The construction targets for 2018-19 have been set at 16,418 km. The targets are 67% more than the 9829 kilometres length of National Highways constructed during 2017-18. The target for award has been set at 20,000 kilometres during the current year 2018-19. This is about 25 per cent more than the 17055 kilometres awarded during 2017-18.
The expenditure on road construction rose from Rs. 32,483 crores in 2013-14 to Rs.1,16,324 crore in 2017-18.
Total length of roads, including those under PMGSY, built from 2014-15 till the current year is about 1,20,000 km which is significantly higher than previous three years.
National Highway Network expanded from 92851 km in 2013-14 to 120543 km in 2017-18. The total length of NHs is 1,29,709 km. as on 30.6.2018. Speed of construction has gone up to 27 km per day in 2017-18 against 12 kms per day in 2013-14.
The 135 km long access-controlled Eastern Peripheral Expressway (EPE) was inaugurated by the Hon'ble Prime Minister on 27.05.2018.. The EPE has been constructed with the objective to decongest the national capital by providing an alternate route to the traffic not destined for Delhi. Consequently, it plays a seminal role in reducing air pollution caused by such vehicles while traversing through Delhi.
Package-l of the Delhi-Meerut Expressway, stretching from Nizammudin Bridge to Delhi UP Border was inaugurated by Prime Minister on 27.5.18. This 8.360 kms stretch of National Highway has been completed at a cost of about Rs. 841.50 crore in a record time of 18 months as against the eartler scheduled construction period of 30 months. This is the first Nationat Highway in the country with 14-lanes, dedicated cycle tracks and pedestrian paths on both sides, with several eco friendly features.
Prime Minister laid the foundation stone of the Zojila Tunnel project at an event in Jive-tsal in Leh on 19th May 2018. The major Tunnel project is envisaged to be constructed on the Srinagar Leh National Highway. The 14.2 km long Zojila tunnel will be lndia's longest road tunnel and Asia's longest bidirectional Tunnel. The tunnel is being built at a total cost of about Rs. 6800 crore. The construction of this tunnel will provide all -weather connectivity between Srinagar, Kargil and Leh.. lt will also cut down the time taken to cross the Zojila pass from the present 3.5 hours to just 15 minutes, besides making the drive much safer and convenient
India’s Longest Road Tunnel - the Chennai - Nashri tunnel in Jammu opens for public.
India's longest bridge- the 9.15 km long Dhola-Sadiya Bridge over River Brahmaputra in Assam dedicated to public on 26th May 2017. The bridge has ensured 24x7 connectivity between upper Assam and Eastern part of Arunachal Pradesh
Bridges over Narmada at Bharuch and Chambal at Kota thrown open for public New Brahmaputra Bridge - The pre-stressed concrete bridge at 40 meter downstream of the existing Saraighat Bridge on New NH 27 of length of around 1500 m and cost of Rs 475 crore will facilitate movement of patients from all districts North of Brahamaputra to Guwahati for treatment. With opening of new Bridge, problem of traffic jam eliminated.
To improve connectivity to the Char Dham pilgrimage centres in the Himalayas and make journey to these centres safer, faster and more convenient Developing around 900 km of national highways at an approximate cost of Rs 12,000 crore.
Targeted for completion by March, 2020 Expressways 1000 km of Expressways to come up along High Density Corridors. Some of these at advanced stages of construction/ pre construction activities include Western Peripheral Expressway around Delhi, Delhi-Meerut Expressway, Bangalore-Chennai Expressway, Mumbai-Vadodara Expressway
Ensuring Road Safety Decrease in number of road accidents. Rectification of Black Spots Connectivity with neighboring countries
Passenger bus service between India and Bangladesh- Bus services on Guwahati-Shillong-Dhaka route and Kolkata- Agartala via Dhaka route flagged off by Prime Ministers of both countries at Dhaka on 6th June 2015
MoU between India and Nepal in August 2017 for construction of a new Bridge over River Mechi on Indo-Nepal Border at an estimated cost of Rs.158.65 core
Green Initiatives BS IV Compliance for four wheelers- from 1st April 2017. Advancing BS –VI Norms to1.April .2020 instead of the earlier target date of April 2021, bypassing BSV norms Hybrid vehicle launched, electric vehicles promoted.
