December, 2016

PM Modi Launches ‘BHIM’ Mobile App

PM Modi launched a mobile app Bharat Interface for Money, BHIM. The app will facilitate digital cash transactions with only a thumb print after the bank account is linked with Aadhaar gateway. Payments through the new system can be made by just a thumb impression. The new indigenously developed payment app BHIM has been named after the main architect of Indian constitution, Dr B R Ambedkar.

Withdrawal Limit from ATMs Increased

RBI has increased the daily limit of ATM withdrawal to Rs 4500 from current Rs 2500 with effective from Jan 1, 2017. There has been no change in the weekly withdrawal limit, which stands at Rs 24,000, including from ATM, for individuals and Rs 50,000 in case of small traders. Following demonetisation of old notes limits had been imposed on withdrawal of cash from banks as well as ATMs.

CBDT Extends Deadline for Tax Scheme

The scheme for resolving tax disputes introduced by the govt in June this year has been extended by one more month till Jan 31. The Direct Tax Dispute Resolution Scheme seeks not just to settle disputes in retrospective taxes, but end nearly 2.6 lakh pending tax cases. The scheme provides for waiving interest & penalties if the principal amount involved in retrospective tax cases is paid.

Venezuela Extends Money Swap Deadline

Venezuelan President has again extended the deadline to withdraw from circulation the country’s most common currency note. The deadline had been set for 2 Jan but will now be on 20 Jan. Mr Maduro said he did not want Venezuelans to worry about exchanging the currency near the New Year festivities. Venezuelans had been initially given 72 hours in mid-December to swap their 100 bolivar notes.

India, Singapore Signs Protocol on DTAA

India and Singapore have amended the DTAA for the avoidance of double taxation and prevention of fiscal evasion by signing a Third Protocol. This is in line with India’s treaty policy to prevent double non-taxation, curb revenue loss and check black money. India had amended the DTAA with Mauritius and Cyprus. Double taxation avoidance agreements will block the routes to evade taxations.

President Clears Currency Ban Ordinance

President Pranab Mukherjee gave his assent for the promulgation of the Specified Bank Notes (Cessation of Liabilities) Ordinance, 2016. The Union Cabinet had earlier approved the ordinance. It provides for making holding of old 1,000 & 500 rupee notes after 31st of March next year a offence. It will attract a fine of 10 thousand rupees or five times the cash held, whichever is higher.

RBI Notifies Closure of Old Notes

RBI has notified the closure of the deposit and exchange of the old notes. With the closure of the facility all banks should report information on collection on December 30, itself. From next week onward, those still holding the scrapped currency can deposit it only with the RBI till March 31, 2017. The govt had on Nov 8 announced that Rs 500 &1,000 notes were no longer the legal tender.

Mother Dairy Launch Aadhaar-enabled Mode

Mother Dairy has introduced Aadhar enabled payment system(AEPS) in more than 1,000 milk booths & ‘Safal’ retail stores. The service was commissioned in association with CSC e-Governance Service India Ltd under the aegis of Department of Electronics and Information Technology (Deity). The AEPS mode of payment does not require any physical cash or card to make the transactions.

Sports Ministry Suspends IOA

Government has de-recognised the Indian Olympic Association(IOA) on the issue of nominating Suresh Kalmadi and Abhay Chautala as its life presidents. Kalmadi & Chautala were elevated to the honorary position. Sports Ministry has suspended the deemed recognition of IOA. Kalmadi was jailed in connection with the CWG scam while Chautala is facing charges in disproportionate assets case.

Kush Creates History in UAE Tourney

Mumbai prodigy Kush Bhagat has won all three gold medals on offer in the 1st Western Asia Youth Chess Championships. The event was held at Al Ain Chess Club in UAE. The second standard student reigned supreme in all the three categories – rapid, blitz and standard. He overcame the challenges from 158 participants from 20 countries across the world.

Murray Knighted in New Year Honours List

Andy Murray received a knighthood in Queen Elizabeth II’s New Year’s Honours list. He was previously named an Officer of the Order of the British Empire in 2012. Joining Murray in being knighted in British sports is Mo Farah, who retained his 5,000& 10,000-meter titles at the Rio. The full New Year Honours lists recognise the achievements and service of extraordinary people across the UK.

Akhilesh Yadav Expelled from SP

Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav has been expelled from the Samajwadi Party for six years by his father and party chief Mulayam Singh Yadav. Mulayam also expelled Ram Gopal Yadav from the party on disciplinary grounds. The SP chief accused Ram Gopal of indulging in anti-party activities. He also accused Ram Gopal Yadav of hurting the interests of chief minister.

