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October 2019 - National News

  • The much-talked-about ‘Deepotsav’, the annual Diwali festival in Ayodhya, entered the Guinness Book of Record with the illumination of 5.51 lakh earthen lamps on the occasion. The event made it to the Guinness World Records for ‘the largest display of oil lamps’. It has been achieved by Department of Tourism, Government of Uttar Pradesh and Dr Ram Manohar Lohiya Awadh University.

  • The Union Cabinet approved the cadre review of Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP), an exercise that was pending for almost 18 years. The decision for the cadre review of Group 'A' General Duty (Executive) cadre and Non-General Duty cadre of ITBP taken by the Cabinet chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

    The last cadre review of ITBP took place in 2001 when the strength of the force was 32,000. The current power of the ITBP is approximately 90,000. The cadre review creates new posts and will help to improve the efficiency and working of the personnel of ITBP, which is mandated to guard the 3,488 km India-China border.

  • Indian Railways to convert 200 saloons into 10 tourist trains to be run by IRCTC. Indian Railways decided to convert 200 saloons into ten luxury tourist trains to be run by the IRCTC in a bid to regulate the use of the colonial era-style carriages and generate additional revenue for the national transporter. The inspection cars to be exclusively used by railway officials to visit far-flung areas, these saloons comprise two bedrooms, a lounge, a pantry, a toilet, and a kitchen that are built to facilitate the stay for up to five days. The concerns over misuse of these saloons by officials, Railway minister Piyush Goyal given up the use of his ones calling them trappings of a colonial mindset.

    The Railway Board prepared a set of instructions for its zones to strictly regulate the number and use of such saloons. The saloons and observation car for zonal general managers, each zone will have two additional carriages for inspection purposes. Each railway division will have a self-propelled inspection car with windows at both ends. The remaining should be used for premium tourist traffic to earn additional revenue for the railways.

    Indian Railways has a total of 336 saloon cars across railway zones, among which many have already been condemned. IRCTC ran the first privately-occupied saloon coach, complete with air-conditioned rooms, valet service, and attached bathroom in March, 2018. The cost of chartering the saloon was around RS.2 lakh. Once routes are finalized, the details will be made available on the IRCTC website for bookings of these saloons.

  • Disabled, people over 80 can vote through postal ballot. The people over 80 years of age and Persons with Disability can now cast their votes through postal ballot. However, such voters will have both the choices available either voting through postal ballot by following due procedure or going to the polling station on polling day for voting.

    On the recommendations of the Election Commission, the Ministry of Law and Justice has amended the Conduct of Election Rules, 1961, allowing senior citizens and person with disabilities in the absentee voter list. As per the amended Rule, the person will make an application in a new Form 12 D, which will reach the Returning Officer within 5 days following the date of notification of election. After the receipt of such application, the elector will be issued a postal ballot paper, which will be deposited in the specified centre after the recording of vote.

  • President Ram Nath Kovind (29 October, 2019) conferred the first National Corporate Social Responsibility Awards to the companies for their outstanding contribution in the area of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR).

    Addressing the awards ceremony in New Delhi, Mr. Kovind said, it is important to internalize social welfare in the corporate culture and the companies has shown that it is possible to be profitable while being socially and environmentally responsible. Commending the efforts of Ministry of Corporate Affairs for initiating the National CSR Awards in the year of Gandhiji’s 150th birth anniversary, he said, these awards will be conferred every year on 2nd October.

    The president said, many illustrious business families like Tata, Birla and Bajaj and many others associated with our freedom struggle were sensitive to their social responsibilities. He said, Mahatma Gandhi developed the principle of trusteeship on the basis of the generosity of industrialists associated with him. He further said that every fiscal year since 2014-15, the corporate sector has set aside more than Rs. 10,000 crore for social welfare and various social sectors like education, environment, health, poverty eradication, sanitation and safe drinking water have benefitted from this effort.

  • Prime Minister Narendra Modi has reiterated his government’s resolve to make India a five trillion dollar economy in next five years. Addressing the Future Investment Initiative (FII) in Riyadh, Mr Modi urged global investors to take benefits from Indian start-up ecosystem. India has become the world's third largest start-up ecosystem and Indian start-ups have started investing at global scale.

    Mr Modi highlighted five major trends as the keys to future prosperity. The Prime Minister also listed out several measures taken by his government for ease of doing business and ease of living. By 2024 India will invest 100 billion dollar in refining, pipeline, gas terminals to create energy infrastructure. Underlining the need for reform in UN, the Prime Minister said UN as an institution for conflict resolution has not developed as desired and the nations should look to reform its structure.

  • Indian Railways introduces OTP-based refund system for booking through travel agents. To make the mechanism for a ticket-refund more accessible to the general public, Indian Railways have implemented a new One Time Password-OTP based refund system for tickets booked through authorised IRCTC ticketing agents.

    According to the Indian Railway Catering & Tourism Corporation Limited (IRCTC), the initiative is aimed at bringing in a transparent and customer-friendly refund system wherein the passenger will come to know about the exact refund amount received by the agent on his behalf for reserved e-tickets which are cancelled or which are fully wait-listed dropped tickets.

    The OTP will be received as SMS on the registered mobile number of the passenger provided at the time of booking. The passenger will be required to share the OTP with the agent who booked the ticket for getting the refund amount. The objective of the scheme is to streamline the cancellation refund process further so that cancellation amount is refunded timely to the customer by the agents.

  • Indian Railways launched ‘Operation Dhanush’. Indian Railways’ Central Railway zone conducted ‘Operation Dhanush’ recently against ticket touts involved in e-ticketing. The operation was carried out in all the five divisions falling under the Central Railway Zone. The operation was aimed to control touts on e - ticketing in view of Diwali rush of passengers to their native places. The drive yielded arrest of 23 agents.

  • Nepalese Festival 'Kukur Tihar' began. A 5-day festival, called Tihar, has begun in Nepal. The 2nd day is traditionally known as Kukur Tihar, or the day of the dogs. Dogs, during this festival, are adorned with flowers, have tikka put on their foreheads and offered food as part of the ceremony. In Nepalese customs, dogs are believed to be messengers of Yamraj or the god of death and the ceremony is an attempt to appease the god.

  • Gujarat Ayurveda University has signed an MoU with a wellness brand Sri Sri Tattva. Established in 1965 by an Act of Gujarat State Government, Gujarat Ayurveda University aims to promote the ancient science of Ayurveda by carrying joint studies, trial and R&D projects in the field of Ayurveda. The MoU signed will be complimenting each other's area of expertise on the subject of Ayurveda.

  • National Unity Day being observed across the country on 31 October. National Unity Day - Rashtriya Ekta Diwas - is being observed across the country, on the occasion of the 144th birth anniversary of the Iron Man of India, Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel. Since 2014, October 31st is observed as the National Unity Day and people from all walks of life participate in the 'Run For Unity'.

    Prime Minister Narendra Modi paid floral tribute to Sardar Patel at the 'Statue of Unity' at Kevadiya in Gujarat. Later, he administered a pledge on national unity to a large gathering. The Prime Minister also witnessed the 'Rashtriya Ekta Diwas Parade' by personnel of Gujarat Police and central armed forces. The Nation is ever grateful to his invaluable and monumental contributions in the building of modern India. He said, the best way to pay tribute to Sardar Patel’s memory would be by striving to protect the unity and integrity of the country.

  • Health Minister Dr. Harsh Vardhan released the 14th National Health Profile (NHP), 2019 and its e-book in New Delhi on 30 October, 2019. Data is an important source of understanding the needs and issues of the population. It helps understand the goals, our strengths and weaknesses. It is also an important means to strategize area-specific interventions.

    The e-book of NHP-2019 is a step towards realizing Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s vision of Digital India, as digital documents give us an opportunity for wider dissemination of information. The NHP is prepared by the Central Bureau of Health Intelligence and covers comprehensive information on demographic, socio-economic health status, health finance indicators, health infrastructure and health of human resources in the country.

  • Overseas Citizens of India (OCI) will now be eligible to apply for the National Pension System at par with Non Resident Indians (NRIs). Pension Fund Regulatory and Development Authority (PFRDA) has permitted Overseas Citizen of India to enrol in NPS. OCI may subscribe to NPS provided such person is eligible to invest as per the provisions of the PFRDA Act and the accumulated saving will be repatriable, subject to Foreign Exchange Management Act guidelines. PFRDA in its endeavour to promote and develop NPS has taken several initiatives towards increasing the pension coverage in the country. Now, any Indian citizen, resident or non-resident and OCIs are eligible to join NPS till the age of 65 years.

