Current Affairs April 2017 - National


News 1 - President inaugurated 'Namami Brahmaputra' festival in Assam

Namami Brahmaputra Festival

President Pranab Mukherjee inaugurated the five-day-long Namami Brahmaputra river festival at the Kachamari Ghat near Fancy Bazar in Guwahati, Assam. It is India`s biggest river festival so far and is a tribute to Brahmaputra river.

The river festival was organized across 21 districts of Assam through which the mighty river passes. Bhutan`s Prime Minister Tshering Tobgay also participated in the inauguration ceremony. Brahmaputra is considered as the only male river in the country.

News 2 - Cabinet approved the revised Air Services Agreement with Malaysia

Air Services

The Union Cabinet approved the revised Air Services Agreement (ASA) with Malaysia. Some of the most significant features of the Air Services Agreement are – Existing ASA was signed in 1974, hence there is a need to revise, update and modernize the exiting ASA. Text of the existing ASA has been replaced with the new text as per the latest ICAO template.

The Cooperative Marketing Arrangement for third country airlines has been added. Clause on domestic codeshare has been added. The articles on 'safety and security' have been added in the revised ASA. The article related to 'intermodal services' have been added in the revised ASA.

News 3 - Cabinet approved MoU between Forum of Regulators and the National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners


The Union Cabinet has given its approval for signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between Forum of Regulators (FOR) and the National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners (NARUC) in the area of large-scale Grid Integration of Renewable Energy.

The MoU provides the following broad areas for cooperation in the area of large-scale integration of renewable energy:

  • Design of frameworks for Renewable Energy procurement international experience.

  • Regulatory interventions for renewables development

  • Load forecasting techniques and processes.

  • Contracting/Power Purchase Agreements.

  • Ancillary services including physical mechanisms, regulations and markets.

  • Data analysis and cost-benefit analysis for regulatory decision-making.

News 4 - Cabinet approved the signing of new Air Services Agreement between India and Serbia


The Union Cabinet has given its approval for updation of the existing Air Services Agreement (ASA) between India and Serbia, which was signed on 31st January, 2003.

The updation is as per latest International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) template keeping in view the latest developments in civil aviation sector and with an objective to improve the air connectivity between the two countries.

As of now, there is no connectivity between the two nations and the revised agreement may lead to establishing connectivity between the two countries.

News 5 - Cabinet approved ratification of the two fundamental conventions of the ILO


The Union Cabinet has given its approval for ratification of the two fundamental conventions of the International Labour Organization namely, Minimum Age Convention (No 138) concerning minimum age for admission to employment and the Worst Forms of Child Labour Convention (No 182) concerning the prohibition and immediate action for elimination of the worst forms of Child Labour.

India is a founder member of the International Labour Organization (ILO). India has so far ratified 45 Conventions, out of which 42 are in force. Out of these, four are Fundamental or Core Conventions.

News 6 - Cabinet approved the fixation of NBS rates for P&K fertilizers for the year 2017-18


The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) has approved the Fixation of Nutrient Based Subsidy (NBS) rates for Phosphatic and Potassic (P&K) fertilizers for the year 2017-18.

Government has been implementing Nutrient Based Subsidy (NBS) Policy for decontrolled P&K fertilizers. Under this policy, the subsidy on Phosphatic and Potassic (P&K) fertilizers is announced by the Government on annual basis for each nutrient. These include – Nitrogen (N), Phosphorous (P), Potash (K) and Sulphur (S) on per kg basis, which is converted into subsidy per tonne depending up on the nutrient content in each grade of the fertilizers.

News 7 - Cabinet approved unrestricted export of all certified organic agricultural products

Organic Agricultural

The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs gave its approval for removal of all quantitative ceilings on individual organic products and allowed unrestricted exports of all organic agricultural and organic processed products.

However, in respect of organic pulses and lentils, in view of their acute shortage in the country, the quantitative ceiling on exports will continue but enhanced from the existing 10,000 MT per annum to 50,000 MT per annum.

News 8 - Cabinet approved Grants-in-aid of Rs. 25 crore to AERUs beyond 2016-17


The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs approved to extend the grants-in-aid support to the existing network of 12 Agro-Economic Research Centres (AERCs) and three Agro-Economic Research Units (AERUs) for one more year that is up to 2017-18.

An amount of Rs. 25 crores will be required to continue the grants-in-aid to the existing 15 AERCs/AERUs. This would provide policy oriented Agro Economic Research inputs through field studies and reviewing / monitoring of Flagship programmes of the agriculture and allied sector.

News 9 - All India Institute of Ayurveda established at New Delhi


To promote natural meditation and research in the field of Ayurveda All India Institute of Ayurveda (AIIA) has been established as an Autonomous Body under the aegis of Ministry of AYUSH at a cost of 157.00 crores.

AIIA is a 200 bedded referral hospital and shall impart PG & Ph.D. degree courses in Ayurveda. 1st Batch of P.G. course has been started in 2016. Institute has started OPD & IPD facility with major specialties in Ayurveda. Presently AIIA is functional.

News 10 - JAPAN’s Official Development Assistance (ODA) Loan of RS. 21,590 Crore to India


The Government of Japan plans to realize 3.5 trillion Yen of public and private investment and financing from Japan, including Official Development Assistance (ODA), to India in five years, to finance appropriate public and private projects of mutual interest. Around 50% of 3.5 trillion Yen i.e. 1.75 trillion Yen is expected to be in the form of ODA loan for five years from 2015-16 onwards.

The Government of Japan has committed JICA Official Development Assistance loan for an amount of Yen 371.345 Billion (= Rs. 21,590 crores approx.) under FY 2016-2017 loan package.

News 11 - Government approved Rs. 2,256 crore outlay for Project Saksham


The Government has approved Rs. 2,256 crore outlay for Project Saksham to bolster the information technology network for the new GST regime.

Project Saksham is the name given to CBEC’s IT Infrastructure Project. This IT Infrastructure project will enable the implementation of Goods and Services tax (GST) as well as support all existing services in Customs, Central Excise and Service Tax.

In addition, it will also enable extension of the Indian Customs Single Window Interface for Facilitating Trade (SWIFT) and other taxpayer-friendly initiatives under Digital Indian and Ease of Doing Business of CBEC.

News 12 - Union Government launched the echallan and mParivahan mobile apps


The Union Government has launched two mobile apps, eChallan and mParivahan – related to road safety and customer facilitation. The apps will enable citizens to report any traffic violation or road accident. It will also provide access to various services and information.

The eChallan application is an integrated enforcement solution to manage traffic violations for use by the Transport Enforcement Wing and Traffic Police. The mParivahan is an empowering app for the citizens.

News 13 - PM Narendra Modi inaugurated Asia's longest tunnel

Asia's longest tunnel

Prime Minister Narendra Modi inaugurated India's longest road tunnel on the Jammu Srinagar National Highway. The tunnel will reduce the travel distance between Jammu and Srinagar by 30.11 km, which will help save fuel worth Rs 27 lakh daily.

The cost of the project was Rs. 3,720 crores and it is built at an altitude of 1,200 metres. The tunnel is among the longest highway tunnels in Asia. The length of the tunnel is 9.28 km. The world’s longest highway tunnel is 24.51 km and is in Norway.

News 14 - Union Textiles Minister launched PowerTex India Scheme


The Government has launched PowerTex India, a comprehensive scheme for powerloom sector development, simultaneously at over 45 locations in the country.

The comprehensive scheme has the following components:

  • In-situ Upgradation of Plain Powerlooms

  • Group Workshed Scheme (GWS)

  • Yarn Bank Scheme

  • Common Facility Centre (CFC)

  • Pradhan Mantri Credit Scheme for Powerloom Weavers

  • Solar Energy Scheme for Powerlooms

  • Facilitation, IT, Awareness, Market Development and Publicity for Powerloom Schemes

  • Tex Venture Capital Fund

  • Grant-in-Aid and Modernisation & Upgradation of Powerloom Service Centres (PSCs)

News 15 - Tax evasion of over Rs. 5 crore a non-bailable offense under GST


The government has decided to make tax evasion of over Rs 5 crore under the proposed Goods and Services Tax (GST) regime as a non-bailable offence. The police will have an authority to make an arrest without a warrant.

