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Union Government constitutes AK Sinha Committee to study silt in river Ganga in Bihar
The Union Government has constituted four member expert committee to study slit in river Ganga in Bihar. The team will be headed by member of Ganga Flood Control commission A .K. Sinha. The committee will submit its report within 10 days. 
Other members of committee: 
Chief Engineer of Central Water Commission SK Sahu, Prof. of IIT AK Gosain and National Disaster Management Authority member Dr. Rajnish Ranjan. 

Background 
  • The committed has been constituted based on outcome of meeting Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar. 
  • Bihar CM had requested PM to send an expert team to study silt in Ganga which caused devastating prevailing flood in the state. 
  • Besides, he also had requested Central Government to frame National Silt Policy to sort out various problems related to rivers throughout the state

Union Cabinet approves simplification and liberalisation of FDI Policy, 2016
The Union Cabinet has given its approval for simplification and liberalisation of the Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) Policy, 2016 in various sectors announced in June, 2016. 
The radical amendments to FDI policy are meant to liberalise and simplify the FDI policy so as to provide ease of doing business in the country. Its main aim is to allow larger FDI inflows in the country that will contribute to growth of investment, incomes and employment
Changes in FDI Policy regime 
  • Defence Sector: FDI beyond 49% has been permitted through government approval route, in cases resulting in access to modern technology in the country or for other reasons. 
  • The condition of access of state of the art technology has been removed and it has been modified to access to modern or for other reasons. 
  • FDI limit also has been made applicable to Manufacturing of Small Arms and Ammunitions covered under Arms Act, 1959. 
  • Food Products manufactured or produced in India: 100% FDI under government approval route for trading in respect of food products manufactured in India. 
  • Pharmaceutical Sector: 100% FDI under automatic route in greenfield pharmaceuticals. FDI up to 100% under government approval in brownfield pharmaceuticals also has been approved and 74% FDI under automatic route in Brownfield pharmaceuticals. Civil 
  • Aviation Sector: 100% FDI under automatic route in Brownfield Airport Projects. FDI limit raised to 100% in Scheduled Air Transport Service and regional Air Transport Service. 
  • Animal Husbandry: 100% FDI allowed in Animal Husbandry (including breeding of dogs), Aquaculture, Pisciculture and Apiculture under Automatic Route without requirement of controlled conditions. 
  • Private Security Agencies: 49% FDI permitted under automatic route and FDI beyond 49% and up to 74% will be permitted through government approval route. Establishment of branch office, liaison office or project office: No approval from Reserve Bank of India or separate security clearance would be required. 
  • This exemption will be application in cases where FIPB has approved it or license and permission already has be given by the concerned Ministry. 
  • Single Brand Retail Trading: Entities undertaking single brand retail trading have been relaxed from local sourcing norms up to 3 years. Entities engaged in of single brand retail trading of products having ‘state-of-art’ and ‘cutting edge’ technology have been relaxed from local sourcing norms up to 5 years. 
Comment 
  • With these radical changes in FDI Policy, Union government has permitted 100% FDI under government approval route for almost every sector, including defence. However there is still exception in few sectors mentioned in the small negative list. FDI continues to be prohibited in atomic energy, lottery, gambling, real estate and Real Estate Investments Trusts (REIT) and railways operations.

2016 BRICS Convention on Tourism begins in Madhya Pradesh
The 2016 BRICS Convention on Tourism has begun at UNESCO World heritage site Khajuraho in Madhya Pradesh to promote intra-regional tourism. The two day convention was inaugurated by Union Minister of State (MoS) for Tourism and Culture. The convention has been organised as a precursor to the BRICS Summit to be held in Goa in October 2016. 

Key Facts 
  • In this two day convention, delegates from the BRICS countries viz. Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa are participating. 
  • It will consists of inter- Governmental exchange of views and ideas, panel discussions on technology, innovation in Tourism. 
  • Besides, it will primarily focus on cooperation between the BRICS countries for promoting intra-regional tourism. 
  • Besides, Business to Business (B2B) meetings between the India Travel Trade and their counterparts from the BRICS countries will also be organised. 
  • During the convention, elements of culture, handicrafts and cuisine from different regions of India will be showcased.

