Current Affairs December 2019 - National


1 - India, Sweden sign MoU for India-Sweden Healthcare Innovation Centre

Indian Sweden Health care

India and Sweden signed a Memorandum of Understanding for India-Sweden Healthcare Innovation Centre in New Delhi. The objective of the innovation Centre is to develop an ecosystem of open innovation to which start-ups and the healthcare delivery stakeholders can use to collaborate and address current and future challenges in the healthcare sector.

The MOU focuses on creating new partnerships within the public, private and academic sectors. The Centre will run for an initial period of three years.

2 - Centre released Rs. 414.90 crore and Rs. 552.00 crore to the cyclone “ BULBUL” affected states of West Bengal and Odisha respectively under SDRF

Cyclone bulbul

The Union Government has released Rs 414.90 crore and Rs 552 crore to the cyclone 'Bulbul' affected states of West Bengal and Odisha respectively under State Disaster Response Fund (SDRF). Additional financial assistance is extended from the National Disaster Response Fund (NDRF) as per the laid down procedure.

The funds are made available to States in their SDRF in advance for meeting relief expenditure for natural disasters, including cyclone. The Central Government had constituted Inter-Ministerial Central Teams (IMCT) for both the states after the cyclone BULBUL.

3 - Ministry of Railways signed an MoU with Department for International Development (DFID), UK


The Ministry of Railways signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Department for International Development (DFID), United Kingdom for collaboration on energy and sustainability.

The MoU will broadly cover −

Energy planning for Indian Railways in line with Governments’ policies and regulations as applicable from time to time including 100% greener sources of electricity supply Promoting energy sustainability initiatives like adopting energy efficiency practices and enabling Fuel efficiency

4 - Piyush Goyal inaugurated third edition of National Public Procurement Conclave

Piyush Goyal

Commerce and Industry Minister Piyush Goyal inaugurated the third edition of National Public Procurement Conclave in New Delhi. The two-day conclave was organized by Government e-Marketplace, GeM in association with Confederation of Indian Industry.

Sixty-two stalls ranging from IT, electronic items, road safety equipment, security, furniture items, sports goods, health care, telecom, GIS solutions, home appliances and freight services were put up for the participants and visitors to see. GeM awards were also given away during the inaugural session.

5 - Home Ministry sanctions Rs 100 crore for Women Help Desks in Police Stations

Home Affairs

Ministry of Home Affairs has sanctioned a sum Rs. 100 crores from Nirbhaya Fund for setting up/strengthening of Women Help Desks in Police Stations. This scheme would be implemented by the States and Union Territories.

Women Help Desks would focus on making the Police Stations more women friendly and approachable, as they would be the first and single point of contact for any woman walking into a police station. Essentially, lady police officers would be deployed at these help desks.

6 - India’s first HAM project in sewerage sector, the 14 MLD STP at Sarai, Haridwar completed before time

Ham Project

The 14 MLD Sewage Treatment Plant at Sarai in Haridwar is the first STP to be completed under the Hybrid Annuity (HAM) Based Public Private Partnership Model. It involved a cost of Rs. 41.40 crores, and the Plant has been completed before its scheduled timeline.

This Plant is based on advanced aerobic biological process, Sequential Batch Reactor (SBR) process, capable of removing the nutrients during treatment and is a 100% eco-friendly project.

7 - CSIR signed MoU with BHEL to push ‘Make in India’ initiative

Make in India

CSIR and BHEL have signed an MoU to cooperate, collaborate and pursue industrial application oriented research programmes and its commercialization in large scale. Thus, indigenously developed technologies by CSIR shall be commercialised & implemented jointly by BHEL & CSIR in the country, to make the Government of India initiative “Make in India” successful.

The first joint project to be taken up under this collaboration shall be for commercialization by BHEL of various water purification/sewage disposal related technologies developed by CSIR. The MoU will remain in force for five years duration.

8 - CSIR signed MoU with KVIC on promotion of honey production

honey production

The Council of Scientific & Industrial Research (CSIR) has entered into a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Khadi and Village Industries Commission (KVIC) for promotion of honey production. The MoU will help formalize the working relationship between the two organizations in areas such as honey testing, promotion of Honey Mission alongside the CSIR Aroma Mission and the proposed CSIR Floriculture Mission.

The MoU will also explore enlisting of CSIR licensees in the KVIC network, display of CSIR technology products at important KVIC outlets such that CSIR products can reach to wider audience.

9 - India becomes first country to make entire Haj process digital

Haj process

India has become the first country to make the entire process for pilgrims going on Haj completely digital. An online application, e-visa, Haj mobile app, 'e-MASIHA' health facility, "e-luggage pre-tagging" providing all information in India itself regarding accommodation and transportation in Mecca and Madina will be provided to 2 lakh Indian Muslims going for Haj in 2020.

