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29 September 2017 - Current Affairs

29 September 2017 - Current Affairs

India jumps to 14th rank as best country for expats 

  • According to HSBC, India leapt up the global rankings by 12 places to take the 14th spot in terms of best country for expats to live and work in. 
  • The list, which is topped by Singapore, is part of HSBC’s latest ‘expat explorer survey’ that covered 27,587 expats from 159 countries and territories in March and April this year.
  • According to survey, about 71 per cent expats in India reported high levels of confidence in the local economy, while 58 per cent exuded optimism on political stability. 
  • With an average USD 176,408 gross personal income per year — one of the highest in the world — over 50 per cent of the expats said India is a good place to start a business. 

$80-m ADB loan to Himachal Pradesh

  • Multilateral lending agency ADB has approved a loan of $80 million (about ₹524 crore) for the modernisation of Himachal Pradesh’s technical and vocational education and training (TVET) institutions. 
  • The total cost of the project is $100 million, with the Centre contributing $20 million.
  • The project is expected to be completed by the end of 2022.
  • The Asian Development Bank’s (ADB) board of directors approved the loan to modernise TVET institutions and programmes to enhance the job prospects of the state’s youth, the Manila-headquartered agency said in a statement. 

Air India ties up with PNB, IndusInd for Rs 3,250 crore loan

  • Air India has tied up with public sector lender Punjab National Bank and private lender IndusInd to secure loans to the tune of over Rs 3,000 crore for meeting working capital requirements. 
  • Earlier this month, the disinvestment-bound Air India had floated tenders for availing government guarantee backed INR short-term loans totalling up to Rs 3,250 crore in the first phase to meet its urgent working capital.
  • On June 28, the Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) had given in-principle approval for strategic disinvestment of Air India and five of its subsidiaries.

Govt finalising Electoral Bonds Scheme

  • The Union Govt 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. 
  • Under the scheme, proposed electoral bonds will resemble promissory note and not an interest-paying debt instrument.
  • These bonds will only be issued by notified authorised bank and can only be bought using cheques or digital payments.
  • These bonds purchased by donor will be given to political party for fixed period of time.

India and Norway sign Letter of Intent

  • 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).
  • The cooperation will also focus on global health issues of common interest.
  • It will include areas related to reproductive, maternal, child, new-born, adolescent health and health system strengthening to be build based on experiences from NIPI phase I and II.  
  • The cooperation will continue to focus on innovative, catalytic and strategic support, taking India’s Intensification Plan for Accelerated Maternal and Child Survival in country as starting point.

Saudi Arabia to allow women to drive for the first time

  • Saudi Arabia announced that women will be allowed to drive for the first time in the ultra-conservative kingdom next summer, fulfilling a key demand of women’s rights activists who faced detention for defying the ban. 
  • The kingdom was the only the country in the world to bar women from driving and for years had garnered negative publicity internationally for detaining women who defied the ban. 

Gujarat to be first big state to use EVMs with VVPAT

  • 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.
  • It was announced by Election Commission of India.
  • Gujarat will be second state after Goa to use VVPAT system for the Assembly elections in entire state. 
  • The VVPATs will cover all 50,128 polling booths during 2017 Gujarat Assembly elections.
  • As many as 70,182 VVPAT machines will be used during election elections.
  • Earlier, VVPATs were used on pilot basis in limited polling booths of state in 2012 elections.
  • The Voter Verifiable Paper Audit Trail (VVPAT) is a method that provides feedback to voters after they cast their votes in EVMs.
  • It is independent verification printer machine attached to EVMs.
  • It allows voters to verify if their vote has gone to the intended candidate.
  • Thus, ensure free and fair elections.
  • In the VVPAT system, when voter presses button for candidate of his choice in EVM, a paper slip containing serial number, name of candidate and poll symbol will be printed for voter.
  • The paper slip will be only visible to voter from glass case in VVPAT for seven seconds, after that slip will be cut and dropped into drop box in VVPAT machine.
  • VVPAT machines can be accessed by polling officers only.

Madhya Pradesh bags ‘Best Tourism State’ award for third time in a row

  • Madhya Pradesh has won the ‘Best Tourism State’ national award for the third consecutive year.
  • President Ram Nath Kovind handed over the award, named as ‘Hall of Fame Award’, to Minister of State for Tourism Surendra Patwa at a ceremony held at Vigyan Bhawan in New Delhi.
  • The state bagged total 10 awards in this programme, organised on the occasion of World Tourism Day. 
  • The state bagged the Most Innovative Tourist Product award for ‘Hanuwantia Jal Mahotsav’ and Best State for Adventure Tourism.
  • While Chanderi was adjudged as the Best Heritage City, the Best Tourist-Friendly Railway Station award was given to Ujjain Railway Station.
  • The Best Civic Management of a Tourist Destination of India award was given to Khargone.
  • An English coffee-table book published by MP Tourism Board, won the national award for Excellence in Publishing.
  • Madhya Pradesh also received a national award for Film Promotion Policy in the category of Best Film Promotion Friendly State/Union Territory.
  • The Hindi brochure published by Madhya Pradesh Tourism in Simhastha-2016 also won the national award for Excellence in Publishing in Hindi.
  • Best Wildlife Guide national award was bagged by Saib Khan of Pachmarhi.

TK Viswanathan Committee Recommendations

  • 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 committee was formed after Supreme Court struck down Section 66 A of the Information Technology (IT) Act, 2000 in Shreya Singhal vs. Union of India.
  • Section 66 A of IT Act was added to criminalize sending of offensive messages through a computer or other communication devices.
  • The committee has recommended appointing cybercrime coordinators in all states and establishing cybercrime cells in each district. 
  • It has suggested replacing some clauses of the IT Act, 2000 and amending some sections of IPC like 153 (want only giving provocation with intent to cause riot) and 505A (false and mischievous reports intended to upset public tranquillity) to deal with online hate crimes.

Rajiv Sabharwal to take charge as Tata Capital CEO

  • Tata Capital announced the appointment of Rajiv Sabharwal as Managing Director & CEO designate of the company. 
  • He will be joining Tata Capital in January 2018 and would be taking over from the company’s current Managing Director & CEO Praveen P Kadle, who will be assuming other responsibilities in the Tata Group effective April 1, 2018.

Five Indian shuttlers in top-20 of BWF men’s rankings

  • Five Indians find themselves in the top-20 of the BWF men’s singles rankings with HS Prannoy being the biggest gainer after his quarterfinal showing at the Japan Open last week. 
  • Prannoy has jumped four places to be world no.15 while Kidambi Srikanth, who too lost in the quarterfinals in Japan, remains the highest-ranked Indian male player at eighth. Ajay Jayaram remains 20th while B Sai Praneeth too has not moved from his position last week when he was 17th.
  • Sameer Verma has gained a couple of places to enter the top-20 at the 19th spot. 
  • India’s leading ladies, PV Sindhu and Saina Nehwal, remain at the second and 12th spot respectively.
  • The mixed doubles pairing of Sikki Reddy and Pranaav Jerry Chopra have gained two places to be 17th. T
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