Current Affairs August 2016 - National


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News 1 - Centre to organize ‘Make in India’ conference in Bhubaneswar in December

Make in India

The Central government has proposed to organize a 'Make in India' conference in Bhubaneswar in the first week of December 2016, to be organized by the Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion (DIPP), Ministry of Commerce and Industry in order to attract investment to Odisha as well as the country.

Make in India is an initiative launched by the Government of India to encourage multinational, as well as national companies to manufacture their products in India. India received US$63 billion in FDI in 2015.

News 2 - Railway Minister flags off maiden Agartala-Delhi broad-gauge rail line

Agartala-Delhi Train

Union Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu flagged off the maiden broad gauge train service, Agartala-New Delhi ‘Tripura Sundari Express. The cost of the project is Rs 968 crore.

Also, the foundation stone for the much awaited railway track to link Agartala to Akhoura in Bangladesh was jointly laid at the programme by Prabhu and his Bangladeshi counterpart Mujibul Haque. The railway ministry has released Rs 568 crore for the Agartala-Akhoura rail link. Laying of the 15.054km rail track will be completed by 2017. Of the total track, only 5km will be on the Indian side and the rest in Bangladesh.

News 3 - Parliament passes NIT, Science Education & Research Bill

Education and Research Bill

Parliament has passed the National Institutes of Technology, Science Education and Research (Amendment) Bill, 2016 after Rajya Sabha approved it. The Lok Sabha has already cleared the Bill.

The Bill seeks to establish the National Institute of Technology (NIT), Andhra Pradesh as an institute of national importance under the National Institutes of Technology, Science Education and Research (NITSER) Act, 2007. For the current year, an amount of 40 crore rupees have been allocated for the establishment of the Institute.

News 4 - Parliament passes Indian Medical Council Amendment Bill 2016

NEET

Admission to medical and dental courses across the country will be done through a single common entrance test from next year after Parliament approved two significant bills for putting NEET in place. The Indian Medical Council (Amendment) Bill, 2016 and the Dentists (Amendment) Bill, 2016 were passed by the Rajya Sabha by voice vote. The Lok Sabha has already passed it.

The bills seek to amend the Indian Medical Council Act,1956 and the Dentists Act,1948. The Bills provide for conduct of uniform entrance examination for admission to all medical educational institutions at the undergraduate and post-graduate courses from next year.

News 5 - Govt. caps prices of 24 essential drugs

Drugs

Drug pricing regulator National Pharmaceutical Pricing Authority has capped the prices of 24 essential drugs under Drugs (Price Control) Amendment Order, 2016 used for treatment of cancer, HIV, bacterial infections, anxiety and cardiac conditions, reducing the cost by an average of around 25%. NPPA also capped the retail price of 31 formulations under Drug Prices Control Order, DPCO 2013.

The government fixes the prices of essential drugs based on the simple average of all medicines in a particular therapeutic segment, having sales of more than 1 percent.

News 6 - CVC red-flags setting up of NGOs by employees of public sector banks

Public Sector Banks

The Central Vigilance Commission has redflagged the setting up of NGOs by employees of public sector banks. The move comes as the Commission observed instances of associations and organizations, formed or patronized by employees, their spouses, obtaining donations from contractors, vendors, customers or other persons having commercial relations or official dealings with the public sector banks and enterprises.

All Chief Vigilance Officers, CVOs of public sector banks and enterprises have been asked to take necessary action in case they come across such instances.

News 7 - Lok Sabha passes bill on Reconstruction of Financial Assets

Reconstruction of Financial Assets

The Lok Sabha passed the Enforcement of Security Interest and Recovery of Debts Laws and Miscellaneous Provisions (Amendment) Bill, 2016. The bill seeks to amend four laws -- the Securitisation and Reconstruction of Financial Assets and Enforcement of Security Interest Act, 2002; the Recovery of Debts due to Banks and Financial Institutions Act, 1993; the Indian Stamp Act, 1899; and the Depositories Act, 1996.

The Bill simplifies the procedures by which there will be a quick disposal of claims of banks and financial institutions. It will empower the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) to examine the statements and any information of Asset Reconstruction Companies related to their business.

News 8 - NGRBA approved Rs 400 crore for Ganga rejuvenation projects

NGRBA

National Ganga River Basin Authority (NGRBA) approved several projects worth Rs 400 cr, including that for the development of ghats, crematoria and riverfront along river Ganga, under the Centre’s ambitious Namami Gange programme.

The projects include development of ghats and crematoria in the stretch from Rudraprayag to Guptkashi in Uttarakhand; Kanpur, Allahabad, Bithoor and Bijnor (on Ramganga) in Uttar Pradesh; Kahalgaon in Bihar; Sahibganj and Rajmahal in Jharkhand and Bhatpara and Naihati in West Bengal. Under the ‘Namami Gange’ programme, the central government had sanctioned Rs 20,000 crore for five years during the 2015-2020 period.

News 9 - Government launches performance and credit rating scheme for MSMEs

Credit Rating

The MSME Ministry has launched the "Performance and Credit Rating Scheme" through National Small Industry Corporation Limited to assess the capabilities and creditworthiness of the industries in the sector. It will provide the MSMEs a trusted third party opinion on their capabilities and creditworthiness so as to create awareness about the strengths and weaknesses of their existing operations.

The new scheme of Financial Support to MSMEs in Zero Defect Zero Effect Certification has been approved in which the MSMEs will be assessed on ZED Maturity Model on 50 parameters.

News 10 - India to host international summit on tobacco-control

Tobacco Control

India will host a global summit to eliminate the illicit trade of tobacco products. 1000-1500 delegates from 180 countries will take part. India will host the 7th session of the Conference of the Parties (COP7) to the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (WHO-FCTC).

The summit is scheduled from November 7-12 at the Indian Exposition Mart in Noida. India has ratified FCTC in 2004 and is a party to it. Also, according to the Indian Council of Medical Research - National Cancer Registry data, the estimated number of cancer cases in the country stood at 14.5 lakh in 2016.

News 11 - Parliament passes Institutes of Technology (Amendment) Bill

Indian Institutes of Technology

Parliament has passed the Institutes of Technology (Amendment) Bill - 2016 to set up six new Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs) after Rajya Sabha approved it. The new IITs will be established in Tirupati, Palakkad, Goa, Dharwad, Bhilai and Jammu. Besides the Indian School of Mines, Dhanbad has been brought within the ambit of the IIT Act.

The Bill seeks to amend the Institutes of Technology Act, 1961, which declares certain Institutes of Technology as institutions of national importance.

News 12 - Drip and Sprinkler Irrigation Being Promoted Under “Per Drop More Crop” Component

Per Drop More Crop

Drip and sprinkler irrigation systems are being promoted under “Per Drop More Crop” component of Pradhan Mantri Krishi Sinchayee Yojana (PMKSY). Under the scheme, 15% additional assistance is provided to small and marginal farmers for installation of micro irrigation systems compared to other farmers for area covered under Drought Prone Area Programme (DPAP), Desert Development Programme (DDP) and North Eastern and Himalayan States and 10% for other areas.

During the last three years (2013-14 to 2015-16), 14.3 lakh hectare area have been covered under drip and sprinkler irrigation systems.

News 13 - NDDB to Implement “Giftmilk” Scheme to Improve Child Nutrition

Giftmilk

Government has approved a proposal for setting up an Institution for promotion of nutrition through milk/milk products (especially for children) utilizing Corporate Social Responsibility funds of NDDB. NDDB registered a trust/ society known as ‘NDDB Foundation for Nutrition’(NFN) to implement this initiative known as “Giftmilk” to provide milk free of cost.

NFN is currently implementing the “Giftmilk” imitative in 3 schools -2 in Delhi & 1 in Telangana. Till now about 1,20,000 packets of flavored milk have been distributed. The “Giftmilk” is presently supported by NDDB’s subsidiaries who have contributed from their CSR commitment.

News 14 - 12 acres of land of Indu-6 Mill to be handed over to Government of Maharashtra

Maharashtra Govt

The Union Cabinet has given its approval for the transfer of 12 acres of Indu-6 Mill land, vested in National Textile Corporation, to Government of Maharashtra for construction of a befitting Memorial for Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar.

The Government of Maharashtra needs to make the necessary payment of compensation as required under section 11A of the Sick Textile Undertakings (Nationalization) Amendment Act, 1995 and ratified tripartite Memorandum of Understanding signed between Government of India, Government of Maharashtra and National Textile Corporation Ltd.

