Railway Budget 2015-16_Highlights

Railway Budget 2015-16: Highlights

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Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu on 26 February 2015 presented the Railway Budget 2015-16 in the Lok Sabha. In his first Railway Budget, Prabhu outlined a plan to invest over 8 lakh crore rupees over 5 years.

The size of the Plan Budget has gone up by 52 percent from 65789 crore rupees in 2014-15 to 100011 crore rupees in 2015-16.

Key Highlights of the Railway Budget 2015-16:

• No increase in passenger fares

• Passengers can book tickets 120 days in advance instead of 60 days which was available till date

• Outlay for passenger amenities increased by 67 percent

• New train sets that can save 20 percent journey time will be introduced in future. These trains will be similar to bullet trains in design but can run on the existing tracks

• The speed passenger trains across nine corridors will be increased to 160-200 km from 110 km

• SMS alert will be introduced for train timings and under this passengers will be informed in advance the updated arrival or departure time of the trains at starting or destination stations

• Air-conditioned coaches for suburban trains will be introduced

• Wi-fi will be available at 400 railway stations

• Railways Intends to set up an Innovation Council called Kayakalp for Purpose of Business Re-Engineering

• Railways Proposes to set up Malaviya Chair for Railway Technology at IIT (BHU), Varanasi

• Bidding system will be used for redevelopment of stations

• 10 satellite railway stations will be developed in 2015-16

• 800 km of gauge conversion will be commissioned

• E-catering introduced in 108 trains can be accessed by ordering on IRCTC website

• Water vending machines will be expanded on more stations

• On–board entertainment facility will be extended on Shatabdi trains

• General class coaches will see introduction of mobile charging stations

• For benefit of the common man, more general class coaches will be added to select trains

• Pension funds, multi-lateral banks have evinced interest in Railways

• Proposed the best operating ratio in nine years, of 88.5 per cent for 2015-16

• Track capacity will be increased by 10 percent to 1.38 lakh kilometers

• Feasibility report of high speed train between Mumbai and Ahmedabad is expected by mid-2015

• To ease private investment, wagon-making scheme will be reviewed

• All India 24x7 grievances helpline 138 will be started

• Bio-toilets will replace more than 7000 toilets, while 650 stations will get new toilets 

• Passenger travelling unreserved can produce a ticket within 5 minutes and for this purpose Operation Five Minutes will be introduced

• To address complaints of people Mobile application is being developed

• Integrated tickets will be introduced

• Hand-held devices will be introduced for ticket checkers; it is move towards paperless ticketing

• In next 2 years, centrally managed railway display network will be introduced in over 2000 stations

• Rail-cum-road ticket to be extended in many stations

• Rail connectivity will be enhanced in North Eastern states

• To aid expanding freight handling capacity and provide end-to-end logistic solutions, Transport Logistic Corporation of India will be set up

• PPP model will be used to augment resources and generate more employment

• 6608 kilometer of track will be electrified

• 96182 crrore rupees will be spent to expand capacity of 9420 km rail lines

• For women safety, CCTVs will be introduced in selected trains and suburban trains

• Train Protection Warning System and Train Collision Avoidance System will be installed on select routes at the earliest

• Projects for rail connectivity to many ports and mines

• Foreign Rail Technology Cooperation Scheme will be launched in order to achieve the higher quality service

• Programme to improve design, quality and cleanliness of bed linen will be launched within the next six months

Forbes released Asia 50 Power Businesswomen 2015 list

Forbes released Asia’s 50 Power Businesswomen 2015 list.

Forbes on 26 February 2015 released Asia’s 50 Power Businesswomen 2015 list. The list features six Indian women CEO and Managing Director (MD).

The Asia's 50 Power Businesswomen list showcases a year of accomplishments by the region's female entrepreneurs and executives.

The list includes following Women from India

• Arundhati Bhattacharya, CMD, State Bank of India

• Chanda Kochchar, CEO, ICICI Bank,

• Akhila Srinivasan, MD/Non-Executive Director, Shriram Life Insurance/Shriram Capital

• Kiran Mazumdar Shaw, Founder, Chairman and MD, Biocon

• Shikha Sharma, CEO and MD, Axis Bank

• Usha Sangwan, MD, Life Insurance Corp. of India

Delhi Government launched mLiquorSaleCheck Mobile App

Delhi Government launched mLiquorSaleCheck Mobile App to put cap on sale of illicit liquor

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The Delhi Government on 24 February 2015 launched a mobile application mLiquorSaleCheck for the benefit of the customers and to put a cap on sale of illicit liquor. The App will provide detailed information about the liquor being sold in the city.

