Current Affairs Updates - 26th October 2017
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Singapore passport named world's most powerful passport with a Visa-Free Score of 159
- Singapore's passport has become the most powerful in the world with a Visa-Free Score of 159, according to the Passport Index developed by advisory firm Arton Capital. This is the first time an Asian country has topped the rankings for the most powerful passport. India secured the 75th rank in the index with a Visa-Free Score of 51.
New Appointments: National
Former India basketball coach Scott Fleming takes up role in country’s NBA operations
- Former India coach Scott Flemming has joined NBA India as head of basketball operations.
- Flemming will oversee the league’s youth and elite basketball development initiatives in India, including the Reliance Foundation Jr. NBA program, The NBA Academy India and NBA Basketball School, and will work with key stakeholders across the country.
NS Venkatesh appointed AMFI(Association of Mutual Funds in India) chief executive
- NS Venkatesh has been appointed as chief executive of the Association of Mutual Funds in India (AMFI).
- The post was lying vacant after CVR Rajendran stepped down from the position in December.
Kanwaljit Singh Cheema appointed principal secretary of BoA in Darjeeling
- A month after constituting the Board of Administrators (BoA), the West Bengal government has appointed Kanwaljit Singh Cheema as the principal secretary of the nine-member board formed to look after the development works in the Darjeeling and Kalimpong hills.
- Cheema, who was the principal secretary of the Mass Education Extension and Library Service Department, has been moved to the post of new principal secretary of the board of administrators which was so far run by IAS Barun Roy as an administrator, a senior official at the state secretariat said.
RBI imposes Rs2 crore penalty on IDFC Bank, Rs6 crore on Yes Bank
- The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) on Tuesday slapped a Rs6 crore penalty on Yes Bank Ltd for breaching its rules on classifying non-performing assets and failing to report a security incident involving its ATMs on time. Separately, RBI also imposed a Rs2 crore penalty on IDFC Bank Ltd for breaching regulations on giving loans.
Centre announces 2,11,000 crore Public Sector Bank capitalisation plan
- Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley on Tuesday said the Indian economy was on a strong wicket with sound macro-economic fundamentals.
- At a press briefing called to detail the state of the economy, he said India had been the fastest growing major economy in the last three years and the attempt was to maintain high growth rate in the coming years. Economic Affairs Secretary S.C. Garg, Finance Secretary Ashok Lavasa and Department of Financial Services Secretary Rajiv Kumar made presentations.
RBI to make LEI must for cos with over Rs 5 crore exposure
- After making Legal Entity Identifier (LEI) mandatory for transactions in interest rate, forex and credit derivative market, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) is set to make LEI compulsory for companies having aggregate fund-based and non-fund based exposure over Rs 5 crore. LEI is a unique 20 digit alphanumeric code that will be assigned to corporate borrowers. Banks will be required to capture this number in the Central Repository of Information on Large Credits (CRILC) database that captures details of loan above Rs 5 crore.
RBI sets up task force on ‘Public Credit Registry’
- The Reserve Bank of India has constituted a 10-member ‘High Level Task Force on Public Credit Registry (PCR) for India’, which will, among other things, suggest a roadmap for developing a transparent, comprehensive and near-real-time PCR for India.
- Headed by YM Deosthalee, ex-CMD, L&T Finance Holdings, the task force includes Sekar Karnam, DMD & Chief Credit Officer, SBI; Vishaka Mulye, ED, ICICI Bank; Rashesh Shah, Chairman and CEO, Edelweiss Group; and Sriram Kalyanaraman, MD and CEO, National Housing Bank.
Meghalaya Election Department enters Limca Book of Records for the formation of the biggest human logo comprising young voters in the state
- The Meghalaya Election Department has entered Limca Book of Records for the formation of the biggest human logo comprising young voters in the state, an official said on Tuesday. The logo formation was part of Mission Unite (U and I towards Enrolment) as part of the Special drive to enroll young and left out voters in the age categories of 18 to 21 years held in July at the Jawaharlal Nehru Sports Complex.
Additional benefits for 11 months’ contract workers on fixed pay in government jobs
- Gandhinagar: Deputy Chief Minister Nitinbhai Patel today announced several additional benefits for thousands of karma yogis on 11 months’ contract on fixed pay in different state government offices, boards and corporations, grant-in-aid, projects, missions and registered organizations.
- The additional benefits are in the form of 11 additional casual leaves, maximum 90 days maternity leave with pay for women karma yogis after completion of one year for maximum two children, TA/DA up to Rs.250 as per slabs, and Rs.2-lakh ex-gratia amount on accidental or natural death during duty payable to the next in kin.
