Current Affairs July 2016 - National

News 1 - Railway Ministry formally launches the NIVARAN portal


Minister of Railways Shri Suresh Prabhakar Prabhu formally launched the NIVARAN portal, an online system for redressal of service related grievance of serving and former railway employees. This online system facilitates the employees to lodge their grievances and also monitor their progress. The system would also provide facility for lodging appeal to the higher authority in case the decision is not found satisfactory.

The Application is developed by CRIS, the IT arm of Indian Railways.

News 2 - Ministry of Tourism released data on domestic tourist visits to States/UTs

Domestic Tourist

The Market Research Division of the Ministry of Tourism has released data on domestic tourist visits to States/Union Territories (UTs) for the year 2015, it states −

  • During 2015, the number of domestic tourist visits to the States/ UTs was 1432 million as compared to 1282.8 million in 2014 registering a growth of 11.63% over 2014.

  • The top ten States in terms of number of domestic tourist visits (in millions), during 2015, were Tamil Nadu (333.5), Uttar Pradesh (204.9), Andhra Pradesh (121.6), Karnataka (119.9), Maharashtra (103.4), Telangana (94.5), Madhya Pradesh (78), West Bengal (70.2), Gujarat (36.3) and Rajasthan (35.2).

News 3 - Ministry of Tourism released data on foreign tourist visits to States/UTs

Foreign Tourist

The Market Research Division of the Ministry of Tourism has released data on the foreign tourist visits to States/Union Territories (UTs) for the year 2015, it states −

  • During 2015, the number of foreign tourist visits (FTVs) to the States/ UTs was 23.3 million as compared to 22.3 million in 2014 registering a growth of 4.4% over 2014.

  • The top ten States in terms of number of FTVs (in millions) during 2015 were Tamil Nadu (4.68), Maharashtra (4.41), Uttar Pradesh (3.1), Delhi (2.38), West Bengal (1.49), Rajasthan (1.48), Kerala (0.98), Bihar (0.92), Karnataka (0.64) and Goa (0.54).

News 4 - Ministry of HRD launched ‘Prashikshak’ – a Teacher Education portal


The Ministry of Human Resource Development has launched ‘Prashikshak’ – a Teacher Education Portal with a vision to strengthen District Institutes of Education and Training (DIETs) and bring quality teachers into the Indian school education system.

Prashikshak will contain a comprehensive database of all DIETs in the country with all relevant performance indicators. It was established through joint collaboration between Ministry of Human Resource Development and Central Square Foundation. The objective is to help DIETs to make informed decisions about their institutes, compare the performance of their institute against other DIETs in the state/country as well as helping aspiring teachers make informed decision making.

News 5 - India Post Payments Bank proposal gets the Cabinet nod

India Post Payments Bank

The Union Cabinet has approved the setting up of India Post's payments bank at a total project cost of Rs. 800 crores, which will be split up as Rs. 400 crores for equity and Rs. 400 crores as grant.

IPPB will start operations in March 2017 in about 50 districts and will cover the entire country by the end of FY 2018-19. It will set up 650 branches and 5,000 ATMs across the country. The Secretary, Department of Posts will be the Part time, Non-Executive Chairman of the Bank.

News 6 - Prime Minister Narendra Modi's address 'Mann Ki Baat' to be broadcast in Bangladesh

Mann Ki Baat

Prime Minister Narendra Modi's radio address 'Mann Ki Baat' will be broadcast in Bengali in Bangladesh on All India Radio's upcoming Bangla language service channel Akashvani Maitree. AIR has made arrangements to receive comments and voice messages from Bangladeshi citizens. This is the first time the address will be tailored to a foreign audience in Bengali.

The Prime Minister's speech is likely to be about Indo-Bangladesh "Relationship and Friendship". The purpose behind taking 'Mann Ki Baat' across the border is to strengthen bilateral ties.

News 7 - National Mineral Exploration Policy Unveiled

National Mineral Exploration

The National Mineral Exploration Policy was unveiled by the Union Minister of Steel and Mines Narendra Singh Tomar to adopt comprehensive exploration of non-fuel and non-coal Mineral Resources. The new policy aims to bring together best of knowledge and experience, modern technology, trained manpower and financial resources on a collaborative platform.

Space technology would be used to check illegal mining by developing a mining surveillance system. The objective is to set in motion a massive process for mineral exploration on the country that would give a major boost to the economy.

News 8 - Jawaharlal Nehru Port becomes the country’s first port to implement Logistics Data Tagging of Containers

Jawaharlal Nehru Port

The Jawaharlal Nehru Port became the first port in the country to implement logistics data tagging of containers. The first of its kind facility will help importers/exporters track their goods in transit through logistics data bank service. An RFID (Radio Frequency Identification Tag) tag would be attached to each container which would be tracked through RIFD readers installed at different locations.

This would help in reducing the overall lead time of the container movement across the western corridor and lower the transaction costs incurred by shippers and consignees.

News 9 - Centre to provide Rs. 400 Crores Assistance for Development of Airports in UP

UP Airport

The Union Government will provide Rs. 400 crores assistance for developing the airports in Agra, Allahabad, Kanpur and Bareilly in Uttar Pradesh. This would be done within a period of one and a half months. An airport in Kushinagar will also be developed, for which the State Government had provided Rs. 200 crores and the work is being executed by RITES and would be complete within a year.

A 4-member Committee has also been formed to study the feasibility of developing no frills airports in Meerut, Faizabad and Moradabad.

News 10 - Centre nod for renaming of Mhow Railway Station after B R Ambedkar

B R Ambedkar

The Union Government has given its approval for renaming the Mhow railway station in Indore district of Madhya Pradesh after B R Ambedkar. The name of Mhow railway station will be changed to B R Ambedkar Railway Station. The Home Ministry has requested the State Government to issue a Gazette notification in this regard, spelling the name accordingly in Devnagri (Hindi) and Roman (English) script.

The Dalit icon was born there. Mhow was renamed as Dr Ambedkar Nagar in 2003.

News 11 - Cabinet approves redevelopment of seven GPRA colonies in Delhi


The Union Cabinet has approved redevelopment of seven General Pool Residential Accommodation (GPRA) colonies in Delhi. Sarojini Nagar, Netaji Nagar, Nauroji Nagar will be redeveloped through National Buildings Construction Corporation Limited and Kasturba Nagar, Thyagraj Nagar, Srinivaspuri and Mohammadpur will be redeveloped through Central Public Works Department.

The total estimated cost of this project is 32,835 crore rupees including maintenance and operation costs for 30 years and it will be completed in five years in a phased manner.

News 12 - Memorandum of Understanding between India and Mauritius

India and Mauritius

The Union Cabinet approved signing of a Memorandum of Understanding between India and Mauritius. The MoU will help to establish a framework for cooperation between the National Development Unit, Prime Minister's Office of Mauritius and the Ministry of Rural Development of India in the sphere of rural development.

The MoU will encourage cooperation in the field of rural development and capacity building on the basis of equality and mutual benefit between both countries. Under the MoU, a Joint Committee on Cooperation on Rural Development will be established which will meet alternatively in both countries on mutually agreed dates.

News 13 - Cabinet nod for introduction of High Courts (Alteration of Names) Bill in the Parliament

High Courts Bill

The Union Cabinet gave its approval to introduce the High Courts (Alteration of Names) Bill, 2016 in Parliament. The Bill will facilitate the changing of the names of Bombay High Court as Mumbai High Court, Calcutta High Court as Kolkata High Court and Madras High Court as Chennai High Court.

At present, there is no Central Law under which the proposal for change of names of these High Courts can be addressed and the new legislation will enable that, the official communiqué said.

News 14 - Cabinet approves MoU between India and Mozambique in the field of Drug demand reduction and prevention of illicit trafficking in narcotic drugs

India and Mozambique

The Union Cabinet has given its approval for signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between India and Mozambique on Drug demand reduction and prevention of illicit trafficking in narcotic drugs, psychotropic substances and precursor chemicals and related matters.

