General - Current Affairs for January,2017

Month and Year:   
▼ 23 year old Iris Mittenaere from France is next Miss Universe   [01-31-17]

Iris Mittenaere, a 23-year-old dental student from France has won the Miss Universe 2017 crown in the annual pageant at Phillipines.

Mittenaere comes from Lille in northern France and was announced the winner among 86 contestants.

Miss Haiti, Raquel Pelissier, a 25-year-old survivor of the devastating 2010 earthquake that destroyed her hometown, was named first runner up.

Miss Colombia, 23-year-old, Andrea Tovar, was second runner up.

Mittenaere’s victory was the first by a French contestant in more than 60 years.

Mittenaere said her victory would also help cheer French people following terrorist attacks in recent years.

Mittenaere said she would focus during her reign on helping all children, especially girls, attend school.

Pellissier said surviving Haiti’s quake, which officials in her country estimated killed more than 300,000 people and displaced more than 1.5 million others, and her pageant success underscored her rise from adversity.

She had to raise funds to compete in the pageant after her sponsors pulled out to help victims of Hurricane Matthew, which devastated parts of Haiti in October.

Eighty-six candidates vied in this year’s pageant, which was formerly owned by Donald Trump.

The national costume competition won by 24-year-old Myanmar model Htet Htet Htun, who carried a backdrop depicting her country’s traditional puppet theatre.

Judges initially selected a dozen candidates. A 13th picked through online balloting which drew 100 million votes worldwide.

Miss Universe Pageant: Know More

  • Motto: "Confidently Beautiful"
  • Formation: June 28, 1952
  • Headquarters: New York City
  • Location: United States
  • Official language: English
  • President: Paula Shugart
  • Parent organization: WME/IMG, 21st Century Fox
  • Affiliations: William Morris Endeavor, Fox (21st Century Fox)
  • Website: www.missuniverse.com

▼ JuDchief and LeT co founder Hafiz Saeed under house arrest   [01-31-17]

Pakistani authorities, facing mounting pressure from the Trump administration placed Mumbai attacks mastermind and Jamaat-udDawa (JuD) chief Hafiz Saeed under house arrest.

Saeed and four others under detention on 30th Jan 2017. The action was taken under an anti-terrorism act.

Saeed, a co-founder of Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT), would be placed under house arrest and that his residence had been declared a sub-jail.

Pakistan interior minister Nisar Ali Khan said the PML-N government was taking steps to "fulfill our obligations" with regard to JuD.

"The organisation (JuD) has been `under observation' since 2010-11.

Hafiz Saeed was moved from Masjid Al-Qudsia Chauburji to his Jauhar Town residence to place him under house arrest on the orders of the government,".

▼ EMO Hannover 2017 to specially focus on India   [01-31-17]

EMO Hannover 2017 is the world’s premier trade fair for the metal working sector.

It will focus on attractive and high potential markets.

The fair is being held at Hannover, Germany from September 18 to 23, after a gap of four years.

Christoph Miller, is the Managing Director EMO Hannover, Frankfurt am Main, Germany.

Fair organisers include:

  • VDW, Frankfurt am Main, Germany
  • European Association of the Machine Tools Industries from Brussels, Belgium
  • Deutsche Messe AG, Germany.
India Day will be celebrated on September 20. It will feature reports exclusively from Indian experts.

Representatives from Indian user sectors will be addressing technical and commercial trends from the automotive and aviation industries,

India is the only BRIC nation to report significant growth in industrial production output and capital investment.

In the machine tool industry, the country ranks eighth among the world’s largest markets, with a volume of most recently €1.6 billion in 2015.

This corresponds to a growth rate of 7% when calculated in euros.

India also imports almost all of its machine tools, with deliveries in 2015 worth a total of around .€1.1 billion.

India’s economy is currently growing faster than other industrial countries.

The manufacturing sector contributes only 15% to the nation’s GDP and hence there is enormous potential for growth.

▼ Central Water Commission works for supporting dam rehab efforts   [01-30-17]

Central Water Commission under the Ministry of Water Resources River Development and Ganga Rejuvenation signed two separate MoUs with IIT Madras and IISc Bengaluru.

These premier educational institutions will help CWC for the procurement of specified software and equipment for enhancing dam rehab efforts.

Capacity building in areas of dam safety have been taken over through the World Bank assisted DRIP or Dam Rehabilitation and Improvement Project.

Scope includes testing of the labs, enhancement of analytical capabilities, exposure visits to top global institutions and on ground exposure to dam safety concern.

DRIP is currently rehabilitating 250 dams in 7 states.

This includes the Southern state of TN.

Owners of the dam require technical support for rehab.

Premier institutes are now providing training and consulting services to help dam owners.

Dams in India: Know More

  • There are about 4900 large dams in India and about 300 are under construction.
  • In addition, there are several thousand smaller dams.
  • These dams are vital for ensuring the water security of the country.
  • They also constitute a major responsibility in terms of asset management and safety.
  • In April 2012, the Central Water Commission (CWC) with assistance from the World Bank, embarked upon the six year Dam Rehabilitation and Improvement Project (DRIP).
  • This is at an estimated cost of Rs. 2100 crore.
  • The project originally envisaged the rehabilitation and improvement of about 223 dams within the following states namely, Kerala, Madhya Pradesh, Odisha, and Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Uttarakhand and Jharkhand.
  • The total number of dams covered under DRIP increased to 250.
  • Central Dam Safety Organisation of Central Water Commission, assisted by a Consulting firm, is coordinating and supervising the Project implementation.

▼ Telegana to set up first aero skills academy   [01-30-17]

The Telangana Government on 29th Jan 2017 said it has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with French Aerocampus Aquitaine for setting up Aero Skill Academy.

The scope of this partnership is to create a world-class aero skills academy.

The academy will be in collaboration with academia and industry based in the state capital.

“The project deliverables include identifying skill gaps, designing courses and enabling EASA (European Aviation Safety Agency) and DGCA (Directorate General of Civil Aviation) certifications for the academy and its courses.

This partnership focuses on developing skills across youth as well as experienced professionals in tune with the latest industry trends.

The new academy will offer specialised aeronautical courses in engineering, manufacturing and maintenance domains.

It will also offer long duration basic training programmes for young students and vocational training and short duration courses tailor-made to industry requirements for experienced technicians.

French Aerospace Aquitaine: Know More

  • Created in 2011.
  • AEROCAMPUS Aquitaine aims to be Europe’s largest provider of higher education and professional aeronautic training.
  • The association is deeply rooted in the local economic environment.
  • It operates in partnership with the biggest aeronautic industrials in the region.
  • 19 expert companies teamed up in 2012 to found the AEROCAMPUS Cluster, with the objective of keeping ahead of the industry’s professional training needs for all aeronautic applications.
  • This is ranging from maintenance and repairs to composites manufacturing, welding, advanced materials & coatings production and advanced assembly techniques.
  • In 2013 Paris Air Show, AEROCAMPUS Aquitaine signed an agreement for the first ever immersive Virtual Reality room entirely dedicated to training in France.

▼ Surya Namaskar Yajna recognised by US House of Reps   [01-30-17]

The annual Surya Namaskar Yajna or Health for Humanity Yogathon has been recognised in the US House of Representative.

This is on the occasion of its 10th anniversary.

Surya Namaskar integrates simple yoga postures in ten steps that along with teaching easy breathing techniques, can provide immense health benefits to both the body and the mind.

Hindus worldwide celebrate January 14th as Makar Sankranti–a day that marks the change of season as the sun enters the sign of Capricorn or Makar.

To mark this occasion, HSS has organised the “Yoga for Health, Health for Humanity Yogathon” from January 14 to January 29,” he said.

The 16-day event will raise awareness about yoga and its advantages in achieving a healthy body, mind, and spirit.

HSS Yajna: Know More

  • This comprises one million Sun Salutations known as Surya Namaskar.
  • The initiative aims to bring awareness among people about Yoga and its advantages in achieving healthy body, mind and spirit.
  • Surya Namaskar is a combination of few yoga postures called as “asana (asanas)”.
  • It is practiced in more than 40 different types all over the world.
  • These are set of well-balanced movements that will stretch all the muscles in the body, thus keeping the body and mind healthy.
  • Surya Namaskar is performed in a set of ten yoga postures provides exercise and several advantages to body muscles and internal organs.
  • Each year Hindus worldwide celebrate January 14th, as Makar Samkranti day, a change of season and the day the Sun enters the sign of Capricorn or Makar.
  • Makar Samkranti bring in longer days, thus the festivity symbolizes sunshine in the life.

▼ TROPEX 2017 launched by Indian armed forces.   [01-30-17]

Indian Navy’s Annual Theatre Readiness Operational Exercise (TROPEX) 2017 is being conducted off the Western Seaboard.

The month long exercise will see participation of ships and aircraft of both the Western and Eastern Naval Command.

It will also use assets from the Indian Air Force, Indian Army and the Indian Coast Guard.

TROPEX 17 exercise is aimed at testing combat readiness of the combined fleets of the Indian Navy.

It also tests assets of the Indian Army, Indian Air Force and Indian Coast Guard.

Aiming to strengthen inter-operability and joint operations in a complex environment, this is a critical war exercise.

Participating in it are major surface combatants and air assets of the Indian Navy including the aircraft carrier Vikramaditya, nuclear submarine Chakra, Landing Platform Dock (LPD) Jalashwa.

