1. India and Bangladesh PMs launch two bilateral projects
i. Primer Ministers of India and Bangladesh commissioned international gateway of internet service in Agartala and supply of 100 MW power to Bangladesh from Tripura.
ii. Chief Minister Manik Sarkar also graced the cross border occasion connected through video conference.
iii. Both Prime Ministers were accompanied by their external affairs ministers, power and telecommunication ministers in their PMOs when two bilateral projects launched.
iv. Agartala has become third station connected to submarine cable for internet bandwidth after Chennai and Mumbai while the state also landed in international power map by starting supply of electricity from Suryamaninagar grid to the grid in Commilla of southeast Bangladesh.
v. Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina and Chief Minister Manik Sarkar in their speeches termed the commissioning of 10 GBPS bandwidth import and 100 MW electricity from south Tripura’s 726 MW Palatana gas based project a historic one and a day to celebrate friendly relations between two neighbors.
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2. India to host 8th BRICS Summit in October in Goa
i. India will host the eighth annual Summit of BRICS from October 15-16 in Goa in its capacity as chair of the influential bloc comprising five countries with 42 per cent of the world population and combined GDP of over $16 trillion.
ii. External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj made the announcement today during a function where she also unveiled a logo and a website of the Summit.
iii. India assumed chairmanship of BRICS (Brazil-Russia-India- China-South Africa) from Russia on February 15 and it will last till December 31.
iv. As per the The External Affairs Minister of India’s core-theme during BRICS chairmanship will be building responsive, inclusive and collective solutions for the grouping.
v. The logo for the Summit is a lotus having colors from all the five member countries and a traditional ‘namaste’ in the center.
3. Core banking facility available at 25K post offices by April
i. The Department of Posts will offer core banking solutions (CBS) to its customers at 25,000 post offices by April, against 20,494 CBS-enabled branches.
ii. CBS-enabled post offices allow customers to access their postal savings from any of the branches where the facility is available.
Postal department’s digitization is integral to Digital India.
iii. The core banking linkage of post offices is bigger than that of State Bank of India, which has 16,333 CBS-enabled branches.
iv. Implementation of CBS is part of the government’s plan for IT Modernisation Project of the Department of Posts, which aims to bring in various IT solutions with the required IT infrastructure to the post offices.
v. In September 2015, the postal department received an in-principle approval from the Reserve Bank of India to set up a payments bank within 18 months.
4. 21 states to implement National Food Security Act by April 1
i. The National Food Security Act (NFSA) will be implemented in 10 more states from April 1 this year, taking the total number of states implementing NFSA to 21, Union Minister of Food and Public Distribution Ram Vilas Paswan.
ii. only 11 states had implemented the National Food Security Act and that too they had not implemented totally.
iii. The number of states has increased from 11 to 21, including Gujarat, which will implement it by April 1, 2016,” Paswan told reporters on the sidelines of a meeting organised here with Food Corporation of India (FCI) officials of Gujarat
iv. As many as 3,83,44,000 beneficiaries have been identified in Gujarat to whom a total 21 lakh tonne food grains will be distributed annually under the programme.
v. According to Paswan Gujarat has prepared the allocation list before hand for a possible rise in the number of beneficiaries, as the current calculation of beneficiaries is based on the 2011 census. Gujarat has a storage capacity for 6.89 lakh food grains which will be sufficient to hold food for 3-4 months
5. HL Dattu appointed to International Human Rights body
i. Justice HL Dattu, chairperson, National Human Rights Commission, India emerged as the unanimous choice to be appointed as a member of the International Coordinating Committee of NHRIs (ICC) Bureau in Geneva.
ii. Justice Dattu with his vast experience and legal expertise is expected to contribute richly to the approach of the ICC on the human rights issues being faced by the international community.
iii. His presence on the ICC Bureau will help in not only strengthening the ICC but also enhance the role of NHRIs in the United Nations mechanisms.
iv. He will also be working towards the creation of new NHRIs in the countries, which have not set up such bodies.
