Motor Vehicles Act 2019
Context : Ministry of Road Transport & Highways and MSME has Initiated Steps to Implement Provisions of Motor Vehicles Act 2019 A new website of the Ministry has also been launched which has a dashboard that gives data about highways construction, land acquisition, FASTags etc. It also gives the state wise, month wise data on registration of vehicles in the country.
About the Motor Vehicles (Amendment) Bill, 2019
The Motor Vehicles (Amendment) Bill, 2019 was introduced in Lok Sabha on July 15, 2019. It seeks to amend the Motor Vehicles Act, 1988 to provide for road safety and provides for grant of licenses and permits related to motor vehicles, standards for motor vehicles, and penalties for violation of these provisions.
Compensation for road accident victims
- The central government will develop a scheme for cashless treatment of road accident victims during golden hour which is defined by the Bill as the time period of up to one hour following a traumatic injury, during which the likelihood of preventing death through prompt medical care is the highest.
- The Bill increases the minimum compensation for hit and run cases as follows :
- In case of death, from Rs 25,000 to two lakh rupees;
- In case of grievous injury, from Rs 12,500 to Rs 50,000.
- A Motor Vehicle Accident Fund, to be constituted by the Central Government to provide compulsory insurance cover to all road users in India. It will be utilised for :
- Treatment of persons injured in road accidents as per the golden hour scheme,
- Compensation to representatives of a person who died in a hit and run accident,
- Compensation to a person grievously hurt in a hit and run accident, and
- Compensation to any other persons as prescribed by the central government.
- This Fund will be credited through:
- Payment of a nature notified by the central government,
- A grant or loan made by the central government,
- Balance of the Solatium Fund (existing fund under the Act to provide compensation for hit and run accidents), or
- Any other source as prescribed the central government.
- A good samaritan is defined by the Bill as a person who renders emergency medical or non-medical assistance to a victim at the scene of an accident. Such a person will not be liable for any civil or criminal action for any injury to or death of an accident victim, caused due to their negligence in providing assistance to the victim.
Recall of vehicles
- The Bill allows the central government to order for recall of motor vehicles if a defect in the vehicle may cause damage to the environment, or the driver, or other road users.
- The manufacturer of the recalled vehicle will be required to:
- Reimburse the buyers for the full cost of the vehicle, or
- Replace the defective vehicle with another vehicle with similar or better specifications.
Read More : Motor Vehicles (Amendment) Bill, 2019
Indian Railways to enforce ban on single use plastic material
Context : Ministry of Railways has directed all Railway units to enforce ban on single use plastic material, with less than 50 micron thickness from 2nd October, 2019. In regard to this, a circular has been issued by Ministry of Railways which states the following instructions :
- Ban on single use plastic material.
- All railway vendors to avoid use of plastic carry bags.
- Staff should reduce, reuse and refuse plastic products and to use inexpensive reusable bags to reduce plastic footprint.
- IRCTC to implement return of plastic drinking water-bottles as part of Extended Producer Responsibility.
- Plastic Bottle crushing machines to be provided expeditiously.
SARAL – ‘State Rooftop Solar Attractiveness Index’
Context : Minister of Power Shri RK Singh launches SARAL – ‘State Rooftop Solar Attractiveness Index’. It is expected to incentivise rooftop solar by creating healthy competition among the States.
- Karnataka has topped the Index that evaluates Indian states based on their attractiveness for rooftop development.
- Telangana, Gujarat and Andhra Pradesh have got 2nd, 3rd and 4th rank respectively.
SARAL is the first of its kind index to provide a comprehensive overview of state-level measures adopted to facilitate rooftop solar deployment.
SARAL has been designed collaboratively by the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE), Shakti Sustainable Energy Foundation (SSEF), Associated Chambers of Commerce and Industry of India (ASSOCHAM) and Ernst & Young (EY). It was launched during the Review Planning and Monitoring (RPM) Meeting with States and State Power Utilities. It currently captures five key aspects –
- Robustness of policy framework
- Implementation environment
- Investment climate
- Consumer experience
- Business ecosystem
It encourages each state to assess the initiatives taken so far, and what it can do to improve its solar rooftop ecosystem. This will help states to channelize investments that can eventually help the sector grow. Also, such an exercise is likely to create a more conducive environment for solar rooftop installations, encourage investment and lead to accelerated growth of the sector.
What are the targets set by the Government?
The Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE) has set a target of 175 GW of renewable energy capacity by 2022, of which 100 GW solar power is to be operational by March 2022, of which 40 GW is expected to come from grid connected solar rooftops.
NISHTHA : World’s largest teacher’s training programme of its kind
Context: NISHTHA which stands for National Initiative for School Heads and Teachers Holistic Advancement is a National mission to improve Learning Outcomes at the Elementary level, was launched by Minister of HRD. During the programme, NISHTHA Website, Training Modules, Primer Booklet and a Mobile App were also launched.
