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IASbaba Press Information Bureau (PIB)- 22nd Feb to 28th Feb, 2016

  • IASbaba
  • February 29, 2016
  • 4
IASbaba's Daily Current Affairs Analysis, IASbaba's Daily News Analysis, PIB
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GS-2

Swachh Paryatan Mobile App Launched 

(Topic: Important aspects of governance, transparency and accountability, e-governance-applications, models, successes, limitations and potential)

Launched by – Minister of State (I/C) for Tourism & Culture and Minister of State for Civil Aviation

Project implemented by- Ministry of Tourism, Government of India through DeGS and NIC

Facilitate- Public to communicate their complaints about any unclean area, garbage piles and around tourist destinations.

About App-

  • 25 Adarsh Smarak Monuments protected byArchaeological Survey of India (ASI) have been identified for inclusion in the app
  • Enables a citizen to take photograph of garbage at the monument and upload the same along with his/her remarks
  • Application then sends an SMS to the ASI Nodal Officer concerned with the monument upon receipt of which the Nodal Officer gets the garbage cleared/removed
  • Nodal Officer thereafter sends confirmation about the redressal of the complaint through an SMS to the complainant

 

Extension of e-Tourist Visa scheme to 37 more countries-

(Topic: Important aspects of governance, transparency and accountability, e-governance-applications, models, successes, limitations and potential) 

 

About- e-Tourist Visa (e-TV) facility will be extended to 37 more countries from tomorrow

Connect- Total count of countries under the scheme will become 150

e-Tourist Scheme-

  • GoI had launched the e-TV facility on November 27, 2014
  • Till now the scheme has been extended to 113 countries at sixteen Indian airports designated for providing e-Tourist visa service
  • Since the launch of the scheme more than 7.50 lakh Visas have been issued under the scheme
  • At present on an average 3,500 e-Tourist Visas are being granted daily to foreign nationals

 

Health Minister urges Himachal Govt. to take necessary steps to check Jaundice

(Topic: Issues relating to development and management of Social Sector/Services relating to Health, Education, Human Resource)

About – Concern over the situation arising out of outbreak of jaundice in Shimla, Himachal Pradesh

It is to – Urge the state government to take all necessary steps to handle the situation while assuring full support from the Centre in this regard

Amount – Rs 70 lakh has been sanctioned by the Health Ministry for Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR)

Objective- To conduct a study so that reoccurrence of this situation can be avoided

Steps taken- 

Team of National Centre for Disease Control under the Union Health Ministry had already visited the affected areas in the first week of January 2016

  • To- Assess the situation and give expert advice to the state government to handle the situation
  • Team advised- Sanitation and cleanliness in affected areas need to be improved and contamination of water needed to be checked

 

Establishment of Atal Innovation Mission and Self Employment and Talent Utilisation in NITI Aayog

(Topic: Government policies and Interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation)

About- Union Cabinet has given its approval for establishment of Atal Innovation Mission (AIM) and Self Employment and Talent Utilisation (SETU) in NITI Aayog with appropriate manpower

Establishment of AIM and AIM Directorate would result in-

Implementation of Mission activities in a focussed manner + would be a focal point for innovation and entrepreneurship in the country

 

Agreement between India and Maldives for avoidance of double taxation of income from International air transport 

(Topic: Bilateral, regional and global groupings and agreements involving India and/or affecting India’s Interests)

Context- Union Cabinet has given its approval for signing of an Agreement between India and Maldives for the avoidance of double taxation of income from international air transport.

About Agreement-

  • Provides relief from double taxation for airline enterprises of India and Maldives by way of exemption of income derived by the enterprise of India from the operation of aircraft in international traffic, from Maldivian tax and vice-versa
  • Under the agreement, profits from the operation of aircraft in international traffic will be taxed in one country alone
  • Accordingly the taxing right is conferred upon the country to which the enterprise belongs
  • Provide tax certainty for airline enterprises of India and Maldives.
  • Provides for Mutual Agreement Procedure for resolving any difficulties or doubts arising as to the interpretation or application of the Agreement.

