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55,000 spectators to be allowed at Motera for England-India test match: What is the maximum number of spectators who can watch the forthcoming third cricket test match against England at Ahmedabad’s Motera stadium? The stadium has a capacity of 110,000, but the Gujarat Cricket Association (GCA) can allow only 50% of the capacity – that’s 55,000 spectators. If all the tickets get sold out it will mean the biggest number of spectators since the Covid-19 pandemic. This will be the first international match at the revamped stadium. It will be a day-night encounter. Motera has two kinds of pitches: of the 11 available pitches, six are made with red soil and five are regular ones. Both options will be made available. (17-02-2021)
Cheaper alternative to organic light-emitting diodes: The chemistry department of Sardar Patel University (SPU) has developed a cheaper alternative to the organic light-emitting diodes (OLEDs) used in the display units of cell phones, tablets, television sets and similar electronic devices. The substitute material enables a better display of colours on screens, and the fabrication process is also cost-effective. The compound developed by SPU is 50% cheaper than the material used currently. The compound was developed as part of a project funded by the Department of Science and Technology. (17-02-2021)
If you do not have a toilet, you cannot contest a panchayat election: An Ahmedabad district panchayat election candidate found that her nomination was rejected because her house does not have a toilet. It is compulsory for every panchayat candidate to first prove that he or she has a toilet facility at home. The lady in question was a candidate from the Singarva seat for the Ahmedabad district panchayat. She does not have a toilet at her home in Kanbha, from where she filed her nomination. Incidentally, the lady owns a fair amount of gold, has a flat in Ahmedabad, and drives an expensive SUV. But the rules are the rules, and the rules must be followed, so her nomination was rejected. (16-02-2021)
Physical fitness programme designed for Vadodara police force: The Vadodara police department is taking steps to improve the physical fitness of the city’s cops. Over 2,800 police personnel are presently going through medical check-ups at several hospitals in the city. After the reports are in, each person will be given a customised diet plan, exercise routine and stress management guidance. The health programme has been put together by a 10-member health advisory committee consisting of specialist doctors  and experts in lifestyle diseases. Police personnel often work irregular hours and this affects their lifestyle, food timings and sleeping habits. (16-02-2021)
Dr. Umakant Dash appointed director of IRMA: Dr. Umakant Dash has taken over charge as the director of the Institute of Rural Management, Anand (IRMA). He comes in place of professor Hitesh Bhatt, who retired after his three-year term ended in November 2021. Dr. Dash has a PhD in applied economics from the Indian Institute of Technology, Kanpur, and specialises in macroeconomics and health economics. He was earlier the head of the Department of Humanities and Social Sciences at IIT Madras. (16-02-2021)
Night curfew hours cut in four major Gujarat cities: The Gujarat government has extended till February 28 the night curfew imposed in Ahmedabad, Surat, Vadodara and Rajkot. According to the revised timings, the curfew will be from midnight to 6 am. (15-02-2021)
FASTag mandatory for all vehicles from February 15 midnight: FASTag will be mandatory for all vehicles from February 15 midnight. If you are going for a road trip after Monday midnight, you will need a FASTag for your vehicle. The Radio Frequency Identification tag facilitates electronic payment of fees at toll plazas. Vehicles without FASTag will have to pay twice the toll amount. The deadline for implementation of FASTag will not be extended. The National Electronic Toll Collection FASTag is a sticker that can be attached to the windshield of your car. The RFID-enabled barcode linked with registration details of your vehicle allows toll amounts to be deducted digitally from your prepaid balance, thereby allowing cars to pass seamlessly without interacting with people at the toll plaza.
... You can buy FASTag for your vehicle at certain toll plazas across the country by producing identification and vehicle registration documents.
... You can also buy it online on portals such as Paytm and Amazon.in or on the websites of certain banks such as HDFC Bank, SBI, ICICI Bank, Axis Bank, Kotak Bank, etc.
... All lanes in the fee plazas on National Highways shall be declared as FASTag lanes.
