- APDCL set to earn profit for first time
- The Assam Power Distribution Company Ltd (APDCL), which is in the news for its loss-making tradition since its inception, has now been able to overcome the jinx and is heading towards earning a profit for the first time in its 14-year-long existence. Till March 31, 2017, the accumulated loss of the public sector power utility was Rs 2,974.92 crore as was evident from the audited figures of its economic performance during the 2016-17 financial year.
- The APDCL has also been able to improve its position in the Integrated Credit Rating Agency (ICRA) ratings. It has now got its position elevated to the 22nd among the 41 public and private distribution companies (Discoms) of the country. In 2015-16, it was 29th in the ICRA rating. This rating is important for the power companies in securing government or private financial institutions’ support.
- A work culture imbibed among the field officials of the power utility through the initiatives taken by the present ASEB chairman, the Ujwal DISCOM Assurance Yojana (UDAY) grants from the Union government and significant reduction of the aggregate transmission and commercial (AT&C) loss have played major roles in improving the finance of the power utility during the last financial year.
- The power utility has so far been incurring loss mainly because of high establishment cost, high power purchase cost, the phenomenal hike in the electric power transmission under the direction of the Assam Electricity Regulatory Commission (AERC). It needs mention here that earlier the total annual power transmission charge of the APDCL was confined to Rs 534.76 crore, but in 2017-18 it rose to Rs 1,207.09 crore.
- India extends $200 million credit lines to Rwanda
- India has extended $200 million lines of credit to Rwanda as Prime Minister Narendra Modi held wide-ranging talks with President Paul Kagame and discussed measures to strengthen cooperation in trade and agriculture sector.
- After the one-on-one talks with president Kagame, Modi announced that India will soon open its mission in Rwanda.
- The two countries signed agreements on leather and allied areas and agricultural research.
- MoU with UK for Improving Public Transport System
- The Government has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with United Kingdom for seeking help in improving overall public transport system in the country.
- The MoU has been signed between the Ministry of Road Transport & Highways and Transport for London (TFL), a statutory body established under the Greater London Authority Act, 1999 (UK) to improve public transport in India.
- The MoU would help mainly in sharing of information and areas of cooperation like improving the public transport system with an augmentation of passenger capacity, passenger services, data analysis, induction of electric vehicles, introduction of technology, ticketing and the provision of passenger information.
· Tokyo introduced mascots for 2020 Olympic Games
- TheTokyo 2020Olympic Organising Committee launched the official Olympic Game mascot named ‘Miraitowa‘ and Paralympic Game mascot christened ‘Someity‘.
- A big-eyed, blue-checked character “Miraitowa” name was a combination of the Japanese words for future and eternity, expressing “hope for a bright future stretching off forever.”
- The pink, pointy-eared “Someity” name comes from the word for Japan’s iconic cherry blossoms and also sounds a bit like the English words “so mighty”.
- The next Olympic Games will be held in Tokyo between July 24 and August 9, 2020 and Paralympic Games from August 25 to September 6, 2020.
· Japan passed law to legalise casino gambling
- Japan’s parliament has passed the Integrated Resort(IR) bill which will lead to the opening of the country’s first legal casino. As per the bill, the casinos will be restricted to three locations in the initial phase.
- Amid concerns about gambling addiction, the law limits Japanese citizens to three casino visits per week and 10 per month, and charged admission of 6000 yen($53.4) per day.
· Iran becomes India’s second largest oil supplier
- Iran has overtaken Saudi Arabia to be the second largest supplier of crude oil to Indian public sector firms during April-June quarter. Iraq remains India’s No:1 supplier of crude.
- State firms that buy oil from Iran include Mangalore Refinery and Petrochemicals Ltd (MRPL), Indian Oil Corp (IOC) and Hindustan Petroleum Corp Ltd (HPCL).
- New Delhi shipped in 27 million tonnes of oil from Iraq, while shipments from Saudi Arabia totalled 5.22 million tonnes.
· Pakistan appointed its first woman high court chief justice
- Justice Tahira Safdar(61 years old) was named as the Chief Justice of the Balochistan High Court by Chief Justice Mian Saqib Nisar. She replacing Mohammad Noor Muskanzai.
- She made history in 1982 when she became the first woman civil judgein Balochistan.
· India has become a popular hub of medical tourism
- India has become a popular hub of medical tourism, attracting a large number of foreign patients every year. The reason behind such happening is a rare combination of advanced facilities, skilled doctors, and low cost of treatment.
- India currently has around 18%of the global medical tourism market. It has been estimated that by 2020, it could be worth $9 billion, and account for 20% of the global market share.
- Government set up high level committee to check mob lynching
- Government is concerned at the incidents of violence by mobs in some parts of the country.
- Government has set up a high level committee chaired by the Union Home Secretary Rajiv Gauba to deliberate in the matter and make recommendations.
- The Secretary, Department of Justice, Secretary, Department of Legal Affairs, Secretary, Legislative Department and Secretary, Social Justice and Empowerment are the members of the committee.
- The committee will submit its recommendations to the Government within four weeks.
· Women and Child Development Ministry to move proposal to amend POCSO Act
- Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act, 2012 – for enhancing punishment in cases of sexual assault against young boys, will be sent to the Cabinet in two-three days by Women and Child Development (WCD) Ministry.
- As per this Act, death penaltywill be awarded to those convicted of raping children below 12 years.
· Govt reduced minimum yearly deposit for Sukanya Samriddhi account
- The government has slashed the minimum annual deposit requirement for accounts under the Sukanya Samriddhi Yojana (SSY) to Rs 250 from Rs 1,000. The maximum amount that can be deposited in a year isRs 1.5 lakh.
- Sukanya Samriddhi scheme was launched in January 2015, under which a parent or legal guardian can open an account in the name of the girl child until she attains the age of ten years.
- The account opened under the scheme will be valid for 21 years from the date of opening, after which it will mature and the money will be paid to the girl child in whose name the account is opened.
· Mumbai to get ‘skyscraper bridge’ connecting Worli to Sewri
- This is the first bridge in Mumbai to be built at a height of 32m (the height of a 10-storey building) and at 4.5-km-long. This bridge costs around ₹1,500 crore and aims to connect the Bandra-Worli sea link to the Mumbai trans-harbour line at Sewri.
- Five agencies- the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC), MMRDA, Maharashtra Housing and Area Development Authority, Mumbai Port Trust and Slum Rehabilitation Authority- will be involved in planning and execution. The aim is to complete it by mid-2022.
· Lok Sabha passed NCTE (Amendment) Bill
- The Lok Sabha passedthe National Council for Teacher Education (Amendment) Bill to post-facto approval to Central/State institutions that are conducting teacher education courses without NCTE approval.
- HRD Minister Prakash Javadekar said that it has been done as a one-time measure to ensure the benefit of the students who have appeared for B.Ed, M.Ed and various other exams in institutes that are not recognised. He also said that there are also plans to start an integrated four-year B.A.-B.Ed, B.Sc.-B.Ed and B.Com-B.Ed courses to benefit the students.
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