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January 2020 - National News

  • Union Government aims to achieve objective of Housing for All by 2022 under Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana-Grameen. A total of over one crore 50 lakh rural houses have been completed in the last five years. Ministry of Finance said, the eligible beneficiaries will get one crore 95 lakh houses in the second phase of the scheme. Government has set a target of 60 lakh houses for the current financial year.

  • Petroleum Minister Dhamendra Pradhan has said that India will continue to lead the global sustainable energy agenda. He was delivering the key note address at the TERI’s World Sustainable Development Summit 2020 on ‘Energy Future Road Map’ in New Delhi on 30th January 2020. Mr Pradhan said, India is in the midst of a major transformative shift in the energy sector, both in scale and complexity and also the interdependence across different systems. He said, the trajectory to end energy poverty in India, as compared to the rest of the world, is based on the special national circumstances.

  • Indian government has decided that pensioners' life certificates will be collected from their doorstep, saving them from hassles of visiting pension disbursing banks. Department of Pension and Pensioners’ Welfare has taken this landmark step to make life easier for senior citizens to submit their Annual Life Certificate for continued pension.

  • In a first in India, the Telangana State Election Commission will be using facial recognition app in a bid to counter impersonation by voters. This will be done on a pilot basis in 10 selected polling stations in Kompally Municipality of Medchal Malkajgiri district. According to an official release, a negative result, however, would not deprive the voter from exercising his franchise. Pictorial data collected during the process will also be used afterwards.

  • The fifth edition of Science Film Festival of India (SCI-FFI) 2020 kick-off in Panaji, Goa on 15th January 2020. The four-day-long festival was inaugurated by Chief Minister, Dr.Paramod Sawant and will end on 18 January.

  • Union Minister for Electronics and Information Technology Ravi Shankar Prasad will inaugurate the second edition of NIC Tech Conclave-2020 in New Delhi. The two-day event is being organized by the National Informatics Centre. This Conclave will contribute immensely to the capacity building of Government officers across the country and help in delivering high-quality citizen-centric services. This year’s theme is Technologies for Next-Gen Governance.

  • Gujarat has been ranked the best for parameters on efficiency targets in the review of state and Central government water departments by the ministry of Jal Shakti. Rajasthan is the third best and Delhi is among the worst performing states, according to the ranking for 2019 circulated to different state governments recently. Among the seven Central departments reviewed, the Survey of India has got the top billing followed by the National Institute of Hydrology (NIH) and Central Water Commission. The Central Pollution Control Board, the country’s pollution watchdog, has got the lowest rank, in the ranking for the year 2019.

  • PM Shri Narendra Modi-led Union Cabinet approved the Agreement between India and the Federative Republic of Brazil on Mutual Legal Assistance in Criminal Matters has to be signed. The Agreement aims to enhance the effectiveness of both the countries in investigation and prosecution of crime through cooperation and Mutual Legal Assistance in Criminal Matters. The Agreement will provide a broad legal framework for bilateral cooperation with the Federative Republic of Brazil in investigation and prosecution of crime and in tracing, restraint and confiscation of proceeds and instruments of crime and the fund meant to finance terrorist acts.

  • The Union Cabinet led by the PM Narendra Modi approved the signing of the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between the Republic of India and the Federative Republic of Brazil. The MoU on cooperation in the field of oil and natural gas. The MoU is expected to be signed during the visit of President of Brazil to India in January 2020. 

    The MoU will enhance cooperation between the two sides in the oil and natural gas sector. Both the countries will work towards establishing cooperation in the E&P initiatives in Brazil and India, research & development in this sector, explore collaboration in Liquefied Natural Gas projects in Brazil, India and third countries. It encourages collaboration in oil energy and environmental issues, including energy policies such as energy research development, energy efficiency, and expansion of the regional energy infrastructure networks.

  • The government has announced that it is to set up a National Startup Advisory Council on 21 January 2020. The council will advise the Centre on measures needed to build a strong ecosystem for nurturing innovation and start-ups in India. It was set up by commerce and industry ministry. The Advisory Council will be chaired by the Commerce Minister Piyush Goyal. It consists of non-official members to be nominated by the Centre, founders of successful start-ups, veterans who have grown and scaled companies in India, persons capable to represent interests of investors into start-ups. 

    National Startup Advisory Council:
    1.) The Council will suggest measures to foster a culture of innovation among students and others, the commerce and industry ministry.
    2.) It will suggest measures to facilitate public organizations to protect and commercialization of intellectual property rights, to promote the creation, assimilate innovation, make it easier to start, operate, grow and exit businesses by reducing regulatory compliances and costs.
    3.) The Council will also direct the companies to promote ease of access to capital for start-ups, mobilize global capital for investments, incentivize domestic capital for investments, and keep control of start-ups with original promoters.

  • Uttar Pradesh state Government has launched Mukhyamantri Krishak Durghatna Kalyan Yojana. The scheme will provide financial assistance of Rs.5 lakh to the family of farmers who die or become handicapped while working in fields. The scheme also includes Bataidars for the first time. The scheme will cover farmers and their family members in the age group of 18-70 years. The scheme was implemented on 14 September 2019 in the state.

  • The Ministry for Agriculture and Farmers Welfare organized the first National consultative workshop on Strengthening Agri-Logistics in the e-National Agriculture Market (e-Nam) in New Delhi on 21 January 2020. The workshop aimed to strengthen agriculture and the rural economy as it will strengthen India to face challenges victoriously. The workshop is in line with the Prime Minister's vision of doubling farmers' income by 2022. 

    Electronic National Agriculture Market (e-NAM) is an electronic trading portal that creates a unified national market for agricultural commodities. It was established on 14 April 2016. e-NAM functions under the Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers' Welfare, Government of India.

  • The national conclave on Emerging Opportunities in the natural gas sector was held on 23 January in New Delhi. It was graced by Minister of Petroleum and Natural Gas Shri Dharmendra Pradhan. The present share of gas in the energy basket of the country is 6.2% and the target is to take it to 15% by 2030. In India, Gujarat has a 26% share of gas-based energy. The conclave focused on CBG which is a great initiative that has the potential to generate wealth from waste, provide employment, protect the environment, and give a boost to the economy.

  • In Madhya Pradesh, state government has made the reading of Preamble of the Constitution mandatory in schools on every Saturday. The Department of School Education stated that orders in this regard have been issued to District Education Officers. The order issued by the School Education department said that the Preamble to the Constitution will be read out by the headmaster or teacher in all the schools after prayer on every Saturday. The same will be read out by the students later.

  • Gujarat has topped the SKOCH State of Governance 2019 ranking, replacing 2018 leader West Bengal. Gujarat, Maharashtra, West Bengal, Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu were the top five "Star States". The states where projects have performed the best in terms of rankings across different parameters have been classified as STARS.

  • Union Minister for Electronics and Information Technology Ravi Shankar Prasad inaugurated the second edition of NIC Tech Conclave-2020 in New Delhi on January 20, 2020. The two-day event was organized by the National Informatics Centre. This Conclave will contribute immensely to the capacity building of Government officers across the country and help in delivering high-quality citizen-centric services. This year’s theme is "Technologies for Next-Gen Governance".

