Current Affairs May 2016 - National
News 1 - Prime Minister launched Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana at Ballia
01/05/2016. On the occasion of Labour day, PM launched the Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana at Ballia, Uttar Pradesh with the objective to provide benefit of cooking gas connections to five crore below-poverty-line beneficiaries over the next three years and unite workers across the world.
The Prime Minister emphasized that schemes must be designed keeping in mind the welfare of the poor, and not merely to derive electoral benefit. He said that the Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana will benefit the poor, especially the women.
News 2 - Real Estate (Regulation and Development) Act 2016 to be in action
01/05/2016. Real Estate (Regulation and Development) Act, 2016 came into action on 1 May 2016 for necessary operational rules and creation of institutional infrastructure for protecting the interests of consumers. It promotes the growth of real estate and increase transparency in execution of projects.
Act envisages setting up of Real Estate Regulatory Authorities and Appellate Tribunals for adjudication of disputes. The Act also empowers appropriate Governments to designate any officer preferably Secretary of the Department dealing with Housing, as the interim Regulatory Authority.
News 3 - India, New Zealand inked MOU on Air Services
The Air Services Agreement signifies an important landmark in the civil aviation relations between India and New Zealand and has the potential to spur greater trade, investment, tourism and cultural exchanges between the two countries. India and New Zealand signed MOU on Air Services Agreement in the presence of the President Pranab Mukherjee and the New Zealand Prime Minister John Key, to facilitate direct flights between the two countries and promote international air services between their respective territories.
News 4 - MICE tourism initiative introduced by Ministry of tourism
The newly introduced tourism policy named as MICE initiative is going to increase tourism in India which was promoted at an event with theme ‘Thought Leadership Meet on MICE Tourism in India,’ organized by industry body ASSOCHAM. The Ministry is also pushing the case that the facility of e Tourist Visa should be extended to MICE segment as well.
Specialized MICE tour operators will be employed for the growth in this sector in 2016. Overall, with the recent developments by the ministry for this segment, industry expects MICE to be the next big game changer for the Indian economy.
News 5 - The Supreme Court sets-up RM Lodha-panel to reform MCI
The Supreme Court has set-up a 3-member panel headed by former Chief Justice of India (CJI) RM Lodha to regulate the Medical Council of India. The other two members in the panel are former Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) Vinod Rai and Dr. SK Sareen.
The court appointed the panel citing the repeated failure of MCI towards its duties and degrading quality of the medical education in the country. The high-powered committee will take over the functions of MCI.
News 6 - MoU inked for plantation of trees alongside Railway Track
Indian Railways Chief Engineer Pankaj Saxena inked Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on behalf of Railways with forest departments of Haryana and Punjab for plantation alongside around 5 lakh trees alongside Railway Track on Railway Land Boundary, thus contributing towards the Green India Mission.
Forest department will be involved in the plantation as well as maintenance and disposal of trees, thus bringing afforestation and protecting railway land from encroachment. All Zonal railways have been asked to execute similar agreement between their zones and concerned State Forest departments as early as possible.
News 7 - Portal for Contract Labour Payment Management System launched
Shri Piyush Goyal, Minister of State (IC) for Power, Coal and New & Renewable Energy launched ‘Contract Labour Payment Management System’- a portal of Coal India Limited (CIL). Through this portal, the wages will be calculated and credited directly in bank account of the all contractual labourers.
The portal will be handled by the Central Mine Planning and Development Institute (CMPDI), Ranchi. It provides access to all contract workers, through a Workers Identification Number (WIN), to look into their personal details and payment status.
News 8 - Memorandum of Cooperation to be signed between MWCD and BMGF
The Union Cabinet has approved the signing of Memorandum of Co-operation (MoC) between Ministry of Women & Child Development (MWCD) and Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation (BMGF). The MoC was approved for the cooperation in Information and Communication Technology enabled Real Time Monitoring (ICT-RTM) of Integrated Child Development Services (ICDS) and other related technical matters.
The MoC would cover 162 high malnutrition burden districts of eight States namely Andhra Pradesh, Bihar, Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh.
News 9 - Compensatory Afforestation Fund Bill passed by Lok Sabha
Lok Sabha has passed the Compensatory Afforestation Fund bill, 2015. The Bill seeks towards setting up of a National Compensatory Afforestation Fund and also a State Compensatory Afforestation Fund. It will ensure utilization of accumulated unspent amounts of Rs 41000 crore available with the ad hoc Compensatory Afforestation Fund Management and Planning Authority (CAMPA).
The bill also ensures that the funds encourage compensatory afforestation. The national fund will receive 10% of it, and the remaining 90% by the states.
News 10 - Projects worth Rs. 2446 Crore approved under Namami Gange Program
The Empowered Steering Committee (ESC) of the National Ganga River Basin Authority (NGRBA) has approved projects worth Rs. 2446 crores. These projects have been carved to improve the facilities of Ghats and crematoria for reduction of pollution load into river Ganga as well as afforestation along the banks from Haridwar to Uttarakhand Border in Uttarakhand, Garhmukteshwar in UP, Buxar, Hajipur and Sonepur of Bihar, Sahibganj, Rajmahal and Kanhaiya Ghat of Jharkhand and Delhi.
All the projects will be implemented under centrally sponsored scheme of Namami Gange and Government of India would bear 100% costs.
News 11 - Ministry of Commerce launches web-based dashboard for export, import data
The Commerce Ministry launched a web-based dashboard to provide an easy access to detailed trade data of the country with the help of a graphical collection of export and import from India.
At present, monthly data from April 2014 till January 2016 has been provided. Older data will be added soon. The dashboard would give an accurate data on the facts around the trade performance in India.
Such initiative will help upcoming entrepreneurs to explore global trade by merely looking at turnover trade data of country.
News 12 - Suresh Prabhu Launches Wi-Fi hotspot at Kachiguda, Vijayawada and Raipur
Minister of Railways Shri Suresh Prabhu launched a high speed Wi-Fi hotspot at the three Railway Stations namely, Vijayawada (Andhra Pradesh), Kachiguda (Telangana) & Raipur (Chhattisgarh). The Wi-Fi facility has been commissioned by Railway Ministry PSU RailTel in association with Google in order to provide high speed internet experience to the travelers.
