Current Affairs January 2017 - National
News 1 - Key announcements by PM Narendra Modi on New Year’s Eve
Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced several sops for the welfare of the poor.
Some of the announcements made were:
Poor and middle class to get 4% exemption on interest for home loans up to Rs 9 lakh and 3% exemption for home loans up to Rs 12 lakh.
3 crore Kisan credit cards will be converted into RuPay cards.
Banks have been asked to raise cash credit limit for small business to 25%.
Senior citizens to get 8% interest rate on deposits up to Rs 7.5 lakh for 10 years.
News 2 - India and Singapore inks a 3rd Protocol for amending the DTAA
India and Singapore signed Third Protocol to amend Double Taxation Avoidance Agreement to prevent double non-taxation, check revenue loss and curb black money through automatic exchange of information. There will also be some relaxation in norms on economic double taxation in transfer pricing cases.
The decision was a taxpayer friendly measure under Base Erosion and Profit Shifting (BEPS) Action Plan to meet minimum standard of providing MAP access in transfer pricing cases.
News 3 - Government to set up Financial Data Management Centre
The Government of India announced to establish Financial Data Management Centre to arrange financial sector regulators data in a single database format and offer analytical solutions to it. Although the Reserve Bank of India is not in favour to share companyspecific data with FSDC.
The Committee under Ajay Tyagi, additional secretary in Union Finance Ministry, has submitted its report and a draft bill titled The Financial Data Management Centre Bill, 2016. Financial Data Management Centre will collect data and manage the entire financial system database.
News 4 - President passed the Payment of Wages (Amendment) Ordinance, 2016
The President gave a nod to the Payment of Wages (Amendment) Ordinance, 2016 so that industries may pay wages by digital means to workers. The said decision was implemented to promote cashless economy. The decision came into the action by amending Payment of Wages Act, 1936 and President’s nod to this ordinance turned it into law as per article 123 of the Constitution.
However, it is not compulsory for employers to make wage payments through digital means and they can still pay in cash.
News 5 - Cabinet approved an MoU between India and Portugal
The Union Cabinet, chaired by the Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi has given an approval for signing of an Agreement for cooperation in the field of Agriculture and allied sectors between India and Portugal. The Agreement covers various activities in these fields which include exchange of scientific and technical information, trade in plants and plant products, exchange of information in phytosanitary issues and visits of experts and consultants.
The Agreement provides constitution of a Joint Working Group comprising of representatives from both countries.
News 6 - Cabinet approved an MoU between India and Kenya
The Union Cabinet chaired by the Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi approved signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between India and Kenya on bilateral cooperation in the field of agriculture and allied sectors.
The MoU covers various activities in these fields which include agricultural research, animal husbandry and dairy, livestock and fisheries horticulture, natural resource management, post-harvest management and marketing, soil and conservation, water management, irrigation farming systems development and integrated watershed development.
News 7 - Cabinet approved the agreement between India and Uruguay
The Union Cabinet, chaired by the Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi approved signing and ratifying an Agreement between India and Uruguay regarding Cooperation and Mutual Assistance in Customs Matters.
The Agreement will help in the availability of relevant information for the prevention and investigation of Customs offences. The Agreement is also expected to facilitate trade and ensure efficient clearance of goods traded between the countries. The draft Agreement takes care of Indian Customs' concerns and requirements, particularly in the area of exchange of information.
News 8 - IPR Enforcement Toolkit launched for Police
The Commerce & Industry Minister Smt. Nirmala Sitharaman launched an IPR Enforcement Toolkit for Police. The toolkit has been jointly prepared by Cell for IPR Promotion and Management and Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry.
This toolkit will be a ready reckoner for police officials across the country in dealing with IP crimes, specifically Trade Marks counterfeiting and Copyrights piracy.
In addition to details of offences under various laws, it provides for checklists for registering a complaint and conducting search and seizures.
News 9 - Piyush Goyal launched web portal & Mobile App for UDAY
Power Minister Piyush Goyal launched the web portal and a Mobile App for the Ujwal DISCOM Assurance Yojana called as UDAY. App will detail on the scheme regarding the number of states joining the scheme and the progress achieved by each state under various parameters such as cost of electricity, bonds issued and others.
The new portal and the app will detail the exact progress being achieved by every state under the scheme.
News 10 - Textile Ministry launched Bunkar Mitra-Handloom Helpline Centre
Textile Minister Smriti Irani launched a Bunkar Mitra-Handloom Helpline Centre where professional queries of weavers will be answered by the experts in the field. The tollfree number is 1800-208-9988.
This helpline will function from 10.00 AM to 6 PM and weavers will be able to call from anywhere in India and available in 7 languages. The officials of Ministry will monitor issues on which maximum complaints are received, so that corrective actions can be taken accordingly.
News 11 - MSDE to set up Indian Skill Development Services
The Ministry of Skill Development and Entrepreneurship issued the notification of setting up of Indian Skill Development Services. This service has been created for the Training Directorate of the Ministry of Skill Development and Entrepreneurship.
