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Important Current Affairs of 1st March

INTERNATIONAL:

India and Sweden intend to increase cooperation on AMR

• Swedish Minister for Health and Social Affairs, Lena Hallengren, who was on a visit to India from 22nd to 25th February 2019, met with Union Health Minister J P Nadda and discussed about Anti-microbial resistance (AMR) which poses a dangerous challenge globally.

• Anti-microbial drugs, when overused, AMR develops as microorganisms such as bacteria, virus and fungi that become resistant to drugs.

• India and Sweden signed a Memorandum of Understanding to cooperate in the field of various issues, including AMR, communicable diseases and public health, in February 2009.

NITI Aayog partnered with Adobe to enhance digital literacy

• NITI Aayog's Atal Innovation Mission (AIM) and software major Adobe has signed a Statement of Intent to collaboration enhancing digital literacy and creativity skills.

• Under the agreement, Adobe would implement the Adobe Digital Disha Programme across 100 schools under Atal Tinkering Labs (ATL) initiative. Teachers and Children across these 100 schools would benefit from the creative learning resources via free access to Adobe Spark premium.

Tamil Nadu is the first State in the country to introduce TAVI

• Tamil Nadu is the first State in the country to introduce Tran’s catheter Aortic Valve Implantation (TAVI) in the government sector. The TAVI was launched at the Tamil Nadu Government Multi Super Specialty Hospital (TNGMSSH), Omandurar Estate, in November 2018.

• Tamil Nadu State government entered into a Memorandum of Understanding with Heart Team India to perform the procedure for patients at the TNGMSSH. The procedure costs Rs.20 lakh to Rs.25 lakh in the private sector, while it is done free in the government sector.

• Conventionally, open heart surgery is performed for replacing the aortic valve for treating aortic stenosis. But not all patients such as the elderly are fit to undergo open heart surgery. This is where TAVI helps as in this procedure the valve is replaced through a keyhole procedure from the groin.

Government may offer up to Rs 2.5 lakh subsidy for 60,000 e-cars

• To promote green fuel in India via a Rs 10,000-crore package, government has reportedly proposed a subsidy of up to 2.5 lakh on around 60,000 electric cars in India, whereas hybrid cars may get 20,000 over the next three years.

• For electric buses, the subsidy would be up to Rs 60 lakh.

• This subsidy will come into effect in April.

Punjab Govt seeks Rs 412 crore for dam to stop water to Pakistan

• Punjab government has urged the central government to release Rs 412 crore for the construction of a dam at Makora Pattan on the confluence of Ravi and Ujh rivers in Gurdarpur district by considering it as a national project for stopping India’s river water flow into Pakistan.

• The construction of the dam at Makora Pattan would stop about 600 cusecs of river water flowing into Pakistan and Punjab could use this water for irrigation purposes.

• With this project, Punjab government would also be able to provide clean drinking water to 100 villages and six townships.

New railway zone, named Southern Coast Railway to be headquartered in Visakhapatnam

• Railway Minister Piyush Goyal announced a new railway zone for Andhra Pradesh.

• Railway, which will be headquartered in Visakhapatnam, will be the 18th zone in the country.

• The new zone will comprise the existing Guntakal, Guntur and Vijayawada divisions that currently fall under the South Central Railway.

POLICY:

Cabinet approved the National Mineral Policy 2019 on 28th February

• The Union Cabinet approved the National Mineral Policy 2019 on 28th February 2019. The policy is aimed at bringing about more effective regulation to the sector as well as a more sustainable approach while addressing the issues of those affected by mining.

• The policy will also provide a more effective, meaningful and implementable policy that brings in further transparency, better regulation, and enforcement, balanced social and economic growth as well as sustainable mining practices.

• It also aims to increase the share of Indian software products in global market by tenfold, pitches for nurturing of 10,000 technology start-ups in software product industry, including 1,000 such startups in tier-II and tier-III towns.

Union Cabinet approved the National Policy on Software Products

• The Union Cabinet approved the National Policy on Software Products 2019 that aims to help the industry grow at CAGR of 40% to reach $70-80 billion by 2025 while creating employment opportunities for 3.5 million people.

