Current Affairs 2017 (December)

Government frame action plans for backward district programme

The Union Government has drawn up action plans for backward district programme to improve socio-economic profiles of 115 identified “most-backward” districts including 35 affected by left-wing extremism.

The action plans aims at providing these districts basic services like healthcare, sanitation and education as well as basic physical infrastructure like roads and drinking water supply in a time-bound manner.

Selection

These 115 districts were selected on parameters like health & nutrition (institutional delivery, stunting of children and wasting in children), deprivation (extent of landless households), education (elementary dropout rate and adverse pupil-teacher ratio) and infrastructure (un-electrified homes, lack of toilets, villages not connected by road and lack of drinking water).

At least one district has been included from each state under backward district programme. Jharkhand with 19 has highest number of districts under this programme, followed by Bihar (13) Chattisgarh (10) and 8 each in Uttar Pradesh, Odisha and Madhya Pradesh.

Purpose

The government’s focus under this programme is to work with states to bring transformative change in these selected backward areas through rapid government-anchored programmes and interventions by 2022 i.e. till 75th year of India’s independence.

For this purpose, Government has appointed one additional secretary or joint secretary rank officer as “Prabhari” to work in collaborative manner with state and district teams to achieve effective convergence between various Central and state government schemes. The district collectors is nodal chief executors of action programmes in districts, which will be ranked annually based on their performance.

Need

In 2016, India was ranked 131 among 188 nations in United Nations Development Programme’s (UNDP) human development index (HDI) with major inter-state and inter-district variations. Nearly 40% of children born in India are stunted or are underweight while almost 50% of women are anemic. On nutrition, India even lags behind neighbours such as Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Nepal and China.

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India’s first-ever broad gauge air-conditioned AC EMU suburban train flagged off in Mumbai

India’s first-ever broad gauge air-conditioned AC EMU suburban train was flagged off from Borivali station on western railway in Mumbai, Maharashtra. The AC train departed from Andheri Station and reached Churchgate.

The services of AC local train will replace existing 12 Non AC services. Out of 12 services of AC Local train 8 will run fast and will only halt at major stations.

Features of India’s first AC local

The first of its kind air-conditioned suburban local train local was brought to Mumbai from Integral Coach Factory, Chennai in April 2016. Since then it has undergone 65 trial runs at Kurla and Virar car-sheds. It will run on weekdays and on weekends i.e. on Saturday and Sunday it will be not operated for maintenance purpose.

Capacity: It has room for total of 5,964 people, with seating capacity for 1,028 and standing space for 4,936.

Reserved seats and coaches: The 1st and 12th coaches from Churchgate end are earmarked as ladies coaches. As many as seven seats in second and eleventh coach from Churchgate end are reserved for senior citizens. 10 seats in 4th and 7th coaches from Churchgate end are reserved for physically disabled passengers.

Security Features: Its coaches have automatic doors, a first in the suburban system. RPF constables will be present in each coach to ensure proper security.

Moreover, each coach is provided with passenger alarm indication lights on both sides, which are integrated with alarm chain pulling system. It also has ‘Emergency Talk Back’ facility in passenger areas (four in each coach) to communicate with motorman during any emergency.

Information system: It is also equipped with GPS-based passenger information system with audio-visual indication of stations for guard-driver and passenger communication. It also has facility of announcement from motorman and guard cab to passenger area.

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