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Rs 133.90 Crore Spent By All Major Ports Under Swachh Bharat Abhiyan
Feb 10,2017

Under the Green Port Initiative, the Ministry has identified 12 activities to make the Major Ports more clean and green from the environment perspective. These initiatives include preparation of Environment Management & Monitoring Plan (EMMP), provision of equipment to monitor environmental pollution, acquiring dust suppression system, setting up of sewage and waste water treatment plants and garbage disposal plants, setting up projects for energy generation from renewable energy sources, make up any shortfall of Tier-I Oil Spill Response facilities, control of sea garbage, improve quality of harbor waters etc. Major ports have taken up preparation of EMMP, acquisition of equipment required for monitoring of environmental pollution including monitoring of Air water and Noise quality, Tree Plantation drives, Rainwater harvesting, Beautification of Parks, Installation of Mechanical Dust Suppression System (MDSS), improved collection and disposal of sludge from the ships and Ballast Water Management, procurement of Fog Cannons, Mist Machines and mechanised road sweeping machines, promoted usage of Bio-Diesel, set up Bio-Gas plants and sewage/waste water treatment plants/garbage disposal plants; solar and wind power plants. A total amount of Rs.133.90 Crore has been incurred by all Major Ports for executing such projects during 2014 - 2016. Under Swachh Bharat Abhiyan 22 action points have been taken up by all the Major Ports to maintain cleanliness at the Major Ports.

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India-UK Deal to Allow More Flights to Boost Tourism and Trade for Global India & Britain
Feb 10,2017

India and the UK signed a MoU to ease restrictions on the number of scheduled flights between the two countries, following successful talks in India this week. Limits on flights from key Indian cities including Chennai and Kolkata have been scrapped, allowing for a greater range of flights for passengers while providing a boost to trade and tourism for the UK and India. Building new links with important trading partners is a key part of the governments plans for a Global Britain, opening up new export markets and creating jobs and economic growth. The agreement also opened all destinations in the UK for Indian carriers for code share flights, and reciprocally the UK carriers can also operate code share flights to any International Airport in India, through domestic code share arrangements.

The agreement was formally signed by Minister of Civil Aviation, Shri Pusapati Ashok Gajapathi Raju, on behalf of India and Lord Ahmad of U.K. during a visit to India where he led a delegation of British companies for the 2017 CAPA India Aviation Summit.

Indian Civil Aviation Minister Pusapati Ashok Gajapathi Raju, said n++The increase in number of flights between the UK and India is encouraging news for our businesses and tourists. We already enjoy strong ties with the UK and we welcome such continued association which in the long run will not only encourage business activity, but also people-to-people contact. I am sure that this agreement will bring direct and indirect benefits to many sectors of the economies of our two countriesn++.

Tourism from India makes an important contribution to the UK economy. In 2015, there were 422,000 visits from India to the UK, bringing more than n++433 million to the economy.

Aviation Minister of U.K., Lord Ahmad said: n++India is one of our closest allies and key trading partners and this new agreement will only serve to strengthen this crucial relationship. We are unlocking new trade and tourism opportunities which will boost our economies, create new jobs and open up new business links. This is great news for both the UK and India and is yet another sign that we are open for business and ready to build and strengthen our trade links.n++

India is a rapidly expanding and important market for aviation and the agreement signed today will allow airlines to develop new services and air routes. The final decision on additional flights between the UK and India is a commercial one for airlines.

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E-Bidding Process To Select Operator Started for UDAN Scheme
Feb 09,2017

The Ministry of Civil Aviation (MoCA), Government of India launched the Regional Connectivity Scheme (RCS)-UDAN on 21st October, 2016. The e-bidding process has already been started to select airline operator for mounting RCS operations. A Regional Connectivity Fund (RCF) has been created to provide Viability Gap Funding (VGF) by the Government of India. The Central Government has imposed levy on some category of the scheduled domestic flights being operated in India to fund the RCF. No funds have been released to airline operator under the Scheme. Slot allocation is done as per Slot Allocation Policy.

