Current Affairs Update – 4 April-14April, 2017

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Current Affairs Update – 4 April, 2017

 

Banking News –

Reserve Bank of India set to get more power to deal with stressed assets

The government plans legislation that will empower the Reserve Bank of India to deal much more effectively with stressed assets than before as part of a broader plan to resolve banks’ bad loans, a long-festering issue that’s been holding back the economy from achieving its full potential.

The Centre may even issue an ordinance to enable RBI to direct banks on dealing with stressed assets as moving the Banking Regulation Act amendment through Parliament could take time, said officials aware of deliberations. The reworked law will also empower RBI to set up oversight panels that will shield bankers from later action by probe agencies looking into loan recasts.

Bad loans rose by over Rs 1 lakh crore in the first nine months of last fiscal to Rs 6.07 lakh crore by December 31, 2016, minister of state for finance Santosh Gangwar had said in a written reply to the Rajya Sabha. Public sector banks’ gross bad loans stood at Rs 5.02 lakh crore at the end of March 2016, up from Rs 2.67 lakh crore at the end of March 2015.

High NPAs have held back lending and prevented banks from lowering interest rates further, which has in turn discouraged private investment, badly needed to speed up growth.

Banks have been reluctant to resolve NPAs through settlement schemes or sell bad loans to asset reconstruction companies for fear of being hauled up by investigation agencies.

 

Appointments –

Kishor Kharat assumes charge as MD&CEO of Indian Bank

Public sector Indian Bank today said Kishor Kharat has taken charge as its new Managing Director and CEO with immediate effect.

Prior to taking up the new role, Kharat was serving as the Managing Director and CEO of IDBI Bank. Kharat replaces Mahesh Kumar Jain, who is set to join IDBI Bank as the Managing Director and CEO, a

bank release here said.

Geetha Johri takes over as first woman head of Gujarat’s police force

Indian Police Service officer Geetha Johri was appointed as the first woman Director General of Police (DGP) of Gujarat on 4 April 2017. She will be taking over this position in addition to her present post as Managing Director of Gujarat Police Housing Corporation.

The announcement was made by the Minister of State for Home, Pradeepsinh Jadeja who stated that the decision to give Johri the additional charge was taken as she is the senior-most IPS officer in the state.

The decision of Johri’s appointment comes in the wake of resignation by her predecessor P P Pandey.

Pandey’s resignation was accepted by the state government on 3 April 2017. He was earlier given a three-month extension in the post after his retirement in January 2017.

News related to India and States –

Government clears proposal to procure Barak surface-to-air missiles for Navy

The Defence Acquisition Council (DAC) chaired by Defence Minister Arun Jaitley on 3 April 2017 approved the procurement of a fresh batch of Barak surface-to-surface missiles for naval warships. This procurement will help to enhance India’s maritime capability.

During the meeting held in New Delhi, DAC approved capital acquisition totalling over Rs 860 crore, including for the purchase of Barak missiles. During the meeting, Jaitley, who chaired the meet also took stock of other procurement proposals and issued directions for close monitoring and expeditious clearance of pending capital acquisition cases.

As per reports, the missiles will be procured under Buy Global category from Rafael Advance Defense Systems Limited of Israel at an approximate cost of around 500 crore rupees.

Union HRD Minister Prakash Javadekar releases India Rankings 2017

Prakash Javadekar, the Union Minister of Human Resource Development, on 3 April 2017 released the India Rankings 2017 for the educational institutions.

The rankings were charted out by the National Institutional Ranking Framework (NIRF), working under the Union HRD Ministry.

The India Rankings 2017 is the second edition of India Rankings.

A total of 2995 institutions have participated in the rankings. This includes 232 Universities, 1024 Engineering Institutions, 546 Management Institutions, 318 Pharmacy Institutions and 637 General Degree Colleges, and others.

The India Rankings 2017 ranked institutions in various disciplines/categories, and also provided a common overall rank across all disciplines for those institutes which either have more than 1000 enrolled students, or which are centrally funded.

The Rankings List includes 100 institutions each in the Overall, University, Engineering and General College Categories, and 50 each in Management and Pharmacy Disciplines. Overall List of top 3 India Rankings 2017

  1. 1. Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore, Karnataka
  2. 2. Indian Institute of Technology, Madras (Chennai), Tamil Nadu
  3. 3. Indian Institute of Technology, Bombay (Mumbai), Maharashtra

Days –

International Day of Mine Awareness and Assistance in Mine Action 2017 observed

International Day of Mine Awareness and Assistance in Mine Action was observed on 4 April 2017 across the world. The theme of the year 2017 is Needs driven. People Centred.

Mine action ensures that landmines and explosive hazards in war-torn areas are found and destroyed, making possible the delivery of humanitarian assistance so that people and supplies reach those most in need. The United Nations Mine Action Strategy (UNMAS) coordinates teams to clear roads and runways of explosives, to block off weapons contaminated areas, and to train local people to demine and dispose of explosives.

Sports News –

FIFA bans Brayan Jimenez, former President of Guatemalan Football Association, for life

The adjudicatory chamber of the independent Ethics Committee of the FIFA on 3 April 2017 banned Brayan Jimenez, the former President of the Guatemalan Football Association (FENAFUTG) for life.

Jimenez, also a former member of the FIFA Committee for Fair Play and Social Responsibility, was banned from all football-related activities at both national and international level.

 

 

Current Affairs Update – 5-6 April, 2017

Financial and Banking News –

RBI first bi-monthly monetary policy – RBI surprises with reverse repo hike

The six-member Monetary Policy Committee of the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) on Thursday kept the repo rate unchanged but raised the reverse repo rate by 25 basis points to narrow the corridor in which overnight money moves.

Economists said this was an indirect tightening of interest rates even as the policy stance remained neutral.

The central bank also warned about rising inflation. Expected at 4.5% in the first half of the current fiscal year, inflation may climb to 5% in the second half owing to risks and an unfavourable base effect.

Following are the highlights of the first bi-monthly monetary policy for 2017-18 as announced by the RBI:

Policy repo rate unchanged at 6.25%, hikes reverse repo to 6%

Narrows policy rates corridor due to increased liquidity, post demonetisation

Pegs GVA growth for current fiscal at 7.4% as against 6.7% last year

Revises MSF, bank rate to 6.5%

Retail inflation in first half seen at 4.5%, 5% in second half

Economic indicators point to modest improvement in microeconomic outlook

Risk evenly balanced around inflation trajectory; upside risk from uncertainty about monsoon

Upside risk to inflation from GST, poor monsoon, pay commission award

Further scope for a more complete transmission of policy rates remains, including for small savings rates

All six MPC members voted in favour of RBI monetary policy

The next meeting of the Monetary Policy Committee on June 5 and 6.