This MoU is aimed to enhance mutual cooperation between the two countries in combating illicit trafficking in Narcotic drugs, Psychotropic substances and their precursors through exchange of information, expertise and capacity building.

News 15 - Cabinet approves import of pulses through long-term contract with Mozambique


The Union Cabinet has approved a long-term contract by signing a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Mozambique for import of pulses either through the private channels or Government-to-Government (G2G) sales through State Agencies nominated by the two countries.

The MOU includes targets for exports of Tur and other pulses from Mozambique to India for five financial years and aims at doubling the trade from 100,000 tonnes in 2016-17 to 200,000 tonnes in 2020-21. The MoU will augment domestic availability of pulses in India and thereby stabilize its prices.

News 16 - Cabinet approves the National Apprenticeship Promotion Scheme

National Apprenticeship Promotion Scheme

The Union Cabinet has approved a National Apprenticeship Promotion Scheme. The Scheme has an outlay of Rs. 10,000 crores with a target of 50 lakh apprentices to be trained by 2019-20.

The Scheme would be implemented by the Director General of Training (DGT) under Ministry of Skill Development and Entrepreneurship (MSDE). It is for the first time a scheme has been designed to offer financial incentives to employers to engage apprentices. 25% of the total stipend payable to an apprentice would be shared with employers directly by Government of India. In addition, 50% of the total expenditure incurred on providing basic training would be supported by the Government of India.

News 17 - Cabinet approves MoU between India and Tanzania in the field of Traditional Systems of Medicine and Homeopathy

India and Tanzania

The Union Cabinet has approved signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between India and Tanzania in the field of Traditional Systems of Medicine and Homeopathy.

The MoU will provide structured frame work for the cooperation between the two countries for the promotion and propagation of Indian Traditional Systems of Medicine & Homeopathy in Tanzania. The financial resources necessary to conduct research, training courses, conferences / meetings will be met from the existing allocated budget and existing plan schemes of Ministry of AYUSH.

News 18 - Cabinet approves setting up a Major port at Enayam near Colachel in Tamil Nadu

Major Port

The Union Cabinet has given its 'in-principle' approval for setting up a Major port at Enayam near Colachel in Tamil Nadu. Currently, all of India's trans-shipment traffic gets handled in Colombo, Singapore and other international ports. Indian port industry loses out up to Rs. 1,500 Crores of revenues each year.

A Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV) will be formed for development of this Port with initial equity investment from the three Major Ports in Tamil Nadu i.e. V.O. Chidambaranar Port Trust, Chennai Port Trust, and Kamarajar Port Limited. A Major port at Enayam will act as a major gateway container port for Indian cargo as well as it will become a trans-shipment hub for the global East-West trade route.

News 19 - MSME Ministry reveals the World's Largest Charkha at Delhi Airport

Largest Charkha

The Union Minister for MSME unveiled the world’s largest Charkha (spinning wheel) at Terminal 3 of the Indira Gandhi International Airport (IGI), New Delhi so as to highlight India’s rich cultural heritage through different artworks at the terminal.

The present artworks at the terminal include Mudras, Regal procession, Elephant statues, Surya Sculpture, Suryanamaskar and Worli Art among others displays Indian heritage globally and now father of nation Mahatma Gandhi’s charkha will also be a part of it. Charkha is the sign of Gandhian values and shows the Governments priority to Khadi and Village Industries in the country. Also, the wheel represents the center of a network of cotton growers, carders, weavers, distributors, and users.

News 20 - Ministry of Agriculture launched Krishi Vigyan Kendra portal for monitoring of farm centers

Krishi Vigyan Kendras

An online portal has been launched by the Agriculture Minister Radha Mohan Singh to monitor the functioning of nearly 645 Krishi Vigyan Kendras (KVKs), known as farmscience centers, spread across the country. The farm-science centers which have an objective to check Agri-technology and give demo of farmer’s application and capacity development, are being established in rural districts. Each KVK has direct interface with at least 1,000 farmers.

The KVK portal will provide information related to all schemes, market development and weather updates, besides guidance to farmers, as already farmers and other stakeholders faced problem in accessing details.

News 21 - National Coordinated Action Plan to clean-up 10 iconic places under the Swachh Bharat mission

Swachh Bharat Mission

The Ministry of Drinking Water and Sanitation organized a 2-day workshop in New Delhi for special clean-up of 100 iconic places across the country, starting with 10 in the first phase. Representatives from the following 10 places participated in the workshop, along with representatives from concerned State Governments and Municipal Bodies.

  • Vaishno Devi − Jammu & Kashmir
  • Taj Mahal − Uttar Pradesh
  • Tirupati Temple − Andhra Pradesh
  • Golden Temple − Punjab
  • Ajmer Sharif − Rajasthan
  • Meenakshi Temple − Tamil Nadu
  • Kamakhya Temple − Assam
  • Jagannath Puri − Odisha
  • Manikarnika Ghat − Uttar Pradesh
  • Chatrapati Shivaji Terminus − Maharashtra

News 22 - Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh conducted BRICS anti-drug control meeting

Rajnath Singh

The Union Home Minister Shri Rajnath Singh inaugurated the second anti-drug Working Group meeting of Heads of Drug Control Agencies of BRICS countries, organized by the Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB). In keeping with the spirit of the eThekwani Declaration, the first anti-drug working group meeting of BRICS countries was organized at Moscow, Russia in November, 2015.

The agenda items which were discussed includes improving information exchange mechanisms on illicit trafficking of synthetic drugs and new psychoactive substances including early detection of new psycho active substances, maritime drug trafficking, diversion of precursors and controlled chemicals for manufacturing of illicit synthetic drugs etc. and capacity building and training of personnel of enforcement agencies.

News 23 - India, South Africa inked MoUs in the field of Science, Technology, Tourism and IT

India and South Africa

India and South Africa inked three Memorandum of Understanding and one Program of Cooperation during PM Narendra Modi’s visit to South Africa. The three Memorandum of Understanding are in the fields of ICT (Information and Communications Technology); Tourism and Grassroots Innovation in Science and Technology (S & T).

A Program of Cooperation in Arts and Culture was the fourth bilateral agreement.

News 24 - Plantation drive cum National Green Highways Mission launched by Road Transport & Highways Ministry

Plantation Drive

The Union Minister of Road Transport & Highways and Shipping Shri Nitin Gadkari launched the initial plantation drive on 1,500 kms of National Highways at a cost of about Rs. 300 crores under the National Green Highways Mission in New Delhi. Other initiatives launched by him were to follow a Green Highway Program, Kisan Harit Rajmarg Yojana, knowledge reports of the mission and the launch of National Green Highways Mission Mobile App.

The mobile application will enable the management to monitor all the projects with real time data from the fields. The Yojana is a pilot scheme to extend green belt beyond the existing ‘Right of Way’ of highways by engaging farmers and providing alternative livelihood option to the nearby communities.

News 25 - Namami Gange Program introduces 231 water resources projects all over country

Namami Gange Program

There will be 231 projects inaugurated by the Union Minister of Water Resources at various locations in Uttrakhand, UP, Bihar, Jharkhand, West Bengal, Haryana and Delhi. These projects involve modernization and redevelopment of Ghats and crematoriums, development of sewage infrastructure and treatment, afforestation, tree plantation (medicinal plants), pilot drain project, interceptor drain project, trash skimmers and conservation of biodiversity.

Close to 400 villages along the river Ganga will be developed as Ganga Gram in Phase-I. There are 13 IITs who have adopted five villages each for development as Ganga Grams. Training for 328 sarpanch’s was completed at Sichawal in Punjab and eight biodiversity centers will be developed along Ganga for restoration of identified priority species.

