Current Affairs 26th May 2016 - Banking, SSC, UPSC Affairs

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The city-based Bhasha Research and Publication Centre has announced publication of the Gujarat, Diu & Daman and Dadra & Nagar Haveli Volume of the People's Linguistic Survey of India Series (PLSI).  The volume, edited by Kanjibhai Patel and published by Orient Blackswan, would be released by the Gujarat Governor O P Kohli. The volume documents 49 languages or dialects spoken in the state, including the languages of coastal, tribal and nomadic communities.  The nationwide survey of the living languages of India in 2010. The survey findings and documentation are now being published as a linguistic encyclopedia of 70 volumes. 20 volumes have already been published.

IndusInd Bank , which has been the settlement bank for e-auction for the Rs 17,000 crore tea industry, is set to lose the status and Rs 8,000 crore business in the process.  The Tea Board has selected Bank of India as the new settlement bank for pan-India e-auction from sale number 25, which falls on the third week of next month.  State Bank of India, which handles e-auction of tea for the KOLKATA auction centre, will also lose the status of a settlement bank. The move has upset tea brokers.  It took us almost three months to work out the entire process when the settlement bank concept was introduced in e-auction way back in 2009 . Since then, it has been going on smoothly. Suddenly, we came to know that Bank of India has been selected by Tea Board as the settlement bank. Now we have to redo the entire thing. This is not good for the trade.  BoI will start working as a settlement bank for all the six auction centres,Kolkata, Guwahati, Siliguri, Cochin, Coonoor and Coimbatore from the third week of June  According to the scheme of things, tea buyers at the auction pay IndusInd Bank against purchases and the bank, in turn, pays it to the seller the next day.Now, with Bank of India coming in as the new settlement bank, IndusInd would lose the float money, which is the money lying with the bank during the time between a deposit being made and payment to seller is completed.  IndusInd Bank did not respond to ET's queries on the development. A questionnaire sent to IndusInd Bank on May 20 remained unanswered till press time.  The existing electronic auction process enabled buyers from region specific auction centres to purchase teas from that specific centre. The launch of pan India auction platform will encourage buyers from all auction centres to participate through a unified digital platform. 

The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs chaired by the Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi has granted ex-post facto approval to the proposal of M/s Yes Bank Ltd. for increase in the foreign investment limit to 74% from the existing foreign equity of 41.87% without any sub-limits, for investment by way of issue of non-equity shares and/or other permissible instruments to eligible non-resident investors.  The mode of instruments include Qualified Institutions Placement (QIP) of equity shares and/or issue of ADRs/GDRs and/or QFIs/FPIs under the Portfolio Investment Scheme (PIS) by acquisition of permissible securities on stock exchange (except NRIs). The approval may be accorded subject to the conditions referred to para 8.2 of the Note.  This will result in a Foreign Direct Investment of US $ 1 billion (Rs. 6885 crores approx.) in the country. 

Minister of State for AYUSH Shripad Yesso Naik has launched the new website of the Ministry of AYUSH and a web portal for International Day of Yoga (IDY) in New Delhi. The website http://ayush.gov.in has been developed as part of digital India programme, using content management framework (CMF) approach. The website is compliant with Government guidelines for Websites (GIGW) and it is developed on open source platform by National Informatics Centre (NIC). The new portal for International Day of Yoga (IDY) has a provision for news to provide all the updated and relevant information related to International Day of Yoga-2016.  It has a social wall where the entire social media interactive platform shall be available for the visitors to keep track on the discussions and participate in them. The portal will also have links of all the important web pages of the Government of India such as Swachh Bharat, Make in India etc.

Veteran communist leader KC Mathew died at a private hospital in Kochi  on 24 May 2016. He was 92. He was the prime accused in the attack on the Edappally police station in February 1950, which resulted in a witch-hunt of the communists by the police. He was born in North Paravur in 1924 and graduated from UC College in Aluva and was drawn to the communist ideals right from the college days. He was known as a true Communist, who never compromised on the fundamental principles of Communism. He was genuinely motivated to fulfill the interests of the common man.