It will also see participation of recently commissioned destroyer Chennai, the P-8I long range maritime reconnaissance and anti-submarine warfare aircraft.

The assets of Indian Navy will operate alongside SU-30 MKI, Jaguars, AWACS, IL-78 Flight Refuelling Aircraft of the Indian Air Force and Infantry units of the Indian Army.

The last edition of TROPEX exercise was conducted in January 2015 and since its launch it has grown in scale and complexity over the years.

Indian Navy: Know More

  • Active : Since 1830
  • Country: India
  • Size: 79,023 active personnel
  • 295 ships & 251 aircraft
  • Part of Indian Armed Forces,(Ministry of Defence, Government of India)
  • Headquarters: New Delhi
  • Motto: शं नो वरुणः (Sanskrit) (May the Lord of the Water be auspicious for us)

▼ Mysuru gets first Post Office Passport Seva Kendra   [01-30-17]

Mysuru got India's first Post Office Passport Seva Kendra (POPSK).

This will offer all passport related services on the lines of PSKs.

The service will soon be expanded to neighbouring districts too.

It has been named as POPSK because the ministry of external affairs (MEA) has tied up with the postal department.

The facility will offer passport related services through a network of post offices.

It is the pilot project of MEA with Mysuru being the first to launch the service.

Authorities have plans to expand the network to facilitate residents in the rest of India.

A similar service was launched at Dahod in Gujarat the same day that is, 25th Jan 2017.

Mysuru is the fifth place in Karnataka to get a passport office.

This follows Bengaluru (two centres), Mangaluru, Hubballi and Kalaburgi.

Regional passport officers will train the postal department employees on processing an application.

Except printing and dispatch of passports, the POPSK will carry out all other operations.

This includes receiving an application, document verification and fee collection from applicants and facilitating further process by sending it to the regional passport office in Bengaluru.

This will cater to the needs of the people in Mysuru and Chamarajanagar districts having a population of 40 lakhs together.

It is a pilot project and the government has plans to open similar centres in all revenue districts across India using post office network.

This will facilitate in setting up a centre within a short period instead of creating a separate facility for handling passport related services.

As many as 6.5 lakh passports are issued in Karnataka every year, of which 45,000 are alone from Mysuru and Chamarajanagar region.

More than 750 revenue districts in the country, with more than 650 head post offices.

Based on the outcome of the pilot project, government plans to scale up this collaboration.

Passport Services in India

  • India ranks third in offering
  • China tops the list followed by the US.
  • India stands third with every year processing nearly 2 crore passport applications and issuing on an average 60,000 passports daily.
  • India has 89 PSKs as extended arms of 38 passport offices providing services.
  • Collaboration with India Post is a historic move.

▼ PM calls for elimination of disease on Anti Leprosy Day   [01-30-17]

Prime Minister, Shri Narendra Modi called for a collective effort to completely eliminate the ‘treatable disease’ of leprosy from India.

The Prime Minister recalled that Mahatma Gandhi had an enduring concern for people afflicted with leprosy.

His vision was not just to treat them, but also to mainstream them into our society, he added.

The Prime Minister said that the effort to eliminate leprosy from this country under the National Leprosy Eradication Programme was launched way back in 1955.

He noted that the goal of leprosy elimination as a public health problem i.e., prevalence rate of less than 1 case per 10,000 population at national level was achieved in 2005.

He said that although the case detection rate thereafter has marginally decreased, visible deformity at the time of diagnosis has increased.

A three-pronged strategy for early detection of leprosy cases is under the national health mission in 2016.

A special Leprosy Case Detection Campaign was carried out in 2016.

▼ National Film Heritage Mission (first phase) launched in Pune   [01-30-17]

Ministry of Information and Broadcasting is committed to safeguarding the country’s filmic and non-filmic heritage.

It is taking all necessary steps to preserve films and non-filmic material for posterity as per global standards through launch of Film Condition Assessment.

This is the first phase of implementation of National Film Heritage Mission, NFHM at Pune, Maharashtra.

This is a one-of-its-kind project in the world, wherein the Government is spending huge amount of money towards the aspect of film preservation.

A rich filmic heritage will be available for the future generations to come.

The condition of about 1,32,000 film reels at NFAI would be assessed and necessary measures would be taken to prolong their life.

Each film reel will be tracked and monitored through RFID tagging, during the first phase.

NFAI’s initiative of digitization of non-filmic material and ancillary material like posters, photos, song booklets, pamphlets, press clippings, slides / transparencies, glass negatives was undertaken.

NFHM: Know More

NFHM is the prestigious mission of Government of India.

It is for preservation, conservation, digitization and restoration of rich cinematic heritage of the country.

National Film Archive of India (NFAI) is the nodal organization for the implementation of this project.

INR.597.41 crore has been allotted towards implementation of the project, which was kick-started with launch of the first phase of the mission, Film Condition Assessment.

▼ China builds world's biggest solar park   [01-27-17]

China has built Longyangxia Dam Solar Park. This is the world’s biggest solar park in the western province of Qinghai.

China has made an effort to become the super powerful occupier of green energy.

The park covers an area over 27 square km and has capacity to produce 850 MW of power, enough to supply up to 200,000 households.

The construction of the solar park was started in 2013 at total costs around $875 million (around INR. 6,000 crore).

Qinghai: Know More

  • Area: 720,000 km²
  • Capital: Xining
  • Governor: Wang Jianjun
  • Secretary: Wang Guosheng

▼ Bangladeshi cyclists break world record for longest moving line of bikes   [01-27-17]

A staggering 1,186 cyclists have set the Guinness World Record for the longest line of moving bicycles.

They were recorded travelling together in a single file line down a highway in Bangladesh.

The large-scale event was organised by BDCyclists.

This is a non-profit social community that aims to promote healthy living as well as reduce congestion and pollution in the area by encouraging locals to cycle to work.

The goal of staying healthy in this stressful life and ride for recreation, commute, health, and eco friendly practices–which is a community initiative, was the core of this record.

Participants were required to ride continuously for a minimum of 3.2 km, ensuring that no significant gaps opened up in the enormous chain.

Though 1200 started in the challenge, some were disqualified for breaking the cycle. But the number (1186) was enough to break the earlier record of 984 achieved in 2015.

This was during the Sarajevo Grand Prix at Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina.

▼ After Jallikattu, now Kambala to be out of PETA   [01-27-17]

Hedging up its political capital ahead of the 2018 assembly polls, Karnataka government has sought amendment to the Prevention of Animal Cruelty Act of 1960.

It seeks to move the sport of Kambala and bullock carts race from attracting clauses.

The ban was imposed by the SC in the 2014 order along with Jallikattu and other sports.

The state could be cashing in on wide spread protests for Jallikattu in TN.

On 25th Jan 2017, law minister TB Jayachandra said the amendment bill will be moved in February joint session.

Kambala sport has been rooted in Karnataka tradition for 600 years.

The Government will also fix guidelines for the sport in the state to ensure no cruelty towards the bull.

Sport will be played under taluk and district magistrates to oversee the entire Kambala event in their jurisdiction.

Amendment to the act cannot be brought by state government as prevention of animal cruelty falls under concurrent list. Presidential assent will be required for the bill.

Symbolic Kambala is a Kannada traditional annual buffalo race in the marshy fields in coastal districts.

Kambala was once a pastime for the royal family.

According to one belief, the festival was started by the Hoysala Kings to see if the buffaloes could be trained and used during wartime.

The festival may also have originated in the farming community of Karnataka. It is dedicated to Lord Kadri Manjunatha, an incarnation of Lord Shiva.

Know More About Kambala

  • In the earlier days of the festival, it was called Karaga celebrations.
  • Later it came to be known as Kambala celebrations.
  • There are two types of Kambala: Pookere Kambala and Bale Kambala.
  • However Bale Kambala was discontinued 900 years ago, so only the former kind of Pookere Kambala gets celebrated.
  • The buffalo race in Karnataka takes place between November and March every year.
  • The places where it takes place are Baradi Beedu, Bolantur, Kolatta, Majalu, Puttur, Kamalakettu and Uppinagadi.
  • It is also called Kadri Kambala or Mangaluru Hobali Kambala.

▼ Did Mt. Everest shrink following Nepal Quake?   [01-25-17]

The height of Mount Everest will soon be "re-measured" by the Survey of India.

This is to determine whether the world's tallest peak has really shrunk following the earthquake in Nepal two years ago.

Mount Everest officially stands at 8,848 metres (29,028 feet) above sea level.

The project would help the future scientific studies as well, Surveyor General of India Swarna Subba Rao said.

Everest's height was declared in 1855.

Many others also measured it.

But the height given by Survey of India, even today, is taken as the correct height. It is 29,028 ft.

Mount Everest is planned to be measured this time by two methods - using Global Positioning System(GPS) and a ground method.

One is GPS. It is a survey instrument. It looks like a transistor. If you put it on the summit, say for 10 minutes, it tells you the height.

The Second is, ground method. Triangulation. The height can be calculated from ground.

A massive 7.8-magnitude earthquake struck Nepal in 2015, altering the landscape across the Himalayan nation.

▼ CNS Enzhou: China's 31st stealth warship commissioned   [01-24-17]

China (People’s Liberation Army Navy) has commissioned its 31st Type - 056 class corvette stealth warship named CNS Ezhou.

It features good manoeuvrability, a high-level of automation and stealth capability.

It is capable of attacking aircraft, ships and submarines.