The Airfare cap under RCS-UDAN for fixed wing aircraft ranges from Rs. 1420/- for 151 kilometers to Rs. 3500/- for >800 kilometers. MoCA has signed Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on RCS-UDAN with 16 State Governments / UTs to provide concessions as mentioned in the Scheme. The bidding process has already been started to select airline operators for RCS operations. Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) has issued Civil Aviation Requirement (CAR) for Scheduled Commuter Operations.

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Beneficiaries under NFSA not yet enrolled for Aadhaar, require to make application for Aadhaar enrolment by 30 June 2017
Feb 09,2017

The use of Aadhaar as identity document for delivery of services or benefits or subsidies simplifies the Government delivery processes, brings in transparency and efficiency, and enables beneficiaries to get their entitlements directly in a convenient and seamless manner and Aadhaar obviates the need for producing multiple documents to prove ones identity. Aadhaar Act interalia provides that the Central/State Govt while making expenditure from Consolidated fund of India for any subsidy, may require such individual to furnish proof of possession of Aadhaar number or undergo authentication.

Since, subsidized foodgrains under PDS and Cash Transfer of Food Subsidy under NFSA etc. involves recurring expenditure from the Consolidated Fund of India, the Ministry Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution has issued a Notification under Aadhaar Act on 8-2-2017 which requires individual beneficiaries having Ration Cards under NFSA to furnish proof of possession of Aadhaar number or undergo Aadhaar authentication to receive subsidies under NFSA [ i.e. subsidised food grains or Cash Transfer of Food Subsidy under NFSA]. This condition will also be applicable for all the new beneficiaries. This notification shall come into effect from 08-2-2017 in all States and Union Territories except the States of Assam, Meghalaya and Jammu and Kashmir.

Beneficiaries under NFSA who do not possess the Aadhaar Number or are not yet enrolled for Aadhaar, but are desirous of availing subsidies under NFSA are required to make application for Aadhaar enrolment by 30 June, 2017 and may visit any Aadhaar enrolment centre (list available at www.uidai.gov.in) to get enrolled for Aadhaar.

Till the Aadhaar is assigned to the beneficiaries of subsidises under NFSA, the entitlements shall be given to such individuals on production of Ration Card and either Aadhaar Enrolment ID slip or copy of his/her request made to State Govt for Aadhaar Enrolment alongwith any of the 8 documents i.e. Voter ID Card, PAN, Passport, Driving License, Certificate of Identity with photo issued by Gazetted Officer/Tehsildar on official letter head, Address card having Name and Photo issued by Deptt of Posts, Kisan Photo Passbook and any other document as specified by State/UT Govts. Beneficiaries can make their request for Aadhaar enrolment by giving their name, address, mobile number with Ration Card number and other details with their fair price shop owners or through the web portal provided for the purpose by State /UT Governments.

The Food Department of State/UT Government, shall make wide publicity through media and individual notices through the district food supply office or fair price shops, etc., to make the beneficiaries aware of the requirement of Aadhaar under the scheme. The State /UT Govt shall also advise beneficiaries to get themselves enrolled at the nearest enrolment centres available in their areas by 30th June, 2017 and a list of locally available enrolment centres shall be made available to them. State Govt shall also offer enrolment facilities for the beneficiaries and in case there is no Aadhaar enrolment centre located in the respective Block or Taluka or Tehsil, the State/UT Govt is required to provide enrolment facilities at convenient locations in coordination with the UIDAI or the existing Registrars of UIDAI or by becoming UIDAI registrar themselves.

The State/UT Government shall link the Aadhaar number of beneficiary with the Ration Card or with Bank Account for Cash Transfer of Food Subsidy within thirty days after receiving the same.

Provision has also been made that any member of eligible household listed in the Ration Card shall be entitled to receive the entire quantity of entitled subsidised food grains or Cash Transfer of Food Subsidy under NFSA, if any one member of the household in the Ration Card fulfils the identification conditions in case Aadhaar number is not yet assigned to all such members of the household.