Ministry issued notification regarding blending of Gasoline with Methanol in order to reduce vehicle exhaust emissions and atso to reduce the import burden on account of crude petroteum.
E- Initiatives E-Tolling of vehicles through FASTags - over 17 lakh FASTag units are being used by road users INAM PRO – Web based market place for cement and other construction material RAILWAYS
· Best ever safety record in 2017-18: Less than 100 accidents recorded in a year. 62% reduction in consequential train accidents from 118 in 2013-14 to 73 in 2017-18
· 50% increase in track renewal from 2,926 kms in 2013-14 to 4,405 kms in 2017-18
· 1.1 lakh safety posts being filled-up through recruitment
· 5,469 Unmanned Level Crossings eliminated in the last four years. Average pace of elimination is 20% more than that of 2009-14.
· Rashtriya Rail Sanraksha Kosh (RRSK) fund of Rs. 1 Lakh Cr to be spent on safety over a period of five years.
Capacity Enhancement: Building Infrastructure For Tomorrow · Accelerated commissioning of Broad Gauge line: 9,528 kms between April, 2014 to March, 2018 (4 years) vis-à-vis 7,600 kms during 2009-14
Mumbai Ahmedabad High Speed Rail: First Ever Bullet Train in India
· High Speed of the train will reduce travel time from approx. 8 hrs to 2 hrs
· Enhanced safety through Japanese Shinkansen technology.
· Generate employment for about 20,000 workers during the construction phase
Dedicated Freight Corridors: Unlocking Indian Economy
· Commissioning of Western and Eastern DFCs (2,822 Kms) in phases by 2019-20
· Lead to reduction in freight travel time, transportation cost and de-congestion in existing network. Bring development and job creation by connecting factories and farms to ports.
New Modern Trains/Coaches: A Journey to Remember · More than 700 Deen Dayalu coaches produced with extra safety and modern features · 5 Long distance unreserved Antyodaya trains with general second class coaches introduced · Tejas train between Mumbai to Goa started with speed potential of 200 kmph and ultra- modern features · 9 Humsafar trains with additional amenities in the coaches introduced
Major Thrust to Suburban Networks · Upgradation of Mumbai Suburban System: Rs. 51,000 Cr project in Budget 2018-19. · Development of Bengaluru Suburban System: Rs. 17,000 Cr in Budget 2018-19.
Passenger Convenience: · SMS services started on 1,373 trains for informing passengers about any delay in trains · Capacity of e-ticketing increased from 2,000 tickets per minute to 15,000 tickets per minute · ‘No Bill, Free Food’ Policy: Point of Sale (POS) machines introduced in trains for compulsory billing of food aboard trains to crackdown on overcharging
Expanding Wings: Growth in Civil Aviation · India emerges as the world’s third largest aviation market. · Passenger traffic growth in the range of 18-20 percent over the past three years. Domestic air passengers crossed 100 million mark for the first time in 2017
National Civil Aviation Policy-2016 · First ever comprehensive National Civil Aviation Policy-2016 unveiled .
UDAN (Udey Desh ka Aam Nagrik) - · Regional Connectivity Scheme, RCS to make air travel to India’s Tier-II and Tier-III cities affordable for the common man. · Launched in October 2016, UDAN provides regional air connectivity to unserved and underserved airports at a subsidized fare of Rs. 2,500 per hour.
· First UDAN flight launched by PM on Shimla-Delhi sector on 27.4.2017. · 109 airports and helipads have been connected so far.
· Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs gave an in-principle approval to privatise Air India along with its five subsidiaries on 28.6.2017
· Air India specific alternative mechanism was set up to guide the process.
· Government to disinvest 76% stake in Air India along with 100% stake in low cost international carrier Air India Express Ltd and 50% in Air India SATS Airport Services Pvt. Ltd, a joint venture services company.
New Airports · New Airports Under the New Greenfield Airport Policy: Noida International Airport (Jewar), Mopa (Goa), Purandar Airport (Pune), Bhogapuram Airport (Visakhapatnam), Dholera Airport (Ahmedabad), Hirasar Airport (Rajkot).
