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National Current Affairs September 4th Week 2017
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National Current Affairs September 4th Week 2017

1. Prime Minister Narendra Modi dedicates Sardar Sarovar Dam to nation.

Seventy-one years after it was conceived, a completed Sardar Sarovar Dam—one of the biggest in the country—was dedicated to the nation on Sunday by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who said India finished the job despite the objections of environmentalists and the World Bank.

“We faced every opposition for this project. The World Bank decided not to fund Sardar Sarovar Dam project after some activists propagated that the project flouted some environmental rules. World Bank or no World Bank, the people of this country had faith in us and it is due to their determination that this project has been completed,” Modi said.

The construction of the Narmada dam, conceived by freedom fighter Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel in 1946, is now complete and it has started supplying water.

Modi was speaking at a function in Dabhoi in Narmada district of Gujarat after dedicating the completed interstate multi-purpose Sardar Sarovar Project (SSP) Dam on the Narmada river to the nation. The consecration ceremony was held earlier in the morning at the dam’s site at Kevadia Colony near Gujarat’s border with Madhya Pradesh. The event coincided with Modi’s 67th birthday.

The function marked the culmination of construction of the dam, particularly its last phase, during which the height of the dam was raised from 121 metres to 138.68 metres by erecting 30 radial sluice gates, a task that had been held up for several years. This has helped the storage capacity to be increased 3.75 times to 4.73 million acre-feet. The project is being executed by the Gujarat government’s Sardar Sarovar Narmada Nigam Ltd (SSNL).
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The ambitious project has run into inter-state disputes, land acquisition and environmental problems and the rehabilitation and resettlement of those displaced by the project—issues that had a polarizing effect on the country. It also saw the birth of a massive movement against the dam, the Narmada Bachao Andolan, led by activist Medha Patkar. The agitation prompted the World Bank to withdraw lending to the project and consider it afresh. Unable to meet the revised standards set by World Bank, the Indian government decided to forgo the bank’s funding in March 1993.

Hailing it as an Indian engineering marvel, Modi said that the project has successfully brought water to the dry Kutch district, where the armed forces are guarding the nation.

A massive 6.82 million cubic metres of cement concrete went into building the main dam and a 75,000-km-long network of canals—an engineering marvel involving the construction of 634 structures. The canal work of about 43,000km is yet to be completed, according to Gujarat Congress chief Bharatsinh Solanki.

“When I used to visit the border areas as the CM of Gujarat, I realized that the water for the BSF (Border Security Force) jawans had to be fetched from many miles afar. Today, I am happy when the BSF soldiers tell me that they don’t face problems of drinking water anymore. It is an engineering marvel that has become a case study for large projects across the world,” the PM said while adding that the project had also brought social changes.

He said the drop-out ratio of girls from schools had been reduced after Narmada waters started reaching homes of the people. “Earlier girls in villages were forced to give up their studies as they had to travel far off places to fetch drinking water. Today, this is not the case. Even for speechless animals and livestock the drinking water issue has been resolved. I am truly blessed when I get blessings of all,” Modi said.

A multi-purpose project with irrigation, power and drinking water benefits, SSP is meant to benefit Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Rajasthan and Gujarat.

“Sardar Sarovar Dam will bring drinking water to 4 crore people, income of farmers will double by 2022,” said Union minister Nitin Gadkari at Dabhoi. He said that the dam will help irrigate 2.2 million hectares of land.

In 5 April 1961, Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru laid the foundation stone of the Narmada dam project. However, it was only in 1987 that the contract was awarded to build the dam by 1996, but it remained embroiled in controversy between 1996 and 2000. After Modi became chief minister, height of the dam was progressively raised to 110.64 metres by June 2004.

“For many years, Congress party had government in Gujarat and Centre but did nothing to complete Narmada Dam. The Congress government did work of only Rs3,000 crore in its tenure, while PM Modi completed work of Rs56,000 crore for Narmada Dam in 15 years, opening the doors of development in Gujarat,” Gujarat chief minister Vijay Rupani said at the event.

“I don’t like thinking small and doing small. When I have support of 1.25 billion people of the country, I have no right to dream small. Hence I decided to build the world’s largest statue in the memory of Sardar Patel which will be twice the size of the Statue of Liberty in the US,” PM Modi said. Earlier in the day, he visited the site of the ‘Statue of Unity’, named after Sardar Patel, the country’s first home minister, to see the work in progress.

The statue is being built on an island, Sadhu Bet, downstream the SSP Dam on the Narmada River.
 
2. Airtel Payments Bank launches UPI enabled digital payments in India.
 Airtel Payments Bank launches UPI enabled digital payments in India
Airtel Payments Bank on Sunday said it has become the first payments bank in India to integrate the Unified Payments Interface (UPI) on its digital platform.

This will add to customer choice and convenience for making secure digital payments to online/offline merchants and making instant money transfers to any bank account in India, a company statement said in New Delhi.

"This would allow all our 20 million bank customers to create their personalised UPI handles on the Airtel app and enable them to make digital payments in both the offline and online space. Our bank customers would also be able to link their bank accounts on BHIM app and make UPI payments," said Shashi Arora, MD and CEO, Airtel Payments Bank.
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"Payments banks are capable of facilitating remittances and payments to a large user base especially to underserved area as per the RBI`s vision. We are happy to on-board Airtel Payments Bank on BHIM/UPI platform," said Dilip Asbe, Chief Operating Officer, National Payments Corp of India (NPCI).

"Through this association, we foresee a significant rise in digital transactions at untapped merchant locations and person-to-person payments space," he added.

For UPI-based payments and transfers, the customers are not required to furnish their bank details to enable transactions and can create easy to remember IDs, ensuring optimal data security, the statement said.

Customers can also link their Airtel Payments Bank savings accounts to any of their UPI handles on popular apps such as BHIM or UPI of other banks, it added.
 
3. Google launches mobile wallet and payments app `Tez` in India.
 Google launches mobile wallet and payments app `Tez 
Internet search giant Google on Monday launched its Unified Payments Interface (UPI)-based digital payment service by the name `Tez` in India.

With this move, Google has become the latest international giant to enter the fast growing digital payments industry in India.

Taking Google`s commitment to the Indian market to the next level, the new Google payment App `TeZ` is powered by UPI, a payments protocol built by the Government-backed National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI). `Tez` means fast in Hindi.

Tez was launched by Finance Minister Arun Jaitley at an event in the Capital.

The launch will put the US tech giant on a collision course with Paytm, a popular mobile wallet provider in India that is backed by Softbank and Alibaba.

Speaking at the Tez launch event, Jaitley said he believed that the need for finding an alternative to cash was never centrestage in India`s economic agenda.

Jaitley, however, expressed confidence that what started as a "compulsion" for digitisation -- post demonetisation -- would soon turn into "convenience" with the launch of Tez.
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Diana Layfield, Vice-President, Head of Finance and commerce products on Google`s Next Billion Users team, later told presspersons that Google sees itself competing against cash.

"We don`t see ourselves competing against other players. Our competition is cash," Diana said.

Layfield also said Google was not looking to monetise the `Tez` app for now. She also said customers of 55 Indian banks can now use Tez.

