Current Affairs June 2016 - National


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News 1 - Prime Minister Modi releases National Disaster Management Plan

Prime Minister Modi

Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi released the National Disaster Management Plan (NDMP). It is the first ever national plan prepared in the country and aims to make India disaster resilient and significantly reduce the loss of lives and assets.

The plan is based on the four priority themes of the “Sendai Framework,” namely: understanding disaster risk, improving disaster risk governance, investing in disaster risk reduction (through structural and nonstructural measures) and disaster preparedness, early warning and building back better in the aftermath of a disaster.

News 2 - Union Cabinet approves India Post's Payments Bank proposal

India Post's Payments Bank proposal

The Union Cabinet gave its approval for setting up the India Post Payments Bank (IPPB) as a Public Limited Company under the Department of Posts, with 100% Government of India (GOI) equity. The total expenditure involved in this project is Rs 800 Crores and will be rolled out in the entire country in a phased manner.

The IPPB will obtain banking license from the RBI by March 2017 and by September 2017, its services will be available across the country through 650 payments bank branches, linked post offices and alternative channels. Around 40% of the country's population that is outside the ambit of formal banking in the country will benefit from this IPPB.

News 3 - India and US ink an agreement to exchange terrorist screening information

India and US

India inked an agreement with the United States to join the global terror database maintained by the Terrorist Screening Center (TSC) of the U.S.

The agreement will facilitate exchange of terrorist screening information in a move to further boost counter-terrorism cooperation between the two countries. Both the sides shall provide each other with access to terrorism screening information through designated contact points, subject to domestic laws and regulations. Indian intelligence agencies had earlier opposed giving the United States unhindered access to the database of terror suspects in India.

News 4 - India gifts 2,000 Bicycles to poor Dalit Girl Students in Nepal

Bicycles to poor Dalit Girl

India has gifted 2,000 bicycles to poor Dalit girl students in Nepal. The aim was to enhance the literacy rate among them and also to encourage girls from poor and Dalit families to enroll in schools. It received a total financial assistance of NRs 13.65 million through the government of India under its Small Development Project scheme.

India has also gifted 59 ambulances, 7 buses and one eye care van in four districts to cater to the medical and educational needs of the local people. The India-Nepal Economic program has an outlay of over Nepali Rupees 76 billion.

News 5 - Union Cabinet approves the proposal for Extension of Corridor-1 of the Chennai Metro Rail Project Phase-I

Chennai Metro Rail Project Phase-I

The Union Cabinet gave its ex-post facto approval to the proposal for Chennai Metro Rail Phase-I Project from Washermanpet to Wimconagar. It will be executed by the existing SPV of Government of India and the Government of Tamil Nadu having 50:50 equities of each i.e. Chennai Metro Rail Ltd.

The project covers a length of 9.051 kms at a total cost of Rs. 3770 crores and is scheduled to be completed by March 2018. In the total project cost, Government of India's (Gol) share will be Rs. 713 crores and Government of Tamil Nadu's (GoTN) share will be Rs. 916 crores. The balance amount of Rs. 2141 crores will be met from the loan which they are getting from multilateral/bilateral/domestic funding agencies.

News 6 - Asian Development Bank (ADB) and Government of India Sign a $200 Million Loan Agreement

Asian Development Bank

The Asian Development Bank (ADB) and the Government of India has signed an agreement for $200 million new loan to upgrade 176 Kilometers of State roads in the State of Jharkhand. The total cost of the project, due to be completed by December 2019, is $306.25 million. In addition to ADB’s loan, the State Government of Jharkhand will provide counterpart assistance equivalent to $106.25 million.

The project design includes over 60 bus stop shelters; 50 kms of raised sidewalks in urban areas; 4 kms of dedicated bicycle lanes; and solar-powered street lights.

News 7 - TRAI Releases 'DND Services' Mobile App for managing Unsolicited Commercial Communications

DND Services

The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) has launched a mobile App for telecom subscribers for easy registration of Unsolicited Commercial Communications (UCC) complaints to the service providers. With this App, the consumer can also check the status of his complaint. The app is available in the Google App store and Mobile Seva App store.

The DND (do not disturb) services mobile app is an easy alternative for filing pesky calls and SMS complaints. Earlier, subscribers had option of filing complaint by forwarding SMS to 1909.

News 8 - Government constitutes National Company Law Tribunal and Appellate Tribunal

National Company Law and Appellate Tribunal

The National Company Law Tribunal (NCLT) and the National Company Law Appellate Tribunal (NCLAT) have been constituted by the Central Government with effect from 1 June, 2016. This would effectively dissolve the Company Law Board (CLB) as constituted under the Companies Act, 1956 from the same day.

The NCLT will start functioning with eleven Benches – two at New Delhi and one each at Ahmedabad, Allahabad, Bengaluru, Chandigarh, Chennai, Guwahati, Hyderabad, Kolkata and Mumbai. The Principal Bench of the NCLT will be at New Delhi. Justice SJ Mukhopadhaya, Judge (Retd.), Supreme Court of India has been appointed as the Chairperson of the NCLAT while Justice MM Kumar, Judge (Retd.) as the President of the NCLT.

News 9 - CCEA approved Minimum Support Prices for Kharif Crops for 2016-17 Season

Support Prices for Kharif Crops

The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs has given its approval for Minimum Support Prices (MSPs) for Kharif Crops of 201617season. The prices would be effective from 1st October 2016. The approved MSP is based on recommendations of Commission for Agricultural Costs and Prices (CACP) which takes into account the cost of production, overall demand-supply among others.

The government hiked the minimum support price (MSP) of paddy by Rs. 60 to Rs. 1,470 per quintal for the 2016-17 Kharif season. CCEA has decided to give a bonus, over and above the recommendations of the CACP of Rs. 425/- per quintal for Kharif pulses, namely Arhar (Tur), Urad and Moong, a bonus of Rs. 200/- per quintal for Sesamum and a bonus of Rs. 100/- per quintal for Kharif oilseeds namely, Groundnut-in-shell, Sunflowerseed, Soyabean, and Nigerseed.

News 10 - Singapore International Arbitration Centre Signs Memorandum of Agreement with GIFT City

Singapore International Arbitration Centre

The Singapore International Arbitration Centre (SIAC) has entered into a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) with the Gujarat International Finance Tec-City Company Limited (GIFTCL) and GIFT SEZ Limited (GIFT SEZ). SIAC will establish a representative office in the IFSC-GIFT.

SIAC, GIFTCL and GIFT SEZ will collaborate to promote the use of arbitration, mediation, and other dispute resolution mechanisms, including the innovative Arb-Med-Arb service offered by the SIAC and the Singapore International Mediation Centre (SIMC), to resolve international commercial disputes in the IFSC-GIFT.

News 11 - Cabinet Committee approves Mau–Tarighat Railway line project

Mau–Tarighat Railway line project

The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs gave its approval for a new broad gauge line between Mau Station of North Eastern Railway and Tarighat Terminal station of East Central Railway. The total length of this new broad gauge line will be 51 kilometers.

The estimated cost of this project is Rs. 1765.92 crores and the expected completion cost is Rs. 2109.07 crores with 5% escalation per annum. The project is expected to be completed in the next 6 years.

