CVC to launch new ‘integrity index’ to rank govt departments over anti-corruption measures
In a bid to practice preventive vigilance, Central Vigilance Commission (CVC) will develop an ‘Integrity Index’, which will annually rank government entities viz. Public Sector Undertakings, Public Sector Banks and Financial Institution, Departments and Ministries of Government of India on anti-corruption measures which will include internal processes and controls as well as organisation’s interaction with external stakeholders.
- CVC has roped in Indian Institute of Management – Ahmedabad (IIM-A) to develop the Integrity Index.
- Initially 25 organisations have been selected to develop the index. Gradually the concept of integrity index will be extended to other Central Public Sector Enterprises and Government bodies as well
Tamil Nadu CM lays foundation stone for Rs 198 cr aerospace park
On October 25, 2017, Tamil Nadu Chief Minister, EK Palaniswami laid the foundation stone for an aerospace park at Kanchipuram district.
Details about upcoming Aerospace Park in Kanchipuram, Tamil Nadu:
- The aerospace park will be set up by Tamil Nadu State Government in 245 acres of land at an estimated cost of Rs. 198 crore.
- This project will be jointly implemented by Tamil Nadu State Industries Promotion Corporation Ltd and Tamil Nadu Industrial Development Corporation.
- In the first phase, various facilities will be set up in 5 lakh sq ft area.
- Post completion, the aerospace park will attract investments to the tune of Rs.1000 crore and will create 30000 job opportunities.
- Nearly 50 companies are expected to set up their operation centres in this park. Tidel Park, Minerva Aviation, Bala Works, Unicorn Pvt Ltd and Wintech Precision Engineering are some of the companies which have been handed over the land allotment order by Mr. Palaniswami.
Power Minister R.K. Singh addresses the 3rd Global Investors’ India Forum
On October 26, 2017, Union Minister of State (Independent Charge) for Power and New & Renewable Energy, R. K. Singh addressed the 3rd Global Investors’India Forum in New Delhi.
Highlights of 3rd Global Investors’ India Forum:
- The event was organized by Associated Chambers of Commerce and Industry of India (ASSOCHAM).
- Theme of this event was ‘Ideate, Innovate, Implement and Invest in India’.
- Distinguished names from global industry attended this event. They held discussions with Mr. Singh and senior officials of Power Ministry.
- During his address, Mr. R.K.Singh stated that per capita energy consumption in India is expected to triple in the next 5–7 years. He also urged the participants to consider investing in Green Energy Corridors, Battery Storage Technology, Grid Improvement and Electric Vehicles Programme.
Odisha government starts work to prepare 2nd phase of SCCAP
Odisha State Government has started the process to prepare the second phase of the State Climate Change Action Plan (SCCAP) for the next five years with an outlay of Rs. 31667 crore.
Salient Features of Odisha Government’s Second phase of the State Climate Change Action Plan (SCCAP):
- Officials of State Forest and Environment departments have been directed to make an assessment of the benefits derived from the first phase of the SCCAP implemented from 2010-11 to 2015-16.
- The second phase of SCCAP will follow a two-pronged approach focusing on ‘adaptation’ and ‘mitigation’.
- On basis of experience of the first phase, 102 action points in 12 major sectors have been identified. These sectors are – agriculture, coastal and disaster management, energy, fisheries and animal resource development, forestry, health, Industrial arena, mining, transport, urban development, water resource management and waste management.
- Second phase of the State Climate Change Action Plan (SCCAP) will also focus on phasing out of old vehicles for reducing emission, promotion of electric vehicles, strengthening enforcement and emission check up system, augmentation of integrated sewerage projects in major urban areas and municipal solid waste management.
India grants USD 585,000 aid to Sri Lanka University
On October 25, 2017, India provided equipment and vehicles worth USD 585,000 to University of Jaffna in Sri Lanka. Jaffna is a Tamil-dominated former war zone in Northern part of Sir Lanka.
- These equipments and vehicles are a part of the USD 3.9 million project to develop the agriculture and engineering departments of the university.
- The project aims to create better facilities and improved learning environment for students pursuing professional courses in Agriculture and Engineering.
- Government of India will also provide support for curriculum development, faculty exchanges, training and research.
- In order to extend support to Tamil population in Jaffna, Indian Government has also constructed a 200-bed hospital ward complex costing USD 13 lakh.
China unveils World’s first track-less train that runs on virtual railways
On 23rd October 2017, China began test runs of its world’s first track-less train in Zhuzhou city, China.
World’s first track-less train:
- China’s world’s first track-less train, that runs on virtual track is promoted as the ‘World’s First smart train’. This train could travel at the speed of 70 kmph. This train is called Autonomous Rail Transit (ART).
- This train was created to reduce urban traffic problems. This was developed by CRRC Corporation Limited.
- This train is a hybrid between a bus and tram. It runs on virtual railways that are represented by white lines.
- This train is said to be much cheaper than the tram and subway system. It will begin full-fledged operations soon. The train has three compartments and can carry 300 passengers.
