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Maharashtra govt approves climate change adaptation policy
On October 10, 2017, Maharashtra State cabinet approved a climate change adaptation policy that will focus on developing environment-friendly villages and cities.
i. Maharashtra State Government will set up a special cell under the state Environment department for the effective implementation of this policy of developing environment-friendly villages and cities.
ii. Besides, Maharashtra cabinet has approved financial allocation for special scheme for pending agricultural pumps in Vidarbha and Marathwada region………………..Click here to view more detail
Projects worth Rs 700 crore sanctioned for Namami Gange programme by NMCG
The National Mission for Clean Ganga(NMCG) has sanctioned Rs.700 crore for eight projects in the Namami Gange programme.Misson of Eight project
Four projects related to sewage management in Uttar Pradesh, Bihar and West Bengal.Three are related to treatment of drains through bio-remediation. One of inventorization and surveillance of river Ganga
1.Four projects related to sewage management in Uttar Pradesh, Bihar and West Bengal.
NMCG has sanctioned a project for pollution reduction in river Ganga at Bally in West Bengal at an estimated cost of Rs 200.07 crore with construction of a 40 MLD STP.
i. Under Hybrid Annuity model construction of a 65 MLD STP has been approved for Bhagalpur in Bihar at an estimated cost of Rs 268.49 crore.
ii. Uttar Pradesh, sewage treatment related works at an estimated cost of Rs 213.62 crore have also been approved that includes construction of two STPs (28 MLD + 05 MLD) in Farrukabad and one 2 MLD STP at Bargadiya drain in Fatehpur
2.Three are related to treatment of drains through bio-remediation:-
Rajapur drain ,Digha drain in Patna and Laksar drain in Haridwar will be treated at an estimated cost of Rs 4.29 crore.
3.One of inventorization and surveillance of river Ganga:-
It has also been approved at an estimated cost of Rs 42.9 crore to strengthen environmental regulation and water quality monitoring vis-vis river Ganga.
Germany to help Indian Railways to increase speed of trains on existing corridors
On October 10, 2017, a Joint Declaration of Intent (JDI) was signed in New Delhi between Union Ministry of Railways and Germany for carrying out feasibility study on existing Chennai-Kazipet corridor of Indian Railways by German Railways for increasing the speed of passenger trains to 200 kmph.
More information about JDI between Union Ministry of Railways and Germany:
i. The JDI focuses on upgrading trains running in Chennai-Kazipet corridor to semi high speed trains which run at 200 km per hour.
ii. Feasibility study will be carried out in three phases requiring an estimated time of 22 months.
iii. Cost of the feasibility study will be shared equally (50-50 percent) by the Ministry of Railways and Government of the Federal Republic of Germany.
iv.Post finalisation of terms and conditions, a separate agreement will be signed between the two entities.
IIT Kharagpur partners with Samsung for Digital Academy
Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) – Kharagpur has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Samsung India for the setting up of a digital academy in its campus.
More Details about Digital Academy to be set up by IIT-Kharagpur and Samsung
i. The Digital Academy will be hosted by IIT-Kharagpur’s Department of Computer Science and Engineering.
ii. At the academy, students will be provided training on the Internet of Things (IoT) through Tizen-based operating systems which is used by Samsung for its mobile phones and home appliances.
iii. This academy is a part of Samsung India’s corporate social initiative that aims at bridging the digital divide in India by helping students to acquire cutting-edge technology skills.
iv. Over 100 students will get training at this academy in next three years.
Quick Facts about Samsung:
♦ Founded in – 1938
♦ Headquarters – Seoul, South Korea
PV Reddi headed panel to look into pay hike issue of lower court judges
Union Law Ministry has finalised the appointment of a panel (Second National Judicial Pay Commission) to recommend new salary structure for judges of lower courts in India.
About Second National Judicial Pay Commission:
i. In coming days, Union Cabinet will take up Law Ministry’s proposal to appoint the Second National Judicial Pay Commission to recommend salary hikes for the 21,000 lower court judges.
ii. Former Supreme Court judge PV Reddi will be the head of this proposed commission which will submit its recommendations in early 2019.
iii. It is to be noted that judges of the lower court got the last pay hike in 2010 on basis of Supreme Court-appointed one-member committee under Justice E Padhmanabhan, a retired high court judge, report in July 2009 recommending the three-fold hike.
iv. Currently a senior judge draws a salary of nearly Rs 80,000 while entry level salary for a junior civil judge is Rs 45000.
