VAJRA faculty scheme – 260 applicants for government’s visiting researcher programme
Central Government has received 260 applications from foreign scientists for Visiting Advanced Joint Research (VAJRA) Faculty scheme. Out of these 260 applications, 70 will be shortlisted for this year.
i. The department intends to select 1,000 scientists every year under this scheme.
ii. Ashutosh Sharma, Secretary of Department of Science and Technology, has stated that screening of 260 applicants will start in October 2017 and the shortlisted scientists will begin work by December 2017…
Gujarat becomes first state to slash VAT on petrol, diesel; cuts taxes by 4 per cent
On October 2017, Gujarat state government announced a 4 per cent reduction in VAT (Value Added Tax) on petrol and diesel. It has thereby become the first state to cut VAT on fuel.
i. On account of this decision, petrol will get cheaper by Rs 2.93 and diesel by Rs 2.72 across Gujarat from the midnight of Tuesday and Wednesday.
ii. Recently, after cutting central excise duty on petrol and diesel by Rs. 2, Union Oil Minister Dharmendra Pradhan had asked the state governments to cut VAT on the fuel products by 5 per cent citing that they are the biggest beneficiaries of the revenues generated from petrol and diesel.
iii. Out of the total levy on fuel, state governments get all of the VAT collection along with 42 per cent of the central excise collections.
iv. The remaining portion of excise collections is used by Central Government in centrally sponsored schemes.
Government approved Rs 2,000 crore to set up Aadhaar units in post offices
With an aim to gradually phase out private contractors from the data collection process in Aadhaar enrolment, Central Government has approved Rs 2,000 crore for setting up Aadhaar centres in post offices.
Aadhaar Enrolment and Updation facilities in Post Offices:
i. This decision has been taken as Government received several complaints against private vendors such as petty corruption and attempted frauds. Moreover Supreme Court too had highlighted reports of alleged leakage of Aadhaar data.
ii. By March 31, 2017, Government will set up Aadhaar enrolment and updation facilities in around 15,000 post offices.
iii. The centres will have machines approved by the Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) and trained personnel who will be responsible for the operations.
iv. Government believes that post offices will considerably extend the reach of UID, particularly in remote areas.
President of India inaugurates India water Week 2017
On 10th October 2017, the President of India, Mr.Ram Nath Kovind, inaugurated India Water Week 2017, at Vigyan Bhavan, in New Delhi.
India Water Week 2017:
i. Theme of India Water Week 2017 is ‘Water and Energy for Inclusive Growth’. It is held from 10thto 14thOctober, 2017.
ii. India Water Week 2017 is a platform to discuss ideas with global-level decision makers, politicians, researchers and entrepreneurs in the field of water resources for mutual benefit.
iii. A multi-disciplinary conference is held to discuss the following topics:
1.Water, Food and Energy Security-Essential Requirement for Sustainable Development
2.Water for Inclusive Growth
3.Sustainable Energy Development-Key for All Round Economic Growth
4.Water and Society
iv. Also exhibition showcasing the technologies, latest developments and solutions available for the areas in, water and energy is held.
About India Water Week 2017:
♦ Organised by – Ministry of Water Resources, River Development & Ganga Rejuvenation
♦ Date – 10th– 14th October 2017
House panel headed by Shashi Tharoor to look into China-India relations
On 10th October 2017, the Standing Committee on External Affairs headed by Shashi Tharoor, Congress member of the Lok Sabha, was formed to examine the India-China relations.
Standing Committee to examine India-China relations:
i. The Standing Committee on External Affairs will examine the issue of cooperation between India and China in international organisations.
ii. This move has been made after Congress Vice-President Rahul Gandhi demanded Prime Minister Narendra Modi to explain the resumed road-construction by the Chinese near the Doklam plateau.
iii. The standing committee would also look at India’s “Relations with Myanmar and the Rohingya situation”, the country’s “Act East Policy, including BIMSTEC”, the “Situation in the Far East: Japan and North Korea”, India’s engagement with SAARC countries, global terrorism and voting rights for NRIs.
♦ Country – claimed by both Bhutan and China
♦ Location – between Tibet’s Chumbi Valley and Bhutan’s Ha Valley
Himachal Pradesh implements Senior Citizen Health Insurance Scheme (SCHIS)
On 9th October 2017, Himachal Pradesh government implemented the Senior Citizen Health Insurance Scheme (SCHIS), in Shimla.
