Current Affairs, 19 December 2017
policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues
arising out of their design and implementation.
Indian Forest Act
Context: The Indian Forest (Amendment)
Bill, 2017 has been tabled in the Lok Sabha. The Bill seeks to amend the Indian
Forest Act to exempt felling and transportation of bamboo grown in non-forest
areas from the state permit.
Last month, the government had come out
with an ordinance to amend the Indian Forest Act, 1927 in this regard. This
bill would replace this ordinance. Prior to issuance of the ordinance, the
definition of tree in the Act included palm, bamboo, brushwood and cane.
Highlights of the Indian Forest
(Amendment) Bill, 2017:
§ The bill seeks to exempt bamboo grown
in non-forest areas from definition of tree, thereby dispensing with the
requirement of felling/transit permit for its economic use. However, bamboo
grown in the forest areas shall continue to be governed by the provisions of
Indian Forest Act, 1927.
§ A major objective of the amendment is
to promote cultivation of bamboo in non-forest areas to achieve twin objectives
of increasing the income of farmers and also increasing the green cover of the
What necessitated this move?
Bamboo, though, taxonomically a grass,
was legally defined as a tree under the Indian Forest Act, 1927. Before this
amendment, the felling and transit of bamboo grown on forest as well non-forest
land attracted the provisions of the Indian Forest Act, 1927 (IFA, 1927). This
was a major impediment for bamboo cultivation by farmers on non-forest land.
Significance of this move:
§ The amendment and the resultant change
in classification of bamboo grown in non-forest areas will usher in much needed
and far-reaching reforms in the bamboo sector. While on the one hand, the legal
and regulatory hardships being faced by farmers and private individuals will be
removed and on the other hand, it will create a viable option for cultivation
in 12.6 million hectares of cultivable waste land.
§ The measure will go a long way in
enhancing the agricultural income of farmers and tribals, especially in
North-East and Central India. The amendment will encourage farmers and other
individuals to take up plantation/ block plantation of suitable bamboo species
on degraded land, in addition to plantation on agricultural land and other
private lands under agroforestry mission.
§ Some of the other benefits of amendment
include enhancing supply of raw material to the traditional craftsmen of rural
India, bamboo based/ paper & pulp industries, cottage industries, furniture
making units, fabric making units, incense stick making units.
§ Besides promoting major bamboo applications
such as wood substitutes and composites like panels, flooring, furniture and
bamboo blind, it will also help industries such as those dealing with food
products (bamboo shoots), constructions and housing, bamboo charcoal etc.
§ The amendment will greatly aid the
success of recently constituted National Bamboo Mission and is in also line
with the objective of doubling the income of farmers, besides conservation and
Benefits of Bamboo:
In generating employment: Bamboo
grows abundantly in areas outside forests with an estimated growing stock of
10.20 million tonnes. About 20 million people are involved in bamboo
related activities. One tonne of bamboo provides 350 man days of
employment. An enabling environment for the cultivation of bamboo will
help in creation of job opportunities in the country.
Ecological benefits: Bamboo has
several ecological benefits such as soil-moisture conservation, landslide
prevention and rehabilitation, conserving wildlife habitat, enhancing source of
bio-mass, besides serving as a substitute for timber.
As per the assessment of United
Nation’s Industrial Development Organisation (UNIDO), the bamboo business in
the North-East Region alone has a potential of about Rs. 5000 crores in the
next ten years. The amendment will therefore, help in harnessing this great
potential and enhance the scope to increase the present level of market share
and improve the economy of the entire country, particularly the North Eastern
policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues
arising out of their design and implementation.
of Gratuity (Amendment) Bill, 2017
Context: The Payment of Gratuity
(Amendment) Bill, 2017, has been introduced in the Lok Sabha. The Bill will
allow it to notify a higher period of maternity leave and raise gratuity limit
Highlights of the Payment of Gratuity
(Amendment) Bill, 2017:
According to the Statement of Objects
and Reasons of the bill, the amendment would allow the central government to
notify the maternity leave period for “female employees as deemed to be in
continuous service in place of existing twelve weeks”.
It has also been proposed to empower
the central government to notify the ceiling proposed, instead of amending the
said Act, so that the limit can be revised from time to time keeping in view
the increase in wage and inflation, and future Pay Commissions.
The Payment of Gratuity Act, 1972:
The Payment of Gratuity Act, 1972
applies to establishments employing 10 or more persons. The main purpose for
enacting this Act is to provide social security to workmen after retirement,
whether retirement is a result of the rules of superannuation, or physical
disablement or impairment of vital part of the body.
Therefore, the Payment of Gratuity Act, 1972 is an important social security
legislation to wage earning population in industries, factories and
processes and the development industry the role of NGOs, SHGs, various groups
and associations, donors, charities, institutional and other stakeholders.