First Meeting of the Economic Advisory Council held in New Delhi
On 11th October 2017, the first meeting of the Economic Advisory Council to Prime Minister Narendra Modi (EAC-PM) was held at NITI Aayog, in New Delhi.1st meeting of EAC-PM:
i. The EAC-PM is chaired by Dr.Bibey Debroy. Principal Adviser of NITI Aayog Ratan P.Watal is the council’s member secretary and Dr.Surjit Bhalla, Dr.Rathin Roy and Dr.Ashima Goyal are its part-time members.
ii. Main issues discussed were, ways to boost consumer demand, attract private investments and measures to improve job creation in India.
iii. The council had held a brainstorming session with stakeholders on 9th October 2017 with regard to the meeting.
iv. Within the next few months the council would outline the long-term measures for Indian economy, to increase economic growth.
About NITI Aayog:
♦ Purpose – Indian Government’s think tank
♦ Formed in – 2015
BANKING & FINANCE
IMF lowers India’s growth forecast to 6.7% in 2017
As per latest edition of World Economic Outlook released on October 10, 2017, International Monetary Fund (IMF) has lowered India’s growth forecast for 2017 to 6.7% from its earlier estimate of 7.2%.
Highlights of Latest World Economic Outlook by IMF:
i. In the latest edition of World Economic Outlook report, IMF has cited lingering impact of demonetisation and teething problems related to implementation of Goods & Services Tax (GST) as main reasons for the downward revision of Indian economy’s growth forecast.
ii. As per the report, India will reclaim its fastest growing major economy tag next year when it is projected to grow at 7.4% as compared to China’s 6.5% growth.
iii. Indian economy is expected to grow at 8% in the medium term on account of positive impact of reforms undertaken so far.
iv. Global economy, as per the latest World Economic Outlook is projected to rise to 3.6% in 2017 and to 3.7% in 2018. The latest forecasts for both 2017 and 2018 are 0.1 percentage point stronger as compared to WEO April 2017 forecast.
Quick facts about International Monetary Fund (IMF):
♦ Formation year – 1944
♦ Headquarters – Washington D.C., US
♦ Current Managing Director – Christine Lagarde
SBI to setup country’s largest Innovation Centre in Mumbai
On 10th October 2017, State Bank of India (SBI) announced the setting up of its 15,000 square feet Innovation Centre, India’s largest Innovation Centre, in Navi Mumbai.India’s Largest Innovation Centre by SBI:
i. The Innovation Centre of SBI would be built at its Global IT Centre in Belapur, Navi Mumbai. It will be the largest Innovation Centre by any financial services company in India.
ii. SBI is investing Rs.100 crore on this Innovation Centre.It has decided to allocate 5 % of its IT budget for innovation regularly.
iii. This Innovation Centre will have 40 dedicated zones for each technology like blockchain, artificial intelligence, machine learning etc.
iv. SBI’s Innovation Head is Sidon Baraokar. SBI currently has a 12 member innovation team. This would be increased to more than 30, once the centre is launched.
Other Innovation Centres in India:
♦ National Innovation Foundation
♦ IBM Innovation Center
♦ Centre for Innovations in Public Systems
Moody’s assigns Baa3 rating with positive outlook to NHAI
On October 9, 2017, credit rating agency, Moody’s Investors Service assigned a Baa3 issuer rating with positive outlook to National Highways Authority of India (NHAI).
About NHAI and its Credit Rating:
i. Baa3 rating implies that there is a very high likelihood that the entity will receive support from the government in a distress situation.
ii. NHAI is a Government body established through an Act of Parliament.
iii. Moody’s Baa3 rating of NHAI is based on ensured availability of funding from Indian Government which in itself is a stable funding source.
iv. Cess on the sale of diesel and petrol for the Central Road Fund, revenues from operating roads, toll revenues and revenue share for Public Private Partnerships (PPP) projects comprise other avenues of funding for NHAI.
Quick Facts about NHAI:
♦ Founded in – 1988
♦ Headquarters – New Delhi
♦ Current Chairman – Deepak Kumar
World Bank lowers India’s growth forecast to 7%
On 11th October 2017, the World Bank released a report that stated that, India’s GDP might slowdown from 8.6% in 2015 to 7.0% in 2017.World Bank lowers India’s growth forecast to 7%:
i. The World Bank released a report before the annual meeting of the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank.
ii. World Bank said that, growth is expected to slow down from 8.6% in 2015 to 7.0% in 2017. Good policies balancing public spending with private investment might increase growth to 7.3% by 2018.
iii. It said that, India’s economic growth has been affected because of demonetisation and GST (Goods & Services Tax).
iv. A slowdown in India’s growth rate, has also affected the growth rate of South Asia. As a result, South Asia has fallen to second place after East Asia and the Pacific.
v. The growth activity is expected to stabilise within a quarter, maintaining the annual GDP growth at 7.0% in 2018. Growth is projected to increase gradually to 7.4% by 2020.