• The policy aims to adopt a shift in strategy so that IT products also contribute equitably and significantly to the industry along with IT services. The government’s initial outlay of Rs.1, 500 crore is being planned for various schemes under in policy in the next seven years.

• Further, the policy proposes to create a Rs.5, 000 crore fund with industry participation to promote emerging technology such as the Internet of Things, Artificial Intelligence, Block chain, Big Data, and robotics. Of this, government contribution will be Rs.1, 000 crore.

SCHEME:

HRD launched STARS scheme on 28th February

• The Union Human Resource Minister Prakash Javadekar launched the STARS scheme on National Science Day that is 28th February. STARS are abbreviated as Scheme for Translational and Advanced Research in Science.

• The Ministry has allocated Rs.250 crores for the implementation of the scheme. Under the scheme 500 science projects will be funded whose selection will be made based on competition. Indian Institute of Science (IISC) will be the coordinator of the scheme.

HRD Ministry Launches SHREYAS Scheme

• Union Human Resources Development Minister, Shri Prakash Javadekar, launched the “Scheme for Higher Education Youth in Apprenticeship and Skills (SHREYAS)”.

• Main aim to provide industry apprenticeship opportunities to the general graduates exiting in April 2019 through the National Apprenticeship Promotion Scheme (NAPS) in New Delhi.

• The program will enhance the employability of Indian youth by providing ‘on the job work exposure’ and earning of stipend.

AGREEMENTS AND MOUS:

India and Brunei signed an agreement to exchange information on tax and banking matters

• India and Brunei signed a pact for exchange of Information and Assistance in Collection with respect to taxes in order to curb tax evasion and tax avoidance in New Delhi.

• This agreement will facilitate both the countries to exchange information, including banking and ownership information for tax purposes and will also avail mutual assistance in collection of tax revenue claims.

AWARDS:

Mahesh Elkunchwar is to receive META Lifetime Achievement Award.

• Mahesh Elkunchwar, an eminent Indian playwright, has been chosen for Mahindra Excellence in Theatre Awards (META) Lifetime Achievement Award 2019.

• The award would be conferred on March 12 during the Mahindra Theater Festival.

• Mahesh Elkunchwar is regarded as one of the progressive playwrights of the country and is critically-acclaimed and widely-known for having experimented with a wide range of drama and is considered a powerful force in both Indian and Marathi theatre scene. He has over 30 plays and essays to his credit including works like 'Sultan', 'Holi', 'Garbo', Yatanaghar', and 'Atmakatha'.

CZPDC Bhopal And WZPDC Indore Honoured With Saubhagya Award

• The Central Zone Power Distribution Company (CZPDC), Bhopal and West Zone Power Distribution Company (WZPDC),

• Indore was conferred with the “Saubhagya Award” under Pradhan Mantri Sahaj Bijli Har Ghar Yojana at the National Conference of Energy Ministers by the Union Minister of State for Energy, R.K. Singh.

INTERNATIONAL:

India and Sweden intend to increase cooperation on AMR.

• Swedish Minister for Health and Social Affairs, Lena Hallengren, who was on a visit to India from 22nd to 25th February 2019, met with Union Health Minister J P Nadda and discussed about Anti-microbial resistance (AMR) which poses a dangerous challenge globally.

• Anti-microbial drugs, when overused, AMR develops as microorganisms such as bacteria, virus and fungi that become resistant to drugs.

• India and Sweden signed a Memorandum of Understanding to cooperate in the field of various issues, including AMR, communicable diseases and public health, in February 2009.

International Digital Health Symposium inaugurated by Anupriya Patel in New Delhi

• Minister of State for Health and Family Welfare, Smt. Anupriya Patel inaugurated the International Digital Health Symposium and an exhibition on Digital Health as a part of the Symposium at New Delhi.

SUMMITS:

The 4th Global Digital Health Partnership Summit held at New Delhi.

• The 4th Global Digital Health Partnership Summit being held at New Delhi was inaugurated by the Union Health Minister J P Nadda in the presence of Shri Ravi Shankar Prasad Union Minister of Information Technology. The summit provides an opportunity to support governments and health system reformers in improving the health and well-being of their citizens through digital technologies.

