mobile Application “R-MITRA” (Railway Mobile Instant Tracking Response & Assistance) has been launched by Eastern Railway for security of passengers, especially women passengers, in Kolkata and suburban areas of the Zone. Security Application R-MITRA has been launched to facilitate security of passengers and to render timely security related assistance to passengers within the jurisdiction of Eastern Railway. Prevention and detection of crime against passengers over Railways is the responsibility of concerned States which is being discharged by them through Government Railway Police (GRP).

36 - Mumbai-Ahmedabad Bullet Train Project

High Speed Rail

The salient details of the Mumbai-Ahmedabad High Speed Rail Project are −

  • Mostly elevated corridor between Sabarmati and Mumbai (508 kilometre) with 12 stations;

  • Maximum Design Speed of 350 kilometre per hour and operating speed of 320 kilometre per hour;

  • The journey time between Mumbai and Sabarmati will be 2.07 Hrs for a Fast Train and 2.58 Hrs for train stopping at all the stations enroute.

  • Estimated cost of the project: Rs 1,08,000 crore; 81% of the project cost funded by loan from Government of Japan at a rate of interest of 0.1% with a repayment period of 50 years with 15 years grace period.

  • The project is targeted for commissioning by the year 2022-23.

  • Feasibility studies have been sanctioned over several corridors including Delhi-Chennai.

37 - Cabinet approved "Scheme for Capacity Building in Textiles Sector (SCBTS)" for the period from 2017-18 to 2019-20

SCBTS

The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs has given its approval for a new skill development scheme covering the entire value chain of the textile sector excluding Spinning & Weaving in organized Sector, titled "Scheme for Capacity Building in Textile Sector (SCBTS)" from 2017-18 to 2019-20 with an outlay of Rs. 1300 crore. The scheme will have National Skill Qualification Framework (NSQF) compliant training courses with funding norms as per the Common Norms notified by Ministry of Skill Development and Entrepreneurship (MSDE).

38 - Cabinet approved extension of term of the Commission to examine the issue of sub-categorization of OBCs

OBCs

upto 2nd April, 2018. The Commission is headed by Justice (Retd.) Smt G Rohini and commenced its functioning on 11th October, 2017. It has since interacted with all the Stats/UTs having reservation for OBCs, and the State Backward Classes Commissions. It was stipulated that it would submit its report within twelve weeks. Keeping in view the voluminous data involved and the time required for its analysis to prepare a comprehensive report, the Commission had sought extension of its term by twelve weeks.

39 - Cabinet approved MoU between India and Cuba on cooperation in the field of Health and Medicine

India and Cuba

The Union Cabinet has given its ex-post-facto approval for a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between India and Cuba on cooperation in the field of Health and Medicine. The MoU covers the following key areas of cooperation −

  • Exchange & training of medical doctors, officials, other health professionals and experts;

  • Regulation of pharmaceuticals, medical devices and exchange of information;

  • Promotion of business development opportunities in pharmaceuticals and others identified by parties;

  • Procurement of generic and essential drugs and assistance in sourcing of drug supplies;

  • Procurement of health equipment and pharmaceutical products;

40 - Cabinet approved MoU between India and Italy on cooperation in the field of Health and Medicine

India and Italy

The Union Cabinet has given its ex-post-facto approval for a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between India and Italy on cooperation in the field of Health and Medical Sciences. The MoU covers the following areas of cooperation −

  • Exchange & training of medical doctors, officials, other health professionals and experts;

  • Regulation of pharmaceuticals, medical devices and cosmetics and exchange of information thereon;

  • Procurement of generic and essential drugs and assistance in sourcing of drug supplies;

  • Collaboration in the prevention of NCDs of .mutual interest, such as neuro-cardiovascular diseases, cancer, COPDs, mental health and dementia, with an emphasis on SDG3 and related factors

41 - 5350 Startups have been recognized by Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion

Industrial Policy

According to a data released by the Ministry of Commerce & Industry, as on 1st December, 2017, a total of 5350 Startups have been recognized by Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion (DIPP) for availing benefits under Startup India initiative.

  • Under the Fund of Funds for Startups, 75 startups have received funding to the tune of INR 337.02 crore.