    Till 26th October, 2019, the total number of subscribers under NPS and Atal Pension Yojana has crossed 3.18 crores and the Asset under Management has grown to over 3.79 lakh crore rupees. More than 66 lakh government employees have been enrolled under NPS and 19.2 lakhs subscribers have subscribed to NPS in the private sector with 6,812 entities registered as corporates.

  • Facebook-owned WhatsApp on 31 October, 2019 said Indian journalists and human rights activists were among those globally spied upon by unnamed entities using an Israeli sypware Peagasus. WhatsApp said it was suing NSO Group, an Israeli surveillance firm that is reportedly behind the technology that helped unnamed entities’ spies hack into phones of roughly 1,400 users. These users span across four continents and included diplomats, political dissidents, journalists and senior government officials.

    WhatsApp said it had in May stopped a highly sophisticated cyber attack that exploited its video calling system to send malware to its users. The mobile messaging giant said it had sent a special WhatsApp message to approximately 1,400 users. WhatsApp has over 1.5 billion users globally, of which India accounts for about 400 million.

    NSO has denied the allegations made by WhatsApp. Stating that it will contend the allegations, it said: “the sole purpose of NSO is to provide technology to licensed government intelligence and law enforcement agencies to help them fight terrorism and serious crime”. A cybersecurity research lab at the University of Toronto, Citizen Lab, had helped WhatsApp investigate the hacking incident.

  • President Ram Nath Kovind has launched endowment fund of IIT Delhi. Endowments have become integral part of the financial health of educational institutions and through this alumni are playing critical role in supporting and nurturing future generations of learners. Throughout history, our educational institutes have been the beacons of our culture and India has a tradition of universities showing the way to the people in society. He urged all the people to devote some amount of their time for the benefit of the not-so-fortunate sections of society.

  • India now has 28 states and 9 UTs. According to the Jammu and Kashmir Reorganisation Act, 2019, the appointed day for the two Union Territories J&K and Ladakh was October 31, 2019. This is for the first time that a state is converted into two Union Territories. The total number of states in India will now be 28 while the total Union Territories will go up to 9.

  • Minister for Environment and Climate Change Prakash Javadekar on 01 November, 2019 said that all the 5 lakh government vehicles on conventional fuel will be converted into e-vehicle in a phased manner. He said, besides their cost-effectiveness, these e-vehicle are eco-friendly and save consumption of petrol and diesel.

  • West Bengal State-owned Coal India will produce 750 million tonnes of coal in the next financial year and will offer around 10,000 new jobs to boost employment. The minister announced this target during his address at the 45th foundation day of Coal India Limited in Kolkata.

    The PSU is currently given the target of producing 660 million tonnes of coal amounting to 82 per cent of the country's coal output. The minister also urged Coal India to get associated with Jal Shakti Abhiyan to conserve water and provide treated mine water to the populace living in and around coal mining areas.

  • Women to be inducted in Army by 2021. The first batch of 100 women will start training for the Corps of Military Police (CMP) in December and will be inducted by end 2021. On Permanent Commission (PC) for women, he said women officers commissioned from April 2020 onwards can opt for it in six streams. More than 100 women from all over the country has been shortlisted to join CMP.

    The first batch of 100 women selected will start training in December. It will take two years to train them. By the end of 2021, we will have the first batch of women in CMP. So far, women were being inducted only as officers and this is the first time they would be joining the army as the soldiers or “Personnel Below Officer Rank” (PBOR). The army plans to induct 1700 women MP over 17 years.

  • Minister of Power, New & Renewable Energy (MNRE) and Skill Development Entrepreneurship hosted the 2nd Assembly of International Solar Alliance (ISA) on 31 Oct 2019. Delegations from 78 countries participated in this Assembly, this included 29 Ministerial delegations of which 25 are from ISA member countries, 2 from signatory countries and further 2 from prospective member countries.

  • India is planning to open 100 additional airports by 2024, as part of a plan to revive economic growth in Asia’s third-largest economy. The proposal, which includes starting 1,000 new routes connecting smaller towns and villages, was discussed at a meeting to review infrastructure needed by 2025. Steps to start a plane-lease financing business in the country was also discussed.

  • Union Health and Family Welfare Minister Dr. Harsh Vardhan has dedicated to the nation the robotic surgery facility at the Safdarjung Hospital in New Delhi. This latest facility is free of cost for all poor patients of euro-oncological cancers like prostate, kidney, bladder cancers and kidney failures. Robotic surgery has the advantage of providing minimally invasive surgery, reducing significantly the morbidity and mortality of critically ill, cancer and kidney failure patients.

    The operating time also decreases resulting in improvement in the turnover of patients and decrease in the waiting list of patients for surgery significantly. Already 25 surgeries have been done using the robotic system including prostate, kidney, bladder cancers and advanced re-constructive surgeries. A National Robotic training centre has also been set up for training of young doctors.

  • India and Uzbekistan have signed three Memoranda of Understanding in the fields of Military Medicine and Military Education. The MoUs were signed following a meeting between Defence Minister Rajnath Singh and his Uzbekistan counterpart Major General Nizamovich in Tashkent. Strengthening the defence cooperation between the two countries will lead to enhanced interaction in the areas of mutual interest.

  • Prime Minister Narendra Modi will co-chair the 16th India-ASEAN summit in Bangkok and take stock of the progress made in the relationship between ASEAN and India. Prime Minister will also hold bilateral meetings with Thailand Prime Minister General Prayut Chan-O Cha, President of Indonesia Joko Widodo and State Counsellor of Myanmar Aung San Suu Kyi.

  • The government will set up anti-human trafficking units in all districts with the help of the Nirbhaya Fund. Women and Child Development Minister Smriti Irani said that women help desks will also be set up in all police stations across the country using this fund. This initiative will strengthen women safety and instil a greater sense of security among them. Mrs. Irani expressed her gratitude to Home Minister Amit Shah for speedy intervention and ensuring efficacy in fructifying these initiatives. The step will go a long way in addressing women and children safe in the country.

    The empowered committee (EC) under the Nirbhaya framework has recommended setting up anti-human trafficking units and women help desks at a cost of 100 crore rupees each to be fully funded by the centre. Nirbhaya Fund was announced by the Centre in 2013 to support the initiatives of the government and the NGOs working towards the safety of women.

  • Home Minister Amit Shah will inaugurate the Shanghai Cooperation Organization Joint Exercise on Urban Earthquake Search and Rescue -SCOJtEx-2019 in New Delhi. National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) is hosting the event which will continue till November 7.

    The aim of the exercise is to rehearse the disaster response mechanism, share knowledge, experience and technology for mutual coordination. This stimulation exercise will also provide an opportunity to enhance the coordination and co-operation involving multi-agency operations in an earthquake scenario.

    The main focus of Joint Exercise on Urban will be to test the region’s preparedness and resilience towards effective activation of Inter-governmental interaction for immediate response. All the eight-member countries of SCO namely China, India, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Pakistan, Russia, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan will participate in this exercise.

  • The government released the maps of newly created union territories of Jammu-Kashmir and Ladakh and the map of India depicting these union territories. The new map shows 28 states and nine union territories after the bifurcation of Jammu and Kashmir. According to Home Ministry, the new union territories of Ladakh consists of two districts of Kargil and Leh and the rest of the districts of erstwhile state of Jammu and Kashmir are in the newly created union territory of Jammu and Kashmir.

  • India and Germany signed 17 MoUs during German Chancellor Angela Merkel's two-day visit to India from October 31- November 2, 2019. The MoUs were signed in areas including migration, Ayurveda and yoga, occupational diseases, maritime technology and start-ups. The two nations also exchanged five joint declarations of intent.

  • The second edition of the annual joint military exercise, named as Dharma Guardian between Indian and Japanese Army ended. It was held at Counter Insurgency and Jungle Warfare School Vairengte in Mizoram. The primary focus of this fortnight-long joint military exercise was to train and equip the contingents in counter-insurgency and counter- terrorism operations in mountainous terrain.

  • Defence Minister Rajnath Singh left for Ladakh (21 October, 2019) to inaugurate ceremony of Col.Chewang Rinchen Setu which has been constructed at an altitude of 14,650 feet in the forward area of Ladakh region. This bridge has been built by the Border Roads Organisation (BRO). This Bridge is built on the strategically important road Durbuk Shyok Daulat Beg Oldie in sub sector north in eastern Ladakh.

