By: D.K. Choudhary
Cabinet Approvals – December 28, 2016
i. The Cabinet on December 28, approved promulgation of an ordinance to make possession of a large number of scrapped banknotes a penal offence beyond March 31, imposing a penalty and a possible jail term.
ii. The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) approved a Centrally Sponsored Scheme namely “Road Connectivity Project for Left Wing Extremism (LWE)Affected Areas” to improve the rural road connectivity in the worst LWE affected districts from security angle.
iii. Union Cabinet gave its ex post facto approval to the proposal of Ministry of New & Renewable Energy for ratification of the International Solar Alliance’s (ISA)Framework Agreement by India.
iv. The Centre has approved the re-designation of the Delhi-Mumbai Industrial Corridor Project Implementation Trust Fund as National Industrial Corridor Development & Implementation Trust (NICDIT).
v. The Ministry of Urban Development has approved the Annual Action Plan of Delhi for 2016-17 under Atal Mission for Rejuvenation and Urban Transformation (AMRUT) scheme. It has approved an investment of Rs 266 crore for improving water supply and sewerage networks.
Haryana Government to set up country’s first Caterpillar Train
i. Haryana Government has decided to set up a pilot corridor for an innovative concept of “Caterpillar Train” that will fly over city’s traffic, in Gurgaon city.
ii. The concept of Caterpillar Train, also known as C-Train, was co-developed by an Indian Railways engineer Ashwani Kumar Upadhyaya along with Emil Jacob, both PhD scholars at MIT, for which they won a global award at the MIT in the United States earlier in 2016 for this innovative idea.
iii. The Haryana Chief Minister has directed the authorities to find a way out and put the idea into implementation.
iv. The state government is planning to set up the pilot corridor near the regularly busy and congested Huda City Centre and Sushant Lok.
v. The cost estimate is about $3 million for a pilot system and about $20 million for a full-fledged automated system.
vi. The C-Train includes a citywide network of lightweight, elevated train coaches running at about 100 kmph on a track supported by poles bent into arches.
Maharashtra Approves Proposal to Create New Ministry for VJNT OBCs & Special Backward classes
i. The State Government of Maharashtra on December 27, 2016, decided to create a new ministry for welfare of Vimukta Jati and Nomadic Tribes (VJNT) OBCs and Special Backward classes.
ii. The proposal to create the new ministry was approved by the cabinet which was presided over by Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis. The separate ministry would be headed by an independent minister.
iii .In another decision, the cabinet sanctioned dissolution of the Nagpur Improvement Trust. The cabinet also approved hike in the grant provided for Ramai and Shabri Awaas Gharkul Yojana.
iv .Besides, it was also decided that State Agriculture Corporation land will be available for allocation to those affected by notified projects as compensation.
v. Government would provide financial assistance to Ramdas Athavale backward cotton producers’ co-operative cotton mill in Digras. A committee headed by the textile minister will be formed to discuss approvals to cotton mills in the revised textile policy.
vi. Cabinet also decided to grant extension to individuals, companies and institutions who have been given government land on lease or ownership for carrying out constructions.
Kerala Government Seeks Centre’s approval to Use Antlers for Ayurveda Medicine
i. The Kerala State Board for Wildlife (SBWL) under chairmanship of CM Pinarayi Vijayan held a meeting on December 27 to decide over a proposal of using antlers of spotted deer and sambar for Ayurveda medicines.
ii. The State Government decided to approach the Union Government to get the proposal approved as it requires clearance by the National Board for Wildlife (NBWL) and Ministry of Environment and Forests.
iii. SBWL seeks to get the Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972 amended to get the permission for using the antlers for medicinal purposes.
iv .The Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972, includes antler in the definition of wildlife trophy. A wildlife trophy is defined as the “whole or any part of any captive animal or wild animal”.
v .The Section 39 of the Act states that “no person shall, without the previous permission in writing of the Chief Wildlife Warden or the authorized officer acquire or keep in his possession, custody or control or transfer to any person, whether by way of gift, sale or otherwise or destroy or damage such property.”
vi. Wildlife and wildlife trophies are considered as owned by the government. The Act also prescribes imprisonment up to three years and fine of Rs. 25,000 for offence involving wildlife trophies.
vii. Antlers are the extensions of the skull of the deer. The three kinds of deer varieties found in Kerala, including spotted deer, sambar, and barking deer, shed their antlers annually. It helps in strengthening bones/muscles and boosting blood flow.