Govt to geo-tag Rashtriya Krishi Vikas Yojna assets for better monitoring

The government has decided to geo-tag all assets like farm ponds, soil testing labs and seed godowns created under the Rashtriya Krishi Vikas Yojna (RKVY) for their better utilisation.

A memorandum of understanding (MoU) was signed in this regard on Thursday between the National Remote Sensing Centre (NRSC), a wing of Indian Space Research Organisation, and RKVY division of the Agriculture Ministry.

NRSC will provide the required app and impart training to officials to facilitate uploading of photos of assets to the Bhuvan-RKVY platform.

For instance, details of the number of farm ponds and water level through geo-tagging will help the centre to prepare a better contingency plan to tackle drought, he said.

Being aware of the realistic status of assets will not only be helpful in monitoring and utilising, but also in formulating development schemes for the sector, he added.

Elaborating about the MoU, Agriculture Secretary Shobhna Pattanayak said that assets created under the RKVY in the last one decade will be identified for geo-tagging purpose. Even new assets that are being developed will also be tagged.

As many as 80 kinds of assets are created under the RKVY. A pilot project has already been implemented in four states of Odisha, Karnataka, Maharashtra and Bihar. As of now, 17,000 assets have been geo-tagged. Training is underway for 17 states.

NRSC officials said that it will complete the geo-tagging process of all assets of RKVY by end of 2017- 18 financial year.

 

Cabinet approves India-France MoU in civil aviation

The Cabinet today cleared the pact between the Airports Authority of India (AAI) and France’s DGAC for technical collaboration in the civil aviation space.

The memorandum  of understanding (MoU) would be between AAI and Civil Aviation  Authority (DGAC).

An official spokesperson tweeted that the Cabinet has approved ‘India-France MoU in civil aviation’ sector.

 

RBI to come out with final guidelines on MDR charges on debit card payments

Aimed at encouraging digital transactions, the Reserve Bank on Thursday said it will soon come out with final guidelines on MDR charges on debit card payments.

Pending the final guidelines the existing norms for MDR (merchant discount rate) charges will continue beyond March 31, RBI Governor Urjit Patel said while announcing first bi-monthly monetary policy for 2017-18.

According to the existing guidelines, the MDR for debit card payments, including for payments made to the government, is capped at 0.25 per cent for transactions up to Rs 1,000 and 0.5 per cent between Rs 1,000-2,000.

The existing MDR cap is 0.75 per cent for transactions up to Rs 2,000 and one per cent for over Rs 2,000. However, there is no RBI cap on MDR on credit card payments.

The Reserve Bank issued a draft circular on ‘Rationalisation of Merchant Discount Rate (MDR) for Debit Card Transactions’ on February 16.

PM Modi lays foundation stone of multi-modal terminal on River Ganga in Jharkhand

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on 6 April 2017 laid the foundation stones of several development projects including a multi-modal terminal and a four-lane bridge over River Ganga at Sahebganj in Jharkhand.

He laid down the foundation stone of Sahibganj-Manihari 4-land Bridge over river Ganga in Sahibganj. He also dedicated the 311-kilometer long Govindpur-Sahibganj Highway to the nation

He laid the foundation stone of the River Port Terminal on the river Ganga at Sahibganj

He dedicated the 90 KWP solar power unit in Sahibganj District Court and the 70 KWP solar power unit at Sadar hospital, Sahibganj.

First Air services agreement between India and Georgia approved by Union Cabinet

The Union Cabinet on 5 April 2017 approved the signing of air services agreement (ASA) between India and Georgia.

According to an official press release, the agreement will not only help in establishing air connectivity between the two countries but it will also contribute to the expansion of trade, investment, tourism and cultural exchange between the two.

The cabinet meeting was chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi himself.

The  agreement  between  the  two  countries  is  based  on  the  latest  International  Civil  Aviation Organization (ICAO) template keeping in view of developments in the Civil Aviation sector. The main objective is to improve the air connectivity between the two countries.

Union Cabinet approves closure of Mahatma Gandhi Pravasi Suraksha Yojana

The Union Cabinet on 5 April 2017 approved closure of the Mahatma Gandhi Pravasi Suraksha Yojana (MGPSY). The scheme was set up in 2012 to address the social security-related issues of the Emigration Check Required (ECR) category workers going abroad for employment to ECR countries.

The scheme was launched with an aim to cover 5 million overseas blue collar Indian workers who have the ECR category passports in 17 countries.

However, the subscription under the MGPSY was very low and no new subscription was received for more than a year.

Mahatma Gandhi Pravasi Suraksha Yojana (MGPSY) was a special social security scheme for overseas Indian workers on temporary work permit in 17 Emigration Check Required (ECR) countries.

The scheme envisaged a co-contribution of Rs 1000 by Government to overseas Indian workers who save Rs 4000 per annum so that on return to India, a MGPSY subscriber could utilise these savings for return and resettlement purposes.

 

News related to India and States –

Cabinet approves India-Australia MoU in the field of health and medicine

The Union Cabinet chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi has approved the MoU between India and Australia on cooperation in the field of health and medicine.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi-led Union Cabinet approved the MoU between India and Australia regarding co-operation between the countries in the sector of health and medicine on April 5, 2017.

While the subject of cooperation focused on the regulations of pharmaceuticals, vaccines and medical devices, it significantly put light on the subject of communicable diseases such as Malaria and TB, mental health and non-communicable diseases, anti-microbial resistance and responding to public health emergencies; digital health, tobacco control among the other areas of cooperation between the countries, said an official release here on Thursday.

The MoU signed by both the countries will comprise cooperation through joint initiatives in the health sector besides the strengthening of bilateral ties between India and Australia.

Union Cabinet approved five agreements with Bangladesh including Audio Visual Co-Production

The Union Cabinet chaired by the Prime Minister Narendra Modi on 5 April 2017 approved five agreements with Bangladesh including a pact in the field of judicial sector cooperation and on passenger cruise services on the coastal and protocol routes.

All the agreements or draft of measures were cleared prior to visit of Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina to India. These measures were cleared with an aim to strengthen cultural, judicial, maritime and economic engagements between India and Bangladesh.

List of Agreements/MoUs which were cleared during the Union Cabinet meet

Approval to the agreement on Audio Visual Co-Production between India and Bangladesh: Salient features of the Agreement

Approval to the signing of MoU in the field of judicial sector cooperation

Approval to the MoU on passenger cruise services on the coastal and protocol routes between India and Bangladesh

Approval to the MoU for fairway development of Ashuganj-Zakiganj stretch of Kushiyara River and Sirajganj-Daikhawa stretch of Jamuna River in the Indo-Bangladesh protocol route

Approval to the MoU on Cooperation in the field of Mass Media

 

Indian Navy deploys INS Shardul for surveillance in the Indian Ocean

The Indian navy has deployed its warship Indian Naval Ship (INS) Shardul for two months in the South Indian Ocean to provide surveillance support in the region.