  • One Nation One Ration Card Scheme will be implemented across India from June 1, 2020, as per the announcement made by Union Minister of Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution Ram Vilas Paswan. The all-India roll-out of the scheme has been preponed from its original date of 30th June to 1st June. Currently, the scheme is operational in 12 states across the country from January 1, 2020 onwards. The key highlight of One Nation One Ration Card scheme is that under this scheme, a beneficiary will be able to avail benefits across the country using the same ration card.

  • The central government announced its plan of selling its 100 percent stake in Air India on January 27, 2020. The government has invited bids with March 17 as the deadline for the expression of interest (EOI) submissions. This is the government’s second attempt to sell the national carrier. In 2018, the government had attempted to sell a majority stake in the airlines but failed to get a single bid. Air India operates on both domestic and international routes and has some of the most profitable international and domestic landing and parking slots.

  • The Centre on 27 January 2020 signed an accord with the Assam-based different insurgent groups and civil societies including the National Democratic Front of Bodoland. The tripartite agreement was signed in the presence of Union Home Minister Amit Shah and Assam Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal. The accord will provide political, economic, executive and land rights to Bodo tribals and also will safeguard their cultural and linguistic identities. The Centre and State Government will provide financial assistance of 1,500 crore rupees for the economic development of the community. 

    It is the third tripartite agreement to end the violence in the region. Earlier, the tripartite agreements in 1993 and 2003 were signed leading to the creation of Bodoland Autonomous and Bodoland Territorial Councils. All Bodo Student Union and its associated organizations and different factions of the National Democratic Front of Bodoland had been raising the demand for separate statehood. Negotiations were held with Bodo organizations for a comprehensive and final solution to their demands while keeping intact the territorial integrity of Assam.

  • The Andhra Pradesh Cabinet on 27 January 2020 passed a resolution setting in motion the process for abolishing the state Legislative Council. A similar resolution will now be adopted in the Legislative Assembly and sent to the Centre for necessary follow-up action.

  • The Government has targeted to install 175 Giga Watt renewable energy by 2022 to build a healthy planet with less carbon intensive economy. The Finance Ministry said, through Pradhan Mantri Kisan Urja Surkasha Evam Utthan Mahabhiyan, PM-KUSUM scheme, government empowers the farmers to be the producer of energy. The PM-KUSUM scheme covers grid connected renewable energy power plants, stand alone solar powered agricultural pumps and solarization of existing grid connected agriculture pumps. 

    The components of the scheme are installation of 10 thousand Mega Watt of Decentralized Ground Mounted Grid Connected Renewable Power Plants by farmers of 500 Kilo Watt to 2 Mega Watt capacity, installation of 17.50 lakh stand alone Solar Powered Agriculture Pumps and solarization of 10 Lakh Grid-connected Solar Powered Agriculture Pumps. The Scheme has substantial environmental impact in terms of savings of CO2 emissions and all three components of the Scheme combined together are likely to result in saving of about 27 million tonnes of CO2 emission per annum.

  • Prime Minister Narendra Modi has said that Government is continuously working and taking progressive measures to double the farmers' income by 2022. Addressing 3rd Global Potato Conclave at Gandhinagar, Gujarat on Jan 28, 2020 through video conferencing, Mr Modi said, the combination of efforts of farmers and government's policy has resulted in bringing India among the top three countries in the world in the production of many cereals and other food items. He said, the Centre has also taken several steps to promote the food processing sector. They include opening of the processing sector to 100 per cent Foreign Direct Investment and helping in developing value addition and value chain through Pradhan Mantri Kisan Sampada Yojana.

  • Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray inaugurated 18.5 km-long stretch of Nagpur Metro Aqua line of Maha Metro Rail Network in Nagpur through video conferencing. The newly inaugurated Nagpur Metro Aqua line passing over the Ambazari lake in city will connect the east and west parts of the city. Nagpur Metro is the Greenest Metro deriving 65 per cent of its power consumption from Solar Energy. Nagpur Metro network is now operational up to 24.5 kilometres.

  • Union Minister of State for Ministry of Food Processing Industries Rameswar Teli has said that Centre has planned to set up Food Parks in all states of North East Region.

  • In Odisha, the State Government has launched a virtual police station where people can lodge complaints from their respective districts regarding theft of their vehicles without visiting Police Station. The e-police station will function from State Crime Records Bureau in Bhubaneswar. Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik inaugurated the facility along with road accident case documents module and medico legal opinion system projects of Odisha Police. These are the initiatives to effectively reduce the necessity of citizens to visit Police Stations. 

    This facility will benefit the people for claiming insurance in motor vehicle theft cases. The road accident case documents module is a web-based application which can be accessed from the website Through this web-based application, victims of road accidents as well as insurance companies can download documents like FIR, final form, spot map, MVI report, inquest, post-mortem report, driving licence, and registration certificates.

  • Government is focusing to drive industrialization through the power of seas. It has launched ambitious Sagarmala programme which is aimed reducing logistics cost for both domestic and EXIM cargo with optimized infrastructure investment. 

    Under the Sagarmala programme, Center is implementing 12 road projects worth 2387 crore rupees. Out of these, three projects are completed and six are in the pipeline. The work on 25 rail projects amounting to 2268 crore rupees is also in progress. Of these 11 projects are completed and six are in the pipeline. Besides, 24 rail connectivity projects worth 3303 crore rupees are being implemented by the Indian Port Rail and Ropeway Corporation Limited. The government is also developing 11 multi modal logistics park across the country to boost the port led development.

  • External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar on Jan 29, 2020 laid the foundation stone of the Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel Centre for Empowerment and Livelihoods near the Statue of Unity at Kevadia in Gujarat. This will be a state-of-the-art skill Development centre in this tribal area. This Residential Centre will have all modern infrastructure including accommodation for about 100 youth at a time. It will run several free of charge skill courses aligned to the National Skills Qualification Framework (NSQF). 

    This centre will prove to be a boon for empowering the local youth and women by their skill development and by providing them employment opportunities. GMR Varalakshmi Foundation - GMRVF - has taken a joint initiative with Sardar Sarovar Narmada Nigam Limited to establish this Centre with an investment of over Rs 15 crore.

  • Union Cabinet has approved the Medical Termination of Pregnancy (Amendment) Bill, 2020. The bill will amend the Medical Termination of Pregnancy Act, 1971. It will be introduced in the budget session of the Parliament. Union Minister Prakash Javadekar said, for Medical termination of pregnancy, permission will be needed, from two doctors and one of them must be a government doctor. The limit of termination of pregnancy has been increased from 20 weeks to 24 weeks. The Bill proposes for requirement for opinion of one provider for termination of pregnancy up to 20 weeks of gestation and introducing the requirement of opinion of two providers for termination of pregnancy of 20-24 weeks of gestation. 