6. India’s Agasthyamala Listed Among 20 World Biosphere Reserves
i. India’s “unique” Agasthyamala Biosphere Reserve in the Western Ghats is among 20 new sites added by the UN’s top cultural body UNESCO to its World Network of Biosphere Reserves.
ii. The International Co-ordinating Council added the new sites during a two-day meeting on Saturday in Lima, capital of Peru, bringing the total number of biosphere reserves to 669 sites in 120 countries, including 16 transboundary sites.
iii. The newly adopted sites include 18 national site and one transboundary site shared between Spain and Portugal.
iv. The Agasthyamalai Biosphere Reserve (ABR) was established in 2001 and is spread across the two states of Kerala and Tamil Nadu.
v. Biosphere reserves are places for learning about sustainable development aiming to reconcile the conservation of biodiversity with the sustainable use of natural resources. New reserves are designated each year by the International Co-ordinating Council of the UNESCO’s Man and the Biosphere (MAB) Programme, which brings together elected representatives of 34 UNESCO Member States.
7. India’s Defence Lab Develops Thermal imaging Radar To Look Through Walls
i. In what can prove to be a great aid for the Indian forces in dealing with hostage situations, India’s premier government R&D body DRDO has developed a radar that can look through a wall.
ii. The Through Barrier Imaging Radar, named ‘Divyachakshu’ (divine eye), has been developed by Defence Research and Development Organisation’s (DRDO) Electronics & Radar Development Establishment (LRDE) based in Bangalore and is going through development trials now.
iii. It can look though walls of 20-30 cm thickness made of any material, by using thermal imaging.
iv. “The radar can produce images from the other side of the barrier up to a distance of 20 metres.
v. It catches the thermal signatures and movements in a room can be clearly seen,” a scientist working on the project told IANS on condition of anonymity.
8. Cabinet approves National Capital Goods Policy
i. The Union Cabinet has approved the national capital goods policy.
ii. The government believes implementation of the capital goods policy is critical and needed to give a boost to the sector and the ‘Make in India‘ initiative.
iii. The government had unveiled the National Capital Goods Policy in February. This is the first time such a policy has been framed for the sector.
iv. The Cabinet has also green flagged the doubling of two rail lines in Bihar and Jharkhand and approved incentives for rural housing.
v. In particular, the policy will make sure the country utilizes the capital goods that already exist and cut down on imports, he says. To give a rough idea, the capacity utilization for the industry as a whole, he says, would be between 45 percent and 70 percent, adding, Thermax operated at a capacity level of 50 percent-60 percent.
9. Ashok Leyland To Partner With US Firm To Develop Defence Systems
i. Hinduja Group’s Ashok Leyland Defence Systems Ltd (ALDS) has tied up with US-based defence contractor Lockheed Martin Corp. to develop combat vehicles for the Indian Army.
ii. The base platforms of Lockheed combat vehicles will be used to develop light specialist and light armoured multipurpose vehicles for the Indian Army.
iii. Ashok Leyland would serve as the prime contractor and provide “cost effective” manufacturing hub for global requirements of the vehicles. As a licensed manufacturer of CVNG, the association with Lockheed Martin opens up a huge opportunity towards exports of vehicle platform as a Made in India product.
10. Cabinet approves Udaan scheme till 2019-20
i. The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs, chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, has given its approval for extension of time period of the “Special Industry Initiative for J&K” (SII J&K) Udaan scheme till 2019-20.
ii. Initially, the time period of Udaan was up to 2015-16.
iii. Udaan provides exposure to the youth of Jammu and Kashmir to the best of corporate India and corporate India to the rich talent pool available in the State. So far, 67 leading corporates have partnered with National Skill Development Corporation (NSDC) under Udaan with a commitment to train youth from the state covering Organized Retail, Banking, Financial Services, IT, ITES, Infrastructure, Hospitality etc.
iv. More than 19,000 candidates have been selected, more than 15,000 have joined training, out of them, 8700 candidates have completed training and 6,838 have been offered jobs.
v. It is expected that the target of the scheme, to train and enhance employability of 40,000 graduates, post graduates and three year engineering diploma holders, will be achieved by 2019-20.
11. Akhilesh Ranjan committee submits recommendations on Taxation of e-commerce
i. A committee was constituted by the Central Board of Direct Taxes to examine the business models for e-commerce, identify the direct tax issues in relation to e-commerce transactions and provide suggestions.
ii. This committee was headed by Akhilesh Ranjan, Joint Secretary (CBDT) and it includes officers of the Central Board of Direct Taxes, representatives from the industry, the Institute of Chartered Accountants of India and tax experts.
iii. According to this report, Equalization Levy may be imposed on payments to non-residents for specified services by a separate chapter in the Finance Act, 2016 Akhilesh Ranjan committee submits recommendations on Taxation of e-commerce.
iv. The rate of Equalization Levy may be between 6 to 8 percent of the gross sum received.
v. Any income arising from a transaction on which Equalization Levy has been paid should be exempted from income-tax, by necessary amendment in Section 10 of the Income-tax Act, 1961. The implementation and impact of Equalization Levy may be monitored on a regular basis.
