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Current Affairs Today – September 7 2016

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Tourism Min approves projects of Rs 450 cr under Swadesh Darshan scheme
Tourism Ministry has approved projects worth about Rs 450 crore under Swadesh Darshan scheme for five states, including Uttar Pradesh. This scheme was launched with an objective to develop 13 theme-based tourist circuits in the country and the approval for five was given in a meeting of the central sanctioning and monitoring committee (CSMC).
♦ The Ministry of Tourism (MoT), Government of India has formulated a plan scheme Swadesh Darshan for integrated development of tourist circuits around specific themes.
♦ The five circuits identified under this Scheme are Buddhist Circuit, Himalayan Circuit, Coastal Circuit, Krishna Circuit and North-East Circuit.
Various circuits:
♦ Ramayana circuit in Uttar Pradesh – Rs 70 crore
♦ Coastal circuit in Tamil Nadu – Rs 100 crore
♦ Heritage circuit in Madhya Pradesh – Rs 100 crore
♦ Heritage circuit in Uttarakhand – Rs 83 crore.

Ministry of DoNER goes LIVE on e-office
i. The Ministry of Development of North Eastern Region – DoNER has gone live on e-office following a innovative initiative by the department.
ii. The e-office platform would not only digitize the entire office correspondence and file noting but also ensure an audit trail of all entries and correspondence, thus providing an unprecedented level of accountability.
iii.  In the first week of September, final preparations were done for the Ministry of DoNER to go live on e-office. This comprises of a joint training of officers and other employees to bring them on the same page with regard to e-office procedures, understanding the modules of e-office. A central registry unit and technical support team has been created to ensure smooth transition from physical files to the electronic platform.
iv. All the officers and the concerned staff were regularly trained in the implementation of e-office in July. Thereafter, a trial run was done in the months of July and August.
v. It is noted that the Ministry of Development of North Eastern Region (September, 2001) is responsible for the matters relating to the planning, execution and monitoring of development schemes and projects in the North Eastern Region. Its vision is to accelerate the pace of socio-economic development of the Region so that it may enjoy growth parity with the rest of the country.

Centre launches NIDHI for nurturing ideas & innovation into start ups worth $15 Mn
i. The Department of Science and Technology (DST) has launched a $15 Mn (INR 100 Cr) programme to support startups in India.
ii.  A new program called National Initiative for Developing and Harnessing Innovations (NIDHI) for nurturing ideas and innovation into successful start ups.
iii. National Initiative for Developing and Harnessing Innovations (NIDHI) is an umbrella programme conceived and developed by the Department of Science & Technology (DST), Government of India, for nurturing ideas and innovations (knowledge-based and technology-driven) into successful start-ups.
iv. With the intent to speed up the process and also scale, the ministry will be infusing Rs 500 crore into the programme in the next few years. Notably this year, the ministry has received a 450 percent increase in allocation — Rs 180 crore more — to drive startup initiatives.
v. NIDHI focuses on building a seamless entrepreneurial ecosystem, especially by making a positive impact on socio-economic development. The programme aims to provide technological solutions as well as create new avenues for wealth and job creation.

Rajasthan government signs MoU for developing education sector infrastructure
i. Vasundhara Raje lead Rajasthan government signed MoU with an educational institutes, which will adopt 50 Adarsh and Utkarsh Vidyalayas in the state for developing education sector infrastructure.
ii. It will also adopt five District Institution of Education and Training (DIET) and State Institute of Education Research and Training (SIERT) Udaipur.
Hill Forts of Rajasthan :
♦ The Hill Forts of Rajasthan situated in Rajastahan. It includes six majestic forts in Chittorgarh, Kumbhalgarh, Sawai Madhopur,Jhalawar,Jaipur and Jaisalmer.

Indian traditional language Sanskrit becomes part of United Nation’s charter
i. United Nations, has included Sanskrit, the most ancient and traditional language of un_charter_sanskritIndia  into its charter.
ii. A charter binds the assembly of nations. The charter being translated into the Sanskrit language is the first of its kind attempt to make it to such an important international document.
iii. The United Nations Charter was signed on June 26 1945, in San Francisco, at the conclusion of the United Nations Conference on International Organization, and came into force on October 24 1945.
iv. The UN Charter — seminal treaty of the United Nations — has been translated into Sanskrit by Dr Jitendra Kumar Tripathi of Lucknow. It is noted that he took it upon himself to promote the Indian language at an international level.
v. Tripathi addressed the misconception among people regarding Sanskrit – they felt the language had become obsolete and Sanskrit was the main language of our ancestors but with the passage of time, the language lost significance.

