▼ India slips on HDI [03-24-17]
India slipped down one place from 130 to 131 among the 188 countries ranked in terms of human development, says the 2016 Human Development Report (HDR).
This was released by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) on March 21st.
India’s human development index (HDI) value of 0.624 puts it in the “medium human development” category, alongside countries such as Congo, Namibia and Pakistan.
It is ranked third among the SAARC countries, behind Sri Lanka (73) and the Maldives (105), both of which figure in the “high human development” category.
The world’s top three countries in HDI are Norway (0.949), Australia (0.939) and Switzerland (0.939).
The HDI is a measure for assessing progress in three basic dimensions of human development: a long and healthy life, access to knowledge, and access to a decent standard of living.
The report praised India’s reservation policy, observing that even though it “has not remedied caste-based exclusions”, it has “had substantial positive effects”. It pointed out that in 1965, for example, Dalits held fewer than 2% of senior civil service positions, but the share had grown to 11% by 2001.
The HDR also hailed the national rural employment guarantee programme as a “prime example” of “combining social protection with appropriate employment strategies”.
The report noted with approval India’s progressive laws, especially the Right to Information, National Food Security, and Right to Education Acts.
It commended the Indian grassroots group Mazdoor Kisan Shakti Sanghatan for popularising social audits of government schemes.
Noting that women, on an average, have lower HDI than men across the world, the report pointed out that the largest gender disparity in development was in South Asia, where the female HDI value is 20% lower than the male value.
In South Asia, gender gaps in entrepreneurship and labour force participation caused an estimated income loss of 19%.
Between their first and fifth birthdays, girls in India and Pakistan have a 30% to 50% greater chance of dying than boys.
While India’s HDI value increased from 0.428 in 1990 to 0.624 in 2015, it still had the lowest rank among BRIC nations. However, its average annual growth in HDI (1990-2015) was higher than that of other medium HD countries.
Public Health Expenditure
- The report says 1.5 billion people worldwide still live in multidimensional poverty.
- Around 54% of them concentrated in South Asia.
- While poverty fell significantly from 1990 to 2015, inequalities sharpened in the region.
- South Asia also had the highest levels of malnutrition in the world, at 38%, and the lowest public health expenditure as a percentage of the GDP (1.6%, 2014).
- India’s public health expenditure was even lower, at 1.4% of the GDP.
- It did make some gains between 1990 and 2015, improving life expectancy by 10.4 years in this period. Child malnutrition also declined by 10 percentage points from 2015.
- Also there was a modest gain in infant and under-five mortality rates.
▼ US, Britain ban tablets, laptop computers on MENA flights [03-23-17]
The US and UK banned laptops and tablet computers from passenger cabins on certain airlines' flights from some airports in Turkey, the Middle East and North Africa, citing terror threats.
Normally, decisions taken by American authorities and implemented by the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) are the result of specific threats identified by US intelligence agencies.
Certain groups like Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula have been trying for years to adapt to the progressive security measures put in place by the US and their allies, in particular by miniaturising explosives.
The new measures will be based on specific threats, without doubt an initiative by AQAP, one of the most advanced and sophisticated groups–in particular with regards to miniaturisation of explosive devices.
After AQAP and rebel groups in Syria drew closer together in 2014, the TSA banned devices with flat batteries, saying that passengers could be required to demonstrate that laptops and phones could be powered up before boarding planes.
The battery's housing could conceal a miniature explosive of just a few hundred grams.
These types of electronic devices contain all the component parts of an improvised explosive device (IED) except for the detonator and the actual explosives.
By adding those two missing elements, it could be possible to effectively assemble an IED, making these devices more sensitive than other electronics, he added.
If airport security have any doubt about a passenger and their baggage they can use a trace detector.
If the electronic device has been booby-trapped, there will be traces of explosive of that can be found. The wipe can be analysed in seven seconds and will warn of any explosives detected, the expert said.
In France, checked baggage is passed through an Explosive Detection System which can determine whether any explosives are present by analysing the molecules inside the bags.
If the machine estimates that there may be a threat, it alerts airport security who can take the bag aside for a more comprehensive check.
▼ Whanganui river now a human being! [03-22-17]
- The local Maori tribe of Whanganui in the North Island has fought for the recognition of their river - the third-largest in New Zealand - as an ancestor for 140 years.
- Whanganui river is also called ‘Te Awa Tupua’.
- The new status of the river means if someone abused or harmed it the law now sees no differentiation between harming the iwi (tribe) or harming the river because they are one and the same.
- Two guardians will be appointed to act on behalf of the Whanganui river, one from the crown and one from the Whanganui iwi.
- The tribe believes that they can trace their genealogy to the origins of the universe. And rather than they being masters of the natural world, they are part of it. They want to live like that as their starting point.
- They say that it is not an anti-development, or anti-economic use of the river but to begin with the view that it is a living being, and then consider its future from that central belief.
▼ Surya Kiran: Indo-Nepal exercise [03-22-17]
Indo-Nepal Joint Military Training was held in Pithoragarh from March 7 to 20, 2017.
Ekta Shakti Battalion of the Punjab Regiment of the Indian Army and Durga Baksh Battalion of the Nepalese army participated in the joint exercise named Surya Kiran-XI which is the 11th iteration.
It is aimed at training troops in counter insurgency operations and enhance defence cooperation and military relations between the two nations.
It is an ideal platform for personnel of two armies to share their experiences.
Indian Army: Know More
- Motto: "Service Before Self"
- Headquarters: New Delhi
- Founded: 15 August 1947, India
- Color: Gold, red and black
- Part of: Indian Armed Forces
- Transports: HAL Dhruv, Aérospatiale Alouette III, Aérospatiale SA 315B Lama
▼ Norway: World's happiest country [03-21-17]
Norway has received the status of the World's Happiest country on 20th March 2017.
It moved from 4th place in the previous UN assessment all the way to the top spot, as per the World Happiness Report 2017.
Top countries besides Norway included Denmark, Iceland and Switzerland.
All 4 countries ranked high on happiness in terms of caring, freedom, honesty, generosity, health, income and good governance.
Also in the top 10 were Finland (5), the Netherlands (6), Canada (7), New Zealand (8) and Australia plus Sweden tied for 9th place.
The entire top 10 were affluent, developed nations. Money was not the only ingredient for happiness though.
The wealthier countries also had differences in meta health, physical health and personal relationships.
The largest source of misery is mental illness, as per the report.
While China has made rapid economic strides in recent times, it ranked 79th in a study of 155 countries.
The World Happiness Report 2017 was released by UN on the International Day of Happiness.
The first report was published in 2012.
Norway: Know More
- Capital: Oslo
- Code: +47
- Currency: Norwegian krone
- Official languages: Norwegian, Bokmål, Nynorsk
▼ Italy ranks healthiest country on earth [03-21-17]
Italy has been ranked the healthiest country on Earth in the Bloomberg Global Health Index of 163 countries.
According to the study, the average life expectancy in the country is 80-89 years.
Iceland, Switzerland, Singapore and Australia are also among the top five most healthy countries in the index.
Singapore was placed on the fourth spot.
Also on the top ten are Spain, Japan, Sweden, Israel, and Luxembourg.
Italy: Know More
- Capital: Rome
- Code: +39
- Currency: Euro
- Prime minister: Paolo Gentiloni
- Official language: Italian
▼ Asia's first greenfield training facility set up in India [03-20-17]
Civil Aviation ministry has launched Asia's first greenfield training facility being set up by EU aviation major Airbus.
Airbus India Training Centre will support India's need for Airbus aircraft pilots and maintenance engineers.
India's rapidly growing passenger aircraft fleet will be matched by adequate availability of skilled engineers and pilots for maintenance.
The centre will be constructed over an area of 7,000 square metres. Once completed, the facility will have two A320 full flight stimulators.
The centre is expected to train 800 pilots and 200 service and maintenance engineers.
