By: D.K Choudhary
Government achieves target of distributing 1.5 Crore LPG Connection within 8 months to BPL Families
i. According to data released by the Ministry for Petroleum & Natural Gas on December 29, 2016, Government has achieved its target of providing 1.5 crore free LPG connections under the Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana (PMUY) to the BPL households in less than 8 months.
ii. The Government had made a provision of Rs 2,000 crore in the Budget for providing LPG connection free of cost to Rs. 1.5 crore poor BPL households in 2016-17. However, the Ministry of Petroleum & Natural Gas informed that the effort to provide clean energy was met within 8 months.
iii. The implementation of PMUY has led to an increase in the national LPG coverage from 61% (as on January 1) to 70% (as on December 12, 2016).
iv. The top five states which experienced the maximum LPG connections are UP (46 lakh), West Bengal (19 lakh), Bihar (19 lakh), Madhya Pradesh (17 lakh) and Rajasthan (14 lakh). These states constituted nearly 75% of the total connections
Suresh Prabhu Inaugurates Series of Railway Projects in Andhra Pradesh
i. The State Government of Andhra Pradesh signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Indian Railways on December 30, 2016, for setting up a Joint Venture for taking up major Rail Projects in the state.
ii. The programme was attended by Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu through a video link from New Delhi while Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu, Union Civil Aviation Minister P Ashok Gajapati Raju and others.
iii. As a part of the occasion, the Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu laid the foundation stone for the railway project Nadikudi-Srikalahasti line via Video conference.
iv. The Nadikudi–Srikalahasti section falls under the administration of Guntur and Guntakal railway divisions of South Central Railway zone.
Centre Sanctions Rs 200 crore for Tirupur Dyeing Industry
i. The Centre has sanctioned Rs. 200 crores to the Tirupur Dyeing Industry in Tamil Nadu on December 28, 2016, which was on the verge of closure due to severe financial crisis as a result of their huge investments in the first ever Zero Liquid Discharge (ZLD) projects in the country.
ii. The Ministry of Finance decided to grant Rs. 200 crore as an interest free loan to the state Government of Tamil Nadu on recommendation of the Ministry of Textiles for the 18 Common Effluent Treatment Plant (CETPs).
iii. The move will help the suffering CETPs and 450 dyeing units to recover from the financial crisis and help them to a complete the project to achieve 100 percent capacity utilization.
iv. More than 450 dyeing units in Tirupur Dyeing Industry had collectively set up 18 ZLD enabled Common Effluent plants with a total cost of Rs 1013.00 cr.
v. Tirupur is a hub of the textile processing and knitting industry providing employment to over 5 lakh persons and contributes 22 percent of the total garment export of the country. Closure of processing industry could have hit the entire garmenting sector in the region.
Tuting Advanced Landing Ground Becomes Operational After 54 years
i. The Advanced Landing Ground (ALG) of IAF at Tuting, which had been abandoned after the 1962-India-China war has once again become operational.
ii. The ALG at Tuting, a small town in the Upper Siang district of Arunachal Pradesh, was inaugurated by Arunachal Pradesh Chief Minister Pema Khandu in the presence of Air Marshal C Hari Kumar, Air Officer Commanding-in-Chief, Eastern Air Command (EAC) on December 28, 2016.
iii. In 2008, the Cabinet Committee on Security gave approval for the revival of the Tuting ALG, after which the IAF started over the ambitious reconstruction plan to upgrade Tuting ALG along with other ALGs in the area and acquired the land of Tuting ALG in 2010.
Benefits of Tuting ALG
♦ It will facilitate air connectivity with rest of the country. It would also help the Indian Air Force in ensuring better supplies in the hour of need.
♦ Besides, it will be used to bring in vital supplies from cities in Assam via fixed wing aircraft and helicopters besides meeting challenges during natural calamities.
♦ The strategic location of Tuting ALG will serve as the launching pad for the IAF operations and help in managing the India-China border areas.
♦ The natural beauty of the area will boost tourism in Arunachal Pradesh.