SBI foundation among seven shortlisted companies given LOI under Adopt a Heritage Scheme
Union Finance Minister, Arun Jaitley has presented Letters of Intent (LOI) to seven shortlisted entities under the ‘Adopt a Heritage Scheme’. LOIs were presented at the closing ceremony of ‘Paryatan Parv’ in New Delhi on October 25, 2017.
- Post announcement of this scheme, Ministry of Tourism received positive response from several organisations.
- After detailed scrutiny, 14 monuments have been allocated for adoption to 7 entities. These entities are reputed names in hospitality industry, travel industry and banking industry………………………
GMR Hyderabad Airport, Malaysia Tourism, MAHB sign pact to promote tourism
On 26th October 2017, GMR Hyderabad International Airport Ltd, Malaysia Airports Holdings Berhad (MAHB) and Malaysia Tourism Promotion Board (MTPB) signed a MoU to promote the growth of tourism traffic.
MoU to promote tourism:
- The MoU was signed to promote tourism from the catchment area of Hyderabad to Malaysia and also to explore new locations for connectivity.
- SGK Kishore, CEO, GMR Hyderabad International Airport Ltd, Mohd Badlisham Ghazali, MD, MAHB, and Abdul Khani Daud, Deputy Director General (Promotion), MTPB signed, the MoU in the presence of Hidayat Abdul Hamid, High Commissioner of Malaysia.
- At present, 10 domestic carriers connect Hyderabad with 39 domestic destinations. Also, the airport connects 18 international destinations with 16 foreign and 3 Indian carriers. To serve the growing passenger traffic, Hyderabad Airport is to expand the airport terminal and also develop another runway.
Petroleum ministry launches Rs 320 crore startup fund for entrepreneurs
On October 25, 2017, Union Petroleum Minister, Dharmendra Pradhan launched Start-up Programme for entrepreneurs in Oil and Gas sector.
- 10 public sector oil and gas companies have setup venture capital fund to encourage start-ups based on innovative ideas in the oil and gas sector.
- The venture fund will disburse Rs 320 crore over a 3-year period to support novel ideas which would cause positive disruption in the energy sector.
- At the launch function, 36 startups signed memorandum of understanding (MoU) to partner with various state-run firms like Indian Oil, Hindustan Petroleum and GAIL India.
- These start-ups will be working on various innovative projects which include developing multiuse fuel from agri-waste, remotely operated vehicles for underwater inspections, converting waste plastic to high value fuels, electronic leak detector for LPG and solar cookers.
South African Indian-origin couple Salim Abdool Karim and Quarraisha Abdool Karim wins top US award for AIDS research
On 25th October 2017, Professors Salim Abdool Karim and Quarraisha Abdool Karim, a South African Indian-origin researcher couple, were awarded the 2017 IHV Lifetime Achievement Award for Public Service.
US award for AIDS Research:
- Salim Abdool Karim and Quarraisha Abdool Karim received the 2017 IHV Lifetime Achievement Award for Public Service from the Institute of Human Virology (IHV) in Baltimore, US.
- The award was presented to them by Robert Gallo, for their exceptional contributions in the field of HIV/AIDS. Robert Gallo is the one who discovered that HIV (Human Immunodeficiency Virus) is the cause of AIDS.
- Salim Abdool Karim and Quarraisha Abdool Karim were the first to demonstrate that Antiretrovirals could prevent sexual transmission of HIV in 2010. They also discovered that, the Tenofovir Gel prevents Genital Herpes.
About Institute of Human Virology (IHV):
♦ Purpose – discovery, research, treatment, and mainly prevention of HIV/AIDS
♦ Director – Robert C. Gallo
Indian Navy approves new mission-based deployment plan
During the ongoing Naval Commanders’ Conference, Indian Navy has approved a “new mission-based deployment” plan under which mission-ready ships and aircrafts will be deployed along critical sea lanes of communications.
- This plan comes in the wake of China’s growing presence in the Indian Ocean region.
- It is to be noted that Indian Navy has been deploying its warships in the Indian Ocean region for carrying out anti-piracy patrol and providing humanitarian assistance. Now onwards deployments will be maintained round-the-clock
- A new transition cycle for ships from maintenance periods to operational deployments has also been approved by Chief Admiral Suni Lanba.
- Several operational issues and efforts to make Indian Navy self-reliant and modernise its warfare capability were also discussed at the conference.
Saudi Arabia becomes first country to grant citizenship to a robot
On 26th October 2017, Saudi Arabia became the world’s first country to grant citizenship to a robot, by granting citizenship to Sophia, an Artificially Intelligent (AI) robot.
Sophia – AI robot gets Saudi Arabia citizenship:
- The robot, Sophia, was awarded citizenship of Saudi Arabia at the Future Investment Initiative summit in Riyadh. Specific details of Sophia’s citizenship were not discussed.
- It is not clear whether she will receive the same rights as human citizens, or if Saudi Arabia will develop a specific system devoted to robots.
- Sophia was created by Dr. David Hanson, founder of Hanson Robotics. She has been designed to look like late American actress, Audrey Hepburn.
- Sophia has been given the ability to express different emotions. Her eyes also change colour in response to lighting.