The application is expected to confirm the authenticity of the liquor and bridge gaps in system adoption. The application will also prevent the circulation of counterfeit products and help the Excise Department with information on where spurious, illicit liquor sale is rampant.

How the App works?

• The application informs the customer whether the liquor bought by him is coming through the Excise-approved system or not.

• Every liquor bottle or case has a unique barcode pasted on its cap or case. Scanning this barcode through the mobile app, a user gets the information such as brand name and size.

• This information is provided on real time basis from the central core server.

• It allows the user to provide shop name from where the liquor has been purchased.

• The user provided shop name is then sent to the central server and is used for further analysis.

Digital India To Prepare Nation For Tech-Based Transformation

Digital India To Prepare Nation For Tech-Based Transformation

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President Pranab Mukherjee said Digital India programme would prepare the country for technology-based transformation.

“My government has envisioned an ambitious umbrella programme, Digital India, to prepare the country for technology-based transformation and citizen centric transparent governance with service orientation,” he said, addressing a joint session of both the houses of parliament on the first day of budget session.

“Aadhar-based attendance system and Jeevan Praman, Aadhar-based Digital Life Certificate Portal, have shown that innovative use of technology can make enormous difference,” he said.

Mukherjee said measures, which are being taken to accomplish digital inclusion in rural areas, small towns, north-east and other remote areas have opened up “immense job opportunities” in those areas.

The president also mentioned that promoting “manufacturing of electronic goods has been an area of thrust”.

He also added,  that there was enormous potential in the tourism sector and the government will bring out a new tourism policy.

“A new tourism policy is on the anvil,” Mukherjee said in his address to the members of two houses of parliament at the start of the budget session.

He said that tourist visa on arrival facility has been expanded to 44 countries.

He said infrastructure facilities were being improved at tourist destinations and dedicated trains had been started for some pilgrimage destinations.

Nuclear capable Prithvi-II missile test-fired from Chandipur in Odisha

Nuclear capable Prithvi-II missile test-fired from Chandipur in Odisha

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India on 19 February 2015 successfully test-fired nuclear weapons capable, surface-to-surface Prithvi-II missile from Chandipur-on-sea in Balasore district, Odisha as part of a user trial by the army.

The missile was tested for a shortened range of 250 km as against its full range of 350 km. The indigenously developed missile was launched by personnel of Strategic Forces Command (SFC) from a road mobile launch complex-3 of the Integrated Test Range (ITR).

The missile carried a dummy payload of 500 kg weight and met all the mission objectives. The missile after a flight duration of nearly seven minutes splashed down near the pre-designated target point in the Bay of Bengal with a high degree of accuracy.

Prithvi-II is the first missile to have been developed by the DRDO under the Integrated Guided Missile Development Programme (IGMDP) and has been inducted into the SFC in 2003.

With a strike range of 350 km, Prithvi-II is capable of carrying 500 kg to 1000 kg of warheads and is thrusted by liquid propulsion twine engines. It uses advanced inertial guidance system with manoeuvering trajectory.

The last user trial of Prithvi-II was successfully conducted in November 2014 from the same test range in Odisha.

Demand for dowry can be made at any time and not necessarily before marriage

Demand for dowry can be made at any time and not necessarily before marriage: Supreme Court

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Supreme Court (SC) on 11 February 2015 ruled that demand for dowry can be made at any time and not necessarily before marriage. The decision was given by the SC bench comprising of Justice MY Eqbal and Justice Pinaki Chandra Ghose.

The decision was given by the SC Bench in the State of Uttarakhand vs Bhim Singh & Anr., (2015) while upholding the life term awarded to Bhim Singh for poisoning and burning his wife Prem Davi to death in 1997.

The apex court said that the social evil of dowry that is prevalent in the Indian society and the defence that it was not sought before the marriage does not hold water.

In the of Himachal Pradesh v. Nikku Ram & Ors., (1995), SC had held that the demand for dowry can be made at any time, and not necessarily before marriage. The demand can be made on three occasions; before marriage, at the time of marriage and after marriage.