  • A total of 74 Startups have been recognized to avail tax exemption under Section 80 IAC of Income Tax Act,

  • 975 applicants have received benefits under the Startups Intellectual Property Protection (SIPP) scheme

42 - India’s merchandise exports registered positive growth

positive growth

India’s merchandise exports registered a positive growth of 5.17% during 2016-17 over 2015-16 and 12.01% during 2017-18 (Apr-Nov) over 2016-17 (Apr-Nov). India’s merchandise trade deficit has been declining for last two years. The names of the top countries with which India has registered favourable trade balance during the last three years are as follows −

SI. 2014-15 2015-16 2016-17
1 U S A U S A U S A
2 Hong Kong U Arab Emts U Arab Emts
3 U Arab Emts Hong Kong Bangladesh PR
4 Sri Lanka DSR Bangladesh PR Hong Kong
5 Bangladesh PR Sri Lanka DSR Nepal

43 - MOU signed under Make in India Programme

India Programme

In the last three financial years, the Government has accorded Acceptance of Necessity for 105 proposals worth Rs. 2,33,000/- Crore to Indian Vendors only. The following agreements have been signed by Government of India under ‘Make in India’ initiative −

Sr. No. Country Details of Agreement
1 Russia Agreement between the Government of Russian Federation and the Government of Republic of India for construction of follow-on-ships of Project 1135.6 in Russia and in India.
2 Russia Agreement between the Government of India and the Government of Russian Federation on cooperation in the field of Helicopter Engineering.

44 - Loan agreement signed for pare hydroelectric plant of North Eastern Region

Hydroelectric

A Loan agreement and a Guarantee agreement for providing additional funding of Euro 20 million was signed between Germany and North Eastern Electric Power Corporation Limited for the project ‘Pare Hydroelectric Plant’ under Indo-German Bilateral Development Cooperation. It may be recalled that in 2008, Germany had signed a loan agreement with NEEPCO for providing Euro 80 million under Indo-German Bilateral Development Cooperation. The broad objective of the project is efficient and ecological friendly generation of electric power for socio-economic development of the North Eastern Region.

45 - Japanese grant aid signed for advanced traffic information and management

Japanese

The exchange of notes on Japanese Grant Aid for the project for implementation of Advanced Traffic Information and Management System in Bengaluru was signed between Ministry of Finance, Government of India and Mr. Kenji Hiramatsu, Ambassador of Japan to India. Japan committed to grant aid of an amount of JPY 1.276 billion for the project that will install an Advanced Traffic Information and Management System, including signalling system and traffic congestion length measurement sensor. This project will contribute in strengthening connectivity and industrial competitiveness of local economy by improving traffic congestion and urban environment.

46 - India signed Financing Agreement with the World Bank for US$ 125 Million

Financing Agreement

Government of India has signed a Financing Agreement for IDA Credit of USD 125 million (equivalent) for the “Skills Strengthening for Industrial Value Enhancement Operation (STRIVE) Project” with the World Bank. The Objective of the operation is to improve access to quality and market-driven vocational training provided in it and apprenticeships. The result areas for the project include Improved Performance of Industrial Training Institutes; Increased Capacities of State Governments to Support Industrial Training Institutes and Apprenticeship Training; Improved Teaching and Learning; and Improved and Broadened Apprenticeship Training.

47 - 39 countries identified under Project ‘Mausam’

Mausam

Project ‘Mausam’ is the initiative of Ministry of Culture to be implemented by the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) as the nodal agency with research support of the Indira Gandhi National Centre for the Arts (IGNCA) and National Museum as associate bodies. This project aims to explore the multi-faceted Indian Ocean ‘world’ – collating archaeological and historical research.

The list of 39 countries identified under Project Mausam is −

Bahrain, Bangladesh, Cambodia, China, Comoros, Egypt, Eritrea, Reunion, French Department, Indonesia, Iraq, Iran (Islamic Republic), Jordan, Kuwait, Kenya, Lebanon, Madagascar, Malaysia, Maldives, Mauritius, Mozambique, Myanmar, Oman, Pakistan, Philippines, Qatar, Singapore, Sri Lanka, Saudi Arabia, Seychelles, Somalia, South Africa, Sudan, Syrian Arab Republic, United Republic of Tanzania, Thailand, Turkey, United Arab Emirates, Viet Nam, Yemen

