Tuesday, 31 July 2018

31st July 2018 | Assam daily current affairs for APSC

Names of 40,07,707 individuals have been left out in the second and complete draft of the National Register of Citizens (NRC)

  • The final draft featured names of 2,89,83,677 Indian citizens living in Assam out of the 3,29,91,384 who had applied for inclusion of their names in the registry.
  • Those left out would have the opportunity to file their claims before the NRC Seva Kendras from August 30 till September 28, said Registrar General of India (RGI) Sailesh while addressing the media persons this morning.
  • The process of NRC update was taken up in Assam as per order of the Supreme Court of India in 2013. The idea behind the exercise to update the citizens document for the first time since 1951 under the supervision of the top court is to identify “genuine citizens” living in Assam and detect illegal immigrants.
  • Individuals who cannot prove that they or their ancestors entered the country before midnight of March 24, 1971 (cut-off year decided as per the Assam Accord of 1985) will be deemed as illegal immigrants.
  • The first draft list of the updated NRC was published on the intervening night of December 31 and January 1, featuring names of 1.9 crore Indian citizens living in Assam.
  • The process of the NRC update started in December 2013 and the applications for it were invited in May-June 2015. The last date of submission of applications was August 31, 2015. As many as 68,31,330 applications were submitted during the update process.
  • The NRC of 1951 is being updated for Assam in accordance with the tripartite agreement between the State, the Centre and the influential All Assam Students Union (AASU) in 2005 as a key issue for implementation of the Assam Accord.
  • More than 3.29 crore people of the State applied for inclusion of names in the NRC and 6.6 crore documents had to be examined during the process.

The couple behind initiation of the entire process of updating the vital document: NRC - Assam

  • The couple is Pradip Kumar Bhuyan and his wife Banti Bhuyan. Pradip Kumar Bhuyan, an alumnus (1956 batch) of the IIT Kharagpur, is around 83 now. It was Pradip Kumar Bhuyan, who prepared the draft of the writ petition (civil) number 274/2009 and made Abhijit Sarma of the voluntary organisation Assam Public Works (APW) the petitioner, in the Supreme Court of India.
  • The Bhuyans extended support to Abhijit in this case, in which All Assam Students’ Union also joined in 2012, with an intervention petition.
  • “It should be remembered that this size of exclusion has occurred from among those who applied for inclusion of their names in the NRC. There are many others, who did not apply deliberately, knowing well that they are illegally staying in Assam. We are yet to ascertain their size, feared to be a significant one. However, this could be determined through meticulous scrutiny at the booth level,” he said.
  • For an immediate idea of the size of those who did not apply, he maintained that the 2011 census figures may be projected to 2018 and this will provide an indicative idea of the magnitude of the illegal migrants among the non-applicants, said the octogenarian patriot.
  • Abhijit Sarma of the APW, who filed the WP(C) number 274/2009, said the aliens issue, which remained knotty for quite a long time, has been resolved to a great extent after around 33 years, following the intervention of the Supreme Court. He ascribed the primary credit for this success to the Bhuyan couple.
  • “We moved the apex court with the initial plea to free Assam from the burden of foreigners. We expressed the apprehension before the apex court that around 41 lakh foreigners could get their names enrolled in the 2006 electoral rolls of Assam.
  • “Later on, in 2012, we filed an additional affidavit challenging the NRC updating modalities and we have got its result today. Now, the State’s indigenous peoples are to assume more responsibilities,” he said.

Focus Person:  Natasurya Phani Sarma

  • Late Phani Sarma, better known as ‘Natasurya’ for his had an unmatched contribution not only towards the world of drama, but also to the entire cultural arena of the State. 
  • It is important to note here that the three cultural icons of the State Kalaguru Bishnu Prasad Rabha, Natasurya Phani Sarma and Rupkowar Jyotiprasad Agarwala carved a niche in the cultural world reflecting the glory of historic Tezpur city. 
  • Phani Sarma was given the title of ‘Natasurya’ for taking the initiative to uplift drama with his relentless efforts. 

Focus Family : Raja Pratap Chandra Barua, the founder zamindar of the Gauripur Royal Estate.

  • He shifted his capital from Rangamati to Gauripur in 1850. He tried his level best to turn Gauripur into a model capital. He established a Sanskrit tol, an ME school and a hospital for the benefit of his subjects, but unfortunately he died in 1880.
  • His wife Rani Bhawani Priya somehow managed the affairs of the Royal Estate with the help of her employees brought from the area now under West Bengal. She was issueless and therefore her husband Raja Pratap Chandra Barua adopted Prabhat Chandra Barua as his son.
  • Raja Prabhat Chandra Barua was a very popular zamindar. He was loved and respected by his tenants. After taking over the charge of affairs of the Royal Estate, he decided to complete the works of his father Pratap Chandra Barua. He planned to build the capital Gauripur like Coochbehar, the capital of Koch king Naranarayan.
  • He built the Mahamaya Temple, Madan Mohan Temple, Royal Palace, Hawa Mahal at Matiabag, upgraded the ME school into a high school in his father's name Tarinipriya Chatuspathi, guest house, constructed Mahamaya tank covering 10 bighas of land and a hospital in the name of his adopted mother Rani Bhawanipriya. His contribution was highly praised by all sections of people of the Royal Estate. 
  • His second son, Prakritish Chandra Barua somehow managed the affairs of the Royal Estate. But after the abolition of the Zamindary system in 1957, the powers of the zamindars got drastically reduced. After his death, the Royal family got divided and as a result the past glories have been lost. Gradually, the heritage buildings including Mahamaya Temple, Hawa Mahal, Royal Palace etc., got dilapidated.
  • Raja Prabhat Chandra Barua built the dispensary by donating nearly three bighas of land in the heart of Gauripur town and named as Rani Bhawani Priya State Dispensary in the sacred memory of his adopted mother Rani Bhawani Priya, wife of Raja Pratap Chandra Barua. Doctors like Dr Upen Kha, Dr PK Das, Dr Arun Phukan, son of famous journalist Lakshminath Phukan served in this dispensary.

Monday, 30 July 2018

28,29,30th July 2018 | Assam daily current affairs for APSC

The Assam Employees’ Parental Responsibility Norms for Accountability Monitoring (PRANAM) Act, obligating the State government employees to look after their aged and dependant parents, will come into force from October 2

  • A PRANAM Commission will be constituted which will be headed by a retired government official of the rank of Additional Chief Secretary or above. Two social workers will also be part of the commission. Two Additional Commissioners will also be appointed.
  • The Act was passed by the State Assembly and subsequently the rules were also approved by the State Cabinet.
  • As per the Act, the designated authority will be mandated to deduct up to 10 per cent of the ward’s gross salary for the needy parents. In special cases, the deduction may go up to 15 per cent.
  • In case of any dispute arising out of the decision of the DDO, the respective directorate of the department would be the appellate authority. Further, the parties can move the Chief Commissioner, who will be a quasi judicial authority, a timeline has been fixed for each of the authority to dispose off the case in question.

    Cricketer-turned-politician Imran Khan’s party today emerged as the single largest in Pakistan’s parliamentary polls bagging 114 of the 270 seats on which elections were held, but fell short of a majority and will need the support of smaller parties or independents to form the government.

    • Khan’s Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) was followed by jailed former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) with 62 seats and former President Asif Ali Zardari’s Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) with 43 seats. Independent candidates won 12 seats, according to the election commission which issued results for 261 seats of the National Assembly today.
    • Pakistan’s National Assembly comprises a total of 342 members, of which 272 are directly elected. A party can only form the government if it manages to clinch 172 seats in total.

      Noted Sattriya danseuse Dr Anwesha Mahanta was conferred the Bharat Kala Ratna Award, 2018 by the Navanittam Cultural Trust, India, a Thrissur (Kerala)-based cultural institution, for her contribution to the world of Indian dance, Sattriya in particular.

      • Anwesha, who is widely acclaimed as a leading performer and scholar of Sattriya dance, and is also a recipient of the Ustad Bismillah Khan Yuva Puraskar of the Sangeet Natak Akademi, has brought glory to the Sattriya tradition through her scintillating performances, lecture demonstrations, presentations of her research works at seminars and publications across India and abroad.
      • Anwesha, a Ph D from the University of Delhi and a recipient of the prestigious Charles Wallace Fellowship (2015) of the Charles Wallace Foundation and the British Council, did her post-doctoral research at the Queen’s University, Belfast, United Kingdom.

      There are 14 ‘aspirational districts’ in the eight north-eastern states. Out of those, seven are in Assam and the remaining seven districts are one each in the other seven states.

      • The 14 aspirational districts are Dhubri, Goalpara, Barpeta, Darrang, Baksa, Udalguri and Hailakandi in Assam; 
      • Namsai in Arunachal Pradesh; 
      • Chandel in Manipur; 
      • Ribhoi in Meghalaya; 
      • Mamit in Mizoram; 
      • Kiphire in Nagaland; 
      • West Sikkim in Sikkim
      • Dhalai in Tripura.

