Daily Gk Update 4 November 2016


Govt launches scheme to improve health facilities for pregnant women

Union Health Minister J P Nadda today launched PradhanMantriSurakshitMatritvaAbhiyan in New Delhi to improve health care facilities for pregnant women.  Under the scheme, pregnant ladies will be given free health check-up and required treatment free of cost on 9th of every month. The scheme will be applicable for pregnant women in all Government hospitals across the country.

NHRC organises workshop on ‘Good Governance’ in Meghalaya

The National Human Rights Commission has organised a two-day workshop on ‘Good Governance, Development and Human Rights’ in collaboration with Meghalaya Government, in Shillong. The workshop started on Thursday with Manipur, Mizoram, Nagaland and Assam as participating states. Its objective is to raise awareness about the importance of good governance in relation to human rights and development.

India to host 7th session of COP7 on tobacco control from Nov 7-12

7th Session of the Conference of Parties (COP7) to World Health Organization, WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC) will be held from 7th to 12th of this month at Greater Noida adjoining the national capital. Union Health J P Nadda will inaugurate the conference.

More than 1500 delegates from 180 countries along with other Observers in Official Relations with the WHO FCTC Secretariat, Geneva are expected to participate in the conference .The WHO FCTC is the first global evidence-based public health treaty that recognises the right of all people to the highest standard of health.

Railways set target of 100% de-carbonisation, 90% electrification in next 5 yrs

The Indian Railways has set a target to achieve 100 per cent de-carbonisation, with 90 per cent electrification in next five years. Addressing an International Conference on De-carbonization of Indian Railway-Mission Electrification, Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu said, with the investment of Rs 25,000 crore, electrification of nearly 25,000 kilometers will generate more employment for youth.

On the occasion, MrPrabhu handed over the Letter of Intent to Railway PSUs RITES, IRCON and also Power Ministry PSU PGCIL to achieve the goal set in Mission Electrification. The Railway Minister also launched a mobile App RAILSAVER for reduction in energy use by 15 to 20 per cent.

EC holding survey on poll awareness for overseas Indians

Election Commission has initiated an online survey for Overseas Citizen of India (OCI) to assess their awareness about the registration and voting process and gather opinion about their voting preferences. The EC is taking steps to reach out to overseas Indians so that they get enrolled and also vote in elections in their constituencies.

At present, only around 16 thousand non resident Indians are registered on the electoral roll as Overseas Indian electors despite there being 11.4 million NRIs across the world. An online competition is also a part of the initiative.

Maha CM sets new deadline for Indian, African safari at Gorewada Zoo

Maharashtra Chief Minister DevendraFadnavis has set a fresh deadline for African and Indian safari of the Gorewada Zoo Project in Nagpur district. He has directed the State Forest Department to start both the safaris by November 2017. Chief Minister Fadnavis approved up-gradation of 16 kilometer stretch of roads for the jungle safari in the ambitious Gorewada Zoo Project.

He also gave in-principle clearance to a four-Kilometre long ropeway ride which would be an added attraction to the zoo. The ropeway would run across the proposed night safari site, cover the forest and Gorewadalake to reach the entertainment hub. The forest officials have now been instructed to prepare a detailed project report for the ropeway and submit it to the Centre for approval.

The Gorewada Zoo and Animal Rescue Centre Project worth Rs 540 crore is expected to get a nod from the Union Government shortly. Forest Development Corporation of Maharashtra, which is the nodal agency for execution of the project, has already received bids for the safari. Spread over 145 hectares, the Indian safari will consist of tiger and leopard safari along with other wild animals.

IAF lands largest transport plane in Arunachal

The Indian Air Force on Thursday landed its largest military transport aircraft C-17 Globemaster in Arunachal Pradesh close to the India-China border. “Such airlift capability facilitates speedy transfer of men and material in this rugged terrain, interspersed with valleys and high mountain ranges that inhibit road connectivity,” said the IAF

China, Malaysia sign military deal on South China Sea

China and Malaysia have said their navies will cooperate more in the politically sensitive South China Sea in an agreement signed on Tuesday. This comes during a visit by Malaysia’s PM NajibRazak to China to seek investment amid the 1MDB financial scandal. 1MDB was a state-owned Malaysian fund which lost over $3.5 billion.

UK announces new visa policy for non-EU nationals

UK has announced changes to its visa policy for non-EU nationals, which will affect a large number of Indians especially IT professionals. Under the new visa rules announced last evening by the Home Office, anyone applying after November 24 under the Tier 2 intra-company transfer (ICT) category would be required to meet a higher salary threshold requirement of 30,000 pounds from the earlier 20,800 pounds.

The ICT route is largely used by Indian IT companies in Britain and the UK’s Migration Advisory Committee (MAC) had found earlier this year that Indian IT workers accounted for nearly 90 per cent of visas issued under this route.

Nationals outside the European Union, including Indians, will also be affected by new English language requirements when applying for settlement as a family member after two and a half years in the UK on a five-year route to residency settlement in the UK. The new requirement will apply to partners and parents whose current leave to remain in the UK under the family immigration rules is due to expire on or after 1st May next year.

World’s shortest international flight starts operating

Austrian airline People’s Viennaline has started operating what it claims is the shortest international flight in the world, an eight-minute flight between St Gallen in Switzerland and Friedrichshafen in Germany. The flight costs €40 (around ₹3,000) and covers approximately 20 kilometres. Meanwhile, an 80-minute ferry ride also connects the two cities.

Singapore launches 4-day visa-free facility for Indians

Singapore has launched a 96-hour visa-free transit facility for Indians, wherein passport holders with valid onward air tickets can spend four days in the country under the Visa Free Transit Facility (VFTF) scheme. The Indians must have a valid visa or long-term pass to Australia, Canada, Japan, New Zealand, United Kingdom, the United States, Germany or Switzerland.

