1. ISRO launched Indian Regional Navigation Satellite System-1F
1. The Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) on 10 March 2016 launched the country’s sixth Indian Regional Navigational Satellite System (IRNSS)-1F, on board the trusted launch vehicle PSLV C-32.
2. The lift off took place from the second launch pad of the Satish Dhawan Space Centre(SDSC) SHAR, Sriharikotta, India’s spaceport at 4:01pm. Satellite IRNSS-1F was launched after the 54-and-a-half hour countdown that started on 8 March 2016.
3. XL version of PSLV was used in PSLV-C32 and it was the twelfth time that the 'XL' configuration was flown.
4. IRNSS-1F will form part of the home-grown seven satellites Indian Regional Navigation Satellite System (IRNSS) to provide accurate position information services, similar to the GPS in the whole country and up to 1500 km around it.
5. This is India’s second mission in 2016, and the first one was also the successful insertion of an IRNSS-1E navigation satellite by PSLV C-31 on 20 January 2016.
The other four IRNSS satellites which were launched
• IRNSS-1A Mission launched by PSLV C-22 in July 2013
• IRNSS-1B Mission launched by PSLV C-24 in April 2014
• IRNSS-1C Mission launched by PSLV C-26 in October 2014
• IRNSS-1D Mission launched by PSLV C-27 in March 2015
2. Union Cabinet approved MoU between India and Bahrain on Cooperation for Prevention of Human Trafficking
1. The Union Cabinet, presided by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, on 10 March 2016 gave its approval for a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between India and Bahrain on cooperation for prevention of human trafficking, especially trafficking in women and children, rescue, recovery, repatriation and re-integration of victims of trafficking.
2. This MoU aims at increasing the bilateral cooperation between the two nations on the issues of prevention, rescue, recovery and repatriation related to human trafficking especially women and children expeditiously.The MoU is expected to be signed during Home Minister Rajnath Singh’s upcoming visit to Bahrain in the first week of April 2016.
3. Key highlights of the MoU
• To strengthen cooperation to prevent all forms of human trafficking, especially that of women and children and ensure speedy investigation and prosecution of traffickers and organized crime syndicates in either country.
• Taking preventive measures that will eliminate human trafficking in women and children and in protecting the rights of victims of trafficking.
• Anti-trafficking Cells and Task Force will work on both sides to prevent human trafficking.
3. CCEA approves Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana
1. The Union Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) has approved Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana (PMUY) for providing free of cost LPG (cooking gas) connections to women from BPL Households. This scheme will be implemented by Union Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas. It will be for the first time ministry will be implementing a welfare scheme.
2. Under the scheme
Financial support of 1600 rupees for each LPG connection will be provided to the BPL households.
The identification of eligible BPL families will be made in consultation with the State Governments and the Union Territories. It will be implemented over three years’ time frame namely in the FY 2016-17, 2017-18 and 2018-19. Government has earmarked 8000 crore rupees for providing five crore LPG connections to BPL households.
3. The PMUY seeks to empowering women and protecting their health by shifting them from traditional cooking based on unclean cooking fuels or on fossil fuels that have serious health hazards to clean cooking gas.
4. Tapan Kumar Chand elected President of Aluminium Association of India
1. Tapan Kumar Chand was elected as the President of the Aluminium Association of India (AAI). His election took place unanimously on 29 February 2016 at the National Governing Council Meeting of the AAI in Bhubaneshwar.
2. He succeed SK Roongta who is the former Chairman of Steel Authority of India Limited (SAIL) and Vedanta Group.
At present, Tapan Chand is the Chairman and Managing Director (CMD) of National Aluminium Company Ltd (Nalco), which is a Navaratna Central Public Sector Undertaking.
5. India, Bangladesh signed 2 billion US dollar Line of Credit
1. India and Bangladesh on 9 March 2016 signed a 2 billion US dollar Line of Credit (LOC) to implement socio-economic development projects in Bangladesh and strengthen bilateral relations. The LOC was extended by Export-Import Bank of India (Exim Bank) on behalf of the Government of India.
