The Supreme Court on Wednesday ordered the Centre and eight
States to present a report card on appointments made to the Information
Commissions, the apex bodies constituted under the Right to Information Act
to help citizens fight for transparency in governance.
The direction comes nearly eight months after the apex court
ordered the government to look beyond the coterie of retired bureaucrats for
appointment as Information Commissioners, in a judgment delivered on February
In its February verdict, theSC had concluded that theCentral
Information Commission (CIC) and State Information Commissions have been
bastions for government employees and their retired counterparts.
It said the Right to Information Act of 2005 itself required
people from varied domains to man the Commissions.
The court had found that the “official bias” in favour of
bureaucrats and government employees was evident from the beginning of the
process for appointments.
India to raise clean technology demand at Madrid climate change
Union Minister for Environment, Forest and Climate Change
PrakashJavadekar today said that India will put forward the demand for clean
technology at affordable cost and liberal financing from developed countries
to developing countries during the forthcoming Madrid Meeting on Climate
Speaking in an exclusive interview to PrasarBharti Special
Correspondent after participating in the 15th Governing Council Meeting of South
Asia Co-operative Environment Programme in Dhaka today, he said, issues of
plastic waste management, biodiversity and other issues related to environment
were discussed among South Asian Member countries.
Mr Javadekar said that in the meeting he spoke about India being
on track to fulfill its commitment given at Paris on the issues like emission
intensity reduction, share of renewable power in India’s power-mix and other
issues such as increasing the forest cover.
In all these fields India is leading by example, he said.
However, he also pointed out the need to make behavioural change in the public
for which public awareness and participation is needed.
The Minister also called upon the developed world to provide
clean technology not for making a profit but at cost price to spread the new
technology. He said developing world suffers from climatic change the most and
the developed world should provide financial aid as promised.
Govt.to bring in new fund to revive realty sector
The government has decided to set up 25 thousand crore
rupees fund to revive stalled housing projects. The decision was taken by
the Union Cabinet at a meeting held yesterday in New Delhi.
Briefing media after the meeting, Finance Minister
NirmalaSitharaman said that the government will put in 10 thousand crore rupees
in the Alternative Investment Fund (AIF) while State Bank of India and Life
Insurance Corporation will provide 15 thousand crore rupees taking the total
size to 25 thousand crore rupees.
It will finance over 1,600 stalled housing projects comprising
about 4.58 lakh housing units across the country.
The fund will provide relief to developers that require funding
to complete a set of unfinished projects and consequently ensure delivery of
homes to the home-buyers.
Finance Minister NirmalaSitharaman also said, the government and
Reserve Bank are working to resolve the issues being faced by realty sector.
Speaking at a special NSE event in Mumbai, she admitted that the
realty sector has been left out of the booster measures announced earlier. Ms
Sitaraman said, many funds are ready to invest but want more policy support.
Agriculture ministry to prepare roadmap for attaining
self-sufficiency in edible oil production
The commerce ministry has asked the agriculture ministry to
prepare a road map for India to attain self-sufficiency in edible oil
production. The need for a “zero edible oil import” plan was discussed by
commerce minister PiyushGoyal at an inter-ministerial meeting on Tuesday.
India spends over Rs 70,000 crore to import about 15 MT edible
oil to meet its annual requirement of 25 MT, making it one of the biggest buyers
of the cooking medium.
The government has already constituted a Group of Secretaries (GoS)
for launching a nationwide oil seed mission to minimise oil imports. It will be
rolled out soon, the official said, adding that the government may levy a 2-10%
cess on import of crude and refined edible oil to fund the mission.
“Earlier, a fund of Rs 10,000 crore was mooted to support this
mission for five years. But, now, they (GoS) are looking at raising it through
levying cess on industry,” the official said. The industry, however, wants the
government to set aside a corpus from the revenue it earns from the duty on
crude and refined edible oil imports.
Sheikh Zayed Al Nahyan re-elected as president of UAE
The UAE's Supreme Council of the Union has re-elected His
Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan as its President for a fourth
five-year term, in accordance with the provisions of the UAE Constitution.
The Emirates News Agency reported that the Supreme Council of
the Union expressed its deep confidence in the wise leadership of President His
Highness Sheikh Khalifa, and wished him good luck to continue the journey of
development and prosperity thanks to his far-sighted wisdom and approach that
enhances the pillars of the renaissance of the dear homeland and its
achievements, and fulfills the aspirations of its generous people.
President Sheikh Khalifa was first elected President of the UAE
by the Supreme Council of the Union on 3rd November, 2004. President His
Highness Sheikh Khalifa accompanied the builder of the UAE renaissance, the late
Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, in the founding stage in the 70s and 80s of
the last century.
After the death of the Founding Father, he led the country and
contributed to the prosperity of the UAE, and its prominence locally and
News on Iran stepping up nuclear activity in its power plants
Iran stepped up activity at its underground Fordow nuclear
plant early today - a move France said showed for the first time that Tehran
explicitly planned to quit a historic deal with world powers that curbed its
disputed nuclear work.
With the presence of inspectors from the International Atomic
Energy Agency (IAEA), Iran started injecting uranium gas into centrifuges in
Fordow, state television reported. The Atomic Energy Organization of Iran also
confirmed the operation, which it said started at 00:00 local time today.
French President Emmanuel Macron called Iran's latest move
'grave', saying it explicitly signalled Iran's intent for the first time to
leave the deal - formally known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action.
Iran insists that the latest move is not a violation of the
nuclear deal, but is based on the Articles 26 and 36 of the agreement.
::SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY::
Chattisgarh model might help reduce pollution from stubble
As Delhi grapples with worsening air pollution, the
Chhattisgarh government has offered the Centre a solution to the problem of
stubble burning in fields—set up ethanol or biofuel units using paddy husk
and rice straw, it says.
On its part, the Chhattisgarh government has decided to set up
at least six biofuel plants to produce ethanol in the state. It will be the
first state in India to use rice and paddy husk to produce the biofuel.
Chhattisgarh chief minister BhupeshBaghel told ET, “Chhattisgarh
is known as the rice bowl of India. We have surplus production of rice. So we
explored the possibility of using surplus rice for other purposes.
Now, we have zeroed in on technology. Rice straw and paddy husk
are globally significant sources of cellulose-rich biomass and there is great
interest in converting them to bio ethanol.”
According to Baghel, the husk and paddy straw should not be
burnt. Instead it should be sold to the plant set up in the area. “When the
farmer knows that every part of his produce will be bought, he will ensure he
doesn’t burn it,” Baghel said.
Apart from the most immediate problem of stubble burning, there
could be long-term positive impacts, including significant reduction in fuel
consumption with blending of ethanol.
Indian Women’s team wins series against West Indies
In Women's Cricket, India won the three match series 2-1
beating the West Indies by 6 wickets in the 3rd and final ODI match in North
Sound, Antigua last night.
Indian women achieved the victory target of 195 runs comfortably
with 47 balls to spare. For India, SmritiMandhana was the highest scorer with 74
off 63 balls.Earlier, the hosts were all out at 194 in 50 overs after electing