Wednesday, 18 May 2016 03:15


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18 - MAY - 2016



The agriculture project Harita-Priya of Andhra Pradesh won the World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS) 2016 prize in e-Agriculture category.

The prize was announced in Geneva by International Telecommunications Union (ITU) Secretary-General Houlin Zhao.

Key features of Harita-Priya Project

• Harita-Priya stands for Harmonized Information of Agriculture, Revenue and Irrigation for a Transformation Agenda - Precision Technology for Agriculture.

• It meant to collect very specific climate data from farms and give farmers personalised information through SMS

• It uses wireless sensor networks to collect micro-climatic information from farms.

• The data is used to create advisories and alerts on irrigation schedules and pests and plant diseases.

• Based on this state agriculture officers disseminate personalised crop advisories in Telugu language to farmers by way of SMS.

• The project was developed by the Centre for Development of Advanced Computing (CDAC) in Hyderabad, which is having a pilot run in Anantpur district.

The project was partnered by the Andhra Pradesh government, the Central Research Institute for Dryland Agriculture (CRIDA), the Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR) station and the Acharya N G Ranga Agricultural University in Anantapur.

WSIS Prizes

The WSIS Prizes recognize all players in the effort to improve global connectivity, from governments and global ICT (information communication technology) companies to grassroots NGOs leading innovative ICT-oriented projects at the local level.

A total of 18 prizes were awarded in categories ranging from international cooperation to information ethics.


Vice Admiral Sunil Lanba, presently Flag Officer Commanding-in-Chief (FOC-in-C) Western Naval Command, was appointed as the next Chief of the Naval Staff on 5 May 2016. He will assume the charge on 31 May 2016 as the 23rd chief of Indian Navy and 21st as an Indian.

The first two Navy Chiefs were British, namely Admiral Sir Charles Thomas Mark Pizey and Vice-Admiral Sir Stephen Hope Carlill.

He will succeed present Navy Chief Admiral Robin K. Dhowan, who will superannuate from the post on 31 May 2016.

Lanba, 58, will have a full three-year-term in office till 31 May 2019.

Sunil Lanba

• He was commissioned into the Executive Branch of Indian Navy on 1 January 1978.

• During his long and distinguished service spanning nearly 38 years, he has served in a variety of Command, operational and staff appointments.

• Vice Admiral Lanba’s Sea Command includes commanding the minesweeper INS Kakinada, frigate INS Himgiri and Executive Officer of INS Viraat, the aircraft carrier.

• Before taking over as FOC-in-C, Western Naval Command, he was FOC-in-C, Southern Naval Command, Vice Chief of the Naval Staff and Commandant, National Defence College.

• He is a qualified specialist in navigation and direction course.

• He attended the course at the Royal College of Defence Studies, UK.

• Born on 17 July 1957, Lanba is a recipient of Param Vishist Seva Medal and Ati Vishist Seva Medal for distinguished service of an exceptionally high order.


Senior IPS officer Kumar Rajesh Chandra was appointed the Chief of Bureau of Civil Aviation Security (BCAS).

The Appointments Committee of the Cabinet has approved the name of Chandra for appointment to the post of Director General (formerly known as Commissioner of Security (Civil Aviation) in the Bureau of Civil Aviation Security.

Chandra has been appointed in place of IPS officer G S Malhi. Malhi had completed his tenure as BCAS Chief in November 2012. The crucial post was lying vacant since then.

Why the appointment for the post was delayed?

The appointment for the post was delayed due to claims from officers of both Indian Administrative Service (IAS) and Indian Police Service (IPS) to the coveted post.

Who is Kumar Rajesh Chandra?

Chandra is a 1985 batch IPS officer of Bihar cadre.

He is currently working as Additional Director General (Modernisation), Bihar Police.

About Bureau of Civil Aviation Security

BCAS acts as regulatory authority for civil aviation security.

After the hijacking of an Indian Airlines flight in September 1976, the Pande Committee recommended establishing an aviation security department.

In January 1978, the BCAS was established as a department of the Directorate General of Civil Aviation. As a result of the 1985 bombing of Air India Flight 182, the BCAS became an independent agency of the Ministry of Civil Aviation on 1 April 1987.

