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India based Neutrino Observatory
- Environmental clearance for the project has been obtained.
- Application for Wildlife Clearance and Tamil Nadu Pollution Control Board (TNPCB) has been submitted.
- An 85 ton prototype mini-ICAL detector has been built and is working at IICHEP premises in Madurai.
- The approximately 2 km long tunnel and the laboratory caverns is required to be made using controlled blasting and take about 3 years to complete.
- The vibrations will not be above the acceptable limits of less than 1mm/sec beyond about 200m distance from the blast zone.
- The total amount of excavated rock is about 230,000 cubic metres. This is comparable to that removed from railway or road tunnels of similar length.
- The vibrations reduce to negligible levels beyond a few hundred metres. Dams such as Vaigai and Mullaiperiyar which are about 30 km away will not be affected.
- There is no possibility of seismic events triggered by work at the INO site. However, seismic monitoring has to be carried out during construction as an abundant measure of caution
Observatory for Gravitational Waves study
- The Government of India has given ‘In-Principle’ approval for Construction and Operation of Laser Interferometer Gravitational Wave Laboratory – India (LIGO) in India in collaboration with LIGO Laboratory, United States of America.
- This is the third observatory identical to the two LIGO observatories in USA.
- An MoU has been signed between DAE-DST of India and National Science Foundation of USA on 30.03.2016. LIGO-India Observatory is scheduled to be operational in 2024.
- Of the various sites surveyed for this project, the site in Hingoli District of Maharashtra has been selected as the primary site and the process of acquiring land for the project is in advanced stage.
Amendment in RTI Act
- The Government is considering a proposal to amend the Right to Information Act, 2005.
- A notice of intention has been given to introduce “The Right to Information (Amendment) Bill, 2018” in the Rajya Sabha for consideration and its passage during the current session of Parliament.
- The purport of the amendments proposed is regarding salaries, allowances and conditions of service for Chief Information Commissioners and Information Commissioners and State Information Commissioners.
- Consultations with Department of Expenditure, Department of Legal Affairs and Legislative Department have been undertaken while preparing/formulating the RTI (Amendment) Bill, 2018.
Special Remission to Prisoners on the occasion of 150th Birth Anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi
- The Union Cabinet chaired by the Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi has today given its approval to grant Special Remission to Prisoners as part of Commemoration of 150th Birth Anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi.
- The following categories of prisoners will be considered for special remission and released in three phases.
- In Phase-l, the prisoners will be released on 2nd October, 2018 (Birth Anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi), in Phase-ll prisoners will be released on 10th April, 2019 (Anniversary of Champaran Satyagrah) and in Phase-Ill, prisoners will be released on 2nd October 2019 (Birth Anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi):-
- Women convicts of 55 years of age and above, who have completed 50% of their actual sentence period.
- Transgender convicts of 55 years of age and above, who have completed 50% of their actual sentence period.
- Male convicts of 60 years of age and above, who have completed 50% of their actual sentence period.
- Physically challenged/disabled convicts with 70% disability and more who have completed 50% of their actual sentence period.
- Terminally ill convicts.
- Convicted prisoners who have completed two-third (66%) of their actual sentence period.
- Special remission will not be given to prisoners who have been convicted for an offence for which the sentence is sentence of death or where death sentence has been commuted to life imprisonment; Cases of convicts involved in serious and heinous crimes like Dowry death, Rape, Human Trafficking and convicted under POTA, UAPA, TADA, FICN, POCSO Act, Money Laundering, FEMA, NDPS, Prevention of Corruption Act, etc.
- Ministry of Home Affairs will issue advice to all States and UTs asking them to process the cases of eligible prisoners. After the approval, the prisoners will be released on 2nd October 2018, 10f/l April, 2019 and 2nd October, 2019.
- The 150th Birth Anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi is a significant occasion and giving special remission to prisoners on this important occasion is considered desirable and befitting the commemoration and would be a homage to the Father of Nation and the humanitarian values Mahatma Gandhi stood for.
Memorandum of Understanding amongst BRICS Nations on the Regional Aviation Partnership
- The Union Cabinet chaired by the Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi has today approved the signing of Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) amongst BRICS Nations on the Regional Aviation Partnership Cooperation viz. Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa.
The objective is that BRICS countries would benefit from the establishing of an institutional framework to cooperate in the field of civil aviation. Among the areas of cooperation, following areas have been identified:
- Public Policies and best practices in regional services;
- Regional Airports;
- Airport infrastructure management and air navigation services;
- Technical cooperation between regulatory agencies;
- Environment Sustainability; including deliberation of global initiatives;
- Qualification and Training;
- Other fields as mutually determined
- The MoU signifies an important landmark in the civil aviation relations between India and other BRICS Member States and has the potential to spur greater trade, investment, tourism and cultural exchanges amongst the BRICS Nations.
MoU between India and Cuba
- The Union Cabinet chaired by Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi has given its ex-post facto approval for the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between India and Cuba on cooperation in the field of Traditional Systems of Medicine and Homeopathy.
- The MoU will enhance bilateral cooperation between the two countries in the areas of Traditional Systems of Medicine and Homeopathy. This will be of immense importance to both countries considering their shared cultural heritage.
- The Traditional Systems of Medicine in India are well organized, codified and well documented comprised of Ayurveda, Yoga & Naturopathy, Unani, Siddha, Sowa Rigpa and Homoeopathy.
- These systems hold tremendous potential in the global health scenario.
- The Ministry of AYUSH having the mandate to promote, propagate and globalize these Traditional Systems has taken effective steps by entering into MoU with 10 countries for Cooperation in the field of Traditional Medicine.
- The MoU will facilitate better understanding of the regulatory aspects between the two sides and help in increasing India’s export of medical products to Indonesia and better coordination in international fora.
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