It will be based in China’s East Sea Fleet in a naval base in Fujian province.

It will perform coastal patrol, fishery escort, anti-submarine and anti-ship operations.

At present, Russia has the world’s largest corvette group that consists of about 80 vessels, but most of them were built in the 1980s and 1990s.

Russian fleet cannot compete with the China’s Type - 056 in terms of technology and equipment.

China’s fleet is now claimed to be the biggest force of modern corvettes of all navies.

Stealth Ship: Know More

  • A stealth ship is a ship which employs stealth technology.
  • It uses these construction techniques in an effort to ensure that it is harder to detect.
  • Stealth ship cannot be detected by one or more of radar, visual, sonar, and infrared methods.
  • Wake and acoustic signature reduction (Acoustic quieting) are unique to stealth ships' design.

▼ Indian Ocean Rim Association nations sign MSME agreement   [01-23-17]

IORA member states have finalised an MoU for cooperation in SME (small and medium sized enterprises) sector.

MoUs were finalised at a New Delhi workshop on MSME Cooperation.

MoUs will take effect for each party following signatures by 5 nations.

Focus areas of the MoUs

  • Finalise linkages and alliances betweenMSME bodes and institutions in IORA countries.
  • Exchange best practices, programs and policies for MSME development.
  • Exchange greater involvement of MSMEs in the global supply chain and increase their market access.
  • Promote women and youth’s economic empowerment.
  • Encourage synergies with the IORA forum.
The coordinating agency for the MoU implementation is the Mauritius based IORA Secretariat.

For carrying out the MoU activities, IORA special fund will be created by member nations.

There are 14 IORA member states.

About IORA
  • International organisation comprising coastal states bordering the Indian Ocean.
  • Established: 1997
  • Aim: Promote cooperation in the Indian Ocean region.
  • Formerly known as IOR-ARC/ Indian Ocean Rim Association for Regional Cooperation.
  • IORA Secretariat: Ebene, Mauritius.
  • This tripartite regional forum brings together reps from Government, business and academia.
  • Based on the principles of Open Regionalism for economic cooperation.
  • IORA has 21 member states and 7 dialogue partners.
  • Observer status: Indian Ocean Research Group, Indian Ocean Tourism Organisation.

▼ India's biggest aircraft carrier, INS Vikramaditya becomes first to have an ATM   [01-23-17]

INS Vikramaditya becomes first warship to have ATM onboard.

Indian Navy’s largest warship, INS Vikramditya became the first warship to be equipped with its own dedicated ATM (Automated Teller Machine).

The ATM onboard of the ship will be provided by India’s largest public sector bank State Bank of India (SBI).

The services will be on the satellite link and will cater to over 2,000 naval personnel deployed on the aircraft carrier.

A currency chest will also be provided to keep running the ATM.

The ATM will ensure cash problems of the warship personnel will be resolved.

About INS Vikramaditya

  • Modified Kiev-class aircraft carrier purchased from Russia.
  • It had entered into service with the Indian Navy in 2013.
  • It was commissioned in November 2013 at a ceremony held at Severodvinsk, Russia.
  • It was formally inducted into the Indian Navy in 2014.
  • dedicated it to the nation by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in June 2014.

▼ AYUSH Ministry, ASCI ink MoU to regulate ads   [01-23-17]

The Union Ministry of AYUSH and Advertising Standards Council of India (ASCI) have signed a Memorandum of Understandings (MoUs).

Agreements are for co-regulation of malpractices in the advertisement of AYUSH sector.

ASCI will comprehensively monitor these advertisements across print and electronic media.

Monitoring will be for AYUSH (Ayurveda, Yoga and Naturopathy, Unani, Siddha and Homoeopathy) drugs, treatments and related services.

The ministry will also redirect complaints against misleading advertisements they receive to ASCI, which will be reviewed using the regulator’s code and guidelines.

The agreement also requires ASCI to report to the ministry, advertisements in potential violation of the Drugs and Magic Remedies (Objectionable Advertisements) Act, 1954.

This partnership will also be supported locally from the state licencing authorities and centrally through the ministry.

The arrangement would also ensure that any advertisement making claims for diseases and disorders, in violation of AYUSH ministry will be detected.

This partnership will provide the necessary support to our efforts in effectively curtailing misleading advertisements in this sector.

ASCI: Know More

  • Type: Public
  • Industry: Advertising
  • Founded: 1985
  • Headquarters: Mumbai, Maharashtra, India
  • Area served: India
  • Chairman: Narendra Ambwani, Chairman
  • Secretary General: Shweta Purandare
  • Website: ascionline.org

▼ India Innovation Index to measure performance of Indian states to be launched   [01-23-17]

The World Economic Forum (WEF), NITI Aayog, World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) and Cornell University will work to develop an India Innovation Index.

Index will provide impetus to states to drive innovative spirit.

Based on the WIPO’s GII (Global Innovation Index), the India Innovation Index will be tailored to better reflect of India’s ground reality.

It will include metrics well suited to the Indian context for innovation.

India’s ranking rose considerably in the Global Innovation Index (GII) 2016 and the country is now an Innovation Achiever.

The index will be based on key pillars of innovation and sub-indices that together will assist in tailoring policies that promote inclusive growth.

The pillars include the strength of institutions, capacity of human capital and research, supporting infrastructure and the level of business sophistication.

Each partnering organization will nominate a working group member to work on the index.

The first ranking of Indian states is expected to be released at the India Economic Summit in October 2017.

▼ WEF, UCSB partner to protect world’s ocean economy    [01-23-17]

The World Economic Forum and UCSB’s Marine Science Institute (MSI) have announced a partnership to improve health of world’s oceans and maritime resources.

This partnership will tap the potential of public-private cooperation.

It will usher the 4th industrial revolution to help the international community meet the ocean sustainable development goal.

It will be supported by the Benioff Ocean Initiative for using science to improve ocean health, and the David and Lucile Packard Foundation to fund advance ocean science, protection and management.

The fundamental intention of this JV is to translate the previously conducted ocean experiments and their suggestions into action.

This will help the members of the undertaking to improve the general oceanic health and marine resources, which annual is around $2.5 trillion.

As per World Wildlife Fund, the annual worth of goods and services produced by the seas and aquatic communities is estimated to be approximate $2.5 trillion.

However, due to the reducing efficiency of oceans to produce services and goods, the livelihoods of around 80% populace of the world are being affected, necessitating protection.

Ocean Economy: Know More

  • According to the World Wildlife Fund (WWF), oceans generate goods and services worth an estimated $2.5 trillion per year.
  • This is equivalent to the 7th largest economy in the world.
  • Ocean and seas, have acquired 97% of the entire earth.
  • Rather than creating life-saving oxygen and absorbing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, the presence of oceanic community is also benefiting the global economy.
  • Therefore, World Economic Forum and the Marine Science Institute of the University of California, Santa Barbara (UCSB) has started a joint venture.
  • It is for protecting the marine life and aquatic communities across the globe.

▼ India becomes associate member of CERN   [01-19-17]

India has become an associate member of CERN w.e.f 16th Jan 2017 with the Indian government completing internal approval procedures. This is based on agreement signed with CERN in Nov 2016.

On Nov 21, 2016, Sekhar Basu, Chairman of the Atomic Energy Commission and DAE secretary signed the agreement. CERN DG Fabiola Gianotti was the other signatory.

As an associate member, India will have total access to all data generated in CERN. Prior to this, India could get data only from experiments it was participating in.

India can participate in all experiments now and choose which ones it wants to participate in.

Indian industry will also be entitled to bid for CERN contracts, which will allow it to work in areas of advanced technology.

“Make in India” will get a boost due to CERN. Indian scientists will become eligible for staff appointments.

It will enhance the participation of young scientists and engineers in operation and maintenance of various CERN projects.

India has to pay about INR 40 crore a year as an Associate member.

India has been actively involved in CERN’s scientific activities for over 50 years.

LHC accelerator and ALICE and CMS experiments, as well as to accelerator R&D projects are some projects where Indians scientists have participated.

In 1991, India and CERN signed a Cooperation Agreement.

It was setting priorities for scientific and technical cooperation.

India and CERN have signed several other protocols since then.

India’s involvement in CERN began in the 1960s with researchers from the TIFR participating in experiments at CERN.

In the 1990s scientists from Raja Ramanna Centre for Advanced Technology, Indore too got involved in CERN experiment.

India was granted Observer status to the CERN Council in 2002.

CERN: Know More

  • The CERN convention was signed in 1953.
  • It was signed by the 12 founding state.
  • Currently, CERN has 22 member states.
  • Besides India, Turkey, Pakistan, Ukraine are Associate members.
  • Serbia and Cyprus are associate members in the pre-stage to membership.

▼ Hilsa fish to get legal protection in West Bengal   [01-19-17]

West Bengal fisheries department has proposed to give legal protection to Hilsa Fish.

The aim is to arrest its dwindling population.

Fisheries department is speaking to the state home department to bring about provisions in CrpC and IPC.

With the formal introduction of the provisions, Hilsa will become the first fish variety in the country to get legal protection.

It will lead to arrest or fine anyone for selling, catching and buying small Hilsa.

Hilsa is commonly called “khoka ilish” in Bengal.

Hilsa fish is on brink of extinction due to decades of migration barriers, over-fishing and pollution.

Earlier as a protection measure, state government had declared five hilsa sanctuaries on the Hooghly river from Farakka to Sagar .

