AWARDS AND HONOURS
1. Nobel 2017 season opens with medicine prize
This year’s Nobel season opens Monday with the announcement of the medicine prize, turning the page on Bob Dylan’s literature prize stunner that stole the spotlight in last year’s award season.
Like every year, speculation is rife about the possible winners, given the number of worthy laureates in the fields of medicine, physics, chemistry, literature, peace and economics.
2. Gujarat Tourism bags the ‘Hall of Fame’ national tourism award
Gujarat Tourism has won the “Hall of Fame” award for being the Best State in Comprehensive Development of Tourism category at the National Tourism Awards function organised by Ministry of Tourism. Gujarat tourism minister Ganpatsinh Vasava received the award on behalf of the state from the President of India Ram Nath Kovind.
3. U.S trio wins physics Nobel Prize for gravitational waves
The 2017 Nobel Physics Prize was divided, one half awarded to Rainer Weiss, the other half jointly to Barry C. Barish and Kip S. Thorne “for decisive contributions to the LIGO detector and the observation of gravitational waves”.
Ripples in the fabric of space-time, first predicted a century ago by Albert Einstein, sparked a revolution in astrophysics when their first detection was announced in early 2016. The teams involved in the discovery quickly emerged as favourites for the prize.
4. RBI Increases Foreign Investment Limits For Debt
The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) would raise the foreign investment limits for government bonds by 80 billion rupees ($1.22 billion) to 2.5 trillion rupees for the October-December quarter, after current quotas had been almost fully exhausted.
The RBI said the limits for long-term investors in government bonds would be raised by 60 billion rupees, while the limits for general investors would be raised by 20 billion rupees.
5. HDFC Bank partners top education institutes for fintech ideas
In a first of its kind efforts in the domestic banking sector, second largest private sector lender HDFC Bank today said it will be partnering with 50 technology and business schools to tap into emerging fintech ideas.
It announced a tie-up with IIT-Bombay and IIT-Roorkee as part of the industry-academia partnership effort.
6. Rajnish Kumar is SBI chief
The government has appointed Rajnish Kumar as chairman of the State Bank of India (SBI), with effect from October 7. He will succeed Arundhati Bhattacharya whose term ends on October 6.
Now, he is one of the four managing directors of the SBI, looking after the domestic banking sector as head of the National Banking Group
7. RBI flays banks for keeping rates high
The Reserve Bank flayed lenders for keeping interest rates high and flagged concerns over base rate and marginal cost of fund-based lending rate (MCLR), saying these have not improved monetary transmission.
An internal RBI group also suggested switching over to an external benchmark in a time-bound manner so that better rates are available to borrowers.
8. Green ‘masala bond’ raises $300 mn in London
A five-year ‘masala bond’ issued by the Indian Renewable Energy Development Agency (IREDA) was listed on the London Stock Exchange on Friday, raising nearly $300 million (Rs 19.5 billion), with a coupon of 7.125%.
The green ‘masala bond’ on London Stock Exchange’s International Securities Market is certified by Climate Bonds Initiative, an international, investor-focused not-for-profit that helps build robust and transparent assurance frameworks around green bond investment.
9. ‘No nod for ONGC’s ultra deep-sea find’
Upstream oil regulator DGH has refused to review the commerciality of India’s deepest gas discovery made by Oil and Natural Gas Corp (ONGC) on grounds that developing the find poses technological challenges.
10. Coal India moots VRS scheme for employees
Coal India Ltd. is working on a proposal to offer voluntary retirement scheme (VRS) to its employees. A committee has already been formed to deliberate and formulate a scheme.
Members of trade unions like Centre for Indian Trade Unions (CITU)and Hind Mazdoor Sabha (HMS), who are on the committee, said while they were opposed to any VRS in- principle, they would like to have a say in the formulation of any such scheme.
11. India set to sign $4.5 billion LoC deal with Bangladesh
Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley reached Dhaka ahead of India and Bangladesh signing the third line of credit (LoC) agreement involving $4.5 billion to be spent on infrastructure and social sector development.
A Bangladesh finance ministry spokesman told reporters “His visit will be marked by the signing of the deal… that was announced during Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina’s New Delhi visit”
12. Piaggio to export to Sri Lanka, Bangladesh
Piaggio Vehicles Private Ltd (PVPL) which manufacturers two wheelers and commercial vehicles in India is planning to export these products to Sri Lanka and Bangladesh shortly.
A top company executive said “We are already exporting to Nepal and South America. We are now gearing [up] to export scooters and CVs to Nepal and Bangladesh,” Diego Graffi, MD & CEO, PVPL, said. About 10% of its production is exported”
13. RBI to sell government bonds
The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) said it would sell government bonds worth Rs10,000 crore through Open Market Operations (OMO) to mop up liquidity from the system.
