Bullet Express Current Affairs, September, 2017
• President Ram Nath Kovind appointed Governors in five states viz. Arunachal Pradesh, Bihar, Tamil Nadu, Assam and Meghalaya. Lieutenant Governor for Andaman and Nicobar Islands was also appointed. The appointments will come into effect from the date incumbents assume charge of new posts.
• The National Institution for Transforming India (NITI) Aayog in partnership with US Government is going to host 8th annual Global Entrepreneurship Summit (GES 2017) in Hyderabad (Telangana) from November 28 to 30, 2017. The theme for this year is “Women First, Prosperity for All” to celebrate entrepreneurship in all its strength, diversity and entirety. This is the first time GES is being held in South Asia.
• State-run Energy Efficiency Services Ltd (EESL) has announced that it will procure 10,000 electric vehicles (EVs) from Tata Motors. It is world’s largest single electric vehicle procurement.
• Domestic telecom equipment provider Vihaan Networks Limited (VNL) signed Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited (BSNL) to launch Relief 123 service to provide disaster management in India.
The third India International Science Festival (IISF-2017) will be held in Chennai, Tamil Nadu from October 13-16, 2017. It will be organised by Ministry of Earth Sciences (MoES), Ministry of Science and Technology (MoST) and Vijnana Bharati (VIBHA).
• Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change (MoEFCC) has notified new Wetland (Conservation and Management) Rules 2017 to prohibit range of activities in wetlands. The new rules will replace earlier rules notified in 2010.
• According to recently released Sample Registration Bulletin (SRS), India has registered a significant decline of 8% in Infant Mortality Rate (IMR) in 2016. IMR in India has declined by three points from 37 per 1000 live births in 2015 to 34 per 1000 live births in 2016.
• An expert committee headed by former Lok Sabha secretary general TK Viswanathan to deal with cybercrimes especially online hate speech has submitted its report to Union Home Ministry.
• The Union Government is finalising electoral bonds scheme in order to bring greater transparency in funding of political parties. The scheme was announced in 2017-18 Union Budget as part of certain electoral funding reforms. It will make India first country in the world to have such unique bonds for electoral funding.
India has signed Letter of Intent (LoI) with Norway to extend cooperation within health sector through Norway India Partnership Initiative (NIPI) for period of three years starting from 2018. Through this LoI, cooperation between both countries will continue to be aligned with development goals of India as outlined in its National Health Policy, 2017 for achievement of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
• Gujarat will become first big state to use Electronic Voting Machine (EVMs) equipped with Voter Verifiable Paper Audit Trail (VVPAT) in coming Assembly elections to make election process more transparent.
• Indian Railways is going to introduce 100 additional local train services on its Mumbai suburban network of Western Railway and Central Railway zones.
• The Central Adoption Resource Authority (CARA) launched monthly Jan Sampark program to enable public to interact with its officials to obtain information related to child adoption.
• The Asian Development Bank (ADB) has decided to increase its annual lending to India to maximum of $4 billion between 2018 and 2022 to help fasten inclusive economic transformation towards upper middle income status.
• A new species of non-venomous aquatic snake named "Aquatic Rhabdops", which was misidentified since 1863, was identified and described as new species from northern Western Ghats in Maharashtra, Goa and North Karnataka.
• The 13th Formation Day of National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) was celebrated across the country. The theme of this year’s Formation Day was School Safety.
The Union Cabinet has approved proposal for revision of policy of Ministry of Defence for providing Defence land to Communication Operators for construction of Shared Communication Towers and allied Infrastructure.
• The Cabinet Committee of Security (CCS) has approved implementation of umbrella scheme of Modernisation of Police Forces (MPF) for years 2017 to 2020 to strengthen country’s law and order mechanism, modernise police forces and effectively fight against terrorism.
• The Cabinet has approved signing of Interbank Local Currency Credit Line Agreement and Cooperation Memorandum relating to Credit Ratings by Exim Bank with member banks under BRICS Interbank Cooperation Mechanism. These agreements were highlighted in BRICS Leaders Xiamen Declaration adopted in Xiamen, China in September 2017.
• The Union Cabinet has approved signing and ratification of Bilateral Investment Treaty (BIT) between India and Belarus on Investments. The Cabinet also approved Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) signed between India and Belarus in oil and gas sector.
