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N K SINGH PANEL SUBMITS REPORT ON CHANGES IN FRBM ACT

The N K Singh panel today submitted its report on changes in Fiscal Responsibility and Budget Management, FRBM, Act to Finance Minister Arun Jaitley. The Committee was assigned to review the working of the FRBM Act over last 12 years to suggest the way forward.

The panel has kept in view the broad objective of fiscal consolidation and prudence and the changes required in the context of the uncertainty and volatility in the global economy. It was also tasked to examine the need and feasibility of having a ‘fiscal deficit range’ as the target in place of the existing fixed numbers as fiscal deficit target.

The five member committee was set up in May last year following the announcement in Budget for comprehensive review and give recommendations on the FRBM roadmap for the future. The Government will now examine the Committee Report and take appropriate action.

NATION PAYS HOMAGE TO NETAJI SUBHASH CHANDRA BOSE ON HIS 120TH BIRTH ANNIVERSARY

Nation pays homage to Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose on his 120th birth anniversary today. It was on this day in 1897, Netaji was born in Cuttack, Odisha. A number of functions have been organised in different parts of the country to mark the occasion. In Delhi, floral Tributes will be paid to Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose in the Central Hall of Parliament.

In Andaman Nicobar Islands, the Subash Mela Committee of Havelock is organising Subash Mela at Krishna Nagar Havelock from today. A Variety of Cultural Programmes including Sports and games will also be organised during the mela.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi paid rich tribute to Netaji. In a series of tweets, Mr Modi said Netaji’s valour played a major role in freeing India from colonialism. The Prime Minister said, Netaji was a great intellectual who always thought about the interests and well being of the marginalised sections of society.

Mr Modi said, he feels honoured that his government got the opportunity to declassify files relating to Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose and fulfil a popular demand pending for decades. He said files relating to Netaji are available on netajipapers.gov.in. In his tribute, Information and Broadcasting Minister Venkaiah Naidu described Netaji as a fervent nationalist and patriot who fought defiantly to liberate India.

17 STATES, 6 MINISTRIES TABLEAUX TO PARTICIPATE IN R-DAY PARADE THIS YEAR

Seventeen states and six Ministries and Departments tableaux will participate in the Republic Day Parade this year. Briefing media in New Delhi yesterday, a Defence Ministry official said, these tableaux will showcase varied themes starting from country’s rich cultural heritage and socio-economic development to nation’s progress in key areas like IT, Women, Empowerment and Environment Protection.

Each State tableau depicts its own story to portray themes ranging from art form, folk culture, flora and fauna and achievements. Lakshadweep tableaux will participate in parade after 26 years and Delhi tableaux after 3 years. Tableaux on GST, Skill India, Housing for All, Khadi India and Green India – Clean India will also be the part of the celebration.

NSG TO MAKE DEBUT AT REPUBLIC DAY PARADE

The National Security Guard, NSG will make their debut in the Republic Day parade this year. Addressing a press conference in New Delhi today, Deputy Parade Commander, Major General Rajesh Sahai said, a contingent of UAE soldiers will also march down the Rajpath during the Parade Ceremony, where Crown Prince Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan of Abu Dhabi will be the Chief Guest.

He said, it will be the second time when a foreign contingent will participate. Major General Sahai said, 15 Marching contingents of Armed forces, Para Military forces, NCC, NSS and NSG will participate in the ceremony.

Last year, the French marching band had joined the parade in honour of Francois Hollande, who was the chief guest at the Republic Day Parade. Talking to AIR, Colonel Ahmed Saeed Al Suwaidi of UAE, said, it will be a unique experience for the UAE contingent to take part in the republic parade.

UNION STEEL MINISTER INAUGURATES DIGI DHAN MELA IN CHHATTISGARH

Union steel Minister Chaudhary Birender Singh today inaugurated Digi Dhan mela in Chhattisgarh’s Bhilai city. Winners of Lucky-Grahak and Digidhan-Vyapar schemes were presented with awards on the occasion.

This is the third digidhan mela being organised in Chhattisgarh, to promote cashless transactions among its people.