    According to BRO, micro pile technology was used during the foundation of the bridge to overcome the technological challenges in this remote areas of Ladakh. The construction of the Bridge was completed within 15 working months using 6900 cubic meters of concrete and 1984 metric tons of steel. It is named in honor of Colonel Chewang Rinchan who was one of the highly decorated officer in the Indian Army from Ladakh and he was awarded the Maha Vir Chakara twice.

  • Union Minister of state for Culture and Tourism Prahlad Singh Patel will inaugurate e-portal of Centre for Cultural Resources and Training and YouTube Channel in New Delhi on 21 October, 2019 with an aim to take India to a newer digital pinnacle and to promote Indian culture.

    He will attend the “Digital Bharat - Digital Sanskriti” program organised by Rashtriya Centre for Cultural Resources and Training, CCRT of the Ministry of Culture. In order to explore & understand the unknown aspects of India’s lesser known places and their rural and semi-urban culture, CCRT has started publishing books from the series “Untold Tales of India’s Cities”.

  • PM Narendra Modi releases book titled 'Bridgital Nation'. He mentioned that through technology the government was able to reach the people and provided them Bank accounts, LPG connection and also health care. The book has been authored by Chairman, Tata Sons, N Chandrasekaran and Roopa Purushothaman.

  • Two-day long manoeuvres by Sudarshan Chakra Vahini of Indian Army started at Jaisalmer field firing range in Rajasthan. In this war exercise, the army is going to exhibit its strength regarding Agni Missile and artillery. Artillery, Arms and mechanized forces, Army air defence and helicopters of army aviation are participating in this exercise to test mutual coordination. Endogenously manufactured light helicopter Rudra and self-propelled artillery gun system K-9 vajra are also taking part in this exercise.

  • India stands for three Ds - Democracy, Demography and Dimaag: PM Narendra Modi. He said, that the target of the government is to ensure Ease of Living. Members of US India Strategic Partnership Forum, USISPF called on the Prime Minister. It was led by USISPF Chairman, John Chambers. Government to ensure ease of doing business like Reduction of corporate tax, labour reforms and the entrepreneurial risk-taking capacity of Indian youth.

    The Delegation expressed faith in the vision of the Prime Minister and said that the next five years of India will define the next twenty-five years of the world. A non-profit organization, USISPF aims at strengthening the India-US strategic partnership in the fields of economic growth, entrepreneurship, employment-creation, and innovation.

    Union Minister for Commerce and Industries Piyush Goyal, while addressing the USISPF summit Indo-US relationship is at their best ever now and trade relations between the two countries have a huge potential which is yet to be tapped. India and the US must look at a much larger agreement like a bilateral agreement.

    On the trade talks between India and the US, India, on the other hand, offers an attractive market to US businesses and skilled labour that can add value to American companies. Petroleum Minister Dharmendra Pradhan invited US businesses to deploy technology, capital and new business models and participate in India’s biofuel revolution.

  • The Defence Acquisition Council (DAC) has accorded approval for Capital Procurement for the Defence forces amounting to over 3,300 crore rupees of indigenously designed and developed equipment. Maintaining its impetus on the Make in India initiative, the DAC accorded approval for three projects to be indigenously designed, developed and manufactured by the Indian industry. The projects will be progressed under the Make-II Category and will provide a boost to indigenous research and development in the Private Sector. With this, for the first time the Ministry of Defence has offered complex Military equipment to be designed, developed and manufactured by the Indian private industry.

    The first two projects include third-generation Anti-Tank Guided Missiles and the Auxiliary Power Units for the T-72 and T-90 Tanks. The Third-generation Anti-Tank Guided Missiles would provide Fire and Forget and Top Attack capabilities to the troops in an armoured battle. The Auxiliary Power Units would enable incorporation of various upgrades to Fire Control System and Night Fighting capabilities of the Tanks. The third indigenous project pertains to discrete Electronic Warfare systems for the mountain and High-Altitude terrain, which would be designed and developed by DRDO and manufactured by design cum production partner from the Indian industry.

  • Two BrahMos surface to surface missiles were fired by Indian Air Force at Trak Island in the Andaman Nicobar group of islands. The missiles were fired on 21 & 22 October, 2019. The twin firings have been carried out as a part of the routine operational training. The missile engaged the designated mock targets close to 300 Kilometres away. A direct hit on the target was achieved in both cases. The firing of the missiles has enhanced Air force capability to engage the grounds targets with pinpoint accuracy from a mobile platform.

  • People’s Participation remained a guiding tenet of policymaking for his government. The Prime Minister stated this during his meeting with JP Morgan International Council in New Delhi on 22 October, 2019. The Council comprises global statesmen like former British Prime Minister Tony Blair, former Australian Prime Minister John Howard and former US Secretaries of State Henry Kissinger and Condoleezza Rice.

    During his meeting, Mr Modi discussed with global statesmen his vision for making India a five trillion dollar economy by 2024. The development of world-class physical infrastructure, improvements in affordable health care and providing quality education are some other policy priorities for his government. On the foreign policy front, India continued to work together with its strategic partners and close neighbours to build a fair and equitable multipolar world order. After 2007, this was the first time that the International Council met in India.

  • Indian Railways has installed the most advanced Electronic Interlocking System on the Grand Chord route. The measure is expected to help Indian Railways speed up trains and achieve the objective of reducing the travel time between Delhi and Howrah to about 12 hours from the existing 17 to 19 hours. Grand Chord is part of the Howrah-Gaya-Delhi line and Howrah-Allahabad-Mumbai line. It acts as a link between Sitarampur in West Bengal and Pt. Deen Dayal Upadhyay Junction, Uttar Pradesh, and covers a stretch of 450 kilometres falling in North Central Railway Zone.

    The new Electronic system has replaced outdated 65-year old mechanical signalling system at Tundla Junction in Uttar Pradesh on the route. The work will go a long way in improving punctuality of trains on New Delhi-Howrah mainline and benefits will be manifold during the incoming foggy season through safe and detention free handling of trains at Tundla Junction.

  • Braj Raj Sharma has been appointed as Chairman of Staff Selection Commission. 

  • Pankaj Kumar will be the new CEO of Unique Identification Authority of India.

  • The 50th International Film Festival of India (IFFI) announced the films in Open Air Screening section of the festival. The IFFI, Goa celebrates its Golden Jubilee Edition from 20th- 28th November 2019. Every year IFFI organises Open Air Screenings to bring the best of Cinematic experience to the Cine enthusiasts. The theme would be ‘The Joy of Cinema’.

  • A delegation of Group of Intellectuals and Academicians (GIA) presented a ‘Report from Ground Zero’ on Jammu, Kashmir and Ladakh after setting aside of Article 370 to Dr Jitendra Singh, Minister of State in PMO. The delegation briefed Mr Singh about the findings of their observations after field study of the situation there. They briefed that common man across religions, sections and various professional backgrounds in Jammu and Kashmir has expressed happiness about the decision of the Government to scrap Article 370.

  • The Union Cabinet has approved cadre review of Group A General Duty (Executive) Cadre and Non-Gazetted cadre of Indo-Tibetan Border Police, ITBP. It has also decided to create two new Commands (Western Command at Chandigarh and Eastern Command at Guwahati) to be headed by Additional Director General and assisted by Inspector General. After the creation of these Group A posts in ITBP, the supervisory efficiency and capacity building of the Force will be enhanced.

  • The next 'Hunar Haat', an initiative of the Minority Affairs Ministry, will be organised from November 1-10, 2019 in Prayagraj, Uttar Pradesh. More than 300 master artisans and culinary experts including a large number of women artisans will participate in it. All the 'Hunar Haats' to be organised in 2019 and 2020 will be based on the theme of Ek Bharat Shreshtha Bharat.

  • President Ram Nath Kovind will visit Rajgir in Bihar on 25 October, 2019. Mr. Kovind will inaugurate day long golden jubilee celebrations of Vishwa Shanti Stupa (World Peace Pagoda) in Rajgir. More than 300 Buddhist monks, devotees and eminent personalities from Japan, Thailand, Srilanka, Bhutan, Nepal, US and other countries have arrived to take part in the function.

