Current Affairs for IAS Exams – 26 February 2016

Current Affairs for IAS Exams – 26 February 2016


Suresh Prabhu presented customer oriented budget

  • Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu effected no hike in passenger fares, indicated a cut in freight tariffs.

  • He admitted that the global economic slowdown is hurting India’s core sectors and pointed out that the looming impact of the Seventh Pay Commission made it one of the toughest times to formulate a Budget.

  • Yet, Mr. Prabhu, in his second Rail Budget, unveiled a bouquet of new train services, innumerable new initiatives to make life easier for passengers and proposed an ambitious capital outlay of Rs. 1.21 lakh crore for 2016-17, a jump of 21 per cent over this year.

  • While the Railway Minister didn’t refer to a sharp 50 crore shortfall in his passenger traffic estimates for 2015- 16 — the Railways is expected to carry just 810 crore passengers down from 860crore that he had projected in the last budget.

  • He sought to win back passengers by offering some air-plane-type features like on- board entertainment and travel insurance options at the time of booking.

  • Railways is looking at bringing down its freight rates for the first time in the coming year, in a bid to increase revenues through higher volumes.

  • Minister also said “With an optimistic outlook for the economy, we hope to generate revenues of the order of Rs. 1,84,820 crore next year, 10.1 per cent higher than the revised target for 2015-16.”

  • The Railways will increase the senior citizen quota per coach by 50 per cent, resulting in almost 120 lower berths per train for senior citizens.

  • All stations will be made disabled-friendly and 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 was also announced along with online booking of wheelchairs & Braille-enabled new coaches.

  • As a pilot, the Railways will make available children’s menu items on trains along with baby foods, hot milk, hot water and changing boards for babies in train toilets.

  • The Budget suggests sale of tickets through hand-held terminals on suburban or short distance travel and sale of platform tickets through ticket vending machines with credit/debit cards as accepted payment modes besides cash.

  • Further, the e-ticketing facility will be extended to foreign debit/credit cards for foreign tourists and NRIs.

  • For cancelling a ticket, it is proposed that a customer can simply call the 139 helpline in- stead of going to a booking window to avail the refund.

  • The Ministry is working with insurance companies to offer optional travel insurance for rail journeys at the time of booking.

  • Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu announced four new categories of trains — one for unreserved passengers and three for reserved passengers.

  • Antyodaya Express, a long-distance, fully unreserved, superfast train service, for the common man, to be operated on dense routes.

  • Govt. will also add two to four DeenDayalu coaches to some long-distance trains for unreserved travel to enhance our carrying capacity for the masses.

  • Minister also announced a fully third AC train, called Humsafar. The Tejas category of trains will run at 130 km an hour, with entertainment, local cuisine, Wi-Fi and other amenities on board.

  • The final category is UDAY (Utkrisht Double- Decker Air-conditioned Yatri), which will be overnight trains plying on the busiest routes to increase capacity by 40 per cent.

NGT wants real estate developers to be punished for the dust

  • The National Green Tribunal (NGT) asked civic bodies and public authorities in Delhi-NCR to check air pollution caused by dust emanating from construction sites and initiate action against real estate developers violating environmental norms.

  • The green panel has also asked municipal corporations to strictly impose a fine of Rs. 50,000 on builders who violate the Environment Ministry's 2010 guidelines on constructions.

  • The announcement of the fine was made by the Tribunal last year.

  • NGT Chairperson Justice Swatanter Kumar said that allcorporations and public authorities must concentrate on builders who raised huge constructions and did not follow pollution norms.

  • It also directed the municipal corporations to file a list of builders involved in violations.

UB group chairman Vijay Mallya resigned (Register and Login to read Full News..) 

Electronic tourist visa extended to 37 more countries (Register and Login to read Full News..) 

:: International ::

Seven Indian companies products component ended up in explosives of IS

  • Products from at least seven Indian companies figure in a large supply of components that have ended up in explosives used by Islamic State terrorists, according to a study released.

  • The European Union-fund- ed 20-month-long study by the Conflict Armament Re- search (CAR) states that the seven Indian companies “manufactured most of the detonators, detonating cord, and safety fuses documented” by their field investigation teams.

  • However, there was no illegality on the part of the Indian companies, the report says.

  • The study established that 51 companies from 20 countries produced or sold more than 700 components used by IS to build improvised explosive devices (IEDs).

  • Companies from other countries such as Turkey, Brazil and the United States also appeared on the list.

  • Solar Industries, India, produced one spool of detonating cord on 27 February 2014 and exported it to the Turkish company Ýlci, Ankara.

  • On 31 December 2012, Gulf Oil Corporation, India, had produced a spool and exported it to the Turkish company NitromakDyno Nobel, Ankara.

  • Solar Industries, India, produced a further two spools, on 21 and 23 October 2012, and exported them [on an unspecified date] to the Lebanese company Maybel, headquartered in Beirut.

  • However, all those Indian products landed up with the IS through some intermediaries.

Commonwealth Ministerial action group calls for free and fair election in Maldives (Register and Login to read Full News..) 

:: INDIA and WORLD ::

India will approach UN to include Masood in globally designed terrorists

  • In its biggest diplomatic move after the Pathankot attack, India will approach the United Nations to include the Pakistan-based terror master- mind Maulana Masood Azhar on the list of globally designated terrorists.

  • India would formally request the 1267 Sanctions Committee, which consists of 15 members, to schedule a discussion on Masood Azhar on Friday.

  • The decision is significant since it is the second time in less than a year that India will attempt to isolate an international terrorist through the anti-terror committee.

  • In June 2015, India moved the committee in the United Nations, demanding an ex- planation from Pakistan for its decision to release the 26/ 11 attack plotter Zakiur Rahman Lakhvi from jail.

  • The attempt to isolate Pakistan, however, failed at the last moment because of China’s opposition. this year too, China’s attitude would be watched.


Indian industry welcomes railway budget

  • India Inc, welcoming the railway budget for its focus on various initiatives aimed atfuelling economic growth.

  • many initiatives announced in the budget would restore the Indian railways back to good health.

  • Bajaj Auto Chairman said many positive steps had been taken in the right direction but large expenditure on a project like the bullet train should be postponed and the money utilized for the much required improvement and expansion of the railways.

Railway budget lays emphasis on PPP projects (Register and Login to read Full News..) 

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Sources: Various News Papers & PIB

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