Covering a stretch of 250 km, here, fishing has been banned between June-August and October-December.

▼ Oxfam: Gap between rich and poor widens   [01-18-17]

Research by the human rights watchdog found that the eight richest men on the planet have a collective worth of US$426 billion.

This includes six American businessmen, including Facebook co-founder Mark Zuckerberg, Amazon creator Jeff Bezos and Microsoft founder Bill Gates, who remains the world’s richest man.

By contrast, the combined fortunes of 3.6 billion of the world’s poorest inhabitants adds up to a just US$409 billion.

The figures showed the gap between rich and poor is far greater than had been feared. It has also pointed to a growing discontent with mainstream politics around the world.

The report was released on the eve of the 47th Annual Meeting of the World Economic Forum in Switzerland. The report by Oxfam was titled “An economy for the 99 per cent”.

Inequality will be among the issues topping the agenda as 3000 members of the world’s business and political elite meet in Davos

The theme of this year’s summit is “Responsive and responsible leadership.”

In its report Oxfam called for an increase in tax rates targeting rich individuals and cooperations. It also highlighted the need for a global agreement to end competition between countries to lower corporate tax rates.

The report found that between 1988 and 2011, the incomes of the poorest 10 per cent increased by just US$65, while the incomes of the richest one per cent grew by US$11,800 - 182 times as much.

Oxfam said the world’s richest one per cent had as much wealth as the rest of the world combined.

THE RICHEST MEN IN THE WORLD

These eight billionaires have a combined wealth of 3.6 billion of the poorest people on the planet, according to Oxfam:

1. BILL GATESUS founder of Microsoft Corp - net worth US $75 billion
2. AMANCIO ORTEGAFounder of Spain’s Inditex, Zara fashion chain - net worth US$67 billion
3. WARREN BUFFETTUS CEO, largest shareholder in Berkshire Hathaway - net worth US$60.8 billion
4. CARLOS SLIM HELUOwner of Mexico’s Grupo Carso - net worth US$50 billion
5. JEFF BEZOSUS founder, chairman, CEO of Amazon - net worth: US$45.2 billion
6. MARK ZUCKERBERGUS chairman, CEO, co-founder of Facebook - net worth US$44.6 billion
7. LARRY ELLISONUS co-founder, CEO of Oracle - net worth US$43.6 billion
8. MICHAEL BLOOMBERGUS founder, owner, CEO of Bloomberg LP - net worth: US$40 billion

▼ German Passport most powerful, India ranks 78.   [01-18-17]

Indian passports have ranked a low 78 in international ranking of the world's most powerful passports.

Germany topped the ranking with a visa-free score of 157 while Singapore overtook South Korea to become the top ranked Asian passport with visa free score of 156.

India is at 78th position with visa-free score of 46. China and Pakistan ranked 58th and 94th on the list respectively.

The least powerful passport with a visa-free score of 23 was Afghanistan.

The ranking was by Arton Capital's Passport Index. It is based on cross border access of national passports.

This is an interactive tool which collects, displays and ranks the passports globally. It assigns a "visa-free score" according to the number of countries a passport holder can visit visa-free or with visa on arrival.

The newly added 'World Openness Score' (WOS) tracks the progression of freedom of mobility across the globe.

The WOS in 2016 was 17,925. In the first month of 2017, the score has already increased to 17,948.

Citizenship by investment has become a $2 billion industry, with over 20,000 investors seeking a second residency or citizenship around the globe every year.

▼ Jaipur, Ahmedabad airports to be privatised    [01-18-17]

The Airports Authority of India (AAI) has decided to privatise terminal operations at its Jaipur and Ahmedabad airports.

It has invited bids from global firms with a promise to give the winning bidder a free hand in replacing existing airport staff.

AAI officials said that about 230 workers were employed at the Jaipur airport in total, while Ahmedabad airport employed about 330 staff.

The AAI Chairman said only a limited number of direct employees worked in the terminal side of the airports.

He said private operators who bid for the lowest management cost and the highest rise in airport revenue will bag the terminal management contract for a period of 15 years

According to the bid document, the developer will manage passenger terminal building, including fire control room, kerbside approach road and passenger boarding bridges.

The developer will further supervise ground handling services, car parking and all terminal approach roads along with assets, equipment and machinery at the two airports.

The AAI will continue looking after operations and maintenance of airside facilities at these two airports including runway, taxiway, cargo complex and other city side facilities.

AAI: Know More

  • Industry: Aviation sector
  • Founded: 1 April 1995
  • Headquarters: Rajiv Gandhi Bhawan, Safdarjung Airport, New Delhi-110003
  • Key Executives and Officials: Dr.Guruprasd Mohapatra , Chairman, M. Sathiyavathy, DGCA
  • Members: S.Suresh, Member(Finance), Anuj Aggarwal, Member(HR), A K Dutta, Member(ANS)

▼ Australia returns three antiques to India   [01-17-17]

NEW DELHI: Australia has returned to India three antiquities, including two stone statues.

These were illegally exported out of the country in the recent past, the MEA said on 16th Jan 2017 namely:

  • The granite stone image of Pratyangira from Tamil Nadu,
  • Marble stele showing devotees of Buddha from Andhra Pradesh and
  • Red stand stone image of Buddha from Mathura region
Objects were in possession of National Gallery of Australia in Canberra.

The objects are currently kept at the Central Antiquities Collection at Purana Qila in New Delhi.

Pratyangira image is a case property of Idol Wing of Tamil Nadu Police and it would be handed over to them after a temporary display at the National Museum.

▼ MEA joins hands with US government MCC to strengthen regional connectivity   [01-16-17]

The Indian ministry of external affairs has joined hands with the US government's Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) to strengthen regional integration and connectivity.

This is more so particularly in the areas of energy, trade and investment in third countries.

The agreement is to promote economic growth, development, regional cooperation and connectivity. Proposed cooperation between MCC and MEA's Development Partnership Administration was in line with that spirit.

MCC is a US government agency. It provides eligible countries with grants to fund country-led solutions. It works for reducing poverty through sustainable economic growth.

DPA concerns implementation of India's development cooperation programmes with partner countries.

The two agencies will pursue a range of activities designed for:

  • Promoting sustainable economic growth,
  • Identifying and developing strategic opportunities and
  • Cooperating at the country or regional level in mutually-identified countries or regions (partner countries).
The two agencies will also look to facilitate site visits to cross-border projects.

The partnership is also significant in the context of the US-India Joint Strategic Vision for the Asia-Pacific and Indian Ocean Region which the two countries signed in 2015.

MCC: Know More
  • Formed: January 2004
  • Headquarters: Washington, D.C.
  • Employees: Around 300 (2011)
  • CEO: Dana J. Hyde
  • Website: www.mcc.gov

▼ Guess which password was the most common for 2016?   [01-16-17]

It is none other than 123456 followed by 123456789 and qwerty according to scientists who reviewed 10 million security codes becoming public following data breach.

In the top 10 list, 4 passwords were six characters or shorter namely '12345678', '111111', '1234567890', '1234567', 'password', '123123', '987654321.'

Brute force cracking software and hardware can beat these passwords in seconds!

Nearly 17 per cent of users are safeguarding their accounts with '123456'.

What really perplexed scientists is that so many website operators are not enforcing password security best practices.

The study found that the list of most-frequently used passwords has changed little over the past few years, which means that user education has limits.

The presence of passwords like '1q2w3e4r' and '123qwe' indicates that some users attempt to use unpredictable patterns to secure passwords,.

Dictionary-based password crackers know how to look for sequential key variations and can crack such passwords in seconds.

▼ ILO report says unemployment on the rise in India   [01-16-17]

According to the World Employment and Social Outlook for 2017, number of unemployed people is set to rise in India by 1 lakh in 2017.

The ILO report has further stated a rise by another 2 lakh in 2018.

The report was based on projections of econometric modelling in Nov 2016.

Report found India to be in the category of emerging nations.

Key Statistics: ILO Report

India

  • Number of jobless in India will increase from 17.7 million in 2016 to 18 million by 2018.
  • India's unemployment rate is expected to go down from 3.5% to 3.4% in 2017.
  • India performed slightly well in terms of job creation in 2016, as majority of the 13.4 million new employment were created.

  • Global

  • Globally, the number of jobless people will increase by 3.4 million in 2017.
  • The global unemployment rate is expected to rise slightly from 5.7 to 5.8% in 2017.
  • It is held pace of labour force growth will outstrip job creation.
  • The rise in unemployment levels and rates in 2017 will be driven by deteriorating labour market conditions in emerging countries.
  • Vulnerable forms of employment, which include own account workers and contributing family workers are expected to stay above 42% of total employment.
  • About 1.4 billion people are likely to be engaged in such employment in 2017, with the number rising by 11 million per year.
  • Sub-Saharan Africa and Southern Asia will be the most affected.
  • In developing countries, the number of workers earning less than US$3.10 per day is even expected to increase by more than 5 million over the next two years.
  • Global uncertainty and the lack of decent jobs are, among some of the other factors influencing social ecosystems.

▼ Socio Economic and Caste Census Expert Group submits report   [01-16-17]

The expert group set up to prepare Socio Economic and Caste Census has submitted the report to the Ministry of Rural Development.

Expert group was headed by former Finance Secretary Submit Bose.

Objective of the group is to study criteria for allocation of resources to states and identify beneficiaries under several programmes using SECC data.

