- The Ministry of Railways has decided to launch “Project Swarn” with the objective of significantly improving the passenger experience across 9 dimensions which include coach interiors, toilets, onboard cleanliness, staff behavior, catering, linen, punctuality, security, on-board entertainment.
- Real time feedback will also be taken as part of Project Swarn.
- In total, 14 Rajdhani and 15 Shatabdi trains will be covered. Railways have been allowed to spend upto 50 lakh per rake for upgradation of trains to Swarn Standard.
- “Project Swarn’ has been launched with the objective of improving the condition of Rajdhani and Shatabdi trains.
- Some of the coaches undergoing mid life rehabilitation at Bhopal workshop are being upgraded to make model rakes for Mahamana Trains.
- Presently, three such trains viz. from New Delhi to Varanasi, from Bhopal to Khajuraho and from Vadodara to Varanasi are plying.
- A Mobile Application “R-MITRA” (Railway Mobile Instant Tracking Response & Assistance) has been launched by Eastern Railway for security of passengers, especially women passengers, in Kolkata and suburban areas of the Zone.
- Security Application R-MITRA has been launched to facilitate security of passengers and to render timely security related assistance to passengers within the jurisdiction of Eastern Railway.
- Prevention and detection of crime against passengers over Railways is the responsibility of concerned States which is being discharged by them through Government Railway Police (GRP).
- Railway Protection Force (RPF) supplements efforts of States to provide security over Railways.
Kimberly Process Certification Scheme
- The Kimberley Process is a joint Government, International Diamond Industry and Civil Society initiative to stem the flow of Conflict Diamonds.
- “Conflict Diamonds” means rough diamonds used by rebel movements or their allies to finance conflict aimed at undermining legitimate governments. It is also described in the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) resolutions.
- The KPCS came to into effect from 1st January, 2003 and evolved into an effective mechanism for stopping the trade in conflict diamonds. India is the founding member of KPCS. At present, KPCS has 54 members representing 81 countries including the EU with 28 members.
- India is one of the founding members of the KPCS and was Chair of the KPCS for the year 2008.
- A delegation consisting of Government officials and Gem & Jewellery Export Promotion Council (GJEPC) representatives led by Joint Secretary, Department of Commerce, Government of India attended the KP Plenary Session held at Brisbane, Australia 2017.
- In one of a landmark decisions favoring India’s leading position in Diamonds globally, India was appointed as the Kimberly Process (KP) Vice Chair for 2018 & Chair for 2019 in the last plenary held in Dubai in November, 2016.
- The EU will be KP Chair for 2018.
Pare Hydroelectric Plant
- A Loan agreement and a Guarantee agreement for providing additional funding of Euro 20 million was signed today for the project ‘Pare Hydroelectric Plant’ under Indo-German Bilateral Development Cooperation.
- The broad objective of the project is generation of hydroelectric power for socio-economic development of the North Eastern Region.
- The purpose of the project is efficient and ecological friendly generation of electric power. This will contribute to the economic efficient generation of power, growth in the North East region and protection of global climate.
- It may be recalled that in 2008, Germany had signed a loan agreement with North Eastern Electric Power Corporation Limited (NEEPCO) for providing Euro 80 million with Government of India’s Guarantee for the project ‘Pare Hydroelectric Plant’ under Indo-German Bilateral Development Cooperation.
Prime Minister’s Employment Generation Programme (PMEGP)
- Government of India has approved the introduction of a new credit linked subsidy programme called Prime Minister’s Employment Generation Programme (PMEGP) by merging the two schemes that were in operation till 31.03.2008, namely Prime Minister’s Rojgar Yojana (PMRY) and Rural Employment Generation Programme (REGP) for generation of employment opportunities through establishment of micro enterprises in rural as well as urban areas.
- PMEGP is a central sector scheme administered by the Ministry of Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MoMSME).
- At the national level, the Scheme is being implemented by Khadi and Village Industries Commission (KVIC), a statutory organization under the administrative control of the Ministry of MSME as the single nodal agency.
- At the State level, the Scheme will be implemented through State KVIC Directorates, State Khadi and Village Ind ustries Boards (KVIBs) and District Industries Centres (DICs) and banks.
- The Government subsidy under the Scheme will be routed by KVIC through the identified Banks for eventual distribution to the beneficiaries / entrepreneurs in their Bank accounts.
