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September 2017 National Affairs

  • eProcurement system in Telangana gets smarter
    The eProcurement system in Telangana is all set to get a new fillip. An improved and new version of eProcurement application will go live on October 3. 

    One of the major upgrades in the new version would be making transactions more transparent through digital payment towards EMD (Earnest Money Deposit) – refundable amount for quoting a tender). 

    Thus, refunds will be reverted to respective accounts or originating card (credit/debit card) immediately after finalisation of the tenders in case of applicant failing to win tender or auction. 

    Besides proving to be very efficient in the procurement processes and maintaining transparency, the eProcurement project has been delivering benefits such as cost savings to various departments as well as reducing tender processing time significantly. The new facility has been developed after receiving feedback from various departments seeking additional features on the existing platform. 

    A steering committee headed by the Principal Secretary for IT, Electronics and Communications finalised the development of the new version of eProcurement and eAuction system. 

    Following a request from Telangana State Technology Services Limited (TSTSL), the State government has approved the new version and gave nod for launching its services commencing from October 3

    The new version will be ready for usage for all government departments, corporations, local bodies, universities and also public sector undertakings of Telangana State with effect from midnight of October 3. Officials said that tenders which were published prior to the new version will be completed as usual on the old platform, while all new tenders will be published on the new platform of eProcurement application. 

  • Tamil Nadu govt constitutes commission headed by retired high court judge Arumugasamy to probe Jayalalithaa's death
    Tamil Nadu government has constituted an inquiry commission under a retired high court judge Justice Arumugasamy to probe former chief minister J Jayalalithaa's death. According to the state Chief Minister E K Palaniswami Jayalalithaa’s Poes Garden residence in Chennai would be converted into a government-run memorial. 

  • Centre launches Divyang Sarathi Mobile App 
    Centre on 26th September launched Divyang Sarathi - an accessible and comprehensive mobile App for easy information dissemination to Divyangjans. 

    The unique features of the App are its audio notes embedded in it which converts the written information into an audio file. 

    Adjustable font size is also one of the feature which can be altered as per requirement. It has been developed bilingually in Hindi and English. 

    This mobile application aims at providing all relevant information pertaining to the Department of Empowerment of Persons with Disabilities, including its various Acts, rules, regulations and guidelines, schemes and information about the various outreach institutions, employment opportunities in an accessible format. 

    Launching the advanced version of Divyang Sarathi in New Delhi, Social Justice and Empowerment Minister Thaawarchand Gehlot said, this mobile application is bound to empower the Divyangjans by providing easier and convenient access to information. 

    He said, they will be able to understand all details pertaining to the schemes, scholarships, statutes, institutional support systems and other relevant and crucial information at the click of a button. 

  • Central Scheme for modernization of state police forces 
    The Cabinet Committee on Security on 27th September approved the implementation of an umbrella scheme for modernization of state police forces in the next three years. 

    According to Home Minister Rajnath Singh, the internal security, law and order, women security, weapons procurement, hiring of helicopters and other requirements will be covered under the scheme. 

    The scheme has three thousand core rupees as central assistance for 35 worst Left Wing Extremism (LWE) affected districts. 

    It will also have 100 crore rupees outlay for North Eastern States for police infrastructure up-gradation, training institutes and investigation facilities. 

    According to the Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad: 
    The Cabinet decided to increase the retirement age of Central government doctors other than Central Health Service (CHS) to 65 years. 

    The decision will benefit around 1445 doctors of various ministries and departments of the Central government. 

  • Kandla Port renamed as Deendayal Port
    The Kandla Port one of the top 12 major ports in the country renamed as Deendayal Port in the name of Pandit Deendayal Upadhyay. The port’s journey began in 1931 with the construction of a jetty by Maharao Khengarji. It became the number one port in India and created history by handling 100 million tonnes cargo in a year. 

  • Gujarat to be first big state to use EVMs with VVPAT
    Gujarat will be the first big state where the coming Assembly elections will be conducted with Electronic Voting Machine equipped with Voter Verifiable Paper Audit Trail (VVPAT). 

    State Chief Electoral Officer and Principal Secretary Mr. B. B. Sawain announced this on 28th September. He said this is for the first time that entire Gujarat Assembly elections will be held using the with VVPAT covering all the 50,128 polling booths. 

    Giving demonstration of the EVM with VVPAT to news persons, Mr Sawain said that as many as 70,182 VVPAT machines will be used in the state for the Assembly elections. He said the VVPAT was also used on a pilot basis in 2012 in the state. 

  • Home Ministry sets up expert committee to suggest ways to tackle cybercrime
    A high-level committee set up to recommend new laws or amendments to deal with hate speech on the Internet, has submitted its report to the Home Ministry. 

    The committee, headed by former Secretary General of the Lok Sabha, T K Viswanathan, has recommended appointing cybercrime coordinators in all states and establishing cybercrime cells in each district. 

    It has also suggested replacing some clauses of the IT Act and amending some sections of the IPC. A Ministry spokesperson said that the report is being examined. The committee was formed after the Supreme Court struck down Section 66 A of the Information Technology Act. 

  • India sends 62,000 food packages in relief material for Rohingya in B’desh
    India has sent relief materials, including 62,000 food packages, to Bangladesh for Rohingya refugees from Myanmar, who poured into this country following the ethnic violence in the neighbouring Buddhist-majority nation. 