The University Grants Commission (UGC) has brought out a new set of regulatory norms for deemed universities. According to the UGC (Institutions Deemed to be University) Regulations, 2016, which were approved by the Commission in a meeting last week, an institution will be eligible to become a deemed university if it has undergraduate and 5 post-graduate programmes with research in existence for 3 years. The administrative building should have a built up area of 1000 square metres, academic building and library 2000 square metres, lecture theares and laboratories to 15,000 square metres. The floor area per student should be 10 square meters, as per the new regulations. A similar set of parameters has also been laid for off-campus centres where the floor area per student is the same. The institute should have higher NAAC or (National Board of Accreditation) NBA at the time of application and preceding cycle and is in top 20 institutes of the National Institute Ranking Framework at the time of application and preceding two years. The institutes should also have the number of full-time teachers. Several educational institutions have in the past sought changes in the existing deemed university regulations. University Grants Commission  : The University Grants Commission (UGC) of India is a statutory body set up by the Indian Union government in accordance to the UGC Act 1956.under Ministry of Human Resource Development, and is charged with coordination, determination and maintenance of standards of higher education. It provides recognition to universities in India, and disburses funds to such recognised universities and colleges. Prof. Ved Prakash is the incumbent Chairman of UGC, India. Its headquarters is in New Delhi, and six regional centres in Pune, Bhopal, Kolkata, Hyderabad, Guwahati and Bangalore  

The finding of the first of its kind survey conducted at the Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport, Mumbai were released by the Research Team of L.N.Welingkar Institute of Management (WE School) in May 2016 at Mumbai Customs House. The Central Board of Excise and Customs (CBEC) engaged a WE School to conduct a survey of Passenger Satisfaction levels of customs clearance process at the Mumbai International Airport. The scope of the Survey was to assess Passenger Satisfaction levels with the Customs Clearance Process, focusing on three aspects. Those three aspects were Information, Behaviour and Process. A research team comprising of faculty members and research associates of WE School conducted the survey over a week on 24x7 basis in May 2016. Key findings of the survey : Overall Satisfaction level at Mumbai Airport  : The passengers were asked to rate their experience of Mumbai Customs vis-a- vis other international Airports across the world.69% rated their experience with Mumbai airport customs as better as or somewhat better than other international airports.15% rated on par.About 16% felt that it was worse . Respondents appreciated the improvements in customs clearance process over the years. 35% of the respondents mentioned that clearance process has drastically improved while 37% mentioned that there is marginal improvement. Three areas where major improvement is expected by passengers are :  (a)Access and availability of information (b) Speed of process  (c) Greater transparency of duty assessment process. Customs assessment for TV and jewellery appeared to be less widely known and are two commodities causing maximum discord. The manner of payment of assessed duty amount at the designated bank’s counter (SBI) and lack of alternative facility to pay duty by Debit/Credit card/ Cash Card & Foreign exchange rate differential vis-à- vis others exchange operators was another cause of Passenger dissatisfaction.The study found that lack of information awareness has a direct bearing on passenger satisfaction levels. Only 27% were Fully Aware of the Indian customs rules and regulations while the vast majority was either partly aware or unaware of the legal requirements. Only 17% of the passengers were found to be accessing Indian Customs website for information, while the rest relied on various other sources, which may not be fully authentic and reliable. 43% of the passengers preferred medium of mobile phone for seeking information. Only 50% of passengers were aware that the Baggage Declaration Forms had been withdrawn, which was a major simplification undertaken recently, with 68% welcoming the move as a positive initiative. The study has identified specific actions to address the information awareness gaps, prominent among them being Web promotion and optimisation, mobile App based information dissemination and increased use of social media. 77% of the passengers stated that they did not face any difficulty or harassment.The study revealed that passengers are sensitive to the time they spend on the entire Customs Clearance Process. In the case of Green Channel passengers, threshold time is up to 15 minutes while in the case of Red Channel Passengers, threshold time appeared to creep in the 15 to 29 minutes time interval.  