This year, a 100-line information centre has been established at the Haj House, Mumbai for providing information regarding the entire Haj process. E-MASIHA (E-Medical Assistance System for Indian Pilgrims Abroad) has been developed to deal with any emergency in Mecca and Madina.

10 - Government launched 4th round of Regional Connectivity Scheme-UDAN


Government has launched the 4th round of Regional Connectivity Scheme - UDAN (Ude Desh Ka Aam Nagrik) to further enhance the connectivity to remote and regional areas of the country. The focus in this round will be North East Region, Hilly States, Jammu and Kashmir, Ladakh and Islands.

The scheme was launched in October, 2016. In the last three years government has successfully completed three rounds of bidding under the Scheme and awarded about 700 routes. The Ministry aims to operationalize one thousand routes and more than 100 airports in the next five years.

11 - TRAI revamped mobile number portability rules


Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) has revamped mobile number portability (MNP) rules, making the entire process faster and simpler. TRAI has prescribed three working days timeline for port out requests within a service area. Similarly, timeline of five working days has been prescribed for requests for port out from one circle to another. The new rules will come into effect from December 16.

Validity of the Unique Porting Code (UPC) has also been brought down to four days instead of a fortnight earlier.

12 - Nationwide vaccination drive launched to prevent eight diseases under Mission Indradhanush 2.0

Mission Indradhanush 2.0

Centre has launched nationwide vaccination drive to prevent eight diseases under Intensified Mission Indradhanush 2.0 across the country. The government's flagship scheme is aimed at immunizing children under the age of 2 years and pregnant women against eight vaccine preventable diseases. The IMI covers vaccines for diphtheria, whooping cough, tetanus, poliomyelitis, tuberculosis, measles, meningitis and Hepatitis B.

Vaccines for Japanese encephalitis and hemophilus influenza are also being provided in selected areas. The IMI 2.0 aims to achieve targets of full immunization coverage in 272 districts spread over 27 States. The IMI 2.0 will be carried out between December 2019 and March 2020.

13 - Fit India School Rating System launched as part of Fit India Campaign

Fit India Campaign

Union Minister Ramesh Pokhriyal ‘Nishank’ and Kiren Rijiju jointly launched the Fit India School Rating System. Fit India program is an innovative initiative launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi to increase the awareness among masses and to encourage people to adopt healthy lifestyle.

Fit India school rating system as per certain parameters will enhance the image of the schools. Three Kendriya Vidyalayas of Delhi were awarded with Fit India Flag.

14 - Mumbai Central received first ‘Eat Right Station’ certification from FSSAI

Eat Right Station

The Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) conferred the Mumbai Central station in Mumbai with the ‘Eat Right Station’ certificate with four stars rating as a part of their ‘Eat Right India’ movement. The focus of the movement is on improving the health and well-being of people by ensuring that they eat healthy. Mumbai Central Railway Station became India’s first “Eat Right Station.”

Mumbai Central station was judged on the basis of compliance of food safety and hygiene, availability of healthy diet, food waste management etc.

15 - CPPIB to invest $600mn via National Investment and Infrastructure Fund


National Investment and Infrastructure Fund (NIIF) of India and Canada Pension Plan Investment Board (CPPIB) announced an agreement for CPPIB to invest up to US$600 million through the NIIF Master Fund. The agreement includes a commitment of US$150 million in the NIIF Master Fund and co-investment rights of up to US$450 million in future opportunities to invest alongside the NIIF Master Fund.

The NIIF Master Fund invests equity capital in core infrastructure sectors in India, with a focus on transportation, energy and urban infrastructure. CPPIB will also become a shareholder in NIIF’s investment management company.

16 - IIT researchers to create ‘Gandhipedia’


Two IITs and the National Council of Science Museums (NCSM) have joined hands to develop ‘Gandhipedia’, an online repository of books, letters and speeches written by Mahatma Gandhi, to commemorate his 150th birth anniversary. Under this project, 40 books written by Mahatma Gandhi will be digitised with the help of Artificial Intelligence till March, 2024.

A total of 100 works of Mahatma Gandhi, including his letters and speeches, would be uploaded in the portal for people to have access to read.

17 - 'Borderman' yearly magazine released by Nityanand Rai

Nityanand Rai

The Minister of State for Home Affairs, Nityanand Rai released the yearly magazine "Borderman" at the 55th Raising Day of BSF (Border Security Force). The 55th raising day of BSF (Border Security Force) was celebrated on the 1st of December 2019.

The magazine pays homage to the BSF personnel who made supreme sacrifices for the security of the nation. Minister inspected an impressive parade by BSF jawans and took salute of the march past. He later presented Police Medals for Gallantry and Meritorious Services to the BSF personnel.