Petroleum Minister Dharmendra Pradhan launched the ‘Gas4India’ campaign
i. Petroleum Minister Dharmendra Pradhan launched the ‘Gas4India’ campaign, aimed at promoting the use of natural gas in the country and aim towards a gas-based economy.
ii. The government has taken initiatives and policy reforms throughout the gas chain. Besides the move to enhance gas production, the government is promoting the nationwide gas grid, bio-CNG and bio-PNG and setting up of gas infrastructure.
iii. The campaign includes social engagement via Twitter, Facebook, Youtube, LinkedIn, and its official blogsite, as well as hyper local, offline events to directly connect with consumers through discussions, workshops and cultural events.
iv. #Gas4India is a unified cross-country, multimedia, multi-event campaign to communicate the national, social, economic and ecological benefits of using natural gas as the fuel of choice to every citizen who uses, or will use in the near future, gas in any way- cook, travel, light their homes, and power their business.
v. The #Gas4India campaign will be targeted across the country through social media engagement as well as hyper-local offline events to connect with the consumers.

Government launches dedicated pan-India helpline for poweroutages
i. Urja Mitra Helpline – 14401 launched by Department of Telecom (DoT) to provide the information about outages from power distribution companies to customers on September 6, 2016.In future consumers can also get the information through the Urja mobile app.
ii. The helpline is used to send information in the form of voice calls and messages  to customers about power situation in their area through the telecom operators.

Bihar become first state to link exams to Aadhaar number
i. Bihar School Examination Board(BSEB) become the first state board in India to link students’ examination forms with their Aadhaar numbers to avoid duplication and facilitate easy access to documents announced by BSEB chairman Anand Kishor.
ii. The initiative will be implemented from the BSEB’s compartmental exams, which are scheduled for November.


India inks agreement to expand trade pact with Chile
i. The union cabinet signed an agreement with Chile to expand the India- Chile Preferential Trade Agreement (PTA) which was approved in April under which 86 per cent of India’s exports to Chile will get concession .It is a step towards tapping the Latin American and Caribbean Nations (LAC) market.
ii. India has offered concessions to Chile on 1,031 tariff lines with duties 10 per cent-100 per cent lower than the present import duties and Chile has offered concessions to India on 1,798 tariff lines with duty cuts that are 30-100 per cent lower than the existing customs duty for various products.
India- Chile Preferential Trade Agreement :
India and Chile signed a PTA in March 2006 and came into effect from August 2007.
Initially India’s offer list to Chile consisted of 178 tariff lines and Chile’s consisted of 296 tariff lines to be traded with duty concessions.
Chile :
♦ Capital: Santiago
♦ Currency: Chilean peso
♦ President: Michelle Bachelet

India Kazakhstan Joint Exercise “PRABAL DOSTYK-16”
i. India Kazakhstan Joint Exercise, “PRABAL DOSTYK-16” is being conducted in Karaganda region of Kazakhstan and will conclude on 17 Sep 2016.
ii. Aim: To enhance interoperability while undertaking Counter Terrorism & Counter Insurgency Operations in rural & semi-urban environment under the umbrella of United Nations.
iii. This exercise will be conducted in two stages. The first stage will be to familiarize with each others tactics, drills, weapons & equipment, whereas in the second stage troops of both the armies will graduate to jointly execute a helicopter borne operation in a simulated environment.
iv. The meaning of the word ‘Prabal Dostyk’ is ‘Robust Friendship’ will be a significant step towards fostering military as well as diplomatic ties between both countries.

India, Greece sign MoU for air services agreement
i. India and Greece have signed an MoU for Air Services Agreement (ASA) under the ‘open sky’ policy that proposes to allow unlimited points of call for domestic airlines in the European nation.
ii. According to Civil Aviation Secretary R N Choubey, this is the first MoU with a country under the provisions of the new civil aviation policy.
iii. The government would enter into an ‘open sky’ air services agreement on a reciprocal basis with SAARC nations as well as countries with territory located entirely beyond a 5,000 kilometre radius from New Delhi.

Nearly 50 million children “uprooted” worldwide – UNICEF
i. According to the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), almost 50 million children throughout the world have been “uprooted” from their homes by war, violence or persecution.
ii. Around 28 million children around the globe have been driven from their homes by violent conflict, with nearly as many abandoning their homes in search of a better life.
iii. There were also one million asylum seekers whose refugee status is pending and approximately 17 million children displaced within their own countries lacking access to humanitarian aid and critical service.
iv. UNICEF urged authorities to end the detention of children migrating or seeking refugee status, abstain from separating families, allow child refugees and migrant’s access to health services and to promote measure that combat xenophobia, discrimination and marginalization.
v. It is noted that United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) has pointed out that children make up 58 per cent of all refugees from Pakistan, the highest proportion in the South Asian region.
vi. The insecurity and conflicts in various parts of the country have forced the children leave, although the country also continues to host a substantial number of refugees – nearly 1.6 million from other countries.
vii. The UN agency said there were close to 300,000 refugees originating from Pakistan last year. And children accounted for 58pc of them.

