Current Affairs – April 28, 2018

Indu Malhotra – 1st woman lawyer elevated directly – takes oath as SC judge

President Ram Nath Kovind appointed Indu Malhotra as a judge of the Supreme Court. She is the first woman lawyer from the Supreme Court bar to be directly elevated. In 2007, Malhotra was only the second woman to be appointed a senior advocate by the apex court, three decades after Leila Seth first made history. Indu Malhotra, a renowned arbitration expert, took oath as apex court judge on 27th April.

Govt mops up Rs 7.4 lakh crore in GST during July 2017-Mar 2018

Buoyed by year-end sales, which helped the government mop up close to Rs 1 lakh crore in Goods and Services Tax (GST) during March, collections during the first year of rollout were estimated at Rs 7.4 lakh crore. Although the government did not disclose the March collection numbers, sources said that the overall number was the highest-ever monthly receipt. In a statement, the finance ministry said that collections between August 2017 and March 2018 were estimated at Rs 7.2 lakh crore, including Rs 1.2 lakh crore of central GST, Rs 1.7 lakh crore of state GST, Rs 3.6 lakh crore of integrated GST (which included Rs 1.7 lakh crore from imports). The rest came through compensation cess levied on luxury and sin goods such as high-end vehicles, tobacco, and soft drinks.

Fitch retains India’s rating at BBB- with the stable outlook

Fitch has kept India’s rating unchanged with a stable outlook, saying the rating balances a strong medium-term growth outlook and favorable external balances with weak fiscal finances and some lagging structural factors, including governance standards and a still-difficult, but improving the business environment. The agency affirmed India’s rating at BBB-, which is at the junk bond or lowest investment grade with a stable outlook. Last year Moody’s Investors Service had upgraded India’s sovereign rating after a gap of nearly 14 years, while Standard & Poor’s retained its BBB- rating with a stable outlook. A rating upgrade changes the profile of the country and makes it attractive to investors.

NDMA conducts its first-ever Mock Exercise on Bio-Disasters at Patna airport

A five-day Day training programme, aimed at enhancing the preparedness of Airport Emergency Handlers (AEHs) to respond to CBRN emergencies at the airports, concluded on 27th April at the Lok Nayak Jayaprakash Airport in Patna. The training programme was conducted in collaboration with the Airports Authority of India (AAI) and Institute of Nuclear Medicine & Allied Sciences (INMAS). CBRN emergencies pertaining to threats emanating due to Chemical, Biological, Radiological and Nuclear material. During the training, NDMA jointly with the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) also conducted its first-ever full-scale Biological Management Emergency Exercise. The exercise was based on a suspected Ebola outbreak scenario. “Biological emergencies are extremely complicated to handle and require utmost expertise not only in handling the victims but also in screening them before they escape out in the community”, said Dr. Saurabh Dalal, NDMA.

RBI liberalizes ECB norms; more access to cheaper funds

In a bid to facilitate cheaper access of overseas funds Reserve Bank of India (RBI) today further liberalized External Commercial Borrowings (ECB) Policy by including more sectors in the window. “It has been decided to increase the ECB Liability to Equity Ratio for ECB raised from direct foreign equity holder under the automatic route to 7:1. This ratio will not be applicable if the total of all ECBs raised by an entity is up to USD 5 million or equivalent,” RBI said in a late-night notification.

NITI Aayog announces the launch of ‘Atal New India Challenges’ programme

NITI Aayog recently announced the launch of the ‘Atal New India Challenges‘ programme under the Atal Innovation Mission to provide grants of up to Rs 1 crore to innovative products and solutions to address challenges in 17 different fields that have been named. “Applicants showing capability, intent, and potential to productize technologies will be awarded grants up to Rs. One crore. This grant support will be supplemented by mentoring, handholding, incubating and other support as needed at various stages of commercialisation while generating wider deployment,” read a government statement about the programme.

CSIR bags National Intellectual Property (IP) Award 2018

The Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) is awarded the National Intellectual Property (IP) Award 2018 in the category “Top R&D Institution / Organization for Patents and Commercialization”. Dr. Girish Sahni, DG, CSIR and Secretary. The Council of Scientific & Industrial Research (CSIR) is a contemporary R&D organization. It has been ranked 9th in the world amongst the 1207 government institutions, with an overall global ranking of 75 in the world, covering 5250 institutions. Pioneer of India’s intellectual property movement, CSIR today is strengthening its patent portfolio to carve out global niches in select technology domains.

“New history of peace” begins as Kim-Moon meet gets underway at DMZ

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and South Korean President Moon Jae-in held the first summit for the two Koreas in over a decade on Friday at the heavily fortified Demilitarised Zone (DMZ) between the countries. The dramatic meeting, aimed at ending their decades-long conflict and easing tensions over the North’s nuclear weapons programme, comes weeks before Kim is due to meet U.S. President Donald Trump.

No shooting in 2022 CWG, clarifies CGF

In the backdrop of the sports ministry writing to the Commonwealth Games Federation (CGF) and national shooting (NRAI) chief Raninder Singh issuing a boycott threat, the CGF recently reiterated that the sport of shooting will not be included in the 22nd edition of the CWG in Birmingham. In an email response to TOI, a CGF spokesperson said it is fundamentally important for the Games hosts to propose a sports programme which works best for them.

Learn Two a Day:

Satpura National park: Madhya Pradesh
Valmiki National park: Bihar

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