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Majuli declared largest river island in world by Guinness World Records

The Guinness World Records on 1 September 2016 declared Assam's Majuli as the largest river island in the world.
•    The island is located in the Brahmaputra River.
•    As per the Guinness World Records, the island has lost around one-third of its area in the last 30-40 years due to frequent flooding of the river.
•    Majuli had a total area of 1250 square kilometres at the beginning of the 20th century. However, it had lost significantly to erosion.
•    It had an area of only 352 square kilometres in 2014.
•    The island is formed by River Brahmaputra in the south and the Kherkutia Xuti, an anabranch of the Brahmaputra, joined by the Subansiri River in the north.
•    The island is accessible by ferries from the city of Jorhat.
•    It was formed due to course changes by the river Brahmaputra and its tributaries, mainly the Lohit.
•    It is the abode of the Assamese neo-Vaisnavite culture.

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Ministry of Railways Signs Joint Venture Agreement with the Govt. of Kerala 

In the august presence of Minister of Railways, Shri Suresh Prabhakar Prabhu a Joint Venture Agreement was signed today i.e. 1st September, 2016 between Ministry of Railways and Government of Kerala for developing railway infrastructure in the State. Chairman, Railway Board, Shri Ashok Kumar Mital, Member Engineering, Shri Aditya Kumar Mittal and other Board Members, and other senior officials were also present on the occasion. The JV Agreement was signed by Shri S.C. Jain, Executive Director(Works) on behalf of Railways whereas it was signed by Shri K.R. Jyothilal, Secretary, Department of Transport & Revenue (Devaswom) on behalf of Govt. of Kerala. 
•    Indian Railways has been playing a major role in national integration by connecting the remotest places and bringing people closer to each other. Railways receive a large number of demands for network expansion as a Railway line acts as an engine of growth for the area it serves. 
•    Railways have a large shelf of ongoing New Line, Gauge Conversion and Doubling projects needing about Rs 3.86 lakh crores to complete. We have been trying to meet the aspirations of public within limited availability of funds. 
•    To expedite the projects, Railways have been trying to mobilize resources through other than Gross Budgetary Support. Towards this mission, 10 State Governments have till now agreed to share the cost of 41 ongoing projects ranging from 25% to 67% of the project cost. Some States are providing land free of cost in addition to sharing of construction cost. 
•    In view of the growing demands for Railway Lines in various States and huge requirement of funds to execute them, Hon’ble Minister for Railways has taken an initiative for setting up of Joint Ventures with States for focused project development, resource mobilization, land acquisition, project implementation and monitoring of critical rail projects. 
•    Setting up of JVs will go a long way in identifying requirement of states keeping in line with other plans, finding avenues for funding of projects etc. Governments of Odisha, Haryana, Chhattisgarh and Gujarat have already signed JV agreement with Ministry of Railways for the same. 
•    The present railway network density in Kerala is 2.70 Km per 100 square Km which is above national average 2.01 Km per 100 square Km. However, it is an established fact that the railway network density in the country as a whole needs to be improved and the States coming forward in this regard is a welcome step. 
•    Signing of these JVs will go a long way in developing infrastructure in the State of Kerala. 
•    The average outlay to Kerala in Railway Budget was Rs.821.0 crore during 2014-15 to 2016-17 which is an increase of 121% over the average outlay of 371.9 crore during 2009-10 to 2013-14.

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PM Narendra Modi launches first phase of SAUNI project in Gujarat

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on 30 August 2016 launched the first phase of SAUNI (Saurastra Narmada Avataran Irrigation) project at Sanodara of Jamnagar district of Gujarat. Modi released water from AJI-3 Dam.
•    SAUNI is a project that aims to solve the water problems of a parched Saurashtra.
•    Under the project, nearly 10 dams and reservoirs of Rajkot, Jamnagar and Morbi will be filled up with the water of Narmada River.
•    The 12000 crore rupees project will fill up nearly 115 dams of Saurashtra region which faces shortage of water for irrigation and drinking purposes. The overflowing water of the Narmada is sent to different reservoirs through network of canals.
•    Saruashtra, which comprises 11 districts, faces drought like situation often and has been reeling under severe water scarcity due to scanty rainfall in the last two years. This project is considered to be an ambitious one for PM Modi. It was announced in 2012 when Modi was the Chief Minister of Gujarat.

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Maharashtra Government unveils Mumbai-Nagpur Super Communication Expressway project

Maharashtra Government has unveiled ambitious Mumbai-Nagpur Super Communication Expressway project in Mumbai. 
•    The 46,000-crore rupee ambitious project will create state-of-the art road connectivity within a period of three years and give a fillip to investment in the state. 
•    Mumbai-Nagpur Super Communication Expressway project will be implemented by Maharashtra State Road Development Corporation.
•    The project aims to create state-of-the art road connectivity within a period of three years and give a fillip to investment in the state. 
•    It will be a six-lane super communication highway covering a distance of 750 km through 10 districts. 
•    It will connect entire breadth of Maharashtra It will require 9000 hectares of land and will be carried out in the Land Pooling model with farmers being made partners and some percentage of developed land given back to them. 
•    It will have facilities like trauma centers, electronic toll points, CCTV cameras, two lanes of service roads, utility shifting, bypass. 
•    Besides, it will also have other structures will be installed to enhance operational and safety standards.