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23 Dreamliner Aircraft Already Acquired By Air India, 4 More to Come
Feb 09,2017

Air India has acquired 23 Dreamliners progressively from September, 2012 to 9th January, 2017. The Dreamliner aircraft have experienced technical reliability issues, since induction into Air India fleet. These issues, however, do not adversely affect the safety of the airplane due to the system design and in-built system redundancy. Further, regular improvements are incorporated as a part of reliability enhancement process.

One B787-8 aircraft will be delivered in July, 2017, two B787-8 aircraft in August, 2017 and the 27th B787-8 aircraft will be delivered in October, 2017.

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Agreement for Swapping of Coal
Feb 09,2017

The Inter-Ministerial Task Force has recommended shifting of coal linkage of Gujarat State Electricity Corporation (GSECL) of about 1.2 Million Tonne from South Eastern Coalfields (SECL) to Western Coalfields (WCL), leading to annual savings in transportation cost of about Rs. 100 crore to GSECL.

Apart from this, swapping of 1.3 MT coal linkage between GSECL and Sipat TPP of National Thermal Power Corporation (NTPC) has also been implemented with annual potential savings of Rs. 458 crore to GSECL. Presently, coal is supplied to GSECL against swapped quantities at the notified price of WCL. The terms and conditions of rationalization of coal linkage like swapping at mine and port etc. are mutually agreed between NTPC and GSECL. The provision of Third party sampling and analysis at the loading end is available and the Central Institute of Mining and Fuel Research (CIMFR) is the third party for sampling and analysis. The sampling process includes the number of samples, timelimit for analysis of samples and Referee sample analysis. Both the coal company and the coal consumer power utility equally share the cost of sampling and analysis at the loading end. The Referee sample analysis is done at a government laboratory.

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Gartner Says 8.4 Billion Connected Things Will Be in Use in 2017, Up 31 Percent From 2016
Feb 09,2017

Gartner, Inc. forecasts that 8.4 billion connected things will be in use worldwide in 2017, up 31 percent from 2016, and will reach 20.4 billion by 2020. Total spending on endpoints and services will reach almost $2 trillion in 2017. 

Regionally, Greater China, North America and Western Europe are driving the use of connected things and the three regions together will represent 67 percent of the overall Internet of Things (IoT) installed base in 2017.

Consumer Applications to Represent 63 Percent of Total IoT Applications in 2017

The consumer segment is the largest user of connected things with 5.2 billion units in 2017, which represents 63 percent of the overall number of applications in use (see Table 1). Businesses are on pace to employ 3.1 billion connected things in 2017. Aside from automotive systems, the applications that will be most in use by consumers will be smart TVs and digital set-top boxes, while smart electric meters and commercial security cameras will be most in use by businesses, said Peter Middleton, research director at Gartner.

Table 1: IoT Units Installed Base by Category (Millions of Units)

Category2016201720182020Consumer3,963.05,244.37,036.312,863.0Business: Cross-Industry1,102.11,501.02,132.64,381.4Business: Vertical-Specific1,316.61,635.42,027.73,171.0Grand Total6,381.88,380.611,196.620,415.4

Source: Gartner (January 2017)

In addition to smart meters, applications tailored to specific industry verticals (including manufacturing field devices, process sensors for electrical generating plants and real-time location devices for healthcare) will drive the use of connected things among businesses through 2017, with 1.6 billion units deployed. However, from 2018 onwards, cross-industry devices, such as those targeted at smart buildings (including LED lighting, HVAC and physical security systems) will take the lead as connectivity is driven into higher-volume, lower cost devices. In 2020, cross-industry devices will reach 4.4 billion units, while vertical-specific devices will amount to 3.2 billion units.

Business IoT Spending to Represent 57 Percent of Overall IoT Spending in 2017

While consumers purchase more devices, businesses spend more. In 2017, in terms of hardware spending, the use of connected things among businesses will drive $964 billion (see Table 2). Consumer applications will amount to $725 billion in 2017. By 2020, hardware spending from both segments will reach almost $3 trillion.

