MARCH 2019-NATIONAL NEWS
Centre approves of Surat Metro project
The Centre has approved two corridors of the Surat Metro project to be executed at an estimated cost of around 12,000 crore rupees.
The Housing and Urban Affairs Ministry said in a statement that the project will be implemented by the Gujarat Metro Rail Corporation and it will be completed in five years.
The length of the first corridor from Sarthana to Dream City line will be aroung 21.61 kilometers and the second corridor from Bhesan to Saroli will be 18.74 kilometres.
The project will be financed mainly through equity from the Centre and state government on 50-50 basis.
It will provide continuous availability of affordable, reliable, secure and seamless transport system in the urban agglomeration of the city.
Ministries of WCD & Skill development sign MoU
The ministry of women and child development and ministry of skill development and Entrepreneurship signed MoU on 8th march 2019.
The aim of the MoU is to improve women livelihood and empowering them through skill development.
The ministry of women and child development through rastriya mahila kosh will identify the skill sets which are suitable for enhanching the livelihood women.
AAHAR - International Food and Hospitality fair- New Delhi
The 34th edition of AAHAR - the International Food and Hospitality fair is inaugrated at Pragati Maidan in New Delhi by Minister for Commerce and Industry Suresh Prabhu
The fair will feature a wide range of food products, machinery, hospitality and Decoration and Confectionery items from over 560 participants from India and abroad.
Around 20 countries including US, Russia, China, UK, Germany, Italy and Singapore will participate in the five-day fair.
The fair will showcase new trends in food and beverage, hospitality, culinary technology, retail and new innovations.
It will also offer an insight into the operational and food safety concerns and innovations to become energy-efficient, finding budget-friendly raw materials for boosting productivity while still aiming for greater profitability.
India and US ask Pakistan to dismantle terror infrastructure operating on its soil
India and the United States have agreed that Pakistan needs to take concerted action to dismantle the terrorist infrastructure and deny safe haven to all terror groups operating in its territory.
The agreement was reached during the meeting between Indian Foreign Secretary Vijay Gokhale and US Secretary of State Michael Pompeo in Washington.
Mr. Gokhale appreciated the firm support India received from the US in the aftermath of the terrorist attack at Pulwama in J & K.
In response to Mr. Pompeo's reference to bilateral trade matters, Mr. Gokhale underscored the significant reduction in trade deficit in the last three years.
He conveyed India's willingness to remain engaged with the US for a meaningful and mutually acceptable package on trade issues.
India and Bangladesh PM's jointly inaugurate development projects
Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Bangladesh counterpart Sheikh Hasina jointly unveiled e-plaques for development projects in Bangladesh on 11 March 2019 through video conferencing.
Both the leaders unveiled e-plaques for the supply of buses and trucks, the inauguration of 36 community clinics, 11 water treatment plants, and extension of National Knowledge Network to Bangladesh.
Mr. Narendra Modi said the National Knowledge Network will connect scholars and research institutes in Bangladesh, to India and the world.
He said the buses and trucks would assist the efforts towards affordable public transportation; water treatment plants will help supply clean water; and community clinics will benefit about two lakh people, in Bangladesh.
New visa agreement between Maldives & India
The new visa agreement between Maldives and India has come into force from 11 March 2019.
The agreement will provide a liberal visa policy for Maldivians seeking medical treatment as well as education and business opportunities in India.
The visa deal will allow Maldivian businessmen and tourists to stay in India for 90 days without a visa.
Also Maldivians with tourist visas can also stay in India for treatment if they suffer a sudden medical issue.
The agreement was reached during the visit of Maldives President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih to India last December (2018).
President Solih’s government has been strengthening ties with India after its decades-long friendship with India deteriorated during the administration of former President Abdulla Yameen.
There have been several high-level exchanges since the present government took over last November while India extended 1.4 billion US dollars assistance to the new government.
Centre justifies its law granting 10% quota for EWS
The Centre has justified its law granting 10% quota for Economically Weaker Section (EWS). According to centre, the quota is been brought to promote social equality.
In an affidavit filed in the Supreme Court on 12 March 2019, the centre said the Constitution Amendment was necessitated to benefit the economically weaker sections of the society who were not covered within the existing schemes of reservation.
