National - 2018 JULY

July 1

IT Department Provides Aadhaar Based e-PAN Facility For Taxpayers
The Income Tax Department (ITD) which receives nearly 15-20 lakh applications per week for PAN Card, finally launched the facility of e-PAN on a real-time basis. The move to launch e-PAN was to reduce the interaction with the IT Department and also help the taxpayers generate their Permanent Account Number (PAN) without much ado.
If one has an Aadhaar, the process becomes relatively more simple. No documents need to be submitted as the e-PAN will be generated with the details you’ve provided in your Aadhaar card. The only thing which one needs to make sure is that the details are updated since an e-KYC will be done using the Aadhaar database.
After the e-KYC is done, the application for the e-PAN will be in process. Once the e-KYC has been done, one needs to upload his/her scanned signature on the ITD’s website, adhering to all the specifications mentioned by the tax department. Once the application gets filed, a 15-digit acknowledgement number will be generated and it would sent to the mobile number or the email address mentioned in the application form.

Government forms panel to upgrade norms for state, district level economic data collection
The government has set up a 13-member committee to upgrade the norms for computation of economic data at states and districts level in the backdrop of plans to revise the base year for National Accounts or GDP calculation. The Committee for Sub-National Accounts will be headed by Ravindra H Dholakia, a retired professor of IIM Ahmedabad.
The Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation (MOSPI) will change the base year to 2017-18 for the calculation of GDP and IIP numbers from the current 2011-12 with an aim to capture changes in the economy.
The panel has been asked to "review the concepts, definitions, classifications, data conventions, data sources and data requirements for preparation of State Domestic Product (SDP) and District Domestic Product (DDP) and to lay down revised guidelines".

Government extends PAN-Aadhaar linking deadline to March next year
The deadline for PAN-Aadhaar linking has been extended to March 31 next year, a CBDT order issued. This is the fifth time the Government has extended the deadline for individuals to link their Permanent Account Number (PAN) to their biometric ID (Aadhaar).
The policy-making body of the tax department issued an order under Section 119 of the Income Tax Act, extending the deadline. The Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) had last extended the deadline on March 27.
The deadline for the PAN-Aadhaar linking for filing I-T returns was being extended after “consideration of the matter”. It is understood that the fresh CBDT order has come against the backdrop of the Supreme Court earlier this year directing extension of the March, 2018 deadline for linking Aadhaar card with various other services.
The apex court had ordered that the deadline be extended till the five-judge constitution bench delivers its judgement on petitions challenging the validity of the biometric scheme and the enabling law. The government has now made quoting of Aadhaar mandatory for filing income tax returns (ITRs) as well as obtaining a new PAN.

Sterling Biotech gets closure notice
Sterling Biotech Limited, a pharmaceutical company, accused of flouting environmental norms and discharging untreated effluent into the Pykara Dam and nearby reservoirs, has been served with a closure notice by the Tamil Nadu Pollution Control Board (TNPCB).
According to officials, the TNPCB had found the company guilty of polluting nearby water bodies with direct discharge of sewage and also letting out effluent through the sewage pipes into the Pykara Dam. The TNPCB had instructed the company to set up a zero-discharge effluent treatment facility last year, and warned of closure notice if it failed to do so.

Nissan signs MoU with Kerala government for digital hub
Signalling Kerala’s evolution as a major destination for technology companies, Japanese automotive firm NISSAN Motor Company signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the State government to set up a Digital Innovation Hub in the capital city.
Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan who attended the signing ceremony the new venture marked a milestone in the State’s emergence as a major driver for digital technologies.

July 2

DEPwD to Organize ''National Workshop on Skill Development for PwDs''
Department of Empowerment of Persons with Disabilities (DEPwD), Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment is organizing a “National Workshop on Skill Development for Persons with Disabilities (Divyangjan)”. The workshop is being organized with a view to provide a platform to all stakeholders ranging from training partners to the policy makers as well as employers.
Shri Thaawarchand Gehlot, Minister for Social Justice and Empowerment will inaugurate the workshop and Shri Dharmendra Pradhan, Minister for Skill Development and Entrepreneurship will be the Guest of Honour. Shri Krishan Pal Gurjar, MoS for M/o SJ&E will address at the workshop. Representatives from Corporate Sectors (both in Private and Public), State Governments and Empanelled Training Centres of DEPwD will participate in the day long workshop.
Election Commission of India to hold a National Consultation on Accessible Elections
The Election Commission of India (ECI) has organized a two-day “National Consultation on Accessible Elections,” in New Delhi. It will be inaugurated by the Chief Election Commissioner Shri O.P.Rawat, in presence of the Election Commissioners Shri Sunil Arora and Shri Ashok Lavasa. The event is a part of the ECI’s pursuit of its mission ‘leave no voter behind,’ with special focus on “Persons with Disabilities” (PwD). During the inaugural session, a dedicated portal for the ECI’s ‘Systematic Voters Education and Electoral Participation’ (SVEEP) initiative will also be launched.
The theme of “Inclusion of PwD’s” has been given a special focus in the ECI’s Strategic Plan 2016-2025. Besides, “Accessible Elections” has been adopted as its central theme for this year’s National Voters’ Day celebrations.
The national consultation will be participated among others by the Chief Electoral Officers of all states, Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) working in the area of empowerment of the differently abled and senior officials of the Union Ministries of Social Justice & Empowerment, Information & Broadcasting, Electronics and Information Technology, Youth Affairs and Sports, Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE), Central Public Works Department and the National Literacy Mission Authority.

Jharkhand to set up country's first Khadi mall
Jharkhand Chief Minister Raghubar Das announced that the first 'Khadi Mall' of the country will be opened soon.
Within 15 days, land in the Heavy Engineering Corporation (HEC) campus will be made available to the Khadi Board to develop the country's first Khadi mall, while addressing the 'Karigar Panchayat' organized by the Khadi Board at the Tana Bhagat Indoor Stadium.
Das informed that the artisans would be provided technological aid for value addition in their products, while rural, urban and tourism 'haats' will provide them markets for their goods.

Kejriwal, Dalai Lama launch 'Happiness Curriculum' for Delhi govt schools
The Delhi government launched 'Happiness Curriculum' for its school students, with the Dalai Lama gracing the occasion, India can lead the world by uniting the modern and ancient knowledge and help it overcome "negative emotions" of the mankind.
Launching the curriculum for students of nursery up to class 8, Delhi chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal termed the occasion "historical".
The Dalai Lama called for revival of the ancient Indian knowledge in the country of its origin and its subsequent spread across the world including the countries following Buddhism.

9 lakh saplings planted in Jharkhand as part of government’ s green drive
Nine lakh saplings were planted across 24 river banks in the state as part of the Jharkhand government's initiative to protect the environment, The state aims to plant 2.40 crore saplings by August 15.
At a programme organised by the forest and environment department at Namkum block in Ranchi on this occasion, Chief Minister Raghubar Das informed the green drive would save the river banks from erosion and retain moisture in the ground.

India to provide tariff concessions on 3,142 items to APTA members
India has agreed to provide tariff concessions on 3,142 products to Asia Pacific Trade Agreement (APTA) members, including Bangladesh and Sri Lanka, from July.
However, these duty concessions will be more for least developed countries (LDCs) and less for developing nations.
APTA is an initiative under the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (UN ESCAP) for trade expansion through exchange of tariff concession among developing country members of the Asia Pacific Region. It is in place since 1975.

July 3

Ministry of Defence approves construction of 17 New Baffle Firing Ranges
Ministry of Defence has given a go ahead sanction for construction of 17 new baffle firing ranges in Military Stations/Cantonments/Training Establishments at an approximate cost of Rs. 238 crores. This will add seven ranges to the Southern Command, Three to the Eastern Command, Two to the Northern Command, one each to the South Western and Central Commands. The one at Central Command is proposed for the Officers Training Academy, Gaya.
These 17 will be in addition to the 60 similar firing ranges existing all over the country. The proposed baffle shooting ranges can facilitate firing from 300 to 500 meters.
Baffle firing ranges are covered shooting practice areas which prevent possible accidents due to stray bullet injuries. The possibility of such mishap has increased many folds in recent times due to growth of civilian population around the cantonments. To prevent such casualties without affecting the training requirements of the Armed Forces, MOD has approved additional baffle ranges.

Madhya Pradesh to implement Ayushman Bharat Yojana
The Ayushman Bharat Yojana under the Pradhan Mantri Rashtriya Swasthya Suraksha Mission will be implemented in Madhya Pradesh from August 15 this year.
The Madhya Pradesh state government has signed a MoU with the National Health Agency for the implementation of the scheme.
Under the Ayushman Bharat Yojana, an annual health security cover worth Rs 5 lakh will be provided to each family.
The benefit of the scheme will be given in cashless form through government and private hospitals.
Overall, a total of 84 lakh families of the state’s deprived section have been included in the scheme on the basis of socio-economic caste census.

2021 census data to be stored electronically
The data collected during the 2021 Census will be stored electronically, the first time since the decennial exercise was conducted in 1951 in Independent India.
According to an amended rule notified by the Registrar General of India (RGI) on June, ''The schedules and other connected papers shall be disposed of totally or in part by the Director of Census Operations, after creating an electronic record of such documents''.
Election Commission of India launches Mobile App ''cVIGIL'' to enable citizens to report on violation of election code of conduct
The Chief Election Commissioner Shri. O.P. Rawat, along with the Election Commissioners Shri Sunil Arora and Shri Ashok Lavasa launched a mobile app, called ‘Cvigil,’, for citizens to report any violation of the model code of conduct during elections.
''cVIGIL" is a user-friendly and easy to operate Android application. It will be operational only where elections are announced. However, the beta version of the app will be made available for the public and election staff to download so that they can acquaint themselves with its features and also try sending dummy data.
The app requires an Android smartphone equipped with a camera, good internet connection and GPS access. The operating system should be Android Jellybean and above. The application supports all the latest Android smartphones.

Gujarat CM launches special drive against malnutrition
Gujarat Chief Minister Vijay Rupani launched 'Poshan Abhiyan'-a statewide mission to eradicate malnutrition among children by providing them nutritious food through Anganwadi centres.
During the function organised at Gandhinagar, the chief minister also launched 'Purna' project to eliminate malnutrition among girls in the age group of 14 to 18.
'Purna' stands for Prevention of under Nutrition and Reduction of Nutritional Anaemia among Adolescent Girls.

Maharashtra government sets up panel to frame norms for surrogacy centres
The Maharashtra government has set up an expert panel to prepare guidelines for surrogacy centres in the state until the Regulation of Surrogacy Bill, 2016 is passed by Parliament.
A Government Resolution (GR) issued the seven-member expert panel should examine guidelines laid down by the Indian Council of Medical Research on Assisted Reproductive Technology (ART), and prepare a set of regulations to implement them in the state.

July 4

Cabinet Approvals On July 4, 2018
The Union Cabinet chaired by Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi has approved the transfer of 4 acres of Defence land to Kendriya Vidyalaya Sangathan (KVS).
4 acres for the construction of Kendriya Vidyalaya No. 4 at Kandhar Lines, Delhi Cantt. 7.5 acres for the construction of Kendriya Vidvalaya in Survey No. 408, Jalandhar Cantt.
7.118 acres for construction of Kendriya Vidyalaya Number 2 Dhar Road in District Udhampur, Jammu & Kashmir.
Cabinet approves Transfer of 5.99 acres of Sashastra Seema Bal’s land at Tawang to the State Government of Arunachal Pradesh.
Cabinet approves exemption from charging commercial rates for the plot of land allotted to the High Commission of Fiji in New Delhi.
Cabinet approves accession to WIPO Copyright Treaty, 1996 and WIPO Performance and Phonograms Treaty, 1996
This extends coverage of copyright to the internet and digital environment and is a step towards the objective laid in the National Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) Policy adopted by the Government on 12th May 2016 which aims to get value for IPRs through commercialization.
Cabinet approves DNA Technology (Use and Application) Regulation Bill, 2018
This would expand the application of DNA-based forensic technologies to support and strengthen the justice delivery system of the country.
Cabinet approves for continuance of the 8 existing schemes of the Ministry of Home Affairs upto March 2020 for relief and rehabilitation of migrants and repatriates under the Umbrella scheme “Relief and Rehabilitation of Migrants and Repatriates”.
The financial implication for this purpose is Rs. 3183 crore for the period 2017-18 to 2019-20. The year-wise phasing of the scheme will be- Rs. 911 crore in 2017-18, Rs.1372 crore in 2018-19 and Rs. 900 crore in 2019-2020.
Cabinet approves creation of one post each of Vice-Chairperson and Member in the National Commission for Safai Karamcharis.
The National Commission for Safai Karmacharis is working for the welfare of both Safai Karamcharis and Manual Sacavengers.
Cabinet approves revision of the compensation on SESF Operations with Boeing 747-400 aircraft.
Its approval to enhance the expenditure for “Special Extra Section Flights” (SESF) operations to Rs.534.38 crore plus applicable taxes for 2016-17 with built-in annual escalation of 10%.
Cabinet approves renewal of MoU between the Institute of Chartered Accountants of India & Saudi Organisation for Certified Public Accountants
This was done to promote mutual co-operation framework in the areas of Corporate Governance, Technical Research & Advice, Quality Assurance, Forensic Accounting, issues for Small and Medium Sized Practices (SMPs), Islamic Finance, Continuing Professional Development (CPD) and other subjects of mutual interest related to Accountancy.
Cabinet approves MoU between India and United Kingdom on cooperation in the sphere of Law & Justice and establishing a Joint Consultative Committee.

Nitin Gadkari flags off taxi ambulance services
Union Minister Nitin Gadkari flagged off Wagon Cab's taxi ambulance services. A startup, Wagon Cab claims to be India's first road emergency cab services provider.
The launch comes in the backdrop of India accounting for 5 lakh road crashes annually worldwide in which 1.5 lakh people die. Wagon Cab, which provides medically-trained drivers in its ambulance-taxis, in the initial phase it will launch 200 cabs.

Rajasthan approves 1% reservation for Gujjars, other MBCs
The Rajasthan government announced 1% reservations for five communities– Gujjar, Banjara, Gadia-Lohar, Raika, and Gadariya– under the Most Backward Classes (MBC) category.
This comes after Gujjar leaders threatened to launch protests during PM Narendra Modi's upcoming Jaipur visit. The Gujjars were seeking 5% reservation within OBC quota to not violate the 50% Supreme Court-mandated cap.

Odisha govt enhances incentives for inter-caste marriage
The Odisha government has enhanced the incentives for inter-caste marriage among Hindus.
Odisha's ST and SC Development Minister Ramesh Chandra Majhi informed that the government has decided to increase the inter-caste marriage incentive from Rs 1 lakh to Rs 2.5 lakh. The decision would be implemented with retrospective effect from September 2017.
The minister clarified that the marriage in which one of the spouses belonged to the SC community and the other belonged to an upper caste, will be considered for the incentive.
Madhya Pradesh Govt launches MP Saral Bijli Bill Scheme Application Form – Mukhyamantri Jan Kalyan (Sambal) Yojana
Madhya Pradesh Govt. has launched MP Saral Bijli Bill Scheme under the flagship Mukhyamantri Jan Kalyan (Sambal) Yojana. Govt. will now ensure the availability of electricity to the families of registered labourers at a nominal price of Rs. 200 per month for domestic use. To avail the scheme benefits, candidates can download the offline application form at
In the initial phase, the maximum permissible limit for domestic consumption will be 100 units to run fans, bulbs and other household items. This scheme is launched on the lines of the Saubhagya Scheme where no security money is required from the applicant.

Meghalaya’s annual “Behdienkhlam” festival attended by DoNER DR. Jitendra Singh at Jowai, Meghalaya
The Union Minister of State for Development of North Eastern Region (I/C), Prime Minister’s Office, Personnel, Public Grievances & Pensions, Atomic Energy and Space, Dr. Jitendra Singh attended the 4-day Meghalaya Annual Cultural Festival, “Behdienkhlam“, held every year at the small peripheral town of Jowai, Meghalaya.
Behdienkhlam Festival is the most celebrated Cultural festival among the Pnars. The festival held at Jowai is one of the most well known and recreational festival in Meghalaya. The Rituals in the Behdienkhlam Festival. A series of religious rites is being performed by the Daloi (chief).

