Daily GK Update: 28th January 2020

India’s first underwater metro in Kolkata to be completed by 2022 after costs double

  • Kolkata Metro Rail Corp. expects to complete its East-West project, which runs partly under the city’s iconic Hooghly river, by March 2022 after a delay of several years doubled costs.
  • The authority is awaiting a final instalment of 200 million rupees ($2.8 million) over the next two years from the Indian Railway Board, said Manas Sarkar, managing director at KMRC. A soft loan of 41.6 billion rupees from Japan International Cooperation Agency helps fund 48.5% of the project.
  • India’s oldest metro, which started in 1984 with a North-South service, was due to expand by 2014 but faced problems including squatters on the planned route. These issues have contributed to the total project cost rising to about 86 billion rupees for some 17 kilometers from 49 billion rupees for 14 km.

Source: Hindustan Times

Centre to release report card of ‘smart cities’ in June

  • The central government will release a report card of 100 selected smart cities in three categories — ease of living, municipal performance index and climate — in June as the Smart Cities Mission completes its five years.
  • According to the Union Housing and Urban Affairs Ministry, it will help cities in better planning and moving towards data-driven governance that will eventually improve their liveability.
  • Smart Cities Mission Director Kunal Kumar said that in June the ministry will come out with ranking of smart cities in Ease of living index, performance of municipalities and climate.

Source: Asianet 

Passport Seva Kendras send renewal reminders through text

  • In order to make passport renewal hassle-free of people, the Ministry of External Affairs [MEA] has commenced sending SMS to passport holders before expiry of their passport. Two SMS are being sent to the concerned passport holders – one before nine months and another before seven months of the date of expiry of their passport.
  • If your passport is nearing expiry, you will get text reminders for passport renewal. Your Passport Seva Kendra or office will send you two reminders by SMS. This has been initiated by the Ministry as a citizen-friendly proactive service delivery measures to the valid passport holders.

Source: Times Now News

Britain Unveils 50 Pence Coin Minted to Mark Brexit

  • Britain unveiled on Sunday a new 50 pence coin minted to mark the country’s departure from the European Union, which bears the inscription “Peace, prosperity and friendship with all nations” and the Brexit date of 31 January 2020.
  • About three million of the coins will be distributed from banks, post offices and shops from Friday, the government said, with another seven million entering circulation later in the year.
  • Finance Minister Sajid Javid, who is also Master of the Mint, was presented with the first batch of coins. “Leaving the European Union is a turning point in our history and this coin marks the beginning of this new chapter,” he said.

Source: The New York Times

Five MEP groups table resolution against CAA

  • Five groups at the European Parliament tabled a joint motion resolution on Tuesday that “condemned” India’s decision to adopt the Citizenship (Amendment) Act (CAA).
  •  In a boost for the government’s efforts to counter the resolution, one group of the European Conservatives and Reformists (ECR) with 66 members, that had earlier been a part of the resolution, decided to drop out.
  • The other five groups, representing a total of 560 of the 751 MEPs in the Parliament, have agreed to the joint motion, although it is unclear how many will finally vote for the resolution.

Source: The Hindu

PM Modi pays tributes to Lala Lajpat Rai on his birth anniversary

  • Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday paid tributes to one of the key leaders of the freedom struggle Lala Lajpat Rai on his birth anniversary, saying his sacrifice will continue to inspire Indians. Popularly called Punjab Kesari, Rai was born in Punjab’s Moga in 1865.
  • “Salute to the brave son of mother India, Punjab Kesari Lala Lajpat Rai on his birth anniversary. His sacrifice for the independence of the country will always inspire the countrymen,” Prime Minister wrote on Twitter.

Source: Business Line

US alert for India: 25,000 child porn cases uploaded in five months

  • Over 25,000 cases of suspected child pornography material were uploaded across social media platforms in India in the last five months, according to reports shared by the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC) in the US with the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB).
  • A Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) official told The Indian Express that the reports show Delhi topping the list when it comes to uploading Child Sexual Abuse Material (CSAM). Maharashtra, Gujarat, Uttar Pradesh and West Bengal are the other top states, the official said.

Source: The Indian Express

West Bengal becomes 4th state to pass anti-CAA resolution

  • West Bengal on Monday became the fourth opposition-ruled state to pass a resolution against the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) in its assembly, after Kerala, Punjab and Rajasthan.
  • Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee’s All India Trinamool Party (TMC) controls more than two-thirds of the seats in the 294-member House but faces a major test of its popularity in the 2021 state election, which will pit it against a BJP buoyed by its performance in last year’s general election.
  • Kapil Sibal, the Congress leader and senior Supreme Court lawyer, says states can pass resolutions asking the Centre to withdraw the CAA but cannot refuse outright to implement it.

Source: India Today

WHO increases global risk degree of novel coronavirus from moderate to high

  • The World Health Organization (WHO) has increased the global risk degree of the novel coronavirus strain 2019-nCoV from moderate to high, citing an error in its previous report. According to the report, the total number of 2019-nCoV confirmed cases globally till Sunday reached 2,014, including 1,985 in China.
  • AIR correspondent in Beijing reports that World Health Organisation Chief has arrived in Beijing yesterday to discuss ways of containing the spread of the new coronavirus, as the death toll has reached 106 with around 4000 people infected so far.

Source: News Services Division