AWARDS AND HONOURS
1. Gauri Lankesh honoured with Anna Politkovskaya Award
Journalist-activist Gauri Lankesh, who was shot dead by unknown assailants on September 5, has been posthumously accorded with the prestigious Anna Politkovskaya Award, instituted by Reach All Women (RAW) in War.
RAW, in a statement, said that it was honoured to award the annual Anna Politkovskaya Award for women human rights defenders from war and conflict zones jointly to Gauri Lankesh posthumously, and to a brave Pakistani activist Gulalai Ismaial, who similarly is fighting against Islamic extremism.
2. US economist Richard Thaler wins Economics Nobel
The Nobel economics prize has been awarded to Richard Thaler of the University of Chicago for his contributions to behavioural economics.
The 9-million-kronor (USD 1.1-million) prize was awarded to the academic for his “understanding the psychology of economics,” Swedish Academy of Sciences secretary Goeran Hansson
3. A ‘nudge’ for behavioural economics
The Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences has decided to award the Sveriges Riksbank Prize in Economic Sciences in Memory of Alfred Nobel 2017 to Richard H. Thaler “for his contributions to behavioural economics”.
Richard H. Thaler has incorporated psychologically realistic assumptions into analyses of economic decision-making. By exploring the consequences of limited rationality, social preferences, and lack of self-control, he has shown how these human traits systematically affect individual decisions as well as market outcomes.
4. Reviving loan growth, top priority: Rajnish Kumar
At a time when credit growth is at an historic low, State Bank of India’s (SBI) chairman-designate Rajnish Kumar said reviving loan growth will be his top priority apart from resolution of stressed assets.
Mr. Kumar said in a teleconference with the media “Reviving the credit growth and resolution of stressed assets, that is the top most challenge,”
5. Credit growth is an unfinished agenda
The four-year term of Arundhati Bhattacharya, first woman Chairman of State Bank of India, came to an end on Friday. Under her leadership, SBI catapulted to the elite group of top 50 banks in the world following the merger of five associate banks and the Bharatiya Mahila Bank with effect from April 1, 2017.
In a free-wheeling interaction with the media, Bhattacharya, who has served in the bank for four decades, shared her thoughts on a host of issues, including her future plans, reforms, asset resolution,
6. Mobile wallets to get new lease of life with interoperability
The Reserve Bank of India, in a notification said that it will soon release guidelines for prepaid instruments (PPIs) that allow all KYC-compliant wallets such as Paytm, Mobikwik, Oxigen, FreeCharge and Citrus, among others, to be able to transact with each other from April 2018. The RBI will be issuing master directions by October 11, 2017.
Hailing this as a welcome step, wallet players said interoperability or inter-wallet transactions will not only benefit consumers but also expand the adoption of wallets in the country, which witnessed huge growth since demonetisation last year.
7. Axis Bank acquires Freecharge
The country’s third largest private sector lender Axis Bank today said it has acquired payments wallet Freecharge for Rs. 373 crore in an all-cash deal and appointed Sangram Singh as its CEO.
Axis Banks had said the acquisition will double the customer base of the bank and leapfrog its digital journey by multiple years.
Bills and Acts
8. Passive euthanasia already a law, says govt.
Passive euthanasia, the act of withdrawing life support to a terminally-ill patient, is already the law of the land, the government told a Constitution Bench of the Supreme Court.
The government said it was finalising a draft law on passive euthanasia called ‘The Management of Patients With Terminal Illness – Withdrawal of Medical Life Support Bill’, which was drawn up in line with the recommendations of the Law Commission of India that life support can be withdrawn for patients in persistent vegetative state (PVS) or suffering an irreversible medical condition.
9. Norms to curb fund diversion mooted
Audit committees should monitor the flow of funds to unlisted subsidiaries, including those established overseas, while listed entities should put in place proper regulatory framework while sharing unpublished price-sensitive information with promoters or any other significant shareholders, the Securities and Exchange Board of India’s panel on governance has proposed.
10. Wipro arm buys US-based Cooper in digital push
Wipro Digital, the digital business unit of software major Wipro, has acquired Cooper, a company that provides User Experience (UX), for an undisclosed sum, a move that could strengthen its capabilities in this emerging segment.
Cooper will become part of Designit, Wipro Digital’s strategic design arm. The acquisition strengthens Wipro Digital’s design capabilities, expands its reach in North America.
11. €300-million European Investment Bank loan for Bangalore Metro
The European Investment Bank (EIB) will lend €300 million for Bangalore Metro Rail Project Phase II Line R6.
