Centre unveils list of 98 smart cities; U.P. & T.N. strike it rich – (Governance)
- Urban Development Minister Venkaiah Naidu on Thursday urged local and international investors to put their money on the Smart City Mission, assuring them that it was a safe bet.
- Mr. Naidu unveiled a list of 98 cities with Uttar Pradesh taking the largest share of developing 13 smart cities followed by Tamil Nadu, which qualified to develop 12.
Another Pakistani militant held in Kashmir – (Security)
- Another Pakistani militant was captured and four more were shot dead in a fierce gun battle deep in the Rafiabad jungles of Baramulla as the Army and the Jammu and Kashmir Police wound up a four-day joint operation on Thursday.
- Four others killed in gunbattle with security personnel.
Getting the talk atmospherics right – (International Relations)
- Talks between India and Pakistan suffer from certain inbuilt defects. India’s desire to up the ante for talks stems from a combination of international and domestic pressures. In contrast, Pakistan has far fewer stakes in the outcomes
- Pakistan’s real problem is that it is the Inter-Services Intelligence and the Army that determine when to talk,and even on how to marshal arguments, often withlittle regard to the truth.
Decision delayed is defence denied – (Security)
- If armed forces veterans feel let down, it is because the delivery on the OROP promisehas been in inverse proportion to the articulation of the promise itself
- Soldiers cannot go on strike like bank employees do, but patience now seems in short supply
Region and religion both matter for better population indicators – (Social Issues)
- For better population indicators, region and religion both matter, suggest data from 2011 and 2001 decadal Censuses.
- According to the data, in the more developed southern States all communities do better than in the more backward northern States.
- Between 2001 and 2011, Muslims (24.65 per cent) remained the group with the fastest population growth, followed closely by Scheduled Tribes (23.66 per cent) and Scheduled Castes (20.85 per cent). All three groups have historically had poor education indicators, especially for women, and restricted access to health care.
We could well achieve MDGs by this year: PM – (Social Issues)
- Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday vowed to put an end to maternal and child deaths in India on a war footing.
- The summit aims to discuss strategies while the world transits from the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) to the Sustainable Development Goals this year-end. Based on the fast pace of decline in Under-5 mortality figures, Mr. Modi said on this front, India could well reach its MDGs target by the end of 2015.
ISRO-NASA mission to use GSLV-D6 rocket – (Science and Technology)
- Thursday’s successful launch of the GSAT-6 satellite by GSLV-D6, earning the launcher the “operational rocket” tag, will signal joint collaboration between India’s ISRO and NASA of the United States.
- NASA ISRO SAR Mission (NISAR) is expected to be launched on board GSLV-D6 in 2020-21, ISRO Chairman A.S. Kiran Kumar said, adding NISAR would be optimised for studying hazards and global environment change.
India gets another eye in the sky – (Science and Technology)
- Staging yet another spectacular launch of the three-stage heavy weight rocket GSLV-D6 wich integrates the indigenous cryogenic upper stage (CUS), the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) on Thursday successfully placed a GSAT-6 communication satellite in the intended orbit.
- The GSLV-D6 is the second successful consecutive launch of the GSLV series with an indigenous cryogenic upper stage. The ISRO had on January 5, 2014, launched GSLV D-5, after a similar attempt failed in 2010.
Government asks varsities, IITs to adopt villages – (Governance)
- Human Resource Development (HRD) Ministry now wants all higher educational institutions (HEIs) to adopt backward villages in their vicinity, and apply their knowledge and expertise to improving the infrastructure in the grama panchayats under their watch.
- This is being done as part of the Unnat Bharat Abhiyan (UBA) which was launched last year and has had few takers till now; primarily because no additional resources have been earmarked for the project that seeks to “bring a transformational change in rural development processes by leveraging knowledge institutions to help build the architecture of an inclusive India.”
Law panel moots early child care as a legal entitlement – (Social Issues)
- At a time when elementary education is facing budgetary cuts, the Law Commission of India has recommended that early child care, including crèche and day care facilities, be made a legal entitlement. Currently, only elementary education – for children in the 6-to-14 age-group – is a legal entitlement under the Right to Education.
- In its report on “Early Childhood Development and Legal Entitlements” submitted to the government on Thursday, the Law Commission said that despite several recommendations, the welfare of under-six children – which constitutes 16 per cent of the population – remains “locked in Part IV of the Constitution’’ under the Directive Principles of State Policy.
RBI asks Govt to speed up reforms in banking system – (Economics)
- The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) on Thursday warned the Government that any delay in reform of the banking system in the country would lead to greater risk in the economy.
- “Financial sector reforms need to move on many fronts,” said Dr. Rajan, adding, “for a country as big and populous as India, reforms cannot be shots in the dark, subjecting the economy to great uncertainty and risk.”
Prime Minister expressed concern over predatory pricing of airlines: Mahesh Sharma – (Economics)
- Prime Minister Narendra Modi has expressed concern over the predatory pricing practices of domestic airlines and an solution to the issue would be found soon, Mahesh Sharma, Minister of State, Ministry of Civil Aviation, said.
- “It (predatory pricing) is a concern of a majority of Parliamentarians, including the Prime Minister, and needs to be addressed,” Mr. Sharma, said here on the sidelines of an industry event, organised by the Assocham in association with the Civil Aviation Ministry.
Less impacted Rupee keeps foreign travel costs low – (Economics)
- Contrary to common perception that foreign travel, especially tour packages and foreign travel related expenses have become expensive following the ongoing depreciation of Indian rupee against the dollar, travel experts feel that travel to Asian countries and some emerging markets have in fact become cheaper in the last one year as the depreciation of Indian rupee is relatively far lower than its peers.