Current Affairs 2017 - March

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Government announces regional aviation routes and airlines under UDAN scheme

The Union Civil Aviation Ministry has announced regional aviation routes and airlines after the first round of bidding under UDAN (Ude Desh ka Aam Naagrik) Scheme.

In the first round, as many as 128 routes connecting 70 big and small airports across the country were selected and all flights will become active within 4-6 months.

Key facts
  • The airlines selected under this round are SpiceJet, Air India subsidiary Alliance Air and regional airlines Turbo Megha Airways, Air Deccan and Air Odisha Aviation
  • Some of the inactive airports selected are Shimla, Bikaner, Agra, Gwalior, Rourkela, Kadapa, Jharsuguda, Vidyanagar, Burnpur, Kullu, Diu, Mysore, Shillong, Jagdalpur, Salem, Utkela, and Hosur.
  • The regional airlines will connect these destinations with their nearest bigger airports such as Delhi, Chennai, Bhubaneswar, Bengaluru, Ahmedabad, Mumbai and Jaipur, among others.

UDAN Map

About UDAN Scheme

  • UDAN is an innovative scheme to develop the regional aviation market. It is a market-based mechanism in which airlines bid for seat subsidies.
  • Under this scheme, half of the seats on the plane will be capped at Rs. 2,500 per hour’s flight. Government will subsidise the losses incurred by airlines flying to dormant airports by charging Rs. 2,500 per hour’s flight.
  • 80% of the subsidy will be collected by charging a levy of up to Rs. 8,500 on each departing flight of domestic airlines and the rest 20% will come from the respective State governments.
  • Government will provide subsidy to airlines for first three years of operations when they will have exclusive flying rights on the selected routes.
  • Once the market in these routes gets jump started, it will operate on a commercial basis as per market forces of supply and demand.
Comment

UDAN is first-of-its-kind scheme globally that aims to create affordable yet economically viable and profitable flights on regional routes. It will also strive to make flying affordable to the common man even in small towns. The scheme will help to stimulate growth (in terms of employment and investment) in the regional aviation market and connect underserved and unserved airports in the hinterland areas that were not having flight services.

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Government launch e-challan and m-parivahan apps for enforcement of traffic rules

The Union Ministry of Road Transport and Highways has launched two mobile applications —e-challan and m-parivahan to provide a comprehensive digital solution for enforcement of traffic rules.

These applications will provide access to various services and information, and enable citizens to report any traffic violation or road accident. 

m-parivahan
  • It is a citizen-centric app that will facilitate access to various transport-related services. It will bring convenience to citizen and transparency in the system
  • It is an empowering app for the citizen which provides access to various services, information and utilities related to the transport sector.
  • It will provide a virtual driving licence and registration certificates through back-end connection to the transport national register.
  • It will give full details of the car and the owner, including his driving licence and registration certificate if a vehicle number is entered into the app.
  • This will help check the genuineness of a vehicle’s ownership and driver. It will also help in passenger safety when hiring a driver or when buying a second-hand vehicle.
e-challan
  • eChallan is an integrated enforcement solution to manage traffic violations through mobile app and back-end web application, for use by the Traffic Police and Transport Enforcement Wing.
  • It will help in improving transparency by connecting all stakeholders through a common system and ensuring data integrity.
  • It will also help in easing operations and efficient monitoring through digitization of records and will enhance the visibility of offenders, leading to better traffic management.

Both apps also have additional common functionalities like road accident and traffic violation reporting by citizen, concept of virtual and enforceable DL/RC etc. They will also facilitate “good Samaritans” through technology.

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El Salvador becomes world’s first country to ban metal mining

Central America’s smallest nation El Salvador became first country in the world to ban metal mining nationwide. In this regard, it has passed a law that bans all mining for gold and other metals.

The law imposes broad prohibition on the extraction of minerals to protect the nation’s allegedly quite fragile environment, water reservoirs and reduce social tensions.

Key Facts

  • The new law bans all exploration, extraction and processing of metals both in open pits and mines
  • It bans the use of cyanide and mercury for mining.
  • It does not apply to quarrying or the mining of coal, salt and other non-metallic resources.
Background

According to UN, El Salvador is one of the most densely populated countries and second-most environmentally degraded in America afterEl Salvador Haiti, making it sensitive to potential impact of large mining projects. The new mining ban law comes after a long-dragged dispute over a proposed gold mine by Pac Rim Cayman, a unit of Canadian-Australian company OceanaGold Corp over the environmental issue. In October 2016, El Salvador Government had won an international arbitration case filed by Pac Rim over a rejected licence to build gold mine in the country’s north. The international arbitration panel had rejected the company’s claim for compensation.

 

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