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New milestone in aerial connectivity in North Eastern India

Through UDAN (Regional Connectivity Scheme), flight operations between the Capital City of Manipur (Imphal) and Meghalaya (Shillong) have been established on 3rd August 2021.

Due to the non-availability of any direct mode of transportation, people were compelled to cover a 12-hour long journey by road to reach Shillong from Imphal or they had to take a flight to Lokpriya Gopinath Bordoloi International Airport, Guwahati, then bus service to reach Shillong. The completion of the entire journey took more than 1 day to reach Shillong from Imphal or vice-versa. Now, natives can easily fly between the two cities by opting for a flight of just 60 mins from Imphal to Shillong and 75 mins from Shillong to Imphal. Shillong is the second city to be connected with Imphal under the UDAN scheme. 

To keep the fares affordable, airlines are being provided Viability Gap Funding (VGF) under the UDAN scheme by the central government.

Indigo airlines will operate four flights in a week and will deploy its 78-seater ATR 72 aircraft.

Till date, 361 routes and 59 airports (including 5 heliports and 2 water aerodromes) have been operationalized under the UDAN scheme. The scheme is envisaged to establish strong aerial connectivity in all States and UTs of the country which hitherto were not connected, laying the foundation of a new regional segment in India’s aviation market.

Flight No 7959 will Depart from Imphal at 9.55am and reach Shillong at 10.55am. The return flight no 7961 will depart from Shillong at 11.15am and reach Imphal at 12.30pm

#Meghalaya #Shillong #Imphal #UDAN #Manipur

Cabinet Approves continuation of SamagraShiksha Scheme


The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs, chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, has given its approval for the continuation of the revised Samagra Shiksha Scheme for a period of five years i.e., from 2021-22 to 2025-26 today.

Financial outlay of Rs.2,94,283.04 crore which includes Central share of Rs.1,85,398.32 crore. has been allocated for this project. The scheme which covers 1.16 million schools will benefit over 156 million students and 5.7 million teachers of Govt. and Aided schools (from pre-primary to senior secondary level).

The Scheme aims to universalize access to school education; promote equity through the inclusion of disadvantaged groups and weaker sections, and improve the quality of education across all levels of school education. The major objectives of the Scheme are to Support States and UTs in:

  1. Implementing the recommendations of the National Education Policy 2020 (NEP 2020);
  2. Implementation of Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education (RTE) Act, 2009;
  3. Early Childhood Care and Education;
  4. Emphasis on Foundational Literacy and Numeracy;
  5. Thrust on Holistic, Integrated, Inclusive and activity-based Curriculum and Pedagogy to impart 21st-century skills to the students;
  6. Provision of quality education and enhancing learning outcomes of students;
  7. Bridging Social and Gender Gaps in School Education;
  8. Ensuring equity and inclusion at all levels of school education;
  9. Strengthening and up-gradation of State Councils for Educational Research and Training (SCERTs)/State Institutes of Education and District Institutes for Education and Training (DIET) as a nodal agency for teacher training;
  10. Ensuring a safe, secure and conducive learning environment and maintenance of standards in schooling provisions and
  11. Promoting vocational education.

#SamagraShiksha #MinistryofEducation

RBI cautions Public


Reserve Bank of India has cautioned the public not to fall prey to fictitious offers of buying/ selling of Old Banknotes and Coins.

In a press release issued today RBI has said, "It has come to the notice of Reserve Bank of India that certain elements are fraudulently using the name/ logo of Reserve Bank of India, and seeking charges/ commission/ tax from the public, in transactions related to buying and selling of old banknotes and coins through various online/ offline platforms."

"It is clarified that the Reserve Bank of India does not deal in such matters and never seeks charges/ commissions of any sort. Reserve Bank of India has also not authorised any institution/ firm/ person etc. to collect charges/ commission on its behalf in such transactions."

"Reserve Bank of India advises members of the public to remain cautious and not to fall prey to elements using the name of Reserve Bank of India to extract money through such fictitious/ fraudulent offers."


Ground Water Level in Urban Areas


Central Ground Water Board (CGWB) is periodically monitoring the groundwater levels throughout the country including urban areas on a regional scale, through a network of monitoring wells.

During November 2020, the depth to water level in the urban areas of the country ranged from less than 2.0 metres below ground level (mbgl) to more than 40.00 mbgl.

Further, in a major part of the urban areas of the country, the water level is in the range of 2.0 mbgl to 10.00 mbgl. In addition, deeper ground water level (more than 40.00 mbgl) has also been observed in few urban areas. 

In order to assess the annual change in water level, the data collected by CGWB in urban areas during November 2020 has been compared with the November 2019. Analysis of water level data indicates that about 51 per cent of the wells monitored have registered decline in ground water levels, mostly in the range of 0.0 – 2.0 metre. A decline of more than 4.0 metre has also been observed in some of the cities. Further, rise in groundwater levels have also been observed in 48.6 per cent analysed wells out of which 39 per cent of the wells have registered a rise in groundwater levels in the range of 0.0-2.0 metre. 