Earlier, the trial court had held Bhim and his brother guilty of offence 304-B (dowry death) of Indian Penal Code (IPC) and sentenced them to life, Section 498-A (cruelty) of IPC and Sections 3 & 4 of the Dowry Prohibition Act, 1961.

3 Indians in the shortlisted 100 applicants for the one-way trip to Mars

3 Indians in the shortlisted 100 applicants for the one-way trip to Mars

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Three Indian, two women and one man were among the shortlisted 100 applicants who were chosen for one-way trip to Mars under Mars One mission in the third week of February 2015. These Indians are Ritika Singh, Shradha Prasad and Taranjeet Singh Bhatia.

29-year-old Taranjeet Singh Bhatia is studying Doctorate in Computer Science at the University of Central Florida. 29-year-old Ritika Singh an adventure sports lover who lives in Dubai and 19-year-old Shradha Prasad is from Palakkad, Kerala.

These 100 applicants (fifty men and fifty women) were selected from a pool of 202586 candidates who were looking for a one-way trip to Mars in 2024. The 100 selected candidates are from the US (39), Europe (31), Asia (16), Africa (7) and Oceania (7).

These shortlisted candidates will now appear in the next and third round of the Mars One Astronaut Selection Process to be conducted by the Netherlands-based non-profit organisation Mars One.

The third round will focus on composing team that can endure all the hardships of the permanent settlement on Mars. These selected candidates will receive their first shot at training in the copy of the Mars Outpost on Earth and will demonstrate their suitability to perform well in a team.

About Mars One Project

Mars One Project aims to set up a human colony on Mars and under the plan around 40 selected people will be sent to the red plant on a permanent basis. The finalists of the plan will be trained for seven years before being sent on the planet. The Mars One will start sending out four people at a time from 2024. The first troop will reach the red planet in 2025.


Before sending off humans on the planet in 2018, an initial unmanned lander will be sent to Mars with payloads including soil extractor and thin film solar demonstrator.

India signed Grant Agreement of 8 million US dollars with World Bank for funding SLACC Project.

India signed Grant Agreement of 8 million US dollars with World Bank for funding SLACC Project.

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India on 13 February 2015 signed grant agreement of 8 million US dollars with World Bank (WB) for funding Sustainable Livelihoods and Adaptation to Climate Change (SLACC) Project.

The amount will be used to implement special projects under SLACC to improve adaptive capacity of the rural poor engaged in farm-based livelihoods to climate change in Bihar and Madhya Pradesh.

This grant is in addition to National Adaptation Fund (NAF) set up by the Union government in 2014 for which 100 crore rupees were set aside for taking up agriculture adaptation measures.

Besides, the Union Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change had started the process of selecting agencies for implementing climate change mitigation and adaptation projects using the Green Climate Fund (GCF).

GCF is a global fund set up under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) in 2010. The fund targets to be 100 billion US dollar by 2020. It is meant to assist developing countries in promoting low-emission and climate-resilient development.

About SLACC Project

SLACC project aims to improve the adaptive capacity of the rural poor to climate variability and change affecting farm based livelihoods, through community based interventions.

The key beneficiaries of SLACC project will be the rural-poor supported by the National Rural Livelihoods Mission (NRLM) including, self-help groups of women and their federations, common interest/producer groups such as farmers’ groups, livestock rearers’ groups, and their higher order collectives such as producer companies.

NRLM under the Union Ministry of Rural Development is the implementing agency of the SLACC Project.

India, Sri Lanka signed agreements on Civil Nuclear Cooperation, Cultural Cooperation

India, Sri Lanka signed agreements on Civil Nuclear Cooperation, Cultural Cooperation.

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India and Sri Lanka on 16 February 2015 signed bilateral agreements on civil nuclear cooperation, cultural cooperation and cooperation in the field of Agriculture. Besides, an agreement was also signed for Sri Lanka's participation in the Nalanda University Project.

India and Sri Lanka also agreed to expand defence and strategic cooperation, including a trilateral format with the Maldives.

The agreement was signed during Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena four-day visit to India.

Agreement on Civil Nuclear Cooperation

• This agreement will facilitate the transfer and exchange of knowledge, expertise and resources in peaceful use of Nuclear energy between both nations.

• India will assist Sri Lanka in developing its civil nuclear energy infrastructure including training of personnel in peaceful use of nuclear energy, use of radioisotopes, nuclear safety, radiation safety and nuclear security.

• It will also facilitate cooperation in radioactive waste management and nuclear and radiological disaster mitigation and environmental protection.

