15th Finance Commission to form panel on fiscal situation of Centre, states
The Fifteenth Finance Commission will soon form a panel to examine the fiscal situation and the debt road map for the Centre and states, like the erstwhile Fiscal Responsibility and Budget Management (FRBM) committee, the Commission’s Chairman N K Singh said.
The panel will be headed by Mr. Singh and have representation from the Comptroller and Auditor General of India, the Reserve Bank of India, the Ministry of Finance, the Fiscal Responsibility and Budget Management (FRBM) panel and some of the States.
Mr. Singh added the Commission had also constituted a group on defence and internal security, whose mandate will be ‘to examine whether a separate mechanism for funding of defence and internal security ought to be set up, and if so, how such a mechanism could be operationalised.’
This group will be chaired by Mr. Singh with A.N. Jha, Member, Fifteenth Finance Commission as well as Secretary, Ministry of Home Affairs, Secretary, Ministry of Defence and Secretary (Expenditure), Ministry of Finance as members.
1988 batch IAS officer Rajiv Bansal becomes Air India’s new CMD
The union government appointed the 1988 batch IAS officer of Nagaland Cadre Rajiv Bansal as the Chairman and Managing Director of Air India. Mr Bansal is presently serving as the Additional Secretary in the Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas.
Meanwhile, 1987 batch IAS officer of Uttar Pradesh Cadre Debashis Panda has been appointed as the Secretary, Department of Financial Services. Rajkumar, 1987 batch IAS officer of Gujarat cadre has been appointed Secretary Defence Production.
Amit Panghal ranked No 1 by IOC’s Boxing Task Force rankings for Olympic Qualifiers
Amit Panghal has been ranked number one in the 52 kilogram category for Olympic Qualifiers, making him the first Indian pugilist in over a decade to achieve the global top position in the category.
The rankings took into account the last two world championships for both men and women and the continental championships and Games in 2019.
Panghal holds the numero uno position with 420 points, right now. Last year, he became the first Indian to claim a silver medal at the world championships after notching up a gold at the Asian meet.
Arvind Kejriwal will sworn as Delhi CM for 3rd time
Arvind Kejriwal is likely to be sworn in as the chief minister of Delhi on February 16 for the third time. The Aam Aadmi Party swept the Delhi Assembly polls bagging 62 out 70 seats and decimating its rivals BJP and Congress. The BJP bagged eight seats.
Former India all-rounder Robin Singh appointed UAE’s Director of Cricket
The Emirates Cricket Board has appointed former Indian cricketer Robin Singh as the new director of cricket. The Indian takes over at a time when the UAE’s national team is trying to recover from the fixing scandal that rocked their cricket last year, leading to suspension of a few senior players.
Singh, who had represented India in one Test and 136 ODIs between 1989 and 2001, has over the years made a name for himself in coaching.
He was associated with the Indian Premier League’s highly successful Mumbai Indians franchise, Caribbean Premier League’s Barbados Tridents since 2013 and T10 franchises in the T10 league.
Govt launches school health programme under Ayushman Bharat
The Union Government launched a School Health Programme under Ayushman Bharat-Health & Wellness Centres that will teach skills ranging from emotional wellbeing, mental health, interpersonal relationships to values and maintaining healthy lifestyle. The first phase of implementation will be in all the public upper primary, secondary and senior secondary schools of aspirational districts.
This initiative will be effectively linked with other government initiatives such as Fit India movement, Eat Right campaign, Poshan Abhiyaan for an all-round and holistic development model of health for the school children etc.
Union Minister of Human Resource Development: Ramesh Pokhriyal Nishank
Indian hockey captain Manpreet Singh named Player of the Year 2019 by IHF
The Indian men’s hockey team captain Manpreet Singh was named Player of the Year for 2019 by the International Hockey Federation. Manpreet, a midfielder, became the first Indian to win the accolade since the awards were introduced in 1999.
He beat competition from Belgium’s Arthur van Dorren and Lucas Villa of Argentina, who came second and third.
Indian-origin politician Rishi Sunak was appointed as the U.K.’s new Finance Minister
Indian-origin politician Rishi Sunak was appointed as the U.K.’s new Finance Minister by Prime Minister Boris Johnson in a Cabinet reshuffle. Mr. Sunak, the son-in-law of Infosys Co-founder Narayana Murthy, will join Home secretary Priti Patel on the top government bench as the Chancellor of the Exchequer.
