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All cities and towns in five more States declared Open Defecation Free
On October 2, 2017, Minister of Housing and Urban Affairs Mr. Hardeep Singh Puri announced that five more States viz., Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Chattisgarh, Jharkhand and Haryana have reached the milestone of making all cities and towns Open Defecation Free. It is to be noted that On October 2, 2017, ‘Swacch Bharat Mission’ completed three years.
Overview of Progress towards ‘Swacchata’ in urban areas:
i. As against the target of building about 66 lakh individual household toilets in urban areas, 38 lakh toilets have already been built and construction of another 14 lakh toilets is in progress.
ii. Over two lakh community and public toilet seats have been built so far. The mission target is to build five lakh toilet seats.
iii. With a focus on Solid Waste Management, Government is now putting efforts to generate over 500 MW of electricity and over 50 lakh tons of compost from municipal solid waste to enable processing of the entire solid waste being generated in urban areas.
iv. Mr. Puri informed that over 80 lakh people spread over 3.50 lakh activities in urban areas participated in the fortnight long ‘Swacchata Hi Sewa’ campaign which concluded on October 2, 2017.
Rajghat gets Mahatma’s statue for the first time
Rajghat, the Samadhi of Mahatam Gandhi in Delhi, has for the first time acquired a statue of Mahatma Gandhi. The statue was unveiled by Vice-President of India Mr. M.Venkaiah Naidu on October 2, 2017, on the occasion of the 148 Birth Anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi.
Specification of Mahatma Gandhi’s Statue at Rajghat:
i. The statue is 1.80 metre tall and is made of bronze.
ii. It has been sculpted by renowned Indian sculptor, Mr. Ram Sutar.
iii. The statue has been installed in the Parking Area of Rajghat Samadhi Complex at a cost of Rs.8.73 lakhs.
iv. The famous message of Gandhi ji “Be the Change You Wish to See” is inscribed on the front side of the pedestal.
v. Vice-President Venkaiah Naidu also inaugurated Rs.59 lakh Interpretation Centre in the Parking Area of the Rajghat Samadhi complex which enables interactive learning about the life and works of the Mahatma through Digital Display using LED screens.
vi .Visitors can watch films, life events, listen to speeches of Gandhiji besides participating in quiz, using ear phones for interaction without disturbance.
Benghazi port in Libya reopens after 3 years
Benghazi’s commercial port in east Libya reopened on October 1, 2017 for the first time in three years.
i. Like Benghazi’s airport, the port had been closed since 2014 because of a conflict between forces loyal to eastern-based commander Khalifa Haftar and an alliance of Islamists and other opponents.
ii. Khalifa Haftar had declared victory in July 2017 and Benghazi airport had reopened soon after that.
Reopening of Benghazi Port:
The reopening of port happened in presence of Abdullah al-Thinni, the Prime Minister of Libyan government based in the east.With the reopening of the port, local cost for imports of gas and some petroleum products as well as general cargo, are expected to be reduced.
Quick Facts about Libya:
♦ Capital – Tripoli
♦ Currency – Libyan dinar
China opens new highway in Tibet close to Arunachal border
On October 1, 2017 China opened a 409-km new expressway linking Tibet’s provincial capital Lhasa with Nyingchi, which is close to Arunachal Pradesh border. Lhasa and Nyingchi, both are major tourist attractions in Tibet.
More Information about China’s new highway in Tibet:
i. The new expressway has been built at a cost of nearly $5.8 billion.
ii. On account of this expressway, travel time between Lhasa and Nyingchi will be reduced from eight to five hours at a speed limit of 80 km per hour.
iii. Currently, heavy trucks are not permitted to use the Lhasa- Nyingchi expressway.
iv. From a strategic perspective, such Infrastructure development initiatives by China in Tibet has prompted India to scale up infrastructure development on its side.