The Union Human Resource Development (HRD) Minister Smriti Zubin Irani has  launched the multilingual knowledge portal www.bharatvani.in at Lucknow on 25 May 2016. With its launch, Bharatavani became the largest online repository of dictionaries in India. The portal has been launched in 22 scheduled languages, which eventually will be extended to 100 more languages. It will help the government to showcase the Indian culture and heritage to the world. This project is in line with the HRD Ministry’s efforts to not only ensure universalization of education but also towards creation of a knowledge society in the digital age. Features of Bharatavani Portal :  Aim : It aims at brining in people of India under one portal and establishes itself as a single point online window to knowledge in and about Indian Languages, dictionaries, language IT tools and textbooks. Goal : Its goal is to bridge the Digital and language divide, with the idea to publish as well as involve people in the Open Knowledge movement. One Point language resource : It is the first knowledge portal of its kind in India which focuses on becoming a single point source for multiple language learning, content and technology. Window to language diversity : It will help the government to protect, preserve and include all Indian languages through technological development without discrimination. It will also allow government to take all measures required to develop the spread of Indian languages across communities and cultures. Fostering National Integration : It is a multilingual and cross-lingual learning tool and aims at fostering integration by providing many cross-lingual grammar books, learning courses and others. It will also allow their transliteration. Implementation : The project is being implemented by the Central Institute of Indian Languages (CIIL), Mysuru. Content Published on Bharatvaani Portal :  The Bharatavani Portal would publish the content in the following main sections: Paa Thyapustaka Kosha: Textbooks by various authorities Jnana Kosha: Encyclopedic Knowledge base in all languages Shabda Kosh: Dictionaries, Glossaries, Terminologies Bhasha Kosha: Language learning books Suchanaa Praudyogikii Kosha: It tools (right now linked to TDIL) Bahumaadhyama Kosha: Multimedia content More than 130 Dictionaries, Glossaries and Terminology books have been posted on the web portal.These dictionaries are available in text and PDF formats and its content is protected by fair usage clauses under the Indian Copyright Act. Bharatavani App : Smriti Irani also launched Bharatavani Multi-lingual App called Bharatavani. It will enable users to search for one language text in another language as well as get meanings in different languages. Currently the App has 35 multilingual Dictionaries and MHRD aims to extend it to 250 dictionaries in a year’s time. On the day of its launch, the app also became India’s first and largest multilingual dictionary.

World leaders kick off two days of G7 talks in Japan  with the creaky global economy, terrorism, refugees, China's controversial maritime claims, and a possible Brexit headlining their packed agenda. Heads of state and government from the United States, Britain, France, Germany, Italy, Canada and host Japan are meeting in Ise Shima, a mountainous, sparsely populated area about 300 kilometres southwest of Tokyo. The group, including US president Barack Obama – whose historic visit to atomic-bombed Hiroshima threatens to overshadow the talks – will spend today morning at Ise Jingu, a huge shrine complex that sits at the spiritual heart of Japan's native Shintoism. In line with the animistic religion's traditions, the buildings are regularly replaced, but the shrine is believed to have occupied the same spot for more than 2,000 years. Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's decision to take his counterparts to the sprawling site has attracted some controversy, however, due to its nationalist overtones.The group will also get a brief crash course on Japan's world-leading green car technology. The sputtering global economy was expected to take centre stage when the formal talks get under way in the afternoon, although divisions were likely to remain over whether the world should spend or save its way out of the current malaise, with Japan and Germany at odds on the issue. China, the world's second largest economy, will not be present, but it looks set to loom large over discussions. Japan and the US are keen to corral support for a growing pushback against Beijing's territorial assertiveness in the South China Sea. The G7 will also discuss the refugee crisis and Islamist terrorism, with French President Francois Hollande keen to address the issue after a brutal year that saw France hit twice by jihadists. Dustbins have been removed or sealed and coin-operated lockers blocked at train and subway stations in the capital and areas around the venue site. Authorities said they will be keeping a close eye on so-called "soft targets" such as theatres and stadiums. Britain's referendum next month on whether or not to stay in the European Union is sure to figure prominently in discussions, as economists warn a so-called Brexit could dent the global economy.

