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Centre frames infrastructure policy to check challenges of urbanisation:
- The Centre has formulated a policy to promote living close to mass public transport corridors like metro, monorail and bus rapid transit (BRT), a move aimed at addressing the challenges of urbanisation.
- The National Transit Oriented Development Policy seeks to promote Transit-Oriented Development (TOD) – a type of infrastructure development which enables people to live within walking or cycling distance from transit corridors which are being undertaken in India at a large scale.
- TOD is considered a viable solution to urban challenges like haphazard growth, mobility problems, congestion due to rising private vehicles on roads and pollution, among others.
- The Ministry of Urban Development is also incentivising theTOD under new Metro Policy and Green Urban Mobility Scheme that seeks to create non-motorised transport infrastructure in cities like footpaths and cycle-tracks.
- The Ministry’s initiative comes in the context of over 300 km of Metro lines being operational in seven cities, while another 600 km of Metro line projects being under construction in 12 cities and over 500 km projects under consideration.
- BRTS projects in 12 cities are under different stages of construction and eight more cities are set to take up BRT projects. Mass Rail Transit System of 380 km length is being taken up in Delhi
- TOD policy is being taken up in Ahmedabad, Delhi, Naya Raipur, Nagpur and Navi Mumbai.
Rajasthan Inaugurates Medical Project RAHAT for Prompt Treatment of Heart Disease
- Rajasthan Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje inaugurated a medical project Rajasthan Heart Attack Treatment programme (RAHAT) on February 25, 2017 at the Eternal Heart Care Center Hospital in Jaipur.
- Aim: RAHAT programme aims to provide people in remote and rural areas with timely treatment during heart attacks. It has been launched by the private hospitals in the state.
- Under the programme, the patients facing heart attack would be provided with emergency ambulance service and telemedicine service through Eternal Heart Care Centre Hospital.
- Patient would be given the basic treatment in the ambulance on the way to the nearest Heart Hospital and the same would be shared with the Hospital’s Command centre through GPS.
- Rajasthan has become the second state in India after Tamil Nadu to launch proragmmes against Heart Diseases.
- Rajasthan has launched several initiatives to boost the medical and health sector of the state such as Arogya Rajasthan, new medical colleges and Bhamashah Swasthya Bima Yojana etc.
Mumbai Named Richest Indian City with Total Wealth of $820 bn According to New World Wealth Report
- According to New World Wealth, Mumbai is the richest city in the country followed by Delhi and Bengaluru in the second and third place, respectively.
- India’s financial capital Mumbai, which is home to 46,000 millionaires and 28 billionaires, is the richest Indian city with a total wealth of $ 820 billion.
- Delhi is home to 23,000 millionaires and 18 billionaires with a total wealth of $ 450 billion, while Bengaluru with a total wealth of $ 320 billion houses 7,700 millionaires and 8 billionaires.
- Banking and Finance
NCAER Lowers India’s GDP Growth Forecast to 6.9 per cent for FY17
- An economic think tank National Council of Applied Economic Research (NCAER) has lowered the country’s growth forecast to 6.9 per cent for the current fiscal on account of demonetisation.
- NCAER had projected a growth rate of 7.6 per cent for 2016-17.
- According to NCAER, the growth rate would rebound to 7.3 per cent for 2017 18.
- The Gross Value Added (GVA) at Basic Prices at constant (2011 12) prices is predicted to grow at 6.3 per cent in 2016 17 and 7 per cent in 2017-18.
- National Council of Applied Economic Research (NCAER)
- National Council of Applied Economic Research or NCAER is a New Delhi based non-profit think tank of economics.
- It was established in 1956 with financial support from the Ford Foundation, Finance Ministry and Tata Sons. Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru laid the foundation stone of NCAER campus on October 31, 1959.
- Nandan Nilekani:- President Of NCAER
- Dr Shekhar Shah:- Director General Of NCAER
India To Remain Fastest Growing Economy Among G-20 Nations Despite Demonetization: Moody’s report
- Moody’s Investors Service report released that despite the currency demonetisation drive by Government of India, the country will continue to be the fastest growing economyamong G-20 countries in 2017.