      A parliamentary panel attached to Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) said in its latest report that it is disconcerted to note that Assam has the highest rate of violent crimes, including kidnappings and abductions, among all the States of India.

      • In its report ‘Security Situation in the North Eastern States of India’ said it accepts that the insurgency-related instances of kidnappings and extortions may be on a decline, but the general rise in the instances of such crimes is worrying. The report was tabled in the Parliament.
      • The committee is perplexed that despite a waning trend in insurgency, violent crimes have been on the rise. The committee apprehends that this rise may be due to poor rehabilitation and settlement of former insurgents, who may be indulging in such crimes for ransom.
      • Assam also had the highest rate of violent crimes among all the States in 2016. An overwhelming 87 percent of the victims of kidnappings and abductions were women. Moreover, out of 6,128 abductions, only 249 victims were recovered. Assam also reported a huge number of 13,413 unrecovered victims of kidnappings and abductions that happened before 2016.
      • While the number of kidnappings related activities of the insurgents show a marked decline from 94 in 2014 to 14 in 2016, the number of kidnapping and abductions, in general, as reported by the National Crime Record Bureau in the Crime in India-2016 report, shows a significant rise during this period from 4,824 in 2014 to 6,128 in 2016. The data given in this report also shows that with a rate of 18.8 kidnappings and abductions per thousand persons in 2016, Assam had the highest rate of kidnappings and abductions among all the States across the country.
      • There was a substantial improvement in security situation in the State in 2017; the insurgent related incidents declined from 246 in 2014 to just 81 in 2015, and further came down to 75 in 2016 and to 33 in 2017 being lowest since 1997. The casualties of civilians and security forces personnel were also lowest at 9 in 2017. This was approximately 99 percent less than the 1,136 deaths of civilians and security forces that occurred in 1997. Moreover, 16 insurgents were killed, while 204 were arrested during 2017.

      Assamese film Xhoihobote Dhemalite (Rainbow Fields) bagged three top awards at the 3rd Love International Film Festival

      • Besides the best film, it also won the awards for best actress (Dipannita Sharma) and best music (Anurag Saikia) at the festival, where more than 150 films from 36 countries were screened. 
      • The film, directed by Bidyut Kotoky, deals with the sensitive issue of children of Assam growing up in violent times and witnessing brutality around them. Based on true events, the film also features seasoned actors like Victor Banerjee, Nakul Vaid, Naved Aslam, Nipon Goswami and Nikumoni Barua.

      The Northeast India Tour Operator Association (NEITO), an association of tour operators of North East India approved by the Ministry of Tourism (MoT)

      • The main objectives of the body are promotion of North East India as a tourism destination on the tourism map of the world and bringing all MoT-approved tour operators of North East India under one umbrella so that the standards of tourism service quality can be monitored and maintained in the region. 
      • The NEITO also seeks to work in close coordination with the public and private stakeholders for the overall and sustainable development of the tourism industry in the region.

      Union Minister of State for AYUSH Shripad Yesso Naik laid the foundation stone of the 2nd phase of construction of North East Institute of Ayurveda and Homeopathy (NEIAH) at its Campus

      • NEIAH can be the hub for researches in Ayurveda and folk medicine for entire South East Asia. He also said that the presence of premier institutes like NEHU, NIT and IIM in close vicinity can help in researches for better health care in the region.
      • AYUSH Ministry is to further develop and provide necessary support to built the institute to a ‘centre of excellence’ to fulfil the need of National and International communities.

      A total of 52 Bangladeshi citizens, including five women with three minor children who were lodged in different jails in Assam, were pushed back into Bangladesh today through the Mankachar Shahapara Indo-Bangladesh border gate near Shahapara BoP of South Salmara Mankachar district

      • On the eve of publication of the final draft NRC, the deportion of 52 Bangladeshi citizens by opening the border gate to their native land has been considered as a significant event.
      • Following official protocol, all the Bangladeshis who were lodged in different jails of Assam were brought to Mankachar’s Shahapara BoP in the presence of high officials of both the countries. They were subsequently pushed back to their homeland at 11 am.

      The Assam State Zoo cum Botanical Garden, with the support of Tansukhrai Ratanlal Jewellers, organised International Tiger Day to raise the awareness about the animal’s plight, with less than 4,000 left in the world’s forests

      • International Tiger Day is sometimes referred to as the Global Tiger Day and is an annual event organised to raise awareness about the importance of tiger conservation. It is held every year on the 29th of July. 

      Former national champion Sourabh Verma pulled off a come-from-behind win over Japan’s Koki Watanabe in the summit clash to claim his first title of the season at the USD 75,000 Russia Open Tour Super 100 tournament

      • The 25-year-old Indian, who is on a comeback trail after recovering from injuries, overcame World No. 119 Watanabe 19-21, 21-12, 21-17 in the final that lasted exactly an hour at the Sport Hall Olympic.
      • Second seeded Indian mixed doubles pair of Rohan Kapoor and Kuhoo Garg, however, suffered a 19-21, 17-21 loss to Russia’s Vladimir Ivanov and Min Kyung Kim of Korea in the final to settle for a runners-up finish.

      NFR had last month introduced Train Captains in premium trains. The 12423 Dibrugarh-New Delhi Rajdhani Express was the first train where the concept was introduced.

      • The Train Captain is the overall in-charge of the train and he or she is responsible for ensuring all amenities provided by railways to the passengers and coordinating with all onboard teams during the complete journey of the train.
      • All on board railway personnel and supervisors of all outsourced agencies report to the Train Captain for effective control and supervision.
      • The Train Captain is tasked to ensure that the coaches are properly manned and that staff are in proper uniform and perform their duties properly. Long distance Mail and Express trains have a large group or team of railway personnel and outsourced staff on board for offering various services to the passengers and to provide maintenance on run. The concept of Train Captain was introduced in order to have a single person or leader responsible for coordinating the entire team and facilitating all services during the complete journey of the train
      • The Train Captain is tasked to allot vacant berths to RAC passengers, ensure correct realisation of dues by TTEs and conductors, report to higher authorities about staff who fail to perform their duties, coordinate the work of all team members, carry out quick inspections to ensure that the passenger amenities are in proper working order, take steps for rectification of any shortcomings in passenger amenities, ensure cleanliness of coaches, bathrooms, ensure proper pre-cooling of AC coaches before start of journey, etc.
      • The official has to maintain a complaint book and make it available to any passengers for recording complaints and ensure their redressal, carry out quality check of food and cleanliness of utensils, ensure timely serving of meals, check prices in menus, take action against anybody violating rules regarding prohibition on use of tobacco products on trains, prevent unauthorised hawking and begging on trains, guide passengers to GRP escort party or else make a blank FIR available to passengers in case of theft of luggage or other items and look at safety aspects like availability of fire fighting equipment aboard trains, among other things.

      Editorial Focus : 
      3. 30th July 

      Friday, 27 July 2018

      27th July 2018 | Assam daily current affairs for APSC

      Two Indians – one a psychiatrist who works for the mentally-ill street persons and another whose initiative to harness science and culture creatively for economic progress improved the lives of the Ladakhi youth – were today declared the winners of this year’s Ramon Magsaysay Award.

      • Bharat Vatwani and Sonam Wangchuk are among six individuals who were declared winners of the award, regarded as the Asian version of the Nobel Prize.
      • Youk Chhang from Cambodia, Maria de Lourdes Martins Cruz from East Timor, Howard Dee from the Philippines and Vo Thi Hoang Yen rom Vietnam are other winners of the award. 
      • Vatwani was recognised for “his tremendous courage and healing compassion in embracing India’s mentally-afflicted destitute, and his steadfast and magnanimous dedication to the work of restoring and affirming the human dignity of even the most ostracized,” the Ramon Magsaysay Award Foundation said in its citation for the winner.
      • Vatwani, who is based in Mumbai, and his wife started an informal operation of bringing mentally-ill street persons to their private clinic for treatment, leading them to establish Shraddha Rehabilitation Foundation in 1988, aimed at rescuing mentally-ill persons living on the streets; providing free shelter, food, and psychiatric treatment; and reuniting them with their families.
      • Wangchuk, 51, was recognised for “his uniquely systematic, collaborative and community-driven reform of learning systems in remote northern India, thus improving the life opportunities of Ladakhi youth, and his constructive engagement of all sectors in local society to harness science and culture creatively for economic progress, thus setting an example for minority peoples in the world,” the citation said.
      • Wangchuk was a 19-year-old engineering student at the National Institute of Technology in Srinagar, when he went into tutoring to finance his schooling and help woefully unprepared students pass the national college matriculation exams.
      • In 1988, after earning his engineering degree, Wangchuk founded Students’ Education and Cultural Movement of Ladakh (SECMOL) and started coaching Ladakhi student, 95 per cent of whom used to fail the government exams. In 1994, with Wangchuk in the lead, ‘Operation New Hope’ (ONH) was launched to expand and consolidate the partnership-driven educational reform programme.

      Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) chief Imran Khan today claimed victory in the general elections after his party emerged as the single largest party in the National Assembly 

      • Pakistan’s National Assembly comprises a total of 342 members, of which 272 are directly elected whereas the rest – 60 seats reserved for women and 10 for religious minorities – are selected later through proportional representation among parties with more than five per cent of the vote.
      • A party can only form the government if it manages to clinch 172 seats in total. A single party will need at least 137 of the directly elected seats to be able to form the government on its own.

      Swachh Bharat Mission (Grameen), Assam, today launched a massive campaign titled ‘Swachh Survekshan Grameen’ (SSG 2018) across the State, to be held between August 1 to 31.

      • The campaign is being taken up across all the 33 districts covering 219 blocks. These districts would conduct large-scale information, education and communication (IEC) and inter-personal communication (IPC) activities, which would sensitise the people about sanitation and SSG 2018.
      • So far, around 28 lakh toilets have been constructed and 12 districts declared as open defecation free (ODF) in the State. The Central government has provided Rs 138 crore for repairing of dysfunctional toilets.
      • The Survekshan will rank states and districts based on key quantitative and qualitative SBM-G parameters like availability and usage of toilet, sanitary awareness in villages, direct observation by third party and citizens’ feedback.
      • The campaign would also engage the rural community in improvement of their sanitation status through an intensive and holistic IEC campaign.

      A Khasi woman who marries a non-Khasi man will now be deemed a non-Khasi. Her offspring, too, will be considered non-Khasi. However, no such law will apply to a Khasi man marrying a non-Khasi woman.

      • A new law in this regard was introduced by the Khasi Hills Autonomous District Council (KHADC) here on Wednesday by amending the Khasi Hills Autonomous District (Khasi Social Custom of Lineage) Act.
      • The amendment states: “Any Khasi woman who marries a non-Khasi as well as her offspring(s) born out of such marriage(s) shall be deemed as non-Khasi (sic) who shall lose the Khasi status and all the privileges and benefits as a member of the Khasi tribe who cannot claim preferential privileges under any law.”
      • The Bill defines a non-Khasi as “a person not belonging to indigenous Khasi tribe classified as Scheduled Tribe under the Constitution (ST) Order, 1950 (Part III-Rules and Orders under the Constitution) Part XI-Meghalaya.”

      The State Government today approved of the terms of reference of the modality committee to be constituted by the Centre to look into socio-economic and linguistic aspects for overall development of the indigenous tribes of Tripura, one of the promises made in the BJP’s election manifesto.

      • The terms of reference are focused on seven points – economy, language, culture, land rights, education and health care – for the even development of the 19 indigenous tribes.
      • Significantly, the demand for Tipraland as insisted on by the Indigenous People’s Front of Tripura (IPFT), an ally of the present Government, did not find place in the terms of reference.

      With all eight of the State’s districts having 100 per cent sanitation coverage, Mizoram today declared itself an open defecation-free State.

      • According to HC Lalnunzira, State Mission Director for Swachh Bharat Mission (Gramin), the baseline survey 2012 showed that there were 30,067 families with unsanitary latrines/pit latrines. All these households have been provided with sanitary latrines, he said.
      • “Another 30,619 families which had unsanitary latrines and were not covered by the 2012 baseline survey have been provided with sanitary latrines during 2017-2018 under Swachh Bharat. Now, as per the 2012 baseline survey, we can self-declare ourself as an open defecation-free State,” the Mission Director said today.
      • Of the eight districts in Mizoram, spot verification has been done in seven districts. “Block and district verification is being conducted in Lunglei district, and we hope to get the State verification started in August,” he said, adding that an independent verification agency would conduct the Statewide verification.
      • A total of 33,000 toilets were constructed across the State between 2014 and 2018. As per the National Annual Rural Sanitation Survey conducted between November 2017 and March 2018, Mizoram was among one of the best performing States in India. Not only all the districts of the State had 100 per cent toilet coverage, but all the households in rural areas used them regularly, compared to the national average of 68 per cent people with access to toilets actually using it in their households.

      The Pema Khandu-led Arunachal Pradesh Government has said it will soon replace the health insurance scheme conceived by the previous regime with a new one

      • The new Chief Minister’s Arogya Arunachal Yojana (CMAAY) will enable citizens to avail of cashless health services in empanelled hospitals. 
      • Once launched, the scheme will offer health care services of up to Rs 5 lakh per family per year.
      • The vision is to accord quality and cashless healthcare services to the people of the State envisaging universal health care to all by 2020

      The Royal Global University (RGU) has installed 330KW of solar panel to manage energy costs while promoting energy education.

      • Done under the initiative Solar Campus, it aims at reducing RGU’s carbon footprint, using smart lighting techniques and energy-efficient lighting throughout the campus, such as ‘daylight harvesting’.
      • RGU has adopted the “3-R” (Reduce, Recycle and Reuse) philosophy for all types of wastes towards prevention of pollution and disposal of wastes in line with regulatory requirements or beyond-industry best practices as well as LED lighting in place of conventional lighting across all areas.

      Thursday, 26 July 2018

      26th July 2018 | Assam daily current affairs for APSC

      Shortage of personnel in Assam Police

      • The total strength of IPS officers in the Assam Police as on today is 109 compared to the sanctioned strength of 135.
      • The actual strength of the Assam Police as on today is 52,183 against the sanctioned strength of 64,988 accounting for a shortfall of 12,805 personnel.

      The Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (Tobacco Control Division), Government of India, will set up a Regional Satellite Centre of Tobacco Quitline Services (RSCTQS) at the Dr B Borooah Cancer Institute (BBCI), Guwahati

      • The Ministry would provide full funding for the infrastructure development, salary of 22 counsellors, and other ancillary support to run the quitline service centre.
      • The quitline service centre will be inaugurated on August 15 and the work in this regard, like manpower recruitment, has already been initiated
      • As per the Global Adult Tobacco Survey (GATS) report of 2010, the national prevalence of tobacco consumption was 34.6 per cent, which decreased to 28.6 per cent in 2017.
      • However, in Assam tobacco consumption has increased from 39.3 per cent in 2010 to 48.2 per cent in 2017. All other NE states except Sikkim have a high prevalence of tobacco consumption.
      • In Meghalaya and Tripura TRC constitutes 65.2 per cent and 53.8 per cent in men, respectively. In Assam, TRC constitutes 46-52 per cent in men and 20-25 per cent in women.
      • As per the report of Public Health Foundation of India, the Government of Assam spent Rs 157.8 crore for treatment of tobacco-related diseases in 2011 out of its total health budget of Rs 542 crore for that year.
      • In Assam, about 3.2 lakh packets of cigarette and 6.5 lakh sachets of gutkha are sold daily.
      • The Global School Personnel Survey (GSPS) states that 34.2 per cent of the children in the North East states consume tobacco as against 13 per cent in the south Indian states.

      The first-ever total knee replacement surgery was performed on a 65-year-old lady by a team of doctors and nurses of Tura Civil Hospital recently. 

      • The operation was led by Dr Adrian R Marak, Orthopaedic Surgeon.
      • According to Dr Marak, the woman had severe pain in the knee joints and was unable to perform normal errands. After the surgery, she is now very well on her way to recuperating from her ailment

      Wednesday, 25 July 2018

      25th July 2018 | Assam current affairs for APSC

        Indian deposits in Swiss banks fell by 34.5 per cent in 2017 and by 80 per cent since 2014

        • The money parked by Indians in Swiss banks rose to CHF 1.01 billion (Rs 7,000 crore) in 2017 after falling for three consecutive years
        • According to Swiss authorities, the more reliable data source for deposits held in Switzerland is the Locational Banking Statistics (LBS) of Bank of International Settlements.
        • LBS measures international banking activity from a residence perspective, focusing on the location of banking office and captures around 95 per cent of all cross-border banking activity.

        The Centre today said that power to grant citizenship to minority migrants from Pakistan, Afghanistan and Bangladesh has been delegated to district magistrates of 16 districts and governments of seven states to make the process simpler and faster

        • The Ministry of Home Affairs has been in touch with the state authorities concerned and other stakeholders, and has sensitized them to expeditiously process all the pending citizenship applications of eligible applicants, Minister of State for Home Affairs Kiren Rijiju said in a Lok Sabha reply to a question by Kalyan Banerjee of West Bengal.
        • According to online data, a total of 4,044 applications are under process at various levels for grant of Indian citizenship. Out of which, 1,085 applications are under process in the Ministry of Home Affairs and 2,959 are with various state governments. However, religion-wise data is not maintained centrally.
        • As per the provisions of the Citizenship Act, 1955 and rules made thereunder, Indian citizenship is granted to foreign nationals, who make an application in the prescribed form, Rijiju said.

        The State government has launched a Rs 460-crore ‘Muga Mission’ to raise the muga production by ten times more than what it is today. 

