DIPP to set up India's first TISC in Punjab
- The Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion (DIPP), Ministry of Commerce & Industry, Government of India, signed an Institutional agreement with the Punjab State Council of Science and Technology in New Delhi to establish India's first Technology and Innovation Support Center (TISC) at Patent Information Centre, Punjab, under the World Intellectual Property Organization's (WIPO) TISC program.
- The objective of the TISC is to stimulate a dynamic, vibrant and balanced Intellectual Property Rights (IPRs) system in India to foster creativity and innovation, thereby promoting entrepreneurship and enhancing social, economic and cultural development by establishing a network of TISCs in India.
- WIPO's Technology and Innovation Support Center (TISC) program provides innovators in developing countries with access to locally based, high quality technology information and related services, helping them to exploit their innovative potential and to create, protect, and manage their Intellectual Property Rights (IPRs).
NGT to impose Rs 50,000 fine for dumping waste in Ganga river
- In a landmark order aimed at cleaning up and rejuvenating the Ganga, considered a holy river by millions of Indians, the National Green Tribunal (NGT) banned all construction within 100 metres of the river’s edge from Haridwar in Uttarakhand to Unnao in Uttar Pradesh.
- This ban will remain in place until authorities complete the demarcation of the Ganga’s floodplains and identify all permissible and non-permissible activities
- This was among a range of measures that a six-member NGT bench headed by its chairperson, justice Swatanter Kumar, listed out in a huge 543-page judgment on petition by environmentalist M.C. Mehta.
- The tribunal said any individual, company or government body found to be dumping waste into the river could be fined Rs50,000.
The country is set to get its first high-speed rail training centre at Gandhinagar.
- The centre will provide for advanced training modules on cutting edge technologies.
- The construction will begin shortly after the foundation-laying ceremony is held in September,
- Being constructed over railway land measuring 4,400 metres at an estimated cost of Rs 600 crore, the training centre will have a sample track fitted with the overhead electrical systems to enable testing of bullet trains that will run on the Mumbai-Ahmedabad route.
- While India’s first bullet train is proposed to hit the track in 2023, the training centre is supposed to start operating by 2020
Maharashtra first state to have law against social boycott
- With the President of India giving assent to the Maharashtra Prohibition of People from Social Boycott (Prevention, Prohibition and Redressal) Act, 2016, Maharashtra has become the first state in the country to bring a law making social boycott a crime.
- The movement, initiated by late Narendra Dabholkar, gained momentum after he was shot dead and the Maharashtra legislature passed the law unanimously in 2016.
- Maharashtra Andhashraddha Nirmoolan Samiti (MANS) executive president Avinash Patil said the President has signed the law following which the state published it in the gazette.
- The new law proposes action against extra-judicial bodies like jat (caste) and community panchayats, and prescribes a maximum punishment of three years in jail. As per the law, the offence of imposing social boycott will attract a maximum punishment of 3 years in prison or a fine up to Rs 1 lakh or both. The abetment of the offence also attracts the same punishment and fine.
Green tribunal declares area near Ganga as ‘No-Development Zone’
- An area of 100 metres from the edge of the Ganga between Haridwar and Unnao has been declared a “No Development Zone”, with the National Green Tribunal (NGT) on Thursday prohibiting dumping of waste within 500 metres of the river.
- An environment compensation of Rs.50,000 will be imposed on anyone dumping waste in the river. The NGT also directed the Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand governments to formulate guidelines for religious activities on the ghats of the Ganga and its tributaries.
- No-development zones are zones where no construction, including commercial or residential buildings, can come up.
Varanasi to have an international center for research on rice varieties
- The Union Cabinet - country's highest decision making body - on Wednesday approved setting up International Rice Research Institute (IRRI), South Asia Regional Center (ISARC) in Varanasi which will work on developing high-yielding rice varieties. The Center will be established at existing campus of the National Seed Research and Training Center in the holy city of eastern India within six months.
- A Memorandum of Agreement (MoA) will soon be signed for setting up the Center between the country's agriculture ministry and the IRRI, Philippines.
- The ministry will provide physical space for laboratories, offices and training classes with associated infrastructure and land at the National Seed Research and Training Center (NSRTC) in Varanasi, the Prime Minister Narendra Modi's parliamentary constituency.
- This Center will be the first International Center in the eastern India and it will play a major role in harnessing and sustaining rice production in the region. It is expected to be a boon for food production and skill development in the eastern India and in other South Asian and African countries.
Naidu launches revamped NHB RESIDEX
- Minister of Housing and Urban Affairs Venkaiah Naidu has released the new version of NHB RESIDEX.
- The revamped and expanded online user-friendly NHB RESIDEX captures upward and downward movements in the prices of residential real estate prices revealed that prices during January-March 2017 have increased over that of October-December 2016, in about half of the cities covered under the survey while the other half have either registered a decline or remained the same.
