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March 23rd 2017 E-Governance & Public Administration Current Affairs

Indian Railways Initiative ‘Vikalp’ to be Implemented from April 1

  • Passengers using railways to travel will have the advantage of the ‘Vikalp’ scheme from April 1., 2017.
  • The scheme will be open online and regular railway counters for the people.
  • The passengers in the Waitlisted ticket willbe provided tickets in the other premier trains.
  • This alternative accommodation scheme will benefit passengers who fail to obtain the berth in their desired train. The birth will be confirmed through this scheme to the same destination.
  • The initiative was announced by the Indian Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu on March 22, 2017.
  • As of now, the scheme will be available for online bookings and later extended to counters.
  • Through this system, candidates must opt while booking, for such bookings there would not be any extra charges or refund of fares or any return if there is any change in the fares.
  • Initially, this scheme was implemented in six routes, after thesuccessful implementation of this scheme. It has been extended to all the routes and trains in the country.
  • Vikalp aims to fill the gap created by 1.5 lakh berths, which are vacant during theslender season in premier and special trains.
  • Shatabdi, Duronto, Rajdhani and special trains such as Suvidha and Hamsafar trains. Passengers will not be charged extra for using this services.
  • Passengers opting for Vikalp will receive an SMS alert, if the booking is not confirmed in their chosen train, they will receive an alert stating their berth confirmation.

Central Government Approves RTE ACT

  • The Central Government has approved for significant changes in the Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education (RTE) Act, 2009.
  • The amendment enables the teachers to get equipped with the qualifications set by the academic authority. The authority will extend the training period for four years up to March 2019.


  • The primary objective of the RTE Act, 2009 is to provide free and compulsory elementary education to every child in India within the age group of 6-14 years.
  • All the teachers at elementary level who do not have minimum qualification must get equipped with the minimum educational qualifications set by the respective academic authority by March 2015.
  • Across India, the state governments have reported that 11 lakhs elementary level teachers are untrained. In which the number of primary teacher numbers goes to Rs. 66.41 lakhs.

Benefits of Amendments

  • The move aims to train the untrained elementary teachers. All the teachers will have a minimum standard of qualifications.
  • The teachers will attain minimum educational qualifications which are considered necessary for maintaining teaching standards in schools.
  • It benefits the students largely; their skills will improve mostly, learning outcomes of children.
  • This will strengthen education system and moreover, the education system in India.

Cabinet Committee Approves (NERNCP) Project

  • North East Road Network Connectivity Project (NERNCP) has been adopted by The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA).
  • Under this project 403 kilometres of National Highways will be constructed in Mizoram and Meghalaya.
  • Approximately 351 km roadways will be laid in Mizoram and remain 52 km will be in the neighbouring Meghalaya.
  • This prestigious project will be implemented in Engineering, Procurement and Construction Mode.

Highlights of this Project

  • The project will be implemented in the current financial year 2017-18.
  • Works related to civil will be completed by the year 2021 and the remaining maintenance by 2025.
  • With the improvement of infrastructure in Mizoram and Meghalaya, there will be significant development in sub-regional socio-economic development in both the States.
  • It improves inter-state connectivity and international borders.
  • This project has got loan assistance from the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA).


  • The existing roadways in both Meghalaya and Mizoramare single to the intermediate lane.
  • The condition of the pavements in the State is worst, and traffic congestion at important locations is very high.
  • The poor condition of roads in the landslides areas and sinking zones.
  • With the construction of roads, there will be vast improvement in the connectivity and people can see overall growth.

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