Ex Minister Balasaheb Vikhe-Patil Dies

Senior Congress leader & former union minister Balasaheb Vikhe Patil passed away. He served as Union minister of State for Finance in the Atal Bihari Vajpayee cabinet. He was one of the pioneers of Maharashtra’s cooperative movement. He also launched Asia’s first cooperative sugar factory at Loni. He represented the Ahmednagar Lok Sabha constituency for eight terms.

Govt Issues 1.5 cr LPG Connections

The Govt has met the 1.5-crore target for LPG connections under the Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana (PMUY) in the 2016-17 financial year. This Target was achieved within a span of less than eight months since the launch of the scheme. Since the launch of the PMUY, the LPG coverage across the country has increased to 70% as of December 1, 2016 from earlier 61% as of January 1, 2016.

Anil Baijal Takes Oath as Delhi Lt.Gov

Anil Baijal took oath as new Lieutenant Governor of Delhi. Earlier, President Pranab Mukherjee approved his appointment. Mr. Baijal, a 1969 batch IAS officer, had served as Union Home Secretary under the Atal Bihari Vajpayee government besides holding key positions in other ministries. His appointment came after the sudden resignation of Najeeb Jung from the post.

China Again Blocks UN Ban Against Azhar

China has yet again blocked a proposal at the United Nations to list Jaish-e-Muhammad’s Chief Masood Azhar as a global designated terrorist. China is the lone member among the 15-member UNSC to oppose the ban on Azhar. Earlier, China had twice imposed technical hold on the Indian proposal. India’s proposal was submitted in February to the 1267 Sanctions Committee of the UN Security Council.

The World’s Highest Opens in China

China has opened the world’s highest bridge sitting at 1,854 feet above the ground. Stretched across a giant mountain overpass,the Beipanjiang Bridge cost a staggering £120million. The giant Beipanjiang Bridge is the highest on the planet & is open to traffic. The structure overtakes the Sidu River Bridge,which is also in China, beating it by a mere five metres to become the highest bridge.

China Announces Ban on Ivory Trade

China has announced a ban on all ivory trade &processing activities by the end of 2017. The move follows a resolution at the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (Cites) in South Africa in October. China has the biggest ivory market in the world. A surge in the killing of elephants over the past seven years has seen populations across Africa shrink by a third.

Romania’s Grindeanu Named PM-Designate

Romania’s president accepted Sorin Grindeanu for the post of prime minister. Grindeanu is a mathematician and former deputy mayor of the city of Timisoara. He is a member of the Social Democratic Party that won December 11 elections. He now faces a confidence vote in parliament on his programme and cabinet nominees. Earlier president rejected the nomination of Shhaideh for the post.

Curiosity Rover Spots Purple Rocks

A patch of purple rocks was found in Mars’ Mount Sharp, which is officially known as Aeolis Mons, and is located in the Gale Crater of the planet. The images taken show a layer of purple-hued rocks, which might be the the possible future destination of the Mars mission. The images were taken by the Mars Curiosity Rover. Curiosity rover also detected the presence of hematite.

RBI warns of further rise in bad loans

RBI has released its Financial Stability Report (FSR) December 2016. It has said that banks, particularly public sector banks, continue to face significant levels of stress. The banking stability indicator (BSI) shows that the risks to the banking sector remained elevated due to continuous deterioration in asset quality, low profitability and liquidity.

Ambuja Cement, ICICI enter into pact

Ambuja Cement has tied up with ICICI Bank to drive cashless transactions among its business partners — retailers, contractors and masons. It will help them open current accounts for regular business transactions. Post-demonetisation, construction activity, especially in rural and semi-urban areas, has been facing several challenges as it mostly deals in cash.

Lakshmi Vilas Bank to raise 600 crore

Lakshmi Vilas Bank has launched QIP to raise over 599.88 crore by issuing 4.25 crore shares in domestic or international markets. The Committee of Directors for Capital Raising of the bank approved the floor price for the QIP issue at 141.15 per equity share. The bank had informed that it will raise funds in one or more public or private offerings in domestic and/or international markets.

CBDT signs two more APAs

The Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) has signed two more advance pricing agreements (APAs), taking the total number of such pacts to 117. The two APAs signed today pertain to the Information Technology and automobile sectors of the economy. The international transactions covered in these agreements include software development services, IT enabled services and business support services.

FIPB clears FDI proposals

Inter-ministerial body FIPB approved six investment proposals, including that of Sanofi Synthelabo India, Star Den Media Services and Idea Cellular Infrastructure Services. Proposals are worth foreign investment of Rs 1,200 crore. The Foreign Investment Promotion Board (FIPB), headed by Economic Affairs Secretary Shaktikanta Das.