        • The mission will be operative for a period of ten years from the financial year of 2017-18. The preliminary work under the mission has already started with the State government releasing an amount of Rs 100 crore.
        • For 2017-18 financial year, the State produced 156.96 metric tons of raw muga, while in the preceding financial year, it could produce 139 metric tons of raw yearn of this golden silk.
        • Meanwhile, the World Bank-sponsored APART (Assam’s Agri-business and Rural Transformation Project) has taken up the districts of undivided Kamrup, Lakhimpur, Biswanath, Jorhat and Sivasagar for plantation of muga and eri host plants, setting up rearing houses and providing equipment support to the sericulture farmers.
        • In Darrang district, ventures for development and expansion of mulberry silk sector are undertaken under the Rs 29.54-crore Northeastern Regional Textile Policy Development Scheme (NERTPS) of the Union Ministry of Textiles. The initiatives undertaken under this scheme started in the financial year of 2015-16 and its initial period of three years has been extended by one year to the financial year of 2019-20.

        Singapore has entered into an MoU with the Assam government, and it has been agreed that trainers from that country will train up youths from Assam. 

        • Four agreements were also signed relating to tourism, hospitality, wellness and retail sectors. As part of an agreement signed with Singapore, a skill city of international standard would also be set up at Mangaldai with an estimated cost of Rs 9,000 crore
        • ‘Swabalamban’ scheme is launched by the government for self-employment of surrendered militants, which will assist the beneficiaries to take up different activities in primary, secondary and tertiary sectors. 
        • Government initiatives for jail inmates like ‘Karagar Se Karigar’ under which prisoners will get opportunities to engage themselves in fruitful pursuits during their jail terms
        • Japanese delegation has urged the Government of Assam to give six months’ language training in Japanese so that Japan can absorb as many electronics engineers from Assam as possible in the IT sectors of that country. Assam government will urge premier institutions like Gauhati University to impart training in foreign languages at the University.

        With the country setting its goal on tuberculosis (TB) elimination by 2025, technology has come to assist the fight against the dreaded disease in the matter of tracking and monitoring TB patients in real time.

        • ‘Swasthyaa’ – one such technology platform supported through a software interface for health administrators, medical officers and health workers to track and monitor TB patients in real time – was launched by Dr R Bhuyan, Director of Health Services, Assam, at a function at Guwahati Press Club today.
        • Dr Bhuyan informed the gathering that the State Tuberculosis (TB) Cell, Government of Assam, and the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), Guwahati, have jointly developed Swasthyaa, which would be implemented in Kamrup (Metro) and Nalbari districts in a pilot mode.

        Honouring the rich legacy of the glorious journey of Assamese cinema since 1935, the State Film Awards ceremony and Film Festival for the year 2018 will be held at the Srimanta Sankaradeva Kalakshetra, Panjabari on July 28 and 29. 

        • The awards to be given away during the event comprise two years viz. 2015-2016 and 2016-2017. Notably, awards in each category would be given separately for each year i.e., for films between 2015-2016 and for 2016-2017.
        • The films to be screened during the festival are Dr Bezbaruah (10-30 am), Dinabandhu (11-30 am) and Bowari (1-30 pm) on July 28 and Chameli Memsaab (10-30 am), Haladhiya Charaye Baodhan Khai (1-30 am) and Village Rockstars (1-30 pm) on July 29.
        • The festival aims at encouraging the production of films of aesthetic excellence and social relevance, contributing to understanding and appreciation of films and promoting the integration and unity of the State.

        The I-T office celebrated the Income Tax Day today along with the rest of the country. Income tax was first levied as a duty on July 24 in 1860 and so July 24 is observed as the Income Tax Day

        Bengaluru FC skipper Sunil Chhetri put pen to paper on a fresh one-year deal that will see him stay at the club until the end of the 2020-21 season

        • The deal adds to the AIFF Player of the Year’s current contract at the JSW Group-owned side.
        • The 33-year old Chhetri had earlier signed a three-year deal with the Blues ahead of their move to the Indian Super League last season. Chhetri, who is the longest serving player at the club, spoke of his delight at the extension.

        Guwahati tea auction made a record today when a line of gold tea produced by a tea garden in the State sold for Rs 39,001 per kg

        • A line of Manohari Gold Tea was knocked down under pan-India online auction system at Rs 39,001 by Contemporary Brokers. It was bought by Sourabh Tea Traders Pvt Ltd of Guwahati for their upcountry buyers in Delhi and Ahmedabad.
        • According to the Guwahati Tea Auction Centre, this is the highest price any tea has fetched in any auction centre all over the world.
        • This exclusive gold tea was produced by Manohari Tea Estate situated at Dibrugarh and made by tea expert CK Parashar under the guidance of estate owner Rajan Lohia.
        • The owner of Sourabh Tea Traders ML Maheshwari said, “Our customers are always looking for best quality specialty tea. Earlier, we had purchased another line of Donyi Polo Tea Estate specialty tea at Rs 18,801.

        Tuesday, 24 July 2018

        Civil Services preparation material contribution aspirant

        Following are the list of books shared by an aspirant for the benefit of fellow aspirants:

        1. Objective Indian Polity and Constitution
        2. Objective Indian History
        3. Objective Indian Geography
        4. Gist of NCERT Indian History
        5. Gist of NCERT Indian Economy
        6. From Plassey to Partition - Sekhar Bandyopadhyay
        7.  Ancient India
        8. Spectrum's A Brief History of Modern India 
        9. Psychology Material
        10. India from Midnight to the Millenium by Shashi Tharoor
        11. An Era of Darkness by Shashi Tharoor
        12. India After Gandhi by Ramachandra Guha
        13. Modern India political thought test and context by Bidyut Chakrabarty & Rajendra Kumar Pandey

        Click Here to Download

        24th July 2018 | Assam daily current affairs for APSC

        Key State Cabinet approvals:

        • Approved the decision to nominate athlete Hima Das as the brand ambassador of Assam Sports.
        • The Assam Employees Parents Responsibility and Norms for Accountability and Monitoring (PRANAM) Bill. It is mandatory for Assam government employees to look after their aged and dependent parent/s and physically challenged siblings, if any, who don’t have their own source of income.
        • The State Cabinet also approved Rs 487 crore to upgrade the infrastructure of schools under Gunoutsav.
        • The Cabinet also increased the maximum age limit for OBC and MOBC to apply for jobs from 43 to 47.
        • Approved a new wildlife division for better administration and management of the Sixth Addition of Kaziranga National Park.
        • The Hojai-based Central Assam Afforestation Division has been renamed as Biswanath Wildlife Division and relocated to Biswanath. 
        • The Cabinet also scrapped a rule of the Excise Act which pertains to sub-leasing of bottling plants and breweries. “The provision of sub-leasing may lead to a situation giving opportunity to the sub-lesee to take recourse to malpractices. Such a situation may lead to complications making it difficult for the department to fix responsibility and liability on the original license holder.
        • It also decided to compensate 225 families whose land has been acquired for the expansion of the IITG.
        • The State Cabinet has also approved UGC’s revised scale of pay for college teachers. Employees of Medical College and technical colleges will also get salary as per UGC revised pay scale.

        Meghalaya Government banned import of fish packed in ice for 15 days after several samples returned formalin positive.

        • 9 samples were found laced with formalin when they tested these with the recently procured Formaldehyde Detection Test (FDT) kits.
        • Most of the samples were taken from Nongpoh, Ri-Bhoi district and fishes were imported from Andhra Pradesh. 
        • The Meghalaya Fisheries dept recently received 14 FDT kits from Cochin-based Central Institute of Fisheries Technology.

        The Centre has directed the Pollution Control Board, Assam, regarding treatment of sewage and the Commissioner of the Guwahati Municipal Corporation (GMC) for implementation of the Solid Waste Management Rules, 2016.

        • Union Minister for Environment, Forest and Climate Change Dr Harsh Vardhan said that the Central government is aware of the problem of pollution levels in Guwahati and the city has been identified as a non-attainment city with respect to PM10, requiring proper air quality management.
        • Directions have been issued to the Assam Pollution Control Board, under Section 18(1)(b) of the Water (Prevention & Control of Pollution) Act, 1974 regarding treatment and utilization of sewage. 
        • Directions have also been issued to the GMC Commissioner for implementation of the Solid Waste Management Rules, 2016, and regarding treatment and utilization of sewage for restoration of river water quality. 
        • The Additional Chief Secretary, Environment and Forest, Government of Assam, has also been issued directions for setting up of facilities for treatment, storage and disposal of hazardous waste.

        The Chief Minister is scheduled to inaugurate the Kanaklata Women Empowerment Scheme in Cachar and Karimganj districts as a part of the ongoing efforts of the Government to make women of the State self-reliant.

        • Rs 315 crore has been allotted in the Budget for various activities to ensure that women of the State become self-reliant and empowered.

