1. ICBC to become Tata Group’s strategic banking partner
i. Tata Sons Ltd and Industrial and Commercial Bank of China Ltd (ICBC) have formed a long-term partnership, under which ICBC will become a strategic banking partner to the Tata group. Tata Sons is the principal investment holding company of $108 billion Tata Group and promoter of Tata companies.
ii. Under the alliance, ICBC will provide the Tata group with financing products, global cash management, consulting, international trade finance business, investment banking, foreign exchange, derivatives trading, and other global financial services, Tata Sons said in a statement on Wednesday.
iii. ICBC will also create a global service team which will support Tata group’s strategic development plans, it said. The alliance will be a global one with the geographies covered, including India, China, Singapore, Europe, the US, and South America.
iv. As a natural fall out of this alliance, the Tata group will consider proposals from ICBC and solicit its participation on bilateral transactions and tender offers.
v. A team of Tata executives, led by Tata Group chairman Cyrus P. Mistry, met with Jiang Jianqing, chairman of ICBC, and his team to formalise the engagement. Tata group operates in more than 100 countries across six continents.
2. Himachal Pradesh became first state to launch Rotavirus vaccination project
i. Himachal Pradesh on 3 December 2015 became the first state of India to launch Rotavirus vaccination project. The vaccine will help in controlling the child mortality rate (under five years of age) due to diarrhoea.
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ii. Rotavirus vaccines are administered orally to infants in three dose course at ages of six, ten and fourteen weeks and are part of Universal Immunisation Programme (UIP). The project was launched by the state Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh at Dharamsala in Kangra district. Singh administered the Rotavirus drops to children aged under five years.
iii. International Clinical Epidemiological Network will provide technical assistance and will also bear the entire cost of the vaccines. The project will soon be launched in Vellore in Karnataka and Pune in Maharashtra.
iv. It is a most common causative agent of moderate-to-severe diarrhoea (MSD) among infants below 11 months age group in India. It is a genus of double-stranded RNA virus in the family Reoviridae. It spreads from person to person due to bacterial agents that are primarily transmitted through contaminated food or water.
3. Paris Pact on Water and Climate Change Adaptation announced
i. A broad coalition of nations, river basin organizations, business and civil society on 2 December 2015 announced the creation of the international Paris Pact on Water and Climate Change Adaptation.
ii. The announcement was made at the Water Resilience Focus event held under the Lima to Paris Action Agenda on climate change. And, the event was held on the sidelines of the United Nations Climate Change Conference 2015 (COP21) in Paris, France.
iii. Its objective is to make water systems – the very foundation of sustainable human development – more resilient to climate impacts. Almost 290 water basin organisations are engaged under the Paris Pact on Water and Climate Change Adaptation. It involves a wide geographic coalition of national and cross-border river basin organisations, overnments, funding agencies, local governments, companies and civil society.
iv. It encompasses individual commitments to implement adaptation plans, strengthening water monitoring and measurement systems in river basins. It promotes financial sustainability and new investment in water systems management.
v. Major collaborative projects under the pact represent over 20 million US dollars in technical assistance and potentially over 1 billion US dollars in financing.
4. Lok Sabha passed bill to establish BIS as National Standards Body
i. The Lok Sabha on 3 December 2015 passed the Bureau of Indian Standards Bill, 2015 to establish the Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS) as a National Standards Body. The bill seeks to establish harmonious development of standardization and assessment and quality assurance of goods, processes and services.
ii. The bill broadens BIS’ ambit, and allow the Union Government to make it mandatory for certain notified goods, articles and processes to carry the standard mark. It allows multiple types of conformity assessment schemes in tune with best global practices.
iii. It contains provision to make misuse of Standard mark as a cognizable offence. Contravention of provisions of the law will attract imprisonment for a term which may extend to one year or with fine of at least one lakh rupees.
iv. The fine and imprisonment may go up further depending on the value of goods produced or sold or applied with standard mark including hallmark.
5. First India International Science Festival began at IIT-Delhi
i. The first India International Science Festival (IISF) began on 4 December 2015 at IIT-Delhi. The five day festival will explore ways to translate academic research into industrial applications benefiting the common man and encourage culmination of scientific temperament among youngsters, especially school children.
ii. Exposing the fruits of Science & Technology to the masses. Building strategy to instill scientific temper among the masses. Showcasing Indian contributions in the field of Science and Tech over the years. Providing platform to young scientists for exchange of knowledge & ideas
iii. Supporting flagship programs like Make in India, Digital India, Start-ups, Smart Villages, Smart Cities, etc. initiated by the Govt. of India
iv. The five-day festival that will conclude on 8 December 2015 was jointly organised by Ministry of Science & Technology and Earth Sciences, Union Government. The event was organised with an aim to create a Guinness World Record of the highest number of students conducting an experiment at the same venue in which 2000 students are expected to take part.