    The Vishwa Shanti Stupa has completed 50 years of its establishment. To mark this occasion Buddhist monks will chant traditional mantras in unison for peace, fraternity, humanity and compassion. Situated on Ratnagiri hillock, this iconic structure was constructed by Japanese Buddhist monk popularly known as Fujii Guruji in 1969. Legend says Ratnagiri hillock of Rajgir attaches important relation with Lord Buddha because after getting the enlightenment he spent a monastic life and preached his disciples at nearby Gridhakut Parvat.

  • The latest 2 edition of Quacquarelli Symonds (QS) India University Rankings 2020 was released recently. IIT Bombay has again topped all Indian Institutes in the list with an overall score of 88.5 followed by IISc- Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore (ranked 2 with 84.7 score). Indian Institute of Technology Delhi has improved a notch to rank 3 with 82.2 scores.

  • IIM Kozhikode and Mangalore Refineries and Petrochemicals Ltd. have announced a special drive Labelled as La Eve to support women entrepreneurs in the country. The initiative aims to identify innovative, promising women-founded start-ups to provide a comprehensive start-up support programme. The initiative would be steered by the institute’s entrepreneurship development centre.

  • The Indian Army will conduct exercise "Sindhu Sudarshan" for the year 2019 in the deserts of Rajasthan from November 29 to December 4, 2019. The aim of this exercise is to evaluate the capability of the defence services in an integrated air-land battle. The operational efficiency of the Strike Corps fighting in the desert terrain will be assessed during the exercise.

  • The Assam government has decided to start a scholarship scheme for children of tea tribe community, studying in 10th and 12th classes. It would cover students of all tea gardens in the state. An amount of 10 thousand rupees will be provided to each student. ‘Shramik Mitras’ would be appointed in every tea garden to make people aware of the scheme.

  • Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change launched the first national protocol to enumerate the snow leopard population in the country on the occasion of International Snow Leopard Day. The Day is celebrated on October 23 every year to protect and conserve the snow leopards and preserve the beautiful wildlife of the Himalayas. India is believed to have 400 to 700 snow leopards.

  • Indian Railways has launched ‘one touch ATVM’ at 42 suburban stations of Central Railway to render fast ticketing to millions of commuters over Mumbai Suburban Network. Railway passenger can avail the service of this new machine at 42 suburban stations. This new machine will reduce the waiting time of the passengers and allow passenger to avoid standing in long queues.

  • New Delhi to host Global Bio-India 2019 Summit. The Global Bio-India 2019, one of the largest biotechnology stakeholders conglomerate will be held for the first time in India at New Delhi from 21st to 23rd November 2019. The event has been structured to bring together stakeholders from 30 countries, 250 start-ups, 200 exhibitors. Central and State ministries, regulatory bodies, investors, totaling to 3500 participants is anticipated.

  • Dharmendra Pradhan calls upon oil companies to improve energy security. Petroleum and Natural Gas Minister, Dharmendra Pradhan has called upon Oil companies to develop a major strategic mindset by using the latest technologies and working on transforming the oil sector. India's excessive oil import dependency makes it vulnerable to external developments more than ever before and the emerging era is going to be more complex. By adopting a less reactive and more transformative strategy India can meet the challenges arising out of global energy uncertainty.

    The US sanctions on Iran and Venezuela as well as the on-going US-China trade war among others have an enormous impact on India's energy security and economy. The Minister highlighted measures taken by the government to transform the oil industry. He stressed the need for expediting gas exploration and developing import and distribution infrastructure. The oil sector can play major role in realizing the dream of making India a five trillion dollar economy by 2024. The schemes like Ujjwala and Saubhagya have transformed the lives of the people of the country.

  • Commerce and Industry Minister Piyush Goyal has asked the leaders of the co-operative sector to think how they can give more strength and power to the sector by self-regulatory mechanism. It is the responsibility of all - not to bring a bad name for the co-operative sector. Mr. Goyal was addressing the closing ceremony of India International Cooperatives Trade Fair in New Delhi. There is a need to think about the small cooperatives as a large section of tribal and rural people are in the business of encouraging cooperatives and they have not yet got the opportunity to take out their art and products. Indian big industries should also be added to such cooperative trade fair.

    The first ever India International Cooperatives Trade Fair was aimed at promoting cooperative trade within India and abroad leading to enhanced rural and farm prosperity. Representatives from over 150 cooperative societies and 36 countries including Australia, Japan, China, Brazil, US, UK, Germany and Iran participated in the fair.

  • The Health Informatics and Information Management Association (HIIMA), Kerala, and the Health Records Association of India (HERAI) are jointly organising the 20th annual national conference in Kochi on 7th, 8th February 2020. The theme of the conference – Medrecon 2020 – is ‘Value of Data in Health Care Ecosystem’.

  • World Health Organisation (WHO) India Cooperation Strategy launched. The Union Health Ministry has launched the World Health Organisation (WHO) India Country Cooperation Strategy (CCS) 2019–2023: A Time of Transition on 9 October 2019. The strategy will provide a strategic road map for the WHO to work with the Indian government towards achieving its health sector goals. It will help in improving the health of its population of India.

  • The National Investment and Infrastructure Fund (NIIF) and Energy Efficiency Services Ltd (EESL) have announced a new joint venture to implement, finance and operate the smart meter roll-out by power distribution companies. The venture, called IntelliSmart Infrastructure Pvt Ltd, will lay the foundation for smart grids. EESL was established in 2009.

  • India joins global alliance on smart city. India has joined the league of 15 of the world's leading city networks and technology governance organisations that will work towards advancing the responsible and ethical use of smart city technologies. The G20 Global Smart Cities Alliance on Technology Governance will create global norms and policy standards for the use of connected devices in public spaces.

  • Over 50 lakh citizens have benefited from free treatment under the Ayushman Bharat Scheme. This is an important milestone in the journey of creating a healthy India. It will make every Indian proud that in a year, over 50 lakh citizens have benefited from free of cost treatment. Apart from curing, this scheme is empowering several Indians. The scheme, which is the world's largest health care programme, provides a health cover of five lakh rupees annually to vulnerable families and aims at benefiting more than ten crore poor families all over the country.

  • Ravi Shankar Prasad stresses on need for low-cost and indigenous technology to achieve digital inclusion. The digital inclusion is the most important process and the process must be achieved through technology that is low-cost and homegrown. India now has a larger vision where it will reform and perform in order to transform.

    Aadhaar card is a digital supplement to one's physical identity and Government has ensured that the security of this system cannot be penetrated. Aadhaar is the future of digital India. Data is emerging as a big asset and in India and it is crucial that the focus should be on generating quality data in the billions. Data availability, data utility, data innovation, data commerce and data privacy all must work in coordination.

  • Nitin Gadkari, Union Minister of Road Transport & Highways and MSME inaugurated a conference on One Nation One FASTag in New Delhi. The conference saw the signing of MoUs with state departments / other agencies for bringing in a unified electronic tolling solution across the country. Another MoU between the Indian Highways Management Company Ltd. and GSTN was also signed.

  • Union Skill Development and Entrepreneurship Minister Mahendra Nath Pandey has said that 14 Authorized World Skills India Training Centres will be set up across 9 cities for media and entertainment sector. These cities are Chandigarh, Chennai, Delhi, Hyderabad, Indore, Mumbai, Pune, Shillong and Trivandrum. The new institutes will be set up for advanced skill training of candidates in media and entertainment sector and to further develop skilling eco-system for training candidates for the international market.

  • Central Board of Indirect Taxes and Customs has launched a revamped and streamlined programme to attract investments into India and strengthen Make in India through manufacture and other operations under bond scheme, of Customs Act, 1962. The Section enables conduct of manufacture and other operations in a customs bonded warehouse. The scheme has been modernized with clear and transparent procedures, simplified compliance requirements ICT-based documentation and account keeping, by issue of Manufacture and Other Operations in Warehouse Regulations 2019.

    A single application cum approval form prescribed for uniformity of practice. The jurisdictional Commissioner of Customs will function as a single point of approval to set up and oversee the operations of such units. No geographical limitation on where such units can be set up. The unit can import goods (both inputs and capital goods) under a customs duty deferment program. The duties are fully remitted if the processed goods are exported. There will be no interest liability and units will benefit through improved liquidity.

