GK Today: Daily Current Affairs for UPSC IAS Preparation: 15 August 2018

Film Actor Akshay Kumar Becomes Brand Ambassador for Road Safety Campaigns

Union Minister for Road Transport & Highways, Shipping, Water Resources, River Development and Ganga Rejuvenation Shri Nitin Gadkari launched three short films for generating public awareness towards road safety. Film actor Shri Akshay Kumar has featured in these films, which are directed by Shri R.Balki. In a function attended by MoS Shri Mansukh L Mandavia in New Delhi, Shri Gadkari announced the appointment of Shri Akshay Kumar as Road Safety Brand Ambassador. Appreciating Akshay Kumar’s concern for social activism, the Minister recalled his recent movies ‘Padman’ and   ‘Toilet : Ek Prem Katha’ which have gone a long way in passing the government’s message of cleanliness and hygiene. Shri  Gadkari called upon people to adopt good practices in road safety to build a better society free of accidents. Shri Akshay Kumar shared his experiences of producing the short films. He said, he feels proud to join the government’s efforts to make Indian roads safe, and is participating in road safety campaign for the betterment of the society.

 

First project under the Swadesh Darshan Scheme ‘North East Circuit: Imphal & Khongjom’ in Manipur inaugurated

The Governor of Manipur, Dr. Najma A. Heptulla inaugurated the project “Development of North East Circuit: Imphal & Khongjom” implemented under the Swadesh Darshan Scheme of Ministry of Tourism, Government of India at a function held at the historic Kangla Fort in Imphal, Manipur. The project is the first project to be completed under the Swadesh Darshan Scheme of the Government of India. The Swadesh Darshan scheme is one of the flagship schemes of Ministry of Tourism for development of thematic circuits in the country in a planned and prioritised manner. The scheme was launched in 2014 -15 and as on date the Ministry has sanctioned 70 projects for Rs.5708.88 Crore to 29 States and UTs under the Scheme. 30 projects / major components of these projects are expected to be completed this year. The project which was inaugurated in Manipur was sanctioned by the Ministry of Tourism in September 2015 for Rs.72.30 Crores. The project covers two sites i.e. Kangla Fort and Khongjom. Kangla Fort is one of the most important historic and archaeological site of Manipur located in the heart of the Imphal city. Kangla has a special place in the hearts and minds of the people of Manipur. The old Govindajee Temple, outer and inner moat and other relics are perfect reflections of the rich art and architectural heritage of Manipur. Under this project, Ministry has carried out works like Restoration & Improvement of Outer & Inner Moat and Rejuvenation of Sacred Ponds; Reconstruction of Old Rampart; Sound and Light Show, Construction of Rock Garden, Utility Block; Audio Guide, Eco Friendly Conveyance, Development of Crafts Houses and Parking on Naga Nullah; Polo Gallery; Reception and Ticket Counter. The above work has been carried out at a cost of Rs. 63.90 Crore. Khongjom is the place where the last war of resistance of Anglo Manipur War of 1891 was fought. Under the project a Pedestrian bridge and rejuvenation of Kombirei Lake has been carried out for Rs.4.89 Crore. The Ministry is carrying out an array of activities for development and promotion of tourism in the region. The efforts of Ministry have shown positive results and the Foreign tourist arrivals in the region has shown an upward trend over the years. The region received a total of 1.69 lakh foreign tourist visits during 2017 as against 1.45 lakh in 2016 registering a growth of 16.7% over 2016. The Domestic Tourist Visits reached to 95.47 lakhs in the year 2017 against 77.71 lakhs registering impressive double digit growth of 22.8% over 2016. The increased number of tourists in turn has created better employment opportunity for the local population in the region. A number of facilities like Tourist Facilitation Centres, Interpretation Centres, better last mile connectivity, heliports, wayside amenities region, SEL Shows, Eco Log Huts, Rope Way, Golf Course, theme parks etc. are being developed up in the region under the above schemes to enhance the experience of tourists when they visit the region. Ministry is also dedicatedly promoting North Eastern Region by showcasing its varied attractions, uniqueness in terms of natural beauty and culture in international and domestic markets. The Ministry organises International Travel Mart every year in one of the North eastern state with objective of providing platform to these sates to showcase its tourism potential to perspective international and domestic buyers and opportunity to interact with them. This year the 7th Edition of ITM is scheduled to be held in November 2018 in Agartala, Tripura.

