1. SIDBI revamps portal for easy credit access
Small Industries Development Bank of India (SIDBI) has revamped its portalwww.udyamimitra.inwith enhanced features to provide easy access to credit and hand-holding services for micro small medium enterprises (MSME).
SIDBI said in a statement “The portal brings transparency and competition among lenders and removes the need to approach several banks individually”
2. LIC may participate in bank recapitalisation programme
State-owned Life Insurance Corporation may be roped in to participate in the Rs 2.11 lakh crore recapitalisation initiative for public sector banks (PSBs).
Sources said “As part of the programme, LIC could also increase its stake in various PSBs which are required to raise Rs 58,000 crore from the capital market.”
3. SBI extends ₹2,317 crore for rooftop solar projects
State Bank of India (SBI) has sanctioned loans worth ₹2,317 crore to rooftop solar power projects for an aggregate capacity of 575 MW to a host of corporate entities including the Adani Group, JSW Energy, Tata Renewable Energy among others.
The World Bank had sanctioned the line of credit to SBI in September. This will be available for five years.
4. Jaitley-led panel to oversee PSBs’ merger
Moving ahead with reforms in the public sector banking space, the government has constituted a Ministerial panel headed by Finance Minister Arun Jaitley that will oversee merger proposals of state-owned banks.
The other members of the panel include Railways and Coal Minister Piyush Goyal and Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman.
5. New avatar BHIM app misses October date
The Centre’s plan to unveil a new version of its flagship digital payment application BHIM (Bharat Interface for Money) as a single interface point for all mobile payments seems to have hit a roadblock, with its proposed roll-out being pushed back by at least a month.
6. Crypto currencies, ICOs under SEBI lens
SEBI examining whether regulation possible under current laws or fresh powers needed
The rising popularity of crypto currencies and the increasing number of entities looking at raising funds through Initial Coin Offerings (ICO) has caught the attention of the capital market regulator, which is evaluating whether such instruments and offerings can be brought under its regulatory purview.
7. The biggest ever fire sale of Indian corporate assets
‘For sale’ tags on airports, roads, ports, steel plants, cement units, refineries, corporate park, among others, are visible and is effectively India Inc.’s biggest ever fire sale. It’s even bigger than the government’s planned divestment target.
The Reserve Bank of India’s (RBI) has decided to clean up the balance sheets of Indian banks, which are collectively saddled with Rs five lakh crore of bad loans, by the end of this fiscal. So, the banks have started cracking the whip on Indian companies for repayment of loans. For most affected firms and groups, this will mean they will be forced to sell prized assets to repay their ballooning debts.
8. SEBI tweaks block deal norms
Markets regulator SEBI on Thursday revised the framework for ‘block deals’ by providing two separate trading windows of 15 minutes each and increasing the minimum order size to Rs. 10 crore, such deals are usually negotiated before their execution.
The move is aimed at ensuring confidentiality of the large trades and stable prices for such transactions.
9. NHAI eyes bond issue to finance highway projects
Road Transport and Highways Minister,Nitin Gadkari said, the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) will soon issue bonds to finance highway projects.
Mr. Gadkari had said in a press conference on Wednesday that NHAI has a AAA rating that would help it tap into the capital markets. He had said that funds to the tune of Rs. 4-5 lakh crore can be raised from the markets for highway projects.
10. ‘India has to spend Rs. 50 lakh cr on infra’
Rating agency Crisil said India would need to spend about Rs. 50 lakh crore between fiscal 2018 and 2022 to build its infrastructure in a sustainable manner.
Ashu Suyash, MD and CEO, Crisil Ltd. while unveiling the agency’s Infrastructure Yearbook 2017 said “India will see close to Rs. 3,000 crore investment per day in infrastructure sector, and 56% more than the Rs. 37 lakh crore projected spend between fiscals 2013 and 2017.”
11. L&T scouts for ‘launchpads’ in Gujarat, T.N., for missile plant
A senior executive said Larsen & Toubro Ltd., is eyeing Tamil Nadu, Maharashtra and Gujarat for its Rs. 500 crore missile and missile systems plant.
The missile and missile systems plant is being formed in a joint venture with MBDA, a French company. The new joint venture company, L&T MBDA Missile Systems Ltd., will have an equity stake of 51:49.
12. Non-finance business to drive growth of Peerless Group
Non-finance business is set to drive the future growth of the 85-year old Peerless General Finance & Investment Company Ltd. which has, over the years, marked its footprint in sectors such as hotels, hospitals and housing through wholly-owned subsidiaries and joint ventures.
