8 December 2014
Most states favour replacing plan panel with new body
The government formally moved to bury the Planning Commission before January 26 with strong support from regional parties. The only resistance came from Congress-ruled states, which failed to garner support, except from the Bihar government controlled by Nitish Kumar, once a supporter of decentralization in decision-making. Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who discussed the role of the Planning Commission with chief ministers, had announced the government's intent to replace the plan panel with a new entity in his Independence Day address. He made it clear that there was a need to replace the top down approach in planning with a "bottom to top" approach with states given a key role. He argued for cooperative federalism and strengthening "Team India".
Bar-prescribed qualification must to practise law: SC
A law degree obtained by a homoeopathic doctor after obtaining licentiate course in homoeopathy will not entitle him/her to practise as an advocate, the Supreme Court has held. The Bar Council of India Rules provide that for joining the course in law for a degree, a candidate must be a graduate of any university or must possess such academic qualifications which are considered equivalent to a graduate degree of a university recognised by the Bar Council. One can pursue law, but for obtaining licence to practise, he or she must fulfil all the conditions prescribed by the Bar Council.
Acclaimed Carnatic vocalist Nedunuri Krishnamurthy passes away
Acclaimed Carnatic vocalist Nedunuri Krishnamurthy passed away. He was 87.Krishnamurthy, who was reportedly undergoing treatment for lung cancer.
Assets declaration form to be simplified
The format for declaration of assets and liabilities by government employees under the Lokpal rules may be simplified, following concerns raised by several departments. The rules notified under the Lokpal and Lokayuktas Act say all public servants should declare their assets and liabilities, along with those of their spouses and dependent children. However, several Ministries and departments and other stakeholders have raised concerns about the complexity involved in furnishing the desired details in the form prescribed under the rules.
First ‘green diesel’-powered flight
A Boeing aircraft has completed the world’s first flight using ‘green diesel’, a sustainable biofuel made from vegetable oils, waste cooking oil and animal fats. The company powered its eco Demonstrator 787 flight test airplane on December 2 with a blend of 15 per cent green diesel and 85 per cent petroleum jet fuel in the left engine. Green diesel is chemically distinct and a different fuel product than “biodiesel,” which also is used in ground transportation. With production capacity of 800 million gallons (three billion litres) in the U.S., Europe and Asia, green diesel could rapidly supply as much as one per cent of global jet fuel demand. The flight test was coordinated with the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration, Rolls-Royce and Pratt & Whitney, and EPIC Aviation blended the fuel.
China launches major water project in Sri Lanka
China has started a major water supply project in Sri Lanka, using “soft power” to deepen its relationship with Colombo. The China Machinery Engineering Corporation (CMEC) has launched the $230-million enterprise the largest ever undertaken by the Sri Lankan government. The Chinese company had earlier been involved in the construction of the $1.2-billion Lakvijaya coal fired power plant in Sri Lanka. Once completed, the project will yield clean drinking water for 600,000 people in 42 villages not far from Colombo. The CMEC will build a water treatment plant with a supply capacity of 54,000 cubic meters a day and other infrastructure within three years. That would include laying over 1,000 km of pipes.
Business and Economy:
Engineering exports decline by 9.36 p.c
Indian engineering exports to China dropped nearly 50 per cent in October. Exports fell to $310 million against $612 million in October 2013, according to the Union Commerce Ministry’s Engineering Export Promotion Council of India (EEPC). As a result, India’s total engineering exports declined 9.36 per cent to $5.03 billion in October. Total iron and steel exports shrank by 18 per cent to $704 million in October. India exported $858 million of iron and steel products in the same month last year, mainly to China. As per the EEPC India analysis, consignments to U.K. were down 29 per cent to $169 mn from $238 mn a year ago. Likewise, shipments to Italy at $127 million were 22 per cent lower than $163 million in October 2013. Exports of engineering items to Germany fell over four per cent to $163 million from $171 million
Four Infosys founders sell $1.1 billion worth of shares, pulling price down
Four Infosys founders NR Narayana Murthy, SD Shibulal, Nandan Nilekani and K Dinesh -- have raised $1.1 billion by selling 32.6 million shares in the company in a bulk deal. The move pulled down the share price by 3.3% to Rs 2002 in early trade on the BSE.The founders offered 32.6 million shares at Rs 2,014 a piece, said sources. Its higher than the base price of Rs 1,988. Deutsche Bank is the sole book runner for the deal.
Science and Tech:
GSAT-16 on course
Communication satellite GSAT-16 was successfully launched on board an Arianespace rocket from Kourou in French Guiana early on 7the December, after a delay of two days due to bad weather. The satellite with 48 transponders, the largest ever carried by a communication spacecraft built by Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO), was injected into the intended Geosynchronous Transfer Orbit (GTO). It was a dual satellite launch with GSAT-16 with a lift-off mass of 3,181 kg ejected into space four minutes after its co-passenger DIRECTTV-14 spacecraft, designed to provide direct-to-home TV broadcasts across the US, was placed in orbit, Arianespace said. After the command and control of the satellite was taken over by its Master Control Facility at Hassan in Karnataka soon after the launch, ISRO said initial checks indicated “normal health” of the satellite.
NASA probe wakes up for Pluto encounter
A NASA probe launched eight years ago to explore Pluto has woken up from its last hibernation in deep space and is now preparing to take first detailed images of the dwarf planet’s surface and its moons in July 2015.Launched in January 2006, New Horizons probe has travelled nearly 4.6 billion km on its way to study Pluto, its largest moon Charon and a few smaller moons, Space.com reported. During its journey, New Horizons passed three to four times close to Jupiter, using the planet’s gravity to increase its speed and reduce journey times to Pluto by three years. While the probe is now out of its hibernation phase, it will still take seven months to reach its closet point to Pluto, passing within 12,500 km of the planet’s surface in July 2015. The probe sends a weekly signal back to Earth, and is woken up every six to 10 months to ensure that it is still operational.