Current Affairs : March, 2016
Important Days in March
03 March : National Defence Day
04 March : National Security Day
08 March : International Women's Day
09 March : CISF Raising Day
12 March : Mauritius Day; Central Industrial Security Force Day
15 March : World Consumer Day
16 March : National Vaccination Day
21 March : World Forestry Day
22 March : World Day of Water
23 March : World Meterological Day; Shaheed Diwas
24 March : World TB Day
26 March : Bangaladesh Liberation Day
Telecom Commission approves 112 as the single emergency number
The Telecom Commission has approved the number 112 as the single emergency number for India, similar to 911 of United States (US) and 999 of United Kingdom (UK). Henceforth Indian citizens in distress will be able to get all emergency services such as police, fire department and ambulance by just dialling this single-number. It will direct the call to concerned departments immediately for help.
The service will also be accessible even through those landlines and mobile connections whose outgoing call facility has been temporarily suspended or stopped. Person in distress will be also able to make emergency communication even through SMS.
This emergency system has facility to directly learn about the location of the caller or message sender that will be shared with the nearest help centre. The service will be operated and functioned by a call centre like facility. It will have representatives speaking in English, Hindi and the local language.
At present, different Indian states have notified various emergency helpline numbers for assistance to special categories of citizens. With this 112 as the single emergency number, all existing emergency numbers such as police (100), ambulance (102), fire brigade (101) and Emergency Disaster Management (108) will be phased out.
Union Government notifies Aadhaar Act, 2016
The Union Government has notified theAadhaar (Targeted Delivery of Financial and other Subsidies, benefits and services) Act, 2016.
The Act will provide statutory backing for transfer of subsidies and benefits to eligible people having Aadhaar (UID) number.
The Act will provide statutory backing for transfer of subsidies and benefits to eligible people having Aadhaar (UID) number.
Aadhaar Act seeks to provide efficient, transparent and targeted delivery of subsidies, benefits and services to individuals residing in India by assigning them unique identity numbers (UID) or Aadhaar number.
It will be used for all benefit that will be linked to consolidated fund of India or the expenditure incurred from it.
Both central and state government can use Aadhaar for disbursal for benefits and subsidies. However the Aadhaar number cannot be used as a proof of citizenship or domicile.
The Act gives statutory for establishment of the Unique Identification Authority of India consisting of a Chairperson (part time or full time) and two Members (part time).
Those individuals not having Aadhaar number shall be offered alternate and viable means of identification for delivery of the subsidies, benefits or service.
SC allows pictures of CMs, Governors, Ministers in Government Advertisements
The Supreme Court has allowed publication of photographs of Governors, Chief Ministers and the Ministers of the department concerned in government advertisements. Ruling in this regard was given by a SC bench headed by Justice Ranjan Gogoi on pleas by Union Government and states which had sought review of the Supreme Court judgement.
This ruling of Supreme Court has modified its earlier 2015 order which only had permitted photographs of President, Prime Minister and Chief Justice of India (CJI) in the government advertisements
Union Government fixes Maximum Sale Price of Bt Cotton Seed
The Union Government has notified maximum sale price (MSP) of Bt cotton seed for the year 2016-17. It was announced by the Union Agriculture and Farmers Welfare Minister Radha Mohan Singh.
In this regard, Union Government has issued notification as per the Cotton Seed Price (Control) Order, 2015 under the Section 3 of the Essential Commodities Act, 1955.
As per the notification,
Price of BG-I version of Bt cotton hybrid has been fixed at 635 rupees.
Price of BG-II version of Bt cotton hybrid was fixed at 800 rupees.
PM Narendra Modi launches Setu Bharatam Project
Prime Minister Narendra Modi has launched Setu Bharatam Project to make all national highways free of railway crossings by 2019. This project will be implemented by the Union Ministry of Road Transport and Highways.
Under this project 208 places have been identified for construction of rail over-bridges (ROB) or underpasses under the project.
