Current Affairs Current Affairs - 17 March 2017 - Vikalp Education

Online Vikalp, Current Affairs, Current Awareness, General Awareness, Aptitude Classes, Daily News, General Knowledge, General Awareness For All Competitive Exam, current affairs quiz,current affairs in india, current affairs about sports, current affairs and gk, current affairs about india, current affairs daily quiz, current affairs dairy, current affairs education, Top News, Breaking News, Latest News

Current Affairs - 17 March 2017

General Affairs 

PM Modi's Big Election Win Will Have 'Implications' On Sino-India Ties: Chinese Media
  • The BJP's landslide victory in state polls has "implications" for Sino-India ties as it could further embolden Prime Minister Narendra Modi's "hard-line attitude" and pose difficulties for "compromises" in disagreements with countries like China, an opinion in China's official media said today. "(Prime Minister) Modi recently led his Bharatiya Janata Party to a sweeping electoral victory in Uttar Pradesh, the country's most-populous state, as well as garnering vigorous support in several other major state elections," an op-ed in the ruling Communist Party of China (CPC)-run Global Times said.

    In the first commentary by the Chinese state media after the poll results, the article said the results, "not only increased Prime Minister Modi's chance to win in India's 2019 general elections, some even predict he is already set for a second term".

    "Since Beijing-New Delhi ties have recently entered a subtle and delicate phase, observers soon started to pay close attention to how the bilateral relationship will develop after (Prime Minister) Modi tightens his grip on power," it said.

    Describing Narendra Modi as a "man of action" with a "hard-line attitude", the article said India's domestic and international polices have undergone change under him.

    "(Prime Minister) Modi's hard-line attitude is embodied in both his domestic policies, such as the ban on high-value currency notes, and in his diplomatic logic," it said.

    "In the international arena, he changed India's previous attitude of trying never to offend anyone and started to take a clear stance in controversies among other nations to maximise its own interests. He enhanced New Delhi's ties with China and Moscow and applied to be a member of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO). Yet he also upgraded defence collaboration with the US and Japan, articulated his support for the US rebalance to the Asia-Pacific strategy and Washington's stance on the South China Sea issue," it stated.

    "If Modi wins the next election (2019), India's current firm and tough manner is bound to continue. It will be without question good news for the country's own development," it said.

    "Nevertheless, it will likely mean more difficulties in making compromises in rows with other countries. Take the border disputes between Beijing and New Delhi. No silver lining has yet emerged and (Prime Minister) Modi demonstrated his firm stance over the issue by celebrating Diwali, India's biggest holiday, with soldiers at the Sino-India border," it said.

    "But while seeming inflexible on the surface, hard-liners also have powerful strength in coming to an agreement with others once they make up their mind, given their executive ability and high efficiency," it said.

    "That said, we can still be optimistic in resolving our divergences, including border disputes, with New Delhi during (Prime Minister) Modi's term as long as both sides are willing," it said.

    "For China, it is also an opportunity to give more consideration over how to make breakthroughs in Beijing-New Delhi relations with a hard-line Indian government," the article claimed.

    Last year, Sino-India ties hit multiple roadblocks after China blocked India's admission into the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG), as well as blocking a United Nations ban on terrorist Masood Azhar and over the construction of the 46-billion-dollar China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) which passes through Pakistan-occupied Kashmir.

    This year began on a positive note, with both sides holding an upgraded Strategic Dialogue covering almost all aspects of the relations which both sides termed as very positive.

BJP Undecided On Rajnath Singh For UP Chief Minister, Decision On Saturday
  • The BJP will finalise who will be Uttar Pradesh's next chief minister on Saturday, March 18, at a meeting that evening of its 312 new lawmakers in the state. Amid much speculation that union Home Minister Rajnath Singh could be sent to his home state as the next chief minister, sources said the BJP's top leadership is as yet undecided on this and front runners for the post remain union minister Manoj Sinha and the party's state chief Keshav Maurya.

    The party has quickly formed governments in Goa and Manipur, states where it did not win a majority, but is yet to name a Chief Minister for UP, where it has won a landslide mandate in what is seen as the party's most important win since the 2014 national election.