        Monday, 23 July 2018

        Xomidhan Whatsapp Live Counseling | Education Optional - Jharna Patgiri

        Xomidhan, a not for profit career counselling organisation conducted an online WhatsApp based live session on the topic preparation for education optional subject for APSC on 22nd July 2018. The resource person for the session was Jharna Patgiri, Assistant Commissioner, Government of Assam and the session was moderated by Anshuman Dutta from Xomidhan.

        Here are some of the key highlights of the session

        Methodology for Education preparation:

        • First browse the previous year’s question papers.
        • Select the most frequently asked topics. Mark in your syllabus. 
        • Then you start reading the available materials, preferably one good book initially.
        • After that start preparing all the topics of the syllabus. 
        • Write down few answers for practice.
        • Same with other subject preparation. For GS, we will discuss in another session.

        Books to follow:

        • DN Das, Chaube, Chauhan for Principles of Education
        • Advanced Educational Psychology – S.K. Mangal
        • Advanced Educational Psychology – S S Chauhan
        • Statistics in Education and Psychology - Kaberi Saha
        • History of Indian Education
        • Issues n Problems of Indian Education

        This article captures the key highlights of the session and do not reflect the contents as well as particulars of the actual discussion and the individual questions asked by the aspirants.

        Chandra Shekhar Azad : The Revolutionary who vowed never to be taken alive by police

        Chandrashekhar Azad was a great Indian freedom fighter. His fierce patriotism and courage inspired others of his generation to enter freedom struggle. Chandrasekhar Azad was the mentor Bhagat Singh, and along with Bhagat Singh, he is considered as one of the greatest revolutionaries who dawned in the soil of the nation.

        He was one of the most important revolutionaries who re-organised the Hindustan Republican Association under the new name of Hindustan Socialist Republican Association (HSRA) after the death of its founder Pandit Ram Prasad Bismil and three other prominent party leaders, Thakur Roshan Singh, Rajendra Nath Lahiri and Ashfaqulla Khan. He was the chief strategist of the HSRA. He played key role in Kakori Train Robbery (1926), the attempt to blow up the Viceroy's train (1926), and the shooting of Saunders at Lahore (1928) to avenge the killing of Lala Lajpat Rai.

        Chandra Shekhar Azad was born on July 23, 1906 in Badarka village of Unnao district in Uttar Pradesh. His parents were Pandit Sitaram Tiwari and Jagarani Devi. Pandit Sitaram Tiwari was serving in erstwhile estate of Alirajpur and Chandra Shekhar Azad's childhood was spent in the village Bhabra. On the insistence of her mother Jagrani Devi, Chandra Shekhar Azad went to Kashi Vidyapeeth, Benaras for studying Sanskrit.

        Chandrashekhar Azad was deeply troubled by the Jallianwala Bagh Massacre in Amritsar in 1919. In 1921, when Mahatma Gandhi launched Non-Cooperation movement, Chandrasekhar Azad actively participated in revolutionary activities. He received his first punishment at the age of fifteen. Chandra Shekhar was caught while indulging in revolutionary activities.

        When the magistrate asked him his name, he said "Azad" (meaning free). Chandrashekhar Azad was sentenced to fifteen lashes. With each stroke of the whip the young Chandrasekhar shouted "Bharat Mata Ki Jai". From then on Chandrashekhar assumed the title of Azad and came to known as Chandrashekhar Azad. Chandrashekhar Azad vowed that he would never be arrested by the British police and would die as free man.

        After the suspension of non-cooperation movement, Chandrashekhar Azad was attracted towards more aggressive and revolutionary ideals. He committed himself to complete independence by any means. Chandrashekhar Azad and his compatriots would target British officials known for their oppressive actions against ordinary people and freedom fighters.

        Chandra Shekhar Azad made Jhansi his organisation's hub for a considerable duration. He chose the forest of Orchha situated at about fifteen kilometers from Jhansi for shooting practice. He was an expert marksman and used to train other members of his group in Orchha. Near the forest he built a hut aside a Hanuman Temple on the banks of the Satar River. He lived there under the alias of Pandit Harishankar Brahmachari for a long period, and started teaching kids of the nearby village Dhimarpura. In this way he managed to establish good rapport with the local residents. The village Dhimarpura was renamed as Azadpura by the Madhya Pradesh government.

        While living in Jhansi, he also learnt to drive a car at Bundelkhand Motor Garage in Sadar Bazar of the cantonment area. Sadashivrao Malkapurkar, Vishwanath Vaishampayan and Bhagwan Das Mahaur came in close contact with him and became an integral part of his revolutionary group. The then congress leaders from Jhansi Pandit Raghunath Vinayak Dhulekar and Pandit Sitaram Bhaskar Bhagwat were also close to Azad. He also stayed for sometime in the house of Master Rudra Narayan Singh situated at Nai Basti and Pandit Sitaram Bhaskar Bhagwat's house in Nagra.

        The HRA was formed by Ram Prasad Bismil, Yogesh Chandra Chatterji, Sachindra Nath Sanyal and Shachindra Nath Bakshi in 1924 just after two year of the Non co-operation movement. In the aftermath of the Kakori train robbery in 1925, the British clamped down on revolutionary activities. Prasad, Ashfaqulla Khan, Thakur Roshan Singh and Rajendra Nath Lahiri were sentenced to death for their participation. Chandra Shekhar Azad, Keshab Chakravarthy and Murari Sharma, who participated equally in the act, evaded capture. Chandra Shekhar Azad later reorganized the HRA with the help of revolutionaries like Sheo Verma and Mahaveer Singh. Azad was also a close associate of Bhagwati Charan Vohra who along with Bhagat Singh, Sukhdev, and Rajguru, helped him to transform the HRA into the HSRA in 1928 so as to achieve their primary aim of an independent India based on socialist principles.

        Chandrashekhar Azad was a terror for British police. He was first on their hit list and the British police badly wanted to capture him dead or alive.

        In the last week of Feb, 1931 Azad went to Sitapur Jail and met Ganesh Shankar Vidyarthi. He hoped that Vidyarthi would involve in the case of Bhagat Singh and others as he had previously done in the Kakori conspiracy case. Vidyarthi suggested him to go to Allahabad and meet Pandit Jawahar Lal Nehru. If he could be convinced, Nehru would be able to persuade Gandhi to talk to the Viceroy Lord Irwin and reach an agreement with the British Government in the forthcoming Gandhi-Irwin Pact. Azad met Pandit Nehru in the early morning of 27 February 1931 at his residence Anand Bhawan in Allahabad and held talks with him. Nehru was not convinced with Azad's arguments and asked Azad to leave his place. A furious Azad left immediately.

        From Anand Bhawan he went to the Alfred Park on his bicycle. He sat under a tree of Jamun after propping his bicycle on the tree. He was discussing some confidential matters with a fellow party member, Sukhdev Raj when Deputy Superintendent of Police Bisheshwar Singh along with S.S.P. (C.I.D.) John Nott-Bower arrived there. Nott-Bower, pointed his finger towards Azad, to tell Bisheshwar Singh that this corpulent man was the person about whom he was informed just now by some reliable sources. 

        Chandra Shekhar Azad
        Seeing a policeman pointing out his finger towards him, Azad immediately dragged out his Colt pistol from pocket and fired at Nott-Bower, hitting him in the right wrist. Seeing his senior officer soaked in blood, Bisheshwar Singh abused Azad. Azad immediately shot Bisheshwar Singh in his mouth, breaking his jaw. 

        Within a few minutes, the police surrounded Alfred Park. During the initial encounter, Azad suffered a severe bullet wound in his right thigh, making it difficult for him to escape. But even then he made it possible for Sukhdev Raj to escape by providing him a cover fire. After Sukhdev Raj escaped, Azad managed to keep the police at bay for a long time.

        Finally, with only one bullet left in his pistol and being completely surrounded and outnumbered, Chandra Shekhar Azad shot himself, keeping his pledge to never be captured alive. At the age of 15, he once claimed that as his name was "Azad", he would never be taken alive by police. He kept his promise till his last breath.

        22nd & 23rd July 2018 | Daily current affairs for APSC

        The Centre is considering the possibility of amending the Indian Penal Code to define ‘mob lynching’ as a penal offence.

        • If the burden of proof to prove innocence is put on the accused, then certain sections of the CrPC and the Indian Evidence Act would also require amendments
        • Another option being considered is to draft a model law that states can adopt to prevent incidents of mob lynching.
        • The government may also further strengthen the framework relating to social media to ensure that rumours which may lead to such incidents are checked.