The Central GST (CGST) Bill provides that if the offences relating to taxable goods and/or services where the amount of tax evaded, the amount of input tax credit wrongly availed, or the amount of refund wrongly taken exceeds Rs. 5 crores, it shall be treated as cognizable and non-bailable.

News 16 - The 9th UK-India Economic and Financial Dialogue held in Delhi

Financial Dialogue

The Ninth round of Economic and Financial Dialogue held in New Delhi was witnessed by Finance Ministers of the UK and India. The UK and India shared a common commitment in addressing cross-border tax evasion and avoidance and agreed to collaborate in determining the status of wealth deposited in foreign financial accounts by nationals of both countries.

The UK and India welcomed the selection of the first Chevening Standard Chartered Financial Services Fellows. The UK and India agreed to encourage sustainable bilateral investment that benefits both countries.

News 17 - PM Ujjwala Yojana beneficiaries crosses 2 crore in number


Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojna, launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in May 2016, marked 2 crore beneficiaries registration for providing free of cost LPG (cooking gas) connections to BPL households. The scheme is aimed at replacing wooden traditional or fossil fuel based cooking with LPG-based kitchens, thus empowering women. Scheme would also protect health of women.

Under this scheme, government intends to give such subsidized connections to five crore households and an adult woman member of a BPL will be given deposit-free LPG connection with financial assistance of Rs 1,600 per connection by the Centre.

News 18 - Government withdraws subsidy to mild hybrid vehicles

Mild Hybrid

The Union Ministry of Heavy Industries and Public Enterprises announced to withdraw subsidy given to mild hybrid vehicles under FAME India (Faster Adoption and Manufacturing of Hybrid and Electric vehicles in India) scheme. Scheme was announced in 2015 to popularize the use of electric vehicles in the country and with an aim to promote eco-friendly vehicles.

According to Ministry of Heavy Industries, mild hybrid technology will stand excluded from the benefits of the FAME India scheme with effect from April 1, 2017. FAME India is part of the National Electric Mobility Mission Plan.

News 19 - Cabinet approved a MoU between India and Australia regarding Health and Medicine


The Union Cabinet chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi approved the MoU between India and Australia on cooperation in the field of Health and Medicine. The main areas of cooperation include communicable diseases such as malaria and TB, mental health and non-communicable diseases, anti-microbial resistance and responding to public health emergencies, regulation of pharmaceuticals, vaccines and medical devices, tobacco control and digital health.

The MoU will involve cooperation through joint initiatives in the Health Sector and strengthen bilateral ties between India and Australia.

News 20 - Cabinet approved agreement on Audio Visual Co-Production between India and Bangladesh

Visual Co-Production

The Union Cabinet chaired by the Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi has approved the agreement on Audio Visual Co-Production India and Bangladesh. The Agreement would cover co-production of films, documentaries, and animations films.

An audio-visual co-production made in accordance with the proposed Agreement shall be entitled to all the benefits, which may be accorded to any national audio-visual work by both countries in accordance with their respective laws and regulations. India has so far entered into audio-visual co-production agreements with countries like Italy, United Kingdom, Germany, Brazil, France etc.

News 21 - Cabinet approved MoU in the field of Mass Media between India and Bangladesh

Mass Media

The Union Cabinet chaired by the Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi approved the MoU on Cooperation in the field of Mass Media between India and Bangladesh.

The main areas of cooperation are encouraging the exchange of experts in the field of mass media, encourage cooperation between educational, training and research institutions, and facilitating accredited mass media representatives to set up offices for performance of professional duties based on reciprocity.

News 22 - Cabinet approved MoU on passenger cruise services between India and Bangladesh

Passenger Cruise

The Union Cabinet chaired by the Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi approved MoU on passenger cruise services on the coastal and protocol routes between India and Bangladesh for starting regular movement of passengers and tourists in watercrafts between the two countries.

The operationalization of this MoU will promote people-to-people contact and cooperation between the two countries in respect of economic, social and cultural advancement. It will also generate employment opportunities for the people of India and Bangladesh.

News 23 - Cabinet approved inked MoU between India and Bangladesh for judicial sector

Judicial Sector

The Union Cabinet chaired by the Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi has approved signing of MoU between India and Bangladesh in the field of judicial sector cooperation. It is aimed at developing, promoting and strengthening cooperation between the judiciaries of the two countries.

The MoU provides for promoting mutual interaction among judges and officials at various levels of the judiciary through exchange visits, training and academic programs. It will also encourage mutual exchange of information on latest developments in the field of law and justice.

News 24 - Cabinet approved a MoU between India and France in Civil Aviation

Civil Aviation

The Union Cabinet chaired by the Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi has given its approval to the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between the Airports Authority of India (AAI) and its French counterpart, Civil Aviation Authority (DGAC), France to implement Technical Cooperation Program in civil aviation sector.

The Technical Cooperation Program will be beneficial for enhancement of skills and expertise of AAI’s officers. This MoU is also beneficial for imparting training of engineers, technicians, managers etc.

News 25 - Cabinet approved a MoU between India and Bangladesh for fairway development

Fairway Development

The Union Cabinet chaired by the Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi approved MoU between India and Bangladesh for fairway development of Ashuganj-Zakiganj stretch of Kushiyara River and Sirajganj-Daikhawa stretch of Jamuna River in the Indo-Bangladesh protocol route by undertaking necessary dredging jointly by the two countries.

This MoU will considerably reduce the logistics cost of cargo movement to North Eastern India. It will also reduce the congestion through the Siliguri Chicken’s Neck corridor.

News 26 - Cabinet approved closure of Mahatma Gandhi Pravasi Suraksha Yojana

Pravasi Suraksha Yojana

The Union Cabinet chaired by the Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi approved closure of the Mahatma Gandhi Pravasi Suraksha Yojana (MGPSY), which was set up in 2012 to address the social security-related issues of the Emigration Check Required (ECR) category workers going abroad for employment to ECR countries.

The subscription under the MGPSY was very low and no new subscription was received for more than a year. Closure of the scheme will, therefore, obviate the avoidable recurring administrative and record-keeping expenditure.

News 27 - Cabinet apprised MoU with Ferrovie Dello Stato Italiane S.P.A. of Italy


The Union Cabinet chaired by the Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi has been apprised of the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) signed with Ferrovie Dello Stato Italiane S.P.A. of the Republic of Italy on 31st January, 2017 on technical cooperation in railway sector.

The MoU will provide a platform to Indian Railways to interact and share the latest developments and knowledge in the railway sector to promote safety, efficiency and sustainability. The objective of this MoU is to develop technical cooperation activities in the railway sector.

News 28 - Cabinet approved Collaboration Agreement to support the Belmont Forum Secretariat


The Union Cabinet chaired by the Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi approved signing of the Collaborative Agreement with French National Research Agency (ANR), France for supporting the Belmont Forum Secretariat from January 2015 to December 2017 at a total estimated expenditure of 40,000 Euros.

The Agreement will help to maintain a certain degree of continuity in the operations of the Forum and help in smooth coordination of the activities of Belmont Forum.

News 29 - Cabinet approved Air Services Agreement between India and Georgia

India Georgia

The Union Cabinet chaired by the Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi approved the signing of the Air Services Agreement between India and Georgia. The Agreement between the two countries is based on latest International Civil Aviation Organization template keeping in view of developments in Civil Aviation sector and with an objective to improve the air connectivity between the two countries.

It will provide enabling environment for enhanced and seamless connectivity while providing commercial opportunities to the carriers of both the sides ensuring greater safety and security.

News 30 - India and the UK announced joint UK-India Green Growth Equity Fund

Equity Fund

India and the UK announced the launch of an Early Market Engagement for the joint UK India Fund, namely a Green Growth Equity Fund, which aims to leverage private sector investment from the City of London to invest in green infrastructure projects in India.

