Indian and U.S. officials held their scheduled virtual Foreign Office Consultations
- The two countries had “discussed ways to further enhance mutually beneficial trade and people-to-people ties, including through visa facilitation for students and professionals,”
- The discussions included ongoing threats to the rules-based international order, bilateral and multilateral diplomatic cooperation, maritime security and the global response to the COVID-19 pandemic
- The two countries agreed to stay in touch including via the 2+2 Ministerial Dialogue (Defence and Foreign Ministers of both countries) which will be held in India later this year.
Russia declared national emergency after a spill of 21,000 tonnes of diesel fuel
- A national-level state of emergency was announced after 21,000 tonnes of diesel fuel spilled from a reservoir that collapsed in May outside the Arctic city of Norilsk, polluting huge stretches of river in remote tundra with bright red patches visible from space.
- Mining giant told to pay $2 bn for Arctic spill
Boundary between Bhutan-China under negotiation, has not been demarcated
- Royal Bhutanese Embassy in India has stated that Boundary between Bhutan-China is under negotiation and has not been demarcated.
- 24 rounds of ministerial-level boundary talks held, 25th round delayed due to Covid. All disputed areas to be discussed in next round.
Affordable rental housing for urban migrants
- The Union Cabinet chaired by the Prime Minister, Shri Narendra Modi has given its approval for developing of Affordable Rental Housing Complexes (AHRCs) for urban migrants / poor as a sub-scheme under Pradhan MantriAwasYojana – Urban (PMAY – U)
- About 1.03 lakh completed government-funded houses across cities that were yet to be allotted to beneficiaries under existing schemes would be converted into the rental housing complexes
- The vacant housing complexes would be converted through 25-year concession agreements and the concessionaire would repair or retrofit the homes, maintain the rooms and address any pending infrastructure needs like water, sewerage, roads, etc
- Ministry of Housing & Urban Affairs (MoHUA) has initiated an Affordable Rental Housing Complexes (ARHCs) for urban migrants/poor as a sub-scheme under Pradhan MantriAwasYojana (Urban). The scheme was announced by the Hon’ble Finance Minister on 14 May, 2020. This scheme seeks to fulfill the vision of ‘AtmaNirbhar Bharat.
Kaziranga animal corridor encroachment
- The Central Empowered Committee (CEC) constituted by the Supreme Court has asked Assam’s Chief Wildlife Warden to submit a “factual report” on illegal construction at a major animal corridor adjoining the Kaziranga National Park.
- Kanchanjuri is among the corridors and used by animals, especially to escape the flooded KNP during the monsoon months and return from the relative safety of the KarbiAnglong hills after the water subsides.
- Apart from prohibiting construction, the Supreme Courts’s 2019 order had banned all mining-related activities on the periphery of KNP and catchment area of rivers, streams or rivulets originating in the KarbiAnglong hills and flowing into the national park.
Green nod not a must for projects to revamp rail stations
- The Indian Railways’ ambitious station redevelopment projects do not require environmental clearances any more, said railway board chairman V K Yadav.
- The decision is expected to speed up station development even as a rejigged time table will see dedicated time slots for mail and express and freight and slow moving trains on every section.
- There will be a real-time train information system by fitting GPS in all passenger locomotives by March, 2021.
Rs 19,457cr disbursed through PM-Kisan
- The Centre’s flagship PM-Kisan assured income support scheme for farmers reached over 9.5 crore beneficiaries during the lockdown period, disbursing over Rs 19,457 crore till May 28
- West Bengal yet to join scheme
- Under PM-Kisan, all landholder farmer families, subject to certain exclusions, can get Rs 6,000 per annum in three equal instalments every four months in a financial year.
Extension of time limit for availing the benefits of “Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Yojana” for Ujjwala beneficiaries
- The Union Cabinet chaired by the Prime Minister, Shri Narendra Modi has approved the proposal of Ministry of Petroleum & Natural Gas for extension of time limit by three months w.e.f. 01.07.2020 for availing the benefits of “Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Yojana” for Ujjwala beneficiaries
- The Government had announced a relief package ” Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Yojana” aimed at providing a safety net to the poor and vulnerable who had been hit the hardest by the pandemic.
- The package also included relief for poor families who had availed of an LPG connection under PMUY. Under the PMGKY-Ujjwala, it was decided to provide free of cost refills for PMUY consumers for a period of 3 months w.e.f. 01.04.2020.
151 Trains proposed to be run by Private operators
- 151 Trains proposed to be run by Private operators once the selection process is over, would be OVER and ABOVE the already existing trains
- These 151 trains are in ADDITION to the existing trains
- These proposed Trains will run on the routes where the demand for trains is already higher than the existing capacity
- Ministry of Railways has invited Request for Qualifications( RFQ) for private participation for operation of passenger train services over 109 Origin Destination(OD) pairs of routes
- The project would entail private sector investment of about Rs 30,000 crore
- The objective of this initiative is to introduce modern technology rolling stock with reduced maintenance, reduced transit time, boost job creation, provide enhanced safety, provide world class travel experience to passengers
- The driver and guard of the trains will be Railway officials. The safety clearance of trains will be done by Railways only
- Majority of Trains to be manufactured in India (Make in India). The private entity shall be responsible for financing, procuring, operation and maintenance of the trains.
- Trains shall be designed for a maximum speed of 160 kmph. There would be a substantial reduction in journey time.The running time taken by a train shall be comparable to or faster than the fastest train of Indian Railways operating in the respective route.
Central Sector Scheme of financing facility under ‘Agriculture Infrastructure Fund’
- The Union Cabinet chaired by the Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi today has given its approval to a new pan India Central Sector Scheme-Agriculture Infrastructure Fund. The scheme shall provide a medium – long term debt financing facility for investment in viable projects for post-harvest management Infrastructure and community farming assets through interest subvention and financial support.
- Under the scheme, Rs. One Lakh Crore will be provided by banks and financial institutions as loans to Primary Agricultural Credit Societies (PACS), Marketing Cooperative Societies, Farmer Producers Organizations (FPOs), Self Help Group (SHG), Farmers, Joint Liability Groups (JLG), Multipurpose Cooperative Societies, Agri-entrepreneurs, Startups, Aggregation Infrastructure Providers and Central/State agency or Local Body sponsored Public Private Partnership Project
- Loans will be disbursed in four years starting with sanction of Rs. 10,000 crorein the current year and Rs. 30,000 crore each in next three financial years.
- All loans under this financing facility will have interest subvention of 3% per annum up to a limit of Rs. 2 crore. This subvention will be available for a maximum period of seven years. Further, credit guarantee coverage will be available for eligible borrowers from this financing facility under Credit Guarantee Fund Trust for Micro and Small Enterprises (CGTMSE) scheme for a loan up to Rs. 2 crore. The fee for this coverage will be paid by the Government.
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