Maharashtra government allocates Rs. 15 crore for pension scheme for journalists
The Maharashtra government tabled supplementary demands worth Rs. 11,445 crore in the Legislative Assembly, including Rs. 15 crore for the implementation of a pension scheme for senior journalists in the state.
The government made a provision of Rs. 15 crore for implementing the pension scheme for journalists, called Acharya Balshastri Jambhekar Sanman Yojana. The provision has been made under the grants-in-aid (non salary) to the Director of Publicity.
The government also allocated Rs 250 crore to National High Speed Rail Corporation Limited (NHSRCL) as the state's share to the special purpose vehicle of Mumbai-Ahmedabad bullet train project.
NSG to be first central force to opt for e-ticketing instead of railway warrant
The National Security Guard will be the first central paramilitary force to opt for e-ticketing instead of the railway warrant under an agreement signed with the IRCTC.
A memorandum of understanding was signed between the Indian railway catering and Tourism Corporation and the NSG at the headquarters of the special force.
Purchasing tickets through railway warrant system is a cumbersome and lengthy process as it requires the NSG staff to go to railway reservation counter to exchange a railway warrant to reserve tickets.

Tripura, Mizoram sign agreement for repatriation of Bru refugees
In a major development, the Centre and the state governments of Tripura and Mizoram finally managed to sign an agreement for repatriation of thousands of people belonging to the Bru community from Tripura to Mizoram.
After more than two decades of living in the refugee camps in the Jampui Hills of Tripura, as many as 32,876 people belonging to 5,407 families will finally return to their home state following a tripartite agreement signed by the two state governments and the Centre.
A bout of ethnic violence forced thousands of people from the Bru tribe to leave their homes in Mizoram. An attempt at repatriation began in 2010 and some people even moved back. The pact was signed in the presence of Home Minister Rajnath Singh, Tripura Chief Minister Beb and Mizoram Chief Minister Lal Thanhawla.

Indian Advance Pricing Agreement regime moves forward with signing of three UAPAs by CBDT in May and June, 2018
The Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) has entered into three Unilateral Advance Pricing Agreements (UAPA) during the past couple of months. With the signing of these Agreements, the total number of APAs entered into by the CBDT has gone up to 223, which inter alia include 20 Bilateral APAs.
The UAPAs entered into during the past couple of months pertain to consumer industry, automobile and precious stones & metals sectors of the economy. The international transactions covered in the agreements pertain to provision of corporate guarantee, purchase of brand, availing of grading services, availing of management services and payment of royalty.
The progress of the APA scheme strengthens the Government’s resolve of fostering a non-adversarial tax regime. The Indian APA programme has been appreciated nationally and internationally for being able to address complex transfer pricing issues in a fair and transparent manner.
Health Ministry launches empanelment process for hospitals under Ayushman Bharat
The Health Ministry has called on public and private hospitals to come on board to implement the Ayushman Bharat scheme. The National Health Agency (NHA), the apex body implementing the scheme that envisions providing cashless insurance up to Rs 5 lakh for 10.74 crore poor families, has launched the formal process to empanel public and private hospitals.
The State Health Agencies (SHA) through the State Empanelment Committees (SEC) will start empanelling private and public healthcare service providers and facilities in states and UTs in line with the given guidelines. Workshops will be held at the ground, district, sub-district and block levels to brief officials on the details of the empanelment criteria, packages, processes and address any queries. Following the workshops, interested hospitals can empanel themselves by visiting the web portal – -- where complete details of the process can be accessed.
Twenty-four of the 36 states and union territories have one or the other scheme covering a stipulated population for cashless insurance services. Most of these schemes will be subsumed under Ayushman Bharat. Also, hospitals already empanelled under the Rashtriya Swasthya Bima Yojana (RSBY) need not register online again.

Election Commission to issue braille voter ID cards to visually challenged voters
The Election Commission announced that it will soon issue braille voter identity cards to visually-challenged electors across the country.
Chief Election Commissioner O P Rawat announced that the commission has decided to establish auxiliary polling stations during elections for the people with disabilities.
A mobile app will be developed in-house for such voters to facilitate their participation in the election process.

Maharashtra government to give employees paid leave to look after children
The Maharashtra government decided to provide a total of 180 days' paid leave to women government employees to look after the children in the course of service. They will be able take this leave until their children turn 18.
The same leave can be availed of by a male employee too if his wife is dead and if he has children who are under 18.
Among other things, women employees would find this facility helpful when their children are in class 10th or 12th. Women (or male, as the case may be) employees will be able to demand this leave thrice a year.

July 5

Karnataka budget announces Rs. 34,000 crore farm loan waiver, increase in taxes on fuel
Bangalore - Karnataka Chief Minister H.D. Kumaraswamy presented the Congress-JD(S) coalition government’s maiden budget, announcing farm loan waiver worth Rs. 34,000 crore.
The budget, however, has increased the rate of tax on petrol from the present 30% to 32%, hiking petrol prices by Rs. 1.14 a litre and the rate of tax on diesel from the present 19% to 21%, hiking its price by Rs. 1.12 a litre.
In the run-up to the recent Assembly polls, the Kumaraswamy-led JD(S) had promised to waive farm loans borrowed both from cooperative and nationalised banks within 24 hours of coming to power.

Piyush Goyal launches the Coal Mine Surveillance & Management System and 'Khan Prahari' App
Union Minister of Coal, Railways, Finance & Corporate Affairs, Piyush Goyal launched the Coal Mine Surveillance & Management System (CMSMS) and Mobile Application ‘Khan Prahari’.
The ‘Khan Prahari’ app has been developed by CMPDI, Ranchi, a Subsidiary of Coal India Limited (CIL) and Bhaskarcharya Institute of Space Application and Geo-informatics (BISAG).
The ‘Coal Mine Surveillance & Management System (CMSMS) aims to report, monitor and take suitable action on unauthorised coal mining activities. The CMSMS is a web based GIS application through which location of sites for unauthorised mining can be detected.

Uttar Pradesh government defence manufacturing policy envisages Rs. 50,000 crores investment, 2.5 lakh jobs
The Uttar Pradesh government announced its much-awaited defence and aerospace manufacturing policy, projecting an investment of Rs. 50,000 crores over the next five years.
The UP Defence and Aerospace Units and Employment Promotion Policy 2018, cleared by the state cabinet, which is expected to generate 2.5 lakh jobs, is replete with a number of sops for the investors.
The policy had been in the making for the last four months since Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced the `20-crore Bundelkhand Defence Corridor during the investors’ summit in Lucknow in February.
The government announced that the under this project an investment of Rs 50,000 crore and creation of 2.5 lakh jobs is envisaged.

Punjab CM Amarinder Singh orders mandatory dope test of all government employees
From cops to civil servants, all 3.5 lakh government employees in Punjab will now have to take periodic dope tests.
For a state that chose to live in denial for so long about the proliferation of drugs, Chief Minister Capt Amarinder Singh has swung to other extreme to crack the nexus with officials by ordering mandatory dope tests for them.
The screening will be done during recruitment, promotion, and at the annual medical examination, some employees need to face.
Chief Secretary Karan Avtar Singh has been directed to work out the modalities and have a notification issued in this regard.
West Bengal Chief minister announces 'one person, one car' policy for ministers
In an attempt to cut the costs incurred by the state over travel expenses of ministers and bureaucrats, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee announced the 'one person, one car' policy. Further mandating economy class travel in low-cost airlines for all domestic air trips, she added that foreign travels will be sanctioned only by her.
She also ordered cuts on hospitality, food and refreshments on an emergency basis.

Central Board of Indirect Taxes and Customs (CBIC) launches GST 'Verify App'
The Central Board of Indirect Taxes and Customs (CBIC) has developed a mobile app 'GST Verify' to protect interest of consumers.
It is an android app to verify if the person collecting GST from the consumer is eligible to collect it or not. It also provides the details of the person/ company collecting GST.
This app, developed by B Raghu Kiran joint commissioner GST Hyderabad, can be used all across the country.

July 6

Haryana to launch diarrhoea control campaign this month
The Haryana Health Department will launch an intensive diarrhoea control campaign from July 15 to 30 under which ORS and zinc packets would be distributed to about 26.5 lakh children below five years of age across the state.
The decision was taken at a steering committee meeting of different state departments held under the chairmanship of Principal Secretary, Health Department, Raja Sekhar Vundru.
Under this campaign, high risk areas such as construction sites, slums and far flung areas would be identified for the distribution of ORS and zinc packets.

Railways to accept driving licence, Aadhaar in DigiLocker as ID proof
The Railway Ministry will accept soft copies of Aadhaar and driving licence as proof of identity when they are issued from the digital locker account of the passenger.
As per Digilocker Web site, it has 1.2 crore registered users. Digital locker is a service offered by the IT Ministry allowing users to keep digital records of various documents including birth certificate, mark sheets, driving licenses, among others.
The Railway Ministry has clarified that the documents uploaded by the user himself/herself - the documents in ‘Uploaded Documents’ section of digilocker —will not be considered as a valid proof of identity.

Under Sagarmala project, Centre to give Rs. 500 crore to SCI to promote cruise tourism: Nitin Gadkari
Union Transport Minister Nitin Gadkari has announced that, under Sagarmala project, Centre will provide 500 crore rupees to Shipping Corporation of India to lease out cruises to promote cruise tourism. Mr Gadkari and Union Minister of State for Tourism, K.J. Alphons interacted with associates of travel and trade fraternity concerned with cruise and other related matters.
The deliberations were held as part of the Jawaharlal Nehru Port Trust (JNPT) Annual Awards event in Mumbai. The Government is focusing on sea route and inland waterways and promoting use of methanol and ethanol fuels to be used in cruise to bring down fuel cost. The cruise tourist companies to bring cruises from abroad and refurbish them in India which will be cost-effective for them.
Mr Alphons suggested that no GST may be applied for first 5 years in order to give a boost to cruise tourism business. Government will lose money in the short run, it will give handsome profit going ahead.

Rajasthan is lobbying hard for the centre's approval for ambitious eastern rajasthan canal project
The Bharatiya Janata Party government in Rajasthan is lobbying hard for the Centre’s approval for the ambitious Eastern Rajasthan Canal Project (ERCP) with a proposed budget of Rs. 37,000 crore as a river interlinking project, which will transfer excess waters from the Chambal river basin to 13 districts in the State facing water scarcity.
Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje met Union Water Resources Minister Nitin Gadkari in New Delhi with the request for approval which would facilitate Central assistance for the project. Ms. Raje pointed out that the project, which would link Parvati, Kalisindh and Chambal rivers, would benefit 40% of the State’s population with the supply of drinking and irrigation waters.
Mr. Gadkari has agreed to the proposal and stated that a Cabinet note on the subject would shortly be drafted and sent to the Union Cabinet. Ms. Raje had sought the national project status for ERCP at a meeting of the NITI Aayog’s Governing Council last month.

Uttarakhand HC declares animals to be 'legal persons'
In a unique ruling, the Uttarakhand High Court accorded the status of ''legal person or entity'' to animals in the State, ''they have a distinct persona with corresponding rights, duties and liabilities of a living person''. A Division Bench of Justices Rajiv Sharma and Lokpal Singh bestowed the unique status on animal kingdom while issuing a series of directions to prevent cruelty against animals. '' protect and promote greater welfare of animals including avian and aquatic, animals are required to be conferred with the status of legal entity/ legal person''.
The entire animal kingdom, including avian and aquatic ones, are declared as legal entities having a distinct persona with corresponding rights, duties and liabilities of a living person. All the citizens throughout the State of Uttarakhand are hereby declared persons in loco parentis as the human face for the welfare/protection of animals.
The court also declared all Uttarakhand natives the guardians of animals and endowed them with the duty to ensure their welfare and protection.

A village in Jammu and Kashmir gets electricity first time since Independence
Narla Bambal, a village in Jammu and Kashmir's Rajouri district, received electricity connection and metalled road for the first time since Independence.
Road for that village was constructed under Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojna.
The electricity is provided to the people of the village under Deen Dayal Upadhyay scheme.
The Central and State government also constructed 'pucca houses' in Rajouri, for those living below poverty line, under Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana.

Minister of State for Culture (I/c)Dr. Mahesh Shrama Inaugurates exhibition titled "Arth - art for earth" at IGNCA, New Delhi.
Union Minister of State for Culture(I/c), Dr. Mahesh Shrama, inaugurated exhibition titled "Arth - art for earth" at IGNCA, New Delhi. ‘ARTH - ART FOR EARTH’ by Manav Gupta consists of "Excavations in Hymns of Clay"-a suite of environmental art installations by Manav Gupta weaving all of them with a storyline and poetry. It is an evolving site, specific and dynamic engagement with the space it has an interface with - whether it be the Travelling or the Permanent editions.
Manav Gupta has used Indian potter’s produce of clay objects like the earthen lamps (diyas), local cigar (chilam), earthen cups (kullar) etc. The exhibition will be available for public view till October 2018.
Manohar Lal Khattar launches 'Chai pe Charcha' campaign
Haryana Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar launched his 'Chai pe Charcha' or 'conversation over tea' campaign and interacted with scores of party workers and people at different places in the state.
He attended about a dozen programmes from Panchkula to Jind to get feedback about the functioning of his government which is about to complete four years in office.
Deviating from his normal routine, Khattar was not accompanied by many of his officers as he approached the people directly, took their feedback and jotted down notes in his diary.

Gorakhpur launches ‘Stop JE/AES’ mobile app to check encephalitis
With encephalitis claiming the lives of hundreds of children every year in eastern parts of Uttar Pradesh, the Gorakhpur administration launched an android based smart phone application to combat the epidemic.
Named 'Stop JE/AES', the app that lets users seek immediate medical help with the touch of a button was launched by Divisional Commissioner Anil Kumar and DM Vijyendra Pandian.
By pressing the help button in the app, an alert can be sent to the control room which would call back on the number to collect the details about the patient As a first response, auxiliary mid wives (ANMs) will rush to help the patient who would be carried to a nearby community health centre (CHC)/ primary health centre (PHC) or hospital through 102 0r 108 ambulance services.

Haryana CM launches plantation campaign
Haryana Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar launched a state-wide plantation campaign from the Narwana sub-division of the district. The campaign would to be carried out from July to August this year.
School students from class 6 to 12 would take part in it. They would plant one sapling each during the rainy season and would also be responsible to take care of these plants.
The chief minister flagged off more than two dozen tractors and trolleys loaded with plants.

CEAT signs MoU with Tamil Nadu govt to set up Rs. 40 billion plant
Tyre major CEAT, the flagship company of RPG Group, officially signed a MoU with the Tamil Nadu government to invest Rs. 40 billion in the state. The cabinet had given its nod for the proposal.
CEAT has already purchased land for the facility in the Sriperumbudur area. The MoU was signed in the presence of Tamil Nadu Chief Minister E Palaniswami and Anant Goenka, Managing Director of CEAT, who was in Chennai to sign the MoU.
CEAT's annual report has stated that the company's upcoming greenfield plant will bolster capabilities in the motorcycle tyre and passenger car tyre segments. As part of an expansion plan, the company has acquired land of Rs. 673.1 million during the year.

July 7

Himachal Pradesh to ban plastic, thermocol cutlery across state
After Maharashtra and Uttar Pradesh, Himachal Pradesh Government is all set to ban the use of plastic and thermocol cutlery in the state.
The ban that comes under Non-Biodegradable Garbage (Control) Act, 1995, will come into effect within three months and will be applicable for both individuals and commercial establishments.
Breach of the law shall be liable for the penalty ranging from Rs 500 to Rs 25,000. This would not only help in environment conservation but also promote eco-tourism in the State.
Chief Minister Jai Ram Thakur on 'World Environment Day' had announced to impose a blanket ban on the use of plastic and thermocol cutlery in the State.
It was observed that despite the complete ban on polythene bags, plastic cutlery still using in the state and therefore desired results have not been achieved.