News 12 - India, US inked MoU to enhance Cooperation on Energy Security, Clean Energy and Climate Change

India, US inked MoU

India and USA inked a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to enhance cooperation on energy security, clean energy and climate change through increased bilateral engagement and further joint initiatives for promoting sustainable growth. US-India Energy Smart Cities Partnership. Promoting Energy Access through Clean Energy (PEACE) expansion.

The Priority initiatives under the MoU would be as follows:

  • Greening the Grid.
  • Energy Efficiency including space cooling.
  • Renewable energy.
  • Energy security.
  • Clean energy finance.
  • U.S-India partnership for Climate Resilience.
  • Air quality.
  • Forestry, Landscapes and REDD+.
  • Fellowships.
  • Accelerating innovation on clean energy and climate change.

News 13 - Government launches a helpline under the Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana

Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana

The Petroleum and Natural Gas Minister Mr. Dharmendra Pradhan launched a toll free helpline, 1800 266 66 96, for the consumers to be covered under the Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana.

Now people can call on this number to get a solution of their problems related to the scheme. Under the Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana, the government has set a target of providing LPG connections to the five crore women of BPL households with a support of 1600 rupees per connection in the coming three years.

News 14 - PM’s visit to Afghanistan, Qatar, Switzerland, USA and Mexico

Shri Narendra Modi

The Prime Minister, Shri Narendra Modi visited Afghanistan, State of Qatar, Switzerland, United States of America and Mexico from June 4, 2016 to June 8, 2016. He joined President Ashraf Ghani to inaugurate the Afghanistan– India Friendship Dam in Herat. He visited the State of Qatar on 4th & 5th June at the invitation of His Highness, Sheikh Tamim, the Emir of Qatar.

He reached Geneva in the evening of 5th June on a bilateral visit to Switzerland where he held talks with President Schneider-Ammann to deepen the bilateral and multilateral cooperation. Then he reached Washington DC on a bilateral visit in the evening of 6th June at the invitation of President Barack Obama. Finally, he met President Peña Nieto on June 8th during his visit to Mexico.

News 15 - Suresh Prabhu launches Tiger Express train on the World Environment Day

Tiger Express train

The Minister of Railways Shri Suresh Prabhakar Prabhu flagged off the inaugural run of the Tiger Trail Circuit Train from Delhi Safdarjung Station. The objective of the train is to create awareness about our national animal, the Tiger. The launch of this Tiger Express on World Environment Day is to highlight the significance of environment in our lives.

This tourist train will be operated by Indian Railway PSU namely Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation (IRCTC). The train with 5 days / 6 nights itinerary will start from the Safdarjung railway station in Delhi and travel via Katani, Jabalpur, Bandhavgadh, Kanha. The semi-luxury train will take the guests onboard to the world famous Bandhavgarh and Kanha National Parks in Madhya Pradesh. In addition to this the trip will also take tourists to Dhuadhar Waterfall in Bedhaghat near Jabalpur.

News 16 - India, Qatar sign seven agreements in various fields

India and Qatar

India and Qatar signed seven agreements in various fields including assistance in custom matters, skill development and recognition of qualifications and health after delegation-level talks between Prime Minster Narendra Modi and Qatar’s Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani at Doha.

The MoUs are as follows:

  • MoU for Investment in National Investment and Infrastructure Fund to facilitate foreign investment from the gas-rich Gulf state.

  • MoU in Cooperation in Skill Development.

  • MoU in Recognition of Qualifications and Agreement on cooperation and mutual assistance in custom matters.

  • MoU in Cooperation in Tourism.

  • MoU in the field of youth and sports.

  • MoU on Cooperation in the Field of Health.

  • MoU on Finance Intelligence Unit-India (FIU-IND) and Qatar Financial Information Unit (QFIU).

The two countries also agreed to engage more often on annual basis.

News 17 - Swachh Yug campaign launched to make Ganga river open defecation free

Swachh Yug

The Centre has asked for co-operation from five States namely – Uttarakhand, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Jharkhand and West Bengal, to make all villages along the banks of the Ganga – Open Defecation Free and this campaign will be popularly known as ‘Swachh Yug’. ‘Swachh Yug’ is an initiative of Swachh Bharat Mission and Namami Gange project.

A 5-day training will be provided to 50 youth volunteers in each location through massive local youth involvement through a series of video conferences. It is a focus on Swachhta’ at the village through proper Solid and Liquid Waste Management and maintaining general cleanliness.

News 18 - Swachh Saathi program announced actress Dia Mirza as its ambassador

Dia Mirza

Actress Dia Mirza has been named as the ambassador of 'Swachh Saathi' (student internship) program. This Swachh Saathi program aims at a mission where more than 2,000 interns would be enrolled, who would coordinate with around 10,000 schools across the country and ensure that all students in these schools take the pledge for Clean India.

Dia Mirza the actress would have to visit schools and colleges and interact with the students from across the country through awareness sessions, community cleaning activities and motivational videos.

News 19 - India becomes member of the Working Group on Maritime Situational Awareness under CGPCS

Maritime Situational Awareness

India has been selected to co-chair the important Working Group on Improving Maritime Situational Awareness (MSA) under the Contact Group on Piracy off the Coast of Somalia, in the Region through consensus. It may be recalled that the CGPCS was set up as a group of interested and affected nations, industry associations and multilateral agencies to take pro-active steps for checking piracy in the Indian Ocean region through a UN Security Council resolution and improving Maritime Situational Awareness in Indian Ocean Region.

Seychelles is the current chairman of the CGPCS for the biennium 2016-17.

News 20 - India and US sign an MoU for hassle-free entry of Indians into the USA

India and US Sign MoU

India and U.S.A entered into a Memorandum of Understanding for providing quick security clearances and hassle-free entry of Indians into the US at selected airports. India is the 9th such country to enter in such a MOU with U.S.A. Several other initiatives have been introduced by the Government of India for easing travel from the United States to India, which includes issuance of long term visas and introduction of electronic tourist visas for US citizens.

The Global Entry Program is implemented at more than 40 US airports and 12 preclearance locations. More than 1.8 million people are enrolled in this Global Entry and approximately 50,000 new applications for the program are filed every month.

News 21 - Around 1.11 lakh tonnes of pulses procured by the Government from farmers

Pulses

The Government has collected close to 1.11 lakh tonnes of pulses from farmers for creating buffer stock and also contracted to import 38,500 tonnes as part of its effort to control the retail prices and selling at a price not exceeding Rs 120 per kg. About 13,000 tonnes of pulses has already been imported in the country and 6,000 tonnes are in pipeline out of 38,500 tonnes of contracted pulses.

India is the world's largest producer of pulses, but it has been observed that its domestic demand outstrips production. The shortfall is met from imports through private traders. Pulses output is estimated at 17.06 million tonnes in the 2015-16 crop year (July-June).

News 22 - Surya Mitra Mobile App launched by the Union Government

Surya Mitra

The Union Government launched “Surya Mitra” mobile App developed by the National Institute of Solar Energy (NISE), an autonomous institution of Ministry of New & Renewable Energy (MNRE). The trained Suryamitra’s who opt for entrepreneurship have joined in the Mobile App in several states.

