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Showing posts from December 4, 2016

Sebi to soon allow investments in mutual funds through digital wallets (livemint)

For mutual fund purchases above Rs50,000, there will be an additional KYC process required. Photo: Abhijit Bhatlekar/Mint


Mumbai: The capital markets regulator may soon allow investors to buy mutual funds worth as much as Rs50,000 a month through digital wallets, in keeping with the government’s aim of increasing digital transactions, according to two people with direct knowledge of the discussions.

The talks were held between officials of the Securities and Exchange Board of India (Sebi) and the Association of Mutual Funds in India (Amfi).

Mutual fund schemes will be the only products in which transactions worth up to Rs50,000 will be allowed through e-wallets. For all other products, the existing limit of Rs10,000 a month will remain. (The central bank on 23 November raised the limit to Rs20,000, in the wake of the government’s demonetisation move.)

“Sebi is keen to allow e-wallet transactions in mutual funds as part of its efforts to digitize the distribution processes for all financi…

This tool may improve breast cancer surgery(thehindu)

Researchers have developed a new cost-effective and portable pH-sensitive optical fibre to distinguish breast cancer tissue from normal tissue, a finding that can potentially help surgeons to be much more precise when removing breast cancer.

The device could help prevent follow-up surgery, currently needed for 15-20 per cent of breast cancer surgery patients where all the cancer is not removed. “We have designed and tested a fibre-tip pH probe that has very high sensitivity for differentiating between healthy and cancerous tissue with an extremely simple setup that is fully portable,” said Erik Schartner, post-doctoral student at the University of Adelaide.


“Because it is cost-effective to do measurements in this manner compared to many other medical technologies, we see a clear scope for this technology in operating theaters,” mr. Schartner said.

Current surgical techniques to remove cancer lack a reliable method to identify the tissue type during surgery. Due to this, surgeons often pe…

Nine years on, elephant safari back with a bang(thehindu)

Nine years after the death of its “most dependable” elephant Arundhati, authorities at the Rajaji Tiger Reserve have restarted the elephant safari, this time betting on three tuskers — Raja, Rangeeli and Radha.

Arundhati, which was called the “elephant queen of Indian jungles”, had served at the Rajaji reserve from 1981 till her death in 2007.


According to the former Uttarakhand Principal Chief Conservator of Forests, Srikant Chandola, “After the death of Rajaji’s finest and most dependable Arundhati, only male elephants were mostly left in the tiger reserve [then, Rajaji National Park]. Mahouts find it difficult to control male elephants.”

Former Director of Rajaji National Park S.S. Rasaily added: “There was no elephant safari in Rajaji after Arundhati’s death [in 2007] since most of the elephants brought into the Park were court properties and could not be used for safaris.”

The tiger reserve, located at the foothills of the Himalayas, is spread across 1,075 sq. km in Uttarakhand’s Deh…

Iran says it’s ready to mediate between India and Pakistan(thehindu)

‘We are working with India to create a formal economy in Afghanistan’


Iran is willing to mediate between India and Pakistan if asked to play a role, said Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif on Saturday.

Pitching for regional connectivity and shared prosperity in South Asia, Mr. Zarif strongly argued against terrorism and said that Iran was partnering with India to stabilise Afghanistan.

“Iran is a close friend of India as well as Pakistan. We would like the relations between our friends to improve. We are ready to do whatever we can, if both our friends so desire,” said Mr. Zarif at a think tank event.



Mr. Zarif was in Delhi before proceeding to Amritsar, where he will participate in the Heart of Asia conference on Afghanistan.

He said that India and Iran were working to provide Afghanistan with access to the port of Chahbahar which will help address “root causes” of Afghan crisis.

“Afghan economy is an informal war economy based on war-lordism and drug trade,” said Mr. Zarif and added, “w…

IB Director says ‘no’ to extension (the hindu)

The chief of the Intelligence Bureau (IB) has turned down the government’s offer for an extension, The Hindu has learnt.

