Consultative Workshop on New National Policy on Biofuels held in New Delhi
On 23rd November 2017, a consultative workshop on ‘New National Policy on Biofuels & Pradhan Mantri Ji- Van Yojana (VGF for 2nd Generation Ethanol Bio Refineries)’ was held in New Delhi.
Consultative workshop on ‘New National Policy on Biofuels & Pradhan Mantri Ji- Van Yojana’:
i. The workshop was organized by Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas for inviting suggestions for drafting a suitable roadmap for Biofuels in India.
ii. The workshop was organised with an objective to address growing environment concerns in the light of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Commitment at COP 21 (2015 United Nations Climate Change Conference).
iii. At the workshop 5 Working Groups on 1-G Ethanol, 2-G Ethanol, Biodiesel, Municipal Solid Wastes to Fuel & Bio-CNG consisting of all the stakeholders (producers, bankers and buyers) discussed issues related to their segment.
About 2015 United Nations Climate Change Conference, COP 21:
♦ 21st yearly session of the Conference of the Parties (COP) to the 1992 United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC)
♦ Date – 30 November 2015 – 12 December 2015
♦ Location – Paris, France
Indian Railways installs Asia’s largest Solid State Interlocking (SSI) in Kharagpur
Indian Railways has installed Asia’s largest Solid State Interlocking (SSI) system in Kharagpur, which will enable station masters to set 800 different routes for trains in a matter of minutes.
Asia’s largest Solid State Interlocking (SSI) system in Kharagpur:
i. Interlocking is a railway signal apparatus that prevents conflicting movements of trains. Asia’s largest Solid State Interlocking (SSI) system has been installed in Kharagpur at a cost of Rs 39 crore.
ii. The cutting-edge technology replaces the pre-1989 route relay system that only allowed operators to set maximum 423 routes. The new system ensures that no cross-movement takes place.
iii. Also, the SSI software will detect the routes a particular train can take and inform the station masters working at the panel, bringing down the operation time and the possibility of human error.
iv. It will reduce the possibility of accidents. The system was made operational on 19th November 2017.
Some countries with large rail transport network size:
♦ United States – 250,000 km
♦ Russia – 175,236 km
♦ China – 124,000 km
♦ India – 66,687 km
Centre suggests Odisha to enhance PMGSY target to 10,000 km
On 23rd November 2017, the Centre suggested to the Odisha government to enhance its rural road construction target under the Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojana (PMGSY) to 10,000 km from 7,000 km during the current fiscal year.
Centre suggests Odisha to enhance PMGSY target:
i. Union Secretary to Rural Development Minister Amarjit Sinha made the suggestions to Odisha after attending a high level review meeting held under the chairmanship of Odisha Chief Secretary A P Padhi.
ii. The Odisha government had earlier set a target to construct 7,000 km roads during this fiscal. So far, around 42,058 km of road have been completed connecting 13,063 habitations under PMGSY.
iii. The field level work is going on for completion of another 14,800 km of road that will connect 3,492 habitations more. These projects would be completed by March, 2019.
iv. PMGSY is being implemented with fund support from both the Central and state government on 60:40 basis.
About Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojana (PMGSY):
♦ Launched – 2000
♦ Purpose – to provide good all-weather road connectivity to unconnected villages in India
8th edition of the Global Entrepreneurship Summit-2017 will be held at Hyderabad
The 8th edition of the Global Entrepreneurship Summit-2017 will be held from 28th to 30th November 2017 at Hyderabad.
Global Entrepreneurship Summit-2017:
i. The summit is being co-hosted by India and the USA. For the first time, it is being held in South Asia. The theme of the Global Entrepreneurship Summit-2017 is ‘Women First, Prosperity for All’.
ii. The event will focus on supporting women entrepreneurs and fostering economic growth globally. It will focus on four areas- Energy and Infrastructure, Digital Economy and Financial Technology, Health and Life Sciences and Media and Entertainment.
iii. It will be inaugurated by Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Advisor to the US President, Ivanka Trump will lead the US contingent to the event. The summit will have participation from 150 countries and women from 127 countries would participate.
Some of the dams of Telangana:
♦ Singur Dam, Medak
♦ Nizam Sagar, Nizamabad
♦ Lower Manair Dam, Karimnagar
Centre Promulgates Indian Forest (Amendment) Ordinance, 2017
Union Minister of Environment, Forest and Climate Change, Dr. Harsh Vardhan has stated that Union Government has promulgated the Indian Forest (Amendment) Ordinance, 2017 to exempt bamboo grown in non-forest areas from definition of tree.