Plea in SC seeks OBC status for farmers
The Supreme Court has called for a
response from the Centre, the Gujarat Government and the National Commission
for Backward Classes (NCBC) on a PIL praying that ‘farmers’ be included in the
category of Other Backward Classes (OBC) irrespective of their caste and
A PIL has been filed in the Supreme
Court seeking the inclusion of farmers who do not fall in the creamy layer in
OBC category to ensure uplift for such farmers as constitutional rights
considering them as occupational group.
What has been sought?
Citing apex court precedents in Indra
Sawhney Vs. Union of India wherein it was categorically held that the benefit
of reservation can be extended to OBCs, inter alia, based on quantifiable data,
the petitioner sought the court to direct the government to “prepare the survey
report as well as the review report about the development and progress for
inclusion and exclusion of classes who are getting the benefit of reservation
under the provisions of law, as well as the method adopted for identification
of backward classes. It also called for laying down appropriate rules,
guidelines for determination of the income limit which can be served as the
basis for future exercise by the government.
policies and politics of developed and developing countries on India’s
interests, Indian diaspora.
WORLD MIGRATION REPORT 2018
WORLD MIGRATION REPORT 2018 has been
released. This World Migration Report 2018 is the ninth in the series. Since
2000, International Organization for Migration has been producing world
migration reports to contribute to increased understanding of migration
throughout the world.
Who are International migrants?
The definition of international
migrants used in the report is broad, taking into account anyone living in a
country other their own and includes refugees and economic migrants, both those
immigrating officially and those who do so “irregularly”. The numbers are not a
count of people by national origin or ethnicity and, therefore, do not include
children of migrants born in the countries their parents went to.
Highlights of the Report:
§ Indian tops the world in the number of
migrants sent abroad. About 16.59 million Indian live abroad. Mexico sent out
13 million migrants, the second highest number.
§ The United Arab Emirates has the
largest number of Indian migrants, who number 3.31 million, up from 978,992 in
2000, followed by the US with 2.3 million, up from 1.04 million.
§ The number of migrant from other
countries living in India is 5.2 million, a fall of 1.22 million from 2000.
§ In Europe, there are 1.3 million people
from India. Britain has most of them. Canada now has 602,144 people from India,
an increase from 319,138 in 2000. Australia showed a huge jump of more than
four times, from 90,719 people from India in 2000 to 408,880 now.
§ Most of the international migration
takes place among developing countries with 60% of the migrants from Asia going
to other Asian countries. About $400 billion is sent to developing countries by
migrants and the remittances are used to finance education, housing and other activities
that promote development.
In the current political climate,
“migration has become a toxic” topic. As a result, migrating is a problem for
those outside the “global elite” made up professionals who can move easily to
other countries. Therefore, there is need for policies to take care of the
migrants who do not fall in that category.
About the International Organization
Established in 1951, IOM is the leading
inter-governmental organization in the field of migration and works closely
with governmental, intergovernmental and non-governmental partners.
§ With 169 member states, a further 8 states
holding observer status and offices in over 100 countries, IOM is dedicated to
promoting humane and orderly migration for the benefit of all. It does so by
providing services and advice to governments and migrants.
§ IOM works to help ensure the orderly
and humane management of migration, to promote international cooperation on
migration issues, to assist in the search for practical solutions to migration
problems and to provide humanitarian assistance to migrants in need, including
refugees and internally displaced people.
§ IOM activities that cut across these
areas include the promotion of international migration law, policy debate and
guidance, protection of migrants’ rights, migration health and the gender
dimension of migration.
BBIN motor pact
Context: Pending ratification from Bhutan,
India plans to operationalise BBIN motor vehicle agreement (MVA) with
Bangladesh and Nepal for seamless movement of passenger and cargo vehicles.
Bangladesh, Bhutan, India and Nepal (BBIN)
had signed a framework MVA in June 2015 to enable movement of passenger and
cargo vehicles across borders among the four countries. Bhutan has not yet
ratified the pact for its entry to come into force. However, Bhutan has given
its consent for the BBIN MVA to enter into force amongst the other 3 countries
i.e. Bangladesh, India and Nepal, who have already ratified it.
About BBIN agreement:
The agreement encapsulates the spirit
of economic integration emphasised in the SAARC Charter. The main objective of
the agreement is to provide seamless people-to-people contact and enhance
economic interaction by facilitating cross border movement of people and goods.
§ It would permit unhindered movement of
passenger and cargo vehicles among the four countries. Cargo vehicles do not
have to be changed at the border, a practice that has prevailed until now.
§ As per the agreement, member countries
would allow vehicles registered in the other countries to enter their territory
under certain terms and conditions. Customs and tariffs will be decided by the
respective countries and these would be finalised at bilateral and trilateral
§ The BBIN agreement will promote safe,
economical efficient and environmentally sound road transport in the sub-region
and will further help each country in creating an institutional mechanism for
the fields of IT, Space, Computers, robotics, nano-technology, bio-technology
and issues relating to intellectual property rights.