• The Global Digital Health Partnership Summit is being hosted by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare in collaboration with the World Health Organization (WHO) and the Global Digital Health Partnership (GDHP).

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Important Current Affairs 28th February 2019

National :        

Piyush Goyal launched 'Rail Drishti Dashboard' To Track Train Information.

• Minister of Railways and Coal, Piyush Goyal has launched Rail Drishti dashboard, to promote transparency and accountability of Indian Railways.

• Rail Drishti Dashboard is an online portal containing information related to passenger and freight trains and links to live feeds of IRCTC kitchens.

First Indian made Centaur rocket was successfully launched at Thumb, Kerala.

• The first Indian-made Centaur rocket was successfully launched from the Thumba equatorial rocket station, Kerala on 26th February 2019 to the great jubilation of a large number of scientists.

• Dr.Vikram Sarabhai, Chairman of the Atomic Energy Commission and Indian National Committee for Space Research, described that the flight of the two-stage sounding rocket as very satisfactory

• It was a hailed as a momentous event. India is now on the path to long-range development of superior rockets, which will take us to the goal of satellite launching in five years.

Centre brought 42 nonscheduled cancer drugs under price control.

• Centre announced that it had brought 42 non-scheduled anti-cancer drugs under price control, capping trade margin at 30%,which would reduce their retail prices by up to 85%.

• The National Pharmaceutical Pricing Authority (NPPA) has invoked extraordinary powers in public interest, under Para 19 of the Drugs (Prices Control) Order, (DPCO) 2013 to bring 42 non-scheduled anti-cancer drugs under price control through trade margin rationalization. Department of Pharmaceuticals (DOP) directed manufacturers to fix their retail price based on the price at first point of sale of a product of the non-scheduled formulations containing any of the 42 drugs.

• The NPPA currently fixes prices of drugs placed in the National List of Essential Medicines (NLEM) under Schedule-I of the DPCO. So far, around 1,000 drugs have been brought under price control under the initiative. Non-scheduled drugs are allowed an increase of up to 10% in prices every year, which is monitored by the NPPA.

Union Textile Minister inaugurated Titanwala Museum in Rajasthan.

• Union Textiles Minister Smriti Irani inaugurated the ‘Titanwala Museum’ that showcases the hand block printing of the Chhipa community in Bagru.

• Bagru printing is one of the traditional techniques of printing with natural color followed by the chippas of Rajasthan.

• Suraj Narayan Titanwala took the initiative of setting up the museum.

India has successfully tested fired 2 indigenously developed QRSAM.

•  India has successfully test-fired two indigenously developed Quick Reaction Surface-to-Air missiles (QRSAM) from a test range at Chandipur in Odisha's Balasore district.

• The missile is an all-weather, all-terrain missile with electronic countermeasures against jamming by aircraft radars. QRSAM uses solid-fuel propellant.

•  The missile is an all-weather, all-terrain missile with electronic countermeasures against jamming by aircraft radars

• QRSAM uses solid-fuel propellant and has a range of 25-30 km

• QRSAM has been developed by the Defense Research and Development Organization (DRDO) in association with Bharat Electronics Limited and Bharat Dynamics Limited as a replacement to Osa-AK and Kvadrat missile systems.

Mukesh Ambani becomes world's 8th richest with USD 54 bn wealth.

• As per Hurun Global Rich List 2019, Reliance Industries' 61-year-old Chairman Mukesh Ambani is the world's eighth-richest person with a net worth of $54 billion.

• He is the only Asian among the top 10.

• Amazon's Jeff Bezos topped the list for the second consecutive year with a net worth of USD 147 billion.

• With a wealth of USD 96 billion, Microsoft founder Bill Gates ranks second, followed by Warren Buffett with net worth of USD 88 billion.

Govt detects Rs 20,000 crore GST evasions in April-Feb FY19.

• The government detected Goods and Services Tax (GST) evasion of around Rs 20,000 crore between April 2018 and February 2019.

• Out of this, 10,000 crore has been recovered.

• Currently, GST has 4-tier slab of 5, 12, 18 and 28 per cent, while essential items are zero rated.