The MoRD will use the SECC data for identifying beneficiaries and generating priority list of beneficiaries under the programmes.

In association with this, appropriate guidelines for inter state allocation to cover households were issued

Households will be covered under Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana and Deendayal Antyodaya Yojana/National Rural Livelihood Mission.

Use of SECC data and TIN number enables the government to improve the efficacy of interventions and result in improved outcome.

SECC can function like a Social Registry Information System, and use of its daya will lead to better budgetary planning and allocation of resources.

▼ Guided Pinaka rocket mark-II successfully launched    [01-16-17]

Pinaka rocket converted to a Guided Pinaka was successfully test-fired from launch complex-III, ITR, Chandipur on Jan 13, 2017.

Research Center Imarat of DRDO developed the navigation system for the Guided Pinaka.

The Pinaka rocket Mark-II, which developed from Pinaka Mark-I is equipped with a navigation, guidance and control kit has been transformed to a Guided Pinaka.

This conversion has bettered the range and accuracy of Pinaka.

The radars, electro-optical and telemetry systems at Chandipur tracked and monitored the vehicle all through the flight-path.

The Guided Pinaka is developed jointly by:

  • ARDE Pune,
  • RCI Hyderabad and
  • DRDL Hyderabad.
ITR Chandipur gave the range and launch support.

The army has two Pinaka regiments currently.

The range of the Pinaka multiple launch rocket System by DRDO has a range of 40km for Mark-1.

The Mark-11 Pinaka has a range of 65km.

The ministry of defence will spend INR 3,306 cr on adding two more Pinaka regiments.

The Pinaka rocket are manufactured by Tata Group and L & T.

The Pinaka system is mounted on a truck.

From this system, 12 rockets with extremely explosive material can be fired in a span of only 44 seconds.

The rocket was fired from a multi-barrel rocket launcher (MBRL).

Instant reaction time and high rate of fire of the system gives an edge to the Army during a low-intensity conflict situation.

The weapon's capability for several types of warheads makes it deadly for the enemy. It can even destroy solid structures.

▼ Veteran Congress leader Eduardo Faleiro conferred Portuguese knighthood   [01-16-17]

Portuguese Prime Minister Antonio Costa on 13th Jan 2017 honoured former Union Minister of State for External Affairs Eduardo Faleiro.

Faleiro was honoured with the 'Grande Oficial da Ordem do Infante da Henrique', the Portuguese national order of knighthood.

The order was bestowed on Mr. Faleiro (76), a veteran Congress leader, by Mr. Costa.

Bestowed on individuals for services in the expansion of Portuguese culture, the order honours those who promote Portugal history and its values.

Faleiro studied in Portugal. He was an MLA in Goa and the MP of Both Houses of Parliament.

He established good diplomatic relations as Union Minister of MEA with Portugal.

Paulo Varela Gomes, a historian and ex director of the Fundacao Oriente, an institution for cultural activities in Goa, was posthumously awarded a Cultural Merit Medal.

His wife Patricia Vieira accepted the medal.

▼ Operation Sard Hawa BSF to protect infiltration in Rajasthan   [01-16-17]

To keep vigil on instances of infiltration due to dense fog in the western international border of Rajasthan, BSF on 15th Jan 2017 launched Sard Hawa, an operation.

The operation will continue till January 28.

The purpose of the operation is to keep a hawk's eye on the international border, where vigil has been beefed-up and officers have also been asked to be part of operation to motivate jawans.

About BSF

  • Headquarters New Delhi, India
  • Minister responsible: Rajnath Singh, Minister of Home Affairs
  • Agency executive: K.K Sharma Director General, BSF
  • Parent agency: Ministry of Home Affairs

▼ World's largest library gets its first librarian for the day   [01-16-17]

A 4 year old Daliyah Arana from Gainesville Georgia became the first ever librarian for the day at US Library of Congress.

The US Library of Congress is the world's largest library and is located in the United States.

Arana was librarian on Jan 11, 2017.

She has read more than 1,000 books. She joined Librarian of Congress Carla Hayden.

Hayden made history in 2016, being the first female and the first African-American to hold the position.

Arana has taken part in 1,000 Books Before Kindergarten Programme –a programme that promotes reading for young kids.

The Library of Congress now plans to invite other young book-lovers as 'Librarians For The Day' in the future.

US Library of Congress: Know More

  • Address: 101 Independence Ave SE, Washington, DC 20540, USA
  • Founded: 1800, Washington, D.C., United States
  • Director: Carla Hayden (Librarian of Congress)

▼ China's first aircraft formation completes war drills on SCS islands   [01-16-17]

China's first aircraft carrier formation moved close to Taiwan and conducted drills in the disputed South China Sea.

It has returned to Qingdao port after finishing exercises and testing combat-capability.

The formation included aircraft carrier Liaoning, a number of destroyers, some J-15 carrier-based fighter jets and helicopters.

The fleet sailed through the Bohai Sea the Yellow Sea, the East China Sea and the South China sea.
Formation passed through the Miyakato, Bashi and Taiwan straits, according to the People's Liberation Army Navy (PLAN).

Taiwan protectively rushed fighter jets and naval ships.

J-15 fighter jets on board the carrier carried out exercises including taking off and landing in different hydrological and meteorological conditions. It also is capable of air-combat tactics, air refuelling and others.

China is currently manufacturing second aircraft carrier with plans to build a third one.

▼ SeaBubbles : Flying water taxis powered by river currents   [01-16-17]

Flying water taxis run on power generated by river currents could be tested on Thames in London; the electric boats are called SeaBubbles.

These have hydrofoils to lift them out of the water, reducing the drag allowing them to reach 25 knots.

This creates a ride likened to the magic carpet.

This comes with specially designed dock with numerous turbines in the water. As the solar panels will supply power needed to run the boats, they are “off grid.”

Five SeaBubbles are due to start a trial on the River Seine in Paris too.

SeaBubble was more efficient than traditional boats because of the hydrofoils. As you lift the hull out of the water you lose 40% of the drag.

With the system, with the water turbines below the docks, one can create the energy needed to operate the fleet.

The river currents are 24 hours.

It stores the energy in 'power walls' (batteries) to run the taxis for 12 to 15 hours, depending on the power of the river and the size of the turbines.

▼ INS Khanderi: India's second indigenously built Scorpene launched   [01-13-17]

INS Khanderi, the second indigenously built Scorpene submarine, was launched. It was at the Mazagon Dock Shipbuilders Limited (MDL) in Mumbai on 12th Jan 2017.

The submarine's features include superior stealth and the ability to launch a crippling attack on the enemy using precision guided weapons.

The attack can be launched with torpedoes, as well as with tube-launched anti-ship missiles, while underwater or on surface.

The submarine is designed to operate in all theatres, including the tropics.

All means and communications are provided to ensure interoperability with other components of a naval task force.

It can undertake multifarious types of missions, i.e anti-surface warfare, anti-submarine warfare, intelligence gathering, mine laying, area surveillance, etc.

Khanderi is the second of the six submarines being built at the MDL in collaboration with DCNS of France.

It is part of Project-75 of the Indian Navy.

The first one, Kalvari, is completing sea trials and will be commissioned shortly into the Navy.

Khanderi is named after the Island fort of Maratha forces ensuring their supremacy at sea in the late 17th century.

Khanderi is also the name of Tiger Shark.

Submarine has been built on principle of modular construction. This involves dividing the submarine into a number of sections and outfitting them concurrently.

All equipment has been installed in the submarine, with 95 per cent cabling and piping also being completed.

The important safety milestone of vacuum-testing was completed in the first attempt itself on January 5.

This matched the record of Kalvari.

As per tradition, ships and submarines of the Navy are brought alive again after decommissioning.

The first INS Khanderi was commissioned into the Navy on December 6, 1968 and decommissioned on October 18, 1989.

Indian Submarine Day

  • The Indian Navy’s submarine arm will complete 50 years on December 8, 2017.
  • Submarine Day is celebrated every year to commemorate the birth of the submarine arm with the induction of the first submarine (Kalvari, into the Navy on December 8, 1967).
  • Submarine contracting nations were joined by India on Feb 7, 1992 with the commissioning of INS Shalki.
  • This was followed by INS Shankul.

▼ CNS Kaiyangxing or Mizar: Sixth electronic reconnaissance ship by China   [01-13-17]

CNS Kaiyangxing or Mizar, China's new electronic reconnaissance ship has been added to its expanding fleet. The PLA now has 6 electronic reconnaissance vessels.

In 2016, the PLA Navy commissioned 18 ships, including missile destroyers, corvettes and guided missile frigates.

China has also said it is building a second aircraft carrier. China's only carrier is the second-hand, Soviet-built Liaoning.

CNS Kaiyangxing or Mizar, with hull code 856, was on Tuesday delivered to a combat support flotilla of the North Sea Fleet at the eastern port of Qingdao.

Capable of all-weather, round-the-clock reconnaissance on multiple and different targets, it is a sophisticated system.

China Is currently involved in a spat with its neighbours on SCS islands.

Brunei, Malaysia, the Philippines, Taiwan and Vietnam also have claims on these islands.

▼ Aziz Ansari: First Indian American to host Saturday Night Live   [01-13-17]

Indian American comedian and TV star Aziz Ansari will become comedy sketch SNL's first host of South Asian descent.

He was also the first Indian American to be nominated for outstanding lead actor in a comedy at the Emmy.

