Today Current Affairs 1st March 2017

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The Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) on 28 February 2017 signed ten Advance Pricing Agreements (APAs) with taxpayers. The APAs were signed in various sectors of the economy like Telecom, Pharmaceutical, Banking & Finance, Steel, Retail and Information Technology, etc. In the current financial year, a total of 76 APAs (7 Bilateral APAs and 61 Unilateral APAs) have already been signed by CBDT.  With this, the total number of APAs entered into by the CBDT reached 140 in number. This includes 10 Bilateral APAs and 130 Unilateral APAs. The CBDT expects more APAs to be signed before the end of the current fiscal. Highlights : Two of these ten agreements are Bilateral APAs with the United Kingdom and Japan. While, seven of these agreements have rollback provisions in them.  The APAs entered into over the last week pertain to various sectors of the economy like Telecom, Pharmaceutical, Banking & Finance, Steel, Retail, Information Technology, etc.  The international transactions covered in these agreements include Payment of Royalty Fee, Trading in Goods, IT Enabled Services, Software Development Services and Marketing Support Services. The APAs also cover Clinical Research Services, Non-binding Investment Advisory Services, Payment of Interest on ECB, etc. 

India on 23 February 2017 signed a Financing Agreement with the World Bank for IDA credit of USD 63 million for the 'Tejaswini', a Socio-Economic Empowerment of Adolescent Girls and Young Women Project.The Financing Agreement was signed by Raj Kumar, Joint Secretary in the Department of Economic Affairs, Union Ministry of Finance and Junaid Kamal Ahmad, Country Director of World Bank (India).  Highlights of the Socio-Economic Empowerment of Adolescent Girls and Young Women Project 'Tejaswini'  • The project seeks to empower the adolescent girls with basic life skills. • It aims to provide further opportunities to acquire market driven skill training or completion of secondary education, depending on the inclination of the beneficiary.  • The project will support adolescent girls and young women between the ages of 14 and 24 to complete their secondary level education.  • It will also help girls in acquiring relevant skills for the job market.   • The project has three main components- (i) Expanding social, educational and economic opportunities (ii) Intensive service delivery (iii) State capacity-building and implementation support.  • About 680000 adolescent girls and young women are expected to benefit from the program. • The closing date of the project is 30 June 2021. Other agreement On the same occasion, a Project Agreement was also signed by Mukhmeet Singh Bhatia, Principal Secretary in the Department of Women, Child Development, Jharkhand and Junaid Kamal Ahmad, Country Director of World Bank. It aims to support strengthening of institutional capacity and outreach of the Department of Women and Child Development and the Jharkhand Women Development Society to enable effective and efficient delivery of services for Adolescent Girls and Young Women in the state. The project will be delivered in 17 Districts of Jharkhand. In the 17 project districts, there are about 2.1 million adolescent girls and young women in the 14-24 age group, of which 13 per cent belong to Scheduled Castes and 25 per cent belong to Scheduled Tribes..  

Amina J Mohammed on 28 February 2017 was appointed as the Deputy Secretary-General of the United Nations (UN). Mohammed, a former Environment Minister of Nigeria, was appointed by Secretary-General Antonio Guterres to the second highest job at the UN. promoting resource mobilization required for meeting the urban infrastructure demand.  Amina J Mohammed : Amina Mohammed was born in 1961 Gombe State, North Eastern part of Nigeria. She previously served as the Minister of Environment of Nigeria.  She resigned from Nigerian Federal Executive Council on the 24 February 2017. She also served as the Special Adviser to UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon on Post-2015 development planning. Prior to this position, she served as Founder and CEO of the Center for Development Policy Solutions.She also served as an Adjunct Professor for the Master’s in Development Practice program at Columbia University. She has also acted as the Senior Special Assistant to the President of Nigeria on the Millennium Development Goals after serving three presidents over a period of six years. In 2005, she was charged with the coordination of Nigeria’s debt relief funds toward the achievement of the MDGs. She has been honoured the National Honours Award of the Order of the Federal Republic in 2006. She was inducted in the Nigerian Women’s Hall of Fame in 2007

