Current Affairs

March 24, 2017

CHIEF MINISTERS OF 29 INDIAN STATE's

Details :

               State                  -                           Name                   

1. Andhra Pradesh        -                 N. Chandrababu Naidu

2. Arunachal Pradesh   -                 Pema Khandu

3. Assam                            -                 Sarbananda Sonowal

4. Bihar                              -                 Nitish Kumar

5. Chhattisgarh               -                 Raman Singh

6. Goa                                 -                 Manohar Parrikar

7. Gujarat                          -                 Vijay Rupani

8. Haryana                        -                 Manohar Lal Khattar

9. Himachal Pradesh     -                  Virbhadra Singh

10. Jammu & Kashmir  -                 Mehbooba Mufti

11. Jharkhand                 -                 Raghubar Das

12. Karnataka                   -                 Siddaramaiah

13. Kerala                          -                 Pinarayi Vijayan

14. Madhya Pradesh     -                 Shivraj Singh Chouhan

15. Maharashtra             -                 Devendra Fadnavis

16. Manipur                     -                 N. Biren Singh

17. Meghalaya                 -                 Mukul Sangma

18. Mizoram                     -                  Lal Thanhawla

19. Nagaland                   -                 Shurhozelie Liezietsu

20. Odisha                         -                 Naveen Patnaik

21. Punjab                         -                 Amarinder Singh

22. Rajasthan                   -                 Vasundhara Raje

23. Sikkim                         -                 Pawan Kumar Chamling

24. Tamil Nadu               -                 Edappadi K. Palaniswami

25. Telangana                 -                 K. Chandrashekar Rao

26. Tripura                       -                 Manik Sarkar

27. Uttar Pradesh          -                 Yogi Adityanath

28. Uttarakhand             -                 Trivendra Singh Rawat

29. West Bengal              -                 Mamata Banerjee

24 March - World Tuberculosis Day.

Details :

World Tuberculosis Day, observed on March 24 each year, is designed to build public awareness about the global epidemic of tuberculosis (TB) and efforts to eliminate the disease.

The theme of the World TB Day celebration of the year 2017 is “Unite to End TB”.

Tuberculosis was first discovered by the Dr. Robert Koch in the year 1882 and amazingly announced by him to the small group of scientists at “the University of Berlin’s Institute of Hygiene” about the cause of tuberculosis means the TB bacillus.

He announced publically about this virulent human infectious disease and explained about the aetiology of the tuberculosis through the presentation of many microscope slides.

During his announcement in the Berlin, it was spreading very fast in the Europe and the Americas of which the death ratio was one out of seven.

His discovery about the tuberculosis had opened a big door in front of the people to get diagnosed and cured of tuberculosis.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/World_Tuberculosis_Day

India ranks 87th on Energy Architecture Performance Index: WEF.

Details :

India ranked 87th among the surveyed 127 countries on a Global Energy Architecture Performance Index (EAPI) released as part of report of Geneva- based World Economic Forum (WEF).

India's rank improved three places from 90th last year.

Bahrain is ranked the lowest at 127th. 

Top 5 Countries:

Switzerland (1),

Norway (2),

Sweden (3),

Denmark (4) and

France (5).

According to the findings, the world's biggest energy consumers struggle to take leading positions on the index as they grapple with inherent challenges of their large, complex energy systems and are outperformed by more nimble economies. 

Some of the largest consumers of energy such as China (95th), India, Japan (45th), the Russian Federation (48th) and the United States (52nd) have either slipped in the rankings or experienced only marginal gains.

Regarding India is gradually improving its performance on the index, but faces an uphill battle to increase energy access and security (95th). 

A large percentage of the population still lacks access to electricity (101st) and uses solid fuels for cooking (108th).

The government is taking action on this, having committed to increase solar power capacity to 100 gigawatts by 2022, which would make India a leader in renewable capacity.

India, just like China, boasts of a strong score on the indicator for diversification of import counterparts (5th), but its energy system continues to face some significant challenges, particularly in environmental sustainability (109th). 

India has some of the lowest scores in the EAPI for CO2 emissions from electricity production and PM2.5 levels (117th and 123rd, respectively). 

The Energy Architecture Performance Index (EAPI) is a composite index that focuses on tracking specific indicators to measure the energy system performance of 127 countries. 

http://economictimes.indiatimes.com/industry/energy/india-ranks-87th-on-energy-architecture-performance-wef/articleshow/57778171.cms

Third Protocol Amending India-Singapore DTAA notified.

Details :

The Union Finance Ministry has notified Third Protocol amending India-Singapore Double Taxation Avoidance Agreement (DTAA).

The agreement was signed on 30th December, 2016, has come into force on 27th February 2017.

The India-Singapore DTAA at present provides for residence based taxation of Capital Gains of shares in a company.

The Third Protocol amends the DTAA with effect from 01st April, 2017 to provide for source based taxation of capital gains arising on sale of shares in a company.

This will curb revenue loss, prevent double non-taxation and streamline the flow of investments. In order to provide certainty to investors, investments in shares made before 01st April, 2017 have been grandfathered subject to fulfillment of conditions in Limitation of Benefits clause as per 2005 Protocol.

Further, a two-year transition period from 1st April, 2017 to 31st March, 2019 has been provided during which capital gains on shares will be taxed in source country at half of normal tax rate, subject to fulfillment of conditions in Limitation of Benefits clause.  

http://pib.nic.in/newsite/PrintRelease.aspx?relid=159828

Cabinet approves commission for backward classes.

Details :

The Union Cabinet approved setting up of National Commission for Socially and Educationally Backward Classes (NSEBC) as a constitutional body.

NSEBC will replace the National Commission for Backward Classes (NCBC).

Prime Minister approved amending the Constitution and inserting Article 338B for setting up the new commission.

The new constitutional body, National Commission for Socially and Educationally Backward Classes, will function under a chairperson, vice chairperson. Three other members will be on the board.

South Indian Bank introduces Aadhar-based payment app.

Details :

South Indian Bank has introduced Aadhar-based payment in its UPI mobile application- SIB M-Pay,  to promote cashless digital transactions.

Unified Payment Interface (UPI) enables all bank account holders to send and receive money from their Smartphone without entering the bank account information.

Even non-customers of South Indian Bank can link any of their bank account in this mobile application. Currently, the fund transfer is possible only if the Virtual Address (UPI ID) of the beneficiary is known to the user.

With the latest addition in SIB M-Pay, the fund transfers can be done by just entering the Aadhar number of the beneficiary.

The amount will be credited directly to the beneficiary’s Aadhar linked bank account.

SIB M-Pay app is currently available in Android Playstore.

http://www.thehindubusinessline.com/money-and-banking/south-indian-bank-introduces-aadharbased-payment-app/article9598208.ece

Airtel acquires Tikona’s 4G business for ₹1,600 crore.

Details :

Telecom major Bharti Airtel acquired 4G business of Tikona Networks, including broadband spectrum and 350 sites across 5 circles, for about Rs 1,600 crore.

Tikona currently has 20 MHz spectrum in the 2,300 MHz band in Gujarat, UP (East), UP (West), Rajasthan and Himachal Pradesh circles.

With this acquisition, Airtel will be second company, after Reliance Jio, in the country to have pan-India presence in 2300 Mhz band -- which has second largest ecosystem of 4G devices.

http://www.business-standard.com/article/companies/bharti-airtel-to-buy-tikona-s-4g-business-for-rs-1-600-cr-117032300826_1.html

Yves Meyer wins the 2017 Abel Prize.

Details :

The Norwegian Academy of Science and Letters has awarded the Abel Prize for 2017 to mathematician Yves Meyer.

He was awarded for his pivotal role in the development of the mathematical theory of wavelets. The theory of wavelets that he started and made fundamental contributions to finds wide-ranging applications from image processing to fluid dynamics.

The Abel prize has been in existence for about 14 years.

In most of the previous years, the prize was awarded largely for very deep work in theoretical (or "pure") mathematics, without much emphasis on how applicable the work would be outside of mathematics.

This year’s award is notable for recognizing both Meyer’s contributions to pure mathematics (for instance, in solving some major open problems in harmonic analysis) and to applied mathematics.

http://www.thehindu.com/sci-tech/science/top-math-award-goes-to-yves-meyer/article17615073.ece

Raghu Rai honoured with Lifetime Achievement at the National Photography Awards.

Details :

Veteran photojournalist Raghu Rai was conferred with the Lifetime Achievement Award at the 6th National Photography Awards. 

Rai, who is a Padma Shri awardee, began his career in photography in 1965.

He has published more than 18 books, and his photo essays have appeared in international magazines and newspapers, including Time, Life, The New York Times and Sunday Times.

Rai has also served on the jury of World Press Photo and Unesco’s International Photo Contest.

March 23, 2017

Rajya Sabha passes bill to ensure rights of HIV and AIDS patients.

Details :

The Rajya Sabha has passed HIV and AIDS (Prevention and Control) Bill, 2014.

The bill aimed at ensuring equal rights while seeking treatment, education and job by people living with HIV.

The Bill also assumes significance as it protects such people from specific acts of discrimination by the state, or any other person.

It also lays down penal provisions for any discrimination practised against a person with HIV/AIDS and breach of confidentiality.

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/rajya-sabha-passes-bill-to-ensure-rights-of-hiv-and-aids-patients/articleshow/57756483.cms

Cabinet approves North East Road Network Connectivity Project Phase I.

Details :

The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs, has given its approval for development of 403 kms of National Highways in Meghalaya and Mizoram. 

Out of 403 km, approximately 52 kms will be in Meghalaya and 351 km in Mizoram. The project will be executed in EPC Mode. 

The projects will be taken up for implementation during the financial year 2017-18.

The civil works are expected to be completed by 2021 and maintenance works are expected to be completed by 2025. 

The projects will encourage sub-regional socio-economic development by improvement of infrastructure in Meghalaya and Mizoram.

It will also enhance the connectivity with inter-state roads and International Borders. 

The work for development to two lane standards are under scheme "North East Road Network Connectivity Project Phase I" with loan assistance of Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA). 

Background: 

The existing carriageway of all the stretches is varying between Single lane to Intermediate lane. The condition of the pavement is very poor and at some locations not in traffic worthy condition. In addition, the stretches are also in poor condition in the landslides areas / sinking zone. Updation and development of these stretches to the two lane with paved shoulders standard will be done. 

http://pib.nic.in/newsite/PrintRelease.aspx?relid=159748

Cabinet approves amendment to 'The Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education Act, 2009' .

Details :

The Union Cabinet has approved the amendment to Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education (RTE) Act, 2009.

This will ensure that all teachers, in position as on 31st March, 2015, acquire the minimum qualifications prescribed by the academic authority to extend the period for such training for four years up to 31st March, 2019. 

http://pib.nic.in/newsite/PrintRelease.aspx?relid=159739

Cabinet approves MoU between India and the USA on cooperation in the field of Cyber Security.

Details :

The Union Cabinet has approved Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) signed between the Indian Computer Emergency Response Team (CERT-ln) under the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology and the US Homeland Security Department on cooperation in the field of Cyber Security.

The MOU was signed on 11th January 2017 in New Delhi. 

The MoU intends to promote closer co-operation and exchange of information pertaining to the Cyber Security in accordance with the relevant laws, rules and regulations and on the basis of equality, reCciprocity and mutual benefit. 

http://pib.nic.in/newsite/PrintRelease.aspx?relid=159743

Cabinet approves proposal for Amendments to the NABARD Act, 1981.

Details :

Union Cabinet has approved proposal for amending National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development Act, 1981.

Union Cabinet has approved the following proposals: 

The Amendments,  include provisions that enable Central Government to increase the authorized capital of NABARD from Rs. 5,000 crore to   Rs. 30,000 crore and to increase it beyond Rs. 30,000 crore in consultation with RBI, as deemed necessary from time to time. 

Transfer of 0.4 per cent. equity of RBI in NABARD amounting to Rs. 20 crores to the Government of India.

The proposed amendments in NABARD Act, include, certain other amendments including changes in long title and certain Sections to bring Medium Enterprises and Handlooms in NABARD’s mandate.   

The proposed increase in the authorized capital would enable NABARD to respond to the commitments it has undertaken, particularly in respect of the Long Term Irrigation Fund and the recent Cabinet decision regarding on-lending to cooperative banks. Further, it will enable NABARD to augment its business and enhance its activities which would facilitate promotion of integrated rural development and securing prosperity of rural areas including generation of more employment.

The transfer of entire shareholding in NABARD held by RBI to the Central Government will remove the conflict in RBI's role as banking regulator and shareholder in NABARD.   

http://pib.nic.in/newsite/PrintRelease.aspx?relid=159755

India and ADB Sign $350 Million Loan for Upgrading 1,500 kms of District Roads in State of Madhya Pradesh.

Details :

The Asian Development Bank (ADB) and the Government of India signed a $350 million loan for improving about 1,500 kilometers of major district roads in Madhya Pradesh in line with the State’s Road Development Plan.

The Project will involve upgrading roads with concrete pavements, strengthening culverts and bridges, and maintaining the improved road assets for a period of five years after construction, on a performance based payment format.

The Project will also develop and introduce a cashless accident victim treatment facility in the state, and improve the accident response system.

http://pib.nic.in/newsite/PrintRelease.aspx?relid=159733

PepsiCo ropes in PV Sindhu as brand ambassador.

Details :

PepsiCo has roped in Rio Olympic silver medalist PV Sindhu as brand ambassador for its sports drink Gatorade. 

Sindhu, currently ranks amongst the top 10 shuttlers globally, became the first Indian woman to win an Olympic silver medal in 2016. 

http://www.business-standard.com/article/pti-stories/pepsico-ropes-in-pv-sindhu-as-brand-ambassador-117032001015_1.html

Five Indians in WEF’s 2017 young global leaders list.

Details :

Five Indians were named in 2017 World Economic Forum’s 100 Young Global Leaders list. 

Five Indians Are: 

Paytm Founder and CEO Vijay Shekhar Sharma and Shruti Shibulal of The Tamara Hospitality, Ambarish Mitra Founder and CEO Blippar, Hindol Sengupta Editor-at large Fortune India and Rwitwika Bhattacharya-Agarwal Founder and CEO Swaniti Initiative. 

There were nine global leaders from South Asia, out of which five are from India. Besides, there are some persons of Indian origin in the US and Europe were also named in the list.

http://www.thehindubusinessline.com/news/five-indians-in-wefs-2017-young-global-leaders-list/article9589361.ece

ISSF World Cup: Ankur Mittal wins double trap gold in Mexico.

Details :

Indian shooter Ankur Mittal won Gold medal in the Men’s Double Trap event at the International Shooting Sport Federation (ISSF) World24 Cup held in Acapulco, Mexico. 

Mittal, who won silver at last month's ISSF World Cup in New Delhi, beat the gold medalist at that event, Australian James Willet, on day three of the competition.

Ankur finished with a score of 75, while Willet managed 73 points win silver medal. China’s Ying Qui won bronze medal with 52 points.

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/sports/more-sports/shooting/issf-world-cup-ankur-mittal-wins-double-trap-gold-in-mexico/articleshow/57786220.cms

World Meteorological Day.

Details :

The World Meteorological Day was observed globally on 23rd March.

2017 Theme:  'Understanding Cloud' to highlight the enormous importance of clouds for weather climate and water.

Nabard launches water conservation campaign in Karnataka.

Details :

Nabard will help Karnataka with low-cost technologies for water conservation and efficient use of water in the drought-affected districts.

The campaign would essentially focus on creating awareness among the rural community about the methods of water conservation, preservation and its efficient utilisation at various levels using modern technologies like micro irrigation (more crop per drop), traditional water management practices, adopting improved package of agronomic practices, etc.

http://www.thehindubusinessline.com/news/nabard-launches-water-conservation-campaign-in-karnataka/article9596107.ece

March 22, 2017

India ranks 131 on Human Development Index.

Details :

India ranked 131st among 188 countries on Human Development Index (HDI) 2016 released by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).

India scored 0.624 and was placed in medium human development category.

The top three countries in HDI were Norway (0.949), Australia (0.939) and Switzerland (0.939).

Sri Lanka (73) and Maldives (105) were placed in “high human development” category, followed by India (131), Bhutan (132), Bangladesh (139), Nepal (144), Pakistan (147) and Afghanistan (169).

India ranks lowest among BRICS nations. Russia (49), Brazil (79), China (90), South Africa (119).

India was placed behind countries like Gabon (109), Egypt (111), and Iraq (121). 

HDI is a statistic which ranks countries into four tiers of human development on the basis of indicators like life expectancy, education and per capita income.

A higher lifespan, higher level of education and higher GDP per capita results in a country scoring higher HDI.

The report said gender equality and women's empowerment were fundamental dimensions of human development.

However, globally, women have a lower HDI than men, despite having higher life expectancy at birth.

South Asia's Gender Development Index (GDI) is the lowest.

The GDI takes into account the disparity between the HDI of men and women -- the higher the disparity, the lower the GDI.

India's GDI is 0.819, compared to the developing country average of 0.913.

http://www.business-standard.com/article/news-ians/india-ranks-131-on-human-development-index-117032200885_1.html

22 March - World Water Day.

Details :

World Water Day is an annual event celebrated on 22 March.

The day focuses attention on the importance of universal access to clean water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) facilities in developing countries.

The day also focuses on advocating for the sustainable management of freshwater resources.

2017 Theme: Why Waste Water?

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/World_Water_Day

ISRO creates history as it commissions world's third largest hypersonic wind tunnel.

Details :

The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) created history by commissioning the world’s third-largest hypersonic wind tunnel at Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre (VSSC) in Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala. 

ISRO chairman AS Kiran Kumar, commissioned two facilities—a one-metre Hypersonic Wind Tunnel and a one-metre Shock Tunnel. 

These facilities are the third largest in terms of size and simulation capability in the world.

These have been indigenously designed, developed and made in India with the support of Indian Industries.

A wind tunnel is used to study the effects of air flowing past a solid object—in ISRO's case, space vehicles.

With the space agency lining up big missions like the ‘Reusable Launch Vehicle’ (RLV), ‘Two Stage to Orbit’ (TSTO) rockets, air breathing propulsion systems, and the human space flight programme for the future, the aero-thermodynamic modelling of such vehicles in a hypersonic environment is vital for optimal designs.

http://www.newindianexpress.com/nation/2017/mar/21/isro-creates-history-as-it-commissions-worlds-third-largest-hypersonic-wind-tunnel-1583746.html

Green nod to nuclear research project suspended by NGT.

Details :

The southern bench of the National Green Tribunal has suspended the environmental clearance of the India-based Neutrino Observatory (INO) project for research on high energy and nuclear physics.

The INO Project is a multi-institutional effort aimed at building a world-class underground laboratory with a rock cover of approximately 1200 metre for non-accelerator based high energy and nuclear physics research in India. 

The project that was proposed to be set up in Theni in Tamil Nadu was put on hold yesterday by the NGT when it was told that the Madhikettan Shola National Park in Idukki district of Kerala was just about 4.9 km from the proposed project site. 

The tribunal was also informed that the Tamil Nadu-Kerala border was only a kilometre away, making it a Category "A" project. 

Following this, the NGT suspended the nod for the project. 

http://www.business-standard.com/article/pti-stories/green-nod-to-nuclear-research-project-suspended-by-ngt-117032101076_1.html

4 Indian cities among cheapest globally: Economist Intelligence Unit.

Details :

Four Indian cities are among the cheapest to live in globally, Bangalore (3rd place), Chennai (6th), Mumbai (7th) and New Delhi (10th) have been ranked by EIU among the 10 cheapest cities in the world.

Singapore has been ranked as the most expensive for the fourth consecutive year, as per a report by Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU).

Almaty has been ranked as the cheapest city in the world followed by Lagos. Karachi was placed 4th, Algiers (5th), Kiev (8th) and Bucharest (9th) rank.

Top 10 Expensive Countries:

Singapore retained its title as the world's most expensive city for the fourth consecutive year, while Hong Kong (2nd),  Zurich (3rd), Tokyo (4th), Osaka (5th), Seoul (6th), Geneva (7th), Paris (8th), New York (9th) and Copenhagen at 10th place.

The EIU's Worldwide Cost of Living 2017 report -- a ranking of the world's major cities -- said Asia is home to some of the world's most expensive cities and also to many of the world's cheapest cities.

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/delhi/4-indian-cities-among-cheapest-globally-economist-intelligence-unit/articleshow/57753625.cms

World's Largest River Island, Majuli, Is All Set To Become India's First Carbon Neutral District.

Details :

Majuli, the world’s biggest river island, is all set to become India’s first carbon neutral district. It is also now a biodiversity heritage site.

The chief minister of Assam ‘Sarbananda Sonowal’ has launched " Forests are Lives" campaign to celebrate the importance of Assam's rich forest and biodiversity.

http://www.indiatimes.com/news/india/world-s-largest-river-island-majuli-is-all-set-to-become-india-s-first-carbon-neutral-district-273956.html

Maharashtra government makes Aadhaar mandatory for crop insurance schemes.

Details :

The Maharashtra government has made Aadhaar mandatory to farmers for availing crop insurance schemes from the next Kharif season.

The insurance scheme is applicable to food grain and horticulture sectors. As most farmers have bank account either in cooperative or public sector bank, they will now have to link it with the Aadhaar before June .

http://www.freepressjournal.in/mumbai/maharashtra-government-makes-aadhaar-mandatory-for-crop-insurance-schemes/1038611

Major Rohit Suri awarded Kirti Chakra.

Details :

Major Rohit Suri, who led the army team that carried out surgical strike in PoK 2016, was presented the second highest peacetime gallantry award Kirti Chakra by President Pranab Mukherjee.

Corporal Gursevak Singh of Indian Air Force was posthumously conferred the Saurya Chakra for putting up a valiant fight against terrorists who had attacked the frontline Pathankot air base in January, 2016.

Naib Subedar Vijay Kumar was conferred the Shaurya Chakra for his daredevilry in killing two terrorists in the operation despite coming under fire.

A number of other personnel who had participated in the operations were also awarded.

Lt General Devraj Anbu, Lt Gen Abhay Krishna and Lt Gen Rajendra Nimbhorkar were conferred Uttam Yuddh Seva medal.

A total of 22 personnel were given Ati Vishisht Seva medal, while 15 were bestowed with Param Vishisht Seva medal.

Those who were conferred Shaurya Chakra included Naik Bir Singh of 21st Parachute Regiment (Special Forces), Captain Gaurav Sharad Jadhav of 36th Battalion, Rastriya Rifles, Major Rahul Dev Singh of third battalion, Rashtriya Rifles and Sepoy Hari Chettri, 9th Battalion of Rastriya Rifles.

The personnel who were given the award posthumously are Naik Shinde Shankar Chandrabhan from 41st Battalion, Rastriya Rifles, Captain Tushar Mahaja of 9 Para, Captain Pawan Kumar of 10 Para and Lance Naik Om Parkash of 9 Para.

http://www.timesnow.tv/india/article/major-rohit-suri-awarded-kirti-chakra/57832

International Cricket Council name Ankur Khanna as new Chief Financial Officer.

Details :

The International Cricket Council (ICC) announced the appointment of Ankur Khanna as its Chief Financial Officer (CFO).

Khanna will join the ICC at the end of March leaving Air Asia India where he has held the post of CFO for the last one year.

Prior to Air Asia India, Khanna worked in senior roles at Air France / KLM Royal Dutch Airlines and ITC, an associate company of British American Tobacco.


http://www.hindustantimes.com/cricket/international-cricket-council-name-ankur-khanna-as-new-chief-financial-officer/story-xWNXBL7h557iXUTAEFfOsM.html

Russia’s VTB bank to shut India office.

Details :

Russian bank VTB has decided to close its only office in India to cut costs but will continue to work in India.

The decision to shut the branch in India was taken as part of a strategy of VTB Group aimed at optimising costs.

We will continue to work on the Indian market, expanding our cooperation with local partners.

http://www.thehindubusinessline.com/money-and-banking/russias-vtb-bank-to-shut-india-office/article9594733.ece

Madhabi Puri Buch appointed as Sebi Whole-Time Member.

Details :

Madhabi Puri Buch appointed as a Whole-Time Member of capital markets regulator SEBI.

She is founder-director of Agora Advisory Pvt Ltd and currently at the New Development Bank in Shanghai, China.

She has been appointed to the Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) post for a period of three years.

Samsung Pay digital payment app launched in India.

Details :

Samsung today launched a new digital payments service in the country, called Samsung Pay, that hopes to bring debit cards, credit cards and wallets under one umbrella.

Samsung Pay, a service that users of Samsung S7 Edge, S7, S6 Edge Plus, A series 2016 and 2017, and Note 5 users will get via a service update.

It will be available on Visa, Mastercard and Rupay payment cards.

ICICI, HDFC, Standard Chartered, SBI, Axis bank cards will be supported, along with Paytm and Amex cards. UPI and CitiBank card support is also expected to become available soon.

The Samsung Pay service is also supported on Samsung Gear S3.

http://www.hindustantimes.com/tech/samsung-pay-launched-in-india-here-s-how-it-works/story-QQkqIlbR2CZHnPxOf9ALEO.html

Shri Upendra Tripathy Appointed as Full Time Interim Director General of ISA.

Details :

Upendra Tripathy (IAS- Karnataka Cadre) has been appointed as the full-time interim Director General (IDG) of the International Solar Alliance (ISA).

Prior to this, he served the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy as its secretary from 1st April 2014 to 31st October 2016.

http://www.business-standard.com/article/government-press-release/shri-upendra-tripathy-appointed-as-full-time-interim-director-general-of-117032101224_1.html

March 21, 2017

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Details :
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India's first sign language dictionary to come up soon.

Details :

The government is all set to come up with the country's first-of-its-kind  Indian Sign Language (ISL) dictionary which aims to bring uniformity in sign languages used by hearing and speech impaired people across the nation.

It is being developed by the Indian Sign Language Research and Training Centre (ISLRTC), has so far compiled 6,032 Hindi and English words and their corresponding graphic representation of the signs which are used in daily life.

The dictionary is being developed in both print and video format.

This dictionary will help bridge the communication gap.

Cabinet approves four GST Bills.

Details :

The Union Cabinet chaired by the Prime Minister Narendra Modi has approved the four Goods and Services Tax (GST) related bills.

Four Bills Are:

The Central Goods and Services Tax Bill 2017 (The CGST Bill): 

The CGST Bill makes provisions for levy and collection of tax on intra-state supply of goods or services for both by the Central Government. 

The Integrated Goods and Services Tax Bill 2017 (The IGST Bill):

IGST Bill makes provisions for levy and collection of tax on inter-state supply of goods or services or both by the Central Government.

The Union Territory Goods and Services Tax Bill 2017 (The UTGST Bill):

The UTGST Bill makes provisions for levy on collection of tax on intra-UT supply of goods and services in the Union Territories without legislature. Union Territory GST is akin to States Goods and Services Tax (SGST) which shall be levied and collected by the States/Union Territories on intra-state supply of goods or services or both.

The Goods and Services Tax (Compensation to the States) Bill 2017 (The Compensation Bill):

The Compensation Bill provides for compensation to the states for loss of revenue arising on account of implementation of the goods and services tax for a period of five years as per section 18 of the Constitution (One Hundred and First Amendment) Act, 2016.

Background:

The Government is committed to early introduction of GST, one of the biggest reforms, in the country as early as possible.  GST Council has decided 1st July as the date of commencement of GST.  The Finance Minister in his Budget Speech has mentioned that country-wide outreach efforts will be made to explain the provisions of GST to Trade and Industry.

http://pib.nic.in/newsite/PrintRelease.aspx?relid=159523

Uttarakhand HC declares Ganga, Yamuna living entities.

Details :

The Uttarakhand high court on Monday declared the Ganga and Yamuna living entities, bestowing on them same legal rights as a person.

It is for the first time any court in India has recognized a non-human as a living entity.

The HC Division Bench comprising Justice Alok Singh and Justice Rajiv Sharma gave a landmark judgment while hearing a Public Interest Litigation (PIL).

If the state government failed to fulfil its responsibility regarding the rivers, then the central government should step in.

The court also directed the central government to constitute the Ganga Management Board within eight weeks to look into the issue of cleaning and maintaining the river.

http://www.livemint.com/Politics/IwxheezmdiazU5mWtiWU2K/Uttarakhand-HC-recognizes-Ganga-and-Yamuna-rivers-as-living.html

India ranks 122 in 2017 World Happiness Report.

Details :

India ranked at 122 out of 155 countries in the World Happiness Report 2017.

The report was released at an event celebrating International Day of Happiness. It is the fifth report to come out since 2012.

The World Happiness Report 2017 looks at trends in the data recording how highly people evaluate their lives on a scale running from 0 to 10.

The rankings, which are based on surveys in 155 countries covering the three years 2014-2016, reveal an average score of 5.3 (out of 10).

India comes in on the 122nd spot, down from 118 in the 2013-2015 report, which maps happiness on the parameters of GDP per capita, social support, healthy life expectancy, freedom to make life choices, generosity and perceptions of corruption.

10 Happiest Countries:

Norway (1),

Denmark (2),

Iceland (3),

Switzerland (4),

Finland (5),

Netherlands (6),

Canada (7),

New Zealand (8),

Australia (9) and

Sweden (10).

Among the eight Saarc nations, Pakistan was at 80th position, Nepal stood at 99, Bhutan at 97, Bangladesh at 110 while Sri Lanka was at 120. However, Maldives did not figure in the World Happiness Report.

10 Saddest Countries:

Yemen (146),

South Sudan (147),

Liberia (148),

Guinea (149),

Togo (10)

Rwanda (151),

Syria (152),

Tanzania (153),

Burundi (154) and

Central African Republic (155).

BRICS Countries:

Brazil (17),

Russia (56),

China (79),

South Africa (116) and

India (122).

http://www.hindustantimes.com/india-news/norway-named-happiest-country-in-the-world-india-among-the-saddest/story-zxfv1HSduc5skZRV8saH1H.html

21st March- International Day of Forests.

Details :

The International Day of Forests was established on the 21st day of March, by resolution of the United Nations General Assembly on November 28, 2012.

Each year, various events celebrate and raise awareness of the importance of all types of forests, and trees outside forests, for the benefit of current and future generations.

2017 Theme: Forests and energy

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/International_Day_of_Forests

http://www.un.org/en/events/forestsday/

Bharatiya Mahila Bank to be merged with SBI from April 1.

Details :

Bharatiya Mahila Bank (BMB) will be merged with the country's largest lender State Bank from April 1 to ensure greater banking outreach to women. 

The merger of BMB with paid up capital of Rs 1,000 crore was done three years after it was formed. 

In the three years since the BMB was established, it has extended loans of Rs 192 crore to women borrowers while the SBI group has provided loans of about Rs 46,000 crore to women borrowers. 

http://economictimes.indiatimes.com/industry/banking/finance/banking/bharatiya-mahila-bank-to-be-merged-with-sbi-from-april-1/articleshow/57758599.cms

China to take part in Brahmaputra festival.

Details :

The five-day Brahmaputra river festival titled Namami Brahmaputra organised by the BJP-led government in Assam, will witness significant participation from China.

According to the event organisers, described as the “biggest river festival of India,” various other countries such as Vietnam and Singapore are also attending.

The festival will begin on March 31 with an event scheduled to be inaugurated by President Pranab Mukherjee.

The festival will conclude on April 4.

http://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/kolkata/china-to-take-part-in-brahmaputra-festival/article17532699.ece

Mumbai loses permanent status.

Details :

Indian cricket's one-time power centre Mumbai has lost its permanent voting status as per the new constitution of the Indian Cricket Board finalized by the Committee of Administrators (CoA) appointed by the Supreme Court of India.

The committee has granted full membership with voting rights to all the North Eastern states, as recommended in Lodha Panel reforms. 

Uttarakhand, Telangana are also full members now.

While Bihar gets back its voting right, it will only start to function after the pending cases are over.

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/sports/cricket/news/mumbai-loses-permanent-status-all-ne-states-become-bcci-voters/articleshow/57719164.cms

Roger Federer wins fifth Indian Wells Masters title.

Details :

Roger Federer won a record-tying fifth BNP Paribas Open crown, he defeated Stan Wawrinka 6-4, 7-5 in an all-Swiss final at the Indian Wells Tennis Garden.

Federer joined Novak Djokovic as the only men to win five Indian Wells titles, adding to those he won in 2004, 2005, 2006 and 2012.

Cheteshwar Pujara becomes first Indian to face 500 balls in Test innings.

Details :

Pujara became the first Indian batsman to face 500 balls in a Test innings by surpassing Rahul Dravid's previous best of 495 balls.

Before Pujara, Dravid had played a marathon knock of 270 against Pakistan in Rawalpindi in 2004 and took 495 balls. 

IIT-Madras inks pact with Tanstia-FNF Service.

Details :

IIT-Madras and small scale industry body Tanstia-FNF Service Centre have signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) for technology transfer of water treatment analysis kits designed to treat drinking water mainly in rural areas.

The research at IIT-Madras for developing the filter and the kit was funded by International Development Research Centre, Canada.

The water filter technology removes turbidity, organic matter, colour, odour, and most bacteriological contamination can be removed.

http://www.thehindubusinessline.com/news/national/iitmadras-inks-pact-with-tanstiafnf-service/article9593136.ece

Govt proposes to lower cash transaction limit to Rs. 2 lakh.

Details :

The Centre has decided to further tighten norms to discourage payments by cash as well as curb black money.

To this end, it has proposed to amend the Finance Bill, 2017 to lower the limit of cash transaction to Rs. 2 lakh from the earlier proposal of Rs. 3 lakh.

http://www.thehindubusinessline.com/economy/govt-proposes-to-lower-cash-transaction-limit-to-rs-2-lakh/article9594535.ece

ICICI Bank launches Mera iMobile banking app for rural customers.

Details :

The ICICI bank launched a mobile banking app “Mera iMobile” for rural customers that allow them to access banking services as well as information on agricultural services.

Anyone including non-ICICI Bank customers can download and use the app which is available in eleven Indian languages.

Mera iMobile’, it allows users in rural areas to avail as many as 135 services -- some of which are unprecedented in the industry -- on their mobile phone, helping them to save the time and cost of visiting a branch to avail these services.

The list of services include Kisan Credit Card, Gold Loan, Farm Equipment Loan and loans to Self-Help Groups (SHGs).

The app also enables them to undertake an array of frequently used banking services from their smartphone, without using mobile internet services.

https://www.icicibank.com/aboutus/article.page?identifier=news-icici-bank-announces-launch-of-mera-imobile-indias-first-mobile-banking-application-for-rural-customers-20172003132128690

Legendary Rock n' Roll singer-guitarist Chuck Berry passes away.

Details :

Rock and roll legend Chuck Berry passed away. He was 90.

Berry, a guitarist and singer, was known for such hits as 'Roll over Beethoven' and 'Sweet Little Sixteen' in the 1950s and 60s and helped shape the genre of Rock n' Roll.

V Hangkhalian sworn-in as Protem Speaker of Manipur Assembly.

Details :

BJP MLA V Hangkhalian  sworn-in as the Protem Speaker of the Manipur Assembly.

Manipur Governor Najma Heptulla administered the oath of Protem Speaker to Hangkhalian at a function held at the Raj Bhavan at Imphal.

March 20, 2017

20 March - International Day of Happiness.

Details :

The International Day of Happiness (known as Happiness Day) is celebrated throughout the world on the 20th of March.

The United Nations established International Day of Happiness to "recognize the importance of happiness in the lives of people around the world." Celebrations have been held on March 20 each year since 2013.

Meteorologist Dev Raj Sikka passes away.

Details :

Renowned Meteorologist and former director of the Indian Institute of Tropical Meteorology (Pune) Dev Raj Sikka passed away. He was 85.

He who first proposed a link between the El Nino phenomenon and he famously known as Indian monsoon.

He was born on March 1, 1932 in Jhang, Maghiana in Pre-partition India (now in Panjab, Pakistan) and later migrated to India after the partition.

He had completed his Masters in Science (MSc) in Physical Chemistry from Agra University and joined Indian Meteorological Department (IMP) in 1954.

He began his career at the India Meteorological Department, was also credited with being among the pioneers of developing weather models and computer-modelling techniques to forecast the monsoon.

He was Chairman of the Monsoon Mission of the Ministry of Earth Sciences, a programme to improve monsoon-related forecasts.

http://www.thehindu.com/news/national/meteorologist-sikka-passes-away/article17530240.ece

First fully India-made train flagged off at Dadar station.

Details :

First fully India-made train (rake) Medha was flagged off at Dadar station in Mumbai, by Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu via videoconferencing.

The 12-coach Medha was from Dadar to Borivali

Medha rake costs ₹43.23 crore, which is approximately ₹1 crore less than German-made Bombardier rake, which is ₹44.36 crore. The cost will come down if more rakes are ordered.

It has been manufactured by the Integral Coach Factory (ICF) in Chennai, Tamil Nadu.

It also has LED lighting which reduces energy consumption by approximately 30-35% as compared to the existing rakes.

This rake has in-built systems to minimise breakdowns during the travel.

The rake can run at a speed of 110 kmph, whereas local trains don’t run above 90 or 100 kmph. Like the existing rakes, it has cushioned seats in first class and stainless steel seats in general compartments.

This rake also has a facility that would help motormen communicate with a guard in case of emergencies. The rake has a capacity of 6,050 passengers and the number of seats is 1,168.

http://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/mumbai/first-fully-india-made-train-flagged-off-at-dadar-station/article17530031.ece

India’s Longest Road Tunnel completes trial run.

Details :

India’s longest surface tunnel in Jammu and Kashmir’s Udhampur district is complete. 

 The 9-km-long tunnel passes through the Himalayas on Jammu- Srinagar National Highway and will be open to traffic soon following successful completion of trial run.

It has taken nearly six years for the project's completion, since the work started in May 2011 in the lower Himalayan mountain range.

The twin-tube tunnel, at an elevation of 1,200 metres and part of a 286-km-long four-lane project on the highway, has been built at a cost of over Rs. 3,720 crore.

http://www.ndtv.com/india-news/indias-longest-road-tunnel-to-be-thrown-open-to-traffic-soon-1670920

1.04 cr hit by arsenic contamination in Bengal.

Details :

According to recent report tabled in the Lok Sabha, West Bengal has the highest number of arsenic-affected people in the country.

There are 83 blocks in eight districts — Bardhaman, Malda, Hooghly, Howrah, Murshidabad, Nadia, North and South 24 Paraganas — where ground water is affected by arsenic contamination.

Despite the State government’s efforts to curb the Arsenic menace there is still a lot to be done.

 Bengal topped the list with more than 1.04 crore arsenic-affected persons as on March 4, 2017.

Bihar comes second with 16.88 lakh persons, with Assam in third spot with 14.48 lakh victims.

The total number of arsenic-affected people in the country is about 1.48 crore.

According to the WHO’s guidelines for drinking water quality (2011), the permissible limit of Arsenic in groundwater is .01 mg per litre.

 However, in India the permissible limit in drinking water has recently been revised from .05 mg per litre to .01 mg per litre.

West Bengal government had recently initiated a project in order to provide safe drinking water to more than six lakh people in the arsenic-affected Rajarhat and Haroa block in North 24 Paraganas district and Bhangar II blocks in South 24 Paraganas district.

http://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/kolkata/104-cr-hit-by-arsenic-contamination-in-bengal/article17530242.ece

Poet Chinu Modi passes away.

Details :

Noted Gujarati poet, novelist, story-writer and critic, Chinu Modi, known by his pen name 'Irshad', passed away.He was 78.

Born in Vijapur town in North Gujarat, he completed LLB in 1961 and MA with Hindi subject from Gujarat University in 1968.

During 1965-75 he was professor in Ahmedabad’s Swaminarayan Arts College. He worked as script writer in Indian Space Research Organisation during 1975- 1977.

Chinu Modi has written over 50 books of poetry, drama, novel, stories, critics, biography, collection, songs and translation.

Chinu Modi had received Sahitya Academy award in 2014. His body will be donated to the medical college as per his last wish.

http://theindianawaaz.com/gujarati-poet-chinu-modi-passes-away-pm-condoles/

Former Rajya Sabha MP Pyari Mohan Mohapatra passes away.

Details :

Former Rajya Sabha MP and president of Odisha Janamorcha party Pyari Mohan Mohapatra passed away in Mumbai after a prolonged illness.He was 77.

He was also called ‘Chankya of Odisha politics’.

The former IAS officer of 1963 batch played a key role in deciding the shape and contours of the Biju Janata Dal (BJD) after the regional party was formed in 1997.

Mohapatra was the Principal Secretary to the chief minister when Biju Patnaik occupied the top post.

K T Irfan wins bronze in Asian 20km Race Walk Championships.

Details :

National record holder K T Irfan clocked an impressive timing to win a bronze in the 20km men's event in the Asian Race Walk Championships.

Irfan finished the race in 1 hour 20 minutes and 59 seconds, a tad slower than his national record timing of 1 hour, 20 minutes, 21 seconds.

Korea's Kim Hyun-Sub took the gold in 1:19:50 while Georgiy Sheiko of Kazakhstan bagged the silver in 1:20:47. 

In the women's 20km event, India's Priyanka failed to climb the podium as she finished fourth with a time of 1:37:42. 

China's Wang Na comfortably won the gold medal with an effort of 1:30:51. Host country walker Kumiko Okada finished second in 1:33:31 while Yeongeun Jeon of Korea took the third place in 1:34:35.

http://www.business-standard.com/article/pti-stories/k-t-irfan-wins-bronze-in-asian-20km-race-walk-championships-117031900257_1.html

Snapdeal appoints Jason Kothari as CEO of FreeCharge.

Details :

E-commerce firm Snapdeal has appointed Jason Kothari as the Chief Executive Officer of FreeCharge.

In addition to his role of CEO, Kothari will also play the role of Chief Strategy & Investment Officer at Snapdeal.

He will also join the board of Directors of FreeCharge.

http://www.thehindubusinessline.com/info-tech/snapdeal-appoints-jason-kothari-as-ceo-of-freecharge-commits-20-mn-investment/article9591927.ece

Idea Cellular board approves merger with Vodafone India.

Details :

The board of directors of Idea Cellular has approved the scheme of amalgamation of Vodafone India Limited (VIL) and its wholly owned subsidiary Vodafone Mobile Services Limited (VMSL) with the company.

Vodafone will own 45.1% of the merged entity, after it transfers about 4.9% to promoters of Idea and/or their affiliates for Rs 38.74 billion ($592.15 million) in cash.

The combined Vodafone-Idea group would India's largest telecom operation with almost 400 million customers, or 35% market share.

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/business/india-business/idea-cellular-board-approves-merger-with-vodafone-india/articleshow/57726659.cms

Government swaps chief executives of IDBI Bank, Indian Bank.

Details :

The Centre has swapped the Chief Executive Officers (CEOs) of state-owned Indian Bank and IDBI Bank.

Mahesh Kumar Jain, who was Managing Director & CEO at Indian Bank, has been appointed as Managing Director & CEO of IDBI Bank, which is now in some financial trouble and faced with several legacy issues.

Kishore Piraji Kharat, who was appointed as IDBI Bank CEO in August 2015, has now been appointed as Managing Director and CEO of Indian Bank.

http://www.thehindubusinessline.com/money-and-banking/government-swaps-chief-executives-of-idbi-bank-indian-bank/article9591430.ece

Tamil Nadu lifts Vijay Hazare Trophy.

Details :

Tamil Nadu beat Bengal by 37 runs in the final of Vijay Hazare trophy 2016-17 on Monday.

With this win, Tamil Nadu become the only team to win the tournament five times.

Tamil Nadu scored 217 runs in 47.2 overs then restricted Bengal team at 180

Navniti Prasad Singh sworn in as Kerala HC Chief Justice.

Details :

Justice Navniti Prasad Singh  was sworn in as the new Chief Justice of the Kerala High Court.

Singh, earlier, served as a judge at the Bihar high court.

Justice Singh was administered the oath of office by Kerala governor P Sathasivam at Raj Bhavan.

Indian-American Computer Scientist Anshumali Shrivastava Wins NSF CAREER Award.

Details :

An Indian-American computer scientist, Anshumali Shrivastava has won National Science Foundation (NSF)'s prestigious CAREER award for his research on redesigning current machine-learning processes.

He is an Assistant Professor, Department of Computer Science at William Marsh Rice University, commonly referred to as Rice University or Rice which is a private research university located in Houston, Texas. 

http://www.ndtv.com/education/indian-american-computer-scientist-anshumali-shrivastava-wins-nsf-career-award-1671125

Amazon India brings out ‘A-Z GST Guide’ programme.

Details :

 E-commerce major Amazon India has come out with a new programme called  ‘A-Z GST Guide’ for sellers to get insights and help related to the goods and services tax (GST), which is set to be rolled out from 1 July.

The programme in its pilot phase has already trained over 5,000 sellers on the Amazon platform.

March 19, 2017

Yogi Adityanath Takes Charge As Chief Minister Of Uttar Pradesh.

Details :

Priest-turned politician Yogi Adityanath, 44, sworn in as the chief minister of Uttar Pradesh.

The oath-taking ceremony was administrated by governor Ram Naik at a function in Lucknow’s Kanshiram memorial ground.

Adityanath, the controversial mascot of hardline Hindutva, is also the first male bachelor chief minister of the country's most populous state.

 BJP UP Chief Keshav Prasad Maurya  also took oath as the new Deputy Chief Minister along with party’s National Vice-President Dinesh Sharma.

Mahant Yogi Adityanath is an Indian priest and politician with a "firebrand Hindutva (Hindu nationalism)" image.

Prior to this, he has been a Member of Parliament from the Gorakhpur Constituency, Uttar Pradesh for five consecutive terms since 1998.

Adityanath is also the Mahant or head priest of the Gorakhnath Mutt, a Hindu temple in Gorakhpur, following the death of his spiritual "father," Mahant Avaidyanath in September 2014.

He is also the founder of the Hindu Yuva Vahini, a militant youth organisation that has been involved in communal violence.

http://www.financialexpress.com/elections/uttar-pradesh-assembly-elections-2017/uttar-pradesh-swearing-in-live-updates-up-chief-minister-yogi-adityanath-will-take-oath-with-deputy-cm-keshav-prasad-maurya-and-dinesh-sharma/593700/

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yogi_Adityanath

Labour code to provide social security cover to all workers.

Details :

The National Democratic Alliance (NDA) government has proposed a labour code which will provide social security cover to the entire workforce in the country, including self-employed and agricultural workers.

The proposed code seeks to cover “any factory, any mine, any plantation, any shop, charitable organisations” and all establishments or households employing casual, part-time, fixed-term, informal, apprentice, domestic and home-based workers.

 This is for the first time that the ministry has formulated a code to cover agricultural workers along with self-employed people and target to provide social security benefits to 45 crore workers.

http://www.thehindu.com/news/national/labour-code-to-provide-social-security-cover-to-all-workers/article17523675.ece

UBI gets ₹418-cr capital infusion.

Details :

United Bank of India has received a capital infusion of Rs. 418 crore from the Centre under its turnaround-linked capital infusion plan.

The bank has received a communication from the Central Government, on March 16, about capital allocation of Rs. 418 crore, as a part of turnaround linked capital infusion plan

Boeing, US govt sign $3.4 bn deal for AH-64E Apache helicopters.

Details :

Boeing Co and the U.S. government have signed a $3.4 billion contract  under which the US Army and an international customer outside US will acquire the latest Apache attack helicopter, the Apache ‘E’ variant.

The Army will get 244 re-manufactured Apaches while the international customer will receive 24 new ones.

11 Indian Women Awarded with ‘Women Icons’ Award in Singapore.

Details :

Eleven Indian women are among the 25 Asian ladies who have won the 'Women Icons' award in Singapore for dedicating their lives to social work. 

The award was organised by Business Excellence & Research Group Pte Ltd and supported by Nanyang Technological University of Singapore.

Among the award winners last night was Vandana Sharma, who served for a decade in the Indian Armed Forces, broke several stereotypes around 'Women in Uniform' and ventured into the corporate world. 

Other winners were:   Revathi Siddharthe Roy, Dr Aparna Hegde of ARMMAN, Deepshikha Kumar of SpeakIn, Kanika Gupta Shori of Square Global, Minal D'Rozario of Ideosphere, Mini Dwivedi Gopinathan of PlayStreet Specially Abled Educare Trust, Saloni Mardia Kothari of Mtlexs Online, Sonia Kulkarni of Ketchum Sampark PR, and Swati Nathani of Team Pumpkin.

http://www.business-standard.com/article/pti-stories/11-indian-women-win-women-icons-award-in-s-pore-117031800301_1.html

Arunachal teen develops goggles to help the blind.

Details :

Anang Tadar, a Class XI student of New Galaxy Academy, Nirjuli, Arunachal Pradesh has invented a unique pair of goggles that uses ultrasound and infrared sensors to help the visually impaired detect obstacles on their path.

He was recently awarded the Dinanath Pandey Smart Idea Innovation Award for inventing a gadget called Goggle for Blind (G4B).

Impressed by his innovation and keen to launch it in the market, the National Innovation Foundation, set up by the Department of Science and Technology, has asked Anang to create a few prototypes for the visually impaired to test.

The technology Anang chose to make his gadget is similar to what is used in parking sensors used in cars.

The googles could be used to detect any obstacles on all sides within a distance of two metres. He says he used the principle of echolocation as used by bats at night.

There are two ultrasound sensors on the left and right of the goggles to detect obstacles. There is also an infrared sensor in the middle of the gadget to detect obstacles in case both the ultrasound sensors fail.

When an obstacle is detected, a beep sound is heard through the audio output along with vibration to alert the person. 

http://www.thehindu.com/todays-paper/tp-national/arunachal-teen-develops-goggles-to-help-the-blind/article17524676.ece

GST Council approves States and UTs GST Bills.

Details :

The Centre and States approved draft Bills for implementing the goods and services tax (GST) in States and Union Territories (UTs).

It was the 12th meeting of the GST Council.

The Council already has approved three other GST Bills pertaining to central GST, integrated GST and the compensation to be paid to States for loss of revenue.

U.K. grants doctors first licence to create 3-parent babies.

Details :

Britain’s fertility regulator granted doctors the first U.K. licence to create babies using a three-parent IVF technique designed to prevent inherited genetic diseases.

