INDIAN AFFAIRS – 1


Monthly Current Affairs January 2016 “INDIAN AFFAIRS – 1” key points to Remember.
LPG emergency helpline number 1906 launched
Oil Minister Dharmendra Pradhan has launched the LPG emergency helpline number 1906 for the cooking gas consumers across the country. The consumers can call on this helpline to seek assistance to deal with gas leakage. Pradhan asked the ministry and the top brass of oil marketing companies’ to make the number toll free. As for today, normal call rates will apply.
Kochi Metro gets first set of trains from Alstom
Kochi Metro Rail Ltd has received the first set of 25 trains for Kochi Metro from French company Alstom. The order was placed in August 2014 and the company today delivered the first set from its plant inside Sri City. The coaches have been manufactured at a tendered cost of ₹632.95 crore. All the 25 trains will be delivered by April 2017.
Mahindra & Mahindra on inaugurated a bio-CNG facility here to create carbon neutral ecosystem at Mahindra World City (MWC). Spread over 1,000 square metres, the facility will convert eight tonnes of food and kitchen waste generated daily at MWC, into 1,000m3 of raw biogas, Mahindra & Mahindra said in a statement.
PM unveils plaque for Foundation Stone of Delhi-Meerut Expressway
The Prime Minister Narendra Modi has unveiled a plaque to mark the laying of the foundation stone of the of 74 km long Delhi-Dasna-Meerut 14 lane Expressway and upgradation of 22 Km long Dasna-Hapur section of NH-24, at Sector-62 in Noida.
Inter-ministerial panel for coal gas to be set up soon
The government of India is all set up an inter-ministerial panel for the development of underground coal gasification in coal and lignite bearing areas. The eight-member panel under the chairmanship of Additional Secretary Coal will have members from ministries such as Petroleum and Natural Gas. The panel would also have members from Niti Aayog
and Central Mine Planning & Design Institute (CMPDI). The Union Cabinet has approved a policy for developing Underground Coal Gasification (UCG) in coal and lignite bearing areas in the country.
Govt announces Direct Benefit Transfer scheme for kerosene subsidy
The government announced the launch of Direct Benefit Transfer (DBT) for kerosene subsidy in a bid to cut down the diversion and black marketing of the fuel. The new scheme will be rolled out in 26 districts across eight states from 1 April, 2016 including Chhattisgarh, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Jharkhand, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Punjab and Rajasthan. The centre has allocated 86.85 lakh kilolitres of subsidised PDS kerosene to states in the current financial year even as total annual consumption stands at 71.3 lakh
kilolitres.
BSNL to set up 40,000 Wi-Fi Hotspots in the country
Public sector telecom major BSNL is working on setting up 40,000 Wi-Fi Hotspots in the country to counter its inadequacy in providing 4G data services. According to BSNL CMD Anupam Shrivastava they are at present neither a 4G service provider, nor do they have the relevant spectrum to launch this service. But to deal with this challenge, we are
working on a scheme to set up 40,000 WiFi Hotspots in the country, as it (Wi-Fi Hotspot) is faster than 4G services. Under the scheme, 500 Wi-Fi Hotspots have been set up in the country, and the company plans to increase them to 2,500 in the current financial year.
Nitin Gadkari announces road projects worth Rs 41,000 crore for Telangana
Union Minister Nitin Gadkari on January 4 announced road projects worth Rs 41,000 crore for Telangana. The announcement also includes two Express Highways from the state capital Hyderabad to Bengaluru in Karnataka and Vijayawada in Andhra Pradesh. The Union Road Transport and Highways Minister laid the foundation stone of 4-lane of Yadgir and Warangal
section of NH-202 (new NH-163) of length 99 km costing Rs 1,424 crore.
Nasscom opposes Airtel Zero, Free Basics plans
The industry body Nasscom has opposed Airtel Zero and Free Basics type platforms which it feels violate net neutrality principles by differentiating internet access for certain types of services. We at Nasscom oppose any model where TSPs (Telecom service providers) have a say or discretion in choosing a content that is made available at favourable rates or speeds etc.
Sachin Tendulkar named brand ambassador for diabetes awareness campaign
Cricket legend Sachin Tendulkar would be the brand ambassador for ‘changing diabetes’ for Novo Nordisk, world’s leading diabetes care company,announced on January 4. This programme in India is to fight against the lifestyle disease. The announcement supports Novo Nordisk’s efforts focused on creating awareness about diabetes and its related complications.
