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1. CCI Releases ‘Market Study on E-commerce in India: Key Findings and Observations’
The Market Study on E-commerce in India (‘the study’) was initiated by the CCI in April 2019 with a view to better understand the functioning of e-commerce in India and its implications for markets and competition. The objective was also to identify impediments to competition, if any, emerging from e-commerce and to ascertain the Commission’s enforcement and advocacy priorities in light of the same.
The study is a combination of secondary research, questionnaire survey, focused group discussions, one-on-one meetings, a multi-stakeholder workshop and written submissions of stakeholders.
A total of 16 online platforms, 164 business entities [including sellers (manufacturers and retailers) and service providers (hotels and restaurants)] and 7 payment system providers from across India participated in the study. Apart from above, 11 industry associations, representing different stakeholder groups, also participated in it.
2. Cabinet approves India-Mongolia agreement on space cooperation
The Cabinet gave its approval for an Agreement between India and Mongolia on Cooperation in the Exploration and Uses of Outer Space for Peaceful and Civilian Purposes. The agreement was signed in New Delhi on 20th September last year during the visit of the President of Mongolia to India.
The Cabinet also gave its approval for signing a Memorandum of Understanding with the Department for International Development Government of the United Kingdom for Enabling Energy Self-Sufficiency for Indian Railways.
The Cabinet was apprised of the Agreement on cooperation in polar science between Ministry of Earth Sciences, Government of India and Ministry of Education and Research, Sweden. The MoU was signed on 2nd of last month during the visit of King and Queen of Sweden to India.
The Cabinet gave its approval for the ratification of the Migration and Mobility Partnership Agreement between India and France. The Agreement was signed in March 2018 during the State visit of the French President to India.
3. Cabinet approves capital grant for North-East Natural Gas Pipeline Grid
The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) on Wednesday approved the North East Gas Grid Project of Indradhanush Gas Grid Ltd (IGGL) with viability gap funding at 60 percent of the estimated cost of Rs 9,265 crore.
The Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas (MoPNG) will identify milestones for major activities of the project and link the releases of capital grant. The total length of the pipeline is 1,656 km. The gas pipeline grid will be developed in eight states – Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, Manipur, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Nagaland, Sikkim, and Tripura.
The availability of natural gas across the region is expected to boost industrial growth without impacting the environment and offer a better quality of life to the people in general due to the use of cleaner and green fuel.
IGGL is a joint venture company of five central public sector enterprises – IOCL, ONGC, GAIL, OIL, and NRL.
4. LIGO–Virgo claims another neutron-star merger
Gravitational waves from the merger of two neutron stars were observed by the LIGO Livingston detector on 25 April 2019 – according to an international team of astrophysicists in the LIGO and Virgo collaborations. This is the second time that a signal from such an event has been seen and the merger is puzzling astrophysicists because it appears to have created an object with “unusually high mass”.
In a paper that has been submitted to The Astrophysical Journal Letters, the researchers say that the merger occurred about 500 million light-years away.
The first gravitational-wave detection of merging neutron stars, called GW170817, made history back in 2017. It was first-time astronomers spotted both gravitational waves and light from the same cosmic event — the dawn of an era of so-called “multi-messenger astronomy.”
However, because only one of three LIGO-Virgo detectors picked up this most recent merger — which occurred on April 25, 2019, and is dubbed GW190425 — researchers were unable to pinpoint its precise location. This prevented them from spotting any light that it may have released. Of course, that’s if it even released any light in the first place.
5. Indian Army begins work on GOCO Model
Indian Army revealed that the Army is planning to operationalize the GOCO (Government Owned, Contractor Operated) system for the procurement and maintenance of equipment.
About GOCO Model:
- The GOCO model was one of the recommendations of the Lt. Gen. DB Shekatkar (Retd.) committee to enhance combat capability and re-balancing defence expenditure.
- In the GOCO model, the assets owned by the government will be operated by the private industries.
- The Private companies need not make investments on land, machinery and other support systems.
- The missions are set by the government and the private sectors are given full independence in implementing the missions using their best practices.
Significance of the model:
- The main advantage of the model is that the targets are achieved in a lesser time frame.
- It will also boost the competitiveness among the private entities.
- It also helps in reducing government expenditure on armed forces and increase the combat capability of the army.
6. Leo Carter becomes the seventh cricketer to hit six 6s in an over
New Zealand’s batsman Leo Carter became just the seventh batsman in the history of cricket to smash six 6s in an over. He achieved the feat in New Zealand’s domestic T20 tournament Super Smash. Carter, who is playing for Canterbury scored 6 sixes against Northern Knights.
Carter smashed Knight’s Anton Devcich for six 6s in the 16th over of the innings, while chasing 220. This enabled Canterbury to register a win over Knights by seven wickets and with seven balls to spare.
7. Uber ties up with Hyundai to develop electric air taxis
US ride-hailing company Uber Technologies and South Korean automaker Hyundai Motor plan to jointly develop electric air taxis. Hyundai will unveil a concept electric aircraft developed with Uber at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES), which kicks off in Las Vegas, with the model designed to carry up to four passengers with a pilot and fly on trips of up to 60 miles (100 km).
Uber has pledged to begin demonstrator urban flights in 2020 and commercial operations in 2023 as part of its project, which also counts Boeing subsidiary Aurora Flight Sciences as one of its partner firms. Hyundai is the first carmaker to team up with Uber on the project.
8. ASCEND 2020: Kochi to host Global Investors Meet on 9-10 Jan
Kochi, Kerala will host the Global Investors Meet: ASCEND 2020. ASCEND 2020 will showcase 18 mega projects with over Rs 100 crore investment each and offering direct employment to over 9,000 people.
The projects include: Kochi-to-Palakkad integrated manufacturing cluster, an electronic hardware park in Ernakulam district, integrated solid-waste management systems in Thiruvananthapuram, Thrissur and Malappuram, a medium density fibreboard plant in Perumbavoor and a defence park at Ottappalam, and many other projects.
The meet will be organised by the Industries Department. The Invest Kerala Portal: “invest.kerala.gov.in” will also be showcased at the meet.
Invest Kerala Portal is a single-window facilitator for hassle-free investment promotion launched under its ease of doing business initiative.