Current Affairs Current Affairs - 19 September 2017 - Vikalp Education

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Current Affairs - 19 September 2017

General Affairs 

Shiv Sena Says Will Soon Decide If It Will Dump BJP In Maharashtra
  • Hardening its stance towards its senior partner, the Shiv Sena today said it will soon take a decision on its continuance in the BJP-led government in Maharashtra.

    After a meeting of senior functionaries, MPs and MLAs called by Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray, party MP Sanjay Raut hit out at the BJP over its "failures", reflecting further strain in ties between the long-time partners.

    The Rajya Sabha MP said there is "tremendous resentment" among the people in Maharashtra and also across the country against the BJP-led government (at the Centre).

    "We are very near to taking a decision (on continuing in ruling alliance in Maharashtra)... wait and watch. There is tremendous resentment among the people in Maharashtra and across the country against the government.

    "There are various issues people are facing due to inefficiency of the government. The Shiv Sena does not want to be a part of all this," Mr Raut said here.

    He was speaking to reporters after attending the meeting. "Inflation has increased under the BJP regime and many questions of farmers remain unanswered. The decision on a (complete) loan waiver for farmers is also hanging.

    "All this has caused immense resentment. The day when Uddhav Thackeray will take a final call on staying in the government will come very soon," he asserted.

    Asked about what transpired in the meeting, Mr Raut said, "All Sena leaders put forth their views in front of the party chief on whether or not to continue in the government."

    The Rajya Sabha member said MPs and MLAs complained to Mr Thackeray that development work in their constituencies is not taking place due to non-cooperation of the BJP ministers.

    "Uddhavji will give a final ultimatum to the chief minister (Devendra Fadnavis) and then take a decision (on continuing in the government)," Mr Raut said.

    Despite being ruling partners in Maharashtra and at the Centre, the Sena has consistently attacked the BJP and its policies.

    The party recently took a swipe at the NDA government over fuel price hike and the launch of the bullet train project.

    The Sena and the BJP had contested separately the local body elections across the state, including the Thackeray-led party's political heartland Mumbai, since last year.

    The two parties had fought the 2014 assembly polls separately, apparently as the Sena found it difficult to the BJP being the dominant partner in the state as in the past it was the Thackeray-headed party that led the saffron combine.

    However, the Sena returned to the BJP-led alliance a few months after the assembly polls, but failed to get some plum portfolios it aspired for.

    Shiv Sena, Uddhav Thackeray, Maharashtra government

Centre To Urge Supreme Court To Modify Order On Chakma-Hajong Refugees: Kiren Rijiju
  • Union Minister Kiren Rijiju has said the Centre will urge the Supreme Court to modify its order of granting citizenship to Chakma-Hajong refugees so that the rights of the indigenous people of Arunachal Pradesh are not diluted.

    "There is no decision of the Government of India to grant citizenship. It is the order of the Supreme Court. We are trying to tell the honourable Supreme Court that giving Chakmas and Hajongs the same rights as Arunachali is not acceptable to us," he said.

    "People of Arunachal must appreciate that for the first time that the Government of India has not agreed.... So we are appealing to the apex court to modify this order... to ensure that rights of the indigenous people of Arunachal Pradesh are protected," the Minister of State for Home Affairs told reporters at Naharlagun helipad yesterday.

    His remarks come days after he stated that a "middle ground" would be chosen so that the 2015 Supreme Court order to grant citizenship to Chakma-Hajong refugees can be honoured and the rights of the local population are not diluted.

    "I am very clear. I don't care about any other thing. I think about my people. I value human rights and constitutional norms, but everything will be meaningful to me if all rights of our people are protected," the minister said yesterday.

    Mr Rijiju said that the state government should identify and evict all illegal occupants and wondered how they could encroach upon large areas, including national parks.

    He said that the population of Chakma and Hajong refugees rose to over 64,000, when originally 2,748 families comprising 14,888 people were settled between 1964 to 1969 in Bordumsa-Diyun areas in Changlang district and Kokila area of Papum Pare district.