    Indian High Commissioner to Bangladesh Harsh Vardhan Shringla handed over the relief materials to Bangladesh authorities at southeastern Chittagong Port. Shringla praised Bangladesh for successfully handling the “great humanitarian crisis

    Shringla said diplomatic efforts were underway at “multidimensional and bilateral levels” to reach a constructive solution for ensure “true justice and peace in Myanmar”. 

    The Indian Naval ship INS Gorial carried the goods as part of ‘Operation Insaniyat’, an Indian High Commission official said. 

    An aircraft carrying another consignment of relief goods weighing 53.50 tonnes from China also reached on 28th September at Chittagong’s Shah Amanat International Airport. The Chinese government sent another 57 tonnes of relief materials for the Rohingyas 

    Earlier, two Indian cargo flights carrying 107 tonnes of relief materials arrived at Chittagong on September 14 and 15. 

    The US also said it will provide an additional USD 6 million to the UN World Food Program (WFP) to address the Rohingya crisis in Bangladesh while this funding was in addition to the USD 1 million provided to WFP earlier this year. 

    Bangladesh, which is facing a big influx of Rohingyas from Myanmar, has called on the international community to intervene and put pressure on Myanmar to address the exodus. 

    According to the UN estimates, nearly 500,000 Rohingya Muslims have fled Myanmar’s Rakhine State into Bangladesh since August 25 when fresh wave of violence erupted. 

    According to media reports, the violence began when Rohingya militants attacked police posts in Myanmar’s northern Rakhine State. 

    Rohingya residents — a Stateless mostly Muslim minority in a Buddhist-majority nation — allege that the military and Rakhine Buddhists responded with a brutal campaign against them, according to the reports. 

    Bangladesh had earlier said the new influx of Rohingya refugees is an unbearable additional burden on the country which has been hosting nearly 500,000 Myanmar nationals who had to leave their country in the past due to communal violence and repeated military operations. 

  • Six governors appointed
    Assam Governor Banwarilal Purohit was on 30th September appointed the Governor of Tamil Nadu, giving the State Raj Bhavan a fulltime resident after a gap of more than a year. 

    Mr. Purohit was among the four Governors appointed by President Ram Nath Kovind to fill existing vacancies. Maharashtra Governor Ch. Vidyasagar Rao has held dual charge of both the States after the term of UPA appointee K. Rosaiah ended in August 2016. 

    Jagdish Mukhi will replace Mr. Purohit in Assam. In turn, Mr. Mukhi has been replaced by former Chief of Naval Staff Admiral Devendra Kumar Joshi (retd.) as the Lieutenant Governor of the Andaman and Nicobar Islands. 

    BJP vice-president Satyapal Malik has been appointed the Governor of Bihar. The post had fallen vacant after the BJP’s decision to field Ram Nath Kovind as President. Former member of the Bihar Legislative Council Ganga Prasad has been appointed the Governor of Meghalaya. Mr. Purohit was holding additional charge of Meghalaya. 

    Brigadier B.D. Mishra (retd.) will be the Governor of Arunachal Pradesh. Nagaland Governor Padmanabha Balakrishna Acharya was holding the additional charge of the State. 

  • Union Government notifies Wetland Rules 
    The Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change (MoEFCC) notified new Wetland (Conservation and Management) Rules 2017 to prohibit range of activities in wetlands. Wetland is transitional land between terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems where the water table is usually at or near the surface or it may be land covered by shallow water. 

    There are 115 wetlands officially identified by Central Government and of those 26 are identified as wetlands of international importance under Ramsar Convention. 

  • PM Modi dedicates Sardar Sarovar Dam to the nation
    Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi dedicated to the nation the Sardar Sarovar Dam at Kevadia in Narmada district of Gujarat on 17th September. This project the Narmada water will not only benefit the farmers Gujarat but also those from Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh and Rajashan. 

    Over 18 lakh hectares of land in the state will come under irrigation through the dam as Narmada water will start flowing to more than 9,000 villages of Gujarat through a network of canals. 

    The project will also help in supplying drinking water to about 4 crore people. The power generated from the dam will be shared among three states - Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra and Gujarat. 

    The dam will irrigate 2.46 lakh hectares of land in Barmer and Jalore districts of Rajasthan. Sardar Sarovar project is the biggest dam in terms of volume of concrete used in it. It is also the second biggest dam in the world after the Grand Coulee Dam in the United States. 

  • Incentives for dairy sector in Telangana
    Telangana State Chief Minister K Chandrasekhara Rao showered incentives and subsidies for the diary sector. Accordingly, farmers will get Rs. 4 a litre of milk as incentive and 50 per cent subsidy for buying a buffalo. 

    The financial incentive to be launched from September 24 will be applicable to all dairy development societies and in line with those being enjoyed by the Vijaya Dairy Development Society. The other major societies are the Mulkanur Dairy, Nalgonda, Ranga Reddy and Karimnagar district’s Development Societies. 

    Through these societies, the 50 per cent subsidy for farmers buying a buffalo will be implemented. The subsidy will be 75 per cent if the farmer is from the SC/ST community. 