News 15 - Shipping Corporation of India signs MOU with Government of India

SCI

Shipping Corporation of India Ltd. has signed the Memorandum of Understanding with the Ministry of Shipping for the financial year 201617. It consists of parameters drawn on the prescribed evaluation criteria and factors such as capacity and its expansion, business environment, projects under implementation have been considered.

The MoU will be periodically reviewed by the Ministry and the performance of the PSU would be evaluated and ratings awarded at the end of the financial year. SCI has reported a consolidated net profit of Rs.389.4 crores for the financial year 2015-16.

News 16 - MDWS launches month-long campaign on “Freedom from Open Defecation”

Freedom from Open Defecation

The Ministry of Drinking Water and Sanitation is organizing a month-long Swachh Bharat special campaign around the theme ‘Freedom from Open Defecation’ in August 2016.

The following events are being organized by the Ministry during the month:

1-Aug Ministry has kicked off the campaign with the launch of its newsletter “Swachhta Samachar” and an ‘Ask Me Anything’ (AMA) campaign on social media (twitter.com/swachhbharat)
5-Aug National Media Interaction on Swachh Bharat Mission to sensitize Media on SBM.
11-Aug Launch of 5 SBM movies; A ‘Chai Pe Charcha’ between the Minister, Ministry of Drinking Water and Sanitation, and selected Champion Collectors for Swachh Bharat Mission (Gramin)
14 & 16-Aug States and Districts to hold mass mobilization and honor local Sanitation Champions
20-Aug Mass event in Allahabad with 1651 Gram Pradhans and associated Pramukhs to motivate them for making villages along the banks of the river Ganga.
24-Aug Release of ‘Swachh Survekshan’, through Quality Council of India to rank the top performing districts of the country based on the NSSO survey and the States.
28-Aug MDWS will launch a series on Swachh Bharat nationwide that will run as a weekly show on prime time on Doordarshan.

News 17 - PM Modi launched PMO App At MyGov Anniversary Event

PMO App

Prime Minister Narendra Modi launched the new PMO App in the first ever townhall held by an Indian Prime Minister organized in New Delhi by MyGov. The app would correspond to the website of the Prime Minister's Office (PMO).

It can be used by citizens for discussions and direct submission of grievances to the prime minister’s office (PMO). The MyGov portal was launched by the prime minister on 26 July 2014 as a part of the government’s Digital India campaign.

News 18 - Kathakali dance troupe in Egypt for first time

Kathakali

A nine-member Kathakali dance troupe has performed the Kathakali dance for the first time in Egypt and wooed the audience during its performances in different cities of Egypt.

The troupe was a part the 14th Summer Festival organized by Bibliotheca Alexandrina on August 1. The Indian dance troupe will also perform in different places including Port Said Cultural Palace, Ismailia Cultural Palace as well as at the Egypt Society for Culture and Development (ESCD) Cultural Palace, in Cairo.

News 19 - PM Modi inaugurates first phase of Mission Bhageeratha in Telangana

Mission Bhageeratha

Prime Minister Narendra Modi inaugurated the first phase of Mission Bhagirath programme, a flagship programme to supply drinking water to each household in Gajwel Assembly constituency in Telangana.

The Prime Minister also laid foundation stone, through remote control to the 1600 MW power plant being set up by the NTPC at Ramagundam in Karimnagar district and new railway line between Manoharabad - Kottapalli. He unveiled foundation stone to revive Ramagundam Fertilizers Plant and Kaloji Narayana RAO Health university at Warangal. He also dedicated the 1200 MW thermal power plant to the nation.

News 20 - Swachh Survekshan of 500 cities launched by Union Government

Swachh Survekshan

Union Government launched ‘Swachh Suvekshan-2017’ to assess and rank 500 cities and towns based on levels of sanitation and efforts made by respective urban local bodies and also to capture progress towards achieving ‘Open Defecation Free’ status.

Minister of Urban Development Shri M.Venkaiah Naidu launched a web portal ‘Swachhata App’ and ‘Swachhta Helpline 1969’ to enable citizens associate more and more with Swachh Bharat Mission in urban areas. 115 cities have become ‘Open Defecation Free’ and another 793 cities and towns are set to become so by March 2017. Gujarat, Andhra Pradesh and Kerala will become ODF by March, 2017.

News 21 - Rs.142.00 Crore Sanctioned for ‘Biogas Programme’ in 2016-17

Biogas Programme

An amount of Rs.142.00 crore has been allocated under “Biogas Programme’ during the current year 2016-17.

Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE) is promoting setting up of biogas plants under National Biogas and Manure Management Programme (NBMMP) which caters to setting up of family type biogas plants for meeting cooking energy needs of rural and semi-urban areas of the country. A target for setting up of 1,00,000 biogas plants under the NBMMP has been fixed during the current year, 2016-17.

News 22 - Rajya Sabha passes Mental Health Care Bill

Mental Health Care Bill

The Rajya Sabha passed the Mental Health Care Bill 2013 seeking to provide better healthcare for people suffering from mental illness. The Bill provides for protection and promotion of rights of persons with mental illness during the delivery of health care in institutions and in the community.

There were 134 official amendments to the bill. An estimated 6-7% of country’s population suffered from some form of mental illness with 1-2% having an acute condition.

News 23 - PM Narendra Modi releases theme song for Tiranga Yatra to mark 70 years of Independence

Tiranga Yatra

Prime Minister Narendra Modi released a theme song for Tiranga Yatra to be organised to mark 70 years of Independence Day. The theme song 70 Saal Azadi Yaad Karo Kurbani has been composed by Dr. Ghazal Srinivas.

Tiranga Yatra will be organised from 16 to 23 August 2016 across the country to mark 70 years of Independence. It will be the symbol of social harmony and unity in the country. The Yatra will spread the message of harmony and also highlight the contributions of freedom fighters and martyrs among the school children during the celebration.

News 24 - Lok Sabha passes Employee’s Compensation (Amendment) Bill

Employee’s Compensation

The Lok Sabha unanimously passed the Employee’s Compensation (Amendment) Bill - 2016. The Bill seeks to amend the Employee’s Compensation Act - 1923 which provides payment of compensation to employees and their dependents in the case of injury by industrial accidents, including occupational diseases. The amendment bill makes it obligatory for the employer to inform the employee of his rights to compensation, in writing as well as through electronic means.

The bill provides for raising the penalty for violation of the Act to 50 thousand rupees from five thousand rupees as at present.

News 25 - NHAI Signs MOU with IIT- Kharagpur for Research Project on Paneled Cement Concrete Pavements for Highways

NHAI Signs MOU

National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) has signed Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with IIT-Kharagpur for research project on Laboratory and Field investigations on Paneled Cement Concrete Pavements for Highways. The duration of the research project is 3 years and NHAI have paid Rs. 1.25 crore for the project, excluding cost of construction of trial pavement section on NH.

NHAI in collaboration with IIT Kharagpur shall promote to develop a technology to construct Panelled Cement Concrete (Pre-fabricated in a small panel size) which can replace the design of construction of existing cement concrete road.

News 26 - Rajya Sabha passes Enforcement of Security Interest and Recovery of Debts Laws Amendment Bill, 2016

Debts Laws

The Enforcement of Security Interest and Recovery of Debts Laws and Miscellaneous Provisions (Amendment) Bill, 2016, was passed by Rajya Sabha. The amendments are aimed at faster recovery and resolution of bad debts by banks and financial institutions and making it easier for asset reconstruction companies (ARCs) to function.

The Bill seeks to amend four laws: (i) Securitisation and Reconstruction of Financial Assets and Enforcement of Security Interest (SARFAESI) Act, 2002 (ii) Recovery of Debts due to Banks and Financial Institutions Act (RDDBFI), 1993 (iii) Depositories Act, 1996 and (iv) Indian Stamp Act, 1899.

News 27 - First Unit of Kudankulam Nuclear Power Plant dedicated to the nation

Kudankulam Nuclear Power Plant

The first unit of Kudankulam Nuclear Power Plant was jointly dedicated to the nation by Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Jayalalithaa, Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Russian President Vladimir Putin through video conferencing.

The KNPP had been set up using the Russian VVER type reactors based on enriched uranium. The first unit of Kudankulam power plant is generating its full capacity of 1000 megawatts of electricity. The unit was synchronized with the southern power grid in 2013 and commercial power generation started by the end of December 2014.