Airbus currently has more than 250 aircrafts in service in India and state carrier Indian Airlines has placed an order for more.
Country's rapidly growing fleet of passenger aircrafts may be matched by supply chain ensuring availability of maintenance engineers and skilled pilots.
Domestic Aviation Market in India: Know More
- India is one of the fastest growing domestic aviation markets across the globe.
- The market is expected to grow at over 9 per cent, year-on-year for the next two decades.
- This growth rate would be far greater than the world average of 4.6 per cent.
- The number of per capita trips is expected to grow 4-fold in the next 20 years, boosted by improving economic and demographic factors.
- As per the estimates, Airbus sees a demand for more than 1,500 new aircraft and the accompanying need for close to 25,000 new pilots and maintenance engineers in the next 20 years.
▼ Union Cabinet approves National Health Policy 2017 [03-17-17]
Union Cabinet on March 15, 2017 approved the National Health Policy 2017 aiming to increase public healthcare expenditure to 2.5 percent of GDP.
More than two-thirds of resources will be going towards primary healthcare.
The policy is aiming to reach healthcare to all parts of the country, specially the underserved and underprivileged.
The last national health policy was framed in 2002.
This policy guides a time-bound implementation framework with clear milestones and distinct deliverables to attain policy goals.
The policy works to raise public healthcare expenditure to 2.5% of the GDP from the current 1.4%.
Features of the National Health Policy
- Policy envisages larger package of assured comprehensive primary healthcare via Health and Wellness centres.
- This is an extensive package including care for NCDs, mental health, geriatric care, palliative and rehabilitative care services.
- It works to ensure availability of 2 beds for every 1000 persons to enable access within emergency.
- The policy aims to make healthcare accessible for all and offers financial protection, proposing free drugs, diagnostics and emergency as well as healthcare services in public medical hospitals.
- The policy also aims to raise life expectancy from 67.5 to 70 years by 2025.
- It also aims to establish regular tracking of disability adjusted life years or DALY index as a measure of burden of disease and trends through major categories by 2022.
- The reduction of total fertility rate to 2.1 at national and sub-national levels was aimed for by 2025.
- Another goal of this policy is to reduce mortality of children under 5 years of age to 23 per 1000 by 2025 and maternal mortality rate from current levels to 100 by 2020.
- The scheme also aims to reduce infant mortality rate to 28 by 2019 and reduce neo natal mortality to 16 and still birth rate to single digit by 2025.
- The policy aims to strengthen the regulatory environment and seeks putting in place systems for setting standards and ensuring healthcare quality.
- The policy also checks out reforms in the current existing regulatory systems for easing manufacturing of drugs and devices for promoting Make in India and reforming medical education.
- Policy advocates development of mid-level service providers, nurse practitioners, public health cadre to improve availability of required health human resource.
▼ World bank to fund Indian Hydrology Project [03-17-17]
The World Bank has approved USD 175 million for the National Hydrology Project in India.
It will strengthen the capacity of current institutions to assess the water situation and enable them to have real time flood forecast systems across the nation.
Apart from helping states benefiting from earlier projects to fund and upgrade as well as complete monitoring networks, the national project will also assist new states to manage reservoir water flow better.
This will reduce the vulnerability of many regions to recurring floods and droughts as a result of real time ground information for the entire country issuing alerts for difficulties encountered.
The entire project worth INR 3679 crore will be implemented by 2023-24.
World Bank will provide financial assistance for nearly 50 percent of the total cost.
National Hydrology Project approved by the World Bank Board on 15th March 2017 building on the success of earlier India projects- Hydrology Project I and II.
This led to real time flood forecast systems integrated with weather forecast in two large river systems - Krishna and Satluj Beas.
This gives reservoir managers an accurate picture of water situation in their region.
National projects will now scale up successes attained under HP-1 and 2 to cover the whole nation including Ganga and Bramhaputra Barak basins.
In the context of climate change, advanced flood management and enhanced river basin planning are essential for creating livelihood and sustaining economic growth.
Project can help communities to plan in advance to create resilience against uncertainties of climate change.
About the National Hydrology Project
- This was approved by Union Cabinet in April 2016.
- It is a CSS with total outlay of INR 3679 crore
- INR 3640 crore will be spent for the national project while remaining INR 39 crore will be for establishment of the National Water Informatics Centre.
- Project will help states to monitor all aspects of the hydro-meteorological cycle and adopt procedures laid out in previous projects.
- This measures how much rain or snow has been received in catchment areas of rivers, the rapidity with which snow will melt, speed with which water is flowing, how much silt has built up and how the water will reach the reservoir and how soon it will work.
- The Project is aimed at improving the extent, quality, and accessibility of water resources information and decision support
▼ FTII, Canon sign MoU [03-17-17]
The Film and Television Institute of India (FTII), Pune and Canon India Private Limited on 15 March 2017 signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU).
It aims promote film education through short-term courses across several towns and cities in the country.
The courses are proposed to be held in non-metros such as Guwahati, Jaipur, Vishakhapatnam, Raipur, Chandigarh, Raipur, Bhopal, Leh and Andaman & Nicobar Islands.
Basically, Canon partnered FTII for its Skilling India in Film and Television (SKIFT), an initiative designed to spread the art of cinematography and film making across the country.
Under FTII’s unique initiative SKIFT (Skilling India in Film and Television), several short courses, mostly of skill-oriented nature have been proposed with several State Governments, Universities and Educational institutions in partnership.
Canon as a technology partner of SKIFT will be providing high-end cameras and accessories free of cost for the courses.
This support by Canon will be a major contributing factor in keeping the course fees affordable while offering an opportunity to course participants to use cutting-edge equipment.
FTII: Know More
- FTII Pune is one of Asia’s leading and India’s foremost institute in film and television education.
- It has been working to break new grounds by pushing to democratise cinematic education.
- It is offering quality and affordable training to general public and practitioners at locations where there is a demand for such courses.
- FTII is also in the process of aligning some of the short courses with Pradhan Mantri Kaushal Vikas Yojana (PMKVY) under National Skill Development Council.
▼ Madhes based political parties withdraw support [03-16-17]
An alliance of Madhes based political leaders on 15th March 2017 withdrew support to the Prachanda led Nepal government after it failed to meet a 7 day ultimatum to meet demands.
This includes endorsement for the revised Constitution Amendment bill.
The United Democratic Madhesi Front with 39 lawmakers withdrew support.
Government continues to enjoy a majority as it is supported by more than 320 members in the 601 member CA.
Prachanda also said the government would form a commission to fianlise issues pertaining to provincial demarcation before the provincial elections.
UDMF on March 7, 2017 issued an ultimatum to address concerns including re-demarcation of the provincial boundary and a liberal citizenship policy among others.
It has been demanding government endorsement for revised Constitution Amendment Bill and withdrawal of the decision to conduct local polls in May.
Madhesi: Know More
- The Madhesi, also referred to as Teraibasi Nepali, are an indigenous ethnic group.
- They are Nepalese people who are natives of the Madhesh plains of Southern Nepal in Terai belt of South Asia.
- India : over 23,000 Non Resident Nepali
- Saudi Arabia : 199,757 Nepalese Migrant Workers
- United States : 19,000 Nepalese Americans
- South Korea : 22,878 Nepalese Migrant Workers
▼ Gilgit Baltistan: Pak's 5th province [03-16-17]
Pakistan is planning to declare the strategic Gilgit-Baltistan region as its fifth Province.
This is a move that may raise concerns in India as it borders the disputed Pakistan-occupied Kashmir.
Pakistan’s Minister for inter-provincial coordination on 14th March 2017 indicated that a committee headed by Advisor of Foreign Affairs Sartaj Aziz had proposed giving the status of a Province to Gilgit-Baltistan.
A constitutional amendment would be made to change the status of the region, through which the $46 billion China-Pakistan Economic Corridor passes.
JKLF has warned Pakistan against changing status of Gilgit-Baltistan
Gilgit-Baltistan is treated as a separate geographical entity by Pakistan.
