- State gives conditional NOC for dams
- Even though Himachal has yielded to Centre’s demand of issuing NOC to pave the way for the setting up of Renuka, Lakhwar and Kishau dams to meet the growing water needs of Delhi but not without laying conditions to ensure its share of water under the agreement.
- The proposal for the setting up of three projects – Renuka in Sirmaur district of Himachal and Lakhwar and Kishau in Uttrakhand has been hanging for the last many years as the partner states of Delhi, Rajasthan HP, Haryana, Punjab, Uttrakhand and Uttar Pradesh are reluctant to issue the NOCs as per water sharing agreement. Each state is apprehensive about the share of water that it will receive under the agreement.
- Under the water sharing proposal, Himachal is entitled to 0.378 billion cubic metres of water annually. However, the hill state is concerned that it might be asked to make provision of transporting water either from Lakhwar in Uttarakhand or some other distant place for which a lot of expenditure will have to be made. It is to address this concern that the Cabinet decided to provide a conditional NOC.
- As far as Himachal is concerned, the cost of the 40 MW Renuka projects has escalated to over Rs 4,000 crore. Himachal, which is a power surplus state, does not stand to gain much from the project but for the needs of Delhi and the National capital region (NCR). Delhi has already provided Rs 200 crore for rehabilitating the oustees.
- Cabinet approves joint issue of postage stamp between India and South Africa
- The Union Cabinet chaired by the Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi was apprised of joint issue of Postage Stamps on India-South Africa on the theme, “20 Years of Strategic Partnership between India and South Africa”.
- The joint stamps were released in June 2018.
- The Commemorative Postage Stamps on India-South Africa: Joint Issue depicts image of Deendayal Upadhyaya and Oliver Reginald Tambo of South Africa.
· Russia inks pacts with Indian firms
- Russia has identified about 19 companies in India to manufacture defence products and provide spares and components of Russian platforms currently being used by India’s defence forces
- The Defence Ministry is also in the process of setting up an indigenisation portal which is likely to be ready in about six months.
· Creamy layer cannot apply to SCs/STs: Centre
- The government on Thursday told the Supreme Court that the “creamy layer” concept cannot be applied to the Scheduled Caste/Scheduled Tribe communities, who have suffered for centuries.
- The government wants a larger Bench of the Supreme Court to set aside its 2006 judgment in the Nagaraj case.
- This verdict mandates that the government cannot introduce quota in promotion for SC/ST persons in public employment unless they prove that the particular Dalit community is backward, is inadequately represented and such a reservation in promotion would not affect the overall efficiency of public administration.
- The government has argued that the judgment was a roadblock to its authority to introduce quota in promotions in favour of SC/ST communities as per Article 16 (4A) of the Constitution.
· Blue for petrol, CNG; orange for diesel
- The Supreme Court on Monday agreed to a proposal of the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways (MoRTH) to have hologram-based coloured stickers on vehicles to indicate the nature of the fuel used in them.
- Hologram-based sticker of light blue colour will be used for petrol and CNG-run vehicles while similar sticker of orange colour would be placed on diesel vehicles.
· Treat Aadhaar like PAN, says UIDAI
- After TRAI chief’s Aadhaar dare ignited a debate on the security of the 12-digit number, the Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) is planning a user outreach to sensitise people to the dos and don’ts of sharing their biometric identifier.
- The UIDAI intends to equate the Aadhaar number with other personal information like PAN (Permanent Account Number) and bank account number to caution users against placing such details in the public domain.
- Mere knowledge of Aadhaar cannot harm an individual or be misused for impersonation, as it is fortified with additional security layers like biometrics and one-time password authentication
- The UIDAI has also outlined the responsibilities of banks and other user organisations in carrying out the required checks in this regard.
· Statewise shelters for women and children proposed
- Union Women and Child Development Minister Maneka Gandhi has proposed the setting up of a single large facility for them in each State, which could be partially funded under the Nirbhaya scheme.
- Instead of spreading resources thin across various shelters, it was proposed that each State can set up a single institution, which will serve as a shelter for women in difficult situations and as an observation home for juveniles. The State governments will have to identify land for the purpose.
· Centre launches portal for scientific research, funding
- The Union science ministry’s communication wing, Vigyan Prasar, has launched the India Science Technology and Innovation portal that can help with such queries.
- Currently the portal can be queried for information about the organisations carrying out research, those funding them, international collaborations, the scientists involved in the research, the states in which they are being carried out, their achievements and impact.
- Both the portal and the channel are part of a push by the Science Ministry to improve its public outreach. By next year, the Ministry hopes to offer science programmes on Doordarshan and eventually launch a dedicated science channel.
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