Cabinet approves introduction of the Payment of Gratuity (Amendment) Bill, 2017
(Topic: Issues relating to development and management of Social Sector/Services relating to Health, Education, Human Resources)
Amendment: Will increase the maximum limit of gratuity of employees, in the private sector and in Public Sector Undertakings/ Autonomous Organizations under Government who are not covered under CCS (Pension) Rules, at par with Central Government employees.
Payment of Gratuity Act, 1972
Applies to establishments employing 10 or more persons; an important social security legislation to wage earning population in industries, factories and establishments.
To provide social security to workmen after retirement, whether retirement is a result of the rules of superannuation, or physical disablement or impairment of vital part of the body
Considering the inflation and wage increase even in case of employees engaged in private sector, the Government is of the view that the entitlement of gratuity should be revised for employees who are covered under the Payment of Gratuity Act, 1972
MOU between the Ministry of Corporate Affairs and Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) for Automatic and Regular Exchange of Information
(Topic: Statutory, regulatory and various quasi-judicial bodies)
Objective: To curb the menace of shell companies, money laundering and black money in the country and prevent misuse of corporate structure by shell companies for various illegal purposes
Facilitate the sharing of data and information between CBDT and MCA on an automatic and regular basis
Enable sharing of specific information such as Permanent Account Number (PAN) data in respect of corporates, Income Tax returns (ITRs) of corporates, financial statements filed with the Registrar by corporates, returns of allotment of shares, audit reports and statements of financial transactions (SFT) received from banks relating to corporates
Ensure that both MCA and CBDT have seamless PAN-CIN (Corporate Identity Number) and PAN-DIN (Director Identity Number) linkage for regulatory purposes.
CBDT and MCA will also exchange with each other, on request, any information available in their respective databases, for the purpose of carrying out scrutiny, inspection, investigation and prosecution.
MoU between India and Morocco on cooperation in the field of health
(Topic: India and its neighborhood- relations)
Non-communicable diseases, including child cardiovascular diseases and cancer;
Drug Regulation and Pharmaceutical quality control;
Maternal, child and neonatal health;
Hospital twinning for exchange of good practices;
Training in administration and management of health services and Hospitals;
Any other area of cooperation as may be mutually decided upon.
A sovereign country located in the Maghreb region of North Africa – Its capital is Rabat, and the largest city is Casablanca
Geographically, Morocco is characterised by a rugged mountainous interior, large tracts of desert and a lengthy coastline along the Atlantic Ocean and Mediterranean Sea.
Why might India be interested in Morocco –
Phosphates are used for fertilizer, making them extremely valuable to agrarian societies such as India. Moroccan phosphate resources are among the most extensive in the world.
India’s influence in Africa has waned over recent decades, with rival China increasing its economic presence. To improve its own position on the geopolitical stage, India must become more involved with the affairs of so large a continent as Africa. This is especially pertinent given India’s ambitions to obtain a permanent seat on the United Nations Security Council.
DBT-AIST International Laboratory for Advanced Biomedicine (DAILAB) to DAICENTER
(Topic: India and its neighborhood- relations)
Department of Biotechnology (DBT), Ministry of Science & Technology, announced the expansion of its first joint International laboratory with National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science & Technology (AIST) Japan named as DBT-AIST International Laboratory for Advanced Biomedicine (DAILAB) to DAICENTER.
New research projects on Translational and Environmental Research including Big Data in Biomedicine
New programs for educating and inspiring youth for science careers
New connectivity/bridge between universities-research institutes-industries at both ends to inspire innovation, application and industrialization of research for the benefit of society.
Dairy Processing & Infrastructure Development Fund
(Topic: Economics of animal-rearing)
Fund: Outlay of Rs 10,881 crore during the period from 2017-18 to 2028-29
Objective: Focus on building an efficient milk procurement system by
Setting up of chilling infrastructure
Installation of electronic milk adulteration testing equipment
Creation/modernization/expansion of processing infrastructure and manufacturing faculties for Value Added Products for the Milk Unions/ Milk Producer Companies
Implemented by: National Dairy Development Board (NDDB) and National Dairy Development Cooperation (NCDC) directly through the End Borrowers such as Milk Unions, State Dairy Federations, Multi-state Milk Cooperatives, Milk Producer Companies and NDDB subsidiaries meeting the eligibility criteria under the project
Monitoring of project activities: By Implementation and Monitoring Cell (IMC) located at NDDB, Anand
The end borrowers will get the loan @ 6.5% per annum.