This information was given by the Minister of state for Jal Shakti and Food Processing Industries, Prahlad Singh Patel in a written reply in the Lok  Sabha today.


Parliament Passes Juvenile Justice Amendment Bill 2021


The Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Amendment Bill, 2021, which seeks to amend the Juvenile Justice Act, 2015, was passed in the Rajya Sabha yesterday. The bill was introduced in the Parliament by the Government in the Budget session this year. It was passed in Lok Sabha on 24th March 2021.

While introducing the bill, Ms Smriti Zubin Irani, Union Minister for Women and Child Development stressed upon the necessity for entrusting District Magistrates with the responsibility of care and protection of vulnerable children in light of the prevailing inadequacies in the system. She recounted the commitment of the Parliament towards prioritising India's children above all issues.

The amendments include authorizing District Magistrate including Additional District Magistrate to issue adoption orders under Section 61 of the JJ Act, in order to ensure speedy disposal of cases and enhance accountability. The District Magistrates have been further empowered under the Act, to ensure its smooth implementation, as well as garner synergized efforts in favour of children in distress conditions. As per the amended provisions of the Act, any Child Care Institutions shall be registered after considering the recommendations of the District Magistrate. The DM shall independently evaluate the functioning of District Child Protection Units, Child Welfare Committees, Juvenile Justice Boards, Specialized Juvenile Police Units, Child care Institutions etc.

The eligibility parameters for the appointment of CWC members have been redefined. Criteria for disqualification of the CWC members have also been introduced to ensure that only the persons capable of rendering quality service with requisite competence and integrity are appointed to CWC.

Presently there are three categories (petty, serious and heinous) defined under the Act which are referred to while considering the cases of children in conflict with the law. However, it was observed that some of the offences do not strictly fall under any of these categories. It has been decided that offences where the maximum sentence is more than 7 years imprisonment but no minimum sentence has been prescribed or a minimum sentence of less than 7 years is provided, shall be treated as serious offences within this Act.

Several difficulties faced in the implementation of various provisions of the Act have also been addressed and Suitable amendments to remove these difficulties arising in the interpretation of various provisions of the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act, 2015 and to clarify the scope of certain provisions of the Act have also been introduced.


Depositors to be provided with up to Rs 5 lakh within 90 days even if bank under moratorium, says FM


Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman today announced that the Union Cabinet has cleared the amendment to the Deposit Insurance Credit Guarantee Corporation (DICGC) Bill 2021, which would provide account holders with an amount of up to Rs 5 lakh within 90 days of bank failure.

The minister stated that the DICGC Bill insures all bank deposits and covers all commercial banks and even foreign bank branches in India are covered under it.

Under the DICGC, each depositor's bank deposit is insured for up to Rs 5 lakh in each bank (for both principal and interest). The increase of insured amount from Rs 1 lakh to Rs 5 lakh will cover 98.3 per cent of all deposit accounts and 50.9 per cent of deposit value, Sitharaman noted.

“Normally, it takes 8-10 years after complete liquidation to get money under insurance; but now, even if there is a moratorium, within 90 days, the process will definitely be completed, giving relief to depositors, the finance minister said.

Apart from the amendment to the DICGC Bill, Cabinet also cleared amendments to the Limited Liability Partnership (LLP) Bill, with an aim to decriminalise various provisions under the law and foster the ease of doing business in the country.

“With the Limited Liability Partnership Amendment Bill, we will have only 22 penal provisions, 7 compoundable offences, 3 non-compoundable offences,” Sitharaman said.


Smriti Irani Launches 24/7 Helpline for Women Affected by Violence


With the objective of further improving safety and security of women across the nation, the Union Minister for Women and Child Development Smriti Zubin Irani today inaugurated the National Commission for Women's 24/7 helpline number - 7827170170.

The helpline aims to provide 24/7 online support to women affected by violence through referral by linking them with appropriate authorities such as police, hospitals, District Legal Service Authority, psychological services etc.

Inaugurating the helpline virtually, Ms Irani congratulated the NCW for this initiative and lauded the new helpline. She said that this digital helpline gives a message to women that whenever they are in need, their government and their Commission will stand by them. She said that the partnership between NCW and WCD goes a long way in ensuring a seamless intervention to help women in distress.

Speaking on the occasion, NCW Chairperson Ms Rekha Sharma said that the helpline strengthens the commissions existing complaint mechanism and the helpline will enable women in need of support and counselling to get help in time. 

The objective of the Helpline is to provide 24-hour complaints and counselling services to women affected by violence by linking them with appropriate authorities such as police, hospitals, District Legal Service Authority psychological services and providing information about women related government programmes across the country through a single uniform number. The helpline will function with a team of trained experts. Any girl or woman aged 18 years and above can seek help by calling on this Helpline which will be operated from the premises of the National Commission for Women, New Delhi.

