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Centre releases Rs 8,698 cr as GST compensation to states
Central Government has released Rs 8698 crore as compensation to states for revenue loss following implementation of Goods and Services Tax (GST).
i. All states except Rajasthan and Arunachal Pradesh have been given compensation for the first two months (July-August) after GST rollout.
ii. Under GST framework, a cess is levied on top of 28 per cent tax on luxury cars, demerit and sin Goods like aerated drink and tobacco. Compensation to states for any revenue loss on account of GST implementation has been paid from revenue collected through this cess.
iii. Rs. 8698 crore that has been paid to states as compensation is 58 per cent of the total cess revenue of Rs 15060 crore collected in July and August 2017.
iv. GST, which was rolled out on July 1, 2017 is a destination-based, single indirect tax that is levied on consumption of goods or use of services across India.
ITBP gets “GSAT-6” communication satellite to monitor Chinese border
In a bid to enhance security after the Doklam standoff with China, Union Government has armed the Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP) with access to ‘GSAT-6’ communication satellite’s feeds to track activities along Himalayan border.i. Indian Space Research Organisation’s (ISRO) geostationary communication satellite, GSAT-6 was launched in August 2015.
ii. Besides performing its primary task of communication, it also performs multiple tasks such as aiding in navigation, collecting data and image mapping.
iii. RK Pachnanda, the Director General of ITBP has stated that ITBP has been designated the nodal agency for obtaining and channelising GSAT-6 communication satellite.
iv. While supervising the feeds, if ITBP notices anything suspicious or untoward along the Sino-Indian border or along the Jammu and Kashmir border with Pakistan, it will alert the government and security agencies.
Quick Facts about Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP):
♦ Formed in – 1962
♦ Headquarters – New Delhi
♦ Governing Body – Ministry of Home Affairs, Government of India
♦ Current Director General – RK Pachnanda
Panel under A. Arumughaswamy begins probe into Former CM J.Jayalalithaa’s death
On 27th October 2017, panel under former Madras High Court judge A.Arumughaswamy started probe into the death of former Chief Minister J.Jayalalithaa.
Probe into J.Jayalalithaa’s death:
i. The commission under the leadership of former Madras High Court judge A.Arumughaswamy was constituted by Tamil Nadu government on 25th September 2017.
ii. This commission was formed to probe the circumstances leading to the death of former Chief Minister J.Jayalalithaa. This commission has called upon the acquainted persons to come forward and provide information before 22nd November 2017.
iii. The Commission would complete its inquiry and submit its report to the Tamil Nadu Government within three months of its constitution.
♦ She was Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu for 6 terms
♦ Political party – All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam
Army finalises mega Rs 40,000 crore procurement plan to replace ageing weapons
Indian Army has finalised one of its biggest procurement plans for infantry modernisation at a cost of nearly Rs 40,000 crore to replace its ageing and obsolete weapons.
i. Under this plan, around 7 lakh rifles, 44,000 light machine guns (LMGs) and nearly 44,600 carbines will be procured.
ii. Indian Army has been insisting to fast-track the procurement in back drop of evolving security threats along India’s borders with Pakistan and China.
iii. Besides, Union Government has directed Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) to expedite its work on various small arms, particularly on Light Machine Guns.
iv. Defence Acquisition Council (DAC), Union Defense Ministry’s highest decision making body on procurement will soon give a go-ahead for new 7.62 mm assault rifles.
v. It is to be noted that Indian Army currently needs around 7 lakh 7.62×51 mm assault guns to replace its INSAS rifles.
India to host UN wildlife summit in 2020
On 28th October 2017, the UN for Environment Programme announced that, India will host the next United Nations (UN) global wildlife conference on migratory species (CMS COP13) in 2020.
UN wildlife summit:
i. India will host the thirteenth session of United Nations’ global wildlife conference on migratory species (CMS COP13) in 2020. The Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Migratory Species (CMS COP) is held once in three years.
ii. It is the only international treaty devoted exclusively to migratory wildlife species. The summit aims to conserve terrestrial, marine, and avian migratory species on a global level.