The 33-year-old stand up comic won his first Emmy for comedy series “Master of None” for outstanding writing.

Other “Saturday Night Live” hosts of Asian descent include Lucy Liu and Jackie Chan, who both hosted the show in 2000. Bruno Mars and Fred Armisen, who are multiracial, have also hosted.

▼ IGI Airport - First in world to adopt performance digital platform Arc   [01-13-17]

Indira Gandhi International Airport claimed to be the world's first aerodrome to adopt Arc.

Arc is a unique performance and benchmarking digital platform.

The digital platform at T3 helps in monitoring and tracking building performance and has been developed by Green Business Certification Inc and US Green Building Council.

USGBC is a global certifying body for all Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design projects.

It will be used by airport operators to measure and manage performance of the airport on resource consumption, quality of passenger space and carbon emissions.

Airport authorities will measure, manage and improve performance against other green building projects in the world.

IGI’s Terminal 3 had earned LEED Gold certification in 2011 under the new construction category.

Know More About LEED

  • Stands for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design
  • It is one of the most popular green building certification programs used worldwide.
  • Developed by the non profit US Green Building Council.
  • It includes a set of rating systems for design, construction, operation and maintenance of green buildings, homes and neighbourhoods.
  • It aims to build owners and operators to be environmentally responsible and use resources effectively.

  • Top 10 Busiest Airports in the World

  • In 2015, twelve of the 30 busiest airports are located North America.
  • Six are located in Europe; one each in France, Germany, the Netherlands, Spain, Turkey and the United Kingdom.
  • The rest are located in Asia; four are in China and one each in India, Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, Singapore, South Korea, Thailand and the UAE.

▼ Largest tremor in Andaman Sumatra to have created plate boundary on Indian Ocean floor   [01-13-17]

Largest tremor that shook the Andaman-Sumatra region in 2012 may be resulting in a plate boundary on the Indian Ocean floor.

This is according to scientists who warn that the new fault system could trigger more quakes in the future.

Evidence of a possible new plate boundary forming on the floor of the Indian Ocean in the Wharton Basin has been found.

A slip-strike quake occurs when two plates slide horizontally against one another.

Such quakes can be caused by deformations that occur in plates distant from fault lines as pressure builds up across a plate.

They can lead to inter-plate earthquakes and cause a plate to break, resulting in a new boundary and this in turn can lead to even more quakes.

It is this scenario that the researchers believe happened in 2012 when two earthquakes struck the Andaman-Sumatran region (north-west part) of the Indian Ocean - the largest inter-plate earthquakes ever recorded.

Data also proved the plate had broken along a 1,000 km fracture zone, resulting in a new plate boundary - one that is likely to be the site of future fault-slip quakes.

Know More About Wharton Basin

  • Wharton Basin is the marine area of the north east quarter of the Indian Ocean.
  • It is named after William Wharton (1843-1905), Hydrographer of the Navy.
  • Alternative names are Cocos Basin (after the Cocos Islands) and West Australian Basin.
  • It lies east of the Ninety East Ridge and west of Western Australia.
  • It features a mix of Indian and Australian plates and has not been charted since 1960s.

▼ Dhanush to be inducted to Indian army   [01-10-17]

Indian Army has carried out user validation trials of indigenous Advanced Towed Artillery Gun System Dhanush in the Himalayas.

This clears the way for induction in the army. Proof firing tests of Dhanush armament systems were carried out using technical trials in 2016.

DRDO in collaboration with private sector companies has developed this gun system– it was designed by DRDO Armament Research and Development Establishment.

This is the nation's first self made, long range artillery gun. The gun system was designed by Gun Carriage Factory in Jabalpur, part of the Ordnance Factory Board.

What is Project 155?

Project 155 has been a code name for Dhanush since Oct 2012. Efforts to upgrade the Bofors gun beyond 30km was not successful.

From 39 to 52 calibre guns, the systems have advanced considerably.

Features of Dhanush

This is a self propelled gun with limited mobility. It is designed to shoot and scoot, to avoid being bombarded by enemy radars.

The gun can cover a distance of 5km in an hour's time. Weighing 12.7 tonnes and INR 13 crore a piece, Dhanush has seen investment of INR 100 crore till date.

81 percent of the 8500 components which make a Dhanush gun coming from indigenous sources. This is a Make in India initiative.

It can fire older as well as next generation charges. Dhanush has improved laying speed and firing accuracies.

It can correct itself using data even when it fires.

Target impact area covered increased by 100% over Bofors.

Dhanush has modified loading trough for all types of charges. Modified double baffle muzzle brake limits stress on the structure. Gun can auto lay and has a fire control computer on board.

From indigenously producing full manual 105mm Light Field Gun with a range of 17km, Dhanush represents a massive change.

Dhanush 155 MM/45 calibre gun is based on the 1980s’ Bofors FH-77B/39 Calibre artillery gun design. It was aided by the transfer of technology (ToT) clause signed with the Swedish company.

This gun system was first unveiled in February 2014.

Dhanush: Know More

  • Designer: Ordnance Factories Board/DRDO
  • Designed: 2010-2013
  • Manufacturer: Ordnance Factories Board
  • Unit cost: US$ 2.11 million (INR 14 crore)
  • Produced: 2015 onwards
  • Number built: 6 (2015) / 414 (by 2020)

▼ Norway : First country to switch off FM radio network   [01-9-17]

Norway is set to become the first country in the world to switch off its FM radio network.

The Scandinavian country’s parliament has approved a proposal to shift to Digital Audio Broadcasting (DAB).

The shutdown of FM (frequency modulation) radio will begin on January 11, 2017 from the northern city of Bodoe.

Norwegian government claims that Radio digitization will help to save money and allow national radio stations to invest more in radio content.

It will also open the door to a far greater range of radio channels, benefiting listeners across the country.

Know More About Norway

  • Capital: Oslo
  • Currency: Norwegian krone
  • Population: 5.084m (2013) World Bank
  • Official languages: Norwegian, Bokmål, Nynorsk, Saami, North

▼ Astronaut Peggy Whitson : Oldest woman to spacewalk   [01-9-17]

When Peggy Whitson completed a spacewalk for NASA on Jan 7, 2016, the 56 year old became the oldest woman to perform one.

That's no mean feat because the spacewalk was six-and-a-half hours long. When she took off for the International Space Station in November, Whitson also became the oldest woman to travel to space ever.

When she finishes her current mission, called Expedition 50/51, Whitson will hold the record for the most time spent in space–377 days-by any American astronaut. This was her seventh spacewalk

On her current mission, Whitson will spend six months in space - in fact, she will turn 57 up there next month. The purpose of the mission is a power upgrade on the International Space Station.

This was the first of two power upgrade spacewalks. During the six-hour-and-thirty-two-minute spacewalk, the two NASA astronauts successfully installed three new adapter plates and hooked up electrical connections for three of the six new lithium-ion batteries on the International Space Station, according to NASA scientists.

Know More About NASA

  • Formed : July 29, 1958; 58 years ago
  • Preceding agency : NACA (1915–1958)
  • Jurisdiction: United States government
  • Headquarters: Washington, D.C.
  • Employees: Around 17,345

  • Key Officers
  • Charles Bolden, Administrator
  • Dava Newman, Deputy Administrator

▼ Hayden Cross: First British man to give birth   [01-9-17]

A British man, Hayden Cross has put his gender transition on hold to have a baby after finding a sperm donor on social media and is expected to become the first UK male to give birth.

Living as a man for three years, Cross is already part-way through hormone treatment to transform from a woman to a man. But the 20-year-old's full transition was paused after the UK's state-funded National Health Service (NHS) refused to carry out a 4,000-pounds process to freeze his eggs.

The ex supermarket worker found a sperm donor through FB and is now pregnant. He is expected to be the first UK male to give birth.

▼ Centre to ban 18 pesticides   [01-9-17]

Acting on advice of an expert committee, the Centre will ban use of 18 pesticides in India as it involves risk to humans and animals.

The Union agriculture ministry has issued an order, asking manufacturers, importers and state authorities to completely ban 12 of the identified pesticides from January 1, 2018 and remaining six from December 31, 2020.

Though these were banned or restricted in other areas, they continued to be used in India. Some of these were heavily toxic for honey bees and birds.

Use of these pesticides also contaminates water bodies and thereby affects aquatic organisms.

The decision to ban these pesticides is taken after considering recommendations of an expert committee, headed by former national professor of the Indian Agricultural Research Institute (IARI) Anupam Varma.

The committee, constituted in July 2013, had reviewed use of 66 pesticides which are banned or restricted in many countries.

Since the ban will come into force beginning early next year, the ministry has instructed current importers and manufacturers to incorporate in the label and leaflet of the product about the danger associated with the use of specific pesticide to water bodies and aquaculture or its toxic effect to human being, honey bees and birds.

▼ In a first, Sikh US army personnel allowed faith based directives   [01-6-17]

In a milestone for Sikhs, US Army commanders have been ordered to allow those of the faith to wear turbans, karas and keep their beards.

Army Secretary Eric Fanning on 4th Jan 2016 signed the order that said the soldier’s brigade-level commander will approve a request for a religious accommodation” by Sikhs. Up till now Sikhs had to get permission from the Army Secretary, a cumbersome process prone to delays and not automatically given.

Permission has now been given except in certain cases involving their safety like exposure to poison gases. Once it is granted they can keep the exemption for most positions in the military.