The technique involves intervening in the fertilisation process to remove mitochondria, which act as tiny energy-generating batteries inside cells, and which — if faulty — can cause fatal heart problems, liver failure, brain disorders, blindness and muscular dystrophy.

The treatment is known as “three-parent” IVF because the babies, born from genetically modified embryos, would have DNA from a mother, a father and from a woman donor.

The world’s first and so-far only known mitochondrial transfer baby was born in 2016 after U.S. doctors working at a clinic in Mexico helped a Jordanian couple conceive using the treatment.

http://www.thehindu.com/news/international/uk-grants-doctors-first-licence-to-create-3-parent-babies/article17485718.ece

New Zealand river granted legal status as ‘a person’.

Details :

New Zealand Parliament by passing legislation has recognised Whanganui River revered by the Maori Tribe as a “legal person” status.

It has gained its own identity with all the corresponding rights, duties and liabilities of a legal person, after a 170-year battle.

It recognised the river as an indivisible and living whole from the mountains to the sea.

http://www.thehindu.com/todays-paper/tp-in-school/new-zealand-river-granted-legal-status-as-a-person/article17492941.ece

BHEL's first 800-MW supercritical plant becomes operational.

Details :

Power equipment maker BHEL has commenced commercial operations of its first 800-MW unit, a supercritical thermal plant.

Karnataka Power Corporation Ltd (KPCL) and BHEL are the main equity partners of RPCL, the owner and operator of this power plant.

http://www.thehindubusinessline.com/companies/bhels-first-800mw-supercritical-plant-becomes-operational/article9585187.ece

McNally Bharat bags Rs. 415-cr solar power project in AP.

Details :

McNally Bharat Engineering Company Ltd has bagged a Rs. 415.29-crore order from Andhra Pradesh Power Generation Corporation Ltd.

The project entails design, engineering, manufacturing, supply, commissioning and operation and maintenance of 500-MW grid connected solar photo voltaic power project including civil works in Andhra Pradesh.

FTII signs MoU with Canon India for short-term courses.

Details :

The Film and Television Institute of India (FTII) has signed a memorandum of understanding with the digital imaging company Canon India Pvt. Ltd in a bid to promote film education through short-term courses across the country.

Canon will provide high-end cameras and accessories free of cost for FTII’s SKIFT (Skilling India in Film and Television) initiative.

Under this initiative, FTII offers short-term, skill-oriented courses across the country in collaboration with state governments, universities and educational institutions.

World Bank approves USD 450 million assistance to Pakistan

Details :

The World Bank on approved a financial assistance worth USD 450 million to Pakistan to support its efforts to help the poor and most vulnerable people in the country.

The bank said the programme aims to raise financial access throughout Pakistan to 50% of adults by 2020.

http://indianexpress.com/article/world/world-bank-approves-usd-450-million-assistance-to-pakistan-4571716/

State Bank of India signs MoU with CREDAI.

Details :

State Bank of India and real estate developers’ body CREDAI have signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) to jointly conduct various initiatives towards development of the realty sector.

The MoU will be in force for a period of 3 years.

http://www.thehindubusinessline.com/money-and-banking/state-bank-of-india-signs-mou-with-credai/article9585558.ece

Amitabh Bachchan launches world's first app for breast health.

Details :

Amitabh Bachchan launched the World’s first mobile App on ‘ABC of Breast Health’ at an event organized by the Ushalakshmi Breast Cancer Foundation.

The App aims to empower the nation about every aspect of breast cancer and benign non-cancer breast health issues in 12 languages (English, Hindi, Marathi, Gujarati, Punjabi, Bengali, Telugu, Tamil, Kannada, Malayalam, Oriya and Assamese).

Both IOS and Android versions of the App are available in Apple and Google Play Store for free download.

The App has been conceived, created and designed by the Ushalakshmi Breast Cancer Foundation, Hyderabad.

http://www.indiawest.com/entertainment/bollywood/amitabh-bachchan-launches-world-s-first-app-on-breast-health/article_4985933e-0b16-11e7-97b9-276d662206dc.html

Kerala becomes first Indian state to declare Internet a basic human right.

Details :

kerala, the most literate state in India, has just declared Internet access as a basic right for every citizen just like food, education and water. 

The state budget has unveiled a project, which aims to provide internet connections free of cost to 20 lakh poor families and at subsidised rates to others.

Government to launch 'Rashtriya Vayoshri Yojna' for senior citizens

Details :

Union Social Justice and Empowerment Minister Thaawarchand Gehlot and I&B Minister Venkaiah Naidu will launch 'Rashtriya Vayoshri Yojna' on March 25.

It will be launched at a camp in Andhra Pradesh's Nellore district on March 25.

The aim of the scheme is to bring the older people from the economically weaker sections into active life and build an aged-friendly society by providing them with devices to maintain near normalcy in morbidity.

http://www.business-standard.com/article/pti-stories/govt-to-launch-rashtriya-vayoshri-yojna-for-senior-citizens-117031900261_1.html

Punjab to reserve 33 per cent government jobs for women.

Details :

The congress government in Punjab led by Amarinder Singh decided to provide 33% reservation for women in all government jobs. 

The reservation would also apply to contractual appointments of women in government jobs.

The representation of women in Panchayati Raj Institutions and urban local bodies would go up from 33 % to 50 %.

Besides this, the government decided to do away with the “VIP culture” by removing red, amber and blue beacons from official vehicles of all state ministers, MLAs, bureaucrats and political appointees, and scrap the practice of laying of foundation stones while inaugurating public projects. 

The beacons would be allowed only on official vehicles of the chief minister, judges of The Punjab and Haryana High Court, and ambulances and fire tenders. 

http://indianexpress.com/article/india/punjab-to-reserve-33-per-cent-govt-jobs-for-women-takes-on-vip-culture-amarinder-singh-4575468/

Shahid Afridi appointed ambassador of Blind Cricket World Cup.

Details :

Former Pakistan all-rounder Shahid Afridi has been appointed as the ambassador for the fifth edition of the Blind Cricket World Cup.

The announcement was made  by the Pakistan Blind Cricket Council (PBCC).

Blind Cricket World Cup will be hosted by PBCC in the United Arab Emirates(UAE) and Pakistan in January 2018. This tournament to be played in ODI format.

http://indiatoday.intoday.in/story/shahid-afridi-ambassador-blind-cricket-world-cup/1/907083.html

March 18, 2017

Manhar Valji Bhai Zala assumes charge as new Chairperson of National Commission for Safai Karamcharis.

Details :

Former BJP legislator from Gujarat, Manhar Valjibhai Zala,  assumed charge as the chairperson of the National Commission for Safai Karamcharis (NCSK), which was headless for almost a year.

Two other members, Manju Diler from Uttar Pradesh and Dilip Kallu Haathived from Maharashtra, also took charge as members of the NCSK.

The NCSK, established in 1994 to deal with the grievances of persons engaged in manual scavenging, has a sanctioned strength of four members and a chairperson.

http://www.dnaindia.com/india/report-ex-bjp-mla-from-guj-assumes-charge-as-safai-karamcharis-panel-2354759

India's contribution to UN increases to Rs 244 crore.

Details :

India’s contribution to the United Nations has rose by 55% to Rs 244 crore in 2015-16 compared with the previous fiscal. In 2014-15, India had contributed Rs 157 crore.

For the period 2016-18, India’s Scale of Assessment for the UN’s Regular and Peacekeeping budgets has been fixed at 0.737% and 0.1474%, respectively.

http://economictimes.indiatimes.com/news/politics-and-nation/indias-contribution-to-un-increases-to-rs-244-crore/articleshow/57647501.cms

India, Brazil conclude social security agreement.

Details :

India and Brazil have finalised text of the Social Security Agreement (SSA).

This SSA takes forward the spirit of Goa Declaration adopted at 8th BRICS Summit, outcomes of the meetings of BRICS Labour & Employment Ministers held in June 2016 in Geneva and September 2016 in New Delhi.

The SSA between India and Brazil once in force (by early 2018) will also be the first such agreement between the BRICS countries. 

As per the agreed text, detached workers of the two countries are exempted from making social security contributions in either countries so long as they were making such contributions in their respective countries.

The text establishes the rights and obligations of nationals of both countries and provides for equal treatment of the nationals of both countries and unrestricted payment of pensions even in the case of residence in the other contracting state (benefits export principle). 

India has signed and operationalized Social Security Agreements (SSAs) with 18 countries - Australia, Austria, Belgium, Canada, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Hungary, Japan, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Sweden, Switzerland, and South Korea. 

http://economictimes.indiatimes.com/news/politics-and-nation/india-brazil-social-security-agreement/articleshow/57672985.cms

29 lakh debit cards subjected to malware attack: Govt.

Details :

The Union Government has announced that total of 29 lakh debit cards were subjected to malware attack in through ATMs that were connected with the switch of Hitachi.

It was announced by Union Minister of State (MoS) for Finance Santosh Kumar Gangwar in a written reply to the Lok Sabha.

The successful attempts of misuse of compromised cards as reported to the RBI by banks was only 3,291.

The Hitachi Payment Services (HPS) had appointed SISA Infosec for The Payment Card Industry (PCI) forensic investigation.

The final report suggested that the ATM infrastructure of HPS was breached and the data between May 21 and July 11, 2016 were compromised, but not the POS (point of sale) infrastructure.

The RBI advised banks to improve and maintain customer awareness and education with regard to cyber security risks.

RBI has set up a Cyber Security and IT Examination (CSITE) Cell within its Department of Banking Supervision in 2015, he said, adding that the bank issued a comprehensive circular on June 2, 2016 covering best practices pertaining to various aspects of cyber security.

http://www.hindustantimes.com/business-news/29-lakh-debit-cards-subjected-to-malware-attack-govt/story-x35DVTngJXSF6tDYxpX5zH.html

ICRISAT, ICAR join hands for crop improvement.

Details :

The Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR) and International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT) have signed an agreement to work together.

They will work together on crop improvement and agronomy programmes for grain legumes and dryland cereals.

Areas of focus over the next three years include - integrating systems modelling tools for upscaling climate resilient agriculture, developing genetic and genomic resources of finger millet and enhancing genetic gains for priority traits.

On crop improvement front, the pact will facilitate research on pigeonpea and chickpea for insect resistance.

http://www.thehindu.com/todays-paper/tp-national/icrisat-icar-join-hands-for-crop-improvement/article17524946.ece

India, Russia sign long-term support pact on Sukhoi Su-30MKI.

Details :

India and Russia signed two long-term support agreements for the Sukhoi Su-30MKI combat aircraft fleet.

The agreements were signed by India’s Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd (HAL) with Russia’s United Aircraft Corporation and United Engine Corporation at the first India-Russia Military Industrial Conference held in New Delhi.

The pacts provides for an upgraded schedule for delivery of spares from Russia for these jets, local manufacturing of parts and a proposed logistics hub for the fighter jets in Bengaluru by HAL.

Pacts were also signed for maintenance and life-cycle support for other Russian-origin platforms, such as Mi-17 helicopters, MiG-29K aircraft, INS Vikramaditya and T-90 tanks.

The Su-30MKI was designed and developed by Russia’s Irkut Corporation, specifically for India. The licensed production of the aircraft takes place at HAL’s facility in Nashik, Maharashtra.

http://www.thehindubusinessline.com/companies/india-russia-sign-longterm-support-pact-on-sukhoi-su30mki/article9589218.ece

World Bank approves $175 million loan for National Hydrology Project.

Details :

The World Bank has approved a $175 million loan for the National Hydrology Project to improve India’s ability to forecast floods and reduce vulnerability to recurring floods and droughts.

The loan from the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD) has a six-year grace period in which no interest payments will be due. The loan will mature in 23 years.

This National Hydrology Project will aim to cover the entire country, including the states along the Ganga and Brahmaputra-Barak basins.

RBI Gets Government Approval To Print Rs. 10 Plastic Notes.

Details :

The Union Finance Ministry has given permission to Reserve Bank of India (RBI) to conduct field trials of plastic (polymer-based) currency notes of Rs 10 denominations.

This information was shared by Minister of State for Finance Arjun Ram Meghwal in a written reply with the Lok Sabha. Plastic notes will have a longer life span.

http://economictimes.indiatimes.com/news/economy/policy/approval-given-to-rbi-to-print-rs-10-plastic-notes-government/articleshow/57689898.cms

BJP's Trivendra Singh Rawat sworn in as chief minister of Uttarakhand.

Details :

Former Uttarakhand BJP chief Trivendra Singh Rawat was sworn in as the state's chief minister of Uttarakhand.

Governor KK Paul administered the oath

Satpal Maharaj, Harak Singh Rawat, Madan Kaushik, Arvind Pandey, Subodh Uniyal, Yashpal Arya and Prakash Pant were also sworn in. They will be made state Cabinet ministers.

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/elections/assembly-elections/uttarakhand/news/bjps-trivendra-singh-rawat-sworn-in-as-5th-chief-minister-of-uttarakhand/articleshow/57704034.cms

Karan Avtar Singh appointed new Chief Secretary of Punjab.

Details :

Senior IAS officer Karan Avtar Singh (1984-batch) has been appointed as the Chief Secretary of Punjab.

Karan Avtar replaced Sarvesh Kaushal who was posted as Special Chief Secretary-cum-Director General Mahatma Gandhi State Institute of Public Administration. 

Singh was also given the charge of the Principal Secretary of Department of Personnel, General Administration and Vigilance and Investment Promotion.

Germany to use voice recognition to identify migrant origins.

Details :

Germany is to begin testing new voice recognition software that can tell which country migrants without documentation come from.

The Federal Office for Migrants and Refugees said the automated new system would begin within two weeks.

The aim is to detect Arabic-speaking migrants claiming to be Syrian to increase their chances of asylum.

The new software is similar to the voice authentication technology used by banks and insurance companies and is capable of differentiating between dialects.

Kerala gets first private bank.

Details :

ESAF Small Finance Bank, Kerala's first private sector bank, was launched by chief minister Pinarayi Vijayan.

As per RBI guidelines, the bank is required to open 25 percent of its branches in unbanked rural centers besides in cities like Bengaluru, Kolkata, Mumbai, Delhi and Hyderabad in the first year.

Essar group: India’s first private sector township to go cashless.

Details :

The Essar group’s township at Hazira in Surat district of Gujarat has become India’s first private sector township to go cashless.

The residents of Nand Niketan township have been provided with The Mobile Wallet (TMW) that has seen more than 12,000 app downloads since the launch recently. Over 8,000 TMW-RBL Bank prepaid cards have been issued to the residents.

TMW is a Mumbai-based financial technology company, whose wallet is powered by RBL Bank Ltd.

http://www.thehindubusinessline.com/news/national/essar-township-in-surat-goes-cashless/article9589737.ece

Nobel laureate Derek Walcott Caribbean poet passes away.

Details :

A Nobel-prize winning poet, playwright, and painter "Derek Alton Walcott" (87-year) has passed away at his home in Cap Estate, Saint Lucia.

Born on St Lucia on January 23, 1930, Walcott started writing as a young child, encouraged by his teachers, and published his first collection of poems in his late teens. 

His best-known work is his epic poem "Omeros," published in 1990 and freely inspired by Homer's Iliad and Odyssey. 

Walcott won the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1992 "for a poetic oeuvre of great luminosity, sustained by a historical vision, the outcome of a multicultural commitment".

http://economictimes.indiatimes.com/magazines/panache/nobel-laureate-caribbean-poet-derek-walcott-dies-at-87/articleshow/57694432.cms

Former racing champion Ashwin Sundar dies in mishap.

Details :

Former national racing champion Ashwin Sundar and his wife Niveditha died in a mishap at MRC Nagar, Chennai.

The car in which the two were traveling caught fire after it hit a roadside tree.

Sundar had won the national title in car racing and two-wheeler events on several occasions and his wife was a doctor in a private hospital in Chennai.

http://www.thehindubusinessline.com/news/national/former-racing-champion-ashwin-sundar-dies-in-mishap/article9590642.ece

Cabinet approves setting up of 50 Kendriya Vidyalayas.

Details :

The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) has approved the proposal for setting up around 50 new Kendriya Vidyalayas (KVs) under Civil or Defence Sector in the country.

It will “provide quality education to approximately 50,000 students in addition to around 12 lakh students already studying in present KVs.

http://www.thehindubusinessline.com/news/education/cabinet-approves-setting-up-of-50-kendriya-vidyalayas/article9585726.ece

March 17, 2017

Scientists discover method to detect autism in children via blood test.

Details :

Scientists  for first time have developed a blood test to accurately predict whether a child has autism spectrum disorder (ASD).

The test is the first physiological test for autism spectrum disorder (ASD).

scientists had investigated patterns of several metabolites and found significant differences between metabolites of children with ASD and those that are neurotypical.

These differences allowed them to categorise whether an individual is on the autism spectrum.

This algorithm by measuring 24 metabolites from a blood sample can tell whether or not an individual has Autism spectrum and even to some degree where on the spectrum they land.

ASD is estimated to affect about 1.5 per cent of individuals and is characterised as "a developmental disability caused by differences in the brain.

The physiological basis for ASD is not known, and genetic and environmental factors are both believed to play a role.

People with ASD may communicate, interact, behave, and learn in ways that are different from most other people.

Research shows that early intervention can improve development, but diagnosis currently depends on clinical observation of behaviour, an obstacle to early diagnosis and treatment. Most children are not diagnosed with ASD until after age 4 years.

http://www.business-standard.com/article/current-affairs/scientists-discover-method-to-detect-autism-in-children-via-blood-test-117031700283_1.html

Indrani Das wins top prize in Regeneron Science Talent Search competition.

Details :

Indian-American teen Indrani Das has won the top prize of $2,50,000 in the Regeneron Science Talent Search competition in the United States (US).

She won the prize for her research on preventing death of neurons due to brain injuries or neurodegenerative diseases

A contributor to neuron death is astrogliosis, a condition that occurs when cells called astrocytes react to injury by growing, dividing and reducing their uptake of glutamate, which in excess is toxic to neurons.

In a laboratory model, Das showed that exosomes isolated from astrocytes transfected with microRNA-124a both improved astrocyte uptake of glutamate and increased neuron survival.

Other Winners:

Arjun Ramani, an 18-year-old student from Indiana won the third place honours worth $150,000 for blending the mathematical field of graph theory with computer programming to answer questions about networks.

Archana Verma, 17, from New York, received a $90,000 award for her study of the molecular orbital energy dynamics of dyes, which may someday result in windows that produce solar energy.

Prathik Naidu, 18, from Virginia, received a $70,000 award for his creation of a new machine learning software to study 3D interactions of the human genome in cancer.

Vrinda Madan, 17, from Florida, received a $50,000 award for her study of 24 potential compounds for the treatment of malaria, in which she found two potential candidates that appear to target the disease-causing organism in a novel way and may warrant further study.

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/nri/us-canada-news/indian-american-teen-wins-top-science-award-worth-250000/articleshow/57673063.cms

India hosts world’s oldest algae fossil.

Details :

Scientists in India have uncovered a pair of 1.6 billion-year-old fossils that appear to contain red algae, which may be the oldest plant-like life discovered on Earth.

Until now, the oldest known red algae was 1.2 billion years old.

It was published  in the journal PLOS Biology.

The material structurally resembles red algae, embedded in fossil mats of cyanobacteria inside a 1.6 billion-year-old phosphorite, a kind of rock, found in Chitrakoot region in Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh. 

Scientists used x-rays to observe regularly recurring platelets in each cell, which they believe are parts of chloroplasts, the organelles within plant cells where photosynthesis takes place.

Scientists often debate the question of when complex life began on Earth, but they generally agree that large multicellular organisms became common about 600 million years ago. This discovery could lead experts to rewrite the tree of life.

http://www.thehindu.com/sci-tech/science/india-hosts-worlds-oldest-algae-fossil/article17468090.ece

India joins WHO call to end TB by 2030 in South East Asian.

Details :

India along with other countries in the South East Asian Region have signed World Health Organisation’s (WHO) Call To end Tuberculosis (TB) by 2030 in the region.

India reports 2.8 million new TB cases annually and nearly half a million deaths due to the disease.

Six of the region's countries -- Bangladesh, DPR Korea, India, Indonesia, Myanmar and Thailand -- are among the 30 high TB burden nations globally. 

The WHO global targets seek to reduce TB mortality by 90% and incidence by 80% by 2030.

http://www.business-standard.com/article/pti-stories/india-joins-who-call-to-end-tb-by-2030-in-south-east-asian-117031600523_1.html

India ranks 148 in representation of women in government.

Details :

India was ranked  148th position globally in terms of representation of women in executive government. It was released by the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) and UN Women.

The report was launched on the sidelines of the 61st Commission on the Status of Women. A total of 227 countries were analysed in the survey.

 The data published in the report Women in Politics 2017 Map showed that women make up only 11.8 % (64 MPs) of the 542-member Lok Sabha and 11 % (27) of the 245-member Rajya Sabha.

The theme for this year event is on women’s economic empowerment in the changing world of work.

Top 10 countries with highest women in parliament:

Rwanda, Bolivia, Cuba, Iceland, Nicaragua, Sweden, Senegal, Mexico, Finland and South Africa.

Regionally, women’s representation in the Americas made the most significant gains, according to the report, rising from 22.45 % in 2015 to 25 %.

In Africa, the proportion of female ministers saw a decline after years of steady growth. About 19.7 % of the region’s ministerial posts are held by women.

In Asia, women hold 11% of ministerial posts. Indonesia tops in the region with 25.7% women representatives in the government.

Among the Arab States, 9.7 % of senior executive posts are held by women, led by Tunisia and the United Arab Emirates, at 23.1 % and 26.7 %, respectively.

In Europe, the total percentage of women lawmakers stood at 22.5 %. In Nordic countries which have traditionally led the global stage in politics, but whose number of female ministers fell by more than 6 % to 43.5 %.

In the sub-continent India fared lower than Bangladesh at 91 and Pakistan at 89. Sri Lanka was positioned 179 as far as representation of women goes.

http://www.newindianexpress.com/states/tamil-nadu/2017/mar/17/india-ranks-148-in-representation-of-women-in-government-1582359.html

Parliamentary panel suggests BSNL-MTNL merger.

Details :

A Parliamentary panel has suggested merger of state-run telecom firms BSNL and MTNL for their long-term survival. 

Their merger would give both the entities a chance for competing against private sector players.

It was chaired by BJP MP Bhagat Singh Koshyari. 

http://economictimes.indiatimes.com/news/economy/policy/parliamentary-panel-suggests-bsnl-mtnl-merger/articleshow/57676084.cms

20 Projects approved under Namami Gange Programme.

Details :

The Executive Committee (EC) of National Mission for Clean Ganga approved has approved 20 projects worth Rs 1,900 Crore for implementation of Namami Gange Programme in Uttarakhand, Bihar, Jharkhand and Delhi. 

Out of 20 projects which were given EC approval are in Uttarakhand that includes creating new sewage treatment plants, upgrading existing STPs and laying of sewage networks in Haridwar at an estimated cost of approximately Rs 415 crore.

Haridwar, one of the holiest cities of India, is thronged by millions of people every year.

This approved plan is aimed at treating sewage water generated by not only city’s 1.5 lakh local dwellers, but also by people who visit the holy place for various purposes.

All these projects will be fully funded by the Central Government, including even the expenditure on operation and maintenance of these projects.

http://pib.nic.in/newsite/PrintRelease.aspx?relid=159210

US raises benchmark interest rate by 0.25%.

Details :

The US Federal Reserve has raised its benchmark interest rate by 0.25% for only the third time in a decade.

The central bank voted to raise its key rate target to a range of 0.75% to 1%.

The rate was increasedin light of the economy’s solid progress such as increase in jobs, solid pay gains, rising inflation and a dip in the unemployment rate to 4.7%.

The Fed aims to keep the cost of lending between banks within a specified band, which it does by buying or selling financial assets.

Tata Steel, Wipro in world's most ethical companies list

Details :

Two Indian companies, Tata Steel and Wipro, have been named in the list of world's most ethical companies by American think tank Ethisphere Institute.

Ford Motor Company has been named one of the World's Most Ethical companies for the eighth straight year. The list is dominated by US-based companies as around 98 of the 124 companies are from that country.

Wipro is one of the two information technology companies named in the list, the other being Xerox Corporation.

Tata Steel is also one of the two companies named in the metals, minerals and mining space. US-based Schnitzer Steel Industries Inc is the other company in this segment.

http://www.domain-b.com/management/general/20170315_companies.html

HDFC bank launches 3-minutes digital loan against securities service.

Details :

HDFC Bank launched digital Loan against Securities (LAS) allowing customers to avail loans in less than 3 minutes. 

The service will also be available to customers with no credit history. The bank, which will offer 10.5 % interest rate on the product, will soon expand the offering to other securities such as mutual funds, bonds and insurance policies. 

Customers can avail a minimum loan of Rs 1 lakh and maximum loan up to Rs 20 lakh under this facility. 

http://economictimes.indiatimes.com/industry/banking/finance/banking/hdfc-bank-launches-3-minutes-digital-loan-against-securities-service/articleshow/57651160.cms

SpaceX Falcon 9 Rocket Launches EchoStar 23 Satellite.

Details :

SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket successfully launched EchoStar 23 communications satellite into a high-altitude orbit.

It was the 29th successful Falcon 9 flight out of 31 attempted missions since the rocket’s debut in June 2010.

The EchoStar 23 satellite has been manufactured by SSL. It will provide broadcast satellite services alongside EchoStar’s 25 other satellites.

Aeries Financial Tech, Rubique form tie-up.

Details :

CASHe, a fin-tech tech product promoted by Aeries Financial Technologies, has entered into a strategic partnership with online marketplace for financial products Rubique.

Under the partnership, Rubique will enlist CASHe on its online platform for borrowers to avail viable short-term loan products from CASHe.

CASHe disburses multiple loan products ranging from Rs. 5,000-1 lakh payable over 15, 30 and 90 days.

http://www.thehindubusinessline.com/money-and-banking/aeries-financial-tech-rubique-form-tieup/article9587839.ece

ONGC to invest Rs 21,500-crore in India's deepest gas find.

Details :

State-owned ONGC will invest over Rs 21,500 crore to develop India's deepest gas discovery by 2022-23, helping it more than double output from its prime KG basin block. 

Oil and Natural Gas Corp (ONGC), which had last year firmed up an investment of Rs 34,012 crore in bringing to production 10 oil and gas discoveries in its Bay of Bengal block KG-DWN-98/2 (KG-D5), plans to invest another Rs 21,528.10 crore in developing the ultra-deepsea UD-1 find. 

http://economictimes.indiatimes.com/industry/energy/oil-gas/ongc-to-invest-rs-21500-crore-in-indias-deepest-gas-find/articleshow/57668155.cms

Pakistan successfully test-fires land based anti-ship missile.

Details :

Pakistan Navy conducted a successful test of a new land-based anti-ship missile, bolstering its operational reach to launch long- range, anti-ship missiles from land. 

The missile is equipped with advanced technology and avionics, which enable engagement of targets at sea with a high degree of accuracy. 

http://economictimes.indiatimes.com/news/defence/pakistan-successfully-test-fires-land-based-anti-ship-missile/articleshow/57672660.cms

March 16, 2017

15 IIITs declared as Institutes of National Importance.

Details :

The Union Cabinet chaired by the Prime Minister Narendra Modi has approved Indian Institutes of Information Technology (Public- Private Partnership) Bill, 2017.

The Bill will declare the existing Indian Institutes of Information Technology in Public Private Partnership as 'Institutions of National Importance with powers to award degrees.

This will entitle them to use the nomenclature of Bachelor of Technology (B.Tech) or Master of Technology (M.Tech) or Ph.D degree as issued by a University or Institution of National Importance. 

The grant of a formal degree in Information Technology, Engineering or Ph.D will enhance the prospects of the graduating students in the job market and will also enable the Institutes to attract enough students required to develop a strong research base in the country in the field of information technology. 

The 15 IIITs are:

Assam (Guwahati), Andhra Pradesh (Chittoor), Haryana (Sonipat), Gujarat (Vadodara),Himachal Pradesh (Una), Kerala (Kottayam), Jharkhand (Ranchi), Karnataka (Dharwad), Maharashtra (Nagpur & Pune), Rajasthan (Kota), Manipur (Senapati), Tamilnadu (Tiruchirappalli), Uttar Pradesh (Lucknow), Kalyani (West Bengal).

Background:

The Scheme of Setting up of 20 new IIITs in Public Private Partnership (IIIT PPP) as approved by the Union Cabinet on 7.12.2010 does not have provision which empowers the Institutes set up in Public Private Partnership to grant degrees to its students. The first batch of under-graduate students enrolled in the Year 2013-14 will be passing out in the Year 2017. Academic Session has started in 15 IIITs. 

http://pib.nic.in/newsite/PrintRelease.aspx?relid=159285

Cabinet approves pact with Bangladesh to set up border haats

Details :

The Union Cabinet, chaired by the Prime Minister Narendra Modi, has given its approval to the Revised Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) and Mode of Operation (MoO) between India and Bangladesh for establishing Border Haats on India-Bangladesh border.

Border haats aim at promoting the well-being of the people dwelling in remote areas across the borders of two countries by promoting traditional system of marketing the local produce through local markets. 

Currently, four border haats are operational, two each in Meghalaya and Tripura.

These were established and operationalised under the MoU and Mode of Operation of Border Haats signed between Bangladesh and India on October 23, 2010. 

http://www.financialexpress.com/economy/cabinet-okays-revised-pact-with-bangladesh-to-set-up-border-haats/589201/

Cabinet approves Policy for Early Monetization of Coal Bed Methane Gas.

Details :

The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs, chaired by the Prime Minister ShriNarendra Modi gave its approval for marketing and pricing freedom to the Coal Bed Methane (CBM).

The policy provides marketing and pricing freedom to the CBM Contractors to sell the CBM at Arm’s Length Price in the domestic market. 

The Contractor has to ensure a fully transparent and competitive process for sale of CBM with the objective that the best possible price is realized for the gas without any restrictive commercial practices. 

CBM contractors have also been permitted to sell the CBM to its any affiliate, in the event contractor cannot identify any buyer. Royalty and other dues to the Government, however, shall be payable on the basis of Petroleum Planning & Analysis Cell (PPAC) notified prices or selling prices, whichever is higher. 

The policy is expected to incentivize the CBM operation in the country to boost gas production and will generate economic activities which in turn will be beneficial for creating more employment opportunities in CBM operations and related activities. 

http://pib.nic.in/newsite/PrintRelease.aspx?relid=159278

Cabinet approves additional 2% Dearness Allowance / Dearness Relief due from January, 2017.

Details :

The Union Cabinet, chaired by the Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi has approved release of an additional instalment of Dearness Allowance (DA) to Central Government employees and Dearness Relief (DR) to pensioners.

It has increased by 2% over the existing rate of 2% of the Basic Pay/Pension, to compensate for price rise. 

It will be effective from 1 January, 2017.

The combined impact on the exchequer on account of both Dearness Allowance and Dearness Relief would be Rs. 5,857.28 crore per annum and Rs.6,833.50 crore in the Financial Year 2017-18 (for a period of 14 months from January, 2017 to February, 2018). 

This will benefit about 48.85 lakh Central Government employees and 55.51 lakh pensioners. 

http://pib.nic.in/newsite/PrintRelease.aspx?relid=159279

Sanjauli police post becomes first in India to be linked with CCTNS.

Details :

Sanjauli Police Station (Himachal Pradesh) has become the first police post in the country to be linked with Crime and Criminal Tracking Network & Systems (CCTNS).

The system will facilitate people in lodging online/offline complaints, police verification of job applicants, tenants, character verification and migrant labourer registration.

http://www.hindustantimes.com/india-news/sanjauli-police-post-becomes-first-in-india-to-be-linked-with-cctns/story-nb4jG1L5jdPXTJtGOKw4cK.html

China, Saudi Arabia ink deals worth about $65 billion.

Details :

China and Saudi Arabia have signed memorandums of understanding (MoUs) and letters of intent (LoIs) potentially worth about $65 billion.

These agreements signed during Saudi King Salman’s visit to China involve deals in investment, energy, space and other areas. 

Amarinder Singh sworn-in as CM of Punjab.

Details :

Captain Amarinder Singh was sworn in as Chief Minister of Punjab.

He was administered the oath of office and secrecy by Governor VP Singh Badnore at Raj Bhawan in Chandigarh.

Amarinder, who recently turned 75, was the Congress party's projected chief ministerial candidate. He won from the Patiala seat in the Assembly elections.

Besides him,  cabinet ministers Navjot SIngh Sidhu , Manpreet Badal, Brahm Mohindra, Charanjit Channi, Rana Gurjit and Tripat Bajwa; Aruna Choudhary and Razia Sultana were sworn in as ministers of state with independent charge.

Goa's BJP-led government wins floor test with support from 22 legislators.

Details :

The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)-led government in Goa smoothly won a crucial Supreme Court-mandated floor test with 22 votes in favour of it in the 40-member Assembly.

The BJP bagged 13 seats in the state polls held last month. When it went to stake claim to form the government, it claimed the support of three MLAs each of the Goa Forward Party and the Maharashtravadi Gomantak Party, as well as three independents. That gave the BJP 22 to the Congress party's 17 seats.

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/elections/assembly-elections/goa/news/goas-bjp-led-government-wins-floor-test-with-support-from-22-legislators/articleshow/57665849.cms

Shashank Manohar steps down as ICC Chairman.

Details :

Shashank Manohar, chairman of the International Cricket Council (ICC) has resigned. Manohar.

who held the office for just eight months, cited personal reasons behind taking this step. 

Manohar was elected unopposed as ICC's first independent chairman in May 2016 for a two-year term. 

He was re-elected as BCCI President in October 2015, following the demise of Jagmohan Dalmiya.

http://economictimes.indiatimes.com/news/sports/shashank-manohar-steps-down-as-icc-chairman/articleshow/57647045.cms

Babul Supriyo named vice-president of FIFA U-17 World Cup.

Details :

Union Minister Babul Supriyo has been appointed vice-president of the FIFA U-17 World Cup organizing committee.

The showpiece event, to be hosted by India for the first time, will be played from October 6 to 28.

The draw of the tournament will be held on July 7.

A FIFA team is scheduled to visit India from March 21 to 27 for the final inspection of the facilities in the six cities which will host matches of the U-17 World Cup.

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/sports/football/top-stories/babul-supriyo-named-vice-president-of-fifa-u-17-world-cup-loc/articleshow/57649973.cms

Jwala Gutta appointed SAI governing body member.

Details :

Ace shuttler Jwala Gutta has been appointed a member of the governing body of Sports Authority of India (SAI). 

Jwala is a 2010 Delhi Commonwealth Games champion and a silver medallist at the 2014 Glasgow Games in women's doubles.

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/sports/more-sports/others/jwala-gutta-appointed-sai-governing-body-member/articleshow/57668272.cms

SBI announces Rs 6,000-cr tractor loan settlement scheme.

Details :

State Bank of India (SBI) announced a one-time farm loan settlement scheme worth Rs 6,000 crore primarily for tractors.

The scheme will result in the bank taking a 40% haircut on outstanding tractor loans as of September 2016.

SBI’s total farm loan portfolio is Rs 1.25 trillion and tractor loan book is about Rs 6,000 crore.

Under this scheme, loans disbursed before 2011 and falling under doubtful or loss category accounts as of September 2016, will be considered.

http://www.financialexpress.com/banking-finance/sbi-announces-rs-6000-cr-tractor-loan-settlement-scheme/587923/

SEBI allows celebrities to endorse mutual fund products.

Details :

The Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) has allowed celebrities to endorse mutual fund products at the industry level for the purpose of increasing awareness of mutual funds as a financial product category, with immediate effect.

However, such celebrity endorsements should not promote a scheme of a particular mutual fund or be used as a branding exercise of an asset management company (AMC). 

http://economictimes.indiatimes.com/mf/mf-news/sebi-allows-celebrity-endorsements-in-mfs-issues-new-ad-code/articleshow/57663548.cms

March 15, 2017

Centre to Launch Pilot Project on Ornamental Fisheries with total outlay of Rs. 61.89 crore.

Details :

The Department of Animal Husbandry, Dairying and Fisheries, the Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare, has envisaged a program to unlock the country’s ornamental fisheries sector through a special drive by launching a pilot scheme for the development of ornamental fisheries with a total outlay of Rs. 61.89 crore.

For the purpose of implementation of the pilot project, a total of 8 potential States have been identified, viz., Assam, West Bengal , Odisha, Maharashtra , Gujarat , Karnataka , Tamil Nadu and Kerala.

The major objectives of the pilot project are:

(i) to promote ornamental fish culture with cluster-based approach,

(ii) to augment ornamental fisheries trade and export earnings,

(iii) to create employment opportunities for the rural & periurban population and

(iv) use of modern technology and innovation to make ornamental fisheries a thriving activity. 

The pilot project on ornamental fisheries shall be implemented by the National Fisheries Development Board (NFDB) through the Fisheries Departments of States/UTs. 

http://pib.nic.in/newsite/PrintRelease.aspx?relid=158991

Parliament passes bill to amend Enemy Property Act.

Details :

The Parliament has passed Enemy Property (Amendment and Validation) Bill, 2016 by voice vote to make amendments to the Enemy Property Act, 1968.

According to the bill, “Enemy property” refers to any property belonging to, held or managed on behalf of an enemy, an enemy subject or an enemy firm.

The government has vested these properties in the Custodian of Enemy Property for India, an office instituted under the central government.

After the Indo-Pakistan War of 1965, the Enemy Property Act was enacted in 1968, which regulates such properties and lists the Custodian’s powers.

http://indianexpress.com/article/india/parliament-passes-enemy-property-bill-4568723/

World's first fluorescent frog discovered in Argentina.

Details :

Scientists have discovered South American polka dot tree frog (Hypsiboas punctatus), the world’s first fluorescent frog in Argentina.

In normal light the frog appears to have a dull, mottled browny-green skin with red dots, but under UV light it glows a bright fluorescent green.

Fluorescence – the ability to absorb light at short wavelengths and re-emit it at longer wavelengths – is uncommon in creatures that live on land.

Hyderabad best Indian city in living standards: Mercer

Details :

According to Mercer’s Quality of Living index rankings 2017, Hyderabad (Telangana) has emerged as the best Indian city in terms of quality of living.

Global rankings:

Globally, Vienna occupies first place for overall quality of living for the eighth year running.

with the rest of the top-ten list mostly filled by European cities:

Zurich (2), Munich (4), Dusseldorf (6), Frankfurt (7), Geneva (8), Copenhagen (9), and Basel, a newcomer to the list, in 10th place.

The only non-European cities in the top ten are Auckland, (3) and Vancouver (5).

The highest ranking cities in Asia and Latin America are Singapore (25) and Montevideo (79), respectively, according the a survey by Mercer, the global consulting firm.

Both Hyderabad and Pune ranked higher 145 and 146, respectively than the country’s traditional business centres Mumbai and New Delhi, which were ranked at 154 and 161, respectively.

Mercer’s survey is one of the comprehensive and annual feature to enable multinational companies and other employers to compensate employees fairly when placing them on international assignments.

The parameters taken into account for the survey include political and social environment, medical care and health considerations, public services, recreation facilities and natural environment amongst others.

Amongst Indian cities, Mumbai is ranked the highest at 141, followed by Kolkata (149) and Pune (151), while Bangalore was rated the lowest (177) by the report. 

http://economictimes.indiatimes.com/magazines/panache/hyderabad-best-indian-city-in-living-standards-mercer/articleshow/57653013.cms

N Biren Singh sworn in as first BJP chief minister of Manipur.

Details :

BJP’s N Biren Singh took oath as the Chief Minister of Manipur. He was administered oath to the office and secrecy by Governor Najma Heptulla. 

He is the party's third CM after the ones in Arunachal Pradesh and Assam in the Northeast.

National People’s Party’s (NPP) Joykumar takes oath as the deputy chief minister.

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/elections/assembly-elections/manipur/news/n-biren-singh-sworn-in-as-first-bjp-chief-minister-of-manipur/articleshow/57660612.cms

US Senate Confirms Indian-American Seema Verma For Top Health Post.

Details :

The United States (US) Senate has confirmed Indian-American Seema Verma for a top health care position in the Donald Trump administration.

The second Indian-American in the Trump Administration to be confirmed by the Senate, Ms Verma would head the USD 1 trillion Centers of Medicare and Medicaid Services that provides health services to 130 million people.

US Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley was the first Indian-American Cabinet rank official to serve in any presidential administration.

http://www.ndtv.com/indians-abroad/us-senate-confirms-indian-american-seema-verma-for-top-health-post-1669241

Justice Sharma appointed as Assam Upalokayukta.

Details :

Justice (Retd) Chittaranjan Sharma sworn in as Assam's Upalokayukta by Governor Banwarilal Purohit. 

Justice Sharma was administered the oath of office by the governor at a simple ceremony in the Raj Bhawan.

Justice Sharma was a former Judge of the Gauhati High.

15 March - World Consumer Rights Day.

Details :

Every year World Consumer Rights Day (WCRD) is being observed on 15 March for celebration and solidarity within the international consumer movement.

Our theme for World Consumer Rights Day 2017 is ‘Building a Digital World Consumers can Trust’

Centre Establishes Banana Research Centre In Bihar.

Details :

The Union Agriculture and Farmer’s Welfare Minister Shri Radha Mohan Singh laid the foundation stone of the Banana Research Centre at Vaishali, Bihar Centre to fulfill the aspirations of the local banana growers. 

The new center will work to find reasons behind less production in banana, enhancement in acreage for cultivation, suitable utilization of the various parts of the plants, different products, marketing and value addition.

http://www.ndtv.com/education/centre-establishes-banana-research-centre-in-bihar-1668940

Karnataka moots retirement age at 60 yrs for private sector employees.

Details :

Karnataka Chief Minister Siddaramaiah proposed to increase the retirement age of private sector employees from the present 58 years to 60 years.

http://economictimes.indiatimes.com/news/politics-and-nation/karnataka-moots-retirement-age-at-60-yrs-for-private-sector-employees/articleshow/57654004.cms 

Joanna Rowsell Shand Double Olympic gold medallist retires

Details :

Britain's double Olympic gold medallist Joanna Rowsell Shand has announced her retirement from international cycling.

The 28-year-old track cyclist won gold in the team pursuit at London 2012 and Rio 2016.

Rowsell Shand was a five-time world and four-time European champion.

March 14, 2017

Arunachal Pradesh Launches Adarsh Gram Yojana for Rural Poor.

Details :

The Arunachal Pradesh government has launched a new scheme 'Adarsh Gram Yojana' to reach the poor people in rural areas of the state to serve them better.

Under the scheme, 123 villages will be developed as “Model Villages” during the FY 17-18.

Manohar Parrikar takes oath as Goa chief minister.

Details :

Senior Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader Manohar Parrikar was sworn in as the Goa chief minister for the fourth time.

Nine ministers were also sworn in during the ceremony, namely Sudin Dhavalikar and Manohar Azgaonkar of the Maharashtrawdi Gomantak Party, Vijai Sardesai, Vinod Palienkar and Jayesh Salgaonkar of the Goa Forward, Francis D'Souza, Pandurang Madkaikar of the BJP and Independent legislators Govind Gawde and Rohan Khaunte.

The first IITian to become Chief Minister, Parrikar's two previous terms -- October 2000-02, February 2002-05 -- had been bumpy rides with constant pinpricks from his alliance partners. But his third term, March 2012-14, had no coalition strings attached.

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/elections/assembly-elections/goa/news/manohar-parrikar-returns-as-goa-chief-minister/articleshow/57632259.cms

Women Safety app 'Ammavin Aran' launched by AIADMK.

Details :

The All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK) IT Wing has launched the women safety application 'Ammavin Aran' in Tamil Nadu.

The app is called 'Ammavin Aran' meaning 'mother's fortress'.

The app will give the user details about the nearest police station and hospital along with map details and phone number.

There is an in-built whistle, which can manipulate the phone speaker to create a loud noise when pressed by anyone in distress.

http://indiatoday.intoday.in/story/tamil-nadu-women-safety-ammavin-aran-aiadmk/1/900652.html

Karnataka announces ₹10-crore fund for women entrepreneurs.

Details :

Karnataka has announced an Idea2POC (Proof of Concept) fund of ₹10 crore for women entrepreneurs.

Under this (Idea2POC) scheme, the Karnataka Department of IT, BT and S&T will fund upto ₹50 lakh for any woman innovator looking for funds for Proof of Concept validation, certification, and cover costs in manufacturing of pilot devices.

http://www.thehindubusinessline.com/news/national/karnataka-announces-rs-10crore-fund-for-women-entrepreneurs/article9582325.ece

‘KCR Kit’ scheme lanched by telangana government for pregnant womens.

Details :

Focussing on women welfare and new born, Telangana Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao has come out with an innovative scheme – KCR Kit.

The scheme is designed to address complications during the time of pregnancy and aimed at reducing infant mortality rate and encourage institutional deliveries.

The KCR Kit consists of 16 essential things needed for a new-born and will be useful for up to three months.

The kit comes packed with soaps useful for mother and child, baby oil, baby bed, mosquito net, dresses, sarees, hand bag, towels and napkins, powder, diapers, shampoo and toys for the kid.

http://www.thehindubusinessline.com/news/national/605crore-kcr-kit-scheme-for-pregnant-women-new-born/article9582330.ece

BrahMos missile successfully test fired.

Details :

India successfully test-fired the BrahMos supersonic cruise missile, which is capable of carrying a warhead of 300 kg, from a test range along the Odisha coast.

The missile was test fired from a Mobile Autonomous Launcher (MAL) from the Integrated Test Range (ITR) at Chandipur, Odisha.

BrahMos supersonic cruise missile has been designed and developed by BrahMos Aerospace, a joint venture of India and Russia.

The missile is capable of carrying a warhead of 300 kg.

The two-stage missile, one being solid and the second one ramjet liquid propellant, has already been inducted into the Army and Navy, while the Air Force version is in final stage of trial, they said.

The Army is already equipped with three regiments of Block III version of Brahmos missiles.

http://www.thehindu.com/news/national/india-testfires-brahmos-missile/article17447222.ece

Intel to buy driverless technology firm Mobileye for $15.3 billion.

Details :

U.S. chip giant Intel has agreed to buy Israeli driverless technology firm Mobileye for $15.3 billion, the largest ever acquisition of an Israeli high-tech company.

The $63.54 per share cash deal is the world's biggest purchase of a company solely focused on the autonomous driving sector. 

Mobileye accounts for 70 % of the global market for advanced driver-assistance and anti-collision systems.

Footwear Design And Development Institute (FDDI) Bill 2017 Introduced In Lok Sabha.

Details :

The Commerce and Industry Minister Nirmala Sitharaman introduced the Footwear Design and Development Institute (FDDI) Bill, 2017 in the Lok Sabha on 14th March, 2017 to declare the FDDI as an Institution of National Importance (INI). 

The objective of the proposed legislation is to facilitate and promote teaching, training and research in all disciplines relating to design and development of Footwear and leather products and to enable FDDI to emerge as Centre of Excellence meeting international standards.

The Footwear Design & Development Institute was established in 1986 with the objective of providing trained human resource and assistance to the sector.
FDDI has pan-India presence with campuses at Noida, Kolkata, Chennai, Fursatganj (UP), Rohtak (Haryana), Chhindwara (M.P) and Jodhpur (Rajasthan) equipped with state of art academic facilities and infrastructure.
New campuses at Hyderabad, Patna, Ankleshwar (Gujarat), Banur(Punjab) and Guna (M.P) would also start functioning shortly.

RBI to now open up UPI for digital wallets like Paytm and MobiKwik.

Details :

Reserve Bank of India (RBI) prepares to open up the Unified Payment Interface (UPI) platform for them as part of the government’s digitisation campaign. 

The initiative will enable the digital wallets such as Paytm and MobiKwik to become inter-operable.

RBI is expected to issue guidelines shortly on interoperability and ‘know your customer' (KYC) norms for digital wallet companies, according to two people familiar with the developments. 

RBI will also decide on the interchange fees between the wallets for them to be able to access the UPI framework, they said, declining to be identified. 

http://economictimes.indiatimes.com/news/economy/policy/rbi-to-now-open-up-upi-for-digital-wallets-like-paytm-and-mobikwik/articleshow/57622078.cms

Amy Krouse Rosenthal, Children’s Author and Filmmaker, Dies at 51.

Details :

Popular American author, filmmaker and public speaker, Amy Krouse Rosenthal passed away due to ovarian cancer. She was 51.

She was an American author of both adult and children's books, a short film maker, and radio show host.

She is best known for her memoir Encyclopedia of an Ordinary Life, her children's picture books, and the film project The Beckoning of Lovely.

She was a prolific writer, publishing more than 30 children's books between 2005 and her death in 2017.

She is the only author to have three children's books make the Best Children's Books for Family Literacy list in the same year.

She was a contributor to Chicago's NPR affiliate WBEZ, and to the TED conference.

Reliance Commercial Finance appoints Devang Mody as CEO.

Details :

Reliance Commercial Finance, a subsidiary of Reliance Capital, announced the appointment of Devang Mody as chief executive officer.

Prior to this, Mody served as president of consumer business at Bajaj Finance.

Mody, aged 44, has over 20 years of experience in the financial sector.

http://www.business-standard.com/article/companies/reliance-commercial-finance-appoints-devang-mody-as-ceo-117031400243_1.html

Malayalam filmmaker Diphan passes away.

Details :

Malayalam film director Diphan (47) passed away here on Monday. He was undergoing treatment at a private hospital here since Feburary 26.

Diphan has directed seven films including Prithviraj-starrer Puthiyamukham, D Company, Hero and Lead role, is yet to be released.

Punjab wins 2017 Santosh Trophy of Football.

Details :

Punjab has won the 71st Santosh Trophy football tournament by defeating Railways by 2-1 goals. 

It was Punjab’s overall 9th Santosh Trophy after it had earlier won it in 1970, 1974, 1980, 1984, 1985, 1987, 2006 and 2007. 

March 13, 2017

Zee Cine Awards 2017.

Details :

Zee Cine Awards were hosted at Jio Grounds in Mumbai.

