The Hindu Newspaper
53 road crashes, 17 deaths per hour in 2018’
The Ministry of Road Transport and Highways released the annual report on road accidents in India.
Findings of the report:
- Road traffic injuries constituted the eighth leading cause of deaths in India in 2018.
- More than 1.5 lakh people lost their lives in road crashes in the country in 2018, registering an increase of 2.4% as compared to the year before.
- The report states a daily average of 1,280 road crashes and 415 deaths.
- The highest road fatalities were observed in Uttar Pradesh followed by Maharashtra and Tamil Nadu.
- Over-speeding is a major killer, accounting for 64.4% of the persons killed. This category was followed by driving on the wrong side of the road, use of mobile phones and drunken driving.
- India is the most unsafe country in the world for road users across 199 countries, as reported by the Geneva-based World Road Federation’s World Road Statistics 2018. It’s followed by China (63,000 deaths) and the U.S. (37,000 deaths).
A lot of states that have opposed the implementation of the Motor Vehicles Amendment Act or have reduced the fines are amongst the States with the highest road crash fatalities. The latest data highlights the urgent need on the part of the states to implement key road safety provisions of the Motor Vehicles Amendment Act, 2019. Uttar Pradesh, Gujarat and Uttarakhand were among the states that heavily slashed the penalties levied under the amended law.
No funds for Delhi under clean air programme
Despite being among the most polluted capital cities in the world, Delhi hasn’t been allotted funds under the National Clean Air Programme (NCAP).
National Clean Air Programme (NCAP):
- The National Clean Air Programme (NCAP) is an initiative launched by the Centre to reduce air pollution in 102 cities by 2024.
- The Central government had launched the NCAP under the Central Sector “Control of Pollution” Scheme as a long-term, time-bound, national-level strategy to tackle the air pollution problem across the country in a comprehensive manner with targets to achieve 20 per cent to 30 per cent reduction in PM10 and PM2.5 concentrations by 2024, keeping 2017 as the base year for the comparison of concentration.
- The city-specific action plans have been approved for ground implementation for all 102 non-attainment cities.
Srisailam dam needs maintenance’
‘Waterman of India’ and Magsaysay Award winner Rajendra Singh has said the Srisailam Dam needs repair and maintenance works urgently.
- It is said that several dams in the country are poorly maintained.
- It was pointed out that infrastructure was being developed but there was no proper maintenance of it.
Dam Rehabilitation and Improvement Project (DRIP):
- The Ministry of Water Resources (MoWR), Government of India, with assistance from the World Bank, is implementing the DRIP.
- The Central Dam Safety Organisation of the Central Water Commission, assisted by a consulting firm, is coordinating and supervising the project implementation.
Project development objectives of DRIP:
- To improve the safety and performance of selected existing dams and associated appurtenances in a sustainable manner.
- To strengthen the dam safety institutional setup in participating states as well as at the central level.
Iran on the boil
Nationwide protests in Iran.
- Following the Iranian government’s decision to raise the price of rationed fuel, nationwide protests broke out in Iran.
- Iran still has one of the lowest fuel prices in the world. But the rise was enough for a people reeling under high inflation, joblessness and a collapsing economy to take to the streets.
- Thousands of people took to the streets, reminiscent of recent protests in Hong Kong, Chile, Lebanon and neighbouring Iraq.
- Security personnel reportedly unleashed violence on the protesters, while the government’s response has raised the prospects of more violence. The government has branded the protesters as counter-revolutionaries and blamed foreign hands.
Challenges to Iran:
- President Donald Trump’s decision to pull the U.S. out of the 2015 nuclear deal and reimpose sanctions has dealt a blow to Iran’s economy.
- Inflation has risen to 40%. A quarter of Iran’s youth are unemployed. According to the IMF, the country’s economy is expected to contract by 9.5% in 2019, while the currency, the rial, has plunged to record lows against the dollar.
- The economic woes have weakened the delicate balance between the regime and its angry youth.
- This is the latest challenge to the Iranian regime that’s already struggling to fix a battered economy, hostile ties with the U.S. and waning influence in West Asia.
- The protests have broken out at a time when Iran’s influence in Lebanon and Iraq is being challenged by protesters.
- The latest round of protests might die down. But Iran needs a lasting solution to address its revolting underbelly. It can’t violently suppress the protesters forever and needs to get the nuclear deal back on track.
- Iran is struggling under the weight of U.S. sanctions and needs to revive the nuclear deal.
- There is a need for a balanced nuclear deal which addresses the concerns of both Iran and the US. The deal would be in the interest of the people of Iran and would ensure peace in the larger West Asian region
Delhi Jal Board to collect, test 1,400 water samples
What’s in News?
Delhi Jal Board has constituted 32 teams to pick up 1,400 random samples from across the city in a bid to conclusively resolve the on-going controversy over the quality of water supplied by the utility through the piped network.
- A recent study by the Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS) said that water in Delhi was the most unsafe among 21 State capitals. The result was based on 11 water samples taken from across the city.
- BIS reported that Delhi water samples did not meet 19 of the 28 parameters, including odour, total dissolved solids, acidity, turbidity, hardness, and presence of aluminium, manganese, iron, calcium compounds as well as nitrates, chlorides, sulphides, phenolic compounds, anionic detergents and E. coli.
RS passes Jallianwala Trust Bill
What’s in News?
Rajya Sabha has passed the amendment to Jallianwala Trust Bill.
- The Jallianwala Bagh National Memorial (Amendment) Bill, 2019 was introduced in Lok Sabha in July 2019 and was subsequently passed.
- It amends the Jallianwala Bagh National Memorial Act, 1951. The 1951 Act provides for the erection of a National Memorial in memory of those killed or wounded on April 13, 1919, in Jallianwala Bagh, Amritsar. In addition, it creates a Trust to manage the National Memorial.
- The Trust was first set up by then Congress president Motilal Nehru in 1920.
- Under the 1951 Act, the Trustees of the Memorial include: (i) the Prime Minister as Chairperson, (ii) President of the Indian National Congress, (iii) Minister in-charge of Culture, (iv) Leader of Opposition in the Lok Sabha, (v) Governor of Punjab, (vi) Chief Minister of Punjab, and (vii) three eminent persons nominated by the central government.
- The Bill amends this provision to remove the President of the Indian National Congress as a Trustee.
- It has replaced the Congress president as a member of the Trust with the Leader of the Opposition in the Lok Sabha, or the leader of the single largest Opposition party in case there is no Leader of Opposition.