Both governments reaffirmed their commitment to anchor invest up to £120 million each (i.e. totally £ 240 million) in the joint fund which will be established under the NIIF framework. To begin with, the fund aims to raise around £500 million, with the potential to unlock much more in future.

News 31 - Cabinet approved extension of implementation of Crime and Criminal Tracking Network

Crime Criminal

The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs, chaired by the Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi approved the proposal of the Ministry of Home Affairs for extension of the implementation phase of the Crime and Criminals Tracking Network and Systems (CCTNS) Project for another year beyond 31 March 2017.

The extension would help in achieving the remaining objectives of the project comprehensively. The Inter-operable Criminal Justice System (ICJS) aims to integrate the CCTNS project with the e-courts and e-prisons databases.

News 32 - Indian Railways Organization for Alternate Fuel signs Agreement with BHEL


Ministry of Railways under the guidance of Shri Suresh Prabhakar Prabhu initiated signing of agreement between Indian Railways Organization for Alternate Fuel (IROAF) of Indian Railways and Bharat Heavy Electricals Limited (BHEL) for constructing a 2MW roof top power plant at a record low cost of Rs 3.58 Crores per MWp (Megawatt peak) under Government of India's Incentive Scheme.

The plant will be set up at Diesel-Loco Modernization Works, Patiala formerly Diesel Component Works, Patiala.

News 33 - Cabinet approved setting up of independent RDA in New Delhi


Union Cabinet approved setting up of an independent Rail Development Authority (RDA) Regulatory Mechanism in New Delhi. The RDA will have broad function of tariff determination, ensuring fair play and level playing field for all stakeholders’ investments.

It will also work for the setting efficiency and performance standards and dissemination of information. The initial corpus of the Authority will be fifty crore rupees. The RDA will have a chairperson and three members besides experts from relevant areas.

News 34 - Seven lakh houses constructed under the Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal mission

Renewal mission

A total number of over seven lakh houses have been constructed under Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal mission, a Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojna mission including subsumed projects of Rajiv Awas Yojna for urban poor and slum dwellers in all Metropolitan cities and Delhi.

In pursuance of the government's vision of facilitating housing to all by 2022, Centre is implementing PMAY mission to provide assistance to all states and UT in addressing the housing requirement of the slum dwellers and urban poor.

News 35 - Petroleum Minister launched BS-IV grade fuels nationwide

Petroleum Minister

Minister of State (I/C) for Petroleum and Natural Gas, Shri Dharmendra Pradhan formally launched BS-IV grade transportation fuels across the country from Bhubaneswar.

To mark this important event of the launch of BS-IV fuels across the country, the Hon’ble Minister symbolically commenced sale of the eco-friendly and low-emission fuels from 12 different locations across the country through live video links - Varanasi, Gorakhpur, Bhopal etc.

News 36 - PM launched development projects in Jharkhand


The Prime Minister, Shri Narendra Modi launched development projects at Sahebganj in Jharkhand. He laid the Foundation Stone of a 4-lane bridge over the River Ganga, and a multi-modal terminal. The multi-modal terminal is an important component of the development of the National-Waterway 1 from Varanasi to Haldia.

The Prime Minister inaugurated the 311-kilometer Govindpur-Jamtara-Dumka-Sahebganj highway and inaugurated a solar power facility at Sahebganj District Court Premises and Sahebganj District Hospital. These development projects will benefit the Santhal Pargana area, and lead to greater empowerment of the tribal communities.

News 37 - Geo-tagging of agriculture assets created under Rashtriya Krishi Vikas Yojna


A MoU was signed between Rashtriya Krishi Vikas Yojana (RKVY) and National Remote Sensing Centre (NRSC) for geotagging of agriculture land in presence of Union Minister of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare and the Minister of State, Department of Atomic Energy.

More than 1.5 lakh assets have been created under this scheme in agriculture, horticulture, livestock, fisheries and dairy sectors. It will be helpful in monitoring and utilizing, but extremely useful in formulating the development schemes in the agriculture sector. It will also help in avoiding duplication.

News 38 - The WHO lauded India for passing the Mental Healthcare Bill


The WHO (World Health Organization) lauded India for passing the Mental Healthcare Bill and asked nations to scale up mental health services quality. It said depression affects 86 million people in South-East Asia region.

On the eve of World Health Day, it was announced that the most severe form of depression can lead to suicide and asked communities to talk about the syndrome to prevent hardships and precious lives being cut short by it. The World Health Day 2017 focused on depression, a condition involving persistent sadness or loss of interest or pleasure in things normally enjoyed.

News 39 - President of India inaugurated the first NIMCARE World Health Day Summit 2017


The President of India, Shri Pranab Mukherjee inaugurated the first NIMCARE World Health Day Summit 2017 in New Delhi. The slogan of the first NIMCARE World Health Day Summit was, ‘Unite for a Healthy Mind’. The World Health Day Summit began by launching the eCAP & SOL’s Tele-psychiatry application for the rural and urban population in need of mental health consultation.

President of India urged all to strive to make even greater progress in the efforts to create awareness about depression and focus on further strengthening our health care delivery systems.

News 40 - 26 AYUSH information cells established abroad


Around 26 AYUSH Information Cells have been set up in 24 countries viz. Malaysia, Trinidad & Tobago, Mexico, Cuba, Hungary, Russia (2 Cells), Indonesia (2 Cells), Mauritius, Slovenia, Sweden, China, Dubai, Croatia, Kyrgyzstan, Finland, Argentina, Serbia, Israel, Tajikistan, Peru, Tanzania, Switzerland, Venezuela and London.

AYUSH Information Cells help in global promotion and propagation of AYUSH systems of medicine, which would lead to signing of MoUs with foreign Governments/ Institutes, for cooperation in the field of traditional systems of medicine, setting up of AYUSH Academic Chairs and undertaking collaborative research.

News 41 - India and ADB inked $175 million loan agreement for solar transmission system

Solar Transmission System

The Government of India and the Asian Development Bank signed a $175 million loan agreement to support construction of high voltage transmission systems to evacuate power generated from new mega solar parks to the interstate grid, and improve reliability of the national grid system.

The project will improve the capacity and efficiency of interstate transmission networks, particularly in transmitting the electricity generated from the new solar parks to the national grid. POWERGRID will make an equity contribution of $135 million equivalent to support the total project cost of $450 million.

News 42 - Uma Bharti launched MIS for monitoring PMKSY Projects


Union Minister for Water Resources, River Development and Ganga Rejuvenation Sushri Uma Bharti launched MIS for monitoring PMKSY project in New Delhi. This project is likely to create an irrigation potential of 2.50 lakh ha. Similarly, Polavaram Project has been put on a fast track when completed this project is likely to irrigate 2.9 lakh ha.

The MIS has been put in the public domain. Project wise – Priority wise –State wise physical – financial details in tabular – graphical format are available in the MIS.

News 43 - President of India inaugurated All India Seminar on “Economic Reforms with reference to Electoral Issues

Economic Reforms

The President of India, Shri Pranab Mukherjee inaugurated an All India Seminar on “Economic Reforms With Reference to Electoral Issues” organized by the Confederation of the Indian Bar in New Delhi, to strengthen the democratic structure of India.

The President congratulated the Confederation of the Indian Bar for organizing this Seminar and expressed hope that the Seminar will deliberate at length electoral reforms and substantive and concrete suggestions will come out of the deliberations.

News 44 - Shri Rajnath Singh inaugurated the web portal “Bharat ke Veer”

Bharat ke Veer

The Union Home Minister Shri Rajnath Singh inaugurated the web portal and mobile application named “Bharat ke Veer”. The portal is an IT based platform, with an objective to enable willing donors to contribute towards the family of a Braveheart who sacrificed his/her life in line of duty.

“Bharat Ke Veer” corpus would be managed by a committee made up of eminent persons of repute and senior Government officials, who would decide to disburse the fund equitably to the Braveheart’s family on need basis.