    Prime Minister Narendra Modi and party chief Amit Shah, sources said, are trying to ensure they pick a person who will be universally acceptable as they attempt to balance the BJP's development agenda with the caste equations that matter much in UP. Their sights are set firmly on the 2019 national election when the party will want to retain the many new voters that it has gained in these assembly elections.

    The list of front-runners has narrowed to two for now - with the pros and cons of appointing each being weighed very carefully. Central Minister for Telecom Manoj Sinha is a civil engineer who is considered a good administrator. He holds an engineering degree from the famous Banaras Hindu University or BHU.

    But Mr Sinha's big drawback is that he belongs to the general caste. The BJP would not like to upset the Dalit and Backward Caste voters who switched to the party in these assembly elections, voting for it in big numbers.

    Picking Keshav Maurya, a Most Backward Classes or MBC leader will address that problem. Mr Maurya was appointed the BJP's state president last year for exactly that reason as the party reached out to voters of that community ahead of the elections.    

    In another plus, Mr Maurya is from the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh or RSS, the BJP's ideological mentor.

    The BJP is however worried that Mr Maurya has a number of cases against him including those of murder and criminal intimidation and that it could be targeted by political rivals after basing much its UP campaign against outgoing Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav and his Samajwadi Party on the poor law and order and what it calls "goonda (hooligan) rule" in UP during its term.    

    The BJP is also consulting the RSS on the key decision. To fill the long gap between the election results last Saturday and the announcement on who will be chief minister, the party is attempting to keep restless workers engaged with preps for a massive victory celebration across the state on Saturday March 18.

An Intro Based On Wrestling - Yes, Wrestling - Helped BJP's Goa Win Today
  • Spotted with the team that delivered a BJP government in Goa - Union Minister Nitin Gadkari and Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar - is a politician incongruous with the coastal state. Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh, who is a BJP member of parliament from Uttar Pradesh, was part of the party contingent on Sunday that declared to reporters that the BJP had the 22 votes it needed to install Mr Parrikar as Chief Minister.

    Then, Mr Singh asked his party bosses for permission to leave - and went on to play a crucial role in winning over one of two regional parties essential for the BJP to come to power.

    The BJP on its own had 13 seats. The MGP or Maharashtrawadi Gomantak Party had three and was easily won over - it was a BJP ally till right before the election. Independents were on board too. The win-or-lose proposition rested on Goa Forward, which had three seats, is headed by Vijai Sardesai, and had aggressively targeted the BJP in its campaign.

    Mr Singh, a notorious "don" in Uttar Pradesh named in multiple criminal cases, was flown down by the party to help seal an alliance with Mr Sardesai. The common link tying the two men - wrestling.

    Mr Singh is the head of All India Wrestling Federation. Mr Sardesai is head of its Goa chapter.

    Mr Singh told  he was friends with Mr Sardesai and flew - after his son's election to the UP Assembly was confirmed - to Goa on Saturday night; just hours after the results for five states were declared.

    Mr Singh was tasked with winning Mr Sardesai's support. He emerged successful - by Sunday afternoon, Goa Forward had committed in writing its backing for Mr Parrikar.

    Mr Gadkari, who was the overseer of the BJP's Goa mission, said "Singh was on a personal family trip to Goa and his presence helped in the outreach to Goa Forward." The union minister stressed, "He didn't play a direct role. He and Vijay Sardesai are friends from the Wrestling Federation and he introduced us to Sardesai."

    Mr Sardesai too confirmed Mr Singh's role in breaking ice with the BJP, but said, with a high measure of political correctness, that the alliance with BJP was forged "over issue for the development of Goa."

    The Congress has alleged that the BJP paid off allies like Mr Sardesai for their loyalty, a charge that the smaller parties have denied.

As China Arms Pakistan, India Trains Vietnamese Soldiers In Jungle Warfare
  • Deep in the forests around the town of Vairengte in Mizoram, three soldiers of the Vietnamese Army are on the hunt for "terrorists". They approach their targets slowly, taking cover behind rocks before opening fire with Indian-made INSAS rifles. This could be a counter-insurgency operation anywhere in the world.