    "We were not in the government then. I am now protecting the interest of Arunachal Pradesh because all the damage had been done. I don't want further damage to be done," he has said.

    On September 13, Mr Rjiju had said that "the Supreme Court order has to be honoured. Chakmas are settled in Arunachal Pradesh since 1964. But ST status and indigenous people's rights won't be diluted."

    The Chakma-Hajong refugee issue has evoked strong resentment in the state with many organisations and political parties saying that granting of citizenship to the refugees would distort the social fabric of the state.

    Chakmas and Hajongs were originally residents of the Chittagong Hill Tracts in erstwhile East Pakistan who left their homeland when it was submerged by the Kaptai dam project in the 1960s.

    Mr Rijiju, however, wondered how the message has gone that it is the Centre's decision to grant citizenship to Chakmas and Hajong.

    The Minister also asked why governments in Arunachal were unable to check the illegal entries of Chakma and Hajongs since 1964.

    "These are the faults but right now I cannot go back and correct the past. But now I can ensure the protection of the rights of the indigenous people. As long as I am there I cannot allow diluting the rights of the indigenous people. That is my obligation and duty," Mr Rijiju has said.

    He said that the BJP government in the state should start the process to evict the illegal encroachers. The previous government had failed to do it.

    The Union Minister said that Arunachal Pradesh Chief Minister Pema Khandu had already given a commitment that proper enumeration would be done so that they (Chakma-Hajong) cannot encroach upon land in Arunachal Pradesh and the rights of the people.

    The Arunachal Pradesh government has moved the Election Commission requesting it to delete the names of refugees from the voters' list, he said.

    Mr Rijiju said that if they (Chakma-Hajong) want to come to the state they should come as any other Indian or foreigners with Inner Line Permit (ILP)/ Restricted Area Permit (RAP) but they cannot enjoy the status of Arunachalees.

    On Tibetan Refugee Rehabilitation Policy, the Union Minister said that it was not a new policy but simply a renewal of the original policy adopted by the previous Congress regime at the centre.

    There is nothing to debate as the policy which was adopted in 1959 was only renewed. The refugees are entitled to basic needs like water, education and healthcare, he said.

    He has said that the Supreme Court in 2015 had directed the Centre as well as the state government to grant citizenship to Chakmas and Hajongs within three months.

    The All Arunachal Pradesh Students' Union (AAPSU) has declared a state-wide dawn-to-dusk bandh tomorrow opposing the "Centre's decision to grant citizenship to the Chakmas and Hajongs in the state".

    Mr Rijiju said that previous central governments settled Chakma and Hajong in the state through the NEFA administration and maintained that "they deserve to be citizens of the state which I had opposed tooth and nail".

    The central government is trying to find a workable solution by proposing that the refugees will not be given rights, including land ownership, enjoyed by Scheduled Tribes in Arunachal Pradesh, an official had said.

'India To Be Number One In Power Generation, Consumption': Union Minister
  • Union Minister RK Singh today said that the Centre proposes to make India the number one country in both generation and consumption of power but set no time-frame to achieve the goal.

    "We are the third largest country in the world vis-a-vis power generation but we are the fourth largest in power consumption. We have to achieve the goal of becoming number one country in power generation and consumption," Mr Singh, Minister of State (MoS) for Power (Independent charge), told reporters here.

    Mr Singh, who is also a first time Lok Sabha member from Ara, however did not set any time-frame to achieve the goal. "Consumption (of power) is an index of development," he said while making it clear that more power consumption shows that people are using more and more electronic gadgets and equipment.

    Pegging India's power generation at 3.3 lakh MW, Mr Singh said that out of this, 70,000 MW is generated through renewable energy which the government intends to increase to 1.75 lakh MW.

    Mr Singh, a former Union Home Secretary, was felicitated at the BJP's state unit headquarters here after being made a Union Minister in the recent reshuffle of the Modi government.