The Railway is soon going to launch Wi-Fi at 14 more stations & will cover 100 stations by the end of this year. In this project Wi Fi will be provided at approximately 400 stations i.e. all A1 / A category Railway stations.
News 13 - Lok Sabha passes the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Bill
The Lok Sabha passed the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code Bill 2016 based on the recommendations of the Joint Parliamentary Committee on the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code, 2015 chaired by Bhupender Yadav. The law will ensure time-bound settlement of insolvency, enable faster turnaround of businesses and create a data base of serial defaulters — all critical in resolving India’s bad debt problem which has crippled bank lending.
This Bill is being seen as a “transformational” legislation that will help improve India’s ranking in the World Bank’s ‘Ease of Doing Business’ index.
News 14 - Railway Minister launches new passenger train services for J&K
The Indian Railways has launched two new passenger train services in Kashmir Valley. Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu launched the new passenger trains between Banihal-Baramulla and Baramulla-Budgam regions through video conferencing. The two trains will enhance the rail movement in the region. It will also help the visiting tourists in the valley.
At present 13 pairs of DEMU services already ply on the rail sections providing all-weather connectivity in the region.
News 15 - Union Cabinet apprised of the MoU between India and Qatar
The Union Cabinet was apprised of the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between India and Qatar for promoting bilateral cooperation in the field of Information Communication Technology signed in March, 2015. The MoU was ratified by both India and Qatar on 1st January, 2016 and 12th January, 2016.
The MoU will result in active cooperation and exchanges between the private entities, capacity building institutions, Governments and other public organizations of the two countries in the field of ICT.
News 16 - Swinburne University of Technology in Australia inked two MoU with India to provide medical technology
The Swinburne University of Technology in Australia is partnering with the leading Indian medical organizations to address the growing health issues. It will work closely with Medanta, one of India’s largest private hospitals, to improve the diagnosis of epilepsy in villages and remote communities across India.
Swinburne also signed a memorandum of understanding with the prestigious All India Institute of Medical Sciences to develop a cutting edge ‘smart helmet’ that will reduce the incidence of head injuries for motorcyclists.
News 17 - India–Japan to sign MOU for Cooperation in Sports
India and Japan will sign a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) on cooperation in the field of sports and the two countries agreed for exchange of sportspersons, coaches, sports experts, sports administrators etc. With India ready to host Under-17 FIFA World Cup in 2017, the two countries will also play friendly football matches.
Mr. Hase Hiroshi, Minister of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology, Government of Japan informed that the Government of Japan has launched ‘SPORT FOR TOMORROW’ to promote sports to more than 10 million people in 100 nations between 2014 and 2020, the year when Tokyo will host the Summer Olympic and Paralympic Games. Mr. Sarbananda Sonowal, Minister of State (Independent Charge) for Youth Affairs & Sports will also attend “World Forum on Sport and Culture” to be held in October 2016 in Tokyo.
News 18 - Government starts UBIN drive for new entrepreneurs
The Government of India has begun an exercise for issuance of Unique Business Identification Number (UBIN) for budding entrepreneurs to start their new businesses without any delay. It will help them to seamlessly interact with a host of government departments.
The drive has been launched by the Department of Industrial Policy & Promotion (DIPP) under the aegis of Union Ministry of Commerce and Industry. The UBIN would be automatically linked to Ministry of Corporate Affairs (MCA) portal and will be subsequently sent to the CBDT (Central Board of Direct Taxes) which would nomenclature it as PAN for UBIN.
News 19 - All India Single Emergency number 112 from 1 January 2017
The Government of India has come up with single emergency number '112' to be operational throughout India from January 2017 to help people reach immediate services of police, ambulance and fire department. As soon as new number will be in action, all other existing emergency numbers will be phased out. The process to transfer calls made on to 112 to concerned departments is being worked out by Telecom operators.
A user will be able to make communication via SMS or landline and the system will learn about the location of the caller that will be shared with the nearest help centre. The best feature of this facility is that callers will be able to feed '112' in panic button system and panic button will enable users to make emergency call or send alerts to multiple numbers just by pressing a button.
News 20 - Anti-Hijacking bill passed in Parliament
The Parliament has passed the Anti-Hijacking Bill, 2016 after Lok Sabha approved it. The Rajya Sabha had passed it earlier. The Bill provides for the death penalty even if ground handling staff and airport personnel are killed during such acts.
In the previous Bill, hijackers could be tried for the death penalty only in the event of death of hostages, such as flight crew, passengers and security personnel. It says, Hijacking and the related offences shall be extraditable.
News 21 - Railwire – an Initiative of the RailTel
RailWire was in news Google launches Free Public Wi-Fi Service at 5 Railway Stations as part of it. It is a retail Broadband initiative of the RailTel, with a mission to make available "ICT (Information and Communications technology) to Common Man" & "Internet, Education and Health Services to Masses".
RailTel extends broadband and application services to the masses through the RailWire platform. RailWire leverages RailTel’s considerable infrastructure and presence Pan-India. RailWire aims to provide value-added services in Retail sector, Education sector, Health & Spiritual Lifestyle. RailWire is all about managing the end-broadband-customers through own infrastructure.
News 22 - India signs revised tax treaty with Mauritius
In a bid to prevent "abuse" of the tax avoidance treaty, India signed with Mauritius an amendment to the pact to get rights to tax capital gains on shares of Indian company sold after April 1, 2017. With the signing of the amendment to the Double Taxation Avoidance Convention (DTAC) with Mauritius, sale of shares of an Indian resident company will be taxed at 50 per cent of the applicable rate between April 1, 2017, to March 31, 2019. Full capital gains tax will apply from April 1, 2019.
It will tackle the long pending issues of treaty abuse and round tripping of funds attributed to the India-Mauritius treaty, curb revenue loss, prevent double non-taxation, streamline the flow of investment and stimulate the flow of exchange of information between India and Mauritius.