News 26 - Myspeed App launched to trace real time Mobile Internet Speed

Myspeed App

The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) has launched a mobile app "TRAI MySpeed" to help consumers check the internet speed on their smart phones and their data speed on 3G/4G networks so that consumers can select the best mobile operator in their locality.

This app will provide the users an option to send the results to the TRAI’s server. This app is in co-ordination with the Telecom Commercial Communications Customer Preference Regulations (TCCCPR), 2010, issued by TRAI. The app is a kind of crowdsourcing initiative to check network performance of all the mobile operators.

News 27 - DoNER to provide subsidy to North-east industrial units for employment opportunities


Ministry of Development of North-Eastern Region (DoNER) will offer subsidy incentives in Northeast for industrial and other units generating employment. The assistance to North Eastern Development Finance Corporation (NEDFI) would incorporate a component of higher interest subsidy for such units which give more employment. It has been decided to carry out satellite based survey for planning and monitoring of projects in the region.

The DoNER Ministry will also take up waste management project under North East Rural Livelihood Project (NERLP) and North Eastern Region Community Resource Management Project (NERCORMP). Also, it has been decided to introduce Venture capital funds as another incentive for those undertaking “Startup” initiatives in the North-Eastern region.

News 28 - India and Bangladesh ink 1320 Megawatt deal for coal fired power plant

Coal Fired Power Plant

Bangladesh-India Friendship Power Company (Pvt) Limited (BIFPCL), the joint venture enterprise signed the deal with Bharat Heavy Electricals for construction of 1,320 Megawatt Coal Fired Power Plant at Bangladesh's Southwestern Rampal near the Sundarbans. This deal has been already semi financed by India's Exim Bank for amount $1.49 billion to start generating power in 2019.

The said deal has been confirmed environment-friendly technology being used to set up the plant.

News 29 - Seven MOUs inked between India and Kenya to boost bilateral relations

India and Kenya

Several agreements were signed between India and Kenya which include Double Taxation Avoidance Agreement, exemption of Visa for holders of Diplomatic passports, defense, National Housing Policy Development and trade, in the presence of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and President Uhuru Kenyatta.

A line of credit for US $15 million was also inked between IDBI Capital Limited and Kenya, for development of various small and medium enterprises in Kenya and a line of credit for US $29.95 million to the Government of Kenya for improvement of Rift Valley Textiles Factory.

News 30 - India and Tanzania inked five agreements to improve bilateral relations

Bilateral Relations

The Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Tanzanian President John Pombe Joseph Magufuli inked five agreements to improve the bilateral relations between the two nations, which are −

  • Visa waiver for diplomatic or official passport holders.

  • LOC of US $92 million for rehabilitation and improvement of Zanzibar's water supply system.

  • Water Resource Management and Development.

  • Establishment of vocational training centre at Zanzibar.

  • Agreement between National Small Industries Corporation of India and Small Industries of Development Organization Tanzania.

News 31 - Ministry of Health Launches Nationwide “Intensified Diarrhoea Control Fortnight (IDCF)”

Intensified Diarrhoea Control Fortnight

The Ministry of Health launched nationwide “Intensified Diarrhoea Control Fortnight (IDCF) from 11th to 23rd July across the country. The Ministry also unveiled a package of measures putting the Government’s resolve to end child Diarrhoea deaths on the overdrive. ASHAs shall visit all households with children below five years of age for pre-positioning the ORS.

About 21 Lakh children could be prevented from hospitalization and death due to Diarrhoea last year. More than 5 lakh schools participated in the IDCF campaign and more than 3.5 lakh ORS corners were set up in the country.

News 32 - Indian Engineering gets global attention at INNOPROM ’16, Russia

Indian Engineering

India has put up an impressive show at INNOPROM 2016, the largest annual international industrial trade fair of Russia. India is the Partner Country for INNOPROM 2016.

As many as 110 companies (spread in over 100 stands) are taking part in the technological and engineering trade fair, including the Department of Heavy Industries, Department of Electronics and Information Technology, Ministry of New and Renewable Energy, Bharat Forge, Sun Group, NTPC, NHPC and Ace Designers to name a few.

News 33 - Center to introduce easy online loan applying process for agriculture loan

Agriculture Loan

The Union Minister of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare, Shri Radha Mohan Singh requested NABARD to make its agriculture loan process easier along with its banking facilities, so that they can grant the required loan on time and to ensure that loan applying process be conducted online.

The Government will make provisions to provide bank loan to landless farmers by providing financial assistance of Rs. 10,225 crores to 10.49 lakh joint liability groups during the span of 2 years and by providing online mortgage.

News 34 - Government imposed Anti-dumping duty on PTA imports from 5 countries

Anti-Dumping Duty

The Finance Ministry has levied anti-dumping duty on purified terephthalic acid (PTA) imports from China, Iran, Taiwan, Indonesia and Malaysia for a period of five years, effective December 10, 2015. The petition was filed by MCC PTA India Corp Pvt. Ltd and Reliance Industries Ltd.

The import restrictive tax has been imposed for five years by the Revenue Department on recommendations of the Directorate General of Anti-Dumping and Allied Duties (DGAD), said a notification of Central Board of Excise and Customs (CBEC).

News 35 - Arvind Subramanian panel set up to review the shortage of Pulses

Arvind Subramanian

A high-level committee headed by Chief Economic Adviser Arvind Subramanian has been formed to review the minimum support price (MSP), bonus for pulses and to put a check on rising prices of pulses in the country.

It has been observed that the production of pulses in India is expected to increase to 20 million tonnes in 2016-17, but it will still fall short of about 25 million tonnes needed annually. This panel will have to submit its report within two weeks. It will look into various opportunities to frame a long-term policy on pulses to handle shortage issues.

News 36 - ‘Sankat Mochan’ Mission rescued Indians from war torn South Sudan

Sankat Mochan

Operation 'Sankat Mochan' evacuated over 140 Indians from the war torn South Sudan's capital Juba. Two C-17 military transport aircrafts were sent, where a fragile ceasefire holds amid a civil war, had cleared the conflict zone to make the evacuation.

The operation was undertaken by Indian Air Force (IAF) under the leadership of Minister of State for External Affairs General (Retd) VK Singh. The Airlift operation was organized by the Indian Ambassador in South Sudan Srikumar Menon and his team. South Sudan is going through a political fight between its President Salva Kiir and its Vice-president Riek Machar, resulting into ceasefire violence.

News 37 - Union Cabinet gave nod for training and skilling youth under the Pradhan Mantri Kaushal Vikas Yojana

Pradhan Mantri Kaushal Vikas Yojana

The Union Cabinet chaired by the Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi has approved the Pradhan Mantri Kaushal Vikas Yojana (PMKVY) with an outlay of Rs.12000 crores to impart skilling to one crore people over the next four years (2016-2020). PMKVY will impart fresh training to 60 lakh youths and certify skills of 40 lakh persons acquired non-formally under the Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL).

There will be scholarship for student undergoing training in high end job roles under this Scheme.

News 38 - Union Government notifies Aadhaar Act, 2016

Aadhaar Act

The Union Government has notified the UIDAI (Terms and Conditions of Service of Chairperson and Members) Rules, 2016 to give legal status to Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI). Besides, the Union Government has also envisaged the UIDAI (Terms and Conditions of Service of Chairperson and Members) Rules, 2016. The Act will provide the way for appointment of its chairperson and members.

The Union Government is going to notify the Aadhaar Act in two phases for complete operationalization of the Act. Presently, only Sections 11 to 20, 22 to 23 and sections 48 to 59 of the Act have been notified for operationalization.

News 39 - Union Cabinet gives nod to 15% stake sell in NBCC


The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) gave nod to dis disinvestment of 15% paid up equity of National Buildings Construction Corporation Limited (NBCC), a ‘Navratna’ company incorporated in 1960. At present, Union Government holds 90% shareholding of the corporation (i.e. 54 crore shares), which will help government to earn approximately 1706 crore rupees.

