05 , August 2017

Economist Rajiv Kumar appointed as Vice Chairman of NITI Aayog.

The Union Government has appointed economist Rajiv Kumar as the new vice-chairman of National Institution for Transforming India (NITI) Aayog. Rajiv Kumar will succeed Arvind Panagariya. As Vice Chairman of NITI Aayog he will hold cabinet minister rank. Prime Minister is ex-officio Chairperson of the Aayog. Government also appointed Vinod Paul, head of the Pediatrics department at AIIMS as a member of the NITI Aayog.


“Mission Electrification” & “First EPC ” (Engineering, Procurement, Construction) contract

The Indian Railways signed its first EPC (Engineering, Procurement, Construction) contract with Larsen and Turbo (L&T) for electrification of railways.The contract valuing Rs 1,050 crore was awarded by Central Organisation for Railway Electrification (CORE) and Konkan Railways.

The EPC contracts were awarded as part of a strategy to speed up the electrification of railway lines under ‘Mission Electrification’ plan.


Rename the Mughalsarai railway station  as Deen Dayal Upadhyaya (DDU) station

The Centre recently approved the Adityanath-led Uttar Pradesh Government’s proposal to rename the Mughalsarai railway station after the Jan Sangh leader as Deen Dayal Upadhyaya (DDU) station.It comes as the part of the state government’s attempt to revive the legacy of Upadhyaya who died in 1968.

The proposal pointed to the mysterious death of Upadhyaya at the Mughalsarai station as one of the primary reasons to rename the station.


HeliTaxi  services

Hell Taxi a Private helicopter service provider and Bangalore International Airport Limited (BIAL) have partnered to launch HeliTaxi services from Bengaluru Airport. The helicopter service will initially be launched from Bengaluru Airport to Electronic City and gradually expanded to other parts of the city.


e-Rashtriya Kisan Agri Mandi (e-RaKAM) portal

The Union Government launched e-Rashtriya Kisan Agri Mandi (e-RaKAM) portal to provide a platform for farmers to sell agricultural produce.It is a digital initiative that aims to bring together the farmers, PSUs, civil supplies and buyers on a single platform to ease the selling and buying process of agricultural products. It has been developed by state-run-auctioneer MSTC Limited and CRWC (Central Railside Warehouse Company) Limited.

Under this initiative, e-RaKAM centers are being developed throughout the country in a phased manner to facilitate farmers for the online sale of their produce.


1,ISRO and CSIR-NPL sign MoU for time and frequency traceability services

Source: PIB

The Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) Telemetry Tracking and Command Network (ISTRAC) and CSIR-National Physical Laboratory (NPL) signed Memorandum of understanding (MOU) to make indigenous regional position.

  • The MoU will help the NAVIC to get formally synchronized with the Indian Standard Time (IST) which is being maintained by the Delhi-based NPL Company.
  • It will also help in making NAVIC to get fully operational in the market for commercial purposes as time synchronisation is essential for all kinds of services such as financial transactions, digital archiving, stock handling, time stamping, national security or prevention of cyber-crimes etc.
  • Until now, the satellites on NavIC (Navigation with Indian Constellation) managed by the ISRO relied on the US GPS to ensure that the clocks aboard.
  • The NPL is part of the Council of Scientific & Industrial Research (CISR). It is the –measurement standards laboratory of India.


2,“BHARAT 22”
Source: PIB

The Union Finance Ministry has launched second exchange-traded fund (ETF), named Bharat 22. It will help to speed up Government’s disinvestment programme budgeted to raise a record Rs 72,500 crore in the FY 2018.

Exchange-traded funds (ETFs):

  • Exchange-traded funds (ETFs) are essentially index funds that are listed and traded on exchanges like stocks.
  • They are basically basket of stocks with assigned weights that reflects the composition of an index.
  • They are similar to mutual funds in a certain manner but are more liquid as they can be sold quickly on stock exchanges like shares.
  • The ETFs trading value is based on the net asset value of the underlying stocks that it represents.

Bharat 22:

  • Bharat 22 is a well-diversified ETF spanning six sectors — basic materials, energy, finance, industrials, FMCG and utilities.
  • The sector wise weightage in the Bharat 22 Index is basic materials (4.4%), energy (17.5%), finance (20.3%), FMCG (15.2%), industrials (22.6%), and utilities (20%).
  • The banking segment includes stocks from State Bank of India (SBI), Axis Bank, Bank of Baroda (BoB), Indian Bank, Rural Electrification Corporation and Power Finance Corporation.
  • The energy segment includes Oil and Natural Gas Corporation (ONGC), Indian Oil Corporation (IOC), Bharat Petroleum (BP), and Coal India.