    The Bill is for expanding access of women to safe and legal abortion services on therapeutic, eugenic, humanitarian or social grounds. The proposed amendments is a step towards safety and well-being of the women and many women will be benefited by this. Recently several petitions were received by the Courts seeking permission for aborting pregnancies at a gestational age beyond the present permissible limit on grounds of foetal abnormalities or pregnancies due to sexual violence faced by women. The proposed increase in gestational age will ensure dignity, autonomy, confidentiality and justice for women who need to terminate pregnancy.

  • The Union Cabinet has approved the amendments in the National Commission for Homoeopathy Bill, 2019 for amending the Homoeopathy Central Council Act, 1973. Presently, the Bill is pending in Rajya Sabha. The amendments will ensure necessary regulatory reforms in the field of Homoeopathy education. This will also enable transparency and accountability for protecting the interest of the general public. The National Commission will promote the availability of affordable healthcare services in all parts of the country.

  • Cabinet has approved allocation of 30 per cent of the North-Eastern Council's allocation for new projects. This will help in focused development of deprived areas, neglected sections of society and emerging priority sectors.

  • The Cabinet has approved extension of Productivity-Linked Reward Scheme for the employees and workers of the Major Port Trust and Dock Labour Board for the period beyond 2017-18. The Scheme will annually benefit over 28 thousand workers. The annual estimated outgo will be 46 crore rupees.

  • In a major push to development in Jammu and Kashmir, around 1,256 projects worth 2280 crore rupees financed under J&K Infrastructure Development Finance Corporation, are being completed by end of March 2020. All government departments have been asked to handover the completed infrastructure development projects under JKIDFC, before the commencement of the third week of March for their formal inauguration. Among these 422 projects belong to PHE, 180 to R&B, 168 to PDD, 76 to I&FC department, 104 to School Education, 77 to Youth Services, 50 to Health and 48 each to Housing and Industries departments.

  • The Supreme Court allowed the introduction of African Cheetah to suitable habitat in India on January 28, 2020. The top court directed that the habitat should be chosen carefully after examining if the animal can adapt to Indian conditions. The move to relocate the animal to India is aimed at conserving the threatened species and restore ecosystem functions. It will help India restore its lost natural heritage and it could also have a major evolutionary impact on India's fauna, while also enhancing its wildlife diversity.

  • Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister YS Jagan Mohan Reddy launched the flagship ‘Amma Vodi’ scheme to support lakhs of below poverty line mothers or guardians to educate their children. The Amma Vodi scheme is the first-of-its-kind scheme in the country, which is aimed at bringing significant changes in the education system of Andhra Pradesh. 

    Under the Rs 6318 crore scheme, the state will provide direct financial assistance worth Rs 15000 annually to poor and financially weak mothers or guardians, to support them in educating their children. The amount will be transferred directly into the bank accounts of the beneficiaries in January every year. The state government has credited the annual financial assistance under the Amma Vodi scheme for the year 2020 into the accounts of 43 lakh poor and needy mothers/ guardians, which is expected to benefit around 82 lakh children in the state. 

    The Andhra Pradesh government has also planned to revamp the infrastructure in the state’s educational institutions and has allocated budget worth of Rs 14,000 crore to enable the same. The state will take up modernisation works in a phased manner in 45,000 government schools, 471 Junior colleges, 148 degree colleges and hostels. The state has also decided to use English as a medium of instruction from class 1 to class 6 in all government schools from this academic year. In 4 years, the state will also direct class 10 board education to be taken in English medium.

  • Citizenship Amendment Act came into effect as the central government has issued a notification for the revised citizenship act on January 10, 2020. According to this law, minorities of Hindu, Jain, Parsi, Sikh, Christian, and Buddhist communities who have come to India from Pakistan, Bangladesh, and Afghanistan till December 31, 2014, and have suffered religious persecution in their countries will not be considered as illegal migrants. Instead, they will be given Indian citizenship. The Central Government decided to implement this law from January 10, 2020, under sub-section (2) of Section 1 of the Citizenship (Amendment) Act. The new citizenship act was passed from Parliament on December 11, 2019. 

    Highlights of CAA :
    • According to the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA), refugees from these six communities will be given citizenship of India after staying in India for five years. Earlier this limit was 11 years.
    • According to the act, such refugees will also be excused from lawsuits if they are found non-law migrants.
    • The CAA will not apply to the tribal areas of Assam, Meghalaya, Mizoram, and Tripura, as these areas are included in the Sixth Schedule of the Indian Constitution.
    • At the same time, this law will also not be applicable in the areas of Inner Line Permit (ILP) notified under Bengal Eastern Border Regulation, 1873.
    • ILP is applicable in Arunachal Pradesh, Nagaland, and Mizoram.

  • The Election Commission has launched a new online tracking system for political parties, which will allow them to track their registration applications submitted to the poll panel on a real-time basis. The new system, Political Parties Registration Tracking Management System (PPRTMS), will apply for parties registering from January 1, 2020. The online system will enable those applying for the party registration from January 1 to track the progress of their application using the system. The users will get status updates through SMS and e-mail. 

    The registration of political parties is governed under the provisions of section 29A of the Representation of the People Act, 1951. Those seeking registration of a political party have to submit an application to the Commission within 30 days from the date of its formation The application has to be filed in the prescribed format with the basic details about the party including name, address, membership details of various units and the names of the office-bearers. All particulars regarding the filing of the party registration application have been specified under sub-section (4) and sub-section (6) of Section 29A of the Representation of the People Act, 1951.

  • The Maharashtra government launched a ‘cyber safe women’ campaign across the state on January 3, 2019, on the birth anniversary of Indian social reformer, Savitribai Phule. The cyber safe women initiative aims to spread awareness regarding the atrocities committed against women and children as well as the laws regarding cyber crime.

  • The 107th Indian Science Congress (ISC) was inaugurated by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on January 3, 2019 at the University of Agricultural Sciences in Bengaluru. While delivering the inaugural address, the Prime Minister said that India’s growth story depends on its achievements in the Science and Technology sector and reiterated the need to revolutionise the landscape of Indian Science Technology and Innovation. 

    PM Modi gave the motto of “Innovate, Patent, Produce and Prosper” to the young scientists in the country, saying that these four steps will lead India towards faster development. He stated that “innovation for the people and by the people is the direction of New India.” It aims to bridge the gap between farmer and tech-developers. Many of the innovations have helped in enhancing market access, crop productivity and diversifying rural livelihood profiles. However, the gap between the farmers and innovators has resulted in only partial exploration of the benefits.

  • The second round of Intensified Mission Indradhanush 2.0 was launched at block level in 35 districts of Uttar Pradesh on January 6, 2020. The mission aims to achieve 90 percent vaccination coverage among children below the age of 2 years.

  • Vikram Sarabhai Children Innovation Center (VSCIC) will be set up soon in Gujarat. The announcement for the same was made by Gujarat Chief Minister Vijay Rupani while speaking during the felicitation ceremony of Children’s Innovation Festival (CIF) in Gandhinagar on January 6, 2020 The Vikram Sarabhai Children Innovation Center will be set up to identify, nurture and promote innovation by children in the state. The centre will work towards identifying children with ideas and then nurture and support them.