The remaining 10% of the equity is held by the public. The Government has targets to achieve Rs. 56,500 crores through disinvestment in PSEs this financial year.

News 40 - Union Cabinet gives nod to revival of three Fertilizer Units in Gorakhpur, Sindri and Barauni

Fertilizer Units

The Union Cabinet has approved the revival of three defunct Fertilizer Units in Gorakhpur, Sindri and Barauni. These inlude two closed urea units of Fertilizer Corporation India Limited (FCIL) at Sindri (Jharkhand) and Gorakhpur (Uttar Pradesh) and Barauni (Bihar) unit of Hindustan Fertilizers Corporation Limited (HFCL).

These three fertilizers units would be revived by means of Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV) of Public Sector Units (PSUs) namely, National Thermal Power Corporation (NTPC), Coal India Limited (CIL), Indian Oil Corporation Limited (IOCL) and FCIL/HFCL, through ‘Nomination Route’.

News 41 - National Bureau of Animal Genetic Resources registered Kendrapara Sheep Breed Status

Kendrapara Sheep

The breed status of Kendrapara sheep, an indigenous variety mainly found in Kendrapara, Cuttack, Jagatsinghpur, Bhadrak and Jajpur districts of Odisha was formally registered by National Bureau of Animal Genetic Resources (NBAGR) as it was found in research that the Kendrapara sheep carries a rare gene mutation.

The Kendrapara breed is found as the second in India and sixth in the world to carry FecB mutation gene responsible for multiple births such as twins and triplets.

News 42 - Cabinet gave nod to Revised Cost Estimate of PunatsangchhuII Hydroelectric Project in Bhutan

Punatsangchhu-II Hydroelectric Project

The Union Cabinet gave its approval for Revised Cost Estimate (RCE) of Rs. 7290.62 crores for the ongoing 1020 MW Punatsangchhu-II Hydroelectric Project (HEP) in Bhutan. The total cost escalation for the project, at this stage, is Rs.3512.82 crores.

The Project will provide surplus power to India and thus augment power availability in the country. The factors behind cost escalation are due to inflation from March 2009 to March 2015, change in surface power house to underground power house, increase in capacity from 990 MW to 1020 MW.

News 43 - Cabinet gives nod for amendment to the Bill for change of name to “Dr. Rajendra Prasad Central Agricultural University”

Rajendra Agricultural University

The Union Cabinet has given its ex-post facto approval for the Official amendment to the Rajendra Central Agricultural University Bill, 2015 for change of name from “Rajendra Central Agricultural University” to “Dr. Rajendra Prasad Central Agricultural University”.

Dr. Rajendra Prasad Central Agricultural University, Pusa is to fulfill the desired goal and achieve excellence in teaching and produce the much-needed manpower educated in agriculture and allied sciences.

News 44 - India is the first nation to become MNTE free and YAWS free


India is the first country to be officially acknowledged as being Yaws-free by WHO and UNICEF. India was validated for Maternal and Neonatal Tetanus Elimination (MNTE) in April 2015, much ahead of the global target date of December 2015.

The elimination of Maternal and Neonatal Tetanus as a public health problem means that in our country the annual rate of Maternal and Neonatal Tetanus is now less than 1 per 1000 live births. The gains in keeping India free from preventable deaths continues with introduction of newer vaccines such as Rotavirus vaccine, IPV, Adult JE and soon-to-be introduced Measles-Rubella in the public health program of the country.

News 45 - President of India inaugurated First Edition India Skills Competition

Pranab Mukherjee

President Shri Pranab Mukherjee inaugurated the first edition of “India Skills Competition” on the occasion of World Youth Skills Day and first anniversary of the “Skill India” initiative. Ministry of Skill Development and Entrepreneurship (MSDE) also announced the launch of five major initiatives reinforcing Ministry’s commitment to the youth of India. These initiatives are Pradhan Mantri Kaushal Vikas Yojana 2.0, India International Skill Centers, India Skills Online and a Labour Management Information System (LMIS).

The event also saw the announcement of 50 India International Skill Centers that are slated to be open by the end of this year. India Skills is a national competition steered by Ministry of Skill Development & Entrepreneurship (MSDE) and National Skill Development Corporation (NSDC) to select the best talent who will lead India’s participation at the biennial World Skills International Competition scheduled at Abu Dhabi in 2017.

News 46 - Universal roll-out of Public Financial Management System (PFMS) for Central Sector Schemes


In the need for improved financial management in implementation of Central Plan Schemes, facilitate Just-in-Time Releases and monitor the usage of funds, Department of Expenditure administered Public Financial Management System (PFMS), which is an endto-end solution for processing payments, tracking, monitoring, accounting, reconciliation and reporting. It provides the scheme managers a unified platform for tracking releases and monitoring their last mile utilization.

Government has decided to universalize the use of PFMS to cover all transactions/payments under the Central Sector Schemes. Central Ministries/Departments have been directed to complete the full roll-out of PFMS in 2017.

News 47 - Seventy-Four schemes of 17 Ministries & Departments brought under DBT


There are 74 schemes from 17 Ministries and Departments that have been successfully brought under the Direct Benefit Transfer (DBT scheme of the government).

It was revealed by the Finance Minister Arun Jaitley during the 3rd Meeting of Consultative Committee attached to the Ministry of Finance on Direct Benefit Transfer held on 15th July. The Consultative Committee meeting started with a presentation on Direct Benefit Transfer by Ministry of Finance officials. The presentation outlined the evolution of Direct Benefit Transfer, various features of the scheme, DBT Mission, key components of DBT, progress of Aadhar card, the challenges ahead and the way forward.

News 48 - Union Government Launches Transforming India website

Transforming India website

The Union Government has formally launched a new Transforming India Website – – in New Delhi.

This community based platform facilitates two-way communication between the government and citizens. It is also a social platform on which users can share their opinions about various initiatives of the government. The key facets of the website are that it promotes accountability in major national initiatives, acts as a repository of major policies and decisions and provides a central platform to citizens for sharing of transformational changes that they see around themselves.

News 49 - Over 14 lakh LPG connections released under the PMUY


Over fourteen lakh LPG connections have been released to the women of BPL families under the Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana (PMUY). According to the Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas, the scheme is currently under operation in 487 districts of 17 states.

The scheme, launched in May 2016, aims at providing LPG connections to five-crore below the poverty line beneficiaries over the next three years. The Petroleum Ministry also warned consumers against a number of fake websites which have come up after the launch of the Ujjwala scheme.

News 50 - E-market launched by Ministry of Commerce to promote online purchasing


The Commerce Minister Nirmala Sitharaman introduced an e-marketplace for online purchase of goods and services by various central government ministries and departments to bring more transparency in procurement of goods and services by government. It is designed and developed by the Directorate General of Supplies and Disposals in support of Department of Electronics and IT.

It is an initiative to increase aggregate demand which will turn to lower prices, better options available and faster consumption.

News 51 - Atal Pension Yojana: Centre releases Rs. 100 crore as contribution for 2015-16

Atal Pension Yojana

The Centre has released Rs. 100 crores as its contribution for the year 2015-16 for around 17 lakh eligible subscribers of Atal Pension Yojana (APY). The scheme provides for Government's co-contribution which is half of the subscriber's contribution up to a maximum of one thousand rupees per annum.

More than 30 lakh subscribers have registered under Atal Pension Yojana (APY) and every day nearly 5000 new subscribers are being added. The government had launched the scheme in 2015 to address the longevity risks among the workers in unorganized sector and encourage them to voluntarily save for their retirement.

News 52 - Centre releases over Rs. 28000 crores under MGNREGA this year


The Centre has released more than Rs. 28,000 crores so far this year to states under the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act, MGNREGA to clear the last year's liabilities and for running the program in the ongoing year.

