May, 2015

Niti Aayog gets two new advisers; 10 new JS appointed

Alok Kumar and Jitendra Kumar have been appointed as advisers in Niti Aayog for five years as part of a minor bureaucratic reshuffle effected by the government. Alok is a 1993 batch IAS officer of Uttar Pradesh cadre while Jitendra (1987 batch) is Indian Forest Service officer of Uttarakhand cadre. Anna Roy has been appointed as Joint Secretary (JS) in the Department of Financial Services, an order issued by Department of Personnel and Training said. Roy, a 1992 batch officer of Indian Economic Service, will have tenure till October 31, 2017. She is working as a Director in the same department.

Finance Minister inaugurated New Bank Note Paper Line unit in Hoshangabad, MP

As part of Make in India, FINANCE Minister Arun Jaitely inaugurates Indigenous New Bank Note printing lines at Security Paper Mill in Hoshangabad. Finance Minister Arun Jaitley inaugurated the New Bank Note Paper Line of 6,000 metric tonnes capacity at Security Paper Mill, Hoshangabad in Madhya Pradesh. The Bank Note Paper Line in Mysore with 12,000 Metric Tonnes capacity is expected to be commissioned by the year end. The government is expected to save FOREIGN EXCHANGE worth 1,500 crore rupees by commissioning two new bank paper lines in Hoshangabad and Mysore for indigenously printing Indian CURRENCY. The production of the Bank Note paper from these two units will reduce the import considerably. This will also reduce possibility of diversion of the paper supplied by the foreign suppliers to the other destinations for the purpose of generating the fake currency.

India gets its first transgender college principal

In a first in India, Manabi Bandopadhyay has been appointed the first transgender principal at a college in West Bengal. Manabi will assume the role of Krishnagar Women’s College principal in West Bengal on June 9. She is currently an associate professor in Bengali at Vivekananda Satobarshiki Mahavidyalaya. “This decision was taken by the College Service Commission. I don’t interfere in their decisions. They are aware of our open mind. I am happy with this decision,” state education minister Partha Chatterjee said.

PK Sinha appointed cabinet secretary by Narendra Modi

Power Secretary Pradeep Kumar Sinha was appointed as the next Cabinet Secretary of the government. He will succeed Ajit Seth who has been holding the position for the last four years. Sinha, a 1977-batch IAS officer of Uttar Pradesh cadre, has been asked to take over as Officer on Special Duty (OSD) in Cabinet Secretariat, an official release said. He will formally take over the new charge on June 13, it said. The Prime Minister has approved the appointment of Sinha as the next Cabinet Secretary with effect from June 13. Sinha has been serving as Power Secretary since July 2013. He has earlier served as the Shipping Secretary and has also held several other important positions in the Union Government and in his cadre state–Uttar Pradesh.

Abhinav Bindra qualifies for Rio Games 2016 through Olympic quota

Beijing Olympic champion Abhinav Bindra qualified for the Rio Olympics 2016 through one of the Olympic quotas. Bindra shot 627.5 to qualify in the 10m air rifle event at the 1972 Olympic Shooting Range in Hochbrucke. Bindra is the fourth Indian shooter to qualify for Rio Games after he clinched one of the three quotas available to qualify for the games. Notably, Bindra has had a slow start to the season, recording below-par finishes in the first two World Cups after he failed to qualify for the final in Changwon as well as Fort Benning.

7.8-magnitude earthquake strikes off Japan

A powerful undersea earthquake south of Japan has shaken buildings in Tokyo. The US Geological Survey said the 7.8-magnitude earthquake was centred 874km (543 miles) from the Japanese capital, at a depth of almost 700m. It struck at 18:30 local time (11:30 GMT). Buildings in the capital swayed for almost a minute as the quake built in intensity. Tokyo Electric Power Company said there were no abnormalities at the crippled Fukushima nuclear power plant following the quake. The runways at Tokyo’s Narita airport were operating normally but the high-speed bullet train service between Tokyo and Osaka was halted due to a power outage.

90 Percent Of Global Chemical Weapons Stockpile ‘Destroyed’

Nobel peace prize winning organisation OPCW (Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons) has achieved major milestone of destroying 90 per cent of the global chemical weapons stockpile. OPCW has mentioned that around 65,000 metric tonnes of declared chemical weapons, mostly from US and Russian arsenals of cold war era have been destroyed in a safe manner. It also includes total of 1,300 metric tonnes of chemical weapons removed from Syria in 2014. The remaining stockpile is underway in phase of destruction and is scheduled to be completed before the end of 2020 and 2023. The weapons stockpiles included caches containing chemicals needed to make deadly nerve agents like Sarin. OPCW is an intergovernmental organisation, headquartered in Hague, Netherlands. The organisation promotes, administers and verifies the adherence to the Convention on the Prohibition of the Development, Production, Stockpiling and Use of Chemical Weapons and on their Destruction (CWC).

FM Arun Jaitley announces setting up of NIIF

Finance minister Arun Jaitley had announced the setting up of the National Investment and Infrastructure Fund(NIIF) in the Union Budget. The north block has now issued a draft Cabinet note on its formation. The note is likely to be taken up by the Cabinet within a month’s time. The National Investment and Infrastructure Fund is likely to have an initial corpus of less than Rs 20,000 crore. In fact, we pick up from our sources that the initial capital could be approximately between Rs 5,000 crore and Rs 10,000 crore. The finance ministry is likely to seek the Parliament’s nod for supplementary funds once the Cabinet has given its nod. The government is also inviting foreign investors for their participation in the fund.

Renowned scientist Selvin Christopher appointed as DG of DRDO

Eminent scientist Dr. Selvin Christopher has been appointed as the Director General (DG) of Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) along with the rank of a secretary. As a DG of DRDO, he will also severe as Secretary at Department of Defence Research and Development (DDR&D) for a period of 2 years from the date of taking over the charge. Prior to this appointment, S Christopher was Director of DRDO’s Centre for Air-Borne Systems (CABS), Bengaluru. Presently, he is also Programme Director of Airborne Early Warning and Control (AEW&C) system. He was first pioneer first Indian scientist who had directed the manufacturing of India’s first indigenous AEW&C system.

Nirbhay Sharma sworn-in as governor of Mizoram

Lt general (Retd) Nirbhay Sharma was sworn-in as the governor of Mizoram at the Durbar Hall of Raj Bhavan. Justice T Vaiphei, judge of the Gauhati high court, administered the oath of office to general Sharma. State chief minister Lal Thanhawla, his cabinet colleagues, legislators from both the ruling Congress and the opposition Mizo National Front (MNF), senior officials of the state government and the Army attended the gubernatorial swearing-in ceremony. General Sharma, the former governor of Arunachal Pradesh, was transferred and appointed as Mizoram governor on May 12 by President Pranab Mukhrjee, replacing West Bengal governor Keshari Nath Tripathi who took additional charge of Mizoram. He is the eighth governor of Mizoram after the then state governor Vakkom Purushothaman resigned on July 12 last year in protest against being transferred to Nagaland.

TaxiForSure Ties up With Paytm , Launches Faster App

Taxi aggregator TaxiForSure announced a tie-up with mobile commerce platform Paytm to enable Paytm users to pay for the cab service through their prepaid wallet. According to the company, the new app will enable booking of cabs in a single touch. With the new partnership, the balance amount in company’s existing wallet will be converted to TFS credit. Commenting on the move, Arvind Singhal, CEO of TaxiForSure, said that currently 80 per cent of our booking comes from mobile applications and 35 per cent of the total payment is done through our wallet. With the partnership with Paytm, over 70 million Paytm use can pay TaxiForSure fare through mobile.

PM Modi, Shiekh Hasina to inaugurate Kamalasagar border ‘haat’

Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Bangladesh premier Sheikh Hasina will jointly inaugurate a border ‘haat’ MARKET) at Kamalasagar in Tripura’s Sipahijala district, which borders Brahmanbaria district of Bangladesh. The ‘haat’ would be jointly inaugurated through video conferencing from Dhaka during Modi’s two-day visit to Bangladesh beginning from June 6. The construction of a MARKET shed and other infrastructure facilities at a cost of Rs. 2.5 crores is almost complete. Sepahijala Additional District Magistrate Dilip Kumar Chakma and his Brahmanbaria counterpart Nazma Begum informed that Indian Traders from India and Bangladesh can transact selected commodities respectively at the ‘haat’. They met five times since Kamalasagar border point was selected.

