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National Current Affairs October 1st Week 2017
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National Current Affairs October 1st Week 2017

1. President Ram Nath Kovind appoints Commission to examine sub-categorisation of Other Backward Classes.

President Ram Nath Kovind on Monday appointed a five-member Commission headed by Delhi High Court`s former Chief Justice G Rohini to examine the sub-categorisation of Other Backward Classes (OBCs) under Article 340 of the Constitution, an official statement said.

This decision has been taken to ensure more backward among the OBC communities to avail the benefits of reservation, added the statement from the Social Justice and Empowerment ministry.

"The President in exercise of the powers conferred by article 340 of the Constitution appointed a Commission to examine the sub-categorisation of Other Backward Classes.

"This decision, taken on the birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi, reinforces, in the spirit of his teachings, the government`s efforts to achieve greater social justice and inclusion for all, and specifically members of the Other Backward Classes," it added.

The Commission will have as its members JK Bajaj, the director of Centre for Policy Studies, and the director, Anthropological Survey of India and the Registrar General and Census Commissioner of India, while joint secretary in the ministry will be its Secretary.

It will examine the extent of inequitable distribution of benefits of reservation among the castes or communities included in the broad category of OBCs with reference to such classes included in the Central List.

It will also work out the mechanism, criteria, norms, and parameters in a scientific approach for sub-categorisation within such OBCs and will take up the exercise of identifying the respective castes or communities or sub-castes or synonyms in the Central List of OBCs and classifying them into their respective sub-categories.

The Commission has been asked to submit its report to the President within a period of twelve weeks of assumption of charge by the chairperson.

On receipt of the report, the Central government will consider ways and means for equitable distribution of the benefits of the reservation in Central government jobs and admission in Central government institutions amongst all strata of OBCs.
 
2. Madurai’s Meenakshi Temple Named Best ‘Swachh Iconic Place’ in India.
Madurai’s Meenakshi Temple Named Best ‘Swachh Iconic Place’ in India
The Madurai City Corporation is set to receive a special award from the Centre as part of the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan. The Meenakshi Sundareswarar Temple has been adjudged best ‘Swachh Iconic Place’ in India as on October 1. Ten spots were identified by the Central Government as part of the ‘Swachh Iconic Places’ initiative earlier this year.

Madurai District Collector K. Veera Raghava Rao and Corporation Commissioner S. Aneesh Sekhar will receive the award on October 2 from Uma Bharati, the Minister for Drinking Water and Sanitation.

Dr. Sekhar said the Meenakshi temple project focuses on cleaning the periphery of the temple. It is in the early stages and is slated to be complete by March 2018. The project is estimated at ?11.65 crores and has been sponsored by Bharat Petroleum Corporation Limited as part of their Corporate Social Responsibility fund. “We have been awarded for the swift progress that has been made until now. We are proud that we have been chosen among the other 10 iconic places,” he said.

The Madurai Corporation has placed several bins at a distance of 50 metres along the Chithirai streets. A total of 63 compact bins (for biodegradable and non-biodegradable waste) have been placed and four compactor trucks do the rounds around the temple premises. There are 25 e-toilets and 15 water ATMs for tourists to use. There are two road sweepers and battery operated vehicles specifically purchased to clean this stretch.
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The target before March 2018 would be to make Chithirai, Masi, Avani Moola Streets and Veli Streets - the four concentric squares around the temple - 100 per cent plastic free, according to the Commissioner.

He also stated that ?25 lakhs would be invested in the maintenance and upkeep of the Meenakshi park between east and north Chithirai streets. “Five traffic islands would be strategically placed for beautification purposes. A mini sewage treatment plant too is in the pipeline. The treated water will be used for gardening purposes,” he said.

Vendors around the temple too seem to be overjoyed by the news. They said that they have taken special efforts to stop plastic dumping on the roads.
 
3. Chandrababu Naidu Launches `Swachh Andhra Mission`.
Chandrababu Naidu Launches `Swachh Andhra Mission`
Taking the cue from Prime Minister Narendra Modi`s Swachh Bharat Mission, Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Chandrababu Naidu on Monday launched Swachh Andhra Mission on the occasion of Gandhi Jayanti.

Ace shuttler PV Sindhu, who has been chosen as the brand ambassador of Swachh Andhra along with state minister for Information Technology and Rural Development Nara Lokesh and public representatives, were the dignitaries who joined Naidu on this occasion.

The Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister lauded Sindhu and said that the ace shuttler can win a gold medal in forthcoming Olympics. He added that it`s a proud moment for the state that Sindhu is the brand ambassador for Swachh Andhra.

The Chief Minister and other dignitaries lit the lamp and paid tribute to Mahatma Gandhi and Lal Bahadur Shastri on their birth anniversaries.

He remembered Mahatma Gandhi as not just an individual, but a force. He hailed his popularity around the world for to his ideology.

He termed second Prime Minister Lal Bahadur Shastri as the great man, who fought poverty and used to cross the river to reach his school and stand against all social evils.

Batting for Open Defecation Free (ODF) Andhra Pradesh, Naidu said, "Prime Minister Modi launched Swachh Bharat three years ago. Cleanliness makes society healthy and better. We are taking those targets ahead."
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Keeping in mind the need of toilets, the Chief Minister said, "Girls and women should live with self-respect. For that, every house needs to have a toilet. We are working on making the state 100% ODF by March 2018. For that, we take oath today. We have to construct 22 lakh more toilets by March 2018. In that project, we want to involve even children.

"Constructing and using toilets is the symbol for civilized society. There are many problems in villages like current, roads, gas and others. We want to equip all villages in the state with all facilities before 2019 elections," he added.

He urged people to contribute in making Andhra Pradesh Swachh by taking a pledge to spare time for maintaining cleanliness.

Nara Lokesh, who was also present on the occasion, said that in last three years, toilets have increased from 30 percent to 60 percent.

He added that the government is working hard to achieve the seven-star scheme that includes current, gas, drinking water toilet, CC roads, schools, playground, Anganwadi centre and internet facility, pond and planting, at least Rs. 10,000 income for every family in the village.
 
4. Prime Minister Narendra Modi lays foundation stone of AIIMS, IIIT in Himachal.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi lays foundation stone of AIIMS, IIIT in Himachal
In poll mode, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday laid the foundation stones of an All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) at Bilaspur and  an Indian Institute of Information Technology (IIIT), besides dedicating a steel processing plant of the Steel Authority of India (SAIL) at Kandroori in Hamirpur constituency to the nation.

On a day long visit to Himachal Pradesh, Modi landed at Himachal Pradesh Cricket Association (HPCA) Stadium at Bilaspur, where he was welcomed by former Chief Ministers Shanta Kumar and Prem Kumar Dhumal with Union Health Minister Jagat Prakash Nadda and local MP Anurag Thakur.

Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh accompanying Governor Acharya Dev Vrat, welcomed Modi at Indira Gandhi Indoor Stadium. Virbhadra Singh presented a Himachali Cap, shawl and painting to Modi before he laid the foundation stone of AIIMS and IIIT. State Health Minister Kaul Singh Thakur, BJP president Satpal Singh Satti and Transport Minister G. S. Bali, Hamirpur MP Anurag Thakur etc. were also present on the occasion.

Modi laid the foundation stone of AIIMS, which is proposed to be built up on an area of 205 acre at Kothipura. The 750 bedded health facility would cost Rs 1,350 crore and produce 100 MBBS doctors and 60 nurses every year. The institute is expected to be commissioned in four years.

The Prime Minister also laid foundation stone of IIIT to be established at Salho in Una. The institute is to come up at 69 acres and would cost around Rs 128 crore. Modi also dedicated the steel plant of SAIL, which was constructed under the  Make in India mission. The plant, where steel bars would be produced, has been constructed with a cost of Rs 70 crore. The plant has 1 lac tonne production capacity per year. 

Addressed a rally organised by BJP at Luhnu ground on banks of Govind Sagar Dam in Bilaspur, Modi said AIIMS would not only benefit people of Himachal, but also the tourists coming from all across the world.

He said that due to the topography of the State, accidents in the State are fatal in nature and presence of a world class health institute like AIIMS, the State would be able to provide best health facility to its residents and tourists and it would boost the scope of tourism in the State.

He said the institute would provide employment to a large number of people as around 3,000 people would work in the campus of the institute. Referring to IIIT, Modi said that the institute of Information Technology will lead the State to new levels of advancement and modernisation.

Taking on Chief Minster Virbhadra Singh in his address, Modi said that the family of Chief Minister was on bail and the Congress seems to be running a Government on bail. He said that it was high time the Congress was ousted from the State.

Targeting Virbhadra Singh, Modi said that a man on bail in a corruption case was running the State Government and was making claims of good governance. He said, the level of governance could be imagined where a person on bail was taking all the decisions for the Government.

Taking a dig at Congress high command, Modi said that Congress did not remove Singh from CM’s post as party President Sonia Gandhi and vice-president Rahul Gandhi, too were on bail in National Herald case.

Comparing his government with the previous UPA Government, Modi said that lands, mines, rivers, sky and see was not spared free from corruption during the UPA regime, while in the three years of NDA, not a single charge of corruption had been leveled against any one in his Government. He said that Congress gave Coal block, 2G and ISRO etc. scams to the country.

Modi said the steel plant dedicated to the nation could have been started in 2014 had it not stuck in bureaucratic hurdles. He said  he himself cleared the  bottlenecks of the project by convening meeting with Chief Secretary through video conferencing. The Prime Minister said he recently cleared Nangal-Talwara Rail broad gauge link project, which had been hanging fire for years. He said road, power and hydro power were the growth engines of the hill state and13 projects, worth Rs 1,500 crore were being funded by the Central Government for giving a push to growth in the State. He said that AIIMS, road and power projects would attract more tourists to this hill State. 
 
5. NHAI launches countrywide Free Eye Check-up Campaign.
NHAI launches countrywide Free Eye Check-up Campaign
The Minister of Road Transport & Highways, Shipping and Water Resources, River Development & Ganga Rejuvenation Shri Nitin Gadkari will launch the countrywide Free Eye Check-up Campaign and distribution of spectacles for truck drivers, cleaners and helpers on 2nd October, 2017 at Panjari Toll Plaza, Nagpur Bypass, Nagpur in Maharashtra. The objective of this initiative is to ensure clearer vision and safe travel for truck drivers who are the most frequent users of national highways.

Eyesight is a basic requirement for safe driving. Poor vision increases the risk of collisions due to the driver’s inability to recognise and react in time to a hazard or the behaviour of other road users.  The NHAI has decided to launch a Free Eye Check-up Campaign and distribute spectacles for truck drivers, cleaners and helpers on the 2nd October 2017, which will continue for 5 days i.e. till 6th October. Free Eye Check-up Camps for drivers is one of the many innovative programmes undertaken by NHAI to ensure safe travel along national highways. This initiative is expected to reduce the number of accidents involving trucks and encourage regional staff and NGOs to set up such camps on regular basis.
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The cleaners can also avail of this facility on the condition of producing a valid driving license. 50 free eye check-up camps will be set up on identified national highways on either side. The camps will be manned by eye specialist and support staff volunteers. Facilities like toilets and beverages vending machines, adequate space for parking of approximately 50 trucks, hand wash etc. shall be made available in these camps. One more component of these camps will be distribution of free spectacles up to a certain power as prescribed by the eye specialist. Any other defect like cataract will be identified and medicines will be prescribed. Non-governmental organizations, governments, social enterprises and private businesses are being roped in for facilitating the provision of these facilities.
 
6. Vice President Venkaiah Naidu lays foundation stone for inland waterway in Andhra Pradesh.
Vice President Venkaiah Naidu lays foundation stone for inland waterway in Andhra Pradesh 
At a click of button, Vice-President M. Venkaiah Naidu laid foundation stone for the much- awaited Inland Waterway project and dedicated 13 National Highway (NH) projects to the nation here on Tuesday. The cost of these projects is 4,153 crore.

Addressing the gathering, the Vice-President said the Union government was taking many initiatives such as improving road connectivity, ports and other infrastructural facilities and inland waterways for the development of Andhra Pradesh. “If required, I will intervene to help AP.”

The State government was also designing and implementing projects that would be helpful for future generations. Polavaram, inter-linking of rivers Godavari and Krishna, was a step in that direction. All political parties should join hands for the development of the State irrespective of their ideologies. Constructive criticism and concerted efforts were the need of the hour, he said.

“The Centre is also helping the State in all aspects. The State and the Centre should also work together to realise the set targets. Polavaram would not have been a reality had the Centre merged seven mandals of Telangana State with Andhra Pradesh in 2014,” he said. “Union Minister Nitin Gadkari is visiting the project site today. I also wanted to go there. But I will visit the Polavaram project at the time of its completion.”

Earlier, Chief Minister N. Chandrababu Naidu requested Mr. Gadkari to help AP in completing the Polavaram project before the general elections.
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He also wanted the Centre to bear some portion of the land acquisition cost relating to the Amaravati-Anantapur express way, and hasten the Outer Ring Road (ORR) project promised for Amaravati Capital city.

The projects that were dedicated to the nation include the two-lane Chandragudem to AP/Telangana border section (NH-30, cost ?201.12 crore) with paved shoulders; two-lane Anantapur to Mudigubba mandal town (NH-42 cost 72.94 crore); two-lane Davulapalli to Markapuram (NH-565, 170.21 crore); two-lane Vagampalle to Dornala T Junction (NH-565 258.99 crore); two-lane Mydukuru to Dornala T junction (NH-67, 241.61 crore); two-lane Dornala T junction to Atmakur (NH-67, 251.55 crore); and the two-lane Markapuram to Vagampalle section (NH-565, 471.61 crore).