- As per the report titled ‘Modest Acceleration in the Global Economy, but Shifting US Policies Inject Uncertainty’, India is expected to have the fastest-growing economy among all G-20 countries with growth rate at 7.1% for 2017, though lower as compared to previous expectation of 7.5%.
- With regard to global growth, Moody’s said continuing cyclical recovery in global economic activity with growth inG-20 countries picking up modestly to 3 per cent in 2017 and 2018 from 2.6 per cent in 2016, but potential shifts in US policy add uncertainty to this forecast.
- Regarding Asia, Moody’s said China’s economy stabilised around the official growth target of 6.7 per cent in 2016, but will likely continue to decelerate to 6.3 per cent and 6 per cent in 2017 and 2018.
- Moody’s expects that the US economy will get an additional lift from a stimulative fiscal policy stance pushing growth above potential. Accordingly, Moody’s has revised its real GDP growth forecast to 2.4 per cent in 2017 and 2.5 per cent in 2018, from 2.2 per cent and 2.1 per cent, respectively.
DIPP Reports FDI Inflow Grows by 18% to USD 46 billion in 2016
- Foreign direct investment (FDI) in India grew 18 per cent during 2016 to touch $46 billion, data released by the Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion (DIPP) showed.
- The country attracted FDI of $39.32 billion in 2015.
- The main sectors which attracted the highest foreign inflows include services, telecom, trading, computer hardware and software and automobile.
- Bulk of the FDI came in from Singapore, Mauritius, the Netherlands and Japan.
- The Finance Minister had announced in the Budget 2017-18 to further relax foreign investment norms and also phase out the Foreign Investment Promotion Board (FIPB).
- Foreign investments are considered crucial for India, which needs around $1 trillion for overhauling its infrastructure sector such as ports, airports and highways to boost growth.
- Foreign Direct Investment (FDI)
- A foreign direct investment (FDI) is an investment in the form of a controlling ownership in a business in one country by an entity based in another country. It is thus distinguished from foreign portfolio investment by a notion of direct control.
- The origin of the investment does not impact the definition as an FDI: the investment may be made either “inorganically” by buying a company in the target country or “organically” by expanding operations of an existing business in that country.
Foxconn and SoftBank Forms $1.2B Joint Venture
- Japan’s SoftBank Group Corp (SBG) on February 24, 2017 entered into a definitive agreement with Foxconn Technology Group (Foxconn) of Taiwan to establish a joint venture through Softbank Group Capital Apac Pte Ltd at an estimated cost of $1.2 billion.
- Softbank Group Capital Apac Pte Ltd is a wholly owned subsidiary of SBG. The deal is expected to take effect onMarch 1.
- Under the agreement, Foxconn would buy 54.5% stake in SoftBank Group Capital Apac Pte Ltd for $600 million while the remaining would be controlled by SBG.
- Under the partnership, investments would be made in initiatives that will integrate SoftBank’s expertise in investments and the Foxconn’s manufacturing and technology services to maximize the profitability of the venture. Foxconn will also be responsible for management of the operation as a whole.
Awards and Recognition
Three Poets From Maharashtra Conferred with Vishakha Awards
- Three poets from Maharashtra have been conferred with the Vishakha Awards on February 26, 2017 at the Kalidas Kalamandir Hall in Maharashtra during the occasion of Marathi Bhasha Gaurav Din.
- The first prize of Rs 21,000 was given to Dr Yogini Satarkar-Pande from Nanded for her book ‘Janivanche Hirve Komb’. She is an English professor at Swami Ramanand Teerth Marathwada University.
- The second prize of Rs 15,000 was given to Mohan Kumbhar from Sindhudurg for his book ‘Jagnyache Gatha’. He is a professor at B V Desai College, Kankavli.
- The third prize of Rs 10,000 was given to Vishnu Thore of Nashik for his book ‘Dhulpera Usvata’. He is a farmer and an artist from Chandwad tehsil town and has designed over 450 book covers.
