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GoM set up under Assam FM Himanta Biswa Sarma to review composition scheme
On October 6, 2017, Goods and Services Tax (GST) Council, chaired by Finance Minister Arun Jaitley constituted a group of ministers (GoM) to make the ‘composition scheme’ more attractive and also revisit GST rates on restaurants.About GoM to Review Compostion Scheme:
i. The GoM has been set up under Assam Finance Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma and will submit its report within 2 weeks.
ii. Bihar Deputy Chief Minister Sushil Modi, Jammu and Kashmir Finance Minister Haseeb Drabu, Punjab Finance Minister Manpreet Singh Badal and Chhattisgarh Minister of Commercial Taxes Amar Agrawal are the other members of the GoM.
iii. The GoM has been set up to make ‘composition scheme’ more effective as only 15.50 lakh businesses out of the total 98 lakh registered under the goods and services tax (GST) regime have opted for this scheme.
iv. As per the latest GST norms, businesses with annual sales up to Rs. 1 crore can avail benefits under ‘composition scheme’ which permits liberal quarterly tax return filing and payment scheme.
International Conference on Dialogue of Civilizations – IV begins in New Delhi
Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) in collaboration with National Geographic Society is hosting an international conference on “Dialogue of Civilizations – IV” from 8th – 15th October, 2017 at Delhi, Gandhinagar (in Gujarat) and Dholavira (in Gujarat).
About “Dialogue of Civilizations”:
i. “Dialogue of Civilizations” conference was initiated by National Geographic Society in 2013.
ii. Objective of this conference is to encourage scholarly and public discourse about the five ancient, literate civilizations of the world, i.e. Egypt, Mesopotamia, South Asia, China and Mesoamerica.
iii. First conference of this series was inaugurated in Guatemala in 2013 followed by Turkey in 2014 and China in 2015.
iv. The present conference being held in India is the fourth in this series. The final dialogue has been planned to be held in Egypt.
v.On October 8, 2017, Dr. Mahesh Sharma, Hon’ble Minister of State (Independent Charge), Ministry of Culture & Minister of State for Environment, Forest & Climate Change inaugurated the “Dialogue of Civilizations – IV” in New Delhi.
Uttarakhand Govt. launches ‘Solar Briefcase’ to provide electricity in remote areas
On October 8, 2017, Uttarakhand State Government and a charitable funding agency named Swan Cultural Center and Foundation, launched ‘Solar Briefcase’ in Kedarnath Dham.
i. This initiative aims to provide electricity to far flung areas in Uttarakhand.
ii. Uttarakhand Chief Minister Trivendra Singh Rawat has stated that around 47 villages and 1,40,000 families in Uttarakhand do not have access to electricity. Moreover there are 60 villages in the state where electrification has not yet been done due to the difficult terrain.
iii. In such situation, using off-grid electricity through solar briefcase is a good option.
Quick Facts about Uttarakhand:
♦ Capital – Dehradun
♦ Current Chief Minister – Trivendra Singh Rawat
♦ Current Governor – Krishan Kant Paul
President Ram Nath Kovind launches Rs.100 crore clean water initiative
On 8th October 2017, President Ram Nath Kovind launched Mata Amritanandamayi Math (MAM)’s, ‘Jivamritam’ filtration system, a clean water initiative, in Vallikkavu, Kollam district of Kerala.
‘Jivamritam’ filtration system:
i. ‘Jivamritam’ filtration system aims at providing filtration for clean drinking water to 1 crore villagers. The first phase of this project is to install ‘Jivamritam’ filtration systems for clean drinking water in 5,000 villages all over India.
ii. This project will be funded by MAM for Rs.100 crore.MAM has planned to implement all 5,000 Jivamritam systemswithin 1 year. Each Jivamritam system would filter daily drinking-water supply for around 400 five-member families.
iii. The Jivamritam system was conceptualised and designed by faculty and students of MAM’s university, Amrita Vishwa Vidyapeetham (Amrita University).