The foundation stones laid for projects are — two-lane Rayachoti to Angallu (NH-340, 319 crore); four-lane bypass to Vijayanagaram twon (NH-26, 429.43 crore); two-lane Machilipatnam to Avanigadda section (NH-216, 376.25 crore); two-lane Pasarlapudi to Dindi section (NH- 216, 263.45 crore); two-lane road Repalle to Eeppurupalem section (NH-216, 576.48 crore). A foundation stone for inland waterway No. 4 was also laid.
 
7. Ministry of Health Adjudged Best for ‘Swachhta Pakhwada’.
Ministry of Health Adjudged Best for ‘Swachhta Pakhwada’
The Ministry of Health and Family Welfare has been adjudged as the best department for its contribution during Swachhta Pakhwada, an inter-Ministry initiative of Swachh Bharat Mission of Ministry of Drinking Water and Sanitation. The Health Ministry observed the Swachhta Pakhwada from 1st February, 2017 to 15th February, 2017. The award was presented to the Ministry on 2nd October, 2017, the third anniversary of Swachh Bharat Mission. Shri C K Mishra, Secretary (HFW) received the award on behalf of the Ministry.

Swachhta Pakhwada activities were organized and observed within the Ministry offices, in Central Government Hospitals and in public health facilities of the states across 36 States/UTs. More pertinently, in addition to the envisaged activities, some of the key contributions include mass awareness generation initiatives through rallies, street plays, painting competitions etc., leveraging the participation and support of public representatives, NGOs, school children and the community. These activities are considered critical for sustaining the swachhta movement.

During the Swacchta fortnight, all hospital/clinics were also directed to install waste bins for segregating waste and massive cleaning drives were undertaken in all the hospital wards and hospital premises. Doctors, nurses and medical staff along with patients and visitors carried out sensitization drives on the importance of safe sanitation and hygiene.
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The Swachhta Pakhwada culminated with inspection and special sanitation drive undertaken by the Minister for Health and Family Welfare Shri J P Nadda on 15th February 2017. The Minister along with the staff of the Ministry participated in cleaning of corridors of Nirman Bhawan and inspected various rooms and areas of the Ministry. Unwanted and old files and records were also weeded out during Swachhta Pakhwada from various Divisions of the Ministry.

Swachhta Pakhwada started in April 2016 with the objective of bringing a fortnight of intense focus on the issues and practices of Swachhta by engaging GOI Ministries/Departments in their jurisdictions. An annual calendar is pre-circulated among the Ministries to help them plan for the Pakhwada activities. The Ministries observing Swachhta Pakhwada are monitored closely using online monitoring system of Swachhta Samiksha where action plans, images, videos related to Swachhta activities are uploaded and shared. For the Pakhwada fortnight, observing ministries are considered as Swachhta Ministries and are expected to bring qualitative Swachhta improvements in their jurisdictions.
 
8. Global Wildlife Programme Conference held in New Delhi.
The Global Wildlife Programme (GWP) Conference was recently held in New Delhi. It was jointly hosted by Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change (MoEFCC), World Bank and United Nations Development Programme. Theme of the Conference was – “Peoples’ participation in wildlife conservation”.

GWP Conference

The GWP Conference held discussions on management of wildlife habitat, securing sustainable community livelihood, enhancing enforcement, monitoring, cooperation to reduce wildlife crimes such as poaching and related threats. It also provided an opportunity for India to showcase its conservation efforts through joint forest management, eco-development committees, vana sanrakshan samitis, in and around protected areas.

Global Wildlife Programme (GWP)

The GWP is World-Bank led global partnership of 19 countries in Asia and Africa to promote the conservation and sustainable development by combating trafficking in wildlife. It was initiated in 2015 by the Global Environment Facility (GEF).

It serves as a platform to exchange knowledge and coordinate in on-ground action for combating illegal poaching of wildlife and improve governance on wildlife conservation. It seeks to reduce both supply and demand that drives illegal wildlife trade, and protect species and habitats through integrated landscape planning.
 
9. Union Government launches SECURE Himalaya Project.
Union Government launches SECURE Himalaya Project
The Union Government had launched SECURE Himalaya, a six-year project to ensure conservation of locally and globally significant biodiversity, land and forest resources in high Himalayan ecosystem spread over four states viz. Himachal Pradesh, Jammu and Kashmir, Uttarakhand and Sikkim.

It was launched by Union Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change (MoEFCC) in association with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).

 

Key Facts

 

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The SECURE project aims at securing livelihoods, conservation, sustainable use and restoration of high range Himalayan ecosystems. It is meant for specific landscapes including Changthang (Jammu and Kasmir), Lahaul – Pangi and Kinnaur (Himachal Pradesh), Gangotri – Govind and Darma – Byans Valley in Pithoragarh (Uttarakhand) and Kanchenjunga – Upper Teesta Valley (Sikkim).

The key focus areas of the project is protection of snow leopard and other endangered species and their habitats and also securing livelihoods of people in region and enhancing enforcement to reduce wildlife crime. Under it, enhanced enforcement efforts and monitoring will be undertaken to curb illegal trade in some medicinal and aromatic plants which are among most threatened species in these landscapes.
 
10. Indian Railways announced No service charge on train e-tickets till March 2018.
Indian Railways announced No service charge on train e-tickets till March 2018
Rail passengers will continue to enjoy service charge exemption on tickets booked online till March 2018.
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The government had waived service charges after demonetisation in November last year to encourage digital modes of booking. The facility had been extended to 30 June and then 30 September. Service charges on booking train tickets online through the Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation (IRCTC) range from Rs20 to Rs40 per ticket.

In a 29 September missive to the IRCTC, the ticketing agency of the railways, the Railway Board directed that the benefits be extended till March next year. Senior railway officials say that almost 33% of the IRCTC revenue comes from the service charge collected on online bookings.

As per the revenue collection of the last financial year, about Rs540 crore of IRCTC’s revenue of over Rs1,500 crore came from ticket bookings. An amount of around Rs184 crore has not been realized from passengers on account of service charge and service tax thereon on reserved tickets booked online from 23 November 2016 to 28 February 2017, according to railways data.

 11. Karnataka launches ‘Mathru Purna’ scheme for pregnant women.

Karnataka launches ‘Mathru Purna’ scheme for pregnant women
The State government on Monday launched Mathru Poorna, a scheme meant to meet the nutritional needs of pregnant and lactating women in rural areas.

Under the programme, pregnant and lactating poor women in rural areas will get one nutritious meal daily for 25 days in a month.

Chief Minister Siddaramaiah launched the programme here and said a full meal, consisting of rice, dal with vegetables/sambar, one boiled egg and 200ml of milk, will be given to pregnant women. Those who don’t eat eggs would be given two varieties of sprouts.
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This meal will meet 40-45% of the daily calorie, protein and calcium requirement per day of the pregnant and lactating mothers.

