- 41 years on, Konar irrigation project is ready for inauguration
- The much-delayed Konar irrigation project, foundation of which was laid in 1978 with estimated cost of Rs 11.43 crore, will finally be inaugurated after 41 years when its estimated cost rose to Rs 2,176.25 crore.
- The irrigation project meant to rejuvenate over 62,955 hectare farmland of three districts – Hazaribag, Bokaro and Giridih covering 85 villages – was mooted in early 70s by the then Bihar government.
- The idea was to use the water from Konar dam, built by Damodar Valley Corporation (DVC) in Hazaribag and inaugurated by India’s first prime minister Jawaharlal Nehru in 1955, for irrigation purpose. Then Bihar governor Jagannath Kaushal had laid the foundation of the irrigation project in September 1978. The cost of the project was then estimated at Rs 11.43 crore.
- However, the project hanged in balance since 1980 after the death of five labourers during construction of tunnel
- The project was further delayed due to various reasons such as shortage of funds, problems in land acquisition, forest clearance and others. After creation of Jharkhand in November 2000, the project got breather again.
- As per the price index of 2017, the cost of the project was revised to Rs 2,176.25 crore and Rs 477.19 crore has already been spent by July 2019
- Russian humanoid robot Fedor arrives at International Space Station
- An unmanned spacecraft carrying Russia’s first humanoid robot Fedor be sent into orbit successfully docked at the International Space Station.
- Fedor can be operated manually by ISS astronauts wearing robotic exoskeleton suits.
- Fedor stands 180 cm tall and weighs 160 kg.
- The name Fedor was an acronym standing for Final Experimental Demonstration Object Research.
- The robot will enable Russian astronauts to perform risky space experiments from a remote location.
- Total horticulture production estimated to be over 313 million tonnes this year
- Department of Agriculture, Cooperation and Farmers Welfare released the Third Advanced Estimate (2018-19) of area and production of various Horticulture Crops.
- The total horticulture production of the country is estimated to be over 313 million tonnes which is 0.69 per cent higher than the production in 2017-18.
- The overall increase is observed in the production of fruits, vegetables, spices, flowers and honey whereas decrease is observed in the production of plantation and aromatics and medicinal crops as compared to last year.
· Cabinet approved Sugar export policy to sugar mills
- The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA)approved to provide 10,448 per metric tonne (MT) as an export subsidy tosugar mills for the sugar season 2019-20. The entire estimated expenditure of Rs.6,268 crore will be utilized for the export subsidy. It will be used to promote prices as well as handling, upgrading, and different process prices, prices of international and internal transport and freight charges on export of up to 60lakh metric ton (LMT) of sugar restricted to most admissible Export amount (MAEQ) that is allotted to sugar mills for the sugar season 2019-20.
· Centre to set up 12,500 Ayush centres across India
ð The Central government has set a target of setting up 12,500 Ayush centres across India. The announcement was made by Prime Minister Narendra Modi at the Yoga Award Ceremony held in New Delhi. He also said that the Centre will open 1.5 lakh health, wellness centres. The prime minister also pitched for linking technology with tradition in the practise of Ayush medicine.
ð In its first, 4000 Ayush centres will be set up in 2019. Government is also making efforts to bring in more professionals in the field of Ayush and necessary steps are being taken to that effect. Centre also plans to create a homogenous system by creating an Ayush grid on the lines of one nation, one tax, and one nation, one mobility card.
· Government announced four major bank mergers
ð The government announced that the four major bank mergers. The merger of 10 public sector banks to be merged into fourwas announced by Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman.
ð After the merger, there will now be 12 public sector banksafter the latest round of consolidation of PSU banks. In 2017, there were 27 public sector banks. After the amalgamation, the consolidation of public sector banks will be giving the scale.
Banks to be merged:
ð Under the scheme of amalgamation,
1) Indian Bank will be merged with Allahabad Bank. In this merger, anchor bank will be the Indian Bank
2) Punjab National Bank (PNB), Oriental Bank of Commerce (OBC) and United Bank will be merged and PNB will be the anchor bank
3) Union Bank of India, Andhra Bank, and Corporation Bank are to be merged and the anchor bank will be Union Bank of India
4) Canara Bank and Syndicate Bank will be merged. Canara Bank will be the anchor bank
The first merger with PNB will create a banking total business of Rs.17.9 lakh crore. After this merging, PNB entity will have 11,437 branches.
In the second merger, Canara Bank will create the fourth-largest public sector lender with total business size of Rs.15.2 lakh crore and 9,609 branches.
· Health Ministry explores AI in combating TB
- The Central TB (Tuberculosis) Division of the Ministry of Health & Family Welfare has signed an MoU with Wadhwani Institute for Artificial Intelligence, Mumbai. It aims to explore the appliance of the newest computing technology in its fight against TB.
- As per the agreement, Wadhwani AI will support National TB programmeby making it AI-ready which would include, developing, piloting, and deploying AI-based solutions.
- It would support the programme in vulnerability and hot-spot mapping, modelling novel methods of screening and diagnostics
- It will also enable decision support for care-givers apart from supporting the Revised National Tuberculosis Control Program (RNTCP)in the adoption of other AI technologies.
- The World Health Organization (WHO)estimated that India is close to 27 lakh TB cases per year and 23 lakh cases die. The microorganism that causes TB affects the lungs and has severe coughs or sneezes.
· DAY NULM bagged SKOCH Governance Gold Award for the year 2019
- Deendayan Antyodaya Yojana-National Urban Livelihoods Mission (DAY-NULM), a flagship mission under the Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs conferred the prestigious SKOCH Governance Gold Award for its Portal for Affordable Credit and Interest Subvention Access (PAiSA)in a function held at the Constitution Club of India.