The National Consultation Workshop on Urban Development was held on 28 February 2017 at Vigyan Bhawan in New Delhi. The workshop was organised by the Union Ministry of Urban Development.  Highlights of the workshop  :  The workshop discussed strategies to promote social and urban infrastructure in urban areas of the country. • The workshop was held with the theme – Transforming Cities Transforming Lives. • During the workshop, participating States and Union Territories (UTs) endorsed the following five transformational urban reforms. 1. Moving to a trust and verify approach: Instead of the present practice of verifying first and approving later, the States agreed to invert the model by reposing trust in citizens. This ‘Trust and Verify’ approach has been recommended in respect of permissions for building construction, change of title in municipal records (mutation) and birth and death registration. 2. Formulating land titling laws: This measure was approved as over 90 per cent of the land records in the country are unclear. Land market distortions and unclear land titles are costing the country 1.30 per cent of GDP per year. 3. Credit rating of urban local bodies 4. Value capture financing: Noting that the total revenues of the municipal sector accounts for only 0.75 per cent of the country’s GDP as against 6 per cent in South Africa, 5 per cent in Brazil and 4.50 per cent in Poland, the participating States agreed to leverage value capture finance tools for meeting the capital expenditure needs of cities. 5. Improving professionalism of ULBs: The States agreed for the induction of professionals in city governments by encouraging lateral induction and filling top positions in cities through open competition. Besides, the participating States also supported six new policies and schemes proposed by the Union Government. The new policies and schemes are- i. Transit Oriented Development Policy ii. Green Urban Mobility Scheme iii. Metro Policy iv. Value Capture Financing Policy Framework v. City Liveability Index vi. Fecal Sludge and Septage Management Policy. The reforms are aimed a

The UK-India Year of Culture 2017 was launched on 27 February 2017 at Buckingham Palace to mark a year-long celebration of the strong relationship shared between the UK and India. Queen Elizabeth II hosted a gala event to mark the launch.Top Indian celebrities arrived at the event such as Anoushka Shankar, Gurinder Chadha and Shiamak Davar. Additionally, The Big Bang Theory‘s Kunal Nayyar, Ayesha Dharker and Nina Wadia were also in attendance. Anil Kapoor also attended the event as a special guest. On arrival, guests watched an Indian dance performance entitled 'Ekam' in the reception.  The UK India Year of Culture marked its launch as the BFI National Archives announce a restoration of silent film Shiraz. Shiraz looks at the 17th century love story behind the construction of the Taj Mahal.  A Year-Long Celebration • Throughout 2017, UK India Year of Culture will hold special events, exhibitions and activities in both the UK and India. It will celebrate India’s heritage and culture throughout the United Kingdom.  • Year 2017 will see an incredible programme of cultural events and activities in India organised by the British Council, and a similar programme in the UK organised by the Government of India. • Major UK and Indian institutions will also participate in the events such as the BFI National Archive and India@UK2017. • Much anticipated blockbuster 'Baahubali: The Conclusion' will get its UK premiere on 27 April 2017 as part of the cultural celebrations held to mark the 70th anniversary of India’s independence. • British/German/Indian film will be premiered on 14 October 2017 at the 61st London Film Festival. India will also get a screening of the film too by the Taj Mahal. • The BFI also plan to screen the India on Film Programme from April to December 2017. It will showcase a wide range of exciting Indian films including Bollywood 2.0. • Shows will be held in various cities, including London and Edinburgh. They will also support other Indian productions, such as Ravi Shankar’s Sukanya and the London Indian film festival. • India and the World: A History in Nine Stories, an exhibition, will be held at the British Museum to coincide with the 70th Anniversary of India’s independence. It will open in November 2017, in time with the Partition’s anniversary.

The government of Assam has decided to appoint a specific teacher to monitor cleanliness in all of the state’s high schools. The decision was taken during a cabinet meeting, held in Guwahati on 28 February 2017. The meeting was chaired by the state’s Chief Minister, Sarbanand Sonowal. According to the state’s Transport minister Chandra Mohan Patowary, the teachers will be appointed in the high schools in accordance with the union government’s Swachh Bharat Mission. He further stated that they would be responsible for maintaining cleanliness within the school premises. This is not, however, the first effort in the state towards achieving Swachh Bharat Abhiyan. The residents of Shikdamakha, a small village in Assam have taken it upon themselves to make their village the ‘cleanest village in Asia’, beating Mawlynnong, a village in Meghalaya that won the title previously. The residents are making it possible by completely boycotting the use of plastic and instead using baskets made from bamboo to store garbage in front of each of the 89 households and every corner of the village. The garbage collected is then disposed of at regular intervals. Besides this, all the households in the village are equipped with proper toilets and every week residents come out in groups to sweep the streets to ensure that there is no stagnant water in the drains. The village also has a committee to ensure everyone, from young to old is made aware of cleanliness and hygiene.