The order also allows Muslims to wear hijabs. Muslim men can also keep beards.

▼ UK ambassador to EU, Sir Ivan Rogers resigns   [01-4-17]

The UK ambassador to the EU, Sir Ivan Rogers on 3rd Jan 2016 unexpectedly resigned from the post weeks after Brexit negotiations with the economic bloc.

Senior diplomat Rogers was expected to lead Brexit negotiations with the economic bloc but said instead that leaving the EU could take up to 10 years.

Labour MP Hilary Benn is the chair of the UK Parliament Brexit Select Committee and said this will obstruct the handover.

Rogers was at the post of United Kingdom Permanent Representation to the European Union (UKRep).

This post represents the UK in negotiations that take place in the EU.

The team is sourced from 20 UK govt departments to ensure UK policies are explained to:

  • EU member states
  • European Commission
  • European parliament

  • The civil servant was set to leave his post in Nov 2017, but is stepping down earlier.

    Brexit

  • PM May announced invocation of A50 of the Lisbon Treaty.
  • Official talks as per this treaty will be conducted on Brexit.

  • Organisations advocating and campaigning for a referendum:

  • People's Pledge Labour for a Referendum

  • Leave:

  • Vote Leave (official lead group)
  • Business for Britain Conservatives for Britain Students for Britain Labour Leave Leave.EU
  • Bpoplive (cancelled) Grassroots Out Get Britain Out The Freedom Association
  • Better Off Out
  • Other anti-EU advocacy organisations :
  • Bruges Group Campaign for an Independent Britain

    Remain:
  • Britain Stronger in Europe (official lead group) Labour In for Britain European Movement UK
  • Other pro-EU advocacy organisations:
  • Britain in Europe
  • British Influence Business for New Europe
  • New Europeans Nucleus

▼ France levies terror tax   [01-2-17]

French Government is levying ‘terror tax’ on the property insurance policies of French citizens to help finance a fund for victims of the extremist attacks that have recently hit the country.

The measure comes into force on from 1 January 2017 and requires policy holders to contribute 5.90 euros.

French government earlier in October 2016 had launched scheme that about 90 million insurance policies are floating the fund which currently has reserves of 1.45 billion euros.

More than 200 people have died in France in attacks over the last 20 months.

▼ Union Health Ministry issues new guidelines for EHR   [01-2-17]

The Union health ministry has issued new standards and guidelines for implementation of interoperable electronic health records (EHR).

This is a move seen as the foundation for digitalisation of healthcare data in the country.

The standards, notified by the ministry, aim to set uniform norms for capturing, storage, retrieval, exchange, and analytics of healthcare data and information, including images and clinical codes.

It also puts forth guidelines for maintaining privacy and confidentiality of such information.

With rise of self and home care devices and systems, meaningful healthcare data is constantly getting generated.

Such data also have long-term clinical relevance and helps the government and healthcare agencies establish public health trends in specific areas.

The move is also expected to help patients as they would not be required to repeat diagnosis and similar procedures, which will translate into faster treatment at lower cost.

What is an EHR?

  • An EHR is a collection of various medical records that get generated during any clinical encounter or events.
  • EHR, in line with PM Modi's Digital India initiative, will build a cloud based hospital application where real-time health data will be fed from all hospitals.
  • This will enable the government to streamline data, better analyse health indicators and formulate strategies accordingly.

▼ UNSC welcomes ceasefire in Syrian civil war   [01-2-17]

United Nations Security Council on 31st Dec 2016 welcomed a ceasefire in the Syrian civil war.

Rebel groups threatened to abandon the two day old truce if violations persisted. A resolution welcoming the ceasefire, the third truce this year, sought to end 6 weeks of war.

It was unanimously adopted by the 15 member council meeting in New York.

Deal brokered by Russia and Turkey which back opposing sides, reduced violence but firefighters, air strikes and shelling went on in certain areas.

Factors belonging to the Free Syrian army- a loose alliance of militias excluding more radical islamist groups- indicated that government forces and Iranian backed Lebanese Hezbollah fighters have been trying to push rebels back in the Wadi Baradavalley, northwest of Damascus.

Continued violations by the regime and bombardments and attempts to attack areas under control of the revolutionary factions will make the agreement null and void.

Rebels and political opposition said the government side was amassing forces to launch a ground attack in the area.

FSA factions indicated in a separate statement that they would abandon the truce deal if Russia, whose air power has helped President Bashar al-Assad to turn the tide of the war, did not use its influence to halt the Wadi Barada attacks.

Air raids around Wadi Bharadahad stopped and the ceasefire still held, though clashes in the area were continuing.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights monitoring group confirmed there had been fighting in the area, which is the source of capital's water.

The resolution has also welcomed plans for talks in Kazakhstan before the resumption of UN brokered talks.

The war has killed more than 300,000 people and made more than 11 million homeless.

In particular, Turkey is trying to push back Kurdish forcesand the jihadist Islamic State, both excluded from the deal,from areas south of its border.

The position of other Islamist groups such as Jabhat Fatehal-Sham and Ahrar al-Sham with respect to the ceasefire is unclear with both having criticised it.

▼ Beipanjiang Bridge: World's tallest bridge opens for use    [01-2-17]

Beipanjiang Bridge is the world's highest bridge that connects the province of Guizhou and Yunnan in the mountainous part of China.

It was opened to traffic on 29th Dec 2016.

The bridge spans 1850 feet or 564 m over the gorge above the Beipan river.

Built at a total cost of USD 146.7 million dollars, the bridge will reduce road travel time between Xiunwei and Limpanshui from 5 hours to 2.

As per reports, the bridge surpassed the 1837-foot-tall Sidu River Bridge for its world record title.

While Beipanjiang Bridge is the highest in the world, the world's tallest bridge at the height of 1125 feet the French Millau viaduct has an unbroken record.

China is home to 8 of 10 highest bridges in the world. Most of these bridges are found in rural parts of the country namely:

  • Beipanjiang Bridge, China
  • Sidu River Bridge , China
  • Puli Bridge, China
  • Qingshui River Bridge, China
  • Hegigio Gorge Pipeline Bridge, Papua New Guinea (world's highest pipeline bridge)
  • Baluarte Bridge, Mexico (highest cable-stayed bridge in the world and also the highest bridge in the Americas)
  • Baling River Bridge, China
  • Beipan River Guanxing Highway Bridge, China
  • Liuchong River Bridge, China
  • Dimuhe River Bridge, China
  • Aizhai Bridge, China (world's highest tunnel-to-tunnel bridge)

  • Interesting facts about Beipanjiang Bridge

  • The bridge that hangs above the Beipan River was developed in three years.
  • The 1341-meter long bridge is a four-lane roadway.
  • The bridge is named after Beipan River over which it was developed.
  • The bridge is a part of 2115 mile Hangrui Highway that will connect Hangzhou to the China-Myanmar border crossing in Ruili.
  • As per reports, may be Beipanjiang is the highest bridge in the world, but France’s Millau viaduct remains the world’s tallest bridge at a height of 1125 feet.

▼ Shanghai-Kunming Line: World's longest high speed railway   [01-2-17]

China on 28th Dec 2016 commenced operations of Shanghai-Kunming line, the longest high speed railway in the world.

Link joins the prosperous east coast to the less developed southwestern part of the nation.

Launch of the Shanghai-Kunming line is an indication that China's high speed rail grid has taken shape and connects all provinces on most of the Chinese mainland.

The line is part of the China Railway High Speed's System of High Speed Rail Corridors, beginning in Shanghai and ending in Kunming.

China Railway High Speed is a high speed rail service operated by China Railway.

Hexie Hao is the designation for rolling stock operated for the service and CRH’s introduction was a major part of the sixth national railway speedup.

It was implemented on 18th April 2007 and every high speed train in commercial use in China is called CRH.

CRH1/2A/2B/2E/5 are expected to have a maximum speed of 250 km/h. CRH2C/3 have a maximum speed of 350 km/h.

The new trainsets CRH380A have a maximum test speed of 416.6 km/h. CRH380BL, the fastest trainset, attained a maximum test speed of 487.3 km/h.

Know More About the Shanghai-Kunming line

  • Length: 2552 km
  • Line is the longest east-west high speed railway in China.
  • It passes through 5 provinces of Zhejiang, Hunan, Jiangxi, Guizhou and Yunnn.
  • It completes the journey from Shanghai to Kunming in 11 hours as compared to 34 hours.
  • Maximum speed of the train is 330 km/hour.