Along with the meal, Iron Folic Acid (IFA) tablets will be administered and gestational weight monitoring will be ensured for pregnant women.

12 lakh to benefit

Based on the previous experience in pilot blocks, the scheme has been scaled up in all the districts of the State from Monday, benefiting around 12 lakh pregnant women and lactating mother, and anganwadi assistants and helpers.

The scheme will be implemented through anganwadis in the State. Each meal is estimated to cost around ?20. The food will be provided for 15 months, from the start of pregnancy up to six months after delivery.
 
12. National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) launches new website and PMIS Mobile App.
National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) launches new website and PMIS Mobile App
When you drive along a national highway, you would soon be able to check the real-time status of the highway across the country.

Deepak Kumar, Chairman of National Highways Authority of India (NHAI), who launched a new multilingual website of the organisation on Tuesday, said within two months, it would be possible for the general public to rate national highways through this website.

A project monitoring information system (PMIS) mobile App that will facilitate close, in-house monitoring of NHAI projects on a mobile phone was also launched, an official release said.

Kumar said NHAI also planned to soon launch a public interface of the PMIS desktop and App versions so that the public can view the real-time status of any project across the highway network.

To ensure timely delivery of its projects, NHAI is digitally monitoring them through the PMIS, which has been developed in-house along with The Boston Consulting Group.

Monitoring tool
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“For project directors, the App is a project monitoring tool. They can visit a site, check into the App from there — the App will capture their geo-location — then they can take three pictures and upload them. This will also ensure that the actual physical progress of a site can be seen. The kilometre completed also can be seen from the App,” Akhilesh Srivastava, Chief General Manager (IT and Highway Operations), NHAI, told BusinessLine.

PMIS has a comprehensive database with over 180 data fields being tracked for each project, and a further 500 fields specifically for complex PPP projects, covering all key progress metrics such as design, contracting, construction, land acquisition, compensation disbursement, toll and traffic information and concession, contract information.

An in-built algorithm automatically highlights focus projects with key pending issues so that focused interventions for these projects can be discussed during these reviews.

The PMIS has enabled significant progress, with a 32 per cent increase in construction in 2016-17 over the previous year, and with over 60 per cent of the projects identified in 2016 with issues, now getting back on track, the release added.
 
13. CWC sign MoU with IIT Roorkee and MNNIT Allahabad to support capacity building in dam safety areas under dam rehabilitation and improvement project.
CWC sign MoU with IIT Roorkee and MNNIT Allahabad to support capacity building in dam safety areas under dam rehabilitation and improvement project
Central Water Commission (CWC) has signed MoUs with IIT Roorkee and MNNIT Allahabad to support dam rehabilitation efforts of various implementing agencies and CWC.

Ministry of Water Resources, River Development and Ganga Rejuvenation has taken on board selected premier academic and research institutes, for capacity building in the areas of dam safety through World Bank assisted Dam Rehabilitation and Improvement Project (DRIP).The scope includes strengthening the testing laboratories, enhancing analytical capabilities, exposure visits to best global institutions and on ground exposure to dam safety concerns to the faculty of these institutions.

CWC has already signed MoUs with IIT Madras, IISc Bangaluru, NIT Calicut and NIT Raurkela for supporting these institutes for the procurement of specified equipment and software for enhancing their testing and modeling capabilities. Last month, CWC facilitated the signing of MoUs by Madhya Pradesh Water Resources Department (MPWRD) and UJVN Limited (UJVNL), Uttarakhand with the Earthquake Engineering Department of IIT Roorkee for assisting MPWRD and UJVNL in the activities related to establishment of seismic instruments, certification of these installations, generation of post seismic event report having an intensity greater than 4.0 on Richter Scale and sharing of these reports with State and Central Agencies, data collection, processing, monitoring, analysis, interpretation, integration of the State Dam Seismological Network (SDSN) with Indian Dam Seismological Network (IDSN) being maintained by National Agencies to exchange the information and help to strengthen the existing seismological network for a strong national perspective plan, and conducting training programmes for the dam owning personnel.
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DRIP is assisting rehabilitation of 225 dams in seven States which are experiencing different levels of distress. Owners of these dams require technical support for the investigation of dam conditions and supporting rehabilitation efforts. The Government of India has decided to enhance the capability of selected premier academic institutes in dam safety areas so that they, in turn, carry out field investigations and material testing, and provide training and consulting services to the dam owners in their dam rehabilitation efforts. In addition to rehabilitation of dams, Project also has component of institutional strengthening wherein capacity building of all partners agencies as well as few selected premier academic institutions of country are being strengthened in dam safety areas by imparting trainings to operational efficiencies of these owner agencies, exposure visits to best global institutions and on ground exposure to the dam safety concerns to the faculty of these institutions. It is a holistic effort of the Government of India to equip our national institutions to develop capability and expertise at par with global institutions in the coming times to ensure self-reliance.
 
14. Hyundai India Join Hands With FIFA U17 World Cup Tournament As Official Partners.
Hyundai India Join Hands With FIFA U17 World Cup Tournament As Official Partners
Hyundai Motor India (HMIL) on Tuesday announced as an exclusive right to provide transportation of FIFA officials through premium Hyundai cars during the FIFA U17 World Cup Tournament starting 6 October 2017 in India.

At an official handover ceremony at Jawahar Lal Nehru Stadium in New Delhi, Y K Koo, MD & CEO, HMIL, handed over the fleet of premium Hyundai cars to Martin Nussbaumer, Marketing Operations Group Leader, FIFA and Javier Ceppi, Tournament Director, Local Organising Committee.

The fleet includes 63 premium Hyundai cars including the Next Gen Verna, Tucson, Elite i20 and a few coaches across six cities (Delhi, Kolkata, Mumbai, Kochi, Goa and Guwahati) for the movement of the players and the FIFA management during the mega sports event.

Speaking at official cars handover ceremony, Y K Koo, Managing Director & CEO, Hyundai Motor India, said: “Hyundai is proud to partner with The FIFA U17 World Cup being hosted for the first time in India. At Hyundai, we understand the passion of the Indian football fans and want to keep the excitement around Hyundai brand alive by engaging with our customers at every point.”

“Football is a game of passion, a game of heart; For every fan, football drives them and as a dynamic automotive brand, HMIL has always been associated globally with diverse sport activities.”
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Hyundai has also planned a number of interactive engagement with the young footballs fans in the country through digital campaigns #FuelTheGame and #FootballerInYou. In #FuelTheGame fans can submit slogans in support of their favorite U17 players just before the opening ceremony. Through #FootballerInYou fans will be asked to upload films of their own football skills. Both the campaigns will be on throughout the entire tournament period.

The FIFA U-17 World Cup is the Football World Championship for male players under the age of 17 and is held every two years. The tournament was first staged in China in 1985 and most recently held in Chile in 2015, when the competition was won by Nigeria.

