Current Affairs Update - 30 and 1st October 2017
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Deadline to sell pre-GST goods extended by 3 months to Dec 31
- The government has extended the deadline for sale of pre-GST goods with stickers of revised rates by three months to December 31, Consumer Affairs Minister Ram Vilas Paswan said on Friday.
- The decision came after several companies and retailers body CAIT highlighted that they are still left with huge unsold stocks of pre-GST goods and need more time to clear that.
- After implementing GST from July 1, the government had allowed use of stickers with revised rates, alongside the printed MRP for pre-packaged items to reflect changes in selling price for three months till September 30.
EC issues formal direction to use paper trail machines in all future polls
- It's official now. In future Lok Sabha and assembly elections, paper trail machines will be used at all polling stations, the Election Commission has said.
- In a letter to chief electoral officers of states written earlier this week, the poll panel said that henceforth, VVPAT (voter-verifiable paper audit trail) or paper trail machines will be used at polling stations in all future elections where polls are held using EVMs.
- In March, the then chief election commissioner Nasim Zaidi had told political parties in a meeting that VVPAT machines will be used in all future elections. But now formal directions have been issued.
- The poll panel had ordered for 67,000 additional paper trail units in 2015, out of which 33,500 have been supplied, according to the law ministry.
New Appointments: National
Tamil Nadu gets full-time Governor in Banwarilal Purohit; Senior BJP leader and former Union minister Satyapal Malik was made the new governor of Bihar. Former member of Bihar Legislative Council Ganga Prasad was appointed as the Governor of Meghalaya. Brigadier (Retd) B D Mishra, who earlier served with the elite National Security Guards (NSG) and spearheaded a successful anti-hijacking operation in 1993, was made the Governor of Arunachal Pradesh. Former Chief of Navy Staff Admiral (retd) Devendra Kumar Joshi was appointed as the new Lt Governor of Union Territory Andaman and Nicobar Islands.
- Assam Governor Banwarilal Purohit was today shifted to Tamil Nadu, which has been witnessing a political crisis and did not have a full-time governor for over a year.
- Purohit was among five governors appointed by President Ram Nath Kovind today, according to a Rashtrapati Bhavan statement.
- While Purohit was moved to Tamil Nadu, Lt Governor of Andaman and Nicobar Islands Jagdish Mukhi was appointed in his place in Assam.
Government has kept interest rates unchanged for various small savings schemes for the July-October quarter of 2016-17 fiscal.
- The Finance Ministry in a statement today said that interest rate on one-year deposits for July-October quarter of this fiscal has been kept unchanged at 7.1 per cent.
- Similiarly, interest rate on two-year time deposit, three-year time deposit and five-year time deposit were kept at 7.2 per cent, 7.4 per cent and 7.9 per cent, respectively.
- Likewise, interest rate on Public Provident Fund (PPF) scheme, Kisan Vikas Patra scheme and SukanyaSamriddhi Account Scheme were kept at 8.1 per cent, 7.8 per cent and 8.6 per cent respectively, the ministry said.
Indian renewable energy agency's green ‘masala bond’ raises 300 mn dollar 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 dollar (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.
- IREDA, a state-owned company established as a non-banking financial institution, promotes, develops and extends financial assistance for renewable energy and energy efficiency conservation projects in India.
India jumps to 14th rank as best country for expats to live and work in, says a HSBC survey.
- India leapt up the global rankings by 12 places to take the 14th spot in terms of best country for expats to live and work in, says a HSBC survey.
- The list, which is topped by Singapore, is part of HSBC's latest 'expat explorer survey' that covered 27,587 expats from 159 countries and territories in March and April this year.
- "Driven by strong ratings across a range of economic, experience and family measures, India shines in this year's league table, moving up 12 places since 2016 (to rank 14 as overall best country for expats)," HSBC said.
Bengaluru is the world’s most affordable technology hub as per a study conducted by a UK-based realty consultancy firm Knight Frank.
- According to a report by Deccan Herald, among the top 29 technology hubs covered in the study, Bengaluru is the cheapest in terms of office rentals. Gurugram comes second.
- Whitefield is the most affordable technology district, with a rent of 9.65 dollar (Rs 632) per sq. ft, according to the Global Cities 2018 Report produced by Knight Frank.