Google Tez supports several local languages including Hindi, Bengali, Gujarati, Kannada, Marathi, Tamil and Telugu.
 
4. Intelligence wing of Sashastra Seema Bal launched.
Intelligence wing of Sashastra Seema Bal launched
The Union Ministry of Home Affairs has launched full-fledged intelligence wing of Sashastra Seema Bal (SSB). SSB is paramilitary force that guards India’s borders with Bhutan and Nepal.

The intelligence wing will gather actionable information in a bid to enhance operational efficiency. It will have 650 field and staff agents to gather actionable information. SSB’s intelligence wing personnel will be deployed on India-Nepal and India-Bhutan borders where there are no restrictions on movement of people on either side due to visa free regime.

Background

India shares 1,751 km-long border with Nepal and 699 km-long border with Bhutan. The border with Nepal touches Uttarakhand, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, West Bengal and Sikkim and border with Bhutan touches Sikkim, West Bengal, Assam and Arunachal Pradesh.

India has visa free regime with both countries as border population on both the sides has strong regional, cultural and economic ties. Due to visa-free regime, there is trans-border movement of criminals and anti-national elements which pose major security challenge.

Comment

 

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The intelligence wing of SSB will help to institutionalise a well-knit intelligence network of highest capability that can play important role in comprehensive border management. Based on intelligence SSB can undertake essential operations to prevent criminals and smugglers from taking advantage of friendly borders with Nepal and Bhutan.

WARB Application
The Ministry also launched Welfare and Rehabilitation Board (WARB) application to facilitate retire CAPFs and Assam Riffles personnel to get their grievances redressed, seek skill development, re-employment and other relevant and important information.
 
5. Assam Skill City to have 10,000 training seats may take 4-5 years to get functional.
 Assam Skill City to have 10,000 training seats may take 4-5 years to get functional
 A well equipped skill city with a capacity of 10 thousand training seats will be set up in Assam. Talking to AIR in Guwahati last night, Mission Director of Assam Skill Development Mission (ASDM) AP Tiwari said that a Singapore based premier institute will support the state government in this regard. He said that it will take 4 to 5 years to complete the construction of the proposed skill city.

Mr. Tiwari said that the mission will set up skill training centres at block levels. He said that skill development is one of the thrust areas of the Central government as well as Assam government.

Mr Tiwari further said that 30 thousand former militants will be given skill development training and ceasefire camps in which they are residing now will be converted into production centres.

The Mission Director of Assam Skill Development Mission A P Tiwari said , the construction of the proposed skill city would complete after 4 to 5 years . But prior to that , a temporary complex with 400 capacity is being set up in Guwahati. Mr. Tiwari said, Assam Skill Development Mission will set up skill training centres at block level. He further said , 30 thousand former militants will be given skill development training and cease fire camps where they are residing now will be made production centres.

Note: News shared for public awareness with reference from the information provided at online news portals.
 
6. Union Minister Rajnath Singh launched full-fledged intelligence wing of Sashastra Seema Bal (SSB).
Union Minister Rajnath Singh launched full-fledged intelligence wing of Sashastra Seema Bal (SSB)
Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh will on Monday operationalise a full-fledged Intelligence Wing of Sashastra Seema Bal (SSB), mandated to guard India-Nepal and India-Bhutan borders. 

In a bid to enhance operational efficiency, the Home Ministry in July had given the approval to create 650 combatised posts for the intelligence set-up in the 96,500-strong SSB.

The 650 posts in various ranks range from battalion to headquarters levels. 

The Intelligence Wing personnel would be deployed on the 1,751-km India-Nepal and 699-km India-Bhutan borders where there are no restrictions on the movement of people on either side, an official said.

He said the Intelligence Wing was required due to cross-border movement of criminals and anti-national elements in the context of visa-free regime on these borders. 

As most stretches of the border see activities of Pakistani spy agency Inter-Services Intelligence, Indian insurgent groups, Maoists, fundamentalists, smugglers of arms and ammunition, narcotics, Indian Fake Currency and human traffickers, the wing will really help in keeping a proper tab on these, he said.
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On the occasion, the Home Minister will also launch the Welfare and Rehabilitation Board (WARB) App and distribute scholarship to the children of SSB personnel killed in the line of duty. 

The mobile App is available on Google Play Store and is user friendly, the official said.

"The App contains various useful features to facilitate retired CAPFs (Central Armed Police Forces) and Assam Rifles personnel to get their genuine grievances redressed, seek skill development training through National Skill Development Corporation under Pradhan Mantri Kaushal Vikas Yojna, re-employment and other relevant and important information," the official said. 

"It also helps retired personnel to have better coordination with WARB and its field formation at states, union territories, and district level."
 
7. Maharashtra Government to start work on Rs 1 lakh crore infra projects.
Maharashtra Government to start work on Rs 1 lakh crore infra projects
The state government has decided to start work on mega infrastructure projects worth Rs 1 lakh crore this year.
“We are working to fast-track the projects to get rid of the mismatch between rapid urbanisation and rising infrastructure demands,” said Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis on Monday. “We have earned appreciation from Niti Aayog for undertaking big-ticket projects worth Rs 5.96 lakh crore across sectors,” he added.

The chief minister was addressing the conclave, Progressive Maharashtra: Leap Frogging to $ trillion economy in year 2025. The conclave was organised by FICCI in Mumbai.

While announcing that work order for the 21.8-km Mumbai Trans Harbour Link will be issued in the next 15-20 days, Fadnavis said, “This will be the biggest sea link between Sewri and Nhava Sheva. It will connect the island city of Mumbai to Navi Mumbai.”
 
8. Special canteen for labours in Chhattisgarh and Meals at just Rs.5.
 Amit Shah launches ‘Shaheed Gram Vikas Yojana’ in Jharkhand to provide houses to freedom fighters
Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Raman Singh said "As many as 60 such food centers will be set up in 27 districts of the states which will provide food to nearly 60,000 labourers on a daily basis. The labourers can either have meal at the facility or get it packed in their tiffins."
 
He further said “first Shram Anna Sahayata centre was launched in Chhattisgarh’s Telibandha area where nearly 1,000 labourers will be served meal daily between 8 am to 10 am”. Singh noted that the programme aims to reach 7000 labourers across 27 districts in Chhattisgarh.

The government has also registered 21 lakh workers from the organized and the unorganized sectors.

Moreover, Union Information and Broadcasting Minister Smriti Irani dedicated, performed `bhoomipoojan` of 28 developmental works worth Rs 146 crore at village Mandir Hasod (development block -Aarang) district Raipur.

Chief Minister Dr. Raman Singh presided over the function. Fifteen development works worth Rs 44 crore were dedicated and `bhoomipoojan` of 13 works worth Rs 102 crore were performed. Also, Foundation stone was laid for lining the main canal structure construction of the Mahanadi Irrigation Project worth Rs 78 crore.
 
9. Amit Shah launches ‘Shaheed Gram Vikas Yojana’ in Jharkhand to provide houses to freedom fighters.
BJP president Amit Shah on Sunday launched a scheme to develop villages of freedom fighters, called the Shaheed Gram Vikas Yojana, from the Jharkhand rural hamlet of Ulihatu which is tribal leader Birsa Munda’s birthplace. The village is in Maoist-hit Khunti district.

