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Actress objects to unauthorised use of her photographs: A mehndi manufacturer in Rajasthan used the photograph of an Ahmedabad based actress on a product label without her permission. The Ahmedabad city civil court has now ordered the manufacturer to pay Rs. 5 lakh compensation to the actress. She got to know about the label in 2011 and filed a suit for copyright violation, asking for Rs. 20 lakh in damages, plus 18% interest. She said that the manufacturer’s conduct was fraudulent and an infringement of her copyright with regard to her photograph. It was argued that she is the true and lawful owner and proprietor of any picture or photograph of hers, and that she can restrain any person, firm or company from committing any act of infringement of copyright. The court order came nine years after she filed the suit. The court ordered the company to pay Rs. 5 lakh compensation with 6% interest from 2011. (07-09-2020)
Half the prisoners who escape from custody are from Gujarat: Did you know that 50% of the prisoners escaping from custody in India are from Gujarat. Most of the prison escapes were from judicial custody when the prisoners were taken outside the prison for legal proceedings or medical check-ups. This interesting fact is revealed in the latest report of the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) on prison statistics. The state has led on this front consistently since 2016. In the four years up to 2019, 826 prisoners escaped and only 235 of these were caught again. (07-09-2020)
Banni Grasslands Reserve in Kutch will be restored: The Banni Grasslands Reserve or Banni grasslands in Kutch District are known for rich wildlife and biodiversity and are currently protected as a reserve forest. The state's forest department has identified this grassland reserve as one of the last remaining habitats of the cheetah in India. The area has some forty Sindhi speaking Maldhari (cattle breeders) hamlets. The Banni grasslands once played a key role in the rural economy of Kutch, but they could not withstand the threats posed by increasing soil salinity, climate change and the invading ‘Gaando Baval’. The Gujarat government has now decided to restore the grasslands to their old splendour. The plan is to remove ‘Gaando Baval’ from around 20,000 hectares and replenish the grassland with Banni grass. In 1989, the Banni grassland area was spread over 1,42,882 hectares, which reduced to 63,073 hectares in 2009, and this deterioration has continued. The main objective is to improve the production of grass qualitatively and quantitatively by gradually replacing the inferior species of grasses by indigenous superior grass species. Once this project is complete these grasslands will produce an additional 200 lakh kg of grass. (06-09-2020)
Navrachana’s Sapna Iyer gets CBSE Teachers Award: Ms Sapna Iyer, a primary teacher at Vadodara’s Navrachana School, Sama, (NSS) has been chosen by the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) for the prestigious CBSE Teachers Award 2019. The only teacher from Gujarat among the 39 principals and teachers selected for the national award, she will receive a certificate and a cash prize of Rs 50,000. She is a mathematics teacher with triple masters degrees including an MEd as well as a UGC NET qualification. She is a Microsoft Innovation Educator Expert and adept at the use of technology in schooling. She stands out at NSS for her creative methods of teaching mathematics, creating a life-long love for this subject amongst her students and cultivating a genuine interest in it even amongst those who find it challenging. CBSE confers this award to publicly recognise the contributions of meritorious teachers. (05-09-2020)
Fuel sales in Gujarat are still at low levels: Here is a short list of the variety of factors that have limited vehicular movement and depressed the sales of petrol and diesel:
... Many people are working from home.
... Closure of schools, so less movement of school buses and private vehicles.
... Closed malls and multiplexes have limited the use of private vehicles.
... Fewer entertainment activities.
... Sluggish transport business, so sluggish diesel sales.
... Slump in tourism industry.
... Fewer leisure trips.
... Fewer business trips.
Estimates by the Federation of Gujarat Petroleum Dealers’ Association (FGPDA) indicate that fuel sales have recovered by about 85%. As people begin to move out more frequently, consumption levels should be restored to pre-Covid levels – that is, average monthly sale of 23 crore litres of petrol and 55 crore litres of diesel. (05-09-2020)
MES School teacher Shoeb Narmawala wins Lalit Kala Academy Award: Mr. Shoeb Narmawala, 46, an art teacher with the Muslim Education Society (MES) High School at Nagarwada, has won the Gujarat State Lalit Kala Academy Award for the third time. He was selected for the award for his painting at the 60th state-wide competition organized by the Gujarat State Lalit Kala Academy. His painting (using ink on paper) titled ‘Happiness’ was selected as the best work amongst works presented by artists. He had earlier received the award in 2009 and 2013. Mr. Narmawala is an alumnus of MS University’s Faculty of Fine Arts. (05-09-2020)
20,000 government jobs will be filled in next 5 months: The Gujarat chief minister has said that appointments will be made to more than 20,000 government jobs in the next 5 months. He had convened a meeting with the Gujarat Public Service Commission (GPSC), Gaun Seva Pasandgi Mandal (subordinate class services selection federation), Panchayat Seva Pasandgi Mandal, and officials for police recruitment, GAD and the Education Department and it was decided that appointment letters will be issued immediately for 8,000 government vacancies for which the recruitment process has been completed. The recruitment exams for vacant posts will be conducted once the pandemic situation normalises. (05-09-2020)
Gujarat tops in suicides due to divorces: Here are some glimpses into the recent report of the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB):    
… Maximum suicides in Gujarat during 2019 were committed by daily wagers. Of the total 7,655 suicides, 34.6% (2,649) were that by daily wagers, perhaps because of the increasing economic disparities and the lack of social security for them.
