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Important Current Affairs 30th August 2017

Important Current Affairs 30th August 2017

Current Affairs 30th August 2017: NATIONAL NEWS

Cabinet approves promulgation of the Goods and Services Tax (Compensation to States) Ordinance, 2017

The Union Cabinet chaired by Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi has given its approval to the proposal of the Finance Ministry to promulgate an ordinance to suitably amend the Goods and Services Tax (Compensation to States) Act, 2017.
●    The approval would allow to increase the maximum rate at which the Compensation Cess can be levied from 15% to 25% on:
●    motor vehicles for transport of not more than thirteen persons, including the driver [falling under sub-headings 870210, 8702 20, 8702 30 or 8702 90]; and
●    motor vehicles falling under headings 8703.
●    The GST Council, in its meeting held in August 2017, taking into consideration the fact that post introduction of GST, the total incidence on motor vehicles [GST+ Compensation Cess] has come down vis-a-vis pre-GST total tax, incidence, and had recommended increase in the maximum rate at which Compensation Cess can be levied on motor vehicles falling under headings 8702 and 8703 from 15% to 25%.

C-DOT celebrates its 34th Foundation Day 

The Minister of Communications Shri Manoj Sinha has called upon C-DOT, Centre for Development of Telematics (C-DOT) to innovate and develop Telecom products at reasonable costs for exporting to SAARC countries and other developing regions of the world. 
●    In a message on the occasion for 34th Foundation Day celebrations of C-DOT, he said that the premier Telecom R&D center of the Government of India, can develop products having far reaching impact in the areas of Agriculture, Education and Health care. 
●    The Minister said that in an era of M2M communications, Internet of Things, 5G, Cognitive learning and hyper speed networks, C-DOT has to play an important role in developing state of the art telecom infrastructure at affordable rate for the common man. 
●    Referring to the launch of C-DOT’s latest innovation, “WiDHWAN”, Shri Sinha said that, it has been exclusively designed to cater to the recurring call drop issues in no-signal and low-signal network scenarios in places such as offices and homes. 
●    He also congratulated C-DOT for regularly organizing lecture series on its foundation day, attracting national and international talents from the fields of IT and Engineering to brainstorm on the future challenges facing the sector.

CPWD goes digital 

The Government’s construction major, Central Public Works Department (CPWD) has undergone a major digital transformation enabling payments worth Rs.20,000 cr per year electronically. This has been done by networking all the 400 field offices of CPWD across the country through a special integrated portal ensuring digital payments from this month. 
●    With this, CPWD has become the first organization of a civil ministry to become digital at the field level.
●    CPWD executes over 25,000 project works across the country involving annual payments of over Rs.20,000 cr every year by it’s 400 field offices including in remote, hilly and North-Eastern parts. 
●    The new digital payment mode covers over six lakh transactions. The Office of Chief Controller of Accounts (CCA) of the Ministry of Housing & Urban Affairs has evolved this special Public Financial Management (PFMS) Portal for CPWD.
●    During a demonstration of this online payment system to Shri Duga Shanker Mishra, Secretary (HUA), Shri Shyam Dubey, CCA explained that it enables real time monitoring of expenditure in respect of each of the 25,000 projects across the country. 
●    Since fund release is linked to progress of works, digital payments also ensures efficient utilization of funds, he said.

STPs to be constructed under Hybrid Annuity Model at Varanasi and Haridwar 

In the first-of-its-kind success, the creation and maintenance of sewage treatment infrastructure under Hybrid Annuity based PPP model has taken off, with NMCG awarding work to private sector for construction and maintenance of Sewage Treatment Plants (STPs) in two major cities in Ganga river basin - Varanasi and Haridwar. 
●    While the work to construct, operate and maintain a 50 MLD STP in Varanasi has been awarded to a consortium led by Indian infrastructure major - Essel Infra Projects Limited at an estimated cost of Rs 153.16 crore, HNB Engineers Private Ltd. has been awarded the work to develop, operate and maintain the total sewage treatment capacity of 82 MLD (68 MLD in Jagjeetpur + 14 MLD in Sarai) STPs in Haridwar at an estimated cost of Rs 171.53 crore. 
●    The awarded projects would ensure that no untreated sewage waste water goes into river Ganga.
●    Since the inception of Hybrid Annuity-PPP model, many national and international players have shown interest in NMCG projects. 
●    The consultative meetings and conferences with market players attracted large number of participants. 
●    More than 30 firms showed-up for pre-bid meetings of Varanasi and Haridwar projects.
●    The selection of firms was based on lowest bid project cost for developing and operating the treatment infrastructure for a period of 15 years.

