06 Jan, 2016
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Indian Railways Recent Current affairs
Latest Current Affairs Questions for RRB Exams
1. First zone to eliminate unmanned level crossing -West Central Railway (WCR)
WCR, zone will became the first zone of the Indian Railway to eliminate all unmanned level crossings as announced on 2 September 2015.
To Know: The West-Central Railway (WCR) Zone, with its headquarters at Jabalpur in Madhya Pradesh, became the first-ever zone of the Indian Railway to have eliminated all unmanned level crossings. Out of total 118 unmanned level crossings falling on West-Central Railways as on 1 April 2014, 80 were eliminated in the financial year 2014-15 and remaining 38 have been achieved in current financial year by 31 August 2015. This was done by constructing 33 Limited Height Sub Ways (LHs) and manning of 30 level crossings. This achievement by The West-Central Railway (WCR) Zone is a landmark achievement in the annals of the Indian Railway as unmanned railway crossings continue to remain a death trap in India. As many as 126 persons were killed in accidents involving unmanned level crossing in year 2014-15. Indian Railway has over 30 thousand level crossings out of which nearly 40% are unmanned ones.
2. Hybrid Vacuum Toilet
Indian Railways has developed a new design of “Hybrid Vacuum Toilet”. This toilet is a first ever system of its kind to have been developed and built by any railway system in the world.
To Know: The trial-run of the newly developed “Hybrid Vacuum Toilet” has been started recently in a coach of the Dibrugarh Rajdhani. Development Cell of the Railway Board has come up with this new design that consists of a custom designed Vacuum toilet adapted from a commercially available vacuum toilet that is used in aircrafts.
3. Railways – Banking – tying up to sell Train Tickets
Indian Railways tied up with ICICI Bank to sell rail tickets through its applications.
To Know: ICICI Bank, will introduce the facility to book rail tickets on its mobile banking application and prepaid digital wallet. On 23 December the bank tied up with Railways’ e-ticketing platform Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation (IRCTC) to sell rail tickets through its applications.
a. It is the first time that IRCTC has tied up with a banking entity to sell tickets through the various applications of the bank.
b. Users will have to first register on the website of IRCTC, where it primarily sells rail tickets, and then do a one-time registration on the bank’s website to avail of the facility.
c. The facility is not limited to ICICI customers as any other bank’s customer can also use the facility. The payments for the purchases can be made using the online banking facility, debit or credit card of any bank.
4. First Bullet Train
Union Cabinet on 10 December 2015 gave its clearance to build country’s first bullet train line, which will be one of India’s biggest foreign investments in its infrastructure sector. What is the estimated value of this project? – $14.7 billion
To Know: The $14.7 billion project will link financial capital Mumbai with Ahmedabad through an ultra-modern bullet train network. Japan had offered to finance 80% of the cost of this project. Japan’s International Cooperation Agency (JICA) had completed a feasibility study in July on the 505-km (315-mile) Mumbai-Ahmedabad corridor offering to cut travel time to two hours from the current seven to eight hours.
• The Cabinet’s decision ahead of Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s visit beginning on 11 January 2015 gave Japan an early lead over China, which is also bidding to build high-speed rail lines across the country.
• However, official announcement of the project will be done during Shinzo Abe’s visit.
5. NCR to get electricity from Open Market
For the first time, as a new initiative, NCR division of the Indian Railways will get electricity not from a state power utility but from the open market.
To Know : The North Central Railway (NCR) on 15 October signed an agreement with Adani Power Limited. Under this agreement Adani Power will supply 50 MW power at a landed tariff of Rs. 3.69 per unit for a period of 3 years. The move is expected to lead to annual saving of about Rs.150 crore in electricity bill for the Indian Railways. Railways have been procuring power through the state utilities at an average rate of Rs. 6.75 per unit.In this year’s Railway Budget Union Rail Minister Suresh Prabhu had proposed to procure power through the bidding process at economical tariff from generating companies, power exchanges, and bilateral arrangements. This initiative is likely to result in substantial savings of at least Rs. 3,000 crore in next few years.
Some time back a PSU named Railway Energy Management Company Limited (REMCL), on behalf of North Central Railway (NCR), had for the first time invited open bids for the same, in which Adani Power emerged as the successful bidder.
6. ‘Science Express Climate Action Special’
Special Train about climate change,was flagged off from Delhi.