NATIONAL GIRL CHILD DAY TO BE CELEBRATED TOMORROW

National girl child day will be celebrated tomorrow at a special function in New Delhi in view of exemplary achievements by nation’s daughters during last year. They presented commendable performance at the Olympics and Paralympics besides historic induction of the first batch of female fighter pilots into the Indian Air Force.

Women and Child Development Minister Maneka Gandhi and the Minister of State Krishna Raj will be addressing the audience.

The occasion shall be marked by release of National Plan of Action for Children 2016. Ten districts under the Beti Bachao Beti Padhao scheme for their exemplary performance will also be felicitated.

CENTRE SETS UP COMMITTEE TO FRAME UNIFORM RULES FOR PROPER IMPLEMENTATION OF RIGHTS OF PERSONS WITH DISABILITIES ACT

The Centre has formed a committee to frame uniform rules for the states to avoid delay in proper implementation of the Rights of Persons with Disabilities Act across the country. The Committee, constituted under the chairmanship of Secretary, Department of Empowerment of Persons with Disabilities will comprise representatives from the Ministry of Health, DoPT, Labour, Legislative Department, and representatives from NGOs as members.

It will also have Principal Secretary/Secretary, Social Welfare Department from Gujarat, Karnataka, Odisha, Madhya Pradesh, Assam and Uttar Pradesh. A senior Social Justice and Empowerment ministry official said, all the representatives of Ministries will be the rank of Joint Secretary and above, and the committee will submit its report within three months.

CONTINGENT OF ARAB SOLDIERS TO MARCH DOWN RAJPATH DURING R-DAY PARADE CEREMONY, PRINCE SHEIKH MOHAMMED OF ABU DHABI TO BE CHIEF GUEST

In a first, a contingent of Arab soldiers will march down the Rajpath during the Republic Day Parade Ceremony, where Crown Prince Sheikh Mohammed of Abu Dhabi will be the Chief Guest. Ever since the visit of Prime Minister Narendra Modi to UAE in August 2015 , the first by any Indian premier in 34 years, the two countries have been working on strengthening their bilateral relationship.

Inviting the Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi is being seen as an important step to strengthen ties with the Gulf country, where there is a substantial population of Indian expatriates. This is the second visit of the Crown Prince in a span of less than a year. The Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi is also the Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE armed forces. Sheikh Mohammed’s visit is also an opportunity for India and UAE to upgrade the present bilateral relationship to strategic partnership.

It would be the second time when any foreign contingent will be participating in the parade on January 26. Last year, the French marching band had joined the parade in honour of Francois Hollande, who was the chief guest at the Republic Day Parade.

IORA APPROVED COOPERATION IN SME SECTOR

Indian Ocean Rim Association (IORA) members approved MoU for cooperation in small and medium-sized enterprises (SME) sector

During the meeting held in New Delhi

IORA is an international organisation consisting of coastal states bordering the Indian Ocean established in 1997 to promote cooperation in the Indian Ocean region

Promote women and youth’s economic empowerment

Encourage synergies with the IORA forum. IORA Secretariat at Mauritius will be the coordinating agency for the implementation

IORA special fund will be created by member countries

Organised by Union Ministry of Micro, Small & Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) and was attended by around 29 delegates from 14 IORA member-states

WORLD ECONOMIC FORUM ANNUAL MEETING CONCLUDED IN DAVOS

The World Economic Forum Annual Meeting 2017 was held in Davos-Klosters, Switzerland

Theme : Responsive and Responsible Leadership

The Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI) was launched at World Economic Forum (WEF) Davos

It provides $460-million funding to develop vaccines against 3 emerging highly-contagious and fatal diseases namely Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS)-coronavirus, Lassa fever, and Nipah virus

KHALIFA FOUNDATION DONATES US$2 MILLION MEDICAL EQUIPMENT TO JNMC

The United Arab Emirates Khalifa Bin Zayed Al Nahyan Foundation announced to donate an Elekta Synergy Digital Accelerator worth US$2 million to the Jawaharlal Nehru Medical College

President of the UAE had declared the year 2017 as the ‘Year of Giving’, focusing on public-private partnership

The announcement coincides with the visit to India of H.H. Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi as the chief guest at the 68th Republic Day celebrations