The Union Minister for Women and Child Development Smriti Zubin Irani inaugurated the 24/7 helpline number virtually along with Secretary, WCD, Indevar Pandey and NCW Chairperson Ms Rekha Sharma in the presence of Members of the Commission and Mr Vinay Thakur, Senior Director (Research), Digital India Corporation.


Union Cabinet approves PLI Scheme for Specialty Steel


The Union Cabinet, chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, has approved the Production Linked Incentive (PLI) Scheme for specialty steel.

The duration of the scheme will be five years, from 2023-24 to 2027-28. With a budgetary outlay of Rs 6,322 crores, the scheme is expected to bring in an investment of approximately Rs 40,000 crores and a capacity addition of 25 MT for speciality steel. The scheme is expected to give employment to about 5,25,000 people of which 68,000 will be direct employment.

Speciality steel has been chosen as the target segment because out of the production of 102 million tonnes steel in India in 2020-21, only 18 million tonnes value-added steel/speciality steel was produced in the country. Apart from this out of 6.7 million tonnes of imports in the same year, approx. 4 million tonnes import was of specialty steel alone resulting in FOREX outgo of Approximately Rs 30,000 crores. 

After the above decision, it is expected that the speciality steel production will become 42 million tonnes by the end of 2026-27. This will ensure that approximately 2.5 lakh crores worth of speciality steel will be produced and consumed in the country which would otherwise have been imported. Similarly, the export of specialty steel will become around 5.5 million tonnes as against the current 1.7 million tonnes of specialty steel getting FOREX of Rs 33,000 crore.

The benefit of this scheme aims to accrue to both big players i.e. integrated steel plants and to the smaller players (secondary steel players)

Specialty steel is value added steel wherein normal finished steel is worked upon by way of coating, plating, heat treatment, etc to convert it into high value added steel which can be used in various strategic applications like Defence, Space, Power, apart from automobile sector, specialized capital goods etc.

The five categories of specialty steel which have been chosen in the PLI Scheme are:

  1. Coated/Plated Steel Products
  2. High Strength/Wear resistant Steel
  3. Specialty Rails
  4. Alloy Steel Products and Steel wires
  5. Electrical Steel

Out of these product categories, it is expected that after completion of the Scheme India will start manufacturing products like API grade pipes, Head Hardened Rails, electrical steel (needed in transformers and electrical appliances) which are currently manufactured in very limited quantity or not manufactured at all.

There are 3 slabs of PLI incentives, the lowest being 4 per cent and the highest being 12 per cent which has been provided for electrical steel (CRGO). The PLI Scheme for specialty Scheme will ensure that the basic steel used is 'melted and poured' within the country which means that raw material (finished steel) used for making specialty steel will be made in India only, thereby ensuring that the scheme promotes an end to end manufacturing within the country.


Cabinet approves establishment of Integrated Multipurpose Corporation for Ladakh


The Union Cabinet chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi has approved the establishment of an Integrated Multi-purpose Infrastructure Development Corporation for  the Union Territory of Ladakh

The Cabinet has also approved the creation of one post of Managing Director, for the corporation on the pay scale of Rs 1,44,200 - Rs 2,18,200 level.

The authorized share capital of the Corporation will be Rs 25 crore and recurring expenditure will be around Rs 2.42 crore per year. Presently, there is no such similar organization within the newly formed UT of Ladakh. The approval has an inherent potential for employment generation as the corporation will be undertaking various kinds of developmental activities. The Corporation will work for industry, tourism, transport and marketing of local products and handicrafts. The Corporation will also work as the main construction agency for infrastructure development in Ladakh.

The establishment of the corporation aims inclusive and integrated development of the Union Territory of Ladakh. This will, in turn, ensure socio-economic development of the entire region and population of the Union Territory.


1. Consequent upon re-organisation of the erstwhile State of Jammu and Kashmir as per the Jammu and Kashmir Reorganisation Act, 2019, the Union Territory of Ladakh (without Legislature) came into existence on 31st October 2019.
2. An Advisory Committee was constituted under section 85 of the Jammu and Kashmir Reorganization Act, 2019 for making recommendations regarding the apportionment of the assets and liabilities of the erstwhile State of Jammu and Kashmir between the Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir, and the Union Territory of Ladakh. The said Committee inter-alia recommended for the establishment of an Integrated Infrastructure Development Corporation Limited on the lines of the Andaman & Nicobar Islands Integrated Development Corporation Limited (ANIIDCO), with an appropriate mandate to take up various developmental activities as per the specific needs of Ladakh.
3. Accordingly, the Union Territory of Ladakh sent a proposal to this Ministry for the establishment of the corporation in the Union Territory of Ladakh, which was recommended by the Committee on Establishment Expenditure (CEE), Ministry of Finance in April 2021.


Piyush Goyal appointed as Leader of House in Rajya Sabha

Union Minister of Textiles Piyush Goyal has been appointed the Leader of the House in Rajya Sabha.

Mr Goyal replaced Thawar Chand Gehlot, who was recently appointed as the Governor of Karnataka.

Mr Goyal, who holds important portfolios in the Government, has been a member of the Rajya Sabha since 2010.