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January 2019 - National News

  • Manipur, Meghalaya, Tripura celebrating statehood day on Jan 21, 2019. On this day in 1972, all the three states became full-fledged states under the North Eastern Region (Reorganization) Act, 1971.

  • The 15th edition of Pravasi Bhartiya Divas begins at Varanasi in Uttar Pradesh on 21 January, 2019. Around 6,000 NRIs are expected to take part in the three-day event which is being organized in Varanasi for the first time. The theme this year (2019) is, 'Role of Indian Diaspora in building New India'.

    Prime Minister Narendra Modi said that the NRIs can play a great role in startup, stand up, and defence manufacturing sector while working for the development of India. He said the government has taken a new step in Passport seva service recently and is planning to provide E Visa also. He also said the Government is going to start Pravasi Teerth Darshan Yojna.

    The chief guest at the convention, Prime Minister of Mauritius Pravind Jugnauth started his speech in Hindi. He said that the convention is the most precious gathering of India diaspora.

  • Army Chief calls for incorporating Artificial Intelligence, big data computing into defence system. Army Chief General Bipin Rawat has stressed on incorporating Artificial Intelligence (AI) and big data computing into the Armed forces' system. He was addressing the valedictory function of the National Conference on 'Self Reliance in Defence Manufacturing' in Hyderabad on 20 January, 2019.
    Future wars are going to be fought in the cyber domain and it is important to start understanding the relevance of AI and Big Data computing and how to incorporate it into the defence system.

    The Indian Armed forces have to be prepared whether it was defence of borders, combating proxy wars, terrorism, insurgencies or other internal security disturbances. The Army Chief also said, the defence forces needed equipment that were capable of deep viewing adversaries' territories.

  • Union Minister for Human Resources Development Prakash Javdekar has said that the 10 percent reservations for economically backward people from open category declared by Union Government will be implemented from the coming educational year. He said that essential Government Orders are already issued. He further added that all central educational institutes including I.I.T and I.I.M. have been asked to implement this reservation for Poor.

  • President Ram Nath Kovind will confer the Pradhan Mantri Rashtriya BAL Puraskar 2019 at a function in Rashtrapati Bhawan on 22 January, 2019.

    The Award will be given in two categories - Bal Shakti Puraskar and Bal Kalyan Puraskar.

    The Bal Shakti Puraskar will be given to 26 shortlisted children including one joint award in the field of innovation, scholastic, sports, arts and culture, social service and bravery. The award under Bal Shakti Puraskar carries a cash prize of one lakh rupees, book vouchers worth ten thousand rupees, a certificate and a citation.

    Two individuals and three institutions will be awarded the Bal Kalyan Puraskar. Under Bal Kalyan Puraskar, the award for individual consists of a cash prize of one lakh rupees, a medal, a citation and a certificate while the award for institution consists of a cash prize of five lakh rupees.

    Women and Child Development Ministry revamped the scheme of National Awards for children in 2018 to include Bravery as an additional component in the Pradhan Mantri Rashtriya BAL Puraskar.

  • Prime Minister Narendra Modi will inaugurate the Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose museum at Red Fort in New Delhi on 23 January, 2019. He will unveil the plaque to inaugurate the Museum on Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose and Indian National Army, INA. The Prime Minister will visit the Yaad-e-Jallian Museum, a museum on Jallianwala Bagh and World War- I.

    He will also visit the Museum on 1857- India’s first war of Independence and Drishyakala- Museum on Indian Art at Red Fort.

    The Museum on Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose and Indian National Army provides a detailed account of both and also showcases various artefacts related to Subhash Chandra Bose and INA.

    The Yaad-e-Jallian Museum provides an authentic account of Jallianwala Bagh massacre that happened on 13th April, 1919. The museum will also showcase the heroism, valour and sacrifices made by Indian soldiers during World War-1.

  • Fourth edition of Bharat Parv, showcasing the spirit of Ek Bharat Shreshtha Bharat will be held at Red Fort in the national capital from 26th of January. It will continue till 31st January. The objective of this festival is to generate a patriotic fervour and promote the rich cultural diversity of the country. 

  • Navy Chief Admiral Sunil Lanba to commission new Naval Air Base ‘INS Kohassa’ at Diglipur in Andaman and Nicobar Islands on 24 January, 2019. Once commissioned, the airbase will be used to handle operations of helicopters and small aircraft like the Dornier.