· Upgradation and expansion of Delhi, Bengaluru, Hyderabad Airports.
· Ease of Doing Business by allowing 100 % FDI in domestic scheduled air transport, Open Skies Service Agreements offers to 49 countries.
INLAND WATER WAYS · Only 5 National Waterways in last 30 years. · Central Legislation to declare 106 additional inland waterways as national waterways
· The total number of national waterways has become 111. This has paved the way for better regulation and development of the national waterways in the country .
· The Government has taken initiatives to earmark 2.5 % of Central Road Fund (CRF) for development of National Waterways by reducing the share of NH cess from 41.5% to 39 %
· Over 500 projects with infrastructure investment of more than Rs. 8 Lac Crore
· 289 projects of Rs. 2.17 Lac Crore already under implementation / development · Coastal shipping to increase from 80 MTPA to 200+ MTPA by 2025
· Project will enable creation of 10 million (1 crore) jobs (including 4 million direct jobs)
· Four Pillars of Sagarmala: 1. Port modernization & New Port Development (234 projects; Rs.1.4 lac Cr) 2. Port Connectivity Enhancement (206 Projects; Rs.2.5 lac Cr) 3. Port-led Industrialization (46 Projects; Rs.4.4 lac Cr) 4. Coastal Community Development (22 Projects; Rs.2,700 Cr)
Improved port performance · Focus on improvement of efficiency and productivity in Major Ports. · 80 MTPA capacity unlocked.
ü Improvement in efficiency parameters of major ports ü Avg. Turn-around Time improved from 73 to 65 hours. ü Operating surplus of Major Ports has increased by 11% as compared to corresponding period of last year.
· 100% FDI under the automatic route is being allowed for port development projects
· New Port Development-TEFRs prepared for 6 new port locations - Vadhavan (Maharashtra), Enayam (Tamil Nadu), Tajpur (West Bengal), Paradip Outer Harbour (Odisha), Sirkazhi (Tamil Nadu), Belekeri (Karnataka). DPR under preparation for Port of Vadhavan, Enayam and Paradip Outer Harbour.
· Promoting Ship building and Ship Repair- from 2025 only India- made ships for government purpose. · Traffic handled at the major ports on the rise from 555 MT in 2013-14 to 648 MT in 2016-17
Ease of Doing Business · 42 Action Points identified for enabling trading across border out of which 35 have been implemented. These include:- - Elimination of manual forms, increase in Direct Port Delivery volumes from 3% in December, 2016 to 35.98% in December, 2017,
- Issue of e-Delivery Orders by Shipping Lines, installation of RFID based gate automation system in the Major Ports, - Integration of the Port Community System with Customs ICEGATE for seamless exchange of messages and installation of Container scanners.
Deendayal Port In recognition of the invaluable contribution and sacrifices made by Pandit Deendayal Upadhayay towards serving the nation and also upliftment of the poor & downtrodden, the name of Kandla Port has been changed to Deendayal Port.
Chahbahar Port in Iran India-Iran collaboration in the development of Chahbahar Port in Iran.
Coastal and Cruise Shipping · New cruise terminals at Mormugao port and Chennai Port to develop cruise shipping and tourism in the country. · Uniform tariff at all major ports fixed to attract cruise vessels in India.
NavIC (Navigation Indian Constellation) With the successful launch of IRNSS-1G, Navigation satellite, India joined the elite list of countries with their own satellite navigation system
(i) Integrated Scheme for Development of Silk Industry (Silk Samagra): Scheme with an outlay of Rs.2161 crores to benefit 85 lakh sericulture and silk industry workers, including women, SCs, STs, other weaker sections of society & those in LWE and NER.
(ii) Additional 10% incentive to garmenting units under Advanced Technology Upgradation Fund, ATUFs to incentivize production and generation of employment in garment sector.
(iii) Revised Guidelines on Scheme for Integrated Textile Parks (SITP): 66 textile parks are at different stages of implementation
• “North East Special Infrastructure Development Scheme (NESIDS)”: The 90 % funded NLCPR Scheme of the Ministry restructured as a New 100% Centrally funded scheme, NESIDS to fill the gaps in social and physical infrastructure in the region with an outlay of Rs.1600 Crore.