This is the largest teachers’ training programme of its kind in the world whose basic objective is to motivate and equip teachers to encourage and foster critical thinking in students. This training programme has been included as one of the two transformative ideas from this Department for the 100 days programme of the Government. A Mobile App and Learning Management System (LMS) based on MOODLE (Modular Object-Oriented Dynamic Learning Environment) have been developed by NCERT . With the help of this programme, teachers will get awareness and develop their skills on various aspects related to :
- Learning Outcomes
- Competency Based Learning and Testing
- Learner-centered Pedagogy
- School Safety and Security
- Personal-social qualities
- Inclusive Education
- ICT in teaching-learning including Artificial Intelligence, Health and well-being including yoga
- Initiatives in School Education including library, eco club, youth club, kitchen garden
- School Leadership qualities
- Environmental Concerns
- Pre-school, Pre-vocational Education
- School Based Assessment
It aims to build the capacities of around 42 lakh participants which will be covering :
- All teachers and Heads of Schools at the elementary level in all Government schools.
- Faculty members of State Councils of Educational Research and Training (SCERTs), District Institutes of Education and Training (DIETs) as well as Block Resource Coordinators and Cluster Resource Coordinators in all States and UTs.
The Training Process
It seeks to train all heads and teachers as first level counsellors to be alert and responsive to the needs of the students. Its training Modules have been developed through a consultative process which involved suggestions from the States and UTs and CBSE, KVS, NVS, School Principals and Non-Governmental Organizations, such as Kaivalya Foundation, Tata Trust, Azim Premji Foundation and Aurobindo Society. The training will be conducted in an innovative manner directly by 33,120 Key Resource Persons (KRPs) and State Resource Persons (SRP) which are identified by the State and UTs, and who will in turn will be trained by 120 National Resource Persons identified from :
- National Council of Educational Research and Training (NCERT)
- National Institute of Educational Planning and Administration (NIEPA)
- Kendriya Vidyalaya Sangathan (KVS)
- Navodaya Vidyalaya Samiti (NVS)
- Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE)
- Non-Government Organisations (NGOs)
Its prominent features includes the following :
- Activity based modules including educational games and quizzes
- Social-emotional learning
- Motivational interactions
- Team building
- Preparation for school based assessment
- In-built continuous feedback mechanism
- Online monitoring and support system
- Training need and impact analysis (Pre and Post training)
Ayushman Bharat Pradhan Mantri Jan Arogya Yojana
Context : A progress review for the Ayushman Bharat Pradhan Mantri Jan Arogya Yojana has been recently conducted. According to the recent review, it was found that more than 39 lakh people have availed cashless treatment worth over Rs. 6,100 crore for serious illnesses since the launch of AB-PMJAY. This has resulted in savings of Rs. 12,000 crore to the beneficiary families.
About the Scheme
- Pradhan Mantri Jan Arogya Yojana (PM-JAY) will provide financial protection (Swasthya Suraksha) to 10.74 crore poor, deprived rural families and identified occupational categories of urban workers’ families as per the latest Socio-Economic Caste Census (SECC) data (approx. 50 crore beneficiaries).
- It will have offer a benefit cover of Rs. 500,000 per family per year (on a family floater basis).
- It seeks to accelerate India’s progress towards achievement of Universal Health Coverage (UHC) and Sustainable Development Goal – 3 (SDG3).
- PM-JAY will cover medical and hospitalization expenses for almost all secondary care and most of tertiary care procedures.
- It has defined 1,350 medical packages covering surgery, medical and day care treatments including medicines, diagnostics and transport.
- To ensure that nobody is left out (especially girl child, women, children and elderly), there will be no cap on family size and age in the Mission.
- The scheme will be cashless & paperless at public hospitals and empanelled private hospitals.
- The beneficiaries will not be required to pay any charges for the hospitalization expenses.
- The benefit also includes pre and post-hospitalization expenses.
- The scheme is an entitlement based, the beneficiary is decided on the basis of family being figured in SECC database.
- When fully implemented, the PM-JAY will become the world’s largest government funded health protection mission.
- Under it, all pre-existing diseases are covered and Hospitals cannot deny treatment.
- Eligible beneificiares can avail services across India, offering benefit of national portability.
‘The Diary of Manu Gandhi’ : Book launched
The book has been launched by Union Minister of State (Independent Charge) for Culture and Tourism. The book has been brought out by National Archives of India, on the occasion of 150th anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi in collaboration with Oxford University Press.
About the Book
- The Diary of Manu Gandhi originally in Gujarati has been edited and translated by Dr Tridip Suhrud, a well known scholar engaged in understanding the Gandhian Intellectual tradition.
- The first volume covers the period 1943-1944.
- Manu Gandhi (Mridula) was a grand niece of Mahatma Gandhi, daughter of his Nephew Jaisukhlal Amritlal Gandhi, and stayed with Gandhiji till his assassination.
