States Current Affairs - 2019

Current Affairs 2019-2020 of all States with latest updates. Current Affairs will list latest developments, issues in all states and may be useful for State PCS / Civil services examinations of various states of India.

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GST Council constitutes GoM to advice on Kerala’s calamity cess demand for flood rehabilitation

GST Council, the highest decision-making body of Goods and Services Tax (GST) regime has decided to set up seven-member Group of Ministers (GoM) to suggest on cess demand for Kerala flood rehabilitation. It was decided in 30th meeting of the GST Council held in New Delhi. The GoM discussed proposal from Kerala to levy Calamity Tax, a special tax or cess to raise additional resources aimed at meeting  cost of reconstruction in Kerala in the aftermath of floods.

Background

Severe flooding in month of August 2018 had severely affected Kerala due to unusual high rainfall during the monsoon season. It was the worst flooding in Kerala in nearly century after great flood of 99 that happened in 1924. It had directly affected one-sixth of total population of Kerala. All 14 districts of the state were placed on red alert. Central Government had declared it “calamity of a severe nature” or Level 3 Calamity. Due to excessive rainfall, 35 out of total 54 dams within state were opened for the first time in history. All five overflow gates of the Idukki Dam were opened at the same time, for the first time in 26 years. Heavy rains also had triggered severe landslides in Wayanad and Idukki districts and had left the hilly districts isolated. It is estimated that loss and damage due to  massive flood, , is much more than 2018-19 annual plan outlay of state which stood at Rs 37,247.99 crore.

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Pakyong airport: PM Narendra Modi inaugurates Sikkim’s first airport

Prime Minister Narendra Modi inaugurated Sikkim’s first-ever airport at Pakyong. Prior to this airport, Sikkim was only state in India remaining without functional airport. Pakyong airport is India’s 100th functional airport and one of the country’s five highest airports.

Pakyong airport

The airport is spread over 201 acres and was constructed by Airports Authority of India (AAI). It is located on top of hill about two km above Pakyong village at 4,500 feet above sea level.  It was carved from mountain side using massive geo technical ‘cut and fill’ engineering works.

It is located around 60 km from Indo-China border and around 30km away from Gangtok, capital city of Sikkim. It has 1.75 km long runway. It has capacity to handle 50 in-bound and as many out-bound passengers flights.

Initially, this airport will cater only to domestic flights, but later provide international flight services connecting Sikkim with other countries (especially neighbouring) like Paro (Bhutan), Kathmandu (Nepal) and Dhaka (Bangladesh).

Significance

Operationalization of Pakyong airport will give huge big boost to connectivity and tourism to north-eastern state of Sikkim. It will cut down air travelling time to Sikkim by almost 5 hours because, earlier, nearest airport for connecting Sikkim was at Bagdogra in West Bengal. It will be major booster for Sikkim’s tourism sector, as it will help to improve air connectivity and save travel time for the tourists.  Its location also makes it strategically relevant from the country’s security point of view. Indian Air Force (IAF) can use this airport for landing and taking off of its aircrafts during critical situations.

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