Around 1,500 bridges that are over 50 to 60 years old or of the British era will be overhauled and will be rebuilt. More than 50 thousand crore rupees will be spent on the project.
Htin Kyaw sworn in as first elected President of Myanmar
Htin Kyaw (69) sworn in as the first elected civilian (non-military) President of Myanmar after 53 years of military rule. Myanmar’s Army was in power since 1962 coup.
He belongs to National League for Democracy (NLD) Party and succeeds Thein Sein, who had stepped down after end of five years of army-backed rule. Apart from him, Military backed Myint Swe and NLD member Henry Van Thio were sworn in as first vice-president and second vice-president of the country along 18 Cabinet ministers.
Nobel Peace laureate Aung San Suu Kyi who is the leader of NLD party that has majority in the Parliament was sworn in as foreign affairs Minister. She also is Minister of President’s office, education, and energy and electric power.
India, France sign MoU for construction of six nuclear reactors at Jaitapur
India and France have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) for construction of six nuclear reactors at Jaitapur nuclear park in Maharashtra. It was inked by Electricite de France (EDF), a French public utility and the Nuclear Power Corporation of India Ltd (NPCIL).
The MoU was signed after the two countries had decided to conclude the techno-commercial negotiations for the Jaitapur project by the end of 2016. This cooperation roadmap was finalised during the official state Visit of French President Francois Hollande to India in January 2016.
EDF is France’s public electricity producer and supplier. It has been designated by the French government for taking over AREVA NP and shall supply equipment to for Jaitapur nuclear park.
About Jaitapur Nuclear Power Project
It is a 9900 MW power project proposed by Nuclear Power Corporation of India (NPCIL) at Madban village of Ratnagiri district in Maharashtra. On completion, it will become the largest nuclear power generating station in the world by net electrical power rating.
It consists of 6 European Pressurised Reactors (EPR) of 1650 MW each. France is going to supply technology for construction and also nuclear fuel for 25 years for this plant.
Haryana becomes first to launch injectable contraceptive
Haryana became the first state in the country to implement the use of injectable contraceptives as a family planning measure. In this regard, Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar has launched ‘Project Salamati’ in assistance of Pathfinder International.
Under the Project Salamati, injectable contraceptives would be available free of cost at all primary health centres, community health centres, sub divisional and district hospitals.
The sole aim of the project is to maintain healthy gap between the births of children by using injectable contraceptive. It is being implemented by state health department and will be initially implemented in nine health blocks of four districts of the state.
These four health blocks are in district Palwal, 3 in district Mewat, Kurali block in district Faridabad and Khor block in district Rewari. These districts have been chosen as a pilot project, as mother and infant mortality rate in these districts are more as compared to other districts. After the success of this project in these selected districts, it would be implemented throughout the state.
BHEL commissions 40 MW hydropower plant in West Bengal
Public Sector Power equipment manufacturer Bharat Heavy Electricals Limited (BHEL) has commissioned the second 40 MW hydropower generating unit at the Teesta low dam hydroelectric project (HEP) stage IV in West Bengal. The hydropower generating unit was successfully installed at the Teesta low dam HEP, a run-of-the-river greenfield project, located in Darjeeling district of the West Bengal.
Teesta low dam HEP is being set up by National Hydroelectric Power Corporation (NHPC). BHEL’s Bhopal, Jhansi, Rudrapur, Mumbai and Bengaluru facilities had supplied equipment for the project and execution of work was undertaken on site is being. The estimated annual energy (power) generation from the project is around 720 million units. It is expected to reduce green-house gas (GHGs) emissions and will help in achieving a low carbon development path for the state as well as the nation. So far, BHEL has commissioned nearly 400 hydro generating sets of various ratings with a cumulative capacity of around 20,000 MW in the country.
Haryana Assembly unanimously passes Reservation Bill
The Haryana Legislative Assembly has unanimously passed the Haryana Backward Classes (Reservation in services and admission in educational institutions) Bill, 2016.