The first CPSE ETF was launched in March 2014. The first CPSE ETF consisted of stocks of 10 public sector entities. It is currently managed by Reliance Capital Ltd. Government was able to raise Rs. 8,500 crore by selling it in three tranches.


3.Requirement of Aadhaar number for Registration of Death of an Individual
Source: PIB

  • From October 1 onwards, Aadhaar number will be required to establish identity of a deceased person for registration of his/her death.
  • Why ? Registrar General of India (RGI) said it would effectively prevent identity-fraud.
  • Applicant is not aware of the Aadhaar No. or enrolment ID No. of the deceased: he shall have to declare that the latter did not possess Aadhaar number to the best of his knowledge.
  • Any false declaration to this effect will be treated an offence under the Aadhaar Act, 2016 and Registration of Birth and Death Act, 1967.
  • A reading of the Aadhaar Act indicates that the penalty for the said offence may be imprisonment up to one year and/or fine up to Rs 25,000.


4.New Bill to allow States to drop no-detention policy
Source: The Hindu

The Ministry of Human Resource Development is looking to introduce a Bill to amend the Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education Act, 2009, to enable States to do away with the no-detention policy if they wish. The Cabinet has cleared the introduction of the Bill.

Twenty-five States had recently agreed with the idea of doing away with or tweaking the no-detention policy — wherein a child is not detained till Class 8 — to give a boost to levels of learning. The Centre has thus decided to allow States to take the call and to tweak the RTE Act to enable them to do so. The Bill is expected to permit States to introduce exams in Classes 5 and 8.

No detention policy

  • The no-detention policy was introduced as a part of the Continuous and Comprehensive Evaluation (CCE) under the Right to Education Act (RTE) in 2010.
  • Under this policy, students up to class 8 are automatically promoted to the next class without being held back even if they do not get a passing grade.
  • The no-detention policy under the RTE Act was to ensure that no child admitted in a school shall be held back in any class or expelled from school until the completion of elementary education.
  • The policy was path-breaking but, unfortunately, it ended up being completely opposite to its original objective. There have been plenty of arguments on both sides of this policy.

The provision had attracted criticism with several states and schools complaining that it compromised on academic rigour and learning levels and quality at schools.

  • The TSR Subramanian committee for formulation of the National Policy on Education has also suggested that ‘no detention’ policy should be discontinued after Class V. It had recommended restoration of detention provision, remedial coaching and two extra chances to each student such to move to a higher class.
  • A sub-committee of the Central Advisory Board of Education also studied the issue closely and recommended a provisional detention clause at Classes V and VIII. In 2013, a parliamentary panel had also asked the ministry to ‘rethink’ on its “policy of automatic promotion up to Class VIII”.


5.Cattle trade ban rules were not placed before Parliament
Source: The Hindu

An RTI response has pointed out that rules banning sale of cattle for slaughter in livestock markets were not laid in Parliament, thus making its enforcement an illegal exercise.

The parliamentary procedure makes it mandatory for the government to lay any new rule it notified before Parliament. Besides, Section 38A of the Prevention of Cruelty Act of 1960 mandates that any rule made by the Centre under it ought to be laid before each House of Parliament “as soon as it is made.”

The Centre is re-considering the entire body of the livestock market rules. The rules, in their existing form, meanwhile, would not be implemented.

The Centre, on May 26th, notified the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (Regulation of Livestock Market) Rules, 2017. The notification banned the sale of cattle in livestock market for slaughter and religious sacrifices. This had dismayed cattle traders, butchers and beef eaters. Farmers were also hit as they were also barred from selling non-milch and ageing cattle thus being deprived of their traditional incomes. Various states too opposed the notification saying that it would impact the livelihoods of many. The validity of the rules was challenged in various high courts and the SC. The Madurai bench of Madras HC had stayed the rules.


6.ISRO to rely on CSIR for keeping satellite clocks accurate
Source: The Hindu

India’s indigenously-developed global positioning system, called NavIC, will synchronise its clocks to time provided by the National Physical Laboratory, a Council of Scientific and Industrial Research body.

Until now: the satellites on NavIC — managed by the Indian Space Research Organisation — relied on the United State’s GPS to ensure that the clocks aboard were working at the high-precision required in satellite-based communication.

A memorandum was signed between the CSIR and ISRO to initiate this activity that will now require NPL to upgrade its time-keeping infrastructure and ISRO to make changes that will make NPL-provided time the default time source aboard the seven-satellite constellation.


  • Atomic clocks aboard NavIC, more formally called the Indian Regional Navigation Satellite System (IRNSS), are foreign-made and ISRO’s forthcoming satellite, IRNSS-1H, will continue using the same clocks.
  • IRNSS-1H satellite is being launched as a replacement for one of the seven satellites, IRNSS-1A, which has had problems with the accuracy of its clocks.


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