|11.||Navika Sagar Parikrama: India’s first all-women circumnavigation expedition flagged-off|
India’s first all-women crew circumnavigation expedition named as Navika Sagar Parikrama was flagged off by Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman in Goa.
The crew belongs to Indian Navy and is sailing Indian Naval Sailing Vessel Tarini (INSV Tarini). It will circumnavigate globe in approximately 165 days and is expected to return to Goa in April 2018.
The expedition will be covered in five legs, with stop-overs at 4 ports viz. Fremantle (Australia), Lyttleton (New Zealand), Port Stanley (Falklands) and Cape Town (South Africa) for replenishment of ration and repairs as necessary.
The 6 member crew: Lt Cdr Vartika Joshi and Lt Payal Gupta from Uttarakhand, Lt Cdr P Swathi (Andhra Pradesh), Lt Cdr Pratibha Jamwal (Himachal Pradesh), Lt Aishwarya Boddapati (Telangana) and Lt Shourgrakpam Vijaya Devi (Manipur).
Women Empowerment: It has been named Navika Sagar Parikrama in consonance with National policy to empower women to attain their full potential. It will help to discard societal attitudes and mindset towards women in India by raising visibility of their participation in challenging environment.
Environment Friendly: The expedition also aims at harnessing renewable energy as sailing encourages use of environment friendly non-conventional renewable energy resources. During their voyage, the crew will collect and update Ocean/Meteorological/Wave data on regular basis for accurate weather forecast by India Meteorological Department (IMD) and subsequent analysis by R&D organisations. It will also monitor and report marine pollution on high seas.
INSV Tarini is a 55-foot sailing vessel, built indigenously by M/s Aquarius Shipyard Pvt Ltd, Goa. It was inducted in Indian Navy in February 2017. Its mast is 25 metres and has been custom-built by M/s Southern Spars, Cape Town (South Africa), for sailing in extreme conditions.
It carries a suite of six sails, including a main sail, head sails (Genoa and stay sails), downwind sails and storm sail. It has Raymarine navigation suite and array of satellite communication systems on board. It is sister vessel of INSV Mhadei which was used by Captain (Retd) Dilip Donde to successfully undertake India’s first solo circumnavigation in 2009.
|12.||Government to launch Project Insight|
The Union Finance Ministry is planning to launch ‘Project Insight’ from October 2017 to monitor high value transactions and detect tax evaders using technology with a view to curbing circulation of black money.
To implement the project government has signed contract with Information Technogolgy major L&T Infotect Ltd. The project will add to list of efforts made by government to curb black money like Operation Clean Money’ after demonetisation, Income Disclosure Scheme, GST implementation, amendment DTAA with other countries etc.
It will use data mining, big data analytics to scoop out tax evaders from social media platforms to deduce mismatches between spending pattern and income declaration. The linking of PAN (Permanent Account Number) with Aadhaar will be key identifier to be used by IT Department to link and analyse various transactions relating to tax payers.
The integrated information technology platform will help in catching tax evaders in non-intrusive manner using technology and without traditional intrusive methods like search and seizure. It will use technology to allow government collate databases of IT forms, IT returns, TDS/TCS statements and Statement of Financial Transactions received from financial institutions.
Its reporting compliance management system will ensure that third party reporting entities like banks and other financial institutions is timely and accurate. It will also set up streamlined data exchange mechanism for other government departments.
It will also be leveraged for implementation of Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act Inter Governmental Agreement (FATCA IGA) and Common Reporting Standard (CRS). IT Department is going to set up new Compliance Management Centralised Processing Centre (CMCPC) for handling preliminary verification, campaign management, generation of bulk letters/notices and follow-up.
Project Insights will play key role in widening of tax base and data mining to track tax evaders. It will help in catching tax evaders in non-intrusive manner like search and seizure. It will help to promote voluntary compliance and also enable taxpayers to resolve simple compliance related issues in online manner without visiting Income tax office.
|13.||IAU names two Pluto mountains after Tenzing Norgay, Edmund Hillary|
The International Astronomical Union (IAU) has named two mountain ranges on icy dwarf planet Pluto as Tenzing Montes and Hillary Montes after Tenzing Norgay and Edmund Hillary.
Indian/Nepali Sherpa Tenzing Norgay (1914-1986) and New Zealand Edmund Hillary (1919-2008) were the first mountaineer to reach the summit of Mount Everest and return safely in 1953.
These two names were among 14 other names officially approved for naming 14 geographical features on icy dwarf planet by Working Group for Planetary System Nomenclature of IAU, the internationally recognised authority for naming celestial bodies and their surface features.