Anuradha Paudwal given honorary D.Litt

Noted playback singer Anuradha Paudwal will be conferred with honorary D. Litt degree by the D Y Patil University on its 5th convocation ceremony. The degree is being conferred on Paudwal for her outstanding contribution in popularising Sanskrit shlokas. She is National Award recipient & also the four-time winner of prestigious Filmfare Award.

Pema Khandu suspended from PPA

Arunachal Pradesh Chief Minister Pema Khandu was temporarily suspended from People’s Party of Arunachal. Khandu and others were suspended with immediate effect. He is also barred from exercising his power as LPL. PPA, a regional political player in Arunachal, had played a crucial role in ousting the Congress government in the state earlier in 2016.

SP Vaid is new J&K police chief

SP Vaid has been appointed as the new director general of J&K police in place of K Rajendra Kumar, whose extended tenure comes to an end on December 31. Vaid, 57, is currently the special director general (Law and Order), will be in office till October 2019. He played a major role in controlling the unrest in the Kashmir Valley following the killing of militant commander Burhan Wani.

India gearing to recapitalise its banks

India’s banks need a cash injection, and 2017 looks like the year that they will get it. The country reckons ailing state lenders need at least 1.8 trillion rupees ($27 billion) or more to shore up their balance sheets and meet global capital requirements. Non-performing and stressed assets at state lenders already stood at almost 15 percent of total loans at the end of March.

First transgender principal resigns

India’s first transgender college principal Manabi Bandopadhyay has resigned after about one-and-a-half years in office. Manabi alleged that she started facing non-cooperation from a section of teachers soon after she took over as the principal of the well-known women’s college. Manabi, whose earlier name was Somnath, underwent a series of operations in 2003-2004 and became a woman.

India aims big in 2017 on space

Simultaneous launch of 83 satellites and fast breeder reactor going critical are some of the targets set by the Departments of Atomic Energy and Space. Dept. looks forward to 2017 to put behind the lows of this year of missing out an NSG spot and losing Antrix Devas case. Launching of GSLV Mark III will be a crucial development in the country’s space history.

Apple plans to make iPhones in Bengaluru

Apple plans to make iPhones for the Indian market in Bengaluru. Wistron, a Taiwanese OEM maker for Apple, is setting up a facility in Peenya, the city’s industrial hub, to manufacture the iPhones. The facility will start production from next April, according to industry sources.

PM to launch Swasth Sarvatra initiative

Swachh Swasth Sarvatra initiative, aimed at strengthening health centres in open defecation-free blocks, will be launched by the Union Health Ministry. The objective is to strengthen community health centres in 708 open defecation-free blocks across the country to achieve higher levels of cleanliness. Under it, 10 lakh rupees of assistance will be given to the community health centres.

Russia-Turkey brokered truce holding

A new nationwide ceasefire between Syrian government forces and rebel groups appears to be largely holding. The deal includes many rebel groups but not jihadists such as so-called Islamic State, or the Kurdish YPG. Unlike previous ceasefires, this has not come out of US and Russian bilateral spadework, but from a new understanding between Moscow and Ankara.

Poland buys Da Vinci and collection

The Polish government has purchased a private art collection, including one of Leonardo da Vinci’s most famous paintings, for a fraction of its value. The Czartoryski collection of about 86,000 pieces, based in the city of Krakow, includes da Vinci’s Lady with an Ermine and works by Rembrandt. Lady with an Ermine, painted in 1490, is one of only four portraits of women by Da Vinci.

Russia to respond to diplomat expulsion

Russia has promised to respond to the expulsion of 35 of its diplomats from Washington. US has announced sanctions against nine entities and individuals including two Russian intelligence agencies, the GRU and the FSB. President Barack Obama had vowed action against Russia amid US accusations that it directed cyber-attacks against the Democratic Party and Hillary Clinton’s campaign.

Obama expels 35 Russian diplomats

The Obama administration on Thursday announced its retaliation for Russian efforts to interfere with the US presidential election. It ordered sweeping new sanctions that included the expulsion of 35 Russians. US intelligence services believe Russia ordered cyber-attacks on the Democratic National Committee (DNC), Hillary Clinton’s campaign and other political organizations.

Sevilla midfielder investigated

Sevilla midfielder Samir Nasri is being investigated by the Spanish Anti-Doping Agency over treatment he received at a Los Angeles clinic. The Drip Doctors clinic posted a tweet saying the star had been given an immunity IV drip. It triggered a series of embarrassing tweets, which were subsequently deleted, leading to the Frenchman claiming his account had been hacked.