The bill seeks to provide reservation in services and admission in educational institutions to persons belonging to backward classes including Jats and five other castes.
The backward classes have been divided into three blocks as Block A, Block B and Block C. Jats,
Jat Sikhs, Ror, Bishnoi, Tyagi and Mulla/Muslim Jat have been included in the Block C.
It provides to give 10 percent reservation to these castes for class III and class IV posts and 6% in class 1 and class 2 posts.
These castes will be given 10 percent reservation for admission in educational institutions.
State Legislative Assembly also passed Haryana Backward Classes Commission Bill, 2016 for institution of a permanent Backward Classes Commission.
Andhra Pradesh Government inaugurates country’s first lift irrigation project
Andhra Pradesh government inaugurated India’s first river linking project viz. Pattiseema lift irrigation project connecting Godavari River with Krishna River from the ongoing Polavaram Multi-purpose Irrigation Project. The project has been completed in a record time of one year by the Hyderabad-based Megha Engineering and Infrastructure Limited (MEIL).
Key facts The project has capactiry to lift 80 tmc (trillion metric cubic feet) of flood water from Godavari River in a span of 110 days during the flooding season between July and October.
Water is pumped up to a nearby point and discharged into Polavaram Right Main Canal that flows under gravity to a tributary of River Krishna about 170 km. The project contains 24 pumps and 24 motors of 5,300 HP and 6,300 HP respectively with a combined capacity to discharge 8,500 cusecs of water.
The project requires 113 mw of power to run all the 24 pumps as each motor require 4.7 mw of power to lift the water.
The first pump of this Godavari-Krishna linking project was installed and switched on in September 2015. It will benefit the people especially farmers in the Krishna delta in terms of timely availability and adequate quantities of water.
Polavarm project: It was declared as a national project under the Andhra Pradesh Reorganisation Act, 2014 and was being funded by the Union Government. It is being built on Godavari River.
PM adopted Nagepur village in his Varanasi Constituency under SAGY
Prime Minister Narendra Modi has selected Nagepur village in his Varanasi Constituency of Lok Sabha in Uttar Pradesh under the Saansad Adarsh Gram Yojana (SAGY).
Earlier in the first phase of SAGY, PM had adopted Jayapur village in Sevapuri Assembly segment of Varanasi in 2014. Nagepur village is mainly dominated by backward castes has been selected under the second phase of the Yojana. Almost all villagers in this village are either farmers or labourers.
Traditional Chapchar Kut festival celebrated across Mizoram
The traditional festival of Chapchar Kut of the Mizos was celebrated across the north-eastern state of Mizoram and also in the Mizo-inhabited areas in the neighbouring states. It is a spring festival celebrated every year in month of March with great fervour and gaiety by Mizos after completion of their Jhum operation (shifting agriculture by clearing jungle by burning and cultivating in remnants of burning).
Mizos celebrate this festival by dressing in their traditional attire and dancers danced to the tune of typical music and songs. Popular Mizo dances including Cheraw, Chheihlam, Sarlamkai and Khuallam are performed by various cultural groups. Chapchar Kut Festival is estimated to have started in 1450-1700 A.D. in a village called Suaipui.
CBDT sings 11 unilateral Advance Pricing Agreements
The Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) has signed 11 unilateral Advance Pricing Agreements (APAs). With this CBDT has so far entered into 59 bilateral or unilateral APAs. 50 of these agreements have been signed in the current financial year i.e. 2016-17.
The Advance Pricing Agreement (APA) programme was introduced in India by the Finance Act, 2012. It seeks provide a predictable and non-adversarial tax regime and to reduce litigation in the Indian transfer pricing regime.
The APAs cover a wide range of international transactions, including royalty, corporate guarantees, software development services, IT enabled services and trading.
The agreements also pertain to different industrial sectors like media, telecom, automobiles, IT services, etc. Some of these APAs have rollback provisions and provide certainty to the taxpayers for 9 years with regard to the covered international transactions.