Under the leadership of Prime Minister skill development has taken a priority with a hope that Skill India mission will supply huge human resource not only in India but also Internationally. This is a step forward to meet the target of skilling 500 million people by 2022.
News 12 - India and Kazakhstan sign a Protocol to amend the Double Taxation Avoidance Convention (DTAC)
India and Kazakhstan signed a Protocol to amend the existing Double Taxation Avoidance Convention (DTAC) for the avoidance of double taxation and for the prevention of fiscal evasion with respect to taxes on income.
The Protocol provides internationally accepted standards for effective exchange of information on tax matters. Further, the information received from Kazakhstan for tax purposes can be shared with other law enforcement agencies with authorisation of the competent authority of Kazakhstan and vice versa.
News 13 - Japan to assist in making Chennai, Ahmedabad and Varanasi Smart Cities
Japan has decided to be associated with the development of Chennai, Ahmedabad and Varanasi as smart cities. This was conveyed by Japan’s Ambassador to India Mr. Kenji Hiramatsu.
So far, leading countries have come forward to be associated with development of 15 smart cities. These include: United States Trade Development Agency (USTDA) –Visakhapatnam, Ajmer and Allahabad, UK-Pune, Amaravati (Andhra Pradesh) and Indore, France-Chandigarh, Puducherry and Nagpur and Germany –Bhubaneswar, Coimbatore and Kochi.
News 14 - Seven agreements signed between India and Portugal
India and Portugal exchanged seven agreements in different fields, including defence cooperation, agriculture, renewable energy and marine research. The MoUs were signed after bilateral meeting between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Portuguese counterpart Antonio Costa in New Delhi.
The two leaders jointly released commemorative stamps issued by the postal departments of India and Portugal. These stamps depict Dandiya and the Portugese dance form of Pauliteiros. Mr Costa is the Chief Guest at the Pravasi Bharatiya Divas this year.
News 15 - First student startup fund has Rs 200 crore
India's first student start up and innovation policy has been idealised by the Gujarat government. The policy aims to support over 1,000 innovation per year and provide Rs 200 crore in the form of grants to ideas developed by students.
The policy will create an Innovation and Preincubation Ecosystem Support (IPIES) across all universities of the state. Around Rs. 100 crore will be allocated by the state government and the remaining amount will be created by internal sources, like university funds and CSR funds.
News 16 - PM Narendra Modi launched Pravasi Kaushal Vikas Yojana
PM Narendra Modi lanched a special skill development programme — ‘Pravasi Kaushal Vikas Yojna’, after the inauguration of 14th Pravasi Bhartiya Divas convention at Bengaluru, aimed at Indian youth seeking overseas employment.
PKVY will be implemented by the National Skill Development Corporation (NSDC) through its training partners and in consultation with the Union Ministry of External Affairs and the Union Skill Development Ministry. It will provide training and certify Indians who are seeking overseas employment in selected sectors.
News 17 - SC directed EC for VVPAT in EVMs for fair elections
To ensure 100% transparency in elections, Supreme Court has directed the Election Commission to implement the Vote Verifier Paper Audit Trail (VVPAT) in electronic voting machines (EVMs).
VVPAT is “a system of printing paper trail when the voter casts his vote, in addition to the electronic record of the ballot”. The paper record generated will have a serial number, name and symbol of candidate for whom the vote was cast.
News 18 - PM Modi inaugurated the India International Exchange at the GIFT City in Gujarat
Prime Minister Narendra Modi inaugurated the India International Exchange - the International Centre of BSE, at GIFT city near Gandhinagar in Gujarat.
The ‘India International Exchange’ will trade in all the products like the other exchanges in the world such as Singapore, Hong Kong, London and New York in currency, equities, commodities and derivatives. Currently, Indian companies have to contact foreign exchanges to raise funds in foreign currency. Now this procedure would become less expensive and faster.
News 19 - Piyush Goyal unveiled world's largest street light replacement program in SDMC
Power Minister Piyush Goyal unveiled world's largest street light replacement programme in South Delhi Municipal Corporation (SDMC) area. Mr Goyal also launched a mobile app called Energy Efficiency Services Limited (EESL) Complaint App for SDMC, wherein users can now lodge complaints about faulty street lights.
Street Lighting National Program (SLNP), currently running in the SDMC area is the World’s Largest Street Light Replacement Program, where two lakh LED lights will replace inefficient lamps.
News 20 - Manohar Parrikar inaugurated International Conference & Exhibition
Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar inaugurated three-day International Conference and Exhibition on Re-enforced Plastics (ICERP) at Bombay Exhibition center. Government assured complete support to FRP institute and for such collaborations, since reinforced plastic play an important role in light weight and corrosion resistant application in various sectors.
ICERP organized by FRP Institute is the 8th in the series since 2002. ICERP 2017 focused on upgradation of composites technology in India to reach global level in terms of product quality, finishing and also to achieve global standards.
News 21 - IRCTC Rail Connect launched for faster booking of train tickets
Railways launched new IRCTC Rail Connect app, to facilitate booking of train tickets in a faster and easier way. Equipped with latest technology, the new App also makes possible booking of tatkal ticket, ladies quota, premium tatkal quota booking and current reservation, replacing the existing ‘IRCTC connect’ app.
