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14.13 lakh BPL LPG connections released under PM Ujjwala Yojana

14.13 lakh LPG connections have been released to women of BPL families under the Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana (PMUY). Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana is an ambitious social welfare scheme of Narendra Modi Government launched on 1st May 2016 from Ballia in Uttar Pradesh.

•    The scheme is currently under operation in 487 districts of 17 states.
•    Attention of Ministry of Petroleum and Natural gas has been drawn to a number of fake website which have come up on the internet on the recently launched Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana. 
•    The official website of Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana is www.pmujjwalayojana.com. 
•    General public and other stakeholders are requested to consult only the official website for any attention information with regard to the Ujjwala Yojana. 
•    In case of any doubt or clarification about the Scheme, the consumers of Ujjwala Yojana may like to use the toll free number 18002666696.

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Indian Warships visit Port Kelang, Malaysia

In a demonstration of India’s ‘Act East’ policy and Indian Navy’s increasing footprint and operational reach, Indian Naval Ships Sahyadri, Shakti and Kirch under the Command of the Flag Officer Commanding Eastern Fleet, Rear Admiral S V Bhokare, YSM, NM have arrived at Port Kelang today 15 Jul 16 on a four day visit, as part of deployment of the Eastern Fleet to the South China Sea and Western Pacific. 
•    During the visit, the IN ships will have professional interaction with the Royal Malaysian Navy towards further enhancing co-operation between the two forces. 
•    In addition, calls on senior Government and military authorities, sporting and cultural interactions and sharing of best practices, aimed at strengthening ties and mutual understanding between the two Navies, are also planned. 
•    The visiting IN ships are also likely to conduct exercises with the Royal Malaysian Navy, aimed at enhancing interoperability in communication as well as Search and Rescue procedures, post departure from Port Kelang.
•    Bilateral relations between India and Malaysia are characterised by strong bonds of friendship based on cultural, religious and economic ties between South India and the Malay Peninsula over two millennia. 
•    Economic and commercial relations are the mainstay of India-Malaysia relationship. Malaysia is the third largest trading partner of India from ASEAN. India-Malaysia defence ties dates back to the colonial days when troops of Madras Native Infantry served in Malacca, Singapore and Penang. 
•    Currently, there is considerable naval cooperation between the two countries bolstered by regular reciprocal port visits, high-level delegations and training exchanges. 
•    The Indian Navy has been a regular participant at the Langkawi International Maritime and Aerospace Exhibition (LIMA) in Malaysia. The last visit by an IN ship Malaysia was in May 2015, when Saryu berthed at Penang.

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Kharif Crop Sowing Crosses 559 Lakh Hectare Area

The total sown area as on 15th July, 2016 as per reports received from States, stands at 559.76 lakh hectare as compared to 548.38 lakh hectare at this time last year.
It is reported that rice has been sown/transplanted in 123.93 lakh ha, pulses in 71.07 lakh ha, coarse cereals in 105.98 lakh ha, oilseeds in 130.12 lakh ha, sugarcane in 45.78 lakh hectare and cotton in 75.41 lakh ha.The details of the area covered so far and that covered during this time last year are given below:
 Crop    Area sown in 2016-17    Area sown in 2015-16
Rice    123.93    122.99
Pulses    71.07    51.12
Coarse Cereals    105.98    101.45
Oilseeds    130.12    127.13
Sugarcane    45.78    44.80
Jute & Mesta    7.47    7.67
Cotton    75.41    93.22
Total    559.76    548.38
 Kharif crops are harvested during the rainy season in the South Asia, which lasts between April and October depending on the area. Main kharif crops are millet and rice.