18 - Massive campaign launched by Ministry of Defence against single use plastic

Single Use Plastic

Ministry of Defence launched massive plogging programme against single use plastic at more than 400 locations. The aim of this massive exercise is to raise awareness amongst the community, collect plastic waste and make the surroundings clean. The slogan for this event is ‘Plastic Se Raksha – Swachhata Hi Suraksha’. Community awareness programmes such as nukkad nataks, debates, quizzes, painting competitions among students etc. will be organized.

Army will clean up waste at 17 locations, Indian Navy will clean up waste at 30 locations and Indian Air Force will clean up waste at 150 locations across the country.

19 - India-Australia hold third Secretary-level 2+2 Dialogue


The third India-Australia Secretary-level 2+2 Dialogue was held in New Delhi. The Indian delegation was led by Defence Secretary Dr. Ajay Kumar and Foreign Secretary Shri Vijay Gokhale, while the Australian side was led by Defence Secretary Mr. Greg Moriarty and Foreign Secretary Ms Frances Adamson.

Both the sides discussed issues related to bilateral defence engagements, areas to enhance cooperation in the field of defence industry and defence technology as well as the prevailing regional security concerns.

20 - Cabinet approved Agreement on Social Security between India and Brazil

India and Brazil

The Union Cabinet has given its approval for signing the Agreement on Social Security between the Republic of India and the Federative Republic of Brazil. At present, about 1,000 Brazilians are living in India, while about 4,700 Indians are living in Brazil. All posted/detached workers and self-employed persons will benefit from this proposal without any discrimination.

India has been entering into bilateral Social Security Agreements (SSAs) with other countries in order to protect the interests of Indian professionals/skilled workers working abroad for short durations and enhance the competitiveness of Indian companies.

21 - Cabinet approved MoU between CDSCO and Saudi Food and Drug Authority


The Union Cabinet approved ex-post facto the Memorandum of Understanding between Central Drugs Standard Control Organization (CDSCO) and Saudi Food and Drug Authority in the field of Medical Products Regulation.

The MoU would facilitate better understanding of the regulatory aspects between the two sides and help in increasing India’s export of medical products to Saudi Arabia. It will also enable better coordination in international fora. CDSCO is the national regulatory body for Indian pharmaceuticals as well as medical devices.

22 - Cabinet approved revision in funding pattern of Phase IV of Delhi Metro

Delhi Metro

The Union Cabinet approved revision in the funding pattern of Delhi Metro Phase-IV enabling the Centre and the Delhi government to share cost of land in 50-50 ratio. The approval is applicable to three priority corridors of Phase-IV — Aerocity to Tughlakabad, R K Ashram to Janakpuri (West), and Mukundpur to Maujpur.

Delhi will be the first city where the Centre will be bearing land cost with the state government in any Metro project. At present, the Centre and the Delhi government share cost of Metro projects in 50-50 ratio.

23 - Cabinet approved the proposal for increase in authorised capital and equity support to IIFCL


The Union Cabinet has approved the proposal for providing additional equity support to IIFCL to the tune of Rs. 5,300 crore in financial year 2019-20 and Rs. 10,000 crore in financial year 2020-21. This will be done through regular Budgetary support and/or through issuance of recapitalization bonds.

The Cabinet has also approved for increasing the authorized capital of IIFCL from Rs. 6,000 crore to Rs. 25,000 crore. IIFCL is a wholly-owned Government of India (Gol) company. It is the principal entity which provides long term finance to viable infrastructure projects across sectors.

24 - Cabinet authorised NHAI to set up Infrastructure Investment Trust and monetize National Highway projects


The Union Cabinet has given its approval to authorize National Highways Authority of India(NHAI) to set up Infrastructure Investment Trust(s) (InvIT) as per InvIT Guidelines issued by SEBI. This will enable NHAI to monetize completed National Highways that have a toll collection track record of atleast one year and NHAI reserves the right to levy toll on the identified highway.

NHAI's InvIT will be a Trust established by NHAI under the Indian Trust Act, 1882 and Securities and Exchange Board of India (Infrastructure Investment Trusts) Regulations, 2014. The InvIT Trust will be formed with an objective of investment primarily in infrastructure projects (as defined by Ministry of Finance).

25 - India Design Council launched two Initiatives to promote Design Education and Standards

India Design Council

The India Design Council (IDC) launched the Chartered Designs of India (CDI) and the Design Education Quality Mark (DEQM) in New Delhi. These two initiatives of IDC and National Institute of design, Ahmedabad will help to address the 5 challenges of scale, quality of design, quality of education for design, raising the priority for design in industry and design for public purpose.