News 23 - Ministry of Road Transport & Highways Sets Up Committee to Frame Policy for Taxi Operators
The Union government has set up a committee to prepare a policy framework for taxi and other transport operators. The panel will be headed by Secretary, Ministry of Road Transport & Highways, Sanjay Mitra, and have Joint Secretary, Ministry of Road Transport & Highways and Delhi Transport Commissioner as its members.
A group of taxi and other transport operators had met Shri Nitin Gadkari apprising him of the situation that has emerged following Supreme Court’s order dated 15th December 2015 and directions of EPCA dated 29th April 2016 banning diesel taxis in the NCR, and the various problems they are facing as a result of the ban.
News 24 - Parliamentary Panel recommended PM-headed authority on Ganga Rejuvenation
The Estimates Committee of Parliament, chaired by BJP Veteran Murli Manohar Joshi, recommended an overarching and fully empowered authority headed by the Prime Minister to restore the purity and glory of River Ganga by July 2018 after Ganga was declared one of the 10 most polluted rivers in the world. The panel has recommended to cut down on the red tape involving various ministries and state governments.
The empowered authority will comprise of the representatives of all the concerned Union ministries and state governments.
News 25 - Rajya Sabha passed the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code
The Rajya Sabha passed a major economic reform Bill moved by the Government i.e. ‘Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code, 2016’. This is considered as the biggest economic reform next only to GST. The Lok Sabha had earlier passed the Bill on 5th May, 2016. The Bill is based on the recommendations of the Joint Parliamentary Committee on the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code, 2015 chaired by Bhupender Yadav. The committee submitted the report to government on 28 April 2016.
For further details: http://pib.nic.in/newsite/erelease.aspx?relid=0
News 26 - Inter-Governmental Agreement between India and Mauritius on cooperation in cooperatives and related fields
The Union Cabinet gave its approval for signing of an Inter-Governmental Agreement between India and Mauritius on cooperation in cooperatives and related fields. The Agreement between the two countries will be for a duration of five years after which it will be automatically extended for another five years.
The Government of Mauritius has shown keen Interest to develop Institutional Mechanism between Cooperative Development Fund (CDF) set up by it and National Cooperative Union of India (NCUI) so as to benefit from NCUI's experience in Cooperative Development.
News 27 - NITI Aayog to replace 5-year plans with 15-year vision document
The Central Government has decided to get rid of the five-year plans. The National Institution for Transforming India (NITI) Aayog will come up with a 15-year vision document in tandem with global trends and economic growth. The current 12th Five-Year Plan will be terminated in the current financial year, 2016-17. The first 15-year vision document will start from 2017-18, along with a seven-year National Development Agenda.
The 15-year vision document will also include internal security and defence that have not been a part of five-year plans.
News 28 - Govt approves Rs 1,984-cr Delhi-Meerut Expressway stretch
The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) approved the widening of the crucial UP Gate to Dasna stretch of the Delhi-Meerut Expressway. The project will be built at an estimated cost of Rs 1,983 crore. It includes the cost of land acquisition, resettlement and rehabilitation and other pre-construction activities. The total length of the road will be approximately 19 kms.
The other two stretches – Akshardham temple to UP Gate and Dasna to Hapur have already been approved by the Cabinet.
News 29 - Railways to constitute Mobility Directorate, Non-Fare Revenue Directorate
The Indian Railways have set up two new directorates - Non-Fare Revenue and Mobility directorates. The Non-Fare Revenue Directorate (NFR) to increase revenue by 10 per cent to 20 per cent from non-tariff sources like advertising and commercial exploitation of vacant rail land. The Mobility Directorate will address various factors affecting train movement at enhanced speeds in a focused manner.
The new Directorate would work directly under the supervision of Chairman, Railway Board.
News 30 - Working visit of President of Sri Lanka to India (May 13-14, 2016)
H.E. Maithripala Sirisena, President of the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka, made a working visit to India on May 13 and 14. He addressed the valedictory session at the Vaicharick Mahakumbh which being held as part of the Simhastha Mahakumbh in Ujjain on the 14th of May. He also visited Sanchi where he toured the World famous Sanchi Stupa and attended a function by the Mahabodhi Society of Sri Lanka during which he unveiled a statute of Angarika Dharmapala.
This visit by H.E. Sirisena will contribute to further strengthening the close and cooperative relations between India and Sri Lanka.
News 31 - Cabinet approves National Intellectual Property Rights Policy
The Union Cabinet approved the National Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) Policy that will lay the future roadmap for intellectual property in India. The Policy recognizes the abundance of creative and innovative energies that flow in India, and the need to tap into and channelize these energies towards a better and brighter future for all.
The National IPR Policy is a vision document that aims to create and exploit synergies between all forms of intellectual property (IP), concerned statutes and agencies. The National Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) Policy will endeavor for a “Creative India; Innovative India: रचनात्मक भारत; अभभनव भारत”.
News 32 - India's first Solar-Powered Train Set for Trial in Jodhpur
In line with its ‘Solar Mission’, the Indian Railways will soon commence trials of coaches fitted with solar panels which will power all the electrical appliances inside a train. The first trial run will be conducted in Jodhpur. It will help reduce 239 tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions by saving approximately 90,800 liters of diesel per rake.
A Noida-based firm Jakson Engineers Limited (JEL), which was awarded a Rs 1.57-crore contract last October by the Indian Railways Organisation for Alternate Fuels for fitting solar panels on 50 DEMU coaches, has completed the work on one rake of Diesel Electric Multiple Unit (DEMU), which has six coaches.
News 33 - India signs an agreement with WHO to promote yoga, Ayurveda
India has signed a historic Project Collaboration Agreement (PCA) with the World Health Organization (WHO) for cooperation on promoting the quality, safety and effectiveness of service provision in traditional and complementary medicine.
The PCA aims at supporting WHO in the development and implementation of the ‘WHO Traditional and Complementary Medicine Strategy. It will also contribute to the global promotion of traditional Indian Systems of Medicine. The PCA for the period 2016-2020 will deliver for the first time WHO benchmark document for training in Yoga, and WHO benchmarks for practice in Ayurveda, Unani and Panchakarma.
