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AP announces Port Policy, to constitute Maritime Board
Andhra Pradesh government announced to adopt the A.P. Port Policy 2015. The new policy seeks to address issues and challenges like diversification of cargo, diversity of locations, increasing strategic depth of hinterland, enabling market-oriented development and enabling institutional mechanism.
- The State has one major port at Visakhapatnam besides 14 non-major port.
- The State targetted to achieve 15 per cent share in cargo handling by 2019 and 25 per cent by 2025.
Aim of the policy :
To harnessing the advantages of the 974-km long coastline, the third longest in the country which is strategically located to transform the State’s vision of making Andhra Pradesh a gateway and logistics hub.
Key points :
- AP Capital : Hyderabad
- AP CM : Chandrababu Naidu
- AP Governor : E. S. L. Narasimhan
India re-elected as Member of International Maritime Council for coming two years (2016-17)
India has been re-elected unopposed to the Council of the International Maritime Organization (IMO) underCategory “B” at the 29th session of the Assembly of the IMO held in London on 27 November, 2015.
IMO Assembly :
The 29th Session of the IMO Assembly is being held at IMO Headquarters London from 23 November to 02 December, 2015.
- The IMO Council consists of 40 member countries who are elected by the IMO Assembly.
About India as a member of IMO :
- India has been one of the earliest members of the IMO, having ratified its Convention and joined it as a member-state in the year 1959,except for two years for the period 1983-1984.
About IMO :
The IMO was established in Geneva in 1948 and came into force ten years later, meeting for the first time in 1959. Headquartered in London, United Kingdom, the IMO has 171 Member States and three Associate Members.
IMO Head : Koji Sekimizu
India-Japan exchange notes worth Rs 5,536 cr for Chennai and Ahmedabad Metro projects
The Notes were exchanged between Mr. S. Selvakumar, Joint Secretary, Department of Economic Affairs, Government of India andMr.Yutaka Kikuta, Charge d’ Affaires a.i., Embassy of Japan to India. The Government of Japan has committed Official Development Assistance (ODA) loan of an amount of JPY 19.981 billion (= approx. Rs.1080 crore) for the Chennai Metro Rail Project (IV) and JPY 82.434 billion (=approx. Rs.4456 Crore) for the Ahmedabad Metro Project.
- India and Japan have had mutually beneficial economic development cooperation since 1958. In the last few years, the economic cooperation between India and Japan has strengthened and grown into strategic partnership. With general political consensus and popular support for the greater cooperation between India and Japan, the partnership is poised for a great future.
Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) Signs 11 more Unilateral Advance Pricing Agreements (APAS)
It has been the endeavor of the Government to foster an environment of co-operation in matters of taxation through predictability of laws and reduced litigation. In a major push towards providing certainty to foreign investors in the arena of transfer pricing, the Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) has entered into 11 more unilateral Advance Pricing Agreements (APAs).
These APAs were signed with Indian subsidiaries of foreign companies operating in various segments of the economy like investment advisory services, engineering design services, marine products, contract R&D, software development services, IT enabled services, cargo handling support services, etc.
While seven (7) of these APAs have rollback provisions contained in them, the other four (4) are Agreements for future five years. APAs with rollback provisions can cover a maximum period of 9 years in total. With this round of signing, CBDT has so far entered into 31 APAs (30 unilateral and one bilateral).
The APA Programme was introduced in the Income-tax Act, 1961 in 2012 vide the Finance Act, 2012. Five (5) APAs were concluded in the first year and four (4) APAs got signed in the second year. The pace of negotiations has picked-up in the current year. This year has already witnessed the conclusion of 22 APAs. It is the aim of the CBDT to finalise another 30 to 40 APAs before the end of this fiscal to provide stability and confidence to foreign enterprises operating in India.
Lok Sabha adopts resolution committing to uphold Constitution
The Lok Sabha on 27th November 2015 adopted a resolution affirming commitment to the principles and ideals of the Constitution and resolve to uphold and maintain its sanctity and supremacy.
The resolution was adopted at the end of the two day special sittings of the House on commitment to India’s constitution to commemorate 125th birth anniversary celebrations of Dr B R Ambedkar.
- House resolved to protect the sovereignty, unity and integrity of the country and its democratic, socialist and secular character.
- Dedicate itself to equality and social justice and contribute to the task of building a strong republic.