The agreement was signed on Thursday by S Selvakumar, Joint Secretary (BC), Department of Economic Affairs (DEA), Union Ministry of Finance and Andrew McDowell, Vice-President.
12. Surplus sugar output likely for two years
India is likely to witness surplus sugar production during the next two years on account of a bumper sugarcane crop.
According to OP Dhanuka, CMD, Riga Sugar Company Ltd, production of sugar in 2017-18 marketing year (October-September) is likely to be close to 25.5 million tonnes (mt), a growth of 25 per cent over last year on higher sugarcane area. The country’s annual consumption is pegged at 24 mt.
13. BSNL offer GST compliance solution
Taxmann, an authorised Goods and Service Tax Suvidha Provider (GSP), has partnered with Bharat Sanchar Nigam Ltd to assist corporates and SMEs in managing GST compliance with Taxmann BSNL ‘One Solution’ software.
The software ensures simplified work flow and offers capability to facilitate data import from any accounting software/ERP, location management, reconciliation etc.,
14. Not possible to extend concessions to Apple under GST
An official source said “The government will not be able to extend tax and duty related concessions to iPhone maker Apple under the new indirect tax regime as the effort is to promote Make in India and not imports”
“We have already hiked customs duty on smartphone and imports of its parts. So, it is clear that we do not want to encourage imports and rather encourage Make in India.”
15. Centre to set up think tank for oil sector soon: Pradhan
Petroleum Minister Dharmendra Pradhan said “The government will soon get Cabinet approval for the setting up of a high-powered think tank under the Ministry of Petroleum to look into key issues such as the setting up of a gas network across the country”
Mr. Pradhan also reiterated Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s commitment to the COP 21 agreement concluded at the Paris leg of the climate change conference.
16. Bad loans hit record $146 billion
Indian banks’ sour loans hit a record 9.5 trillion rupees ($145.56 billion) at the end of June, unpublished data shows, suggesting Asia’s third-largest economy is no nearer to bringing its bad debt problems under control.
A review of Reserve Bank of India (RBI) data obtained through right-to-information requests shows banks’ total stressed loans — including non-performing and restructured or rolled over loans — rose 4.5% in the six months to end-June. In the previous six months, they had risen 5.8%.
17. Funskool India to focus on exports
A top executive said “Hit by the effects of demonetisation, toymaker Funskool India has turned its attention towards exports to sustain growth momentum”
“Due to demonetisation, we took a big hit,” said K. John Baby, CEO, Funskool (India) Ltd. “Fortunately, we were working [in a major way] on exports and that’s paying off now.”
DEFENCE AND SECURITY
18. First three women fighter pilots of the country
The first three women fighter pilots of the country are likely to fly the MiG-21 Bison jets, one of the potent combat aircraft in the IAF’s armoury.
The three women pilots — Avani Chaturvedi, Bhawana Kanth and Mohana Singh are set to script history next month when they will fly military jets after completing a strenuous training programme within three weeks.
19. Job cuts worry Mittal, Goyal unfazed
In an unusual role reversal, the opening session of the World Economic Forum’s (WEF) India Economic Summit was witness to industry representatives worrying about the job market amid layoffs by top firms while a Cabinet Minister termed the spate of ‘job reductions’ as a good omen for India’s youth as they strive to be job creators instead of job seekers.
20. GST Council gives relief to exporters, small businesses
In what should come as relief to exporters and small businesses, the GST Council on Friday announced a slew of decisions to reduce their compliance burden, including the eventual setting up of an e-wallet for input tax credits for exporters, and the option for small businesses to file returns and pay taxes only once a quarter.
The changes come two days after Prime Minister Narendra Modi said he had instructed the Council to find solutions to the problems being faced by traders.
21. GST on Petrol
Prime Minister Narendra Modi said “The Union government would consult the States on bringing petroleum products into the ambit of the Goods and Services Tax (GST)”
Mr. Modi was reacting to suggestions from industry leaders to bring petroleum products that now face high Central and State levies, into the GST net, at an official meeting with head honchos of the oil and gas industry.
22. Kathak, qawwali and opera on the same stage
Kathak and tap dancers, the sarod and the organ came together in a gala in central London, as the Southbank centre hosted over 150 artists from across Britain and India for an event pegged as the highlight of the 2017 India-U.K. Year of Culture. Among the performers were the British opera singer Patricia Rozario, sarod player Soumik Datta, and Radiohead guitarist Jonny Greenwood.