 

Arrangement for the establishment of an Indo-French Joint Committee on Science & Technology Cooperation

(Topic: Bilateral, regional and global groupings and agreements involving India and/or affecting India’s Interests)

About- Establishment of an Indo-French Joint Committee on Science & Technology Cooperation

Joint Committee work-

Identify + Synergise + Define priorities forà Indo-French cooperation in science, technology and innovation

 

Aim- To achieve economic and social development through research, development and innovation

Agreement comes in- Backdrop of enhanced scientific and technological cooperation between the two countries, and the role played by multiple national science and technology agencies of both countries in promoting this partnership.

 

India and UK Institutions Sign Agreements for Collaboration in Crop Sciences 

(Topic: Bilateral, regional and global groupings and agreements involving India and/or affecting India’s Interests)

MoU signed between- Department of Biotechnology + Ministry of Science and Technology + Consortium of top UK research institutions

 

It is for- Establishment of a joint India-UK collaboration programme in crop science

Aim- To enhance

  • Collaborative research
  • Promote knowledge exchange
  • Support capacity building to develop resilience in food security

 

Importance-

  • Collaboration will create opportunities for leading experts in the UK and India to come together to tackle global challenges in the areas ofà Food security + Crop science + Biotechnology
  • Agreement foresees joint projects focusing on-
    • Fundamental science underpinning yield enhancement
    • Disease resistance and drought resistance
    • Research into crop re-breeding
    • Translation of fundamental research into sustainable agriculture practice
  • Contemplates the establishment of a joint Indo-UK Plant Science Centre in India

 

GS-3

3rd Asia Ministerial Conference on Tiger Conservation

(Topic: Conservation of Wild life)

About – Three-day Asia Ministerial Conference on Tiger Conservation (April 2016);Third such conference on tiger conservation

Participants- Attended by the representatives of four Tiger Range countries (TRCs) –

  • Bhutan,
  • Indonesia,
  • Malaysia and
  • Russia

There are only 13 countries that have the pride of having tigers in the wild and tiger-bearing areas in the world

Highlights-

  • All TRCs share their good practices and success stories, thereby contributing towards the cause of conservation of the magnificent species and the national animal of India – Tiger
  • Highlighted that the biggest threat to tiger conservation is poaching, due to the existing market and demand for tiger body parts and derivatives in other countries.

 

Solution- Need for a sustained effort from all Tiger Range Countries and other partners outside the government system

Outcome- Conference will bring the desired will and momentum for tiger conservation at global level and have long-term ramifications in the future

 

 Seismic Microzonation reports for Delhi and Kolkata

(Topic: Disaster and Disaster Management)

About- Union Minister for Science & Technology and Earth Sciences released Seismic microzonation reports for Delhi and Kolkata in New Delhi

Help-

  • To minimize the impact of earthquakes by –
  • Proper assessment of Seismic Hazard
  • Implementation of safe building construction codes,
  • Adopting appropriate land-use planning

Microzonation-

  • Seismic microzonation is a process of identifying-
  • Geological,
  • Seismological,
  • Hydrological and geotechnical site characteristics in a specific region
  • Emphasis on- Impact of earthquake on the habitat
  • Help- Design of safe structures to reduce loss of human life
  • Why to use? – As prediction of most of the natural events, particularly the earthquakes, is not possible, but the resulting damage due to them can be minimized by taking proper measures with the help of Microzonation

 

Microzonation Process-

  • Ambient noise survey,
  • Multi-Channel Analysis of Surface Waves (MASW) survey,
  • In-situ geotechnical testing,
  • In-situ seismic measurements etc. were carried out
  • After analysis of data sets different maps viz.-
  • Peak Ground Acceleration (PGA),
  • Spectral accelerations for different periods,
  • Liquefaction potential,
  • Predominant frequency,
  • Amplification factor,
  • Average shear wave velocity at 30 meters depth,
  • Geology & geomorphology and projected Hazard Scenarios at GIS platform etc. have been prepared.

 

Study-

  • It was seen that due to an earthquake in 1985 there was severe damage in Mexico city, though the earthquake source was located about 350 km away from the city.
  • Normally it was believed that the impact of earthquake decreases as we move away from the earthquake epicenter, but that was not always found to be true.
  • It was realized that putting a large region into a single seismic hazard zone is not a good idea, this and several other examples led to a new concept, called Microzonation.

