Current Affairs – March 11, 2018

French President Emmanuel Macron arrives in India on 4-day visit

French President Emmanuel Macron arrived 10th March night on a four-day India visit and was received at the airport by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, in a special gesture. Mr. Macron was accompanied by his wife Brigitte Marie-Claude Macron, besides senior ministers from his Cabinet. “Welcome to India, President @EmmanuelMacron! Your visit will add great strength to the strategic partnership between India and France. I look forward to our talks tomorrow,” Modi tweeted after receiving Macron at the airport.
On March 11, Mr. Macron will attend the International Solar Alliance (ISA) Summit, an initiative mooted by France and India. The ISA Summit, expected to be attended by several heads of the states and governments, is likely to focus on concrete projects. On the same day, he will also visit Taj Mahal in Agra. Mr. Macron will also visit Varanasi, the parliamentary constituency of Mr. Modi, on March 12.He, along with Mr. Modi, will inaugurate a solar plant in Uttar Pradesh’s Mirzapur.

Heads of 23 nations to attend International Solar Alliance Summit

Heads of 23 nations and 10 ministerial representatives of different countries will attend the first International Solar Alliance Summit, co-hosted by India and France, at Rashtrapati Bhavan on March 11. The summit will deliberate on finance mechanism for the promotion of solar energy, crowd-funding, and technology transfer. Demonstrative projects will be showcased by different nations.
President Ram Nath Kovind will co-host the summit with French President Emmanuel Macron. It will focus on various aspects of promoting solar energy in the 121 countries associated with International Solar Alliance (ISA). The summit assumes significance in view of India’s ambitious renewable energy target of having 175 GW clean energy capacities including 100 GW solar and 60 GW wind power.

Suresh Prabhu gets additional charge of Civil Aviation Ministry

Commerce and Industries Minister Suresh Prabhu was given additional charge of the Civil Aviation Ministry, a day after the resignation of Ashok Gajapathi Raju of the Telugu Desam Party (TDP) was accepted by President Ram Nath Kovind, a Rashtrapati Bhavan spokesperson said. In a brief communique, the spokesperson said, “The President, as advised by the Prime Minister, has directed that Suresh Prabhu, Cabinet Minister, shall be assigned the charge of the Ministry of Civil Aviation, in addition to his existing portfolio.”
Mr. Raju and another TDP MP Y.S. Chowdary resigned from the Council of Ministers after party supremo and Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N. Chandrababu Naidu decided to pull out his Ministers from the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) government.
Suresh Prabhu: Rajya Sabha MP from Andhra Pradesh

IREDA, EIB ink 150mn-euro loan agreement for renewable energy

Indian Renewable Energy Development Agency (IREDA) and European Investment Bank (EIB) have inked a 150 million euros loan agreement, a move that will benefit over 1.1 million households with clean energy. IREDA, which is the financing arm of New and Renewable Energy Ministry, has signed the loan agreement for the second line of credit (LoC) on the non-sovereign basis. It added that the line of credit is for the tenure of 15 years, including a grace period of three years and will be used for financing renewable energy and energy efficiency projects in India.
EIB is the long-term lending institution of the European Union owned by its member states. “More than 1.1 million households are expected to benefit from clean energy produced (through projects financed through the funds),” the statement said. The agreement was signed by IREDA Chairman and MD K S Popli and W Hoyer, President of EIB. Power and New and Renewable Energy Minister R K Singh and MNRE Secretary Anand Kumar were also present on the occasion.
EIB Headquarters: Luxembourg

Passport mandatory for loans above Rs 50 crore, says Finance Ministry

The government is coming out with a new rule in an apparent move against economic offenders attempting to flee India. The government recently announced that banks will have to collect passport details of customers who seek loans above Rs 50 crore. The decision comes in the aftermath of the recent multi-crore Punjab National Bank fraud that rocked the banking system. The Finance Ministry is making the submission of passport details mandatory for taking loans of amounts more than Rs 50 crore.
Customers will have to submit the details along with copies of the passport within 45 days. It remains unclear when the rule will come into effect. Earlier this month, the Union Cabinet approved the Fugitive Economic Offenders Bill to deal with those who flee abroad after committing financial fraud. The bill has been introduced to keep a check on offenders evading Indian judiciary after committing mammoth financial frauds.

First ever ‘crime-free zone’ along international border launched

In a first for both countries, the director generals of the Border Security Force (BSF) and Border Guard Bangladesh (BGB) declared an 8.3 km stretch of the Indo-Bangladesh border as a ‘crime-free zone‘ on March 09. Both border guarding forces with the help of the civil administrations of the two countries, NGOs and the local populace will help in ensuring that no crime takes place along the stretch that covers the Gunarmath and Kalyani Border Out Posts (BOPs) in India and the Putkhali and Daulatpur BOPs across the border.
This stretch is one of the most vulnerable to cattle smuggling and other criminal activities prevalent. The idea is to target the more difficult areas along the 913 km of Indo-Bangladesh border under the BSF’s South Bengal Frontier. This is a pilot project that will be reviewed after 5-6 months.

Sultan Azlan Shah Cup: Australia beats England in final

Australia took the lead in a tightly contested game when Blake Govers drilled a low shot into the bottom corner from a penalty corner. Lachlan Sharp pounced on a loose ball from another penalty corner to score from close range and extend the lead. Samuel Ward immediately pulled one back to give England hope, but Australia held on to secure the victory.
Both sides were using the tournament as preparation for the Commonwealth Games, which take place from 5-14 April on Australia’s Gold Coast. Australia won gold in 2014 and England earned bronze. England had beaten Malaysia 7-2 on Friday to secure their place in the final against an Australia side that had beaten England 4-1 earlier in the competition. India finished 5th in the tournament.

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