1. Govt approves Capital Goods Policy, aims 21 million new jobs by 2025
i. The Union Cabinet chaired by the Prime Minister Narendra Modi has approved the first ever policy for the country's capital goods sector envisaging creation of over 21 million new jobs by 2025.
ii. The objectives of the National Capital Goods Policy are to create an ecosystem for a globally competitive capital goods sector to achieve total production in excess of Rs 7.5 lakh crore by 2025 from the current Rs 2.3 lakh crore, and also to raise direct to increase direct domestic employment from the current 1.4 million to at least 5 million and indirect employment from the current 7 million to 25 million by 2025, thus providing additional employment to over 21 million people.
iii. The policy envisages increasing exports from the current 27 % to 40 % of production. It will also help increase the share of domestic production in India’s demand from 60 % to 80 % thus making India a net exporter of capital goods.
iv. The policy envisions increasing the share of capital goods in total manufacturing activity from 12 % at present to 20 % by 2025.
v. To create an ecosystem for globally, the Policy will help realizing the vision of Building India as the World class hub for Capital Goods. It will also play a pivotal role in overall manufacturing as the pillar of strength to the vision of Make in India.
2. EPFO doubles insurance for subscribers to Rs 6 lakh
i. The Government has enforced the decision of retirement fund body EPFO to almost double the maximum sum assured under its insurance scheme from 3.6 lakh to Rs 6 lakh for its 4 crore subscribers.
ii. Earlier in September, the Employee Provident Fund Organisation’s apex decision making body Central Board of Trustees (CBT) had decided to increase benefits under the Employees’ Deposit Linked Insurance (EDLI) scheme from Rs 3.6 lakh to Rs 6 lakh.
iii. However, the notification to amend the scheme could not be issued by Labour Ministry as it was stuck in the Law Ministry.
3. Govt waives over Rs 9,000-cr loans of HFCL
i. The Union Cabinet has waived off loans worth more than Rs 9,079 crore owed by Hindustan Fertilizer Corporation Ltd (HFCL) as part of a financial restructuring package for the PSU.
ii. Earlier in 2015, the Cabinet approved waiver of government of Rs 1,916.14 crore and the outstanding interest amount of Rs 7,163.35 crore have remained.
iii. So now with the waiving off that outstanding amount, HFCL will facilitate de-registration from Board for Industrial and Financial Reconstruction (BIFR) by making its net worth positive. It will clear the way for faster revival of Barauni unit of HFCL. This unit will create 400 direct and 1,200 indirect employment opportunities.The Cabinet has also approved the transfer of 56 acres of ash dyke land of Barauni unit to Bihar State Power Generation Company Ltd (BSPGCL) to settle dues of HFCL for faster revival of the unit.
4. Cabinet gives ex-post facto approval to the MOU between India and Maldives
i. The Union Cabinet chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi has granted ex-post facto approval to the Memorandum of Understanding signed between the Ministry of Tourism, Government of India and the Ministry of Tourism, Government of Maldives for strengthening cooperation in the field of tourism.
ii. The Memorandum of Understanding with Maldives will be instrumental in increasing arrival from this important source market. In recent years, Maldives has emerged as an important tourism generating market for India.
iii. The main objectives of the Memorandum of Understanding, are -
To expand bilateral cooperation in the tourism sector, To exchange information and data related to tourism, To encourage cooperation between tourism stakeholders, including hotels and tour operators, To establish exchange programme for cooperation in Human Resources Development, To invest in the Tourism and Hospitality sectors, To exchange visits of Tour Operators/Media/Opinion Makers for promotion of two-way tourism, To exchange experiences in the areas of promotion, marketing, destination development and management, To participate in travel fairs/exhibitions in each other’s country and to promote safe honorable and sustainable tourism.
5. Cabinet gives ex-post facto approval to the MOU between India and Japan
i. The Union Cabinet chaired by PM Modi has given ex-post facto approval to the MoU between Indian and Japan for promoting sustainable, stable and low-carbon thermal power development in India.
ii. The MoU will help India to address issues and barriers in promoting sustainable stable and low-carbon thermal power development.
iii. The agreement will also support Clean Coal Technology (CCT) for thermal power plants such as Ultra Super Critical (USC) and other environmental technologies. It will also explore possibilities for acquisition of carbon credits with bilateral or multilateral offset schemes that are anticipated to be materialized in the future as a result of low-carbon power development.
6. HRD Ministry launches portal
i. The Ministry of Human Resource Development has announced the launch of a multilingual knowledge portal www.bharatavani.in.
ii. It aims to not only ensure universalisation of education but also creation of a knowledge society in the digital age.
iii. The idea behind the initiative is protection, preservation and inclusion of all Indian languages through technological development without discrimination. The Central Institute of Indian Languages (CIIL), Mysuru, is implementing the project. The portal has been launched in 22 scheduled languages, which eventually will be extended to 100 more languages.
