Get Wired 3/9: New OROP Plan, Smoking Problem, Coal v. Forest, and More

Govt. may announce new plan for ex-servicemen

With no developments in the ‘One Rank, One Pension’ (OROP) logjam in sight, the government is preparing to announce a “new deal” for veterans over the next few days. The decision for it is primarily to avoid the model code of conduct for Bihar assembly elections that will be announced after Saturday. Sources say that the government does not find the demand for annual revision feasible and believes that the increment in the pension every five years for officers of the armed forces is special, considering revisions for other services comes only every ten years. Differences on the date of rollout and the base year, which is expected to be 2011, are on the verge of being resolved. On the issue of pension adjustment, neither side is willing to budge so far.

Number of youngsters killed in road accidents last year: 75,000

According to the Road Accident Report prepared by the Ministry of Road Transport & Highways, 75,000 people aged between 15 and 34 were killed in road accidents (accounting for 53.8% of lives lost in road accidents) last year. The report further states that 82% of those killed were males. The latest estimate by the World Health Organisation also shows that globally, world road traffic injuries constitute the primary cause of death among people aged 15-29 years. Annually, about 3.4 lakh youngsters in this age group die in accidents.

Failure to implement larger warnings on cigarette packs may land India in trouble

India may have to face tough questions on tobacco control at the upcoming southeast Asia regional committee meeting of the World Health Organisation next week in Dili, East Timor. Earlier the health ministry had set the deadline to increase the size of pictorial warnings on packs of tobacco products for April 1. However, following interim recommendations by a Parliamentary Committee on Subordinate Legislation examining the proposed amendments to the Cigarettes and Other Tobacco Products Act, 2008, the ministry had put the final notification for the implementation on hold. The committee wished to consult stakeholders before the submission of its final report to the health ministry.

SC stays arrest of army officer in custodial disappearance case

A bench led by Chief Justice H.L. Dattu ordered a stay on the J&K High Court order, which had directed an Special Investigation Team officer of the state police to arrest Brigadier Kishore Malhotra and subject him to custodial interrogation. Kishore Malhotra was charged for alleged involvement in the disappearance of Manzoor Ahmad Dhar, a chemist from Rawalpora, in 2002.

Delhi haunted by dengue

The national capital is witnessing a surge in patients infected with dengue, but the strain that has hit the city remains unidentified. According to government data, the city had till August 29 reported 831 cases and two deaths. The third week of October is when the mosquito-borne disease normally peaks; expectations that the disease will infect more are high.

India now has more Internet users than the population of the US

The number of Internet users in India has grown by 52 million in the first six months of the year, taking the total user base to 352 million as on June 30, 2015, industry body IAMAI said on Thursday. Some 213 million (over 60%) users accessed the worldwide web through mobile devices. The number of Internet users has grown over 26% from 278 million in October 2014. The number of mobile Internet users has also grown by 40% from 159 million users in October last year.

New norms say 36 industries may not need environmental clearance

With a new classification of industries that uses colour codes to denote environmental impact, the government is attempting to do away with the need for environmental clearances across 36 industries. Reportedly the Central Pollution Control Board measured the possible impact of each industrial sector on air, water, ground and the amount of hazardous waste generated. Each category was measured on a pollution potential index, 1 symbolising the least polluting and 100 the worst. The government said it is likely to adopt and implement the new rules as the CPCB did this in consultation with the states.

Coal ministry seeks forest clearances exemption

The Ministry of Coal has sought an exemption from forest clearances in an attempt to boost fuel production. Studies have however indicated that the drilling operations for explorations in some forest blocks have had an adverse impact on herbs, as well as the movement of elephants. The coal ministry has been seeking general approval for exploration of coal in forest areas for years citing delays in approvals. “The process has got a solid push under the NDA (National Democratic Alliance),” an unnamed government source told Mint.

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