1) The New Metro Rail Policy approved on 16th Aug 2017 by the cabinet seeks which of the following?
- Published on 17 Aug 17
a. Realisation of growing metro rail aspirations of cities in a responsible manner
b. Opening a window for private investments across a range of metro operations
c. Making PPP component mandatory for availing central assistance for new metro projects.
d. All of the above
ANSWER: All of the above
The Union Cabinet chaired by Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi on Aug 16, 2017 approved a new Metro Rail Policy that seeks to enable realization of growing metro rail aspirations of a large number of cities but in a responsible manner.
The policy opens a big window for private investments across a range of metro operations making PPP component mandatory for availing central assistance for new metro projects.
Private investment and other innovative forms of financing of metro projects have been made compulsory to meet the huge resource demand for capital intensive high capacity metro projects.
The policy envisages private sector participation in O & M of metro services in different ways. These include:
1.Cost plus fee contract: Private operator is paid a monthly/annual payment for O&M of system. This can have a fixed and variable component depending on the quality of service. Operational and revenue risk is borne by the owner.
2. Gross Cost Contract: Private operator is paid a fixed sum for the duration of the contract. Operator to bear the O&M risk while the owner bears the revenue risk.
3. Net Cost Contract: Operator collects the complete revenue generated for the services provided. If revenue generation is below the O&M cost, the owner may agree to compensate.
Metro Projects at Present
- At present, metro projects with a total length of 370 kms are operational in 8 cities viz., Delhi (217 kms), Bengaluru (42.30 kms), Kolkata (27.39 kms), Chennai (27.36 kms), Kochi (13.30 kms), Mumbai (Metro Line 1-11.40 km, Mono Rail Phase 1-9.0 km), Jaipur-9.00 kms and Gurugram (Rapid Metro-1.60 km).
- Metro Projects with a total length of 537 kms are in progress in 13 cities including the eight mentioned above. New cities acquiring metro services are; Hyderabad (71 kms), Nagpur (38 kms), Ahmedabad (36 kms), Pune (31.25 kms) and Lucknow (23 kms).
- Metro projects with a total length of 595 kms in 13 cities including 10 new cities are at various stages of planning and appraisal.
- These are; Delhi Metro Phase IV- 103.93 km, Delhi & NCR-21.10 km, Vijayawada-26.03 km, Visakhapatnam-42.55 km, Bhopal-27.87 km, Indore-31.55 km, Kochi Metro Phase II-11.20 km, Greater Chandigarh Region Metro Project-37.56 km, Patna-27.88 km, Guwahati-61 km, Varanasi-29.24 km, Thiruvananthapuram & Kozhikode (Light Rail Transport)-35.12 km and Chennai Phase II-107.50 km.
2) Who is the 13th Vice President of India?
- Published on 07 Aug 17
a. Hamid Ansari
b. Gopalkrishna Gandhi
c. Venkaiah Naidu
d. Meira Kumar
ANSWER: Venkaiah Naidu
Over 98% voting was recorded in the 2017 vice-presidential election.
98.21% polling was registered for the election with 771 out of 785 MPs casting their votes. 11 votes were found to be invalid.
381 votes was the quota set to win the polls. M. Venkaiah Naidu emerged victorious 516 votes, whereas opposition nominee Gopalkrishna Gandhi has secured 244 votes.
Vice president-elect M Venkaiah Naidu will be remembered for his contribution in some of the flagship schemes of the Modi government such as Smart City Mission and Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana that was undertaken by the housing and urban affairs ministry.
Besides Smart City Mission and Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana (Urban), Naidu will be remembered for floating schemes such as Atal Mission for Urban Rejuvenation and Urban Transformation (AMRUT), Heritage City Development and Augmentation Yojana (HRIDAY) and Swachh Bharat Mission (Urban).
In a first in the country, Naidu also adopted a competition based selection of smart cities for the mission.
In another first, Naidu ensured preparation of five-year comprehensive action plans for urban infrastructure development.
He laid emphasis on putting a time frame for achieving the results as against the open-ended approach of the past, the official added.
With his efforts, as against about 13 lakh affordable houses sanctioned during 2004-14, over 21 lakh houses were approved when he demitted office in a period of fewer than three years, the official said.
Besides, AMRUT action plans of all 500 mission cities for 2015-20 already stand approved.
As against only INR 32,000 crore project investment approved for affordable housing during 2004-14, over INR 1 lakh crore investment has been approved during the period of Naidu.
In another first, Naidu introduced approving state action plans for three years (2017-20) under AMRUT, doing away with the need for states to come to Delhi every year for approval of annual plans.
The competition-based selection of cities under smart city mission and ranking of cities and towns under 'Swachh Survekshan' since 2016 has resulted in a spirit of healthy competitive federalism/
The historic Real Estate (Regulation and Development ) Act, 2016 was also passed, ending eight-year-long hibernation in Parliament.