- The award which also has a memento and a certificate of honour was presented by senior litterateur Uttam Kamble in key presence of chief guests MLA Balasaheb Sanap, MLA Prof Devyani Farande and registrar Bhonde.
About ‘Vishaka Puraskar’
The ‘Vishaka Puraskar’ was instituted by Yashwantrao Chavan Maharashtra Open University (YCMOU).
It was instituted in the memory of the late poet Kusumagraja alias V V Shirwadkar and is given every year to the best three maiden poetic compositions.
Japan Creates Guinness Record by Launching World’s First Robot Table Tennis Tutor
- Japan has unveiled the world’s first robot table tennis tutor FORPHEUS (Future Omron Robotics Technology for Exploring Possibility of Harmonised aUtomation with Sinic Theoretics) which has the ability to play the game better than humans.
- It has been listed in the Guinness World Record for being the First robot table tennis tutor for its unique technological intelligence and educational capabilities.
- The robot has been developed by the team led by Taku Oya from Omron Corporation. The FORPHEUS aims to create a harmonious environment between humans and robots through teaching the game of table tennis to human players.
- The machine has been equipped with sensors and cameras that will help the robot to detect the movement of the ball during the match to better guide as a coach.
- It also allows human student to see a projected image as to where the return ball will land so that they may improve their skills.
Appointments & Resigns
Normani Kordei Named American Cancer Society Global Ambassador
Normani Kordei, of the internationally acclaimed pop group Fifth Harmony, has partnered with the American Cancer Society as a global ambassador to help increase awareness about the importance of breast cancer screening and HPV vaccination. The fight against cancer hits close to home as Kordei’s mother, Andrea, is a breast cancer survivor having been diagnosed when Normani was just 5 years old.
Normani was born in Atlanta and raised in New Orleans. She is one-fourth of the most popular girl group in the world, Fifth Harmony. The release of Fifth Harmony’s sophomore album 7/27, on Syco Music/Epic Records, is the latest in a series of record-breaking accomplishments for the group.
American Cancer Society
The American Cancer Society is the nation’s largest private, not-for-profit investor in cancer research and offers patient programs and services including free transportation to treatment, no-cost lodging at more than 30 Hope Lodge facilities in the U.S. and Puerto Rico, as well as education and prevention initiatives around the world.
The American Cancer Society is a global grassroots force of 2 million volunteers saving lives in every community. As the largest voluntary health organization, the Society’s efforts have contributed to a 25 percent decline in the cancer death rate in the U.S. since 1991, driven by less smoking, better treatments, and earlier detection.
Former CM T R Zeliang appointed Finance Advisor to Nagaland government
Former Nagaland Chief Minister T R Zeliang was appointed as Finance Advisor to the Nagaland government in the rank of a cabinet minister by the Nagaland governor P B Acharya on February 25, 2017
Zeliang has resigned from the chief ministership on February 19, 2017.He was replaced by Shurhozelie Liezietsu.
It borders the state of Assam to the west, Arunachal Pradesh and part of Assam to the north, Burma to the east, and Manipur to the south. The state capital is Kohima, and the largest city is Dimapur.
Acquisitions & Mergers
Science and Technology
Researchers at IIT Kharagpur Develops Prototype to Protect IoT Devices
Scientists at the Indian Institute Of Technology – Kharagpur (IIT – Kgp) have designed ‘Physically Unclonable Functions’ (PUF) which are fingerprint generator circuits that can protect Internet of Things (IoT) infrastructure from manipulation.
The IoTs — for example, doctors remotely monitoring the pacemaker in a patient’s heart and modifying its pace — run on a command being sent out from one device to another through a network, and these commands are often unencrypted. This makes electronic devices vulnerable to hacking and manipulations in command.
Indian Institute of Technology Kharagpur
The Indian Institute of Technology Kharagpur (IIT Kharagpur or IIT KGP; )is a public engineering institution established by thegovernment of India in 1951. It is the first of the IITs to be established, and is recognized as an Institute of National Importance by the Government of India.
