Current Affairs - June 2015

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Recommendations of Bibek Debroy committee on restructuring of Indian Railways

Bibek Debroy Committee on the restructuring of Indian Railways has submitted its final report to the Union Ministry of Railways.

The committee has suggested measures for restructuring the Railway Board and its departments so that policy making is separated from day-to-day operations.

Recommendations of Bibek Debroy committee

  • Establishment of an independent regulator Railway Regulatory Authority of India (RRAI) with a separate budget and to be independent of the Ministry.
  • RRAI will decide on tariffs to revamp the cash-strapped railways.
  • Railway Budget should be phased out with gross budgetary support to Indian Railways.
  • There is need to improve the internal resource generation and explore varied methods of financing but also to improve utilisation of available resources.
  • No privatisation of Indian Railway but allowed participation of private sector in the railway projects.
  • Separation of activities like running of hospitals, schools, real estate development, catering, manufacturing of locomotives, coaches and wagons from the core business of running trains.
  • State governments should be asked to entirely fund the Government Railway Police (GRP).
  • General Managers should have the freedom to choose between private security guards and RPF for security on trains.
  • The recommended changes should be implemented only by Union Railways ministry in the first five years including the resolution of the social cost issue.

Background

  • Union government had constituted the high-level committee in September 2014 to restructure the Railways and suggest ways for resource mobilisation.
  • It was seven-member panel headed by eminent economist and NITI Aayog member Bibek Debroy.
  • The other 6 members are former cabinet secretary K M Chandrasekhar, Gusharan Das, Ravi Narain, Partha Mukhopadhyay, Rajendra Kashyap, Ajay Tyagi and Ajay Narayan Jha.

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14 June: World Blood Donor day

World Blood Donor Day is being observed across the world on 14 June to raise the public awareness about the need for safe blood donation.

The theme of this year’s campaign is Thank you for saving my life. This year’s campaign encourages donors all over the world to donate blood voluntarily and regularly with the slogan Give freely, give often. Blood donation matters.

Objective

  • To spread awareness about the need for safe and secure blood supplies.
  • Provide an opportunity to draw public attention to the importance of blood donation for saving lives.

World Health Organisation (WHO), a nodal agency of UN for international public health has called for increased regular blood donations from voluntary, unpaid donors in order to save millions of lives globally each year.

It should be noted that World Blood Donor Day is one of eight official global public health campaigns marked by the WHO. The event was established in 2004. It was established in order to raise awareness of the need for safe blood and blood products and to thank blood donors for their voluntary donations.

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Telangana government unveils New Industrial Policy

Telangana government has unveiled New Industrial Policy 2015 to boost industrial activity and employment opportunities in the state.

It was unveiled by Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao in Hyderabad.

Key facts about Telangana’s New Industrial Policy

  • Focuses to give quick, time-bound and transparent approvals for setting up projects in the state.
  • Establishment of a single window clearance system and give clearances in 2 weeks for mega projects. Penal action against officials for delaying the process of applications.
  • Prescribes norms for giving permissions to Mega project proposals with investments of Rs. 200 crore and above, large project proposals with investment of Rs 10 crore-Rs 200 crore and small and medium project proposals.
  • Self-certification system has been framed for industrialists. It will be backed by the Telangana State Industrial Project Approval and Self Certification System (TS-iPASS).
  • 14 identified core areas for a focused approach are Life Sciences, Information Technology, Aerospace, Pharma, textiles, minerals automobiles and transportation and logistics.
  • Special incentives for entrepreneurs belonging to women and SC and STs.
  • Telangana State Industrial Infrastructure Corporation (TSIIC) will secure statutory clearances for the Industrial Parks.
  • To develop Industrial Townships to make it easier to get to work.

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