APARNA KUMAR: FIRST INDIAN WOMAN TO CLIMB MOUNT MANASLU
- Aparna Kumar an Indian Police Service (IPS) Officer of Uttar Pradesh Cadre, became the first Indian woman to climb Mount Manaslu, which is the eighth highest mountain peak in the world.
- Exactly at 10.00 am on September 25, Kumar took up a mission to climb Mount Manaslu in the west-central part of Nepal.
- A 2002 batch IPS officer, has already successfully climbed the highest peaks of six continents out of seven continents. In May last year, she climbed Mount Everest before scaling Mount Vinson Massif, the highest peak in Antarctica.
Priyanka Chopra among top 10 highest paid female TV actors: Forbes
- Indian star Priyanka Chopra has made it to Forbes’ annual top 10 highest paid female TV actors list that has Sofia Vergara on the No.1 spot.
- Chopra, already an established star in Bollywood, made her acting debut in the West with TV show Quantico. She cemented her position as one of the rising stars in Hollywood by playing the antagonist in the movie reboot of Baywatch.
- With her earning of 10 million dollar, she is on the eighth position on the list, nudging House of Cards star Robin Wright (9 million dollar) to the ninth spot. Vergara, best known for her portrayal of Gloria Delgado-Pritchett on Modern Family, has topped the list for the sixth year in a row with an impressive earning of 41.5 million dollar.
Union environment ministry notified the new Wetland (Conservation and Management) Rules 2017, which prohibit a range of activities in wetlands like setting up and expansion of industries, waste dumping and discharge of effluents.
- Environmental experts, however, are unhappy as they felt the new wetland rules seriously weakens the existing regulations.
- The new rules will replace the 2010 version of the rules. The draft of the Wetland Rules was first presented by the Union Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEFCC) in April 2016. But they were severely criticized by conservationists who had alleged that the draft rules don’t mention anything about a national regulator and don’t list specific activities prohibited in these ecologically sensitive areas.
Malaysia bans its citizens from travel to North Korea
- Malaysia on Thursday banned its citizens from travelling to North Korea because of the escalating tensions in the Korean Peninsula. The ban will be in place till the situation returns to normal, the Malaysian Foreign Ministry said.
- Malaysia is one of the few countries that have friendly diplomatic ties with North Korea. However, relations have been strained since February, when Kim Jong-nam, the half-brother of North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un, was allegedly poisoned to death at the Kuala Lumpur Airport. The assassination triggered tensions, and Malaysia expelled North Korea’s ambassador. North Korea responded by declaring the Malaysian ambassador a persona non grata.
Science & Technologies
Nasa’s 8.8 billion dollar James Webb Space Telescope , the most powerful ever built, will be launched between March and June 2019 from French Guiana.
- Nasa has pushed the planned launch of its 8.8 billion dollar James Webb Space Telescope from October 2018 to the spring of 2019, citing spacecraft-integration issues.
- The successor to the famed Hubble Space Telescope, Webb will now launch between March and June 2019 from French Guiana, following a schedule assessment of the remaining integration and test activities, Nasa said.
- The telescope will be the world’s most powerful space telescope ever built, serving thousands of astronomers worldwide, according to the US space agency.
Schemes / Programme
Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said the government is finalising electoral bonds scheme, a move aimed at cleaning up political funding.
- As per the electoral bond mechanism announced in the budget, the proposed bonds will resemble a promissory note and not an interest-paying debt instrument.
- They will be sold by authorised banks and can be deposited in notified accounts of political parties within the duration of their validity.
- The bonds will not carry the name of the donor and routing of the money through banks will ensure that only tax paid money comes into the political system.
- Jaitley also said that the government is trying to maintain a balance between accelerating the pace of economy and taking care of the needs of the poor.
India Launch a new initiative programme Access India Programme (AIP) to attract investments from small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in the UK.
- India today launched a new initiative here to attract investments from small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in the UK by providing them the hand- holding.
- Access India Programme (AIP), launched by the Indian High Commission in the UK along with knowledge partner UK India Business Council (UKIBC), will work as a market entry support system for smaller companies with a potential to expand into the Indian market.