The period of repayment will be 10 years with initial two years moratorium.
The respective State Government will be the guarantor of loan repayment
95,00,000 farmers in about 50,000 villages would be benefitted
Additional Milk processing capacity of 126 lakh litre per day, milk drying capacity of 210 MT per day, milk chilling capacity of 140 lakh litre per day, installation of 28000 Bulk Milk Coolers (BMCs) along with electronic milk adulteration testing equipment and value added products manufacturing capacity of 59.78 lakh litre per day of milk equivalent shall be created.
Generate direct employment opportunities for skilled, semi-skilled and unskilled manpower – for about 40,000 people will be created under the scheme through project activities like expansion & modernisation of existing milk processing facilities, setting up of new processing plants, establishment of manufacturing facilities for value added products and setting up of Bulk Milk Coolers (BMCs) at village level.
Indirect employment opportunities: About 2 lakh indirect employment opportunities will be created on account of expansion of milk and milk product marketing operations from existing Tier I, II & III to Tier IV, V & VI cities/towns etc. This will lead to deployment of more marketing staff by Milk Cooperatives, appointment of distributors and opening of additional milk booths/retail outlets in urban/rural locations.
Generation of additional manpower employment for supervision of increased milk procurement operations, transportation of milk from villages to processing units, and increased input delivery services like Artificial Insemination (AI) services, Veterinary Services, etc.
Compound Livestock Feed Manufacturers Association (CLFMA)
Established in 1977 with 233 members, Compound Livestock Feed Manufacturers Association of India (CLFMA) represents the entire livestock, poultry and aquaculture industry in the country
Livestock sector contributes 4% to the total GDP of the country and contributes 27% to the agriculture GDP; an important driver of ensuring the protein security for the common man
Provides livelihood to 2 crore small and marginal farmers
The prime objective is overall development of Animal Husbandry by promoting balanced feeding of animals in accordance with their nutritional requirements for deriving the maximum output from them through productivity improvement.
Scheme for Harnessing and Allocating Koyala (Coal) Transparently in India (SHAKTI)
Policy: For allocation of future coal linkages in a transparent manner for power sector – an important initiative in alleviating one key challenge in power sector, viz. lack of coal linkage and is expected to positively contribute in resolution of a number of stressed assets.
Impact: As a part of this policy, CIL/SCCL is to grant coal linkages on notified price on auction basis for Independent Power Producers (IPPs) having already concluded domestic coal based Power Purchase Agreement (PPAs), with the bidding parameter being levellised discount on existing tariff that the IPP is willing to provide. This is expected to result in a win-win situation of IPPs having a long term supply security of coal from a source of their choice while consumers will benefit from a lower tariff.
Mumbai – Ahmedabad High Speed Rail (MAHSR) project
Popularly known as the Ahmedabad-Mumbai bullet train, it is a visionary project which will herald a new era of safety, speed and service for the people and help Indian Railways become an international leader in scale, speed and skill.
MAHSR Project has “Make in India” & “Transfer of technology” objectives – ensure that most of the amount invested in this project would be spent and utilized within India.
This project is likely to generate employment for about 20,000 workers during the construction phase, and will be trained specially to take up construction of such projects in India. Some of the new areas where construction skills would be developed are ballast-less track, under sea tunnel etc.
High Speed Rail Training Institute is being developed at Vadodara – The facilities at this institute will be utilized to train about 4,000 staff in next three years, who will then be utilised for operation and maintenance ensuring that this work is through skilled people in India rather than foreign dependent. They will also serve as a backbone for future development of other High Speed Corridors in India.
Cutting edge Shinkansen Technology – With the presence and availability of this technology, India will be leapfrog to the cutting edge of latest train developments with passengers able to reach their destination in 2 hours as against the current 7-8 hours by train. Known for reliability and safety with proven track record of more than 50 years, with punctuality record being less than a minute with zero fatality.
30th Anniversary of Montreal protocol and 23rd World Ozone Day
(Topic: Conservation, environmental pollution and degradation, environmental impact assessment)
The year 2017 marks the 30th Anniversary of the Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer
One of the most successful global environmental treaties, the implementation of which has not only led to the phase-out of around 98% of ozone depleting chemicals, but also averted more than 135 billion tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent emissions.
Nearly 2 million cases of skin cancer per year have been averted globally.