News 34 - Indo-US Brain Trust formed to deepen scientific collaboration
India and the US have formed a Brain Trust aimed at strengthening cooperation between the scientific community of the two countries. It is to enable strengthening the collaboration in various areas like science, research, academia, entrepreneurship and innovation.
Dr. Krishna Banaudha spearheaded the efforts to establish the Indo-U.S. Brain Trust, along with Ron Somers, the founder of the India First Group and a former president of the U.S.-India Business Council.
News 35 - The Income Declaration Scheme 2016 to open from 1st June 2016.
The Income Declaration Scheme, 2016 incorporated as Chapter IX of the Finance Act 2016 provides an opportunity to all persons who have not declared income correctly in earlier years to come forward and declare such undisclosed income(s).
Under this Scheme, such income as declared by the eligible persons, would be taxed at the rate of 30% plus a ‘Krishi Kalyan Cess’ of 25% on the taxes payable and a penalty at the rate of 25% of the taxes payable, thereby totaling to 45% of the income declared under the scheme.
News 36 - 'Simhastha Declaration' released in Ujjain
Prime Minister Narendra Modi along with Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena released 'Simhastha Declaration' at Ninora village in Ujjain during the two-day visit of the Sri Lankan President to India from 13 May to 15 May 2016. 51 sacred points have been included in this declaration for betterment of mankind.
During the event, sessions on sanitation, sustainable development and climate change, values of life, peace, agriculture and cottage industry were organized. Saints and seers, scholars and subject experts from the country and abroad discussed on various issues in the sessions of 'Vichar Mahakumbh'.
News 37 - Indian short film ‘Beti’ to be screened at Seattle International Film Festival
The Indian short film "Beti" has been invited for a special screening at the 42nd Seattle International Film Festival (SIFF), Washington DC. It is a non-fiction short film on girl child education. This four-minute documentary is made by young student filmmakers of Chandigarh. It is the only short film from India to be featured amongst 421 films representing 85 countries.
This movie is directed by Shivain Arora. The film narrates real life story of three girls from a government school and their dream for the future.
News 38 - Union Government launched INFRACON, ePACE and Up-Scaled INAM PRO
The Union Minister of Road Transport & Highways and Shipping Shri Nitin Gadkari launched ePACE, INFRACON and an updated version of INAMPRO, three innovative IT initiatives of the Ministry of Road Transport & Highways, developed in house by NHIDCL (National Highways and Infrastructure Development Corporation Ltd.)
ePACE (Projects Appraisal & Continuing Enhancements) is an online integrated Management Information System that brings projects from all wings of the Ministry under a common platform, ensuring their effective and real time tracking.
INFRACON is the National Portal for Infrastructure Consultancy Firms and Key Personnel. This portal acts as a kind of bridge between consultancy firms working in the road engineering and construction sector and domain experts and key personnel who are deployed both for project preparation and supervision.
INAM PRO has been developed as a web-based application (www.inampro.nic.in) for Infrastructure and Material Providers. It is a kind of a web based market place that brings together the material providers and the prospective buyers on a common platform.
News 39 - India Post goes Hi-Tech by Geo-Tagging the Post Offices
India Post is going hi-tech. The Postal Department has started monitoring timely clearance of the letter boxes through a mobile app.
In association with the Department of Space, it has geo-tagged over 1.5 lakh post offices on the indigenous geo-portal Bhuvan, developed by ISRO, in order to help people search the nearest post office and know about services and timings. India Post has over 1.55 lakh post offices of which more than 1.39 lakh are in the rural areas.
News 40 - Centre Approves Proposal to Set Up Kalinganagar National Investment Manufacturing Zone
The Union Government has approved the Odisha Government's proposal to set up Kalinganagar National Investment and Manufacturing Zone (KNNIMZ) at Kalinganagar in Jajpur district. It will be a mega industrial zone.
The project is expected to invite Rs1 lakh crore investment and generate 1.5 lakh direct jobs. This is the third Investment and Manufacturing Zone of India. The state government plans to establish the zone on over 40 thousand acre of land by spending more than 10 thousand crore rupees.
News 41 - India and Bangladesh sign Nuclear Agreement
India has signed a nuclear agreement with Bangladesh. The nuclear agreement has signed between the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) and the Bangladesh department of science and technology. The core of the new engagement is all 21st century — Energy, Connectivity, Security. As per the deal, India will equip and train Bangladesh to import their first nuclear power plant from Russia.
India wants to transport LPG and LNG to the northeastern states — through Bangladesh. New Delhi also wants to generate power in the northeast and have it pass through Bangladesh.
News 42 - 15 day Swachh Office drive launched across the country
A 15-day special ‘Swachh Office Drive’ for ensuring cleanliness at all Government offices across the country was launched by the Union Government as an intensive thematic campaign under Swachh Bharat Mission.
Norms suggested therein include ensuring water supply @ 45 liters per head per day, one toilet for every 25 persons, urinals to be provided based on employee strength, removal of stains every week, checking electrical fittings twice a week, acid cleaning and scrubbing of toilets daily, schedule of inspections etc.
News 43 - Govt unveils Draft National Policy for Women
Women and Child Development Minister Maneka Gandhi today unveiled a Draft National Policy for Women that focuses on safety and security aspect of women, their economic upliftment and nutrition. The Minister has sought comments on the draft policy so that the final document can be a true reflection of the voice of all women.
Ms. Gandhi said, her Ministry is also considering to put in place a mobile application with panic button for the help of women in case of emergency. She said, sex ratio for girl has risen from 830 to 907 per thousand male children in the state.
News 44 - Improved VRS for employees of Hindustan Vegetable Oils Corporation
The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs has given its approval to the proposal for offering an improved Voluntary Retirement Scheme (VRS) package based on 2007 notional pay scales for the employees of Hindustan Vegetable Oils Corporation (HVOC). The Government assistance will be in the form of non-plan grant of approximately Rs.27.56 crore to the company. HVOC is a Central Public Sector Enterprise (CPSE).
The employees of HVOC are in very old pay scales of 1992 due to sickness of the company. The improved VRS package will give fair amounts of compensation to the employees and help them in their post retirement rehabilitation.