- At a launch event in India House in London, Indian high commissioner to the UK, Y K Sinha, described it as a "first of its kind" initiative that will feed into the governments Make in India programme by providing support for SMEs.
- "The SME sector in the UK is very robust and vibrant and this programme will provide them the hand-holding they would need to access India," he said.
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.
- “The objective is to identify potential fintech ideas at incubation and entrepreneurship cells in these institutes at a nascent stage, and help them evolve into a consumer-ready product,” it said in a statement.
- The statement added that in the first phase of the initiative, 50 such partnerships are envisaged. The bank will use its domain expertise to mentor start-ups on customer experience, reduce time to market and costs.
India, Norway extend ties in health sector through Norway India Partnership Initiative (NIPI) for a period of three years starting 2018.
- Health Secretary C K Mishra and Ambassador of Norway to India Nils Ragnar Kamsvag signed the letter that would allow cooperation between India and Norway to continue to be aligned with the development goals of the Indian government, as outlined in its National Health Policy 2017 for achievement of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), the Health Ministry said in a statement.
- The cooperation shall focus on global health issues of common interest. The partnership shall also include areas related to reproductive, maternal, new-born, child, adolescent (RMNCH+A) health and health system strengthening, and shall build on experiences from NIPI phase I and II, it said.
State-run telecom firm Bharat Sanchar Nigam Ltd today announced agreement with IoT solutions provider Aeris Communications to jointly tap the Internet of Things market in India.
- Under the agreement, both the companies will offer packaged IoT solutions and services to enterprises, small and medium businesses and public sector undertakings, among other segments in India.
- “IoT is the next wave of growth in telecom sector. IoT is an enabling technology that bears the potential to take India to a whole new level of development and our vision is to play a significant part in this endeavor.” BSNL Chairman and Managing Director Anupam Shrivastava said at India Mobile Congress.
- “Our tie-up with Aeris Communications is our first step in this direction. In the days to come we will, through this partnership, translate the potential of IoT into tangible benefits on the ground,” Shrivastava said.
Telecom equipment and solutions provider VNL has signed a memorandum of understanding with BSNL to provide solutions for disaster management.
- The 'Relief 123' service will restore connectivity at disaster sites, help locate the affected and integrate information across platforms to enable informed decision-making for quick relief.
- The service is an integrated disaster response solution for first responders and public safety agencies. The solution is designed and manufactured by VNL and the backhaul connectivity will be provided by BSNL, th le companies said.
- The service has been designed to work in different scenarios, including natural disasters such as earthquakes, storms, floods and tsunamis, they said.
Awards & Honours
Gujarat Tourism bags the ‘Hall of Fame’ national tourism award
- Gujarat Tourism has on Wednesday 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.
Veteran film, television and theatre actor and Padma Shri Tom Alter has died aged 67.
- The renowned actor and one-time sports writer and author had been battling stage four skin cancer.
- Alter acted in over 300 movies apart from numerous TV shows, most famously as the gangster Keshav Kalsi in the hit soap opera Junoon which ran for a record five years during the 1990s.
- In addition to acting, Alter also ventured into direction and was a sports journalist in the 80s and 90s. He was the first person to interview Sachin Tendulkar for TV when the cricketer was yet to debut for India. Alter has written three books, one non-fiction and two fiction, and in 2008 was awarded the prestigious Padma Shri by the Indian government in recognition for his services to the field of arts and cinema.
India and the European Union will hold their 14th summit talks on October 6 during which both sides are expected to discuss a host of key issues including ways to remove hurdles for the long pending free trade agreement.
- The Ministry of External Affairs (MAE) said the president of the European Council, Donald Tusk, and the president of the European Commission, Jean—Claude Juncker, will be here on a working visit from October 5—7 for the summit.
- President Tusk and President Juncker will be accompanied by a high-level delegation including EU’s High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy and Vice—President of the European Commission Federica Mogherini, MEA spokesperson Raveesh Kumar said.
- “The 14th India-EU Summit aims to deepen the India-EU Strategic Partnership and advance collaboration in priority areas for India’s growth and development,” said Kumar.
- The EU is India’s largest regional trading partner with bilateral trade in goods at 88 billion dollar in 2016.