    In return, the Chief Minister has asked every farmer to plant six saplings in household and name them after family members. The scheme will commence after two months. As was done in the case of distribution of sheep a few months ago, the beneficiaries themselves will identify and buy the buffaloes. The subsidy will be routed through the dairy development societies. The total milk production in the State from the three main societies is around 7 lakh litres. 

  • Shaheed Gram Vikas Yojana launched
    Jharkhand Government has launched the Shaheed Gram Vikas Yojana which aims at developing villages of freedom fighters. BJP President Amit Shah along with Jharkhand Chief Minister Raghubar Das launched the initiative from Ulihatu Village, the birth place of freedom fighter and Jharkhand's tribal icon, Birsa Munda. 

  • International Yoga Festival Starts in Kashmir
    Jammu and Kashmir governor N N Vohra inaugurated the second International Yoga Festival and International Yoga Sports Championship 2017 in which about 300 people from across the world are participating. 

    The festival is being organized by the Yoga Society of Kashmir at the Sher-i-Kashmir International Conference Centre that about 300 participants from various parts of India, Vietnam, Taiwan, Canada, Bulgaria, USA, and Nepal are participating in the festival. 

    The Yoga is enormously beneficial for the growth of a healthy mind and body and Vohra emphasized that learning to practice yoga, especially from a young age helps in developing the required mental and physical discipline which enables the practitioner to lead a wholesome, stress-free and balanced life. 

  • NIA court grants bail to two 2008 Malegaon bomb blast accused
    A special NIA court in Mumbai on 18th September granted bail to two accused in the 2008 Malegaon bomb blast case. 

    Sudhakar Chaturvedi and Sudhakar Dwivedi alias Shankaracharya, facing conspiracy charges, were granted bail by the Court. 

    Both are accused of attending conspiracy meetings, where the terror attack was planned, along with others. 

    All the accused were booked under the stringent Maharashtra Control of Organised Crime Act (MCOCA), Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA), besides under various sections of the Indian Penal Code (IPC). 

    The court while granting bail observed that since the NIA has dropped MCOCA from the case the confessions of the accused are inadmissible. 

    Six people were killed and nearly 100 others injured when a bomb strapped to a motorcycle exploded in Malegaon town in Nashik district on 29th of September in 2008. 

  • Govt inaugurates first Pension Adalat for Central govt employees
    • Union Minister for Personnel, Public Grievances and Pensions Dr. Jitendra Singh inaugurated the first Pension Adalat and a pension app for Central Government employees in New Delhi on 20th September.
    • The Adalat aims to quick resolve long pending pension cases.
    • The initiative will inspire state governments to take such measures for their employees.

  • Tripura to set up family welfare committees
    Tripura becomes the first state in the country to set up family welfare district committees to examine the complaints of women against their husbands and in-laws and find an amicable solution. Tripura High Court is the first high court among 24 high courts of the country that has constituted the family welfare district committees. The new system would be valid for the next six months and after that National Legal Services Authority (NLSA) would submit a report of its performance to the apex court, on the basis of which a new course of action would be decided. 

  • First of six Scorpene-class submarines handed over to Navy
    The state owned Mazagon Dock Limited in Mumbai delivered the first of six Scorpene-class submarines to the Indian Navy on 21st September. The submarine will be commissioned soon. The development marks a major milestone in Indian Navy's submarine programme as the vessel is expected to bolster India's maritime prowess. 

    The six submarines designed by French naval defence and energy company DCNS, will replace the Indian Navy's aging Sindhughosh and Shishumar class of submarines. 

    A Mazagon Dock Ltd statement said, the second of the Scorpenes, Khanderi is currently undergoing the rigorous phase of sea trials. The third Scorpene, Karanj is being readied for launchlater this year. The rest are in various stages of outfitting. 

    The construction of the submarine INS Kalvari which was named after a deep sea tiger shark began in 2009. The submarine was undocked from pontoon on 6 April 2015 and completed the Basin trials and Harbor acceptance trials in April 2016. On 2 March 2017, INS Kalvari test fired Exocet anti-ship missile in the Arabian Sea. 

  • Ashok Gajapathi Raju Inaugurates new campus of Indian Aviation Academy
    The Union Minister of Civil Aviation P. Ashok Gajapathi Raju on 21st September inaugurated the new state of the art campus of Indian Aviation Academy (IAA) in New Delhi. 

    With the inauguration of this new world class campus, the IAA academy aims to enhance and augment its training and hostel capabilities to more than double. 

    The Indian Aviation Academy was constituted under the aegis of NIAMAR (National Institute of Aviation Management and research Society) on 22nd July, 2010 as a joint training academy of Airports Authority of India, Bureau of Civil Aviation Security and Directorate General of Civil Aviation. 

    The aim of the academy is to provide training and conduct research and consultancy services in various areas of the aviation sector, like Airports and Aviation Management, Safety Regulations, Security and other related areas, said a statement from Aviation ministry. 

    IAA runs training programmes in Airports Operations & Aviation Safety, Airport Engineering & Planning, Air Cargo Management, Environment concerns in Aviation, besides regulatory training through DGCA and Security training through BCAS. 

    AAI also offers internationally recognised aviation accredited programmes to participant across the globe in cooperation with ICAO, IATA and ACI. AAI has also acquired full membership of ICAO Train air Plus programme. 