• ‘North-East Road Sector Development Scheme (NERSDS)’ launched for rehabilitation/up-gradation of important but neglected inter-State roads of the region, to be implemented by National Highways Infrastructure Development Corporation Limited (NHIDCL).
· North East is fully integrated with rest of India with the entire network converted to Broad Gauge. 970 km gauge conversion done between 2014-17.
· Rail connectivity established with states of Meghalaya (Dudhnoi-Mendipathar), Tripura (Kumarghat-Agartala) and Mizoram (Kathakal-Bhairabi)
· Train connectivity established for Itanagar and Silchar to Delhi
· Railway tunnel (10.27 km) in India coming up on the Jiribam–Tupul–Imphal new broad gauge railway line
• 1360 km India-Myanmar-Thailand Trilateral Highway connecting Moreh in India to Mae Sot in Thailand, through Myanmar.
• NEW AIRPORTS & SERVICES • A New Greenfield Airport constructed in Sikkim- at Pakyong (Gangtok). • UDAN Regional Connectivity Service to connect NE States on airline network.
• INLAND WATERWAYS • The Shipping Ministry is developing inland waterways in the North East. • 19 new National Waterways declared in the North Eastern Region (NER).
• Two cities identified: Kohima in Nagaland and Namchi in Sikkim
• TUIRIAL HYDRO ELECTRIC POWER PROJECT • Tuirial Hydro Electric Power (60MW) launched in Mizoram by PM, implemented by North Eastern Electricity Power Corporation Ltd. (NEEPCO). • Northeast is all set to get India’s first-ever "Air Dispensary" based in a helicopter.
• Assam Gas Cracker Project: Launched on 5th February.2016 in Dibrugarh with a production capacity of 2,20,000 Tonnes per annum of Polurthylene and 60,000 TPA of Polypropylene along with other products. • Indian Institute of Information Technology (IIIT) set up in Guwahati.
• Sikkim becomes the First Fully Organic State in India in 2016. • North Eastern Institute of Ayurveda & Homoeopathy inaugurated in Shillong in 2016.
• “NITI Forum for North East” set up in 2018 to facilitate the overall development in the NE Region.
• Mobile App i.e. ‘My DoNER’ App developed to increase transparency and effective surveillance of ongoing projects with Instant and Easy Access of Project Information, Crowd Sourcing, Geo-tagging of Projects and Close Monitoring of Projects.
• National Sports University (Manipur) - First of its kind to promote sports education in the areas of Sports Science, Sports Technology, Sports Management, Sports Coaching & function as National training centre.
• ‘North East Venture Fund’ with a corpus of Rs.100 crores launched- Joint initiative of Ministry of DoNER and North Eastern Development Finance Corporation Ltd. to promote entrepreneurship and Start-ups in the North Eastern Region.
• North East Rural Livelihood Project (NERLP): SHGs formed in all 11-project districts across 1645 villages. Against the target of forming 26,000 SHGs, the total number of SHGs formed has gone up to 27,951.
• NORTH EAST REGION TEXTILE PROMOTION SCHEME (NERTPS). An umbrella scheme implemented in project-based approach with necessary flexibility in design and implementation to cater to the specific need of the NE States. Projects worth about Rs 1200 Crore with GOI share of Rs.1150 Crore covering all sub sectors of textiles sanctioned under the scheme during last 4 years.
Sir Chhotu Ram, who was born on November 24, 1881, was regarded as a messiah of peasants and was instrumental in empowering farmers in pre-Independence era and getting pro-farmers law enacted. He had fought for farmers’ rights during the British rule.
On political front, he was a co-founder of the National Unionist Party which ruled all the time Panjab Province in per-Independent India and kept Congress and Muslim League at bay.
Chhotu Ram was awarded the title of ‘Rao Bahadur’. He was knighted in 1937 and was popularly known as Deen Bandhu.
His legacy has been evoked by the formation of a new party, the National Unionist Zamindara Party by guar farmers in Rajasthan in 2013.
In September 2004, an international panel on tropical cyclones decided that countries from the region would each put in names, which would be assigned to storms in the Bay of Bengal and Arabian Sea.