This move has been made keeping in mind India’s national objective of ensuring a safe and secure regional environment to allow unobstructed social and economic development in India as well as in the Indian Ocean Region.

In its initial phase of deployment,  the warship carried out joint Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) surveillance of Mauritius from 8-26 March 2017 in close coordination with the National Coast Guard of Mauritius.

After successful completion of the Mauritius surveillance project, the warship entered the EEZ of Seychelles on 27 March 2017 to initiate the phase I of EEZ surveillance of Seychelles.

Led by Commander Rohit Mishra, the warship entered Port Victoria in Seychelles on 28 March 2017, following which a coordination meeting was held between the officials from INS Shardul and Seychelles Coast Guard at the Coast Guard headquarters.

Appointments –

Malvika Sinha appointed RBI Executive Director

The Reserve Bank has appointed Malvika Sinha as Executive Director following the appointment of B P Kanungo as Deputy Governor.

Sinha took charge on April 3.

As Executive Director, she will look after foreign exchange department, department of government and bank accounts and internal debt management wing, RBI said in a release.

Kanungo was Executive Director of the Reserve Bank before being elevated to the post of Deputy Governor.

Sinha had joined the Reserve Bank in 1982 and as a career central banker served in the areas of regulation and supervision, foreign exchange and government and bank accounts.

Raman Roy appointed Chairman of NASSCOM for 2017-18

 

The National Association of Software and Services Companies (NASSCOM) on 5 April 2017 announced the appointment of Raman Roy its Chairman for 2017-2018. He will take on the new role from 6 April 2017.

Roy takes over the position from C P Gurnani, Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of Tech Mahindra.

Roy is the Chairman and Managing Director of Quatrro.

Raman Roy has been a member of NASSCOM’s Executive Council and was the vice-chairman for 2016-17.

In addition, NASSCOM also announced the appointment of Rishad Premji, Chief Strategy Officer & Member of the Board, Wipro as the Vice Chairman of NASSCOM for 2017-18.

Days –

National Maritime Day observed in India

India on 5 April 2017 observed the 54th edition of the National Maritime Day.

At the inaugural function at the Tuticorin Port, Port Trust chairman S Anantha Chandra Bose placed a wreath on the memorial for sailors who sacrificed their lives at sea.

On this day in 1919, navigation history was created when SS Loyalty, the first ship of the Scindia Steam Navigation Company, journeyed to the United Kingdom.

It was a crucial step for India shipping history when sea routes were controlled by the British.

International Day of Sport for Development and Peace observed

International Day of Sport for Development and Peace (IDSDP) was observed across the world on 6

April 2017. The date commemorates the inauguration of the first Olympic games of the modern era, in Athens (Greece) in 1896.

The United Nations General Assembly on 23 August 2013 through its resolution A/RES/67/296 decided to proclaim 6 April as the International Day of the Sport for the Development and the Peace. The day has been celebrated each year since 2014.

The  adoption  of  the  day  for  sports  signifies  that  sports  can  have  a  positive  influence  on  the advancement of human rights and economic development.

World –

Japan officially recognises Bitcoin as currency

Japan officially recognized bitcoin and digital currencies as legal money with effect from 1 April 2017. The recognition comes after implementation of a new law amending Banking Act in Japan for legalizing these currencies. The step will facilitate integration of digital currency into legal banking system through regulatory scrutiny.

It calls for introducing a mandatory system for exchange operators to undergo external checks by certified public accountants or auditing firms for their asset management conditions and financial statements.

 

Malala to become the youngest person to address Canadian Parliament

The Prime Minister of Canada, Justin Trudeau announced on 3 April 2017 that the youngest Nobel laureate, Malala Yousafzai, will be addressing the country’s parliament on 12 April 2017.

The young Pakistani activist will also be receiving her honorary Canadian citizenship, which was bestowed upon her in 2014.

Canadian Prime Minister announced that 19-year-old Yousafzai will become the youngest person to address the country’s Parliament.

Yousafzai was targeted for her advocacy for women’s education at the age of 15 when she was shot in the head by Taliban militants while returning from school.

She won world acclaim with her campaign for female education and human rights advocacy.

Sports –

Virat Kohli named Wisden’s Leading Cricketer in the World for 2016

India’s ace batsman Virat Kohli on 5 April 2017 was named the Leading Cricketer in the World for 2016.

The announcement was made in the Wisden Cricketers’ Almanack, which is also often referred to as the ‘Bible of the Cricket.’

Kohli also features on the cover of the 2017 edition of the Wisden Cricketers’ Almanack. It shows the cricketer playing a reverse sweep in a Test match.

 

 

Current Affairs Update – 12 April, 2017

Financial and Banking News –

FinMin sets up Dinesh Sharma panel to take stock of virtual currencies

Finance Ministry today constituted an inter-disciplinary committee to examine the existing framework for  virtual currencies,  including  bitcoins,  and  suggest  measures  to  deal  with issues  like  money laundering.

The committee, to be chaired by Dinesh Sharma – Special Secretary (Economic Affairs), will submit its report within three months, a finance ministry statement said.

The inter-ministerial group will have representatives from the revenue department, Home Ministry, RBI, Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology and State Bank of India.

The committee will take stock of the present status of virtual currencies, both in India as well as abroad.

It will also examine the existing global regulatory and legal structures governing virtual currencies and suggest measures for dealing with issues such as consumer protection and money laundering.

The circulation of virtual currencies, also known as digital/cryptocurrencies, has been a cause of concern with experts voicing their worries at various fora from time to time.

The Reserve Bank had already cautioned the users, holders and traders of virtual currencies, including bitcoins, about the potential financial, operational, legal, customer protection and security-related risks that they are exposing themselves to.

SWIFT to introduce tool to spot fraudulent inter-bank messages

Interbank messaging service SWIFT, which is used to transfer trillions of dollars between banks every day, will launch a new tool to spot fraudulent messages, seeking to restore trust in the system after millions of dollars were stolen in cyber raids.

Belgium-based SWIFT said on Wednesday that it will offer clients a service that will be able to learn a user bank’s messaging patterns so that it can spot if a payment is being made to an unusual counter- party or for an unusual amount.

Last year $81 million was stolen from Bangladesh’s central bank after thieves hacked into its SWIFT system and sent instructions to the Federal Reserve Bank of New York to pay money from Bangladesh Bank’s account to parties in Asia.

SWIFT was criticised last year by some users and industry players for failing to beef up security on its system even as the risk of cyber attacks increased and the network expanded to include smaller institutions with more lax security procedures.