The App is currently available in Google play store. It helps to serve customers at their doorsteps with quality installation, repair, and O&M services. NISE has fixed a price Rs 150/- per visit as visiting charges for Suryamitra Services and for installation and O&M Charges Suryamitra’s would charge standard charges as per MNRE advised rates.

News 23 - India set to become a member of the Missile Technology Control Regime

Missile Technology Control Regime

India is all set to become a member of the Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR) as it cleared the final hurdles in getting the membership of the key anti-proliferation grouping. The plenary meeting of the 34-nation grouping will take place later this year in Seoul during which India will be formally inducted as a new member into the bloc.

A Membership of MTCR will help India procure high-end missile technology and surveillance systems by leading manufacturers which are allowed to be accessed only by the MTCR member countries. India received strong backing from the US President Barack Obama on the issue of New Delhi's entry into the NSG and Missile Technology Control Resume (MTCR).

News 24 - Union Government to introduce International Yoga Award Scheme

International Yoga Award Scheme

The Union Government has decided to introduce an International Yoga Award Scheme with a view to promote yoga and it will start giving the award from 2017. It was announced by the Minister of State for AYUSH, Shripad Yesso Naik while inaugurating the National Health Editors' Conference in New Delhi. The theme of the conference was Yoga for Holistic Health – Recent Researches.

The conference is a part of the series of planned events leading to the International Day of Yoga – 2016.

News 25 - New Indian Reserve Battalion to be named after Maharana Pratap

Maharana Pratap

The Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh has announced that a new Indian Reserve Battalion in Rajasthan will be named after the great warrior of Mewar region, Maharana Pratap. The battalion will be named as Maharana Pratap reserve battalion. He also announced a new Global Counter Terrorism Centre at the Sardar Patel Police University in Jodhpur.

The announcement to set up the Maharana Pratap Reserve Battalion is in accordance with the Government’s decision this January to set up 17 new reserve battalions for J&K and Left Wing Extremism affected areas.

News 26 - India and the USA signed 8 MoUs

India and USA Signed 8 MoUs

India and the USA have signed eight agreements after the meeting between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and US President Barack Obama.

Exchange of terrorist screening information between the Multi-Agency Centre/Intelligence Bureau of India and the Terrorist Screening Center of the US.

These include:

  • To enhance the cooperation on Energy Security, Clean Energy and Climate Change.

  • To enhance co-operation in Wildlife Conservation and Combating Wildlife Trafficking.

  • An MoU between the Consular, Passport and Visa Division of India's Ministry of External Affairs and US Customs and Border Protection.

  • A Technical Arrangement between the Indian Navy and the US Navy concerning Unclassified Maritime Information Sharing.

  • An MOU between India's Petroleum and Natural Gas ministry and the Department of Energy of the US for cooperation in Gas Hydrates.

  • An Information Exchange Annex (IEA) was held between the Ministry of Defence and the US' Department of Defense regarding Aircraft Carrier Technologies.

  • A Logistics Exchange Memorandum of Agreement between the two defence ministries aimed at facilitating mutual logistic support between India and the US.

News 27 - Union Government releases the report “Road Accidents in India 2015”

Road Accidents in India 2015

The Minister of Road Transport & Highways Shri Nitin Gadkari launched the report “Road Accidents in India 2015” in New Delhi.

The analysis of road accident data 2015 reveals that about 1,374 accidents and 400 deaths take place every day on Indian roads which further translates into 57 accidents and loss of 17 lives on an average every hour in our country. About 54.1% of all people killed in road accidents were in the 15 -34 years age group during the year 2015.

News 28 - India signs Europe led crackdown on Tax Evasion

India signs Europe

India has signed a Europe led crackdown on tax evasion and corruption. A total of nearly 40 countries have joined committing to automatically exchange information on beneficial ownership data between law enforcement agencies and tax authorities of partner countries. The signatories to the scheme will have to provide one another free access to information on who ultimately owns these companies.

The new initiative was announced by Prime Minister David Cameron at the Anti-Corruption Summit 2016. Most European countries except Switzerland have signed the agreement. Other non-European countries include Afghanistan, Nigeria, Mexico and the UAE.

News 29 - An MoU signed between NIIF Ltd. and Qatar Investment Authority (QIA)

India and Qatar

The National Investment and Infrastructure Fund (NIIF) Ltd. entered into a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Qatar Investment Authority (QIA) to facilitate investment from Qatar in the infrastructure sector in India. The MoU was signed during the visit of the Prime Minister of India to Doha.

It will remain in effect for twelve months and during this period, both parties will discuss and agree on the terms, principles, criteria for such investments. The NIIF shall share with QIA a pipeline of investment opportunities available in the infrastructure sector in India. Qatar Investment Authority (QIA) is the sovereign wealth fund of the State of Qatar.

News 30 - Union Government frames New Print Media Advertisement policy

Print Media

The Union Government has framed a New Print Media Advertisement Policy for Directorate of Advertising & Visual Publicity (DAVP) with the objective to promote transparency and accountability in issuing of advertisements in print media.

The key highlights of the policy are as follows:

  • The New Marking System for newspapers to incentivize Newspapers who have better professional standing and get their circulation verified by ABC/ RNI.

  • Circulation verification Procedure for empanelment of Newspapers/Journals with DAVP.

  • Empanelment procedure for Multi-Editions of a newspaper

  • The policy has classified Newspaper/Journals into three categories namely Small (<25,000 copies per publishing day), Medium (25,001 - 75,000 copies per publishing day) and Big (>75,000 copies per publishing day).

News 31 - Rs. 37.5 crores sanctioned for development of Machilipatnam town under the AMRUT Scheme

AMRUT Scheme

The Union Urban Development Ministry has sanctioned Rs. 37.5 crore rupees for development of the Machilipatnam town under the Atal Mission for Rejuvenation and Urban Transformation (AMRUT) scheme. The funds under this scheme should be used for the development of amusement parks and beautification of the town, apart from development of cemeteries.

About Rs. 18 crores will be used for completion of the pending drainage project, while two pump houses will be constructed to treat storm water and avoid water logging and inundation of low-lying areas.

News 32 - Union Government to invest around Rs. 75,000 crores to strengthen highway infra in UP

Highway Infra in UP

The Union Government will invest about 75,000 crore rupees in augmenting highway infrastructure in Uttar Pradesh over the next two years through National Highways Authority of India, NHAI and State Public Works Department, PWD.

The work on 31 major highways projects is underway at a cost of over nineteen thousand crore rupees. Besides, 24 major projects were also awarded during last two years at a cost of about 17 thousand core rupees. Eight projects have been completed in the state during last two years while 15 projects are likely to be awarded in the next 12 months.

News 33 - President embarks on a three nation Africa tour

Pranab Mukherjee

President Pranab Mukherjee has embarked on a six-day visit to Ghana, Cote d’Ivoire and Namibia from Sunday, June 12. The President will hold meetings with respective heads of the three nations and a number of bilateral agreements are also likely to be signed during the visit.