The 2 billion US dollar LOC is the biggest credit line India has so far extended to any country.
2. The LOC agreement to this effect was signed in Dhaka, Bangladesh by Yaduvendra Mathur, Chairman & Managing Director, EXIM Bank, and Mohammad Mejbahuddin, Senior Secretary, Economic Relations Division, Ministry of Finance, on behalf of the Government of the People’s Republic of Bangladesh.
3. The LOC of 2 billion US dollars is the largest ever GOI-supported LOC extended by Exim Bank to any country. With the signing of the LOC, EXIM Bank, till date, has extended two LOCs to Bangladesh, on behalf of Government of India, taking the total value of LOCs to 2.862 billion US dollars.
6. Cabinet clears amendment to MMDR Act
1. The Union Cabinet approved amending the Mines and Minerals (Development and Regulation) Act to allow transfer for captive mining leases issued prior to January 12, 2015, in case of mergers and acquisitions. The amendment now needs ratification from the Parliament.
2. The lack of provision for transfer for mining leases issued prior to January 12, 2015 in the MMDR Act held up several big ticket mergers and acquisitions like Lafarge’s plan of selling two of its cement units to Birla Cement. Jaypee Group had to call off a deal to sell two of its cement units in Madhya Pradesh to UltraTech Cement in Febuary. The two companies are now working on a reworked deal where in UltraTech will acquire 22.4 million tonne of Jaypee’s cement manufacturing capacity.
3. After the enactment of the amended MMDR Act on January 12, 2015, all mining leases in the country could only be issued after a competitive bidding process. Under the amended Act, even in case of mergers and acquisitions, transfer of mineral leases was only allowed for those that have been auctioned.
7. Rajya Sabha clears Real Estate Bill
1. The Rajya Sabha on Thursday approved the Real Estate (Regulation and Development) Bill, 2016, moving a step closer to the establishment of a regulator that seeks to protect the interests of home buyers.
2. The Bill, which seeks to put in place an effective regulatory mechanism for the sector, will also enhance the credibility of construction industry by promoting transparency, accountability and efficiency in execution of projects.
3. The Bill requires that developers deposit 70 per cent of funds collected from buyers in a separate accounts towards the cost of construction including that of land as against a minimum of 50 per cent suggested by the Select Committee.
4. Commercial real estate has also been brought under the ambit of the Bill and projects under construction are also required to be registered with the Regulatory Authority.
8. Indo-Indonesia Joint Training Exercise Garuda Shakti IV begins
1. The fourth edition of the India-Indonesia Joint Training Exercise Garuda Shakti has begun at Magelang in Indonesia. The 13 days (till 23 March) bilateral exercise aims at (i) Building and promoting positive relations between the Armies of India and Indonesia. (ii) Enhancing their abilities to undertake joint tactical level operations in a counter insurgency environment under United Nations Charter.
9. RBI inks information exchange MoU with Bank of Israel
1. The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Bank of Israel (BOI) for exchange of information pertaining to banking supervision. It was signed by Parvathy V Sundaram, Chief General Manager-in-Charge, Department of Banking Supervision on behalf of RBI and Hedva Ber, Supervisor of banks on behalf of BOI. With this RBI has signed 32 such MoUs, 1 Letter for Supervisory Co-operation and 1 Statement of Co-operation (SoC).
2. By signing such MoU/SoC with supervisors of other countries, RBI is seeking to promote greater co-operation and share supervisory information among the authorities.
10. Brazil musician Nana Vasconcelos passes away
1. Acclaimed Brazil musician Naná Vasconcelos passed away due to lung cancer in the northeastern Brazilian city of Recife. He was 71.
2. He was 8 time Grammy Award-winning Brazilian percussionist known for his wide instrumental range and major role in free spirited jazz and world music of the 1970s and 1980s.
11. Beatles Producer George Henry Martin passes away
1. The legendary music producer George Henry Martin passed away in Wiltshire, England. He was 90. He was popularly known as the fifth Beatle as he had signed the rock band Beatles and became their indispensable mentor and collaborator.