Meghalaya CM releases policy document on jackfruit mission
Meghalaya Chief Minister Conrad K Sangma released the policy document of the five year jackfruit mission.
The chief minister launched the draft policy for the mission at the jackfruit festival and the mission is likely to be launched before Independence Day this year.
The mission aims to generate employment opportunities for over 80,000 farmers.
Rs 80 crore jackfruit mission has set a target of reaching out and impacting over 82,000 farmers, 50 small and medium enterprises and about 200 nano enterprises the state in the next five year.

British Council & West Bengal govt. sign MoU on cultural, education exchange
The West Bengal government signed an MoU with the British Council aiming at promoting cultural, educational and skill development exchanges between the UK and the state.
The MoU was signed between British Council in India Director Alan Gemmell OBE and state Home Secretary Atri Bhattacharya in presence of Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee.
The MoU, celebrating the British Council's 70th anniversary in India, is focused on English language training in the school system and higher education, research collaboration and capacity building in higher education and cultural collaboration between the UK and the state. Skill development and tourism are also in the ambit of the MoU.

PM lays foundation stone for 13 projects worth Rs 2,100 crore
Providing a booster shot to the ruling BJP in Rajasthan, which is headed to polls later this year, Prime Minister Narendra Modi laid the foundation stone for 13 urban infrastructure projects with a total outlay of Rs 2100 crore.
The projects include a 2.7-km elevated road project for Ajmer under the Smart City Mission. The Rs 220 crore project is scheduled to be completed within two years and is aimed at decongesting the traffic. Modi also inaugurated a water supply project for Ajmer under the Amrut Mission and the integrated infrastructure package for walled city of Udaipur. The Rs 537 crore project includes drinking water supply, sewerage and road network and underground electrification of Udaipur.
Modi also inaugurated projects under Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana (urban) in Bundi, Ajmer and Bikaner districts.

NHRC announces winners for silver jubilee logo, slogan-tagline contests
A Mumbai man has emerged as the winner from nearly 900 entries sent to the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) for its silver jubilee logo contest.
Several contests were organised online through the MyGov portal seeking people's involvement and participation in the promotion and protection of human rights, in the run up to the 25th year anniversary celebrations of the commission this year.
A total of 893 entries were received for the logo design category and 4,237 entries for slogan/tagline category from the people of varied age groups from different parts of the country.
Bansi Lal Ketki from Mumbai in Maharashtra won the first prize of Rs 50,000 along with a certificate in the logo design contest.
Tabrej Qureshi from Chhindwara in Madhya Pradesh has bagged the top prize in the slogan/tagline contest.
His tagline entry was: 'Awaaz Aapke Adhikar Ki' and slogan -- 'Desh may vikas ki aayge bahar, jab hoga surakshit manav adhikar'.

Uttar Pradesh orders plastic ban from July 15, third time since 2015
Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath announced ban on plastic bags, cups and glasses across the state from July 15 onwards. Adityanath, who made the announcement during a programme in Barabanki district, it would be a big movement for the protection of environment and also sought co-operation from the public.

July 8

NITI Ayog's National Health Stack programme mirrors Kerala's eHealth plan
When Kerala launched the ambitious eHealth project in January last, it became the first state in the country to launch such a kind of initiative.
Now a year-and-a-half later, when the public think-tank NITI Aayog mulls the idea of a digital health framework called National Health Stack (NHS), the state has much to cheer about as the proposed NHS has many similarities to the state’s own eHealth project.
NITI Aayog released the ‘Strategy and Approach paper on the NHS’, terming it as ‘the blueprint for India’s futuristic digital health system.’
As per the consultation paper, NHS envisages a centraliSed health record for all citizens of the country, thereby streamlining the health information and facilitating effective management of the same. The proposed initiative will become part of the Centre’s flagship National Health Protection Scheme (NHPS).

PM Modi to inaugurate Statue of Unity on October 31
Prime Minister Narendra Modi will inaugurate the Statue of Unity on October 31, the birth anniversary of Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel.
Rupani reviewed the progress of the memorial in Kevadiya near Sardar Sarovar Dam in the tribal-dominated Narmada district, about 190 kilometres.
The 182-metre tall statue is being built with 25,000 tonnes of iron and 90,000 tonnes of cement. the monument is a fitting tribute to a leader who worked tirelessly for the unity and integrity of the country.
World class facilities will be ensured in order to attract tourists, adding the statue will also have a tribal museum as well as garden and boating facilities.

Semi High Speed train named ‘Train 18’ built by India's integral coach factory
India's much-awaited indigenously manufactured semi high-speed train, code-named Train 18, is expected to be rolled out in September. The train, built by Integral Coach Factory (ICF) of Chennai to promote Make in India, is capable of running at a speed of 160 km per hour. The luxury train was earlier scheduled for roll-out in July.
Train 18 doesn't require an engine to run as it will be self-propelled on electric traction like the metro trains. It will replace existing intercity express trains including Shatabdis. ICF will make six such train sets, out of which two will have sleeper coaches.
There is no delay. The train has been built in record time of 16 months while it takes 2 to 3 years to manufacture such trains anywhere in the world. Earlier, the anticipated turnout time was July. We now expect to roll it out in September.

Mango Festival 2018: Growers showcase over 500 varieties in Delhi
Delhi Tourism's much awaited “Mango Festival”, celebrating the king of fruits, is back this summer season. The three-day festival is being organised by Delhi Tourism this year at Dilli Haat, Janakpuri.
Delhi Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia inaugurated the 30th edition of the Mango Festival at Delhi Haat in Janakpuri. Being organised in the Capital since 1988, the festival has over 500 varieties of mangoes displayed by participants from Bihar, Haryana, Punjab, Himachal Pradesh, Uttrakhand and Uttar Pradesh.

East Coast Railway builds 6 limited height subways in less than five hours
The East Coast Railway has created a record of sorts by building six limited height subways (LHS) in less than five hours, according to Divisional Railway Manager of Sambalpur.
With this, all unmanned level crossings over Sambalpur Division have been eliminated. The sixsubways have been launched simultaneously in Sambalpur Division and completed in a single block of four and half hours.
In view of the building of six LHSs, seven LC gates will be completely closed in Bhawanipatna-Lanjigarh Road Section of Kalahandi area of Odisha.
Launching of six LHSs in Sambalpur Division is a first of its kind not only in East Coast Railway, but also in the entire Indian Railways.

Commerce Secretary chairs first meet of task force on e-commerce policy
Commerce Secretary Rita Teaotia chaired the first meeting of the task force set up to recommend the framework for a national policy on e-commerce and deliberated upon issues such as cross-border data flows, taxation, trade facilitation and logistics, consumer confidence, IPR and future tech, FDI and competition.
The government had in April begun the exercise to frame a national policy on e-commerce, with a think-tank constituted on the issue under the chairmanship of Commerce and Industry Minister Suresh Prabhu. It was decided to set up a task force in the first meeting of the think tank, on the framework for national policy on e-commerce.
The task force was further divided into nine sub-groups for preparing recommendations for the national policy on e-commerce.

July 9

5 initiatives launched below AMRUT and Sensible Cities Mission by the Minister of State (i/c) of Housing and City Affairs Shri Hardeep Singh Puri
Sh. Hardeep S Puri, MoS (I/C), Ministry of Housing and City Affairs introduced the launch of the Sensible cities digital fee award and different initiatives below AMRUT and Sensible Metropolis mission.
It’s supposed to advertise ‘Digital India’ and ease of dwelling for India’s city residents by selling digital funds and inspiring Sensible Cities to undertake revolutionary digital funds initiatives.
Sh. Puri launched a number of new initiatives below AMRUT and the Sensible Cities Mission. They’re:
India Sensible Cities Fellowship (ISCF) Program, India Sensible Cities Internship (ISCI) Program and The Sensible Cities Digital Funds Awards 2018 and the ‘CITIIS’ problem below the Sensible Cities Mission and the Native Space Plan (LAP)/City Planning Scheme (TPS) to be carried out in 25 cities on pilot foundation below AMRUT.

South Korean President Moon Jae-in is on a four-day visit to India
South Korean President Moon Jae-in is on a four-day visit to India where he will hold discussion with Prime Minister Narendra Modi on a range of issues, including trade and defence cooperation.
Moon’s tour is focused on upgrading business ties to the level Korea has with China. To achieve this, Moon is pushing Korean majors to raise their investment.
During the visit, Moon will also meet President Ram Nath Kovind, who will host a banquet in his honour. Modi and Moon will also address an India-Republic of Korea CEOs round table.

India, South Korea sign agreements on trade and commerce
Union Commerce and Industries Minister Suresh Prabhu and South Korean Trade Minister Kim Hyun-Chong signed agreements on trade and commerce.
Trade and commerce will play their own roles in taking bilateral relations between both the countries forward.
South Korea’s main items of export to India include automobile parts, telecommunication equipment, hot-rolled iron products, petroleum refined products, base lubricating oils, nuclear reactors, mechanical appliances, electrical machinery and parts, and iron and steel products.

World's largest mobile manufacturing factory of Samsung to be inaugurated in Noida
Prime Minister Narendra Modi and visiting South Korea President Moon Jae-in will inaugurate a Samsung Electronics facility in Noida in Uttar Pradesh. The expanded factory is being billed as the world’s largest mobile phone production unit in terms of number of devices rolled out every month.
The South Korean tech giant makes 67 million smartphones in India and with the new plant, it is expected to manufacture nearly 120 million
From 299 million smartphone users in 2017, the projected increase in the number of users in India is likely to reach 340 million by the end of this year.

6 public and private institutes granted the title of ‘Institutions of Eminence’ status
In a bid to improve the rankings of the Indian institutes globally, the Human Resource Development Ministry announced the name of six universities which have been selected for the Institute of Eminence status. Out of six, three are in the public sector and the remaining in the private sector.
The institutions are: IIT-Delhi, IIT-Bombay and the Bengaluru-based Indian Institute of Science (IISc) in the public sector and Manipal Academy of Higher Education, BITS Pillani and Jio Institute by Reliance Foundation in the private sector.
Human Resource Development (HRD) Ministry will grant Rs 1,000 crore funds to the three public institutions in the next five years, the private institutes, however, will not be eligible for government funding.

Global Housing Construction Technology Challenge under PMAY-U to be launched
Global Housing construction technology challenge has been proposed to use the opportunity of large scale construction under PMAY-U to attract the best available global construction technologies.
To ensure delivery of houses at a minimum cost, in minimum time while ensuring maximum number of houses in a given area.
The Global Housing Construction Technology Challenge (GHTC-I) will give a boost to building affordable houses in India in a cost effective and sustainable manner.
This will help in technology transfer to our country of globally best available construction technologies and designs and adopting them benefiting the construction industry at large.

Shri Ananthkumar to inaugurate CIPET: Centre for Skilling & Technical Support (CSTS) and lay Foundation Stone of new CIPET Building at Doiwala, Dehradun.
Union Minister for Chemicals & Fertilizers and Parliamentary Affairs, Shri Ananthkumar will be inaugurating the CIPET: Centre for Skilling & Technical Support (CSTS) at ITI Building and laying the foundation stone of new Central Institute of Plastics Engineering &Technology (CIPET) Building at Doiwala, Dehradun. Other dignitaries expected to grace the event as guests of honour include Chief Minister of Uttarakhand, Shri Trivendra Singh Rawat, CIPET operates from 31 locations spread across the country and CIPET: CSTS, Dehradun will be the 32nd centre.
The CIPET Centre at Doiwala will train and develop around 1000 students in the first year of its operation through various skill development training programmes and subsequently Diploma level programmes. The number of students will increase in a gradual manner and may reach around 2000 in the third year. The existing plastics industries in Uttarakhand are located at places such as Roorkee, Dehradun, Rudrapur etc. The budding entrepreneurs will derive immense benefits through the technology support services and skilled manpower offered by upcoming CIPET facility.

1st India Tourism Mart to be organized in New Delhi from 16th of September.
The first India Tourism Mart will be organized in New Delhi from 16th of September to create a global tourism mart for India on lines of major international travel marts.
The Mart will provide a platform for stakeholders in the tourism and hospitality industries to interact and transact business opportunities.
Buyer delegates are being invited from important and potential source markets like North America, West Europe, East Asia and Latin America to participate in the Mart.
Over 300 international buyers, influencers and bloggers are expected to attend the event. It will also provide an opportunity to the buyers to see the world class tourism facilities available in India like airports, hotels, tourist destinations, upcoming facilities and possibility in the field of adventure tourism.
Around 200 stalls will be provided to the sellers to enable them to interact with the buyers. These will include pavilion for state and Union Territory to showcase their unique tourism destinations and products. The event will end on 18th of September.
'One farmer one transformer' scheme in Maharashtra from August 15
In order to reduce electricity losses, the Maharashtra government will next month launch a new scheme allocating one transformer per farmer. The scheme, "one farmer one transformer", will be unveiled on August 15.
Bawankule announced electricity losses are a whopping 50 per cent in some places and the government wants to bring it down to 15 per cent.
Two lakh farmers will be given electricity connection for high voltage distribution line which will ensure uninterrupted power supply.
Maharashtra govt schools to get electricity at lower rates
The Maharashtra government has formulated a scheme for electrification of schools in the state.
Under the scheme, state-run schools will be provided electricity at government rates and the bill amount will be directly deposited in their accounts.
Tawde's statement came after Shashikant Shinde (NCP) raised the issue of lack of electricity in all digital schools through a calling attention noticein the lower house.

Gujarat’s Jewish community gets religious minority status
The Gujarat government has granted religious minority status to the Jewish community in the state. The GR to this effect was issued on July 6 by the state’s Department of Social Justice and Empowerment.
After careful consideration, Gujarat state government hereby resolves to accord religious minority community status to the Jew community living in Gujarat.
As religious minority members professing the faith of Judaism, they shall get the religious minority rights envisaged in the Constitution and various acts and rules of the state government.
Chief Minister Vijay Rupani, during his trip to Israel last month, had announced that his government was in the process of granting religious minority status to the community.

Yogi Adityanath government to dump babus in their 50s if found unfit for employment
The Uttar Pradesh government is contemplating "compulsory retirement" for employees aged 50 years and above if they are found neglecting their duty, an order that has not gone down well with the workforce. Around four lakh employees out of a total of 16 lakh working with the state government would come under the ambit of the screening and a detailed report of their work and performance would have to be submitted by department heads by July 31.
Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath has issued directives to Chief Secretary Dr. Anoop Chandra Pandey and concerned departments to complete the screening test process by July 31 and submit the list of those who failed to clear by the first week of August.

July 10

Shri M. Venkaiah Naidu becomes first Chairman of Rajya Sabha to sign an MOU with Rwanda
Rajya Sabha has, for the first time in 76 years since it came into being, entered into a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with a foreign counterpart for promoting inter-parliamentary dialogue.
Shri Venkaiah Naidu, has, in the process, become the first Chairman of Rajya Sabha to sign such an agreement when he inked an MOU with the visiting President of the Senate of the Republic of Rwanda, Mr. Bernard Makuza.
The MOU with 6 articles of cooperation seeks to promote Inter-Parliamentary dialogue, Capacity building of parliamentary staff, Organisation of conferences, forums, seminars, staff attachment programmes, workshops and exchanges, Collaboration in mutual interest in regional and international multilateral parliamentary bodies in furtherance of bilateral relations and friendship between the two countries.

Government may launch 7 greenfield projects under Bharatmala
The National Democratic Alliance (NDA) is looking to connect select stations under its flagship roads and highways project to cut infrastructure costs. The central government is expected to launch seven greenfield projects to construct 3,000km of expressways under the ₹ 5.35 trillion Bharatmala scheme. In the first phase, the road network is set to connect Delhi-Vadodara, Chennai-Salem in Tamil Nadu, Kharagpur-Siliguri in West Bengal, Delhi-Bilaspur, Durg-Aurang in Chhattisgarh, Mangaluru-Chitradurga in Karnataka and Ambala-Kathputli in Haryana.
The longest stretch of 1,000km will be built between Delhi and Vadodara.
According to the road ministry’s estimates, the greenfield projects would cost 40-60% less than expansion of brownfield projects, given that land prices in brownfield projects are over twice the cost of land elsewhere.

