Today Current Affairs 29th December 2017

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India has the highest level of non-performing assets (NPA) among BRICS countries and is ranked fifth on a list of countries with the highest levels of NPAs, as per the report by CARE Ratings. The only countries ranked higher than India on the list are Greece, Italy, Portugal, and Ireland. All these countries, along with Spain, are commonly referred to as PIIGS, and have been victims of sovereign debt crises in recent years.  At 9.85 percent, India’s NPA ratio is over 400 basis points higher. Spain is the only PIIGS country ranked lower than India on the list, with an NPA ratio of 5.28 percent.

The Environment Ministry approved the regional project on ‘Climate Resilience Building among Farmers through Crop Residue Management’ under National Adaptation Fund for Climate Change (NAFCC). The project was approved at meeting of National Steering Committee on Climate Change (NSCCC) held in New Delhi under the chairmanship of Secretary, Environment Ministry. The project aims to mitigate climate change impacts and enhance adaptive capacity and counter adverse environmental impacts arising from stubble burning.

Prince Harry named the president of African Parks, a conservation group that manages a dozen wildlife areas across the continent. As per the environmentalist organization, Prince Harry will contribute to its effort to protect Africa's natural heritage and support both wildlife and communities, who live in and around conservation areas.

Bank of Baroda entered into MoU with POORTI Agri Services Pvt. Ltd to enable the farmers to purchase agricultural inputs such as fertilizers, pesticides, seeds etc. provided by POORTI. This is a Platform for Online Ordering & Rural Transformation of India known as “POORTI”. Poorti is a well-established company providing multi-party mobile commerce platform for easy ordering of fertilizers, pesticides, seeds by farmers with loans given by banks.

The two-week long eighth edition of the Indo-Maldives joint military exercise, ‘Ekuverin’, came to an end at Belagavi, Karnataka. ‘ Ekuverin’ means ‘friends’ in the Maldivian language. The bilateral annual exercise was a 14-day joint military training between the Indian Army and the Maldives National Defence Force (MNDF). The exercise has been held alternatively in India and Maldives since 2009.

Tourism is a major engine of economic growth and an important source of foreign exchange earnings in many countries including India. However, as the tourism is flourishing, the country's economy is also getting a massive hike. Notably, Foreign Tourist Arrivals (FTAs) during the period January-November 2017 were 90.01 lakh with a growth of 15.6% while Foreign Exchange Earnings (FEEs) during the period January-November 2017 were Rs.1,60,865 Crore with a growth of 16.9% over same period of previous year. India's rank in the Travel & Tourism Competitiveness Index (TTCI), 2017 has also shown 25 places jump from 2013. The Rank of India in TTCI Report of 2017 was 40th as compared to 52nd in 2015 and 65th in 2013.

An agreement for IBRD Credit of USD 40 Million from World Bank for “U.P. Pro-Poor Tourism Development Project” was signed between India and the World Bank. The programme size is approximately USD 57.14 million, of which USD 40 million will be financed by the Bank, and the remaining amount will be funded out of State Budget. The programme duration is 5 years. The Project Objective is to increase tourism-related benefits for local communities in targeted destinations. The major districts under attractions in Uttar Pradesh are Agra, Mathura, Vrindavan, Barsana and Govardhan in the Braj region.

The Parliament passed National Capital Territory of Delhi Laws (Special Provisions) Second Amendment Bill, 2017. It seeks to amend National Capital Territory of Delhi Laws (Special Provisions) Second Act, 2011. The Bill extends the deadline for relocating slum dwelling unauthorized colonies, village Abadi areas in NCT Delhi and calls for creating a policy for farmhouses constructed beyond permissible limits.

According to the country's largest lender, SBI, its board approved raising Rs 8,000 crore through various sources, including masala bonds, to meet Basel III capital norms. Masala bonds are rupee denominated specialized debt instruments that can be floated in overseas markets only to raise capital. Banks in India have to comply with the global capital norms under Basel III by March 2019, three months later than the internationally agreed time frame by January 2019.

India successfully test-fired its indigenously developed Advanced Air Defence (AAD) supersonic interceptor missile, capable of destroying any incoming ballistic missile at low altitude, from a test range in Odisha. This was the third supersonic interceptor test carried out this year in which an incoming ballistic missile target was successfully intercepted, within a 30km altitude of the earth’s atmosphere by an interceptor. The interceptor is a 7.5-meter long single stage solid rocket propelled guided missile equipped with a navigation system.