Daily Current Affairs for UPSC IAS Preparation: 11 October 2017

Germany to help Indian Railways to increase speed of trains on existing corridors

A Joint Declaration of Intent was signed between Ministry of Railways and Germany in Rail Bhavan in the presence of Shri Ashwani Lohani, Chairman, Railway Board regarding carrying out of feasibility study on existing Chennai-Kazipet corridor of Indian Railways by German Railways for increasing the speed of passenger trains to 200 kmph. The Project is envisaged to consist of three phases to be carried out over a 22 month period.

The cost of the feasibility study will be shared 50.50 percent by the Ministry of Railways of the Government of India and Government of the Federal Republic of Germany. The final terms and conditions of carrying out of this feasibility study shall be completed through signing a separate Agreement.

Earlier, a Protocol on cooperation in Rail sector was signed between both sides in May, 2016 in Germany, with following priority areas.

  1. Concepts for increasing the design and the actually driven speeds;
  2. Concepts for increasing the capacity of railway lines in passenger and goods transport;
  3. Concepts for improving operational safety to avoid incidents and accidents;
  4. Concepts for reducing operational costs, in particular by means of energy efficient railway operations;
  5. Concepts for the cooperation between education and training facilities in India and Germany with the objective of enhancing the railway know how;
  6. Supporting the expansion of the high speed and semi high speed network;
  7. Joint development of user oriented standards and norms for India with the participation of the competent regulatory authorities;
  8. Concepts for speed raising on longer stretches for multiple traffic;
  9. Concepts for station redevelopment on modern lines.


President of India inaugurates India water Week-2017

The President of India, Shri Ram Nath Kovind, inaugurated India Water Week-2017 in New Delhi.

Speaking on the occasion, the President said that water is essential to life. It is fundamental to the economy and to ecology – and to human equity. The issue of water is becoming still more critical in view of climate change and related environmental concerns. Better and more efficient use of water is a challenge for Indian agriculture and industry alike. It requires us to set new benchmarks in both our villages and in the cities we build.

The President said that access to water is a byword for human dignity. For India, providing safe drinking water to a population spread across six hundred thousand villages and urban areas is not just a project proposal. It is a sacred commitment.


Vice President inaugurates the third International Conference on ‘Yoga for Wellness’

The Vice President of India, Shri M. Venkaiah Naidu inaugurated the 3rd International Conference on Yoga in New Delhi. The theme of this year’s conference is “Yoga for Wellness”. Addressing the participants, Vice President explained that Yoga is the mother of all exercises and provides physical fitness, mental alertness as well as spiritual succour.

The conference is being organized by the Ministry of AYUSH as a part of year long events being organized to celebrate 21st June as International Day of Yoga. Yoga experts, Yoga Gurus, Researchers and policy makers among others from 44 countries are attending the conference.

The two day conference consists of seven technical sessions and a panel discussion on different aspects of Yoga and Wellness including recent research trends, Integrated medicine, non communicable diseases, mental health, women health, cancer, pain management and policy making. This conference will provide a common platform for the AYUSH and Allopathy Practitioners, Researchers, Academicians, Policy Makers and students and enable them to capture and understand various dimensions of the yoga for wellness.

The International Conference has been organized with the technical and logistic support of Central Council for Research in Yoga & Naturopathy and Moraji Desai National Institute of Yoga and it is an attempt to project the potential of Yoga in the management of certain health problems and for promotion of wellness and for sharing of scientific experiences.

This will be the third International Conference on Yoga organized by Ministry of AYUSH. The last two International conferences on the themes of ‘Yoga for Holistic Health’ and ‘Yoga for Body and Beyond’ were organized in 2015 and 2016 respectively.


Centre imposes anti-dumping duty on imports of steel wire rods from China

The Centre has imposed anti-dumping duty on imports of certain steel wire rods from China for five years, with a view to guard the interest of domestic players from cheap in-bound shipments.

The duty was imposed after the Commerce Ministry’s Directorate General of Anti-Dumping and Allied Duties (DGAD) recommended duty on such imports. In its findings, the DGAD had concluded that wire rod of alloy or non-alloy steel has been exported to India at below the normal value due to which domestic industry has suffered material injury.

These steel products are used in many sectors such as automotive components, railway, engineering and construction. India has already slapped anti-dumping duty on certain cold-rolled flat steel products from four nations, including China and South Korea.

Anti-dumping measures are taken to ensure fair trade and provide a level-playing field to the domestic industry.