    Except, the targets aren't real.

    They're pop-up targets which appear amidst the undergrowth at a jungle warfare range of the Indian Army's Counter Insurgence and Jungle Warfare School. 

    The soldiers don't look too unlike their Indian colleagues. One of them is wearing Indian Army fatigues, while the other two have Vietnamese Army standard issue jungle camouflage.

    Significantly, all three are Vietnamese Army officers and the skills they pick up here will be transferred to regular infantry soldiers of the Vietnam Army, an Army which fought a full-fledged border-war with China in 1979 in which tens of thousands of lives were lost. 

    Since then, Hanoi's relationship with Beijing has been patchy. While economic ties have significantly improved, Vietnam has grave concerns over China's expansion in the South China Sea where Beijing has been constructing artificial reefs along the Spratley and Paracel chain of islands, a move that has been bitterly contested by several regional countries and India as well. A strong mutual distrust also characterises relations between the people of the two countries, the legacy of a bitter past. Though training three officers of a friendly partner-nation is not uncommon, the context of this training is critical. India is deeply concerned about an expansionist China whether along the long frontier along the Himalayas or, more recently, in the Indian Ocean region where Beijing has been operating nuclear submarines with increasing frequency besides drastically stepping up its military cooperation with not just Pakistan, India's traditional rival, but also Bangladesh and Myanmar.

    On Sunday, Bangladesh's Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina officially commissioned two Chinese-made submarines, the Nabajatra and Joyjatra, the first submarines to enter the fleet of the Bangladesh Navy. And across the Indian peninsula, there are reports that China may be prepared to deploy thousands of marines to defend the deep water port of Gwadar port in Pakistan constructed with Chinese funding, key to the $46 billion China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) which extends to China's Xinjiang province through Pakistan Occupied Kashmir. 

    China is also in the process of selling the Pakistan Navy eight diesel-electric submarines at a cost of at least $5 billion, the largest ever military export deal China will have closed.

    Worried at the growing strategic presence of China in India's traditional areas of interest, New Delhi has begun a small but concerted counter-offensive. Vietnam is a key part of that. In addition to training soldiers, New Delhi has offered Hanoi the state-of-the-art BrahMos supersonic anti-ship missile, the extended range version of which was tested last week. The missile, which can strike targets on land or out at sea travels at speeds nearly three times the speed of sound and can hit targets 400 km away. This missile system represents a serious threat to any Chinese Naval operations in the South China Sea.

    New Delhi has also reportedly offered Hanoi the indigenous Akash Surface to Air Missile system now in service with the Indian Air Force. Vietnamese sailors are also being trained to operate Russian Kilo class diesel electric submarines at INS Satvahana, the Navy's submarine training school in Visakhapatnam.

    Both India and Vietnam operate the same class of submarine though India has decades of experience in operating the type, experience which the Vietnamese Navy sorely lacks.

    Back at the Army's Jungle Warfare School in Mizoram, the three officers of the Vietnamese Army share their experiences of being in India and training with the Indian Army in broken English. Captain Sun, a young officer said, "I like India. India is very good. India is a beautiful country. And India is friendly. They help me in many things." And perhaps, more significantly, "The training is very good. I think that after this training, I know many, many things about counter-insurgency and counter-terrorist operations. It is very useful for operations in my country."

After PM Narendra Modi Warned Pak, India Fast-Tracks Kashmir Hydropower Projects
  • India has fast-tracked hydro-power projects worth $15 billion in Kashmir in recent months, according to news agency Reuters, which based its report on three unnamed central and state officials. The acceleration by India ignores warnings from Islamabad that power stations on rivers flowing into Pakistan will disrupt water supplies.

    The swift approval of projects that had languished for years came after Prime Minister Narendra Modi suggested last year that sharing the waterways could be conditional on Pakistan clamping down on anti-India terrorists.

    Pakistan has opposed some of these projects before, saying they violate a World Bank-mediated treaty on the sharing of the Indus river and its tributaries upon which 80 percent of its irrigated agriculture depends.

