Be ready to shell out more for airfares as govt mulls security fee hike

You may have to shell out more for your next flight, as the government is mulling a proposal to increase security charge on air tickets. Both private airport operators and state-owned Airports Authority of India (AAI) have demanded an increase in passenger service fees after the Central Industrial Security Force (CISF) raised an alarm over unpaid dues from airport operators.

“We are considering a marginal increase in the security component of passenger service fees, after the airport operators submitted that with an exponential growth in passenger numbers, the current charges are not enough to bear the cost of security management at airports. The charges will not increase much and a passenger may have to bear an extra of Rs 50,” a senior civil aviation ministry official said. The security charge of Rs 130 per passenger has not been revised for the last 10 years.

The passenger service fee, which is charged on air ticket, has two components. One is the facilitation charge — used for services such as baggage trolleys, escalators, travellators and air conditioning in terminal — and the other is security component, through which airport operators pay the CISF, which has been entrusted with the job to secure Indian airports. Airlines deposit the security charges collected from passengers in the escrow account, from READ MORE

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Indian Railways gives another chance to 70,000 candidates to apply again

Indian Railways is giving a second chance to 70,000 candidates whose job applications were rejected for uploading faulty photos. The Railway ministry has asked these aspirants to rectify their mistake by July 20.

Indian Railways has received 4.8 million applications for 26,500 posts of assistant loco pilots and technicians.

“We realised that among the total applications that were found ineligible, around 127,000 candidates were found ineligible for invalid pictures. Out of the 127,000 people, now, 70,000 have been asked to make the changes in the pictures and upload them again,” Rajesh Dutt Bajpai, Director Information and Publicity, Railway Board said to PTI.

An email and a message have been sent to the 70,000 applicants, who were given a second chance.The first phase of examination for the various posts will be conducted in September-November. The exams were postponed from May-June due to a high number of applications. The railways took time to scrutinise all the applications.

The Indian Railways will fill up over one lakh vacant posts by March-April next year.The Railways received around 22.7 million applications for about 110,000 vacancies it had advertised.

Soon, e-challans for Delhi traffic violators, more fine on repeat offenders

Come August 1, you will be fined with an e-challan (electronic traffic ticket) if you violate traffic lights or speed limits on Delhi roads. The Delhi Traffic Police will no longer be the sole enforcement agency utilising technology to make the streets of the national capital safer.

To control traffic violations, the Delhi government’s transport department will start issuing e-challans to traffic violators instead of manual challans from next month. An integrated e-challan system is expected to bring in more transparency in the prosecution of vehicles violating the Motor Vehicles Act. As soon as an e-challan is issued, the owner of the vehicle will get an SMS. The e-challan is especially intended to catch repeat offenders, who are liable to pay higher fines, according to a Times of India report.

With an e-challan system in operation from August, errant vehicles will be easily prosecuted for polluting, overloading or violating traffic and road safety norms.

According to The Times of India, the transport department has procured handheld devices or e-challan tabs, one for each of its enforcement wing teams. These devices will be technologically more advanced than the ones being used by the traffic cops at the moment and can act as POS (point-of-sale) machines that would accept fines through credit or debit cards and issue a challan on the spot. There are approximately 200 personnel in the READ MORE

Congress failed to fulfil household electrification promise by 2009: Modi

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday blamed earlier governments, particularly then Congress President Sonia Gandhi, for not fulfilling the promise of electrifying all households by 2009.

“Earlier governments made promises, which they failed to fulfil. Then Congress President (Sonia Gandhi) said all households would be electrified by 2009. But that did not happen even in 2009, 2010 or 2011,” Modi said during an interaction with the beneficiaries of Rs 163.2 billion Pradhan Mantri Sahaj Bijli Har Ghar Yojana (Saughagya) on Thursday.

Modi said that the promises made by earlier governments were not fulfilled because there was not serious leader, and now they (opposition) are finding faults with schemes and programmes being implemented by the present government.

He said that all villages in India were electrified by April 28, 2018, which is a historic date; adding, it was pity that after 70 years of independence, people READ MORE

Out-of-pocket health expenses plunge 55 mn Indians into poverty in 2017

Out-of-pocket (OOP) health expenses drove 55 million Indians–more than the population of South Korea, Spain or Kenya–into poverty in 2017, and of these, 38 million (69%) were impoverished by expenditure on medicines alone, according to a new study.

These calculations by the Public Health Foundation of India (PHFI), an advocacy, were released on June 6, 2018, and based on the official Indian standard for poverty line–a monthly expenditure of Rs 816 in rural areas and Rs 1,000 in urban areas–according to a 2013 report of the erstwhile Planning Commission. The PHFI study used secondary data from National Sample Survey reports and other sources for these estimates.

Over 80% of Indians incur OOP–direct payments individuals make to healthcare providers–on healthcare, according to 2011-12 figures cited in the study. It was 60% in 1993-1994. Medicines contributed to more than 67% of OOP healthcare expenditure in read more

At 107,487, India accounts for 1/5th of global deaths from floods in 64 yrs

India accounts for one-fifth of global deaths due to floods, according to government data that lend perspective to a new World Bank study that says climate change will lower the standards of living of nearly half of India’s population by 2050.

As many as 107,487 people died due to heavy rains and floods across India over 64 years between 1953 and 2017, according to Central Water Commission data presented to the Rajya Sabha (Parliament’s upper house) on March 19, 2018. Damage to crops, houses and public utilities was reported to be Rs 365,860 crore–or as much as 3% of India’s current gross domestic product–the data show.

“The main reasons of floods have been assessed as high intensity rainfall in short duration, poor or inadequate drainage capacity, unplanned reservoir regulation and failure of flood control structures,” according to the reply to the Rajya Sabha.

With heavy rains sweeping western India, many cities such as Mangaluru, Mumbai and Junagarh have flooded during the 2018 monsoon season. Over 30 people died in floods that inundated 58 villages, The Times of India reported on July 7, 2018.
Climate change will exacerbate flooding

“Temperatures have been rising across the [South Asia] region, and READ MORE

ED files supplementary charge sheet in VVIP chopper scam case, Tyagi named

The Enforcement Directorate has filed a supplementary charge sheet in the AgustaWestland VVIP chopper bribery scam against former Air Force Chief S P Tyagi, his two cousins, lawyer Gautam Khaitan, two Italian middlemen and Finmeccanica.

The charge sheet was filed before special judge Arvind Kumar and will be taken up for consideration on July 20.

The charge sheet, filed through special public prosecutor N K Matta, names as accused the Tyagi brothers, including S P Tyagi, Khaitan, Italian middlemen Carlo Gerosa and Guido Haschke, and Finmeccanica, the parent company of AgustaWestland.

The charge sheet accuses them of money laundering of around 28 million Euro READ MORE