- NTPC to boost production
- In a bid to improve the power scenario, the State-run National Thermal Power Corporation (NTPC) is all set to generate 250 MW more power with the commissioning of its third unit.
- With the existing capacity of 500 MW from two units, a total of 750 MW power generation will be available from February.
- The additional power generation is likely to meet the perennial power crisis of the State.
- It may be mentioned here that the foundation stone of this plant was laid by the then Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh in January 2006. The first unit of NTPC Bongaigaon was commissioned during 2015, the second one in 2017, while the third unit is to be commissioned in February 2019.
· China’s navigation satellite system BeiDou starts providing global service
- China’s BeiDou Navigation Satellite System (BDS) has started offering global service. It is touted as a rival to America’s Global Positioning System (GPS). Pakistan has become the first foreign nation to use the BeiDou system ending its reliance on GPS.
- China has named its navigation satellite system after the Chinese term which means ‘Big Dipper’. BeiDou-1 consisted of three satellites and was offering navigation services mainly in China and neighbouring regions. It was decommissioned in 2012.
The Indian Regional Navigation Satellite System (IRNSS) named NAVIC is a regional satellite navigation system that provides accurate real-time positioning and timing services covering India and a region extending 1,500 km around it.
- Pakistan Cabinet approved to issue ‘Panda bond’ in Chinese currency
The federal cabinet approved the issuance of Pakistan’s first renminbi-denominated bonds to raise loans from Chinese capital markets, as the country gradually moves towards giving the Chinese currency a status at par with that enjoyed by the US dollar.
The interest rate may range above 5.5% but the final price can only be determined at the time of launching the bond.
The Philippines has also raised RMB1.46 billion through renminbi-denominated bonds at an interest rate of 4.75%.
In the Long-term Plan of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (2017-30) both countries had decided to use renminbi as the second international currency to lessen Pakistan’s reliance on dollar.
- Cabinet approves Indian Human Spaceflight programme
Union Cabinet has approved the Gaganyaan Programme with a demonstration of Indian Human Spaceflight capability to low earth orbit for a mission duration ranging from one orbital period to a maximum of seven days.
A human-rated GSLV Mk-lll will be used to carry the orbital module which will have necessary provisions for sustaining a 3-member crew for the duration of the mission.
· Government bans Khalistan Liberation Force
- The government has banned Khalistan Liberation Force (KLF) under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA) for its involvement in several killing bombings and other terror activities during its violent campaign for the secession of Punjab.
- KLF will be the 40th organisation to be proscribed under the UAPA Law.
The Khalistan Liberation Force came into existence in 1986 with the objective of establishing an independent Khalistan by the secession of Punjab from India.
Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA) aims at effective prevention of unlawful activities associations in India, provides unrestricted powers to law enforcement agencies for dealing with activities directed against the integrity and sovereignty of India.
- Cabinet approved the draft National Commission for Indian System of Medicine Bill
- The Union Cabinet approved the draft National Commission for Indian System of Medicine Bill, 2018. The NCIM will promote the availability of affordable healthcare services in all parts of the country.
- The draft Bill will enable the constitution of a National Commission with four autonomous boards for the purpose of conducting overall education in Ayurveda, Unani, Siddha, and Sowarigpa. There are two common boards, namely the board of assessment and rating to assess and grant permission to educational institutions of Indian systems of medicine, and board of ethics and registration of practitioners of Indian systems of medicine to maintain a National Register and ethical issues relating to practice under the National Commission for Indian Medicine.
- The Bill proposes an entrance and an exit exam that all graduates need to clear to get practising licenses. This is to assess the standard of teachers before appointment and promotions.
· Cabinet approved relaxation for activities falling in CRZ
- The Union Cabinet approved relaxation in various norms including the clearance of projects or activities falling in the Coastal Regulation Zone (CRZ), allowing for greater use of coastal areas for tourism and industrial growth. This will enable redevelopment of these areas to meet the emerging needs.
- The move for 2018 Notification comes after a series of representations received by the Ministry of Environment, Forest & Climate Change from various Coastal States/UTs for a comprehensive review of the provisions of the CRZ Notification, 2011, particularly related to the management and conservation of marine and coastal ecosystems, development in coastal areas, eco-tourism, livelihood option and sustainable development of coastal communities etc.
- The recommendations were further examined in consultation with Members of Parliament of Coastal States and Union Territories besides other concerned Ministries of Government of India. A draft notification was issued in April 2018 for inviting comments from the public at large.
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