The Union Ministry of Minority Affairs decided to end Haj subsidy from this year as a part of its policy to empower minorities with dignity and without appeasement.
This decision was taken based on the recommendations of Afzal Amanullah Committee and May 2012 Supreme Court order.
The Hajj is an annual Islamic pilgrimage to Mecca, the holiest city for Muslims. It is a mandatory religious duty for Muslims that must be carried out.
Jammu and Kashmir Finance Minister Haseeb Drabu announced an exclusive industrial development scheme to expand and promote business activities in the state.
Winding up the discussion on the Budget for 2018-19 in the Assembly, Drabu said that under the scheme, to be rolled out soon, central capital investment subsidy of 30 percent would be provided for plant and machinery and buildings for hotels.
The first time that such benefits are being extended to the services sector.
Around three per cent interest subsidy for five years and 100 percent insurance subsidy under the scheme.
All new industrial units in manufacturing and services sector operational in the state will be eligible for various benefits under this scheme.
The Indo-US joint military exercise ‘Vajra Prahar’ will be held at Joint Base Lewis-McChord (JBLM) in Seattle in the third week of January in line with the increasing military cooperation between both countries.
In this edition of bilateral exercise, Indian Army team from the Southern Command will participate.
The exercise will mainly focus on special operations in urban areas.
The ‘I4Fund Call for Proposal’ was announced with the joint launch of the website and the unveiling of the brochure by the two PMs (Narendra Modi and Benjamin Netanyahu).
The "India-Israel Industrial R&D and Technological Innovation Fund (I4F)" was announced in July 2017.
Under this, the Department of Science and Technology, India and the National Innovation Authority of Israel have established a 40 million US dollar Fund.
Tourism sector of the nation is blooming year by year, as the Foreign Tourists Arrivals have bloomed by 15.2% in December 2017 as compared to December 2016.
And also 48.3% Growth in Foreign Tourist Arrivals on an e-Tourist visa in December 2017 Over December 2016.
The number of FTAs in December 2017 was 11.76 lakh as compared to FTAs of 10.21 lakh in December 2016 and 9.13 lakh in December 2015.
The growth rate in FTAs in December 2017 over December 2016 was 15.2%, compared to 11.9% in December 2016 over December 2015.
FTAs in the year 2017 was 101.77 lakh with a growth of 15.6% over 2016, compared to FTAs of 88.04 lakh with a growth of 9.7% is 2016 over 2015.
The percentage share of Foreign Tourist Arrivals (FTAs) in India during December 2017 among the top 15 source countries was highest from Bangladesh (19.04%) followed by USA (16.90%), UK (10.41%), Australia (5.31%), Canada (3.85%), Russian Fed. (3.79%),Malaysia (3.11%), Germany (2.08%), China (2.06%), Sri Lanka (2.01%), Singapore (1.85%), France (1.81%), Japan (1.64%), Thailand (1.60%) and Italy (1.44%).
In a major digital initiative to help plan the traffic flows and optimize freight operations, Ministry of Railways launched Smart Freight Operation Optimisation & Real Time Information (SFOORTI) App for Freight Managers which provides features for monitoring and managing freight business using Geographic Information System (GIS) Views and Dashboard.
With this application, movement of freight trains on Geographic Information System (GIS) view can be tracked.
Both passenger and freight trains can be tracked over Zones/Divisions/ Sections in single GIS View.
Freight business can be monitored.
Comparative Analysis of Zonal/Divisional Traffic.
Analysis of new traffic captured and traffic lost.
This app provides a Bird’s eye view of all Freight Assets in a single window.
The Pension Fund Regulatory and Development Authority of India (PFRDA) announced that Atal Pension Yojana (APY) run by it has reached a subscriber base of 80 lakh and is growing at good pace. Uttar Pradesh is the highest contributing state at 11.41 lakh APY subscribers, followed by Bihar (8.87 lakh) and Tamil Nadu (6.60 lakh).
It is available to all citizens of India in the age group of 18-40 years (thus the minimum period of contribution by the subscriber is 20 years).
