1. Railways E-Procurement System (IREPS), an online bill tracking system for vendors and contractors was introduced by the Union Ministry of Railways. The vendor or contractor need to register with online IT platform developed. The registration will enable vendor or agencies to see their bill status with dates through various stages of processing of bills, stages at which it is lying, amount for which it is passed and other details. It aims to enhance transparency in the processing and settlement of bills by increasing use of information technology.
2. Rajasthan became the first state in India to launch free email addresses in Hindi for its residents. The facility will be available at email@example.com (in Devanagari script). This initiative is small part of ‘Rajasthan DigiKit. The first e-mail ID from this initiative was created by Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje with id firstname.lastname@example.org (in Devnagari). This initiative aims to ensure maximum participation of people towards e-governance and ensure that maximum government facilities are available in vernacular language.
3. US $250 million loan agreement with World Bank for “Skills Acquisition and Knowledge Awareness for Livelihood Promotion” (SANKALP) Project to support was signed by the Union government. It is aimed at institutional reforms and improving quality & market relevance of skill development training programs in long and short term Vocational Education and Training (VET). World Bank’s financing arm International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD) will provide this loan. The closing date for the project is 31 March 2023.
4. A MoU was signed between Dredging Corporation of India (DCI) and National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) for facilitating the supply of sand for highways construction work. Under this MoU, DCI intends will do dredging operations at locations in South East Asia and generate large volumes of sand. NHAI will facilitate process by displaying availability of sand at various stockyards at ports. DCI is Indian Government Miniratna undertaking engaged in business of dredging. It was established in 1976 and reports to the Ministry of Shipping. It is headquartered at Visakhapatnam and has project offices at many seaports in India.
5. India ranked 109th out of 122 countries in the mobile internet speed and 76th out of 133 countries in broadband space in the November 2017 Speedtest Global Index (SGI). The index was released by popular internet speed testing service provider Ookla. The mobile network and broadband speeds are calculated based on every speed test done by user on Ookla app in every country. Mobile Internet Speed: Top 5 fastest mobile network countries: Norway (average speed of 62.66Mbps), Netherlands (53.01Mbps), Iceland (52.78Mbps), Singapore (51.50Mbps) and Malta (50.46 Mbps). Home broadband speed: Top 5 fastest Home broadband Countries: Singapore (153.85Mbps), Iceland (147.51Mbps), Hong Kong (133.94Mbps), South Korea (127.45Mbps) and Romania (104.46Mbps)
6. The 3rd Annual Meeting of the Board of Governors of Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) will host by India in Mumbai, Maharashtra in June 2018. The theme of the annual meeting is “Mobilizing Finance for Infrastructure: Innovation and Collaboration”. In this regard, Union Government and AIIB Secretariat have signed MoU to delineate duties and responsibilities of major stakeholders who would be involved in organizing the aforesaid Annual Meeting. India is one of the founding members of AIIB and 2nd largest shareholder in AIIB followed by Russia. It was founded in October, 2014 and became operational in January 2016 with head quarters in Beijing.
7. Sri Lanka’s southern strategic port of Hambantota was formally handed over to China on 99-year lease. Hambantota port is strategically located right in middle of vital energy supply lines in Indian Ocean, connecting Middle East and East Asia. It had gained strategic significance after Sri Lankan government had decided to build massive deep-sea port and airport with huge Chinese loans. The 99-year lease deal had fanned concerns of countries with competing strategic interests with China, particularly India and US. Two Chinese firms managed by China Merchants Port Holdings Company (CMPort) and Sri Lanka Ports Authority will own port and the investment zone around it.
8. India is planning to hold talks with Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) countries to extend India-Myanmar-Thailand (IMT) highway up to Vietnam. The 1,360 km long IMT highway from Moreh in India to Mae-Sot in Thailand can be extended to Vietnam via Laos and Cambodia as per proposals from India. The India–Myanmar–Thailand Trilateral Highway is highway under construction under India’s Act East policy that will connect Moreh, India with Mae Sot, Thailand via Myanmar. The highway is expected to boost trade and commerce in ASEAN–India Free Trade Area, as well as with rest of Southeast Asia.
9. Safe City Surveillance Scheme for checking crime against women was launched by the Bihar Government. It has specially launched for checking crime against women, such as harassment, eve-teasing and molestation, snatching incidents and roadside scuffles etc. It will also help in keeping a track of miscreants. The scheme will bring all major public places under the watch of CCTV cameras.
10. The first ‘2+2 dialogue’ between India and Australia held in New Delhi and highlighted need to maintain Asia-Pacific region as a “free” and “open” zone. It was first meeting of this level since the two sides participated in quadrilateral discussion between India, United States, Australia and Japan in Manila in November 2017 for new strategic partnership targeting the Asia-Pacific region. In the 2+2 dialogue, all aspects of bilateral relations with focus on strategic and defence relations between two countries were reviewed.
11. The 7th International Ground Water Conference (IGWC-2017) from December 11 to 13, 2017 was hosted by India in New Delhi with the theme “Ground water Vision 2030- Water Security, Challenges and Climate Change Adaptation”. The conference took stock of present status and challenges of Groundwater management in the country under the changing water use and climatic scenario is getting worse day by day. The conference was organized by National Institute of Hydrology (NIH), Roorkee and Central Ground Water Board (CGWB) under aegis of Union Ministry of Water Resources, River Development and Ganga Rejuvenation. The delegates from 15 countries participated in the conference and 250 research papers were presented, including 32 Keynote papers.
12. India’s first Electronic Manufacturing Cluster (EMC) has been designed and developed for providing facilities and amenities for manufacturing mobiles and allied products will be set up in Andhra Pradesh. In 2015, Andhra Pradesh Government had announced first exclusive mobile and electronic manufacturing cluster in the new capital city Amaravati. For this purpose, a Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV) called Sri Venkateswara Mobiles and Electronics Manufacturing Hub Private Limited was formed. State Government had allotted 113.27 acres of land for new cluster, through Andhra Pradesh Industrial Infrastructure Corporation (APIIC). Three major Indian mobile manufacturers – Celkon, Karbonn and Lava have come forward to establish their units in EMC. Besides, an anchor unit has been formed in name of Seven Hills Digital Park Private Limited (SHDPPL) for three companies.
13. The first NIC-CERT, a setup of National Informatics Centre (NIC) to prevent and predict cyber-attacks on government utilities was launched by the Union Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY) in New Delhi as part of Digital India Initiative. The NIC-CERT will monitor and help in early detection and mitigation of cyberattacks on government networks.
14. ‘LaQshya’ Initiative and mHealth: Safe Delivery Application on the occasion of Universal Health Coverage (UHC) Day was launched by the Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare. UHC aims at ensuring equitable access for all to affordable, accountable, appropriate health services of assured quality. Laqshya- A Labour Room Quality Improvement Initiative is safe delivery mobile application for health workers who manage normal and complicated deliveries in the peripheral area. UHC Day is observed every year on 12 December to commemorate first unanimous United Nations resolution calling for countries to provide affordable, quality health care to every person, everywhere.
15.Khelo India programme for period 2017-18 to 2019-20 at cost of Rs 1756 crore is going to launch by the Union Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports. The programme aims at mainstreaming sports as tool for individual development, community development, economic development and national development. It was announced by Union Minister of State for Youth Affairs and Sports, Rajyavardhan Rathore while addressing Yuva Sambardhana Utsav organized by Nehru Yuva Kendra Sangathan, at KIIT Campus, Bhubaneswar. He also announced that year 2018 will be celebrated as the Year of Sports.