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    Current Affair & GK for all IAS/CLAT/JUDICIARY students - 19 December 2017

    Daily Current Affairs, 19 December 2017

    Government 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.

    Background:

    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 country.

    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 sustainable development.

    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.

    Way ahead:

    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 region.

    Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation.

    Payment 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 for employees.

    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 establishments.

    Development 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 religion.

    Background:

    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.

    Effect of policies and politics of developed and developing countries on India’s interests, Indian diaspora.

    WORLD MIGRATION REPORT 2018




    Context:

    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.

    Way ahead:

    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 for Migration:

    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.

    Infrastructure.

    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.

    Background:

    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 forums.

    § 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 regional integration

    .




    Awareness in 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 problems.

    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.

    Background:

    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.

    Security challenges and their management in border areas; linkages of organized crime with terrorism.

    UPCOCA bill

    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 conviction.

    § 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.

    Facts for Prelims:

    Global conference on functional materials:

    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 menace:

    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.

    Editorial: For a safe cyberspace

    Introduction:

    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 be upgraded.

    § India’s mobile wallet transactionswere up nine-fold in two years to reach $9 billion.

    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 well.

    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 premium.

    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 hence, unreported.

    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 industry.

    All this is underpinned by the fact that there is low existing capability, or lack of skill sets, to drive cybersecurity agendas.

    Types of Cyber attacks

    § In 2016, nearly one percent of all emails sent were essentially malicious attacks, the highest rate in recent years.

    § 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 (IoT) devices.

    § 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 cryptoworms are also being developed in the JavaScript, which gives the 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 technological progress.

    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 nations.

    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 countries.

    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 equally vulnerable.

    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 cyberspace.

    § 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 risk.

    § Tough laws are needed to be put in place for perpetrators of cybercrime to ensure such criminals are deterred effectively

    § 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.

    IMPORTANT POINTS

    · BJP wins Himachal Pradesh Legislative Assembly Elections 2017 on - 18th 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 Bil
    • Skill Development Ministry and Maruti Suzuki sign MoU to impart skill training to youth on - 18th December 2017
    • Telangana's Kaleshwaram Irrigation Project gets environmental clearance on - 18th December 2017
    • Meeting of WTO member nations to be hosted by India in - February 2018
    • NGT chairperson Justice Swatanter Kumar retired on - 19th December 2017

    DETAILS

    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 Euthanasia.
    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 situation.

    · 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 topic.

    · 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

    · 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 respiratory issues.

    · 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 December 2017

    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 63.76%.

    · 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.

    Key Highlights

    ·

    · 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 automobile industry.

    · 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 for acceptance.

    · 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 large area.

    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 species.

    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 works.

    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 hectares.

    · 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 Maharashtra.

    · It needs 4227 MW of electricity to be supplied by TSGenco.

    ·

    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 multi-lateral process.

    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 unregulated fishing.

    · 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 India.

    · 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 Punjab.

    · Capping the number of devotees at Vaishno Devi to 50,000 per day.

    · Direction to sustain silence at Amarnath.

    · Justice Swatanter Kumar’s successor is yet to be nominated.

    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 Pradesh.

    ONE LINERS

    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 December

    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 Pradesh

    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 Party

    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 cashless.

    · Punjab government- has launched country’s first amphibious bus project at the Harike wetland near Amritsar.

    · In Himachal Pradesh, the first Cyber Crime Police Station has been opened at Shimla.

    · Hailakandi- has become the first district in Assam to pay wages to tea garden workers through individual bank accounts.

    · Chhattisgarh- has 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 country

    · Jharkhand- has become the first state in the country to implement Direct Benefit Transfer in Kerosene

    · India’s First Live Payment Bank – Airtel at Rajasthan

    · First state to start India’s first Cherry Blossom Festival – Meghalaya

    · First-ever Indian Institute of Skills of the country at Kanpur in Uttar Pradesh

    · Dhasai village- in Thane district has become the first cashless village in Maharashtra

    · Maharashtra- is 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 Utilisation Policy

    · First underwater restaurant in India – Ahmadabad

    · First railway university in India – Vadodara

    · First rail auto transportation and logistics hub in India– Chennai

    · 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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