- Post free sand policy, focus shifts to alternative revenue sources
- Andhra Pradesh is the first State to supply sand free of cost to the people. The policy, which was announced one year ago, has its impact on the revenue front.
- The government has, therefore, turned its attention to alternative sources of revenue such as limestone, a raw material for the cement industry. It has laid emphasis on taking the MoUs signed during the Partnership Summit in Visakhapatnam to their logical conclusion.
- Increasing the seigniorage fee for 17 minor minerals, rationalisation of seigniorage fee for 31 newly-added minor minerals, enhancement of application fee, and introduction of security deposit to avoid blocking of huge extents by the applicants were a few other initiatives taken to augment the revenues.
- The department has introduced a series of measures such as launching the ‘mana sand’ App, constitution of district-level committees, monitoring of sand-related activities real time, and opting for GPS tagging. The government may be losing ₹550 crore due to the free sand policy, but has brought down the cost of construction significantly.
- India to set up IT centre in Egypt’s Al Azhar University
- India will be establishing a Centre of Excellence in Information Technology (CEIT) at Al Azhar University, Egypt’s highest religious authority and one of the world’s most eminent seats of Sunni Muslim learning.
- All the equipment and course material has reached Egypt and premises are being prepared for CIET, which will provide high-tech education and skills to the country’s youth, India’s Ambassador to Egypt, Sanjay Bhattacharyya, said.
- Shooting excluded from 2022 Commonwealth Games
- Birmingham Games officials did not pick shooting, which features in the list of optional sports, for the final programme.
- Instead the organisers chose judo, table tennis, wrestling, gymnastics, diving, cycling and 3v3 basketball as the seven optional sports apart from the 10 mandatory ones.
- The final list of sports for the Birmingham Commonwealth Games is set to be finalised by end of the year.
- Meanwhile, there are chances that cricket could feature at the 2022 edition, albeit in a mixed-gender Twenty20 (T20) format.
- India declares $25 million assistance for Rakhine State
- India has announced a development assistance of $25 million for Myanmar’s Rakhine State, from where thousands of Rohingya Muslims recently fled following incidents of violence against the community.
- This came a day after Foreign Secretary S Jaishankar visited Myanmar and met Myanmar’s State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi.
- An estimated 6,00,000 Rohingya Muslims have fled Myanmar’s Rakhine State since late August after large-scale violence there.
· India and Russia hold talks to firm up economic & cultural relations
- External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj is holding a meeting of the India-Russia Inter-Governmental Commission on Trade, Economic, Scientific, Technological and Cultural Cooperation with visiting Russian Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin.
- Mr Rogozin arrived in New Delhi. He is accompanied by senior Russian Government officials and representatives of trade and industry.
- The meeting will enable the two sides to review the progress achieved by various Working groups and Sub-groups under the IRIGC-TEC and also discuss new areas of cooperation that could strengthen bilateral trade and investment.
- Good Governance Day: 25 December
- Good Governance Day is observed in India annually on 25 December, the birth anniversary of former-Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee.
- Good Governance Day was established in 2014 to honor Prime Minister Vajpayee by fostering awareness among the Indian people of accountability in government.
- In keeping with this principle, the Government of India has decreed Good Governance Day to be a working day for the government.
· Bengaluru to Host 7th International Coffee Festival
- The seventh edition of the India International Coffee Festival (IICF)will be held in Bengaluru from January 16-19.
- The four-day IICF 2018, being organized by the India Coffee Trust and State-run Coffee Board to promote the Indian coffees globally.
- As per the officials, IICF 2018 would be a precursor to the International Coffee Organisation’s World Coffee Conference being hosted by India in Bengaluru in 2020.
· Mission Clean Energy: Maharashtra set to generate 25,000 MW electricity through solar power
- Maharashtra set to generate 25,000 MW electricity through solar power.
- Rather Maharashtra as a state tops in generating power through renewable energy around 7,500 MW.
- The one state in producing power through renewable energy, with 7,500 MW generation capacity.
- The government wants to take to this capacity to 10,000 MW.
· Women account for less than 28% of total judges in country
- Women are making inroads in all walks of life, successfully breaching the glass ceilings, but judiciary still seems to be a male bastion with women constituting only 28% of the current strength of 17,160 judges across all subordinate courts, high courts and the Supreme Court.The information gathered by the Union Law ministry paints a very dismal picture on the strength of women judges in the subordinate courts which is as low as 28% of the current strength of 16,443 judges, or 4,704 women judges in all. The situation in the Supreme Court and 24 High Courts is worse.
- In fact, the women judges in the apex court account for just 4% of its current strength of 25 judges. There is only one woman judge in the SC—Justice R Banumathi. No woman judge has been appointed in the apex court in the last three years since August 2014.
- Reservation for women in lower courts have been provided by at least 11 states ranging from 05% in Jharkhand to 35% in Bihar. Delhi, Maharashtra, West Bengal, Gujarat, Himachal, J&K, Kerala, MP, Punjab and Haryana are among more than 13 states that have no quota for women in the judiciary, according to the Law ministry information recently gathered from the High Courts.
- Centre to come out with draft model law on contract farming
- Seeking to protect farmers from price volatility by ensuring guaranteed price for their produce, the Centre will come out with a draft model law on contract farming this month.
- Contract farming is a system in which agro-processing/exporting or trading units enter into a contract with farmers to purchase a specified quantity of any agricultural commodity at a pre-agreed price. Integration of fruits and vegetable growers with agro-processing units will help farmers not only in getting better price for their produce but also in reducing post-harvest losses.
- “Idea of the contract farming law is to protect farmers from price volatility, particularly in perishable items. Such a law will protect farmers from market fluctuations as it will ensure assured and better price of agricultural and horticultural produce to them through advance agreements.
- Though Punjab had enacted a law on contract farming in 2013, it has so far not implemented it. States like Gujarat, Haryana, Karnataka, Maharashtra and Madhya Pradesh have done this through amendments to their existing laws on agricultural marketing for select crops.
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