AP signs MoU with Google
Context: X, a division owned by
Google’s parent company Alphabet and one that deals in experimental
technologies, has signed a MoU with Andhra Pradesh government to setup
developmental centre in Visakhapatnam and to create a high speed internet
network that doesn’t require special cabling.
About the project:
No cables will be used. Instead of
cables, the X internet network will use “Free Space Optical Communications, aka
FSOC, technology”. This network will power internet in 13 districts through 2
thousand FSOC links. The X centre in Visakhapatnam will be its first
development centre outside the US.
What is FSOC technology?
FSFC is an optical communication
technology that uses light to wirelessly transmit data to telecommunication and
internet applications. The technology remained outside the commercial
applications for long owing to distance, speed, and efficiency related
How FSOC technology works?
FSOC links use beams of light to
deliver high-speed, high-capacity connectivity over long distances, just like
fiber optic cable, but without the cable. And because there’s no cable, this
means there’s none of the time, cost, and hassle involved in digging trenches
or stringing cable along poles. FSOC boxes can simply be placed kilometres
apart on roofs or towers, with the signal beamed directly between the boxes to
easily traverse common obstacles like rivers, roads and railways.
Less than 20% of people in Andhra
Pradesh currently have access to broadband connectivity. The state government
has committed to connecting 12 million households and thousands of government
organizations and businesses by 2019 – an initiative called AP Fiber Grid.
About Google X:
Founded by Google in 2010 as Google X
with an aim to work on finding solutions to the world’s large problems, this
American semi-secret advanced technology lab facility became an independent
Alphabet company and was renamed as X after Google was restructured into
Alphabet in the year 2015. It has been working on several projects including
driver-less car, product delivery through flying vehicles, Project Loon, Google
glass among other technologies.
challenges and their management in border areas; linkages of organized crime
The Uttar Pradesh government has
approved the draft of a bill to enact the Uttar Pradesh Control of Organised
Crime Act (UPCOCA) on the lines of the Maharashtra Control of Organised Crime
Act (MCOCA) to combat land mafia, mining mafia and organised crime in the
state. The Bill seeks to check to check organised and white-collar crime.
Highlights of the Bill:
§ Organised crime has been defined in
detail in the (draft) bill. Kidnapping for ransom, illegal mining,
manufacturing illicit liquor and its sale, acquiring contracts on the basis of
muscle power, organised exploitation of forest produce, trade in wildlife, fake
medicines, grabbing of government and private properties, and ‘rangdari’
(extortion) will come under the ambit of the new law.
§ Arrangements have also been made to
check the misuse of the bill and that cases under it will be filed only on the
recommendations of the committee of divisional commissioner and range deputy
inspector general of police.
§ The permission of the zonal inspector
general of police will be required before filing of charge sheet after thorough
inquiry. It has also been proposed that properties amassed through organised
crime would be taken over by the government with the permission of the court
during the course of investigation to check criminal elements from taking
advantage of it. The property will be confiscated by the state government after
§ Special courts will be constituted for
hearing of cases lodged under the provisions of this bill and a “state-level
organised crime control authority” has been proposed to monitor gangs involved
in organised crime. The state level authority will be headed by the principal
secretary for Home. This authority will either take cognisance on its own or on
a complaint. It will probe the activities of organised gangs and will be
entitled to examine any government file related to the case.
§ There is also a provision to form
district level organised crime control authorities, which will be led by
district magistrates. They can recommend cases to the state level authority
after thorough probe.
§ The draft bill also proposes a tribunal
led by a retired high court judge for appealing against it, and will have a
principal secretary and an official of DGP rank as its members. Anyone can
appeal against the decision of the authority in this tribunal. Those found
involved in organised crime and having security will no longer be extended
government protection and all white-collar criminals will be treated as such.
Global conference on functional
International conference on advanced
functional materials is being held in Telangana. The conference aims to address
the application aspect of the functional materials in areas of societal
relevance, to discuss current scientific issues and to ignite scientific temper
in young researchers.
Theme: ‘Applications of smart materials
in the areas of nano-science and nano-technology, synthetic chemistry, sensors
and computational materials science’.
Host: Rajiv Gandhi University of Knowledge
Technologies (RGUKT) at Basar in Telangana is hosting the conference.
Goa sets up task force to fight drug
Goa government has formed an
Anti-Narcotics Task Force, comprising members of various law enforcement
agencies, to draw a comprehensive action plan to combat trafficking of drugs.
Background: Goa being a global tourist
destination, lakhs of tourists, international as well as domestic, visit the
state every year and are the major target of drug peddlers/dealers.
