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NATIONAL AFFAIRS - June 2019

Jun 2019

Jun 25, 2019

Passports with Advanced Security Features

  • The government is on its way to integrate all the diplomatic missions and posts into the Passport Seva Project shortly. On the occasion of the Passport Seva Divas, External Affairs Minister Dr. S. Jaishankar said that India would soon deliver passport booklets with advanced security features.
  • According to S. Jaishankar, the passport booklets with advance security features were being produced at the India Security Press, Nashik. They would have chips installed for security. The government proposes to pursue the manufacture of e-passports on priority so that a new passport booklet with advanced security features can be rolled out.

TN Urges Centre Not to Grant Green Nod for Mekedatu Dam

  • Chief Minister Edappadi K. Palaniswami urged Prime Minister Narendra Modi not to grant the Terms of Reference (ToR) for environmental clearance for Karnataka's proposed dam at Mekedatu.
  • Karnataka's action of seeking environmental clearance for the Mekedatu project was in utter violation of the final order of the Cauvery Water Disputes Tribunal and the judgment of the Supreme Court, dated February 16, 2018.
  • The T.N. government conveyed its strong objections to Karnataka's proposal and had asked the Centre to reject outright and return the detailed project report (DPR) for the Mekedatu Dam, which was not a designated reservoir for the release of water from Karnataka to Tamil Nadu in terms of the tribunal's final order, as modified by the SC.

BJP Gets First ZP in West Bengal

  • The BJP took control of the South Dinajpur Zilla Parishad in West Bengal from the Trinamool, its first in West Bengal, after a majority of the ruling party members, besides an MLA, switched sides.
  • In a jolt to the Trinamool in the district, veteran leader Biplab Mitra also joined the BJP.
  • Mr. Mitra, considered one of the architects of the Trinamool in the district in north Bengal, was shunted out as the party's district president after the Lok Sabha polls.
  • Besides Mr. Mitra and 10 of the 18 members of the South Dinajpur Zilla Parishad, Trinamool MLA Wilson Champramary joined the BJP in Delhi.

Jun 24, 2019

Mayawati Appoints Kin to Key Party Posts

  •  BSP chief Mayawati tightened her family's grip on the party by appointing her younger brother Anand Kumar as vice-president and his son Aakash Anand as a national coordinator.
  • She informed her party leaders and MPs about the appointments at the BSP's national-level meeting.

 Kartarpur Passenger Terminal Work

  •  The work on 15-acre passenger terminal for Kartarpur corridor was kicked off in the presence of senior officials of the Land Port Authority of India (LPAI) at Dera Baba Nanak in Gurdaspur.
  • Inaugurating the terminal, LPAI chairman Anil Kumar Bamba said that the terminal was being constructed as part of the first phase of the project and would be completed by October 31, 2019.
  • The first jatha (batch) would leave for Gurdwara Darbar Sahib in Kartarpur on November 11, a day before the 550th Parkash Purb of Guru Nanak.
  • In the second phase, hotels, sarais (night shelters) and hospitals, among other facilities, will be built on the 50-acre plot over a span of two years.

First Tryst with Scientific Waste and Sewage Management

  •  Residents of northeast Delhi's Babarpur area, often characterised by its open, garbage-filled and stagnated drains, had their first tryst with scientific waste and sewage management.
  • Locals in the area, so far, had only seen their complaints about stinking open drains being resolved "occasionally" with the help of earth movers and manual cleaners. 
  • This time, however, a set of unique machinery – booms and enhancers – was lowered into a 52-cusec drain that cuts through matchbox-like houses in Babarpur. The project was launched in the presence of Lieutenant Governor (L-G) Anil Baijal.
  • It (the drain) was an irrigation canal decades ago, which is now dead.
  • Sources of this drain have been reduced to rain, sewage and local waste. This will now be a part of the 10 sentinel locations across the country chosen for the Centre's Waste to Wealth mission.
  • The aim is to adapt available technology and methods to attend to these sites in inclusive partnership with city officials and other stakeholders.
  • The project which is being overseen by the Prime Minister's Science, Technology and Innovation Advisory Council (STIAC) and is being executed by the east Delhi municipal corporation, the Centre's department of biotechnology (DBT) and a few private stakeholders is aimed at cleaning the drain and then creating energy and reusable water from the wastewater.

Jharkhand CM Sets 60-day Deadline

  •  Chief Minister Raghubar Das set a two months deadline for district administrations to distribute free LPG connection to the remaining 14 lakh families to achieve 100% target under the ambitious Ujjawala Yojana.
  • Das fixed the deadline during a review meeting of the Pradhan Mantri Ujjawala Yojana at the state secretariat.
  • The meeting was attended by chairpersons and vice-chairpersons of the 20-point district and block programme.
  • As per Das, about 29 lakh women have been benefitted under the scheme. The state had only 27% LPG connections as on May 16, 2014.
  • This rose to 82.6% after four-and-half year.
  • The state has to achieve 100% target by distributing free LPG connections to remaining 14 lakh families under the expanded Pradhan Mantri Ujjawala Yojana-2 within next two months (till August 2019).