        Kerala stands as the best governed state in the country as per the Public Affairs Index 2018 released by the think tank Public Affairs Centre (PAC)

        • “Kerala has topped the Public Affairs Index (PAI) for 2018 as the best governed state for the third consecutive year since 2016 among large states,” said Bengaluru-based PAC at an event in the city this evening to release its third annual PAI.
        • Released annually since 2016, the index examines governance performance in the states through a data-based framework, ranking them on social and economic development they are able to provide.
        • Assam is 18th in the overall rankings on the PAI for 2018. Tamil Nadu, Telangana, Karnataka and Gujarat followed Kerala among the top five states delivering good governance, according to the report. Madhya Pradesh, Jharkhand and Bihar ranked the lowest on the PAI, indicating higher social and economic inequalities in the states.
        • The rankings of the states on the PAI this year are as follows: Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Telangana, Himachal Pradesh, Karnataka, Gujarat, Maharashtra, Punjab, Andhra Pradesh, Goa, Haryana, Mizoram, Sikkim, Tripura, Chhattisgarh, Uttarakhand, Rajasthan, Assam, West Bengal, Arunachal Pradesh, Jammu and Kashmir, Delhi, Nagaland, Odisha, Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Manipur, Jharkhand, Meghalaya, and Bihar.
        • Among smaller states (with population less than two crore), Himachal Pradesh topped the list, followed by Goa, Mizoram, Sikkim and Tripura which figured among the top five states with good governance. Nagaland, Manipur and Meghalaya were ranked at the bottom of the index among small states.
        • Founded in 1994 by renowned Indian economist and scholar late Samuel Paul, the PAC works to mobilise a demand for better governance in the country. The think tank has undertaken the study across all the Indian states considering them across 10 themes such as essential infrastructure, support to human development, social protection, women and children as well as law and order.
        • The states were divided into two categories – large and small – on the basis of their population. States with more than two crore population were considered large. A total of 30 focus subjects and 100 indicators were measured to derive the PAI, relying solely upon government data. 

        The aim of ‘Act East Policy’ is to promote the country’s economic cooperation, cultural ties and develop strategic relationship with countries in Asia-Pacific region through continuous engagement at bilateral, regional and multilateral levels

        • It was originally conceived as an economic initiative, but has gained political, strategic and cultural dimensions, including establishment of institutional mechanisms for dialogue and cooperation.
        • At the ‘National Security Dialogue’ organised at the Maharaja Sayajirao University , Singh called for greater connectivity between Northeastern States and South East Asia with the aim to build ties with ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations) countries.
        • “Connectivity is the most crucial factor in furthering India’s relations with South East Asia. Therefore, it is imperative to focus on improved airways, roadways, waterways, railways and information ways in this region,” he said, adding India’s Northeastern States are active stakeholders in the country’s Act East policy.
        • “Continued development of relevant infrastructure, both within the (Northeastern) States and at international borders, is necessary with a view to enhance trade, investment, tourism and people-to-people ties,” Singh said.
        • Talking to reporters before the seminar, he called for improving air links between ASEAN and BBIN (Bangladesh- Bhutan-India-Nepal, a sub-regional grouping) countries.
        • Among the connectivity projects already envisaged is a four-lane trilateral highway linking India (Moreh in Manipur) with Mae Sot (Thailand) via Myanmar which will be expanded to Laos, Cambodia and Vietnam. This highway can only be sustained through movement of goods and also economic activity along the route through Myanmar.
        • For this, it is essential to focus on development and connectivity in India’s Northeastern States itself, with new roads and rail links, opening of multi-modal transport, including river navigation, and setting up industrial corridors and ‘haats’ or local markets.

        The Assam Civil Services Rules, 2015

        • The proposed move would result in a wait of a minimum six years from the date of holding of the relevant post for an ACS officer to be promoted from the post of Circle Officer to that of Additional Deputy Commissioner or Deputy Secretary, a minimum wait of six years for an ADC/Deputy Secretary to become Joint Secretary and a minimum wait of seven years for a Joint Secretary to become Additional Secretary
        • “If ratified, the changes in service rules would ensure that most senior ACS officers, mainly of the 1992, 1993 and 1995 batches would not be able to rise above the level of Additional Secretary and thereby be deprived of attaining the level of Secretary at the time of retirement. 
        • The benefit of reservation of 30 Secretary-level posts for ACS officers was implemented during the tenure of the erstwhile Congress government following a cadre review undertaken by then Additional Chief Secretary Subhash Chandra Das.

        Mizoram’s own polygamist Ziona, head of what is believed to be world’s largest family, celebrated his 74th birthday at Baktawng Tlangnuam village in central Mizoram’s Serchhip district on Saturday.

        • With 38 wives and over 90 children, Ziona, the head of a Christian religious sect called Chana Pawl, Ziona is the head of a family of about 200 members that include his wives, children, daughter-in-laws, and grand-children, not to mention the 2,000-strong members of his sect. Ziona, fondly called by his followers as ‘hotupa’ (leader), was born on July 21, 1944.
        • Chana Pawl traces its origins to an evangelist called Khuangtuaha, who drew the ire of the headman of his village Hmawngkawn and the then British Government in power with his interpretation of the Bible, which was different from the majority Christians. Evicted from the village, the preacher and his followers began the sect on 12 June, 1942.

        Lakshya Sen today became only the third Indian shuttler to secure a gold medal at the Asia Junior Championships after defeating reigning world junior champion Kunlavut Vitidsarn of Thailand in straight games in the final at Jakarta.

        • Late Gautam Thakkar (1965) and Olympic silver medallist PV Sindhu (2012) had won the prestigious title earlier. 
        • Sindhu had won a bronze as well in 2011, while Sameer Verma won a silver and bronze in 2011 and 2012 and the pair of Pranav Chopra/Prajakta Sawant bagged a bronze in 2009.

        In a bid to bail it out from the nagging problem of shortfall in power supply, the Assam Power Distribution Company Ltd (APDCL) has signed agreements to purchase 100 MW of solar power and 120 MW of wind power. It has also signed an agreement to purchase 108 MW of hydroelectric power from the neighbouring country, Bhutan.

        • The private parties which have entered into agreements with the APDCL to supply solar power, will set up solar power plants in four regions of the State. While the first region includes the six districts of Dhubri, Kokrajhar, Chirang, Baksa, Udalguri and Darrang, the second region includes the five districts of Goalpara, Bongaigaon, Barpeta, Nalbari and Kamrup, the third region includes the seven districts of Sonitpur, Nagaon, Morigaon, Karbi Anglong, Dima Hasao, Lakhimpur and Dhemaji and the fourth region includes the three districts of Cachar, Hailakandi and Karimganj, sources said.
        • It needs mention here that the peak load hour power demand of the State at present has been worked out to be 1,850 MW. As per the Central Electricity Authority’s (CEA’s) Electric Power Survey Forecast, the peak load hour power demand of the State for 2017-18 fiscal was 1,946 MW and for 2018-19, it was 2,222 MW.
        • In fact, the State is facing a shortfall of around 455 MW compared to what was forecast by the CEA for the current year. As, in practice, the APDCL could supply only 1,767 MW of power against the demand of 1,850 MW it has worked out, as has been revealed by the figures available with this newspaper (The Assam Tribune).

        For the first time in the Northeast, Guwahati will have a 33-kV underground power cable network. The Union Government and the World Bank are providing funds on a 50:50 basis for this Rs 123-crore project, which will be executed by the Power Grid Corporation of India Ltd (PGCIL).

        • The project started in November 2017 and is scheduled to be completed by March 2019. It is being undertaken to strengthen the existing power supply network of the city.
        • The project will have an around 130-km-long underground cable network covering the areas of Paltanbazar, Ulubari, Rehabari, Uzanbazar, part of Silpukhuri, Chandmari, Bamunimaidam, Narengi, Panbazar, Fancybazar, GS Road, Gauhati Medical College Hospital (GMCH) localities, Hengrabari and the RG Baruah Road localities.
        • To feed this network, there will be a 132-kV underground cable network to link the 132-kV substation at Kamakhya with the 132-kV substation at Paltanbazar and the 132-kV substation at Kahilipara with the 132-kV substation in GMCH area.

          Indian archers ended their campaign with a silver and bronze medal, both coming from compound section, at stage four of the Archery World Cup here today.

          • Indian women’s compound team once again failed to cross the final hurdle, this time by a heartbreaking one point, to settle for a silver medal earlier in the day.
          • Eyeing a maiden gold at the World Cup circuit, Jyothi Surekha Vennam, Muskan Kirar and Trisha Deb had a promising 59-57 lead but only to slip in the third end as the French trio snatched the lead before clinching it 229-228. 
          • Jyothi later added a bronze in the compound mixed pair event with Abhishek Verma defeating the Turkish duo of Yesim Bostan and Demir Elmaagacli 156-153.

          Prime Minister’s Awas Yojana (PMAY), an ambitious scheme for the poor and homeless families, has miserably failed to get desired results in Nalbari district so far.

