Daily Current Affairs for UPSC IAS Preparation: 24 October 2017

ONGC plans to raise oil output by 4 MT by 2020

State-run Oil and Natural Gas Corporation (ONGC) has drawn a blueprint to raise crude oil production by 4 metric tonne (MT) and almost double natural gas output by 2020.

Addressing a press conference in New Delhi, ONGC Chairman Shashi Shanker said, the Prime Minister had given a call to cut country’s oil imports by 10 per cent by 2022 and ONGC’s roadmap for meeting that is ready.

The state-owned firm will raise crude oil production from 22.6 MT in 2017-18 to 26.42 MT in 2021-22. The nation’s biggest oil and gas producer has prepared the ‘Roadmap for Import Reduction’ two years after Mr Modi set the target for reducing oil import dependence by 10 per cent, from 77 per cent in 2013-14.

India spend almost 1 trillion dollar on crude imports from financial year 2005-06 to 2015-16.


Sri Lanka Coast Guard commissions OPV, CG 60 as ship ‘Suraksha’

Sri Lanka Coast Guard has commissioned the Offshore Patrol Vessel (OPV), CG 60 provided by Indian coast guard last month as ship ‘Suraksha’. The ship was commissioned at a ceremony held at the Colombo Harbour amidst presence of state minister of defence Ruwan Wijewardene, High Commissioner of India to Sri Lanka Shri Taranjit Singh Sandhu and other dignitaries.

This is the first OPV to be inducted by Sri Lankan coast guard and will be the largest ship in its fleet. The coast guard will use the newly commissioned ship for patrolling and surveillance of the country’s territorial waters, humanitarian assistance and disaster response operations, prevention of maritime pollution etc.

The 74.10 m long and 11.40 m wide vessel earlier belonged to the Indian Coast Guard and was officially gifted to Sri Lanka last month. It is manned by a crew of 14 officers and 86 sailors. It is the biggest patrol vessel in Sri Lankan coast guard fleet and will aloes be used for humanitarian assistance and disaster response operations.

Indian navy has rendered invaluable assistance to its Sri Lankan counterpart and the latter has ordered two navy warships from India. It received its largest warship built at Goa shipyard in July while another one will be delivered by February next year. Both countries are working closely to safeguard free navigation in Indian Ocean region.


Nation to celebrate Rashtriya Ekta Diwas on Oct 31

The nation will celebrate Rashtriya Ekta Diwas on 31st of this month, the birth anniversary of Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel to foster and reinforce dedication to preserve and strengthen unity, integrity and security. Several functions including Pledge, Run for Unity, March Past, essay and painting competitions will be organized in different parts of the country to mark the day. The Union Home Minister has written to the Chief Ministers and Ministers of Union Government for organizing Pledge, Run for Unity and March Past, on the occasion.

In the National Capital, celebrations will be held between 7 to 8 in the morning which include offering Floral Tribute on the portrait of Sardar Patel by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, followed by administering Pledge and flagging off Run for Unity. March Past will be carried out by Central Armed Police Forces and Delhi Police in their respective grounds on that day.

People from all walks of life, ex-servicemen, students, athletes, NYKS volunteers and NSS volunteers will participate in Run for Unity. Sportspersons P.V. Sindhu, Mitali Raj and Sardar Singh are also expected to participate in the run.


India’s First Pradhan Mantri Kaushal Kendra for Skilling in Smart Cities inaugurated

To bring momentum in skilling through collaborative efforts, the Union Home Minister Shri Rajnath Singh along with Minister of Petroleum and Natural Gas and Skill Development and Entrepreneurship Shri Dharmendra Pradhan inaugurated India’s first Pradhan Mantri Kaushal Kendra (PMKK) for Skilling in Smart Cities, in collaboration with New Delhi Municipal Council (NDMC). The ministers also laid the foundation for a Skill Development Centre at Moti Bagh and a Centre of Excellence at Dharam Marg, New Delhi.

Affirming synergies with the Government of India’s flagship programs, the new skill development centres underscore the commitment of the Ministry of Urban Affairs & Housing (MUHA) and the Ministry of Skill Development & Entrepreneurship (MSDE) to support skilling in smart cities. National Skill Development Corporation (NSDC), an executive arm of MSDE, has collaborated with New Delhi Municipal Council Smart City Limited (NDMCSCL) to extend cooperation for setting up of PMKK Centres for Smart Cities, to provide skill training for unemployed youth through its short-term training (STT) module and contribute to the capacity building of municipal employees through Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL) program.

The newly inaugurated Pradhan Mantri Kaushal Kendra leverages NDMC infrastructure for skilling initiatives. Located at Mandir Marg, New Delhi, the NDMC-PMKK Centre for Skilling in Smart Cities is an exemplary heritage building of approx. 30,000 sq.ft., with a capacity of skilling 4,000 youth annually. Catering to healthcare and solar energy sectors, the centre will be managed by one of NSDC’s affiliated training partners – Orion Edutech, which has an impeccable record of training nearly 3 lakh candidates through its network of over 275 skill development centres across the country. On this occasion, a solar-power lab powered by Schneider Electric was also inaugurated.