Sangakkara named CEAT International Cricketer of the Year, Rahane is Indian Cricketer of the Year

Former Sri Lanka captain Kumar Sangakkara on 25 May 2015 was named as the International Cricketer of the Year 2015 while the middle order batsman Ajinkya Rahane was named as the CEAT Indian Cricketer of the Year 2015. Former Indian captain Kapil Dev was conferred with the International Lifetime Achievement Award at the 19th edition of the awards. Rohit Sharma was given a special award for his record-breaking 264 made against Sri Lanka in an ODI at Kolkata.
List of award winners:
• International Lifetime Achievement Award – Kapil Dev
• International Cricketer of the Year – Kumar Sangakkara
• Indian Cricketer of the Year –Ajinkya Rahane
• International Batsman of the Year – Hashim Amla
• International Bowler of the Year – Rangana Herath
• T20 Player of the Year – Dwayne Bravo
• Popular Choice Award – Kieron Pollard
• Special Performance of the Year Award – Rohit Sharma
• Domestic Cricketer of the Year – R Vinay Kumar
• Young Player of the Year – Deepak Hooda

23-year-old US-educated Yaduveer crowned ‘Maharaja of Mysuru’

In a traditional ceremony, US-educated Yaduveer Krishnadatta Chamaraja Wodeyar, the adopted son of Pramoda Devi Wodeyar, is crowned as the titular head of the erstwhile Mysuru royal family. The coronation took place at Kalyana Mantap in Amba Vilas Palace in Mysuru at an auspicious hour this morning amid Vedic chants and slogans hailing the Mysuru royalty and the 23-year-old “King” as he ascended the silver throne ‘Bhadrasana’. Yaduveer, the 27th King of Wodeyar dynasty, will have to wait until Dasara to ascend the golden throne, when he will preside over the ‘khasa (private) durbar’, which is reminiscent of the bygone era. Pramoda Devi Wodeyar, widow of Srikantadatta Narasimharaja Wodeyar, the last descendant of the Wodeyar dynasty, formally adopted Yaduveer Gopal Raj Urs in February, after which he was rechristened as Yaduveer Krishnadatta Chamaraja Wodeyar.

Researchers Create First Single-Molecule Diode

Led by Indian American scientist Latha Venkataraman, a team of researchers at Columbia Engineering have created an electronic diode the size of a single molecule that performs 50 times better than all prior diode designs. Their findings — which could have real-world applications in regards to nano-technology — were published on May 25 in the paper, “Single-Molecule Diodes with High On-Off Ratios through Environmental Control,” via the Nature Nanotechnology journal. The idea of creating a single-molecule diode was suggested by Arieh Aviram and Mark Ratner who theorised in 1974 that a molecule could act as a rectifier, a one-way conductor of electric current. She and her team are now working on understanding the fundamental physics behind their discovery and trying to increase the rectification ratios they observed, using new molecular systems.

NASSCOM launches Cyber Security Task Force

National Association of Software and Services Companies (NASSCOM) and Data Security Council of India have launched NASSCOM Cyber Security Task Force. Rajendra Pawar, Chairman, NIIT will chair this task force. The task force over a 12 week period will identify the key priorities and build the detailed action plan for the sector. It aims to improve the cyber security industry market share of the country from 1% of the IT-BPM industry to 10% by 2025 and plans to have a trained base of 1 million certified cyber security professionals. It also expects to build over 100 security product companies in India. B.V.R. Mohan Reddy, chairman of Nasscom said that the task force “will study the Indian cyber security ecosystem to identify issues and challenges and develop an action plan to address the priority issues.” It has proposed four working groups which focus on industry development, policy enablement, technology development and skill development respectively.

Four Indians among Forbes world’s 100 most powerful women

Four Indians have been named in Forbes magazine’s 12th annual list of World’s 100 most powerful women. They are
• Arundhati Bhattacharya: First woman (and youngest) Chairperson of State Bank of India (SBI) was placed at 30th position.
• Chanda Kochhar: Managing Director (MD) and CEO of India’s largest private sector lender ICICI Bank was placed at 35th position.
• Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw: Founder, Chairman and MD of Biocon Limited was placed at 85th position.
• Shobhana Bhartia: Chairperson and Editorial Director of the Hindustan Times Group was placed at 93rd position. It should be noted she has appeared on the list for the first time.
Top 10 powerful women: German Chancellor Angela Merkel (1st), Hillary Clinton (2nd), Melinda Gates (3rd), US Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen (3th), GM CEO Mary Barra (5th), IMF Chief Christine Lagarde (6th), Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff (7th), Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg (8th), YouTube CEO Susan Wojcicki (9th) and US First Lady Michelle Obama (10th).

Mandeep Kaur wins two GOLD medals at World Junior Championship

Punjab pugilist Mandeep Kaur Sandhu has won two GOLD medals (52 kg category) on Saturday at the Women’s World Junior Boxing Championship in Taipei, thus scripting a classic rags to rich storyline. Indian boxers had a terrific outing in the tournament as they won 7 medals in all, including three GOLDS, a silver and two bronze. Fifteen year old Mandeep, who hais from Chakkar village, defeated Ireland’s Niamh Earley in the final match by a 3-0 margin to win GOLD. Mandeep was dominant in her category throughout the tournament and registered some thrilling wins.

MUDRA banks partners with 19 regional coordinators to reach small entrepreneurs

Micro Units Development Refinance Agency (MUDRA) Bank has partnered with 19 state and regional level coordinators to reach those small entrepreneurs who are often cut off from the banking system because of a limited branch presence. This initiative is expected to help FINANCE ‘Last Mile Financiers’ of small and micro businesses. These businesses would in turn generate almost 10 times jobs compared to what was being generated by the big companies currently. MUDRA Bank’s effort is likely to transform small enterprises into a Rs. 11 lakh crore industry, which would give a significant push to country’s economy. The Central government had set up MUDRA Bank to boost the growth of small scale businesses as small entrepreneurs face difficulty to access banking system for various reasons. This venture by MUDRA will help finance small and micro businesses at the grassroots level.

ICICI Launches Voice Password Facility for Phone Banking

ICICI Bank launched voice recognition service which authenticates customers based on their speech patterns and allows them to execute banking transactions through the bank’s call centre in a quick, secure and convenient manner. The-first-of-its kind service by a bank in the country, it is available to over 33 million customers of its savings account and CREDIT CARD. With the voice recognition technology in place, customers are no longer required to enter their card numbers, PIN and answer security questions to authenticate themselves. Their voice will now act as the password for banking transactions through the call centre. The voice recognition technology works on voice prints, which are unique to an individual. It comprises more than 100 characteristics including voice modulation, speed, accent, pronunciation which are impossible to imitate, thereby enhancing security.

On day one Tamil Nadu CM Jaya okays 1,800-crore for welfare schemes

A day after being sworn in as Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu for the fifth time, J Jayalalithaa on Sunday announced development and welfare schemes worth over ` 1,800 crore. Jayalalithaa launched several schemes, including those for improvement of roads, drinking water facilities and for helping needy families headed by women. The major thrust will be for urban and rural roads. She allocated Rs. 1,000 crore for urban roads, including those under Chennai corporation limits as it was necessary to repair roads dug up repeatedly by various agencies like Metrowater and those damaged in rains. For the rural roads, the government will spend Rs. 800 crore covering 3,500 km of road network of which 50 per cent will be spent on laying new bitumen roads and the rest for repairing the damaged roads. As industrialisation of cities increased housing demand in town panchayats, the Chief Minister had sanctioned green houses for 20,000 families in the initial phase. Each family will be granted Rs. 2.10 lakh; and poor in town panchayats living in mud or thatched houses were eligible for the scheme to be implemented by the Tamil Nadu Slum Clearance Board.

PM Modi launches ‘Kisan TV’ for farmers

Marking the first anniversary of NDA government, Prime Minister Narendra Modi launched ‘Kisan TV’ at a function held in Vigyan Bhawan. In his address, PM stressed on the need for improving farmers’ condition in the country. He said if country wants to progress, the elevation of villages and farmers is the stepping stone. After coming to power, the NDA government had announced that it will launch a 24—hour TV channel for farmers. In his Union Budget 2014 speech,FINANCE Minister Arun Jaitley, who now also holds the charge of the I&B ministry, had announced that a 24—hour TV channel will be dedicated to the agriculture sector, for which he had marked an outlay of Rs. 100 crore.