This App is based on a next generation eticketing system. It provides Payment Gateway linked to more than 40 banks to facilitate payments through net banking, Credit cards and Debit Cards.
News 22 - Kerala’s 1300 beneficiaries to get houses in the 1st phase of PMAY
Kerala announced that a total of 1,300 beneficiaries will get houses in the first phase of the Pradhan Mantri Awaas Yojana in the Thiruvananthapuram Corporation limits.
The civic body will soon submit a detailed project report to the Government in this regard. Till date, it has received around 16,000 applications for houses from across the 100 wards in the civic body which is set to provide houses to all by 2022.
News 23 - India and Kenya sign agreements in the agriculture sector
India and Kenya signed agreements in the agriculture sector which were inked after delegation level talks between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta in New Delhi.
India is collaborating with Kenya to raise agricultural productivity there. India also announced 100 million US dollars Line of Credit to Kenya for agricultural mechanization. Both the countries would also explore opportunities in maritime economy and focus on quick operationalization of the defence cooperation along with hydrography, communication networks, anti-piracy, capacity building and defence medical cooperation.
News 24 - Health Ministry to roll out Measles-rubella vaccine in February 2017
The Union Ministry of Health & Family Welfare will roll out measles-rubella (MR) vaccine in the Universal Immunisation Programme (UIP) in February 2017 in five states and Union territories. In addition, Pneumococcal conjugate (pneumococcal pneumonia) vaccine will also become a part of the UIP basket in three other states from March 2017.
The MR vaccine will be introduced in Goa, Karnataka, Lakshadweep, Puducherry and Tamil Nadu. The pneumonia vaccine will be introduced in Himachal Pradesh and parts of Uttar Pradesh and Bihar.
News 25 - India-CERT Signed MoU with US-CERT
India and USA have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between the Indian Computer Emergency Response Team (CERT- In) under the Ministry of Electronics and Information technology of the Government of India and the Department of Homeland Security, Government of the United States of America on cooperation in the field of cyber Security.
The MoU intends to promote closer cooperation and the exchange of information pertaining to the Cyber Security in accordance with the relevant laws, rules and regulations of each economy. This Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) is based on equality, reciprocity and mutual benefit.
News 26 - Government to add 40 more towns to Smart Cities list
Government will add by 40 more cities to the list of towns which are to be developed as Smart Cities. With this, the total number of smart cities would reach 100. Since January 2016, the government has announced three lists of smart cities which will get Rs 200 crore for improving their infrastructure.
The Government of India has a vision of developing 100 smart cities as satellite towns of larger cities by modernizing the existing mid-sized cities.
News 27 - The Union Government released a draft for Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (Dog Breeding and Marketing) Rules, 2016
The Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change released draft notification of Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (Dog Breeding and Marketing Rules), 2016.
The objective of the Rules is to make dog breeders and their marketers accountable and to prevent infliction of any cruelty in this process. There were also no specific rules, or guidelines for mandatory registration of breeders and establishments and requirements to be met by such breeders.
News 28 - An MoU of Rs. 67,000 Crores signed for the high-speed bullet train
The Gujarat Government and the Ministry of Railways signed an MoU worth 67,000 crore rupees for the ambitious Mumbai-Ahmedabad high-speed Bullet train project in the ongoing Vibrant Gujarat Global Summit.
The manufacturing work will soon be initiated in parts of the state which will be covered under bullet Train project. The Government of Gujarat signed one more MoU with Ministry of Railways to set up a container depot at Rajkot. Railways will invest 100 crore rupees to establish a container depot at Rajkot.
News 29 - Government to sell 51% stake in Pawan Hans
Government of India disinvested 51% shareholding for transfer of management control. Pawan Hans is a joint venture where state-owned ONGC holds 49 percent. The Government has planned to divest through consulting firm, investment bankers, merchant bankers, financial institutions and banks.
Pawan Hans deals in helicopter support services to the oil sector for off-shore exploration operations and has a fleet of 46 helicopters. The Government has budgeted for Rs. 56,500 crores of revenue from disinvestment in 2016-17, including Rs. 20,500 crores from strategic sales.
News 30 - India inked an MOU with USA to aid the third world countries
Various MoUs were inked between the India and USA, between the Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) and Union Ministry of External Affairs’ Development Partnership Administration. Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) is a US agency that provides funds to capable countries and curtail poverty through sustainable development growth.
MoUs were inked in the field of information technology, assistance to third world countries, sustainable development goals, reducing poverty, economic growth and aid in third world countries.
News 31 - 'SEZ India' app launched by the Commerce Ministry
Commerce Ministry launched a Mobile app named “SEZ India” under its broader e-Governance initiative. It will help the Special Economic Zone (SEZ) Units and Developers to find information easily and track their transactions on Online System. Now they can file all their transactions digitally through SEZ Online system and track the status on the go through the SEZ India mobile app.
The app has four sections – SEZ Information, SEZ Online Transaction, Trade Information and Contact details.