48 - GST Council cleared e-way bill mechanism

GST Council

The GST Council has decided to implement the e-way bill mechanism throughout the nation by June 1 after reviewing the readiness of the IT network. Under the e-way bill system, goods worth more than ? 50,000 have to be pre-registered online before they can be moved from one state to another. The e-way bill system will help in the seamless movement of goods across state borders. It will be available on a trial basis for voluntary adoption by businesses from January 16

49 - Samsung India Partnered with UNESCO to Launch VR Content and 360-Degree Videos on Indian Heritage Sites

VR Content

Samsung India has entered into a partnership with UNESCO MGIEP (Mahatma Gandhi Institute of Education for Peace and Sustainable Development) to launch 360 video and Virtual Reality (VR) content of two magnificent Indian heritage sites, the Sun Temple in Konark, Odisha and Taj Mahal in Agra, Uttar Pradesh. The project will provide experiential educational content to students across the country. The immersive content will also be available to students at Jawahar Navodaya Vidyalaya (JNV).

50 - India ranked 60th most innovative country on the Global Innovation Index-2017

Global Innovation

India currently ranks 60th out of 127 countries on the Global Innovation Index (GII) 2017 as compared to 66th rank on GII 2016. In order to make India an innovation- driven economy, NITI Aayog, Department of Industrial Policy & Promotion (DIPP) and Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) together launched a mega initiative “India Innovation Index” that will rank states on Innovations through country’s first online innovation index portal that will capture data on innovation from all Indian states on innovation and regularly update it in real time.

51 - Lok Sabha passed Requisitioning and Acquisition of immovable Property (Amendment) Bill, 2017

Requisitioning

The Lok Sabha has passed the Immovable Property (Amendment) Bill by a voice vote. The Bill seeks to amend the regulations governing compensation payable for acquisition of immovable property by the Centre for defence and security purposes. The bill seeks to amend a provision to allow the Centre to re-issue the notice of acquisition in order to ensure that the property’s owner gets an opportunity to be heard.

52 - Parliament passed Companies Amendment Bill

Amendment Bill

The Rajya Sabha has passed the Companies (Amendment) Bill, 2017 by a voice vote. The Bill seeks to bring about major changes in the Companies Act, 2013. It provides for more than 40 amendments to the Companies Act, 2013. The Bill was already passed in the Lok Sabha in July 2017. It intends to strengthen corporate governance standards, initiate strict action against defaulting companies and help improve ease of doing business.

53 - Lok Sabha passed ‘Supplementary Demands for Grants and Appropriation Bill 2017’

Appropriation Bill

Lok Sabha voted the Supplementary Demands for Grants and passed the Appropriation bill to authorise the government to spend the money from consolidated fund of India. Under Supplementary Demands for Grants, the government proposed for additional expenditure of 66,113 crore rupees under different heads, including a net cash outgo of Rs. 33,379.99 crore during 2017-18. Of the total expenditure, over 20,532 crore rupees will be provided for urea freight subsidy, while another 15,908 crore rupees towards National Highways.

54 - Union Cabinet approved new Consumer Protection Bill

Consumer Protection Bill

Union Cabinet approved a new Consumer Protection Bill that seeks to establish an authority to safeguard consumers' rights, has the provisions for penalty and jail terms in case of adulteration and misleading advertisements by companies. It focusses on consumer empowerment. Celebrities endorsing misleading advertisements will also be liable for fine and ban up to three years as per the new bill. The Cabinet approved the introduction of the Consumer Protection Bill, 2017, which will replace a bill of 2015.

55 - NHAI creates National Highways Investment Promotion Cell (NHIPC)

NHAI

The National Highways Authority of India has created a National Highways Investment Promotion Cell (NHIPC) for attracting domestic and foreign investment for highways projects. The cell will focus on engaging with global institution investors, construction companies, developers and fund managers for building investor participation in road infrastructure projects. The Government has set target of construction of 35,000 km. of National Highways in the next five years at the cost of Rs. 5,35,000/- crores under ‘Bharatmala Pariyojana’.