About United Nations Environment Programme:
♦ Headquarters – Nairobi, Kenya
♦ Head – Erik Solheim
Australian court disqualifies deputy PM for dual citizenship
On 27th October 2017, Australia’s High Court disqualified the deputy prime minister Barnaby Joyce and four senators to sit in parliament due to a constitutional ban on dual citizens sitting in Parliament.Australian government disqualified deputy PM:
i. Australia’s High Court declared Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce and four senators ineligible to remain in parliament. This has been done in line with a constitution ban that prevents dual citizens from sitting in the Parliament.
ii. This decision has made the ruling coalition government lose its one-seat parliamentary majority and lead to a by-election. Disqualified senators are replaced by members of their own parties without an election.
iii. Barnaby Joyce will be able to stand for re-election, if he withdrew the New Zealand citizenship he unknowingly inherited from his father.
♦ Capital – Canberra
♦ Currency – Australian dollar
♦ Prime Minister – Malcolm Turnbull
India and US hold 11th Trade Policy Forum Meeting in Washington
On 26th October 2017, the 11th Trade Policy Forum (TPF) Meeting was held in Washington D.C., US.
Trade Policy Forum Meeting:
i. In the 11th Trade Policy Forum (TPF) Meeting, Indian Minister for Commerce and Industry, Suresh Prabhu had productive discussions with the United States Trade Representative, Ambassador Robert Lighthizer and his team.
ii. During the meeting, discussions were held on issues related to bilateral trade between India and US, areas of mutual cooperation, market access in agriculture, non-agricultural goods and services and Intellectual Property Rights (IPR).
iii. Union Minister Suresh Prabhu strongly expressed India’s concerns related to problems faced by Indian services companies in obtaining H-1B and L-1 visas.
About Ministry of Commerce and Industry:
♦ Consists of – Department of Commerce, Department of Industrial Policy & Promotion
♦ Minister for Commerce and Industry – Suresh Prabhu
India organises tourism promotion campaign in China’s Sanya
On 26th October 2017, India organised a tourism exchange seminar in China’s Sanya city to create awareness about India’s tourist destinations.Tourism promotion campaign in Sanya:
i. Indian Consulate in Guangzhou, China organised ‘India-China (Sanya) Tourism Exchange Seminar’ at Sanya. The seminar was held to coincide with a 3-day Global Yoga Exchange Conference 2017 organised in Sanya.
ii. The seminar was attended by senior officials from Sanya Municipal Government, representatives of media organisations, business houses, academia travel agents and representatives from airlines.
iii. Consulate General of India in Guangzhou, YK Sailas Thangal addressed the gathering. He gave a detailed information on India’s tourist destinations.
♦ Capital – Beijing
♦ Currency – Renminbi
First batch of Afghan Pilots complete ‘Black Hawk’ training in U.S.
The first batch of the Afghan Air Force pilots completed their training in the United States for the newly-deployed modern UH-60 Black Hawk helicopters.
Afghan Pilots complete ‘Black Hawk’ training:
i. The newly-trained batch of four Afghan pilots are expected to start services with the Afghan Air Force soon. The UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter is the U.S. Army’s primary medium lift utility transport and air assault aircraft.
ii. The Afghan Air Force received the UH-60 Black Hawk helicopters in October 2017. Afghanistan is expecting to receive around 159 Black Hawk helicopters in the future to transform the Afghan air force.
♦ Capital – Kabul
♦ Currency – Afghani
♦ President – Ashraf Ghani
BANKING & FINANCE
SIDBI revamps portal for easy credit access
Small Industries Development Bank of India (SIDBI) has revamped its portal udyamimitra.in with enhanced features to provide easy access to credit and hand-holding services for micro small medium enterprises (MSME). i. In the market place, any bank, other than those requested, can also pick up the application for sanction, and this will be one of the best updates. The portal brings transparency and competition among lenders and removes the need to approach several banks individually.
ii. The portal is mobile-enabled and provides a self-assessment module inbuilt within it.
iii. It sends various information on registered MSMEs from time to time and also allows loan applications to be perused and picked up by multiple lenders.
iv. The revamped version of the portal is planned to leverage the experiences to create and implement a much larger platform to transform the digital landscape for MSME loans.
Formed – April 2, 1990
Headquarters – Lucknow
Setup – Through act of Parliament
AU Small Finance Bank, SIDBI launch Rs. 200-cr fund for MSMEs
AU Small Finance Bank has entered into a tie-up with Small Industries Development Bank of India (SIDBI) to launch Rs. 200 crore fund for providing loans to micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs).