News 32 - An App named ‘SEZ India’ launched by the Commerce Ministry
A Mobile app named “SEZ India” has been launched by the Commerce Secretary for Special Economic Zones. Now the SEZ Developers & Units can file all their transactions digitally through SEZ Online system and track the status on the go through the SEZ India mobile app.
The app also helps the Importers / Exporters to track the status of 'Bill of Entry / Shipping Bill” integration and processing in the EDI system of the ICEGATE. App would help the SEZ Units and Developers to find information easily and track their transactions on SEZ Online System.
News 33 - India & Mauritius inked MoU for Cooperation in the field of Cooperatives
The Union Minister of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare and Govt. of Mauritius, signed MoU for Cooperation in the field of Cooperatives. The MoU will enable the two countries to collaborate in this vital sector and can significantly benefit thousands of Mauritians. India offered to exchange its expertise and technology with Mauritius in the agro industry, fisheries and the dairy sector.
The two ministers expressed satisfaction at the historic, time-tested relationship between India and Mauritius which is anchored in linkages of culture and ancestry.
News 34 - India and World Bank inked MoU for “Nagaland Health Project”.
A financing agreement for IDA credit of US$ 48 million for the ‘Nagaland Health Project’ was signed between World Bank and Indian government. The objectives of the project is to improve health services and increase their utilization by communities in targeted locations in Nagaland.
Communities in targeted locations will benefit from project activities at the community and health facility levels. The project will directly benefit about 600,000 people. It will support and complement existing systems and mechanisms involving communities under the National Health Mission.
News 35 - AIIMS signed three MoUs
All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS), New Delhi has signed MoUs with NBCC (India) Limited, HSCC (India) Limited and with HITES HLL Life Care Ltd to expand infrastructure and other facilities.
AIIMS signed an MOU worth ₹ 4441 crores with NBCC (India) Limited, ₹ 2500 crores with HSCC (India) Limited and ₹ 729 crores with HITES HLL Life Care Ltd, a cumulative net worth of ₹ 7670 crores.
News 36 - Petroleum Conservation Campaign ‘Saksham 2017’
The Petroleum Conservation Research Association (PCRA) and Oil & Gas Public Sector Undertakings (PSUs) under the aegis of Ministry of Petroleum & Natural Gas (MoPNG) are organizing a Campaign to sensitize the masses about the conservation and efficient use of petroleum products towards achieving twin objectives of better health & environment and securing availability of Oil & Gas for future generations.
The campaign is named as SAKSHAM 2017 (Sanrakshan Kshamta Mahotsav). The campaign would be conducted from January 16 to February 15, 2017.
News 37 - Union Cabinet gave nod to repeal 105 old laws
The Union Cabinet approved introduction of the Repealing and Amending Bill, 2017 to repeal 105 old laws in Parliament.
Out of them, which would be repealed include 2008 amendments to the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, the President's Emoluments and Pension Act and the Vice-President's Pension Act. The two Member Committee constituted by the PMO, the Law Commission of India and the Legislative Department identified 1,824 redundant and obsolete Central Acts for repeal.
News 38 - Centre approved the construction of 78,703 houses for urban poor
Centre approved construction of 78,703 affordable houses for the benefit of Economically Weaker Sections in the urban areas of Tamil Nadu, Kerala and West Bengal with an investment of around Rs 3000 cr.
Of the total houses, over 52000 houses have been cleared for Tamil Nadu, over 21000 for West Bengal and 5000 in Kerala. With this, the total number of houses approved for the benefit of urban poor under Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana reached over 15.48 lakh.
News 39 - Cabinet approves a Rs. 10,000 Crore incentive for electronic manufacturing
The Cabinet has approved 10,000 crore rupees incentive for the electronic manufacturing sector till March 2018 with an aim to move towards the goal of 'Net Zero imports' in electronics by 2020.
Under the Modified Special Incentive Scheme, investors in electronics manufacturing can apply till March 2018. The incentives will be available for investments made within 5 years from the date of approval of the project. A unit receiving incentives under the scheme, should provide an undertaking to remain in commercial production for a period of at least 3 years.
News 40 - Cabinet approves an MoU between India and Serbia for cooperation in the fields of IT and Electronics
The Cabinet has given an ex-post facto approval to the Memorandum of Understanding signed between India and Serbia for promoting cooperation in the fields of Information Technology and Electronics.
The Cabinet also gave its ex-post facto approval to the MoU between India and Vietnam in the field of Cyber Security. The MoU intends to promote closer cooperation for exchange of knowledge and experience in detection, resolution and prevention of cyber security-related incidents between the two countries.
News 41 - Cabinet approves an MOU between India and UAE on Bilateral Cooperation
The Union Cabinet has approved an MoU between India and the United Arab Emirates on Bilateral Cooperation in the Road Transport and Highways sector and cooperation in the field of Small and Medium Enterprises and Innovation.
An MoU on the Mutual Recognition of Certificates of Competency between India and the United Arab Emirates was also cleared by the Cabinet. It will pave way for recognition of maritime education and training, certificates of competency, endorsements, training documentary evidence and medical fitness certificates for seafarers.