Under MNREGA, funds are released to the states on the basis of agreed to labour budget and performance of the states. The Centre has started National Electronic Fund Management System in 11 states. Special camps are being organized at block level or gram panchayat level for linking the Aadhaar numbers of MGNREGA workers with their bank accounts.

News 53 - The Parliament passes the Bill for Regional Centre for Biotechnology

Biotechnology Bill

The Parliament has passed the Regional Centre for Biotechnology Bill, 2016 after Rajya Sabha approved it. The Bill seeks to establish a Regional Centre for Biotechnology, an institution of education, training and research, under the auspices of United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) in the National Capital Region.

It also confers upon it the status of an institution of national importance. The Regional Centre is to disseminate knowledge by providing teaching and research facilities in biotechnology and related fields. Besides, it will help create a hub of biotechnology expertise and promote cooperation at the international level.

News 54 - SWAYAM Prabha-Educational Contents through DTH


The Government has approved a project to launch the ‘SWAYAM Prabha’ which is a project for operationalizing 32 Direct to Home (DTH) Television Channels for providing high quality educational content to all teachers, students and citizens across the country interested in lifelong learning. There will be new content of four hours every day, which would be telecast six times a day allowing students to choose the time of his/her convenience.

These 32 channels are proposed to be launched before September 2016. Initially the programs will be in English but with the passage of time these programs will be launched in the regional languages also.

News 55 - Ministry of Railways to install TRI-NETRA systems on locomotives


The Ministry of Railways has initiated a proposal to install TRI-NETRA systems on locomotives for enhancing the vision of Locomotive Pilots in inclement weather. TRINETRA stands for - Terrain imaging for diesel dRivers INfra-red, Enhanced opTical & Radar Assisted system.

This TRI-NETRA system shall be made up of high-resolution optical video camera, high sensitivity infra-red video camera and additionally a radar-based terrain mapping system. These three components of the system shall act as three eyes (Tri-Netra) of the Locomotive Pilot. The concept of TRI-NETRA was developed by Development Cell under the guidance of Member Mechanical, Railway Board.

News 56 - Cabinet approves construction of a New Dry Dock of Cochin Shipyard Limited

Cochin Shipyard Limited

The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs has given its approval for construction of a new dry dock within the existing premises of Cochin Shipyard Limited (CSL) at an estimated cost of Rs. 1799 crores to augment the shipbuilding / repair capacity of the country.

This big sized dry dock is a critical requirement of CSL to promote ship building and is a step in the direction of "Make in India" initiative of the Government. The project proposal would generate employment within the country, apart from direct employment of 300 personnel, about 2,000 personnel would be indirectly employed when the project becomes fully operational.

News 57 - Nuclear Power Projects at Chhaya Mithi Virdi in Gujarat

Nuclear Power

The sites at Chhaya Mithi Virdi in Gujarat and Kovvada in Andhra Pradesh were accorded ‘In Principle’ approval and designated for setting up nuclear power plants in technical cooperation with United States of America (USA). In this regard, discussions were in progress with two US companies, Westinghouse Electric Company (WEC) and GE Hitachi Nuclear Energy (GEH).

It has been decided to set up reactors in technical cooperation with WEC of USA at Kovvada in Andhra Pradesh. The site at Chhaya Mithi Virdi in Gujarat continues to be designated for setting up nuclear power reactors in technical cooperation with USA.

News 58 - AERB has been established as the Independent Nuclear Safety Authority

Atomic Energy Regulatory Board

The Government of India has established the Atomic Energy Regulatory Board (AERB) as a regulatory body empowered to enforce safety standards and regulate the functioning of Nuclear Power Plants (NPPs). AERB is functionally independent from the Government and the facilities it regulates and has adequate powers with respect to its mandate of enforcing Safety regulation of nuclear and radiation facilities in the country.

The Integrated Regulatory Review Service (IRRS) mission conducted by International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) in March 2015 has acknowledged that AERB has functional independence as the regulator.

News 59 - ECI Launches the “National Electoral Roll Purification” (NERP) 2016

National Electoral Roll Purification

The Election Commission of India (ECI) has launched National Electoral Roll Purification” (NERP) program to enhance the purity and fidelity of Electoral Rolls (ERs) and for standardization of Polling Stations (PS) for electors’ convenience and facilitate electors’ reach their PS with ease. “No voter to be left behind” is the motto of the ECI for year 2016.

The Commission has launched the intensive field implementation phase of NERP 2016 which would culminate well before the next draft publication of ERs for annual summary revision with 1st January 2017 as qualifying date.

News 60 - LS passes Indian Medical Council (Amendment) Bill, 2016 & Dentists (Amendment) Bill, 2016


The Lok Sabha passed the Indian Medical Council (Amendment) Bill, 2016 and the Dentists (Amendment) Bill, 2016. The bills seek to keep state boards out of the ambit of National Eligibility Entrance Examination, NEET for admission in MBBS and BDS courses for this year. It will give statutory status to the NEET.

The Bills provide for conduct of uniform entrance examination for admission to all medical educational institutions at the undergraduate and post-graduate courses. The examination will be conducted in Hindi, English and some other languages. CBSE will conduct the examination for undergraduate medical courses while for postgraduate courses it will be done by National Board of Examination.

News 61 - Rajya Sabha passes Child Labour (Prohibition and Regulation) Amendment Bill 2012

Child Labour

Rajya Sabha has passed the Child Labour (Prohibition and Regulation) Amendment Bill 2012. The Bill is aligned with the statutes of the International Labour Organisation, ILO convention. Punishments for violations have been made stricter in the amended Bill.

Explaining the Family Enterprises clause in the Bill, Labour and Employment Minister Bandaru Dattatreya said, in a Family Enterprise, there will be no employer-employee relationship and there are sufficient safeguards. Mr. Dattatreya also informed that Government is taking the National Child Labour Project forward by spending more funds.

News 62 - NITI Aayog & Intel India Sign Statement of Intent to start Atal Tinkering Lab Initiative


NITI Aayog signed a Statement of Intent (SoI) with Intel India and introduced the Atal Tinkering Laboratories (ATL) initiative as a part of its flagship program – the Atal Innovation Mission (AIM).

The key objective is to build relevant skill sets among youngsters and to provide access to technology that will enable solutions. Intel will co-lead the creation and management of ten ATLs as State Hubs. These laboratories intend to impact 250,000 youth with innovation skills & skills for the future across 500 communities & schools.

News 63 - ECI Launches SVEEP portal in Hindi along with the release of NERP handbook

Nasim Zaidi

Dr. Nasim Zaidi, Chief Election Commissioner of India launched the SVEEP Portal in Hindi along with the release of Matdaata Mahotsav document and film during the Conference of Chief Electoral Officers of States. A handbook on NERP (National Electoral Rolls Purification) was also released during the conference.

The SVEEP Portal is a web based application, accessible to the Chief Electoral Officers and all other stakeholders and serves as a window for easy accessibility of various initiatives of the Commission like NVSP, Online Voter Competition, information on events, best practices, creative content and other resource material. NERP will help to further improve upon the Electoral Roll and ensure it stays error free in a standardized form.

News 64 - DBT scheme saved Rs. 21K crores in LPG subsidy in 2 years

DBT scheme

The Government clarified that the savings resulting from the Direct Benefit Transfer of LPG scheme PAHAL is estimated to be Rs. 21,261 crores since the launch of the scheme in 2014-15.

The Petroleum Ministry said 3.34 crore fake connections were blocked under the scheme which resulted in the savings. The statement claimed if these connections were not blocked the subsidy bill would have been much higher despite the fall in crude oil prices.

News 65 - Cabinet approves amendment in the Benami Transactions (Prohibition) amendment Bill, 2015

Benami Transactions

The Union Cabinet has given its approval for introducing amendments to the Benami Transactions (Prohibition) (Amendment) Bill, 2015 in Parliament which aim to strengthen the Bill in terms of legal and administrative procedure so as to overcome the practical difficulties which may arise in the implementation of the provisions of the Bill when it becomes an Act.

