1. Cabinet Approves Rs 8,000 Crore For Rural LPG Under PMUY Scheme
i. The Cabinet headed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi has approved Pradhan Mantri Ujwala Yojana with an outlay of Rs 8,000 crore for three years, Oil Minister Dharmendra Pradhan told on Thursday.
ii. Under the scheme, the government will spend Rs 8000 crore to provide LPG connections to rural households. On Wednesday, the government said that over 80 lakh people have voluntarily given up LPG subsidy.
iii. Minister of State for Petroleum and Natural Gas, Dharmendra Pradhan told the Rajya Sabha that as part of ‘GiveItUp’ campaign that the ministry initiated, around 53 lakh giving up in the past six months alone.
iv. The scheme aims to provide on a war footing LPG connections to women members of BPL families. Mr. Dharmendra Pradhan said that the move is aimed at empowering women and protecting their health.
v. The ministry said that the oil marketing companies have been targeting people with over Rs 10 lakh income to give up the subsidies. The ministry said, “For top 10 metros of the country, where most of the high income tax payers are likely to be residing, a suitable question has been built in the SMS platforms for ascertaining the income status of the LPG consumers. During telephonic calls also for refills, this is being done.
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2. India And Indonesia To Conduct Joint Training Exercise “Garuda Shakti IV”
i. Garuda Shakti, the 4th edition of joint training exercise between India and Indonesia will be hosted by Indonesia.
ii. The 13-day long joint exercise will begin from today and will end on March 23 at Magelang, Indonesia. The exercise is conducted on a reciprocal basis and its first edition was conducted in the year 2012 in India. The second edition was conducted in Indonesia in 2013 and third in India in 2014.
iii. The exercise is aimed at building and promoting positive relations between the two Armies of India and Indonesia. The Indian Army is sending a platoon strength contingent that will be training with the Airborne battalion of the Indonesian Army.
iv. The exercise will be on a joint counter insurgency operation with the setting of both rural and urban scenarios. The exercise will “enhance” the abilities of both the armies to undertake counter insurgency operations under the United Nations Charter.
v. The opening ceremony for the exercise will be conducted on 11 March 16 and the Senior officers from the army and civilian dignitaries of both the country will be the part of the closing ceremony.
3. Cabinet Clears Amendment To MMDR Act
i. The Union Cabinet approved amending the Mines and Minerals (Development and Regulation) Act to regulates mining sector activities in the country.
ii. The move would allow transfer of mining lease for captive mines as compared to the present scenario where transfer of mining lease is only for auctioned mines.
iii. The MMDR Act passed by Parliament in March last year and only allows transfer of mining leases in cases where the mine has been acquired through auction.
iv. But now through the amendment, the government wants to insert a clause that says: “Provided that where a mining lease has been granted otherwise than through auction and where minerals from such mining lease is being used for captive purpose such mining lease will be permitted to be transferred subject to compliance with terms and conditions as prescribed by central government.”.
v. After the enactment of the amended MMDR Act on January 12, 2015, all mining leases in the country could only be issued after a competitive bidding process. Under the amended Act, even in case of mergers and acquisitions, transfer of mineral leases was only allowed for those that have been auctioned.
4. Centre To Sign Pacts Worth Over Rs.72,000 cr At Shipping
i. Central government is expected to sign agreements worth over Rs. 72,000 crore with private players on port-related projects at the Indian Maritime Summit to be held in Mumbai.
ii. The Shipping Ministry has identified 109 projects worth Rs.72,864 crore on which agreements will be signed during the event to be held from April 14-16.
iii. According to Road Transport, Highways and Shipping Minister Nitin Gadkari South Korea will be the partner country for the Summit. Prime Minister Narendra Modi will inaugurate the summit on April 14.
iv. To promote port-led direct and indirect development and to provide infrastructure to transport goods to and from ports quickly, efficiently and cost-effectively.
v. Supporting and enabling Port-led Development through appropriate policy and institutional interventions. Port Infrastructure enhancement, including modernization and setting up of new ports.
