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Govt officials to pledge 100 hour per year towards cleanliness

Apart from clearing their files, government officials are now expected to work 100 hours every year to keep their neighbourhood spic-and-span as is listed out in the "Cleanliness Pledge" they have to take on Gandhi Jayanti.

The Indian government in its order has attached a draft oath which every government official will have to undertake on 2 October (Gandhi Jayanti) which will be a working day for them this year.

The pledge states that Mahatma Gandhi had dreamt of a developed and clean country.

"It is our duty that I will clean the country to serve Mother India. I take oath that I will remain conscious about sanitary practices and devote time for that. I will devote 100 hours every year meaning two hours every week for reaching this goal," it states.

The pledge says that officials will neither indulge in unhygienic practices nor let others do it.

"I will start the cleanliness drive from myself, my family, my neighbourhood and my workplace. I believe that countries which are clean because their citizens believe in sanitary practices. The pledge that I am taking, I will administer to 100 others. I will try that those 100 also work towards hygiene and sanitation," the oath said.

Mangalyaan sends images of dust storm activities on Mars

"Regional dust storm activities over northern hemisphere of Mars - captured by Mars Color Camera on-board Mars Orbiter Mission (MOM)", Bangalore-headquartered Indian Space Research Organisation (Isro) said on its official Facebook page with a picture.

ISRO added that the Mars Orbiter Mission grabbed the image from an altitude of 74,500km from the surface of the Red Planet.

MOM had sent its first images of the planet on Thursday, a day after creating history by becoming the first mission launched by any country or agency in the world to enter the orbit of Mars in the first attempt.

The aim of the MOM is to study the surface and mineral composition of Mars and scan its atmosphere for methane, an indicator of life. ISRO has equipped the spacecraft with five instruments, including a sensor to track methane or marsh gas, a colour camera and a thermal-imaging spectrometer to map the surface and mineral wealth of the planet.

The MOM is worth Rs 450 crore making it the cheapest interplanetary mission. The spacecraft will move in an elliptical path for at least 6 months and the instruments abroad it will keep sending the information back home.

Centenary Commemoration of Komagata Maru Incident

As a tribute to the heroic struggle of Indian immigrants against discriminatory immigration laws of Canada in the early years of twentieth century, the Government of India has decided to commemorate the centenary of Komagata Maru incident on completion of 100 years after the incident.

Three granddaughters of Baba Gurdit Singh, the hero of the episode - Ms. Harbhajan Kaur, Ms. Satwant Kaur and Ms. Balbir Kaur - were honoured by the Culture Minister Shri Shripad Naik. A set of commemorative coins of denominations of Rs. 100 and Rs. 5 was released to mark the occasion.

Speaking at the inauguration of the year-long commemoration, the Minister of Culture and Tourism Shri Shripad Naik said, by commemorating Komagata Maru we commemorate not only the 376 Indians on board the ship the Komagata Maru but also all the Indians who have since the early decades of the last century landed in the shores of other countries in search of greener pastures.

On May 23, 1914, Komagata Maru, a Japanese steamer, carrying 376 passengers from Hong Kong, mostly being immigrants from Punjab, British India, arrived in Vancouver, Canada. It was denied docking by the Canadian authorities. Following a two months stalemate, the Ship was escorted out of the harbour by the Canadian Military and forced to sail back to India. The Komagata Maru arrived in Calcutta in September, 1914.

The British Imperial Government saw the men on Komagata Maru as dangerous political agitators. The police went aboard the ship on 29th September, 1914 to arrest Baba Gurdit Singh and other leaders. The arrest was resisted by the passengers which led to police firing in which 19 passengers were killed. Baba Gurdit Singh escaped along with many others. The rest of the passengers were sent to Punjab.

India gets unique health insurance scheme under UHAM

Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan has announced a unique health insurance scheme under the umbrella of Universal Health Assurance Mission (UHAM) of the central government, which he claimed will become “world’s largest public health insurance programme.”

The new insurance scheme will be free for those below the poverty line and those above the BPL will be required to pay a very low premium. “At present, health insurance touches about 25 percent of population. We will spread the population of the insured rapidly, resulting in sharp fall in premium rates and many consumer benefits,” the health minster added.

He said that an autonomous UHAM agency will be formed to ensure above-board operations and genuine protection of the insured.

The health ministry had set up an expert group to prepare the roadmap for the universal health mission, Harsh Vardhan said adding that the expert group submitted its report within eight weeks of its formation, which is right now under the consideration of the health ministry.

6000 children to participate in India-Pakistan students exchange program

A private initiative called "Exchange for Change 2013-2015'' programme has roped in more than 6000 students from India and Pakistan to bridge in the Indo-Pak school students' gap. This programme which is world's largest oral history program has its main objective as helping students in both the countries realize that a sustained dialogue is the only means to encourage them to form their opinions.

During the life of this project, a sustained exchange of written, visual and oral histories will take place between the students.

Non-governmental organization Routes 2 Roots founder Rakesh Gupta said that it will finally culminate in a visit of select children and teachers from all the schools to both the countries. Students falling between the age bar of 10-14 years would be participating in the program. Dehradun has been a new addition to the list of participating cities such as Delhi, Kolkata, Mumbai, Karachi, Lahore & Rawalpindi.

6200 Children from 37 schools and 7 cities of India and Pakistan are part of this programme; thereby making it world's largest Exchange for Change program across the two countries.

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