• This is the first such agreement signed by Sri Lanka.

Other Agreements

• The agreement on Cultural cooperation was signed between both the nations for the years 2015-18. It seeks to enhance cooperation in different fields like arts, visuals arts, cultural documentation, archaeology, handicrafts, etc.

• A Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) was signed on establishment of Nalanda University. It will enable Sri Lanka to participate in India’s Nalanda University project.

• Another MoU was signed between both the nations on cooperation in the field of Agriculture. It will facilitate bilateral cooperation in Agro Processing, Agricultural extension, horticulture, agricultural machinery, training in farm mechanization, livestock diseases, etc.


The agreement on civil nuclear cooperation between India and Sri Lanka may prove to be a game changer in the South Asia region and is a sign of a closer strategic partnership between Sri Lanka’s government led by Srisena and India.

Also, Srisena making his first official visit to India after becoming the President signifies the importance which the new government in Sri Lanka attaches to India as a regional ally following years of uneasy relations with India.

Further, this is a good sign for stronger and healthy ties between the two countries, especially given India's growing fear of China's proximity to Sri Lanka, which is perceived as a security threat for India.

Election Commission announced to launch Electoral Roll Authentication Mission

Election Commission announced to launch Electoral Roll Authentication Mission.

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Election Commission (EC) on 14 February 2015 announced to launch Electoral Roll Authentication Mission (ERAM) and Purification Drive.

The Chief Election Commissioner H S Brahma announced the move while inaugurating a workshop, organised on the Linking of Aadhaar with Electoral Roll Database and Launching of Electoral Roll Authentication and Purification Drive, at an institute in Hyderabad.

Under the mission, the EC will use the huge database of the Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) to link Aadhaar number of citizens with the electoral database to further authenticate and purify electoral rolls. The mission will be launched from 1 March 2015.

The move is aimed at weeding out bogus voters from the list. The move will be initiated on a mission mode. The poll panel aims to complete the mission by 15 August 2015.

Earlier, the EC launched a National Voter Service Portal where people can feed their Aadhaar number for linking it with the electoral data base.

Facebook, Reliance Communications Ltd tied up to provide free Internet access to people

Facebook, Reliance Communications Ltd tied up to provide free Internet access to people

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Reliance Communications Limited (RCOM) on 10 February 2015 tied-up with social networking giant Facebook to offer free internet access to people in India through the Facebook's initiative, Internet.org.

Both the companies jointly launched Internet.org with an aim to bring the power of Internet to a billion people in India in order to increase internet inclusion and encourage more Indians to go online.

The Internet.org initiative will provide access to popular websites and services with zero data charge to make it easier for people to access the Internet across both the 2G and 3G platforms.

Highlights of the tie-up

• As part of this initiative, RCOM will offer free data access to 33 popular websites for all its customers under the umbrella of Internet.org. The free websites include Facebook, OLX, Cleartrip, TimesJobs, Babajob, Jagran Josh, ESPN Cricinfo, etc.

• Most of the services of 33 popular websites will be available in several Indian languages including English, Hindi, Tamil, Telugu, Malayalam, Gujarati and Marathi.

• All the subscriber of RCOM who have internet enabled mobile phones will get access to this free service.

• Android based app of Internet.org on smartphones will be also provided for accessing free internet. India will be the first country in Asia to get this app.

• In the first phase, this service will be available in RCOM’s 7 circles which include Mumbai, Maharashtra, Gujarat, Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Chennai and Kerala.

• In the second phase, this service will be launched in pan India by May 2015.

ICICI Bank launched India's first digital bank, Pockets

ICICI Bank launched India's first digital bank, Pockets

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ICICI Bank on 10 February 2015 launched India’s first digital Bank on mobile phone, Pockets. This digital e-wallet can be downloaded from Google Playstore.

Pockets, the digital e-wallet uses a virtual VISA card that enables the users to transact on any website or mobile application in India.

Features of Pockets

• Users can fund it from any bank account across India and start transacting immediately. It requires no documentation or branch visit

• Users can also choose to add a zero balance Savings Account to the wallet, which will allow them to earn interest on their idle money

• The e-wallet of Pockets is India’s most comprehensive wallet which can be used to pay on all websites and mobile apps in the country

• This e-wallet allows users to instantly send/request money to/from any e-mail id, mobile number, friends on Facebook and bank account

• This e-wallet allows a person to pay bills, recharge mobiles, book movie tickets order food, send physical & e-gifts, split and share expenses with friends by using this e-wallet

About ICICI Bank Ltd

ICICI Bank is India’s largest private sector bank and has 2.8 million mobile bank customers. The bank has consolidated total assets of 124.76 billion US dollar on 31 March 2014. ICICI Bank's presence currently spans 18 countries, including India.