 

Beneficiaries include-

  • Disaster Mitigation & Management Authorities
  • Urban Development Authorities
  • Planning, Design & Construction Agencies
  • Risk Assessment to existing life & Property
  • Defense Installations
  • Heavy Industry
  • Public Utilities & Services

 

Classifiacation of Seismic Zones in India-

Bureau of Indian Standards(BIS) classified India into 4 major groups-

  • Zone 2 – Least active seismic zone
  • Zone 3 – Moderate seismic zone
  • Zone 4- High seismic zone
  • Zone 5- Highest seismic zone

In India no area is classified as Zone 1.

National Capital Territory (NCT) Delhi is located in Seismic Zone 4 and Kolkata is placed at the border of Seismic Zone 3 and 4

                                                                    

Market Conference on Hybrid-Annuity Based PPP Model for Creation of Sewage Treatment Infrastructure

(Topic: Conservation, environmental pollution and degradation, environmental impact assessment)

Context- National Mission for Clean Ganga (NMCG) is organizing Market Conference on Hybrid-Annuity based Public Private Partnership (PPP) Model

It is for- Creation of Sewage Treatment Infrastructure under Namami Gange Programme on 24th February, 2016 at New Delhi

Aim- To sensitize the market of the upcoming hybrid-annuity based PPP model for sewage treatment and institutionalization of the Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV) for project execution through Transaction Advisors (TA).

Highlights-

  • Deliberations will take place on GoI initiatives on setting up of-
  • Institutional + Financial model for municipal waste water treatment under Namami Gange program,
  • Business models in sewerage sector
  • Maintenance and monitoring of assets
  • MLD gap
  • Institutional framework and roadmap for NGRBA-SPV-TAs-Concessionaire
  • Treated water recycling development and opportunities and international success stories on annuity/ hybrid annuity model in STP development and operation.

NMCG-

  • National Mission for Clean Ganga (NMCG) is the implementation wing of National Ganga River Basin Authority (NGRBA)
  • Presently implementing various pollution abatement, aquatic resource conservation and institutional development projects under NGRBA in the five basin States on the main stem of the Ganga adopting basin-based holistic approach.

 

Finance Minister Presents Economic Survey 2015-16

(Topic: Indian Economy and issues relating to planning, mobilization of resources, growth, development and employment)

About- Economic Survey 2015-16 presented in the Parliament states that the benign price situation and comfortable level of external current account in the country makes it possible now for growth rates of 8 % or higher in the next couple of years.

Highlights-

  • Report portends growth rate in the range of 7 to 7.5 % in 2016-17.
  • After 7.2% in 2014-15 and 7.6 per cent in 2015-16, such growth rate of over 7 per cent makes India the fastest growing major economy in the world.
  • India’s contribution in the global economy has become much more valuable today as China is rebalancing.
  • Survey further mentions that the recent growth revival in India is predominantly consumption driven.

Survey, however, expresses a caution of weak global demand

GDP Growth-

  • In spite of challenges and lowers than projected GDP growth during 2015-16, the fiscal deficit target of 3.9 per cent of GDP seems achievable.
  • This became possible as the Gross Tax Revenue (GTR) targets were achieved, due to improved tax buoyancy and prudent expenditure management, assisted by declining oil prices.
  • Post Fourteenth Finance Commission (FFC) recommendations, equilibrium is sought to be achieved between higher capital expenditure, higher net resource transfers to States and higher gross tax revenues
  • Notable highlights of the benign fiscal outcome in the current year till December 2015 included-
  • Robust growth in indirect taxes
  • Increased tax devolution to the states in line with the recommendations of the FFC
  • Highest increase in capital expenditure in the last six years and decline in major subsidies.

 

Inflation-

  • Wholesale price inflation had been in the negative territory for more than a year and the consumer price inflation has also declined to about half of what it used to be in earlier years.
  • Astute policies and management of inflation by the government through buffer stocking, timely release of cereals and import of pulses had helped in keeping prices of essential commodities under check during 2015-16.
  • Easing of inflation measures, the RBI had brought down the repo rate by 125 basic points (bps) from the beginning of 2015 to 6.75 per cent by the end of September 2015.

