1. Gender gap reducing: Big boost to ‘Beti Bachao Beti Padhao’
India has registered a significant decline in Infant Mortality Rate (IMR). According to the just released SRS bulletin, IMR of India has declined by three points (8% decline), from 37 per 1000 live births in 2015 to 34 per 1000 live births in 2016, compared to two points decline last year. Not only this, India also recorded a major drop in birth cohort, which has for the first time come down to below 25 million. India has registered 90000 fewer infant deaths in 2016 as compared to 2015. The total number of estimated infant deaths have come down from 930000 (9.3 Lakhs) in 2015 to 840000 (8.4 lakhs) in 2016.
2. Electric Vehicles to be procured in 2 phases; first 500 cars to be on road by November 2017
Energy Efficiency Services Limited (EESL), under the administration of Ministry of Power, Government of India (GoI), will procure 10,000 electric vehicles from Tata Motors Limited. The company was selected through an international competitive bidding aimed at increased participation. Tata Motors won the tender and will now supply the Electric Vehicles (EVs) in two phases – first 500 e-cars will be supplied to EESL in November 2017 and the rest 9,500 EVs will be delivered in the second phase.
The tender floated by EESL is the world’s largest single electric vehicle procurement. Three leading manufacturers – Tata Motors Limited, Mahindra & Mahindra (M&M) and Nissan participated in the tender and the bids for TATA Motors Limited and Mahindra and Mahindra (M&M) were opened.
3. Bombardier inks $1.7 bn deal with SpiceJet for 50 jets
Canadian aircraft maker Bombardier today signed a pact with budget carrier SpiceJet for sale of up to 50 turboprop jets valued at USD 1.7 billion. Upon delivery, the airline will become the first in the world to operate a 90-seat turboprop, pending certification by regulatory authorities, Bombardier said in a release. Owned by serial entrepreneur Ajay Singh, SpiceJet had in June this year announced plans to purchase up to 50 Bombardier Q400s worth USD 1.7 billion.
4. India hikes natural gas price for first time in 3 years
India has raised the price of natural gas to $2.89 per mmBtu for October-March 2017-18, making it the first hike in three years after seven straight cuts in the price of the gas produced at the domestic fields, including the KG-D6 field of Reliance Industries, and the fields of Oil and Natural Gas Corp and Oil India Ltd. Earlier, the price of the natural gas produced at the domestic fields in the preceding six-month period to September was cut to $2.48 per million metric British thermal units, defying the expectations of a higher price.
The government has also sharply raised the cap on premium price to $6.3 per mmBtu from $5.56 per mmBtu for the natural gas produced from difficult fields, it said in a notification. The rise is ostensibly in line with the rising benchmark reference rates in major global markets.
5. Karnataka govt launches subsidised religious tourism scheme
The Karnataka government on Wednesday launched 'Puneeta Yatre', to provide subsidised tour packages for promoting religious tourism in the state. "The tour packages will cater to pilgrims of all religions at 25% subsidy over actual fare," Tourism Minister Priyank Kharge said. The scheme offers several tour packages ranging from a day to seven nights trip, including transport and accommodation.
6. Village gets electricity, bus after 70 years of Independence
Amdeli village in Maharashtra, which has a population of 200 people, has been provided with electricity and bus service after 70 years of Independence. District guardian minister Raje Ambrishrao Atram made a provision of ?45 lakh fund in the District Planning Council to get these facilities. A bridge was also constructed in the village to facilitate the bus service.
7. Railways to work with ISRO for rail safety
Indian Railways is working with the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) to devise safety mechanisms to make travel by trains safer. Goyal added that the Railways and RailTel were exploring the use of space technology for safety in railways. This comes after a string of train derailment incidents.
8. INS Viraat may be parked near Mumbai, have a museum, host events
The state government has changed its plans for INS Viraat, the aircraft carrier the Indian Navy decommissioned earlier this year. It now wants a part of it to be converted in to a naval museum that will be located at Vasai creek near Mumbai and use the rest of the warship for events. The state has sent a letter to the defence ministry for permission to implement decision. The state tourism department is working on the idea to turn this plan in to a reality. The state is also planning to promote e-vehicles at the tourist destinations in the state.
As per the old plans, the Maharashtra Tourism Development Corporation (MTDC), wanted to tow the warship to Konkan coast and sink it and turn it into an underwater destination. All over the world, ‘wreck diving’ is a major attraction for scuba divers.
9. Maharashtra gets new system to handle all processes
An integrated university management system (IUMS) to handle administration, admissions, exams, online assessment, affilitations and digital results in the Mumbai university (MU) – this is the Maharashtra government’s solution to avoid paper correction goof-ups like this year.The MU adopted an online system -- on-screen marking system (OMS) – for the first time this year. Lack of preparation and infrastructure led to a delay in assessment and consequently the announcement of results. The university is yet to declare the results of more than 9,000 students.
According to sources, the state directorate of information technology (DIT) is in the process of finalising the system, which will handle the functioning and provide end-to-end solutions to 14 public universities in the state. It will also help the state to monitor the functioning of the universities with the help of a back-end system.
10. Congress veteran Makhan Lal Fotedar dies at 85
Makhan Lal Fotedar, a veteran Congress leader who was a close confidante of former Prime Ministers Indira Gandhi and Rajiv Gandhi, died on Thursday. He died at a hospital in Gurugram on the outskirts of Delhi. Hailing from Kashmir, Fotedar was ushered into politics by Jawaharlal Nehru in early 1950s and he gradually strengthened his position in the Congress to become one of the most powerful persons in the party.
He enjoyed immense trust of Indira Gandhi who had made him her political secretary in 1980. After her death, Rajiv Gandhi also made him his political secretary for three years, before inducting him in his Cabinet as a minister.
11. BHU appoints its first woman chief proctor
Under the scanner for an unsafe atmosphere for women on the campus, the Banaras Hindu University appointed a woman as its chief proctor.
Professor Royana Singh, who will hold the post, is a professor in the Anatomy Department of the Institute of Medical Sciences. he takes charge after O.N Singh resigned from the post late on Tuesday, taking “moral responsibility” for the lathi charge on students who were protesting against the victim-blaming of a colleague who was molested on the campus.