Rollback provisions in APAs were introduced in the July 2014 Budget to provide certainty on the pricing of international transactions for 4 years (rollback years).
Union Government imposes anti-dumping duty on Plastic-Processing imports
Union Government has imposed anti-dumping duty of up to 44.7 per cent on import of plastic-processing machines from Chinese Taipei, Malaysia, Philippines and Vietnam for five years. The anti-dumping duty will be levied on imports of all kinds of plastic-processing or injection-moulding machines, also known as injection presses. The move is aimed at protecting the domestic industry from cheap in-bound shipments from these 4 countries.
RBI inks information exchange MoU with Bank of Israel
The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Bank of Israel (BOI) for exchange of information pertaining to banking supervision. It was signed by Parvathy V Sundaram, Chief General Manager-in-Charge, Department of Banking Supervision on behalf of RBI and Hedva Ber, Supervisor of banks on behalf of BOI.
With this RBI has signed 32 such MoUs, 1 Letter for Supervisory Co-operation and 1 Statement of Co-operation (SoC). By signing such MoU/SoC with supervisors of other countries, RBI is seeking to promote greater co-operation and share supervisory information among the authorities.
Capital Area Bank first to get small finance bank licence from RBI
Capital Area Bank first to get small finance bank licence from RBI
Jalandhar based Capital Local Area Bank (CLAB) Limited became the first financial entity in India to get Small Financial Bank Licence by the Reserve Bank of India (RBI). CLAB ltd claims to be largest local bank in the country with total 44 branches in five districts of Punjab. It will begin its operations as a small finance bank from April 13, 2016 and it will focus on the northern region for first five years of operations.
Earlier in September 2015, RBI has granted in principle approval to 10 entities including CLAB ltd to set up small finance banks to provide basic banking services to small farmers and micro industries.
The in-principle approval had enabled these entities comply with the guidelines on Small Finance Banks and the approval will be valid for 18 months
SBI granted operating licence by Myanmar
India’s largest lender State Bank of India (SBI) has been granted preliminary approval to operate Myanmar. SBI was granted operating licence by Myanmar Government along with three other Asian banks. They are Bank for Investment and Development of Vietnam, Sun Commercial Bank of Taiwan and Shinhan Bank of South Korea. With this, total 13 foreign banks have now been given permission to operate inside the Myanmar so far in an attempt to attract overseas investment to the emergent nation. Under the earlier junta rule, Myanmar’s banking system was closed for decades to outside competition. However since 2011 after end a half-century of harsh military rule, Myanmar’s semi-civilian government has granted licenses for foreign banks to open business in the country in the hope of reversing isolation that saw the country become one of Asia’s poorest.
IFC launches Uridashi Masala Bonds
The International Finance Corporation (IFC), the investment arm of the World Bank has launched its first Uridashi Masala Bonds (Japanese bonds). These masala bonds were launched to mobilise 30 crore rupees from Japanese retail investors and will be sold to Japanese household investors. The proceeds from these bonds will be used for promoting private sector development in India. JP Morgan is the sole arranger of the bonds and Daisen Hinomaru Securities is its distributor.
What are masala bonds?
Basically, bonds are instruments of debt that are typically used by corporates to raise money from investors.
Masala bonds are rupee-denominated instruments sold only to offshore investors by Indian corporates for raising money from overseas investors.They do not face currency fluctuation risks.
Corporates mainly use it as alternative to external commercial borrowings (ECBs) that are to raised and repaid in dollar or other currency terms. But ECBs face currency risk due fluctuations in exchange rate.
2016 Hockey India Annual Awards March
Late Capt. Shankar Laxman was posthumously chosen for the 2016 Major Dhyan Chand Lifetime Achievement Award. The award carrying purse of Rs. 30 lakh was accepted by his son Manohar Singh Shekhawat during the 2016 Hockey India Annual Awards held in Bengaluru. Late Capt. Shankar Laxman was one of legendary hockey player in India. He was a goalkeeper and was part of the Olympic medal-winning teams of 1956 (Melbourne, Gold), 1960 (Rome, Silver), and 1964 (Tokyo, Gold).