News 45 - NMCG approved sewage treatment projects worth Rs. 2100 Crores


In a major push to Namami Gange program, National Mission for Clean Ganga approved 26 projects at an estimated cost of Rs 2154.28 Crore.

This amount will be spent in the states of UP, Uttarakhand, Jharkhand and Delhi for creation of new sewage treatment capacity of 188 Million Liters per Day (MLD), rehabilitation of 596 MLD of existing STP capacity, up-gradation of 30 MLD of existing STP capacity.

The completion of these projects will help in reducing the pollution load on the river Ganga.

News 46 - Niti Aayog's Lucky Draw scheme awarded Rs. 245 crores prize money


National Payments Corporation of India awarded over Rs. 245 crores as prize money to 18 lakh winners under the NITI Aayog’s Lucky Draw schemes for consumers and merchants. Three mega prizes for merchants worth Rs. 50 lakh, Rs. 25 lakh and Rs. 12 lakh were also declared at the event through the 100th mega draw. The winners were felicitated by the Prime Minister on April 14th, 2017 at Nagpur, on the occasion of Ambedkar Jayanti.

Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu, Uttar Pradesh, Andhra Pradesh, Delhi and Karnataka were among the top five states with maximum awardees.

News 47 - India and Bangladesh inked several agreements


In order to boost ties with the neighboring country Bangladesh, India inked various agreements with Bangladesh. India signed 22 agreements with Bangladesh in fields such as defence, nuclear cooperation, judicial sector, earth sciences, navigation, peaceful uses of outer space, Teesta water issue etc.

India extended its hand of support by providing a new line of concessional credit of USD 4.5 Billion for the implementation of projects in Bangladesh.

A peaceful agreement was also signed on nuclear co-operation and 6-point agenda to scale up trade and investment between both the neighboring countries.

News 48 - India and Russia inked deal for Kudankulam Nuclear Power Plant

Kudankulam Nuclear Power Plant

Nuclear Power Corporation of India Ltd. and the ASE Group of Companies, a subsidiary of ROSATOM State Atomic Energy Corporation of Russia, inked agreement regarding fulfilment of all warranty terms and obligations of the contractor (ASE Group of Companies) for the construction of Unit 1.

As the warranty period ended in December 2015, final take over agreement executed to ensure the reliability of the plant and equipment as this is the first of a series of six reactors.

News 49 - Prime Minister inaugurated ‘Swachhagraha “Bapu Ko Karyanjali”-a Mission


The Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi inaugurated ‘‘Swachhagraha “Bapu Ko Karyanjali” – A Mission, An Exhibition’ to mark 100th Anniversary of Champaran Satyagrah at the National Archives of India (NAI) in New Delhi. He also launched an Online Interactive Quiz “Karyanjali”, which will continue for 30 months until October 2019.

A musical and dance program based on the banned literature on Mahatma Gandhi and Swachhagraha entitled “Satya, Swachh, Sur” was presented. The digital and experiential exhibition strived to connect the essential principles of Satyagrah ‘Jeevan-Chakra’ evolved by Gandhi Ji.

News 50 - Rs 23,443 crores released for MGNREGS for Mission Water Conservation

Mission Water Conservation

The Ministry of Rural Development released Rs. 23,443.09 crore to the States as first tranche for Financial Year 2017-18 under Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (MGNREGS). The Government is laying considerable emphasis on Water Conservation and Water Management works under MGNREGS.

In a recent communication to the States, the Ministry has advised the States to ensure not less than 65% expenditure on Natural Resource Management (NRM) Activities. There are 155 kind of works permissible under MGNREGS. Of these, 100 works are NRM related.

News 51 - “nakshe” Portal launched on the 250th Anniversary of Survey of India


A new web portal “nakshe” was launched by the Union Minister for Science & Technology and Earth Sciences, Dr. Harsh Vardhan in New Delhi on the 250th anniversary of Survey of India (SoI). Topographic maps or Open Series Maps (OSM) containing natural and fabricated geographical features including terrain or topography are prepared by the SoI since its inception in 1767.

These OSM maps have been made available as free download from “nakshe” web portal through Aaadhar enabled user authentication process, in line with Digital India program of the Government of India.

News 52 - Parliament passes HIV and AIDS (Prevention and Control), Bill 2017


Parliament passed the Human Immunodeficiency Virus and Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (Prevention and Control), Bill 2017 with the Lok Sabha. The Bill has already been passed by the Raja Sabha.

The Bill seeks to provide for the prevention and control of the spread of Human Immunodeficiency Virus, HIV and Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome, AIDS.

It also provides for the protection of human rights of persons affected by the virus and syndrome. A per the bill, an ombudsman will be appointed by each state government to inquire into complaints related to the violation of the Act.

News 53 - Parliamentary Panel recommended HM to take up border forces medical facilities


A Parliamentary Panel recommended to the Home Ministry to take up the matter of medical facilities provided to personnel of Border Guarding Forces with the Health Ministry to cover all border districts under Central Government Health Scheme (CGHS).

The Department Related Standing Committee on Home Affairs, headed by P Chidambaram, felt that the Jawans are not satisfied with the medical facilities offered to them. The Committee also recommended the Home Ministry must construct composite hospitals in all frontier headquarters and unit hospitals in all sectors.

News 54 - Govt to launch scheme SAMPADA for food processing


The government will soon launch a scheme SAMPADA for food processing sector to integrate current and new schemes aimed at reducing food wastage and doubling farmers' income. It will include ongoing schemes like mega food parks and cold chain projects.

The Centre has so far sanctioned 42 mega food parks and 234 cold chain projects with 139 lakh tonnes of preserving and processing capacity of agro-produce worth 35 thousand crore rupees. National Food Processing Policy is under consideration.

News 55 - LS passed Collection of Statistics (Amendment) Bill, 2017


The Lok Sabha passed the Collection of Statistics (Amendment) Bill, 2017. The Bill seeks to extend its jurisdiction to Jammu and Kashmir for the collection of statistics pertaining to subjects under the Union or the Concurrent list of the Constitution as applicable to the State.

This Bill also provides for the appointment of a nodal officer to coordinate and supervise statistical activities under the government. Stringent provisions have been made in the bill for protection of the collected data. Centre will launch a labour survey to ascertain the status of unemployment in the country.

News 56 - Shradha Mengshete won Rs 1 cr under Lucky Grahak Yojana

Shradha Mengshete

Shradha Mengshete has won the Rs. 1 crore-mega draw for Lucky Grahak Yojana, from Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Shradha won it for making a transaction of Rs. 1590 through her RuPay card only to pay an EMI for her new mobile phone.

Under the schemes, which have now ended, 1.60 million persons won varying prizes of a total of Rs 258 crore across India. The 2nd prize of Rs. 50 lakh was won by Hardik Kumar from Khambhat in Gujarat. The 29-year-old is a primary school teacher, who used his RuPay card for making a transaction of Rs 1,100.

News 57 - Cabinet approved signing of Framework of Understanding between India and Bangladesh


The Union Cabinet approved signing of Framework of Understanding (FoU) on Cooperation in the Hydrocarbon Sector with Bangladesh.

The objective of the proposed FoU is to establish a cooperative institutional framework mechanism to facilitate and enhance India-Bangladesh bilateral cooperation in the hydrocarbon sector based on equality and mutual benefit.

The FoU promotes bilateral cooperation at the sub-regional and regional levels. It will provide impetus to development of the two countries and realize their developmental aspirations.

News 58 - Cabinet approved a MoU between India and Tunisia


The Union Cabinet chaired by the Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi approved the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on cooperation in the field of justice between India and Tunisia.

During the recent years, social, cultural and commercial relations between India and Tunisia have developed in a positive direction. Signing of an agreement on cooperation in the field of justice will further enhance good relations between the two countries and add new dimensions in the field of judicial reforms.