News 45 - Centre to issue Universal Identity Cards to Divyangs
The Minster of State for Social justice and Empowerment Krishna Pal Gurjar has announced that the Central Government will soon issue Universal Identity Cards to Divyangs in the country.
The Universal Identity Card will be valid throughout the country. According to 2011 census report, there are 2 crore 68 lakhs divyangs living in the country. MOS social justice said that central is already implementing several schemes to make them self-sufficient. On this occasion he distributed tricycles, wheel chairs and ear implants to 504 divyangs of Amorha district.
News 46 - Site for construction of National War Memorial and National War Museum
The Union Cabinet, chaired by the Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi, was apprised of the decision taken by the Empowered Apex Steering Committee (EASC) that Princess Park Complex would be the suitable site for construction of the National War Museum.
With regards to the National War Memorial, the same would be constructed at ‘C’ Hexagon of India Gate as approved by the Cabinet in its meeting held in October, 2015.
News 47 - Rehabilitation of Bonded Labourer Scheme – 2016 to be Made Central Sector Scheme
The Government is revising the rehabilitation of bonded labour scheme and increasing the quantum of financial assistance from Rs. 20 thousand to one lakh rupees. This scheme proposes to increase the budget provision from Rs. 5 crores to about Rs. 47 crores per annum. While the most deprived and marginalized like the disabled, female and children rescued from trafficking, sexual exploitation and transgender will get Rs. 3 lakhs, the next in order is the special category comprising of females and the minors who will now get Rs. 2 lakhs. A normal adult male bonded labour will get Rs. 1 lakh, the Minister added.
The money will remain in an annuity account, controlled by the District Magistrate and a monthly earning will flow to the beneficiary account for his/her comfortable living. The corpus remains untouched until decided by the DM.
News 48 - Ola signs MoU with Government to benefit National Safai Karamcharis Finance and Development Corporation
The Mobile app based cab service Ola inked an MoU with National Safai Karamcharis Finance and Development Corporation (NSKFDC) established under the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment will focus at benefitting these people and their dependents by enabling livelihood opportunities, especially for women beneficiaries identified by NSKFDC.
This initiative of NSKFDC, serves the twin purpose of security for women and their economic empowerment by giving training to women drivers. Ola aims to add 10,000 driver-partners on its platform over the next five years by mobilizing, training and engaging with aspirants through such partnerships. Under this MoU, Ola will provide driver-partner micro-entrepreneurship opportunities on its platform for those who are identified and trained by NSKFDC.
News 49 - Web portal e-nivaran launched to fast track taxpayer grievances
A separate and dedicated window for grievance redressal has been launched in the Income Tax Business Application (ITBA) to be popularly known as 'e-nivaran' in order to fast track taxpayer grievances and ensure early resolution of their complaints.
Grievances will be directly handled by concerned dept and maintains the database of the origin of grievance in electronic form. The Central Board of Direct Taxes has made a separate structure in the department to deal with these issues called-- Taxpayer Services unit. Top officials of the department have been allotted a specific class of complaints to monitor and track, from their origin to successful resolution.
News 50 - Union Health Ministry introduced Kayakalp Fortnight scheme
To implement the vision of Swatch Bharat Mission, Union health ministry launched ‘Kayakalp Fortnight’ at AIIMS, which shall be observed throughout the country in various central government hospitals from 20th May, 2016 to 3rd June, 2016.
As part of Kayakalp, various support services such as laundry and food are provided at various locations; waste management as per standards is undertaken; and infection control measures are taken. Committees and sub-committees are formed to periodically review and monitor the progress made in these areas.
News 51 - Launch of a Mobile App Monitor and Intelligent Operations Centre by the Indian President
President Pranab Mukherjee inaugurated an Intelligent Operations Centre and a Mobile App Monitor for transformation of President’s Estate into a smart township which will work on 4H theme of a Humane, Hi-tech, Heritage and Happy Township.
The IOC is a software solution designed by IBM which helps collect and make sense of the rich data streaming in from several sources within the Estate to provide intelligent insights, integrated data visualization, near real-time collaboration and deep. The "Monitor” mobile application will enable residents to report issues such as broken street lights, electricity failure, water wastage etc. and check resolution status using their mobile devices and provide enough details such as location coordinates, address etc. to concerned departments.
News 52 - Centre for Environmental Health launched to assess environmental effect on health
The Health Ministry launched the Centre for Environmental Health to assess the impact of environment-related problems like air pollution, climate change, pesticide use and sanitation on health by conducting a conduct research across a range of environmental health issues, including chemical exposure, water and hygiene with the help of Public Health Foundation of India and the Tata Institute of Social Science.
It has been decided that Centre will also establish a policy engagement platform with regular meetings with the government, civil society, academia and the private sector to develop pathways for better implementation of the eco-friendly policies.
News 53 - Double Taxation Avoidance Agreement inked between India and Slovenia
India and Slovenia have signed a Protocol in Ljubljana to make changes in the existing Convention and Protocol between the two countries for avoidance of double taxation and prevention of fiscal evasion with respect to taxes on income.
The Protocol will not only broaden the area of the existing framework of exchange of tax related information which will help curb tax evasion and tax avoidance between the two countries but also enable mutual assistance in collection of taxes. Mr. Sarvajit Chakravarti, Ambassador of India to Slovenia on behalf of India and Mr. Dusan Mramor, the Slovenian Minister of Finance on behalf of Slovenia, signed the protocol.
News 54 - Govt creates Investor Education and Protection Fund Authority
Government has constituted the six-member Investor Education and Protection Fund (IEPF) Authority under the chairmanship of Corporate Affairs Secretary Tapan Ray, to improve the framework for safeguarding the interest of investors.
The authority will take care of the fund as well as maintain separate accounts and other records as prescribed by the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG). Other members include SEBI Executive Director Gyan Bhushan and RBI Executive Director U S Paliwal. Amardeep Singh Bhatia has been appointed as the Chief Executive Officer to the Investor Education and Protection Fund Authority.