There is no exit to the scheme before the age of 60.
Three Ministries namely Ministry of Railways, Ministry of Human Resource Development (HRD) and Ministry of Science & Technology have signed Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) for joint funding of Technology Mission for Indian Railways (TMIR).
The MoU aims to facilitate co-financing of (TMIR) by investment sharing for identified railway projects for applied research.
Indian Railways will be benefitted with the availability of world-class indigenized technologies at very reasonable cost through this consortium approach.
Income Tax Department launched an online chat service on its national website www.incometaxindia.gov.in.
This is aimed at facilitating the taxpayers resolve their queries.
A customer support executive having expertise in tax-related matters helps the users in resolving their queries online.
Giving this information in the Lok Sabha, Minister of State for Finance, Shiv Pratap Shukla said, altogether 8,424 people have benefited from this service.
The facility is available on all working days from Monday to Friday between 10 AM and 6 PM.
The module can also be accessed through a mobile application called ‘AayakarSetu’ on Android phone.
Defence Ministry cleared contracts worth 2,420 crore rupees for Navy and Army which includes the procurement of P-8I Training Solution and Low-Intensity Conflict Electronic Warfare System (LICEWS).
The training solution accurately simulates P-8I aircraft and mission systems.
It will help Indian Navy train and realistically rehearse for sophisticated missions involving P-8I aircraft.
The procurement of LICEWS will be done from Bharat Electronics Limited to 470 crore rupees.
Smt Preeti Sudan, Secretary (Health and Family Welfare) launched the country’s first digital Online Oncology Tutorial Series designed by the Tata Memorial Center in collaboration with the Health Ministry.
The oncology tutorial series aims to train the doctors across the country to educate them in early detection, prevention, palliation, rehabilitation and treatment of various cancers.
The Union Cabinet approved the establishment of new All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) at Bilaspur in Himachal Pradesh under Pradhan Mantri Swasthya Suraksha Yojana (PMSSY).
The new AIIMS will be completed in a period of 48 months. It will consist of a hospital with a capacity of 750 beds and trauma center facilities.
It will also have a Medical college with an intake of 100 MBBS students per year.
Under this scheme, AIIMS have been established in Bhubaneshwar (Odisha), Bhopal (Madhya Pradesh), Raipur (Chhattisgarh), Jodhpur (Rajasthan), Rishikesh and Patna (Bihar) while work of AIIMS Rae Bareli (Uttar Pradesh) is in progress.
External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj left on a 5-day visit to three South East Asian countries – Thailand, Indonesia and Singapore.
On the first leg of the visit, Ms. Swaraj will reach Thailand and will hold an official meeting with Thai Foreign Affairs Minister Don Pramudwinai.
During the visit to Indonesia, Ms. Swaraj will co-chair the 5th meeting of India-Indonesia Joint Commission.
In Singapore, the External Affairs Minister will inaugurate the Regional Pravasi Bharatiya Divas of ASEAN countries.
She will have bilateral meetings with the leaders in Singapore.
Madhya Pradesh Tourism Minister Surendra Patwa that the government is likely to introduce a plan worth Rs 100 crore.
The plan is aimed at providing better facilities for the people visiting the state and to avoid inconvenience for pilgrims coming from across the country.
Religious tourism is increasing in the state and the chief minister has said that we will make a scheme worth almost Rs. 100 crore to ensure better facilities for visitors. In the coming time, we will be providing more and more facility to the pilgrims coming to Madhya Pradesh.
India an attractive cruise tourist destination the central government has exempted cruise tourists arriving with e-visa from the requirement of biometric enrolment for a period of three years i.e. till 31.12.2020.
The decision was taken by Ministry of Home Affairs on request of the Ministry of Shipping.
This will make immigration clearance of such passengers faster, leaving them with more time to spend on shore.
This is also an important factor that helps cruise lines decide whether or not to include a destination in their itinerary.
The Ministry of Shipping has been working towards simplifying the immigration clearance procedure and providing passengers with a customer friendly and hassle-free logistics process when they embark on or disembark from their cruise at the Indian ports. E-Visa has been in place in the five major ports of Mumbai, Mormugao, New Mangalore, Cochin, and Chennai.