Dhruv Batra Player of the Year Award: P.R Sreejesh (male), Deepika (female).
Baljit Singh Goalkeeper of the Year Award: Savita.
Pargat Singh Defender of the Year Award: Kothajit Singh.
Ajit Pal Singh Midfielder of the Year Award: Ritu Rani.
Dhanraj Pillay Forward of the Year Award: Rani.
Asunta Lakra Upcoming Player of the Year Award: Harjeet Singh (male), Preeti Dubey (female).
Jaman Lal Sharma Award for Invaluable Contribution: Baldev Singh.
President’s Award for Outstanding Achievement: Madhya Pradesh Hockey Academy
Australian all-rounder Shane Watson retires from International Cricket
Australian all-rounder Shane Watson (34) has declared his retirement from all forms of International Cricket after the end of his team’s campaign in the ongoing ICC World Twenty20. He made this announcement at I S Bindra Stadium in Mohali, Punjab. Earlier in 2015, he had announced his retirement from Test cricket at the end of 2015 Ashes tour of England.
Services wins 70th Santosh Trophy football title 2016
Services has won the 70th edition of Santosh Trophy Football Championships title 2016 by defeating hosts Maharashtra. In the final match played at SEC Railway Stadium, Nagpur (Maharashtra), the Services defeated host team Maharashtra by 2-1 goal score.
With this win, Services has retained that title and has won it for fifth time in year 1961, 2012, 2013 and 2015.
About Santosh Trophy It is an annual Indian football tournament played in India.
Founded: 1941- Trophy is named after the late Maharaja Sir Manmatha Nath Roy Chowdhary of Santosh (that is now in Bangladesh).
Patna Pirates wins 3rd season of Pro Kabaddi League
Patna Pirates has won the third season of Star Sports Pro Kabaddi League (PKL) by defeating U Mumba. In the final match played at Indira Gandhi Indoor Stadium in New Delhi, Patna Pirates defeated U Mumba by 31-28 score in the thrilling 40 minute play.
Science & Technology
Science & Technology
PM Narendra Modi unveils Asia’s largest optical telescope ARIES at Nainital
Asia’s largest and first of its kind optical telescope Aryabhatta Research Institute of Observational Sciences (ARIES) was unveiled at Devasthal in Nainital District, Uttrakahnd. It was remotely activated by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Belgian counterpart Charles Michel from Belgium. Key facts Aries telescope was joint collaborative technological effort between Indian and Belgian scientists. Location: It has been located at a height of 2,500 metres at Devasthal in Nainital district. The site was chosen for getting a clear view of the sky.
Features: The ARIES optical telescope has mirror of 3.6 m diameter. The telescope facility has been incorporated with high end technology which enables it to be operated with the help of remote control from anywhere in the world.
Applications: It will help in the study and exploration of planets, starts, magnetic field and astronomical debris. It will also help research of star structures and magnetic field structures of stars.
The ARIES telescope has been a joint international effort between Indian, Russian and Belgian scientist. In March 2007 ARIES and Belgian company Advanced Mechanical and Optical Systems (AMOS) had entered a contract for design, manufacture, integration, testing, supply and installation of the telescope.
Belgium also had funded 7 per cent of the project whose total cost is estimated to be more than 120 crore rupees.
China launches 22nd BeiDou navigation satellite
China has successfully launched 22nd new generation satellite into space as part of its domestic BeiDou Navigation System (BDS). It was launched using Long March-3A carrier rocket from Xichang Satellite Launch Center located in the south-western province of Sichuan. It was the 225th launch of the Long March carrier rocket.
About BeiDou Navigation System (BNS)
BNS is 2nd generation of the Chinese navigational system seen as rival to the US’s Global Positioning System (GPS).
