1) National Research Development Corporation (NRDC) an enterprise under the Department of Scientific & Industrial Research, Ministry of Science & Technology, Govt. of India and Reliance Industries executed an agreement for commercialization of “A Novel Superabsorbent Hydrogels” technology.
Hydrogel has extensive use in Agriculture. Hydrogel absorbs a minimum of 350 times its weight of pure water at 500C. It exhibits absorbency at high temperatures suitable for semi-arid and arid regions. Besides, low rate of application it also improves physical properties of soil such as porosity, aggregate stability and hydraulic conductivity.
· Less affected by the presence of salts in its immediate environment
· Improves physical properties of soils and the soil less media
· Improves seed germination and the rate of seedling emergence
· Improves root growth and density
· Helps plants withstand prolonged moisture stress
· Reduces nursery establishment period
· Reduces irrigation and fertilization requirements of crops with improved input use efficiency
2) Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said that the role of IT sector, be it hardware or software, is crucial in order to promote e-governance for empowering citizens. The role of this sector is also important in promoting the inclusive and sustainable growth of the electronics, IT and ITeS industries and enhancing India’s role in internet governance.
3) On 25th January, which is celebrated as National Voters’ Day, the Election Commission of India will launch nationwide Electronic Roll Management System (ERMS), which will provide country wide voters list and enable voters to see their details.
4) The Minister of State for Commerce & Industry (Independent Charge), Smt. Nirmala Sitharaman has appreciated the good work of World Trade Organization (WTO) in stemming protectionism and urged it to be more responsive to the needs of developing and least-developed countries.
The Minister highlighted that few developing countries have improved their share of global trade. Least Developed Countries (LDCs), according to her only accounted for 1% of global trade. She felt that in order to sustain growth, job creation and inclusive development must be emphasised. Development encompasses other things besides trade including the burden to feed over 32 per cent of India’s poor who live under abject poverty – a concern that the WTO recognised. The Minister urged the members of the WTO to show the same urgency on food stockholding as the Trade Facilitation Agreement (TFA) under the Bali Package.
5) Japan Bank for International Cooperation (JBIC) conducted a survey of 1000 companies for Japanese manufacturing sector. Based on this research, India has been ranked as the No.1 destination for future investments followed by Indonesia (ranked No.2) and China (ranked No.3).
The Government has set up Japan Plus, a special management team, to facilitate Japanese investors and to help develop Japanese Integrated Industrial Parks.
6) Ministry of Social Justice & Empowerment launched a ‘Venture Capital Fund for Scheduled Castes’ with initial capital of Rs. 200 crore. IFCI Ltd. will act as Sponsor, Settler and Asset Management Company / Nodal Agency to operate the scheme. The IFCI Ltd. would contribute Rs.50 crore which would comprise Rs.5.00 crore as sponsor and Rs. 45 crore as investor.
The objectives of the Venture Fund are as follows:
• It is a Social Sector Initiative to be implemented nationally in order to promote entrepreneurship amongst the SCs who are oriented towards innovation and growth technologies.
• To provide concessional finance to the SC entrepreneurs, who will create wealth and value for society and at the same time will promote profitable businesses. The assets so created will also create forward/ backward linkage. It will further create chain effect in the locality.
• To increase financial inclusion for SC entrepreneurs and to motivate them for further growth of SC communities.
• To develop SC entrepreneurs economically.
• To enhance direct and indirect employment generation for SC population in India
7) National Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes Finance and Development Corporation (NSFDC), an institution under Ministry of Social Justice & Empowerment, has launched ‘Green Business Scheme’ for providing financial assistance has been launched keeping into the concern for the climate change.
Under this Scheme, loan for unit cost upto Rs.1 lakh at concessional rate of interest will be provided to Scheduled Castes for activities such as e-rickshaw, Solar Pump and Solar energy powered implements, poly house etc.
8) The Programme Evaluation Organization (PEO) in the NITI Ayog and the National Institute for Labour Economics Research and Development (NILRD, earlier known as Institute of Applied Manpower Research), an autonomous organization under NITI Ayog, are jointly organizing EvalWeek, a five-day event (19 – 23 January 2015) featuring consultations on strategies to spread awareness about policies and programmes of sustainable development and good governance.
Organisations in the News:
1) Petroleum Planning and Analysis Cell (PPAC) functions under the Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas.
2) Garden Reach Shipbuilders and Engineers Ltd is located at Kolkata.
3) NABARD stands for National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development.
4) Tribal Food Festival – 2015 was held in New Delhi.
People in the News:
1) H.S. Brahma is the next Chief Election Commissioner.
2) A S Kiran Kumar takes over as Secretary, Department of Space, Chairman, Space Commission and Chairman, ISRO.
3) Bhakti Sharma created a world record by swimming 1.4 miles in 52 minutes in the Antarctic Ocean.