Quick Facts about China:
♦ Capital – Beijing
♦ Currency – Reminbi
♦ Current President – Xi Jinping
BANKING & FINANCE
SBI waives closure charges for savings accounts that are over 1 year old
From October 1, 2017, savings bank account customers of State Bank of India (SBI) will not have to pay any charges for closing the account. This waiver applies to savings accounts which have existed for more than 1 year.
More Information about waiver of account closure charges for SBI Savings Bank Account:
i. Earlier, SBI levied closure charges of Rs 500 with Goods and Service Tax (GST) for its savings account customers.
ii. Before the closure charges waiver, only those customers who close their accounts within 14 days after opening (termed as free-look period) were exempted from any charges.
iii .Now with the closure charges being waived off, only those customers who close their accounts after 14 days and before completing 1 year after opening an account will be charged Rs 500 plus GST.
iv. Charges that were levied on the closure of account at the time of settlement of accounts of deceased account holders have also been waived.
Quick Facts about State Bank of India:
♦ Incorporated in – July 1955
♦ Headquarters – Mumbai
♦ Chairperson – Arundhati Bhattacharya
ClearTax upgrades GST software to help businesses avoid working capital lock-in
On 2nd October 2017, ClearTax, upgraded its GST-compliant software to intelligent features, to help businesses ensure unobstructed flow of credit.
Clear Tax’s upgraded GST software:
i. ClearTax is an Income Tax returns e-filing service provider.
ii. ClearTax has simplified GST filing software in three-steps:
1.Create invoices through this software.
2.One-click upload of all invoices to the ClearTax online platform for e-filing
3.The user has to review the final invoices and then, with a few clicks, all data can be submitted to GSTN for three returns a month (GSTR-1, 2 and 3).
iii. ClearTax users using GSTR-2A feature on the ClearTax GST Software can verify whether their vendors have filed their GSTR-1. If not, they can prompt them to file before the October 10 deadline.
iv. GSTR-1 is a return of outputs of a business. GSTR-2 is a return of inputs of a business.
♦ Founder & CEO – Mr.Archit Gupta
♦ Location – Bengaluru, Karnataka
GIFT-IFSC ranks at 10th place in global financial centres index
India’s first International Financial Services Centre (IFSC), Gujarat International Finance Tec-City (GIFT) IFSC has ranked at 10th place in the latest September 2017 edition of Global Financial Centres Index 22 (GFCI) – London.
About GIFT IFSC:
i. GIFT IFSC is located between Ahmedabad and Gandhinagar in Gujarat.
ii. Currently it is operational with approximately 10 leading banks, eight insurance companies and participating brokers, and two international exchanges.
iii. Nearly 100 capital market players have established their base at GIFT IFSC.
About Global Financial Centres Index 22 (GFCI):
GFCI report is produced bi-annually by The China Development Institute (CDI) in Shenzhen and Z/Yen Partners in London.
♦ It covers around 92 centres and 16 associate centres globally.
♦ As per the report, the top 15 centres which have been featured are likely to become more significant in the next few years.
♦ The report has adjudged GIFT IFSC as an emerging centre which has made tremendous progress.
India receives first-ever shipment of US crude oil at Paradip port
On 2nd October 2017, India received its first-ever shipment of US crude oil at Paradip port, in Odisha, as a part of purchases made by Indian Oil Corporation (IOC) and Bharat Petroleum Corporation Limited (BPCL).
First ever-shipment of US crude oil to India:
i.IOC and BPCL have placed orders for over 2 million barrels from the United States. This is the first shipment as per the deal.
ii. The shipment was received by United States Consulate General to Hyderabad, Katherine Hadda, Joint Secretary for International Co-operation from the Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas, Sunjay Sudhir and Joint Secretary, Americas Division, from the Ministry of External Affairs, Munu Mahawar.
iii. The US had stopped oil exports in 1975.