News 55 - The second batch of 13 Smart City Mission announced by the Centre
The first batch of 20 smart cities was announced on 28 January 2016. Prime Minister Narendra Modi's Smart City Mission announced 2nd batch of 13 smart cities. Lucknow topped the list of winners of the Fast Track competition conducted for 23 cities from as many States and Union Territories.
Besides Lucknow, Warangal (Telangana), Dharamsala (Himachal Pradesh), Chandigarh, Raipur (Chhattisgarh), New Town Kolkata (West Bengal), Bhagalpur (Bihar), Panaji (Goa), Port Blair (Andaman and Nicobar Islands), Imphal (Manipur), Ranchi (Jharkhand), Agartala (Tripura) and Faridabad (Haryana) make it to the list of cities that will be developed as smart cities.
News 56 - Trilateral Transit and Transport Corridor agreement between three countries
India, Iran and Afghanistan inked the agreement on Trilateral Transit and Transport Corridor to ease transport of goods between India and Afghanistan via the Chabahar port. This would not only curtail down cargo tariffs but also increase regional economic development. Besides, India and Iran also signed an agreement for the development of the Chabahar port in Iran at an estimated cost of 150 million US dollars.
The agreement was signed in the presence of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, President Hassan Rouhani of Iran and the Afghan President Ashraf Ghani in Tehran.
News 57 - State boards excluded from NEET this year, ordinance signed by President
President Pranab Mukherjee signed the Ordinance to keep state boards excluded of the common entrance test (NEET) for MBBS and dental courses for this year. The President asked for clarification by Health Minister J. P. Nadda before signing the ordinance on three main issues including different exams of state boards, syllabi and regional languages.
The President took legal advice as well before signing the ordinance. The court had directed that a common entrance test — NEET— will be held across India for MBBS and dental courses but due to opposition raised by state governments, it has been ordered to keep state boards out of NEET this year.
News 58 - India bans its nationals from travelling to Libya
Due to security concerns, India has banned its nationals from travelling to Libya. There has been security threats and challenges to lives of Indian nationals in Libya. The travel ban is effective from 3 May, 2016 till further orders. The said decision was announced as a Libyan former minister being killed in clashes between unity government forces and fighters of the Islamic State jihadist group in Sirte.
There has been violence observed in Libya and the said ban is for security and safeguard of Indian citizens.
News 59 - Lok Sabha Speaker to conduct a 3-day Northeast Region Commonwealth Parliamentary Association Conference
The Lok Sabha Speaker Sumitra Mahajan would inaugurate the three-day conference of the Northeast Region Commonwealth Parliamentary Association (NERCPA) in the Assembly house of Tripura on May 30. The Conference would be conducted to make strong the NERCPA for further development of Northeast region states and soil erosion in Northeast India and its impact on the local population and how political intervention could help to resolve the issue.
Speakers and Deputy Speakers of all the eight North-eastern states are expected to attend the conference.
News 60 - I&B Ministry Frames Policy guidelines for Central Government advertisements on websites
The Ministry of Information & Broadcasting has framed guidelines and criteria for Empanelment of suitable agencies and Rate fixation for advertisements on websites. Only websites which are owned and operated by companies that are incorporated in India will be considered for empanelment by Directorate of Advertising & Visual Publicity (DAVP).
However, websites owned by foreign companies/origin can still be empaneled if such companies have branch offices which are registered and operating in India for at least one year.
News 61 - Ministry of Railways to launch “Rail Humsafar Saptaah”
The Ministry of Railways has decided to launch RAIL HAMSAFAR SAPTAAH' – a week-long celebration, from 26th May to 1st June 2016, to highlight railway achievements during the last two years.
Each day of the week will focus on a particular theme and hence the days have been named as 26th May-Swachchta Diwas, 27th May-Satkar Diwas, 28th May-Sewa Diwas, 29th May-Satarkata Diwas, 30th May-Saamanjasya Diwas, 31st May-Sanyojan Diwas and 1st June-Sanchaar Diwas.
News 62 - Cabinet gives Ex-Post Facto Approval to the Amendment to The Institutes of Technology Act, 1961
The Union Cabinet granted ex-post facto approval to the Amendment to The Institutes of Technology Act, 1961 for incorporation of six new IITs at Tirupati (AP), Palakkad (Kerala), Dharwar (Karnataka), Bhilai (Chhattisgarh), Goa, Jammu (J&K) and conversion of ISM, Dhanbad to an IIT under the Institutes of Technology Act.
The Cabinet has also approved introduction of a Bill namely the National Institutes of Technology, Science Education and Research (Amendment) Bill, 2016 for inclusion of the NIT Andhra Pradesh in its First Schedule.
News 63 - Union Government releases Draft Model Rules under Juvenile Justice Act, 2015
The Union Minister of Women and Child Development released the Draft Model Rules under the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act, 2015 in New Delhi for stakeholder comments and suggestions. The Act has come into force from 15th January, 2016 repealing the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act, 2000.
Some of its key features include: special provisions for children who commit heinous offences in the age group of 16-18 years; sale and procurement of children for any purpose, corporal punishment in child care institutions, etc.; mandatory registration of all Child Care Institutions with punishment in case of non-compliance; and giving statutory status to the Central Adoption Resource Authority (CARA) to enable it to perform its function more effectively.
News 64 - Union HRD Minister Launches Bharatavani Portal
The Union HRD Minister, Smt. Smriti Irani launched the multilingual knowledge portal www.bharatvani.in at Lucknow. The Central Institute of Indian Languages (CIIL), Mysuru is implementing this ambitious project of MHRD.
Bharatavani is the first knowledge portal of its kind in India which focuses on becoming a single point source for multiple language learning, content and technology. The minister also launched the Bharatavani Multi-lingual App called Bharatavani. This App will enable users to search for one language text in another language as well as get meanings in different languages. Currently the App has 35 multilingual Dictionaries and MHRD aims to extend it to 250 dictionaries in a year’s time. It became the largest Online Repository of Dictionaries in India on its very first day.