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The Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare has launched Intensified Diarrhoea Control Fortnight (IDCF)

The Ministry of Health and Family Welfare on 11 July 2016 launched a nationwide Intensified Diarrhoea Control Fortnight (IDCF)..
As per the statistics, 13 children under the age of five die as a result of diarrhoea every hour in India.
In 2015, over 21 lakh children were administered Oral Rehydration Solution (ORS) and zinc during the 15 days of the programme.
•    The programme aims at covering over 80% of children (of the 10 crore children below five years of age) affected by diarrhoea across India.
•    The children will be administered ORS by the ASHA workers.
•    The children will also be counselled about the benefits and the process of preparing ORS.
•    Intensified community awareness campaigns on hygiene and promotion of ORS and Zinc therapy will be conducted at the state, district and village levels.
•    Diarrhoea is the condition of having at least three loose or liquid bowel movements each day.
•    It often lasts for a few days and can result in dehydration due to fluid loss.
•    Signs of dehydration often begin with loss of the normal stretchiness of the skin and irritable behaviour, which can often progress to decreased urination, loss of skin colour, etc.
•    It is often caused by a virus, bacteria, or parasite.

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Mann ki Baat kisoske to be set up in 8 cities

The government has announced plans to establish 'Mann Ki Baat' kiosks in eight cities across India this month to increase public participation in PM Narendra Modi’s radio programme. 

•    The kiosks, which will allow people make calls to PM Modi and give suggestions, will be set up in Haridwar, Gorakhpur, Indore, Puducherry, Dehradun, Udaipur, Bhilwara and Chennai in the initial phase.
•    After a toll-free helpline and a website, the government is now scaling up the public participation effort in Prime Minister Narendra Modi's Mann Ki Baat programme by setting up kiosks in cities to get people to call in. 
•    The PM's aides handling the programme told ET that much younger people and from a wider regional base are now calling in with their suggestions on the toll-free number. 
•    The PMO has now decided to upscale efforts of seeking such suggestions by setting up. 

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committee to examine the feasibility and desirability of having a new financial year.

The Union Finance Ministry has constituted four members committee to examine the feasibility and desirability of having a new financial year. 
•    The committee has been tasked to examine the merits and demerits of various dates for the commencement of the financial year including the existing date (April to March) by taking into account the various relevant factors. 
•    The committee will be headed by Dr. Shankar Acharya (former Chief Economic Adviser). 
•    Besides it will consist of PV Rajaraman (former Finance Secretary, Tamil Nadu), KM Chandrasekhar (former Cabinet Secretary) and Dr. Rajiv Kumar (Senior Fellow, Centre for Policy Research) as its members. 
•    Take into consideration genesis of the current financial year and the earlier studies made in the past on the desirability of change in financial year. 
•    It will take into consideration suitability of the financial year from point of view of 
(i) Correct estimations of receipts and expenditure of Union and State Governments. 
(ii) Effect of the different agricultural crop periods. 
(iii) Relationship of financial year on the working season. 
(iv) Impact on business. 
(v) Taxation systems and procedures. 
(vi) Statistics and data collection. 
(vii) Convenience of the legislatures for transacting budget work. 
(viii) Other relevant matters 
•    Recommend the date of commencement of the financial year which in its views is most suitable for the country. 
•    In case the committee recommends change in financial year, it will also work out on the modalities for effecting the change. It will include 
(i) Appropriate timing of change 
(ii) Determination of transitional period 
(iii) Changing tax laws during transitional period 
(iv) Amendments needed in various statues 
(v) Changes in coverage of the recommendations of the Finance Commission. 
•    It can interact with experts, institutions, Government Departments and others as deemed necessary. The committee will submit its report to the Union Government by 31st December 2016.

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The Union Government has unveiled National Mineral Exploration Policy (NMEP), 2016

