Centre Unveiled Contours of ‘Electoral Bonds’ Scheme
- The union government on Tuesday has did the announcement of the all the detail that is of political funding that has given the direction to the donors to parties through electoral bonds, a scheme announced by it in Union Budget 2017.
- “The scheme has been placed before Parliament. Till today, people did not get explicit information on how much funds political parties got from which source and how they spent it. In 2001, we introduced a change to enable funding through cheque. However, the share of anonymous funding is still high. The electoral bonds scheme is meant to change this,” Jaitley told reporters.
- “Whoever wants to donate electoral bonds, can buy them from any of the notified branches of SBI. The validity of the bonds is kept at 15 days so that this does not become a parallel currency. Every political party will have to file returns to the Election Commission on how much funds have been received,” he said, adding that this was the “beginning” of reforms in political funding and hinted at more measures later.
- “There are only three new pieces of information in what was announced today: the designated bank, life of the bonds and denominations. These do not help. Electoral bonds continue to be designed to make political and electoral funding even more opaque. It will bring more and more black money into the political system,” said Jagdeep Chhokar, founding member of the New Delhi-based Association for Democratic Reforms (ADR).
- “Electoral bonds would be a bearer instrument in the nature of a promissory note and an interest-free banking instrument,” the Minister said in the Lok Sabha. “A citizen of India or a body incorporated in India will be eligible to purchase the bond.”
- “The purchaser will be allowed to buy electoral bonds only on due fulfilment of all the extant KYC norms and by making payment from a bank account,” Mr. Jaitley said. “It will not carry the name of the payee.”
Cabinet Nod to India, UK Pact to Improve Public Transport
- The Centre on Wednesday has given the approval for the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between India and London’s transportation authority to improve public transport in the country.
- This MoU has been set for the main aim of the public transport system, improve passenger services and promote the use of high capacity buses in India.
- “The Union Cabinet chaired by the Prime Minister Narendra Modi has approved the signing and implementation of the MoU between Ministry of Road Transport and Highways and ‘Transport for London’, a statutory body established under the Greater London Authority Act, 1999 (UK) to improve public transport in India,” an official statement said.
- “It will go a long way in strengthening ties and promoting bilateral relations between India and the United Kingdom,” the statement by the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways said.
GAIL Commissions India’s Second-Largest Rooftop Solar Plant in UP
- State-owned gas utility GAIL India Ltd on wednesday has said that it has commissioned the country’s second largest rooftop solar power plant.
- “The total firm has installed a 5.76 MWp (Mega Watt peak) solar plant at its petrochemical complex at Pata in Uttar Pradesh,” a company statement said. The plant over the roofs of warehouses covers a total area of 65,000 square meters.
- “With an expected PLF of around 15 per cent annually, over 79 lakh KWh (or units) of electricity is targeted to be generated for captive use of India’s largest gas-based petrochemcials plant,” it said.
- “With an expected PLF [Peak Load Factor] of around 15 per cent annually, over 79 lakh… units of electricity is targeted to be generated for captive use of India’s largest gas-based petrochemicals plant,” the statement by the firm said, as per PTI
- Gas Limited is the largest state-owned natural gas processing and distribution company in India
- It is headquartered in New Delhi
- Headquarters: New Delhi
- CEO: Sh B. C. Tripathi (1 Aug 2009–)
- Owner: Government of India
- Subsidiaries: Mahanagar Gas, Ratnagiri Gas and Power
Karnataka to Hold ‘Largest B2B Travel Event’ in the Country
- The Karnataka government on Wednesday did the announcement that ‘Karnataka International Travel Expo’ (KITE) that will be going to held at here from February 28, billing it as the “largest” B2B travel event in the country.
- “For the first time in the country we will be having the biggest event, international expo for the tourism and travel sector,” Karnataka Tourism Minister Priyank Kharge told reporters here.
- “The aim is to project Karnataka globally and attract tourist footfall, with emphasis on promoting the state’s wild life, luxury and adventure destinations, historical monuments and UNESCO world heritage sites,” he said.
- “This will be an annual event here on, and will make a mark on the international travel expo map or circuit. Overall, a budget of Rs seven crore is expected to be spent on the event,” he added.
