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NATIONAL AFFAIRS - October 2019

Oct 2019

Oct 30, 2019

Govt Forms Secretaries' Panel On Steps To Ease Financial Stress In Telecom

  •  Days after the Supreme Court ordered telecom companies to pay as much as Rs 1.42 trillion in past statutory dues, the government is constituting a Committee of Secretaries (CoS) under the Cabinet Secretary to suggest measures to mitigate financial stress in the sector.
  • While the terms of reference of the panel do not explicitly mention the Supreme Court ruling of October 24, 2019, it has been asked to look at suggestions for deferring of payments for spectrum as well as re-look at the obligation to fund a universal service fund for operators.
  • The panel -- which will comprise secretaries of ministries of finance, telecommunication and law, among others -- is expected to meet shortly and submit recommendations in a time-bound manner.

M Venkaiah Naidu Unveils 15-Point Reform Charter For Effective Functioning Of Parliament, State L...

  • Vice President M Venkaiah Naidu unveiled a 15-point reform charter as the basis for a new 'political normal' to enable effective functioning of Parliament and State Legislatures.
  • Mr Naidu dwelt at length on the present pitfalls of Parliamentary democracy while delivering the first Arun Jaitley Memorial Lecture on Strengthening of Parliamentary Institutions in the Country at Delhi University.
  • Mr Naidu called for a new political consciousness urging all the stakeholders to review their mindset with regard to their roles and responsibilities.

India To Adopt Brazil Model Of Human Milk Bank

  •  The Centre has set a target of ensuring at least 70 per cent infants to have access to breast milk by the year 2025.
  • The Target will subsequently be increased to 100 per cent. India has taken inspiration from Brazil's success in the field of human milk bank and thus has decided to adopt a similar model in creating a wide network of human milk banks.
  • Minister of State for Health and Family Welfare Ashwini Kumar Choubey, after returning from BRICS Health Ministers' Conference in Brazil said that the member countries have decided to take coordinated efforts to reduce infant mortality rate, increase the access of breast milk to the infants and ensuring affordable medicine to all.

Oct 28, 2019

Khattar to Head Haryana Govt Again, Dushyant to be his Deputy

  •  Manohar Lal Khattar is all set to head a new government in Haryana with JJP leader Dushyant Chautala as his deputy after the governor invited him to lead the coalition which also has the support of seven independents.
  • Khattar, Dushyant and some ministers were sworn-in at the Haryana Raj Bhavan.
  • The day saw fast-paced developments with 65-year-old Khattar unanimously elected leader of the BJP's legislative party in Haryana after which the BJP along with the support of the JJP and seven independents staked claim before Governor Satyadeo Narain Arya to form the government.
  • Khattar said the governor was informed that a total of 57 MLAs -- 40 of the BJP, 10 of the JJP and seven Independents -- have come together to form the government.

Centre Plans to Run Ladakh Completely on Renewable Energy

  •  The Union government plans to make Ladakh the first Indian union territory (UT) to run completely on renewable energy.
  • The newly carved out union territory has already about 30 mega-watt (MW) of small hydro projects and the government wants to install solar generation units to meet all its power demand from renewable energy sources. Ladakh was made an independent union territory after the government recently revoked the Article 370.
  • Aanand Kumar, secretary, ministry of new and renewable energy (MNRE) said that the UT currently has a demand of around 53 MW and new solar plants are planned to be added by the end of 2020 to make the area completely run on renewable energy. The idea is to reduce the heavy dependence of diesel in the area.

Oct 27, 2019

New History Created in Ayodhya as over Six Lakh Diyas Light up Sarayu's Banks

  •  A new history was created at Ayodhya as a record 6 lakh earthen lamps lit up the Sarayu river bank on the eve of Diwali, days ahead of the Supreme Court verdict on the title suit over the disputed Ram Janambhoomi-Babri Masjid land.
  • The banks of Sarayu in the temple town Ayodhya were lit up with the sparkling light of lakhs of earthen lamps as people from different walks of life took part in the grand programme and lighted 'diyas' to cherish the moment.
  • This year's count of the earthen lamps lit on the river bank far surpassed the three lakh-plus number of 'diyas' lit in 2018.
  • Enthusiasm was palpable among the people and the volunteers at dusk, as they lit the lamps to mark the occasion.

Yogi Adityanath Launches Single Helpline Number 112 in Uttar Pradesh

  •  Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath launched single helpline number, Emergency Response Support System (ERSS) -112.
  • At the event, senior citizen safety initiative 'Savera' was also kick-started.
  • He even hailed the police over successful completion of Kumbh in Prayagraj, 15th Pravasi Bharatiya Divas in Varanasi and Lok Sabha elections.

Disabled Voters, People Older than 80 years can now Vote Through Postal Ballot

  •  The disabled and people over 80 years of age can now cast their vote through postal ballot, the government said, in a move that will help increase voter turnout.
  • At present, voting through postal ballot is available to armed forces and those assigned poll duties.
  • On the recommendation of the Election Commission, the Ministry of Law and Justice has amended the Conduct of Election Rules, 1961, on October 22, 2019, allowing senior citizens and person with disabilities in the absentee voter list.
  • The absentee voter refers to a vote cast by someone who is unable to go to the polling station.