Here's the complete list of the winners:

Best Actor: Amitabh Bachchan (Pink)

Best Actress: Alia Bhatt (Udta Punjab)

Best Director: Ram Madhvani (Neerja)

Best Film Jury: Pink

Viewer's Choice Best Film : Dangal

Viewer's Choice Best Actor (Female): Anushka Sharma (Sultan)

Viewer's Choice Best Actor (Male) : Salman Khan (Sultan)

Best Debutant (Male): Jim Sarbh (Neerja)

Best Debutant (Female): Ritika Singh (Saala Khadoos)

Best Debut Director: Aniruddha Roy Choudhury (Pink)

Best Actor in a Comic Role: Rishi Kapoor (Kapoor & Sons)

Best Supporting Actress: Shabana Azmi ( Neerja)

Best Song : Channa Mereya ( Ae Dil Hai Mushkil)

Best Background Score: Airlift

Best Music : Ae Dil Hai Mushkil

Best Playback Singer (Female): Neha Bhasin (Jag Ghoomeya, Sultan)

Best Playback Singer (Male): Arijit Singh (Ae Dil Hai Mushkil title track)

Best Lyricist: Irshad Kamil (Jag Ghoomeya)

Best Sound Design : Sultan

Best Choreography : Kala Chashma by Bosco-Caeser (Baar Baar Dekho)

Best Cinematography :Shivaay

Best Dialogue:  Pink

Best Production Design : Neerja

Best Editing : Neerja

Best Visual Effects : Shivaay

Best Action:  Shivaay.

http://www.business-standard.com/article/news-ani/zee-cine-awards-2017-here-is-the-complete-list-of-winners-117031200051_1.html

Winners of 2017 All England Championship Title of Badminton.

Details :

Lee Chong Wei won the 2017 All England Championship Title of Badminton in the men’s singles event. He defeated China’s Shi Yuqi by 21-12, 21-10 score.

Earlier he won the title in 2010, 2011 and 2014. It was his overall fourth title in men’s singles event.

Men’s Double:

Indonesia’s Marcus Gideon and Kevin Sukamuljo won the title by defeating China’s Li Junhui and Liu Yuchen by 21-19, 21-14 score.

Women’s Single:

Tai Tzu-ying (China) won the title by defeating Ratchanok Intanon (Thailand) by 21-16, 22-20 score.

Women’s Double:

South Korea’s Chang Ye Na and Lee So Hee won the title by defeating Denmark’s Kamilla Rytter Juhl and Christinna Pedersen by 21-18, 21-13 score.

Mixed Double:

China’s Lu Kai and Huang Yaqiong won the title by defeating Malaysia’s Peng Soon Chan and Liu Ying Goh by 18-21, 21-19, 21-14 score.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/All_England_Open_Badminton_Championships

HSBC appoints Mark Tucker as new chairman.

Details :

Banking giant HSBC has appointed Mark Tucker as its chairman.

British businessman Mark Tucker, currently group chief executive and president of insurance group AIA, will take over from Douglas Flint.

He would take over as group chairman designate from September 2017 and as non-executive group chairman on October 2017.

Golfer SSP Chawrasia defends Indian Open title.

Details :

Defending champion SSP Chawrasia claimed his second consecutive Indian Open title after racing to victory at 10 under DLF Golf Course in Gurgaon.

He became only the second Indian to win the Indian Open in in two successive years after Jyoti Randhawa. 

It was his sixth win on the Asian Tour and overall sixth international victory.

He become the third player to win back-to-back Indian Open. Jyoti Randhawa did that in 2006 and 2007 while Japan’s Kenji Hosoishi had won it way back in 1967 and 1968.

http://indianexpress.com/article/sports/golf/ssp-chawrasia-defends-indian-open-title-only-second-indian-to-do-so-4566743/

Telangana Budget 2017: Highlights.

Details :

The Telangana State Finance Minister Etala Rajender presented the budget estimate of  Rs 1.46 lakh crore for 2017-18 on March 13, 2017 in the state assembly.

HighLights:

Finance minister describes budget as pro poor and welfare oriented. Says thrust on revival of rural economy.

* Rs 300 crore allocated for Warangal Municipal Corporation. Warangal is the second biggest city in Telangana after Hyderabad.

* Urban infrastructure development to rely on 'extra budgetary resources'.

* Finance minister says rural economy is the focus.

* Backward classes welfare to benefit fishermen and shepherd communities.

* Rs 1000 crore allocated for Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation.

* Mission Bhagiratha, the piped drinking water programme gets Rs 3000 crore.

* The revised estimates of 2016-17 budget expenditure was 86.02% or Rs 112191.07 crore.

* Information technology department gets Rs 252.89 crore in the budget.

* Expenditure in schemes pegged at Rs 88038.80 crore.

* Revenue surplus is of Rs 4571.30 core and fiscal deficit of Rs 26096.31 crore.

* Total budget size is Rs 149646 crore. Estimated committed expenditure is of Rs 61607.20 crore.

* Irrigation continues to be priority area for the state. To get Rs 25000 crore this year too.

* Revenue expenditure pegged at Rs 50954.61 crore.

* Rs 4000 crore set aside towards payment of fourth and final instalment to banks towards the Rs 17000 crore farm loan waiver scheme.

* Agriculture and allied sectors to get Rs 46946.98 crore.

* Finance minister Eatela Rajendar says 19.61% growth rate achieved.

* SC, ST welfare funds unspent to be carried forward to this year's budget. Funds for SC, ST welfare based on population ratio.

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/hyderabad/telangana-budget-2017-highlights/articleshow/57614604.cms

Pakistan set to conduct its first census in 19 years.

Details :

Pakistan is set to conduct its first national census in 19 years which will begin on 15th march 2017.

The census would be conducted with the assistance of over 200,000 troops.

The first phase will start from March 15 and conclude on April 15. After a ten—day gap the second phase will start from April 25 and conclude on May 25.

At least one soldier will accompany each civilian enumerator going from house to house to enlist the number of households and individuals living there.

The soldiers will not only provide security but help in verification of data collected by the enumerators.

For this event Rs 18.5 billion have been allocated.

There will be imprisonment of six months and Rs 50,000 fine if wrong information is given.

Islamabad last conducted a census in 1998, which recorded a national population of approximately 180 million at that time.

http://www.thehindu.com/news/international/pakistan-set-to-conduct-its-first-census-in-19-years/article17455526.ece

Bangladesh declares March 25 as ‘Genocide Day’.

Details :

Bangladesh’s unanimously adopted a resolution declaring March 25 as Genocide Day, in remembrance of the atrocities carried out by the Pakistani Army in the night of March 25, 1971.

The Pakistan Army swooped on unarmed civilians on the night of March 25, 1971, to crush the Bengali rebellion following refusal by the military leadership to accept the election results of 1970 in which the Awami League got thumping majority .

‘Operation Searchlight’ began in the first hours of March 25 in Dhaka.

MPs also suggested that the government take initiative so that December 9, marked by the UN as international day of commemoration of genocide, sees the the March 25 victims being commemorate as well.

Savings bank accounts: RBI lifts all restrictions on cash withdrawals.

Details :

The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) on 13th march 2017 lifted all restrictions on cash withdrawals from savings bank accounts imposed on November 8, 2016 after the withdrawal of Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 notes.

Earlier, the RBI had removed all curbs on branch withdrawals from current account, cash credit and overdraft accounts on January 30.

The RBI lifted the restrictions in two stages.

It first allowed cash withdrawals up to Rs 50,000 from savings bank account from February 20 and then removed all restrictions on cash withdrawals from March 13.

http://indianexpress.com/article/business/economy/savings-bank-accounts-rbi-lifts-all-restrictions-on-cash-withdrawals-4568127/

Arun Jaitley gets charge of defence ministry after Manohar Parrikar resigns.

Details :

 Finance minister Arun Jaitley was given the additional charge of the defence ministry after Manohar Parrikar resigned to take on the new role of Goa chief minister.

Parrikar submitted his resignation after BJP staked claim to form an alliance government in Goa.

This is the second time that Jaitley is holding the additional portfolio of Defence Ministry during the present NDA government.

He was incharge of the ministry earlier from May 26 to November 9 in 2014.

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/president-accepts-parrikars-resignation-arun-jaitley-to-get-additional-charge-of-defence-portfolio/articleshow/57616323.cms

March 12, 2017

March - Important Updates:

Details :
  • The singer who received 2017 Harvard Humanitarian of the Year award - Rihanna
  •  The new agency formed by US President Trump for crime against immigrants - VOICE –( Victims Of Immigration Crime Engagement )
  •  The 28th February is observed as - Rare Disease Day
  •  The Indian junior Para shooter who won a silver medal at World Shooting Para Sport World Cup -Avani Lekhara
  •  The state government which appointed teacher in all high schools to monitor cleanliness - Assam
  • The 29th edition of the InternationaI Yoga Festival held at - Rishikesh
  • The Zero Discrimination Day is observed on - 1st March
  • The veteran Gujarati writer who recently passed away - Taarak Mehta
  • The Indian shooter who won gold medal in the 50- metre air pistol event at the ISSF World Cup tournament - Jitu Rai.
  • The person who is currently serving as Culture Secretary has given additional charge as Secretary at Ministry of Tourism - NK Sinha
  • The person who is recently appointed as Chief Secretary of Maharashtra replacing Swadheen Kshatriya- Sumit Mullick
  • The state government which signed MoU with Invest India to promote start-ups in the state - Odisha
  • The newly appointed coach of India's Under-17 football team - Luis Norton de Matos
  • The tennis player who got offer of wildcard to play in Italian open tournament - Maria Sharapova
  • The ID card which is been made mandatory for final settlement of pension claims by Employees' Provident Fund Organisation - Aadhaar Card
  • The country which recently cancels visa-free entry for North Koreans - Malaysia
  • The Indian Chess player recently won bronze medal at the 2017 Women's World Chess Championship in Tehran - Harika Dronavalli
  • The Indian cricketer who is been nominated for Dilip Sardesai award - Ravichandran Ashwin
  • The state government which planned to open health institutes named after Kalpana Chawla and Pt. Deen Dayal Upadhaya - Haryana
  • The state which planned to launch an airline, named after the state's capital - Andhra Pradesh.
  • The state government which extended the mid-day meal scheme for girls up to class 12 - Delhi
  • The newly named India's next Ambassador to the World Trade Organisation (WTO) - J S Deepak.
  • The Indian cricketer who is been nominated for prestigious Polly Umrigar award - Virat Kohli
  • The person who is recently appointed for the newly-created post of Prime Minister of sudan - Hassan Saleh
  • The state government which recently decided to make Sanskrit compulsory up to Class 8 - Assam
  • The Indian cricketer who is first to be nominated for the 3rd time as India's best international cricketer of the year by the BCCI - Virat Kohli
  • The place where Nepal Investment Summit 2017 held - Kathmandu
  • The id card which is to be made mandatory for booking online train tickets - Aadhaar Card
  • The day March 3rd is observed as - World Wildlife Day
  • The state government which decided to expand the facility of dialysis centres at affordable prices in the State - Haryana
  • The number of seats which centre given approval of Post Graduate seats in medical colleges and hospitals across the country for the academic session 2017-18 - 4000
  • The name of the service launched by Indian Railways to carry loaded trucks on wagons - Roll-on Rolloff ( Ro-Ro) service.
  • The city which has been approved as the second capital of Himachal Pradesh - Dharamshala
  • The new name decided by the Andhra government for Tirupati Airport - Sri Venkateswara Airport
  • The state government with which Yatra.com has signed deal to jointly promote homestays in the state - Madhya Pradesh.
  • The state government which sent a proposal to the Centre to set up the All India Institute of Ayurveda, AIIA in the State - Tripura
  • The name of the app launched by government to help women internet users threatened with physical violence or trolled on social media - I am Trolled
  • The field to which Syed Shahabuddin who recently passed away at age 82 related to - Politician
  • The company which signed a MoU with Telangana government aimed at supporting the digitisation efforts of the state - Google India.
  • The French football legend who recently died also famous for winning the European Cup three times with Real Madrid - Raymond Kopa
  • The place where India’s largest tricolour on the tallest flag post commissioned - Attari Border
  • The name of the first bike taxi service to be launched in Noida - Baxi
  • The state which planned to offer job for retired defence personnel as security guards in State's Road Transport Corporation - Maharashtra
  • The person who recently won ATP Mexico Open men's final - Sam Querrey
  • The world’s oldest aircraft carrier in active service, Indian Navy Ship which is decommissioned on March 6th - INS Viraat
  • The bank which planned to reintroduce penalty on non-maintenance of minimum balance in accounts from 1st of April 2017 - State Bank of India (SBI )
  • The place where the event 'Destination North East' 2017 held - Chandigarh
  • The state government which planned to grant pension to widowers on the pattern of widows, from the next year - Haryana
  • The bank which recently launched Aadhaar pay infrastructure to carry out cashless transactions - IDFC Bank.
  • The Indian university which recently ranked in top 10 of world top small universities - Indian Institute of science, Bangalore (8th rank)
  • The growth per cent projected by Global rating agency Fitch on Indian economy in the current fiscal - 7.1%
  • The airlines company which reserve its fourth row on all flights for female passengers travelling alone - Spice Jet
  • The company which bagged the new sponsorship of Indian Cricket Team for the next five years - OPPO Mobiles
  • The Indo-Nepal joint military exercise SURYA KIRAN-XI held at - Uttarakhand
  • The person who is recently appointed as the adviser of Odisha government - K Srinath Reddy
  • The former Union Minister and former Speaker of Lok Sabha who recently passed away - Rabi Ray

PM Narendra Modi launches #IAmNewIndia, 'a pledge to build a new India', on NaMo app.

Details :

 PM Narendra Modi  unveiled #IAmNewIndia, a nation-building exercise on the NaMo App, which is "a pledge to build a new India".

The goals include a corruption-free India, a pledge to undertake more cashless transactions+ and encouraging women-led development, among other things.

The pledge can be undertaken with just a few clicks on the NaMo app.

India’s largest solid waste-to-energy plant launched in New Delhi.

Details :

The North Delhi Municipal Corporation launched India’s largest waste-to-energy plant at Narela-Bawana in New Delhi.

The 24 megawatt (MW) Narela-Bawana waste-to-energy plant was inaugurated by the Union Urban Development Minister M Venkaiah Naidu at the Civic Centre.

The project, built over 100 acres of land, has been developed on public private partnership model by Ramky Group, a Hyderabad-based waste management company, in collaboration with the North Corporation.

Delhi has two waste-to-energy plants at Ghazipur and Okhla landfill sites. The Ghazipur plant uses about 2,000 tonnes of garbage and produces 12 megawatt of energy. Similarly, the Okhla landfill waste-to-energy plant has a capacity to produce 12 megawatt capacity from 1,200 tonnes of garbage.

http://www.hindustantimes.com/delhi/municipal-corporation-inaugurates-india-s-largest-solid-waste-to-energy-plant-at-narela/story-dZuZaGLV3UFQPzU8vmSbyM.html

Reliance Capital CEO Sam Ghosh quits.

Details :

Sam Ghosh, who steered Reliance Capital for about 9 years as its CEO, is leaving the company on n 31 March, 2017.

Ghosh had joined Reliance Capital in early 2008 and in mid-2015 was elevated to the board of the company as an executive director.

Before joining Anil Ambani-run Reliance Capital, Ghosh, an engineer and a chartered accountant, had spent 10 years with the German financial services major Allianz group, including a stint at its India joint venture Bajaj Allianz as its CEO.

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/business/india-business/reliance-capital-ceo-sam-ghosh-quits/articleshow/57581244.cms

Exhibition “Revolutionary Patriots (1905-1947)” Inaugurated on 127th Foundation Day of National Archives of India.

Details :

On the occasion of 127th Foundation Day of National Archives of India (NAI), an exhibition entitled “Revolutionary Patriots (1905-1947)”.

It was inaugurated by Shri N.K. Sinha, Secretary, Ministry of Culture.

The exhibition on the revolutionary patriots of India is a contribution to a neglected episode in modern Indian history.

http://pib.nic.in/newsite/PrintRelease.aspx?relid=159163

Karnataka Bank, BAGICL sign MoU on general insurance business.

Details :

Mangalore based Karnataka Bank has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Pune based Bajaj Allianz General Insurance Company for General Insurance business.

This marks the bank's continued foray in to providing various third party products to its customers under one roof including general insurance business.

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/mangaluru/karnataka-bank-bagicl-sign-mou-on-general-insurance-business/articleshow/57578216.cms

Thai contestant wins world's largest transgender pageant.

Details :

Thai contestant Jiratchaya Sirimongkolnawin was crowned Miss International Queen 2016 at a contest billed as the world's largest and most popular transgender pageant.

Brazil’s Nathalie Oliveira won the second place while Venezuala’s Andrea Collazo was awarded the third position.

The contest, in its 12th year, was held at the Tiffany's nightclub in the Thai seaside town of Pattaya, which is famous for its transvestite cabaret.

The 2016 show was postponed from November last year due to Thailand's mourning period of its late King Bhumibol Adulyadej who died at age 88 on Oct. 13.

Lok Sabha Passes The Admiralty (Jurisdiction and Settlement of Maritime Claims) Bill, 2016.

Details :

Loksabha has passed the Admiralty (Jurisdiction and Settlement of Maritime Claims) Bill, 2016 on March 10, 2017.

The Bill aims to establish a legal framework to consolidate the existing laws relating to admiralty jurisdiction of courts, admiralty proceedings on maritime claims, arrest of vessels and related issues.

It also aims to replace archaic laws which are hindering efficient governance.

The Bill confers admiralty jurisdiction on High Courts located in coastal states of India and this jurisdiction extends upto territorial waters. 

http://pib.nic.in/newsite/PrintRelease.aspx?relid=159157

http://indianexpress.com/article/india/maritime-admiralty-bill-passed-by-lok-sabha/

Central Railway unveils India’s first air-conditioned rail ambulance.

Details :

Central Railway (CR) has unveiled India's first air conditioned rail ambulance that is designed to rush for the relief of injured passengers during the vital 'golden hour' after a rail disaster

Here are top 5 things to know about India’s first air conditioned rail ambulance:

1. It is a four-coach fully AC ambulance, equipped with health care facilities.

2. The idea for such a facility came after 19 passengers died and around 145 got injured after the Diva-Sawantwadi train derailed between Nagothane and Roha stations in Maharashtra's Raigad district in May 2014. 

3. As many as 50 people can be transported and treated using this air conditioned rail ambulance.

4. Designed at the rail workshop at Matunga in Mumbai, the vehicle is suited for transporting accident victims to hospital in a short time.

5. The coaches are aesthetically designed and house an operation theatre to carry out minor surgeries like cataract and can provide emergency treatment to accident victims.

http://www.business-standard.com/article/current-affairs/india-s-first-rail-ac-ambulance-top-5-things-to-know-117031000366_1.html

British F1 legend John Surtees dies at 83.

Details :

John Surtees, the only racer to have won world championships on motorbikes and in Formula One passed away.He was 83.

He was a four-time 500cc motorcycle World Champion – winning that title in 1956, 1958, 1959 and 1960 – the Formula One World Champion in 1964, and remains the only person to have won World Championships on both two and four wheels.

He founded the Surtees Racing Organisation team that competed as a constructor in Formula One, Formula 2 and Formula 5000 from 1970 to 1978.

He was also the ambassador of the Racing Steps Foundation.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Surtees

President Appoints New Chief Justices in MP, Patna, Kerala, Chattisgrah, Jharkhand High Courts.

Details :

President of India has appointed new Chief Justices in Kerala, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Patna and Jharkhand High Courts.

Chhattisgarh High Court:

Justice Thottathil Bhaskaran Nair Radhakrishnan, Judge of the Kerala High Court, appointed as Chief Justice of the Chhattisgarh High Court with effect from the date he assumes charge of his office.

Kerala High Court:

Justice Navaniti Prasad Singh, Judge of the Patna High Court, appointed as Chief Justice of the Kerala High Court with effect from the date he assumes charge of his office.

Madhya Pradesh High Court:

Justice Hemant Gupta, Judge of the Patna High Court, to be the Chief Justice of the Madhya Pradesh High Court with effect from the date he assumes charge of his office.

Patna High Court:

Justice Rajendra Menon, Judge of the Madhya Pradesh High Court, to be the Chief Justice of the Patna High Court with effect from the date he assumes charge of his office.

Jharkhand High Court:

Justice Pradip Kumar Mohanty, Judge of Jharkhand High Court, to be the Chief Justice of the Jharkhand High Court with effect from the date he assumes charge of his office.

http://www.livelaw.in/breaking-new-chief-justices-appointed-mp-patna-kerala-chhattisgarh-jharkhand-hcs/

March 11, 2017

ISRO’s ‘lost’ Chandrayaan-1 spotted orbiting moon by NASA’s interplanetary radar.

Details :

Scientists at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) have found India’s first lunar probe, Chandrayaan-1 which was considered lost, is still orbiting the moon.scientists have found by using a new ground-based radar technique.

They also have found NASA’s Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO).

Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) lost communication  with Chandrayaan-1 on August 29, 2009, almost a year after it was launched+ on October 22, 2008.

The spacecraft still circling some 200 kilometres above the lunar surface.

Finding LRO was relatively easy, as scientists were working with the mission's navigators and had precise orbit data where it was located.

The Chandrayaan-1 spacecraft is very small, a cube about 1.5 meters on each side - about half the size of a smart car.

 Finding India's Chandrayaan-1 required a bit more detective work because the last contact with the spacecraft was in August of 2009.

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/lost-chandrayaan-1-found-orbiting-moon-nasa/articleshow/57575661.cms

Mass coral bleaching occurring in Great Barrier Reef for 2nd year.

Details :

Australia's Great Barrier Reef is experiencing mass coral bleaching, for the second consecutive year.

Earlier in March and April 2016, 2,300-km reef suffered had its most severe bleaching on record due to warming sea temperatures. 

Four States come together for elephant census.

Details :

For the first time in India, four states Odisha, West Bengal, Chhattisgarh and Jharkhand have decided to conduct a synchronised elephant census between May 9 and 12, 2017.

The four States together have the maximum number of human-elephant conflict-prone regions in India.

Decision was taken by senior Forest Department officials of the four States during a regional workshop.

The States will conduct the census based on an identical set of rules — using the direct and indirect counting methods. 

The direct counting method is based on sighting of elephants while the indirect method uses the ‘dung decay’ formula, in which the the analysis of elephant dung is used to estimate the population.

The second method has already been used by Karnataka and Tamil Nadu.

As per the 2015 census, Odisha has 1,954 elephants while Jharkhand, Chhattisgarh and West Bengal had approximately 700, 275 and 130 elephants, respectively.

http://www.thehindu.com/todays-paper/four-states-come-together-for-elephant-census/article17445131.ece

Sachin Tendulkar appointed as official ambassador of women’s World Cup 2017.

Details :

Indian cricketing legend Sachin Tendulkar was announced as the official ambassador of Women's Cricket World Cup 2017 by the International Cricket Council (ICC), on the occasion of International Women's Day.

The women’s World Cup will starts on June 24, 2017 at England and Wales with eight top cricketing countries locking horns to grab the coveted trophy.

The 21-day tournament having 28 matches will be played at five different venues with the final at Lord's.

BP Kanungo appointed as Deputy Governor of RBI.

Details :

The Appointments Committee of Cabinet (ACC) has appointed BP Kanungo as Deputy Governor Reserve Bank of India (RBI) for three years.

He has been appointed in place of R. Gandhi. In March 2016, Mr. Kanungo was appointed as Executive Director in the central bank.

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/business/india-business/b-p-kanungo-appointed-rbi-deputy-governor/articleshow/57579474.cms

Chemistry Nobel winner George Olah passes away at 89

Details :

Nobel Prize winner in Chemistry George Olah has passed away. He was 89. 

He research work had paved the way for more effective oil refining and ways of producing less polluting forms of gasoline. 

Olah’s research brought him the 1994 Nobel Prize in chemistry for his groundbreaking study of the unstable carbon molecules known as carbocations.

http://www.thehindu.com/news/international/chemistry-nobel-winner-george-olah-dies-at-89/article17443281.ece

Manjeev Singh Puri is India's envoy to Nepal.

Details :

Senior diplomat Manjeev Singh Puri was appointed as India's new envoy to Nepal.

Mr. Puri, a 1982-batch IFS officer. Currently he is India’s Ambassador to the EU, Belgium and Luxembourg. 

Puri will succeed Ranjit Rae, whose term came to an end last month.

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/manjeev-singh-puri-is-indias-envoy-to-nepal/articleshow/57581074.cms

Paddleboarder makes world-first Atlantic crossing.

Details :

A South African man Chris Bertish has become the first person to cross the Atlantic Ocean on a stand-up paddleboard after completing an epic 4,050-mile voyage alone at sea.

Chris Bertish pulled into Antigua, in the Leeward islands of the Caribbean after departing from Agadir, Morocco, 93 days ago. 

His journey was accomplished on a custom-built 20ft-long board, built for $120,000 (£99,000). The board was designed by a British boat designer and naval architect, Phil Morrison, and took six months to construct.

Ford Foundation appoints Pradeep Nair as regional director for India, Nepal, and Sri Lanka.

Details :

The Ford Foundation appointed Pradeep Nair as regional director for India, Nepal and Sri Lanka.

As regional director, Nair will guide the foundation’s operations out of New Delhi. He will assume his new position at the end of March, succeeding David Hulse.

http://www.hindustantimes.com/business-news/ford-foundation-appoints-pradeep-nair-as-regional-director-for-india-nepal-and-sri-lanka/story-T4ey9NKSl5COPdwnEagaoI.html

Paytm rolls back 2% fee for recharges via credit cards.

Details :

Digital wallet company Paytm rolled back the 2% fee it had levied on customers a day before for recharging the wallet using credit cards.

Paytm said the facility was misused as users were using credit cards to recharge it and then would transfer the money back to the bank, earning loyalty points and free credit in the process.

The 2% fee was only for topping up the e-wallet via credit cards, not applicable to shopping on Paytm or paying bills via credit cards.

http://www.hindustantimes.com/business-news/paytm-rolls-back-2-fee-for-recharges-via-credit-cards/story-yRQgXwbhBIxg9zUHB7LI3K.html

NTPC commissions 45 MW of Bhadla solar plant.

Details :

India’s largest power generator NTPC Ltd has commissioned another 45 Megwatt of its Bhadla solar power plant in Rajasthan and with this the company’s total installed capacity has become 48,188 MW.

Earlier in feb 2017, the company had commissioned 115 MW of the plant.

NTPC, which contributes nearly 24% of the country’s total power generation, has plans to set up 10,000 MW renewable projects by 2022.

The company now has 19 coal based, 7 gas based, 10 solar PV, one hydro and nine subsidiaries or joint venture power stations.

NTPC currently has capacity of over 23,000 MW under implementation at 23 locations across the country including 4,300 MW being undertaken by joint venture and subsidiary companies.

Japan, U.S. conduct Navy drills.

Details :

The Japanese and United States navies conducted joint exercises in the East China Sea. 

The drill was aimed at issuing a warning against nuclear-armed North Korea.

The exercises were also meant to display the joint Japan-US military presence in the East China Sea, where Japan and China are locked in a long-running dispute over uninhabited islets known as the Senkakus, while China claims then as the Diaoyus.

http://www.thehindu.com/todays-paper/tp-international/japan-us-conduct-navy-drills/article17444724.ece

March 10, 2017

Punjab Agricultural University develops genetically-modified cotton variety.

Details :

Punjab Agricultural University (PAU) has developed the first genetically-modified (Bt) cotton seeds that can be reused, resulting in saving of input cost to farmers. 

The new cotton variety is among few others identified by Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR) for cultivation in North region. 

The three Bt cotton varieties include PAU Bt 1, F1861 and RS 2013. 

PAU Bt 1 and F 1861 were developed by PAU.

RS 2013 was developed at Rajasthan Agricultural University (RAU), Bikaner.

While the PAU Bt 1was completely developed at Punjab Agricultural University.

The F 1861 and RS 2013 varieties were converted to Bt version by Central Institute for Cotton Research (CICR), Nagpur. 

All three varieties carry the Cry1Ac gene obtained from Bt (Bacillus thuringiensis) bacteria. It imparts resistance against bollworm cotton pest.

http://economictimes.indiatimes.com/news/economy/agriculture/punjab-agriculture-university-develops-bt-cotton-variety-with-reusable-seeds/articleshow/57578735.cms

Konkani author Mahabaleshwar Sail gets Saraswati Samman 2016.

Details :

Eminent Konkani writer Mahabaleshwar Sail has been honoured with the Saraswati Samman 2016 for his novel 'Hawthan'.

The 74-year-old writer's novel, published in 2009, was shortlisted from 22 books written in as many languages.

The award carries a cash prize of 15 lakh and a citation.

Goa-based Sail is a renowned bi-lingual writer who has four Marathi dramas and seven Konkani novels to his credit.

He has also written five short stories and a novel in Marathi.

His book 'Hawthan' is a well-researched work of fiction presenting the cultural map of the traditional potter community of Goa.

Saraswati Samman is an annual award bestowed upon Indian citizen for his outstanding literary work written in any Indian language mentioned in Schedule and published during last 10 years.

NIO finds a new canyon system close to Kovvada coast.

Details :

Scientists have found three new canyons forming a major canyon system in the depths of Bay of Bengal close to Kovvada in Srikakulam district.

It was discovered by team of scientists from CSIR-National Institute of Oceanography (NIO) in Visakhapatnam. 

This discovery was made by clearly mapping the ocean floor between Visakhapatnam and Srikakulam by sending over 32 high density beams to the depths of the sea.

Canyon systems are generally formed by flow of river water into the sea and they could be as old as the river system, which is close to 23 million years. 

The last canyon systems off the Visakhapatnam coast were discovered in 1963 by American geologist E.C. LaFond of U.S. Navy Electronics Laboratory, who was carrying out marine studies at Andhra University. The data was collected on board research ship Anton Bruun.

http://www.thehindu.com/news/national/andhra-pradesh/nio-finds-a-new-canyon-system-close-to-kovvada-coast/article17437756.ece

India and Belgium sign Protocol amending Double Taxation Avoidance Agreement and Protocol.

Details :

India and Belgium have signed a Protocol to amend the existing Double Taxation Avoidance Agreement (DTAA) between the two countries.

The Protocol was signed by Shri Sushil Chandra, Chairman Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) on behalf of India and Mr. Jan Luykx, Ambassador of Belgium to India, on behalf of Belgium. 

The Protocol will broaden the scope of the existing framework of exchange of tax related information.

This in turn will help curb tax evasion and tax avoidance between the two countries and will also enable mutual assistance in collection of taxes. 

http://pib.nic.in/newsite/PrintRelease.aspx?relid=159028

Parliament passes Maternity Benefit Bill, 2016.

Details :

Parliament has passed the Maternity Benefits (Amendment) Bill, 2016 to raise maternity leave for working women from 12 weeks to 26 weeks for two surviving children.

The Maternity Benefit (Amendment) Bill, 2016 was passed by the Lok Sabha, months after the Rajya Sabha approved the bill.

India to the third position in terms of the number of weeks for maternity leave after Canada and Norway where it is 50 weeks and 44 weeks, respectively.

The Maternity Benefit Act, 1961, protects the employment of women during the time of her maternity and entitles her full paid absence from work, to take care for her child.

The bill provides for 12 weeks of maternity leave to a woman who legally adopts a child below three months of age and a commissioning mother (defined as a biological mother) who uses her egg to have a surrogate child.

creche facilities:

The Bill also requires every establishment with 50 or more employees to provide creche facilities within a prescribed distance.

The woman will be allowed four visits to the creche in a day. This will include her interval for rest.

work from home:

It has also made a provision under which an employer can permit a woman to work from home, if the nature of work assigned permits her to do so.

This option can be availed of, after the period of maternity leave, for a duration that is mutually decided by the employer and the woman.

Iran successfully tests ballistic missile.

Details :

Iran's Revolutionary Guard has successfully tested a ballistic missile named Hormuz 2.

The Hormuz 2 is capable of hitting floating targets with high accuracy within a range of 300 kilometers (186 miles).

The missile destroyed a target from a distance of 250 kilometers (155 miles). The sea-launched ballistic missile dubbed Hormuz 2 was tested last week.

Pakistan’s Hindu marriage bill passed by both houses of Parliament.

Details :

The Pakistani parliament has passed the landmark Hindu Marriage Law to regulate the community's marriages in the country. 

The bill was passed by the Senate or upper house of Parliament last month.

It was originally passed by the National Assembly September 2016, but it had to be approved again by the lower house because of changes made by the Senate.

The Hindu Marriage Bill 2016 is the first personal law for the minority community and will help Hindu women get documentary proof of their marriage, which is needed while applying for passports and other official documents.

According to the bill, the minimum age of 18 has been prescribed for marriage.

The bill will be applicable in Balochistan, Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa and Punjab provinces.

Southern Sindh province, which is home to a majority of Pakistan’s Hindus, has already enacted its own Hindu marriage law.

http://www.hindustantimes.com/world-news/pakistan-s-hindu-marriage-bill-passed-by-both-houses-of-parliament/story-HNzdSMESTZ27zJJNaF6x9N.html

RBI will issue new Rs 10 notes with enhanced security features

Details :

The Reserve Bank (RBI) will soon issue Rs 10 denomination notes with enhanced security features for circulation.

The banknotes in the Mahatma Gandhi series-2005 will carry inset letter ‘L’ on both number panels, bearing the signature of governor Urjit Patel.

All the banknotes in the denomination of Rs 10 issued by the Bank in the past will continue to be legal tender.

The year of printing, 2017, will be on the reverse of the note. Among other features, numerals on both the panels will be in ascending size from left to right.

The first three alpha-numeric characters (prefix) will remain constant in size.

Google acquires Kaggle.

Details :

Technology giant Google has announced the acquisition of Kaggle, a start-up that hosts a number of data scientists, for an undisclosed amount at the Cloud Next 2017 conference.

Kaggle and Google Cloud will continue to support machine learning training and deployment services while offering the community the ability to store and query large datasets.

http://www.business-standard.com/article/technology/google-acquires-kaggle-for-undisclosed-amount-to-boost-data-play-117030900354_1.html

Google acquires Canadian cloud specialist firm AppBridge.

Details :

Alphabet’s Google announced the acquisition of Canadian technology firm AppBridge that helps companies transfer data to the technology giant’s cloud platform.

http://www.thehindubusinessline.com/info-tech/google-acquires-canadian-cloud-specialist-firm-appbridge/article9579256.ece

Odisha govt launches 181 helpline for distressed women.

Details :

Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik has launched 24*7  helpline number 181 to assist women in distress.

It was launched on the occasion of International Women’s Day.

The helpline will facilitate quick response of various services including lodging police complaint to provide medical, legal and counselling to women victims

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/bhubaneswar/odisha-govt-launches-181-helpline-for-distressed-women/articleshow/57538445.cms

Tamil Nadu Chief Minister launches Rs 1,580 crore housing scheme.

Details :

Tamil Nadu Chief Minister K Palaniswami  launched a housing scheme estimated at Rs 1,580 crore.

The scheme was being implemented by the state government with Central assistance for the economically poor.

In the year 2016-17, concrete houses will be constructed for 50,170 beneficiaries in town panchayat limits.

Himachal Pradesh launches mobile App ‘Mera Hunar’.

Details :

Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh launched mobile App and website 'Mera Hunar HP', a first of its kind in the country.

'Mera Hunar' is a web based platform where the skilled, semi-skilled persons can apply for various jobs as per their convenience like plumber, carpenter, mechanic, security guards, drivers, tourists guides, etc online. The platform is available both in English and Hindi.

This platform will directly connect the prospective employers with the job seekers as the application, will contain the address and the phone numbers of those looking for jobs and other details as well.

March 9, 2017

Indian Ocean Rim Association (IORA) Leaders' Summit held inJakarta.

Details :

The first Indian Ocean Rim Association (IORA) Leaders' Summit held on 7 March 2017 in Jakarta, Indonesia to commemorate the 20th Anniversary of the Association.

The theme of the summit was ‘Strengthening Maritime Cooperation for a Peaceful, Stable and Prosperous Indian Ocean’.

 It was attended by leaders from 21 member states of IORA. From India, Vice President Hamid Ansari attended the two-day summit.

Three documents were adopted during the Summit:

The first was the IORA Concord that was signed by the Leaders and lays out the vision of IORA for the future, focussing in particular on cooperation among the 21 IORA member states on maritime safety and security.

The two other documents adopted were the "Declaration on Preventing Violent Extremism and Countering Terrorism" and the "Action Plan of IORA for the next 5 years".

http://mea.gov.in/press-releases.htm?dtl/28124/Indian_Ocean_Rim_Association_IORA_Leaders_Summit_Jakarta

INS Tillanchang commissioned at Karwar.

Details :

INS Tillanchang, a Water Jet Fast Attack Craft (WJFAC) was commissioned into the Indian Navy at Karwar, Karnataka.

INS Tillanchang is the third ship of four follow-on WJFAC built by the Garden Reach Shipbuilders and Engineers (GRSE) Kolkata.

The first two ships of the class, IN ships Tarmugli and Tihayu were commissioned in 2016 and are based at Visakhapatnam.

The ship has been indigenously designed and built and is an upgrade from the Chetlat class of Fast Attack Craft that the Indian Navy possesses. 

INS Tillanchang is about 50 m long and powered by three waterjet propulsion system, which give it speeds of over 35 knots.

The ship is armed with a 30 mm main gun and a number of light, medium and heavy machine guns to undertake operations at sea. It is manned by 50 personnel.

INS Tillanchang will be based at Karwar under the operational control of the Flag Officer Commanding, Karnataka Naval Area.

http://pib.nic.in/newsite/PrintRelease.aspx?relid=159013

PM Narendra Modi inaugurates Asia’s largest petrochemicals plant in Dahej.

Details :

Prime Minister Narendra Modi inaugurated Petro auditions Limited (OPal) in the industrial town of Dahej.

The plant, which is claimed to be the largest petrochemicals plant in Asia, with occupation over 1700 metres of land.

http://www.financialexpress.com/india-news/pm-narendra-modi-inaugurates-asias-largest-petrochemicals-plant-in-dahej/578233/

Sports Minister will constitute a high level committee to resolve the grievances and complaints of women sports persons

Details :

Sports minister Vijay Goel announced that ministry will constitute a high-level committee to resolve the grievances and complaints of women sportspersons.

The committee will comprise athletes, advocate, and senior officer of MYAS and sports journalist (all women).

It will be headed by Joint secretary Sports.

http://www.hindustantimes.com/other-sports/ministry-constitutes-panel-to-resolve-complaints-of-women-sportspersons/story-VTbK1PS7XQ15IwNz1ZecWO.html

127th Foundation Day of National Archives of India to be celebrated on 11th March, 2017.

Details :

The National Archives of India would be celebrating its 127th Foundation Day on, 11 March 2017 in New Delhi. 

NAI was established on 11th March 1891 at Calcutta as the Imperial Record Department.

On the occasion of 127th Foundation Day, an exhibition entitled Revolutionary Patriots (1905-1947) would be inaugurated by Shri NK Sinha, Secretary, Ministry of Culture.

This exhibition has been organised with a two-fold objective: to sensitize the younger generation to the sacrifices made by the revolutionaries in their fight for independence from the imperial rule and to inculcate a sense of archival awareness among the public.

It will remain open for public till 10 April 2017 from 10.30 a.m. to 5.30 p.m. during working days only.

http://pib.nic.in/newsite/PrintRelease.aspx?relid=158963

Haryana: Girl child ratio increases to 938 per 1000 male.

Details :

Girl child ratio has increased to 938 per 1000 male children in February in Haryana,.

Haryana Chief Minister Manohar Lal  informed this in the house during ongoing budget session of the State Assembly.

In January 2017, the registered girl child ratio was 922.

The gradual increase in the ratio of girl child is result of effective implementation of ‘Beti Bachao Beti Padhao’ programme implemented by Prime Minister from Panipat in the country.

11th North East Business Summit begins in New Delhi.

Details :

The 11th North East Business Summit (NEBS) began in New Delhi.

The two-day event is an initiative to facilitate investment, highlight strengths of the North-East Region (NER) and business opportunities which North-East has to offer. 

http://pib.nic.in/newsite/PrintRelease.aspx?relid=159018

Karnataka CM Siddaramaiah launches 'Pratibimba" to project achievements.

Details :

Karnataka Chief Minister Siddaramaiah launched a comprehensive web-based platform showcasing the government's performance and achievements to the citizens.

It is Developed as the Chief Minister's dash board, 'Pratibimba,' which means reflection, will serve as a tool to improve efficiency in governance and allow citizens to track government's progress.

The dash board is available both in English and Kannada.

Karnataka is the second state in the country after Andhra Pradesh to have such a dash board.

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/bengaluru/karnataka-cm-siddaramaiah-launches-pratibimba-to-project-achievements/articleshow/57519450.cms

IDFC launches Biometric Based Payment System Aadhaar Pay.

Details :

IDFC Bank has become the first bank to launch the biometric-based payment system Aadhaar Pay through its network. 

Aadhaar Pay makes cashless transactions possible even for those who do not have mobile phones, and only requires the merchant to have a mobile phone.

All one needs is to get the bank account number linked with Aadhaar. Basic banking services will come to those who even do not have basic mobile phones.

The fingerprint will serve as the password to authenticate the transaction.

http://economictimes.indiatimes.com/industry/banking/finance/banking/idfc-bank-puts-in-place-aadhaar-pay-infrastructure/articleshow/57515275.cms

Shiv Sena's Vishwanath Mahadeshwar elected Mumbai mayor.

Details :

 Shiv Sena's Vishwanath Mahadeshwar has been elected Mumbai's new mayor.

Mahadeshwar will be the 76th Mumbai mayor and will be taking over charge from Sena's Snehal Ambekar. 

He defeated Congress nominee ‘Vitthal Lokare’ by the 171-31 margin.

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/mumbai/shiv-senas-vishwanath-mahadeshwar-elected-mumbai-mayor/articleshow/57535303.cms

Former Puducherry Minister M Chandrakasu passes away.

Details :

Former Puducherry Minister M Chandrakasu passed away in Chennai, Tamil Nadu.

He made his successful electoral début from Nedungadu on a Congress ticket in 1980.

When he retained the seat in 1985, he was made the Speaker of the Legislative Assembly.

His third consecutive win in 1991 from the constituency sealed a berth in the Vaithinlingam-led Congress ministry.

http://www.thehindu.com/todays-paper/tp-national/tp-tamilnadu/m-chandrakasu-dead/article17438383.ece

Jon Huntsman appointed as US Ambassador to Russia.

Details :

Former Utah Republican Governor Jon Huntsman was appointed as US Ambassador to Russia. His appointment now requires Senate confirmation.

Jon Meade Huntsman Jr. (born March 26, 1960) is an American politician, businessman, and diplomat who served as the 16th Governor of Utah from 2005 to 2009, and as United States Ambassador to Singapore from 1992 to 1993, and China from 2009 to 2011.

He has served in the administrations of five U.S. Presidents and was a candidate for the 2012 Republican presidential nomination.

In January 2014, Huntsman was named Chairman of the Washington-based foreign policy think-tank the Atlantic Council.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jon_Huntsman_Jr.

Ashwin, Jadeja jointly on top in ICC Test rankings.

Details :

The Indian duo of Ravichandran Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja became the first set of spinners to be jointly ranked number one in the ICC Test rankings for bowlers.

The last time two bowlers shared the top spot was in April 2008 when Dale Steyn and Muttiah Muralitharan were at the top.

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/sports/cricket/australia-in-india/ashwin-jadeja-jointly-on-top-in-icc-test-rankings/articleshow/57532211.cms

Veteran journalist Arvind Padmanabhan passes away.

Details :

Veteran journalist Arvind Padmanabhan, an Executive Editor at IANS.

He would have turned 50 next month.

Arvind Padmanabhan was born in 1967 at Tirunelveli, Tamul Nadu.

Arvind was widely admired in the journalistic community for the thoroughness he displayed in reporting, writing and editing.

Padmanabhan had a long inning at IANS, joining the India Abroad newspaper that was then part of the wire service in 1999 as in-charge of its Business Section.

He was soon elevated as the Executive Editor and headed the business and economy team.

He was earlier with the PTI, The Times of India and TV18.

http://www.business-standard.com/article/news-ians/veteran-journalist-arvind-padmanabhan-is-no-more-117030800496_1.html

March 8, 2017

8th March - International Women's Day.

Details :

International Women's Day (IWD), originally called International Working Women's Day, is celebrated on March 8 every year. It commemorates the movement for women's rights.

2017 Theme: Women in the Changing World of Work: Planet 50-50 by 2030.

The earliest Women's Day observance was held on February 28, 1909, in New York and organized by the Socialist Party of America.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/International_Women's_Day

India has highest bribery rate among 16 Asia Pacific countries: Transparency International.

Details :

According survey released by Transparency International (TI), India had highest bribery rate among the 16 Asia-Pacific countries.

Nearly seven in 10 Indians who had accessed public services had paid a bribe. 

The survey was conducted among more than 21,000 people.

 India has the highest bribery rate of 69%.

India was closely followed by Vietnam (65%). Thailand (41%), Cambodia(40%), Pakistan(40%) and Myanmar (40%).

The rate was much lower in China (26%) and it was the lowest in Japan (0.2%).

South Korea and Australia recorded 3% each, Hong Kong 2% and Taiwan 6%.

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/india-has-highest-bribery-rate-among-16-asia-pacific-countries-says-transparency-international-report/articleshow/57508800.cms

EU successfully launches 5th satellite of Copernicus observation program.

Details :

European Space Agency (ESA) successfully launched Sentinel-2B satellite, fifth of its Sentinel Earth observation satellites part of its multi-billion-euro Copernicus observation program.

It was launched on board of a Vega rocket from ESA’s spaceport in French Guiana.

The Sentinel-2B satellite, part of a system of satellites that is to monitor Earth.It will join its twin Sentinel-2A, which has been in orbit since 2015, to take high-resolution, color and infrared images for a wide array of environmental initiatives, including crop forecasting and monitoring natural disasters.

The two satellites will orbit 488 miles (786 km) above Earth, on opposite sides of the planet.

Together, they will be able to cover all of Earth's land surfaces, large islands, inland and coastal waterways every five days, providing more up-to-date images and at higher resolution than have been available.

The Copernicus project is described by the European Space Agency (ESA) as the most ambitious Earth observation program to date. The European Union and the ESA have committed funding of more than 8 billion euros ($9 billion) to it until 2020.

The launch of the Copernicus project became especially urgent after Europe lost contact with its Earth observation satellite Envisat in 2012 after 10 years.

The first satellite of Europe's planned seven-member network launched in April 2014.

India announces new licensing policy to boost oil output.

Details :

The Union Ministry of Petroleum & Natural Gas has announced new Open Acreage Licensing Policy (OALP) for oil and gas exploration.

It allows bidders to carve out areas where they want to drill as the energy-hungry country looks at greater foreign investment to boost output.

The world's third-largest oil consumer will conduct auction of oil and gas blocks under the Open Acreage Licensing Policy (OALP) twice a year, with the first round being held in July 2017.

OALP auction will be held under the overhauled exploration licensing policy allows pricing and marketing freedom to operators and shifts to a revenue sharing model.

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/business/india-business/india-announces-new-licensing-policy-to-boost-oil-output/articleshow/57512163.cms

Environment Minister launches Web Portal for obtaining CRZ Clearances.

Details :

The Minister of State (Independent Charge) of Environment, Forest and Climate Change, Shri Anil Madhav Dave, launched the web portal for obtaining Coastal Regulation Zone clearances.

The Minister termed the launch of the portal as a good example of ‘Ease of Doing Business’. 

The Portal is a web-based system for obtaining clearances required from the Ministry under the “Coastal Regulation Zone” (CRZ) by the Project proponents.

 The system will enable the Project proponents and the concerned State/Union Territory bodies like the State Coastal Zone Management Authorities (SCZMAs) and Municipal/Town Planning agencies in tracking the status of their proposals.

The system is based on web architecture, similar to the existing systems in place for according environmental and forest clearances.

http://pib.nic.in/newsite/PrintRelease.aspx?relid=158957

International Yoga fest begins in New Delhi.

Details :

The two-day International Yoga fest has begun in New Delhi.

More than 3,500 participants including eminent yoga gurus, yoga masters, scholars, policy makers and representatives from 15- 18 countries will participate in this mega event. It will comprise parallel yoga workshop, lectures, Satsang, cultural programmes and yoga demos.

President's honour Asia's first woman diesel engine driver

Details :

Mumbai motorwoman Mumtaz M. Kazi was honoured with this years "Nari Shakti Award" by President Pranab Mukherjee.

Kazi, 45, who has been driving different types of trains, is presently a motorwoman piloting suburban locals trains of Central Railway on the Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Terminus-Thane section - which is also India's first and most congested railway route now.

http://www.business-standard.com/article/news-ians/president-s-honour-for-asia-s-first-woman-diesel-engine-driver-117030800656_1.html

Hyderabad Airport Declared Best In World For Service.

Details :

Rajiv Gandhi Hyderabad International Airport has secured first position in the world in the prestigious Airports Council International (ACI) Airport Service Quality (ASQ) survey in the 5-15 million passengers per annum (MPPA) category for the year 2016.

It has improved its ASQ survey score from 4.4 in 2009 to 4.9 in 2016 (measured on scale of 1 to 5). 

http://www.ndtv.com/hyderabad-news/hyderabad-airport-ranks-1st-in-world-in-airport-service-quality-survey-1666853

National conference on Jal Kranti Abhiyan held in New Delhi.

Details :

The national conference on Jal Kranti Abhiyan was held in New Delhi. It was organized by the Union Ministry of Water Resources, River Development and Ganga Rejuvenation.

 One of the main objectives of the Jal Kranti Abhiyan is “ strengthening grass root involvement of all stakeholders including Panchayati Raj institutions and local bodies for Participatory Irrigation Management.” 

About 700 participants representing various stakeholder groups such as farmers, Panchayat members, officials, NGOs and students  attendend the daylong conference. 

http://pib.nic.in/newsite/PrintRelease.aspx?relid=158841

First smart tribal village inaugurated in Jammu and Kashmir.