India Design Council is an autonomous body of the Government of India. It is a national strategic body for multi-disciplinary design and is involved in promotion of design to make India a design enabled country.

26 - ICAR signed MoU with NABARD


The Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR) signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the National Bank of Agriculture and Rural Development (NABARD). The MoU is for taking up site-specific transfer of technologies under sustainable agriculture, integrated farming system, crop intensification, agro-forestry, plantation and horticulture, animal sciences, agri-engineering, etc., including post-harvest technologies.

Further, the ICAR through its large network will support the training and capacity building of channel partners and NABARD Officers. The initiative will strengthen the competence of channel partners under the promotional and developmental programmes of NABARD technology transfer under the climate resilient agriculture, contingency and adaptation planning.

27 - 37th National Symposium of Heads of Police Training Institutions organized

Heads of Police Training

The 37th National Symposium of Heads of Police Training Institutions was organized by Bureau of Police Research & Development (BPR&D) in New Delhi. The theme of the two day Symposium was ‘Optimal Utilization of Resources-Through Sharing and Networking’.

A Directory of Indian Police Training Institutions (DIPTI) was released that has information on the resources of around 300 Police training institutions all over the country. The two day symposium was attended by the Heads of Police Training Institutions of States/UTs/Central Armed Police Forces/Central Police Organisations, academia and domain experts.

28 - India to Host 36th International Geological Congress in March 2020

Geological Congress

India will host the 36th International Geological Congress (IGC) in New Delhi during the first week of March 2020. The theme of the forthcoming conference is ‘Geosciences: The Basic Science for a Sustainable Development’.

Popularly described as the Olympics of Geosciences, the IGCs are prestigious global geo-scientific events held once in four years and participated by around 5000-6000 geoscientists from all across the world. India is the only Asian country to host the event twice.

29 - Prime Minister chaired first meeting of National Ganga Council

National Ganga Council

PM Narendra Modi chaired the first meeting of National Ganga Council at Chandra Shekhar Azad University of Agriculture and Technology, Kanpur. The meeting was aimed at reviewing the progress of the Namami Gange project.

Namami Gange Programme' is an Integrated Conservation Mission, approved in June 2014 with budget outlay of Rs. 20,000 crore to accomplish the twin objectives of effective pollution control and conservation and rejuvenation of River Ganga.

30 - 6th India-Indonesia Joint Commission Meeting (JCM)


The 6th India-Indonesia Joint Commission Meeting (JCM) was held in New Delhi. External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar and his Indonesian counterpart Retno Marsudi participated in the meeting. India and Indonesia resolved to strengthen cooperation in areas of defence and security, connectivity and trade.

The two sides reviewed the entire gamut of ties. Both sides reiterated their commitment to strengthen ties in the areas including people-to-people exchanges. As key partners in the Indo-Pacific, both sides called for greater synergy in the region, guided by the shared vision on maritime cooperation.

31 - Fifth meeting of the Fifteenth Finance Commission held in Delhi

Fifteenth Finance Commission

The fifth meeting of the Economic Advisory Council of the Fifteenth Finance Commission (XVFC) was held in New Delhi. Advisory Council was informed about submission of the 2020-21 report and now the Commission is on its next task of preparing the report for 2021-26 period.

Major issues discussed in the meeting were:

  • Possible macro assumptions for the Commission’s award period relating to real growth, inflation, etc.

  • Way to improve tax collection for additional resource mobilization.

  • Issues related to stabilization of GST.

  • Issues related to compliance and adherence to Fiscal responsibility legislations.

32 - GEM launched National Outreach Programme - GEM Samvaad

GEM Samvaad

A national outreach Programme, GeM Samvaad, was launched in New Delhi. GeM Samvaad will take place with stakeholders across the country and with local sellers in order to facilitate on-boarding of local sellers on the marketplace while catering to specific requirements and procurement needs of buyers.

Government e Marketplace (GeM) is the national public procurement portal offering end to end solutions for all procurement needs of Central and State Government Departments, PSUs, autonomous institutions and local bodies.

33 - Shri Ravi Shankar Prasad launched National Broadband Mission

Shri Ravi Shankar Prasad

Minister for Communications, Ravi Shankar Prasad launched National Broadband Mission to fulfill all aspirations of the people and enable fast track growth of digital communication infrastructure. The Logo of the NBM, a Booklet was also launched.

Objectives of NBM:

  • Broadband access to all villages by 2022.

  • Develop a Broadband Readiness Index.

  • Laying of 30 lakhs route km of Optical Fiber Cable.

  • Improve quality of services for mobile and internet.

  • To fast track growth of digital communications infrastructure and increase tower density.