… The other large group of people that took their own lives is that of homemakers: 1,689 homemakers ended their lives in 2019.
… Suicides among professional or salaried persons particularly among those getting salary from private sector enterprises is also high (776).
… Among the self-employed persons (those having their own businesses), 559 committed suicide.
… Gujarat stood fifth in the country with 219 people having taken their own lives owing to unemployment (216 were males). 4.58 lakh educated youth are registered with various state employment exchanges. Of these, 4.34 lakh are educated and
23,433 are semi-educated. Gujarat has the lowest unemployment ratio of just 3.4
per cent.
… Gujarat ranks third in overall suicides due to poverty. In 2019, 106 persons committed suicide due to poverty (83 males and 23 females).
… Gujarat tops in suicides due to divorces and love affairs; 84, including 53 men and 31 women, ended their lives due to divorce.
… The suicides due to unrequited love were 495 (the share of women was 45%).
… The number of suicides in Vadodara jumped up by 19% – from 183 in 2018 to 218 in 2019. (04-09-2020)
Government notifies rules for use of domestic water: The Gujarat government has notified rules under the Gujarat Domestic Water Supply (Protection) Act:
… Water thieves will now be fined Rs. 85 for every 1,000 litres of stolen water. Users are presently charged Rs. 2 for using 1,000 litres of water in panchayat areas, Rs. 4 in municipal areas and Rs. 6 in municipal corporation areas. Industrial units pay Rs. 42.5 per thousand litres.
… Civic authorities can ask for installation of water meters and take punitive action against those who illegally draw water.
… The state government has given powers to municipal corporations and municipalities to appoint nodal officers who will check and act against water theft in their jurisdictions.
… Municipal corporations and municipalities have already begun water metering at source.
… All rural and urban local bodies will have to appoint water assessing officers and begin strict auditing of water use.
… Domestic water supply will have to be measured through meters or other scientific methods.
… Domestic water supply users will also include all kinds of commercial establishments.
… All domestic users must have water meters and initiate water auditing.
… Anyone found over using or over drawing water compared to standard norms will have to pay a fine which will be double the industrial water supply rates.
… Overdrawing water for a prolonged period of time will multiply the fine. (04-09-2020)
Antique market hit by pandemic constraints: A substantial chunk of the market in antique items is in a crisis because of the pandemic. The popular weekly markets frequented by traders and collectors of antique items in big cities have still not been allowed to open, so a link in the ‘supply chain’ remains broken. Scrap traders are often the enterprising source of collectibles which find their way into antique stores. Also, antiques are considered to be luxury items and therefore not on the priority list people. In the current situation, many people are afraid of allowing strangers, including scrap vendors, into their homes because they are afraid of contracting infections. In Vadodara the scrap vendors exhibit their purchases at the weekly Friday market (‘Shukravari’) which is presently prohibited. (04-09-2020)
Rooftop solar panels installed at railway stations: The Western Railway has installed rooftop solar panels at 75 stations in an effort of Indian Railways to become self-sustaining for power needs. The cumulative power generation capacity of the panels is 8.7 MWp, and they have helped to save Rs. 3 crore in power bills during the financial year. Some of the stations where solar plants have been installed are 22 stations in Mumbai division, 34 stations in Ratlam division, 6 stations in Vadodara division and 8 stations in Rajkot division. In Vadodara division, the rooftop solar plants have been installed at Vadodara, Od, Makarpura, Varnarna, Sadhanpura and Godhra. Indian Railways has set a target to generate 33 billion units of solar power by 2030 to meet all its energy needs. (03-09-2020)
First bio-CNG refuelling outlet opened by Banas Dairy: Palanpur-based Banas Dairy has started generating bio-CNG from dung and it has opened its first bio-CNG refuelling outlet. It sells this CNG at Rs. 50 a kg, lower than the prevailing market rate. The dairy collects over 40 tonnes of dung daily from 250 farms in 12 villages. The farmers are paid Re. 1 per kg of dung; the money is credited into their accounts every fortnight. In addition to the cost of land for the station, the dairy has invested Rs. 8 crore to set up the purification plant and retail dispensing station. The cost is likely to be recovered in four years through the sale of CNG, organic compost and pesticide. The slurry generated while producing bio-gas is used to make fertiliser, both liquid and solid, along with pesticide. This will be sold to farmers as an alternative to the costlier DAP and urea fertilisers. The Banas Dairy model of using cow dung for multiple eco-friendly products can be replicated all over India. (03-09-2020)
Joint Entrance Examination begins: Over 1,000 students appeared for the Joint Entrance Examination Main (JEE Main) which began in Vadodara on Tuesday. The exam will continue till September 6. The pandemic related safety guidelines were followed: maintaining safe distances in queues at the exam centres, proper temperature checks, wearing masks provided by the centres, use of sanitizers, etc. (02-09-2020)