... The cost of buying FASTag will depend on the type of your vehicle and the website you are getting it from.
... You can recharge your FASTag digital wallet using internet banking, credit or debit cards and UPI.
... A FASTag is valid for five years from the date of purchase and the recharge amount does not have any extended validity period associated with it.
... People who are exempted from paying tolls, like judges, ministers, lawmakers, top bureaucrats and military officers, and emergency service workers, do not need to get FASTag.
... FASTag was first introduced in 2016.
... Fitment of FASTag in M&N categories of motor vehicles has been in effect from January 1, 2021. Category ‘M’ stands for a motor vehicle with at least four wheels used for carrying passengers. Category ‘N’ stands for a motor vehicle with at least four wheels used for carrying goods, which may also carry persons in addition to goods. (15-02-2021)
Renovated Motera cricket stadium ready for its first match: The renovated Motera cricket stadium is ready to stage its first test match. Ticket booking for the third test match between India and England at this venue – the world’s largest cricket stadium – has started from today. The authorities will allow spectators up to a maximum of 50% of the stadium’s capacity. England will play two test matches here (February 24-28 and March 4-8). Motera will also host all the five T20 internationals (March 12, 14, 16, 18 and 20). (14-02-2021)
Basketball tournament honours talented state player: The first edition of the Parikshit Memorial Basketball Tournament organised in January 2021 in Vadodara has been started in the memory of Parikshit Ambegaonkar. Parikshit was a basketball player in the state who shone in national tournaments and was also a very good coach. He had also coached the Baroda and Gujarat basketball teams. He was working as a basketball coach in St Kabir’s School. He passed away at the early age of 35, and the tournament has been started partly to assist the Ambegaonkar family. (14-02-2021)
Gujarat schools will resume classes 6 to 8 from February 18: The Gujarat government has announced that normal functioning for classes 6 to 8 will be resumed in schools from February 18. Permission has already been given to resume normal functioning for classes 9 to 12. The government has also decided to have online education parallel to the classes. All the schools will have to follow Covid-19 guidelines as well as the Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) for the resumption of education. The attendance of the students will not be mandatory, but the schools and colleges will have to get written consent from the parents of the students. The entire teaching staff and all students will have to be checked for their temperature. (13-02-2021)
Pharmaceutical major seeks help on cyber security from NFSU Gandhinagar: In order to protect its assets from cyber attacks, a large pharmaceutical major in Mumbai has turned for help to the National Forensic Sciences University (NFSU) in Gandhinagar. For this cyber security assistance the firm has signed a Rs. 90-lakh MoU with NFSU; the latter will provide cyber security monitoring, audit and analysis. The university will provide a security operations and emergency operations centre to the firm. Cyber attacks are a big worry for companies and they need to safeguard sensitive information about R&D projects, products under development, intellectual property and formulations. According to government sources, there were about 7 lakh cyber attacks in 2020. (13-02-2021)
Convention of Association of Domestic Tour Operators at Statue of Unity: A three-day annual convention has been organised from Friday at the Statue of Unity (SoU) in Kevadia by the Association of Domestic Tour Operators (ADTO). The convention is being supported by the ministry of tourism and over 350 delegates – government officials, industry representatives, tour operators, airlines representatives, hoteliers – are expected to attend. There will be business sessions dealing with current topics on tourism, product presentations, and business to business meetings with travel, tourism and hospitality partners. An exhibition showcasing various travel products has also been organised. (13-02-2021)
‘Build art gallery, or we will boycott civic polls’: Some artists in Vadodara have decided that they will boycott the forthcoming civic polls if the Vadodara Municipal Corporation (VMC) does not set up an art gallery in the old city. VMC had pulled down the Swami Vivekananda Gallery which was located in Badamdibaug a few years back in order to make room for a citizen facilitation centre, a video conference hall and a gallery. However, that plan was subsequently changed and the Central Command and Control Centre (CCCC) and the fire brigade headquarters came up instead at the site. So, now the civic body has no gallery of its own. There is a shortage of suitable exhibition spaces, and the Badamdibaug gallery was both affordable and centrally located. Left with few avenues of making their displeasure known, the artists are now saying “No gallery, no vote”. (12-02-2021)