- To generate continuous and sustainable employment opportunities in Rural and Urban areas of the country
- To provide continuous and sustainable employment to a large segment of traditional and prospective artisans, rural and urban unemployed youth in the country through setting up of micro enterprises.
- To facilitate participation of financial institutions for higher credit flow to micro sector.
- Individuals above 18 years of age
- VIII Std. pass required for project above Rs.10.00 lakhs in manufacturing and above Rs. 5.00 lakhs for Service Sector
- Self Help Groups and Charitable Trusts
National Mission on Monuments and Antiquities
NMMA was initially approved for a period of 5 years i.e. 2007 – 2012 in the XI five year plan with the objective to prepare a National database on Built Heritage and sites from secondary sources and a National database on Antiquities from different sources and museums.
- Documentation and creation of suitable database on built heritage and sites for information and dissemination to planners, researchers etc. and for better management of such cultural resources.
- Documentation in a uniform format developed by NMMA, of all Antiquities that are available in the form of Registered Antiquities, Catalogued Antiquities with Central as well as State Governments, Private museums and collections, Universities, etc.
- Promote awareness and sensitize people concerning the benefits of preserving the historical and cultural aspects of built heritage, sites and antiquities.
- Extend training facility and capacity building to the concerned State Departments, Local bodies, NGOs, Universities, Museums, Local communities etc.
- Help in developing synergy between institutions like Archaeological Survey of India, State Departments, concerned Institutions and NGOs to generate close interaction.
Nasa-Isro Synthetic Aperture Radar (NISAR)
- NISAR mission is ajoint project between NASA and ISRO to co-develop and launch a dual frequency synthetic aperture radar satellite.
- It is slated to be launched in 2020-21.
What’s the purpose of this mission?
- Measure the changes on earth’s land surface, ice surface, glaciers, earthquakes and volcanoes.
- Find causes and consequences of such changes.
- NISAR will be the first satellite mission to use two different radar frequencies (L-band and S-band). Hence it can capture resolution even less than a centimeter of earth’s surface.
- The L-band SAR is being developed by JPL/NASA, while ISRO is developing S-band SAR.
- The data obtained from NISAR mission is not meant for building climate resilience.
What’s the utility of such data?
- Understanding climate change
- Predicting natural disasters in advance.
- The L & S band microwave data obtained from this satellite will be useful for variety of application, which include natural resources mapping & monitoring; estimating agricultural biomass over full duration of crop cycle; assessing soil moisture; monitoring of floods and oil slicks; coastal erosion, coastline changes & variation of winds in coastal waters; assessment of mangroves; surface deformation studies, ice sheet collapses & dynamics etc
However, the data acquired from this mission will be useful in developing certain applications, which include –
- identifying crevasses in the glaciers hidden by fresh snow, where human movement takes place,
- identifying the snowpack parameters as an input in Avalanche forecasts,
- studying Glacial Lake Outburst Floods (GLOF) hazards, and
- identifying inundated area due to floods/ cyclones. These applications could help in taking measures to minimise loss of human lives.
Indian Regional Navigation Satellite System (IRNSS)
- IRNSSis an indigenously developed Navigation Satellite System that is used to provide accurate real-time positioning and timing services over India and region extending to 1500 km around India.
- The fully deployed IRNSS system consists of 3 satellites in GEO orbit and 4 satellites in GSO orbit, approximately 36,000 km altitude above earth surface.
- The requirement of such a navigation system is driven because access to foreign government-controlled global navigation satellite systems is not guaranteed in hostile situations, as happened to the Indian military depending on American GPS during the Kargil War.
- The IRNSS would provide two services, with the Standard Positioning Service open for civilian use, and the Restricted Service (an encrypted one) for authorized users (including the military).
- The US GPS was the trailblazing system with a global footprint, followed by the Russian GLONASS and French
- By 2020, the European Union’s Galileo and China’s BeiDou satellite arrays are expected to be globally deployed.
Applications of IRNSS:
- Terrestrial, Aerial and Marine Navigation.
- Disaster Management.
- Vehicle tracking and fleet management.
- Integration with mobile phones.
- Mapping and Geodetic data capture.
- Terrestrial navigation aid for hikers and travelers.
- Visual and voice navigation for drivers.