Planning starts for Ahmedabad-Delhi high speed rail corridor: The National High Speed Rail Corporation Limited (NHSRCL), which is implementing the 508-km-long Ahmedabad-Mumbai bullet train project, has now invited tenders to collect data for bullet trains on an Ahmedabad-Delhi high speed rail (HSR) corridor that will be 886 km long. The route will be: Delhi-Jaipur-Udaipur-Ahmedabad. NHSRCL is a joint venture between the government of India and participating state governments for the implementation of HSRs across the country. Seven new HSR corridors are under consideration: 886 km Delhi-Ahmedabad, 865 km Delhi-Varanasi, 753 km Mumbai-Nagpur, 435 km Chennai-Mysore, 459 km Delhi-Amritsar, 711 km Mumbai-Hyderabad and 760 km Varanasi-Howrah. (02-09-2020)
Police horse riding clubs will reopen: The Gujarat Police Horse Riding Club will reopen its centres that had been closed since June 2019. The clubs will be reopened in Ahmedabad, Vadodara, Rajkot, Junagadh, Himmatnagar, Bhuj, Bhavnagar, Mehsana, Dahod and Gandhinagar. A three-month basic course and a three-month advanced course will be offered. Those who want to join the club should contact the nearest police horse riding institute. The training is available at all mounted police units for school and college students and other amateurs. After completing the course, trainees will have to take an exam and score at least 50% to get a certificate. Sports enthusiasts can apply for both basic and advanced courses. Police clubs offer training at rates that are lower than private clubs. All Covid-19 related precautions, including social distancing, will be taken during training. (01-09-2020)
Gujarat police launch drive to find missing children: The Gujarat police conducted a special drive from August 6 to August 27 to trace 2,617 missing children. The police personnel were successful in finding 533 children – in the age group of a few months to 18 year. In the process they were also able to solve a case in which a 14-year-old girl from Amreli was abducted and murdered in 2016; the accused has been caught. The drive had been taken up by DGP Ashish Bhatia. Between 2007 and 2020, about 46,400 minors had gone missing, and 43,783 of them have been found. (01-09-2020)
No rush for Hindi, Gujarati, Sanskrit courses at IITE: The Indian Institute of Teacher Education (IITE) has few takers for the BEd and MEd courses in Gujarati, Hindi and Sanskrit languages. The admission process for 2,950 seats is on till September 12. For BEd Hindi, more than 70 seats are vacant out of 310 seats and for Sanskrit, more than 160 seats out of 308 seats are vacant. For the BSc+BEd dual programme, 80 seats are vacant out of 220. The Indian Institute of Teacher Education is a state university which focuses on teacher education. (01-09-2020)
Many bank customers shy away from online services: A large section of bank customers have still not shifted to online banking because of security concerns and apprehensions about technology. This is the finding of a study carried out by an assistant professor in marketing at Ahmedabad University (AU). The reluctance to shift towards cashless transactions persists even during the Covid-19 pandemic in which the authorities advocate online banking. Indian urban consumers still prefer a mix of online and offline banking services. The study found that in many cases customers maintained two accounts, the one for online transactions having only a limited balance. This tendency was found to be among the young as well as the old customers. Also, the human touch was still preferred by many customers. Of the total respondents, 62% of men and 38% of women were using online banking services. Customers in the 25-36 years age bracket were the most active online users. (31-08-2020)
Cops at busy junctions suffer from air passage constriction: A study conducted by the NHL Municipal Medical College in Ahmedabad discovered that most of the traffic police personnel posted at the city’s busy junctions had constriction of the air passage. The researchers studied about 90 male and female traffic cops – 60 posted at busy traffic junctions and 30 handling back-end office functions. The comparative study between the two sets of traffic police personnel lasted for 10 months. Seven different tests were done, including the pulmonary function test. The 60 cops posted at the junctions showed constriction of air passageways. It may be that exposure to vehicle emissions for several hours every day reduces their lung capacity. (31-08-2020)
More demand  for seats under Right to Education Act: Against the 96,000 seats that are available under the Right to Education (RTE) Act more than 2 lakh admission applications have been filed. This year, the seats are less than last year, but the number of applicants has gone up. Job cuts, business losses and the economic slowdown caused by the Covid-19 pandemic have forced more parents into the low-income group that qualifies for RTE. Private schools in Gujarat have to reserve 25% of the total seats in Class I for students under the RTE category. The verification process will be completed by September 7, when the allocation of seats will be decided. The list for the first round of admission will be announced on September 11. (31-08-2020)
India’s first seaplane service is likely soon: India’s first seaplane service, between the Sabarmati riverfront in Ahmedabad and the Statue of Unity at Kevadia, is likely to be operational by October. Two possible locations on the western bank of the Sabarmati Riverfront have been identified for the waterdrome. The project will be executed under an agreement between the state government, the Union ministry of civil aviation and the Airports Authority of India (AAI). The service will be operated by low-cost carrier, SpiceJet, with four flights a day. The ticket price will be around Rs 4,800 per person. The waterdrome needs a water level of at least 7 feet. The Sardar Sarovar Narmada Nigam Limited (SSNL) will ensure adequate supply of Narmada water to maintain the required depth for the waterdromes to operate. (30-08-2020)