  • Pravasi Bharatiya Divas is celebrated every year on January 09. The purpose of celebration is to recognize the overseas Indians who have contributed to the development of India. This day was first celebrated in 2003. This is celebrated on January 09 because Mahatma Gandhi returned India from South Africa on January 09, 1915. Mahatma Gandhi is considered as the greatest migrant who not only led India's freedom struggle but also changed the lives of Indians forever. That is why Pravasi Bharatiya Divas is celebrated on January 09. 

    Its objective is to provide a platform for NRIs to express their feelings and perceptions about India. Another objective of Pravasi Bharatiya Divas is to create a network of NRIs in all the countries of the world and connecting the younger generation with immigrants. This day is celebrated to know the difficulties faced by the Indian laborers living abroad and the government resolve their issues. On this day, the government puts a focus on reconnecting overseas Indians with their roots so that they can contribute significantly to the development of the country.

  • The Government has approved 'Viability Gap Funding' worth Rs 5559 crores to set up a natural gas pipeline grid in the North East. The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs gave its approval to the project on January 8, 2020. Under the project, a capital grant worth Rs 5559 crores will be provided to Indradhanush Gas Grid Limited to build a natural gas pipeline grid covering eight north eastern states. This is the second such funding approved by the Union Government for a gas pipeline project. 

    The Natural Gas Pipeline Grid will be developed in the eight states of the north east including Sikkim and the seven sisters- Assam, Arunachal Pradesh, Manipur, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Nagaland and Tripura. The total length of the pipeline will be 1656 km. It will connect Guwahati in Assam to other major cities in the region such as Agartala, Aizawl, Kohima, Imphal, Dimapur and Itanagar. The Natural Gas Pipeline Grid project is a significant step towards achieving the central government’s Hydrocarbon Vision 2030 for the North-East.

  • The Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) has asked all the people possessing and flying drones to register their gadgets by January 31, 2020. Ministry of Civil Aviation (MoCA) said in a public notice that if they violate the rules then appropriate action will be taken against them under the Indian Penal Code (IPC) and the Aircraft Act. The ministry said in a notice that there are some drones and drone operators who do not comply with the Civil Aviation Requirements (CAR) standards. Drone registration started on January 14, 2020. 

    Ministry of Civil Aviation has issued this notice soon after a missile attack place through a drone on Iran. DGCA has said that a one-time drone registration opportunity is being given to the drone owners and operators. DGCA has said that all persons in possession of drones have to complete the online registration process by January 31, 2020. DGCA has informed that a Drone Acknowledgement Number (DAN) will be issued when registration will be completed. DCA clarified that DAN doesn’t confer any right to fly drones in India if provisions are given in Civil Aviation Requirements (CAR) does not fulfill. 

    The Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) implemented the CAR in August 2018 for drones. Drone owners have to get a unique identification number (UIN) for the drone under this rule. As per these rules, it is illegal to fly a drone without its registration. All those drone owners who make voluntary announcement will get two unique numbers.

  • Prime Minister Narendra Modi electronically released 12,000 crore rupees under Pradhan Mantri Samaan Yojana to six crore farmers in Tumakuru. He awarded the Krishi Karman Award to the progressive farmers from 21 states. Tamil Nadu and Karnataka gave deep sea fishing boats and transponders that will help them to navigate in the deep sea. Prime Minister emphasized on agro exports, value-addition of produce, marketing, and doubling of farmers income by 2022. The individual programs are launched for coffee, rubber, coconut, cashew, and pulses. The government is committed to improving irrigation facilities and providing skills to the agriculturists.

  • The National Green Corps scheme, which was closed for over a decade, has been revived for Jammu and Kashmir. Under this scheme, the Pollution Control Board (PCB) would provide financial assistance to 3,742 Eco Clubs of registered schools in both the regions of the UT. The Environment and Forests Ministry has approved the release of Grant-in-Aid of 2.60 crore rupees to J&K PCB.

  • The Indian Railways has integrated its helpline numbers into a single number -- 139 for quick grievance redressal and enquiries by passengers during their train journeys. The new helpline number 139 will take over all the existing helpline numbers. It will be easy for passengers to remember this number and connect with Railways for all their needs during train travel. The Helpline 139 will be available in twelve languages. It will be based on Interactive Voice Response System. A call can be made on this number from any mobile phone and not just smart phones, thus, providing easy access to all mobile users.

  • Gujarat Chief Minister Vijay Rupani unveils the second tallest statue of Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel in the world at Ahmedabad. Around 50 feet tall bronze statue with a weight of 70 thousand kilograms unveiled at the Sardardham campus near the Vaishnodevi Circle in Ahmedabad. It is the second-highest statue of India’s first home minister after the Statue of Unity of the legendary leader situated at Kevadiya in the Narmada district of Central Gujarat.

  • Union Minister Ram Vilas Paswan has said that "One Nation One Ration Card" scheme has been implemented in 12 states. The 12 states are Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Gujarat, Maharashtra, Haryana, Rajasthan, Karnataka, Kerala, Goa, Madhya Pradesh, Tripura, and Jharkhand. Under this scheme, beneficiaries can buy subsidised food grains from ration shops in any of these 12 states.

  • Andhra Pradesh CM YS Jagan Mohan Reddy inaugurated YSR Aarogyasri scheme at Eluru on 3 Jan 2020. The scheme is aimed at providing free medical treatment to the poor. Over one crore individuals will be benefited under this new health scheme. A total of 2,059 medical ailments have been covered under the scheme. In all, 16,37,230 Aarogyasri cards will be distributed across the State.

  • Kolkata Police started the 3rd edition of its 'Sukanya' project on 6 Jan 2020 to provide girls studying in schools and colleges in the city with self-defence training. Girl students of VIII, IX, XI and girls studying in the first year at educational institutions will be part of it. The initiative is funded by Women and Child Development and Social Welfare Department of the state government.

  • Union Minister for Road Transport Nitin Gadkari asserted that he wants to create a 50,000-crore rupees ethanol economy. The bio-fuel will benefit both ecology and economy. If the use of ethanol is increased, it will help ecologically and economically as import of crude oil will go down and it will benefit ecology and economy.

  • Prime Minister Narendra Modi's interaction Programme with school students, Pariksha Pe Charcha-2020 will be held in New Delhi on 20th January, 2020. In this programme, the Prime Minister will interact with the cross section of Students and Teachers from India and abroad to beat exam stress. Around two thousand students, parents and teachers will be participating in it. Last month, Human Resource Development Ministry launched a short essay competition for students of Class 9 to 12 for the third edition of this event. Selected winners of this competition will get a chance to attend Pariksha Pe Charcha and interact with Mr Modi. The first edition of Pariksha Pe Charcha was held on 16th February, 2018 and second on 29th of January, 2019.

