1) Fadnavis announces Rs. 34,000 crore farm loan waiver:-
- Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis announced a Rs. 34,000-crore loan waiver scheme called the Chatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Sanman Scheme.
- Those having loans outstanding between April 1, 2012 and June 30, 2016 would be entitled for the waiver.
- Those agriculturists with outstanding loans over Rs. 1.5 lakh during this period would be offered an OTS (one-time settlement) as per which eligible farmers would benefit by a State government assistance of Rs. 1.5 lakh or 25 per cent of their outstanding loan, whichever is lower.
- The scheme will benefit those farmers who availed of restructuring of their existing loans, but as of June 30, 2016 had unpaid loan arrears
- It will clear up the 7/12 (property cards mortgaged for loans) of 40 lakh farmers.
- Mr. Fadnavis also announced a cash incentive for those farmers who had a good track record of loan repayments. “Those farmers repaying their loans regularly will get 25 per cent (of their loan component, up to a maximum of Rs. 25,000) directly credited into their bank accounts as an incentive for their prudent fiscal management. Those making their payments in June 2017 would receive their incentive into their accounts.”
- Mr. Fadnavis faces a consolidated debt burden that has crossed Rs. 4 lakh crore.
- All Ministers and MLAs of the Bharatiya Janata Party would donate one month’s emoluments that they receive to finance the loan waiver.
2) Centre gives wings to international airport in Jewar:-
- A second airport in the National Capital Region (NCR) will become a reality in the next five years as the Centre gave its nod to develop a “world class” international airport in Greater Noida’s Jewar region in Uttar Pradesh.
- The clearance for the long-pending airport project was given by the Ministry of Civil Aviation’s Steering Committee. The panel gave its nod after taking inputs from the Airports Authority of India (AAI), the Directorate General of Civil Aviation, the Defence Ministry, the Finance Ministry and the NITI Aayog.
- The Noida International Airport will be built to handle 30-50 million passengers per year over the next decade.
- The airport is aimed at easing the burden on Delhi’s Indira Gandhi International Airport (IGIA), which is expected to reach its peak capacity of handling 109 million passengers in the next seven years.
- The airport will be built on a public-private partnership model with the GMR-led Delhi International Airport Limited (DIAL), which currently operates IGIA, getting the Right of First Refusal (RoFR) at the time of bidding for the Noida International Airport, the Minister added.
- According to the Operation Management and Development Agreement (OMDA) that GMR signed with its IGIA partner, AAI, the former will have the RoFR in case an airport is built within 150 km of the existing one.
- In the case of the Navi Mumbai airport, the GVK-led Mumbai International Airport Limited (MIAL), which won the bid to run the airport, also had a RoFR due to an existing airport at Mumbai.
- Representatives of the U.P. government have confirmed that farmers are quite willing to provide land for airport development on a negotiated settlement basis, so there may not be any need for forcible land acquisition.
3) Transport tunnels under Hooghly set a record:-
- On June 20, the Kolkata Metro Rail Corporation (KMRC) completed the construction of India’s first set of underwater transportation tunnels.
- The two tunnels, 16.1 metres apart, with a diameter of 5.5 metres each, link the two banks of the Hooghly river – Howrah Maidan and Sealdah on one side with Kolkata on the other.
- The tunnels are part of the 16.6 km East West Metro route.
- The tunnels are at a depth of 13 metres below the riverbed, and 30 metres from the land surface.
- With the completion of the tunnels, India has joined a select group of nations that have underwater transport, he said, adding that the feat comes almost 33 years after the first metro train in the country opened its doors for the public in Kolkata in 1984.
4) Frustration again for India at NSG meet:-
- The annual plenary meeting of the 48-member Nuclear Suppliers Group in the Swiss capital of Berne on June 22 and 23 ended without agreeing on India’s case for a membership, for a second year.
- However, member states agreed to convene another meeting on the subject of non-signatories to the Non Proliferation Treaty, such as India and Pakistan, in another five months.
- NSG holds all consultations in secret and takes decisions by consensus.
- The NSG had discussions on the issue of ‘Technical, Legal and Political Aspects of the Participation of non-NPT States in the NSG’.