Naidu is also credited with merging the two ministries of urban development, and housing and urban poverty alleviation, giving birth to the new ministry of housing and urban affairs.
Naidu was the urban development and housing and urban poverty alleviation minister since May 2014 till he demitted office on being declared the NDA's vice presidential candidate.
He had also held portfolios of parliamentary affairs and information and broadcasting for around a year.
Staying true to his love for acronyms, Vice President elect M Venkaiah Naidu on Sunday said that India stands for 'Integrated National Development Impacting All Indians'.
About Venkaih Naidu
- Born in 1949 in Chavatapalem in Nellore district, Naidu was a “swayamsevak” in the RSS and joined ABVP during his college days.
- He came to the spotlight for his role in “Jai Andhra” movement of 1972 and became the convenor of the anti-corruption Jayaprakash Chhatra Samiti in 1974.
- He held street protests against the Emergency.
- Naidu was Rural Development Minister in the Vajpayee government between 2000-02.
In Modi's government, first he was Parliamentary Affairs Minister as well as the Housing and Urban Development.
- From Parliamentary Affairs, he was shifted to Information and Broadcasting Minister which portfolio he held till he was nominated as the Vice-Presidential candidate.
3) NRIs will now be allowed to vote by ______.
- Published on 04 Aug 17
d. None of the above
The government was earlier considering granting them postal voting rights similar to voters in the armed forces, who can receive ballot papers electronically and print them.
The Government on Aug 2, 2017 approved changes in electoral laws to permit Non-Resident Indians to cast their vote in assembly and Lok Sabha elections from overseas.
If the proposal passes political muster in Parliament, NRIs will be able to exercise their voting rights through “proxy”.
Currently, only service personnel are permitted to vote through proxy.
However, the facility for NRIs will not be the same as that enjoyed by service personnel.
For instance, voters in the armed forces can nominate their relatives as permanent proxy to vote on their behalf.
But the Union Cabinet’s approval for proxy voting by NRIs carries a caveat: they cannot nominate one proxy for all polls.
Overseas electors will have to appoint a nominee afresh for each election - one person can act as proxy for only one overseas voter.
With the Cabinet’s approval, suitable rules and guidelines will be framed to make this move effective soon.
Currently, voters residing abroad can only cast their votes in their respective constituencies.
This regulation is seen as restrictive as only a few thousand Indians living overseas have registered as voters, the maximum being from Kerala.
Of these, barely anyone has travelled to the country to exercise his or her franchise.
Service voters mark their preference on ballot printouts and send them through post after verification by station officers for counting.
However, the government felt this procedure will be too cumbersome to implement in case of NRIs who live all over the world — a team of Ministers were constituted to discuss this aspect, and a final decision is awaited.
NRIs and Voting
- According to rough estimates, there are about 1 crore Indians settled abroad, of which 60 lakh could be of eligible voting age.
- They could hold considerable sway in election results, especially in states such as Punjab, Gujarat and Kerala, where a number of expats hail from.
- The move to grant proxy voting rights to overseas electors is significant against the backdrop of BJP’s claims of enjoying huge goodwill among NRIs.
- The party sought to deepen its electoral appeal among them through Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s public outreach programmes during his foreign visits after coming to power in 2014.
- The proposal to permit NRI voters to cast their vote from overseas was taken up seriously by the election commission in 2014 after it received several requests regarding this matter.
4) CM Nitish Kumar resigned from which grand alliance government on 26th July 2017?
- Published on 27 Jul 17
Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar has resigned, citing irreconcilable differences with ally RJD on the issue of corruption charges against his deputy Tejashwi Yadav.
In the circumstances that prevail in Bihar, it became difficult to run the grand alliance government.
Less than 24 hours after he resigned as the chief minister of Bihar stating he could no longer continue amid allegations of corruption in his government, Janata Dal (United) leader Nitish Kumar is set to be back as chief minister when he takes oath of office 27th July at 10 in the morning.
The JD(U) leader resigned over a CBI FIR against his deputy and ally Lalu Prasad Yadav’s son Tejashwi Yadav.
Calling off the grand alliance or ‘mahagathbandhan’ between JD(U), Congress and Lalu Prasad Yadav’s Rashtriya Janata Dal, Nitish secured the support of NDA to form the next government in Bihar.
About Nitish Kumar
- He was born on 1st March 1951 in Bakhtiarpur District of Bihar. He had started his political career by taking part in the mass movement led by Jayaprakash Narayan between 1974 and 1977.
- Kumar was elected to Bihar legislative assembly for first time in 1985.
- He was elected to Lok Sabha for 4 consecutive times, first in 1989 than in 1991, 1996 and 1998. In 1990, for a brief stint he had served as Union Minister of Agriculture.