Union Cabinet approves grant of Permanent Residency Status for Foreign Investors
The Union Cabinet has approved the scheme for granting of Permanent Residency Status (PRS) to foreign investors. However, this status will be subject to the relevant conditions in the FDI Policy notified by the Central Government from time to time. The scheme is expected to encourage foreign investment in India and facilitate Make in India Programme. 

Key Facts 
  • Under the scheme, suitable provisions will be incorporated in the Visa Manual to provide for the grant of PRS to foreign investors. 
  • The PRS will be granted for a period of 10 years with multiple entry. If the PRS holder has not come to adverse notice, it can be reviewed for another 10 years. 
  • The scheme will be applicable only to foreign investors fulfilling the prescribed eligibility conditions and also his spouse and dependents. 
  • In order to avail this scheme, the foreign investor will have to invest a minimum of 10 crores rupees within 18 months or 25 crores rupees within 36 months. Further, the foreign investment should result in generating employment to at least 20 resident Indians every financial year.

Ashok Chawla appointed as Chancellor of TERI University
Former Finance Secretary Ashok Chawla has been appointed as the new Chancellor of The Energy and Resources Institute (TERI) University. 
The decision of his appointment was taken in the governing council meeting of TERI. He is currently serving as the Chairman of TERI since February 2016. 
With this appointment, TERI has ended its last association with former Chancellor and Head R.K. Pachauri, who was accused of sexually harassing a female colleague in 2015. Ashok Chawla is former Union Finance Secretary. He is former Chairman of the Competition Commission of India (CCI). He was IAS officer of 1973 batch of Gujarat cadre.

Bezwada Wilson, TM Krishna receive 2016 Magsaysay Award
Two Indians TM Krishna and Bezwada Wilson have received the prestigious Ramon Magsaysay prize for the year 2016. 
They were among six persons/organisations who received the prestigious award, often regarded as Asia’s Nobel Prize. 
The award ceremony was held at the Cultural Center of the Philippines in Pasay City, Manila on August 31, 2015 i.e. on the birth anniversary of former Filipino President Ramon Magsaysay. 

Six awardees are 
  • Bezwada Wilson (India): He is the National Convener of the Safai Karmachari Andolan (SKA). He was awarded for asserting the inalienable right to a life of human dignity. He has done remarkable work in liberating scores of people engaged in manual scavenging across the country. Thodur 
  • Madabusi Krishna (India): He is a Carnatic music vocalist. He was bestowed with this award ensuring social inclusiveness in culture. 
  • Conchita Carpio Morales (Philippines): She was bestowed with this award for restoring faith in the rule of law. 
  • Dompet Dhuafa (Indonesia): She was bestowed with this award for expanding the transformative impact of zakat. 
  • Japan Overseas Cooperation Volunteers (Japan): The organisation was awarded for building a world of genuine solidarity. 
  • Vientiane Rescue (Laos): The organisation awarded for volunteering to save lives at risk. 

About Ramon Magsaysay Award 
  • Ramon Magsaysay Award is Asia’s highest cilivian honour and is often regarded as the region’s equivalent of the Nobel Prize. 
  • Established in 1957 in the memory of Philippines’ third President Ramon Magsaysay who had died in air disaster in March 1957. 
  • It was established the New York City based Rockefeller Brothers Fund and Philippine government. 
  • It is awarded annually to individuals or organizations from Asia region for their altruistic and philanthropic service. 
  • The award carries a medallion bearing the likeness of the late President Ramon Magsaysay, cash prize and a certificate.

13 Indians test positive for Zika Virus in Singapore
The Union External Affairs Ministry has officially confirmed that 13 Indians have been tested positive for the Zika virus in Singapore These cases of outbreak of the mosquito-borne disease have been reported among the three dozen workers on a construction site in Singapore. 
Meanwhile, Singapore also has confirmed its first case of a pregnant woman testing positive for the Zika virus infection. The number of cases of the Zika virus in the city-state has rose to 115. It should be noted that Asia’s first Zika virus was reported in Singapore.
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