It has a regional Assembly and an elected Chief Minister.
It is held that China’s concerns about its unsettled status prompted the move, which could signal a historic shift in the country’s position on the future of the wider Kashmir region.
All About Gilgit Baltistan Region
- Gilgit-Baltistan, formerly known as the Northern Areas, is the northernmost administrative territory of Pakistan.
- Area: 72,971 km²
- Founded: 1 July 1970
- Government body: Gilgit-Baltistan Legislative Assembly
- Capital: Gilgit
▼ Pakistan to conduct first national census in 19 years [03-14-17]
Pakistan is set to conduct its first national census in 19 years. It will commence on 15th March 2017 with the assistance of 200 thousand troops.
This is the sixth census of the South Asian nation , which will be completed on May 25, and conducted in two phases.
At least one soldier will accompany each civilian enumerator going from house to house to enlist the number of households and individuals living there.
The soldiers will not only provide security but help in verification of data collected by the enumerators.
Administrative and security arrangements have been made for the population and housing census.
The number of the civilian staff taking part in the census is 118,918.
They are all government servants from various departments and thoroughly trained for the job.
Rs. 18.5 billion have been allocated for the census.
The minister of state said the holding of the census will help appropriate allocation of funds and other resources at right places.
Aurangzeb said that there will be imprisonment of six months and Rs 50,000 fine if wrong information is given.
Islamabad last conducted a census in 1998, which recorded a national population of approximately 180 million at that time.
Islamabad: Know More
- Islamabad is the capital city of Pakistan located within the federal Islamabad Capital Territory.
- With a population of two million, it is the 10th largest city of Pakistan
- Governing body: Islamabad Metropolitan Corporation and Capital Development Authority (CDA)
- Chief Commissioner: Zulfiqar Haider
- Chairman CDA: Sheikh Ansar aziz
- Mayor: Sheikh Ansar Aziz Political party PML-N
▼ Hosni Mubarak cleared of charges [03-14-17]
Hosni Mubarak, who was overthrown as president of Egypt in an uprising in 2011, will be released from detention in a military hospital, the public prosecutor ruled on March 13, 2017.
The ageing former president would likely be released March 14 or soon after.
Mubarak was cleared of murder charges this month in his final trial.
He had faced various charges ranging from corruption to ordering the killing of protesters who ended his 30-year-rule.
He had one more jail sentence to serve but was cleared after serving time for the murder charges.
The prosecution subtracted the time served in the murder case from the time he was meant to serve for a separate case in which he was found guilty of appropriating funds reserved for maintaining presidential palaces.
Mubarak was originally sentenced to life in prison in 2012 for conspiring to murder 239 demonstrators during the 18-day revolt–an uprising that sowed chaos and created a security vacuum but also inspired a mission for democracy and social justice.
An appeal by the public prosecution led to a final retrial by the Court of Cassation, the highest in the country, which acquitted him on March 2.
Egypt: Know More
- Capital: Cairo
- Currency: Egyptian pound
- President: Abdel Fattah el-Sisi
- Official languages: Arabic, Modern Standard Arabic
▼ Japan's Izumo warship shows naval might [03-14-17]
Japan aims to dispatch its largest warship on a three-month tour through the South China Sea beginning in May.
This is the biggest show of naval force in the region since World War Two.
China claims almost all the disputed waters and its growing military presence has fuelled concern in Japan and the West.
The United States has been holding regular air and naval patrols to ensure freedom of navigation.
The Izumo helicopter carrier will make stops in Singapore, Indonesia, the Philippines and Sri Lanka before joining the Malabar joint naval exercise with Indian and US naval vessels in the Indian Ocean in July.
It will return to Japan in August.
Taiwan, Malaysia, Vietnam, the Philippines and Brunei also claim parts of the South China sea which has rich fishing grounds, oil and gas deposits and through which around $5 trillion of global sea-borne trade passes each year.
Japan does not have any claim to the waters, but has a separate maritime dispute with China in the East China Sea.
Izumo: Know More
- The 249 metre-long (816.93 ft) Izumo is as large as Japan's World War Two-era carriers.
- It can operate up to nine helicopters.
- It resembles the amphibious assault carriers used by US Marines.
- It lacks their well deck for launching landing craft and other vessels.
- Based in Yokosuka, near to Tokyo, which is also home to the US Seventh Fleet's carrier, the Ronald Reagan, the Izumo's primary mission is anti-submarine warfare.
▼ Net direct tax collections rise [03-14-17]
Net direct tax collections up to February grew 10.7% as compared with the same period of the previous financial year.
Net indirect tax collections increased 22.2% during the same period.
The direct tax collections up to February 2017 continue to show a steady growth trend.
The collection net of refunds stands at INR 6.17 lakh crore, which is 10.7 % more than the net collections for the corresponding period last year.
This collection is 72.9 % of the total Budget Estimates for direct taxes for financial year 2016-17.
During February 2017, net indirect tax collections grew 8.4%, with customs, central excise and service tax collections growing 10.9%, 7.4% and 7.6%, respectively.
This was slower than the 16.9% growth in net indirect collections in January 2017, when customs, central excise and service tax collections grew was 10.1%, 26.3% and 9.4%, respectively.
Within direct tax, corporate tax collections grew 11.9% while personal income tax collections grew 20.8%. However, after accounting for refunds, these growth rates stand at 2.6% and 19.5%.
The tax department issued refunds worth INR 1.48 lakh crore over the April 2016 to February 2017 period, which is 40.2% higher than the refunds issued during the corresponding period last year.
The figures for indirect tax collections (central excise, service tax and customs) up to February 2017 show that net revenue collections are at INR 7.72 lakh crore, which is 22.2% more than the net collections for the corresponding period last year.
Till February 2017, about 90.9% of the Revised Estimates (RE) of indirect taxes for financial year 2016-17 has been achieved.
Within indirect taxes, net central excise collections stood at INR 3.45 lakh crore during the April 2016-February 2017 period compared with the INR 2.53 lakh crore collected during the corresponding period of the previous financial year, which amounts to a growth of 36.2%.
Net service tax collections during the period grew 20.8% to INR 2.21 lakh crore.
Net customs duty collections grew 5.2% to ?2.05 lakh crore in the April 2016 to February 2017 period.
▼ MP to study Bhutan's happiness model [03-14-17]
Senior officials of the newly constituted happiness department in the state will visit the Himalayan kingdom to understand and study the happiness model prevalent there.
Bhutan has a gross national happiness commission.
Officials said it is imperative for them to visit Bhutan so as to understand the Bhutanese model and implement it here to achieve the objective of creating the happiness department.
This department is the first in the country.
Bhutan is willing to share its happiness model with the state.
The happiness department is also in the process to set up its office in Bhopal.
Bhutan: Know More
- Capital: Thimphu
- King: Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuck
- Prime minister: Tshering Tobgay
- Currencies: Indian rupee, Bhutanese ngultrum
- Official language: Dzongkha
▼ Central Railways unveils India's first AC rail ambulance [03-14-17]
Central Railway (CR) has unveiled India's first air conditioned rail ambulance.
This is designed to rush for the relief of injured passengers during the vital 'golden hour' after a rail disaster.
The ambulance is equipped with several medical facilities and the basic treatment can be provided to at least 50 people at a time.
The ambulance, which will be stationed at Kalyan, was made by redesigning an AC coach used for passenger service.
The ambulance will prove helpful when transporting organs from one state to another for transplants.
A railway ‘green corridor’ will help deliver the donated organ to the destination sooner than on road, without causing much trouble to people and traffic.
Facts About Rail Ambulance
- It is a four-coach fully AC ambulance, equipped with health care facilities.
- The idea for such a facility came after an accident in Maharashtra's Raigad district in May 2014.
- As many as 50 people can be transported and treated using this air conditioned rail ambulance.
- Designed at the rail workshop at Matunga in Mumbai, the vehicle is suited for transporting accident victims to hospital in a short time.