    "The new airbase in the northernmost part of the Andaman Nicobar Islands will be used for both Defence and civil aircraft. Earlier, Naval Air Station at Shibpur was manned by utilizing the manpower from INS Utkrosh. Now, the airbase will function as an independent unit. With the inauguration of INS Kohassa, Andaman and Nicobar Command will further strengthen its defence capabilities in the region.

  • The Election Commission will host an International Conference on making elections inclusive and accessible in New Delhi. Besides Chief Election Commissioner Sunil Arora and Election Commissioner Ashok Lavasa, heads and dignitaries from six Election Management Bodies (EMBs) of Bangladesh, Bhutan, Kazakhstan, Maldives, Russia and Sri Lanka will participate in the event.

    During the conference, the representatives from the EMBs and International Organizations will share their experiences, best practices and initiatives aimed at electoral engagement, enrollment and active participation in inclusive and accessible voting exercise in various countries.

    The Election Commission's quarterly magazine 'Voice International' will also be released. The conference is being organized in consonance with the 9th National Voters' Day to be held on 25 January, 2019. On the sidelines of the conference, the poll panel will also renew Memorandum of Understanding with the Election Commission of Bhutan for co-operation in the field of election management.

  • National Girl Child Day is being observed on 24 Jnauary. The theme this year is 'Empowering Girls for a Brighter Tomorrow'. The Women and Child Development Ministry has organized an event in Delhi to observe the anniversary of  'Beti Bachao Beti Padhao' scheme. Women and Child Development Minister Maneka Gandhi will be the Chief Guest.

    "Beti Bachao Beti Padhao scheme was launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in January 2015 at Panipat in Haryana. It is a central sector scheme with 100 per cent financial assistance for district-level component and the funds are directly released to the DC and DM's account.

    The scheme is a comprehensive programme to address the declining child sex ratio and related issues of empowerment of women.

  • Cabinet has approved the landmark amendment to Article 280 of the Constitution to increase powers of Autonomous Councils in Sixth Schedule areas of North East. The proposed amendment will give more powers to Autonomous District Councils of Assam, Meghalaya, Mizoram and Tripura.

    State Finance Commissions will be set up in Assam, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Tripura, Karbi Anglong Autonomous Territorial Council and Dima Hasao Autonomous Territorial Council. Finance Commission will recommend devolution of financial resources to ten Autonomous District Councils, and village and municipal councils in Sixth Schedule areas. More funds will be given to local government institutions for development works in these tribal areas.

    The proposed amendments will have elected village and municipal councils ensuring grass root democracy. The State Election Commissions will hold elections to Autonomous Councils, village and municipal councils in the scheduled areas of Assam, Mizoram and Tripura. One-third of seats will be reserved for women in the village and municipal councils. At least two nominated members in all autonomous councils will be women.

  • In order to provide efficient and time-bound access to the Courts services to litigant public, the Department of Justice has decided to deliver e-Courts services to them through around 2 lakh Common Service Centres (CSCs). To ensure affordability, Department of Justice has decided not to charge any fee from the customers for e-Courts related services delivered through CSCs. However, towards cost of service, CSCs have been authorized to charge five rupees for any of the 23 services available on Courts portal.

    It said e-Courts services have now been successfully rolled out through SMS, email, mobile app and other platforms which are benefiting millions of litigants and advocates.

  • Mauritius Prime Minister Pravind Jugnauth on 24 January, 2019 said that India and Mauritius are very close to signing a comprehensive economic partnership very soon which will stimulate trade and investment in the region.

    The Mauritius Prime Minister arrived in Mumbai on 24 January, 2019 on his four-day visit to the city. Addressing the event, Mr. Jugnauth said it is also proposed to have a Mauritius-India Infrastructure Investment Fund for the mutual benefit of both the countries. Mr. Jugnauth said the Indian Ocean country can serve as a bridge between India and Africa specifically. The Mauritius Prime Minister said there are a slew of investor-friendly initiatives which are offered by the country, including a three per cent corporate tax on export-oriented companies and also an eight-year tax holiday.

    State Bank of Mauritius (SBM) is the first foreign lender to start operations as a wholly owned subsidiary and has four branches at present. Union commerce minister Suresh Prabhu, who was also present at the event, said India is looking forward to a new relationship with Mauritius, knowing well that the future is Asias. He also alluded to the economic partnership agreement, saying the pact is in advance stages of preparation. The Mauritius Prime Minister will be attending the Republic Day Parade at Shivaji Park in Mumbai on 26 January, 2019.