    GST compliant goods can be procured from the domestic market for use in manufacture and other operations in a section 65 unit. A single digital account has been prescribed for ease of doing business and easy compliance. The scheme will also enable efficient capacity utilization, as there is no limit on quantum of clearances that can be exported or cleared to the domestic market. CBIC has collaborated with Invest India to launch a dedicated microsite for providing information and promoting the scheme and for facilitation of investors. The site can be accessed at <>

    The scheme is expected to play a critical role in promoting investments in India and in enhancing ease of doing business. It can enable the ‘Make in India’ programme, encourage exports, create hubs for electronics assembly, repair and refurbishment operations, inward and outward processing, facilitate global e-commerce hubs etc.

  • The Andhra Pradesh government has launched an ambitious project to provide a drinking water connection to every household in the state by 2022. The statewide water grid project would ensure supply of clean drinking water to every household from 2022 for at least the next 30 years. Groundwater levels in the state have fallen to below 1,100 feet in districts like Anantapur and Chittoor.

  • Food Safety Mitra scheme launched on the World Food Day. On the occasion of World Food Day, Union Minister for Health and Family Welfare Dr Harsh Vardhan launched Food Safety Mitra Scheme, Eat Right Jacket and Eat Right Jhola. Addressing a gathering in New Delhi, he said, Eat Right India and Fit India Campaign can prove to be a big success with the right strategy and implementation. The Minister urged people to reduce ghee, salt and ghee in food. Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) has introduced scheme of Food Safety Mitra (FSM) through which it plans to engage motivated individuals with the food safety ecosystem at ground level.

    A FSM is an individual professional certified by FSSAI who assists in compliances related to FSS Act, Rules & Regulations with three avatars- Digital Mitra, Trainer Mitra and Hygiene Mitra depending upon their respective roles and responsibilities. During the event, the Minister also launched Eat Right Jhola which is a reusable, washable and bio-degradable bag. Eat Right Smart Jacket has been introduced to giving an identity to FSSAI staff to ensure transparent inspection. It's embedded with an RFID tag and QR code. It is linked to software to capture entry of inspection staff into premise for monitoring.

  • As part of India’s strategy to combat climate change, Indian Railways will become net zero carbon emitter by 2030. India is the biggest emitter of greenhouse gases after the US and China, and is among countries most vulnerable to climate change. Meanwhile, the national carrier has a rail network of around 125,000km, making it the world’s largest railway network under a single management.

  • Ministry of Shipping (MoS) Organized the 17th Meeting of Maritime States Development Council (MSDC). The Ministry of Shipping is working on a plan to develop a national port grid based on the synergy between major and minor ports in the country. The 17th Meeting of Maritime States Development Council (MSDC) was held on 15th October 2019. The government is looking at developing synergy between the major and minor ports so that together they can bring port-led development in the country.

  • Air India became the first airline in the world to use a TaxiBot on an Airbus A320 aircraft operating a commercial flight with passengers onboard. A TaxiBot or a Taxiing Robot is a pilot-controlled semi-robotic towbar-less aircraft tractor used as an alternate taxiing equipment. It is used for taxiing an aircraft from parking bay to runway and vice versa.

  • India's defence exports have grown seven times in the last two years, reaching a value of two billion dollars. Joint Secretary in the Department of Defence Production Dr. Sanjay Jaju said that the country is working out modalities to become a hub in top class defence production with efforts being made to increase defence exports to five billion dollars in the near future. A gathering of security and defence specialists in Bengaluru, 440 companies in the private sector have taken up defence production in the last five years. These companies have been given contracts worth five lakh crore rupees for the supply of defence equipment.

    Artificial Intelligence, autonomous systems, cyber-defence, smart ammunition and weapons are areas in which the start ups are going to play an innovative role. Chairman of National Security Advisory Board (NSAB) PS Raghavan pointed out that cyber and space attacks, sanctions and tariffs, drone attacks, electronic warfare, 5G communication network are areas in which future wars will be fought. Chairman of National Technology Research Organization (NTRO) Satish Chandra Jha said that the need is to integrate ideas on national security with the policy making initiatives.

  • Karnataka tops first ever India Innovation Index launched by NITI Aayog. The first-ever India Innovation Index was launched by NITI Aayog in New Delhi in order to promote competitiveness among the states. Karnataka has emerged the topper among major states. Tamil Nadu is second and Maharashtra is on the third position followed by Telangana, Haryana, Kerala, Uttar Pradesh, West Bengal, Gujarat and Andhra Pradesh. Jharkhand finished last in the list of 17 major states. Among the North-Eastern states, Sikkim and among Union Territories Delhi has occupied the top spot.

    The aim of innovation index is to move states from competitive populism to competitive good governance. Innovation index will continue to pursue such interventions that play an important role in developing cooperative and competitive federalism.

  • Minister of State in Prime Minister’s Office Dr. Jitendra Singh has hailed the Ayushman Bharat - Pradhan Mantri Jan Aarogya Yojana as a unique and successful health insurance scheme. Addressing the Asia Health-2019 conference in New Delhi, Dr Singh said, over 50 lakh people have been benefited from this scheme and the government is taking health-care protection to a new aspirational level. It is the world’s largest government funded health-care programme targeting more than 50 crore beneficiaries.

    Dr Singh suggested that in a heterogeneous and dynamic nation like India the fundamental priorities need to be considered while determining the spectrum of health care and disease. India can not copy the West or other countries of the world in this connection. Though India needs qualitative and quantitative changes in the health care sector. Dr Singh also emphasized on the importance of human interface in the health care sector.

  • Defence Minister Rajnath Singh has approved a proposal for admission of girl children in Sainik Schools from academic session 2021-22 in a phased manner. The decision has been taken following the success of the pilot project started by the Ministry for admission of girl children in Sainik School Chhingchhip in Mizoram two years ago.

    Mr Singh has directed concerned authorities to ensure availability of necessary infrastructure and sufficient female staff in Sainik schools for smooth implementation of the directive. The decision is in line with the objective of the government towards greater inclusiveness, gender equality, enabling greater participation of women in Armed Forces and strengthening the motto of ‘Beti Bachao, Beti Padhao'.

  • The DNA Technology Regulation Bill that seeks to control the use of DNA technology for establishing the identity of a person, has been referred to a Parliamentary Standing Committee for examination. The bill has been referred to the Standing Committee on Science and Technology, Environment and Forests by Rajya Sabha Chairman M Venkiah Naidu.

    The bill that seeks to control the use and application of the DNA technology for establishing the identity of certain categories of persons, including offenders, victims, suspects and under-trials, was passed by the Lok Sabha in July this year. The bill provides for the establishment of DNA data banks at the national and regional levels.

  • National Institute of Nutrition (NIN) centenary stamp released. A special commemorative postal stamp of the National Institute of Nutrition (NIN), Hyderabad was released by Union Minister for Health & Family Welfare, Harsh Vardhan.

    The stamp has been brought out under the Corporate My stamp scheme of India Posts. These stamps are of limited edition and are made to order. Alongside these, the NIN also opted for printing its centenary logo.

  • The Goa government signed a MoU with the Software Technology Parks of India (STPI) for setting up an information technology (IT) park at Dona Paula. The MoU was signed at the Vibrant Goa Global Expo and Summit 2019. Approximately 14,000 square metres of land will be given to the STPI at Dona Paula for creating a startup and IT industry promotion activities in the state.

  • DRDO has signed 30 licensing agreements for Transfer of Technology (ToT) with 16 Indian companies, including three start-ups, at Vibrant Goa Global Expo and Summit 2019. The Summit was held at Goa University, Taleigao, Goa between October 17-19, 2019. Vibrant Goa Summit provided an opportunity for the companies to interact with DRDO scientists who have developed these technologies.

  • Baliyatra, one of the biggest trade fairs of Odisha, is scheduled to begin on November 12, 2019. The trade fair will continue for eight days. This year’s Baliyatra will be jointly organized by the Cuttack District Administration, District Cultural Council, and the Cuttack Municipal Corporation. There will be separate vending zones for small traders and vendors.

  • NITI Aayog member, Vinod Paul has stressed the need for integrated efforts to promote innovations and development of indigenous medical devices for having a vibrant domestic medical devices industry for the society. He assured full support of NITI Aayog to ensure that the intent of the domestic industry of providing access to the safe, effective and quality medical device to the patients are kept in all government policies.

    At a conference on Comprehensive Regulation of Medical Devices jointly organized by Association of Indian Medical Device Industry and Biotech Consortium India Limited. The objective of the conference was to have deliberation on the need for Comprehensive Regulation of Medical Devices in India.