About US oil export ban:
♦ Act – US Energy Policy and Conservation Act
♦ Year – 1975
♦ Purpose – In response to 1973 oil crisis in US, export of oil was restricted to increase domestic energy supplies and availability
AWARDS & RECOGNITIONS
Madurai’s Meenakshi Temple named best ‘Swachh Iconic Place’ in India
On 2nd October 2017, the Meenakshi Sundareswarar Temple of Madurai was awarded the best ‘Swachh Iconic Place’ (Cleanest Iconic Place), in India.
Swachh Iconic Place:
i. Madurai District Collector K.Veera Raghava Rao and Corporation Commissioner S.Aneesh Sekhar received the ‘Swachh Iconic Place’ award from Uma Bharati, Minister for Drinking Water and Sanitation.
ii. This award was given by the Central Government, as a part of the ‘Swachh Bharat Abhiyan’ (Clean India Mission).
iii. Meenakshi Temple has been honoured with this award for the swift cleaning process carried out.
iv. The complete cleaning process is to be completed by March 2018.
v. The project is estimated for Rs.11.65 crores. It is sponsored by Bharat Petroleum Corporation Limited (BPCL).
vi. 63 compact bins, 4 compactor trucks, 25 e-toilets, 15 water ATMs, 2 road sweepers and battery operated vehicles have been employed to maintain cleanliness in the temple premises.
About Meenakshi Sundareswarar Temple:
♦ Location – Madurai, Tamil Nadu
♦ Constructed in – 7th century AD
♦ Honours – nominated in the top 30 for the ‘New Seven Wonders of the World’
Jeffrey C Hall, Michael Rosbash and Michael W Young awarded the 2017 Nobel Prize in Medicine
American Scientists Jeffrey Hall, Michael Rosbash and Michael Young have won the 2017 Nobel Prize for Physiology or Medicine.
About Winners of 2017 Nobel Prize for Physiology or Medicine:
i. Jeffrey Hall, Michael Rosbash and Michael Young have been awarded the 2017 Nobel Prize for Physiology or Medicine for their discoveries of molecular mechanisms controlling our biological clocks.
ii. Their discoveries explain how plants, animals and humans adapt their biological rhythm so that it is synchronized with the Earth’s revolutions.
iii. The team identified a gene within fruit flies that controls the creatures’ daily rhythm, known as the “period” gene.
iv. £825,000 prize money will be shared equally between the three scientists.
Government announces Swacchhata awards
On October 2, 2017, Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs conferred Swacchhata awards on those who contributed towards the Clean India objective in urban areas. 20 individuals and agencies in seven categories were felicitated with these awards.
Winners of Swacchhata Awards:
i. Delhi-based Facebook citizen group — ‘My Delhi Keep It Clean’ – was awarded for promoting efforts to clean public places.
ii. Fertiliser Cooperative KRIBHCO was conferred the Swacchata Award for marketing of compost made from municipal solid waste.
iii .In schools and colleges category, award was given to Kasturba Gandhi Balika Awasiya Vidyalaya, Ambikar.
iv .In self-help group category, Swacch Ambikapur Sahakari Samiti was chosen for the award for women empowerment and livelihood generation by converting garbage into wealth.
v .In the category of religious institutions, Pemayangste Monastery in Sikkim was felicitated for being a Zero-waste institution.
APPOINTMENTS & RESIGNS
Jagmeet Singh becomes first non-white politician to lead a major party in Canada
On 1st October 2017, Jagmeet Singh, a 38 year old Sikh lawyer, was elected to lead Canada’s New Democratic Party, in Toronto, Canada.
First non-white politician to lead a major party in Canada:
i. Jagmeet Singh has become the first non-white politician to lead a major political party in Canada.
ii. He has been elected as the leader of the New Democratic Party of Canada.
iii. Jagmeet Singh is a provincial lawmaker, in Ontario, Canada.
iv. He has been elected on the first ballot to lead the New Democratic Party (NDP) into the 2019 federal election against Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s Liberals.
v. The vote was conducted online and by mail. The result was announced at a party meeting in Toronto.
vi. Jagmeet Singh secured 54% of the vote.
