Current Affairs January 2014

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India’s first monorail inaugurated in Mumbai

India’s first monorail service started in Mumbai. The monorail service that would link the city to major stations began its first phase of 8.93 km between Wadala and Chembur in the eastern fringes of the Commercial Capital.

  • The first phase of the monorail covered seven stations:  Wadala depot, Mysore Colony, BhaktiPark, Bharat Petroleum, V.N. Purav Marg, Fertiliser Colony, and Chembur.
  • Will be able to carry about 2,500 passengers (each car will accommodate 568 commuters). The fares will be between Rs. 5 and Rs. 11.
  • Average speed: 65 km/hr; Maximum speed: 80 km/hr.
  • Expected to reduce the travel time between Wadala and Chembur by almost half. It takes 40 minutes at present but the monorail will take only about 21 minutes.

Second phase – connecting Wadala with Sant Gadge Maharaj Chowk in South Mumbai will be completed by mid-2015.

  • It will cover a distance of 11.2 km and include the following 11 stations: Chinchpokli, Chembur Naka, Wadala Bridge, Mint Colony, Acharya Atra Nagar, Antop Hill, Wadala, GTB Nagar, Fertilizer Company and Bharat Petroleum.
  • Mumbai monorail will display three colours — pink, green and blue.
  • The project executed by a consortium of engineering major Larsen and Toubro Ltd (L&T) and Malaysian firm Scomi Engineering and owned and operated by Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority (MMRDA).

The overall monorail project covers a 19.17 km stretch in the Chembur-Wadala-Jacob Circle corridor, which will be the second longest corridor with 17 stations. (The longest one is Japan’s Osaka Monorail).

What is Monorail?

A monorail is a rail-based transportation system based on a single rail, which acts as its sole support and its guideway. The term is also used variously to describe the beam of the system, or the vehicles travelling on such a beam or track. The beam in a monorail system is narrower than the vehicle.

Note: After the launch of Mumbai monorail, India joined the elite group of countries viz. the U.S., Germany, China, Japan, Australia and Malaysia that run monorails.


Mahatma Gandhi’s grand daughter Ela Gandhi honored with prestigious South African Award ‘Amadelakupha’

Screenshot_4Mahatma Gandhi’s grand daughter, Ms. Ela Gandhi honored with the Prestigious South African Award, ‘Amadelakupha’ by the South African Government. This award was also given to Sunny Singh and Mac Maharaj of Indian Decent. The South African Government stated that Ms. Gandhi selected for the award in recognition for her lifetime contribution to the freedom struggle in South Africa.

She formed the trio of Indian-origin South Africans along with Sunny Singh and Mac Maharaj. These three played an active role in the Umkhonto we Sizwe (Spear of the Nation). The Umkhonto we Sizwe was the armed struggle wing of the African National Congress (ANC).
Former Umkhonto we Sizwe members were incorporated into the South African defence force after the advent of democracy in 1994 following the release of Nelson Mandela to become the first democratically-elected president. Mr. Mandela was the first democratically-elected president of South Africa.

About Ms. Ela Gandhi
  • Born: July 1, 1940 in Durban, South Africa.
  • Peace activist and was a Member of Parliament in South Africa from 1994-2004
  • Awards: Community of Christ International Peace Award, Padma Bhushan award(2007), Pravasi Bhartiya Award (2014) and Umkhonto we Sizwe.
  • Developed a 24-hour program against domestic violence, founded the Gandhi Development Trust.
  • Chaired the Mahatma Gandhi Salt March Committee and the Mahatma Gandhi Development Trust.
  • And also served as the Chancellor of Durban University of Technology for many years.

Note: The award title, ‘Amadelakufa’ means ‘those who are prepared to make sacrifices’ in Zulu language and was hosted by the South African military.


Govt. launched “India Inclusive Innovation Fund (I.I.I.F.)”

The National Innovation Council (NIC), in partnership with the Ministry of Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSME), launched the India Inclusive Innovation Fund (IIIF). IIIF is an impact investment fund that will invest in ventures catering to the country’s poor. It is an autonomous Rs. 500-crore fund, with the Union Government contributing 20 %. The balance will come from public sector banks, financial institutions, insurance companies, multilateral/bilateral development agencies, Indian & global corporates.

About India Inclusive Innovation Fund (I.I.I.F.)
  • Objective: To expand the corpus to Rs 5,000 crores over the next 24 months and to provide modest financial returns, while ensuring significant social impact to the community.
  • Focus on: healthcare, food and nutrition, agriculture, education, energy, financial inclusion, environment, technology as an enable.
  • Will be registered under SEBI’s Alternative Investment Fund Category I guidelines with an initial corpus of Rs 500 crore, with the Ministry of MSME committing to 20% (Rs 100 crore) and the balance being given by banks, insurance companies, overseas financial and development institutions.
  • Help to create a new class of capital or venture capital to set up and scale entrepreneurial skills and innovation in the firms delivering goods and service to the poorest of the country.
  • Combined innovation and the dynamism of enterprise to solve the problems of citizens at the base of the economic pyramid in India.
  • The Fund will invest in innovative ventures that are scalable, sustainable and profitable.
  • It will address social needs of less privileged citizens in areas viz. healthcare, food, nutrition, agriculture, education / skill development, energy, financial inclusion, water, sanitation, employment generation, etc.