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British PM Theresa May receives UK Parliament's approval to begin Brexit process

  • UK Prime Minister Theresa May has received Parliament's first stage approval to begin the process of Britain's exit from the European Union (EU) after winning a crucial vote in the House of Commons last night. 
  • British MPs voted in favour of the European Union (Notification of Withdrawal) Bill.498 MPs voted in favour of Brexit Bill, while 114 voted against it. 

Govt to launch TIES to fund export infrastructure

  • A new scheme will be introduced by Govt of India to create infrastructure for exports, a move aimed at reducing transaction costs for traders. A new and restructured central scheme with a focus on export infrastructure namely Trade Infrastructure for Export Scheme (TIES) will be launched in 2017-18.
  • Indian exporters face huge challenges in terms of infrastructure, particularly in states.Inadequate infrastructure pushes their transactions costs, impacting competitiveness of Indian goods in the global markets.Exporters body Federation of Indian Export Organisations (FIEO) said the scheme will help create modern infrastructure like last mile connectivity to ports, testing labs and certification centres.

Agri credit raised to record Rs 10 lakh crore in Financial Year 2018

  • Finance Minister Arun Jaitley announced a whopping Rs 1 lakh crore hike in the credit target for the next financial year to Rs 10 lakh crore as part of the government's efforts to double farm incomes in the next five years.
  • The target for agricultural credit in 2017-18 has been fixed at a record level of Rs 10 lakh crore, Jaitley stated in his Budget speech.The government provides short-term crop loans up to Rs 3 lakh at subsidised interest rate of 7% per annum.
  • An additional incentive of 3% is provided to farmers for prompt repayment of loans within due date, making an effective interest rate for them at 4%. The Finance Minister noted that the agriculture sector is expected to grow at 4.1% during the current financial year on good monsoon. Sowing of both kharif and rabi crops has been higher.
  • Jaitley said the allocation for new crop insurance scheme 'Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bima Yojana', which was launched in 2016, has been increased to Rs 13,240 crore this financial year from budgeted Rs 5,500 crore. The allocation for the next financial year has been earmarked at Rs 9,000 crore.

Govt to set up dairy development fund with corpus of Rs 8,000 cr

  • To augment income of farmers budget has proposed setting-up of a Dairy Processing and Infrastructure Development Fund with a corpus of Rs 8,000 crores over three years. 
  • Dairy is an important source of additional income for the farmers. A Dairy Processing and Infrastructure Development Fund would be set-up in NABARD with a corpus of Rs 8,000 crores over 3 years stated Finance Minister Arun Jaitley during his budget speech, 2017.

Rs. 10,000 cr allocated for PSB recapitalisation

  • The Union Budget has allocated Rs. 10,000 crore towards recapitalisation of public sector banks in FY2017-18. 
  • Under Indradhanush roadmap announced in 2015, the government stated to infuse Rs. 70,000 crore in state banks over four years while they will have to raise a further Rs. 1.1 lakh crore from the markets to meet their capital requirement in line with global risk norms, known as Basel III. 
  • In line with the blueprint, public sector banks has been given Rs. 25,000 crore in each fiscal, 2015-16 and 2016-17. Besides, Rs. 10,000 crore each would be infused in 2017-18 and 2018-19.

Govt proposes Payments Regulatory Board in RBI

  • Finance Minister Arun Jaitley has proposed creation of a six-member Payments Regulatory Board in the RBI, headed by RBI Governor Urjit Patel as part of bringing about structural reforms in the payment eco-system.
  • For the purpose, necessary amendments are proposed in the Finance Bill 2017 to create a Payments Regulatory Board in the Reserve Bank of India by replacing the existing Board for Regulation and Supervision of Payment and Settlement Systems.
  • In his Budget Speech, Jaitley stated a Committee on Digital Payments constituted by Department of Economic Affairs has recommended structural reforms in the payment eco system, including amendments to the Payment and Settlement Systems Act, 2007.

Air India to get Rs. 1,800 cr from govt in 2017-2018

  • National carrier Air India will receive Rs 1,800 crore as equity infusion in 2017-18 under the government’s ongoing financial assistance and the amount is slightly higher than the allocation for 2016-2017. 
  • The allocation has been made in the Union Budget for 2017-18, which was presented by Finance Minister Arun Jaitley.For 2016-17, the government had allocated Rs 1,713 crore to the airline against a demand of Rs 3,911 crore.The government-owned airline has been allocated Rs 1,800 crore as part of the Rs 30,0231 crore financial bailout package.

Budget 2017 pushes Nifty above 8,700 for 1st time since October 25, 2016

  • Finance Minister Arun Jaitley announced in his Budget 2017 speech with Nifty50 reclaiming its crucial 8,700 mark for the first time since October 25, 2016, while S&P BSE Sensex ended comfortably above its key 28,000 level. 
  • To the relief of investors, Jaitley made no reference to long-term capital gains tax on equities and also set a comfortable fiscal deficit target of 3.2% for the fiscal year 2017-18. The Sensex closed the day at 28,141 up 486 points while Nifty50 settled at 8,716 up 155 points. 

Arun jaitley unveils education reforms, to set up National Testing Agency

  • Finance Minister Arun Jaitley unleashed measures to revamp the country's education system, including setting up of a National Testing Agency to conduct all entrance examinations for higher education institutions.
  • Unveiling the budgetary proposals for 2017-18 in Parliament, Jaitley stated that government proposes to establish a National Testing Agency as an autonomous and self-sustained premier testing organisation to conduct all entrance examinations for higher education institutions.
  • This would free CBSE, AICTE and other premier institutions from these administrative responsibilities so that they can focus more on academics.The government proposes to leverage information technology and launch the SWAYAM platform with at least 350 online courses.

Surajkund International Crafts Mela Kicked off in Faridabad, 20 countries to participate

  • The 31st edition of Surajkund International Crafts Mela started with amid tight security.To be inaugurated by Haryana chief minister Manohar Lal Khattar, the carnival is a 15-day affair in faridabad, Haryana. 
  • Over 20 countries are participating in the event with Egypt as a partner country this year, 2017 and Jharkhand as the theme state. Every year, one country becomes the partner country ands an Indian state is selected to set the theme of the mela.

Researchers Discover Oldest Human Ancestor

  • Researchers have discovered microscopic sea animal Saccorhytus, the earliest known ancestor of humans along with a vast range of other species.
  • The exquisitely well preserved fossilised traces of this 540-million-year-old creature were discovered. 
  • This balloon-like sea is the earliest known step on the evolutionary path that led to fish and eventually to humans
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