i. Today, The Prime Minister Narendra Modi has launched Rs 50,000-crore “Setu Bharatam” programme to build bridges for safe and seamless travel on National Highways.
ii. With this the government aims to make all national highways free from railway crossings by 2019.
iii. Under this project, 208 new road over bridges or road under bridges places have been identified for construction and nearly 10200 crore rupees will be spent on it.
iv. While around 1500 bridges will be widened, rehabilitated or replaced that are over 50 to 60 years old. The cost of rebuilding the old bridges is expected to be about 30000 crore rupees.
v. The Prime Minister spoke of the Government’s initiatives in other infrastructure sectors as well, including railways, irrigation and digital connectivity. He said that developing rural roads is a priority for the government and it has got huge budgetary support this year. In Budget 2016-17, Rs. 19,000 crore has been sanctioned under the Pradham Mantri Gram Sadak Yojana (PMGSY), to connect all villages with roads, compared with Rs. 14,291 crore in the revised estimates of 2015-16.
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2. Kerala Government has taken first of its kind initiative by launching the Air Ambulance
i. Government of Kerala has taken first of its kind initiative by launching the Air Ambulance in Kerala launched by the Chief Minister Oommen Chandy.
ii. The Air Ambulance in Kerala will exclusively be used for the speedy organ transplant.
iii. The Air Ambulance in Kerala is a brand new six-seater aircraft that is a state-owned Rajiv Gandhi Academy for Aviation Technology. It imparts training to the aspirants seeking to become commercial pilots.
iv. A memorandum of understanding (MoU) signed regarding the Air Ambulance in Kerala took place between the Aviation Academy and the Kerala Network for Organ Sharing that was headed by the principal of the state-run Thiruvananthapuram Medical College.
v. The two organizations will work together or speedy organ transportation between hospitals from brain-dead persons with the help of Air Ambulance in Kerala.
3. Manoj Kumar To Be Conferred Dada Saheb Phalke Award For The Year 2015
i. Veteran Film Actor and Director Shri Manoj Kumar is to be conferred the 47th Dada Saheb Phalke Award for the year 2015.
ii. Award is conferred by the Government of India for outstanding contribution to the growth and development of Indian Cinema.
iii. The Award consists of a Swarn Kamal (Golden Lotus), a cash prize of Rs. 10 lakhs and a shawl.
iv. The Award is given on the basis of recommendations of a Committee of eminent personalities set up by the Government for this purpose. This year, a five member jury named as Latha Mangeshkar, Asha Bhosle, Salim Khan, Nitin Mukesh and Anup Jalota, unanimously recommended Shri Manoj Kumar for the prestigious Award. Minister for Information & Broadcasting, Shri Arun Jaitley spoke to Shri Manoj Kumar today and congratulated him on being conferred the Award.
v. The Dadasaheb Phalke award is India’s highest award in cinema. Last year, the Dadasaheb Phalke award was given to Shashi Kapoor.
4. Alappuzha Backwaters To Get India’s First Solar Ferry
i. A 75-seater solar-powered passenger ferry, the first of its kind in the country, is quietly taking shape at Aroor in Alappuzha district.
ii. The boat is expected to be commissioned within the next three months.
iii. This boat is being built by NavAlt, a Kochi-based joint venture, in collaboration with a French company.
iv. The cost of the Rs.1.7-crore boat will make no noise or cause any pollution, unlike the diesel powered ones.
v. It may work out to be a cheaper option too. An ordinary boat, made of steel and with a carrying capacity of 75 passengers, may cost around Rs.1.9 crore.
5. Government Proposes 10 Member Kashmiri Pandit Panel
i. The government of India has proposed to constitute a committee of Kashmiri Pandits (KPs) to monitor implementation of packages for rehabilitation of the displaced community. The committee panel will consist 10 member.
ii. According to the last month proposal of the Union Home Ministry the panel will includes the representatives of migrant camps from Muthi and Pukhroo.
iii. The proposal has been sent to governments of Jammu and Kashmir and Delhi, asking them to consult various associations of Kashmiri migrants and offer inputs in the matter at the earliest.
iv. This included amounts towards jobs for Kashmiri migrants, rehabilitation of families from Chhamb and PoK, construction of houses, and setting up of five India Reserve Battalions.
v. This year’s budget saw that more than half of the Rs. 580 crore fund allocated for the rehabilitation of Kashmiri migrants remained unutilised during 2015-16 but as per revised estimates, only Rs. 280 crore was provided, leaving Rs. 300 crore unutilised.