  • Centre has decided to renovate and develop around 400 abandoned airstrips across the country to strengthen air-connectivity. Disclosing this at Jamshedpur in Jharkhand on 24 January, 2019 Secretary of Union Civil Aviation department R N Choubey said a drive has been launched to renovate and develop abandoned airstrips to improve air connectivity on the directive of Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

    Mr. Choubey said, the Airports Authority of India prepared a Memorandum of Understanding in this regard and sent it to all the 29 states and seven Union Territories expressing. Its willingness to develop those air strips along with the respective state governments.

    Union Civil Aviation department Secretary said that Jharkhand is the first state in the country where an MOU was signed to develop one such abandoned air strip at Dhalbhumgarh. He informed that a modern airport at an initial investment of 100 crore rupees would be developed at Dhalbhumgarh and the first phase of the airport would be completed in 18 months.

  • South Africa President Cyril Ramaphosa will be the Chief Guest at the Republic Day Parade. He is the second President of South Africa after Nelson Mandela to be the Chief Guest at the parade.

    President Ramaphosa will be accorded ceremonial welcome at Rashtrapati Bhawan on 25 January, 2019 morning. Later, Prime Minister Narendra Modi and President Ramaphosa will hold delegation level talks on bilateral, regional and global issues of mutual interest.

  • The 9th National Voters’ Day will be celebrated across the country on 25 January, 2019 for enhanced participation of citizens in the electoral process.

    The National Awards for the Best Electoral Practices will be conferred on Officers for their outstanding performance in the conduct of elections. President Ram Nath Kovind will be the Chief Guest at the main function being organized by Election Commission in New Delhi. That Chief Election Commissioners and senior officials from Bangladesh, Bhutan, Kazakhstan, Maldives, Russia and Sri Lanka will also grace the occasion.

    The National Voters’ Day is celebrated all over the country on January 25 every year since 2011 to mark the Foundation day of Election Commission of India, which was established on 25th January 1950. The main purpose of the celebration is to encourage, facilitate and maximize the enrollment, especially for the new voters.

    In view of the upcoming Lok Sabha Elections, No Voter to be Left Behind has been selected as the theme for the National Voters’ Day.

  • India and Maldives have agreed to continue their traditionally close cooperation on issues of maritime security, counter-terrorism and medical cooperation. This was decided during the meeting between Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman and her Maldivian counterpart Mariya Ahmed Didi in New Delhi on 24 January, 2019. Both sides held substantive discussions on further strengthening bilateral defense cooperation. Ms. Sitharaman reiterated India’s commitment to contribute towards capacity building and training requirements of the Maldives National Defence Forces.

  • President Ram Nath Kovind invites South African companies to partner with India in ‘Make in India’, ‘Digital India’.  President Ram Nath Kovind has expressed confidence that South Africa, under the leadership of President Cyril Ramaphosa will further enhance the bilateral trade and investment relations between both the nations. He invited South African companies to partner with India, in Make in India, Digital India, Clean India and Smart City programmes.

  • Fourth edition of Bharat Parv, showcasing the spirit of Ek Bharat Shreshtha Bharat will begin at Red Fort in Delhi on 26 January, 2019. It will continue till 31st January.

    Tourism Ministry said, the five day event is a part of Republic Day Celebrations and the objective of this festival is to generate a patriotic fervour and promote rich cultural diversity of the country. Bharat Parv will be open for public from 12 Noon to 10 PM every day and the entry will be free.

  • Pranab Mukherjee, Nanaji Deshmukh, Bhupen Hazarika awarded Bharat Ratna.  Social activist Nanaji Deshmukh, Music maestro Bhupen Hazarika and former President Pranab Mukherjee have been awarded with country's highest civilian honour Bharat Ratna.

    The President also approved conferment of 112 Padma Awards, including 4 Padma Vibhushan, 14 Padma Bhushan and 94 Padma Shri Awards.

    Folk artist Teejan Bai, President of Djibouti Ismail Omar Guelleh, Industrialist Anil KumarMani Bhai Naik and theatre actor Balwant Moreshwar Purandare will be honored with Padma Vibhushan.

    Former CAG V K Shunglu, Akali Dal leader Sukhdev Singh Dhindsa and Foreigner John Chambers are among those who will be given Padma Bhushan. Journalist Kuldip Nayar will be honoured with Padma Bhushan posthumously.

