States Current Affairs – 2017

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Arunachal Pradesh Demands Separate Time Zone to increase Efficiency

Arunachal Pradesh chief minister Pema Khandu has demand for a separate time zone for the northeastern states to improve work efficiency and save electricity in the region. According to him, several daylight hours are getting wasted as government offices opens only at 10am and closes as early as 4pm.

Background

Recently, the Gauhati High Court dismissed a public interest litigation (PIL) seeking a separate time zone for the northeast region.

A study carried out by Bengaluru-based National Institute of Advanced Studies had concluded that separate time zone for the northeastern region could help in saving 2.7 billion units of electricity every year.

A Planning Commission report which was published in 2006 also called for different time zones in India to improve efficiency.

A similar plea was put forward by Assam chief minister Tarun Gogoi in 2014. He suggested that northeastern region should follow chai bagan (tea garden) time. Chai bagan time is practiced in tea gardens and is one hour ahead of the Indian Standard Time (IST).

Problems with IST for North East

There are periodical demands from people of North East region to have a separate time zone. IST was fixed in 1906 at 82.5°, or 5.30 hours ahead of Greenwich Mean Time (GMT). Although it is not felt by most Indians, it really creates troubles for the people who live in North East. In North East, the day starts getting brighter by 4 AM and darker by 5 PM. The adoption of separate time zone would allow people of North East to begin early and use the time which is currently wasted.
The chaibagan time was introduced by the British over 150 years ago. It was set one hour ahead of the Indian Standard Time (IST) for tea estates, collieries and oil industry of Assam.

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UP Board to have NCERT Books from Next Academic Year

The Uttar Pradesh state government has planned to replace textbooks meant for Uttar Pradesh Secondary Education Board with the ones published by the National Council of Educational Research and Training (NCERT) with an aim to bring the curriculum of UP Board at par with the CBSE. The decision to introduce NCERT books is expected to come into force with the academic year 2018-19.

Salient Highlights

NCERT books would be made compulsory from Class IX to Class XII.

Other than subjects like Krishi (agriculture) for both High School and Intermediate levels and Vyavsayik (business studies) for Intermediate levels all other subjects will have NCERT text books. These two subjects will continue to have UP Board textbooks as there are differences between the UP Board and the CBSE when it comes to syllabuses for these subjects.

Class X and Class XII students who write their exams in the year 2019 will become the first batch of students to face the exams under the new system.

In Uttar Pradesh, millions of students appear for Class X and Cass XII exams conducted by the UP Board every year. Last year the figure was 32.6 lakh for high school exams and 29.2 lakh for intermediate exams. In the state, over 35 lakh students study in and around 23,900 government, aided and unaided schools affiliated with the UP Board.

The UP Board has also made several new additions in its syllabus like inclusion of new topics like GST and its implications.

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Country’s First Automatic Coastal Warning for Disasters to come up in Odisha

From July, Odisha will commission the ambitious Early Warning Dissemination System (EWDS) to warn the vast population residing along its 480 km-long coast in the event of the occurrence of natural disasters like a tsunami or a cyclone. Andhra Pradesh is also reportedly developing such system to alert the people in case of natural calamities.

Salient Highlights

The warning can be disseminated just by pressing a single button from a control room in the State capital in the event of the occurrence of natural disasters. It would trigger loud sirens simultaneously from towers at 122 locations including tourist destinations, fish landing centres and coastal habitations situated across the state. The sound emanating from the towers can be heard in localities up to a radius of 1.5 km. Thus, Odisha become the first state to have developed an automatic public address system that can be activated across the state. 

The towers will be installed in 22 blocks under six coastal districts such as Balasore, Bhadrak, Jagatsinghpur, Kendrapara, Puri and Ganjam

The EWDS comprises of Satellite-Based Mobile Data Voice Terminals (SBMDVT), Digital Mobile Radio (DMR), Mass Messaging System (MMS) and Universal Communication Interface (UCI) for inter-operability among different communication technologies.

The project at an estimated cost of ₹ 82 crore will be implemented with assistance from the World Bank.

The EWDS will help the people to move to safer places before government agencies commenced evacuation.

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