Current Affairs from States – August 2016
Kerala Anti-Corruption Index
Titled Kerala Anti-Corruption Index, government of Kerala has planned to launch an Anti-Corruption Index to measure the level of corruption in all spheres of society in the state on a monthly basis. The index will be implemented by the Kerala Vigilance and Anti-Corruption Bureau. As a part of the programme, a series of mobile applications would be launched to empower people to deal with corruption.
Assam which has been plagued by floods every year is again reeling under floods this year as well. This year floods are considered to be the worst ever. According to the National Flood Commission of India (Rashtriya Barh Ayog), over 40% (32 lakh hectares) of the land in Assam is flood-prone. As per the data released by the Assam State Disaster Management Authority, more than 40,000 houses and infrastructure worth several hundred crores of rupees have been damaged by the floods. As of now, death toll has increased to 35 while nearly 12 lakh people have been temporarily displaced. The Assam’s famous Kaziranga National Park (KNP) was also badly hit with its 80% area submerged under water claiming the lives of 218 animals.
Brahmaputra is one of the mightiest rivers of the world and its valley is considered to be one of the hazard prone regions in the country. The river flows like a vein in Assam sustaining lives and livelihoods along its banks. Every year the flood brings misery to about 20 of the 32 districts of Assam.
West Bengal wins All India Coordinated Rice Improvement Project Award 2015
West Bengal has been selected for the All India Coordinated Rice Improvement Project Award 2015. This will be the first time the state will be receiving this award. The state was selected for this award by the 51st committee of the Indira Gandhi Krishi Bikash Kendra for its achievement in the four key areas that include scientific research for seeds. Earlier, West Bengal also had won the Krishi Kamran Puraskar for three consecutive years. Besides, the state has also bagged the award (second position) for participating in International Agriculture and Horticulture Expo held in July 2016 in New Delhi.
Andhra Pradesh signs MoU with Japan
The Andhra Pradesh government has recently signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Japan to develop a food value chain in the state. Under the MoU, Japan’s Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (MAFF) will encourage direct investments by Japanese companies in the fields of agriculture and food-related industry in Andhra Pradesh. Apart from this, MAFF will also establish food industrial parks and develop cold chains.
Rajasthan becomes first state to approve sewage & waste water policy
Rajasthan has become the first state in the country to approve sewage and waste water policy. The first of its kind policy was approved by the State Cabinet. The policy brings all district headquarters, heritage cities, and cities in the state having more than one lakh population under its ambit. Waste water treated under it will be used in irrigation and agricultural work. The requirement of next 30 years will be covered by this poilcy. It will be compulsory for every house in the state to connect with sewage system in those cities which have 100% sewage system in next five years.
Odisha Government launches Baristha Bunakar Sahayata Yojana
The Odisha Government has launched Baristha Bunakar Sahayata Yojana, a special assistance scheme for elderly weavers. The scheme was launched on the occasion of the second National Handlooms Day (observed on 7th August). The scheme aims at improving the financial condition of over 8,000 weavers in the state. Under this scheme, senior weavers above the age of 60 years would get a monthly pension of 500 rupees and those above 80 years would get a pension of 700 rupees.
New Chief Minister of Gujarat
Mr Vijay Rupani (60) has sworn in as the 16th Chief Minister of Gujarat after Anandiben Patel had resigned from the post on August 3, 2016. Besides, senior most cabinet minister in Anandiben Government Nitin Patel took oath as the Deputy Chief Minister of Gujarat.
Telangana Government launches Water Resources Information System
Telangana Government has inked Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) for setting up Telangana Water Resources Information System (TRIS). The MoU was signed between ISRO and the Telangana Irrigation Department. Under it, ISRO’s National Remote Sensing Centre will set up the system and also share satellite data. The TRIS will assess the accurate reserves of water in thousands of Tanks and reservoirs across the state.
Maharashtra Government launches Quit India Movement 2
Maharashtra Government has launched Quit India 2 Swaraaj to Suraaj Movement against various social ills on the occasion of commemoration of Platinum Jubilee anniversary of the Quit India Movement. It was launched at the historic August Kranti Maidan in Mumbai, Maharashtra. On 8th August 1942, Mahatma Gandhi had given the clarion call of Quit India at the historic August Kranti Maidan (then called as Gowalia Tank Maidan), Bombay. Quit India 2 Swaraaj to Suraaj Movement is an apparent attempt to link contemporary politics to pre-Independence history to rid itself of various social evils and convert ‘swaraj’ into ‘su-raj’.