Indian-origin UK Minister Alok Sharma to lead UN climate summit
Indian-origin Alok Sharma was named the new UK Minister in charge of the crunch UN climate talks to be hosted by Britain this November. Agra-born Sharma has been promoted to the post of Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy in UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s Cabinet reshuffle.
He will take charge of the crucial summit ‘COP26′ as its former president was removed amid controversy just weeks ago.
Induslnd Bank Records Highest Growth In Brand Value Among Top Global Banks
Induslnd Bank has topped the list of highest increase in brand value among global banks, according to The Banker’s Top 500 Banking Brands 2020 report. As per the report, which benchmarks the strength, risk and potential of a brand relative to its competitors, the brand value of Induslnd Bank has increased by 122 per cent over the past 12 months, making it the highest placed for growth in brand value across the globe.
Induslnd Bank started operations in 1994 and reported total assets of Rs 3.1 lakh crore at the end of Q3 FY20.
IRCTC Q3 results: Profit nearly triples to Rs 206 crore; firm announces Rs 10 dividend
Indian Railway Catering & Tourism Corporation has posted a 179.65 per cent year-on-year rise in profit at Rs 205.80 crore for the quarter ended December 31. The figure stood at Rs 73.59 crore in the corresponding quarter last year. Revenue from operation increased 64.59 per cent to Rs 715.98 crore in Q3FY20.
IRCTC also declared an interim dividend of Rs 10 on face value of Rs 10.
National Women’s Day observed on February 13, 2020
To commemorate the birth anniversary of independence activist Sarojini Naidu, February 13th is observed as National Women’s day every year in India. Sarojini Naidu was India’s first women governor. She actively participated in the Indian National Movement for the independence of the country. She was popularly known as ‘Nightingale of India’ for her collection of poems.
Ngidi scripts remarkable South Africa win
Fast bowler Lungi Ngidi took three wickets in his last two overs as South Africa snatched a thrilling one-run win in the first T20I against England. The match changed dramatically in the last three overs as England lost six wickets for 24 runs to finish on 176 for nine. Batting first South Africa scored 177 for eight in 20 overs
Pak court sentence Hafiz Saeed in two terror funding cases
An anti-terrorism court in Pakistan sentenced Mumbai attack mastermind and Jamat-ud-Dawa (JuD) chief Hafiz Saeed in two terror funding cases. The court sentenced Saeed to five and a half years in each case. The sentences of both cases will run concurrently.
A UN-designated terrorist, Saeed was arrested on the 17th of July last year in the terror financing cases. He is lodged at the Lahore’s Kot Lakhpat jail in high security.
Saeed-led JuD is believed to be the front organization for the LeT which is responsible for carrying out the 2008 Mumbai attack that killed 166 people, including six Americans.
Pravasi Bhartiya Kendra in New Delhi renamed as Sushma Swaraj Bhawan
The Union Government has decided to rename Pravasi Bhartiya Kendra in New Delhi as Sushma Swaraj Bhawan and Foreign Service Institute in the national capital as Sushma Swaraj Institute of Foreign Service.
This announcement was made by the Ministry of External Affairs on the eve of the birth anniversary of Mrs Swaraj and in the honour of the legacy and decades of public service of the former External Affairs Minister
During her four-decade long career, Sushma Swaraj was elected to the Lok Sabha four times and thrice to Rajya Sabha. She served as Minister for External Affairs, Information and Broadcasting, Parliamentary Affairs, Health and Family Welfare
President of Portugal Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa arrives in New Delhi on a four-day visit
President of Portugal Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa arrived in New Delhi on a four-day visit to India. This is President Marcelo’s first visit to India. The last visit by a President of Portugal to India was in 2007.
The two countries have been active and growing cooperation in the field of economy and business, science, culture and education. The visit will provide an opportunity for the two sides to review progress in various sectors of bilateral relations and pursue new avenues of cooperation and exchange views on international issues of common interest.
RBI appoints five executive directors
The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has elevated five officials to the executive directors’ post. The officials will be taking charge during the year. Those elevated are Indrani Banerjee, Regional Director, Nagpur, Saurav Sinha, chief general manager-in-charge, Vivek Deep, CGM in-charge, J.K. Dash, CGM in-charge, and P. Vijayakumar, the senior most RBI ombudsman.
At present, RBI has 12 executive directors, and five of them are due to retire in 2020.
In January, Michael Patra was elevated to the post of Deputy Governor. Janak Raj replaced Mr. Patra as the executive director in-charge of monetary policy.