The Union Cabinet chaired by the Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi has approved the National Mineral Exploration Policy (NMEP). 
The NMEP primarily aims at accelerating the exploration activity in the country through enhanced participation of the private sector. 
There is a need for comprehensive mineral exploration of the country to uncover its full mineral potential so as to put the nation's mineral resources (non-fuel and non-coal) to best use and thereby maximize sectoral contribution to the Indian economy. 
The policy emphasizes on making available baseline geoscientific data of world standards in the public domain, quality research in a public-private partnership, special initiatives for search of deep-seated and concealed deposits, quick aerogeophysical surveys of the country, and creation of a dedicated geoscience database etc. 
i.    The Ministry of Mines will carry out auctioning of identified exploration blocks for exploration by private sector on revenue sharing basis in case their exploration leads to auctionable resources. The revenue will be borne by the successful bidder of those auctionable blocks. 
ii.    If the explorer agencies do not discover any auctionable resources, their exploration expenditure will be reimbursed on normative cost basis. 
iii.    Creation of baseline geoscientific data as a public good for open dissemination free of charge. 
iv.    Government will carry out a National Aerogeophysical Program for acquiring state-of-the-art baseline data for targeting concealed mineral deposits. 
v.    A National Geoscientific Data Repository is proposed to be set up to collate all baseline and mineral exploration information generated by various central & state government agencies and also mineral concession holders and to maintain these on geospatial database. 
vi.    Government proposes to establish a not-for-profit autonomous institution that will be known as the National Centre for Mineral Targeting (NCMT) in collaboration with scientific and research bodies, universities and industry for scientific and technological research to address the mineral exploration challenges in the country. 
vii.    Provisions for inviting private investment in exploration through attractive revenue sharing models. 
viii.    On the lines of UNCOVER project of Australia, the government intends to launch a special initiative to probe deep-seated/ concealed minerals deposits in the country in collaboration with National Geophysical Research Institute and the proposed NCMT and Geoscience Australia. 
•    In order to implement the recommendations of the NMEP, initially an amount of about Rs.2116 crore over 5 years would be required over and above the annual plan budget of the Geological Survey of India under the Ministry of Mines. The NMEP will benefit the entire mineral sector across the country. 
•    The pre-competitive baseline geoscientific data will be created as a public good and will be fully available for open dissemination free of charge. This is expected to benefit public and private exploration agencies. 
•    The collaboration with scientific and research bodies, universities and industry for the scientific and technological development necessary for exploration in public- private partnership. 

•    Government will launch a special initiative to probe deep-seated/concealed mineral deposits in the country. Characterizing India's geological cover, investigating India's lithospheric architecture, resolving 4D geodynamic and metallogenic evolution, and detecting and characterizing the distal footprints of ore deposits, would be the main components of this initiative. 
•    A National Aerogeophysical Mapping program will be launched to map the entire country with low altitude and close space flight to delineate the deep-seated and concealed mineral deposits. 
•    Government will engage private agencies for carrying out exploration in identified blocks / areas with the right to certain share in the revenue accruing to the State government through auction. 
•    Public expenditure on regional and detailed exploration will be prioritized and subject to periodical review based on assessment of criticality and strategic interests.

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The first meeting of the BRICS Working Group on Energy Saving and Energy Efficiency began in Visakhapatnam, Andhra Pradesh.

The first meeting of the BRICS Working Group on Energy Saving and Energy Efficiency commenced on 4 July 2016 in Visakhapatnam. The meeting will be concluded on 5 July 2016.
The two-day meeting will be attended by all 5 members of BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa) countries.

India assumed the BRICS chair for 2016 and will accordingly shape and steer the BRICS agenda.
•    The BRICS countries will make presentations on measures taken by them in the field of energy saving and energy efficiency.
•    India will showcase its efforts in energy saving, energy efficiency.
•    India, in particular, will showcase the LED street lighting programme and Performance Achievement & Trade (PAT) programme for Industrial energy efficiency.
•    The Working Group on Energy Saving and Energy Efficiency will deliberate on a Work Plan on development of cooperation in energy saving and energy efficiency within BRICS.
•    During the meeting, a Joint Statement will be agreed upon. The statement will be a guiding tool for the BRICS Working Group on Energy Saving and Energy Efficiency.
•    The BRICS energy Ministers signed a Memorandum of Mutual Understanding in Energy Saving and Energy Efficiency during the meeting of the BRICS Ministers of Energy held on 20 November 2015 in Moscow.
•    By signing the Memorandum, they agreed to pursue their energy cooperation through joint research and technology projects, technology transfer, and conferences and so on.
•    The Ministers also decided to create a Working Group on Energy Saving and Energy Efficiency to coordinate their cooperation.

