- GEER to take up tree count in urban areas
- The urban tree count — or the survey for the ‘Status of Tree Cover in Urban Areas of Gujarat’ — was last conducted in 2011 and was due again in 2016, but hasn’t been carried out yet. Urban bodies, which are partners in the tree counting exercise for their areas, have backed out. The count will now be taken up by the Gujarat Ecological Education and Research Foundation (GEER).
- Tree counts for rural areas of Gujarat — outside notified forests — were done in 2003, 2008 and 2012.
- The first tree count for areas under municipal corporations and municipalities was done in 2011, by the social forestry wing of the forest department, with help from local organizations.
· World Press Freedom Day is celebrated on 3rd May
- Every year 3 May is a date which celebrated as the World Press Freedom Dayto evaluate press freedom around the world, to defend the media from attacks on their independence and to pay tribute to journalists who have lost their lives in the exercise of their profession.
- This year’s global theme for WPFD is ‘Keeping Power in Check: Media, Justice and The Rule of Law’.
- In 2018, UNESCO will lead the 25th celebration of World Press Freedom Day.
- The main event, jointly organized by UNESCO and the Government of the Republic of Ghana, will take place in Accra, Ghana.
- India into world’s top five defence spenders
- India has joined the U.S. and China as one of the world’s five biggest military spenders, reflecting geopolitical tensions as well as the country’s reliance on imported weapons and sprawling personnel costs.
- India’s defense spending rose by 5.5 percent to $63.9 billion in 2017 and has now passed France, the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute said in a report
- According to the arms watchdog, the five top military spenders in 2017 were the US, China, Saudi Arabia, Russia and India.
- 14 of world’s 15 most polluted cities in India
- The WHO global air pollution database reveals that India has 14 out of the 15 most polluted cities in the world in terms of PM 2.5 concentrations, with the worst being Kanpur.
- Kanpur topped the 2016 list with a PM 2.5 concentration of 173 micrograms per cubic metre, followed by Faridabad, Varanasi and Gaya.
- 14 out of top 15 cities are Indian. Ali Subah Al Salem (Kuwait) ranked 15th.
· Union Cabinet Approves Accession to Protocol under WHO Framework Convention
- The Union Cabinet gave the approval to accede to the Protocol under World Health Organization (WHO)Framework Convention on tobacco control to eliminate illicit trade in tobacco products.
- It will be applicable to both smoking and chew or smokeless tobacco (SLT) forms as negotiated and adopted under Article 15 of the World Health Organization Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (WHO FCTC).
India is a party to WHO FCTC.
- Cabinet approves Doubling of Investment Limit for Senior Citizens PMVVY
- The Union Cabinet chaired by chaired by Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi has given its approval for extending the investment limit from Rs 7.5 lakhs to Rs 15 lakhs as well as extension of time limits for subscription from 4thMay 2018 to 31stMarch, 2020 under the Pradhan Mantri Vaya Vandan Yojana (PMVVY) as part of Government’s commitment for financial inclusion and social security.
- Further, as a boost to the Social Security initiatives for senior citizens, the investment limit of Rs 7.5 lakh per family in the existing scheme is enhanced to Rs 15 lakh per senior citizen in the modified PMVVY, thereby providing a larger social security cover to the Senior citizens.
- It will enable upto Rs.10000 Pension per month for Senior Citizens.
- The PMVVY is being implemented through Life Insurance Corporation of India (LIC) to provide social security during old age and protect elderly persons aged 60 years and above against a future fall in their interest income due to uncertain market conditions.
- The scheme provides an assured pension based on a guaranteed rate of return of 8% per annum for ten years, with an option to opt for pension on a monthly / quarterly / half yearly and annual basis.
- The differential return, i.e. the difference between the return generated by LIC and the assured return of 8% per annum would be borne by Government of India as subsidy on an annual basis.
- PMSSY approved beyond 12th Five Year Plan
- The Union Cabinet chaired by the Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi has given its approval for continuation of Pradhan Mantri Swasthya Suraksha Yojana (PMSSY) beyond 12th Five Year Plan for a period 2017-18 to 2019-20 with a financial outlay of Rs. 14,832 crores.
- Expressing gratitude to the Prime Minister for his constant support, Shri J P Nadda, Union Minister of Health and Family Welfare said that the Government is consciously working towards improving health infrastructure as well as health manpower in the country.
- Cabinet approves continuation of Umbrella Scheme ‘Green Revolution’
- The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs, chaired by the Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi has given its approval for the Umbrella Scheme, “Green Revolution – Krishonnati Yojana” in agriculture sector beyond 12thFive Year Plan for the period from 2017-18 to 2019-20 with the Central Share of Rs. 33,269.976 crore.
- The Umbrella scheme comprises of 11 Schemes/Missions.
- These schemes look to develop the agriculture and allied sector in a holistic and scientific manner to increase the income of farmers by enhancing production, productivity andbetter returns on produce.
- The Schemes will be continued with an expenditure of Rs.33,269.976 crore for three financial years, i.e., 2017-18, 2018-19 and 2019-20.
· Maharashtra Becomes first to Provide Digitally-Signed Documents
- Maharashtra became the first state to provide digitally-signed land record receipts (also known as 7/12 receipts), which Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis claimed would check irregularities and bring in transparency.
- The 7/12 receipt is the most important document which establishes the ownership of the land and is primarily used by farmers while applying for loans.
It is also used by the government during crop surveys and to extend various facilities.
· Union Government Releases Draft New Telecom Policy
- The union government released the draft of the new Telecom policy named National Digital Communications Policy, 2018.
- The policy aims at creating 40 lakh new jobs by 2022, attracting 100 billion US dollars investment in the sector and ensuring broadband coverage at 50 Mbps for every citizen.
- The draft proposes one Gbps connectivity to all Gram Panchayats by 2020 and 10 Gbps by 2022. It also proposes to address woes of the Telecom sector by reviewing license fees, spectrum usage charges, the universal service obligation fund levy for enhancing ease of doing business in the sector.
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