Mansell voted greatest F1 champion

Nigel Mansell has been named Formula 1’s greatest one-time world champion by BBC Sport readers. His 32% share was almost double that of fellow Briton James Hunt, the 1976 champion, who got 17%. He’s seventh on the all-time list of grand prix winners, enjoyed a stellar 15-year career. He was rated by many as the strongest and bravest driver in an era of megastars

Nuke Club May Allow India’s Membership

A new draft proposal circulated among Nuclear Suppliers Group member states could pave the way for India to become a member of the elite club. The American push for India to become a full-fledged member of the NSG would now have to be pursued by the incoming Trump Administration. India’s NSG membership is an unfinished agenda of the India-US relationship of the outgoing US President

Cabinet Approves Note Ban Ordinance

The Cabinet approved promulgation of an Ordinance to make possession of a large number of scrapped banknotes of old 1,000 & 500 rupee a penal offence after March 31st. The possession will attract a monetary fine of Rs 10,000 or five times the cash held. A maximum of 10 banned notes may be allowed to be held by any person. The Ordinance will come into force once it gets Presidential assent.

NSE Files IPO Papers with Sebi

The National Stock Exchange (NSE) filed draft papers with market regulator SEBI for its much-awaited IPO. The IPO is expected to be one of the biggest in recent times, with an estimated size of over Rs, 10,000 crore. The offer may give the exchange a valuation of Rs. 50,000-55,000 crore. NSEs IPO would be the biggest initial public offering after Coal India.

SIB Launches Mobile Banking App

South Indian Bank has introduced a NRI-focused mobile banking application called SIB Mirror+. SIB Mirror+ equips the customers to perform almost all banking transactions from their smart phones. The app comes with self-registration facility for ease of activation. The innovative feature Social Money allows customers to transfer money from & to their friends through social media channels.

Twitter Partners with ICICI Bank

Twitter & ICICI Bank announced a partnership that integrates a slew of digital customer care support features for the bank. It will benefit customers with direct online response to their queries and feedback in real-time. Customers can now use these functions to resolve their banking related queries. ICICI Bank is the first bank in India to implement the new features to its Twitter account.

Cabinet Okays Sale of First Pharma Firm

The Union Cabinet has approved the sale of India’s first pharmaceutical company Bengal Chemicals and Pharmaceuticals as well as Hindustan Antibiotics. This is the second strategic sale approval after 12 years. The first one was in Sept when the Cabinet had cleared the strategic sale of Bharat Pumps & Compressors. BCPL was set up in 1892 by eminent scientist Prafulla Chandra Ray.

Govt Grants Rs 200 crore for Dyeing Units

The Centre has sanctioned ?200 crores for Tirupur’s dyeing industry that was on the verge of closure due to severe financial crisis. Tirupur is a hub of the textile processing and knitting industry providing employment to over five lakh persons. It contributes 22% of India’s total garment exports. The 200 crore assistance is in the form of an interest free loan to be converted into grant.

RBI Allows Banks to Include Unlisted Cos

The RBI has allowed banks to facilitate issuance of prepaid payments instruments (PPIs) to unlisted corporates, public entities. Banks may include other entities/employers such as unlisted corporates, public organisations like municipal corporations for onward issuance to their staff or workers. Pre-paid payment instruments helps purchase of goods and services against the value stored in it.

Sir Bradley Wiggins Retires from Cycling

Five-time Olympic champion Sir Bradley Wiggins has announced his retirement from cycling. Wiggins became Britain’s most decorated Olympian in August when he won the team pursuit gold on the track in Rio, his fifth gold and eighth Olympic medal. He secured eight world titles on the road and track. He set the world record for the furthest distance ridden in one hour.

Former TT Int. Pappu Haldankar Dies

Former international table tennis player and a former India number one, Prafulla ‘Pappu’ Haldankar passed away. He started playing table tennis for Deccan Gymkhana, Pune and represented India for 5 years from 1961 to 1965. He was ranked first in India in 1961-62 season. He also represented the country in two Asian Championships and two World Championships.

Ana Ivanovic Retires from Tennis

Former world number one &d 2008 French Open champion Ana Ivanovic from Serbia has retired from tennis. She spent 12 weeks as world number one in 2008 and won 15 career singles titles. She has been out with injury since August and dropped to 63 in the world rankings. She reached the French Open semi-final in 2015 & was runner-up at Wimbledon in 2007 & at the 2008 Australian Open.

Anil Baijal to be Next Delhi L-G

The President has formally appointed former Union home secretary Anil Baijal as the Lt Governor of Delhi. The post had fallen vacant after the sudden resignation of Najeeb Jung. Baijal had served as Union home secretary under the Atal Bihari Vajpayee government besides holding key positions in other ministries. He is a former vice chairman of Delhi Development Authority.