The National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA) in last week of February 2017 banned British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) from filming in all Indian tiger reserves for five years. It also imposed a ban on BBC’s journalist Justin Rowlatt for the same period.  As per a report published in a national daily, the ban was imposed on the network after BBC via a documentary, One World: Killing for Conservation, questioned India’s aggressive policy and protection measures to protect endangered rhinos at Kaziranga national park in Assam. Issuing the ban on the network, NTCA directed all chief wildlife wardens of all tiger range states of India as well as field directors of tiger reserves to disallow filming permission to BBC for five years. NTCA that governs all tiger reserves of India. The documentary shot by Justin Rowlatt came into criticism from the union environment ministry for being wrong. Through the documentary, Rowlatt claimed that forest guards in Kaziranga were given powers to shoot and kill anyone they think was a threat to rhinos. Through the documentary, the maker of the documentary said, this shoot-at-sight policy led to the killing of some 23 people by forest guards. The documentary was aired on 11 February 2017. Later on 14 February 2017, the NTCA issued a notice to BBC against airing the programme without any approval. It also threatened the network to cancel all future permits to BBC, if it fails to remove the documentary from different online portals with immediate effect. NTCA via a memorandum issued on 27 February 2017 said BBC had failed to submit the documentary to Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEFCC) and Ministry of External Affairs for mandatory previewing. It would have helped the ministries to remove the deviations and achieve a balanced and accurate exposition of the theme.

India on 1 March 2017 successfully test-fired the Prithvi supersonic interceptor missile. The missile was test-fired by the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) from the Abdul Kalam Island off Odisha coast. After receiving commands from the radars on the incoming missile, the interceptor missile Prithvi detected and tracked the enemy's ballistic missile. The ‘enemy missile’ was fired from the Interim Test Range (ITR) at Chandipur in Odisha. Prithvi, which has been dubbed as an advanced air defence interceptor, is part of India’s credible ballistic missile defence program. With Prithvi in its armour, India has become the fourth country in the world to have a ballistic missile defence program. The other three countries which have developed a similar ballistic missile defence system include the US, Russia and Israel. Features of Prithvi Missile :  Prithvi Missile is a surface-to-surface battle field missile. It uses a single state, twin-engine liquid propulsion system and strap-down inertial guidance with real-time software. These features are incorporated in the on board computer to achieve the desired accuracy during impact. Compared to any equivalent class of missiles in the world, Prithvi has a higher lethal effect. Prithvi is a unique missile as it has a high manoeuverable trajectory and high level capability with field interchangeable warheads.

The Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) is planning to further tighten the regulations for algorithmic trading to minimise instances of misuse of such systems.  The tight regulations aim to curb the instances of flash crashes that have happened overseas and also in India few times. India is one of the few countries in the world to regulate algorithmic trading. Flash crash results in extremely rapid decline in the price of one or more commodities or securities caused by algorithmic trading.   It can result in the loss and recovery of billions of dollars in a matter of minutes and seconds. Many countries and regulators, including the International Organization of Securities Commissions (IOSCO) are debating on this issue for many years, but only India had been able to come out with proper regulations. Algorithmic trading in financial markets refers to transaction orders generated by using advanced mathematical models that involves automated execution of trade.   It uses mathematical models and software codes to make transaction decisions on exchanges and execute them at high speed.  This technology-driven trading enables traders to take advantage of any profit making opportunities arising in the market much before a human trader can even spot them. At present, on the National Stock Exchange (NSE), algorithm trades accounts close to 16% of all trades. On the Bombay Stock Exchange (BSE), it was 8.56% in January 2017.  