The central bank said in a statement “Based on the current assessment of prevailing and evolving liquidity conditions, the RBI has decided to conduct sale of government securities under Open Market Operations for an aggregate amount of Rs10,000 crore on 21 October 2017 through multi-security auction using the multiple price method.”
14. Excise duty on petrol, diesel slashed
The government on Tuesday slashed the excise duty on petrol and diesel by ₹2 per litre, effective from October 4, in an effort to infuse some festive cheer in a slowing economy and dispel the RBI’s worries about inflationary pressures that are holding back interest rate cuts.
15. China’s value-chain climb to help India, others: Fitch
According to Fitch Ratings “China’s move up the value chain and the relocation of low-end manufacturing to lower-cost countries will continue to create opportunities and support strong economic growth in some of Asia’s “frontier” emerging markets including India.”
16. RBI holds interest rates
The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) on Wednesday kept interest rates unchanged citing concerns about upward risks to inflation and cautioned the government against steps to relax fiscal discipline to spur growth as such a move could potentially adversely impact the deficit and add to inflationary pressure.
17. Untrained teachers can now access training material
Fifteen lakh untrained school teachers have enrolled for a training course with the National Institute of Open Schooling (NIOS), an autonomous institution under the Ministry of Human Resource Development, to get themselves trained by 2019 to be able to retain their jobs.
18. 3-fold rise in extreme rainfall events in Central India
There has been an average 10% decline in summer monsoon (June to September) rainfall over central India between 1950 and 2015 as a result of weakening of the summer monsoon winds.
However, the frequency and intensity of extreme rainfall (more than 150 mm per day for two-three days covering an area of 250 by 250 km) events during the same period over central India (from Gujarat in the west to Odisha and Assam in the east) has been on the rise.
19. 58 killed in Las Vegas shooting
Fifty-eight people were killed and 515 injured when a gunman opened fire on an outdoor music festival on Sunday night from the 32nd floor of an adjacent hotel in the Las Vegas Strip. Local police have described the incident as an act of “domestic terrorism.”
The incident is the deadliest mass shootings in recent time in the U.S. The June 2016 mass shooting at the Pulse nightclub in Orlando, Florida left 49 dead.
20. Catalan leader for a new understanding, not “traumatic” split, with Spain
Catalonian leader Carles Puigdemont said on Monday that he was not looking for a “traumatic” split from Spain but a new understanding, the day after hundreds were injured as police tried to forcibly disrupt a referendum on independence.
21. India should avoid bigger US strategic game: Karzai
Hamid Karzai, the former President said “India should not be pulled into the US’s approach to Afghanistan — which he warned was part of a “bigger strategic game” that would not bring peace to the region — but should maintain an independent approach based on the shared interests of India and Afghanistan”
22. AIR to expand global services
An official said “The All India Radio (AIR) is planning to launch new services for several countries, including Japan, Germany and some in the Commonwealth of Independent States, with an aim to supplement the government’s diplomatic efforts and outreach programmes to the Indian diaspora”
The External Services Division (ESD) director Amlanjyoti Mazumdar said “Canada, South Africa and Maldives are also among the countries the AIR plans to reach to” Currently, the ESD of the AIR covers around 150 countries with programmes in 27 languages—14 of them targeting neighbouring countries and nations in Southeast Asia.
23. President appoints new governors
President Ram Nath Kovind appointed governors for Assam, Tamil Nadu, Bihar, Arunachal Pradesh, Meghalaya and Lt. governor for Andaman and Nicobar Islands.
A statement from the President’s office said the appointments will come into effect from the date the incumbents assume charge of the new posts.
24. PM calls for an ‘ideological movement’
Prime Minister Narendra Modi said on Monday that “1,000 Mahatma Gandhis or one lakh Narendra Modis” could not achieve the goal of a “Clean India” without an “ideological movement” and the participation of 125 crore Indians.
He was addressing a gathering to mark three years of the Swachh Bharat Mission. He said he had been severely criticised when he had initiated the programme, stepping out with a broom to launch it.
25. Soumya Swaminathan Appointed WHO Deputy Director General
The World Health Organization (WHO) appointed Soumya Swaminathan one of two deputy directors general, the first time such a post has been ever created within the organisation. The position is also the highest post held by an Indian in the WHO. Dr. Swaminathan is currently the Director General of the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR).
26. India Economic Summit to reflect India’s growing role in addressing global challenges
The World Economic Forum is holding its 33rd India Economic Summit in partnership with the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) on 4-6 October in New Delhi.
The summit will host 650 leaders from 35 countries, including 370 business leaders, 20 senior public figures and leading representatives of civil society, arts and culture, science and academia.
27. Growth has fallen, but govt. can reverse trend, says PM
Prime Minister Narendra Modi took on critics about the government’s handling of the economy, stressing that the first quarter of this year was not the first time that India’s growth had slipped to 5.7%.