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The Union Cabinet chaired by the Prime Minister Narendra Modi has approved the National Mineral Exploration Policy

The Union Cabinet chaired by the Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi has approved the National Mineral Exploration Policy (NMEP). 
The NMEP primarily aims at accelerating the exploration activity in the country through enhanced participation of the private sector. There is a need for comprehensive mineral exploration of the country to uncover its full mineral potential so as to put the nation's mineral resources (non-fuel and non-coal) to best use and thereby maximize sectoral contribution to the Indian economy. 
The policy emphasizes on making available baseline geoscientific data of world standards in the public domain, quality research in a public-private partnership, special initiatives for search of deep-seated and concealed deposits, quick aerogeophysical surveys of the country, and creation of a dedicated geoscience database etc. 
i. The Ministry of Mines will carry out auctioning of identified exploration blocks for exploration by private sector on revenue sharing basis in case their exploration leads to auctionable resources. The revenue will be borne by the successful bidder of those auctionable blocks. 
ii. If the explorer agencies do not discover any auctionable resources, their exploration expenditure will be reimbursed on normative cost basis. 
iii. Creation of baseline geoscientific data as a public good for open dissemination free of charge. 
iv. Government will carry out a National Aerogeophysical Program for acquiring state-of-the-art baseline data for targeting concealed mineral deposits. 
v. A National Geoscientific Data Repository is proposed to be set up to collate all baseline and mineral exploration information generated by various central & state government agencies and also mineral concession holders and to maintain these on geospatial database. 
vi. Government proposes to establish a not-for-profit autonomous institution that will be known as the National Centre for Mineral Targeting (NCMT) in collaboration with scientific and research bodies, universities and industry for scientific and technological research to address the mineral exploration challenges in the country. 
vii. Provisions for inviting private investment in exploration through attractive revenue sharing models. 
viii.    On the lines of UNCOVER project of Australia, the government intends to launch a special initiative to probe deep-seated/ concealed minerals deposits in the country in collaboration with National Geophysical Research Institute and the proposed NCMT and Geoscience Australia. 
In order to implement the recommendations of the NMEP, initially an amount of about Rs.2116 crore over 5 years would be required over and above the annual plan budget of the Geological Survey of India under the Ministry of Mines. The NMEP will benefit the entire mineral sector across the country. 
1) The pre-competitive baseline geoscientific data will be created as a public good and will be fully available for open dissemination free of charge. This is expected to benefit public and private exploration agencies. 
2) The collaboration with scientific and research bodies, universities and industry for the scientific and technological development necessary for exploration in public- private partnership. 
3) Government will launch a special initiative to probe deep-seated/concealed mineral deposits in the country. Characterizing India's geological cover, investigating India's lithospheric architecture, resolving 4D geodynamic and metallogenic evolution, and detecting and characterizing the distal footprints of ore deposits, would be the main components of this initiative. 
4) A National Aerogeophysical Mapping program will be launched to map the entire country with low altitude and close space flight to delineate the deep-seated and concealed mineral deposits. 
5) Government will engage private agencies for carrying out exploration in identified blocks / areas with the right to certain share in the revenue accruing to the State government through auction. 
6) Public expenditure on regional and detailed exploration will be prioritized and subject to periodical review based on assessment of criticality and strategic interests.

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The Union Rural Development Ministry and ISRO, Department of Space have signed a Memorandum of Understanding

A Memorandum of Understanding was signed here between the Rural Development Ministry and ISRO, Department of Space for geo-tagging the assets created under MGNREGA in each gram panchayat. 
•    The move comes after the Prime Minister during a review meeting recently had underlined for online recording and monitoring of assets to check leakages and for effective mapping of terrain for future developmental works. 
•    Around 30 lakh assets are created annually across the country under the rural job scheme and the Ministry has decided that through convergence with other schemes, the geo-tagging of such assets will be done on a mission mode. 
•    Speaking on the occasion, Secretary, Rural Development, Shri J.S.Mathur said that through Bhuvan Mobile Platform, completed asset will be Geo-tagged along with photograph by Gram Rozgar Sahayak or Junior engineer. 
•    Application of technology for rural development will go a great way in planning and execution of projects in a transparent manner. 
•    Space technology is increasingly being used up to the grassroots level for not only visualisation of the assets but also for terrain mapping to undertake other developmental works like watershed and drought-proofing measures.

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