More Information about Indian Forest (Amendment) Ordinance, 2017:
i. This ordinance is aimed at increasing bamboo plantation.
ii. Taxonomically, bamboo is a grass, yet Indian Forest Act, 1927 defines it as tree, making it illegal to cut and transport bamboo grown in forest as well as non-forest land.
iii. Thus, exempting bamboo grown in non-forest areas from the definition of trees, dispenses the need to have felling or transit permit for its economic use.
iv. Current demand of bamboo in India stands at 28 million tonnes. Despite of having 19% share of world’s area under bamboo cultivation, India’s market share in the sector is only 6%.
MHA conducts Multi State Mega Mock Tsunami Exercise 2017
On November 24, 2017, Ministry of Home Affairs conducted a multi-State mega mock exercise on tsunami preparedness along the East Coast of India.
More Information about Multi State Mega Mock Tsunami Exercise 2017:
i. This exercise was conducted through National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) and the Indian National Centre for Ocean Information Services (INCOIS)in 31 coastal districts across four States – West Bengal, Odisha, Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu – and Union Territory Puducherry.
ii. Tsunami is a highly devastating natural hazard triggered by tectonic movement under the sea. All the above mentioned states along East Coast of India are particularly vulnerable to Tsunami.
iii. This mock exercise is part of various activities planned on the occasion of the 2nd World Tsunami Awareness Day held on November 5, 2017. It aims to critically assess the preparedness, response mechanism and coordination among agencies involved in the exercise.
iv. Simulated disaster scenario for this exercise was the threat of a massive tsunami along the East Coast triggered due to a high-intensity earthquake near the Andaman and Nicobar Islands.
Dr Jitendra Singh announces exclusive ‘Rural Livelihood’ scheme for Northeast
On November 23, 2017, Union Minister of State (Independent Charge) for Development of North-Eastern Region (DoNER), Dr Jitendra Singh announced “North East Rural Livelihood Project”, an exclusive rural Livelihood scheme for the North-eastern states of India.
Salient Features of “North East Rural Livelihood Project”:
i. This scheme has been launched to benefit the tribals and the lower socioeconomic groups, including women, in the North-Eastern Region of India.
ii. This project is being supported by World Bank.
iii. Initially, this scheme will be rolled out to help tribal and even the non-tribal lower groups living in remote areas of four North-Eastern Indian States – Mizoram, Nagaland, Sikkim and Tripura.
iv. Under this scheme, assistance will be provided to over 10000 Self Help Groups (SHGs) which will consequentially benefit about three lakh poor households.
TN has highest number of women entrepreneurs: Report
As per a report by ‘Sheatwork’, a knowledge hub for women entrepreneurs, among all Indian States, Tamil Nadu has the highest number of women entrepreneurs followed by Kerala and West Bengal.
i.T he report by ‘Sheatwork’ has outlined that nearly 80 per cent of women entrepreneurs in India are self-financing their businesses. Very few women entrepreneurs have availed financial aid through various government schemes.
ii. Among all State Governments, Goa, Jammu and Kashmir, Rajasthan, Karnataka and West Bengal are currently offering the maximum number of schemes for women entrepreneurs.
iii. Maximum number of women entrepreneurs have set up their businesses in education sector followed by financial services and insurance.
iv. Ratio of male to female entrepreneurs in northeastern states of Arunachal Pradesh, Meghalaya and Nagaland strongly favours women. However, numbers of women entrepreneurs in these states is quite low.
Centre announces infrastructure projects worth Rs 1 lakh crore for Tamil Nadu
On November 23, 2017, Central Government approved infrastructure projects worth Rs 1 lakh crore in Tamil Nadu.
i. These approved projects include highways and shipping as well as projects catering to irrigation and drinking water requirements in Tamil Nadu.
ii. Union Road Transport and Shipping Minister, Nitin Gadkari was on a visit to Chennai on November 23, 2017. During this visit, he announced highway projects worth Rs 40,000 crore under the Bharatmala highway construction program.
iii. Highway projects that have been announced are Chennai- Bengaluru Expressway at an estimated cost of Rs 20,000 crore and three new elevated corridors (Tambaram- Chengelpatu at a cost of Rs 2250 crore, Poonamalee- Maduravoyal at a cost of Rs 1500 crore and the Tiruvallur Corridor at a cost of Rs 1000 crore).\
iv. Shipping projects that have been announced will focus on port development and expansion.
Quick Facts about Tamil Nadu:
♦ Capital – Chennai
♦ Current Chief Minister – E K Palaniswami
♦ Current Governor – Banwarilal Purohit
♦ Important National Park – Gulf of Munnar Marine National Park, Mudumalai National Park