About World Bank:
♦ Headquarters – Washington, D.C., U.S
♦ President – Jim Yong Kim
HSBC launches ‘HSBCnet Trade Transaction Tracker’,app to track trade transactions
On 10th October 2017, HSBC launched the mobile app, ‘HSBCnet Trade Transaction Tracker’, to help customers track the status of their trade transactions on a real-time basis.
Trade Transaction Tracker:
i. The Trade Transaction Tracker feature has been built into the existing HSBCnet mobile application and has been launched in select countries in which HSBC operates, including India.
ii. It will provide a global view of import and export documentary credit and collections transactions, across markets in one single app.
iii. The HSBCnet Trade Transaction Tracker enables to:
1.Get an overview of documentary credits, collections and payments
2.Access export and import documentary credits and collection transactions status
3.View real-time trade transaction status detail
4.Save time on the phone, faxes or email with access to transaction status
About HSBC Bank India:
♦ Headquarters – Fort, Mumbai, Maharashtra
♦ CEO – Stuart Milne
Government reduces GST on bunker fuels; sets tax for offshore exploration, gas sales
On 11th October 2017, the government announced that, the Goods and Services Tax (GST) Council has revised rates for transportation of natural gas through pipeline, offshore works contracts etc.
GST rates revised:
i. The GST rates were revised in a GST Council meeting on 6thOctober 2017.
ii. The transportation of natural gas through pipeline will attract 5% GST without input tax credit, and 12% with input tax credit.
iii. The offshore works contract services and associated services relating to oil and gas exploration and production in the offshore areas beyond 12 nautical miles will attract 12% GST.
iv. The import of rigs and ancillary goods imported under lease will be exempted from Integrated GST (IGST).The rate on bunker fuel will be reduced to 5%, both for foreign going vessels and offshore works contract services.
About GST Council:
♦ Purpose – governs GST (Goods & Services Tax)
♦ Chairman – Mr.Arun Jaitley
Centre imposes anti-dumping duty on imports of steel wire rods from China
On October 9, 2017, Indian Government imposed anti-dumping duty on imports of certain steel wire rods from China to safeguard the interest of domestic industry.
More Details about anti-dumping duty on imports of steel wire rods from China:
i. The anti-dumping duty has been imposed for a period of five years.
ii. It was imposed on recommendation of Directorate General of Anti-Dumping and Allied Duties (DGAD), under Union Commerce Ministry.
iii. DGAD has stated that Chinese exports of ‘wire rod of alloy or non-alloy steel’ to India are below the normal value due to which domestic industry has suffered material injury.
iv. ‘Wire rod of alloy or non-alloy steel’ is used in many sectors such as automotive components, railway, engineering and construction.
India is second largest market for pharma & biotech workforce: LinkedIn Report
On 10th October 2017, LinkedIn released a report stating that, India ranks as the second largest market for pharmaceuticals and biotechnology workforce.India – 2nd largest market for pharma and biotech workforce:
i. The report by professional networking firm LinkedIn, has stated that India contributes 13.7 % to the global pharmaceuticals and biotechnology workforce. India has become the second largest market for the pharmaceutical and biotechnology industry.
ii. The report was published in the newly released e-book “The Indian Pharma and Biotech Industry”.It showed that New Delhi, Kolkata and Chandigarh are top markets for talent in this sector, in India.
iii. Also, talent migration is highest to the US. Nearly, 48 % of the talent from the pharma and biotech industry in the US is moving to India and 36 % is migrating to the US from India.
iv. The pharma and biotech professionals studied in this report were selected based on LinkedIn’s more than 500 million member data as of September 2017.
♦ Headquarters – Sunnyvale, California, U.S.
♦ Chairman – Reid Hoffman
♦ CEO – Jeff Weiner
MSE’s clearing arm certified as qualified CCP by ESMA
European Securities & Markets Authority (ESMA) has certified Metropolitan Clearing Corporation of India Ltd. (MCCIL), the clearing arm of Metropolitan Stock Exchange of India (MSE) as qualified central counterparty (CCP).
i. A central counterparty (CCP) is a corporate entity which guarantees the terms of a trade even if a buyer or seller defaults on the agreement.
ii. Under the Basel III framework introduced by the Basel Committee on Banking Supervision, entities are subjected to lower capital requirement/charges while participating in capital markets through qualified central counterparty (CCP).
iii. Earlier, National Stock Exchange (NSE’s) arm National Securities Clearing Corporation Ltd (NSCCL) and Bombay Stock Exchange (BSE’s) subsidiary Indian Clearing Corporation Limited (ICCL) were granted certification by ESMA.
iv. On account of this certification, European entities viz. banks and clearing members will require lower capital requirements to participate in Indian Capital Markets.
