Current Affairs of 19 September 2015

1. Metro Man E Sreedharan to serve UN High Level Advisory Group on Sustainable Transport
Metro Man Elattuvalapil Sreedharan has been invited to the United Nations’ High Level Advisory Group on Sustainable Transport (HLAG-ST). He has been invited by UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon to serve on his HLAG-ST for a period of three years. Mr. E Sreedharan has accepted this offer.

2. PM Narendra Modi formally launched Integrated Power Development Scheme from Varanasi
Prime Minister Narendra Modi today launched here the Rs. 45,000-crore Integrated Power Development Scheme (IPDS) which will strengthen distribution networks and ensure 24X7 power supply to all by 2022.
The purpose of the scheme is to strengthening power transmission and distribution network in urban areas.
The Union Cabinet gave its approval to the scheme on 20 November 2014 and the infrastructure developmental projects under it were already sanctioned.
Features of Integrated Power Development Scheme
• Strengthening of sub-transmission and distribution network in the urban areas;
• Metering of distribution transformers /feeders / consumers in the urban areas.
• IT enablement of distribution sector and strengthening of distribution network.

3. Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare banned sale of Diclofenac in multidose vial for human use
Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare banned the sale of Diclofenac in multidose vial for human use. From now, it will be sold only in single-dose vial packaging.
It should be noted that the use of Diclofenac for treating cattle has been in place since 2006.
The decision was based on the recommendation of the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change and is aimed at protecting vultures from extinction.
Why restrictions on use of Diclofenac?
Diclofenac is a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) that is used to treat mild to moderate pain or signs and symptoms of osteoarthritis or rheumatoid arthritis.
Apart from human use, the drug is also effective in treating cattle.
Though the drug is harmless to the cattle it is administered to, but is fatal for the vultures, who routinely feed on the carcass of dead cattle. Studies have shown that the drug causes kidney and liver failure in vultures.

4. President & PM of Burkina Faso ousted in a military coup
Members of the Regiment of Presidential Security (RPS) on 17 September 2015 detained the transitional President Michel Kafando and Prime Minister Yacouba Isaac Zida in the capital Ouagadougou.
As a replacement, the RPS declared General Gilbert Diendere as the chief of the newly established National Democratic Council (NDC) that is set to oversee the governance in the country.
The military coup led to Burkina Faso’s suspension by the African Union (AU) and sanctions on the leaders of the RPS.

5. IDFC gets RBI nod for using Rs. 2,500 cr reserve as provision
Infrastructure finance firm IDFC said on Saturday that it has got regulatory approval to utilise Rs. 2,500 crore non-distributable reserves for provisions against bad loans as part of exercise to clean its book before venturing into universal banking.
The company said in a filing the BSE that the regulator has now granted the approval to utilise non-distributable Statutory Reserves up to Rs. 2,500 crore for creation of specific provisions against stressed assets.
In an earlier filing, IDFC had said that it will make an additional provision in the second quarter of this fiscal against coal and gas power assets, as it transitions into a bank by the end of the period.
IDFC said with these additional provisions, its net worth will reduce by approximately Rs. 1,600 crore.
It said that the volume of net restructured assets, non-performing assets (NPAs) and security receipts (SRs) as of June 30, 2015 was 8.4 per cent of its loan book.

6. Indian Railways developed prototype of Hybrid Vacuum Toilet
Indian Railways on 18 September 2015 announced that it has developed a prototype of Hybrid Vacuum Toilet. It is hybrid because the design is based on both vacuum toilets and biotoilets.
It was developed by the Development Cell of the Indian Railway Board and is considered as the first of its kind to be used in any railways in the world. At present, the technology is only seen aircrafts.
It was installed in the Delhi-Dibrugarh Rajdhani train on trial basis.
Features of Hybrid Vacuum Toilet
• The prototype was built by modifying the standard flushing protocol of a vacuum toilet so as to create water seal and additional post flush cycles.
• The vacuum toilet evacuates its discharge into a biodigester tank is fitted underneath the coach.
• The biodegester tank contains anaerobic bacteria that convert human fecal matter into water and small amount of gases before discharging the same on the ground or track.

7. India, Laos ink two MoUs to strengthen bilateral ties
India and Laos have inked two key Memoranda of Understanding (MoUs) on Air services and Quick Impact Projects under the Mekong-Ganga Cooperation (MGC) programme to strengthen bilateral ties between the two nations. These MoU’s were signed in presence of Indian Vice President Hamid Ansari and his counterpart President of Lao Choummaly Sayasone in Vientiane. Vice President Hamid Ansari is on four-day official state visit to Cambodia and Laos. It is also first visit of an Indian Vice President to Laos.

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