Chairperson: Srikumar Banerjee
Air India’s New Fuel-Efficient Airbus A320 Neo Makes Maiden Flight
- Government-run Air India has put into operation its newly-leased Airbus A320 Neo with its maiden flight arriving in Chennai from New Delhi.
- The first A320 Neo aircraft with 161 passengers on board touched down at the Chennai International Airport from the Indira Gandhi International Airport at 8.30 pm on Thursday, the airline said in a release.
- The national carrier had inducted the latest fuel-efficient aircraft from European aviation major Airbus in its fleet on February 16.
- The A320 New Engine Option aircraft is configured with 162 seats, including 12 in the business class. Air India has plans to induct a total of 29 A320 Neos into its fleet by March 2019.
- The fuel-efficient Airbus A320 Neo aircraft is highly environmental-friendly with reduced noise levels and 50% less carbon emissions, the airline said in the release.
- The airline has already tied-up with three lessors — ALAFCO, GECAPS and CIT — for 22 planes, and the process to select a bidder for the remaining seven such planes is underway.
- Air India has already announced that it will induct 13 more such planes in the fleet in this calendar year.
- The flag carrier is the third domestic airline after IndiGo and GoAir with A320 Neo aircraft. Also, the national carrier is the first domestic operator of A320 Neo plane that is powered by CFM engine since the other two are using the aircraft having Pratt & Whitney engine.
R Ashwin Breaks Kapil Dev’s Record to Become Highest Test Wicket Taker in Home Season
Ravichandran Ashwin on Friday broke Kapil Dev’s 37-year-old Indian record of most Test wickets in a domestic season on the second day of the first Test against Australia in Pune on Friday.
Ashwin, the fastest in the world to reach 250 Test wicket mark recently, dismissed overnight batsman Mitchell Starc with the fifth ball of the first over to end the visitors’ first innings at 260 and take his tally of wickets in the current home season to 64 in 10 Test matches.
Ashwin, thus, went past Kapil’s earlier mark of 63 wickets in 13 Tests created way back on 1979-80 at the beginning of the great all-rounder’s career.
Ashwin had grabbed 61 wickets in 10 Tests in the 2012-13 home season when he first served notice of his potential at the international level.
This home season the off-spinner has taken 27 wickets in three Test matches against New Zealand, 28 in five against England and six in one against Bangladesh.
Gopi & Athare Wins Men’s and Women’s Full Marathon in New Delhi
- Rio OlympianThanackal Gopi and Monika Athare won the men’s and women’s titles respectively, clocking impressive timings, in the second edition of the IDBI Federal Life Insurance New Delhi Marathon here on Sunday 26 February 2017.He finished the marathon in 2:15:37.
- Bahadur Singh Dhoni clocked 2:16:09 to finish second while T H Sanjith was third by covering the 42.195 km distance in 2:17:20.
- In Women’s category, Monika Athare from Nashik won the full marathon by completing the distance in2:39:08 to bag her maiden title.
- Athare was followed by Jyoti Gawate with a time of 2:53:48 and Ranjan Kumari who clocked 3:08:04 to finish third.Half Marathon Men: G Lakshamanan (1:04:29); Man Singh (1:04:39); Kheta Ram (1:06:15).
Half Marathon Women: Manju Yadav (1:21:02); Arpita Saini (1:25:34); Neetu Singh (1:27:11).
10K Run Men: Mohan Saini (31:08); Dinesh Kumar Bind (31:17); Somong Raman (31:17).
10K Run Women: Reeta Bisht (42:13); Jayanti Thapliyal (42:35); Nikki Rai (45:22).
Saina Nehwal to Represent IOC Athletes’ Commission in BWF
Indian badminton star Saina Nehwal will represent the International Olympic Committee’s Athletes’ Commission at the Badminton World Federation
The Chair of BWF AC has informed others on the panel about Saina’s joining the BWF AC as a representative of the IOC AC.