For a safe cyberspace
The Indian government has embarked on a
programme to turn the country into a digital economy. It has unveiled a series
of initiatives—from introducing Aadhaar, MyGov, Government e-Market,
DigiLocker, Bharat Net, Startup India, Skill India and Smart Cities to propel
India towards technological competence and transformation.
The move towards a digital economy is
likely to help trigger a fresh wave of economic growth, attract more
investment, and create new jobs, across multiple sectors. However, it also
poses a big challenge, that of Cyber Security.
India’s recent Digital transformation
India is currently pursuing “an
alternative and very exciting” route in which it is making the use of digital
technology and digital records in public administration with new technologies,
according to IMF.
§ India is one of the key players in the
digital and knowledge-based economy, holding more than a 50% share of the
world’s outsourcing market.
§ India is already the third largest hub
for technology-driven start-ups in the world.
§ It’s Information and Communications
Technology sector is estimated to reach the $225 billion landmark by 2020.
§ Digital India program seeks to
launch a large number of e-governance services across different sectors. These
include education, healthcare and banking.
§ The number of mobile phone users in
India is expected to rise to 730.7 million. The number of smartphone users
in India is predicted to reach 340 million and could reach
almost 468 million by 2021.
§ India has made a few achievements in
e-governance projects such as Digital Locker, ebastas, the linking of Aadhaar
to bank accounts to disburse subsidies.
§ Bharat Net (erstwhile National Optical
Fiber Network), the country’s digital infrastructure, has created a common
service centre for each panchayat, for which all post offices and CSCs are to
§ India’s mobile wallet transactionswere up nine-fold in two years to reach
Growing threat of Cyber Security
The achievements in digital sector come
with a problem: innovation in technology, enhanced connectivity, and increasing
integration in commerce and governance also make India the fifth most
vulnerable country in the world in terms of cyber security breaches, according
to the Internal Security Threat Report of 2017 by Symantec.
1. Increased no of cyber-attacks:
Till June 2017, 27,482 cyber security
threats had been reported in the country, according to the Indian Computer
Emergency Response Team’s report. As this is a 23% increase from 2014 figures,
it coincides with rapid growth and innovation in the ICT sector.
1. Cost of cyber-attacks
The cost of cyber-attacks in India
currently stands in excess of Rs25, 000 crore ($4billion). It is important to
note that there are many cyber-attacks that go undetected and unreported as
The losses emanate from operational
disruptions, loss of sensitive information and designs, customer churn and
impact on brand image, as well as increase in legal claims and insurance
1. Limited awareness
Many companies do not treat importance
of cyber security as a strategic agenda, but rather as a small issue for their
IT departments. In fact, a lot of cyber security incidents go unidentified and
There is limited awareness of the need
for specialized and customized industry-specific cyber security measures which
are significantly different from IT security and need to be adapted by the
All this is underpinned by the fact
that there is low existing capability, or lack of skill sets, to drive
Types of Cyber attacks
§ In 2016, nearly one percent of all
emails sent were essentially malicious attacks, the highest rate in recent
§ Ransomware attacks (Ransomware is a
type of software that threatens to publish a person’s data or block it unless a
ransom is paid) increasingly affected businesses and consumers, with
indiscriminate campaigns pushing out massive volumes of malicious emails.
§ Apart from WannaCry and Petya, other
Ransomware attacks that made news globally were Locky, Cerber, Bucbi,
SharkRaaS, CryptXXX and SamSam.
§ Attackers are demanding more and more
from victims, with the average ransom demand rising to over 1,000 USD in 2016,
up from approximately 300 USD a year earlier.
§ Some of the biggest distributed denial
of service (DDoS) attacks on record powered by a botnet of Internet of Things
§ In India, in May 2017, a data breach at
the food delivery App, Zomato, led to personal information of about 17 million
users being stolen and put for sale on the Darknet.
§ Potent crypto-ransomware attacks on
Android devices including televisions that use Android.
§ A number of viruses, malware and
attackers cross-platform options.
Cyber security should be an integral
part of technological progress
The global community is increasingly
embracing ICTs as key enabler for social and economic development.
Governments across the world recognize that digital transformation has the
power to further the prosperity and wellbeing of their citizens.
In supporting this transformation, they
also recognize that cyber security must be an integral and indivisible part of
In May 2017, a massive cyber-attack
caused major disruptions to companies and hospitals in over 150 countries,
prompting a call for greater cooperation around the world.
The good news, though, is that India
recognises this. The second Global Cybersecurity Index, released by
the International Telecommunication Union in July, which measured the
commitment of nations to cybersecurity, found that India ranked 23 out of 165
Global Cybersecurity Index (GCI)
The Global Cybersecurity Index (GCI) is
a survey that measures the commitment of Member States to cybersecurity in
order to raise awareness.