News 28 - First Solar Power India commissions 130 MW of solar power plants in AP, Telangana

Solar Power

First Solar Power India announced the commercial operation of 80 MW and 50 MW solar power plants in Andhra Pradesh and Telangana. These projects are a part of its 260 MW project portfolio. First Solar Power India is the local subsidiary of the Nasdaq-listed First Solar.

The 130 MW plants will produce energy to power around 2,27,500 average homes in the country. The electricity generated by the two projects will be purchased by the Southern Power Distribution Company of Andhra Pradesh and the Telangana State Southern Power Distribution Company under 25-year power purchase agreements.

News 29 - Lok Sabha clears Taxation Laws (Amendment) Bill, 2016

Taxes

The Lok Sabha on Wednesday passed the Taxation Laws (Amendment) Bill, 2016. The bill, which will amend the Income Tax Act, 1961, and The Customs Tariffs Act, 1975, seeks to exempt land banks of erstwhile public sector undertakings from levy of capital gains tax when transferred to the government.

The bill decreases the period of employment of an employee of the businesses which manufacture apparel from 240 days to 150 days. The Bill also proposes to increase the existing customs duty on imports of granite and marble blocks used for certain purposes from 10 percent to 40 percent.

News 30 - Govt notifies 'Early Childhood Care and Education' policy

Child Care

Government has notified the national 'Early Childhood Care and Education' policy, which aims to achieve holistic development of children below six years of age. The early Childhood Care and Education' policy is one of the six free services provided through Anganwadi centres located across the country.

A UNICEF Survey indicated that 34 per cent of Muslim and 25 per cent of Christian children below six years do not attend pre-school.

News 31 - CCEA approves proposal of R&D project for development of AUSC Technology for Thermal Power Plants

Thermal Power Plants

The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs has approved a proposal of research and development project for development of Advanced Ultra Super Critical Technology for Thermal Power Plants. The estimated cost of the project is 1554 crore rupees.

BHEL will be provided one-time budgetary support of 900 crore rupees for implementation of the project. This will enable domestic industries to design, manufacture and commission higher efficiency coal fired power plants. This will be the first time that a large power plant equipment will be manufactured with advanced technologies, but without any technological Collaboration and Licensing Agreement with foreign companies.

News 32 - Cabinet approves MoU between India, S Africa for cooperation in the field of Tourism

India and Africa

The Union Cabinet has given its ex-post facto approval for a Memorandum of Understanding between India and South Africa for cooperation in the field of Tourism. The main objectives of the MoU is to expand bilateral cooperation in the tourism sector and to exchange information and data related to tourism.

The Cabinet has also given its approval for signing and ratification of an agreement between India and Croatia on economic cooperation. The aim of this agreement is to promote and develop bilateral trade and economic relations.

News 33 - Cabinet approves various Bills

Cabinet

Cabinet has approved introduction of pension and post-retirement medical benefits for the employees of Food Corporation of India (FCI). It has also given its nod to amend regulation for foreign investment in Non- Banking Finance Companies. Amending the regulations will enable inflow of foreign investment in other financial services on automatic route which in turn will induce foreign direct investment and give a spurt to economic activities.

Cabinet has given ex-post facto approval to introduction of Lokpal Bill 2016, to amend Section 44 of Lokpal and Lokayuktas Act 2013. The amendments will address concerns expressed by public servants.

News 34 - Niti Aayog inks pact with US EIA to set up portal on energy data

Niti Aayog

Niti Aayog has inked a pact with US Energy Information Administration (EIA) in a step towards setting up a portal to host all the data related to energy sector in the country which would take 3-4 years to develop. The web portal will host data including oil & gas, coal, solar & thermal energy etc.

Niti Aayog also inked an SOP with US Agency for International Development (USAID) and UK's Department of Energy & Climate Change (DECC) for collaboration in the area of energy research.

News 35 - IRCTC signs MoU with DRDO to get ready-to-eat food in railways

IRCTC

Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation (IRCTC) has started sale of Readyto-Eat food packets at some of the Railway stations on trial basis. During the trial period the MRP has been kept at ₹ 40/- per packet for all items.

IRCTC has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Defence Food Research Laboratory of Defence Research and Development Organization (DRDO) for Transfer of Technology of Retort Pouch Processed Foods so that ready-to-eat food can be warmed and eaten straight out of the packet.

News 36 - Union Cabinet approves Agreement between the India and Croatia on Economic Cooperation

India and Croatia

The Union Cabinet has given its approval for signing and ratification of an Agreement between India and Croatia on Economic Cooperation. Signing of the new Agreement between India and Croatia would be a step in continuity as the existing Agreement expired in November, 2009.

India's bilateral trade with Croatia during 2012-13, 2013-14 and 2014-15 were US$ 152.01million, US$ 148.86 million and US$ 205.04 million respectively. The average bilateral trade growth was 17.44% during the last three years.

News 37 - Jaitley launches data bank portal of MSMEs

MSMEs

Finance Minister Arun Jaitley launched a data bank Portal of micro, small and medium enterprises, MSME in New Delhi. The portal aims to gather information about micro, small and medium enterprises. A census of MSMEs online will be carried out for the first time through the data bank.

An Online Finance Facilitation Web Portal was also launched to provide collective funding options for MSMEs. Six Online Finance Facilitation Centres in Jalandhar, Ludhiana, Guwahati, Lucknow, Peenya near Bangaluru and Delhi have been opened and six more will be unveiled in the near future.

News 38 - Parliament passes Central Agricultural University Bill

Central Agricultural University Bill

Parliament has passed the Central Agricultural University Bill with the Rajya Sabha adopting it by voice vote without discussion. The bill seeks to amend the Central Agricultural University Act, 1992, which was enacted for the establishment and incorporation of a university for the northeastern region.

The main Act provides for the establishment of a University in the north eastern region for the development of agriculture, and advancement of research in agriculture and allied sciences. The amendment brings Nagaland under the ambit of Central Agricultural University. The Lok Sabha has already passed it.

News 39 - Rajya Sabha passes Maternity Benefits (Amendment) Bill, 2016

Maternity Benefits

The Rajya Sabha has passed the Maternity Benefits (Amendment) Bill, 2016. The new legislation will benefit 18 lakh women workforce in the country. The proposed amendments are:

  • Increase Maternity Benefit to 26 weeks from 12 weeks for two surviving children and 12 weeks for more than two children.

  • Mandatory 12 weeks Maternity Benefit to ‘Adopting mother’ and ‘Commissioning mother’.

  • Facilitate Work from home for women during the time of her maternity.

  • Mandatory for establishment having 50 or more employees to have Creche.

It applies to every establishment employing ten or more persons and includes mines and factories. No employer can remove any woman employee on the ground of pregnancy.

News 40 - Funds for LIGO-India Project

LIGO-India Project

The Government has given ‘in-principle’ approval for setting up Laser Interferometer Gravitational Wave Observatory (LIGO) in India. The LIGO-India project will establish a state-of-the-art gravitational wave observatory on the Indian soil in collaboration with the LIGO Laboratory in the U.S. run by Caltech and Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

An amount of Rupees105 crore has been made in XII Plan outlay by Department of Atomic Energy (DAE)-Department of Science & Technology (DST) towards LIGO-India. Out of which, the share of contribution of DST will be Rupees 55 crore including 50% of seed-funding amount of Rupees 9.70 crore and DAE’s share would be Rupees 50 crore.

News 41 - India's first touch-and-feel garden for visually impaired

Touch-and-Feel Garden

A touch and feel garden for the visually impaired people was inaugurated near Calicut University campus by Kerala Assembly Speaker P Sreeramakrishnan.

A first-of-its-kind, the garden has nearly 70 aromatic, medicinal and herbal plants. The visually impaired will also get information about them through audio inputs. It has been constructed in a year with an aid of Rs 17 lakh from the Environment Ministry. The names of the plants are written in English, Malayalam and in Braille.

News 42 - Hindustan Copper Limited inaugurates country's first facility to produce nickel at Ghatsila

Hindustan Copper Limited

Hindustan Copper Limited (HCL) has inaugurated the country's first facility to produce nickel. This is the first facility in India to produce nickel metal of LME grade from primary resource at Indian Copper Complex, Ghatsila (Jharkhand).

India is completely dependent on import for Nickel. The metal is primarily used to make stainless steel and Annual demand for pure nickel in India is around 45,000 tonne. The proposed project will replace the age-old process of liberator cell operation with EMEW & APU technology in the Refinery.

