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The government will unveil Direct Benefit Transfer (DBT) scheme for kerosene from 1st April 2016, where the users will buy the cooking fuel at market rate but will get financial support directly in their bank accounts.
- The scheme will be implemented in selected 26 districts of 8 states.
- In this regard, states be given cash incentive of 75% of subsidy savings during the first two years, 50% in the third year and 25% in the fourth year.
Eight States – Chhattisgarh, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Jharkhand, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Punjab and Rajasthan
Maharashtra government inks MoU with Pawan Hans to boost tourism
Maharashtra government has signed an MoU with private helicopter service company Pawan Hans.
Objective: To boost tourism in Maharashtra.
- Helicopter services will be available for: Elephanta Island, Ajanta and Ellora caves, Ganpatipule (a small town located in Ratnagiri district on the Konkan coast), Tarkarli (a tourist spot in Sindhudurg district) and Aamby Valley at a cheap rate.
Points to remember: Maharashtra
- Nation’s third largest state and world’s second-most populous sub-national entity.
- Capital and Largest City: Mumbai
- Chief Minister: Devendra Fadnavis
- Governor: C. Vidyasagar Rao
Jaya launches ‘Amma seeds’ scheme for farmers
Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa has launched the scheme ‘Amma Seeds’ available through ‘Amma Service Centres’ across the state, executing an announcement made in the Tamil Nadu Assembly in 2014 for farmers’ welfare.
- Aim: To provide quality seeds and to encourage farmers to use certified seeds.
- Earlier schemes: Amma Canteens providing subsidised food and Amma mineral water.
- Nodal Body: Tamil Nadu State Seeds Development Agency
Fund of Rs5.37 crore towards expanding a scheme for urban citizens to grow vegetables at home to Tiruchirappalli and Madurai.
Points to remember: Tamil Nadu
- Capital and largest city: Chennai
- Governor: Konijeti Rosaiah
Goa sets up Investment Promotion Board for fast approvals
Goa set up Investment Promotion Board (IPB) for fast approvals to industrial proposals and has already cleared 62 proposals with investment of Rs 5,200 crore.
Benefit: It will enable invigorating the investment climate, which went through bad phase before 2015.
- The state wants to learn from counterparts like Gujarat where investment proposals are cleared at much quicker pace.
- Industry bodies like Goa Chamber of Commerce and Industry have been pressing for incentives like sales and income tax benefits.
- National Council for Small and Medium Entrepreneurs Chairman: Manguirish Pai Raikar
- IPB Chief Executive Officer: Ashton Godinho
Telangana become first state to accept e-motor insurance policies
Telangana becomes the first state in the country to legally accept Electronic motor insurance policies. These policies can be stored and accessed on smart phones.
e-Vahan Bima: An electronic motor insurance policy issued in digital form with Quick Response (QR) code.
- Driving a vehicle without motor third party insurance is an offence under Motor Vehicle Act 1988 as it pays for legal liability in case of any injury or damage to any third party life or property caused by the use of vehicle in a public place.
Benefit: It will help the poor accident victims in the state and also ensure better compliance.
By: Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority (IRDA) of India, Department of Information Technology, police and transport departments of the state.
Minister for IT: K T Ramarao
Points to remember: Telangana
- Capital: Hyderabad
- Governor: E. S. L. Narasimhan
- Chief Minister: Kalvakuntla Chandrashekar Rao
India and Pakistan exchanged the list of their nuclear installations for the 25th consecutive year under a bilateral agreement that bars them from attacking each other’s atomic facilities.
- It was exchanged through diplomatic channels simultaneously at New Delhi and Islamabad.
- The list of nuclear installations and facilities covered under the Agreement on the Prohibition of Attack against Nuclear installations between India and Pakistan.
Saudi Arabia-led coalition announces end of Yemen ceasefire
Saudi Arabia has announced the end ceasefire agreement with Yemen’s Houthi involve fighters and their allies.
- Both sides continued to engage militarily, with the Arab coalition launching air strikes targeting Houthis and their allies, and the latter launching ballistic missiles into Saudi territory.
- Saudi air defence forces had intercepted a ballistic missile fired from Yemen towards the city of Abha and the launcher destroyed in Yemen.
Origins of conflict:
Began in March last year(2015), after Houthi forces and soldiers of Ali Abdullah Saleh(former Yemeni president) flew across southern Yemen, taking the port city of Aden and forcing the Arab Gulf-backed President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi into expulsion.
Saudi Arabia began launching air strikes on Hadi’s opponents.
Points to remember: Saudi Arabia
- Capital and largest city: Riyadh
- King: Salman bin Abdulaziz
- Currency: Saudi riyal
BANKING & FINANCE
Punjab National Bank launches host of digital banking solutions
Punjab National Bank has launched host of digital banking solutions including green PIN and enrichment of its mobile app.
- Motive: To enable the customer to locate PNB ATM with PNB ATM Assist
- Android app: To use GPS and locate the nearest PNB ATM
- Green PIN facility: Under this customer can obtain duplicate PIN for debit card instantly through SMS request. It will provide customer SMS based facility to block and unblock Internet banking and mobile banking.
