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Current Affairs for 30 March 2016
March 30, 2016
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MODEL CAREER CENTRE INAUGURATED IN GUJARAT

A Model Career Centre (MCC), set up by the Gujarat government to help unemployed persons to connect with potential employers was inaugurated here. The MCC, inaugurated yesterday, is being touted as one of the first such centres in the country. “100 career service centres are to be launched across the country to provide job seekers with all employment-related information ranging from career counselling to apprenticeship and jobs on offer,” Gujarat Labour and Employment Minister Vijay Rupani said.

“Gujarat is the first state to start such a centre. The MCC here was set up after spending Rs 44.13 lakh. Such centres will be started in Surat, Bhavnagar, Rajkot and Mehsana in a phase-wise manner,” he added. According to Rupani, creation of jobs is a key focus of the Centre as well as of the Gujarat government. BJP MP from here Ranjanben Bhatt described the MCC as “a one-stop shop for career counselling, job information, apprenticeship, internship and (getting) skill development information”.


CENTRE GIVES NOD FOR 100% FDI IN E-COMMERCE RETAIL

The government on Tuesday allowed 100 per cent foreign direct investment (FDI) through the automatic route in the marketplace model of e-commerce retailing, bringing in long overdue clarity on FDI policy for the sector as well as definition of marketplace format.

As per the guidelines issued by the Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion (DIPP) on FDI in e-commerce, foreign direct investment has not been permitted in inventory-based model.

At present, 100 per cent FDI is permitted in B2B (business-to-business) transactions under the automatic route.

The marketplace model has been defined as providing an “information technology platform by an e-commerce entity on a digital and electronic network to act as a facilitator between buyer and seller.”

These guidelines are expected to bring in more FDI into the sector that attracted maximum inflow of such investments in 2015, Akash Gupt, Partner and Leader Regulatory at PwC said.

DIPP said that the e-commerce marketplace may provide support services to sellers in warehousing, and logistics., order fulfilment, call centre, payment collection and other services.

However, such entities will not exercise ownership over the inventory.


RAILWAYS TO UPGRADE PASSENGER AMENITIES AT 400 STATIONS

In order to provide better passenger amenities, railways has firmed up plans to redevelop 400 major stations with private participation.

The redevelopment of station envisages facilities like shopping complex, foreign exchange kiosk, eatery, book stall, PCOs/FAX booth, medicine and variety store, budget hotel (subject to availability) and adequate parking lot.

The entire cost of station redevelopment is to be met by leveraging commercial development of land and air space in and around the stations, said a senior railway ministry official.

As per the plan, land is only to be leased to the developers and its ownership shall remain with the railways.

The developers will be responsible for station redevelopment, associated real estate development and operation and maintenance of the same.


MOTOR INSURANCE PREMIUMS RAISED BY UP TO 40 PER CENT

Vehicle insurance will become costlier from April 1 as the insurance regulator IRDAI, has decided to increase premiums by up to 40 per cent from the next fiscal.

Third-party motor insurance premium for small cars (up to 1,000 cc) will now be up 39.9 per cent to Rs.2,055 from Rs.1,468 being currently charged. The rise in mid-segment cars (1,000 – 1,500 cc) too is about 40 per cent.

The rise in premium for bigger cars and SUVs (above 1,500 cc) is 25 per cent, costing Rs.6,164 from April instead of the current Rs. 4,931.

The new premium for two-wheelers up to engine capacity of 75 cc is Rs.569 as against Rs.519, while that for two-wheelers going up to 150 cc is up 15 per cent to Rs.619; there is an increase of 25 per cent for bikes in the category of 150 cc – 350 cc. Basic third party (TP) premium for three-wheelers too has been increased. A new category ‘e-rickshaw’ (capacity of up to 6 passengers) has been introduced and the basic TP premium has been fixed at Rs.1,125.


 

PARRIKAR FLAGS OFF SONAR DOME FOR NAVAL WARSHIPS

Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar on Tuesday flagged off the first indigenous bow-mounted sonar dome for naval warships at Defexpo here. It was designed by engineers at a DRDO laboratory based in Pune and manufactured by Kineco Ltd., a Goan company.

The dome will be delivered later at Mazgaon Docks, Mumbai, to be attached to a warship.