The main responsibility of BCAS is to lay down standards and measures in respect of security of civil flights at international and domestic airports in India.


The Union Government announced that the H.R. Nagendra Committee on Yoga Education in Universities has recommended seven programmes for implementation in universities.

The Union Government on 15 January 2016 had constituted a committee on yoga education in universities. The committee was headed by Professor H.R. Nagendra, Chancellor, Swami Vivekananda Yoga Anusandhana, Samsthana, Bengaluru.

The committee had submitted its report on 19 April 2016.

Terms of Reference of the Committee:

To identify the courses and programmes in Yogic Art and Science and the levels at which they can be offered

To spell out the scope of programmes offered at Certificate, Diploma, Degree, Post Graduate Degree/Postgraduate Diploma and Research levels, and to develop broad details of the curriculum in core and elective courses thereof

To prescribe the syllabus for conducting NET in Yogic Art and Science

To determine the eligibility qualifications for students for joining Yoga Education Programme at different levels

To prescribe the qualifications of faculty of Yoga in the colleges and universities and also to examine whether the existing qualifications in recruitment of the faculty in the colleges and universities as presently approved by the University Grants Commission (UGC) will need amendments

To identify universities where Departments of Yoga already exists and to consider whether they can be upgraded to be developed as Departments of Yogic Art and Science

To suggest the names of National Level Yoga Centres whose expertise can be networked with the universities where the Departments of Yogic Arts and Science will be established

To determine the modalities of further training for persons who may be recruited with their present background in the field of Yoga

Any other issue considered relevant for the establishment of Department of Yogic Art and Science

Seven programmes recommended by the committee for implementation in universities are:

Certificate Course in Yoga (CCY) of 6 to 12 months duration

Bachelors of Science (Yoga)-BSc.(Yoga) of 3 to 6 years

Post Graduate Diploma in Yoga (PGDY) of 1 to 2 years

Post Graduate Diploma in Yoga Therapy(PGDYT) of 1 to 2 years

Masters of Science (MSc.)- Yoga of 2 years to 4 years

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)-Yoga of 3 to 5 years

Doctor of Philosophy (Integrated)- Yoga of 4 to 6 years


The Lok Sabha passed the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code Bill 2016. The bill is being seen as a transformational legislation that will help in improving India’s ranking in the World Bank’s ‘Ease of Doing Business’ index.

The Bill is based on the recommendations of the Joint Parliamentary Committee on the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code, 2015 chaired by Bhupender Yadav. The committee submitted the report to government on 28 April 2016.

Major Highlights of the Bill

• Insolvency resolution: The Code creates time-bound processes for insolvency resolution of companies and individuals.  These processes will be completed within 180 days. If insolvency cannot be resolved, the assets of the borrowers may be sold to repay creditors.

• Insolvency Professionals: The resolution processes will be conducted by licensed Insolvency Professionals (IPs).  This IPs will be members of Insolvency Professional Agencies (IPAs). IPAs will also furnish performance bonds equal to the assets of a company under insolvency resolution.

• Information Utilities: Information utilities (IUs) will be established to collect, collate and disseminate financial information to facilitate insolvency resolution.

• NCLT: The National Company Law Tribunal (NCLT) will adjudicate insolvency resolution for companies.

• DRT: The Debt Recovery Tribunal (DRT) will adjudicate insolvency resolution for individuals.

• Insolvency and Bankruptcy Board: The Insolvency and Bankruptcy Board of India will be set up to regulate functioning of IPs, IPAs and IUs.

Suggestions recommended by Joint Parliamentary Committee and accepted by government in toto include:

• Insolvency Bill Cross-border insolvency: Cross border insolvency relates to an insolvent debtor who has assets abroad.  The Code does not contain provisions to deal with such situations.  The Committee recommended that new provisions should be made to provide for the central government to enter into agreements with other countries to enforce provisions of the Code.

• Information storage with IUs: A person should not have the right to remove information, and should only be allowed to modify or correct information provided by him.

• Purpose of establishing the Bankruptcy Fund: A contributor should be allowed to withdraw his contribution from the fund in cases including where he has to make payments to workmen.

• Insolvency Professionals: The Code does not specify the professional streams from where IPs will be drawn. The Committee recommended that these streams should be specified in the Code.