PGF&I is the flagship venture of the Peerless Group which has in its fold a clutch of financial services companies and housing, hotel and hospital ventures.
13. Enabler for MSMEs eyes 21% growth
The National Small Industries Corporation (NSIC), a government enterprise that facilitates information, credit, technology and marketing for micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs), is looking at business to the tune of Rs. 24,000 crore this year.
14. India moves up 30 spots in WB’s ease of business ranking
India climbed 30 positions in the latest ease of doing business ranking by the World Bank, in its Doing Business 2018 report released on Tuesday. The report ranks India at 100 among 190 countries. Last year, India was ranked 130.
Rita Ramalho of WB said “Nation made big efforts in last 3 years and what is seen in this report is not last year’s reforms only”
DEFENCE AND SECURITY
15. Defence Minister takes note of key shortfalls in Navy
Commending the Navy on maintaining continuous deployment of ships, submarines and aircraft in India’s areas of interest in the last one year, Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman took note of the critical capability shortfalls that the service is facing in various platforms.
She made these comments while addressing the on-going biannual Naval Commanders Conference.
16. Army finalises plan to modernise weapons
The Army has finalised one of its biggest procurement plans for infantry modernisation, under which a large number of light machine guns (LMGs), battle carbines and assault rifles are being purchased at a cost of nearly Rs. 40,000 crore to replace its ageing and obsolete weapons.
17. RCEP summit: India under pressure to cut tariffs further
Prime Minister Narendra Modi is likely to participate in the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) Summit in Manila later in November where the country will face more pressure to improve its commitments for eliminating tariffs in goods and agree to an early conclusion of the mega trade deal.
18. British Minister allays Indian investors’ concerns
Indian businesses with investments in Britain would see that it was business as usual, Britain’s Minister for Asia Mark Field said, as he sought to offer reassurances to investors and others looking to the U.K. market amid the uncertainty of Brexit.
19. India, Sri Lanka ink housing project deal
Weeks after pro-Rajapaksa protesters clashed with the police outside the Indian consulate in Hambantota, Sri Lanka signed an agreement with India to build 1,200 houses in a public ceremony held in the southern port city.
The signing of the MoU in Hambantota amid assumes significance not only in its timing, but also in taking India’s housing project to the Sinhala-majority Southern Province.
20. Act or we will, U.S. tells Pakistan
The Trump administration has firmly told Pakistan that if it fails to take “decisive” action against terror groups, it will “adjust” its tactics and strategies to achieve the objective in a “different way.”
Secretary of State Rex Tillerson has told Pakistan that it must take action against terrorist groups and dismantle their safe havens on its soil.
21. India, France to boost defence ties
India and France has decided to expand military cooperation in the strategically key Indo-Pacific region, besides resolving to ramp up the overall defence and security ties.
Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman and her French counterpart, Florence Parly, held extensive talks covering a variety of issues, including the regional security situation, joint development of defence platforms and expansion of military-to-military ties.
22. EU, Washington throw their weight behind Madrid
The motion was passed in the Catalan Parliament after a passionate debate from advocates and opponents of independence said Catalonia constituted an independent, sovereign and social democratic state.
Within an hour, the upper house of Spain’s Parliament in Madrid authorised Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy’s government to rule Catalonia directly — an unprecedented move in Spain since the return of democracy in the late 1970s.
23. ‘A win-win framework needed’
There can be a ‘win-win’ framework for resolving lingering trade issues between the U.S. and India, said Nisha Biswal, the newly appointed president of the U.S.-India Business Council (USIBC). Ms. Biswal said she would draw from her experience as a former Assistant Secretary of State for such an approach.
24. Iran fulfilling nuclear deal commitments: IAEA chief
Iran is fulfilling its commitments under the nuclear deal with world powers and U.N. inspectors are facing no problems in their verification efforts, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) director-general said on Monday.
U.S. President Donald Trump said earlier this month that he would not continue to certify the multinational 2015 agreement, reached under his predecessor Barack Obama, and warned that he might ultimately terminate it.
25. Moon Jae-in says cannot recognise North Korea as nuclear state
South Korea will never recognise or tolerate North Korea as a nuclear state, nor will Seoul have nuclear weapons, the South’s President Moon Jae-in said on Wednesday, while China said it would work with Seoul to denuclearise the Korean peninsula.
Mr. Moon also said there can be no military action on the Korean peninsula without the South’s consent, adding the government will continue working for peace on the peninsula.
26. Eight killed by New York motorist in ‘cowardly act of terror’
A man in a rented pickup truck drove onto a busy bicycle path near the World Trade Centre memorial on Tuesday, killing at least eight people and injuring several others in what the mayor called “a particularly cowardly act of terror.”