• The Union Cabinet has approved signing of memorandum of understanding (MoU) between India and Afghanistan on Technical Cooperation on Police Training and Development.
The Union Ministry of Shipping has renamed Kandla Port Trust as Deendayal Port Trust, by exercising powers conferred on it under Indian Ports Act, 1908. The name was changed as part of yearlong centenary celebrations of Pandit Deendayal Upadhyay, who had stood for uplift of poor and weaker sections of society.
• The World Tourism Day (WTD) is being observed every year on 27th September to raise awareness about importance of tourism. Observance of day aims to foster awareness among international community of importance of tourism and its social, cultural, political and economic value.
• The Union Ministry of Labour and Employment launched Platform for Effective Enforcement for No Child Labour (PENCIL) Portal at National Conference on Child Labour. The PENCIL portal is an electronic platform that aims at involving Centre, State, District, Governments, civil society and general public in achieving the target of child labour free society.
• The Ministry for Social Justice and Empowerment has launched Divyang Sarathi—The accessible and comprehensive mobile application for easy dissemination of information to ‘Divyangjans’. The mobile app aims to empower Divyangjans by providing them easier and convenient access to information pertaining to schemes, scholarships, statutes, institutional support systems, jobs and other crucial information.
• The Ministry of Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution launched web portal of Warehousing Development and Regulatory Authority (WDRA) & Electronic Negotiable Warehouse Receipt (e-NWR) System under Digital India mission.
• According to World Nuclear Industry Status Report 2017, India with six installed nuclear reactors ranks third in world, while China is leading at 20 installed nuclear reactors.
Ministry of Power launched Pradhan Mantri Sahaj Bijli Har Ghar Yojana –"Saubhagya” with an aim at providing last mile electricity connectivity to all rural and urban households. Under the scheme, government will provide free electricity to all households identified under Socio-Economic and Caste Census (SECC) data 2011.
• Prime Minister Narendra Modi has constituted Economic Advisory Council to the Prime Minister (EAC-PM). The five member of council will be headed by Niti Aayog member Dr Bibek Debroy.
• Tribal Cooperative Marketing Development Federation of India Limited (TRIFED) has inked MoU with e-commerce giant Amazon for selling tribal products.
• Eminent Scientist and Bharat Ratna Prof C.N.R. Rao was awarded 2017 Von Hippel Award, the highest international prize in materials research. He is first Indian and first Asian to win this honour.
• Multi-Agency humanitarian assistance and disaster relief exercise Pralay Sahayam was recently held in Hyderabad to create public awareness about man-made and natural climate change and urban disasters including flooding.
• The Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas launched country-wide Pradhan Mantri LPG Panchayat scheme to distribute LPG connections among rural areas where conventional fuel is used for domestic purposes.
• Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has floated a five-point peace proposal at United Nations to find a permanent solution to Rohingya crisis. She called for immediate steps to end ethnic cleansing of Rohingya minority as it has deepened crisis along Bangladesh’s border with Myanmar where over 430,000 refugees fleeing violence in Rakhine State since August 2017.
The Ministry of Science & Technology has launched Pandit Deen Dayal Upadhayay Vigyan Gram Sankul Pariyojana to formulate and implement appropriate S&T interventions for sustainable development through cluster approach in Uttarakhand.
• Prime Minister Narendra Modi inaugurated Deendayal Hastkala Sankul, a trade facilitation centre and Crafts Museum for handicrafts at Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh.
• National Institution for Transforming India (NITI) Aayog’s SATH (Sustainable Action for Transforming Human capital) Program was launched in in Guwahati, Assam.
• The Film Federation of India (FFI) has selected Hindi film Newton, a black comedy on foibles of democracy to represent India in Best Foreign Language category at 90th Academy Awards (Oscars) to be held in February 2018. It was unanimously chosen by FFI’s selection committee, headed by Telugu producer C V Reddy from 26 entries received this year.
• The National Institution for Transforming India (NITI) Aayog and International Road Federation (IRF), Geneva have signed Statement of Intent (SoI) to cooperate in field of Intelligent Transportation Systems (ITS).
The 6th edition of VASTRA– An International Textile and Apparel Fair 2017 (VASTRA 2017) was recently held in Jaipur, Rajasthan.