Senior Citizen Health Insurance Scheme (SCHIS):
i. SCHIS has been introduced to provide easy access to curative old age related health care services through additional cover.
ii. The scheme would increase coverage of Rs.30,000 per senior citizen to all existing Rashtriya Swasthya Bima Yojna (RSBY) smart card holders.This would be in addition to the basic coverage of Rs.30,000 in Trust and Society mode.
iii. The beneficiaries of this scheme would be RSBY enrolled people aged 60 years and above. But, senior citizens who are eligible for RSBY but not currently enrolled in this scheme, will not get the benefit of SCHIS.
Other recent schemes introduced by Himachal Pradesh:
1.Electronic Health Card Scheme Himachal Pradesh
2.Unemployment Allowance Scheme 2017 in Himachal Pradesh – Rs.1000 for Unemployed Intermediate
3.Rajiv Thali Yojana – Rs.25 Meal Scheme in Himachal Pradesh
Vice President inaugurated the 3rd International Conference on Yoga on the theme ‘Yoga for Wellness
On 10th October 2017, Vice President, Mr.M.Venkaiah Naidu inaugurated the two day ‘International Conference on Yoga for Wellness’ at Pravasi Bharatiya Kendra, Chanakyapuri, New Delhi.
3rd International Conference on Yoga:
i. The Minister of State (Independent Charge) for AYUSH, Mr.Shripad Yesso Naik presided over the inaugural function.Secretary (AYUSH), Mr.C.K.Mishra, Special Secretary, Mr.Vaidya Rajesh Kotecha also participated.
ii. This is the 3rdInternational Conference on Yoga organized by the Ministry of AYUSH. About 500 delegates, including 69 from overseas countries attended the conference.
iii. Theme for this International Conference on Yoga 2017 is ‘Yoga for Wellness’. Areas of discussions are Yoga research in non-communicable diseases and scope of Yoga in Integrated Medicine, Control of Cancer, Depression, Gynecological disorders and Pain Management.
iv. This conference has been organized with the technical and logistic support of Central Council for Research in Yoga & Naturopathy and Moraji Desai National Institute of Yoga.
About Ministry of AYUSH:
♦ AYUSH full form – Ayurveda, Yoga and Naturopathy, Unani, Siddha and Homoeopathy
♦ Minister of State (Independent Charge) – Mr.Shripad Yesso Naik
Bengaluru airport to be the first Aadhaar-enabled airport in the country by December 2018
The Bangalore International Airport Limited (BIAL) has planned to make Kempegowda International Airport (KIA) as India’s first airport to have complete Aadhaar-enabled entry and biometric boarding system.
KIA to be the first Aadhaar-enabled airport:
i.Following the two-month trial period in February, , Bangalore International Airport Limited (BIAL) has decided to make KIA fully compliant with Aadhaaar-enabled entry and biometric boarding system.
ii. According to the Request For Proposal (RFP) issued by BIAL, the airport is expected to be completely Aadhaar-enabled by December 2018.
iii. BIAL would use Aadhaar-enabled entry and biometric e-boarding process to confirm personal identity for airport passenger processing and control other things.
iv. The process would verify a passenger within 5 seconds at every checkpoint, completing the screening process in 10 minutes compared to the average 25 minutes.
About Kempegowda International Airport (KIA):
♦ Location – Devanahalli, Karnataka
♦ Owner/Operator – Bangalore International Airport Limited (BIAL)
Andhra Chief Minister inaugurates Blockchain Business Conference in Visakhapatnam
On 9th October 2017, Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Mr.N.Chandrababu Naidu inaugurated a two day International Blockchain Business Conference, at Fintech Valley Vizag, in Vishakapatnam.
International Blockchain Business Conference:
i. The International Blockchain Business Conference is hosted by Fintech Valley Vizag. It is hosted with the support from Ministry of Electronic and IT.
ii. This will connect government bodies, startups and corporates working on Blockchain technologies to create more business and investment opportunities. It will have sessions on Blockchain in banking, insurance and capital markets.
iii. Blockchain is the latest technology in the field of cyber space that is generating huge interest globally.\
iv. Thomson Reuters signed a MoU with Andhra Pradesh government for setting up innovation app studio in Gitam University, Andhra Pradesh. MoU were signed with several other companies on this occasion.
About Fintech Valley Vizag:
♦ Purpose – to promote business infrastructure in the state, and attract investors and multinational corporations to set up offices
♦ Owner – Government of Andhra Pradesh