Assam Government has launched Rhino horn verification process
The Assam Government has launched Rhino horn verification process for verifying rhino horns stored in various treasuries of Assam since 1980. The process will verify the genuineness of the rhino horns, which were recovered since 1980s and stored in various treasuries. The process of verification will be conducted by 12-member Rhino Horn Verification Committee which was recently instituted by state government.
Assam becomes first state to ratify The Constitution (122nd Amendment) (GST) Bill, 2014
Assam became the first state in India to ratify The Constitution (122nd Amendment) (GST) Bill, 2014. In this regard, the Assam Assembly passed a resolution ratifying The Constitution (122nd Amendment) (GST) Bill, 2014 with simple majority. The Bill was passed by the Parliament in August 2016 and was forwarded to states for approval as per Article 368 of Constitution. The approval of half of the states (15 out of 29) in mandated as per Article 368 of Constitution as it deals with changes in the features of fiscal federalism.
Maharashtra launches country’s first Crime Criminal Tracking Network System
The Maharashtra Government became the first state in the country to launch India’s first comprehensive ‘Crime Criminal Tracking Network System’ (CCTNS) in Mumbai. It was launched through the operationalisation of 42 cyber laboratories across the state in order to combat growing cybercrimes. The CCTNS has been developed by Pune based Centre for Development of Advanced Computing (CDAC). Under it, all police stations in the state will be linked with one another for sharing information about crimes in their respective jurisdictions. It will pave the way for a digital police force in Maharashtra.
Maharashtra becomes the first state to draft law for internal security
Maharashtra became the first state in the country to draft its own internal security legislation ‘The Maharashtra Protection of Internal Security Act (MPISA), 2016.’ The bill has been placed in the public domain to get suggestions and objections. Later it will be presented to the legislature for approval. Among others the bill gives special emphasis on maintaining law and order and combating terrorism, insurgency, caste-related violence and communalism in the state.
Maharashtra becomes first state to sign MoU with Centre, AAI to develop 10 airports under RCS
Maharashtra Government has signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Union Civil Aviation Ministry and Airports Authority of India (AAI) to develop 10 airports as part of the Centre’s Regional Connectivity Scheme. With this Maharashtra became first state in the country to formally to provide the concessions required from the State Governments in the Regional Connectivity Scheme. The provision of Regional Connectivity Scheme (RCS) has been mentioned in the National Civil Aviation Policy (NCAP) 2015. As per the MoU, Central Government will provide funds and also assist the Maharashtra Government in developing essential infrastructure for developing these airports.
Regional connectivity scheme (RCS):
The scheme seeks to connect unconnected towns by offering concessions to the airlines to encourage them to fly on regional routes. The central government will fund 80% of the losses incurred by the airlines by flying on regional routes. The rest of the loss will be covered by the states. RCS will be implemented only in those states which reduce VAT on ATF to 1% or less and offer other support services. The government has proposed a cap of Rs 2500 for an hour’s flight on regional routes to Tier 2 and Tier 3 cities. Also, as per this scheme, the airlines would be exempted from all landing, parking and other charges on the RCS airports.
Maharashtra and Telangana ink pacts for 3 irrigation projects
Maharashtra and Telangana have signed agreement for three irrigation projects to be constructed on Godavari, Pranahita and Painganga rivers. Under the agreement, the two States would take up Tummidi Hatti, Medigadda and Chanaka-Korata irrigation projects on Godavari River and its tributaries.
Andhra Pradesh becomes first state to launch DNA profiling of criminals
Andhra Pradesh became the first state in the country to launch DNA Index System (DIS) for DNA (Deoxyribonucleac acid) profiling of criminals. The system uses the latest DNA technology tool (also known as RapidHIT DNA System) developed by IntegenX of United States. The DNA Index System (DIS) allows generation of DNA profiles from live samples like buccal swabs, saliva and blood stains etc. It creates DNA profiles within 90 to 120 minutes compared to currently available technologies which take at least two days or more. DIS has vast potential to bring down crimes as it can create a huge database of DNA profiles of offenders. It could also help the suspects prove their innocence. DNA profiling or fingerprinting technology is utilised by police all over the world for fool-proof identification of criminals who leave their traces at crime scene while committing crime.
