Friday, 13 May 2016 05:53



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12 - MAY - 2016



Indian Navy decommissioned Indian Naval Ships (INS) Veer and Nipat at a ceremony in the Naval Dockyard, Mumbai. They both are of VEER class corvettes.

The ceremony involved the lowering of the ensign and commissioning pennents with playing of last post. It was held in the presence of Vice Admiral Sunil Lanba, Flag Officer Commanding-in-Chief Western Naval Command.

INS Veer was commissioned into Indian Navy on 26 March 1987 with the pennent number K 40 while, INS Nipat was brought into Navy on 5 December 1988 with pennent number K 42.

Both the ships served as the guardians of International Maritime Border off west coast of India and beonged to the 1241 RE class missile vessels.

They served under 22nd Killer Squadron and completed 29 and 28 years of commissioned service respectively.

These ships are also the first of Veer Class of ships to be decommissioned from the Indian Navy.

They were deployed extensively during the Operations Vijay (1961) and Parakram (2001–2002) of the Indian Navy.

The Other ships in the Veer class are Nirbhik, Nishank, Nirghat, Vibhuti, Vipul, Vinash, Vidyut, Nashak, Pralaya, Prabal


Reliance Defence signed strategic partnership agreement with three Ukranian state- owned firms. This will allow them to collaborate on a range of military products including transport aircraft, upgrade of armoured vehicles, maritime gas turbines and unmanned aerial vehicles.

The agreements were signed during meeting between Reliance Group Chairman Anil Ambani and Ukranian President Petro Poroshenko in Ukraine.

The Strategic Partnership Agreement was signed between State owned Ukroboronprom of Ukraine and Reliance Defence, which is wholly owned subsidiary of Reliance Infrastructure Ltd.


• Under the agreement with Antonov, both companies will jointly bid for the medium military transport aircraft programme of the HAL.

• In addition to this, they will collaborate for assembly, manufacture and maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO) of Antonov series of aircraft to address the requirements of the Indian market and also the agreed global markets.

• The Indian Air Force currently operates more than 100 AN-32 aircraft, which forms the backbone of its transport fleet.

• Cooperation between Reliance Defence and Spetstechno Exports will focus on upgrade programmes for the BMP 2 and armored vehicles, unmanned aerial vehicles and marine gas turbines for the Indian Navy's frigate programme in India.

• The government has already issued a Request for Information (RFI) for the upgradation of 1500 BMP 2.


Real Estate (Regulation and Development) Act, 2016 came into force. The much awaited and widely acclaimed Act sets up in motion the process of making necessary operational rules and creation of institutional infrastructure for protecting the interests of consumers.

It also promotes the growth of real estate sector in an environment of trust, confidence, credible transactions and efficient and time bound execution of projects.

Union Ministry of Housing and Urban Poverty Alleviation (HUPA) on 27 April 2016 notified 69 of the total 92 sections of the Act to bring it into force from 1 May 2016.  This culminates the eight year long efforts in this regard.

A proposal for a law for Real Estate was first mooted at the National Conference of Housing Ministers of States and Union Territories in January 2009.

Special Features of the Act

• As per the notification, Rules under the Act have to be formulated by the Union and State Governments within a maximum period of six months from the act coming into force that is by 31 October 2016 under Section 84 of the Act.

• Real Estate Regulatory Authorities should be set up early. At these authorities all real estate projects are registered and Appellate Tribunals for adjudication of disputes is the key for providing early relief and protection to the large number of buyers of properties. These Authorities decide on the complaints of buyers and developers in 60 days time.

• The Act also empowers appropriate Governments to designate any officer preferably Secretary of the Department dealing with Housing, as the interim Regulatory Authority until the establishment of Regulatory Authority under the provisions of the Act.

• Regulatory Authorities, upon their constitution get three months time to formulate regulations concerning their day to day functioning under Section 85 of the Act.

• Likewise, Real Estate Appellate Tribunals shall be formed within a maximum period of one year that is by 30 April 2017. These fast track Tribunals shall decide on the disputes over the orders of Regulatory Authorities in 60 days time.

• The time limits of six months for formulation of Rules and one year for setting up Regulatory Authorities and Appellate Tribunals are the outer limit and the States willing to act quickly could do so and the Union Ministry of Housing & Urban Poverty Alleviation would notify the remaining Sections of the Act to enable relief to the buyers under the Act as quickly as possible.

• The remaining 22 Sections to be notified relate to functions and duties of promoters, rights and duties of allottees, prior registration of real estate projects with Real Estate Regulatory Authorities, recovery of interest on penalties, enforcement of orders, offences, penalties and adjudication, taking cognizance of offences etc.