Only a couple of companies in the world have the capability to make such a structurally demanding structure in composites, said Shekhar Sardesai, Executive Vice-Chairman and Managing Director of Kineco Limited.

The sonar functions as the ship’s underwater eyes and ears.

The dome is a structure fitted over the sonar array so that its electronics and sensors are not exposed to surrounding hostile environment. The sonar dome has to be structurally sound as well as acoustically transparent.

Kineco has a joint venture with Kaman Aerospace group of the U.S., which has also become a significant player in the field of aerospace composites.


NEW PLANT SPECIES DISCOVERED

Two leading researchers in the field of botanical taxonomy in the State have reported the discovery of a rare plant species from the Pottumala region of the Nelliampathy forests in the Western Ghats.

Researchers Soumya Murugan from Thiruvananthapuram and Maya C. Nair, head of the department of Botany, Government Victoria College, Palakkad, have spotted the new plant species with botanical nameSonerila nairii , which comes under the family of Melasto mataceae .

The discovery from biodiversity rich Nelliampathy has been published in the latest issue of Phytotaxa , an international journal on taxonomy. Interestingly, the researchers have named the plant as Sonerila nairii as a tribute to eminent botanist P.K.K. Nair, who founded Thiruvananthapuram-based Environmental Resources Research Centre. He had contributed immensely to the field of Palynology, the study of plant pollen, spores and certain microscopic plankton organisms in both living and fossil form.

The plant with pink coloured flowers is a highly endangered species.

The plant was was seen growing around 1,200 metres above sea level.

Each plant carries just two flowers.

The plant grows in soil found in the gaps of rocks.


RELIANCE DEFENCE FORMS JV WITH RAFAEL, TO TAKE UP PROJECTS WORTH $10 BILLION 

Anil Ambani-led Reliance Defence has inked a pact with Israel’s Rafael Advanced Defence System to set up a JV in India for specialised areas including air- to-air missiles that will oversee projects worth USD 10 billion (over Rs 65,000 crore) in ten years.

The venture will have 51 per cent holding from Reliance Defence and 49 per cent by Rafael as per the current guidelines of the government, it said.

It will provide big thrust to the field of indigenous production and development of high precision and state of the art weapon systems in India.

The partnership with technology power house and one of the world leaders in defence technologies, Rafael Advanced Defence Systems of Israel will mark the entry of Reliance Defence in the complex field of air-to-air missiles and air defence systems manufacturing in India, it said.


SINGER P. SUSHEELA SETS WORLD RECORD

Renowned playback singer P. Susheela Mohan, who has won several awards and earned accolades in a career spanning five decades, has added two more to her awards cabinet.

She has now been recognised by both the Guinness World Records and Asia Book of Records for recording the most number of songs in Indian languages. The usually-reticent singer met journalists in Chennai on Tuesday to celebrate the new achievements.

While Guinness World Records has credited her for singing 17,695 songs (solo, duet and chorus-backed songs) in 12 Indian languages, the Asia Book of Records has recognised her for singing close to 17,330 songs.

Susheela told reporters that the adjudicators had only considered songs she had sung from the 1960s. “Please remember that I started singing from 1951,” she added.

Her fans set up the websitepsusheela.orgto catalogue all her songs for the adjudicators to consider.


 

SUSTAINED ERUPTIONS ON SATURN’S ICY MOON DECODED

Enceladus, which probably has an ocean underlying its icy surface, has somehow managed to sprout multiple fissures along its south pole.

Scientists, using a computer model, have unravelled the mystery behind the sustained eruptions on Saturn’s icy moon Enceladus, which serves as a leading candidate for extraterrestrial life.

The Cassini spacecraft has observed geysers erupting on Enceladus since 2005, but the process that drives and sustains these eruptions has remained a mystery.

Now scientists at the University of Chicago and Princeton University have pinpointed a mechanism by which cyclical tidal stresses exerted by Saturn can drive Enceladus’ long-lived eruptions.

Kite and Allan Rubin from Princeton University wanted to know why Enceladus maintains a base level of cryovolcanic activity, even when at that point in its orbit where the fissures should clamp shut and curtail the eruptions.

The findings were published in the journal PNAS.