Read about the upcoming modi’s visit to Israel, the new vaccine launched by Delhi government, the new Internet scheme by TN government and more …
1) Modi’s visit to Israel: India lines up defence deals worth $3 billion-
- Ahead of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s first visit to Tel Aviv later this year, the Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS) has begun to clear a slew of defence deals with Israel. The deals, some of which have been pending for long, are together worth well over $3 billion.
- Defence ministry sources on Tuesday said while the deals for Spice-2000 bombs and laser-designation pods have already been cleared by the CCS, the ones for acquisition of two more Phalcon AWACS (airborne warning and control systems), four more aerostat radars and the medium-range surface-to-air missile system (MR-SAM) for the Army are now on the anvil.
- Last month, it was reported that most of these deals had reached the final stages of approvals, while the negotiations for the initial Rs 3,200 crore contract for 321 Israeli “Spike” anti-tank guided missile (ATGM) systems and 8,356 missiles were also making some headway after being stalled for months.
- Both the 164 laser-designation pods (Litening-4) and 250 advanced “Spice” precision stand-off bombs are meant to arm IAF fighter jets like Sukhoi-30MKIs and Jaguars for greater lethality and accuracy.
- The around Rs 10,000 crore joint development of the MR-SAM for the Army, in turn, will follow the similar ongoing DRDO-Israeli Aerospace Industries projects worth around Rs 13,000 crore for the Navy and IAF. The IAF-Navy variants have an interception range of 70-km, while the one for the Army will be 50-km.
- The acquisition of two additional AWACS for over $1 billion, in turn, will be a follow-on order to the three such “force-multipliers” already inducted by the IAF under a tripartite $1.1 billion agreement inked by India, Israel and Russia in 2004.
2) Delhi government launches HPV vaccine –
- In a significant attempt towards prevention of cervical cancer caused by a sexually transmitted infection, the Delhi government has launched the Human Papillomavirus (HPV) vaccination as a public health programme, the first by any state.
- This makes Delhi the first state to launch HPV vaccine for cervical cancer as a Public Health Programme.
- As part of the programme, which was launched yesterday, girls of class VI in government schools will be targeted in the first phase. This will be completed in the current academic year over two phases.
- Human Papillomavirus (HPV) is a common sexually transmitted infection, which causes cervical cancer.
- According to health minister Satyendra Jain, through this initiative about 80 per cent of the cervical cancers can be prevented.
- Delhi State Cancer Institute GNCTD, in collaboration with International Agency For Research On Cancer, Union for International Cancer Control and Ministry of Health has organised a four-day International Workshop on Cancer between February 29 to March 3.
- According to the HPV India Report 2015 (HPV R-2015), 1,22,844 women are diagnosed with cervical cancer and 67,477 die from the disease in India every year.
- Cervical cancer is the second most common cancer among women aged 15-44 years.
3) Government to move amendment to EPF tax proposal –
- Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley will move an amendment to the budget proposal on the taxation of withdrawal of investments from the Employees’ Provident Fund.
- The criticism of the proposal forced a reconsideration, a top government official told reporters, speaking on condition of anonymity, as the “Finance Bill is now a property of the House.”
- The amended proposal will make only the interest accrued on 60 per cent of the contributions made after April 1, 2016 taxable, the official said.
- The new proposal under consideration is that interest accrued on 60 per cent of contributions made after April 1, 2016 will not attract any tax on withdrawal unless invested in an annuity plan, Mr. Adhia, revenue secretary said. The contributions and interest accrued to the EPF before that and the withdrawal of principal after the cut-off date would remain tax-free, he said.
- In other words, according to the release, the entire corpus will be tax-free, if invested in annuity.
- The other change, according to this release, introduced by the budget, is that when the original corpus goes in the hands of the heirs on the death of the person investing in annuity, then again there will be no tax. The budget proposal does not affect three crore subscribers of the around 3.7 crore contributing members of EPFO as their investments within the statutory wage limit of Rs.15,000 a month.
4) CM Jayalalitha Launches Arasu Internet Service –
- Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa on Tuesday launched Arasu Fibre, an initiative to provide affordable Internet services to every household across the State through the Tamil Nadu Arasu Cable TV Corporation Ltd.
- The TACTV has rolled out attractive tariff plans for various categories of customers.
- An official source also said the service can be extended to 15,000 customers soon.
- On the speciality of the broadband service provided by TACTV, the sources said some of the existing private service providers use copper instead of fibre network for giving broadband service where the service would not be up to the mark. But the TACTV, which already has around 29,000 Local Cable Operators, would be able to extend the fibre network with GPont technology for delivering quality service.
- The Chief Minister also declared open a Start-up Warehouse in Chennai established at a cost of Rs 3.53 crore and Cloud and Web Hosting Services for students and young entrepreneurs and Cloud Computing Facility at Tamil Nadu State Data Centre at a cost of Rs 10.41 crore.
- She also laid the foundation for Disaster Recovery Centre at Navalpattu, Tiruchy (Rs 53.28 crore) and Tamil Nadu State Data Centre Phase II (Rs 40 crore), through the video conferencing at the Secretariat.
5) Raychaudhury Takes Charge as RINL Director-
- Prabir Raychaudhury on Tuesday took charge as the director (Commercial) of Rashtriya Ispat Nigam Limited (RINL), the corporate entity of Visakhapatnam Steel Plant.
- Prior to the present assignment, he served as the executive director (Transport and Shipping department) of Steel Authority of India Limited (SAIL) in Kolkata.
- Raychaudhury also worked in close coordination with the railways for undertaking movement of large volume of imported raw materials like coking coal and limestone through the railway system.
- A Chemical Engineering graduate from IIT, New Delhi, Raychaudhury started his career as management trainee with the SAIL in 1982 and worked in various key positions during his tenure.
- He successfully handled various commercial activities like domestic sales, international trade, warehouse operations, retail sales, transport and shipping and vigilance.
- He played a major role in drafting policy for dealership schemes for increasing the outreach of the products in rural areas and was responsible for implementing the initiative across the country. Initiatives like working with INSDAG (Institute for Steel Development and Growth) were also taken up in projects for increasing the steel consumption in hinterland and rural areas.