Shah, on the third day of his Jharkhand visit, met the descendants of Birsa Munda and gave away gas connections and solar lamps to some of the beneficiaries of the new scheme. The BJP chief and Jharkhand Chief Minister Raghubar Das planted saplings there.
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Shah lauded the state government for implementing the vision of Prime Minister Narendra Modi. “If we can’t give a developed village to the descendants of the great Birsa Munda and so many others, such as Nilamber, Pitamber and Sidho Kano, then we will not be able to return their debt. Not only Jharkhand, the entire country is indebted to them as they kept raising their voice against the British,” he said.

Ulihatu, a village in Arki Block, had remained virtually inaccessible for a long time after Independence because of Left-wing extremism.

Villagers recalled that then Bihar Chief Minister Lalu Prasad had visited them in 1994 and promised development. But things did not move forward. In the intervening period, many leaders came calling. “They come to us once in a while. Things get spruced up. And then things remain the same. They are coming again now. We hope this time the assurance becomes a reality,” said Budh Ram Munda, the grandson of Birsa Munda who is a head constable in Jharkhand police.

An official from the Welfare Department said that the programme would provide 136 pucca houses to the dwellers of Ulihatu and a couple of other hamlets around it.
 
10. Union Petroleum Minister to co-chair 13th Inter-Governmental Commission meeting at Astana, Kazakhstan.
Union Petroleum Minister to co-chair 13th Inter-Governmental Commission meeting at Astana, Kazakhstan
Union Minister for Petroleum and Natural Gas and Skill Development and Entrepreneurship, Shri Dharmendra Pradhan will be visiting Astana, Kazakhstan from 19 - 20 September 2017 to co-chair the 13th Meeting of Inter-Governmental Commission (IGC) with Kazakhstan. Mr Kanat Bozumbayev, Minister of Energy of Kazakhstan will co-chair the meeting from Kazakhstan side.

The IGC meeting aims to follow up on the agenda set between India and Kazakhstan during the two visits of Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi to Kazakhstan in July 2015 and June 2017.
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During his visit, Shri Pradhan is scheduled to discuss various issues and ideas for stepping up the cooperation in energy sector, trade, economic, investment, transport & connectivity, agriculture, information technology, space, healthcare and cultural spheres between the two countries with his counterpart. The two sides are also expected to finalize a strategy and roadmap for expanding trade, economic and investment cooperation between the two countries.

The Minister is being accompanied by a delegation comprising senior officials from Ministries/Departments, including Petroleum and Natural Gas, Mines, Electronics & IT, Tourism, ISRO, Department of Atomic Energy, Indian Council of Agricultural Research and also high level executives from ONGC Videsh and Railway Board.
 
11. Zero Hunger Programme to be launched in October.
Zero Hunger Programme to be launched in October
India’s ambitious Zero Hunger Programme through interventions in farm sector will be launched on occasion of World Food Day (October 16) with focus on agriculture, nutrition and health in a symbiotic manner.

The Programme will be initiated by Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR) in association with Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR), MS Swaminathan Research Foundation and Biotechnology Industry Research Assistance Council (BIRAC).

Key Facts
The programme consists of organisations of farming system for nutrition, setting up genetic gardens for biofortified plants and initiation of ‘Zero Hunger’ training. A genetic garden for biofortified plants contains germplasm of naturally biofortified crops through plant breeding. It has plants and crops that help supplement micro-nutrient deficiencies, including iron, zinc, vitamin A and iodine among others.
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The Programme initially will be launched in three districts – Gorakhpur (Uttar Pradesh), Koraput (Odisha) and Thane (Maharashtra). These three districts will act as model of integrated approach to deal with hunger and malnutrition by adopting suitable agricultural or horticultural practices.

The Programme will ensure suitable methods of measuring impact of intervention by identifying the nutritional maladies in each district and applying appropriate agricultural/horticultural and animal husbandry remedies.

This dedicated farm-based programme is in sync with India’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end hunger by 2030. It will be in addition government’s plan to deal with issue of malnutrition through various other initiatives under its goal to make India malnutrition free by 2022.
 
12. Jharkhand Government launches Shaheed Gram Vikas Yojana.
 
Jharkhand Government launches Shaheed Gram Vikas Yojana
 
Jharkhand Government has launched Shaheed Gram Vikas Yojana aimed at developing villages of freedom fighters in the state. It was launched from Ulihatu Village, birth place of freedom fighter Birsa Munda.

Under this scheme, villages of many tribal freedom fighters will be developed and their habitants will be provided basic amenities. These villages had remained inaccessible for long time after Independence because of Left-wing extremism. Now they will be provided with 136 pucca houses.
 

Birsa Munda
Birsa Munda was tribal, freedom fighter, religious leader, and folk hero who belonged to Munda tribe from Chhotanagpur area. He had led Munda rebellion towards end of 19th century against British Raj. Starting in 1895, revolt was against interference by British administration which transformed tribal agrarian system into feudal state around Chhotanagpur area, as well as interference in their religious matters from Missionary activities.

Birsa Munda had adopted Guerilla Warfare techniques to launch surprise attacks in which many police officials were killed. The revolt was brutally suppressed by Britishers. Birsa Munda was arrested and was sentenced to death and died in jail of Cholera.
 
13. Government invites startups for Northeast Venture Fund.
Government invites startups for Northeast Venture Fund
The Ministry of Development of Northeast has invited start-ups from all over country to avail benefits of Northeast Venture Fund in a bid to make Northeast India favourite destination for young Startups.

The dedicated Venture fund aims to remove constraints faced by youngster when he sets out to be on his own by providing financial relief. Further it seeks to tap vast unexplored avenues in Northeast for generating livelihood particularly in fruit, food, handicraft and tourism industry.

Northeast Venture Fund (NVF)
NVF is first dedicated venture capital fund for North-Eastern region. It has been set up by North Eastern Development Finance Corporation Ltd (NEDFi). Its purpose is to encourage entrepreneurship in North-eastern region, primarily by offering support to first-generation entrepreneurs. In addition, NEDFi performs role of hand-holding and capacity building.
 
14. Tripura is the First State to Set Up Family Welfare Committees.
Tripura is the First State to Set Up Family Welfare Committees
Tripura on Monday became the first state in the country to set up family welfare district committees to deal with the issue of fake and biased complaints by women against their husbands, in-laws and husband`s relatives, as per an apex court directive.

State Governor Tathagata Roy in the presence of Chief Minister Manik Sarkar and other high dignitaries formally launched the family welfare committees in all eight districts in Tripura at a function in Tripura High Court.

Tripura is the first state to have formed such committees, Tripura High Court Chief Justice T. Vaiphei said at the event.

"After filing of complaint by a woman against her husband, in-laws and husband`s relatives, the district family welfare committees would scrutinise the complaint, try to mitigate and mediate between the two sides to settle the dispute," T. Vaiphei said.

"After the district family welfare committees have submitted their report, the police officials would start appropriate legal action."

Quoting Supreme Court Judge Adarsh Kumar Goel, Vaiphei said that Tripura High Court is the first high court among 24 High Courts in India that has constituted family welfare district committees.