News 59 - Cabinet approved implementation of the Target plus Scheme (TPS)


The Union Cabinet approved the implementation of Supreme Court’s Judgment dated 27th October 2015 regarding Target Plus Scheme (TPS) 2004-09 in Civil Application No. 554 of 2006. The revenue implication under the TPS arising from the Hon’ble Supreme Curt’s Judgment is about Rs. 2700 crore.

The corrective measure will end multiple litigations with the Government and the claims under the TPS will be issued as per original provisions under Foreign Trade Policy in compliance with the decision of the Hon’ble Supreme Court.

News 60 - Cabinet approved the “Signing and Ratification of MoU for BIMSTEC Grid Interconnection” setup


The Union Cabinet approved the proposal of the Ministry of Power for Signing of "Memorandum of Understanding for Establishment of the BIMSTEC Grid Interconnection". It will be signed among member states of BIMSTEC at the upcoming 3rd BIMSTEC Energy Ministers' Meeting to be held in Nepal.

In the BIMSTEC Leaders' Retreat 2016, held in Goa on the 16th October 2016, the Leaders decided to expedite the signing of the MoU on BIMSTEC Grid Interconnection. Eventually, during the 4th meeting of BIMSTEC Senior Officials on Energy held on 11th-12th January 2017, the MoU was discussed and finalized.

News 61 - Cabinet apprised MoU between India and Russia

S and T

The Union Cabinet apprised of the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between India and Russia for cooperation in the field of Science & Technology (S&T) signed in October 2016.

The objective of the MoU is to facilitate and support joint scientific and research activities between scientific organizations, subordinated to the Agency and scientific organizations and scientists of the Republic of Russian Federation, with India through DST. Under this MoU, the Parties will conduct of joint scientific events and support establishment of direct connections.

News 62 - Cabinet approved setting up of Indian Institute of Petroleum and Energy


The Union Cabinet approved setting up of Indian Institute of Petroleum and Energy (IIPE) at Visakhapatnam in Andhra Pradesh. It is – "an Institute of National Importance" through an Act of Parliament.

This Institute will have the governance structure as well as legal mandate to grant degrees in a manner similar to that enjoyed by IITs.

A separate Act will also impart the required status to the Institute to become a "Centre of Excellence" in petroleum and energy studies. The objective is to meet the quantitative and qualitative gap in the supply of skilled work force for the petroleum sector.

News 63 - Cabinet approved measures to increase oil palm area and production in India


The Union Cabinet approved measures to increase oil palm area and production in India. These include relaxation of land ceiling limit for oil palm cultivation under NMOOP (National Mission on Oilseeds and Oil Palm) and norms of assistance mainly for planting materials.

It is done with an aim to encourage oil palm plantation on large scale by corporate bodies, utilize wastelands, and encourage farmers for oil palm cultivation in a bigger way.

News 64 - Cabinet approved setting up of a Special Purpose Vehicle


The Union Cabinet approved setting up of a Special Purpose Vehicle to be called Government e-Marketplace (GeM SPV) as the National Public Procurement Portal as Section 8 Company registered under the Companies Act, 2013, for providing procurement of goods & services required by Central & State Government organizations.

This GeM SPV shall provide an end-to-end online Marketplace for Central and State Government Ministries, Departments, Central & State Public Sector Undertakings (CPSUs & SPSUs), autonomous institutions and local bodies, for procurement of common use goods & services in a transparent and efficient manner.

News 65 - HUPA Minister inaugurated two-day national review of PMAY


The Union Minister for Housing & Urban Poverty Alleviation inaugurated the two-day National review of Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana (Urban) Mission. Shri M. Venkaiah Naidu urged the State Governments and UT administrations to organize loan mela’s to facilitate interest subsidy to the beneficiaries.

The two-day National Review included various sessions to discuss upon Demand Survey, Status of Housing For All Plan of Action (PoA) and Annual Implementation Plan (AIP), Grounding and progress of projects, MIS and Geo tagging, Technology Sub-Mission and CLSS for Economically Weaker section and Low Income Group.

News 66 - Petrol, Diesel prices to change every day in five cities from May 1


Petrol and Diesel prices to change every day due to international rates in five select cities from 1st of May. A pilot for daily revision of petrol and diesel price will be first implemented in Puducherry, Vizag in Andhra Pradesh, Udaipur in Rajasthan, Jamshedpur in Jharkhand and Chandigarh.

The State fuel retailers currently revise rates on 1st and 16th of every month based on average international price of the fuel in the preceding fortnight and currency exchange rate.

News 67 - CBDT to issue PAN and TAN within 1 day


In order to improve the Ease of Doing Business for newly incorporated corporates, CBDT has tied up with Ministry of Corporate Affairs (MCA) to issue Permanent Account Number (PAN) and Tax Deduction Account Number (TAN) in 1 day.

Applicant companies will submit a common application form SPICe (INC 32) on MCA portal and once the data of incorporation is sent to CBDT by MCA, the PAN and TAN are issued immediately without any further intervention of the applicant. CBDT has also introduced the Electronic PAN Card (E-PAN) which is sent by email.

News 68 - DAC&FW in consultation with NITI Aayog identified nine marketing reforms

NITI Aayog

DAC&FW in consultation with NITI Aayog has identified a set of nine marketing reforms to be made in Agriculture Produce Marketing Committee (APMC) Acts of the States/UTs.

These include three mandatory reforms enabling integration to e-NAM viz provision for e-trading, unified trading license and a single point levy of market fee, as well as setting up markets in the private sector, direct marketing, etc., all aimed at reducing the intermediaries between producer and buyer to ensure remunerative prices to the farmer.

News 69 - Aadhaar Seeding Application launched by Shri Bandaru Dattatreya

The Central Board (EPF) under the leadership of Union Minster of State for Labour and Employment (Independent Charge) Shri Bandaru Dattatreya held its 217th special meeting in New Delhi, where he launched the Aadhaar Seeding Application.

The EPFO has developed this Aadhaar seeding application with support of the Common Service Centres. With the implementation of Aadhaar Seeding Application, now Provident Fund members or pensioners can walk in any of the field offices of EPFO or CSC outlets and seed the Aadhaar with the UAN.

News 70 - BHIM-Aadhar launched by the Prime Minister on Ambedkar Jayanti


Prime Minister Narendra Modi launched a series of initiatives on the 126th birth anniversary of Dr. Bhim Rao Ambedkar in Nagpur. He launched the BHIM Aadhaar platform for merchants, Cash back and Referral bonus schemes for BHIM and declared about 75 townships going less-cash.

The Prime Minister felicitated the winners of the Mega draw of the two major incentive schemes to promote digital payments- Lucky Grahak Yojana and Digidhan Vyapaar Yojana.

Under this scheme, Rs. 258 crores worth prize money was won by 16 lakh winners, including customers and merchants belonging to different corners of the country and from varied lifestyles.

News 71 - About 3.54 Crore SCS & OBCS Students Covered Under the Digital Payment Scholarship Scheme


Around 14 scholarship schemes for Scheduled Castes and Other Backward Classes (OBCs)/Denotified, Nomadic and Semi-nomadic Tribes (DNTs) students covering 3.54 crore students are under the digital payment scholarship scheme.

The entire scholarship amount was released to the students’ bank account and there is 60% Aadhaar seeding in SC student’s bank account.

Each branch of public sector banks has been assigned responsibility by the Finance Ministry to handhold at least one SC/ST youth, as an entrepreneur, to generate more employment among them.

News 72 - Government to set up 32 new seismological observatories


Government will set up 32 new seismological observatories by the year-end to boost information-gathering capability on earthquakes. At present, 84 such observatories are functional in the country. The observatories generate ground motion data recorded by the digital seismography used for estimation of data and other earthquake parameters.

Five observatories will be installed in Uttar Pradesh, four each in Bihar and Haryana, three each in Himachal Pradesh and Delhi, two each in Jammu and Kashmir, Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh and one each in Uttarakhand, Jharkhand, Punjab, Chhattisgarh, West Bengal and Lakshadweep.

News 73 - France and India signed agreement to upgrade Railways

French Minister

The French Minister of State for Transport, Marine Affairs and Fisheries Alain Vidalies signed an agreement with Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu.