DAC approved purchase of defense equipment worth Rs 2,700 crore

• Defense Acquisition Council (DAC) granted approval for procurement of three cadet training ships for the Indian Navy, which would be utilized to provide basic sea training for officer cadets including women officer under trainees.

• DAC meeting was chaired by Defense Minister Nirmala Sitharaman.

• DAC is the highest decision-making body for defense purchases.

 LAUNCHES:

Assam Launches PRANAM Commission To Protect Parents Of State Government Employees

•  28 February 2019 Current Affairs: Assam Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal launched the PRANAM Commission, which is a panel set up to look after the issues concerning a Bill brought in for the protection of parents of state government employees.

Dr. H Chaturvedi’s Book On Quality, Accreditation & Ranking Launched In New Delhi

• 8 February 2019 Current Affairs: Vice President M Venkaiah Naidu launched the book titled ‘Quality, Accreditation, and Ranking – A Silent Revolution in the Offing in Indian Higher Education’

• The book is edited by Education Promotion Society for India’s (EPSI) Alternate President Dr. H Chaturvedi in New Delhi.

• On this occasion, the UGC Chairman, Dr. DP Singh, and Management Guru Padma Shri Dr. Pritam Singh were present as the guest of honor.

ISRO to launch defense satellite 'Emisat' in March for DRDO.

• In the special mission, Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) will also launch 28 third-party satellites and will demonstrate its new technologies like three different orbits with a new variant of 'Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle' (PSLV) rocket in March, 2019.

• Electronic intelligence satellite 'Emisat' of Defence Research and Development Organization (DRDO) weighs about 420 kg.

• After launching Emisat at an altitude of 763 km, the PSLV rocket will be brought down to put the remaining 28 satellites into orbit at an altitude of 504 km.

SCHEMES:

Karnataka launched a major water conservation scheme Jalamrutha.

• Karnataka State government launched a major water conservation scheme titled‘Jalamrutha’, which focuses on drought-proofing measures, including protection and rejuvenation of water bodies. The scheme was initiated by the Rural Development and Panchayat Raj Department and was cleared by the State Cabinet. Chief Minister H.D. Kumaraswamy launched the scheme in Bengaluru.

• Jalamrutha will deploy scientific approaches to water budgeting, water harvesting, and water conservation through the use of geospatial data, satellite imagery, topographical and geological data.

• The scheme will be implemented by key line departments of the government, Panchayat Raj Institutions (PRIs), non-governmental organizations (NGOs), and private sector institutions. It will operate on a four-tier institutional structure with planning and execution committees being set up at village, taluk, district and State levels.

MCCs budget includes Mysuru Yogalakshmi scheme

• The Mysuru City Corporation (MCC) presented the budget with an outlay of Rs.775 crore for the year 2019-20. MCC introduced new schemes that included Rs.25, 000 for each girl child born in government hospitals in the City, pink toilets for the benefit of women, besides placing dust bins in buses and autorickshaws

• Chairperson of the Standing Committee on Taxation, Finance and Appeals, Shobha presented the MCC Budget 2019-20. She announced the Mysuru Yogalakshmi scheme for the benefit of girl children born to residents of the city in government hospitals. The scheme will come into force from April 1, 2019.

• Under the scheme, Rs.25, 000 will be deposited in the form of a bond in a nationalized bank in the name of each girl child born in a government facility. Rs.2.5 crore has been set aside in the Budget for the scheme. The scheme aimed at helping the girls pursue higher education and become financially independent.

 APPOINTMENTS:

Govind Prasad Sharma is appointed as the Chairman of NBT

• Educationist and Author Govind Prasad Sharma has been appointed as the Chairman of National Book Trust (NBT). Govind Prasad Sharma has served as the Principal of Government P.G. College in Madhya Pradesh and in other Educational sectors previously.

• National Book Trust National Book Trust (NBT) is an apex body established by the Government of India in the Year 1957 under the Department Of Higher Education, Ministry of Human Resource Development.

AWARDS:

Telanganas 4 ULBs bagged Swachh Survekshan 2019 awards.