• The Union Government is planning to safeguard fast-eroding Majuli island — world’s largest riverine island using research carried out on floating Brahmaputra Biodiversity and Biology Boat (B4) labs along Brahmaputra River.
• The Union Cabinet has approved introduction of Dentists (Amendment) Bill, 2017 in Parliament subject to modifications of drafting as may be considered necessary by Legislative Department. The Bill seeks to amend the Dentists Act, 1948 to include certain modifications in order to reduce the redundancy.
• India is collaborating with Russia to build Rooppur nuclear power plant in Bangladesh. It will be first initiative under an India-Russia nuclear deal to undertake atomic energy projects in third countries. It will also be India’s first atomic energy venture abroad.
• The Union Government is hopeful that strategic Chabahar Port in Iran will be operational by end of 2018. Iran is expected to send application to EXIM Bank of India for providing first tranche of loan from the $150 million credit line to activate the contract between India and Iran for Chabahar Port.
• State-owned Oil and Natural Gas Corporation (ONGC) has made oil discovery in WO-24-3 well located west of Mumbai High fields in Arabian Sea. The well is estimated to hold in-place reserve of about 20 million tonnes.
The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) extended time period “Special Industry Initiative for J&K” (Sll J&K)- Udaan Scheme till December, 2018 without any modification and cost escalation.
• The Union Cabinet approved revamped Khelo India programme that aims at mainstreaming sport as tool for individual development, community development, economic development and national development.
• The Union Cabinet has given its approval for rationalization/merger and modernization plan of 17 Government of India Presses (GIPs)/Units into 5 GIPs.
• India is going to conduct first BIMSTEC Disaster Management Exercise- 2017 (DMEx-2017) from October 10-13, 2017. It will be conducted by National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) as the lead agency in the National Capital Region (NCR).
• India’s ambitious Zero Hunger Programme through interventions in farm sector will be launched on occasion of World Food Day (October 16) with focus on agriculture, nutrition and health in a symbiotic manner.
The Appointment Committee of Cabinet (ACC) has appointed senior IPS officer YC Modi as Director-General (DG) of National Investigation Agency (NIA). He will succeed Sharad Kumar.
• The Ministry of Development of Northeast has invited start-ups from all over country to avail benefits of Northeast Venture Fund in a bid to make Northeast India favourite destination for young Startups.
• The Union Ministry of Home Affairs has launched full-fledged intelligence wing of Sashastra Seema Bal (SSB). SSB is paramilitary force that guards India’s borders with Bhutan and Nepal.
• Prime Minister Narendra Modi dedicated interstate multi-purpose Sardar Sarovar Dam (Narmada dam project) at Kevadia, Gujarat to the nation on occasion of his 67th birthday.
India’s ace shuttler P V Sindhu (World no. 4) won women’s singles title at 2017 Korea Open Super Series badminton tournament. In summit clash held at Korean capital city Seoul, she defeated Nozomi Okuhara (World No. 7) of Japan in three sets 22-20, 11-21, 20-18.
• The Ministry of Housing & Urban Affairs (MHUA) has ordered review of Floor Space Index (FSI) and Floor Area Ratio (FAR) norms in mega cities of country.
• India and Japan have signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) to set up India Japan Act East Forum to enhance connectivity and promote developmental projects in Northeast India.
• The Union Government has launched Swachhta Hi Seva’ (cleanliness is service), a nation-wide fortnight-long sanitation campaign to highlight the government’s flagship cleanliness initiative Swachh Bharat Mission.
• The Union Government signed $76 million loan deal with Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) for starting upgradation project related to environment management plan at Alang-Sosiya ship recycling shipyards in Gujarat.
• According to UNCTAD’s recently released Trade and Development Report (TDR) 2017, India and China at their current levels of growth will not serve as “growth polls” for global economy in near future.
India and Japan have agreed to ink open sky arrangement to allow airlines from both countries to operate unlimited number of flights.
• The Ministry of Corporate Affairs (MCA) and Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) have signed Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) for automatic and regular exchange of tax information.
• The Union Home Ministry will soon grant citizenship to nearly one lakh Chakma and Hajong refugees, who came from erstwhile East Pakistan (now Bangladesh) five decades ago and are living in northeast.
• India and Japan have signed 15 agreements for enhancing bilateral cooperation in several key areas including investment promotion, civil aviation, and science and technology.