    For Padma Shree, Actor Manoj Bajpayee, Prabhu Deva, cricketer Gautam Gambhir, footballer Sunil Chhetri, Archer Bombayla Devi Laishram, archaeologist K K Muhammed are among those chosen for the awards this year (2019). Actor Kader Khan has been awarded Padma Shree posthumously.

  • President Ram Nath Kovind has approved awards of 411 Gallantry and other Defence decorations to Armed Forces personnel and others on the eve of the 70th Republic Day Celebrations.

    The awards include one Ashoka Chakra, 4 Kirti Chakras, 11 Shaurya Chakras, 28 Param Vishisht Seva Medals, 3 Uttam Yudh Seva Medals, 51 Ati Vishisht Seva Medals, one Bar to Yudh Seva Medal, 9 Yudh Seva Medals, twobar to Vishisht Seva Medals.

    Besides, 120 Vishisht Seva Medals and sixbar to Sena Medals, 103 Sena Medals, 7 Nao Sena Medals, 2 Vayu Sena Medals, 5 Bar to Sena Medals, 35 Sena Medals, 9 Nao Sena Medals and 14 Vayu Sena Medals also included in the list. Lance Naik Nazir Ahmad Wani has been awarded with Ashok Chakra posthumously. Besides, Major Tushar Gauba has been awarded with Kirti Chakra while Sowar Vijay Kumar, Rajendra Kumar Nain and Pradip Kumar Panda were awarded posthumously.

  • The government has drafted a five-year action plan to address the problem of drug and substance abuse in the country.

    The National Action Plan for Drug Demand Reduction, 2018 to 2023, aims to employ a multi-pronged strategy to address the issue. It involves education, de-addiction and rehabilitation of affected individuals and their families.

    The Ministry has planned several measures, including co-ordination with implementing agencies for controlling the sale of sedatives, painkillers and muscle relaxant drugs, and checking the online sale of drugs. Plans are also afoot for awareness generation through social, print, digital and online media, and engagement of celebrities, besides strengthening the national tollfree helpline for drug prevention.

    The move comes after the Ministry withdrew the draft National Drug Demand Reduction Policy from the Cabinet. It had been pending for more than five-and-half years and was redrafted twice during the period.

  • President Ram Nath Kovind has approved re-promulgation of the Triple Talaq ordinance. In a Ministry of Law and Justice notification, the government said, President Ram Nath Kovind has promulgated The Muslim Women (Protection of Rights on Marriage) Ordinance, 2019.

    The ordinance seeks to protect the rights of married Muslim women and criminalize the practice of instant triple talaq. The President has also re-promulgated Companies Amendment Ordinance 2019 and Indian Medical Council Amendment Ordinance 2019.

  • Gujarat becomes 1st state to implement 10% quota to EWS.  Gujarat Government has announced that the benefits of 10 per cent quota for Economically Weaker sections of general category in educational institutions and government jobs will be applicable from 14 January, 2019 midnight. It is clarified that the eligibility of the new quota will be applicable only for which the announcement for jobs and admissions have been made but the process has not yet begun.

    In such cases, the ongoing process will be suspended for time being and fresh process will begin after incorporating the 10 per cent additional quota. However, it is pertinent to mention here that the benefits of the fresh quota will not be applicable for which the process had begun before January 14, 2019, like for which the process of written, oral, computer proficiency or preliminary tests have already been conducted. This 10 per cent quota for the economically weaker class from the general category will be over and above the existing 49 per cent quota for SC, ST and OBC.

    The Centre had taken the decision under Article 46 of Guiding Principles of Constitution of India after Amendment of the Articles 15 and 16, incorporating 10 per cent reservation for Economically Weaker Sections.

  • 10 % reservation in education to economically weaker sections of general category to be implemented from 2019-20 session.  The 10 per cent reservation in education to Economically Weaker Sections of general category will be implemented in 40,000 colleges and 900 universities from academic year 2019-20. Human Resource and Development Minister Prakash Javadekar made the announcement in New Delhi.

    This will be implemented without impacting the existing quotas for SCs, STs and OBC's. The Ministry, UGC, AICTE will issue orders in a week's time for implementation of the reservation.

  • PM Modi to inaugurate 'Vibrant Gujarat Global Trade Show in Gujarat. 
    Prime Minister Narendra Modi will inaugurate the 'Vibrant Gujarat Global Trade Show' at Helipad ground in Gandhinagar on 17 January, 2019. Spread in over 2 lakh square meter areas, this is the country’s largest exhibition ever. The exhibition showcases business platforms of over 25 sectors with a focus on buyer-seller meet and vendor development programmes.