Rationalize agricultural policies-

  • Need to rationalize agricultural polices including subsidies by making them ‘input-crop and region-neutral’to improve productivity in agriculture
  • Adoption of Quality/GM/Pest resistant seeds will be another pathway to improve the productivity in agriculture.
  • Direct Benefit Transfer (DBT)mode for inputs like seeds and fertilizer can prevent leakage and diversions in the system and reach the targeted beneficiaries.
  • Good performance on the front of Government’s initiatives towards achieving the overall goal of Financial Inclusion through-
  • Pradhan Mantri Jandhan Yojana(PMJDY),
  • Pradhan Mantri Suraksha  Bima Yojana(PMSBY),
  • Pradhan Mantri  Jeevan Jyoti Bima Yojana(PMJJBY),
  • Atal Pension Yojana(APY)
  • Micro Units Development Refinance Agency (MUDRA) in the banking and insurance sectors
  • Measures were taken to mobilize gold for productive purposes, through the Sovereign Gold Bond Scheme and the Gold Monetization Scheme.

Industrial Growth-

  • Good performance by the Industrial, Corporate and Infrastructure Sectors in the wake of various recent reform measures undertaken by the Government
  • Growth in the freight carriage by Indian Railways, at Ports, the growth in the Civil Aviation Sector, Telecommunication Sector and National Highways Construction.
  • Some reform measures which contributed to such growth include: Auctions successfully undertaken for allocation of coal and mines blocks.
  • Improvements in Policy  for production sharing contracts under NELP and testing requirements along with  a Uniform Licensing and Open Acreage Policy etc., in the petroleum sector has been taken up.
  • Tax-free infrastructure bonds have been allowed for rail, roads and irrigation programmes
  • National Investment and Infrastructure Fund (NIIF) to extend equity support to infrastructure Non-Bank Financial Companies (NBFC).
  • More open FDI policy has been adopted with FDI allowed for Defence sector up to 49%; Railways 100%; Insurance and Pension 49% etc.
  • Apart from this, a number of sectors like construction, broadcasting, civil aviation, plantation, trading, private sector banking, satellite establishment and operation and credit information companies etc. have been liberalized.

 

Service Sector-

  • Continues to be the key driver of India’s economic growth and it accelerated to 10.3% in 2014-15 from 7.8 % in the previous year and it is expected to be 9.2 % (constant prices) in 2015-16 as per the advanced estimates.
  • This is due to lower growth in Public Administration, Defence and other Services.
  • Rising trend in FDI equity inflows to the services sector in the first seven months of 2015-16 with FDI inflows growing by 74.7%.
  • Survey points-out that at the end-September 2015, India’s external debt has remained in safe limits as shown by long term debt accounted for 82.2% of India’s total external debt, vis-à-vis 82.0% at end-March 2015.
  • Proportion of short term debt to total external debt decreased from 18.0 % at end-March 2015 to 17.8 % at end-September 2015.
  • External debt to GDP ratio of 23.7% and debt service ratio of 7.5% in 2014-15 are at comfortable levels.

Social Infrastructure, Employment and Human Development-

  • Government is committed to invest in bridging the skill gap.
  • It also talks of technology for Efficient Delivery of Services.
  • Report points out those more than 122 lakh toilets have been constructed in rural areas since the beginning of Swachh Bharat Mission (Gramin) for improving sanitation situation in rural India.

 

Quality of education-

  • Need of quality education both the public and private sectors.
  • Need for professionally qualified and trained teachers to improve educational outcomes.
  • To strengthen the delivery of public health services and infrastructure facilities, both public investments and leveraging of private investments are necessary.
  • To improve the efficiency in the delivery of services and to overcome the shortages in the skilled personnel in health sector policy interventions are felt needed.

Climate Change and Sustainable Development-

  • India had been an active participant and a signatory to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) Agreement signed in December 2015 and to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) agreement signed in September 2015.
  • India stated its Intended Nationally Determined Contribution (INDC) goals for the renewable energy sector, mainly from solar and wind energy.
  • Aim is to achieve a target of 60 GW of wind power as well as 100 GWs of solar power to be in the country installed by 2022.

 

India Ranks First in Milk Production, Accounting for 18.5 Per Cent of World Production 

(Topic: Food processing and related industries in India- scope and significance, location, upstream and downstream requirements, supply chain management)

Context– India ranks first in milk production, accounting for 18.5 per cent of world production

Growth Scenario-

  • An annual output of 146.3 million tones during 2014-15 as compared to 137.69 million toness during 2013-14 recording a growth of 6.26 per cent
  • Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) has reported a 3.1 per cent increase in world milk production from 765 million tonnes in 2013 to 789 million tonnes in 2014.
  • Per capita availability of milk in India has increased from 176 grams per day in 1990-91 to 322 grams per day by 2014-15.
  • It is more than the world average of 294 grams per day during 2013.
  • Represents a sustained growth in availability of milk and milk products for the growing population. Dairying has become an important secondary source of income for millions of rural households engaged in agriculture.