Gujarat government to set up 16 new GIDC townships to encourage SMEs
On 11th October 2017, Gujarat Chief Minister Vijay Rupani announced the setting up of 16 new Gujarat Industrial Development Corporation (GIDC) townships, in Gujarat.16 new GIDC townships in Gujarat:
i. Chief Minister Vijay Rupani said that, 16 new GIDC townships would be set up in 2400 hectare area to encourage the Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs).This township would attract 15,000 industrial units.
ii. He said that,the new Garment and Apparel Policy in Gujarat will create job opportunities for 1 lakh people. He said that, about Rs.20,000 crore investments is likely to come up in Gujarat following this policy.
iii. As per new Garment and Apparel Policy, Garment makers will get Rs.4,000 subsidy per woman worker and Rs.3500 subsidy per male worker.
About Gujarat Industrial Development Corporation (GIDC):
♦ Chairman – Mr.M.K.Das
♦ Purpose – to accelerate industrialization in Gujarat
AWARDS & RECOGNITIONS
President Kovind honours Boxing coach Sandhu & Dr.Bindeshwar Pathak with National Awards
President Ram Nath Kovind gave away the National award for senior citizens to Indian boxing coach Gurbax Singh Sandhu and Lal Bahadur Shastri National Award for Excellence in Public Administration, Academics and Management for 2017 to Dr.Bindeshwar Pathak.
Gurbax Singh Sandhu:
i. On 9thOctober 2017, President Ram Nath Kovind honored Gurbax Singh Sandhu, Indian boxing coach, with the National Award for Senior Citizens at a function.
ii. He has been coaching both the men and women boxers. Sandhu was India’s longest-serving men’s national coach, for two decades, before he was made in charge of the women campers in 2017.His service ended in September 2017.
i. On 10thOctober 2017, President Ram Nath Kovind honoured Dr.Bindeshwar Pathak with Lal Bahadur Shastri National Award for Excellence in Public Administration, Academics and Management for 2017.
ii. Dr.Bindeshwar Pathak is the founder of Sulabh International. He has developed and implemented, all over India, a low cost and appropriate toilet technology popularly known as the Sulabh Shauchalaya system.
About Ram Nath Kovind:
♦ Current Position – President of India
♦ Previous positions – Advocate, BJP member, Rajya Sabha MP from UP, Governor of Bihar
Richard Thaler wins 2017 Nobel prize in economics – as it happened
Richard H. Thaler won the 2017 Nobel Prize for Economics for his work on behavioural economics. He plans to spend the prize money “irrationally”.i. Thaler, 72 and a professor at the University of Chicago, is one of the founders of behavioral economics and finance.
ii. Professor of behavioural sciences and economics at University of Chicago has given annual economics award. He was made a Nobel laureate for shedding light on how human weaknesses such as a lack of rationality and self-control can ultimately affect markets.
About Richard H. Thaler
Thaler was born in New Jersey, he graduated with a bachelor’s degree from the Case Western Reserve University in 1967.
♦ He received a master’s degree from the University of Rochester in 1970 and a doctorate in 1974, also from Rochester.
♦ He joined the University of Chicago’s Booth School of Business in 1995.
APPOINTMENTS & RESIGNS
Actor Anupam Kher appointed as new FTII chairman
On 11th October 2017, the government appointed Actor Anupam Kher as the Chairman of Film and Television Institute of India (FTII), Pune.Anupam Kher – FTII Chairman:
i. Anupam Kher will replace Gajendra Chauhan as Chairman of FTII. Gajendra Chauhan’s tenure ended in March 2017.
ii. Gajendra Chauhan’s appointment was met with heavy opposition from students, faculty and many in the film industry. It also led to a 139 day strike.
iii. Anupam Kher is a Bollywood actor. He is married to actress Kirron Kher, a BJP MP.
iv. He is 62 years old. He has worked in more than 500 films and over 100 plays in the last 30 years. He was awarded the Padma Shri award in 2004 and the Padma Bhushan award in 2016.
About Film and Television Institute of India (FTII):
♦ Director – Bhupendra Kainthola
♦ Location – Pune, Maharashtra
Facebook India MD Umang Bedi quits; Bhushan named interim head
On 10th October 2017, Umang Bedi, Managing Director, India and South Asia, at Facebook resigned from his position.