To Know: ‘Science Express Climate Action Special’ is a 16-coach air-conditioned train that was launched on 15 October from Delhi in the run-up to the global climate summit in Paris slated for December. The exhibits on the train would cover specific topics like adaptation, mitigation, India’s action on mitigation, international climate change negotiations, nature conservation, innovations in India, science lab, biotechnology applications and others.
Over 190 countries would meet in Paris in December 2015 under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) to strike a new global climate deal aimed at controlling global carbon emissions for tackling global warming.
The train will run till 7 May 2016 and during the course of these eight months, it would stop at 64 locations across India, covering over 19,500 kilometres. Some of these locations are Patiala, Jaisalmer, Agra, Ambala, New Jalpaiguri, Vishakhapatnam, Vellore, Rameswaram, Mangalore and Gandhinagar.
7. Place – Silchar-Lumding
Landmark broad gauge rail line in Assam, which brought the strategically important Barak Valley on the broad gauge map of the Railway.
To Know: The Silchar-Lumding is considered a landmark broad gauge rail line in Assam as it is expected to accelerate development in state’s underdeveloped but strategically important Barak Valley. This rail-link will also provide immensely beneficial for the states of Tripura, Manipur and Mizoram.
• The line passes through 21 tunnels and has 75 major bridges and 340 minor bridges along the track.
The Lumding-Silchar Gauge Conversion Project under the Northeast Frontier Railway was sanctioned in 1996-97 and was declared a National Project in 2004. The project was hit by insurgency from 2006 to 2009. The Territorial Army had to be deployed to take on the insurgents.
8. N. Chandrababu Naidu, Headed the – The NITI Aayog’s Committee of Chief Ministers on Swachh Bharat Mission, on 23 September 2015 suggested levying cess on telecom services, petrol and minerals like coal and iron ore to fund the cleanliness programme.
To know: The Committee of Chief Ministers on Swachh Bharat is a sub-group established with the objective of giving push to the Swachh Bharat Mission in the states. It is headed by Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister. The committee also recommended that the government should extend an aid of Rs. 15,000 per toilet. Pitching for these sops, Naidu told the meeting that the cess is necessary to mobilise the required money in the next five years for the Swachh Bharat Mission.
9. Sustainable Development Goals
The 193 member states of the United Nations on 25 September 2015 adopted new Sustainable Development Goals to replace the expiring Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).
To know: The new goals primarily expect to reduce world poverty, improve health and education and quell climate change. These 17 new broad goals and 169 specific targets are expected to be achieved by year 2030. The goals are estimated to cost the world between $3.5 trillion and $5 trillion a year between 2016 and the end of 2030. They replace the eight Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) adopted at a UN summit in 2000, and which expire at the end of 2015. The earlier Millennium Development Goals relied more on wealthy nations helping poorer ones, and were devised by people working for then-U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan. It is worth mentioning here that despite significant progress, the only one of those MDGs achieved before this year was halving the number of people living in extreme poverty. That was due primarily to economic growth in China.
10. Sagar Mala Project
Objective –To modernize India’s ports so that ports can contribute significantly to India’s growth
To Know: The Sagar Mala Project was approved by the Union Govt. on 25 March 2015. The main objective of this project is to develop 12 major ports and also over 1,200 islands spread across the country.
The project also aims at developing an efficient evacuation system by integrating road, rail, inland and coastal waterways so that ports become the driver of economic activity in country’s coastal areas.
The meeting of the National Sagarmala Apex Committee (NSAC) was held to have deliberations on constitution and scope of NSAC, Concept of Sagarmala and decisions of Government of India relating to Sagar Mala Project. Important members of NSAC are – Vice Chairman NITI Aayog, Chief Ministers of Andhra Pradesh, Goa, Gujarat, Karnataka, Kerala, Maharashtra, Odisha, Puducherry, Tamil Nadu and West Bengal, Union Cabinet Ministers of Finance; Water Resources, River Development and Ganga Rejuvenation; Urban Development; Railways; Agriculture; Rural Development; Civil Aviation; Skill Development & Entrepreneurship; Environment, Forests & Climate Change; Commerce and Industry and Tourism.
11. Indian Skill Development Service (ISDS)
A new Group ‘A’ service for the technical cadre.
To Know: Indian Skill Development Service (ISDS) will be a new Group ‘A’ service
It will be the technical cadre of the Ministry of Skill Development & Entrepreneurship (MSD&E)
This cadre was earlier known as the Directorate General of Employment & Training, Ministry of Labour Employment
Google announced setting up of Wi-Fi broadband services at 400 railway stations in India over the next few years. For this ambitious project, Google will tie-up with RAILTEL, which comes under Indian Railways.
