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27-MARCH- 2016



The Hinduja Brothers, G P Hinduja and S P Hinduja topped the Asian Rich List 2016, which was released in London.

The Hinduja Brothers emerged as the richest Asian-origin entrepreneurs in Britain for the fourth consecutive year with an estimated personal fortune of 16.5 billion pounds.

Steel tycoon Lakshmi Niwas Mittal was ranked second in the list, which was released by the Indian high commissioner to the UK Navtej Sarna.

Sri Prakash Lohia, chairman of the Indorama Corporation, was listed 3rd richest with fortune worth 3 billion pounds.

The Arora Brothers, Simon, Bobby and Robin, owners of discount retail chain were listed as the 4th richest with a fortune worth 2.1 billion pounds.

Cyrus Vandrevala, with 2 billion pounds, stood at number five in the list.

Industrialist Lord Swraj Paul was listed as 15th richest with fortune worth 500 million pounds.

About Asian Rich List

The Asian Rich List is an annual ranking, which assesses the total wealth of Britain's' top 101 richest Asians.

It is developed by UK-based publishing house Asian Media and Market.

The 2016 analysis of the UK's richest Asian revealed that the fortune of the UK's richest Asians has increased from 54.48 billion pounds in 2015 to 55.54 billion pounds in 2016.


The Government of Telangana signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Aero Campus Aquitaine and Bordeaux Metropole to set up aviation training institute in Hyderabad.

The MoU was signed on the sidelines of the India Aviation Show 2016 and in the presence of Jupally Krishna Rao, Minister for Industries and the representatives of the two companies.

Features of the MoU

• As part of the MoU, the two French firms will set up an aviation training institute at the Begumpet Airport in Hyderabad.

• The facility will be used to train in aviation and aerospace sectors. The training modules will also include the maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO) segment.

• In a year, at least 1000 students will be offered courses that will be of various durations from few weeks to one year. The students will be offered residential facilities also.

About Aero Campus Aquitaine

• It aims to offer comprehensive training for professional skills in defence and aerospace industry with EASA certification.

• It has presence in Turkey, Malaysia and many other countries.

• It was established with an investment of outlay of 26 million euros.

• The centre in France is catering to the professional skill training for the pilots and technicians.


External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj announced that India will host the 8th BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa) Summit in Goa.

India will host the summit in its capacity as chair of the influential bloc comprising five countries with 42% of the world population and combined GDP of over 16 trillion US dollars.

India assumed chairmanship of BRICS from Russia on 15 February 2016 and it will last till 31 December 2016.

The minister also unveiled a logo and a website of the Summit in New Delhi. The logo for the Summit is a lotus having colours from all the five member countries and a traditional Namaste in the centre.

The theme of India’s BRICS Chairmanship is Building Responsive, Inclusive and Collective Solutions.

During India's BRICS Chairmanship, five-pronged approach will be adopted. They are:

• Institution building to further deepen, sustain and institutionalise BRICS cooperation

• Implementation of the decisions from previous Summits

• Integrating the existing cooperation mechanisms

• Innovation: New cooperation mechanisms on government-to-government, Track-II, business-to-business and people-to-people to tap the full potential of BRICS cooperation

• Continuity: Continuation of mutually agreed existing BRICS cooperation mechanisms.

In 2015, the seventh BRICS summit was held from 8 to 9 July in the Russian city of Ufa in Bashkortostan.


Nepal signed 10 agreements with China in Beijing. These include a landmark transit treaty to end its total dependence on India and extension of the strategic Tibet rail link to Nepal.

The agreements were signed during the Nepalese Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli’s maiden visit to China and held wide-ranging talks with Chinese Premier Li Keqiang and called on President Xi Jinping.

China firmly supported efforts of Nepal to safeguard sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity as well as the Nepali people's choice of development path. China also promised that it will not interfere in internal affairs of Nepal.

The two countries have also started working on the first draft of a free trade agreement.

Oli also discussed with China to establish a rail network connecting different cities in the country. This is besides the plan to extent the Tibetan railway to the Nepal border.