- Resolved to maintain transparency, probity and accountability in public life.
Air Pollution causes millions of death in Asia – UN Report
As per United Nations report, the rising level of air borne pollution in Asia is extracting greater social and economic costs leading to millions of people dying prematurely each year.
- Globally some 7 million people a year die prematurely due toindoor and outdoor pollution with about 70% of those deaths in the Asia Pacific.
Chinese navy holds first joint anti-piracy drill with NATO
China’s navy involved in anti-piracy patrols in the Gulf of Aden has held its first joint drill with NATO ships carrying out the same mission.
Aim : To ensure that China and NATO can together maintain maritime security and stability in the Gulf of Aden.There weren’t too many other details revealed.
- The exercise took place on November 25. It showed pictures of Chinese and NATO officers chatting on the bridge of a ship and simulating a commando raid.
- The exercise is expected to help improve communications between ships on anti-piracy duties.
About NATO :
The North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) also called the North Atlantic Alliance is constitutes a system of collective defence whereby its member states agree to mutual defense in response to an attack by any external party.
- NATO’s headquarters: Haren, Brussels, Belgium
- Chairman : Petr Pavel
Albania, India sign MoU on diplomatic passport holders
Albania and India have signed an agreement on the removal of visa requirements for diplomatic and service passport holders between the two countries.
- The agreement will serve the interests of both countries and strengthen friendly relations and cooperation in various areas of mutual interest.
The agreement will enable businesses from both sides to have freer movement, thus allowing more frequent communication and cooperation.
BANKING & FINANCE
Indian banks’ overseas arms see 11.3% rise in credit – RBI
The 2014-15 round of Survey on International Trade in Banking Services released by RBI was based on the branches or subsidiaries of Indian banks operating abroad and foreign banks operating in India.
- As per survey, Indian bank’s overseas branches reported 3 % rise in credit growth at Rs 8.33 lakh crore during 2014-15.
Credit extended by overseas branches of Indian banks increased by 11.3% to Rs 8,331.5 billion (USD 133.1 billion) in March 2015 and lending by foreign banks operating in India also increased by 13 per cent to Rs 3,359.9 billion (USD 53.7 billion).
- In terms of fee income generated, for overseas branches of Indian banks, it increased to Rs 94.3 billion (USD 1.5 billion) from Rs 89.6 billion (USD 1.5 billion) in the previous year.
- On the other hand, foreign banks operating in India generated lower fee income of Rs 72.7 billion (USD 1.2 billion) as compared to Rs 78.8 billion (USD 1.3 billion) in the previous year.
RBI allows foreign investors to buy defaulted bonds
The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) permitted the Foreign Portfolio Investors (FPI) to buy fully or partly defaulted bonds in the repayment of principal on maturity or principal instalment in the case of amortising bond.
As part of it following changes were made to Foreign Exchange Management (Transfer or Issue of Security by a Person Resident outside India) Regulations, 2000:
- The revised maturity period of such NCDs/bonds that are restructured based on negotiations with the issuing Indian company should be three years or more.
- The FPI that proposes to acquire such NCDs/bonds under default should disclose to the Debenture Trustees the terms of their offer to the existing debenture holders from whom they are acquiring.
- Such investment should be within the overall limit prescribed for corporate debt from time to time (currently 2443.23 billion rupees).
The RBI granted the permission to the FPIs under sections 10(4) and 11(1) of the Foreign Exchange Management Act, 1999.
HDFC Bank launches Rs 30-cr marketing campaign
Country’s second largest private sector lender HDFC Bank has launched ‘sonic branding’ or a musical logo it will spend over Rs 30 crore to promote the new brand positioning which stresses on the digital banking.
- The ‘sonic branding’ is being included at all the touch-points like ATMs and phone-banking application, where customers will hear the tune.
- The 360-degree campaign was first rolled out in non-metro cities before Diwali, and will soon be hitting the eight metros.Last fiscal, the bank had invested Rs 140 crore in advertising efforts.
Key points :
- HDFC Headquarters : Mumbai
- HDFC MD : Aditya Puri
AWARDS & RECOGNITIONS
President’s Standard awarded to two IAF squadrons
President Pranab Mukherjee presented President’s Standard to two Indian Air Force (IAF) squadrons based in Hasimara, West Bengal. Hasimara is an Indian Air Force (IAF) station around 15 km away from India-Bhutan border. It has two Mig 27 squadrons and Akash missile systems.