CRPF launches mobile help centre 'Saathi' for Amarnath pilgrims
The CRPF launched a mobile help centre to reach out to people undertaking the annual pilgrimage to the 3,880-metre high holy cave shrine of Amarnath.
The initiative 'Sathi' was launched by the Inspector General of the CRPF, Jammu Sector.
A need was felt to provide help and information to yatris staying in other camps outside the Bhagwati Nagar base camp in Jammu.
To achieve this objective, Mobile Help Center 'Saathi' was flagged off by Inspector General of CRPF, Jammu Sector, Abhay Vir Chauhan.

July 11

First ever ‘India Tourism Mart’ to be hosted in New Delhi
The Minister of State (I/C) for Tourism, Shri. K.J. Alphons announced that the Tourism Ministry in partnership with the Federation of Associations in Indian Tourism and Hospitality (FAITH) and with the support of State /UT Governments will organize the ‘first ever’ India Tourism Mart (ITM) from 16th to 18th September, 2018
The objective of the event is to create an annual Global Tourism Mart for India in line with major international travel marts being held in countries across the world. The Mart will provide a platform for all stakeholders in the tourism and hospitality industries to interact and transact business opportunities.
It is expected to provide a platform for all stakeholders in the tourism and hospitality industry to interact and create business opportunities.

India and South Korea ink 11 MoUs
India and South Korea signed 11 Memorandums of Understanding (MOUs) during South Korean President Moon Jae-in's visit to India.
According to a Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) release, a joint statement on early harvest package of the upgraded Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA) was signed to facilitate ongoing negotiations on upgrading the India-RoK (Republic of Korea) CEPA by identifying key areas for trade liberalization (including shrimp, molluscs and processed fish).
The agreement was signed by Union Commerce and Industry Minister Suresh Prabhu from the Indian side and Minister for Trade, Industry and Energy Kim Hyun-chong from the South Korean side.

Microsoft signs MoU with Rajasthan government for digital training to 9,500 students
Microsoft signed a MoU with the Rajasthan government to provide free digital training to 9,500 college students in one year.
The initiative was taken for the enhancement of digital learning and capacity building of college students in the state, higher education minister Kiran Maheshwari informed that on the MoU signing.
The time of technology and speed and those who are not updated will be outdated therefore the government has taken a new initiative to increase digital learning of college students.
The commissioner of college education Ashutosh AT Pednekar informed that the company will run MS office specialist training programme in 50 government colleges from August which will benefit 9,500 students.

Naveen Patnaik orders complete ban on plastic in parts of Odisha from October 2
In an environment-friendly move, Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik announced a complete ban on use of plastic in several parts of Odisha starting from October 2. The chief minister made this announcement during “Ama Mukshya Mantri, Ama Katha” (Our Chief Minister, our talk) programme, a video conferencing initiative to connect with the people of the state.
The first phase of the ban would include cities like Bhubaneswar, Cuttack, Berhampur, Sambalpur, and Rourkela and the entire state would be made plastic-free over the next two years.

DGFASLI, GMB ink MoU for occupational safety, health of workers
Factory inspection body DGFASLI under the labour ministry and Gujarat Maritime Board inked a pact to improve working conditions in the ship recycling industry, especially in training of workers and supervisors of recycling units in Alang, Gujarat.
The Directorate General Factory Advice Service & Labour Institutes (DGFASLI) and GMB have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) in the presence of Labour Minister Santosh Kumar Gangwar and Minister of State for Shipping Mansuksh Mandaviya.
Gangwar expressed hope that the activities under the MOU will bring positive changes in working of ship recycling industry and will improve safety and health of the workers and supervisors who are employed in large number in Alang.
Mandaviya highlighted the importance of ship recycling industry, which provides employment to more than 25,000 workers and reduces about 80% rollable steel. He emphasised the importance of safety & health of workers and appreciated the activities under the MoU.

July 12

Gujarat CM Vijay Rupani gives approval for Rs 39 crore ‘Seema Darshan’ project
Gujarat Chief Minister Vijay Rupani has given in-principle approval for the 39 crore rupees ‘Seema Darshan’ project for developing more infrastructure facilities from T-Junction to Zero Point at Nadabet near Suigam in Banaskantha district to instil patriotism through a unique Gujarat initiative for border tourism.
Presiding over the Seema Darshan Review Meeting at Gandhinagar, the project being developed on Wagah Border pattern, entails an exhibition hall, a parade ground with amphitheatre for 5,000 people. The meeting decided to send a proposal to the Union Home and Tourism Ministries for financial assistance.
The project will encourage local economic activity in the Rann region, alongside visit to adjoining flamingo and wild ass sanctuaries.

ASI issues order to permit photography within the premises of centrally protected monuments/ sites.
The Archaeological Survey of India, an organisation under the Ministry of Culture, Government of India, in an order issued decided to allow photography within the premises of all centrally protected monuments/sites. However, the 3 monuments/ sites in which the photography would not be permitted are Ajanta Caves and LehPalace having paintings, and Mausoleum of Taj Mahal, Agra.
The above comes in the wake of the Prime Minister, Shri Narendra Modi observing in his Speech at the Inaugural Event of ‘Dharohar Bhawan’ in New Delhi that Space Technology in the modern era has developed to such an extent that one can photograph even minute objects from far off distances, and in this background, it is indeed ironical to restrict the tourists/visitors from taking photographs of their experiences at heritage monuments and sites.

IIIDEM organizes 5 – day Capacity Development programme for Media Officials from Bhutan
On a special request from Election Commission of Bhutan, India International Institute of Democracy and Election Management (IIIDEM) is organizing a 5-day Capacity Development programme for Media Officials from Bhutan from July 9-13, 2018 at New Delhi. The participants include media journalists and media officials from Election Management Body of Bhutan. The program is aimed to hold interactive discussionson media in elections.

Hon’ble Chief Election Commissioner of India Shri O.P. Rawat inaugurated the programme. The role of media is very important in elections as the world is networked to such an extent that events at any place in the world can affect the events at another place. He wished that the programme shall have interactive discussions and sessions.

'Heritage Cabinet' constituted by the Odisha Government ; CM Naveen Patnaik is the chairman
The Odisha government issued a notification on the constitution of a 'Heritage Cabinet,' headed by Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik.
Tourism and Culture Minister Ashok Chandra Panda informed that the 'Heritage Cabinet' would aim at protection of ancient monuments, temples and archaeological sites in Odisha and take steps to preserve the states culture, language and literature.
There will be eight members including chief minister in the cabinet.
The ministers of Finance, Odia Language, Literature & Culture and Tourism, Handlooms, Textiles & Handicrafts, SC, ST Development, Higher Education, School & Mass Education and Electronics & IT are other members of the cabinet.

Vermicompost produced at Raj Bhavan distributed to 70 TN schools
Tamil Nadu governor Banwarilal Purohit distributed vermicompost bags to headmasters of 70 schools at a function in the Raj Bhavan. The bags were distributed to create awareness on solid waste management among the students.
Under Swachh Bharat (clean India) campaign scheme, the wastes generated at home and surroundings should be segregated as non-biodegradable waste and bio-degradable waste and sent to waste management centers for proper disposal.
The knowledge disseminated to the students in their young age about vermicomposting would make them adopt good solid waste management practices and organic farming.

July 13

Ministry of Drinking Water and Sanitation Launches the Swachh Survekshan Grameen 2018
The Ministry of Drinking Water and Sanitation launches the Swachh Survekshan Grameen 2018 (SSG 2018) in the capital. An independent survey agency will conduct the survey in all districts from 1st to 31st August 2018, and the results will be announced in the form of a ranking of all districts and states on the basis of quantitative and qualitative sanitation (Swachhata) parameters. The top performing states and districts are expected to be awarded on 2nd October 2018.
The Secretary, Ministry of Drinking Water and Sanitation, Shri Parameswaran Iyer, informed that the objective of SSG 2018 is to undertake a ranking of states and districts on the basis of their performance attained on key quantitative and qualitative SBM-G parameters. In the process, through a countrywide communication campaign, rural communities will be engaged in the improvement of the sanitation and cleanliness of their surrounding areas, he added.
Direct Observation of sanitation in public places: 30%
Citizen’s Feedback on sanitation parameters: 35%
Service Level Progress on sanitation progress in the country as per SBMG- MIS: 35%

Multimedia exhibition organised by Regional Outreach Bureau of the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting (MIB) inaugurated by Union Minister Dharmendra Pradhan
Union Minister Dharmendra Pradhan inaugurated a multimedia exhibition organised by Regional Outreach Bureau of the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting (MIB).
Ministry of Information and Broadcasting is holding a beautiful exhibition of the various schemes launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

Himachal Governor launches state-level plantation campaign
Himachal Pradesh Governor Acharya Dev Vrat inaugurated a state-level plantation campaign as part of 69th Van Mahotsava celebrations at Ganevag (Nehra) near Shimla.
Over 5,000 saplings were planted under the campaign, jointly organised by the forest department and State Red Cross Society, Shimla.
The Governor and the first lady also planted saplings of Deodar on the occasion.
Dev Vrat called upon the people to make plantation a part of life. Everyone should plant saplings on special occasions like birthdays and anniversaries.

July 14

''I Am Not Afraid Of English'' Campaign Launched In Haryana Schools
The Haryana Education Department has launched ''I am not afraid of English'' initiative to promote English language right from Class 1 in the state''s primary schools.
The initiative is aimed at capacity building of teachers to enable them to help the students to learn, read, write and speak English.
To start with, a booklet containing 1,000 sentences/phrases has been prepared. It contains 200 sentences per grade for all the five grades at the primary level of schooling.
One JBT (junior basic teacher) and one BRP (Block Resource Person) per block has been trained to make the students learn one sentence every day (minimum 20 per month for 10 months) in each class. This way a student who is in class 1, will be able to learn (read/write and speak) at least 1,000 sentences till he graduates to the primary level.
World’s first and cheapest clean drinking water project launched in Darbhanga, Bihar
With the launch of cost-effective innovative water project, Bihar will soon provide the cheapest drinking water in the world.
The first of such a water project was launched in Bihar's Darbhanga district, by Sulabh International, an organisation that introduced the concept of 'Sulabh Sauchalya' in the country.
With the help of this project, the people will easily be able to get pure and clean water only in 50paisa/litre.
The 'Sulabh Jal' project converts contaminated pond and river water into safe drinking water. The founder of Sulabh International Dr. Bindeshwar Pathak laid the foundation of the project at Haribol Pond in Darbhanga Nagar Nigam premises.
World famous Rath Yatra being celebrated in Puri, Odisha
Popularly known as the ‘Festival of Chariots’, Rath Yatra festival in honour of Puri’s Lord Jagannath is grand celebration. This is one of the most awaited festivals of Orissa and is falling. The festival is dedicated to Lord Jagannath, his sister Goddess Subhadra and elder brother Balabhadra.
It is believed that every year Lord Jagannath wishes to pay visit to his birthplace Mathura for few days. To fulfil his desire, this yatra is conducted from Jagannath temple to Gundicha temple.
Jagannath temple is one of the orthodox Hindu temples in India where only hindus or followers of hinduism are allowed. Though the doors of the temple is open to all uring the Rath Yatra Festival.
Goa CM inaugurates Goa IT Day celebrations
Goa chief minister Manohar Parrikar inaugurated Goa IT Day celebrations at the Inox complex in Panaji. During a discussion at the inaugural programme, Mr. Parrikar informed Goa offers immense potential for developing cutting-edge technology and it is his dream to see Goa become an IT destination. Referring to a large number of Goans seeking opportunities outside the state, the IT sector’s development in the state should pave the way for a reverse brain drain.
He also inaugurated the state start-up portal at the event. The Goa IT Day celebrations, which would feature panel discussions, skilling workshops and talks.

July 15

India becomes regional head of Asia Pacific at World Customs Organisation
India has become the vice-chair (regional head) of the Asia Pacific region of the World Customs Organisation (WCO) for a period of two years till June 2020.
The organisation has divided its membership into six regions. Each of the regions is represented by an elected vice-chairperson to the WCO council. India is a wealth of experience in promoting security and facilitation of cross-border trade.
To mark the assumption of vice chair, an event is being organised by the Central Board of Indirect Taxes and Customs (CBIC) in partnership with industry body CII.
It will witness participation of customs delegates from 33 countries of the Asia-Pacific Region, customs officers from different ports in India.
WCO represents 182 customs administrations across the globe that collectively process approximately 98 per cent of world trade.

MCA has constituted a 10 Member Committee to review the offences under the Companies Act, 2013
The Ministry of Corporate Affairs (MCA) has constituted a 10 Member Committee, headed by the Secretary of Ministry of Corporate Affairs, for review of the penal provisions in the Companies Act, 2013 may be setup to examine ‘de-criminalisation’ of certain offences.
The MCA seeks to review offences under the Companies Act, 2013 as some of the offences may be required to be decriminalised and handled in an in-house mechanism, where a penalty could be levied in instances of default. This would also allow the trial courts to pay more attention on offences of serious nature. Consequently, it has been decided that the existing compoundable offences in the Companies Act - 2013 viz. offences punishable with fine only or punishable with fine or imprisonment or both may be examined and a decision may be taken as to whether any of such offences may be considered as ‘civil wrongs’ or ‘defaults’ where a penalty by an adjudicating officer may be imposed in the first place and only consequent to further non-compliance of the order of such authority will it be categorised as an offence triable by a special court.
It is also required to be seen as to whether any non-compoundable offences viz. offence punishable with imprisonment only, or punishable with imprisonment and also with fineunder the Companies Act, 2013 may be made compoundable. The Committee shall submit its report within thirty days to the Central Government for consideration of its recommendations.
Niti Aayog working on proposal to replace LPG subsidy with cooking subsidy
Government think tank Niti Aayog is working on a proposal to replace LPG subsidy with cooking subsidy in order to extend the benefits to people using piped natural gas and biofuels for cooking purposes.
Niti Aayog Vice Chairman Rajiv Kumar announced that subsidy should be applicable for all fuels that are used for cooking. At present, the government extends subsidy to users of Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG).
All fuels which are used for cooking, subsidy should be applicable. Because if there are some cities where PNG (Piped Natural Gas) is used, then it is only logical that the subsidy be extended to them also.

July 16

Gujarat government launches measles-rubella vaccination drive
The Gujarat government launched a vaccination campaign to protect children from measles and rubella for which it has received a Rs 300 crore grant from the Centre.
The campaign, which will last for five weeks, will seek to vaccinate 1.6 crore children between the age of nine months to 15 years across the state against measles and rubella. It is an achievable target and we want all sections of society to participate to make it a success.
Over 4 lakh children would be vaccinated across 1,827 schools as well as anganwadis and hospitals across Vadodara district.

Haryana government launched 'Paudhagiri' campaign to increase green cover
Haryana Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar launched the 'Paudhagiri' campaign, aimed at increasing the green cover in the state.
Under this campaign, 22 lakh students from class 6 to 12 of all government and private schools in Haryana will plant a sapling each during three months of monsoon - July, August and September.
Aimed at increasing green cover in the state, the Paudhagiri campaign was launched by Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar by planting a sapling at Tau Devi Lal Sports complex in Gurgaon. The students will soon be made aware about the mobile app, using which they can upload the selfies.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Visit to Uttar Pradesh
Prime Minister Narendra Modi visited Mirzapur and inaugurated the Bansagar irrigation project aimed at benefiting farmers. He also launched a bridge across the Ganga in Chunar and laid foundation stones for a medical college and a 229 crore project of widening the Mirzapur-Allahabad national highway.
PM Modi, who was on a two-day visit to the state, earlier visited Azamgarh and laid the foundation stone for Purvanchal Expressway. During a rally in Azamgarh, Modi launched an attack at the Congress party.