Hyundai has lined up exclusive engagement activities and merchandise distribution for its customers around FIFA U17 World Cup at its dealerships in the 6 host cities in India.
 
15. First US Crude Oil Shipment Arrives in Paradip.
First US Crude Oil Shipment Arrives in Paradip
The first shipment of US crude oil in over four decades reached Indian shores on Monday, reaffirming the energy commitment between the two countries that includes importing American liquefied natural gas (LNG).

MT New Prosperity, a ship with a capacity to haul 2 million barrels of crude, left the US Gulf Coast on August 19 and arrived at Paradip port in Odisha.

The shipment is for the state-owned Indian Oil Corp (IOC), which “will process the crude at its refineries located at Paradip, Haldia, Barauni and Bongaigaon,” the company said in a statement.

The Bharat Petroleum Corp Ltd (BPCL) and Hindustan Petroleum Corp Ltd (HPCL) have also placed orders for about 3.95 million barrels of US crude for their Kochi and Vizag refineries.

Sunjay Sudhir, the oil ministry’s joint secretary (international cooperation), Katherine B Hadda, the US consul general in Hyderabad, senior officials of the foreign ministry and IOC were present at the welcome ceremony for the cargo.

Sudhir said crude oil import from the US by India’s largest refiner will go a long way in mitigating risks arising out of geo-political disruptions.

He said the new arrangement would usher in price stability and energy security for India, which is witnessing robust growth in demand for petroleum products.

“This is one of the first shipments to India since the US stopped oil exports in 1975, and follows recent commitments to US oil purchases by IOC and BPCL,” a US embassy statement said.
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Besides, crude oil imports have the potential to boost bilateral trade by up to $2 billion.

Indian companies, both public and private, have also made a total investment of about US $5 billion in US shale gas assets. The first shipment of LNG is expected to reach India next January.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi and US President Donald Trump expanding bilateral energy cooperation through a strategic energy partnership during the Indian leader’s June visit to Washington.

The arrival of the crude is hailed as “a significant milestone in the growing partnership” between the US and India.

“The US and India are elevating our cooperation in the field of energy, including plans for cleaner fossil fuels, renewables, nuclear, and cutting-edge storage and energy efficiency technologies,” said MaryKay Carlson, chargé d’affaires at the US embassy in New Delhi.
 
16. Union Government approves renaming of Kandla port as Deendayal Port and Rail Sector MoU between India And Switzerland.
 
Union Government approves renaming of Kandla port as Deendayal Port and Rail Sector MoU between India And Switzerland
 
The Union Cabinet chaired by the Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi has given its ex-post facto approval to the renaming of Kandla Port as Deendayal Port.

Ports in India are generally named after the city or town in which these are situated.  However, the Government, in special cases, after due consideration, have renamed the Ports after great leaders in the past.
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By renaming Kandla Port as “Deendayal Port, Kandla”, a grateful nation would be remembering the invaluable contributions made by one of the greatest sons of India, Pandit Deendayal Upadhyay. This will inspire the People of Gujarat, particularly the Youth, who may not be fully aware of the contributions made by the great leader.

Background: 

There have been public demands from various quarters in Gujarat, especially from Kachhh district, to rename ‘Kandla Port’ as ‘Deendayal Port, Kandla’. Pandit Deendayal Upadhyay (25.9.1916 – 1.2.1968) was a prominent leader, who pledged his life to the service of the nation. He devoted his entire life serving the nation and worked among the masses and dedicated and sacrificed his life for the upliftment of the Poor & Working Class at the same time. Upholding the values of democracy founded on tolerance, discipline, selflessness and respect for the law of the land, all his actions were based on the principles of ‘Integral Humanism’. Throughout his life, he worked tirelessly for Indianisation of democracy, honouring the public opinion, selflessness and respect for law of the land.  Pandit Deendayal Upadhyay dedicated his entire life for public service and was the epitome of simplicity, honesty and selfless service for the poor and down-trodden.
 
Since the birth anniversary of Pandit Deendayal Upadhyay was to be celebrated on 25th September, 2017, it was felt that it would be most appropriate if the decision to rename the Kandla Port as Deendayal Port was made as a part of the birth anniversary celebration of this great national leader.
 
17. Turtle Sanctuary to be set up in Allahabad.
Turtle Sanctuary to be set up in Allahabad
The project at an estimated cost of Rs 1.34 crore will include development of River Biodiversity Park at Sangam (confluence of Ganga, Yamuna and mythical Sarasvati) and establishment of a Turtle Rearing Centre (permanent nursery at Triveni Pushp and makeshift annual hatcheries).
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This project, according to the Ministry of Water Resources, will provide a much needed platform to make visitors aware of their place in the ecosystem, their roles and responsibilities, improve their understanding of the complexity of co-existence with the environment and help generate awareness for reducing the impact of human activities on critical natural resources.

The task of dissipating knowledge about river Ganga will be taken up in this project, which is 100% centrally funded.

The sustenance of more than 2,000 aquatic species, including threatened gharials, dolphins and turtles in river Ganga, exemplifies the rich biodiversity of this lifeline to over 40 per cent of the country’s population.

Rivers Ganga and Yamuna at Allahabad are home to some of the most endangered fauna such as turtles (Batagur kachuga, Batagur dhongoka, Nilssonia gangetica, Chitra indica, Hardella thurjii etc.), the National Aquatic Animal - Gangetic dolphin (Platanista gangetica), the Gharial (Gavialis gangeticus) and numerous migratory and resident birds.

17. Foundation stone for national waterway on Krishna River laid.
 
Foundation stone for national waterway on Krishna River laid
 
Vice president Venkaiah Naidu on Tuesday laid the foundation stone for the first phase of the 2,890-km National Waterway-4 (NW-4) at Amravati in Andhra Pradesh.

The first phase involves development of a water channel from Muktyala to Vijayawada on Krishna river along with four floating terminals and three fixed terminals to handle cargo operations.
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Speaking on the occasion, minister for road transport and shipping Nitin Gadkari said the project will provide an efficient logistics solution to boost the economic growth of the region and facilitate the development of Amravati during its early development stage as substantial construction material is expected to be transported on this stretch.

The inland waterway was declared National Waterway-4 in November, 2008 with a total length of 1,078 km. Under the National Waterway Act, 2016, this was increased to 2,890 km.

The NW-4 would be developed in three phases. In the first phase, the 82 km stretch from Muktyala to Vijayawada will be developed. This would be followed by the second phase where 233 km will be developed from Vijayawada to Kakinada and Rajahmundry to Polavaram on Godavari river. The third phase will connect Commamur canal, Buckingham canal and the balance stretches of river Krishna and Godavari across 573 km.

An official statement said dredging work on the Muktyala-Vijaywada stretch began in May this year and is expected to be completed by June, 2019. Besides, a proposal for Phase-II has been recommended by Inland Waterways Authority of India (IWAI) board for Public Infrastructure Board (PIB) and cabinet consideration. The authority plans to form a special purpose vehicle (SPV) for the project by November 2017.
 
