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Daily News Digest:17 March 2019

First Workshop on India Energy Modelling Forum Held

The NITI Aayog and the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) organized the first workshop on development of the India Energy Modelling Forum (IEMF), which has been envisaged as a pan-stakeholder platform for debating ideas, scenario-planning & discussing the India's energy future.

The two-day workshop, being held with the support of the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL), was organized under the Sustainable Growth Pillar of the India-U.S. Strategic Energy Partnership.

Project Varshadhare launched by Karnataka Government

The Karnataka government has launched the Varshadhare project to conduct cloud seeding.

On March 8, the Rural Development and Panchayat Raj Department pushed a tender call for cloud seeding operations to enhance rainfall during the monsoons of 2019 and 2020.

The project is expected to cost ₹50 crore each year.

Representation of the People Act, 1951 – Public Notice Period

The Election Commission of India has announced the elections for the Lok Sabha and Assemblies to Andhra Pradesh, Orissa, Arunachal Pradesh on 10th March, 2019. 

Therefore, in view of the current elections, the Commission has given one time relaxation and has reduced the notice period  from 30 days to 7 days for the parties who have published their public notice by 10th March, 2019 i.e. date of announcement of election.

President of India inaugurates Festival of Innovation and Entrepreneurship in Gandhinagar

President Ramnath Kovind on 15 March inaugurated the Festival of Innovation and Entrepreneurship at Grambharti near Gandhinagar in Gujarat.

He also presented the 10th Biennial National Grassroots Innovation Awards on this occasion. 

The signing of Bilateral Agreement for Exchange of Country-by-Country (CbC) Reports between India and the USA

India and US will sign bilateral agreement for exchange of Country-by-Country (CbC) report by 31 March 2019.

It will help Indian subsidiaries of US multinational corporations with Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) in providing compliance.

Initiative–Womaniya on GeM

It is an initiative launched by the Government eMarketplace (GeM) to enable women entrepreneurs and self-help groups to sell different products at the platform.

The initiative – Womaniya on GeM – seeks to develop women entrepreneurship on the margins of society to achieve gender-inclusive economic growth.

The initiative would enable women entrepreneurs and women self-help groups to sell handicrafts and handloom, jute and coir products, home décor and office furnishings, directly to various government ministries, departments and institutions.

Tallest Shiva lingam in the country

Kerala now has the tallest Shiva lingam in the country after the India Book of Records certified the 111.2-feet structure of Maheshwaram Sri Shiva Parvathy Temple at Chenkal in Thiruvananthapuram district.

The cylindrical structure has eight floors, six of which represent chakras or energy centres of the human body. 

West Nile virus (WNV)

Indian Central Government on 14 March sent a special medical team to Malappuram district of Kerala from where a confirmed case of West Nile Virus (WNV) fever, a mosquito-borne disease was reported this week.

The government has also alerted the apex research organization Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) for keeping a close watch at central and state level.

UNNATEE (Unlocking NATional Energy Efficiency potential)

Bureau of Energy Efficiency (BEE) has developed a national strategy document- UNNATEE (Unlocking NATional Energy Efficiency potential)– for accelerating energy efficiency in India.

Mercer’s Quality of Living Reports

Global consulting firm Mercer has released its annual quality of living survey in which 231 cities across the globe were ranked based on various factors. This is the 21st edition.

Globally, Vienna tops the ranking for the 10th year running, closely followed by Zurich, the runner-up.

GK of the Day: Electoral Bond Scheme

Electoral Bond Scheme was introduced during the 2017 Budget which aims to ensure accountability to donations made to major political parties.

What is Electoral Bond?

An electoral bond is designed to be a bearer instrument like a Promissory Note — in effect, it will be similar to a bank note that is payable to the bearer on demand and free of interest.

National Supercomputer Mission

IIT Kharagpur has signed a MoU with Centre for Development of Advanced Computing (C-DAC) to set up a 1.3 Petaflop high-performance computing facility and data centre funded under the National Supercomputing Mission.

The new supercomputing system would be used for specific challenge domains like cryptography, chemistry, molecular dynamics, drug discovery, artificial intelligence and data sciences where the new system would be utilized.

RBI categorises IDBI Bank as Private Sector Bank; SBI, ICICI and HDFC remain Systemically Important Banks

The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) on 14 March 2019 named State Bank of India (SBI), ICICI Bank and HDFC Bank as Domestic Systemically Important Banks (D-SIBs), which in other words mean banks that are too big to fail.

British Army will recruit 800 Nepalese Gurkha

The British Army announced that it would create a new Specialised Infantry Battalion by recruiting more than 800 Nepalese Gurkha servicepersons this year.

El Nino Report by Nature Journal

Global climatic disruptions due to the strong and extended positive phase of the ENSO conditions, or simply El Nino in 2015-16 increased the outbreak of diseases in the regions of its influence, according to a study published in the journal Nature.

The scientists analysed certain disease outbreaks in the 2015-16 period and tried to correlate them with higher temperatures and erratic rainfall patterns characteristic of the El Nino.

Financial Stability Development Council

Financial Stability Development Council meeting held recently was chaired by the Union Finance Minister.

The Financial Stability and Development Council (FSDC) was constituted in December, 2010.

The FSDC was set up to strengthen and institutionalise the mechanism for maintaining financial stability, enhancing inter-regulatory coordination and promoting financial sector development.

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