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Telangana becomes first state to have dedicated children court

First Children's Court was on 25 August 2016 inaugurated in Hyderabad. Moreover, it was also the first Children Court in South India. 
•    The court was jointly inaugurated by acting High Court Chief Justice Ramesh Ranganathan and TS director general of police (DGP) Anurag Sharma. 
•    It was presided by T Rajani, Metropolitan Sessions judge, and Dr Soumya Misra, inspector general of police (IG), Crime Investigation Department.
•    Features like separate waiting rooms for children and a video camera trial for the accused will be available.
•    The child (witness/victim) will be allowed direct interaction with the judge.
•    The accused, who will be at a different location, will be able to view and hear the proceedings via two-way video conferencing in the courtroom
•    A two-way video communication system will allow the child witness to identify the accused on camera. 
•    The judge will not sit on a dais to be more approachable and the police accompanying a child will also not be in uniform.

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Kerala to be declared open defecation free state on Nov 1

Kerala will be declared as open defecation-free state on its formation day on November 1 with the CPIM-led LDF government planning to invite Prime Minister Narendra Modi to attend a function here. 
•    A decision to this effect was taken at the state Cabinet meeting . 
•    The  Cabinet decided to invite Modi, who has launched the Swachh Bharat mission for a Clean India, to attend the state-level function. 
•    A total of more than 1.90 lakh toilets are being constructed across the 941 gramma panchayats in the state, including in individual houses, located at critically challenged and hilly terrains, as part of the sanitation programme by the state government.
•    Suchitwa Mission, the state nodal agency for sanitation, which is implementing the plan said work on 35 per cent of the toilets had already been completed and the state would achieve the new milestone by November.

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Maharashtra Government has signed MoU with Airports Authority of India

The Union Ministry of Civil Aviation, Maharashtra Government and Airports Authority of India (AAI) on 23 August 2016 signed a tri-partite Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) for successful launch of the Regional Connectivity Scheme (RCS).
•    The 10 airports that will be developed are- Kolhapur, Shirdi, Amravati, Gondia, Nashik, Jalgaon, Nanded, Solapur, Ratnagiri and Sindhudurg will be developed.
•    The state will contribute 20 percent cost of Viability Gap Funding, whereas the centre will bear the remaining 80 percent cost.
•    The state government will reduce the Local Body Tax (LBT) on air fuel from existing 10 percent to 1 percent for a period of 10 years.
•    Moreover, the government will provide essential land free of cost.
•    These airports will be provided with roads, rail, Metro and waterway connectivity. 
•    The state government will also provide electricity, water and necessary facilities at concessional rates.

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Maharashtra and Telangana have signed agreement

Telangana and Maharashtra government on 23 August 2016 signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to start work on three barrages- Tummidi Hatti on Pranhita River, Medigadda on Godavari River and Chanaka-Korata on Painganga River.
The MoU was inked after a meeting between Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis and Telangana Chief Minister K. Chandrashekhar Rao.
•    The approval for these 3 projects was given on the recommendations of the Inter-State Board of Maharashtra and Telangana that had been set up for the purpose.
•    All expenses for these projects will be borne by Telangana government and not a single village of Maharashtra will be submerged.
•    More than thirty thousand hectares of land in Chandrapur, Gadchiroli and Yavatmal will come under irrigation because of these barrages.
•    This MoU to construct irrigation projects will help in ending the long standing water dispute on water utilization of Godavari River and its tributaries between the two states.

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Andhra Pradesh became the first state in the country to launch DNA Index System

Andhra Pradesh on 20 August 2016 launched the DNA Index System (DIS) for DNA (Deoxyribonucleac acid) profiling of criminals. The system uses the latest DNA technology tool, known as RapidHIT DNA System, developed by IntegenX of United States.
•    With this, Andhra Pradesh became the first state in the country to do so.
•    It allows generation of DNA profiles from live samples like buccal swabs, saliva and blood stains etc.
•    It creates DNA profiles within 90 to 120 minutes compared to currently available technologies which take at least two days or more. 
•    It could also help the suspects prove their innocence. 
•    With DNA in the database, repeat offenders will be easily and quickly caught which will further help to bring down crime rate. 
•    This system helps to test and create DNA profiles of seven persons within two hours.
•    It can help resolve missing persons’ cases with on the spot DNA testing and also reduce backlogs of trying of criminal cases.

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Maharashtra became first state to launch India’s first comprehensive ‘Crime Criminal Tracking Network System’

The Maharashtra Government became first state in the country to launch India’s first comprehensive ‘Crime Criminal Tracking Network System’ (CCTNS) in Mumbai. 
•    It was launched through the operationalisation of 34 cyber laboratories across the state in order to combat growing cybercrimes. 
•    The CCTNS has been developed by Pune based Centre for Development of Advanced Computing (CDAC). 
•    Under it, all police stations in the state will be linked with one another for sharing information about crimes in their respective jurisdictions. 
•    It will pave the way for a digital police force in Maharashtra. 
•    The services of the cyber labs, will be linked by secure high-speed fibre optic cable network. 
•    It will be available to address cyber security concerns of private organisations and banks among others. 
•    Under it, the state government will raise a special cyber police force of around 1,000 policemen well trained to handle the growing incidents of cybercrimes.

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