The agreement was inked for collaboration in areas such as high-speed and semi-high speed rail, modernisation of current operations and infrastructure, station renovation and operations, suburban trains and safety systems, operations and security.

The French Minister also met Union Minister Nitin Gadkari and proposed for usage of electric buses and LNG-fuelled barges to reduce carbon footprint of public transport.

News 74 - Cabinet approved listing of 11 CPSEs on stock exchanges


The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs gave its approval for listing of the following 11 CPSEs (Central Public Sector Enterprises) on stock exchanges. As approved, the listing of CPSEs will be through the public offer of shares up to 25 percent of Government of India's shareholding.

The other CPSEs that will be listed are the Rail Vikas Nigam Ltd, IRCON International Ltd, Indian Railway Finance Corporation (IRFC) Ltd, RITES (earlier known as Rail India Technical and Economic Service), Bharat Dynamics Ltd (BDL), Garden Reach Shipbuilders & Engineers (GRSE), Mazagon Dock Shipbuilders Ltd (MDSL), North Eastern Electric Power Corporation (NEEPCO), Mishra Dhatu Nigam Ltd. (MIDHANI) and MSTC Ltd.

News 75 - World Bank approved $375-mn loan for India’s first modern waterway


The World Bank’s Board approved a $375 million loan to help the Inland Waterways Authority of India (IWAI) put in place the state-of-the-art infrastructure and navigation services needed to develop India's first modern inland water transport fairway on a 1,360 km-stretch of the Ganga river between Varanasi and the seaport of Haldia.

The waterway is known as National Waterway 1 (Jal Marg Vikas) Project. It will help save more than 150,000 tonnes of CO2 equivalent in greenhouse gas emissions annually.

News 76 - President of India inaugurated the Global Exhibition on Services


The President of India, Shri Pranab Mukherjee inaugurated the third edition of the Global Exhibition on Services (GES-2017) at New Delhi. Global Exhibition on Services embraces as many as twenty vital services sectors for special focus.

While some of the services are traditional ones such as tourism and hospitality and retail, many of the focus sectors are new to India and the world, including space services, sports services and wellness services. India’s services exports are helping global businesses build their productivity and competitiveness, and are supporting jobs across the world.

News 77 - PM launched projects related to SAUNI Yojana at Botad


The Prime Minister, Shri Narendra Modi dedicated to the nation, Phase-1 (Link 2) of the SAUNI (Saurashtra Narmada Avtaran Irrigation) Yojana, at Botad. He also laid the Foundation Stone of Phase 2 (Link 2) of the SAUNI Yojana.

Chief Minister of Madhya Pradesh, Shri Shivraj Singh Chouhan was appreciated for the work done by him on river water conservation, and the Narmada. Prime Minister called for the extensive use of drip irrigation, and said the Union Government is working on ways to help double incomes in the agriculture sector.

News 78 - PM launched Government projects in Dadra and Nagar Haveli

Government Projects

The Prime Minister, Shri Narendra Modi inaugurated several Government projects at Silvassa, Dadra and Nagar Haveli. These include Government buildings, solar PV systems, Jan Aushadhi Kendras and a Passport Seva Kendra.

He also distributed Aids and Assistive Devices to Divyangjans, and other benefits under existing Government schemes. At present, government’s development schemes have been successful such as the number of beneficiaries under the Ujjwala scheme for LPG has crossed two crores in less than a year.

News 79 - Portal and Mobile App of RUSA launched


Union Minister of Human Resource Development Shri Prakash Javadekar launched the unique portal and mobile app of Rashtriya Uchchatar Shiksha Abhiyan (RUSA), a body under the aegis of the Ministry of Human Resource Development in New Delhi.

Under the concept of RUSA the quality of education can go up by improving the research labs infrastructure and creating smart class rooms and various other programs. The portal is a one-stop for States’ Higher Education Plans, decision of the States’ Higher Education Councils and details of the resources under this scheme.

News 80 - Prakash Javadekar launched the Fund and Reform Tracker of RUSA

Reform Tracker of RUSA

Union Minister of Human Resource Development Shri Prakash Javadekar launched the Fund and Reform Tracker developed by Rashtriya Uchchatar Shiksha Abhiyan (RUSA) in New Delhi. Fund and Reform Tracker will monitor RUSA projects from the minute they are sanctioned. They will also track their progress until their completion.

Tracking projects are the soul of this Application, and every initiative is tagged with a unique ID number, thus providing the entire story of how an idea germinated and matured. A powerful Dashboard gives an overall picture of the scheme and the state wise performance.

News 81 - Nation-wide training program launched for Elected Women representatives


A comprehensive module for capacity building of Elected Women Representatives (EWRs) of Panchayats and a training program for Trainers of women panchayat leaders across the country was launched by the Ministry of Women and Child Development in collaboration with the Ministry of Panchayati Raj.

The training program seeks to empower EWRs of panchayats by enhancing their capacity, capability and skill in governance and administration of villages. The module has been prepared by the National Commission for Women of the WCD Ministry in collaboration with TISS.

News 82 - Cabinet approves the 123rd Constitution Amendment Bill 2017

Constitution Amendment

The Union Cabinet approved introduction of Constitution (123rd Amendment) Bill 2017 and National Commission for Backward Classes (Repeal) Bill, 2017 in the Parliament. It also gave approval for retention of posts, incumbents and office premises held by the existing National Commission for Backward Classes by the proposed new National Commission for Backward Classes.

Bills were introduced and passed in the Lok Sabha in the just concluded budget session of Parliament. However, the Rajya Sabha referred the bills to the Select Committee of the House for further scrutiny.

News 83 - Railway Ministry inaugurated 'Vistadome' Coaches


Shri Prabhu dedicated Visatadome Coach and Laid Foundation stone for Mechanized Laundry under BOOT Model at Visakhapatnam. Vistadome coach having features like glass roof, LED lights, rotable seats, GPS based info system, etc., will offer to tourists to enjoy scenic beauty not only at destination but also along the journey.

Mechanised Laundry under BOOT Model at Visakhapatnam will significantly improve the quality of linen leading to enhanced passenger satisfaction. A function was also arranged at Visakhapatnam, in which a large number of Public Representatives.

News 84 - Bhopal station becomes first privately run railway station


Indian Railways has handed over Habibganj station of Bhopal (Madhya Pradesh) to private firm for handling operations. This will include station building, fancy makeover, ease congestion, offer cafeteria and food plaza facilities etc. M/s Bansal Pathways Ltd is all set to take over the management of station as per the Station Facility Management Agreement.

However, core operations such as signaling, track maintenance and running of trains will be undertaken by the railways. With this agreement, Madhya Pradesh becomes first state to have railway station privately handled by a firm. The total makeover will take around two years.

News 85 - Cabinet approved policy guidelines to avail external assistance by State Government entities


The Union Cabinet chaired by the Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi approved the policy guidelines to allow financially sound State Government entities to borrow directly from bilateral ODA (Official development Assistance) partners for implementation of vital infrastructure projects.

The guidelines will facilitate the State Government entities to borrow from the external bilateral funding agencies subject to fulfilment of certain conditions and all repayments of loans. The concerned State Government will furnish guarantee for the Loan. The Government of India will provide counter guarantee for the loan.

News 86 - Krishi Karman Awards 2015-16 honored to three states

Krishi Karman Awards

Krishi Karman awards 2015-16 were presented by the Union Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers to the following three states – Tamil Nadu, Himachal Pradesh and Tripura. These states were awarded for their record performance in the production of food grains during 2015-16. Tripura received national award for the second time.

States had adopted an “innovative, eco-friendly integrated pest management” to achieve this production target. In a communication to the State government, the Department of Agriculture, Cooperation and Farmers’ Welfare in the Union Ministry of Agriculture stated that a sum of ₹5 crore had been released for the award.

