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1.Government on Saturday hiked excise duty on petrol by Rs 0.37 per litre and by Rs 2 a litre on diesel, the second increase in duties in just over two weeks, to mop up a little less than Rs 4,400 crore.
2.The increase in excise duty will fetch the government over Rs 4,300 crore on diesel and about Rs 80 crore on petrol.
3.This is the second time in less than three weeks that excise duty is being hiked to make use of the slump in oil prices to garner resources for the government without burdening consumers.
4.The four excise duty hikes during this period totalled Rs 7.75 per litre on petrol and Rs 6.50 a litre on diesel. It led to about Rs 20,000 crore in additional revenue to the government, helping it meet its fiscal deficit target.
VETERAN CPI LEADER A.B. BARDHAN PASSES AWAY
1.Veteran Communist Party of India leader A.B. Bardhan, 92, passed away on Saturday evening after a long illness. Mr. Bardhan, former general secretary of the CPI, was admitted to the G.B. Pant Hospital here on December 7, after he suffered a stroke.
2.Veteran Communist Party of India (CPI) leader A.B. Bardhan, who passed away here on Saturday, held the post of general secretary for over a record number of years from 1996 to 2012.
ANNUAL SOLAR POWER CAPACITY TO QUADRUPLE NEXT FISCAL YEAR: GOYAL
1.India may increase its solar energy capacity four-fold during the next fiscal year ending March 2017, Piyush Goel, Union Minister of Coal, Power and Renewable Energy says.
2.“Today our solar capacity is about 4,500 MW and the capacity addition target for this year is about 2,000 MW. During 2016-17, we are hoping to add 12,000 MW in solar sector alone. Thus, including other renewable sources, there will be a total capacity addition of about 15,000 MW during next fiscal
3.There will be a total capacity addition of about 15,000 MW during next financial year
NON-DESCRIPT VILLAGE TO HOST HAL’S HELICOPTER COMPLEX
1.On Sunday, a nondescript backward village about 100 km from this Indian aerospace hub will be flagged off into big-time journey of manufacturing military helicopters.
2.Biderahalla Kaval in Tumakuru’s Gubbi taluk is where aircraft maker Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd. (HAL) has planned to start its composite Rs. 4,000-crore helicopter complex.
3.On Sunday afternoon, Prime Minister Narendra Modi is stopping over briefly from Mysuru (after inaugurating the annual Indian Science Congress) to lay the foundation stone for the 600-acre facility. The HAL says the full facility, including a helipad, should be ready by around 2019.
NOW, WOMEN SELF-HELP GROUPS TO PROVIDE FOOD ON TRAINS
1.Passengers travelling in trains will now have the option of enjoying food prepared by some women self-help groups (SHGs) as Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation (IRCTC) is planning to tie up with them to enhance its e-catering portfolio.
2.The IRCTC CMD noted that India has no less than one crore SHGs, mostly functioning in rural and semi-urban areas with 10 to 20 members (majority women) per group.
3.In its e-catering service which facilitates supply of food on ordering two hours before boarding the train, IRCTC is already in collaboration with Foodpanda, KFC, Domino’s, TFS, Street Foods, Wimpy, Jan Aahar, Mio Amore, Alibaba, Cafe Lite, Hello Curry and Ratna Cafe besides IRCTC Food Plaza and IRCTC Fast Food Units.
4.The e-catering facility allows passengers to have food of their choice at agreeable prices while travelling. They may book online at www.ecatering.irctc.co.in or by making a phone call to 0120-2383892-99 or the toll-free number at 1800-1034-139 or 1323.
5.They can also choose to SMS to 139 by giving details of their PNR and seat number. The mobile app “Food On Track” is now available for booking too.
GOVT. MAY DILUTE 25% STAKE IN IDBI BANK
1.State-run lender, IDBI Bank, is planning to raise Rs.3,771 crore by way of qualified institutional placement (QIP) which could see government stake reduce by 25 per cent, according to an exchange filing.