23. India disputes ILO’s modern slavery report
The government has written to the International Labour Organisation (ILO) challenging a recent study on “modern slavery” conducted by the Australia-based Walk Free Foundation (WFF) on behalf of the global body. The report does not mention India.
The Labour Ministry shot off a strong letter to the ILO regarding its report titled ‘Global Estimates of Modern Slavery: Forced Labour and Forced Marriage 2017.’ The report, released on September 19, does not contain any India-specific findings, barring a mention that 17,000 people were interviewed for the survey.
24. Trump’s immigration plan may help Indians
U.S. President Donald Trump has proposed a merit-based immigration system that could benefit highly-skilled Indian workers but prevents them from sponsoring their extended families, as part of an aggressive plan which he said will serve national interest.
However, there was no reference to the H-1B visas, the most sought after by Indian IT professionals, in the proposal which Mr. Trump sent to Congress.
25. Post-Doklam, the healing touch of yoga
China’s Minzu University is offering the country’s first master’s degree in Yoga, in what appears to be a clear signal that soft power is being deployed to reactivate China-India ties in the aftermath of the tense Doklam standoff.
The China Youth Daily, an official newspaper of the Communist Party of China (CPC), has reported that the University, located in Kunming, has started accepting applications for China’s first master’s degree course in yoga.
26. India, U.K. to firm up defence links
India’s Defence Secretary Sanjay Mitra said during a three-day visit to the U.K. ahead of the next meeting of the two Prime Ministers, India and Britain hope to agree on concrete measures to take forward their defence partnership by next year.
The meeting of the two leaders is widely expected to take place at the Commonwealth Heads of Government meeting in London in April 2018.
27. Nisha Biswal made USIBC President
Nisha Desai Biswal, former U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asia, has been appointed president of the U.S.-India Business Council (USIBC), a forum of U.S. businesses under the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.
The USIBC has been at the centre of a recent controversy after its previous board decided to set up a new organisation called the U.S-India Strategic Partnership Forum (USISPF), breaking away from the Chamber.
28. London Mayor Khan to visit India, Pakistan
London’s Mayor Sadiq Khan and Deputy Mayor Rajesh Agarwal are to visit India and Pakistan later this year, in the first official trip by a senior British politician to both countries, as city authorities seek to reassure businesses and others across the world of the resilience and strengths of the city post-Brexit.
He is set to visit New Delhi, Mumbai and Amritsar and then to Lahore, Islamabad and Karachi.
29. PM goes into a huddle with Jaitley, Shah over slowdown
A day after promising to take all necessary steps to revive the economy and fix the problems faced by businesses on account of the switchover to the Goods and Services Tax regime, Prime Minister Narendra Modi held extensive talks with BJP president Amit Shah and Finance and Corporate Affairs Minister Arun Jaitley
30. NITI Aayog panel on transportation systems
To work on traffic, parking management and maintain roads in a cost-effective manner, NITI Aayog and International Road Federation on Friday signed a statement of intent to cooperate in Intelligent Transportation Systems.
The collaboration will focus on upgrading the parking situation in the cities, road safety, reducing urban traffic congestion, and improving the security of passenger and traffic.
31. Soil Health Card Scheme ‘progressing well’
a government-commissioned study has said Soil Health Card Scheme is progressing well despite challenges such as inadequate staff, lack of power supply and internet connectivity among others.
Under the scheme launched in February 2015, soil health cards have been distributed to nearly ten crore farmers so far, against the target of 12 crore, as per official figures. The card, which will be issued every three years, provides information to farmers on the nutrient status of soil along with recommendations on appropriate dosage of soil nutrients to be applied for improving soil health and its fertility.
32. Aadhaar mandatory for PPF, NSC, Kisan Vikas Patra
The Union government has made linking Aadhaar mandatory for the Public Provident Fund (PPF), the National Savings Certificates (NSC) and the Kisan Vikas Patra (KVP).
In a series of four notifications, the government said the existing subscribers have time till December 31, 2017 to link their Aadhaar.
33. Navy thwarts piracy against Indian bulk carrier in Gulf of Aden
The Indian Navy on Friday thwarted a piracy attempt against an Indian bulk carrier in the Gulf of Aden.
Navy spokesperson Capt. D.K. Sharma said “Stealth frigate INS Trishul thwarted a piracy attempt on Indian registered merchant vessel ‘Jag Amar’ at 12:30 pm on Friday.”
34. Vizag will emerge as centre for blockchain tech
Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu has said Visakhapatnam would emerge as the major centre for the technology in the next few years, as his government is encouraging innovators and companies working in the field to invest and work from here.