Jun 23, 2019

Increase Number of Judges

  •  Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi urged Prime Minister Narendra Modi to increase the strength of judges and raise the retirement age of High Court judges to 65.
  • Justice Gogoi also urged the Prime Minister to make tenure appointments of retired apex court judges and High Court judges under Articles 128 and 224A, respectively to clear cases pending for years.
  • As per the CJI, there was a pendency of 58,669 cases in the top court and the number was increasing.

Nepalese Nationals Require Visa to Enter India

  •  According to a notice issued by the Nepalese Embassy in New Delhi, Nepalese nationals must hold Indian visa if they are entering India from Pakistan, China, Hong Kong and Macau.
  • Similarly, Nepalese nationals travelling to Gulf countries, including Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Kuwait, Oman, Bahrain and Lebanon, are required to acquire a no objection certificate from the respective Nepalese Embassies.

Jun 22, 2019

Kaleswaram Lift Irrigation Project

  •  Telangana Chief Minister K. Chandrasekhar Rao inaugurated world's largest engineering marvel, Kaleshwaram lift irrigation project, at Medigadda Barrage in Kaleshwaram of Bhoopalpally district.
  • The Medigadda Barrage is the starting point of the irrigation project which envisages construction of three barrages between Yellampally and Medigadda. Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Y. S. Jaganmohan Reddy was also present during the inaugural function.
  • The total estimated cost to finish this project is Rs. 80,000 crore.

Water Trains to Parched Chennai

  •  Parched Chennai would get some relief, with the Tamil Nadu government all set to transport 10 million litres per day (MLD) by train from various districts to the capital city, every day for the next six months.
  • The government also sought a special package of Rs. 1000 crore from the Centre to address the water scarcity in the state.
  • Chennai had been reeling under a severe shortage of water, as the main reservoirs that supply to the city have all but gone dry.
  • A meeting chaired by Chief Minister Edappadi K Palaniswami decided to transport water by trains from Jolarpet in Vellore to Chennai at a cost of Rs. 65 crore.
  • Other districts in the state facing severe water scarcity include Ramanathapuram, Pudukkottai, Thiruvallur, Nagapattinam, Vellore, Thiruvannamalai, and Dindigul. The government, which had allocated Rs. 710 crore earlier, released another Rs. 200 crore to address the scarcity.

BJP Women Whips to Guide New MPs

  •  Four women Lok Sabha MPs who have been appointed whips by the Bharatiya Janata Party have their task cut out -- to handhold first-time colleagues in the Lower House and walk them through the nitty-gritty of parliamentary procedures and legislative business.
  • The four whips are Ranjanben Bhatt, MP from Gujarat's Vadodara; Shobha Karandlaje from Karnataka's Udupi Chikmagalur; Locket Chatterjee from Bengal's Hooghly; and Pratima Bhowmik from Tripura West.
  • In line with the constituency/ region each has been elected from, Bhatt will assist MPs from the western states, Karandlaje will guide MPs from the southern states, Chatterjee will be in charge of MPs from the eastern region and Bhowmik will help MPs from Tripura, Assam, Manipur and Arunachal Pradesh.

BJD Announces Two Names for Rajya Sabha

  •  Odisha Chief Minister and Biju Janata Dal chief Naveen Patnaik nominated his party's IT cell head and a party spokesperson for two of the three Rajya Sabha seats that fell vacant after the resignation of 3 BJD MPs.
  • Incidentally, the party decided to support BJP candidate and former Odisha cadre IAS officer Ashwini Vaishnaw for the third seat.
  • By-election to three Rajya Sabha seats in Odisha was necessitated by the resignation of Achyuta Samanta, Soumya Ranjan Patnaik and Pratap Keshari Deb.

Jun 21, 2019

Kerala Offers Drinking Water to Tamil Nadu

  •  With barely 23 million cubic feet of water left in the four main reservoirs, which cumulatively have a capacity of 11,257 million cubic feet, and supply to Chennai city, the Kerala government offered to transport 20 lakh litres of drinking water to Tamil Nadu.
  • TN's local administration minister S. P. Velumani clarified that while Tamil Nadu has not refused the offer, the decision will be taken in a meeting chaired by Chief Minister Edappadi K. Palaniswami.
  • Kerala's offer comes at a time when the All India Anna Munnetra Dravida Kazhagam (AIADMK) is facing Opposition heat over its failure in handling the water crisis.

Pathalgadi Movement Back

  •  Pathalgadi movement is once again back to haunt Jharkhand. Around 13 villages of three panchayats under Bandgaon Block in West Singhbhum district of the state have seen the movement getting active again, being led by Yusuf Purty alias Joseph Purty and Mudhu Soy.
  • Activists of the movement are seizing ration, voter and Aadhaar cards from the villagers and allegedly forcing them to not to take benefits of any government schemes.
  • The movement opposing the Indian government and calling for self-rule by tribals in 5th schedule areas by misinterpreting the Constitution, originated in Khunti district.
  • But it went silent after infamous gang-rape of five tribal girls – anti-trafficking activists – in Kochang village on June 19, 2018.
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