Tripura High Court Judge Subhashish Talapatra said in the Rajesh Sharma versus state of Uttar Pradesh case, the Supreme Court on July 27 directed that each complaint of cruelty to a woman by her husband or his relatives, which does not involve tangible physical injuries or death, shall be referred to the family welfare committee of the district.

"This apex court judgment is based on the court`s observations that section 498-A of the IPC (Indian Penal Code) is abused by some women, particularly to harass elderly in-laws. The apex court cited the National Crime Record Bureau (NCRB) data in support."

The family welfare district committees may comprise para-legal volunteers or social workers or retired officers or even the wives of serving officers, but the panel members will not be called as witnesses if the police or magistrate decide to investigate a particular case.

Judge Talapatra told IANS that over 80 per cent frivolous, fake and biased cases across the country are filed by a section of women against husband, in-laws and husband`s relatives.
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"Such fake and prejudiced cases are the cause of huge damage to a large number of families and harm the dignity of innocent people," Judge Talapatra said.

He said that the Supreme Court in its directions said that the new system to deal with the section 498-A of the IPC would be for six months and the National Legal Services Authority (NLSA) would submit a report in March before the apex court on the performance and outcome of the district family welfare committees across the country.

"After getting the report of the NLSA and considering other related aspects, the Supreme Court would take the next steps on the issue," Judge Talapatra said.

Both Governor Tathagata Roy and Chief Minister Manik Sarkar in their speeches welcomed the Supreme Court`s steps.

Sarkar called for passage of the women`s reservation bill. "To empower women and to maintain equality, the much-expected legislation on one third reservations for the women in Parliament and state assemblies must be enacted at the earliest," Sarkar said.

 15. Union Government to launch mobile app for retiring govt staff.

Union Government to launch mobile app for retiring govt staff
A mobile application will be launched tomorrow for central government employees who are about to retire to help them monitor the progress of their pension settlement cases.

Retired employees will also be able to assess their superannuation funds and record complaints, if any, through the pension calculator, an official release issued by the Personnel, Public grievances and Pensions Ministry today said.

The ministry already has a pensioners` portal for this purpose.

The mobile app will be extending to the mobile handset all services meant for the pensioner which are currently available on the portal of the Department of Pension and Pensioners` Welfare, it said.

With this application, a superannuating central government official will be able to monitor the progress of his or her pension settlement and retired officials will be able to assess or check details of their pension amounts through the pension calculator as well register grievances and get updates on orders issued by the department, it said.

The app will be launched by by Minister of State for Personnel, Public grievances and Pensions Jitendra Singh.
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He will also award pensioners for outstanding contributions towards `Anubhav` - a platform for retiring employees for sharing their experiences on working with the government.

To help government pensioners, a workshop on pre- retirement counselling of 300 central government employees who are on the verge of retirement is also scheduled to be held.

The objective of this workshop is to create awareness about post-retirement entitlements as well as to help them plan for life after retirement, the release said.
 
16. First ever National Conference on `Mission Mode to address Under-Nutrition` held in New Delhi.
First ever National Conference on `Mission Mode to address Under-Nutrition` held in New Delhi
The first ever National Conference on "Mission Mode to address Under-Nutrition" was successfully held in New Delhi today. The conference was inaugurated by the Minster of Women & Child Development, Smt Maneka Sanjay Gandhi in the presence of Minister of State for Women & Child Development, Dr. Virendra Kuamr. The CEO, NITI Aayog, Shri Amitabh Kant, Secretary, Ministry of Drinking Water and Sanitation, Shri Parameswaran Iyer; Secretary, Ministry of Women and Child Development, Shri Rakesh Srivastava and Additional Secretary, Ministry of Health & Family Welfare, Shri Manoj Jhalani also addressed the participants. The conference was organized by the Ministry of Women & Child Development in collaboration with Ministry of Drinking Water and Sanitation and Ministry of Health & Family Welfare, keeping in mind the goal of Mission Malnutrition Free India-2022".

Speaking on the occasion, Smt Maneka Sanjay Gandhi said that after the resounding success of Prime Minister Narendra Modi Jis Beti Bachao Beti Padhao programme, the WCD Ministry is now targeting malnutrition. For this, there is urgent need to improve the quality of supplementary nutrition and also make the delivery system efficient, she added. Smt Maneka Gandhi said that we must provide 1000 calories to women and 600 calories to children under ICDS. The focus of the entire programme should be to administer nutrition rather than feeding beneficiaries by giving "Nutrient Dense Food". A change in policy is required to implement this, the Minister said. The Ministry of Women & Child Development will soon issue new guidelines on supplementary nutrition in this regard in the next few days which will supersede all existing guidelines. Similarly, a separate self contained protocol for severely and acutely malnourished (SAM) children will also be issued shortly. The Minister also highlighted the importance of child protection alongwith nutrition.

The Minister of State for Women and Child Develoment, Dr. Virendra Kumar said that today`s consultation is a landmark event. The MoS said that the country has succeded in eliminating several difficult problems like chickenpox, polio etc. and it should not be difficult for the country to overcome the problem of malnutrition. The Deputy Commissioners/District Collectors along with other district level functionaries will have to take responsibility for the mission to eliminate malnutrition by 2022.

CEO, NITI Aayog, Shri Amitabh Kant said that the responsibility of tackling malnutrition lies on the shoulders of Deputy Commissioners/District Collectors who should now make a frontal attack on the problem using a convergence approach as well as with the help of IT tools for real time monitoring.
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Secretary, Ministry of Drinking Water and Sanitation, Shri Parameswaran Iyer said the problem of malnutrition is closely linked to the problem of drinking water and sanitation. The Swachh Bharat Mission is trying to achieve the goal of total sanitation which will also contribute to reducing problem of malnutrition.

Secretary WCD, Shri Rakesh Srivastava highlighted the issues related to stunting and anemia in India.

Additional Secretary, Ministry of Health & Family Welfare, Shri Manoj Jhalani gave details of the initiatives of Ministry of Health & Family Welfare to promote maternal and child health care.

At today`s conference, District Collectors/Deputy Commissioners/District Magistrates as well as the District-level officers of Health & Family Welfare, Nutrition (ICDS/SW), Drinking Water & Sanitation Departments in the 113 High Burden Districts along with the Principal Secretaries/Secretaries, in-charge of these three Departments of all States/UTs discussed a multitude of topics relating to stunting, under-nutrition and wasting and the key strategic interventions which are urgently required. Some of the important sessions at todays conference included efficacy of food fortification, sustainable solution through breast feeding, dietary diversification, improving maternal & child health through Mission Indradhanush, improving program delivery effectiveness, accelerating Real Time Monitoring among others.

Smt Maneka Sanjay Gandhi also gave away awards to three States i.e. Chattisgarh, Arunachal Pradesh and Gujarat for substantial reduction in stunting during the ten year period between NFHS-3 and NFHS-4. She also released a book "Forest Lanterns" containing essays on solutions to improve nutrition among children in tribal areas.
 