    The schemes, the largest of which is the 1,856 MW Sawalkote plant, will take years to complete.

    Six hydro projects in Kashmir have either cleared viability tests or the more advanced environment and forest expert approvals in the last three months, two officials in India's Water Resources Ministry and the Central Electricity Authority said separately, according to Reuters.

    Together, these projects on the Chenab river, a tributary of the Indus, would triple hydropower generation in Jammu and Kashmir from the current level of 3,000 MW, the biggest jump in decades, added the officials, declining to be named because the approvals had not yet been made public. "We have developed barely one-sixth of the hydropower capacity potential in the state in the last 50 years," the senior official at the Water Resources Ministry said. "Then one fine morning, you see we cleared six to seven projects in three months; it definitely raises concern in Pakistan."

    Pakistan's water supply is dwindling because of climate change, outdated farming techniques and an exploding population.

    A 2011 report by the US Senate Committee on Foreign Relations said Delhi could use these projects as a way to control Pakistan's supplies from the Indus, seen as its jugular vein.

    "The cumulative effect of these projects could give India the ability to store enough water to limit the supply to Pakistan at crucial moments in the growing season," it said.

    India says the projects are "run-of-the-river" schemes that use the river's flow and elevation to generate electricity rather than large reservoirs, and do not contravene the treaty.

    PM Modi told a meeting of government officials on the Indus treaty last year that "blood and water cannot flow together", soon after a deadly terror attack on the army base in Uri in Kashmir which left 19 people dead.

    PM Modi's message was two-fold, Indian Foreign Ministry spokesman Gopal Baglay said. Terrorism had to stop and India must fully utilise the economic potential available to it within the Indus treaty.

    The projects that have won technical approvals in recent months are Sawalkote, Kwar, Pakal Dul, Bursar and Kirthai I and II.

    "I say the way you look at these projects, it is not purely a hydro project. Broaden it to a strategic water management, border management problem, and then you put in money," said Pradeep Kumar Pujari, the top ranking official in the Power Ministry. Most of the projects have been held up for at least a decade awaiting multiple clearances. Sawalkote, which was cleared by a government-constituted environment committee in January, was first given techno-economic approval in 1991.

    It is now up for forest clearance from the state authorities, after which the government will finalise financing and begin construction.

    Some projects like Pakal Dul were stuck in litigation, but that has been resolved, Jammu and Kashmir's Power Minister Nirmal Singh told Reuters in the summer capital Srinagar. "Things are now in a position of take-off," he said.

    Environmental groups have questioned whether the government has followed proper procedures in fast-tracking projects located in a highly seismic area.

    "It's on one river, the Chenab, where you are doing so many projects. This is a very vulnerable region. It's landslide-prone, it's flash flood-prone, earthquake-prone," said Himanshu Thakkar, coordinator of South Asia Network on Dams, Rivers & People,

    Pakistan's Foreign Ministry spokesman, Nafees Zakaria, said  India will be attending a regular meeting of the Indus Commission later this month in Lahore, even though a broader peace dialogue is on hold.

    "It seems that finally India has realized the importance of this mechanism under the IWT (Indus Waters Treaty) for resolving water disputes related to the Indus water and its tributaries," he claimed.

