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October 3, 2017

U.P. comes first in active gun licences

  • Uttar Pradesh is first on the list of States in the number of active gun licences, with 12.77 lakh people authorised to carry weapons. Jammu and Kashmir comes second with 3.69 lakh people possessing arms licences, show statistics released by the Home Ministry.
  • The country has 33,69,444 active gun licences as on December 31, 2016.
  • The lowest number of gun licences is in small Union Territories such as Daman and Diu and Dadra and Nagar Haveli, where 125 gun licences each were issued, the Ministry said.

Ministries asked to spell out 2022 specific targets

  • The Cabinet Secretariat has asked all Central government departments to work out specific targets to be achieved by 2022, when India will complete 75 years of independence.

Maximum governance

  • The Ministries have also been asked to adopt the tenet of ‘minimum government, maximum governance’ in their work, by using technology, so as to improve processes and service delivery.
  • Prime Minister Narendra Modi is monitoring the Ministries’ progress in implementing projects and policy initiatives under the e-Samiksha mechanism for tracking the progress on projects and policy initiatives on a real-time basis, officials said.

Reform areas

  • “Most Ministries have responded with some broad goals. For instance, the Labour and Employment Ministry has said it will introduce a policy for regulating private employers, amend the Contract Labour Act, 1970, to spur job creation and bring in a national domestic workers’ policy,” the official said.
  • Separately, the Departments have been told to identify five-seven major reform areas that need attention, while highlighting ‘transformative changes’ already undertaken. “The thrust is on the government’s commitment to minimise government and maximise governance,” the official said. Cabinet Secretary P.K/ Sinha will review the Ministries’ performance.
  • The Ministries have also been asked to ensure that there is no difference in their responses to questions raised in Parliament by MPs and questions received under the Right to Information Act. “Officers dealing with RTI questions should be sensitised on a weekly basis to the need for giving appropriate replies,” an official memo to the Ministries said.

Premium trains run with empty seats

  • Railway Minister Piyush Goyal’s announcement last week that the public transporter was reviewing the scheme of flexi fares introduced in September last year, reflects the paradox of a surge in Railway revenue even as premium trains run with vacant seats.


  • While Railway revenues have surged by ₹500 crore in the one year since the flexi fare scheme was introduced on premium and express trains, the number of passengers has dropped significantly.
  • The scheme has resulted in premium trains such as the Mumbai-Delhi Rajdhani Express running with vacant seats. While earlier, bookings had to be done months in advance to ensure a confirmed ticket, following the introduction of the system, up to 30% of seats remain unoccupied on any given day, according to data from the Western Railway. Interestingly on most days, flight tickets are cheaper than the Rajdhani fares.
  • The flexi fare scheme came into effect on September 9, 2016 wherein only the first 10% of the seats are booked at the regular fare. Thereafter, the fare increases by 10% with every 10% of the seats booked. The flexi fare scheme is, however, not applicable for first class AC and executive class.
  • The scheme is applicable to all premium trains including Rajdhani, Shatabdi and Duronto Express. As many as 42 Rajdhani, 46 Shatabdi and 54 Duronto trains are currently in operation.
  • While passengers have raised concerns over the surge in fares, data suggest that passengers have chosen to fly instead of taking trains.