Details :

The first smart tribal model village ‘Hubbi’ was inaugurated at Rajouri district of Jammu and Kashmir.

The smart tribal village has been introduced with smart classes in the schools, better roads, electricity and water facilities.

Aishwarya Rai Bachchan wins best actress award for Sarbjit at international film festival.

Details :

The actor Aishwarya Rai Bachchan who played the character of Sarabjit Singh’s sister Dalbir Kaur, has won the Best Actress award at the International Film Festival and Awards of Australia (IFFAA).

Sarbjit The Film, directed by Omung Kumar, was the biopic on Sarabjit Singh, an Indian farmer who was convicted of terrorism and spying in Pakistan and was sentenced to death. 

Sarbjit, which marked Jackky Bhagnani’s debut as a producer, was also shortlisted as one of the 336 feature films, which were eligible for Best Picture in 2016 at the 89th Academy Awards.

http://indianexpress.com/article/entertainment/bollywood/aishwarya-rai-bachchan-wins-best-actress-award-for-sarbjit-at-international-film-festival-4558040/

SBI launches 'Work from Home' facility for employees.

Details :

Country's largest lender State Bank of India launched a new facility to enable its employees to 'work from home'.

The Board of the bank has recently approved the 'Work from Home' policy to enable its employees to work while at home using mobile devices to address any urgent requirement they may have, that prevents their traveling to work. 

http://economictimes.indiatimes.com/industry/banking/finance/banking/sbi-launches-work-from-home-facility-for-employees/articleshow/57521437.cms

March 7, 2017

Union Cabinet approves MoU between India and UAE in field of Energy Efficiency Services.

Details :

Union Cabinet has given its ex-post facto approval to the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between the National Productivity Council, an autonomous body under the Department of Industrial Policy & Promotion, Ministry of Commerce & Industry, and Al Etihad Energy Services UAE, to provide various services in the field of energy management and conservation. 

Under the MoU, the NPC will provide the following services: 

1.Energy Assessment Services

2.Training & Certification of Energy Auditors

3.Demand Side Management. 

Meanwhile, Al Etihad ES will provide the following services to all the relevant projects on a case by case basis: 

i)Customer Support with UAE Government and Private owned organizations in the United Arab Emirates

ii)All local support for Field Auditing Professionals in the UAE

iii) All local support for Training & Certification of Energy Auditors in UAE

iv)All support related to Demand Side Management of industries based in UAE

The MoU will enable NPC avail high value opportunities such as energy building and develop institutional mechanism in area of energy efficiency in Dubai and other Gulf Cooperation Council, (GCC) member countries.

It will provide recognition and exposure to further build NPC's capacities and competencies in rapidly changing international business scenario.

MoU will be a precedent for engagements with other International collaboration partners and will enhance NPC's visibility in arena.

The MoU will help promote NPC in GCC member countries and will generate business for NPC in the area of energy. 


Cabinet approves development of 50 un-served and under-served air strips

Details :

The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs has approved the proposal for revival of 50 un-served/under-served airports/airstrips of the State Governments, Airports Authority of India (AAI) and Civil enclaves in three financial years starting from 2017-18. 

The announcement for making adequate provisions for revival of unserved and underserved airports was made by the Finance Minister in Union Budget 2016-17. 

The total cost of the project is estimated to be Rs. 4500 crore.

15 airports/airstrips each would be revived during 2017-18 and 2018-19 each while 20 airports/airstrips would be revived during 2019-20. 

As an outcome of the approval, small cities/towns shall be connected on commencement of operation of flights to under-served/un-served airports.

It will further boost the economic development in these areas as well as surrounding areas in terms of job creation and related infrastructure development. 

The Revival of airstrips/airports will be 'demand driven', depending upon firm commitment from airline operators as well as from the State Governments for providing various concessions as Airports will be developed without insisting on financial viability.

http://pib.nic.in/newsite/PrintRelease.aspx?relid=158884

Trade Mark Rules 2017.

Details :

The Trade Mark Rules, 2017 have been notified and have come into effect from 06th March, 2017.

These Rules, which replace the erstwhile Trade Mark Rules 2002, will streamline and simplify the processing of Trade Mark applications. 

Some salient features of the revamped Rules are as follows: 

1. Number of Trade Mark (TM) Forms have been reduced from 74 to 8. 

2. To promote e-filing of TM applications, the fee for online filing has been kept at 10% lower than that for physical filing. 

3. Based on stakeholders feedback, the fees for Individuals, Start-ups and Small Enterprises have been reduced from that proposed in the draft Rules – i.e. only Rs 4,500 as against Rs 8,000 for e-filing of TM applications proposed at the draft stage. 

4. Modalities for determination of well-known trademarks have been laid out for the first time. 

5. The provisions relating to expedited processing of an application for registration of a trade mark have been extended right upto registration stage (hitherto, it was only upto examination stage). 

6. Over all fees have been rationalized by reducing the number of entries in Schedule I from 88 to just 23. 

7. Modalities for service of documents from applicants to the Registry and vice-versa through electronic means have been introduced to expedite the process; e-mail has been made an essential part of address for service to be provided by the applicant or any party to the proceedings so that the office communication may be sent through email. 

8. Hearing through video conferencing has been introduced. 

9. Number of adjournments in opposition proceedings has been restricted to a maximum of two by each party, which will help dispose off matters in time. 

10. Procedures relating to registration as Registered User of trademarks have also been simplified. 

http://pib.nic.in/newsite/PrintRelease.aspx?relid=158879

Cabinet approves Abu Dhabi oil for Indian strategic reserve.

Details :

The Union Cabinet has approved signing of the Definitive Agreement on Oil Storage and Management between Indian Strategic Petroleum Reserve Ltd (ISPRL) and UAE’s Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (ADNOC).

ADNOC will fill up 0.81 Million tonnes or 5,860,000 million barrels of crude oil at ISPRL storage facility at Mangalore, Karnataka.

Out of the crude stored, some part will be used for commercial purpose of ADNOC, while a major part will be purely for strategic purposes.

The investment by ADNOC is a major investment from UAE, and the first investment by UAE in India in the energy sector.

UAE contributes in a major way to India's energy security, being the sixth-largest supplier of crude oil. India is the second-largest destination for UAE's oil exports.

http://www.business-standard.com/article/news-ians/cabinet-approves-abu-dhabi-oil-for-indian-strategic-reserve-117030700023_1.html

Cabinet approves MoU between India and the United Nations Entity of Gender Equality and Empowerment of Women (UN-Women).

Details :

Union Cabinet has approved the signing of Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between India and the United Nations Entity of Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women (UN-Women). 

The proposed MoU will facilitate the achievement of time-bound results in the implementation of specific activities identified jointly by MoPR and UN Women within the broader framework for cooperation under the United Nations Development Assistance Framework ((UNDAF).

This MoU would thus facilitate operationalizing this important partnership. 

Activities under this MoU will be implemented at the district and sub-district level in six States i.e. Andhra Pradesh, Telengana, Odisha, Karnataka, Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh. 

http://pib.nic.in/newsite/PrintRelease.aspx?relid=158901

Indo-Nepal joint Military exercise 'Surya Kiran-X' begins in Pithoragarh, Uttarakhand.

Details :

A joint military exercise 'Surya Kiran-Xi' between India and Nepal begins  in Pithoragarh area of Uttarakhand.

The two-week long exercise is aimed at training of both the troops in the area of various counter insurgency operations over a prolonged period.

It will also focus on other important aspects such as humanitarian assistance and disaster relief operations and environmental conservation.

Both the armies will mutually benefit from the varied experiences gained during the exercise.

The Surya Kiran series of exercises are being conducted biannually, alternatively in India and Nepal.

Indo-Oman military exercise begins in Himachal.

Details :

The joint training exercise of the Indian Army and the Royal Army of Oman, named Al Nagah-II 2017, commenced with the opening ceremony at Bakloh in Chamba district, Himachal Pradesh.

The second edition of the joint exercise is in continuation of a series of joint exercises between both the armies. The first one was held in Oman in January 2015.

The aim of the joint exercise is to acquaint both forces with each other's operating procedures in the backdrop of counter-insurgency and counter-terrorism environment as also to enhance the existing military relationship between the Indian Army and the Royal Army of Oman.

The exercise will also enhance the interoperability between both the armies in conducting joint operations and cement bonds of friendship between the two countries.

Former Lok Sabha Speaker Rabi Ray passes away.

Details :

Noted socialist leader and former Lok Sabha speaker Rabi Ray passed away. He was 90.

Born at Bhanragarh village in Khurda district of Odisha on November 26, 1926.

Ray was the union minister of health and family welfare in the Morarji Desai ministry from January 1979 to January 1980 and the Speaker of ninth Lok Sabha from 1989-1991.

He was also a former chairman of Common Wealth Speakers' Forum.

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/bhubaneswar/former-lok-sabha-speaker-rabi-ray-passes-away/articleshow/57496513.cms

OPPO wins Indian cricket team sponsorship rights for five years.

Details :

The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) has announced that mobile manufacturing company Oppo Mobiles India Private Limited will be the new team sponsor of the Indian cricket team from April 1, 2017 for a period of five years.

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/sports/cricket/news/oppo-wins-indian-cricket-team-sponsorship-rights-for-five-years/articleshow/57511254.cms

Canara Bank bags medals at PR Council's communication conclave.

Details :

Public sector Canara Bank has won a number of medals in the Collateral Awards Category at the 11th Global Communication Conclave held in Bangaluru by the Public Relations Council of India (PRCI).

The bank won a gold medal for a radio jingle and silver medals for Corporate Film and Brochure (CSR).

http://www.thehindubusinessline.com/money-and-banking/canara-bank-bags-medals-at-pr-councils-communication-conclave/article9571940.ece

HDFC Bank launched chatbot Eva for customer services.

Details :

 HDFC Bank announced the launch of an electronic virtual assistant (EVA), an artificial intelligence-driven chatbot, for customer services. 

Eva is India's first AI-based banking chatbot and can answer millions of customer queries across multiple channels instantly.

Eva would be able to handle real banking transactions as well, which would enable HDFC Bank to offer the true power of conversational banking to its customers.

http://economictimes.indiatimes.com/industry/banking/finance/banking/hdfc-bank-launches-chatbot-eva-for-customer-services/articleshow/57481943.cms

Ola signs MoU with Government of Madhya Pradesh.

Details :

Ola has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Madhya Pradesh State Skill Development Mission (MPSSDM) and Directorate of Skill Development.

The MoU is focused towards training, skill development and empowerment of 25,000 driver partners in the next two years.

As part of this initiative, Ola will work closely with the State’s Skill Development Department in providing essential training infrastructure, utilities and technology framework that will ensure an improved employment scenario for the youth of Madhya Pradesh.

http://www.voicendata.com/ola-signs-mou-with-madhya-pradesh/

International conference on e-governance begins.

Details :

The three-day international conference on e-governance “ICEGOV 2017” has been inaugurated by the Minister of Electronics and IT, Law & Justice Ravi Shankar Prasad in New Delhi.

The ICEGOV 2017 - with the theme `Building knowledge Societies: From Digital Government to Digital Empowerment'.

http://www.dnaindia.com/money/report-3-day-international-conference-on-e-governance-begins-tomorrow-2344428

Cabinet approves Revised Cost Estimate-I of Koteshwar Hydro Electric Project in Uttarakhand.

Details :

The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs has approved the Revised Cost Estimate-I of 400 MW Koteshwar Hydro Electric Project (HEP) in Uttarakhand at an estimated completion cost of Rs.2,717.35 crore. 

The project is being implemented by Tehri Hydro Development Corporation (THDC) India Limited. 

In addition to additional generating capacity of 400 MW of peaking power it will regulate releases from Tehri Reservoir for irrigation and drinking water supply.

The reservoir of Koteshwar HEP will also act as lower reservoir for under construction Tehri PSP (1000 MW). 

Background:

The Project has already been commissioned fully in March, 2012. Only balance works are to be done which are not linked with operation of the Plant but essential for safety and completion of the project. 

http://pib.nic.in/newsite/PrintRelease.aspx?relid=158886

Cabinet approves MoU between India and Portugal on cooperation in the field of IT&E.

Details :

The Union Cabinet has given its ex-post facto approval for the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between India and Portugal on cooperation in the field of IT&E.

The MoU will help in developing a long term and sustainable cooperation on the basis of equality and mutual interest in the areas of IT&E in line with each country's laws and regulations. 

http://pib.nic.in/newsite/PrintRelease.aspx?relid=158888

Cabinet approves Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on Renewable Energy between India and Portugal.

Details :

The Union Cabinet chaired has given its ex-post facto approval for signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on Renewable Energy between India and Portugal. The MoU was signed on 6th January, 2017 in New Delhi. 

The MoU will help in strengthening bilateral cooperation between the two countries. 

Both sides aim to establish the basis for a cooperative institutional relationship to encourage and promote technical bilateral cooperation on new and renewable issues on the basis of mutual benefit equality and reciprocity.

The MoU envisages constitution of a Joint Working Group which can co-opt other members from Scientific Institutions, Research Centers, Universities, or any other entity, as and when considered essential. 

http://pib.nic.in/newsite/PrintRelease.aspx?relid=158892

13th Executive Committee Meeting of International Smart Grid Action Network.

Details :

The 13th Executive Committee (ExCo) Meeting of the International Smart Grid Action Network (ISGAN) at POWERGRID Corporate Center, Gurugram. 

This is the first ever Executive Committee Meeting of ISGAN being held in India and would have multiple sessions on 6th, 7th and 9th March, 2017.

A total of 36 representatives from 18 countries namely Austria, Belgium, Canada, France, Germany, India, Italy, Japan, Korea, Norway, Russia, South Africa, Singapore, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, US and UAE are participating in this event. 

http://pib.nic.in/newsite/PrintRelease.aspx?relid=158871

March 6, 2017

Books And Authors.

Details :

Books And Their Authors:

The Secret Chord - Geraldine Brooks

Just Another Jihadi Jane - Tabish Khair

Death Under The Deodars: The Adventures of Miss Ripley-Bean - Ruskin Bond

Bose: The Indian Samurai – Netaji and the INA Military Assessment - G D Bakshi

Magpie Murders - Anthony Horowitz

My Odyssey: Memoirs of the Man behind the Mangalyaan Mission - K Radhakrishnan

The Untold Story of Talking Books - Matthew Rubery

The Karachi Deception - Shatrujeet Nath.

The Book Thief - Markus Zusak

Story of an Escape - Surjit Singh Barnala

60 Indian Poets - Jeet Thayil

Barbarian Days: A Surfing Life - William Finnegan

You Got Magic - Neel Madhav

The Future of India - Margaret Moran

Mother Teresa: The Final Verdict - Aroup Chatterjee

The man who could never say No - S Muthiah

Between Two Worlds – The Assamese Sikhs - Bimal Phukan 

The Man Who Became Khali - Dalip Singh Rana,  Vinit K. Bansal. 

Contemporary West Asia – Perspectives on Change and Continuity - Sujata Ashwarya & Mujib Alam. 

A Great Reckoning – A Chief Inspector Gamache Thriller - Louise Penny

Band, Bajaa, Boys - Rachna Singh

Veerappan: Chasing the Brigand - K. Vijay Kumar

Welcome to Nowhere - Elizabeth Laird

Hema Malini: Beyond the Dream Girl - Ram Kamal Mukherjee

Jobless Clueless Reckless - Revathi Suresh

Every Time It Rains - Nikitha Singh

Autoplay: Not-so Stories - G Sampath

Feroze: the Forgotten Gandhi - Bertil Falk

Kohinoor: The Story of the World’s Most Infamous Diamond - William Dalrymple

'Tirtha Darshan' scheme announced by Haryana government for senior citizens.

Details :

Haryana Government has announced Tirtha Darshan Scheme under which senior citizens in the state will be able to go on a pilgrimage within the country at government expense.

It was announced by Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar to  the house about the scheme prepared state government, during ongoing budget session of Haryana Vidhan Sabha.

Under the scheme, the government would bear the entire cost of the tour of senior citizens belonging to the Below Poverty Line (BPL) families. The scheme is reserved for domiciles of Haryana. 

In case of a couple, the expenses of the spouse belonging to BPL family would also be borne by the government. They would also be able to take along an assistant.

In case of senior citizens of non-BPL families, the government would bear only 70% of the cost. 

The senior citizens would be selected for the pilgrimage on the basis of draw of lots. There are more than 400 destinations which can be visited under the scheme.

http://www.business-standard.com/article/pti-stories/tirtha-darshan-scheme-announced-by-haryana-govt-117030301231_1.html

Central government initiates river survey across the Ganga to create database of aquatic life.

Details :

The Union Government has launched the first ever across-the-river survey in River Ganga to determine the database of aquatic life.

The Centre also aims to know the exact population of the endangered Gangetic doplhin.

The survey will create a baseline scientific data for the government to take suitable measures to improve quality of the Ganga’s water.

It is being conducted by National Mission for Clean Ganga (NMCG) through Wildlife Institute of India (WII) under Namami Gange programme.

The NMCG has stated that the first part of the survey had been launched on March 1 from Narora to Bijnor in Uttar Pradesh.

The length of the river between the two places is 165 km. The survey will further extend on the Allahabad-Varanasi stretch, which is 250 km long. This part of the survey is expected to be launched this week.

The survey also aims to figure out fish species composition in the 2525 km-long Ganga river, for which the exercise has been launched from Harshil in Uttarakhand.

http://www.newindianexpress.com/nation/2017/mar/05/central-government-initiates-river-survey-across-the-ganga-to-create-database-of-aquatic-life-1577965.html

Oldest serving aircraft carrier INS Viraat decommissioned.

Details :

The world’s longest serving warship INS Viraat was decommissioned by the Indian Navy at Naval Dockyard in Mumbai, Maharashtra.

It served the Indian Navy for nearly 30 years.

The carrier has provided utmost protection to the country during many tense situations. The decision on the warship's future has not been taken yet.But the warship would be possibly converted into a museum, hotel or will be preserved as a relic of maritime history.

INS Viraat was commissioned in Indian Navy in 1987, before that the historic ship served Royal British Navy for 27 long years.

It was built in 1943, during the Second World War.

India’s tallest Tricolor hoisted at Attari border in Punjab.

Details :

The tallest national flag in the country measuring 360 feet was hoisted at the Attari-Wagah joint checkpost in Punjab.

Earlier, the record was held by the one in Ranchi which is 293 feet high. 

The flag is 120 feet in length, 80 feet in breadth and is hosted on a pole which is 360 feet high. The concrete base is 30 feet in length and another 30 feet in breadth. The foundation has been designed in such a way that the flag will be able to withstand high velocity winds up to 180 km an hour.

http://www.newindianexpress.com/nation/2017/mar/05/indias-tallest-tricolor-hoisted-at-attari-border-in-punjab-1577961.html

ISSF 2017: India finish fifth with five medals at shooting World Cup.

Details :

India ended their campaign in the International Shooting Sports Federation (ISSF) World Cup (Rifle/Pistol/Shotgun) with five medals, including one Gold, two Silver and two Bronze medals at the Dr. Karni Singh Shooting Range, New Delhi.

Top 5 Countries:

China 

Italy

Australia

Japan

India

http://www.dnaindia.com/sport/report-india-finish-fifth-with-five-medals-at-issf-world-cup-2340836

Airtel, Millicom ink pact to merge in Ghana.

Details :

Bharti Airtel and Millicom International Cellular have entered into an agreement to merge their respective units in Ghana to create the second-largest mobile carrier in the African country.

Both the companies will have equal ownership and governance rights in the combined entity.

The combination of Airtel Ghana and Millicom-owned Tigo Ghana, will deliver high-speed data services to over 80% of Ghana’s population, providing the widest 3G coverage in the country.

http://economictimes.indiatimes.com/news/companies-a-z/corporate-trends/airtel-millicom-ink-pact-to-merge-in-ghana/articleshow/57456883.cms

Former Member Of Parliament Syed Shahabuddin passes away.

Details :

Former Indian Foreign Service (IFS) officer and MP Syed Shahabuddin, who was suffering from prolonged illness, passed away in Noida. He was 82.

He was Born in 1935 in Ranchi, now in Jharkhand, he joined the IFS in 1958 but took premature retirement in the 1970s to delve into politics.

He had served as Member of Parliament (MP) for three terms from 1979-1996.

http://www.ndtv.com/people/former-member-of-parliament-syed-shahabuddin-dead-at-82-1666196

Haiti’s former President Rene Preval passes away.

Details :

Haiti’s former President Rene Preval, an agronomist and champion of the poor who served two terms as the country's leader passes away. He was 74.

Preval served as President of Haiti, the poorest country in the western hemisphere, with a long history of political violence, in 1996-2001 and 2006-2011.

Born on January 17, 1943 in Port-au-Prince, Preval studied agronomy in Belgium. He lived for five years in New York in the 1970s.

http://www.thehindu.com/news/international/haitis-former-president-rene-preval-dies-at-74/article17409486.ece

Maharashtra Government decides to regulate web-based taxi services.

Details :

Maharashtra government on Saturday decided to regulate the web-based taxi services in the state to ensure affordable travel for commuters.

Maharashtra City Taxi Regulations 2017 will be implemented in the state. 

http://indianexpress.com/article/india/maharashtra-govt-decides-to-regulate-web-based-taxi-services-4554635/

March 5, 2017

Andy Murray won first Dubai Tennis Championships title 2017.

Details :

Andy Murray beats Fernando Verdasco 6-3 6-2 to win Dubai Tennis Championships.

With this he became the first British man to win the Dubai Tennis Championships in 25-years of history.

It is Murray's first tournament win of 2017 and the 45th of his career, which will see him extend his lead over Novak Djokovic at the top of the rankings.

GST Council approves draft CGST and IGST Bills.

Details :

The Centre and States approved the model draft Bills for Centre and Integrated goods and services tax (GST).

The Council has also included a revised peak rate of 20% under GST, instead from the earlier 18%. This would mean that the total incidence of the tax could go as high as 40%.

http://www.thehindubusinessline.com/economy/centre-states-broadly-agree-on-cgst-igst-provisions/article9570934.ece

Iran tests S-300 air defence system.

Details :

The Iranian Air Defense has conducted a test of the Russia-supplied S-300 long-range surface-to-air missile system, evaluating its performance in different combat scenarios.

The drill was dubbed Damavand and was attended by senior military commanders.

Tehran and Moscow signed a contract for the S-300 in 2007, but it was suspended in 2010 after the UN Security Council passed a resolution banning the sale of advanced weapons to the Islamic Republic.

The restriction was lifted last year after Iran and six leading world powers signed a deal addressing concerns over Iran’s nuclear program.

The development allowed Russia and Iran to renegotiate the terms of the almost decade-old contract, resolving a dispute over its suspension.

India to supply additional 60 MW power to Bangladesh.

Details :

India is going to supply additional 60 MW power from its ONGC-Tripura power plant to Bangladesh.

An agreement between the two countries is likely to be signed later this month.

The 100 MW electricity being supplied to the neighbouring country since March 23, 2016, is in addition to the 500 MW Bangladesh is already receiving from West Bengal.

http://www.business-standard.com/article/news-ians/tripura-to-supply-additional-60-mw-to-bangladesh-117030400306_1.html

Vodafone ReConnect programme launched to offer job to 1,000 women on career breaks.

Details :

Vodafone recently launched the Vodafone ReConnect programme to bring women in 26 countries back into the workplace after a career break.

The company would hire 1,000 women in the next three years as a result of the programme, including at least 10 % of all external management hires.

Google India inks MoU with Telangana government.

Details :

Google India and Telangana government have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) aimed at supporting the digitisation efforts of the state.

Google India will provide Google Cloud credits and access to all cloud platform products to eligible startups engaged with Telangana government’s T-Hub initiative and through its Developer Relations team provide technical mentor-ship and advisory support to various startups.

Other initiatives as a part of the agreement include, making all government websites mobile friendly and introduce programmes to help local small and medium businesses go online and stay safe online.

Google India will introduce Android Fundamentals courses for students pursuing engineering and MCA to skill them on mobile app development.

As part of the MoU, Google India and the Telangana government will also work on promoting digital literacy among rural women through programme ‘Internet Saathi’

http://www.thehindu.com/news/national/telangana/google-india-inks-mou-with-telangana-government/article17407750.ece

Facebook launches `disputed' tag to help fight fake news.

Details :

Social media giant Facebook has launched its much hyped "fake news" crackdown initiative in the US, tagging as "disputed" the stories that are deemed false by fact checking organisations. 

The new feature uses non-partisan third-party organisations like Snopes and Politifact to assess the factual accuracy of stories.

These posts then appear lower in the news feed and users will receive a warning before sharing the story .

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/home/science/facebook-launches-disputed-tag-to-help-fight-fake-news/articleshow/57486213.cms

Odisha achieves highest decline in IMR.

Details :

Odisha has achieved highest decline in Infant Mortality Rate (IMR) over the last 16 years.

According to the fourth round of the National Family Health Survey (NFHS), Odisha’s IMR has come down by 29% between 2005 and 2015 which is highest trend in the country.

It was 96 per 1000 births in 2000 has been reduced to 40 in 2015-16.

The chief minister also claimed that programmes like Mukhya Mantri Swasthya Seva (MMSS) Mission and SAMPURNA will help to decline the IMR and MMR in the state.

The state government allocated Rs 345 crore in 2017-18 under MMSS that aims to strengthen health infrastructure, it earmarked Rs 45 crore under SAMPURNA that will focus on 15 high burden districts for accelerated reduction of IMR and MMR.

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/bhubaneswar/odisha-achieves-highest-decline-in-imr-naveen-patnaik/articleshow/57436071.cms

WCCB’s Operation Thunderbird and Operation Save Kurma for fight against wildlife crime.

Details :

Wildlife Crime Control Bureau (WCCB) has successfully coordinated Operation Thunder Bird from January 30 to February 19, 2017 in its fight to end poaching of India’s wildlife animals.

Operation Thunderbird is the code-name for INTERPOL's multi-national and multi-species enforcement operation.

 Wildlife Crime Control Bureau (WCCB) seized a total of 2, 524 live species of scheduled animals, 19.2 kg of elephant ivory, 1 tiger skin, 9 carcasses of wild animals, 1 organ pipe coral, 1 jar snake venom, 8 leopard skins and 1 Indian Mujtac skin.

The operation brought about a unanimous approach by the state enforcement agencies in the fight against wildlife crime in the country.

It has received overwhelming response from the states of Assam, Meghalaya, Maharashtra, Odisha, Madhya Pradesh, Delhi, Uttrakhand, Bihar, West Bengal, Jharkhand, Gujarat, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu and Uttar Pradesh.

Operation Save Kurma was species specific operation on turtles.

Under it total of 15,739 live turtles were recovered from 45 suspects, having inter-state linkages.

It helped the enforcement agencies to focus on the existing trade routes and major trade hubs in the country, which will be continued in future.

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/good-governance/centre/operation-thunderbird-result-in-huge-seizures/articleshow/57444183.cms

March 4, 2017

Complete list of winners of BCCI annual awards 2017.

Details :

The BCCI Awards are a set of annual cricket awards given by the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI). The awards recognise and honour the best Indian international and domestic cricketers of the past year. The awards were first given in 2006–07.

The complete list of the winners:

Col. CK. Nayudu Lifetime achievement award: Rajinder Goel, Padmakar Shivalkar

BCCI Lifetime achievement award form women: Shantha Rangaswamy

BCCI special award: VV Kumar, Late Ramakant Desai

Polly Umrigar Award: Virat Kohli

Dilip Sardesai award (For India’s best cricketer in the West Indies series 2016): Ravichandran Ashwin

Lala Amarnath Award for the best all-rounder in the Ranji Trophy 2015-16: Jalaj Saxena of Madhya Pradesh

Lala Amarnath Award for the best all-rounder in domestic limited-overs competitions, 2015-16: Axar Patel of Gujarat

Madavrao Scindin Award (Highest scorer in the Ranji Trophy 2015-16): Shreyas Iyer of Mumbai

Madavrao Scindin Award (Highest wicket-taker in the Ranji Trophy 2015-16): Shahbaz Nadeem of Jharkhand

M.A. Chidambaram Trophy (Highest scorer in (U-23) Col. CK. Nayudu Trophy 2015-16: Jay. G. Bosta of Mumbai

M.A. Chidambaram Trophy (Highest wicket-taker in (U-23) Col. CK. Nayudu Trophy 2015-16: Satyajeet Bachhav of Maharashtra

NKP Salve Award (Highest scorer in (U-19) Cooch Behar Trophy in 2015-16: Arman Jaffer of Mumbai

NKP Salve Award (Highest wicket-taker in (U-19) Cooch Behar Trophy in 2015-16: Ninad Rathva of Baroda

Raj Singh Dungarpur Award ( Highest scorer in (U-16) Vijay Merchant Trophy in 2015-16): Abhishek Sharma of Punjab

Raj Singh Dungarpur Award ( Highest wicket-taker in (U-16) Vijay Merchant Trophy in 2015-16): Abhishek Sharma of Punjab

Jagmohan Dalmiyra Award (Best Woman cricketer (Sr.) of 2015-16): Mithali Raj of Railways

Jagmohan Dalmiyra Award (Best Woman cricketer (Jr.) of 2015-16): Deepti Sharma of uttar Pradesh

Best Umpire in Domestic cricket in 2015-16: Nitin Menon

Best performance in BCCI Domestic tournaments of 2015-16: Mumbai Cricket Association

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/BCCI_Awards

http://indianexpress.com/article/sports/cricket/bcci-awards-virat-kohli-r-ashwin-complete-list-winners-4549915/

NGT fixes norms for camping along Ganga.

Details :

The National Green Tribunal prohibited all camping activity on beaches along the Ganga which fall within 100 meters from the middle of the river during lean season flow from Shivpuri to Rishikesh, Uttarakhand.

The judgment came on a petition filed by environment activist Vikrant Tongad who highlighted how unregulated camping was leading to pollution in the river and adjoining areas. He also showed how tourists left behind litter and polluted the river and the soil.

http://www.thehindu.com/news/national/ngt-fixes-norms-for-camping-along-ganga/article17397270.ece

Aadhaar number made mandatory for students to receive midday meals.

Details :

The Union Human Resource Development Ministry has issued a notification making mandatory for students to have an Aadhaar card to get the Mid-Day Meal (MDM) Scheme. 

This rule will be applicable across the country, except Jammu and Kashmir, Meghalaya and Assam.

The move is aimed at ensuring greater transparency and to increase overall efficiency. Of the total enrolment of 13.16 crore children, 10.03 crore children availed midday meal on an average basis in 11.50 lakh schools during 2015-16.

The Central government has been trying to link the Aadhaar number with subsidy schemes related to school education.

http://www.hindustantimes.com/india-news/aadhaar-number-made-mandatory-for-students-to-receive-midday-meals/story-xgI6gODyLidcQDHkZYRehP.html

India to Host 10th International Conference on Theory and Practice of Electronic Governance: ICEGOV 2017.

Details :

India will host International Conference on Theory and Practice of Electronic Governance (ICEGOV2017).

It will be hosted in collaboration with United Nations University and UNESCO.

Themed on Building Knowledge Societies: From Digital Government to Digital Empowerment.

The key objective of ICEGOV2017 is to explore how Digital Government can lead to Digital Empowerment by local knowledge.

It is a recognition of India’s emerging role as a massive cyber power, accelerated by the Digital India push which has acquired international acknowledgment.

Digital Governance is  the future of Good  Governance, in sync with the Honourable Prime Minister’s vision to transform India into a transparent and digitally empowered country.

 http://pib.nic.in/newsite/PrintRelease.aspx?relid=158823

Punjab, J&K seal fresh deal on Shahpur Kandi project.

Details :

A agreement between Punjab and Jammu and Kashmir was signed  for the completion of the Shahpur Kandi Dam project, 11 km downstream Ranjit Sagar Dam.

The pact, signed between Punjab’s Secretary (Irrigation) KS Pannu and his counterpart in J&K Saurabh Bhagat in the presence of Centre’s representative Dr Amarjit Singh, will have to be ratified by the respective state governments.

The project is worth Rs 2,285 crore. About 206 MW of power is to be generated by this hydro-power project on the Ravi.

20% of power generated would be provided to J&K at the rate of Rs 3.50 per unit.

Tirupati Airport renamed as Sri Venkateswara Airport.

Details :

The Andhra Pradesh Cabinet  approved proposals to rename the Vijayawada Airport and the Tirupati Airport.

Vijayawada Airport in Gannavaram has been renamed as ‘Nandamuri Taraka Rama Rao-Amaravati Airport’ after the legendary actor and founder of the ruling Telugu Desam Party, and the new capital of Andhra Pradesh.

The Tirupati Airport has been renamed as ‘Sri Venkateswara Airport’ after Lord Venkateswara of the temple town.

http://www.thehindu.com/todays-paper/tp-national/tp-andhrapradesh/vijayawada-tirupati-airports-renamed/article17399289.ece

INHS ASVINI Mumbai Adjudged best service Hospital in the AFMS.

Details :

The Defence Minister Shri Manohar Parrikar presented the Raksha Mantri’s Trophy and Citation for the best Service Hospital in the Armed Forces Medical Services (AFMS) for the year 2016 to INHS Asvini, Mumbai.

The Command Hospital (Southern Command), Pune and Command Hospital (Northern Command) Udhampur were jointly adjudged the second best Service Hospitals.

The Raksha Mantri’s Trophy was instituted in 1989 to create a healthy competition among the Command Hospitals of the Army and its equivalent Hospitals in the Navy and Air Force.

The Best and Second Best hospital are adjudged on the basis of a number of objective criteria by a committee headed by DCIDS (Med). 

http://pib.nic.in/newsite/PrintRelease.aspx?relid=158790

Veteran politician and former MP, Yumnam Yaima Singh passes away.

Details :

Veteran Manipuri politician and former Member of Parliament Yumnam Yaima Singh passed away in Imphal after a brief illness. He was 95.

He was first elected to the Territorial Council in 1957.

Later he was elected seven times continuously to Manipur Assembly from Oinam Constituency from 1962 to 1985.

He was Speaker of Manipur Legislative Assembly form 1980-1985.

He was elected to the 10th Lok Sabha in 1991 from Inner Manipur Parliamentary Constituency.

Raymond Kopa, French Football Legend Passes Away.

Details :

French football legend Raymond Kopa passed away in Paris after a long illness.

He won the European Cup three times with Real Madrid in the 1950s.

He was one of four French players, with Michel Platini, Zinedine Zidane and Jean-Pierre Papin, to have won the Ballon d'Or, football's top individual award.

India to lead global growth of smartphone connections: GSMA.

Details :

According  GSM Association report, India will lead the world in smart phone adoption with a net addition of 350 million connections in 2016-20.

The estimates are based on the GSMA Intelligence Consumer Survey 2016 conducted across 56 countries on the mobile usage trend.

The developing world is set to add 1.6 billion smartphone connections between now and 2020.

It is Led by India, China and Indonesia, smartphone adoption across developing markets will increase from an average of 47% in 2016 to 62% four years later.

http://indianexpress.com/article/technology/mobile-tabs/india-to-lead-global-growth-of-smartphone-connections-gsma-4555093/

Yatra inks MoU with Madhya Pradesh govt to promote homestays.

Details :

Online travel company Yatra.com  has signed an agreement with Madhya Pradesh government to jointly promote homestays in the state.

Under the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU), Yatra will promote all the state tourism approved homestays, where travellers can book a room with a local family or the entire house.

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/business/india-business/yatra-inks-mou-with-madhya-pradesh-govt-to-promote-homestays/articleshow/57429086.cms

SBI to charge for breaching monthly average balance in saving accounts.

Details :

The State Bank of India will once again begin to charge customers for failing to maintain the monthly average balance (MAB) in their savings bank accounts. 

 It will come into effect from April 1, 2017.

The monthly average balance that customers will have to maintain in savings bank accounts with branch in metropolitan areas is Rs 5,000.

http://www.business-standard.com/article/finance/sbi-to-charge-for-breaching-monthly-average-balance-in-saving-accounts-117030300721_1.html

Endangered Kurukh gets official language status in West Bengal.

Details :

The West Bengal government gave official status to Kurukh language, listed as an endangered language by the UNESCO, to mark the International Mother Language Day.

Around 16 lakh Oraon people spoke Kurukh language in Bengal and that the language had been identified as a vulnerable language in the UNESCO's list of endangered languages.

http://www.dnaindia.com/lifestyle/report-kurukh-language-given-official-status-by-bengal-government-2330487

Swachh Bharat Milestone- 100 districts in India declared ODF.

Details :

During occasion of 'Swachh Shakti Saptah' in Gurugram, Haryana, the Union Minister of Drinking Water and Sanitation, Shri Narendra Singh Tomar has announced that the number of ODF (Open Defecation Free) districts in the country has now crossed 100. 

Over 1.7 lakh villages have become ODF.  

http://pib.nic.in/newsite/PrintRelease.aspx?relid=158768

Ukraine region to use Russian ruble as currency.

Details :

Ukraine’s self-proclaimed Luhansk People’s Republic, state in eastern Ukraine, will use the Russian ruble as its official currency, along with the Ukrainian Hryvnia. 

The Russian ruble is already being used in pro-Russian territory which serves to stabilize the volatile economic situation in the region. 

This allows residents to travel to Russia without the need for visas.

http://www.business-standard.com/article/news-ians/ukraine-region-to-use-russian-ruble-as-currency-117022800449_1.html

Arunachal Pradesh to have smart classrooms in government schools.

Details :

The Arunachal Pradesh government has decided to introduce the concept of smart classes to 264 government-run higher secondary and secondary schools.

The classes will be for students of classes 9 and 10 and will use information and communications technology (ICT) to impart education.

With the introduction of smart classes, the experience of learning will become simpler and grasping. Especially, it will help to demystify learning of mathematics and science subjects.

These classes will be introduced on a pilot basis at select government schools. It will extend to the rest of the government higher secondary and secondary schools upon success at the selected group of schools.

http://indianexpress.com/article/education/smart-classes-for-264-government-schools-in-arunachal-pradesh-4554212/

March 3, 2017

Half of India-Bangladesh border fenced.

Details :

The Union Government has announced that half of the 4,096-km long border India shares with Bangladesh has been fenced, rest will be fenced by 2019 deadline.

The aim of the project is to curb infiltration and smuggling of cattle and fake Indian currency notes.

The border runs along West Bengal for 2,216.7 km, Assam 263 km, Meghalaya 443 km, Tripura 856 km and Mizoram 318 km.

Land acquisition is a major challenge to completing the work by the 2019 deadline.

http://www.thehindu.com/news/national/half-of-indiabangladesh-border-fenced/article17396794.ece

India to attend Lahore meet on Indus Waters Treaty.

Details :

India has accepted an invitation to attend the next meeting of the Permanent Indus Commission (PIC) of the Indus Waters Treaty (IWT), to be held in Lahore in March 2017. 

The development, the move came after two months of diplomatic negotiations, with World Bank officials playing the mediator in encouraging Pakistan to extend an invitation and for India to accept it.

http://www.thehindu.com/news/national/india-to-attend-lahore-meet-on-indus-waters-treaty/article17396619.ece

Army gets weapon locating radar from DRDO.

Details :

The DRDO formally handed over an indigenously developed Weapon Locating Radar (WLR) system called ‘Swati’ to the Army.

The organisation also handed over a Nuclear, Biological and Chemical (NBC) recce vehicle and NBC treatment drugs to the Army.

It is Developed by DRDO’s Electronics & Radar Development Establishment (LRDE).

Swati has a range of 50 km which brings all artillery guns presently in service worldwide under its coverage. Four systems are currently in operation and another 30 are on order for the Army.

Swati provides quick, automatic and accurate location of all enemy weapons like mortars, shells and rockets firing within its effective zone of coverage and simultaneously handles multiple projectiles fired from different weapons at different locations.

Swati can also direct artillery response based on the incoming enemy fire.

It has been extensively tested along the Line of Control.

The NBC Recce Vehicle Mk-I is intended for carrying out post event recce of nuclear, biological and chemical contamination. The Army had placed an order for 16 of these vehicles in 2010.

http://www.thehindu.com/news/national/a-weaponlocating-radar-for-the-army/article17396689.ece

First Regional conference on enhancing steel consumption held in Gangtok.

Details :

First Regional Conference of Eastern States on enhancing steel consumption in India was held on 2nd march 2017, in Gangtok, Sikkim. 

It was the first of the four regional conferences planned across India.

The delegates in the conference deliberated on measures to increase steel demand, advantages of steel intensive construction & steel in high-rises, rural sector, bridges and other fields. 

http://pib.nic.in/newsite/PrintRelease.aspx?relid=158757

India, Oman agree to enhance defence ties.

Details :

India and Oman agreed to enhance cooperation between their navies during talks Navy Chief Admiral Sunil Lanba had with top defence brass of the strategically important Gulf nation. 

Both countries agreed on ramping up cooperation between their navies in the backdrop of the fast evolving security scenario in the region.

On the first leg of his trip, Lanba visited UAE where he met top echelons of the country's defence establishment and discussed ways to bolster strategic partnership between the two countries. 

http://economictimes.indiatimes.com/news/defence/india-oman-to-enhance-defence-ties/articleshow/57418952.cms

JNU wins Visitor's Awards 2017 for best university.

Details :

Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) has won the annual Visitor's Award for the 'Best University', 2017.

Deepak Pant from the Central University of Himachal Pradesh won the Visitor's Award for 'Innovation' .

While the Visitor's Award for 'Research' has been jointly won by Shyam Sunder from Banaras Hindu University (BHU) and Professor Niranjan Karak from Tezpur University.

President Pranab Mukherjee had announced the institution of these awards in 2014 with the aim of promoting healthy competition amongst Central Universities and motivating them to adopt best practices from around the world in the pursuit of excellence.

The 'Best University' will receive a Citation and Trophy while winners of Visitor's Award for 'Innovation' and 'Research' will receive a Citation and cash award of Rs 1 lakh.

http://www.business-standard.com/article/current-affairs/jnu-wins-visitor-s-awards-2017-for-best-university-117030200808_1.html

Government approves 4,000 PG medical seats for 2017-18 session.

Details :

The government  has approved 4,000 Post Graduate (PG) medical seats in various medical colleges and hospitals for the academic session 2017-18 and called it a record in medical academics till now.

The total number of PG seats available now is 35,117.

The move would further boost to resolve and strengthen tertiary health care and improve the medical education in the country. 

http://www.newindianexpress.com/nation/2017/mar/02/government-approves-4000-pg-medical-seats-for-2017-18-session-1576770.html

Pakistan govt approves merger of FATA with Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa.

Details :

Pakistan Government has approved merger of Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) with the Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa province.

Decision was taken by the federal cabinet chaired by Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif which approved in principle the recommendations of the FATA Reforms Committee.

The FATA is a semi-autonomous tribal region in northwest Pakistan, bordering Afghanistan. It consist of seven tribal agencies (districts) and six frontier regions, and are directly governed by Pakistan's federal government.

The proposed merger would be carried out over a period of five years and a 10-year development package would be introduced for all of FATA.

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/pakistan/pakistan-govt-approves-merger-of-fata-with-khyber-pakhtunkhwa/articleshow/57435187.cms

AMJAD HUSSAIN SIAL ASSUMES CHARGE AS SAARC SECRETARY GENERAL.

Details :

Senior Pakistani diplomat Amjad Hussain B Sial assumed charge as new Secretary-General of South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC). 

He became the 13th Secretary General of the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC).

This is the second time that a Secretary General from Pakistan will be leading the SAARC.

The Secretaries-General of SAARC are appointed from Member States on the basis of the principle of rotation in alphabetical order for a period of three years.

Maria Sharapova handed Italian Open wildcard.

Details :

Five-time Grand Slam champion Maria Sharapova was given a wildcard to play in the Italian Open to be held in May 2017. 

The former world number one makes her return to the circuit in Stuttgart in April after completing a 15-month ban for doping.

Sharapova hasn't played on tour since testing positive for meldonium at the 2016 Australian Open. An initial two-year ban by the International Tennis Federation was reduced to 15 months by the Court of Arbitration for Sport.

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/sports/tennis/top-stories/maria-sharapova-handed-italian-open-wildcard/articleshow/57411546.cms

P K Purwar appointed as Chairman and Managing Director of MTNL.

Details :

PK Purwar appointed as the Chairman and Managing Director of state-run telecom major Mahanagar Telephone Nigam Limited (MTNL).

The Appointments Committee of the Cabinet has approved his appointment to the post for five years.

http://www.business-standard.com/article/pti-stories/p-k-purwar-appointed-mtnl-cmd-117030101085_1.html

Jindal Steel to make high nitrogen steel for DRDO.

Details :

The Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) and Jindal Stainless (Hisar) Limited (JSHL) inked a licence deal for manufacturing High Nitrogen Steel for armour applications.

The agreement was signed in the presence of Minister of State for Defence Subhash Bhamre and DRDO Chairman S. Christopher.

http://www.business-standard.com/article/news-ians/jindal-steel-to-make-high-nitrogen-steel-for-drdo-117030100560_1.html

March 2, 2017

IMD predicts above normal temperature in 2017 summer.

Details :

India Meteorological Department (IMD) has forecasted above normal temperature in country during 2017 summer season. 

Northwest India and the plains near the Himalayas are likely to face particularly warmer summer this year with temperatures likely to be more than 1°C above normal.

There was “47 per cent probability” of maximum temperatures being more than normal in the states of Punjab, Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Delhi, Haryana, Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh, Gujarat, Madhya  Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Bihar, Jharkhand, West Bengal, Odisha and Telangana, and a few other regions.

http://indianexpress.com/article/india/above-normal-summer-in-2017-imd-4548876/

Thiruvananthapuram tops city governance ranking.

Details :

Thiruvananthapuram has topped in city governance ranking of the Annual Survey of India’s City Systems (ASICS) 2016.

The Annual Survey of India's City-System (ASICS) was undertaken by not-for-profit institution Janaagraha Centre for Citizenship and Democracy (JCCD).

It evaluated 21 major cities from the country's 18 states.

In the survey, Pune is ranked second, up two ranks from 2015, while Kolkata retains its third slot.

The biggest gainer in the 2016 survey is Bhubaneswar, which has jumped eight places from 2015 to land at the 10th spot.

Bengaluru has dropped four places to rank 16, while Ludhiana, Jaipur and Chandigarh retain their previous positions of 19th, 20th and 21st respectively.

The survey showed that Indian cities score between 2.1 and 4.4 on scale of 10, as against the global benchmarks of London and New York, which score 9.3 and 9.8 respectively.

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/delhi-slips-thiruvananthapuram-tops-city-governance-ranking/articleshow/57396562.cms

Supersonic Interceptor Missile Successfully Test-Fired In Odisha.

Details :

Indigenously developed supersonic Advance Area Defence (AAD) interceptor missile was successfully test-fired from launch complex III of the Integrated Test Range (ITR) at Abdul Kalam Island in Balasore, Odisha.

It is capable of destroying any incoming enemy ballistic missile at low altitude. 

The interceptor is a 7.5-meter long single stage solid rocket propelled guided missile equipped with a navigation system, a hi-tech computer and an electro-mechanical activator.

The interceptor missile had its own mobile launcher, secure data link for interception, independent tracking and homing capabilities and sophisticated radars.

http://economictimes.indiatimes.com/news/defence/drdo-test-fires-homegrown-supersonic-interceptor-missile/articleshow/57407107.cms

Indian Navy test-fires anti-ship missile from Scorpene-class submarine.

Details :

Indian Navy successfully test-fired an anti-ship missile for the first time from an indigenously built INS Kalvari submarine in the Arabian Sea.

The missile successfully hit a surface target at extended ranges.

INS Kalvari is the first of India’s six Scorpene-class submarines which are being built under the Project 75. It has been designed by France’s DCNS and was manufactured at state-owned Mazagon Dock Limited in Mumbai, Maharashtra. 

All six Kalvari submarines will be equipped with the missile, with a proven record in combat, to neutralise surface threats at extended ranges.

http://www.business-standard.com/article/current-affairs/indian-navy-test-fires-anti-ship-missile-from-scorpene-class-submarine-117030200505_1.html

Govt asks all banks to have m-banking facility by March 31, 2017.

Details :

The government has asked all banks to provide mobile banking facility to all customers by March 31 in a bid to push digital transactions. 

Bank customers who are using UPI or BHIM app will be automatically be enabled for mobile banking.

http://www.businesstoday.in/sectors/banks/govt-asks-all-banks-to-have-m-banking-facility-by-mar-31/story/247228.html

Week-long "Swachh Shakti Saptah" campaign launched.

Details :

The Union Ministry of Drinking Water and Sanitation has launched week-long “Swachh Shakti Saptah” campaign to emphasize on active involvement of women in the Swachh Bharat Mission.

The campaign  will conclude on March 8th.

Odisha Govt signs MoU with ‘Invest India’.

Details :

The State government  launched the Start-up Odisha Helpline to offer hands-on assistance to youths aspiring to be entrepreneurs.

Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik officially unveiled the helpline -18003457100 - which is aimed at providing a platform to youths, incubators and other stakeholders in the start-up eco-system to get easy redressal of their queries related to policy, fund raising, company incorporation and idea validation.

An MoU was also signed between Invest India, an agency of National Investment Promotion and Facilitation, Ministry of Commerce and Industry and MSME Department of the State Government.

The MoU will also facilitate networking between Odisha start-ups and global start-up ecosystem. Invest India will also extend knowledge support for development in MSME sector with focus on food processing, agro-processing and spices.

http://www.newindianexpress.com/states/odisha/2017/mar/02/state-government-signs-mou-with-invest-india-to-support-startup-odisha-1576411.html

JS Deepak named India’s next Ambassador to WTO.

Details :

Telecom Secretary J S Deepak  named India’s next Ambassador to the World Trade Organisation (WTO) from June, 2017.

 A 1982 batch IAS officer from Uttar Pradesh, Deepak,  has been shifted with “immediate effect” from the telecom ministry and has been made Officer on Special Duty in the commerce department.