  • The Cabinet approved conferring the status of Institution of National Importance to a cluster of Ayurvedic institutions at Gujarat Ayurved University campus in Jamnagar. The elevation of the status of institution will provide it with the autonomy to upgrade the standard of Ayurveda education, frame various courses in Ayurveda as per national and international demand. It will help the institute to develop tertiary care in Ayurveda and to secure inter-disciplinary collaborations to give a contemporary thrust to Ayurveda. 

    Considering the rapidly growing role of AYUSH Systems in addressing the Public Health challenges of India, conferring the status of National Importance will boost the role and importance of Ayurveda in Public Health. The strengthening of Ayurveda will reduce government expenditure on health as Ayurveda is cost-effective because of its preventive and curative approaches. A bill to that effect will be introduced in the ensuing Session of Parliament.

  • The Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC) has announced the implementation of its new certificate design in all its nine regional offices across India. The new design underlines the positive, user-friendly and dynamic approach of the CBFC and its board. The new certificate will provide all the information and basic certification data about the film from cast credits details to synopsis, plot, trailer and promo.

  • Ministry of steel in partnership with CII and JPC is organizing the launch of Purvodaya-Accelerated Development of Eastern Region through an Integrated Steel hub, in line with Prime Minister's Vision for focused development of the Eastern States. Shri Dharmendra Pradhan, Minster for Petroleum & Natural Gas and Steel will launch the Purvodaya on 11th January 2020 at the Oberoi Grand Kolkata. Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi has highlighted the need for focused development of the Eastern states in order to unleash their untapped potential thereby ensuring the growth of the region as a whole and the country at large.

  • Union Minister for Home Affairs, Shri Amit Shah, inaugurated the Indian Cyber Crime Coordination Centre (I4C) and also dedicated National Cyber Crime Reporting Portal to the Nation. This state-of-the-art Centre is located in New Delhi. It has seven components viz., National Cyber Crime Threat Analytics Unit, National Cyber Crime Reporting Portal, National Cyber Crime Training Centre, Cyber Crime Ecosystem Management Unit, National Cyber Crime Research and Innovation Centre, National Cyber Crime Forensic Laboratory Ecosystem and Platform for Joint Cyber Crime Investigation Team. At the initiative of Union Ministry for Home Affairs (MHA), 15 States and UTs have given their consent to set up Regional Cyber Crime Coordination Centres at respective States/UTs.

  • In-depth Review of India's Energy Policies report by International Energy Agency (IEA) was launched in New Delhi. India is now the third largest energy consumer in the world. India is in the midst of a major transformative shift in its energy sector. The energy polices already put in place by the Government and also those on the anvil, clearly demonstrate our determination to embrace this energy transition in a sustainable and responsible manner.

  • Shri Raj Kumar Singh, Minister of State (Independent Charge) for Power and New & Renewable Energy and Honourable Minister of State for Skill Development & Entrepreneurship released the ‘State Energy Efficiency Index 2019’, which tracks the progress of Energy Efficiency (EE) initiatives in 36 states and union territories based on 97 significant indicators.

    The index was released on the occasion of RPM (Review, Planning and Monitoring) meeting, which is being held on 09-10 Jan 2020 at Pravasi Bharatiya Kendra, New Delhi. The index is developed by Bureau of Energy Efficiency (BEE) in association with Alliance for an Energy Efficient Economy (AEEE). It will help states contribute towards national goals on energy security and climate action by helping drive EE policies and program implementation at the state and local level, tracking progress in managing the states’ and India’s energy footprint and institutionalizing the data capture and monitoring of EE activities by states.

  • Transport and Highways Minister Nitin Gadkari has said that World Bank and Asian Development Bank have approved seven thousand crore rupees each to remove black spots and enhance road safety. The Minister also called upon the students to become the brand ambassadors of road safety to bring about the behavioral and transformative change in the youths of the country. Mr Gadkari said, youth is the most affected community in the road accidents. Around four lakh 50 thousand road accidents took place every year, in which over 1.5 lakh people lost their lives. The country loses two per cent of GDP due to road accidents, which is a matter of concern. The Defence Minister awarded Tamil Nadu, as the best performing state in reducing road accidents.

  • The Centre has identified 16 islands in Andaman and Nicobar Islands and 10 in Lakshadweep for holistic development by promoting tourism and offering facilities for export of seafood and coconut-based products. This was disclosed at the sixth meeting of the Island Development Agency, IDA chaired by Home Minister Amit Shah in New Delhi. The Island Development Agency reviewed the progress made towards the programme holistic development of islands. For the first time in the country, under the guidance of IDA, an initiative of sustainable development in the identified Islands within scientifically-assessed carrying capacity has been taken-up.

  • India's flagship global conference on geopolitics and geo-economics Raisina Dialogue will begin on 14 January, 2020 with Prime Minister Narendra Modi attending the inaugural session. Seven former heads of state or government will share their views on important challenges facing the world. The fifth edition of the prestigious Raisina Dialogue, jointly organised by the Ministry of External Affairs and the Observer Research Foundation, will bring together 700 international participants from over a 100 countries. The three-day conference will see participation of 12 foreign ministers, including from Russia, Iran, Australia, Maldives, South Africa, Estonia, Czech Republic, Denmark, Hungary, Latvia, Uzbekistan and the EU.

  • The Ministry of Health and Family Welfare released a policy draft on January 13, 2020, on rare diseases. The objective of this policy draft is to provide Rs. 15 lakh help to the poor people who can’t afford the expenses of treatment. According to the reports published, the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) will be established. This council will prepare a database of beneficiaries of the Ayushman Bharat Scheme. Rare disease policy will be helpful for lakhs of poor people in the country. 

    The ICMR will identify people suffering from rare diseases and provide financial assistance up to Rs 15 lakh for their treatment. The draft highlights the fact that hospitals will be selected through crowd-funding and for the treatment of rare diseases to provide financial assistance to the victims. The draft proposes to set up a separate digital platform for voluntary crowd-funding. The draft states that the government wants to create an alternative mechanism for providing financial facilities to provide maximum health services to the people. A digital platform will be formed under this scheme.

  • The Union Women and Child Development Minister Smriti Irani launched Yashaswini Scheme for women entrepreneurship and Swasthya Sakhi project in Goa on January 11, 2020. A breast screening initiative was also launched during the occasion. The Yashaswini Scheme for Women entrepreneurship aims to support women Self Help Groups (SHGs) with interest-free loans up to Rs 5 lakh & handholding from experts. The scheme aims to strengthen the socio-economic empowerment of women in Goa. 
    The Swasthya Sakhi Project aims to ensure the wellness and welfare of women, especially during pregnancy. It aims to promote a healthy lifestyle, which will benefit both mother and child.

  • Union Consumer Minister Ram Vilas Paswan announced on January 14, 2020, that Indian jewellers will be allowed to sell hallmarked gold artifacts made of 14, 18 and 22-carat gold only. He said that it will become mandatory for all jewellers in the country but they will be given one year to get mandatory hallmark. The notification regarding this rule of consumer affairs will be issued on January 16, which will provide mandatory hallmarking of gold jewellery from January 15, 2021. At present, gold hallmarking is voluntary. 