To Know: RailTel provides Internet services such as as RailWire through its extensive fibre network along many of railway lines. According to the announcement made by Google CEO Sundar Pichai, Google will help Indian Railways set up Wi-Fi broadband services at 400 railway stations in India over the next few years beginning with 100 stations in the initial phase of the project by end-2016. This huge project will make Wi-Fi available for more than 10 million people who pass through every day. This will rank it as the largest public Wi-Fi project in India, and among the largest in the world, by number of potential users. This announcement was made on the occasion of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to the US and in line with his “Digital India” initiative to bring one billion Indians.
13. LIC – Investment in Railways
Indian Railways on 27 October 2015 received Rs. 2,000 crore from Life Insurance Corporation (LIC) as part of long-term funding tied-up with the state-run insurer to restart the investment cycle. LIC is altogether providing how much amount of long-term fund to Railways for capacity augmentation? – Rs. 1.5 lakh crore
To Know: LIC handed over the first cheque of Rs 2,000 crore to Indian Railways Finance Corporation (IRFC) towards financial assistance as per the agreement signed earlier in March 2015.
• The investment by LIC, to be made through bonds issued by railway entities such as IRFC, would be channelised in capacity augmentation projects. The bonds will come with a five year moratorium on interest and loan repayment.
• Railways over the years, has failed to execute a large shelf of its sanctioned projects due to non-availability of sufficient resources.
• With significant time and cost over-runs on key projects plaguing revenue realisation, rail minister Suresh Prabhu had announced a new source of funding – Extra Budgetary Resources-Institutional Finance (EBR-IF) – in this year’s rail budget. The LIC funding is expected to be the main source of EBR-IF.
14. District Zero – Nabarangpur
The Odisha Government and Ministry of Railways entered into a historic agreement on 4 November 2015 that is likely to lay the track for the first railway line to reach one of India’s most backward districts. Which district of Odisha is this, which is often described as “District Zero” by the media? – Nabarangpur
To Know: Nabarangpur in southern Odisha is often termed as one of the most backward districts of the country. Lack of rail connectivity is often listed as the major reason for area’s backwardness.
• On 4 November 2015 a path-breaking agreement for setting up a Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV) for constructing a 40-km link connecting the Nabarangpur district headquarters to the nearest station at Jeypore in neighbouring Koraput district was signed between the Govt. of Odisha and Indian Railways.
• The said rail-link was evidently held up for so long because it was found to be economically unviable. Odisha Govt. has decided to go for the SPV model with the state government contributing 51% of the project cost, including land. This would result in connect Nabarangpur district to rest of the country.
16. Place – Mysuru (Karnataka)
Which railway station became the first visually-challenged-friendly station in India on 3 November 2015? – Mysuru (Karnataka)
To Know: Mysuru became country’s first visually challenged friendly station on 3 November after many important info-objects such as tactile maps of the railway station and train schedules in Braille were unveiled at the Mysuru Railway station on this day.
• Along with tactile maps of station describing the location and distance of entrance, platforms, counters, washrooms etc., schedule of trains, showing their arrival and departure time, the authorities have also put up 400 metal signages in Braille along the railings of the staircases leading various platforms. The menu cards at the canteen and food plaza at the station are also being made available in Braille.
• Anuprayaas, an NGO assisted the railways in make Mysuru railway station blind-friendly.
17. Vikalp – Pilot Scheme
Pilot Scheme launched on 1 November 2015 under which waitlisted passengers can get confirmed accommodation in next alternative train if they opt for the option while booking their tickets online.
To Know: ‘Vikalp’ is the name of the new alternative train accommodation scheme, which was launched on 1 November 2015 by Indian Railways. It has initially been launched on a pilot basis on two sectors – Delhi-Lucknow and Delhi-Jammu.
• Initially, Vikalp scheme will be available only for the tickets booked through internet for six months and option will be limited to mail and express trains on the two selected sectors. As per the scheme, waitlisted passengers of a train would be given option of getting confirmed accommodation in the next train running on the route.
• Passenger, if opts for the Vikalp scheme while booking tickets online, will get SMS alert on their mobile phone about getting confirmed accommodation in alternative train. Railway aims to achieve the twin objectives of providing confirmed accommodation to waitlisted passengers and ensure optimal utilisation of available accommodation by this scheme.
18. Place – • Medhepura – Bihar
• Union Government on 10 November 2015 issued letter of award (LoA) for setting up a new state-of-art electric locomotive factory in Bihar to Alstom Manufacturing India Limited.