34 - ADB and India signed $250 million loan to expand energy efficiency investments in India

ADB and India

The Asian Development Bank and the Government of India signed a $250 million loan to Energy Efficiency Services Limited to expand energy efficiency investments in India that will benefit agricultural, residential and institutional consumers. In addition, $46 million financing have been provided from the Clean Technology Fund.

Earlier, ADB approved a $200 million loan to EESL for Demand Side Energy Efficiency Sector Project that focused on efficient lighting and appliances. The project will contribute to the mission of Government of India to promote energy efficiency and meet Government’s commitments to reduce energy intensity of the economy.

35 - CSIR and the National Centre for Scientific Research, France inked MoU

CSIR France inked MoU

A MoU was signed between the Council of Scientific & Industrial Research (CSIR), India and the National Centre for Scientific Research (CNRS), France to establish a framework for cooperation between the two towards promotion and support of scientific and technological research. MoU will boost cooperation in many critical areas such as health, water, energy and climate change among others and contribute towards addressing the global challenges.

CSIR and CNRS have explored strengthening their cooperation to foster joint innovation and transfer of technologies applicable to India or/and France and to other nations.

36 - Union Rural Development Ministry selected UT of J&K for National award

JK and ladakh

Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir has been selected for national award by Union Rural Development Ministry for best performance in the implementation of Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojana (PMGSY).

Union Rural Development Ministry has sanctioned 147 Road and Bridge projects under PMGSY-II covering a length of 783.88 kilometres at an estimated cost of 878.53 crore rupees for Jammu & Kashmir and Ladakh. The entire road length has been sanctioned for upgradation of existing road infrastructure with 10-year maintenance.

37 - WDO is set to launch World Design Protopolis in Bengaluru


World Design Organization (WDO) is set to launch its new global programme ‘World Design Protopolis’ in Bengaluru, Karnataka. It is aimed at implementing holistic progress in megacities across the world, measure the progress of the city over a period of five years, attract investments and solve problems so that the city becomes a better place for citizens.

The mega event ‘World Design Protopolis’ will be witnessed by design professionals from India and abroad, heads of various companies, architects, interior designers, etc.

38 - Government approved Rs 436 cr outlay for skilling 4 lakh persons

Skilling People

The Government announced 436 crore rupees outlay for skilling four lakh professionals in artificial intelligence, blockchain and cybersecurity areas over the next three years. The 'Future Skills PRIME' programme will seek to position the initiative as India stack for digital talent. The programme will increase employability and will add digital value to the talent pool.

In the last phase, around 200000 IT employees were trained under skilling program, and the upcoming initiative will expand the scope to others who are keen to upskill themselves in areas like AI, Cyber security, blockchain.

39 - IIT-H launched Vaccination on Wheels in collaboration with Gates Foundation

Gates Foundation

IIT Hyderabad fellow launched ‘Vaccination On Wheels’ in collaboration with Gates Foundation. Fellow Jignesh Patel launched a 'Vaccination on Wheels Clinic' in Pune. The foundation has provided funds to Mr. Jignesh Patel under its Grand Challenges Explorations. Jignesh Patel founded Jivika Healthcare to provide this vaccination service.

The clinic is aimed at visiting schools, colleges and corporates to conduct vaccination camps at their doorsteps, so as to provide low-cost vaccination service to the low-income groups in society. With this, government will cover the last mile in delivering vaccines to people of all strata of the society.

40 - Ministry of Railways signed MoU with University of Birmingham

University of Birmingham

The National Rail Transport Institute, a deemed to be university under the Ministry of Railways, signed an MoU with the University of Birmingham to set up its first Centre of Excellence for Next Generation Transportation Systems.

This Centre will be involved in promoting development of the Rail and Transportation sector in India which include offering post-graduate, doctoral and post-doctoral programmes, customized training programmes for in-service professionals. The University of Birmingham is home to the Birmingham Centre for Railway Research and Education (BCRRE). BCRRE is the largest university-based centre for railway research and education in Europe.

41 - Government launched EChO Network to catalyze cross-disciplinary leadership in India

EChO Network

The Union Government has launched EChO Network, a national program to provide a template for cross-disciplinary leadership in India. The specific focus of the program is to increase research, knowledge, and awareness of Indian ecology and the environment.

The initiative has drawn in partners from Government, industry and academia. The founding partners include Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, Centre for Cellular and Molecular Platforms (C-CAMP), Hindustan Unilever Limited (HUL), India Climate Collaborative (ICC), RoundGlass and Ashoka Trust for Research in Ecology and Environment (ATREE).

42 - First tripartite Memorandum of Agreement signed for implementation of FIDF


The first tripartite Memorandum of Agreement was signed between the department of Fisheries Government of India, NABARD and the Government of Tamil Nadu for the implementation of Fisheries and Aquaculture Development Fund (FIDF). A dedicated fund has been created namely the Fisheries and Aquaculture Infrastructure Development Fund with a total of Rs. 7522.48 crore to address the infrastructure requirement for fisheries sector.