- The coaches are aesthetically designed and house an operation theatre to carry out minor surgeries like cataract and can provide emergency treatment to accident victims
▼ PAU releases genetically modified cotton [03-14-17]
In a first for the country, Punjab Agricultural University in Ludhiana has developed the country's first GM variety of cotton - PAU Bt 1 and F1861.
Cotton is the only GM crop cultivated in India.
The ICAR has identified three Bt cotton varieties–F1861, PAU Bt1 and RS 2013 for cultivating in Punjab, Haryana and Rajasthan.
Genetic modification of cotton involves introduction of Bt bacterial gene coding for a protein that kills the bollworm cotton pest.
All three varieties carry the Cry1Ac gene from the Bt bacteria. Bt stands for Bacillus thuringiensis.
This imparts resistance against bollworm cotton pest.
PAU Bt 1 variety was completely developed at PAU, whereas the F1861 and RS2013 were converted to Bt version by Central Institute for Cotton Research (CICR), Nagpur.
Punjab Agricultural University: Know More
- Founded: 1962
- Academic staff: 1,250
- Vice-chancellor: Baldev Singh Dhillon
▼ Ministry of Railways signs LOI with UNEP [03-14-17]
Ministry of Railways on March 9, 2017 signed a Letter of Intent with the United Nations Environmental Program to formalise joint cooperation in ecological conservation.
Agreement will help in developing a joint cooperation mechanism in the field of environment and sustainability.
Collaboration in forming a specific roadmap for 20% reduction in water consumption at railway establishments is also part of the agreement.
Along with it, waste management centres at major stations on Indian railways is also planned along with sustainable public procurement for green technology.
Indian Railways, that carries 23 million passengers every day, is the largest consumer of water as well as electricity in the country.
It is also the major contributor to green environment due to reduced GHG emissions.
- United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) is the leading organization within the United Nations in the field of environment.
- It majorly focuses on the conservation, protection, enhancement and support of natural resources worldwide.
- Headquarters: Nairobi
- Head: Erik Solheim
- Founded: 1972
- Founders: Wangari Maathai, Maurice Strong
▼ PM Modi launches #IAmNewIndia [03-14-17]
PM Modi, following the landslide assembly election victory, unveiled the #IAmNewIndia, a nation building exercise on NaMo app.
It is a pledge to build a new India.
Similar to last Diwali's #Sandesh2Soldiers on the app, which led to an outpouring of affection for the country's armed forces, the PM hopes to use the occasion of Holi to get the country to commit to one of nine goals.
The goals include a corruption-free India, a pledge to undertake more cashless transactions and encouraging women-led development, among other things.
By 2022, the PM hopes citizens will make India a country which Gandhi, Patel and Ambedkar would be proud of.
India is transforming, powered by the strength of each and every citizen of India.
This transformation, the PM added, is and will be accomplished with innovation, hard work and creativity of the youth
The kind of India to aspire for, according to him, is one where women, the poor and farmers are truly empowered, one is free from corruption, terrorism, black money and dirt and one is characterized by peace, unity and brotherhood.
The pledge can be undertaken with just a few clicks on the NaMo app.
NaMo App: Know More
- Official App of Prime Minister of India, Narendra Modi.
- It brings to users the latest information, instant updates & helps them to contribute towards various tasks.
- It provides a unique opportunity to receive messages and emails directly from the Prime Minister.
- It also yields attractive infographics that illustrate the work of the NDA government to transform India.
- It also provides exclusive opportunity to receive E-Mails & Messages directly from the PM.
- It also features Mann Ki Baat by the PM.
▼ South Korean president impeached [03-10-17]
South Korea's Constitutional Court upheld the impeachment of President Park Geun-hye on March 10, 2017.
This move removes her from office over a graft scandal involving big business that has gripped the country for months.
Park becomes South Korea's first democratically elected leader to be forced from office.
A presidential election will be held in 60 days, according to the constitution.
Park Geun-hye: Know More
- Born: 2 February 1952, Samdeok-dong
- Presidential term: 25 February 2013
- Party: Liberty Korea Party
▼ Longest extradosed cable stayed bridge in India inaugurated [03-9-17]
In a relief for Vadodara- Surat section of NH-8 (New NH-48), Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi dedicated a new four lane, Extradosed Bridge across river Narmada at Bharuch to the nation on March 8, 2017.
The aim is also to convert eight state highways of Gujarat to National Highways, and this will give a big boost to the infrastructure of the state.
The Narmada bridge project has been completed in 34 months at a cost of INR 380 crores.
About the Bridge
- The 1.4 km ‘Extradose’ cable stayed bridge is the longest in India and the second such bridge in the country after Nivedita Setu over Hooghly.
- The bridge is 20.8 metres wide, with 14.5 metre carriageway and 3 metre footpath.
- It is supported on 9 Pylons of 36 meter height on pile foundation of 1.5metre diameter.
- The bridge will be lit by more than 400 LED lights.
- The bridge is part of National Highways Authority of India’s project for six laning of Ahmedabad-Mumbai section of NH-8( a total length of 6.745 Km between km.192.00 to km.198.745.) in Baruch.
▼ Tunnel of Hope: Country's longest tunnel now in J&K [03-9-17]
The country's longest tunnel connecting Chenani and Nashri in Jammu & Kashmir will be opened for traffic later in March 2017.
Called the "Tunnel of Hope" in Kashmir, the structure ensuring all-weather connectivity will reduce the distance between Jammu and Kashmir by 38km.
Work for the 9.2km tunnel started in May 2011 and Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi had laid the foundation stone.
It was originally scheduled for completion by August last year.
This project along with the other tunnel between Quazigund and Banihal on this corridor will be a big boost to state's economy.
These two projects will provide all-weather connectivity between Jammu and Kashmir and reduce the distance by at least 50km.
The 8.45km Quazigund-Banihal tunnel is scheduled for completion by March 2018.
The Chenani-Nashri connectivity will be a single tunnel with 9.3 metre width and an escape tunnel for emergency while Quazigund-Banihal stretch will have twin tubes with a width of seven metres each.
At present, it takes about 10-11 hours to go from one city to the other under normal weather conditions. The two tunnels will also end traffic logjam on NH-1A due to heavy snowfall during winters and landslides in monsoons.
While the all-weather tunnels will help traders transport fruits produced from this region to other parts of the country , it will also ensure seamless supply of essential items to the valley even during winter and rainy season.
This will also boost food processing industry in the region and generate jobs for locals.
▼ Vaikom Vijaylakshmi sets new music world record [03-9-17]
Playback singer Vaikom Vijayalakshmi on March 5 2017 set a new world record by playing the maximum number of songs in the shortest time on a single string musical instrument.
She played various classical and filmy songs on the Gayathri veena continuously for over five hours and in the process became the first person to achieve the feat.
The music maestro, who is visually impaired, broke the record by playing a total of 69 songs on the instrument during a programme.
Even though Vijayalakshmi managed to enter the record books when the 51st song was completed, she went on till the 69th song.
Several awards have been won by Vijayalakshmi.
Besides singing for the Malayalam movies,she has performed songs in Tamil and Telugu films.
Vijayalakshmi has conducted several Gayathri veena recitals.
The instrument gifted by a well-wisher was modified by Vijayalakshmi’s father, Muraleedharan.
Gayathri Veena: Know More
- Instrument family: String instrument, Plucked string instrument
- Place of origin: India
- Related instrument: Sitar, Tanpura, Sarod, Saraswati veena.
- Classification: String instrument
▼ Hubbi: First smart tribal model village in J&K [03-9-17]
The first smart tribal model village ‘Hubbi’ was inaugurated at Rajouri district of Jammu and Kashmir.
It was inaugurated by the Jammu and Kashmir Minister for Food, Civil Supplies, and Consumer Affairs Chowdhary Zulfkar Ali.
The village was developed by Rural Development Department of the State Government.