Table 2: IoT Endpoint Spending by Category (Billions of Dollars)

Category2016201720182020Consumer532,515725,696985,3481,494,466Business: Cross-Industry212,069280,059372,989567,659Business: Vertical-Specific634,921683,817736,543863,662Grand Total1,379,5051,689,5722,094,8812,925,787

Source: Gartner (January 2017)

 IoT services are central to the rise in IoT devices, said Denise Rueb, research director at Gartner. Total IoT services spending (professional, consumer and connectivity services) is on pace to reach $273 billion in 2017.

Services are dominated by the professional IoT-operational technology category in which providers assist businesses in designing, implementing and operating IoT systems, added Ms. Rueb. However, connectivity services and consumer services will grow at a faster pace. Consumer IoT services are newer and growing off a small base. Similarly, connectivity services are growing robustly as costs drop, and new applications emerge.

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Focus of the Budget is on tax compliance; Government is committed to honour the honest taxpayers
Feb 09,2017

n++The budget this year focuses on the clarity and certainty of the tax laws, while at the same time endeavoring to make the country more tax compliant and to honour the honest taxpayers. The focus areas for the budget this year are digitalization, demonetization, expansion of tax base, and saving the genuine tax payers from any harassment from the taxmann++, said Mr Sushil Chandra, Chairman, Central Board of Direct Taxes, Ministry of Finance.

Mr Sushil Chandra further emphasized on the policy and direction of the budget, and assured the industry that the Government would come up with any clarifications that might be called for on any of the newly introduced legislations, such as GAAR and POEM.

Mr Ram Tirath, Member - Budget and GST, Central Board of Excise & Customs, Ministry of Finance mentioned that n++since the Government is committed on bringing GST with effect from 1st July, there are not many changes in the area of indirect taxes. The changes that have been incorporated in the budget are largely in the areas of digitization, ease of doing business, export promotion and anti-avoidance. The move to GST will be a smart transformation, i.e. Simple, Moral, Accountable, Responsible and Transparent, and will radically change the indirect taxation scenario of the countryn++. Mr Ram Tirath further added that the final GST law is expected to be in the public domain by the end of March.

Mr Sushil Kumar Sahai, Member - Income Tax, Central Board of Direct Taxes, Ministry of Finance addressed the concerns of the industry on issues involving tax reduction for MSME companies, MAT, APA, IndAS, GAAR and POEM. Mr Sahai stressed on the focus of the Government to save the genuine tax payers from any harassment under the newly launched Operation Clean Money. He promised to take back to the Government the concerns of the industry on the levy of surcharge on personal incomes between Rs 50 lakhs and 1 crore.

Mr Rajiv Memani, Chairman, CII National Committee on Taxation congratulated the Government on coming up with an outstanding and prudent budget, with emphasis on fiscal prudence, widening of the tax base, ease of doing business and tax compliance. Mr Memani appreciated the reduction of corporate tax rate for MSMEs, saying that it would go a long way in supporting the growth of the sector.

Mr Memani requested the Government to consider and address the concerns of the industry on various issues like MAT, APA, GAAR, long term capital gains, possible harassment to tax payers and Operation Clean money. n++The Government should reconsider the surcharge proposed on incomes between Rs 50 lakhs and 1 crore, as the move goes against the Governments intention to reward the honest taxpayers The Government should consider reducing the rate of surcharge to 5%, if not remove it altogethern++, suggested Mr Memani.

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Gartner Says Public Cloud Services in India Forecast to Reach $1.8 Billion in 2017
Feb 09,2017

The highest growth will continue to be driven by infrastructure as a service (IaaS) which is projected to grow at 49.2 percent in 2017, followed by 33 percent in software as a service (SaaS) and 32.1 percent in platform as a service (PaaS). The increase of SaaS and PaaS are indicators that the migration of application and workloads from on premises data centers to the cloud, as well as the development of cloud ready and cloud native applications, are fueling the growth in the cloud space.

We see increased cloud growth in the infrastructure compute services space as adoption becomes increasingly mainstream, said Sid Nag research director at Gartner. This has been predicted for a while, and the momentum continues to sustain in 2017 eventually plateauing through 2020 as the market further matures.