§ The GCI revolves around the ITU Global
Cybersecurity Agenda (GCA) and its five pillars (legal, technical,
organizational, capacity building and cooperation).
§ The 2017 publication of the GCI
continues to show the commitment to cybersecurity of countries around the
world. The overall picture shows improvement and strengthening of all five
elements of the cybersecurity agenda in various countries in all regions.
§ However, there is space for further
improvement in cooperation at all levels, capacity building and organizational
measures. The gap in the level of cybersecurity engagement between different
regions is still present and visible.
§ This report also provides a set of
illustrative practices that give insight into the achievements of certain
It’s time to reboot
One of the biggest misconceptions about
cybersecurity is that cyber-attacks are restricted to the financial services
and banking sector. It is important to note that industrial companies are
Given the huge number of online users
and continued efforts on affordable access, cybersecurity needs to be
integrated in every aspect of policy and planning.
At the 15th Asia Pacific Computer
Emergency Response Team conference in Delhi, the need for robust cybersecurity
policies and frameworks has been highlighted. The government is keen to fund
cybersecurity research. It announced that it will award a grant worth ₹5 crore
to startups working on innovations in the field of cyber security.
The Need of the hour
India needs to quickly frame an
appropriate and updated cybersecurity policy, create adequate infrastructure,
and foster closer collaboration between all those involved to ensure a safe
§ Companies in India need to be proactive
to ensure they foster efficiency and efficacy in cybersecurity
management. Companies also need to assess the assets that are most at
§ Tough laws are needed to be put in place
for perpetrators of cybercrime to ensure such criminals are deterred
§ There must be enhanced cooperation
among nations and reaffirmed a global call to action for all United Nations
member nations to not attack the core of the Internet even when in a state of
war. This also clearly emphasises the fact that more than ever before, there is
a need for a Geneva-like Convention to agree on some high-level recommendations
among nations to keep the Internet safe, open, universal and interoperable.
GCCS(Global Conference on Cyber Space)
platform should be utilised to establish internationally agreed ‘rules of the
road’ for behaviour in cyberspace, and create a more focused and inclusive
dialogue between all those with a stake in the internet (governments, civil
society and industry) on how to implement them.
BJP wins Himachal Pradesh Legislative Assembly
Elections 2017 on - 18th December 2017
facts in Passive Euthanasia cases may attract jail term by - The
Management of Patients with Terminal Illness- Withdrawal of Medical Life
Development Ministry and Maruti Suzuki sign MoU to impart skill
training to youth on - 18th December 2017
Kaleshwaram Irrigation Project gets environmental clearance on - 18th
of WTO member nations to be hosted by India in - February 2018
chairperson Justice Swatanter Kumar retired on - 19th December 2017
Distorting facts in Passive
Euthanasia cases may attract jail term by - The Management of Patients with
Terminal Illness- Withdrawal of Medical Life Support Bill
The Management of Patients with Terminal Illness-
Withdrawal of Medical Life Support Bill states that hospitals will be
required to form approval committees for considering instances of Passive
Passive Euthanasia is also known as the withdrawal of medical therapy and life
support system of a terminally-ill patient.
Provisions of the Bill-
The Bill explain that all super-specialty hospitals
should have approval teams on passive euthanasia.
It also explains that any distortion of facts before
approval teams may lead to jail of 5 to 10 years and a fine of Rs 20 lakh
to Rs 1 crore.
The approval teams will decide on applications of “Living
will”, a written certificate that allows patients to explicitly state their
wish against life when recovery is not possible from a terminal
It issues for soothing care for patients even if they
have chosen passive euthanasia.
This redrafted bill does not boost active euthanasia and
thus, only helps passive euthanasia.
It also has provisions for the safeguard of competent
patients, medical practitioners and attendants who will not be considered
accountable for the act of passive euthanasia.
It provides for approval of relatives to apply for
withdrawing of medical treatment of ‘incompetent’ terminally ill patients.
Recognition of Passive Euthanasia by Supreme Court
The draft Bill in the past was known as Medical Treatment
of Terminally Ill Patients (Protection of Patients and Medical
Practitioners) Bill. It was put in the public territory in May 2016 and
comments and proposals were asked from various stakeholders.
The Union Government in October 2017 passed this draft
bill to the Supreme Court which advised there should be adequate
protections for the implementation of a living will. The Supreme Court, hearing
a PIL filed by NGO Common Cause, has reserved their order on the
The Supreme Court recognized passive euthanasia in 2011
in the Aruna Shanbaug issue, the former nurse who spent 42 years in
vegetative state after a sexual assault till her death in 2015. In 2011, SC
laid down instructions on passive euthanasia and told the process should
be followed across nation.
Passive Euthanasia is an act of fastening the death of a
terminally-ill patient by altering some form of support and letting nature
take its course.