• Telangana’s four Urban Local Bodies (ULBs) bagged Swachh Survekshan-2019 awards. Siddipet, Sircilla, Boduppal, and Peerzadiguda are the four Urban Local Bodies. The awards would be presented by President Ram Nath Kovind and others at a ceremony to be held in Delhi on March 6.

• Every year, cities and towns across India are awarded the title of 'Swachh Cities' on the basis of their cleanliness and sanitation drive as a part of the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan that was launched in 2014. 

• The objective of the survey is to encourage large scale citizen participation, ensure sustainability of initiatives taken towards garbage free and open defecation free cities, provide credible outcomes which would be validated by third-party certification, institutionalize existing systems through online processes and create awareness amongst all sections of society about the importance of working together towards making towns and cities a better place to live in.

INTERNATIONAL:

Donald Trump and Kim Jong-un held second summit in Vietnam

• US President Donald Trump and North Korea's leader Kim Jong-un have begun their high-profile second summit in Vietnam's capital, Hanoi.

• The main focus of the summit is to discuss denuclearization amid claims from Michael Cohen ahead of public hearing.

• US may announce a formal end to the Korean War during the summit.

Muhammadu Buhari re-elected as Nigerian President.

• Buhari, of the ruling All Progressives Congress party, secured 56 percent, or 15.2 million votes, in the February 23 polls.

• His main opponent, former vice president Atiku Abubakar of the People's Democratic Party (PDP), received 41 percent or 11.3 million votes.

• Muhammadu Buhari, 76-year-old, has been re-elected for a second four-year term.

• He was first elected president in 2015, becoming the first opposition candidate to defeat an incumbent and win the presidency.

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Important Current Affairs 21th February 2019

AGREEMENTS AND MOUS:

Joint Statement between India and Namibia during President's visit to Namibia.

• The Union Cabinet chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi has approved the proposal for a MoU between India and the Electoral Commission of Namibia (ECN) and with Electoral Tribunal of Panama (ETP) on cooperation in the field of electoral management and administration.

•  MoU contains standard articles/clauses which broadly express promotion of cooperation in the field of electoral management and administration including promotion of exchange of knowledge and experience in the field of organizational and technical development of electoral process; support in exchanging information, institutional strengthening and capacity building, training of personnel, holding regular consultations etc.

• The MOU would promote bilateral cooperation, aimed at building technical assistance/ capacity support for the Electoral Commission of Namibia (ECN) and with Electoral Tribunal of Panama (ETP). It envisages cooperation in the field of electoral management and administration and providing a leg-up to it in conducting elections in their respective countries. This would also result in bolstering India's international relations.

India-OECD pact approved.

• The Union Cabinet approved the agreement between India and the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD).

• It has been done for participating in the Programme for International Students Assessment (PISA).

• PISA will be conducted by the OECD in 2021. The agreement was signed on January 28, 2019.

GOVERNMENT SCHEME:

Greenpeace welcomes Centre's approval to launch rural solar scheme, KUSUM.

• The Centre's decision to allocate Rs 46,000 crores towards the rural solar scheme KUSUM, aimed to provide farmers with advanced technology to generate power, has been welcomed by environment experts who said it was essential to achieve the country's 100 GW solar target by 2022.

• The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs on Tuesday approved Rs 46,000 crore for KUSUM and rooftop solar schemes to promote adoption of solar power among farmers and residential sector.

• While KUSUM scheme for farmers has been allocated Rs 34,422 crore, rooftop solar program would get Rs 11,814 crore.

NATIONAL:

Union Cabinet Approves Implementation Of New Rural Livelihood Scheme.

• The Union Cabinet, chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi. on Tuesday approved the implementation of the National Rural Economic Transformation Project (NRETP).

• This project under the Deendayal Antyodaya Yojana - National Rural Livelihoods Mission (DAY-NRLM) will be through loan assistance from the World Bank.

• The technical assistance provided by NRETP and the higher level interventions facilitated by the project will enhance the livelihoods promotion, access to finance and scale-up initiatives on digital finance and livelihood interventions.

Dearness Allowance (DA) For Government Employees, Pensioners Increased By 3%.

• The cabinet on Tuesday announced that it had approved a 3 per cent hike in Dearness Allowance or DA, a move that will benefit more than one crore central government employees and pensioners from January 1, 2019.

