December 2016

‘Open Sky’ offer rejected by Nepal

Nepal has rejected the ‘open sky’ offer of India to allow unlimited flights between India and Nepal. Nepal has said it will consider the offer two years later. Under the National Civil Aviation Policy, India will enter into ‘open-sky’ agreements with SAARC countries and with those beyond the 5,000-km radius from Delhi. Currently, Airlines from India and Nepal are permitted to operate 30,000 seats from each side. Under the ‘open-sky’ agreement, no restriction has been placed on number of flights or seats. India’s ‘open sky’ offer comes at the backdrop of Nepal’s recent engagement with China on the road, railways and port connectivity.

Among SAARC countries, India allows unlimited flights from Bangladesh and Maldives at 18 domestic airports, from Sri Lanka at 23 airports, and from Bhutan at all its airports. India does not have any ‘open sky’ agreement with Pakistan, Nepal and Afghanistan. India already has agreements in place with countries like Sri Lanka, Jamaica, Guyana, Czech Republic, Finland and Spain allowing airlines to operate unlimited flights to Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata, Chennai, Hyderabad and Bengaluru.



Govt to launch Lucky Grahak Yojana, Digi-Dhan Vyapar Yojana

The government will launch Lucky Grahak Yojana for Consumers and Digi-Dhan Vyapar Yojana for Merchants to encourage people to move towards digital transactions by offering incentives. The government wants both consumers and merchants to shift to digital payment methods. Under Lucky Grahak Yojana, winners will be selected on a daily and weekly basis. Under Digi-Dhan Vyapar Yojana, winners will be selected on a weekly basis. The schemes will culminate on 14th April 2017 with a mega draw. The schemes will be implemented by National Payments Corporation of India. Only those transactions that happen through RuPay Cards, Unstructured Supplementary Service Data (USSD), Unified Payment Interface (UPI) and Aadhaar Enabled Payment System (AEPS) will be eligible under these schemes. The draws will be held in 100 different cities across the country. In addition, digital payments adoption fair called DigiDhan Mela will be held in which the banks and other shareholders will help citizens to learn how to make digital transactions.


DRDO successfully tests Smart Anti-Airfield Weapon

The Defence and Research Development Organization (DRDO) has successfully conducted the flight test of the 120 kg class smart weapon, Smart Anti-Airfield Weapon (SAAW) from an IAF aircraft. The flight test was carried out from the Integrated Test Range (ITR) in Chandipur, Odisha. SAAW was indigenously designed and developed by DRDO. SAAW is capable of destroying ground targets with high precision up to a range of 100km. The trial was tracked by Radar and Telemetry ground stations at Interim Test Range (ITR), Chandipur. During the flight, all mission objectives were achieved by SAAW. The light weight precision guided bombs are one among the world class weapons systems.


India clinches Asian Cricket Council Under-19s Asia Cup title

India displayed a clinical performance to beat hosts Sri Lanka and clinch the Asian Cricket Council Under-19s Asia Cup title. India beat Sri Lanka by 34 runs.  India posted a competitive score of 273 in their 50 overs. Sri Lanka was able to score only 239 in 48.4 overs. The event was held in Colombo, Sri Lanka.


Queen Victoria’s last letter to India showcased at Victoria Memorial

Queen Victoria’s last letter to India which was written on December 14, 1900 (116 years ago) has been showcased for the first time at the Victoria Memorial in Kolkata. The three-page handwritten letter bearing the Royal Seal was written nearly a month before her death. Queen Victoria passed away on January 22, 1901. The letter contains Queen Victoria’s reply to the then Viceroy, Lord Curzon, who had conveyed his sympathies on the death of one of her soldier grandsons, Prince Christian Victor, the eldest son of the third daughter of Queen Victoria. Prince Christian died on October 29, 1900 during the Second Boer War.

After Queen Victoria’s death in 1901, King George V laid the foundation stone for the Victoria Memorial on 1906. It was opened to the public in 1921.


PM inaugurates new campus of National Institute of Securities Markets

PM has inaugurated a new campus of National Institute of Securities Markets (NISM) at Patalganga in Mumbai. NISM, an educational initiative of SEBI, presently operates from its campus in Vashi and Navi Mumbai. However, the present infrastructure is not adequate to meet the growing needs of the institute.

NISM was established in 2006 by the Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI). SEBI is the regulator of the securities market. NISM is involved in various capacity building activities aimed at enhancing and increasing the participation in the securities markets. The institute has six schools of excellence.


Shiva Keshavan bags gold medal at Asian Luge Championships

Shiva Keshavan has clinched a gold medal at the Asian Luge Championships held at Nagano in Japan. He is set to take part in the 2017 World Championship in Innsbruck, Austria. Shiva Keshavan was not able to participate in the World Championships held earlier in this year due to lack of funds.

Shiva Keshavan is India’s seasoned Winter Olympian who has won Olympic medals five times. He has set a new Asian speed record at 134.3 km/h in Asia Cup 2011.


China launches satellite to monitor global gas emissions

China has launched a 620-kg satellite TanSat into orbit to monitor global carbon dioxide levels to understand climate change. The satellite was put into orbit by Long March-2D rocket from Jiuquan Satellite Launch Centre located in Gobi Desert. Apart from TanSat satellite, a high-resolution micro-nano satellite and two spectrum micro-nano satellites for agricultural and forestry monitoring were also launched. The satellite placed in the sun-synchronous orbit will monitor the concentration, distribution and flow of carbon dioxide (CO2) in the atmosphere. It will monitor global carbon dioxide levels every 16 days accurate to atleast 4 parts per million (ppm). With this launch, China has become the third country after Japan and the US to monitor greenhouse gases with the help of its own satellite.


IT hiring at 10-year low

The technology services sector in India is currently undergoing a very bad growth period in close to a decade as their clients are decreasing their budgets on traditional outsourcing work. Also, the routine customer applications maintenance work which are performed by the freshers has been now carried out by automation or robots. With increasing automation, the tech companies are shifting their employees where work has become redundant and has begun training them with skills to cater to the needs of the new requirements. Infosys, for instance, is absorbing freshers as interns with a stipend and based upon their performance they will be absorbed as trainees by the company.


World’s first solar road opens in France

World’s first solar powered road was installed in a small town of France known as Normandy. The 1 Km stretch road was built at the cost of €5 million ($5.2 million) in a bid to run the local streetlights. The road has 2,800 square meters of solar panels and is coated with a protective coating to help it to withstand the passage of some 2,000 motorists that will pass over it every day during two-year test period.

Solar powered cycle path built in Krommenie in the Netherlands has generated 3,000kWh of energy sufficient enough to power an average family home for a year. However, the cost of building the path would have paid for 520,000kWh.