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UPSC 2017-18: PIB Summary and Analysis Aug 16

NHAI takes steps to facilitate availability of FASTags for Electronic Toll Collection.

  • Common Services Centre to set up sale points at Toll Plazas. 
  • FASTags can also be purchased online.
  • Exclusive lane for FASTag vehicles to be operational at all toll plazas.

In order to facilitate the availability of FASTags for Electronic Toll Collection, NHAI has taken two revolutionary steps in consultation with RBI and NPCI . includes both  Online sale of FASTags and offline sale through  Common Services Centre (CSC) near toll plazas. Apart from the online sale,  18th August, 2017, FASTags can also be bought from sale points of  Common Services Centre (CSC) to be set up near toll plazas. Hybrid ETC work that involves installation & integration of RFID readers in all the Toll Plaza lanes is already under progress and is likely to be completed by 31st October, 2017.  Out of all Hybrid Lanes, at least one shall be exclusively dedicated for FASTag vehicles where no other mode of Toll Payment shall be accepted .  This exclusive one lane for FASTag vehicles will be operational with effect from 1 September, 2017. This is in pursuance of PM Modi’s drive for a cashless economy, NHAI has been working on installation and efficient execution of ETC infrastructure at all the toll plazas under its jurisdiction.   This will provide safe, smooth and seem less journey to commuters on  Highways. 


President’s greetings on the eve of Parsi New Year

The President of India, Shri Ram Nath Kovind in his message on the eve of the Parsi New Year said

The Parsi community has made a valuable contribution towards national development and the making of modern India. The celebration of the festival is an occasion for all of us to come together and feel proud of our composite culture and pluralistic society. 


Ministry of Culture’s Sankalp Parva Showcasing The Spirit of The New India Movement Through Dance, Music, Painting .

Sankalp Parva-Sankalp se siddhi’ (Attainment through Resolve), a major cultural event was organized by the Ministry of Culture. . The event began with the rendering of Gandhi and Nirgun bhajans by Pandit Madhup Mudgal. In a lively jugalbandi Shri Manav Gupta coloured a canvas with ‘Quit India’ related visual images. Folk and classical dancers from Ministry of Culture’s Zonal Cultural Centers showcased the joie de virve of freedom. Dr. Mahesh Sharma, Minister of State (Independent Charge) for Cultural and Tourism was the Chief Guest at today’s Sankalp Parva. In his address he appealed to the youth and other stakeholders to come forward and join hands for working for a new India by 2022. The first Sankalp Parva was organized by this Ministry at Sri Ramalinga Sowdambigai College of Science and Commerce, Onappalayam, Ciombatore in  August, 2017.


PM meets crew of Navika Sagar Parikrama.

Six women officers of the Indian Navy, who are due to circumnavigate the globe on the sailing vessel, INSV Tarini, called on Prime Minister Narendra Modi today. This is the first-ever Indian circumnavigation of the globe by an all-women crew. They will begin their voyage later this month from Goa, and expect to return to Goa in March 2018, after completing the circumnavigation. The expedition has been titled Navika Sagar Parikrama. The Parikrama will be covered in five legs, with stop-overs at 4 ports: Fremantle (Australia), Lyttleton (New Zealand), Port Stanley (Falklands), and Cape Town (South Africa).


Cabinet approves completion of balance works of North Koel Reservoir Project 

The Union Cabinet chaired by the Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi today has given its approval to the proposal to complete the balance works of the North Koel Reservoir Project in Jharkhand and Bihar at an estimated expenditure of Rs.1622.27 crore to be incurred during three financial years from the start of the project. 

The Cabinet also approved storage of water in dam restricted at lower level than envisaged earlier to reduce the submergence and to protect Betla National Park and Palamau Tiger Reserve.

The project is situated on North Koel river which is a tributary of Sone river finally joining the river Ganga.  The North Koel Reservoir is located in the most backward tribal areas in Palamau and Garhwa districts of Jharkhand State.


Union Cabinet approves new Metro Rail Policy; Focus on compact urban development, cost reduction and multi-modal integration .

The Union Cabinet chaired by Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi today approved a new Metro Rail Policy that seeks to enable realization of growing metro rail aspirations of a large number of cities but in a responsible manner.

The policy opens a big window for private investments across a range of metro operations making PPP component mandatory for availing central assistance for new metro projects. Private investment and other innovative forms of financing of metro projects have been made compulsory to meet the huge resource demand for capital intensive high capacity metro projects.

“Private participation either for complete provision of metro rail or for some unbundled components (like Automatic Fare Collection, Operation & Maintenance of services etc) will form an essential requirement for all metro ra il projects seeking central financial assistance” says the policy, to capitalize on private resources, expertise and entrepreneurship.

In view of inadequate availability and even absence of last mile connectivity at present, the new policy seeks to ensure it focusing on a catchment area of five kms. on either side of metro stations. 


Cabinet approves procedure and mechanism for Strategic Disinvestment 

The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs, chaired by the Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi, has approved the proposal of Department of Investment and public Asset Management (DIPAM) for the strategic disinvestment of the following:

  1. For setting up an Alternative Mechanism (AM) consisting of the Finance Minister, Minister for Road Transport & Highways and Minister of Administrative Department, to decide on the matters relating to terms and conditions of the sale from the stage of inviting of Express of Interests (Eols) till inviting of financial bid; and
  2. For empowering the Core Group of Secretaries (CGD) to take policy decisions with regard to procedural issues and to consider deviations as necessary from time to time for effective implementation of decisions of CCEA.

The approval will help in speedy completion of strategic disinvestment transactions.


UPSC Mains Practice Questions

“Infrastructure bottlenecks is the biggest lacunae in Indian urbanisation”  Critically analyse the above statement with recent policy initiatives of government.

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