The President will address a Joint Business Forum and the students and faculty of University of Ghana. He will also unveil a statue of Mahatma Gandhi gifted by the Indian Council of Cultural Relations. He will have a meeting with Republic of Cote d'Ivoire President Alassane Ouattara and also sign a number of agreements. He will arrive in the Namibian capital Windhoek on June 15.

News 34 - ‘Yoga Medals’ to be instituted for paramilitary troops

Yoga Medals

The Union Government has proposed to institute ‘Yoga Medals’ for Central paramilitary troops for displaying exceptional skills in the ancient discipline for physical, mental and spiritual well-being. It also has plans to reemploy retiring personnel of the Central Armed Police Forces as Master Yoga Trainers which will help create a constant resource pool of teachers.

Around 30,000 personnel will take part in the International Yoga Day, which will be held on June 21.

News 35 - India to provide a Rs. 48 million worth financial assistance for a College Building in Nepal

India Promised to Nepal

India has promised a financial assistance of 48 million rupees to Nepal for construction of a college building in the capital Kathmandu. Indian Ambassador to Nepal, Ranjit Rae laid the foundation stone of the building for Koteshwor Multiple Campus in the Kathmandu district.

India has provided a financial aid of over 500 million rupees to Nepal in the last financial year to help the quake struck country renovate, restore and upgrade its various religious, cultural and educational institutions.

News 36 - Work on Jal Marg Vikas project takes off

Jal Marg Vikas project

The Jal Marg Vikas (National Waterway – 1) project has taken off with a $3.5 million funding from the World Bank. It is a project on the river Ganga, being developed between Allahabad and Haldia to cover a distance of 1620 kms at an estimated cost of Rs. 4,200 crore, to be completed in six years. The project envisages development of a fairway with threemeter depth, which would enable commercial navigation of at least 1500 tonne vessels on the river.

The Central Government has designated the IWAI as the implementing agency.

News 37 - ‘The Central Port Authorities Act’ 2016’ to replace the ‘Major Port Trust Act, 1963’

Major Port Trust Act

The Ministry of Shipping has prepared a draft bill ‘The Central Port Authorities Act, 2016’ which will replace the ‘Major Port Trust Act, 1963’ in order to give more autonomy and flexibility to the Major Ports and to bring in a professional approach in their governance.

The salient features of this new Bill are:

  • Composition of board has been simplified.

  • Concept of internal audit of the functions and activities of the Central Ports has been introduced on the lines of Companies Act, 2015 (Section 25).

  • Provisions of CSR & development of infrastructure by Port Authority have been introduced.

News 38 - India and Ghana sign three agreements

India and Ghana

India and Ghana have signed three bilateral agreements during the first ever visit of President Pranab Mukherjee to Ghana. The agreements were signed after delegation-level talks between President Pranab Mukherjee and President of Ghana, John Dramani Mahama.

These include:

  • The exemption of VISA requirements of diplomatic passport holders.

  • A Memorandum of Understanding on the establishment of Joint commission which will periodically review various aspects of the multi-dimensional ties between the two countries.

  • A Memorandum of Understanding on foreign services between the two Foreign Affairs Ministries.

India is the largest foreign investor in Ghana with more than 700 projects.

News 39 - The Draft Wetlands Conservation and Management 2016 Rules released

Draft Wetlands Conservation and Management

The Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change unveiled the Draft Wetlands (Conservation and Management) Rules, 2016 for public comments, replacing the Wetland (Conservation and Management) Rules of 2010.

The new set of rules will protect the wetlands across the country in a more effective way from damage inflicted upon the network of lakes and water bodies spread across the two cities that used to act as natural buffers/storage points of seasonal rain water.

News 40 - National Wind–Solar Hybrid Policy 2016 released

National Wind–Solar Hybrid Policy

The Draft National Wind-Solar Hybrid Policy 2016 unveiled by Union Ministry of New and Renewable Energy with the aim of installing capacity of 175 Gigawatts (GW) from renewable energy sources by 2022. It includes 100 GW from solar and 60 GW from wind. The country has already achieved target of 26.8 GW of wind and 7.6 GW of solar power installed capacity during May 2016.

This Draft National Wind-Solar Hybrid Policy is made and kept for views of the stakeholders. The same will be submitted by June 30, 2016. Under the category of wind-solar hybrid power plants, wind and solar PV systems will be installed to operate at the same point of grid connection.

News 41 - Indian Prime Minister’s RAPID mantra for Tax Administrators

RAPID mantra

The Prime Minister outlined a five-point charter for tax administrators – RAPID: R for Revenue, A for Accountability, P for Probity, I for Information and D for Digitization at the Rajasva Gyan Sangam, a two-day Annual Conference of Senior Tax Administrators in New Delhi. He stressed on the need for tax administrators to engender trust in the system and encouraged the officers for a free and frank exchange of ideas.

Some of the officers expressed their views on diverse subjects such as digitization, voluntary tax compliance, facilitation for taxpayers, increasing the tax base, upgradation of digital and physical infrastructure for tax administrators etc.

News 42 - Vidyanjali Mobile App launched by the HRD Ministry

Vidyanjali Mobile App

The Union Minister for Human Resource Development launched a mobile app Vidyanjali – a school volunteer program to the nation. Vidyanjali is a step forward in creating an ecosystem, wherein education will be attached with imbibing knowledge and improving learning output. This program is designed to involve volunteers from different walks of life to strengthen the co-scholastic activities in government schools.

This program will be piloted across 21 States. The volunteers can register for free by visiting the MyGov.in or though the mobile app. MyGov team will create a module under Vidyanjali, wherein the NRI community or others, who want to contribute by providing additional teaching-learning aids like books etc. and other resources, can do so in conjunction with the state and district administration.

News 43 - Railway Ministry unveiled policies on Parcel Leasing and Parcel Cargo Train Express

Parcel Leasing and Cargo Train Express

The Minister of Railways Shri Suresh Prabhakar Prabhu launched a liberalized comprehensive parcel leasing policy and a liberalized policy for parcel cargo express trains. This Liberalized ‘Comprehensive Parcel Leasing Policy (CPLP) will bring stability and adequate time for business development as the duration of parcel leasing is increased from 3 years to 5 years.

This Liberalized policy on ‘Parcel Cargo Express Trains (PCET) will increase duration of contract from 3 years to 6 years to give stability and minimum composition of PCET reduced to 15 vans. These policies were launched as a part of the Rail Budget announcement of the fiscal year 2016-17. It seeks to make the policy related to Parcel more liberalized and customer friendly.

News 44 - The Union Cabinet approved a Bill to fast track recovery of bad loans

Fast Track Recovery

The Cabinet approved an ex-facto bill called as 'The Enforcement of Security Interest and Recovery of Debts Laws and Miscellaneous Provisions Bill, 2016 to amend the debt recovery laws, improving the ease of doing business and facilitate investment leading to higher economic growth and development.

The bill seeks to make changes to four legislations (SARFAESI) Act, 2002, Recovery of Debts due to Banks and Financial Institutions Act, 1993, the Indian Stamp Act, 1899 and the Depositories Act, 1996. A Parliamentary Joint Committee has invited views and suggestions from various stakeholders and public on the provisions of the Bill by June 22.