Naidu said nine companies had already arrived in the Fintech Valley, Vizag, and several more were keen on setting up centres here. The State was building up the largest repository of use cases and it would be of immense help to those working in the field, he said.
35. Experts hail ban
With the Supreme Court banning the sale of firecrackers in the Delhi-NCR region till after Deepavali, can Delhiites breathe a sigh of relief?
Not yet, say experts. The air of Delhi is saturated with pollutants, and the city’s dark clouds would need more than this silver lining. But experts welcomed the SC order on Monday, banning the sale of crackers in the Delhi-National Capital Region (NCR) till October 31.
37. Beti Bachao Beti Padhao Week Inaugurated At Nongpoh
Beti Bachao Beti Padhao (BBBP) is observed for a week from 9th Oct-14th Oct 2017
The scheme is implemented in 161 district of the country which includes the Ri Bhoi district in our state, where the sex ratio of a girl child is low compared to the opposite sex. The scheme deals not only to stop girl infanticide but to look into education and health aspects of the girl child and the scheme focus is laid on education, skill, vocational and counseling and entrepreneurship so that the girl could one day support and stand on her feet
38. Software to classify people for Ayurveda treatment
Ayurveda may have got its most futuristic upgrade yet. A multidisciplinary team of scientists, including statisticians, genomics experts, Ayurveda researchers and computer scientists, have developed a software — using Big Data and machine learning approaches — that can efficiently classify people into the three dominant types of constitutions that underlie the Ayurvedic treatment philosophy.
39. FIFA U-17 World Cup: A watershed moment for Indian football
India may have a Neymar or a Ronaldo waiting to be unearthed. This tournament shall showcase the state of India’s junior football and the system may quite possibly stumble upon a modern role model, like a Messi or a Neuer.
India takes on USA in its opener, a contest as good as done even before the kick off, given the existing stature of the two squads.
40. India goes down fighting against Colombia
A vociferous audience participated in India’s endeavour to make a fight of it in the group fixture of the FIFA Under-17 World Cup at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium in New Delhi.
If only India could shackle Juan Penaloza, who knocked in the goals for Colombia in the 49th and 82nd, after Jeakson Thounaojam had equalised in the 81st with a header from a corner.
41. Sri Lanka sweep series
Off-spinner Dilruwan Perera finished with five wickets to help Sri Lanka beat Pakistan by 68 runs in the second Test in Dubai and take the series 2-0.
Perera had figures of 5-98 as Pakistan, chasing a tough 317 to win, were bowled out for 248 in the second hour of fifth and final day at Dubai stadium.
42. Behrendorff’s dream spell destroys India
Left-arm pacer Jason Behrendorff’s sensational spell set up an eight-wicket win for Australia against India in the second T20I at the ACA Barsapara Cricket Stadium.
Chasing India’s modest 118, the visitors cruised home in the 16th over, with Moises Henriques (62 not out, 46b, 4×4, 4×6) and Travis Head (48 not out, 34b, 5×4, 1×6) taking the team home after the openers — Aaron Finch and captain David Warner — had fallen cheaply.
43. Will develop State as seed capital, says Naidu
Chief Minister N. Chandrababu Naidu on Monday laid the foundation stone for a Rs. 675-crore mega Seed Park to come up on a 650-acre land at Thangadancha in Jupadu Bungalow mandal in Kurnool district.
Mr. Naidu said “The mega seed park was being established in accordance with a Memorandum of Understanding signed last year by the State government with Iowa University in the U.S., which had developed 350 new seed varieties and was collaborating with 80 countries.”
44. Dalit made Kerala temple’s head priest
The small hamlet of Keezhcherivalkadavu, where the rivers Pampa and Manimala meet near Thiruvalla, witnessed a historic event in the post-Temple Entry Proclamation period when a Dalit assumed charge as the head priest (Melsanthi) at the 150-year old Manappuram Siva Temple attached to the Travancore Devaswom Board.
The 22-year-old Yadukrishna is the first ever Dalit Melsanthi to be appointed by the TDB
45. Banwarilal Purohit sworn in as Tamil Nadu Governor
At the swearing-in ceremony held at Raj Bhavan here, the Chief Justice of Madras High Court, Justice Indira Banerjee, administered the oath of office to Purohit. Purohit took oath in the name of God.
Chief Minister K Palaniswami, his Cabinet colleagues, and DMK Working President and the Leader of Opposition in the Assembly MK Stalin, were among those present at the ceremony.