Union Minister for State (IC) for Power, Coal and Renewable Energy Piyush Goyal launched National LED programme -Unnat Jyoti by Affordable LEDs for All (UJALA) in Madhya Pradesh.  He launched the programme along with the state CM Shivraj Singh Chouhan at a function in Bhopal.

The scheme is being implemented by Energy Efficiency Services Limited (EESL), a joint venture of PSUs under the Union Ministry of Power.

Special features of UJALA

• Under this Programme, 3 crore LED Bulbs will be distributed in the next 6 months in the State. People of Madhya Pradesh will get energy efficient 9W LED bulbs at an upfront payment of just 85 rupees per LED bulb.

• UJALA will not only help reduce consumers their electricity bills but also contribute to the energy security of India. The UJALA scheme is being monitored in a transparent manner through a national dashboard (www.delp.in).

• The usage of LED bulbs will not only result in reducing electricity bills but also help in environment protection.

• The distribution of LED bulbs will happen through DISCOM offices, DISCOM bill collection centres, designated EESL kiosks, Weekly haat markets, etc.

• Consumers can buy these affordable LEDs by presenting any identity card. These bulbs come with a three year free replacement warranty in case of any technical defects.

• The luminosity of the 9W LED bulbs to be distributed in MP is of 900 lumens, which is the highest in the country. Each 9W LED bulb gives the same luminosity as compared to a 100W incandescent lamp, while consuming less than one tenth of power.

Status update of UJALA

• The UJALA scheme played a significant role in creating awareness about energy efficient lighting. In 2014-15, the total number of LED bulbs that were distributed was mere 30 lakhs.

• The number of LED bulbs distributed in 2015-16 has crossed 15 crore, where 9 crore LED bulbs were distributed under UJALA and the remaining were contributed by the industry.

• For 2016, the Union Government is confident of distributing an additional 20 crore LED bulbs.

• Sustained efforts under UJALA, coupled with industry support, will help the government achieve its objective of replacing 77 crore inefficient bulbs by March 2019.

• Efficient domestic lighting is one of the largest contributors to energy savings globally and the distribution of 10 crore LED bulbs in India has led to savings of over 1298 crore kWh annually.

• This number has also helped the country avoid capacity of about 2600 MW. Most importantly, the country has benefitted from reduction of CO2 emission by over 1 crore tonnes annually.

• LED bulbs consume half the energy as that of CFLs and one tenth as that of incandescent bulbs.

• UJALA is the largest non-subsidised LED programme in the world.

• The programme has led to significant savings to the consumers who are using these bulbs.


Union Urban Development Minister Venkaiah Naidu and Karnataka Chief Minister Siddaramaiah inaugurated the underground corridor of Bangalore Metro Rail. Bangalore Metro Rail is also known as Namma Metro.

The newly inaugurated underground section of about 5.12 kilometers long from Cubbon Park to City railway station completes the 18.10 kilometers long east west corridor which is also called Purple Line.

This makes the Namma Metro or Bangalore Metro as the first in South India to have an operational underground section of Metro Rail.

The Purple Line connecting Baiyappanahalli in the east to Mysuru Road in the west will be operational from 6 am every day.

The five underground stations have massive stations, escalators, air-conditioning and other services like Wi-Fi.

Prior to this, a small 6.7 km section was opened in October 2011 and has served only as a sample of the transformation that the metro can bring to urban transport in Bengaluru that is reeling under traffic congestion.


  • Continuing to express the need to improve the judge-population ratio in the country, Chief Justice of India T. S. Thakur said access to justice was a fundamental right and the governments could not afford to deny the people their fundamental rights.
  • CJI had an emotional outburst over the problem of ‘shortage of judges’ in the presence of Prime Minister Narendra Modi at a conference last month.
  • The CJI once again raised the issue while addressing a large gathering of legal luminaries on the occasion of centennial celebrations of circuit bench of High Court.
  • Justice Thakur alleged saying around 170 proposals for appointment of High Court judges were currently pending with the government.
  • This matter was brought to the notice of the Prime Minister recently with a request to make appointments quickly, Justice Thakur said. people could not be denied justice.
  • Shortage of judges was one of the formidable challenges the judiciary was facing, the CJI said disclosing that out of some 900 sanctioned posts of judges in different High Courts, there were over 450 vacancies, which needed to be filled immediately.