It involves switch off respirators, halting medications,
discontinuing diet and water so that patient gets a comfortable death.
It can also include administrating high doses of morphine
to control pain apart from giving painkiller that can result into fatal
Passive euthanasia involves providing the right to a
patient to refuse life support system in case of indefinite fatal illness,
while active euthanasia is the increasing of death with the help of injections
or overdose of drug.
BJP wins Himachal Pradesh Legislative Assembly Elections 2017 on - 18th
The BJP on 18th December 2017 won Himachal Pradesh
Legislative Assembly Elections 2017 by grabbing 44 of Himachal Pradesh's
68 seats. While, opposition party Congress got 21 seats in the state. A party
requires 35 seats or more than that to form the government in Himachal.
However, BJP's chief ministerial representative Prem Kumar Dhumal got defeated
in the elections for the
Sujanpur Assembly. He was defeated by Congress rival Rajinder Singh Rana by
approximately 3500 votes.
CPI(M) party could only win a single seat. CPI(M) State Secretary Rakesh Singha
won by a difference of 1983 votes over BJP’s Rakesh Verma in Theog.
The counting of votes Himachal Pradesh started at
forty-two centers on 18th December 2017 for all 68 assembly seats. The
counting was directed by 68 returning officers, 1 in every constituency.
The 1st victory was announced in Himachal Pradesh's Kasumpti for Congress
candidate Anirudh Singh. He won with a difference of 9397 votes against
BJP's Vijay Jyoti.
Key Highlights of Himachal
Pradesh Legislative Assembly Elections 2017
In 12 of the 17 constituencies set apart for SC
candidates, the BJP led the vote share.
In Balh, the BJP's candidate Inder Singh won with
10452 votes against Congress's incumbent Prakash Chaudhary.
In Kasauli, BJP's present MLA Rajiv Saizal won by
442 votes over Congress's Vinod Sultanpuri.
6-time CM and Congress candidate Virbhadra Singh won in
the Arki legislation with approximate 28000 votes against the
BJP's Rattan Singh Pal who won approximate 23000 votes.
Virbhadra Singh's son Vikramaditya Singh recorded victory
from Shimla (Rural).
In Dehra, Independent representative Hoshiyar Singh
won by 3914 votes over BJP representative Ravinder Singh Ravi.
Congress representative Kaul Singh Thakur defeated
in Darang to BJP candidate Jawahar Thakur by a difference of
approximate 2000 votes.
In Dharamshala, BJP representative Kishan Kapoor won
by defeating Urban Development Minister Sudhir Sharma.
Earlier Congress Minister Anil Sharma won
from Mandi, but with a BJP ticket this time.
Record-breaking Polling in Himachal Pradesh Legislative
Assembly Elections 2017.
The Himachal Pradesh took polls in a single stage on 9th
November 2017. A total of 377 representatives took part for 68 seats. The
Bhartiya Janata Party and Congress took part for all 68 seats, while BSP took
part in 42 seats and the CPI(M) contested in fourteen seats.
The Swabhiman party and the Lok Gathbandhan Party each
took part for 6 seats and the CPI contested in 3.
The state submitted a record 74.61% polling for the
Assembly elections, breaking the 74.51% record of 2003.
The polling was 71.61% in 2007 and 73.51% in year 2012.
The Doon legislation in Solan district registered the
highest amount of 88.95% and Shimla Urban registered the lowest at
The other districts like Chamba recorded 73.21 percent
turnout of voters, Kangra 72.47 percent, Lahaul - Spiti 73.40 percent,
Kullu 77.87 percent, Mandi 75.21 per cent, Bilaspur 82.04 percent, Solan 77.44
percent, Shimla 72.68 percent and Kinnaur 75.09 percent.
Skill Development Ministry, Maruti Suzuki sign MoU to impart skill training
to youth on - 18th December 2017
The Skill Development Ministry on 18th December 2017
signed a MoU with Maruti Suzuki to announce training to youth and boost
their employment potential. The accordance was signed by Vijay Kumar Dev,
Director General, Directorate General of Training, Ministry of Skill
Development and Entrepreneurship and Mukesh Kumar Gupta, VP Maruti Suzuki India
Limited in New Delhi.
The accordance was signed in the presence of Minister of State for Skill
Development & Entrepreneurship Anantkumar Hegde.
The MoU objects to provide high employment potential
trades in the field of automobile and production industry to youth under
the Skill India Mission.
The training program would mainly serve to students who
are 10 and 12 pass outs.
Under the accordance, Maruti Suzuki in consultation with
DGT will flourish specific training programs as per the need of the
The Indian automobile producer will then conduct courses
at pan-India places leveraging the facilities and services available at
ITIs, training centers of training partners, regional training centers, vendors
and dealers connected with it.