    He was accompanied by Bihar BJP chief Nityanand Rai, senior party leaders Ganga Prasad, Devesh Kumar and Members of Legislative Assembly (MLAs) Gyanendra Singh Gyanu, Nitin Navin, Niraj Singh and others during the press meet.

    Lauding the Bihar government for doing good work in power sector, the minister said Bihar has done better than other states in carrying out rural electrification and asked officials to further expedite the works going on various projects in the state.

    The government has also set a target of providing "24X7 power supply" with a "no power cut" regime, Mr Singh said while making it clear that this goal is not only confined to Bihar alone but for the entire country.

    The government has already set a target of carrying out rural electrification by the end of this December, he said while asking all the states to submit list of those villages which have been left out of the rural electrification work as government is committed to complete electrification of these villages by the end of March, 2018.

    The Centre has provided various funds for carrying out strengthening of distribution network in Bihar, he said adding the work on various projects and schemes worth Rs. 20,000 crore is already underway in the power sector.

    To check power pilferage, he advocated installation of "pre-paid meters" that would do away with the problems of meter reading, distributing energy bills and revenue collection.

    "The collection has gone up with the installation of pre-paid meters as some states have adopted it and the Bihar government should also go for it," he added.

    Asked about the fate of 130 MW Dagmara hydel power project which is located in his area (Supaul), Singh said that the hydel project is not viable due to high capital cost. Singh hails from Supaul district of Bihar.

Specify Steps Taken To Control Protests Over NEET: Supreme Court To Tamil Nadu
  • The Supreme Court today asked the Tamil Nadu government to apprise it on the steps taken to control the protests over NEET examination which had intensified after the alleged suicide of a Dalit medical course aspirant.

    A bench comprising Chief Justice Dipak Misra and Justices AM Khanwilkar and DY Chandrachud asked the Chief Secretary of the state to file an affidavit in this regard in two weeks and posted the matter for further hearing on October 19.

    The top court had on September 8 asked the state to prevent any agitation over National Eligibility and Entrance Test (NEET) examination issue which had intensified after the suicide of a 17-year-old girl S Anitha.

    It had also directed the government to prosecute anyone indulging in any activity that created a law and order problem and stalled normal life in the state.

    Anitha had allegedly committed suicide on September 1, a week after the top court had ruled that medical college admissions in Tamil Nadu will be based on the NEET exam.

    The top court had said that every citizen had a fundamental right to peacefully protest and demonstrate, but they cannot cause a situation that resulted in violence and paralysed the law and order situation.

    The petition, filed by advocate GS Mani, has said that the state was under obligation to ensure that normal life of the citizens was not disrupted due to these agitations and protests.

    The plea also claimed that due to the agitations and rail and road blockages, normal life of citizens has been jeopardised and the people were facing immense difficulty due to this.

    It had further said that political parties and individuals cannot be allowed to hold protests against the order passed by the top court in NEET matter.

    The suicide of the girl had led to widespread protests in Tamil Nadu with many protesters being detained. The petitioner had also sought a judicial inquiry into the suicide.

Pak Troops Fire Across Line Of Control For Sixth Consecutive Day
  • Pakistani troops fired at and shelled Jammu district's Arnia sector for the sixth successive day, prompting the Border Security Force (BSF) to fire back, a senior BSF officer said.

    The officer said the firing by Pak Rangers started at around 2100 hours yesterday and intermittent firing continued till 0530 hours today.

    "At about 2100 hours Pak Rangers started unprovoked firing in the Arnia Sector and later also fired mortar shells.

    The Indian forces effectively and strongly retaliated and suppressed the enemy fire in few minutes along the IB in Arnia sector," the officer said.

    There were no casualties among BSF personnel or civilians, he added.

    Yesterday, a woman was killed and five other civilians were injured when Pakistan troops heavily shelled Border Outposts (BoP) and villages through the intervening night of September 16 and September 17.

    On September 16, Pakistani troops opened fire with small and heavy weapons at BoPs and border hamlets of Arnia Sector.