Though SWIFT launched a range of new security measures and services in September, the latest product — due to be introduced early next year — will “red-flag”, or put on hold, payment instructions that exceed limits set by clients or are deemed anomalous by the system’s learning software.

“The new payment controls service is a direct response to our community’s request for additional services to complement and strengthen existing fraud controls,” SWIFT Chairman Yawar Shah said.

Luc Meurant, SWIFT’s head of financial crime compliance services, told Reuters that the service would be targeted initially at institutions and central banks with small messaging volumes because they might not be able to afford to develop such detection tools themselves.

Aditya Birla Nuvo to be merged with Grasim Industries

The shareholders of Grasim Industries Limited, Aditya Birla Nuvo Limited (ABNL) and Aditya Biral Financial Services Limited (ABFSL) in April 2017 approved the Scheme of amalgamation of ABNL with Grasim.

Besides, the shareholders also approved demerger and listing of the Aditya Biral Financial Services Limited, which is a part of the ABFSL.

The merged entity Grasim will have proforma consolidated turnover of Rs 59,766 crore, EBITDA of Rs 11,961 crore and a net profit of Rs 4,245 crore for the year ended March 2016. It will be –

Number 1 cement company in India with the largest selling brand

Among the top 5 fund managers in India with funds under management of Rs 2,29,500 crore Among the top 7 private non-HFC NBFCs in India with a lending book of Rs 29,852 crore Among the top 4 private sector life insurers and asset management companies in India

A leading player in textiles and chemicals

Third largest telecom operator in India

 

CBDT to issue PAN and TAN within 1 day to improve Ease of Doing Business

The Central Board of Direct Taxation (CBDT) on 11 April 2017 tied up with the Union Ministry of Corporate Affairs (MCA) to issue Permanent Account Number (PAN) and Tax Deduction Account Number (TAN) in 1 day in order to improve ease of doing business.

Applicant companies will be required to submit a common application form SPICe (INC 32) on MCA portal. Once the data of incorporation is sent to CBDT by MCA, the PAN and TAN will then be issued immediately without any further intervention of the applicant.

The Certificate of Incorporation (COI) of newly incorporated companies will include the PAN in addition to  the  Corporate Identity  Number  (CIN). TAN will  also  be  allotted simultaneously  and communicated to the Company.

In March 2017, PAN was allotted within 4 hrs in 95.63 per cent cases and within 1 day in all cases to the newly incorporated companies.

Centre plans to buy 1 lakh potato from UP farmers to ease their load

The Union government announced on 12 April 2017 that it would buy up to 1 lakh tonnes of potato grown in the 2016-17 crop year at Rs 4,870 per tonne from the Uttar Pradesh farmers to protect them against the drastic reduction in prices.

The centre would also be giving them an additional amount of Rs 1217.60/tonne to help them bear all their overhead costs.

The decision was approved by the Union Agriculture Ministry under the Market Intervention Scheme(MIS).

The scheme would be implemented by the state agency.

Under the scheme, a maximum of 100000 metric tonne of potato may be procured.

Overhead expenses covered under the scheme include transportation charges, mandi tax and godown charges.

The  centre,  where  the  purchase  will  take  place,  will  be  decided  by  the  state  government  in coordination with the state agency.

BHEL and Indian Railways tie-up for Rooftop SPV Systems

The Bharat Heavy Electricals (BHEL) on 11 April 2017 announced that it has tied up with the IndianRailways for executing Rooftop SPV Systems Project.

An agreement in this regard was signed between the BHEL and the Indian Railways on 30 March 2017. The agreement was signed in the presence of Amitabh Mathur, Director (IS&P), BHEL and Ravinder Gupta CAO, Indian Railways Organisation for Alternate Fuels.

Under the agreement, the BHEL will install 2 MWp Roof Top SPV Systems at Diesel loco Modernisation Works (DMW), Patiala.

Under the agreement, the BHEL will undertake various activities including design, supply, installation, testing and commissioning of grid connected rooftop solar photo voltaic power plant.

The BHEL was also entrusted with the responsibility to undertake associated civil works.

Further, the agreement will also include 5 years’ operation and maintenance.

With the signing of the agreement, the BHEL enhanced its roof top SPV project portfolio to 10 MWp.

Cairn India merged with Vedanta Ltd

Metals and mining group Vedanta Ltd on 11 April 2017 got effectively merged with its oil and gas subsidiary Cairn India Ltd.Cairn India is a debt-free firm with cash and cash equivalents of Rs 22838.22 crore as of 30 September 2016.

The merged company will have a larger market cap of USD 15.6 billion.

As per the deal, Cairn India minority shareholders will receive one equity share and four redeemable preference shares in Vedanta Ltd against each share they hold.

Cairn India shareholders who will become shareholders of Vedanta will also receive an interim dividend of Rs 17.70 per equity share as approved by the board of Vedanta on 30 March 2017.

No shares will be issued to Vedanta or any of its subsidiaries for their shareholding in Cairn India.

News related to India and states –

Indo-Mongolia Joint Military Exercise Nomadic Elephant 2017

The joint military training exercise of India and Mongolia has begun recently in Mizoram. The 14-day long exercise began on 5 April 2017 and will end on 18 April 2017.

It is the twelfth edition of the Indo-Mongolia joint military exercise Nomadic Elephant.

It is being conducted at the Indian Army’s elite Counter-Insurgency and Jungle Warfare School Vairengte in Mizoram.

The exercise is aimed at training the troops in counterinsurgency and counterterrorism operations (CICT Ops) under the United Nations mandate.

In the exercise, the Indian Army is represented by a contingent comprising of three officers, four JCOs and 39 soldiers of the Jammu and Kashmir Rifles.

Raman Singh announces liquor prohibition in Chhattisgarh

Raman Singh, the Chief Minister of Chhattisgarh, on 11 April 2017 announced that his government will impose an alcohol ban in Chhattisgarh in coming days. The ban or prohibition will be regulated in a phased manner.

The announcement of liquor ban was made after his meet with Nitish Kumar, the Chief Minister of Bihar, in Patna. It was announced from Munger, Bihar. Singh was on a two-day personal visit to Bihar, he visited the state to meet Swami Niranjanananda Saraswati at Munger Yogashram.

Raman Singh said in the first phase, the prohibition will be imposed in villages of Chhattisgarh. The prohibition will be imposed in villages with a population of 3000 and more.

With this announcement, Chhattisgarh becomes the second state in the country to impose alcohol prohibition in the state in April 2017. Earlier in the week, a similar announcement was made by the Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chauhan.

Chauhan on 9 April 2017 announced that all liquor shops would be closed across the state in a phased manner.

Reports & Indexes –

Amnesty International released Death Penalty Report 2016

The Amnesty International on 11 April 2017 released the Death Penalty Report 2016. As per the report, at least 1,032 people were executed in 23 countries in 2016. In 2015, Amnesty International recorded 1,634 executions in 25 countries worldwide.

