- On January 4, 2019, On the Prime Minister, Shri Narendra Modi’s one day visit to Imphal, Manipur, he inaugurated 12 projects worth over Rs. 1500 crore. He inaugurated the Dolaithabi Barrage Project which has been completed at a total cost of Rs. 500 crore.
- In the latest ranking of Singapore’s Asia Competitiveness Institute’s (ACI), Ease of Doing Business (EDB) index 2018, Andhra Pradesh emerged on top of the 21 states of India that were considered for the ranking, while Maharashtra and Delhi came in second and third place, respectively. Andhra Pradesh rose from the 5th rank in 2016 to the top spot in 2018. The ACI’s EDB index is based upon three parameters called ABC -Attractiveness to Investors, Business Friendliness and Competitiveness Policies. The index captured the business environment at the sub-national level on the basis of 72 hard and soft indicators. The Ease of Doing Business (EDB) list is compiled by a team of researchers led by Tan Khee Giap, who is the co-director of Asia competitiveness institute (ACI), and associate professor at Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy, National University of Singapore. Suggestions regarding areas where improvement was needed in the state of Andhra Pradesh include bridging numerous institutional and infrastructural gaps in order to sustain its position in the future and improvement in sub environments such as facilitating business operations, infrastructure resilience and market potential.
- Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) has said food businesses need to comply with new packaging regulations that bar use of recycled plastics and newspapers to wrap food articles by July 1, 2019. FSSAI CEO Pawan Agarwal said the new packaging regulations would raise the bar of food safety in India to the next level. The new regulations prohibit packaging material made of recycled plastics including carry bags for packaging, storing, carrying or dispensing articles of food.
- In Arunachal Pradesh, East Siang District has achieved 100 percent electrification under the Pradhan Mantri Sahaj Bijli Har Ghar Yojana- Saubhagya Scheme. This was informed by the state’s Power Department. Pasighat Electrical division has electrified 2,662 households which were earlier left out till the end of December 2018. The power department has electrified 1,483 villages under Deen Dayal Upadhyaya-Gram Jyoti Yojana in the state so far.
- On 3rd January 2019, the Parliament following the approval from the Rajya-Sabha passed the National Council for Teacher Education (Amendment) Bill, 2019, to provide retrospective recognition to central and state government funded institutions offering B.Ed and related courses that are not recognized under the National Council for Teacher Education (NCTE) Act. The NCTE (Amendment) Bill which will be a one-time measure would help over 17,000 students who have obtained B.Ed degrees from those institutions which do not have NCTE approval for the course under the 1993 law. 23 state and central universities and colleges offering B.Ed courses were found not recognised by the Council. The government would ensure that the quality of institutes offering B.Ed courses is maintained and proposes to start integrated course in B.ED as in Law and other courses from 2020. Lok Sabha has already passed this bill on July 23, 2018.
- On January 2, 2019, Haryana government approved 11 projects to revive the mythical Saraswati River at the meeting of Haryana Saraswati Heritage Development Board (HSHDB) headed Haryana Chief minister Manohar Lal Khattar. The approved projects include:
• the construction of Somb Saraswati barrage,
• Developing storage capacity of Saraswati reservoir to 1475-hectare metersat village Rampur Herian, Rampur Kambian and Chillaur in Haryana
• Adi Badri dam on Somb river, a tributary of the Yamuna that originates in the Shivalik Hills, in district Yamunanagar,
• Grant-in-aid of Rs 50 lakh annually for carrying out research activities at the Centre of Excellence at Kurukshetra University.
• Construction of waste water treatment plants for recycling of all waste water falling into Saraswati river,
• Construction of RCC divide wall at Saraswati Tirath at Saraswati Nagar.
• Construction of Saraswati Ghat at village Bhaini and Mangna in district Kurukshetra,
• Construction of bridges on river Saraswati at village Ishargarh and Beer Pipli near Pratapgarh in district Kurukshetra,
• Linking of Saraswati river heritage research institute with centre of excellence for research on Saraswati River established at Kurukshetra University.
- On January 4, 2019, On the Prime Minister, Shri Narendra Modi’s one day visit to Imphal, Manipur, he inaugurated 12 projects worth over Rs. 1500 crore. An Integrated Check Post was inaugurated at Moreh, Imphal, at a cost of over Rs. 125 crore that will facilitate custom clearance, foreign currency exchange, immigration clearance etc.
- On 31st December, 2018 the Parliamentary panel, which keeps track of assurances given by ministers, presented its latest report on Western Ghats on the floor of the Rajya Sabha. The panel examined issues regarding the categorisation of the Western Ghats as Ecologically Sensitive Areas (ESA) as per the recommendations of two committees led by Madhav Gadgil and K. Kasturirangan. The ecologically sensitive areas (ESA) which is stretched in about 56,000 square kilometres of the Western Ghats could not be earmarked as ‘no-go’ zones due to State governments’ ‘insensitivity’ though three draft notifications had been issued over four years for earmarking ESA.
- On 3rd January 2019, the Parliament passed the Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education (Amendment) Bill, 2018 that seeks to do away with the no-detention policy in schools. The Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education (Amendment) Bill was moved in the Rajya-Sabha by Union minister for Human Resources Development Prakash Javadekar and was passed by a voice vote. It is already passed by the Lower House (Lok-Sabha) on July 18 2018. Under current provisions of the Section 16 of the Act, no student can be detained up to class 8th but as per the amendment, it would be left to the States to decide whether to continue the no-detention policy. 25 states have favoured abolishing the no-detention policy. The bill provides for regular examination in classes V and VIII. The MHRD Minister assured that no child will be excluded from school in case he or she fails and such children will be provided two-month remedial teaching to perform better in another examination to be conducted by their schools. If the students still do not pass the exam, the state government may decide to detain them.
10.The Minister of State for Agriculture & Farmers Welfare Shri Parshottam Rupala informed that the Government had launched a Global Environment Facility (GEF) assisted project namely, “Green – Ag: Transforming Indian Agriculture for global environment benefits and the conservation of critical biodiversity and forest landscapes” in collaboration with the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) during September, 2018. The project was launched in high-conservation-value landscapes of five States namely (i) Madhya Pradesh: Chambal Landscape, (ii) Mizoram: Dampa Landscape, (iii) Odisha: Similipal Landscape, (iv) Rajasthan: Desert National Park Landscape and v) Uttarakhand: Corbett-Rajaji Landscape. The project is aimed to mainstream biodiversity, climate change and sustainable land management objectives and practices into Indian agriculture.