- Nabard approves Rs 14,690 cr funding to Rajasthan
- National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development (NABARD) has extended total credit support of Rs 14,690 crore to Rajasthan for 2017-18.
- Rajasthan has been one of the biggest beneficiaries under the Rural Infrastructure Development Fund (RIDF) of NABARD, under which NABARD disbursed concessional loan of Rs 1,851.29 crore to the state government during 2017-18.
- Among major infrastructure projects, bank sanctioned 10 irrigation projects, construction of 1614 roads and two rural drinking water supply projects.
- Gujarat University to receive fees online
- Gujarat University (GU) will start receiving fees online for its undergraduate (UG) and postgraduate (PG) courses from this academic year. The university will start a separate portal for receiving the fees.
- The online admission procedure will start after the first week of May as the admission forms and brochure will be made available then. The schedule of the admission procedure including filling in choices will be made available after the results of class 12 exams are declared in the second week of May.
- Madhya Pradesh Conferred Most Film Friendly Award
- The Most Film Friendly State Award was announced by the Chairman of the Jury, Shri Ramesh Sippy.
- State of Madhya Pradesh conferred the award for the Most Film Friendly State for its efforts towards easing filming in the State by creating a well-structured website and film-friendly infrastructure.
- Total 16 states have participated in this award.
- The State of Uttarakhand is given a Special Mention Certificate to recognize the efforts made by the State of Uttarakhand towards creating a film-friendly environment.
- The award will be conferred by the President of India in May 2018.
- Chhattisgarh to Distribute Free Smartphones to Over 50 Lakh People
- Chhattisgarh government will start distributing smartphones to over 50 lakh people for free from May under the Sanchar Kranti Yojana (SKY), months ahead of assembly polls in the state.
- Women heads of households will be the priority recipients of the smartphones.
- The Chhattisgarh Infotech Promotion Society (CHiPS) has started the preparation for the distribution of phones, as per the announcement made by the chief minister last year to reduce the digital divides.
- Bihar to fund every girl from birth to graduation
- Every newborn will get Rs 5,000, every Intermediate passout Rs 10,000 and every graduate Rs 25,000 under the state government’s Mukhyamantri Kanya Utthan Yojana (MKUY).
- The cabinet also sanctioned a proposal to increase the uniform allowance to girl students of Standard I to XII. Also, it increased the sanitary napkin allowance for girls attaining puberty from Rs 150 to Rs 300.
- Thus, the government will now spend a total of Rs 60,000 on every girl student. The MKUY is “universal” in the sense that beneficiaries would be selected irrespective of their caste, religion, language and class. The MKUY will be applicable to students of only government and government-aided institutions.
- The new schemes will entail an additional expenditure of Rs 1,400 crore annually, while the annual expenditure on the existing schemes meant for the girl children and students is Rs 840 crore.
- Parents of every newborn girl would be paid Rs 1,000 for her post-natal care. They will get another Rs 2,000 after her Aadhaar number is procured and yet another Rs 2,000 after her basic immunisation is over.
- ‘okay google’, say 7.5l women in Jharkhand
- In a State where female literacy rate struggles to go above 55.62 per cent, use of Internet and android phones by rural women seems a far cry.
- However, with a sharp increase in the penetration of Internet, more and more Government and non-Governmental agencies are moving online and expanding their reach to the people in the State.
- Under the ‘Internet Saathi’ programme, Google India in collaboration with Tata Trust and PHIA Foundation has been digitally empowering the lives of the rural women in the State by educating them on how to use the Internet.
- The programme seems to be a game changer for the rural society in Jharkhand given the fact that more than 7.5L rural women, residing in 3,720 villages of the State, have been taught to make use of the Internet.
- Google India, through their agencies, provides access to gadgets (tablets and smartphones) and training to these Internet Saathis who have been selected by the PHIA foundation.
- Each saathi gets three villages under her with a target of training 400-500 females in those villages. Tata Trust provides the monetary support for human resource management and capacity building.
- UP govt tells dist authorities to step up vigilance about child marriage
- The government in Uttar Pradesh, a state which accounts for over 16% of child marriages taking place in the country, has asked all its district probation officers (DPOs) to spread awareness about the “rampant” malpractice on a war footing.