Business Affairs

Law Ministry thumbs up to draft bill on on-the-run economic offenders; wants saving clause
  • The law ministry has given its concurrence to a draft bill that will give powers to the government to confiscate property of economic offenders and defaulters who flee India, albeit with a new provision, official sources said.
    It wants a "Saving Clause" to be incorporated in the Fugitive Economic Offenders Bill 2017 before it is introduced in the Lok Sabha in the ensuing winter session of Parliament, they said.
    A saving clause provides for certain exception(s) in a statute. It enables the repealed law to be in force with respect to some existing rights.
    The proposed law will be applicable in cases where the value of offences is over Rs 100 crore.
    The bill flows from Finance Minister Arun Jaitley's 2017 -18 Budget speech promising legislative changes or even a new law to confiscate the assets of such fugitives. It seeks to deter economic offenders from evading the process of Indian law by fleeing the country.
    The bill proposes to allow the Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU), the premier technical snoop wing under the finance ministry, to file an application for the declaration of fugitive economic offender for confiscation of their assets.
    The courts under PMLA would be entrusted with the responsibility to try the case.
    The Finance Ministry had prepared the draft Cabinet note on the bill and sought the law ministry's opinion on it.
    The sources said the ministry, while concurring with the provisions of the bill, suggested that a "Saving Clause" be inserted since the provisions of the proposed bill will have a bearing on the provisions of existing laws.
    The existing laws under which such offenders are tried include Securitisation and Reconstruction of Financial Assets and Enforcement of Security Interest Act, 2002, (SARFESI), Recovery of Debts Due to Banks and Financial Institutions Act (RDDBFI) and Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code (IBC).
    The law ministry, according to sources, observed that necessary constitutional safeguards in terms of providing hearing to the person through counsel allowing him time to file a reply, serving notice of summons to him and an appeal to the High Court have been provided for in the bill.
    Also, the bill has provision for appointment of an administrator to dispose off the property to pay off the creditors.
    Besides, the provisions of the proposed law will override provisions of other existing laws.
    In the recent past, there have been instances of big-time offenders, including economic offenders, fleeing the country to escape the reach of the law.
    Mallya, the 61-year-old chief of the erstwhile Kingfisher Airlines who owes over Rs 9,000 crore to various Indian banks, had fled India to escape legal proceedings in connection with the loans.
    The finance ministry had in May sought comments from stakeholders on the proposed legislation.
    As per the draft law, a 'fugitive economic offender', means any individual against whom a warrant for arrest in relation to an economic offence has been issued and the person has left the country and refuses to return to India to face criminal prosecution.
    Also, the burden of proof for establishing that an individual is a fugitive economic offender will be on the authorities.

India forced to cut costs with rail, highways as glitches in GST keep tax revenue down