171st Araadhanai Music Festival Begins in Tamil Nadu
- The 171st Araadhanai Music Festival is one of the most famous Trinities of Carnatic music Saint Thyagaraja begins in Thiruvaiyaru, Tamil Nadu today. This festival has been going to inaugurated by Governor Banwarilal Purohit.
- In the festival there will be the main function is the choral singing of Thyagaraja’s five kritis in Ghana ragas – will be held on his Samadhi day which falls on next Saturday.
- Over 1,000 musicians from all over the world are expected to pay homage to Saint Thygaraja during the course of the five-day festival.
Six Countries Enter UN Security Council
- The U.N. Security Council has welcomed six new non-permanent members that is the Equatorial Guinea, Ivory Coast, Kuwait, the Netherlands, Peru, and Poland.
- The six new countries, that has been given the vote by the 193-member General assembly for two-year terms, will have a strong voice in matters dealing with international peace and security during their time on the U.N.’s most powerful body.
- “Peace and security are difficult to achieve,” Kazakh envoy Kairat Umarov, who took the rotating presidency in January, told council members at a special ceremony. “You are going to have a real chance to make a difference.”
- Equatorial Guinea, Ivory Coast, Kuwait, Peru, Poland and the Netherlands formally joined the ranks of the non-permanent members of the United Nations Security Council today “to make a difference,” the body’s president said. “Peace and security are difficult to achieve,” Kazakh envoy Kairat Umarov, who took the rotating presidency in January, told council members at a special ceremony. “You are going to have a real chance to make a difference.”
UNESCO Enters Turkey’s Endangered ‘Bird Language’ in Intangible Cultural Heritage List
- The language that is very efficient for many of the people that is the whistle language used as a means of communication by villagers in remote northern Turkey entered the Unesco list of Intangible Cultural Heritage.
- UNESCO has accepted the “bird language” of Black Sea villagers as an endangered part of world heritage in need of urgent protection, Xinhua news agency reported on Sunday.
- “The mobile phones have had a certain impact on our whistle tradition here, but we are trying to keep our culture alive,” said the Muhtar, the elected headman of Kuskoy (literally translated as “bird village”).
- “We are very satisfied that our bird language is now a part of the world culture heritage, it was a dream come true because we think that it will also inspire others,” said the Muhtar, adding that Kuskoy is making efforts to keep the practice alive through its annual Bird Language Festival.
Pakistan State Bank Allows use of Chinese Currency Yuan for Bilateral Trade & Investment Activities
- Pakistan has given the approval for the Chinese yuan that will be used for the imports, exports and financing transactions for bilateral trade and investment activities, in a move economists said Wednesday would simplify a massive Chinese investment project.
- “As per current foreign exchange regulations, Chinese Yuan (CNY) is an approved foreign currency for denominating foreign currency transactions in Pakistan. In terms of regulations in Pakistan, CNY is at par with other international currencies such as USD, Euro and JPY” it said.
- “The SBP, in the capacity of the policy maker of financial and currency markets, has taken comprehensive policy related measures to ensure that imports, exports and financing transactions can be denominated in yuan,” the Dawn reported today, quoting the bank’s statement issued yesterday.
- “In Pakistan, yuan is an approved currency for denominating foreign currency transactions.
- The SBP has already put in place the required regulatory framework which facilitates the use of yuan in trade and investment transactions such as opening of letter of credits (LCs) and availing of financing facilities in yuan,” the report said.
- “With the opening of Bank of China in Pakistan, the access to onshore Chinese markets will strengthen further. Apart from the above, several banks in Pakistan maintain onshore yuan nostro accounts,” said the bank statement.
BANKING AND FINANCE
India’s GDP Growth at 6.5% in FY18, will Accelerate to 7.6% in FY20: HSBC
- India’s growth rate is expected to increase in the next coming year and is likely to improve further to 7.6 per cent by 2019-20 as key sectors would revive from disruptions related to the implementation of GST and demonetisation, says an HSBC report.
- “India’s growth story has a two-part narrative. The first is a slowdown and gradual recovery in the short run, likely over FY18 and FY19, as key sectors revive from disruptions related to the implementation of GST,” HSBC said in a research note.