- In case a women karma yogi avails maternity leave during the first year service, it will be considered without pay, subject to permission of competent officer.
Modi govt approves mega Rs 7-lakh crore project to develop 83,000 km highways in 5 years
- The government on Tuesday approved the biggest highway construction plan so far in the country, to develop approximately 83,677 km of roads at an investment of Rs 6.92 lakh crore by 2022. The highway construction programme is aimed at pushing economic activity and generating at least 14.2 crore man-days across the country over the next five years.
- The programme includes the Bharatmala scheme, under which 34,800 km of highways would be constructed at the cost of Rs 5.35 lakh crore ..
BJP to observe Anti-Black Money Day on 8th November to mark 1 yr of note ban
- Finance Minister Arun Jaitley on Wednesday announced that the BJP will celebrate 'Anti-Black Money Day' on November 8 to mark one year since the demonetisation announcement. State BJP chiefs will organise events to highlight the achievements of note ban, he said. This comes a day after the Opposition announced a 'Black Day' to mark the first anniversary of note ban.
MP top state in digital initiatives: Coeus Age Consulting
- Madhya Pradesh has emerged as the top state in terms of digital initiatives undertaken, with a maximum score of 100.1 on performance index, followed by Maharashtra Chhattisgarh (97.4) and Karnataka (95.3) occupied the fourth and fifth positions in the list, respectively, the company said in a release. at 99.9 and Andhra Pradesh at 99.8, says a report by Coeus Age Consulting.
Nicaragua to join Paris climate accord, leaving US and Syria isolated
- Nicaragua is set to join the Paris climate agreement, according to an official statement and comments from the vice-president, Rosario Murillo, on Monday, in a move that leaves the United States and Syria as the only countries outside the global pact.
- Nicaragua has already presented the relevant documents at the United Nations, Murillo, who is also first lady.
No jail for doping in sports: UK Sports Minister
- After a review of the UK's anti-doping rules, Sports Minister Tracey Crouch has said that drugs cheats in British sports won't be jailed. The review concluded that long bans are the most effective way of tackling doping as they lead to a loss in earnings. This comes after recent scandals led to calls for the UK to criminalise doping.
US to no longer approve H-1B visa extension by default
- The US will no longer approve the extension of non-immigrant visas such as H-1B and L1 by default, according to officials. Earlier, if a person was once found to be eligible for a work visa initially, they would usually be considered for extension of their visa. However, now for every extension, eligibility for the visa needs to be proved.
Singapore won't regulate cryptocurrencies: Central bank
- Singapore currently doesn't plan to regulate cryptocurrencies such as bitcoin, its central bank Chief Ravi Menon has said. He said the country already requires cryptocurrency intermediaries such as exchange operators to comply with requirements to combat money laundering and terrorism financing. He added that the bank's focus is to determine the risks that would require a regulatory response.
Science & Technologies
India to make its second journey to the Moon next year
- The Indian Space Research Organisation has begun preparation for its second lunar mission, Chandrayaan-2, in March next year, nearly a decade after its first mission. Flight integration activity is going on and a series of tests have been planned for lander and rover, ISRO Chairman AS Kiran Kumar said. "It is a totally Indian mission, no other collaboration," he added.
Nuclear bunker to become Germany's largest cannabis factory
- A German Cold War-era nuclear bunker is to be transformed into the country's largest legal cannabis factory, according to reports. The building which was originally designed to protect NATO allies from a nuclear attack has been chosen for growing marijuana because "it's very, very safe", officials said. Germany legalised medical marijuana this year, expanding limited access to the drug.
Defence & Railway
30th Edition of CORPAT begins between Indian-Indonesian Navy
- Indian Navy Ship Sukanya under the command of Commander SA Deodhar has arrived at Belawan Indonesia to participate in the 30th edition of CORPAT (Coordinated Patrol) and 3rd Bilateral exercise between the Indian Navy and the Indonesian Navy. The exercise is aimed to foster closer maritime ties with countries located on the rim of the Indian Ocean. The two navies have been carrying out CORPAT on respective sides of the International Maritime Boundary Line (IMBL) twice a year since 2002.
Schemes / Programme
Ministries of Power & Textiles join hands under new initiative SAATHI
- Ministries of Power and Textiles have joined hands under a new initiative SAATHI (Sustainable and Accelerated Adoption of efficient Textile technologies to Help small Industries). Under this initiative, Energy Efficiency Services Limited (EESL), a public sector entity under the administrative control of Ministry of Power, would procure energy efficient Powerlooms, motors and Rapier kits in bulk and provide them to the small and medium Powerloom units at no upfront cost.