Success resulted from-

  • Integrated  co-operative system of-
  • Milk collection
  • Transportation
  • Processing and distribution
  • Conversion of the same to milk powder and products,
  • Minimize seasonal impact on suppliers and buyers
  • Retail  distribution  of milk and milk products,
  • Sharing of profits with the farmer, which are ploughed back to enhance productivity  and needs to be emulated by other farm produce/producers

 

Poultry segment-

  • Government’s focus, besides framing suitable policies for enhancing commercial poultry production, is for strengthening the family poultry system, which addresses livelihood issues.
  • Both egg and fish production has also registered an increasing trend over the years.
  • Egg production was around 78.48 billion eggs in 2014-15, while poultry meat production was estimated at 3.04 MT.
  • Fisheries constitute about 1 per cent of the GDP of the country and 5.08 per cent of agriculture GDP.

 

Railways Special

Railways to Partner with State Governments for Operation of Tourist Circuit Trains 

(Topic: Infrastructure- Energy, Ports, Roads, Airports, Railways etc)

About- Indian Railways will be partnering with the State Governments for operating tourist circuit trains and exploring the possibility of a revenue sharing model

 

Highlights-

  • Indian Railways have recently upgraded our National Rail Museum.
  • Promotion of tourism through Railway museums and UNESCO world heritage Railways will be special focus.
  • Highlighted that India’s rich biodiversity and wildlife is one of the mainstays of Incredible India campaign.
  • Indian Railways initiated a project to target reduction in elephant collisions, especially in North Eastern states.
  • To spread awareness about our National Animal, the Tiger, Indian Railways will offer complete packages including train journey, safaris and accommodation to cover the wildlife circuit comprising Kanha, Pench and Bandhavgarh.

 

Railway Proposes to Set Up ‘SRESTHA’- A R&D Organization

(Topic: Infrastructure- Energy, Ports, Roads, Airports, Railways etc)

About- Minister of Railways, while presenting the Railway Budget 2016-17 in Parliament announced to set up a R&D organization, a Special Railway Establishment for Strategic Technology & Holistic Advancement, ‘SRESTHA.’

 

RDSO –

  • Focus only on day to day issues
  • RDSO functioning will be made totally transparent with time bound results.

SRESTHA –

  • Drive long term research.
  • Headed by an eminent scientist reporting directly to Chairman, Railway Board and would be staffed with scientists and a limited number of Railway experts.

Highlights-

  • Aekikaran – Consolidation of Holding Companies of Railways.
  • Propose to examine the feasibility of bringing most of these companies under an umbrella of a holding company which would provide the necessary strength for leveraging the combined resources as also in providing the much needed flexibility in utilizing the strength of each of the subsidiaries
  • Ensuring delivery of quality services to its customers, IR needs to be equipped with modern and cutting edge technology.
  • Priority areas of IR, like-
  • High Speed Rail,
  • Heavy haul,
  • Rolling stock
  • Signalling

To institutionalise and take forward such cooperation in key technology areas, the Government is working on a Foreign Rail Technology Cooperation Scheme (FRTCS).

 

Introduction of 30,000 Bio-Toilets in Trains

(Topic: Infrastructure- Energy, Ports, Roads, Airports, Railways etc)

Aim- To improve the cleanliness on stations and trains

Highlights-

  • Clean my Coach Service on Pan India basis is introduced, where a passenger can request cleaning of his/her coach/toilets on demand through SMS
  • A1 and A classes of stations are ranked based on periodic third party audit and passenger feedback
  • Setting up of waste segregation and recycling centres at A1 stations in a phased manner
  • Portable bio toilets will be provided at all platforms of select stations to cater to the demand of senior citizens, persons with disabilities and women passengers

Awareness campaigns-

  • To improve cleanliness at select stations, station approach roads and adjacent colonies.
  • Innovative means of providing and maintaining toilets through advertisement rights, CSR sponsorship, etc.