HONGKONG WITHDRAWS VISA FREE FACILITY FOR INDIANS

Hong Kong, a special administrative region of China, withdrawn the visa-free facility for Indians who will have to complete a pre-arrival registration

Hong Kong has permitted Indians to enter with valid passport for a period up to 14 days without a visa

The Pre-arrival Registration for Indian Nationals will be implemented on January 23

A Pre-Arrival Registration is valid for a six month period or until the expiry date of the Indian passport linked to it, whichever is earlier

BANKRUPTCY CODE TO IMPROVE EASE OF DOING BIZ: IBBI CHIEF M S SAHOO

Providing the first possible avenue to resolve insolvency in a market-determined and time-bound manner, the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code will help improve ease of doing business as well as develop the debt market, says IBBI Chairperson M S Sahoo.

Less than four months old, the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Board of India (IBBI) has started its work in a mission mode and well over 900 insolvency professionals have already registered with it.

IBBI has been set up under the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code, which was cleared by Parliament last year. The Code seeks to consolidate and amend laws relating to reorganisation and insolvency resolution of corporate persons, partnership firms and individuals in a time-bound manner.

ROCA EYES DOUBLING GLOBAL SALES TO RS 2,000 CRORE IN 4 YRS

The Spain-based sanitary product maker Roca is working on plans to double its global sales in the next four years to Rs 2,000 crore, driven mainly by new product launches, brand introduction and exports to other geographies.

Besides, the company, which acquired Indian brand Parryware in 2006, expects that exports from Indian unit would grow to new territories such as Australia, Europe and contribute up to 13 per cent of its global sales.

“Today, we (Roca India) contribute 8 per cent of the global turnover and definitely, India would be growing higher than other global markets. With 15-20 per cent CAGR in four years, we should double our revenue and… would be 12-13 per cent of global turnover,” K E Ranganathan, Roca Bathroom Products President (Sales and Marketing), told PTI.

RESTRUCTURED EDUCATION LOANS NOT TO BE TREATED AS NPAS: RBI

In order to encourage banks to provide education loans, RBI has said rescheduling of payment period of such loans due to unemployment of borrower will not be treated as restructured accounts for computing NPAs.

Banks may allow up to three spells of moratorium (not exceeding 6 months each) during life cycle of education loan, taking into account spells of unemployment/underemployment, “without treating the exercise as restructuring”, RBI said in a letter to the Indian Banks’ Association (IBA)

AUCTION OF 60 OFFSHORE MINERAL BLOCKS IN FIRST PHASE: GOVERNMENT

The government will soon come out with redrafted rules with regard to exploration and mining in offshore mineral blocks and allot 60 blocks under auction route in first phase, a move that will bring transparency and efficiency in the process, a top official said.

Offshore Areas Mineral (Development and Regulation) Act, 2002 will be redrafted in two to three months time, Mines Secretary Balvinder Kumar told PTI in an interview.

“We are redrafting Offshore Area Mineral (Development and Regulation) Act, 2002… We are doing consultations with the stakeholders (on this)… It will be redrafted in two-three months,” Kumar said.

Once the Act is redrafted, the allotment of offshore mineral blocks would be done through auction route.

RAILWAY NEEDS COMPREHENSIVE ACTION PLAN FOR SAFETY ISSUES: GOVERNMENT OFFICIAL

Raising concerns over the rail safety, a senior government official today said that Railway Ministry needs to prepare a comprehensive action plan for safety measures.

The official suggested that there should a mechanism for the frequent check-up of railway tracks, recruit of gangmen and regular safety audits of railways.

“Technology can’t be the only solution. We don’t have the substitute for manual inspection…We are running too many trains on certain busy routes like Mughalsarai section, leaving no time for manual inspection of track,” the official said.

The official’s comment assumes significance against the backdrop of tragic derailment of Indore-Patna Express near Kanpur on November 20 last year and derailment of Jagdalpur-Bhubaneswar Express in Andhra Pradesh’s Vizianagaram district yesterday.

NITIN GADKARI MOOTS CYCLE TRACKS ON ROADS, ELECTRIC PUBLIC TRANSPORT

Regarded as a minister handling the country’s biggest investment projects, Nitin Gadkari has said the total work orders relating to the roads, shipping and ports ministries will reach Rs 6 lakh crore by March and investors are ready to put in money from India as well as abroad.