• Employee benefits during liquidation: Any dues payable to workmen from these funds should be excluded from the debtor’s assets during liquidation.

• Insolvency Professional Agencies: The Board should make model bye-laws to ensure consistency among rules followed by all IPAs.

• Information Utilities: Operational creditors should also be a part of the creditors committee’s deliberations. The IUs should be made interoperable, to ensure that a seamless network of information is created.


President Pranab Mukherjee conferred the 15th set of Federation of Indian Export Organisations (FIEO) Niryat Shree and Niryat Bandhu Awards in New Delhi.

The awards were presented at the Golden Jubilee celebrations of Federation of Indian Export Organisations (FIEO).

The awards were conferred to the companies from various sectors of exports besides service providers, banks, and various facilitating agencies which are promoting exports during the year 2015-16.

List of award recipients

• Reliance Industry was adjudged as the top foreign exchange earner and leading exporter of last 50 years.

• TCS bagged the Gold Award in IT services. Exporters from engineering, chemicals, textiles, agro and processed sector, etc. were also given Gold/Silver/Bronze awards.

• State Bank of India got the Gold award followed by Canara Bank and Punjab National Bank are among the supporting institutions.

Besides conferring the awards, the president also unveiled the brand new FIEO Logo representing growth, vibrancy, innovation and entrepreneurship.

About Federation of Indian Export Organisations (FIEO)

• It was set up in 1965 and completed 50 years of its service to the exporting community.

• The Federation started with a small room in Allahabad Bank building moved to its state of art building at Niryat Bhawan, New Delhi.

• It extended its arms to support the State Governments through formulation of Export Strategy and Export Policy.

• The Trade Portal developed by FIEO has provided single window information on all facets of international trade for Indian Exim community.


Goa-based defence shipyard, Goa Shipyard Limited (GSL), launched Indian Coast Guard Ship (ICGS) Shaurya at Vasco. The is the fifth ship of a series of six off-shore patrol vessels  (OPVs) that the Indian Coast Guard had tasked the Vasco defence public sector undertaking to build.

This 105-metre new generation OPV that was launched by the Governor of Goa, Mridula Sinha will be delivered to the Coast Guard after sea trials are completed. The ICGS Shaurya will be commissioned into service in early 2017.

About Indian Coast Guard ship Shaurya

• The vessel is capable of cruising at a speed of 23 knots and has a range of 6000 nautical miles.

• It will be fitted with state-of-the-art machinery like the integrated machinery control system and integrated bridge system.

• This new generation OPV is powered by twin diesel engines.

• The vessel carries four boats for boarding party operations.

• One 30 mm gun and two 12.7 mm guns associated with fire control system form the main weaponry package.

• The indigenously designed ship is capable of search and rescue operations, pollution control and external firefighting.

• It will be deployed for ocean surveillance and for monitoring sea lanes of communication.

GSL chairman and managing director Shekhar Mital said that all the six ships would be delivered to the Coast Guard by 2017.


Minister of Railways Suresh Prabhakar Prabhu dedicated to the nation a high speed Wi-Fi hotspot at the three Railway Stations. These stations are Vijayawada in Andhra Pradesh, Kachiguda in Telangana and Raipur in Chhattisgarh.

The Wi-Fi facility for the visitors and rail users of these stations has been commissioned by RailTel in association with Google for providing high speed state of the art world class internet experience to the commuters.

Key highlights of Wi-Fi hotspots launched

Kacheguda, Raipur and Vijayawada Railway Stations became Wi-Fi hot spot from 5 May 2016.

RailTel Corporation of India Ltd. has been mandated by Ministry of Railways to provide Wi-Fi for use of passengers at A1, A and B category Railway stations.

RailTel engaged with Google as the technology partner for setting up high speed Wi-Fi network initially in A1 and A category stations.

RailTel will upgrade its backbone infrastructure to backhaul high speed connectivity of approximately 1Gbps per station.

At Railway stations, RailTel will be providing power and fiber network infrastructure while Google will provide the Radio access Network.

Wi-Fi services to passengers will be provided under Railwire the retail Broadband distribution model of RailTel.

Designed to offer users the best Internet experience, Railwire Wi-Fi will be available to any user who has a working mobile connection on a smart phone.

Users will be able to easily stream a high definition video and surf the web.