    Gold hallmarking is a purity certification by the Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS). The BIS symbol certifies that the jewellery has BIS standards. Therefore, one must ensure that jewellery has a BIS hallmark. It has a triangular mark as a purity certification of gold. Apart from that, the year of manufacturing of the product and the logo of the producer are also there. There are several assessments and hallmarking centers in 234 district locations in India. However, only 28,849 jewellery vendors have BIS registration. Hallmarking will curb frauds and fake gold jewellery. As per the data released by the World Gold Council (WGC) India’s gold import in the first nine months of 2019 was 496.11 tonnes. It was 523.9 tonne in the year 2018. On the other hand, according to the World Trade Organization's global trade rules, member countries have to notify their quality control order.

  • Union Home Minister Amit Shah has signed a historic pact for permanent solution of Bru refugees’ issue. Amit Shah announced a package of Rs. 600 crore under this agreement. More than 30,000 Bru tribes who fled Mizoram and residing in Tripura’s refugee camps will no longer be forced to return. According to the agreement between representatives of the central government, Tripura, Mizoram and Bru tribes, they will now be settled in Tripura. Earlier, an agreement was signed in 2018 to send them back but it could not be implemented due to their protest. 

    Highlights of Agreement :
    • Amit Shah said in a press conference that as per the agreement the Bru tribes would be given land to reside in Tripura.
    • A fixed deposit of Rs. 4 lakh will be given to each family as an amount of government aid. They will be able to withdraw this amount after two years.
    • According to the agreement, each of the displaced families will be given 40x30 sq ft residential plots.
    • Apart from them, each family will be given Rs. 5,000 cash per month for two years.
    • The agreement highlights that each displaced family will also be given free ration for two years and aid of Rs. 1.5 lakh to build their houses.
    • The Tripura state government will provide land for residential settlement.

  • The central government and Assam state government signed a USD 88 million loan agreement with the World Bank on January 16, 2020 to implement the Assam Inland Water Transport Project. The project aims to modernise the infrastructure and services of Assam's passenger ferry sector, which operates on its rivers including the Brahmaputra. Assam has more than 361 ferry routes and a majority of them cross the Brahmaputra or serve its islands. The service is a crucial means of transport for thousands of commuters in both the urban and rural areas of the state.

  • Ladakh Food Processing Summit titled Building Partnerships for Inclusive Growth in Food Processing Sector was held on 16 January 2020. The summit was organized by the Department of Industries & Commerce, Ladakh in association with the Ministry of Food Processing Industries, Government of India and Invest India. It is aimed to carry out a value chain mapping of food processing in Ladakh. It recommends strategies for integrating the local population into food processing and agriculture activities, to maximize the potential of the sector.

  • In Madhya Pradesh, the state government has decided to set up Gandhi chairs and Gandhi pillars dedicated to father of the nation in universities and colleges across the state. Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Kamal Nath will inaugurate the Gandhi Chairs at a symbolic function on January 30, the death anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi. The ‘Gandhi Chair’ will be set up under the political science department of the universities. Under the aegis of Gandhi Chair, scholars who are doing research focusing Mahatma Gandhi will be given incentive of Rs 60 thousand per annum.

  • ‘Saksham’an annual one-month long, people-centric fuel conservation mega campaign of Petroleum Conservation Research Association (PCRA) under the aegis of Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas is going to be launched on 16th January by Minister of Petroleum & Natural Gas and Steel Shri Dharmendra Pradhan in a function to be held in Delhi. PCRA in association with Institute of Petroleum-Dehradun has developed high energy efficient PNG burner/Gas stove for household where piped gas is supplied which will save gas as compared to modified LPG stove for PNG.

  • Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman has unveiled infrastructure projects worth 102 lakh crore rupees that will be implemented in the next five years as a part of the government's spending push to the infrastructure sector. The Finance Minister informed this while releasing the Report of the Task Force on National Infrastructure Pipeline, NIP for 2019-2025. Ms Sitharaman said that in his Independence Day speech the Prime Minister spoke about investing 100 lakh crore rupees in infrastructure. Ms Sitharaman said, energy projects worth nearly 25 lakh crore rupees have been lined up and another 20 lakh crore rupees in road and about 14 lakh crore rupees in railway projects have also been lined up.

  • Government has slashed import duty on refined palmolein from 50 per cent to 45 per cent and crude palm oil (CPO) from 40 per cent to 37.5 per cent with immediate effect. A notification in this regard has been issued by the finance ministry. The duty cut has been made under the ASEAN agreement and the India-Malaysia Comprehensive Economic Cooperation Agreement (IMCECA). The domestic palm oil refining industry has opposed the move saying it will hurt them and oil seeds farmers.

  • Telecom Regulatory Authority of India, TRAI has made amendments to the new regulatory framework for cable and broadcasting services with a view to protect the consumer interests. Under it, cable TV users will be able to access more channels at lower subion price. The Authority has also capped at 160 rupees the amount consumers will have to pay monthly for all free to air channels. TRAI, in a statement, said that Consumers have also highlighted huge charges taken by Distribution Platform Operators (DPOs) in the form of Network Capacity Fee -NCF for a multi-TV home. 

    TRAI said, the homes where more than one TV connection is working in the name of one person, it will charge maximum 40 per cent of declared NCF for second and additional TV connections. Authority has also permitted DPOs to offer discounts on long term subions which is for 6 months or more. TRAI has also reduced the maximum NCF charge to 130 rupees excluding taxes for 200 channels. In addition, it has also been decided that channels declared mandatory by Ministry of Information and Broadcasting will not be counted in the number of channels in the NCF. The Authority said that only those channels which have an MRP of 12 rupees or less will be permitted to be part of the bouquet offered by broadcasters.

  • Minister of State for Health and Family Welfare Ashwini Kumar Choubey has said that two to three crore premium Gold cards will be issued under the Central Government’s flagship Ayushman Bharat scheme. The minister said that Gold card holders will be able to avail free medical services in hospitals anywhere in the country. Shri Choubey also revealed that nine new medical colleges are being started in Tamilnadu including one each in Rameswaram and Nagapattinam. He also said that permission has been accorded for setting up a 1000 bedded super specialty hospital in Mayiladuthurai. The minister said that one lakh doctors will finish training in these medical colleges by 2024.

  • Union Home Minister Amit Shah dedicated the new campus of National Fire Service College (NFSC) under Ministry of Home affairs in Nagpur. Mr Shah said, NFSC campus spread across 42 acres is fully equipped with the international standards and this modernized campus will be a proud moment not just for the Nagpur but also for the whole nation. He informed that four-year Bachelor level course in Fire Engineering approved by the All India Council for Technical Education along with the short and long-term courses in Emergency Management, Medical Life Support Management and Disaster Management will be taught in this college.