The courses include production, Automotive Body Repair,
Automotive Service & Repair and Automotive Paint Repair.
Maruti Suzuki would also recognize new courses according
the requirements of the automobile value chain and propose the same to DGT
All these courses are to be accepted by National Council
for Vocational Training and it will grant certificates to all students who
successfully complete the course.
Significance of MoU
The agreement will give an opportunity to the youngsters
to acquire skills associated to automobile and production industry through
specially fabricated training.
It will also aid to the overall growth of automobile and
production industry by creating a pool of skilled resources.
Telangana's Kaleshwaram Irrigation Project gets environmental clearance on
- 18th December 2017
The Expert Appraisal Committee of the Union Ministry of
Environment, Forest and Climate Change on 18th December 2017 deal
environmental clearance for the Kaleshwaram Irrigation Project in Telangana.
However, it instructed the Telangana Government to take care of alterations in
the micro-climatic conditions in the project area during the construction
and after construction period of the project as it demand submergence of a
The project is assumed to cost around Rs 80499.7 crore
and is proposed to be completed in 3 years.
Environmental clearance accorded with some conditions.
The Expert Appraisal Committee governed that there is a
requirement to plan a greenbelt and reservoir rim treatment in
consultation with the State Forest Department with aim on local indigenous
The construction work should be taken up post following
due procedure of Right to Fair Compensation and Transparency in land
Acquisition, Rehabilitation Act, 2013.
It also called upon the State to file 6 monthly
compliance reports to MoEF, Chennai, until fulfillment of the modernization
Kaleshwaram Irrigation Project-
The project looks forward to provide drinking water
solutions for Hyderabad and Secunderabad.
The total land needed is about 32000 hectares and out of
this, around 2866 hectares is the forest area.
The total swamp area is estimated to be approximate 13706
It proposes to build Medigadda barrage and 2 more
barrages between Medigadda and Sripada Yellampally.
It includes a canal system of about 1832 km. The project
lies in the interstate borderline with submerge area of 302 hectares in
It needs 4227 MW of electricity to be supplied by
Meeting of WTO member nations to be hosted by India in - February 2018
India has declared that it would be hosting a conference
of World Trade Organization member nations in February 2018 to muster help
for food security and other issues.
The declaration was made by Commerce and Industry
Minister Suresh Prabhu while talking at an event organized by Apparel Export
Promotion Council in New Delhi on 18th December 2017.
The minister informed that the government is trying to
call a meeting of approximately 30 to 40 nations in Delhi to aid the
The main objective of the conference is to bring together
like-minded countries and explain to them the nation's position as well as
worries over issues of common interest.
Did you know?
The declaration comes against the backdrop of developed
countries forming groupings to prepare the ground for pushing investment
facilitation, making rules for e-commerce, enhancing gender equality and
slashing subsidy on fisheries with a view to curbing illegal, unreported and
India has been keenly propelling agriculture issues at
the World Trade Organization.
It has also been lifting its voice against bringing new
problems, especially those which are not directly connected to trade, on
the negotiating table.
The conference is supposed to help India in describing
its stand on different issues to the member countries and preparing them
for a collective movement.
NGT chairperson Justice Swatanter Kumar retired on - 19th December 2017
The NGT Chairperson, Justice Swatanter Kumar is retired
from his post on 19th December 2017, after completing his 5-year
tenure. A full bench reference was organized at the NGT on the event.
Justice Swatanter Kumar was appointed to the position of NGT Chairperson on
20th December 2012. Earlier, he was working as a judge in the Supreme Court of
As NGT chief, he passed several landmark orders and
judgments during his tenure as an NGT chief, like-
The restriction on 10 year-old diesel and 15 year-old
petrol motor vehicles.
Issuance of instructions for the rejuvenation of the
River Ganga and Yamuna.
Destroying illegal hotels in Himachal Pradesh.
The restriction on plastic items in Delhi, Haridwar and
Capping the number of devotees at Vaishno Devi to 50,000
Direction to sustain silence at Amarnath.
Justice Swatanter Kumar’s successor is yet to be
More about NGT
The NGT was established on 18th October 2010 under the
National Green Tribunal Act 2010 for effective and expeditious disposal of
issues relating to environmental protection and conservation of forests and
other natural resources.
The tribunal's primary bench is situated in New Delhi
while its zonal benches are in Bhopal, Pune, Kolkata, and Chennai and its
circuit benches in Shimla, Shillong, Jodhpur, and Kochi.
The structure of the tribunal includes a full-time
chairperson, judicial members, and expert associates.
The minimum number of judicial and expert associates
prescribed is 10 in each class and the maximum number is 20 in each class.