BeiDou is Mandarin means magnetic Compass which was one of the Chinese major invention in the history which had revolutionized the sea voyages.
The system comprises total 35 satellites in two separate satellite constellations (i) Limited test system (operational since 2000) (ii) A full-scale global navigation system which is currently under construction.
The BNS became operational in China in December 2011, with the constellation of 10 satellites.
In December 2012, the system began offering services to customers in the Asia-Pacific region and on its completion in 2020 it will provide services to global customers.
After completion, the project would become an equivalent of the US Global Positioning System, Russia’s Glonass, and Europe’s Galileo.
Applications: (i) Civilian services: navigation, messaging, transportation and weather forecasting sectors. (ii) Military applications: ensure privacy for its military communications and missile launches by reducing the dependence on US operated GPS.
ISRO establishes GIRI Radar System near Tirupati
The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) has installed the Gadanki Ionospheric Radar Interferometer (GIRI) Radar System near Tirupati, Andhra Pradesh. It was installed at the National Atmospheric Research Laboratory (NARL), which is an autonomous research institute of the Department of Space (DoS).
Features of GIRI Radar System
Primary objective: Carry out unattended observations for studying the forcing from the sun like variation in solar flare, solar flux and magnetic storm on the ionospheric irregularities.
Study unattended observations from the underneath atmosphere on the ionospheric irregularities (for e.g. waves generated by weather phenomena).
Provide important information about the angular location of plasma irregularities during the onset phase. Also establish its relationship to background ionospheric state parameters and sunset terminator.
Applications:Investigations made using this system are expected to improve the Equatorial Plasma Bubble (EPB) forecasting. It will further be detrimental for satellite based navigation/communication applications.
Components: The GIRI has a 30 MHz radar system that will be engaged in meteor and space weather research.
It consists of a rectangular antenna array of 160 two-element Yagi Uda-antenna. It will be arranged in a 20×8 matrix with 20 transmitter units. It also has 6 digital receivers including data processing systems, a host computer and a radar controller.
ExoMars 2016 spacecraft successfully launched by Europe and Russia
An unmanned spacecraft named ExoMars 2016 was successfully launched jointly Europe and Russia to search for biosignatures on Mars (or Martian life) in past or present. The spacecraft was launched on a Proton-M rocket operated by Russia’s Roscosmos from Baikonur, Kazakhstan.
ExoMars 2016 is the first of a two-phase of ExoMars (Exobiology on Mars) program.
About ExoMars program
ExoMars program is an astrobiology mission of European Space Agency (ESA) and Russian Federal Space Agency (Roscosmos).
Primary Goal: To address the question of whether life has ever existed on Mars. The program comprises two missions: ExoMars 2016 and ExoMars 2018.
ExoMars 2016: It consists of the Trace Gas Orbiter (TGO) and Schiaparelli, an entry, descent and landing demonstrator module.
Trace Gas Orbiter (TGO): Its sole purpose is to search (trace) evidence of methane (CH4) and other atmospheric gases that could be signatures of active biological or geological processes on Mars. TGO has 4 suites of science instruments. They are ACS (Atmospheric Chemistry Suite), FREND (Fine Resolution Epithermal Neutron Detector), CaSSIS (Color and Stereo Surface Imaging System) and NOMAD (Nadir and Occultation for MArs Discovery).
Schiaparelli: It will obtain measurements of electric fields on the Mar’s surface combined with measurements of the concentration of atmospheric dust. For the first time it will provide new insights into the role of electric forces on dust lifting, the trigger for dust storms on the Martian surface.
ExoMars 2018: It is planned to be launched in 2018. It comprises a unmanned rover and surface science platform. The rover that will carry a drill and a suite of instruments dedicated for the exobiology and geochemistry research.