Maharashtra Mantralaya’s 150 computers attacked a malicious software known as Locky ransomware, which blocks access to computers. Officials said the attack targeted files from the revenue and public works departments but the damage was contained before it could spread.  The government building uses over 5,300 computers. The government has now directed its employees to only use their official ID and not use private e-mail IDs such as Gmail or Yahoo. It has also decided to provide an advisory to employees to exercise caution while using pendrives and CDs procured without authenticating sources. Whether it is the Government of India or Maharashtra government, there is a rule to operate on official ID.  Maintaining that all central data of the entire government across departments was safe - See .The quick action taken by the IT department to detect the problems helped to save other systems from the virus attack. However, the 150 computers will be subjected to forensic tests.  Locky Virus : Locky is a ransomware email-worm program that is contained within a Microsoft Word document sent by email (in either Microsoft Outlook or Office 365) to thousands of computers, pretending to be an invoice of a company and making use of social-engineering tactics to lure victims into installing the ransomware as well as the enabling of "macros" if the file attached is unreadable (it will always be unreadable), once the file is opened. It is reported to have done 4000 new infections per hour and approximately 100,000 infections per day with most of the infections happening in Germany and the Netherlands.

Union Cabinet has waived off loans worth more than Rs 9,079 crore owed by Hindustan Fertilizer Corporation Ltd (HFCL) as part of a financial restructuring package for the PSU.  The Cabinet approved waiver of government loan of Rs 1,916.14 crore as on March 31, 2015 and the outstanding interest amount of Rs 7,163.35 crore as on same date. The Cabinet also approved transfer of 56 acres of ash dyke land of Barauni unit to Bihar State Power Generation Company Ltd to settle dues of HFCL for faster revival of the unit.  Waiving off the outstanding amount will facilitate de-registration of HFCL from Board for Industrial and Financial Reconstruction (BIFR) by making its net worth positive. It will clear the way for faster revival of Barauni unit of HFCL. This unit will create 400 direct and 1,200 indirect employment opportunities.  Barauni unit will also serve as anchor unit to Jagdishpur- Haldia gas pipeline being laid by Gas Authority of India Limited (GAIL), which is critical for development and growth of economy and infrastructure in eastern India. This unit was lying defunct since January 1999.  There is no functional urea unit in the Eastern part of the country except for two small units at Namrup (Assam).

Aditya Birla Fashion and Retail, part of Aditya Birla Group, has acquired the rights for global fashion chain Forever 21 in the country for an undisclosed sum. Forever 21 had a three year old tie up with DLF Brands and wanted to exit the partnership for a much aggressive play in the country, said sources. Myntra was also in talks to buy the rights of Forever 21. Aditya Birla Fashion has signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the US based Forever 21 to acquire its exclusive online and offline rights for Indian market and its existing store network in India from the current franchisee Diana Retail, the company said on Wednesday in a release. The proposed acquisition is in line with our strategic intent to create the largest integrated branded fashion player in the country. With the acquisition of Forever 21 India business, we aim to create a strong foothold in the womenswear business in the western wear segment. Currently, the western womenswear segment is growing at more than 20 per cent. The proposed acquisition will further strengthen leadership position of ABFRL in the branded fashion space. Forever 21 entered the country in 2010 through a Middle East-based group Sharaf Retail, but could not scale up. In 2013, it forged a partnership with DLF Brands to open 40-50 stores in five years in the country, but could not open stores as planned. Forever 21 has built a very strong franchise in India in the last few years and has already become a brand of choice for fashion conscious women. The young demographics of the country and emergence of fast fashion segment offers opportunity for rapid growth for the brand. The partnership of Forever 21 and ABFRL will help establish Forever 21 as one of the largest womenswear brand in the country. Founded in 1984, Forever 21 operates more than 730 stores in 48 countries with retailers in the United States, Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, France, Germany and others. Forever 21 has brands like Forever 21, XXI Forever, Love 21 and Heritage in its portfolio.