News 45 - Vidyut Pravah and Urja Mobile App launched in Goa

Vidyut Pravah and Urja Mobile App

The Union Minister of State (IC) for Power, Coal and New and Renewable Energy launched ‘URJA’ – Urban Jyoti Abhiyaan Mobile app developed by the Power Finance Corporation to enhance consumer connect with the Urban Power Distribution sector by providing information of IT enabled towns on important parameters which concern the consumers like outage information, timely release of connections, addressing complaints, power reliability etc.

The Union Minister also launched the Pradhan Mantri UJALA (Unnat Jyoti by Affordable LED for all) Yojana in Goa with a target of replacing approximately 15 lakh LED bulbs, impacting nearly 5 lakh households. Under the scheme, consumers are entitled to 3 LED bulbs of 9W each at a subsidized rate of Rs.25/, as against a market price of Rs. 300-350. It will help save over 78 million kwh every year in the state and about Rs. 850-1000 on annual electricity bills.

News 46 - Thailand PM on a three-day New Delhi visit

Prayut Chan-o-cha

The Thai Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha came to India on a 3-day visit in New Delhi to boost bilateral cooperation in areas of trade and investment, defence, security and tourism. Discussions took place to expand maritime security cooperation, deal with threat of terrorism, strengthen trade relations, mainly situation related to South China Sea and issues related to the proposed Free Trade Agreement.

Earlier Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra had paid a State visit to India in January 2012 and was the Chief Guest for the Republic Day celebrations. Thailand has shown interest in joint ventures in defence production and procurement of defence platforms from India.

News 47 - Cargo Express the 1st time-tabled freight train flagged off by the Railway Ministry

Cargo Express

The Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu flagged off their first time-tabled container train to be popularly known as ‘Cargo Express’ between stations Domestic Container Terminal (Okhla) and Bengaluru, to ensure the goods train reach on time.

Two pairs of time-tabled trains have been proposed by the Container Corporation of India (Concor) to start with between DelhiBengaluru (2,278 kms) and Delhi-Chennai (2,160 kms). The transit time for both the services is of 70 hours on each side. A wide range of domestic piecemeal traffic is targeted for movement between these two pairs (terminals).

News 48 - A new SoS Mobile App launched to help senior citizens

HelpAge India

The HelpAge India introduced a security app for elders in connection with the World Elder Abuse Awareness Day launched by Lieutenant Governor Kiran Bedi at the Raj Nivas. This App serves the main purpose of helping senior citizens in distress. It has a 24*7 emergency SOS – Save our Seniors button to immediately reach to the counsellor desk of Help Age for rendering emergency help and assistance, apart from health related information.

This app can be downloaded from www.helpageindia.org or from the Google Play Store. This app is GPS enabled and picks up the location of the caller and will dial into the particular State Office.

News 49 - Cabinet approves a Special Package for Job Creation & Export Promotion in Textile & Apparel Sector

Textile and Apparel Sector

The Union Cabinet has given its approval for a special package for employment generation and promotion of exports in Textile and Apparel sector. The Government will infuse an additional 10% subsidy on new units in textiles in addition of 15% it is already giving in the sector. It is expected that the measures will result in generation of more than one crore jobs. The sector will also witness a record investment of Rs. 74000 crores which will result in a cumulative increase of US $30 Billion in the export earnings.

The Government shall bear the entire 12% of the employers' contribution of the Employers Provident Fund Scheme for new employees of garment industry for the first 3 years who are earning less than Rs. 15,000 per month. Apart from that the Overtime hours for workers will not exceed 8 hours per week in line with ILO norms.

News 50 - Arun Jaitley releases a Commemorative Silver Coin to mark 300th Martyrdom Day of Banda Singh Bahadur

arun jaitley

The Union Minister Arun Jaitley released a Commemorative Silver Coin to mark the 300th martyrdom day of the Sikh General Banda Singh Bahadur.

General Bahadur is considered to be the first sovereign ruler of Punjab. He was given the title of Bahadur by the 10th Sikh Guru Guru Gobind Singh who appointed him as his deputy and military lieutenant. He sacrificed his life at the age of 46 to protect honor and tradition. He established his rule by defeating Mughals in 1710. Later in 1716, he was captured and executed by the Mughals in Delhi.

News 51 - Withdrawal of the Drugs and Cosmetics (Amendment) Bill, 2013

Drugs and Cosmetics

The Union Cabinet has decided to withdraw the Drugs and Cosmetics (Amendment) Bill, 2013, after it was examined by the Standing Committee of Parliament which had made a number of recommendations for changing the provisions of the Bill.

The Cabinet has decided that it will not be appropriate to carry out further amendments in the present Act especially as newer areas of biological, stem cells and regenerative medicines, medical devices and clinical trial/investigation, etc. cannot be effectively regulated under the existing law.

News 52 - Cabinet approves MoU between India and Germany

India and Germany

The Union Cabinet has been apprised of signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Steinbeis GmbH Co. KG for Technologietransfer, Germany on technology resourcing in manufacturing, including sub-sectors of Capital Goods. The MoU was signed on the 25th April, 2016 during the Industrial Exhibition Hannover Messe 2016 in Hannover, Germany.

This MoU will provide a platform to various public sector undertakings and Capital Goods Sector units to have easy access to capabilities and expertise of Steinbeis GmbH for identifying and plugging technology gaps.

News 53 - Establishment of Fund of Funds for funding support to Startups

Start-ups

The Union Cabinet has approved the establishment of a "Fund of Funds for Startups" (FFS) at Small Industries Development Bank of India (SIDBI) for contribution to various Alternative Investment Funds (AIF), registered with Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) which would extend funding support to Startups. This is in line with the Startup India Action Plan unveiled by Government in January 2016.

The corpus of FFS is Rs. 10,000 crores which shall be built up over the 14th and 15th Finance Commission cycles subject to progress of the scheme and availability of funds. An amount of Rs. 500 crores have already been provided to the corpus of FFS in 2015-16 and Rs. 600 crores earmarked in the 2016-17. The Fund is expected to generate employment for 18 lakh persons on full deployment.

News 54 - Cabinet clears way for a mega auction of over 2300 MHz Spectrum

Mega Auction

The Union Cabinet cleared the way for a mega auction of more than 2300 Megahertz of spectrum across seven bands. The bands are 700, 800, 900, 1800, 2100, 2300 and 2500 MHz. The availability of such a large quantity of spectrum will allow telecom operators to purchase spectrum at par with international holding values and end spectrum shortage. The auction is expected to commence in September.

The auction would include sale of the most premium 700 Mhz band at a reserve price of Rs. 11,485 crores per Mhz. The cost of delivering mobile services in this band is estimated to be around 70% lower than 2100 Mhz band, used for providing 3G services. This band alone has the potential to fetch bids worth over Rs 4 lakh crore. The total potential revenue of Rs. 5.66 lakh crore from the spectrum sale is more than double of telecom services industry gross revenue of Rs. 2.54 lakh crore reported in 2014-15.

News 55 - Union Cabinet extends the deadline for implementing UDAY scheme

UDAY scheme

The Union Government has extended the deadline till 31st March, 2017 for the states to join the Ujjwal Discom Assurance Yojana (UDAY) scheme for the revival of the debtladen power distribution utilities. The deadline for transferring discoms' debt to state budget and issuing bonds for 50% outstanding was done in March 31, 2016.