18. Union Government Names Rajnish Kumar as SBI`s Next Chairman.
Union Government Names Rajnish Kumar as SBI`s Next Chairman
Rajnish Kumar was on Wednesday appointed chairman of the largest public sector bank, the State Bank of India (SBI), replacing Arundhati Bhattacharya, who completes her one-year extended term on Friday.

Mr. Kumar, who is now the managing director of the SBI, faces the daunting task of addressing the issue of huge non-performing assets (NPA) of the bank.

The Appointments Committee of the Cabinet approved Mr. Kumar’s appointment for three years from the date of taking charge on or after October 7, said an order issued by the Department of Personnel and Training (DoPT).

Mr. Kumar, aged 59, joined the SBI board on May 26, 2015.

Prior to this appointment, he was Managing Director — Compliance and Risk, and Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of SBI Capital Markets Limited, the merchant banking arm of the SBI, according to his official biodata.

Mr. Kumar has also worked as Chief General Manager, Project Finance and Leasing Strategic Business Unit, it said.

He has held several key assignments across various business verticals, including two overseas assignments in Canada and the United Kingdom.
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Ms. Bhattacharya became the first woman chairperson of the SBI in 2013. She was given a year’s extension in October last to ensure continuity, as the SBI was then in the process of absorbing five associate banks.

Associate banks merge with SBI

State Bank of Bikaner and Jaipur, State Bank of Hyderabad, State Bank of Mysore, State Bank of Patiala, State Bank of Travancore and Bharatiya Mahila Bank merged with the SBI on April 1, 2017.

Gross NPAs of the public sector banks rose to ?6.41 lakh crore at the end of March 2017, against ?5.02 lakh crore a year ago, according to a Finance Ministry data.

The SBI and its erstwhile associates alone wrote off ?27,574 crore NPAs in 2016-17, according to an RBI data.
 
19. Bharati Airtel Gets Approval for Tigo Merger.
Bharti Airtel has received Ghana’s National Communications Authority’s approval for the merger between Bharti Ghana (Airtel) and Millicom Ghana (Tigo), subject to certain conditions. This merger will result in an entity which will be the second largest mobile network operations in the country.

The merger was first announced in March this year.

To ensure efficient and equitable distribution and access to the spectrum, the merged entities will have to submit a network integration plan to the authority which will indicate how they intend to relinquish portions of their total spectrum allocation. This, however, will be done in phases on geographical area basis and over a period not exceeding 18 months to avoid disruptions on the network.

On the issue of numbers, the merged entity shall retain all the numbering resources held by the merging entities. The NCA has also requested the merged entity to submit a plan to educate customers about changes and related measures within 30 days from date of merger.

The merger approval is also conditional to an option for government participation.

Based on agreements, which have been accepted by the merging entities and the payment of relevant fees, a supplementary agreement to the licences of the merging entities will be signed between the NCA and the merging entities. The day of the signing of the agreement will be the effective date of the merger. The merged entity will have a 3G Licence valid until January 25, 2024, while their 2G Licence will be valid until October 30, 2021.
 
20. Uttar Pradesh government launches ‘Mukhyamantri Samoohik Vivaah Yojana’.
 Uttar Pradesh government launches ‘Mukhyamantri Samoohik Vivaah Yojana’
The Uttar Pradesh government today approved the ‘Mukhyamantri Samoohik Vivaah Yojana’, a mass marriage scheme, wherein Rs 35,000 will be spent on each couple, besides gifting them mobile phones and household items.

“Under the scheme, mass marriages will be conducted by the social welfare department. Programmes in this regard will be organised by urban local bodies like nagar panchayat, nagar palika and nagar nigam, kshetra panchayats, zila panchayats, government/semi-government organisations and NGOs, which will be authorised by district magistrates of respective districts,” state minister Sidhartha Nath Singh told reporters here.

He said parents of the brides have to be residents of Uttar Prdaesh and should be from below poverty line to avail the scheme.

“There should be at least 10 couples in the mass marriage ceremony. An amount of Rs 35,000 will be spent on each couple.
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A number of household items and mobile phones will be given as gifts to the couples. The scheme will cover widows and divorced women as well,” the minister said.
The state cabinet also approved draft of The Uttar Pradesh Aadhaar (Targeted Delivery of Financial and Other Subsidies, Benefits and Services) Bill-2017.

The UP government also announced a new scheme for school students. Under the programme, a pair of shoes (one set), a pair of socks (two sets) and a sweater will be given to students of government primary (class 1 to 5) and upper primary (6-8) schools.

The step will benefit 1,48,49,145 students (more than 1.48 crore). The cost of a pair of shoes comes out to be Rs 135.75, while the cost of a pair of socks is Rs 21.85, Singh added.
 
21. Reserve Bank of India opens branch in Dehradun.
Reserve Bank of India opens branch in Dehradun
The bank related tasks of the State Government will now be conducted through the Reserve Bank of India, Dehradun. Chief Minister Trivendra Singh Rawat inaugurated this facility at the Secretariat on Tuesday to replace the existing system under which all the banking related works of the Uttarakhand State Government used to be done through the Reserve Bank of India branch at Kanpur in neighbouring State of Uttar Pradesh.

Addressing officials on the occasion, the Chief Minister said that opening of a banking office in Dehradun for the government’s bank related works is an important development. This will enhance the convenience in the state government’s financial and banking works. It will also bringing about a rise in the pace of economic progress in the State, added Rawat.
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Speaking on the occasion, the State Finance Minister Prakash Pant said that this development will also help establish better coordination between the State Government and the RBI. Since the creation of Uttarakhand State in the year 2000, there has been a four-fold increase in the banking services in the state. The State Government is consistently attempting to maintain economic balance, he added.

The RBI principal chief general manager S Ramaswamy assured that the RBI would provide full cooperation in the development of the state. He said that due to the bank’s Department of Government accounts being situated in the State, it will be possible to work with improved coordination among treasuries, sub-treasuries, agency banks and RBI, he added.

On the occasion, the Chief Minister also released the RBI’s information booklet on Uttarakhand Government banking business. Finance secretary Amit Negi, RBI Dehradun General Manager Subrat Das and other bank officials were also present on the occasion.
 
22. Madhya Pradesh Government approves Rs 2,195 crores for infrastructure schemes.
Madhya Pradesh Government approves Rs 2,195 crores for infrastructure schemes
The cabinet meeting held under the Chairmanship of the Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan gave its approval for continuation of infrastructure related schemes being implemented by the Directorate of Industry and Employment from 2017-18. Under this several approval were given for development of infrastructure facilities related to concerning industrial areas.