• Foundation stone of India’s first high-speed rail project (bullet train) project was jointly laid by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Japanese counterpart Shinzo Abe at Sabarmati Station ground in Ahmedabad.
The Ministry of External Affairs has started Operation Insaniyat to provided assistance to Bangladesh in response to humanitarian crisis being faced by it due to large influx of Rohingya refugees from Myanmar.
• India ranked low 103rd out of 130 countries surveyed on World Economic Forum’s (WEF) Global Human Capital Index (GHCI) 2017. In the previous edition, India ranked 105th.
• The National Hindi Divas, an annual literary-day is observed on 14 September in Hindi speaking regions of India and other countries with Hindi speaking population.
• India is planning to launch major connectivity initiative, connecting Chennai with key Russian port Vladivostok via sea route with an aim to harness natural resources from Northeast Asia and Western Pacific region.
• The University Grants Commission (UGC) rolled out an application process for universities and higher education institutes (public or private) seeking “institutions of eminence” status.
• The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) approved Dairy Processing & Infrastructure Development Fund (DIDF) Scheme with an outlay of Rs 10,881 crore to boost dairy sector.
India and Belaru have inked 10 agreements to expand cooperation in range of areas including oil and gas, education and sports and also decided to explore joint development and manufacture of military platforms.
• India’s first state of art virology laboratory was inaugurated at Dr. Anjali Chatterjee Regional Research Institute for Homoeopathy in Kolkata, West Bengal.
• Union Finance Ministry has constituted Group of Ministers (GoM) to monitor and resolve IT challenges faced in implementation of Goods and Services Tax (GST). It also Committee on Exports to look into issues of exports.
• The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) has approved survey project to acquire 48,243 Line Kilometer (LKM) 2D seismic data for appraisal of Indian sedimentary basins where limited data is available.
• The Union Cabinet has given approved introduction of the Payment of Gratuity (Amendment) Bill, 2017 in the Parliament. The Bill seeks to amend Payment of Gratuity Act, 1972.
The Union Cabinet has approved proposal for hiving off mobile tower assets of Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited (BSNL) into a separate tower infrastructure company, fully owned by BSNL. Decision in this regard was taken in the Union Cabinet Meeting chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in New Delhi.
• The Union Cabinet has approved Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between India and Japan for collaborative research in the field of silkworm and silk industries. The MoU was signed between Central Silk Board (CSB), India and National Institute of Agrobiological Sciences (NIAS), Japan in November 2016.
• The Union Government has reconstituted six Committees of the Cabinet after recent ministry reshuffle. Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman who was elevated in recent Cabinet restructuring process was inducted as full time member of Cabinet Committee on Security, Cabinet Committees on Economic and Political Affairs. Railway Minister Piyush Goyal and Dharmendra Pradhan were also included as permanent members of the Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA).
• Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) has launched ‘FoSCoRIS’, a nationwide online platform to bring in transparency in food safety inspection and sampling. The food regulator has asked all states to adopt this system as it would help eliminate discrepancy and make food safety officers accountable.
• The second edition of India-Afghanistan Strategic Partnership Council was held in New Delhi. The meeting was co-chaired by External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj and Afghan Foreign Minister Salahuddin Rabbani.
The Union Finance Ministry is planning to launch ‘Project Insight’ from October 2017 to monitor high value transactions and detect tax evaders using technology with a view to curbing circulation of black money.
• The Union Ministry of Commerce and Industries has set up [email protected], an online service facility for effective resolution of foreign trade-related issues of importers and exporters.
• The Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) has successfully twice flight tested indigenously developed 3rd generation Anti-Tank Guided Missile (ATGM) Nag in Rajasthan.
• State-run oil marketing company Bharat Petroleum Corporation (BPCL) is all set to become a Maharatna company. Presently it is having Navratna status.
• The Union Finance Ministry has imposed 18.95% countervailing duty (CVD) on certain Chinese flat steel products for period of five years to protect domestic players from cheap subsidised imports.
• The Central Ground Water Board (CGWB) has inked Memorandum of Agreement (MoA) with Indian Institute of Science (IISc), Bengaluru for Development of ground water flow models and preparation of aquifer management plans for parts of Karnataka.
The Ministry of Civil Aviation has issued rules to tackle on-board disruptive and unruly behaviour by passengers. It allows for formation of national, No Fly List of such unruly passengers.