The Union Cabinet has given its approval to amend The Institutes of Technology (IIT) Act, 1961 for incorporation of 6 new IITs. This amendment will declare these 6 IITs as the institutions of national importance. Six new IITs will come up at :  Tirupati (Andhra Pradesh) Palakkad (Kerala) Dharwar (Karnataka) Bhilai (Chhattisgarh) Goa Jammu (Jammu and Kashmir) Besides, Union Cabinet also gave its approval to convert of Indian School of Mines (ISM), Dhanbad into an IIT under the ambit of the IIT Act, 1961. The Cabinet also gave its ex post facto approval to set up the National Institutes of Technology (NIT) Andhra Pradesh which has been registered as a Society under the Andhra Pradesh Societies Registration Act, 2001. In this regard, National Institutes of Technology, Science Education and Research (Amendment) Bill, 2016 will be introduced in the parliament for inclusion of the NIT, Andhra Pradesh in its first schedule. The bill will amend NITSER Act, 2007 to ensure a high level of public accountability and increase participation of the stakeholders in administration and academic activities of NIT.

India, which is has emerged as world's second largest mobile market, is also the fifth largest producer of e-waste, discarding roughly 18.5 lakh metric tonnes of electronic waste each year, a study says. The telecom equipment alone accounting for 12 per cent of the e-waste, a joint study by Assocham-KPMG.The rising levels of e-waste generation in India has been a matter of extreme concern in recent years. With more than 100 crore mobile phones in circulation, nearly 25 per cent end up in e-waste annually. India has surely emerged as the second largest mobile market with 1.03 billion subscribers, but also the fifth largest producer of e-waste in the world, discarding roughly 18.5 lakh metric tonnes of electronic waste each year with telecom equipment alone accounting for 12 per cent of the e-waste. The Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change has notified e-waste management rules, 2016 in which producers are for the first time covered under extended producers' responsibility (EPR). The rules prescribe a waste collection target of 30 per cent waste generated under EPR for the first two years, progressively going up to 70 per cent in the seventh year of the rule.The rules prescribe stringent financial penalties for non-compliance.  According to the study , the unorganised sector in India is estimated to handle around 95 per cent of the e-waste produced in the country.

The Union Cabinet has approved Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) signed between Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) and the United Arab Emirates Space Agency (UAESA) for cooperation in the exploration and user of outer space for peaceful purposes. Decision in this regard was taken by Union Cabinet meeting chaired by the Prime Minister Narendra Modi in New Delhi. The MoU seek to set up a Joint Working Group with members from ISRO and UAESA. It will further work out the plan of action including the time-frame and the means of implementing the MoU. During the visit of Prime Minister of India to UAE in August 2015, promoting space cooperation between both countries was highlighted. It was also discussed earlier at the 11th meeting of India-UAE Joint Commission for Economic and Technical Cooperation held at New Delhi in September 2015. Subsequently, ISRO and UAESA had signed MoU in New Delhi in February 2016 considering their mutual interest in expanding the applications of space technology for peaceful purposes.

The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs(CCEA) gave its approval for doubling of Pune-Miraj-Londa railway line project and Surendranagar-Rajkot railway project.  The former project has an estimated cost of Rs. 3,627.47 crore and expected completion cost of Rs. 4,246.84 crore with 5% escalation per annum while the later project has an estimated cost of Rs. 1,002.39 crore with expected completion cost of Rs. 1,137.17 crore with 5% escalation per annum. The length of the Pune-Miraj-Londa railway line will be 467 km. The completion period of the project will be five years. Besides travelling people, industries in and around Miraj-Londa section will have additional transport capacity to meet their requirements. Doubling of this line will greatly ease the ever increasing freight traffic between Pune-Miraj-Londa section thereby increasing the revenue of Railways.

