- 25,000 illegal structures in Himachal cry out for comprehensive solution
- Illegal multi-storied structures, both commercial and residential, rose in earthquake-sensitive Himachal Pradesh with what was alleged to be political connivance.
- Successive Congress and BJP governments in the state refused to act against illegal constructions and in fact brought in six retention policies to regularise them till the state high court, last year, set aside a law to regularise illegal constructions.
- The issue again came into the limelight when the Supreme Court ordered demolition of 13 illegal constructions in hotels and resorts in the picturesque Kasauli hills and a violator allegedly shot down a woman town planner during the demolition drive on May 1.
- Official sources told IANS that there are over 25,000 unauthorised structures in the state, mainly dotted across this capital town, once known as the Queen of Hills. These comprise over 2,500 hotels, including high-end resorts.
- The state governments had brought the retention or regularisation policy on six occasions that enabled thousands of illegal residential structures to come within the legal framework.
- In Shimla alone, 83 per cent out of a sample of 300 selected buildings are highly vulnerable to collapse if there is a major earthquake.
- Construction of houses in urban areas is regulated by the provisions of the Town and Country Planning Act, the Municipal Corporation Act and local bodies’ regulations and building by-laws.
- However, construction of buildings and houses in rural areas (89 percent of total houses) is not regulated by any act or regulation.
· North Korea cancels high-level talks with South Korea
- North Korea canceled high-level talks with South Korea, scheduled over Seoul’s joint military exercises with the US.
- Some 100 warplanes of the US and South Korea began the Max Thunder drills.
- The North’s official KCNA news agency the exercises were a provocation and a rehearsal for an invasion.
- The talks with South Korea, which were agreed earlier this week, were to take place at Panmunjom, a military compound in the demilitarised zone between the two countries.
- Pyongyang also threatened to cancel the much-anticipated summit between its leader Kim Jong Un and US President Donald Trump scheduled on the 12th of next month.
- A US spokesman there was nothing provocative about the military drills adding that they would continue to prepare for the meeting between Mr. Trump and Mr. Kim.
- The US and South Korea have always insisted that such drills are purely for defense purposes
- President of India Inaugurates 4th Global Exhibition on Services in Maharashtra
- The President of India, Shri Ram Nath Kovind, inaugurated the 4th Global Exhibition on Services and launched a portal on 12 Champion Sectors in Services in Mumbai on May 15, 2018.
- Speaking on the occasion, the President welcomed around 500 international delegates who are participating in this Global Exhibition from about 100 countries.
- He commended the Ministry of Commerce and Industry of the Government of India, as well as the Government of Maharashtra, the Confederation of Indian Industry and the Services Export Promotion Council, for this initiative.
· India Released Grant Of NRs 18.07 Crore To Nepal For River Training
- India released a grant of Nepalese Rupees (NRs) 07 crorefor river training and construction of embankments along Lalbakeya, Bagmati and Kamla rivers in Nepal.
- Indian Ambassador to Nepal Manjeev Singh Puri handed over a cheque of the grant to Dr. Sanjay Sharma, Secretary Ministry of Energy, Irrigation & Water Resources, Nepal in Kathmandu.
- The river training and embankment work in the Lalbakeya, Bagmati and Kamla rivers in Nepal aimed at flood control and water resources management, which benefit several million people inhabiting in the watershed of these rivers in India and Nepal.
· Retail Inflation Surges To 4.58%, WPI At 4-Month High In April
- The first month of the current financial year has brought some bad news on the inflation front with both retail (Consumer Price Index or CPI)and producer (Wholesale Price Index or WPI) inflation showing a surge raising the possibility of a policy rate hike by the Reserve Bank in the near future.
- A statement issued by the Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation revealed that an increase in fruit and vegetable prices, coupled with egg prices pushed CPI to 4.58 percent in April, from 4.28 percent in March.
- The Consumer Food Price Index, however, was a tad lower at 2.8 percent in April, from 2.81 percent in March.
- The latest number has put a break on the slide in CPI since January this year.
· IIM-Ahmedabad Launches Bharat Inclusive Initiative
- IIM-Ahmedabad’s Centre for Innovation, Incubation, and Entrepreneurship (CIIE)launched a Bharat Inclusion Initiative to build knowledge and foster innovation and entrepreneurial activity across areas such as financial inclusion, livelihood, education and health. CIIE at IIM Ahmedabad helps entrepreneurs turn ideas into viable businesses.
- The initiative will aim at channelizing approximately $25 million over the next 3-4 years towards backing game-changing start-ups leveraging the ongoing digital transformation in India, to create access to services that were hitherto inaccessible for a large segment of Indians.
· GSI shifting focus from shallow to deep-seated mineral deposits
- As the Government of India began expecting higher GDP from the mineral-based industry the Geological Survey of India (GSI) is now shifting its focus from already exhausted shallow mineral deposits to newer deep-seated deposits. But to explore the deep deposits GSI has more challenges than opportunities. It needs completely different technology to approach these deposits which unfortunately doesn’t exist with the GSI.
- A thrust area for GSI was searching the rare earth metals and strategic minerals as they are now required widely. There is stress on green energy sources and lithium batteries being a potential product for vehicles in future. Lithium is one such rare earth mineral but there are many more minerals which the GSI needs to explore.
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