The affidavit was filed in connection with a matter where a batch of petitions has challenged the validity of the Constitution Amendment.
DGCA decides to ground Boeing 737 Max-8 aircraft with immediate effect
The Directorate General of Civil Aviation, DGCA has decided to ground Boeing 737 Max-8 aircraft with immediate effect.
The decision comes in the wake of Ethiopian Airlines crash on 10 March 2019 in Addis Ababa killing all 157 people on board.
Ministry of Civil Aviation said that the planes will be grounded until appropriate modifications and safety measures are undertaken to ensure their safe operations.
In India, Spice Jet has around 12 Boeing 737 Max-8 planes in its fleet, while Jet Airways has around 5.
India joined the growing list of countries to have temporarily grounded the aircraft.
Ethiopia, China, Australia, Malaysia, Singapore and UK had earlier decided to suspend the Aircraft.
However, US aviation officials have said, the 737 Max-8 is airworthy and that it is too early to reach any conclusions or take any action.
US to set up 6 nuclear power plants in India
India and the United States have committed to strengthen bilateral security and civil nuclear cooperation, including the establishment of six US nuclear power plants in India.
US reaffirmed its strong support of India’s early membership in the Nuclear Suppliers Group.
This commitment was made at the 9th round of the India-US Strategic Security Dialogue held in Washington DC.
India and US also exchanged views on a wide range of global security and nonproliferation challenges.
They reaffirmed their commitment to work together to prevent the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and their delivery systems and to deny access to such weapons by terrorists and non-state actors.
EC appointed Special Observers Team to visit J&K
The Election Commission appointed Special Observers Team to visit Srinagar on 14 March 2019 for fresh assessment of ground situation for holding the Assembly elections in Jammu and Kashmir.
Official sources said the three-member team comprising of Vinod Zutshi, Dr Noor Mohammad and A.S. Gill, will interact with the representatives of mainstream political parties, district election officers, security officials and other stakeholders.
The team would hold similar exercise in Jammu also.
India and Pakistan to discuss & finalize modalities for Kartarpur Corridor
The first meeting between India and Pakistan to discuss and finalize the modalities for Kartarpur Corridor is held at Indian side of the Attari-Wagah border on 14 March 2019.
The meeting is being held in keeping with Government's decision to operationalize the Kartarpur Corridor on the occasion of the 550th Birth Anniversary of Guru Nanak Dev in November 2019.
It also aims at meeting the long-pending public demand to have easy and smooth access to the holy Gurudwara in Pakistan. India has identified 50 acres of land for the Kartarpur Sahib corridor.
The Passenger Terminal Building complex, to be built in two phases, will be a state of the art green building and display murals/photographs based on rich Indian cultural values.
Efforts are being made to ensure that the first phase of the Passenger Terminal Building become operational well before the 550th birth anniversary of Guru Nanak Dev.
The design of the complex is inspired by the symbol 'Khanda' which symbolizes values of oneness and humanity. The building will facilitate movement of nearly five thousand pilgrims every day.
Robust security system will be put in place in and around the Passenger Terminal Building.
EC holds central observer's meet
The Election Commission held a meeting of central observers in New Delhi on 14 March 2019 as part of preparations for the upcoming Lok Sabha polls.
The meeting was held to brief them about their roles and responsibilities during election duty.
This is the first such meeting since election dates were declared earlier this month.
The central observers are the team drawn from various central services, such as the Indian Revenue Service, the Indian Administrative Service and the Indian Police Service. This team would be on EC duty and assist the election commission in the election process.
World Kidney Day being observed on 14th March
World Kidney Day is observed on 14 March 2019.
The day is observed annually on the second Thursday in March to create awareness on the importance of kidneys and reducing the frequency and impact of kidney diseases.
The theme this year is, 'Kidney Health for Everyone Everywhere'. It calls for universal health coverage for prevention and early treatment of kidney diseases.
Several events are being held across the country on the occasion to raise awareness about kidneys and highlight that diabetes and high blood pressure are key risk factors for Chronic Kidney Diseases.
We should control blood sugar and avoid pain killers to avoid kidney-related diseases.