Cabinet Approves ISA Framework Agreement

Cabinet has given ex-post facto approval to Ministry of New and Renewable Energy’s proposal for ratification of International Solar Alliance, ISA’s Framework Agreement by India. ISA was launched jointly by PM Modi & French President Francois Hollande in November last year. ISA will strive to bring together more than 121 nations for coordinated research,low cost financing & rapid deployment..

Panel Reconstituted for AIIMS Top Job

The search-cum-selection committee, tasked with shortlisting names for the AIIMS director’s post, has been reconstituted following orders from the PM’s Office. It would be headed by the Health Secretary instead of the Union Health Minister. The new five-member panel will be led by Health Secretary C K Mishra as the chairman. The PMO last week had ordered reconstitution of the search panel.

CM Khandu Inaugurates 6th ALG in Tuting

The Indian Air Force Advanced Landing Ground, ALG at Tuting in Arunachal Pradesh has become functional. The ALG was inaugurated by State Chief Minister Pema Khandu. The strategic location of Tuting ALG will make it a launching pad for the IAF operations as well as a facilitator to the Administration. With ALGs being operationalised in Tuting, Mechuka, Aalo, Pasighat, Ziro & Vijoynagar.

Khattar Inaugurates DIATC at Gurugram

Haryana CM Manohar Lal inaugurated country’s first Digital Investigation,Training & Analysis Centre (DIATC) at Gurugram. It would enhance technological capabilities of the police in solving cybercrime cases. It is first of its kind, has been set up in collaboration with National Technical Research Organisation. The Centre has Cyber Forensic Laboratory & has Social Media Monitoring Lab.

Colombia Approves Peace Deal Amnesty

The Colombian Congress has approved a law offering amnesty to some of those accused of minor crimes in the country’s decades-long civil conflict. President Juan Manuel Santos hailed it as a the first step towards the consolidation of peace with the Farc guerrilla group. The amnesty is part of a revised deal agreed after the original pact with the Farc was rejected in a popular vote.

China Begins Transport Water from Tibet

China started transporting bottled water to other parts of the country by charter trains from the Himalayan rivers in Tibet. A train full of Tibetan bottled water left Lhasa, the provincial capital of Tibet Autonomous Region. It is the first of a regular set of cargo trains to bring bottled drinking water from Tibet. Tibet, often called Asia’s Water Tower, is rich in water resources.

Pak PM Inaugurates Chashma Nuclear Project

Pakistan PM Nawaz Sharif inaugurated the Chashma Nuclear Project – III, having a capacity of generating 340 megawatts of electricity. The 340MW power plant is a joint collaboration of Pakistan Atomic Energy Commission & China National Nuclear Corporation. This is the third project after successful operation of Chashma-I & Chashma-II projects. Chashma – IV Project is to be completed in 2017

US Actress Debbie Reynolds Dies

US actress Debbie Reynolds has passed away, a day after the death of her daughter Carrie Fisher. The Hollywood legend is best known for her role in the 1952 musical “Singin’ in the Rain”. She was nominated for a best actress Oscar for her role in “The Unsinkable Molly Brown”, a 1964 musical. She received an honorary Oscar in 2015 & the Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award.

Scarlett Johansson Ist Top Grossing Actor

Scarlett Johansson has been named as the top grossing actor of 2016 by Forbes magazine. The US actor topped the list after her films brought in $1.2 billion globally over the past 12 months. Johansson’s Marvel co-stars Chris Evans and Robert Downey Jr tied for second place with $1.15bn each. Forbes calculated the annual ranking using the global ticket sales of top actors’ films.

PM Lays Foundation Stone of Highway

PM Modi laid the foundation stone of Char Dham highway development project in Dehradun. The Project will benefit people visiting holy shrines in Uttarakhand. The project will allow uninterrupted access for pilgrims to the four Himalayan shrines of Kedarnath, Badrinath, Gangotri and Yamunotri. Mr. Modi also visited exhibition during the launch of Char Dham highway development project.

Former MP CM Sunderlal Patwa Dies

Former Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister and seasoned BJP leader Sunderlal Patwa has passed away. He was a two-time Chief Minister of Madhya Pradesh. His first term lasted a month in 1980 & his second term lasted for two years from 1990 to 1992. He was also elected to the Lok Sabha from Chhindwara in 1997. He also won the 1999 Lok Sabha poll from Hoshangabad.

CCEA Approves Road Connectivity Project

Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs has approved centrally sponsored road connectivity project for Left Wing Extremism, LWE affected areas to improve rural road connectivity. The project aims to provide connectivity in 44 worst left wing affected districts. It will be implemented under Prime Minister Gram Sadak Yojana. It is critical from security & communication point of view.