Dharmendra Pradhan lays foundation stone of NSTI at Barang in Bhuvaneswar
Union Skill Development and Entrepreneurship Minister Dharmendra Pradhan laid the foundation stone for National Skill Training Institute (NSTI) to be set up at a cost of Rs 160 crore to meet the rising demands for skilled manpower.
The Institute, being established on a 5 acre land at Barang, will be equipped with state-of-the-art facility to impart skill development courses to the trainers and assessors along with training of candidates in new age courses catering to the needs of the industry.
To function under the Directorate General of Training (DGT), NSTI will include following training activities like Trainers Training (Long term/Short term), Refresher Training and Re-skilling/Up skilling courses.

President Ram Nath Kovind has given his assent to the Assam Witch Hunting (Prohibition, Prevention and Protection) Act, 2015
In a move which is one more step towards creating a just and equitable society, President Ram Nath Kovind has approved the Assam Witch Hunting (Prohibition, Prevention and Protection) Bill, 2015, converting it to an Act.
The bill has been converted into an Act after almost three years it was passed by Assam's state assembly.
The Assam Assembly on August 13, 2015, had unanimously passed a Bill, which imposes imprisonment of up to seven years, along with a fine of up to Rs 5 lakh, for branding someone as witch. This Bill has now become an Act.
Kovind gave his assent to the Bill on June 13, making any offence under the Act as non-bailable, cognizable and non-compoundable, according to information available on the official website of the president's secretariat.

July 17

Committee set up to synergise NCC and NSS
Government has decided to set up a committee under the Chairmanship of Shri Anil Swarup, former Secretary, School Education, with suitable representations from NCC, M/o Youth Affairs and Ministry of HRD to suggest measures to strengthen National Cadet Corps (NCC) and National Service Scheme (NSS).
The Committee will deal with on issues like expansion, strengthening training infrastructure, rationalizing resources, reducing manpower deficiency affecting NCC and NSS. The Committee will also submit recommend for building synergies between these two institutions viz. NCC and NSS and further strengthen them for empowering the youth.
At present, there are 13.5 lakh cadets in NCC in the age group of 12 to 26 years with pan India presence in about 703 out of 716 districts. There are a large number of educational institutions in the country including as much as 8600 on waitlist in which NCC is yet to be extended. There is also an existing shortage in the NCC manpower across the categories ranging from 5% to 36%.

First Pondicherry International Film Festival will begin in September
Over 100 films from 25 countries will be showcased at the first edition of the Pondicherry International Film Festival (PIFF).
The festival organised by Pickurflick and Puducherry Tourism Department, which will begin in September, will be hosted at multiple locations across Puducherry.
The inaugural edition of the festival will focus on the cinema, art and culture of France, which is the partner country for the five-day long event.

July 18

Cabinet Approvals
Cabinet approves establishment of Medical College, Salempur at Deoria, Uttar Pradesh
The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs chaired by Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi has approved the proposal for establishment of new medical college at Deoria.
This college would be built at a cost of Rs.250 crore under Phase-II of the Centrally Sponsored Scheme.
Cabinet approves Policy framework for streamlining the working of Production Sharing Contracts (PSCs) in Pre-NELP and NELP Blocks
Special dispensation for E&P activities in North Eastern Region (NER) where exploration period has been increased by two years and appraisal period by one year. Government has also allowed marketing including pricing freedom for natural gas to stimulate natural gas production in NER.
Cabinet approves continuation of the Schemes of Pre-Matric, Post Matric and Merit-cum-Means based Scholarship Schemes
The total cost for the continuation of the scheme would be Rs. 5338.32 crore for period up to 2019-20.
Cabinet approves Special Package for Irrigation Projects in Vidarbha, Marathwada and other chronically drought prone areas of Rest of Maharashtra
Under this completion of 83 Minor Irrigation projects and 8 major/medium irrigation projects of Marathawada, Vidharbha and drought prone areas of the rest of Maharashtra will take place.
Cabinet approves determination of Fair and Remunerative Price payable by Sugar Mills for 2018-19 sugar season

Cabinet Approvals With Foreign Countries
Cabinet approves MoU between India and Cuba on cooperation in the field of Traditional Systems of Medicine and Homeopathy
Cabinet approves Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between the Central Drugs Standard Control Organization (CDSCO), India and National Agency for Drug and Food Control (BPOM), Indonesia.
This Mou is on cooperation in the field of pharmaceutical products, pharmaceutical substances, biological product and cosmetics regulatory functions.
Cabinet approves the Mutual Recognition Agreement (MRA) signed in 2010 MRA between the ICAI of India and the Institute of Certified Public Accountants, Ireland
Cabinet approves MoU between the Institute of Chartered Accountants of India and Bahrain Institute of Banking and Finance, Bahrain
Cabinet approves MoU between the Institute of Chartered Accountants of India and “National Board of Accountants and Auditors, Tanzania

NMDFC organises workshop on financial management in New Delhi
The National Minorities Development and Finance Corporation (NMDFC) organized a workshop on financial management in New Delhi. The Workshop is for the heads of state channelizing agencies of NMDFC.
Addressing the workshop, Minority affairs Minister Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi by giving loan to minorities at affordable interest rate, NMDFC is doing remarkable job helping them get socially and economically empowered. With over 6 lakh 37 thousand beneficiaries of NMDFC’s various programmes, the corporation is anticipating increasing the number of minority beneficiaries.
Awareness programmes about the financial assistance for minority should also be run by the corporation.

PFRDA Invites Expression of Interest (EOI) for Actuarial Valuation of Atal Pension Yojana
Pension Fund Regulatory and Development Authority (PFRDA) invites Expression of Interest (EOI) from reputed Actuary/ Actuarial Firm for valuation to estimate the likely shortfall or otherwise on account of the minimum guaranteed pension and suitable provisioning for gap funding under Atal Pension Yojana (APY).
APY offers guaranteed pension benefits which entails suitable gap funding to fulfill the commitment of guaranteed pension benefits to the subscribers and spouse of the subscribers. Along with the other conditions, the actuarial firm should have carried out the actuarial valuation of at least 10 funds in the immediately preceding 5 financial years and out of which at least 2 of the funds should have had the minimum fund size of 5000 crore.
It may be recalled that, the Prime Minister had launched Atal Pension Yojana in May, 2015 for all Indian citizens in the age group from 18-40 years, specially targeting under - privileged sections of society in the unorganized sector. As on date 1.08 crore subscribers have been registered under Atal Pension Yojana ( APY ) and more than Rs 4,500 crore contribution have been collected from the subscribers under the Scheme.

Aadhaar not mandatory for Rs. 5 lakh insurance under Modicare
The Health Ministry has clarified it's not mandatory for beneficiaries to submit Aadhaar details for seeking Rs. 5 lakh health insurance under the Ayushman Bharat scheme, dubbed as 'Modicare'.
About Ayushman Bharat:
Ayushman Bharat is National Health Protection Scheme, which will cover over 10 crore poor and vulnerable families (approximately 50 crore beneficiaries) providing coverage upto 5 lakh rupees per family per year for secondary and tertiary care hospitalization.

Cabinet approves signing of Memorandum of Understanding amongst BRICS Nations on the Regional Aviation Partnership cooperation (RAPC)
The Union Cabinet chaired by the Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi has approved the signing of Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) amongst BRICS Nations on the Regional Aviation Partnership Cooperation viz. Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa.
The objective is that BRICS countries would benefit from the establishing of an institutional framework to cooperate in the field of civil aviation. Among the areas of cooperation, following areas have been identified:
The MoU signifies an important landmark in the civil aviation relations between India and other BRICS Member States and has the potential to spur greater trade, investment, tourism and cultural exchanges amongst the BRICS Nations.

India-US resolve to enhance cooperation in counter-terror, aviation security
Top security officials of India and the United States resolved to enhance cooperation in areas like counter-terror, immigration and aviation security.
The Homeland Security Dialogue focused on issues relating to security cooperation, customs and immigration, aviation security, capacity building.
A Home Ministry official informed that the cooperation in matters related to counter terror initiatives and intelligence sharing were part of the dialogue.
Both sides agreed to work out the modalities to address these issues. The discussions were held in a friendly atmosphere and it was agreed to maintain sustained interactions to enhance security cooperation between the two countries.
The Indian delegation was led by Additional Secretary in the Home Ministry Rajni Sekhri Sibal while the US side was led by James McCament, Deputy Under Secretary, Department of Homeland Security.

Govt launched a new technology called the MicroDot technology to check vehicle thefts
In a move to put a check on vehicle thefts, the government will soon notify a new standard for automobile industry to use a technology which involves spraying thousands of small dots laser etched with a vehicle identification number throughout the vehicle body, including their engines. The technology named MicroDots makes it almost impossible to remove the dots and hence, the car’s identity can be established at any stage.
The government has held consultations among experts to introduce this technology which automobile manufactures can use. The government’s highest automobile technical standard making body, CMVR-TSV, will finalize the norm in the next one or two months.

July 19

NMCG organises 'Ganga Vriksharopan Abhiyan' in five Ganga Basin States
The National Mission for Clean Ganga (NMCG) organised the 'Ganga Vriksharopan Abhiyan' in five main Ganga basin states – Uttarakhand, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Jharkhand and West Bengal. Afforestation drive was organised during July 2nd week as ‘Shubharambh Saptah’.
The campaign was initiated as part of the Forest Interventions in Ganga (FIG) component of Namami Gange Programme. It was aimed at bringing greater awareness among people and other stakeholders regarding the importance of afforestation for the task of Ganga Rejuvenation.
A number of schools, colleges and departments were requested to “Adopt a Plant” for turning this campaign into a people’s movement. Various seminars, workshops, lectures, drawing and painting competitions are being organised for the same purpose.
Apart from these states, various organisations took part in this drive such as the Nehru Yuva Kendra Sangathan (NYKS), Ganga Vichar Manch (GVM), NGOs and educational institutions.

CM Raman Singh launches online pension system
Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Dr. Raman Singh launched an online portal and mobile app called 'Aabhaar-Aapki seva ka' by the online pension management system for the pensioners of the state.
Through this app and the website, 80,000 pensioners of the state will now get all the information related to pension and payment online. The app, which is also available on Android, has been created by the state finance department.
Pensioners will get the benefit of senior pension with the State government's 7th pay scale before January 1, 2016. This will bring an additional burden on the state government, which has also been mentioned during the budget.

India and Ghana sign 2 MoUs to improve bilateral cooperation
India and Ghana signed two agreements in an effort to enhance the bilateral cooperation between the two countries.
Taking to his Twitter handle, Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) spokesperson Raveesh Kumar confirmed that two MOUs on Cultural Exchange Programme and on cooperation between Bureau of Indian Standards and Ghana Standards Authority were signed.
Botchwey, who is the Minister of Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration of Ghana, is on a four-day visit to India, having arrived in the country.
She met External Affairs Minister (EAM) Sushma Swaraj, following which both held delegation-level talks respectively.
According to Kumar, the two ministers discussed enhancing cooperation in development cooperation, capacity building, trade and investment and people-to-people relationship.

NIWE, has installed a remote sensing instrument- LiDAR for assessment of offshore wind resource at Gulf of Khambat, off the Gujarat Coast
Most of renewable energy projects in the country are being implemented by the private sector developers selected through a transparent bidding process. In order to be competitive, Developers are encouraged to deploy most advanced technologies.
National Institute of Wind Energy (NIWE), an autonomous institution under the Ministry has installed a remote sensing instrument- LiDAR for assessment of offshore wind resource at Gulf of Khambat, off the Gujarat Coast.
Indian Renewable Energy Development Agency (IREDA), a non-banking financial institution under the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy has conducted following studies with foreign assistance during the last three years and current year.

A world class exhibition on four eminent personalities of Bengal to be organized at National Library
A world class exhibition on four eminent personalities of Bengal, Gurudev Rabindranath Tagore, Netaji Subha Chandra Bose, Rishi Bankim Chandra Chattopadhyay and Dr. Syama Prasad Mukherjee would be organized very soon at National Library in Kolkata at permanent basis.
Reviewing restoration, renovation and modernization works being carried out by the Central Public Work Department (CPWD) at the Belvedere House of the National Library, the Secretary expressed satisfaction and informed that this house will be illuminated and Light and Sound programmes will be organised to entertain the visitors.
Literary festivals would also be held to restore old glories of the building and to make new generations aware of their rich heritage. Permanent art galleries pertaining paintings and pictures of Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose, different sculptures and antiquities would be displayed. He informed that all these renovation and revamping works would be completed before Durga Puja at a cost of around Rs. 8 crore.

Lok Sabha passes Fugitive Economic Offenders Bill as Opposition attacks government
The Fugitive Economic Offenders Bill aimed at preventing culprits from evading the legal process and fleeing the country was passed by the Lok Sabha, as the opposition questioned the goverment's sincerity in taking any action against them.
The House later passed the legislation by a voice vote as Finance Minister Piyush Goyal announced the government had brought an ordinance before introducing the bill in Parliament which reflected its "aggressiveness" in acting against black money and such offenders.
The Fugitive Economic Offenders Bill 2013 gave power to the agencies to seize properties which are not only in the name of offender, but also the ones that are 'benami'.
To opposition demand to bring the bill with retrospective effect to book offenders who have already fled, it was not possible as the legislation was and the government "knows how to bring the accused to book".
The Fugitive Economic Offenders Bill 2018 will replace the Fugitive Economic Offenders Ordinance promulgated by President Ram Nath Kovind in April 2018.

UGC committee to regulate fee for medical courses in Deemed Universities
University Grants Commission (UGC) has constituted a Committee consisting of Prof. R.C. Deka (chairman), Former Director, AIIMS, New Delhi, to regulate the fees chargeable by self-financed Deemed to be Universities in Medical and Dental Courses.
This information was given by the Minister of State (HRD), Dr. Satya Pal Singh in a written reply to a Rajya Sabha question.

July 20

Punjab tourism and cultural affairs minister Navjot Singh Sidhu unveils plan to develop Virasat-e-Khalsa
Punjab Minister Navjot Singh Sidhu finalized a blue print to further develop prestigious Virasat-e-Khalsa, a museum of the Sikhs, at Anandpur Sahib.
Presiding over a meeting of Anandpur Sahib Foundation, the minister informed that since Virasat-e-Khalsa was attracting heavy tourist footfall from across the globe, it was high time to develop tented accommodation, budget hotels, food courts and souvenir shops in its vicinity.
Sidhu, the Punjab tourism and cultural affairs minister, also asked the foundation to get a comprehensive layout plan prepared from the architects to further develop the infrastructural facilities over remaining chunk of nearly 60 acres land.

Tripura CM inaugurates traditional 'Kharchi Puja'
Tripura Chief Minister Biplab Kumar Deb naugurated the seven-day long "Kharchi Puja" at Puran Habeli, seven km from the state capital.
The centuries-old Puja was inaugurated by the Chief Minister in the presence of a host of ministers and dignitaries.
The annual festival is meant to cleanse the sins of mortal souls. Originally a Hindu tribals' festivity, it is now observed by all communities and religion.
With colourful marquees, illuminations, religious rites and chanting of the 'mantras' amid drum beats, the festival features 14 deities - Shiva, Durga, Vishnu, Laxmi, Saraswati, Kartik, Ganesha, Brahma, Abadhi (God of water), Chandra, Ganga, Agni, Kamdev and Himadri (Himalaya).

UP Police launches digital volunteers campaign to check rumours
The Uttar Pradesh police has decided to hire digital volunteers to curb the menace of rumours and bust illegal activities.
The state police will hire 250 digital volunteers at each of the 1,469 police stations to curb mob lynching like incidents triggered by circulation of fake news on social media.