  • Nihal Bitla, the country’s first progeria patient, is no more. The 15-year-old breathed his last following dehydration at his native Poosala village of Sultanabad mandal in Karimnagar district.
  • Nihal and his parents Bitla Srinivas and Sridevi, who had migrated to Bhiwandi in Maharashtra a decade ago, came to their native village on April 18 to attend a marriage on April 23 and stayed back to spend some time with relatives.
  • Due to the severe heat wave conditions prevailing in the region, he developed diarrhoea and was shifted to a private hospital here but died while undergoing treatment
  • The youngster, who is the face of ‘progeria’ patient in India and one who inspired Amitabh Bachchan to essay a similar role in reel life, in the 2007 production ‘Paa’, was actually a big fan of Aamir Khan and loved him for ‘TaareZameen Par’.
  • “Though my son is no more, I will continue my campaign to educate people about the proper treatment of people suffering from Progeria,” father said.


  • Introducing a noise net around airfields that emit sound levels equivalent to those of a conversation in a busy restaurant could prevent collisions between birds and aircraft, saving lives and billions in damages, new research has found.
  • Filling a controlled area with acoustic noise around an airfield, where the majority of collisions tend to take place, can reduce the number of birds in the area by 80 per cent, the findings showed.
  • By playing a noise at the same pitch, we mask those sounds, making the area much riskier for the birds to occupy. The birds don’t like it and leave the area around the airfields.
  • The researchers set up speakers and amplifiers in three areas of an airfield in Virginia and observed bird abundance over eight weeks, the first four weeks without noise and the second four with the noise turned on.
  • Results showed a large decrease in the number of birds in the ‘sonic net’ and areas just outside and found that it was particularly effective at deterring a number of species that were at high risk of bird strike such as starlings.


  • After completing visits to the energy rich Gulf region, Prime Minister Narendra Modi is likely to begin a new round of energy diplomacy and diaspora-outreach in Africa, with visits to Mozambique and South Africa this summer.
  • The expected visit to Africa follows the Prime Minister’s outreach to Saudi Arabia in April and Iran, which he will visit later this month.
  • He is also scheduled to visit Qatar on his way back from the United States in June. Mr. Modi is also likely to travel to a third destination during this travel window which has not yet been confirmed.
  • Mr. Modi’s visit to Mozambique is significant as the country is home to a bulk of India’s Africa-bound investment.
  • Energy dialogue between two sides has been steadily growing since the India Africa Forum Summit, when Carlos Augustinho Do Rosario, Prime Minister of Mozambique discussed the possibility of expanding energy ties.
  • Mr. Modi’s visit will also be a reciprocation as Mozambique was among the first countries in Africa to engage the Modi government; in August 2015, both sides signed a crucial MoU to cooperate in the new and renewable energy sector during the visit of President Felipe Nyusi to India.
  • Mozambique is expected to become a major energy exporter like Nigeria if it can set a proper legal framework to enable foreign firms to explore oil and gas in the country.
  • India has been a major campaigner to facilitate the pro-energy legal framework in the country.
  • South Africa has been a partner of India under the BRICS platform and the visit to Johannesburg is likely to provide an important dialogue to the run up to the BRICS summit to be held in Goa later this year.


  • North Korean leader Kim Jong-un said his country will not use its nuclear weapons unless its sovereignty is invaded and announced a five-year economic plan at the congress of North Korea’s ruling party.
  • Mr. Kim said he is ready to improve ties with “hostile” nations, and called for more talks with South Korea to reduce misunderstanding . He also urged the United States to stay away from inter-Korean issues.
  • He announced a five-year plan starting this year to develop the North’s moribund economy, and identified improving the country’s power supply and increasing its agricultural and light-manufacturing production as critical parts of the plan.
  • He also said the country must secure more electricity through nuclear power.


  • China is digging deep into its cultural roots to anchor a seamless revival of the ancient Silk Road, in tune with a growing domestic focus on tapping the achievements of its past.
  • In Dunhuang, the oasis town along the ancient Silk Road in northwestern China, dozens, under the authority of the Dunhuang Academy, are patiently restoring the priceless artwork in Mogao caves.
  • The caves, whose intricately painted walls and statues depict the life and thought of Buddha, and much more, are an icon of the vigorous cultural cross-currents that, for centuries, energised ties between India and China, through a branch of the ancient Silk Road.
  • In September, thousands will descend in Dunhuan for the first Silk Road International Cultural Expo, whose mascot would be the Mogao grottos.
  • Organisers say that 72 countries have been invited to participate in the mega event, which draws inspiration from China’s traditional engagement with a diverse set of people and cultures along the Silk Road.
  • By leveraging culture, the Chinese wish to send a message to the world that the One Belt One Road (OBOR) connectivity project, is an extension of China’s peaceful engagement of Asia and Europe that ran for over a millennia along the Silk Road super-highway.
  • With China as the fulcrum, the OBOR hopes to link Asia with Europe, while reviving the ancient Silk Road
  • The scale of the infrastructure being established in Dunhuang is stunning. A legion of yellow cranes operate round the clock as workers in blue uniforms race against time to complete three main buildings, including the main convention centre, by July, well ahead of the expo.
  • The focus on culture and tourism also aligns well with China’s “new normal” economy, which aims to override low-end manufacturing with services and consumption.
  • The overall contribution of the “culture industry” to the total GDP of the city had already crossed the 55 per cent mark last year, and the figure is expected to rise.