About Mata Amritanandamayi Math (MAM):
♦ Purpose – Spiritual, Humanitarian, Education
♦ Headquarters – Amritapuri, Kollam district of Kerala
Kerala Tourism launches Continuous Tourist Survey 2017-20
On 9th October 2017, the Department of Tourism (Kerala) launched a 3 year long Continuous Tourist Survey (CTS), to increase the growth of tourism in Kerala.Continuous Tourist Survey (CTS):
i. The Continuous Tourist Survey (CTS) 2017-2020 sample survey is conducted in collaboration with M/s Datamation Consultants. The Central Government would provide funds for Rs.25 lakhs.
ii. The purpose of the survey is to study the interest of tourists, their age and demographic details, reasons for visit and nature of tours undertaken.
iii. It will not only cover tourist destinations, but also hotels, house boats, home stays, Ayurveda centers, restaurants and tour operators.
iv. Through the data obtained, the growth of tourism in Kerala will be evaluated. Kerala aims to double the number of domestic tourists and increase the foreign tourists by 50 %, by 2021.
About Ministry of Tourism (Kerala):
♦ Headquarters – Thiruvananthapuram
♦ Minister for Tourism – A.C.Moideen
Drop ‘Muslim’ and ‘Hindu’ from names of BHU, AMU: UGC
On 9th October 2017, a UGC panel recommended that, words such as ‘Hindu’ and ‘Muslim’ in names of Banaras Hindu University (BHU) and Aligarh Muslim University (AMU), should be dropped.
‘Muslim’ and ‘Hindu’ from names of BHU and AMU to be dropped:
i. This UGC panel was formed to investigate alleged irregularities in 10 central universities.
ii. The recommendations made by the UGC panel state that,centrally funded universities are secular institutions, but such words related to religion in their names do not reflect their secular character.
iii. Hence, the universities can be simply called Aligarh University and Banaras University or be renamed after their founders.
iv. Other universities that were audited by the panel are: Pondicherry University, Allahabad University, Hemwati Nandan Bahuguna Garhwal University, Central University of Jharkhand, Central University of Rajasthan, Central University of Jammu, Mahatma Gandhi Antarrashtriya Hindi Vishwavidyalaya, University of Tripura and Hari Singh Gour University.
♦ Full form – University Grants Commission
♦ Headquarters – New Delhi
♦ Chairman – V.S.Chauhan
Supreme Court bans firecrackers for Diwali in Delhi
On 9th October 2017, the Supreme Court (SC) imposed a ban on the sale of firecrackers till 31st October 2017, in the National Capital Region (NCR)-Delhi.
Fire crackers banned for Diwali in Delhi:
i. The Supreme Court has banned the sale of firecrackers prior to Diwali. The SC had issued a similar ban in the NCR region in 2016.
ii. But it did not have the opportunity to observe the impact on pollution levels. Hence the SC has also ordered that a relevant agency should compute the impact of a noise-and smoke-free festival this year.
iii. The SC suspended all licenses issued by the Delhi Police to shopkeepers that allowed them to sell fireworks.The SC permitted the sale of firecrackers after 1st November 2017.
About Supreme Court of India:
♦ Location – New Delhi
♦ Chief Justice of India – Justice Dipak Misra
President Ramnath Kovind’s first overseas visit to Ethiopia and Djibouti
Indian President Ram Nath Kovind made his first foreign trip as the head of state from 4th – 5th October 2017. He visited two African countries, Ethiopia and Djibouti.
i. On October 4, 2017, India and Djibouti signed an agreement to establish regular Foreign Office-level bilateral consultations.
ii. On October 5, 2017, India and Ethiopia signed agreements on trade, communication and media to boost bilateral ties. These agreements were signed in presence of Indian President Ram Nath Kovind during his official visit to Ethiopia……………..Click here to view more detail
India slips to 8th among most valuable brands – Nation Brands 2017
India has ranked as 8th most valuable nation brand as per Brand Finance’s Nation Brands 2017 report.