Authorities said the driver was shot in the abdomen by police after jumping out of the truck with what turned out to be a fake gun in each hand and shouting what witnesses said was “Allahu Akbar,” Arabic for “God is great”
27. 200 die at N. Korean n-test site
More than 200 people are feared to have died when a tunnel caved in at North Korea’s nuclear test site, triggered by its latest detonation, a Japanese news report said on Tuesday.
A tunnel collapsed at Punggye-ri early in September, days after North Korea conducted its sixth and largest underground nuclear test on September 3, TV Asahi said, quoting unnamed North Korean sources. Some 100 workers were killed in the initial collapse.
28. Gender inequality widening after decade of progress: WEF
WEF said in a report that a decade of slow progress towards better parity between the sexes has screeched to a halt, the World Economic Forum (WEF) said today, warning the global gender gap was now widening. But the global trend now seems to have made a U-turn, especially in workplaces, where full gender equality is not expected to materialise until 2234.
29. Govt. working on tougher consumer protection law
Prime Minister Narendra Modi said a new consumer protection law is on the anvil to crack down on misleading advertisements and simplify the grievance redressal mechanism.
He was speaking at the inauguration of a two-day international conference on Consumer Protection for East, South, Southeast and Asian nations.
30. ‘Don’t deny food items for lack of Aadhaar’
The Centre has instructed the States not to deny PDS benefits to any person who does not have Aadhaar or has not linked the ration card to the 12-digit biometric identifier, and warned them of strict action for violations. It also asked the States not to delete eligible households from the list of beneficiaries for non-possession of Aadhaar.
31. SC questions Centre on judicial posts
Over a year and 10 months after a Constitution Bench placed its faith in the government to iron out the dos and don’ts of judicial appointments to the Supreme Court and the high courts, the Centre is yet to deliver. Now, the court wants to know why.
A Bench of Justices A.K. Goel and U.U. Lalit issued notice to the Attorney-General of India, the Centre’s top law officer, to explain why the finalisation of the Memorandum of Procedure (MoP) for appointment of judges to the Supreme Court and the high courts continues to “linger”.
32. Air programme on dangers of Blue Whale game, SC tells DD
Declaring the Blue Whale online game a threat to life, the Supreme Court directed public broadcaster Doordarshan to conceive a cautionary and educational programme about the dangers of the online game which goads players, mostly students, to commit suicide.
A Bench, led by Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra, gave the public broadcaster a week’s time to prepare the programme and air it on prime time for an appropriate duration, possibly not less than 10 minutes.
33. Flexi-fares may go for 50% of seats on trains
The Railways may soon revise its flexi-fare system on premium trains such as Rajdhani, Shatabdi and Duronto to get more passengers.
A top Railway Ministry official said that “the Railway Board is considering selling half the seats without any surge pricing. The problem with the present dynamic pricing, introduced on September 9, 2016, is that the fares rise soon after the first 10% of the tickets on a train are sold”
34. Kabul will get Indian wheat via Chabahar
The move also indicates that Chabahar, which India has been developing for some years, will soon be fully operational. India had earlier sent goods through the Iranian port of Bandar Abbas in 2003 as Pakistan had not eased land access to Afghanistan.
The MEA said “The two foreign ministers welcomed the fact that this is the first shipment that would be going to Afghanistan through the Chabahar port after the Trilateral Agreement on Establishment of International Transport and Transit Corridor was signed during the visit of the Prime Minister of India to Iran in May 2016”
35. Still verifying returned high-value notes: RBI
The RBI said at least 66 Sophisticated Currency Verification and Processing (CVPS) machines were being used for counting the junked notes that were deposited with various banks post-demonetisation.
The notes deposited or collected are being verified by the central bank at its offices to establish the total number of currency bills returned and to weed out fakes.
36. India is a messenger of world peace, says PM
Prime Minister Narendra Modi said India has always vouched for world peace, unity and harmony and its armed forces have contributed in this direction through UN missions across the globe.
He said that currently around 7,000 Indian security personnel are deployed on peacekeeping missions, making it the third highest contributor.
37. 70 Indian words added to Oxford dictionary
From endearing words like ‘Abba’ and ’Anna’ to Indian delicacies like ‘gulab jamun’ and ‘vada’ can now be found in the Oxford English Dictionary (OED).
As per the latest list of inclusions, 70 new Indian words from Telugu, Urdu, Tamil, Hindi and Gujarati languages have been added to the dictionary.
38. Supreme Court rebukes Mamata govt
The Supreme Court pulled up the State of West Bengal for directly approaching the apex court against the Centre’s move to make Aadhaar mandatory for availing the benefits of various social welfare schemes.