 

Transformation of Indian Railways through Avataran

(Topic: Transformation in Indian Railways)

About- To transform Indian Railways through seven Mission activities – Avataran.

Mission 25 Tonne –

  • Aim- To increase revenue by augmenting carrying capacity.
  • To achieve this 10-20% freight loading will be done through 25-tonne axle-load wagons in 2016-17 and target movement of 70% of freight traffic on high axle load wagons by FY19-20

Mission Zero Accident– Comprises of two sub missions-

  • Elimination of unmanned level crossings:
  • Goal is eliminate all unmanned level crossings on Broad Gauge in the next 3-4 years through innovative financing mechanisms.
  • Reduce deaths due to accidents and improve throughput of the network
  • TCAS (Train Collision Avoidance System):
  • An indigenous technology has been developed to equip 100% of the High Density Network with TCAS in the next 3 years.
  • Prevent head on collisions and improve throughput by increasing average sectional speeds.

Mission PACE (Procurement and Consumption Efficiency)-

  • Aim- To improve our procurement and consumption practices to improve the quality of goods and services.
  • Introduce a culture of optimum usage by adopting practices such as Vendor Managed Inventory, direct procurement of HSD, new procedures for identification and disposal of scrap.
  • Comprehensive review of procurement and consumption of HSD will lead to saving more than Rs 1,500 crore in 2016-17.

Mission Raftaar:

  • Aim- Doubling of average speeds of freights trains and increasing the average speed of superfast mail/express trains by 25 kmph in the next 5 years.
  • Loco hauled passenger trains will be replaced by DEMU/MEMU over the next five years.
  • It will complement Mission 25 Tonneto increase throughput of the railway system.

 

Mission Hundred-

  • Mission will commission at least a hundred sidings in the next 2 years.
  • The current siding/ PFT policy would be revised to elicit greater private participation.
  • An online portal will be operated for accepting and processing all new applications, along with decentralization of powers.

Mission beyond book-keeping:

  • Establish an accounting system where outcomes can be tracked to inputs.
  • Transform IR as right accounting would determine right costing and hence right pricing and right outcomes.

 

Mission Capacity Utilisation: Proposes to prepare a blueprint for making full use of the huge new capacity that will be created through two Dedicated Freight Corridors between Delhi-Mumbai and Delhi-Kolkata scheduled to be commissioned by 2019

 

Sarathi Seva- To help old and Disabled Passengers  

(Topic: Railways welfare schemes for vulnerable sections of the society, performance of schemes, protection and betterment of vulnerable sections)

About– Sarathi Seva was introduced in Konkan Railway to help the old and disabled passengers requiring assistance at stations, service will be expanded at many more stations.

Sarathi Seva-

  • Existing services for enabling passengers to book battery operated cars, porter services, etc. on a paid basis in addition to the existing pick up and drop, and wheel chair services will be strengthened.
  • Provide porters with new uniforms and train them in soft skills in line with the evolving image of Indian Railways, adopting modern technology yet traditional in its ethos of treating passengers with respect
  • Indian Railways is working with insurance companies to offer optional travel insurance for rail journeys at the time of booking.
  • Proposed to commence hourly booking of retiring rooms instead of the existing minimum of 12 hours to fulfil the unmet need of passengers.
  • Retiring rooms will be handed over to IRCTC to ensure that these can be managed in a professional manner.

Enhancing passenger comfort-

  • Indian Railways will pilot availability of children’s menu items on trains, baby foods, hot milk and hot water would be made available on stations and changing boards for babies would be provided in train toilets
  • Ensure higher carrying capacity and provision of new amenities including automatic doors, bar-code readers, bio-vacuum toilets, water-level indicators, accessible dustbins, ergonomic seating, improved aesthetics, vending machines, entertainment screens, LED lit boards for advertising, PA system and more.
  • New SMART(SpeciallyModified Aesthetic Refreshing Travel) coaches would cater to emerging needs of our customers and also ensure lower unit cost of operations due to higher carrying capacity.

 

All Stations to be made Disabiled Friendly

(Topic: Railways welfare schemes for vulnerable sections of the society, performance of schemes, protection and betterment of vulnerable sections)

Pursuance of- Objectives of Accessible India Campaign Indian Railway will ensure that all stations under redevelopment are made disabled friendly.