The legislation is also intended to effectively prohibit benami transactions and consequently prevent circumvention of law through unfair practices. It empowers the Government to confiscate benami property by following due procedure. It therefore promotes equity across all citizens. However, those who declare their benami properties under income declaration scheme will get immunity under the Benami Act.

News 66 - Cabinet approves an MoU signed between India and the Swiss Confederation for cooperation in skill development

India and Swiss

The Union Cabinet has given its ex-post-facto approval for a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) signed between India and the State Secretariat for Education, Research and Innovation of the Swiss Confederation for cooperation in skill development.

This MoU broadly focuses on capacity building and exchange of best practices in the area of skill development. This MoU envisions the establishment of Joint Working Group (JWG) to create, monitor and review the implementation framework for the MoU. This MoU will establish a framework for bilateral cooperation between the two countries in the area of skill development and will formalize and deepen this partnership.

News 67 - Cabinet approves establishment of new All India Institutes of Medical Sciences at Gorakhpur

Gorakhpur Medical Sciences

The Union Cabinet has given its approval for establishment of new All India Institutes of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) at Gorakhpur in Uttar Pradesh under Pradhan Mantri Swasthya Suraksha Yojana (PMSSY).

The cost of the project for establishment of the new AIIMS in Gorakhpur shall be Rs. 1011 crores. The institution shall have a hospital with capacity of 750 beds which will include Emergency/Trauma Beds, AYUSH Beds, Private Beds and ICU Specialty & Super Specialty beds.

News 68 - Cabinet approves signing of Air Services Agreement between India and Mozambique

Air Services

The Union Cabinet has approved signing of the Air Services Agreement between India and Mozambique. Presently there is no Air Services Agreement between both these countries.

Multiple designation of Airlines by each party which can enter into cooperative marketing arrangements with the designated carriers of same party, other party and that of a Third party.

The major features of the Agreement include −

  • This agreement allows designated airlines of either countries to establish offices in the territory of other country for the promotion and sale of air services.

  • The designated airlines of the two countries shall have fair and equal opportunity to operate the agreed services on specified routes.

News 69 - MoU between India and Tunisia in the field of Information and Communications Technology and Digital Economy

India and Tunisia

The Union Cabinet has been apprised of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) signed between India and Tunisia for strengthening bilateral cooperation in the field of Information and Communications Technology (ICT) and Digital Economy.

This MoU intends to foster active cooperation and exchange between private entities, Governments, institutions involved in enhancing capacity building and other public and private organizations of the two countries in the field of ICT and Digital Economy.

News 70 - Cabinet approves the Transgender Persons (Protection of Rights) Bill 2016

Transgender Rights

The Union Cabinet has approved The Transgender Persons (Protection of Rights) Bill 2016. Through this Bill, the Government has evolved a mechanism for their social, economic and educational empowerment.

This Bill will benefit a large number of transgender persons, mitigate the stigma, discrimination and abuse against this marginalized section and bring them into the mainstream of society. It will lead to greater inclusiveness and will make the transgender person’s productive members of the society.

News 71 - Cabinet approves incorporation of Sagarmala Development Company

Sagarmala Development Company

The Union Cabinet has approved the incorporation of Sagarmala Development Company (SDC) under the Companies Act, 2013 with an initial Authorized Share Capital of Rs. 1,000 Crores and a Subscribed Share Capital of Rs. 90 Crores. SDC will be under the administrative control of the Ministry of Shipping.

The Sagarmala Development Company will identify port-led development projects and assist the project SPVs in project development and structuring activities, bidding out projects for private sector participation, putting in place suitable risk management measures for strategic projects cutting across multiple states and regions and obtaining requisite approvals and clearances.

News 72 - India’s share in the International Satellite Market

International Satellite Market

According to the published reports available in the public domain on the international satellite market, the average annual revenue over the last three years, is approximately $200 billion (Rs. 13 Lakh Crores). During the last year (2015-16), Antrix Corporation Limited earned a revenue of approximately Rs. 230 Crores through commercial launch services, which is about 0.6% of the global launch services market

In order to meet the enhanced national requirements for launching satellites for earth observation, communication & navigation, ISRO is taking steps to increase the launch capacity.

News 73 - Lok Sabha passes a Bill for new NIT in Andhra Pradesh


The Lok Sabha has passed the National Institute of Technology, Science, Education and Research (Amendment) (NITSER) Bill, 2016. It seeks to establish a National Institute of Technology in Andhra Pradesh on lines with the provisions of Andhra Pradesh Reorganization Act, 2014 with effect from August 2015.

The Union Government has allocated Rs. 40 crores towards the institute in the current financial year while an outlay of Rs. 226 crores have been made over the next three years.

News 74 - EESL distributed more than 13.15 crore LED bulbs till July 18 in Gujarat

LED Bulbs

More than 13.15 crore LED bulbs have been distributed by the Energy Efficiency Services Limited, EESL and approximately 8 crores by other suppliers till 18th of July 2016.

Close to 77 crore conventional incandescent bulbs are to be replaced with LED bulbs by March 2019. The EESL is playing an important role in replacing these bulbs, while several other suppliers are also engaged in the same. Furthermore, about 1.2 crore domestic consumers have been targeted for distribution of LED bulbs by EESL in Gujarat.

News 75 - The 2nd phase of the ‘Feed the Future – India’ Triangular Training Program launched

Feed the Future

The Union Agriculture Ministry and the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) launched the second phase of the “Feed the Future – India” triangular training program. This program will help provide specialized agriculture training to 1,500 agricultural professionals across Africa and Asia. It is led by the National Institute of Agricultural Extension Management – MANAGE, Hyderabad.

This program will train agricultural professionals from 17 countries in Africa and Asia on specialized farming practices such as agricultural marketing, dairy management, food processing and ways to prevent post-harvest losses.

News 76 - Union Government set to redraw the Red Corridor

Red Corridor

The Union Government has decided to reduce the number of Maoist-affected districts by about a fifth. Close to 20 of the 106 Maoist affected districts would be removed from the Red Corridor list. Once removed from the list, these districts will no longer receive the financial aid, to the tune of Rs. 30 crores annually, for various developmental works.

The Expenditure Finance Committee (EFC) has already given the nod for an ambitious road project in the 44 worst-affected districts. Under this project, the government proposes to construct 5412 kms road length and 126 bridges and it would cost Rs. 11,725 crores.

News 77 - Lok Sabha passes Institutes of Technology (Amendment) Bill, 2016


The Lok Sabha passed the Institutes of Technology (Amendment) Bill, 2016. This Bill will govern the six new recently set up Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs) as well as bring the Indian School of Mines at Dhanbad into its ambit.

The Government will set up a fund with a Rs. 1,000 crores investment and an equal contribution from a financial institution that will leverage Rs. 20,000 crores for adding research infrastructure to the IITs. There is a proposal to start New IITs in Palakkad, Goa, Dharward and Bhilai as well.

News 78 - Centre approves Rs. 1601.51 crores for the Himayat program in J&K

Skill Training

The Union Government approved Rs. 1601.51 crores for Jammu and Kashmir under the skill development initiative 'Himayat'. The allocated fund will be invested in training 1.24 lakh local youths in vocational courses.

Under the reanimated Himayat program, youths would be given training for sixmonths, nine-months and one-year in joboriented courses. It is a training-cumplacement program for unemployed youth in Jammu and Kashmir. The scheme aims to train 100,000 youth in 5 years and provide at least 75% of them with jobs.

News 79 - India, US discover major Natural Gas Reserve in the Indian Ocean

Natural Gas Reserve

A research expedition carried out jointly by India, the United States and Japan have struck upon a large natural gas deposit in the Bay of Bengal. This is the first discovery of its kind in the Indian Ocean that has the potential to be producible. This research expedition was called the Indian National Gas Hydrate Program Expedition 02.

