The “South Asia satellite” for use by countries of the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) region has been launched on May 5. The Prime Minister Narendra Modi has hailed the satellite as an invaluable gift of India to South Asia and has further stated that the satellite “will go a long way in addressing South Asia’s economic and developmental priorities.” During the 2014 SAARC summit that held in Nepal, the plan for the satellite was announced and subsequently all SAARC countries have joined it except Pakistan. Hence, the beneficiaries of the satellite will be Nepal, Bhutan, Bangladesh, Afghanistan, Sri Lanka and Maldives. The total cost of launching the satellite (around Rs 235 crore) would be met by the Government of India.
The 2,230 kg satellite called GSAT-09 has been built by the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO). It is cuboid in shape and is built around a central cylinder. It has 12 Ku-band transponders. The satellite was launched from Satish Dhawan Space Centre in Sriharikota using a Geostationary Launch Vehicle (GSLV) Mk-II launch vehicle. It will have a mission life of over 12 years. The launch vehicle, GSLV-F09 is about 50m tall and is the 11th flight of the GSLV. Also, the launch is GSLV’s fourth consecutive flight with the indigenous Cryogenic Upper Stage (CUS) engine.
The satellite will provide a full range of applications and services in the fields of telecommunication and broadcasting applications, namely, Television, Direct-to-Home (DTH), Very Small Aperture Terminals (VSATs), Tele-education, Telemedicine and Disaster Management Support. Each of the participating countries would be able to use a dedicated transponder with a capacity of 36 to 54 Mhz for its own internal use. The participating countries would be made responsible for the content generation and its use.
PM Inaugurates Supreme Court’s ICMIS
Prime Minister Narendra Modi has inaugurated Supreme Court’s Integrated Case Management Information System (ICMIS). This digital filing system will mark Supreme Court’s first towards becoming a paperless, digital court. The inaugural function was held at Vigyan Bhavan when Prime Minister Modi uploaded the Integrated Case Management System with the Supreme Court website. The event was also attended by Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad and other judges of the Supreme Court. ICMIS is hailed as the Biggest and highest leap in judicial system. Subsequently, all High Courts, District Courts, Sub-Division Courts will be integrated with the new system. Later on, all the jails in the country will be Integrated by ICMIS software.
ICMIS will help litigants access data and obtain information about the filing, delays etc. It would pave way for the integration of all courts in the country. The appellants hereafter is not required to file the records as the records will be picked up electronically from trial courts and high courts. The digital filing system will also help in ushering transparency as nothing can be manipulated with this paperless system. Also, the litigants will be able to know the progress of the case on real time basis.
Home Ministry asks States to Link Prisons with Courts via Video Conferencing
The Ministry of Home Affairs has asked all the state governments to link prisons with courts through video conferencing in order to expedite trials and to save costs of escorting undertrials to courts. The Home Ministry’s advisory to the states has been issued following a national conference of heads of prisons in states and UTs on prison reforms.
In the conference, the state governments were advised to implement the following suggestions aimed at having an effective prison administration system: The states have been asked to integrate prison e-system with Crime and Criminal Tracking Network and Systems (CCTNS) as well as e-courts on a priority basis. At periodic intervals, combined training of prison, police, health department and judiciary on undertrial management should be conducted. Separate training module on deradicalisation of prisoners should also be conducted. The states should fill the existing vacancies in all ranks of prison departments expeditiously. The nomenclature of Prisons Department may be changed to “Prisons and Correctional Administration“. As per the changed nomenclature, it should have integrated prison, correctional and probation services. All states should establish a welfare wing comprising welfare officers, law officers, counsellors and probation officers, under their respective prison departments. To ensure uniformity in prison rules and regulations, all states/UTs should revise their existing prison manuals by adopting provisions of the model prison manual, 2016 prepared by the home ministry. CCTNS The Crime and Criminal Tracking Network System (CCTNS) project was initiated in 2009 as part of police modernisation programme under the national e-governance project. It was conceived to bring all 16,000 police stations in India under a single network to counter terror challenges. The core objective of CCTNS is to connect all the police stations so that any of the police stations can contact any other police station; thereby facilitate collection, storage, retrieval, analysis and transfer the information among police stations, state headquarters and central police organizations.
e-Courts e-Courts is a new concept where from filing of a petition till its disposal, use of paper is restricted to bare minimum. In a full fledged e-court, the lawyers would not need to carry bulky files but would come to court with laptops, pen drives and would be able to file the petitions in PDF. E-courts help in various ways such as: Help judicial administrations of the courts, streamline day-to-day activities, assist Judicial Administration in reducing pendency of cases, provides transparency of information to litigants, and provides judges access to legal and judicial databases.