- “The subsequent narrative is of brighter growth prospects in the medium term (FY20 and beyond), when growth is expected to reap the benefits of recently undertaken structural reforms,” it added.
- “We expect inflation to average 3.4 per cent over FY18 (ending the year in March at 4.3 per cent),” it said adding “accordingly, we forecast RBI will keep the repo rate on hold, as the rate-cutting cycle of the central bank looks set to have ended, with most inflation risks tilted to the upside”.
- HSBC Holdings plc is a British multinational banking and financial services holding company, tracing its origin to a hong in Hong Kong
- Designated CEO: John M. Flint (21 Feb 2018–)
- CEO: Stuart Gulliver (1 Jan 2011–20 Feb 2018)
- Headquarters: London, United Kingdom
- Customer service: 1860 266 2667
- Subsidiaries: HSBC Bank, MORE
- HSBC Holdings PLC is the seventh-largest bank in the world by total assets ($2,374.15 B).
No Charges on Debit Card Transactions up to Rs 2,000: Finance Ministry
- Now it has possible that there will be no any charges has to be pay to the customer on the transaction by the debit card, BHIM app and other payment made for up to Rs 2,000 from today onwards.
- In the last month, Union Cabinet approved a proposal that government will bear the merchant discount rate (MDR) charges on transactions up to Rs 2,000 made through debit cards, BHIM UPI or Aadhaar-enabled payment systems to promote digital transactions.
- “Happy Digital 2018. December Quarter BHIM transaction rises 86 per cent to 145.6 million with value of Rs 13,174 crore,” Financial Services Secretary Rajiv Kumar said in a tweet.
- “Further impetus to digital payments, government to reimburse charges for transaction up to Rs 2,000 on debit cards/BHIM. Zero charges on merchants. Go Digital, embrace transparency,” he said.
Science and Technology
Former RAW chief Rajinder Khanna appointed deputy NSA
- Rajinder Khanna, who was the former chief of the country’s external intelligence agency RAW, was on Tuesday has appointed the deputy National Security Adviser (NSA), according to an official order.
- He had headed the Research and Analysis Wing (RAW) from December 2014 for a fixed two-year period.
- The Appointments Committee of the Cabinet, which has chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, has approved the appointment of Khanna as the deputy NSA on re-employment and on contractual basis, according to the order issued by the personnel ministry.
- Khanna is at present officer on special duty (Neighbourhood Studies) in the National Security Council Secretariat. Neighbourhood Studies prepares policy papers of neighbouring countries including Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and Nepal.
G Sathiyan Becomes India’s Highest-Ranked Player in Latest ITTF Rankings
- Sathiyan has given the ranked in the top Indian player that by taking the ahead to the Sharath Kamal in the latest rankings of the International Table Tennis Federation.
- Sathiyan has been given the rank of 49th in the latest rankings in the world, while Kamal is ranked 51st behind two places. Manika Batra is the top Indian in the women’s category. Before this he was on the 62nd position.
AWARDS & RECOGNITION
JNPT wins “Samudra Manthan – Caring Organisation of the Year” award
- The ‘Samudra Manthan – Caring Organisation of the Year’ award has awarded to the Jawaharlal Nehru Port Trust, India’s Premier Container Port.
- This award has been set by the Bhandarkar Shipping, which is a leading publication in the maritime industry. The main aim of this is to fuel healthy competition in the maritime sector and impart an impetus to the industry to emerge stronger to work for the benefit of trade and the economy.
- There was the many of the 14 categories of Samudra Manthan award, JNPT was the winner in the “Caring Organization of the Year” category. Speaking on the occasion, JNPT’s Deputy Chairman Neeraj Bansal said that the port is fully committed to the welfare of its employees and their families.
Odiya jatra actor, director Ananta Ojha passes away
- The one of the known Odia playwright, jatra actor and director Ananta Ojha has been died on Wednesday at the age of 59 years in Bengaluru following a prolonged illness, family sources said.
- Ojha had scripted over the 200 popular plays and acted and directed in many jatras.
- State Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik condoled the death of Ojha and conveyed his deep condolences to the bereaved family.