Chronology of events
Colombia’s Congress has approved an amnesty law to protect thousands of demobilising Farc guerrilla fighters from prosecution for minor crimes committed during the country’s 52-year war.
China’s State Grid Corporation is set to build a $1.5-billion power line across Pakistan to enable the transmission of 4,000 megawatts (MW) of electricity from the country’s north to south.
Israel country issued an "immediate and severe" travel warning for Western tourists in India, citing an immediate threat of attack on tourist targets during New Year celebrations, particularly in south-west part of the country.
Professional road and track racing cyclist Sir Bradley Wiggins (36) from Britain has announced retirement from cycling.
India’s first transgender school opened in Kochi. The school, named Sahaj International, was inaugurated by transgender activist, writer and actor Kalki Subramaniam at Thrikkakara in Kerala’s Ernakulam district.
Pakistan’s President Mamnoon Hussain conferred the nation’s highest civilian honour ‘Nishan-e-Imtiaz’ on Army chief Qamar Bajwa and Chairman Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee Zubair Hayat.
The Border Security Force (BSF) is going to install laser walls and smart sensors at Indo-Bangla International Border in West Bengal to plug the porous riverine and unmanned terrain
Finland became the first country in Europe to pay its unemployed citizens a basic monthly income, amounting to 560 euros (USD 587).
The United Nations General Assembly declared 2017 as the International Year of Sustainable Tourism for Development recalling the potential of tourism to advance the universal 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
30 Indian origin innovators, entrepreneurs and leaders have been featured in the 2017 edition of Forbes’ list of super achievers under the age of 30 who seek to break the status quo and transform the world.
The Union Commerce and Industry Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on 4 Jan 2017 launched an Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) Enforcement Toolkit for police in New Delhi to catch criminals violating copyright.
Russia has sent two warships to the Philippines in the first official navy-to-navy contact between the countries.
Indonesia has suspended military cooperation with Australia after material deemed offensive to Indonesians was found on an Australian military base.
The Union Cabinet has approved an agreement between India and Uruguay for cooperation in matters related to customs.
The two-day Assam Biotech Conclave was held in Guwahati, inaugurated by Chief Minister Sarbanand Sonowal in presence of Science and Technology Minister Keshab Mahanta.
Afghanistan at the Torkham international border between Pakistan and Afghanistan announced that Pakistani nationals without a valid passport and visa will not be permitted to enter Afghanistan starting January 1, 2017.
The Gujarat Government has declared the one kilometer area near Hathijan village in Ahmedabad district as H5N1 bird flu hit.
Andhra Pradesh Government has announced a monetary reward of Rs 100 crore to anyone from the state government who wins Nobel Prize.
India asked the World Bank not to rush in brokering a deal on its dispute with Pakistan over Ratle and Kishenganga projects coming up in Jammu and Kashmir.
East Timor plans to negotiate a larger share of the oil and gas wealth in the seabed between the impoverished Southeast Asian nation and Australia by restarting talks on a maritime boundary.
The 20th Edition of the National Conference for e-Governance 2016-17 has started in Visakhapatnam, Andhra Pradesh. The theme of this year’s conference is ‘Internet of Things and e-Governance’ and will be covering newly evolving areas of e-Governance across five plenary sessions.
The Union Home Minister Shri Rajnath Singh laid the foundation stone of the new NDRF campus at Konda Pavuluru, Gannavaram (Mandal), Krishna, Andhra Pradesh.
The security along the China-Pakistan border would be further tightened "to prevent terrorists from entering or leaving the region illegally in 2017”; This is being seen as China's signalling its displeasure with Pakistan over its inability to stop terrorists from sneaking into its restive border region of Xinjiang.
Ministry of Water Resources, River Development and Ganga Rejuvenation has organised the third National conference called “Jal Manthan-III” on January 13, 2017 in New Delhi.
Russian rhythmic gymnast Yana Kudryavtseva has retired from competition aged just 19 following a brief but dazzling career.
Kerala started a boat service that is solar powered; Goyal launched the service in Vaikom-Cherthala-Thavanakadavu waterways along with chief minister Pinarayi Vijayan.The first solar-powered boat was launched recently by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in Varanasi.
Christopher Steele, who wrote reports on compromising material Russian operatives allegedly had collected on U.S. President-elect Donald Trump, is a former officer of MI-6, Britain’s Secret Intelligence Service.
The 2017 DEFCOM was inaugurated in Jan 17 in Delhi jointly by CII and Indian army. This year the theme for the conference is ‘Infrastructure and Skilled Human Resource for Digital Army’
Telangana state government has signed MoU with the Union Ministry of Civil Aviation and Airports Authority of India (AAI) for the Regional Connectivity Scheme (RCS).
The United States of America (US) has announced the end of a 20-year economic embargo on Sudan by lifting trade and financial sanctions.
Joint military exercises between the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and British forces started in the Gulf Arab state. Dubbed “Sea Dagger 2017”, the exercises were held “within the framework of cooperation.
Japan and Indonesia have reaffirmed their commitment to cooperate on maritime security and deepen defence ties as both nations feud with China over sea territory.
China has handed over two ships to the Pakistan to safeguard the strategic Gwadar port and trade routes under the ambitious China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), named as Hingol and Basol.
Five million Somalis, or more than four out of 10 people, do not have enough to eat because of poor rains and fighting between the Islamist militant group al Shabaab and Somalia's African Union-backed government: UN.
All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS), New Delhi here today signed MoUs with NBCC (India) Limited, HSCC (India) Limited and with HITES HLL Life Care Ltd to expand infrastructure and other facilities.
The Union Cabinet has given its approval to the proposal for India’s taking full membership of the International Vaccine Institute (IVI) Governing Council.
The Union Cabinet has approved holding negotiations for Trade Agreement with Peru on trade in goods, services and investment. The trade agreement will be an important landmark in India-Peru relations
The 58th edition of India International Garment Fair (IIGF) began in New Delhi. It is organised by Apparel Export Promotion Council India (AEPCI).
Mawlynnong village in Meghalaya has become a role model for other states in maintaining cleanliness; It is also claimed as Asia’s cleanest village.
The first China-to-Britain freight train run by Yiwu Timex Industrial Investment arrived in London after completing a 7,500-mile journey in 18-days.
The Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI) was officially launched at World Economic Forum (WEF) Davos after it received $460-million to develop vaccines against 3 emerging highly-contagious and fatal diseases.
Himachal Pradesh is becomes third state in India to have two capitals (Shimla, Dharamshala) after Maharashtra (Mumbai, Nagpur) and Jammu and Kashmir (Srinagar, Jammu).
The Inter-ministerial body Foreign Investment Promotion Board (FIPB) approved six investment proposals envisaging foreign investments of Rs 1,186.5 crore.
The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) has registered Sitalpati or cool mat from the Cooch Behar district, West Bengal as an Sitlapati Intangible cultural heritage.
The country’s longest rail-cum-road bridge - the Bogibeel Bridge over the Brahmaputra in Dibrugarh - is likely to be ready by December 2017.
Former Miss Universe and Miss India, Sushmita Sen has confirmed that she is on the judging panel of 65th edition of the Miss Universe pageant.
The Union Government has transferred the advising role of Department of Investment and Public Asset Management (DIPAM) on utilisation of the proceeds from disinvestment to the Department of Economic Affairs (DEA).
Indian Railways is taking help of Russian Railways to increase the speed of its passenger trains up to 200 km per hour from present 120 kmph.
The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) has recommended the use of Aadhaar-based e-KYC for verification of existing mobile subscribers and for outstation customers.
India has signed a deal with United Arab Emirates (UAE), fifth biggest oil supplier as part of its quest for energy security and strategic reserve system, allowing UAE’s Abu Dhabi National Oil Co. (ADNOC) to fill half (about 6 million barrels of oil) of an underground crude oil storage facility at Mangaluru, Karnataka.
India and France have signed White Shipping agreement to enable information sharing on maritime traffic and maritime domain awareness in the Indian Ocean Region (IOR).
Russia, Turkey and Iran have agreed on the establishment of a trilateral mechanism to jointly monitor the ceasefire between the Syrian regime and rebels.
India has been ranked 79th out of 176 countries in the recently released Corruption Perception Index (CPI) for the year 2016 by the Berlin-based corruption watchdog Transparency International (TI).
The public sector oil companies such as the HPCL, ONGC and the GAIL have signed MoUs for investing ₹1.65 lakh crore in Andhra Pradesh on several projects, many of them in the Krishna-Godavari basin, according to Union Minister of State for Petroleum and Natural Gas Dharmendra Pradhan.
CM Pinarayi Vijayan inaugurated the 29th Kerala Science Congress, jointly organised by the Kerala State Council for Science, Technology and Environment and the Kerala Forest Research Institute, at the Mar Thoma College in Thiruvalla. ‘Ecology and Environment’ is the main theme of the congress.
CM Pinarayi Vijayan inaugurated the 29th Kerala Science Congress, jointly organised by the Kerala State Council for Science, Technology and Environment and the Kerala Forest Research Institute, at the Mar Thoma College in Thiruvalla. ‘Ecology and Environment’ is the main theme of the congress.
Over 3.5 lakh people from Gujarat set a new world record by singing the national anthem at an event at Kagvad in Rajkot. The event marked the installation of the idol of goddess Khodiyar.
The National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR) is organising an All India Short Film, Still Photograph and Poster Competition for promoting child rights in the country. The Commission has invited entries.
Cabinet approves setting up of a world class Integrated Exhibition-cum-Convention Centre at Pragati Maidan, New Delhi by ITPO .
The Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) Tejas and Airborne Early Warning & Control System (AEW&C) developed by DRDO were in the fly-past for the first time during the Republic Day Parade 2017; DRDO contingent this year consists of the 155 mm/52 Calibre Advanced Towed Artillery Gun System (ATAGS) and Arudhra- the Medium Power Radar.
The CMs Committee on Digital Payments led by the convener and Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister, Shri Chandra Babu Naidu submitted the interim report on Digital Payments to the Prime Minister.
The Indian Meteorological Department (IMD) has decided to set up weather stations in 660 districts of the country by 2019. In the first phase, 130 districts have shortlisted as part of the project.
In this regard, IMD has tied up with the Union Ministry of Agriculture to use the Krishi Vigyan Kendras (KVKs), under the Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR) in these districts. These KVKs will be used for weather forecasting.