- In 1998-99, he had served as Union Minister for Railways and Surface Transport and Minister for Agriculture.
- He also had served as Union Cabinet Minister for Railways in the NDA Government led Atal Bihari Vajpayee from 2001-2004.
- In 2000, he was made CM of Bihar for first time but had resigned within 7 days. In 2005 for second time he was sworn in as the CM of Bihar and for third time in 2010.
- For fourth time he was sworn-in as CM in February 2015 till November 2015 state Assembly election. He was again elected for fifth term and was in office from February 2015 to July 2017.
5) Who is the first Dalit president of India?
- Published on 26 Jul 17
a. KR Narayanan
b. RK Narayanan
c. Ram Nath Kovind
d. Meira Kumar
ANSWER: KR Narayanan
Ram Nath Kovind (71) sworn in as the 14th President of India. He was administered oath to the office by Chief Justice of India J.S. Khehar in Parliament’s Central Hall.
With this, he became the second Dalit President of India after late President K.R. Narayanan.
He is also the first person from Uttar Pradesh to hold the office of President since Independence.
Kovind was born on 1st October 1945 in Paraukh village in the Kanpur Dehat district, Uttar Pradesh.
He had completed graduation in law from a Kanpur college.
Before starting his career as a lawyer, he cleared the civil services examination but did not join as he was selected for an allied.
He had joined the BJP in 1991.
He was President of the BJP Dalit Morcha between 1998 and 2002. He also served as Member of Rajya Sabha from 1994 to 2006.
Prior to getting elected as President, Mr. Kovind had served as the 35th Governor of Bihar.
KR Narayanan: Know More
- In office: 25 July 1997 – 25 July 2002
- Prime Minister: I. K. Gujral
- Atal Bihari Vajpayee
- Vice President : Krishan Kant
- Born: Kocheril Raman Narayanan
- Date: 4 February 1921
- Place: Perumthanam, Travancore, British India (now Uzhavoor, Kerala, India)
- Died: 9 November 2005 (aged 84) New Delhi, India
- Nationality: Indian
- Political party: Indian National Congress
- Spouse(s): Usha Narayanan (m. 1951–2005)
- Alma mater: University of Kerala (B.A., M.A.)
- London School of Economics (B.Sc)
6) Who has been appointed the secretary to President Ram Nath Kovind?
- Published on 24 Jul 17
a. Sanjay Baruah
b. Sanjay Kaul
c. Sanjay Chandra
d. None of the above
ANSWER: None of the above
With Ram Nath Kovind set to be sworn in on Tuesday, the Union government has appointed Sanjay Kothari, former Secretary of the Department of Personnel and Training, the Secretary of the new President.
Gujarat’s Resident Commissioner in New Delhi, Bharat Lal, an Indian Forest Service officer, has been appointed Joint Secretary.
Ashok Malik, senior journalist and distinguished fellow at Observer Research Foundation, will be Mr. Kovind’s Press Secretary.
Their appointment orders were issued by the government late on 21st July, 2017.
Preparations are in full swing for the swearing-in.
Kothari, a 1978-batch IAS officer of the Haryana cadre, is the Chairman of the Public Enterprises Selection Board, where he was appointed after he superannuated as DoPT Secretary.
He is considered close to P.K. Mishra, Additional Principal Secretary in the Prime Minister’s Office, who looks after the Appointments Committee of the Cabinet.
Meanwhile, the government has carried out a large-scale reshuffle at the Additional Secretary level.
The officials are from the 1987 and 1988 batches of the IAS who were recently empanelled as Additional Secretary or equivalent.
A 1985-batch IAS officer, J. Rama Krishna Rao, has been moved from the Defence Ministry to the National Minority Commission as Secretary, while Usha Sharma from the same batch has been made the Director-General of the Archaeological Survey of India.
Similarly, another IAS officer from the 1985 batch, Sanjiv Gupta, has been appointed CEO of the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology’s National E-Governance Division.
Interestingly, two IAS officers from the Gujarat cadre - R.P. Gupta, Joint Secretary in the Coal Ministry, and Rajkumar, Joint Secretary, Economic Affairs in the Finance Ministry, have been moved out and appointed in PSUs.
Mr. Gupta has been made the Managing Director of the National Waqf Development Corporation Ltd., while Mr. Rajkumar has been appointed the CEO of the ESIC.
7) Smt. Ambika Soni is AICC General Secretary for which states, w.e.f 22nd July 2017?
- Published on 24 Jul 17
a. Himachal Pradesh
d. All of the above
The Congress on 22nd July 2017 appointed former Union Home Minister Sushil Kumar Shinde as its general secretary incharge of party affairs in Himachal Pradesh.
The latest development comes a day after senior Congress leader Ambika Soni had asked the party to relieve her as in-charge of the states of Himachal Pradesh and Uttarakhand citing health reasons.