Mobile app for election observers
The Election Commission has for the first time started using a mobile application that will help poll observers to submit reports.
The electoral observers include IAS, IPS and IRS officials, besides some others from the Central services. These are the team who are deployed by election commission as observers in Lok Sabha and State Assembly polls.
These officers are being deployed as general, police and expenditure observers
Through observer App, they will get all the important notifications, alerts, and urgent messages. It will help them get their deployment status, download the ID card and update their profile.
As the observers will be closely involved in real-time disposal of Model Code of Conduct and expenditure, the violation cases received through another mobile application “cVIGIL” also will be available on the “Observer App.”
President Ram Nath Kovind to confer remaining Padma awards
President Ram Nath Kovind will confer the remaining Padma awards on prominent personalities at a civil investiture ceremony in Rashtrapati Bhawan on 16 March 2019.
This year (2019), 112 personalities were selected for the Padma awards, which were announced on the eve of Republic Day.
The first set of Padma award was given on 11th March 2019 in which Mr. Ram Nath Kovind had presented one Padma Vibhushan, eight Padma Bhushan and forty-six Padma Shri Awards.
PM to unveil several development projects in Greater Noida
Prime Minister Narendra Modi will visit Greater Noida in Uttar Pradesh on 09 March 2019. He will launch various development projects at Pandit Deendayal Upadhyaya Institute of Archaeology.
Mr. Narendra Modi will unveil a plaque to mark the inauguration of the institute and unveil the statue of Pandit Deendayal Upadhyaya at the campus.
The Institute is under Archaeological Survey of India.
The Prime Minister will also inaugurate Noida City Centre - Noida Electronic City Section of the Delhi Metro.
The new section will provide a convenient and faster mode of transport for the residents of Noida. It will also decongest the roads and provide an environment-friendly mode of transport.
The 6.6 kilometer long section is an extension of Delhi Metro’s Blue Line.
The Prime Minister will also lay the foundation stone of two thermal Power Plants.
One is 1,320 Mega Watt Super Thermal Power Project at Khurja, in Bulandshahar District of Uttar Pradesh and other is 1320 Mega Watt Thermal Power Plant at Buxar in Bihar.
Centre, ADB sign 26 million dollar loan pact drainage infrastructure in Dibrugarh
The Centre and the Asian Development Bank (ADB) have signed a 26 million dollar loan agreement to provide additional financing for improving drainage infrastructure in Dibrugarh town of Assam.
The ongoing loan of 51 million dollars under the Assam Urban Infrastructure Investment Program is helping to improve water supply infrastructure in Guwahati and solid waste management and drainage infrastructure in Guwahati and Dibrugarh.
Additional Secretary in Department of Economic Affairs Sameer Kumar Khare and India Resident Mission of ADB, Hoe Yun Jeong signed the agreement in New Delhi.
India, Japan hold inaugural space dialogue
The inaugural India-Japan Space Dialogue was held in New Delhi.
The dialogue brought together Ministries and agencies related to outer space in the two countries and provided an opportunity for information exchange on the respective space policies.
Discussions were also held on bilateral cooperation between JAXA-ISRO, their space industries, global navigation satellite system, space situational awareness, space security and space-related norms.
Bharat electronics Launches SWAGAT
Bharat electronics limited presented SWAGAT-the automatic fare collection gating system
Narendra Modi launched the system as part of the inaugural of Phase-I of the Ahmedabad Metro.
SWAGAT is an initiative by the ministry of housing and urban affairs in collaboration with BEL and center for development of advanced computing with the support of DMRC, NPCI, and SBI.
Cabinet approves investment for various Hydro Electric Projects
The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) has approved the investment sanction for construction of 624 Megawatt Kiru Hydro Electric Project in Jammu and Kashmir.
Kiru Hydro Electric Project will provide much needed power to the northern grid.
The CCEA also approved the investment for 1320 Mega Watt Khurja Super Thermal Power Plant at Bulandshahar in Uttar Pradesh.
Investment for 1320 Mega Watt Buxar thermal Power Project in Bihar was also approved.
Launch of e-Dharti App
Housing and Urban Affairs Minister Hardeep Puri on 07 March 2019 launched e-Dharti app where all the three modules- Conversion, Substitution and Mutation related to properties have been made online.