i. In 2017, India has slipped down by one spot as compared to 2016 ranking.India’s National Brand Value in 2017 at USD 2.04 trillion too has eroded by nearly one percent from last year’s USD 2.06 trillion……………..Click here to view more detail
Top 3 Nation Brands 2017
Bangladesh, US begin disaster response exercise
On October 8, 2017, Bangladesh Armed Forces Division and U.S. Army began their participation in the Pacific Resilience Disaster Response Exercise and Exchange (DREE).More Information about Pacific Resilience Disaster Response Exercise and Exchange (DREE):
i. It is a civil-military disaster preparedness and response initiative between the governments of Bangladesh and US.
ii. The exercise will be conducted from 8th – 12th October 2017, in Dhaka and Mymensingh in Bangladesh.
iii. This exercise will focus on earthquake response plans for Dhaka and engage participants in logistical and medical emergency scenarios.
iv. Emphasis will be laid on reviewing plans and procedures in order to improve communication and coordination.
v. Besides Bangladeshi government organisation, several international government organizations (IGO), and international non-governmental organizations (NGOs) will also take part in this exercise.
Oman relaxes its visa rules to attract more Indian tourists
On 5th October 2017, Oman announced that, it has revised the tourist visa for people from India, China and Russia in order to attract more tourists from these countries.
Oman relaxes visa rules for Indian tourists:
i. Oman Airports Management Company (OAMC) announced the revised terms and conditions for granting non-sponsored tourist visafor the citizens of India, China and Russia, who reside in or who hold an entry visa to one of the these countries: USA, Canada, Australia, UK and Schengen States, to enter Oman.
ii. The visa will be granted for a period of one month for a fee of 20 Rial. The spouse and children of the visa holder would also be allowed to enter Oman.
iii. However, the applicants, must also have a return ticket and confirmed hotel reservation in order to be granted the visa.
♦ Capital – Muscat
♦ Currency – Rial
BANKING & FINANCE
Reliance Commercial Finance Ltd inks agreement with IREDA for Rs.300 crore loan
On 9th October 2017, Reliance Commercial Finance Ltd said that, it has signed an agreement with Indian Renewable Energy Development Agency Ltd (IREDA) for Rs.300 crore loan, in Mumbai.
Reliance Commercial Finance Ltd agreement with IREDA:
i. Reliance Commercial Finance Ltd said that, the IREDA loan of Rs.300 crore would be used to lend to renewable energy and energy efficiency projects.
ii. The Reliance Commercial Finance Ltd is a subsidiary of Reliance Capital. IREDA is a central public sector undertaking under Ministry of New and Renewable Energy.
iii. Reliance Commercial Finance Ltd has funded wind and solar energy sectors of more than 1,800 MW. The company also provides financial assistance for developing infrastructure and other projects related to the government initiatives on renewable energy.
About Reliance Capital:
♦ Headquarters – Mumbai
♦ Chairman – Anil Ambani
♦ Executive Director – Anmol Ambani
AWARDS & RECOGNITIONS
T D Radhakrishnan selected for Vayalar award
Noted Novelist T D Radhakrishnan’s has been selected for this year’s prestigious Vayalar award. The award will be presented to him on October 27, 2017, the death anniversary of poet and lyricist Vayalar Ramavarma.About Vayalar Award:
i. Vayalar Award was instituted in 1977 by the Vayalar Ramavarma Memorial Trust in memory of Malayalam poet and lyricist Vayalar.
ii. It is given for the best literary work in Malayalam.
iii. The award carries a cash prize of Rs one lakh, citation and a statuette.
GCMMF awarded best FMCG in food sector by IAA
On 8th October 2017, the Gujarat Cooperative Milk Marketing Federation (GCMMF), was awarded as the best FMCG in the food sector, at the 5th International Advertising Associations (IAA) Leadership Awards, in Mumbai.