Highlights-

  • At least one disabled friendly toilet in all platforms in A1 class stations will be built in the next financial year.
  • One-time registration for the persons with disabilities for availing concessions while booking tickets online.
  • Online booking of wheelchairs & Braille enabled new coaches were also introduced for the persons with disabilities.
  • Increasing of quota of lower berths for senior citizens and women, middle bays reserved in coaches for women.

 

Railways to increase revenue through non-fare sources 

(Topic: Rail revenues and services)

About-Current revenue through non-fare sources is less than 5% and it will be increased to world average of 10% by next five years.

Following initiatives will be taken to attain this-

  • Station redevelopment:
  • A major programme of station redevelopment has been initiated to monetize land and buildings through commercial exploitation of vacant land and space rights over station buildings.
  • Monetizing land along tracks:
  • Railways will lease out the land available adjacent to tracks to promote horticulture and tree plantation.
  • Generate employment to underprivileged sections, augment food security and also prevent encroachment.
  • Possibility of using these tracks for generating solar energy will also be exploited.
  • Monetizing soft assets:
  • Railways to monetize the data collected on passenger preferences, ticketing, commodity, train running on various services and operations.
  • IRCTC also offers opportunities of taking of e-commerce activities on large number of hits that it receives.
  • Advertising:
  • Railways to use its vast physical infrastructure for commercial exploitation through advertisement.
  • Special focus will be given to exploit extra potential of stations, trains and land adjacent to tracks.
  • Overhaul of Parcel business:
  • Railways to liberalize its current parcel policies to increase the non-fare revenue.
  • Expand its service offerings especially to growing sectors such as e-commerce.
  • Revenues from manufacturing activity:
  • Railways to put focus to increase productivity and better manufacturing practices to become a meaningful player in the domestic and international markets.
  • Aimed to generate annualized revenues of about Rs.4,000 crore by 2020.

 

E-Booking of Tickets on the Concessional Passes for Journalists to be Introduced 

(Topic: e-governance in railways)

About- Indian Railways intends to commence sale of tickets through hand held terminals for the benefit of the suburban and short distance travellers

Enable-

  • Deployment of multiple ‘Points of Sale’ with minimal infrastructure requirement.
  • Intends initiating sale of platform tickets through ticket vending machines which would be made compatible with not only cash but also credit/debit cards.

Highlights-

  • To open the e-ticketing facility to foreign debit/credit cards for foreign tourists and NRIs in the next 3 months.
  • E-booking of tickets on the concessional passes for journalists to be introduced.
  • Proposed a new process for Cancellation of PRS tickets through the 139 helpline post verification using ‘One Time Password’ sent on registered phone number.
  • Bar coded tickets, scanners and access control to be introduced on a pilot basis on major stations to tackle the menace of ticketless travel and ensure hassle free travel for passengers.
  • CCTV coverage at tatkaal counters is being planned to improve services during morning Tatkaal hours.
  • A system of third party periodic audits and certification of security features of the PRS website is being planned.

 

Other initiatives-

  • ‘Vikalp’ (Alternative Train Accommodation System) scheme introduced in October 2015 will be expanded to provide choice of accommodation in specific trains to wait-listed passengers
  • ‘Operation Five Minutes’introduced 1,780 Automatic Ticket Vending Machines, Mobile apps and GoIndia smartcard.
  • GoIndia smartcard will enable cashless purchase of UTS and PRS tickets.
  • Mobile apps introduced for purchasing of unreserved and platform tickets

 

AYUSH Systems in 5 Railway Hospitals

(Topic: Agreement between various Ministries for betterment of services)

About- Indian Railways will tie up with the Ministry of Health for ensuring an exchange between Railways hospitals and Government hospitals.

Aim-Indian Railways will introduce ‘AYUSH’ systems in 5 Railway hospitals.

 

Highlights-

  • Railway Ministry gang men will be provided with devices called ‘Rakshak’ which would be wireless enabled and will intimate them about approaching trains.
  • Reduce the weight of the tools carried by them while patrolling on foot through value engineering.
  • Setting up two chairs – One on Strategic Finance, research and policy development and another on geo-spatial technology for Indian Railways for promoting research in key policy areas.
  • Indian Railways will open up the organisation to 100 students across Engineering and MBA schools for 2-6 months’ internships each year.

 

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