• The decision will cost the exchequer over Rs. 9,000 crore.

• Dearness allowance is a component of salary paid to employees to counter the effect of inflation.

• The 3 per cent increase will take the DA and Dearness Rate (DR) for pensioners to 12 per cent.

PM visits BHU in Varanasi; inaugurates Pandit Madan Mohan Malviya Cancer Hospital.

• The Prime Minister, Shri Narendra Modi, visited BHU in Varanasi today. 

• He inaugurated Pandit Madan Mohan Malaviya Cancer Hospital and Homi Bhabha Cancer Hospital, Lahartara. These Hospitals will provide comprehensive treatment to the patients from UP, and nearby states of MP, Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, and Bihar.

• Governor of UP Shri Ram Naik, CM of UP Shri Yogi Adityanath, and other dignitaries were present on the occasion.

Odisha CM Launches KALIA Scholarship for Farmers’ Children.

• Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik today unveiled KALIA Scholarship (KALIA Chhatra Brutti) at the Secretariat here for the children of the KALIA Scheme beneficiaries, who are studying and aspiring for technical and professional education.

• After taking the historic step towards transforming the economic standards of the farmers of Odisha through Krushak Assistance for Livelihood and Income Augmentation (KALIA), the State Government has come up with KALIA Scholarship in order to ensure human resource development among the farming families across the State.

• KALIA Scheme is first of its kind assistance mechanism for farmers in India and has been followed by others as well for its noble means, ideation and inclusiveness.

OBITUARIES:

Acclaimed Hindi Author Namvar Singh Dies At 92.

• Celebrated Hindi author and literary critic Namvar Singh died in the national capital late on Tuesday night. He was 92.

• Mr. Singh breathed his last at 11.51 pm at the All India Institute of Medical Science's Trauma Centre, family sources said.

• Hindi writer, senior journalist, editor and critic Om Thanvi posted about the author's demise on Facebook and said the cremation ceremony of Namvar Singh would take place at the Lodi crematorium on Wednesday afternoon.

DAY AND EVENT:

World Day of Social Justice 20 February.

• Social justice is an underlying principle for peaceful and prosperous coexistence within and among nations. We uphold the principles of social justice when we promote gender equality or the rights of indigenous peoples and migrants.

• We advance social justice when we remove barriers that people face because of gender, age, race, ethnicity, religion, culture or disability.

• For the United Nations, the pursuit of social justice for all is at the core of our global mission to promote development and human dignity. The adoption by the International Labor Organization of the Declaration on Social Justice for a Fair Globalization is just one recent example of the UN system’s commitment to social justice.

APPOINTMENTS:

Anupama elected Astronomical Society of India president, first.

• Dr.G C Anupama has been elected president of the Astronomical Society of India (ASI), becoming the first woman to head the prime association of professional astronomers in the country.

• She was elected to the post in the ASI Executive Council elections for triennium 2019-22 held last week, according to the Society website.

• Presently the Dean and Senior Professor at the Bengaluru based Indian Institute of Astrophysics (IIA), Anupama is in the Indian core team which is part of the international team engaged in establishing the thirty meter telescope (TMT) at cost of over USD 1 billion in USA (Hawaii).

AWARDS AND HONOUR:

NGO Yuwa won Laureus Sport.

• Yuwa, a Jharkhand-based NGO won the Laureus Sport for Good award.

• The NGO works for the girl empowerment.

• The NGO, founded by Americans Franz Gastler and Rose Thomson Gastler in 2009, runs a football program in rural Jharkhand covering 450 girls.

EXTRAS:

• A.K. Sharma has been re-appointed as the Director (Finance) of Indian Oil Corporation (IOC) for a period of 3 months.

• Saudi Arabia became the 73rd nation to sign the International Solar Alliance. ISA was unveiled by PM Narendra Modi and former French President Francois Hollande in 2015.

• Nikhat Zareen and Meena Kumari Devi became the first Indian women boxers to win gold medals at the Strandja Memorial Tournament in Sofia, Bulgaria.