GCMMF awarded best FMCG in food sector:
i. K.M.Jhala, Chief Operating Officer, GCMMF received the best FMCG in the food sector award at the 5thInternational Advertising Associations (IAA) Leadership Awards.
ii. GCMMF manages brand AMUL. Amul is India’s largest food brand with annual brand turnover of Rs.38,000 crore.
iii. It is a cooperative milk federation of 3.6 million milk producers of Gujarat. Turnover of GCMMF has registered quantum growth of 238 % in last 7 years.
iv. It has achieved Cumulative Average Growth Rate (CAGR) of 19 % in the last 7 years. Also, Amul has quadrupled the income of its dairy farmers in last 7 years.
About Gujarat Cooperative Milk Marketing Federation (GCMMF):
♦ Headquarters – Anand, Gujarat
♦ Industry – Dairy/Fast-Moving Consumer Good (FMCG)
APPOINTMENTS & RESIGNS
John K Paul re-elected as FADA President
On 5th October 2017, John K Paul was unanimously re-elected as the President of the Federations of Automobile Dealers Associations (FADA) for 2017-18, in New Delhi.John K Paul as FADA President:
i. John K Paul was re-elected as FADA President at a council meeting after the 53rdAnnual General Meeting of FADA in New Delhi.
ii. John K Paul is MD of Popular Vehicles and Services Ltd, Prabal Motors Pvt Ltd, and director of other group companies.
iii. Paul is also currently President of the Kerala Automobile Dealers Association. He was the first dealer from Kerala to be elected as President of FADA.
iv. FADA represents over 15,000 automobile dealers spread across the country and accounts for more than 90 % of retail automobile trade in India.
About Federations of Automobile Dealers Associations (FADA):
♦ Purpose – protect and promote the Indian retail automobile market
♦ Location – New Delhi
PNB MetLife appoints Ashish Srivastava as MD & CEO
On 9th October 2017, PNB MetLife India Insurance Company Ltd (PNB MetLife), appointed Ashish Srivastava as MD & CEO.
Ashish Srivastava as MD & CEO:
i. PNB MetLife India Insurance Company Ltd (PNB MetLife), has appointed Ashish Srivastava as its MD & CEO. He would be responsible for leading all aspects of the business in India.
ii. Prior to this, Srivastava was an interim CEO at PNB MetLife. Srivastava joined PNB MetLife in 2013 as the Head of HR for the India business.
iii. He moved to Dubai in 2015, joining the MetLife Middle East & Africa (MEA) management team. From January 2017, he has been in India managing the India business.
About PNB MetLife India Insurance Company:
♦ Headquarters – Mumbai
♦ Products – Life Insurance, Retirement Solutions, Employee Benefit Programs
Lenskart ropes in Katrina Kaif as brand ambassador
On 9th October 2017, Online eyewear firm, Lenskart announced Bollywood star Katrina Kaif as its first ever brand ambassador.Katrina Kaif – Lenskart’s brand ambassador:
i. Lenskart announced that, Bollywood actress, Katrina Kaif will be the brand ambassador of Lenskart for the next two years and would feature in the brand’s new campaign.
ii. Lenskart was founded in 2010. Lenskart is present in more than 350 stores across more than 80 cities in India.
iii. It has been funded by venture capitalists like, IDG Ventures and Ronnie Screwvala-led Unilazer Ventures, TPG Growth and TR Capital, IFC and Premji Invest.
♦ Headquarters – New Delhi
♦ Founder and CEO – Peyush Bansal
SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY
SS Athenia, first British ship lost in World War II discovered in UK
On 5th October 2017, SS Athenia, the first British ship to be sunk during the Second World War was believed to be found, in Ireland.SS Athenia believed to be found:
i. SS Athenia was sunk by German submarine during World War II in 1939. It is believed to be found on the sea bed off the coast of Ireland.
ii. Remains of the 13,400 ton vessel (SS Athenia) which was lost with more than 110 crew and passengers, is believed to be found.
iii. David Mearns, an experienced shipwreck hunter found the location. He said that, divers are yet to visit the wreck lying 650 feet down. But he was nearly certain it was the Athenia.