    The New IAA campus has been equipped to meet the skilling and training needs of the future as a large number of professionally skilled and trained manpower are required to operate, manage and maintain the future international air transport system. 

    The new IAA campus is spread over 8 acres and has 12 training halls of different capacities, two computer based training facilities and auditorium of sitting capacity of 200 apart from meeting rooms, library and video conferencing facility. 

  • TN Assembly Speaker disqualifies 18 AIADMK MLAs loyal to TTV Dhinakaran
    In Tamil Nadu, the Assembly Speaker has disqualified 18 dissident AIADMK MLAs loyal to its sidelined leader TTV Dhinakaran on 18th September. 

    A statement by the Assembly Secretary K.Boopathy in Chennai has said the action has been taken against them under the anti-defection law. The disqualification comes just a day after the O.Panneerselvam and Edappadi Palaniswamy factions of the party announced their merger. 

    19 dissident AIADMK MLAs had submitted letters to the state interim Governor Vidyasagar Rao on 22nd of last month withdrawing their support to chief minister Palaniswamy. Later, one among the 19 rebel members switched over to the ruling camp, who has been spared from the axe 

    Meanwhile, the disqualified MLAs have decided to file a petition before the Madras High Court seeking to nullify the Speaker’s action. 

  • Rajnath Singh launches intelligence wing of SSB, WARB App
    Home Minister Rajnath Singh has launched intelligence wing of Sashastra Seema Bal, SSB, and Welfare and Rehabilitation Board App, WARB in New Delhi on 18th September. The paramilitary force guards India's borders with Bhutan and Nepal. The intelligence wing will gather actionable information. 

    The app WARB which was also launched on the occasion contains features to facilitate retire CAPFs and Assam Riffles personnel to get their grievances redressed, seek skill development and other relevant and important information. 

  • Newton is India's official entry to Oscars 2018
    Eros International's Newton, directed by Amit V Masurkar's, starring Rajkummar Rao, Pankaj Tripathi and Raghubir Yadav is India's official entry in the Best Foreign Film language category at the Oscars 2018 as stated by Film Federation of India (FFI). The film received positive response at the Berlin Film Festival earlier this year and released in cinemas in India on 22nd September to positive critic reviews. 

  • PM Modi flags off Varanasi-Vadodara Mahamana Express
    Country's two large cities, Varanasi and Vadodra, one known for spirituality and other known for trade facilitation, were connected after Prime Minister Narendra Modi flagged off Mahamana Express on 22nd September. The Mahamana Express will also reduce the travel time by 7 hours as the 1,531-km journey between the two cities will now take 27 hours 30 minutes. 

  • Ramayan Stamp launched: Prime Minister Narendra Modi launched a postage stamp based on 'Ramayana' in Varanasi and said that stamps are a wonderful way to preserve history. 

  • Indias first electric bus service launched 
    Himachal Pradeshbecame the first state in India to introduce electric buses. The Transport Minister GS Bali flagged off India's first electric bus on the 51 kms long Manali-Rohtang Pass. With this initiative Himachal becomes first in the world to ply electric buses at an altitude of 13 thousand feet. 

  • India third in nuclear power installations: study
    India is third in the world in the number of nuclear reactors being installed, at six, while China is leading at 20, the World Nuclear Industry Status Report 2017, released this month, shows. The number of nuclear reactor units under construction is, however, declining globally for the fourth year in a row, from 68 reactors at the end of 2013 to 53 by mid-2017, the report says. 

    The latest report further reveals that most nuclear reactor constructions are behind schedule, with delays resulting in increase in project costs and delay in power generation. 

    There are 37 reactor constructions behind schedule, of which 19 reported further delays over the past year. In India itself, five out of the six reactors under construction are behind schedule. Eight nuclear power projects have been under construction globally for a decade or more, of which three have been so for over 30 years. 

    Data gathered by the authors shows that global nuclear power generation increased by 1.4% in 2016 due to a 23% increase in China, though the share of nuclear energy in electricity generation stagnated at 10.5%. By comparison, globally, wind power output grew by 16% and solar power by 30%. Wind power increased generation by 132 TWh (terawatt hours) or 3.8 times, and solar power by 77 TWh or 2.2 times more than nuclear power’s 35 TWh respectively. Renewables represented 62% of global power generating capacity additions. 

    Russia and the U.S. shut down reactors in 2016, while Sweden and South Korea both closed their oldest units in the first half of 2017, the report notes. 

  • Rajasthan launches world's first processed olive leaf tea
    Rajasthan has added one more feather to its cap with launching of world’s maiden processed olive leaf tea. Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje inaugurated the new initiative on 9th September. 

    India’s first processed olive leaf tea unit has been set up at Bassi in Rajasthan. Spread on 20,000 square feet area with investment of approximately Rs3 crore, now the processed olive leaf tea is ready to be served to people of India and rest of the world as well. 

    Olive tea has great health benefits such as it reduces risk of cancer, keeps heart healthy, anti-viral properties, rich in antioxidants, reduces blood pressure, amplifies immunity, rejuvenates skin, aids in diabetes and is an anti-inflammatory agent. 

    Being rich in antioxidants and vitamin C and being free of caffeine, it has a potential to become an alternative to the daily drinks that people consume at large such as green tea, coffee, black tea and more. 