6. Ratan Thiyam Selected For 11th META Lifetime Achievement Award
i. Veteran playwright and director Ratan Thiyam has been selected for prestigious Lifetime Achievement Award for 2016 at the 11th edition of Mahindra Excellence in Theatre Awards (META).
ii. The award will be given to the theatre guru Ratan Thiyam for creating a new language in theatre and enriching the art form in various roles as writer, director, designer, composer and choreographer.
iii. Currently he is the chairman of the National School of Drama.
iv. Prior to him, this award has been given to theatre greats such as Zohra Sehgal, Badal Sarkar, Khaled Chowdhury, Ebrahim Alkazi, Girish Karnad and Heisnam Kanhailal.
v. The awards consist of a specially designed trophy and a cheque of 1,00,000 rupees for the best production, 75,000 rupees for best original playwright and 45,000 rupees for all other award categories.
7. World’s Costliest Train Station Opened In New York At 9/11 Site
i. The World’s most expensive train station in the world opens at the World Trade Center site in New York, United States Of America.
ii. The site World Trade Center destroyed 14 years ago in the 9/11 attacks.
iii. Santiago Calatrava, the Spanish Swiss architect taken 12 years to make it. The site has been made at the World Trade Center Transportation Hub next to the Twin Towers, which were destroyed in the Al- Qaeda hijackings.
iv. The site World Trade Center Transportation Hub is expected to eventually serve more than 2,00,000 daily commuters. The building space measures 350 feet (107 meters) long by 115 feet (35 meters) at its widest point.
v. The center connects the PATH commuter rail to New Jersey with New York subway lines, provides indoor pedestrian access to the Trade Center towers and will also house an enormous shopping and restaurant plaza. The transit hub will serve 250,000 people making it the third largest transportation center in the city.
i. Leading e-commerce company Flipkart launched its own advertisement platform, Brand Story Ads, with over 50 leading brands on board.
ii. Yes Bank, L’Oreal, Micromax, Intel, Gillette, Datsun and Sony have signed up with Flipkart to launch their ads campaigns on the platform.
iii. Flipkart ventured into the online advertising space last year with the introduction of product listing ads to enable sellers on the platform gain more visibility and reach a larger customer base.
iv. With the launch of Brand Story Ads, Flipkart has introduced a new form of advertising called – Commerce Advertising.
v. Commerce Advertising delivers a holistic view of consumer’s purchase journey post ad interactions and highlight effectiveness of the advertising campaigns.
9. Stevie Wonder Honoured With Global Green Hero Award
i. Veteran singer Stevie Wonder was honoured with Global Green Hero award.
ii. The award has been given at the 13th Annual Global Green USA Pre Oscar party.
iii. Presently the 65 year old singer Stevie is an music icon in the industry.
iv. The singer is serving the industry from the age of 11 and has continued to perform and record till the early 2010s. He has been blind since shortly after birth.
v. On the occasion Mr. Wonder also performed a nine-song set of his greatest hits also pointed out that climate change and its environmental impact are issues that he has always been invested in. The singer has already honoured with the Grammy Award.
10. Veteran Left Chief Ashok Ghosh Lifeless
i. Veteran All India Forward Bloc (AIFB) leader and senior-most leader of the Left Front in West Bengal, Ashok Ghosh passed away recently. He was 94.
ii. A freedom fighter, Mr. Ghosh was the State secretary of the AIFB, the second biggest constituent of the Left Front, since 1951 — for 65 years.
iii. He joined the AIFB in 1940, a year after its formation, influenced by the political philosophy of Subhas Chandra Bose.
iv. In more than seven decades of public life, Mr. Ghosh did not leave the AIFB.
v. Mr. Ghosh’s most significant contribution to the Bengal’s Left movement was destabilising the Congress by forging an anti-Congress alliance, much before the CPI (M)-led Left Front came to power in West Bengal.
11. Former Lok Sabha Speaker PA Sangma Passes Away
i. Purno Agitok Sangma, who was the Lok Sabha Speaker from 1996 to 1998 and one of the co-founders of Nationalist Congress Party passed away today following a heart attack. He was 68.
ii. Purno Agitok Sangma was born on 1 September 1947 in village Chapahati in the picturesque West Garo Hills District of the State of Meghalaya in North East India.
iii. One of the greatest leaders from Northeast in national politics, he has been elected to the Lok Sabha eight times since 1977.
iv. After completing his graduation from St. Anthony’s College, he went to Dibrugarh University in Assam for his Masters degree in International Relations.
v. Subsequently, he also obtained a degree in Law.
12. Mumbai U-23 Team Clinched CK Nayudu Trophy 2015-16
i. The Mumbai under-23 team clinched the Col CK Nayudu Trophy by defeating Madhya Pradesh at the Holkar Stadium in Indore.
ii. Mumbai bowled out Madhya Pradesh for 442 and took a first innings lead of 135 runs to be declared the winner.
iii. This was Mumbai’s second big title of the season, After clinching their 41st Ranji Trophy title in Pune around a week back.
iv. Winning team’s right arm seam bowler Tushar Deshpande made the most of the third new ball in the closing minutes of the game.
v. The Mumbai team, winners of the 2015, 2016, U23 Col C K Nayudu Trophy, will be awarded with a cash prize of 20 lakh rupees on clinching the title.