- Govt scraps sick units policy
- The state Cabinet has finally scrapped the revival of sick Medium, Small and Micro Enterprises (MSME) units policy 2017, floated by the previous Congress government at the fag end of its tenure.
- Since this policy was specially formulated to benefit steel units, which have incurred losses worth crores, it was slated to dent the state exchequer by several crores at a time when unhealthy financial position was making going tough for the state government.
- Significantly, the Congress government’s policy was approved by the state Cabinet on October 4 and notified on October 9. One wonders the urgency of floating such a policy when the poll code was slated to be announced within days.
- The steel units, which were supposed to benefit, figured in the negative list due to their high pollution index. This notified policy was applicable till December 31, 2018.
- With little employment opportunities for the youth, these steel units not only consumed a large quantity of power but pending liability worth crores had piled up before various financial institutions and the Electricity Department. Officials in the Electricity Department confirmed that at least four to six sick steel units had a pending liability of about Rs 16 crore to 18 crore in the Baddi industrial area alone.
- With the union government having declined to announce any financial incentive and the Chief Minister himself stating that such a package was not expected, it remains to be seen how the sick unit would get some succor as fresh investment had been reduced to a trickle.
· SpaceX Launches Its Most Powerful Rocket Towards Mars
- The US-based SpaceXsuccessfully launched the world’s most powerful operational rocket Falcon Heavy towards Mars.
- The rocket, carrying a Tesla Roadster car, will revolve around the Sun in a way that will repeatedly bring it close to the Earth and Mars.
- The Falcon Heavy’s thrust and capacity are the highest since NASA’s Saturn V, which carried astronauts to the Moon.
- Falcon Heavy successfully lifted off from Launch Complex 39A at Kennedy Space Center in Florida.
- India-UAE to ink 12 pacts during PM Modi’s visit
- As many as 12 agreements will be signed during Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to the UAE later this week as India and the oil-rich Gulf nation look to intensify economic cooperation.
- The agreements will include areas like finance and skills development.
- Modi will start his visit to three West Asian countries – Palestine, the UAE and Oman – on February 9 with focus on cooperation in key areas of defence, security and counter- terrorism.
- The Prime Minister will participate in the 6th World Government Summit in Dubai on February 10-11 in which India is a partner country.
- This will be PM Modi’s second visit to the UAE. He first visited the country in August 2015.
· Google launches #SecurityCheckKiya campaign
- Search engine giant Google launched ‘#SecurityCheckKiya’ campaign in India to create awareness around Internet safety. It was launched on the ocean.
- The campaign aims to protect first-time web users from account hijacking, safeguard Android devices from malicious apps and secure all their personal time.
- Under the campaign, Google recommended three simple steps for Internet safety. It includes reviewing security settings and Google account activity.
- Moreover ‘Google Play Protect’ service scans and checks Android devices for any harmful apps. Find My Device app from Google helps a user to easily long away.
- 60 Solar Cities to be developed across country
- The Ministry of New and Renewable Energy under its scheme “Development of Solar Cities” has approved/sanctioned 60 Cities including 13 Pilot and 5 Model Cities up to 12th Five-year Plan period.
- In a written reply to a question in the Rajya Sabha, Minister of State (IC) for Power & New and Renewable Energy, Shri R K Singh informed that the master plans of 49 Solar Cities have been prepared.
- The Stake-holders Committees have been constituted in 21 Cities and Solar City Cells have been created in 37 Solar Cities.
- Solar PV projects with aggregate capacity of 8069.16 kWP and Solar Water Heating System with aggregate capacity of 7894 meter square collector area have been sanctioned under the programme.
- While Rs. 101.64 crore has been sanctioned, Rs. 25.92 crore has been released under scheme “Development of Solar Cities” so far.
· Assam Government and Ola Sign MoU For River Taxi Service
- Cab-hailing startup Ola and the Government of Assam have signed a MoU to pilot an app-based river taxi service in Guwahati.
- The river taxis will be machine-operated boats and users will be able to book the rides through Ola’s app.
- It’ll bring commute time down to 2-5 minutes from 45 minutes by road. This MoU was signed during the Global Investors Summit: Advantage Assam.
· Commerce Minister Kicks Off Consultations On The New Industrial Policy
- Commerce and Industries Minister Mr. Suresh Prabhu set off a series of nation-wide consultations with the industry on the proposed new Industrial Policy.
- The first consultation was held at Guwahati in February 2018.
- The event, organized by Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion (DIPP) in partnership with Federation of Chamber of Commerce and Industry (FICCI), was attended by more than 120 industrialists from the North East in addition to government officials from the North Eastern States.
· President Ram Nath Kovind Inaugurates Mahamastakabhisheka Utsav
- The President of India Ram Nath Kovind inaugurated the 88th Mahamastakabhisheka Utsav of Lord Gomateshwarain Hassan district of Karnataka.
- Mahamastakabhisheka of Gommateshwara, who is also known as Bahubali takes place once in 12 years.
- It is an important Jain pilgrimage center and lakhs of tourists visit Shravanbelagola to see 57 feet tall monolithic stone statue that is anointed from head to feet during the Utsav.
· Union Government launches Start-up-India ranking framework
- The Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion (DIPP)under Commerce Ministry unveiled Start-up-India ranking framework to rank states/UTs based on measures regions that have taken to foster entrepreneurship.
- It was launched by Union Minister of Commerce and Industry at a function held in New Delhi.
- The framework aims to foster competitiveness and propel states/UTS to act proactively in startup matters.
- This ranking will help states to bring progress made in their startup ecosystem and also make different states learn and replicate good practices.
- Its objective is to encourage States/UTs to take proactive steps towards strengthening Startup ecosystems at the local level.
· Sushma Swaraj Visit To Saudi Arabia Attends Opening Ceremony Of Al-Janadriyah Fest
- External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj attended the opening ceremony of the 32nd Al Jana-driyah festival in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.
- India has been invited as the Guest of Honour country for the festival.
- Swaraj in her first engagement addressed Indian community members at a reception in Riyadh and spoke about the relations between the two countries.
- During her three day visit, she will meet with the Saudi leadership to discuss bilateral, regional and global issues of mutual interest.
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