Entry & darshan at Char Dham shrines via QR codes
With a huge turnout of pilgrims expected this year at the four Himalayan shrines of Gangotri, Yamunotri, Kedarnath and Badrinath — over 81,000 have registered for Kedarnath and Badrinath alone in past three days — the Uttarakhand government has taken to technology to facilitate a smooth pilgrimage.
Last year, during the peak of the Char Dham yatra season, there were instances of pilgrims waiting for hours in biting cold for darshan at the high-altitude shrines.
India ranks 47th in OECD’s service trade restrictiveness index
Due to Russia-Ukraine war, Russia slipped to 48th position in the index. The report highlighted the privatisation of Air India, elimination of pricing guidelines for transfers of shares between residents and non residents, and restriction of foreign participation in certain services sectors.
Reflecting presence of huge market barriers in the country, India stood at 47th position in Services Trade Restrictiveness Index(STRI) conducted by the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) for the year 2022. However, there was an improvement from last year’s ranking by one position.
PM Modi inaugurates Aadi Mahotsav tribal festival
Prime Minister Narendra Modi inaugurated the TRIFED’s Aadi Mahotsav tribal festival in New Delhi, saying that the coming together of the diverse tribal cultures of India at an event such as this one was “giving new heights to unity in diversity”.
Inaugurating the nearly two-week-long showcase and exhibition of tribal artefacts, handicrafts, handlooms and other products at the Major Dhyan Chand National Stadium, the Prime Minister first paid floral tributes to a statue of tribal freedom fighter Birsa Munda along with Tribal Affairs Minister Arjun Munda, before taking a walk through the stalls set up by over 1,000 tribal artisans and craftspeople, from all over the country.
India to spend 75% of defence capital on procurement from local industries: Rajnath Singh
In a boost to the government’s plans to achieve greater self-reliance in defence, India will spend 75 per cent of its defence capital in 2023-24 on procurement from the domestic industry, up from 68 per cent in 2022-23, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh said.
The announcement was made at the Bandhan ceremony on the sidelines of the five-day Aero India, 2023. As many as 266 partnerships were forged during the event, including 201 MoUs, 53 major announcements, nine product launches and three Transfers of Technology, worth around Rs 80,000 crore, the Defence Ministry said.
The overall Defence budget earmarked for 2023-24 is Rs 5.94 lakh crore, including pensions of Rs 1.38 lakh crore, up by 12.9 per cent from Rs 5.25 lakh crore allocated in the previous (2022-23) fiscal. This is 13.18 per cent of the total Budget outlay of Rs 45,03,097 crore.
Centre extends ethanol subsidy scheme till March 2023
The government has given in-principle approval for 95 more ethanol projects under the new window of Ethanol Interest Subvention Schemes. The decision is expected to add an annual ethanol production capacity of around 480 crore liters in the country.
The Department of Food and Public Distribution said, out of these projects, 68 are grain-based, 20 are molasses based, and seven projects are based on dual feedstock. These projects have the potential to bring an investment of about 12,000usand crore rupees and will create hundreds of employment opportunities in rural India.