    Coming at a time when people want to make a shift to healthy habits due to the ever increasing stress that comes with fast-paced lifestyle, olive tea is definitely going to help the people. 

  • WHO ready to help India eliminate TB by 2025
    India is committed to eliminating tuberculosis (TB) by 2025, according to the World Health Organisation (WHO) which is ready to help the country achieve the target by developing strategies in collaboration with the government to fight the deadly disease. 

    The World Health body has called on countries in South- East Asia Region to build on recent momentum aimed at ending TB by 2030, commending their resolve to take action and urging all countries to review and align national plans with the Delhi Call to Action issued in March. 

    According to WHO, across the region, TB remains the largest cause of death and suffering due to any communicable disease among the most productive age groups. 

    Although the region accounts for about one quarter of the world’s population, it has nearly half the number of new TB cases and close to 40 per cent of TB deaths globally, WHO said. In recognition of TB’s outsized burden, accelerating progress towards the 2030 target – which requires a 90 per cent reduction in TB deaths and 80 per cent decrease in TB incidence – is now one of WHO South-East Asia Region’s Flagship Priority Areas of work. 

  • Chakma and Hajong refugees living in Northeast to get citizenship
    The Centre will grant citizenship to all Chakma and Hajong refugees living in the Northeast but without diluting ST status and rights of indigenous people. 

    The issue of Chakma-Hajong refugee came up for discussion on 13th September at a high level meeting convened by Home Minister Rajnath Singh in New Delhi. 

    The meeting was attended by Arunachal Pradesh Chief Minister Pema Khandu, Minister of State for Home Kiren Rijiju and National Security Advisor Ajit Doval. 

    According to Rijiju, a middle path will be chosen so that 2015 Supreme Court order to grant citizenship to Chakma-Hajong refugees could be honoured and the rights of the local population are not diluted. 

    Several organisations and civil society in Arunachal Pradesh have been opposing citizenship to the Chakma and Hajong refugees saying it would change the demography of the state. 

  • Home Ministry cancels foreign funding license of JNU, DU, IIT Delhi and ICMR
    Many prominent higher education institutions, including Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU), Delhi University (DU), IIT-Delhi and the Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR), are among several hundred organisations which have been barred by the Centre from receiving foreign funds. 

    The Union Home Ministry has cancelled their registration under the Foreign Contribution Regulation Act, 2010 (FCRA) as they have reportedly failed to file their annual returns for the last five years. 

    No organisation or institution is allowed to receive funds from abroad unless it is registered under FCRA. It is mandatory for such organisations to submit their annual income and expenditure statements to the government. An educational institution, for instance, needs its FCRA registration number to receive donations from its alumni based abroad. 

    Among the other organisations whose FCRA licences have been revoked are: the Supreme Court Bar Association, Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR), Indira Gandhi National Open University (IGNOU), Panjab University, Gargi College (Delhi), Lady Irwin College (Delhi), Escorts Heart Institute and Research Centre, Gandhi Peace Foundation, Nehru Yuva Kendra Sangathan, Armed Forces Flag Day Fund, School Of Planning & Architecture (Delhi) and FICCI Socio Economic Development Foundation. 

  • Kerala to open India's first transgender-exclusive clinics
    Kerala opens India's first transgender-exclusive clinics at government medical colleges across the state. 

    They are planning to open Transgender Clinics in all government medical colleges in the state. We also plan to provide facilities for their surgery at least in two medical colleges. The first clinic will be set up at the government medical college of Kottayam within the next two months and will be one of the first clinics to provide the sex-change surgery. 

  • India’s first advanced Homoeopathy Virology lab inaugurated in Kolkata
    India’s first state of art virology laboratory inaugurated at Dr Anjali Chatterjee Regional Research Institute for Homoeopathy in Kolkata, West Bengal. The lab plays important in developing new drugs and technologies in Homoeopathy to combat emerging challenges of viral diseases. The laboratory is only one of its kind in India for conducting basic and fundamental research in Homoeopathy for viral diseases like influenza, dengue. 

  • Union Government reconstitutes six Committees of Cabinet
    The Union Government reconstituted six Committees of the Cabinet after recent ministry reshuffle. Railway Minister Piyush Goyal and Dharmendra Pradhan were also included as permanent members of the Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA). 
    The six committees of Cabinet are: 
    • Appointments Committee of the Cabinet (ACC) - It is responsible for all appointments of higher ranks in the Central Secretariat, Public Enterprises, Public Enterprises and Financial Institutions.
    • Cabinet Committee on Accommodation (CCA) - It is responsible for the allotment of accommodation for various top positions in the Government of India.
    • Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA): It deals with the activities pertaining to the economics of the country.
    • Cabinet Committee on Parliamentary Affairs (CCPA): It looks into the matters related to the progress of government business in the Parliament of India.
    • Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS): It is one of the most important committees in India, it looks into the matters of defense expenditures and National Security.

  • Supreme Court asks Centre for fast track courts for cases against MP, MLAs
    The Supreme Court has asked the government to consider legislating on setting up of new fast-track courts to expedite criminal case trials against parliamentarians and legislators. 

    A bench of Justices J Chelameswar and S Abdul Nazeer said, Parliament had the competence to come up with a law and create necessary infrastructure for setting up of such courts for speedy disposal of cases against lawmakers. 