Insurer rejects mediclaim of Covid-19 patient admitted to a hotel: A Covid-19 patient in Ahmedabad was admitted to a hotel and not to a registered hospital. The insurance company has rejected his mediclaim for the treatment, saying that the hotel is not a hospital. It was the Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation (AMC) that had converted many hotels to designated Covid care centres to treat patients with mild to moderate Coronavirus symptoms in order to isolate them and thus curb the spread of infection. The patient has now moved the consumer court alleging unfair trade practice by the insurer. The patient had initially gone to the AMC-run SVP Hospital for treatment, but he was asymptomatic and was therefore referred to a Covid care centre for isolation, observation and treatment. The patient argues that the hotel was a designated Covid care centre with medical facilities available, and he was referred to this facility by a public hospital and his discharge summary was signed by a doctor of SVP Hospital. (30-08-2020)
People pay less for preferred vehicle registration numbers: In the recent past – that is, in pre-Covid times – some people shelled out huge amounts to buy special vehicle registration numbers at auctions held by the Regional Transport Offices (RTOs). For instance, a BMW owner paid a cool Rs. 4.51 lakh for the number 0009. At a recent auction, however, the bid for the same number dropped to just Rs. 58,000. Of course, Rs. 58,000 too is certainly not small change for most ordinary mortals, but such auctions are not meant for ordinary mortals and their meagre budgets. The reason for the reduction in the bid amounts is the Covid-19 pandemic and the resulting cuts in disposable incomes. Between January 1 and March 31, 7,500 vehicle owners participated in RTO auctions and the revenue generated was Rs. 2.37 crore. From June 1 to 25 August, the figures dropped to 3,700 vehicle owners and Rs. 1.16 crore. With few bidders for choice numbers, owners now get their favourites at the base prices of Rs. 5,000 to Rs. 25,000. The participants are only those who believe in numerology or the ones with some sentimental attachment to a specific number. There has also been a slump in vehicle sales: down from 38,500 vehicles between January 1 and March 31, to 16,000 between June and August 26. (30-08-2020)
Travel by train from Vadodara to Statue of Unity: The Indian Railways authorities are trying to ensure that it will be possible to travel by train from Vadodara to the Statue of Unity (SoU) in 45 minutes. The target for the direct train connectivity to the 182-metre tall statue is November this year. It seems that the Prime Minister’s office and the railway minister are monitoring the progress on this project. The proposed train speed is 130 km per hour. The 30-km Vadodara-to-Dabhoi stretch already exists, but the present speed on it is 75 km per hour; it will be increased in stages to 130 km per hour. A new rail line has to be laid between Chandod and Kevadiya. The railway station at Kevadiya colony is being built at a cost of Rs. 20 crore. (29-08-2020)
Amul makes it to Rabobank’s Global Top 20 list: Amul, Gujarat Cooperative Milk Marketing Federation (GCMMF), has become the first Indian dairy company to figure in the global top 20 list released by Rabobank, a Dutch multinational banking and financial services company. Switzerland’s Nestle topped the list with a turnover of US $22.1 billion, followed by France’s Lactalis with US $ 21 billion. USA’s Dairy Farmers of America was at third place with a turnover of US $20.1 billion. Amul achieved an annual turnover of $5.5 billion. GCMMF (Amul) is at No.16. Amul says this is a matter of pride for Gujarat’s 36 lakh milk producers, especially women. All other dairy companies featured in the list are either multinationals, privately owned or have nation-wide operations. Amul is the only co-operative brand, having operations largely based in a single state – Gujarat – to be featured in this list. Amul was ranked as the ninth largest milk processor globally in 2018 by the International Farm Comparison Network (IFCN), a global dairy research network. According to experts, India’s dairy sector is expected to create 1.2 crore new jobs over the next 10 years. India produces 21 per cent of the milk in the world. The country’s milk market is growing at 5 per cent, compared to 1.8 per cent for the global milk market. (29-08-2020)
New incentives for developing industrial parks: The Gujarat government’s new industrial policy offers huge incentives to developers for construction of industrial parks – up to 70% of the total project cost, and as high as 90% in tribal areas. The government will give financial incentives up to a maximum of Rs. 30 crore for industrial parks for small and medium industries. Parks are under development which have not taken any benefits under the 2015 industrial policy can also benefit from the new policy. Under another scheme for industrial infrastructure, the government will give assistance of up to 80% of the infrastructure cost to industries, with a maximum of Rs. 25 crore per project. Costs for setting up infrastructure like road, water, drainage, water desalination, primary health services, etc., will be covered. The government, through an ordinance issued recently, has lifted restrictions under section 63 AA of the tenancy act. (29-08-2020)