As per the report, most executions took place in China, Iran, Saudi Arabia, Iraq and Pakistan – in that order.

The report concluded that China remained the world’s top executioner. However, the true extent of the use of the death penalty in China is unknown as this data is considered a State secret.

Excluding China, 87 per cent of all executions took place in just four countries – Iran, Saudi Arabia, Iraq and Pakistan.

For the first time since 2006, the USA was not one figured in the Top 5 Executioners List. It fell to the seventh place behind Egypt. The 20 executions in the USA were the lowest in the country since 1991.

Chad, India, Jordan, Oman and United Arab Emirates –all countries that executed people in 2015 − did not report any executions last year.

Days –

International Day of Human Space Flight observed on April 12

International Day of Human Space Flight was observed on 12 April 2017. The day is an annual celebration of the anniversary of the first human space flight undertaken by Yuri Gagarin, a Soviet citizen.

Yuri Gagarin carried out Vostok 1 space flight on 12 April 1961, making one orbit around the Earth over 108 minutes in the Vostok 3KA spacecraft. The spacecraft was launched by Vostok-K launch vehicle. This historic event opened the way for space exploration for the benefit of all humanity.

The day is also observed as the Cosmonautics Day in Russia and some other countries.

United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) through its resolution A/RES/65/271 on 7 April 2011 during its 65th session proclaimed that International Day of Human Space Flight will be observed annually on 12 April.

In its proclamation, the general assembly said, “The day will be celebrated at the international level to reaffirm the important contribution of space science and technology in achieving sustainable development goals and increasing the well-being of States and peoples. It said that the day will help in ensuring the realisation of their aspiration to maintain outer space for peaceful purposes.”

Books & Authors –

Hope in a Challenged Democracy: An Indian Narrative authored by Ashwani Kumar

A book titled Hope in a Challenged Democracy: An Indian Narrative was released on 10 April 2017 by former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh in New Delhi.

Vice President of India M. Hamid Ansari received the first copy of the book, which is authored by Ashwini Kumar.

The book goes on to critically analyse the issues of fundamental importance in the framework of the “dignitarian goals of the republic, the role of a ‘living Constitution’, the necessity of equilibrium between executive, legislature and judiciary, the role of media, importance of equitable growth, a responsive justice system and a rising India’s engagement with the world.”

Sports News –

India’s Harbhajan among 8 ambassadors for ICC Champions Trophy

Harbhajan Singh, the veteran Indian bowler was on 12 April 2017 named as one of ICC’s eight ambassadors for the Champions Trophy tournament, which is scheduled to be held in England from 1-8 June 2017.

He will be joining other ambassadors including Shahid Afridi, the legendary Pakistani all-rounder, Ian Bell from England, Australia’s Mike Hussey, New Zealand’s Shane Bond, Graeme Smith, former captain of South Africa, Habibul Bashar from Bangladesh and Kumar Sangakkara, former captain of the Sri Lankan national cricket team.

Awards & Honors –

President Pranab Mukherjee conferred National Geoscience Awards 2016

Pranab Mukherjee, the President of India, on 12 April 2017 conferred the National Geoscience Awards 2016 in Rashtrapati Bhawan in New Delhi.

A total of twenty-seven geoscientists received the prestigious National Geoscience Awards 2016, as individuals or team, for meritorious contributions in twelve fields of geosciences.

Dr Abhishek Saha from National Institute of Oceanography was honoured with the Young Scientist Award.

The National Geoscience Awards was previously known as the National Mineral Awards. The awards were instituted by the Union Ministry of Mines in 1966. It was instituted to honour individuals and teams of scientists for their extraordinary achievements and outstanding contributions in fundamental and applied geosciences and mining and allied fields.

Obituaries –

Congress leader Akhilesh Das Gupta passes away

Former Union Minister, Akhilesh Das Gupta passed away in Lucknow, Uttar Pradesh on 12 April 2017, after suffering from a heart attack. He was 56.

Gupta was rushed to Lari Cardiology Centre post his attack where he passed away in the wee hours. He is survived by his wife, daughter and son.

 

Current Affairs Update – 13 April, 2017

Financial and Banking News –

RBI revises rules for regulatory action on banks

The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) on Thursday tweaked rules that trigger regulatory action against lenders who overshoot the limit on bad loans or fail to comply with capital ratios.

The changes are under the so-called Prompt Corrective Action framework unveiled in 2002, which sets thresholds that when breached trigger supervisory action from the RBI, including a restriction on dividend distribution.

In extreme cases, the framework provides the RBI with powers to force mergers or even wind up the non-compliant lender.

Regulatory action will be taken if a bank’s capital-to-risk-assets ratio falls below 7.75 per cent, RBI said in a statement on Thursday.

If the ratio falls below 3.625 per cent, the bank could be a candidate for a merger or may even be wound up, the regulator added.

It was not immediately possible to draw a direct comparison between the new limits and the existing ones.

Meanwhile, on bad loan ratios, the central bank said the first threshold will be triggered if a bank’s net non-performing assets ratio crosses 6 per cent.

A net bad loan ratio of more than 12 per cent will invite the extreme action of winding up or merger, it added.

World Bank approves $375-mn loan for India’s first waterway project

The World Bank has approved a $375 million loan to India’s first waterway project. The National Waterway 1 project is to create a water transport fairway on a 1,360-km stretch of the Ganga river between Varanasi and Haldia.

“NW1 passes through one of India’s most densely populated areas, and a sizeable 40 per cent of the country’s traded goods either originate from this resource-rich region or are destined for its teeming markets. While the region generates about 370 million tonnes of freight annually, only about 5 million tonnes currently travels by water,” says World Bank in a press release.

The project will help build the infrastructure needed to develop water transportation in the area. It will finance the construction of six multi-modal terminals, 10 RORO jetties, ship-repair facilities as well as passenger jetties along the river. It will also help modernise the ageing Farakka lock and add a new lock to allow for smoother passage of boats. The project will also help the Inland Waterways Authority of India acquire a state-of-the-art River Information System as well as navigation aids to make travel on the river safer and more reliable.

On the environmental implications of the project, the World Bank stresses that the project does not involve any abstraction or storage of water, nor will the navigation services planned affect the flow of the river. Furthermore, IWAI has decided to accept the currently available natural depths of the river– ranging from 3 metres in the lower stretches to 2 metres further upstream – for its proposed navigation channel, thus minimising the need for dredging.

CCEA approves listing of 11 CPSEs on stock exchanges

The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) on 12 April 2017 approved the listing of 11 Central Public Sector Enterprises (CPSEs) on stock exchanges.