The 1st chairperson of the tribunal was Justice Lokeshwar
Singh Panta, who was appointed on 18th October 2010 and relinquished the
position in 2011 when he was appointed Lokayukta of Himachal
o He was named BBC Overseas Sports
Personality of the Year 2017 - Roger Federer
o Vijay Diwas, the day
commemorating India’s 1971 victory over Pakistan, was observed on this day - 17
o This Indian shuttler won the
silver medal at BWF Dubai World Series Finals 2017 - PV Sindhu
o The counting of votes for these
two state assemblies began on 18 December 2017 - Gujarat and Himachal
o This double Olympian won the gold
medal for India in the nal of the 74kg freestyle category at the Commonwealth Wrestling
Championships -Sushil Kumar
o This political party is all set
to retain its sixth straight term in power in Gujarat - Bharatiya Janata
o This country was recently
declared polio-free by the World Health Organization - Gabon
o Union Cabinet recently approved
agreement with UNESCO for establishment of International Training Centre for
Operational Oceanography in - Hyderabad
o PM Narendra Modi recently
dedicated 60 MW Tuitial Hydro Power Project to the nation. The project is based
in - Mizoram
o The National Green Tribunal
recently banned plastic items in towns located along banks of – Ganga
o The ocial emblem of Beijing 2022
Paralympic Winter Games is - Flying High
o Bilateral military exercise
“EKUVERIN 2017” began recently between India and - Maldives
1st ASEAN-India music festival held
at - Purana Quila in New Delhi.
5th ‘Coastal Shipping & Inland Water Transportation
Business Summit 2017’ in?- Kochi
6th International textile & apparel fair,
'VASTRA' held in- Jaipur
2nd International Yoga Festival & Sports Championship
2017 organized in- J&K
1st edition of WINGS 2017 – “Sab Uden, Sab Juden”- Expanding
Regional Connectivity held in- New Delhi
5th edition of South India Writers Ensemble (SIWE). Core
theme of festival is ‘tolerance’ held in- Chengannur, Kerala
India-ASEAN Youth Summit 2017 at- Bhopal, M.P.
1st meeting of Japan-India Coordination Forum (JICF) for
Devt. of NE Region held in- New Delhi
1st Mobile, Internet & Technology event in India – India
Mobile Congress 2017 in- New Delhi
Goa prepares itself to become the first state to operate
cashless in the country from - 31 Dec 2016
Nagpur is declared as the
first digital district of India
First Children’s Court inaugurated in - Hyderabad
Haryana – First
state to implement the benefit of 7th Central Pay Commission
Gujarat- becomes the first state to distribute 2 crore
LED bulbs under Unnat Jyoti by Affordable LEDs for All (UJALA)
Lanura, a village in Budgam
district of Jammu & Kashmir, became the first village in the state to go
Punjab government- has
launched country’s first amphibious bus project at the Harike wetland near
In Himachal Pradesh, the first Cyber Crime Police Station has been
opened at Shimla.
become the first district in Assam to pay wages to tea garden workers through
individual bank accounts.
become the first state to adopt a resolution welcoming the demonetization of
high-value currency notes
Palampur Assembly Constituency of Kangra
district, Himachal Pradesh became the first e-assembly constituency of the
become the first state in the country to implement Direct Benefit Transfer in
India’s First Live Payment Bank – Airtel at Rajasthan
First state to start India’s first Cherry Blossom Festival –
First-ever Indian Institute of Skills of the country at Kanpur in Uttar
Dhasai village- in
Thane district has become the first cashless village in Maharashtra
the first state in the country to have a cyber police station in all district
Maharashtra became the first Indian state to adopt - Fly Ash
First underwater restaurant in India – Ahmadabad
First railway university in India – Vadodara
First rail auto transportation and logistics hub in India–
First Defense park in India– Ottapalam, Kerala
First LCD panel plant in India– Maharashtra
First Civil Aviation park in India– Gujarat
First ever gender park in India– Kerala
First space park in India– Bengaluru
First digital state in India- Kerala
First cash giving app in India- CASHe
First online interactive heritage portal in India- Sahapedia
First textile university in India- Surat
First tiger cell of India in India- Dehradun
World’s tallest girder rail bridge in India- Manipur
India’s first underground museum in India – New Delhi
India’s first design yatra in India- Kerala
First digital district of India in India– Nagpur
First ODF state in India- Sikkim
Himachal Pradesh – second ODF state
Asia’s first longest cycle highway – Uttar Pradesh
First digital village in India – Akodara village (Gujarat)
India’s first liquefied natural gas-driven bus – Kerala
First island district – Majuli, Assam
First WiFi hotspot village – Gumthala Garhu, Haryana
First water metro project – Kochi
First state to approve sewage and water policy – Rajasthan
First state to adopt Street Lighting National program – Rajasthan
First state to implement Direct Benefit Transfer in Kerosene – Jharkhand
First Happiness Junction of India – Sonepur (Bihar)
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