  • Navy looking electric propulsion as an alternative to fossil fuels. On October 4-5, the Navy hosted the second edition of the Goa Maritime Conclave (GMC) attended by 10 Indian Ocean littoral states and observers from a few friendly foreign countries. It was set up in 2017 to identify common threats in the region and evolve cooperative mechanisms to tackle them. The navy is looking for electric propulsion to cut down fossil fuels.

  • Defence Minister Rajnath Singh has approved a four-fold increase in monetary assistance for battle casualties - from 2 lakh to 8 lakh. The amount will be granted under the Army Battle Casualties Welfare Fund (ABCWF), the Defence Ministry said in a statement. Earlier, there was a provision of financial assistance of Rs.2 lakh to the battle casualties which are fatal, 60% above disability, battle casualties invalided out due to disability and Rs.1 lakh to disability less than 60%. It was in addition to the liberalised family pension, financial assistance from the Army group insurance, the Army Welfare Fund and ex-gratia amount.

    The ABCWF was set up in July 2017 under the Department of Ex-Servicemen Welfare (ESW) after a large number of people offered to provide monetary assistance to the families of battle casualties following an avalanche in February 2016 on the Siachen glacier in which 10 soldiers were buried. The ABCWF was implemented retrospectively with effect from April 2016, the Ministry stated. The fund was created under the Charitable Endowments Act, 1890 and a bank account was opened with Syndicate Bank in New Delhi for the public to deposit money.

  • India's 1st plastic to diesel conversion plant. Mathura MP Hema Malini inaugurated the country's first plastic to diesel conversion plant in Mathura, Uttar Pradesh. Notably, a model of this plant had been placed for a demonstration before PM Modi when he had arrived in Mathura some time back as a part of Swachh Bharat Abhiyan.

    This model is now working on a full scale at the Mathura Municipal Corporation's (MMC) trenching grounds. This plant will eliminate five metric tonne plastic every day from the city, converting it into diesel. The plant will work on a public-private partnership (PPP) model for which the MMC has signed a contract with Paterson Energy.

  • CM of Andhra Pradesh YS Jagan Mohan Reddy launched the YSR Vahana Mitra scheme on 4 October 2019. The amount of Rs 10,000 is for the recurring expenses like insurance and maintenance of the vehicle to procure fitness certificate. The allowance of Rs 10,000 would be given every year and the amount will be credited into the bank accounts directly.

  • Name of Squadron Leader Ravi Khanna added to National War Memorial. The name of Squadron Leader Ravi Khanna, who was killed by JKLF terrorists in 1990, has been added to the National War Memorial after it was approved by the Indian Air Force. Squadron Leader Khanna and three other IAF personnel were killed in January 1990 in Kashmir allegedly by JKLF founder Yasin Malik.

    The National War Memorial at the India Gate is dedicated to the defence personnel who laid down their lives for the country. The three armed services approve the names of the soldiers after which they are included in the National War Memorial.

  • Development Partnership Administration Division of the External Affairs Ministry has organized a conference in New Delhi to celebrate the 55th Anniversary of India's flagship capacity building programme - Indian Technical and Economic Cooperation. An official release said, External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar will preside over the event and Minister of State for Defence and Minister of State for External Affairs will be Guests of Honour. ITEC Programme was launched on 15 September 1964 by the Ministry.

    Over the last 55 years, ITEC has been a vehicle to share India's vast and unique experience of growth and development through capacity building and training of more than 2 lakh government officials and professionals from 160 partner countries of the Global South in premier institutes of our country.

  • India starts sharing maritime data. The Information Fusion Centre – Indian Ocean Region (IFC-IOR) set up last year has started functioning as an information sharing hub of maritime data and “cuing incident responses” to maritime security situations through a collaborative approach.

    At Goa Maritime Conclave (GMC), National Security Adviser Ajit Doval had offered countries in the IOR use of the facility to track movement of vessels on the high seas. The centre is actively interacting with the maritime community and has already built linkages with 18 countries and 15 multinational/maritime security centres.

  • Prime Minister Narendra Modi has urged the people not to waste food, and conserving energy and water. As a tribute to Mahatma Gandhi in his 150th birth anniversary year, people should take up the mission of not wasting food and avoiding single-use plastic. Prime Minister also stressed the need work for the empowerment of women and ensuring their dignity by taking forward the spirit of Navratra. Mr Modi called upon people to felicitate the daughters who have achieved something or who have inspired others during Diwali this year.

    Prime Minister also hailed the valour of the Indian Air Force and asked people to especially remember it on its raising day like they pay respect to Lord Hanuman on Vijayadashami. Mr Modi said, its a coincidence that this year the two events are being celebrated on the same day. 

  • French-made Rafale Fighter jets delivered. Defence Minister Rajnath Singh has said that Rafale multi-role fighter jets will boost India's air dominance exponentially. The aircraft will enhance the Indian Air Force's combat capability massively. India does not purchase arms and other defence equipment to threaten any country but to increase its capabilities and strengthen defences. Defence Minister formally took delivery of the first of the 36 French-made aircraft acquired by the IAF. Mr Singh attended the handover ceremony along with his French counterpart Florence Parly at aircraft maker Dassault Aviation facility in Merignac, southwestern France.

    Indian Air Force is the fourth-largest in the world and the Rafale Combat Aircraft will make us even stronger to ensure peace and security in the region. It marks a new milestone in the Indo-French strategic partnership and indeed a new high in the bilateral defence cooperation. The strong cooperation between India and France will continue to grow and contribute to global peace, prosperity and environmental sustainability. India had ordered 36 Rafale fighter jets from France in a deal worth 59,000 crore rupees in September 2016. All 36 jets are expected to arrive in India by September 2022.

  • IAF celebrates its 87th anniversary. The IAF was founded on October 8, 1932. A grand function was held at the Air Force Station Hindan near Ghaziabad to celebrate the day. A scintillating air display by various aircraft was the hallmark of the Air Force Day Parade-cum-Investiture Ceremony. The display commenced with flag bearing skydivers of the famous AKASH GANGA Team dropping out of an AN-32 aircraft in their colourful canopies.

    The flypast included vintage aircraft, modern transport aircraft and front line fighter aircraft. Indian Air Force officers who participated in the Balakot airstrike, flew three Mirage 2000 aircraft and two Su-30 MKI fighter aircraft in ‘Avenger formation during the event. The highlight of the event was Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman leading a MiG formation and flying a MiG Bison Aircraft. The ceremony concluded with a spell-bound aerobatic display.

  • A three-day India International Cooperative Trade Fair held in New Delhi. The first-ever such fair is aimed at promoting cooperative to cooperative trade within India and abroad leading to enhanced rural and farm prosperity.

    Representatives from over 150 cooperative societies and 35 countries including, Australia, Japan, China, Brazil, US, UK, Germany and Iran are going to participate in the fair. He said, the event will offer a huge opportunity for the industry and business houses from India and abroad to build an alliance, business networking, product sourcing and interact with primary producers of a wide range of products and service providers. This will be India's first and the largest international cooperatives trade fair promising to usher in a new era of cooperative excellence. The fair is expected to evolve a conducive environment for co-operative trade in the global arena.

  • Nagpur to host 5th international conference on sleep disorders. The fifth international conference on sleep disorders is being hosted in Nagpur from 12 October to 13 October 2019. The conference is held under the aegis of the Southeast Asian Academy of Sleep Medicine(SEAASM). It is conducted by the Department of Respiratory, Critical Care, Sleep Medicine & Interventional Pulmonology at Getwell Hospital & Research Centre at Chitnavis Centre in Nagpur.

  • AIM, NITI Aayog & UNDP launched Youth Co:Lab. Atal Innovation Mission (AIM), NITI Aayog and United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) India jointly launched Youth Co:Lab. The lab aims at accelerating social entrepreneurship and innovation in young India and to recognize young people as critical drivers of sustainable development. During the launch, a Letter of Intent (LOI) was signed between AIM, NITI Aayog and UNDP India.

  • Government launched Ganga Aamantran Abhiyan. Jal Shakti Minister Gajendra Singh Shekhawat launched a unique initiative called 'Ganga Amantran' to connect with the stakeholders of the river. It is a pioneering exploratory open- water rafting and kayaking expedition on the Ganga river to begin on 10 October till 11 November 2019. The expedition will start at Devaprayag and culminate at Ganga Sagar.