17. India to conduct the First `BIMSTEC Disaster Management Exercise- 2017` from October 10-13.
India to conduct the First `BIMSTEC Disaster Management Exercise- 2017` from October 10-13
The First `BIMSTEC Disaster Management Exercise- 2017` (BIMSTEC DMEx-2017) will be conducted by the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) as the lead agency from October 10-13, 2017 in Delhi and the National Capital Region (NCR). This Exercise will be a platform for sharing Best Practices on all aspects of Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR), strengthening regional response and coordination for Disaster Management among the BIMSTEC member countries.

Delegates from all seven nations of the `Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation` (BIMSTEC) grouping, - namely Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Myanmar, Nepal, Sri Lanka and Thailand, representatives from Embassies/High Commissions of BIMSTEC nations in Delhi, National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA), and Senior Officers from the Nodal Ministries are participating in the event.

At the 17th BIMSTEC Senior Officials Meeting held in Kathmandu, Nepal on February 7, 2017, it was decided that India would organize the first annual Disaster Management Exercise for the region.

The main focus of the BIMSTEC DMEx-2017 will be on testing the region`s preparedness and resilience towards effective activation of inter-Governmental interaction/dialogue/agreements for immediate deployment of regional resources for disaster response. It will help create synergy and synchronize efforts to institutionalize regional cooperation among the member countries. The exercise will help strengthen the effective utilization of the Search & Rescue Teams for Disaster Relief & Emergency Response, including Emergency Rapid Assessment Teams and Management of mass casualties especially in situations involving breakdown of infrastructure and communication.

At the end of the four-day Exercise, a publication will be brought out on the outcomes and recommendations of the Joint/Common Exercise and include Agreement among BIMSTEC Nations on regional cooperation for Disaster Management and Emergency Response. This would be presented to the BIMSTEC Leaders at the Summit to be hosted by Nepal in October/November, 2017.
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The BIMSTEC DMEx-2017 is being conducted in two phases in Delhi and NCR. The main exercise will comprise of Table Top Exercise (TTX), Field Training Exercise (FTX) and After Action Review (AAR) which is scheduled for October 10-13, 2017. Earlier, the first phase comprising a Preparatory Meeting and field visit of site selected for FTX during the main exercise, was held in Delhi NCR on August 8-9, 2017.

India has been at the forefront of DRR efforts by hosting the South Asian Annual Disaster Management Exercise (SAADMEx) and the Asian Ministerial Conference for Disaster Risk Reduction (AMCDRR). India has also offered its expertise and capabilities in DRR such as the South Asia satellite, GSAT-9, and the Tsunami Early Warning Centre to other countries. Disaster Management was one of the important Agenda items the BIMSTEC leaders deliberated upon during the Goa BRICS Summit in October last year where BIMSTEC leaders were the Special Invitees.

The BIMSTEC region is home to around 1.5 billion people, constituting around 22% of the global population with a combined GDP of US $2.7 trillion economy. Majority of the BIMSTEC countries are situated in the South Asian Region (SAR), prone to natural disasters such as floods, cyclones, earthquakes, avalanches and drought.
 
18. Law Ministry approves Fugitive Economic Offenders Bill, 2017.
 Law Ministry approves Fugitive Economic Offenders Bill, 2017
The Union Law ministry has approved Fugitive Economic Offenders Bill, 2017 to empower government to confiscate property of economic offenders and defaulters who flee India

The Bill seeks to deter economic offenders from evading the process of Indian law by fleeing the country. It was drafted in pursuance of Finance Minister Arun Jaitley’s 2017-18 Budget speech promising legislative changes or even new law to confiscate the assets of such fugitives. The Finance Ministry had prepared the draft Cabinet note on the bill and sought the law ministry’s opinion on it.

Features of Bill
It defines fugitive economic offender as any individual against whom warrant for arrest in relation to economic offence has been issued and person has left the country and refuses to return to India to face criminal prosecution.  The burden of proof for establishing that an individual is fugitive economic offender will be on authorities.

The proposed bill will be applicable in cases where the value of offences is over Rs 100 crore. It will allow Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU), the premier technical snoop wing under the finance ministry, to file an application for declaration of fugitive economic offender for confiscation of their assets.

The bill entrusts responsibility to try such cases to the courts under Prevention of Money Laundering Act, 2002 (PMLA). The bill has provision for appointment of an administrator to dispose off property of fugitive offfender to pay off the creditors. Besides, it has provisions to override provisions of other existing laws.

Law Ministry Suggestions
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It wants Saving Clause to be incorporated in the Bill before it is introduced in Parliament. Saving clause provides for certain exception(s) in a statute. It enables repealed law to be in force with respect to some existing rights as provisions of the proposed bill has  bearing on the provisions of existing laws.

The existing laws under which such fugitive economic offender are tried include Recovery of Debts Due to Banks and Financial Institutions Act (RDDBFI), Securitisation and Reconstruction of Financial Assets and Enforcement of Security Interest Act, 2002, (SARFESI) and Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code (IBC).

Need for such Law
In the recent past, there have been instances of big-time offenders, including economic offenders, fleeing the country to escape reach of jurisdiction of Indian courts. Most recently, Vijay Mallya, chief of terstwhile Kingfisher Airlines who owes over Rs 9,000 crore to various Indian banks, had fled India to escape legal proceedings in connection with the loans. Such cases have several deleterious consequences as it hampers investigation in criminal cases, wastes precious time of courts of law and undermines the rule of law of the country.
 
19. Puducherry to ban plastic of less than 51 microns.
Puducherry to ban plastic of less than 51 microns
The Puducherry government on Wednesday decided to ban manufacture and use of plastic packaging materials of less than 51 microns as these were found to be injurious to health and a source of menace during monsoon in the Union Territory.
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Announcing this, Welfare and Environment Minister M Kandasamy told reporters at the end of a joint meeting with officials of departments concerned with solid waste management that the ban would come into force in the next six months.

He said manufacturers and shop owners should be given time in keeping with the directives of the Centre in this regard. If any shop owner was found to be using the materials after the ban comes into force the government would impose spot fine and prosecute the violators, he said.

The government also advised hotel and restaurant owners to abstain from packing ‘ready to eat’ food items in ‘butter paper’ or such plastic transparent sheets. The government also directed shop owners not to use newspapers for supplying such food items.

Alternatively the shop owners have been asked to use plantain leaf or any such natural products for such packaging, officials said.
 
20. Commemorative Coins on Dr. M.S. Subbulakshmi released.
Commemorative Coins on Dr. M.S. Subbulakshmi released
Commemorative coins of Rs 100 and Rs 10 denomination were released on the occasion of 101st Birth Centenary of noted Carnatic musician Dr. MS Subbulakshmi by Vice President M. Venkaiah Naidu.
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Earlier, Finance Ministry had issued notification about introduction of Rs 100 coin to honour Subbulakshmi’s music legacy.

Dr. M.S. Subbulakshmi
Madurai Shanmukhavadivu Subbulakshmi was Carnatic singer. She was born 16 September 1916 in Madurai, Madras Presidency. She died on 11 December 2004 (aged 88). She was leading exponent of classical and semi-classical songs in the carnatic tradition of South India.