  • In the year 2019, India’s rank in Travel and Tourism Competitiveness Index of World Economic Forum has moved to 34th position from 65th rank in 2013. Foreign Tourist Arrivals also registered a growth of 3.2 percent last year. The government is working to develop thematic circuits under the Swadesh Darshan Scheme and 77 projects amounting over Rs 6035 crore have been sanctioned till date under this scheme. An initiative called - 'Adopt a Heritage: Apni Dharohar, Apni Pehchaan' has been launched for developing tourist amenities at heritage and tourist sites and making them tourist-friendly. E-visa has been further liberalized and visa fee on e-visa has been substantially reduced to increase tourism competitiveness of the country. The Government has also opened more than 120 mountain peaks for mountaineering and trekking for promoting adventure tourism in the country.

  • UJALA and Street Lighting National Programme (SLNP) of the central government completed five successful years of illuminating the country. Over 36.13 crore LED bulbs have been distributed across the country through the UJALA initiative. This has resulted in estimated energy savings of 46.92 billion kilowatt-hour per year. Unnat Jyoti by Affordable LEDs for All (UJALA) project brought the market transformation in the energy efficiency sector. Prices of LED bulbs being distributed under UJALA programme have fallen to one-tenth of their rates, from 310 rupees in 2015 to 38 rupees in 2018. The switch from inefficient incandescent bulbs to LEDs is helping families reduce their electricity bills while also enabling them to access better brightness in homes. More than 1.03 crore smart LED streetlights have been installed till date under the Street Lighting National Programme. This has enabled an estimated energy savings of 6.97 billion kilowatt-hour per year. LED streetlights have been installed in various states across the country, helping in generating approximately 13,000 jobs to support Make in India initiative.

  • Tamil Nadu government has decided to appoint music, dance and art teachers in all schools. State Cultural Development Minister K Pandiarajan said that the government has already been its in- principle approval to the proposal.

  • A Yoga Science meet was organised on 6 January, 2020 as part of the ongoing Indian Science Congress in Bengaluru. The head of SVYASA Yoga deemed University Dr. HR Nagendra spoke on the benefits of Yoga in busting stress.

  • The Centre has released 5,908 crore rupees of Central assistance to seven states which were affected by floods, landslides, cloudburst during the previous year(2019). The financial assistance has been given to Assam, Himachal Pradesh, Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Tripura and Uttar Pradesh from the National Disaster Response Fund, NDRF. During this financial year, the Central Government has so far released 8,068 crore rupees to 27 states as Central share from State Disaster Response Fund.

  • The 182-meter tall Statue of Unity in Gujarat has been included in the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation's '8 Wonders of SCO' list, External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar announced.

  • President Kovind lays foundation stone to Lakshadweep's first Super Specialty Hospital at Kavaratti.

  • Cabinet has approved promulgation of Mineral Laws (Amendment) Ordinance 2020. The Ordinance will amend Mines and Minerals (Development and Regulation ) Act 1957 and Coal Mines (Special Provisions) Act 2015. The Ordinance will ease rules for auctioning of coal mines and to open up to all sectors. Mr Joshi said, the government has also done away with end-use restrictions of the mining blocks.

  • The Cabinet gave its approval for an Agreement between India and Mongolia on Cooperation in the Exploration and Uses of Outer Space for Peaceful and Civilian Purposes. The agreement was signed in New Delhi on 20th September last year during the visit of the President of Mongolia to India. 

    The Cabinet also gave its approval for signing a Memorandum of Understanding with the Department for International Development Government of the United Kingdom for enabling Energy Self-Sufficiency for Indian Railways. 

    The Cabinet was apprised of the Agreement on cooperation in polar science between Ministry of Earth Sciences, Government of India and Ministry of Education and Research, Sweden. The MoU was signed on 2nd of last month during the visit of King and Queen of Sweden to India. 

    The Cabinet gave its approval for the ratification of Migration and Mobility Partnership Agreement between India and France. The Agreement was signed in March 2018 during the State visit of the French President to India. 

    The Cabinet also gave its ex-post-facto approval on the Memorandum of Cooperation between Department of Health and Family Welfare, Government of India and Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation on cooperation in the field of Health signed in November last year. 

    The Cabinet was apprised of information about the amendments moved to the Motor Vehicles (Amendment) Bill, 2019 as passed by the Rajya Sabha. Amendments will ensure concurrence of the State Governments while formulating National Transport Policy and making schemes for national, multimodal and inter-state transportation of goods and passengers by the Central Government. 

    The Cabinet approved conferring the status of Institution of National Importance to a cluster of Ayurvedic institutions at Gujarat Ayurved University campus in Jamnagar. The strengthening of Ayurveda will reduce government expenditure on health as Ayurveda is cost-effective because of its preventive and curative approaches. A bill to that effect will be introduced in the ensuing Session of Parliament.

  • Kashmir will be connected to rest of the country through Railway network by December next year(2021) as the government has set a fresh deadline for completion of the world's highest Railway bridge. The Rail line is expected to be 35 metres taller than the Eiffel Tower. Designed to withstand wind speeds of up to 260 kilometres per hour, the 1.315 km-long engineering marvel will connect Bakkal (Katra) and Kauri (Srinagar). The bridge forms a crucial link in the 111-kilometre stretch between Katra and Banihal, which is part of the Udhampur-Srinagar-Baramulla Rail Link Project.

  • Union Minister for Communications, Electronics and Information Technology Ravi Shankar Prasad inaugurates works on laying of submarine cables from Chennai to Andaman Nicobar Islands in Chennai. The submarine cables will be initially laid from Chennai to Port Blair covering a distance of 1,450 kilometres. Afterwards it will be extended to Rangat, Long Island, Swaraj Island, Hut Bay, Car Nicobar, Kamorta and Campbell Bay in the Union Territory, covering an additional distance of 800 kilometres. The works are expected to be completed by June this year. The cables are of four-fibre pairs, with the capacity to transfer 6.4 tera-bytes of data per second by each fibre-pair. At the initial stage of commissioning of the project itself, the islands can get a data speed of 400-gigabytes per second.

  • Census India-2021 will begin on 1st of April this year and will end on 30th of September. It will be conducted through a mobile phone application, moving away from the traditional pen and paper. Enumerators of the census will seek the information of mobile number of the head of the family, information related to toilets, TV, Internet, vehicles owned, source of drinking water besides asking other questions during the house listing phase of the exercise.

  • Union Home Minister Amit Shah inaugurated various people centric projects of Gujarat Police and Indian Postal Department at Mahatma Mandir in Gandhinagar. He said the two projects VISWAS and AASHVAST will play a key role in preventing crimes in the state. The projects include Video Integration and StateWide Advance Security-VISWAS project‘Netrang’ project to establish Command and Control Room in 33 districts, online portal to pay E Challan and Cyber Crime Prevention Unit-AASHVAST which will have a dedicated service helpline for victims of cyber crimes.

  • The Kolkata Port has been renamed as Shyama Prasad Mukherjee Port. The Prime Minister Mr. Narendra Modi announced this in Kolkata on the occasion of 150th years celebrations of the Kolkata Port Trust. Mr. Modi launched several Port led development projects worth Rs 600 cr rupees to mark the day.