Till now biometrics of passengers were required at a port of the first arrival for immigration clearance.
The Hindus from all over the world reach the confluence of the Ganges at Sagar Sangam situated in southern part of West Bengal in India during Gangasagar Mela.
It is often said that one visit to Gangasagar is worth lifetime.
To control the rush of pilgrimages to Gangasagar, Eastern Railway announced 13 special trains.
The island of Gangasagar is among the most popular Hindu pilgrimage places in the country.
Each year on Makar Sankranti (mid-January), the large number of devotees from all over the nation, congregate at Gangasagar for a sacred dip at the convergence of the river Ganga and the Bay of Bengal.
After the sacred dip, the pilgrims offer 'Puja' at the Kapil Muni Temple or Ashram.
National Affairs:The Assamese and Manipuri language versions of Prime Minister’s Official website- www.pmindia.gov.in were launched.
Now the PM INDIA website is available in 11 regional languages namely Assamese, Bengali, Gujarati, Kannada, Malayalam, Manipuri, Marathi, Odia, Punjabi, Tamil and Telugu in addition to English and Hindi.
External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj and her Jordanian counterpart Ayman Al Safadi held a bilateral meeting in New Delhi and discussed deepening bilateral ties across multiple sectors.
Mr Safadi discussed steps to set up a robust agenda for deepening and diversifying areas of cooperation in the fields of trade and investment, defence and security and people-to-people contact.
Sectoral regulator IRDAI issued regulations for insurance firms to carry out offshore business from Gujarat-based GIFT International Financial Services Centre (IFSC).
With this, Insurance operations will get a major boost.
Under the regulations, for the first time in the country, foreign insurers are permitted to open IFSC Insurance Office (IIO) at GIFT IFSC.
GIFT IFSC already hosts three major insurance players, GIC Re, New India and ECGC.
Uttar Pradesh launched a free household power connection scheme for the poor in the state to mark former prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee’s birth anniversary.
The government has a target of covering 16 million by 2018-end, driven by Yogi Adityanath government’s motto ‘Prakash hai to Vikas hai’ (the barometer of development is light).
The government has also introduced Kisan Uday Yojana, a novel scheme for farmers.
The scheme would cover 10 lakh farmers by 2022, would lead to 35 percent saving on power consumption.
The environment ministry launched a pilot project 'Blue Flag' for its clean-up and development.
With the prime objective of enhancing standards of cleanliness, upkeep and basic amenities at beaches.
The 'Blue Flag' is a certification by the Foundation for Environmental Education (FEE) that a beach, Marina or sustainable boating tourism operator, meets its stringent standards.
The Union government had formally launched the ‘Ganga Gram’ project at the Ganga Gram Swachata Sammelan in New Delhi.
As part of its clean Ganga mission – Namami Gange, the Ganga Gram project is an integrated approach for the holistic development of villages situated on the banks of the holy river with the active participation of villagers.
AYUSH Ministry hands with Commerce and Industry Ministry; Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI) and Pharmexcil to organize the International AROGYA 2017 – First Edition of International Exhibition and Conference on AYUSH and Wellness with the theme ‘Enhancing the export potential of AYUSH’.
This event was attended by many dignitaries and manufacturers. During the conference important topics relating to Standardization and Quality Control in AYUSH Sector, Enhancing the export potential of AYUSH and Business opportunities, Integrative Healthcare.
The Indian Army's Southern Command had conducted exercise 'Hamesha Vijayee' in the deserts of Rajasthan to evaluate the capability of the armed forces to strike deep into the enemy territory in an integrated air-land battle.
The military exercise is being carried in the general area of Barmer and Jaisalmer and aimed at fine-tuning surveillance and destruction mechanisms to support precision strikes and manoeuvres by network-enabled forces.
The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs has given its approval for a new skill development scheme covering the entire value chain of the textile sector excluding Spinning & Weaving in organized Sector, titled "Scheme for Capacity Building in Textile Sector (SCBTS)" from 2017-18 to 2019-20 with an outlay of Rs. 1300 crore.
