Current Affairs, News & Facts of 10 Sep 2015

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  • Railways to invest $140 billion, Japan to modernize station



    • Japan has agreed to modernize railway stations across India while participating in the country’s 140 billion USD investment plan in the Railways over the next five years.
    • While agreeing for cooperation on modernisation and upgradation, Japan has agreed to assist the public transporter in achieving its zero-accident mission.
    • Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu, who is in Japan to strengthen cooperation in rail sector, held a series of high-level meetings with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Taro Aso among other ministers and senior officials.
    • In the top level discussion emphasis was laid on participation of Japanese railways and Japanese companies in various areas of Indian Railways with the aim of modernisation and technology upgradation
    • A Japanese delegation will soon visit India to study the opportunities for industries in the railway station development plan of railways as Railway Ministry has identified 400 stations to be upgraded in private investment
    • Railways research wing - Research Designs & Standards Organisation (RDSO), will sign an MoU with Railway Technical Research Institute of Japan to carry out research work on acquiring modern technology for the Indian Railways as per the finalisation of the action plan.
    • Japan will also provide its expertise and technology in solving problems of sanitation including the development of waterless, odourless toilets in trains and at stations
  • OSCB begins ‘Banks on Wheels’ service in remote areas



    • Odisha State Cooperative Bank Limited (OSCB) launched 'Banks of Wheels' scheme in 20 backward blocks covering 16 districts with an objective to reach the farmers and other people in remote areas of the state 
    • Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik flagged off the facility of 20 'Banks on Wheels' vehicles starting their journey to remote and tribal dominated blocks of the state which is first of its kind facility in the country 
    • The districts to be covered by Banks on Wheels are Keonjhar, Koraput, Sundergarh, Gajapati, Ganjam, Kalahandi, Kandhamal, Mayurbhanj, Sambalpur, Angul, Dhenkanal, Boudh, Malkangiri, Nawrangpur, Rayagada and Nayagarh. 
    • Core Banking Data Management Centre has also been inaugurated by Patnaik to provide connectivity to all branches of OSCB and District Central Cooperative Banks for providing core banking service (CBS). 

    Key facts :-

    • The Bank on Wheels units would go to the blocks where there have been no banking facilities. They would have facilities like ATM, information kiosk and full-fledged branch for providing financial inclusion service to the farmers in the tribal areas of the state 
    • The Odisha State Cooperative Bank Limited (OSCB)  has also become a member of the National Payment Corporation of India (NPCI) and has issued RuPay ATM Debit Cards that are accessible at 1.88 lakh ATMs of all the banks across the country. 
  • Center to give 33 % reservation to women in all para-military forces



    • Union Home ministry has announced 33 per cent reservations for women in all paramilitary forces, including Central Industrial Security Force (CISF). 
    • Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh made this announcement at National Industrial Security Academy (NISA), a premier training centre of the CISF where 48 freshly inducted and trained Assistant Commandants, eleven promotee ACs and 478 Sub-inspectors have passed. 
    • Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh also said that CISF will be the first among Central Armed Police Forces to achieve 33 percent reservation for women. 
  • Parrikar commissions naval missile base INS Vajrakosh at Karwar



    • Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar commissioned INS Vajrakosh, the latest missile and armament base, which will serve as a missile storage and replenishment facility for warships operating in the Western Coast, at Karwar base near Panji.
    • INS Vajrakosh is expected to be at the forefront of providing armament, missiles and related support to the naval ships in Karwar having state of the art facilities for stowage, handling, maintenance and preparation of naval armament.
    • The name ‘Vajrakosh’ is derived from the word Vajra, the mythological weapon of Lord Indra. The crest INS Vajrakosh depicts a diamond (symbolising indestructibility) and a thunderbolt (symbolising irresistible force).
    • INS Vajrakosh will be a premier naval base in the coming years. It will be third major base on the Western seaboard as there are plans to have some of the vital naval assets in Karwar.
  • India, Indonesia sign pact to cooperate on criminal matters



    • India and Indonesia have signed a pact for repatriation of wanted prisoners and cooperate in all criminal matters, including gathering evidence.
    • In this regard Union Ministry of Home Affairs has issued an official gazette notification for service or execution of summons or warrant in relation to criminal matters in both countries.