He also proposed to make cycle tracks on all major roads across the country, including on highways, and favoured a shift towards electricity-based public transport services, including electric cars being run as taxi in some cities.

The Union minister for road transport, ports and shipping, who was here to attend the World Economic Forum annual meeting, said there are several opportunities in India and people came and met him here with investment proposals and innovative ideas.

TOYOTA SEES FLAT SALES IN INDIA THIS YEAR ON NOTE BAN BLUES

Japanese carmaker Toyota is expecting its vehicle sales in India to remain flat during the current year mainly on account of uncertainty in the market post demonetisation.

The company, which is present in India through a joint venture with the Kirloskar Group, sold 1,34,149 units of its entire range of vehicles in the country in 2016, registering a decline of 4 per cent over the previous year.

“For 2017, our target is to sell similar volumes like 2016 or may be more than 2016 … We are being conservative in our target setting for 2017. We will alter the same considering the demand situation and market pull,” Toyota Kirloskar Motor Director and Senior Vice President (Marketing and Sales) N Raja told PTI here.

BHILAI STEEL PLANT INAUGURATES RS 1200-CRORE UNIVERSAL RAIL MILL

Steel minister, Birender Singh inaugurated a new Rs 1200-crore Universal Rail Mill at Steel Authority of India’s (SAIL) Bhilai Steel Plant on Monday and flagged off the first rake from the new mill. With this, SAIL has commenced commercial production of world’s longest single rail of 130 meters from the new Universal Rail Mill (URM).

The state-of- the-art URM, will take BSP’s total capacity to produce rails at two million tonne per annum (mtpa). It will be the largest production capacity for rails in any single location for a plant world over.

The URM complex would equip SAIL to meet Indian Railways’ specific demand of 260 metre rails as the new mill is capable of producing 260 m long rail with a single weld and also has the provision to supply welded panels up to 520 m length in future. The rails rolled from this new URM will enable SAIL to produce rails with improved surface quality, less residual stress and improved straightness.

TRACTOR, MICRO-FINANCE LOANS MOST HIT BY DEMONETISATION: INDIA RATINGS

Rural borrowers for tractor and micro-finance loans have been impacted more by the demonetisation of high-value notes last quarter while commercial vehicle (CV) and construction equipment (CE) loans have been hit marginally India Ratings and Research (Ind-Ra) said in a report on the asset-backed securities (ABS) of these loans.

ABS are bonds backed by financial assets mainly loan receivables. In a note on Monday, Ind-Ra said securities backed by tractor loans witnessed the highest movement of delinquent loans mainly because of the high dependence on cash, lower ATM density, lower internet penetration and limited alternate payment options which have weighed on borrower incomes in rural areas.

Collections also dropped for micro-finance loans because borrowers are highly dependent on cash. “As of November 2016, the agency has seen the sharpest rise in delinquency of micro-finance loans with 0+dpd (days past due) rising to around 7.6 per cent from less than 1 per cent in October 2016,” Ind-Ra said hit by political interference and local issues along with demonetisation.

PANKAJ PATEL OWNED CADILA UPS ITS INDIA GAME WITH AZ’S BRANDS

UK drug maker AstraZenecaBSE -1.95 % (AZ) has divested its brands in anti-infective and women’s health portfolio to Zydus Healthcare, a subsidiary of CadilaBSE -0.61 % Healthcare as the company narrows down its therapy areas.

As part of the agreement, AZ will sell the following brands of Bricarex, Bricarex-A, Bricanyl, Xylocard, Ceriviprime, Prostodin, Partocin and Primiprost in India to Zydus Healthcare, these brands were discontinued by the company in Indian market.

“This agreement reinforces AstraZeneca India’s strategy to sharpen focus and investment in its three main therapy areas; Cardiovascular & Metabolic Diseases, Oncology and Respiratory while realizing value from the strong portfolio of established brands outside these therapy areas”, AZ said in an email to ET.

Cadila has mostly focussed on buying popular brands and small size drug companies in the domestic market in niche areas like gastro and antibiotic segments. It is one of the few Indian companies to have a head start in the biosimilar drugs market which earned revenues worth Rs 3 billion in 2015 for Cadila.