The payment system in Land and Development Office, L&DO has also been completely digitized.
Work is also going on other three small modules namely Sale Permission, Mortgage Permission and Gift Permission will be completed soon.
The public can now submit their applications online by visiting the L&DO website and are not required to visit this office for submission of them and for follow up of their applications.
Mr Puri also launched e-Dharti Geo Portal, through which the lessee of the property will be able to see the basic details of property along with map showing its location.
The lessee can also be issued a Property Card from this office about his property if he asks for it.
This application will not only benefit public but the Government also in getting to know the actual status of its vacant properties, whether there is any encroachment on the property.
President to give Nari Shakti awards on International Women's Day
International Women's Day is being observed on 08 March. Governments, NGOs and other organizations across the world observe the day on 8th of March every year to highlight the achievements of women.
The theme for this year's women's day is 'Think Equal, Build Smart, and Innovate for Change'.
The purpose of the theme is to achieve gender equality by putting innovation by women and girls, for women and girls, at the heart of efforts.
President has extended greetings to all fellow citizens and particularly to the daughters of India who, through their success, have brought glory to the nation.
President will present the highest civilian honor for women in India, Nari Shakti Puraskar 2018 in New Delhi on 08 March 2019.
This year, 44 awardees have been selected for these Puraskar.
Women and Child Development Ministry confers Nari Shakti Puraskar to women and institutions in recognition of their relentless service towards the cause of women empowerment and social welfare.
This year (2019), the Nari Shakti Puraskar has also been awarded to a One Stop Centre and to a state which has shown exceptional progress in improving child sex ratio at birth under the Beti Bachao Beti Padhao scheme.
Ausaf Sayeed appointed new Ambassador of India to Saudi Arabia
Dr. Ausaf Sayeed, presently High Commissioner of India to the Republic of Seychelles, has been appointed as the next ambassador of India to Saudi Arabia.
An External Affairs Ministry release said, the Indian Foreign Service officer of the 1989 batch, Sayeed will succeed Ahmad Javed, who had been serving as envoy to Saudi Arabia since December 2015.
Mr. Sayeed has handled different areas including political, economic, consular and cultural work, besides Haj management and served as Ambassador to Yemen and Consul General of India in Chicago and Jeddah.
Permanent commission to Women
Ministry of defence has taken steps to ensure implementation of grant of permanent commission women officers in the Armed forces.
Women officers will be granted permanent commission in the Indian army in all the 10 branches where women are inducted for short service commission.
All branches, in IAF, including fighter pilots are now open for women officers.
Indore bags cleanest city award under Swachh Survekshan, 2019
Swachh Survekhshan-2019 Awards are presented by Presdent Ram Nath Kovind in New Delhi.
Indore has bagged the cleanest city award for third straight year under Swachh Survekshan, 2019.
New Delhi Municipal Council area got the cleanest small city award.
Uttarakhand's Gauchar was adjudged the Best Ganga Town in the survey.
Swachh Survekshan 2019 covered all Urban Local Bodies in the country, making it the largest such cleanliness survey in the world.
Swati Shingade bags first prize of DD Mahila Kisan Award
Swati Shingade of Pune, Maharashtra has bagged the first prize of DD Mahila Kisan Award for 2018-19.
Prasar Bharati Chairman A Surya Prakash gave away the award to Ms. Shingade at a grand finale event organized by DD Kisan Channel in New Delhi.
As many as 110 women farmers participated in the award competition, out which five were selected for the grand finale.
Speaking on the occasion, Mr. Surya Prakash said, the Kisan Channel has provided a platform to the women farmers and the aim of the channel is to make aware the people about the various schemes of the government.
Information and Broadcasting Secretary Amit Khare said, Doordarshan has created a positive thought among the people of the country.
He said, it has played a great role in the field of agriculture, health and education.
India-Bangladesh begin joint military exercise
The eighth edition of joint military exercise between the armies of India and Bangladesh began with an impressive ceremony at Bongobondhu Cantonment in Tangail, Bangladesh.
The joint military exercise 'Sampriti' is aiming to increase mutual cooperation, friendliness and companionship between the armies of two countries.