The scheme will have National Skill Qualification Framework (NSQF) compliant training courses.
The main objectives of the scheme are to provide demand-driven, placement oriented skilling program to incentivize the efforts of the industry in creating jobs in the organized textile and related sectors.
The Union Minister of State for Home Affairs, Shri Kiren Rijiju, inaugurated the first national-level training of trainers program to sensitize various Central Ministries and Departments on the utilization of Sendai Monitor for developing action plans for Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR) in New Delhi.
The three-day programme was organized by the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) in collaboration with the United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction-Global Education and Training Institute (UNISDR-GETI).
The Assam government signed an MoU with Isha Foundation to conserve and rejuvenate the rivers of Assam.
Assam became the sixth state in the country to sign MoU with non-profit making and spiritual organization, the Isha foundation.
The agreement was signed by Assam CM Sarbananda Sonowal.
Central Council for Research in Ayurvedic Sciences (CCRAS) for undertaking coordinating formulating, developing and promoting research on scientific lines in Ayurveda is set up by The Ministry of AYUSH.
The activities are carried out through 30 institute/Centres/Units under CCRAS located all over India and also through collaborative studies with various universities, hospitals and institutes.
The research activities of the council include medicinal plant research (Medico-ethno botanical survey, pharmacognosy and tissue culture), Drug Standardization Pharmacological Research, Clinical Research, Literary Research & Documentation, and other outreach activities.
The Lok Sabha was informed that the national medical entrance exam, the NEET, and engineering entrance exam JEE might be conducted twice a year to give an opportunity to the students to bring out their best performance.
The Centre is setting up a National Testing Agency (NTA), an autonomous and self-sustained premier testing organisation, to conduct the entrance exams for the higher educational institutions, Mr Kushwaha said in response to a written question in the Lower House of Parliament.
According to a statement from union government, the establishment of NTA will benefit about 40 lakh students appearing in various entrance examinations.
It will relieve CBSE, AICTE and other agencies from the responsibility of conducting these entrance examinations, and also bring in high reliability, standardized difficulty level for assessing the aptitude, intelligence and problem-solving abilities of the students.
Union Agriculture Minister Radha Mohan Singh research and development projects in horticulture crops have yielded encouraging results, as a result, the production of horticulture crops have been more than food grains irrespective of adverse climatic conditions.
After China, India is the second largest producer of horticultural crops and fruits.
The Agriculture Minister said more than 9 crore metric ton of fruits on 63 lakhs hectare land were produced during 2015-16. According to an estimate, a production of 30 crore metric ton horticulture crops on 2.5 crore hectare land is expected during 2016-17 in which contribution of fruit is significant. The record achievement includes 42 million ton of fruit production on 65 lakh hectare land. In terms of area in India, the citrus fruits hold second position (10.37 lakh hectare) and third (12 million tonnes) in production.
Oil minister Dharmendra Pradhan inaugurated eastern India’s first compressed natural gas (CNG) stations for scooters in Bhubaneswar, Odisha.
Pradhan inaugurated two CNG stations for scooters and three-wheelers at Chandrasekharpur and Patia area in Bhubaneswar.
The minister also launched CNG-run scooters.
The CNG stations were part of GAIL’s Pradhan Mantri Urja Ganga and City Gas Distribution (CGD) projects in Bhubaneswar and Cuttack.
The Union Cabinet gave its approval for continuation of centrally sponsored scheme of National AYUSH Mission (NAM) from April 2017 to March 2020.
The NAM was launched in September 2014. It is being implemented by Ministry of AYUSH with the objective of providing cost-effective universal access to AYUSH Services.
The main aims to address gaps in health services through supporting efforts of State/UTs for providing AYUSH health services and education in country.
Meghalaya became the first state in the country to operationalize The Meghalaya Community Participation and Public Services Social Audit Act, 2017, a law that makes a social audit of government programmes and schemes a part of government practice.
It was launched by Chief Minister Mukul Sangma at a national convention in Shillong.