- The squadrons which have been honoured are the 18 Squadron and the 22 Squadron.
- The 18 Squadron aka “Flying Bullets” and came to be known as “Defenders of Kashmir Valley” during the 1971 India-Pakistan war.
- The 22 Squadron was formed in 1966 in Bareilly and is known as “The Swifts”.
Power Pavilion Wins Gold Award at Trade Fair -2015
Power Pavilion of Ministry of Power has won Gold Award at the India International Trade fair (IITF) -2015. Shri Rajpal, Economic Advisor & Shri C.J. Jose, Director, Ministry of Power received the Award from Shri Arun Jaitley and Smt. Nirmala Sitharaman.
- India International Trade Fair (IITF) is organised by India Trade Promotion Organization (ITPO) at Pragati Maidan, New Delhi from November 14 (the birth anniversary of the architect of modern India – Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru) to November 27 annually.
Priya Parmar’s novel among NYT’s 100 notable books of 2015
Indian-origin author Priya Parmar’s historical novel “Vanessa and Her Sister”, has been included in the New York Times’ 100 Notable Books of 2015.
About Novel :
- This novel is about acclaimed painter Vanessa Bell and her more famous sister English writer Virginia Woolf.
- ‘Vanessa and Her Sister’, a novel on Woolf and Bell, constructed around an invented diary and letters has made it to the New York Times 100 Notable Books of 2015, with the influential publication calling Parmar’s “fabricated journal” of the sisters an “uncanny success”.
APPOINTMENTS & RESIGNS
First lady designated as Secretary-General of Commonwealth of Nations
During 53rd Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) in Malta Patricia Janet Scotland was elected as the 6thSecretary-General of the Commonwealth of Nations and will take office from April 1, 2016.
- She will be the first woman to hold the post.
- She also becomes the first British citizen to be elected as secretary–general of the Commonwealth.
- She will succeed Kamalesh Sharma of India whose 8-year tenure comes to an end in March 2016.
- She will receive a salary of nearly £160,000 as well as a four storey mansion in Mayfair.
Y S Rao resigns as chairman of ICHR
Indian Council of Historical Research (ICHR) ChairmanYellapragada Sudershan Rao has resigned from the post .
About Y S Rao :
- Rao, who retired from Kakatiya University Department had been appointed as chairman of ICHR for a term of three years.
- The appointment of Rao, who is learnt to be a member of the Akhil Bharatiya Itihas Sankalan Yojanawhich is affiliated to the RSS, had also been a controversial one and attracted criticism from other historians like Romila Thapar who had expressed surprise while questioning his academic credentials.
About ICHR :
The Indian Council for Historical Research (ICHR) is an autonomous body of the Ministry of Human Resource Development, which had been established by an Administrative Order of the then Ministry of Education and Social Welfare. It was registered as a Society with the Delhi Government .
Harsh Vardhan Shringla appointed as the next High Commissioner of lndia to the People’s Republic of Bangladesh
Shri Harsh Vardhan Shringla currently Ambassador of lndia to Thailand has been appointed as the next High Commissioner of lndia to the People’s Republic of Bangladesh.
Key points :
- Bangladesh Capital : Dhaka
- Bangladesh Currency : Taka
- Bangladesh PM : Sheikh Hasina
SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY
India-Israel co-developed LRSAM missile successfully tested
Long Range Surface-to-Air Missile (LRSAM) aka Barak 8 missile was successfully flight-tested for the first time from an Israeli Naval Platform and it achieved the desired goal by hitting the incoming target. The missile is co-developed by India and Israel.
- The trial test was undertaken by Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) in the presence of Defence Research Development Organisation (DRDO) scientists.
ICC appointed four female umpires for ICC Women’s World Twenty20 Qualifier
For the first time four female officials have been selected for the Women’s World Twenty20 Qualifiertaking place in Bangkok from November 28 to December 5 announced by the International Cricket Council (ICC).
Name of four female umpires :
- New Zealander Kathleen
- Australia’s Claire Polosak
- England’s Sue Redfern
- West Indies’ Jacqueline Williams
The quartet will be joined by fellow umpires Allan Haggo and Nigel Morrison while Graeme Labrooy will be the match referee. ICC umpire coach Denis Burns will also attend the week-long tournament and provide support and assistance to the officials.