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NABARD partners Germany for food security initiative

In April 2016 National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development (NABARD) collaborated with German government for a special programme on 'Soil Protection and Rehabilitation for Food Security'.
•    This is part of the German government's special initiative 'One World, No Hunger' initiative. 
•    India is the only country in Asia to be part of this initiative.
•    NABARD is anchoring two major programmes — soil conservation and rehabilitation of degraded land programme in Maharashtra and Madhya Pradesh. 
•    It is also conducting innovation of watershed development and climate change adaptation programmes in Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Maharashtra, Gujarat and Rajasthan.
•    Germany’s 'One World, No Hunger' focuses on food and nutrition security, promotion of innovation, protection and sustainable use of natural resources so as to create stable livelihood in rural areas and promotion of responsible land use and access to land.
•    This initiate has been happily welcomed by many countries across the globe.

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Railways launch 'Indrail Pass' for foreigners

Indrail Pass makes it easier for tourists, from abroad, to buy this pass and travel to any part of the country without any limitation. 
•    The pass will be valid for a fixed period of time. 
•    there would be No reservation fee for berths or seats.
•    Rail reservations can be arranged from the UK, if the Indrail pass is purchased well in advance. 
•    Rail reservations are arranged FREE of cost, thus saving time by avoiding lengthy queues at railway stations for rail bookings. 
•    No sleeper berth surcharge for night journeys for any class of accommodation (indirect saving of hotel cost).
•    No extra charge for travelling by faster trains.
•    Free meals on Rajdhani & Shatabdi expresses.
•    Railway retiring rooms at nominal rates (subject to availability).
•    Access to waiting halls at stations.
•    Usage of left luggage offices for storage of luggage at nominal rates.
•    The Indrail pass is non-transferable. It should always be carried along with your passport.

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Maharashtra is the biggest contributor to income tax collections in India

Maharashtra contributed Rs. 2,77,720.11 crore, of the total Rs. 6,95,788.85 crore in income tax collections, in financial year 2014-15.  
•    This detail was released by the country's income tax department for the first time on 29th April 2016.
•    There are 10 categories of income tax in India – individuals, corporates, trusts, local authorities, government, partnership firms, Hindu Undivided Family (HUF), body of individuals, association of persons and artificial juridical person.
•    The number of individual tax payers has decreased by 3.70 lakh between financial years 2012-13 and 2013-14. 
•    In 2013-14, 4.87 crore individuals paid taxes, which was 4.90 crore in the previous year. 
•    In all, 7.14 lakh companies paid corporate tax in financial year 2013-14, a bit more than 7.03 lakh companies in the previous year
•    Overall, the number of income tax payees declined to 5.17 crore in financial year 2013-14 from 5.21 crore in the previous financial year.

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The small Industries Development Bank of India has inked with SAARC Development Bank (SDF)

•    The Small Industries Development Bank of India (SIDBI) has inked MoU with SAARC Development Fund (SDF) 
•    This has been done to promotte for mutual cooperation and collaboration. 
•    The MoU was signed by Deputy Managing Director of SIDBI A K Kapur and SDF CEO Sunil Motiwal. 
•    MoU initiates SDF and SIDBI to work together in co-funding of projects in Indian MSMEs on risk sharing basis in identified sectors. 
•    Development of suitable financial products for SME financing for MSMEs of other Saarc states, the Finance Ministry said in a statement.
•    Technology transfer and making available software to MFIs regarding loan tracking systems in other SAARC states. 
•    Capacity development of SDF, SIDBI and SME funding institutions in SAARC countries. 
•    SIDBI is an independent financial institution aimed to aid the growth and development of micro, small and medium-scale enterprises (MSMEs).
•    In 1996, a first funding mechanism was created in SAARC, ‘South Asian Development Fund (SADF), merging the SAARC Fund for Regional Projects (SFRP) and the SAARC Regional Fund. 
•    SADF objectives were to support industrial development, poverty alleviation, protection of environment, institutional/human resource development and promotion of social and infrastructure development projects in the SAARC region. 

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BlackBerry Launches BBM Money Transfer Service in India

BlackBerry has now launched BBM Money, a payment solution, in partnership with Digitsecure, a payments platforms to cater to the BBM users in India. Hot Remit is a product of Digitsecure, which does the work of a mobile wallet, which has been used to create the BBM Money service.
•    BlackBerry Messenger, also known as BBM, is a proprietary Internet-based instant messenger and videotelephony application included on BlackBerry devices that allows messaging and voice calls between BlackBerry, iOS, Windows Phone and Android users. 
•    It is developed by BlackBerry Limited (formerly known as Research In Motion Limited (RIM)) and was first released in August 2005.
•    BBM is after new customers because the customers they currently have are of old ages when BBM was a big name but nowadays since android and IOS has taken over the market BBM is finding it hard to stay in the competition.
•    This payment service has came after facebook launched money transfer facility via its messenger app.