Outpatient services were closed on Thursday after attack on doctor: Many doctors in Vadodara closed their outpatient departments on Thursday to express their displeasure after an attack on a doctor in the city on 9th February. A urologist in a private hospital was attacked by the relatives of a patient because they were unhappy with the treatment. Over 10,000 doctors associated with the Vadodara Hospitals Association, Indian Medical Association Vadodara, and other bodies stayed away from work. The police department is looking into the matter. (12-02-2021)
Dismantling of decommissioned aircraft carrier INS Viraat stopped: The Supreme Court has for the time being stopped the further dismantling of the Indian Navy’s decommissioned aircraft carrier INS Viraat. The aircraft carrier was supposed to be dismantled in Gujarat at Alang, the world's largest ship graveyard, and then sold as scrap. The centaur-class INS Viraat was in service with the Indian Navy for 29 years before it was decommissioned in March 2017. It served in the British Navy as HMS Hermes from November 1959 to April 1984 and after refurbishment it was commissioned into the Indian Navy. A Supreme Court bench has issued notice to the Centre and others seeking their responses on a petition by a firm which wants to convert the ship into a maritime museum and multi-functional adventure centre. The firm has offered Rs. 100 crore to the company that has bought it as scrap. (11-02-2021)
‘Nritya Parva’ held virtually for the first time in 40 years: ‘Nritya Parva’ is organised every year in the city in memory of Anjali Mehr, the former head of the Department of Dance at MS University’s Faculty of Performing Arts. The annual three-day international dance festival has been organised for 40 years. This year, for the first time, it happened virtually from Monday. ‘Nritya Parva’ is being organised by the Anjali Memorial Committee (AMC) with the support of MS University’s Office of Alumni Affairs and Donor’s Relations and the Indian Council for Cultural Relations (ICCR), Gujarat. This year the event is also paying tribute to four internationally acclaimed artists – Dr. Kapila Vatsyayan, Phillip Zarrilli, Astad Deboo and Dr. Sunil Kothari. (11-02-2021)
Schedule specified for six city mayors in Gujarat: The Gujarat state election commission has now declared the reservation schedule for the mayors of the state’s six municipal corporations, according to the Bombay Provincial Municipal Corporations (Reservation in the office of the Mayor) Amendment Rules, 2021:
... Ahmedabad will get its next mayor from the scheduled caste (SC) councillors for the first two and a half years. It will get a woman mayor in the second two and a half years.
... Surat will get a woman mayor for the first two and a half years and a mayor from the general category in the next two and a half years.
... Vadodara will get a mayor from the general category in the first two and a half years and a woman mayor in the next two and a half years.
... Rajkot will get a mayor from other backward classes (OBC) for the first two and a half years and a woman mayor after that for the next two and a half years.
... Bhavnagar will get a woman mayor in the first half of the term and an OBC mayor in the second half.
... Jamnagar will get a woman mayor in the first half and a mayor from SC in the second half of the term. (11-02-2021)
Bank employees may go on strike on March 15 and 16: Over 55,000 public sector bank employees in 18,000 branches in Gujarat may participate in the nationwide bank strike on March 15 and 16. March 13 is a second-Saturday holiday and March 14 is a Sunday, so banks may effectively be closed for four days. The strike call – against the proposed privatisation of two-state owned lenders – has been given by the United Forum of Bank Unions (UFBU). If the strike materialises, transactions worth Rs. 60,000 crore may be affected. (10-02-2021)
Pedestrians have a right to walk safely in the city: In a recent report the ministry of road transport and highways (MoRTH) said that every third person who died in road accidents in Ahmedabad in 2019 was a pedestrian. Of the 439 deaths, 135 were pedestrians. The high number of accidents involving pedestrians suggests that the city does not have proper footpaths for pedestrians or that they have been encroached upon. The city footpaths are not only encroached upon but are also used as parking space for two-wheelers and four-wheelers, forcing people to walk on the road. It is quite likely that the situation in Vadodara is not very different from that in Ahmedabad. Should not the citizen’s right to  walk be respected by municipal planners and the police department? (10-02-2021)
Income tax returns were filed by 5.78 crore individuals: Here are some interesting statistics from the Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT):
... 5.78 crore individuals filed their income tax returns for the financial year 2018-19.
