1) PM Modi launches Setu Bharatam for highways:
- To strengthen India’s infrastructure space and focus on building road and railway network, optical fibre network, water, grid and electricity connectivity along with electricity supply, Prime Minister Narendra Modi today inaugurated an ambitious Rs 50,800-crore Setu Bharatam project.
- Under the project, a total of 208 railway crossings will be replaced by rail over bridges (ROBs). Road Transport and Highways Minister Nitin Gadkari present on the occasion said that the ministry has already launched an Indian Bridge Management System to map 1,50,000 bridges across the country.
- As part of the project, 1,500 bridges of the British era will be overhauled at an estimated expenditure of Rs. 30,000 crore. Till now, an inventory of 50,000 bridges has been prepared while the first cycle of condition survey will be completed by June this year.
- The ‘Setu Bharatam’ project aims to make all national highways free from railway level crossing by 2019 to ensure road safety.
- As part of the programme, 208 Railway Over Bridges (ROB)/Railway Under Bridges (RUB) will be built at the level crossings at a cost of Rs 20,800 crore.
- These ROBs will be built across 19 states, with state of Andhra Pradesh accounting for highest number (33) rail over bridges, followed by West Bengal (22) and Bihar (20 ROBs) etc.
- In a first, Modi said, gradation of bridges is being done through space technology with information like age, longitude, latitude, length, material and design.
2) Former Lok Sabha speaker P.A. Sangma passes away –
- Former Lok Sabha Speaker Purno Agitok Sangma died of heart attack here on Friday. He was 68.
- Lok Sabha Speaker Sumitra Mahajan announced the news of his death in the House, which was adjourned for the day.
- Condoling the death of Sangma, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said he was “a self-made leader whose contribution towards the development of the Northeast is monumental.
- Sangma was a nine-time member of the Lok Sabha and the Speaker in the 11th Lok Sabha. He had also held important portfolios in the Union government.
- He was also the Chief Minister of Meghalaya from 1988 to 1990 and Leader of the Opposition in the Assembly from 1990 to 1991.
- Born on September 1, 1947 in village Chapahati in the picturesque West Garo Hills District of Meghalaya, Sangma struggled hard to rise in life.
- After completing his graduation from St. Anthony’s College, he went to the Dibrugarh University in Assam for his Masters degree in International Relations. Subsequently, he also obtained a degree in Law.
- A Congressman, who was one of the founding members of the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP), was expelled from it in July 2012 when he refused to accept his party’s decision to quit the race for India’s President. In January 2013, he formed the National People’s Party.
3) RBI issued draft framework for new NBFC’s-Account Aggregator.
- The Reserve Bank of India on March 3, 2016 issued framework new types of NBFC’s, which are now allowed to operate in the market. In order to lay down the Governing principles for them the RBI has come out with a draft regulatory framework for this new kind of Non-Banking Financial Companies (NBFC), which would act as an account aggregator to help people view their accounts across financial institutions in a common format.
- Only companies registered with the RBI (Reserve Bank of India), which is the apex body for governing banking and fiscal operations in the country, as NBFC-AA (Account Aggregator) would be able to undertake the business of an account aggregator.
- The RBI has sought comments on the ‘Draft Regulatory Framework for Account Aggregator Companies’ to facilitate consolidated viewing of financial assets holdings till the March 18, 2016. The proposal said, that an NBFC (Non-Banking Financial Company) not registered, as an NBFC-AA that is an account aggregator will not be able to undertake any other business other than account aggregation.
- A Non Banking Financial Company (NBFC) is a company registered in India under the Companies act 1956, and is engaged in business of loans and advances, acquisition of shares, stocks, bonds, debentures, or securities.
- Although the company doesn’t hold a licence as given to a banking institutions, these NBFC’s are still covered under the Banking regulations of the country.
4) To control rabies, AMC plans to make pet dog license mandatory-
- AS A measure to control the viral rabies, the Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation is set to roll out licensing of pet dogs in the city.
- The plans of implementing this rule, within a month would include maintaining a complete and updated record of vaccination of the pet along with its health certificate issued from a licensing authority.
- This initiative of AMC is seen as an attempt to control rabies. As per the World Health Organisation (WHO) report, in more than 99 per cent of human cases, the rabies virus is transmitted by domestic dogs.
- The infectious viral disease that is almost always fatal following the onset of clinical signs affects domestic and wild animals and is spread to people through bites or scratches, usually through saliva..
- Welfare of Stray Dogs partnered with Humane Society International had organised a workshop in Ahmedabad to focus on capacity building and strategy discussion regarding conducting a successful Animal Birth Control programme..
- As per the census conducted in the year 2011, there are nearly 2 lakh stray dogs in Ahmedabad.
5) China’s population to reach 1.42 billion by 2020:
- China’s population will increase to about 1.42 billion by the end of 2020 as result of the new policy to allow second child, according to the draft outline of a five-year plan released in Beijing on Saturday.
- China had a population of 1.37462 billion by the end of 2015, data released by the National Bureau of Statistics said.
- The country will further adhere to the family planning policy as a basic state policy, and fully carry out the two-child policy, said the draft outline of the 13th Five-Year Plan (2016-2020) submitted to the national legislature the National People’s Congress for examination.
- China has scrapped the over three and half decade old one-child policy and replaced it with two-child policy from this year as it saddled with increasing numbers of old age people whose numbers have already crossed over 200 million.
- Imbalanced sex ratio, one of the highest among the world, will be addressed with comprehensive measures, the draft said.
- Reproductive health care, and maternal and child health care will be improved, and related policies will be revised to adapt to the implementation of the two-child policy, it said.
- Family planning service management, and birth registration service system will be improved; state-run Xinhua news agency quoted the draft as saying.
- Efforts addressing an aging population and the decrease of working age population will be carried out, it said.