The smart tribal village has been introduced with smart classes in the schools, better roads, electricity and water facilities.
Rajouri: Know More
- Rajouri is a district of Jammu region in Indian state of J &K.
- The Line of Control lies to its west, Poonch to the north, the Reasi district to its east and the Jammu district to the south.
- Rajouri is famed for its kalari (made from milk).
- Representing an ancient, old principality, Rajouri was a joint district, along with Reasi, at the time of J&K accession to India in 1947.
- The two tehsils were separated and Rajouri was merged with the Poonch.
- Rajouri again became a separate district in 1968.
▼ Paramhansa Yogananda's Yogoda Satsang Math gets special stamp [03-8-17]
Special Commemorative Postage Stamp marking 100 years of Yogoda Satsang Math was released by Prime Minister Narendra Modi at a function in New Delhi.
Yogoda Satsang Society of India was founded by Paramahansa Yogananda in 1917. It is a non-profit religious organization.
Outside the India, it is known as the Self-Realization Fellowship.
The word Yogoda was coined by Paramahansa Yogananda.
It is fusion of Yoga, union, harmony, equilibrium and balance meaning that which imparts.
Yogoda Satsang Math
- President : Mrinalini Mata
- Headquarters : Dakshineswar
- Location : Dakshineswar, India
- Affiliations : Self-Realization Fellowship
▼ WHO announces 1 in 4 deaths under 5 due to environment [03-8-17]
World Health Organisation (WHO) on 6 March 2017 made the announcement that more than 1 in 4 deaths of children under 5 years of age are attributable to unhealthy environments.
The revelations were made by WHO in its two new reports, titled “Inheriting a Sustainable World: Atlas on Children’s Health and the Environment” and “Don’t pollute my future! The impact of the environment on children’s health.”
The WHO went on to state that indoor and outdoor air pollution, unsafe water, lack of sanitation, second-hand smoke and inadequate hygiene take the lives of 1.7 million children under 5 years.
Diarrhoea, malaria and pneumonia are the most common causes of death among children aged 1 month to 5 years.
The reports state that these causes are preventable access to safe water and clean cooking fuels.
Infants and pre-schoolers have an increased risk of pneumonia in childhood, and a lifelong increased risk of chronic respiratory diseases, such as asthma, when they are exposed to indoor and outdoor air pollution and second-hand smoke.
Every year, 570000 children under 5 years die from respiratory infections attributable to indoor and outdoor air pollution and second-hand smoke.
Each year, 270000 children die during their first month of life from conditions, including prematurity. Malaria is responsible for 200000 deaths of child under 5 years annually.
Every year, 361000 child under 5 years die due to diarrhoea, as a result of poor access to clean water, sanitation and hygiene.
200000 child under 5 years die each year from unintentional injuries attributable to the environment, such as poisoning, falls and drowning.
▼ Iraq dropped from US Muslim travel ban [03-7-17]
The Donald Trump administration issued a new executive order on Monday, temporarily banning travel from six Muslim-majority countries to the US.
This is after an earlier order ran foul of the country’s judiciary.
The new executive order bans travel from six countries - Sudan, Syria, Iran, Libya, Somalia, and Yemen, leaving out Iraq that was also in the list of barred countries in the January 2017 order.
In an attempt to pass the next round of inevitable judicial scrutiny, current visa and green card holders from these countries will not be affected by this order.
The order also explains the basis for including the six countries trying to remedy a lacuna in the earlier order.
The new order also avoids the preferential treatment offered to Christian refugees in the earlier order.
The new order will not come into effect until March 16.
There will be a 90-day ban on the issuance of new visas for citizens of these six countries, and nation’s refugee program will be suspended for 120 days, according to the order.
While the temporary ban is in place for 90 days, the US administration will review the security measures in place to prevent potential threats from gaining a US visa.
The number of refugees to be admitted this year has been reduced to 50,000 from the 110,000 cap set by the Obama administration. The indefinite ban on Syrian refugees has been lifted.
The order said each of the six countries was a state sponsor of terrorism, has been significantly compromised by terrorist organisations or contains active conflict zones.
The order gives country-wise details justifying the inclusion of each and also explains the exclusion of Iraq.
Iraq: Know More
- Capital: Baghdad
- Currency: Iraqi dinar
- President: Fuad Masum
- Prime minister: Haider al-Abadi
- Official languages: Arabic, Kurdish
▼ India accounts for more than half of 500 million internet users annually [03-6-17]
India has accounted for more than half of the 500 million new internet users globally come on board in the past three years, according to a software firm Adobe.
According to Mobile Adobe Digital Insights Report, India has a strong position in driving momentum of smartphones and number of new internet users globally and in the Asia Pacific region.
The report, based on the global analysis of 1.7 trillion visits to more than 16,000 websites between January 2014 and January 2017, found that smartphones were the source of 500 million new internet users globally.
Within this, India delivered a staggering 268.9 million new consumers.
This was followed by China and Indonesia that accounted for 97.4 million and 15.7 million new internet visitors respectively, it added.
The report said smartphone traffic in India increased by 290% since 2014, while desktop traffic was recorded as 6% lower, and tablet traffic stayed stagnant at 3%.
When it comes to app installation growth, the report showed that India led the pack with a 49% increase since 2014, in contrast to most countries like the US and UK that have experienced a 9% and 38% decrease in the use of apps respectively.
Smartphones are allowing millions of people to access the internet, who otherwise might never have had the opportunity.
India has latched on to smartphones and outpaced many affluent countries around the world in internet usage, which is representative of the country s drive towards digital transformation.
The report found that consumers in developing countries are bypassing desktops and laptops and going straight to smartphones to access the internet. These regions have 34% higher smartphone-share growth, compared with affluent nations.
According to the report, India, which already has a high share of internet smartphone traffic, is showing no signs of slowing growth.
With a forecast of 46% of the world's smartphone share by 2018, India's rapidly expanding digital story continues to present a massive opportunity for marketers.
Organisations focused on delivering compelling customer experiences and leveraging this strong penetration of mobile to amplify their marketing efforts are likely to gain a competitive edge in the long run.
▼ Nuclear armed North Korea fires 4 ballistic missiles [03-6-17]
Nuclear-armed North Korea fired four ballistic missiles east of the peninsula on March 6, with Japan saying three of them landed in its waters.
Pyongyang fired a ballistic missile last month, its first such launch since October, which Seoul said was aimed at testing the response from the new US administration of President Donald Trump.
Seoul said several missiles were filed into the East Sea, also known as the Sea of Japan, and that South Korea and the US were closely analysing tracking data for further details.
In terms of the range, it is around 1,000 kilometres.
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said North Korea fired four missiles almost simultaneously, three of which landed in Japan’s Exclusive Economic Zone.
In response to the launch, South Korea’s acting president Hwang Kyo-Ahn convened an emergency National Security Council (NSC) meeting, the presidential office said in a statement.
Seoul and Washington launched annual joint military exercises last week that infuriate Pyongyang, which condemns them as provocative rehearsals for invasion.
North Korea has regularly carried out actions in protest against the US-South Korea exercises, last year firing seven ballistic missiles during them.
That rocket–said by the North to use solid fuel and to be capable of carrying a nuclear warhead–flew east for about 500 kilometres before falling into the Sea of Japan, South Korea said at the time.
North Korea is under heavy international sanctions for its nuclear and missile programmes.
Last month, China–the North’s chief ally and diplomatic protector–announced a suspension of all coal imports from the North until the end of the year, depriving Pyongyang of a crucial source of foreign currency.
China’s foreign ministry said Beijing and Pyongyang were still “friendly neighbours” but added it remained opposed to the North’s nuclear ambitions.
North Korea is barred under UN resolutions from any use of ballistic missile technology. But six sets of UN sanctions since Pyongyang’s first nuclear test in 2006 have failed to halt its drive for what it insists are defensive weapons.
Last year the country conducted two nuclear tests and numerous missile launches in its quest to develop a nuclear weapons system capable of hitting the continental US.