    Prime Minister Modi is also scheduled to inaugurate the new complex of the government-run ultramodern hospital- Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel SVP Institute of Medical Sciences and Research. Later, he would declare open the Ahmedabad Shopping festival at Sabarmati Riverfront and also address the public meeting.

  • The National Green Tribunal, NGT on 17 January, 2019 slammed German auto major Volkswagen for not depositing Rs 100 crore in accordance with its November 16, 2018 order and directed it to submit the amount within 24 hours.

    A bench headed by NGT chairperson Adarsh Kumar Goel took strong exception to the non-compliance of its order by the automobile giant and asked it to give an undertaking that it will submit the amount by 5 PM on 18 January, 2019. The bench, also comprising Justice S P Wangdi, also asked Volkswagen to submit an affidavit of compliance after deposit.

    The tribunal deferred the matter for hearing after it was informed that the Supreme Court is also seized of the issue. On November 16 last year, the tribunal had said that the use of 'cheat device' by Volkswagen in diesel cars in India leads to inference of environmental damage and had asked the German auto major to deposit an interim amount of Rs 100 crore with the Central Pollution Control Board.

  • Cabinet gives nod to integrated e-filing project for faster ITR processing.  The Union Cabinet on 16 January, 2019 approved expenditure sanction of over 4200 crore rupees for Integrated E-filing and Centralized Processing Centre 2.0 Project.

    Union Minister Piyush Goyal said, it will help in improving tax payers' awareness and education through continuous engagement. It will help in faster processing of returns and issue of refunds to the tax payers' bank account directly.

  • CCEA approves Numaligarh Refinery capacity expansion project worth over Rs 22,000 crore. Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs has decided to expand the capacity of Numligarh Refinery in 3 Million Metric Tonne Per Annum, (MMTPA) to 9 MMTPA. Union Minister Piyush Goyal said it involves setting up of crude oil pipeline from Paradip to Numaligarh and Product pipeline from Numaligarh to Siliguri at a cost of over 22 thousand crore rupees.

    The project will be completed within a period of 48 months. Mr Goyal said the decision of expansion of refinery will meet the requirement of crude oil and petroleum products in the northeast region. He said it would also generate direct and indirect employment in Assam.

  • WHO Goodwill ambassador Yohei Sasakawa to get Gandhi Peace Prize for 2018. Gandhi Peace Prize for 2018 will be conferred on Yohei Sasakawa who is Goodwill Ambassador of the World Health Organization for Leprosy Elimination. The award will be given to Mr Sasakawa in recognition of his work towards the eradication of the disease in India and across the world.

    Ekal Abhiyan Trust has been chosen for the award for the year 2017 while Akshaya Patra Foundation and Sulabh International will share the award for 2016. Vivekananda Kendra, Kanyakumari bagged the award for 2015.

    Akshaya Patra Foundation will receive the prize for providing midday meals to millions of children while Sulabh International for improving the condition of sanitation and emancipation of manual scavengers. Vivekananda Kendra will be awarded for its contribution to rural development, education, development of natural resources. Gandhi Peace Prize carries one crore rupees and a citation. The names of awardees were chosen by a jury headed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

  • ISRO to launch two unmanned space missions in 2020 and 2021.  Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) on 18 January, 2019 announced that it will send two unmanned mission to space in December, 2020 and in July 2021. To boost innovation and creativity and galvanise hightech aerospace industry, ISRO has lined up many plans this year (2019).

    Country's first manned space flight - Gaganyaan - will send three humans into space for seven days by December 2021. ISRO's unmanned test missions for Gaganyaan in 2021 will carry humanoids not animals.

    32 planned missions including Chandrayaan-2 are in the pipeline. Chandrayaan-2 is a complex and challenging mission and it will land near south pole.

  • The Pradhan Mantri Rozgar Protsahan Yojana, PMRPY has crossed the milestone of one crore beneficiaries as on the 14th January, 2019. The Centre's flagship scheme launched on 7th August, 2016 incentives employers to promote employment generation.

    One lakh 24 thousand establishments have benefited from the scheme. Under the scheme, government pays full employers’ contribution of 12 per cent towards Employees’ Provident Fund and Employees’ Pension Scheme for a period of 3 years to new employees registered with EPFO, with salary up to 15,000 rupees per month.