    The court's remarks came on a plea filed by an NGO for creating a permanent mechanism to investigate candidates whose assets have grown disproportionately during their tenure as MLAs or MPs. Attorney General KK Venugopal agreed that fast-track courts were the need of the hour. 

  • Six-month cooling period for granting divorce can be waived: Supreme Court
    The Supreme Court has held that the minimum cooling period of six months for granting the decree of divorce under the Hindu law can be waived by a trial court if there was no possibility of cohabitation between an estranged couple. 

    The 1955 Hindu Marriage Act provides for a statutory cooling period of six months between the first and the last motion for seeking divorce by mutual consent to explore the possibility of settlement and cohabitation. 

    The apex court said, the object of the cooling off period was to safeguard against a hurried decision if there was otherwise a possibility of differences being reconciled. 

    It said, though every effort has to be made to save a marriage, but if there are no chances of reunion and there are chances of fresh rehabilitation, the court should not be powerless in enabling the parties to have a better option. 

    The court also said, in conducting such proceedings, the trial court can use the medium of video conferencing. The bench was dealing with a plea filed by an estranged couple which had sought waiver of the six month period on the ground that they have been living separately for the past eight years and there was no possibility of their re-union. 

  • Government says no drought-like situation in the country
    Government has dismissed media reports regarding drought in 225 districts in 17 States as factually incorrect, saying there is no drought like situation in the country. 
    According to Agricultural Ministry: 
    • There is deficit rainfall reported in 95 districts but sowing is normal and satisfactory
    • The rainfall in first fortnight of this month in many States will improve the situation and the yield is expected to be the same as last year
    • During the current monsoon season, the rains have been normal and Ministry is regularly monitoring the agricultural situation.
    • Many States particularly, North east states are receiving heavy monsoon rains.
    • The Kharif crops coverage in almost all the States have been satisfactory and the rains during this month in Kerala, Karnataka, Maharashtra, Telangana, Odisha and Jharkhand have improved moisture in the soil
    • During 2017-18, the area sown under all Kharif crops is over one thousand 41 lakh hectares against the normal of corresponding period of one thousand 14 lakh hectares.
    • Some areas experienced deficit rains after sowing of kharif crops and States have already started assessment of impact in such areas.

  • Swacchata campaign launched
    Indian President Ram Nath Kovind launched the nationwide campaign Swacchata Hi Sewa from Ishwariganj village in Kanpur, Uttar Pradesh on 15th September. Emphasising that cleanliness is the real service to humanity, Mr Kovind administered a pledge to people for their commitment to the cause. 

    The President said the objectives of the Swachhta Mission cannot be achieved without active participation of common people. 

    Nagaland joined the rest of the country in launching Swachhata Hi Sewa. In the state capital Kohima, a pledge was taken to create a clean, healthy and new India. 

    The objective of the Swachhta campaign is to mobilise people and reinforce the public movement for sanitation to contribute to Mahatma Gandhi’s dream of a Clean India. The fortnight long campaign will conclude on 2nd of October on the occasion of Gandhi Jayanti. 

  • Supreme Court passes a slew of directions on prison reforms across India
    The Supreme Court passed a slew of directions on prison reforms on 15th September. It has directed all state governments to appoint counsellors and support persons for counselling prisoners, particularly first-time offenders. 

    It also directed all states to study the availability of medical assistance to prisoners and take remedial steps wherever necessary. 

    A bench of Justices M B Lokur and Deepak Gupta directed Chief Justices of the high courts to register a 'suo motu' public interest litigation with a view to identify the next of kin of prisoners who have admittedly died an unnatural death as revealed by the National Crime Records Bureau during the period between 2012 and 2015 and even thereafter and to award suitable compensation. 

    The top court also directed the Ministry of Woman and Child Development to discuss with the official concerned of the state governments and formulate procedures for tabulating the number of children, if any, who suffer an unnatural death in child care institutions where they are kept in custody either because they are in conflict with law or because they need care and protection. 

    The bench was hearing a 2013 PIL on prevailing inhuman conditions prevailing in 1,382 prisons across the country. 

  • World Telugu Conference from December 15 in Hyderabad
    The World Telugu Conference will be held from December 15 to 19. A decision to this effect was taken at a high-level meeting meeting chaired by Chief Minister K Chandrashekhar Rao on at Pragathi Bhavan on 12th September. He instructed that the preparatory programmes should commence forthwith. 

    The government earlier decided to organise the conference in October. However, a World Tourism Conference is scheduled from October 5 to 9, in which representatives from 90 countries are participating. Moreover, the global entrepreneurship forum, in which representatives from 170 countries are participating, is also being held in Hyderabad from November 28. As the entire official machinery is busy with these two prestigious conferences, it was decided to organise the World Telugu Conference in December. 

    The Chief Minister announced sanction of Rs 50 Crore for organising the conference. While Rs 5 crore would be given given to Telangana Sahitya Akademi and Rs 2 crore will be allotted to Official Language Commission for expenses. The Telangana Sahitya Akademi will be the nodal agency for the World Telugu Conference. Chief Minister has instructed all the educational institutions in the State both private and public to teach Telugu as a compulsory subject from 1st to 12th standard. The Chief Minister made it clear that recognition and permissions would be given to only such institutions which make Telugu mandatory. For those opting for Urdu, it would be optional. 