56 - Rashtriya Vayoshri Yojana scheme launched

Rashtriya Vayoshri Yojana

Rashtrya Vayoshri Yojana is a Central Sector Scheme launched, under which aids and assistive living devices will be provided to senior citizens belonging to BPL category who suffer from age related disabilities such as low vision, hearing impairment, loss of teeth and loco-moto disabilities. The aids and assistive devices viz. walking-sticks, elbow-crutches, walkers, tripods/quad-pods, hearing aids, wheelchairs, artificial dentures and spectacles are provided to eligible beneficiaries. The Scheme is being implemented by the “Artificial Limbs Manufacturing Corporation.

57 - Lok Sabha passed Indian Forest (Amendment) Bill, 2017

Indian Forest

Lok Sabha passed Indian Forest (Amendment) Bill, 2017. Mr. Harsh Vardhan, Minister of Environment, Forest, and Climate Change introduced the bill in Lok Sabha replacing the Indian Forest (Amendment) Ordinance, 2017. It was presented with amendments such as transit of forest-produce and the duty to be levied on them. According to new law, ‘bamboo’ will not be considered as tree. It has been removed from definition of tree which includes palms, bamboos, stumps, brush-wood, and canes. It was amended to ease inter-state movement of bamboo as initially transportation of trees growing in non-forest areas required permits for inter-state movement.

58 - Government released Rs 10,000 cr under ICDS Scheme

ICDS Scheme

The government has released more than Rs 10,000 cr to States/UTs in the current financial year till date under ICDS scheme. The Integrated Child Development Services (ICDS) Scheme was launched in 1975 with the primary objective to improve the nutritional and health status of children in the age-group 0-6 years. The package of following six services are provided under the ICDS scheme −

  • Supplementary nutrition,
  • Pre-school non-formal education,
  • Nutrition & health education,
  • Immunization,
  • Health check-up and
  • Referral services

59 - India-Swiss data sharing from January 1

India-Swiss

India has signed an agreement with Switzerland that would allow automatic sharing of tax- related information from January 1 2018. The agreement was signed by CBDT chairman Sushil Chandra and Swiss Ambassador to India Andreas Baum. A joint declaration for the implementation of Automatic Exchange of Information (AEOI) was signed between the two nations. Both the countries would start collecting data in accordance with the global standards in 2018 and exchange it from 2019 onwards.

60 - Government launched Ganga Gram Project

MDWS

The Ministry of Drinking Water and Sanitation (MDWS) launched ‘Ganga Gram’ – a project for sanitation based integrated development of all 4470 villages along the River Ganga. MDWS is the nodal agency for implementation of the project. It is an integrated approach for holistic development of villages situated on the banks of River Ganga with active participation of the villagers. The objectives of Ganga Gram Project include solid and liquid waste management, renovation of ponds and water resources, water conservation projects, organic farming, horticulture, and promotion of medicinal plants.

61 - MEA launched SAMEEP

SAMEEP

The External Affairs Ministry has come up with an initiative - SAMEEP - 'Students and MEA Engagement Programme' with an aim to take Indian foreign policy and its global engagements to students across the country. Under this programme, all the ministry officers - under-secretary and above - will be asked tointeract with the students about the way the MEA works, basic elements of its policies, how diplomacy is conducted, and generally give students an idea of what a career in the MEA would look like.

62 - Darpan Launched For Financial Inclusion Of Rural Population

Rural Population

The Union Goverment has launched DARPAN – “Digital Advancement of Rural Post Office for A New India” Project to improve the quality of service, add value to services and achieve “financial inclusion” of un-banked rural population. The project has an outlay of Rs. 1400 Crore. The project is targeted to be completed by March, 2018. 43,171 Branch Post Offices have already migrated under the “DARPAN” project. Department of Posts has established 991 ATMs across the country, which are interoperable with other banks.

63 - Cabinet approved auctioning of 683 FM channels

683 FM

The Union Cabinet has approved auctioning of 683 FM channels in 236 cities under Phase III of FM radio privatization. The new cities include cities in border areas of Jammu and Kashmir and north-east states where the population is less than 100,000. These auctions are expected to generate an estimated revenue of more than Rs1,100 crore. With the complete rollout of FM Phase-III auctions, all the 29 states and six out of the seven union territories – except Dadra & Nagar Haveli – will be covered by private FM radio broadcasting.