Senior tribal leader from Chhattisgarh and ex-parliamentarian Nand Kumar Sai (71) took charge as Chairperson of National Commission for Scheduled Tribes (NCST) in Delhi. He succeeds Rameshwar Oraon, whose tenure had ended on October 31, 2016. He will have tenure of three years and has been given the rank of Union Cabinet Minister. Nand Kumar Sai :   He is actively involved in spread of education in tribal areas. He was in the forefront of various movements to oppose atrocities and exploitation of tribals. He was elected to Madhya Pradesh legislative assembly in 1977, 1985 and 1998. He was also elected to the Chhattisgarh legislative assembly in 2000.  He was the first leader of opposition in the House. He was elected to the Lok Sabha in 1989, 1996 and 2004 and also to Rajya Sabha in 2009 and 2010. He has served as member of parliamentary standing committee on coal and steel and parliamentary consultative committee of Ministry of Urban Development and Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment.

The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has set up of an inter-disciplinary standing committee on cyber security to review the threats inherent in the existing and emerging technology. The 11-member committee will be headed by Meena Hemchandra, RBI Executive Director. It can co-opt more experts and also operate through a framework of sub-committees to examine specific issues. The committee will study adoption of various security standards and protocols, interface with stakeholders. Based on study, it will suggest appropriate policy interventions to strengthen cyber security and resilience. Based on the recommendations of the Expert Panel on Cyber Security and Information Technology Examination, RBI had issued guidelines to banks in June, 2016 mandating cyber security preparedness for addressing cyber risks. Since then banks have taken several steps to strengthen their defences, but the diverse and ingenious nature of cyber-attacks necessitates an ongoing review of the cyber security landscape and emerging threats.  Even the statement on Developmental and Regulatory Policies also was issued along with the Sixth Bi-monthly Monetary Policy Statement, 2016-17 proposing constitution of inter-disciplinary Standing Committee on Cyber Security.

Sumit Mullick, a 1982 batch IAS officer, was appointed as the Chief Secretary of Maharashtra on 28 February 2017. He succeeds Swadheen Kshatriya. Kshatriya, the incumbent chief secretary of the state, was due for retirement on 31 January 2017, but was given a month's extension. At present, Mullick is the senior most bureaucrat of the state and will retire in April 2018. As per reports, the file of appointing Mullick as the Chief Secretary was signed by Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis in the morning of 28 February 2017 and was handed over the charge in the evening. At the time of this appointment, Mullick was working as an Additional Chief Secretary (ACS) and was serving the state as its Chief Protocol Officer in the General Administration department. He had earlier served as the Divisional Commissioner of Amravati and worked as Secretary of School Education. He was also Secretary to the Governor. Chief Secretary : The Chief Secretaries, who are members of the Indian Administrative Service (IAS), are the head of the state administration. They are responsible for the day to day functioning of the government machinery. They also execute the decisions taken by the elected government. Chief Secretaries rank above the Principle Secretaries but are subordinate to the Cabinet Secretary of India.

The Madurai bench of the Chennai High court directed the state government on 27 February 2017 to pass a special law to uproot the harmful seemai karuvelam trees (prosopis juliflora). The judgement followed a PIL filed by MDMK leader Vaiko. The directive was given by a bench consisting of Justices, A Selvam and P Kaliarasan, who observed that only 15 per cent of the trees had been removed up until now. Along with asking the state government to pass a law with prohibitory and penal clauses, the bench also directed it to release perennial funds to the state’s district collectors for the complete removal of the trees. Seemai Karuvelam Tree : It is a specie native to West Africa and was brought to Tamil Nadu in 1960s as fuelwood.  It disrupts the ecosystem by soaking in all the ground water near it.  It has infiltrated the water bodies and dry lands of Tamil Nadu. Earlier this month, the high court bench had ordered for the removal of the trees from thirteen districts that fall under its jurisdiction following the filing of batches of complaints. Some of the districts included Tiruchirapalli, Madurai, Thanjavur and Sivagangai Theni. The complaints were filed after the adverse effect of the tree on agricultural activities. The bench has now extended the order to the entire state and said that it would be conducting surprise inspections and any lapse in the progress of the action would be viewed seriously.