Facebook India MD quits:
i. Umang Bedi has resigned from his Managing Director position from Facebook. He will leave Facebook at the end of 2017.
ii. Sandeep Bhushan, director, consumer and media, South Asia will be the interim MD of Facebook. Facebook is looking for a full-time MD.
iii. Umang Bedi joined Facebook in July 2016. Prior to that, he was the managing director—South Asia at Adobe Systems Inc.
iv. During his tenure at Facebook, Bedi focused on growing the business, building engagement and partnerships by focusing on verticals, brands and agencies.
♦ Headquarters – Menlo Park, California, U.S.
♦ Chairman & CEO – Mark Zuckerberg
Nisha Desai Biswal appointed as head of USIBC
On 11th October 2017, Nisha Desai Biswal, former U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asia, was appointed as President of the U.S.-India Business Council (USIBC).Nisha Desai Biswal – President of USIBC:
i. USIBC is a forum of U.S. businesses under the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. Nisha Desai Biswal has been appointed as the President of USIBC.
ii. The USIBC’s previous board decided to set up a new organisation called the U.S-India Strategic Partnership Forum (USISPF), breaking away from the Chamber.
iii. Former President of the USIBC Mukesh Aghi is heading the USISPF, which has on its board PepsiCo chairman Indra Nooyi and CISCO chairman John T. Chambers.
iv. Nisha Desai Biswal will combine the interests of the American businesses in a way that would be useful to the Indian government.
About U.S.-India Business Council (USIBC):
♦ Headquarters – Washington, D.C., United States
♦ Chairman – Ajay Banga
SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY
Japan launches fourth satellite for high-precision GPS
On October 10, 2017, Japan launched Michibiki satellite, the fourth satellite for a new high-precision global positioning system (GPS).
More Details about Japan’s Michibiki Satellite:
i. Michibiki satellite was launched by Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency aboard H-2A rocket from Tanegashima Space Center in Kagoshima Prefecture.
ii. With this satellite, Japan now has 4 satellites that orbit over Australia and Japan and allow for uninterrupted coverage.
iii. Japan plans to have seven of such geo-positioning satellites in orbit by 2023.
iv. Japanese GPS can locate objects with an accuracy that differs by just few cms as compared to U.S. GPS, which has an accuracy variance of about 10 meters.
NVIDIA announces World’s first AI Computer to make Robotaxis
On 11th October 2017, NVIDIA unveiled the world’s first Artificial Intelligence (AI) computer designed to drive fully autonomous robotaxis, named Pegasus.Pegasus:
i. The new system developed to drive robotaxis is codenamed Pegasus. Pegasus will be available to NVIDIA automotive partners in the second half of 2018.
ii. It extends the NVIDIA Drive PX AI computing platform to handle Level 5 driverless vehicles. NVIDIA Drive PX Pegasus delivers over 320 trillion operations per second, which is more than 10 times the performance of its predecessor, NVIDIA Drive PX 2.
iii. NVIDIA Drive PX Pegasus will help to create a new class of vehicles that can operate without a driver, that are fully autonomous vehicles without steering wheels, pedals or mirrors, and interiors that feel like a living room or office.
♦ Headquarters – Santa Clara, California, U.S.
♦ President & CEO – Jensen Huang
Gurusaidutt wins Bulgarian International Tournament
On October 8, 2017, Commonwealth Games bronze medallist RMV Gurusaidutt won the men’s singles title at the Bulgarian International Future Series Badminton tournament.i. In the final match, Gurusaidutt defeated Muhammed Ali Kurt of Turkey. The match lasted for 35 minutes at the end of which Gurusaidutt earned the victory by 21-17, 21-16.
ii. He had not played any match since US Open in July 2016 owing to an ankle injury and subsequent surgery.
iii. He will now play Senior Nationals Championship in November 2017.
International Day of the Girl Child and Beti Bachao Beti Padhao Week observed
‘International Day of the Girl Child’ is observed across the world on October 11 every year. This day is observed to raise awareness about several issues faced by girl child pertaining to education, nutrition, child marriage, legal and medical rights.
i. Theme of International Day of the Girl Child’ 2017 is “EmPOWER Girls: Before, during and after crises”.
ii. In view of ‘International Day of the Girl Child’ on October 11, 2017, Union Ministry of Women and Child Development will be celebrating the Beti Bachao Beti Padhao Week from 9th to 14th October, 2017.Theme of this celebration will be “Beti Bachao Beti Padhao Week- The Daughters of New India”…………………Click here to view more detail