  • Facebook Inc lost the first round in a court fight against some of its users who sued the social networking company, alleging it ‘unlawfully’ collected and stored users' biometric data derived from their faces in photographs.
  • The judge in a California federal court last week turned down Facebook's motion seeking dismissal of the suit.
  • Facebook filed the motion arguing that the users could not file a complaint under Illinois Biometric Information Privacy Act (BIPA) as they had agreed in their user agreement that California law would govern their disputes with the company.”
  • The court found that Illinois law applies and that the plaintiffs have stated a claim under BIPA.
  • The complainants alleged that Facebook's face recognition feature that suggests ‘tags’ on photos unlawfully collected and stored biometric data, in violation of the BIPA.


  • The government has electronically transferred more than Rs.61,000 crore in the last financial year to March 30 through the Direct Benefit Transfer (DBT) scheme, Finance Ministry data showed.
  • According to the data presented in Parliament, Rs.61,824.32 crore was transferred to 30.8 crore beneficiaries in 59 schemes.
  • Out of this, Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA) payments made up Rs.25,800 crore, or 42 per cent of total DBT schemes.
  • This also means that 85 per cent of the MGNREGA payments made in 2015-16 were done directly into the beneficiary's bank accounts.
  • The second largest head under which DBT transfers were made was the PAHAL scheme for the electronic transfer of LPG subsidies.
  • The government transferred Rs.21,400 crore under the PAHAL scheme in 2015-16, which is 35 per cent of the total amount transferred through DBT.
  • The Finance Ministry data also showed that 3.34 crore duplicate, fake, or inactive consumers were blocked under the PAHAL and related schemes as of April 1, 2015. That number may have increased since then.
  • The savings in LPG subsidy on account of this blocked customers, calculated at an average cash subsidy of Rs.150 taking the average cylinders used by a consumer at 6.5 comes to an estimated savings of Rs.3,300 crore in 2015-16.
  • The Department of Higher Education (Rs.1,975 crore), Ministry of Minority Affairs (Rs.1,134 crore) and the Ministry of Tribal Affairs (Rs.955 crore) were the other government agencies that made substantial payments using the DBT model.


  • The Commerce Ministry has proposed a mechanism to address the issue of non-payment of dues by Venezuelan importers to Indian exporters.
  • However, Venezuela has not given its approval to the proposed payment mechanism. Talks on the issue will soon be held with the RBI.
  • Venezuela, an economy that relies on oil exports, has been severely hit by a drastic fall in oil prices.
  • This has in turn resulted in the value of the Venezuelan currency plunging to record lows and a high demand for dollars. India’s goods exports to Venezuela in 2014-15 were $258 million (registering a 31 per cent year-on-year growth).
  • Owing to the crisis in Venezuela, India’s exports in FY16 (April-February) have touched only $125.5 million.
  • India shipped mostly pharmaceutical products which amounted to $143.55 million in FY15 and $71.3 million in FY16. The sector is the worst affected due to the payment defaults.
  • Under the proposed payment mechanism when Indian importers pay for oil and other imports from Venezuela, a certain portion (say around 30 per cent) of the payment will be held by an Indian public sector bank, say SBI, in Venezuela.
  • Then through a vostro account that money will be kept in SBI’s Mumbai branch and converted to Indian rupees. Vostro’ is an Italian term meaning ‘yours’, and vostro account refers to holding ‘your’ money or Venezuela’s money in this case.
  • When India’s exports to Venezuela, the Venezuelan buyer (importer) will certify that they have received the goods and instruct the concerned Venezuelan bank to release the payment to the concerned Indian exporters.
  • This instruction will be passed on to SBI-Venezuela and then to SBI-Mumbai. Finally, SBI-Mumbai will release the payment to Indian exporters by debiting from the vostro account.
  • The sources said due to the fear of losing the Venezuelan market to competitors from other countries including China, India’s exporters have decided to hold on for the moment despite the payment problems.
  • Though India’s goods imports from Venezuela in 2014-15 were worth $11.7 billion, most of this ($11.6 billion) were oil imports.
  • Therefore, if Venezuela withdraws the remaining amount (after paying for India’s exports) in one go after a few years, it could have some impact on the Indian rupee.



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