Daily Archive: October 20, 2017

7th Pay Commission: After Diwali Government Employees to Get Pay Hike Bonanza

New Delhi, October 20: For thousands of government employees across India, this Diwali seems to be extra special, with the respective state governments implementing the 7th Pay Commission recommendations made by the Union Cabinet.

Earlier this week, the Rajasthan government led by Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) gave a go-ahead for higher allowances, including house rent allowance (HRA).

Analysts further say that the move is expected to boost consumer demand but strain public finances. Also, some school of thought also argues that it would provide the much-needed succour from skyrocketing prices.

Union HRD Minister, Prakash Javadekar announced that the extension of the benefits of 7th Pay Commission to include a substantial increase in salary for college and university teachers. It was a Diwali gift for nearly 7.58 lakh teachers employed in the Indian universities.

According to a revised pay scales, college and universities teachers can expect a pay hike of Rs 10,400 to Rs 49,800. This would register an entry pay growth in the revision of 22-28 per cent. The approved pay scales would be applicable from January 1, 2016.

In a bonanza for nearly 12 lakh employees and teachers, the Tamil Nadu government announced a manifold revision in minimum and maximum wages in line with the 7CPC.

After this the government would incur an additional expense of Rs 14,719 crore annually, Chief Minister K Palaniswami said to media.

Earlier this month West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee also announced 15 per cent hike in dearness allowance (DA) for state government employees from January 2018.

Delhi Chokes Despite Ban; Air Quality Poor in Mumbai, Pune, Chennai

New Delhi, Oct 20: The Supreme Court’s ban on sale of firecrackers on Diwali went up in smokes in Delhi as the national capital woke up to a blanket of smog today. The city’s air quality was recorded hazardous at many places.

While it is difficult to quantify the immediate effect of the ban on firecrackers, residents across the national capital felt the beginning was promising with neighbourhoods reporting much lesser noise and smoke till about 6 pm, compared to the previous years.

The situation was similar, if not worse, in the neighbouring regions of Delhi such as Gurugram, Noida and Ghaziabad, where crackers were burst as usual, raising question marks on the efficacy of the administration in enforcing the apex court’s ban.

Mumbai

Pollution levels also spiked in the financial capital after Diwali as well. According to SAFAR data, the Air Quality Index (AQI) was found to be ‘poor’ at 204 due to firecrackers and other weather factors.

However, Mumbaikars perfomed better as far as bursting crackers on Diwali is concerned. In 2016, the AQI was recorded ‘poor’ at 278 on Diwali and 315 the day after. It was 279 ‘poor’ on Diwali and 313 very poor) the next day in 2015.

Forecast suggests that the situation is likely to remain same on Saturday as well. The AQI is expected to stay at ‘poor’ level till Sunday.

Pune

Another Maharashtra city – Pune – gasped for fresh air on Diwali. The city recorded ‘very poor’ air quality on the morning after Diwali.  Pune’s Air Quality Index is likely to remain poor on Saturday and will start improving from Sunday onwards, SAFAR data said.

Ahmedabad

Gujarat capital Ahmedabad recorded the best air quality amongst the megacities. The city’s air quality was recorded at ‘moderate’ level and it is likely to remain the same on Saturday.

Chennai

Chennai too witnessed alarming air pollution levels the morning after Diwali.

Ganga at Varanasi to be pollution-free soon

 

New Delhi, The government has claimed that soon the Ganga river will flow pollution-free along the spiritual city of Varanasi and the objective of Nirmal Ganga will not just remain a dream.

According to a statement issued by Water Resources Ministry on Friday, Under the Namami Gange programme, an all-encompassing approach has been employed to arrest pollution flowing into the river and ensure clean ghats.

The National Mission for Clean Ganga to rid the city of river pollution has taken several steps from sewage treatment plants to ghat improvement to river surface cleaning in a time-bound manner.

Varanasi currently generates an estimated 300 MLD of sewage which is expected to increase to 390 MLD by 2030.

From the current capacity of three existing sewage treatment plants – Dinapur, Bhagwanpur and DLW, only 102 MLD of sewage is being treated while the remaining flows directly into river Ganga through Varuna and Assi rivers.

500 Trains to Complete Journey Faster From Next Month, New Timetable Soon

New Delhi, Oct 20: In an attempt to overhaul the train running system, the Indian Railways in planning to reduce time taken by 500 trains to complete their journey. The Railways will be releasing a new timetable of trains soon.

A senior Railway official said that timings of over 500 long-distance trains would be improved. Running time of trains is set to be reduced by 15 minutes to two hours once the railways introduced “innovative timetabling” on the directions of Railway Minister Piyush Goyal.  (Also Read: On Its First Trip, ‘Faster’ Delhi-Mumbai Rajdhani Reaches Late by 47 Minutes)

“Our plan is to maximise the use of the existing rolling stock. It can be done in two ways – if we have a train that is waiting somewhere to return, we can use it during the lie over period,” a senior Railway official told PTI.

“In the new timetable around 50 such trains which will be run like this. Fifty-one trains will immediately see reduced run time from one to three hours. This will go up to more than 500 trains,” the official added.

Trains such as the Bhopal-Jodhpur Express will reach 95 minutes early while the Guwahati-Indore Special will complete its 2,330-km journey 115 minutes early and the 1929-km journey of the Ghazipur-Bandra Terminus Express will be completed 95 minutes earlier.  (Also Read: Provide Oxygen Cylinders, Medical Assistance to Ailing Passengers on Trains: SC to Railways)

Railways is planning to reduce halt timings of trains. Also, stoppage of trains at stations where low footfall has been recorded will also be done away with.

Soon after taking charge as Railway Minister, Piyush Goyal had made it clear that improving the infrastructure and passenghers’ safety is on top of his agenda. Goyal had laid out an extensive plan to “transform” Indian Railways, which has been grappling with issues since ages.

The Indian Railways has been battling hard to reduce the number of train accidents and improve the timetable. Piyush Goyal has promised to change it all, however, he has a tough job in his hands

The fact that there have been eight ministers in Rail Bhawan over the last eight years. This tells how difficult it is to hold down the job here. While some quit following devastating accidents, others saw their names getting mired in corruption cases.

Goyal not only has to deliver many of PM Modi’s dream projects like electrification, high speed trains and green corridors, while at the same time reduce, if not eliminate accidents substantially. He also has to find a way to do all this without any substantial rise in prices and at the same time boost railway revenues.