Gujarat Announces Biotechnology Policy

Gujarat government has introduced the Biotechnology Policy-2016. It aims to establish Gujarat as a preferred destination for manufacturing of biotechnology products. Under this policy, state govt would provide capital subsidy up to Rs 25 crore on the total investment for developing a Biotechnology (BT) Park. The developer of such park will be eligible for 100% reimbursement of stamp duty

SRK Receives Honorary Doctorate

Bollywood’s superstar Shah Rukh Khan has received an honorary doctorate from Maulana Azad National Urdu University (MANUU) in Hyderabad. Chancellor Zafar Sareshwala conferred the ‘honorius causa’ (doctor of letters) on Khan and Rekhta Foundation founder Sanjiv Saraf. They were honored for their extraordinary contribution in promotion of the Urdu language and culture through his films.

Trump Pick Thomas Bossert as Top Adviser

US, President-elect Donald Trump has named an experienced national security adviser to serve as Assistant to the President for Homeland Security and Counter terrorism. Thomas Bossert will advise the President on issues related to homeland security, counter terrorism, and cyber security. He will coordinate the Cabinet’s process for formulating and executing policy.

Star Wars Actress Carrie Fisher Dies

Carrie Fisher, the actress best-known for playing Princess Leia in the Star Wars franchise, has passed away. She got her showbiz start at age 12 in her mother’s Las Vegas nightclub act. She made her film debut as a teenager in the 1975 comedy “Shampoo,” two years before her “Star Wars” breakthrough. She was also a successful writer, publishing several novels and memoir.

China Launches Two Satellites

China successfully launched two high-resolution remote sensing satellites to get commercial images. The satellites called ‘SuperView-1 01/02’ were launched from the Taiyuan Satellite Launch Centre in Shanxi Province. They are able to provide commercial images at 0.5-meter resolution. The satellites launch followed release of a white paper which said China plans to form a BeiDou network.

Former Sri Lankan PM Wickremanayake Dies

Former Sri Lankan Prime Minister Ratnasiri Wickremanayake passed away. Wickremanayake is a senior member of the Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP) and was serving as a senior advisor to President Maithripala Sirisena. He was appointed Prime Minister by former President Mahinda Rajapaksa on November 21, 2005. He had earlier served as Prime Minister from August 2000- December 2001.

Japan PM Offers Pearl Harbor Condolences

Japanese PM Shinzo Abe has visited the US naval base at Pearl Harbor. He offered “sincere and everlasting condolences” to the victims of Japan’s attack on the base 75 years ago. Mr Abe was accompanied by US President Barack Obama, making the visit the first by the leaders of both countries. Japan devastated much of the base, killing more than 2,400 Americans.

Nedumkayam 1st Digital Tribal Colony

The Nedumkayam tribal colony at Nilambur in Malapuram District of Kerala has become the first cashless and digital tribal colony in the country. The declaration was made after adequate training for the entire tribal people. The training was completed with the support of National Service Scheme, volunteers of an Arts and Science College at Kondotty & Jan Sikshan Sansthan.

Farmers Get 60 more Days to Repay Loans

The Reserve Bank gave an additional 60 days to repay their crop loans due in November-December. Prompt repayment would be eligible for the extra 3 per cent interest subsidy. According to the Interest Subvention Scheme for the year 2016-17, besides subvention of 2 per cent per annum, an additional interest subvention of 3 per cent is provided for prompt payment.

FCRA Licences of 20,000 NGOs Cancelled

Licences of around 20,000 of 33,000 NGOs have been cancelled by the govt. Licences were cancelled after they were found to be allegedly violating various provisions of the FCRA, thus barring them from receiving foreign funds. After cancellation of FCRA licences only 13,000 NGOs are legally valid now. The exercise of reviewing the working of the NGOs was started about a year ago.

Paytm to Invest ?50 crore

E-wallet major Paytm would invest ? 50 crore to set up a 100-member strong merchant help desk to educate them on various aspects of digital payments. Under this program, merchants will be educated on all the important aspects & also dispelling a lot of myth around safety, security and delay in money transfer. Paytm currently has over 1.5 million merchants on its platform.

Bank of Maharashtra Adopt a Village

Bank of Maharashtra, has adopted the village of Malangaon, in Sangli district, Maharashtra. It aims to make it a completely cashless village. The bank Business Correspondents did door to door campaigns across the village to enroll the people through Aadhaar linked bank accounts to enable them to make payments digitally. The bank also conducted various educational initiatives in the village.

Viral Acharya Appointed RBI Deputy Gov

The government has appointed Viral V Acharya as one of the central bank’s four deputy governors for a term of three years. The RBI had a vacancy for Deputy Governor after Urjit Patel was promoted to Governor earlier this year. Acharya teaches at the Stern School of Business in New York university. He has research interests in regulation of banks, corporate finance, credit risk.