News 42 - Cabinet approved the Trade Agreement negotiations with Peru
Union Cabinet has approved the negotiating for the Trade Agreement with Peru on trade in terms of goods, services and investment.
A Joint Study Group between the two countries was constituted to explore the possibility for entering trade agreement in January 2015.
Both sides concluded the Joint Study Group Report in October last year and agreed to carry forward the discussions over the issue.
News 43 - Javadekar launched the web portal ShaGun for Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan
Human Resources Development Minister Prakash Javadekar launched a dedicated web portal ShaGun for the Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan at New Delhi.
ShaGun aims to capture and showcase innovations and progress in elementary education sector of the country by continuous monitoring of the flagship scheme - Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan. The Minister also unveiled the ‘Toolkit for Master Trainers in Preparing Teachers for Inclusive Education for Children with Special Needs’, which has been prepared by World Bank in collaboration with Ministry of Human Resource Development.
News 44 - Government received 45 proposals under the UDAN scheme
Airports Authority of India has received 45 initial proposals from 11 bidders covering more than 200 regional connectivity scheme (RCS) routes.
These initial proposals cover as many as 65 airports. The scheme UDAN (Ude Desh Ke Aam Naagrik), aims to boost regional air connectivity and provides various incentives to airlines. The fare for a one hour journey of approximately 500 kilometers on a fixed wing aircraft or for a 30-minute journey on a helicopter would be capped at Rs. 2500 under the scheme. The scheme was launched in October 2016.
News 45 - Cabinet approved a one-time loan of Rs. 45000 crores to FCI
The Union Cabinet has approved a one-time loan of Rs 45000 crore to Food Corporation of India to meet its food subsidy requirements. The loan will be provided from National Small Savings Fund (NSSF). Besides, the Cabinet also took decision to exempt States except Arunachal Pradesh, Delhi, Kerala and Madhya Pradesh from NSSF investments from April,2016.
In addition, FCI will reduce the amount of its current Cash Credit Limit with the banking consortium to the extent of the NSSF loan amount.
News 46 - Cabinet approved MoU on cooperation on Youth matters between India, Russia
The Union Cabinet has approved MoU on cooperation on Youth matters between India and Russia. Exchange programs in the field of Youth Affairs between the two countries will help in promoting exchange of ideas, values and culture amongst Youth through establishment of people-to-people contacts and in consolidating friendly relations between the two countries.
Exchange programs will help in developing international perspective among the Youth and expanding their knowledge and expertise in the areas of Youth Affairs.
News 47 - Union Ministry to launch talent search portal
Union Sports Minister, Mr. Vijay Goel said that they will soon launch a talent search portal in a bid to spot bright sportsmen and groom them.
Responding to a query from students on what the Central government is doing to promote sportsmen, Goel said that with the help of the portal, the talents will be selected and will be trained at Sports Authority of India.
The idea behind launching the portal is that grass root population also gets an opportunity to contribute their share in sports. With the help of the portal, the talents will be selected and will be trained at Sports Authority of India.
News 48 - Cabinet apprised of the MoU between ISRO and JAXA for cooperation in the field of outer space
The Union Cabinet has been apprised of the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) signed at Tokyo, Japan between the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) and the Japanese Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) for cooperation in the field of outer space.
The purpose of this MoU is to pursue future cooperative activities in the exploration and use of outer space exclusively for peaceful purposes in accordance with the laws and regulations applicable in each country and their international obligations.
News 49 - Cabinet approves MoU between India and Vietnam in the fields of cyber security
The Union Cabinet has given ex-post facto approval to the Memorandum of Understanding between India and Vietnam in the field of Cyber Security signed between Indian Computer Emergency Response Team (CERT-In), India and the Cyber Security Department, Ministry of Public Security, Vietnam.
The MoU intends to promote closer cooperation for exchange of knowledge and experience in detection, resolution and prevention of cyber security-related incidents between India and Vietnam. It will result in significant mutual benefits in the cyber security sector. through institutional and capacity-building in the field of cyber security in the Socialist Republic of Vietnam.
News 50 - Cabinet approved MoU between India and the United Arab Emirates on the Mutual Recognition of Certificates of Competency
The Union Cabinet has approved the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between India and the United Arab Emirates on the Mutual Recognition of Certificates of Competency.
The proposed MoU will pave way for recognition of maritime education and training, certificates of competency, endorsements, training documentary evidence and medical fitness certificates for seafarers issued by the Government of the other country in accordance with the provisions of Regulation 1/10 of the Convention, and cooperation between the two countries in training and management of seafarers.
News 51 - Cabinet approved MoU between India and the United Arab Emirates on Bilateral Cooperation in the Road Transport and Highways sector
The Union Cabinet has approved the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between India and the United Arab Emirates on Bilateral Cooperation in the Road Transport and Highways Sector to be signed between the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways, India and the Federal Transport Authority – Land and Maritime, U.A.E.
The proposed MoU envisages increased cooperation, exchange and collaboration between India and the UAE, and will contribute to increased investment in infrastructure development and enhance logistics efficiency.