News 43 - BARC and Sree Chitra Tirunal Institute for Medical Sciences & Technology sign MoU for joint development of Deep Brain Stimulator

Bhabha Atomic Research Centre

Bhabha Atomic Research Centre and Sree Chitra Tirunal Institute for Medical Sciences & Technology (SCTIMST), Thiruvananthapuram have agreed to join hands to develop ‘Deep Brain Stimulator’ (DBS). DBS is used in typical neurological conditions of Essential tremor, Parkinson's disease and Dystonia. These devices are currently being imported.

The 1st prototypes are planned to be available in 3 years.

News 44 - Diamond Quadrilateral Network in Indian Railway

Diamond Quadrilateral Network

Six corridors on Diamond Quadrilateral connecting metropolitan cities and growth centers of the country (Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai & Kolkata) have been identified for feasibility studies for high speed rail connectivity viz: (i) Delhi-Mumbai, (ii) Mumbai-Chennai, (iii) Chennai-Kolkata, (iv) Kolkata-Delhi and both diagonals i.e. (v) Delhi-Chennai and (vi) Mumbai-Kolkata routes.

Feasibility studies for Delhi-Mumbai, DelhiKolkata and Mumbai-Chennai have been awarded in September, 2015. Feasibility studies for Delhi-Nagpur portion of Delhi-Chennai corridor and Mumbai-Nagpur portion of Mumbai-Kolkata corridor are being undertaken through Government to Government cooperation, with China and Spain respectively.

News 45 - Govt approves 5 projects worth Rs 644 crores to decongest capital city

Decongest Capital City

Union Urban Development Minister M Venkaiah Naidu declared sanction of 644 crores rupees in the financial year 2016-17 for five projects of Delhi government to decongest the city, which includes construction of flyover and underpass connecting Mahipalpur, Aerocity, Airport and NH-8; and construction of flyover-cum-road over-bridge near Narela for providing direct access from NH-1 to Bawana Industrial Complex.

It has been decided to develop a skywalk and foot overbridge near ITO for safety of pedestrians and a 1.6-km-long Grade separator at Rani Jhansi Road.

News 46 - Allocation under BBBP Scheme

BBBP Scheme

The total allocation being made for Beti Bachao Beti Padhao scheme in the Union Budget for Financial Year 2016-17 is Rs. 100 Crore. Under BBBP scheme an amount of Rs. 24.58 lakh is allocated for carrying the State level activities. Also for the district level activities an amount of Rs. 65.01 lakh is allocated.

The overall objective of the Beti Bachao Beti Padhao (BBBP) Scheme is to improve declining Child Sex Ratio in the country and create an enabling environment for the education of the girl child and this requires long-term attitudinal change.

News 47 - No Rail Budget from next fiscal

No Rail Budget

Finance Ministry Arun Jaitley has accepted Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu's proposal to merge the Railway Budget with the General Budget. With this the 92-year-old practice of presenting a separate Rail Budget is set to come to an end from the next fiscal.

The Finance Ministry has hence constituted a 5-member committee to work out the modalities for the merger and has been asked to submit its report by August 31. The idea was mooted by a committee headed by NITI Aayog member Bibek Debroy. As a result, Indian Railway will get rid of the annual dividend it has to the government every year.

News 48 - Aadhaar-linked eSignDesk facility introduced to sign documents digitally

Aadhaar-linked eSignDesk

One of online start up LegalDesk.com has come up with unique electronic signing facility eSignDesk that allows people to sign documents digitally from remote places. This e-signature cannot be forged and can be lawfully authenticated. The main objective behind introduction of such facility by Union government is to save time and introduce ecofriendly measures, where a billion Aadhaar card holders exist.

E-sign facility will be available on www.eSignDesk.com and will be offered for free of cost to the first 1000 users.

News 49 - Health Minister launches MAA programme to reduce the under-five mortality of children

MAA

Shri J P Nadda, Union Minister of Health and Family Welfare launched a flagship programme ‘MAA’ (Mothers Absolute Affection) to ensure adequate awareness among masses, especially mothers, on the benefits of breastfeeding. Ministry is launching MAA-Mother’s Absolute Affection'’ to create an enabling environment to ensure that mothers, husbands and families receive adequate information and support to promote breastfeeding practices.

Around 20% newborn deaths and 13% underfive deaths can be prevented by early initiation of breastfeeding. The programme has been named ‘MAA’ to signify the support a lactating mother requires from family members and at health facilities to breastfeed successfully.

News 50 - Centre constitutes committees to recruit and fill vacancies in 6 new AIIMS

AIIMS

The newly set-up AIIMS at Jodhpur, Rishikesh, Bhopal, Patna, Bhubaneshwar and Raipur are vacant for the required posts, due to which Centre has constituted separate committees to facilitate expeditious filling up of vacancies in the six new All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS).

1,297 faculty positions were advertised and selections held as a result of which 301 candidates were selected in all six AIIMS.

News 51 - Govt sets up National Committee on Trade Facilitation

Trade Facilitation

India has constituted the National Committee on Trade Facilitation (NCTF) to develop a panIndia road map for trade facilitation. It will be headed by Cabinet Secretary. NCTF is a mandatory and institutional arrangement under the WTO agreement. It will facilitate domestic co-ordination and implementation of Trade Facilitation Agreement (TFA) provisions.

The Trade Facilitation Agreement contains provisions for expediting the movement, release and clearance of goods, including goods in transit. It also sets out measures for effective cooperation between customs and other appropriate authorities.

News 52 - Health Minister JP Nadda inaugurated AMRIT outlet at Safdarjung hospital

AMRIT

Union Minister Shri J P Nadda inaugurated the Affordable Medicines and Reliable Implants for Treatment (AMRIT) outlet at Safdarjung Hospital. The AMRIT retail outlets will sell drugs at highly discounted rates. These outlets have a very comprehensive list of medicines that are available across range of products.

Nine AMRIT Pharmacies have already been set up. The project has been floated in a tie-up with government-owned HLL Lifecare Ltd (HLL) which is mandated to establish and run the AMRIT chain of pharmacies across the country.

News 53 - Smart Ganga City Scheme Launcehd in Ten Cities

Smart Ganga

Union Government launched Smart Ganga City Scheme in ten cities – Haridwar, Rishikesh, Mathura-Vrindavan, Varanasi, Kanpur, Allahabad, Lucknow, Patna, Sahibgunj and Barrackpore. National Mission for Clean Ganga (NMCG) has chosen these cities in the first phase for infrastructure development for sewage treatment. This will be on hybrid annuity mode based on PPP model.

In the hybrid annuity model, a part of capital investment (up to 40%) will be paid by Union Government through construction linked milestones. The balance amount will come through an annuity over the contract duration up to 20 years to ensure operational longevity of STPs.

News 54 - SC lifts ban on sale of High-end Diesel cars in Delhi and NCR

Diesel Cars

A three-member Bench headed by Chief Justice TS Thakur of the Supreme Court lifted an eight-month-old ban on the registration of high-end diesel cars, including sports-utility vehicles (SUVs), with 2000 cc engines and above in Delhi and NCR.

However, the bench has put forward a condition that car manufacturers have to pay 1% of the ex-showroom price of the car as green cess, to be known as environment protection charge. The cess would be collected by the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB).

News 55 - 1st BIO-CNG project in India inaugurated in Pune

BIO-CNG project

The first ever BIO-CNG project in India was inaugurated in Pune. The plant is commissioned by Primove Engineering Private Limited and will use agricultural residue to generate CNG which can be used in automobiles as fuel. The plant is located in Pirangut, Pune.

Bio-Fuel will help in reducing the import of diesel up to 50 %, thereby saving a huge amount of Foreign Exchange. Besides, this energy source is also cost effective and pollution free.

News 56 - First rake of Oil train carrying petroleum products reaches Tripura

Oil Train

The first rake of Oil train carrying petroleum products in the Roll on- Roll off (RORO) mode was reached at Churaibari in Tripura. The rake was flagged off from Bhanga, near Silchar in Assam. This is the first such initiative of such kind in North east.

A total of 276 thousand liters of petroleum products like petrol, diesel and kerosene in 19 tank trucks and 14 metric tonnes of LPG were transported.

News 57 - Govt releases commemorative postage stamp on Tourism

Stamp

Minister of State Manoj Sinha released a commemorative postage stamp on Tourism in India on the occasion of 70th Independence day.