Meghalaya to Host 2022 National Games

Meghalaya will host the 2022 National Games. Indian Olympic Association, IOA accepted Meghalaya’s bid to host the National Games overshadowing four other bidders Andhra Pradesh, Goa, Chhattisgargh and Uttarakhand. Meghalaya will be the third northeastern state after Manipur and Assam to host the National Games. Goa will host the next National Games in November 2017.

Gujarat’s Samit Gohel Slams Unbeaten 359

Gujarat batsman Samit Gohel created a world record in the ongoing Ranji Trophy quarter-final match against Odisha. He notched up the highest score by an opener in the history of first-class cricket. He remained unbeaten on 359 as he surpassed the 117-year old record set by Surrey’s Bobby Abel who scored 357. He also become the fourth triple centurion in the history of first-class cricket.

Kalmadi, Chautala IOA Life Presidents

Suresh Kalmadi and Abhay Singh Chautala were appointed as life presidents of Indian Olympic Association. Before Kalmadi & Chautala, only Vijay Kumar Malhotra, who served as acting IOA chief between 2011 and 2012, was made the Life President. Kalmadi served as IOA president from 1996 to 2011. Chautala served as the president of Indian Olympic Association from December 2012 to February 2014.

Virat Named as Australia’s ODI Captain

Virat Kohli has been named as the captain of Cricket Australia’s ODI team of the year. He was preferred over Australian captain Steve Smith. Recently he was also named the captain of ICC’s ODI team of the year. Another Indian cricketer who got place in the Cricket Australia’s ODI team is Jasprit Bumrah. The unorthodox pace bowler had a great first year in international cricket.

First Digi Dhan Mela Held in Gurugram

The first Digi Dhan mela in the country was organised on Monday in Gurugram. The fair also educated the people on how to use mobile phones or AADHAR for making payments online. There were also counters for making Aadhar cards. 15000 winners of the Lucky Grahak Yojana daily reward were also drawn. This was the first such fair in the country since demonetisation for educating masses.

KVG Bank Launches Bank Sakhi Scheme

The Karnataka Vikas Grameen Bank (KVGB) has come out with an innovative method of employing women in villages to promote and popularize cashless transaction. The bank launched a scheme named ‘Bank Sakhi’ at a programme. Under the initiative, the bank would APPOINT women business correspondents called “Bank Sakhi” in select villages where this scheme would be implemented.

Households Own 61.5% of Bank Deposits

The RBI has said households owned the majority of deposits, 61.5% of the total bank deposits of Rs 98,41,290 crore. The government sector and the private corporate sector followed contributing 12.8 per cent and 10.8 per cent, respectively. A majority (63.8 per cent) of the deposits was term deposits. The combined share of current and savings deposits increased to 36.2 per cent in 2016.

Indian Banks May Raise $30 billion

Indian banks need around USD 90 billion additional capital by March 2019. One-third of this amount is expected to be raised through bonds, says a report. Indian banks are likely to become more active in the Additional Tier 1 (AT1) market in 2017, after issuing around USD 2.8 billion so far in 2016. Banks need around USD 90 billion in extra capital by March 2019 to support credit growth.

First Case Under the Bankruptcy Code

ICICI Bank Ltd has filed an application in the National Company Law Tribunal (NCLT) against Innoventive Industries Ltd to initiate a corporate insolvency process under the new bankruptcy law. This is the first case in India filed under the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code, 2016. The Pune-based steel products maker had debt of Rs955 crore at the end of September.

BMW to Recall 1.93 lakh Cars in China

German automaker BMW will recall 1,93,611 cars in China over a defect in their airbags. About 1,68,861 imported cars manufactured between December 9, 2005 and December 23, 2011 as well as 2,4,750 sedans will be recalled from August 1, 2017. When the driver and front passenger airbags of the affected vehicles inflate, the gas generators inside may become damaged and cause flying debris.

Tata Motors Signs up Akshay Kumar

Tata Motors roped in Bollywood star Akshay Kumar as brand ambassador for its commercial vehicle (CV) business unit. Besides products and solutions, he will be actively involved in a host of innovative marketing and customer experience initiatives. Akshay’s popularity will further help complement & articulate the future direction of the Tata Motors commercial vehicles brand.

Jharkhand Enter Ranji Trophy Semi-finals

Jharkhand defeated Haryana by 5 wickets at Vadodara last evening to enter the Ranji Trophy semi-finals for the first time. With the win, Jharkhand has joined Tamil Nadu in the semi-final stage. Tamil Nadu had defeated Karnataka by 7 wickets in the other last-8 match. The remaining two quarter-finals are still being played. Mumbai is taking on Hyderabad, while Gujarat is playing Odisha.