The State had filed a writ petition under Article 32 of the Constitution. The specific Article can only be used by individuals to approach the Supreme Court against state actions which violate their fundamental rights. Article 32 cannot be agitated by a State against the Centre.
39. Education loans counted in credit ratings, says govt.
The government has clarified that education loan defaults cannot be kept out of the ambit of credit rating bureaus such as the Credit Information Bureau of India (CIBIL). The government’s response was in reply to a question posed by DMK MP Tiruchi Siva.
40. Fewer TB deaths in India: WHO
Death from tuberculosis in India saw a 12% decline from last year even as the number of new cases saw a 5% increase, according to a report from the World Health Organisation (WHO)
Sunil Khaparde, who leads India’s tuberculosis-control programme, said the rise in cases was due to greater surveillance and the dip in mortality from 480,000 to 423,000 in 2016, due to improved drug management.
41. Army to build new bridge at Mumbai railway station
Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis, as he visited the site of the stampede, along with Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman and Railway Minister Piyush Goyal said “The Army will help build a new foot overbridge at the Elphinstone Road station in Mumbai by January 31”
The tragedy which took place on September 29 killed 23 people.Mr. Fadnavis told the media that the Army would also build two more foot overbridges at Curry Road and Ambivli railway stations.
42. SC relief for self-employed, salaried road accident victims
A five-judge Constitution Bench spelt relief to families who were given a raw deal by insurance companies just because their loved one was either self-employed or salaried at the time of death in a road accident.
So far, the pre-liberalisation Motor Vehicles Act of 1988 had computed motor accident claims on the basis that self-employed persons and the salaried have no “future prospects”, and if alive, their income over the years would hardly have seen any drastic improvements.
43. Bullet train route is loss-making: RTI
As the Narendra Modi government proceeds with the Mumbai-Ahmedabad bullet train project, an RTI query has revealed that over 40% of seats on all the trains on this sector go vacant, causing huge losses to Western Railway.
According to Right to Information replies received by Mumbai activist Anil Galgali, just in the past one quarter, the Western Railway’s losses on this sector stood at nearly ₹30 crore, or around ₹10 crore per month.
44. Speed up trial of politicians, says SC
The Supreme Court has asked the government to frame a central scheme for setting up special courts across the country to exclusively try criminal cases involving ‘political persons.’
In a determined effort to cleanse politics of criminality and corruption, the apex court said it takes years, probably decades, to complete the trial against a politician.
45. India mulls national e-commerce policy
A senior government official said India is considering drafting a comprehensive national e-commerce policy to develop an ecosystem that would support exports and protect consumer interests.
Sudhanshu Pandey, Joint Secretary, Ministry of Commerce and Industry said “However, the country is of the view that starting negotiations on World Trade Organisation (WTO) rules in e-commerce would be premature at this stage as it was still unclear how they would benefit developing nations, including their companies and consumers”
46. NPS-private sector: Entry age limit raised to 65 years
Pension regulator PFRDA has increased the maximum age of joining NPS-private sector to 65 years from 60 years at present.
With this move, any Indian citizen, resident or non-resident, of 60-65 years of age can also join National Pension System (NPS) and continue up to the age of 70 years.
47. Housing and Urban Affairs Ministry, UrbanClap tie up for job generation
The Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs and UrbanClap, a private online service aggregator, signed a memorandum of understanding, to provide employment opportunities for the urban poor who have been skilled under the Deen Dayal Antyodaya Yojana-National Urban Livelihoods Mission (DAY-NULM).
The MoU signed in presence of Hardeep Singh Puri, Minister of Housing and Urban Affairs (Independent Charge), will be effective for five years.
48. Cabinet approves MoU between India, Armenia
The Cabinet has given its approval for signing and ratifying an Agreement between India and Armenia on cooperation and mutual assistance in customs matters.
The Agreement would provide a legal framework for sharing of information and intelligence between the Customs authorities of the two countries and help in the proper application of Customs laws, prevention and investigation of Customs offences and the facilitation of legitimate trade.
49. Scientists link new virus to kala-azar
Researchers have stumbled upon tantalizing evidence of an unknown virus that may be responsible for the persistence of kala-azar or visceral leishmaniasis, a parasite infection that has spawned epidemics and sickened thousands of Indians for over a century.
It’s still early to pointedly blame the virus but its discovery portends a new kind of treatment regime and may aid attempts to eradicating the disease.