Only 19 States have given in-principle approval to join the scheme, out of which 10 states — Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, Punjab, Bihar, Haryana, Gujarat, Uttarakhand and Jammu & Kashmir — have signed MoUs with the Centre.

News 56 - Union Government launched the country’s first pilot program for CNG–fueled two-wheelers

CNG–fueled two-wheelers

In a major step to curb rising air pollution in the Indian cities, the Union Government launched the country’s first pilot program to run two wheelers on Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) in New Delhi under the “Hawa Badlo” movement, a people’s initiative to fight air pollution.

  • This program is implemented by Indraprastha Gas Limited (IGL) and GAIL (India) Limited.

  • It involves 50 CNG retrofitted two wheelers.

  • The CNG kit is manufactured by Ituk Manufacturing India Pvt. Ltd.

  • The approval of the CNG kit has been taken from Automotive Research Association of India (ARAI) as well as Delhi’s Transport Department.

News 57 - Centre approves setting up of District Level Advisory and Monitoring Committees

District Level Advisory and Monitoring Committees

The Union Ministry of Urban Development gave its approval to set up District Level Advisory and Monitoring Committees to promote people centric planning and execution of new urban development schemes. These Committees, a first of its kind, will oversee, review and monitor implementation of urban development, affordable housing and urban poverty alleviation programs. It will monitor schemes like Swachh Bharat Mission, Atal Mission for Rejuvenation and Urban Transformation (AMRUT), Heritage City Development and Augmentation Yojana (HRIDAY), Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana-Housing for All (Urban) and Deendayal Antyodaya Yojana-National Urban Livelihoods Mission.

The States/UTs would appoint the senior most Member of Parliament as the Chairperson of the Committee and two more MPs, one each from Rajya Sabha and Lok Sabha will be the Co-chairpersons.

News 58 - India, Switzerland sign MoU to establish cooperation in skill development

India, Switzerland

India and Switzerland signed MoU to enhance formal cooperation in the fields of skills development and vocational and professional education and training. The agreement will help institutionalize cooperation between the two countries in the field of skill development as well as it aims to promote Swiss vocational and professional education and training internationally.

The Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) was signed between State Secretary Mauro Dell' Ambrogio and Union Minister for Skill Development and Entrepreneurship Rajiv Pratap Rudy in Winterthur.

News 59 - Six States/UTs signed 24×7 “Power for All” documents

Power for All

Three States Mizoram, Jammu & Kashmir and Arunachal Pradesh and three Union Territories Delhi, Daman & Diu and Dadra & Nagar Haveli have signed the 24x7 “Power for All” (PFA) documents during the two day States Power Minister’s Conference held on 16-17th June, 2016 at Goa.

As on date, in partnership with all the States/UTs, 24x7 PFA documents have been finalized except Uttar Pradesh, out of which 28 States have already signed the Documents. The plans aim to provide each household access to electricity, 24x7 reliable Power supply and adequate supply to Agricultural consumers as per state policy by 2019.

News 60 - MoU inked between RD Ministry & ISRO for Geo-Tagging Assets

RD Ministry and ISRO

A Memorandum of Understanding was signed between the Rural Development Ministry and ISRO, Department of Space for geo-tagging the assets created under MGNREGA in each gram panchayat.

Around 30 lakh assets are created annually across the country under the rural job scheme and the Ministry has decided that through convergence with other schemes, the geotagging of such assets will be done on a mission mode.

News 61 - The Direct Tax Dispute Resolution Scheme 2016 becomes effective from 1st June

Direct Tax Dispute Resolution Scheme

The Direct Tax Dispute Resolution Scheme, 2016 incorporated as Chapter X of the Finance Act, 2016, came into force on the 1st of June, 2016 and Declarations under this Scheme may be made on or before the 31st December, 2016 in respect of tax arrears & specified tax.

The scheme allows for settlement of cases pending in various courts, tribunals, arbitration or mediation under the Bilateral Investment Protection Agreement (BIPA). Besides this scheme, a 6% equalization levy on crossborder digital transactions also came into force on 1st of June.

News 62 - Index of Eight Core Industries (Base: 2004-05 = 100) April, 2016

Index of Industrial Production

The Index of Industrial Production (IIP) of eight Core Industries for April 2016 was released on 31 May 2016. These eight industries comprise nearly 38 percent of the weight of items included in the Index.

The total of Indices of Eight Core Industries stands at 176.4 in April 2016 which is 8.5 percent more than that of April 2015. Its cumulative growth during April to March 201516 was 2.7 percent.

News 63 - Cabinet approves MoU between USA and India to enhance cooperation in wildlife conservation

Wildlife Conservation

The Union Cabinet gave its approval for signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between United States of America and India to enhance cooperation in the field of wildlife conservation and combating wildlife trafficking. The MoU seeks cooperation between the two countries in the following areas:

  • Wildlife Forensics and Conservation Genetics − Useful in species conservation efforts and better scientific evidence collection in wild life crimes leading to better enforcement.

  • Natural World Heritage Conservation − Facilitating the institutional capacity of the existing UNESCO Category -2 - centre at Wildlife Institute of India.

  • Nature Interpretation and Conservation Awareness − Use of information technology in strengthening interface of forest managers with the people for sensitising people, especially the youth and children in understanding complex issues of conservation of biological diversity.

News 64 - Indian Railways launches Janani Sewa Scheme

Janani Sewa Scheme

Making catering optional in identified Trains (Shatabdi & Rajdhani).

The Minister of Railways Shri Suresh Prabhakar Prabhu in a program held at Rail Bhawan, launched and dedicated the following services to the nation:

  • Announcement for Initiation of “Janani Sewa” – i.e. Hot Milk, Hot Water and Baby Food items at stations and children’s menu items on Trains.

  • Release of Brochure on “Passenger Business Initiatives”.

  • Release of Photo-Write- up on “Rail Hamsafar Saptaah”.

"JANANI SEWA" is being introduced on Indian Railways in order to mitigate the hardships of the mothers travelling with their infant. Under this scheme, Railways shall ensure availability of essential baby items like baby food, hot milk and hot water etc. at Railway Stations. This facility is being introduced at over 25 stations including New Delhi, Mumbai CSTM, Mumbai Central, Howrah, Chennai Central, Nagpur, Pune, Surat, Lucknow, Moradabad etc.

News 65 - Centre orders import of 12,500 tonnes of pulses for buffer stocks

Pulses for Buffer Stocks

The Union Government has ordered import of 12,500 tonnes of pulses for buffer stocks to ensure the availability of commodity at reasonable prices. Of this, 10,000 tonnes will be Masur and 2500 tonnes will be Urad. So far, over 14000 tonnes of pulses have already been imported by the government agencies against the total contracted quantity of 38500 tonnes.

The National Cooperative Consumers' Federation, NCCF has been asked to start distribution of Tur and Urad pulses through mobile vans in Delhi at the rate of 120 rupees per kilogram. Procurement of Rabi pulses has reached to 64000 tonnes till 13th of June. With this so far total domestic procurement of pulses by government agencies has reached 1,15,000 tonnes.

