One Nation One FASTag:
Minister of Road Transport and Highways Nitin Gadkari inaugurated the “One Nation One FASTag” scheme. The scheme will be implemented from December 1, 2019, and can be availed upon activation by new cars having Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) tags on national and state highways throughout the country.
FASTags are stickers that are affixed to the windscreen of vehicles and use RFID technology to enable digital, contactless payment of tolls without having to stop at toll gates. The tags are linked to bank accounts and other payment methods. As a car crosses a toll plaza, the amount is automatically deducted, and a notification is sent to the registered mobile phone number. Sensors are placed on toll barriers, and the barriers open for vehicles having valid FASTags.
A FASTag is valid for five years and needs to be recharged only as per requirement. At present, 60 lakh vehicles in India have FASTags. According to the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI), these devices will make passing through tolls considerably smoother since drivers will no longer have to carry cash or stop to make a transaction.
The existing FASTags under various jurisdictions of states and agencies would be enabled under this scheme, thus integrating the collection of toll digitally so that seamless services can be provided to consumers all over India. The move is significant given that the Centre has decided that from December 1, all national highway toll plazas will accept tolls only through FASTags.
Justice A.K. Patnaik Committee:
A committee appointed by the Chhattisgarh government to “review cases against Scheduled Tribes and other residents of the Naxal region in the state” is set to begin its work this month. It will look at cases involving more than 23,000 tribals. The committee of Justice A K Patnaik, a retired judge of the Supreme Court, will hold its first meeting in Raipur on October 30 and 31 as it starts looking at cases of over 16,475 tribals accused by police in a range of cases and another 6,743 being held as undertrials, mostly in Bijapur, Sukma and Bastar districts.
The terms of reference of the committee state that where it does not find material to continue matters against the accused, it would have the remit to recommend withdrawal of prosecution, dropping of cases in which police are yet to file a report before the court, or recommend appropriate plea bargaining, as laid out in the Code of Criminal Procedure. The buck on the recommendations of this committee will stop with the state government which will finally decide on the matters.
Global Hunger Index:
India slipped to 102 positions in the 2019 Global Hunger Index featuring 117 countries, behind Nepal, Pakistan and Bangladesh. Over one in every five children in India is “wasted” (low weight for height), the highest for any country in the report. The report, prepared jointly by Irish aid agency Concern Worldwide and German organisation Welt Hunger Hilfe has said India suffers from a level of hunger that is “serious”, at the very end of the category with a 30.1 GHI score.
The GHI score is calculated on four indicators — undernourishment; child wasting, the share of children under the age of five who are wasted (that is, who have low weight for their height, reflecting acute undernutrition); child stunting, children under the age of five who have low height for their age, reflecting chronic undernutrition; and child mortality, the mortality rate of children under the age of five.
‘Pradhan Mantri Innovative Learning Programme- DHRUV’:
Union Human Resource Development Minister Shri Ramesh Pokhriyal ‘Nishank’ launched a unique initiative,the Pradhan Mantri Innovative Learning Programme-DHRUV, which will act as a turning point in the lives of extra ordinarily talented students,from the premises of the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) Headquarters at Bengaluru.
The new Programme DHRUV ’will act as a platform to explore the talent of outshining and meritorious students, and help them achieve excellence in their specific areas of interest may it be science, performing arts, creative writing, etc. In this way, these talented students will not only realize their full potential but also contribute to the society in a big way.
The Pradhan Mantri Innovative Learning Programme has been started to identify and encourage talented children to enrich their skills and knowledge. In centres of excellence across the country, gifted children will be mentored and nurtured by renowned experts in different areas, so that they can reach their full potential. It is expected that many of the students selected will reach the highest levels in their chosen fields and bring laurels to their community, State and Nation.
To begin with, it will cover two areas i.e. Science and Performing Arts. There are 60 students in all, 30 from each area. The 60 students come from across the country. The students have been broadly chosen from classes 9 to 12, from all schools including government and private.