• The Ministry of Heavy Industries and Public Enterprises has extended the Faster Adoption and Manufacturing of Hybrid and Electric Vehicles (FAME)-India scheme by six months to promote electric and hybrid vehicles.
• India has refused to be a part of Bali Declaration adopted at conclusion of World Parliamentary Forum on Sustainable Development held in Bali, Indonesia to show of solidarity with Myanmar.
• India’s zero-subsidy UJALA (Unnat Jyoti by Affordable Lighting for All) Scheme was launched in Melaka State of Malaysia by Efficiency Services Limited (EESL), under Union Ministry of Power.
• The Indian Institute of Science (IISc) retained top position among Indian Universities in the Times World University Rankings 2018, but its position fell in global rankings compared to its last year position.
• The National Institution for Transforming India (NITI) Aayog has constituted Expert Task Force to provide major thrust to job creation by enhancing India’s exports. It will be headed by NITI Aayog Vice Chairman Dr Rajiv Kumar.
India and Myanmar have signed 11 Memoranda of Understanding (MoUs) in range of sectors, including one on maritime security cooperation.
• The Union Ministry of Human Resource and Development (HRD) has launched Diksha Portal (diksha.gov.in) for providing digital platform to teacher to make their lifestyle more digital.
• The National Institution for Transforming India (NITI) Aayog launched National Nutrition Strategy aimed at Kuposhan Mukt Bharat. It intends at bringing nutrition to centre-stage of National Development Agenda. It lays down roadmap for targeted action to address India’s nutritional needs.
• The Ministry of Health and Family Welfare has launched two new free contraceptives Antara and Chayya in 10 states under Mission ParivarVikas, a central family planning initiative. These 10 states of Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Rajasthan, Karnataka, Haryana, West Bengal, Odisha, Delhi and Goa.
• The Union Ministry of Water Resources, River Development and Ganga Rejuvenation has constituted task force for speedy implementation of various ongoing Namami Gange programme.
• The 12th edition of India-Nepal joint military exercise- Surya Kiran XII was held at Nepal Army Battle School (NABS) in Saljhandi, Nepal.
The Union Government has accepted recommendations of National Anomaly Committee (NAC) to maintain disability pension for defence forces in parity with civilians under 6th Central Pay Commission (CPC).
• The National Teachers Day is observed every year on 5th September in India to commemorate birthday of country’s first Vice President and second President Dr Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan
• The Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) has entered into four more Advance Pricing Agreements (APAs), pertaining to sectors like telecom, banking, manufacturing and education in August 2017.
• The Cell for IPR Promotions & Management (CIPAM) under Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion (DIPP) has launched social media campaign to promote Indian Geographical Indications (GIs).
• The Indian Computer Emergency Response Team (CERT-In) has issued an alert about spread of new ransomware (malicious software) ‘Locky’ that can lock computers and demand ransom for unlocking them.
Nine new members were inducted into Council of Ministers of NDA Government led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in recent reshuffle. The aim of reshuffle was to reinforce 4Ps — passion, proficiency, professional and political acumen in Government.
• India and European Free Trade Association (EFTA) will meet shortly in an attempt to conclude their long pending negotiations on Free Trade Agreement (FTA).
• Assam Government has extended term of Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act (AFSPA), 1958 and declared entire state a Disturbed Area for six more months under Section 3 of AFSP Act. This is for first time state government has extended AFSPA and Disturbed Area provision on its own. In the past, AFSPA provisions in state were always extended by the Centre.
• The 2017 Rajaswa Gyan Sangam, a two-day annual conference of senior tax administrators was held at Vigyan Bhawan, New Delhi. It was inaugurated Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
The Union Ministry of Science and Technology is planning to create FarmerZone, a collective open-source data platform for smart agriculture by using biological research and data to improve lives of small and marginal farmers.
• The Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports has approved constitution of 13-member Empowered Steering Committee (ESC).It will shape and influence India’s preparation for multi-disciplinary events, including 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games.
• The National Nutrition Week will be observed throughout the country from 1st to 7th September. The theme of for year 2017 is "Optimal Infant & Young Child Feeding Practices: Better Child Health".
• India and Switzerland have signed two Memorandum of Understandings (MoUs) for exchanging technical cooperation in the field of Railways.