Assam declared as ‘Disturbed’ Area Under AFSPA for 3 More Months
The government has declared the entire Assam as a “disturbed” area under the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act for another 3 months. As per the notification, the entire Assam besides bordering areas of Meghalaya has been declared as “Disturbed Areas”. In addition, the government has placed three districts of Arunachal Pradesh, namely, Tirap, Changlang and Longding and other areas falling under 16 police stations bordering Assam as “disturbed” area under the AFSPA. The government has cited various violent activities carried out by certain insurgent groups like ULFA, NDFB and others as a reason behind the extension of AFSPA. In Assam, 75 incidents of violence have been reported in 2016 and 9 in 2017. The Assam has been placed under AFSPA since November 1990. The AFSPA has been under force in the three Arunachal Pradesh districts since January 2016.
AFSPA Armed Forces (Special Powers) Acts is collective name of several acts passed by Indian parliament for providing special powers to the Indian Armed Forces and to provide army officers and jawans legal immunity for their actions in disturbed areas. Governor of the State and Central Government are empowered to declare any part or full of any state as disturbed area if it is in their opinion that it is necessary to prevent terrorist activity or any such activity that might disrupt the sovereignty of India or cause insult to the national flag, anthem or India’s Constitution. Section 4 of the act gives special powers to army officers in disturbed area to shoot (even if it kills) any individual who violates law / or is suspected of violating law (this includes assembly of five or more people, carrying of weapons) etc. The only condition is that the officer has to give warning before opening fire.
Draft Rules for No Fly List for Banning Unruly Passengers Unveiled
The government has released draft rules for a ‘no-fly list’ for banning unruly passengers. The Ministry of Civil Aviation had set up a committee to come up with the final draft of the new set of rules. The new rules would be opened for public comments for a period of one month. After receiving comments, the civil aviation ministry would study the comments and then will release the final Civil Aviation Requirements (CAR).
The government has come up with three levels of disruptions for flyers: Level 1 Disruptive behaviour such as physical gestures. The unruly passenger would be suspended from flying for a time period of three months. Level 2 Physically abusive behaviour and sexual harassment. The passenger would be suspended from flying for a time period of six months. Level 3 Murderous assault or life-threatening behaviour as well as causing damage to aircraft operating systems would invite suspension from flying for a time period of 2 years or more. The above punishments would be applicable to the domestic carriers but the international airlines can also make use of these inputs if they want to.
Union Urban Development Minister M. Venkaiah Naidu has announced the Cleanest Cities in the Country and the fastest moving cities on sanitation ladder under Swachh Sarvekshan-2017. Indore has been adjudged as the cleanest city in India while Gonda in Uttar Pradesh has been ranked as the dirtiest city among surveyed. In total, 434 cities and towns with a population of one lakh and above were surveyed. Last year survey had surveyed only 73 cities with a population of 10 lakh and above. Cities and towns in West Bengal did not take part in the survey as the Mamata Banerjee government did not participate in the Swachh Survekshan.
The criteria for selecting the cities for ranking for this year included 45% marks for cities becoming open defecation-free; solid waste management like sweeping, collection, transportation and processing of garbage; education and capacity building. 25% marks were given for field inspection and another 30% marks were given for citizen feedback. In total, feedback from at least 18 lakh citizens across the surveyed cities about the sanitation were received.
The top ten highly ranked cities are: Indore (1st), Bhopal (2nd), Visakhapatnam (3rd), Surat (4th), Mysuru (5th), Tiruchirapally of Tamil Nadu (6th), New Delhi Municipal Council (7th), Navi Mumbai (8th), Tirupati of Andhra Pradesh (9th), Vadodara (10th). Overall, Jharkhand and Chattisgarh have emerged as the best performing states in Swachh Survekshan, 2017. States like Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh and Andhra Pradesh have performed well in sanitation rankings
As per the survey, four among the dirtiest cities are from UP, two each from Bihar and Punjab and one each from Uttarakhand and Maharashtra. Overall, UP and Bihar remains the biggest concerns. In UP, 50 of the 62 cities/towns surveyed have been ranked beyond 305. In Bihar, 19 of 27 cities/towns surveyed have been ranked beyond 300. The worst performing cities are: Gonda of Uttar Pradesh (434th), Bhusawal of Maharashtra (433rd), Bagaha of Bihar (432nd), Hardoi of Uttar Pradesh (431st), Katihar of Bihar (430th), Bahraich of Uttar Pradesh (429th), Muktsar of Punjab (428th), Abohar of Punjab (427th), Shahjahanpur of Uttar Pradesh (426th), Khurja of Uttar Pradesh (425th).