The theme tourism was selected on account of tourism sector being an economically important and rapidly growing industry. The minister said that tourism is fast emerging as one of the major sectors of the economy and generating huge employment opportunity across the country.

News 58 - JP Nadda inaugurates AMRIT outlets in Shillong, Imphal & Jodhpur

JP Nadda

Health Minister J P Nadda inaugurated Affordable Medicines and Reliable Implants for Treatment (AMRIT) outlets in Shillong, Imphal and Jodhpur. These outlets are aimed at reducing the expenditure incurred by common patients on treatment of cancer and heart diseases.

With this the number of AMRIT outlets has reached 12 across the country where more than 2141 drugs are being sold at a discount of more than 70%. The benefits of the AMRIT clinics are available for in-patients as well as out-patients in the hospitals where these outlets are located.

News 59 - National Commission for Scheduled Caste Submits Three Reports to President of India

National Commission for Scheduled Caste

The National Commission for Scheduled Caste headed by Shri P.L. Punia, Chairman, Shri Rajkumar Verka, Vice-Chairman and Shri Raju Parmar, Shri Ishwar Singh, Smt. P.M. Kamalamma, Members have submitted the following reports on 16th August 2016 to the Hon’ble President of India.

The reports are:

  • Annual Report of NCSC 2015-16,

  • Report on the Effective Utilization of Funds under the Scheduled Caste Sub Plan (SCSP)-2016, and

  • Report on Atrocities against Kuravan community in Tamil Nadu-2016.

News 60 - NMCG and IOC sign MoU for industrial use of treated water

NMCG and IOC

Union Minister for Water Resources, River Development and Ganga Rejuvenation Sushri Uma Bharti laid the foundation of STP in Mathura which will provide treated water for industrial use. The STP will be built at a cost of Rs. 40 crore. A nine kilometer pipeline from Laxmi Nagar to Gokul barrage will carry the treated water to Mathura refinery.

An MoU was also signed to this effect between National Mission for Clean Ganga (NMCG) and Indian Oil Corporation (IOC). The use of pressure technology in irrigation would help save about 60 percent water of Ganga and Yamuna which will help to maintain good e-flow of water in these rivers.

News 61 - ICHR plans to create encyclopedia of village-level folklore across the country

ICHR

The Indian Council of Historical Research will document stories and legends relating to villages and towns across India into an encyclopedia to connect people better with the oral and folk traditions.

The other initiatives include study of the princely States of modern India and studies to fill the gaps between the Harappan civilization (the first Indian urbanization) and the 6 century BC (the second urbanization). ICHR would seek part funding by corporate houses for its projects.

News 62 - Central Government decides to give Special Assistance of Rs. 1,976.50 crore to Andhra Pradesh during 2016-17

Special Assistance

In order to fulfill its commitment to the people of Andhra Pradesh and to compensate the financial impact arising out of the bifurcation of Andhra Pradesh the Government of India has decided to provide further “Special Assistance” of Rs. 1,976.50 crore to the State during 2016-17.

Thus, with the current sanction of funds, the Central Government has so far provided Central assistance of Rs.8379.50 crore to the State.

News 63 - IIT-Kanpur adopts five villages under Namami Gange programme

Namami Gange Programme

IIT-Kanpur has adopted five villages under the Namami Gange programme. Under the initiative, IIT-Kanpur will ensure sewage water is not disposed of in the river, and also keep a check on quality of drinking water and sanitation. The task will be undertaken by the institute's civil engineering department.

The five villages adopted by the institute are Ramel Nagar, Khoyra Katree, Pratapur, Hari Hindpur, and Katri Ladhva Khera. IIT-Kanpur is one of the 13 educational institutes directed by the Centre to adopt villages.

News 64 - Union Government launched TARANG, e-Trans & DEEP to enhance transparency in power sector

Union Government

The Union Government launched the ‘TARANG’ Mobile App, ‘e-Trans’ & ‘DEEP’ e-bidding web portals, developed by Rural Electrification Corporation Transmission Projects Company Limited (RECTPCL) to enhance transparency in power transmission sector of the country.

“Tarang” web portal can be accessed at www.tarang.website. It is a powerful monitoring tool that tracks upcoming transmission projects and monitor the progress of Inter-State & Intra-State transmission systems in the country. ‘e-Trans’ web platform for e-bidding and e-reverse auction for Tariff Based Competitive Bidding (TBCB) in transmission projects whearas ‘DEEP (Discovery of Efficient Electricity Price) e-Bidding’ portal for medium term (1-5 years) purchase of power.

News 65 - Government caps prices of 22 essential drugs for treatment of cancer, HIV, bacterial infections and malaria

Government Caps

Government has capped the prices of 22 essential drugs used for treatment of cancer, HIV, bacterial infections and malaria among others reducing the cost in the range of 10 to 45 per cent. Drug price regulator National Pharmaceutical Pricing Authority, NPPA has also fixed the retail price of 13 formulations under Drug Price Control Order, DPCO 2013.

The government had notified the DPCO 2013, which covers 680 formulations, with effect from May 15, 2014, replacing the 1995 order that regulated prices of only 74 bulk drugs.

News 66 - PM Narendra Modi to be new brand ambassador of Incredible India

Narendra Modi

Prime Minister Narendra Modi will be the new brand ambassador of Incredible India campaign. The Union Culture and Tourism Ministry, which runs the campaign, has picked PM Modi for the job after much deliberations.

Actor Aamir Khan was the last brand ambassador for the campaign. He was ousted following his remarks on the alleged intolerance in India. PM Modi emerged as the ideal choice due to his huge popularity and his continuous foreign trips where he has been making efforts to have India's voice heard on globally.

News 67 - KVIC approves hike in wages of Khadi Artisans

KVIC

The Khadi & village Industries Commission (KVIC) has approved the wage hike as well as market Development Assistance of Khadi artisans from Rs. 90 to Rs 190 per day. The rates had been stagnant from April 1, 2014. The revised wages come into effect from April1, 2016.

The KVIC has hiked wages of spinners from Rs 4 per hank to Rs 5.50 per hank with an additional 10 per cent of MDA which would add to the wages, a rise by 37.5 per cent.

News 68 - India Nuclear Insurance Pool brings India’s first Nuclear Suppliers’ Insurance Policy

INIP

India Nuclear Insurance Pool (INIP) revealed India’s first Nuclear Suppliers’ Insurance Policy in co-operation with New India Assurance Co. This unique policy will cover the risks of liability of nuclear operators and suppliers. It has been organized under three types of policies classifying tier 1 policy for operators, tier 2 policy for turn key suppliers and tier 3 policy for suppliers other than turn key suppliers.

New India Assurance Company Limited and INIP will administer the issuance of the policy and settle the claims on behalf of the pool. India Nuclear Insurance Pool is 27th insurance pool in the world after countries such as France, Russia, South Africa and the U.S. to bring insurance for nuclear suppliers.

News 69 - Homi Bhabha Cancer Hospital and Research Centre

Cancer Hospital

The construction of the Homi Bhabha Cancer Hospital and Research Centre has been taken up on Engineering Procurement and Construction (EPC) basis. Rs. 35 crore has been released for the project up to March 31, 2016 which includes fund for establishment of Satellite Cancer Treatment Facility at Sangrur District, Punjab. Budget provision of Rs. 50 crore has been made in the current year.

The period of completion of work is 24 months from the date of issue of award of contract and treatment and research facility is expected to start immediately after construction work is over.

News 70 - Interest Subvention Scheme to Boost Exports

Interest Subvention Scheme

The Government has introduced the Interest Equalization Scheme on Pre and Post Shipment Rupee Export Credit w.e.f. 01.04.2015 for 5 years.

The scheme is available to all exports by manufacturers under 416 specified tariff lines and exports made by manufacturing Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises across all ITC (HS) Codes. The rate of interest equalization is 3% per annum.

News 71 - Foreign Investment in pharma sector

FDI

During the Financial Year 2015-16, Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) amounting to US$ 0.754 billion has been received in Drugs & Pharmaceutical Sector through equity inflow.

According to World Trade Organization (WTO)’s database for the year 2014, India’s export is higher than China in the sectors of `Fuels’ and `Fuels & Mining Products’. A total of US$ 138.01 billion of Foreign Investment (FDI + investment by Foreign Institutional Investors) has been made in the country during the last two years i.e. F.Y. 2014-15 & 2015-16.

