1 . WPI  inflation  eases  to  3.58%  in  Dec  as  veggies  price  decline

  • India’s wholesale price inflation cooled to 3.58% in December led by a softer rise in food inflation.
  • As per the data , inflation in food articles slowed to 4.72% in December from 6.06% in November.
  • Vegetables inflation witnessed some softening at 56.46% in December as against 59.8% in the previous month. However, onions witnessed a whopping 197.05% rise in inflation.

Data released last week showed that retail inflation breached the RBI’s comfort level to touch 5.21 per cent in December on rise in prices of food items, especially vegetables. The Reserve Bank takes into account retail inflation while deciding on key policy rates.

In its last policy review in December, the RBI had kept key interest rate unchanged. It raised inflation forecast for remainder of the current financial year to 4.3-4.7 per cent, on account of global crude oil prices and implementation of the 7th Pay Commission recommendations.


2 . UK  appoints ‘minister  for  loneliness’

Britain has appointed a “minister for loneliness” on Wednesday to tackle what Prime Minister Theresa May described as “the sad reality of modern life” affecting millions of people.

Tracey Crouch, a junior minister for sport and civil society, will take on the role as part of a broader strategy to combat loneliness in Britain.

More than nine million people say they are always or often lonely, out of a population of 65.6 million, according to the British Red Cross.


3 . Surat  tops  ranking  of  smart  cities  with  largest  number  of projects  completed

Showing Signs of Speeding Up

Surat has emerged as India’s highest ranked smart city with the largest number of projects implemented and completed under the Smart City Mission.

Surat is closely followed by Pune at number two, Visakhapatnam, Udaipur, Bhubaneswar, Ahmedabad, Bhopal, Coimbatore, Jaipur and Indore. 964 projects worth Rs 46,800 crore have been planned in the 20 “lighthouse” smart cities, announced in January 2016.


4 .  iCreate  dedicated  to  the  nation

The iCREATE facility located on the outskirts of Ahmedabad has been dedicated to the nation. iCreate aims to develop an ecosystem in India to generate quality entrepreneurs.

iCreate is an independent Centre created with the objective of facilitating entrepreneurship through a blend of creativity, innovation, engineering, product design and leveraging emerging technologies to deal with major issues such as food security, water, connectivity, cybersecurity, IT and electronics, energy, bio-medical equipment and devices etc.


5 . 10th Global Forum for Food & Agriculture, Berlin

The  10th Global Forum for Food & Agriculture will be organised  from 18-20 January, 2018 which also includes the 10th Berlin Agriculture Ministers’ Conference.

The theme of this year’s event is “Shaping the future of livestock – sustainably, responsibly, efficiently”. The discussions will focus on sustainable and productive animal production among other issues.

About Global Forum for Food and Agriculture (GFFA)

The Global Forum for Food and Agriculture (GFFA) is an international conference that focuses on central questions concerning the future of the global agri-food industry. It is held during International Green Week (IGW) and will be taking place in its current shape for the eighth time.

The forum gives representatives from the worlds of politics, business, science and civil society an opportunity to share ideas and enhance understanding on a selected topic of current agricultural policy . With almost 90 ministers at the last conference, this is the world’s largest conference of agriculture ministers.


6 . Simplified ‘Make-II’: Major  Steps  Towards  ‘Make  in  India’  in  Defence  Production 

As a major boost to ‘Make in India’ in Defence, the Defence Acquisition Council, chaired by Raksha Mantri , in its meeting on 16 January 2018, has cleared a simplified ‘Make-II’ procedure which will enable greater participation of industry in acquisition of defence equipment.

This process will greatly help import substitution and promote innovative solutions. This simplified ‘Make-II’ procedure will amend the existing ‘Make Procedure’ in Defence Procurement Procedure (DPP)-2016.

Salient features of the new ‘Make-II’ procedure

The salient features of the new ‘Make-II’ procedure include the following:

  • The industry can suggest projects, especially among those items which are currently being imported. Start-ups or individuals can also suggest proposals. Service Headquarters will also list out a series of projects which can be undertaken as ‘Make-II’ projects under the new procedure.
  • The potential ‘Make-II’ projects will be approved by a collegiate comprising of DRDO, HQ (IDS), Department of Defence under a committee chaired by Secretary (Defence Production). Based on the in-principle approval agreed by this committee, the projects will be hosted on Ministry of Defence/Department of Defence Production’s website inviting industry to participate.
  • There will be no limit to the number of industry who may respond to the EoI for development of the prototype subject to meeting the minimum qualification criteria. The design and development time of 12 to 30 weeks is granted to industry to offer the prototypes.
  • There is no limit to the number of industry players who may show interest and offer prototype.
  • After this period, a commercial RFP will be issued. Once the RFP is issued, it shall not be retracted. The industry who wins the bid, is assured of an order.
  • Service Headquarter (SHQ) will constitute a Project Facilitation Team for facilitating the process under this procedure.
  • The case will be progressed even if there is single entity offering an innovative solution.
  • The industry who develops the product will retain the title and ownership and all other rights in intellectual property. However, for some specified reasons like National Security, Government shall have ‘March-in’ rights.
  • Normally, there shall be no negotiations by Contract Negotiation Committee (CNC) in multi-vendor contracts.
  • ‘Make-II’ procedure reduces the total time from in-principle approval to placing of order by 50 percent. The estimated time to finish the whole process has come down to 69 to 103 weeks.
  • Projects involving developmental cost of less than three crores will be reserved for MSME.