          • 61 per cent houses allotted to the beneficiaries in the 2016-17 financial year remained incomplete in all the seven developmental blocks of the district.
          • During that financial year, a total of 3,161 houses were sanctioned under the PMAY scheme. Of them 99.49 per cent beneficiaries got the first instalment of Rs 32,500 for the initial works of a dream house. 
          • After 36 days of receiving the amount of first instalment, 92 per cent beneficiaries got an amount of Rs 78,000 as the second instalment as per the utilisation certificate of the first instalment. The beneficiaries got Rs 1,10,500 in total in the two instalments together. 
          • However, official sources claimed that after getting the huge amount in the second instalment, 61 per cent beneficiaries did not claim the third instalment of Rs 19,500. 

          Focus Article: Proposals made in 1965 to check influx were ignored

          • Way back in 1965, a proposal was mooted to compile a register of citizens in Assam and to issue identity cards to Indian citizens on the basis of it. But unfortunately, the proposal was not taken up. 
          • Similarly, a proposal to erect barbed wire fencing along the border with the then East Pakistan was also shelved due to various reasons.
          • According to a Government report, in 1965, the Government of India took up with the State Government to expedite compilation of Register of Citizens and to issue identity cards on the basis of this register to Indian inhabitants at least in selected areas of the State. 
          • Under this proposal for Identity cards, Indian citizens in Assam were to carry Identity cards on a voluntary basis so that citizens possessing identity cards are not embarrassed by officials checking infiltration of Pakistanis. But because of the reasons best known to the people at the helm of affairs at that time, the project was not implemented.
          • Moreover, Government of India sent another proposal to the Assam Government to clear a mile deep belt along the border with East Pakistan so that barbed wire fencing can be erected to prevent infiltration of foreigners. 
          • Government of Assam, however expressed difficulties in expeditiously clearing up the border areas since it involved shifting of 25,000 families (1,28,000 persons) along the 560 square mile belt on the Assam-East Pakistan border. In January 1965, the State Government also submitted a scheme to the Union Home Ministry for providing barbed wired fencing to cover vulnerable stretches. 
          • The Home Ministry decided that a beginning in barbed wire fencing must be made in a few key sectors but owing to shortage of barbed wire, amongst other things the project, however, could not get off the ground. Eventually, by 1966, the Central Government dropped the proposal to issue identity cards in consultation with the Government of Assam, having found the project impracticable
          • It may be mentioned here that the process of erecting barbed wire and construction of border roads along the Assam-Bangladesh border ultimately started after the signing of the Assam Accord and even after nearly 33 years of signing of the
          • Accord, the process has not been completed. Moreover, the fencing constructed at a stretch of around 76 kilometers along the international border in the first phase had to be replaced due to faulty design as in most places, the fencing was erected at a much lower height than the border roads and was damaged by floods. Moreover, the international riverine border remains vulnerable as no physical barriers could be placed and now the Government is examining the feasibility of using modern technology to improve vigil along it.

          Saturday, 21 July 2018

          21st July 2018 | Daily current affairs for APSC

          At least 15 major new line projects having an aggregate length of 1,395 km at a cost of Rs 55,206 crore have been taken up in the North Eastern Region. 

          • An expenditure of Rs 18,477 crore has been incurred on these projects up to March.
          • In a Rajya Sabha reply, Minister of State for Railways Rajen Gohain said that an outlay of Rs 4,430 crore has been provided for 2018-19 for these projects and residual liabilities of some completed projects.
          • Completion of projects depends on many factors like availability of funds, land acquisition, forestry and wildlife clearances, shifting of services, working season, geographical conditions, law-and-order situation, among others.

          The State Revenue Department has sanctioned an amount of Rs 18 crore for procuring the dredger and other equipment under the State Disaster Response Fund (SDRF) for the scheme titled Procurement of fleet of machineries for dredging/excavation in the tributaries of rivers Brahmaputra and Barak.

          • The previous two tenders were floated in the financial year of 2017-18. Only one firm took part in the bidding and it also failed to meet the specifications sought for by the advisory committee of the State Government. 
          • The State Government set up the advisory committee with experts from the IIT-Guwahati, Assam Engineering College, State Inland Water Transport Department (IWT), the Inland Waterways Authority of India (IWAI) and the WRD.
          • The Central sector Water and Power Consultancy Services Ltd (WAPCOS) has submitted a techno-commercial proposal to the Central Water Commission (CWC) on matters related to dredging of the bed of the Brahmaputra to improve the carrying capacity of its channel and also to build two express highways along its banks.
          • The WAPCOS has been engaged by the Union Government to prepare the detailed project report (DPR) in these respects. After completion of the DPR, the exact picture concerning the amount of money needed to execute dredging and other related works would become clear.
          • The State Government has by this time submitted a report of the survey carried out by the WRD on the proposed express highways along the banks of the Brahmaputra and the concept note it has prepared on the above topics to the Union Government.

          Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s ambitious Urja Ganga Gas Pipeline Project

          • A joint venture (JV) agreement was signed today among the five petroleum and natural gas PSUs – IOCL, ONGC, GAIL, OIL and NRL – at the NRL Corporate Office here for implementing the North East Natural Gas Pipeline Grid Project.
          • The business of the JV company will be to develop, build, operate and maintain the Natural Gas Pipeline Grid connecting Guwahati to the major North Eastern cities and major load centres like Numaligarh Refinery, etc., including integrating it with gas producing fields, wherever feasible, in North East India. The estimated length of the proposed North East Natural Gas Pipeline Grid is around 1,500 km and is expected to cost Rs 6,000 crore. The tentative time schedule for commissioning the North East Pipeline Grid is four years, which includes one year of pre-project activities.
          • The JV company will have equal equity contribution from all the partners for development of the Natural Gas Pipeline Project.
          • The Gas Grid Project will connect the State capitals of all the eight North Eastern States namely, Assam, Arunachal Pradesh, Meghalaya, Manipur, Mizoram, Nagaland, Tripura and Sikkim. The Gas Grid Project will connect all NE States to the National Gas Grid through the Barauni-Guwahati Gas Pipeline being laid by GAIL. From Guwahati, the pipeline will extend to Numaligarh, Dimapur, Kohima and Imphal in one direction; Shillong, Silchar, Aizawl and Agartala in the second direction and to Itanagar in the third direction. Gangtok will be connected from Siliguri from the gas pipeline of GAIL coming from Barauni to Guwahati.

          The US State Department has expressed concern over the participation of Lashkar-e-Taiba-affiliated (LeT) individuals in the upcoming elections in Pakistan

          • The Pakistan Election Commission had rejected the registration of Milli Muslim League (MML) in June, citing its linkages to LeT, an internationally-sanctioned terrorist organisation
          • The US State Department said it has also amended its Foreign Terrorist Organisation designation of LeT in April to add the MML as a "Lashkar alias"
          • The European Union, in a statement, also urged Islamabad to ensure that electoral activities in all parts of Pakistan continued in "safe and secure conditions".

          Facebook has now suspended Boston-based data analytics company Crimson Hexagon over concerns that it harvested users' data.

          • Crimson Hexagon has reportedly collected more than 1 trillion public social media posts from Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Tumblr and other online sources. The company has had contracts in recent years to analyse public Facebook data for third-party clients
          • It was co-founded by Harvard professor Gary King in 2007 who now leads Facebook's independent research initiative titled "Social Science One" which is focused on preventing election interference
          • Facebook, however, said the firm didn't inappropriately obtain any Facebook or Instagram user data, adding that using the data for surveillance is a violation of the company's policies.
          • We do not collect private data from social media providers or anyone else," Crimson Hexagon's Chief Technology Officer Chris Bingham said in a blog post.
          • "Crimson Hexagon only allows government customers to use the platform for specific approved use cases; and under no circumstances is surveillance a permitted use case," Bringham wrote.
          • According to Crimson Hexagon, it uses technologies including Artificial Intelligence (AI) to help clients get insights and shape marketing campaigns and develop new products.
          • In April this year, Facebook had warned investors that more users' data scandals in the future may adversely affect the social networking giant's reputation and brand image.

          4,000 close circuit television (CCTV) cameras at strategic locations in Guwahati, including those meant to track down hit-and-run cases.

          • As per the Union Government, the total proposed cost for the Guwahati Smart City project is estimated at Rs 2,296 crore, including area-based development cost of Rs 1,579 crore (approx) and pan city cost of around Rs 622 crore (approx).
          • Ironically, Guwahati at present has only 350-odd CCTV cameras installed, including those maintained by private parties.
          • Of the 4,000 cameras, nearly 800 would be dedicated for monitoring vehicular traffic, especially road mishaps and hit-and-run cases.

          Friday, 20 July 2018

          20th July 2018 | Daily current affairs for APSC

          PWD Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma today launched a first-of-its-kind pilot project to use waste plastic in road construction.

          • The pilot project, being done on an experimental basis, was launched on the Kahilipara-Dakhingaon Don Bosco Road in the presence of the PWD officials.
          • The new construction method that mixes bitumen with plastic waste is expected to serve several purposes – from checking plastic waste and saving the natural environment to adding to road durability and reducing costs.