Indian scientists develop Herbal Medicine for Dengue
Indian scientists for first time have claimed to have developed herbal medicine against mosquito borne dengue fever using traditional Indian medicine system Ayurveda. The herbal dengue medicine was developed using alcoholic extract of Cissampelos pariera Linn (Cipa extract) derived from velvetleaf, a species of flowering plant. The drug has proved to be potent inhibitor to all four types (strains) of dengue virus.
The project jointly undertaken by
Department of Biotechnology (DBT), under the Union Ministry of Science and Technology.
International Centre for Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology.
Ranbaxy Research Laboratory (now owned by Sun Pharma). Scientists are now seeking to hold clinical trials and toxicity studies of the drug after approval from Union Ministry of Ayush and Drug Controller of India (DCI) for commercial production.
India’s first indigenously developed sonar dome flagged off
India’s first indigenous composites sonar dome, a ship’s underwater eyes and ears, was flagged off by Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar. The sonar dome was dedicated to the nation dedicated to the nation and will be delivered to Mazgaon Docks, Mumbai for use in the warships of Indian Navy. Key facts The sonar dome is dsigned and produced by a Defence and Research Development Organisation’s (DRDO’s) Research and Development Establishment (Engineers) lab based in Pune. It is a first of its kind in the country to be manufactured by the Goa-based composites manufacturing company Kineco. The sonar dome functions as the ship’s underwater eyes and ears and mostly all anti-submarine warfare (ASW) ships have a sonar array fitted to the ship structure below the waterline. The sonar dome is a structure is fitted over the sonar array to make it acoustically transparent in order to avoid exposure of its electronics and sensors to surrounding hostile environment.
Union Government unveils Defence Procurement Procedure
The Union Government has unveiled Defence Procurement Procedure 2016 (DPP 2016). It was unveiled by Union Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar on the sidelines of the Defexpo-2016 held in Goa. The DPP 2016 will replace the Defence Procurement Procedure 2013 (DPP 2013) and shall come into force on 1 April 2016.
Highlights of DPP 2016
Aim: To ensure timely procurement of defence (military) equipment, systems, and platforms required by the armed forces through optimum utilization of allocated budgetary resources.
Scope: It will cover all capital acquisitions undertaken by the Union Ministry of Defence, Defence Services and Indian Coast Guard (ICG) both from indigenous sources and import.
Capital Acquisitions Schemes: They are broadly classified into 3 categories viz.
Buy scheme: Outright purchase of equipment and procurements under this scheme are further categorized as Buy (Indian- IDDM), Buy (Indian), and Buy (Global). IDDM stands for Indigenously Designed Developed and Manufactured.
Buy and Make scheme: The procurements are categorized as Buy and Make and Buy and Make (Indian).
Make category Scheme: It seeks developing long-term indigenous defence capabilities and procurements. It empowers Defence Acquisition Council (DAC) to take a fast-track route in order to acquire weapons, which were limited to the armed forces till now.
Procurement of defence equipment: Arranged in decreasing order of priority are categorized as (i) Buy (India-IDDM). (ii) Buy (Indian). (iii) Buy and Make (Indian). (iv) Buy and Make. (v) Buy (Global). Buy (India-IDDM) seeks to boost indigenous production and procurements under it should 40% sourced locally in terms of the content. It will promote domestic manufacturing, including government funding R&D and recognition of the Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) in technology development.
Background The DPP 2016 has been framed based on the recommendations of the Dhirendra Singh Committee that was appointed in May 2015 to review the DPP 2013. The Committee was tasked to evolve a policy framework to facilitate Make in India in defence manufacturing in order align the policy evolved with DPP-2013. It was also tasked to suggest requisite amendments in DPP-2013 in order to remove bottlenecks in the procurement process and also rationalize various aspects of defence procurement.
Indian Coast Guard ship Arnvesh commissioned at Visakhapatnam
The fast patrol vessel (FPV) of the Indian Coast Guard ICGS Arnvesh was commissioned at Visakhapatnam, Andhra Pradesh. The ship is primarily intended to undertake coastal patrol, surveillance at sea, anti-smuggling, anti-piracy operations and search and rescue operations.