Mercedes driver Nico Rosberg of Germany won Monaco Grand Prix of Formula One

Mercedes racing driver Nico Rosberg of Germany won the Monaco Grand Prix Formula 1 World Championship title by winning the final race held in Monaco. While Sebastian Vettel of Germany representing the Ferrari team stood at the second position, Rosberg’s team mate Lewis Hamiltion of UK was at the third positon. It is the tenth overall championship title for Rosberg and the second title in the 2015 season having won the Spanish Formula 1 World Championship on 10 May 2015. With the present victory, he has become the fourth driver to win three Monaco Grand Prix titles in a row. The others were Graham Hill, Ayrton Senna and Alain Prost.

Mumbai Indians saunter to second title win

Mumbai Indians put up an all-round show to outshine Chennai Super Kings by 41 runs in the final to win the Indian Premier League 2015. Mumbai Indians completed one of the most remarkable turnarounds in the eight-year history of the Indian Premier League by transforming a terrible start to the tournament – they were at the bottom of the table for the first two weeks – into a title win. CSK had won the toss in final summit had chosen bowl first. MI by batting first had set the target of 202 to their opponent team. However the CSK failed to reach the target score. This is the second IPL title triumph for MI after their maiden win in the season six in 2013.
• Man of the Match: Rohit Sharma.
• Captains of the two teams Mumbai Indains: Rohit Sharma.
• Chennai Super Kings: Mahendra Singh Dhoni.
• Looking at the Other highlights of IPL 2015:
• Player of the Tournament: Andre Russell (KKR).
• Orange Cap awarded to: David Warner (Sunrisers Hyderabad).
• Purple Cap awarded to: Dwayne Bravo (CSK).
• Emerging Player of the Season: Shreyas Iyer (Delhi Daredevils).
• Most Valuable Player: Andre Russell (KKR).

China sets up “largest” GOLD FUND for nations along Silk Road

China, the world’s biggest gold producer, has set up a gold sector FUND involving countries along the ancient Silk Road which is expected to raise $16.1 billion. The fund, led by Shanghai GOLD EXCHANGE (SGE), is expected to raise an estimated 100 billion yuan ($16.1 billion) in three phases. About 60 countries have INVESTED in the fund, which will in turn facilitate gold purchase for the central banks of member states to increase their holdings of the precious metal. The fund will INVEST IN GOLD mining in countries along the Silk Road, which will increase exploration in countries such as Afghanistan and Kazakhstan.

Tanishq Abraham 11-year old Indian-American creates record by graduating from California College

Tanishq Abraham, 11-year-old Indian-American child prodigy created a record by graduating from California College with three associate degrees in science, maths and foreign language studies. He is native of Sacramento, California and youngest to graduate from the American River College (ARC), in Sacramento, California. In 2014, he also had created a record by becoming one of the youngest ever in the US to graduate high school.

Indian film Masaan wins critics prize at 68th Cannes film festival

Indian film Masaan has won the prestigious critics prize in the Un Certain Regard category at the 68th Cannes Film Festival after it was premiered on May 20, 2015. The film is directoral debut of Neeraj Ghaywan and a joint production of Manish Mundra, Macassar Productions, Arte France Cinema, Sikhya Entertainment & Phantom Films. It stars Vicky Kaushal, Shweta Tripathi along with Richa Chadda and Sanjay Mishra. The film is a narrative set based in Varanasi and its characters connected with the Ganga. The critic’s prize in the Un Certain Regard category runs parallel to the competition for the main prize, Palme d’Or in the film festival.

BSE drops Tata Power from Sensex; Lupin to come in

Private sector electricity producer Tata Power will move out of THE STOCK MARKET benchmark index Sensex and will be replaced by drugmaker Lupin. Besides, Adani Power would be dropped from the S&P BSE 100 index, while various changes have been made to a host of other BSE indices as well. The S&P BSE-100, an index of the top 100 listed companies in the country, would see Aurobindo Pharma and Tata Motors (DVR) coming in, while the S&P BSE-200 would get five new entries – Ajanta Pharma, Suzlon Energy, Dewan Housing, NCC India and Tata Motors (DVR). Those moving out of BSE-100 include Sanofi India , Hindustan Copper, Amtek Auto, Jaiprakash Power Ventures.

Gujarat government signs pact with ZTEsoft for smartcity projects

Gujarat government and Chinese software firm ZTEsoft have entered into an agreement for smartcity projects in the state. The memorandum of understanding (MoU) was signed in Shenzhen during visit Gujarat Chief Minister Anandi Ben Patel with Prime Minister Narendra Modi to China. The agreement was signed by Gujarat’s Industries Commissioner Mamta Verma and ZTEsoft CFO Xu Shan in presence of Gujarat CM along with other state officials. Chinese telecom gear maker ZTE’s software arm, ZTEsoft, and Gujarat government will jointly work to find the target city and area and after technical closure, both team will work together to set up a trial project in the state.

Government Clears 21 FDI Proposals Worth Rs 281 Crore

The government has cleared 21 foreign direct INVESTMENT (FDI) deals worth Rs 281 crore but deferred Kotak Mahindra Bank’s proposal to hike foreign investment limit in the bank to 55 per cent. FDI proposals under approval route are cleared by the Foreign Investment Promotion Board (FIPB). Proposals involving investment of more than Rs 3,000 crore are given final clearance by the Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA).

Indians posthumously chosen for UN’s prestigious Dag Hammarskjold Medal

Two Indian peacekeepers have been chosen posthumously for United Nation’s Dag Hammarskjold Medal. They are Lance Naik Nand Ram and Raju Joseph. Both of them are among the 126 police, military and civilian personnel who have been posthumously awarded a prestigious UN medal. They have been chosen for this award for their courage and sacrifice while serving in UN peacekeeping operations in 2014 and lost their lives as a result of hostile acts, accidents and disease. Lance Naik Nand Ram had served with the UN Organization Stabilization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUSCO). While, Raju Joseph had served in a civilian capacity with the UN Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS).

Parvinder Singh Batth, becomes first Sikh mayor in United Kingdom’s Wokingham Borough Council

Parvinder Singh Batth, an Indian-origin Conservative party councillor was chosen as the mayor of United Kingdom’s Wokingham Borough Council. With this, he became the first Sikh to hold the Mayor’s position in UK. He succeeds Councillor UllaKarin Clark for this post and will serve till 2016. Parvinder Singh Batth previously had served as Deputy Mayor of borough of Wokingham in Berkshire in south east England. He was born in Indian state of Punjab in the farmer’s family. Later he had migrated to United Kingdom.

Jayalalithaa sworn in as Tamil Nadu CM for fifth time

AIADMK supremo Jayalalithaa sworn in for the fifth time as Tamil Nadu chief minister, nearly eight months after she was forced to quit over corruption charges. Governor K Rosaiah gave oath to Jayalalitha at the Madras University Centenary Auditorium. Actor Rajinikanth, ICC Chairman N. Srinivasan and Union Minister Pon Radhakrishnan attended the ceremony. Along with Jaya, 28 others were sworn in as Ministers. Jayalalithaa will hold the portfolios of home, police, public, all India services, general administration and district revenue officers. As for portfolio allocations, Jayalalithaa’s trusted lieutenant O Panneerselvam has been givenFINANCE and Public works, which he held previously too. Natham R Viswanathan will continue to hold electricity, prohibition and excise portfolio.

IRCTC Partners With MyDala To Offer Deals To Ticket Buyers

Ticketing arm of Indian Railway IRCTC doesn’t seem to leave any opportunity to capitalise its reach and traction. After partnering with Amazon and Paytm, the government-owned ticketing portal has partnered with mydala to provide deals and offers to customers. The partnership will give travelers access to the best deals and offers while booking their tickets. This partnership is an IRCTC’s move to deliver significant improvement in customer experience. This is the third partnership in a row this year by IRCTC.