• The International Translation Day was observed by United Nations for first time on 30 September 2017. The observance of day seeks to recognize contribution of unsung heroes behind international diplomacy who work as language professionals to facilitate dialogue and contribute to development and strengthens world peace and security. It also recognises transposition of literary or scientific work from one language into another language as indispensable to preserve clarity, climate and productiveness in international public communication.
• The World Maritime Day (WMD) is observed every year on September 28 to highlight importance of shipping safety, maritime security and marine environment and to acknowledge maritime industry.
• The World Rabies Day is observed every year on 28 September across the world to raise awareness about rabies disease and its preventable measures. The 2017 theme is ‘Rabies: Zero by 30’.
• The International Day of Peace is observed across the world on 21 September to acknowledge efforts of those who have strived to end conflict and promote peace. This day is also observed as a day of ceasefire.
Tech Giant Google’s Unified Payments Interface (UPI) based digital payment service Tez (meaning fast in Hindi) was launched by Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley in New Delhi.
• The International Day for Preservation of Ozone Layer (or World Ozone Day) is observed every year on September 16 for the preservation of the Ozone Layer. This year, the theme for the Day is 'Caring for all life under the sun'.
• The ASEAN Computer Emergency Response Team Incident Drill (ACID) was recently held in Hanoi, Danang, and Ho Chi Minh City in Vietnam. This year it was 12th year of drills as part of subregion’s response to growing cyber challenges witnessed in recent years.
• The United Nations Security Council (UNSC) has unanimously passed new set of tougher sanctions against North Korea over its sixth and most powerful nuclear test (claimed to be Hydrogen bomb).
• Jordan, a water-poor country that is 90% desert, has launched Sahara Forest Project near the southern port city of Aqaba to turn desert land into farming land to produce food using sun and sea water.
The International Literacy Day (ILD) is being observed every year on 8 September to emphasize the importance of literacy to individuals, society and communities.
• The 9th BRICS summit was held in Xiamen, China. The theme of the summit was "Stronger Partnership for brighter Future". It was for second time the summit was hosted in China after 2011 summit. At the end of summit, BRICS leaders adopted Xiamen declaration.
• Five banks of BRICS Interbank Cooperation Mechanism (ICM) have agreed to establish local currency credit lines and develop cooperation on credit ratings. In this regard, they have signed agreement ahead of 9th BRICS summit to be held in Xiamen, China.
• India and China have jointly submitted proposal to World Trade Organisation (WTO) calling for elimination of most trade-distorting farm subsidies by developed countries. These farm subsidies are known as known as Aggregate Measurement of Support (AMS) or ‘Amber Box’ support.
Business, Economy & Banking
• India was placed at 40th spot among 137 countries in World Economic Forum’s (WEF) Global Competitiveness Index (GCI) 2017-18. India has slipped by one position compared to 39th spot in 2016 GCI.
• State Bank of India (SBI) along with FTSE Russell, global index and data provider launched FTSE SBI Bond Index series at London Stock Exchange (LSE). It is India’s first bond index series for overseas investors.
• The Union Government has issued gazette notification, notifying that Peer-to-peer lending (P2P) platforms will be treated as non-banking financial companies (NBFCs) and thus regulated by Reserve Bank of India (RBI).
• The Union Government has issued gazette notification, notifying that Peer-to-peer lending (P2P) platforms will be treated as non-banking financial companies (NBFCs) and thus regulated by Reserve Bank of India (RBI).
Capital markets regulator SEBI (Securities and Exchange Board of India) amended guidelines of Real Estate Investment Trusts (Reits) and Infrastructure Investments Trusts (InvITs) in order to broaden scope of fund raising by such instruments.
• According to Reserve Bank of India (RBI), India’s foreign exchange (Forex) reserves have crossed $400 billion mark for the first time. The increase was due sharp rise in foreign currency assets.
• London has topped in the 2017 Global Financial Centres Index (GFCI) among 92 financial centres released by the Z/Yen and China Development Institute. India’s financial capital Mumbai was ranked at 60th position, up by three positions compared to previous edition.
The growth of eight core sectors slowed to 2.4% in July 2017 due to contraction in output of crude oil, refinery products, fertiliser and cement. These eight sectors had witnessed 3.1% growth in July 2016.
