Nasa, USAID launches Environmental Information Hub for Southeast Asia
- The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (Nasa) and the US Agency for International Development (USAID) have launched a joint project named "SERVIR-Mekong project".
- The project will provide timely weather, climate and other Earth related data to five countries in Southeast Asia, enabling them to better address issues of natural resource and disaster management
- It has been launched in the Asian Disaster Preparedness Center in Bangkok,Thailand to serve the 5 countries of the Mekong River Basin that are Myanmar, Thailand, Cambodia, Laos and Vietnam.
- Nasa, USAID and their partners operate SERVIR hubs in Kathmandu, Nepal and in Nairobi, Kenya, serving eastern and southern Africa.
Key facts of the project :-
- Researchers of SERVIR -Mekong project will amke a database of climate, weather and other Earth observation data and will share timely information with governments and researchers in Burma, Cambodia, Laos, Thailand and Vietnam and addressing issues such as water management, land use planning, disaster risk reduction and management of natural resources.
- The SERVIR programme helps governments incorporate Earth observations and geospatial technologies into natural disaster response which will improve food security, safeguard human health, and manage water and natural resources
About SERVIR :-
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- SERVIR which has been from Spanish MEANS ‘to serve,’ the programme was initiated in 2005 by researchers at Nasa’s Marshall Space Flight Centre in Alabama, which continues to house the SERVIR Coordination Office
- SERVIR was developed in coordination with the Group on Earth Observations, an alliance of more than 90 nations and organisations collaborating to build a global Earth-observing system to benefit society’s needs.
- Nasa, USAID and their partners operate SERVIR hubs in Nepal, serving the Hindu-Kush-Himalaya region, and in Kenya, serving Eastern and Southern Africa. The first SERVIR hub, launched in 2005 in Panama, served the Mesoamerican region and the Dominican Republic.
- Mumbai wins Buchi Babu Memorial Trophy of Cricket
Mumbai has won the Buchi Babu Memorial Trophy in the All India invitation cricket tournament. In the final match played at Chennai, Mumbai defeated Tamil Nadu Cricket Association Districts (TNCA) XI team by six wickets. Mumbai's Surya Kumar Yadav, was adjudged as the Man of the Series
About Buchi Babu Memorial Trophy :-
- Buchi Babu Memorial Trophy in an annual tournament held in honour of Mothavarapu Buchi Babu Naidu.
Mothavarapu Buchi Babu Naidu (1868–1908) was an Indian socialite and cricket pioneer who organised cricket clubs for native Indians. He is considered to be the "father of south indian cricket" and founded the annual Madras Presidency Matches, the first of which was held shortly after his death.>Login To Save for Revision
- India wins UNESCO award for conserving Vadakkunnathan Temple in Kerala
- India has won the top UNESCO prize ‘Award of Excellence’ 2015 for the remarkable conservation efforts of the majestic Vadakkunnathan Temple in Kerala
- The Award of Excellence for the conservation of Vadakkunnathan Temple, Thrissur, won this year’s top prize in the Asia Pacific Heritage Award for Cultural Heritage Conservation.
- The award recognises the remarkable conservation effort undertaken at the sacred site which employed age-old rituals and conservation techniques drawn from vastu shastra focusing on architecture and construction.
- Sdaring Xieng Thong Temple in Luang Prabang won the Award of Merit and became the first project in Lao People's Democratic Republic to receive the UNESCO Asia-Pacific Heritage Award.
- A 150-year-old Sino-Portuguese former residence of a Thai aristocrat, which has been converted into a historic inn and local museum, has been awarded UNESCO's "Award of Merit" in Heritage Award.
About Vadakkunnathan Temple :-
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- Vadakkunnathan Temple is an ancient Hindu temple dedicated to Shiva at city of Thrissur, of Kerala
- This temple is a classic example of the architectural style of Kerala and has monumental towers on all four sides and also a kuttambalam
- Mural paintings depicting various episodes from Mahabharata can be seen inside the temple
- The temple, along with the mural paintings, has been declared as a National Monument by India under the AMASR Act
- According to popular local lore, this is the first temple built by Parasurama, the sixth incarnation of Vishnu
- In the year 2012 Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) has recommended 14 sites, including Vadakkumnathan Temple and palaces, from Kerala to include in the list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites.
- Union Government nods to model of single card for travel and shopping
- The Union Ministry of Urban Development has come out with a Smart National Common Mobility Card (NCMC) model which can be used across mass transit modes such as metro rail and also double up as a credit or debit card for shopping.
- In this regard, Union Minister of Urban Development Venkaiah Naidu has approved the EMV Open Loop Card with stored value.
- Globally, there is no nationwide common card except in Singapore where in inter-operability is confined to city only. Hence, Govt. has given nod to EMV Open Loop Card with stored value for use across the country.
Key facts about National Common Mobility Card (NCMC) :-
- The Smart Common Mobility Payment Card addresses the deficiencies associated with other cards being used in Singapore and other countries.
- This card meets travel needs based on stored value of money and can be used for travelling by any means of transport and also enables account-based retail applications
- The card will be linked to a user’s bank account and eliminate the need to carry separate cards for retail shopping and commuting in mass transportation systems
- C-DAC will develop the standards and hardware for metro gates along with related ecosystems. Funding of Rs 4.47 crore has also been approved in this regard
The ministry has decided to task the National Payments Corporation of India with indigenous development and management of clearing and settlement of payments, simulating cards, terminals and network, a support base of vendors for providing certified tools, cards, terminals and other services.>Login To Save for Revision
- AK Jha appointed as interim CMD of NTPC Limited
- NTPC’s Director (Technical) A K Jha has been appointed as the interim chairman and managing director of National Thermal Power Corporation (NTPC).