Women and Child Development Minister Maneka Gandhi has released Draft Model Rules 2016 to repeal the existing rules for effective implementation of Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act, 2015 on 25 May 2016 . The new rules will repeal the Model Rules, 2007. Rules are based on the philosophy of reformation, rehabilitation and social integration, rather than retribution. It lays procedures for the functioning and composition of Juvenile Justice Boards, adoption, determining the age of the child wherever a claim of juvenility is raised, and offences against children among other things. Features of the Draft rules of Juvenile Justice Act 2015 : No child between 16 and 18 years of age in conflict with law will be handcuffed or sent to jail or lock-up. Proper medical and legal aid will be provided to juvenile criminals and their parents and guardians will be duly informed. It asks every state government to set up at least one place of safety for the rehabilitation of such children. Determination of Age :  It also prescribes time bound procedures for determination of age.Whenever a claim of juvenility is raised, it has to be done within 30 days from the date of submission of application.All government hospitals will be required to constitute permanent medical boards for this purpose. If the medical board gives a range of age, the age of the child on the lower side will be considered to give benefit to the child. Welfare Officer : It provides for one child welfare officer to be deployed in child care institution as rehabilitation-cum-placement officer to ensure the development of the child.The task is to identify the skills and aptitude of children, and facilitate financial support for their self-employment. Rehabilitation Card : It is provided for detailed follow-up for regular monitoring of the rehabilitation-cum-development of the child. Aftercare Schemes : State governments to prepare such scheme for providing accommodation, education, employment to children who turn 18 and leave institutional care. Offences : The draft also includes new offences against children like a) Sale and procurement of children for any purpose b) Corporal punishment in child care institutions c) Use of child by militant or adult groups d) Giving children intoxicating liquor or narcotic drug or psychotropic substance or tobacco products Juvenile Justice Board : It provides for composition and function of the Juvenile Justice Board or Juvenile Justice Committee.The Board will determine the age of the child within 30 days from date of submission of application.It will make preliminary assessment with regard to the child’s mental and physical capacity, ability to understand the consequences of the alleged offence and the circumstances is conducted within a period of three months.The rules provides for an appeal to the children’s court for those aggrieved by the order of the JJ board.The JJ Bill 2015 was earlier passed by Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha on 7 May and 22 December 2015, respectively. It came into effect on 15 January 2016. The JJ Act, 2015 covers almost all the offences against children, which were not covered in the JJ Act, 2000.The Act of 2000 covered limited offences against children like cruelty, employment for begging, giving intoxicating liquor or narcotic drugs to children. The Act of 2015 covers offences like sale and procurement of children for any purpose including illegal adoption; corporal punishment in child care institutions and offences against disabled children.

The United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) has  released the report titled Actions on Air Quality on 24 May 2016. The report was released during the second United Nations Environment Assembly (UNEA-2). As per the report, with the decline of the global air quality, action in some air quality areas points to political will to tackle this global public health emergency although current efforts still fall short. Highlights of the report : According to the World Health Organization (WHO), global urban air pollution levels increased by 8 percent between 2008 and 2013.  More than 80 percent of people living in urban areas that monitor air pollution are exposed to air quality levels that exceed WHO limits, threatening lives, productivity and economies. The report found improvements in some areas such as access to cleaner cooking fuels and stoves, renewables, fuel sulphur content and public transport - pointing to a growing momentum for change. However, action in other areas is less impressive and will not halt the increase in air pollution that is threatening to claim many more lives. While policies and standards on clean fuels and vehicles could reduce emissions by 90 percent, only 29 percent of countries worldwide have adopted Euro 4 vehicles emissions standards or above.  Less than 20 percent of countries regulate open waste burning, which is a leading cause of air pollution. On the positive side, 97 countries have increased the percentage of households that have access to cleaner burning fuels to more than 85 percent. At least 82 countries out of 193 have incentives that promote investment in renewable energy production, cleaner production, energy efficiency and pollution control equipment.  The report, which looks at attempts to control Beijing's air pollution over a 15-year period, finds that steady improvements are being made.  More than three billion people still use solid fuels and inefficient cook stoves, but the Seychelles was able to improve indoor air quality by transitioning the whole country from solid fuels to LPG. Only a quarter of countries have advanced fuels and vehicles standards, which can significantly reduce small particulate matter pollution, especially in cities. Electric cars have been on the increase, with strategies being developed in many countries around the world. One-third of all cars bought in Norway are now electric.Some countries and cities have been able to increase waste recycling, reducing the need to burn waste. The majority of countries around the world have now put in place national air quality standards. India, with major air quality challenges in many cities, has established air quality laws and regulation.Coal use fell from a peak of 9 million tonnes in 2005 to 6.44 million tonnes in 2013, while the 2013 levels of carbon monoxide dropped by 76 percent compared to 1998. UNEA : The United Nations Environment Assembly (UNEA) is the world's most powerful decision-making body on the environment, and responsible for tackling some of the most critical issues of our time. The assembly holds the power to dramatically change the fate of the planet and improve the lives of everyone, impacting everything from health to national security.  