2.“Govt. of India has conveyed its approval to IDBI Bank to raise capital to the tune of Rs.3,771 crore, through QIP route, at an appropriate time during the year.”
3.According to bank officials, IDBI Bank has projected a capital requirement of Rs.6,000 crore to support its growth needs apart from meeting Basel-III norms. Earlier this week, the bank said that the government has decided to infuse Rs.2,229 crore into the bank. At present, the government holds 76.5 per cent in the bank. After this infusion, government stake in the bank will go over 80 per cent.
GOVERNMENT ELECTRIFIES 20% MORE VILLAGES
1.The government has electrified 20 per cent of the villages that were without power at the start of this financial year, according to an analysis by The Hindu of the data provided by the Deendayal Upadhyaya Gram Jyoti Yojana (DDUGJY).
2.As of January two,2016 the DDUGJY had electrified 3,656 or 20 per cent of the 18,452 villages without power at the start of this financial year.
3.The scheme had an outlay of Rs 76,000 crore out of which the Centre committed to provide a grant of Rs.63,000 crore.
4.Of the remaining 14,796 villages that still had to get electricity, work had started in only 1,843 (12 per cent) of them.
5.Out of the 5,522 villages inspected by the DDUGJY officials, 13 per cent had missed the milestones set for them for electrification.
MULTIPLE GRAMMY-WINNER NATALIE COLE IS NO MORE
1.Natalie Cole, best known for the songs ‘Unforgettable’, ‘Inseparable’ and ‘This Will Be’, died on Thursday. She was 65.
2.The singer-songwriter died in a Los Angeles hospital due to “complications from ongoing health issues,” her publicist Maureen O’Connor confirmed.
3.She received a kidney transplant in May 2009 and had battled Hepatitis C. Through the years, she struggled with drug addiction.
E-COMMERCE INDUSTRY TO CROSS $38 BILLION THIS YEAR: ASSOCHAM
1.India’s e-commerce market is likely to touch $38-billion-mark in 2016, a 67 per cent jump over the $23 billion revenue it clocked last year, according to the Associated Chambers of Commerce and Industry (Assocham).
2.Buying trends during 2015 have witnessed a significant upward movement due to aggressive online discounts. India’s e-commerce market was worth about $3.8 billion in 2009, it went up to $17 billion in 2014 and to $23 billion in 2015 and is expected to touch $38-billion mark by 2016, said D.S. Rawat, Secretary General, Assocham.
3.Mumbaikars left behind all other cities in India shopping online in 2015, while Delhi residents came second
4.As per the study, there would be more than a five to seven-fold increase in revenue generated through e-commerce compared to last year with all branded apparel, accessories, jewellery, gifts, footwear available at a cheaper rates and being delivered at the doorstep. The most popular among the e-commerce websites — Snapdeal, Myntra, Flipkart, Amazon, Jabong and others — have been doling out massive price cuts or discounts on purchase of popular brands of apparels, footwear, electronic goods, coinciding with the year end.
TERROR REVISITS PUNJAB AFTER FIVE MONTHS
1.A group of four terrorists stormed the Pathankot Air Force base early on Saturday morning, killing six services personnel and injuring 18 after a fierce gun battle through the day,before being shot dead. The attack raised the spectre of cross-border terror yet again challenging peace efforts between India and Pakistan.
2.Six services personnel killed as airbase in Pathankot is attacked; Militants are suspected to have sneaked into India from Pakistan.
CHINA RESTRUCTURES MILITARY AS XI EYES ‘STRONG ARMY’
1.China has unveiled changes to the structure of its military, adding three new units, described by President Xi Jinping as “a major policy decision to realise the Chinese dream of a strong army
2.The formation of the new units, which follows Beijing’s announcement that it was building a second aircraft carrier, comes with China acting more aggressively in territorial disputes in the South China Sea and East China Sea, drawing the ire of its neighbours and the United States.