Maharashtra Government unveils Mumbai-Nagpur Super Communication Expressway project
Maharashtra Government has unveiled ambitious Mumbai-Nagpur Super Communication Expressway project in Mumbai. The 46,000-crore rupee ambitious project will create state-of-the art road connectivity within a period of three years and give a fillip to investment in the state. Mumbai-Nagpur Super Communication Expressway project will be implemented by Maharashtra State Road Development Corporation (MSRDC). It will be a six-lane super communication highway covering a distance of 750 km through 10 districts. It will connect entire breadth of Maharashtra. It will have facilities like trauma centres, electronic toll points, CCTV cameras, two lanes of service roads, utility shifting, bypass etc.
PM Narendra Modi launches first phase of SAUNI project in Gujarat
Prime Minister Narendra Modi has launched the first phase of SAUNI (Saurastra Narmada Avataran Irrigation) Yojana at Sanodara of Jamnagar district of Gujarat. SAUNI Yojana is multipurpose project that aims to solve the water problems of a parched Saurashtra region of Gujarat. Technically, SAUNI is a ‘linking’ project where the water will be filled in irrigation dams that are already equipped with canal network. Under this project, 115 dams in the Saurashtra region will be filled with excess water from the Sardar Sarovar dam.
Saruashtra region of Gujarat comprises 11 districts. These districts faces drought like situation often due to scanty rainfall. The SAUNI Yojana was announced in 2012 when PM Modi was the Chief Minister of Gujarat.
Gujarat becomes first state to distribute 2 crore LED bulbs under UJALA scheme
Gujarat has become the first state in the country to distribute two crore LED bulbs under the Centre’s UJALA (Unnat Jyoti by Affordable LEDs for All) scheme. The state has reached the milestone in just 96 days and over 42 lakh households have already benefited from the scheme. The distribution of 2 crore LED bulbs has led to an annual energy savings of 259 crore kwh, (Kilowatt Hour). It is equivalent to lighting up 5 lakh Indian homes for an entire year. Besides energy savings, the state has also gained from daily CO2 emission reduction of 5,000 tonnes.
UJALA scheme: The UJALA scheme was launched on 1 May 2015 replacing the “Bachat Lamp Yojana”. It was launched as LED based “Domestic Efficient Lighting Programme (DELP). The scheme’s objective is to reduce electricity bills of consumers, contribute to the energy security of India and also help in environment protection. Under it, Government has set ambitious target to replace 77 crore incandescent bulbs across the country with LEDs by 2019. LED bulbs are known to have a very long life, almost 50 times more than ordinary bulbs, and 8 to 10 times that of CFLs, and therefore provide both energy and cost savings in the medium term.
Kerala imposes fat tax
Kerala has imposed a fat tax of 14.5% on junk foods sold through fast food chains such as McDonalds, Pizza Hut etc. This is the first time such a tax is imposed by any state government in India. The fat tax is aimed at discouraging consumption of foods linked to obesity. Fat tax was first introduced by Denmark in 2011. However, it scrapped the tax within a year.
Assam seeks increase in stipend under SRE scheme
Assam has requested the union home ministry to increase the monthly stipend of surrendered militants from Rs. 3,000 to Rs.10,000 per month. This has put the home ministry in a fix as obliging to Assam’s request could lead to similar requests from other north-eastern states like Manipur, Nagaland, Meghalaya and Tripura.
Under the Security Related Expenditure (SRE) scheme, union home ministry reimburses the amount paid to the surrendered militants by the state governments. It also reimburses the cost incurred in maintaining these designated camps for insurgent groups. While Assam has suspension of operations agreements going with 13 insurgent groups, the other states has similar agreements with 10 other insurgent groups.
West Bengal passes resolution to change its name to Bengal
West Bengal assembly has passed a resolution naming the state to be Bengal in English and Bangla in Bengali. This resolution has been sent to the centre to obtain clearance from both the houses of the Parliament.