  • Government approves setting up of three new naval air squadrons. The Government has approved setting up of three new naval air squadrons in Gujarat and Tamil Nadu as part of efforts to bolster the Indian Navy's overall strength.

    Government has also sanctioned recruitment of manpower for manning additional aircraft in existing Dornier surveillance squadrons in Kerala and Andaman Islands. A contract for procurement of 12 Dornier aircraft was signed with Hindustan Aeronautics Limited two years back and their delivery is commencing soon.

    The new Dornier 228 maritime surveillance aircraft to be delivered to the Navy are fitted with improved 'state of the art' sensors and equipment which includes glass cockpit, advanced surveillance radar, optical sensors and networking features.

    The aircraft will enhance maritime domain awareness of Indian Navy through round the clock sensor based surveillance and provide targeting data in areas of operation to ward off terror and other threats from sea. The addition will further strengthen Indian Navy's efforts at Coastal Security of India's vast coastline of over 7 thousand kilometers.

  • WCD minister Maneka Gandhi to confer National Awards to 97 Anganwadi Worker. Women and Child Development Minister Maneka Gandhi will confer National Awards to 97 Anganwadi Workers at a function in New Delhi for exceptional Achievements for the year 2017-18.

    The government had formulated the scheme in 2000-2001 to award Anganwadi Workers at the National and State Levels. The award is given annually to motivate the workers and recognize their exemplary services in the field of child development and related areas under the Integrated Child Development Services Scheme.

    The award at the National Level comprises a cash prize of 50 thousand rupees and citation while 10 thousand rupees are given for the State level award. From this year, the government has doubled the cash prize of National Level award from earlier 25 thousand rupees.

  • Prime Minister of Norway Erna Solberg has arrived in New Delhi on a three-day state visit to India. She was accompanied by senior officials from her government and a large business delegation. She will participate in the Indo-Norwegian Business Conference.

    The visit of Prime Minister of Norway will provide an opportunity to review the progress in bilateral cooperation between the two countries and discuss ways to further expand the multifaceted partnership in areas of common interest. Several agreements will be signed after the talks including one on facilitating dialogue to boost bilateral trade which currently stands at 1.2 billion dollars.

    India and Norway enjoy close and multifaceted ties and economic and technical cooperation are important facets of the bilateral relation.

  • Minister of Foreign Affairs of Japan, Taro Kono will arrive in Delhi on 07 January, 2019 on a three-day visit to India. During his visit, the Japanese Foreign Minister will hold a meeting with his counterpart Sushma Swaraj. He will also attend the India Japan Friendship Forum.

  • Government allocates Rs 10,900 crore for development of 40 satellite launch vehicles in next 4-years: ISRO Chairman. Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) Chairman Dr K Sivan has said that the Union Government has allocated 10,900 crore rupees for the development of 40 satellite launch vehicles in the next four years.

    He was delivering the graduation Day lecture at the historic St Joseph’s College, Trichy, and Tamilnadu, which is celebrating its 175th anniversary.

  • The fourth edition of the Raisina Dialogue will begin in New Delhi. The theme of the Dialogue this year is "A World Reorder: New Geometries; Fluid Partnerships; Uncertain Outcomes”. The discussions will seek to address issues arising from ongoing global transitions and changes to the world order, triggered by unique leaders, innovative partnerships and new technologies.

    The Dialogue will bring together over 600 delegates from 93 countries, including influential political leaders, strategic thinkers, policy practitioners, technology innovators, business representatives and academics.

  • Airports Authority of India (AAI) has imposed a ban on single-use plastic items at its 129 airports across the country. The AAI said various steps have been taken to eliminate single-use plastic items at passenger terminals and city side.

    These steps include banning of single-use plastic items like straws, plastic cutlery, plastic plates etc. On the basis of a third-party assessment carried out by Quality Council of India (QCI), 16 of its airports have been declared as Single-Use Plastic Free.

  • The Lok Sabha has passed the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill. The Bill seeks to amend the Citizenship Act, 1955 to make illegal migrants who are Hindus, Sikhs, Buddhists, Jains, Parsis and Christians from Afghanistan, Bangladesh and Pakistan, eligible for citizenship.

    Under the 1955 Act, one of the requirements for citizenship by naturalization is that the applicant must have resided in India during the last 12 months, and for 11 of the previous 14 years. The bill relaxes this 11-year requirement to six years for persons belonging to the all the six religions from the three countries.