Govt launches plan to eliminate malaria by 2027
- The government launched a national strategic plan for the elimination of malaria and pledged to eradicate the vector-borne disease by 2027.
- The strategic plan gives year-wise elimination targets in various parts of the country depending upon the endemicity of malaria in the next five years.
- The salient features of the NSP include containment of breeding, strengthening malaria surveillance, establishing a mechanism for early detection and prevention of outbreaks of malaria, promoting the prevention of malaria by the use of Long Lasting Impregnated Nets (LLINs), effective indoor residual spray and augmenting the manpower and capacities for effective implementation for the next five years.
In a First, India to Host 8th Theatre Olympics in 2018
- India will host the Theatre Olympics in 2018, first since the event's inception in 1993, Ministry of Culture in association with National School of Drama (NSD)
- Celebrating the cultural and lingual diversity of the participating countries, the theatre event is expected to host over 50 international and 150 Indian theatre groups over the span of two month
- Ratan Thiyam, chairperson of NSD Society, informed that the theme for the upcoming event will be 'Flag of Friendship'.
- With the inaugural ceremony scheduled to be held on 17 February 2018, the event will come to a close in Mumbai on 8 April 2018 with a gala function.
Banking & Business
Axis Bank, IIC pact to boost trade with Latin America
- Axis Bank announced that it will help traders boost relations between India and Latin America and the Caribbean in a collaboration with Inter- American Investment Corporation.
- It will facilitate trade with Latin America and the Caribbean in which Axis Bank will participate in the Trade Finance Facilitation Programme (TFFP) as a confirming bank.
- Axis Bank is the first Indian Bank to be a part of such a facility.
- The Inter-American Investment Corporation (IIC) will be acting on behalf of the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB).
Google acquires Bangalore-based AI startup Halli Labs
- Google has acquired Bangalore-based Halli Labs, which focuses on Artificial Intelligence (AI), Machine Learning (ML) and Neuro-Linguistic Programming.
- Halli Labs will be joining Google’s Next Billion Users team, which is primarily focused on mobile and aims to address issues such as low bandwidth & intermittent connectivity, conserving data usage, reducing battery consumption, developing multi-device content, supporting more digital payments systems, and creating localised content among others.
Awards & Achievements
Vijaya Bank MD gets Skoch Award
- Kishore Sansi, Managing Director and CEO of Vijaya Bank, has been conferred the ‘Personality of the Year’ award by Skoch Consultancy Services.
- The award is part of the ‘Skoch Banking and Financial Leadership’ series. Past recipients of the award include C Rangarajan, Dilip Parekh and Nandan Nilekani.
Tata Sons appoints Aarthi Subramanian as Chief Digital Officer
- Tata Sons, the holding company of salt-to-software Tata Group, today said it has appointed Aarthi Subramanian as the group's Chief Digital Officer.
- Subramanian, who is currently the Executive Director at Tata Consultancy Services will report to Chairman of Tata Sons N Chandrasekaran and will take up her new role in August this year.
Subhash Garg takes charge as economic affairs secretary
- Senior bureaucrat Subhash Chandra Garg today assumed charge as secretary of the Department of Economic Affairs (DEA) in the finance ministry.
- A 1983 batch IAS officer, from the Rajasthan cadre, Garg was World Bankexecutive director for Bangladesh, Bhutan, India and Sri Lanka prior to this appointment.
- He succeeds Shaktikanta Das, who retired after an extended tenure on May 31. Corporate Affairs Secretary Tapan Ray was given additional charge of DEA secretary after Das' exit.
- Garg has widespread administrative experience with more than 30 years of service during which he handled key assignments, including administrative postings in his home state Rajasthan
Sandeep Patil named brand ambassador of indoor cricket team
- Former Indian batsman Sandeep Patil was today named as the brand ambassador of the Indian Indoor Cricket Team.
- Patil, a member of the 1983 World Cup-winning squad, will be the face of the team in the lead-up to the 10th edition of the World Indoor Cricket Federation (WICF) World Cup, to be held from September 16-23 at the Insportz Club in Dubai,
Science & Technology
Indian astronomers discover supercluster of galaxies, name it ‘Saraswati’
- In a significant discovery, a team of Indian astronomers have identified a previously unknown, extremely large supercluster of galaxies located in the direction of constellation Pisces.
- The supercluster of 43 galaxies, which they named “Saraswati”, is one of the largest known structures in the nearby universe, and is 4 billion light years away from us and may contain the mass equivalent of over 20 million billion suns
- A supercluster is a chain of galaxies and galaxy clusters, bound by gravity, often stretching to several hundred times the size of clusters of galaxies, consisting of tens of thousands of galaxies. The Saraswati supercluster, for instance, extends over a scale of 600 million light years.
- The Milky Way, the galaxy we are in, is part of a supercluster called the Laniakea Supercluster, announced in 2014 by Brent Tully at the University of Hawaii and collaborators.
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