24th National Children’s Science Congress inaugurated in Pune by Harsh Vardhan
i. The Union Science and Technology Minister Harsh Vardhan inaugurated the 24thNational Children’s Science Congress (NCSC) at Vidyapratisthan’s Institute of Information Technology in Baramati, Pune on December 27, 2016.
ii .The five-day congress was jointly organised by Vidya Pratishthan and Environmental Forum of India. It is organised every year.
iii. The focal theme for 2016 NCSC is ‘Science, Technology and Innovation for Sustainable Development, with special emphasis on Accessibility for Persons with Disability.
iv. The five-day Science Congress was participated by over 700 child scientists of India, ASEAN & GULF showcase their talents.
v. The Congress would conclude by shortlisting the top 25 projects and respective students will be provided with training support. The Centre would provide all necessary support to the growth of science and technology in the country.
vi. NCSC is a flagship programme of department of Science & Technology, Ministry of Science and Technology. Though the congress is for Indian school students aged between 10 to 17 years but it has also been seeing good participation from Asian countries.
India Signs Agreement with Bhutan for green and sustainable construction
i. India and Bhutan has signed an agreement for bilateral technical cooperation in infrastructure engineering.
ii. The MoU was signed between Central Public Works Department (CPWD), under India’s Ministry of Urban Development and the Department of Engineering Services, under Bhutan’s Ministry of Works and Human Settlements.
iii.The MoU was signed by Abhay Sinha, Director General of CPWD in the presence of Zhabtog Lyonpo DorjiChoden, Minister of Works and Human Settlements of Bhutan.
iv. Under the MoU, CPWD will assist Bhutan in green and sustainable construction of infrastructure in Thimpu.
v. It would also help in promoting sustainability and capacity building through training of Bhutanese manpower along with bench-marking in building and road sectors besides deputing engineering experts to Bhutan.
♦ Capital: Thimpu
♦ Prime minister: Tshering Tobgay
♦ Currencies: Bhutanese ngultrum, Indian rupee
Uttar Pradesh CM lays the Foundation Stone of Film Television and Liberal Arts Institute
i.Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh, Akhilesh Yadav, laid the foundation stone for Film Television and Liberal Arts Institute on December 27 in Lucknow.
ii. A token amount of Rs 10 crore has been allotted by the state government for the institute and 14 acres has been allotted for the institute under Awadh Vihar Yojna near Lucknow Haat on Shaheed Path.
iii. To promote the shooting of films in the state, the Chief Minister also distributed Rs 9.41 crore to film industry people.
iv. CM Akhilesh Yadav highlighted the various developmental projects taken during his rule including Lucknow metro and Lucknow-Agra Expressway and claimed his government is committed for the development of the state.
v. Present on the foundation ceremony were veteran Bollywood actress Jaya Bachchan, her son Abhishek Bachchan, film director Anurag Kashyap and Bhojpuri actor Ravi Kishen among others.
HRD Ministry Sets up a new Regional Institute of Education at Nellore
The Ministry of Human Resource Development is setting up a new Regional Institute of Education (NIE) at Nellore, Andhra Pradesh. HRD Minister, Shri Prakash Javadekar laid down the foundation stone on December 27 jointly with Shri. M. Venkaiah Naidu, the Union Urban Development Minister.
♦ The State Government has allotted 50 acres of land free of cost on the National Highway at Kanupuru Bit-II, near NH-16 Venkatachalm Mandal, Nellore, Andhra Pradesh for the institute.
Benefits of the Project
i. The apex body of Government of India on School Education, NCERT, currently has 5 RIEs in the country at Ajmer, Bhopal, Bhubaneswar, Mysore and Shillong. With the establishment of the new RIE would strengthen the education system within the state as well as neighbouring states of Telegana, Tamil Nadu, Pudduchery etc.
ii. The new institution at Nellore shall offer teacher education programmes like B.Sc/BA B.Ed, M.Ed, Ph.D etc. and would undertake research and development of Resource Materials on school and teacher education.
iii. The institute will help in capacity building of Teachers and Teacher Educators besides strengthen implementation of Government of India Schemes like Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan (SSA), Rashtriya Madhyamik Shiksha Abhiyan (RMSA), ICT in schools.
iv. It would also strengthen linkages among State Education Agencies besides addressing educational needs of the States.