These are first geological features on Pluto to be named following close flyby by New Horizons spacecraft in July 2015. The names pay homage to the underworld mythology, historic pioneers who crossed new horizons in exploration, pioneering space missions and scientists and engineers associated with Pluto and the Kuiper Belt. Some other approved names are
NASA’s New Horizons team proposed the names to IAU following first reconnaissance of Pluto and its moons by the New Horizons spacecraft. Some of names were also suggested by public during ‘Our Pluto’ campaign, which was launched as a partnership between IAU, the New Horizons project and SETI Institute.
International Astronomical Union (IAU)
IAU is international association of professional astronomers, at the PhD level and beyond, active in professional education and research in astronomy. It was founded in 1919. It has 12625 members. Its mission is to promote and safeguard the science of astronomy in all its aspects through international cooperation.
Its mandate is to promote and safeguard the science of astronomy in all its aspects through international cooperation. It also acts as internationally recognized authority for assigning designations (names) to celestial bodies (stars, planets, asteroids, etc) and any surface features on them.
|14.||Labeo filiferus: New species of edible fish found in Pampa river in Kerala|
Researchers have discovered new species of edible freshwater fish in Pampa river in Pathanamthitta, Kerala. It has been named as Labeo filiferus (L.filiferus) and belongs to Labeo genus.
The name of newly found newly fish was taken from Latin word filiferus which refers to very long dorsal fin of the species. It can be found in entire stretch of Pampa River running through Edakadathy in Pathanamthitta.
The Labeo filiferus characteristics are black coloured body and fins, smaller eyes, longer snout, prominent barbels and elongated dorsal and anal fins. It is 20 to 40 cm long and weighed four to five kilograms. Its eyes are brilliantly coloured with orange tinge. It can possibly be farmed on a commercial scale. It is second fish belonging to Labeo genus to be discovered in Kerala after L.dussumieri.
Labeo genus fishes
Fishes belonging to Labeo genus are widely distributed in inland waterbodies of India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Myanmar, Malaysia, tropical Africa and Syria. They are medium-sized elongate fishes with rounded abdomen, finged lips, swollen snout and straight lateral line. As many as 31 species of Labeo are reported to be present in India, of them L.rohita (commonly known as Rohu) is extensively used in aquaculture.
|15.||Rafael Nadal wins 2017 US Open title|
World number one Rafael Nadal (Spain) won the 2017 US Open title in men’s single category. It was his overall 16th Grand Slam title and third US Open title (2010 and 2013).
In the final match played at USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center in New York City, Nadal defeated world number 32, Kevin Anderson from South Africa’s by 6-3, 6-3, 6-4 score.
Other Category winners
Women’s singles: Sloane Stephens (US) won the title by defeating Madison Keys (US) by 6–3, 6–0 score.
Men’s doubles: Jean-Julien Rojer (Netherlands) and Horia Tecau (Romania) pair won the title by defeating Spanish pair of Feliciano López and Marc López by 6–4, 6–3 score.
Women’s doubles: Chan Yung-jan (Chinese Taipei) and Martina Hingis (Switzerland) pair defeating Lucie Hradecká and Kate?ina Siniaková from Czech Republic by 6–3, 6–2 score.
Mixed doubles: Martina Hingis (Switzerland) and Jamie Murray (United Kingdom) pair defeated Chan Hao-ching (Chinese Taipei) and Michael Venus (New Zealand) by 6–1, 4–6, [10–8] score.
2017 US Open
The 2017 US Open was 137th edition of tennis’ US Open and the fourth and final Grand Slam event of 2017 season. It was held on outdoor hard courts at USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center in New York City.
|16.||Commerce Ministry launches Contact@DGFT for effective resolution of foreign trade-related issues|
The Union Ministry of Commerce and Industries has set up Contact@DGFT, an online service facility for effective resolution of foreign trade-related issues of importers and exporters.
The facility was activated on Directorate General of Foreign Trade (DGFT) website. It will enable traders to raise all trade related matters to Directorate or other agencies of Centre and States.
To ensure systematic monitoring and effective resolution of issues, DGFT has requested exporters and importers to not to send their queries through social media platforms and use Contact@DGFT service instead. The DGFT has sent notice to all regional authorities, commodity boards, export promotion councils and members of trade and industry confirming activation of facility for expeditious resolution of issues.
Directorate General of Foreign Trade (DGFT)
The DGFT is nodal agency responsible for execution of import and export Policies of India. It is entrusted with responsibilities for formulating and implementing foreign trade policy with main objective of promoting India’s exports.
|17.||3rd Generation ATGM NAG successfully test fired|
The Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) has successfully twice flight tested indigenously developed 3rd generation Anti-Tank Guided Missile (ATGM) Nag in Rajasthan.
During the test, ATGM Nag missile has successfully hit both the targets under different ranges and conditions with very high accuracy.