Business Affairs 

Govt gets its foot in the door; all laws cleared by GST Council
  • Finance Minister Arun Jaitley on Thursday said that all GST laws including the State GST and Union Territory GST have been approved by the GST Council. 
    The approval paves way for the tabling of GST Bill in the current session of the Parliament.
    The Council has already cleared Central GST (CGST) and integrated GST (IGST) Bills and the Compensation legislation. 
    Here are the highlights of what Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said at the press conference after GST Council meet:
    • Cess on sin goods is 12 per cent, capped at 15 per cent.
    • State GST and UT GST cleared by GST Council.
    • Laws will be taken to cabinet and then to the parliament for approval
    • Some marginal correction in remaining regulations will be required.
    • Any supply made to SEZ will be zero rated.
    • Commerce Ministry proposal on SEZ approved by GST Council
    • Have kept a provision of ad valerom and specific duties for cigarette and tobacco
    • Tobacco cess capped at 290 per cent ad valorem
    • Cess capped at 15 percent for luxury cars and aerated drinks.
    • Coal cess capped at Rs400/tonne
    • Pan Masala cess capped at 135 per cent ad valorem
    • Not decided to levy cess on bidis for now.
    • July 1 is tentatively the roll out date for GST. Have sufficient buffer time till July 1
    • Fitment of various commodities will be approved in the meeting of March 31
    • Next meeting of Council to be held on March 31.
    Last year in August, the Rajya Sabha cleared a bill that amended the Constitution to enable India's biggest tax reform - GST.
    GST is a proposed system of indirect taxation merging most of the existing taxes into single system of taxation. It was introduced as The Constitution (One Hundred and First Amendment) Act 2016.
    GST would be a comprehensive indirect tax on manufacture, sale and consumption of goods and services throughout India, to replace taxes levied by the central and state governments.
    The GST is consumption based tax levied on the supply of Goods and Services which means it would be levied and collected at each stage of sale or purchase of goods or services based on the input tax credit method. Once it is in force, GST will replace at least 17 state and central taxes.