The Government of Tamil Nadu has signed the first Tripartite MoA for availing the initial concessional finance of Rs 420 crore from NABARD for development of three fishing harbours in the State namely, (i) Tharangampadi in Nagapattinam Ditrict, (ii) Thiruvottriyur Kuppam in Tiruvallur District and (iii) Mudhunagar in Cuddalore District.

43 - Cabinet approved transformational Organisational Restructuring of Indian Railways

Indian Railways

The Union Cabinet has approved a transformational organisational restructuring of the Indian Railways. This historic reform will go a long way in achieving Government’s vision of making Indian Railways the growth engine of India's vikas yatra.

The reforms include:

  • Unification of the existing eight Group A services of the Railways into a Central Service called Indian Railway Management Service (/RMS)

  • Re-organisation of Railway Board on functional lines headed by CRB with four Members and some Independent Members

  • The existing service of Indian Railway Medical Service (IRMS) to be consequently renamed as Indian Railway Health Service (IRHS)

44 - Cabinet approved transfer of administrative control of BCPL


The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs has approved the transfer of administrative control of Brahmaputra Cracker and Polymer Limited (BCPL), the Central Public Sector Undertaking implementing the Assam Gas Cracker Project (AGCP) from Department of Chemicals & Petrochemicals to Ministry of Petroleum & Natural Gas.

The CCEA has also approved the Feedstock subsidy to BCPL for 15 years of plant operation to maintain minimum Internal Rate of Return (IRR) of 10% (post tax). To bring the IRR to 10%, BCPL has estimated feedstock subsidy of approximately Rs.4600 crore for the project for 15 years of plant operation.

45 - Cabinet approved creation of the post of Chief of Defence Staff

Chief of Defence Staff

The Union Cabinet has approved to create the post of Chief of Defence Staff in the rank of a four-star General. The Chief of Defence Staff will also head the Department of Military Affairs (DMA), to be created within the Ministry of Defence and function as its Secretary.

The following areas will be dealt by the Department of Military Affairs headed by CDS:

  • The Armed Forces of the Union, namely, the Army, the Navy and the Air Force.

  • Integrated Headquarters of the Ministry of Defence comprising Army Headquarters, Naval Headquarters, Air Headquarters and Defence Staff Headquarters.

  • The Territorial Army.

  • Works relating to the Army, the Navy and the Air Force.

46 - Cabinet approved Strategic Tunnel under Rohtang Pass to be renamed after former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee

Atal Bihari Vajpayee

The Union Cabinet has decided to honour the contribution of former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee by naming the Strategic Tunnel under Rohtang Pass after him. The historic decision to construct a strategic tunnel below the Rohtang Pass was taken on June 03, 2000 when late Atal Bihari Vajpayee was the Prime Minister.

The 8.8-kilometre long tunnel is the world's longest tunnel above an altitude of 3,000 metres. It will reduce the distance between Manali and Leh by 46 kilometres and save crores of rupees in transport costs. It is a 10.5-metre wide single tube bi-lane tunnel.

47 - Cabinet approved ex-post facto agreement on Security Cooperation between India and Saudi Arabia

India and Saudi Arabia

The Union Cabinet has given ex-post facto approval on an Agreement on Security Cooperation between the Government of the Republic of India and the Government of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

The Agreement aims to improve the effectiveness of both countries in the prevention and suppression of crimes including crime relating to terrorism and its financing and organized crime and to establish a framework for enhancing cooperation between the officials of intelligence and law-enforcement agencies of the two countries, in line with national and international obligations.

48 - Cabinet approved ex-post facto the agreement between India and Uzbekistan

India and Uzbekistan

The Union Cabinet has given ex-post facto approval on an Agreement between India and Uzbekistan on Cooperation in the field of Combating Transnational Organized Crime and International Terrorism.

The agreement aims to improve the effectiveness of both countries in prevention and suppression of crimes including crime relating to terrorism and its financing, organized crime and to establish a framework for enhancing cooperation between the officials of intelligence and law-enforcement agencies of the two countries, in line with domestic laws and international obligations.

49 - Cabinet approved MoU between India and Bangladesh on cooperation in Youth matters

India and Bangladesh

The Union Cabinet was apprised of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) signed between India and Bangladesh on cooperation in Youth matters. The MoU was signed on 5th October, 2019 at New Delhi.

Exchange programmes in the field of Youth Affairs between India and Bangladesh will help in promoting exchange of ideas, values and culture amongst Youth and in consolidating friendly relations. It will help in developing international perspective among the Youth and expanding their knowledge and expertise in the areas of youth affairs.