In order to undertake works for 2017-18, 2018-19 and 2019-20, integrating all the schemes, the state government has given its approval in the form of grant for Rs. 699 crore 20 lakh, Rs. 895 crore 70 lakh and Rs. 600 crore 50 lakh respectively , total Rs. 2195 crore towards infrastructure works.
The cabinet while integrating schemes related to infrastructure development has given its approval for continuation of infrastructure development fund establishment. Beside this approval has been given by the cabinet for establishment of 20 new industrial areas in 2000 hectare land during the next 3 years, infrastructure upgradation works in 12 existing industrial areas, for development of new industrial areas under 4 state level investment corridor and for infrastructure works in 6 industrial areas under the infrastructure gap.

Moreover the cabinet has given approval 40 percent grant of project cost from the government, loan from the financial institutions under the 50 percent government guarantee and to ensure 10 percent share of implementation agency for establishment of new industrial areas and development of industrial areas under state level corridor.

Also, Permission has been given by the cabinet for upgradation of existing industrial areas and investment of 75 percent state government grant and 25 percent share of implementation agency to complete the infrastructure works related to basic facilities as per the requirement in industrial areas.
 
23. Chhattisgarh Chief minister Raman Singh flags-off Cancer detection ambulance to cure patients free-of-cost.
Chhattisgarh Chief minister Raman Singh flags-off Cancer detection ambulance to cure patients free-of-cost
Chief Minister Dr. Raman Singh today flagged-off `Cancer diagnosis Ambulance` at his official residence. The ambulance will tour the villages for 45 days. The vehicle is fitted with ultra-advanced equipment to detect cancer. The patients will be treated free-of-cost. Assembly Speaker Mr. Gowri Shankar Agrawal was also present.  Akhil Bharatiya Marwari Yuva Manch is organizing the cancer detection camps. About Rs Two crore had been invested in the ambulance. The patients who are suffering from oral, throat, breast, prostate, intestinal, liver and other forms of cancer will be medically examined.

Dr. Raman Singh said that the ultra-modern ambulance will fulfill the need for detecting cancer patients in far-flung regions of the State which are lacking in adequate medical facilities. It will make easier for treating the patients in the preliminary stages itself. He expressed his best wishes to the members of the Marwari Samaj for such a noble gesture. The delegation members said that the ambulance had already toured 17 states and Chhattisgarh is the 18th State. The ambulance will tour the capital and entire State during the next 45 days. Cancer specialist Dr. Anand and members of Marwari samaj were also present.
 
24. India to help strengthen Myanmar’s women police force, pact approved.
India to help strengthen Myanmar’s women police force, pact approved
In a meeting chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the Cabinet provided ex-post facto approval to the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between India and Myanmar on upgradation of the Women’s Police Training Centre at Yamethin, Myanmar.

The MoU covers upgradation of the Yamethin Women’s Police Training Centre to further augment the capabilities of the Myanmar Government to build capacities of its police force with technical and financial assistance from Government of India. The MoU was signed on 6th September this year.

Myanmar shares a long land border of over 1600 Km with India as well as a maritime boundary in the Bay of Bengal. Both countries share a heritage of religious, linguistic and ethnic ties. Myanmar has a substantial population of Indian origin.

Further, Myanmar is our gateway to South East Asia and ASEAN with which we are seeking greater economic integration through India’s `Look East` and ‘Act East’ Policy. Myanmar also offers us an alternative access route to the Northeast.

Apart from supply of pulses, possibilities of energy supply from offshore blocks in Myanmar and business opportunities that emerging from an opening economy underpin bilateral relations.

India and Myanmar signed a trade agreement in 1970. Bilateral trade has been growing steadily reaching USD 1571.95 million in 2014-15 (Exports to Myanmar USD 773.74 million and Imports from Myanmar USD 1016.86 million) and India is the fourth largest trade partner of Myanmar but trade remains below potential.
 
25. India Renewable Energy to be double by 2022.
India Renewable Energy to be double by 2022
 
India’s renewable energy capacity will more than double by 2022, which would be enough to overtake renewable expansion in the European Union for the first time, International Energy Agency (IEA) said in a report.

The country’s renewable energy installed capacity is 58.30 GW as per the recent government data. The government has an ambitious target of raising it to 175 GW by 2022 including 100 GW of solar and 60 GW of wind energy. “By 2022, India’s renewable capacity will more than double.

This growth is enough to overtake renewable expansion in the European Union for the first time,” IEA said in its latest renewables market analysis and forecast. IEA said the solar PV and wind together represent 90 per cent of India’s capacity growth as auctions yielded some of the world’s lowest prices for both technologies.

Earlier this year, the solar and wind power tariffs dropped to all time low of Rs2.44 per unit and Rs3.46 per unit in tariff based competitive bidding conducted by Solar Energy Corporation of India (SECI). IEA said India’s move to address the financial health of its utilities and tackle grid-integration issues drive a more optimistic forecast.

The analysis noted that China remains the undisputed leader of renewable electricity capacity expansion over the forecast period with over 360 GW of capacity coming online, or 40% of the global total. It said China’s renewables’ growth is largely driven by concerns about air pollution and capacity targets that were outlined in the country’s 13th five-year plan to 2020.

In fact, China already exceeded its 2020 solar PV target three years ahead of time and is set to achieve its onshore wind target in 2019. Still, the growing cost of renewable subsidies and grid integration issues remain two important challenges to further expansion, it added. IEA said boosted by a strong solar PV market, renewables accounted for almost two-thirds of net new power capacity around the world last year, with almost 165 GW coming online.
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Renewables will continue to have a strong growth in coming years. By 2022, renewable electricity capacity should increase by 43%, the report said. “We see renewables growing by about 1,000 GW by 2022, which equals about half of the current global capacity in coal power, which took 80 years to build,” said Fatih Birol, the executive director of IEA.

“What we are witnessing is the birth of a new era in solar PV. We expect that solar PV capacity growth will be higher than any other renewable technology through 2022,” Birol added. This year’s renewable forecast is 12% higher than last year, thanks mostly to solar PV upward revisions in China and India. China, India and the US will account for two-thirds of global renewable expansion by 2022.

Total solar PV capacity by then would exceed the combined total power capacities of India and Japan today, it said. The power consumption of electric vehicles - including cars, two and three wheelers and buses - is expected to double over the next five years, with renewable electricity estimated to represent almost 30% of their consumption by 2022, up from 26% on Wednesday.

The electric vehicles play a complementary role to biofuels, which represent 80% of growth in renewable energy consumption in transport. However, it said the share of renewables in total road transport energy consumption remains limited, increasing only from 4% in 2016 to almost 5% in 2022.
26. India wins its First Ever Wushu World Championship Gold.
India wins its First Ever Wushu World Championship Gold
Pooja Kadian became the first Indian to win a Gold medal at Wushu World Championships on Wednesday. Kadian won by defeating Evgeniya Stepanova in the 75kg women’s Sanda category. Apart from her, four other members of the Indian contingent – Rameshchandra Singh Moirangthem, Bhanu Pratap Singh, Rajinder Singh, and Arunpama Devi Keisham – won bronze medals in the tournament held at Kazan, Russia.