The law makes social audits part of the system as earlier it was civil society initiative rather than government-mandated.
The National Institute of Transforming India (NITI) Aayog’s Atal Innovation Mission launched the Atal Tinkering Lab’s Community Day in New Delhi.
The day marks Community Drive Initiative in which 25 young Mentors engaged with more than 200 students who are not enrolled in the formal education system.
The initiative is aimed at maximizing impact of Atal Tinkering Labs by extending innovation to children in the community who do not have access to formal educational institutions.
Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan the union government jobs will be provided to the medal winners of individual and team competitions at the international level.
While addressing the concluding programme of All India Rajmata Vijaya Raje Scindia Women Gold Cup Hockey Tournament, Singh mentioned that life is incomplete without sports.
He announced to give an additional amount of Rs. One lakh each to the teams, which bagged four first positions in the tournament and Rs. 25 thousand each to the best players of various categories.
The Indian Railway Women Hockey team lifted the Mayor Trophy by defeating the team of Madhya Pradesh Women Hockey Academy with 4 goals to one in the final match.
Telangana government earlier rolled out the 24X7 power supply especially for farmers, now set to bear all the financial burden of the scheme by incurring it into the fiscal budget.
Such meters have the potential of running round-the-clock with 24x7 power supply, thereby depleting water in the lower depth borewells.
The Chief Minister called for an elaborate campaign to inform the agriculture consumers about the 24x7 power supply and how best they could make use of the supply.
He directed some precautionary measures be taken to address these issues, including faster depletion of the precious resource.
The power utilities in the State have strengthened the infrastructure with an investment of over 12,000 crores on improving the transmission and distribution systems in the State.
Jammu and Kashmir government’s one decision has brought a smile on the faces of thousand workers.
Notably, Jammu and Kashmir government will soon regularize as many as 60,000 daily wagers and casual labourers.
Chief Minister of Jammu and Kashmir Mehbooba Mufti announced to regularize 60,000 daily wagers and casual labourers, the string of happiness was spread in the houses of those labourers.
Indian Railways have introduced a bill tracking system for contractors/vendors of Indian Railways to track the status of their bills.
This is in line with the emphasis given by Minister of Railways & Coal, Piyush Goyal on increased use of information technology to go digital and online with a view to promoting transparency and efficiency in the system.
The vendor/contractor need to register with the online IT platform developed in-house by CRIS, New Delhi called Indian Railways E-Procurement System (IREPS).
The registration enables the vendor/agencies to see their bill status with dates through various stages of processing of bills, the stage at which it is lying, the amount for which it is passed and other details.
In order to strengthen the ecosystem for government services, Karnataka State government will be launching a digital platform to address the issues of the common citizen.
The state cabinet ratified the proposal of "Seva Sindhu," a common citizen platform to fine tune the delivery system of government services.
He also noted that the interactive platform would provide all useful information about local events, employment opportunities, and others.
The portal will provide services like income, domicile, caste, birth, death certificates, ration card, approval of social welfare schemes and other administrative work.
To boost Agricultural productivity of Nigeria, India has decided to share their Agricultural expertise to make Nigeria food sufficient.
Union Agriculture Minister Radha Mohan Singh said that India noted with great interest the new initiatives of Nigeria particularly the Green Alternative initiative-a roadmap to make Nigeria self-sufficient in agriculture.
Indian companies to explore the opportunities in Nigerian agriculture field both as investors as well as providers of agri-services, agricultural machinery and technological assistance.
Rajasthan becomes the first state in the country to launch free email addresses in Hindi (in Devanagari script) for its residents, as per the state IT department Principal Secretary Akhil Arora.
The initiative aims to ensure maximum participation of people towards e-governance and that maximum facilities are available in the vernacular language.
The first e-mail ID was created for CM Vasundhara Raje.
Union Shipping and Ports Minister Nitin Gadkari confirmed 24 companies have offered to invest over 60,000 crore rupees in a special economic zone adjoining the country’s largest container port Jawaharlal Nehru Port Trust.
The create employment for 1.25 to 1.50 lakh people.