          With the Northeastern States demanding access to Chittagong Port in Bangladesh, Minister of State for External Affairs, Gen VK Singh said that Act East policy is not just a progression but a leap forward from the Look East policy, asserting that Act East policy is wider in scope geographically and is more action-driven and result-oriented.

          • The 10th edition of the Delhi Dialogue with the theme “Strengthening India-ASEAN Maritime Co-operation” was opened with a roundtable with Chief Ministers of Northeastern States. This shows the focus that government places on North East, said the Union Minister.
          • The roundtable was attended by most of the Chief Ministers of the Northeastern States barring Assam. The State was represented by State Industries Minister Chandra Mohan Patowary.
          • The Minister added that efforts are on to reinforce ancient links of culture and cooperation with the ASEAN region. He said government envisions Northeastern States to be active partners in developing linkages with the ASEAN. He further stated that as part of Act East Policy, North East has an important bearing on how things will evolve. He asserted that inclusive development of North East is a priority for the government.
          • The Ministers of Northeastern States spoke about the region’s relationships with ASEAN at a special plenary in the Delhi Dialogue. They said their States should have access to Chittagong port.
          • Meghalaya Chief Minister Conrad K Sangma stresses upon reopening of the old Stilwell Road connecting China as it would help develop border trade in Northeastern region.

          External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj today said that the Centre has brought the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2016 in an effort to give citizenship to the people from minority communities who were persecuted in the neighbouring countries.

          • Asserting that the citizenship Bill should be passed, the minister called for support from the MPs to pass the Bill.
          • Replying to a question in the Rajya Sabha during the question hour, Swaraj said from time to time there have been reports of violence and harassment against the members of the minority communities in Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan. These include incidents of killing, persecution, intimidation, abduction, forced conversions, desecration and vandalisation of places of worship and attacks on their business establishments.
          • “These incidents are a matter of concern to the government. Concerns in the matter are regularly conveyed to the respective countries at bilateral level,” the minister said.
          • The Government of Bangladesh has made it clear that it considers attacks against the members of the minority community a serious matter and takes stern action against the perpetrators. The Government of Afghanistan has assured that it takes all possible steps to protect its citizens, including the religious minorities.
          • The issue of the continued poor condition and mistreatment of minority communities in Pakistan has been highlighted by India at the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC)

          Corruption watchdog-turned-political party PRISM today called for the resignation of Mizoram Chief Minister Lal Thanhawla for “misuse of power” by allowing his daughter-in-law to take ‘interviews’ on his behalf.

            Editorial Focus : Skilled Manpower for sustainable development

            Thursday, 19 July 2018

            19th July 2018 | Daily current affairs for APSC

            An opposition-sponsored no- confidence motion against the Narendra Modi government, moved for the first time since the BJP-led dispensation came to power four years ago, would be taken up for debate in the Lok Sabha on Friday, 20th July 2018. 

            • On the first day of the Monsoon Session, Speaker Sumitra Mahajan admitted the notices for the motion moved by several opposition parties and asked TDP’s Kesineni Srinivas to move his motion. 
            • Later, she announced that “the House will take up the debate (on the motion) on Friday, July 20th. The discussion will be held for the full day, followed by voting on it.” She also said there will be no Question Hour on that day and the House would have no other business, barring the discussion on the no-confidence motion. 
            • Earlier, the Speaker had announced that she would announce the date for the debate in 2-3 days. During the Zero Hour, she named all members from TDP, Congress and NCP, among others, who had moved similar no- confidence motion notices. 
            • “More than 50 members are supporting the motion, so the leave is granted (to bring in no-confidence motion),” Mahajan said while accepting the notice. 
            • The Opposition parties have brought the motion against the government on several issues like special status to Andhra Pradesh, cow vigilantism, lynchings, atrocities against women and dalits and alleged dilution of the SC/ST Act.

            The 19 State Civil, Police and allied services officers summoned for handwriting test today were arrested by the Dibrugarh police.

            • Those arrested include 13 Assam Civil Service (ACS) and three Assam Police Service (APS) officers besides a District Transport Officer and two tax officers.
            • With this the number of arrested persons in the cash-for-job scam in the Assam Public Service Commission (APSC) has shot up to 65, including 54 APS, ACS and allied service officials.
            • The ACS officers arrested today are Utpal Bhuyan, Barnali Das, Susovan Das, Dhruvojyoti Chakraborty, Manzoor Ilahi Laskar, Moon Mazoomdar, Mustafa Ahmed Borbhuyan, Md Saibur Rahman Borbhuyan, Monika Teronpi, Ganesh Chandra Das, Srabanti Sen Gupta, Deepsikha Phukan and Leena Krishna Kakati. The arrested APS officials are Gulshan Daolagapu, Pallavi Sharma and Bhargav Phukan. Further, Rituraj Neog, Superintendent of Taxes and Nipon Kumar Pathak, Inspector of Tax, too were arrested alongside Suranjita Hazarika, the Guwahati-based District Transport Officer
            • Police further said that two other accused – Debarata Dey and Sanjan Phukan – have agreed to become approvers in the case.

            Scientists have defined a new geological time scale called the ‘Meghalayan Age’ – a period which began 4,200 years ago and experienced an abrupt mega-drought and cooling around the globe.

            • Sediments collected by an international team of researchers including those from a stalagmite from a cave in Meghalaya helped define the smallest climatic event in Earth’s history.
            • Agricultural-based societies that developed in several regions after the end of the last Ice Age were impacted severely by the 200-year climatic event that resulted in the collapse of civilisations and human migrations in Egypt, Greece, Syria, Palestine, Mesopotamia, the Indus Valley, and the Yangtze River Valley.
            • Evidence of the 4,200-year climatic event has been found on all seven continents. The Late Holocene Meghalayan Age was ratified as the most recent unit of the Geologic Time Scale after many years of research.
            • Two other ages: the Middle Holocene Northgrippian Age and the Early Holocene Greenlandian Age with beginnings defined at climatic events that happened about 8,300 years and 11,700 years ago respectively were also approved.
            • The three ages comprise the Holocene Epoch, which represents the time since the end of the last Ice Age.
            • The Meghalayan Age is unique among the many intervals of the Geologic Time Scale in that its beginning coincides with a global cultural event produced by a global climatic event, said Stanley Finney, a professor at Long Beach State University in the US and Secretary General of the International Union of Geological Sciences (IUGS) in France.
            • The International Commission on Stratigraphy, which is responsible for standardising the Geologic Time Scale, approved the definition of the beginning of the youngest unit of the Geologic Time Scale based on the timing of this event. The Commission then forwarded these proposals to its parent body, the IUGS, for consideration, and the executive committee of IUGS voted unanimously to ratify them.
            • Units of the Geologic Time Scale are based on sedimentary strata that have accumulated over time and contain within them sediment types, fossils and chemical isotopes that record the passage of time as well as the physical and biological events that produced them.
            • The three new ages of the Holocene Epoch are represented by a wealth of sediment that accumulated worldwide on the sea floor, on lake bottoms, as glacial ice, and as calcite layers in stalactites and stalagmites. 

            Focus Article : No Central funds for flood management till 2020

            • The Union government has told the state governments that it would not extend any financial support to their flood management programme (FMP) schemes till 2020, that is the deadline fixed by it for clearing its outstanding liabilities against the FMP schemes executed by the states in the Eleventh Plan period. 
            • The Centre was to clear an amount of Rs 700 crore to Assam against its FMP schemes under the Eleventh and Twelfth Plans till the middle of this year. It cleared an amount of Rs 245 crore against this outstanding liability only recently.
            • Assam Water Resources Department (WRD) Secretary RP Das told that the Union government had told the states in the last meeting held at the New Delhi headquarters of the Central Water Commission (CWC) on June 21 that the issue of the arrear funds against the Eleventh Plan FMP schemes, which have been completed by now, would not be discussed.
            • According to the WRD Secretary, the Union government told the states that the June 21 meeting should discuss only the ongoing FMP schemes of the Twelfth Plan period so that these schemes could be completed. No new FMP scheme should be taken up by the states until the outstanding liabilities against the Eleventh Plan period schemes are cleared within the next two years’ time, the Union government said.
            • Das also informed that a team comprising experts from the CWC, Brahmaputra Board and the State WRD visited the sites of the ongoing Twelfth Plan period FMP schemes. At the third meeting of the series scheduled to be held tomorrow at the CWC’s New Delhi headquarters, the Union government may agree to release the arrear amounts only against the ongoing schemes, which would be taken up for completion. Some of the ongoing schemes may not be considered for completion.
            • The first meeting to discuss the issue of funding the FMP schemes among the representatives of the states and the Union government was held on May 21 this year at the New Delhi office of the Union Ministry of Water Resources. The second meeting between the states and the Union government on the issue was held at the New Delhi headquarters of the CWC on June 21.
            • At the first meeting of the series, Assam WRD Principal Secretary Hemanta Narzary requested the Secretary of the Union Ministry of Water Resources to include new FMP schemes for consideration. But it failed to evoke any positive response from the Union government, Das said.