World’s Highest Railway Bridge to Come up Over Chenab River
World’s highest railway bridge which will be 35 metres taller than the Eiffel Tower is to come up over the Chenab River in Jammu and Kashmir at a cost of around Rs. 1,100 crore in around two years from now. The bridge will connect Bakkal (Katra) and Kauri (Srinagar). The bridge will be a part of the Udhampur-Srinagar-Baramulla rail link project. Once completed, the bridge will be an engineering marvel. The project is expected to be completed by 2019. After completion of the bridge it will surpass the record of the Beipan river Shuibai railway bridge (275 m) in China. The bridge is expected to contribute to the economic development of the state and improve its accessibility. The new railway bridge will be of an arch-shaped structure in hostile terrain. It will be constructed using over 24,000 tonnes of steel and will rise 359 m above the river bed. Steel has been chosen as the construction material as it would be cheap and would be able to resist temperatures of -20 degrees Celsius and wind speeds of above 250 kmph. The design of the bridge will be such that it will be able to withstand wind speed of up to 260 kmph.
HRD Minister Prakash Javadekar launches Vidya-Veerta Abhiyan
The Minister for Human Resource and Development, Prakash Javadekar has launched Students for soldiers- a nationwide Vidya – Veerta Abhiyan to encourage Universities and educational institutions across the country to display portraits of Param Veer Chakra-decorated soldiers. The portraits of Param Veer Chakra decorated soldiers were handed over to the Vice Chancellors of Jawaharlal Nehru University, Delhi University, Jamia Milia Islamia, Jammu and IIT Delhi, among others, to put it in their educational institutions. The “wall of heroes” depicting portraits of brave soldiers who showed exemplary bravery in defending the nation is expected to instil a sense of patriotism and nationalism among students.
Param Veer Chakra The Param Veer Chakra (PVC) is India’s highest military decoration awarded to officers or enlisted personnel from all branches of the Indian military for displaying distinguished acts of valour during wartime. It is given for the “most conspicuous bravery or some daring or pre-eminent act of valour or self-sacrifice, in the presence of the enemy, whether on land, at sea, or in the air.” The Param Veer Chakra (PVC) is equivalent to the Medal of Honor in the United States and the Victoria Cross in the United Kingdom. The award was established on 26 January 1950 and since then has been awarded 21 times, of which 14 were posthumous awards and 16 has been awarded for acts of bravery committed during the Indo-Pakistani conflicts. Of the 21 awardees, 20 have been from the Indian Army, and 1 has been from the Indian Air Force. The design of the medal was designed by Savitri Khanolkar, the wife of an Indian Army officer, Vikram Khanolkar of the Sikh Regiment.
One IP- Two Dispensaries scheme
“One IP- Two Dispensaries” scheme was launched by the government on the occasion of International Labour Day.
What is it for?
Under this scheme, ESIC has given an option to an Insured Person (IP) to choose two dispensaries, one for self and another for family through an employer.
Significance of this scheme:
Because of non-availability of option of second dispensary, the dependant members of family are often deprived of medical benefits. By introducing the concept of ‘One IP- Two Dispensaries’, IP as well as their family members would now be able to get treatment from either of the dispensaries and in case of emergency from any ESI Institution. This will benefit all IPs, especially migrant workers who are working in other than home State, while their families are living in their native States. As of now, around 3 crores IPs are covered under ESIC and total number of beneficiaries i.e. IPs and their family members is over 12 crores.
First-ever Induction Training Programme for new recruits of Central Health Services (CHS)
The first-ever induction training programme for the newly appointed General Duty Medical Officers (GDMOs) of the Central Health Service Cadre was recently inaugurated. This is the first time such a foundation training programme is being undertaken. The nine week course especially designed for the new recruits will enable the medical officers to broaden their knowledge base, confidence level and experience in public health facilities.
Need for training:
On an average, every year around 400 to 600 doctors are recruited through UPSC. Incidentally, throughout the under-graduate and post-graduate education and thereafter, these doctors are not been trained in the areas of management, supervision, leadership, communication, conduction of office procedures, etc. The training module is designed to fill this gap so that they can look after the administration of the organization and implementation of various national health programmes for which they have very limited exposure.
What you need to know about CHS?
Central Health Service (CHS) Cadre is a cadre governed by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare and its doctors are working all over the country providing health care services to a large number of people.
CHS has four sub-cadres, namely, GDMOs, Teaching, Non-Teaching Specialists and Public Health, with a sanctioned strength of more than 4000 of which the GDMOs constitute the largest chunk, more than 2000.
Government Amends Definition of Start-Ups
The Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion (DIPP), which is the nodal body for Start-up India, has amended the definition of a start-up. As per the new definition, an entity will be considered as a Start-Up if its turn over is less than Rs 25 crore and has not completed seven years from the date of its incorporation/registration. In the definition, the change is with respect to the time period which is currently five years. The new definition has increased it to 7 years taking into the consideration the long gestation period involved in establishing start-ups.