During his earlier stint in the Commerce Ministry, he was India’s chief negotiator at the WTO and for the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) agreement, the mega Free Trade Agreement being negotiated by 16 countries.

http://indianexpress.com/article/india/telecom-envoy-official-js-deepak-named-indias-next-ambassador-to-wto/

Delhi govt extends midday meal scheme for girls up to class 12

Details :

The Delhi government will start serving midday meal to girl students of class 9 to 12 from April 1 onwards.

The government claimed that Delhi will become the “first state” in the country to serve midday meal up to class 12.

As the central government’s financial assistance is only for up to class 8, the (Delhi) government will bear additional expenditure on the expansion of scheme in Delhi.

In Delhi, there are around 1,000 government-run schools with 16 lakh students in them. Out of 1,000, there are around 450 girl schools.

http://indianexpress.com/article/india/delhi-govt-extends-midday-meal-scheme-for-girls-up-to-class-12-4550020/

Luis Norton De Matos Appointed New Head Coach of India U-17 Football Team.

Details :

All India Football Federation appointed Portugal's Luis Norton de Matos as the Head Coach of the India U-17 World Cup Team for the forthcoming FIFA U-17 World Cup India 2017.

Gujarati writer Taarak Mehta passes away at 88.

Details :

Popular Gujarati writer, noted play writer and famous humorist Tarak Mehta passed away. He was 88.

He is best known for his columns which were adapted for TV as the popular sitcom Taarak Mehta Ka Ooltah Chashmah.

The humourist looked at contemporary issues in his column “Duniya Ne Undha Chashma” which was published in Gujarati weekly Chitralekha.

The first column came out in March 1971. After the SAB TV show adapted the show from his book based on his columns, they dedicated the title to popular writer.

http://www.hindustantimes.com/books/gujarati-writer-taarak-mehta-passes-away-at-88-after-prolonged-illness/story-pVV6Hnoxy4Wtt0kT2Sc3QP.html

Ajay Tyagi takes charge as Sebi Chairman.

Details :

Senior IAS officer Ajay Tyagi  took charge as the Chairman of the markets regulator, Securities and Exchange Board of India (Sebi).

He is the ninth Chairman of the Sebi and has taken over from U K Sinha, who completed his six-year tenure.

A 1984 batch IAS officer of Himachal Pradesh cadre, he has handled capital markets division in the Finance Ministry.

He has served as Joint Secretary in Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change. He also has worked in ministries of Petroleum and Natural Gas, Steel and Rural Development.

http://www.business-standard.com/article/markets/ajay-tyagi-takes-charge-as-sebi-chairman-117030100732_1.html

Virat Kohli to receive Polly Umrigar Award, R Ashwin gets Dilip Sardesai Award

Details :

India captain Virat Kohli will be presented with the prestigious Polly Umrigar Award, given to BCCI’s International Cricketer of the Year, at the Annual Awards to be held in Bengaluru on March 8.

Virat Kohli will become the first to receive the award thrice. He had won the award in 2011-12 and in 2014-15.

R Ashwin will also become the first to receive the Dilip Sardesai Award given to the top performer on the West Indies tour twice.

The all-rounder first won the Dilip Sardesai Award for the three-match Test series in 2011.

http://www.hindustantimes.com/cricket/virat-kohli-to-receive-polly-umrigar-award-r-ashwin-gets-dilip-sardesai-award/story-tGyHzNYrCtvCbFl7cRgNXL.html

Sanjiv Singh is new Chairman of IOC.

Details :

Sanjiv Singh will be the new Chairman of Indian Oil Corporation Ltd, the nation’s largest company.

Singh, who has been Director of Refineries at IOC since July 1, 2014, will replace B Ashok on his superannuation at end of May 2017.

http://www.thehindubusinessline.com/companies/sanjiv-singh-is-new-chairman-of-ioc/article9140910.ece

Reliance General Insurance ties up with Catholic Syrian Bank.

Details :

Reliance General Insurance has tied up with Catholic Syrian Bank to expand its distribution network.

It is aimed at boosting the company's topline by up to 15%. 

As part of Reliance General-Catholic Syrian Bank tie-up, RGI will offer its products to latter's 1.5 million customers base spread across 430 branches in Kerala, Tamil Nadu and Maharashtra.

http://www.business-standard.com/article/pti-stories/reliance-general-insurance-ties-up-with-catholic-syrian-bank-117030100988_1.html

March 1, 2017

4th India-CLMV Business Conclave held in Jaipur.

Details :

The fourth edition of India – CLMV (Cambodia, Lao PDR, Myanmar and Vietnam) Business Conclave held in Jaipur, Rajasthan. 

The two-day conference organised by Department of Commerce and Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) held deliberations on manufacturing, renewable energy, agriculture and skilling among others sectors in the region.

The conference was aimed at identifying specific project opportunities and seeks business partnerships in the region. It consisted of business to business meetings and sectorial sessions

UN wants new drugs against 12 supergerms.

Details :

The UN’s health agency urged governments, scientists and pharma companies to create new drugs to tackle 12 antibiotics-resistant supergerms threatening an explosion of incurable disease.

For the first time, the World Health Organization (WHO) published a list of bacteria threatening to turn once easily treatable infections into serial killers.

The agency listed 12 groups of bacteria that no longer respond to an ever-growing list of ineffective antibiotics.

The germs cause ailments including lung, blood, brain, and urinary tract infections, food poisoning from salmonella and sexually transmitted gonorrhoea.

The WHO divided its 12 “priority pathogens” into three categories of new medicine priority: Critical, high and medium.

The “high” and “medium” priority categories include drug-resistant bacteria that cause “more common” diseases such as gonorrhoea and salmonella-induced food poisoning which hit poor countries particularly hard.

The most urgent section contained three bacteria families resistant to carbapenem antibiotics which are last-resort treatment for many life-threatening infections.

MEITY to promote digital transactions in place of NITI.

Details :

The government has shifted the responsibility of promoting digital transactions in the country to the Ministry of IT and Electronics (MEITY) from NITI Aayog.

Government already has changed the business transaction rules to enable MEITY to promote digital transactions, including digital payments.

The decision has been taken in view of the core competence of MEITY to promote digital means for various transactions.

NITI Aayog -- which is a think-tank -- should focus on monitoring and suggesting ways to improve various government schemes rather than getting involved with implementation.

The IT ministry is responsible for promotion of e-governance for empowering citizens as well as promoting inclusive and sustainable growth of electronics and IT in the country.

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/business/india-business/meity-to-promote-digital-transactions-in-place-of-niti/articleshow/57378704.cms

Madras HC orders TN govt to enact law on removal of seemai karuvelam trees.

Details :

The Madurai bench of the Madras high court directed the Tamil Nadu government to enact a law with prohibitory and penal clauses within two months to eradicate seemai karuvelam trees (prosopis juliflora).

The seemai karuvelam tree that sucks a lot of water has invaded into water bodies and dry lands of government and private people.

Since such trees ultimately affect the agricultural activities, a batch of cases for their eradication was filed before the high court bench.

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/chennai/madras-hc-orders-tn-govt-to-enact-law-on-removal-of-seemai-karuvelam-trees/articleshow/57376496.cms

Government signs Financing Agreement with World Bank for Tejaswini Project.

Details :

The Union Government has signed a Financing Agreement with World Bank for IDA credit of $63 million for the Tejaswini Socio-Economic Empowerment of Adolescent Girls and Young Women (AGYW) Project.

The project seeks to empower the adolescent girls with basic life skills and thereafter provide further opportunities to acquire market driven skill training or completion of secondary education, depending on the inclination of the beneficiary.

The project will be delivered in 17 Districts of Jharkhand. The project has three main components,

(i) Expanding social, educational and economic opportunities

(ii) Intensive service delivery

(iii) State capacity-building and implementation support. About 680,000 adolescent girls and young women in the project Districts are expected to benefit from the program.

http://pib.nic.in/newsite/PrintRelease.aspx?relid=158720

NFHS 4 shows improved sex ratio, decline in infant mortality rate.

Details :

The Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare unveiled last National Family Health Survey-4 (NFHS-4) for 2015-16.

The National Family Health Survey -4 (NFHS-4) for 2015-16 unvield by the Health Ministry was conducted after collecting information from 6 lakh households, 7 lakh women and 1.3 lakh men, and for the first time provide district level estimates. 

Infant Mortality Rate (IMR) declined from 57 to 41 per 1,000 live births between NFHS-3 (2005-06) and NFHS-4.

IMR has declined substantially in almost all the states during the last decade.

It dropped by more than 20 percentage points in Tripura, West Bengal, Jharkhand, Arunachal Pradesh, Rajasthan and Odisha. 

Sex ratio at birth (number of females per 1,000 males) has improved from 914 to 919 at the national level over the last decade. It is highest in Kerala (1,047), followed by Meghalaya (1,009) and Chhattisgarh (977). Haryana also witnessed a significant increase from 762 to 836.

Institutional births "dramatically" increased by 40 percentage points from 38.7 % in NFHS-3 to 78.9 % in NFHS-4. 

There was an increase of 34.1 % institutional births in public facility, while the Empowered Action Group (EAG) in Assam experienced more than a 40 percentage point increase.

The proportion of women who received at least 4 antenatal care visits for their last birth has increased by 14 percentage points from 37 % to 51.2 % over the decade (2005-15), while there has been a substantial increase of 20 or more percentage points in seven states. 

Total Fertility Rate (TFR) too declined to 2.2 children per woman from 2.7 in NFHS-3 moving closer to target level of 2.1.

The survey found that there was considerable decline in the TFR in each of the 30 states in India with the maximum decline observed in Uttar Pradesh (1.1 child) followed by Nagaland (1.0 child), Arunachal Pradesh and Sikkim (0.9 child each). Bihar, however, failed to register substantial decline. 

http://economictimes.indiatimes.com/news/politics-and-nation/govt-survey-shows-improved-sex-ratio-decline-in-infant-mortality-rate/articleshow/57399024.cms

'Lipstick Under My Burkha' win award at Glasgow Film Festival.

Details :

Lipstick Under My Burkha has won the audience award at the Glasgow Film Festival.

It has been directed by Alankrita Shrivastava.

The film stars Ratna Pathak Shah and Konkona Sensharma in key roles.

http://www.business-standard.com/article/pti-stories/lipstick-under-my-burkha-win-award-at-glasgow-film-festival-117022800736_1.html

Tarun Kona and Alwin Francis win Uganda International Series title.

Details :

Indian shuttlers Tarun Kona and Alwin Francis have won the men’s doubles gold at the 2017 Uganda International Series.

The Indian duo defeated Aatish Lubah and Georges Julien Paul of Mauritius by 21-8, 21-14 score in the final match.

Neil Gaiman appointed UNHCR Goodwill Ambassador.

Details :

Internationally acclaimed author Neil Gaiman was appointed as a global goodwill ambassador of United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), UN Refugee Agency. 

The announcement comes after three years of close cooperation between Gaiman and UNHCR to raise awareness about the plight of forcibly displaced people and to generate much needed funds. 

Gaiman had been working closely with UNHCR since 2013.  He has championed UNHCR’s work through media interviews and via his social media channels.  As well as travelling to Jordan to meet Syrian refugees, he has supported several fundraising initiatives and UNHCR campaigns and events, including #WithRefugees, the #IBelong campaign to end statelessness, World Refugee Day and the Nansen Refugee Award.  

Sumit Mullick appointed as Chief Secretary of Maharashtra.

Details :

Senior IAS officer Sumit Mullick was appointed as the Chief Secretary of Maharashtra. 

He will succeed Swadheen Kshatriya who was due for retirement on 31 January 2017, but was given a month’s extension. 

Mullick (58) is the third Dalit to reach the highest post in the state’s bureaucracy after PG Gavai (1979-82) and JP Dange (2009-11).

Mullick was the Additional Chief Secretary of the protocol department — a post that he will continue to hold as full additional charge till further orders. He has 13 months of service left.

http://indianexpress.com/article/cities/mumbai/sumeet-mullick-is-maharashtras-new-chief-secretary/

Core sector growth slows down to 3.4% in January 2017.

Details :

The growth of eight core sectors slowed down to a five-month low of 3.4% in January 2017.

The growth of these eight core sectors was 5.7% in January 2016.

The eight infrastructure sectors of coal, crude oil, natural gas, refinery products, fertilisers, steel, cement and electricity that make up the index have a 38% weight in the Index of Industrial Production (IIP). 

http://economictimes.indiatimes.com/news/economy/indicators/core-sector-growth-slows-down-to-3-4-in-january/articleshow/57393633.cms

GIFT-City partners with Dubai International Financial Centre.

Details :

Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC) and Gujarat International Finance Tec-City (GIFT City) have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to increase cooperation and collaboration between the two financial centres.

The agreement calls for sharing of best practices, exchange of information on banking, financial service and securities, legislation and regulation and cooperation in training, among others.

Cisco and Reliance Jio to build world’s largest All-IP Digital Services Platform.

Details :

Reliance Jio has announced collaboration with networking giant Cisco to build world’s largest All-IP Digital Services Platform.

With this network, Jio will offer a combination of high-speed data, mobile video, VoLTE, digital commerce, media, cloud and payment services.

http://economictimes.indiatimes.com/industry/tech/internet/cisco-reliance-jio-to-build-largest-all-ip-services-platform/articleshow/57389985.cms

Russia and China veto UN resolution to impose sanctions on Syria.

Details :

Russia and China have vetoed a UN resolution to impose sanctions on Syria over the alleged use of chemical weapons during the six-year war.

The resolution was drafted by Britain, France and United States.

It won nine votes in favour, while three countries opposed it-China, Russia and Bolivia. Kazakhstan, Egypt and Ethiopia remained abstained from voting.

UN resolutions require nine positive votes and no veto to be adopted. It was the seventh time that Russia, has used its veto power to shield Syrian regime, its top military ally.

China is also one of the five veto-wielding permanent members of UNSC joined Russia in vetoing six resolutions on Syria.

Jitu Rai wins gold at ISSF World Cup in 50m free pistol, Amanpreet Singh silver.

Details :

Jitu Rai won the gold medal in men’s 50 meter free pistol event of the ISSF World Cup, with a world record score of 230.1. 

India’s Amanpreet Singh wins silver with a score of 226.9.

Jitu Rai also won bronze medal in the 10m air pistol event for India’s fourth podium finish in the ongoing ISSF World Cup, with a score of 216.7. 

http://www.hindustantimes.com/other-sports/jitu-rai-wins-gold-in-50m-free-pistol-at-issf-world-cup-amanpreet-singh-silver/story-DejYscMvDhime2sQxXnKPP.html

Canara, HSBC and OBC Banks launched iSelect Term Plan.

Details :

Canara HSBC Oriental Bank of Commerce Life Insurance  expanded its online product suit with the launch of iSelect term plan meant for family protection.

iSelect term plan provides enhanced protection cover for the family at an affordable premium.

Canara HSBC OBC Life Insurance claims the product to be highly cost effective.

It will cover insured person's spouse as well as family's future income with an option to automatically increase insurance coverage as per changing life stage needs.

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/business/india-business/canara-hsbc-obc-life-insurance-launches-iselect-term-plan/articleshow/57378883.cms

American Express launches 'Buyer Initiated Payments' to eliminate cheque, draft payments.

Details :

American Express, a global leader in payment solutions has launched an electronic payment platform linked to corporate card, Buyer Initiated Payments (BIP) to eliminate payment through cheques or drafts. 

BIP enables companies to increase the Days Payable Outstanding (DPO) while still paying vendors on time.

This web-based tool linked to Corporate Card fits and works within existing processes and includes reconciliation reporting that simplifies tracking vendor payments.

BIP also helps organizations and their vendors to participate in the trading cycle digitally thus avoiding payments through cheques and drafts.

http://www.business-standard.com/article/news-ani/american-express-launches-buyer-initiated-payments-to-eliminate-cheque-draft-payments-117022700462_1.html

Feb. 28, 2017

GST to be implemented from July 1, 2017.

Details :

Economic Affairs Secretary Shaktikanta Das has announced that Goods and Services Tax (GST) will be implemented from 1st July 2017. 

GST is a proposed system of indirect taxation merging most of the existing taxes into single system of taxation. It was introduced as The Constitution (One Hundred and First Amendment) Act 2016.

GST would be a comprehensive indirect tax on manufacture, sale and consumption of goods and services throughout India, to replace taxes levied by the central and state governments.

The GST is consumption based tax levied on the supply of Goods and Services which means it would be levied and collected at each stage of sale or purchase of goods or services based on the input tax credit method. Once it is in force, GST will replace at least 17 state and federal taxes.

http://www.businesstoday.in/current/economy-politics/gst-to-be-implemented-from-july-1-2017-shaktikanta-das/story/247109.html

India’s first heliport inaugurated in Rohini, New Delhi.

Details :

India’s first integrated heliport was inaugurated in north Delhi’s Rohini. It is Built by Pawan Hans Limited,  a Public Sector Undertaking of the Ministry of Civil Aviation.

Union Civil Aviation Minister Ashok Gajapathi Raju inaugurated the heliport.

The heliport has a terminal building having capacity of 150 passengers, four hangars with parking capacity of 16 helicopters and nine parking bays. It also has a maintenance, repair and overhaul facility.

The heliport will play an important role in providing various helicopter services ranging from offshore transport, connecting remote & inaccessible Islands of Andaman & Nicobar and Lakshadweep promoting heli-tourism in India.

http://indianexpress.com/article/business/aviation/indias-first-heliport-inaugurated-in-delhis-rohini-4547718/

India, Ukraine to strengthen bilateral ties through cinema.

Details :

India and Ukraine agreed to strengthen the bilateral cooperation between the two countries through the medium of cinema.

The cooperation would be worked out through a policy and institutional framework to showcase films through festivals and utilizing the Film Facilitation Office (FFO) platform established by India.

The screening of films with subtitles was also discussed in order to reach out to people.

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/entertainment/hindi/bollywood/news/india-ukraine-to-strengthen-bilateral-ties-through-cinema/articleshow/57386713.cms

Suresh Prabhu flags off first Antyodaya Express between Ernakulam, Howrah.

Details :

Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu flagged off the first Antyodaya Express (a long distance, fully unreserved, superfast train service) between Kochi's Ernakulam Junction and Howrah Junction through video conferencing from Rail Bhavan.

The new clan of trains will have facilities like cushioned luggage racks which can serve as seats, potable drinking water dispenser, mobile charging points, modular toilets of reinforced plastic, toilet occupation indication display board, LED lights among others for comfortable long distance travel.

The 22-coach train will cover a distance of 2,307 kilometres in 37 hours.

He also flagged off Humsafar Express between Rajasthan's Sriganganagar and Tiruchirappalli in Tamil Nadu.

Humsafar Express is an all-AC 'affordable' luxury train for the common man and was announced in the Railway Budget 2016. The train has air-conditioned 3-tier coaches.

http://www.business-standard.com/article/news-ians/prabhu-flags-off-first-antyodaya-express-between-ernakulam-howrah-117022701096_1.html

Dominic Thiem wins 2017 Rio Open.

Details :

Austrian professional tennis player Dominic Thiem won the 2017 Rio Open in men’s singles category.

Thiem claimed his eighth ATP singles title and his sixth on clay with a 7-5, 6-4 victory over Pablo Carreno Busta of Spain.

Paytm E-commerce launches online marketplace app Paytm Mall.

Details :

Paytm e-commerce has launched Paytm Mall, a mobile app and online shopping portal. 

Paytm Mall is the new avatar of Paytm’s three year-old e-commerce business.

Paytm Mall will allow customers to shop from 68 million products across categories such as fashion, electronics, consumer durables and home furnishings, from about 140,000 sellers.

http://www.livemint.com/Industry/vl7Vd6h4ssXQtvS08wXnQK/Paytm-arm-unveils-online-shopping-portal-Paytm-Mall.html

Kabir Bedi appointed honourary brand ambassador of Sightsavers.

Details :

Actor Kabir Bedi was appointed as the honourary brand ambassador of Sightsavers India to prevent avoidable blindness by RN Mohanty, CEO of Sightsavers.

http://indiatoday.intoday.in/story/kabir-bedi-appointed-honourary-brand-ambassador-of-sightsavers/1/892400.html

Virat Kohli named captain of the year at ESPNcricinfo Awards.

Details :

India Test skipper Virat Kohli has been named as the 'Captain of the Year' at the 10th annual ESPNcricinfo Awards.

Kohli led India to nine wins out of 12 Tests in the year gone by.

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/kohli-named-captain-of-the-year-at-espncricinfo-awards/articleshow/57375070.cms

Tata Communications partners with HPE for roll-out of LoRa network.

Details :

Tata Communications is partnering with Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE) to support the roll-out of the former's Internet of Things platform, the LoRa network.

The company will also work with HPE to provide a range of domestic and cross-border IoT connectivity and management services, particularly for applications requiring elements of mobility, such as connected cars, fleet management and transportation services.

http://economictimes.indiatimes.com/industry/tech/internet/tata-communications-partners-with-hpe-for-roll-out-of-lora-network/articleshow/57372469.cms

Apollo Munich enters into bancassurance tie-up with Dena Bank.

Details :

Standalone health insurer Apollo Munich Health Insurance expanding its footprint across the country with bancassurance tie-up with state-owned Dena Bank. 

Under the tie-up the bank will distribute customised Apollo Munich Health insurance and personal accident policies to the bank's 20 million customers nationwide.

http://www.business-standard.com/article/pti-stories/apollo-munich-enters-into-bancassurance-tie-up-with-dena-bank-117022700564_1.html

Feb. 27, 2017

89th Academy Awards.

Details :

The 89th Academy Awards ceremony, presented by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (AMPAS), honored the best films of 2016, and took place on February 26, 2017, at the Dolby Theatre in Hollywood, Los Angeles.

During the ceremony, AMPAS presented Academy Awards (commonly referred to as Oscars) in 24 categories.

The ceremony, televised in the United States by ABC, was produced by Michael De Luca and Jennifer Todd and directed by Glenn Weiss.

Comedian Jimmy Kimmel hosted the ceremony for the first time.

Winners List:

Best Picture: Moonlight – Adele Romanski, Dede Gardner, and Jeremy Kleiner

Best Director:  Damien Chazelle – La La Land

Best Actor:  Casey Affleck – Manchester by the Sea as Lee Chandler

Best Actress:  Emma Stone – La La Land as Mia Dolan

Best Supporting Actor:  Mahershala Ali – Moonlight as Juan

Best Supporting Actress:  Viola Davis – Fences as Rose Maxson

Best Original Screenplay:  Manchester by the Sea – Kenneth Lonergan

Best Adapted Screenplay:  Moonlight – Barry Jenkins and Tarell Alvin McCraney from In Moonlight Black Boys Look Blue by Tarell Alvin McCraney

Best Animated Feature Film:  Zootopia – Byron Howard, Rich Moore, and Clark Spencer

Best Foreign Language Film:  The Salesman (Iran) in Persian – Asghar Farhadi

Best Documentary – Feature:  O.J. : Made in America – Ezra Edelman and Caroline Waterlow

Best Documentary – Short Subject:  The White Helmets – Orlando von Einsiedel and Joanna Natasegara

Best Live Action Short Film:  Sing – Kristóf Deák and Anna Udvardy

Best Animated Short Film: Piper – Alan Barillaro and Marc Sondheimer

Best Original Score: La La Land – Justin Hurwitz

Best Original Song: "City of Stars" from La La Land – Music by Justin Hurwitz, Lyric by Benj Pasek and Justin Paul

Best Sound Editing:  Arrival – Sylvain Bellemare

Best Sound Mixing: Hacksaw Ridge – Kevin O'Connell, Andy Wright, Robert Mackenzie, and Peter Grace

Best Production Design: La La Land – David Wasco and Sandy Reynolds-Wasco

Best Cinematography: La La Land – Linus Sandgren

Best Makeup and Hairstyling: Suicide Squad – Alessandro Bertolazzi, Giorgio Gregorini, and Christopher Nelson

Best Costume Design: Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them – Colleen Atwood

Best Film Editing: Hacksaw Ridge – John Gilbert

Best Visual Effects: The Jungle Book – Robert Legato, Adam Valdez, Andrew R. Jones, and Dan Lemmon.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/89th_Academy_Awards

Mumbai is richest Indian city.

Details :

According to New World Wealth, India’s financial capital Mumbai, is the richest Indian city with a total wealth of $820 billion. It is home to 46,000 millionaires and 28 billionaires.

Mumbai is the richest city in the country followed by Delhi and Bengaluru in the second and third place, respectively. 

Delhi is home to 23,000 millionaires and 18 billionaires with a total wealth of $ 450 billion, while Bengaluru with a total wealth of $ 320 billion houses 7,700 millionaires and 8 billionaires. 

The list also includes Hyderabad with a total wealth of $ 310 billion. Hyderabad is home to 9,000 millionaires and 6 billionaires. 

http://economictimes.indiatimes.com/news/economy/finance/mumbai-richest-indian-city-with-total-wealth-of-820-bn/articleshow/57354354.cms

India, Israel to celebrate 25 years of diplomatic ties: MEA

Details :

India and Israel are planning to hold a series of events to celebrate 25 years of establishment of their diplomatic ties.

India had established full diplomatic relationship with Israel in 1992 though it had recognised the country in 1950.

Both countries will hold a series of events on a variety of subjects to celebrate the occasion in a befitting manner.

India and Israel have been cooperating each other on many fronts including cooperation in defence and in agriculture and achieved milestones in fostering bilateral relationship.

NASA may send robotic spacecraft to Sun next year.

Details :

NASA plans to send its first robotic spacecraft to the Sun next year that is slated to get within six million kilometres of the blazing star to probe its atmosphere.

This is going to be our first mission to fly to the Sun.

The mission will hopefully unveil why the surface of the Sun, called the photosphere, is not as hot as its atmosphere, called the corona.

NASA has designed a 11.4 centimetres carbon-composite shield, which is designed to withstand temperatures outside the spacecraft of 1,370 degrees Celsius.

http://www.thehindu.com/sci-tech/nasa-may-send-robotic-spacecraft-to-sun-next-year/article17376767.ece

World's first robot table tennis tutor plays better than humans, sets Guinness record.

Details :

The world's first robot table tennis tutor in Japan has set a new Guinness World Record for its uncanny ability of being able to play the game better than most humans.

FORPHEUS (Future Omron Robotics Technology for Exploring Possibility of Harmonised aUtomation with Sinic Theoretics) has officially been given the Guinness title for its unique technological intelligence and educational capabilities. 

Its goal is to harmonise humans and robots, by way of teaching the game of table tennis to human players.

http://economictimes.indiatimes.com/magazines/panache/worlds-first-robot-table-tennis-tutor-plays-better-than-humans-sets-guinness-record/articleshow/57358594.cms

Iran, Russia agree to jointly produce nuclear fuel.

Details :

Iran's Atomic Energy Organisation (AEOI) announced that Russia and Iran have reached an agreement to jointly produce nuclear fuel.

A preliminary agreement with Russia on the joint production of nuclear fuel was reached during the nuclear negotiations between Iran and the major world powers in 2015, Ali Akbar Salehi.

The roadmap has been developed for the joint production, which will take two years to be implemented.

Tehran-Astana deal to buy 950 tons of yellow cake from Kazakhstan, which is part of Iran's international nuclear deal known as Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA).

http://www.business-standard.com/article/news-ians/iran-russia-agree-to-jointly-produce-nuclear-fuel-117022600049_1.html

EU member states approve visa-free travel for Georgia.

Details :

European Union member states have approved visa-free travel for Georgia. 

Under the accord, which now requires formal signature by the 28 member states and the European Parliament, Georgian citizens will be able to travel visa-free for 90 days in the EU during any 180-day period.

The accord does not apply to the United Kingdom or Ireland.

http://indianexpress.com/article/world/eu-member-states-approve-visa-free-travel-for-georgia-4546774/

India’s Radhanagar beach in Andaman Islands features in top 10 in the world

Details :

Radhanagar on the Havelock Island in the Andamans has featured among the top 10 in TripAdvisor’s ‘World’s Travellers’ Choice Award-Winning Beaches’.

The Radhanagar beach has secured No 8 position in the world and first spot in Asia. 

The Baia do Sancho Fernando de Noronha in Brazil topped the list followed by Grace Bay Providenciales in Turks and Caicos, Eagle Beach in Aruba, Playa Paraiso Cayo Largo in Cuba, Siesta Beach Siesta Key in the US, La Concha Beach in Spain and Playa Norte Isla Mujeres in Mexico. Elafonissi Beach in Greece secured No 9 position and Galapagos Beach in Ecuador was at No 10 in the list.

Winners were determined based on the quantity and quality of traveller reviews and ratings for beaches on TripAdvisor, gathered over a 12-month period.

http://www.financialexpress.com/lifestyle/travel-tourism/indias-radhanagar-beach-in-andaman-islands-features-in-top-10-ranks-8-in-the-world-tripadvisor/568743/

Former Union Minister P. Shiv Shankar passes away.

Details :

Former Union Minister P Shiva Shankar passed away in Hyderabad, Telangana after prolonged illness. He was 88. 

He was Born on August 10, 1929 in Mamidipally village in Hyderabad district, Shiv Shankar passed BA from Hindu College, Amritsar, and went to complete LB from University Law College, Osmania University.

In his political career spanning over three decades, Shiv Shankar served as External Affairs and Human Resource Development Minister.

He first became Governor of Sikkim in 1994 and later was shifted to Kerala in 1995.

http://www.thehindu.com/news/national/Former-Union-Minister-P.-Shiv-Shankar-passes-away/article17377153.ece

Two endangered plant species spotted.

Details :

Munnar have spotted two critically endangered impatiens plant species on the peripheries of the Eravikulam National Park, Kerala.

Impatiens plants are also called jewel weeds. They are seen in pristine forests where moisture content and relative humidity are high.

Two new species of balsams (impatiens) have been discovered by the officials from the shola forests on the periphery of the park and Mankulam with the help of scientists.

One of the new plants, Impatiens panduranganii , was first noticed in 2015 by Prasad G., wildlife warden of Munnar, during a research on impatiens in the Pettimudi area. It is similar to Impatiens travancorica.

http://www.thehindu.com/todays-paper/tp-national/two-endangered-plant-species-spotted/article17370078.ece

27 February - Chandra Shekhar Azad's 86th Martyrdom Day.

Details :

Chandra Shekhar Azad's 86th Martyrdom Day observed on 27th February.

He was born on 23 July 1906, in Bhavra, Alirajpur. He died on 27 February 1931 at Allahabad. 

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chandra_Shekhar_Azad

Haryana sets up sex ratio monitoring system for Panipat.

Details :

The Haryana government has set up an online system for Panipat to monitor the sex-ratio in the district as part of the 'Beti Bachao, Beti Padhao' programme. 

It will have the data of child sex-ratio collected from all villages by the Health and Women and Child Welfare Departments every month.

The dashboard had been developed in association with National Informatics Centre (NIC) as a pilot project. 

http://www.business-standard.com/article/pti-stories/haryana-sets-up-sex-ratio-monitoring-system-for-panipat-117022600578_1.html

Gopal Baglay appointed as new Ministry of External Affairs spokesperson.

Details :

Gopal Baglay was appointed the spokesperson of the Ministry of External Affairs.

Baglay joined the Indian Foreign Service in 1992 and has served as the deputy high commissioner to Islamabad from 2011 to 2014. Since 2015, he acted as joint secretary dealing with Pakistan, Afghanistan and Iran in the foreign ministry.

He has also served as joint secretary (States) from October 2014 to December 2015, and was tasked with creation of a separate department in the ministry to facilitate international outreach of the Indian states.

Earlier this month, Vikas Swarup was appointed as India's High Commissioner to Canada.

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/gopal-baglay-appointed-as-new-ministry-of-external-affairs-spokesperson/articleshow/57377413.cms

John-John Dohmen, Naomi Van named best Hockey Players of 2016.

Details :

Belgium captain and Olympic silver medallist John-John Dohmen and Netherlands’ Naomi van As won the International Hockey Federation’s (FIH) male and female Player of the Year (2016) awards respectively at the gala FIH Hockey Stars Awards Ceremony.

For the first time in the sport’s history an awards ceremony was held to honour the best players, goalkeepers, rising stars, coaches and umpires.

http://indianexpress.com/article/sports/hockey/john-john-dohmen-naomi-van-as-win-fih-player-of-the-year-awards-4540399/

Saina Nehwal to represent Olympic Committee in BWF.

Details :

Star Indian badminton player Saina Nehwal was appointed as a member of the International Olympic Committee's (IOC) Athletes' Commission (AC) in 2016, will represent the panel in the Badminton World Federation (BWF). 

She would join the BWF Athletes' Commission as a representative of the IOC AC.

Currently, ranked world number 10 in BWF rankings, Saina is now aiming to win the prestigious All England Championship next month.

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/sports/badminton/saina-nehwal-to-represent-olympic-committee-in-bwf/articleshow/57355490.cms

Ankur Mittal wins silver in men's double trap.

Details :

Ankur Mittal clinching the silver medal in a marathon double trap final after the duo of Jitu Rai and Heena Sidhu claimed the top prize in 10m air pistol mixed event at the ISSF World Cup.

The 24-year-old Mittal finished second on the podium after he tallied 74, one behind gold medal winner James Willett of Australia. Great Britain's James Dedman was third on the standings with 56.

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/sports/more-sports/shooting/issf-world-cup-ankur-mittal-wins-silver-in-mens-double-trap/articleshow/57375500.cms

Feb. 26, 2017

Venezuela, Libya suspended from voting in UNGA.

Details :

Venezuela and Libya have been suspended from voting in the UN General Assembly for the second time in two years because of millions of dollars in unpaid dues to the world body. 

The most recent figures available, Venezuela would have to make a minimum USD 24 million payment to get under the two-year threshold and get its voting rights restored. Libya's minimum payment is USD 6.5 million. 

Besides them other four other countries Papua New Guinea, Sudan, Vanuatu and Cabo Verde also may lose their voting rights for not paying their in past two years .

http://www.business-standard.com/article/pti-stories/venezuela-libya-again-lose-un-vote-rights-over-dues-debts-117022500057_1.html

India to be fastest growing economy among G-20 nations: Moody's.

Details :

International rating agency Moody’s report titled ‘Modest Acceleration in the Global Economy’ has predicted that India will be the fastest growing economy among G-20 countries in year 2017 with 7.1% growth.

http://www.deccanchronicle.com/business/in-other-news/240217/india-to-be-fastest-growing-economy-among-g-20-nations-moodys.html

India-UK Dialogue on Extradition and Mutual Legal Assistance held in New Delhi.

Details :

A new round of dialogue on matters related to extradition and mutual legal assistance was held between the officials of India and the UK in New Delhi.

Both sides have agreed to further strengthen their legal cooperation and expedite the pending requests. 

It was agreed that the Central Authorities of both the countries would review further progress in these cases every six month through Video Conference.

http://www.dnaindia.com/india/report-india-uk-holds-dialogue-on-extradition-mutual-legal-assistance-2330593

AAI, IATA launch SKYREV360 e-billing solution for airport operators.

Details :

The state-owned Airport Authority of India (AAI) along with International Air Transport Association (IATA) launched SKYREV360, an e-billing solution for airport operators across the world.

The e-billing solution, "SKYREV360" will help airport operators and air navigation services providers worldwide to overcome the issues of revenue leakages, besides reducing redundancies.

This will also help in the reduction in disputes, easy integration with all external systems and curtailing the debt collection period to the minimum.

The launch of the e-billing solution for global clients is aimed at shoring up Airports Authority of India's revenue.

http://www.dnaindia.com/money/report-aai-iata-launch-e-billing-solution-for-airport-operators-2330602

For the first time in the world, Microsoft to deploy Azure Stack in Andhra Pradesh.

Details :

Government of Andhra has entered into an agreement with technology giant Microsoft to utilise Microsoft Azure Stack for AP government state data centre. 

Under the MoU, Microsoft Azure Stack for the first time in the world will be used to migrate live applications currently hosted in Hyderabad State Data Centre (SDC) to Vizag data centre.

http://www.financialexpress.com/industry/for-the-first-time-in-the-world-microsoft-to-deploy-azure-stack-in-andhra-pradesh/562205/

India, Bangladesh ink MoU for development of Sylhet city.

Details :

India and Bangladesh have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) for the sustainable development of Sylhet, a metropolitan city in northeastern Bangladesh with financial aid from India.

Under the MoU.

Three projects  construction of a five-storeyed Kindergarten & High School Building, a six-storeyed Cleaner Colony Building and Development of Dhupa Dighipar area.

The signing was the follow-up of an earlier MoU which was signed by the two governments in April 2013 for the implementation of sustainable development projects in socio-economic sectors of Bangladesh. 

Sylhet is an ancient city and a historically vibrant city. It had been a part of the former Assam province of India. It has been a focal point for 1971 Liberation War. Many eminent personalities of Bangladesh come from this very city. It has been a hub of commercial activities. 

http://economictimes.indiatimes.com/news/politics-and-nation/india-bangladesh-ink-mou-for-development-of-sylhet-city/articleshow/57333002.cms

Feb. 25, 2017

PM Narendra Modi unveils 112-foot Shiva statue in Coimbatore.

Details :

On the occasion of Maha Shivratri, Prime Minister Narendra Modi ounveiled a 112-foot-tall Shiva statue in Coimbatore, Tamil Nadu.

The statue was constructed by The Isha Foundation, which plans to set up similar statues in other parts of the country.

The statue and the foundation are located in the foothills of Velliangiri mountains in the Western Ghats.

The face of Lord Shiva is made of steel, the whole structure is estimated to weigh around 500 tonnes.

http://indianexpress.com/article/india/maha-shivratri-pm-narendra-modi-shiva-statue-coimbatore-isha-foundation/

India’s first hill station bicycle path inaugurated in Darjeeling.

Details :

India’s first hill station bicycle path was inaugurated in Darjeeling, West Bengal at an altitude of over 2,000 metres. 

Darjeeling’s new cycle-only path, which runs through Senchal wildlife sanctuary, one of India’s oldest nature reserves

It runs from near Jorebunglow, south of Darjeeling, to Chatakpur, a small eco-village resort in west Bengal.

Former Chief Minister Zeliang appointed Finance Advisor to Nagaland government.

Details :

Former Nagaland Chief Minister T R Zeliang  appointed as Finance Advisor to the state government in the rank of a cabinet minister.

Zeliang, appointed by the Governor P B Acharya.

He will receive the pay and allowances and all other facilities admissible to a cabinet minister.

Zeliang had resigned from the chief ministership on February 19, 2017 following protest of the Joint Coordination Committee (JCC) and Nagaland Tribal Action Committee (NTAC) for his decision to hold elections to urban bodies with 33 per cent reservation for women and subsequent incidents.

http://www.newindianexpress.com/nation/2017/feb/25/former-chief-minister-zeliang-appointed-finance-advisor-to-nagaland-government-1574618.html

Pakistan, Turkey sign 10 agreements to enhance bilateral ties.

Details :

Pakistan has signed 10 agreements with Turkey to enhance bilateral cooperation in various fields, including exchange of financial intelligence relating to money laundering, hydrocarbon and defence cooperation.

These agreements were signed during Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s visit to Turkey.

The agreements and MoUs were signed in the fields of hydrocarbons, environment, forestry, information, exchange of financial intelligence relating to money laundering and exchange of armed forces personnel.

http://indianexpress.com/article/world/pakistan-turkey-sign-10-agreements-to-enhance-bilateral-ties/

India win all three medals at Asian Para-Road Cycling Championship.

Details :

India at the sixth Asian Para-Road Cycling Championship, bagged all three medals in the 12.8 Km Individual Time Trial on the opening day of the tournament at Bahrain.

Abhishek from Chandigarh won the gold medal, Divij Shah from West Bengal won silver and Harinder Singh from BSF bagged the bronze medal.

 In this edition of tournament, 9 members of Indian Para Cycling team are participating under the aegis of Cycling Federation of India.

http://www.business-standard.com/article/pti-stories/india-win-all-three-medals-at-asian-para-road-cycling-c-ship-117022500594_1.html

India likely to be less affected by global economic shocks: IMF.

Details :

According to the International Monetary Fund (IMF), Indian economy is in fairly good shape and is likely to be less affected than other emerging economies if there is a further shock to the global economy.

Until demonetisation there was very healthy consumption spending in India, which was basically propelling economic growth.

India has an inward domestically demand-oriented economy, which is good when global growth factors are not exactly healthy.

Earlier, IMF in its annual report had forecasted India’s growth to slow to 6.6% in the 2016-17 fiscal due to temporary disruptions caused by demonetisation.

It, however, demonetisation would have only short term impact on the economy and it would bounce back to its expected growth of more than 8 per cent in the next few years.

http://economictimes.indiatimes.com/news/economy/indicators/india-likely-to-be-less-affected-by-global-economic-shocksimf/articleshow/57327886.cms

FDI inflow increases 18% to USD 46 billion in 2016: DIPP

Details :

Foreign direct investment (FDI) in India grew 18% during 2016 to touch $46 billion, data released by the Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion (DIPP).

The country attracted FDI of $39.32 billion in 2015.

The main sectors which attracted the highest foreign inflows include services, telecom, trading, computer hardware and software and automobile.

Bulk of the FDI came in from Singapore, Mauritius, the Netherlands and Japan.

http://www.thehindu.com/business/Economy/fdi-inflow-zooms-18-to-usd-46-billion-in-2016-dipp/article17360359.ece

CBEC launches mobile application for GST updates.

Details :

The Central Board of Excise and Customs (CBEC) has launched a mobile application for Goods and Services Tax (GST) to inform the taxpayers of the latest updates on GST.

Migration to GST-Approach and guidelines for migration

Draft Law-Model GST Law, IGST Law and GST Compensation Law

Draft Rules-Rules related to Registration, Returns, Payment, Refund and Invoice

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) on GST

Various resources on GST such a videos, articles etc.

The mobile application can be downloaded free of cost on Android platforms. The iOS version will be made available shortly.

Feb. 24, 2017

Cressida Dick Named Scotland Yard's First Female Top Cop.

Details :

Cressida Dick (56) was named police commissioner London’s Metropolitan Police Service, better known as Scotland Yard.

It is Britain's oldest and biggest police force. More than 43,000 officers and staff work for the organization.

She was named as the first female police commissioner in the organization's 188-year history.

Previously she was a senior officer in the Metropolitan Police in London. Dick served as acting deputy commissioner in the interim between Deputy Commissioner Tim Godwin's retirement and his permanent successor, Craig Mackey, taking office at the end of January 2012.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cressida_Dick

Nobel-winning economist, mathematician Kenneth J Arrow dies at 95

Details :

Nobel-winning economist and mathematician Kenneth J. Arrow passed away at his home in Palo Alto, in the San Francisco Bay Area in US. He was 95

He was the joint winner of the Nobel Memorial Prize in Economics with John Hicks in 1972. To date, he is the youngest person ever to have received this award, at the age of 51.

His most significant works are his contributions to social choice theory, notably "Arrow's impossibility theorem", and his work on general equilibrium analysis.

He has also provided foundational work in many other areas of economics, including endogenous growth theory and the economics of information.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kenneth_Arrow

Cabinet approves MoU between India and Australia for promotion and development of cooperation in civil aviation security.

Details :

The Union Cabinet  has given its approval for signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between India and Australia for promotion and development of cooperation in civil aviation security.

 The MoU will provide an opportunity to Indian aviation security authorities to share the expertise of their Australian counterparts and enhance the overall aviation security environment in India.

 The MoU will provide compliance of international obligation as well as enhance promotion in the area of security cooperation between the two countries.

http://pib.nic.in/newsite/PrintRelease.aspx?relid=158625

9th BRICS Summit to be held in Sept in China's Xiamen city.

Details :

The 9th BRICS Summit will be held in China's Xiamen city from September 3-5, 2017.

The theme of this year's event is 'BRICS: Stronger Partnership for a Brighter Future'

China expects the Xiamen BRICS summit will promote members strengthening solidarity and collaboration, and improving global governance, deepening pragmatic cooperation to achieve mutual benefit, increasing people-to-people exchanges, and enhancing public support, and strengthening institutional mechanism and improving cooperation platform, which are the four objectives.

The 9th BRICS Summit’s first Sherpas Meeting was held in Nanjing, the capital of east China’s Jiangsu Province.

The First BRICS Sherpa Meeting scheduled for two days.

It aims to lay the groundwork for the BRICS leaders' summit in September. 

The meeting attracted more than 100 participants, including coordinators from all sides, foreign diplomats, and representatives from the BRICS New Development Bank (NDB).


http://www.business-standard.com/article/pti-stories/9th-brics-summit-to-be-held-in-sept-in-china-s-xiamen-city-117022301199_1.html

74th Central Excise Day Celebrated By CBEC.

Details :

The Central Board of Excise and Customs (CBEC) celebrated 74th Central Excise Day on 24th February in New Delhi.

The Central Board of Excise and Custom  is the nodal national agency responsible for administering Customs, Central Excise, Service Tax & Narcotics in India.

Currently the Customs and Excise department comes under the Department of Revenue, Ministry of Finance.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Central_Board_of_Excise_and_Customs

Sikkim becomes 22nd State to join UDAY .

Details :

The Government of India and the State of Sikkim signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) under the Scheme Ujwal DISCOM Assurance Yojana (UDAY) , for operational improvement of the State’s Power Distribution Department. 

With the signing of MoU, the total number of States covered under UDAY has reached 22.

Sikkim would derive an Overall Net Benefit of approximately Rs. 207 crores through UDAY by way of cheaper funds, reduction in AT&C and transmission losses, interventions in energy efficiency, etc. during the period of turnaround.

The MoU paves way for improving operational efficiency of the Power Distribution department of the State.

http://pib.nic.in/newsite/PrintRelease.aspx?relid=158654

First in India: Kerala to set up a sex offenders registry.

Details :

Kerala will launch a registry of sex offenders.

It is the first of its kind in the country.

It was announced by governor Justice (retd) P Sathasivam in state capital Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala.

The registry will contain all identification details of sex offenders and would be kept in the public domain.

http://www.hindustantimes.com/india-news/first-in-india-kerala-to-set-up-a-sex-offenders-registry/story-bBjMhhIbDpuruxDj1mCGaI.html

Visa-Andhra Pradesh sign MoU to make Vizag India’s first 'less cash' city.

Details :

Global payments network Visa signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the Andhra Pradesh government to help transform Vishakhapatnam into India's first 'less cash' city.

This initiative is designed to provide the foundation for the city to emerge as India's 'Fintech Valley'.

To accelerate its journey to less cash and to becoming India's Fintech Valley, Visa will focus on driving payments digitisation, and work with the city to help build the talent pool required in city organisations and in academia on emerging technologies like blockchain.

Visa will be to provide support to FinTech start-ups by providing access to Visa's APIs, providing subject matter expertise, and participating in boot camps and hackathons.

http://www.deccanchronicle.com/nation/current-affairs/220217/visa-ap-sign-mou-to-make-vishakhapatnam-indias-first-less-cash-city.html

'India aims to bring broadband to every village by 2018'.

Details :

Government aims to bring high-speed broadband connectivity to every village by 2018.

Department of Telecom is working to achieve this target under the Universal Services Obligation fund (USOF).

In his Union Budget presented on February 1, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said the government would allocate Rs 10,000 crore to expand the Bharat Net project in 2017-18 for high-speed broadband. 

Bharat Net was rebranded from the earlier National Optic Fibre Network (NOFN) project in April 2015, and aims to cover a total of 2.5 lakh village panchayats. 

The Bharat Net project is funded under the USOF set up in 2012 for providing telecom services in rural areas at subsidised rates. 

http://economictimes.indiatimes.com/news/economy/policy/india-aims-to-bring-broadband-to-every-village-by-2018/articleshow/57270699.cms

R Ashwin breaks Kapil Dev’s record of most wickets in home season.

Details :

Premier off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin,  broke Kapil Dev’s 37-year-old Indian record of most Test wickets in a domestic season.

 He broke the record on first cricket Test against Australia in Pune.

http://indianexpress.com/article/sports/cricket/india-vs-australia-2017-r-ashwin-breaks-kapil-devs-record-of-most-wickets-in-home-season-4541374/

Government to issue Sovereign Gold Bonds 2016 -17 – Series IV.

Details :

Government of India, in consultation with the Reserve Bank of India(RBI), has decided to issue Sovereign Gold Bonds 2016-17–Series IV.

Applications for the bond will be accepted from February 27, 2017 to March 03, 2017.

The Bonds will be issued on March 17, 2017.

The Bonds will be sold through banks, Stock Holding Corporation of India Limited (SHCIL), designated post offices and recognised stock exchanges viz., National Stock Exchange of India Limited and Bombay Stock Exchange.

The tenure of the bond will be for a period of eight years with an exit option from the fifth year to be exercised on the interest payment dates.

An individual can minimum invest one gram in the scheme per fiscal year while maximum limit according to the scheme is set at 500 grams for the same period.

The bonds will give an interest at the rate of 2.5% per annum paid twice a year on the initial value of the investment.

http://pib.nic.in/newsite/PrintRelease.aspx?relid=158652

Tata Power Renewable commissions 15 MW solar plant in Telangana.

Details :

Tata Power Renewable Energy Ltd, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Tata Power, has synchronised its 15 MW solar plant at Bellampally in Telangana, thereby taking the Tata Power's total installed operating capacity past 10, 500 MW mark.

The solar plant has been built over 80 acres of land and includes an 18 km transmission line.

Sale of power from solar plant has been tied up under a 25 year Power Purchase Agreement with the Northern Power Distribution Company of Telangana Ltd. at a tariff of Rs. 5.72.

http://www.thehindubusinessline.com/news/national/tata-power-renewable-commissions-15-mw-solar-plant-in-telangana/article9557382.ece

Feb. 23, 2017

Cabinet approves signing of Air Services Agreement between India and Greece.

Details :

Union Cabinet chaired by the Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi has approved the signing of Air Services Agreement (ASA) between India and Greece.

At present there is no ASA between India and Greece. The delegations of two sides met in New Delhi on 6-7th September, 2016 and finalized the text of ASA.

The agreement is as per latest International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) template keeping in view the latest developments in civil aviation sector and with an objective to improve the air connectivity between the two countries.

The essential features of the ASA are as follows:

Both countries shall be entitled to designate one or more airline.

The designated airlines of either country shall have the right to establish offices in the territory of the other country for the promotion end sale of air services.

