Daily Current Affairs - 19th Sep 2017

38th meeting of Transport Development Council to be held in Gujarat

  • The 38th meeting of the Transport Development Council will be held in Vadodara, Gujarat. Transport ministers from all states will discuss seamless transport across state borders and digital payments in state road transport undertakings, among other issues.
  • The Council meeting will give an opportunity to the state transport ministers to get exposure on the new and upcoming reforms in the transport sector. There will be a discussion on public transport reforms and bus ports.
  • The Transport Development Council is the highest body to advise the Centre on matters relating to roads and road transport. The Union minister of Road Transport and Highways is its chairman and the council meets at least once a year.

Arjan Singh, India's first ever IAF Marshal, passed away on 16th September, Cremated with state honours.

  • Marshal of the Indian Air Force Arjan Singh, one of Independent India’s most celebrated soldiers, passed away. He was 98. Arjan Singh became the chief of IAF when he was just 44.
  • Throughout the 1965 war with Pakistan, Singh showed exemplary leadership, and was awarded the Padma Vibhushan for his leadership during the war and subsequently the rank of the CAS was upgraded to that of Air Chief Marshal. Singh thus became the first Air Chief Marshal of the Indian Air Force. Till date he is the only Air Force officer to have been promoted to the five-star rank.
  • After his retirement in July 1969, he was appointed Indian ambassador to Switzerland.

Bangladesh to initiate dialogue with Myanmar on Rohingya issue

  • The Bangladesh government is likely to hold ministerial- level talks with Myanmar regarding the Rohingya issue on the sidelines of the ongoing United Nations General Assembly meeting in New York. Bangladesh official stated that they made a few proposals to the Myanmar government but have not received any favourable response.
  • Dhaka made it clear that to resolve the issue, the Myanmar government had to take the Rohingyas back as citizens. As there are currently about 800,000 Rohingya Muslims in Bangladesh.

Centre to form inter-ministerial committee to monitor implementation of safety measures in schools

  • The Centre has decided to form an inter-ministerial committee to monitor implementation of safety measures in its schools across the country in the wake of brutal killing of a student in Gurgaon . A committee of six secretaries will be constituted to monitor the implementation and progress of the guidelines.
  • The committee will have secretaries of Human Resource Development, Women and Child Development Ministry, Tribal Affairs, Minority Affairs, Social Justice and Empowerment and Drinking water and sanitation. It will conduct a series of meetings to develop a roadmap as well as a timeline for implementation of the measures recommended.

Croatia Open TT: Diya wins second bronze

  • Diya Chitale made her presence at the Croatia Junior and Cadet Open table tennis tournament by winning two bronze medals in the u-15 cadet girl’s team event and in the cadet girls’ singles. She upset World No. 7 and No. 2 seed, Japan’s Satsuki Odo, 11-7, 3-11, 11-8, 12-10 to be assured of the second bronze medal.

Gopi Chand’s ‘Operation Olympia’ camp from January

  • With eyes on the 2020 and the 2024 Olympics, chief national coach P. Gopi Chand will start a long-term camp for shuttlers in the 14-17 age-group at the Regional Sports Centre. Gopi Chand had a look at nearly 200 children at the Rajiv Gandhi indoor stadium.
  • The camp, a part of the Kerala State Sports Council’s ‘Operation Olympia’ scheme which has a tie-up with the famed Gopi Chand Academy in Hyderabad, will first have a short camp of about one month in Kochi in December from which the players for the long-term camp at the Regional Sports Centre here will be identified.

Hasmukh Adhia-headed panel to meet export promotion associations on exporters' issues post GST

  • Revenue Secretary Hasmukh Adhia- headed panel will meet export promotion associations in New Delhi to deliberate on the issues faced by the industry under the Goods and Services Tax, GST. Representatives from eight export promotion associations will discuss the difficulties faced by the exporters. This will be its first meeting ever since the constitution of the panel.
  • The panel is mandated to recommend to the GST Council a suitable strategy for helping the export sector in the post-GST set-up.
  • Exporters have been complaining that about Rs 1.8 lakh crore of working capital has been locked up in refunds due from the tax department ever since introduction of GST from July 1.

Nigerian lawyer gets top UN peace prize

  • A Nigerian lawyer who helped secure the release of more than 100 schoolgirls kidnapped by Boko Haram was awarded the annual Nansen award for his crucial mediating role as well as his work helping children affected by the long-running conflict.
  • Mr. Mustapha set up The Future Prowess Islamic Foundation School 10 years ago, which has since proved a lifeline for children in conflict-riven and impoverished northeast Nigeria. The primary school has 540 pupils — more than half of them girls. Students include the children of Boko Haram fighters and Nigerian soldiers.

Norms eased for fund raising by REITs, InvITs

  • The Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) has relaxed the guidelines for Real Estate Investment Trusts (REITs) and Infrastructure Investment Trusts (InvITs) in order to broaden the scope of fund raising by such instruments.
  • SEBI decided to allow REITs and InvITs to raise capital by issuing debt securities while also giving approval for the former to lend to an underlying holding company or a special purpose vehicle (SPV).
  • The relaxation would help these investment products gain traction as only a few entities have so far managed to raise such funds. On the BSE, only two InvITs, India Grid Trust & IRB InvIT Fund, are listed.
  • A REIT is a type of security that invests in real estate through property or mortgages and often trades on major exchanges like a stock. REITs provide investors with an extremely liquid stake in real estate.
  • InvITs, are instruments that work like mutual funds. InvITs are designed to pool small sums of money from a number of investors to invest in assets that give cash flow over a period of time.