The Montreal Protocol is the only environmental treaty which enjoys universal ratification of 197 UN member countries.
India and Montreal Protocol
During the Kigali negotiations, India piloted the concept of two base lines and a differentiated phased down time schedule to factor in the needs of developing countries. This was the first time in the Montreal Protocol that the concept of two baseline has been adopted both for developed and developing countries.
On India’s initiative, energy efficiency was included for the first time in the Montreal Protocol as an agreed finance solution while phasing down HFCs.
India has consciously chosen a path for most environment-friendly and energy efficient technologies, while phasing out Ozone Depleting substances, unlike many of the developed countries. India is among the few countries globally and a pioneer, in some cases, in the use of non-ODS low Global Warming Potential (GWP) technologies.
(Topic: Conservation, environmental pollution and degradation, environmental impact assessment)
A joint programme by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEF&CC) to strengthen capacity for REDD (Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation) implementation in India.
Brings together experts from India and the United States to develop technologies, tools and methods of forest management to meet the technical challenges of managing forests for the health of ecosystem, carbon stocks, biodiversity and livelihood
Exploring issues and opportunities for ecosystem approach to land management in India
Discussing how the approaches and tools developed under the Forest-PLUS programme can be used to improve forest management in India
To document and disseminate that learning with a wider group.
Jawaharlal Nehru Port Container Terminal (JNPCT) was awarded “Container Terminal of the Year” Award for the above 0.6 million TEUs category.
The Jawaharlal Nehru Port owned JNPCT won the award for its proactive strategies to ease congestion, smooth delivery of containers and revamping of infrastructure to support trade amidst adverse conditions.
The Gateway Award
It was instituted to recognise and promote best practices, innovation and motivation in the Indian Maritime industry.
The tenth edition of the Gateway Awards showcased the outstanding achievements and exceptional accomplishments of individuals and organisations in the Indian Maritime industry.
Navika Sagar Parikrama Expedition
(Topic: Various Security forces and agencies and their mandate)
6 women officers began their journey of circumnavigating the globe on board INSV Tarini – the first-ever Indian circumnavigation of the globe by an all-women crew.
Is in consonance with the National policy to empower women to attain their full potential
Aims to help discard the societal attitudes and mindset towards women in India by raising visibility of their participation in challenging environment.
Encourage the use of environment friendly non-conventional renewable energy resources and this expedition therefore aims at harnessing the renewable energy.
During the voyage, the crew would
Monitor and report marine pollution on the high seas
Interact extensively with local PIOs during various port halts to promote ocean sailing.
Collate and update Meteorological/ Ocean/ Wave data on a regular basis for accurate weather forecast by India Meteorological Department (IMD) and subsequent analysis by research and development organisations.
The expedition will be covered in five legs, with stop-overs at 4 ports viz. Fremantle (Australia), Lyttleton (New Zealand), Port Stanley (Falklands), and Cape Town (South Africa).
INSV Tarini is a 55-foot sailing vessel, which has been built indigenously, and was inducted in the Indian Navy earlier this year, thus showcasing the ‘Make in India’ initiative on the World forum.
Indigenous Development of Trawl System by DRDO
(Topic: Various Security forces and agencies and their mandate)
R&DE (Engrs), a premier system engineering laboratory under Armament & Combat Engineering (ACE) cluster of Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) has recently undertaken the design and development of Trawl System for the minefield area in the battle zone to meet the operational requirements of Indian Army.
Employed for breaching of land mines and creating a vehicle safe lane, through a minefield for the advancing columns of mechanized forces in combat zone
The equipment consists of Trawl roller, track width mine plough and electro- magnetic device (EMD), which caters to the need of all types of mines usually encountered by the battle tank in such a scenario. The Trawl System developed by DRDO is capable of breaching a variety of land mines including passive and active influence mines.
The Trawl system recently crossed a major milestone with the successful completion of blast trials in collaboration with HEMRL Pune, which demonstrated the survivability of the equipment, when subjected to successive series of blast directly underneath it. The fieldable prototype of the Trawl System is in final stage of realization and would be shortly ready for conduct of User Evaluation Trials by the Army.
The indigenous development of Trawls by DRDO is an important step towards achieving self-reliance in area of critical military equipment under ‘Make in India’ initiative and would result in saving of precious foreign exchange for the country.
