Cabinet clears 7 projects including National War Memorial , New AIIMS in one day.
- The Cabinet on Wednesday cleared a slew of plans, including the promised National War Memorial near New Delhi’s iconic India Gate, a longstanding demand of the Army. Apart from this a national watershed management plan and new AIIMs also got a leg up.
- The seven things that Cabinet Okayed are:
- National War Memorial and a National War Museum at Princess Park, near India Gate, for soldiers who died post-independence. The estimated cost of the project will be around Rs 500 crore
- Neeranchal: The Cabinet cleared a national watershed management plan, Neeranchal, to be done under the Pradhan Mantri Krishi Sinchayi Yojana. This plan will have a total outlay of Rs 2,142.30 crore, which will be implemented at the national level as well as in the nine states of Andhra Pradesh, Chattisgarh, Gujarat, Jharkhand, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Odisha, Rajasthan and Telangana. Of the Rs 2142.30 crore alloted, the government’s share is Rs 1,071.15 crore and the rest is loan component from World Bank. It will translate into better implementation outcomes of PMKSY. The programme will lead to reducing surface runoff of rainwater, increasing recharge of ground water and better availability of water in rainfed areas resulting in incremental rainfed agriculture productivity, enhanced milk yield and increased cropping intensity through better convergence related programmes in project areas.
- Bonus to railway employees: the Cabinet okayed a proposal to give productivity linked bonus to about 12.58 lakh railway employees. The financial implication of payment of 78 days’ bonus to railway employees has been estimated to be Rs 1,030.02 crore. The wage calculation ceiling prescribed for payment of PLB to the eligible non-gazetted railway employees is 3,500/- per month and the maximum amount payable per eligible railway employee is Rs 8,975 for 78 days.
- Three new All India Institutes of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) at Nagpur in Maharashtra, Manglagiri in Andhra Pradesh and at Kalyani in West Bengal under Pradhan Mantri Swasthya Suraksha Yojna, this will cost Rs 4,949 crore.
- The Cabinet also cleared mechanisation of East Quay berths at Paradip Port on Build, Operate and Transfer (BOT) basis, under Public Private Partnership (PPP) mode’ for handling thermal coal exports. The estimated cost of the project is Rs 1,437.76 crore of which Rs 1,412.76 crore will be spent by the concessionaire. The remaining Rs 25 crore will be spent by the Paradip Port Trust on dredging.
- The mechanization of EQ 1, 2 and 3 Berths will increase their capacity from existing 7.85 million tonnes to 30 million tonnes.
- The Cabinet gave its ex-post facto approval to the protocol for cooperation in the field of blue economy which was signed between India and Seychelles on August 26. The protocol lays down the modalities and mechanism of cooperation between the two parties for ocean studies as well as scientific exploration and exploitation of sea based resources, for sustainable development and economic purposes.
- The Cabinet also approved the protocol for avoidance of double taxation with Israel and Vietnam for prevention of fiscal evasion with respect to taxes on income and on capital.
DNA repair Scientists win Nobel Prize for Chemistry
- Sweden’s Tomas Lindahl, American Paul Modrich and US-Turkish scientist Aziz Sancar won the Nobel Prize in chemistry on Wednesday for “mechanistic studies of DNA repair.”
- The Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences said their work “has provided fundamental knowledge of how a living cell functions.” Their findings have been used for the development of new cancer treatments, among other things, the academy said.
- Lindahl, 77, is an emeritus group leader at Francis Crick Institute and Emeritus director of Cancer Research UK at Clare Hall Laboratory in Britain.
- Modrich, born in 1946, is an investigator at Howard Hughes Medical Institute and professor at Duke University School of Medicine, Durham, North Carolina.
- Sancar, 69, is a professor at the University of North Carolina School of Medicine in Chapel Hill, North Carolina.
- The 8 million Swedish kronor (about $960,000) award will be handed out along with the other Nobel Prizes on Dec. 10, which is also the death anniversary of prize founder Alfred Nobel.
- This year’s medicine prize went to scientists from Japan, the US and China who discovered drugs to fight malaria and other tropical diseases. Japanese and Canadian scientists won the physics prize for discovering that tiny particles called neutrinos have mass
IMF expects India to retain world’s fastest growing economy tag
- The International Monetary Fund (IMF) expects India to retain its recently acquired status as the world’s fastest growing major economy even as it pared the country’s growth forecast for the current fiscal.
- A day after the finance ministry said the economy should do a little better this year with at least 7.5% growth, the IMF pegged its estimate at 7.3%, the same as in the previous year. That’s lower than the 7.5% forecast in the July 2015 World Economic Outlook (WEO) Update.
- “Growth will benefit from recent policy reforms, a consequent pickup in investment, and lower commodity prices,” the IMF said, adding that demand in India is projected to remain strong.
- Released ahead of the Fund’s annual meeting later this week, the latest edition of the multilateral lender’s ‘World Economic Outlook–Adjusting to Lower Commodity Prices’ has maintained FY17 forecast at 7.5%. A day earlier, an IMF blog post had been optimistic about the country’s economic prospects.
- The IMF’s forecast for 2020 sees India occupying the top slot among major economies with a growth rate of 7.7%.
FDI policy to be simplified, FIPB to meet twice a month for faster nod: Shaktikanta Das
- India is rolling out the red carpet for overseas investors with sweeping foreign investment policy reform and quicker approvals while Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s monthly review of projects is ensuring that delays are getting resolved quickly.
- Shaktikanta Das today said that the Foreign Investment Promotion Board (FIPB) will now meet twice a month to speed up approvals, signaling the clear intent of the government to push ahead with reforms on a wide range of issues.
- The foreign direct investment ( FDI) policy is being reviewed to make it simple and put the maximum possible sectors on the automatic route, obviating the need for government approval.
- Das said Finance Minister Arun Jaitley was keeping tabs on disinvestment—the government has set itself a record Rs 69,500 crore from this in the current year—to see that it yields maximum revenue.
Panel’s report on civil services exam pattern in six months
- An expert committee formed by the government to examine various issues related to age relaxation, eligibility, syllabus and pattern of civil services examination, to select IAS and IPS officers, will give its report within six months time.
- The committee headed by former HRD Secretary and retired IAS officer B S Baswan will examine the time frame in which the examination is conducted and suggest suitable changes to reduce the time taken for selection of candidates by utilising information and communication technologies, as per its Terms of Reference (ToR).
- It will also review the effectiveness of the existing scheme of the prestigious test in selecting suitable candidates and “suggest the time frame for implementation of the revised pattern of examination”.
- The civil service examination is conducted by Union Public Service Commission annually in three stages – preliminary, main and interview – to select officers for Indian Administrative Service (IAS), Indian Foreign Service (IFS) and Indian Police Service (IPS), among others.
- The panel will also examine the plan of examination, number of papers, their structure and duration, marking scheme, weightage of marks and system of evaluation “so as to arrive at an examination pattern that is holistic and does not exhibit any bias for or against candidates from any particular stream, subject area, language or region”, according to the ToR.