... There are 1.46 crore taxpayers in India – out of the total population of 130 crore.
... 1 crore taxpayers reported income in the range of Rs. 5-10 lakh.
... 46 lakh reported income of over Rs. 10 lakh.
... 4.32 crore individuals reported income below the tax bracket.
... 3.16 lakh reported an income of over Rs. 50 lakhs.
... 8,600 reported income of over Rs. 5 crore.
... The salary earning taxpayers pay three times more tax than the non-salary earning taxpayers.
... 4% of the taxpayers pay 60% of the total tax revenue generated.
... The direct tax to GDP ratio is 5.1%.
... The total tax to GDP ratio is 9.88%. (09-02-2021)
Employment figures for women in the defence services: What are the employment figures for women in the defence services? The following are some details provided recently in the Rajya Sabha:
... The Indian Navy has the maximum percentage of women in its workforce among the three services, at 6.5 per cent.
... The percentage of women in the Army and the Indian Air Force is 0.56 per cent and 1.08 per cent.
... 6,807 women are employed in the Army; the number of men serving in the force is 12,18,036.
... The number of women and men in the IAF is 1,607 and 1,46,727 respectively.
... The number of women serving the Navy is 704 while the strength of men in the force is 10,108.
... The government has sanctioned 1,700 posts for women in the Military Police Corps in a phased manner. (09-02-2021)
Vadodara district’s waterbodies have over 1,000 crocodiles: A recent census has revealed that there are over 1,000 crocodiles in the waterbodies of Vadodara district. Vadodara has the largest number of crocodiles among all districts of Gujarat. There are 270 crocodiles in the Vishwamitri river which passes through the city; this includes adult as well as baby crocodiles. Most of the crocodiles are in the stretches of the river near Bhimnath Bridge, Central Jail, Sayajibaug and Kala Ghoda Circle. Crocodiles are also found in the Dhadhar River, Dev River, Mahi River, Ajwa Lake and about 50 ponds in the district. About 60% of the crocodiles are adults (over five foot long) and the rest are babies (two to five feet). The forest department formed 11 teams to count the crocodiles along the 17-km stretch of the Vishwamitri River from the Vadodara-Ahmedabad Expressway to Talsat village in Makarpura. (09-02-2021)
City police launch 'SHE' team to assist women: Did you know that the Vadodara police department has started a 'SHE' team at the Police Bhavan? The 'SHE' team is a special centre which will focus exclusively on problems faced by women in the city.
... The centre will encourage women to approach the police if they face any crime.
... The centre will focus on providing a conducive environment for women to file complaints or narrate their harrowing experiences.
... In addition to helping the victim to file a complaint, the 'SHE' team will also counsel her. Women will be counselled by a team of policemen who are being trained to deal with victims.
... A technical data centre has been proposed to store details of all the cases that are registered. A police sub-inspector and four cops will do the work of recording all the data.
... The SHE team will not only deal with crimes, it will also offer other help to women and senior citizens.
L&T has approved – in principle – a proposal to sponsor the cost of the centre. (08-02-2021)
Election expenditure limits revised: The Gujarat State Election Commission (SEC) has revised the maximum limits of election expenditure for the candidates of various self-governance institutions:
... For the municipal corporations, a candidate can spend Rs. 6 lakh (earlier it was Rs. 4 lakh).
... For a nagar palika with more than nine wards, a candidate can spend Rs. 2.25 lakh (earlier it was Rs. 1.5 lakh).