Ministry sanctions Rs 5,223-crore fuel subsidy for IOC, BPCL

Indian oil Corp (IOC) will get Rs 2,932 crore subsidy and Bharat Petroleum Corp Ltd (BPCL) Rs 2,291 crore for selling fuel below cost in Q4 of 2014-15, but Hindustan Petroleum Corp Ltd (HPCL) will not get any support. The FINANCE Ministry has sanctioned Rs 5,223 crore fuel subsidy for the January-March quarter to cover almost all of the revenue loss that the two retailers suffered on selling domestic cooking gas (LPG) and kerosene at government rates. With this, the total subsidy provided by the government in 2014-15 goes up to Rs 27,308 crore. For the first three quarters, the government had provided Rs 22,085 crore. The fuel retailers had lost a total of Rs 72,314 crore on selling diesel (up to October 17), LPG and kerosene at government rates, which were way below cost in 2014-15.

Obama Names Yale Professor to Key Administration Post

Akhil Amar, an Indian American professor at Yale University, was nominated by President Barack Obama to the National Council on the Humanities, a key administration post. Akhil Reed Amar is the Sterling Professor of Law and Political Science at Yale, a position he has held since 2008, where he teaches constitutional law. He has been a professor at both Yale Law School and Yale College since 1985 and has held various professorships, including Southmayd Professor from 1993 to 2008, professor from 1990 to 1993, associate professor from 1988 to 1990, and assistant professor from 1985 to 1988.

Government relaxes FDI norms for NRIs, PIOs, OCI

Aiming to attract overseas funds, government decided that non-repatriable INVESTMENTS by NRIs, OCIs and PIOs will be treated as domestic investments and will not be subject to foreign direct investment caps. The Union Cabinet, chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, had approved amendments, including changes in definition of NRIs, to be incorporated in the FDI policy. INVESTMENTS by NRIs under under Schedule 4 of FEMA regulations will be deemed to be domestic investment at par with the investment made by residents, an official statement said. The Cabinet’s decision is expected to result in increased investments across sectors and greater inflow of FOREIGN EXCHANGE remittance leading to economic growth of the country. The government had earlier raised the FDI limit in sectors such as defence, insurance, real estate, railways and medical devices.

Bank of India ties up with MasterCard to launch three cards

State-run lender Bank of India tied up with MasterCard to launch three new cards and also two new banking solutions for its card holders. The bank launched Business Debit MasterCard, Platinum Credit MasterCard and International Travel MasterCard to improve customer’s payment experiences. It will also offer two banking solutions- In Control for spend management and MasterCard rewards program for its customers.

SAIL, Arcelor Mittal ink MoU to set up steel plant in India

World’s largest steel maker Arcelor Mittal and SAIL inked a pact to jointly set up a steel plant in India for the fast growing automotive sector. The MoU, the first step towards establishing the JV, was signed in London by Arcelor Mittal Chairman & Chief Executive Lakshmi Niwas Mittal and SAIL Chairman CS Verma. The proposed JV will construct a state-of-the-art cold rolling mill and other downstream finishing facilities in India that will offer technologically advanced steel products to India’s rapidly growing automotive sector, said a joint statement by the two companies.

Infosys is first Indian company to join RE100 global renewable energy campaign

The Climate Group announced that Infosys, one of India’s largest Information Technology corporations has become the first Indian company to join RE100, a global platform for major companies committed to 100% renewable power. As part of its commitment to RE100, Infosys aims to become carbon neutral by 2018. The company is already working to reduce its per capita electricity consumption by 50 per cent from its 2007-2008 levels and source all its electricity from renewable resources by 2018.

SEBI sets new norms for mutual FUNDS managing offshore assets

Markets regulator SEBI on Wednesday simplified norms for domestic mutual FUNDS to manage offshore pooled assets, dropping its “20-25 rule” which requires a minimum of 20 investors and a cap of 25 percent on INVESTMENT by an individual, for FUNDS from low-risk foreign investors. In a notification saying the new regulations would be called the Securities and Exchange Board of India (Mutual Funds) Regulations, 2015, SEBI said the restrictions would not apply “if the funds managed are of Category I foreign portfolio investors (FPIs) and/or Category II foreign portfolio investors which are appropriately regulated broad based funds”. SEBI has classified FPIs into three categories, with the first two being low-risk foreign institutions that include sovereign wealth funds, pension funds, banks, mutual funds, insurers, multilateral institutions and well-regulated foreign entities, including portfolio managers.

India continues to lead in global confidence index

India continued to lead the global confidence index in anticipation of improvement in the economy through reforms and stimulus announced by the central government. India’s consumer confidence score rose to 130 followed by Indonesia (123) and Philippines (115). Eighty per cent urban Indian respondents indicated that the state of personal FINANCES was good or excellent in the first quarter of 2015. The Nielsen Global Survey of Consumer Confidence and Spending Intentions, established in 2005, measures consumer confidence, major concerns, and spending intentions among more than 30,000 respondents with Internet access in 60 countries.

UN observed International Day for Biological Diversity

The United Nations (UN) observed the International Day for Biological Diversity (IBD) on 22 May 2015. The theme for the year 2015 is Biodiversity for Sustainable Development. This year theme highlights the relevance of biodiversity in achieving the goal of sustainable development. It also highlights the importance of efforts made to establish a set of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) as part of the UN Post-2015 Development Agenda (2015-2030). The selection of the theme also underlines the adoption of the Gangwon Declaration at the 12th meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) in South Korea in 2014.

TN CM O Panneerselvam resigns, makes way for Jayalalithaa to take over

Tamil Nadu chief minister O Panneerselvam handed over his resignation to Governor K Rosiah, making way for AIADMK chief J Jayalalithaa to take over the administrative reins. Popularly referred to as ‘caretaker CM’, this was Panneerselvam’s second stint as Tamil Nadu chief minister, both for brief periods. In a meeting, all 151 MLAs of the party unanimously re-elected Jayalalithaa as the legislature party leader, paving the way for her to become the state chief minister for the fifth time. She is expected to be sworn in to the chief minister’s post on 23 May.

Meghalaya, Tripura governors sworn-in

Senior BJP leader V Shanmuganathan was today sworn-in as the Governor of Meghalaya at the Raj Bhavan. Chief Justice of the Meghalaya High Court Uma Nath Singh administered the oath of office to Shanmuganathan at a solemn ceremony attended by Chief Minister Mukul Sangma and most of his cabinet colleagues. Tathagata Roy on 20 May 2015 was sworn in as the 16th Governor of Tripura in Agartala. Chief Justice of the Tripura High Court Mr. Jc. Deepak Gupta administered the oath of office to him as per the provisions of Article 159 of Constitution of India. He replaced Padmanabh Balkrishna Acharya, Governor of Nagaland, who had held the additional charge of Tripura.

SBI partners with PayPal

The country’s largest bank announced a partnership with digital payments firm, PayPal so that the Customers of State Bank of India (SBI) can now use their debit cards on PayPal for buying products from overseas websites. The partnership will also allow SBI’s Micro Small and Medium Enterprise (MSME) customers to use PayPal’s secure payment solutions. SBI has also announced a partnership with e-commerce firm,, in India.

India’s economic growth to surpass China’s in 2015-16: UN report

India’s economic growth is projected to surpass that of China’s, with the GDP expected to zoom by 7.7 per cent in 2016, according to a UN report which said India will help accelerate economic growth in South Asia. China is projected to grow by 7 per cent in 2015 and 6.8 per cent next year. The report termed South Asia’s economic outlook as “largely favourable” since most economies are expected to experience a strengthening of growth in 2015-16 on the back of stronger domestic consumption and investment.

25 companies to sell shares for the first time

The government has drawn up a list of 25 state-owned companies that could sell shares to the public for the first time, possibly raising more than a third of India’s record divestment target for the fiscal year. They include profit-making arms of Coal India and ONGC that could help the government get around Rs 25,000 crore in total. The unlisted firms may include ONGC Videsh, Southern Coalfields, Bharat Broadband, KIOCL and Mazagon Dock. Recently the cabinet committee on economic affairs (CCEA) approved a 10 per cent stake sale in the country’s biggest refiner and fuel retailer IndianOIL Corp. and 5 per cent in power producer NTPC.