Beijing also offered concessional loan for a new airport in Nepal's Pokhara and a feasibility study for oil and gas survey projects.

Oli showed interest in utilising Chinese seaports for its international trade and the same was informed to China's official Xinhua news agency. It is likely to end monopoly of New Delhi over Nepal’s trade through Haldia port in West Bengal.


The year 2014 recorded highest anthropogenic carbon released in past 66 million years. It was revealed by the scientists of the University of Hawaii in an article in the Nature Geoscience journal.

The study estimated that the pace of emissions even eclipsed the onset of the biggest known natural surge in fossil records that was perhaps driven by a release of frozen stores of greenhouse gases beneath the seabed.

As per the research, current carbon emissions, mainly from burning fossil fuels, are about 10 billion tonnes a year, against 1.1 billion a year spread over 4000 years at the onset of the fast warming 56 million years ago.

This research confirmed an early study undertaken by the UN that projected that temperatures could rise by up to 4.8 degrees Celsius in the 21st century, causing floods, droughts and more powerful storms, if emissions rise unchecked.


The Agasthyamala Biosphere Reserve was included in the UNESCO’s World Network of Biosphere Reserves. It is one among the 20 new sites adopted by the council to its Network.

It was included at the meeting of the International Co-ordinating Council of the Man and the Biosphere programme of UNESCO in Lima.

Agasthyamala Biosphere Reserve

• Agasthyamala Biosphere Reserve is located in the Western Ghats, in the southern part of India.

• The biosphere reserve includes peaks reaching 1868 meters above sea level and comprises mostly of tropical forests.

• It is home to 2254 species of higher plants including about 400 that are endemic.

• It is also a unique genetic reservoir of cultivated plants especially cardamom, jamune, nutmeg, pepper and plantain.

• The site includes three wildlife sanctuaries, Shendurney, Peppara, Neyyar and Kalakad Mundanthurai Tiger reserve.

Besides Agasthyamala, 17 national sites and one trans-boundary site shared between Spain and Portugal were also included in the UNESCO’s Network of Biosphere Reserve. The Council also approved 9 extensions to existing Biosphere Reserves.

Following the withdrawal of two sites at the request of Austria, the total number of biosphere reserves now stands at 669 in 120 countries, including 16 trans-boundary sites.

List of World Network of Biosphere Reserves 2016

• Monts de Tlemcen (Algeria)

• Beaver Hills (Canada)

• Tsá Tué (Canada)

• Lake Bosomtwe (Ghana)

• La Hotte (Haiti)

• Agasthyamala (India)

• Balambangan (Indonesia)

• Hamoun (Iran)

• Collina Po (Italy)

• Barsakelmes (Kazakhstan)

• Belo-sur-Mer—Kirindy-Mitea (Madagascar)

• Isla Cozumel (Mexico)

• Atlas Cedar (Morocco)

• Gran Pajaten (Peru)

• Albay (Philippines)

• Fajas de Sao Jorge (Portugal)

• Tejo/Tajo (Portugal and Spain)

• Jozani-Chwaka Bay (Tanzania)

• Isle of Man (United Kingdom)

The Man and the Biosphere Programme

It was created by UNESCO in the early 1970s as an intergovernmental scientific endeavour to improve relations between people around the world and their natural environment. Biosphere reserves are places for learning about sustainable development aiming to reconcile the conservation of biodiversity with the sustainable use of natural resources.

New reserves are designated each year by the International Co-ordinating Council of the Programme, which brings together elected representatives of 34 UNESCO Member States.


Union Minister of Health and Family Welfare JP Nadda launched three new initiatives to combat Tuberculosis (TB).

The initiatives were launched to mark the World Tuberculosis day that is observed annually on 24 March.

Details related to the new initiatives

Bedaquiline Drug

• The new anti-TB drug was launched to combat Drug Resistant TB as part of the Revised National Tuberculosis Control Program (RNTCP).

• It is a new class of drug is a diarylquinoline that specifically targets Mycobacterial ATP synthase, an enzyme essential for supply of energy to Mycobacterium tuberculosis and most other mycobacteria.