6. NTC signed Integrity Pact with Transparency International India
i. National Textile Corporation (NTC) Limited on 3 November 2015 signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Transparency International India (TII) for adopting Integrity Pact (IP).
With this signing, NTC became the 51st Public Sector Undertaking (PSU) and 49th Central PSU to sign a MoU with TII.
ii. Integrity Pact is a tool which ensures that all activities and transactions between a Company or Government Department and their Suppliers are handled in a fair, transparent and corruption-free manner. It also prohibits any kind of bribing, favour or any other unethical practice, which is closely monitored by honorary Independent External Monitors (IEMs).
iii. NTC is a Schedule-A Public Sector Undertaking engaged and entrusted with Management and operation of Sick Textile Undertakings taken over and nationalized through various Acts. From a sick corporation NTC Ltd has moved to a turnover of 12 billion rupees in the year 2013-14 and operation loss to Zero.
iv. Transparency International India (TII) is an accredited chapter of Transparency International, Berlin. TII has been working in the field of public procurement since 2005 with an aim to bring about transparency in the tendering process. Integrity Pact, a Transparency International conceptualized instrument, has been vital in promoting clean procurement.
7. US-India business meet
i. Bangalore Chamber of Industry and Commerce (BCIC) will hold an interactive session on ‘US-India business: Opportunities and Challenges’ at 5.30 pm on December 4 at CR Board Room, BCIC Office.
ii. The session will be addressed by Ron Somers, Founder & CEO, India First Group of the US, and Clifford Samuel, SVP, Access Operations and Emerging Markets, Gilead Sciences in the US.
iii. The session will highlight on the strategic consulting based on extensive experience in the US-India business/government arena.
8. YouTube opens first video production studio in India
i. Stepping up its India focus, YouTube along with Subhash Ghai-owned film school Whistling Woods International, has opened its first video production studio in the country.
ii. Called YouTube Spaces, it has similar collaborations in Los Angeles, London, Tokyo, New York City, Sao Paulo, Paris and Berlin. The company said that the “watch-time” of its content in India was growing at 80 per cent on a year-on-year basis while the content uploaded to India has grown by 90 per cent.
iii. Through this collaboration, India’s popular up-and-coming YouTube creators, as well as their students, will have free access to Whistling Woods’ studios, high-end audio, visual and editing equipment, in addition to training programs, workshops and community events.
iv. Lance Podell, Director, Global Head of YouTube Spaces, said, in addition to physical studio space that is available to students and creators, YouTube and Whistling Woods are developing original courses to train filmmakers, especially to create content for the digital and online media.
v. Youtube, which has a billion in viewership, is seeing a huge surge in creator-based content. He said the company was also looking to step up the offline views.
9. GAIL, ISRO launch satellite-based portal to monitor pipelines
i. GAIL (India) Limited in collaboration with National Remote Sensing Centre, a unit of Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO), has launched a surveillance geo-portal – ‘Bhuvan-GAIL Portal’ – that utilises space technology for its pipeline safety application.
ii. The launch took place in the presence of B.C. Tripathi, Chairman GAIL (India) Ltd, V.K. Dadhwal, Director NRSC, ISRO and senior officials from GAIL and ISRO, according to a statement issued here.
iii. GAIL is deploying space technology to monitor the pipeline’s Right of Use (RoU). It has more than 13,000 km of pipeline network, wherein monthly monitoring of pipeline is presently done via helicopter surveys. By January 2016, GAIL will begin live satellite monitoring of its pipeline RoU. It is also seeking alternative methods such as advanced Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAV), which can be integrated with this system.
iv. The company has developed a mobile application from which pictures of untoward incidents taken locally from any mobile showing the actual scenario can be uploaded instantly to the portal. A report system integrated with the Bhuvan-GAIL portal can send alerts to relevant executives via SMS and email regarding the changes noted along the pipeline as well as the arrival of any new satellite photos.
v. With recent progress in satellite-sensing technology, availability of new high-resolution satellites, object-oriented image analysis, there is the possibility to introduce space technology for pipeline monitoring applications.
vi. This R&D pilot project for monitoring of the 610-km-long Dahej–Vijaipur pipeline is one such effort to keep pace with technological advancements enabling time and cost-effective solutions. The Bhuvan-GAIL portal is operated via manual as well as auto-change analysis options to monitor changes along the natural gas pipeline.