Government to award road projects worth Rs 3 lakh crore

In a big push for infrastructure development, the government plans to award Rs 3 lakh crore of road projects this year as it looks to more than double highway construction to 30 km per day. Besides the plans to upgrade and expand National Highways, govt. is planning a 1,000-km Chaar Dhaam Yatra project to connect the four holy towns of Yamunotri, Gangotri, Kedarnath and Badrinath with highways at a cost of Rs 11,000 crore. Ministry is planning to build 5,000-km of road network all along the borders and coastal areas under a new scheme to be called ‘Bharat Mala’ at a cost of Rs 50,000 crore.

Centre to launch agri-training programme in 593 Sansad Adarsh Grams

Centre is planning to launch soon an agri-training programme in 593 villages under the Sansad Adarsh Gram Yojana, one of the flagship schemes of Prime Minister Narendra Modi. The nodal Agriculture Ministry is working out the training programme guidelines for implementation in each village adopted by Members of Parliament under the Sansad Adarsh Gram Yojana (SAGY). The agri-training programme, to be conducted for two days in each village, will be implemented by the National Centre of Organic Farming and Central Fertiliser Quality Control and Training Institute along with the support of the state governments. SAGY, which was launched in October 2014, is a rural development programme that primarily focuses upon the development in villages.

Hungarian author Laszlo Krasznahorkai wins Man Booker Prize

Hungarian writer Laszlo Krasznahorkai won Britain’s Man Booker International Prize for career achievement. Best known in Germany and Hungary, Krasznahorkai is the author of Satantango (1985), which was later made into a film, The Melancholy of Resistance (1998) and Seiobo There Below (2008).
iii. The Man Booker International Prize, worth £60,000, is awarded for an achievement in fiction on the world stage. It is presented once every two years to a living author for a body of work published either originally in English or available in translation in the English language.

INS Kavaratti launched

Indian Navy’s latest anti-submarine warfare class stealth corvette, the INS Kavaratti was launched in line with a series of recent developments in India’s defence preparedness. Kavaratti is the last of the four anti-submarine warfare class stealth corvettes being built for India under Project 28. The corvette, with a displacement of 3,300 tonnes, has a length of 109.1 metres and measures 13.7-m at beam. It was designed by the Directorate of Naval Design and built by Garden Reach Ship Builders and Engineers. INS Kamorta, the first ship under this project, was commissioned by the Navy last year. Kadmatt and Kiltan are scheduled for delivery between 2015-2017.

Reliance Jio inks pact with Huawei for sourcing 4G devices

Reliance Jio Infocomm, the telecom arm of Reliance Industries (RIL) has signed a pact with Chinese firm Huawei for sourcing various 4G devices. RJio plans to launch 4G service this year in around 5,000 towns and cities, accounting for over 90 per cent of urban India and over 215,000 villages. Reliance Jio and Huawei have signed an agreement for 4G devices which includes smartphones, tablets and mifi dongles. It has signed agreement with couple of other Chinese device maker as well. On May 7, RJio raised a $750 million (nearly Rs 4,500 crore) loan to procure goods and services from South Korean firms Samsung Electronics and Ace Technologies.

IDBI Bank to roll out e-huts

IDBI Bank has decided to roll out e-huts to connect with the rural populace. The bank has currently introduced e-lobbies which are next to the branches. The e-hut concept will be completely unmanned units. e-huts is a concept that is widely accepted in the West, but in India, it’s yet to pick up.

Modi’s Visit to China

Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced that India will grant e-visas to Chinese tourists. Agreements between India and China
1. Protocol for establishment of consulates in Chengdu and Chennai
2. Cooperation in vocational education and skill development and setting up of Mahatma Gandhi institute on skill development in India
3. Consultative mechanism on cooperation in TRADE negotiations
4. Cooperation between Foreign Ministry and Central Committee of Communist Party of China (CCCPC)
5. Action plan between national railway administration of China and Indian Railways
6. Memorandum of Understanding on education exchange programme.
7. Cooperation in the fields of mining and minerals
8. Space cooperation outline
9. Safety regulations on importing Indian rapeseed meal
10. Broadcasting agreement between CCTV and Doordarshan
11. Agreement for cooperation in the field of tourism
12. Memorandum of Understanding on establishing India-China think tanks forum
13. Memorandum of Understanding between NITI Aayog and Development Research Centre
Two MoUs between Indian Council for Cultural Relations (ICCR) and Yunnan Minzu University and another with Fudan University were signed on the establishment of a yoga college and centre for Gandhian and Indian studies, respectively.

India Meteorological Department signed MoU with POSOCO Ltd

The India Meteorological Department (IMD) under the Union Ministry of Earth Sciences on 18 May 2015 signed Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Power System Operation Corporation Ltd (POSOCO) for optimum use of weather information/forecast in the power sector. All weather information provided by ESSO-IMD will be used by the Power System Operators across the India for better management of Indian Power System. IMD will make available current weather information for the identified stations; and forecasts at different time scales of temperature, humidity, wind speed, wind direction and rainfall of the identified stations/sectors.

Google help for NGOs working on child safety

Google India has announced support for three non-governmental agencies from India working on child safety. The three organisations are ChildLine India Foundation, Bachpan Bachao Andolan, and the Chennai-based Tulir – Centre for the Healing and Prevention of Child Sexual Abuse. ChildLine provides a toll-free helpline service (1098) for children in distress, first launched in 1996, Bachpan Bachao Andolan sets itself a mission to protect and rescue children from slavery, trafficking and forced labour. Google will help these organisations pilot smart new applications of technology with $ 5,00,000 in grants through to ensure that children in India remain safe.

World’s oldest comatose patient Aruna Shanbaug dead

Aruna Shanbaug, the former nurse at KEM Hospital here who was brutally sexually assaulted by a ward boy at the facility 42 years ago and had been lying in a vegetative state ever since, passed away today. The 66-year-old was battling a serious bout of pneumonia and was on ventilator support, King Edward Memorial (KEM) hospital sources said. She was in the medical ICU of the hospital located in Parel area of Mumbai. On November 27, 1973, while working as a junior nurse at KEM Hospital, she was sexually assaulted by a ward boy. She was in a vegetative state since the assault. On 24 January 2011, after she had been in this state for 38 years, the Supreme Court responded to the plea for euthanasia filed by Aruna’s friend, journalist Pinki Virani, by setting up a medical panel to examine her.

Centre allocates Rs 5,000 crore for development of AYUSH

The government has allocated Rs 5,000 crore for the growth of Department of AYUSH and launched an independent National AYUSH Mission aimed at capacity building for the sector. For creating awareness about Ayurveda, the Ministry is considering to observe Ayurveda Day. Independent National AYUSH Mission is launched aiming capacity building for the sector. The mission will ensure creation of a centre of excellence for Ayurveda, Yoga, Unani, Siddha and Homoeopathy independently.

CII welcomes biz outcomes of Modi’s China visit

According to CII, Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to China has redefined the economic partnership between the two largest and fastest-growing developing economies in the world. Welcoming the business outcomes of the visit, it said: “Prime Minister Modi’s visit to China has redefined the economic partnership of the two largest and fastest-growing developing economies in the world.’’ In the presence of the Prime Minister at the India-China Business Forum in Shanghai, Indian and Chinese companies exchanged 24 agreements for cooperation totalling $22 billion, including INVESTMENTS and Financing across sectors, the statement said. Chinese initiatives in the sectors of railways, skill development, public health and medical education will further build on economic cooperation between the two countries, it added.
Infosys to open first overseas campus in China
As India pressed China to open its MARKETS for Indian IT firms, technology major Infosys on Sunday announced establishing its first overseas centre outside India in China with an INVESTMENT of about USD 120 million to tap in the burgeoning Chinese market. An MOU in this regard was signed between Infosys and the local Chinese provincial government at the India-China Business Forum, which was addressed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in Shanghai on Sunday. The development centre, to be established in China’s Guizhou province, with a staff capacity of about 4,500 will help to focus on Chinese and global markets.

PM’s social security schemes: Canara Bank rolls out awareness campaigns across Delhi

Building on the success of Pradhan Mantri Jan Dhan Yojana, the state-owned Canara Bank on Sunday rolled out awareness campaigns across Delhi on the Prime Minister’s three latest social security schemes. Roadshows were held in 16 clusters across Delhi to promote the three new social security scheme –
• Pradhan Mantri Jeevan Jyoti Bima Yojana (PMJJBY)
• Pradhan Mantri Suraksha Bima Yojana (PMSBY)
• Atal Pension Yojana (APY).
For the Delhi region, Canara Bank has enrolled the maximum number of persons (1,12,929 lives) under the PMSBY among all banks till date. Even in the case of PMJJBY, Canara Bank is leading the league table with 74,512 lives enrolled up to May 13 this year, data available with the Delhi State level Bankers’ Committee showed.