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DBS Bank to soft launch mobile banking in India

Singapore's DBS bank which has branches in major cities of India will soft launch its digital/mobile online banking in the country this week, a top official of the bank said today.
•    The phase by phase soft launch will be spread across DBS's locations in 12 Indian cities, including Mumbai, Delhi, Kolkata, Chennai, Bangalore and Pune, from end of next month.
•    The offline launch will be done in a few months of time.
•    DBS network expansion in India will also include 60-70 new branches on getting approval for setting up wholly-owned subsidiaries from the Reserve Bank of India.
•    DBS's strategy is to spend the next couple of years focusing on digital space, especially pointing to the surge in e-commerce among other electronic systems in India.
•    Indian executives presented industry and business prospects at the roundtable, organized by the Singapore-based strategy consultant services company Apex Avalon Consulting.
•    The logistics business in India is prospering at 13-15 per cent a year as the country industrializes

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Videocon d2h, Vodafone m-pesa tie-up

Videocon d2h ties up with Vodafone m-pesa where the former’s customers can recharge their d2h service using Vodafone m-pesa. In addition, the 1,20,000+ Vodafone m-pesa CashIn points will also accept recharge for Videocon d2h, thus, providing additional convenience to customers. 
•    NASDAQ-listed Indian direct-to-home (DTH) player Videocon d2h has partnered with Vodafone, a move that will its subscribers recharge their d2h service using Vodafone m-pesa. The 120,000+ Vodafone m-pesa cash in points will also accept recharge for Videocon d2h. 
•    Saurabh Dhoot, executive chairman of Videocon d2h said, "Our strategic tie up with Vodafone to enable recharge using m-pesa digital Wallet and at the Vodafone outlets will give our customers an easy and powerful way to recharge their d2h account at their convenience." 
•    Anil Khera, CEO, Videocon d2h added, "This tie up affirms our commitment to innovate in every aspect of our customer experience. I am confident our customers will find this new channel of recharges easy to use and will adopt it quickly." 
•    Videocon d2h, which claims to be India's fastest growing DTH service provider, offers over 550 channels and services. 
•    It is soon going to launch HD Smart Connect Set top Box (connected STB), which converts existing normal TV into a Smart TV. The Connected set top box allows one to browse content from Facebook, Twitter, Daily Motion, video on demand sites, news sites, weather sites, etc through applications residing on STB.

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Union Railway Ministry to set up Rs 1 lakh crore Rashtriya Rail Sanraksha Kosh

The Union Railway Ministry has decided to create a 1 lakh crore rupees safety fund named Rashtriya Rail Sanraksha Kosh to strengthen safety measures on the rail network to prevent accidents. 

•    It was announced by Union Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu in the Lok Sabha while replying to a debate on Demands for Grants for Railways for 2016-17. In this regard Union Railway Ministry has forwarded a proposal to the Union Finance Ministry for approval. 
•    The Rashtriya Rail Sanraksha Kosh will be a non-lapsable fund which will be utilised for safety measures. 
•    The fund will help Indian Railways to accomplish its zero-accident mission by strengthening the safety measures on the rail network in a comprehensive way. 
•    Under this fund, envisaged works like track renewal and upgradation, bridge rehabilitation, elimination of level-crossings, construction of road over bridges/road under bridges will be under taken. 
•    It will be also used for replacement and improvement of signalling system, improvement and upgradation of rolling stock, replacement of electrical assets and human resource development.

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Government approves 8.7% interest on EPF for 2015-16

The finance ministry has approved 8.7 per cent interest on PF deposits for over 5 crore subscribers of retirement body EPFO, lower than 8.8 per cent decided by the Central Board of Trustees (CBT).

•    "The (EPFO's apex decision-making body) CBT, at its meeting held in February 2016, has proposed an interim rate of interest at 8.8 per cent to be credited to the accounts of Employees' Provident Fund subscribers for 2015-16. 
•    The ministry of finance has, however, ratified an interest rate of 8.7 per cent," labour minister Bandaru Dattatreya said in a written reply to the Lok Sabha on Monday.
•    This is probably the first time that the finance ministry has not given concurrence to the rate of interest on EPF as decided by CBT, which is headed by the labour minister.
•    Despite the employees’ representatives' demand for 9 per cent rate of interest for the fiscal, the CBT at its meeting held on February 16 decided to provide an interim interest rate of 8.8 per cent for 2015-16.

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India, France launch $1 Trillion Potential Solar Programme under ISA

India and France have launched a programme with $1 trillion Potential Solar Programme under the International Solar Alliance (ISA). 
•    It is a solar finance programme that aims at helping developing countries to fully harness their solar resources for a clean energy future. 
•    It was announced by Minister of State for Power Piyush Goyal and French Environment Minister Segolene Royal at the ministerial side event on ISA at the United Nations. 
•    Solar finance programme aims at lowering the cost of finance and facilitates the flow of more than 1 trillion dollars investment to members of the ISA. 
•    Both countries also launched a second programme at the ISA meeting which aims to make available solar technology for farmers. The meeting was attended by representatives of over 25 countries including the US, Bangladesh, Brazil and Nigeria.
•    The ISA was launched at the 2015 Paris Climate Change Summit by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and French President Francois Hollande. 
•    It seeks to empower solar-rich countries located between the tropic of Cancer and the tropic of Capricorn to make collaborative efforts to harness solar energy to generate the electricity. Under this alliance, 121 countries that fall within the tropics have been invited. 

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