Vadodara based institute will offer drone training: The Vadodara based Gujarat Flying Club (GFC) has got approval for drone training from the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA), India’s civil aviation regulator. GFC is the first aviation training institute of Gujarat and the 12th in India to get this approval. The training centre will facilitate drone training using remotely piloted aircraft systems (RPAS) or drones. The objective is to provide the right skills and guidance to those who want to make a career in the unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) industry. Drone training will give a boost to young drone entrepreneurs focusing on mining, agriculture and infrastructure applications. Drones can play a major role in the field of security, mapping and logistics. The institute will fulfil all the conditions regarding aerial photography, safety, insurance and clearances from the local administration, defence ministry, home ministry, Indian Air Force and the Airports Authority of India. GFC was started in 1958, and it is one of the few category one training schools in the country. (28-08-2020)
Customers shift away from multiple SIM cards: Following the increases in mobile and data tariffs customers are giving up the use of multiple SIM cards. The Telecom Subscription Report released by Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) reveals that the total wireless subscriber base in Gujarat dropped from 6,68,16,463 in April to 6,61,77,911 in May – a decrease of 6.38 lakh subscribers. Many telecom users had reduced incomes in May, and telecom companies had also increased tariffs. Many multiple SIM card users therefore shifted to using a single SIM and the total number of subscribers declined. This trend was more visible in urban areas. Also, migrant workers who returned to their home states deactivated their Gujarat numbers to save on costs. (28-08-2020)
Prime minister’s hometown will get a music university: The Gujarat government has sanctioned several new projects for Vadnagar in north Gujarat: an indoor sports complex spread over five acres, a music university named after Tana Riri (two Vadnagar sisters who practised and promoted music four centuries ago), and a heritage museum at the ancient Buddhist site excavated there. The sports complex and the music university will each cost Rs. 10 crore. The budget proposed for the heritage museum is Rs. 100 crore. Vadnagar is the hometown of Prime Minister Modi. (28-08-2020)
Sensors will monitor Vishwamitri water levels: The water levels in the Vishwamitri river will soon be monitored by smart sensors installed along the course of the river through the city, and also at the Ajwa reservoir. At present this task – during possible flood situations – is performed by personnel of the Vadodara Municipal Corporation (VMC) stationed at the Kala Ghoda bridge or a CCTV camera focussed on the level markings at the bridge. The readings are relayed to the City Command and Control Centre (CCCC). The smart sensors which are to be installed at multiple locations will relay real-time data on the water level of the Ajwa reservoir and the river. The new system is a part of a project of Vadodara Smart City Development Ltd. to streamline the fire and emergency service department. The sensors will be installed at the Ajwa reservoir and Kala Ghoda Bridge, Akota Bridge, Asoj Feeder, Mujmahuda Bridge, Narhari Bridge, Pratappura Bridge, Ratri Bazar Bridge, Sama-Harni Bridge and Vadsar Bridge. (27-08-2020)
Medical and paramedical fees can be paid in instalments: The Gujarat government has announced that medical, dental and paramedical students can pay their annual fees in four instalments – 25% in September, followed by three in the subsequent three months. The financially well-off can opt to pay the entire fees in one instalment. A total of 35,151 students will benefit – 12,307 from medical and dental courses and 22,844 from paramedical courses (nursing, BSc Nursing and physiotherapy). MBBS fees range from Rs. 3 lakh to Rs. 15 lakh. A total of 5,360 MBBS students of six government medical colleges, eight GMERS colleges, three colleges run by municipal corporations and 11 self-financed colleges can avail of the relief. (27-08-2020)
Gujarat PASA Act may be amended: The Gujarat Prevention of Anti-Social Activities (PASA) Act, 1985, may be amended by including sexual offences, cyber crimes, money lending sharks and gambling den organisers under its ambit. The amendment will be through an ordinance or by passing a legislation in the monsoon session of the Gujarat assembly. The major change proposed is a shift of authority from the administrative department to the police department in invoking PASA. Any IG level officer may get powers to take action under PASA. Generally used as a detention measure for accused criminals, it is mostly used in prohibition cases. (27-08-2020)
Western Railway to increase some train speeds to 130 kmph: Western Railway plans to increase train speeds on some routes from a maximum of 110 kmph to 130 kmph. The increase is likely to reduce the Mumbai-Vadodara travel time of the Shatabdi Express by about 45 minutes. The semi-high-speed railway corridor between Ahmedabad and Vadodara has been sanctioned and work will begin soon. It is part of the Mumbai-Delhi semi-high-speed corridor. Once the track between Ahmedabad and Vadodara is upgraded, travel time will be cut further. (26-08-2020)