The international team of scientists was led by the Oil and Natural Gas Corporation Limited of India in cooperation with the US Geological Survey (USGS), the Japanese Drilling Company, and the Japan Agency for Marine-Earth Science and Technology.

News 80 - Cabinet approves the policy for awarding Waterfront and associated lands in major ports

Major Ports

The Union Cabinet approved the Policy for awarding of waterfront and associated land to port dependent industries in major ports. The Policy will result in uniformity and transparency in the procedure for awarding captive facilities. It will enable optimal utilization of capacities in major ports and increase revenue to the Major Port Authority.

Under this Policy, concession will be granted to the Port Dependent Industries (PDI) for setting up dedicated facilities in Major Ports for import and/or export of cargo and their storage before transportation to their destination, for a period not exceeding 30 years.

News 81 - Rajya Sabha passed the Compensatory Afforestation Fund Bill, 2016

Afforestation Fund Bill

The Rajya Sabha passed the Compensatory Afforestation Fund Bill, 2016. It had earlier been passed by the Lok Sabha in May 2016. The bill provides for establishment of funds at the Centre and State levels for compensatory afforestation. The states will get 42 thousand crore rupees for afforestation and related activities under the new legislation.

This Bill provides for establishment of a permanent institutional framework at the Central, at each State and Union territory to ensure utilization of these funds in an expeditious and transparent manner.

News 82 - The Rajya Sabha passed the Lokpal and Lokayukta Amendment Bill 2016


The Parliament has passed the Lokpal and Lokayukta Amendment Bill 2016 after the Rajya Sabha approved it on 28th July. This bill seeks to amend the Section 44 of the existing Act to allow extension of the time given to public servants. Presently, they have to furnish details of assets and liabilities within 30 days of joining the Government Service.

As per the amendment, the period of 30 days has been removed and now the public servants will be bound to make declaration of their assets and liabilities in the form and manner as prescribed by the Government. This Bill was passed by the Lok Sabha on the 27th July.

News 83 - Tourism Ministry identifies Kurukshetra under the Swadesh Darshan Scheme

Swadesh Darshan Scheme

Union Ministry of Tourism has identified the Kurukshetra region, under its Swadesh Darshan Scheme, to develop a Krishna Circuit with theme and sites related to Krishna’s life events including Mahabharata. The Ministry has approved Rs. 97.36 crores for the development of the tourism infrastructure at places related to Mahabharata in Kurukshetra.

The sites of specific tourist interest and importance have been covered in the Krishna Circuit by the Centre, which included Jyotisar, Brahm Sarovar, Sannhit Sarovar and Bhishma Kund at Narkatari.

News 84 - ‘C-ATFM’ To Decongest Air Traffic at Airports


Airports Authority of India has initiated the process for installation of Central Air Traffic Flow Management (C-ATFM) at 06 metro airports namely – Delhi, Chennai, Kolkata, Mumbai, Hyderabad & Bangalore and associated air spaces in the first phase. Supply, Installation, Testing and Commissioning (SITC) of first phase of CAFTM project has been awarded with a total estimated cost of Rs. 107 Crores.

The C-ATFM is for the purpose of balancing the demand and capacity at airports and airspace. There is no implication on navigational facilities at Indian airports.

News 85 - Centre forms ‘Disha’ for timely implementation of Central Schemes


The Union Government announced the formation of District Development Coordination and Monitoring Committee (DDCMC) to be named as “Disha” for effective development coordination of almost all the programs of the Central Government. These Committees will monitor the implementation of 28 schemes and programs of the Ministry of Rural Development and other Ministries to promote synergy and convergence for greater impact.

The Chairperson of this committee will be the senior most Member of Parliament (Lok Sabha) elected from the district, nominated by the Ministry of Rural Development.

News 86 - Supercomputer to forecast monsoon with Dynamical Model


The India Meteorological Department (IMD) will soon use a supercomputer running a dynamical model to forecast India’s annual summer monsoon. The dynamical model is being tested at the Indian Institute of Tropical Meteorology, (IITM) Pune for a decade and is ready for operational purposes in 2017.

IMD had been using the statistical model for almost 100 years to make its monsoon forecast which is based on the Ensemble Statistical Forecasting System that uses five predictors. The dynamical model, called the Coupled Forecast System Version 2, has so far achieved only 60% accuracy in forecasting the monsoon.

News 87 - FCI to develop an Online Procurement System


The Food Corporation of India (FCI) has decided to develop an online procurement system for registration of farmers and procurement of food grains. This system will send alerts through SMS to the registered farmers on date of procurement, location of procurement center, weight of the food grains procured and details of online payment made to the farmer for his procured food grains.

This system will enable FCI to track payment to farmers and bring transparency in grain procurement. Some states like Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh and Andhra Pradesh have already started e-procurement of food grains.

News 88 - More than Rs. 800 Crores released and nearly 14.3 lakh benefited under IGMSY during the period 2013-16


The Ministry of Women and Child Development is implementing IGMSY (Indira Gandhi Matritva Sahyog Yojana), a centrally sponsored Conditional Maternity Benefit (CMB) scheme. A total amount of Rs. 808 Crores has been released by the Ministry to States/UTs during 2013-16 and around 1432411 number of people benefited under the scheme during the same period. The IGMSY is being implemented in 53 selected districts across the country.

The Ministry has revised the entitlement of the maternity benefit under IGMSY from Rs. 4,000/- to Rs. 6,000/- per beneficiary with effect from 5th July, 2013 in accordance with the National Food Security Act (NFSA), 2013. The budget provision for the current financial year of 2016-17 is Rs. 400 crores.

News 89 - Spanish Train Talgo clocks 120 kmph during its Mathura-Palwal trial

Spanish Train Talgo

Spanish Train Talgo commenced its second phase trial from Mathura at 120 kms per hour speed with senior officials from Spain and Railways onboard. The train with nine coaches started the journey from Mathura to Palwal covering the 84 kms distance in about 53 minutes.

The trial between Mathura and Palwal will go on for 25 days and the speed will go up to 180 kmph this time. Hauled by a 4,500 HP diesel engine, Talgo coaches are lightweight and designed in a way that it can run on curves without decelerating the speed.

News 90 - The foundation stone laid for MSME technology center in Visakhapatnam


Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu laid the foundation of the Ministry of Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises technology centre at Pudi in Visakhapatnam district. The Centre has decided to locate a world-class technology centre with an investment of up to Rs. 120 crores.

Its main focus is to support industries, particularly MSMEs, through access to advanced manufacturing technologies, skilling manpower and providing technical and business advisory support to entrepreneurs. The program is funded by the World Bank and the Government of India.

News 91 - M/o Tourism sanctions Rs. 2048 Crores under the Swadesh Darshan scheme

Indian Tourism

The Ministry of Tourism has sanctioned 25 Projects under the Swadesh Darshan Scheme worth Rs. 2048 Crores so far to 21 States and Union Territories since its launch in January 2015. These States and UTs include Jammu and Kashmir, Uttarakhand, Rajasthan, Maharashtra, Kerala, Puducherry, Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Madhya Pradesh, Chattisgarh, Bihar, West Bengal, Sikkim, Assam, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Arunachal Pradesh, Nagaland, Manipur and Tripura.

For the North Eastern States, the Ministry has sanctioned 9 projects worth Rs. 821 Crores covering all the 8 states. For the Tribal areas, the Ministry has sanctioned 3 projects for Rs. 282 Crores to the SG of Nagaland, Chhattisgarh and Telangana. For the Buddhist Circuit, the Ministry has sanctioned 2 projects worth Rs. 108.11 Crores to the SG of Bihar and Madhya Pradesh.