She had many firsts to her credit, from being first musician to be awarded Bharat Ratna, India’s highest civilian honour in 1998, first Indian musician to receive the Ramon Magsaysay award, often considered Asia’s Nobel Prize in 1974 and first Indian musician to perform at UN General Assembly. In 2016, to mark her birth centenary, UN Postal Administration had issued stamp to honour her.
 
21. Rs 389 Crore Dam in Bhagalpur, Bihar Collapses a Day Before Inauguration.
Rs 389 Crore Dam in Bhagalpur, Bihar Collapses a Day Before Inauguration
In a shocking turn of events, the 389.31 crore worth Gateshwar Panth Canal Project, which was all set to be inaugurated by Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar, suffered a major blow as a part of the dam collapsed just 24 hours before the inaugural ceremony.

Stirring the administrative head, Minister of Water Resources, Lallan Singh said, "The dam broke due to release of water in full capacity. The incident has not caused any damage to the newly constructed part of the project."

Due to an unfortunate accident, the inauguration of the dam has been cancelled.

It is said, the Bateshwarasthan Ganga Pump Canal Project was prepared by the government under the irrigation scheme at Kahalgaon in Bhagalpur. Rs. 389.31 crore was spent on this scheme.

The Gateshwar Panth Canal Project is told to be very old and took a long time to complete the project.
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The main purpose of making the dam was to collect water in the canal so that the farmers would not have to face any problem.

The collapsing has created a frantic ambience. Several reports of waterlogging have been identified and water can be seen entering the city, penetrating many homes of low-lying areas.

As soon as the information about the dam broke, the officials concerned immediately reached the spot.

Jharkhand was also to be benefited from this project. Through this project, the irrigation facility would have been available in 18620 hectares in Bhagalpur and 22658 hectares in Godda district of Jharkhand.

Initially, this was just 13.88 crore plan but in January 1977, the Planning Commission had approved the scheme at a cost of Rs 13.88 crore. 
 
22. Rs. 5 lakh annual scholarship for Athletes under revamped Khelo India programme.
Rs. 5 lakh annual scholarship for Athletes under revamped Khelo India programme
In a move to identify and groom young sporting talent, the Union cabinet on Wednesday approved a revamped Khelo India (Play India) scheme under which 1,000 selected athletes will receive an annual scholarship of Rs500,000 each for eight years. The scheme, which would cost the government Rs1,756 crore between 2017-18 and 2019-20, will also promote 20 universities across India as hubs of sporting excellence.

“The revamped Khelo India programme would impact the entire sports ecosystem, including infrastructure, community sports, talent identification, coaching for excellence, competition structure and sports economy,” according to an official statement.

Until now, sports schemes were focused on building infrastructure such as stadiums. However, the new scheme will focus on nurturing talent and connecting rural India to global games, sports minister Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore said. Companies could also fund the Khelo India scheme under corporate social responsibility, Rathore added.

In another decision, the cabinet approved new cost norms for providing supplementary nutrition to children, pregnant and lactating mothers, and adolescent girls in anganwadi or integrated child development scheme (ICDS) centres. Under the new norms, the daily expenditure on child nutrition will increase from Rs6 to Rs8, while for women it will be raised from Rs7 to Rs9.5.

The increase in daily allowance is to account for inflation as rates have not been revised since 2012. An official statement said the revised norms will cost the centre Rs2,267 crore in additional expenses for three years starting 2017-18.

In addition, the cabinet has also approved a productivity-linked bonus equivalent to 78 days’ wages for employees of the Indian Railways for 2016-17, which will benefit 1.23 million workers.
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The cabinet also approved a proposal to transfer three India Tourism Development Corp. hotels to the state governments of Rajasthan, Karnataka and Arunachal Pradesh. In another decision, the cabinet approved the merger of 17 government presses into five units which will be modernized by monetizing their surplus land.

The Union cabinet noted the progress of the National Health Mission (NHM), including the accelerated decline in maternal mortality rate (MMR), infant mortality rate (IMR), under-5 mortality rate (U5MR) and total fertility rate (TFR).

It also noted the progress in respect of various disease control programmes such as tuberculosis (TB), malaria, leprosy, etc. The cabinet noted that the rate of decline in under-5 mortality has nearly doubled since NHM was originally launched as National Rural Health Mission (NRHM) in 2005.

Union health minister J.P. Nadda said that halting and reversing of the incidence of malaria, TB and HIV/AIDS had been achieved by the government.

The cabinet was apprised of the increase in the programme management budget ceiling under NHM, including monitoring and evaluation, from the existing 6.5% to 9% of the total annual work plan per year for bigger states and from 11% to 14% for smaller states and Union territories.

The cabinet also approved the introduction of the Dentists (Amendment) Bill, 2017 in Parliament, subject to modifications. The amendment is aimed at reducing redundant provisions in the Act. The clauses to be amended include those pertaining to the membership of the Dental Council of India.
 
23. Aadhaar card is now mandatory for entry into pubs in Hyderabad.
Aadhaar card is now mandatory for entry into pubs in Hyderabad
Hopping into a pub and downing a drink or two won’t be that easy from now. The Prohibition and Excise Department has made identity cards, particularly Aadhar cards, mandatory if one has to be served in pubs in the city.

The move comes in the wake of several pubs coming under the scanner of the department for turning into hubs of sale and consumption of drugs and other psychotropic substances. This revelation came during the investigation into the major drug racket, allegedly involving several personalities from the Telugu tinsel world as well, which was busted early in July.

During the probe, investigators had found that several transactions pertaining to cocaine, Lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD) and other drugs were carried out at some of the pubs in the city, with suppliers meeting their clients at pubs, officials said.

Following this, the department has asked owners of all pubs across the city to ensure that their clients carry their Aadhar cards to prove their age. If the client is found to be below 21, the managements are not to allow him inside the premises.
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The managements have also been asked to maintain a separate register to enter details of those visiting their pubs. The move would not only keep underaged persons away from visiting pubs but also enable the department from easily tracing those found to be involved in drugs with the help of ID proofs, officials said.

Excise Superintendent and SIT chief S. Srinivas Rao said licence norms already stipulate that managements ask for identity proof of those visiting pubs. “It’s not a new rule. We are only implementing an existing rule,” he said.

The SIT had earlier issued warning letters to managements of 14 pubs in the city and suspended the licence of F Club. A meeting was also conducted with representatives from the hoteliers’ associations on measures to be taken to prevent the drug menace.
 
24. 6th Edition of the 4 day International Textile and Apparel Fair, VASTRA organized in Jaipur.
The 6th edition of VASTRA– An International Textile and Apparel Fair 2017 (VASTRA 2017) was recently held in Jaipur, Rajasthan.

It was jointly organised by Rajasthan State Industrial Development and Investment Corporation Ltd. (RIICO) and Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI). More than 50 countries and 13 Indian States participated in VASTRA 2017.

VASTRA Fair
VASTRA since its inception in 2012 has created space for itself in calendar of international exhibitions on textiles and apparel. The expo was all-encompassing trade fair and conference on Textiles and Apparel that presented fusion of finest and latest in textile products – from fiber to fashion, services and technology. It aimed at revitalizing existing business ties and forging of new business relations for business opportunities.