Narendra Modi laid the foundation for the facility in May 2014 and the government was targeting to create 1.50 lakh jobs in the facility.
The works of over 2 lakh crore rupees have already started under the ambitious Sagarmala project and port-rail connectivity will alone witness an investment of 1 lakh crore rupees under the project.
Union Home Minister affairs Rajnath Singh asked five eastern states sharing boundaries with Bangladesh to be extra vigilant against the influx of Rohingyas and illegal immigrants through the porous Indo-Bangla border.
At a meeting of Chief Ministers and Home Ministers of West Bengal, Assam, Mizoram, Meghalaya and Tripura in Kolkata yesterday,
A border protection grid on the lines of Unified Command set up in insurgency-hit states will soon come up in these states to check illegal infiltration.
The concept of the grid has been planned as a multi-pronged and foolproof mechanism to secure the Indo-Bangla border.
India signed a technical cooperation agreement with Spain to implement a Rapid Rail Transit System (RRTS) under which the trains run at a speed of 180Kmph.
The Minister Housing and Urban Affairs Hardeep Singh Puri stated that a collaboration with Spain would enable availability of technical advice on specific issues related to the high-speed rail transit. 3 RRTS corridors are expected to link Delhi with Meerut, Panipat and Alwar.
An Indo-Spanish technical cooperation agreement was signed between the National Capital Region Transport Corporation (NCRTC) and the Administrador de Infraestructuras Ferroviarias (ADIF), Spain.
The state-owned Spanish railway infrastructure company would provide an institutional mechanism for mutual cooperation in the field of urban transport and implementation of Regional Rapid Transit System project.
Current Affairs Shri Sunil Kumar Chourasia, Indian Ordnance Factories Service Officer (IOFS), has been appointed as the new Director General of Ordnance Factories (DGOF) and Chairman of the Ordnance Factory Board (OFB) w.e.f. 1st December 2017.
Previously, he was Member, OFB and was in charge of Material & Components division.
The first one rupee note was introduced on November 30, 1917, with the photo of King George V have been all but tumultuous for this creation.
The Reserve Bank website says its issuance was discontinued first in 1926 on cost-benefit considerations.
It got reintroduced in 1940, only to be discontinued in 1994 again. The little note got back again in 2015.
West Bengal State Transport Minister Suvendu Adhikari mentioned that the state government has negotiated with the World Bank to avail subsidy to buy 130 electric buses.
World Bank has agreed to provide a subsidy of Rs seven lakh per bus.
Out of the 130 electric buses, 100 would operate in Kolkata and the remaining 30 will operate in industrial towns of Durgapur and Asansol.
Bus depots in these towns are equipped with charging batteries. The electric buses would run 150 km on a single charge.
The UK-based Indian-origin businessmen have committed to projects worth nearly Rs 500 crore associated with the Clean Ganga mission.
The Minister for Ganga, river development, water resources, highways, shipping and transport said that riverfront regeneration and development of ghats in the towns of Patna, Kanpur, Haridwar and Kolkata have been taken on by four leading industrialists from the UK.
The businessmen will take on the projects as part of their corporate social responsibility (CSR) agenda and work with the Indian government on finalising the plans for each of the cities.
‘SAUBHAGYA’ scheme introduced with an aim to transform the lives, especially poorest of the poor by providing power supply to every household of the country.
Launching the scheme, Union Minister of State for Power and New & Renewable Energy RK Singh revealed that Manipur has been doing well in terms of power generation because of new initiatives were taken by the government.
Saubhagya is a scheme launched to achieve universal household electrification in all parts of the country at a cost of Rs 16,320 crore including Gross Budgetary Support (GBS) of Rs 12,320 crore from the Centre. Minister further is the vision of Prime Minister Narendra Modi to provide electricity to every household of the country.
Jet Airways and Air France-KLM announced a partnership to route more traffic through Europe and on to North America, in a potential challenge to Gulf carrier Etihad Airways that is a shareholder in Jet.
The agreement also includes Delta Air Lines, with which Air France KLM has an existing partnership.