MS University Faculty of Science postpones all entrance exams: MS University’s Faculty of Science has postponed till further notice all the entrance exams for admission in select bachelor and master programmes in all subjects. About 3,000 students were supposed to appear in the first week of September for admission in MSc microbiology, geology, statistics, physics, biochemistry, medical biotechnology, botany, information technology, botany, zoology, geography, mathematics, environmental sciences, chemistry, the five-year integrated MSc in cell and molecular biology, Bachelor of Computer Applications and BSc (Honours) environment science. The dates of the entrance tests were clashing with the JEE (Main) exam scheduled by the National Testing Agency. (26-08-2020)
Security at Statue of Unity venue handed over to CISF: The Central Industrial Security Force (CISF) will take over security activities at the Statue of Unity (SoU) in Kevadia from September. Considering the importance of the monument, the central government had decided to give CISF security cover at the statue venue. Over 272 CISF personnel will guard the statue and its surrounding areas. This duty is presently being performed by the Gujarat police. The CISF guards all the airports in the country, along with many other important government buildings and installations. (26-08-2020)
Gujarat races past 100% of seasonal rainfall in 69 days: Heavy rain in several parts of Gujarat in the 24 hours ending at 6 am on Monday saw to it that the state crossed the 100% mark in 69 days of the season. In 2019 the state crossed 100% on September 5, and in 2017 on August 30. By Monday morning, 109 out of 251 talukas of Gujarat had received 100% or more of their seasonal rainfall. The experts of the India Meteorological Department (IMD) say that more rainfall is still likely in the state. (25-08-2020)
The longest surviving lioness dies at 20: Rajmata, the longest surviving lioness, passed away recently at the age of 20 (the life span of Asiatic lions is usually about 16 years). She died of old age. Her last rites were performed at the Vadal Animal Care Centre near Palitana. She held the record – among Asiatic lions – for having given birth to 15 cubs in seven litters. It is said that the existing population of 50 to 60 lions, lionesses and cubs in Amreli's Liliya Kakrach are her progeny. She was given the name of Rajmata by the locals, because she did not allow any other lionesses to intrude into her territory. (25-08-2020)
Boriavi village gets a patent for ginger and turmeric: The village of Boriavi in the Charotar green belt of Gujarat has been in the news recently because its farmers have got their traditional ginger and turmeric varieties registered in the name of the village. The spices have been registered with the support of Anand Agricultural University (AAU). The ‘Boriavi’ variety of ginger and turmeric has been registered under the central government’s Protection of Plant Varieties and Farmers’ Rights Act (PPVFRA). PPVFRA introduced intellectual property protection in Indian agriculture, whereby farmers as a community can get their important traditional crops registered. The collective ownership is that of the village and the farmers who grow the crops. The farms are also geo-tagged. About 400 farmers in Boriavi are engaged in ginger and turmeric farming in nearly 80 hectares. The Charotar region consists of parts of Anand and Kheda districts. (25-08-2020)
20% of average seasonal rainfall in just seven days: Gujarat has received 95% of the average seasonal rainfall till August 23 as per date from the Indian Meteorological Department (IMD). This is the highest in the last five years. In just seven days between August 14 and 23, the state received 20% of the seasonal rainfall. Saurashtra and Kutch have recorded more than average rainfall. After heavy to very heavy rainfall on August 24 in some regions the system is likely to weaken. (24-08-2020)
Ajwa Lake level crosses 212 feet on Sunday: Authorities released over 4,660 cusecs of water from Ajwa Lake in Waghodia taluka on Sunday. The water was released because the water level crossed 212 feet due to heavy rains in the eastern areas of the district. Over 17 villages along the Vishwamitri River were put on alert as the water was released. The river flows through the heart of Vadodara and the local administration warned people living in low-lying areas to be on the alert. There was no panic in the city since water level in the river is only nine feet. (24-08-2020)
Beware of fake and dangerous hand sanitizers: Over 360 hand sanitizer samples failed the quality tests of the Food and Drugs Control Administration (FDCA), Ahmedabad. Unscrupulous operators are making and marketing spurious hand sanitizers, often with fake labels or diluted with coloured liquids. These criminals are not bothered that their profiteering can have serious and dangerous health consequences. Most of the 22% of 362 hand sanitizer samples that failed the FDCA quality tests were found to be misbranded or containing non-standard ingredients. They had lower than the mandated content (65%) of isopropyl alcohol or ethanol (ethyl alcohol). In some cases it is suspected that spent industrial solvents procured as waste from pharma or chemical manufacturing plants are later packaged as sanitizers. The use of additives like methanol in the fake sanitizers can damage organs or the human endocrine system and cause serious health issues once absorbed by skin. (23-08-2020)