5. PSUs Spent Over Rs 2400 Crore In CSR In 2014-15
i. Government of India has announced today that in 2014-2015, 116 Public Sector Enterprises (PSUs) have spent an amount of rs. 2447.59 Crore on Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) activities and no complaint has been received on misuse of these funds.
ii. Today, Anant Geete the Heavy Industries and Public Enterprises Minister said in Rajya Sabha during the question hour after several members expressed concern over media reports suggesting that there have been misuse of CSR funds, especially by private companies.
iii. Geete told the members that he understood their concerns and added that he was not ruling out the possibility of misuse. He however added that his ministry had received no “written” complaint regarding which could be acted upon. Speaking about companies in the private sector, he said the government did not control these companies, but has issued guidelines. “If there is a specific complaint, we can act on it,” he said.
iv. As members voiced concern about the spending of funds in the private sector, Geete said his ministry was the nodal department for the public sector enterprises. v. Geete also said that meetings to monitor the spending of these funds are held every six months.
6. Five Healthcare ATMs Launched in 4 States
i. Five healthcare ATMs have come up in four states. Those states are MP, Himachal Pradesh, Odisha and Andhra Pradesh.
ii. These ATMs are ging to come up under a Health Ministry pilot that combines telemedicine with a rudimentary free drugs programme.
iii. The health ministry is aiming that these ATMs would tide over the massive shortage of doctors in the country. It will also save from the risk of pilferage in free drugs programmes.
iv. For these ATMs technical support is being provided by the division of healthcare technology and National Health Systems Research Centre.
v. These ATMs will be manned by a multipurpose public health worker (MPHW) or an auxiliary nurse midwife (ANM) armed with a multi-parameter patient vital monitor and other devices required for checking basic health parameters.
7. Government mulls policy to promote wind energy projects
i. In Order to propel the Wind Energy Potential in India, Union government will soon unveil a policy to give incentives including an interest discount of 0.25 % for increasing capacity of Wind mills of up to 1MW.
ii. Objective of the policy is to promote optimum utilisation of wind energy resources by creating facilitative framework for repowering, as per the draft.
iii. It said most of the wind-turbines installed up to the year 2000 are of capacity below 500 kW and are at sites having high wind energy potential.
iv. It is estimated that over 3000 MW capacity installation is from wind turbines of 500 kW or below.
8. Government To Divest 5% Stake In Concor
i. The government will divest 5 per cent stake in Container Corporation of India (Concor) through the offer for sale (OFS) route.
ii. The center has set the base price for the stake sale at Rs 1,195, which will help the government mop up around Rs 1,165 crore.
iii. Concor’s OFS follows Rs 5,000-crore worth of divestment in NTPC late February. So far this fiscal, the government has risen around Rs 18,300 crore by divesting stake in six public sector undertakings.
iv. Retail investors are being offered a 5 percent additional discount. Retail bidding will take place on 9th of March.
v. Container Corporation of India Ltd. (CONCOR),is a Navratna Public sector undertaking under the Indian Ministry of Railways.
9. Railways Forms SPV To Execute Bullet Train Project
i. Railways shifting the gears to introduce trains that run at speeds around 320 kmph, the railways have formed a new Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV) to implement the Mumbai-Ahmedabad High Speed Bullet Train project named the National High Speed Rail Corporation Limited.
ii. Completion of the project aimed on time to avoid additional expenses of the project, a Joint Committee has been formed under the Vice-Chairman of NITI Aayog with the secretaries of the Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion (DIPP), Departments of Economic Affairs and Foreign Ministry as its members along with the Chairmanof Railway Board.
iii. The project expected that it will take about seven years after the awarding of the contract for the project to be completed, 81 per cent of the funding for the project would come from the loan from Japan.
iv. It is a soft loan for 50 years at 0.1 per cent annual interest with 15 years’ moratorium period
10. YES BANK launches All-Women ‘YES Grace’ branches
i. Private lender Yes BankBSE -0.18 % launched an all-women operated bank branch ‘Yes Grace’ on Cunningham Road here aimed at offering customised banking solutions to women.
ii. The new branch served by 8 employees currently and with plans to raise the count to 12 will also drive financial literacy, family banking, safety and wellness amongst women.
iii. According to Rana kapoor CEO and MD Of YES BANK “The Yes Grace branch is part of a two pronged approach by Yes Bank; to promote women leadership in financial services sector and enable the evolving financial objectives of women,”
11. Gujarat Top State Regarding Investment Potential
i. Gujarat has topped the list among the 21 cities in a race to be the best state in India having an investment potential,according to the report submit by economic think tank NCAER.
ii. Gujarat is followed by Delhi, Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, and Maharashtra. The lowest in the rankings are the UP, Bihar, and Jharkhand.
iii. The rankings of the 21 cities were done on five factors political stability, infrastructure, economic climate, governance, and perceptions.
iv. Gujarat, Delhi and Tamil Nadu are the best places to make fresh investments in India, while Jharkhand, Uttar Pradesh and Bihar lag on this front, a latest survey by think-tank National Council of Applied Economic Research (NCAER) has revealed.