News 72 - Startups that applied for recognition

Startups

793 startups have applied for recognition so far under the ‘Startup India’ programme. 223 startups have been recognized by the Government so far. A ‘Fund of Funds’ (FFS) of INR 10,000 crores for Startups has been established which is being managed by SIDBI.

The fund will invest in SEBI registered Alternative Investment Funds (AIFs) which, in turn, will invest in Startups. Till date, SIDBI has sanctioned an amount of Rs.168 crore towards the corpus of 6 AIFs under FFS.

News 73 - India's Position in Atomic Energy Production

Atomic Energy Production

At present India with twenty one (21) nuclear power reactors, stands seventh (7) among thirty one (31) countries with nuclear power in terms of number of reactors and thirteenth (13) in terms of electricity generation.

The present nuclear power installed capacity of 5780 MW is expected to shortly increase to 6780 MW within this financial year with the start of commercial operation of Kudankulam Unit-2 (KKNPP-2). The installed capacity is expected to increase to 10080 MW by the year 2019 on progressive completion of projects under construction.

News 74 - Cabinet approves signing of Air Services Agreement between India and Lao

India and Lao

The Union Cabinet has given its approval for signing of new Air Services Agreement (ASA) between India and Lao People’s Democratic Republic (Lao PDR).

The Agreement is expected to spur greater trade, investment, tourism and cultural exchange between the two countries bringing it in tune with the developments in the civil aviation sector. Under the agreement, the designated airlines of the two countries shall have fair and equal opportunity to operate the agreed services on specified routes. ASA is the basic legal framework for any air operation between the two countries.

News 75 - Cabinet approves recommendations of the Sub-Group of Chief Minsters on Rationalization of Centrally Sponsored Schemes

CSS

The Union Cabinet has accepted the major recommendations of the Sub-Group of Chief Minsters on Rationalization of Centrally Sponsored Schemes (CSSs). The Sub-Group had examined 66 CSSs and recommended that the number of CSSs should not normally exceed 30.

The rationalization of the CSSs would ensure optimum utilization of resources with better outcomes through area specific interventions. This would also ensure wider reach of the benefits to the target groups. (For Details: pib.nic.in, Date: 03August, 2016).

News 76 - Cabinet approves amendments in the Central List of Other Backward Classes applicable to Andhra Pradesh and Telangana

OBC

The Union Cabinet has given its approval for making suitable amendments in the Central List of OBCs by way of inclusion/correction/deletion of castes/communities applicable to the State of Andhra Pradesh and the newly formed State of Telangana as per the advice received from the National Commission for Backward Classes (NCBC).

A total of 35 changes recommended by NCBC in respect of Andhra Pradesh and 86 New Entries in respect of Telangana State will be notified.

News 77 - Cabinet authorized National Highways Authority of India to monetize public funded national highway projects

NHAI

The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs has authorized National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) to monetize public funded National Highway (NH) projects which are operational and are generating toll revenues for at least two years after the Commercial Operations Date (COD) through the Toll Operate Transfer (TOT) Model.

Around 75 operational NH projects completed under public funding have been preliminarily identified for potential monetization using the TOT Model.

News 78 - Cabinet approves formula to provide production subsidy to sugar mills

Sugar Mills

The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs has decided to extend production subsidy to sugar mills which achieve expected performance in respect of export of sugar and supply of ethanol. This has been done to offset cost of cane and facilitate timely payment of cane price dues of farmers.

Due to drought situation, there has been significant decline in sugarcane/sugar production in the country by about 1.8 million MT (mMT) and 0.8 mMT respectively.

News 79 - Bilateral Advance Pricing Agreement inked by CBDT

CBDT

The Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) inked a Bilateral Advance Pricing Agreement (APA) with the Indian subsidiary of a Japanese trading company. This is the first Bilateral Advance Pricing agreement with a Japanese company having a “Rollback” provision in it. Signing of this bilateral APA is an important step towards ascertaining certainty in transfer pricing matters of multinational company cases and dispute resolution.

The scheme will provide certainty to taxpayers in the domain of transfer pricing by specifying the methods of pricing and setting the prices of international transactions in advance.

News 80 - INDO-US joint initiative of Clean Energy Fund

INDO-US

According to Shri Piyush Goyal, Minister of State (IC) for Power, Coal & New and Renewable Energy and Mines, India and the United States of America (USA) will be jointly working for the creation of US $ 20 million for US-India Energy Finance Initiatives which is expected to mobilize up to US $ 400 million to provide finances for clean and renewable electricity by 2020.

Such initiatives will support the development of solar and clean energy if US $ 400 million of finances are raised through proposed initiatives.

News 81 - Cabinet approves discontinuation of the services of DGS&D for procuring jute bags for food grains

Jute Bags

The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs, chaired by the Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi has approved to discontinue the services of Directorate General of Supplies and Disposals (DGS&D) in the operation of purchase of jute bags by Government Agencies for procurement of food grains.

The CCEA further approved that from 1st November, 2016 onwards, jute bags will be procured by the Jute Commissioner of India, Ministry of Textiles. The approval would help in eliminating multiple bodies and the Ministries which are involved for single action of jute bags procurements.

News 82 - Cabinet approves upgradation of 13 government medical colleges

Medical Colleges

The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs has approved upgradation of 13 existing Government Medical Colleges / Institutes (GMCIs) under Pradhan Mantri Swasthya Suraksha Yojana (PMSSY).

The upgradation will be done at a cost of Rs.200 crore for each GMCI (Central share: Rs.120 crore and State Share Rs.80 crore). Accordingly the total upgradation cost shall be Rs.2,600 crore out of which Central Share will be Rs.1,560 crore and that of State will be Rs.1,040 crore. It will be completed in time period of 36 months.

News 83 - Cabinet approves Spectrum Usage Charge for the spectrum in various bands

Spectrum Usage Charge

The Union Cabinet has approved the rates for Spectrum Usage Charge (SUC) for various bands of spectrum. As per the decision of the cabinet, the Spectrum acquired in forthcoming auction in 700, 800, 900, 1800, 2100, 2300 & 2500 MHz band is to be charged at the rate of 3% of Adjusted Gross Revenue (AGR) excluding the revenue from wire-line services.

The amount of SUC payable by the operators during 2015-16 at weighted average derived after taking into consideration the spectrum acquired in the coming auction and excluding the spectrum in 2300 MHz/2500 MHz band acquired/ allocated prior to 2015-16, shall be treated as the floor amount of the SUC to be paid by the operators.

News 84 - National Steering Committee to be setup on Fodder Development

Fodder Development

Government has decided to constitute a National Steering Committee headed by Secretary, Department of Animal Husbandry and a Technical Committee headed by Director, National Institute of Animal Nutrition and Physiology (NIANP) Bangalore, on issues related to Feed and Fodder Development in the country.

The decision has been taken in a review meeting held by the Secretary (ADF), Shri Devendra Chaudhry with National Institute of Animal Nutrition and Physiology (NIANP) Bangalore, Indian Grassland and Fodder Research Institute, Jhansi, National Dairy Development Board, Anand and ICAR.

News 85 - Rs.4,404 cr more investment in basic urban infrastructure approved in 8 States/UTs for 2016-17

AMRUT

Ministry of Urban Development approved an investment of Rs.4,404 cr in augmenting water supply, sewerage networks, drainage, urban transport and public and green spaces in urban areas in 8 States and UTs under Atal Mission for Rejuvenation and Urban Transformation (AMRUT) for the current financial year.

Investments approved were; Karnataka–Rs.1,625 cr, Andhra Pradesh-Rs.877 cr, Bihar-Rs.775 cr, Telangana-Rs.555 cr, HaryanaRs.525 cr, Nagaland-Rs.40 cr, Dadra, Nagar & Haveli-Rs.3.70 cr and Andaman & Nicobar Islands-Rs.3.18 cr.

News 86 - Rajya Sabha overwhelmingly passes bill to facilitate rollout of GST

GST Bill

The Rajya Sabha overwhelmingly passed the 122nd Constitution Amendment Bill to facilitate rollout of the Goods and Services Tax (GST) in the country. The legislation was approved by the Upper House with 203 votes in favour and none against.

The GST Bill is aimed at bringing uniform tax regime in the country by subsuming state levies. Under it, a single rate of GST will replace Central Excise, State VAT, entertainment, entry and luxury taxes to ensure seamless transfer of goods and services.