News 66 - Measures approved by Cabinet for Conservation & Preservation of Lakes in Bengaluru

Conservation and Preservation of Lakes

The Government has approved a series of measures for the abatement of pollution and for the conservation and preservation of lakes in Bengaluru. It has been decided to initiate 24x7 online monitoring of all Sewage Treatment Plants (STPs), as well as lake water quality to be by concerned authorities in Bengaluru.

The lakes will be restored in a bio-diverse manner in Public-Private Partnership mode. Some of the other actions include to install STP in all residential group housing projects/apartments with >20 units and total build-up area of 2000 sq. meters. Lake Wardens will be appointed for involvement of public in lake conservation. Projects totaling to Rs. 887.97 crores relating to sewerage system and STPs in Bengaluru have been approved under AMRUT program of Ministry of Urban Development.

News 67 - Cabinet approved signing of contract for Exploration of Poly Metallic Sulphides

Poly Metallic Sulphides

The Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi has given his approval for signing of 15 years contract by the Ministry of Earth Sciences with the International Seabed Authority (ISA) for undertaking exploration and other developmental activities related to Polymetallic Sulphides in the allotted area of 10,000 sq. km.

By signing the 15-year contract, India's exclusive rights for exploration of Polymetallic Sulphides in the allotted Area in the Central Indian Ridge, and South West Indian Ridge in Indian Ocean will be formalized. Further, it will enhance India's presence in the Indian Ocean where other players like China, Korea and Germany are active.

News 68 - Cabinet approved India’s Membership of the International Continental Scientific Drilling Program

ICDP

The Union Cabinet chaired by the Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi has given its approval for Indian membership of the International Continental Scientific Drilling Program (ICDP) consortium by signing an MoU with the Helmholtz Centre Potsdam GFZ German Research Centre for geosciences.

By signing the MoU on the membership for a period of five years with ICDP, India would enable engaging internationally renowned experts with profound expertise in different aspects of scientific drilling in order to accomplish deep drilling and associated investigations in Koyna region. As a part of the membership agreement, India will get a seat on two ICDP panels - Executive Committee (EC) and Assembly of Governors (AOG).

News 69 - Bilateral relations MOU approved between India and Taiwan

India and Taiwan

India's cabinet gave its nod to the signing of an air services agreement between India and Taiwan and in the field of in the field of agriculture and related sectors. The MOU will help to boost bilateral relations between the two countries and advance bilateral economic and trade cooperation. The other MOU approved by the cabinet provides for cooperation in agriculture, horticulture, animal husbandry, fisheries, aquaculture and food processing.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi approved the inking of the Air Services Agreement between the Taipei Economic and Cultural Centre in India and the India-Taipei Association in Taiwan.

News 70 - Government Launches a Scheme for setting up a 1000 MW CTU

Central Transmission Utility

The Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE) has launched Scheme for setting up of 1000 MW Wind Power Project connected to transmission network of Central Transmission Utility (CTU) with an objective to facilitate supply of wind power to the non-windy states at a price discovered through transparent bidding process.

The Government of India has set an ambitious target of achieving 175 GW power capacity from renewable energy resources by 2022 and out of this 60 GW has to come from wind power. The Scheme will be implemented for setting up 1000 MW capacity of CTU connected Wind Power Projects by Wind Project Developers on build, own and operate basis. However, the capacity may go higher than 1000 MW, if there is higher demand from Discoms of nonwindy states.

News 71 - Cabinet approves Civil Aviation Policy

Civil Aviation Policy

The much awaited National Civil Aviation Policy that seeks to strengthen the regional connectivity and tap the sector's high growth potential was today cleared by the Union Cabinet. The Civil Aviation Minister Ashok Gajapathi Raju said the policy is a "game changer" and that the country's aviation sector is poised to become the world's third largest by 2022.

This policy has been finalized after nearly eight months since the Ministry came out with the revised draft in October 2015 and follows many rounds of deliberations with stakeholders. The NDA government had for the first time unveiled the policy draft in November 2014.

News 72 - Cabinet appraisal of MoU between ISRO and Canadian Space Agency (CSA) on cooperation in the field of outer space

ISRO and Canadian Space Agency

The Union Cabinet has been apprised of the Memorandum of Understanding between Department of Space / Indian Space Research Organization (DOS/ISRO) and Canadian Space Agency (CSA) on cooperation in the field of outer space. The MoU was signed in Ottawa, Canada on 15th April 2015.

The MoU would lead to establishment of joint team, drawing members from ISRO and CSA, which will further work out the plan of action including examination and defining cooperative projects and the time-frame. This will also provide opportunities for diverse research in the field of peaceful uses of space technologies.

News 73 - Cabinet approves the Agreement between India and Saudi Arabia on Labour Co-operation for General Category Workers’ Recruitment

India and Saudi Arabia

The Union Cabinet has given its ex-post facto approval for the Agreement on Labour Co-operation between India and Saudi Arabia. The Agreement was signed in Riyadh on 2-3 April, 2016 during the visit of the Prime Minister to Saudi Arabia.

The Agreement would benefit the Indian emigrant workers, especially in the unskilled, semi-skilled and skilled categories of workers who are working in Saudi Arabia without consideration of caste, creed, religion or gender.

“The Union Cabinet chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi has given its ex-post facto approval for the Agreement on Labour Co-operation between India and Saudi Arabia,” a press release said.

News 74: Union Ministry of AYUSH released a song for the International Day of Yoga – 2016

Ayush

The Ministry of AYUSH released a Yog Geet (song) with regards to the celebration of the second International Day of Yoga. The threeminute- 15-seconds song in Hindi, is written and produced by Deeraj Saraswat and has been voiced by Gandhar TD Jadhav and Gatha Jadhav. The music of the song is composed by Sumanto Ray.

A National-Level Competition for selection of a ‘Yog Geet’ was organized by the Ministry of AYUSH. Around 1000 entries were received by the Ministry and the song was finalized from 19 short-listed songs.

News 75: The Union Government bans the use of Potassium Bromate as a food additive

Potassium Bromate

The Government has banned the use of potassium bromate as a food additive. The notification regarding it was issued after a Centre for Science and Environment (CSE) study that found its presence in bread to be carcinogenic.

The Food Safety Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) has also referred potassium iodate to a scientific panel since it is also claimed to be carcinogenic and is being used as a food additive.

News 76: The Union Government launches Urja Mobile App

Urja Mobile App

The Union Minister of State (IC) for Power, Coal and New and Renewable Energy Shri Piyush Goyal today launched ‘URJA’ – Urban Jyoti Abhiyaan Mobile app. This app is developed by the Power Finance Corporation.

This app was developed to enhance the consumer connect with the Urban Power Distribution sector. It provided information on important parameters which concern the consumers like outage information, timely release of connections, addressing complaints, power reliability etc.

News 77: Microsoft inked agreement with AICTE to build app for HRD ministry's SWAYAM platform

swayam

Microsoft has signed a deal of 38 crore rupees with All India Council of Technical Education (AICTE) to build a mobile Application (app) for Union Human Resources Development Ministry's SWAYAM (Study Webs of Active-Learning for Young Aspiring Minds) platform. The platform will launch 2000 Massive Open Online Courses (MOOC) for over three crore students in 2016.