News 52 - Cabinet approved the package for supporting Micro and Small Enterprises (MSEs) – Augmentation of CGTMSE
The Union Cabinet has given ex-post facto approval to the package for supporting Micro and Small Enterprises (MSEs) – Augmentation of the Corpus of Credit Guarantee Trust Fund for Micro and Small Enterprises (CGTMSE).
The proposal entails – Augmentation of the corpus of the Trust from Rs. 2,500 crore to Rs. 7,500 crore, to be fully funded by the GoI. To increase coverage of the loans covered under the credit guarantee scheme from Rs. 1 crore to Rs. 2 crores. To increase coverage of the credit guarantee scheme for loans being extended to micro and small enterprises by NBFCs also.
News 53 - Cabinet approved the Establishment of Indian Agricultural Research Institute, Jharkhand
The Union Cabinet has given its approval for the 12th Plan Proposal of the DARE/ICAR Plan Scheme of the 'Establishment of Indian Agricultural Research Institute (lARI)Jharkhand'. It will have an estimated outlay of Rs. 200.78 crores (100% ICAR share) on 1,000-acres land provided by the Government of Jharkhand at the Gauria Karma Village in Barhi Block of Hazaribag.
lARI-Jharkhand would be a unique Institution, which would possess all the hallmark identities as that of IARI at New Delhi.
News 54 - Cabinet approved MoU between India and the United Arab Emirates on Institutional Cooperation in Maritime Transport
The Union Cabinet has approved the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between India and the United Arab Emirates on Institutional Cooperation in Maritime Transport.
The proposed MoU will pave way for facilitation and promotion of maritime transport, simplification of customs and other formalities, wherever possible, observed in Ports and facilitation of the use of existing installations for the disposal of waste. The MoU will enable Shipping Companies in both countries to enter into bilateral and multi-lateral arrangements for sustainable trading activities.
News 55 - Cabinet approved Alternative Mechanism to decide on the quantum of disinvestment in case of minority stake sale in CPSEs
The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs has given its approval to Alternative Mechanism, who would decide on the quantum of disinvestment in a Central Public Sector Undertaking (CPSE) on a case by case basis subject to Government retaining 51 percent equity and management control. This is in addition to the present functions performed by Alternative Mechanism as has been approved by CCEA in August, 2014.
This would reduce speculation and overhang and expedite the disinvestment process.
News 56 - Digi Dhan Melas distributed prize worth Rs. 61 crores
The Information Technology Minister announced that over 3,80,000 consumers and 21,000 merchants have won the prize money worth around 61 crore rupees at 24 Digi-Dhan Melas across the country to give a boost to the digital payment systems and cashless economy.
The schemes were launched on 25th of December 2016 and shall remain open till 14th of April 2017. The schemes are aimed at incentivising the consumers and the merchants to promote digital payments.
News 57 - CCI imposes Rs. 206 crores as penalty on seven cement companies
Competition Commission of India imposed a penalty of nearly 206 crore rupees on seven cement companies for bid-rigging and cartelization i.e. equivalent to 0.3 percent of each of their average turnover for three financial years.
Shree Cement, UltraTech Cement, Jaiprakash Associates, J K Cement, Ambuja Cements, ACC and J K Lakshmi Cement have been penalized for violating competition norms regarding a tender floated by a Haryana agency back in 2012.
News 58 - India concluded MoU on MSME Cooperation with IORA
Ministry of MSME, Government of India finalized an MoU on MSME Cooperation with Indian Ocean Rim Association (IORA) member countries. The focus areas of the Memorandum of Understandings (MoUs) were to promote youth and women’s economic empowerment, finalize linkages and alliances amongst MSMEs organizations and exchange best practices, policies and programs for MSME development.
IORA Secretariat at Mauritius will be the coordinating agency for the implementation of the MoU. IORA special fund created for the member countries to use it for to carrying out activities envisaged under this MoU.
News 59 - First flight under UDAN scheme to take off in February 2017
The first flight is likely to take off in February 2017 under the government's ambitious regional connectivity scheme-UDAN. The scheme UDAN seeks to boost regional air connectivity and provides various incentives to airlines.
The fare for a one hour journey of 500 kilometers on a fixed wing aircraft or for a 30minute journey on a helicopter will be capped at 2500 rupees under the scheme.
There are 75 operational airports in India and 43 new airports will be added under UDAN scheme.
News 60 - Govt inked an MoU to set up 1,000 Janaushadhi Kendras
To make quality medicines available at an affordable price in the rural areas and gram panchayats, the Government of India has inked an MoU with the National Yuva Cooperative Society and establish 1,000 Janaushadhi Kendras across India.
The PMBJP scheme would save expenses of common man on health and give an impetus to the Make in India mission in the pharma sector. Government aims to open 3000 kendras by the end of the financial year, adding to 750 Janaushadhi Kendras at present.
News 61 - Health Ministry to launch a control program for five non-communicable diseases
The Health ministry will launch population based prevention, screening and control program for five common non-communicable diseases, namely Hypertension, Diabetes, and Cancers of oral cavity, breast and cervix. In the first phase, the population based screening component will be rolled out in 100 districts in 32 states and UTs with about 1000 sub-centers undertaking screening before March 31s 2017.