Home Minister Rajnath Singh chairs Southern Zonal Council meet at Thiruvananthapuram
i. The 27th meeting of the Southern Zonal Council was chaired by the Union Home Minister Shri Rajnath Singh at Thiruvananthapuram on December 28, 2016.
ii. The conclusion of the meeting marks the end of the three Zonal Councils (Eastern, Western and Southern) meeting. The meetings of the remaining two Zonal Councils (Central and Northern) are also expected to be held soon with the next meet to be held in Karnataka.
iii. The aim of the Zonal Councils is to provide a common meeting ground for the States to promote and facilitate coordinated efforts for fostering economic and social development.
iv.The meetings of five Zonal Councils and their Standing Committees were held in 2015 after a long gap. Earlier, the five Zonal Council meetings were held in one year only in the years of 1972 and 2005.
Issues Undertaken by Council
♦ During the meeting the Council reviewed the progress of implementation of various recommendations made in the last meeting.
♦ It included issues of fishermen, Peninsular Region Industrial Development Corridor, Extension of High Speed Rail Corridor between Thiruvananthapuram up to Mangalore and Udupi, introduction of peninsular tourism trains in the zone and Amendments to the New Road Transport & Road Safety Bill.
♦ The Council also focused on issues related to uniformity in allocation of funds for scholarships in population of SC/ST for all courses, revision of ceiling on profession tax by Government of India, prevention of communicable diseases, Naxalism, promotion of oilseeds and oil palm cultivation and development of Puducherry Airport. Out of the 22 items discussed today, 16 were resolved in the meeting.
About Zonal Councils
i. The five Zonal Councils were set up under the States’ Reorganization Act, 1956 to encourage Inter-State cooperation and coordination among the States.
ii. The Councils are responsible to discuss and make recommendations on the matters of economic and social planning, border disputes, linguistic minorities and inter-State transport etc.
iii. They look after the interest of the respective zone and focus on regional issues while keeping national perspective in view.
Government to set up Financial Data Management Centre
i. A Committee appointed by the Government has suggested the Union Government to set up a Financial Data Management Centre (FDMC) for managing the repository of financial regulatory data to ensure stability in the economy.
ii. The head of the Committee, Ajay Tyagi (additional secretary in finance ministry), submitted the report and a draft bill titled ‘The Financial Data Management Centre Bill 2016’ in this regard.
iii. Finance minister Arun Jaitley in budget speech 2016-17 had announced setting up of Financial Data Management Centre under the aegis of the Financial Stability And Development Council (FSDC) to facilitate integrated data aggregation and analysis in the financial sector.
iv. The Committee has also introduced an Act regarding the establishment of the Data Centre to manage repository of financial regulatory data, enable standardisation of data across the financial sector and provide analytical support
v .As per the Act the main functions of the centre will be to establish an electronic database for financial regulatory information.
vi .It would be in-charge of the day to day operations, maintenance and updating the electronic database, analyse the data submitted in the database and provide analytical support to FSDC.
vii. To ensure secrecy and avoid conflict of interest, the member, employee or officer of the centre having access to confidential data will be not be allowed to render advice or accept any employment with a financial service provider for a period specified in the act until the person has taken approval of the centre.
Cetral government forms 10 member committee to review Institutionalization of Arbitration Mechanism in India
i. Central government has formed a high level committee under the Ministry of Law and Justice to make arbitration a preferred mode for settlement of commercial disputes and review the present system of arbitration mechanism in India and make it strong.
ii. The 10 member committee includes Justice BN Srikrishna, Justice RV Raveendran , retired Delhi High Court Judge S Ravindra Bhatt senior lawyer Indu Malhotra and eminent senior lawyer KK Venugopal.
iii. The aim of this arbitration system is to ensure speedy redressal of commercial disputes and to facilitate international and domestic arbitrations raised under various agreements.
iv. The committee has been asked to submit its report in 90 days. Some of the points that the committee will cover are analysis of present arbitration mechanism, review working of institutions funded by the GOI for arbitration purposes, assess skill gaps in Alternative Dispute Redressal (ADR) .
v. Arbitration is a system in which an independent body can settle the disputes without involving courts.