  • President Ram Nath Kovind will award the prestigious Presidents Colour to the Army Aviation Corps (AAC) in Nashik. The president, who is also the supreme commander of the armed forces, will award the colour at a grand ceremonial parade to be held at the Combat Army Aviation Training School (CAATS) at Nashik Road. Presentation of President's colour is an acknowledgment of the meritorious service rendered by the Army Aviation Corps over the years.

    The honour is a visible symbol of excellence and has been earned by the Army Aviation Corps through dedication and worthy contribution both during war and peace. The ceremonial parade will be commanded by Brigadier Sarabjeet Singh Bawa Bhalla, Commandant, CATS. The Army Aviation Corps has proved their mettle and lived up to the motto of Swift and Sure. They have made their presence felt from the highest battlefield of Siachen Glacier to the Rann of Kutch in Gujarat.

  • Government launches Surakshit Matritva Aashwasan, SUMAN, an initiative for quality health care at no cost. Union Minister for Health and Family Welfare Dr Harsh Vardhan along with several State Health Ministers on 10 October, 2019 launched Surakshit Matritva Aashwasan, SUMAN, initiative in New Delhi. The initiative was launched during the 13th Conference of Central Council of Health and Family Welfare.

    The initiative aims at assuring dignified, respectful and quality health care at no cost and zero tolerance for denial of services for every woman and newborn visiting the public health facility in order to end all preventable maternal and newborn deaths. It also provides a positive birth experience to both mother and infant.

    Government is committed to achieve the target of reducing the maternal mortality and child mortality. As per survey conducted in the recent past, the number of cases of blindness in the country has decreased from 0.68 per cent to 0.38 per cent. Mental health is among the high priorities of the government and policies have been framed to strengthen the mental health facility across the nation.

  • The Indian Railways has launched a website and mobile app that allows passengers to register their complaints online. Union minister Nityanand Rai launched the website and the mobile app Sahyatri. This will facilitate the railway police in addressing complaints of passengers from across India and crime detection by integrating the criminal database online.

  • SARAS Aajeevika Mela being held. The Ministry of Rural Development is organising SARAS Aajeevika Mela at India Gate Lawns from 10-23 October 2019. SARAS Aajeevika Mela is an initiative by the Deendayal Antyodaya Yojana-National Rural Livelihoods Mission (DAY-NRLM). Its objective is to bring the rural women Self Help Groups (SHGs) under one platform to showcase their skills and sell their products.

  • The first ever India International Cooperatives Trade Fair got underway in New Delhi. The three day Fair is a major platform to promote export of products of cooperatives which will lead to enhanced rural and farm prosperity. Organisations from 36 countries are participating in the Fair.

    Cooperation is at the core of Indian culture. He said more than 150 Indian cooperatives are taking part in this event. It is a historic occasion to discuss the challenges being faced by Cooperatives, like delivery and available markets. He cited the example of Amul saying it is a cooperative which has succeeded in entering every home of the country.

  • The government is to introduce POSHAN atlas under POSHAN Abhiyan. The announcement was made by Union Minister of WCD Smriti Irani at the 5th National Council on India’s Nutrition Challenges. POSHAN atlas is developed by the Ministry of Women and Child Development in association with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and Deendayal Research Institute. The atlas aims to tackle malnutrition.

  • Delhi's second airport begins operations. The first commercial flight from the Hindon civil airport started from 11th October. A private aircraft with nine passengers on board took off from Pithoragarh's Naini-Saini airport at 11.30 am. The Hindon airport was inaugurated by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on March 8. Hindon Airport will serve as the ‘second’ airport. The air force station is located close to Ghaziabad, Uttar Pradesh.

  • Forbes India Rich List Mukesh Ambani retains top most position for 12th Straight year. Mukesh Ambani bagged the number one spot with $51.4 billion net worth on Forbes list of richest Indians for the year 2019. Gautam Adani came a close second as he jumped 8 spots on the list with a net worth of $15.7 billion. This is the 12th consecutive year that Ambani has topped the list despite being a challenging year' for the Indian economy According to the American business magazine. Ambani's wealth swelled to $51.4 billion this year (2019). Mukesh Ambani remains the richest Indian for the 12th year in a row. Reliance Industries is became one of India's biggest mobile carriers with 340 million subscribers. Adani who rose 8 spots to bag the second place on the list saw his fortune rise on account of venturing into a slew of new businesses from airports to data centres.

    Ashok Leyland owners Hinduja brothers came third with a net worth of $15.6 billion, Shapoorji Pallonji Group's Pallonji Mistry was on the fourth spot with a $15 billion net worth, Kotak Mahindra Bank's Uday Kotak ranked fifth with $14.8 billion net worth followed by HCL Technologies Shiv Nadar with a net worth of $14.4 billion. This year (2019) also spelled an 8% drop in the total wealth of business tycoons on the Forbes' 2019 list to $452 billion. It had been a challenging year for the nation's wealthiest" owing to the economic slowdown.

  • Persons of Indian Origin (PIO) cards along with valid foreign passport will be considered for exit/entry into India till 31st of March 2020. Latest Government of India advisory has said that Bureau of Immigration (BoI) will now accept PIO cards as valid travel document till 31st of March next year along with valid foreign passport and the Indian Immigration Check Post(s) will continue to consider all PIO cards valid for exit/entry into India till 31st of March next year. Earlier, all PIO card holders were advised to convert their cards to Overseas Citizenship of India (OCI) cards by 30th September, 2019.

    This extension of time-line is subject to the condition that if in the meantime any deadline is notified by the International Civil Aviation Organization thereby making hand written PIO cards invalid, then PIO cardholders may have to obtain appropriate visa from Indian Missions/Posts. All the valid PIO cardholders as on 9th of January 2015 are requested to apply for conversion of PIO card to OCI card as per guidelines at the earliest.

  • The Prime Minister Narendra Modi has called upon people to quit tobacco and not harbour misconceptions about e-cigarettes, to build a healthy India. Tobacco addiction tramples the dreams of families and wastes lives of children and this habit should not take root in the society. People understand the dangers of common cigarettes, but have misconceptions about e-cigarettes that they pose no danger.

    Prime Minister added that e-cigarettes contain many harmful chemicals which have a rious effect on health. He said, younger generation is the country's future and that is why the government banned e- cigarettes. This new form of intoxication can destroy the demographically young country. Mr Modi said all addictions have to be avoided to realize the goal of Fit India.

  • PM Narendra Modi asks people to join Fit India Plogging Run on Gandhi Jayanti. The government will organise Fit India Plogging Run on 2nd October across the country. It is a unique combination of picking up litter while jogging.

  • Top UNICEF official praises Swachh Bharat Mission as ‘game changer’. Swachh Bharat Mission of the Modi government is an example-setting programme for the world and a game-changer as it altered the way Indian society behaved towards cleanliness. UNICEF India's Sanitation (WASH) chief Nicolas Osbert showered praise on the programme announced by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in his maiden Independence Day address in 2014. The Swacch Bharat campaign was launched by the Modi government on Mahatma Gandhi's birth anniversary on October 2, 2014.

    Mr. Osbter highlighted the positive global impact that success of Swachh Bharat Mission brought with itself. He further said, a lot of countries from the world now come to India to learn about Swachh Bharat Mission. Just a year ago, 55 ministers from across the globe visited India to measure impact of Swachh Bharat and they went back to their countries very much inspired.

  • Delhi government announced a new scheme under which people residing as tenants in Delhi will be able to avail power subsidy. The name of the scheme is 'Mukhyamantri Kirayedar Bijli Meter Yojna'. Under the scheme, there is no charge for the electricity consumption of up to 200 units.

  • 21st session of WHO-FAO held in Goa. The 21st session of the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) and the World Health Organisation (WHO) Coordinating Committee was inaugurated in Panaji on 23 September 2019. The objective of the session is to focus on food and safety at primary production involving issues and best practices for an evolving region, critical and emerging issues related to food safety.

  • Bhopal metro will be named after Indian King 'Raja Bhoj' and be called 'Bhoj Metro'. The first phase of the metro rail network Madhya Pradesh and Indore will be operational by 2023. Bhoj was the king in the Paramara dynasty that ruled Malwa and surrounding areas in west- central India between the 9th and 14th centuries.

  • Odisha launches mascot 'Tiki Mausi'. Odisha's Women and Child Development (WCD) department unveiled a mascot ‘Tiki Mausi’ to popularise programmes and schemes of the department. Tiki Mausi will also disseminate information about various services like Sakhi centres and schemes like ‘Mamata’, ‘Biju Sishu Surakhya Yojana’ and nutrition programmes with the active help of panchayat representatives and women self-help groups.