... For a nagar palika with less than nine wards, a candidate can spend Rs. 1.5 lakh (earlier it was Rs. 1 lakh).
... For a taluka panchayat, a candidate can spend Rs. 2 lakh (earlier it was Rs. 1.25 lakh). (08-02-2021)
Fee Regulation Committee fines four schools for overcharging students: The Fee Regulation Committee (FRC) in Vadodara has ruled against four city schools for overcharging fees and taking charges or fees under heads that were not included in their approved fee structure. The schools will have pay up over Rs. 1 crore. The FRC acted after complaints were received from parents of some children in Podar World School, Podar International School, Delhi Public School (DPS) at Harni and DPS at Kalali. The schools can appeal against the decision of the FRC in the revision committee or the court. Similar action had been taken recently against St Kabir School and Global Discovery Academy. (07-02-2021)
Sunetra Paranjpe appointed head coach of BCA women’s team: Former India cricketer Sunetra Paranjpe will be the head coach of the Baroda women’s team. The appointment was announced by the Baroda Cricket Association (BCA). Ms Paranjpe is an International Cricket Council (ICC) level 1 coach and NLP practitioner. She has worked as Under-19, Under-23 and senior women’s team coach with the Mumbai Cricket Association. She was also a trainer for the Indian Railways Under-23 women’s team. During her cricketing career she played as a right hand batswoman and medium pacer and was a member of the Indian women’s team between 2002 and 2007. She played in 28 one-day internationals and three test matches. Mandar Sane has been appointed the bowling coach of the Baroda women’s team. A former Maharashtra Ranji team player, Ms Sane is a BCCI level B coach with 10 years of coaching experience. She has in the past played for Mumbai and West Zone. (06-02-2021)
Lower courts in four major cities will resume from March 1: The lower courts in Gujarat’s four major cities – Ahmedabad, Vadodara, Surat and Rajkot – will resume working physically from March 1. The Gujarat high court has taken this decision following a reduction in the number of Covid-19 cases and requests from the bar associations. On November 4, the high court had permitted all lower courts in the state to open courtrooms, but not in the four major cities. The latest circular says, "All subordinate courts (except those in micro-containment zones, if any) at district headquarters of Ahmedabad, Surat, Vadodara and Rajkot shall start functioning physically with regular court working hours of 10.45 am to 6.10 pm." All guidelines issued by the Centre and the state government must be followed once the courtrooms are open. (06-02-2021)
Surat-Vadodara Memu train from February 9: From February 11, the Western Railway (WR) will run Memu trains with 12 reserved coaches on the Vadodara-Surat route:
... Vadodara-Surat Memu train: Dep Vadodara at 5.50 am, Arr Surat at 9.15 am.
... Surat-Vadodara Memu train: Dep Surat at 5.38 pm, Arr Vadodara at 9.20 pm. (06-02-2021)
Indian Institute of Skills to be set up in Gandhinagar: An Indian Institute of Skills (IIS) will be set up at Nasmed by the Labour and Employment department of the Gujarat government in collaboration with the Tata Group. Nasmed, 20 km from Ahmedabad, is in Gandhinagar district. IIS will follow the not-for-profit PPP model. Work will start at the earliest. The government has allotted 20 acres of land for the institute. The Tata Education Development Trust is contributing the capital investment. About 5,000 students are expected to complete its courses each year. The fields of study include:
... Artificial intelligence
... Cybersecurity
... Additive manufacturing
... Augmented reality
... System integration
... Cloud-based applications
... Simulation solutions
The Union government has also approved similar institutes in Mumbai and Kanpur. (05-02-2021)
Gujarat high court will celebrate diamond jubilee: A commemorative postage stamp will be released on Saturday on the diamond jubilee of the Gujarat high court. The high court was established after the state of Gujarat was carved out from Bombay state in 1960. During the virtual celebration the prime minister will release the stamp and address Gujarat high court judges and members of its bar. (05-02-2021)
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