The CPSEs are:

 

  1. 1. Rail Vikas Nigam Limited (RVNL)
  2. 2. IRCON International Limited
  3. 3. Indian Railway Finance Corporation (IRFC) L
  4. 4. Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation (IRCTC) L
  5. 5. RITES L
  6. 6. Bharat Dynamics Limited (BDL)
  7. 7. Garden Reach Shipbuilders & Engineers (GRSE) L
  8. 8. Mazagon Dock Shipbuilders Limited (MDSL)
  9. 9. North Eastern Electric Power Corporation (NEEPCO) Ltd.
  10. 10. MSTC L
  11. 11. Mishra Dhatu Nigam L (MIDHANI)

 

These 11 CPSEs will be listed through public offer of shares up to 25 per cent of Union Government’s shareholding, which may include offer of fresh shares for raising of resources from market.

The actual disinvestment in respect of each CPSE along with the mode of raising resources will be delegated for decision on a case to case basis to the Alternative Mechanism which will be headed by the Union Finance Minister.

With a view to ensure wider participation by small investors in the CPSEs’ disinvestment program, a price discount of up to 5 per cent on the issue price will be provided for the retail investors and eligible employees of 11 CPSEs .

The CCEA has also approved reservation of shares for the eligible employees of 11 CPSEs in accordance with the extant provisions of SEBI Regulations.

 

Union Cabinet approves implementation of Target Plus Scheme under Foreign Trade Policy 2004-09

The Union Cabinet on 12 April 2017 approved the implementation of Supreme Court’s Judgment dated 27 October 2015 regarding the implementation of Target Plus Scheme (TPS) under Foreign Trade Policy (FTP) 2004-09.

As per the Supreme Court’s Judgment, the revenue implication under the TPS is about Rs 2700 crore. The claims which were denied as a result of retrospective notification will be now settled as per direction of the Supreme Court.

The Target Plus Scheme (TPS) 2005-06 was already implemented partially.

Benefit will be extended throughout the country as per provisions of the TPS Scheme under Foreign Trade Policy 2004-09.

The guidelines and modalities for processing the claims will be worked out by the DGFT HQs in consultation with Department of Revenue.

Petrol, diesel prices to be fixed daily in five cities

State-owned fuel retailers, namely Indian Oil Corp. (IOC), Hindustan Petroleum Corp. Ltd. (HPCL) and Bharat Petroleum Corp. Ltd. (BPCL), have planned to launch a pilot scheme under which the fuel prices will be revised on a daily basis. The rates will be decided in sync with the international rates, a practice of several advanced markets.

Reports suggest that initially the scheme will be launched in 5 Indian cities from 1 May 2017 (a defined final date was not declared but sources said that the pilot will be effective from 1 May) and will be gradually extended across India.

At present, the rates of the fuel are revised on the 1st and 16th of every month in accordance with the average international price in the preceding fortnight and the currency exchange rate.

The five cities where the pilot scheme will be launched are Visakhapatnam and Puducherry in Andhra Pradesh, Jamshedpur in Jharkhand, Udaipur in Rajasthan and Chandigarh.

IOC, HPCL and BPCL own over 95 per cent (nearly 58000) fuel outlets in the country.

Union Cabinet apprised of MoU between India and Russia for cooperation in Science & Technology

The Union Cabinet was on 12 April 2017 apprised of the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between India and Russia for cooperation in the field of Science and Technology (S&T). The MoU was signed in October 2016.

The MoU is aimed at facilitating and supporting the joint scientific and research activities between scientific organizations that are subordinated to the Agency and scientific organizations and scientists of the Republic of Russian Federation.

Exchange of information about conducted conferences, forums, exhibitions, seminars that are of mutual interest.

Support and provision of conditions for the formation of scientific projects that are aimed at the conduct of joint research.

Conduct of joint scientific events (seminars, conferences, round tables) that are aimed at establishing direct connections between scientists of the two countries in the fields determined by the countries.

Union Government sets up inter-ministerial panel to monitor UDAN

The Union Government in the second week of April 2017 set up an Inter-Ministerial Monitoring-cum- Coordination Committee to monitor the regional air connectivity scheme UDAN (Ude Desh Ka Aam Naagrik) scheme.

The scheme seeks to make flying affordable by connecting unserved and under-served airports.

The panel would be responsible for coordination among stakeholders, including state governments, for “time-bound” implementation of the scheme.

It will also monitor the schemes of promotion of regional connectivity by way of revival of unserved and under-served airports/airstrips and RCS-UDAN.

The  Inter-Ministerial  Monitoring-cum-Coordination  Committee  will  be  chaired  by  Civil  Aviation Secretary.

The Committee would have representations from the ministries of finance, defence, home as well as petroleum and natural gas.

Union Cabinet approves signing of Framework of Understanding for hydrocarbon cooperation with Bangladesh

The Union Cabinet, presided by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, on 12 April 2017 approved signing of Framework of Understanding (FoU) on Cooperation in the Hydrocarbon Sector with Bangladesh.

The proposed Framework of Understanding aims to establish a cooperative institutional framework mechanism to facilitate and enhance India-Bangladesh bilateral cooperation in the hydrocarbon sector on the basis of equality and mutual benefit.

Union Cabinet approves setting up of Indian Institute of Petroleum and Energy at Visakhapatnam

The Union Cabinet on 12 April 2017 gave its approval for setting up of Indian Institute of Petroleum and Energy (IIPE) at Visakhapatnam in Andhra Pradesh.

The institute will be set up as “an Institute of National Importance” through an Act of Parliament.

The IIPE will have the governance structure as well as legal mandate to grant degrees in a manner similar to that enjoyed by IITs.

A separate Act will also impart the required status to the Institute to become a “Centre of Excellence” in petroleum and energy studies.

The Union Cabinet also approved Rs 655.46 crore as capital expenditure to set up IIPE and contribution of Rs 200 crore towards its Endowment Fund (in addition to a contribution of Rs 200 crore from Oil Companies towards the Endowment Fund).

 

As committed under the 13 Schedule of Andhra Pradesh Reorganization Act, 2014, it has been decided to set up this Institute.

News related to India and States –

India, UK to collaborate on developing new defence items

India and U.K. have decided to collaborate in developing new items of Defence technology like gas turbine engines and air defence missile systems.

“We agreed to extend our defence equipment cooperation on developing new technologies such as gas turbine engines and air defence missiles systems,” UK Secretary of State for Defence Michael Fallon told during a select media briefing here on Thursday after the India-UK Defence Partnership talk.

Fallon met Defence Minister Arun Jaitley and National Security Advisor Ajit Doval on Thursday during his four-day visit here that began on April 11.

Fallon said UK is keenly watching and willing to share its experience on building aircraft carriers, a task that the Indian Navy has also undertaken.