Telecom regulator TRAI released a report

Telecom regulator TRAI released a report

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Telecom regulator Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) on 7 February 2015 released a report on subscriber base. India telecom subscriber base reaches all-time high at 970 million at the end of December 2014.

Main highlights of the report

•The number of telephone subscribers in India increased from 964.20 million at the end of November 2014 to 970.97 million at the end of December 2014. This surpasses the previous record of 965.5 million reached in June 2012.

•The total broadband subscribers base increased by 4.28% on monthly basis to 85.7 million at the end of December 2014 from 82 million in November 2014.

•Teledensity in the country reached 77.58. It is connection per 100 persons.

•The mobile or wireless subscriber base in country is now already at all-time highs after it crossed 935.3-million mark at the end of October 2014.

•The previous record was set in June 2012 when the mobile subscriber base in the country reached 934 million. Of the total wireless subscriber base, 833 million wireless subscribers were active in December 2014.

•Bharti Airtel has maintained its leadership with 217.2 million mobile customers. It is followed by Vodafone with 178.6 million mobile subscribers, Idea Cellular 150.5 million, Reliance Communications 106.2 million, BSNL 81.3 million, Aircel 78.6 million, Tata Teleservices 66.1 million and Uninor 43.6 million.

•Idea Cellular added over 2500000 customers, the highest by any company, in December 2014. It was followed by Airtel which added over 1700000 new mobile customers, Vodafone about 1500000, Telewings (Uninor) 1200000, Aircel over 900000, Tata Teleservices about 600000, Videocon (including Quadrant) 270000 and MTNL 22445 new mobile customers.

•New operator Videocon registered the fastest growth rate in its mobile subscribers base and was followed by Telewings.

•State-run BSNL in the December 2014, lost 1300000 subscribers and Sistema Shyam lost 68110 customers. Closure of Mumbai-based Loop Mobile business in November also brought down subscriber base by about 700,000.

•During the reported month, about 3500000 subscribers submitted request to change their mobile service provider taking the total number of such requests under Mobile Number Portability (MNP) service to 142.9 million.

•Wireline connections further declined to 27 million from 27.1 million in November 2014.The growth in broadband subscribers was also dominated by mobile operators with 69 million customers.

India is a nearly 100 percent banked country, UN told

India is a nearly ‘100 percent banked country’, UN told

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India is a “nearly 100 percent banked country” that offers its citizens universal access to financial services aimed at spurring development, a UN commission heard.

In the five month since the universal banking access , Pradhan Mantri Jan Dhan Yojana, was launched, 100 million people have opened bank accounts, Mayank Joshi, a first secretary in India’s UN Mission, told the Commission for Social Development.

“These figures are, frankly, staggering,” he said. “India is today a nearly 100 percent banked country. This, we expect, will enable demand, growth and development.”

Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon told the meeting that quality, not just quantity, must be the scale on which growth must be rated. “We are the first generation that can wipe out extreme poverty,” he said. “We are the last generation that can address the worst impact of climate change. Let us reaffirm our commitment to promoting social development and social justice and building a better, more sustainable world for all.”

Quoting Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s declaration, “Elimination of poverty is fundamental to me; this is at the core of my understanding of cohesive growth,” Joshi laid out India’s score card and highlighted the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Scheme. He called it “the world’s largest” cash-for-work programme and said it ensures 100-days of wage-employment in a financial year to the neediest.

New Delhi has undertaken several other programmes in the areas of housing and shelter, health insurance, employment generation, and family planning, he said. Another programme he mentioned was the Aadhar Identity card, which aims to provide a universal citizens’ identity system linked to government services.

Turning to the global situation, Joshi said that while “‘Social integration’ is critical” it should “not be construed as achieving uniformity.” He added, “It needs to respect diversity and promote equal opportunity and participation of all in order to create a ‘society for all’. Both targeted and universal approaches in national policies, are key to social development of vulnerable sections particularly, women, children, elder persons and persons with disabilities.”