ARAI to collaborate with Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre
Automotive Research Association of India (ARAI) has joined hands with the Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre (VSSC) to develop a battery for passenger cars using technology. This will be useful to make batteries for space vehicles.
All IRNSS satellites to be in orbit by March: ISRO
Indian Space Research Organisation’s (ISRO) all the seven satellites of Indian Regional Navigation Satellite System (IRNSS) are expected to be in the orbit by March 2016. IRNSS-1E is slated for launch on January 20 from the space port of Sriharikota in Andhra Pradesh. Earlier ISRO launched four satellites. Another satellite IRNSS-1E is on the launch pad. It is slated for launch on January 20.
Paytm acquires Delhi-based company Shifu
Paytm, a mobile payment and commerce platform has acquired Shifu, a contextaware personal assistant application. Shifu mines the smartphone usage patterns of users and makes personalised and relevant recommendations to them. Through the acquisition, Paytm aims to leverage the tech infrastructure of Shifu to enrich the customer experience it offers to its users. The 20-member team behind Shifu has also come on board across various verticals at Paytm.
India, Myanmar craftsmanship collaborate at 30th Dastkari Haat
For the 30th edition of the annual festival which commenced on January 1, Dastkari Haat Samiti, supported by Ministry of External Affairs and the Embassy of India in Myanmar, has collaborated to exhibit traditional crafts like shell craft, basketry, mat weaving, handloom textile weaving,hyacinth grass weaving and jewellery from the neighbouring country. Artisans from Myanmar and their Indian counterparts are participating in a Crafts and Skill Development Workshop where new product designs will be created besides,
establishing “long term friendships.”
President Pranab Mukherjee gives assent to 5 key bills
President Pranab Mukherjee gave nod to the Arbitration and Conciliation (Amendment) Act; the Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Amendment Act; the Commercial Courts, Commercial Division and Commercial Appellate Division of High Courts Act; The Atomic Energy (Amendment) Act; and the Payment of Bonus (Amendment) Act, 2015. The Atomic Energy (Amendment) Act will allow state-run Nuclear Power Corporation of India Ltd (NPCIL) to have collaboration with other public sector undertakings in the nuclear field.
Home Minister approves 33% women posts in CAPFs
With a view to enhancing representation of women in Central Armed Police Forces (CAPFs), Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh has approved the 33% posts at Constable level for being filled up by women. The 33% reservation of Constable level posts in CRPF & CISF and 14-15% posts at Constable level in border guarding forces i.e. BSF, SSB & ITBP will
start immediately to begin with. The Committee on Empowerment of Women in its Sixth Report (Recommendation No.84) of the (2010-11) had recommended urgent need to provide due representation to women in paramilitary forces.
First Company of Ganga Task Force deployed Ganga Gram Yojana launched
The first company of Ganga Task force Battalion has been deployed at Garhmukteshwar to implement the Namami Gange Programme. Ganga Rejuvenation Minister Uma Bharti said that three such companies will be deployed soon at Kanpur, Varanasi and Allahabad. The Minister said the Jawans of the Ganga Task force will be deployed on the banks of the river Ganga to ensure that industry and civilians do not pollute the river.
Amputee mountaineer Arunima Sinha scales Mount Aconcagua in Argentina
Arunima Sinha, the amputee mountaineer who set a record by conquering Mount Everest, has added another feather to her cap by conquering Mount Aconcagua in Argentina. Arunima, in a statement, said she started her mission on the morning of December 12 and hoisted the Indian tricolour on December 25 at the summit. Aconcagua is the highest mountain outside Asia, at 6,960.8 metres. Arunima lost her left leg in a train accident in 2011 and she surprised the world by scaling Mt. Everest on May 21, 2013.
GOI abolishes export duty on iron ore pellets
The government of India has reduced export duty on iron ore pellets to zero from 5 percent, a move that will make the commodity more competitive amid subdued demand and weakening prices. In 2014, the government had levied a 5 percent export duty on iron ore pellets, which are value-added products of leftover material or low-grade iron ore
and are used in steel-making.
Tata Trusts and Mars join hands for agri development
Tata Trusts, India’s oldest philanthropic organisation, along with the $33 billion foods giant Mars Inc will invest in the country’s agri-food sector. The two will work together on agriculture development, malnutrition reduction and food safety improvement in Asia’s thirdlargest economy. Tata and Mars will collaborate on reducing aflatoxin (an invisible disease on crops that produces poisonous toxins) contamination in India’s supply chain, addressing malnutrition and improving crop productivity.