Union Road Transport and Highways Minister Nitin Gadkari has launched 20 Nirbhaya buses of Rajasthan State Transport Corporation (RSTC) on 25 May 2016. These buses are fitted with multiple safety measures to better protect women passengers. The 20 buses launched as a pilot project under the NIRBHAYA scheme include 10 luxury and 10 ordinary roadways buses. Features of Nirbhaya bus : Nirbhaya bus security measures include Vehicle Tracking System (VTS), CCTV and panic buttons on every seat.The VTS and the panic buttons will enable the police to know the exact location of the bus and provide prompt assistance.Once the emergency signal is triggered, the CCTV cameras will start displaying live footage of the bus at the central control room. Apart from this, Gadkari said on 2 June 2016, the ministry will issue a notification mandating public vehicles with a seating capacity of more than 23 seats to fix closed-circuit television, VTS and panic buttons. Vehicles below 23 seats will be asked to install VTS and emergency buttons. Besides, he said that directions in this regard will be given to other states in due course of time, adding that buses in the future should be manufactured with such safety features to contain anti-social elements.

The Union Cabinet, presided by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, granted ex-post facto approval to the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) signed between the Ministry of Tourism, Government of India and the Ministry of Tourism, Government of Maldives on 25 May 2016. The MoU was signed to strengthen cooperation in the field of tourism. The MoU with Maldives will be instrumental in increasing arrival from this important source market. In recent years, Maldives has also emerged as an important tourism generating market for India. objectives of the MoU : To expand bilateral cooperation in the tourism sector  To exchange information and data related to tourism To encourage cooperation between tourism stakeholders, including hotels and tour operators To establish exchange programme for cooperation in Human Resources Development To invest in the Tourism and Hospitality sectors To exchange visits of Tour Operators/Media/Opinion Makers for promotion of two-way tourism To exchange experiences in the areas of promotion, marketing, destination development and management To participate in travel fairs/exhibitions in each other’s country To promote safe honourable and sustainable tourism

Islamic Development Bank (IDB) in May 2016 announced to open its first branch in India at Ahmedabad, Gujarat. IDB is headquartered at Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. The plans to set up the branch at Gujarat is part of MoU signed between India’s EXIM Bank  and IDB during Prime Minister Narendra Modi visit to United Arab Emirates (UAE) in April 2016. As part of the MoU a 100 million dollar line-of-credit was to be given to facilitate exports to IDB's member countries. Besides, it also announced to provide 30 medical vans as part of IDB’s social sector initiatives. These vans will be used for the tribal areas of Chhota Udepur, Narmada and Bharuch in Gujarat, in the first phase. This plan is part of 55 million dollar pact signed between IDB and Rashtriya Institute of Skill and Education (RISE) to provide medical care to rural poor in India. As part of it, IDB will provide 350 fully-equipped medical vans (mobile clinics) to India The IDB is also keen at investing in small and medium enterprises (SMEs) of Gujarat and in executing a project on Wakf properties in different countries.Other than IDB, the government of Saudi Arabia is planning to set up BPOs for Saudi women with the support of India. Islamic Development Bank : The Islamic Development Bank is an international financial institution was established in 1975.It was established in pursuance of the Declaration of Intent issued by the Conference of Finance Ministers of Muslim Countries held in Jeddah in December 1973.IDB's main objective is to foster the economic development and social progress of member countries as well as the Muslim community in accordance with principles of Shariah (Islamic law).The bank has 56 Islamic countries as its members.  