- Earlier, Child Marriage Restraint Act, 1929 had fixed the age of marriage of girls at 14 years and boys at 18 years. This was amended in 2006 and was rechristened as Prohibition of Child Marriage Act, 2006 wherein woman’s age was fixed at 18 while that of man’s 21. But, due to age old traditions and lack of awareness, problem of child marriage is still rampant. Now, in order to curb this practice and implement the law effectively, government has issued directions in the matter.
- India has the largest number of child brides in the world. According to a 2017 UNICEF report, whopping 27% girls are already married by the age of 18. A decade ago this percentage was 50.
- According to officials, in the Prohibition of Child Marriage Act, 2006, there is a provision of sentence of 2 years apart from penalty of Rs 2 lakh. And, this punishment is applicable on everyone attending the wedding.
- Climate change study in tribal belt of Uttarakhand and HP
- A study on impact of climate change in five villages of Uttarakhand and three villages in Himachal Pradesh will be conducted by Mountain Forum Himalayas(MFH) made up of six NGOs each from the two states.
- These villages are located at altitudes of 6,000 feet and above and are mostly inhabited by tribals. The study will be conducted in Munsiyari in Pithoragarh, Raithal and Mori in Uttarkashi, Tapovan in Chamoli and Badhani Tal in Rudraprayag. Kaza, Kinnaur and Keylong villages will be studied in Himachal.
- National forest policy will hit Himachal hard
- Environmental activists from Himachal Pradesh are among those vociferously opposing the draft National Forest Policy 2018 as they say it would do away with some important principles that 1988 policy had put in place.
- Himachal Van Adhikar Manch is one of the 150 signatories of the submission made to the Union ministry of environment, forests and climate change raising objections to the serious flaws in the draft and it points out that up to 70% of Himachal is forest land.
- The Union ministry came out with the draft last month and invited comments and suggestions by April 14. The memorandum submitted to the ministry said that strikingly important in this draft policy was the absence of perspective and recognition that was taken in the Forest Rights Act, 2006, which sought to address the historical injustice inflicted on the adivasis (tribals) and other forest dwellers through the colonization of the forest.
- The Act attempted to restore the forests back to its original custodians, caretakers and dependents and put in place democratic mechanisms to govern the forests, and the draft policy does not recognize this. In Himachal, where close to 70% of the geographical area is technically under forest land the implementation of FRA has been poor as it is.
- Power subsidy to cross `10,000 crore-mark
- The total power subsidy to the industry, farmers, backward classes, scheduled castes, among others, for the year 2018-19 is estimated at Rs 13,718.02 crore.
- The Commission, in its order, has asked the Punjab Government, to pay the subsidy for 2018-19 of Rs 13,718.02 crore “in advance in 12 monthly installments of Rs 1,143.17 crore from April 2018 to January 2019, and Rs 1,143.16 crore in February 2019 and March 2019”.
- The amount includes Rs 4768.65 crore as the balance subsidy payable for the previous years, while Rs 8,949.37 crore are for the current fiscal including Rs 6256.09 crore for farming sector, and Rs 1440.95 crore for industry among others.
- The shortfall of subsidy, to be paid by the government up to 2017-18, include Rs 1603.17 crore as shortfall up to 2015-16 , Rs 1,315.50 crore of 2016-17, and Rs 1,849.98 crore of 2017-18.
- South Interior Karnataka receives more than twice the normal rainfall
- Following the belated monsoon showers that lashed South Interior Karnataka last year, this part of the state continues to receive excessive rain in the pre-monsoon season. Data compiled by the Indian Meteorological Department (IMD) shows that South Interior Karnataka, which includes Mysuru, Mandya, Chamarajanagarand Kodagu, received more than twice the amount of normal rainfall between March 1 and April 11 this year. The average rainfall in this region of the state recorded in this period is 38.8mm, against a normal quota of 18.3mm. Kodagu, which witnessed a comparatively dry 2017, has received 76.5mm rainfall, the highest in the region.
- 7,000 villages to go ‘smokeless’ across the northeastern states
- Indian Oil has set a target of holding 570 LPG panchayats on Ujjwala Diwas, being observed on April 20, across the northeastern states.
- An LPG panchayat is a community meeting which will serve as a platform for LPG consumers to interact with each other, promote mutual learning, and share their experiences. Each LPG panchayat aims to bring together about 500 women from the neighbouring areas, providing a platform for Ujjwala LPG users to share information on how to use LPG safely, as well as spread the message of its multiple benefits, like health, environment and empowerment of women.