Ratan Tata Invests Undisclosed Amount in Tracxn
Top industrialist Ratan Tata has invested an undisclosed amount in startup research platform Tracxn. Tracxn was started in 2013 by ex-investors Neha Singh and Abhishek Goyal. It leverages data analytics to help venture capital funds, private equity firms, and strategy teams globally track the startup market and identify interesting investable companies.
GOI decides to directly shift from BS-IV to BS-VI Emission norms
Ministry of Road Transport & Highways has decided to leapfrog from BS-IV to BSVI emission norms directly by 01.04.2020. A unanimous decision was taken in a meeting chaired by Minister of Road Transport & Highways and Shipping Nitin Gadkari and attended by Minister of Heavy Industries and Public Enterprises Anant Geete, Minister of Environment,
Forest and Climate Change Prakash Javadekar, and Minister of Petroleum and Natural Gas Dharmendra Pradhan along with senior officials of the Ministries. Therefore, the Government has taken a bold decision to skip BS-V emission norms altogether.
Nitin Gadkari inaugurates the first River Information System of India
Union Minister of Shipping, Road Transport and Highways Nitin Gadkari inaugurated the River Information System (RIS) System in New Delhi. The first of its kind in India, the new system will facilitate safe and accurate navigation on National Waterway 1 on the Ganges River. RIS is being implemented under the overall responsibility of Inland Waterway
Authority of India, a statutory body administered by the Ministry of Shipping.
GOI approves closure of HMT Watches
The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs, chaired by the Prime Minister Narendra Modi, has given its approval for offering attractive VRS/VSS packages at 2007 pay scales to mitigate the hardships being faced by the employees of HMT Watches Ltd., HMT Chinar Watches Ltd. and HMT Bearings Ltd. and close their operations. The movable and immovable
assets of the companies will be disposed of as per the Govt. policy.
INS Kadmatt commissioned in the Indian Navy
Chief of Naval Staff Admiral RK Dhowan commissioned the second indigenous stealth Anti-Submarine Warfare (ASW) corvette INS Kadmatt in Visakhapatnam. It was built by M/s Garden Reach Shipbuilders and Engineers Ltd (GRSE) at Naval Dockyard. The Indian Navy has planned, in another 15 years, to strengthen science and technology and build warships indigenously in association with the Defence Research Development Organisation (DRDO) and public sector shipyards and private companies.
Govt to build 3 spl training centres for disabled sportsmen
The government will set up three state-ofthe-art centres in Punjab, Madhya Pradesh and Andhra Pradesh to provide special training and support to sportsmen who are differently-abled. They want to adopt the best practices and parameters adopted abroad. Detailed project report will be prepared and by April or May they will initiate the construction of the buildings. The centres will be set up in Zirakpur in Punjab, Ujjain in Madhya Pradesh and Visakhapatnam in Andhra Pradesh.
Petroleum and Natural Gas Ministry launches an online initiative to engage LPG consumers and citizens
The Ministry of Petroleum & Natural Gas (MoPNG) has launched an Online Initiative to engage the LPG Consumers and Citizens of India in providing efficient and citizen friendly services in LPG distribution. Following two online discussion forums have been launched and are available on myGov.in and mylpg.in for CitizenFriendly Services and Increasing LPG Coverage in the Country
International kite festival begins in Vadodara
The International Kite Festival has began at Surat and Rajkot in Gujarat with kiteflyers from 31 countries set to participate in the week-long event. The festival also
known as Uttarayana will be held in Vadodara, Bhavnagar, Ahmedabad city, Bhuj, Porbandar, Modhera and Khambhat cities. As many as 98 kiting experts from 31 countries will display their skills in these cities and towns during the festival. The event is open for the general public. According to the Indian calendar, the festival of Uttarayana marks the advent of summer.
GOI decides to merge Ministry of Overseas Indian Affairs with MEA
The government of India has decided to merge the Ministry of Overseas Indian Affairs (MOIA) with the External Affairs Ministry in sync with its broad principle of minimum government, maximum governance. The proposal for merger was cleared by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj. The decision has been taken to
avoid duplicity in work of the two ministries and for better coordination between them.