Market record close: Nifty closes above 9,100 for the first time, Sensex closes 187 pts higher
  • 3.35 PM:
    Nifty, Nifty Bank and Nifty Midcap end at record levels.
    Nifty Bank index was up by 0.50 per cent while BSE Bankex was up 0.47 per cent.
    Bajaj Auto and Indusland Bank were up 2.33 per cent and 2.27 per cent respectively.
    S&P BSE Sensex ended the day at 29,585.85, up 187.74 pts and just 96 pts shy from record close. 
    3.22 PM:
    Tata Steel and Adani Ports were the top gainers on the BSE Sensex gaining over 4 per cent. 
    Shares of capital goods companies were trading higher for the fifth straight session with the BSE capital goods index hitting 18-month high in today's trade. 
    L&T rose over 2 per cent after the company said L&T Electrical & Automation FZE won a major order worth Rs 500 crore from Qatar Rail Company (QRAIL) for Phase I of Doha Metro. 
    12.59 PM:
    The market hit a speed bump in midday trade as the Sensex traded at 29,514, still up 116 points, propped up by metals, industrials and capital goods amid rising Asian cues.
    In line with expectations, the Federal Reserve raised the benchmark interest rate by a quarter percentage point, but offered a more dovish outlook for future hikes.
    Foreign money into Indian equities continued unabated.
    After a higher opening, the Sensex stayed between 29,614.79 and 29,482.83, before quoting at 29,514.48 at 12. 22 AM, up 116.37 points, or 0.40 per cent.
    The broader NSE came off its life high of 9,152.90 while trading up by 45.40 points at 9,130.20 at 12.22 AM.
    Adani Ports stayed ahead with a 4.07 per cent gain. Tata Steel was up 2.81 per cent, Asian Paints 1.57 per cent, Infosys 1.17 per cent and NTPC 1.17 per cent.
    Foreign funds bought a massive net Rs 1,141,13 crore on Wednesday, according to provisional data.
    11.20 AM:
    The Indian rupee pared its initial gains, while holding its 16-months highs by 28 paise to 65.41 in late morning deals, on the back of continued unwinding of dollars from banks and exporters amid heavy foreign capital inflows and strong equities.
    Weak dollar overseas also lifted the rupee sentiment, a forex dealer said.
    Earlier, the rupee resumed higher at 65.40 as against yesterday's closing level of 65.69. Later, it strengthened sharply to 65.21 before trading at 65.41 at 1020 hours.
    The domestic currency hovered in a range of 65.41 and 65.21 during morning deals.
    Meanwhile, the dollar index was trading lower by 0.17 per cent at 100.57 against a basket of six currencies in late morning trade.
    Overseas, the US dollar struggled at one-month low against basket currencies in early Asian trade, after the Federal Reserve sounded less hawkish than anticipated on future rate hikes, while the euro stood tall after Dutch exit polls pointed to a comfortable win by Prime Minister Mark Rutte over his far-right rival Geert Wilders.
    Meanwhile, the benchmark Sensex rallied, trading higher by 164.93 points, or 0.58 per cent, in late morning deals.
    11.05 AM:
    The S&P BSE Sensex was trading at 29,551.55, up 153.44 pointswhile the Nifty was trading at 9,135.25, up 50.45 points.
    Among the top gainers were Adani Ports and Tata Steel on the BSE and NSE. 
    Bharti Airtel was the major laggard on both the bourses. 
    10.50 AM:
    Indian markets well placed to absorb 0.25 per cent US Fed rate hike:  Economic Affairs Secretary Shaktikanta Das.
    9.46 AM:
    The Indian rupee scales to new highs at 65.34 against the US dollar. 
    The rupee rose by another 47 paise to hit a new 16-month high at 65.22 against the dollar in early trade today at the Interbank Foreign Exchange on sustained foreign fund inflows and increased selling of the US currency by exporters and banks.
    Forex dealers said that besides a higher opening in domestic equity market, the dollar's weakness against other currencies overseas after the Federal Reserve raised interest rates supported the rupee.
    Yesterday, the rupee had continued its stellar run against the dollar to finish at a fresh 16-month high of 65.69 as exporters aggressively offloaded the US currency ahead of the Fed meet outcome.
    9.40 AM:
    Shares of Sun Pharma surged 1.74 per cent after US FDA Completes Malanpur plant inspection without any observation.
    9.35 AM:
    Sensex inches towards its 30,000-mark. 
    The S&P BSE Sensex was trading at 29,598.94, gaining 200.83 points while the Nifty50  was ruling 9,146.25, up 61.45 points. 
    9.18 AM:
    The NSE Nifty50 hits a fresh lifetime high at 9,140 logging over 50 points. 
    Sensex rallies over 150 points. 
    Among the top performers on the BSE were Adani Ports gaining over 2 per cents. ONGC and Hindustan Unilever gain over 1 per cent adding to the market rally. GAIL, Tata Motors and Larsen & Toubro follow, supporting the market gains.
    9.13 AM:
    "Since there is no major change in the chart structure, our bullish view remains intact. We would continue to remain upbeat on market and expect the Nifty to keep marching higher, first towards 9200 and then towards our near term target of 9400 - 9600 (price extension of previous up move from recent low of 7893.80) over the next few weeks. On the downside, Tuesday's gap area of 9060 - 8975 would act as a strong support zone. Any dip within this range should be used to create fresh longs in the market without any hesitation of being an overbought territory," said an Angel Broking report. 
    9.10 AM:
    CIPLA and ONGC are up over 1 per cent each, leading the pre market gains on the BSE Sensex
    8.50 AM:
    The US dollar nursed bitter losses in Asia on Thursday while sovereign bonds savored their biggest rally in nine months after the Federal Reserve hiked interest rates, as expected, but signaled no pick-up in the pace of tightening.
    The Dow Jones Industrial Avergae ended on Wednesday with gains of 0.54 per cent, while the S&P 500 added 0.84 per cent and the Nasdaq 0.74 per cent.
    The Fed lifted its interest rates by 25 basis points to a range of 0.75 per cent to 1.00 per cent, but said further increases would only be "gradual."
    The Fed said its inflation target was "symmetric," indicating that after a decade of below-target inflation it could tolerate a quicker pace of price rises.
    Among the Asian markets, China's Shanghai Composite was up 21.32 points, Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index surged over 270 points.
    Japan's Nikkei 225 was, however, down 25 points.