 

Shri Piyush Goyal Participates in India-Us Roundtable Discussion

Minister for Railways, Coal, Finance & Corporate Affairs, Shri Piyush Goyal, Chairman Railway Board, Shri Ashwani Lohani, other Railway Board Members and senior officials participated in the India-US Roundtable discussion. The roundtable discussion with a high-level delegation of leading US companies working in the area of railway construction, maintenance and Information Technology was held in the Ministry of Railways on 13th August, 2018. The US delegation comprising 13 companies was led by US Ambassador to India H.E. Kenneth I. Juster. High-ranking US Embassy officials from US Commerce Services and US Trade Development Agency (USTDA) also participated. Presentations made by the companies covered a large range of products and services such as energy efficiency, anti-corrosion coating, fire protection, use of high-speed internet/cloud computing for Railway Passenger Reservation and passenger experience, composite sleepers for bridges, turn-out Lap switches, road crossings, tunnels, wagon-leasing, rolling stocks manufacture, track laying and maintenance machines, signaling, rail-flaw detection, modern method of construction of bridges, etc.

 

Australia recommences its adoption programme with India

The Government of Australia has decided to recommence the Adoption Programme with India, as per Hague Convention on Inter-Country Adoption. The adoptions from India had earlier been put on hold by the Government of Australia eight years ago, on the reported charges of trafficking of children for Inter-country adoption by some of the recognized Indian placement agencies (the Adoption agencies mandated to place children in Inter-country adoption at that point of time). The regulation of Inter-country adoptions have been made strict by the Government of India with the enactment of Juvenile Justice Act, 2015 and notification of Adoption Regulations, 2017. The Ministry of Women & Child Development along with Central Adoption Resource Authority (CARA) have been constantly engaging with Australian Government for recommencement of the Adoption Programme. The recommencement of the adoption programmes will now enable large number of prospective adoptive parents including those of Indian origin settled in Australia in fulfilling their desire of adopting a child from India.

 

DAC Approves Procurement of Six NGOPVs

The Defence Acquisition Council (DAC) chaired by Raksha Mantri Smt Nirmala Sitharaman accorded approval for the procurement of six indigenously designed and manufactured Next Generation Offshore Patrol Vessels (NGOPVs) for the Indian Navy at an approximate cost of Rs. 4941 crore. The NGOPVs will be built in indigenous shipyards and will be fitted with state-of-the-art sensor suite with increased endurance. These platforms will strengthen maritime security by undertaking a multitude of operational roles both in blue water and littorals. These include seaward defence, protection of offshore assets, maritime interdiction operations and search & seizure operations, surveillance missions, mine warfare, anti-piracy missions, counter infiltration operations, anti-poaching/trafficking operations, humanitarian assistance and disaster relief and search and rescue missions.

 

Centre unlocks over 66 thousand crore green fund to increase country’s forest cover

The Centre has unlocked more than 66,000 crore rupees to increase the country’s forest cover. The fund is an accumulated amount of money which user agencies have been depositing as compensation for diverting forest land for non-forest purposes, including industries and infrastructure, over the last 10 years.  The Centre has finally notified the rules for utilisation of the money by states and Union Territories, and for setting up authorities to monitor its use for afforestation and conservation. The rules have been framed two years after a law to this effect was enacted. The rules, notified, specify that 80 percent of the compensatory afforestation amount will be utilised by states for plantations, assisted natural regeneration of forests, forest fire prevention, pest and disease control in forest, soil and moisture conservation works and improvement of wildlife habitat, among others, in the list of 13 permissible activities. The remaining 20 percent will be used for 11 listed works to strengthen forest and wildlife protection related infrastructure. The list includes third-party monitoring of works, forest certification, development of certification standards and casual hiring of local people to assist forest department staff.

 

NITI Aayog launches “Pitch to MOVE”

NITI Aayog has launched “Pitch to MOVE” – a mobility pitch competition that aims to provide budding entrepreneurs of India a unique opportunity to pitch their business ideas to a distinguished jury. Startups working in the various fields of mobility can pitch their ideas to industry leaders and Venture Capitalists for raising investments. Winners of the event will be felicitated by Hon’ble PM during the Global Mobility Summit. The objective is to harness the latest disruption for generating employment and growth in our country. The competition aims to identify and reward the start-ups offering innovative solutions for shared, connected, and environment friendly mobility. The Startups can be from the domain of Public Mobility, Electric Vehicles, Shared Transport, Last Mile Connectivity, Passenger Transportation, Battery Technology, Automotive IoT, Freight & Logistics, Powertrain/Drivetrain, Experiential, Travel, Mobility Infrastructure and Automotive Electronics etc. The Mobility Pitch Competition is open to primarily startups from various parts of India who are interested in showcasing their business ideas to jury members.

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