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Daily News Digest, 18th February 2016

Union Cabinet approves LIGO-India research project on gravitational waves

  • The Union Cabinet has given an in-principle approval to the LIGO-India mega science proposal for research on gravitational waves.
  • The proposal is piloted by the Department of Atomic Energy and the Department of Science and Technology.
  • It will establish a state-of-the-art gravitational wave observatory in India in collaboration with the LIGO Laboratory in the US run by Caltech and MIT.

Environment Ministry launches new Environmental Information System portal

  • Prakash Javadekar, Minister of Environment, Forests and Climate Change has launched a website to integrate its Environment Information System (ENVIS) centres.
  • The ENVIS aims to integrate country-wide data on environment-related information.
  •  It is an effort to reach out to people and make them “partners in the sustainable development”.
  • Currently, there are 69 ENVIS centres out of which 29 are managed by environment departments of the various State Governments. The rest are hosted by environment-related government and non-governmental organisations.

BHEL commissions GVK Goindwal Sahib’s 270-MW unit in Punjab

  • Bharat Heavy Electricals Ltd has commissioned a 270-MW coal-based thermal power project of GVK Group in Punjab.
  • The unit has been commissioned at the upcoming 540 MW (2x270 MW) Goindwal Sahib coal-fired plant of GVK Power & Infrastructure Ltd  located in Tarn Taran district in Punjab.
  • Earlier, BHEL had commissioned four hydel power units of 82.5 MW each at Alaknanda hydropower project in Uttarakhand for GVK.
  • GVK had enlisted BHEL for the Goindwal Sahib project under design, engineering, manufacture, supply and erection and commissioning of steam turbine and implement the project.
  • BHEL has so far supplied six units of 210 MW, two units of 210 MW and two units of 250 MW and 270 MW units in Goindwal Sahib, all in Punjab.

YES Bank, UltraCash partner to launch payments service

  • YES Bank has partnered UltraCash Technologies to launch payments processing through sound waves.
  • UltraCash utilises a patent-pending technology through which payment data is securely transferred from one device to the other using unique ultra-high frequency sound waves.
  • The innovative technology ensures that UltraCash’s ‘Tap and Pay’ works on all devices and doesn’t need any special hardware to make the payment.
  • There are no need of special near field communication (NFC) chips.
  • UltraCash’s sound wave technology enables mobile payments to be done without the need for Internet connectivity using any of the options, such as bank accounts and cards.
  • Besides, UltraCash will issue YES Bank-branded digital wallets to consumers to aid quicker, seamless and friction-free payments.

Gunasheela Fertility Centre launches pre-implantation genetic screening

  • Gunasheela Fertility Centre and a wing of Gunasheela Surgical & Maternity Hospital have launched ‘Gunasheela Genomics Centre for Pre-Implantation Genetic Screening (PGS)’.
  • GFC is the Bengaluru-based fertility centre.
  • The centre will offer for the first time a technology of Pre-Implantation Genetic Screening (PGS) – a procedure designed to examine embryos for chromosomal abnormalities before implantation.
  • The PGS protocol is a comprehensive chromosome screening technique using highly sophisticated technology, the Next Generation Sequencing (NGS) platform (Ion Torrent).
  • NGS technology aims to improve pregnancy & live birth rates by screening the embryos for chromosomal abnormalities.
  • It is the first time in India that a private infertility centre has an in-house genomics laboratory providing PGS on the NGS Platform, with the fastest turnaround time for the results and also the most cost effective.

Karnataka Bank bags IBSA Banking Technology Award

  • Karnataka Bank Ltd has won the IBA Banking Technology Award’ in the category of ‘Best Risk and Fraud Management Initiative - Runner Up’ amongst small banks.
  • The award was announced as part of Indian Banks’ Association (IBA) Technology Conference, Expo and Awards 2016.
  • Mahabaleshwara MS, Chief General Manager of the bank has received the award from HR Khan, Deputy Governor of RBI and Ashwani Kumar, Chairman of IBA in Mumbai.

Punjab to sign MoU with British Pig Association

  • The Punjab government plans to sign a MoU with British Pig Association (BPA) to develop and promote piggery in the State.
  • The tie-up of State Animal Husbandry department with BPA would turn around the stagnant economy of the peasantry, which is grappling with low returns from conventional farming.
  • Punjab Government also gave permission to AOV Group for setting a modern meat processing plant at a cost of nearly ₹50 crore at Mattewara village in Ludhiana district for value addition of goat, sheep and pig meat.
  • The company will export high-quality meat products from the upcoming plant to ensure better prices to pig farmers.
  • There are 3 government pig breeding farms at Chajju Majra (Mohali), Gurdaspur, Malwal (Ferozepur) besides the modern farm at Nabha (Patiala). Three more farms are being set up there to promote pig breeding in a hygienic and advanced manner.

Jharkhand Government attracts ₹62,000-cr investment

  • Jharkhand has attracted an investment of ₹62,000 crore in the Make in India roadshow in Mumbai.
  • The biggest investment in the State was committed by the Adani Group which will pump in ₹50,000 crore for power and fertiliser manufacturing plants.
  • The Adani group signed a MoU with the Jharkhand government for an investment of ₹15,000 crore in Greenfield 1,600-MW thermal plants. The power will be supplied to the Bangladesh grid. The remaining ₹35,000 crore will be invested for setting up a unit that will produce coal-based methane fertiliser.
  • The State also secured an investment of ₹2,000 crore from Vedanta Group to set up a steel plant.
  •  Jharkhand Industries Department has also received 11 letters of intent from different companies committing a cumulative investment of ₹10,000 crore in chemical, IT, textile and construction sectors.

Alok Kumar Verma to be next Delhi Police Chief

  • Senior IPS officer Alok Verma will be the next Delhi Police Commissioner.
  • Mr. Verma will succeed incumbent Delhi Police Chief B S Bassi who will retire on 29th of this month.
  • A 1979-batch Union Territory cadre officer, Mr. Verma is currently serving as Director General of Tihar prison.
  • He will serve as the top police officer in Delhi for 17 months.
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