7. Union Cabinet gives approval to 6 new IITs
i. The Union Cabinet has given its approval to amend The Institutes of Technology (IIT) Act, 1961 for incorporation of 6 new IITs.
ii. This amendment will declare these 6 IITs as the institutions of national importance Six new IITs will come up at: Tirupati (Andhra Pradesh), Palakkad (Kerala), Dharwar (Karnataka), Bhilai (Chhattisgarh), Goa, Jammu (Jammu and Kashmir).
iii. Besides, Union Cabinet also gave its approval to convert of Indian School of Mines (ISM), Dhanbad into an IIT under the ambit of the IIT Act, 1961.
8. Union Cabinet approves MoU between ISRO and United Arab Emirates Space Agency
i. The Union Cabinet has approved Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) signed between Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) and the United Arab Emirates Space Agency (UAESA) for cooperation in the exploration and user of outer space for peaceful purposes.
ii. Decision in this regard was taken by Union Cabinet meeting chaired by the Prime Minister Narendra Modi in New Delhi.
iii. The MoU seek to set up a Joint Working Group with members from ISRO and UAESA. It will further work out the plan of action including the time-frame and the means of implementing the MoU.
9. Union Cabinet gives ex-post facto approval to Amendments in Constitution (Scheduled Tribes) Order, 1950
i. Union Cabinet chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi has given the ex-post facto approval to the amendments in the Constitution (Schedule Tribes) Order, 1950.
ii. The approval was given to modify the list of Scheduled Tribes in respect of five States, namely, Assam, Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, Tamil Nadu, Tripura. Besides, it also seeks to identify new communities in the Union Territory of Puducherry.
iii. After the Bill becomes an Act, members of the communities included in the list of Scheduled Tribes will be able to derive benefits meant for Scheduled Tribes under the existing schemes.
10. Union Road Transport Minister Gadkari launches safety feature-rich Nirbhaya buses
i. Union Road Transport and Highways Minister Nitin Gadkari has launched 20 Nirbhaya buses of Rajasthan State Transport Corporation with multiple safety measures to better protect women passengers.
ii. Nirbhaya bus security measures include Vehicle Tracking System (VTS), CCTV and panic buttons on every seat. Gadkari said that it will be given to other states in due course of time, adding that buses in the future should be manufactured with such safety features to contain anti-social elements.
iii. After June 2, the ministry will issue a notification mandating public vehicles with a seating capacity of more than 23 seats to fix closed-circuit television, VTS and panic buttons while vehicles below 23 seats will be asked to install VTS and emergency buttons.
11. Draft rules of Juvenile Justice Act 2015 released
i. Women and Child Development Minister Maneka Gandhi has released draft model rules to repeal the existing rules for effective implementation of Juvenile Justice Act. The rules take care of the development needs of children and child friendly procedures are incorporated in it.
ii. According to the draft rules 2016, no child between 16 and 18 years of age in conflict with law will be handcuffed or sent to jail or lock-up. The rule said, proper medical and legal aid will be provided to juvenile criminals and their parents and guardians will be duly informed.
iii. Every state government is required to set up at least one place of safety for the rehabilitation of such children. The rules prescribe for extensive services to be provided through regular monitoring.
iv. Several new offences against children have also been included in the Act such as sale and procurement of children for any purpose, corporal punishment in child care institutions, use of child by militant or adult groups, giving children intoxicating liquor or narcotic drug or psychotropic substance or tobacco products. It also prescribes detailed procedures for determination of age.
12. Cabinet clears Railway projects worth Rs 11,000 crore
i. The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs, CCEA has given its approval for Railway projects worth Rs 11,000 crore.
ii. These include Bina-Katni 3rd line project at an estimated cost of nearly 2,500 crore in Madhya Pradesh.
iii. The 279 km long railway line is expected to be completed in five years. Another project is Vizianagaram and Titlagarh 3rd line project, costing nearly 2,335 crore. The length will be 265 kilometre and will be completed in 5 years. It also included doubling of Surendranagar-Rajkot project, Pune-Miraj-Londa railway line and Roza -Sitapur Cantt.- Burhwal Broad Gauge single line.