OVL can run Azeri oilfield till 2049

  • ONGC Videsh (OVL), the overseas arm of state-owned Oil and Natural Gas Company, said a consortium it is part of has entered into an agreement with the Azerbaijan Government and State Oil Company of the Azerbaijan Republic (SOCAR) to extend the duration of the production sharing agreement (PSA) for a major oilfield to December 31, 2049. The PSA is for the Azeri-Chirag-Deep water portion of Gunashli (ACG).

Rolling Stone magazine to be put up for sale

  • Rolling Stone, the iconic 50-year-old magazine of music and counterculture, is putting itself up for sale amid an increasingly uncertain outlook. Jann Wenner, who started Rolling Stone in 1967 as a student in Berkeley, California told that the future looked tough for a family-run publisher.
  • Rolling Stone last year sold a 49% stake to a Singaporean music and technology start-up, BandLab Technologies, which is headed by Kuok Meng Ru, the scion of one of Asia’s richest families.

Stayzilla faces insolvency proceedings

  • The National Company Law Tribunal (NCLT) in Chennai has ordered the initiation of corporate insolvency resolution process against Inasra Technologies Private Ltd. NCLT has also appointed an interim resolution professional to take charge of the management of the corporate debtor.
  • Inasra is the parent company of Stayzilla, an online homestay aggregator. The petition was filed by one of its vendors, Jigsaw Advertising and Solutions. Jigsaw went to NCLT as Inasra Technologies defaulted in payment of its dues to the tune of Rs. 1.69 crore.

Telecom operators seek more time to meet quality norms

  • The telecom industry has urged regulator TRAI to consider a six-month extension to the October 1 deadline it had set for implementation of new and more stringent quality of services norms. According to the industry body's view to ensure highest quality of services (QoS) standards for the customers, the implementation will require major changes in existing processes and alignment with concerned stakeholders.
  • Under the new regulation, TRAI has recommended a new calculation methodology for Dropped Call Rate (DCR), which will be measured at the mobile tower level instead of telecom circle.
  • In addition, telcos may face a maximum penalty of Rs. 10 lakh if they fail to meet the benchmark for three consecutive quarters.

UK, Canada working toward new bilateral trade deal after Brexit

  • Prime Ministers Theresa May of Britain and Justin Trudeau of Canada has said that their countries are working toward a new bilateral trade deal after the United Kingdom's departure from the European Union.
  • Both leaders said the template for a deal would be the Comprehensive Economic Trade Agreement, which comes largely into effect this week between Canada and the European Union. By using the Canada-EU agreement as the basis for a bilateral deal will ensure the best path forward for all parties.
  • EU-Canada Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement, CETA, eliminates over 90 per cent of trade barriers between Canada and the EU.

UM Lohia plans to set up manufacturing plant

  • UM Lohia Two Wheelers Pvt. Ltd., the Indian arm of the American motorcycle maker UM International, is planning to set up a manufacturing unit to make cruiser motorcycles in India. It has started discussions with its American parent counterpart and might take 18 months for the new unit to come into operations.
  • The new plant along with R&D facility would require an investment of almost Rs. 100 crore.

Virat Kohli maintains top spot in latest ICC rankings of T20 batsmen

  • India skipper Virat Kohli has maintained his top spot in the latest ICC rankings of T20 batsmen. Kohli leads number-two ranked Aaron Finch of Australia by 39 points. In the bowlers' table, Indian pacer Jasprit Bumrah has climbed up a place to be at second position, overtaking South Africa's Imran Tahir. The table is headed by Imad Wasim of Pakistan.
  • In the team rankings, India hold on to the fifth position.

WCD Ministry to hold 1st National Conference on Mission Mode to address Under-Nutrition

  • The Ministry of Women and Child Development will hold the first National Conference in New Delhi on Mission Mode to address Under-Nutrition in the country. This conference is being organized by the Ministry of Women & Child Development, WCD, in collaboration with Ministry of Drinking Water and Sanitation and Ministry of Health & Family Welfare, keeping in mind the goal of Malnutrition Free India-2022.
  • The Centre has decided to lay focused attention on undernutrition and identified 113 most backward districts across the country. The list includes 27 districts from UP, 18 from Bihar and 12 from MP. These districts will be required to improve nutritional outcomes by two to three per cent per year till 2020.

Y.C. Modi appointed NIA chief

  • Y.C. Modi, a senior IPS officer was appointed as Director-General of the National Investigation Agency (NIA). The Appointments Committee of the Cabinet approved Mr. Y.C, Modi’s appointment, issued by the Department of Personnel and Training. He will hold the post till his superannuation on May 31, 2021.
  • Mr. Y.C. Modi, a 1984-batch IPS officer of the Assam-Meghalaya cadre, is now a special director in the CBI. He will take over from Sharad Kumar after he completes his tenure on October 30.
  • Another senior IPS officer, Rajni Kant Misra, has been appointed Director-General of the Sashastra Seema Bal (SSB), which guards the Nepal and Bhutan borders.