In a statement, Ministry of Defence said that the exercise is a part of the ongoing India-Bangladesh defence cooperation. The Bangladesh contingent was represented by 36 East Bengal Battalion, while Indian side was represented by 9th Battalion of the Rajputana Rifles.
A company group from Bangladesh Army and an equal number from Indian Army are taking part in the two-week long exercise that will see them hone their tactical and technical skills in countering the insurgency, counter-terrorism and aid to civil authorities for disaster management in a UN peacekeeping scenario involving a combined deployment at a battalion level.
Piyush Goyal, Fadnavis launch second phase of Monorail in Mumbai
After this inauguration the 11.28 kilometer second phase which is extended from Wadala to Jacob Circle, the entire 19.54 kilometer route of the country's first monorail system became operational.
Speaking on the occasion, Mr. Fadnavis said, the monorail will no longer remain a joyride and the ridership of the rail will increase to 30 Lakh from the current 4.5 lakh per month.
Railway Minister Piyush Goyal announced to connect all the railway stations through skywalks and subways.
President gives assent to Ordinance allowing voluntary use of Aadhaar
President Ram Nath Kovind has given his assent to an ordinance that allows voluntary use of Aadhaar as ID proof for obtaining mobile SIM cards and opening bank accounts.
The ordinance was necessitated because the Rajya Sabha could not approve a Bill after its passage by the Lok Sabha. Last week, the Cabinet had approved the promulgation of an ordinance to give effect to changes proposed in Aadhaar and two others legislations.
The amendments provide for stiff penalties for violation of norms set for the use of Aadhaar and violation of privacy. The ordinance gives effect to the changes in the Aadhaar Act such as giving a child an option to exit from the biometric ID programme on attaining 18 years of age.
The amendments also make it clear that anyone not offering Aadhaar cannot be denied any service, be it opening of a bank account or obtaining a mobile phone SIM card.
The amendments will enable UIDAI to have a more robust mechanism to serve the public interest and restrain the misuse of Aadhaar.
President has also given his assent to the draft Homoeopathy Central Council (Amendment) Ordinance, 2019. It seeks to extend the period for reconstitution of the Central Council from existing period of one year to two years so that the tenure of the Board of Governors may be extended for a further period of one year with effect from 17th May 2019.
President has also given his assent to an ordinance for an amendment to the special economic zones act, 2005. The present provision of the SEZs Act, 2005 do not permit trusts to set up units in special economic zones. The amendment will enable a trust to be considered for grant of permission to set up a unit in special economic zones. This will facilitate investments in Special Economic Zones.
PM to launch a series of development projects in Gujarat
Mr. Modi will inaugurate the first phase of the Metro Rail Project in Ahmedabad. He will also lay the foundation stone of Phase-2 of the Metro.
The Prime Minister will also dedicate to nation various hospitals built in Ahmedabad region. They are Women Children & Super Specialty Hospital, Cancer Hospital, Eye Hospital and Dental Hospital.
These hospitals will be a tremendous boost to the health care sector in Ahmedabad. Mr. Modi will distribute Golden Cards, to select beneficiaries of PM-JAY- Ayushman Bharat scheme.
The Prime Minister will also will also flag off Bandra- Jamnagar Humsafar Express through video link. He will also lay the foundation stone of Rajkot-Kanalus Railway Line doubling project.
He will lay the Foundation Stone of Shikshan and Vidhyarthi Bhavan and also address the gathering.
Mr. Modi will also launch Pradhan Mantri Shram Yogi Maan-dhan Yojana- the pension scheme- for the workers of the unorganized sector through the online fund transfer to beneficiaries at Vastral near Ahmedabad.
Cabinet Approves Pradhan Mantri Ji-VAN Yojana
The Union cabinet approved the “Pradhan Mantri JI-VAN Yojana” (Jaiv Indhan-vatvaran anukool fasal Awashesh Nivaran) on 28 February 2019.
The aim of aim of the scheme is provide financial support to integrated bioethanol projects using lignocellulosic biomass and other renewable feedstock.
The yojana will be supported with total financial outlay Rs.1969.50crore for 5 years.