About Jagmeet Singh:
♦ Profession – Lawyer
♦ Political Party – New Democratic Party
Chandrababu Naidu launches ‘Swachh Andhra Mission’, PV Sindhu chosen as the brand ambassador
On 2nd October 2017, Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Mr.Chandrababu Naidu launched ‘Swachh Andhra Mission’ on the occasion of Gandhi Jayanti.
Swachh Andhra Mission:
i. State minister for Information Technology and Rural Development Mr.Nara Lokesh and public representatives, were present on the occasion of this launch.
ii. Mr.Chandrababu Naidu and other dignitaries lit the lamp and paid tribute to Mahatma Gandhi and Lal Bahadur Shastri on their birth anniversaries.
iii. Shuttler PV Sindhu has been appointed as the brand ambassador of ‘Swachh Andhra Mission’.
iv.The Chief Minister said that, 22 lakh more toilets need to be constructed by March 2018.
v. Nara Lokesh, said that in last three years, toilets have increased from 30 % to 60 %.
About Andhra Pradesh:
♦ Capital – Hyderabad (currently), Amaravati (in 10 years)
♦ Chief Minister – Mr.N.Chandrababu Naidu
♦ Governor – Mr.E.S.L.Narasimhan
Baishya elected as chairmen of two sub-committees of IWF
Birendra Prasad Baishya the President of Indian Weightlifting Federation has been elected as chairman of two sub-committees of International Weightlifting Federation (IWF).
About Birendra Prasad Baishya:
i. Birendra Baishya has been elected as chairman of International Weightlifting Federation’s Ethics Commission as well as of Anti-Disciplinary Commission at IWF’s Executive Committee Meeting held at Bucharest, Romania.
ii. Mr. Baishya is currently serving as the Executive Board member of Asian Weightlifting Federation. He is also the Vice-President of Commonwealth Weightlifting Federation.
Quick Facts about International Weightlifting Federation (IWF):
♦ Formation Year – 1905
♦ Headquarters – Budapest, Hungary
♦ Current President – Tamas Ajan
ACQUISITIONS & MERGERS
RCom, Aircel call off merger talks
Anil Ambani-led Reliance Communications (RCom) has called off plans to merge its wireless business with rival Aircel. As announced by RCOM, the merger has been called off owing to legal and regulatory uncertainties as well as ‘intervention of vested interests to derail the deal’.
Overview of failed RCOM – Aircel Merger and other Mergers in Telecom Industry:
i. RCom had siged merger deal with Aircel in September 2016. Post-merger, the entity would have become India’s third-largest telecom provider with 175 million subscribers.
ii. With the merger deal falling apart, RCom’s management has decided to evaluate an alternate plan for its mobile business, through ‘optimisation of its spectrum portfolio and adoption of a 4G-focused mobile strategy’.
iii. In March 2017, Vodafone India and Idea Cellular announced $23 billion merger plan. Post-merger, the entity will be India’s largest telecom firm with a subscriber base exceeding 400 million.
iv .Even Airtel had announced to acquire Telenor India’s operations in seven circles with a combined subscriber based exceeding 300 million.
Qatar Airways acquires 49 percent stake in Italy’s Meridiana
Qatar Airways, one of the Middle East’s biggest carriers has announced that it has completed the acquisition of a 49 per cent stake in Italy’s AQA Holding. Alsarda, previous sole shareholder will retain a 51 per cent share in the company.
Expected benefits to Qatar Airways post acquisition:
i. It is to be noted that AQA Holding is the parent company of Italy’s second largest carrier Meridiana.
ii. Airways already has a strong presence in Italy, with more than 40 flights a week from Doha. On account of this acquisition, Meridiana’s 16 aircraft fleet will add strength to its existing 200 aircraft fleet in this sector.
iii. However, Italy’s largest carrier remains Alitalia, which is partly owned by Qatar Airways’ regional competitor Etihad Airways, based in Abu Dhabi.