64 - Union Minister Dr Jitendra Singh launched e-HRMS

e-HRMS

Minister for Personnel, Public Grievances and Pensions Dr Jitendra Singh launched the electronic-Human Resource Management System (e-HRMS) on the occasion of Good Governance Day. The e-service book will be integrated into the e-HRMS. With launch of e-HRMS, employees will be able to not only see all their details likes service book, leave, GPF and Salary but also apply for different kind of claims or reimbursements, loans or advances, leave, leave encashment, LTC advances and Tour on a single platform.

65 - Government released Rs 167 cr to 9 states with international border for development of infrastructure

BADP

Union Home Ministry has released 167 crore rupees to nine states with international border for the development of infrastructure in forward areas. The states which will benefit include Rajasthan and Punjab, both having international border with Pakistan, and West Bengal and Assam, which share boundary with Bangladesh. The amount was also released to Meghalaya, Bihar, Sikkim, Tripura, Himachal Pradesh and West Bengal under the Border Area Development Programme. The fully centrally funded BADP programme covers all villages which are located within 0-10 km of the International Border in 17 states.

66 - Atal Innovation Mission selects additional 1500 Schools for establishment of Atal Tinkering Labs

Atal Innovation

NITI Aayog’s Atal Innovation Mission (AIM), Government of India’s flagship program to promote innovation and entrepreneurship nationwide in schools, universities and industry, has selected additional 1500 Schools for establishment of Atal Tinkering Labs (ATLs). The total of such scholls now is 2441. The addition of these schools will give a major boost to realize the vision of the mission to ‘Cultivate One Million children in India as the Innovators of tomorrow’. ATLs are innovation play workspaces for students between Grade VI to Grade XII, stimulating innovations combining science & technology.

67 - Ministry of Corporate Affairs rolled out Condonation of delay scheme

Condonation

The Ministry of Corporate Affairs has introduced the Condonation of Delay Scheme-2018 to provide a three-month window to be operational from January 1 to March 31, 2018 for defaulting companies and their director to submit their annual filings. Condonation of Delay Scheme 2018 is a Scheme introduced by Central Government as a golden opportunity for the non-compliant defaulting companies to rectify the default. After submitting the filings under the scheme, a company concerned would have to file a separate form seeking condonation of the delay along with a fee of ?30,000.

68 - Lok Sabha passed GST (Compensation to States) Amendment Bill- 2017

Compensation to States

The Lok Sabha has passed the Goods and Services Tax (Compensation to States) Amendment Bill- 2017. The Bill will amend the Goods and Services Tax (Compensation to States) Act, 2017. The Act allows the central government to notify the rate of the Goods and Services Tax (GST) Compensation Cess on items such as pan masala, coal, aerated drinks, and tobacco, subject to certain caps. The amount received by levying the GST Compensation Cess is used to compensate states for any loss in revenue following the implementation of GST.

69 - Parliament passed Indian Forest (Amendment) Bill, Indian Institute of Petroleum and Energy Bill

Petroleum and Energy Bill

Parliament has passed the Indian Forest (Amendment) Bill, 2017 after Rajya Sabha approved it. The bill seeks to exempt bamboo grown in non-forest areas from definition of tree, thereby dispensing with the requirement of felling and transit permit for its economic use. Parliament has also passed the Indian Institute of Petroleum and Energy Bill. It establishes the Institute at Vishakhapatnam in Andhra Pradesh and declares it as an institution of national importance. The Institute aims at providing high quality education and research focusing on the themes of petroleum, hydrocarbons and energy.

70 - President of India dedicated four projects to the people of the Andhra Pradesh

Projects

The President of India, Shri Ram Nath Kovind, dedicated four projects of the Andhra Pradesh State Government to the people of the state. These were Andhra Pradesh Fibregrid, Andhra Pradesh Surveillance Project, Drone Project; and Free Space Optical Communication or FSOC system. The vision of Fibre Grid project is to providebroadband connectivity of 15 Mbps for all households and 100 Mbps to 1 Gbps for institutions & Offices by 2018. The AP government wants to use drones for governance, administration, and for the maintenance of law and order in the state.

71 - Target for Atomic Energy revised

Atomic Energy

The target of nuclear energy generation in the XI Five Year Plan (2007-2012) was 163,395 Million Units (MUs), which was revised to 124,608 MUs at MTA stage.The actual generation in the XI Five Year Plan was 109,642 MUs. The shortfall in generation was on account of lower generation due to non-availability of indigenous uranium in the required quantity, delay in fruition of international cooperation resulting in delay in availability of imported uranium and shifting of completion of the Kudankulam (KKNPP-1&2, 2 X 1000 MW) and Prototype Fast Breeder Reactor (PFBR) projects to XII Plan.