About SS Athenia:
♦ Builder – Fairfield SB & Eng Co, Govan
♦ Owner – Donaldson Atlantic Line
China Open 2017 – Overview
On October 8, 2017, Spanish tennis player Rafael Nadal won the men’s singles title at China Open 2017. He defeated Australia’s Nick Kyrgios in the final match.
i. French tennis player Caroline Garcia won the women’s singles title at China Open 2017. She defeated Romania’s Simona Halep in the final match………Click here to view more detail
India’s Anupama Ramachandran wins inaugural snooker meet
On 8th October 2017, Anupama Ramachandran of India won the World Open Under-16 Snooker Championship title in the girls category, in Saint Petersburg, Russia.Anupama Ramachandran wins World Open Under-16 Snooker Championship title:
i. Federation of Billiards Sports of Russia (FBSR) hosted the first ever World Open championships for Under-16 boys and girls.A total of 73 cueists from all over the world participated.
ii. In the girls category, Anupama Ramachandran of India won the World Open Under-16 Snooker Championship title.She knocked out top seed Keerthana Pandian by 3-1 in the finals.
iii. Before that, she defeated Albina Leschuk of Belarus by 3-0 in the semifinals and Alexsandra Riabinina of Russia in the quarterfinals by 3-0.
About World Open Under-16 Snooker Championship:
♦ Organised by – Federation of Billiard Sports of Russia (FBSR)
♦ Location – Saint Petersburg, Russia
Epic world solar car race begins in Australia
2017 World Solar Challenge – the solar car race, began on October 8, 2017 from the northern Australian city of Darwin.
More Details about World Solar Challenge:
i. In this race, 42 solar cars will cover a distance of 3,000 kms from Northern Australian city of Darwin to southern city of Adelaide.
ii. The route of the World Solar Challenge race passes through the desert heart of Australia.
iii. World Solar Challenge aims to showcase technology that could be used for commercial purposes in future.
iv. First edition of World Solar Challenge took place in 1987. It has now become one of the world’s foremost innovation challenges.
Noted journalist Bismoy Kumar Mohanty dies
On 8th October 2017, noted journalist Bismoy Kumar Mohanty died due to heart attack at Puri, Odisha.
Bismoy Kumar Mohanty’s death:
i. Bismoy Kumar Mohanty was 62 years old. He is survived by wife, a son and a daughter.
ii. He suffered from chest pain and was admitted at the Puri hospital.Doctors declared him dead after examining him.His body was taken to his native place in Balasore district of Odisha for last rites.
iii. He was the owner and editor of Odia daily ‘Ajikali’ published from Balasore. He was the president of Odisha Small and Medium Newspaper Organisation. He was also associated with a number of social and cultural organisations.
iv. His wife Bijay Laxmi Mohanty is also publisher and editor of language daily ‘Sambad Bahika’.
About Bismoy Kumar Mohanty:
♦ Occupation – Journalist
♦ State – Odisha
World Post Day – October 9, 2017
On 9th October 2017, World Post Day was celebrated all over the world.World Post Day:
i. The World Post Day is celebrated to mark the anniversary of the establishment of the Universal Postal Union (UPU) in 1874 in the Swiss Capital, Bern.It was declared World Post Day by the UPU Congress held in Tokyo, Japan in 1969.
ii. The Posts in many countries use this day to introduce or promote new postal products and services. The UPU creates awareness about post by designing and distributing posters for display across the world.
iii. The World Post Day does not have a particular theme. Most of the countries organize philatelic exhibitions on World Post Day.
About India Post:
♦ Headquarters – New Delhi
♦ Secretary Posts – Anant Narayan Nanda