Eight countries — India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Maldives, Myanmar, Oman, Sri Lanka and Thailand – participated and came up with a list of 64 names. In the event of a storm, the Regional Specialized Meteorological Centre, New Delhi, selects a name from the list.
Why it is necessary to name cyclones? The late origin of this naming system — unlike storms in the Atlantic, which have been getting named since 1953 — was ostensibly to protect sensitivities in the ethnically diverse region.
The purpose of the move was also to make it easier for “people easily to understand and remember the tropical cyclone/hurricane in a region, thus to facilitate disaster risk awareness, preparedness, management and reduction.
Guidelines for naming cyclones: Citizens can submit names to the Director General of Meteorology, IMD, for consideration, but the weather agency has strict rules for the selection process.
A name, for instance, ‘should be short and readily understood when broadcast’. The names must also be neutral, ‘not culturally sensitive and not convey some unintended and potentially inflammatory meaning’.
Furthermore, on the account of the ‘death and destruction’ a storm in the Indian Ocean causes, their names are retired after use, unlike those in the Atlantic and Eastern Pacific lists, which are reused every few years.
Cyclone categories: Category 1: Wind and gales of 90-125 kph, negligible house damage, some damage to trees and crops. Category 2: Destructive winds of 125-164 kph. Minor house damage, significant damage to trees, crops and caravans, risk of power failure. Category 3: Very destructive winds of 165-224 kph. Some roof and structural damage, some caravans destroyed, power failure likely.
Category 4: Very destructive winds of 225-279 kph. Significant roofing loss and structural damage, caravans destroyed, blown away, widespread power failures. Category 5: Very destructive winds gusts of more than 280 kph. Extremely dangerous with widespread destruction.
Names reused every six years: Atlantic and Pacific storm names are reused every six years, but are retired “if a storm is so deadly or costly that the future use of the name would be insensitive or confusing,” according to forecasters at the US National Hurricane Center in Miami.
Cyclone season: The country’s cyclone season runs from April to December, with severe storms often causing dozens of deaths, evacuations of tens of thousands of people from low-lying villages and wide damage to crops and property.
What’s the difference between hurricanes, cyclones and typhoons? Hurricanes, cyclones and typhoons are all tropical storms. They are all the same thing but are given different names depending on where they appear. When they reach populated areas they usually bring very strong wind and rain which can cause a lot of damage.
Hurricanes are tropical storms that form over the North Atlantic Ocean and Northeast Pacific. Cyclones are formed over the South Pacific and Indian Ocean. Typhoons are formed over the Northwest Pacific Ocean.
Experts have written to the President questioning the rationale behind holding byelections close to general elections. President Ram Nath Kovind has been requested to withdraw notification of the byelection. They have questioned EC’s move as the announcement of byelections to parliamentary constituencies were only in Karnataka while there are vacant constituencies in Andhra Pradesh too.
What is Section 151A of RPA all about? It mandates the Election Commission to fill the casual vacancies in the Houses of Parliament and State Legislatures through bye elections within six months from the date of occurrence of the vacancy, provided that the remainder of the term of a member in relation to a vacancy is one year or more.
How EC defends its move? Byelections are required to be held under Section 151A of RP Act within six months from the date of occurrence of the vacancy. Vacancies in Karnataka occurred more than a year before the expiry of the term of the house. In case of vacancies in Andhra Pradesh, there is no need to hold byelections as the remaining term of Lok Sabha is less than one year.
The app is conceived by the doctors of IAF and developed in house by Directorate of Information Technology (DIT) with ZERO financial outlay.
‘MedWatch’ will provide correct, Scientific and authentic health information to air warriors and all citizens of India.
It comprises of host of features like information on basic First Aid, Health topics and Nutritional Facts; reminders for timely Medical Review, Vaccination and utility tools like Health Record Card, BMI calculator, helpline numbers and web links.
The main objective of the 2nd World Conference 2018 is to take forward the recommendations from the 1st World Conference 2017 and build on the work done for access to medical products in the context of SDGs, including trade agreements.
The specific objectives are to promote an enabling ecosystem in the context of WHO’s 13th Global Programme of Work for access to medical products; foster new approaches in innovation landscape for medical products and health technologies for accelerating research and innovation; and identify knowledge, information and policy options on the interface of international trade and health to achieve SDG 2030 goals.
