Current Affairs – 20-01-2018

1. SOON, USE MOBILES, INTERNET ON FLIGHTS IN INDIA

The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) recommended that in-flight connectivity — both Internet and MCA (mobile communication on aircraft) services — should be allowed over Indian airspace.

The Authority is of the view that as long as the provision of the service is technically feasible and security concerns can be addressed, there should be no regulatory barrier in the provisioning of any of these services. Therefore, both Internet and MCA service should be permitted as in-flight connectivity (IFC) services in the Indian airspace.

2. GOVT PLANS LIVEABILITY INDEX OF 116 CITIES

  • The ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs has decided to bring out a liveability index of 116 cities, including the 99 smart cities already identified, state capitals, and cities with 1 million-plus population. The cities, which together account for a total population of 13.4 crore people, will be ranked in order of the quality of life they offer.
  • The ministry has decided to involve the Economist Intelligence Unit, which brings out an annual liveability index of cities across the world, for the purpose.
  • The programme would be funded by the World Bank, and the assessment would be of relative nature, with the 116 cities graded against each other.
  • Currently, the EIU’s ‘Global Liveability Ranking’ for 140 cities includes only two Indian cities — Mumbai and Delhi.

3. NEW NATIONAL URBAN POLICY

The Union government is set to come up with India’s first National Urban Policy framework .With urban development being a state subject until now; there has never been a comprehensive national policy that spells out the country’s plan for urbanisation.

The housing and urban affairs ministry has appointed a panel, headed by Smart City Mission Director Sameer Sharma, to develop such a policy framework.

The aim is to outline the plan in keeping with the commitments made by all nations at Habitat III, the bi-decennial United Nations (UN) conference on housing and sustainable urban development held in Quito, Ecuador, in October 2016. The policy will look at urban legislation, urban economy, and urban planning. The panel is expected to revisit the New Urban Agenda, released at Habitat III, which defines what nations are expected to do towards the cause of sustainable urban development in the period 2016-30.

The National Urban Policy will focus on 10 main areas. These include cooperative federalism, agglomeration economies, harnessing rural-urban continuum, inclusive growth, sustainability, empowering local-level institutions, sound housing and urban infrastructure finance system, social justice and gender equity, and robust urban information system.

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