    Chief Minister asked the Sahitya Akademi to prepare syllabus to be taught to primary, secondary and higher and intermediate classes. The syllabus should be framed and textbooks should be printed at the earliest, he said. 

    The syllabus finalised by the Sahitya Akademi will be taught in all the educational institutions and they are not expected to print textbooks and teach syllabus according to their whims and fancies. The government will strictly implement the policy, the Chief Minister declared. 

  • India’s First Lithium-Ion Battery Unit in Gujarat
    Suzuki Motor invest more than Rs 1,150 crore along with Japanese partners Toshiba and Denso to set up India's first lithium-ion battery facility in Gujarat. 

    The announcement by the parent of the country's largest carmaker, Maruti Suzuki is a major boost to the government's ambitious vehicle electrification and Make in India initiatives. It will hold half the stake and meanwhile, Toshiba will own 40% and Denso the remaining 10%.

  • India's First Centre for Animal Law set up at Hyderabad
    India's first Centre for Animal Law established at the city-based NALSARUniversity of Law. Union Minister for Women and Child Development Maneka Gandhi inaugurated the centre according to a release issued by Humane Society International (HSI). The Centre will create curriculum on animal welfare laws, including developing topics for research. It will also conduct workshops on animal laws and animal welfare issues with judicial magistrates, animal welfare advocates, law enforcement agencies and other stakeholders in the government. 

  • Nine new Ministers inducted into Union Council of Ministers
    Four Union ministers were promoted to Cabinet rank and nine new Ministers of state were inducted in the Union Council of Ministers on 3rd September. 

    Nirmala Sitharaman has been appointed as country's new Defence Minister while Piyush Goyal is the new Rail Minister in addition to Coal. 

    Dharmendra Pradhan has been given additional charge of Skill Development. Minority Affairs Minister Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi has been elevated to the Cabinet rank. Suresh Prabhu is now new Commerce Minister, while Nitin Gadkari has been given additional charge of Water resources. 

    Former diplomat Hardeep Singh Puri will be the new Housing and Urban affairs Minister, Ex Home Secretary R K Singh has been given the charge of Power and New and Renewable Ministry. 

    Former IAS officer Alphons Kannanthanam will be new Tourism Minister and Minister of State for Electronics and Information Technology, while former Mumbai Police chief Satyapal Singh will be the Minister of state for Human Resource Development and the Minister of state for Water Resources. 

    Lok Sabha MP from Madhya Pradesh Virendra Kumar is made Minister of state for Women and Child Development and Minister of State in Minority Affairs. 

    Lok Sabha MP from Karnataka Anant Kumar Hegde is new Minister of state for Skill Development and Entrepreneurship. Another Lok Sabha MP from Rajasthan Gajendra Singh Shekhawat will be the Minister of state in the Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare. 

    Loksabha MP from Bihar Ashwini Kumar Choubey has been made Minister of State for Health and Family Welfare. While Rajya Sabha MP from Uttar Pradesh Shiv Pratap Shukla will be the new Minister of state for Finance. President Ram Nath Kovind administered the oath of office and secrecy to them at Rashtrapati Bhavan. 

  • President lays foundation stone for Link-4 of SAUNI Yojna in Gujarat
    Indian President Ramnath Kovind on 4th September laid foundation stone for Link-4 of Saurashtra Narmada Irrigation Scheme- SAUNI Yojna at Jasdan in Rajkot district of Gujarat. The link - 4 is a part of ambitious SAUNI project to be completed at the cost of 10 thousand crore rupees. 

    The Scheme aimed to fill up about 115 dams by the overflowing waters of Sardar Sarovar Dam on Narmada River. The entire project will benefit more than 2 lakh acres of farm land and more than 900 villages of 7 districts of Saurashtra. 

  • Collectors now nodal officers for FACCs in Telangana
    The Telangana State government on 4th September entrusted the district Collectors with the job of issuing proceedings for constitution of Farmers Associations Coordination Committees (FACCs) at revenue village and mandal levels. Commissioner and Director of Agriculture (CDA) will nominate the names for district level coordination committees by September 9. 

    Orders have been issued making the Agriculture Department as State nodal agency, while the CDA as State nodal officer for constituting FACCs. The district Collectors have been designated as district nodal officers and will be assisted by district agriculture officers. 

    After the list of committee members is finalised by the district in-charge Minister by September 9, the Collectors will constitute FACCs on behalf of the State government. They will also submit the list of coordination committee members for districts to the Commissioner and Director of Agriculture who will nominate them for district level FACCs. 

    A coordinator at revenue village, mandal, district and State level will also be nominated for the FACCs by the State government. 

    In all, 10,733 village level, 589 mandal level and 30 district level FACCs are being constituted across the State. So far, farmers meetings were held in nearly 2,000 villages and over 850 village FACCs have been constituted. 

    The State government has decided to constitute the FACCs to oversee implementation of the proposed Investment Support Scheme providing Rs 4,000 per acre during each season to all farmers and enable them meet expenses towards seeds, fertilizers, pesticides and other investment in field operations. 

    Another Rs 4,000 per acre will be provided, if the farmers cultivate land during rabi season as well. Only practising pattedars residing in village will bes are considered for nomination in the FACCs. 