News 65 - Union Road Transport Minister Nitin Gadkari dedicates NIRBHAYA buses to the public
As an initiative of the Ministry of Road Transport & Highways under the NIRBHAYA Scheme, 10 luxury buses, 10 general buses of the Rajasthan State Road Transport Corporation have been provided with Vehicle Tracking System (VTS), CCTV cameras and Panic Buttons on every seat to provide safe and secure transport to women.
The Ministry will issue a notification after 2nd June 2016, making it mandatory for public vehicles with seating capacity of 23 or more to have CCTV camera, Vehicle Location Tracking Device and Panic Buttons. Those with seating capacity of less than 23 will be required to have Vehicle Tracking Device and emergency buttons. A draft notification has already been issued in this regard.
News 66 - Financial restructuring of Hindustan Fertilizer Corporation Limited for faster revival of Barauni Unit
The Union Cabinet has given its approval for financial restructuring of Hindustan Fertilizers Corporation Limited (HFCL). The Cabinet approved waiver of GoI loan of Rs. 1916.14 crores (as on 31.03.2015) and the outstanding interest on GoI loan as on date (the interest amount was Rs. 7163.35 crores as on 31.3.2015).
The Cabinet also approved transfer of 56 acres of Ash Dyke land of Barauni unit to Bihar State Power Generation Company Limited (BSPGCL) to settle dues of HFCL for faster revival of Barauni Unit.
News 67 - Financial restructuring of Hindustan Steel Works Construction Limited
The Union Cabinet has given its approval for financial restructuring of Hindustan Steel Works Construction Limited (HSCL) and its takeover by National Buildings Construction Corporation Limited (NBCC).
The Government of India will provide one-time support of Rs. 200 crores for settling term loans availed from commercial banks. It will also bear the contingent liability of Rs. 110 crores (approximately) for VRS liabilities. In addition, it will also pay the outstanding interest on the bank loans for the financial year 2015-16 amounting to Rs. 44 crores approximately (till 31.03.2016) and the amount of interest up to the date of takeover of HSCL by NBCC.
News 68 - MoU between Indian Space Research Organisation and the United Arab Emirates Space Agency
The Union Cabinet was apprised of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) signed between Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) and the United Arab Emirates Space Agency (UAESA) for cooperation in the exploration and user of outer space for peaceful purposes.
The MoU would result in setting up a Joint Working Group with members from ISRO and UAESA, which will further work out the plan of action including the time-frame and the means of implementing this MoU.
News 69 - National Capital Goods Policy
The Union Cabinet has given its approval for the National Capital Goods Policy. This is first ever policy for Capital Goods sector with a clear objective of increasing production of capital goods from Rs. 2,30,000 crores in 2014-15 to Rs. 7,50,000 crores in 2025 and raising direct and indirect employment from the current 8.4 million to 30 million.
The policy envisages increasing exports from the current 27 percent to 40 percent of production. It will increase the share of domestic production in India’s demand from 60 percent to 80 percent thus making India a net exporter of capital goods. The objectives of the policy will be met by the Department of Heavy Industry.
News 70 - Cabinet gives ex-post facto approval to the MOU between India and Maldives
The Union Cabinet granted ex-post facto approval to the Memorandum of Understanding signed between the Ministry of Tourism, Government of India and the Ministry of Tourism, Government of Maldives for strengthening cooperation in the field of tourism.
The main objectives of the Memorandum of Understanding are:
To expand bilateral cooperation in the tourism sector.
To exchange information and data related to tourism.
To encourage cooperation between tourism stakeholders, including hotels and tour operators.
To promote safe honorable and sustainable tourism.
News 71 - Cabinet gives ex-post facto approval to the MOU between India and Japan
The Union Cabinet granted ex-post facto approval to the MOU between India and Japan for promoting sustainable, stable and low-carbon thermal power development in India.
The proposal includes update on the current and future policy trend in Indian power sector with wide coverage from R&M (Renovation and Modernization) and Life Extension(LE) to new power development in India. The MoU also includes consideration of the identified barriers to find out those which could be addressed through mutual collaboration by the Central Electricity Authority(CEA) and Japan Coal Energy Centre(JCOAL).
News 72 - National Education Policy Committee submits their report to the Ministry of HRD
The Committee for the evolution of a National Education Policy has submitted the report containing its recommendations to the Ministry of HRD. The committee comprised Shri T.S.R. Subramanian, former Cabinet Secretary as the Chairman and Smt. Shailaja Chandra, former Chief Secretary, NCT of Delhi, Shri Sevaram Sharma, former Home Secretary, NCT of Delhi, Shri Sudhir Mankad, former Chief Secretary, Gujarat & Prof. J.S. Rajput, former Director, NCERT as members of the Committee.
The online consultations on www.MyGov.in portal were held from 26th January, 2015 to 31st October, 2015 and over 29,000 suggestions were received.
News 73 - Storage status of 91 major reservoirs of the country
The water storage available in 91 major reservoirs of the country for the week ending on May 26, 2016 was 26.816 BCM which is 17% of total storage capacity of these reservoirs. This was 55% of the storage of corresponding period of last year and 79% of storage of average of last ten years.
The total storage capacity of these 91 reservoirs is 157.799 BCM which is about 62% of the total storage capacity of 253.388 BCM which is estimated to have been created in the country. About 37 Reservoirs out of these 91 have hydropower benefit with installed capacity of more than 60 MW.
News 74 - Portal launched to promote Net Zero Energy Buildings
The Ministry of Power and the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) launched India’s first integrated web portal, www.nzeb.in, designed to promote and mainstream Net Zero Energy Buildings (NZEB) in India.
The portal which is a first of its kind, provides complete information about Net Zero Energy Buildings – those that generate as much energy as they use – as well as how to achieve near-zero energy status through the use of efficient lighting and equipment, integration of renewable energy technologies, and best practice design strategies.
News 75 - Govt loan waiver of Rs 9,000-cr loans to HFCL
The Cabinet approved waiver of government loan of Rs. 1,916.14 crores as on March 31, 2015 and the outstanding interest amount of Rs. 7,163.35 crores facilitating de-registration of HFCL from the Board for Industrial and Financial Reconstruction (BIFR) by making its net worth positive.