These Non-Communicable diseases account for over 60% of all mortality in India. Primary health Centers helps early detection and serves to raise health awareness among people to lead healthy lifestyles.
News 62 - India Innovation Index to rank performance of Indian states
The World Economic Forum (WEF), NITI Aayog, World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) and Cornell University will work to develop an India Innovation Index to assist policies that promote inclusive growth and reflect of India’s ground reality. The index will be based on key pillars of innovation.
The base of index comprises the strength of institutions, capital and research, policies and the level of business economy, among others. This index will encourage states to compete with each other. The first ranking will be released at the India Economic Summit in New Delhi on October 4-6, 2017.
News 63 - Union Government cleared the amendment on Jallikattu
Since Union cabinet cleared the amendment, Tamil Nadu Governor can promulgate ordinance as per Article 213 of the constitution and removed ‘bull’ from the list of performing animals. This will certain that provisions of Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act (PCA), 1960 do not apply to the bull and bypass Supreme Court imposed ban on Jallikattu in May 2014.
The apex court had earlier banned use of bull as performing animals in traditional events such as Jallikattu, bullock-cart races etc.
News 64 - Special Task Force created for women safety
In response to a notice issued by the High Court to the L-G on a DCW petition seeking response to form committee on women’s safety, a special task force (STF) was reformed regarding women’s safety under the leadership of Lieutenant-Governor Anil Baijal.
Committee will review decisions taken by the Delhi Police and other departments on issues related to women’s safety. The meeting will be held every 15 days. The committee is reformed, as earlier, a committee was formed in 2013 following the December 16, 2012 ‘Nirbhaya’ case.
News 65 - India to introduce new high speed trains
Indian railways to introduce new trains soon with speed up to 200 kms per hour. This will be possible with the help of Russian Railways. Russian Railways has come up with several technical and innovative solutions, including reconstruction of railway track as well as solving speed restrictions. At present, the fastest train in India is Gatimaan Express with speed of 160 km per hour.
A protocol for this project was inked between the railway ministries of the two countries in October 2016. Project will be jointly funded.
News 66 - Steel Ministry to implement a New Draft steel policy
In order cease cheap imported raw materials such as cooking coal and export the output in a more cost-effective manner, Steel ministry envisaged set up of greenfield steel plants along India’s coastline with the help of new draft National Steel Policy of 2017.
New draft policy involves investment of Rs. 10 lakh crore to enhance domestic production and offer 11 lakh new jobs. This will also double production capacity to 300 million tonnes by 2030-31. Gas-based steel plants and technologies will curtail expensive imports of coking coal.
News 67 - Union Cabinet approved Varishtha Pension Bima Yojana – 2017
The Union Cabinet chaired by the Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi gave its postfacto approval for launching of Varishtha Pension Bima Yojana 2017. The scheme will be implemented through LIC to provide social security to elderly persons aged 60 years and above.
The scheme will provide an assured pension based on a guaranteed rate of return of 8% per annum for ten years. The differential return would be borne by Government of India as subsidy on an annual basis.
News 68 - Cabinet approves ratification of the Second Commitment Period of Kyoto Protocol
The Union Cabinet chaired by the Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi gave its approval to ratify the Second Commitment Period of the Kyoto Protocol on containing the emission of Green House Gases. The second commitment period of the Kyoto Protocol was adopted in 2012. So far, 65 countries have ratified the Second Commitment Period.
Implementation of Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) projects under this commitment period in accordance with Suslainable Development priorities will attract some investments in India as well.
News 69 - Cabinet approves Indian Institute of Management Bill, 2017
The Union Cabinet chaired by the Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi has approved the Indian Institute of Management(IIM) Bill, 2017, under which the IIMs would be declared as Institutions of National Importance which will enable them to grant degrees to their students.
The Bill provides for complete autonomy to the Institutions. The Bill also provides for periodic review of the performance of Institutions by independent agencies, and placing the results of the same on public domain. There is also a provision of Coordination Forum of IIMs as an advisory body.
News 70 - Cabinet approves a New Scheme for promotion of Rural Housing
The Union Cabinet chaired by the Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi approved a new scheme for promotion of Rural Housing in the country. The Government would provide interest subsidy under the scheme. Interest subsidy would be available to every rural household who is not covered under the Pradhan Mantri Aawas Yojana (Grameen).
The beneficiary who takes a loan under the scheme would be provided interest subsidy for loan amount up to Rs. 2 Lakhs. The new scheme is expected to improve housing stock in the rural areas.
News 71 - Cabinet approves setting up of a world class Integrated Exhibition at Delhi
The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs, chaired by the Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi approved the proposal of India Trade Promotion Organisation (ITPO), a Mini Ratna Category-1 Company under the Department of Commerce, for redevelopment of Pragati Maidan by setting up of a world class Integrated Exhibition-cum-Convention Centre (IECC) at Pragati Maidan, New Delhi.