The designated airlines of the two countries shall have fair and equal opportunity to operate the agreed services on specified routes.

The designated Airline of each party can enter into cooperative marketing arrangements with the designated carriers of same party, other party and third country.

As per the Route Schedule, Indian carriers can operate to Athens, HerakIion, Thessaloniki and any 3 points to be specified later in Greece from points in India. Whereas the carriers from Greece can establish direct operation to 6 metros viz. New Delhi, Mumbai, Bengaluru, Hyderabad, Kolkata and Chennai. 

Any points shall be available as intermediate and beyond point for the designated carriers of India as well as the designated carriers of Greece.

The Agreement has the potential to spur greater trade, investment, tourism and cultural exchange between the two countries bringing it in tune with the developments in the civil aviation sector.

It will provide enabling environment for enhanced and seamless connectivity while providing commercial opportunities to the carriers of both the sides ensuring greater safety and security.


http://pib.nic.in/newsite/PrintRelease.aspx?relid=158628

Cabinet approves signing of an Agreement between India and Poland on cooperation in the field of agriculture and allied sectors.

Details :

The Union Cabinet chaired by the Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi has given its approval for signing of an Agreement between India and Poland on cooperation in the field of agriculture and allied sectors.

The agreement covers various activities in the field of agriculture and allied sector including exchange of information on the current situation in agriculture,

It also includes the phytosanitary conditions of crops, threats posed by harmful organisms and the threats posed by animal infectious diseases.

 It also covers the participation in fairs, exhibitions, seminars and conferences related to agriculture and agri-food processing;

It includes undertaking and developing joint economic initiatives including the support or agrifood trade between the states of the Contracting Parties. 

The Agreement provides for constitution of a Joint Working Group (JWG) comprising of representatives from both countries.  

The JWG will prepare plans of cooperation and to provide solutions to the problems arising during the implementation of the Agreement.

http://pib.nic.in/newsite/PrintRelease.aspx?relid=158623

India's GDP projected to slow to 6.6% due to demonetization Strains: IMF

Details :

India's growth is projected to slow to 6.6% in 2016-17 fiscal due to the strains that have emerged in the economy as a result of temporary disruptions caused by demonetization.

The post-November 8, 2016 cash shortages and payment disruptions caused by the currency exchange initiative have undermined consumption and business activity, posing a new challenge to sustaining the growth momentum.

Growth is projected to slow to 6.6 per cent in FY 2016-  17, then rebound to 7.2 per cent in FY 2017- 18, due to temporary disruptions, primarily to private consumption, caused by cash shortages.

India's economy grew at 7.6 per cent in 2015-16.

In its annual report, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) said demonetisation would have only short term impact on the economy and it would bounce back to its expected growth of more than 8 % in the next few years.
http://www.deccanherald.com/content/597716/indias-gdp-projected-slow-66.html

Airtel acquires Telenor in no-cash deal.

Details :

Bharti Airtel  announced acquisition of Telenor India.

The spectrum payment will be made in phases for the next 10 years.

Bharti claimed the acquisition will bolster its footprint with the additional spectrum band, besides eliminating smaller and fringe players.

While Bharti would gain around 44 million new subscribers, adding to its current base of 269 million, once the deal fructifies by end of the year.

As part of the agreement, Bharti will acquire Telenor India’s running operations in seven circles — Andhra Pradesh, Bihar, Maharashtra, Gujarat, UP (East), UP (West) and Assam. 

http://www.business-standard.com/article/companies/bharti-airtel-to-buy-telenor-india-unit-in-response-to-jio-onslaught-117022300353_1.html

N Chandrasekaran elected chairman of Indian Hotels.

Details :

N. Chandrasekaran has been elected as the Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Indian Hotels Company Ltd, a Tata Group firm.

He was initially appointed as a Member of the board on January 27, 2017 Chandrasekaran had taken over as Chairman of Tata Sons on February 21, becoming the first non Parsi Chairman of the USD 103 billion Tata Group after heading its crown jewel TCS for years.

He succeeds Cyrus Mistry, who was removed as Tata Sons Chairman on October 24 and Ratan Tata was named the Interim Chairman.

http://www.business-standard.com/article/news-ians/indian-hotels-elects-n-chandrasekaran-as-chairman-117022300803_1.html

Govt doubles maternity leave for women workers in industries.

Details :

The government has allowed women working in industries to take six months maternity leave pre-empting parliamentary approval on the maternity benefit amendment bill that is pending in the Lok Sabha.

Through an executive order, the labour and employment ministry has doubled maternity leave to six months from three for industrial women workers.

However, the benefit will be restricted to women who make a monthly contribution to the employees’ state insurance corpus from their salaries.  This means about 2.9 million women working across various industries will get the benefit.

Under the Employees State Insurance Act, eligible employees contribute 1.75% of their salary (basic + allowances) and employers contribute 4.75% to the ESI corpus every month.

There are at least 20 million insured persons under the ESI scheme, of which 2.9 million are women.

India, China hold strategic dialogue.

Details :

The first Strategic Dialogue between India and China was held in Beijing, China to shore up bilateral ties.

The meeting was co-chaired by India’s Foreign Secretary S Jaishankar and China’s Executive Vice Foreign minister Zhang Yesui.

http://economictimes.indiatimes.com/news/defence/india-china-hold-strategic-dialogue/articleshow/57285177.cms

WTO's trade facilitation agreement comes into effect.

Details :

The WTO's trade facilitation agreement, which seeks to ease customs norms, has come into effect from with its two-thirds members ratifying the pact.

The TFA, which has been ratified by India, will give a boost to the global trade, which has been impacted due to slowdown in the world economy.

According to experts, the agreement comes at a time when India's efforts to improve exports are gaining momentum.

The 164-member World Trade Organisation (WTO) in a statement stated that a major milestone for the global trading system was reached as the first multilateral deal concluded in the 21-year history of the multi-lateral trade body entered into force.

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/business/india-business/wtos-trade-facilitation-agreement-comes-into-effect/articleshow/57297241.cms

Maneka Gandhi announces compensation fund for child abuse victims

Details :

Women and Child Development Minister Maneka Gandhi  announced the setting up of a compensation fund under Nirbhaya scheme to provide financial help to children who are victims of sexual crimes.

The money for this fund will be drawn from Nirbhaya Scheme and will be monitored directly by the Women and Child Development Ministry.

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/maneka-gandhi-announces-compensation-fund-for-child-victims-of-sexual-abuse/articleshow/57295905.cms

India to host Combined World Cup for shooting in 2019.

Details :

India will be hosting the Combined World Cup for shooting in 2019, a qualifying event for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, which will further boost the country's profile as a global shooting destination.

The National Rifle Association of India's (NRAI) bid was approved by the International Shooting Sport Federation's Executive Board in its meeting held in New Delhi.

Combined World Cup comprises all the three categories — shotgun, rifle and pistol, and at stake in the 2019 edition will be a number of quota places for the Tokyo Games.

Karnataka Bank bags 2 awards.

Details :

Karnataka Bank has bagged two ‘IBA-Banking Technology’ awards.

The bank was the winner in ‘Best financial inclusion initiatives (small bank)’ category, and was runner-up in ‘Best use of digital and channels technology (small bank)’ category.

IBA-Banking Technology award recognises and rewards individuals, professionals and banks who have recorded noteworthy technology and business benefits in the previous year.

Pak army launches nationwide military ops 'Radd-ul-Fasaad'.

Details :

Pakistan army  launched nationwide military operation 'Radd-ul-Fasaad' to eliminate terrorists and consolidate gains of its counter-terrorism operations.

The operation aims include the elimination of the residual and latent threat of terrorism, consolidating gains of operations made so far and ensuring the security of Pakistan's borders.

This operation launched days after a wave of suicide attacks that killed more than 125 people, including 88 at a Sufi shrine in Sindh.

Feb. 22, 2017

Government launches Bharat QR code to push less - cash economy.

Details :

The Union Government has launched Bharat QR code, a quick response (QR) code, in a bid to promote digital economy in the country.

BharatQR code, the world's first interoperable payment acceptance solution, as part of efforts to move towards less-cash economy at an "insignificant cost".

Bharat QR code developed by jointly by National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI), Visa, MasterCard, BharatQR code would require merchants to only display one QR code instead of multiple ones. 

It is Devised on the direction set by the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) in September 2016, it will make payments seamless for buyers as they just have to "scan to pay" for transactions instead of swiping their credit/debit cards. 

QR code or Quick Response code is a two-dimensional machine-readable code made up of black and white squares and are used for storing URLs or other information. These can be read by the camera of a smartphone. 

A number of leading banks are already operationally ready to deploy BharatQR, including SBI, Axis Bank, Bank of Baroda, Bank of India, Citi Union Bank, DCB Bank, Karur Vysya Bank, HDFC Bank, ICICI Bank, IDBI Bank, RBL Bank, Union Bank of India, Vijaya Bank and Yes Bank. 

Many other banks are at various stages of implementation. 

Government launches Cyber Swachhta Kendra in New Delhi.

Details :

The Union Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY) has launched Cyber Swachhta Kendra in New Delhi (a new desktop and mobile security solution for a secure cyber space in the country).

The new solution will notify, enable cleaning and secure systems of end-users to prevent further infections.

It was launched by Union Minister of Electronics and IT Ravi Shankar Prasad.

USB Pratirodh is a desktop security solution that controls the usage of removable storage media like pen drives, external hard drives and other USB-supported mass storage devices.

M-Kavach tool offers a comprehensive mobile device security solution for Android devices addressing threats related to mobile phones.

AppSamvid is a desktop solution which protects systems by allowing installation of genuine applications through white listing. This helps in preventing threats from malicious applications.

The Cyber Swachhta Kendra is part of the government of India’s Digital India initiative under the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY).

http://indianexpress.com/article/india/india-launches-cyber-swachhta-kendra-to-protect-citizens-4536440/

Cabinet approves the investment proposal for generation component of Arun-3 Hydro Electric Project in Nepal.

Details :

The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) has approved an investment proposal for generation component of Arun-3 Hydro Electric Project in Nepal.

The project is implemented by Satluj Jal Vidyut Nigam (SJVN) Limited, a Central Public Sector Enterprises of Government of India.

Investment for generation component of Arun-3 HEP (900 MW) for an estimated cost of Rs. 5723.72 crore at May 2015 Price Level.

The project will provide surplus power to India strengthening power availability in the country and will also strengthening economic linkages with Nepal.

The power from the project shall be exported from Dhalkebar in Nepal to Muzaffarpur in India.

http://pib.nic.in/newsite/PrintRelease.aspx?relid=158627

Cabinet approves capacity hike for solar parks & projects.

Details :

The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs approved the enhancement of capacity from 20,000 MW to 40,000 MW of the Scheme for Development of Solar Parks and Ultra Mega Solar Power Projects.

The enhanced capacity would ensure setting up of at least 50 solar parks each with a capacity of 500 MW and above in various parts of the country.

The Solar Parks and Ultra Mega Solar Power Projects will be set up by 2019-20 with Central Government financial support of Rs.8100 crore.

The total capacity when operational will generate 64 billion units of electricity per year which will lead to abatement of around 55 million tonnes of CO2 per year over its life cycle. 

All the States and UTs are eligible for benefits under the scheme.

The State Government will first nominate the Solar Power Park Developer (SPPD) and also identify the land for the proposed solar park.

The solar parks will be developed in collaboration with State Governments/UTs. The State Governments/UTs are required to select the SPPD for developing and maintaining the solar parks.

http://pib.nic.in/newsite/pmreleases.aspx?mincode=28

Government notifies protocol amending tax treaty with Israel.

Details :

The government has notified the protocol amending the India-Israel tax treaty to provide for exchange of information on tax matters including bank details with a view to check black money flows.

The amended treaty provides that information received from Israel in respect of an Indian resident can be shared with other law enforcement agencies like the Enforcement Directorate, the Directorate of Revenue Intelligence and CBI with authorisation of Competent Authority.

The amended treaty provides for levy of capital gains tax in India on sale of shares or interest in a partnership, trust or other entity if it derives more than 50% of the value directly or indirectly from immovable property situated in the country at the time of the sale of any time during preceding 12 months.

It also provides for ‘Limitation of Benefits’ Article as an anti-abuse provision, that would enable triggering of domestic law in case of misuse of the treaty.

http://indianexpress.com/article/india/government-notifies-protocol-amending-tax-treaty-with-israel-4536818/

Justice Sapre appointed chairman of Cauvery Water Disputes Tribunal.

Details :

Justice Abhay Manohar Sapre has been appointed the chairman of Cauvery Water Disputes Tribunal (CWDT).

He was nominated for the post by Chief Justice J.S. Khehar.

The post fell vacant following the resignation of Justice Balbir Singh Chauhan.

http://www.thehindu.com/news/national/justice-sapre-appointed-chairman-of-cauvery-water-disputes-tribunal/article17342133.ece

India’s first dedicated heliport to open in Delhi on February 28.

Details :

India's first dedicated "heliport" for flying in and out of Delhi to nearby areas in choppers. 

It will be inaugurated by Civil Aviation Minister Ashok Gajapathi Raju in North Delhi on 28 February 2017.

It is Owned by Pawan Hans Helicopters Ltd (PHHL), the hugely-delayed heliport will have a large number of parking bays and an AC passenger terminal building with car parking area for the flyers. 

http://economictimes.indiatimes.com/articleshow/57264609.cms

India beat South Africa in final of ICC Women’s World Cup Qualifier 2017.

Details :

India has defeated South Africa by one wicket in the final match of ICC Women World Cup Qualifier 2017 held at Colombo, Sri Lanka.

Chasing 245 to win, Opener Mona Meshram (59) and Deepti Sharma (71) were the star players for India as they added 122-run innings for the first wicket to lay the foundation for the runchase.

Rajeshwari Gayakwad (3/51) claimed three wickets in her nine overs, while S Pandey took two wickets to help India bowl out South Africa for 244 in 49.4 overs.

Both teams had already qualified in this year's ICC World Cup tournament.

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/sports/cricket/news/india-women-beat-south-africa-by-1-wicket-in-world-cup-qualifiers-final/articleshow/57273900.cms

3rd National Biodiversity Congress 2017 Begins In Kerala.

Details :

The National Biodiversity Congress (NBC) 2017 begins in Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala.

The event is hosted by the Kerala State Biodiversity Board.

It is being held from 22nd to 26th February 2017 is governed by a national advisory committee comprising of experts in the field of biodiversity conservation. 

The focal theme of NBC 2017 is Mainstreaming Biodiversity for Sustainable Development.

South Africa's decision to leave ICC ruled 'invalid'.

Details :

South Africa's decision to withdraw from the International Criminal Court (ICC) has been ruled "unconstitutional and invalid" by the High Court.

South Africa notified the UN of its intention to leave last October, saying the ICC pursued "regime change".

The decision to pull out came after a dispute over Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir's visit to the country in 2015.

South African authorities refused to arrest Mr Bashir despite him facing an ICC arrest warrant over alleged war crimes.

Punjab bans manufacture, sale of gutkha, pan masala for one year.

Details :

Punjab government has prohibited the manufacture, storage, sale or distribution of food products containing tobacco or nicotine like gutkha and pan masala in the state for one year.

The ban also applies on processed, flavoured, scented, chewing tobacco, whether they are packaged or unpackaged or sold as one or separate products.

The decision has been taken in view of the orders of the Supreme Court wherein it observed that to circumvent ban of sale of gutkha.

60,000-year-old microbes found in Mexican mine: NASA scientist.

Details :

NASA scientists have discovered living microorganisms trapped inside crystals for as long as 60,000 years in a mine in Mexico.

These strange ancient microbes have apparently evolved so they can survive on a diet of sulfite, manganese and copper oxide.

https://phys.org/news/2017-02-year-old-microbes-mexican-nasa-scientist.html

India, Japan ink pact on rail safety.

Details :

India signed an agreement with Japan for enhancing railway safety in the Indian Railways with focus on railway track and rolling stock safety.

The Memorandum of Cooperation was signed  between Railway Board Chairman A.K.Mittal and Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism of Japan Vice-Minister Hiroshi Tabata.

Under this agreement, the areas of cooperation include rail inspection, rail wielding, automatic railway track safety inspection, maintenance of rolling stock. 

http://www.thehindu.com/todays-paper/tp-business/india-japan-ink-pact-on-rail-safety/article17343985.ece

Abhijit Sarkar appointed Vice President of Asian Hockey Federation.

Details :

Asian Hockey Federation (AHF) appointed Abhijit Sarkar as it’s new Vice Chairman and also the chief of AHF Commercial and TV Committee.

Sarkar has been associated with the Sahara India Pariwar since 2004 and served as the Head of Corporate Communications, Corporate Affairs and Relations, and the Sports Division.

http://indianexpress.com/article/sports/hockey/abhijit-sarkar-appointed-vice-president-of-asian-hockey-federation-4536676/

Dish TV joins hands with ICICI Bank for digital payments.

Details :

Direct-to-home operator Dish TV has tied up with private lender ICICI Bank for digital payments.

This alliance with ICICI Bank through UPI will drive higher customer adoption and allow them to be a part of the digital economy.

http://www.thehindubusinessline.com/money-and-banking/dish-tv-partners-with-icici-bank-for-digital-payments/article9553658.ece

SIDBI, Vijaya Bank combine to provide concessional loans to micro, small units.

Details :

Small Industries Development Bank of India (SIDBI) has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Vijaya Bank for providing concessional finance to micro and small enterprises (MSEs).

The MoU aims at promoting and strengthening units in the MSE segment through concessional funding — that is, at the marginal cost of funds-based lending rate (MCLR) of Vijaya Bank under refinance from SIDBI.

http://www.thehindubusinessline.com/money-and-banking/sidbi-vijaya-bank-combine-to-provide-concessional-loans-to-micro-small-units/article9554052.ece

Feb. 21, 2017

21st February - International Mother Language Day.

Details :

International Mother Language Day (IMLD) is a worldwide annual observance held on 21 February to promote awareness of linguistic and cultural diversity and multilingualism.

2017 Theme: Towards Sustainable Futures through Multilingual Education

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/International_Mother_Language_Day

India-Rwanda sign three MoUs in innovation, aviation, visa requirements.

Details :

India and Rwanda signed three MoUs for promoting innovation, easing visa requirements and boosting air connectivity between the two countries.

These agreements were signed in Kigali in the presence of Vice President Mohammed Hamid Ansari and Rwandan Prime Minister Anastase Murekezi during a business forum meet. 

The countries will soon set up an entrepreneurship development centre in Kigali while in aviation, Rwanda Air will start services to India in coming months and both countries will mutually exempt visa requirements.

The bilateral relations between the two countries will grow further with more frequent exchanges between businesspersons for mutual benefits.

http://www.business-standard.com/article/news-ani/india-rwanda-sign-three-mous-in-innovation-aviation-visa-requirements-117022100405_1.html

Shurhozelie Liezeitsu elected new Nagaland CM.

Details :

Nagaland People’s Front (NPF) president Shurhozelie Liezeitsu will be sworn in as the state’s eleventh Chief Minister.

Zeliang stepped down on Sunday in the wake of violent protests that broke out when his government wanted to hold municipal elections with 33% reservation for women.

Various tribal groups opposed the civic elections on the ground that certain provisions of Nagaland Municipal Act framed under Article 243(T) of the Constitution allegedly infringed upon Naga tradition and customs that are protected under Article 371(A).

The Nagaland Assembly has no Opposition and all 60 MLAs in the House belong to DAN — 49 NPF, four BJP and seven Independents.

58 DAN MLAs signed in favour of 81-year old Shurhozelie

http://indianexpress.com/article/india/shurhozelie-liezeitsu-elected-new-nagaland-cm-to-take-oath-on-wednesday-4534753/.

Government launches SAATHIYA Resource Kit and SAATHIYA SALAH mobile app for adolescents.

Details :

The Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare has launched SAATHIYA Resource Kit and SAATHIYA SALAH mobile app for adolescents as part of the Rashtriya Kishor Swasthya Karyakram (RKSK) programme. 

The most important component and driving force of RKSK program are its Peer Educators and this resource kit has been launched to enable them to communicate with the adolescents of their community.

This Resource Kit comprises i) Activity Book, ii) Bhranti-Kranti Game iii) Question-Answer Book and iv) Peer Educator Diary. 

The Resource Kit has been developed by United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) and Population Foundation of India (PFI).

In addition to the kit is the mobile app ‘Saathiya Salah’ (downloadable from Google play-store) which acts as a ready information source for the adolescents in case they are unable to interact with the Peer Educators.

The mobile app is also linked to another important piece of cost-effective information platform of a toll-free Saathiya Helpline (1800-233-1250) which will act as an e-counselor. 

http://pib.nic.in/newsite/PrintRelease.aspx?relid=158578

Govt announces expansion of rotavirus vaccine in 5 states.

Details :

The government announced the expansion of rotavirus vaccine in five additional states under its Universal Immunisation Programme (UIP). 

The announcement came after 38 lakh children were vaccinated in four states - Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Andhra Pradesh and Odisha when the vaccine was first introduced.

Now, the vaccine will be expanded to Assam, Tripura, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Tamil Nadu. 

The vaccine will prevent Rotavirus diarrhoea in children which accounts for approximately 40% of hospitalizations from diarrhoea in India. 

Rotavirus diarrhoea is responsible for nearly 78,000 deaths, 32 lakh out-patient visits and nearly 9 lakh hospitalizations every year. 

http://www.business-standard.com/article/pti-stories/govt-announces-expansion-of-rotavirus-vaccine-in-5-states-117021800676_1.html

Apple acquires Israeli start-up RealFace.

Details :

Apple has acquired Israel-based start-up "RealFace" that develops deep-learning-based face authentication technology, In a bid to boost its prospects in the world of artificial intelligence (AI).

RealFace founded by Adi Eckhouse Barzilai and Aviv Mader has developed facial recognition software that offers users a smart biometric login.

Aiming to make passwords redundant when accessing mobile devices or PCs.

http://economictimes.indiatimes.com/small-biz/startups/apple-acquires-israeli-start-up-realface/articleshow/57247954.cms

SBI rebrands its corporate website as 'bank.sbi'.

Details :

The country's largest lender State Bank of India (SBI) has rebranded its corporate website as "bank.sbi" from the earlier sbi.co.in.

The new domain name bank.sbi is the highest domain protocol known as generic top level domain (gTLD). 

With this, SBI has become the first banking organisation in India to use a gTLD for its internet presence. This is expected to provide enhanced security to its customers.

The existing web address will remain active till customers become familiar with operating through the new address.

http://www.business-standard.com/article/finance/sbi-rebrands-its-corporate-website-as-bank-sbi-117022000447_1.html

Iran launches ‘advanced’ rockets during military exercise in desert.

Details :

Iran’s elite Revolutionary Guard has launched sophisticated rockets during a military exercise.

The launch of “smart and advanced” rockets took place during an annual three-day manoeuvre in Iran’s central desert.

The channel that rockets with ranges of more than 100 kilometers (62 miles) as well as the Fajr-3, Fajr-4 and Fajr-5 rockets, all believed to have under 100-kilometer range, were all successfully tested in the exercise.

Lt. Gen. Herbert Raymond McMaster appointed as new National Security Advisor of US.

Details :

US President Donald Trump has appointed Lt Gen Herbert Raymond McMaster as new National Security Advisor (NSA).

His current military assignment is Director of the Army Capabilities Integration Center, and Deputy Commanding General, Futures, U.S. Army Training and Doctrine Command.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/H._R._McMaster

Gujarat Assembly passes Aadhaar Bill, 2017.

Details :

The Gujarat Assembly has passed Gujarat Aadhaar (Targeted Delivery of Financial and Other Subsidies, Benefits and Services) Bill, 2017.

That linking the Aadhhaar number with various schemes will help the government create a credible system to authenticate the identity of actual beneficiaries.

The Gujarat government provides various subsidies and financial assistance to the citizens under 119 schemes. We pay them using RTGS or through cheques.

All the residents of Gujarat above 18 years have been issued Aadhaar cards, 85% citizens in the age group of 5 to 18 have been issued such cards having unique identification number.

http://indianexpress.com/article/india/gujarat-house-passes-aadhaar-bill-in-absence-of-congress-mlas-4535213/

Kashmir to observe 2017 as the ‘Year of Apple’.

Details :

Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti  declared 2017 as ‘Year of Apple’ in a major bid to promote the famed Kashmiri apples in domestic and foreign markets.

The Chief Minister launched the High Density Apple Plantation Scheme in Srinagar.

These high-density plants will be routed through J&K Bank along with the subsidy.

under the scheme 50% subsidy would be provided by the government to the farmers.

The high density plants have a yield of 50-70 metric tonnes per hectare against 10-12 tonnes in case of conventional plants. 

Jammu and Kashmir is the largest apple producing State in India at 11.2 metric tonnes, which accounts for 71% of national production.

http://www.thehindu.com/news/national/other-states/kashmir-to-observe-2017-as-the-year-of-apple/article17326453.ece

MoU signed for welfare of Handicraft Artisans belonging to Scheduled Castes.

Details :

The Union Ministry of Textiles and Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment have signed MoU to step up interventions for the welfare and economic development of scheduled caste artisans.

 An MoU was signed  between Development Commissioner (Handicrafts), Ministry of Textiles and National Scheduled Castes Finance and Development Corporation (NSFDC), a Central PSU under Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment.

The MoU provides for continuous and extensive collaboration between Office of DC (Handicrafts) and NSFDC.

Aim:

 Need assessment and gap identification through popularising various schemes by holding awareness camps

Extensive need-based skill upgradation in the identified clusters having dominant presence of Scheduled Caste artisans, in the field of innovative and market-friendly designs, and adoption of modern tools and techniques

Enhanced participation of Scheduled Caste artisans and their producer groups in domestic and international marketing events

Working capital credit for Scheduled Caste artisans at concessional rates, by combining the benefits provided by Ministry of Textiles and Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment

http://pib.nic.in/newsite/PrintRelease.aspx?relid=158567

Britannia signs pact with Greek company.

Details :

FMCG major Britannia Industries has signed an MoU with Greece’s cakes and confectionery major Chipita.

It has signed a non binding memorandum of understanding with Chipita, a Greek company for exploring certain business opportunities.

Chipita is already operating in India. The company has been operating outside Greece since 1995 by setting up manufacturing plants in Bulgaria, Portugal and Egypt, followed by Poland, Romania, Russia and Saudi Arabia and more recently India, and Turkey.

http://www.thehindubusinessline.com/companies/britannia-inks-pact-with-greek-firm-chipita/article9553439.ece

Buying jewellery over Rs 2 lakh in cash will attract 1% TDS from April 2017.

Details :

Cash purchases of jewellery will attract 1% TCS (Tax Collected at Source) from April 1, 2017 if the amount exceeds Rs 2 lakh,as against the current threshold of Rs 5 lakh. 

Once the Finance Bill 2017 is passed, jewellery will be treated on par with general goods, which attract 1% TCS on cash purchase of above Rs 2 lakh.

http://www.business-standard.com/article/economy-policy/buying-jewellery-over-rs-2-lakh-in-cash-will-attract-1-tds-from-april-117021900231_1.html

Tata Steel's Katamati Mine wins Best Green Award.

Details :

Tata Steel's Katamati iron mine has been honoured with the the Best Green Organisation of the Year Award at the Global Green Future Leadership Awards in recognition of its environmental protection measures. 

The award was presented at a function organised by World CSR Day on February 18 in Mumbai.

The Global Green Future Leadership Awards is for any organisation that participates in environmentally friendly or green activities to ensure that all processes, products, and manufacturing activities adequately address environmental concerns while maintaining a profit.
http://www.business-standard.com/article/pti-stories/tata-steel-s-katamati-mine-wins-best-green-award-117022000231_1.html

Feb. 20, 2017

20 February - World Day of Social Justice.

Details :

World Day of Social Justice is observed on 20th February every year.

2017 Theme: "Preventing conflict and sustaining peace through decent work”
World Day of Social Justice is a day recognizing the need to promote efforts to tackle issues such as poverty, exclusion and unemployment.

Many organizations, including the UN and the International Labour Office, make statements on the importance of social justice for people.

The United Nations General Assembly has decided to observe 20 February annually, approved on 26 November 2007 and starting in 2009, as the World Day of Social Justice.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/World_Day_of_Social_Justice

20 February - Statehood Day for Arunachal Pradesh and Mizoram.

Details :

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on 20 February  greeted the people of Arunachal Pradesh and Mizoram on their statehood day.

While Arunachal Pradesh was granted statehood on 20th February in 1987. Mizoram was declared a state in 1972.

India approves $340 million loan to Nepal’s infrastructure development programmes.

Details :

India has sanctioned a soft loan of 340 million US dollar to Nepal for various infrastructure development programmes.

Under this programme Mahalaki bridge and 15 roads will be constructed in various parts of Nepal.

Completion of infrastructural projects will not only strengthen physical connectivity but also emotional bonding between the people of both the countries.

http://www.dnaindia.com/india/report-india-sanctions-soft-loan-usd-340-million-to-nepal-2328543 

Shahid Afridi announces international retirement.

Details :

Legendary Pakistan all-rounder Shahid Afridi (36-year) has announced his retirement from international cricket.

The 36-year-old star had already quit Test and ODI cricket but still skippered the Pakistan Twenty20 team at the 2016 world championships in India.

Afridi finishes his international career having played just 27 Test matches which yielded 1,176 runs with a highest score of 156 and 48 wickets.

He played 398 one-day internationals with 8,064 runs, a highest score of 124 while taking 395 wickets with his leg spin.
His Twenty20 international career saw him play 98 matches with 1,405 runs and 97 wickets.

India to Host Next Davis Cup tie in Bangalore in April, 2017.

Details :

the All India Tennis Association (AITA) announced that Bengaluru will host the second round of the Asia/Oceania Group 1 tie between India and Uzbekistan which is due to start on April 7.

The last time Bengaluru hosted a Davis Cup tie was a World Group play-off against Serbia in 2014.

http://www.news18.com/news/sports/davis-cup-2017-bengaluru-to-host-india-uzbekistan-tie-1349925.html

MS Dhoni removed as Rising Pune Supergiants captain, Steve Smith to replace him.

Details :

Mahendra Singh Dhoni has been removed as skipper of Rising Pune Supergiants for the 2017 Indian Premier League.

Steve Smith, the current Australia captain, will be the new skipper of the franchise.

This move has ended his innings as skipper in both international and franchise cricket.

http://www.hindustantimes.com/cricket/mahendra-singh-dhoni-removed-as-rising-pune-supergiants-skipper-for-ipl-2017/story-4bS6Uk0Vf641HWkZPHJSFN.html

Virat Kohli first Indian sportsperson to ink Rs 100-cr deal with Puma

Details :

Virat Kohli became the first Indian sports personality to strike a Rs 100-crore endorsement deal with a single brand.

Kohli signed an eight-year deal with sports apparel brand Puma worth Rs 110 crore.

The Indian cricket captain is now set to join the likes of Usain Bolt, Asafa Powell and Thierry Henry, among others, as a global ambassador for the brand.

http://www.business-standard.com/article/current-affairs/virat-kohli-first-indian-sportsperson-to-ink-rs-100-cr-deal-with-puma-117022000220_1.html

Oriental Bank launches mobile wallet ‘Batuaa’.

Details :

Oriental Bank of Commerce (OBC) launched of mobile wallet ‘Oriental Batuaa’ on the occasion of its 75th Foundation Day.

Besides introducing a new version of mobile banking, OBC has also launched two new cards, While the Oriental Premium card is a RuPay based Platinum international debit card with airport lounge access, the other card-Oriental Prepaid Card is a RuPay card for individuals and corporates.

The two MSME schemes that have been launched are ‘Oriental Sanjeevani’ and ‘Oriental Budget Hotels and Restaurants’.

Oriental Sanjeevani is a specialised scheme for doctors for setting up new hospitals and clinics. The other scheme is for individuals, proprietors, companies etc for setting up new hotels, restaurants, lodges, motels etc.

http://www.thehindubusinessline.com/money-and-banking/oriental-bank-launches-mobile-wallet-batuaa/article9550510.ece

Former Chief Justice of India Altamas Kabir passes away.

Details :

Former Chief Justice of India Altamas Kabir died in kolkatta following a brief illness. He was 68. 

Kabir served as the 39th Chief Justice of India from September 29, 2012, to July 19, 2013.

Born on July 19, 1948, Kabir enrolled as an advocate in 1973, taking up both civil and criminal cases in the district courts and the Calcutta High Court. 

He was appointed as a permanent Judge in the Calcutta High Court on August 6, 1990, and went on to become the Chief Justice of the Jharkhand High Court on March 1, 2005. 

He was elevated to the Supreme Court of India on September 9, 2005.

Hindi novelist Ved Prakash Sharma passes away.

Details :

Popular Hindi novelist Ved Prakash Sharma passed away in Meerut, Uttar Pradesh. He was 62. 

He was counted among the highest-selling Hindi writers in the country.

He was famous for novels with unique titles like Dahej Mein Revolver (Revolver as Dowry), Widhva Ka Pati (Husband of a Widow) and Dulhan Maange Dahej (Bride Asks For Dowry).

Mr. Sharma started his writing career at the age of 14 and initially ghost written novels for others.

But it was Vardi Wala Gunda (Goon in Uniform), published in 1993, that gave him the big break. The novel, based on atrocities committed by a cop, broke many records and is supposed to have sold more than eight crore copies. 

In all he wrote over 176 novels. He also also had written scripts for about half-a-dozen Hindi films and a few of his novels were adapted into films.

http://www.thehindu.com/news/national/Hindi-novelist-Ved-Prakash-Sharma-dies/article17327485.ece

Eminent Bengali singer Banasree Sengupta passes away.

Details :

Celebrated Bengali singer Banasree Sengupta passed away in Kolkata following protracted illness. She was 71.

Sengupta recorded a large number of evergreen romantic songs since 1966.

Among her hit songs are Aaj Bikeler Dake Tomar Chhithi Pelam, Amar Angey Jaley Rangmoshal, Chhi chhi Eki Kando Korechi, Dur Akashay Tomar Sur and Sundar Boney Sundari Gachh.

She also lent her voice to Bengali, Hindi, Assamese and Odia films.

In recognition of her contribution to music, West Bengal government had bestowed Sangeet Samman (2012) and the Mahasangeet Samman (2013) on Sengupta

http://www.hindustantimes.com/music/eminent-bengali-singer-banasree-sengupta-passes-away/story-X1GCy5GXsfGDRL8vpZCsgK.html

Two Indian films win award at 2017 Berlin International Film Festival.

Details :

Two Indian films at the world renowned festival bagged awards - Amit Masurkar’s Newton and Amar Kaushik’s Aaba.

Newton brought home the CICAE Art Cinema Award in the Forum section of the fest.

Aaba won the Special Prize of Generation KPlus International Jury for Best Short Film.

The special prize for Aaba reportedly includes cash award of  € 2,500 by the Deutsches Kinderhilfswerk (The Children’s Charity of Germany).

Khajuraho Dance Festival begins in Madhya Pradesh.

Details :

The Khajuraho Festival of Dance is conducted every year of February from the 20th to the 26th.

It is organised by the Madhya Pradesh Kala Parishad, is a one-week-long festival of classical dances held annually against the spectacular backdrop of the magnificently lit Khajuraho temples in Chhatarpur district of Madhya Pradesh state in central India. 

This cultural festival highlights the richness of the various Indian classical dance styles such as Kathak, Bharathanatyam, Odissi, Kuchipudi, Manipuri and Kathakali with performances of some of the best exponents in the field. Modern Indian dance has also been added recently.

The dances are performed in an open-air auditorium, usually in front of the Chitragupta Temple dedicated to Surya (the Sun God) and the Vishvanatha Temple dedicated to Lord Shiva, belonging to the western group.

IRB InvIT Fund gets SEBI approval to launch IPO.

Details :

IRB InvIT Fund, an investment trust sponsored by IRB Infrastructure Developers has received markets regulator Sebi's approval to raise Rs 4,300 crore through initial public offering (IPO). 

http://economictimes.indiatimes.com/markets/stocks/news/irb-invit-fund-gets-sebis-approval-to-launch-ipo/articleshow/57232012.cms

First foreign airline AirAsia lands at Srinagar airport.

Details :

AirAsia became the first foreign airline ever  to start its operations from Srinagar international airport in Jammu and Kashmir. 

Srinagar airport is christened 'The Sheikh-ul-Alam International Airport' for the last five years, but no foreign airlines has operated services from there so far. 

http://economictimes.indiatimes.com/industry/transportation/airlines-/-aviation/first-foreign-airline-airasia-lands-at-srinagar-airport/articleshow/57234568.cms

Microsoft, Flipkart announce strategic cloud partnership.

Details :

Microsoft announced a strategic partnership with Flipkart, wherein as a first step, the online retailer will adopt Microsoft Azure as its exclusive public cloud platform.

This partnership allows us to leverage our combined strength and knowledge of technology, e-commerce and markets to make online shopping more relevant and enriching for customers.

Karnataka Bank inks pact with Daimler India.

Details :

Karnataka Bank Ltd has entered into a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with Daimler India Commercial Vehicles Pvt Ltd (DICV) for extending finance to customers for the purchase of commercial vehicles manufactured by the company.

DICV has nominated Karnataka Bank as a preferred financier for the purchase of commercial vehicles manufactured by the company.

Cash withdrawal limit for savings account increases to Rs 50,000 per week.

Details :

The weekly limit on withdrawal of cash from savings bank accounts increased to Rs 50,000, from the current Rs 24,000, from 20th feb 2017.

The limit will be removed from March 13, 2017.

http://www.business-standard.com/article/economy-policy/note-ban-you-can-withdraw-rs-50-000-from-your-savings-accounts-from-today-117022000208_1.html

T.R. Zeliang steps down as Nagaland chief minister.

Details :

Ending more than two weeks of standoff with Nagaland Tribes Action Committee (NTAC), Nagaland chief minister TR Zeliang resigned from his post.

T. R. Zeliang (born 21 February 1952) is an Indian politician who has been Chief Minister of Nagaland, a state in northeast India, since 2014.

A leader of the Nagaland People's Front, Zeliang took over the reins from Chief Minister Neiphiu Rio following the latter's shift to national-level politics in Delhi.

Zeliang previously served as a Member of Parliament, representing Nagaland in the Rajya Sabha, the upper house of the Indian Parliament.

Feb. 19, 2017

ISRO successfully tests India’s largest cryogenic engine for 400-ton GSLV Mark III rocket.

Details :

Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) has successfully ground tested India’s largest indigenously developed Cryogenic Upper Stage engine for GSLV Mark III.

It was tested for full 10 minutes at ISRO’s Liquid Propulsion Complex (ILPC) at Mahendragiri in Tirunelveli district of Tamil Nadu.

The rocket will be a successor to the GSLV Mark II which was first launched in 2001 and can carry a heavier payload than the Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle or PSLV.

This engine has been developed after two decades of hard work as the technology was denied to India by Russia under pressure from the US.

Only Russia, USA, France, China, and Japan have the technology to manufacture such engines and India has now joined the elite group.

INSV Tarini inducted into Indian Navy.

Details :

Indian Navy’s second ocean-going sailboat INSV Tarini was inducted at the INS Mandovi Boat Pool in Goa.

It is Built by Goa-based M/s Aquarius Shipyard Pvt Ltd, INSV Tarini is a sloop, which is slated to be the platform for first Indian all-women circumnavigation of the globe expedition of the Indian Navy.

The boat has been built to a stock design by Van de Stadt, Netherlands called Tonga 56.

 The hull is made of wooden core fiberglass sandwich construction for a better performance than aluminum and steel.

INSV Tarini carries a suite of six sails including a Main sail, Head sails (Genoa and stay sails), Downwind sails and Storm sail.

Its mast is 25 meters tall and has been custom built by M/s Southern Spars, Cape Town, for sailing in extreme conditions. 

INSV Tarini is almost identical to her illustrious predecessor, the iconic Mhadei which has sailed over 115000 nautical miles in the past eight years.

This includes path breaking voyages like the first Indian solo circumnavigation undertaken by Capt Dilip Donde (Retd) in 2009 and first solo, non-stop and unassisted circumnavigation by Cdr Abhilash Tomy in 2013.

 The construction was diligently overseen by the Warship Overseeing Team, Goa and the vessel is being delivered before the scheduled date of delivery by the boat builder.

The successful construction of both the Mhadei andTarini in Goa are a tribute to the Government’s ‘Make in India’ policy.

http://pib.nic.in/newsite/PrintRelease.aspx?relid=158527

Indian Coast Guard ship Ayush commissioned

Details :

Indian Coast Guard Ship ICGS AYUSH was commissioned at Kochi, Kerala by Vice Admiral AR Karwe, Flag Officer Commanding-in- Chief, Southern Naval Command.

It is the final vessel in the series of twenty (20) fast patrol vessels (FPVs) designed and built by the Cochin Shipyard Ltd (CSL).

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/kochi/coast-guard-ship-ayush-commissioned/articleshow/57226321.cms

SC introduces Middle Income Group Scheme.

Details :

The Supreme Court (SC) has introduced Middle Income Group Scheme, (MIGS) a self-supporting scheme for the people of middle and lower income groups to approach it to avail legal aid.

It is a self-supporting scheme and people whose gross income does not exceed Rs 60,000 per month or Rs 7,50,000 per annum can now avail its services.

A case will be registered under the MIG Legal Aid Scheme and forwarded to Advocate-on-Record/Arguing Counsel/Senior Counsel on the panel for their opinion.

If Advocate-on-Record is satisfied that it is a fit case, then the society will consider that applicant is entitled to legal aid.

The view expressed by Advocate-on Record will be final in determining eligibility of the applicant for obtaining the benefit under the scheme.

http://www.financialexpress.com/india-news/seeking-legal-aid-at-supreme-court-becomes-easier-for-middle-class-poor/554552/

European Union Parliament approves free trade deal with Canada amid protests.

Details :

The European Union’s Parliament approved a landmark free trade deal with Canada that has been in the works for five years.

The Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement got 408 votes in its favour, while 254 lawmakers opposed it.

It will eliminate almost all trade tariffs between the European Union and Canada.

Jharkhand sign MoU with Microsoft in Momentum Jharkhand.

Details :

Jharkhand government and Microsoft India inked an MoU to leverage cloud technologies to drive the state's digital ambitions. 

The MoU will support the state government to explore cloud, machine learning and mobile based solutions to improve citizen services and provide better facilities in the fields of education and agriculture.

The MoU was signed at the 'Momentum Jharkhand: Global Investors' Summit & Trade Exhibition'. 

http://www.business-standard.com/article/pti-stories/jharkhand-sign-mou-with-microsoft-in-momentum-jharkhand-117021701017_1.html

India bag silver medal at women’s Asian Rugby Sevens Trophy.

Details :

India won the silver medal at the women’s Asian Rugby Sevens Trophy having won five matches and lost one at Vientiane, Laos.

In the seven-nation round-robin competition, India defeated Laos 22-7, Philippines 12-5, Nepal 43-0 and Malaysia by 26-12.

On the second day, India defeated Pakistan by 5-0.

But in the last match Indian team got defeated by South Korea ( 0-29).

http://www.financialexpress.com/sports/india-bag-silver-medal-at-womens-asian-rugby-sevens-trophy/557010/

Tata Motors Signs Strategic Technological Agreement with Microsoft.

Details :

Tata Motors and Microsoft India  announced a strategic agreement to redefine connected and personalized driving experiences for Indian customers. 

Tata Motors will leverage Microsoft’s connected vehicle technologies that bring together artificial intelligence (AI), advanced machine learning, and the Internet of Things (IoT) capabilities on the global hyper-scale Azure cloud, to traverse the digital and physical worlds and create a highly personalized, smart and safer driving experience across the digital life of a vehicle owner.

The first vehicle showcasing the vision for these enhanced driving experiences will be unveiled at the 87th Geneva International Motor Show on 7th March 2017.

RBI will Reimburse Banks MDR Charges Effective January 1, 2017.

Details :

The Reserve Bank will start reimbursing MDR charges to banks for payments made since January 1 through debit cards by citizens, in line with the government's move to further digital solutions.

In December 2016, the government had decided to absorb the merchant discount rate (MDR) charges in respect of debit card transactions for making payments to it. 

The move was aimed to encourage people to use digital payments post demonetisation.

http://www.business-standard.com/article/finance/rbi-to-reimburse-mdr-of-debit-card-transactions-117021600802_1.html

Regional rural banks can offer gold loans up to Rs 2 lakh.

Details :

Reserve Bank of India has raised the ceiling of gold loans given by regional rural banks (RRB) to Rs 2 lakh from Rs 1 lakh, expanding the access to credit for farmers and artisans willing to pledge gold as collateral. 

The limit has been doubled for the loans not exceeding 12 months from the date of sanction.

This facility comes with bullet repayment option. This means the loans will become due for payment only at the end of the tenure. But the interest will be charged at monthly rests. 

RBI has also directed that the gold loans should not exceed 75% of the value of the gold pledged for taking the loan.

http://economictimes.indiatimes.com/industry/banking/finance/banking/regional-rural-banks-can-offer-gold-loans-up-to-rs-2-lakh/articleshow/57188429.cms

Sunil Mehta appointed non-executive Chairman of PNB.

Details :

Sunil Mehta appointed as Non-Official Directors of Punjab National Bank.

The Appointments Committee of the Cabinet (ACC) has approved the proposal of the Department of Financial Services (DFS) for the appointment of Mehta as non-executive Chairman of PNB.

He has been appointed for a period of three years.

Mehta's appointment is subject to a condition that he needs to resign from the board of State Bank of India before joining the new post.

T C A Ranganathan appointed as Non-Official Directors in Indian Overseas Bank.

http://www.business-standard.com/article/pti-stories/ranganathan-mehta-appointed-non-official-director-in-iob-pnb-117021700267_1.html

Unicef Launches U.S.$110 Million Appeal for Sudan Children.

Details :

The United Nations International Children's Fund (UNICEF), Sudan office,  launched an appeal to raise 110 million U.S. dollars to meet humanitarian needs for children in Sudan.

The appeal is part of a UNICEF annual global Humanitarian Action for Children, which aims at mobilizing resources and drawing attention to the plight of children worldwide.

UNICEF in Sudan is planning to reach over two million children this year across the country.

Sudan is home to around 13% of all children suffering from acute malnutrition across Africa. Two million children under five in Sudan are acutely malnourished.

Feb. 18, 2017

Aadhaar mandatory for University students availing scholarship

Details :

Union Human Resource Development Ministry has made Aadhaar mandatory for students to avail benefit under the Central Sector Scholarship Scheme for College and University. 

Those receiving these scholarships but who don’t have an Aadhaar card will have to apply for enrolment by June 30 2017.

Students who wish to avail the National Means-cum-Merit Scholarship Scheme will also have to apply for Aadhaar by June 30 2017, though it exempts the states of J&K, Assam and Meghalaya.

This move will bring in transparency and enable beneficiaries to get their entitlements directly in a convenient and seamless manner, and Aadhaar obviates the need for producing multiple documents to prove identity.

The notification shall come into effect from the date of its publication in all states except Jammu and Kashmir.

http://www.hindustantimes.com/india-news/to-avail-scholarship-aadhaar-now-mandatory-for-college-and-varsity-students/story-Qm1KELK1P5IfilQr2iDp6M.html

‘Science Express’ train flags off to create climate change awareness in India.

Details :

Science Express Climate Action Special train was flagged off to spread awareness about climate change across the country.

It is collaborative efforts of ministries of Railways, Environment and Science and Technology. 

The 16-coach train on a seven-month journey that will cover 68 stations across the country, including Agartala and Lumding in the northeast, to spread awareness about climate change.

http://indianexpress.com/article/india/science-express-train-flags-off-to-create-climate-change-awareness-in-india-4530165/

Eight executive directors appointed in PSU banks.

Details :

The Banks Board Bureau has appointed eight executive directors (EDs) in various public-sector banks for three years.

Neelam Damodharan and Atanu Kumar Das have been appointed as EDs in Bank of India. Presently, Damodharan serves as the General Manager in Bank of Baroda and Das is General Manager in Vijaya Bank.

K Swaminathan, the General Manager in Indian Overseas Bank, has been appointed as ED in Indian Overseas Bank.

Ashok Kumar Pradhan has been appointed as the ED in United Bank of India. Presently he serves as the Chief General Manager with State Bank of Bikaner and Jaipur.

P Ramana Murthy will be Executive Director of Central Bank of India. He is GM of Allahabad Bank.

Fareed Ahmed Khan, General Manager of Corporation Bank, has been appointed as the ED in Punjab and Sind Bank.

M K Bhattacharya, Chief General Managers of State Bank of Mysore has been appointed as the EDs of Indian Bank

S Harishankar who serves as Chief General Managers of State Bank of Travancore has been appointed EDs of Allahabad Bank.

http://economictimes.indiatimes.com/industry/banking/finance/banking/eight-executive-directors-appointed-in-various-banks/articleshow/57203110.cms

India's vaccine regulatory body NRAI gets highest WHO ratings.

Details :

The National Regulatory Authority of India (NRAI) has been given the maximum ratings by global health body World Health Organisation for vaccine regulations.

The ratings were given by WHO after completing the assessment of the status of the NRAI system against WHO NRA Global Benchmarking Tool and measured the maturity of the system in India.

The assessment has been done in respect of 9 different functionalities and Indian NRA has been declared 'functional' with a maturity level of 4 which is the highest level as per currently evolved definitions in respect of 5 functions, and maturity level 3 in respect of 4 functions.

While, maturity level 4 indicates good results and sustained improvement trends, level 3 reflects systematic process based approach, early stage of systematic improvements, data availability regarding conformance to objectives and existence of improvement trends.

The result reflects growing maturity of NRAI emanating from a concerted effort by Government in consultation with WHO to build capacity and capability of NRAI over last several years.

http://www.deccanherald.com/content/596897/indias-vaccine-regulatory-body-nrai.html

SIB bags award for tech security practices.

Details :

South Indian Bank (SIB) has been awarded with ISO 27001: 2013 certification for its Information Security Management System (ISMS).

The certification process involved an extensive audit, which was conducted by British Standards Institution against the criteria set out by the ISO 27001:2013 standards on various domains of IT functions.