The Cabinet has also approved the transfer of 56 acres of ash dyke land of Barauni unit to Bihar State Power Generation Company Ltd to settle dues of HFCL for faster revival of the unit. It will clear the way for faster revival of Barauni unit of HFCL. This unit will create 400 direct and 1,200 indirect employment opportunities. This unit was lying defunct since January 1999.
News 76 - Dial 139 ticket cancellation service introduced by Railway ministry
The Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu launched the 139 service where now confirmed, wait-listed and reservation against cancellation (RAC) train ticket holders can cancel their tickets online or by dialing 139 but only 4 hours before the scheduled departure of the train. Earlier only confirmed ticket holders could cancel their tickets through 139 dial service.
Besides, the option of cancellation of tickets at the counter is also available for passengers. The refund amount can be collected from the station where the journey commenced or nearby notified satellite Passenger Reservation System location. The facility will be available on the mobile number which was given at the time of booking.
News 77 - CCEA gives nod to Railway projects worth Rs 11,000 crore
CCEA gave its nod for Railway projects worth Rs. 11,000 crores which includes Bina-Katni 3rd line project at an estimated cost of nearly Rs. 2,500 crores and Vizianagaram and Titlagarh 3rd line project, costing nearly Rs. 2,335 crores. The 279 km and 265 kilometer long railway line will be completed in 5 years. It also included doubling of Surendranagar-Rajkot project, Pune-Miraj-Londa railway line and Roza -Sitapur Cantt. - Burhwal Broad Gauge single line.
The benefit of these projects will mainly benefit 2 states immensely, one is Gujarat and the other one is Uttar Pradesh.
News 78 - US$100 million loan agreement signed between India and World Bank
An agreement for an IBRD loan of US $100 million was signed between the Government of India and the World Bank for the Karnataka Urban Water Supply Modernization project. The work has already been initiated to avail city-wide piped water to the state of Karnataka and to bolster the service delivery arrangements at the city level. The project will be applied over a period of 6 years in the cities of Hubballi and Dharwad and later be explored for other eligible cities too.
The project will have three components which are Financial Support for Sustainable and Affordable Housing for NHB, capacity Building of the NHB and to develop prudent lending standards to serve the more vulnerable, lower income households.
News 79 - All School Monitoring Individual Tracing Analysis launched
The HRD Minister Smriti Irani launched a student tracking system program called as the School Monitoring Individual Tracing Analysis that would be the world’s largest student tracking system under Shala Asmita Yojana.
Shala Asmita Yojana (SAY) is an online database to be maintained for the educational journey of close to 25 crore school students from Class I to Class XII across 15 lakh schools in the country and it will maintain a complete database of a student, which will include student attendance and enrolment, mid-day meal service, learning outcomes and infrastructural facilities, among other things, on one platform for both private and government schools. It will be done with the help of student’s Aadhaar numbers provided at the time of admission.
News 80 - Sushma launches PMO India website in 6 regional languages
The Official Website of the Prime Minister’s Office, www.pmindia.gov.in can now be accessed in six regional languages namely Bengali, Gujarati, Malayalam, Marathi, Tamil and Telugu in addition to English and Hindi.
The website was inaugurated by the Minister for External Affairs Smt. Sushma Swaraj. The initiative is part of the on-going efforts of the Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi to reach out to the people and communicate with them in their own language.
News 81 - Railways holds censor trial of high-speed Spanish Talgo coaches
Indian Railways conducted the first ever trial run for high-speed Spanish Talgo trains on the Bareilly-to-Moradabad stretch in Uttar Pradesh. The trial run will be conducted in a series of phases to test the riding, safety and stability of Talgo trains which will continue till June 12. The second trial run will be conducted on the Palwal-to-Mathura section. Reportedly, the coaches would run at a speed of 115 km per hour.
Talgo is a Spanish leading manufacturer of semi-high speed (160-250 kmph) and high-speed (350 kmph) passenger trains. It consumes 30% less energy and can run on curves without decelerating.
News 82 - India and Australia sign MoU to enhance R&D in biotech
India and Australia have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to enhance research and development in biotechnology. BIRAC, a PSU under the Ministry of Science and Technology signed the MoU with Horticulture Innovation Australia for launching a joint funding call.
The MoU seeks to stimulate and enhance the strategic research and innovation capabilities of the Indian biotech industry. The focus of the funding call is to undertake horticultural research in order to develop and deploy modern tools of plant biotechnology to improve crop productivity. The funding commitment from BIRAC and Horticulture Innovation is up to 6 million Australian dollars over a period of 3 years.
News 83 - GoI signs agreement with JICA for loan of Rs. 1,548 crores towards TN Urban Healthcare
The Government of India signed an agreement with the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) for a loan of Rs. 1,548 crores to improve the quality of urban healthcare services in Tamil Nadu. The Japanese Official Development Assistance (ODA) loan will be provided at 0.3% interest rate for a period of 40 years (including 10 years of grace period).
It will be implemented in 17 cities in Tamil Nadu. The loan will be utilized for increasing the capacity of key hospitals, upgrading facilities and improving hospital management and primary healthcare. JICA has given Rs. 19,870 crores through ODA loans since 1981 for comprehensive development in Tamil Nadu.
News 84 - India Signs Grant Agreement with World Bank for efficient bus service
The Government of India has signed an agreement for Global Environmental Facility (GEF) Grant of USD 9.20 Million with the World Bank for"Efficient and Sustainable City Bus Service Project" on behalf of IBRD.
The total program cost is USD 113.0 million, with USD 9.20 million as grant from the GEF and USD 103.07 million from Government of India and state & city governments for funding of buses and ancillary infrastructure. The project's development objective is to improve the efficiency and attractiveness of city bus transport and reduce greenhouse gas emissions in the demonstration cities.
News 85 - Prime Minister approves retirement age of doctors of Central Health Services to 65 years
The Prime Minister Narendra Modi approved the proposal of the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare for enhancing the age of superannuation of all doctors of the Central Health Service to 65 years with effect from 31st May 2016.
This will enable the Government to retain experienced doctors for a longer period, and to provide better services in its public health facilities.