Daily GK Update: 8th January 2020

Cabinet approves India-Mongolia Agreement on exploration of outer space

  • The Union Cabinet, chaired by the Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi, has given its approval for an Agreement between Government of the Republic of India and Government of Mongolia on Cooperation in the Exploration and Uses of Outer Space for Peaceful and Civilian Purposes.
  • The Agreement was signed at New Delhi on 20 September 2019 during the state visit of the President of Mongolia to India.
  • This Agreement shall enable pursuing the following potential interest areas of cooperation such as, space science, technology and applications including remote sensing of the earth; satellite communication and satellite based navigation; Space science and planetary exploration; use of spacecraft and space systems and ground system; and application of space technology.
  • The Agreement would lead to set up a Joint Working Group, drawing members from DOS/ISRO and Communications and Information Technology Authority of the Government of Mongolia, which will further work out the plan of action including the time-frame and the means of implementing this Agreement.

Source: PMIndia

Cabinet approves MoU between India and Sweden on cooperation in Polar Science

  • The Union Cabinet, chaired by the Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi, has been apprised of the Agreement on cooperation in polar science between Ministry of Earth Sciences (MoES), India and Ministry of Education and Research, Sweden. The Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) was signed on 2nd December 2019 during the visit of Their Majesties of the Kingdom of Sweden to India.
  • India and Sweden are both signatories to the Antarctic Treaty and to the Protocol to the Antarctic Treaty on Environmental Protection. Sweden as one of the eight “Arctic States” is one of the Member State in the Arctic Council whereas India has the Observer Status in the Arctic Council. Sweden has a vigorous scientific program in the Polar Regions, both in Arctic and Antarctic. India likewise, has sustained scientific research programs in both the Polar Regions as well as in the oceanic realm.
  • The collaboration between India and Sweden in polar science will enable sharing of the expertise available with both Countries.

Source: PMIndia

Cabinet approves capital grant for North East Natural Gas Pipeline Grid

  • The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) on Wednesday approved the North East Gas Grid Project of Indradhanush Gas Grid Ltd (IGGL) with viability gap funding at 60 per cent of the estimated cost of Rs 9,265 crore.
  • The quantum of viability gap funding will include interest during the construction and not be linked with upward capital cost variation.
  • The Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas (MoPNG) will identify milestones for major activities of the project and link the releases of capital grant.

Source: Business Standard

Indian Army uses GOCO model to improve efficiency

  • The Indian Army began its work based on the Government Owned Contractor Operated (GOCO) model. The model will identify the potential industry partners for its base workshops and ordnance depots intended to improve operational efficiency. Army also issued a Request For Information (RFI) to shortlist service providers with experience in warehousing, logistics and supply chain management for Central Ordnance Depot (COD), Kanpur.
  • Also, the Army’s Master General of Ordnance (MGO) started to evaluate the GOCO model for Army Base Workshops (ABWs) to drive higher operational efficiencies. Indian Army has hired PricewaterhouseCoopers Pvt. Ltd. (PwC) as a consultant to run the process and to hold conferences & consultations with the industry.

Niti Aayog Compiles List Of Domestic Medical Devices To Drive Funding

  • Niti Aayog is reportedly preparing a list of medical devices that have the most potential for export. A list of ten such device-categories has been tentatively created. This has apparently been done to address the bottlenecks in domestic medical devices businesses.
  • “This list is being drawn up so that their domestic manufacturing can be prioritised. However, more devices are slated to be added in follow-up meetings. This is a preliminary list,” Businessline quoted an unidentified official as saying.
  • The devices that have been selected at the meeting by the government think-tank for providing priority subsidy or funding are cardiac stents, orthopaedic implants, surgical blades, catheters, X-Ray machines, syringes and needles, blood bags, CT Scan and MRI Machines and sutures.

Aadhaar at 10:The State of Aadhaar Report

  • In 2009, nearly 5 million births were unregistered, over 250 million people were illiterate and between 16-41% of food grain meant for the poor was diverted.
    Despite these conditions, Aadhar was introduced to provide a unique digital identity to every resident. However, the Unique Identification Authority of India(UIDAI) has made Aadhar huge success with 95% of adults holding the identity card in 2019.
  • Aadhaar has also become the first identity document for around 65-70 million individuals. This benefitted them in opening bank accounts, accessing food rations among others.
  • The report has also stated that 80% of participants felt that Aadhaar improved the reach of government schemes and services faster.

Source: Factly.com

Centre and states agree to streamline GST to plug revenue leakage

  • Centre and States have come together to take necessary action to streamline the Goods and Services Tax (GST) system and plug revenue leakage. Several measures were discussed in this regard during the Second National GST Conference of the Commissioners of State Tax and Chief Commissioners of Central Tax in New Delhi yesterday.
  • They include curbing fraudulent refund claims, linking foreign exchange remittances with IGST refund, investigation of fraudulent Input Tax Credit (ITC) cases by the IT Department and a single bank account for foreign remittance receipt.

Source: News Services Division