- After refusing to give extension to Arup Roy Choudhury as CMD of NTPC, the government has decided to give additional charge to Jha for a period of three months or till the time a successor is chosen or until further orders.
- The Appointments Committee of the Cabinet (ACC) recommended recourse to the search-cum-selection committee (SCSC) which headed by Power Secretary P K Pujari. The committee is currently looking for a full-time CMD for NTPC.
About A K Jha :-
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- Jha, 58, is a graduate in Mechanical Engineering from BIT Sindri, Ranchi University, and holds LLB from the Delhi University
- He joined NTPC in 1977 as an Executive Trainee and was directly associated with its flagship project — Singrauli (5x200 MW). Jha joined the NTPC board as Director (Technical) in July 2012.
- Jha brings with him a rich and varied experience of 38 years in areas spanning across power projects such as design and engineering, project planning and monitoring and construction and management
- Government Recognises Yoga as Sports Discipline
The Sports Ministry has decided to recognize Yoga as a sports discipline and place it in the Priority category.
The sports ministry reviewed the categorisation of various disciplines and also revised the scale of financial assistance admissible to each category, which was further conveyed to the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and all National Sports Federations.
Based on the past performance in major international events, it was also decided to upgrade fencing from others to general category. It was also decided to place university sports in the priority category. Financial assistance for this category will be as under:-
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- National Championships are to be funded.
- One international event in India in a year, can be funded.
- Maximum of one foreign exposure each in Senior & Junior categories can also be funded during a year.
- Union Government accepts A P Shah panel report on MAT
Government has accepted Justice AP Shah Committee report on applicability of Minimum Alternate Tax (MAT) on foreign investors. By accepting the recommendations, Government will not impose levy on FIIs prior to 1st April 2015 i.e. retrospectively. In the meantime, government has ordered Central Board of Direct Taxation (CBDT) field officers not to pursue cases against FIIs on the issues related to MAT.
Key Recommendations made by AP Shah Committee :-
- There is no legal basis for levying 20 per cent MAT on past capital gains of FIIs.
- Amend Section 115 JB the Income Tax Act to clarify the issue with regard to levy of MAT on FIIs.
- MAT exemption will not be applicable to FIIs not having a place of business/ permanent establishment in India.
Backgroud of the controversy :-
- It had been observed that many companies, despite showing high profits in their books of accounts were paying marginal or no tax, by taking advantage of various tax concessions and other incentives, in a manner so as to avoid paying tax.
- MAT was thus envisaged as levying a minimum tax on such companies by deeming a certain percentage of their book profits, computed under the Companies Act, as taxable income
- The controversy arose after the tax department, following an order by the Authority of Advance Ruling, sent notices to 68 FIIs demanding Rs 602.83 crore as MAT dues.
AP Shah Committee :-
Union Finance Ministry in May 2015 had appointed this 3 member Committee on the issue of levying MAT on capital gains made by FIIs retrospectively. A P Shah (Chairman), Dr. Girish Ahuja and Dr. Ashok Lahiri were the members of the Committee>Login To Save for Revision
- Maharashtra Government approves ordinance to amend MPDA Act, 1981
- Maharashtra government has given nod to an ordinance for amending the Maharashtra Prevention of Dangerous Activities (MPDA) Act, under which sand mafia will not get bail for one year after arrest.
- Tampering of the public distribution system (PDS) mechanism and foodgrain mafias will be brought under the ambit of this Act. Offences under it will be made non–bailable. Police Commissionerate in urban areas and district magistrate have also been given power to detain an accussed for 12 days.
- In view of acute water scarcity, the government is considering ban on sugarcane crushing and prohibiting water for its production. Cloud-seeding, a form of weather modification, is being conducted in the state for last one month
Legal steps which are to be followed:-
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- Advisory Board would be constituted comprising a sitting High Court Judge and two retired judges. Within 12 days the request for detaining the person should be reaching the Maharashtra Home Secretary and within 21 days the home secretary has to approach the Advisory Board.
- Once the case of the detained person reaches the Advisory Board the accussed as well as the authority that has filed the case against him would file their arguments and following which the Advisory Board can take a decision to sentence the accussed for a year's imprisonment or release him.
- Maharashtra government officials said that if the Advisory Board doesn't approve the detention then the person would have to be released immediately.
- The entire procedure from the detention to reaching the Advisory Board and eventual release or imprisonment will have to be done within seven weeks.
- Air Marshal Raghunath Nambiar takes charge as Senior Air Staff Officer
In the second top appointment at the Bengaluru-based Air Force Training Command this week, Air Marshal Raghunath Nambiar has taken over as the Senior Air Staff Officer.
About Air Marshal Raghunath Nambiar
- Air Marshal Raghunath Nambiar was commissioned in the Indian Air Force in 1981 as a Flying Pilot. He is an Experimental Test Pilot.
- He served as Project Test Pilot for the Light Combat Aircraft and has the highest flying hours on the IAF’s Mirage 2000 aircraft.
- Raghunath Nambiar is credited with undertaking the decisive precision attack on Tiger Hill during the Kargil conflict in 1999.
- His other command and staff appointments include Principal Director Offensive Operations, Director of Space Application and Commandant, Aircraft Systems Testing Establishment
Air Marshal Raghunath Nambiaris always very enthusiastic about computers and a keen basketball player, Air Marshal Nambiar was awarded the Ati Vishisht Seva Medal and the Vayu Sena Medal and Bar.
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