- The “technical, legal and political aspects” phrase in the NSG statement is part of a process decided on in 2016, when India and Pakistan had both formally applied for membership to build criteria for admitting non-NPT members.
- NSG also noted India’s special relationship with the group owing to the nuclear waiver India won in 2008 to conduct nuclear business.
- India would prefer to see a “case-by-case” basis membership process employed, given it has an impeccable record on nuclear transparency compared to Pakistan, which is accused of nuclear smuggling.
- At the end of the plenary session in 2016, the NSG chairperson had appointed Argentine diplomat Rafael Grossi to oversee the process of building a consensus on the issue, but it is unclear if he will continue to lead that effort this year.
- India has blamed China for being the “one country” stopping the NSG from a consensus, and although other members are understood to have expressed their concerns on a non-inclusive process, China has been prominent in objecting publicly, leading most experts to conclude the process won’t be resolved quickly.
5) In Mumbai, Taj Palace gets a trademark:-
- India’s Trade Mark Registry has assigned an image trademark to Mumbai’s Taj Mahal Palace hotel.
- This makes it the first structure in India to get such a trademark registration – one of many firsts of this landmark of the city – and takes it into an elite group of trademarked structures across the globe, enhancing its stature in the international hospitality industry.
- Taj Hotels Palaces Resorts Safaris (which is owned by Indian Hotels, the hospitality arm of the Tata Group) by applying for the trademark,demonstrates that it believes that the very look of the building – or reproductions of it – is so recognisable that anyone attempting to replicate or use it for any commercial reason is trying to cash in on its brand, and it therefore needs to be protected.
- At its most basic level, the trademark means that no one – or no organisation – can make commercial use of images of the Taj Palace exteriors. without consent.
Getting a trademark assigned is just one more first in the 114-year-long journey of the hotel.
- The story goes that Tata group’s founder, Jamsetji Tata, decided to set up the hotel after he was refused entry into Watson Hotel, which only allowed whites.
- The Taj was the country’s first luxury hotel built by an Indian and Bombay’s first luxury hotel.
- Lord Mountbatten, the British Raj’s last viceroy of India, announced the country’s independence from its steps in 1947.
- In a sadder vein, the dome wreathed in flames and smoke became, arguably, the most lingering image of the terror attacks in Mumbai in 2008.
- When the Taj Palace reopened a year later, it became another symbol for Mumbaikars – it stood for the spirit of the city.
6) NASA’s CHESS to study interstellar clouds:-
- NASA is launching a sounding rocket CHESS (Colorado High-resolution Echelle Stellar Spectrograph) on June 27 to study vast interstellar clouds and know about the earliest stages of star formation.
- It will measure light filtering through the interstellar medium which provides crucial information for understanding the lifecycle of stars.
- In the space between distant stars there drift vast clouds of neutral atoms and molecules, as well as charged plasma particles that may, over millions of years, evolve into new stars and even planets.
- CHESS will train its eye at Beta Scorpii – a hot, brightly shining star in the Scorpius constellation well-positioned for the instrument to probe the material between the star and our own solar system.
- This is the third flight for the CHESS payload in the past three years, and the most detailed survey yet.
7) Who really needs to be gluten-free?:-
- Many people say they feel better after adopting a diet free of gluten, a protein found in wheat, barley and rye, even though relatively few gluten avoiders have been given diagnoses of celiac disease, an autoimmune condition that can attack the intestines and other tissues when gluten is consumed.
- Approximately one person in 140 is known to have celiac disease, which can remain silent for decades and become apparent at any age.
8) Yoga and Meditation Can Change Your Genes, Study:-
- Yoga and meditation may do more than just help you feel relaxed in the moment.
- A new scientific review suggests that these and other mindfulness exercises can actually reverse stress-related changes in genes linked to poor health and depression.
- British researchers analyzed the findings from 18 previously published studies-involving a total of 846 people-on the biological effects of meditation, yoga, breathing exercises, Qi gong and Tai Chi.
- Together, the authors say, the studies show that these mind-body exercises appear to suppress the expression of genes and genetic pathways that promote inflammation.
- Environment and lifestyle can both affect which genes areturned on and off, and that can have real effects on disease risk, longevity and even which traits get passed onto future generations.