72 - Union Minister Radha Mohan Singh launched Livestock Disease Forewarning –Mobile Application (LDF-Mobile App)

LDF-Mobile App

Union Agriculture and Farmers’ Welfare Minister, Shri Radha Mohan Singh, launched Livestock Disease Forewarning –Mobile Application (LDF-Mobile App), developed by ICAR-National Institute of Veterinary Epidemiology and Disease Informatics (ICAR-NIVEDI), Bengaluru.The forewarning is covered for 13 priority diseases across various livestock species (Cattle, Buffalo, Sheep, Goat and Pig). In addition to forewarning, the LDF-Mobile App also provides the details of clinical samples to be collected in event of specific disease outbreaks for laboratory confirmation.

73 - Status of financial assistance under 'Startup India' Scheme

Startup India

As on 1st December, 2017, a total of 5350 Startups have been recognized by Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion (DIPP) for availing benefits under Startup India initiative. The status of the financial assistance provided through Fund of Funds for Startups (FFS) under the Startup India initiative is as follows −

  • INR 500 crore has been released to SIDBI in Financial Year 2015-16 and INR 100 crore in Financial Year 2016-17

  • Total commitments under FFS by SIDBI are at INR 605.7 crore to 17 Alternative Investment Funds (AIFs)

  • AIFs have drawn INR 90.62 crore from the FFS and have invested a total of INR 337.02 crore in 75 Startups

74 - 10 Cities selected for pilot project of Multi-Modal Electric Public Transport under FAME India

Multi-Modal Electric Public

The Government is providing Rs 437 crore subsidy to 11 cities under FAME India, for launching electric buses, taxis and three-wheelers. The cities include Delhi, Ahmedabad, Bangalore, Jaipur, Mumbai, Lucknow, Hyderabad, Indore and Kolkata, plus two cities – Jammu and Guwahati under special category.Department of Heavy Industry is expected to spend about Rs. 437 Crore under “Faster Adoption and Manufacturing of Electric and Hybrid Vehciles in India” (FAME India scheme, Phase I), which includes about Rs. 40 crores as incentives for installation of charging infrastructure.

75 - Government implementing Aam Aadmi Bima Yojana (AABY)

AABY

Government is implementing the Aam Aadmi Bima Yojana (AABY) (earlier known as Khadi Karigar ‘Janashree Bima Yojana’) through KVIC in association with the LIC. The premium amount of the scheme is Rs.100/- per annum which is shared as 12.50% each by Artisan and KVIC, 25% by Khadi Institution and 50% by Central Government (National Social Security Fund). Under AABY, the Khadi Artisans belonging to the age group of 18 to 59 years are provided insurance cover for the following −

  • Death (natural) : Rs. 30,000.00

  • Death (accidental) : Rs. 75,000.00

  • Disability (permanent) : Rs.75,000.00

  • Disability (partial) : Rs. 37,500.00

  • Educational Benefits (Shiksha Sahayog Yojana) : Two children studying in standard IX to XII including Industrial Training Institutes (ITIs) are eligible for scholarship of Rs.300/- per quarter

76 - Dornier 228, first Made in India aircraft to get DGCA nod for civilian flight

DGCA

The Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) has given nod to Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd (HAL) manufactured Dornier 228 to be used for civilian flights. Dornier 228 became the first plane to be made in the country for commercial flights. It has till now been used by the defence forces. It has maximum cruise speed of 428 kmph and a range of 700 km. It is capable of night flying. The plane has a wingspan of 16.97 metres.

77 - Milk production increased to 163.7 million tonnes in 2016-17

Milk production

India continues to be the largest producer of milk in the world since last 15 years. Milk production, which was around 17-22 million tonnes in the 1960s, has increased to 163.7 million tonnes in 2016-17. During the last 3 years, with the annual growth rate of 5.53%, milk production in India has outpaced global milk production where it has grown by 2.09%. There are three important projects for dairy development are going on - National Dairy Plan Phase I (NDP I), National Programme for Dairy Development (NPDD) and Dairy Entrepreneurship Development Scheme.