North Korea: Know More
- Capital: Pyongyang
- Supreme leader: Kim Jong-un
- Premier: Pak Pong-ju
- Currency: North Korean won
- Population: 24.9 million (2013) World Bank
▼ World's oldest aircraft carrier to be decommissioned [03-6-17]
The world's oldest aircraft carrier in active service, INS Viraat, will be decommissioned on March 6 after serving the Indian Navy for nearly 30 years.
INS Viraat's retirement will not only end a glorious chapter in the Indian Navy's history but will also create a vacuum as the sea hawks will be short of two aircraft carriers now.
Earlier, INS Vikrant was decommissioned in 1997.
The decommissioning ceremony will be attended by Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar and other dignitaries.
The grand event will see the lowering and wrap-up of the naval flag installed on the warship at sunset, marking an end to a long sea odyssey lasting 55 years.
INS Viraat was commissioned in Indian Navy in 1987, before that the historic ship served Royal British Navy for 27 long years.
It was built in 1943, during the Second World War.
The carrier has provided utmost protection to the country during many tense situations.
The decision on the warship's future has not been taken yet.
INS Viraat: Know More
- Length: 226 m
- Construction started: 21 June 1944
- Launched: 16 February 1953
- Draft: 8.8 m
- Beam: 49 m
- Builder: Vickers Shipbuilding and Engineering
▼ NFHS-4: Over 58 percent below 5 years anaemic in India [03-6-17]
The recently released family health survey (NFHS 4) results show that over 58% of children below five years of age are anaemic, that is, they suffer from insufficient haemoglobin in the blood, leaving them exhausted, vulnerable to infections, and possibly affecting their brain development.
The survey, which was carried out in 2015-16 and covered six lakh households, also showed that around 38% of children in the same age group were stunted, 21% were wasted and 36% underweight.
While all the internationally accepted markers of children's health have improved since the last such survey in 2005-06, the levels of undernourishment, caused mainly by poverty, are still high and the improvement too slow.
Based on the 2011 Census data, the total number of children under five in India in 2015 is projected at 12.4 crore.
So, around 7.2 crore children are anaemic, nearly 5 crore are stunted, around 2.6 crore are wasted and 4.4 crore are underweight.
These numbers are not too different from those in 2005-06. Since population has increased, their share is down.
The World Health Organisation says high levels of these markers are clear indications of poor socio-economic conditions and suboptimal health and/or nutritional conditions.
In short, lack of food, unhealthy living conditions and poor health delivery systems.
The WHO defines wasting as low weight for height, stunting as low height for age, and underweight as low weight for age.
The survey also found that just over half of all pregnant women were anaemic. This would automatically translate into their newborn being weak.
Overall, 53% of women and 23% of men in the 15-49 age group were anaemic.
There is wide variation among states.
The data for UP has not been released in view of the ongoing polls, according to Balram Paswan, professor at Mumbai-based International Institute for Population Sciences which was the nodal agency for the survey done for the health ministry.
But poorer states like Bihar, Madhya Pradesh, Jharkhand, Assam, Rajasthan and Chhattisgarh have higher than national average rates on all markers.
More advanced states like those in the south, Haryana and Gujarat have slightly better numbers but are still at unacceptable levels.
In Tamil Nadu, 51% children are anaemic while in Kerala it is over one-third.
In many states, stunting has declined but the share of severely wasted children has increased.
These are clear signs of an endemic crisis of hunger in the country that policy makers don't appear to be addressing.
▼ Punjab, Jammu & Kashmir to resume Shahpur Kandi dam project [03-6-17]
Just before the annual Indus Water Commission meeting with Pakistan in Lahore, India has stepped up its efforts of building adequate infrastructure to utilise its legitimate share of waters on eastern rivers (Ravi, Beas and Sutlej) of the Indus system.
Two of its states - Jammu and Kashmir and Punjab - on Friday reached an agreement to resume works on ambitious Shahpur Kandi Dam project.
The 55.5-metre high Shahpur Kandi dam, located in Gurdaspur district of Punjab, will help in providing irrigation facility to 5000 ha of land in Punjab and 32173 ha in J&K, besides generation of 206 MW power
The construction of Shahpur Kandi project was taken up in May 1999 but later halted in 2014 due to dispute between Punjab and J&K.
The move to resume work will give a boost to the country's strategy to utilise its entire share of waters under the Indus Water Treaty (IWT).
Though India had decided not to engage with Pakistan through the Indus Water Commission after the Uri terror attack last year.
It will resume the dialogue through the Commission whose next meeting will be held in Lahore later this month.
The Commission is a mechanism to resolve any dispute between the two countries over sharing of waters of the Indus river system under the Indus Water Treaty.
Under the IWT, signed between the two countries in 1960, the waters of eastern rivers are allocated to India.
Though India is under obligation to let the waters of the western rivers (Indus, Jhelum and Chenab) flow, it is permitted to construct storage of water on western rivers up to 3.6 million acre feet (MAF) for various purposes, including domestic use.
India has, however, not developed any storage facility so far. India has also not tapped its full quota of water for irrigation under the Treaty.
A high-level inter-ministerial task force had in December 2016 decided to bring Punjab and Jammu and Kashmir on board for speeding up work on the ground through better coordination.
Accordingly, both the states agreed to resume works on Shahpur Kandi Dam project.
The project will be built with an estimated cost of Rs 2285.81 crore (April, 2008 price level).
Though it would be constructed as per agreed design, a model study will concurrently be done to ensure that the mandated share of 1150 cusecs of water is available to J&K, which will be binding on both the States.
Besides the Shahpur Kandi dam project, the task force had in December, 2016 also underlined the government's priority to speed up works on the proposed hydro-power projects on Chenab and its tributary–Sawalkot (1856 MW), Pakal Dul (1000 MW) and Bursar (800 MW)–for execution in a timely manner.
Shahpur Kandi Dam Project
- Located in Gurdaspur district.
- The project will be constructed on the canal from Shahpurkandi Barrage to Madhopur headworks, downstream of the existing Ranjit Sagar Dam. Wikipedia
- Owner: Punjab State Power Corporation Limited
- Construction began: 2014
- Impound: Ravi River
▼ Vijaywada, Tirupati airports to be renamed [03-6-17]
The Andhra Pradesh Cabinet on 2nd March 2017 approved proposals to rename the Vijayawada Airport and the Tirupati Airport.
Vijayawada Airport in Gannavaram has been renamed as ‘Nandamuri Taraka Rama Rao-Amaravati Airport’ after the legendary actor and founder of the ruling Telugu Desam Party, and the new capital of Andhra Pradesh.
The Tirupati Airport has been renamed as ‘Sri Venkateswara Airport’ after Lord Venkateswara of the temple town.
The Cabinet also approved handing over government land at minimal cost for the Bhogapuram International Airport Company Ltd for the development of the Greenfield airport in Orvakallu of Kurnool district.
List of Airports in Andhra Pradesh
|1. Cuddapah||Cuddapah Airport|
|2. Puttaparthi||Sri Sathya Sai Airport|
|3. Rajahmundry||Rajahmundry Airport|
|4. Tirupati||Tirupati Airport|
|5. Vijayawada||Vijayawada Airport|
|6. Visakhapatnam||Visakhapatnam Airport|
|7. Visakhapatnam||Visakhapatnam Airport|
▼ President of India presents Standard, Colours to IAF [03-6-17]
President of India, Shri Pranab Mukherjee presented the Standard to 125 Helicopter Squadron and Colours to Mechanical Training Institute of Indian Air Force (March 3, 2017) at Air Force Station, Tambaram, Tamil Nadu.
Speaking on the occasion, the President complimented the 125 Helicopter Squadron and Mechanical Training Institute of Indian Air Force and said these units have a glorious past, embedded with rich heritage, stellar efforts and selfless service to the Nation.
For their unflinching devotion, professionalism, ethos and courage, the Nation honours them with a deep sense of gratitude and appreciation.