July 21

Meghalayan Age: Newest phase in Earth’s history named after Meghalaya rock by IUGS
The Meghalayan Age: Scientists have created a new phase in Earth's geological history and named it Meghalayan, after a stalagmite from a cave in the Indian state of Meghalaya that helped define climatic events 4,200 years ago, marking the beginning of the phase that continues till now.
The Meghalayan Age began with a mega global drought that devastated ancient agricultural civilisations from Egypt to China. It is part of a longer period known as the Holocene Epoch, which reflects everything that has happened over the past 11,700 years.
The Meghalayan is unique because it is the first interval in Earth's geological history that coincided with a major cultural event, as agricultural societies struggled to recover from the shift in climate, secretary general of the International Union of Geological Sciences (IUGS). Evidence of the climatic event has been found in sediments on all seven continents, including those from Meghalaya.

West Bengal government signs MoU with NHA to implement Ayushman Bharat scheme
In a boost to the Centre's flagship Ayushman Bharat-National Health Protection Mission, the West Bengal government signed a MoU with the NHA for implementing the health insurance scheme in the state, following a long-drawn negotiation.
Through the Ayushman Bharat-National Health Protection Scheme (AB-NHPM), the government aims to provide a coverage of Rs 5 lakh per family annually to more than 10 crore poor households. The National Health Agency (NHA) is the apex body for implementation of the insurance scheme.

Himachal govt announces Market Intervention Scheme (MIS) for apple procurement
The Himachal government has approved implementation of Market Intervention Scheme (MIS) for procurement of apple. The scheme will be implemented from July to October.
The MIS will be undertaken for procurement of 2,29,136 metric tonnes apple, for which price has been set at Rs 7.50 per kg, the handling charges will be Rs 2.75 per kg and assumed sale realisation will be Rs 3.50 per kg.
Under the scheme, 279 procurement centres will be opened as per demand of the fruit growers, adding that the fruits will be procured in 35 kilo gunny bags with 2.5 per cent more fruits in view of evapotranspiration and respiration losses.
Apple having diameter above 51 mm will be accepted only under the scheme, adding that fruit having punctured skin or bird eaten or damaged would not be accepted.

Rajya Sabha passes Prevention of Corruption (Amendment) Bill, 2013
The Rajya Sabha passed the prevention of Corruption (Amendment) Bill, 2013, that makes provisions for punishment to those giving bribe to a public servant, through a voice vote.
The Bill amends the Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988 redefining definitions and penalties for offences such as taking a bribe, being a habitual offender and abetting an offence.
Giving bribe is a specific and a direct offence.
It makes provision for protection to 'coercive' (forced to pay bribe) bribe givers if the matter is reported to the concerned law enforcement agencies within a week.

UP Police launches digital volunteers campaign to check rumours
The Uttar Pradesh police have decided to hire digital volunteers to curb the menace of rumours and bust illegal activities.
The state police will hire 250 digital volunteers at each of the 1,469 police stations to curb mob lynching like incidents triggered by circulation of fake news on social media.
According to Uttar Pradesh Director General of Police (DGP) OP Singh, UP police, with 4, 41,000 Twitter followers, is the most active on social media.

Odisha to host 40-day Odisha Triennial of International Art (OTIA) in December-January
Odisha will play host to what is billed as India's first private sector triennial in December-January that will see the convergence of artists from the national and international scene during the 40-day mega event.
Named the Odisha Triennial of International Art (OTIA), the events under it will take place in Bhubaneshwar, Puri and Konark.
OTIA is the brainchild of Artists Network for Promoting Indian Culture (ANPIC), headed by its Managing Trustee Sashanka Mohapatra.

Tamil Nadu state government has set a 24-hour helpline to assist and protect inter-caste couples
The Tamil Nadu government has informed the Madras High Court that a 24-hour helpline has been set up to investigate issues faced by inter-caste couples and offer them necessary assistance and protection.
The counter affidavit was filed by Apurva Varma, Secretary, Tamil Nadu Home Department, on a contempt plea filed by K Samuelraj, state secretary of the Tamil Nadu Untouchability Eradication Front.
The petitioner alleged that authorities had not complied with the directions given by the court in 2016 in the case of Vimaladevi of Usilampatti, who allegedly committed suicide by hanging after her inter-caste marriage was not accepted by her parents.
A special cell has been formed in all districts and cities in the state, comprising district-level officers such as superintendent of police and deputy commissioner of police at the city level, to receive complaints of harassment and threat to inter-caste couples.

Dr. Harsh Vardhan inaugurates the most advanced System of Air Quality and Weather Forecasting (SAFAR) at ChandniChowk in Delhi.
Science& Technology, Earth Sciences; Environment, Forest & Climate Change Minister Dr Harsh Vardhan unveiled a state-of-the-art Air Quality and Weather Forecast System– SAFAR (System of Air Quality and Weather Forecasting)at ChandniChowkin Delhi. The giant true colour LED display gives out real-time air quality index on 24x7 basis with colour coding alongwith 72-hour advance forecast.
The system, first of its kind in the country, was developed indigenously in record time by Indian Institute of Tropical Meteorology, Pune and operationalized by India Meteorological Department (IMD).
The minister informed that based on the Air Quality Index on a particular day, Health advisory and related precaution will be notified to prepare citizens well in advance. Dr. Harsh Vardhan.

Maharashtra Govt to provide Rs. 21,000 crore package for Vidarbha, Marathwada
The BJP-led Maharashtra government announced a special package worth over Rs. 21,000 crore for the development of industries, agriculture and tourism in the Vidarbha and Marathwada regions.
A new government milk brand "Gondavana" would be created, for this, a plant will be set up in Gadchiroli district to manufacture products under the brand name.
A "skill university" would be set up at Aurangabad, while hostels would be constructed in all 19 districts of Vidarbha and Marathwada.
A medical college would be set up on a private-public-partnership basis at Washim.

July 22

PM Modi flags off emergency ambulance service in Sri Lanka via video conferencing
Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Sri Lankan Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe e-flagged National Emergency Ambulance service together all over Sri Lanka via video conference. The inaugural function was held in Jaffna of the Northern Province where PM Wickremesinghe was present among other dignitaries.
India has given a grant of 22.8 million US dollars for the country-wide expansion of the ambulance service. 88 ambulances were purchased for the two provinces under the first phase while another 209 ambulances are being provided to cover all districts in the country.
This is the largest Indian grant project in Sri Lanka after Indian housing project. Apart from providing ambulances, the grant covers training of manpower in India and meeting operational costs for one year.

Rajnath Singh Starts "Student Police Cadet" Project In Gurugram
Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh launched the Student Police Cadet (SPC) programme for nationwide implementation at a ceremony in Gurugram, Haryana.
In his address, the Home Minister expressed hope that the SPC would lead to a silent revolution over the years by focusing on character building by imparting moral values to budding minds.
He further expressed concern that education these days stresses more on mere book reading with little attention being paid towards character building of students, which shows negative effects on society in terms of increased crime.

Modi govt re-introduces Medini Puraskar Yojna for writings about green issues
The environment ministry has decided to re-introduce a scheme for awarding Indian authors for their original work in Hindi on subjects related to environment including pollution and climate change. The Medini Puraskar Yojna, which aims at promoting original writing of books in Hindi, will have four awards for authors of various environmental topics.
It was stopped for a gap of four to five years. But this will be started again. It aims to encourage Hindi authors to write on environmental topics.

KHELO INDIA launches unique programme to nurture sporting talent
Following the successful conduct of the Khelo India School Games, Sports Authority of India took another significant step towards the development of sports earlier, cleared 734 players for a scholarship programme under Khelo India Talent IdentificationDevelopment scheme. The Minister of Youth Affairs & Sports Col. Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore informed that ''transformational changes have been introduced into Indiansports. Catch them young is no longer a slogan but is visible in our action. We are developing a sports system that connects local potential to global podiums that encourages every Indian to have sports as a part of their lives for entertain ment, education or excellence''.
A talent identification committee was formed comprising Arjuna Awardees and DronacharyaAwardees to shortlist and propose the names of the beneficiaries to the High Powered Committee, which cleared the above numbers after due diligence. The scholarship programme is designed to take care of their expenses including training, development, boarding and lodging and tournament exposure apart from offering them out of pocket expense allowance.

The first international festival of Mizoram-Mizo Hnahthlak celebrated in Aizawl, Mizoram
The first international festival of Mizoram ‘Mizo Hnahthlak’ was organized Dengthuama Hall in Aizawl, Mizoram.
The first international festival of Mizoram-Mizo Hnahthlak celebrated in Aizawl, Mizorami. It saw huge participation from the Mizo tribal community living in different places and region.
It showcased rich cultural folk dances, colourful traditional attires, mass bamboo dance. The Chakma and Hmar communities of Mizoram portrayed their agricultural dances.
Other cultural troops of neighbouring states participated were: Assam, Manipur, and Tripura as well as Myanmar and Bangladesh. Stalls of local artisans displayed colourful handmade traditional costumes.

Delhi AIIMS signs MoU with IIT Kharagpur for collaboration in edu, research
The AIIMS has signed a MoU with the Indian Institute of Technology, Kharagpur, for institutional collaboration in education, research outreach programme and medical services.
According to a government official, the primary objective is to promote interaction and collaboration among faculty members, scientists and students of the two premier institutes in their respective domains, to carry out joint academic and research programmes, joint supervision of masters and doctoral students, and collaborative research.
As part of the memorandum of understanding (MoU), the two institutions will explore the use of each other’s, facilities exchange and analysis of data for education and research purpose on mutually agreeable terms and conditions. Each party has agreed to respond appropriately for ensuring protection and privacy of the data shared in the process.

Women and Child Development Ministry to move proposal to amend POCSO Act
The Women and Child Development (WCD) Ministry is set to move a proposal before the Cabinet this week for enhanced punishment in cases of sexual assault of male children.
The Law Ministry has cleared the proposal to amend the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act, 2012, for enhancing punishment in cases of sexual assault against young boys.

July 23

Odisha police launches drive to bust pangolin smuggling racket
A special unit of the Odisha Police has launched a drive to bust an international syndicate that peddles "endangered" pangolin, one of the world's most illegally traded mammals.
MLAT is an agreement between nations to exchange information or provide legal assistance for enforcing laws.
Himanshu Lal, the DIG of the Special Task Force (STF) of state Crime Branch, informed the key players in India have been arrested, while those operating from China and Myanmar are yet to be nabbed.

Manoj Sinha inaugurates Ghazipur Regional Rail Training Institute
In a bid to strengthen the expertise and capabilities of the employees of North-Eastern Railways, Minister of State for Railways Manoj Sinha inaugurated Regional Rail Training Institute (RRTI) at Uttar Pradesh's Ghazipur. He also inaugurated the newly constructed washing pit at Ghazipur City station.
The institute, built with the cost of Rs 21 crore, is equipped with modern training facilities, an advanced model hostel, computer room, cafeteria and other necessary facilities.

Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik releases first-ever tribal atlas of Odisha
Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik released the first tribal atlas of Odisha - a set of maps and statistics highlighting the tribal demography of the state. It will be available at the SC & ST Research and Training Institute located at Nayapalli in Bhubaneshwar.
The atlas has been prepared by the SC & ST Research and Training Institute in collaboration with Academy of Tribal Language and Culture.
The atlas has been edited by Prof AB Ota, director of SC & ST Research Institute, and reviewed by development commissioner R Balakrishnan.
The atlas displays the salient features of tribal population of Odisha with a series of maps, charts and diagrams.

Lok Sabha passes National Council for Teacher Education (Amendment) Bill, 2017
The Lok Sabha passed the National Council for Teacher Education (Amendment) Bill to grant retrospective recognition to Central/ State institutions that are conducting teacher education courses without NCTE approval.
This has been done as a one-time measure to ensure that the future of students studying in these institutions is not jeopardised.
All institutions running teacher education courses, such as B.Ed and D.El.Ed have to obtain recognition from the NCTE under section 14 of the NCTE Act.
The NCTE Act, 1993, came into force in 1995 and applies to all parts of India, except the State of Jammu and Kashmir.
The one-time measure put in place by the bill will apply to 20 public institutions that are running such courses without the UGC approval.

Government sets up 4-member panel to propose measures on mob violence, lynching
The government has set up a four-member committee headed by Union Home Secretary Rajiv Gauba to suggest measures and legal framework to effectively deal with incidents of mob violence and lynching.
The panel will submit its recommendations to a ministerial committee, headed by Home Minister Rajnath Singh, which will submit its recommendations to Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
The move came after the recent Supreme Court direction to the central government on the issue of mob violence and lynching.

Odisha govt forms committee for development of Odia film
Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik has set up a ministerial committee to prepare a draft policy for the development of Odia film industry.
The committee, formed, has been asked to submit its report to the government within one month suggesting steps to be taken for the purpose.
The committee will also examine different problems being faced by the Odia cinema industry and recommend measures for renovation of the Kalinga Studio, located on the outskirts of Bhubaneswar.
The committee, headed by Finance Minister S B Behera, will have Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises Minister Prafulla Samal and Industries Minister Ananta Das as members.

Jindal varsity signs MoU with Harvard
Students of the O.P. Jindal Global University, a leading private university in Sonipat, will have an annual study programme at Harvard University. Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health has signed a MoU with the university for the programme.
This collaboration has taken the form of an annual study-abroad programme at Harvard University for nearly 30 students of Jindal Global University. At the successful completion of the programme, Jindal students will earn academic credits, and the course will be reflected in the transcript.
This also provides for joint conferences to be organised by the two institutions on themes of mutual interest, and paves the way for ''other research and educational activities''.

India has become a popular hub of medical tourism
A rare combination of advanced facilities, skilled doctors, and low cost of treatment has made India a popular hub of medical tourism, attracting a large number of foreign patients every year. The total number of such visitors in 2017 was 4.95 lakh, Minister of State for Tourism (Independent Charge) K.J. Alphons.
This number had stood at around 2.34 lakh in 2015, and 4.27 lakh in 2016.
Bangladesh and Afghanistan continued to be the top countries from where the maximum number foreign tourist arrivals (for medical purpose) were seen. In 2017, about 2.21 lakh tourists from Bangladesh are estimated to have come to India for medical reasons, compared to 1.20 lakh in 2015 and 2.10 lakh in 2016.

July 24

Nitin Gadkari kicks off work on Rs 3580 crore road projects in Madhya Pradesh
Union roads minister Nitin Gadkari laid the foundation stones for over Rs 3,580 crore of roads projetcs in the poll-bound Madhya Pradesh. The minister informed work on the Delhi-Mumbai Expressway passing through Jaipur and the Bhopal-Indore Expressway and the Chambal Expressway will start.
The minister also laid the foundation stones of five national highway projects stretching 226 km at an investment of Rs 3,583 crore. The work on the Delhi-Mumbai Expressway, which will pass through Jaipur, and Bhopal-Indore and Chambal expressways will start.

NITI Aayog signs Statement of Intent (SoI) with Lupin Foundation for collaborating in Aspirational Districts
The NITI Aayog and Lupin Foundation signed a Statement of Intent (SoI) to collaborate in Aspirational Districts Programme. The SoI was signed by Yaduvendra Mathur, Additional Secretary of NITI Aayog and Sita Ram Gupta, Executive Director of Lupin Foundation.
The NITI Aayog and Lupin Foundation will collaborate to improve indicators in education, health & nutrition, financial inclusion and skill development, agriculture and water resources and basic infrastructure in Aspirational Districts of India.
Lupin Foundation, along with the NITI Aayog, will work in three states - Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra and Rajasthan.
WCD Ministry launches '#Childline1098' Contest- 'Spot the Logo and Suggest a Tagline'.
The Ministry of Women and Child Development has launched a contest, #Childline1098, inviting people to share images of the Childline 1098 logo that they spot at unique locations and send it with a tagline, to mark World Day against Trafficking in Persons on July 30.
CHILDLINE is India's first 24-hour, free, emergency phone service for children in need of aid and assistance. At present, it is operational at 450 locations. As Railways often act as carriers of trafficked children, the Ministry signed an MoU with the Ministry of Railways to rescue and rehabilitate runaway, abandoned, kidnapped and trafficked children via Railways.
The Ministry launched an awareness campaign via posters in railway coaches in November, 2015, and around 2 lakh posters have been put in trains which caution passengers about children around them who may need protection.

