Read about the extension of ban on sale of large diesel cars in New Delhi by Supreme Court, the last IRNSS satellite to be launched by ISRO, the ‘Happiness Ministry’ announced by Madhya Pradesh government and more …
1) Supreme Court extends ban on sale of large diesel cars in New Delhi:
- The Supreme Court on Thursday extended a ban on the sale of large diesel cars in New Delhi until the next hearing of the case.
- It did not immediately say when it would hear the case next. The existing ban, aimed at combating toxic smog in India’s capital, was until Thursday.
- Chief Justice of India T.S. Thakur, one of the three judges hearing the case, said the court would consider whether to impose an environmental cess on the sale of diesel cars in New Delhi.
- New Delhi’s ban on new diesel cars has unsettled the industry, its salesmen and investors, who warn the uncertainty surrounding it could derail a tentative recovery in auto sales.
- After the ban was announced in December, Mahindra, Mercedes-Benz and Toyota had filed a plea against the ban. These three manufacturers had submitted an independent analysis report, which claimed that the majority traffic comprises of two- and three-wheelers. And emissions from these vehicles were causing more harm to the environment than their diesel-powered cars. However, the ban was retained.
- Diesel vehicles were being targeted in Delhi due to their emission of Diesel Particulate Matter (DPM) which is an output of diesel combustion. The relevant authorities were worried about the high density of PM2.5 (particulates sized 2.5 microns or smaller) in the air.
2) China again blocks India’s bid at UN to ban JeM chief Masood Azhar-
- In a dramatic move, China has once again blocked India’s bid at the UN to ban JeM chief Masood Azhar, the mastermind of the Pathankot terror attack.
- According to highly placed sources here, just hours before the deadline earlier on Thursday, China requested the UN Committee, which is considering a ban on the chief of the Pakistan-based terror outfit Jaish-e-Mohammad(JeM), to keep on hold the designation.
- After the attack on the IAF base at Pathankot on January 2, India in February wrote to the UN calling for immediate action to list Azhar under the al-Qaida Sanctions Committee.
- The submission was armed with strong evidence of the outfit’s terror activities and its role in the Pathankot attack that killed seven Indian military personnel.
- India also told the UN Sanctions Committee that not listing Azhar would expose it and other countries in South Asia to threats from the terror group and its leader.
- The India submission was considered by the Counter-Terrorism Executive Directorate (CTED) for technical aspects of the evidence provided. The technical team then with the support of the US, UK and France had sent it to all the members, sources said.
- All were told that if there are no objections the designation will be announced after the expiry of the deadline, the sources said.
- According to other government sources, the Chinese action was in “consultation” with Pakistan, which is not on the UN Committee.
- The UN had banned JeM in 2001 but India’s efforts to ban Azhar after the Mumbai terror attack also did not fructify as China, one of the five permanent members of the UN group with veto powers, didn’t allow the ban apparently at the behest of Pakistan again.
3) ISRO to launch last series of IRNSS satellite next month:
- The last satellite of the IRNSS series will be launched next month, a move that will provide accurate position information service to users in India, while Chandryaan Mission II is expected to take off by December next year.
- Addressing a news conference, Jitendra Singh, Union Minister of State in the PMO that looks after the Department of Space, said the last satellite of the IRNSS series will be launched on April, 28, 2016.
- “This which will complete the Indian Regional Navigation Satellite System, that will provide navigation facility in and around India,” Singh said.
- ISRO chairman A S Kiran Kumar said Chandrayaan II will be launched by December 2017 or first half of 2018.
- He added that the Chandryaan II will have an indigenously built lander and Rover. It will also have instruments that will collect samples and send the data back on earth.
- In its Chandrayaan Mission I, ISRO was able to make an important discovery of water on the earth’s sole satellite.
4) Madhya Pradesh CM announces ministry of happiness.
- On lines of Bhutan which measures prosperity by gauging citizens’ happiness quotient and not GDP, Madhya Pradesh chief minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan on Thursday announced a ‘happiness ministry’ to measure the state’s progress.
- While United Arab Emirates (UAE) is the only country to create posts of minister of happiness in the government, Chouhan joined chorus to ensure that a welfare state cannot only deal with politics and economy.
- Shivraj also related happiness to developments in the country, showering praise on Prime Minister Narendra Modi by putting him on the pedestal of god for the third time in three weeks. This time again he reiterated, “Modi is God’s gift to the country”.
- He said, PM had become the most popular leader in the world and was working to make India a strong and prosperous, hence happiness index plays an important role.
- Earlier, on another two occasions, first in Vrindavan while addressing a convention of BJP’s youth wing, Bharatiya Janata Yuva Morcha (BJYM), and then in Bhopal, he had said “Narendra Modi is a boon from God”.
- On Thursday, he again said, “Modi is a man of ideas and has the will to execute them. Wherever in the world he goes, people chant his name. He is divine gift to India. He will make India ‘vishwa guru’ by 2022.”
5) Mehbooba to be sworn in as first woman CM of J-K on April 4:
- PDP President Mehbooba Mufti will be sworn in as the first woman Chief Minister of Jammu and Kashmir on April 4, a party leader said today.
- Mattoo, who worked as an advisor to former chief minister Mufti Mohammad Sayeed, expressed the hope that 56-year-old Mehbooba would usher in a new era of peace and prosperity in the region.
- Meanwhile, sources in PDP and its alliance partner BJP said they have also conveyed the mutually agreed date for the swearing-in ceremony to state Governor N N Vohra.
- The date for the oath ceremony of the new cabinet was decided after deliberations between the leadership of both the parties, they said.
- Asked whether there were any differences between the coalition partners which led to delay in the swearing-in ceremony, the sources said there were no differences but deliberations between alliance partners happen and they take time.
- PDP and BJP had staked claim for government formation on March 26, two days after Mehbooba was elected as PDP’s legislature party leader.
- After the death of her father, who headed PDP-BJP coalition government for 10 months from March 1, last year until his death on January 7, this year, Mehbooba had been reluctant to take over as CM of the PDP-BJP coalition government.
- Mehbooba also sought some J-K-specific confidence building measures.
- However, her meeting with Prime Minister Narendra Modi on March 22 ended the over two-months-long deadlock on government formation in the state.