More Details about AU Small Finance Bank-SIDBI Rs. 200-cr fund for MSMEs:
i. As per the terms of this tie-up, AU Small Finance Bank and SIDBI will earmark a corpus of Rs100 crore each for lending in the current financial year.
ii. Term loans in the range of Rs. 25 lakh to Rs. 2 crore will be extended in the next 12-15 months to nearly 100 MSME units.
iii. 10% interest rate will be charged on these loans.
iv. SIDBI will play an advisory role, whereas all the processes including disbursement, monitoring and recovery will be handled by AU Small Finance Bank.
Government makes use of Public Finance Management System mandatory for central schemes
In a bid to ensure that the benefits of the various Government Schemes reach to the last mile, Government has made use of Public Finance Management System (PFMS) mandatory for central schemes.i. PFMS has been rolled-out by the Controller General of Accounts (CGA) at the behest of Union Finance Ministry.
ii. It is an end-to-end solution for processing payments and monitor the usage of funds including information on its ultimate utilization.
iii. PFMS will not only reduce paper work but would also provide mechanism to monitor and track unnecessary parking of funds by the implementing agencies.
iv. Union Finance Minister, Arun Jaitley is hopeful that PFMS will soon culminate into a Government wide Integrated Financial Management System (GIFMIS).
v .It is to be noted that Central Sector Schemes have a budgetary outlay of Rs.666644 crore and during the current financial year 2017-18, it stands at nearly 31 percent of the total Central Government expenditure.
RCom to shut down its 2G mobile business in about a month
The telecom company owned by Anil Ambani, The Reliance Communications, is planning to shut down its 2G mobile business by the end of November because the company is running under a debt of nearly Rs 45,000 crore.
i. As a result 1,200 employees will lose their jobs.
ii. The company has not made any official announcement on the job cut yet but has released a statement on shutting down of its 2G business.
iii. The decision to the wind-up 2G mobile business comes days after the company also announced to wind-up DTH services after the license expires.
iv. In June 2017, RCom had signed a standstill agreement with the banks, under which it need not pay any interest or principal amount to banks till December 2018.
v. The company has been given a reprieve by its lenders on loan repayments until the end of 2017, and the decision to wind up of businesses seems to be taken to meet the deadline for loan repayments.
vi. The company has also asked some of its employees to quit as part of its winding up of the operations.
vii. The company decided to adopt a 4G-focussed strategy for profitable growth of its wireless business.
viii. Therefore, RCom will be optimising its 2G and 3G , and related infrastructure and human resources, with effect fromNovember 30.
ix. The company’s 4G-led strategy will be executed through already operational spectrum-sharing and ICR (intra-circle roaming) arrangements with Reliance Jio.
AWARDS & RECOGNITIONS
Cleartrip named ‘Best Mobile App for Travel and Leisure’ at Mobexx Awards 2017
On 27th October 2017, online travel solutions provider Cleartrip was named the ‘Best Mobile App for Travel and Leisure’ at the Mobexx Awards 2017.
Cleartrip – ‘Best Mobile App for Travel and Leisure’:
i. On 27th October 2017, Cleartrip was awarded the ‘Best Mobile App for Travel and Leisure’ at the Mobexx Awards 2017. The award was given to Cleatrip for the success it has had on the mobile platform. It is seen by many as the future of advertising and brand marketing.
ii. The Mobexx Awards recognise excellence in mobile marketing & advertising. The Mobexx Awards aims to set industry-wide benchmark in mobile engagement.
♦ Products – Booking Flights, Hotels, Resorts, Holidays, Buses, Trains, Weekend Getaways & Activities
♦ Founder & CEO – Stuart Crighton
Jeff Bezos replaces Gates as world’s richest person with $90.6 billion fortune
On 27th October 2017, Jeff Bezos, Amazon’s founder, replaced Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates as the richest person in the world.Jeff Bezos – world’s richest person:
i. According to Forbes magazine, the wealth of Jeff Bezos, Amazon’s founder reached $90.6 billion, compared to the $90.1 billion of Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates.
ii. Jeff Bezos has been on the Forbes list of the richest billionaires since 1998, after his e-commerce business Amazon.com, Inc. went public.
iii. Forbes started tracking billionaires around the world in 1987. Jeff Bezos is the seventh person to hold the title of the world’s richest person and the third American to top the global ranks apart from Bill Gates and Berkshire Hathaway’s CEO Warren Buffett.