Although Mr. Modi indicated that a fiscal stimulus may not be in the offing, he said the government is capable of and committed to take all necessary steps to revive growth and resolve all glitches that have arisen in the first three months of the Goods and Services Tax (GST) regime.
28. 8 out of 10 Indians harassed online
Eight out of 10 people in India have experienced some form of online harassment, with 41% of women having faced sexual harassment on the web, according to a new survey commissioned by cybersecurity solutions firm, Norton by Symantec.
The online survey was conducted in the summer of 2017 with a sample size of 1,035 respondents drawn mainly from Tier 1 cities, with the objective of understanding Indian exposure to online harassment.
29. EC ready for simultaneous polls by Sept.
The Election Commission on Wednesday launched a web-based application, Electoral Registration Officer (ERO) network, aimed at efficient conduct of elections and said it would be “logistically equipped” by September 2018 to hold simultaneous polls for Lok Sabha and Assemblies.
30. Centre to dispose of excess toor dal stock
Two years on from October 2015, when toor dal was selling at ₹200 a kg, the Union government is now struggling to dispose of its buffer stock of 18 lakh tonnes.
The Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution Ministry has charted out three ways to reduce seven lakh tonnes first and 10 lakh tonnes ahead of December, when the new crop hits the market. The lentil is now selling at ₹50 a kg.
31. Google allows publishers to limit free content
Google is allowing publishers of paid content to limit the number of free news articles accessed by people using its Internet search engine, a concession to an increasingly disgruntled media industry.
There has been mounting criticism of Google’s practices from media publishers – most notably News Corp. chairman and chief executive Rupert Murdoch – that argue the company is profiting from online news pages.
32. Scientists can now turn any object into a TV remote
Scientists have developed a technology that can turn everyday objects — such as teacups or toy cars — into remote controls for televisions.
Researchers from Lancaster University in the U.K. said the ‘Matchpoint’ technology, which only requires a simple webcam, works by displaying moving targets that orbit a small circular widget in the corner of the TV screen.
33. Bakhshali, Jambudvipa and India’s role in science
London’s Science Museum on Tuesday unveiled a new exhibition that traces India’s contribution to science and technology over the past 5,000 years. Bringing together pieces from scientific institutes and museums across India as well as those held by British institutions, the Indian High Commission and the museum hope to be able to bring the exhibition to India too.
The highlight is a folio from the Bakhshali manuscript, loaned to the exhibition by the Bodleian Library in Oxford, which contains the oldest recorded origins of the symbol “zero”.
34. Molecules shown like a movie
A trio of Swiss, American and British scientists won the 2017 Nobel chemistry prize on Wednesday for developing cryo-electron microscopy, allowing researchers to see biological molecules frozen in action.
The work by Jacques Dubochet, Joachim Frank and Richard Henderson makes it possible to image proteins and other molecules after freezing them rapidly to preserve their shape, providing a powerful new tool for medical research.
35. India defeats Australia by 7 wickets
Rohit Sharma achieved a memorable milestone with his classy century as India outplayed Australia by seven wickets in the fifth ODI to seal the series 4-1 and cement their number one spot in the ICC rankings.
Chasing a modest 243, India eventually got home in 42.5 overs with Manish Pandey hitting the winning four.
36. Huge win for South Africa over Bangladesh
The pace of Kagiso Rabada and the spin of Keshav Maharaj sent Bangladesh crashing to a 333-run defeat on the fifth day of the first Test against South Africa at Senwes Park
Bangladesh lost seven wickets for 41 runs in less than an hour and a half as they were bowled out for 90 after being set 424 to win. South Africa’s victory was overshadowed by an injury to fast bowler Morne Morkel, who is expected to be out for six weeks
37. Age cheats under scanner
The Under-17 World Cup starting in India on Friday should feature only players born this century, but officials are taking no chances after title holders Nigeria were caught in a major age-cheating scandal.
All players at the competition, which has helped launch the careers of Neymar, Ronaldinho, Andres Iniesta and Xavi Hernandez, will have their wrists scanned by MRI to check they weren’t born before January 1, 2000.
38. Bengaluru ranked world’s most affordable technology city
Bengaluru is the world’s most affordable technology hub, according to a study conducted by a realty consultancy firm.
Among the top 29 global technology hubs covered by the study, Bengaluru emerged the cheapest in office rentals. Gurugram, another Indian city, comes second.
39. AP govt conducts house-warming ceremony for 1 lakh houses
The Andhra Pradesh government conducted house-warming ceremony for one lakh houses across the state, with Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu formally launching the programme in Vijayawada.
The chief minister also declared three districts — West Godavari, Krishna and SPS Nellore — as open defecation-free (ODF) and said the target was to make the entire state ODF by March 2018.
40. First community toilet for transgenders inaugurated in Bhopal
Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan inaugurated a toilet in the Mangalwara area for the exclusive use of transgenders. Mr. Chouhan announced awareness of government schemes would be created among them.