With these two successful trials and earlier test conducted in June 2017, complete functionality of Nag ATGM along with launcher system NAMICA has been established. It marks successful completion of development trials of Nag Missile.
The ATMG Nag missile is one of five missile systems developed indigenously by DRDO under integrated guided missile development programme (IGMDP). The other four missiles developed under this programme include Agni, Akash, Trishul and Prithvi.
The Nag missile is third generation anti-tank guided missile which works on “fire and forget” principle. It has been equipped with highly advanced Imaging Infrared Radar (IRR) seeker along with integrated avionics. This technology is possessed by very few nations. It also possess advanced passive homing guidance system.
The missile has been designed mainly to destroy modern main battle tanks and other heavily armoured targets. It can be launched from land and air-based platforms. It has operational range of 500m to 4km (Land version) and 7-10km (when air-launched).
The helicopter launched version known of NAG missile is known as NAG (HELINA) can be fired from Dhruv advanced light helicopter (ALH) and HAL Rudra attack helicopter. The land-based version of missile is at present available for integration on the Nag missile carrier (NAMICA).
|18.||Jordon launches Sahara Forest Project|
Jordan, a water-poor country that is 90% desert, has launched Sahara Forest Project near the southern port city of Aqaba to turn desert land into farming land to produce food using sun and sea water.
The project seeks to demonstrate innovative application of technology to revolutionize our land systems in a way that benefits the climate, people, and businesses. It is funded by Norway and European Union.
Sahara Forest Project aims to provide fresh water, food and renewable energy in hot, arid regions as well as re-vegetating areas of uninhabited desert. It combines saltwater-cooled greenhouses with solar power technologies, and technologies for desert revegetation.
In the first stage, the project aims to produce up to 130 tonnes of organic vegetables annually from area size of four football pitches. It will also produce fresh water. It will use solar panels to provide power and include outdoor planting space, water desalination unit, two saltwater-cooled greenhouses and salt ponds for salt production. In later stages, it is expanded to be expanded from three hectares to around 200 hectares of desert.
|19.||Bharat Petroleum set to get Maharatna status|
State-run oil marketing company Bharat Petroleum Corporation (BPCL) is all set to become a Maharatna company. Presently it is having Navratna status.
The decision to elevate BPCL to Maharatna status was taken by panel headed by Cabinet secretary and an announcement to this effect will be made soon.
BPCL will be eight Central Public Sector Enterprises (CPSE) to get coveted Maharatna status. The status will enable BPCL Board to get enhanced powers which will help in expansion of its operations, both in India and abroad.
The Government had introduced Navratna scheme, in 1997, to identify CPSEs that had comparative advantages and to support them in their drive to become global giants. The Boards of Navratna CPSEs have been delegated powers in following areas: Capital expenditure, Investment in joint ventures / subsidiaries, Mergers & acquisition and Human resources management, etc.
The “Maharatna” category for CPSEs was introduced in 2009 with objective to empower mega CPSEs to expand their operations and emerge as global giants or become Indian Multinational Companies (MNCs),
At present, there are seven Maharatna companies — Bharat Heavy Electricals (BHEL), Coal India (CIL), GAIL (India), Indian Oil Corporation, NTPC, Oil and Natural Gas Corporation (ONGC) and Steel Authority of India (SAIL). Maharatna and Navaratna state-owned units operate in strategic fields such as coal, petroleum, steel, heavy engineering, telecommunications, power supply and transportation services.
Criteria for Maharatna status
Under government rules, Central Public Sector Enterprises (CPSEs) must fulfill following criteria for grant of Maharatna status.
|20.||India imposes countervailing duty on some Chinese steel products for 5 years|
The Union Finance Ministry has imposed 18.95% countervailing duty (CVD) on certain Chinese flat steel products for period of five years to protect domestic players from cheap subsidised imports.
The decision to impose CVD was taken by finance ministry based on the recommendation of Directorate General of Anti-Dumping and Allied Duties (DGAD).This is first case of imposition of CVD on any steel product in India
The Commerce Ministry’s investigation arm, DGAD in its probe had concluded that despite sufficient demand in India and capacities, domestic industry has lost sales opportunities, due to direct consequence of subsidised imports from China.
The move assumes significance as steel sector in India is facing challenges due to cheap steel imports. The imposition of CVD will help domestic players to grow to full potential after attaining second rank in stainless steel production in world in 2016 and provide level-playing field to domestic industry. It will strengthen the ongoing efforts of Indian industry to move towards 100% quality regime for better safety and health of users.
It is imposed to safeguard domestic industry against unfair trade subsidies provided by local governments of exporting nations. It is basically country specific. It is generally equal to excise duty paid by manufacturers when same product is produced in home country. It is mainly levied to neutralize effect of subsidies in exporting country on price and domestic market of importing country.