Quick Facts about Qatar Airways:
♦ Commenced Operations in – 1994
♦ Headquarters – Doha, Qatar
♦ Current CEO – Akbar Al Baker
Jagan Kumar wins sixth title in a row at National Motorcycle Racing
On 1st October 2017, Jagan Kumar of TVS Racing won his sixth consecutive title in the premier Super Sport Indian (165cc) class, in the MRF MMSC FMSCI Indian National Motorcycle Racing Championship, in Chennai.
Jagan’s 6th title in a row:
i. This is the 6th consecutive year, Jagan Kumar has won the title in National Motorcycle Racing Championship.
ii. Jagan Kumar of TVS Racing won the Super Sport Indian (165cc) title.
iii. Winners in other categories are as follows:
1.Pro-Stock – Aravind Balakrishnan of Honda Ten10 Racing
2.Super Sport Indian (300-400cc) – Amarnath Menon of Gusto Racing
3.Novice – Stock (165cc) – Sai Rahil Pillarishetty of Sparks Racing
4.Stock – Girls – Aishwarya Pissay of Apex Racing
iv. The event was organised by Madras Motorsports Club. It was sponsored by MRF Tyres.
About Jagan Kumar:
Occupation – Motorcycle Racer
Team – TVS Racing
Achievements – First Indian to win Asia Road Racing, won 6 consecutive National Motorcycle Racing Championship
Female assistant referee to be seen in FIFA U-17 World Cup for the first time
On 1st October 2017, FIFA (International Federation of Association Football) announced that, female assistant referees will work in the FIFA U-17 World Cup, for the first time in a FIFA men’s competition.
Female assistant referee for the first time in FIFA men’s competition:
i. FIFA has selected 7 female support referees, for the first time for a men’s tournament.
ii. Seven female assistant referees from across the world, one from each continent, have been chosen by FIFA.
iii. They will work along with 70 male referees to officiate the 52 matches in the FIFA U-17 World Cup
iv.The FIFA U-17 World Cup is to be played in six Indian cities from 6th October to 28th October, 2017.
About FIFA U-17 World Cup:
♦ Host Country – India
♦ Date – 6th –28th October 2017
♦ Teams – 24 teams (from 6 confederations)
International Day of Non-Violence – October 2
On 2nd October 2017, International Day of Non-Violence was observed all over the world.
International Day of Non-Violence:
i. International Day of Non-Violence is observed on 2nd October every year, to mark the birthday of Mahatma Gandhi, leader of the Indian independence movement.
ii. Mahatma Gandhi was a follower of non-violence. He took non-violence as a tool to win Independence for India.
iii. On 15th June 2007, UN General Assembly passed a resolution to declare 2nd October as International Day of Non-Violence.
iv. The aim of International Day of Non-Violence is to spread the message of non-violence through education and public awareness.
v. In India, 2nd October is celebrated as Gandhi Jayanti.
About Mahatma Gandhi:
Occupation – Lawyer, Politician, Activist, Writer
Known for – Indian Independence Movement, Peace movement
Lived – 1869 – 1948
World Habitat Day – October 2
On 2nd October 2017, World Habitat Day was observed all over the world.
World Habitat Day:
i. The theme for World Habitat Day 2017 is ‘Housing Policies: Affordable Homes’
ii. This day is celebrated to reflect on the state of our towns and cities, and to emphasize the basic right of all to receive adequate shelter.
iii. In 1985, the United Nations declared the first Monday of every October as World Habitat Day.
iv. World Habitat Day was first celebrated in 1986.
v. The ‘UN-Habitat Scroll of Honour award’ was launched by the United Nations Human Settlements Programme in 1989.
vi. It is the most prestigious human settlements award in the world. The award winners are honoured on the World Habitat Day.
About United Nations (UN):
♦ Headquarters – New York
♦ Secretary General – Mr.Antonio Guterres