News 87 - Cabinet approves bill to improve road safety

Road Safety

Union Cabinet gave its approval to Motor Vehicle (Amendment) Bill 2016 to improve road safety in the country. The bill proposes to increase penalties against traffic violations to as deterrent measure. It also has stricter provisions for offences like juvenile driving, drunken driving and driving without license.

Compensation for hit-and-run cases has been hiked from 25,000 rupees to two lakh rupees and in case of fatality up to 10 lakh rupees. Other provisions:

  • Driving without insurance − Rs 2,000 fine and/or imprisonment

  • Helmet-less driving − Rs 2000 fine and license suspension

  • Drunken driving − Penalty of up to Rs 10,000

News 88 - MoU signed between Central Council for Research in Ayurvedic Sciences and University of Latvia

CCRAS and University of Latvia

A Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between the Central Council for Research in Ayurvedic Sciences (CCRAS) and University of Latvia on establishment of an academic chair in Ayurveda was signed at AYUSH Bhawan, New Delhi. The MoU was signed by Vaidya K.S. Dhiman, Director General, CCRAS and Dr. Valdis Pirags, Vice-Dean of the Faculty of Medicine and Director of the Centre of Complementary Medicine, University of Latvia.

The MoU will provide a structured framework for taking forward academic and research activities in Ayurveda through deputation of an Ayurveda Professor to the University of Latvia.

News 89 - Indian Railways Ties Up with Maharaja Sayajirao University, Vadodara

NAIR

The National Academy of Indian Railways (NAIR), Vadodara, has signed an MoU with Maharaja Sayajirao (MS) University, Vadodara for award of MBA degree in specific Railway fields to railway probationary officers belonging to Indian Railway Accounts Service (IRAS), Indian Railway Personnel Service (IRPS) and Indian Railway Store Service (IRSS).

This step is being viewed as an important measure of enhancing professional management education in the specific railway fields to the Railway Probationary Officers. This programme will start from August, 2016 itself.

News 90 - Railways to partner with Google for showcasing its heritage

Railways with Google

Indian Railways has partner ed with Google for digitizing and showcasing its heritage on digital platforms. An agreement in this regard will be signed soon between National Rail Museum (NRM) and Google Cultural Institute (GCI).

Indian Railway has a huge list of heritage assets including bridges, steam locos, buildings, artefacts and museums which can be showcased for global audience. Google will help create a digital repository of these heritages for universal online access free of cost.

News 91 - Union Government launches Rs 560 cr projects under Namami Gange projects

Namami Gange Programme

Union Minister for Water Resources, River Development and Ganga Rejuvenation, Ms Uma Bharti, launched various pr ojects worth Rs. 560 crore under Namami Gange programme at Ganga Barrage in Kanpur. This includes Rs. 63 crore interception and diversion plan of Sisamau drain and Rs. 397 crore networking schemes.

Rs 100-crore will be spent on river front development in Bithoor. The government will also construct 14 ghats and 5 crematoria in Bithoor.

News 92 - India and Germany sign MoU in the area of skill development

India and Germany

Germany and India signed an agreement to improve collaboration in the area of skill development. The agreement was signed between the Ministry of Skill Development and Entrepreneurship (MSDE) and (German International Cooperation (GIZ).

This new project will run for three years starting August 2016 with a budget of EUR 3,000,000 (22.6 crores INR). It will be implemented in three selected clusters, which include the Automobile cluster in Maharashtra and Electronics cluster in Bangalore.

News 93 - India signs MoU with US for cooperation in the field of traditional medicines

India with US

The Pharmacopoeia Commission for Indian Medicine & Homoeopathy (PCIM&H) under the Ministry of AYUSH and the United States Pharmacopeial Convention (USP) signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) for cooperation in the field of Traditional medicine and to collaborate in the identification, development, and dissemination of science-based standards in this field at an international level.

The aim of this historic MoU is to promote the safety, quality and integrity of traditional medicines and botanical dietary supplements.

News 94 - Cabinet approves introduction of the "Surrogacy (Regulation) Bill, 2016"

Surrogacy

The Union Cabinet has given its approval for introduction of the "Surrogacy (Regulation) Bill, 2016". The Bill shall apply to whole of India, except the state of Jammu and Kashmir.

The Bill will regulate surrogacy in India by establishing National Surrogacy Board at the central level and State Surrogacy Boards and Appropriate Authorities in the State and Union Territories. The legislation will ensure effective regulation of surrogacy, prohibit commercial surrogacy and allow ethical surrogacy to the needy infertile couples.

News 95 - 'Sugamya Pustakalaya' an e-Library for Persons with print Disabilities launched by Union Government

Sugamaya Pustakalaya

The Union Government launched Accessible E-Library 'Sugamya Pustakalaya' for Divyang under Prime Minister’s Accessible India Campaign (Sugamya Bharat Abhiyan).

“Sugamaya Pustakalaya” is an online platform that makes accessible content available to print-disabled people. The libr ary houses publications across diverse subjects and languages and multiple accessible formats. It has been created by Department of Empowerment of Persons with Disabilities (Divyangjan), in collaboration with member organizations of Daisy Forum of India and powered by TCS Access. It covers over 2 lakhs books in diverse languages. The platform also integrates libraries across the globe, including the largest international library, Bookshare.

News 96 - Union Government formed Task Force to study structure of organised Group A Central Services

Task Force

The Union Ministry of Personnel, Public Grievances and Pensions constituted a Task Force, headed by T Jacob who is an Additional Secretary in the Department of Personnel Training (DoPT) under the ministry, to comprehensively study the cadre structure of organised Group A Central Services. The task force has been asked to submit its report within 3 months.

The Task Force will also recommend an ideal structure especially at Apex, HAG plus, HAG and SAG level and suggest the percentage of various reserves in organised Group A services.

News 97 - Union Cabinet approved agreement and protocol with Cyprus for DTAA

DTAA

The Union Cabinet gave its approval for signing of an Agreement and the Protocol between the India and Cyprus for the Avoidance of Double Taxation and the Prevention of Fiscal Evasion with respect to Taxes on Income.

With the revision of the treaty, capital gains will be taxed in India for entities resident in Cyprus, subject to double tax relief. The provisions in the earlier treaty for residence-based taxation were leading to distortion of financial and real investment flows by artificial diversion of various investments from their true countries of origin, for the sake of avoiding tax.

News 98 - Shri Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi Launches Hindi Website and Revamped English Website of Minority Affairs Ministry

Revamped English Website

The Union Minister of S tate for Minority Affairs (Independent Charge) & Parliamentary Affairs Shri Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi launched new Hindi website and updated and revamped English website of the Minority Affairs Ministry.

The new improved and revamped website http://www.minorityaffairs.gov.in is very user friendly and provides easy navigation. The website is also adaptive to other devices such as iPads and mobiles. The new revamped website of the Minority Affairs Ministry has details of various welfare schemes, aimed at socio-economic-educational empowerment of the Minority communities.

News 99 - President Pranab Mukherjee launches Akashvani Maitree channel

Akashvani Maitree

The President of India Shri Pranab Mukherjee launched "Akashvani Maitree" Channel in a function organized at Raj Bhawan, in Kolkata. Akashvani Maitree is a unique venture initiated by All India Radio for the bengali listeners across the globe.

The channel will be broadcast from a state-of-the-art brand new high power 1000Kw DRM transmitter and can cover entire Bangladesh through medium wave. The channel will also be available globally on its website and mobile app.

News 100 - Cabinet approved signing of Air Services Agreement between India and Fiji

Air Services Agreement

The Union Cabinet gave its approval for signing of new Air Services Agreement (ASA) between India and Fiji.

The Agreement is for updation of the existing Air Services Agreement (ASA) between the two countries. The essential features of the Air Services Agreement are as follows:

  • Both countries shall be entitled to designate one or more airline.

  • The designated airlines of either country shall have the right to establish offices in the territory of the other country for the promotion and sale of air services.

News 101 - Cabinet approved MoU with South Africa to establish cooperation in Grassroots Innovation

India and South Africa

The Union Cabinet has been apprised of the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between India and South Africa to establish cooperation in Grassroots Innovation.

Under this MoU, both countries will jointly organise various programmes such as forums, seminars, workshops, and training on matters related to innovation; share open source technologies with each other and jointly develop projects to assist innovators in converting their ideas into commercially viable innovations. The MoU will provide a mechanism and help in creating an ecosystem that will promote inclusive innovation and entrepreneurship at the grassroot level in both countries.