Gagan Narang wins World Cup bronze, earns India quota for Rio Olympics

Gagan Narang won the bronze medal in the 50m Rifle Prone Event of the ISSF World Cup at Fort Benning in USA, earning himself a quota place for the 2016 Rio Olympics. Narang, who won the bronze in 10m Rifle at the London Olympics, shot 185.8 overall to secure third place behind GOLD medalist Michael McPhail (208.8 points) of USA and Ole Kristian Bryhn (206.3) of Norway. The other quota place from the event went to McPhail. Earlier in the competition, Narang and India’s only individual Olympic GOLD medallist Abhinav Bindra, had failed to qualify for the 10m Rifle final. Narang is third Indian shooter to make the Rio cut after Jitu Rai and Apurvi Chandela.

Draupadi Murmu sworn in as first woman Governor of Jharkhand

Draupadi Murmu was sworn in as the first woman Governor of Jharkhand. Murmu succeeds Syed Ahmed, who will take over as Manipur Governor. A two-time BJP MLA from Odisha, she was a minister in the Naveen Patnaik cabinet when the Biju Janata Dal ruled the state with the support of Bharatiya Janata Party. She headed the BJP’s Mayurbhanj district unit in Odisha and had represented Rairangpur in the Odisha assembly. Jharkhand High Court Chief Justice Virendra Singh administered the oath of office to Murmu. Jharkhand Chief Minister Raghubar Das, his cabinet colleagues, former Chief Ministers Shibu Soren and Arjun Munda, Union Minister of State for Rural Development Sudarshan Bhagat and a host of other dignitaries were present during the oath-taking ceremony.

Narendra Modi reaches South Korea, economic and TRADE cooperation high on agenda

Prime Minister Narendra Modi arrived in South Korea on the last leg of his three-nation visit during which he will hold talks with the South Korean leadership aiming to give a fillip to economic and TRADE cooperation. A slew of agreements are expected to be signed during the visit including one on Double Taxation Avoidance Convention, cooperation in shipping and logistics, audiovisual co-production, transport, highways and electric power development in new energy industries. The Prime Minister, who flew in from Mongolia after his three-day visit to China, will hold talks on the entire gamut of bilateral, regional and global issues with President Park Geun-hye and explore ways to upgrade cooperation in diversified areas.

Rome Masters 2015: Winners

• Women’s Singles – Maria Sharapova
• Men’s Singles – N. Djokovic
• Women’s Doubles – Timea Babos and Kristina Mladenovic
• Men’s Doubles – P. Cuevas and D. Marrero

Brad Haddin: Australia wicketkeeper quits one-day game

Brad Haddin, the Australia wicketkeeper, has formally announced his retirement from ODI cricket, a day before leaving for Test tours of the West Indies and England. Amid the Australia team’s celebrations after the World Cup final victory over New Zealand in Melbourne in March, Haddin had revealed that he was not going to play any more one-day games. Haddin played 126 ODIs and scored 3122 runs at an average of 31.53 with two centuries and 16 fifties. He also had 170 catches and 11 stumpings, the third-most dismissals for Australia after Adam Gilchrist and Ian Healy.

India to assume Presidency of the 68th World Health Assembly

Minister of Health & Family Welfare, Jagat Prakash Nadda, will preside over the 68th Session of the World Health Assembly (WHA) at Geneva as India assumes the Presidency of the WHA, the high decision making body of the World Health Organisation (WHO), after a gap of 19 years. The Union Minister is leading a high level Indian delegation to the WHA, to be held in Geneva From May 18-27, 2015. According to a PIB release, the 68th World Health Assembly is expected to deliberate on key issues of global interest including anti-microbial resistance, air pollution and health, global health emergency, preparedness and surveillance, global strategy and plan of action on public health, innovation and intellectual property, and research and development in neglected tropical diseases. The Union Minister will also participate in a number of bilateral and multilateral meetings on the sidelines of the WHA including the Commonwealth Health Ministers’ Meeting, 8th NAM Health Ministers’ Meeting and BRICS Health Ministers’ meeting.

Shakuntala Gamlin takes charge as Delhi chief secretary despite CM Arvind Kejriwal’s directive

Senior Indian Administrative Service (IAS) officer Shakuntala Gamlin on Saturday took charge as acting Chief Secretary of Delhi Government despite being asked by the Chief Minister not to do so. A senior Delhi government official said that in his letter to Gamlin, Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal had said that her appointment is against the set rule. Lt Governor Najeeb Jung gave the additional charge of Chief Secretary to Gamlin, a 1984-batch IAS officer, hours after she wrote a scathing letter to Jung claiming that she was pressurised by a senior bureaucrat in Chief Minister’s office not to be in race for the post due to her alleged proximity to BSES discoms.

PM Modi extends e-visa for Chinese nationals

Brushing aside objections, Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced granting of e-visa (electronic visa also called visa on arrival) facility to the Chinese nationals in Beijing even as he urged China to “reconsider its approach” to issues that have long strained ties and complicated business between the two Asian giants. Pledging to improve historically weak economic links between their countries, India and China also signed 24 deals worth over $10 billion, including MOUs in the area of skill development, railways, establishing sister relations between cities of the two countries among others. Modi’s announcement on e-visas took everyone by surprise as only a couple of hours before had India’s foreign secretary S Jaishankar said categorically, “We are expanding it (e-visa) bit by bit. With regard to China, no decision has been taken yet on extending e-visa.”

Airtel clinches $2.5 billion Chinese FINANCING deals

Bharti Airtel has received FINANCING commitments of up to USD 2.5 billion from China Development Bank and Industrial and Commercial Bank of China, with an average maturity of about nine years. This is the single-largest bilateral commitment by China Development Bank to any telecom operator globally and the largest bilateral commitment to a private Indian company.Bharti Airtel announced a strategic collaboration with China Mobile, under which the two companies will work towards growth of the Long-Term Evolution (LTE) ecosystem and evolving mobile technology standards.

Modi inaugurates ICICI Bank’s first branch in China

Top private sector lender ICICI Bank opened its first branch in China, which was inaugurated by Prime Minister Narendra Modi. The new branch would begin with 17 banking professionals handling different functions including corporate banking, operations, finance and treasury. Some public sector banks including SBI, UCO Bank, Canara Bank and Allahabad Bank have also expanded their presence in China in the recent years to tap growing TRADE flows between the two countries.

Egypt’s ousted President Morsy sentenced to death

An Egyptian court has sentenced ousted President Mohammed Morsy to death. Judge Shaaban el-Shami referred his death sentence on Morsy and more than 20 others to the nation’s top Muslim theologian, or mufti, for his non-binding opinion. The ousted leader already is serving a 20-year sentence following his conviction on April 21 on charges linked to the killing of protesters outside a Cairo presidential palace in December 2012.

MHRD Gave Nod For Setting Up IIIT in Nagpur, Maharashtra

Union Ministry of Human Resource Development (MHRD) gave an in-principle approval for setting up an IIIT (Indian Institute of Information Technology) in Nagpur, Maharashtra. It will be the first IIIT to be set up in the state. The IIIT will join a batch of national institutes which are set to come up in the city, namely the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) and Indian Institute of Management (IIM). The setting up of these higher educational institutions in Nagpur is aimed at improving educational infrastructure in the backward Vidarbha region.

Google in talks with Arunachal govt for Chromebook laptops in schools

Global tech giant Google is in discussions with the Arunachal Pradesh government to run a pilot for deploying Chromebook laptops for school students. The pilot is proposed to be run in schools in two cities — Itanagar and Ziro. Chromebook is a laptop running Google’s Chrome Operating System. The devices are designed to be used primarily while connected to the internet with most applications and data residing “in the cloud”.

India way behind on WHO health targets

India has met only four of ten health targets under the Millenium Development Goals (MDG). The report finds that globally, life expectancy at birth has increased by six years for both men and women since 1990. Since 1990, child deaths have almost halved — falling from an estimated 90 deaths per 1000 live births to 46 deaths per 1000 live births in 2013. Yet the world will not achieve the MDG target of reducing the death rate by two-thirds. In India, life expectancy grew by eight years between 1990 and 2013. While India has sharply reduced its infant mortality between 2000 and 2013, it still contributes for the most infant deaths globally. Non-communicable diseases are the top killers, followed by communicable diseases and injuries.

