Current Affairs 13th December 2017 - Banking, SSC, UPSC Affairs

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National Affairs : Prime Minister Narendra Modi will address the doyens of Indian industry in New Delhi today at the Annual General Meeting (AGM) of Federation of Indian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (FICCI).  It will be Mr Modi's first address to an AGM of a national business association after becoming the Prime Minister. It will be his first major interaction with India Inc since the launch of GST. The theme of this year's AGM is, 'Indian Business in a New India'. Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman and senior Congress leader Jyotiraditya Scindia are also scheduled to address different sessions of the AGM. 

In order to strengthen the ecosystem for government services, Karnataka State government will be launching a digital platform to address the issues of the common citizen.  The state cabinet ratified the proposal of "Seva Sindhu," a common citizen platform to fine tune the delivery system of government services. He also noted that the interactive platform would provide all useful information about local events, employment opportunities, and others. The portal will provide services like income, domicile, caste, birth, death certificates, ration card, approval of social welfare schemes and other administrative work.

To boost Agricultural productivity of Nigeria, India has decided to share their Agricultural expertise to make Nigeria food sufficient. Union Agriculture Minister Radha Mohan Singh said that India noted with great interest the new initiatives of Nigeria particularly the Green Alternative initiative-a roadmap to make Nigeria self-sufficient in agriculture.  Indian companies to explore the opportunities in Nigerian agriculture field both as investors as well as providers of agri-services, agricultural machinery and technological assistance.

The West Bengal Government is planning to convert the Sundarbans into a tourism centre of international standards. The UNESCO World Heritage Site is one of the most popular tourist spots in India, and draws many international tourists too. The North 24 Parganas district administration has already submitted a master plan to the State Tourism Department. Based on this, a detailed project report (DPR) is being prepared by the department. According to the master plan, river cruises will be available to crisscross the mangrove forest, through the jungle-shrouded rivers and streams. The cruises will be organised on houseboats, where tourists can stay for a few days. There will be houseboat terminals at various points where the vessels can be hired. Seaplanes can be boarded to get beautiful bird’s-eye views of the delta region.

The Bihar government has launched Safe City Surveillance Scheme for checking crime against women. It aims to bring all major public places under watch of close-circuit television (CCTV) cameras and improve overall crime control in the state. The scheme has been launched in a phase-wise manner, will commence from capital city Patna. It has specially launched for checking crime against women.

Sri Lanka formally handed over its southern strategic port of Hambantota to China on a 99-year lease. Two Chinese firms managed by China Merchants Port Holdings Company (CM Port) and Sri Lanka Ports Authority will own port and the investment zone around it. Hambantota port is strategically located right in the middle of vital energy supply lines in the Indian Ocean, connecting the Middle East and East Asia.

The Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) approved its first loan to China, its largest shareholder, to reduce its dependence on coal by over 600,000 tonnes annually by building a natural gas distribution network for villages. The USD 250-million-loan will fund a project to connect 216,750 households in approximately 510 villages to the natural gas distribution network. With an authorized capital of USD 100 billion, China is the largest shareholder with 26.06 percent voting shares. India is the second largest shareholder with 7.5 percent followed by Russia 5.93 percent and Germany 4.5 percent.

21-year-old Indian Golfer Shubhankar Sharma claimed European Tour victory in the Joburg Open, in South Africa. He has defeated South Africa’s Erik Van Rooyen. This was a maiden European Tour win for Shubhankar Sharma. He has five victories on the professional tour of India and he now has a European Tour title to add to his list of achievements. England’s Marcus Armitage was the top British finisher in Joburg.

Buddhist monk Dhammapiya from Tripura elected as the new secretary general of the International Buddhist Confederation (IBC). He was elected to the post at the second general assembly of the IBC. The IBC is a global Buddhist forum for preservation and development of heritage sites of the religion in India and other parts of the world.

India will host the 3rd Annual Meeting of the Board of Governors of Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) at Mumbai in June 2018. The Theme of the Annual Meeting, 2018 will be “Mobilizing Finance for Infrastructure: Innovation and Collaboration”. The Government of India and AIIB Secretariat signed the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to delineate the duties and responsibilities of major stakeholders who would be involved in organizing the aforesaid Annual Meeting. 

Rajasthan becomes the first state in the country to launch free email addresses in Hindi (in Devanagari script) for its residents, as per the state IT department Principal Secretary Akhil Arora. The initiative aims to ensure maximum participation of people towards e-governance and that maximum facilities are available in the vernacular language. The first e-mail ID was created for CM Vasundhara Raje.

The second UN World Tourism Organization/UNESCO World Conference on Tourism and Culture was held in Muscat, Capital city of Oman. The Minister of State for Culture (Independent Charge) and Environment, Forest & Climate Change, Dr Mahesh Sharma led the Indian delegation. The conference was focused on sustainable development, culture and tourism as a factor of peace and prosperity; tourism development and protection of cultural heritage.

Nakul Chopra, President of AAAI and Senior Advisor, Publicis Communications elected as the next Chairman of BARC India.  He succeeds Viacom18 Group CEO Sudhanshu Vats. Nakul will be the third Chairman of BARC India. He had joined the BARC India Board in September 2016.

US President Donald Trump signed a 692 billion dollar defence budget, which among other things gives funding to provide legislative authority to implement his South Asia strategy and authorises critical missile capabilities to confront threats posed by North Korea.  The National Defence Authorisation Act (NDAA) authorises 626 billion dollars of the base budget resources for the Department of Defence and the national security programs of the Department of Energy, providing an additional 66 billion for Overseas Contingency Operations.

In a relief to IT companies, the union government set aside a 10,000 crore rupee service tax demand notices on IT companies. The Finance Ministry, as a result, apprehensions about the negative effects on the software industry are without basis. The government's move came a day after IT companies raised the issue of tax demand with Finance Minister Arun Jaitley during the pre-budget consultations. The tax department had slapped service tax demand notices on about 200 information technology and IT-enabled services companies.

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