Five factors Indian rupee's dream run is likely to continue in near future
  • The Indian rupee is on a roll after Prime Minister Narendra Modi led Bharatiya Janata Party to a resounding victory in Uttar Pradesh assembly polls.
    The stock market has been in a buoyant mood after the election results with the Nifty hitting a new all-time high, crossing 9,000 level for the first time in two years and Sensex rising over 600 points in early trade on March 14, 2017. The Nifty50 hit its highest point of 9,122, surpassing its March 2015 record of 9,119 level.
    Rupee too followed suit and opened strong and continued to gain through the trading session. The currency closed at 65.81 against the US dollar, compared to its previous close of 66.60. At current levels, the rupee is at its strongest since November 2015. It is also the third-best performing currency in Asia since the start of this year, according to data from Bloomberg.
    On Thursday too, the currency rose another 47 paise to its 16-month high at 65.22 against the dollar in early trade. Here's why the Indian rupee is likely to perform better in the near future. 
    Falling oil prices
    Oil prices have been hovering near three-month lows of USD 48 per barrel, on concerns about rising US inventories and few clear signs that Organisation of Petroleum Countries will extend supply curbs beyond June. Low oil prices will keep India's import bill in check and narrow the trade deficit.
    Emerging markets play
    "India's relatively lower dependence on external trade, change in RBI's stance, and relatively strong policy and macro fundamentals, should lead the rupee to fare better than most of the EM currency basket," said Kotak Institutional Equities in its report.
    Foreign fund inflows
    Foreign institutional investors (FIIs) have turned net buyers into Indian equity markets after four  consecutive months of selling. In February, FIIs bought Rs 10,485 crore of equity into Indian markets. Debt buying also turned positive with Rs 5,980 crore purchase. In March too, foreign investors bought around Rs 15,053 crore in debt and equity, reiterating faith of foreign investors into India's growth story.The rise in foreign fund inflows means Indian rupee is the only gainer against the US dollar this month. Since January 1, 2017, rupee is the third-best performer in Asia after Korean Won and the Taiwanese dollar. 
    Reform friendly agenda
    PM Narendra Modi is expected to intensify his reforms process after the recent election win. After GST, PM Modi will be emboldened to embark on more reforms including reforming the retail sector, easing labour laws, and cleaning up bad debt at banks. Implementing the pending reforms will make the global agencies more optimistic on India's sovereign ratings. With BJP occupying power in more states, investors (FDI and FII) are likely to buy more into India's growth story and pump more funds into economy which will send the market and consecutively the rupee higher.
    Lower dollar
    The US currency is slowly and steadily moving back to November 2016 levels when Donald Trump won the presidential election.  Since November 2016, the dollar has been rising, even breaching the 103 level mark in January. But since the last two months, the dollar has lost all the momentum and hovered near the 100 dollar mark on a continuous basis. Today, after the Federal Reserve announced a 25 basis point hike in interest rates, the dollar index which measures its strength against a basket of major currencies saw its biggest one-day fall in two months.

    World Bank chief economist gives thumbs up to Aadhaar, says it's most sophisticated in the world
    • India's largest biometric-based identification system Aadhaar on Thursday got a thumbs up from World Bank chief economist Paul Romer.
      The chief economist described it 'the most sophisticated ID programme in the world.
      "The system in India is the most sophisticated that I've seen. It's the basis for all kinds of connections that involve things like financial transactions," Bloomberg quoted Paul Romer as saying.
      He went on to say that it would be better if world follows the same system. "It could be good for the world if this became widely adopted," Romer said.
      Romer is of the view that world needs to have one standardized system for people's ID.
      "Other countries are also looking at similar programs, but research shows it's best to develop one standardized system so people can carry their IDs wherever they go in the world," Paul Romer added.
      Aadhaar is a 12 digit unique-identity number issued to all Indian residents based on their biometric and demographic data. It was initially a document for identification purpose, however, it has now been made mandatory for some of the government-run programmes.
      Earlier in January, the Ministry of Rural Development and the Ministry of Labour made Aadhaar number mandatory for members and pensioners of the Employees' Pension Scheme and for those registered under the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee (MGNREGA) Scheme. It has also been mandatory for the registration of the vehicles in Tamil Nadu.

      Aadhaar is the world's largest biometric ID system, with over 1.123 billion enrolled members as of 28 February 2017.

