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- Deadline for publication of final draft of Assam’s National Register of Citizens (NRC) has been extended by Supreme Court from earlier June 30, 2018 to July 31, 2018. The NRC is being prepared to identify illegal migrants in Assam. The major northeastern state had faced influx of people from Bangladesh since early 20th century. It is the only state having an NRC, which was first prepared in 1951. NRC contains the names of bona fide Indian Citizens of Assam that distinguish them from the foreigners. It is updated periodically. It was first updated in 1951 but since then it has been not updated due to various political tensions such as Assam Movement of 1980s, language movement an other ethnic movements. NRC is being updated as per provisions of Citizenship Act, 1955 and Citizenship (Registration of Citizens and Issue of National Identity Cards) Rules, 2003. It will include names of person or their descendants whose name appear in NRC 1951 or any of Electoral Rolls up to midnight of 24th March 1971.
- The Election Commission of India (ECI) has organised a two-day “National Consultation on Accessible Elections,” from July 3, 2018 in New Delhi with t he theme of the event is “Inclusion of PwD’s”. Besides, “Accessible Elections” has been adopted as ECI’s central theme for this year’s National Voters Day celebrations. The event was inaugurated by Chief Election Commissioner OP Rawat, in the presence of Election Commissioners Sunil Arora and Ashok Lavasa. During the inaugural session, a dedicated portal for the ECI’s “Systematic Voters Education and Electoral Participation” (SVEEP) initiative was launched. The event is a part of the ECI’s larger mission to “leave no voter behind”, with a special focus on “Persons with Disabilities” (PwD). The event aims to identify the barriers or gaps in the inclusion of PwD’s in the electoral process, in order to assess the existing accessibility initiatives and find solutions for the challenges being faced by them. The main objective is to enhance the participation of the Persons with Disabilities in the upcoming state and Lok Sabha elections.
- Under Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment the Department of Empowerment of Persons with Disabilities (DEPwD) organised a “National Workshop on Skill Development for Persons with Disabilities (Divyangjan)” in New Delhi on July 3, 2018 with a view to provide a platform to all stakeholders ranging from training partners to the policymakers as well as employers. It was inaugurated by Minister for Social Justice and Empowerment Thaawarchand Gehlot, while Dharmendra Pradhan, Minister for Skill Development and Entrepreneurship, was the Guest of Honour. In his inaugural address, Thaawarchand Gehlot said that employment is the key to empowerment. The Right of Persons with Disabilities Act (RPwD), 2016 which came into force last year mandates the Government to frame schemes to promote Skill Development of Persons with Disabilities so as to enhance their scope of employability. The main objective of the workshop was to come out with a workable solution in identifying core areas for skill development in the context of PwDs and mechanism for appropriate mapping of categories of Disabilities. It also aimed to promote a positive attitude in the private sector to consider PwDs as one of their valuable workforces.
- The Supreme Court on July 3, 2018 passed a slew of directions on police reforms in the country, stating guidelines for appointment of the Director General of Police (DGP). A bench headed by Chief Justice Dipak Misra, comprising A M Khanwilkar and D Y Chandrachud, ordered all the States and Union territories to not appoint any police officer as acting Director General of Police (DGP). The court also directed all the states to send names of senior police officers to the Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) for being considered as probable candidates to be appointed as DGPs or Police Commissioners, as the case may be. The UPSC, in turn, will prepare a list of three most suitable officers and the states will be free to appoint one of them as DGP. The apex court also ruled that any rule or state law on the subject of appointment of police officers “will be kept at abeyance”.
- Chief Election Commissioner OP Rawat, along with the Election Commissioners Sunil Arora and Ashok Lavasa, on July 3, 2018 launched an Android-based mobile application named “cVigil” for citizens to report any violation of the model code of conduct during elections. The app will help voters to share malpractice proof with the authorities. The app will be operational only where the elections will be announced. cVIGIL will allow anyone in the election-bound state to report violations of Model Code of Conduct (MCC) that comes into effect from the date of announcement of elections and goes on till a day after the polls. The mobile application facilitates sharing of geo-tagged photographic and video evidence without disclosing the identity of the sender. To prevent any misuse, the app will not allow uploading of the pre-recorded or old images and videos.
- The Delhi government launched “Happiness Curriculum” which includes meditation, moral values and mental exercises for its school students. It was launched by Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal in the presence of the Dalai Lama. It was designed and prepared by a team of 40 Delhi government teachers, educators and volunteers over period of six months with the aim of turning students into good citizens. It involves “Happiness” period of 45 minutes for all students studying in nursery up to class VIII at all Delhi government schools.
- According to Index of Eight Core Industries released by Ministry of Commerce and Industry, the growth of eight core infrastructure industries has dropped to 10-month low of 3.6% in May 2018 due to decline in production of crude oil and natural gas. This is the lowest growth rate since July 2017 when eight core infrastructure industries had expanded by 2.9%. The growth rate recorded in April 2018 stood higher at 4.6%. In April and May 2018, the eight industries recorded 4.1% growth compared to 3.3% in same period in 2017. In India, there are eight core sectors comprising of coal, crude oil, natural gas, petroleum refinery products, fertilisers, steel, cement and electricity. The eight infrastructure sectors constitute 40.27% of the total index of industrial production (IIP).
- Numaligarh Refinery Ltd (NRL) in Assam became first oil public sector undertaking (PSU) in India to adopt an online legal compliance system by introducing “Legatrix”. This initiative aims to induce greater transparency NRL’s operations and augment its contribution towards Digital India Mission of the Government. Legatrix is cloud-based compliance management system to serve as onestop solution for effectively managing organisations legal and regulatory compliances through monitoring control at different levels. NRL is under administrative control of Union Ministry of Petroleum & Natural Gas. It is joint venture between Bharat Petroleum (61.65%), Oil India (26%) and Government of Assam (12.35%). It has capacity of 3 million metric tonnes ((mmt) per year.
- The 5th Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) intersessional ministerial meeting was held in Tokyo, Japan. It was first RCEP ministerial gathering to be held outside ASEAN countries. It was co-chaired by Singapore’s Minister of Trade and Industry Chan Chun Sing and his Japanese counterpart Hiroshige Seko. During the meeting, ministers from member countries had in-depth discussions on issues such as trade, service, investment and rules at the meeting. RCEP is a proposed free trade agreement (FTA) or comprehensive regional economic integration agreement between the 10-ASEAN countries (Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, Vietnam) and its six FTA partners (Australia, New Zealand, India, China, Japan and Korea).
- Indigenous fighter aircraft Tejas of No 45 Squadron “The Flying Daggers” has formally commenced operations from Sulur Air Force Station near Coimbator, Kerala. With deployment of Tejas, its squadron “Flying Daggers” took up active wartime role towards safeguarding national skies. No 45 Squadron has been entrusted with the responsibility of integrating Tejas fighter aircraft in Air Force’s Concept of Operations. It has been involved in training aircrew of fighter aircraft Tejas. It will now undertake operations and maintenance of the indigenous fighter aircraft. Tejas is the first advanced fly-by-wire Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) designed, developed and manufactured indigenously by state owned Hindustan Aeronautical Limited (HAL). It has been pegged as world’s smallest and lightest supersonic fighter. It was developed and manufactured under Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) programme, which began in the 1980s to replace India’s ageing MiG-21 fighters. LCA Tejas is not India’s first indigenous fighter to be inducted into IAF. In April 1967, IAF had formed the first operational squadron with the indigenous HF-24 Marut fighter.
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