Table 1. India Public Cloud Services Forecast (Millions of U.S. Dollars)

20162017201820192020Cloud Business Process Services (BPaaS)88113145186236Cloud Application Services (SaaS)3965276758241006Cloud Application Infrastructure Services (PaaS)107141182230287Cloud System Infrastructure Services (IaaS)486725105114732028Cloud Management and Security Services116152190234281Cloud Advertising123158189223266Total1,3161,8172,4323,1694,104

Source: Gartner (January 2017)

 Additional demand from the migration of infrastructure to the cloud, as well as increased demand from compute intensive workloads, both in enterprise and startup space, is driving this growth, said Mr. Nag.

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PHDCCI & BCCI Sign An MoU For Closer Commercial Links
Feb 09,2017

PHD Chamber of Commerce and Industry (PHDCCI) and Bahrain Chamber of Commerce and Industry (BCCI) have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) as per which the two organizations have agreed to establish and develop commercial links between business communities of two in general and their respective members in particular.

The MoU was signed here between Senior Vice President, PHD Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Mr. Anil Khaitan and Chairman, Bahrain Chamber of Commerce & Industry, Mr. Khalid A Rahman Almoayed in the Presence of Indian Ambassador to Bahrain, Mr. Alok Sinha and among other senior functionaries of both the Chambers.

The MoU also stipulates that the two chambers would promote trade and investment relations between India and Bahrain and to constantly endeavour to improve co-operation between the two Organisations as well assist each of them in trade and market research, conferences, symposia and other methods of trade promotional activity in each others country.

Mr. Khaitan, who is currently leading a high powered business delegation of PHD Chambers members away to Bahrain emphasized that the MoU also provides to organise B2B meetings, exhibitions, trade fairs and other such activities for closer trade and economic relations between the two countries.

In addition, it also aims at create and maintain a continuing exchange of information about economic developments and other matters affecting the business interests of their members as also promote visits of officials of both Organisations from time to time with a view to fostering intense co-operation for improved business relations and rendering better services to their respective members.

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Cabinet approves MoU between India and Senegal in the field of Health and Medicine
Feb 09,2017

The Union Cabinet chaired by the Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi has given its approval for signing a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between India and Senegal in the field of Health and Medicine.

The main areas of cooperation between the Parties will include the following:

i. Integrated Disease Surveillance

ii. Medical Research

iii. Emergency Relief

iv. Hospital Management

v. Drugs and Pharmaceutical products/hospital equipments

vi. Traditional Medicine

vii. AIDS Control

viii. Any other areas of mutual interest

A Working Group will be set up to further elaborate the details of cooperation and to oversee the implementation of this MoU.

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Cabinet apprised of MoU between India and France in the field of Science, Technology and Innovation
Feb 09,2017

The Union Cabinet chaired by the Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi has been apprised of the signing of the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) of Cooperation between Technology Development Board (TDB), Department of Science & Technology, Govt. of India and Bpifrance, a Public Investment Bank, France.

The agreement will ensure exchange of best practices and setting up of coordinated measures to foster technological exchanges in the field of Science, Technology and Innovation through collaboration between companies, organizations and institutions of France and India.

The agreement aims to carry out activities related to exchange of best practices in the field of Science & Technology through the Technology Development Board and Bpifrance.

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Cabinet approves Pradhan Mantri Gramin Digital Saksharta Abhiyan for covering 6 crore rural households
Feb 09,2017

The Union Cabinet chaired by the Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi has approved Pradhan Mantri Gramin Digital Saksharta Abhiyan (PMGDISHA) to make 6 crore rural households digitally literate. The outlay for this project is Rs.2,351.38 crore to usher in digital literacy in rural India by March,.2019. This is in line with the announcement made by Finance Minister in the Union Budget 2016-17.

PMGDISHA is expected to be one of the largest digital literacy programmes in the world. Under the scheme, 25 lakh candidates will be trained in the FY 2016-17; 275 lakh in the FY 2017-18; and 300 lakh in the FY 2018-19. To ensure equitable geographical reach, each of the 250,000 Gram Panchayats would be expected to register an average of 200-300 candidates.