  • Parliament has passed the Constitution 124th (Amendment) Bill, 2019 with the Rajya Sabha approving it. The Lok Sabha has already passed it. The legislation provides for ten per cent reservation in government jobs and admission in educational institutions to economically backward people among upper castes. During division on the bill in the Rajya Sabha, 165 members voted in favour of it while seven members voted against.

  • India to become world's third largest consumer market by 2030: World Economic Forum. On 09 January, 2018, The World Economic Forum said that India is set to become the world's third largest consumer market behind only USA and China by 2030.

    The report said consumer spending in India is expected to grow from 1.5 trillion US dollar at present to six trillion US dollar by 2030. The report said that with the annual GDP growth rate of 7.5 percent, India is currently the world's sixth largest economy.

    The report titled 'Future of Consumption in Fast-Growth Consumer Market - India' also noted that growth of the middle class will lift nearly 25 million households out of poverty.

  • Government launches Web- Wonder Women Campaign. The government launched Web- Wonder Women Campaign to celebrate the exceptional achievements of women who have influenced and impacted society through social media. The Campaign aims to recognize the fortitude of Indian women stalwarts from across the globe who have used the power of social media to run positive campaigns to steer a change in society.

  • An agreement for Renukaji Dam Multipurpose Project will be signed on 11 January, 2019 among the states of Uttar Pradesh, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Delhi, Rajasthan and Uttarakhand.

    The project is aimed at meeting the drinking water needs of these states. The agreement will be signed in the presence of Water Resources, River Development and Ganga Rejuvenation Minister Nitin Gadkari in New Delhi.

  • Cabinet approves establishment of three new AIIMS. The Cabinet on 10 January, 2019 approved the establishment of three more All India Institute of Medical Sciences, AIIMS to boost healthcare infrastructure in the country. Two of them will be set up in Jammu and Kashmir's Samba and Pulwama district. The third AIIMS will be set up at Rajkot in Gujarat.

  • PM Narendra Modi renames Ross, Neil & Havelock Islands in Andaman and Nicobar. Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced the renaming of three islands of Andaman and Nicobar on the occasion of 75th anniversary of Tricolour hoisting by Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose in Port Blair.

    The Prime Minister said, the Ross Island has been renamed as Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose Dweep, the Neil Island would now be known as Shaheed Dweep and the Havelock Island as Swaraj Dweep. Mr. Narendra Modi also released a commemorative stamp, its first-day cover and a 75 rupees coin on this special day. He also announced setting up of a deemed university after Netaji Bose.

  • The Lok Sabha passed the Indian Medical Council (Amendment) Bill on 31 December, 2018. It amends the Indian Medical Council Act, 1956 and replaces the Indian Medical Council (Amendment) Ordinance, 2018. The Bill is aimed at revamping medical education regulatory system in the country.

    The 1956 Act provides for supersession of the MCI and its reconstitution within a period of three years. The Bill amends this provision to provide for the supersession of the MCI for a period of one year.

  • Funds have been provided for setting up new tribal research institutes (TRIs) in Arunachal Pradesh, Nagaland, Sikkim and Mizoram. Minister of State, Tribal Affairs, Jaswantsinh Bhabhor informed the Lok Sabha on 31 December, 2018 that during 2017-18 and 2018-19, funds have been provided for establishment of new tribal research institutes based on the proposals received from Arunachal Pradesh, Nagaland, Sikkim and Mizoram.

    At present, there are 25 TRIs in 24 States and one Union territory. The core responsibility of TRIs is to function as a body of knowledge and research for development and preservation of tribal cultural heritage.

  • ISRO launches Samwad with students to engage them on space science activities. Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) has launched Samwad with Students as part of its outreach programme. The Indian Space agency will engage youngsters across the country in activities concerning space science under this programme.

  • The Union Cabinet chaired by Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi has approved the continuation of Rastriya Yuva Sashaktikaran Karyakram Scheme for the Period 2017-18 to 2019-2020 with budget outlay of Rs.1160 crore as recommended by EFC. During 12th FYP period, in rationalization exercise undertaken in consultation with Ministry of Finance and NITI Aayog, the eight schemes were brought under the umbrella scheme of Rashtriya Yuva Sashaktikaran Karyakram as sub-schemes.

    This has helped in achieving better synergies between the Schemes and thereby, improves their effectiveness and help in achieving better outcomes with the available resources. The Scheme beneficiaries are the youth in the age-group of 15-29 years, in line with the definition of 'youth' in the National Youth Policy, 2014. In case of programme components specifically meant for the adolescents, the age-group is 10-19 years.