Swachh Survekshan Grameen launched in UP, Jharkhand and Maharashtra
The Swachh Survekshan Grameen 2018 (SSG 2018) announced by the Ministry of Drinking Water and Sanitation, was launched by three States.
Under the SSG 2018, an independent survey agency will conduct the survey in all districts from 1st to 31st August 2018, and the results will be announced in the form of a ranking of all districts and States on the basis of quantitative and qualitative sanitation (Swachhata) parameters. The top performing States and Districts are expected to be awarded on 2nd October 2018.
Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh, Yogi Adityanath, launched the SSG in Lucknow. The Chief Minister called upon the people of Uttar Pradesh to step out and clean their villages and surrounding areas with pride, underscoring the importance of Swachhata for health and dignity of the people of Uttar Pradesh.
Shri Babanrao Lonikar, Cabinet Minister, Water Supply and Sanitation Department, Government of Maharashtra, launched SSG 2018 in Maharashtra at an event in Pandharpur. At the launch, he appealed to the Gram Panchayats of Maharashtra to prepare for an excellent performance during the Survekshan.

Rs 1,750 crore sanctioned under National Dairy Plan
More than Rs 1,750 crore has been sanctioned by the government under the National Dairy Plan (NDP) to enhance the productivity of milch animals.
530 sub-projects have been approved in 18 states for implementation by 169 state and district level cooperatives, producer companies and livestock development boards with a total grant of Rs 1,754.14 crore till May 2018.
This comprises 62 sub-projects for animal breeding, 167 sub-projects for animal nutrition and 231 sub-projects for Village Based Milk Procurement Systems (VBMPS).
94 lakh milch animals in 32,578 villages have been covered under the nutrition balancing programme, 2,593 bulk milk coolers and 21,711 automated milk collection unit installed and 13.24 lakh additional farmers have been enrolled in 39,956 villages under the VBMPS.

'Safeguarding the Intangible Cultural Heritage and Diverse Cultural Traditions of India' Scheme
Scheme titled ‘Safeguarding the Intangible Cultural Heritage and Diverse Cultural Traditions of India’ is being implemented by the Ministry of Culture with the objective of reinvigorating and revitalizing various institutions, groups, individuals, identified non-MoC institutions, non-government organisations, researchers and scholars so that they may engage in activities/ projects for strengthening, protecting, preserving and promoting the rich intangible cultural heritage of India. The scheme is being implemented through Sangeet Natak Akademi, an autonomous organisation under the Ministry of Culture.
Many proposals regarding safeguarding of intangible cultural heritages received from Madhya Pradesh have been approved under the scheme since its inception.

Identified 17 sites for development under iconic tourist sites development project: Alphons
The Ministry of Tourism has identified 17 sites in 12 clusters in the country for development under the Iconic Tourist Sites Development Project.
The 17 sites are TajMahal and Fatehpur Sikri in Uttar Pradesh, Ajanta and Ellora in Maharashtra, Humayun's Tomb, Red Fort and Qutub Minar in Delhi, Colva beach in Goa, Amer Fort in Rajasthan, Somnath and Dholavira in Gujarat, Khajuraho in Madhya Pradesh, Hampi in Karnataka, Mahabalipuram in Tamil Nadu, Kaziranga in Assam, Kumarakom in Kerala and Mahabodhi in Bihar.
The monuments taken up for development under the Iconic Tourist Sites Development Project fall under the jurisdiction of Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) and State Archaeology Departments.

July 25

Tamil Nadu Unveils Draft Forest Policy Under State's Vision 2023 Plan
The Tamil Nadu government has rolled out the draft state Forest Policy aimed at preserving forests and wildlife, conservation of ecosystems, and climate change mitigation among others in the state.
According to the Vision Tamil Nadu 2023 document released by former Chief Minister J. Jayalalithaa in 2014, preserving the ecology was one of the themes of the document which aims at increasing forest cover, protection of wetlands and other waterbodies in the state.
The draft forest policy rolled out by Chief Minister K Palaniswami would work on the objectives which include conservation of biodiversity, wildlife, rehabiliation and restoration of degraded forests, coastal ecosystem conservation among others.
The policy seeks the involvement of local tribal communities in protection, conservation and wildlife management. Tamil Nadu has about 30.92 per cent of the forest declared as 'protected areas' and has 15 wildlife sanctuaries, five National parks, 15 bird sanctuaries, three biosphere reserves, four project tiger areas.

Odisha CM launches 'Green Mahanadi Mission'
Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik launched the 'Green Mahanadi Mission', a plantation drive under which 2 crore saplings will be planted along the Mahanadi river and its tributaries.
The Chief Minister launched the campaign during his visit to Boudh and Subarnapur districts where he planted a sapling on the bank of the Mahanadi.
A massive plantation drive will be undertaken along the Mahanadi, Ib and Tel rivers. Two crore trees will be planted along the rivers in the state.

Bijli Mitra Mobile app for replacement of transformers in Rajasthan
Farmers in Rajasthan will soon have the ease to get their defunct transformers replaced within six hours of registering a complaint through a mobile app.
Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje informed that the scheme was being launched on a pilot basis from Jhalawara.
The process of replacing transformers used to consume a lot of time, therefore, the government decided to introduce mobile app 'Bijli Mitra' so that farmers can register their complaint.

'Mukhyanmantri Kisan Aaye Badhotri Solar Yojna': scheme launched by Delhi CM to increase the income of farmers by three to five times.
Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal announced the 'Mukhyanmantri Kisan Aaye Badhotri Solar Yojna' which aims to increase the income of farmers by three to five times in the national capital.
As per the scheme approved by the Delhi Cabinet, maximum of one-third surface area of the agriculture land can be used for installation of solar panels in such a way that agriculture activity is not affected.

WCD Ministry declares September as National Nutrition Month
Every year, September would be celebrated as the National Nutrition Month to mark India's fight against malnutrition announced by the Ministry of Women and Child Development.
The Ministry would, in the month, organize programmes to spread awareness on the issues related to malnutrition like stunting, under-nutrition, anemia, and low birth weight in children and focus on adolescent girls, pregnant women, and lactating mothers.

July 26

West Bengal Municipal Service Commission Bill introduced in assembly
The state government introduced the West Bengal Municipal Service Commission Bill in the Assembly for direct recruitment of personnel for prescribed categories of posts and services in the establishment of urban local bodies.
State Urban Development Minister Firhad Hakim introduced the bill whose implementation would enable the Commission to carry out recruitment for all the eight municipal corporations, 115 municipalities and 18 development authorities across the state.
The Commission would have a chairman and three other members and would function under the administrative control of the state government in the urban development and municipal affairs department, according to the bill.

International Children's Film Festival inaugurated
West Bengal Governor K N Tripathi inaugurated the 18th International Children's Film Festival in which 36 films from 17 countries would be screened.
The Governor also called for screening of one children's film in every cinema hall of the state every month.
The festival was being organised by Cine Central, one of the oldest cine clubs of the country in collaboration with the UNICEF.
Thirty-six films from 17 countries would be screened in the festival.

Odisha CM inaugurates Rs 300 crore irrigation dam project
Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik inaugurated the Rs 300 crore Rukura Medium Irrigation Dam project in Sundargarh district.
The project will irrigate 5,800 hectare of agricultural field. An estimated Rs 300 crore has been spent for construction of Rukura project.
Stating that irrigation is priority of his government, to provide irrigation to additional 10 lakh hectare of land ahead of 2014 elections, will be fulfilled by 2019.
Patnaik pointed out that while the budget for irrigation was only Rs 850 crore when he came to power in 2000, the amount has increased to Rs 10,200 crore in 2018.

Meghalaya Cabinet approves implementation of MHIS in convergence with Ayushman Bharat Yojana
The Meghalaya Cabinet approved the implementation of the Meghalaya Health Insurance Scheme in convergence with the Centres Ayushman Bharat Yojana. The health coverage under this has been increased from Rs 2.8 lakh to Rs 5 lakh per household covering all citizens excluding government employees. A total of 8.8 lakh families would be covered under the health scheme in the state.
The cabinet also approved a Rs 200 crore loan proposal of the Animal Husbandry and Veterinary department for enhancing milk production in the state. The National Cooperative Development Corporation has agreed to give loan of Rs 200 crore out of which Rs 150 will be soft loan and Rs 50 crore will be subsidy.
The state government has agreed to stand as guarantor for the city-based East Khasi Hills District Cooperative Milk Union to avail the loan. The Union was set up recently under the Meghalaya Milk Mission and at present it is running the milk processing at Mawiong and the production per day is 10,000 litres.

The National Green Tribunal formed a monitoring committee on cleaning of the Yamuna.
The National Green Tribunal formed a monitoring committee on the cleaning of the Yamuna and directed it to submit an action plan on the issue.
A bench headed by National Green Tribunal (NGT) Chairperson A K Goel appointed retired expert member B S Sajwan and former Delhi chief secretary Shailaja Chandra as members of the committee while directing them to submit an action plan by September and a detailed report in the matter by December 31.
The green panel asked the Haryana and Uttar Pradesh governments to assist the committee on Yamna rejuvenation.

Atal Innovation Mission and MyGov jointly launch ‘Innovate India Platform’
The NITI Aayog’s Atal Innovation Mission and MyGov platform jointly launched the ‘#InnovateIndia Platform’, collaboration between both the platforms. The #InnovateIndia was launched by R. Ramanan, Mission Director of Atal Innovation Mission and Arvind Gupta, CEO of MyGov.
The #InnovateIndia portal will serve as the common point for all the innovation happening across the nation. MyGov-AIM portal creates the much-needed innovations platform for registering both grassroots and deep-tech innovators at a national level.
Those searching for a critical innovation can leverage the portal advantageously for the benefit of the economy as well as national social needs.
The #InnovateIndia platform is open to all Indian citizens. The users can view, comment, share, and rate the innovations crowdsourced on the #InnovateIndia platform.

Kerala to launch country's first state-run all-woman hotel
The Kerala Tourism Development Corporation (KTDC) is all set to launch India’s first public sector hotel run entirely by women for women in the state’s capital city, Thiruvananthapuram.
Kerala Tourism Minister Kadakampally Surendran inaugurated the work on the project at the Kerala Transport Development Finance Corporation (KTDFC) Complex at Thampanoor.
The hotel, named ‘Hostess’, will come up at the KTDC complex at the main bus station in the heart of Thiruvananthapuram, adjacent to the central railway station.

Assam state government recently decided to set up a separate directorate for the Divyangs
The Assam government has recently decided to set up a separate directorate for the Divyangs. The Social Welfare minister, Pramila Rani Brahma informed that appointment to Divyangs will be given at around 4500 posts by December 2018.
Beside this, the Social Welfare department will also give Rs 1000 per month to all Divyangs as stipend. The minister informed that the new Anganwadi centres to be constructed for the benefit of the women and children.

July 27

Exhibition to raise awareness about conservation of elephants
To raise awareness about the preservation and conservation of elephants, a two-month long exhibition will be held at the Mandi House metro station.
As part of India Habitat Centre’s year-long multi-media festival on sustainable development, “Habitat Photosphere”, the exhibition “Gaj Yatra” will feature illustrations on the elephant – India’s national heritage animal.
Organised in collaboration with the Wildlife Trust of India, the show curated by art consultant and cultural theorist Alka Pande, will begin on August 1.

Uttar Pradesh sets up committee to look into demands of 'shiksha mitras'
Bowing to the pressure and sustained protests by 'shiksha mitras' across the state, the Uttar Pradesh government has constituted a committee to look into their demands and suggest a suitable action plan.
The committee, formed by Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath, would be headed by deputy chief minister Dinesh Sharma and would have the principal secretaries of basic education, law and the finance department as its members.
Exactly a year after the Supreme Court nullified the assimilation of the 'shiksha mitras', assistant teachers, woman protestors had tonsured their heads in the state capital as a mark of protest.
They have been demanding the direct appointment of 30,000 TET pass 'shiksha mitras' as teachers, providing financial assistance to people who have died during the prolonged agitation and giving Rs 38,878 to those who have not been given government jobs instead of the Rs 10,000 promised by the government.

Haryana government constitutes inter-district council
The Haryana government has constituted an inter-district council, under the chairmanship of Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar, to identify the developmental priorities of the state.
The finance minister, development and panchayat minister, urban local bodies minister, presidents of zilla parishads, mayors of municipal corporations and presidents of municipal councils or committees at district headquarters would be permanent members of the council.
The inter-district council will prepare district specific action plans, assessment of development needs, and delegate powers to panchayati raj institutions and urban local bodies.

Haryana social justice dept to launch special campaign against drug menace
Haryana's Department of Social Justice and Empowerment will launch a special campaign to control the menace of drugs, especially in the districts bordering Punjab.
The campaign would also include prevention of sale of drugs, treatment of drug addicts, and making people aware about the adverse effects of drugs on their health.
A Task Force has already been formed at the district level under the chairmanship of the deputy commissioner concerned. A committee has also been constituted at the state level under the chairmanship of the chief minister, in which representatives from health, home, social justice and empowerment and other departments have been included.

Odisha signs MoU to strengthen education for blind students
The Odisha government has signed a MoU with 'Sightsavers', a global organisation working to prevent avoidable blindness, to strengthen inclusive education for the blind and low vision students.
The Odisha Primary Education Programme Authority (OPEPA) on behalf of Department of School & Mass Education signed the MoU with Sightsavers.
As part of the MoU, Sightsavers will provide technical support to OPEPA in strengthening the mainstream education of the blind and low vision children studying in general schools across the state.
Sightsavers will also provide technical support in disability management, low vision assessment, curriculum and special skill development among visually impaired students.

West Bengal Assembly Passes Resolution to Rename West Bengal 'Bangla'
The West Bengal Assembly passed a resolution to change the name of the State as ‘Bangla’ in three languages - Bengali, English and Hindi.
The proposal has been pending since August 2016, when the Assembly passed a resolution to change the name to ‘Bengal’ in English, ‘Bangla’ in Bengali and ‘Bangal’ in Hindi. The Centre, however, turned it down in 2017, objecting to having three names in three languages.
Education Minister Partha Chatterjee moved the resolution which was unanimously passed.

West Benagal Lokayukta (Amendment) Bill passed
The West Bengal Assembly passed the Lokayukta (Amendment) Bill, 2018, keeping the Chief Minister out of its purview in matters relating to public order.
The Bill, however, allows the Lokayukta to investigate into matters relating to the chief minister on the other 58 subjects under the State List, with the approval of two-third of the members of the assembly present and voting.

High Court declares Arunachal Pradesh Parliamentary Secretaries Act as 'unconstitutional'
The Itanagar Bench of Gauhati High Court has declared the Arunachal Pradesh Parliamentary Secretaries (Appointment, Salaries, Allowances and Miscellaneous Provisions) Act, 2007 as "unconstitutional".
The division bench, comprising Justice Monojit Bhuyan and Justice Rumi Kumari Phukon, while hearing a public interest litigation filed by Kyoda Ram, pronounced the act as "unconstitutional" in line with the Supreme Court judgement of July 27 last year on the matter of appointing parliamentary secretaries.
Parties are agreed that in view of the decision of the Supreme Court, the PIL does not survive for further consideration, the judges stated while delivering the judgement.
The Pema Khandu-led BJP government in Arunachal Pradesh has at present 23 parliamentary secretaries.

Free WiFi services for villages adopted by MPs across India
Minister of State for communications Manoj Sinha in Lok Sabha informed MP Virender Kashyap that all villages adopted by the Member of Parliaments under 'Sansad Adarsh Gram Yojna', will be provided free WiFi services across India by the Government.
The government has proposed to set up 25000 WiFi hotspots at existing rural exchanges of BSNL through comprehensive telecom development plan and in future, all other agencies/pvt telecom operators will be engaged to provide WiFi services to every panchayat across India.
The government has targeted to link each of the 2.5 lakh gram panchayats of India through optical fibre network under Bharat Net Project.
According to Sinha, one lakh gram panchayats have been connected under Digital India programme in phase one upto December 2017 and an additional 1.5 lakh panchayats will be connected with high-speed internet by March 2019.