• To Know: The Electric Locomotive Factory (ELF) at Madhepura will be established as a joint-venture between Ministry of Railways and Alstom Manufacturing India Limited. For this a new entity will be established as a joint-venture between the two entities.
• The factory would manufacture and supply modern electric locomotives of high horse power (HP), i.e., 12000 HP. The plant will manufacture and procure 800 such locomotives in 11 years. The basic cost of these 800 electric locomotives will be Rs. 19,000 crore. The project requires only five electric locomotives to be imported. The balance 795 locomotives are to be manufactured in India.
• These High Horse Power (12000 HP) locomotives would be a quantum leap over the existing 6000 HP locomotives used for freight operations. These modern and powerful electric locos will be useful for heavy haul freight operations and mega freight operations in the Eastern Dedicated Freight Corridor and all India operations.
• Investment of Rs. 1,300 crore will be done to establish this ELF. Establishment of ELF at Madhepura is expected to lead to substantial development of ancillary manufacturing units, generation of direct and indirect employment and substantial development in the region
19. • Marhowra – Bihar
• Union Government on 9 November 2015 issued letter of award for setting up a Diesel Locomotive Factory (DLF) at Marhowra (District Saran) in Bihar. 1,000 diesel locomotives will be manufactured at this DLF over a period of 10 years. Which US-based company has roped in for this joint-venture? – GE Global Sourcing India Pvt. Limited
• To Know: GE Global Sourcing India Pvt. Limited is the Indian subsidiary of US conglomerate GE. This entity will form a joint-venture with Ministry of Railways for establishment for this proposed DLF at Marhowra in Bihar.
• The DLF at Marhowra will manufacture and supply modern diesel locomotives of 4500 HP and 6000 HP to Indian Railways. The basic cost of 1000 Freight Locos will be about Rs.14,656 crore.
• This project is expected to usher in new technologies into the Indian Industry at large through high paced indigenization within first two to three years of commencing production. The move is also seen as a giant leap forward in Union Govt.’s ‘Make in India’ drive.
20. Rashtriya Rail Sanraksha Kosh (RRSK) –What is the name of the proposed Rs. 1.1 lakh crore railway safety fund that is being established by the Indian Railways with the objective of improving safety measures and upgrading railway infrastructure? –
Explanation: Indian Railways is presently working on a proposal to create a huge Rs. 1.1 lakh crore fund by the name Rashtriya Rail Sanraksha Kosh (RRSK) that will be used to implement its drive to upgrade the creaking rail infrastructure.
• The rail ministry has set up a six-member committee headed by the executive director of the planning directorate to prepare a blueprint for the scheme, including sources of the fund and areas in which it will be utilised.
• One of the major projects envisaged under the proposed RRSK is elimination of unmanned level crossings and replacing the old signalling and telecom infrastructure which are responsible for more than a half of train accidents.
The Swedish newspaper was recently asked it to delete the reference made by President Pranab Mukherjee to the Bofors scam in an interview to it, as a claim protested by the Indian Government on 27 May 2015. India has expressed disappointment over the disrespect shown to the President, the newspaper has defended its right to publish what was said during the interview.
Know, who is Vijay Kelkar and what is PPP !
Vijay Kelkar is a renowned economist and a former Finance Secretary. He was appointed head of newly constituted committee to give recommendations to recast the model of Public-Private-Partnership (PPP) model in India. India is one of the largest PPP market with over 900 projects. The Kelkar committee will review the PPP policy, suggest a better risk-sharing mechanism between private developers and the government after analysing such projects.
Know, who is Yaduveer Krishnadatta Chamaraja Wadiyar !
Yaduveer Krishnadatta Chamaraja Wadiyar was crowned as the new Maharaja of of Mysuru (Mysore) royal family. He is the 23-year old grandson of Princess Gayathri Devi, who was the eldest daughter of the last Maharaja of Mysore, Sri Jayachamarajendra Wadiyar. The coronation was held at Mysuru’s famous Amba Vilas Palace, which was decked up for the occasion.
Know about Sepp Blatter!
Swpp Blatter, was re-elected as FIFA president for a fifth term at the 65th Annual Congress of FIFA held at Zurich for four year term.
Prince Ali bin al-Hussein of Jordan stood against Blatter in this election. It is worth mentioning that FIFA is going through a major controversy regarding corruption in the organisation with two FIFA vice presidents and a recently elected FIFA executive committee member still in custody.