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Andhra Pradesh has become the first state in the country to join the Centre’s scheme for revival of debt stressed power distribution companies after the state gave in-principle nod to the Power Ministry for joining UDAY.
(UDAY – Ujwal DISCOM Assurance Yojana)
- Andhra Pradesh has been followed by Jharkhand by which latter has become the second state to join the Centre’s UDAY.
- The scheme is optional and operationalised through signing of MoU between State Governments, State Discoms and Centre.
As part of the 125th birth anniversary year celebrations of Bhimrao Ramji Ambedkar aka Babasaheb, Prime Minister Narendra Modi released two commemorative coins of Rs 125 and Rs 10 denomination.
- The coins were issued on his death anniversary which is observed as “Mahaparinirvan Divas of Babasaheb Ambedkar”.
- On 30 September Union communication and IT minister Ravi Shankar Prasad released commemorative postal stamps on him.
Goa-Mumbai double decker train flagged off by Indian Railways
Railway minister Suresh Prabhu flagged off the 1,000-passenger Mumbai-Margao-Mumbai double decker express train. The service will be operated thrice a week.
- The double decker train will cover the distance in around 12 hours.
- It has 8 compartments with a seating capacity of 120 in each compartment.
The Railways will soon sign an agreement with Japan government to improve safety and standard of Indian railways.
AC Double Decker Express train no 11085 will have AC chair car coaches and will leave Lokmanya Tilak Terminus (LTT) every Monday, Wednesday and Friday at 5:30 am and will reach Margao at about 5.30 am on the same day. The train no 11085 will leave Margao every Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday at 5.10 pm.
- Goa CM – Laxmikant Parsekar
- Maharashta CM – Devendra Fadnavis
SWR Zones introduces Biodiesel for trains
Hubli (Karnataka) headquartered South Western Railways (SWR) Zone has introduced biodiesel for trains to reduce greenhouse gases (GHGs) emission and carbon footprint and also to make fuel consumption more efficient.
- In this regard, SWR’s first train Hubballi-Bengaluru Janshatabdi Express powered by 5% biodiesel blended with High Speed Diesel was flagged off from Hubli.
- To meet its biodiesel demand, SWR zone has set up Biodiesel filling centres at Hubli, Bengaluru and Hospet.
What is Biodiesel?
Biodiesel refers to a vegetable oil or animal fat-based diesel fuel or green fuel that provides quasi-renewable energy for cleaner alternatives and reduces dependency on fossil fuel especially diesel.
- It is obtained from crops such as sugarcane, cassava, corn, potato, beetroot, grapes, banana and dates etc.
Union Government is promoting use of biodiesel in India Railways for the purpose of energy security, cleaner air and savings in foreign exchange along with employment opportunities in rural areas.
6th Meeting of Group on Automatic Exchange of Information held
The 6th Meeting of the Group on Automatic Exchange of Information (AEOI) Group of the Global Forum on Transparency and Exchange of Information for Tax Purposes (Global Forum) held in the national capital.
Inaugurated by: Minister of State for Finance, Shri Jayant Sinha
- Confidentiality and data safeguards in 32 countries, including India discussed and considered for approval.
- Discussed the process of monitoring and implementation of the Common Reporting Standards (CRS) on AEOI
- Specific reviews carried-out relate to confidentiality and data safeguards to be completed by 2016 for all the jurisdictions which have committed to the new standards.
- G-20 countries requested the Global Forum to take on the work of implementation of the new global standard on automatic exchange of information namely the Common Reporting Standard (CRS) on AEOI.
AEOI Group, which now has 64 member countries, is mandated to develop a methodology for the review through a transparent process in which all Global Forum members participate on an equal footing.
Indo-Pakistan NSAs Ajit Doval, Nasir Janjua meet in Bangkok
National Security Advisors of India and Pakistan held talks on terrorism and Jammu and Kashmir and agreed to take forward the constructive engagement in Bangkok.
- National Security Advisor Ajit Doval and his Pakistani counterpart Nasir Janjua, their foreign secretaries S Jaishankar and Aizaz Ahmad Chaudhry held their meeting in six days after their Prime Ministers Narendra Modi and Nawaz Sharif held a brief meeting in Paris with a view to revive the delayed dialogue process.
Key Points: Bangkok
- Capital : Thailand
- Currency: Baht
- Thailand PM: Prayut Chan-o-cha
Canada sends first consignment of uranium to India
Two years after the civil nuclear deal signed between the two, Canada has sent the first uranium consignment of 250 tonnes to India for its nuclear power reactors.
- Cost: Contract to supply 7.1 million pounds of uranium concentrate (about 2,730 tonnes uranium) to India’s Department of Atomic Energy was worth around Canadian Dollars 350 million ($262 million).
- India has 21 power reactors in operation, with another 6 under construction and will start in next four years. It plans to increase its nuclear generating capacity from the present 5800 MWe -27,500 MWe by 2032.
- Shipment consists of uranium mined and milled at Cameco’s McArthur River and Key Lake operations in northern Saskatchewan.
Key Points: Canada
- Capital & Currency: Ottawa, Canadian Dollar
- PM: Justin Trudeau
BANKING & FINANCE
As per data from the Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion (DIPP), Singapore has replaced Mauritius as the top source of foreign direct investment (FDI) into India during the first half of the current fiscal.
FDI in India from April-September 2015
- Singapore – Rs 43,096 crore
- Mauritius – Rs 23,490 crore
Centre to support rural entrepreneurs under MUDRA
In a bid to support rural entrepreneurs of India, centre is planning to provide loans under Micro Units Development and Refinance Agency (MUDRA) Yojana by Enhancing Rural Entrepreneurship through Common Services Centres (CSCs).