Sustainable development strategies that include a transition to a green economy and use of new technology are needed to face crises facing the world, he said.

Guide students to achieve academic brilliance_President to VCs

Guide students to achieve academic brilliance: President to VCs

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President Pranab Mukherjee  told vice chancellors of central universities that they must act as “gurus” and guide scholars and students to achieve the highest standards of academic brilliance.

The vice chancellors Thursday adopted a set of recommendations, including taking steps to create an atmosphere for research and innovation.

Following a two-day conference of the vice chancellors, the other recommendations adopted included capacity development of faculty, alumni participation and use of technology, deepening engagement of central universities with community, creating international and national networks for quality education and adoption of choice based credit system.

Addressing the concluding session, Mukherjee said the vice chancellors “should feel empowered and use the administrative and moral authority vested in them to make these universities islands radiating excellence in their spheres of influence”.

Mukherjee also called upon the human resource development ministry, UGC and the vice chancellors to implement the recommendations of the conference in a time-bound manner.

He said Human Resource Development Minister Smriti Irani will hold a meeting in June to review achievement of deliverables.

Irani was also present at the session.

India Has Made Notable Progress On MDGs_UN

India Has Made Notable Progress On MDGs: UN

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India has made notable progress towards achieving the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) set for 2015, but much needs to be done on the fronts of poverty and education, a UN report said .

Though India has made notable progress towards reaching the MDGs, achievements across the goals vary, according to the report titled “India and the MDGs”.

The report said India has already achieved the target for reducing poverty by half by official estimates and was close to doing so by international estimates. However, the progress was uneven.

“Over 270 million people in India in 2012 still remained trapped in extreme poverty making the post-2015 goal of eliminating extreme poverty by 2030 challenging but feasible,” the report said.

Similarly, though India has achieved gender parity in primary school enrolment, latest data suggests that India is off-track on targets to achieve universal enrolment and completion.

“Large number of children still remain out of school and fail to complete primary education. The quality of education is also a major concern,” it said.

India, the study said, was set to achieve the targets of reducing hunger by half, maternal mortality by three quarters and has halved the proportion of population without access to clean drinking water.

Shamshad Akhtar, UN under-secretary general and executive secretary of the UN Economic and Social Commission for Asia, said: “Over the years, the MDGs have pushed governments around the world to mainstream poverty reduction, gender parity, education and health and such basic needs as water and sanitation in their development agenda.”

“India’s achievements towards the MDGs are beyond doubt considerable… yet the progress has been uneven across goals and across states, and inequalities have risen,” she said. “The key message is not to leave anyone behind.”

The MDGs are eight international development goals that were established following the millennium summit of the UN in 2000.

All 189 UN member states at the time (there are 193 currently), and at least 23 international organisations, committed to help achieve the goals by 2015.

Srinath Reddy, president of the Public Health Foundation of India (PHFI), said: “There was a problem with MDGs as they had aggregate indicators and they did not have gender and income segregation.”

Madras HC directed Tamil Nadu government to ban beauty contests in colleges

Madras HC directed Tamil Nadu government to ban beauty contests in colleges

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The Madras High Court on 6 February 2015 directed the state government of Tamil Nadu to issue a circular banning beauty contests in colleges and other educational institutions of the state.

Justice T S Sivagnanam passed an interim order on a plea and said that it is not known as to how walking the ramp would benefit a student pursuing a course of engineering.

The judge directed the Secretary, Higher Education department and the Commissioner of Technical Education Department, to issue a circular to all institutions, Universities, Deemed Universities, and Colleges affiliated to various universities in the state to ban or not to conduct any beauty shows in their Institution or in any event organised at Inter-College Level.

NTCA released report on Status of Tigers in India, 2014

NTCA released report on Status of Tigers in India, 2014

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The latest report on Status of Tigers in India, 2014 showed 30 percent increase in tiger population to 2226 from 1706 in 2010. India now has 70 per cent of the tiger population in the world. The report was released by National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA).

The largest increase was recorded in the Western Ghats Landscape complex comprising Kerala, Karnataka, Goa and Tamil Nadu  with 776 tigers (up from 402 in 2006).

In 2006, the number of tigers in Tamil Nadu, Kerala and Karnataka were 76, 46 and 290 respectively. In 2014, the number of tiger increased to 229, 136 and 406 in Tamil Nadu, Kerala and Karnataka respectively.