IAF Squadrons: Know More
- The Indian Air Force needs at least 42 squadrons of fighters to protect its western and northern borders with Pakistan and China.
- By 2019 -2020 it will lose another 14 squadrons of the vintage MiG 21s and MiG 27s.
- There are 16-18 planes in one squadron.
- The force now depends on Su-30 MKI and MiG 29s, the British-made Jaguar and French-made Mirage 2000s.
- After the air force de-commissioned three of the ageing Russian-made MiG 21 squadrons, bringing down the total number from 34 to 31 fighter squadrons, an additional squadron of the Russian-made Su-30 MKI has been raised.
▼ Dharamshala : Second capital of HP [03-6-17]
The tourist town of Dharamshala, which is also the home of Tibetan spiritual leader Dalai Lama, has officially become the second capital of Himachal Pradesh.
The state cabinet on 2nd March 2017 gave its nod to the proposal to make Dharamshala the second capital of the state.
Chief minister Virbhadra Singh had announced Dharamshala as second capital of Himachal Pradesh in January.
A second capital would benefit the residents of Kangra, Chamba, Una and Hamirpur districts, as they have to travel all the way to Shimla for official matters as ministers and officials sit there.
Even the state government employees posted in Dharamshala would gain from the cabinet decision as they can now avail capital allowance for serving in the state capital.
With the decision, the Congress government is now hoping to gain in the upcoming assembly polls since Kangra, Chamba, Una and Hamirpur districts have 30 assembly seats.
At present, Dharamshala has a mini secretariat and secretariat besides the assembly building.
In addition, a new building is almost ready at a cost of INR 5 crore, which would be used for accommodation of ministers and officers.
Vidhan Sabha used to hold its winter session at Dharamshala in a move started by Virbhadra Singh during his previous term.
He had also started ‘winter sojourn’ - a practice when the Chief Minister camps at Dharamshala for nearly a month.
Dharamshala is a foothill town of McLeodganj, the seat of Tibetan spiritual leader Dalai Lama and headquarters of the central Tibetan administration.
HPCA’s cricket stadium is also an attraction at Dharamshala besides its majestic snow-covered Dhauladhar ranges.
Dharamshala: Know More
- State: Himachal Pradesh
- District: Kangra
- Capital of Himachal Pradesh: Dharamsala (Winter)
- Area: Total 27.60 km2 (10.66 sq m)
- Highest elevation: 2,352 m (7,717 ft)
- Lowest elevation: 1,065 m (3,494 ft)
▼ WCD Ministry to set up Women's Entrepreneurship Council [03-6-17]
The Ministry of Women and Child Development has proposed the setting up of a Women's Entrepreneurship Council for taking up with the government the problems faced by businesswomen.
The council modelled on the lines of chambers of commerce, will seek to resolve issues through policy changes.
Council should be up and running within a year. The conclave was held to celebrate International Women's Day.
To stop begging by children, the ministry has decided to come down heavily on those indulging and promotion the social evil.
To this end, an Anti-Trafficking Bill is to be posed for Parliamentary approval shortly.
However, the ministry was also working on an App to curb harassment to women in any form. The app, named “Shouting App” that would allow the victim to reach out to 10 people near her to keep the perpetrators at bay before the arrival of the police.
The app is expected to be functional by this month end.
▼ India to host ICEGOV2017, foster e-governance [03-6-17]
India for first time will host International Conference on Theory and Practice of Electronic Governance (ICEGOV2017).
It will be held in collaboration with United Nations University and UNESCO.
The objective of ICEGOV2017 is to study how Digital Government can lead to Digital Empowerment by local knowledge.
This year marks the tenth edition of ICEGOV and it will focus on the use of technology to transform relationships between government and citizens, businesses, civil society.
It will also try to grow an outlook to create new paradigms, forms, foundations for technology-enabled governance, development and collaboration
United Nations University
- Address: 5 Chome-53-70 Jingumae, Shibuya, Tokyo 150-8925, Japan
- Head: David M. Malone
- Founded: 1973
- Total enrolment: 184 (2014)
▼ FATA, Khyber Pakhtunwala province in Pakistan to merge [03-3-17]
Pakistan government on March 2, 2017 approved the merger of Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) with the Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa province.
The aim is bring the impoverished and politically deprived tribal region at par with the rest of the country.
Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif chaired a meeting of the federal cabinet which approved in principle the recommendations of the FATA Reforms Committee.
The six-member committee headed by PM's Adviser on Foreign Affairs Sartaj Aziz recommended that FATA should be made part of Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa province.
The FATA is a semi-autonomous tribal region in northwest Pakistan, bordering Afghanistan.
It consists of seven tribal agencies (districts) and six frontier regions, and are directly governed by Pakistan's federal government.
According to the plan, colonial era draconian laws known as Frontier Crimes Regulation (FCR) will be replaced.
The proposed merger would be carried out over a period of five years and a 10-year development package would be introduced for all of FATA.
The cabinet not only approved the plan but also agreed to set up courts, allocate additional funds and build infrastructure in the tribal region.
Due shares will be given from the national resources to Pakistan-occupied Kashmir, Gilgit Baltistan and FATA people.
The prime minister said it is obligatory for the Federal and provincial governments to work for the welfare of the people of these regions.
Nawaz Sharif: Know More
- Mian Muhammad Nawaz Sharif, MP is the 20th and current Prime Minister of Pakistan.
- He has been in office since June 2013.
- A veteran politician, he previously served as the Prime Minister from 1990 to 1993 and from 1997 to 1999.
- Born: 25 December 1949, Lahore, Pakistan
▼ Foal Eagle, US S.Korea joint military exercise commences [03-3-17]
South Korean and United States held large-scale joint military exercise called Foal Eagle to test their defence readiness against the threat from North Korea.
It will continue until the end of April 2017.
The exercise comes amid heightened tension following the latest test launch of a ballistic missile by the North in February 2017.
South Korea also has signed agreement with US Lotte Group conglomerate to secure the land to station the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) missile defence system.
Another exercise conducted by both countries in 2016 involved about 17,000 American troops and more than 300,000 South Koreans.
- Capital: Seoul
- Code: +82
- President: Park Geun-hye
- Currency: South Korean won
- Prime minister: Hwang Kyo-ahn
▼ Odisha government, Invest India signs agreement to promote startups [03-3-17]
Odisha Government and Invest India on 1 March 2017 signed an agreement to promote start-ups and MSME sector of the state.
The agreement was signed with an aim to help the start-ups and MSME sector to gain access to best practices of the world.
According to reports, Odisha became the first state to sign MoU with Invest India for working on startups.
Invest India is a National Investment Promotion and Facilitation Agency of the Union ministry of commerce and industries.
Startup Odisha Initiative and Startup India Hub run by the Invest India will help in achieving the Mission-1000 startups by the year 2020. The mission will help the youth in realising their dreams.
A toll-free start-up helpline, 1800-345-7100, was also launched.
The Prime Minister’s initiative Start-up India has the objective of making India a country of job creators. The vision is to make India the No. 1 start-up nation in the world.
Invest India, which is the official investment promotion and facilitation agency of India, is mandated to facilitate investments into India.
Specifically, the agency is the first point of reference for potential investors.
They provide sector and state-specific inputs and other supports to investors through the complete investment cycle.
▼ Liveability index to rank Indian cities on 77 parameters [03-1-17]
India is all set to introduce its own liveability index. Beginning with 100 smart cities, the liveability index would rank all Indian cities on 77 parameters including how they fare.
This is in terms of grievance redressal of citizens, pollution, availability of water and power, online citizen services, upkeep of historical buildings, increase in tourist footfalls, crime rate, extent of crimes recorded against women, children and elderly, availability of traffic surveillance system and education.
The liveability index, which would be unveiled at an urban development ministry workshop on Feb 28, 2017 would chart a city's progress against various standards under four categories - institutional, social, economic and physical.