Union Minister J P Nadda led the yoga session at the 69th session at Colombo
j-p-nadda-yogai. Shri J P Nadda led the yoga session at the 69th session of the WHO Regional Committee of South-East Asia Region at Colombo, Sri lanka.
ii. Nadda was accompanied by Health Ministers of several nations in the Yoga session and more than a hundred participants.
iii. Nadda has highlighted the myriad achievements of the Health Ministry including Mission Indradhanush, MNTE and Yaws-free status of India in the various sessions at the meet.
iv. Nadda also received the certificate for MNTE and Yaws-free India. The certificates were presented by DG, WHO, Dr. Margaret Chan and DG, WHO-SEARO Dr. Poonam Khetrapal Singh.
v. The spread of yoga is the symbol of a changing world. It represents a world where knowledge flows, without restriction of country, creed or class. It represents a world where people come together across boundaries, for causes and concerns that unite the planet.

Mexico sets up first south India consulate in Chennai
i. Mexico has set up consultate in Chennai to explore Free Trade Agreement with India. It is Mexico’s third consulate in India and first consulate in south India that will cater to Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh and Telangana.
ii. Ramkumar Varadarajan was appointed as Honorary Consul of Mexico for Southern India
Keys :
Melba Pria – Ambassador of Mexico to India
♦ For the first time, Mexico had overtaken Brazil as the top destination of India’s exports to Latin America. India’s exports to Mexico were $2.8 billion in 2015-16.


Intel acquires Movidius, Google’s Project Tango partner
i. Intel has acquired California based Movidius, a computer vison firm that has worked with DJI, Google and Lenovo to give 3D vision to devices.
ii. The partnership between Google and Movidius helped the first generation of Project Tango smartphones to map their surroundings.
iii. The purchase of Movidius will bring the company access to “low-power, high-performance SoC platforms for accelerating computer vision applications.


Hindustan Aeronautical Limited (HAL) successfully conducts test flight of Light Utility Helicopter
i. Hindustan Aeronautical Limited (HAL) completed the first test flight of its an indigenously developed prototype helicopter, Light Utility Helicopter(LUH) successfully.
ii. The test flight took place in Bengaluru and the helicopter hovered in the air for 15 minutes.
iii. This test flight marks an important step for HAL and the Indian Air Force, which will be eventually acquiring the Light Observation Helicopter (LOH) derivative.
iv. The LUH will play an important role in the replacement of the ageing fleet of Cheetah and Chetak helicopters.
v. This is the third indigenous helicopter, the other helicopters are HAL Druv Advanced Light Helicopter (ALH), utility helicopter and HAL Light Combat Helicopter (LCH).


Maharashtra announces Rs 75 lakh cash reward to Lalita Babar
i. Maharashtra chief minister Devendra Fadnavis announced the cash prize for five athletes maharashtrafrom Maharashtra who took part in Rio Olympics.
ii. Lalita Babar from Maharashtra, who finished a creditable 10th at the Rio Olympics will get a cash reward of Rs 75 lakh, while her coach will get Rs 25 lakh.
iii. Five athletes from Maharashtra, who took part in Rio Olympics will get Rs 50 lakh each. They are, Ayonika Paul, Prarthana Thombare, Dattu Bhonkanal, Devraj Walmiki and Kavita Raut.
iv. He also gave a cash award of Rs 75 lakh to Olympic silver medallist in women’s badminton singles P V Sindhu and Rs 25 lakh to her coach P Gopichand.
v. He also announced a cash reward of Rs 50 lakh to Sakshi Malik and Rs 25 lakh to her coach.


The Life and Legend of Wyatt Earp star Hugh O’Brian dies at 91
i. Hugh O’Brian, popularly known for playing lawman Wyatt Earp on the ABC series The Life and Legend of Wyatt Earp has passed away. He was 91.
ii. Hugh O’Brian appeared regularly on other popular programs like “The Nat King Cole Show”, “The Jackie Gleason Show”, “The Ed Sullivan Show” and “The Dinah Shore Chevy Show” all in 1957.
iii. He was also known for his noble causes. He launched HOBY in 1958 to teach 10th class students to become future leaders, and almost 60 years later, the program has more than four lakh alumni.


National Nutrition Week Sep 1-7
i. National Nutrition Week is celebrated each year from September 1st to 7th  to spread the nut-weekword regarding the importance of nutrition for every child and how this not only affects the health and development of the child .
ii. The theme for 2016 National Nutrition Week is ‘Poshak Aahar, Desh ka Aadhar’.It will be promoted by the Ministry of Women and Child Development.
iii. During this period World Vision India also launched  its ‘24-hour Famine’ across Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai, Kolkata, Hyderabad, Bangalore and Guwahati.