The Jallianwala Bagh National Memorial (Amendment) Bill, 2019 was passed by a voice vote in the Rajya Sabha on November 20, 2019. The National Monuments Act, 1951 provided that its trustees would be Congress heads. As per the provision, the central government nominates three trustees for this trust for five years.

The central government can now remove the trustees before completing their term for any reason. Minister of State for Culture and Tourism Prahlad Singh Patel said while presenting the bill, ‘Everyone should agree on this and rise above party politics after 100 years of Jallianwala Bagh massacre.’ The Lok Sabha has passed this bill on 2 August.

Jallianwala Bagh National Memorial (Amendment) Bill, 2019

• The Bill contains an amendment to the Jallianwala Bagh Memorial Act 1951.
• It has the provision to remove the President of the Congress Party as a permanent trustee of the memorial.
• The Bill makes it clear that when there is no leader of the opposition in the Lok Sabha, only the leader of the largest opposition party will be made a Trustee.
• The Bill empowers the Central Government to remove a nominated member without any reason before his term ends.

Reasons for Amendment

Minister of State for Culture and Tourism Prahlad Singh Patel said in the parliament that the government is committed to honouring all the martyrs of the independence movement and this amendment is a step towards that direction. The Jallianwala Bagh Trust was established in 1921 which was funded by the public. In the year 1951, a new trust was formed and a special person was made a trustee without holding any constitutional post.

Now, the government is inducting elected people into constitutional and administrative posts. No special person will be nominated. Also, these members will be replaced after every five years. Also, kin of the martyrs would also be included in the trust.

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Jallianwala Bagh Massacre

Some dates in the history of India can never be forgotten. 13 April 1919 is one of those dates. The Rowlatt Act was enacted in the country in 1919. The Viceroy had gained a lot of strength due to the act. This act included suppressing freedom of the press, imprisoning any politician in jail without a warrant and arresting any person without warrant. People in Jallianwala Bagh were protesting against the bill. The Jallianwala Bagh had only one entrance. 

Meanwhile, Brigadier-General Reginald Dyer of the British Army reached through a narrow lane with a contingent of about 90 soldiers. He started firing on the people present there without any warning. Several hundreds of people died on the spot and it has become one of the biggest incidents of Indian Freedom Movement.

Also read : FASTag in India: Mandatory for all vehicle owners from December 1

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FASTag: The National Electronic Toll Collection (Fastag) program, a major initiative of the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways and the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI), has been implemented at Pan-India level to eliminate bottlenecks on toll plazas and ensure uninterrupted movement of traffic. The purpose of FASTag is to collect usage fees as per the notified rates using radio frequency identification (RFID) technology.

Deadline: In order to promote digital payments and increase transparency, the Ministry has ordered all National Highways to be declared as “Fastag lanes” from 1 December 2019, while one lane (in each direction) will be hybrid. It has been made mandatory to pay online for FASTag from 1 December 2019. It was decided to start the trial of the FASTag order on some identified National Highways from 1st November 2019 and it is gradually moving towards all the toll plazas.

Penalty: According to the notification of the Government Gazette, if any vehicle is entering the “FASTag Lane” without FASTag on the National Highway Toll Plaza, it will have to pay double the fee applicable for that category of vehicle.

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How to Purchase FASTag?

FASTag can be purchased from various banks and 28,500 sales centres set up by IHMCL / NHAI. It includes all the toll plazas on National Highways, RTOs, shared service centres, transport centres, bank branches, selected petrol pumps etc. FASTag for the retail segment (car/jeep/van) can be purchased online by visiting the website of Amazon and various member banks like SBI, ICICI Bank, Axis Bank, Paytm Payment Bank, HDFC Bank, IDFC First Bank among others.

Benefits of FASTag

The biggest advantage of using FASTag is that there will be no need to stop on toll plaza. No one needs to keep cash with them due to the convenience of payment. Paper is also less used on toll plazas if FASTag is used. There will be less pollution because of the absence of long queues of vehicles. Many types of cashback and other offers are also available on FASTag.

My FASTag App

NHAI has also announced that one can download My FASTag App to find out the nearest sales point or visit the website or call the National Highway Helpline number 1033. National Highway Authority of India/IHMCL has developed UPI recharge facility through My FASTag App for recharge. FASTag can also be recharged through NetBanking, Credit / Debit Card, UPI and other popular modes of payment by visiting the respective bank’s portal.

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