  • The Centre is implementing Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bima Yojana (PMFBY) to provide financial support to farmers suffering crop loss or damage arising out of unforeseen events. The scheme has been launched in February 2016 after the Union Cabinet approved the new scheme on this day, 13th of January in 2016. The scheme provides comprehensive insurance coverage against crop loss on account of non-preventable natural risks, thus helping stabilise farmers income. It will also encourage them to adopt innovative practices. Under it, there is a uniform premium of only 2 per cent to be paid by farmers for all Kharif crops and 1.5 per cent for all Rabi crops. In case of annual commercial and horticultural crops, the premium to be paid by farmers will be only 5 per cent. The premium rates to be paid by farmers are very low and balance premium will be paid by the Government to provide full insured amount to farmers against crop loss on account of natural calamities. The new Crop Insurance Scheme is in line with One Nation - One Scheme theme. It incorporates the best features of all the previous schemes and at the same time, previous shortcomings and weaknesses have been removed.

  • Union Territory Ladakh is hosting the first ever Food Processing Summit to attract investors to the region. With the help of Ministry of Commerce and Industry and the Ministry of Food Processing Industries, the UT Administration of Ladakh is organizing the Summit. Ladakh region has vast scope for investment in food Processing Industries in horticulture products like Apricot, SeabuckThorn, Apple and agricultural produce like buckwheat and barley. Ladakh Commerce and industries Commissioner secretary Saugat Biswas said over hundred entrepreneurs from Leh and Kargil are participating in the Summit. The event is aimed at encouraging the entrepreneurs to begin a StartUp to tap the potential in the Food Processing Industries in Ladakh. Invest India will explain the procedures of investment processes along with Government support.

  • For the first in the country, Maharashtra Police would be organising an international marathon in Mumbai on February 9. Around 15,000 runners are expected to take part in the marathon. Maharashtra Director General of Police Subodh Kumar Jaiswal informed that the marathon would act as a bridge between people and the police and increase communication between them. The marathon will start from the iconic Gateway of India in south Mumbai and pass through the Bandra-Worli Sea Link, another city landmark. The theme of the marathon would be "Health Run".

  • Andhra Pradesh Legislative Assembly passed a bill proposing three capitals, Legislative, Executive and Judicial for the state. The Assembly passed the AP Decentralisation and Inclusive Development of All Regions Bill. Visakhapatnam is proposed to be the Executive capital, Amaravati Legislative capital and Kurnool will be the Judicial capital. The Bill also provides for dividing the State into various zones. It seeks to establish zonal planning and development boards.

  • Prime Minister Narendra Modi will chair the 32nd interaction through PRAGATI- the ICT-based, multi-modal platform for Pro-Active Governance and Timely Implementation in New Delhi on January 22, 2020. Prime Minister had launched the multi-purpose and multi-modal governance platform PRAGATI on 25th March 2015. PRAGATI is an integrating and interactive platform aimed at addressing the common man’s grievances. PRAGATI also helps in simultaneously monitoring and reviewing important programmes and projects of the Centre as well as projects flagged by various State governments.

  • The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs on January 22, 2020 approved shutting down the operations of the plant and unit of Hindustan Fluorocarbons Limited, HFL and closure of the company. HFL is a Central Public Sector Enterprise under Department of Chemicals and Petrochemicals. HFL has only one plant located at Rudraram, District Sangareddy in Telangana. Government granted a interest free loan of over 77 crore rupees to HFL for expenditure exclusively on closure.

  • Union Cabinet on January 22, 2020 approved to Revised Cost Estimates for establishment of permanent campuses of new National Institutes of Technology, NITs, at a total cost of 4371.90 crore rupees for the period till 2021-2022. NITs were established in the year 2009 and started functioning from academic year 2010-2011 in their temporary campus with very limited space and infrastructure. These NITs will be fully functional from their permanent campuses by 31st March, 2022. It also approved the extension of tenure of the Commission constituted under Article 340 of the Constitution, to examine the issue of sub-categorization within Other Backward Classes in the Central List.

  • Election Commission will host the first Sukumar Sen Memorial Lecture on January 23, 2020. Former President Pranab Mukherjee will deliver the first of the Lectures. The EC has decided to institute an Annual Lecture Series as a tribute to the first Chief Election Commissioner of India, Sukumar Sen. He commendably conducted the first two General Elections to the Lok Sabha and State Legislative Assemblies, thereby putting India firmly on the map of democracy. The rationale behind instituting the lecture is to make a positive and constructive intervention in the democratic discourse of the nation within the constitutional mandate of the EC. 

    Sukumar Sen was born on 2nd January, 1898. He was educated at Presidency College, Kolkata and University College, London. He joined the Indian Civil Services in 1922. During his service, he held several important posts, including as Chief Secretary of West Bengal. He served as the first Chief Election Commissioner of India from 21st March 1950 till his retirement in 19th December, 1958. He conducted the first two Lok Sabha elections of India held in 1952 and 1957 with the Legislative Assembly Elections based on universal adult franchise under challenging circumstances and little precedence to guide him.

  • Election Commission of India will host the 10th Annual Meeting of the Forum of the Election Management Bodies of South Asia (FEMBoSA) in New Delhi on January 24, 2020. Election Commission of India will take over the Chair of the forum for the year 2020. On the occasion, International Conference on the theme ‘Strengthening Institutional Capacity’ is also being organized. ECI will also renew Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) for cooperation in the field of election management with the Independent Election Commission of Afghanistan. 

    The International Conference is being organized with the purpose of sharing the experience of different Election Management Bodies, International Institutions and Experts. The international delegates will also attend the National Voters’ Day Celebrations in New Delhi on 25th of January. The International Conference is being organized with the purpose of sharing the experience of different Election Management Bodies, International Institutions and Experts.

  • Indian government has launched a 24x7 helpline number to provide support regarding queries on novel coronavirus. The NCDC call centre, 91-11-23978046, has been made operational under directions of Health Minister Dr Harsh Vardhan.

  • The Cabinet gave approval to Election Commission of India to enter into MoU with the Independent High Authority for Elections of Tunisia and the Papua New Guinea Electoral Commission for elections for cooperation in the field of electoral management and administration. The Cabinet also gave its nod for the four agreements between India and Brazil in the field of oil and natural gas, Geology and Mineral Resources, mutual Legal Assistance in Criminal Matters and cooperation in the field of early childhood care.

  • Bharat Parv 2020, the programme to celebrate the spirit of India, began at Red Fort ground in New Delhi on January 26, 2020. It will continue till 1st of February. The objective of Bharat Parv is to encourage people to visit different tourism places of the country and to inculcate the spirit of ‘Dekho Apna Desh’. Tourism Ministry has said that the theme of this year’s Bharat Parv is 'Ek Bharat Shreshtha Bharat' and 'Celebrating 150 Years of Mahatma Gandhi'. Bharat Parv have many attractions for public including display of Tableaux of the Republic Day parade, performance by armed forces bands.

  • The Shiv Sena-led Maharashtra government on January 26 launched its much-awaited 'Shiv Bhojan' scheme, which is aimed at providing a meal to the poor for just 10 rupees, on the occasion of the 71st Republic Day.



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