- She was an aide to Kasturba Gandhi during her imprisonment in the Aga Khan Palace in 1943.
- The first volume of the diary is a record of her life and times with Mahatma Gandhi between 1943- 44.
- It further chronicles the spiritual and educational pursuits of a woman who takes up writing as a mode of self examination. She shares a moving portrait of Kasturba Gandhi’s illness and death.
- The author also expresses the deep emotional bond she had developed with Gandhiji.
About The National Archives of India
- It is an Attached Office under the Ministry of Culture.
- It was established on 11 March 1891 at Kolkata (Calcutta) as the Imperial Record Department.
- Following the transfer of the capital from Calcutta to Delhi in 1911, the present building of the National Archives of India was constructed in 1926 which was designed by Sir Edwin Lutyens.
- The transfer of all records from Calcutta to New Delhi was completed in 1937.
Kutch desert was once a forest : study by ASI
Context : A study conducted by Archaeological Survey of India, shows that Kutch which is now a desert was once a forest. The fossils, consisting mostly of ribs, and parts of teeth and bones, were unearthed from Palasava village of Rapar taluk in Kutch, Gujarat. The conclusions made are based on the discovery of a tranche of vertebrate fossils from nearly 14 million years ago in a geological time period known as the Miocene. The fossil so founded suggest that a rich diversity of fauna and flora sustained in warm, humid/wet, tropical to sub-tropical environmental conditions existed there. The large amount of fossils unearthed in Kutch have till now been primarily marine organisms, due to their close proximity to the Arabian Sea. It is also suggested that the geological changes eventually closed off the salt-flats’ connection to the sea and the region turned into a large lake, finally becoming salty wetlands. The findings also point to clues on how mammals dispersed between Africa and the Indian subcontinent when part of India was in the Gondwanaland super-continent that existed nearly 300 million years ago.
Context : Maharashtra’s Tribal Development Department along with the Pace Educational Trust launched this academic programme for young tribal students who aspires to become doctors and engineers.
Inspired by the work of Patna’s Anand Kumar and his Super 30, which prepares smart but underprivileged students to sit for IIT entrance exams, the Super 50 programme will mentor 50 most meritorious tribal students from the State and prepare them for engineering and medical exams. The students will be trained at the Vagad Pace Global School, Virar, under a dedicated faculty, and the coaching will include Class XI and XII of CBSE syllabus and preparations for entrance tests like NEET and JEE. It will be a two-year residential programme, where the students will be provided hostel and mess facilities, a tablet, NCERT books and career counselling.
Tirur Vettila obtains GI tag
Context: Tirur Vettila, unique for its significantly high content of total chlorophyll and protein in fresh leaves, has received the Geographical Indication(GI) Tag.
- It is produced in Tirur and nearby areas of Malappuram district.
- Eugenol is the major essential oil in Tirur betel leaf contributing to its pungency.
- It has a longer shelf period as compared to other betel leaves.
- The antioxidant capacity is more in Tirur betel leaf adding to its medicinal properties.
- Tirur, Tanur, Tirurangadi, Kuttippuram, Malappuram and vengara are the Block panchayats famous for cultivation of Tirur betel leaf.
- Betel leaf is traditionally known to be useful for the treatment of various diseases. Vettila is a component of ‘Thampooladhi thylam’ and is also used in preparation of indigenous medicines to treat cough.
- Chewing vettila after food enhances digestion.
- Currently the area under cultivation of Tirur Vettila is approximately 266 ha.
- About 60 % of Tirur Vettila is transported to Delhi, Mumbai, Jaipur and Itarsi by rail and from there it is also marketed to Pakistan, Afghanistan and Bangladesh.
The other products that received the GI tag before with the initiative of the IPR cell of the Kerala Agricultural University are Kaipad rice, Pokkali rice, Wayanad Jeerakasala rice, Wayanad Gandhakasala rice, Vazhakulam pineapple, Marayur jaggery , Central Travancore jaggery and Chengalikodan nendran. Efforts are on to get the tag for Kuttiattoor Mango.
- ESIC Medical College and Hospital to be set up in all the districts of the country. At present, there are over 450 ESI hospitals across the country and plans are afoot to set up hospitals in other districts too.
- The government has reduced the contribution under the Employees’ State Insurance (ESI) Act to 4% from 6.5% which will lead to an increase in the take home salary of workers as well as reduce the financial burden of employers.
- This also includes a reduction of 1.5% in employers’ contribution to 3.25% from 4.75% and 1% reduction in employees’ contribution to 0.75% from 1.75%.
- Amazon opens its biggest ever campus-3 million sq ft campus building on 9.5 acres-within Hyderabad’s financial district.
- JNU Professor Meeta Narain was conferred the ‘Pushkin Medal – 2019’, the highest honour given to an Indian scholar by the Russian government.
- Afghan atrocities there is a rise in the civilian causalities due to national military and allied international forces.