NPCI, CSE eGov launch Aadhaar enabled payment system
India’s retail payment platform NPCI and CSC eGov have jointly launched Aadhaar enabled payment system that will facilitate government entitlements such as NREGA as well as old age pension. The National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI) has collaborated with CSC eGovernance Services India to launch Aadhaar Enabled Payment System (AePS) at locations where CSC eGov has been acting as Business Correspondent of banks.
DRDO developed powerful ammo for Arjun Tank
Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) has developed a new ammunition for India’s main battle tank Arjun. The new ammunition is more destructive than the previous one and was successfully test fired at Chandipur in Odisha. The new Penetration-Cum Blast (PCB) and Thermobaric (TB) Ammunition is specially designed for Arjun. The research was carried out by DRDO’s two labs located in Pashan — Armament Research and Development Establishment (ARDE) and High Energy Materials Research Laboratory (HEMRL).
President promulgated Enemy Property (Amendment and Validation) Ordinance,2016
An ordinance to amend the 47-year-old Enemy Property Act has been approved by President Pranab Mukherjee to allow custodians to continue to hold sway over such properties. The ordinance amends the provisions of the Act declaring that all “enemy property” vested in the ‘custodian’ would continue to vest in the custodian irrespective of the death or
extinction of the enemy.
This Republic Day, French troops to be part of parade
On January 26th this year, India’s 67th Republic Day, the country will witness something unique — a foreign contingent marching with Indian troops in the Republic Day parade. French President Francois Hollande is this year’s chief guest. While the Indian and French heads of state oversee the celebrations, Indian and French troops will together march
down Rajpath.
24th edition of New Delhi World Book Fair begins Human Resource Minister Smriti Irani
inaugurated the 24th edition of the New Delhi World Book Fair which commenced in the Capital with China as the guest of honour country and a theme presentation of the cultural heritage of India. The nineday fair, touted as the largest in Asia, is hosting about 30 countries in which a series of programmes including panel discussions, dramas, classical and folk dances, workshops, discussions, authors’ meets, conferences, seminars and cultural programmes will be held.
Anil Ambani announces Rs 5000 crore naval investment
Reliance Defence Ltd has signed an accord with the Andhra Pradesh government to set up a naval facility along the country’s eastern coast with an initial investment of
Rs 5,000 crore ($748 million). Reliance Defence, a unit of billionaire Anil Ambani’s Reliance Infrastructure Ltd, plans to build submarines and aircraft carriers as well as
to provide services including maintenance and refitting of ships at the facility. It will be located 70 km south of Visakhapatnam in Andhra Pradesh.
BHEL commissions new Andhra thermal power unit
State-run Bharat Heavy Electricals Ltd (BHEL) has commissioned a 520-mw coalbased thermal power unit in Andhra Pradesh. The unit has been commissioned at the 2×520 mw Vizag Thermal Power Project of Hinduja National Power Company Limited (HNPCL), Visakhapatnam.
BSF starts ‘Operation Cold’ along International Border
Border Security Force (BSF) has launched ‘Operation Cold’ along the international border in Rajasthan covering Sriganganagar, Bikaner, Barmer and Jaisalmer that will continue till January 30. The Operation Cold was launched to contain any infiltration or intrusion from Pakistan in fog and cold wave weather conditions in the western desert. The
Operation that was scheduled for January 17 has been preponed in view of the Pathankot terror attack and the high security alert in the country ahead of the Republic Day.
Green panel nod for Reliance’s AAE-I subsea project
The Centre’s green panel has given the Coastal Regulation Zone (CRZ) clearance to Reliance Jio Infocom to build the Indian part of the Asia-Africa-Europe One (AAE- 1) submarine cable system at Mumbai. AAE-1, the largest next generation subsea cable system spanning around 25,000 km and linking South Asia to Africa and Europe via the Middle East,
is being constructed by a consortium of 17 global service providers. The Indian part of the project will be implemented by Reliance Jio.
RINL Inks MoU with Andhra Pradesh Government
RINL, the corporate entity of Visakhapatnam Steel Plant inked an MoU with the Government of Andhra Pradesh. The MoU has been signed during the 22nd CII Partnership Summit & First Sunrise AP Investment Meet, which is currently being held in Visakhapatnam. The Andhra Pradesh state government and RINL agreed on the importance of infrastructure and industrial development in Andhra Pradesh and also agreed for mutual cooperation for facilitating investments in Andhra Pradesh.