The bank had already received ISO 9001 Quality Management certification for its Credit Department, Personnel Department and Data Centre.

The certification demonstrates the bank’s total commitment to benchmarking technology framework and processes with international standards, and forms part of our long term vision for security best practices.

Adhering to the internationally recognized ISMS standards adds yet another layer of security for Bank’s customer data and assures customers of the quality of our service.

http://www.thehindubusinessline.com/money-and-banking/sib-bags-award-for-tech-security-practices/article9547087.ece

Canara Bank signs MoU with HRD Ministry to start higher education financing agency.

Details :

Canara Bank  has signed a memorandum of understanding with the Ministry of Human Resource Development (MHRD) to operationalise the Higher Education Financing Agency (HEFA).

It will allow MHRD and Canara Bank to jointly promote HEFA with an authorised capital of Rs. 2,000 crore. 

HEFA has been formed as a special purpose vehicle. It would leverage the equity to raise up to Rs. 20,000 crore for funding projects for infrastructure and development of world class Labs in IITs/IIMs/NITs and such other institutions.

HEFA would also mobilise CSR funds from PSUs/corporates, which would in turn be released for promoting research and innovation in these institutions on a grant basis.

HEFA would finance the civil and lab infrastructure projects through a 10-year loan.

The principal portion of the loan will be repaid through ‘internal accruals’ (earned through fee receipts, research earnings etc.,) of the institutions.

The Government would service the interest portion through regular Plan assistance.

All the Centrally Funded Higher Educational Institutions will be eligible to join as members of the HEFA.

For joining as members, the educational institution must agree to escrow a specific amount from their internal accruals for a period of 10 years to the HEFA.

This escrow will secure the future flows that would be securitised by the HEFA for mobilising the funds from the market.

Each member institution would be eligible for a credit limit based on the amount agreed to be escrowed from the internal accruals as decided by HEFA.

http://www.thehindubusinessline.com/money-and-banking/canara-bank-signs-mou-with-hrd-ministry-to-start-higher-education-financing-agency/article9546321.ece

South Asian Speakers’ Summit held in Indore.

Details :

The two-day South Asian Speakers Summit was held at Indore in Madhya Pradesh.

It was inaugurated by Lok Sabha Speaker Sumitra Mahajan.

It will be attended by presiding officers and delegates from Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Sri Lanka, Maldives and Nepal. 

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/bhopal/south-asian-speakers-summit-starts-in-indore-today/articleshow/57213769.cms

Lata Mangeshkar honoured with Legendary Award.

Details :

Melody Queen Lata Mangeshkar has been honoured with the 'Legendary Award'  2017 by Brand Laureate.

The Brand Laureate recognises world-class achievement in branding amongst individuals and companies.

In 2012, Shah Rukh Khan was honoured with the Brand Laureate Legendary Award for his unmatched contribution to Indian Cinema.

The Brand Laureate Legendary Award has been earlier given to the likes of former South African president Nelson Mandela, Nobel Laureate Mohammad Yunus, Indian businessman Ratan Tata, late Apple co-founder Steve Jobs, Facebook CEO Marck Zuckerburg and F1 ace Michael Schumacher.

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/entertainment/hindi/music/news/lata-mangeshkar-gets-legendary-award/articleshow/57221946.cms

Former MP Jambuvantrao Dhote passes away.

Details :

Former Nagpur MP and firebrand leader Jambuwantrao Dhote, who always stood for the cause of separate Vidarbha, passed away at Yawatmal following a massive heart attack. He was 78.

Popularly known as “Lion of Vidarbha”, Dhote was also a legislator for two terms from Yavatmal district.

He had won his first election to Lok Sabha in 1971 from Nagpur as a Forward Bloc nominee. Later in 1980, he joined Congress and won the Nagpur. After leaving Congress he had founded Vidarbha Janta Congress party in 2002. He was elected to Maharashtra Assembly five times.

http://www.newindianexpress.com/nation/2017/feb/18/former-mp-jambuwantrao-dhote-popularly-known-as-lion-of-vidarbha-passes-away-1572008.html

Mastercard to provide payment processing solutions to Airtel Payments Bank

Details :

Mastercard will provide payment processing solutions to Airtel Payments Bank.

This collaboration will enable Airtel Payments Bank to offer a safer, innovative and faster payments experience to its customers.

http://www.thehindubusinessline.com/money-and-banking/mastercard-to-provide-payment-processing-solutions-to-airtel-payments-bank/article9546687.ece

Karnataka Bank Launches National Pension System in Mangaluru

Details :

Karnataka Bankhas launched 'National Pension System' (NPS) at its corporate office in mangaluru.

NPS was introduced by the Government of India with an intention to provide old age financial security by way of regular income in the form of pension. 

Under the scheme, one can contribute to NPS while earning and eventually start receiving the pension on his/her attaining the age of 60 years to meet their financial needs.

To avail the benefit, any individual between the ages 18-60 years can register their name with the bank branch to contribute and to get pension benefit.

http://economictimes.indiatimes.com/industry/banking/finance/banking/karnataka-bank-launches-national-pension-system-in-mangaluru/articleshow/57202526.cms

Corporation Bank Bags 2017 National MSME Excellence Award.

Details :

Corporation Bank has bagged the “National MSME Excellence Award 2017”.

It is instituted by the Federation of Industry, Trade and Services.

http://www.thehindu.com/todays-paper/tp-national/tp-karnataka/Corporation-Bank-bags-award/article17316930.ece

PV Sindhu Ranked No. 5 in BWF Rankings.

Details :

Ace shuttler PV Sindhu attained her career best Badminton World Federation (BWF)  women’s singles ranking, jumping to the 5th spot. Previously the top seeded player was placed at sixth position. 

Saina Nehwal ranked No. 9, is the second Indian in the top 10 spots of the BWF rankings.

In men's singles, Ajay Jayaram is the best-placed Indian at world No. 18, while K Srikanth and HS Prannoy are at the 21st and 23rd spots respectively.

Men's doubles pair of Manu Attri and B Sumeeth Reddy is ranked at the 24th place, while the duo of N Sikki Reddy and Pranaav Jerry Chopra is at the 14th spot.

http://indiatoday.intoday.in/story/pv-sindhu-saina-nehwal-ajay-jayaram-kidambi-srikanth-bwf-world-rankings/1/885724.html

Scientists develop high-quality graphene from soybean.

Details :

Scientists from Australia’s Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) have made world’s strongest material graphene commercially more viable by using soybean.

They have developed a novel “GraphAir” technology which eliminates the need for such a highly-controlled environment.

Previously, graphene was grown in a highly-controlled environment with explosive compressed gases, requiring long hours of operation at high temperatures and extensive vacuum processing. 

The technology grows graphene film in ambient air with a natural precursor, making its production faster and simpler. 

Soybean oil breaks down into a range of carbon building units when heat is applied. It makes it essential for the synthesis of graphene films.

This ambient-air process for graphene fabrication is fast, simple, safe, potentially scalable, and integration friendly.

Graphene has excellent electronic, mechanical, thermal and optical properties as well. Its uses range from improving battery performance in energy devices, to cheaper solar panels.

http://indianexpress.com/article/technology/science/scientists-develop-high-quality-graphene-from-soybean-4529641/

Tamil Nadu govt headed by Edappadi Palaniswami wins trust vote.

Details :

The Edappadi K Palaniswami government in Tamil Nadu  won the trust vote with 122 MLAs favouring him in assembly.

Rebel AIADMK leader O Panneerselvam got 11 votes.

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/chennai/tamil-nadu-govt-headed-by-edappadi-palaniswami-wins-trust-vote-after-chaos-in-assembly/articleshow/57220932.cms

BCCI General Manager RP Shah resigns from his post.

Details :

RP Shah, one of the three General Managers of BCCI, resigned from his post citing his age as a “reason”.

Shah was the General Manager (Commercial) and was considered to be one of the big decision makers in board’s commercial interest.

http://www.hindustantimes.com/cricket/bcci-general-manager-rp-shah-resigns-from-his-post/story-29NBkErOG7EqZhtKQWZpWL.html

China bans coal imports from North Korea.

Details :

China says it will halt all coal imports from North Korea for the rest of 2017, amid growing tensions on the Korean Peninsula following Pyongyang's most recent missile test.

Raytheon signs MoU with TASL for co-production of Stinger missile components.

Details :

Raytheon Company has signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU)with Tata Advanced Systems Ltd (TASL) to engage in the co-production of Stinger air defence missile components.

As part of the agreement, TASL will produce components of the Stinger missile in India. Stinger has both surface-to-air and air-to-air applications against a variety of airborne targets.

In 2016, India was one of three international customers to order Stinger missiles. India will equip its AH-64 Apache helicopters soon to enter service with the Indian Air Force.
http://www.thehindubusinessline.com/economy/logistics/raytheon-signs-mou-with-tasl-for-coproduction-of-stinger-missile-components/article9548825.ece

Feb. 17, 2017

Hindi Scholar and writer Surendra Verma selected for Vyas Samman award 2016.

Details :

Well known Hindi Scholar and writer Surendra Verma has been selected for Vyas Samman-2016.Mr Verma has been chosen for this prestigious award for his novel Kaatna Shami Ka Vriksha : Padma Pankhuri Ki Dhar Se, published in 2010.

The award instituted by K K Birla Foundation carries a cash award of 3.50 lakh rupees ..

Surendra Verma born September 7, 1941 is a leading Hindi litterateur and playwright.

He started out as a playwright, when his play Surya Ki Antim Kiran Se Surya Ki Pahli Kiran Tak (From sunset to sunrise, 1972) became quite well known; it has been translated into six Indian languages.

He has had a long association with the National School of Drama.and has published about fifteen titles of short stories, satires, novels and plays.

He has won the Sangeet Natak Akademi Award in 1993 and the Sahitya Akademi Award in 1996.

RBI allows multilateral FIs to invest in masala bonds.

Details :

Reserve Bank of India permitted multilateral financial institutions to invest in rupee denominated bonds popularly known as ‘masala bonds’ issued by Indian entities.

In order to provide more choices of investors to Indian entities issuing rupee denominated bonds abroad, it has been decided to also permit multilateral and regional financial institutions where India is a member country, to invest in these rupee denominated bonds.

Masala bonds are bonds issued outside India but denominated in Indian Rupees, rather than the local currency.

The term was used by IFC to evoke the culture and cuisine of India. Unlike dollar bonds, where the borrower takes the currency risk, masala bond makes the investors bear the risk.

The first Masala bond was issued by the World Bank backed International Finance Corporation in November 2014 when it raised 1,000 crore bond to fund infrastructure projects in India.

Later in August 2015 International Financial Corporation for the first time issued green masala bonds and raised Rupees 3.15 Billion to be used for private sector investments that address climate change in India.

In July 2016 HDFC raised 3,000 crore rupees from Masala bonds and thereby became the first Indian company to issue masala bonds.

In the month of August 2016 public sector unit NTPC issued first corporate green masala bonds worth 2,000 crore rupees

India ranks 143rd in 2017 Economic Freedom Index.

Details :

India was ranked 143rd out of 186 economies in the annual Index of Economic Freedom 2017 that measures the degree of economic freedom in the countries of the world.

The annual index was released by a conservative US political thinktank, the Heritage Foundation.

 India’s overall score of 52.6 points is 3.6 points less than that of last year, when India was ranked 123rd.

Top 5 countries in this edition of index are Hong Kong (1st), Singapore (2nd) and New Zealand (3rd), Switzerland (4th) and Austria (5th).

India’s neighbours, Nepal (125th), Sri Lanka (112th), Pakistan (141st), Bhutan (107th), and Bangladesh (128th) have surpassed India. 

Among South Asian countries, only Afghanistan (163) and Maldives (157) were ranked below India.

The world average score of 60.9 is the highest recorded in the 23-year history of the index.

http://www.hindustantimes.com/india-news/india-ranks-143rd-in-economic-freedom-index-behind-pak-bhutan-us-thinktank/story-qKL7Xb68M33eiVkSVhVzdO.html

Cabinet approves signing of Air Services Agreement between India and Rwanda.

Details :

The Union Cabinet chaired by the Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi has approved the signing of Air Services Agreement between India and Rwanda. 

The Agreement has the potential to spur greater trade, investment, tourism and cultural exchange between India and Rwanda, bringing it in tune with developments in the civil aviation sector.

 It will provide enabling environment for enhanced and seamless connectivity while providing commercial opportunities to the carriers of both the sides ensuring greater safety and security.

President appoints five new SC judges.

Details :

President Pranab Mukherjee has appointed five new judges to the Supreme Court as per Article 124 of the constitution.

The new judges are Chief Justice of the Madras High Court Sanjay Kishan Kaul, Chief Justice of the Kerala High Court Shantanagoudar Mohan Mallikarjunagouda, Chief Justice of the Rajasthan High Court Navin Sinha, Chief Justice of the Chhattisgarh High Court Deepak Gupta and Karnataka High Court judge S. Abdul Nazeer.

http://www.thehindu.com/news/national/President-appoints-five-new-SC-judges/article17308395.ece

Dassault, Reliance form JV for Rafale.

Details :

Reliance Aerostructure Limited has incorporated a 51:49 joint venture with Dassault Aviation to capture a major share of the offset business arising from the €7.87 billion deal for Rafale fighter jets.

The joint venture has been named as Dassault Reliance Aerospace Limited (DARL). 

The facility will come up at Dhirubhai Aerospace Park at Mihan, Nagpur and the construction work on the greenfield facility will start in May 2017.

The facility will come up at Dhirubhai Aerospace Park at Mihan, Nagpur and the construction work on the greenfield facility will start in May 2017.

http://www.thehindu.com/todays-paper/tp-business/Dassault-Reliance-form-JV-for-Rafale/article17316209.ece

Airbus signs MoU for setting up centre of excellence in Hyderabad.

Details :

Airbus has singed MoU with Telangana government, National Skill Development Corporation (NSDC) of India and AEROCAMPUS France to establish centre of Excellence at Hyderabad.

The Centre, which will come up at Begumpet Airport, will train candidates ranging from high school graduates to experienced aviation personnel on aircraft manufacturing, logistics, Maintenance, Repair and Overhaul (MRO), ground handling and special aviation processes. 

http://economictimes.indiatimes.com/industry/transportation/airlines-/-aviation/airbus-signs-mou-for-setting-up-centre-of-excellence-in-hyderabad/articleshow/57166880.cms

First Indian genomics beacon launched in UK.

Details :

The Global Gene Corp and Global Alliance for Genomics and Health (GA4GH)  launched the first-ever beacon for Indian genomics data.

It is expected to help scientists develop more effective drug delivery systems.

A Genomic beacon is an online web service that allows researchers to determine whether an institution has particular genomic data in its data set.

The aim of the Indian beacon is to address the gap in shared Indian genomics data, which helps scientists better understand disease and develop more effective drug delivery systems and therapeutics.

http://indianexpress.com/article/technology/science/first-indian-genomics-beacon-launched-in-uk-4525043/

UAE announces 100-year plan to finish building ‘first city on Mars’ by 2117.

Details :

The United Arab Emirates (UAE) will build the first city on the Red Planet as part of the 2117 Mars project in collaboration with specialised international organisations and scientific institutes.

The 100-year plan will involve scientific research programmes to nurture national cadres specialised in space sciences at universities in the UAE.

The new project will be associated with research themes featuring the exploration of transportation means, energy and food on Mars. It will also try to find faster transportation methods for travelling to and from Mars.

http://www.hindustantimes.com/world-news/uae-announces-100-year-plan-to-finish-building-first-city-on-mars-by-2117/story-U4SRaQ5jWnVLc0NF9R38bM.html

Indian-origin officer Shand Panesar wins UK’s Bravery Award.

Details :

Indian-origin Scotland Yard officer Shand Panesar along with his colleague Craig Nicholson was awarded 2017 Outstanding Bravery of the Year Award in special award ceremony of the Total Excellence in Policing Awards.

They were honored with this UK’s top bravery award for risking their own lives to save a family trapped in a burning house in Hillingdon in September 2016.

http://indiatoday.intoday.in/story/indian-origin-scotland-yard-officer-wins-bravery-award/1/883059.html

International Conference on NexGen Technologies for Mining and Fuel Industries held in New Delhi.

Details :

The 2017 International Conference on NexGen Technologies for Mining and Fuel Industries (NxGnMiFu-2017) was held in New Delhi.

 It was organised by CSIR-Central Institute of Mining and Fuel Research, Dhanbad as a part of CSIR’s platinum jubilee (completing 75 years) celebration. 

http://pib.nic.in/newsite/PrintRelease.aspx?relid=158481

Shah Rukh Khan to host TED Talks India.

Details :

Bollywood star Shah Rukh Khan will soon host the Hindi version of popular international show TED Talks.

Star India will air the Indian version - TED Talks India

Itis to be created in partnership with non-profit TED, the deal marks the first time TED is collaborating with a major network and star to produce a TV series featuring original TED Talks in a language other than English.

http://www.hindustantimes.com/bollywood/it-s-confirmed-shah-rukh-khan-to-host-ted-talks-india-nayi-soch/story-kKwrXCWiKImgNcBlZNqLzO.html

BEL launches communication radio.

Details :

PSU Bharat Electronics Ltd (BEL) has unveiled a new communication radio for the Indian armed forces, called STARS-V Mk III, at the Aero India 2017 show. 

The radio is completely designed, developed and made in BEL.

It is a multi brand, high data rate, software intensive IP radio with mobile ad hoc networking (MANET) functions supporting up to 64 notes.

Vetiver Network launched.

Details :

India Vetiver Network (INVN) has been launched at Tamil Nadu Agricultural University.

INVN is a not-for-profit scientific network to promote vetiver in India. 

Vetiver has worldwide application to tackle many environmental issues like soil erosion, mitigation of soil and water pollution.

The mission of INVN is environmental protection using vetiver. Promotion of research in vetiver — identification of varieties, improved production technologies and distillation techniques.

Feb. 16, 2017

CCEA approves contract awards for 44 small oil and gas fields.

Details :

Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) gave its approval to award contract in 31 contract areas (44 fields – 28 onland and 16 offshore) of discovered small fields of Oil and Natural Gas Corporation (ONGC) and Oil India Limited (OIL).

The award of contract is expected to provide faster development of oil and gas fields and facilitate production of oil and gas thereby increasing energy security of the country.

These areas were discovered long back but these discoveries could not be monetized due to various reasons such as isolated locations, small size of reserves, high development costs, technological constraints, fiscal regime etc. 

It is expected that in-place locked hydrocarbons volume of 40 MMT oil and 22.0 BCM of gas will be monetised over a period of 15 years.

The production from these contract areas will supplement the domestic production. 

For early monetization of these fields, in September, 2015, Cabinet approved 69 marginal fields for offer under Discovered Small Fields Policy.  

Out of these, 67 Discovered Small Fields were clubbed into 46 contract areas and put on offer through online international competitive bidding.

A total of 134 e-bids were received for 34 contract areas. A total of 47 companies submitted their bid, out of which 43 are Indian Companies and rest 04 are foreign companies.

http://pib.nic.in/newsite/PrintRelease.aspx?relid=158497

Cabinet approves Establishment of Food Legumes Research Platform (FLRP) at Amlaha.

Details :

The Union Cabinet chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi has approved establishment of Food Legumes Research Platform (FLRP) at Amlaha in Sehore, Madhya Pradesh with Satellite Hubs in West Bengal and Rajasthan.

Cabinet approval confers FLRP an international status as contemplated in Clause 3 of the United Nations (Privileges and Immunities) Act, 1947. 

The FLRP will be established by International Centre for Agricultural Research in Dry Areas (ICARDA) for meeting the emerging food security challenges.

ICARDA will carry out research through a multi-disciplinary team of scientists for enhancing productivity of crops range-land and livestock.

This platform will contribute significantly towards reducing poverty, improving food security, improving nutrition and health, and sustaining the natural resource base.    

The research output would benefit farmers of all regions, whether big, small or marginal; and as technologies developed would be eligible for use by all farmers, the project is equitable and inclusive.

http://pib.nic.in/newsite/PrintRelease.aspx?relid=158499

Government launches TAMRA Portal and Mobile Application.

Details :

Union Minister of State (IC) for Power, Coal, New & Renewable Energy and Mines, Shri Piyush Goyal launched TAMRA (Transparency, Auction Monitoring and Resource Augmentation) portal and Mobile Application, With an objective to enhance transparency and accountability as a part of the Ease of Doing Business in the Mining sector.

The TAMRA covers block-wise, state-wise and mineral-wise information of mines to be auctioned. It monitors various statutory clearances and also highlights the additional resources generated through e-auction.

In case of delay in obtaining any clearances, TAMRA will send triggers to the concerned authority so that the remedial steps can be taken immediately by those responsible.

The Ministry of Mines will also receive triggers generated by TAMRA and will facilitate in expediting clearances. This portal also enables successful bidder to give suggestions/inputs.

TAMRA will be an interactive platform for all the stakeholders to compress the timelines for statutory and other clearances as it would help minimize the gestation period for commencing production.

Cabinet approves Amending the Collection of Statistics Act, 2008.

Details :

The Union Cabinet chaired by the Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi has approved a proposal to introduce a Bill in Parliament to extend the jurisdiction of the Collection of Statistics Act, 2008 to Jammu & Kashmir.

The amendment on statistics relevant to any matters under any of the entries specified in the List-I (Union List) and the List- III (Concurrent List) in the Seventh Schedule to the Constitution, as applicable to Jammu & Kashmir under the Constitution (Application to Jammu & Kashmir) Order, 1954.

The Amendment will strengthen data collection mechanism in the State of Jammu & Kashmir.

The Amendment will:

Provide for extending the jurisdiction of the Act to Jammu & Kashmir State in respect of matters not reserved for the State as per the Constitution (Application to Jammu and Kashmir) Order 1954;

 Provide for appointing a nodal officer at the Centre and in each State/Union Territory to effectively coordinate data collection activities and provide consultation to Government Departments for avoiding unnecessary duplication, etc.

Background

 The Collection of Statistics Act, 2008 was enacted to facilitate the collection of statistics on economics, demographic, social, scientific and environmental aspects etc.

The Act extends to the whole of India, except Jammu & Kashmir. The Jammu & Kashmir State legislature enacted the Jammu & Kashmir Collection of Statistics Act, 2010, which extends to the whole of the State of Jammu & Kashmir and is almost a replica of the central legislation.

The Collection of Statistics Act, 2008 and the Jammu & Kashmir Collection of Statistics Act, 2010 are not applicable to statistical subjects falling in the Union List, as applicable to the Jammu & Kashmir under the Constitution (Application to Jammu & Kashmir) Order 1954.

This has created a legislative vacuum. Moreover, the concurrent jurisdiction to be exercised by the Centre in Jammu & Kashmir has also not been provided for, in the Collection of Statistics Act, 2008. The amendment is intended to address this vacuum.

http://pib.nic.in/newsite/PrintRelease.aspx?relid=158493

Cabinet approves merger of 5 associate banks with SBI.

Details :

The Union Cabinet has approved the merger of State Bank of India (SBI) with five of its associate/subsidiary banks.

The five associate banks are State Bank of Bikaner and Jaipur, State Bank of Hyderabad, State Bank of Mysore, State Bank of Patiala and State Bank of Travancore.

The acquisition under Section 35 of the SBI Act, 1955 will result in the creation of a stronger merged entity. It will minimize vulnerability faced by subsidiary banks to any geographic concentration risks.

http://www.business-standard.com/article/finance/cabinet-approves-merger-of-5-associate-banks-with-sbi-117021501073_1.html

Hockey international Sandeep Singh gets honorary doctorate.

Details :

Indian professional hockey player Sandeep Singh has been honored with an Honorary Doctorate.

He was bestowed with the honour by Desh Bhagat University, a private educational institution in Amloh, Fatehgarh Sahib district of Punjab.

Sandeep is only the second Indian player after former captain and sitting Member of Parliament, Dileep Tirkey, to have an honorary degree for sporting excellence.

http://indianexpress.com/article/sports/hockey/hockey-international-sandeep-singh-gets-honorary-doctorate-4524583/

Usain Bolt wins Laureus 'Sportsman of the Year' award.

Details :

Jamaica’s sprinter Usain Bolt won the ‘Sportsman of the Year’ award at the Laureus World Awards or the ‘Oscar of Sports’ held in Monaco.  

Usain Bolt received his award from legendary Michael Johnson.

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/sports/more-sports/others/usain-bolt-wins-laureus-sportsman-of-the-year-award/articleshow/57159014.cms

HDFC Life Launches ‘Pragati’ Plan For Low Income Group.

Details :

HDFC life launched Pragati, a traditional life insurance plan that has been specifically designed to empower low income families.

With Pragati, HDFC Life wants to offer the dual benefit of systematic savings (with guaranteed premium returns) and wholesome life protection, making it an ideal financial product for every Indian household.

Edappadi Palaniswami takes oath as 13th Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu.

Details :

 Edappadi K Palaniswami was sworn in as the 13th Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu by Governor C Vidyasagar Rao.

Palaniswami took oath first, followed by 30 ministers in four batches. 

Palaniswamy will seek vote of confidence on the floor of the state Assembly.

Edappadi K. Palaniswami (born 2 March 1954) is an Indian politician who is the 13th and current Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu, having assumed the office on 16 February, 2017.

He is a senior leader of the All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK).

A member of the Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam political party, he is the incumbent Member of the Legislative Assembly (MLA) for Edapadi in the Salem district in Tamil Nadu.

He previously served as Minister for Highways & Minor Ports in the Jayalalithaa and O. Panneerselvam-led ministries of the Government of Tamil Nadu.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Edappadi_K._Palaniswami

Vikas Swarup appointed as India’s High Commissioner to Canada.

Details :

Vikas Swarup, who is currently serving as the official spokesperson of Ministry of External Affairs, appointed as High Commissioner of lndia to Canada.

Swarup is an officer of the Indian Foreign Service batch of 1986 and is famous for penning down the novel Q & A, adapted in film as Slumdog Millionaire.

In April 2015, he replaced Syed Akbaruddin as the official spokesperson of the Ministry of External Affairs of India to head its Public Diplomacy divisions in New Delhi.

Two-day Global Investor Summit 'Momentum Jharkhand' begins in Ranchi.

Details :

A two-day mega event of Global Investor Summit, branded as "Momentum Jharkhand" begins at Khelgaon of Ranchi. 

More than one thousands delegates, including many leading industrialists, both Indian and from other countries, will take part in this. 

http://www.business-standard.com/article/news-ani/two-day-global-investor-summit-momentum-jharkhand-begins-in-ranchi-117021600155_1.html

Mamata declares Kalimpong as separate district.

Details :

West Bengal CM Mamata Banerjee declared Kalimpong as 21st district of West Bengal  Kalimpong as separate district of West Bengal .

The new district craved out from Darjeeling.

Rs 220 crore road link project will be taken up to connect Kalimpong with Sikkim via the old Silk Route.

A Rs 50 crore water supply project by the public health engineering department will be taken up soon to address Kalimpong's water scarcity problem.

http://www.dnaindia.com/india/report-wb-cm-mamata-banerjee-declares-kalimpong-as-separate-district-announces-slew-of-projects-2323039

Feb. 15, 2017

ISRO sends 104 satellites in one go, breaks Russia's record.

Details :

Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) created history by successfully launching a record 104 satellites in single rocket.

These satellites were launched on board of Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle PSLV-C37, on its 39th mission from Satish Dhawan Space Centre, Sriharikota, Andhra Pradesh.

with the 104 satellites, of which 101 belongs to international customers 3 belongs to India.

Of 101 co-passenger satellites, 96 belong to USA, five from International customers of ISRO -- Israel, Kazakhstan, Netherlands, Switzerland, United Arab Emirates, respectively 

India’s three satellites included earth-mapping Cartosat-2 satellite (main payload) and nanosatellites INS-1A and INS-1B.

PSLV first launched the Cartosat-2 and then its 103 co-passengers (together weighing about 664 kg) into the polar Sun Synchronous Orbit (SSO), about 520 km from the Earth.

Cartosat-2 Series, which is the primary satellite, will be similar to the earlier four satellites in Cartosat-2 Series. 

It weighs 714 kg and has a mission life of five years.

The two Indian Nano-satellites INS-1A and INS-1B were developed as co-passenger satellites to accompany bigger satellites on PSLV. 

The primary objective of INS (ISRO Nano Satellite) is to provide an opportunity for ISRO technology demonstration payloads, provide a standard bus for launch on demand services. 

INS-1A carries Surface Bidirectional Reflectance Distribution Function Radiometer and INS-1B caries Earth Exosphere Lyman Alpha Analyser as payloads. 

http://economictimes.indiatimes.com/news/science/isro-sends-104-satellites-in-one-go-breaks-russias-record/articleshow/57159365.cms

FSSAI constitutes scientific panel on food fortification and nutrition.

Details :

The Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI), has constituted a scientific panel on food fortification and nutrition. 

The Panel will identify critical nutritional gaps in the Indian diet in general and also in specific target groups based on credible scientific evidence and diet surveys.
The scientific panel has eleven distinguished experts and scientists and includes 10 members from various research institutions. Apart from these, members from scientific panels dealing with fortification of food such as wheat flour, refined flour, rice, milk, edible oil and salt will also be a part of this panel. 

IAF inducts indigenous early warning system.

Details :

The Indian Airforce (IAG) has formally inducted the first indigenously built Airborne Early Warning and Control System (AEW&C) dubbed as NETRA.

It was developed by the Defence Research and Development Organisation and it was unveiled at the Aero India exhibition 2017.

These airborne warning systems, capable of long range surveillance, are huge force multipliers. Netra is based on Embraer aircraft and three systems are to be developed.

http://www.thehindu.com/news/national/IAF-inducts-indigenous-early-warning-system/article17303780.ece

India joins UN network to halve number of maternal, newborn deaths by 2030.

Details :

India has joined Network for Improving Quality of Care for Maternal, Newborn and Child Health.

This network focused on improving the quality of care for new mothers and babies and strengthen national efforts to end preventable deaths of pregnant women and newborns by 2030.

The network is supported by World Health Organisation (WHO), United Nations International Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and other partners.

India is among nine countries that will be part of the network. Other countries are Bangladesh, A Cote d’Ivoire, Ethiopia, Ghana, Malawi, Nigeria, Tanzania and Uganda.

http://www.hindustantimes.com/india-news/india-joins-un-network-to-halve-number-of-maternal-newborn-deaths-by-2030/story-omGknUMDDgZibqDItBcBQP.html

IMF opens technical assistance and training centre SARTTAC in New Delhi.

Details :

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has opened a first-of-its-kind South Asia Training and Technical Assistance Centre (SARTTAC) in New Delhi for economic capacity building in South Asia.

SARTTAC is a collaborative venture between the IMF, the member countries (Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Maldives, Nepal, and Sri Lanka) , and development partners.

The Center aims at helping its member countries strengthen their institutional and human capacity to design and implement macroeconomic and financial policies that promote growth and reduce poverty in a rapidly growing region that is home to one fifth of the world’s population.

SARTTAC will allow the IMF to meet more of the high demand for technical assistance and training from the region.

Need not stand for National Anthem if it is in film: Supreme Court

Details :

The Supreme Court has clarified that there is no need to compulsorily stand up when the national anthem is sung or played as part of a film or documentary.

It is clarified that when the national anthem is sung or played in the storyline of a feature film or as part of the newsreel or documentary, apart from what has been stated in the order dated November 30, 2016, the audience need not stand.

The apex court’s clarification came after several applications were filed on the question, including from the Kodungallur Film Society and the Conference for Human Rights.

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/need-not-stand-for-national-anthem-if-it-is-in-film-says-supreme-court/articleshow/57155987.cms

UNESCO Nature Fest Held in Himachal Pradesh.

Details :

The 2017 UNESCO Natural Heritage Festival was held at Great Himalayan National Park (GHNP) in Sairopa, Himachal Pradesh from February 11th to 12th, 2017.

The fest was held in collaboration with the Wildlife Institute of India (WII).

The festival feature a media workshop on environmental journalism, discussions on natural and cultural heritage of the Himalayan region and a heritage walk.

Indian Seed Congress 2017 held in Kolkata.

Details :

Indian Seed Congress 2017 held in Kolkata.

The theme of this edition of annual forum was “Seed of Joy”, which is very much in line with vision of this government to bring happiness and prosperity in the lives of farmers by doubling their farm income by 2022.

http://pib.nic.in/newsite/PrintRelease.aspx?relid=158415

Annual 'Cobra Gold' Exercise Commences In Thailand.

Details :

The annual Cobra Gold joint military Exercise commenced in Thailand.

It is jointly hosted by the US and Thailand.

Now in its 36th iteration, Cobra Gold is the largest theater security cooperation exercise in Asia.

Approximately 3,600 U.S. soldiers, sailors, airmen and Marines are involved in the activities, which include shore and afloat training.

Nearly 30 nations are taking part in the Thailand-hosted exercise including  Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, Singapore and South Korea are among the nations joining the United States and Thailand in the training.

Racer Jehan Daruvala wins New Zealand Grand Prix.

Details :

Young Indian racer Jehan Daruvala has won the Toyota Racing Series’ New Zealand Grand Prix held at the Chris Amon Circuit in Manfeild, New Zealand.

Jehan amassed 781 points in the 15-race series held in January-February 2017 and finished it in fifth position. 

Thomas Randle of New Zealand, with 855 points, was crowned champion of the series.

Brazilian Pedro Piquet (850 points), son of former F1 world champion Nelson Piquet, came at second place ahead of Dutch driver Richard Verschoor (843 points).

http://www.hindustantimes.com/other-sports/jehan-daruvala-wins-new-zealand-gp-finishes-fifth-in-toyota-series/story-SJxaPzEeVXOsqpVBM9fK8I.html

France’s Jean-Pierre Lacroix named new UN peacekeeping chief.

Details :

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres announced the appointment of Jean-Pierre Lacroix of France to head UN peacekeeping for a year pending a review of the world body’s functions and structure.

He will succeed Herve Ladsous, who will step down in March 2017after six years of service.

http://indianexpress.com/article/world/frances-jean-pierre-lacroix-named-new-un-peacekeeping-chief-4525478/

Veteran journalist T V Parasuram passes away.

Details :

Veteran journalist T V Parasuram, a former correspondent of the Press Trust of India, died in the US due to age-related illness.

He had started his career in the 1950s in the US as the PTI correspondent at UN. 

He also had served as the correspondent for The Indian Express for two decades till his retirement at age 58. Later he became the PTI’s Washington correspondent till he quit journalism at age 82.

He had won a Harvard Niemen Fellowship in journalism.

 Parasuram authored two books, 'A Medal for Kashmir' - a first hand account of the Indian Army's operations in 1947-48 in Jammu and Kashmir - and 'India's Jewish Heritage'.

http://www.newindianexpress.com/world/2017/feb/14/veteran-journalist-t-v-parasuram-dead-1570561.html

Govt allocates Rs 500 cr to India Post Payments Bank.

Details :

Government has allocated Rs 500 crore to India Post Payments Bank for financial year 2017-18 as it gears up to set up 650 branches across country by September 2017.

125 crore has been allocated as capital infusion into corporate entity for India Post Payments Bank” and Rs 375 crore as grant in aid to India Post Payments Bank (IPPB).

Haryana govt imposes curbs on liquor consumption.

Details :

Haryana government has notified that no person will be allowed to consume liquor at a place which is not licensed or authorized under the Punjab Excise Act, 1914 except his dwelling unit. 

consumption of liquor on or along the road, in a park/garden/market, along a river side as well as in a vehicle, whether running or parked, shall now be an offence.

http://www.business-standard.com/article/pti-stories/haryana-govt-imposes-curbs-on-liquor-consumption-117021400677_1.html

Feb. 14, 2017

59th Annual Grammy Awards.

Details :

The 59th Annual Grammy Awards ceremony was held on February 12, 2017.

It was announced by the Recording Academy announced at the Staples Center in Los Angeles, California.

The ceremony recognized the best recordings, compositions, and artists of the eligibility year, which runs from October 1, 2015 to September 30, 2016.

The nominations were announced on December 6, 2016.

Sandeep Das has joined the league of a few ‘extraordinary’ Indians after winning the prestigious Grammy Awards.

The famous tabla player won Best World Music Album with Yo-Yo Ma at the 59th Grammy Awards.

Winners List:

Record of the year: Hello – Adele

Album of the year: 25 – Adele

Song of the year: Hello – Adele

Best new artist: Chance the Rapper

Best pop solo performance: Hello – Adele

Best pop duo/group performance: Stressed Out – Twenty One Pilots

Best Traditional Pop Vocal Album - Summertime: Willie Nelson Sings Gershwin – Willie Nelson

Best pop vocal album: 25 - Adele

Best dance recording: The Chainsmokers – Don’t Let Me Down 

Best Dance/Electronic Album: Skin – Flume

Best Contemporary Instrumental Album: Culcha Vulcha – Snarky Puppy

Best rock performance: David Bowie – Blackstar

Best metal performance: Megadeth – Dystopia

Best R&B performance: Solange – Cranes In the Sky.

Best R&B song: Maxwell – Lake By the Ocean

Best urban contemporary album: Beyonce – Lemonade

Best rap performance: Chance The Rapper featuring Lil Wayne & 2 Chainz – No Problem.

Best rap/sung performance: Drake – Hotline Bling.

Best rap album: Chance the Rapper – Coloring Book.

Best country solo performance: My Church – Maren MorrisBest rock song: Blackstar – David Bowie

Best Country Duo/Group Performance: "Jolene" – Pentatonix featuring Dolly Parton

Best Country Songl: "Humble and Kind"

Best Country Album: A Sailor's Guide to Earth – Sturgill Simpson

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/59th_Annual_Grammy_Awards

India's Rankings in Different Indexes 2016-17.

Details :

India ranks 130th in 2017 Ease of Doing Business index:

India has been placed at 130th position among the 190 countries in the recently released World Bank’s ease of doing business index for the year 2017.

The index was released as part of the World Bank’s annual report Doing Business 2017: Equal Opportunity for All.

Top 5 Countries: New Zealand (1st), Singapore (2nd), Denmark (3rd), Hong Kong (4th), South Korea (5th).


India ranked 10th in the Foreign Direct Investment (FDI):

India has been ranked 10th in the Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) inflows in the world , as per the latest 2016 World Investment Report by the United Nations Conference for Trade and Development (UNCTAD).

The list is topped by United States followed by Hong kong, China, Ireland, Netherlands, Switzerland, Singapore, Brazil and Canada.


India ranks 39th in 2016-17 Global Competitiveness Index:

India has been ranked 39th among the 138 countries in the 2016-17 Global Competitiveness Index (GCI).

The index was released as part of the World Economic Forum’s (WEF) Global Competitiveness Report for 2016-17.

Key Facts Top 5 Countries: Switzerland (1st), Singapore (2nd), United States (3rd), Netherlands (4th) and Germany (5th).


India ranks 70th on 'Good Country' index 2015:

 India figured ranked 70th position on a list of 163 nations.

According to the 'Good Country' 2015 index which seeks to measure how countries contribute to the global good.

The top 5 best countries: Sweden, Denmark, the Netherlands, the UK, Germany.


India ranks 77th on 2016 World Risk Index:

India has been ranked 77th among the 171 countries in the 2016 World Risk Index (WRI).

The index was released as part of the World Risk Report 2016 released by the United Nations University Institute for Environment (UNUIE) and Human Security (UNU-EHS) and Bundnis Entwicklung Hilft in cooperation with the University of Stuttgart in Germany.


W10 Report 2016:

According to the report by New World Wealth, India has been ranked 7th in the list of top 10 wealthiest countries in the world, which was topped by the United States with total individual wealth of USD 48,700 billion.

Other countries in the top five list are China in the second position with a total individual wealth of USD 17,300 billion, Japan (3rd, USD 15,200 billion), Germany (4th, USD 9,400 billion) and United Kingdom (5th, USD 9,200 billion).

India ranks 133 in 2016 World Press Freedom Index:

2016 World Press Freedom Index (WPFI), India ranked 133rd out of 180 nations surveyed worldwide in terms of press freedom in 2015.

Top 5 Countries: Finland (Rank 1st), Netherlands (2nd), Norway (3rd), Denmark (4th), New Zealand (5th).

India ranks 118th on UN’s World Happiness Index 2016:

India ranked 118th out of 157 countries on the United Nations’ World Happiness Index (WHI) 2016.

It was revealed by the fourth World Happiness Report 2016 published by the Sustainable Development Solutions Network (SDSN), a global initiative for the UN.

Top 5 countries: Denmark (1st), Switzerland (2nd), Iceland (3rd), Norway (4th) and Finland (5th).

India ranks 112th in 2016 World Economic Freedom Index:

India has been ranked 112th out of 159 countries in the 2016 World Economic Freedom Index (WEFI). The index was release as part of the 2016 annual report of the Economic Freedom.

Top 5 Countries in 2016 WEFI: Hong Kong (1st), Singapore (2nd), New Zealand (3rd), Switzerland (4th), Canada (5th).

India ranks 110th on Sustainable Development index:

India has been ranked a low 110th out of 149 countries on Sustainable Development index (SDI).

Top 5 Countries: Sweden (1st), Denmark (2nd), Norway (3rd), Finland (4th), Switzerland (5th).

India ranks 35th in 2016 Logistics Performance Index: World Bank Report.

Bi-annual Logistics Performance Index (LPI) 2016 of World Bank Group, India ranked 35th among 160 countries. The index was published in the World Bank bi-annual report ‘Connecting to Compete 2016.

Top 5 countries in 2016 LPI: Germany (score: 4.23 points), Luxembourg (4.22), Sweden (4.20), Netherlands (4.19) and Singapore (4.14).

India ranks 43rd out of 45 nations in 2017 International Intellectual Property Index:

India ranked low 43rd among the surveyed 45 nations in 2017 International Intellectual Property Index (IIPI).
Top 5 Countries in 2017 IIPI: United States (1st), United Kingdom (2nd), Germany (3rd), Japan (4th), Sweden (5th).

India ranks 92nd in 2017 Global Talent Index:

India was ranked 92nd among 118 countries in the 2017 Global index of talent competitiveness (GTI) list. 

Top 5 Countries: Switzerland (1st), Singapore (2nd), United Kingdom (3rd), United States (4th), Sweden (5th).


India ranked 141 out of 163 countries on 2016 Global Peace Index:


India was ranked 141 on a Global Peace Index (GPI) for year 2016 out of 163 countries, making it less peaceful country.

Top 5 peaceful countries: Iceland (1st), Denmark (2nd), Austria (3rd), New Zealand (4th), Portugal (5th).

70th British Academy Film Awards.

Details :

The 70th British Academy Film Awards,  more commonly known as the BAFTAs, were held on 12 February 2017 at the Royal Albert Hall in London, to honour the best British and international contributions to film in 2016.

Presented by the British Academy of Film and Television Arts (BAFTA), accolades are handed out for the best feature-length film and documentaries of any nationality screened at British cinemas in 2016.

Winners List:

Best Film: La La Land

Best Director: Damien Chazelle (La La Land)

Best Actor In Leading Role: Casey Affleck (Manchester by the Sea)

Best Actress In Leading Role: Emma Stone (La La Land)

Best Actor In Supporting Role : Dev Patel (Lion)

Best  Actress In Supporting Role : Viola Davis (Fences)

Best Original Screenplay: Manchester by the Sea

Best Adapted Screenplay: Lion

Best Original Screenplay: Manchester by the Sea

Best Adapted Screenplay: Lion

Best Cinematography: La La Land

Best Debut by a British Writer, Director or Producer: Babak Anvari (Writer/Director), Emily Leo, Oliver Roskill, Lucan Toh (Producers) for Under the Shadow.

Best Documentary: 13th

Best Original Music: La La Land

Best Sound: Arrival

Best Production Design: Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them

Best Special Visual Effects: The Jungle Book

Best Costume Design: Jackie

Best Make Up and Hair: Florence Foster Jenkins

Best Editing: Hacksaw Ridge

Best Film Not in the English Language: Son of Saul

Best Animated Film: Kubo and the Two Strings

Best  Short Animation: A Love Story

Best Short Film: Home

EE Rising Star Award: Tom Holland

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/70th_British_Academy_Film_Awards

India’s first floating elementary school inaugurated on Manipur’s Loktak Lake.

Details :

India’s first floating elementary school named Loktak Elementary Floating School was inaugurated at Langolsabi Leikai of Champu Khangpok floating village on Loktak Lake in Manipur.

It aims to provide education to drop outs students, who were rendered homeless due to the recent evacuation of phumdis.

The first of its kind loktak floating elementary school. 

It was opened under the initiative undertaken by All Loktak Lake Fisherman’s Union with the support of an NGO People Resources Development Association (PRDA). 

The Loktak Lake is referred as the “lifeline of Manipur” as it is highly productive and many lives depend on the lake for endurance. 

This ancient lake serves as a source of water for hydropower generation, irrigation and drinking water supply.

The lake is also a source of livelihood for the rural fisherman who lives in the surrounding areas and on phumdis, also known as “phumshongs”.

http://indianexpress.com/article/education/indias-first-floating-elementary-school-inaugurated-on-manipurs-loktak-lake-4522383/

DAE plans to develop uranium deposits in Meghalaya: Govt

Details :

The Department of Atomic Energy (DAE) has planned to develop large deposits of uranium in Meghalaya that have the potential to generate substantial nuclear fuel for atomic power plants in the country.

It was announced by Jitendra Singh (In a written reply), Union Minister of State (MoS) in the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO), which looks after DAE, in a written response to a question in the Lok Sabha.

Uranium mineralisation in Meghalaya has been found over a large area around Domiasiat, Wahkyn, Lostoin. 

Environmental clearance for this project has been obtained from the Ministry of Environment Forest and Climate Change in December 2007.

An agreement has also been signed between UCIL and the land owners of the project site in May 2007 for acquisition of land on annual lease rent basis.

At present, the Uranium Corporation of India Limited has uranium mining projects in Jharkhand and Andhra Pradesh.

Reliance Defence signs pact with US Navy.

Details :

Reliance Defence and Engineering Limited (RDEL) has signed a Master Ship Repair Agreement (MSRA) with the US Navy.

The agreement will see warships from the US Navy's Seventh Fleet visiting the Indian facility for complex repair and alteration works. 

Under this agreement, RDEL will maintain the vessels of US Seventh Fleet involving 100 vessels operating in the Indian Ocean.

At present the US Navy uses yards in Singapore and Japan for these works. 

The company expects major work after the signing of the logistics exchange memorandum of agreement (LEMOA) in August 2016 that enables either side to use facilities for refuelling and replenishment. 

http://economictimes.indiatimes.com/news/defence/reliance-defence-signs-warship-repair-pact-with-us-navy/articleshow/57124124.cms

Karnataka assembly passes bill to allow 'Kambala'.

Details :

Karnataka assembly passed a bill to facilitate the conduct of "Kambala", a traditional annual buffalo race in marshy fields, held in the coastal districts of the state.

Karnataka assembly on Monday passed a bill to facilitate the conduct of "Kambala", a traditional annual buffalo race in marshy fields, held in the coastal districts of the state.

In November 2016, the Karnataka high court had banned the kambala along with bull-cart race in the state while hearing a case filed by the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) citing animal cruelty.

The high court had stayed these traditional sports in view of the Supreme Court’s ban on jallikattu, a traditional bull taming sport of Tamil Nadu. 

Kambla in its traditional form is non-competitive with buffalo pairs made to race one after another in paddy fields, which is considered a thanksgiving to the Gods for protecting the animals from diseases.

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/karnataka-assembly-passes-bill-to-allow-kambala/articleshow/57123055.cms

J&K govt launches e-Prison project.

Details :

The Jammu and Kashmir government launched the e-Prison project to enumerate jail inmates in the State, where numbers of detainees keep swelling during unrest.

The government has already digitised records of 500 inmates.

The project will digitise 25 district jails, two Central jails and one sub-jail in the State.

The second phase of the project will focus on videoconferencing between jails and prison headquarters, e-court, tele-medication in jails.

http://www.thehindu.com/todays-paper/tp-national/JK-govt-launches-e-Prison-project/article17299690.ece

11th edition of Aero India begins.

Details :

The 11th biennial edition of the International Aerospace and Defence exhibition Aero India began at the Air Force Station, Yelahanka in Bengaluru, capital city of Karnataka.

It was inaugurated by Union Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar.

The five day event is being organised and conducted by the Defence Exhibition Organisation (DEO).

Nearly 270 Indian and 279 foreign companies from 51 countries are taking part in the expo. 

http://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/bangalore/Live-updates-Aero-India-expo-2017-Day-1/article17300601.ece

Nilesh Shivji Vikamsey elected as new ICAI President.

Details :

The Institute of Chartered Accountants of India (ICAI)appointed CA Nilesh Shivji Vikamsey.

Vikamsey has been a member of the ICAI since 1985. He has served the ICAI Council as a member since 2010 and then as vice-president of the institute in 2016-17

Besides, Naveen N D Gupta was appointed as vice-president.

Gupta has over 20 years of experience in auditing, banking and finance. He has an experience of handling intricate accounting, auditing, corporate governance and finance issues. Gupta has been serving as a Central Council member since 2010.

ICAI is a statutory body established by the Chartered Accountants Act, 1949 for the regulation of the profession of Chartered Accountants in India.

The affairs of the ICAI are managed by a council in accordance with the provisions of the Chartered Accountants Act, 1949 and the Chartered Accountants Regulations, 1988.

http://www.business-standard.com/article/news-ani/nilesh-shivji-vikamsey-elected-as-new-icai-president-117021300128_1.html

Tehmina Janjua becomes Pakistan’s first woman foreign secretary.

Details :

Pakistan’s senior diplomat Tehmina Janjua was appointed as the Foreign Secretary.

With this, she became Pakistan’s first woman Foreign Secretary to UN and Permanent Representative to the UN.

Janjua will replace outgoing foreign secretary Aizaz Ahmad Chaudhry. Tehmina Janjua will assume the post of foreign secretary in the first week of March 2017.

She will serves as the 29th Foreign Secretary of Pakistan.