BRICS Cup from next year, first one to be held in India

Coinciding with the BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa) summit next year in India, an under-17 football tournament will be played between the nations. As a lead-up to the 2017 under-17 FIFA World Cup, India will use the competition to test its infrastructure and on-field preparation.
iii. FC Barcelona or Qatar’s under-17 side have been mooted as possible participants due to their links with the United Nations body. The tournament’s launch was accompanied by the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding between the Associated Chambers of Commerce (ASSOCHAM) and the Brazilian representatives.

HSBC cuts India ratings to “underweight”

In the first major downgrade for Indian MARKETS in the past one year, global brokerage HSBC changed its stance on the country to “underweight”, saying corporate earnings may remain muted, monsoon could be weak and odds are against further rate cuts. HSBC further said that India has become the second most expensive and one of the most over-owned MARKETS in Asia. The downgrade comes at a time when Indian markets are already under acute pressure, primarily because of foreign INVESTORS turning heavy sellers on concerns related to the controversial MAT levy and delay in the ambitious indirect tax (GST) and land reforms.

Arun Shrivastava assumes charge as Syndicate Bank MD and CEO

Arun Shrivastava assumed charge as Managing Director & CEO of Syndicate Bank. He was Executive Director of Bank of India, looking after FINANCE, Strategy & Planning, Large Corporate & Mid Corporate Business, Corporate Debt Restructuring, Project & Syndication, Credit Monitoring & Asset Recovery, Publicity & Public Relations portfolios of the bank. Earlier, Shrivastava was overseeing the foreign subsidiaries – BoI Indonesia and Botswana and joint venture – India Zambia Bank. He is a Certified Associate of Indian Institute of Bankers and AIBM. He started his career as direct recruit officer in Bank of Baroda in 1979.

Rajyavardhan Rathore inaugurates India Pavilion at 68th Cannes Film Festival

Minister of State for Information and Broadcasting Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore inaugurated the India Pavilion at the 68th Cannes International Film Festival. The government is channelising that objective through campaigns like ‘Make in India’ and ‘Skill India’, and realises that the film industry is an important part of these campaigns given its tremendous potential towards job creation. The session also saw unveiling of the 46th IFFI, 2015 regulations and ‘India Film Guide’ by Rathore. The India Film Guide is a comprehensive booklet with information on policy initiatives by the government pertaining to film sector, the listing of Indian companies at Cannes Film MARKET.

RBI plans IT wing as FINANCIAL crimes rise in cyber space

The Reserve Bank is planning to set up an information technology wing to face the rising challenges coming from the cyber world. It can be noted that online frauds in the FINANCIAL sector have been on the rise and hundreds of gullible people have been defrauded by crooks, using their stolen credit and debit card information. The cyber thieves have even been using RBI logos to send out mails to cheat customers.

Lok Sabha passes Negotiable Instruments (Amendment) Bill

The Lok Sabha passed the negotiable Instruments (Amendment) Bill, which aims at making filing of cases more convenient for payees if cheques bounce.
ii. The government faced questions from its own members and allies over whether the Bill’s provisions could be used by corporates to harass common people.
iii. The Bill was passed by a voice vote, with Minister of State for Finance Jayant Sinha insisting that it would boost the “integrity of FINANCIAL system” and not lead to the harassment of the common man. The Bill was necessitated due to a Supreme Court order that cases against those having defaulted on their cheque payments could only be filed in courts under whose jurisdiction the bank account of the accused fell.

Reliance Jio to raise $750 million from Korean company

Reliance Industries has signed up for a $750 million loan, backed by Korea Trade Insurance Corp, to primarily FINANCE the procurements for its infrastructure rollout from Samsung Electronics and Ace Technologies Corp. It has a door-to-door tenor of 12 years, including a two-year availability period and a 10-year repayment period thereafter. Reliance Jio Infocomm is setting up a pan-India telecom network for 4th generation Net services, communication services and other digital services in areas like education, healthcare, security, FINANCIAL services, government-citizen interfaces and entertainment.

Indian-origin Priti Patel gets British cabinet rank

Indian-origin Tory MP Priti Patel has been appointed minister of state for employment in British Prime Minister David Cameron’s new cabinet. Patel, who called her new posting at the department for work and pensions “a real privilege”, won the recent elections by securing 58% of the votes from Witham. She was the exchequer secretary to the treasury from July 2014 to May 2015. The 43-year-old was first elected the MP for Witham in May 2010.

Rosberg wins Spanish GP

Nico Rosberg has finally got the better of Mercedes teammate Lewis Hamilton this season, winning the Spanish Grand Prix. A crowd of 86,700 watched the race, with a total of 189,000 spectators attending the Catalunya circuit. McLaren’s misery continued as two-time F1 champion Fernando Alonso retired just short of halfway with faulty brakes on the track.

RBI allows transactions up to Rs 2000 without second factor authentication

In a move that will promote ‘tap and pay’ electronic payments, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) said that bank can allow customers to transact with contactless card up to Rs 2000 without customers punching a separate PIN for authentication. The ‘tap and pay’ refers to the use of near-field communication (NFC) technology, enabling users to make payments by waving or tapping the card near the contactless reader instead of swiping it. Prior to this relaxation, after tapping the card at a point of sale machines, the customer had to punch their PIN number as an additional factor authentication to avoid any chances of fraud. Tap and pay refers to the use of near field communication technology in payment cards where instead of the traditional swiping of the card and punching in payment details, all the customer needs to do is wave a card in front of an acceptance device for the bill to be settled.

SBI Launches NFC-Enabled Contactless Debit and CREDIT CARDS

State Bank of India joined its private sector rivals to launch contactless cards using latest near field technology (NFC). Called the SBI inTouch cards, these contactless debit and CREDIT CARDS are more secure and hassle-free to use at merchant outlets or ATMs and use the NFC technology, which enables users to make payments by waving or tapping the card near the contactless reader instead of swiping or dipping it. Private lenders ICICI Bank and HDFC Bank have already launched such NFC cards. Launching the cards, SBI chairperson Arundhati Bhattachrya said the bank has already issued 1.08 lakh new cards to its customers in the eight largest metros and the remaining customers will get the cards in the following months.

Punjab becomes first state to issue Soil Health Cards to farmers

Punjab has become the first state in India to issue Soil Health Cards (SHCs), a Union Government initiative to all farmers in the state. In this regard, every district of state has been assigned mobile soil testing lab. These labs will take soil sample from every farm and issue a digitalised soil health details. Presently, state government has 66 such laboratories and has capability to test 3.5 lakh soil samples annually. State government also has made mandatory for these labs to check soil health on quarterly basis. It will help farmers in maintaining the balanced health structure of the soil and educate them to use right quantity of fertilisers in order to prevent soil from becoming arid. Prime Minister Narendra Modi had formally launched the nationwide ‘Soil Health Card’ Scheme in Februrary 2015 in Suratgarh, Rajasthan.

Retail inflation eases to 4-month low

Retail inflation in April softened further and fell to a four-month low of 4.87 per cent as prices of food items, vegetables and fruits turned cheaper. The retail inflation, measured on the basis of Consumer Price Index (CPI), was revised upwards to 5.25 per cent from 5.17 per cent in March 2015. Food inflation, based on Consumer Food Price Index, fell to 5.11 per cent during the month from 6.14 per cent in March. Fall in food inflation was mainly driven by fruits, vegetables, milk and related products.

Houses nominate members for Joint Committee on land bill

Rajya Sabha on Wednesday named 10 members, including Digvijaya Singh of Congress and Trinamool’s Derek O’Brien, to the Joint Committee that will look into the controversial Land Acquisition Bill. The 30-member Joint Committee of Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha would submit its report on the first day of Monsoon Session on the bill which has already been passed by the Lower House. The government, which had promulgated ordinance twice on the bill since December last after it faced similar resistance earlier, had agreed to refer it to the committee after NDA allies Shiv Sena and Akali Dal joined the Opposition in Lok Sabha to oppose the measure.

