1. Govt releases socio-economic and caste census for better policy-making
i. The socio-economic and caste census (SECC) 2011 on Friday painted a grim picture of rural India, indicating that one out of three families living in villages is landless and depends on manual labour for livelihood.
ii. The SECC 2011, also the first paperless census conducted on hand-held electronic devices by the government, said 23.52% rural families have no literate adult above 25 years, suggesting a poor state of education among rural masses.
iii. The census, carried out in 640 districts under the aegis of the rural development ministry, was released jointly by finance minister Arun Jaitley and rural development minister Chaudhary Birendra Singh.
iv. According to the census, there are a total number of 24.39 crore households in the country, of which 17.91 crore live in villages. Of these, 10.69 crore households are considered as deprived.
2. Nationwide Mobile Number Portability goes live
i. The countrywide Mobile Number Portability (MNP) has become a reality today. This means mobile subscribers can now keep their existing mobile phone numbers even while shifting between states and circles.
ii. The move lays the first stone for the government's 'One nation, One number' plan and is sure to benefit millions of people across the country.
iii. Earlier, the deadline to rollout full MNP was May 2, 2015. This was, however, extended by two months after the Cellular Operators Association of India asked for an extension from the telecom department.
iv. With about 3 million intra-circle MNP requests every month, more than 157 million subscribers have ported to other operators as of April, according to Trai data.
3. Airbus to build military choppers in India with Mahindra
i. Europe's Airbus Group and India's Mahindra Group have struck a deal to build helicopters jointly as they bid to win an expected wave of orders from the country's armed forces, the companies said in a statement on Friday.
ii. The two groups will form a joint venture in the coming months, aiming to become the first private manufacturer of helicopters in India, the statement said. It did not say how much the two will invest.
iii. India is in the midst of a huge upgrade of its armed forces — analysts forecast it will spend $250 billion over the next decade — and Prime Minister Narendra Modi wants to encourage more indigenous manufacturing to end India's position as the world's largest arms importer.
iv. Airbus Helicopters, part of Airbus Group, is joining forces with Mahindra after talking to several Indian companies that are investing hundreds of millions of dollars to capitalise on the government's push to build arms at home.
4. SBI launches initiative to speed up home loan applications
i. Country's largest lender State Bank of India today launched an initiative to provide doorstep services and expedite home loans application process.
ii. The initiative known as 'Project Tatkal' will help get the loan within 10 days after receipt of application form and relevant supporting documents, the bank said in a release.
iii. The implementation will be done at large centres with sizable home loan business.
iv. The bank has also recently introduced an online customer acquisition solution (OCAS) for instant e-approval of home loan applications.
5. Indian-American professor R Paul Singh named for 2015 World Agriculture Prize laureate
i. R Paul Singh, Indian-American professor has been selected for 2015 World Agriculture Prize laureate.
ii. The award was announced at the annual Global Confederation for Higher Education Associations for Agriculture and Life Sciences (GCHERA) conference held at the Holy Spirit University of Kaslik, Lebanon.
iii. Singh is known for niche research areas of agricultural sector such as freezing preservation, energy conservation, post-harvest technology and mass transfer in food processing.
iv. He had earned a bachelor’s degree in agricultural engineering form Punjab Agricultural University. He had completed his doctorate from Michigan State University, US.
6. Indian-American teacher Darshan Jain receives US Presidential Award
i. Darshan Jain, an Indian-American teacher has been selected for prestigious Presidential Award for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching.
ii. He was named for the award by President Barack Obama along with 107 Mathematics and Science teachers across US. All of them were chosen for shaping America’s success through their passion for Math and Science.
iii. Presently Darshan Jain is director of mathematics at Adlai E. Stevenson High School in Lincolnshire, Illinois. Previously, he had taught mathematics at this institute for eight years.
iv. US Presidential Award is awarded annually to outstanding science and mathematics teachers from across US from K-12 (kindergarten through 12th grades). The award carries monetary prize of US 10000 dollars.
7. Union Government launches web portal for issuing green clearance Category B projects
i. Union Government has launched a web portal for online submission of applications for environment clearance by State Environment Impact Assessment Authorities (SEIAA) for Category B projects.
ii. It was launched by Union Minister of State for Environment, Forest and Climate Change Prakash Javadekar in New Delhi on the occasion of Digital India Week. Soon after the launch of the web portal, nineteen states instantly have joined it.
iii. The environment clearance web portal raises the levels of transparency and accountability as the clearances will be monitored and carried out effectively on a real time basis. It will also help to reduce pendency for maintaining the rigours of Environment Clearance process.
iv. It should be noted that applications for Environment Clearances under Category ‘B’ projects under EIA notification, 2006 comes under State government for approval purpose.