• It will available at six identified tertiary care centres across the country. These sites have advanced facilities for laboratory testing and intensive care for patients.

• It will be given to multi-drug resistant TB patients with resistance to either all fluoroquinolone and/or all second line injectables and extensive drug resistant TB.

500 Cartridge Based Nucleic Acid Amplification Test (CBNAAT) machines

• These are in addition to the existing 121 CBNAAT machines that are functional in the country.

• The CBNAAT is a revolutionary rapid molecular test which detects Mycobacterium tuberculosis and rifampicin drug resistance, simultaneously.

• This test is fully automated and provides results within two hours.

• It is a highly sensitive diagnostic tool and can be used in remote and rural areas without sophisticated infrastructure or specialized training.

• This highly sensitive state-of-art technology will be used for diagnosis of TB among key populations like children, PLHIV and extra pulmonary TB patients.

Third line ART programme for People Living with HIV

• The life-saving third line antiretroviral therapy (ART) will cost nearly 1.18 lakh rupees per patient per year.

• Providing these free would not only safe lives but improve socioeconomic conditions of the patients. This initiative brings India’s ART programme at par with programmes in the developed countries.

Along with these initiatives the Minister also released the TB India 2016 Annual Report and the Technical and Operational Guidelines for TB Control in India 2016.

These comprehensive set of guidelines are for management of all forms of TB, including drug resistant TB, strategies for intensified case finding and single-window care for patients suffering from HIV and TB.

And, a new radio campaign with TB ambassador Amitabh Bachchanand social media campaign were also launched on this occasion.


Union Minister for Water Resources, River Development and Ganga Rejuvenation Uma Bharti released the Detailed Project Report (DPR) on Forestry Intervention for Ganga.

The DPR envisioned policy and law interventions, concurrent research, monitoring and evaluation, and mass awareness campaigns to rejuvenate and develop forests in the Ganga River basin.

Highlights of the Detailed Project Report

• Extensive plantations in natural, agriculture and urban landscapes besides conservation interventions such as soil and water conservation, riparian wildlife management, wetland management, and supporting activities were proposed in the report.

• Altogether, 40 different plantation and treatment models have been selected for implementation by Uttarakhand, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Jharkhand, and West Bengal.

• The project will be implemented over a period of five years by the State Forest Departments of these five states in Phase-I (2016-2021).

• The project envisages active involvement of two battalions of Eco Task Force in the states of Uttarakhand and Uttar Pradesh for raising plantations in difficult terrains.

• The State Forest Departments in five states are also expected to involve ITBP, Nehru Yuva Kendra Sangathan and Civil Society organizations for various proposed activities including monitoring and awareness campaigns.

Preparation of the Detailed Project Report

• The DPR has been prepared by Forest Research Institute (FRI) Dehradun after extensive consultations with various stakeholders and incorporating science based methodology.

• This included use of remote sensing and GIS technologies for spatial analysis and modeling of pre-delineated Ganga riverscape covering 83946 sq.km out of a much larger Ganga River basin within the country.

• FRI designed four sets of field data formats to obtain the site based information on proposed forestry plantations in natural, agriculture and urban landscapes along the river course and other conservation interventions.

• More than 8000 data sheets were obtained from five states along the river course.

• The FRI also developed software to collate, analyze and report generation on potential plantation and treatment models.


  • For the first time ever, an official document of the NDA government has referred to Pakistan Occupied Kashmir (PoK) as Pakistan Occupied Jammu and Kashmir (PoJK).
  • The change is significant as it is in line with the BharatiyaJanata Party’s narrative on unified Kashmir, although it was thus far restricted to party pamphlets and manifestos.
  • The reference figures in the 2014-15 annual report of the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA), which was tabled in Parliament.
  • Organiser , mouth-piece of the RashtriyaSwayamsevak Sangh, has on many occasions referred to PoK as PoJK and even called for freeing it from illegal occupation by Pakistan.