Hyderabad to host global pharma summit

Hyderabad will play host to a four-day global pharma expo and summit from July 23. With ‘Innovation and Advances’ as its theme, the event will deliberate on a range of issues, from pharmaceutical technology to education, indigenous drugs and drug regulatory affairs, besides serving as a platform for joint ventures and project collaboration. Renowned pharmaceutical experts will be addressing the Indo-Global Pharma Expo and Summit 2015, being organised by Indus Foundation, in association with FTAPCCI and OMICS group, according to S.B. Anumolu, president of the Foundation. More than 4,000 delegates are expected to attend the event, which will serve as a one stop stage for showcasing latest technological developments.

LS passes Black Money Bill with Opposition support

A stringent law imposing 120 per cent tax, jail term of up to 10 years and penalty on undisclosed foreign assets and income to deal with the black MONEY menace was passed in Lok Sabha Monday by voice vote and with support from the Opposition. The Congress argued that Undisclosed Foreign Income and Assets (Imposition of Tax) Bill, 2015, is a FINANCE bill. However, Speaker Sumitra Mahajan agreed to FINANCE Minister Arun Jaitley’s argument that it is a MONEY bill, in which case approval of the Upper House is not mandatory.
iv. Under the proposed law, there would be a short compliance window within which persons with undisclosed income abroad can come clean by paying 30 per cent tax and 30 per cent penalty. Once the window closes, anyone found having undeclared overseas wealth would be required to pay 30 per cent tax, 90 per cent penalty and face criminal prosecution.

China becomes world’s top crude buyer

China overtook the United States as the world’s top importer of crude oil for the first time in April, and its purchases are expected to remain strong despite a slowing economy, with far-reaching consequences for global oil and COMMODITIES MAKERS. China is already the world’s biggest energy consumer, with oil by far the largest TRADED energy market. The Saudi-led decision by the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) in November 2014 not to cut production despite the slide in OIL PRICES has been largely motivated by an effort to defend market share against outside competitors like Russia or US shale producers.

Disinvestment: Cabinet nod for IOC, NTPC stake sale may fetch Rs 13,600 crore

The government will sell its 10 per cent stake in blue-chip Indian OIL Corporation (IOC) and 5 per cent in power producer NTPC to mop up about Rs 13,600 crore in this fiscal’s first disinvestment approval. The approvals are part of Rs 41,000 crore disinvestment target for the current FINANCIAL year. Buoyed by diesel price deregulation, the government is looking at selling stake in Indian’s largest fuel retailer IOC for the second time in 13 months. Sale of 24.27 crore shares, or 10 per cent stake, in IOC would mop up close to Rs 8,000 crore at current MARKET price. Decision in this regard was taken by Union Cabinet Meeting chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in New Delhi. Currently, Union government holds 74.96 per cent in NTPC and 68.57 per cent in IOC.

Centre okays Rs. 20,000-crore budget for Namami Gange scheme

The Cabinet approved the flagship “Namami Gange” programme, which integrates the efforts to clean and protect the River Ganga in a comprehensive manner. The programme has a budget outlay of Rs. 20,000 crore for the next 5 years. The amount was a significant four-fold increase over the expenditure allocated to the task of cleaning the Ganga over the past 30 years. The programme would be implemented by the National Mission for Clean Ganga (NMCG), and its state counterpart organisations, that is, the State Programme Management Groups (SPMGs). Namami Gange will focus on pollution abatement interventions, namely interception and diversion and treatment of waste water flowing through open drains via bio-remediation/ appropriate in-situ treatment/use of innovative technologies/sewage treatment plants (STPs)/effluent treatment plant (ETPs).

India-born Nikesh Arora named Japan’s SoftBank Corp president

Indian-born Nikesh Arora was on 11 May 2015 appointed as the President of Japan’s multinational telecommunications and internet company SoftBank Corp. As per the announcement made at the company’s earning conference, he will also be the Representative Director of SoftBank Corp. Before the present elevation, he had been the Vice Chairman of the company and the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of SB Group US, Inc. (former SoftBank Internet and Media, Inc.) since September 2014. He succeeds Masayoshi Son, Chairman and CEO of the Softbank Corp. Earlier, Arora worked in Google for 10 years and left the company as the Senior Vice President and Chief Business Officer before joining SoftBank Corp. in 2014.

Justice Cyriac Joseph appointed NHRC acting chief

President Pranab Mukherjee has appointed Justice Cyriac Joseph as acting Chairman of National Human Rights Commission (NHRC). His appointment comes after then Chairman of NHRC Justice K.G. Balakrishnan completed his tenure. Presently, Justice Cyriac Joseph is member of NHRC. He hails from Kaiphuza village of Kottayam district in Kerala and was a Judge of the Supreme Court from 2008 to 2012. Justice Balakrishnan, the former Chief Justice of India, completed his tenure as the sixth and the longest serving NHRC Chairperson. During his tenure, he was instrumental in charting out several new initiatives towards promotion and protection of human rights in the country.

Shashi Kapoor has been conferred with prestigious Dada Saheb Phalke Award 2014

The award was bestowed upon him by Union Information and Broadcasting Minister Arun Jaitley at a special function held in Prithvi Theatre in Mumbai, Maharashtra. He is the 46th film personality to receive this honour and third member of his illustrious family after father Prithviraj Kapoor (1972- Posthumously) and elder brother Raj Kapoor (1987).
About Shashi Kapoor
• Born as Balbir Raj Prithviraj Kapoor on March 18, 1938 in Kolkata, West Bengal. Started acting in films as a child in late 1940s. Since then he has appeared in 160 movies altogether, 12 being in English and the rest in Hindi.
• His Bollywood debut as a lead actor was in the film Dharmputra (1961). His best known performances as child artist were in Aag (1948), Awaara (1951) and Sangram (1950). He is also best-known for his performances in Hindi films like ‘Jab Jab Phool Khile’, ‘Deewar’ and ‘Kabhi Kabhie’. American and British films: The Householder (1963), Shakespeare Wallah (1965), Bombay Talkie (1970), Heat and Dust (1982), The Deceivers (1988), Side Streets (1998) etc.
• Apart from acting in movies, he also had worked as a film director, assistant director and film producer.

Nepal earthquake, magnitude 7.3, strikes near Everest

A major earthquake has struck eastern Nepal, near Mount Everest, two weeks after more than 8,000 died in a devastating quake. The US Geological Survey said it had a magnitude of 7.3. An earthquake on 25 April, centred in western Nepal, had a magnitude of 7.8. The tremor was also felt in northern India and Bangladesh, and was centred east of the Nepalese capital Kathmandu, in a rural area close to the Chinese border.

GST bill referred to select committee

The government and opposition parties agreed to refer the constitutional amendment bill on goods and service tax (GST) to a 21-member select committee of the Rajya Sabha. The committee will submit its report on the last day of the first week of Parliament’s monsoon session. The committee will be headed by Bhupendra Yadav, a Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) MP and a party general secretary. Members of major political parties including BJP, Shiromani Akali Dal, Congress, Bahujan Samaj Party, Samajwadi Party and Janata Dal (United) will be represented in the committee. After passing the bill in the Lok Sabha, the government has faced problems in the upper house. The government, which has 62 members in the 244-member house, needs 162 members to support the bill for its clearance.

Haryana Government has decided to include Deaflympics in its Sports Policy

Haryana Government has decided to include Deaflympics in its Sports Policy in order to boost the morale of differently-abled sportspersons in the state. Decision in this regard was taken during a state cabinet meet chaired by Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar. With this inclusion, Deaflympian medalists now will be able to GET CASH rewards, jobs and other benefits from the state government.
About Deaflympics
• Deaflympics is an International Olympic Committee (IOC) sanctioned event, at which deaf athletes compete at an elite level.
• The first event of was held in Paris in 1924. It is the first international sporting event for athletes with a disability.
• Previously, it was known as World Games for the Deaf and International Games for the Deaf.
• Organised by the International Committee of Sports for the Deaf, (French- Committee International des Sports des Sourds) since first event.
• Deaflympics are held every 4 years and often considered as the longest multi-sports event, excluding the Olympic.
• To qualify for the Deaflympics, athletes must have a hearing loss of at least 55 decibel (dB). In order to maintain equality and same level in participation among athletes, hearing aids, cochlear implants are not allowed during the games.