Microsoft will run the app for three years and then it will be taken over by AICTE.

News 78: India and Thailand signed 2 agreements on cooperation in culture and education sectors

India and Thailand

India and Thailand have signed two agreements in culture and educational sectors to boost bilateral ties. A Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) was inked between India’s Nagaland University and Thailand’s Chiang Mai University. While, an agreement was signed for the extension of the Cultural Exchange Program (CEP) between both the countries for the tenure of 2016-19.

The agreements were signed in New Delhi during the official 3-day state visit of the Thailand Prime Minister General Prayut Chan-o-cha.

News 79: India, South Korea launch Korea Plus

Korea Plus

India and South Korea launched Korea Plus, a special initiative to promote and facilitate Korean Investments in India. Korea Plus will act as a mediator in arranging meetings, assisting in public relations and research/evaluation and provide information and counselling in regard to Korean companies’ investing in India.

Korea Plus comprises of a representative from the Ministry of Industry, Trade and Energy, Government of the Republic of Korea and representative from Korea Trade Investment and Promotion Agency (KOTRA) and three representatives from Invest India, the National Investment Promotion & Facilitation Agency of India.

News 80: India signs two MoUs with Namibia on capacity building for civil servants, centre of excellence in ICT

MoUs

India and Namibia signed two Memorandums of Understandings (MoU) after a dialogue between President Mukherjee and his Namibian counterpart Hage Geingob.

The two MoUs are:

  • Capacity building for civil servants of Namibia

  • To set up of centre of excellence in Information and Communications Technology (ICT)

Namibia has also assured to honour the deal signed with India in 2009 to supply Uranium for civil use. The two countries also discussed ways to enhance co-operation in the mining and exploration of other minerals including zinc and marble.

News 81: ADB has approved $500 million loan to build India’s longest river bridge (9.8 km) across Ganga near Patna

ADB

The Asian Development Bank (ADB) approved a $500 million loan to build a bridge across India’s Ganges River. The 9.8 kilometer (km) road bridge in the northeastern state of Bihar will be India’s longest river bridge. The bridge is expected to provide vital transport links between the northern and southern parts of the state and with neighboring Nepal.

Along with ADB’s loan and $900,000 in technical assistance to improve bridge operation and management, the state government of Bihar will provide support equivalent to $215 million. The project will run for about 4 years with an expected completion date of the end of December 2020.

News 82: Prime Minister launches the Smart City Mission into implementation mode

Smart City Mission

Our Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi launched the flagship Smart City Mission into implementation mode with launch of 14 projects of Pune’s Smart City Plan, exactly a year after he set off the mission by releasing the Mission Guidelines. The mission is meant for ensuring availability of all basic services to the people through necessary infrastructure including houses for urban poor in a comprehensive manner.

The Prime Minister also launched ‘Make Your City Smart’ contest inviting people to come out with designs for street, junctions and open spaces and a ‘Smart Net Portal’ which is a net based platform for sharing of ideas and sourcing of solutions for smart city development.

News 83: MNRE sets Target of Setting up One Lakh Family Type Biogas Plants for FY 2016-17

The Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE) has allocated to the States /UTs an annual target of setting up one lakh family size biogas plants (1 m3 to 6 m3capacity) for the current year, 2016-17. This will result in a likely saving of about 21,90,000 LPG cooking cylinders annually.

The MNRE is implementing a National Biogas and Manure Management Progamme (NBMMP) for setting up family type biogas plants in the country. The objective of the scheme is to provide clean gaseous fuel for cooking and organic bio-manure as a by-product in the form of biogas plant left over slurry, which contains higher values of Nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium (N, P&K).

News 84: Union Government launched the Pradhan Mantri Surakshit Matritva Abhiyan

Surakshit Matritva Abhiyan

The Union Government on 9th June 2016 launched the Pradhan Mantri Surakshit Matritva Abhiyan (PMSMA). The scheme has been launched with the objective of boosting the health care facilities for the pregnant women, especially the poor. It is applicable only to the women in their pregnancy period of 3 to 6 months and will be given free health check-up and required treatment on 9th of every month.

The highlights of Pradhan Mantri Surakshit Matritva Abhiyan are:

  • Tests will take place at the medical centres, government and private hospitals and private clinics across the country.

  • Women will be marked differently based on their health problems so that doctors can easily detect the problem.

  • The women belonging to semi urban, poor and rural areas will be given preferences.

News 85: Exercise Jalrahat a Joint Initiative by State Govt and Armed Forces for Flood Relief in Assam Commences

Flood Relief

The much awaited event, Exercise JALRAHAT commenced at Narangi Cantt. Exercise JALRAHAT is a joint initiative taken by the Assam State Govt and the Armed Forces that is being led by GAJRAJ Corps with full support from HQ Eastern Command.

In addition to Exercise Jalrahat based on Flood Relief in an urban setting, Indian Navy will be carrying out Exercise Prakampana based on relief and assistance in case of a super cyclone at Vizag, Andhra Pradesh in August 2016 and Indian Air Force will be undertaking Exercise Sahayta based on relief and assistance in case of a major earthquake at Bhuj, Gujrat. All these will be joint exercises like Exercise Jalrahat.

News 86: CSIR-CIMFR signed MoU for coal quality analysis

CSIR-CIMFR

The Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) - Centre Institute of Mining and Fuel Research (CSIR-CIMFR) signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Coal Supplying companies and Power Utilities for quality analysis of coal being supplied to power utilities by coal companies.

The CSIR–CIMFR would make use of its knowledge based support in maintaining the quality of coal at national level for the entire power sector. It is estimated that about 300 million metric tons of coal samples would be analyzed for quality per year. The contract value of the project is around Rs 250 crore per annum at minimum.

News 87: World Bank Approves US$ 201.50 Million for Improving the Quality of Engineering Education

World Bank

The World Bank’s Board of Executive Directors approved 201.50 million US dollars for Technical Education Quality Improvement Project (TEQIP III) in India to enhance quality and equity in participating engineering education institutes and improve the efficiency of the engineering education system in focus states.

The maturity period for the project is 25 years with an additional 5-year grace period. The total project cost is USD 403.00 million.

News 88: FSSAI signed MoU with ASCI to address misleading advertisements in the F&B sector

FSSAI

The Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) has signed an MoU partnering with the Advertising Standard Council of India (ASCI). ASCI will comprehensively monitor these advertisements across various media. It has been given a suo moto monitoring mandate by FSSAI to process complaints against misleading F&B advertisements.

This MoU also requires ASCI to report to FSSAI noncompliance of ASCI’s decisions for further action as required per provisions of FSSAI Act.

News 89: Cabinet clears National Mineral Exploration Policy

Mineral Exploration Policy

The Union Cabinet has cleared the National Mineral Exploration Policy (NMEP). The NMEP primarily aims at accelerating the exploration activity in the country through enhanced participation of the private sector. With the approval, the government can auction 100 blocks that have been identified by the Geological Survey of India for exploration.

The Ministry of Mines will carry out auctioning of identified exploration blocks for exploration by private sector on revenue sharing basis in case their exploration leads to auctionable resources. The revenue will be borne by the successful bidder of those auctionable blocks.



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