  • In a significant discovery, archaeologists excavating the early historic site located between Pazzur-Yarragaddaudem villages of Thipparthy mandal unearthed a huge 16-metre-long brick wall of a house that is believed to have been constructed some 1,800 years ago.
  • Assistant Director P. Nagaraju said that the inhabitants of 2nd Century AD habitation had used light-weight bricks made in various sizes to construct their houses.
  • The biggest brick was measuring 58 cm long, 28 cm wide and 9 cm high, the longest ever found in excavations in the past in Telangana and Andhra Pradesh.
  • An horn of a deer was also unearthed at the site on Wednesday by the archaeologists, which proved that the inhabitants hunted wild animals for a living.
  • Apart from it, a huge number of beads and bangles made of various kind of materials, terracotta toys, and pottery were also found at the site.
  • Terracotta toys of animals such as dog, ram, pig, besides fossils of human legs and others were found. Ornamental beads made with terracotta, jasper, conch shell, glass, steatite, carnelian and others were also found.


  • Researchers J. Craig Venter and Clyde Hutchinson and colleagues at the Venter Institute, California, report the making of a living, replicating and stable cell that uses the minimum number of genes — 437 — to be considered biologically ‘alive.’
  • In the natural world, no living organism is ever known to possess fewer than 1000 genes. The knowledge gained from this creation may be foundational to understand how organisms can be created from scratch.
  • Ever since the human genome — the complete sequence of genes that make up human DNA — was deciphered at the turn of the century, researchers have tried to understand the precise functions of these 25,000 genes and the way they network with other pieces of DNA in the cell to keep it functional.
  • In 2010, Mr. Venter and his team built and booted up the first self-replicating, synthetic bacterial cell (called Syn 1.0) through the sole chromosome (the storehouse of a cell’s DNA) of Mycoplasma mycoides — a bacterium with a relatively small genome — and transplanted it into Mycoplasma capricolum , from which they had previously extracted the DNA.
  • The hollowed-out capricolum was re-programmed to behave like a mycoides ; proof that genomes can be designed in the computer, chemically made in the lab, and transplanted into a recipient cell to produce a new, self-replicating cell controlled only by the synthetic genome. 
    • Simultaneously, another team — through trial and error — sliced and diced the genome of Syn 1.0 and then identified which of its original 901 genes could be done away with.


  • It took the Belgian security services four months to arrest Paris attacker SalahAbdeslam, who was hiding in plain sight in Brussels. This demonstrates what experts have been calling a massive intelligence failure.
  • Experts say that Intelligence agencies often fail to prevent terror attacks as in Brussels on Tuesday “because they ignore some of the more traditional aspects of intelligence work, where you identify persons of interest and then investigate them and their networks.”
  • Dr. Joseph Downing, Fellow at the London School of Economics said: “There has clearly been some intelligence failing that hasn’t enabled security services to track down those who are under significant suspicion.”
  • The free movement in the Schengen area that allows terrorists to shift base and recoup after each operation is an argument advanced by eurosceptics against the open door policy of the European Union.
  • Security experts have also argued that greater intelligence sharing among European allies would have offset this perceived advantage to terrorists of the free movement rule.
  • Intelligence sharing is likely to be an issue addressed at a special meeting called of EU Ministers to discuss the fallout of the Brussels blasts.


  • Nepal’s Army Chief Gen. Rajendra Chhetri is likely to leave for a week-long trip to China to strengthen bilateral military ties between the two countries.
  • PM, K.P. Oli returns to Kathmandu after completing his week-long trip to China. During the trip, Nepal signed a landmark Agreement of Transit and Trade with China.
  • Military experts have told that the visit of the Army Chief of Nepal immediately after the visit of Mr. Oli follows the pattern of visits to Beijing by Pakistani civilian and military leaders.
  • The Nepali Army has grown in international importance due to its involvement in multilateral peacekeeping missions across the world.
  • China, which has traditional ties with the Nepali Army, has provided training and military equipment to its forces.
  • With the upgrading of political and economic ties, military ties are also expected to undergo transformation.