New Zealand Beat Bangladesh in First ODI

Opener Tom Latham’s career best 137 set New Zealand up for a crushing 77-run victory over Bangladesh in their opening one-day international at Christchurch. With the help of Latham and Colin Munro’s 87, New Zealand posted 341 for 7. The Bangladesh innings closed at 264 for 9 with Mushfiqur Rahim retired hurt. It was New Zealand’s highest score in 26 matches against Bangladesh.

Bhambri wins ITF Hong Kong F4 Futures

Indian Tennis Player Yuki Bhambri, clinched $10000 ITF Hong Kong F4 Futures title. It was his 11th title on the ITF Pro Circuit. He defeated Shintaro Imai of Japan 6-4, 7-5 who has been placed at second position. Yuki Bhambri is an Indian professional tennis player and former Junior No. 1. He was the winner of the 2009 Australian Open Junior Championship.

India Test-Fires Agni-5 Missile

India successfully test-fired intercontinental surface-to-surface nuclear capable ballistic missile Agni-5. The missile developed by the Defence Research and Development Organisation. The three-stage solid propellant Agni 5 missile is capable of striking a target more than 5,000 kilometres. It is about 17 metre long, 2 metre wide and has launch weight of around 50 tonnes.

Sagarmala Development Co. Office Opened

Union Road Transport and Highways Minister Nitin Gadkari inaugurated Sagarmala Development Company’s (SDC) office in New Delhi. The SDC has been incorporated under the Companies Act, 2013. The Union Cabinet in July 2016 had approved formation of the SDC under the administrative control of the Union Ministry of Shipping. The main objective SDC is to identify port-led development projects.

RBI introduces incremental CRR

The RBI has introduced an incremental Cash Reserve Ratio of 100 per cent for the fortnight. It aims to absorb the surge in liquidity of banking system following the demonetisation of high value notes. CRR is the portion of the deposits which banks are required to park to the RBI. The incremental CRR is intended to be a temporary to drain excess liquidity in the system.

Odisha Launch Malaria Control Programme

The Odisha govt has decided to launch a new malaria control programme, Durgama Anchalare Malaria Nirakaran (DAMAN). It aims to control malaria in inaccessible areas. The programme will be implemented in 8000 villages of all 79 blocks of eight high malaria endemic districts. These districts contributed around 60% cases and 56% death to the state malaria burden in 2015 – 16.

Singer George Michael Passes Away

George Michael, the English singer, songwriter, and record producer who rose to fame as a member of Wham! has passed away. Michael, whose real name is Georgios Kyriacos Panayiotou, rose to fame as the lead singer of the pop-duo Wham! He delivered a series of hits such as Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go, Young Guns & Freedom. He sold more than 100 million albums throughout a career.

US Astronomer Vera Rubin Dies

US Astronomer Vera Rubin,whose pioneering work on galaxy rotation rates led to the theory of dark matter, has died. In 1974,Rubin discovered that the stars at the edges of galaxies moved faster than expected. Her studies earned her numerous honours, including elected at the US National Academy of Sciences. In 1993, US President Bill Clinton presented her with the national Medal of Science.

China Passes Environment Tax Law

China has passed a new law to levy environment tax on polluters, specially on heavy industries. The Environment Tax Law was adopted by the legislature. The law will enter into force on January 1, 2018. The tax rate will be 1.2 yuan per unit of atmospheric pollution, 1.4 yuan per unit of water pollution, 5 yuan per tonne of coal waste & 1,000 yuan per tonne of hazardous waster.

Saudi Launches Campaign to Collect Fund

Saudi Arabia has launched a fundraising campaign for Syrians displaced by a five-year civil war. More than 11 million Syrians – around half of the population – have been displaced by the fighting, which began in 2011 and has killed more than 300,000 people. Saudi Arabia has been one of the main supporters of rebels fighting to topple Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

China Tests New Stealth Fighter

China successfully tested its newest twin-engine radar-evading stealth fighter of the fifth generation. The newest version of the J-31 now renamed the FC-31 Gyrfalcon — took to the air for the first time The new FC-31 has better stealth capabilities & improved electronic equipment. The jet is manufactured by Shenyang Aircraft Corp.,a subsidiary of the Aviation Industry Corp of China.

Ammonia Detected in Earth’s Troposphere

For the first time, researchers have discovered ammonia in the Earth’s lowest atmospheric layer. The highest emissions of the gas were encountered in North India & Southeast China. The gas is responsible for the formation of aerosols, smallest particles that might contribute to cloud formation. Ammonia, a chemical compound of nitrogen & hydrogen, mainly originates from agricultural processes.