However, she will continue to head the state of Jammu and Kashmir. The state will go to polls later this year.
Congress also named Ranjeet Ranjan as secretary of AICC for Himachal Pradesh.
INC: Know More
- The Indian National Congress is a broad-based political party in India.
- Founded in 1885, it was the first modern nationalist movement to emerge in the British Empire in Asia and Africa.
- President: Sonia Gandhi
- Headquarters: 24, Akbar Road, New Delhi 110001
- Founder: Allan Octavian Hume, Dadabhai Naoroji, Dinshaw Edulji Wacha
- Founded: 28 December 1885
- Newspaper: Congress Sandesh
- Ideology: Social liberalism, Gandhian socialism, Indian nationalism, Social democracy, Secularism, Democratic socialism
8) Who has been sworn in as the 19th CM of Nagaland?
- Published on 20 Jul 17
a. TM Zeliang
b. TR Zeliang
c. Shurhozelie Liezietsu
d. None of the above
ANSWER: TR Zeliang
Senior Naga People’s Front (NPF) legislator TR Zeliang (65) was sworn in as the 19th chief minister of Nagaland.
He was administered oath to office and secrecy by Governor P.B. Acharya. Earlier Governor had dismissed the Shurhozelie Liezietsu government under Clause (I) of Article 164 of the Constitution after he failed to prove majority on the floor of the Assembly.
Prior to it, Zeliang had staked claim to form government in Nagaland with a majority support of 47 members in the 60 member Legislative Assembly.
TR Zeliang will now have to prove his majority on the floor of the House. This is his second stint as chief minister in a little more than three years.
Earlier in February 2016, Zeliang was forced out of office following large scale protests over holding of urban local bodies election with 33% reservation for women.
After his resignation NPF had made party chairman Shurhozelie (80) as the CM.
But recently, he faced rebellion from his party MLAs.
The Governor had asked the Speaker to summon an emergent special session of the state assembly for the ousted CM Shurhozelie Liezietsu to seek the confidence vote.
9) Who has been assigned the additional charge for the I&B Ministry w.e.f 18th July 2017?
- Published on 19 Jul 17
a. Narendra Singh Tomar
b. Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore
c. Smriti Zubin Irani
d. Arun Jaitley
ANSWER: Smriti Zubin Irani
With Union minister M Venkaiah Naidu now NDA’s Vice-Presidential nominee, his two ministerial portfolios have been given to Union Ministers Narendra Singh Tomar and Smriti Zubin Irani.
The President has also accepted Naidu’s resignation from the Council of Ministers.
Tomar, Union Minister for Rural Development, shall be assigned charge of the Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs in addition to his existing portfolios, Textiles Minister Irani shall be given additional charge of the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting.
The additional charges given to Irani and Tomar are temporary arrangements ahead of a Cabinet reshuffle, when these ministries will get full-time ministers.
A number of other ministries also require a reshuffle. Finance Minister Arun Jaitley has been holding additional charge of the Defence Ministry since March after Manohar Parrikar was made Goa Chief Minister.
Union Minister for Science, Technology and Earth Sciences Harsh Vardhan was given additional charge of the Environment Ministry in May due to the demise of Union Minister Anil Madhav Dave.
The BJP-led government has had two reshuffles in November 2014 and July 2016. With less than two years left for this government, many feel that a reshuffle is imminent before the 2019 general elections.
Smriti Irani: Know More
- Smriti Zubin Irani is an Indian politician, former model, television actress and producer. Irani is a Member of Parliament, being nominated to the Rajya Sabha from the state of Gujarat.
- Born: 23 March 1976 New Delhi
- Spouse: Zubin Irani (m. 2001)
10) Karnataka Government has constituted a committee to design a _______.
- Published on 12 Jul 17
a. State flag
b. State flower
c. State symbol
d. State insignia
ANSWER: State flag
Karnataka Government has constituted a nine-member committee to study the possibility of designing a separate state flag and providing it a statutory standing.
It will be headed by Principal Secretary, Department of Kannada and Culture. It shall submit report to the state Government after looking into required possibilities.
The committee was constituted following representation of social activists from the state urged the government to design a separate flag for Kannada ‘naadu’ and accord statutory standing for it.
There is no prohibition in the Constitution for the State to have its own flag. Even there is no separate central or state law dealing with issue.
So, legally it can be said that state flag is not unauthorised.
Jammu and Kashmir is only state having separate flag of its own due to special status granted by Article 370 of the Constitution.
At present, the national flag code specifically authorises use of other flags subject to the regulation by the court.
It does not mention anything about separate state flag.
However, it clearly mentions that the manner in which the other flag is hoisted should not dishonour the national flag. It has to be always below the national flag.
Thus, if states have separate flag, it should be hoisted in such a way that it does not dishonour the national flag.