ASHOKA UNIVERSITY, IIMA TO DESIGN AN ENTREPRENEURSHIP CURRICULUM

Ashoka University and Indian Institute of Management Ahmedabad (IIMA), have joined hands to design an entrepreneurship curriculum to be delivered at Ashoka University.

IIMA’s Centre for Innovation Incubation and Entrepreneurship (CIIE) and the Ashoka University’s Centre for Entrepreneurship (CfE) will design and teach the minor in entrepreneurship to undergraduate students at Ashoka, according to a release.

“We are delighted to collaborate with IIMA for this minor in entrepreneurship. We are positive that this will be a holistic experience for liberal arts students who envision themselves as entrepreneurs,” said Sanjeev Bikhchandani, founder, Ashoka University.

SUVEN LIFE GETS PATENT FOR NEURO-DEGENERATIVE DRUG

Drug firm Suven Life SciencesBSE 1.09 % has been granted a patent by Australia for a drug used in the treatment of neuro-degenerative diseases.

Suven LifeBSE 1.09 % in a filing to BSE stock exchange announced “the grant of one product patent from Australia corresponding to the New Chemical Entities (NCEs) for the treatment of disorders associated with neurodegenerative diseases.”

The patent is valid till 2033, the filing said.

Suven Life CEO Venkat Jasti said: “We are very pleased by the grant of these patents to Suven for our pipeline of molecules in the CNS arena, which are being developed for cognitive disorders with high unmet medical need with a huge market potential globally.”

PRIVATE EQUITY FIRMS EYE WOMENSWEAR BRAND ‘SOCH’

Ethnic wear brand Soch has held talks with private equity (PE) funds, including L Catterton, Westbridge Capital and CX Partners, for a majority stake sale valuing the company at around $200 million, people privy to the matter told TOI. Soch’s share sale comes at a time when investors have been scouting for companies in the fast-growing domestic womenswear market buoyed by rising disposable income among urban women, who are joining the workforce.

Once completed, the transaction, which is likely to give a controlling stake to the investor, would emerge as a rare one in the domestic apparel sector where most PE funds have picked up smaller stakes. L Catterton is the combined entity after LVMH-backed L Capital merged with Greenwich-based Catterton last year. In its earlier avatar, L Capital had bet on domestic fashion and apparel players like FabIndia and Genesis Luxury Fashion, which retails brands like Jimmy Choo and Satya Paul, among others.

When contacted, Vinay Chatlani, CEO of Soch, declined to comment while Sanjay Gujral, regional MD at L Catterton Asia, said, “We do not comment on speculation.” Sandeep Singhal, MD at Westbridge Capital, declined to comment and Jayanta Basu of CX Partners did not respond to our query.

1.42 LAKH RAIL SAFETY STAFF POSTS VACANT ACROSS INDIA

The derailment of the Hirakhand Express comes in close succession to at least four similar train mishaps across the country in the recent past. Weeks ago, a goods train derailed at Wihirgaon station on Kazipet-Balharshah section of South Central Railway, leading to a major disruption of train movement on the important “trunk route”.

While authorities get down to checking the possibility of Saturday’s train mishap — the fifth in the last six months — being the result of sabotage, the number of vacancies for safety officers shows a clear case of neglect and apathy.

In the East Coast Railway sector, where the accident occurred, there is a 24% vacancy in safety official roles, as per records of East Coast Railway.

Meanwhile, 1.42 lakh posts for safety staff remain unfilled across India, which, experts say, is a major concern and clear case of official apathy.

FIRST LOT OF RAILWAY SAFETY FUND MAY COME IN BUDGET

In its two-year report card, the Narendra Modi government had claimed credit for fewer rail accidents and lower casualties. This time, railway minister Suresh Prabhu may paper over the transporter’s safety record. His officers are themselves surprised over three major accidents in a span of two months, which have claimed close to 190 lives, compared to 309 in 2015-16.

With its record under the lens, the pressure will now be on the proposed Rs 1 lakh crore dedicated fund for safety, which was announced over a year ago and conceived almost five years ago.