  • YSR Vahana Mitra scheme launched in Andhra Pradesh. Andhra Pradesh government will give a cash incentive of Rs.10,000 to car and auto drivers every year in the state. The YSR Vahana Mitra scheme will be launched on 4 October and self-employed auto and taxi drivers will be eligible under it. The motto of YSR Vahana Mitra is that the amount could be useful for the drivers to repair, vehicle fitness, insurance expenses. 

  • Northeast to introduce seaplanes to boost tourism. Airport Authority of India (AAI) will introduce water aerodrome or seaplanes in three locations in Assam for the first time. The main aim is to boost tourism and connectivity, three riverfronts were selected in Assam to introduce the water based ferry for the first time in India,

    The water aerodrome or seaplane services would be launched in Brahmaputra River and Umrangso reservoir. The three locations selected for the seaplanes include Guwahati, Umrangso (in Dima Hasao district) and the famous Kaziranga National Park. Jindal to inspect the under construction work of the Rs.500 crore newly designed Agartala airport project, said that not much investment is required to commence the seaplane services in Assam.

    The Three jetties would be built in three locations at a cost of Rs.50 crores. Some other small works have to be done before launching the new ferrying mode," he added. They could be connected to the terminal building on land where the pilot can choose to dock like a ship. The water aerodrome or seaplanes services were planned to be introduced under the UDAN (Ude Desh ka Aam Naagrik) scheme.

  • Government to launch enterprise development centers for MSMEs in all districts. Prime Minister, Shri Narendra Modi launched a support and outreach programme for the Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSME) sector. The Prime Minister unveiled 12 key initiatives which will help in the growth, expansion and facilitation of MSMEs across the country.

    The Loans upto 1 crore within 59 minutes through an online portal. Interest subvention of 2% for all GST registered MSMEs on fresh or incremental loans. All companies with a turnover of more than 500 crores to be mandatorily on TReDS platform to enable entrepreneurs to access credit from banks, based on their upcoming receivables thus solving the problems of cash cycle.

    All PSUs to compulsorily procure 25 percent from MSMEs instead of 20 percent of their total purchases. Out of the 25 percent procurement mandated from MSMEs, 3 percent reserved for women entrepreneurs. All CPSUs to compulsorily procure through GeM portal. The 100 Technology Centres to be established at the cost of Rs 6000 crores. The Govt. of India to bear 70 percent of the cost for establishing Pharma clusters. The Returns under 8 labour laws and 10 Union regulations to be filed once in a year.

    The establishments to be visited by an Inspector will be decided through a computerized random allotment. The single consent under air and water pollution laws. The returns will be accepted through self-certification and only 10 per cent MSME units to be inspected. For minor violations under the Companies Act, entrepreneurs no longer have to approach court but can correct them through simple procedures.

  • Palestine on 01 October, 2019 has released a commemorative postage stamp on Mahatma Gandhi, honouring his legacy and values, to mark the 150 birth anniversary of the world leader. Palestinian Authority's (PA) Minister of Telecommunication and Information Technology Ishaaq Seder released the stamp in the presence of Representative of India in PA Sunil Kumar at a ceremony held at the ministry in Ramallah. Palestine's issuance of the commemorative stamp comes in honour of Gandhi's memory, legacy, and values that guided and shall continue to guide humanity.

    Mr.Kumar highlighted Gandhi's significant contribution to human development, stressing that his teachings of peace, freedom, respect and tolerance are still felt around the world. The Indian mission in Ramallah has organised several events over the past year to commemorate the world leader's 150th birth anniversary, drawing a huge response from all sections of the society.

  • PM Narendra Modi pays tribute to Lal Bahadur Shastri on his 115th birth anniversary. Prime Minister Narendra Modi on 02 October, 2019 recalled the grit and determination of Lal Bahadur Shastri on his 115th birth anniversary. “Tributes to former Prime Minister Lal Bahadur Shastri who gave the call of ‘Jai Jawan, Jai Kisan’,”

  • MeitY, NeGD, and NLIU Bhopal signs MoU. National eGovernance Division (NeGD), Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY) and the National Law Institute University (NLIU), Bhopal signed an MoU at New Delhi on 30 September. The MoU aims to implement an Online Capacity Building Programme on Cyber Law, Crime Investigation and Digital Forensics through NeGD Learning Management System (LMS).

  • Kerala tops NITI Aayogs SEQI report. Kerala has emerged on top among 20 large states in terms of quality of school education in the School Education Quality Index (SEQI). SEQI was jointly released by NITI Aayog, Ministry of Human Resource Development and the World Bank, alongside sectoral experts. The report is based on indexing of states and Union Territories (UTs) on the learning outcomes for school-going children.

  • Film Division in association with India Tourism will organise a Gandhi Film Festival in Mumbai from 2- 6 October 2019. The festival as part of Mahatma Gandhi’s 150th birth anniversary will showcase select films focussing on Swachh Bharat and non-violence. Movies to be screened include ‘Gandhi’ by Richard Attenborough, ‘The Making of Mahatma’ and ‘Maine Gandhi ko Nahi Maara’.

  • The nationwide Paryatan Parv, 2019 kicked off to promote tourism in India. It will continue till 13th October. The aim is to propagate the message of Dekho Apna Desh to encourage people to visit tourist destinations of the country and also spread the message of Tourism for All. The parv was jointly inaugurated by Information and Broadcasting Minister Prakash Javadekar, Petroleum Minister Dharmendra Pradhan and Tourism Minister Prahalad Singh Patel at Rajpath lawns in New Delhi. The government is developing 17 tourist sites into world-class destinations to attract more tourists. Foreign tourist arrivals in the country have risen and 1.05 crore tourists are coming to India every year.

  • Home Minister Amit Shah flagged off the Delhi-Katra Vande Bharat Express at New Delhi Railway Station. The high-speed train will bring down the travel time between Delhi and Katra, the last station on way to the Vaishno Devi temple, to eight hours from the current 12 hours.

  • Prime Minister Narendra Modi at, Ahmedabad on the 150th birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi has called upon people to eradicate single-use plastic from the country by 2022. Plastic is a major threat to environment and we have to achieve the goal to eradicate single-use plastic from the country.

    Mr. Modi declared that India is now open defecation-free (ODF). Prime Minister made the declaration by pressing the button of a remote, unveiling the map of India as open defection-free. He said, the world is amazed by the fact that India provided toilets to over 60 crore people in 60 months by building over 11 crore toilets.

  • India's largest 'charkha' made of used plastic waste was inaugurated on the eve of Mahatma Gandhi's 150th birth anniversary in Noida. The 1,650-kg spinning wheel was inaugurated by Union Minister Smriti Irani. The 'charkha', which symbolises Gandhi's dream of Swadeshi, measures 14ft, 20ft and 8ft and is made of 1,250 kg of used plastic.

  • Union Government launched unified portal. Union Minister G. Kishan Reddy launched a single- window online system for licensing of eating and lodging houses. The portal is a step in the direction to achieve PM Narendra Modi's vision to establish a corruption- free economy by bringing in welfare-oriented economic reforms.

  • New Delhi - Ludhiana Intercity Express train has been extended upto Lohian Khas via Jalandhar. Union Ministers Piyush Goyal, Dr. Harsh Vardhan and Harsimrat Kaur Badal flagged off the extended train during a function at New Delhi Railway Station on 04 October, 2019. The train has also been renamed as Sarbat Da Bhala Express.

  • Government launches portal for monitoring coal supply to power plants. Power Minister RK Singh and Coal, Mines and Parliamentary Affairs Minister Pralhad Joshi have jointly launched PRAKASH - Power Rail Koyla Availability through Supply Harmony- portal in New Delhi. The portal aims at bringing better coordination for coal supplies among all stakeholders. This is an important step in ensuring adequate availability and optimum utilization of coal at thermal power plants. The portal is designed to help in mapping and monitoring entire coal supply chain for power plants.

  • Lieutenant Colonel Pravin Grewal and paratrooper Ganpat Singh who were part of the Indian Army's Aqua Stallions rafting team have created the national record for fastest rafting in high altitude areas. The team created the record at Zanskar river in Ladakh in September 2019.

  • Uttarakhand CM Trivendra Singh Rawat launched an awareness campaign -- Urjagiri, which aims at stopping power theft and saving. The campaign is a good start towards spreading awareness in the society. The government is committed to ending power theft. 



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