About Jeff Bezos:
♦ Occupation – Technology and retail entrepreneur and investor
♦ Position – Chairman, President & CEO of Amazon.com, Inc.
APPOINTMENTS & RESIGNS
Satya Gopal appointed chief secretary of Arunchal Pradesh
Delhi Principal Home Secretary Satya Gopal has been transferred to Arunchal Pradesh as the chief secretary.
Satya Gopal – Chief secretary of Arunchal Pradesh:
i. Delhi Lt Governor Anil Baijal relieved Satya Gopal from the Delhi Principal Home Secretary post. Satya Gopal is a 1988 batch IAS officer.
ii. The transfer of Satya Gopal has been made one-and-a-half months after he was appointed as the principal home secretary in the Delhi government.
iii. Delhi PWD’s Principal Secretary Ashwani Kumar has been appointed as a link officer for the post of Delhi’s principal home secretary till further order.
About Arunachal Pradesh:
♦ Capital – Itanagar
♦ Governor – B.D.Mishra
♦ Chief Minister – Pema Khandu
SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY
L&T hands over India’s first private OPV ‘Vikram’ for Indian Coast Guard
On October 27, 2017, Larsen & Toubro (L&T) handed over offshore patrol vessel (OPV) ‘Vikram’ to Indian Coast Guard. V S R Murthy, Additional Director General, Coast Guard, launched OPV ‘VIkram’ at a function at Kattupalli shipyard (in Tamil Nadu), in presence of J D Patil, Larsen and Toubro Board Member and Whole Time Director (Defence Business) and B Kannan, Larsen and Toubro Ship Building Managing Director.
i. In March 2017, Union Ministry of Defense had awarded Rs 1,432-crore contract to L&T to build seven offshore vessel patrol vessels for the Indian Coast Guard.
ii. As per the delivery schedule mentioned in the contract, the first vessel was to be handed over in March 2018…………………………………Click here to Read more
Gadkari digitally flags off RORO ship from Chennai Port to Bangladesh
On October 28, 2017, Union Minister of Shipping, Road Transport & Highways and Water Resources, River Development and Ganga Rejuvenation, Nitin Gadkari digitally flagged off a Roll-On/Roll-Off (RoRo) ship from Chennai Port to Mongla port in Bangladesh.
i. M.V. IDM DOODLE, a RoRo cum general cargo vessel carried an export consignment of 185 trucks by Ashok Leyland to Bangladesh.
ii. Export of these trucks was earlier done through land route by covering a distance of about 1500 km. Transport through the sea route will not only save about 15-20 days of travel time but will also be more cost effective.
iii. As the fuel consumption in terms of per tonne cargo is much lower via sea route, transportation by sea will also reduce carbon footprints on the environment.
iv. Roll-on/roll-off (RORO or ro-ro) ships are designed to carry wheeled cargo, such as cars, trucks, semi-trailer trucks, trailers, and railroad cars, that are driven on and off the ship on their own wheels or by using a platform.
Scientists link new virus to kala-azar
Scientists have linked a new virus to the kala-azar or visceral leishmaniasis infection, a parasite infection that has affected thousands of Indians.New virus linked to kala-azar:
i. Kala-azar is an endemic disease in four countries namely Bangladesh, Bhutan, India and Nepal. If untreated, kala-azar can kill the patient within two years.
ii. Earlier, the parasite Leishmania donovani was believed to be responsible for the kala-azar infection. People get infected when bitten by an insect called sandfly, which carries the disease-causing parasite.
iii. Recently, a group of scientists from West Bengal and Uttar Pradesh have said that another parasite called Leptomonas seymouri may also be responsible for the infection. Their findings have been reported in an online version of Archives of Virology.
iv. Scientists are still not clear how the parasites cause the infection and how they manage to hide within the body. But, its discovery helps to find a new kind of treatment and to eradicate the disease.