Three attributes are important to be kept in mind when we talk about digital inclusion –
First, technology must be affordable;
Second, technology must lead to inclusion
Third, technology must be developmental
An International Homoeopathic conference was organized for the first time in Bengaluru.
‘Kumbh’: A documentary film based on Kumbh Mela produced by India Inspires Foundation in association with the Indus University.
The Central Zoo Authority (CZA) is a statutory body created under the provisions of the Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972 by the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change. It came into existence in 1992 to oversee the functioning of zoos and provide them technical and other assistance. Zoos in India are regulated under the provisions of the Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972 and are guided by the National Zoo Policy, 1998. The Government of India has formulated Recognition of Zoo Rules, 2009 to lay down standards and norms for management of zoos in the country. At present there are 166 recognized zoos in the country.
Belarus: A landlocked country in Eastern Europe – Capital: Minsk; bordered by Russia to the northeast, Ukraine to the south, Poland to the west, and Lithuania and Latvia to the northwest. (Locate it)
Additional 1% Dearness Allowance to Central Government employees and Dearness Relief to pensioners
Cabinet approves MoU between India and Armenia on Cooperation in the field of Disaster Management – enhance cooperation in the field of Disaster Management and contribute to the well-being and safety of the people of both the countries in the event of disaster. It will also result in exchange of information in the relevant fields of disaster management which is of mutual interest.
MoU between India and Japan for collaborative research in the field of silkworm and silk industries – Would help in developing prolific hybrid silkworms, which would improve the manufacturing capacity and the quality standards of the Indian sericulture industry and thereby enhance exports of silk and silk products.
Cabinet approves hiving off mobile tower assets of Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited into a separate company, fully owned by BSNL – authorizes BSNL to monetize its telecom tower infrastructure with the formation of a separate subsidiary company. An independent, dedicated tower company of BSNL with a focused approach will lead to increasing of external tenancies and consequentially higher revenue for the new company.
Three different business models within the telecom tower industry:-
Companies created by hiving off the tower assets portfolios of service providers into subsidiaries
Companies established as independent joint venture entities by service providers jointly
Companies promoted by specific service providers but established as independent entities with the promoter being the anchor tenant for the tower company.
Spiritual Capital of India – Varanasi
“Wood is Good” campaign launched during the Conference on “Sustainable Landscapes & Forest Ecosystems: Theory to Practice” – Wood is a climate-friendly material, as it is a renewable resource, having zero carbon footprint. Stress was put on increasing the forest cover much beyond the stipulated 33 per cent of the geographical area and creating an additional carbon sink of 2.5 to 3 billion tons of CO2 equivalent in forests during the conference.
Government of India has notified issuance of Commemorative Coins of Rs. 100/- and Rs. 10/- denomination on the eve of Birth Centenary of Dr. M S Subbulakshmi. Dr. Madurai Shanmukhavadivu Subbulakshmi also known as Dr. M.S. Subbulakshmi, was a Carnatic vocalist and was the first musician ever to be awarded the Bharat Ratna. She is the first Indian musician to receive the Ramon Magsaysay award, often considered as Asia’s Noble Prize in 1974.
Hindi got its name from the Persian word Hind, meaning ‘Land of the Indus River.’
Japanese Industrial Townships: Gujarat, Rajasthan, Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu
Japan-India Institutes of Manufacturing: Gujarat, Karnataka, Rajasthan and Tamil Nadu
Malaysian Association of Company Secretaries (MACS) to adopt the Secretarial Standards issued by the Institute of Company Secretaries of India (ICSI) as the benchmark
Operation Insaaniyat – India is providing humanitarian assistance to Bangladesh on account of influx of refugees from Myanmar
Swachhta Hi Seva – Unprecedented nationwide campaign on Swachhta to mobilise people and reinforce the “Jan Aandolan” for sanitation to contribute to Mahatma Gandhi’s dream of a Clean India. The campaign is scheduled to be launched by President of India from village Ishwarigunj in Kanpur that has attained the status of open free defecation status
“An undocumented wonder: The making of the great Indian Election” – Book by hri S.Y. Khuraishiji
The final Development Flight Trials of Astra – Beyond Visual Range Air to Air Missile (BVRAAM) were successfully conducted over the Bay of Bengal, Off the Coast of Chandipur, Odisha
First Regional Vocational Training Institute (RVTI) in Hyderabad: First of its kind for the State of Telangana, boosting skill development opportunities among women ready to contribute to the country’s workforce.
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