78 - Budgetary allocation to the DoNER Ministry

The fund/budgetary allocation to Ministry of Development of North Eastern Region during the period 2014-2015 to 2017-2018 is given below −

(Rs in crore)

2014-2015 2015-2016 2016-2017 2017-2018
Budget Estimates 2332.78 2362.74 2430.01 2682.45
Revised Estimates 1825.45 2000.14 2524.42 -

79 - 5,45,090 Affordable Houses Sanctioned for Urban Poor under PMAY (Urban)

PMAY

MHUA has approved the construction of 5,45,090 more affordable houses for the benefit of urban poor under Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana (Urban) with an investment of Rs. 31,003 cr with central assistance of Rs. 8,107 cr.

S.No State No of Houses No of Cities Investment Central Assistance
1 Andhra Pradesh 1,42,447 31 Rs.9,919 cr Rs.2,137 cr
2 Uttar Pradesh 1,20,645 282 Rs.5,076 cr Rs.1810 cr
3 Karnataka 1,18,646 65 Rs.6,870 cr Rs.1,780 cr
4 Madhya Pradesh 1,00,341 165 Rs. 4,232 cr Rs.1,505 cr
5 Jharkhand 30,486 31 Rs.3,837 cr Rs.388 cr
6 Chattisgarh 29,703 124 Rs 911 cr Rs 446 cr
7 Arunachal Pradesh 2,822 6 Rs 157 cr Rs 42 cr

80 - 65.75 MW Power Generated in the country from the Municipal Solid Waste

MW Power

The present installed capacity of power generation from Municipal Solid Waste (MSW) is 65.75 MW which is about 0.02% of total power generation capacity in the country. The state-wise details of six Municipal Solid Waste to Energy plants set up, as on 15.12.2017 −

S.No. State / UTs Plant Commissioned/Under trial Capacity (MW)
1 Delhi M/s Ramky Group at Narela-Bawana, New Delhi 24
2 Delhi M/s Jindal Urban Infrastructure Pvt Ltd. at Okhla, New Delhi 16
3 Delhi M/s IL&FS Environment Infrastructure and Services Ltd. at Ghazipur, New Delhi 12
4 Madhya Pradesh M/s Essel Infra at Jabalpur 9
5 Maharashtra M/s Solapur Bio-energy Systems Pvt. Ltd at Solapur 3
6 Himachal Pradesh M/s Elephant Energy Private Limited at Shimla 1.75

81 - Wind Power capacity to be expanded to 9500 MW during the current financial year

Wind Power

According to Minister of State (IC) for Power and New & Renewable Energy, Shri Raj Kumar Singh, as on 30.11.2017, a cumulative capacity of 467 MW of grid interactive wind power has been installed during the current financial year. The government has plans to bid out a cumulative 9500 MW capacity of wind power projects by the end of current financial year in the following way −

  • Solar Energy Corporation of India finalised the bids for 1000 MW of Inter-State Transmission System (ISTS) connected wind power projects in February and October 2017

  • Tamil Nadu, Gujarat and Maharashtra, have also issued bids of 500 MW each

  • Ministry has proposed to bid out another 4000 MW capacity of ISTS connected wind power projects in the current financial year

82 - UDAY States have reduced losses by Rs. 16,762.6 crore in FY17

UDAY

The participating states of Ujwal DISCOM Assurance Yojana (UDAY) scheme have reduced the financial losses from Rs. 51,589.51 crores in FY 2016 to Rs.34,826.87 crores in FY 2017. The participating States have achieved an improvement of 1.00% in Aggregate Technical & Commercial (AT&C) losses and Rs.0.17 a Unit in the gap between Average Cost of Supply (ACS) and Average Revenue Realized (ARR) in FY 2017. Government has sanctioned an amount of Rs.233.03 crores for online monitoring of Rural Feeders in the country.

83 - Lok Sabha passed the Triple Talaq Bill

Triple Talaq Bill

The Lok Sabha has passed the Triple Talaq Bill. The bill would now be ooved in the Rajya Sabha. It would make instant talaq punishable and would be a cognisable, non-bailable offence. The Bill was passed with voice vote and it makes instant triple talaq or talaq-e-biddat a criminal offence, with a jail term of up to three years. The proposed law would be applicable to the entire nation, except in state of Jammu and Kashmir.



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