50 - Cabinet grants ex-post facto approval to Agreement between India and Sweden on Recognition of Seafarer Certificates

India and Sweden

The Union Cabinet has given its ex-post facto approval for the Agreement between India and Sweden on Recognition of Seafarer Certificates, pursuant to Regulation I/10 of the International Convention on Standards of Training, Certification and Watch-Keeping for seafarers, 1978.

The Agreement will pave the way for recognition of maritime education and training, certificates of competency, endorsements, training and documentary evidence and medical fitness certificates for seafarers issued by the Government of both the countries.

51 - Cabinet approved Promulgation of the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code (Amendment) Ordinance, 2019

Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code

The Union Cabinet approved a proposal to promulgate an Ordinance and to amend the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code, 2016. Under the Amendments, the liability of a corporate debtor for an offence committed prior to the commencement of the corporate insolvency resolution process shall cease, and the corporate debtor shall not be prosecuted for such an offence from the date the resolution plan has been approved by the Adjudicating Authority, if the resolution plan results in the change in the management or control of the corporate debtor to a person who was not −

  • A promoter or in the management or control of the corporate debtor or a related party of such a person; or

  • A person with regard to whom the relevant investigating authority has, on the basis of material in its possession, reason to believe that he had abetted or conspired for the commission of the offence, and has submitted or filed a report or a complaint to the relevant statutory authority or Court.

52 - Cabinet approved MoU between India and Saudi Arabia for cooperation in the field of Renewable Energy

India and Saudi Arabia

The Union Cabinet was apprised of a Memorandum of Understanding between India and Saudi Arabia for cooperation in the field of Renewable Energy in the following areas −

  • Upgrading the level of technologies and their applications

  • Contributing to the field of renewable energy to raise its efficiency

  • Developing the Renewable energy projects in Solar, Wind, Biogas, Geothermal and other fields of renewable energy

  • Development and localization of value chain in the field of renewable energy

  • Developing and boosting uses of solar energy small applications for buildings, homes and others

53 - Cabinet approved ratification of the Tenth Additional Protocol to the Constitution of the Universal Postal Union (UPU)


The Union Cabinet gave its approval to the ratification of the Tenth Additional Protocol to the Constitution of the Universal Postal Union (UPU) adopted by 2nd Extraordinary Congress of the Union held at Addis Ababa, Ethiopia from 3rd to 7th September, 2018.

The approval enables the Postal Administration of India to have the Instrument of Ratification signed by the Hon’ble President of India and have the same deposited with the Director General of the International Bureau of the Universal Postal Union through diplomatic channels along with approval of other Acts of the Union.

54 - Cabinet granted Ex-post facto approval to amend the Bengal Eastern Frontier Regulations

Govt of India

The Union Cabinet gave its ex-post facto approval to the Adaptation of Laws (Amendment) Order, 2019 issued by the President of India under clause (2) of article 372 of the Constitution to amend the Bengal Eastern Frontier Regulations (BEFR), 1873.

The notification will extend BEFR to the State of Manipur to give its indigenous people protection from the provisions of Citizenship Amendment Act, 2019 and make necessary changes in the said Regulation.

55 - Cabinet approved signing of protocol to amend the Air Services Agreement between India and Switzerland

India and Switzerland

The Union Cabinet has approved the signing of the Protocol to amend the Agreement between the Swiss Federal Council and the Government of India related to air services and to exchange Diplomatic Notes with Switzerland for bringing the amendments in the Air Services Agreement into force as per Article 17 thereof.

The amendments in the Air Services Agreement will bring it in tune with the developments in the civil aviation sector. It will provide enabling environment for enhanced and seamless connectivity while providing commercial opportunities to the carriers of both the sides.

56 - Cabinet approved Atal Bhujal Yojana

Atal Bhujal Yojana

The Union Cabinet has given its approval for the implementation of the Atal Bhujal Yojana (ATAL JAL), a Central Sector Scheme with a total outlay of Rs.6000 crore to be implemented over a period of 5 years (2020-21 to 2024-25). Out of the total outlay of Rs. 6000 crore, 50% shall be in the form of World Bank loan.

The scheme aims to improve ground water management through community participation in identified priority areas in seven States, viz. Gujarat, Haryana, Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh. ATAL JAL will promote panchayat led ground water management.

57 - Cabinet approved funds to the tune of Rs. 627.40 crore to Swadesh Darshan Scheme

Swadesh Darshan Scheme

The Union Cabinet has given its approval to release funds to the tune of Rs. 627.40 crore for the 10 projects sanctioned during 2018-19 and additional Rs. 1854.67 crore for sanctioning of new projects during 2019-20 in Swadesh Darshan Scheme.