- A total of 6,741 villages in 80 districts will be covered in the region in an attempt to make 100% households smokeless.
- Ujjwala Diwas will also promote the enhanced target of enrolling 8 crore LPG beneficiaries. Connections will be provided to eligible beneficiaries on that day, during the LPG panchayat.
· Official Mascot of FIBA Basketball World Cup 2019 Unveiled
- Son of Dreams’ was unveiled as official Mascot of the FIBA Basketball World Cup 2019in China.
- The selection of Son of Dreams as China 2019’s Official Mascot was the culmination of a unique process by FIBA.
- The mascot finalists were Chinese dragon (‘Son of Dream’), a Siberian tiger (‘Speed Tiger’) and a lion (‘Qiu Qiu’).
- For the first time, there are 32-team in FIBA Basketball World Cup.
- The tournament will take place in eight Chinese cities from August 31 until September 15.
- India is world’s sixth largest economy
- India’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) clocked in at $2.6 trillion for 2017, according to the database of the International Monetary Fund’s World Economic Outlook (WEO) for April 2018.
- India is now the world’s sixth largest economy, displacing France.
- The five economies ahead are the United States, China, Japan, Germany and United Kingdom
· India to launch gas trading hub
- The government plans to launch a natural gas trading hubby October
- It will also be creating an Indian gas benchmark which will spark a surge in consumption of the cleaner-burning fuel
- Oil regulator Petroleum and Natural Gas Regulatory Board (PNGRB)has sought bids to hire a consultant to help develop a regulatory framework for operationalizing the gas trading/exchange hub
- Currently, the government fixes the price of the bulk of domestically produced natural gas
- The rate is arrived at using price prevalent in gas-surplus nations of US, Canada, UK, and Russia
- A hub is used as a central pricing point for a network that could aid better price discovery for domestic as well as imported gas
- India is not only country launching trading hub
- China plans to launch a natural gas trading hub in Chongqing this year
- First Ever International SME Convention-2018 in New Delhi
- One hundred and fifty participants from 31 countries and 400 entrepreneurs from India will participate in the four day International SME convention being held in New Delhi from 22ndto 24th April.
- The Ministry of MSME has engaged with over 35 International Trade Development organisations to attract and invite able and willing entrepreneurs.
- The convention has specific focus on inclusion of MSMEs in the Make in India program & empowering women entrepreneurs.
· Vehicles made on or after Jan. 1 to have High Security Registration Plates
- From January 1, 2019, all classes of motor vehicles will come fitted with tamper-proof High Security Registration Plates (HSRP) that have a host of in-built security features.
- They are expected to offer increased protection against theft.
- The HSRP was made mandatory in some States 13 years ago but failed to take off. The Ministry of Road Transport and Highways (MoRTH) last week published new draft rules that make it mandatory for automobile manufacturers to provide, and dealers to affix, the “security licence plate, including the third registration mark” for all new vehicles manufactured on or after January 1 next year.
- A chromium-based hologram will be applied by hot stamping on the top left corner of the number plates both at the front and back. A permanent identification number with a minimum of 10 digits will be laser-branded into the reflective sheeting on the bottom left of the registration plate.
· GoM on transport moots uniform road tax for entire country
- A group of ministers (GoM) on transport has recommended a uniform road tax structure for vehicles across states.
- A meeting was held in Guwahati to deliberate on proposals for ‘One Nation-One Tax’ and ‘One Nation-One Permit’.
- The GoM observed that a uniform tax structure will put a check on people registering their vehicles in low-tax states and running them in other states. This would also bring necessary relief to genuine cases requiring transfer of vehicles.
· Centre proposes relaxation of coastal regulation zone norms
- The Centre has allowed India’s coasts to be made more accessible to tourism and industrial infrastructure and given individual States considerable leeway in development plans.
- The coastal regulation zone, or CRZ, 2011, refers to regions in the proximity of India’s 7000-km-long shoreline where buildings, tourism facilities, industrial projects, residential facilities etc are highly regulated.
- The CRZ-1, for instance, includes the most ecologically sensitive areas and according to current laws is off-limits for tourism activities and infrastructure development except for defence, strategic and rare public utilities projects.
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