- Cash acceptor cum ATM at their Sansad Marg branch: Customers can deposit cash up to Rs.2 lakh per transaction and can avail the ATM feature.
Points to remember: PNB(Punjab National Bank)
- One of the Big Four banks of India, along with State Bank of India, ICICI Bank and Bank of Baroda and third largest bank in India in terms of asset size.
- Tagline: The name you can BANK upon!
- Founder: Lala Lajpat Rai
- PNB MD: Usha Ananthasubramanian
India’s Petronet LNG ink revised contract with RasGas of Qatar
India’s biggest gas importer Petronet LNG has signed a revised contract with RasGas of Qatar
Motive: To import gas at a significantly lower price, as a reflection of falling global prices. It will save downstream consumers in India around Rs 4,000 crore a year.
- A penalty of Rs 12,000 crore imposed on Petronet for importing less gas in 2015 than was agreed in the previous contract has been renounced.
- Need for re-negotiation: Petronet was overpaying for RasGas’ LNG under the previous contract.
- Petronet has agreed to purchase an additional 1 million tonnes under the revised contract.
- January 1, 2016 is one year of PAHAL direct cash transfer scheme and has become the world’s biggest digital public distribution system.
- Petroleum and Natural Gas Minister: Dharmendra Pradhan
- MD & CEO of Petronet LNG: Mr. Prabhat Singh
NABARD, NRSC sign MoU for monitoring of watershed projects
National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development (NABARD) signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with National Remote Sensing Center (NRSC) for web-based monitoring of watershed projects.
Projects places : Gujarat, Rajasthan and Telangana.
Highlights of MoU :
- Hyderabad-based NRSC will create a separate page for NABARD on Bhuvan web-portal, develop customised software tool and mobile application for real time monitoring, online comparison and visualisation with respect to activities implemented in the projects sanctioned by Nabard.
- Nabard had assisted watershed projects under Watershed Development Fund (WDF).
Key points :
- NABARD Chairman: Dr. Harsh Kumar Bhanwala
- NRSC : It is one of the centres of the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO), striving to realise the Indian Space Vision, as a key player in Earth Observation Programme and Disaster Management Support programme.
AWARDS & RECOGNITIONS
Veteran South Indian classical vocalists Sanjay Subrahmanyam has been conferred with the 2015 Sangita Kalanidhi award.
- It was presented by the mathematician Manjul Bhargava at 89th annual conference of the Madras Music Academy in Chennai, Tamil Nadu.
Delhi Police enters Limca Book of Records for solving India’s biggest cash heist case
Delhi Police entered into the Limca Book of Records for solving the biggest cash heist case of the the country in November 2015.
- On November 27, the driver of a cash transit van allegedly fled with Rs 22.50 crore, following which the entire southeast district of Delhi Police was put into action.
- In less than 10 hours, the police tracked down the driver and recovered the stolen amount, except for Rs 10,500 which the accused driver had spent in food, alcohol and some articles, said a senior police official.
Delhi Police Commissioner : B S Bassi
World champion Magnus Carlsen of Norway won the Qatar Masters Chess Open 2015 after nine exciting rounds of chess & and secures the first place with 7 points.
- Yu Yangyi, winner of the first edition of the tournament, finishes also with 7 points but he lost the blitz tie-break against Carlsen.
- Bronze goes to Vladimir Kramnik with 6.5 points.
- Surya Shekhar Ganguly was the best-placed Indian at 10th place with 6 points.
- P. Sethuraman was another Indian to score 6points but he stood at 17th place.
Grammy-winning singer Natalie Cole passed away
Natalie Cole, best known for the songs ‘Unforgettable’, ‘Inseparable’ and ‘This Will Be’.She was 65.
About Natalie Cole :
- She began her career as an R and B singer, but later gravitated toward the smooth pop and jazz standards that her father loved.
- Cole’s greatest success came with her 1991 album, ‘Unforgettable … With Love’, featuring numerous standards sung by her father, sold 14 million copies.
- The album reached the top of the Billboard 200 album chart on July 27, 1991. It featured a duet with her father.
- She recorded an album in Spanish, Natalie Cole in Espanol.
- “Unforgettable … With Love” won multiple Grammys, including the 1992 Album of the Year, Record of the Year, Traditional Pop Vocal Performance, Song of the Year, Arrangement Accompanying Vocals and Producer of the Year.
- “This Will Be” which won the Grammy Award for best R&B female performance and also earned her the Grammy Award for Best New Artist.The song earned Cole three Grammy Awards.
- She won another Grammy Award for 2008 album Still Unforgettable, which included a variety of American standards.
Veteran CPI leader AB Bardhan passes away
Veteran Communist Party of India leader A.B. Bardhan, 92, passed away after a long illness.
About AB Bardhan :
Mr. Bardhan took part in the freedom movement as a member of the All India Students Federation and later associated himself with the trade union movement out of Nagpur.
- He won an election just once to the Maharashtra Assembly in 1957 as an Independent.
- United Front (UF) government took over in 1996 and late CPI leader Indrajit Gupta became Home Minister, he resigned as CPI general secretary and paved the way for Mr. Bardhan.
- AB Bardhan held the post of general secretary for over a record number of years from 1996 to 2012.