News 87 - Union Cabinet banned use of red beacon vehicles by VIPs


The Union Cabinet, in its meeting chaired by Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi decided to do away with beacons of all kinds atop all categories of vehicles in the country with effect from May 1st. Beacons, however, will be allowed on vehicles concerned with emergency and relief services, ambulance, fire service etc.

This Ban is applicable to the Prime Minister, Union Ministers, Chief Ministers, State Cabinet Ministers, Bureaucrats and Judges of the High Court and Supreme Court. Only President, Vice-President and Chief Justice of India will be allowed to use red beacon vehicles.

News 88 - Cabinet approves procurement of Election Commission to buy VVPAT machines


The Union Cabinet chaired by the Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi has given its approval for procurement of Voter Verifiable Paper Audit Trail (VVPAT) Units. These will be used in the General Elections, 2019.

The approval has been given for purchase of 16,15,000 Voter Verifiable Paper Audit Trail (VVPAT) Units at a tentative unit cost of Rs 19,650 and at a total estimated cost of Rs 3173.47 crores.

The decision of the Government would enable the Election Commission of India to deploy VVPAT Units in the General Elections, 2019, which will act as an additional layer of transparency for the satisfaction of voters.

News 89 - NDMA conducted its first mock exercise on forest fire in Uttarakhand


The National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) conducted a first-of-its-kind State level mock exercise on forest fire in Uttarakhand. The mock exercise, aimed at assessing the efficacy of integrating the preparedness and response mechanisms of the forest department with those of the district administration, has been conducted in collaboration with the State Government.

The exercises were conducted in coordination with various agencies, such as fire, forest, Army, health, police, National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) and State Disaster Response Force (SDRF) and civil defense.

News 90 - India and Republic of Korea signed Inter-Governmental MOU


India and the Republic of Korea (RoK) signed an Inter-governmental Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) for Defence Industry Co-operation in Shipbuilding.

The co-operation with the recommended Korean Shipyard would enable HSL to upgrade and modernize its facilities and execute naval shipbuilding projects in a timely and cost effective manner.

HSL would be able to imbibe best practices in shipbuilding leading to effective project management.

MoU will develop and strengthen defence industry co-operation between Republic of India and the Republic of Korea.

News 91 - Service charge not mandatory as government approved guidelines

Service Charge

Food and Consumer Affairs Minister Ram Vilas Paswan said that the government has approved guidelines on service charge. Service charge on hotel and restaurant bills is “totally voluntary” and not mandatory.

Hotels and restaurants will not decide on service charge to be levied but it will be at a customer’s discretion. As per the guidelines, the column of service charge in a bill will be left blank to customers to fill up before making the final payment. The guidelines are being sent to states for necessary action at their end.

News 92 - Government extended date for filing tax declarations under PMGKY until May 10


The government has extended the date of declarations about tax payment and deposits under the Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Yojana (PMGKY) until 10th of May 2017.

This has come within days of extending the date for making deposits as part of the tax amnesty scheme until 30th of April. The declarations can be filed in cases where tax, surcharge and penalty under PMGKY has been paid on or before the 31st March and deposit under the Deposit Scheme has been made on or before 30th of April.

News 93 - Steel Minister Chaudhary Birender Singh inaugurated India Steel 2017 in Mumbai

India Steel 2017

The 3rd edition of International Conference and Exhibition on Steel Industry, "India Steel 2017", was held at Mumbai Exhibition Centre in Mumbai from 19th to 21st April, 2017. It was inaugurated by Union Steel Minister Chaudhary Birendra Singh.

The conference was organised by FICCI along with Union Ministry of Steel. More than 200 exhibitors from the steel sector participated in the event. India is the third largest producer of crude steel.

News 94 - Cabinet approved amendments in Mega Power Policy 2009

Mega Power Policy

The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs has approved the time period for the provisional Mega projects (25 projects), for furnishing the final Mega certificates to the Tax authorities be extended to 120 months instead of 60 months from the date of import. Developers would be required to keep their Fixed Deposit Receipt (FDR) or Bank Guarantee (in lieu of duty exemption claimed) alive.

The CCEA also approved 25 Provisional Mega certified project for Mega Policy benefits in proportion to the long term PPA (Power Purchase Agreement) tied up.

News 95 - Shri Thaawarchand Gehlot inaugurated photo Exhibition “The Paths We Walk”

Shri Thaawarchand

Shri Thaawarchand Gehlot, Union Minister for Social Justice & Empowerment inaugurated a Documentary Photo exhibition “The Paths We Walk”. The exhibition was organized by The National Trust under Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment in collaboration with Society for Child Development, New Delhi. The Divyangjan artists presented their creative art works to the guests on the occasion.

The Documentary photo exhibition is intended to tackle negative myths of disability and employment of persons with Autism, Cerebral Palsy, Intellectual Disability and Multiple Disabilities.

News 96 - New Delhi hosted two-day National Conference on Agriculture for Kharif Campaign-2017

Kharif Campaign

The National Conference on Agriculture for Kharif Campaign – 2017 is being organized on 25th and 26th April, 2017 at New Delhi. Union Minister for Agriculture and Farmers’ Welfare applauded efforts of the Central and State Governments in attaining an estimated record production of about 272 million metric tons in food grains and 33.6 million tons oilseeds.

Union Agriculture Minister complimented states that have achieved the target of delivery of soil health cards to all farmers and exhorted the others to complete the first phase by in the next 2-3 months.

News 97 - Over Rs. 1 lakh crore investment approved for housing of urban poor


The Ministry of Housing and Urban Poverty Alleviation has sanctioned 100,537 more houses for urban poor under Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana (Urban) with an investment of Rs. 4,200 crores taking the total investment so far approved to Rs. 100,466 crores.

In the latest sanctions, Madhya Pradesh got 57,131 houses, Tamil Nadu – 24,576, Manipur –6,231, Chattisgarh – 4,898, Gujarat – 4,261, Assam – 2,389, Kerala – 643, Jharkhand – 331 and Daman & Diu – 77.

With the latest sanctions, the Ministry has approved construction of 18,75,389 houses for Economically Weaker Sections under PMAY(Urban). The total investment approved includes central assistance of Rs. 29,409 crore, assistance from State Governments and beneficiary contribution.

News 98 - PM launched UDAN Scheme for Civil Aviation from Shimla

UDAN Scheme

The Prime Minister, Shri Narendra Modi launched UDAN – the Regional Connectivity Scheme for civil aviation, from Shimla Airport. Under this scheme, flights have started from Shimla, Nanded and Kadapa Airports. The Prime Minister addressed the gathering at Shimla Airport and at Nanded and Kadapa via video link.

The Prime Minister also unveiled an e-plaque to mark the laying of Foundation Stone of a Hydro Engineering College at Bilaspur, Himachal Pradesh. UDAN – Ude Desh Ka Aam Naagrik welcomes the new civil aviation policy that marks an opportunity to cater to the aspirations of the people of India.

News 99 - Shri Venkaiah Naidu launched MyMSME Mobile App and MSEFC Portal


Shri M. Venkaiah Naidu, Union Minister for Urban Development and Union Minister for Information & Broadcasting launched Micro and Small Enterprises Facilitation Council (MSEFC) portal and MyMSME Mobile App on the 15th Meeting of the National Board for MSME.

MSEFC portal would facilitate implementation of the delayed payment provisions of the MSMED Act 2006 and assist in monitoring of delayed payment cases. In addition, the MyMSME mobile app provides information on all schemes implemented by the Ministry of MSME and MSMEs can lodge grievances pertaining to Ministry of MSME through this app.

News 100 - NHRC organized two-day workshop on 'Good Governance


National Human Rights Commission, NHRC organized a two-day regional workshop for northern India on ‘Good Governance, Development and Human Rights’ at Chandigarh. The objective of the workshop was to raise awareness amongst all stakeholders about the importance of good governance in relation to human rights and development. Punjab, Haryana, Jammu and Kashmir and Himachal Pradesh participated in the workshop.

With this regional workshop, the Commission aimed to solidify the ground for the furtherance of human rights awareness and attainment of good governance.

