- Railway projects hanging fire in state
- The railways’ ambitious move to execute the pending projects on a cost-sharing basis with the states is yet to bear desired results in many states, including Bihar where certain projects are hanging fire because of resource crunch.
- According to a Railway Board official, Jharkhand and Karnataka have positively responded to the railways’ initiative. While the Jharkhand government has agreed to share 50% of the estimated cost of the railway projects, Karnataka is spending about Rs 2,500 crore on the railway projects, he said and added Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu and Kerala governments were also funding the railway projects in their states.
- The Bihar government is sharing with the railways the cost of building road over bridges at different places in the state. The state government has also agreed in principle to help the railways develop the infrastructure for the fast corridor project between Patna and New Delhi.
· UNESCO may drop the Mesoamerican Reef, Belize from threatened sites list
- The Mesoamerican Reefwas marked as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1960. It was placed on endangered status in 2009 because of Belize’s plans to allow oil exploration.
- To protect the site a number of measures were taken by the Belizean government and the activists.
- Now, UN body is considering to remove the reef from the UNESCO’s list of threatened World Heritage sites.
· India gifts aircraft, Do-228, to Seychelles
- India gifted a Dornier maritime patrol aircraft, Do-228 to Seychelles as an act of India’s firm commitment and cooperation towards Seychelles.
- The Dornier is equipped with a 360-degree surveillance radar, a forward-looking Infra-red system, satellite communication, a traffic collision, and avoidance system and an enhanced ground proximity warning system, among others. It can be used for EEZ monitoring, Maritime surveillance, Pollution monitoring and control, search and rescue and commuter services.
- This is the second Dornier aircraft to be gifted by India to Seychelles. The first onewas given in January 2013.
- PM Narendra Modi has also announced a $100 million credit for Seychelles to buy military hardware from India.
· USTR delegations meet Indian officials to settle trade issues
- Indian Commerce Ministry official at the joint secretary level is meeting with United States Trade Representative (USTR) including Assistant Trade Representative Mark Linscott to discuss ways forward to resolve the escalating trade issues between the U.S. and India.
- India’s notified tariffs on U.S. imports and duties on medical devicesare the key issues discussed in this meeting.
· Nine EU member states agreed to establish a joint military force
- Ministers from France, Germany, Belgium, Britain, Denmark, the Netherlands, Estonia, Spain and Portugal signed a letter of intent in Luxembourg, to establish a joint European military intervention force.
- The campaign to establish an autonomous European defence force was spearheaded by French President Emmanuel Macron.
· External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj launched the mPassport Seva mobile application
- To help deliver passports to applicants at their residence, External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj launched the “mPassport Seva” mobile application on the occasion of ‘Passport Seva Divas’.
- She also scrapped the marriage certificate’s compulsion, required for obtaining passports.
- In total, there are 260 working passport centres, which will be expanded to all Lok Sabha constituencies in the near future.
- AIIB to invest $100 mn for India’s development projects
- The Beijing-based Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) has announced an equity investment of $100 million in India`s National Investment & Infrastructure Fund (NIIF) to help various development projects in this country.
- The NIIF is a collaborative investment platform for international and domestic investors keen on investing in commercially viable Indian infrastructure projects.
- Sushma Swaraj Introduces Passport Seva App
- External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj launched a Passport Seva app for seamless application and issue of passports.
- Ms Swaraj said that in total, there are 260 working passport centres, which will be expanded to all Lok Sabha constituencies in the near future.
- Pallavi Darua crowned as India’s first ‘Tribal Queen’
- Pallavi Durua, who belongs to Odisha’s Koraput district, was crowned as the first Tribal Queen at the Adi Rani Kalinga Tribal Queen competition held at Utkal Mandap.
- Panchami Majhi of Titlagarh and Rashmirekha Hansdah of Mayurbhanj were declared as the first and second runners-up of the beauty pageant respectively.
- The prime objective of the event was to promote tribal art and culture.
· OIL India has made its second hydrocarbons discovery in KG basin
- Oil India Limited (OIL) discovered second hydrocarbons in the onland KG Basin NELP VI Block KG-ONN-2004/1.
- The first high pressure-high temperature (HP-HT) well was built at Thanelanka-1 by OIL. On testing, the HP-HT zone in the depth range 4,912 – 5,159m in Golapalli Formation produced gas at 300 scmd through 16/64” bean choke.
- In 2017-2018, OIL India produced 3.3- metric million tonnes (MMT) of crude oil and 2.93 billion cubic meters (BCM) of gas.
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