The Mudumalai-Bandipur-Nagarahole-Wayanad complex holds the world’s single largest tiger population currently estimated at over 570 tigers.

Goa now has a persistent tiger presence with three to five animals. The tiger population had increased in Karnataka, Uttarakhand, Madhya Pradesh, Tamil Nadu and Kerala. Odisha reported a fall in number.

The population had increased at the rate of six per cent per annum in India from 2006 while the world lost 97 per cent tigers in the last 50 years in 13 countries. The main reasons for this increase were effective tackling of poaching, and the positive attitude of the wildlife services.

The latest round of assessment used state-of-the art technology of double sampling, using camera traps to estimate the assessment and distribution of tigers in 47 reserves in 18 States.

GTU launched e-Raksha Research Centre to fight cybercrime

GTU launched e-Raksha Research Centre to fight cybercrime

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Gujarat Technological University (GTU) on 28 January 2015 launched e-Raksha Research Centre to fight cybercrime.

The centre was launched to curb rising menace of cybercrimes. Centre will encourage research and enhance capability to provide solution for issues related to cyber security.

GTU is collaborating with Cyber Peace Foundation (CPF) with the goal of establishing a peaceful and harmonious cyber space through research. The research centre will train students in areas of cyber security and enhance their capability to provide solution for issues related with cyber security.

It will also support the government in protecting critical infrastructure and mission critical services. The centre will research on malwares such as botnet and will be setting up malware analysis test bed.

The centre will also support Make in India concept by manufacturing routers, switches, firewalls, UTMs (Unified Threat Management) and other network appliances.

ILO released a report titled World Employment and Social Outlook_Trends 2015

ILO released a report titled World Employment and Social Outlook – Trends 2015

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International Labour Organisation (ILO) on 20 January 2015 released a report titled World Employment and Social Outlook – Trends 2015 (WESO).

The report warned that unemployment will continue to rise in the coming years, as the global economy has entered a new period combining slower growth, widening inequalities and turbulence.

By 2019, more than 212 million people will be out of work, up from the current 201 million.

Main Highlights of the report

• The employment situation has improved in the United States and Japan, but remains difficult in a number of advanced economies, particularly in Europe.

Vulnerable employment

• Two regions, South Asia and Sub-Saharan Africa, accounted for three quarters of the world’s vulnerable employment. East Asia is among the regions that are likely to make the biggest dent in vulnerable employment, which is expected to be reduced in the region from 50.2 per cent in 2007 to 38.9 per cent in 2019.

• The employment situation has not improved much in Sub-Saharan Africa, despite better economic growth performance. And in the Arab region and parts of Latin America and the Caribbean the employment outlook has deteriorated.

• The steep decline in oil and gas prices may improve the employment outlook somewhat in many advanced economies and several Asian countries according to some forecasts.

• Young workers aged 15-24 are particularly hit by the crisis, with a global youth unemployment rate of almost 13 per cent in 2014 and a further increase expected in coming years. By contrast, older workers have fared relatively well since the start of the global financial crisis in 2008.

Middle classes in developing countries on the rise

• In developing countries, the middle class now makes up more than 34 per cent of total employment. The biggest progress has been in emerging and low-income countries.

Income inequality, unemployment and social unrest

• The report explained growing and persistent inequality and uncertain prospects for enterprise investment, has made it difficult for countries to rebound from the crisis.

• Income inequality in some advanced economies now approach levels observed among emerging economies. By contrast, the emerging economies made some progress in reducing their high levels of inequality.

• The report said income inequality will continue to widen, with the richest 10 per cent earning 30 to 40 per cent of total income while the poorest 10 per cent will earn between 2 and 7 per cent of total income.

• Social unrest is particularly acute in countries and regions where youth unemployment is high or rising rapidly.

• In line with the global unemployment rate, social unrest shot up since the beginning of the crisis in 2008, and has now reached levels almost 10 per cent higher than before the crisis.

• Only developed economies and countries in South-East Asia and the Pacific region have seen a reduction in social unrest – after peaks before or around the global crisis. But even there, levels of social unrest are significantly above historical averages.

Challenges ahead

• Other factors include major shifts in demand for skills. At the global level, the share of both low-skilled, non-routine jobs, such as security personnel and some personal care workers, and high-skilled non-routine cognitive jobs, such as lawyers and software engineers, has increased.

• By contrast, routine middle-skilled jobs – like book-keepers and clerical workers – are declining.