12. Ali Mohamed Shein is a new President of Zanzibar
i. The electoral authority of Tanzania’s semi-autonomous archipelago of Zanzibar, the ZEC, announced incumbent President Ali Mohamed Shein had won his re-election bid, after polls boycotted by the main opposition party.
ii. Shein from the ruling CCM party easily won after the main opposition party, the Civic United Front or CUF, boycotted the election, protesting the ZEC’s decision to nullify the results of last October’s general election in which the opposition apparently won both the presidency and the house of representatives.
iii. International observers, including the European Union and other international bodies, made clear their stand by condemning not only the election re-run, but also the nullification of the October election results.
iv. International observers also did not also go to Zanzibar to observe polls, except for African Union representatives. Since the multiparty system was re-introduced in the country in 1992, with the first multiparty general election in 1995, there has been no easy election for Zanzibar’s ruling CCM.
v. In some four consecutive presidential elections, Hamad claimed to be the winner, but was unrecognized as such by electoral authorities. In 2010, the election in Zanzibar went smoothly following constitutional amendments which led to a government of national unity between the ruling CCM and the main opposition CUF, with Hamad appointed first vice president to Shain.
13. Ex-Intel CEO Andy Grove dies
i. former Intel Corp. chief executive Andy Grove, the whose youth under Nazi occupation and escape from the Iron Curtain inspired an “only the paranoid survive” management philosophy that saved the chip maker from financial ruin in the 1980s, died. He was 79.
ii. Grove was Intel’s very first hire and played an instrumental role in taking the company from a scrappy startup to the most powerful chipmaker in the world.
iii. His leadership at Intel spans over 30 years, being named the company’s President in 1979 and CEO in 1987.
iv. Andy Grove was one of the giants of the technology world.
v. He loved our country and epitomized America at its best.
14. I&B Minister gives away 5th National Photography Awards
i. I&B Minister Arun jaitley gives away 5th National Photography Awards. Addressing the event Union Minister Jaitley said our impression of personalities and historical events are based on visuals and a good photograph has an indefinite life.
ii. The Minister lauded the professional work of Shri Bhawan Singh who was given the Life Time Achievement Award for this year, recalling his excellence in capturing the visual journey of India from late 70s.
iii. The Life Time Achievement award was presented to Shri Bhawan Singh for his illustrious career and contributions to the field of Photography. Shri Bhawan Singh has worked in the Indian news industry for over five decades and is one of the senior photo journalist in the country. His career which started in a newspaper has been built mostly around magazines. He worked as Magazine Photo Editor with India Today magazine. He is a recipient of the World Press Photo Award.
iv. The total number of awards in the various categories were thirteen.
v. The various categories included Professional Photographer of the Year, Special Mention Award (Professional), Amateur Photographer of the Year, Special Mention Award (Amateur).
15. Gurmeet Singh becomes 1st Indian to win Asian 20km Race Walk Championships
i. Gurmeet Singh created history by becoming the first Indian athlete to clinch a gold medal in the Asian 20km Race Walk Championships as he won the men’s event with his season’s best effort.
ii. Gurmeet Singh created history by becoming the first Indian athlete to clinch a gold medal in the Asian 20km Race Walk Championships as he won the men’s event with his season’s best effort.
iii. Gurmeet clocked 1 hour 20 minutes and 29 seconds. He beat Japan’s Isamu Fujisawa (1:20:49) in a close fight in the last 5km. Kazakhstan’s Georgiy Sheiko won the bronze medal in 1:21:52.Gurmeet clocked 1 hour 20 minutes and 29 seconds.
iv. He beat Japan’s Isamu Fujisawa (1:20:49) in a close fight in the last 5km. Kazakhstan’s Georgiy Sheiko won the bronze medal in 1:21:52.
v. By winning the Asian title Gurmeet has made a strong case for himself for selection in the Rio Olympic Games. Nine Indians have so far bettered the Games qualifying standard in men’s 20km race walk and only three will make it to the final in Rio.