While the railways is keen to show safety-related expenses have not been compromised, officials admit it is likely that the first allocation — of Rs 20,000 crore — for the dedicated fund comes in the budget. Over five years, the government is hoping to chip in with Rs 1 lakh crore and raise more money from states and the Central Road Fund, used to build railway overbridges.

Of the Rs 8.56 lakh crore to be invested by the railways over five years, Rs 1.27 lakh crore, which is less than 15% of the plan, is to go towards safety.

WEF, UCSB PARTNER TO PROTECT WORLD’S $2.5 TRN OCEAN ECONOMY

The World Economic Forum and the UCSB’s Marine Science Institute have announced a partnership to improve health of world’s oceans and maritime resources.

The new partnership aims to protect world’s USD 2.5 trillion ocean economy.

“This partnership will harness the potential of public-private cooperation and the fourth industrial revolution to help the international community meet the ocean sustainable development goal,” said Dominic Waughray, Head of Public-Private Partnership and Member of the Executive Committee, World Economic Forum.

ISRO TO LAUNCH RECORD 103 SATELLITES ON A SINGLE ROCKET

The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) is planning to set a new world record in space history by launching 103 satellites in one go on a single rocket in the first week of February, 2017.

These satellites will be launched on board of ISRO’s workhorse PSLV (C37) from the Satish Dhawan Space Centre in Sriharikota in Andhra Pradesh.

The mission will carry three satellites from India and rest from other countries.

The satellites will be separated from vehicle in different directions, once launch vehicle reaches the orbital condition.

The separation angle and time of separation will be different for every satellite.

HIMACHAL PRADESH OVERTAKES KERALA IN LEARNING OUTCOMES: ASER


According to Status of Education Report (ASER) 2016, students of Himachal Pradesh stand ahead of Kerala and all other states in terms of learning outcomes.

The 2016 ASER was the largest annual household survey of the children in India in the field of education. It focused on status of schooling and basic learning.

The report found that enrolment rate of students in the age group 6 to 14 in Himachal Pradesh was 99.8%. It secured first rank in achieving learning outcomes in basic reading and mathematics across the country.

RUSSIA LIKELY TO OFFER JOINT PRODUCTION OF THE KAMOV KA-60 HELICOPTER TO INDIA

There are unconfirmed reports that Russia may offer co-development and joint production of the Kamov Ka-60 Helicopter to India which is looking for a replacement for its Soviet era Mi-8 choppers.

Russia and India have already signed agreements to jointly manufacture the Ka-226 light utility helicopter in India for the Indian Army to replace its ageing Cheetah and Chetak Helicopters which are in use both by the Indian Army and Navy.

Intended as a replacement for the Mil Mi-8, the Ka-60 is to be used for aerial reconnaissance, for transporting air-assault forces, radio-electronic jamming, for special-operations missions and for various light-transport missions.

PURCHASE OF CANON-AMMO FOR SU-30 MKI AND MI-35 GUNSHIPS ON FAST-TRACK

India’s Ministry of Defense officials will soon be visiting Russia to fast-track the delivery of rockets and ammunition for Mi-35 helicopter gunships and Su-30 fighter jets for the Indian Air Force (IAF).

The Indian Armed Forces (IAF) has considered buying 50,000 rounds of 30mm GsH ammunition for Su-30 fighter jets and more than 60,000 rounds of 12.7 mm ammo for Mi-35 gunships, Sputnik News reported today.

IAF are putting efforts to increase war stocks currently at half of the required 40 days of military materials for intense combat.

The committee represented by IAF and Defense Ministry officials had already held discussions on emergency purchase late last year.

INDIA SET TO TEST LAUNCH ANOTHER NUKE MISSILE ON JANUARY 31ST

The Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) is readying for a fresh trial of its long range nuke-capable submarine-launched ballistic missile (SLBM) K-4 from an underwater platform in the last week of this month.

If things go as per the program, defense sources said the indigenously built most powerful underwater missile having a strike range of around 3,500 km will be test fired from a submerged pontoon, which is almost identical to a submarine, on January 31.

Though the missile has been designed to be launched from a depth of 50 metres, this time the scientists are planning to fire it from the undersea platform nearly 20-30 meter deep in the Bay of Bengal.