  • The government will soon hold a meeting to decide whether or not to extend the safeguard duty on certain items of steel imports till March 2018.
  • The safeguard duty is a trade remedy recognised by the World Trade Organisation.
  • It is a temporary measure to counter the adverse impact caused to the domestic industry (local steel producers in this case) due to a sudden and unforeseen surge in (low-priced) imports of the item (largely hot-rolled coils in the case under review).
  • The government had on September 14, 2015, imposed a 20 per cent ‘provisional’ safeguard duty on several hot-rolled products of steel for up to 200 days following an order from the Directorate General (DG) of Safeguards.
  • The DG Safeguards had recently recommended the extension of this duty till March 13, 2018.
  • It recommended that the 20 per cent safeguard duty (minus any antidumping duty) should be in place till September 13 this year, following which, this duty is to be reduced to 18 per cent in the next six months (till March 2017), and further down to 15 per cent during the six months after that.
  • However, industries that are users of these steel items — including the engineering (automobile, industrial machinery and defence components) sector — have sent representations to the government stating that measures including the Minimum Import Price (MIP) as well as the provisional safeguard duty have already increased their raw material costs and are hurting their competitiveness.
  • An inter-ministerial panel will shortly take a call on whether or not to accept the decision of DG of Safeguards.
  • The panel — comprising representatives from the ministries of commerce, finance, steel and heavy industries — will also consider representations by the user industries, mainly from the engineering sector.
  • The market share and profitability of the local industry declined during the period under review (from 2013-14 to 2015-16), whereas market share of imports has increased during the same period, it added.
  • The safeguard duty will aid in recovery of the domestic industry and will ensure the end-users get a stable supply of the items from the local producers, it said.
  • Imports of flat-rolled products of steel and iron have been falling since December 2015, EEPC India said.
  • Pointing out that hot-rolled coil is a basic raw material for engineering products, EEPC India said the continuation of safeguard duty makes engineering exports uncompetitive.
  • The MIP was leading to an increase in raw material cost by around six to ten per cent.
  • Though the government had said the MIP will not be applicable to imports under the Advance Authorisation Scheme (AAS), EEPC India said the AAS was not used by the small exporters and had sought a price reimbursement mechanism.
  • Steel production during April 2015-February 2016 in FY'16 contracted by (-)1.9 per cent (year-on-year) to 82.9 mt. Steel imports during that 11-month period grew 20.5 per cent to 10.2 mt, while exports shrunk 31.9 per cent to 3.4 million tonnes.


  • The maiden coastal feeder service between India and Bangladesh commenced on March 23, after facing a minor hitch, at Chittagong Port in Bangladesh.
  • As per the schedule, m.v. Harbour-1, the container vessel owned by NeepaParibahan, was to arrive at Krishnapatnam Port in Andhra Pradesh on March 26.
  • However, it failed to depart from Chittagong Port on March 17 due to lack of adequate number of containers and a crane fault.
  • In its maiden journey, the vessel was to carry 150 empty containers. Due to the crane fault, only 30 containers were loaded on to the vessel since March 17.
  • India and Bangladesh signed a coastal shipping deal during November 2015 to promote coastal shipping, enhance bilateral trade between the two countries and bring down transportation costs for EXIM cargo.
  • Bangladesh imports onion, rice, lentils, cotton, industrial raw materials and machinery.
  • Currently, container goods are moved from and to Bangladesh either through Colombo or Singapore as Chittagong Port does not have a deep draft and hence smaller feeder vessels are deployed.
  • Besides, rapid growth in bilateral trade between India and Bangladesh led to congestion on the road at Indo-Bangladesh border.
  • Hence, the importers and exporters urged introduction of feeder service between India and Bangladesh.
  • Out of a total of 1.8 million tonnes of cargo moved on Indo-Bangladesh protocol route during 2013-14, fly ash accounted for 98 per cent, which was transported from Kolkata to various river ports in Bangladesh.
  • During the current year, India for the first time used the Indo-Bangladesh river protocol to transport food grains via Ashuganj to Tripura.
  • However, the quantum of cargo has not picked up because of low draft in the upper reaches of Bangladesh rivers and also because of certain non-trade barriers, says a Shipping Ministry release.



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Last Updated on Monday, 28 March 2016 03:37