Under Swadesh Darshan Scheme, Ministry of Tourism is developing critical tourism infrastructure in the country in a sustainable and inclusive manner to make India, a world class tourist destination.

58 - President Kovind released mobile app of Red Cross Society of India

Mobile APP of Red Cross Society

President Ram Nath Kovind released the mobile app of the Red Cross Society of India in Hyderabad. The app is developed by the Telangana Centre for Good Governance in less than three months. The mobile app is accessible in all languages. The access to blood bank and Red Cross membership will become easy with the launching of the mobile app.

The app also connects blood donors and provides up-to-date information as it is connected in real-time to the Central Government’s blood bank management database named ‘e-Rakt Kosh’.

59 - Good Governance Index launched

Good Governance Index

Minister of State for Public Grievances and Pensions Dr Jitendra Singh launched Good Governance Index in New Delhi on the occasion of Good Governance Day. The Good Governance Day is observed on the birth anniversary of former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee.

Good Governance Index has been scientifically designed on various parameters of governance, keeping in mind the citizen-centricity. Index will also seek to determine the status of governance and provide reference threshold for future also.

60 - Dharmendra Pradhan unveiled India's first long distance CNG bus

Dharmendra Pradhan

In a major step towards making India a gas-based economy and making CNG as the eco-friendly option for long distance transport, Shri Dharmendra Pradhan, Minister of Petroleum, unveiled India's first long distance CNG bus fitted with composite CNG cylinders, which can travel around 1000 kms in a single fill.

CNG buses will improve overall ease of living of people by mitigating the problem of air pollution, ensuring a cleaner environment and reducing waiting time at CNG stations. CNG buses fitted with light weight composite cylinders has the capacity to revolutionize the fight against air pollution across the nation.

61 - Cabinet approved conduct of Census of India 2021 and updation of National Population Register

National Population Register

The Union Cabinet has approved the proposal for conducting Census of India 2021 at a cost of Rs. 8,754.23 crore and updation of National Population Register (NPR) at a cost of Rs. 3,941.35 crore. Census of India will cover the entire population in the country while NPR will also cover all the population except in the state of Assam.

The National Population Register (NPR) was prepared in 2010 under the provisions of the Citizenship Act, 1955 and Citizenship Rules, 2003, which was subsequently updated in 2015 by seeding it with Aadhaar.

62 - Dr. Harsh Vardhan inaugurated 2nd Edition of “Eat Right Mela”

Eat Right Mela

Dr. Harsh Vardhan, Union Minister of Health inaugurated second edition of the ‘Eat Right Mela’. Eat Right Mela of FSSAI is a commendable effort and outreach activity for citizens to nudge them towards eating right. ‘Eat Right Melas’ will be part of public gatherings like local melas, community programs etc., so that the citizens would learn about health and nutrition benefits of different types of food.

The Union Minister launched ‘The PURPLE Book’, a handbook on diets for diseases. The book provides general guidelines for hospitals on suitable diets for common medical conditions such as diabetes, hypertension, cancer, etc.

63 - Raksha Mantri Shri Rajnath Singh launched DefExpo 2020 mobile app

Shri Rajnath Singh

Raksha Mantri Shri Rajnath Singh launched the mobile app of the forthcoming DefExpo 2020. The app has been developed by Department of Defence Production, Ministry of Defence (MoD) with the aim to engage with the visitors as well as exhibitors.

The main features of the app are ‘inform, engage and feedback’. It provides detailed information about the day-to-day events; participating exhibitors; Defence Public Sector Undertakings (DPSUs), guest speakers of seminars/webinars; publications i.e., electronic brochures and e-books; maps and directions of the venuesand city weather.

64 - Foundation laid for India’s first Transit-Oriented Development Project

Transit-Oriented Development

Union Home Minister Amit Shah laid the foundation stone for India's first transit-oriented development (TOD) project in New Delhi. The project includes Delhi’s tallest tower in East Delhi, a massive open green landscape area, besides a 48-storey signature tower which will come up in the first phase of the TOD project.

CP Kukreja Architect’s organic growth designed hub will bring together metro stations, residences and workplaces by 2023. The infrastructure project will consist of mixed-land use in ratio of 70:20:10 for residential area, commercial use and civic amenities.

65 - 7th Economic Census Flagged off in Delhi

Seventh Economic Census

The Seventh Economic Census was launched in Delhi. The Ministry of Statistics and Program Implementation (MoSPI) has tied up with Common Service Centre (CSC), an SPV under Ministry of Electronics and IT, to carry out the 7th National Economic Census.

Census is being conducted on a digital platform by the use of an application which will ensure high accuracy and data security. National Economic Survey, which is conducted every five years, is very crucial for framing of policies and planning for the government and other organisations.