S&P retains India’s rating at BBB- with stable outlook
Global agency Standard and Poor’s retained India’s sovereign ratings at ‘BBB-‘ with stable outlook, saying the country’s GDP is likely to gradually recover towards longer-term trend rates over the next two to three years.
The rating agency, however, pointed out that India’s fiscal position remains precarious, with elevated fiscal deficits and net government indebtedness.
SEBI devises system to track client securities
SEBI has developed the in-house capabilities to track, online, the movement of client securities collected by the broker as collateral and raise alerts with exchanges if diversion of clients’ securities is noticed. There had been instances of brokerages using client securities to raise funds for themselves. The most high-profile case was that of Karvy Stock Broking, which has been barred from getting new clients on board.
Some brokers have also misused clients’ securities by pledging them with banks and NBFCs to raise funds for their own use.
SEBI has already taken a slew of measures to minimise such misuse, including an early warning mechanism to detect diversion of clients’ funds and securities; restricting the broker from pledging clients’ securities even with the consent of the client; transferring securities to the client account or Client Unpaid Securities Account (CUSA) within 24 hours of payout; and mapping of Unique Client Code with the demat account of the client to detect diversion of payout of securities.
Shri Nitin Gadkari Flags off Apiary on Wheels
‘Apiary on Wheels’, a unique concept designed by KVIC for the easy upkeep and migration of Bee Boxes having live Bee colonies, was flagged off by the Union Minister of MSME Shri Nitin Gadkari in Delhi, in the presence of Shri V.K. Saxena, Chairman KVIC.
Aligned with the vision of Prime Minister, KVIC launched Honey Mission in 2017 and has been training beekeepers, distributing Bee Boxes and helping rural, educated but unemployed youth to earn extra income through beekeeping activities, at their doorstep.
Apiary on Wheels is a platform which can carry 20 Bee Boxes from one place to another without any difficulty. Two large wheels on either side of the Apiary on Wheels and 4 separate compartments with independent doors, having 5 bee boxes each help the platform to remain intact without disturbing the live bee colonies.
UN Security Council adopts resolution for “lasting ceasefire” in Libya
UN Security Council has adopted a resolution calling for a “lasting ceasefire” in war-torn Libya, where a fragile truce has been in place since January. The text, drafted by Britain, was approved by 14 votes out of 15, with Russia abstaining.
The resolution affirmed the need for a lasting ceasefire in Libya at the earliest opportunity, without pre-conditions. It also expressed concern over the growing involvement of mercenaries in Libya.
Libya, Africa’s most oil-rich nation, has been mired in chaos since the 2011 NATO-backed uprising that toppled and killed longtime leader Moamer Kadhafi.
USTR takes India off developing country list
Ahead of President Donald Trump’s visit on February 24-25, the US removed India from its list of developing countries that are exempt from investigations into whether they harm American industry with unfairly subsidised exports.
The US removed India from the list on account of it being a G-20 member and having a share of 0.5% or more of world trade. The move has cast a shadow on India being able to restore preferential benefits under the Generalised System of Preference (GSP) as part of its trade talks with the US, as only developing countries are eligible for it.
The United States Trade Representative (USTR) eliminated a host of countries including Brazil, Indonesia, Hong Kong, South Africa and Argentina from getting special preferences under the methodology for countervailing duty (CVD) investigations, stating that the previous guidance that dated back to 1998 “is now obsolete”.
Voda Idea losses widen to Rs 6,438.8 cr in Dec quarter
Vodafone Idea reported widening of losses to Rs 6,438.8 crore in October-December 2019 against Rs 5,004.6 crore in the year-ago period as the AGR dues-hit telco reeled under the impact of increased finance costs and higher depreciation of assets. Its total income fell by 5 per cent to Rs 11,380.5 crore in the third quarter of 2019-20 from Rs 11,982.8 cr in the year-ago quarter.
Finance costs of the company surged almost 30 per cent to Rs 3,722.2 crore, while depreciation went up by 23 per cent to Rs 5,877.4 crore.
Wendell Rodricks, Padma Shri awardee fashion designer, dies at 59
Internationally famed fashion designer Wendell Rodricks passed away at his home in Colvale village in Goa at the age of 59.
A Padma Shri award-winning designer and known for infusing modern aesthetics with traditional Goan influences, Rodricks was also an author, environmentalist and gay rights activist.