AWARDS AND HONOURS
- 2017 Pravasi Bharatiya Samman Award
The 14th Pravasi Bharatiya Divas celebrations are being held in Bangalore from January 7-9,2017. PBD conventions are being held every year since 2003 and we have been honoring our Pravasis since the first edition. Thirty nominees were unanimously recommended by the Jury-cum-Awards Committee for Pravasi Bharatiya Samman Awards, 2017 by the Committee on December 20,2016.
The Jury cum Awards Committee can also make upto six suo-motto nominations for persons from the fields in which the awards are to be conferred. This year, the jury also considered Pravasi’s contribution for achievements on philanthropic investments and charitable work in India and for contribution towards India’s development.
2. BMW India appoints ex-Harley-Davidson India MD as President
German luxury carmaker BMW has appointed Vikram Pawah (45) as the President of India operations with effect from March 1, 2017. Pawah brings more than 25 years of international experience both in the automotive and non-automotive industry. Most recently, he was the Managing Director of Harley-Davidson India. Frank Schloeder (42), acting president, BMW Group India will return to BMW Group Headquarters in Germany, where he will assume the position of Head of Business Steering – Luxury Class.
3. PM Narendra Modi inaugurates India’s first international exchange at GIFT city
Prime Minister Narendra Modi has inaugurated India’s first international exchange India INX at the International Financial Service Centre (IFSC) of GIFT City, saying it will enable Indian firms to compete on equal footing with offshore firms.
A subsidiary of Bombay Stock Exchange, India INX is one of the world’s most advanced technology platforms with a turn-around-time of 4 micro seconds which will operate for 22 hours a day, allowing international investors and NRIs to trade from anywhere across the globe.
4. Two-day Digidhan Mela inaugurated in Guwahati
Assam Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal has inaugurated the Digidhan Mela organized in Guwahati. The two-day Digidhan Mela is being organised with an aim to enable citizens and merchants to familiarize and adopt real time digital transactions. On the occasion, Shri Sarbananda Sonowal launched “Toka Paisa” e-wallet for initiative towards cashless economy. The Mela is being organized by the Government of Assam in collaboration with IT Department and NITI Aayog.
5. Indian Railways launches IRCTC Rail Connect app
Railways has launched a new ticketing App, IRCTC Rail Connect, to facilitate booking of train tickets in a faster and easier way. with latest technology, the new App also makes possible booking of tatkal ticket, ladies quota, premium tatkal quota booking and current reservation. Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation (IRCTC) Limited, which handles online train ticket bookings, has synchronised the new App, IRCTC Rail Connect, with its website.
6. Health Ministry to roll out measles-rubella vaccine
India will for the first time introduce a vaccine against Rubella — a viral disease that infects pregnant women and leads to babies being born with cardiac, cerebral, ophthalmic and auditory defects.
The Union health ministry so far believed that the disease, also called German Measles, did not affect Indians. Now, the ministry estimates that around 30,000 abnormal children are being born annually because of Rubella. Many experts, however, say the accurate figure would be around two lakh babies.
7. India sixth largest manufacturing country in the world: PM Narendra Modi
Prime Minister Narendra Modi lured investors with the promise of progressive policies while inaugurating the eighth edition of the Vibrant Gujarat Global Summit, a biennial business meet he had launched as the state’s chief minister in 2003.
The summit, which has made headlines in the past for the staggering number of memorandums of understanding (MoUs) inked at each edition, now aims to facilitate nearly 22,000 such deals with an investment commitment of around Rs 30 lakh crore at Mahatma Mandir over the next four days.
BANKING AND FINANCE
8. Axis Bank becomes third lender to offer block
Private sector Axis Bank has become the third lender in the country to announce usage of block solutions for its operations, after its peers ICICI Bank and Yes Bank. The Shikha Sharma-led bank, the third largest private sector lender, will be using the upcoming technology for cross-border remittances.
Block technology: A digital ledger in which transactions made in bitcoin or another cryptocurrency are recorded chronologically and publicly.
9. Citibank launches voice verification for banking
Foreign lender Citi India has launched voice biometrics authentication that would replace the current practice of interactive voice response (IVR) for its customers. The new technology allows clients to use their voiceprints for authentication rather than having to remember multiple PINs or respond to questions used for verifying their identities, Citi South Asia Head (Operations & Technology) Anand Chopra said.
10. World Bank drops India’s growth rate to 7 %
The World Bank has sharply cut its economic growth forecast for India to 7 per cent in 2016-17 after taking into account the impact of demonetisation and the fall in private investments. This growth forecast is lower than the 7.6 per cent growth projected in the middle of last year.
The World Bank report said that weak industrial production and manufacturing and services purchasing managers’ indexes suggest a setback to activity in the fourth quarter of 2016-17. The Central Statistics Office had last week pegged the 2016-17 advance real GDP estimate at 7.1 per cent.
11. India and Israel committed to strengthen bilateral relations in the field of Agriculture
Union Agriculture and Farmers Welfare Minister, Shri Radha Mohan Singh met Israeli delegation led by the Agriculture and Rural Development Minister of Israel, Shri Uri Ariel to discuss issues relating to bilateral cooperation in agriculture between India and Israel. Both sides expressed satisfaction over the progress made in cooperation in the agriculture and allied sectors between the two countries.
Under this program, as many as 27 Centres of Excellence (CoEs) in the cultivation of various fruits and vegetables, in 21 states, are being set up, out of which 15 CoEs are complete.
12. Sino-India relations deepened, military ties healthy: China
China has presented an upbeat picture of its ties with India in a policy document on Asia-Pacific security, saying their partnership has “deepened”, but references to contentious issues like India’s NSG bid and efforts to get JeM chief Masood Azhar banned by the UN. A white paper titled “China’s Policies on Asia-Pacific Security Cooperation” said China and India made “new progress” in exchanges.
13. dia extends $683 crore line of credit to Kenya
India has announced a USD 100 million Line of Credit to Kenya for agricultural mechanisation after talks between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta during which they also decided to deepen economic cooperation, identifying expansion of bilateral trade as a “priority”. Asserting that challenges in the maritime are a shared concern, Modi said the two sides will also explore opportunities in blue economy.
14. US Researchers discover the function of human appendix
American researchers have discovered the true function of the appendix. The researchers say it acts as a safe house for good bacteria, which can be used to effectively reboot the gut following a bout of dysentery or cholera.
The conventional wisdom is that the small pouch protruding from the first part of the large intestine is redundant and many people have their appendix removed and appear none the worse for it.
15. UK becomes first country to recognise parkour as a sport
The UK has become the first country in the world to officially recognise parkour as a sport. Parkour, also known as free running or art dude placement, involves negotiating terrain using only the strength of one’s body, principally through running, jumping and climbing surrounding features. The sport could also soon be practised in schools after it gained support from both the Youth Sport Trust and the Association for Physical Education, who described it as an exciting and motivating activity.
16. 13-time gymnastics world champion retires aged 19
Russian rhythmic gymnast Yana Kudryavtseva has retired from competition aged just 19 following a but dazzling career. Kudryavtseva won 13 world championships from 2013 to 2015, making her the early favorite for the all-around gold medal at the Rio de Janeiro Olympics, but a foot fracture disrupted her preparations.
17. Former German president Roman Herzog passes away aged 82
Roman Herzog, who as president pressed Germany to embrace economic reform in the 1990s and also stressed the importance of remembering the Nazi Holocaust, has died. He was 82.
Herzog, a jovial Bavarian, served as the chief justice of Germany’s highest court before winning the presidency in 1994, four years after reunification.