Cyber crooks take advantage of increased use of digital payments: Cyber crooks have taken advantage of the fact that the pandemic has made more people rely on digital payments. The crooks have a larger ‘playing field’ to prey upon. More and more people are now being defrauded online, often thanks to their own carelessness. In Gujarat, the Instant Response Unit (IRU) of the police has received over 15,000 complaints from people who have either been cheated or bullied by cyber crooks in the last eight months. The total money swindled amounts to Rs. 50 crore. Over 50% of the cases have been reported from Ahmedabad, and Surat, Vadodara and Gandhinagar have also seen a large number of cases. The cops have been able to help 2,500 victims recover about Rs. 5.5 crore from the crooks; Rs. 4 crore has been returned to the victims and Rs. 1.5 crore has been frozen in bank accounts pending court formalities. (23-08-2020)
Builder’s home to be auctioned to pay customer: A Vadodara builder failed to give possession of a flat to a customer in his new scheme. His own flat in the city’s Akota area will now be auctioned by government authorities so that money can be recovered from him to repay the customer. It will be the first such property auction to be conducted under the Gujarat Real Estate Regulatory Authority (RERA) Act. It took a two-year legal battle for the customer to get the builder’s property auctioned. The builder’s 1,350-sq foot flat was attached by the Vadodara revenue authorities in October 2019, after he failed to refund the customer’s money on RERA’s order. It seems that there are over 200 persons who are waiting for their refunds because they have not been given possession of property in this project. (23-08-2020)
PUC testing charges go up 60% for cars, 50% for two-wheelers: The Regional Transport Office has increased the charges for Pollution Under Control (PUC) tests – by 60% for four-wheelers and 50% for two-wheelers. The PUC-testing charge for cars has been increased from Rs. 50 to Rs. 80. PUC centres may also charge Rs. 20 extra for laminating the certificates. The new rates: 2-wheelers Rs. 30; 3-wheelers Rs. 60; Non-diesel cars Rs. 80; Diesel cars Rs. 100; Heavy Motor Vehicles Rs. 100. Earlier, test results were not issued if a vehicle failed to comply with PUC norms; it has now been made mandatory to issue the results to the vehicle owners announcing the non-compliance. The non-compliance report will be entered into a database so that the vehicle owner cannot approach another PUC centre on the same day. (22-08-2020)
Stamp duty waiver for small and start-up industries: To revive the Corona affected economy, trade and industry the Gujarat government has decided to waive stamp-duty for small and start-up industries under the ‘Covid-19 Relief Package’. Stamp duty waiver will be given till October 31, 2020 to those start-ups which have been sanctioned a loan of Rs. 50,000. This waiver will benefit about 25,000 small industries and start-ups. The total benefits may add up to Rs. 1.75 crore for small industries and start-ups. The government has also decided to waive the stamp-duty on a loan of Rs. 10,000 availed under the Pradhan Mantri Street Vendor's Aatmanirbhar Nidhi (for street vendors and hawkers of urban areas); this will benefit nearly 2 lakh street vendors to the tune of Rs. 6 crore. (22-08-2020)
Vadodara improves in Swachh Survekshan rankings: Against its 78th rank in 2019 in the Swachh Survekshan rankings Vadodara has climbed to the 10th position this year. Officials in the Vadodara Municipal Corporation (VMC) attribute this jump in ranking to several factors: improved documentation; better solid waste management; stress on recycling solid waste. VMC recycles 772 tonnes per day (TPD) of waste out of around 1,100 TPD that it generates. The waste to energy project at Jambuva landfill treats 700 TPD of waste. Ahmedabad, Surat and Rajkot also figured in the top 10. (21-08-2020)
Buying agricultural land for educational institutions made easy: The Gujarat government has eased restrictions on the purchase of agricultural land for non-agricultural purposes. A district collector’s prior permission will now not be needed for a non-farmer buying agricultural land to set up educational institutions – agricultural universities, animal husbandry universities, medical colleges, engineering colleges, etc. The district collector must now be informed of the purchase within a month after the acquisition. This does not apply to non-farmers wanting to purchase farm land. There is no decision on allowing non-farmers to buy farming land. Industries will continue to require prior permission of the district collector and a non-agriculture certification to purchase land for bonafide industrial purpose. The government also eased restrictions on the sale of unused land by industries. Firms which purchased land for bonafide industrial purposes, but cannot use them for industrial purposes, will be allowed to sell the land to other industries by paying a premium to the government. (21-08-2020)
CCTVs will monitor highway skirting Vadodara: The Vadodara city police department plans to install CCTVs on high-mast towers on the national highway stretch that passes along the outskirts of the city. This highway is among the busiest in the country and is often prone to traffic jams caused by the weather or by accidents. The CCTVs will be able to spot the traffic jams in real time and alert the city police so that suitable measures can be activated quickly. The high-resolution cameras will cover the entire stretch that comes under the city’s jurisdiction. Under the Smart City project, four 20-metre high towers will be erected, with two cameras mounted on each tower. Each camera has a range of one km. (21-08-2020)