The decision by the IB chief has come as a surprise to many as the NDA government is known for retaining retired bureaucrats at key posts.


Dineshwar Sharma, a 1979-batch IPS officer of Kerala cadre was appointed in 2014 as Director, IB for a fixed tenure of two years by the NDA government. He retires on December 31.

“He was offered an extension but he turned it down. The government was keen that he continues in service,” said a senior government official.

Mr Sharma had worked with National Security Advisor (NSA) Ajit Doval during the latter’s earlier stint as IB chief. Known to keep a low-profile, Mr. Sharma was handpicked by the NDA government to head the IB by superceding two officers.

Mr. Sharma’s decision has come as a surprise to many in the bureaucratic circles as there are many examples of officers seeking post-retirement benefits from the government.

“Even though …

Edison’s lab door key, light bulbs go under the hammer (thehindu)

Thomas Alva Edison’s door key to the 19th century lab in New Jersey where he invented the phonograph goes up for auction this weekend, along with light bulbs he perfected. Six keys in all from the famous inventor’s Menlo Park home and work place was set to be auctioned on Saturday in Dallas, along with five light bulbs, including two that he created. Heritage Auctions was scheduled to open the bidding on the two lots at 11 a.m. EST. The items were acquired by Charlie Knudsen, 69, of Pittsburgh and had belonged to his great-aunt. She was married to one of the attorneys whose law firm represented Edison in patent lawsuits. Tags on some of the keys list the doors that they opened, including Edison’s 1876 lab that became known as the “invention factory.” Another key says “motor shed,” and a third “shop.” Edison had applied for about 400 patents, including improvements to the incandescent bulb, before he left for New York City in 1882, said Kathleen Carlucci, director of the Thomas Edison…

Pre-historic camping site found in Ladakh (thehindu)

: In what is considered “a new opening in Indian archaeology”, an ancient camping site used by pre-historic man and datable to circa 8500 BCE (that is, 10,500 years before the present), has been found at the high altitude of about 4,200 metres near a place called Saser La in the Nubra Valley in Ladakh. Saser La leads to the Karakoram Pass.

A camping site is a place where hunter-gatherers stayed temporarily before they moved on to another place. S.B. Ota, Joint Director General, Archaeological Survey of India (ASI), found the camping site during an exploration there in 2015-16. Charcoal pieces from hearth activity and remains of bones associated with it were found at the site. The charcoal pieces sent for dating to Beta Analytic, Florida, USA, revealed that the site belonged to circa 8500 BCE.

Rakesh Tewari, Director General, ASI, called it “the earliest camping site in Ladakh”. He told The Hindu , “Such an early antiquity on the basis of a scientific date is the very first for that regi…

Upsc mains 2016 paper 1

Governance with hindsight or decision-making at the speed of light the (hindu)

Ever since Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced the demonetisation of old Rs. 500 and Rs. 1,000 notes on November 8, Ministers and officials have spent much of their waking hours trying to stay one step ahead of black marketeers and tax evaders.

A few senior Cabinet Ministers hung around 7 Lok Kalyan Marg, the Prime Ministerial residence, till nearly midnight on the day Mr. Modi made the momentous declaration, excited about the scale of the decision. But even they did not fully realise the extent to which the government machinery had to prepare for the task ahead.

Soon after Mr. Modi’s return from Japan, a daily review meeting on operational issues started. “After all, just as we hold review meetings, black marketers will also be exchanging notes on just how to subvert systems,” Mr. Modi is reported to have said in a reference to the exercise acquiring an aura of a cops-and-robbers game.



Core group

Senior officials in the Prime Minister’s Office, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley and senior…

Sebi to soon allow investments in mutual funds through digital wallets ( livemint)

Mumbai: The capital markets regulator may soon allow investors to buy mutual funds worth as much as Rs50,000 a month through digital wallets, in keeping with the government’s aim of increasing digital transactions, according to two people with direct knowledge of the discussions.