News 102 - Centre approves two new National Highways

National Highways

Union Ministry of Road Transport and Highways has given approval for giving status of National Highways to 52 kilometer Gurgaon-Pataudi-Rewari road and 120 kilometer Patiala-Pehowa-Kurukshetra-Ladwa-Yamuna Nagar road. The Ministry would also provide financial aid of 100 crore rupees through Central Road Fund to the Haryana Government.

The decision was taken in a meeting that Haryana Chief Minister, Manohar Lal held with Union Minister Nitin Gadkari to discuss various road projects related to the State in New Delhi.

News 103 - Cabinet approves MoU with Myanmar for cooperation in the field of Traditional Systems of Medicine

India and Myanmar

The Union Cabinet gave its approval f or the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between India and Myanmar in the field of Traditional Systems of Medicine.

The MoU will provide structured frame work for cooperation between the two countries for promotion of AYUSH/Traditional Systems of Medicine in Myanmar. It will boost the importance of AYUSH systems of medicine and conservation, production and standardisation.

News 104 - Cabinet approves Leasing out of Airports Authority of India land to Assam Industrial Development Corporation

AIDC

The Union Cabinet gave its approval for leasing out of AAI land measuring 4050 sq. mtrs. to Assam Industrial Development Corporation (AIDC), a Government of Assam Undertaking. This will be utilised for setting up of Centre for Perishable Cargo (CPC) and its future expansion at Lokpriya Gopinath Bordoloi International Airport (LGBI Airport), Guwahati.

The land is to be leased by AAI on a token licence fee of Rs.1/- per annum for a period of seven years. After expiry of initial period of seven years, the future lease period will be made afresh as per AAI policy.

News 105 - Union Minister Maneka Gandhi launches POCSO e-Button for children to file complaints of sexual abuse

sexual Abuse

Union Minister Maneka Gandhi launched an online complaint box for reporting child sexual abuse, the POCSO e-Box in New Delhi. Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO), e-Box, is an online complaint management system for easy and direct reporting of sexual offences against children and timely action against the offenders under the POCSO Act, 2012.

The facility is available on the NCPCR website. Anyone, a victim or an adult, can visit the website and file a complaint about a child facing sexual abuse. There are pictorial aides to make the procedure simple for young children.

News 106 - Rail passengers to get Rs 10 lacs insurance cover at a premium of only 92 paise

Rail Passengers

A travel insurance cover of up to Rs10 lakh can be availed while booking a train ticket online by paying 92 paisa from 31 August. The passenger can opt for the insurance facility while booking the ticket through IRCTC irrespective of the class they are travelling in.

The cover will not be applicable for children upto 5 years of age and foreign citizens. The scheme is being implemented by IRCTC in partnership with ICICI Lombard General Insurance, Royal Sundaram General Insurance and Shriram General Insurance.

News 107 - India to host the 1st BRICS Film Festival

BRICS Film Festival

The BRICS Film Festival will be held at the Sirifort Auditorium Complex, New Delhi, from September 2nd to September 6th, 2016. In the course of 5 days of the event, 20 movies will be screened in the competition section, 4 from each of the countries.

Malayalam movie Veeram will be the opening film for the festival. The Closing film would be the Chinese movie, Skiptrace, starring Jackie Chan. Mr. T S Nagabharana (India) will be the Chairperson of Jury members which include Mr. Francis Vogner do Reis (Brazil), Mr. Kirill Razlogov (Russia), Ms. Xoliswa Sithole (South Africa) and Mr. Hou Keming (China) as other members.

News 108 - President laid foundation stone of permanent campus of Nalanda University

Nalanda University

President Pranab Mukherjee laid the foundation stone of a permanent campus of Nalanda University at Pilkhi village in Rajgir, Bihar. 155 students are studying in the university.

The Nalanda University came into being on November 25, 2010 by a special Act of the Parliament and has been designated as an institution of national importance. The University is being supported by all the Members of the East Asia Summit and Intergovernmental Memorandums of University to that effect have been signed by 17 countries.

News 109 - Government all set to announce Rs 2000 crore package for refugees from PoK

PoK

The Government is all set to announce a 2000 crore rupees package for displaced people from Pakistan occupied Kashmir living in the country. This came amid Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s overtures to people of PoK and Gilgit-Baltistan region of Pakistan.

The Jammu and Kashmir government has already identified 36,348 families for distribution of the package. Under the scheme, each family will get around 5.5 lakh rupees. These refugees were displaced during partition in 1947, and others during the 1965 and 1971 wars with Pakistan.

News 110 - India, Myanmar signed four bilateral agreements

India, Myanmar

India and Myanmar signed four agreements following bilateral talks between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and visiting Myanmar President Htin Kyaw.

The four agreements signed include:

  • MoU on cooperation in the construction of 69 Bridges including AP Aproach Roads in the Tamu-Kyigone-Kalewa Road Section of the Trilateral Highway in Myanmar.

  • MoU on cooperation in the construction / upgradation of the Kalewa – Yagyi Road Section.

  • MoU on cooperation in the Field of Renewable Energy.

  • MoU on cooperation in the field of Traditional Systems of Medicine.

News 111 - PM launches Saurashtra Narmada Irrigation Project

Saurashtra Narmada Irrigation Project

Prime Minister Shri Narendr a Modi unveiled a plaque to launch the Saurashtra Narmada Irrigation (SAUNI) Project at Sanosara in Gujarat. SAUNI Yojana has been launched to divert one MAFt excess over flowing flood water of Narmada allocated to Saurashtra Region.

115 dams of Saurastra will be filled by the Narmada water under the project. Under the 12,000 crore rupees project, nearly 10 dams and reservoirs of Rajkot, Jamnagar and Morbi will be filled up with the water of Narmada river.

News 112 - Union Minister Ananth Kumar launches ‘Pharma Sahi Daam’ Mobile App

Pharma Sahi Daam

Union Minister Ananth Kumar launched a mobile Application called “Pharma Sahi Daam”, developed by National Pharmaceutical Pricing Authority (NPPA) which shows the MRP fixed by NPPA for various scheduled drugs on real time basis.

The government is also planning to open 3000 PM Jan Aushadhi Stores within a year covering all districts and tehsils. Most of the medicines in Jan Aushadhi Stores cost 30% to 40% as compared to the market cost and no medicine in Jan Aushadhi Store is more than 50% of the market cost.

News 113 - India's first military heritage website launched

Military Heritage Website

India's first military heritage website coloursofglory.org was launched by Glory Foundation. Captain D.P. Ramachandran, a veteran of the 1971 Indo Pak war, is the executive trustee of the foundation.

The foundation will conduct various awareness programs throughout major cities in the Country to educate the people about the Nation's military history and heritage. The programs will be in the nature of exhibitions, films, seminars and talks. The foundation is also planning battle re-enactments or military tattoos, before Independence.

News 114 - CBDT signs 20 Unilateral Advance Pricing Agreements with Indian taxpayers

CBDT Signs

The Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) entered into twenty (20) Unilateral Advance Pricing Agreements (APAs) with Indian taxpayers. Many of these agreements also have a “Rollback” provision in them.

With these signings, the total number of APAs entered into by the CBDT has reached 98. This includes 4 bilateral APAs and 94 unilateral APAs. A total of 33 unilateral APAs and 1 bilateral APA have already been concluded in five months of the current Financial Year.

News 115 - MoU exchanged between CRPF and Ministry of Skill Development & Entrepreneurship

CRPF and MSDE

A Memorandum of Understanding was signed between Central Reserve Police Force and the Ministry of Skill Development and Entrepreneurship (MSDE).

The beneficiaries of the Skill Development Programme would be spouses of CRPF personnel, disabled personnel, widows’ of martyrs, wards of CRPF personnel or interested civilians. They would be trained in apparel making, automobile, beauty and wellness, food processing, IT, etc in various CRPF Group Centres/ establishments across the country. The Force would also extend the requisite security and support to skill development trainers.

News 116 - Intensive Swachhata awareness drive to be launched in 5 cities of NCR Region

Swachhata

Ministry of Urban Development will soon launch an ‘Asli Tarakki (Real development)’ campaign in the six cities of the National Capital Region with 450 select youth with communication skills and leadership qualities as lead motivators to promote awareness about the need for sanitation. The Ministry today signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Nehru Yuvak Kendra in this regards.

Under the Rs.4.70 cr pilot youth engagement, a total of 23,400 man days would be spent promoting Swachh Bharat Mission objectives in urban areas.



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