• The People’s Bank of China (PBC), central bank of China has banned individuals and organisations from raising funds through initial coin offerings (ICO) saying that practice constituted illegal fund-raising.
• The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has added HDFC Bank, the second largest private sector lender of country in list of Domestic Systemically Important Banks (D-SIBs). HDFC Bank is third bank in country to be added in list of D-SIBs after State Bank of India (SBI) and ICICI Bank which were added in 2016 and continue to be in that category.
Science & Technology
• Scientists have successfully detected gravitational waves for fourth time coming from merger of two massive black holes. It was for first time, these waves were simultaneously detected by US-based Laser Interferometer Gravitational-wave Observatory (LIGO) and Italy-based Virgo detectors. The first two detection were made in September and December 2015 in quick succession and for third time it was detected in January 2017.
• ISRO’s globally acclaimed Mars Orbiter Mission (MOM) also known as Mangalyaan completed three years in Martian orbit. It has outlived its original lifespan and is still in good health and continues to work as expected.
• The world’s largest all-composite airplane Stratolaunch in terms of wingspan successfully completed its initial engine tests. It is designed for launching for sending satellite-carrying rockets into low-Earth orbit.
International team of astronomers using NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope have spotted an unusual object called 2006 VW139/288P having two asteroids orbiting each other with comet-like features. These include bright halo of material, called a coma, and long tail of dust. The odd object is first known binary asteroid that is also classified as a main-belt comet.
• NASA’s asteroid-chasing spacecraft Osiris-Rex successfully swung by Earth to put it on desired trajectory towards near earth asteroid Bennu using Earth’s gravity. It passed within 17,237 kilometres from Earth above Antarctica.
• Scientists from University of Manchester have created world’s first ‘molecular robot’ — millionth of a millimetre in size. It can be used to build molecules and may help discover novel drugs.
• The Department of Science and Technology (DST) is planning to fund project to develop quantum computers in order to tap into the next big advance in computing technology.
• Scientists for first time have observed Optical polarisation phenomenon (polarised light emitted by rapidly rotating stars) after it was predicted by Indian astrophysicist and Nobel laureate Subrahmanyan Chandrasekhar 70 years ago.
Scientists from Cardiff University, UK have discovered a new way to produce methanol from methane using oxygen from the air. Methanol is an important chemical often used as fuel in vehicles
• Scientists from Brown University in US have created first map of water trapped in uppermost layer of Moon’s soil. The was build using NASA’s Moon Mineralogy Mapper onboard of India’s Chandrayaan-1 spacecraft.
• The International Astronomical Union (IAU) has named two mountain ranges on icy dwarf planet Pluto as Tenzing Montes and Hillary Montes after Tenzing Norgay and Edmund Hillary.
• Researchers have discovered new species of edible freshwater fish in Pampa river in Pathanamthitta, Kerala. It has been named as Labeo filiferus (L.filiferus) and belongs to Labeo genus.
• India’s first Hyperloop project will come up in Andhra Pradesh, connecting its city centres, Vijayawada and Amaravati.
The world’s largest and powerful X-ray laser- European X-ray Free Electron Laser (XFEL) was unveiled in Hamburg, Germany.
• CSIR scientists have developed an ultra-thin wireless device that mimics plant leaves to produce energy using water and sunlight. The artificial leaf absorbs sunlight to generate hydrogen fuel from water.
• The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) has recommended delicensing of chunk of spectrum in few bands to facilitate smooth roll-out of machine-to-machine (M2M) communications.
• Breakthrough Listen project has detected 15 fast radio bursts (FRBs) coming from a dwarf galaxy about 3 million light years away from earth.
• According to study conducted by researchers from University of Southampton, UK, extreme global warming event 56 million years ago was driven by massive carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions from volcanoes, during formation of North Atlantic Ocean.
Awards & Honors
• The 69th Annual Primetime Emmy Awards ceremony honouring best US prime time television programming was held at the Microsoft Theater in Downtown Los Angeles, California.
• The BCCI has nominated former Indian cricket team captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni (36) for Padma Bhushan, country’s third highest civilian award for his contribution to game. He is only cricketer nominated by BCCI for this years Padma Awards.
• World number one Rafael Nadal (Spain) won the 2017 US Open title in men’s single category. It was his overall 16th Grand Slam title and third US Open title (2010 and 2013).