Other Salient Amendments
The scope of definition of start-up will also be widened to include scalability of business model with potential of employment generation or wealth creation. An entity that has completed 7 years from the date of its incorporation or if its turnover exceeds Rs 25 crore, it will cease to be a start-up. The process of recognition of an entity as a start-up will be through an online application made over the mobile app/portal set up by the DIPP. For the Start-Ups in the biotechnology sector, they will be considered as start-ups for a period of up to 10 years from the date of incorporation/registration. Start-ups will not require a letter of recommendation from an incubator or an industry association to get tax benefits under the Start-up India action plan. However, the entities should obtain a certificate of an eligible business from an inter- ministerial board of certification as constituted by the DIPP to claim tax benefits. An entity will be deemed as a start-up if it is working towards innovation, development or improvement of products/processes/services, or if it is a scalable business model with potential for employment generation or wealth creation.
The new definition and amendments will help to ease of starting new business and will promote the start-up ecosystem. The tweak in the definition will also help the entities to avail government sponsored venture funding and tax and other benefits. It will create more jobs and promote entrepreneurship under the Start-up India scheme. Start-up India was launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on 16 January 2016 to promote innovation and enhance economic growth and employment opportunities.
Union Cabinet Approves National Procurement Policy Giving Preference to Make in India
The Union Cabinet Chaired by Prime Minister has given its approval for a national procurement policy that gives preference to ‘Make In India’ in government procurements. The policy aims to maintain the balance between promoting ‘Make in India’ and ensuring timely, quality and value-for-money products for the procuring government entities.
The new policy will boost domestic manufacturing and service provision and will enhance income and employment. It will facilitate flow of capital and technology into domestic manufacturing and services. As the government procurement is always substantial it can contribute towards increasing the participation of local employees and improve their living conditions.
The national procurement policy will provide purchase preference to local content in Government procurements. Local content essentially means domestic value addition and local suppliers are those whose goods or services meet minimum thresholds (50%) for local content. For the procurement of goods below Rs 50 lakhs, only local suppliers will be eligible if the Nodal Ministry determines that there is a availability of sufficient local capacity and local competition. For procurements valued above Rs 50 lakhs or in case of insufficient local capacity and if the lowest bid happens to be from a non local supplier, then the lowest-cost local supplier who is within a margin of 20% of the lowest bid, will be offered an opportunity to match the lowest bid. If the order can be split into more than one supplier, the order will be split between the non-local supplier and the local supplier. Small procurements valued below Rs 5 lakhs are exempted from the policy. The order also covers autonomous bodies and all the government entities under the control of the government. The policy primarily favours self certification for verification of local content. However, if the declarations were found to be false then the supplier will have to face penal consequences. A Standing Committee in Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion (DIPP) will oversee the implementation of this order. It will further make recommendations to Nodal Ministries and procuring entities.
World Economic Forum: Mumbai and Kota among World’s most Crowded
World Economic Forum citing UN-Habitat data has named two Indian cities-Mumbai and Kota among the world’s most crowded cities. Dhaka has topped the list followed by India’s financial capital Mumbai. Dhaka, the capital of Bangladesh has a population density of 44,500 people per square kilometre. Mumbai has a population density of 31,700 people per square kilometre. Another Indian city Kota in Rajasthan with 12,100 people per square kilometre has been ranked seventh in the list. Medellin in Columbia with a population density of 19,700 people per square kilometre has been ranked third followed by Manila, Philippines at 4th place with a density of 14,800;Casablanca, Morocco at 5th place with a density of 14,200; Lagos, Nigeria at 6th place with a density of 13,300; Singapore at 8th place with a density of 10,200 and finally Jakarta, Indonesia at 9th place with a density of 9,600. It has been estimated that more than half of the world’s population resides in urban areas and the UN expects this to increase to 66% by 2050 with around 90% increase concentrated in Asia and Africa.
UN-Habitat UN-Habitat, also known as United Nations Human Settlements Program is a UN agency for sustainable urban development and human settlements. It was established in 1978 and has its headquarters in the UN Office at Nairobi, Kenya. It is mandated by the United Nations General Assembly to promote socially and environmentally sustainable towns and cities with the goal of providing adequate shelter for all. It is also a member of UNDP. UN-Habitat works in more than 70 countries in five continents focusing on seven areas: Urban Legislation, Land and Governance; Urban Planning and Design; Urban Economy; Urban Basic Services; Housing and Slum Upgrading; Risk Reduction and Rehabilitation; and Urban Research and Capacity Development.