Karnataka launches campaign against H1N1

Karnataka Government on 12 April 2017 announced to launch Awareness Campaign against H1N1 in high incidence districts of Bengaluru, Mysore and Chitradurga.

In Bruhat Bangalore Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) limits, so far 766 positive cases of influenza A H1N1 have been reported along with the two deaths.

As per the campaign, throat swab will be taken by doctor if swine flu is suspected. Within 24 hours, test report will be given free of cost.

Tamiflu tablets will be given free at all the government hospitals and primary health centers. On the similar lines, free Homeopathy doses will be given to help build immunity.

 

Telangana Government to increase quota for Muslims, STs in the state

The Telangana Government on 12 April 2017 decided to increase the reservations quota for the socially and economically backward Muslim population and the Scheduled tribes in the state.

The  decision  was  taken  on  the  basis  of  a  report  presented  by  the  State’s  Backward  Classes Commission, which recommended a hike in the reservation for the classes.

Presently, while the Muslim population who are referred to as BC-E in the state enjoy 4 per cent reservation, the STs enjoy 7.5 per cent reservation.

The exact raise in the percentage of the quota of both the groups would be decided by the cabinet at its next meeting, which is scheduled to be held on 15 April 2017.

Increasing the reservation quota of the BC-E and STs was one of the promises made by the ruling Telangana Rastra Samithi party during its election campaign.

The decision would be backed by a legislation in the name of Telangana State Reservation Act that will be introduced at a special session of the state’s assembly on 16 April 2017.

Justice Malviya Committee submits its report on draft Ganga Act

The Committee, constituted to prepare draft Ganga Act, submitted its report to the Union Ministry of Water Resources, River Development and Ganga Rejuvenation on 12 April 2017. The Chairman of the committee is Justice Girdhar Malviya (Retd), who is associated with Ganga conservation movement.

The committee recognized the enormous challenges being faced to maintain the wholesomeness of National River Ganga that was perpetuated due to over stressed water demand from agricultural, domestic and industrial sectors.

Appointments –

Priyanka Chopra appointed as jury member of 16th edition of Tribeca Film Festival

Filmmaker Amy Berg, actors Zachary Quinto and Willem Dafoe, and TV producer Sheila Nevins among others will also be on the jury, it was announced on Wednesday, reports hollywoodreporter.com.

Priyanka, who became a popular name in Hollywood through her lead role in TV series Quantico, will look after the 2017 Documentary and Student Visionary Competitions alongside Olivia Thirlby, Ryan Eggold, Brendan Fraser and Ileen Gallagher.

The winners of each category will be announced at the Tribeca Film Festival Awards ceremony on 27 April at BMCC Tribeca Performing Arts Center.

The festival, from 19-30 April, will be hosted by Michael Rapaport.

Achim Steiner was named as the new administrator of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) by the UN chief Antonio Guterres.

Steiner, a German with extensive experience at the world organization, will succeed Helen Clark, a former New Zealand prime minister. Letter by Guterres dated 12 April 2017 said, Clark has steered the UNDP since 2009.

Steiner was chosen for the post over several other candidates including the French Environment Minister Segolene Royal. Reports suggest that the result of selection has surprised Royal because Guterres had promised a woman would take the job at UNDP. She said that Germany would have used its weight as a major UNDP donor to have Steiner chosen for the job.

Awards & Honors –

President Pranab Mukherjee confers Padma awards to eminent personalities

President Pranab Mukherjee on 13 April 2017 conferred the Padma awards to 44 people. The awards were conferred at a Civil Investiture Ceremony held at Rashtrapati Bhavan.

Padma Vibhushan was conferred on three personalities including eminent Singer Yesudas, spiritual leader Sadhguru Jaggi Vasudev were given Padma Vibhushan award.

The award ceremony was held in the presence of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Lok Sabha Speaker Sumitra Mahajan and Home Minister Rajnath Singh along with other dignitaries.

Malala 6th person to receive honorary Canadian citizenship

Youngest Nobel Peace laureate Malala Yousafzai on 12 April 2017 became the sixth person to receive honorary Canadian citizenship.

Malala, 19, was bestowed with the title during an honorary citizenship ceremony held in Ottawa. The Pakistani activist was welcomed to the seat of Canada’s democracy by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. With this, she also became the youngest person to receive the honorary Canadian citizenship.

The privilege was previously granted to five others namely Nelson Mandela, the Dalai Lama, Myanmar’s  Aung  San Suu  Kyi,  religious leader Karim  Aga Khan IV and Swedish diplomat Raoul Wallenberg (posthumously).

World News –

The High Energy Accelerator Research Organization (KEK) on 11 April 2017 successfully completed the “roll-in” of the Belle II detector.

The term “roll-in” refers to the operation of moving the entire Belle II detector system, following the completion of the assembly and integration of the various components, from its assembly area to the beam collision point.

The  completion  is  an  important  milestone  for  the  international  Belle  II  collaboration  and  the SuperKEKB accelerator.

Russia vetoes UN resolution condemning Syria chemical attack

Russia vetoed a United Nations Security Council (UNSC) resolution on 12 April 2017 that condemned the use of chemical weapons in the rebel-held Syrian town, Khan Sheikhoun and demanded a speedy investigation into the details of the attack.

The resolution drafted by Britain, France and the United States aimed to bring Russia’s ally Syria on the negotiating table. The western countries believe that Bashar al-Assad-led Syrian government has a lot to do with the chemical attack, a claim that is rejected by both Moscow and Syria.

Books & Authors –

The Flaming Tresses of Draupadi, authored by M Veerappa Moily launched

M Veerappa Moily, senior Congress leader and former Chief Minister of Karnataka released a book tracing the life of Draupadi on 7 April 2017.  The book was released by the President of India, Pranab Mukherjee at the Rashtrapati Bhavan.

The book traces the whole life journey of the legendary Mythological character, right from her birth from the sacrificial fire to her marriage to the five Pandavas, to losing all the fortune and even honour to the Kauravas in the midst of a gambling game and finally the great war of Kurukshetra, which ends with the victory of the Pandavas.

 

Current Affairs Update – 14 April, 2017

Financial and Banking News –

PM Narendra Modi launches BHIM-Aadhaar Pay app

Prime Minister Modi on 14 April 2017, the 126th birth anniversary of Dr BR Ambedkar, launched BHIM- Aadhaaar app for merchants in Nagpur. In addition to this, he also launched cash back and referral bonus schemes for BHIM and declared about 75 townships spread all over India as ‘less-cash townships’.

The initiatives were launched with an aim to further the digital payments revolution in India. It also seeks to reinforce the vision of Baba Saheb for social empowerment of all through financial inclusion.

BHIM-Aadhaar, the merchant interface of the BHIM App will pave the way for making digital payments by using the Aadhaar platform.