13. Dial 139 for wait-listed ticket cancellation
i. Railway passengers can now cancel their wait-listed and RAC (reservation against cancellation) train tickets by just dialing 139.
ii. The service was launched by Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu in New Delhi. Earlier only confirmed ticket holders could cancel their tickets through 139 service and IRCTC website.
iii. Online cancellation through 139 will be permitted only 4 hours before the scheduled departure of the train in case of confirmed tickets and upto half an hour before the scheduled departure of the train in case of RAC and wait-listed tickets. Besides, the option of cancellation of tickets at the counter is also available for passengers.
14. ISRO to test Air-breathing Propulsion System
i. The Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) has decided to test an Air-breathing Propulsion System after successful test of Reusable launch Vehicle- Technology Demonstration (RLV-TD).
ii. The testing of air-breathing propulsion system aims to capitalize on the oxygen in the atmosphere instead of liquefied oxygen while in flight.
iii. ISRO is evolving and testing various technologies to bring down the cost of launch vehicles and the air-breathing propulsion system is part of its new space endeavor.
15. Gujarat CM launches Ujala scheme from Vadodara
i. Gujarat Chief Minister Anandiben Patel has launched Ujala scheme in Vadodara to distribute LED bulbs to the people .
ii. Under this central scheme, the state government will distribute more than one crore LED bulbs at subsidized rates of Rs 80 to 85 per piece. The bulb will have 3-year replacement warranty. It will be of 7 to 8 watts capacity with luminosity of 900 lumens.
iii. Each household will get maximum ten bulbs in the first phase. The amount will be charged through electricity bill in ten equal installments. Bulbs will be available at the offices of power distribution companies, bill cash counters and Energy Efficiency Services Limited (EESL) kiosks. The state government will purchase the bulbs from EESL for distribution among the public.
16. Telangana govt signs MoU with Eclat Health Solutions
i. Telangana government has signed an MoU with US-based healthcare tech firm Eclat Health Solutions, which, according to the agreement, will invest USD 15 million in the state to provide 1,000 jobs.
ii. A state government team led by IT Minister K T Rama Rao which is currently touring the US signed the MoU.
iii. The team also signed another agreement with Genesis Pharmaceuticals Chairman Monif Matouk, and Safye Holdings CEO Afi Hasan.
17. Islamic banking to debut in Gujarat
i. Saudi Arabia based Islamic Development Bank (IDB) has announced to open its first branch in India at Ahmedabad, Gujarat.
ii. Its a part of MoU between India’s EXIM Bank and IDB during Prime Minister Narendra Modi visit to United Arab Emirates (UAE) in April 2016. The IDB is also keen at investing in small and medium enterprises (SMEs) of Gujarat.
iii. IDB's main objective is to foster the economic development and social progress of member countries as well as the Muslim community in accordance with principles of Shariah (Islamic law). The bank has 56 Islamic countries as its members and as part of the MoU a 100 million dollar line-of-credit was to be given to facilitate exports to IDB's member countries. Besides, it also announced to provide 30 medical vans as part of IDB’s social sector initiatives.
18. World leaders kick off G7 talks with economy in focus
i. The World leaders begin two days of G7 talks in Japan with the deteriorating global economy, terrorism and refugees crisis, China's controversial maritime claims, and a possible Brexit headlining on top the agenda.
ii. Heads of state and government from the United States, Britain, France, Germany, Italy, Canada and host Japan are meeting in Ise Shima, a mountainous, sparsely populated area about 300 kilometres (200 miles) southwest of Tokyo.
iii. The group, including US President Barack Obama, Britain's David Cameron, France's Francois Hollande and Germany's Angela Merkel. However, the meeting will also be joined by Italy's Matteo Renzi, Canada's Justin Trudeau and host Japan's Shinzo Abe.
19. Aditya Birla Fashion buys India rights of Forever 21
i. Aditya Birla Fashion and Retail Ltd (ABFRL), a retail arm of Aditya Birla Group has acquired the rights for California, US, based fashion retailer Forever 21 to acquire its India business from its current franchisee, Diana Retail Private Ltd, for an unspecified amount.
ii. With the help of this acquisition, ABFRL will further strength its leadership position in the branded fashion market.
iii. The deal includes the online and offline rights of Forever 21 for the Indian market and its existing store network in the country. The partnership of Forever 21 and ABFRL will help establish Forever 21 as one of the largest women wear brand in the country.
20. Mirza, Bopanna and Paes win at French Open
i. The Indian contingent got off to a winning start at the French Open.
ii. Sania Mirza and Martina Hingis defeated the Russian pair of Daria Kasatkina and Alexandra Panova, 7-6(4), 6-2.
iii. Rohan Bopanna and Florin Mergea defeated Frenchmen Stephane Robert and Alexandre Sidorenko, 6-2, 6-2. Leander Paes and Marcin Matkowski overcame Aliaksandr Bury and Denis Istomin, 7-6(3), 7-6(6).