    The Rashtriya Yuva Sashaktikaran Karyakram Scheme is an ongoing Central Sector Scheme of the Ministry of Youth Affairs & Sports and has been continuing since 12th Five Year Plan. The Scheme aims to develop the personality and leadership qualities of the youth and to engage them in nation building activities.

  • The Union Cabinet approved the setting up of a High Level Committee for implementation of Clause 6 of the Assam Accord and measures envisaged in the Memorandum of Settlement, 2003 and other issues related to Bodo community. After Assam agitation of 1979-1985, Assam Accord was signed on 15th August, 1985. Clause 6 of the Assam Accord envisaged that appropriate constitutional, legislative and administrative safeguards, shall be provided to protect, preserve and promote the cultural, social, linguistic identity and heritage of the Assamese people.

    However, it has been felt that Clause 6 of the Assam Accord has not been fully implemented even almost 35 years after the Accord was signed. 4The Cabinet, therefore, approved the setting up of a High Level Committee to suggest constitutional, legislative and administrative safeguards as envisaged in Clause 6 of the Assam Accord. The Committee shall examine the effectiveness of actions since 1985 to implement Clause 6 of the Assam Accord. The Committee will hold discussions with all stakeholders and assess the required quantum of reservation of seats in Assam Legislative Assembly and local bodies for Assamese people.

    The Committee will also assess the requirement of measures to be taken to protect Assamese and other indigenous languages of Assam, quantum of reservation in employment under Government of Assam and other measures to protect, preserve and promote cultural, social, linguistic identity and heritage of Assamese people.

  • PM Narendra Modi congratulates Arunima Sinha for scaling Mount Vinson, highest peak in Antarctica. Prime Minister Narendra Modi has congratulated Arunima Sinha for scaling Mount Vinson, the highest peak in Antarctica.

    She became World's 1st woman amputee to climb Mount Vinson. In a tweet, Mr. Narendra Modi said, Arunima has scaled new heights of success and she is the pride of India, who has distinguished herself through her hard work and perseverance.

  • Government to honour outstanding young entrepreneurs with National Entrepreneurship Awards. The Ministry of Skill Development and Entrepreneurship will host third edition of the National Entrepreneurship Awards in New Delhi. The awards aim to recognize and honor outstanding young first-generation entrepreneurs and those who have contributed immensely in building the entrepreneurship ecosystem.

    Total of 43 awards will be presented this year (2019). These include 39 awards for Young Entrepreneurs in different sectors and four awards for Entrepreneurship Ecosystem Builders. The winners will receive trophy, certificate and cash prizes ranging from 5 to 10 lakhs rupees.

    There are special awards for women, persons with disability, scheduled castes, scheduled tribes and entrepreneurs from areas with limited opportunities. The National Entrepreneurship Awards is a platform focused on driving innovation, ushering in a positive change for youth in entrepreneurship across all the industries. The awards will inspire and promote growth of entrepreneurs in India.

  • Parliament has passed the Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education (Amendment) Bill, 2018, with the Rajya Sabha approving it on 03 January, 2019. The Lok Sabha had already passed the bill seeking to further amend the Right to Education Act, 2009 to abolish the no-detention policy in schools.

    No student can be detained up to class 8th under current provisions of the Act. As per the amendment, it would be left to the States to decide whether to continue the no-detention policy.

    No child will be excluded from school in case he or she fails. He said such children will be provided two-month remedial teaching to perform better in another examination to be conducted by their schools.

  • Parliament has passed the National Council for Teacher Education (Amendment) Bill, 2018, with the Rajya Sabha approving it on 03 January, 2019. The Lok Sabha had already passed it. The bill seeks to grant retrospective recognition to Central and State institutions which had conducted teacher education courses without approval by the Council.

  • The government will replace conventional coaches with modern LHB (Linke Hofmann Busch) design coaches in all long distance trains. This was stated by Railway Minister Piyush Goyal in Rajya Sabha .

    Replacement of trains operating with conventional coaches into LHB coaches is being done in a phased manner. Presently, 18 pairs of trains, owned by Northeast Frontier Railway, are being operated with modern LHB coaches. That LHB coaches, which have higher carrying capacity, speed and increased codal life, are being manufactured by the Indian Railways from the year 2018-19 onwards.



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