CHINA COMMISSIONS 31ST STEALTH WARSHIP

Rapidly expanding its naval fleet, China has commissioned its 31st stealth warship as it got its battle group under its first aircraft carrier ready amid tensions with the US and other nations over its assertiveness in the disputed South China Sea.

The People’s Liberation Army Navy has commissioned its 31st Type-056 class corvette, marking a new addition to the world’s largest fleet of modern corvettes, official media reported.

With a maximum speed of 52 km/h, the ship features good maneuverability, a high-level of automation and stealth capability, and is capable of hitting aircraft, ships and submarines, the PLA Daily, the official organ of the Chinese military.]

GOA CAN BE DESTINATION FOR AERO SHOW, DEFENCE EXPO: MANOHAR PARRIKAR

After hosting Defense Expo last year in Goa, Defense Minister Manohar Parrikar has said that the Bangalore-based Aero Show can also be shifted to the tourist state.

“The next Aero Show will be hosted in Bangalore this February. Goa has already successfully organised Defense Expo last year.

If local population want, we can shift both the events here including Aero Show,” Parrikar said last evening during the election campaign in Mormugao constituency.

The former Goa chief minister, however, expressed reservations over shifting the show, claiming that the mega event had faced opposition by a certain section of people.

“When Defense Expo was happening, some people went to media claiming that I am transferring the huge plot to the Defense Ministry.

In fact, after the event, the organizers removed all the structures within eight days. After the show, some locals came to me thanking for holding the event which helped them to make money by providing facilities required for such mega event.

SPECIAL TASK FORCE FOR WOMEN SAFETY RECONSTITUTED : DELHI HIGH COURT

A special task force (STF) for women safety has been reconstituted under the Chairmanship of Lieutenant Governor Anil Baijal with his approval, the Delhi government’s Home Department has said in a communication sent to the Delhi High Court.

The decision to reconstitute the 12-member task force was taken on January 17 pursuant to the High Court’s December 21, 2016 order asking the LG’s office to apprise it whether any special task force (STF) on women’s safety was in place in the national capital, sources .

ISKCON’S GOVARDHAN ECO VILLAGE BAGS UN AWARD

ISKCON’s Govardhan eco village at nearby Wada taluka in Thane district has been conferred the United Nations award for taking innovative measures of ’sustainable tourism’ in country.

This is for the first time India has won such recognition from the UN in the NGO sector, an ISKCON release said on Friday.

The award was presented at the annual United Nations World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) Awards for Excellence and Innovation in Tourism at Madrid in Spain on Thursday.

Gauranga Das, Director of Govardhan Eco Village said,  for Innovation in the category of Non-Governmental Organisations, the highest honour given to an NGO for shaping global tourism through sustainable innovative initiatives.”

NAGA PHOTOJOURNALIST WINS TFA-TASVEER EMERGING PHOTOGRAPHER AWARD 2017

Kekhriezhazo Miachieo, a Naga Photojournalist based in Delhi has been awarded the TFA-Tasveer Emerging Photographer Award 2017 – an annual photography award that recognises young talents in the country.

Set up in memory of Toto ‘Angirus’ Vellani, the Thirteenth Annual Toto Funds the Arts’ (TFA) Awards for young photographers, filmmakers, writers, musicians and bands was held in Bangalore on January 7.

Zhazo, as he is better known, was awarded for his heart-rending photos of children abusing drugs. The series of 12 pictures is titled “Cycle of Street Life”.

Speaking to The Morung Express, Zhazo, who works with India Today as a Photojournalist, says that it took him nearly 3 years juggling between assignments to finish the project.

“I tried to go and be as close to the subjects as possible,” he says revealing that he avoided using telephoto zoom lenses. But it was no easy task as it meant putting himself in vulnerable situations.

APPLE NAMED MOST INNOVATIVE COMPANY OF 2016

Technology giant Apple has emerged as the most innovative company for 2016, according to Boston Consulting Group’s annual list which ranks world’s 50 most innovative firms.

Google was ranked second, followed by electric carmaker Tesla on the list. Further, ride-hailing service Uber and home rental platform Airbnb were among the firms included in the list for the first time.

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