Clean energy: USAID, RBL Bank announce Rs500cr loan guarantee

The US Agency for International Development (USAID) and Mumbai-based RBL Bank on Thursday announced a loan portfolio guarantee to facilitate up to $75 million (500 crore) for lending to small and medium enterprises operating in clean energy sectors. This deal, a first between USAID and an Indian private sector bank, will support innovative solutions to improve access to clean energy.

GST Council approves 4-tier rate at 5%,12%, 18% and 28%

GST Council approved a four-tier GST tax structure of 5%, 12%, 18% and 28%, with lower rates for essential items and the highest for luxury and de-merits goods that would also attract an additional cess. Goods and Services Tax is a proposed system of indirect taxation in India merging most of the existing taxes into single system of taxation.

Five more banks join the Unified Payments Interface (UPI)

5 new banks have joined the Unified Payments Interface (UPI) bandwagon, thereby taking the total number of banks using UPI to 26. The five latest entrants include public sector lenders, State Bank of India, Allahabad Bank and Bank of Baroda and two private banks HDFC Bank and IDFC Bank. UPI was launched by National Payments Corporation of India with Reserve Bank of India.

ICICI Bank cuts home loan rate by 0.15%

Private sector lender ICICI Bank has announced a cut in home loan rate by 0.15% for new borrowers effective November 2. Home loans up to 75 lakh for women borrowers will have an interest of 9.15%, while the rate for salaried class was reduced to 9.20%. This follows SBI reducing home loan rates to 9.1%, the lowest in 6 year

India biggest opportunity for us in Asia: BlackRock

The world’s largest money manager BlackRock has said that India is the biggest opportunity for the firm within Asia as it expands lending. “India is at a very, very interesting juncture when you think about the opportunistic credit investments,” BlackRock said. Notably, GDP in India rose 7.1% in the second quarter, the fastest among Asia’s major economies.

Govt cancels FCRA licences of over 11,000 NGOs

Government has canceled licences of over 11,000 NGOs under the Foreign Contribution Regulation Act, FCRA for failing to apply for their renewal within the deadline. The validity of FCRA registration of these NGOs had earlier been extended until 31st of October by a home ministry order of March this year.

However, they were required to submit applications for renewal of the registration by 30th June. The Home Ministry yesterday put out a list of all NGOs that failed to honour the deadline, stating that their licence was deemed cancelled from first of this month. Now, they will not be able to receive contributions from foreign donors

India holds business seminar in China to seek investments

Over 280 Chinese investors from top business houses attended a seminar in Beijing organised by India to invite investments from China.  Amid the growing interest among Chinese investors to invest in ‘Make in India’ projects, both the countries also held a meeting of the joint working group on industrial parks in India and reviewed the progress of setting up of Chinese industrial parks.

India, Sweden agree to enhance collaboration in energy sector

India and Sweden have agreed to enhance collaboration in energy sector with special focus on areas such as waste-to-energy, hydropower, smart metering and solar energy.  On an official visit to Sweden, Power, Coal, New & Renewable Energy and Mines Minister PiyushGoyal had a bilateral meeting with the Swedish Minister for Policy Coordination and Energy, Ibrahim Baylan.

The Power Ministry said in a statement that both sides referred to the existing MoU on Renewable Energy Cooperation. It said, the ministerial delegation participated in three round tables on green financing and investment, smart grid and energy solutions, smart cities, electro mobility and waste to energy and energy efficient mining and mine automation and optimisation.


Shamik Chowdhury wins the German Green Talent award

Indian researcher Shamik Chowdhury in the last week of October 2016 was awarded the German Green Talent Award. His name is among the list of 25 young researchers who have been honoured with the award. The award was conferred to ShamikChowdhury by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research for his innovative approach in sustainable development, resource efficiency, cleaner production and eco-innovation.

Journalist Akshaya Mukul refuses to receive award from PM Modi

Journalist AkshayaMukul, who won the RamnathGoenka Excellence in Journalism Award, boycotted the ceremony on Wednesday where he was to receive the award from PM NarendraModi. Mukul claimed that he could not “live with the idea of Modi and me in the same frame”. He had won the award for his book examining the ideological roots of Hindutva.

2 Indians selected in London Mayor’s innovation contest

Two Indians have featured in the top ten selected candidates for the London Mayor’s 2016 innovation competition, which involved entries from 49 countries. MalavSanghavi bagged the fifth spot for his smart socket for amputees which customises their comfort level according to their activity, while Mustafa Khanwala’s app which eliminates the need to queue in shops, achieved the tenth position.

FSSAI to spend 482cr on food testing infrastructure

The Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) has said it will spend 482crore to strengthen food testing infrastructure, including upgrading laboratories. This decision comes after the Bombay High Court had observed that there was an urgent need to upgrade food testing laboratories. FSSAI currently operates two central laboratories and the state governments run 82 laboratories.

Usain Bolt to race in Australia for first time in his career

Nine-time Olympic gold medallistUsain Bolt is set to race in Australia for the first time in his career. The 30-year-old Jamaican will take part in the inaugural edition of Nitro Summer Series scheduled to be held in February. Bolt is likely to earn over $1 million (6.6 crore) for his appearance, according to reports.

Longest innings in first-class cricket lasted 1,015 minutes

Rajeev Nayyar, a 31-year-old middle-order batsman playing for Himachal Pradesh, played out a 1,015 minute-long knock in the Ranji Trophy to record the longest innings in first-class cricket. The innings, which ended on November 3, 1999, saw Nayyar scoring a career-best 271 in the game against Jammu and Kashmir. He faced 728 balls and hit 26 fours and one six.


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