It served as an ideal platform to enter JVs, strategic alliances and partnerships worldwide, launch new products, as well as, harness new locations for setting up businesses in India. It also served as a platform for disseminating technology and interacting with R&D Labs and experts for solution in technology and latest trends.

India’s textiles sector
India’s textiles sector is one of the oldest industries in Indian economy dating back several centuries. Even today, it is one of the largest contributors to India’s exports with approximately 11% of total exports (exports during FY 2015-16 stood at US$ 40 billion). It contributes approximately 5% to India’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP), and 14% to overall Index of Industrial Production (IIP). It is also labour intensive and is the second largest employer after agriculture. Government has allowed 100% FDI in the Indian textiles sector under the automatic route.
 
25. Telangana government releases music video on 9 day Bathukamma festival.
 
 The vibrant and unique folk festivals, Bonalu and Bathukamma, that reflect the Telangana culture were on Monday declared as the state festivals by the TRS government.
"The government has decided to declare Bonalu and Bathukamma as state festivals as they signify the unique culture of Telangana," said excise minister T Padma Rao Goud. By declaring them state festivals, the government will fund the official celebrations in the temple and make other necessary arrangements. The decision was taken in a meeting of officials convened by CM K Chandrasekhar Rao where he reviewed arrangements for the Ramzan month starting June 28 which coincides with the celebration of Bonalu in the twin cities this year.

Along with Goud, deputy chief minister Md Mahmood Ali, MIM leader and Hyderabad MP Asaduddin Owaisi, Mayor Majjid Hussain, deputy mayor G Rajkumar, Hyderabad city police commissioner and others were presented in the meeting. Goud said mobile transformers would be used during Bonalu celebrations at various temples in the twin cities to ensure uninterrupted power supply. Bonalu is celebrated during the month of Ashada on the Hindu calendar which normally falls in July or August. This time, the Ashada month is starting on June 28. Devotees offer cooked rice and jaggery to Mahankali, a female deity, as a mark of thanksgiving. On the first Sunday of Aashadam, celebrations are held at the temple at Golconda Fort. On the second Sunday, the festivities move to Ujjaini Mahakali temple in Secunderabad and Balkampet Yellamma temple in Balkampet, and on the third, at the Matheswari temple of Lal Darwaza in the Old City.

Bathukamma falls in September-October and is celebrated for nine days during Navaratri. It starts on the day of Mahalaya Amavasya and the 9-day festivities culminate on "Saddula Bathukamma" or "Pedda Bathukamma" festival on Ashwayuja Ashtami, popularly known as Durgashtami which is two days before Dasara.The CM also sanctioned Rs 5 crore for Ramzan.

"Special arrangements would be made to supply water and power to the mosques during the month of Ramzan. And the government and private establishment have been informed to relieve Muslim employees by 4.30 pm during the holy month," said Mahmood Ali.

Meanwhile, the state government decided to continue the existing fee reimbursement scheme of the students from the weaker sections. In a decision taken at an all-party meeting convened by the CM, the government said it would reimburse even the fee for the students from Seemandhra, while the AP government would reimburse the fee for the students from Telangana studying in that state.

"It was decide to continue the scheme without any alteration. The Telangana government will reimburse the fee for the students studying in Telangana and the AP government will reimburse fee for the students studying in Seemandhra," said education minister G Jagadish Reddy.

 26. Indias First indigenously built Scorpene submarine INS Kalvari delivered to Navy.

Indias First indigenously built Scorpene submarine INS Kalvari delivered to Navy
The first of a six Scorpene-class submarine, Kalvari, was on Thursday handed over to the Indian Navy for its commissioning.

Kalvari is named after the dreaded Tiger Shark, a deadly deep sea predator of the Indian Ocean. The navy is betting on the ‘Make in India’ Scorpene project to sharpen its underwater attack capabilities.

Here’s all you need to know about the submarine:

The project
Kalvari was built indigenously under a venture called Project 75, at Mumbai’s Mazagon Docks. Under this project, the Indian Navy was authorised to build six submarines in collaboration with French firm DCNS at a cost of around Rs 350 crore.

Construction of the first submarine had started on May 23, 2009 and the project ended way behind schedule.

Features and stealth
Kalvari can carry 18 torpedoes and travel 1,020km underwater. The 66-metre submarine can dive up to a depth of 300 metres to elude enemy detection.

It has superior stealth and the ability to launch crippling attacks on the enemy with precision-guided weapons. The attack can be carried out with torpedoes as well as tube-launched anti-ship missiles underwater or from the surface.

This Scorpene submarine is designed to operate in all theatres of war, including the tropics. Kalvari is capable of handling various missions such as anti-surface warfare (attacking surface ships), anti-submarine warfare (destroying submarines), intelligence gathering, mine-laying and area surveillance.

The Kalvari was built with a special kind of high-tensile steel that is capable of withstanding high yield stress. This feature allows it to withstand pressure exerted by water, hydrostatic force, while diving deeper to enhance stealth.

It is also capable of carrying weapons that can be easily reloaded at sea.

‘Reincarnation’ of first Kalvari
In keeping with the India’s’ mythologies and naval tradition, the Kalvari is a ‘reincarnation’ of the first Indian submarine to be commissioned into the Indian Navy on December 8, 1967. The previous Kalvari served for nearly three decades, before being decommissioned in May 1996.

“In true nautical tradition, she will now be reincarnated, by Mazagon Dock, once again a powerful predator of the deep, guarding the vast maritime interests of our nation,” the navy said.

Other Scorpene-class submarines

 

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The second of the Scorpenes under construction, Khanderi, was launched in January 2017 and it is currently undergoing rigorous phase of sea trials. The third Scorpene, Karanj, is being readied for launch later this year.

The remaining submarines are likely to be delivered to the navy by 2020.

India’s submarine fleet
The Indian fleet consists of Russian Kilo-class and German HDW class 209 submarines. Limited serviceability is also an issue -- not all these boats are battle ready at any given point of time.

India’s sub-sea warfare capability pales in front of China’s. The Communist neighbour operates 53 diesel-electric attack submarines, five nuclear attack submarines and four nuclear ballistic missile submarines.
 
27. 6 feet tall Durga idol made of 600 kg of chocolate displayed at Kolkata Hotel.
 
Adding to the festive cheer, a six-feet tall Durga idol made of chocolate was put on display at a city hotel today.

The idol has been made of approximately 600 kg of chocolate.

Three persons, under the guidance of pastry chef Sunil, worked eight hours a day and completed the idol within a week.

The idol will be on display till September 29, the day of Mahanavami.

"We made the idol with chocolate - an all time favourite item of the Bengalis to celebrate their love for Durga Puja and sweets," Keneth Scott, a top official said on behalf of the hotel.

"We also wish to pay our tribute to the skilled artisans of Kumartuli, the idol-makers and artisans hub in city," Scott said.
 
28. PM Narendra Modi to inaugurate 17 infrastructure projects and Mahamana Express, Utkarsh Bank in Varanasi.
 
Prime Minister Narendra Modi is on a two-day visit to his Parliamentary Constituency of Varanasi. During the visit, the Prime Minister will inaugurate several infrastructure projects and address public meetings. Varanasi District Magistrate Yogeshwar Ram Mishra on Thursday said that Prime Minister Modi would open the second phase of a trade facilitation centre for weavers and handicraft workers in Bada-Lalpur.
 