50. CO2 levels grew at record pace in 2016: UN
The amount of carbon dioxide in the earth’s atmosphere grew at record rate in 2016 to a level not seen for millions of years, potentially fuelling a 20-metre rise in sea levels and adding 3 degrees to temperatures, the United Nations said on Monday.
The UN World Meteorological Organization said in its annual Greenhouse Gas Bulletin that the atmospheric concentrations of carbon dioxide (CO2), the main man-made greehouse gas, hit 403.3 parts per million (ppm), up from 400.0 in 2015.
51. IIT Madras develops extremely water-repellent coating
Nanocellulose-based liquid dispersion that renders the coated surface extremely water repellent — superhydrophobic with water contact angle more than 160 degrees — has been developed by a team of researchers led by Prof. T. Pradeep from the Department of Chemistry at the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Madras.
The material can be coated on a variety of surfaces including glass and paper. It has several distinct properties such as high mechanical durability and chemical stability.
52. IIT KGP-Arka Renewable Plan Solar E-charging Station On Commercial Scale
IIT Kharagpur and Arka Renewables Energy College have submitted a plan to the Department of Science and Technology for setting up solar e-vehicles charging station on a commercial scale in the state.
Arka Renewable Energy College chief S P Gonchaudhuri said on the sidelines of an interactive session with BNCCI that the project will be the first one in the country on this scale.
53. Experimental vaccine may protect against HIV
Scientists have developed a novel vaccine candidate that may prevent HIV infection by stimulating an immune response against sugars that form a protective shield around the virus.
Researchers designed a vaccine candidate using an HIV protein fragment linked to a sugar group. When injected into rabbits, the vaccine candidate stimulated antibody responses against the sugar shield in four different HIV strains.
54. Kohli ahead of Messi in Forbes List
Virat Kohli, Indian cricket team captain, has been ranked above the Argentinean and Barcelona football legend Lionel Messi as one of the most valuable brands among sports athletes by Forbes.
According to Forbes, Kohli is ranked seventh in the list released by Forbes ahead of Messi, who is at ninth. Between Kohli and Messi is the Irish golfer Rory McIlroy. Kohli is placed at seventh with a brand value of $14.5 million, compared to Messi’s $13.5 million.
55. Sangram, Amanpreet win medals
It took a world record to beat the Indian challenge in double trap as Hu Binyuan of China clinched the gold, beating qualification topper Sangram Dahiya 79-76, in the World Cup Final at the Dr. Karni Singh Range.
After Amanpreet Singh grabbed the men’s free pistol bronze there was a lot of hope on the three Indians in double trap.
56. BCCI unlikely to cave in to NADA pressure
The BCCI brass will soon have a meeting to chalk out a plan to deal with mounting pressure from the National Anti-Doping Agency (NADA) that wants Virat Kohli and Co under its ambit.
There is a Committee of Administrators (COA) meeting in Mumbai on November 3, where the issue will come up for discussion but, as of now, the Indian cricket’s governing body is unlikely to budge from its current stand.
57. Virat Kohli claims back ICC top spot, While Mithali Raj rises to top spot
Indian captain Virat Kohli returned to the top of the ICC ODI rankings for batsmen after logging career-high rating points, going past the iconic Sachin Tendulkar in the process. Kohli has moved back to the top within 10 days of losing it.
While Indian Women’s team captain Mithali Raj moved up one place to occupy the number one spot in the latest ICC ODI rankings for batswomen. Mithali has 753 points, while Perry and Satterthwaite are on 725 and 720 points respectively.
58. India beat NZ by 53 runs in first T20I
India finally tasted success against the team that has been their Achilles heel for long in this format when they outplayed butter-fingered New Zealand by 53 runs in the first Twenty20 International here tonight.
At the end of the lopsided game that was also veteran seamer Ashish Nehra’s last in competitive cricket, hosts India sauntered to a 1-0 lead in the three-match series.
59. On visit to Taj, Yogi calls it a ‘gem’ of India
Taking a dig at political opponents over his maiden visit to the Taj Mahal, Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath on Thursday said only those who had “divided the society into camps of caste” had an objection to his tour of Agra.
In Agra, Mr. Adityanath was addressing a public meeting moments after he made his maiden visit to the Taj Mahal, which has been shrouded in controversy after some provocative and dismissive remarks by BJP legislators and the State government’s omission of it from a tourism-development booklet.
60. ‘Right to privacy verdict affirms Hadiya’s rights too’
Speakers at an event to discuss the right to privacy judgment said that “The Supreme Court’s recent judgment dealing with the right to privacy further affirms Hadiya’s right as an adult to choose her own religion and husband, and the verdict by the Kerala High Court in her case could cause tremendous damage to women’s rights.”