No Jallikattu in Tamil Nadu this year Days after the central government gave a go ahead to Jallikattu, the Supreme Court ruled that the bull-taming festival would
not be celebrated in Tamil Nadu this year. Hearing a bunch of petitions against the government order, the apex court stayed the Centre’s notification allowing
Jallikattu. The Animal Welfare Board had also filed a plea in the Supreme Court against the comeback of Jallikattu.
E-enabled Track and store management systems inaugurated
Minister of Railways Suresh Prabhakar Prabhu inaugurated Implementation of Eenabled Track Management System (TMS) & Mobile Application of TMS on Indian Railway and Track Inventory Management System on Northern Railways.
DAC approves major changes in Defence Procurement Procedure
The Government of India has approved major changes to the Defence Procurement Procedure (DPP). The Defence Acquisition Council, DAC chaired by the Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar which is the prime authority to lay down acquisition procedure gave its approval to the proposed changes. The new DPP (Defence Procurement Procedure) will streamline defence acquisitions made by the Defence establishments in India and give a big impetus to indigenisation through the ‘Make in India’ initiative.
Cabinet approves India joining IEA-OES
The Union Cabinet, chaired by the Prime Minister Narendra Modi has given its approval for India becoming a member country of the International Energy Agency – Ocean Energy Systems (IEA-OES) by signing the Implementing Agreement (IA). The nodal agency for the membership would be Earth System Science Organisation – National Institute of Ocean Technology (ESSO-NIOT) under the Ministry of Earth Sciences.
President gives assent to The Sugar Cess (Amendment) Bill, 2015
President Pranab Mukherjee has given his assent to the Sugar Cess (Amendment) Bill, 2015, raising the ceiling of the impost from Rs 25 to Rs 200 per quintal, a measure that will help sugarcane growers and cash-starved mills. Presidential assent to the bill, which will help the government meet its expenditure on interventions to ensure payment of dues to the sugarcane farmers, was granted on January 8.
IMD changes language in weather forecasting and redefines terms
The India Meteorological Department (IMD) has changed the languages and also redefined many of its terms to make the interface more audience friendly and fill the communication with civil administration. An official notification has been issued by the India Meteorological Department which lists out some new terms and redefined others, thus, doing
away with the outdated language.
GOI constitutes Arvind Panagariya committee to fast-track bullet train project
Fast-tracking implementation of the Mumbai-Ahmedabad bullet train, the Centre has set up a high-level panel headed by NITI Aayog Vice-Chairman Arvind Panagariya to sort out bilateral issues with a similar committee set up by Japan. The panel comprises the Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion Secretary, the Foreign Secretary, the Economic Affairs Secretary and the Railway Board Chairman. This panel will discuss all types of bilateral issues related to the first bullet train project of the country, including funding and regulatory matters for removing all hindrances to ensure smooth implementation.
BSNL starts 4G service with soft launch in Chandigarh
State-owned BSNL has started 4G services on non-commercial basis in Chandigarh promising broadband speed of up to 100 megabit per second (Mbps). The company’s local ads are promising broadband speed of up to 100 mbps on its Long Term Evolution (LTE) based 4G mobile service. BSNL has 4G spectrum across India except in Gujarat, Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu and Kolkata. The company selected through request for proposal will manage the networks while BSNL would share its revenue the successful bidder. It has been expanding its footprint on this model wherein it provides only bandwidth and the infrastructure is set up by its partner.
Tendulkar launches 2 Mumbai Rail Police safety initiatives
Cricket icon Sachin Tendulkar launched two initiatives by Mumbai Railway Police — SAMEEP (Safety Alert Messages Exclusively For Passengers) and B-Safe.SAMEEP is an effort towards instant communication with railway passengers in case of any eventuality. Under this scheme, the Railways Dept invite commuters to give Missed Call on 7208015207 or SMS MH RLY COP to 166 to get registered. Those who get registered will be sent an SMS when required about important developments/disruptions, safety advisories, women security updates, correct information to dispel any rumours.
NE state capitals to be linked by rail by 2020: MoS Railways
Minister of State for Railways Manoj Sinha has announced that the capitals of all north-eastern states would be connected by rail by 2020 and Agartala would be brought onto the map of broad gauge network by March. Sinha today received the first broad gauge trial train in Agartala in the presence of state PWD Minister Badal Chowdhury and Transport
Minister Manik Dey.