STARS Scheme launched by HRD Ministry
Ministry of Human Resource Development launched STARS (scheme for translational and advanced research in science) to fund science projects.
The ministry has approved funds worth Rs.250crore for the scheme. These funds will be utilized to sponsor about 500 science projects.
The project will be coordinated by the Indian Institute of Science (IISC) Bangalore.
Rajnath Singh to inaugurate project BOLD-QIT on India-Bangladesh border in Dhubri, Assam
Home Minister Rajnath Singh will inaugurate the project BOLD-QIT (Border Electronically Dominated QRT Interception Technique) on India-Bangladesh border in Dhubri District of Assam.
Border Security Force, BSF is responsible for safeguarding of over four thousand kilometer long International Border with Bangladesh. At various places, it is not possible to erect Border Fence due to the geographical barriers.
The 61 kilometer of Border area in Dhubri District, where River Brahmaputra enters into Bangladesh is consisting of vast char lands and innumerable river channels thus making border guarding in this area, a daunting task especially during rainy season.
To overcome this problem, in the year 2017, Ministry of Home Affairs decided to go for technological solution besides the physical presence of manpower of BSF.
In January 2018, Information and Technology Wing of BSF undertook the project BOLD-QIT under Comprehensive Integrated Border Management system and completed it in record time with the technical support of various manufacturers and suppliers.
The implementation of this project will not only help BSF to curb all types of cross border crimes but also provide respite to the troops from round the clock human surveillance.
In September last year, the Home Minister inaugurated two smart-fencing pilot projects of five kilometer each on India-Pakistan international border in Jammu.
Government introduces scheme to provide financial assistance to boost export
The government has introduced a scheme for providing financial assistance for transport and marketing of agriculture products with a view to boosting export of farm commodities to certain countries in Europe and North America.
Under the Transport and Marketing Assistance scheme, the government would reimburse a certain portion of freight charges and provide assistance for marketing of agricultural produce.
The commerce ministry said in a statement that the scheme would be applicable for a period as specified from time to time. Presently, it would be available for exports effected from, March 1 this year to March 2020.
PM-SYM Yojana to provide Rs. 3,000 monthly pension to workers of unorganized sector
Prime Minister Narendra Modi launched the Pradhan Mantri Shram Yogi Mandhan Yojana, PM-SYM, in Gandhinagar, Gujarat.
The national pension scheme for workers and labourers of unorganized sector was announced in the interim budget in February this year. It will provide monthly pension of 3000 rupees to the employees of unorganized sector after 60 years of age.
Mr. Modi also distributed the PM-SYM pension cards to select beneficiaries. The Prime Minister said the scheme is an extension of various social security schemes implemented during the last five years. He said, 42 crore workers from un-organized sectors are eligible for this scheme by contributing 55 to 200 rupees monthly.
Jan aushadhi Diwas is being celebrated across the country
Jan aushadhi Diwas will be celebrated across the country on 07 March 2019.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi will address five thousand Jan aushadhi stores across the country through video-conferencing on the occasion.
He will also interact with owners of Jan aushadhi Kendras and beneficiaries of the scheme. More than five thousand 50 Pradhan Mantri Bhartiya Jan aushadhi Pariyojana Kendras, PMBJP, are functional in 652 districts.
Minister of State for Chemicals and Fertilizers, Mansukh Mandaviya said the market share of generic medicines has grown over three-fold from two per cent to seven per cent in the last 3 years.
Mr. Mandaviya said the Jan aushadhi Kendras are providing quality medicine at the affordable price. He said the government's aim is to open Jan aushadhi Kedras at block level by 2020.
The Minister said, 10 to 15 lakh beneficiaries are getting medicines from Jan aushadhi stores every day.
National Centre for Good Governance inks pact with Indian Institute of Corporate Affairs
A Memorandum of Understanding, MoU, was signed on 06 March 2019 between the National Centre for Good Governance (NCGG) and the Indian Institute of Corporate Affairs (IICA) to ensure better utilization of infrastructure facilities during training programmes.
The NCGG has been set up by the government of India under the aegis of DARPG. It aims to promote good governance through capacity building on public policy and governance both at national and international level and carrying out studies research on issues relating to governance.
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