Recommend: Times of India , Economic Times
The sanitation coverage in rural India has risen to 85 per cent under Swachh Bharat Mission, the largest cleanliness drive in the world.
A recent survey conducted by an Independent Verification Agency across 90,000 households in over 6000 villages found that the usage of toilets in rural India had risen to 93.4%. Two independent surveys conducted in the past by the Quality Council of India in 2017 and National Sample Survey Organization in 2016 also recorded the usage of toilets in rural India to be around 91 per cent and 95 per cent respectively.
# Union Government to constitute two border battalions
Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh announced recently that nine new battalions would be constituted, among which two would be for the border areas.
Singh added that two new women battalions have also been sanctioned for the J&K police, one for Kashmir Division and for Jammu Division. The battalions will primarily deal with incidents like stone pelting in Kashmir valley and other law and order duties. The move is expected to provide employment to around 2000 women from the state.
The announcement was made by the Home Minister while addressing a press conference in Jammu on the second day of his visit to the state of Jammu and Kashmir. Reiterating the union government’s commitment to safeguard the interests of border people and Kashmir migrants in Jammu and Kashmir, the Home Minister said that centre is fully aware of the hardships faced by these people and has been taking a number of initiatives to address them.
Initiatives taken by the government in the interest of border people:
• The Home Ministry would be providing the border youth with 60 percent quota in the special five IRP battalions being raised.
• The Ministry has also revisited the scheme of giving Rs 5 lakhs for the people killed during cross-border firing and ceasefire violations. Now, the amount would be directly credited to the account of the next of kin of the person killed and all conditions relating to fixed deposit have been removed.
• Further, 14, 460 bunkers will be constructed in border areas, which includes 13,029 individual and 1,431 community bunkers. The Home Affairs Ministry has already approved Rs 415 crores for their construction.
• The Union Government is also contemplating the construction of Seema-Bhawans for the safety of border people.
• Five bulletproof ambulances will also be provided to border areas to carry the injured to hospital during cross-border firing.
• The Government has also increased the compensation for live-stock to Rs 50,000 from current Rs 30,000 and has removed the limit of three animals for losses incurred upon livestock.
Following are some of the initiatives taken in the interests of migrants in J&K:
• The Government would be providing financial assistance worth Rs 5.5 lakh per family for the West Pakistan refugees settled in Jammu and Kashmir. The decision will benefit nearly 5764 families.
• The government has also increased the relief given to Kashmiri and Jammu migrants to Rs 13000 per family per month, a 30 per cent hike from the previously given amount of Rs 10000.
• Besides, an Advisory board for migrants would be constituted to look into the problems faced by them. The board would have representation from all the migrant groups.
# India and Norway sign MoU to extend health cooperation
The Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare on June 7, 2018 signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs to extend the cooperation within health sector.
The cooperation will be extended through the Norway India Partnership Initiative (NIPI) for a period of three years starting from 2018 to 2020.
• This cooperation between India and Norway is aligned with the development goals of Indian Government as outlined in its National Health Policy 2017 for achievement of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
• It will focus on global health issues of common interest.
• It will enable cooperation in the areas related to maternal, new-born, child health and shall build on experiences from NIPI phase I and II.
• It will continue to focus on innovative, catalytic and strategic support, and stride in boosting the Indian Government’s ‘Intensification Plan for Accelerated Maternal and Child Survival’ in India.
Norway India Partnership Initiative (NIPI) Phase 3 (2018-2020)
• NIPI Phase 3 (2018-2020) will be built on the experiences of NIPI Phase I and II.
• It will scale up to the intensified districts and also establish an innovation hub.
• The best practices in maternal and newborn child health carried out under the National Health Mission and NIPI will be shared for global dissemination and learning.
• The NIPI initiative through its work in the last ten years during 2007-2017 has resulted in newer initiatives.
• NIPI has also supported National Health Mission by providing credible technical support in the five Indian states and at national level. This has resulted in development and release of multiple policies and guidelines for the NHM.
• The Governments of Norway and India had agreed in 2006 to collaborate to reduce child mortality based on commitments made by the then two Prime Ministers.
• The partnership was based on India’s health initiative, the National Health Mission (NHM).
• It aimed at facilitating rapid scale-up of quality child and maternal health services in four high focus states – Bihar, Odisha, Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan and also as a RMNCHA+ partner in Jammu & Kashmir.
• The main activities in Phase I (2006-2012) were home-based new born care (HBNC) ‘Yashoda’ through State health system, establishing Sick Newborn Care Units (SNCU), techno managerial suppor and providing strategic support for immunization and Public Private Partnership (PPP).
# NASA approves mission extension for Juno
# Sports ministry approves upward revision of pension to meritorious sportspersons
Minister of Youth Affairs and Sports Rajyavardhan Rathore has approved the upward revision of pension to meritorious sportspersons.
Under the revised rates, the rate of pension has been doubled off the existing rate of pension on winning medals in international sports events.
The revised pension rates are as follows:
• The medalists at the Olympic/Para-Olympic Games will now get Rs 20,000, double from earlier Rs 10000 per month.
• The gold medalists at World Cup/World Championship in Olympic and Asian Games disciplines will get Rs 16,000, which is also double from earlier Rs 8,000 per month.
• The silver or bronze medalists at World Cup or World Championship in Olympics and Asian Games disciplines and gold medalists in Asian Games/Commonwealth Games/Para Asian Games will now get Rs14, 000 from earlier Rs 7,000 per month.
• The silver and bronze medalist in Asian Games/Commonwealth Games/Para Asian Games will get Rs 12,000.
The rate of pension of medal winners in the Para-Olympics Games and Para Asian Games will be at par with the medal winners in the Olympic Games and Asian Games respectively.
The World Championships held once in four years will only be considered for the pension.
In the case of existing pensioners, the revision in the rate of pension will be effective from April 1, 2018.
Under the revised scheme, it is highlighted that the sportsperson should retire from active sports career and be attaining the age of 30 years at the time of applying pension under the scheme.
An undertaking to this effect will have to be given by the sportsperson in the application form itself and the same has to be confirmed from SAI while forwarding application for verification of achievements of the applicant.