  • India could be forced to cut spending on key infrastructure such as railways and highways as lower-than-expected tax collections and sluggish growth have upset the government's budget calculations, two finance ministry officials said.
    Tax receipts were about $7.8 billion in July - a little over half the monthly target - mostly because millions of firms failed to comply with the new Goods and Services Tax (GST) system that harmonises all state and central sales taxes but is still a work in progress.
    The big worry is that economic growth, which slipped to a three-year low in the last quarter, could take a further hit if the public spending that largely underpinned expansion were to be slashed.
    "There is a concern over lower tax collections," a senior finance ministry official said.
    The revenue shortfall could be at least 800 billion rupees ($12.5 billion) if the current trend continues until the end of the year, a second official said, forcing a re-think in government spending.
    He said receipts from individual and corporate income tax may slightly overshoot the target of 9.8 trillion rupees ($152.8 billion) for the whole year, partly due to a crackdown on tax evaders. And in coming months, GST collections may pick up.
    Both officials spoke on condition of anonymity.
    Without spending cuts, the second official said, the fiscal deficit could slip to 3.5 percent of GDP, from the target of 3.2 percent that Prime Minister Narendra Modi's government has set for 2017/18.
    GST "Chaos and Pandemonium"
    The main problem has been the introduction of the GST, billed as India's biggest tax reform in 70 years.
    Ambiguous rules, an onerous return filing system and glitches with its IT back-end have made doing business far more complicated for many companies. Frequent changes in tax rates after the GST's launch have heightened business uncertainty, resulting in many firms failing to register for the new tax.
    Manpreet Singh Badal, finance minister of Punjab, told Reuters the new tax was launched in a "hurry resulting in a lot of chaos and pandemonium".
    Punjab, for example, had suffered a revenue shortfall of about 8 billion rupees in the first month of its launch, he said as the textile, engineering goods and other small industries were hit. The state expects to raise near 395 billion rupees ($6.17 billion) in tax in 2017/18.
    Under a GST deal, the central government has to compensate states if their receipts fall below an annual growth of 14 percent in taxes for the next five years.
    India's GDP growth itself has slowed to 5.7 percent in the April-June quarter from 7.9 percent a year earlier, a slowdown also partly blamed on the introduction of the GST, adding to the pressure on the state coffers.
    Dividends from state-run companies are expected to fall and a $11 billion share sale programme is slowing down.
    "If the revenues remain below target, then the government could cut spending on railways and road transport," the second finance ministry official said.
    Aiming to boost growth, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley increased budgetary allocations for the railways by one-fifth to 550 billion rupees and by 24 percent for highways development to 649 billion rupees this fiscal year from a year ago.
    Complicating the finance ministry's budget arithmetic further, the Reserve Bank of India announced last month that its annual surplus, a dividend transferred by the central bank to the government each year, would be only $4.9 billion, less than half the initial estimate, largely due to costs of Modi's shock "demonetisation" initiative last year.
    "This is an abnormal year. A shortfall in tax and non-tax revenue could give a shock," said N.R. Bhanumurthy, an economist at the National Institute of Public Finance and Policy, a Delhi-based think-tank funded by the finance ministry.
    He said the economy was still recovering from Modi's move to withdraw 86 percent of high value banknotes as part of a fight against graft.
    Tax Collections
    A finance ministry spokesman said tax receipts were expected to improve as problems related to the new GST system and the technology underpinning it were tackled.
    In his annual budget presented in February, finance minister Jaitley had projected a 17 percent growth in tax collections, while estimating spending of nearly $335.05 billion in the current fiscal year.
    Jaitley also has to set aside funds for India's stressed state-run banks, which need nearly $60 billion in extra capital to meet new international banking rules by March 2019 according to Fitch Ratings estimates.
    Balancing those demands while trying to control the fiscal deficit would involve a cut in public spending, analysts said.
    Soumya Kanti Ghosh, chief economist at State Bank of India, said in a research note this month that first-quarter economic growth was supported by higher state spending, but the need to rein in the fiscal deficit could force the government to cut expenditure.

Airlines filled 84 per cent seats in August, domestic traffic rises 15.63 per cent: DGCA
  • India's domestic air passenger traffic registered a growth of 15.63 per cent in August over the same period last year as the local airlines managed to fill larger proportion of aircraft seats to produce an average 83.94 per cent seat factor in the month.
    All Indian carriers together flew 9.69 million passengers in August this year as against 8.38 million passengers in the same month last year, thereby registering a growth of 15.63 per cent over August 2016, according to the monthly traffic data released by the DGCA today.
    The 15.63 per cent growth in traffic was up from 12.43 per cent growth registered last month, over July 2016, when India lost the tag of the highest growing aviation market in the world to China.
    The passengers carried by domestic airlines during January-August 2017 were 754.11 lakh as against 644.68 lakh during the corresponding period of previous year, a growth of 16.97 percent, according to the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) data.
    Though budget carrier IndiGo remained the market leader by having flown the maximum number of passengers at 36.78 lakh, its market share further declined to 38 per cent in August as against 38.7 per cent in the previous month.
    IndiGo was followed by full service carrier Jet Airways with 15.38 lakh passengers and no-frills SpiceJet which flew 13.59 lakh passengers during the month, as per the DGCA data.
    The national carrier Air India, which is in the process of disinvestment, transported 12.82 lakh passengers with a market share of 13.2 per cent.
    SpiceJet reported the highest passenger load factor (PLF) or seat utilisation for the 29th consecutive month at 94.5 percent.
    The passenger load factor in the month of August 2017 has shown increasing trend compared to previous month due to beginning of festive season, the DGCA said.
    On the other hand, IndiGo was at the top in terms of its on time performance (OTP) with 86.6 per cent of its flights arriving and departing as per schedule.
    It was followed by SpiceJet (78.7 per cent), Vistara (74.5 per cent), GoAir (74.2 per cent), Air India (69.4 per cent), Jet Airways along with its subsidiary JetLite (65.8 per cent), the data said.