As per recent study conducted by Centre for Science and Environment (CSE), chemical additive Potassium bromate (KbrO3) widely prevalent in bread and refined flour is carcinogenic. The test was conducted by CSE’s Pollution Monitoring Laboratory. It has found that 84% of the samples were found to be laced with carcinogenic and thyroid triggering chemicals, such as Potassium Bromate and Potassium Iodate. These chemicals content were found to be on the higher then permissible limit in the sandwich breads followed by white bread, pavs, pizza bread and burger buns. Following this, national food regulator FSSAI (Food Safety and Standards Authority of India) has decided to remove potassium bromate from the list of permitted additives. How and Why Potassium bromate is used  Potassium bromate used as chemical additive in food items in the form of white crystals or powder. It is added to aid baking process as it strengthens the bread dough in order to raise it higher.  The KbrO3 powder bleaches the bread dough and increases its elasticity by making tiny bubbles that help the bread rise.  In India, the legal permissible limit to add Potassium bromate as chemical additive in food is 50 parts per million (ppm). Its High dosages are harmful. Evidence of Toxicity : A study conducted in Japan in 1982 has found that potassium bromate causes cancer. Following this, many countries including Japan, Australia, China and UK have banned it. Some studies also have showed that potassium bromate is a “genotoxic carcinogen” i.e. a chemical agent that can damage genetic information, causing mutations.

The Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) has decided to test an Air-breathing Propulsion System after successful test of Reusable launch Vehicle- Technology Demonstration (RLV-TD).  The testing of air-breathing propulsion system aims to capitalize on the oxygen in the atmosphere instead of liquefied oxygen while in flight. ISRO is evolving and testing various technologies to bring down the cost of launch vehicles and the air-breathing propulsion system is part of its new space endeavor. Conventional launch vehicles used to launch satellites, uses liquefied oxygen for combustion of propellants with oxidiser and fuel. It is carried by rockets along with the fuel, resulting in increase in lift-off mass. The air-breathing propulsion system uses natural oxygen present in the atmosphere up to 50 km from the earth’s surface to burn the fuel stored in the rocket. Benefits : This system would help in reducing the lift-off mass of the vehicle as there will be no need of carrying liquefied oxygen on board the vehicle. In turn help in increasing the energy efficiency of the rocket and also make it cost-effective. Way forward : The new propulsion system would complement ISRO’s aim to develop a reusable launch vehicle that would have longer flight duration. This system involving the recently tested scramjet engine, would become crucial while sending up the spacecraft.

The Union Cabinet has gave ex-post facto approval to the MoU between Indian and Japan for promoting sustainable, stable and low-carbon thermal power development in India 25 May 2016 . The Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) will help India in formulating suitable policies and developing technologies involved in producing sustainable, stable and low-carbon thermal power. The agreement will support Clean Coal Technology (CCT) for thermal power plants such as Ultra Super Critical (USC) and other environmental technologies. It will also explore possibilities for acquisition of carbon credits with bilateral or multilateral offset schemes that are anticipated to be materialized in the future as a result of low-carbon power development.

The Union Cabinet has given its approval for introduction of two Bills in the Parliament for certain amendments in the Constitution (Scheduled Tribes) Order, 1950. These bills seek to modify the list of Scheduled Tribes in respect of five States, namely, Assam, Chhattisgarh, Tamil Nadu, Jharkhand, Tripura. They also seek identification of new communities in the Union Territory of Puducherry. The Bills add the following communities to the list of Scheduled Castes:  Assam : Inclusion of Boro, Boro Kachari, Bodo, Bodo Kachari and Karbi (Mikir) communities in the list.  Chhattisgarh : Inclusion of Bhuinya, Bhuiyan, Bhuyan, Dhanuhar/Dhanuwar,Kisan, Saunra, Saonra and Dhangad communities in the list.  Jharkhand : Inclusion of Bhogta, Deshwari, Ganjhu, Dautalbandi (Dwalbandi), Patbandi, Raut, Maajhia, Khairi (Kheri) and Puran communities in the list.  Tamil Nadu : Inclusion of Malayali Gounder, Narikoravan and  Kurivikkaran communities in the list.  Tripura : Inclusion of Darlong community in the list.  Puducherry : Identification (First Order) of Irular (including Villi and Vettaikaran). After these Bills become Acts, members of the included communities in the list of Scheduled Tribes will be able to derive benefits meant for Scheduled Tribes under the existing schemes. Constitutional provisions : The Constitution provides certain privileges/concessions to the members of Scheduled Tribes which are notified under the provisions of Article 342. Article 342 : It empowers President after consultation with the State Government to issue an order for the first list of Scheduled Tribes. Any subsequent inclusion or exclusion from the list of Scheduled Tribes can be effected through an Act of Parliament as envisaged under clause (2) of Article 342.

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