- Ken-Betwa link: Centre agrees to MP’s demand to merge phases
- With poll-bound Madhya Pradesh insisting on taking up both the phases of the proposed Ken-Betwa inter-linking of rivers (ILRs) together, the Centre has agreed to the state’s demand after initial unwillingness on the issue and decided to merge the detailed project reports (DPRs) before finally rolling out the ambitious project this year.
- Taken together, the project, meant to benefit drought-prone Bundelkhand region of Madhya Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh through irrigation, drinking water supply and hydro-power, will cost Rs 26,651 crore (at 2015-16 price level).
- Combined DPR, merging Phase-I & II, is under preparation and draft memorandum of agreement (between Madhya Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh governments) for implementation of the KBLP is under final stage.
- The Ken-Betwa link was conceived as part of 30 ILRs projects across the country 15 years ago by the then NDA government under Atal Bihar Vajpayee.
· NASA’s unmanned aircraft ‘Ikhana’ will make search and rescue operations efficient
- NASA for the first time successfully flown its large remote-piloted Ikhana aircraft in the public airspace without a safety chase aeroplanes, the US space agency.
- It is a modified General Atomics Aeronautical Systems’ Predator B unmanned aircraft system being used by NASA’s Dryden Flight Research Center, Edwards, CA, for a variety of environmental science and aeronautical research roles
· India refuses to endorse BRI
- India was the only country not to endorse a high-profile Chinese project in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK) — the only discordant note in the 17-page joint document released at the end of the 18th Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) summit in Qingdao.
- All remaining seven members of the SCO bloc supported the project that is a part of President Xi Jinping’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI).
- Earlier, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said India supports connectivity projects that are inclusive, transparent and respect territorial sovereignty. India has long maintained that the China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) — a key part of the BRI initiative that passes through Pakistan-occupied Kashmir — violates its territorial integrity.
- The prime minister also floated an overarching concept of security that the SCO could follow, calling it SECURE: S for security for citizens, E for economic development, C for connectivity in the region, U for unity, R for respect of sovereignty, E for environment protection.
· Petroleum Minister Dharmendra Pradhan meets Ambassadors from OPEC countries to India
- Petroleum and Natural Gas Minister Dharmendra Pradhanmet the Ambassadors from OPEC countries and expressed concern about rising crude oil prices and its negative impact on consumers across the world, particularly in India.
- At a meeting in New Delhi, Mr Padhan emphasized that global crude prices have gone beyond the threshold which can be sustained by the world. He highlighted that market fundamentals do not support such high prices.
- He urged the OPEC Ambassadors to convey the message to their Governments regarding the need to move to responsible pricing. He also urged them to move to transparent and flexible markets for both oil and gas.
- India has a strong engagement with the OPEC countries and top 8 suppliers of crude oil to India are OPEC Member countries.
- The block accounted for about 83 per cent of country’s total crude oil imports, during the last financial year. Mr Pradhan is scheduled to visit Vienna next week to participate in the 7th OPEC International Seminar to further discuss these key issues.
· Inflation Rises To 14-Month High Of 4.43% In May
- Inflation based on wholesale prices shot up to a 14-month high of 4.43% in May on increasing prices of petrol and diesel as well as vegetables.
- The Wholesale Price Index (WPI)based inflation stood at 3.18%in April and 2.26% in May 2017.
- According to government data released, inflation in food articles was at 1.60% in May 2018, as against 0.87% in the preceding month. Inflation in vegetables climbed to 2.51% in May, while in the previous month it was (-)0.89%.
- Inflation in ‘fuel and power’ basket rose sharply to 11.22% in May from 7.85% in April as prices of domestic fuel increased in line with rising global crude oil rates.
· Gujarat tops Niti Aayog’s composite water management index; while Jharkhand ranked lowest
- Union Minister for Water Resources Nitin Gadkari released Niti Aayog’s composite water management indexreport in New Delhi.
- Gujarat topped the list while Jharkhand was adjudged as the worst performer. Gujarat is followed by Madhya Pradesh, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka and Maharashtra.
- In the northeastern and Himalayan states, Tripura has been adjudged as the top state in 2016-17 followed by Himachal Pradesh, Sikkim and Assam.
- Niti Aayog has ranked the states through first of its kind index on the composite water management, comprising 9 broad sectors with 28 different indicators covering various aspects.
- The report predicted that by 2030, the country’s water demand is projected to be twice the available supply, implying severe water scarcity for hundreds of millions of people.
· Twenty States Sign MoU For Implementing Ayushman Bharat – NHP Mission
- Mr J P Nadda, Union Minister of Health and Family Welfare exchanged the MoU with the State Health Ministers of 20 States marking their commitment towards the launch of the Ayushman Bharat – National Health Protection Mission (AB-NHPM).
- Anupriya Patel, Ministers of State for Health and Family Welfare and Amitabh Kant, CEO NITI Aayog were also present at the function.
- A web portal for initiating the empanelment of hospitals under the mission was also launched.