The talks were held between officials of the Securities and Exchange Board of India (Sebi) and the Association of Mutual Funds in India (Amfi).

Mutual fund schemes will be the only products in which transactions worth up to Rs50,000 will be allowed through e-wallets. For all other products, the existing limit of Rs10,000 a month will remain. (The central bank on 23 November raised the limit to Rs20,000, in the wake of the government’s demonetisation move.)

“Sebi is keen to allow e-wallet transactions in mutual funds as part of its efforts to digitize the distribution processes for all financial products,” said the first of the two people cited above, both of whom spoke on condition of anonymity. “The draft g…

Time to brush up on your science fiction

Paul Krugman would stand in line to meet Charlie Stross. The Nobel Prize-winning economist who spoke at the Hindustan Times Leadership Summit last week is a sci-fi buff and, with the conviction of a true zealot looking for an argument (I’ve been there, so trust me), told me that the British writer is the best science fiction writer alive. This was at a pre-summit dinner and the small group that had gathered around Krugman—managers of private equity funds, CEOs of global and local companies—didn’t really seem to care. Later that evening, we briefly discussed the economics and probability of commercial space travel of the kind that could enable the colonization of Mars.

That we were having a serious discussion on what was once a popular theme in sci-fi (Mars books are legion) is a sign of the times. Towards the end of the tumultuous decade that started in 2008, and characterized by flat-lining incomes, the rise of authoritarian leaders selling simple (and usually shallow, but very popula…

Due diligence, unsafe drugs (thehindu)

Goaod intentions alone are not enough to secure the public interest. For governments, the manner in which it is protected is equally vital. The Delhi High Court verdict quashing all notifications banning the manufacture and sale of 344 Fixed Dose Combination (FDC) drugs is a lesson in how not to administer a regulatory law. The ban on combination drugs that have little therapeutic value was undoubtedly done for bona fide reasons. However, the government could not convince the court that the ban was valid despite statutory bodies such as the Drug Testing Advisory Board (DTAB) and the Drugs Consultative Committee (DCC) not being involved in the process. There is little doubt that a number of combination drugs should be taken off the shelf. The government believes, as do many health activists, that some combinations are unsafe and/or promote antibiotic resistance, while others lack particular therapeutic value, justification or advantage. Justice Rajiv Sahai Endlaw has correctly refraine…

Indonesia’s blasphemy protests (thehindu)

Some 200,000 white-clad Indonesians took to the streets of Jakarta to call for the arrest of the city’s governor, Basuki Purnama. Mr. Purnama, who is a “double minority” for being ethnically Chinese and a Christian, riled the sentiments of certain hardline sections in September when he said a Koranic verse had been used to trick voters into believing that Muslims ought not be led by a non-Muslim. Since then, Indonesia has been convulsed by protests, including one near the presidential palace in early November that turned violent. The embattled Mr. Purnama has been slapped with blasphemy charges, and an investigation is ongoing. His political proximity to President Joko Widodo does not appear to have slowed the momentum of the protests. Prior to winning the presidency in 2014, Mr. Widodo was the governor of Jakarta, and Mr. Purnama, a frontrunner in the February 2017 governorship election, is on track to forge a pathway to even higher political office. Mr. Widodo has been silent on th…

Climate justice fighter wins Children’s Peace Prize (thehindu)

The 16-year-old Indian activist based in the U.A.E. isthefounder of Green Hope


A 16-year-old Indian environmental activist based in the U.A.E has won this year’s prestigious International Children’s Peace Prize for her fight for climate justice and combating environmental degradation.

Kehkashan Basu was presented the award by Bangladesh’s Nobel peace laureate Mohammad Yunus at a ceremony in The Hague.