Two Gujarat universities recognised for innovation achievements: India’s Ministry of Education periodically announces the Atal Ranking of Institutions on Innovation Achievements (ARIIA) for start-up projects and entrepreneurship. In the latest rankings two Gujarat universities have featured among the top 5 in the ARIIA rankings under the public-funded institutions category. The Anand Agricultural University has been ranked fourth, and the Graduate School of Engineering and Technology, Gujarat Technological University, Ahmedabad has been ranked fifth. Under the category of Institutes of National Importance, the National Institute of Pharmaceutical Education and Research (NIPER) and the Indian Institute of Technology, Gandhinagar, were ranked in the 11-to-25 band. Gujarat University, Ahmedabad, was ranked in the 6-to-25 band in the category of government funded universities. Vishwakarma Government Engineering College in Ahmedabad was ranked in the 6-to-25 band in the category of government funded colleges. The total number of participants: 121 under the government-funded institutes category, 373 under the private and self-financed institutes category, and 62 in the category of Institutes of National Importance and Central Universities. Vadodara-based Parul University (PU) was ranked among the top 50 private universities. (20-08-2020)
Gujarat government approves 70-plus floor buildings: The Gujarat government has decided to approve construction of buildings of more than 70 floors in five cities – Ahmedabad, Gandhinagar, Vadodara, Surat and Rajkot. It is hoped that the construction of skyscrapers will boost the state’s urban infrastructure, accommodate the rising population and generate more employment. The current limit is 23 floors. The provisions for construction of such buildings will be made in the CGDCR-2017, and the new rules will apply to buildings higher than 100 meters and with an aspect ratio of 1:9. The buildings can be constructed only if the adjoining road is more than 30 meters wide. The minimum plot size is 2,500 sq.mt. for buildings from 100 to 150 meters, and 3,500 sq.mt. for buildings above 150 meters. The maximum FSI (Floor Space Index) will not be more than 5.4 in. Premium FSI will be available on a chargeable basis – 50% of the Jantri rate of non-agriculture land. The buildings can be used for residential, commercial, or recreational use, or a combination. An electric charging facility will be mandatory in the parking area. The vent tunnel test will be mandatory and the building should have a disaster management plan. A special technical committee (STC) will collect a suitable processing and scrutiny by fee for each proposal. (19-08-2020)
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Actress objects to unauthorised use of her photographs (07-09-2020)
Half the prisoners who escape from custody are from Gujarat (07-09-2020)
Banni Grasslands Reserve in Kutch will be restored (06-09-2020)
Navrachana’s Sapna Iyer gets CBSE Teachers Award (05-09-2020)
Fuel sales in Gujarat are still at low levels (05-09-2020)
MES School teacher Shoeb Narmawala wins Lalit Kala Academy Award (05-09-2020)
20,000 government jobs will be filled in next 5 months (05-09-2020)
Gujarat tops in suicides due to divorces (04-09-2020)
Government notifies rules for use of domestic water (04-09-2020)
Antique market hit by pandemic constraints (04-09-2020)
Rooftop solar panels installed at railway stations (03-09-2020)
First bio-CNG refuelling outlet opened by Banas Dairy (03-09-2020)
Joint Entrance Examination begins (02-09-2020)
Planning starts for Ahmedabad-Delhi high speed rail corridor (02-09-2020)
Police horse riding clubs will reopen (01-09-2020)
Gujarat police launch drive to find missing children (01-09-2020)
No rush for Hindi, Gujarati, Sanskrit courses at IITE (01-09-2020)
Many bank customers shy away from online services (31-08-2020)
Cops at busy junctions suffer from air passage constriction (31-08-2020)
More demand  for seats under Right to Education Act (31-08-2020)
India’s first seaplane service is likely soon (30-08-2020)
Insurer rejects mediclaim of Covid-19 patient admitted to a hotel (30-08-2020)
People pay less for preferred vehicle registration numbers (30-08-2020)
Travel by train from Vadodara to Statue of Unity (29-08-2020)
Amul makes it to Rabobank’s Global Top 20 list (29-08-2020)
New incentives for developing industrial parks (29-08-2020)
Vadodara based institute will offer drone training (28-08-2020)
Customers shift away from multiple SIM cards (28-08-2020)
Prime minister’s hometown will get a music university (28-08-2020)
Sensors will monitor Vishwamitri water levels (27-08-2020)
Medical and paramedical fees can be paid in instalments (27-08-2020)
Gujarat PASA Act may be amended (27-08-2020)
Western Railway to increase some train speeds to 130 kmph (26-08-2020)
MS University Faculty of Science postpones all entrance exams (26-08-2020)
Security at Statue of Unity venue handed over to CISF (26-08-2020)
Gujarat races past 100% of seasonal rainfall in 69 days (25-08-2020)
The longest surviving lioness dies at 20 (25-08-2020)
Boriavi village gets a patent for ginger and turmeric (25-08-2020)
20% of average seasonal rainfall in just seven days (24-08-2020)
Ajwa Lake level crosses 212 feet on Sunday (24-08-2020)
Beware of fake and dangerous hand sanitizers (23-08-2020)
Cyber crooks take advantage of increased use of digital payments (23-08-2020)
Builder’s home to be auctioned to pay customer (23-08-2020)
PUC testing charges go up 60% for cars, 50% for two-wheelers (22-08-2020)
Stamp duty waiver for small and start-up industries (22-08-2020)
Vadodara improves in Swachh Survekshan rankings (21-08-2020)
Buying agricultural land for educational institutions made easy (21-08-2020)
CCTVs will monitor highway skirting Vadodara (21-08-2020)
Two Gujarat universities recognised for innovation achievements (20-08-2020)
Gujarat government approves 70-plus floor buildings (19-08-2020)
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