- The SAATHI initiative of the Government will be jointly implemented by EESL and the office of the Textile Commissioner on a pan-India basis. To kick start the implementation, cluster wise demonstration projects and workshops will be organized in key clusters such as Erode, Surat, Ichalkaranji, etc.
Government of India and the Asian Development Bank (ADB) Sign 300 Million dollar Loan to Promote Further Fiscal Reforms in West Bengal
- The Asian Development Bank and the Government of India signed a 300 million dollar loan today to continue a series of fiscal reforms in the State of West Bengal to improve the quality of public service delivery.
- The Second West Bengal Development Finance Program targets a further increase in public investment through reduction of unproductive expenditure, and savings from efficiencies in revenue collections. The Program will build on earlier intervention under Phase I of the project through the 400 million dollar Program that targeted a comprehensive fiscal consolidation program in the state.
Awards & Honours
Kidambi Srikanth felicitated by Indian embassy in Paris
- Indian shuttler Kidambi Srikanth was felicitated by the Indian embassy in Paris as the Denmark Open Super Series Premier winner reached the French capital for the French Open, which started on Tuesday. Srikanth, on Sunday, became only the second Indian to win the men's singles title in Denmark after Prakash Padukone won the tournament in 1980.
Sports: Awards & Honours
ISSF World Cup Final 2017: Jitu Rai and Heena Sidhu hand India first gold medal at year-ending tournament
- Jitu Rai and Heena Sidhu combined to give India their first gold medal of the ISSF World Cup Final in New Delhi, clinching the top honours in the 10m air pistol mixed team event on the opening day of competitions.
- Rai, a Commonwealth and Asian Games gold-medallist, and Sidhu, also a former Commonwealth Games gold-winner, picked up their third gold together in the mixed team event, being held officially for the first time at an ISSF World Cup.
Indian jr hockey team thrashes USA 22-0 for 3rd straight win in the Sultan of Johor Cup in Malaysia
- India's junior men's hockey team defeated USA 22-0, to register its third consecutive win in the Sultan of Johor Cup in Malaysia, on Wednesday. The Indian team has now registered 27 goals in the tournament, having scored five in its earlier two matches. Harmanjit Singh top-scored against USA with five goals, while Abhishek netted four and two others scored hat-tricks.
Indian tops world TT junior circuit rankings for 1st time
- Seventeen-year-old paddler Manav Thakkar has become the first Indian to occupy the top spot on the International Table Tennis Federation (ITTF) World Junior Circuit standings. Thakkar, who finished as runner-up at the recently-concluded Serbian Junior and Cadet Open, is on top with 3,455 points. Thakkar has ensured a place for himself in the ITTF World Junior Circuit Finals.
Divij Sharan and Scott Lipsky crowned European Open champions by winning the men’s doubles title in Antwerp, Belgium
- Indian tennis ace Divij Sharan and his American partner Scott Lipsky capped their memorable week at the ATP 250 European Open by winning the men’s doubles title in Antwerp, Belgium on Sunday. The unseeded combine needed 1 hour 9 minutes to subdue fellow unseeded pair of Santiago Gonzalez and Julio Peralta, 6-4, 2-6, 10-5 in the summit clash.
Manikchand Group Chairman RM Dhariwal passes away aged 78
- Gutkha baron and Chairman of Manikchand Group Rasiklal Manikchand Dhariwal passed away on Tuesday at the age of 78 in Pune. Dhariwal had been suffering from salivary gland cancer that had spread and caused multi-organ failure. Dhariwal started as a tobacco trader after inheriting a beedi business with 20 workers from his father.
Padma Vibhushan Thumri singer Girija Devi passes away
- Thumri singer and Padma Vibhushan awardee Girija Devi passed away in Kolkata at the age of 88 due to cardiac arrest on Tuesday. A singer of the "Benaras Gharana", Girija Devi has been a recipient of Padma Shri and Padma Bhushan as well. She had also worked as a faculty member of ITC Sangeet Research Academy and Banaras Hindu University
I.V. Sasi, noted Malayalam filmmaker passes away
- Noted Malayalam filmmaker I.V. Sasi passed away in Chennai on Tuesday. He was 69.
- It was to become an art director that he boarded a train to Chennai in 1968. Seven years later, he made his debut as a director with Ulsavam. In a career that spanned over four decades, he directed blockbuster movies like Ee Nadu, Itha IvideVare, Angadi, Vartha, Devasuram, Avanazhi and Avalude Ravukal.