D R Doley Barman on 28 February 2017 was appointed as the Director of Sardar Vallabh Bhai Patel National Police Academy (SVPNPA), Hyderabad. At present, Barman is working as the Director of the North East Police Academy (NEPA), Shillong, Meghalaya. Barman is a senior Indian Police Service officer. A 1986 batch Jammu and Kashmir cadre, she replaces Aruna M Bahuguna, who is an Andhra Pradesh cadre of 1979 batch. However, Barman’s appointment has been done by temporarily downgrading the post to ADG level for a period of two years or until further orders, whichever is earlier. Barman will also hold the additional charge of the post of Director, North East Police Academy (NEPA) till the appointment and joining of regular Director, NEPA.  Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel National Police Academy : The Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel National Police Academy is the Indian national institute for training of Indian Police Service (IPS) officers. The academy is located in Hyderabad, Telangana. It is the premier police training institution in the country. The Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel National Police Academy was established on 15 September 1948.  The academy was named after India's former Deputy Prime Minister Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel, who was the man responsible for creating the All India Services.

India’s Civil Aviation Minister, Ashok Gajapathi Raju inaugurated the country’s first integrated heliport at Rohini in North Delhi on 28 February 2017. The minister dedicated the heliport to the nation. The new facility is expected to push India’s aviation sector to new heights. Highlights  :  The heliport has been developed by Pawan Hans, a state-owned helicopter service company. It is spread over a large area amounting to more than 25 acres with an investment of about Rs 100 Cr. It consists of a terminal building with a capacity of about 150 passengers, 4 hangars with the parking capacity of around 16 helicopters and nine parking bays. It also has a maintenance, repair, and overhaul (MRO) facility for the maintenance and repair of the Pawan Hans fleet as well as for third party repair work. The facility has already been successfully tested in trials conducted in February 2016. The commencement of chopper services from the new heliport is expected to reduce the congestion at the Delhi airport, which currently manages the arrival and departure of around 40-50 helicopters on an average every day. Besides this, the heliport will be used for operating services for disaster management, law and order surveillance and emergency medical services. It will also operate as a centre for skill development of pilots and engineers and will promote regional air connectivity through helicopters in the northern region.

Sapient on 28 February 2017 appointed Sanjay Menon as the Managing Director (MD) of its India operations. Menon will take over the new role from Rajdeep Endow. However, Menon will continue to serve as Global Head of Service Lines for SapientRazorfish. Menon will drive the strategy, capability development and growth of Sapient's India presence. He will also maintain its status as hub of the company's globally distributed delivery network. Menon has successfully served in various business and delivery roles including running key account P&Ls, managing global delivery for some of the business units as well as growing digital marketing services capability from India. Sapient : Sapient is a marketing and consulting company.  It provides business, marketing and technology services to clients.It operates three divisions: SapientNitro, Sapient Global Markets and Sapient Government Services. The company was founded on 6 November 1990 by Jerry Greenberg and Stuart Moore. On 5 February 2015, the company became a fully owned division of French advertising giant Publicis, in a deal valued at USD 3.7 billion. On 17 November 2016, SapientNitro was merged with sister agency Razorfish to form SapientRazorfish. The company’s culture has been profiled by case studies within the Harvard and Yale Business Schools as an example of leadership and organizational behaviour.

National Science Day was observed across India on 28 February 2017. The year’s theme for the day is "Science and Technology for Specially Abled Persons”. The day is observed to mark the discovery of the Raman Effect ( a phenomenon of scattering of photons) by Indian physicist Sir Chandrasekhara Venkata Raman on 28 February 1928. For his path-breaking discovery, CV Raman was knighted in 1929 and awarded the Nobel Prize in 1930. This was the first Nobel Prize won by an Indian or any Asian in the field of Science. The second objective behind celebrating 28 February as the National Science Day is to spread a message about science and its importance in the daily life of the people. The day came into existence after the National Council for Science and Technology Communications (NCSTC) in 1986 asked the Union Government to designate 28 February as National Science Day. Later in the same year, the government designated 28 February as National Science Day. The first National Science Day was celebrated on 28 February 1987. Raman Effect or scattering is a process in which wavelength light changes. The light beam changes its wavelength when its molecules are deflected. The molecules deflect when the light passes through a dust-free, transparent sample of a chemical compound or something else. In this case, a fraction of the light emerges in directions, that is, other than that of the actual beam. Maximum of the scattered light is of unchanged wavelength. The small part of deflected light or the light with a different wavelength from the actual light is the result of the Raman Effect.