These would in turn be divided into 15 sub-categories of standards and take the form of 15 category indexes, which will together contribute to a common City Liveability Index.
These indices will be used to create a ranking framework for all cities, facilitating a competitive environment amongst cities to improve their liveability.
A scientific formula has been developed giving percentage weightage to the four categories of reforms.
Maximum weightage (40%) would be given to physical infrastructure, which would include water, energy, waste water, solid waste, housing, open space, mobility and pollution indices.
This would be followed by governance index (30%). Social index (20%) would include health index, education, identity and culture index and security index.
Economic index (10%) would include unemployment rate, annual increase in number of registered offices and commercial establishments and other indices reflecting the health of city economy.
|Chronology of events
The Union Government will soon come out with policies on second-generation ethanol as well as methanol. It was announced by Union Road Transport and Highways Minister Nitin Gadkari.
United Kingdom’s Queen Elizabeth II hosted a reception to launch the UK-India Year of Culture 2017 at the Buckingham Palace.
Iran’s Navy has test fired the latest versions of the Dehlaviyeh and Nasir missiles during military exercises (Velayat 95 naval manoeuvres) in the Persian Gulf.
Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC) and Gujarat International Finance Tec-City (GIFT City) have signed a MoU to increase cooperation and collaboration.
China launched a new cruise ship in SCS islands as The Changle Princess sailed from Sanya on the southern Chinese island province of Hainan on March 2nd afternoon with 308 passengers on a four-day voyage, Xinhua said.
Police raided the Paris home of French rightwing presidential candidate Francois Fillon on March 2, 2017 over an alleged fake job scandal as a senior party colleague warned him he risked dragging his party "into an abyss”.
The President of India, Shri Pranab Mukherjee inaugurated the Kochi Muziris Biennale Seminar on ‘Importance of Sustainable Cultural Building’ (March 2, 2017) in Kochi, Kerala.
A 360-foot-high/110 metres flag post, said to be the country's tallest, was inaugurated at the Indo-Pak Attari Border, near Pakistan. Built at an approximate cost of Rs 3.50 crore, the post was a project of the Amritsar Improvement Trust Authority of the Punjab Government.
India is working on what is called a "farm-to-port" project. This would be something similar to a special economic zone but in corporatised farming, where crops would be grown specifically for the UAE market, with dedicated logistics infrastructure that would transport farm products directly to the port.
China on March 7, 2017 operationalised the second-largest airport terminal in Tibet, close to the Indian border, which will be able to handle 750,000 passengers and 3,000 tonnes of cargo annually by 2020. The new terminal, the sixth to be opened in Tibet, is part of Nyingchi Mainling Airport, which is located close to Arunachal Pradesh.
Iran’s advanced S-300 air defence system became operational. The system was delivered by Russia following Iran’s July 2015 nuclear deal with P5+1 nations.
Maharashtra government has decided to regulate the web-based taxi services in the state to ensure affordable travel for commuters. In this regard, Maharashtra City Taxi Regulations 2017 will be implemented in the state.
The ‘Destination North East-2017’ is being organised by Ministry of DoNER to showcase North East as a potential destination for investment and highlight the rich traditions and customs of the region. The core theme of the festival is to highlight the use of appropriate technologies in all sectors of development for North Eastern Region
The Ministry of Power, Government of India is hosting the 13th Executive Committee (ExCo) Meeting of the International Smart Grid Action Network (ISGAN) at POWERGRID Corporate Center, Gurugram. This is the first ever Executive Committee Meeting of ISGAN being held in India.
North Korea closed its borders on March 7, 2017 to Malaysians who want to leave the country, spurring Malaysia to issue a retaliatory order and drawing hundreds of ordinary people into an increasingly bitter diplomatic battle over the killing of an exiled member of North Korea’s ruling family.
WikiLeaks on March 7, 2017 published thousands of documents purportedly taken from the Central Intelligence Agency’s Center for Cyber Intelligence, a dramatic release that appears to provide an eye-opening look at the intimate details of America’s cyber-espionage toolkit.
Indo-Oman Joint Army Exercise AL NAGAH-II 2017 will be conducted between the Indian and Oman Army from 6 to 19 March in the Dhauladhar Ranges at Bakloh in Himachal Pradesh.
The 13th edition of Economic Co-operation Organisation (ECO) summit was held in Islamabad, Pakistan. The purpose of the summit is to increase cooperation in areas such as trade, tourism, energy, economic growth and productivity.
In a bid to boost bilateral ties, Ukraine has simplified the visa procedure for Indian travellers.
India and Belgium have signed a Protocol to amend the existing Double Taxation Avoidance Agreement (DTAA) between the two countries.
INS Tillanchang, a Water Jet Fast Attack Craft (WJFAC) was commissioned into the Indian Navy by Vice Admiral Girish Luthra, the Flag Officer Commanding-in-Chief Western Naval Command, at Karwa.
The President of India, Shri Pranab Mukherjee inaugurated the 12th CII-EXIM Bank Conclave on India Africa Project Partnership (March 9, 2017) in New Delhi.
A South African, Chris Bertish has become the first person to cross the Atlantic Ocean on a stand-up paddleboard after completing an epic 4,050-mile voyage alone at sea.
The focus of the policy is going to be affordable healthcare. It may also provide for assured basic healthcare for everyone.
Hyderabad, the highest ranked Indian city, is down five ranks from last year’s 139 in the Mercer 2017 Quality of Living Index. Pune and Bengaluru have both slipped by one rank to 145 and 146, respectively, in this year’s ranking.
A Memorandum of Understanding was signed between Chennai Port Trust and the Government of Puducherry in New Delhi for handling EXIM cargo originating from Puducherry Port hinterland.
The Centre has approved financial assistance for bifurcated Andhra Pradesh by way of special dispensation in funding of externally aided projects (EAPs) and also the irrigation component of Polavaram project.
Mysuru railway station has become the country’s first visually challenged friendly station in India.
The Government is a signatory of Multilateral Competent Authority Agreement for automatic exchange of Country-by-Country Reporting (CbC MCAA) pertaining to tax cooperation to enable automatic sharing of Country-by-Country information
As per the recent report of National Family Health Survey (NFHS) – 4 conducted by Ministry of Health and Family Welfare in 2015-16, there is a clearcut decline in malnutrition levels in the country. In NFHS-4, 35.7% children under 5 years of age are underweight and 38.4% are stunted indicating a reduction from the previous NFHS – 3 conducted in 2005-06, which reported 42.5% children under 5 years of age as underweight and 48% stunted
Medha, the made-in-India rake was flagged off for the maiden run of the 12-coach train from Dadar to Borivali, at Lokmanya Tilak Terminus. Medha has been manufactured by the Integral Coach Factory (ICF) in Chennai.
Bill Gates has once again topped Forbes magazine’s annual ranking of global billionaires. It’s the second time in a row that the Microsoft founder has been crowned the world’s richest person
Reliance Industries Chairman Mukesh Ambani is once again India’s richest person with a net worth of US $22.7 billion, according to the latest Forbes list. India’s richest pharmaceutical magnate, Dilip Shanghvi, remains at number 2 with a net worth of $16.9 billion.
France’s Liliane Bettencourt is the world’s wealthiest woman with a $39.5 billion net worth for the second year with a net worth of $39.5 billion, according to Forbes World’s Billionaires List 2017.
The Assam state cabinet has decided to implement the recommendation of the Seventh Pay Commission. The implementation will make state exchequer bear an additional burden of over INR 3000 in the next financial year and the proposed pay structure would come into effect from 1 April 2016.
State-owned ONGC (Oil and Natural Gas Corporation) has signed definitive agreements to buy out debt-ridden GSPC’s (Gujarat State Petroleum Corporation) entire 80% in KG (Krishna Godavari)-basin natural gas block for $1.2 billion.
Assam Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal launched Forests Are Lives initiatives to develop Majuli, world biggest river island, as India’s first carbon neutral district and as a biodiversity heritage.