Kadian had defeated Egypt’s Heba Abdelkader 2-0 in the semifinals on the road to the finals. Rameshchandra Singh Moirangthem won a bronze in men’s Sanda 48 kg category while Bhanu Pratap Singh came in the men’s Sanda 60 kg category. Rajinder Singh won his bronze in the men’s 90 kg category.

What is Wushu World Championships?
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Wushu is not among the more popular sports in the world. It is one of the two umbrella words used to describe Chinese Marial arts, the other one being Kung-Fu. It is also a full contact sport and is governed by the International Wushu Federation. China remains the dominant team in the sport. The Wushu World Championships are held every two years and the first ever tournament was held in 1991 in Beijing. This year, the tournament was held in Kazan, Russia.

The two main forms of the sport are Toulu and Sanda. While players are judged on the basis of martial arts patterns and maneuvers and given points based on specific rules in Taoulu. Sanda, on the other hand, is a modern form of Chinese boxing. It is in the Sanda category that India won its medals.

27. First ASEAN India Music Festival to be held at Purana Qila,New Delhi.

First ASEAN India Music Festival to be held at Purana Qila,New Delhi

Ministry of External Affairs, Government of India in collaboration with Ministry of Culture and Seher presents the first ever ASEAN-India Music Festival from October 6th-8th 2017 at Purana Quila in New Delhi. The Festival is being organised to celebrate the 25th year anniversary of ASEAN-India Dialogue Relations. The theme for this commemorative year "Shared Values, Common Destiny” along with this Music Festival aims to boost cultural influences among the peoples of the ASEAN member states and India. 

The ASEAN-India Music Festival will witness eclectic performances by musicians of 10 enigmatic bands from member states of the Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN) (Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia, Myanmar, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore, Lao PDR, Indonesia, Thailand, Vietnam) along with 5 prominent Indian bands. 

The three-day festival will include performances by ASEAN bands such as The Ugly Band (Myanmar), Cherpen (Malaysia), Tim De Cotta (Singapore), Kong Southearith (Cambodia), Red Bamboo (Vietnam), L’alphalpha (Indonesia), Nam Fon Indee (Lao PDR), A Band Once (Brunei Darussalam), Asia7 (Thailand) and The Ransom Collective (Philippines). 

The Festival will also witness performances by famous Indian bands like the Raghu Dixit Project, Avial, Papon LIVE, Bipul Chettri and the Travelling Band, and Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy. 

The 3-day music festival would entail free entry for music lovers from all walks of life to get together and enjoy.

28. PAN, Aadhaar card not mandatory for jewellery purchase above Rs 50,000.

PAN, Aadhaar card not mandatory for jewellery purchase above Rs 50,000

Good news for jewellers. Now PAN card and Aadhaar card are not needed for jewellery purchases above Rs 50,000, according to ANI. In a bid to give some relief to jewellers, the government on Friday decided to revoke the notification that extended provisions of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act, 2002, (PMLA) to jewellery purchases. Also, the government need not be informed on jewellery purchase of over Rs 50,000. This means that jewellers will not have to report data on buyers to the Financial Intelligence Unit. The decision was taken at the crucial GST Council meeting today.

In a slew of measures to provide relief to exporter hit hard by the implementation of Goods and Services Tax, the GST Council today decided to bring in an e-wallet facility after six months to speed up their refund claims, council member and Kerala Finance Minister Thomas Isaac said. Further, the government has also decided to exempt exporters from IGST for next six months, Thomas Isaac said on the sidelines of the crucial GST Council meeting underway in New Delhi.

Exporters need to pay IGST on import of their inputs, and claim refund from the government under rules. The transitional credit refund claim by taxpayers in the first month of July was staggering Rs 65,000 crore, including thousands of crores of rupees from exporters. The government estimated that only Rs 12,000 crore as valid. Rest of the amount is under scrutiny, which has made exporters nervous.

Exporters fear that if the GST refund of about Rs 65,000 crore does not start flowing immediately, it would get stuck and, further deteriorate their liquidity situation. The industry representatives, including exporters, who met Finance Minister Arun Jaitley last week raised this issue. An ‘e-wallet’ facility will allow exporters to get tax credit immediately after self-declaration post exports.

Thomas Isaac also confirmed that the GST Council has decided to raise the revenue threshold under the composition scheme to Rs 1 crore from Rs 75 lakh at present. This is expected to bring big relief to many more small businesses, who will have the convenience of paying a flat rate of 1%, 2% or 5%, and avoid a lot of paperwork. Albeit, this might also come as a disappointment to many, as it was being widely speculated that the limit would be raised to Rs 1.5 crore in today’s meeting.

 

29. Bangalore Metro Rail Project Phase II Gets € 300 Million.

Bangalore Metro Rail Project Phase II Gets € 300 Million

The Government of India and European Investment Bank (EIB) on Thursday signed a Finance Contract for lending of € 300 million (about Rs 2,293 crore) for Bangalore Metro Rail Project Phase II Line R6. The agreement was signed by S. Selvakumar, Joint Secretary (BC), Department of Economic Affairs (DEA), Ministry of Finance on behalf of the Government of India and Andrew McDowell, Vice President, EIB, on behalf of the EIB. “The first tranche of 300 million euros was signed today,” the finance ministry said in a statement on Thursday. The Ministry further added saying that the objective of the project is to bring in a quantum improvement in the transportation sector in the city in tandem with the Bangalore Metropolitan Transport Corporation (BMTC) and other modes of urban transport.

Bangalore Metro Rail Project:

Bangalore Metro Rail Project Phase II is to be jointly financed by the European Investment Bank (€500 million) and Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (€300 million).

The project aims to ensure modern transport facility for commuters across the city.

The project envisages extension of East-West & North-South lines for Bangalore Metro Rail which includes a total length of 72.095 km (13.79 km underground) and 61 stations with 12 underground stations.

The project implementation period is 5 years from date of commencement.

As per a government press release, the spinoffs of the project would include employment opportunities, benefits to the economy, reduction of number of vehicles on road, less fuel consumption, reduction in air pollution, reduction in passenger travel time and also improvement in the aesthetic value of the city.

The Bangalore Metro project, fondly called ‘Namma Metro’ is one of Bangalore’s most ambitious projects. Namma Metro will connect the airport from Nagawara, which is an extension of the north-south line under phase-II. The stations planned at RK Hegde Nagar, Jakkur, Yelahanka, Chikkajala, one on the KIAL road and another at the terminal. As per reports by Economic Times, in the completed phase-I and under construction phase-II, metro station are between 800 metres to 1 km from each other. It was also informed that the average operating speed of a train is around 30 kmph.

The responsibility of implementing the Bangalore Metro Rail Project lies with the Bangalore Metro Rail Corporation Limited (BMRCL), which is a joint venture of Government of India and Government of Karnataka. Namma Metro is, however, an environment-friendly addition as it significantly contributes to the reduction of carbon emissions.


 

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