This will enable every Indian citizen to pay digitally using their biometric data like their thumb imprint on a merchants’ biometric-enabled device which could be smart phone having a biometric reader.

Any citizen without access to smart phones, the internet, debit or credit cards will be able to transact digitally through the BHIM Aadhaar platform.

Besides, the Prime Minister also launched two new initiative schemes and they are BHIM – Cashback and Referral bonus. These schemes have an outlay of Rs 495 rupees for a period of six months. These schemes will provide a major impetus to the digital payment revolution in India.

Referral bonus scheme: Under the scheme both the existing user who refers BHIM and the new user who  adopts  BHIM  would get  a  cash bonus  credited  directly  to  their account.  Per  referral, the government will deposit Rs 10 to the account holder. The scheme will run until 14 October 2017.

Cashback scheme: Under the scheme, the merchants will get a cash back on every transaction using BHIM.

Union Government launches Aadhaar Seeding Application

Bandaru Dattatreya, the Minister of State for Labour and Employment, on 13 April 2017 launched Aadhaar Seeding Application.

The Application aims efficient service delivery and widening the reach of Employees Provident Fund (EPF) benefits.

The Application was launched at the 217th special meeting of the Central Board  of Employees Provident Fund (CBEPF/EPFO) in New Delhi.

The Aadhaar Seeding Application is developed by the Employees’ Provident Fund Organisation with support of the Common Service Centers (CSC) and CDAC (Centre for Development of Advanced Computing).

 

The Application is developed in pursuance of the government’s policy for optimum use of information

technology for efficient service delivery and widening the reach of benefits to people.

With the implementation of the Application, Provident Fund member or pensioner can walk in any of the field offices of EPFO or CSC outlets with UAN and Aadhaar and seed the Aadhaar with the UAN.

 

PM Modi inaugurates new units in Koradi thermal power station in Nagpur

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on 14 April 2017 dedicated various units of the thermal power plants at Koradi, Chandrapur and Parli of Maharashtra to the nation. The total capacity of these plants is 3230 Mega Watts.

Three super-critical units 660 MW each at Koradi

Two of 500 MW each at Chandrapur

One of 250 MW at Parli

The power station was inaugurated during Modi’s day-long visit to Nagpur.

Immediately after arrival at airport, he proceeded to sacred Deekshabhoomi and paid rich tributes to the Architect of Indian Constitution Bharat Ratna Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar at the Central Memorial on his birth anniversary.

 

India and France sign MoU on Civil Aviation

 

A Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between Airports Authority of India (AAI) and the French Civil Aviation Authority (DGAC) was signed to further the active technical cooperation programme between the two countries.

Providing for exchanges of officials and the sharing of technical know-how, the agreement will be beneficial for the long-term enhancement of skills and expertise.

The MoU was signed by Alexandre Ziegler, Ambassador of France to India, and AK Dutta, Member(ANS) of the Airports Authority of India.

Originally initiated in 2010, the renewal of the Indo-French cooperation agreement under this MoU comes at a crucial time when the Indian aviation industry is booming, requiring a highly skilled workforce. Several teams of Indian officials have already visited Toulouse and Paris, in France, under this technical cooperation programme.

This MoU is also  beneficial for imparting  training of engineers, technicians, managers etc. In a reflection of the rich and decades-old history of active collaboration, recently a new Master’s programme in Airport Management was conducted jointly by French and Indian training institutes in Hyderabad. The third intake of Indian students for this course has just started, taking the total number of trainees to over 100.

 

News related to India and states –

Haryana government launches Operation Durga for women’s safety

On the lines of the Anti-Romeo Squad of Uttar Pradesh, the Haryana Government on 13 April 2017 launched ‘Operation Durga’ to ensure women safety in the state.

On the first day of its launch itself, the police teams nabbed 72 people from all the districts for allegedly indulging in crimes against women including eve teasing.

The Flying Squad of Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar formed twenty-four teams for carrying out the Operation Durga.

The teams comprise woman personnel, including nine Sub- inspectors of Police, 14 Assistant Sub- inspectors, six Head Constables and 13 constables, besides other police officers from each district.

The teams will visit public places such as schools, colleges, bus stands and railway stations.

Appointments –

Raghvendra Singh appointed as new Advocate General of UP

Lucknow Apr 13 (PTI) Senior counsel Raghvendra Singh has been appointed as the new advocate general of Uttar Pradesh.

Governor Ram Naik has appointed Raghvendra Singh as the new Advocate General of the state on the advice of Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath who called on him this evening, a Raj Bhawan spokesperson said today.

The Governor has accepted the resignation of Vijay Bahadur Singh, who was appointed during the Samajwadi Party dispensation, as the Advocate General of Uttar Pradesh, the spokesperson said.

Earlier in the day, the Lucknow bench of the Allahabad High Court directed the chief secretary of the state to inform the court by April 20 the name of the Advocate General of Uttar Pradesh, during the hearing of a case.

The order was passed by a division bench of Justices Amreshwar Pratap Sahi and Sanjay Harkauli in a case challenging validity of a state law, in which earlier the court had issued notice to the AG for assistance.

M Vijayawargiya is Whole Time Member, IBBI

Mukulita Vijayawargiya has been appointed as Whole Time Member of the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Board of India (IBBI), Bureaucracy Today has learnt.

She will look after the Administrative Law Wing along with Information Technology, Limited Insolvency Examination, National Insolvency Examination, Finance and Accounts and Communication.

Vijayawargiya was earlier serving as a member of Bankruptcy Law Reforms Committee (BLRC). She played a key role in drafting the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code, 2016 as Additional Secretary in the Legislative Department, Ministry of Law & Justice.

She has also served as a member of Indian Legal Service and has been associated with drafting/vetting of more than 100 legislative proposals in the legislative department.

Further she has been a visiting scholar in Japan and Australia and published a number of articles in various journals and is co-author of two books.

World –

US drops ‘Mother of All Bombs’ on ISIS Caves in Afghanistan

The United States on 13 April 2017 dropped its largest non-nuclear bomb ever deployed in combat on an Islamic State tunnel complex in eastern Afghanistan. The bomb was dropped at around 7 PM local time in Afghanistan.

Adam Stump, the spokesman of the Pentagon stated, “a GBU-43/B Massive Ordnance Air Blast Bomb (MOAB), nicknamed Mother of All Bombs, was dropped on a tunnel complex of ISIS-Khorasan, a regional affiliate of the terror group, in Achin district of Afghanistan’s Nanagarh province.”

The  bomb  was  dropped  by  an  MC-130  aircraft,  operated  by  the  Air  Force  Special  Operations Command.

President Donald Trump praised the military for the bombing run and called it a successful mission. White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer stated that the US took all precautions necessary to prevent civilian casualties and collateral damage as a result of the operation.

 

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