    Key facts of the agreement :-

    • Under the agreement, India will execute summons to an accused person or to any person requiring to attend and produce documents or a search-warrant issued by an Indonesian court. Indonesia will reciprocate with similar action if there is any request from any Indian court.
    • Such summons or warrant shall be sent to its Internal Security Division-II for transmission to the central authority, that is, the Ministry of Law and Human Rights of Indonesia.
  • Union Cabinet gives nod to introduction of Gold Monetization Schemes



    • The Union cabinet formally gave its approval for introduction of Gold Monetization Schemes (GMS) to reduce the country's reliance on the import of gold to meet domestic demand and  fish out idle gold lying with households and other entities.
    • The Gold Bond scheme will have an annual cap of 500 grams per person and such bonds would be issued for a period of 5-7 years. The bond will also be redeemable in cash in terms of the face value of the gold, at the time of redemption by the holder of the bond
    • India imports as much as 800-1000 tonnes of gold each year. Though stocks of gold in India are estimated to be over 20,000 tonnes, mostly this gold is neither traded, nor monetized.
    • Gold Monetisation Scheme will replace both the present Gold Deposit and Gold metal Loan Schemes. The new scheme will allow the depositors of gold to earn interest in their metal accounts and the jewelers to obtain loans in their metal account. Banks and other dealers would also be able to monetize this gold.
  • Union Cabinet approves National Offshore Wind Energy Policy  



    The Union Cabinet has approved the National Offshore Wind Energy Policy which will pave the way for development of this renewable source of energy, including setting up of projects and research in the area.

    Under the policy :-

    • The policy framework will provide a roadmap for mapping the offshore wind energy potential. Based on which the areas which have the potential for offshore wind energy will be located Government will get all approvals for these areas and offer it to developers by way of bidding.
    • The Ministry of New & Renewable Energy will be the nodal ministry for use of offshore areas within the Exclusive Economic Zone of the country
    • National Institute of Wind Energy will be the nodal agency to allocate wind energy blocks to developers. It will also frame guidelines for coordination and allied functions with related ministries and agencies.

    Scope of wind energy in India :-

    • There is a potential of generating 1,06,000 MW power through offshore wind source on Gujarat's coastline alone and (it is).. 60,000 MW on Tamil Nadu's coastline and the preliminary assessments along the 7,600 km long Indian coastline have indicated prospects of development of offshore wind power
    • India has achieved significant success in the onshore wind power development, with over 23 GW of wind energy capacity already installed and generating power.

    Note :- India targets 175 GW of renewable energy capacity by 2022, which includes 100 GW of solar, 60 GW of wind power, 10 GW of biomass-fired power and 5 GW of small hydro power. 

  • Gandhi Peace Prize 2014 conferred on ISRO



    • President Pranab Mukherjee presented the Gandhi Peace Prize for the year 2014 to Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO).
    • ISRO was given the prize in recognition of its services in transforming India through the use of space technology and space based services. 
    • ISRO Chairman A S Kiran Kumar received the honour which carries Rs one crore in cash, a plaque and a citation 
    • India is the only country in the world to reach Mars in its first attempt, and ISRO the fourth space agency in the world to reach Mars.
  • J. Manjula becomes DRDO's first woman Director General



    J Manjula has been appointed the first woman director general of the Defence Research and Development Organization's Electronics and Communication Systems cluster

    Ms. Manjula, is a DRDO Outstanding Scientist before her elevation she was Director of the Defence Avionics Research Establishment, Bengaluru, since July 2014.She took charge from K.D. Nayak, Distinguished Scientist & Director General, who held the additional charge of the six ECS laboratories.

    About  J Manjula :- 

    • J Manjula is a alumna of Osmania University and a practising electronics and communications engineer. She joined DRDO in 1987 after a brief stint in the Electronics Corporation of India Ltd.
    • At the Defence Electronics Research Laboratory, Hyderabad, she worked in the area of integrated electronic warfare and is credited with developing fast signal acquisition receivers, high power RF systems, responsive jammers and controller software for various systems used by the military and the paramilitary.
    • Her specialisation includes configuration of communication and radar ESM and ECM systems.

    Awards and honours :- 

    • Ms. Manjula has been conferred the DRDO award for performance excellence, the Scientist of the Year award for 2011 and the India Today Woman Summit award for 2014.

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