The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) in the third week of February 2017 appointed Neil Gaiman as a global Goodwill Ambassador.   Gaiman is an internationally acclaimed author. He had been working closely with UNHCR since 2013. Neil Gaiman : Neil Gaiman is an English author of short fiction, novels, comic books, graphic novels, audio theatre and films. He is noted for the comic book series The Sandman and novels Stardust, American Gods, Coraline, and The Graveyard Book.He is the first author to win both the Newbery and the Carnegie medals for the same work, The Graveyard Book.  In 2013, his work The Ocean at the End of the Lane was voted Book of the Year in the British National Book Awards. United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees  : The Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees is a United Nations programme mandated to protect and support refugees.  Its headquarters are located in Geneva, Switzerland. UNHCR is a member of the United Nations Development Group.It won two Nobel Peace Prizes, once in 1954 and again in 1981.  

A group of scientists unearthed a large piece of carved jade pendant inscribed with a historical text describing its first owner. The pendant once belonged to an ancient Maya king. The T-shaped pendant is remarkable for being the second largest Mayan jade found in Belize to date. The jewel, a jade pendant worn on a king’s chest during key religious ceremonies, was first discovered in the year 2015 in Nim Li Punit in southern Belize. Highlights : The pendant measures 7.4 inches in width, 4.1 inches in height and 0.3 inches in thickness. The pendant is the only one known to be inscribed with a historical text. On the back of the pendant, 30 hieroglyphs about its first owner are carved. The front of the pendant is carved with a T. It is the Mayan glyph “ik” which stands for “wind and breath.”The pendant was buried in a T-shaped platform.  A vessel with a beaked face, probably a Maya god of wind, was also unearthed with the pendant. Researchers estimated that the pendant was buried as a dedication to the wind god. Maya Civilization :  The Maya civilization was a Mesoamerican civilization developed by the Maya peoples. The civilization is noted for its hieroglyphic script, which is the only known fully developed writing system of the pre-Columbian Americas.The civilization is also known for its art, architecture, mathematics, calendar and astronomical system. The Maya civilization developed in an area that covers southeastern Mexico, all of Guatemala and Belize, and the western portions of Honduras and El Salvador. The Preclassic period (2000 BC to 250 AD) saw the establishment of the first complex societies in the Maya region. The first Maya cities developed around 750 BC. These cities possessed monumental architecture by 500 BC.

Abdul Bari Siddiqui, the finance minister of Bihar, on 27 February 2017 presented the annual state budget of 2017-18 in the legislative assembly. The size of the budget for the fiscal year 2017-18 is Rs 160085 lakh crore. The state government has not introduced any fresh tax. The budget expenditure for 2017-18 is around Rs 15389 crore more than the running 2016-17 budget estimate of Rs 144696.27 crore. While presenting the budget, Siddiqui said no fresh tax was imposed in the budget as the GST will be introduced from July 2017. Highlights of the budget : Maximum allocation of budget has been made to Education department followed by Rural Development and Rural works department. The budget proposes to open three universities in the fiscal year 2017-18. The three universities will be named as Purnia University, Pataliputra University and Munger University.  Bihar budget 2017-18 has an emphasis on Chief Minister Nitish Kumar's 'Saat Nischay' (seven resolves). An adequate allocation was made in respective to departments to which the seven resolves schemes are linked. Highlights of major allocations in the 2017-18 Bihar budget Education: Rs 25251.39 crore Energy: Rs 10905.03 crore  Health: Rs 7001.52 crore Road and Infrastructure: Rs 6635 crore The budgetary allocation for education was increased by Rs 3354 crore. In the fiscal year 2016-17, the education department was allocated Rs 21897.02 crore. On the other hand, the allocation for energy was reduced by Rs 3462.81 crore. In fiscal 2016-17, the department was allocated a budget of Rs 14367.84 crore. At the same time, the allocation in the field of health was also reduced by 1233.18 crores. In the fiscal year 2016-17, health department’s allocation was Rs 8234.70 crore. The revenue receipts of the state were estimated at Rs 137158.41 crore in 2017-18, which is Rs 12568.17 crore more than Rs 124590.24 crore for 2016-17. Revenue receipts include state’s share in central taxes along with state’s own tax and non-tax revenue.  