About RailTel

RailTel Corporation of India Ltd. is a Miniratna enterprise of Government of India.

It is one of the largest neutral telecom services providers in the country owning a Pan-India optic fiber network.

It covers all important towns and cities of the country and several rural areas covering 70% of India’s population.

It is in the forefront in providing nationwide Broadband Telecom and Multimedia Network in all parts of the country.


  • The U.S. has reiterated its support for India’s membership of the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) in the face of opposition from China.
  • The 48-member NSG that regulates trade in nuclear technology and material will have its plenary next month in New York where it is expected to consider India’s admission into the exclusive club.
  • China, acting in concert with Pakistan, has thrown a spanner in the works for India, by linking New Delhi’s candidacy to Islamabad’s. NSG operates by consensus and all its current members are signatories to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.
  • “Not only India, many other non-NPT members have voiced their aspirations to join the NSG.”said Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman.
  • Pakistan had earlier said it was coordinating with China to block India from the NSG. Bruised by the successful Indian diplomacy that recently stalled the U.S. sale of F-16 fighter planes to it, Pakistan has found an opportunity to hit back.


  • The Election Commission of India late decided to defer the polls in the Aravakurichi Assembly constituency, in Karur district, following widespread seizure of cash and complaints of voters being bribed.
  • Separately, the EC issued notices to the AIADMK and the DMK, asking them to explain the rationale behind the promises made in their election manifestos and indicate how they would meet the financial outlays (for freebies).
  • Polling in Aravakurichi will now be held on May 23, and the results declared on May 25, a week after the results are announced in the remaining 233 constituencies where voting will take place on May 16.
  • In a release, the EC said over Rs. 6.75 crore had been seized in the constituency, including from the house of one Anbunathan.
  • In addition, 429 litres of liquor had been seized and 33 complaints of money distribution had been received, while seven FIRs have been registered.


  • The Union government has set a target of $2 billion in defence exports in the next two years, Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar said.
  • The Ministry had noted the concerns expressed over the issue of strategic partners in manufacturing and would hold discussions with the industry.
  • The government intends to identify major private companies eligible to take the lead in critical defence projects so as to boost domestic manufacturing.
  • From a meagre $140-150 million, this year I think we have crossed $330-odd million. I have set a target for myself, in the next two years, why not touch $2 billion. It is not an impossible target.” Said the Defence Minister
  • Mr. Parrikar said offsets were an area where “exports and expertise can come.” During 2014 and 2015, offset obligations brought in $990 million, and this was likely to touch $2 billion in the next two years as major deals for fighter aircraft and helicopters were expected to be signed.
  • As part of the offset requirements, foreign companies are required to invest a part of the contract value back in the country.


  • Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) is working on a space-based information system for decentralised planning to help rural development.
  • Though there are scores of rural development programmes and welfare measures launched in the country, there is little planning at the local level owing to lack of information.
  • The space-based information system will reach out to the villages to enable them to plan and improve their economy.
  • The system is expected to optimise the benefits of various welfare programmes to a maximum number of people in the areas of health, sanitation, infrastructure, etc. besides monitoring their benefits and impacts in the villages.


  • The Sri Lankan government, in continuation of its policy of de- emphasising the military victory over the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam, has decided not to have any military parade this year at an event to mark the conclusion of the Eelam War.
  • Last year, after MaithripalaSirisena became President, the government renamed the Victory Day as Day of Remembrance, marking the shift from triumphalism to commemoration.
  • Since the end of the civil war in May 2009, military parades constituted an important element of the celebration on May 19.
  • Between 2010 and 2015, such parades were held either on the Galle Face Main, Colombo, or in Matara, a city in the Southern Province. Even last year, the southern city witnessed one such event.
  • Instead, on May 18, a function would be held at the War Memorial near the Parliament, which would be attended by the President. A cultural show would take place at the Independence Square in the evening.
  • The statement said that as the Independence Day was celebrated in a grand manner, the funds that would have otherwise been spent for “lavish shows” would be used for welfare schemes of war heroes and their families.
  • The government also clarified that as in the previous year, there would be no bar on remembering those who died during the civil war but the authorities would not allow any event to hail the LTTE.