Key features of ICGS Arnvesh
The vessel among the 20 FPVs indigenously built by Cochin Shipyard Limited (CSL). It is capable of carrying a crew of five officers and 34 men on board. The ship is 50-metre long, 300-tonne vessel.
The vessel is propelled by triple Rolls Royce Kamewa water jets. It can achieve a maximum speed of 33 knots.
It has been fitted with the state-of-the-art communication and navigational equipment including night vision capabilities. Its main armament comprise 40/60 Bofors guns.
At present, the Indian Coast Guard has 120 ships, 63 aircraft and 10,000 men, spread across its 42 Coast Guard Stations, 10 Coast Guard Air Enclaves and 5 air stations.
63rd National Film Awards 2015
The 63rd National Film Awards for year 2015 were announced on 28 March 2016.
Baahubali: The Beginning (Tamil, Telugu) directed by S. S. Rajamouli was selected as the Best feature film.
Bajrangi Bhaijaan (Hindi) directed by Kabir Khan was selected as the Best Popular film providing wholesome entertainment.
The 63rd National Film Awards in the various categories are as follows
Best Actor: Amitabh Bachchan (Piku).
Best Actress: Kangana Ranaut (Tanu Weds Manu Returns).
Best Direction: Sanjay Leela Bhansali (Bajirao Mastani).
Best Film on Social Issues:Niranayakam (Malayalam) directed by V. K. Prakash.
Best Supporting Actor: Samuthirakani for the film Visaranai (Tamil).
Best Supporting Actress: Tanvi Azmi for the film Bajirao Mastani (Hindi).
Best Children’s Film: Duronto (Hindi) directed by Soumnedra Padhi.
Best Child Artist: Gaurav Menon for the film Ben (Malayalam).
Special Jury Award: Margarita with a Straw (Hindi) directed by Kalki Koechlin.
Best Cinematography: Remo D’Souza for the film Bajirao Mastani (Hindi).
Indira Gandhi Award for Best Debut Film of a Director: Neeraj Ghaywan for the film Masaan (Hindi).
Nargis Dutt Award for Best Feature Film on National Integration: Nanak Shah Fakir (Punjabi) directed by Sartaj Singh Pannu.
India’s Agasthyamala Biosphere Reserve included in UNESCO’s World Network of Biosphere Reserves
India’s Agasthyamala Biosphere Reserve (ABR) was included in the World Network of Biosphere Reserves of United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO). It was included along with other 19 sites at the International Coordinating Council of the Man and the Biosphere (ICCMAB) programme of UNESCO that concluded recently in Lima, Peru.
With the addition of the ABR, total 10 of the 18 biosphere reserves in the country have made it to the list of World Network of Biosphere Reserves.
The other 9 Biosphere Reserves are: Nilgiri (Western Ghats), Gulf of Mannar (Tamil Nadu), Sunderban (West Bengal), Nanda Devi (Uttarakhand), Nokrek (Meghalaya), Pachmarh (Madhya Pradesh), Similipal (Odisha), Achanakmar-Amarkantak (Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh) and Great Nicobar.
The BRs are designated for inclusion in the network by the ICCMAB after evaluating the nominations forwarded by the State through National MAB Committees.
Health Ministry launches new anti TB drug Bedaquilin
The Union Health and Family Welfare Ministry has launched new anti-TB (Tuberculosis) drug Bedaquiline It was launched by the Union Health Minister J P Nadda as part of the TB national programme
Initially the drug will be made available in six public hospitals in Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai, Guwahati and Ahmedabad. Later it will be introduced in 104 districts across five States.
Bedaquiline is a new anti-TB drug for treatment of Multi-drug-resistant tuberculosis. It specifically targets Mycobacterial ATP synthase, an enzyme which is essential for the supply of energy to Mycobacterium tuberculosis and most other mycobacteria.
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