1. The second unit of Kudankulam Nuclear Power plant (KNPP) in Tamil Nadu has started commercial generation of power. It had attained its full power generation capacity of 1000 Megawatt in January 2017. It had attained criticality in July 2016 and was synchronized with southern grid in August 2016. From the first unit of KNPP, Tamil Nadu is getting 562 MW, Telangana 50 MW, Karnataka 221 MW and Kerala 133 MW Puduchery 33 MW. Tamil Nadu is expected to get 562MW from second unit also. The nuclear power generation has gone up to 6,780MW in the country with power generation in the second unit. The 1000MW KNPP is built with Russian expertise.
2. India’s first International research centre for Foot and Mouth disease of cattle and buffalos was inaugurated at Argul (Bhubaneswar), Odisha. The research centre has been constructed in joint collaboration of UN’s Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) and Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAT). It will conduct research on viral disease of cattle and buffaloes. It has the facility for safe handling and storage of live Foot and Mouth disease virus that essentially is required for control of the disease. It will collect samples from all over the country to find a cure of the disease. Notably, India is suffering a loss of Rs. 23,000 annually due to Foot and Mouth disease of cattle and buffalos.
3. Japan has committed an official development assistance (ODA) of 371 billion yen (about Rs 21,590 crore) for various infrastructure projects, including the dedicated freight corridor, in India for the FY 2016-2017. The total commitment of Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) ODA during two financial years 2015-16 and 2016-17 is 761.40 billion yen, which is 43.50% of the total target for five years. In the last few years, the economic partnership between India and Japan has steadily progressed. It has further consolidated and strengthened the Strategic and Global Partnership between India and Japan.
4. The Union Defence Ministry has allowed Arunachal Pradesh government to use the functional Advance Landing Grounds (ALGs) in the state for civilian purpose. The Ziro, Mechuka, Walong, Aalo, Pasighat and Tuting ALGs across the state have been developed by the Defence Ministry and are under the direct control of the Indian Air Force (IAF). State government can approach the Union Ministry of Civil Aviation for construction of civil terminal at these ALGs and for scheduled civil operations.
5. State-run NTPC (National Thermal Power Corporation Limited) has crossed the milestone of 50 Gigawatts power generation capacity. It achieved this feat after commissioning of 500 Megawatts unit at Unchahar in Uttar Pradesh, increasing the total installed capacity of NTPC to 50,498. NTPC limited is CPSU operational under Ministry of Power. It is India’s largest power generator. It was established in 1975. Government holds 70% of its equity shares as of May 2015.
6. The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has decided to set up a separate enforcement department to oversee possible breaches of rules and take punitive actions against those who violate them. The department will develop a broad policy for enforcement and initiate action against the regulated entities for violation consistent with such policy. It will serve as a centralised wing to deal with banks only for enforcement action.
7. Growth of the country’s eight core sectors slipped to an over one-year low of 1% in February 2017. This was mainly due to a fall in output of crude oil, natural gas, refinery products, fertiliser and cement. The eight core sectors had expanded 9.4% in February 2016, and 3.4% in January 2016. In February 2016, crude oil output contracted 3.4%, natural gas output by 1.7%, refinery products output fell 2.3%, fertiliser output declined 5.3%, and cement output dropped 15.8%. But coal and steel production recorded positive growth during the month. The eight core industries comprise close to 37.9% of the weight of items included in the Index of Industrial Production (IIP). The electricity has the maximum weight (of 10.32%) among the eight sectors followed by Steel (6.68%), Petroleum Refinery (5.94%), Crude Oil production (5.22 %), Coal production (4.38 %), Cement (2.41%), Natural Gas production (1.71 %) and Fertilizer production (1.25%).
8. Israel’s Government has approved the first West Bank settlement in two decades. Decision in this regard was taken in Security Cabinet meeting presided by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. The new settlement will be built near the existing settlement of Shilo, which is nearby to the Amona site, an illegal settler outpost that was demolished in February 2017 under the orders of Israel’s Supreme Court. West Bank and east Jerusalem are disputed territories claimed by the Palestinians which were captured by Israel in 1967, as parts of a future state.
9. Elon Musk-led space exploration startup SpaceX has successfully launched its pre-used first stage of Falcon 9 rocket in its bid to drive down costs and speed up flights. It marks the first time relaunch of an orbital class rocket. The Falcon 9 took off from Florida’s Kennedy Space Center hoisting a broadcasting satellite. The reused first stage was earlier used in March 2016 and had successfully landed on drone platform.
10. Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu was selected for the US India Business Council Award of ‘Transformative Chief Minister’. He will receive the award at the second annual West Coast Summit to be held in Menlo Park, California in May 2017. Electronics and IT Secretary Aruna Sundararajan was also selected Transformative Leadership Award.
11.Tamil Nadu won the Deodhar Trophy by defeating Parthiv Patel-led India ‘B’ by 42 runs in the match held at Vizag. With this win, Tamil Nadu became the first state side to win the three-team one-day tournament. It makes Tamil Nadu first to win all major domestic crowns such as Ranji Trophy, Vijay Hazare, Irani and Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy. The Deodhar Trophy is a List A cricket competition in Indian domestic cricket. It is named after Prof. D. B. Deodhar (known as the Grand Old Man of Indian cricket). It is a 50-over knockout competition played on an annual basis among the 5 zonal teams – North Zone, South Zone, East Zone, West Zone and Central Zone.