‘Great achievement’


Mr. Yunus, who won the Nobel Peace Prize in 2006 for his efforts for economic and social development, underlined the urgency and importance of Kehkashan’s work, as more than three million children under the age of five die every year from environment-related diseases and many more suffer deeply from environmental issues.

“It is a great achievement for such a young person to already have such reach and impact with her important message,” Mr. Yunus said.

“A healthy environment is essential for the survival, well being and development of children, and therefore it is a precond…

End of the road for GKSF? (thehindu)

Tourism Departmentnot keen on goingahead withthe 10th edition


The ambitious plan to transform God’s Own Country into a hub for international shopping experience has been hit following the reluctance of the Tourism Department to go ahead with the 10th edition of the Grand Kerala Shopping Festival (GKSF).

Modelled on the lines of the highly successful Dubai shopping festival, the 45-day annual shopping event of Kerala Tourism was to have commenced across the State on December 1, but the delay in getting government clearance has virtually put the festival on hold.

“The 10th edition has been dropped and it is not possible to launch it at a later date as it needs months of planning and coordination with various stakeholders,” a GKSF official told The Hindu .



No panel meet held

The apex committee headed by the Chief Minister and the executive committee chaired by the Tourism Minister have not met. Only informal discussions were held with A.C. Moideen when he was holding the Tourism portfolio and…

Harish Hande seeks decentralisation of solar power production (thehindu)

The man who has taken solar lights and other solar light-based appliances to inaccessible areas of the country pushed for decentralising solar power production to prevent transmission and distribution losses.




Talking to reporters on the sidelines of a workshop on ‘Emerging Solar PV Technology Applications for Academics’ here on Saturday, Chairman of SELCO-India H. Harish Hande said big solar power plants lead to conflict with land and water and there would be transmission and distribution loss.




It’s better to decentralise solar power production and have units at each house/building to meet the power requirement.







Mr. Hande said lack of human resource was acting as a bottleneck in scaling up production of solar power, which was presently as low as 5 per cent in the country.




He said the curriculum in the Industrial Training Institutes (ITIs) should be remodelled to include people who can manage solar power devices and also those who can bring out innovations.




These personnel need financial su…

Digitisation only way to preserve, develop Kannada, say IT experts (thehindu)

IT experts, who spoke on the various challenges faced by Kannada in the modern era, at the 82nd Kannada Sahitya Sammelan on Saturday, felt that digitisation of literature and knowledge was the only way to preserve and develop Kannada. Speaking at a session on Kannada and the new generation, computer technologists and open source knowledge activists called for increased efforts to digitise all available knowledge in Kannada.




“Internet is to today’s world what printing was to the 18th century. If various streams of knowledge had not been expressed through printing, it would not have been available to the common man,” S.R. Vijayshankar, writer who heads the Kannada Sahitya Parishat Technical Committee, said.


“Therefore, we have to strive to add all kinds of available data in various disciplines to the Internet so that it survives for future generations to see and learn,’’ he said.



He urged the government and corporate companies to invest in teaching Kannada to non–Kannada employees, transla…

BBMP fells trees in parts to beat the law (thehindu)

If any project claims more than 50 trees, a public consultation is necessary

In a move that activists and environmentalists see as a subversion of laws framed to protect the city’s trees, the BBMP has started the process of felling 89 trees, without public consultation, for extension of the metro line between Byappanahalli and Whitefield.

However, in the 15-km Purple Line extension, BBMP has split the project into three tenders of public auctions.

While 30 trees are slated to be felled for ITPL and Satya Sai Hospital station, another 40 trees will make way for the Visvesvaraya Industrial Area and Kundalahalli stations. Nineteen trees are to be cut for the Doddannekundi station.

In contrast, last year, there were three public consultations for Phase II extension from Mysuru Road station to Kengeri (123 trees) and from Yelachenahalli to Anjanapura (190 trees), but all failed.

A 12-member tree committee was formed to look into the matter. With a decision yet to be taken, BBMP Forest Cell offi…