Previously, she served as Pakistan's Representative to the United Nation's Geneva and as its ambassador to Italy.

http://www.hindustantimes.com/world-news/tehmina-janjua-becomes-pakistan-s-first-woman-foreign-secretary/story-E61KjooiJOTY62zviKUcxI.html

US National Security Adviser Michael Flynn resigns over his contacts with Russia.

Details :

President Donald Trump's national security adviser (NSA), Michael Flynn, resigned after revelations that he had discussed U.S. sanctions on Russia with the Russian ambassador to the United States before Trump took office.

Retired Lieutenant General Joseph Keith Kellogg has been appointed the acting NSA. 

L&T, European co MBDA tie up for missiles.

Details :

Engineering conglomerate Larsen and Toubro (L&T) and European missile major MBDA have announced to set up of a joint venture (JV) to develop and produce new-generation tactical missiles for the Indian armed forces.

In this JV, L&T holds 51% share and the MBDA hold the remaining 49%. 

The joint venture (JV) L&T MBDA Missile Systems Ltd, is expected to be incorporated after necessary approvals in the first half of 2017.

The JV will initially work to develop and supply fifth-generation, anti-tank guided missiles, missiles for coastal defence batteries and high-speed target drones to the Indian forces.

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/business/india-business/lt-european-co-mbda-tie-up-for-missiles/articleshow/57137731.cms

Gujarat Narmada Valley Fertilizers Limited declared India’s first cashless township.

Details :

The National Institution for Transforming India (NITI Ayog) has declared Gujarat Narmada Valley Fertilizers Limited (GNFC) Township at Bharuch as India’s first cashless township.

Around 10,000 people will be benefited by the initiative.

The restaurants, floor mill, pan and cold drink shop, retail outlet, laundry shop, college, schools and sports and recreation clubs within the township are equipped with POS machines for cashless transactions. GNFC has also asked its suppliers, transporters to use cashless method for all transactions.

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/surat/gnfc-countrys-1st-cashless-township/articleshow/57133959.cms

UFC 208: Germaine De Randamie crowned first UFC women’s featherweight champion.

Details :

Germaine de Randamie defeated Holly Holm by unanimous decision in a clinch-filled bout at UFC 208 to become the first UFC women’s featherweight champion.

The featherweight division was newly introduced by the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) in 2016.

http://www.hindustantimes.com/other-sports/ufc-208-germaine-de-randamie-crowned-first-ufc-women-s-featherweight-champion/story-awbfVLYaLdWaCkp993C5bI.html

Sachin Tendulkar adopts another village for transformation.

Details :

 Indian cricket icon and Rajya Sabha MP Sachin Tendulkar is now set to adopt Donja in Osmanabad (Maharashtra) under the Sansad Adarsh Gram Yojna.

Tendulkar has sanctioned over Rs 4 crore from his MPLAD fund for development of Donja.

The amount will be spent on development of a new school building, a water supply scheme that would provide potable water to each household, concrete roads and a sewage line attached to the same, a press release stated.

Previously he adopted and transformed the lives of villagers in Puttamraju Kandriga in Andhra Pradesh.

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/sports/off-the-field/sachin-tendulkar-adopts-another-village-for-transformation/articleshow/57142041.cms

Longest elevated cycle path in the world opens in China.

Details :

The longest elevated bike path in the world has been opened in the Chinese city of Xiamen.

The path is five miles long and 16 feet wide having 11 entrances and connects to 11 bus stops and two underground rail stations.

The route is set to be open from 6.30am to 10.30pm during an initial month-long trial period, and individuals who are without bicycles can hire one of 300 hire bikes along the route.

Feb. 13, 2017

India to host counter-radicalisation conference with ASEAN.

Details :

India is planning to host a conference on counter-radicalisation with the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) in October 2017.

It will provide common platform to countries for sharing experiences and ideas on prevention of radicalisation.

The plan is to share India’s experience and benefit from that of ASEAN countries, especially Malaysia. More countries could be invited as observers depending on the interest.

The UAE is one such country — it has expertise in deradicalisation that was one of the key areas of discussions during the recent bilateral interactions.

http://indianexpress.com/article/india/india-plans-to-host-counter-radicalisation-conference-with-asean-4518638/

INS Sarvekshak becomes India’s first ship to go green.

Details :

Indian Navy’s survey vessel INS Sarvekshak has gone green by installing a solar power system on board. By this it becomes India’s first ship to go green.

The system is 100% reliable for power source that can be used for communication equipment, general lightings onboard and battery charging round the clock with battery outputs during night.

By installing the 5 KW solar power system, the vessel will be able to avoid around 165kg of carbon a day, 60,225 kg of carbon a year plus 22,995 litres of diesel.

The solar power system capable of generating 5.4KW electricity and replacing the ship’s traditional 4.4KW emergency diesel alternator. 

http://www.hindustantimes.com/india-news/ins-sarvekshak-goes-green-solar-power-system-installed-on-board/story-5MsWAocWMezCB2WRTwCwkI.html

February 13: World Radio Day.

Details :

World Radio Day is an observance day held annually on 13 February.

World Radio Day is about celebrating radio, why we love it and why we need it today more than ever.

A day to remember the unique power of radio to touch lives and bring people together across every corner of the globe.

It was proclaimed on 3 November 2011 by UNESCO's 36th General Conference after originally proposed by the Kingdom of Spain.

2017 Theme: “Radio is You”. It is a call for greater participation of audiences and communities in the policy and planning of radio broadcasting.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/World_Radio_Day

Frank-Walter Steinmeier elected President of Germany.

Details :

Germany's parliamentary assembly has elected Frank-Walter Steinmeier, a Social Democrat, as the country's president. He will take office on 19 March 2017, succeeding Joachim Gauck

Frank-Walter Steinmeier  born 5 January 1956.

He previously served as Minister for Foreign Affairs from 2005 to 2009 and again from 2013 to 2017, and as vice chancellor from 2007 to 2009.

He was chairman-in-office of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) in 2016.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Frank-Walter_Steinmeier

FSSAI sets up panel to finalise laws on food fortification.

Details :

The Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) has set up a scientific panel to frame final regulations on fortification of foods and prepare strategies to address malnutrition problem. 

The panel has 11 experts and scientists.

FSSAI has already issued the draft guidelines on fortification for five food items -- salt, milk, wheat flour, rice and edible oil -- to boost production and consumption of fortified foods.

Members from Scientific Panels dealing with food fortifying vehicles such as wheat flour, refined flour, rice, milk, edible oil and salt will also be a part of this committee.

The panel will also address regulatory and related technological issues, review proposals from industry using modern risk assessment methods, and prescribe standard sampling and test methods for effective monitoring, surveillance and enforcement of the relevant regulations.

http://www.deccanchronicle.com/business/in-other-news/120217/fssai-sets-up-panel-to-finalise-laws-on-food-fortification.html

Second edition of International Spice Conference Begins at Thiruvananthapuram.

Details :

The second edition of the International Spice Conference has began at Kovalam in Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala from February 12 - 14, 2017.

It will deliberate on effective strategies and innovative technologies to improve the livelihood of spices farmers and address challenges being faced by the industry. 

The three days conference has been hosted by All India Spices Exporters Forum (AISEF) in association with the Cochin Chamber of Commerce and Industry. 

The theme of the conference is '21st Century Spic Industry-Disrupt or be Disrupted'. 

Sandeep Jajodia appointed Assocham president.

Details :

Monnet Ispat & Energy Ltd. CMD Sandeep Jajodia has been appointed the new president of industry chamber Assocham.

Balkrishan Goenka, Chairman, Welspun Group and Kiran Kumar Grandhi, vice-chairman of GMR Infrastructure Ltd, have taken over as senior vice-president and vice-president respectively.

Assocham will continue to play a transformational role both nationally and globally and the chamber will empower Indian enterprises by focusing on the most critical and relevant issues in a highly impact-oriented manner.

Manga comic art legend Jiro Taniguchi dies at 69 in Japan.

Details :

Jiro Taniguchi, a legend in Japan's comic art of manga, died in Tokyo. He was 69.

He was born  on 14 August 1947.

Taniguchi began his career as an assistant of manga artist Kyota Ishikawa.

He made his manga debut in 1970 with Kareta Heya (A Desiccated Summer), published in the magazine Young Comic.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jiro_Taniguchi

SC extends ban on firecracker sale in Delhi-NCR.

Details :

The Supreme Court on Friday extended its November 2016 ban on the sale and stockpiling of firecrackers in Delhi-NCR despite pleas made by traders to modify the order.

The Bench refused a suggestion by traders to allow them to sell their existing stock outside Delhi-NCR

A Bench of Justices Madan B. Lokur and P.C. Pant further directed the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) to prepare an inventory of existing firecrackers with traders and suggest measures for their disposal.

In November 2016, the court had sent a clear message that religious and wedding celebrations took second place to the basic fundamental right to breathe clean air.

The ban was imposed on the basis of a petition filed last year by three Delhi children immediately after Diwali.

http://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Delhi/SC-extends-ban-on-firecracker-sale/article17287685.ece

US AND JAPAN VOW TO STRENGTHEN DEFENCE, STRATEGIC TIES.

Details :

US and Japan have vowed to work together to strengthen their relationship in defence, strategic ties and agreed to make bilateral trade more fair. 

Decision in this regard was taken after talks between US President Donald Trump and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe in Washington. 

The two leaders announced a three-pronged approach of mutually-reinforcing fiscal, monetary, and structural policies to strengthen domestic and global economic demand.

They discussed opportunities and challenges facing each of their economies and the need to promote inclusive growth and prosperity in their countries, the Asia-Pacific region, and the world. 

The two leaders affirmed the commitment of the US and Japan to the realignment of US forces in Japan, to ensure the long-term, sustainable presence of US forces.

The US army maintains a significant presence on the island of Okinawa and elsewhere in Japan, a key security lynchpin in the vast region

Hindustan Motors sells Ambassador to Peugeot for Rs 80 crore.

Details :

The C K Birla Group-owned Hindustan Motors (HM) has sold Ambassador, the iconic Indian car brand to French carmaker Peugeot.

Hindustan Motors selling it to European auto major Peugeot for Rs 80 crore.

http://www.hindustantimes.com/autos/iconic-car-brand-ambassador-sold-to-peugeot-for-rs-80-crore/story-MAVBJBryElYhWzCf0FqNPN.html

Feb. 12, 2017

India successfully test-fires interceptor missile off Odisha coast.

Details :

India successfully test-fired its home-grown Advanced Air Defence (AAD) interceptor missile from Launch Pad No 4 of the Abdul Kalam Island off Odisha coast.

The test assed missile’s killing capability by intercepting a target, mimicking an incoming enemy missile in mid-air.

The 7.5-metre tall interceptor is a single stage solid rocket propelled guided missile equipped with an inertial navigation system and an electro-mechanical activator totally under command by the data uplinked from the ground-based radar.

The AAD interceptor, dubbed as Ashwin, will destroy the incoming missile in the endo-atmospheric region at a low altitude of less than 30 km.

The success of test has boosted India’s position in the exclusive club of AAD countries United States, Russia and Israel.

India has a double-layered BMD system capable of tracking and destroying hostile missiles both inside (endo) and outside (exo) the earth's atmosphere. 

The first phase BMD system capable of killing enemy missiles fired from 2,000 km away is expected to be inducted in the armed forces soon. Development is on for second phase anti-ballistic missile defence system, capable of destroying enemy missiles fired from 5,000 km away.

India Beat Pakistan To win T20 Blind World Cup.

Details :

India beat Pakistan by 9-wickets to win T20 Blind World Cup at Bengaluru's M Chinnaswamy Stadium. 

India have successfully defended the title they had won in 2012.

Prakash Jayaramaiah became Man-of-the-match for unbeaten 99 runs.

Man-of-the-series Badar Munir for his 570 runs in the tournament.

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/sports/cricket/news/india-beat-pakistan-to-win-second-straight-t20-world-cup-for-blind-title/articleshow/57109471.cms

Govt. sets up inter-departmental task force to crack down on benami firms.

Details :

The Union Government has constituted inter-departmental task force comprising members of various regulatory Ministries and enforcement agencies to crack down on benami firms. 

It is first major post-demonetisation move undertaken by Government for unearthing black money from shell companies used for large-scale money laundering and tax evasion.

The task force has been constituted under the co-chairmanship of the Revenue Secretary and the Corporate Affairs Secretary to monitor the actions taken by various agencies.

The agencies will invoke the stringent Benami Transactions (Prohibition) Amendment Act against the shell companies, freeze their accounts and strike off the names of dormant companies.

Disciplinary action will be initiated against professionals abetting the companies and entry operators, who are used to launder unaccounted-for incomes into the banking system for projecting them as white money.

There are about 15 lakh registered companies in India and only 6 lakh of them file their annual returns, raising suspicion that a large number of these companies are indulging in financial irregularities.

http://www.thehindu.com/news/national/Govt.-sets-up-inter-departmental-task-force-to-crack-down-on-benami-firms/article17285457.ece

National Productivity Week Celebrations from Feb 12-18, 2017 .

Details :

National Productivity Week’ is celebrated from 12th-18th February every year.

The theme chosen for this year’s observance is “From Waste to Profits-through Reduce, Recycle and Reuse”. 

National Productivity Council, an autonomous body under Department of Industrial Policy & Promotion, Ministry of Commerce & Industry, Government of India was established on 12th February, 1958.

With the objective of stimulating and promoting productivity and quality consciousness across all sectors in the country. 

http://pib.nic.in/newsite/PrintRelease.aspx?relid=158385

Neelu Rohmetra is the first woman to be appointed director of an IIM at Sirmaur.

Details :

The government  appointed 10 heads of IIMs which includes Dr. Neelu Rohmetra. The tenure of a new director will be for five years or until they turn 65 years of age.

The government appointed directors in IIM Bodhgaya, IIM Sirmaur, IIM Visakhapatnam, IIM Trichy, IIM Nagpur, IIM Sambalpur, IIM Raipur, IIM Rohtak, IIM Ranchi and IIM Bangalore.

Dr. Neelu Rohmetra of Jammu University is the first woman to be appointed director of an IIM at Sirmaur. 

Dr. Neelu Rohmetra is specializing in Human Resource Development, Organisation Behaviour, Change Management and Cross-Cultural Management and has been working as  Professor of Management for the last 12 years in the Jammu University Business School in which she joined as an Assistant Professor in Management Studies in 1989. 


http://www.ndtv.com/education/dr-neelu-rohmetra-first-woman-indian-institute-of-management-director-1658359

Yusuf Pathan to feature in Hong Kong T20 League.

Details :

Yusuf Pathan has become the first Indian male cricketer to sign a deal with an overseas franchise-based T20 league. 

He was unveiled by Kowloon Cantons for the second edition of the Hong Kong Twenty20 League, which is scheduled to run from March 8 to 12, 2017.

R Ashwin becomes fastest to 250 Test wickets.

Details :

R Ashwin, on Sunday, became the fastest bowler to get to 250 wickets  With the dismissal of Bangladesh batsman Mushfiqur Rahim. 

Ashwin achieved the feat in his 45th Test.

The previous record of 48 by Australian pacer Dennis Lillee. 

 Ashwin will become India's fifth highest wicket-taker in Test cricket.

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/sports/cricket/bangladesh-in-india/india-v-bangladesh-r-ashwin-becomes-fastest-to-250-test-wickets/articleshow/57107038.cms

Govt approves single exam for engineering and architecture across India from 2018.

Details :

The Centre has approved the proposal for a single entrance exam for engineering and architecture at the undergraduate level from 2018.

It has been done on lines of the National Eligibility-Cum-Entrance Test (NEET), a single, all-India test for entry to medical and dental colleges launched in 2016.

The Union human resource development ministry has asked the All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE) to issue a "suitable regulation" for the implementation of the proposal from the academic year 2018-19.

The test will, however, not include admissions to IITs, which will continue to hold their own entrance exams. IITs, unlike private and state colleges, are not seen to be affected by fluctuating standards and admission processes.

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/home/education/news/now-single-entrance-test-for-engineering-architecture-seats-from-2018/articleshow/57090829.cms

Andhra Pradesh Government constitutes 33 member committee for Sagarmala Project.

Details :

A 33 member committee has been constituted under the chairmanship of Andhra Pradesh’s Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu for the speedy implementation of the Sagarmala Project in Andhra Pradesh.

Sagarmala project aims to improve the state’s  coastline and inland waterways.

Haryana CM Manohar Lal lays foundation stones of 21 govt colleges.

Details :

The chief minister of Haryana Manohar Lal has laid the foundation stones of 21 government colleges to be set up in 13 districts of the state from Chandigarh through video conferencing.

These buildings will cost about Rs 276 crore and would be disabled-friendly. 

These colleges are to be constructed at Manesar in Gurugram, Jundla, Taraori and Assandh in Karnal, Kurukshetra, Unhani and Chhilro in Mahendragarh, Kalanwali and Rania in Sirsa, Mohna, Mandkola and Nacholi in Faridabad, Bilaspur and Radaur in Yamunanagar, Badoli in Palwal, Raipur Rani in Panchkula, Bhuna in Fatehabad and Punhana in Nuh district. 

http://www.business-standard.com/article/pti-stories/khattar-lays-foundation-stones-of-21-colleges-via-video-conf-117021000988_1.html

Feb. 11, 2017

Quantitative Aptitude Sectional Tests (Premium Package) :

Details :

Good Morning Members , we are planning to launch a premium sectional test package for "Quantitative Aptitude" covering all the topics listed below. Though we have planned to launch it in the 1st week of April (as discussed with the institutes with whom we have ties ) but due to early notification of SBI PO, we will start the tests from 15th of March and all the tests will be available by 30th April. 

Please have a look at the topics noted below and kindly let us know if there is any topic which we missed.

1. Number System

2. Sequence & Series

3. Simplification

4. Simplification by approximation

5. Surds & Indices

6. Square & Cube roots

7. HCF & LCM

8. Fractions

9. Average

10. Percentage

11. Profit and Loss

12. Partnership

13. Ratio & Proportion

14. Mixture and Alligations

15. Problem based on Ages

16. Chain rule/ unitary method

17. Simple & Compound Interest

18. Time & Work

19. Pipe & Cistern problems

20. Time, Speed & Distance

21. Problems on Trains

22. Problems on boat and streams

23. Linear Equations

24. Quadratic Equations 

25. Inequalities

26. Set Theory

27. Function

28. Maxima and Minima

29. Logarithm

30. Geometry

31. Mensuration

32. Co-ordinate geometry

33. Trigonometry

34. Height & Distances

35. Permutations and Combinations

36. Probability

37. Problems on Clock

38. Problems on Calendars

39. Races and Games

40. Data Sufficiency

Kindly comment below if you find any topic missing  

- Thanks.

India ranks 43 out of 45 countries in USCC intellectual property index.

Details :

India ranked 43rd out of 45 nations in 2017 International Intellectual Property Index (IIPI),Just above Pakistan, which was added to the index this year, and Venezuela.

The fifth annual index was released by US Chamber of Commerce’s Global Intellectual Property Centre (GIPC) in its report titled ‘The Roots of Innovation’.

Top 10 Countries in 2017 IIPI:

United States (1st),

United Kingdom (2nd),

Germany (3rd),

Japan (4th),

Sweden (5th),

France (6th),

Switzerland (7th),

Singapore (8th),

South Korea (9th) and

Italy (10th).

http://economictimes.indiatimes.com/news/economy/indicators/india-ranks-43rd-out-of-45-nations-in-ip-environment-report/articleshow/57043325.cms

Senior IAS officer Ajay Tyagi appointed Sebi chief for five years.

Details :

The Appointments Committee of the Cabinet (ACC) has appointed senior IAS Officer Ajay Tyagi (58) as the new chairman of the Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI).

He will succeed Upendra Kumar Sinha, whose extended tenure ends on March 1, 2017.

Mr. Tyagi will have tenure of 5 years or till the age of 65 years or until further orders.

Tyagi, a 1984 batch IAS officer of Himachal Pradesh cadre, is at present Additional Secretary (Investment) in the Department of Economic Affairs and handles capital market, among others.

http://www.business-standard.com/article/markets/senior-ias-officer-ajay-tyagi-appointed-sebi-chief-for-five-years-117021000938_1.html

Pakistan’s naval exercise Aman 2017 begins in Karachi.

Details :

The Pakistan Navy has kicked of  multinational AMAN 2017 naval exercise in Karachi, Pakistan. with 37 countries taking part in the event.

Aman-17 is the fifth such exercise which Pakistan has been holding every alternate year since 2007.

In all, 37 countries, including Australia, China, Indonesia, Turkey, Sri Lanka, UK, US, Japan and Russia, are participating in the exercise.

The theme of AMAN 2017 is “together for peace”. It is intended to devise procedures and techniques against conventional and non-conventional threats.

Shri Ananthkumar inaugurates Orientation Programme for launching of 1000 Pradhan Mantri Bhartiya Janaushadhi Kendras (PMBJKs).

Details :

The union Chemicals and Fertilizers Minister Ananth Kumar has inaugurated orientation programme for launching of one thousand Pradhan Mantri Bhartiya Janaushadhi Kendras in New Delhi.

The workshop was targeted to educate and channelize youth to synergize their efforts for taking ahead the mission to open 3000 PMBJKs by March 2017.

The MoU signed earlier between Bureau of Pharma PSUs of India (BPPI) and NYCS for establishing 1000 PMBJKs in the country, the workshop served the purpose of laying the details of the Pradhan Mantri Bhartiya Janaushadhi Pariyojana (PMBJP) threadbare and presented a future model of a PMBJK before the district conveners of NYCS.

Representatives from 24 States and 106 districts from across the country attended the programme to further help spread the scheme in their respective zones and bring momentum in opening of PMBJKs.

http://pib.nic.in/newsite/PrintRelease.aspx?relid=158371

Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi inaugurates 2nd edition of 'Hunar Haat' in New Delhi.

Details :

Union Minister of State for Minority Affairs (Independent Charge) and Parliamentary Affairs Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi inaugurated the second edition of “Hunar Haat”.

It is being organized by the Minority Affairs Ministry to encourage, promote and provide national and international market to master artisans/craftsmen belonging to the Minority communities from across the country.

With the theme “Craft Aur Cuisine Ka Sangam”.

The second “Hunar Haat” is being organized from 11th to 26th February, 2017 at State Emporia Complex, Baba Kharak Singh Marg, Connaught Place, New Delhi.

100 artisans and 30 culinary experts from about 24 states and UTs are participating at about 130 stalls in it.

http://pib.nic.in/newsite/mbErel.aspx?relid=158391

Sports Ministry Launches Mission XI Million in New Delhi.

Details :

Union sports ministry has launched ‘Mission XI million’, the biggest school sports outreach programme. 

The programme will encourage children to play football and the approach is to work with school principals and sports teachers and encourage and incentivise them to make children play football games on a regular basis.

The program will be rolled out in every state and the initial activity has already started. Vying to reach out to over 37 cities and 12,000 schools across all 29 states of India, the initiative will focus on games that can be adapted to different field sizes and conditions, with special emphasis on small-sided games. 

It is divided into three phases: Seminars for teacher and educators, in-school activities and football festivals, which will run up to September 2017.

http://www.newindianexpress.com/sport/football/2017/feb/11/with-fifa-u-17-in-india-centre-launches-mission-xi-million-1569321.html

I&B Team Win Inter-Ministry Hockey Tournament 2016-17.

Details :

The Ministry of Information and Broadcasting (I&B) Hockey Team has won the inter-ministry Hockey tournament 2016-17 at the Central Secretariat Ground Vinay Marg, New Delhi.

They beat Ministry of Health in the final match.

Most entertaining player Chandan Singh was declared Player of the match.

Sudarsan Pattnaik creates Guinness World Record for making tallest sand castle.

Details :

Famous sand artist Sudarsan Pattnaik on Saturday created a Guinness World Record by building the world’s tallest sand castle which is 48 feet and 8 inch (14.84 metre) at the Puri beach, Odisha.

The previous Guinness record was reserved in the name of American artist Ted Siebert, who had built a 13.97 metre high (45 ft) sand castle at Miami beach in 2015. 

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/bhubaneswar/sudarsans-tallest-sand-castle-storms-into-guinness-world-records/articleshow/57084260.cms

GMR Hyderabad Airport bags CAPA award.

Details :

GMR Hyderabad International Airport Ltd, which operates Rajiv Gandhi International Airport, has won the Centre for Asia Pacific Aviation (CAPA) Chairman’s Order of Merit for its focus on environmental sustainability and becoming the first airport in Asia Pacific to become carbon neutral.

Airports Council International (ACI) has certified Hyderabad International Airport with Level 3+ Neutrality under its Airport Carbon Accreditation programme.

CAPA India is a specialist aviation consulting and research practice in South Asia, with the region’s largest team of analysts and a portfolio of more than 125 advisory and research projects.

http://www.thehindubusinessline.com/economy/logistics/gmr-hyderabad-airport-bags-capa-award/article9534059.ece

Feb. 10, 2017

Govt to open 56 Post Office Passport Seva Kendra facilities.

Details :

The Government has decided to open 56 Post Office Passport Seva Kendras (POPSK) at different locations in various states for delivering passport related services to the people. 

The ministry of external affairs and the department of posts had earlier decided to join hands to deliver passport- related services to the citizens.

MEA and department of posts are working closely for the early commencement of passport-related services at such Kendras located in various states including Andhra Pradesh, Bihar, Chhattisgarh, Haryana, Jharkhand and West Bengal.

The pilot project between the MEA and Department of Posts had started in Mysuru and Dahod (Gujarat), on January 25.

With the successful operationalisation of these two pilot projects, the Government has now decided to scale up this programme, by opening 56 POPSKs.

http://www.hindustantimes.com/india-news/govt-to-open-56-post-office-passport-seva-kendra-facilities/story-zXHMeSEkRzEDRAycE7RMaL.html

Aadhaar mandatory for availing subsidised foodgrains from PDS.

Details :

The Government has made Aadhaar card mandatory for receiving subsidised foodgrains under National Food Security Act (NFSA) 2013 from all Public Distribution Scheme (PDS) shops with a view to better target ₹1.4 lakh crore subsidy under the food security law.

The government has given time to those not having the biometric-based unique identification number to apply for Aadhaar by June 30.

Till Aadhaar is assigned to the beneficiaries, the government said foodgrains would be provided on production of ration card and either Aadhaar enrolment ID slip or copy of his/her request made to State government for Aadhaar enrolment along with any of the 8 documents — 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 Department of Posts, Kisan Photo Passbook and any other document as specified by State/UT Governments.

http://www.thehindu.com/news/national/Aadhaar-mandatory-for-availing-subsidised-foodgrains-from-PDS/article17278536.ece

Centre appoints 3 directors to RBI central board.

Details :

The Centre  appointed three part-time non-official directors on the Reserve Bank of India’s Central Board for a four-year term.

The Central Government has nominated Dr. Rajiv Kumar, Dr. Ashok Gulati and Shri Manish Sabharwal as directors on the Central Board of the Reserve Bank of India for a period of four years.

Manish Sabharwal is a businessman and entrepreneur, who is currently the chairman of Teamlease, which he co-founded. Prior to this, he also co-founded India Life, a human resource outsourcing company.

Mr. Kumar is a senior fellow at the Centre for Policy Research and has authored several books on India’s economy. He is also currently chancellor of the Gokhale Institute of Economics and Politics in Pune and is also the founding director of Pahle India Foundation, a non-profit research organisation.

Mr. Gulati is currently the Infosys Chair Professor for Agriculture at the Indian Council for Research on International Economic Relations (ICRIER). Prior to that, he was the chairman of the Commission for Agricultural Costs and Prices (CACP), the body responsible for recommending Minimum Support Prices (MSPs) of agri-commodities to the government.

The Cabinet also approved the proposal by the Department of Financial Services for appointment of three members on the local board of the RBI.

These include Prasanna Kumar Mohanty (Southern Local Board), Vallabh Roopchand Bhanshali (Western Local Board) and Sunil Mitra (Eastern Local Board), each of whom have been appointed for a period of four years.

http://www.thehindu.com/business/Economy/Centre-appoints-3-directors-to-RBI-central-board/article17278720.ece

India and UK inked a pact to ease restrictions on number of scheduled flights.

Details :

India and the UK have inked a pact to ease restrictions on the number of scheduled flights between the two countries.

The MoU was formally signed by Union Minister of Civil Aviation Pusapati Ashok Gajapathi Raju on behalf of India and Lord Tariq Ahmad of UK during his visit to India.

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.

The increase in number of flights between the UK and India is encouraging news for our businesses and tourists.

This agreement will bring direct and indirect benefits to many sectors of the economies of our two countries.

http://www.business-standard.com/article/pti-stories/india-uk-to-ease-restrictions-on-number-of-flights-117020901409_1.html

Kerala’s Nilambur teak to get GI tag.

Details :

Nilambur teak will soon be added to the select list of Kerala produce with GI (geographical indication) tag.

IPR Cell of the Kerala Agricultural University (KAU) with the support of the Nilambur Teak Heritage Society, the Kerala Forest Research Institute (KFRI) and the Department of Forests have applied for GI tag.

The British identified the superior quality of the teak grown in the Nilambur plantations and forests and the region became the major supplier of timber in the world.

Nilambur was christened the Mecca of teak and tonnes of timber was taken to London and other parts of the world. The Nilambur- Shoranur Railway line was laid for transporting the logs.

The GI tag is an indication which is definite to a geographical territory. It is used for agricultural, natural and manufactured goods. For a product to get GI tag, the goods need to be produced or processed or prepared in that region. It is also essential that the product has special quality or reputation.

http://www.newindianexpress.com/states/kerala/2017/feb/10/nilambur-teak-too-to-get-gi-tag-1568979.html

ISRO develops Telemetry and Telecommand Processor

Details :

The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) has indigenously developed Telemetry & Telecommand Processor (TTCP) and its productionisation will be initiated with the help of Indian industry.

The processor, whose indigenous development was taken up by ISRO as part of 'Make in India' campaign, replaces the expensive imported equipment.

TTCP will be used in Integrated Spacecraft Testing of Low Earth Orbit, Geostationary Orbit and Interplanetary Spacecraft, ISRO.

It is configurable to meet uplink and downlink requirements of both CCSDS (Consultative Committee for Space Data Systems) and ISRO standards and multiple clients to remotely access for data and monitoring.

This indigenously developed Processor was successfully deployed for the first time in checkout of GSAT-19, which is scheduled to be launched shortly.

TTCP has been developed by Bengaluru based of ISRO Satellite Centre (ISAC). Besides, Spacecraft Checkout Group of ISAC is responsible for testing it.

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/home/science/isro-develops-telemetry-and-telecommand-processor/articleshow/57043868.cms

Govt approves Revenue Insurance Scheme for plantation crops.

Details :

The Union Ministry of Commerce and Industry has approved pilot Revenue Insurance Scheme for Plantation Crops (RISPC) for protecting the growers from the risks such as pest attacks, yield loss and income decline caused by fall in prices.

It was announced by Union Minister of State (MoS) Commerce and Industry Nirmala Sitharaman in a written reply to the Rajya Sabha.

The Price Stabilization Fund (PSF) Scheme, 2003 was closed on September 30, 2013 and Revenue Insurance Scheme for Plantation Crops (RISPC) is an improved form of the PSF.

RISPC was approved on September 16 in 2016 and will be implemented on a pilot basis for two years covering tea, coffee, rubber, cardamom and tobacco in eight districts in West Bengal, Kerala, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, Assam, Sikkim and Tamil Nadu by the commodity boards. 

On the basis of performance of the scheme in pilot project, it will be considered for extension to other districts.

http://economictimes.indiatimes.com/news/economy/agriculture/govt-approves-revenue-insurance-scheme-for-plantation-crops/articleshow/57040809.cms

Government unveils first phase of Station Redevelopment Programme.

Details :

Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu unveiled the first phase of the Station Redevelopment Programme as part of which tenders are being floated for 23 of a total of 400 stations set to get a facelift.

It is the world’s largest transit-oriented development programme ever executed.

Stations being modernised in this phase include Lokmanya Tilak, Pune, Thane, Visakhapatnam, Howrah, Kamakhya, Faridabad, Jammu Tawi, Udaipur City, Secunderabad, Vijaywada, Ranchi, Chennai Central, Kozhikode, Yesvantpur, Bangalore Cantt, Bhopal, Mumbai Central, Bandra Terminus, Borivali and Indore.

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/business/india-business/prabhu-launches-railway-station-redevelopment-programme/articleshow/57063509.cms

MRI pioneer and Nobel laureate Sir Peter Mansfield dies

Details :

English physicist and Nobel laureate Sir Peter Mansfield who had developed Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) passed away. He was 83. 

Sir Peter Mansfield  was born  on 9 October 1933.

He was awarded the 2003 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine, shared with Paul Lauterbur, for discoveries concerning Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI).

Mansfield was a professor at the University of Nottingham.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Peter_Mansfield

At least 39,000 Pakistani nationals deported from Saudi Arabia in 4 months.

Details :

Saudi Arabia has deported more than 39,000 Pakistanis in the past four months because the Pakistani nationals had violated rules of residence and work.

Pakistanis were held in the crimes of drug trafficking, thefts, forgery and physical assault.

They are 82 Pakistani suspects of terror and security issues who are currently held in intelligence prisons.

http://indianexpress.com/article/world/saudi-arabia-deports-39000-pakistanis-in-4-months-report-4512356/

Hemant Bhargava appointed as LIC's MD.

Details :

Hemant Bhargava was today appointed Managing Director of state-owned Life Insurance Corporation (LIC) of India.

He is at present LIC’s Zonal Manager, Delhi.

The top LIC management consists of the Chairman and three Managing Directors.

Bhargava’s appointment to the post till his superannuation, i.e., July 31, 2019, 

Official mascot of FIFA U-17 World Cup unveiled.

Details :

The official mascot of  FIFA Under-17 World Cup India 2017 'Kheleao' was unveiled at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium in New Delhi.

A clouded leopard called Kheleo, was introduced to hundreds of football fans.The clouded leopard is an endangered wild cat whose habitat extends from the Himalayan foothills to mainland Southeast Asia.

Kheleo will participate in numerous activities in the run-up to the first-ever FIFA tournament to be hosted by India, which will be played from October 6 to 28 2017.

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/sports/football/top-stories/official-mascot-of-fifa-u-17-world-cup-unveiled/articleshow/57079051.cms

Feb. 9, 2017

81st National Badminton Championship Winners.

Details :

Sourabh Verma has won the men’s singles title in the 81st Senior National Badminton Championships tournament,  he defeated Lakshya Sen by 21-13, 21-12 score.

Rituparna Das won the Women’s Singles title by defeating Reshma Karthik by 21-12, 21-14 score.

Duo of Aparna Balan and Prajakta Sawant won women's doubles title by defeating the pair of Shikha Gautam and Sanyogita Ghorpade by 21-9, 21-11 score.

Duo of Satwik Sai Raj and Chirag Shetty won men's doubles title by defeating Nand Gopal K and Sanyam Shukla by 21-17, 16-21 and 21-16 score.

Duo of Satwik Sai Raj and Maneesha K won mixed doubles title by defeating the pair of Venkat Gaurav Prasad and Juhi Dewangan by 21-14, 21-18 score.

http://indianexpress.com/article/sports/badminton/sourabh-varma-ends-lakshya-sens-dream-run-wins-mens-national-title-4513003/

Cabinet approves MoU between India and Senegal in the field of Health and Medicine.

Details :

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. 

Hyderabad surgeon Raghu Ram wins B C Roy award.

Details :

Dr P Raghu Ram, president of Association of Breast Surgeons of India, has won the prestigious Dr B C Roy national award for 'outstanding service in the field of socio medical relief' for 2016. 

The award will be conferred on him by President Pranab Mukherjee on the occasion of the Doctors day observed every year on 1st July.

He is claimed to be the youngest surgeon ever from the Telugu states (Andhra Pradesh and Telangana) to receive this award.

The award recognises Dr Ram's significant contribution towards improving the delivery of breast health care in India, and equally, creating the much needed awareness about importance of early detection of breast cancer in Telangana and Andhra Pradesh through a number of initiatives.

http://www.business-standard.com/article/pti-stories/hyderabad-surgeon-raghu-ram-wins-b-c-roy-award-117020800617_1.html

Cabinet apprised of India-Vietnam space agreement.

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The Union Cabinet 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 on cooperation in the exploration and usage of outer space for peaceful purposes was signed during the Prime Minister's visit to Vietnam in September 2016.

The agreement would enable the two countries to explore the potential interest areas of cooperation in the space science, technology and applications like remote sensing, satellite communication and navigation and other areas.

http://www.business-standard.com/article/news-ians/cabinet-apprised-of-india-vietnam-space-agreement-117020801476_1.html

Cabinet apprised of MoU between India and France in the field of Science, Technology and Innovation.

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The Union Cabinet has been apprised of the signing of the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) of Cooperation in the field of Science and Technology and innovation.

The MoU was signed between India’s Technology Development Board (TDB), Department of Science & Technology and France’s public Investment Bank Bpifrance.

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.

http://pib.nic.in/newsite/PrintRelease.aspx?relid=158290 

RBI to set up separate Enforcement Department.

Details :

The Reserve Bank of India will set up enforcement department to effectively monitor banks in case they violate regulations.

The RBI has decided to establish a separate Enforcement Department which will start operations from April 1, 2017. 

Currently each department of the RBI takes action against banks for violations of rules.

This will help RBI follow-up and maintain a record on banks performance.

Enforcement will deal with cases of non-compliance with regulations noticed either through the surveillance process or otherwise.

Regulation, surveillance and enforcement are three important facets of financial sector oversight mechanism.

Regulations determine the framework in which financial entities function so that prudence, transparency, and comparability are ensured on the one hand and customer interests are protected on the other.

Surveillance is the process through which adherence to the regulations is monitored.

Currently, in the Reserve Bank, there is a clear demarcation of the regulatory and surveillance functions which is not the case with enforcement of rules. 

http://economictimes.indiatimes.com/news/economy/policy/rbi-to-set-up-separate-enforcement-department/articleshow/57039671.cms

RBI to set up panel to strengthen security.

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The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) decided to set up an inter-disciplinary panel on cybersecurity to examine various threats and suggest measures to deal with it.

Panle is being set up in a bid to strengthen cyber security system

The panel will review the threats inherent in the existing or emerging technology on an ongoing basis.

It will also study adoption of various security standards/protocols and also act as the interface with stakeholders.

The committee will suggest appropriate policy interventions to strengthen cybersecurity and resilience.

RBI has issued guidelines to banks, mandating cybersecurity preparedness for addressing cyber risks.

In biggest-ever breach of debit card data, as many as 3.2 million cards were compromised  in 2016. 641 customers across 19 banks were duped of Rs 1.3 crore using stolen debit card data.

There are around 750 million debit cards operational in India, of which 190 million are indigenously developed by RuPay while the rest are Visa- and MasterCard-enabled

http://www.business-standard.com/article/finance/rbi-to-set-up-panel-to-strengthen-security-117020900024_1.html

Mohamed Abdullahi Farmajo elected Somalia's president.

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Somalia's Parliament elected former Prime Minister Mohamed Abdullahi Farmajo, a dual US-Somali citizen, as the country's new president.

Mohamed Abdullahi "Farmajo"  born 5 May, 1962 is a Somali diplomat, professor and politician who is the current 9th President of Somalia.

He was previously Prime Minister of Somalia from November 2010 until June 2011 and is the founder and Chairman of the Tayo Political Party.

He became the President of Somalia after winning the the 2017 Somali presidential election with 184 votes out of a total of 328.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mohamed_Abdullahi_Mohamed

Russia banned from London World Athletics Championships: IAAF.

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Russia banned from World Athletics Championships in London after their doping ban was extended.

It was announced by world governing body president Sebastien Coe. 

Russia has been barred from international competition since November 2015 following a damaging report alleging that state-sponsored doping was rife in the country.

The ban had already been extended in March and then June 2016, preventing Russia’s athletes from competing at the Rio Olympics.

http://www.hindustantimes.com/other-sports/russia-banned-from-london-world-athletics-championships-iaaf/story-av2LhwaVp6X5flcdamwA3L.html

Jeff Sessions as next US Attorney General.

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The Senate voted to confirm Sen. Jeff Sessions of Alabama as the next attorney general.

The 52-47 vote was mostly along party lines, though one Democrat, Sen. Joe Manchin, joined the Republicans to back their Alabama colleague.

About Jeff Sessions:

Jefferson Beauregard "Jeff" Sessions III (born December 24, 1946) is an American politician who is the 84th Attorney General of the United States.

Sessions served as the junior United States Senator from Alabama from 1997 until 2017, and is a member of the Republican Party.

From 1981 to 1993, he served as U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Alabama.

Sessions was nominated to be a judge of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Alabama, but his nomination failed due to allegations that he had made racially insensitive remarks and criticism over his record on civil rights.

Sessions was elected Attorney General of Alabama in 1994, and to the U.S. Senate in 1996, being re-elected in 2002, 2008, and 2014.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jeff_Sessions

Feb. 8, 2017

6th bi-monthly monetary policy review - RBI

Details :

The Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) of the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) headed by RBI Governor Urjit Patel has kept the key policy rates unchanged.

It was the sixth bi-monthly and last policy for the financial year 2016-17.

Repo rate under the liquidity adjustment facility (LAF): Unchanged at 6.25 %.

Reverse repo rate under the LAF: Unchanged at 5.75 %.

Marginal standing facility (MSF): Unchanged at 6.75 %.

Cash Reserve Ratio (CRR) : Unchanged 4 %.

Statutory Liquidity Ratio (SLR): Unchanged 20.75 %.

Bank Rate: Unchanged at 6.75 %.

The RBI has lowered the FY17 Gross Value Added (GVA) projection to 6.9% from the existing 7.1%. For FY18, the central bank has projected the GVA at 7.4%, with risks evenly balanced around it. 

http://www.business-standard.com/article/markets/rates-unchanged-here-are-5-key-highlights-of-rbi-s-monetary-policy-117020800612_1.html

India will host the first meeting of national security advisers of BIMSTEC countries.

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India will host the first meeting of national security advisers of BIMSTEC (Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation) countries in the coming months to cooordinate action against terrorism, extremism and radicalization.

This was offered by India at the BIMSTEC senior officials meeting in Kathmandu.

India’s offer comes as concerns about the growth of radicalization of ethic Rohingyas of Myanmar by Pakistani terror group Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) in recent months.

This issue was part of the conversation between Indian leadership and NSA Ajit Doval and the Myanmar NSA U Thaung Tun, who visited India recently.

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/india-will-host-the-first-meeting-of-national-security-advisers-of-bimstec-countries/articleshow/57024977.cms

Supreme Court Issues Contempt Notice To Calcutta High Court's Justice Karnan.

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For the first time, the Supreme Court today issued contempt notice to a sitting high court judge, Justice CS Karnan for levelling allegations against former judges of the Supreme Court and sitting judges of Madras High Court.

A seven-Judge bench headed by Chief Justice of India Justice JS Khehar and comprising of all senior judges - that is hearing the contempt case suo motu - also ordered that no judicial and administrative work be given to him.

http://www.ndtv.com/india-news/in-a-first-supreme-court-issues-contempt-notice-to-calcutta-high-court-judge-1657157

PSU banks to join BHIM by February-end.

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The National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI) has announced that all Public Sector Banks (PSBs) will be joining the Bharat Interface for Money (BHIM) mobile application for digital payments by end of February 2017.

It was Introduced by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in late December 2016, the BHIM app enables digital transactions using the Unified Payments Interface (UPI) and has been downloaded by 13.8 million users by the end of January. However, just 3.6 million users have linked the app to their bank account.

http://www.thehindu.com/business/Economy/PSU-banks-to-join-BHIM-by-February-end/article17242836.ece

China becomes world’s largest solar energy producer.

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China has become the world’s largest producer of solar energy,  according to a new report from the country’s energy administration.

China's National Energy Administration announced that their photovoltaic (PV) capacity reached an impressive 77.42 gigawatts.

Germany, the former global solar-power leader, produced 40.78 gigawatts in November 2016.

The NEA claims that 11 % of China's energy use comes from renewable supplies such as solar and wind power. China also leads the world in wind-powered energy.

Beijing intends to get its total renewables number up to 20 % by 2030, and plans to spend some 2.5 trillion yuan ($364 billion) to make that a reality.

US makes changes in defence export control laws to benefit India.

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United States (US) has made changes in its export control laws that will benefit India by facilitating smoother transfer of technologies and arms. 

The new rule that makes necessary changes in the export control laws "creates a presumption of approval" for Indian companies seeking to import Commerce Department-controlled military items, except Weapons of Mass Destruction-related goods. 

The new rule also amends the law so that companies will not need a license at all after becoming a Validated End User (VEU). 

http://economictimes.indiatimes.com/news/economy/foreign-trade/us-makes-changes-in-export-control-laws-to-benefit-india/articleshow/57017564.cms

Arunachal Pradesh Government introduces Arunachal Civil Service Award.

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CM Pema Khandu has introduced Arunachal Civil Service Awards for excellence in public administration.

The award aims to encourage good governance in the State by the government employees.

The award consists of a medal, a scroll, and a cash award of Rs 1 lakh for an individual and Rs 5 lakhs for an organization, group, team.

Indian National Army veteran Nizamuddin dies at 116.

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Indian National Army (INA) veteran ‘Colonel’ Nizamuddin died in  Azamgarh district’s Dhakwa village, Uttar Pradesh. He was 116.

He was a close associate of Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose. He was Born in 1901 and had served as a driver-cum-guard of Bose after the INA was formed in 1942. 

He also accompanied Bose during his trips to Japan, Thailand, Malaysia and Singapore.

Freedom fighter Racharla Samrajyam passes away.

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Freedom fighter Racharla Samrajyam passed away following age-related illness at Visakhapatnam, Andhra Pradesh. She was 98.

Samrajyam was born to Goparaju Venkata Subba Rao and Rajyalakshmi at Rajahmundry on April 26, 1919. She was social reformer Gora’s younger sister.

Samrajyam was inspired by the Quit India Movement, when she was undergoing Hindi Pracharak training at Anantapur in 1942. She quit the training programme and joined the Quit India Movement.

She was arrested in Bezawada and imprisoned in Raya Vellore Jail for six months.

http://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Visakhapatnam/Freedom-fighter-passes-away/article17206271.ece

Union Cabinet approves Pradhan Mantri Gramin Digital Saksharta Abhiyan for rural digital literacy.

Details :

The Union Cabinet has approved 'Pradhan Mantri Gramin Digital Saksharta Abhiyan' (PMGDISHA) to make 6 crore rural households digitally literate.

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 percent of rural households have a computer. This highlights that more than 15 crore rural households (at 94 percent of 16.85 crore households) do not have computers and a significant number of these households are likely to be digitally illiterate.

http://pib.nic.in/newsite/PrintRelease.aspx?relid=158292

Arunachal Becomes First NE State to Implement e-Cabinet Solution.

Details :

Arunachal Pradesh became the first state in the northeast to implement e-Cabinet solution for the state cabinet members.

Using this system, the cabinet members can access the cabinet notes before the meeting. The entire business of the Cabinet can be conducted using the e-Cabinet solution.

It is a powerful governance tool that will be used to streamline its decision-making process. 

The e-Cabinet system is being implemented by the state department of Information Technology and Communication.

The e-Cabinet solution will give remote access to the Ministers to view Cabinet notes and the same will be circulated well in advance for proper analysis and feedback.

The system is a multi-user secure solution that keeps relevant information organised and updated in real time, giving ministers a clear overview of each item under discussion.

http://www.news18.com/news/tech/arunachal-becomes-first-ne-state-to-implement-e-cabinet-solution-1346434.html

Education nominee Betsy DeVos wins Senate confirmation vote.

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The US Senate has confirmed President Donald Trump's controversial nominee for education secretary, Betsy DeVos, by the slenderest possible margin.

US Vice-President Mike Pence cast the tie-breaking vote to secure her cabinet role, splitting the chamber 50-50.

It was the first time ever that a vice-president has interceded in such a way for a cabinet secretary.

Samsung Pay to Launch in India.

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South Korean tech giant Samsung is planning to launch its mobile payment wallet in India in the first half of 2017.And the American Express may be the company's launch partner in the country.

 Samsung has partnered with American Express and is mulling over "exploring opportunities with giants such as Visa and MasterCard as well.

According to market research firm Counterpoint, Samsung has over 2.5 million Galaxy S6, Galaxy S6 Edge, Galaxy S6 Edge Plus, Galaxy S7, Galaxy S7 Edge, and Galaxy Note 5 (the smartphones that support Pay) customers in India.

ICICI Securities inks partnership with Denmark's Saxo Bank.

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Largest retail brokerage ICICI Securities announced a strategic partnership with Saxo Bank, the Denmark-based online multi-asset trading and investment specialist.

The partnership will enable ICICI Securities' 4 million clients to diversify their investments outside of the domestic market and access multi-asset investment opportunities on 36 stock exchanges across 24 countries

http://www.business-standard.com/article/pti-stories/icici-securities-inks-partnership-with-denmark-s-saxo-bank-117020700787_1.html

Axis Bank ties up with Earthport.

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India's third largest private bank, Axis Bankhas tied up with Earthport Plc, a cross-border payment network, to enable faster outbound cross-border payments for its customers through Earthport’s state-of-the-art global payments network. 

Axis Bank has become the first bank in India to connect with Earthport’s global payments network, which spans over 60 countries. 

http://economictimes.indiatimes.com/industry/banking/finance/banking/axis-bank-ties-up-with-earthport/articleshow/56999530.cms

Feb. 7, 2017

SC clears plan to verify mobile phone users through Aadhaar.

Details :

The Supreme Court on Monday approved the government‘s plan to record the identification details of mobile subscribers through an e-KYC (Know Your Customer) mechanism linked to Aadhaar in a bid to enhance national security and prevent fake users.

A Bench led by Chief Justice of India J.S. Khehar asked the government, represented by Attorney-General Mukul Rohatgi, to put in place the mechanism within a year.

The mechanism could cover at least 100 crore mobile phone subscribers, 90% of whom use pre-paid cards.

The court was considering a petition by NGO Lokniti Foundation, which had contended that fake SIM cards were a major threat to national security.

http://www.thehindu.com/news/national/SC-clears-plan-to-verify-mobile-phone-users-through-Aadhaar/article17205615.ece