12. IAF To Get The First Batch Of Women Fighter Pilots In June
i. Indian Air Force Air Chief Marshal (ACM) Arup Raha announced while speaking on the occasion of the International Women’s Day.
ii. Bhawna Kanth, Avani Chaturvedi, and Mohana Singh are likely to create history as India’s first women fighter pilots if they put on the wings and are inducted into the IAF fighter stream. Who among the three, or all of them, make the final cut depends on them clearing the advanced stage training.
iii. The three women trainees have volunteered to join the fighter stream.
iv. They are under the second phase of their training.
v. Once they complete their training and are on par with their male colleagues and the passing out parade is scheduled on June 18.
13. S Rao Will Take Over As The New Chairman And Public Interest Director Of BSE
i. Sudhakar Rao will be the new Chairman of BSE and new Public Interest Director announced by BSE. He is going to replace Mr. S Ramadorai.
ii. As Mr. Ramadorai has retired from the position of its Chairman.
iii. He was appointed as public interest director and chairman of the board in 2010 and retired on 7 March 2016 after serving BSE for six years.
iv. Currently there are five Public Interest Directors on the BSE’s Board including eminent chartered accountant Sethurathnam Ravi who was appointed last month.
v. Presently, Rao is also an independent director on the boards of Indian Oil Corporation, CMC Ltd and L&T Infrastructure Development Projects Ltd. He is the Group Advisor, Strategy and Development of the Manipal Education and Medical Group.
14. Sonakshi Sinha Enters Guinness World Record For Nail Painting
i. Actress Sonakshi Sinha has become a Guinness World Records title-holder as she along with several other women participated in an initiative to set a record for ‘most people painting their fingernails simultaneously’.
ii. The 28-year-old actress participated in the event on the occasion of International Women’s Day.
iii. She collaborated with Inglot, manufacturers in colour cosmetics, and its Indian franchise partner Major Brands.
iv. The women broke the previous record of 1,156 people painting nails simultaneously which was created by Taiwan Nail Association at Banqiao Stadium, New Taipei City, Taiwan on April 27, 2011.
15. George Henry Martin “The Beatless Producer” Passed Away
i. The legendary music producer George Henry Martin has passed away in England. He was 90 years old.
ii. He was popularly known as the “Fifth Beatle” as he has signed the Beatles and became their indispensable mentor and collaborator. George has signed The Beatles and produced more than 700 records.
iii. Mr. Henry Martin has worked with countless others over a career that spanned decades, including Peter Sellers, Shirley Bassey, America, Cheap Trick, Jeff Beck and Celine Dion. But he become famous for Beatles as he spend 7 years with Beatles.
iv. The Beatles was the most successful group in the music history. Beatles was a group which helped Mr. Henry Martin to be at top spot with his musical expertise, tasteful arrangements and willing experimentation.
v. In the year 1967 and 2007 he has won 6 Grammy Awards in various categories. He was also made a Knight Bachelor in 1996. He was named by the Guinness World Records as the most successful producer ever with more than 50 Numbers.
16. Rest of India complete record run chase to beat Mumbai by 4 wickets
i. Rest of India (ROI) pull off an incredible chase to beat 41 times Ranji Trophy champions Mumbai by four wickets.
ii. Needing 480 to win the match with a day and a half to go, ROI went about their job without much fuss as they reached the target with just a few overs left in the match.
iii. Left-arm spinner Iqbal Abdullah picked up five wickets in the fourth innings, but his team fell short in the end.
iv. This is not only ROI’s highest score in the fourth innings, but also their highest successful run chase, with the previous best being 273 for 4 against Baroda in 2001, under the leadership of VVS
v. ROI were bowled out for 306 in their first innings, thereby conceding a lead of 297 runs. Mumbai did not enforce the follow-on, but were bowled out for just 182, thereby setting ROI a target of 480. No other bowler barring Abdullah managed to pick up a single wicket as ROI romped home.