Former Union Minister P. Shiv Shankar passed away on 27 February 2017 after a prolonged illness. He was 87. In his political career spanning over three decades, P. Shiv Shankar served as External Affairs and Human Resource Development Minister. P. Shiv Shankar :  Born on 10 August 1929, P. Shiv Shankar obtained his bachelor’s degree from Hindu College, Amritsar. He earned a degree in LL.B. Law College, Osmania University, Hyderabad. In 1979, he was elected to 6th Lok Sabha from Secunderabad. He was elected again from the same constituency in 1980. In 1980, he was made Union Minister of Law and Justice. In 1985, he was elected to Rajya Sabha from Gujarat. He remained in Rajya Sabha till 1993 for two terms. He was made Union Minister of External Affairs and Minister of Human Resource Development during these terms. From 1987 to 1988, he served as the Deputy Chairman of Planning Commission.From 1988 to 1989, he became Leader of the House in Rajya Sabha. He served as the Governor of Sikkim from 21 September 1994 to 11 November 1995. He also served as the Governor of Kerala from 1995 to 1996.  

TripAdvisor, an American travel website, in February 2017 ranked Radhanagar beach of the Andaman and Nicobar Islands among top 10 beaches in the world. The beach on the Havelock Island in the Andamans has secured the 8th position in the world in TripAdvisor's 'World's Travellers' Choice Award-Winning Beaches' In addition, the Radhanagar beach has notched the top position in TripAdvisor's list of the top spot in Asia. TripAdvisor has honoured 343 beaches, including the top 25 in the world. Winners were determined based on the quantity and quality of traveller reviews and ratings for beaches on TripAdvisor, gathered over a 12-month period. The Baia do Sancho Fernando de Noronha in Brazil topped the list and was followed by Grace Bay Providenciales in Turks and Caicos, Eagle Beach in Aruba. Top 10 beaches in the world ranked by TripAdvisor are Baia do Sancho: Fernando de Noronha, Brazil Grace Bay: Providenciales, Turks and Caicos Eagle Beach: Palm - Eagle Beach, Aruba Playa Paraiso: Cayo Largo, Cuba Siesta Beach: Siesta Key, Florida La Concha Beach: San Sebastian - Donostia, Spain Playa Norte: Isla Mujeres Radhanagar Beach: Havelock Island, Andaman and Nicobar Islands Elafonissi Beach: Elafonissi, Greece Galapagos Beach at Tortuga Bay: Puerto Ayora, Ecuador Besides, the TripAdvisor has also released the list of the top beaches in Asia. The list features two Indian beaches among the top five Asia list and they are Radhanagar (No 1) and Agonda Beach in Goa (No 5). Top 5 beaches in Asia are Radhanagar Beach: Havelock Island, Andaman and Nicobar Island White Beach: Boracay, Aklan Province Ngapali Beach: Ngapali, Myanmar Nai Harn Beach: Rawai, Thailand Agonda Beach: Agonda, India Radhanagar Beach : Radhanagar beach is situated 12 km from Havelock's ferry pier. Also known as Number 7 Beach, the Radhanagar beach is located on the western coast and was named as the Best Beach in Asia by Time in 2004. The beach with fine white sand, turquoise blue waters and more is not a huge island with an overall length of 2kilometers and with of 30 to 40 meters.

Gopal Baglay, a senior diplomat was appointed as the new spokesperson of the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) on 27 February 2017.  He will be succeeding Vikas Swarup, who was appointed as India’s new High Commissioner to Canada. Commenting on his appointment Baglay stated that he was delighted to take over his new role and hoped to have full support and cooperation in continuing the high traditions set by his predecessors. Aside from holding the position of the spokesperson of MEA, Baglay would also be serving as the Joint Secretary of External publicity. Gopal Baglay : He joined the Indian Foreign Service in 1992. He has previously held several key positions including that of Director, Joint Secretary, Director PAI and Indian Deputy High Commissioner to Pakistan.He served as the Deputy High Commissioner to Islamabad from 2011 to 2014. He also served as the Joint Secretary (states) from October 2014 to December 2015 and was given the responsibility of creating a separate department in the ministry to facilitate international outreach of the Indian states. Since 2015, he was handling the sensitive division of Pakistan-Afghanistan-Iran in the MEA. The division will now be led by Deepak Mittal.