News 101 - Center reviewed progress of PM's Development Package for J&K

J and K

A high-level Inter-Ministerial meeting was held in New Delhi to review the progress in implementation of development package for Jammu and Kashmir. In 2015, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had announced a package of 80 thousand crore rupees for the J&K.

The meeting was chaired by Home Minister Rajnath Singh. During the meeting, Mr. Singh took stock of the progress of various development initiatives announced for the state. The meeting was attended by representatives from various central ministries and departments, and the state government.

News 102 - India is set to host the 18th World Road Meeting


The 4-day 18th World Road Meeting titled CROSSROADS-WRM 2017 will be organized in New Delhi from Nov. 14 to 17, 2017. The global mega event will be organized by the International Road Federation, Geneva. The theme of this year's edition is 'Safe Roads and Smart Mobility: The Engines of Economic Growth'.

About 4000 global Road safety experts, professionals, companies and Government organizations, active in road transport and mobility sectors from various parts of the world will take part in the event.

News 103 - India and Armenia inked three agreements

Three Agreements

India and Armenia signed three agreements to boost bilateral cooperation. The two countries signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) on peaceful uses of outer space, another MoU on cooperation in youth matters and a program of cultural cooperation for the years 2017-2020.

India will help Armenia to build satellite and remote sensing data matters and train Armenian scientists. The two countries agreed to liberalize the visa regime issue to improve people-to-people contact. Both the sides also agreed to enhance cooperation in the agricultural sector.

News 104 - Government released 25% of PM's development package of Rs 80,000 crores to J&K


The Union Government has released around Rs 20,000 crore so far under the Prime Minister’s Development Package (PMDP) for Jammu and Kashmir. Prime Minister Narendra Modi had announced a package of Rs. 80,000 crore for the state in 2015. Out of the announced package, over Rs. 61,000 crores have already been sanctioned by the various Central Ministries.

The PMDP will provide a major development push for Jammu and Kashmir with projects such as AIIMS for State, Support for District as well as Sub-District Hospitals and Primary Health Centers, IIM at Jammu and additional Girls’ Hostels in Higher Educational Institutions.

News 105 - India & Sri Lanka signed MoU on cooperation in Economic Projects


India and Sri Lanka have signed Memorandum of Understanding on Cooperation in Economic Projects. The main areas and the scope of cooperation are 500 Megawatt LNG Power Plant, an LNG Terminal/Floating Storage Regasification Unit in Colombo and a 50 Megawatt Solar Power Plant in Sampur.

Upper tank farm in Trincomalee will be jointly developed by India and Sri Lanka with fresh investment. The other areas of co-operation are Industrial Zones and SEZs in identified locations, Railway sector development, and container terminal in Colombo port as a Joint Venture and development of agriculture and livestock in Sri Lanka.

News 106 - India & Cyprus inked Work Plan for cooperation in agriculture sector


India and Cyprus signed Work Plan for 2017–18 to implement an already singed MOU for cooperation in the agriculture sector. It will accelerate agricultural production to meet the rising demand for food as well as increase the income of those dependent on agriculture.

It covers areas such as joint research projects, training/exchange program for scientists/experts working in the specific fields in various institutes of the two countries, exchange of germplasms and technology, promotion of private sector participation, joint workshops and conferences, etc.

News 107 - India and Cyprus inked four Agreements


India and Cyprus signed four agreements following delegation-level talks headed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Cypriot President Nicos Anastasiades in New Delhi. The agreements include – An executive program on culture, education and scientific cooperation for the years 2017 to 2020. A work plan under a programme of cooperation in agriculture for the period 2017-2018. Cooperation in the area of merchant shipping and to Boost air services between the two countries.

“Advancing a multifaceted partnership. The two leaders witness exchange of four agreements after delegation talks and working luncheon,” External Affairs Ministry spokesperson Gopal Baglay tweeted.

News 108 - IOC to build new terminal at Motihari to supply fuel to Nepal


The Indian Oil Corporation (IOC) will build a new oil terminal at Motihari in Bihar to supply fuel to Nepal via the planned pipeline up to Amlekganj in Nepal. The 69-km Motihari Amlekganj pipeline will be built by IOC at an approved cost of Rs. 325 crores.

The current terminal at Raxaul will be closed since it does not comply with the Oil Industry Safety Directorate (OISD) guidelines. India recently extended the fuel supply agreement with Nepal to five years. Nepal receives around two lakh kiloliters of fuel from Indian Oil every month.

News 109 - Union Government takes 10 new Swachh Iconic Places under Swachh Bharat Mission

Swachh Iconic Places

The central government announced ten new Iconic places to be taken under the Phase II of Swachh Iconic Places initiative.

These ten new iconic places, which are to be brought to a higher standard of the swachhta and visitors’ amenities, are as follows:

  • Gangotri
  • Yamunotri
  • Mahakaleshwar Temple, Ujjain
  • Charminar, Hyderabad
  • Church and Convent of St. Francis of Assissi, Goa
  • Adi Shankaracharya’s abode Kaladi in Ernakulam
  • Gomateshwar in Shravanbelgola
  • Baijnath Dham, Devghar
  • Gaya Tirth in Bihar
  • Somnath temple in Gujarat

The Swachh Iconic Places (SIP) is an initiative of Ministry of Drinking Water and Sanitation under Swachh Bharat Mission.

News 110 - Health Ministry launched ‘Test and Treat Policy for HIV’

Test and Treat Policy for HIV

The Union Ministry for Health launched the ‘Test and Treat Policy for HIV’ under which anyone who is tested and found HIV positive will get the necessary treatment.

As soon as a person is tested and found to be positive, he will be provided with ART irrespective of his CD count or clinical stage. The government will also soon develop a National Strategic Plan for HIV for next seven years for ending AIDS. The 90:90:90 strategy adopted by the Health Ministry will help to identify 90% of those infected, place 90% of these on treatment and ensure 90% have their virus under control.

News 111 - AIIMS became India's first public hospital for eye tumors


The All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) became India's first public hospital to start plaque brachytherapy facility for the treatment of eye tumors.

The facility is a form of local radiation delivered to the eye through a radioactive device, which is attached to the eye for a temporary period.

The facility will treat children suffering from a type of cancer called Retinoblastoma and adults who suffer from melanoma.

News 112 - Tripartite MOU signed for broadband services to Post Offices


A tripartite Memorandum of Understanding has been signed among BBNL, Department of Posts and BSNL for providing broadband connectivity of BharatNet to Post Offices in rural areas.

This MoU is the first tri-partite agreement to provide broadband connectivity to about 1.3 lakh, post offices in rural areas and 25,000 sub-post offices for high-speed internet connectivity to the rural masses.

BharatNet is one of the nine pillars of realizing the Prime Minister’s vision of Digital India.

News 113 - Over 21 lakh LED Street Lights installed across India


Under the Government of India’s Street Lighting National Program (SLNP), over 21 lakh conventional streetlights have been replaced with LED street lights across the country. Energy Efficiency Services Limited, a Public Energy Services Company under the administration of Ministry of Power, Government of India (GoI) is the implementing agency for SLNP.

The installation of LED street lights has resulted in Annual energy savings of 295 million-unit kWh, avoided capacity of over 73 MW and reduction of 2.3 lakh tonnes of CO2 annually. The project has been implemented across 23 states and union territories.

News 114 - The Eastern Peripheral Expressway for decongesting Delhi likely to be complete by August 2017


The Eastern Peripheral Expressway for decongesting Delhi is likely to be completed by August 2017. EPE would be the country’s first green expressway with excellent smart features.

The Peripheral Expressway Project comprises two expressways - Western Peripheral Expressway (WPE) and Eastern Peripheral Expressway (EPE) connecting NH-1 and NH-2 from Western and Eastern side of Delhi. The EPE and WPE constitute one combined project forming a Ring Road around Delhi with a total length of 270 km. About 183 km length passes through the State of Haryana whereas the remaining about 87 km length passes through the State of Uttar Pradesh.