  • No Indian institute in top 200 in the Times Higher Education (THE) World University Rankings 2018
    Poor performance in internationalising their campuses and a low research score have pulled down Indian higher education institutes such as the Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore (IISc) and some of the Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs) in the Times Higher Education (THE) World University Rankings 2018. 

    While IISc, Bangalore has dropped from the 201-250 band in the previous rankings to the 251-300 band, IIT-Delhi and IIT-Kanpur have fallen from the 401-500 band to the 501-600 band. IIT-Madras fell from the 401-500 band to the 601-800 cohort. 

    THE on 5th September published the 14th annual edition of its World University Rankings, a list of the top 1,000 universities from 77 countries. According to THE, India’s performance has deteriorated, with its number of universities in the top 1,000 declining from 31 to 30. 

    The University of Oxford retains first place in the World University Rankings. The University of Cambridge climbs two places to second, overtaking the California Institute of Technology and Stanford University, both joint third. While the US continues to dominate the rankings, Chinese universities are climbing rapidly. 

    The Indian government is also setting up an empowered committee to select 20 institutes with the aim of having them ranked in the top 500 and eventually top 100 global universities. 

    The government announced in August it would put on hold its plan to allow foreign universities to establish campuses and award degrees in the country but said the 20 universities chosen for the excellence initiative would be free to recruit foreign faculty, admit more foreign students and collaborate with foreign institutions. 

  • TADA Court awarded death sentence in the 1993 Mumbai Blast case
    In the 1993 Mumbai Blast case, the special court for Terrorist and Disruptive Activities Prevention Act awarded death sentence to Tahir Merchant and Feroz Abdul Rashid Khan. 

    The court has awarded life imprisonment to gangster Abu Salem and Karimullah Khan. Riyaz Siddiqui has been sentenced for 10 years. This was the second leg of the trial - in the first leg that concluded in 2007, the TADA court had convicted 100 accused in the case, while 23 people were acquitted. 

    The court held that Tahir Merchant was amongst the main conspirators. The court noted that he worked with absconding conspirator Tiger Memon and participated in several conspiracy meetings in Dubai. 

    The court had in June convicted six persons, including mastermind Mustafa Dossa and Salem, in the case. It, however, let off accused Abdul Quayyum, for want of evidence. All the seven accused were facing multiple charges which included criminal conspiracy, waging war against the Government of India and murder. Dossa died of cardiac arrest on June 28 in Mumbai shortly after being convicted. 

    This was the second leg of the trial. The main trial of 123 accused ended in 2006 with the conviction of 100. Yakub Memon, brother of prime absconding accused Tiger Memon, was hanged in 2015. The Mumbai blast of March 12, 1993, resulted in 257 deaths and over 700 were injured. 

  • Telangana Civil Supplies Department to track stocks at ration shops with T-Ration app
    Information, including the location and route map of fair price shops and stock positions, has now become more accessible than ever with the Telangana Civil Supplies Department introducing a smartphone application christened T- Ration. 

    Finance and Civil Supplies Minister E Rajendar launched the app on 8th September. T- Ration app would make things easier for ration cardholders, and ensures transparency in all aspects. In the past, there were many irregularities and cardholders were clueless over the availability of stocks in fair price shops. The app would provide all such information to cardholders right on their mobiles

    The app provides information on seven aspects, apart from enabling the public to track the status of stocks in godowns. For officials, it would provide information pertaining to 13 aspects helping them to monitor the work online and ensure transparency

    Cardholders can obtain stocks from any fair shop en route to their office or on the way home. All they need is log onto the mobile app and check the nearest fair price shop

    Regarding installation of e-PoS machines in fair price shops, he said the project of installing the machines in all the 17,500 fair price shops would be completed by November. Once this is done, a ration cardholder from Adilabad can obtain stocks from a fair price shop in Mahabubnagar. 

    This apart, efforts are onto organise procurement of paddy and other payment related aspects through the T- Ration app, he said, adding that this would aid in ascertaining details of day-wise procurement, amount paid to farmers and pending if any. 

  • Nestle sets up First Food Safety Institute in India
    The new Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) CEO Pawan Kumar Agarwal inaugurated the Nestle Food Safety Institute in Manesar, Gurugram. The partnerships with private parties on food safety and standards are an imperative for FSSAI. It is an effort to implement a first world regulatory ecosystem in India. The company is working with Nestle India for setting up the institute at Manesar. 

  • India’s first Hyperloop to come up in Andhra Pradesh
    India’s first Hyperloop project will come up in Andhra Pradesh connecting its city centres, Vijayawada and Amaravati. Andhra Pradesh Economic Development Board (APEDB) inked a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with Hyperloop Transportation Technologies (HTT) for developing the project. Hyperloop Technology is brainchild idea of technology entrepreneur Elon Musk who dubs it as the fifth mode of transportation. It is a system of magnetically levitating capsules (pods) that are sent at high speeds through low-pressure tubes. 

  • Union Govt to launch School Chalo Abhiyan to enroll 80 lakh kids
    Government will undertake a programme known as ‘school chalo abhiyan’from 2018 to enrol “70-80 lakh” students in India who are out of schools. Union Human Resource Development Minister Prakash Javadekar announced it at the celebration of 51st International Literacy Day-2017.


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