BJP`s eastern Uttar Pradesh media in-charge Sanjay Bhardwaj told PTI that the Prime Minister will inaugurate nearly 17 infrastructure projects, including the Ramnagar-Samne Ghat bridge and the Balua Ghat bridge, and lay the foundation of nearly six projects including Ramna Sewage Treatment Plant. 
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The government on Thursday issued a statement saying Prime Minister Modi`s engagements will cover aspects as diverse as infrastructure, railways, textiles, financial inclusion, environment and sanitation, animal husbandry, culture and spirituality. "The Prime Minister will dedicate to the nation, the Deendayal Hastkala Sankul - a trade facilitation centre for handicrafts - at Bada Lalpur," the press statement said adding that he will briefly visit the facilities at the Sankul.
 
Here`s what the Prime Minister will do during his two-day visit:

The Prime Minister will flag off the Mahamana Express through a video link. This train will connect Varanasi with Surat and Vadodara in Gujarat.

Prime Minister Modi will inaugurate banking services of the Utkarsh Bank, and will also unveil a plaque to mark the laying of foundation stone of the headquarters building of the Bank. The Utkarsh Bank specializes in micro-finance.

The Prime Minister will dedicate a Jal Ambulance service, and a Jal Shav Vahan service to the people of Varanasi, through a video link. 

The Prime Minister on Friday will visit the historic Tulsi Manas Temple in Varanasi. He will release a postal stamp on "Ramayana." He will later visit the Durga Mata Temple in the city. 

The Prime Minister on Saturday will briefly participate in a sanitation related activity in the village of Shahanshahpur. He will then visit a Pashudhan Arogya Mela.

The Prime Minister will distribute certificates to beneficiaries of the Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana (Rural & Urban), and will address the gathering.
 
28. Indias first electric bus service launched in Himachal Pradesh Rohtang Pass.
 
Indias first electric bus service launched in Himachal Pradesh Rohtang Pass
 
After two years of trial runs on the challenging Manali-Rohtang highway, Himachal Roads Transport Corporation (HRTC) finally launched its electric bus service on the route on a regular basis on Thursday. With this, Himachal Pradesh has become the first hill state in the country to run electric buses. Electricity charging points have been installed at Manali and Marhi.

Initially, two mid-size buses with a seating capacity of 27 and 32 respectively will ply on the route, but more will be added once 50 more are added to the existing fleet of conventional buses of HRTC. The buses will ply on Manali-Kullu and Mandi routes during winters when the road to Rohtang is blocked with snow. The government has also decided to start an eight-seater electric vehicle service in Manali town.
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Transportation minister G S Bali, who had come to Kullu to lay the foundation stone of a modern bus stand in the township, flagged off the electric buses to Rohtang. "We have started our drive to replace diesel buses with electric buses. HRTC has 3,200 buses and 50 electric buses would be delivered to us very shortly. Ten buses will ply on Manali-Rohtang route and other buses will run on various routes of the state," he said.

Bali added that the state plans to bring more electric vehicles in next 10 years. "Our efforts are towards minimizing the carbon emission and replace conventional vehicles by eco-friendly vehicles. We are building modern bus stands in all districts. We have not increased bus fare in last 4.5 years, still the revenue has increased by Rs 150 crore. We shall now run deluxe AC buses on various routes and charge ordinary fare from our passengers," he said.

Concerned about the ecology of Rohtang pass, National Green Tribunal had ordered Himachal government to stop plying of all petrol and diesel vehicles on Manali-Rohtang route and run CNG and electric vehicles only. The government then conducted trial runs with CNG and electric buses.
 
29. Bollywood film Newton chosen as Indias official entry to Oscars 2018.
Bollywood film Newton chosen as Indias official entry to Oscars 2018
Bollywood film ‘Newton’ is India’s official entry in the Foreign Language Film category at the 2018 Oscars.
Rajkummar Rao, who played the lead role in ‘Newton’, took to Twitter to share the news. He said, “Very happy to share this news that #NEWTON is India’s official entry to the #OSCARS this year. Congratulations team.”

Talking to indianexpress.com, Rajkummar said, “I am elated and super thrilled. The kind of response we are getting for the film in India is so good and now, an Oscar submission, it’s huge. I am very happy to represent India at Oscars. I hope the film makes it to the final list. But right now, I am very happy because we made the movie with a lot of passion, sincerity and honesty, and people are recognising that sincerity.”
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“It’s a huge thing that people are loving the film here because we didn’t make a big, commercial, masala entertainer. The power of the film is its story and the way it has been told. The credit goes to the team, which didn’t compromise on the story. It’s a very pure, simple and sweetly told film,” added the ‘Newton’ actor.

Newton ‘director’ Amit Masurkar, who is very happy with this development, said, “The timing is so perfect. I can’t believe it. The film hits the screens today, and today is the announcement for Oscars. I just hope more people come to watch the film now. We are a 70-year-old democracy, and I am glad that with this film we could focus on the need to strengthen our democracy. It is important because there are people who are not treated at par with the rest of the country. This will help the general movie going audience also realise that this is an issue we need to address.”
 
30. In Madhya Pradesh, Swine flu kills 87 in 83 days.
 In Madhya Pradesh, Swine flu kills 87 in 83 days
The death toll due to swine flu in Madhya Pradesh stands at 87 in 83 days (July 1 to September 21), even as 129 persons are being treated for the disease in different hospitals, officials said on 22 September.

Health Department Director K.L. Sahu told IANS that, on 21 September, two persons suffering from swine flu died in two Indore hospitals.

"The disease is spreading continuously as approximately one person is dying every day due to the disease. The toll from 1 July to 21 September is 87," Sahu said.

He added that 529 persons were found to be suffering from the H1N1 virus in the given period.

All hospitals and clinics have formed separate wards for treatment of patients suffering from the disease.
 
31. Aditya Birla group to shut the ecommerce site Abof.com.
Aditya Birla group to shut the ecommerce site Abof.com
Aditya Birla Group`s 2015 e-commerce venture Abof.com will likely shut down by end of this year as it is lagging behind its online peers, most particularly, Flipkart and Amazon India.

Abof or Aditya Birla Online Fashion held a meeting on Thursday and intimated to its employees about the development, sources tell Economic Times. As per the newspaper, December 31, 2017, will be the last day of operation.

The group`s HR director Santrupt Misra had confirmed the closing of the business to the newspaper.

If the 240 employees wish to quit before closing of operations, they would be provided with four-and-half months` salary as compensation, Misra said as per the ET report.
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He cited the precarious nature of e-commerce businesses and the struggle in the sector as reasons why the company did not see it as logical to continue its operations.

One of the sources who spoke to ET said that the fashion apparel entity will be `closing down` their stocks from November.

Abof will be the second such e-commerce site shutting down after Aditya Birla`s first venture Trendin.com wound up in a phased-out manner last year.

Aditya Birla Group launched Abof with the motto of not offering discounts and, focus on selling a limited range of fashionable products.

But in about a year, more than half of its products were discounted, resembling any other e-commerce site.

 

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