CWC signed MoUS with NIT Calicut and NIT Rourkela to support capacity building in Dam Safety Areas 

Central Water Commission (CWC) has signed MoUs with NIT Calicut and NIT Rourkela to support dam rehabilitation efforts of various implementing agencies and CWC.
●    Ministry of Water Resources, River Development and Ganga Rejuvenation has taken on board selected premier academic and research institutes, for capacity building in the areas of dam safety through World Bank assisted Dam Rehabilitation and Improvement Project (DRIP).
●    The scope includes strengthening the testing laboratories, enhancing analytical capabilities, exposure visits to best global institutions and on ground exposure to dam safety concerns to the faculty of these institutions. 
●    CWC had signed MoUs with IIT Madras and IISc Bangalore in January 2017 and Ministry is supporting these institutes for the procurement of specified equipment and software for enhancing their testing and modeling capabilities. 
●    DRIP is assisting rehabilitation of 225 dams in seven States which are experiencing different levels of distress. 
●    Owners of these dams require technical support for the investigation of dam conditions and supporting rehabilitation efforts. 

Current Affairs 30th August 2017: INTERNATIONAL RELATION

Cabinet approves MoU with Myanmar for the Conservation of Earthquake-Damaged Pagodas at Bagan 

The Union Cabinet chaired by the Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi has approved the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between India and Myanmar for the conservation of earthquake-damaged pagodas at Bagan, Myanmar.
●    The MoU will be signed during the visit of the Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi to Myanmar during 6-7 September 2017.
●    Implementation of the project will further strengthen India’s enduring ties in culture and religion with Myanmar. 
●    It will also generate immense goodwill for India among the people of Myanmar due to the religious significance as well as the touristic significance of the project. 
●    It will also contribute to India’s development partnership with Myanmar. 
●    Bagan is one of the premier tourist attractions of Myanmar. 
●    It will be an opportunity to showcase India’s expertise in the restoration and conservation of monuments not only to the people of Myanmar but also to the tourists from other countries.

Cabinet approves MoU on "India-Israel Industrial R&D and Technological Innovation Fund" 

The Union Cabinet chaired by Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi approved a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between India and Israel on "India-Israel Industrial R&D and Technological Innovation Fund (I4F)". The MoU was concluded in July, 2017
●    India and Israel will make an contribution of four million US Dollars each for the Fund, both equivalent amount, annually for five years. 
●    The Innovation Fund will be governed by a joint Board which will consist of four members from each country.
●    The MoU envisages promotion of bilateral Industrial R&D and Innovation cooperation in the fields of science and technology by extending support to joint projects for innovative or technology-driven new or improved products, services or processes. 
●    Such projects will lead to affordable technological innovations in focus areas of mutual interest such as water, agriculture, energy and digital technologies. 
●    Institutional support in building up consortia including private industry, enterprises and R&D institutions from India and Israel will be enabled through these collaborative projects.

Cabinet approves MoU between India and Brazil for cooperation in the fields of Zebu Cattle Genomics and Assisted Reproductive Technologies

The Union Cabinet chaired by Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi was apprised of Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) signed between India and Brazil for cooperation in the fields of Zebu Cattle Genomics and Assisted Reproductive Technologies. The MoU was signed in October, 2016.
●    The MoU will strengthen the existing friendly relations between India and Brazil and promote development of Genomics and Assistant Reproductive Technologies (ARTs) in Cattle through joint activities to be implemented through mutually agreed procedures.
●    An implementation committee shall be created with an equal number of representatives of each party for the purpose of regularly determining the activities and developing work plans and subsequently their evaluation.
●    It will be done through joint projects in the fields of Productivity Improvement of cattle and buffaloes, for the purpose of broadening the existing knowledge base on sustainable dairy development and institutional strengthening.

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