Digitally literate persons would be able to operate computers/digital access devices (like tablets, smart phones, etc.), send and receive emails, browse internet, access Government Services, search for information, undertaking cashless transactions, etc. and hence use IT to actively participate in the process of nation building.

The implementation of the Scheme would be carried out under the overall supervision of Ministry of Electronics and IT in active collaboration with States/UTs through their designated State Implementing Agencies, District e-Governance Society (DeGS), etc.

Background:

As per the 71st NSSO Survey on Education 2014, only 6% of rural households have a computer. This highlights that more than 15 crore rural households (@ 94% of 16.85 crore households) do not have computers and a significant number of these households are likely to be digitally illiterate. The PMGDISHA being initiated under Digital India Programme would cover 6 crore households in rural areas to make them digitally literate. This would empower the citizens by providing them access to information, knowledge and skills for operating computers / digital access devices.

As the thrust of the Government is on cashless transactions through mobile phones, the course content would also have emphasis on Digital Wallets, Mobile Banking, Unified Payments Interface (UPI), Unstructured Supplementary Service Data (USSD) and Aadhaar Enabled Payment System (AEPS), etc.

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ASSOCHAM concerned over RBI leaving n++accommodativen++ stance on interest rates
Feb 09,2017

Expressing disappointment over belying of expectations on the interest rate cut by the Reserve Bank of India, the ASSOCHAM said what is more worrying is the RBI putting an end to the n++accommodativen++ stance in the wake of the impact of demonetization.

n++The RBI, in a way, has put the ball in the court of the government for softening of the interest rates which, it said, would depend on how soon the problems of the bank non-performing assets (NPAs) , recapitalization of the lenders and re-caliberating of the small saving, are resolvedn++.. The ASSOCHAM, therefore, would urge the government to take the signals from RBI seriously and address these issues. Besides, there is a strong case for fiscal support, besides the monetary measures, to generate the consumer demand and revive the investment cycle,n++ ASSOCHAM President Mr. Sunil Kanoria said.

He said while inflation targeting remains an important mandate of the RBIs Monetary Policy Committee, subdued growth should also weigh on the policy makers. n++Besides the global factors, cited by the RBI, like firming of the crude oil and strengthening of dollar against rupee seem to have been given over-weight by the MPC. In fact, the crude oil at the present moment again appears to be easingn++.

The ASSOCHAM, however, welcomed RBI Governor Dr Urjit Patels advice to the banks, saying there is still scope for further transmission despite no fresh cut in the Repo rate, based on the 175 basis points earlier reduction by the policy rates while the pass-on has been only half of that quantum.

Besides, the RBI stance of taking away the n++accommodativen++ stance appears to be different from the signals from the government which has been assuring the industry and the people of subdued interest regime, going forward.

Mr Kanoria said after a helping hand from the Finance Minister Mr Arun Jaitley on the housing sector, granting infrastructure status to the affordable housing, the follow up action by the RBI has been put on the backburner. n++To that extent, it is a letdownn++ for the key sector.

However, ASSOCHAM welcomed the RBI decision to set up a standing committee on cyber security, especially in the wake of increased focus on digitalization of the economy, post demonetization.

On the issue of NPAs, the chamber said, all the stake holders, including the banks, RBI and the government along with the industry need to work out pragmatic solutions.

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Cabinet apprised of Framework Agreement between India and Vietnam on cooperation in exploration and uses of outer space for peaceful purposes
Feb 09,2017

The Union Cabinet chaired by the Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi has been apprised of the Framework Agreement between India and Vietnam on cooperation in the exploration and uses of outer space for peaceful purposes. The Framework Agreement has been signed on September 03, 2016.

The Framework Agreement will enable pursuing the potential interest areas of cooperation such as space science, technology and applications including remote sensing of the earth; satellite communication and satellite-based navigation; space science and planetary exploration; use of spacecraft and space systems and ground system; and application of space technology.

Cooperation with Vietnam through this Framework Agreement would lead to development of joint activity in the field of application of space technologies for the benefit of humanity.

The Framework Agreement will provide impetus to explore newer research activities and application possibilities in the field of remote sensing of the earth; satellite communication; satellite navigation; space science and exploration of outer space.

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