Oct 26, 2019

J&K: Govt renames Chenani-Nashri Tunnel after Dr Syama Prasad Mookerjee

  •  The government has renamed Chenani-Nashri tunnel on national highway 44 in Jammu & Kashmir as Dr.Syama Prasad Mookerjee Tunnel.
  • At an event in New Delhi, Road Transport and Highways Minister, NitinGadkari said the renaming of the tunnel is a fitting tribute to Dr.Syama Prasad Mookerjee, who sacrificed his life for the country and has been a source of inspiration for the nation. 
  • He also said the government has undertaken 60,000 crore rupees infrastructure projects in Jammu & Kashmir over the past five years including this Chenani-Nashri tunnel with a cost of 2,600 crore rupees.
  • He said these infrastructure projects will be major game changers for the people of the state, bringing employment and socio-economic development.
  • Mr.Gadkari said, the Centre is committed to overall development and prosperity of Jammu & Kashmir and roads play a pivotal role in this. 

Odisha Inks LoU with UNICEF to Provide Safe Drinking Water

  •  The Odisha government has signed a Letter of Understanding (LoU) with UNICEF to provide safe drinking water to every household in the state.
  • The LoU was signed by the state housing and urban development department (HUDD) to provide 24-hour safe drinking water and the project has been named as 'Drink From Tap Mission'.
  • The project will be launched on a pilot basis for about 1.2 lakh people involving 22,000 families in pockets of Puri and Khurda district, Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik said.
  • "Providing safe drinking water to every household in the state is one of the top priorities of the government. Safe drinking water is very helpful for a healthy and strong society," he said at the LoU signing ceremony.

Oct 25, 2019

By-Election Results Throw Up a Rude Surprise For Some Turncoats

  •  Results of the two Lok Sabha and 51 Assembly seats were mixed for the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) as well as the Opposition. An undercurrent, however, was some of the turncoats losing in the bypolls.
  • The Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) retained the Satara Lok Sabha in Maharashtra, while the Lok Janshakti Party, an ally of the BJP, retained the Samastipur seat. NCP's Shriniwas Patil defeated BJP's Udayanraje Bhosale in Satara. Bhosale, a descendant of Maratha warrior king Shivaji, quit the NCP in September 2019 and resigned from his Lok Sabha seat to join the BJP, which fielded him on the seat.
  • In Gujarat, of the six seats where bypolls were held, the BJP and the Congress were leading on three seats each. The BJP's OBC leader Alpesh Thakor lost from Radhanpur seat. He had won the seat in 2017 Assembly polls on a Congress ticket. His close aide Dhavalsinh Jhala, who too switched over to the BJP, also lost the by-election from Bayad Assembly seat.
  • The ruling AIADMK in Tamil Nadu won both the seats that went to bypolls on October 21, 2019, while the Congress won the lone seat that went to polls in Puducherry. The AIADMK candidates won the Vikravandi and Nanguneri Assembly seats while the Congress won the Kamaraj Nagar seat in Puducherry. AIADMK candidates won the Vikravandi and Nanguneri seats with healthy margins.
  • In Bihar, the ruling BJP-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA) had a dismal performance in bypolls to five Assembly seats, which were touted as the "semi-final" before the Assembly polls in 12 months' time. However, Lok Janshakti Party's (LJP's) Prince Raj won the Samastipur Lok Sabha seat comfortably. The AIMIM won the Kishanganj seat, while the Rashtriya Janata Dal has won in Simri Bakhtiarpur and Belhar seats.
  • There was good news for the BJP in Uttar Pradesh, with the party winning seven of the 11 seats that had bypolls, while its ally Apna Dal (Soneylal) won one. The Samajwadi Party won three.
  • In Telangana, the ruling Telangana Rashtra Samiti (TRS) wrested the Huzurnagar seat from the Congress. In Rajasthan, the ruling Congress won the Assembly bypoll to Mandawa seat while the Rashtriya Loktantrik Party (RLP) retained the Khinwsar constituency. In Sikkim, the BJP won two seats and the Sikkim Krantikari Morcha one.

Haryana Gets Hung Assembly, BJP Needs Six More To Form Govt

  •  Haryana ended up with a hung assembly with the ruling BJP emerging as the largest party with 40 seats, but still six short of the halfway mark needed to form the next government.
  • The Congress won 31 seats, the Jannayak Janta Party 10, the Indian National Lok Dal and Haryana Lokhit Party one each. The Aam Aadmi Party, which contested 46 seats, was decimated.

Maharashtra Election Results: BJP-Shiv Sena Combine Set To Retain Power; NCP Improves Tally

  •  In the 288-member Assembly, the BJP won 104 seats, while ally Sena bagged 56. The NCP bagged 54 seats and the Congress emerged victorious in 43 seats.
  • In the 2014 polls, the BJP had won 122 seats, the Sena 63, the Congress 42 and the NCP 41.
  • The BJP and Sena had then contested separately. The Sena joined the BJP-led government over a month after it was formed.
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