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Prime Minister Narendra Modi inaugurates Kochi Metro 

Prime Minister Narendra Modi has inaugurated Kochi Metro, which will be Kerala’s first metro line. The Construction of the Kochi Metro which was entrusted to the DMRC has been completed in a record four-year period. Prime Minister has inaugurated the first phase of the metro with 13.2 km out of the total 25 km stretch. The Kochi Metro will be the country’s eighth inter-city metro rail project.

Salient Highlights

Kochi Metro is India’s first integrated multi-mode transport system. The system will also provide boat rides with water transport as a feeder service to the rail corridor.

Kochi Metro is the first public transport system that has reserved jobs for the transgenders. The Metro has so far employed 23 transgenders in various departments. Further, a majority of the staff in Kochi Metro will be women. Nearly 1,000 women have been selected to work in Kochi Metro. The trains will also be driven mainly by women drivers.

The first phase of the metro with 11 stations covering 13km is the longest first phase of a metro to be inaugurated. 

The Kochi Metro is the first in the country to use Communication Based Train Control technology for maximising train frequencies and minimising errors.

Each station of the Kochi Metro will showcase a theme, such as maritime history, western ghats etc. With the help of solar panels, the Kochi Metro plans to meet 35% of its power requirements. With this, it has become the first metro in the country to use solar power to meet a quarter of its electricity requirement.

The project cost of Kochi Metro is Rs 5,180 crore.

The Kochi Metro is the county’s first fully integrated metro. By purchasing a single ticket, commuters will be able to travel in feeder services along road and water.

In a first, Kochi Metro will offer free wi-fi in its coaches and its stations.

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Government makes Aadhaar Mandatory for Opening Bank Accounts

The government has made Aadhaar mandatory for opening bank accounts as well as for carrying out financial transactions above of Rs 50,000.

In addition, the government has asked all the existing account holders to link Aadhaar numbers to their bank accounts by December 31, 2017. Failure to comply with this guideline will make the account invalid.

Further, the notification issued amending the Prevention of Money-laundering (Maintenance of Records) Rules, 2005, will require quoting of Aadhaar card mandatory along with PAN by individuals, companies and partnership firms for all financial transactions of 50,000 or above. Before the notification, the PMLA Rules made it mandatory to submit PAN number or Form 60 to banks while opening accounts for high-value transactions.

Background

The Supreme Court in its recent verdict has upheld Section139AA of the Income Tax Act,1961 which requires quoting Aadhaar number while applying for PAN card as well as for filing of income tax returns as constitutionally valid. Following this verdict, the government has made compulsory the submission of Aadhaar number or the applicant’s Aadhaar Enrolment ID  for the filing of income tax returns as well as for applications for PAN from July 1.

Section 139AA(1) of the I-T Act,1961, as introduced by the Finance Act, 2017, makes it mandatory quoting of Aadhaar/Enrolment ID of Aadhaar application form while filing income tax returns with effect from July 1, 2017.

Section 139AA(2) of the I-T Act provides that persons with PAN card as on the 1st day of July 2017, and who is eligible to obtain Aadhaar should intimate his Aadhaar and in the case of non-intimation of Aadhaar, the PAN allotted to the person shall be deemed to be invalid.

The Supreme Court has upheld Section 139AA(1) and has imposed a partial stay for the time being to Section 139AA(2) pending resolution of the other cases before the larger bench of the Supreme Court.

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Bhupen Hazarika Award conferred to Yeshe Dorjee Thongshi

The Bhupen Hazarika National Award, 2017 has been conferred upon the noted writer Yeshe Dorjee Thongshi. This is the fifth edition of the award which was first conferred in 2012.

The award has been instituted by Sarhad, a Maharashtra-based organisation. The award honours an outstanding literary work at national and international level. The award consists of 51,000 rupees, a memento and a certificate.

Yeshe Dorjee Thongshi

Yeshe Dorjee Thongshi belongs to the West Kameng district of Arunachal Pradesh. He graduated from Cotton College, Guwahati and did his MA from Guwahati University.

In spite of having Sherdukpen as his mother tongue, Yeshe Dorjee Thongshi started writing his works in Assamese over which he has excellent command. So far, he has written about a dozen novels and numerous short stories and plays. His famous novel includes Mauna Onth Mukhar Hriday (Silent lips, murmuring hearts) which won the Sahitya Akademi award in 2005.

Yeshe Dorjee Thongshi joined the Arunachal Pradesh Civil Service in 1977 and was elevated to the IAS in 1992.  He is the founder and president of Arunachal Pradesh Literary Society.

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