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  1. Union Government formed Task Force to study structure of organised Group A Central Services.

The Union Ministry of Personnel, Public Grievances and Pensions on 22 August 2016 constituted a Task Force to comprehensively study the cadre structure of organised Group A Central Services.

It will be headed by T Jacob who is an Additional Secretary in the Department of Personnel Training (DoPT) under the ministry.

The task force was constituted in accordance with the direction of the Appointments Committee of the Cabinet headed by the Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

The terms of reference of the Task Force are –

  • To comprehensively study the cadre structure of all organised Group A services in the Union Government.
  • To recommend an ideal structure especially at Apex, HAG plus, HAG and SAG level.
  • To suggest the percentage of various reserves in organised Group A services.
  • To suggest the ideal recruitment in organised Group A services.
  • To suggest the way forward to mitigate the stagnation level.

Besides, the task force was mandated to submit the report within 3 months.

  1. Reliance Cement becomes subsidiary of Birla Corporation Limited.

Reliance Infrastructure Ltd (RInfra) on 22 August 2016 announced that it completed 100 percent sale of Reliance Cement Company Private Limited (RCCPL) to Birla Corporation Limited.

While RInfra is an entity of the Anil Ambani-headed Reliance Anil Dhirubhai Ambani Group (Reliance ADAG), Birla Corp is the flagship Company of the M P Birla Group.

Details related to the transaction

  • The transaction was in tune with the Share Purchase Agreement (SPA) that was signed between the two entities in February 2016.
  • It was valued at 4800 crore rupees or 140 US dollars per tonne and the proceeds will utilised by RInfra towards debt reduction.
  • Under the SPA, the Birla Corp acquired an integrated cement capacity of 5.08 Metric tonnes per annum (Mtpa) at Maihar, Madhya Pradesh and Kundanganj, Uttar Pradesh.
  • Besides, it also involves acquisition of grinding unit of 0.5 Mtpa capacity located at Butibori, Maharashtra.
  1. Union Government, Maharashtra Government and AAI sign MoU on Regional Connectivity Scheme.

The Union Ministry of Civil Aviation, Maharashtra Government and Airports Authority of India (AAI) on 23 August 2016 signed a tri-partite Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) for successful launch of the Regional Connectivity Scheme (RCS).

The agreement was signed by Chairman of Airports Authority of India, Principal Secretary Civil Aviation (Maharashtra) and Joint Secretary (Ministry of Civil Aviation).

With this MoU, the Maharashtra Government formally agreed to provide the concessions required from the State Governments in the Regional Connectivity Scheme, thereby becoming the first state in the country to do so.

Highlights of the MoU

  • The 10 airports that will be developed are- Kolhapur, Shirdi, Amravati, Gondia, Nashik, Jalgaon, Nanded, Solapur, Ratnagiri and Sindhudurg will be developed.
  • The state will contribute 20 percent cost of Viability Gap Funding, whereas the centre will bear the remaining 80 percent cost.
  • The state government will reduce the Local Body Tax (LBT) on air fuel from existing 10 percent to 1 percent for a period of 10 years.
  • Moreover, the government will provide essential land free of cost.
  • These airports will be provided with roads, rail, Metro and waterway connectivity. The state government will also provide electricity, water and necessary facilities at concessional rates.
  1. Singapore’s longest serving president Sellapan Ramanathan died.

Singapore’s former president Sellapan Ramanathan died on 22 August 2016. He was 92.

S R Nathan was of Indian-origin and the sixth and longest-serving President of Singapore. He was closely associated with the country’s founding leader Lee Kuan Yew.

About Sellapan Ramanathan

  • He was born in 1924 in the family of Indian Tamil descent in Straits Settlements of Singapore.
  • He had served as President of Singapore for two terms from 1999 to 2011.
  • Prior to becoming President, he held key positions in the Singapore Civil Service and also in security, intelligence and foreign affairs.
  • In 1988, he was appointed as Singapore’s High Commissioner to Malaysia and later Singapore’s Ambassador to the United States from 1990 to 1996.
  • After stepping down he worked as Distinguished Senior Fellow at the prestigious Institute of Southeast Asian Studies and at Singapore Management University’s School of Social Sciences.
  • For his contribution towards strengthening bilateral relations with India, he was conferred with the Pravasi Bharatiya Samman in 2012 by the Indian Government.


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