The total cost of the project will be Rs. 2,254 crore. ITPO will utilise Rs.1,200 crore out of its free reserves towards funding of the project.
News 72 - MoUs on Electoral Cooperation with Australia, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Fiji and Nepal signed
On the 7th National Voters Day which was on the 25th January 2017, the Election Commission of India (ECI) hosted an International Seminar on ‘Strategies for Empowering Young and Future Voters’ on the 24th January 2017, in partnership with UNDP India. Interaction through the International Seminar provided a larger opportunity to gain from international experience.
The ECI signed Memorandum of Understanding with Australia, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Fiji and Election Commission of Nepal to establish an institutional framework for their ongoing cooperation in the field of election management and administration.
News 73 - National Action Plan for Children, 2016 released by the WCD Ministry
National Action Plan for Children, 2016 (NPAC) was launched on the National Girl Child Day in New Delhi. The National Policy for Children (2013) provides for formation of a National Co-ordination and Action Group. The Action Plan has four key priority areas; survival, health and nutrition; education and development; protection and participation.
The plan puts focus on new and emerging concerns for children such as online child abuse, children affected by natural and man-made disasters and climate change.
News 74 - India inked an MOU with UAE
Various MoUs were inked between the India and UAE, during visit of Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi Sheikh Mohammed Bin Zayed Al Nahyan in New Delhi on the Republic day. MoUs were inked in the field of defence, agriculture, oil storage, road transport, highways, manufacturing, technology, research, development, cyberspace, innovation and cooperation between public and private sector institutions of the two nations.
India and UAE also held discussions on 'Annual Defence Dialogue' to discuss the security and defence cooperation issues between the two countries.
News 75 - Guidelines issued for differently-abled and disabled for respecting National Anthem
Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment issued new guidelines for differently-abled people to show respect to the National Anthem. According to the new guidelines, those who are unable to stand will have to display maximum attentiveness while persons with hearing disabilities and those visually challenged will have to stand up when the national anthem is played at cinema halls or at a public function.
The guidelines gave relaxation to the people with intellectual disabilities.
News 76 - UIDAI achieved 111 Crore Mark on Aadhaar Generation
With the 68th Republic Day, Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) achieved another landmark by generating 111 crore Aadhaar in a population of 125 crores plus. Aadhaar’s total saturation percentage is 91.7% (as per Census 2011) while over 99% adult population above the age of 18 have been assigned Aadhaar numbers. Twenty-two States/UTs have more than 90% saturation.
The Government has planned to launch Aadhaar Pay, where any person with his Aadhaar number linked to Bank account, can make and / or receive payment, with his thumb impression alone.
News 77 - Around 33,000 kms of roads constructed under the PMGSY
Around 33 thousand kilometres of roads have been constructed under the Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojana, PMGSY which is 67.53 per cent of the annual target. It means that the average construction of roads is 111 kilometres per day. Another major achievement has been the use of green technologies and non-conventional materials in construction of roads under PMGSY because they are low cost, non-polluting and labour friendly.
In the last two years, more than 2,634 kilometres of roads have been constructed using the green technology.
News 78 - General Anti Avoidance Rule will be effective from April 1st 2017
The General Anti Avoidance Rule will be effective from the 1st of April ,2017. It seeks to prevent companies from routing transactions through other countries to avoid taxes.
GAAR will not interplay with the right of the taxpayer to select or choose method of implementing a transaction. India will be the 17th nation in the world to have laws that aim to close tax loopholes. GAAR is in force in nations like Australia, Singapore, China and the UK.
News 79 - President launched the countrywide Pulse Polio Program for 2017
The President of India Shri Pranab Mukherjee launched the Pulse Polio program for 2017 by administering polio drops to children less than five years old. Around 17 crore children of less than five years across the country will be given polio drops as part of the drive of Government of India to sustain polio eradication from the country.
The Government of India has also introduced the injectable Inactivated Polio Vaccine (IPV) into its routine immunization program.
News 80 - Minister for Social Justice distributed Aids and Assistive Devices Under ADIP Scheme
Shri Thaawarchand Gehlot, Minister for Social Justice and Empowerment distributed Free Aids and Assistive devices under the ADIP scheme of Government of India to 1544 Divyangjans in Delhi. A total of 1544 Persons with different kind of disabilities were provided with 2904 numbers of aids and assistive devices with the value of Rs 180 Lakhs under the ADIP scheme.
Camp was organized by Artificial Limbs Manufacturing Corporation of India (ALIMCO), to help the Divyangjans to live a respectable life and now Universal Identity cards will be made for Divyangjans.
News 81 - Ministry sets target to construct 40 kms road per day in 2017-18
Union Road Transport and Highways minister Nitin Gadkari set a target to construct 40 kilometers’ road per day in the next financial year. Dedicating the new Brahmaputra bridge at Sariaghat in Guwahati, 15 thousand crore rupees will be spent to construct 1253 kilometers of national highways in Assam. A bridge over the Brahmaputra connecting Majuli island will be constructed.
The Centre will invest 1 lakh crore rupees in the road sector in Assam. The length of the bridge is nearly one and half kilometers.