News 92 - Strategic Forces Command exempted from RTI ambit


The Strategic Forces Command has been added to the Second Schedule of the Right to Information Act (RTI), 2005, which exempts security and intelligence establishments from its purview. The SFC forms a part of the National Command Authority (NCA). The NCA’s Executive Council, chaired by the National Security Adviser, gives inputs to the Political Council, which authorizes a nuclear attack if needed. The Political Council is chaired by the Prime Minister and advised by the Executive Council.

The NCA’s directives are executed by the Strategic Forces Command headed by a Commander-in-Chief of the rank of Air Marshal.

News 93 - Railway Minister laid the foundation stone for construction of the new Railway Station at Imphal

Suresh Prabhu

Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu laid the foundation stone for construction of the new Railway Station at Imphal, a Rs. 90 crore project that is scheduled to be completed next year. The proposed Imphal railway station is located about 13 km from the centre of Imphal, in Yurembam village. The overall cost of construction of the station Building will be roughly Rs. 8.7 crores. The construction of the railway line reaching up to Imphal from Tupul in Tamenglong district is scheduled to be completed in 2020.

The minister also announced the commencement of work for the longest rail tunnel in India and will come up on the Jiribam–Tupul–Imphal new broad gauge railway line. It will be 11.55 kms long, more than the famous Pir Panjal tunnel on the Banihal-Qazigund line.

News 94 - Cabinet approves Bilateral Investment Treaty between India and Cambodia to boost investment

India and Cambodia

The Union Cabinet has approved a Bilateral Investment Treaty (BIT) between India and Cambodia. The Treaty is the first Bilateral Investment Treaty in accordance with the text of the Indian Model BIT, approved by the Cabinet in December, 2015.

This treaty seeks to promote and protect investments from either country in the territory of the other country with the objective of increasing bilateral investment flows. The Treaty encourages each country to create favorable conditions for investors of the other country to make investments in its territory and to admit investments in accordance with its laws.

News 95 - Cabinet approves of setting up a new AIIMS in Bhatinda


The Union Cabinet has approved the establishment of a new AIIMS (All India Institute of Medical Sciences) at Bhatinda in Punjab under the Pradhan Mantri Swasthya Suraksha Yojana (PMSSY). The institution shall have a hospital with capacity of 750 beds and the cost of the project shall be Rs. 925 crores.

The new AIIMS at Bhatinda will provide super specialty health care to the population while creating a large pool of doctors and other health workers in this region. The project will be completed in a period of 48 months from the date of the approval by the Government of India.

News 96 - Government creates a buffer stock of 20 lakh tonne of pulses to meet shortfall


Food and Public Distribution Minister Ram Vilas Paswan has said that the gap of 76 lakh tonnes in demand and supply of pulses is being met through imports. Private traders have imported nearly 58 lakh tonnes of pulses this year.

Also, the Government has created a buffer stock of 20 lakh tonnes of pulses to meet the shortfall. The states can purchase tur at 66 rupees per kilogram and urad at 82 rupees from the Central Government Stock for distribution.

On the rising price of onions, potatoes and tomatoes, the Minister said, these are seasonal trends.

News 97 - Parliament passed the Child Labour (Prohibition and Regulation) Amendment Bill, 2016

Child Labour

The Parliament has passed the Child Labour (Prohibition and Regulation) Amendment Bill, 2016. The bill seeks to prohibit the employment of children below 14 in all occupations and enterprises, except those run by his or her own family. It seeks to make child labour a cognizable offence attracting a jail term of up to three years and penalty up to fifty thousand rupees.

The children below 14 years of age will be allowed to work only in family enterprises that too after school hours. The Bill also defines children between 14 to 18 years as adolescents and bars their employment in any hazardous occupations.

News 98 - IRCTC offers Rs. 10 lakh Travel Accident Insurance cover for its passengers


Railway passengers who book their tickets through the Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation (IRCTC) website can avail a travel accident cover of 10 lakh rupees at a premium of one rupee from September this year. The insurance cover is besides the compensation given by the Railways in case of accidents to valid ticket holders.

The insurance will provide coverage against death, injury and disabilities caused due to accidents. The insurance offer is under integration process and it will be operationalized from September. About 5 lakh tickets are at present booked online through IRCTC.

News 99 - Centre Approves 93 Seed Hubs Under the National Food Security Mission with an Outlay of Rs.13981.08 Lakhs

Seed Hubs

There will be 93 seed hubs against a target of 150 at the Indian Council of Agriculture Research Institutes (ICAR), State Agriculture Universities (SAUs), Krishi Vigyan Kendras (KVKs) as have been approved under the National Food Security Mission (NFSM) with an outlay of Rs. 13981.08 lakhs.

Of this 15% allocation for pulses component of NFSM is earmarked for production of quality seed of pulses seeds through states. An incentive of Rs. 25/- per kg is being provided for pulses seed production. Around 7.85 lakhs seed mini kits of newer varieties of pulses have been targeted for distribution to the farmers free of cost during 2016-17. For enhancing the production of breeder seed of pulses, an amount of Rs. 2039 lakhs have been approved for 12 ICAR institutes and SAUs.

News 100 - Mobile App Services for Farmers

Mobile App

Government has launched a number of mobile based applications for dissemination of information on agricultural related activities, free of cost, for the benefit of farmers and other stakeholders. Some major mobile applications developed by the Government are as follows −

  • Kisan Suvidha − This app has a simple interface and provides information on five critical parameters – Weather, Input Dealers, Market Price, Plant Protection and Expert Advisories.

  • Pusha Krishi − This app provides information on latest technologies to farmers.

  • Crop Insurance − A Famer can learn about insurance premiums, notified area etc. on the mobile.

  • Agri Market − A Farmer can learn of the prices of various crops in the mandi’s near his locality.

  • India Weather − This app provides the current weather and further 4 days’ weather forecast across the country for more than 300 cities.

News 101 - Web Portals for farmers

Web Portals

The Government has launched number of web portals for dissemination of information on agricultural related activities, free of cost, for the benefit of farmers and other stakeholders. The major Web portals developed by Government are as follows −

  • Farmers’ Portal − The Farmers’ Portal is a one stop shop for farmers where a farmer can get information on a range of topics including Seeds, Fertilizer, Pesticides, Credit, Good Practices, Dealer Network, and Availability of Inputs, Beneficiary List and Agromet Advisories.

  • mKisan Portal − This is a unified platform from where officials and scientists can send targeted text and voice based advisories to the farmers on a host of issues related to agriculture and allied sectors.

  • Crop Insurance Portal − To provide the complete information related to Crop Insurance scheme being implemented in the country.

  • Participatory Guarantee System of India (PGS) Portal − This is a portal for encouraging participatory approach to certification of organic farming in the country.

News 102 - Railway Minister inaugurated ‘First Green Train Corridor namely Rameswaram-Manamadurai’

Green Train

The Ministry of Railways inaugurated the ‘First Green Train Corridor RameswaramManamadurai which will be free from human waste discharge from trains on the 24.07.2016. The Rameswarm – Manamadurai (114 Kms) track was identified to make it Green Train Corridors free from human waste discharge from trains.

Accordingly, 10 passenger trains consisting of 286 coaches moving over this section have been provided with biotoilets. The technology has been developed jointly by Indian Railways (IR) and Defence Research & Development Organization (DRDO) for railway passenger coaches through an MoU.

News 103 - Prime Minister Flags Off the “RUN FOR RIO” in New Delhi


Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi flagged off the RUN FOR RIO from Major Dhyan Chand National Stadium (MDCNS), India Gate to Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium (JNS), Lodhi Road amidst Olympic spirit and cheers to celebrate the Olympic mood in the country. India is sending its largest ever contingent of 119 athletes to participate in the Rio Games.

The Prime Minister also released a publication of SAI on “Indian Olympics Journey,” which carries interesting information on country’s Olympics achievements and preparations for the future.