  • Embattled Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro declared a three-month state of emergency to face “threats from abroad”, as his emboldened foes geared for a vote to oust him.
  • In an address to the nation, Mr. Maduro said he had signed a new state of emergency decree “to neutralise and defeat foreign aggression”, which he says is closing in on the country. Mr. Maduro said the measures will likely last through 2017.


  • China has increased defence capabilities and deployed more troops along the Indian border, the Pentagon has said, as it warned of increasing Chinese military presence including bases in various parts of the world, particularly Pakistan.
  • “We have noticed an increase in capability and force posture by the Chinese military in areas close to the border with India,” Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defence for East Asia told reporters.
  • The Defence Department also warned of China’s increasing military presence including bases in various parts of the world, in particular Pakistan — with which it has a “longstanding friendly relationship and similar strategic interests”
  • The Pentagon in its report expressed its concerns about Chinese military build-up near the Indian border.Tensions remain along disputed portions of the Sino-Indian border, where both sides patrol with armed forces.
  • “After a five-day military standoff in September 2015 at Burtse in Northern Ladakh, China and India held a senior-level flag-officer meeting, agreed to maintain peace, and retreated to positions mutually acceptable to both sides,” it said.
  • The Pentagon also said that the defence capabilities possessed by the U.S,. Russia and India are among the main factors driving China to modernise its nuclear force and bolster its strategic strike capabilities.
  • It said that China insists that the new generation of mobile missiles are intended to ensure the viability of its strategic deterrent in the face of continued advances in the U.S. and, to a lesser extent, Russian capabilities.


  • The four-month window for declaring black money held in the country will open on June 1.
  • Under the Income Declaration Scheme 2016, individuals can come clean by paying 45 per cent tax and penalty while avoiding scrutiny and enquiry by the Tax Department.
  • The scheme also provides immunity from prosecution under the Income-tax Act and Wealth Tax Act.
  • Immunity from prosecution is provided under Benami Transactions (Prohibition) Act, 1988 subject to transfer of asset to actual owner within the period specified in the rules.
  • The Income Declaration scheme 2016 will remain in force till September 30 for filing declarations.
  • Tax, surcharge and penalty must be paid latest by November 30, according to a statement from the Union Finance Ministry.
  • No scrutiny and enquiry under the Income-tax Act or the Wealth tax Act (now abolished) shall be undertaken in respect of such declarations.
  • The scheme will apply to undisclosed income whether in the form of investment in assets or otherwise.


  • India’s GDP is estimated to grow at 7.6 per cent in 2015–16 and 7.7 per cent in 2016– 17 due to a favourable monsoon, the National Council of Applied Economic Research (NCAER) said.
  • The Delhi-based think-tank said the numbers mark significant revision upwards from its January 2016 forecast, when it had predicted a 7.4 per cent growth for 2015-16 as well as for 2016-17.
  • The current forecast is mainly due to monsoon prediction. But, it also sounded a note of caution by stating, “It is hard to conjecture whether the economy has finally reached the tipping point where positives outweigh the negatives.”
  • Exports are expected to contract by 1.6 per cent while wholesale price inflation is projected to grow at 0.9 per centfor 2016-17.
  • Current Account Balance as a percentage of GDP is expected to contract by 1 per cent. Fiscal deficit of the Centre as a percentage of GDP is forecast at 3.5 per cent for 2016-17.
  • The agriculture sector witnessed feeble average growth rate of 0.5 per cent in 2014-15 and 2015-16 due to drought in two successive years.
  • The manufacturing sector, after showing robust growth in the second quarter, slowed down consistently in the third and fourth quarters.
  • The growth in Index of Industrial Production (IIP) slowed to 2.4 per cent in 2015-16 from 2.8 per cent in 2014-15. In the fourth quarter, manufacturing was in “recession” (-1.1%) and the overall IIP barely grew 0.2 per cent, it said.
  • Even as select indicators show improvement, it is much too early to conclude that the economy is on course to a full-fledged recovery as the improvement is not sufficiently broad-based.
  • It red-flagged the much slower growth in services exports, notably software and business service exports which together account for approximately 50 per cent of the total service exports.
  • Inflation ranged between 3.66 per cent in August 2015 and 5.7 per cent in January 2016.



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Last Updated on Thursday, 19 May 2016 04:24