Parliament passes Indian Institutes of Management Bill, 2017
The Indian Institutes of Management (IIM) Bill, 2017 was passed by the Parliament with Rajya Sabha, the Upper House, approving it on 19 December 2017.
The Lower House of the Parliament, Lok Sabha had already passed the bill in July 2017 during its monsoon session. It will now have to receive the assent of the President of India to become a law.
The Bill declares the IIMs as institutions of national importance. The bill aims to extend greater autonomy to IIMs by restricting the Union government’s role in their functioning.
MEA launches SAMEEP to take foreign policy to classroom
The Ministry of External Affairs has launched a new program SAMEEP (Students and MEA Engagement Program), to make the student understand India's place in the world and its global ambitions, and also to look at diplomacy as a career option.
It’s an "outreach" mission by MEA to take India’s foreign policy and its worldwide engagements to students across the country.
Under this new program SAMEEP, the MEA (Ministry of External affairs) has asked all its officers, undersecretary and above, to go their hometowns and particularly their alma mater while on leave.
India, Myanmar sign MoU to develop Rakhine state for Rohingya community’s safe return
India on 20 December 2017 signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Myanmar to develop Rakhine state, the region from where thousands of Rohingya Muslims had fled to Bangladesh following a military crackdown, resulting in one of the world’s biggest refugee crisis.
The agreement was signed by India’s Foreign Secretary S Jaishankar and Myanmar's Deputy Minister for Social Welfare, Relief and Resettlement U Soe Aung.
According to India’s External Affairs Ministry, the MoU is the first government to government agreement signed by the Ministry of Social Welfare, Relief and Resettlement of Myanmar with a cooperation partner focussed on socio-economic development and livelihood initiatives in the Rakhine State.
Lok Sabha passes Indian Forest (Amendment) Bill, 2017
Lok Sabha on 20 December 2017 passed the Indian Forest (Amendment) Bill, 2017. The Bill seeks to amend the Indian Forest Act, 1927. The Bills replaces the Indian Forest (Amendment) Ordinance, 2017.
Under the Indian Forest Act, the definition of tree includes palms, bamboos, stumps, brush-wood, and canes. The Bill amends this definition of tree to remove the word bamboos.
The bamboo, though taxonomically a grass, is treated as tree under the Indian Forest Act, 1927. The transit of bamboo attracts the requirement of permit under the said Act.
Once the amendment bill becomes an Act, the felling or transportation of bamboos growing in non-forest areas will not require any permits.
Union Cabinet approves establishing India's first National Rail and Transportation University
The Union Cabinet on 20 December 2017 approved the transformative initiative of Union Ministry of Railways to set up the first ever National Rail and Transport University (NRTU) in Vadodara to provide skill to its human resources and build capability.
All the approvals regarding the setting up of the university will be done by April 2018 and the first academic program will be launched in July 2018.
The University will be set up as a Deemed to Be University under de novo category as per the UGC [Institutions Deemed to be Universities] Regulations, 2016.