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President of India Launches ‘100 Million for 100 Million’ Campaign

The President of India, Shri Pranab Mukherjee marked his 81st birthday by launching a ‘100 Million for 100 Million’ Campaign organized by the Kailash Satyarthi Children’s Foundation at Rashtrapati Bhavan today (December 11, 2016).
●    Speaking on the occasion, the President said that he was delighted to launch the campaign led by Nobel peace prize winner, Shri Kailash Satyarthi, from Rashtrapati Bhavan, an institution which symbolises our Republic’s commitment to democracy, pluralism and secularism.
●    The President said this global effort to mobilize 100 million youth for shaping a better future of 100 million children who are less privileged is the beginning of a change which was long overdue. It is only appropriate that this campaign begins from India, which has one of the largest populations of youth in the world. He expressed hope that the campaign, as it runs for five years, will have a path-breaking impact on the lives of children across the globe. He urged all children and young people from India and abroad to join this campaign and be the torchbearers for a vibrant, compassionate and happy world where every child is free from want, fear and exploitation.
●    The ‘100 Million for 100 Million’ Campaign aims to mobilise 100 million youth and children for 100 million underprivileged children across the world, to end child labour, child slavery, violence against children and promote the right of every child to be safe, free, and educated, over the next 5 years.
●    Earlier in the day, the President inaugurated twin tower apartments for staff of Rashtrapati Bhavan; Navachara-II, a hall for permanent exhibition of grassroots innovations at Rashtrapati Bhavan and a museum of vintage carpets & tapestries of Rashtrapati Bhavan.
 

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'Ek Bharat Shrestha Bharat' Scheme Launched

The Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi inaugurated a Digital Exhibition – “Uniting India : Sardar Patel” organized by the Ministry of Culture on the occasion of Rashtriya Ekta Diwas  the birth anniversary of Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel, former Deputy Prime Minister and Home Minister  of India in National Science Centre, New Delhi today. 
●    He also launched a Web Portal on Sardar Patel and a Souvenir on “Ek Bharat Shreshtha Bharat’’ scheme. Memorandums of Understanding (MoUs) signed between some States and Union Territories were also exchanged on the occasion.  The Union Home Minister Shri Rajnath Singh and the Minister of State (I/C) for Culture and Tourism Dr. Mahesh Sharma were also present.
●    Speaking on the occasion, the Prime Minister paid tribute to Sardar Patel, for his great contributions to the nation, and said such great individuals can never be forgotten.  He spoke at length about Sardar Patel’s role in integrating the nation, by convincing princely states to join the Union. The Prime Minister gave several illustrations to explain how the “Ek Bharat Shreshtha Bharat” initiative can build bonds between the people of various States of India.
●    Shri Rajnath Singh in his address said that Sardar Patel was the architect of modern political India. He united 565 princely State to be part of India. He hailed Sardar Patel as the Chanakya who fulfilled the dream of Chanakya by uniting India. To maintain unity and integrity of our country will be our true tribute to Sardar Patel.
 

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'Yatri Mitra' in Aid of Assistance Seeking Rail Passengers to be Launched

In an initiative to improve the railway travel experience of elderly, differently-abled and ailing passengers, the Ministry of Railways has announced the launch of ‘Yatri Mitra Seva’ to simplify access to wheelchairs, battery operated cars and porter services. The scheme will be operational at all major railway stations.
•    ‘Yatri Mitra’ or ‘Passenger Friend’ can be an assistant or any other person nominated for the purpose. 
•    In a communication sent to all Zonal Railways, the Railway Board said the IRCTC may provide the service ‘free of cost’ through some NGO, charitable trust, PSUs, etc.
•    Once the service is booked, the IRCTC will ensure that the ‘Yatri Mitra’ is made available at the coach when the passenger arrives at the designated railway station.
•    The ‘Yatri Mitra’ would contact the passenger on the mobile number given at the time of booking and confirm the expected time of arrival.
•    In Chennai Central and Egmore railway stations, there are about 30 wheelchairs and five battery operated cars.