♦ Type – infectious disease
♦ Symptoms – fever, weight loss, fatigue, anemia, and substantial swelling of the liver and spleen
FIFA U-17 World Cup 2017 – Overview
17th edition of FIFA U-17 World Cup took place in India from 6th – 28th October 2017. FIFA U-17 is a biennial international football tournament of men’s under-17 national teams organised by Federation Internationale de Football Association (FIFA).
i. England has won the FIFA U-17 World Cup. In the final match, England defeated Spain by 5-2.
ii. Phil Foden of England has been adjudged tournament’s best player and has been awarded ‘Golden Ball’……………………………Click here to Read more
Patna Pirates clinch third consecutive Pro Kabaddi title
On 28th October 2017, Patna Pirates defeated Gujarat Fortune giants by 55-38 at the finals in Chennai and won the fifth edition of Pro Kabaddi, for the third consecutive time.Patna Pirates – Pro Kabaddi winner:
i. Patna Pirates’ Raider Pardeep Narwal won the Most Valuable Player and Best Raider awards in the 2017 Vivo Pro Kabaddi League season.
ii. Pardeep Narwal secured top score in the final with 19 points. Patna Pirates’ Defender Jaideep also played an important role securing 5 points in the finals.
iii. Patna Pirates is led by Pardeep Narwal and coached by Ram Mehar Singh. It is owned by Rajesh V. Shah. 2017 Vivo Pro Kabaddi League season is the fifth season of Pro Kabaddi League.
About 2017 Vivo Pro Kabaddi League season:
♦ Organised by – Mashal Sports & Star India
♦ Participants – 12 teams
Rwanda gets first cricket stadium
Rwanda’s first cricket stadium was inaugurated on 29thoct 2017 byPresident Paul Kagame as a permanent home for developing the sport in the country.
i. The Rwandan Cricket Stadium Foundation was set up by Alby Shale, the son of a late British politician and cricket lover who visited Rwanda to do aid work.
ii. Rwanda also holds the world record for women after Cathia Uwamahoro, a national team cricket player, became the first woman to bat for 26 hours.
iii. Rwanda’s national cricket association estimates that only around 4,000 people currently play cricket.
iv. The new stadium has been built to international standards, making it a rarity in east Africa.
Rwanda cricket stadium
♦ Rwanda cricket stadium foundation Formed – Aug 2011
♦ Located – Kigali ( Rwanda’s capital)
♦ Owner – Government of Rwanda
♦ Capacity – 10,000
♦ Tenants – Rwanda National Cricket team
BOOKS & AUTHORS
“Dreamnation: Uniting a Country with Handwritten Dreams” – Book on Kalam’s inspirational words
On 15th October 2017, the book ‘Dreamnation: Uniting a Country with Handwritten Dreams’ was released online by Indian women’s cricket team captain Mithali Raj.Dreamnation: Uniting a Country with Handwritten Dreams:
i. The book “Dreamnation: Uniting a Country with Handwritten Dreams” contains inspiring words of Dr A.P.J. Abdul Kalam. It was released on 15th October 2017, which is the 86th birth anniversary of APJ Abdul Kalam.
ii. The book was co-authored by Saji Mathew and Jubie John. It was published by Bloomsbury in collaboration with NGO LetterFarms.
iii. The book was released on social media site Twitter. The book also includes a collection of 200-plus handcrafted and handwritten postcards from across India.
About APJ Abdul Kalam:
♦ He was the 11th President of India
♦ Profession – Professor, Author, Aerospace scientist
World Stroke Day – October 29
On 29th October 2017, World Stroke Day was observed all over the world.
World Stroke Day:
i. The theme for World Stroke Day 2017 is: What’s your reason for preventing stroke? “. Stroke occurs when the blood supply to part of the brain is cut off. Without blood, brain cells can be damaged or die.
ii. On the World Stroke day, organizations around the world conduct events emphasizing education, testing, and initiatives to improve the damaging effects of stroke worldwide.
iii. The World Stroke Organization (WSO) conducts Stroke awareness campaigns every year. The World Stroke Campaign’s goodwill ambassadors include Indian actress Rani Mukerji, former Miss Egypt Dalia El Behery and cyclist Alberto Contador.
About World Stroke Organization (WSO):
♦ World Stroke Organization (WSO) – non-profit medical association that works to raise awareness of prevention and treatment of stroke