Nifty closes at record high, Sensex rises 151 points on domestic buying, global cues
  • The Sensex and Nifty closed higher on Monday buoyed by domestic buying and positive global cues. Nifty ended at a record closing high on Monday as financials and automakers gained.
    The NSE Nifty closed up 0.67 percent or 67 points at 10,153.10, while the benchmark BSE Sensex ended 0.47 percent or 151 points higher at 32,423.76, its highest in more than six weeks.
    On the 30 stock Sensex, Bajaj Auto and Hindustan Unilever were the top gainers, rising 3.57 per cent and 2.77 per cent, respectively.
    Dixon Technologies, which listed on the bourses today, closed 6.16 percent or 167 .80 percent higher compared to the opening price.
    It closed 63.81 percent higher at Rs 2892. 80 compared to the issue price. The stock listed at a premium of 54 percent to the issue price of Rs 1766  today morning.
    The IPO received huge response from the investors from September 6 to September 8.
    Bharat Road Network, a Srei Infrastructure initiative, made a tepid listing on the BSE and NSE on Monday.
    The stock closed 1.59 percent higher at 208.15 level compared to its open price and 1.54 percent higher compared with its opening price.
    Market breadth was positive with 1531 stocks closing higher compared with 1073 closing lower on the BSE.
    On the BSE, auto index and capital goods were top gainers closing 304 points and 267 points higher on the BSE.

    Global markets

    Global stock markets rose Monday as investors looked ahead to a US Federal Reserve meeting and US President Donald Trump's speech at the United Nations.
    Germany's DAX rose 0.6 percent to 12,592.21 and France's CAC 40 gained 0. 4 percent to 5,234.68. London's FTSE 100 added 0.3 percent to 7,238.37. On Wall Street, the future for the Dow Jones industrial average gained 0.3 percent and that for the Standard & Poor's 500 index was up 0.2 percent.
    The Shanghai Composite Index gained 0.3 percent to 3,362.86 and Hong Kong's Hang Seng added 1.3 percent to 28,159.77. Japanese markets were closed for a holiday. Seoul's Kospi advanced 1.3 percent to 2,418.21 and Sydney's S&P-ASX 200 added 0.4 percent to 5,720.60. India's Sensex gained 0.6 percent to 32,472.62. Benchmarks in Taiwan, Singapore and Bangkok rose while New Zealand and Taiwan declined.

    ICICI Lombard IPO subscribed 98% on Day 2
    • The initial share sale offer of ICICI Lombard General Insurance Company was subscribed 98 per cent on the second day of bidding today, as per stock exchanges data.
      The initial public offer (IPO), through which the insurer is looking to raise about Rs 5,700 crore, received bids for 6,01,87,028 shares against the total issue size of 6,16,66,740 shares, data available with the NSE showed.
      The category for qualified institutional buyers (QIBs) was oversubscribed 2.37 times, non-institutional investors 10 per cent and retail 62 per cent.
      The issue has received over half a million application on the second day of the offer, investment banking sources said.
      ICICI Lombard General Insurance on Thursday had raised Rs 1,625 crore from anchor investors.
      The company's IPO involves dilution of up to 86,247,187 shares by promoters -- ICICI Bank and Fairfax. The initial share sale offer will close tomorrow.
      The insurer is looking to raise about Rs 5,700 crore at the higher end of the price band, which is fixed at Rs 651-661 per share.
      Post-issue, the shareholding of Fairfax will come down to 9.91 per cent, from 21.9 per cent now, while the same for ICICI Bank will be reduced to 55.95 per cent, from 62.95 per cent.
      ICICI Lombard General Insurance is a joint venture between ICICI Bank and Canadian NRI Prem Watsa-promoted Fairfax Financial Holdings.
      For the ICICI Bank group, this is the second public offer this fiscal. Its life insurance arm ICICI Prudential had raised Rs 6,000 crore through an IPO earlier.
      CLSA India Private, Edelweiss Financial Services and JM Financial Institutional Securities are the book running lead managers of the IPO.