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Union Government Launches #Gas4India Campaign to Promote Use Natural Gas in the Country

The Union Minister of State (I/C) for Petroleum and Natural Gas Shri Dharmendra Pradhan today launched #Gas4India  campaign, aimed at promoting the use of gas in the country. 
•    Public and private sector companies working in the sector have joined hands to promote the natural gas sector.
•    #Gas4India  is a unified cross-country, multimedia, multi-event campaign to communicate the national, social, economic and ecological benefits of using natural gas as the fuel of choice to every citizen who uses, or will use in the near future, gas in any way- cook, travel, light their homes, and power their business.
•    The campaign includes social engagement via Twitter, Facebook, Youtube, LinkedIn, and its official blogsite, as well as hyper local, offline events to directly connect with consumers through discussions, workshops and cultural events. 
•    Shri Pradhan launched the website, Twitter handle, facebook page and Theme song of the campaign.

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Union Government approves Rs 450 crore for five states under Swadesh Darshan scheme

The Union Government has approved 450 crore rupees for Madhya Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Tamil Nadu, Uttar Pradesh and Sikkim under the Swadesh Darshan scheme. 
•    It was approved by the Union Tourism Ministry for the development of Heritage circuit in Madhya Pradesh and Uttarakhand, Ramayana Circuit in Uttar Pradesh, North East Circuit in Sikkim and Coastal Circuit of Tamil Nadu. 
•    The Heritage Circuit in Uttarakhand: It covers Jageshwar-Devidhura-Katarmal-Baijnath sites with total project cost of approximately 83 crores rupees. 
•    Coastal circuit in Tamil Nadu: It envisages development of Chennai-Mamamallapuram-Rameshwaram-Manpadu-Kanyakumari. 
•    The total project cost is of approximately 100 crores. 
•    Ramayana Circuit in Uttar Pradesh: It envisages development of two destinations, Chitrakoot and Shringverpur. 
•    North East circuit in Sikkim: It includes development of cultural centre, paragliding centre and craft bazaar for mountaineering and meditation hall at approximate project cost of 95 crores. 
•    The Heritage Circuit in Madhya Pradesh: It covers developing Tourism Infrastructure Gwalior-Orchha-Khajuraho-Chanderi-Bhimbetka-Mandu. 
•    The total project cost is of approximately 100 crore rupees.

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First Phase of ESICS Pilot Project of Telemedicine Services inaugurated

Shri Bandaru Dattatreya , the Minister of State for Labour and Employment inaugurated the first phase of Tele-medicine services of ESIC here today for providing specialist medical services at a distance to insured workers. 
•    With this Employees State Insurance Corporation’s(ESIC) Model Hospital Basaidarapur has been connected with three ESIS dispensaries at Katihar (Bihar), Unnao (UP) and Rudarpur (Uttrachal). 
•    As the three dispansaries came live on line , the Minister interacted with staff and patients at these centres. 
•    In all, three specialized ESIC Hospitals will be connected with eight ESI Dispensaries at remote locations of the country where there are no specialized ESI healthcare services available. 
•    These include hospital at Rajaji Nagar in Bengaluru to be connected to dispensaries at Korba and Khursipar Bhilai,in Chhattisgarh. 
•    The other hospital Joka in Kolkatta to be connected to dispensaries at Shillong, Agartala and Andaman & Nicobar. 
•    Secretary Labour, OSD Labour, Members, ESI Corporation, Director General, ESIC and other dignitaries’ also graced the occasion.


 

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Odisha Government launches Biju Kanya Ratna Yojana

The Odisha Government on 3 September 2016 launched the Biju Kanya Ratna Yojana (BKRY) in three districts of the state.
•    The scheme was launched for the development of girls.
•    The scheme will be implemented for three years in Ganjam, Dhenkanal and Angul districts on a pilot basis.
•    The objective of the Biju Kanya Ratna Yojana is to improve Sex Ratio at Birth (SRB) and Child Sex Ratio (CSR) in the three districts.
•    The BKRY will ensure enrolment of girls in elementary education.
•    It will track dropout girls from schools and create a better environment for them.
•    The scheme will create awareness on gender discrimination against girls, their health, nutrition and education.
•    According to the provision of BKRY, the state government will spend 3.5 crore rupees for the three-year planned scheme, which is expected to be completed by 31 March 2019.

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