July 28

Gujarat government announces ‘Urban Sanitation and Cleanliness Policy’
The Gujarat government came out with an 'Urban Sanitation and Cleanliness Policy' for better management of solid and liquid waste in cities.
Among other things, the policy aims at complete abolition of manual scavenging. The policy seeks to streamline collection and disposal of all kinds of waste in cities and towns.
A system to convert solid waste into fuel to generate "green energy" will be set up. The policy also puts a thrust on recycling of drainage water, adding that it is line with the National Urban Sanitation Policy.

Indian Railways Launches ''Mission Satyanishtha'' a Program on Ethics in Public Governance
In first of its kind event held by any government organisation, the Indian Railways organised a programme on Ethics in Public Governance and launched “Mission Satyanishtha” at a day-long event held at National Rail Museum, New Delhi. Minister of Railways, Piyush Goyal, administered the oath to the officers and supervisors at the programme.
People define an organisation and an organisation defines its people, hence, work culture has to be improved and transparency brought about, data should be displayed on public domains so as to get constructive feedbacks from the users. Lack of interest towards work in any system, may be termed as unethical amounting to corruption.
The issue of Ethics, Integrity and probity in public life have been a matter of concern all over the government sector. In this context it is also extremely important that all railway servants adhere to impeccable conduct and integrity at all times. “Mission Satyanishtha” launched on July 27 aims at sensitizing all railway employees about the need to adhere to good ethics and to maintain high standards of integrity at work. Talks and Lectures on the subject were organised for staff and Officers of Indian Railways for this purpose.

A museum for all former Prime Ministers to be built in Nehru Memorial Museum and Library
Amid opposition by some members, the government decided that a museum for all prime ministers of the country would be constructed in the Teen Murti Bhavan complex that houses the Nehru Memorial Museum and Library (NMML).
Leader of the Congress in Lok Sabha Malikarjun Kharge, however, informed that The Hindu that a final decision has been deferred owing to strong opposition by some members.
The new museum will be separate from the existing structure of the Nehru Memorial. The Home Minister’s wrap up statement was very clear that the objections made by some members have been noted but the NMML society is going ahead with the new museum.

Lok Sabha passes Trafficking of Persons Bill, 2018
The Lok Sabha has passed the Trafficking of Persons (Prevention, Protection and Rehabilitation) Bill 2018.
The Bill provides for the prevention, rescue, and rehabilitation of trafficked persons and seeks to establish a National Anti-Trafficking Bureau to investigate trafficking cases.
It also provides for the setting up of Anti-Trafficking Units (ATUs) at the district level which will deal with the investigation, prevention, rescue, and protection of victims and witnesses.

App for Mumbai weather forecast launched
The Union Ministry of Earth Sciences (MoES) launched a mobile application that will provide information on extreme weather events in Mumbai.
The MoES also launched a mobile application for Chardham andAmarnath yatra pilgrims.
The Chardham Yatra in Uttarakhand usually experiences extreme weather events like heavy rains and thunderstorms.
Odisha to set up riverine port on Mahanadi river
The Odisha government approved a proposal for setting up a riverine port on river Mahanadi in Kendrapara district.
The port will come up under the public-private-partnership mode on build, own, operate, share and transfer (BOOST) basis.
The proposal was approved at a meeting of the High Level Clearance Authority (HLCA) held under the chairmanship of Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik. The project would come up at Akhadasali village under Mahakalpada block in Kendrapara district.

Odisha to implement its own food security act from October 2
Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik announced that the state government would implement its own food security act from October 2 this year. Odisha’s own food security act would cover nearly 34.44 lakh people who have been left out from the National Food Security Act (NFSA).
Patnaik made this announcement while participating in the ‘Ama Mukhyamantri, Ama Katha’ (Our Chief Minister, Our Issues) programme in Bhubaneswar. The success of the programme prompted the decision to launch rice at Re 1 per kg for people living below poverty line in 2013. This was a big step towards food security in the country.

Dharmendra Pradhan lays the Foundation stone for permanent campus for National Skill Training Institute (NSTI) for Women in Mohali
The Union Minister for Petroleum & Natural Gas and Skill Development &Entrepreneurship Shri Dharmendra Pradhan, laid the foundation stone for permanent campus of National Skill Training Institute (NSTI) for Women at Mohali, Punjab. This is the first NSTI Institute for Punjab and only one of its kind in India which is exclusively for women.
The Minister also launched a unique Pradhan Mantri Kaushal Kendra (PMKK) which would admit differently abled persons as well, also a first of its kind in India at Mohali. The Institute is presently operating out of temporary campus at Rajpura.
NSTI for women and PMKK for differently abled in Mohali are being launched under “Skill India” initiative of the Government of India under the leadership of Prime Minister, Shri Narendra Modi.

July 29

Government constitutes High Level Empowered Committee headed by Cabinet Secretary to address the issues of Stressed Thermal Power Projects
Stressed Thermal Power Assets are a cause of concern for the Country. With a view to resolve the stress and revive such assets, the Government has decided to set up a High Level Empowered Committee headed by Cabinet Secretary with representatives from the Ministry of Railways, Ministry of Finance, Ministry of Power, Ministry of Coal and the lenders having major exposure to the power sector.
The Committee would look into the various issues with a view to resolve them and maximise the efficiency of investment including changes required to be made in the fuel allocation policy, regulatory framework, mechanisms to facilitate sale of power, ensure timely payments, payment security mechanism, changes required in the provisioning norms/Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code (IBC), Asset Restructuring Company (ARC) Regulations and any other measures proposed for revival of stressed assets so as to avoid such investments becoming NPA.

PM Modi launches 81 projects worth Rs 60,000 crore in Uttar Pradesh
Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who arrived in Lucknow, inaugurated 81 investment projects worth Rs 60,000 crore. This is Modi’s fifth visit in the past one month to Uttar Pradesh, a state crucial to the BJP’s prospects ahead of next year’s general elections. The projects were pledged to the state during the UP Investor’s Summit in February.
Eighty industrialists, including major firms such as Birla, Reliance and Adani, attended the ceremony alongside Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath and Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh. Modi laid the foundation stones and inaugurated 99 urban development projects for Uttar Pradesh worth Rs 3,897 crore. He also gave away different awards on the occasion to mark three years of the government’s flagship programmes.

Shri J.P. Nadda Launches National Viral Hepatitis Control Program
“With this initiative, Government is strongly committed to work towards elimination of viral hepatitis by 2030.” This was stated by Shri J.P. Nadda, Union Minister of Health and Family Welfare as he launched the National Viral Hepatitis Control Program to mark the World Hepatitis Day.
Shri J.P. Nadda also released the Operational Guidelines for National Viral Hepatitis Control Program, National Laboratory Guidelines for Viral Hepatitis Testing and National Guidelines for Diagnosis and Management of Viral Hepatitis. Shri Manoj Sinha, MoS (Independent Charge), Ministry of Communication also released the Commemorative Stamp at the occasion.

Patiala foundation has been accorded "special consultative status" by the united nations
An NGO, which has been working in the field of culture, tourism and road safety, has been accorded the highest status that is granted by the United Nations to non-governmental organisations.
The UN Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) granted the "special consultative status" to the Punjab-based Patiala Foundation after concurrence by representatives of all the member countries.
The UN headquarters informed the decision to the NGO authorities. So far, 3,974 NGOs across the globe have got this recognition.
Patiala Foundation, which began its operations in 2009, has been actively working in the field of livelihood, culture, tourism and road safety. It is actively engaged in fulfilling the Millennium Development Goals (MDG) of the UN.

Data Protection Authority will be sector-agnostic
The Justice Srikrishna committee, in a report and a draft Bill, recommended the creation of a Data Protection Authority that will be in charge of ensuring that entities processing data do so in keeping with the law.
The DPA, a sector agnostic body, will ensure that every entity that handles data is conscious of its obligations and that it will be held to account in case of failure to comply.
The authority will be governed by a board consisting of six whole-time members and a chairperson appointed by the Union government on the recommendation of a selection committee.

July 30

Central Road and Infrastructure Fund (CRIF) in Finance Ministry domain
Work related to the Central Road and Infrastructure Fund (CRIF) has been taken away from the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways and brought under the domain of the Finance Ministry, according to an official order. It will now be under the Department of Economic Affairs (DEA), Finance Ministry, the order approved by President Ram Nath Kovind stated.
Budget 2018 amended the Central Road Fund Act, 2000, and renamed the Central Road Fund the Central Road and Infrastructure Fund.
The objective of the amendment was to use proceeds of the road cess under CRIF to finance other infrastructure projects such as waterways, some portion of the railway infrastructure and even social infrastructure, including education institutions and medical colleges.
The government recently constituted a ministerial panel headed by the finance minister to decide on fund allocation for infrastructure projects from the CRIF.

Union Minister for Agriculture & Farmers Welfare Shri Radha Mohan Singh participated in the launching of Meghalaya Milk Mission in Shillong
Union Minister for Agriculture and Farmers Welfare Shri Radha Mohan Singh informed that Meghalaya Milk Mission will facilitate in achieving the Centre’s goal of doubling farmer’s income by 2022 through promotion of milk business in the state.
Announcing a sanctioned project of Rs 215 crores through National Cooperative Development Corporation (NCDC) at the launching programme of Meghalaya Milk Mission in Shillong.
the Meghalaya Milk Mission has been conceptualised to plug the demand-supply gap in the per capita milk availability. Stating that the per capita milk availability in Meghalaya is much lower than the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR’s) recommendation of milk consumption per person.
The minister mentioned that there are cooperatives in only 97 villages out of the 6449 villages of Meghalaya, while there can be cooperative societies in 60 per cent of the total villages.

Dindigul district administration has proposed to conduct Kodai festival in the month of August
The Dindigul district administration has proposed to conduct Kurinji flower, Kodai festival in the month of August. The Kurinji flower, which blossoms once in 12 years in Kodaikanal, Yercaud and Nilgiris would be showcased.
The Department of Tourism, in association with the Horticulture team and NGOs, conducts this fest by taking the visiting tourists to these spots. It aims to make the people understand the significance of Kurinji flowers through innovative means.

Aurobindo gets USFDA nod for generic anticoagulant injenction
Aurobindo Pharma has received approval from the US health regulator to manufacture and market Bivalirudin injection, an anticoagulant medication, in the American Market.
The company has received final approval the US Food and Drug Administration (USFDA) for its product which is a generic version of the Medicines Company’s Angiomax Injection.
The product will be launched in September 2018, according to IQVIA the estimated market size for Bivalirudin injection stood at USD 101 million for the 12 months ending May 2018.

July 31

E-Aksharayan a desktop software to enable editing of text printed on scanned documents launched by IT Ministry
The IT minister launched a desktop software e-Aksharayan to enable editing of text printed on scanned document and it can be downloaded for free from its website.
''e-Aksharayan is a desktop software for converting scanned printed Indian language document into a fully editable text format in Unicode encoding. The text can be also saved separately'', Swaran Lata, programme head and director technology development for Indian Languages (TDIL) informed after unveiling the software a FICCI event.
The software supports editing in seven Indian languages_ Hindi, Bangla, Malayalam, Gurmukhi, tamil, kannada & Assamese.

Government plans ‘ISRO-like’ ocean mission
Looking to emulate the success of the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) in designing and launching satellites, the Centre has drawn up a five-year, Rs. 8,000 crore plan to explore the deep recesses of the ocean.
The Union Earth Sciences Ministry - tasked with coordinating the exercise - unveiled a blueprint of the ‘Deep Ocean Mission (DOM)’.
Among the key deliverables to achieve these goals are an offshore desalination plant that will work with tidal energy, and developing a submersible vehicle that can go to a depth of at least 6,000 metres with three people on board.

Swachhta Pakhwada celebrated successfully across the country by the Ministry of Petroleum & Natural Gas
Ministry of Petroleum & Natural Gas (MoPNG), its attached offices and Oil & Gas CPSEs under the administrative control of MoPNG celebrated Swachhta Pakhwada fortnight with full zeal and enthusiasm from 01st to 15th July, 2018. The main theme of MoPNG initiatives in this Pakhwada were “Innovation” and “Sustainability”.
A kick-off meeting to review the Swachhta Pakhwada preparedness of MoPNG, its attached offices and CPSEs under administrative control of MoPNG was held under chairmanship of Secretary (PNG) in which all Oil & Gas CPSEs/attached offices were advised to move beyond symbolism and go to the next level in the implementation of Swachhta Pakhwada.
Under Swachhta Pakhwada, a pledge was administered by Secretary (PNG), Dr M.M. Kutty for creating awareness towards importance of cleanliness at the workplace to the Officers and staff of the Ministry.

Shri Shripad Yesso Naik lays the foundation stone of the 2nd Phase of construction of NEIAH in Shillong
Union Minister of State (Independent Charge) for AYUSH Shri Shripad Yesso Naik laid the foundation stone of the 2nd Phase of Construction of North East Institute of Ayurveda & Homeopathy (NEIAH) at NEIAH Campus, Mawdiangdiang, Shillong.
The approximate estimated cost of the construction is Rs 40.80 crore for an area of 10481.53 sqm and will comprise of residential accommodation for students, doctors and staff and guest house.
The minister expressed that the 2nd phase will cater some of the basic needs of students, doctors and employee of the institute. The Minister, while acknowledging the satisfactory performance of the institute since its start in 2016, this institute will be able to produce quality human resources which will directly benefit the health care system of the region. This will also motivate people for cultivation and preservation of valuable medicinal plants in the region and it will be possible to promote and preserve the traditional knowledge of folk medicine.

Health Ministry signs MoU with Electronics Ministry to facilitate access of Ayushman Bharat
The National Health Agency (NHA) under the Health Ministry, which is the apex body for the implementation of Ayushman Bharat-National Health Protection Mission, inked a MoU with the Electronics and IT Ministry to provide information and eligibility validation services to the beneficiaries, especially in remote areas.
Health Minister J P Nadda and Minister for Law and Justice and Information Technology Ravi Shankar Prasad presided over the signing ceremony.
The MoU was signed by Indu Bhushan, CEO, National Health Agency (NHA) and Dinesh Tyagi, CEO, CSC-SPV.
With this MoU, the dream of Digital India is taking a big leap. The Ayushman Bharat shall benefit 55 crore people across the country. The 3 lakh CSCs in 2.5 lakh Panchayats shall be a great help in the implementation of the scheme.
Common Service Centres (CSCs) are physical facilities for delivering government's e-services to rural and remote locations where availability of computers and internet is negligible or mostly absent. They are multiple-services-single-point model for providing facilities for multiple transactions at a single geographical location.

Rajasthan first State to implement biofuel policy
Rajasthan has become the first State in the country to implement the national policy on biofuels unveiled by the Centre in this year. The desert State will lay emphasis on increasing production of oilseeds and establish a Centre for Excellence in Udaipur to promote research in the fields of alternative fuels and energy resources.
The policy on biofuels seeks to help farmers dispose of their surplus stock in an economic manner and reduce the country’s oil import dependence. It has expanded the scope of raw material for ethanol production by allowing use of sugarcane juice, sugar containing materials, starch containing materials and damaged foodgrains like wheat, broken rice and rotten potatoes for ethanol production.
While approving the policy on biofuels for implementation in the State at a meeting of the high-power Biofuel Authority, the Biofuel Rules, 2018, would shortly be brought into effect.
Chhattisgarh CM, Kangana Ranaut launch smartphone distribution scheme
Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Raman Singh, along with National Award-winning actress Kangana Ranaut, launched a smartphone distribution scheme, 'Mobile Tihar', under the Sanchar Kranti Yojna (SKY).
The scheme is for distribution of smartphones to women and students, covering over 50 Lakh beneficiaries.
Assam releases final NRC draft, 40 lakh declared 'illegal citizens' of India
Amid tight security, the second and the final draft of the National Register of Citizens of Assam was released in Guwahati.
Out of 3,29,91,384 total applicants, 2,89,83,677 people have been found eligible to be included in the National Register of Citizens.