31 , August 2017

The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) is all set to launch a new navigation satellite IRNSS-1H. IRNSS-1H will replace IRNSS-1A which failed due to deficiencies in three atomic clocks that are crucial in providing positional information to users on earth. IRNSS-1H will be launched on board ISRO’s PSLV-C39 The new satellite will expand the existing seven satellites of NavIC constellation.

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Konkani writer Mahabaleshwar Sail receives 2016 Saraswati Samman

Eminent Konkani writer Mahabaleshwar Sail (74) was bestowed with prestigious Saraswati Samman 2016.He was awarded for his novel “Hawthan” portraits about cultural lives of traditional pottery community in Goa.The award comprises of plaque and a cash purse of Rs.15 lakh by Union minister for commerce and industry Nirmala Sitharaman an event held in New Delhi.

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1.Cabinet approves MoU with Myanmar for the Conservation of Earthquake-Damaged Pagodas at Bagan
Source: PIB

The Union Cabinet has approved the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between India and Myanmar for the conservation of earthquake-damaged pagodas at Bagan, Myanmar.

  • Implementation of the project will further strengthen India’s enduring ties in culture and religion with Myanmar.
  • It will also generate immense goodwill for India among the people of Myanmar due to the religious significance as well as the touristic significance of the project.
  • It will also contribute to India’s development partnership with Myanmar.
  • Bagan is one of the premier tourist attractions of Myanmar. It will be an opportunity to showcase India’s expertise in the restoration and conservation of monuments not only to the people of Myanmar but also to the tourists from other countries.

About Bagan

  • Bagan in central Burma is one of the world’s greatest archeological sites.
  • The Ayeyarwady (Irrawaddy) River drifts past its northern and western sides.
  • From the 9th to 13th centuries, the city was the capital of the Pagan Kingdom, the first kingdom that unified the regions that would later constitute modern Myanmar.
  • During the kingdom’s height between the 11th and 13th centuries, over 10,000 Buddhist temples, pagodas and monasteries were constructed in the Bagan plains alone.

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2.MoU signed between India and Brazil for cooperation in the fields of Zebu Cattle Genomics and Assisted Reproductive Technologies.
Source: PIB

About Zebu cattle

  • Zebu, sometimes known as indicine cattle or humped cattle, is a species or subspecies of domestic cattle originating in the Indian subcontinent.
  • Zebu are characterised by a fatty hump on their shoulders, a large dewlap, and sometimes drooping ears.
  • They are well adapted to withstanding high temperatures, and are farmed throughout the tropical countries, both as pure zebu and as hybrids with taurine cattle, the other main type of domestic cattle.
  • Zebu is used as draught oxen, dairy cattle, and beef cattle, as well as for byproducts such as hides and dung for fuel and manure.
  • In 1999, researchers at Texas A&M University successfully cloned a zebu.

The MoU will strengthen the existing friendly relations between India and Brazil and promote development of Genomics and Assistant Reproductive Technologies (ARTs) in Cattle through joint activities to be implemented through mutually agreed procedures.

It will be done through joint projects in the fields of Productivity Improvement of cattle and buffaloes, for the purpose of broadening the existing knowledge base on sustainable dairy development and institutional strengthening.

The MoU would promote and facilitate scientific cooperation and setting up of genomic selection programme in Zebu Cattle through

  • application of genomic in Zebu Cattle and their crosses and buffaloes
  • application of assisted reproductive technologies (ARTs) in cattle and buffaloes
  • capacity building in genomic and assisted reproductive technology
  • Related research and development in Genomics and ART in accordance with the respective laws and regulations of the two countries and is covered under Rule 7 (d) (i) of the Second Schedule of the Government of India (Transaction of Business) Rules, 1961.

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3.99% of demonetised notes returned: RBI
Source: The Hindu

The annual report, of the RBI, showed that only 89 million pieces of Rs. 1,000 were not deposited. As of March 2016, there were 6,326 million pieces of Rs. 1,000 banknotes in circulation

The final deposit figures could still rise. Since on June 20th 2017, the government allowed District Central Cooperative Banks to deposit the withdrawn notes that had been accepted by them from customers between November 10-14th 

 The central bank is also in discussion with the government whether to accept the demonetised notes held by citizens and financial institutions in Nepal

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4.Navy to get advanced choppers
Source: The Hindu

The Indian Navy is looking to add to its fleet dedicated helicopters for ‘Special Operations’. Of the 123 Naval Multi-Role Helicopters (NMRH) to be procured, 33 will be dedicated variants for Special Operations.

These Helicopters would be used for training Marine Commandos (MARCOS) and the rest would be based on shore as well as on frontline warships.

  • The Navy had issued the Request for Information (RFI) to global Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEM) for the procurement of 123 NMRH and 111 Naval Utility Helicopters (NUH) last week.
  • The procurement would be under the recently approved Strategic Partnership (SP) model of the Defence Procurement Procedure (DPP).
  • The helicopters would have twin-engine and weigh at least 12.5 tonnes.
  • According to the RFI, the requirements include the ability to carry 12 fully equipped troops along with 400 Kg of equipment or eight fully equipped troops and one auto inflatable craft in a stowed configuration.
  • The helicopters will also perform other roles like ferrying troops, maritime interdiction including anti-piracy operations, combat search and rescue operation, external cargo carriage, limited casualty evacuation (CASEVAC) and Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief.

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5.China forced to abandon plan to enlarge BRICS in face of resistance from India, others
Source: ET

China has aborted its attempt to create a permanent BRICS Plus feature and invite other countries to join in following resistance from the other members of the five-nation grouping, including India, who apprehend dilution of BRICS’s goals if other counties, including Beijing’s close allies, are brought in.

China has been campaigning for the creation of a permanent BRICS Plus arrangement to enable non-BRICS countries to play an active role. BRICS had started off with four members and Beijing was instrumental in bringing in South Africa at a later stage. Critics say China wants to expand the BRICS mechanism as a means to garner wider influence for itself.

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6.STPs to be constructed under Hybrid Annuity Model
Source: PIB

The Government of India had accorded Cabinet approval to Hybrid Annuity-PPP model in January 2016 with 100% central sector funding. In the first-of-its-kind success, the creation and maintenance of sewage treatment infrastructure under Hybrid Annuity based PPP model has taken off, with NMCG awarding work to private sector for construction and maintenance of Sewage Treatment Plants (STPs) in two major cities in Ganga river basin – Varanasi and Haridwar. The awarded projects would ensure that no untreated sewage waste water goes into river Ganga.

Hybrid Annuity based PPP model has been adopted for the first time in the country in sewage management sector. Such a model has earlier been adopted successfully in highway sector only.

 Hybrid Annuity Model

  • Under this model, the development, operation and maintenance of the sewage treatment STPs will be undertaken by a Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV) to be created by the winning bidder at the local level. As per this model, 40% of the Capital cost quoted would be paid on completion of construction while the remaining 60% of the cost will be paid over the life of the project as annuities along with operation and maintenance cost (O&M) expenses.
  • One of the most important features of this model is that both the Annuity and O&M payments are linked to the performance of the STP. This will ensure continued performance of the assets created due to better accountability, ownership and optimal performance.

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