- CSCs are very small-scale initiatives and MUDRA is for such institutions and therefore, people who want to start such service points but do not have any funding, MUDRA can help them start their micro-ventures.
The Pradhan Mantri MUDRA Yojana (PMMY) was launched in April, under which the overall loan disbursement target has been set at around Rs.1.22 lakh crore for this financial year.
CSCs are information and communications technology enabled service delivery points at the village level for delivery of government, financial, social and private services such as applying online passports, land record, digital locker and Aadhaar cards.
Government imposes anti-dumping duty on kitchenware products
Government has imposed an anti-dumping duty of $1,732.11 per tonne on import of melamine tableware and kitchenware products like dinner sets and mugs from China, Thailand and Vietnam.
Aim: To protect domestic industry from cheap shipments
Anti-dumping duty in-between $582.85 – 1732.11 per tonne will remain in effect for five years.
Anti-dumping: It analyses to test if domestic industries have been hurt because of an increase in cheap imports and also to ensure fair trade. It is not a measure to restrict imports or cause an unjustified surge in the cost of products.
Railways has undertaken PPP projects worth Rs 14,000 crore
Railways has undertaken PPP(Public-Private Partnership) projects worth Rs.14,000 crore during the 12th Five year Plan for laying new lines, doubling the present ones, enriching port connectivity and electrifying its network under PPP model.
- 7 PPP projects worth Rs 5693 crore: Under implementation as many others involving an expenditure of Rs 2236 crore are being implemented under customer funded model
- 3 PPP projects worth Rs 3016 crore: Executed through the annuity route
- 16 state governments which have given their nod for formation of special purpose vehicles (SPVs) to implement rail projects in their respective states.
- Odisha signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Railways to form a SPV for implementation of rail projects in the state currently.
Key Points: Railways
- Minister of Railways: Suresh Prabhu
- Minister of State for Railways: Manoj Sinha
- HQ: New Delhi
Forest Survey of India (FSI) has released the Indian State of Forest Report (ISFR 2015) showing India’s total forest and tree cover has increased by 5081 sq km in the past two years.
- It was released by Union minister of environment, forests and climate change, Shri Prakash Javadekar.
- The India State of Forest Report 2015 is the 14th report in the series. It is based on interpretation of LISS III sensor data of indigenous Resourcesat – II satellite.
2,600-year-old tombs discovered in central China
Over 200 tombs dating back to 2,600 years ago have been discovered in central China’s Henan Province.
The group of the rare structures, located in Yichuan County of Luoyang City, is composed of more than 200 tombs, eight horse and chariot pits, over 30 ash pits and more than 10 kilns.
- The tombs date back to the Spring and Autumn period (771-476 BC) and cover an area over 200,000 square metres.
- Alongside the tombs, an ancient city dating back to the Han Dynasty (202 BC-220) was also discovered.
Archaeologists believe the site was home to an ancient tribe and was one of the few in the region whose migration and time of perish was recorded.
World champions Australia has clinched the title of the 2nd edition of Hockey World League (HWL) Final at the Sardar Vallabh Bhai Patel Stadium in Raipur, India by defeating Belgium by 2-1.
Sarita, Shiva, Devendro win in China
Asian Games bronze-medallist L. Sarita Devi (60kg) returned to competitive boxing after her one-year ban with a resounding victory in the opening contest of the training-cum-competition assignment in the Chinese city of Qian’an.
Sarita served a one-year ban for her emotional outburst at the Asian Games after a controversial semifinal loss, defeated Mongolia’s Sowoderden 3-0.
- World Championships bronze-medallist Shiva Thapa (56kg) beat Thailoand’s Yuttapong Thong Dee 3-0.
- Commonwealth Games silver-medallist Devendro Singh (49kg) notched up a Technical Knockout against China’s Yang Yufeng in the third round of his bout.
- Another Commonwealth Games silver-medallist Mandeep Jangra (69kg) thrashed Thailand’s Nick Fisher 3-0.
Shahzar Rizvi wins air pistol gold
Shahzar Rizvi of the Indian Air Force (IAF) beat Olympic silver medallist Vijay Kumar to the gold in men’s air pistol in the 59th National shooting championship at the Dr. Karni Singh Range, Tughlakabad, New Delhi.
10m air pistol Men:
- Shahzar Rizvi 199.6 (577)
- Vijay Kumar 198.2 (577)
- Sib Kumar Ghosh 177.2 (580)
- Achal Pratap Singh Grewal 577 (21x)
- Pawan Yadav 577 (16x)
- Arjun Das 575
- Saurabh Choudhary 573
- Dhruv Pran Singh 572 (18x)
- Shainki Nagar 572 (17x)
Phelps claims third race at Winter Championships
American swim star Michael Phelps 18-time Olympic gold medalist won the 200 meter butterfly and claimed his third victory at the US Winter National Championships.
- First Michael Phelps one minute, 56.11 seconds
- Second Chase Kalisz finished 1.01 seconds
- Third Dakota Hodgson in 1:59.09(3seconds slower than Phelps)
- He won his first Olympic medal in 2004. His 18 golds since the Athens Games would rank 12th overall for all nations, ahead of traditional Olympic powers like Romania, Poland, the Netherlands, Cuba and Spain.
- Only eight countries have won as many golds in London as Phelps.
- Eighty-one percent of Phelps’ medals are gold.