Background: Reliable access to effective, safe, quality-assured and affordable medical products (medicines, vaccines, diagnostics, devices) is key to progressing towards Universal Health Coverage (UHC) and the SDGs. UHC includes appropriate access to affordable and quality-assured medical products supporting countries in achieving the targets of the health SDGs. India’s contribution towards access to medical products worldwide is well recognized.
Background: In the South-East Asia region in WHO, India is actively contributing & providing support for the SEARN to guarantee access to high-quality medical products.
About SEARN: The South East Asia Research Network (SEARN), based at the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, is a platform to facilitate research collaboration.
It provides a forum to support the communication and dissemination of research findings, highlight research areas and a network connecting people and collaborators outside with an interest in South East Asia.
Composition: SEARN includes all ASEAN countries: Thailand, Vietnam, Laos, Myanmar (Burma), Cambodia, Malaysia, Indonesia, Brunei, Singapore, Timor-Leste (East Timor) and the Philippines.
Objective are: Encourage communication and dissemination of research findings. Showcase ongoing research. Act as a news forum.
Facts for Prelims: Communicable Diseases Policy Research Group: CDPRG is a multidisciplinary team based in Bangkok, Thailand, which conducts research in South East Asia, and beyond. It carries out research, with a focus on the diverse public health problems associated with communicable disease control internationally, that is in support of and for policy reform.
The 2018 theme is: “Imagine you are a letter travelling through time. What message do you wish to convey to your readers?”.
About Universal Postal Union (UPU): It is a specialized agency of United Nations that coordinates postal policies among member nations, in addition to worldwide postal system. It was established in 1874 and is second oldest international organization worldwide after International Telecommunication Union (ITU) which was established in 1865. It is headquartered in Berne, Switzerland.
It has 192 member countries. It is primary forum for cooperation between postal sector players among member countries.
Functions: It helps to ensure truly universal network of up-to-date products and services. It sets rules for international mail exchanges and makes recommendations for growth in mail, financial and parcel services volumes and also to improve quality of service for customers.
Occurrence of forest fires and their impact: Forest fires occur in around half of the country’s 647 districts every year. Central India has the largest area affected by fire. North-East accounts for 56% of burnt forest land during 2003-2016, followed by southern states and the North-East. However, North-eastern states account for the biggest share of fire detections, with at least 55% of fire incidents reported during 2003-2016.
Concerns: With at least one in four people dependent on forests for their livelihood, India is losing at least ₹1,100 crore due to forest fires every year, says a new World Bank report. The report calls for a national plan for the prevention of forest fire. Repeated fires in short succession are reducing diversity of species and harming natural regeneration, while posing a risk to over 92 million in India who live in areas of forest cover.
Way ahead: The findings are significant since preventing forest fires is crucial to meet Nationally Determined Contributions (NDC) in order to limit global warming. As per the Fifth Assessment Report of IPCC, forest fires globally contribute 2.5 billion to 4.0 billion tonnes of CO2 to carbon emissions every year. Tackling forest fires is even more important in India as the country has committed to bringing 33% of its geographical area under forest cover by 2030, as part of NDCs.
Facts for Prelims: India aims to increase its forest cover by 5 million hectares, as part of India’s National Action Plan on Climate Change.
Context: Union Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) has launched India for Humanity initiative to commemorate the 150th birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi and honour of his service to humanity. It will feature year-long series of artificial limb fitment camps in a number of countries spanning globe.
For this initative, MEA has collaborated with renowned charitable organisation Bhagwan Mahaveer Viklang Sahayata Samiti (BMVSS).
Aim: to provide physical, economic and social rehabilitation of differently-abled around world by helping them regain their mobility and dignity to become self-respecting and productive members of society. It focuses on Mahatma Gandhi’s philosophy of compassion, caring and service to humanity.
The Ministry of Water Resources, River Development and Ganga Rejuvenation announced the winners for the Third and Fourth fortnight of the Jal Bachao, Video Banao, Puraskar Pao contest.
What is the contest about? Jal Bachao, Video Banao, Puraskar Pao contest was launched by the Ministry in collaboration with the MyGov portal of the Government of India with the objective of spreading awareness about water conservation.