      Cigarette production down for 2nd straight month in January 2017
      • Cigarette production fell for the second consecutive month in January 2017. A drop in demand due to reduced discretionary spends on account of demonetisation of Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 notes led to the dip in production. As a result, output declined by 9.6 per cent year-on-year to 709 crore sticks.
        During the year, cigarette manufacturers faced a number of issues, including an increase in taxes and a constant flow of illegal products. Rise in taxes led to price hikes, which deterred consumption of bona fide products. Easy availability of inexpensive forms of tobacco such as smuggled cigarettes also reduced consumption of legal cigarettes. The government's move to demonetise high-value currencies further impacted demand for cigarettes. Consequently, cumulative output of legal cigarette fell by 1.4 per cent to 6,440 crore sticks during April 2016-January 2017.

        In the next few months, the output of cigarettes is expected to be subdued as well. Legal cigarette volumes are likely to be affected despite an anticipated improvement in liquidity, which is likely to aid consumption of illegal cigarettes. As per CMIE estimates, total cigarette production is expected to decline by 1-3 per cent in 2016-17.

      General Awareness

      Indian Institute of Science, Bengaluru Placed Among Top 50 in THE’s Asia Universities Ranking

      • The Times Higher Education (THE) released its Asia University Rankings 2017 on March 16, 2017.The top rank in the Asia University Rankings was attained by the National University of Singapore (NUS) for the second consecutive year.
        • According to the 2017 ranking, Indian Institute of Science (IISc) in Bengaluru has been ranked best Indian University and has been placed at 27th position among the universities in Asia.
        • Besides, Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Bombay was another Indian university among top 50 placed at 42 position followed by Chennai-based private institute Veltech University at 43.
        Asia’s Top 5 Universities in the List
        1National University of SingaporeSingapore
        2Peking UniversityChina
        3Tsinghua UniversityChina
        4Nanyang Technological UniversitySingapore
        5University of Hong KongHong Kong
        Key Highlights of the Report
        This year THE ranked 300 Asian Universities as compared to 200 in previous years.
        • From India33 universities were named in the list compared to 16 in the previous year among 200. For the first time, India is the third most-represented nation in the list. However, it is still far behind Japan and China.
        • The report also showed that, Indian universities had 8 established and 17 new entrants in the top 100.
        • IISc Bangalore retained the 27th rank for the second year in a row. Besides, Tamil Nadu-based Veltech University was placed much ahead of several top IITs in India. This is the first time the institution has secured a ranking in the league table.
        • IIT Delhi was at No. 54 and IIT Madras at No. 62. IIT Kanpur jumped to the 63rd place in the current year from the 101-110 grouping in 2016.
        • The improvement in the Kanpur’s performance was attributed to across the board improvements and a sharp increase in industry income.
        • The THE’s report stated that India has been taking steps to improve its top universities global rankings and has also proposed investing money to help its top schools climb the global rankings.
        • India has also launched a national ranking framework to create a culture among Indian schools to participate in rankings in a structured way and compete with each other domestically.
        • Besides, India’s strong performance is also partly due to country recognition of the importance of participating in global benchmarking exercises.
        • The report also stated that several Indian universities have slipped places as compared to their previous positions.
        • The University of Calcutta has dropped from the 141-150 band to the 191-200 cohort while Amrita University has fallen from 181-190 to 251
        • After the first 100 ranks, THE puts universities in groups and does not give them individual ranks.
        About the Asia University Rankings 2017
        The Asia University Rankings 2017 ranks 300 institutions compared to 200 in last year. These universities come from 24 countries, including Sri Lanka, Kuwait, and the Philippines for the first time.
        • The expansion of the table paves way for some of the lesser-known higher education hubs in the region and reveals the nations that have the capability to become leading university countries in future years, such as Malaysia, Indonesia and Pakistan.
        • The Asia University Rankings use the same 13 carefully calibrated performance indicators as used in World University Ranking to provide the most comprehensive and balanced comparisons, trusted by students, academics, university leaders, industry and governments.
        The performance indicators are grouped into five areas:
        1. Teaching (the learning environment)
        2. Research (volume, income and reputation)
        3. Citations (research influence)
        4. International outlook (staff, students and research)
        5. Industry income (knowledge transfer)

      No comments:

      Featured post

      Current Affairs - 16 December 2018

      General Affairs   Cyclone Phethai Gathers Over Bay Of Bengal, May Hit Andhra On Monday ...

      Copyright © 2016. Vikalp Education