    General Awareness

    Japan PM Shinzo Abe visit to India 2017

    • On September 13,2017, Prime minister of japan Shinzo Abe came to India on a two day visit to attend the 12th Indo-Japan annual submit meeting held at Ahmedabad. Various agreements and MoU’s were signed that would strengthen India-japan bilateral ties
      Immediately after the welcome ceremony, Abe, his wife, and PM Modi set-off on an 8-km roadshow in an open-roof jeep for the famous  Sabarmati Ashram, where Mahatma Gandhi spent a considerable time of his life.
      Modi gifted a marble statuette of Mahatma Gandhi’s “Three Wise Monkeys”to his Japanese counterpart Shinzo Abe . The monkeys are a symbol of the proverb ‘see no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil’, believed to have its origin in Japan.
      Highlights of the visit:-
      I) PM Modi and Japanese PM Abe lay foundation stone for India’s first High Speed Rail project
      On September 14,2017 Prime Minister Modi and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe jointly laid the foundation stone for India’s first high speed bullet train  project between Mumbai and Ahmedabad.
      Significance of this project :-
      i. Provides high speed connectivity
      ii. The Mumbai-Ahmedabad corridor, would become a single economic zone and would become the area of rapid growth.
      iii. Technology transfer envisaged in this project will benefit Indian Railways, and boost the “Make in India” initiative.
      iv. The project would be eco-friendly as well as human-friendly.
      II) 12TH Indo-Japan submit.
      During this 12th Indo -japan submit 15 key agreements and MoU’s were signed between India and Japan. Two countries vowed to increase mutual cooperation in the areas of manufacturing, civil aviation, science & technology, connectivity and skill development.
      Agreements and MoU’s
      i. In the field of disaster risk reduction and disaster prevention.
      ii. Japanese language education in India as a part of skill training .
      iii. To enhance connectivity and promote developmental projects in the North Eastern Region of India
      iv. “Cool EMS” service between the Japan Post and India Post through which fresh food can be sent from Japan to India in cool boxes to facilitate for the Japanese emigrants in India.
      v. To identify and foster talented young scientists from both the countries to collaborate in the field of theoretical biology
      vi. To facilitate and deepen international education cooperation and exchanges between sports authorities of India and japan. This move will enhance our medal prospects in next Olympics.
      vii. To promote institutional cooperation between RIS and IDE-JETRO to strengthen the capacity of research and effectiveness of dissemination of research findings.
      III) India, Japan sign $76 mn loan deal
      On 15th September India  signed a loan deal worth $76 million with Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) for a project to upgrade the environment management plan at Alang-Sosiya ship recycling yards in Gujarat.
      The total cost of the project will be $111 million, out of which $76 million will be provided as soft loan from JICA. Out of the remaining amount, $25 million as taxes and fees will be borne by the Gujarat government and the balance $10 million will be shared by the Shipping Ministry and the state government
      The project will be executed by Gujarat Maritime Board (GMB) and is likely to be completed by 2022.
      IV) India-Japan open sky agreement.
      On September 14,2017 India and Japan signed Open sky agreement that will allow their airlines to operate unlimited number of flights between the two countries without any restrictions.
      This agreement was signed during japan PM’s Shinzo Abe’s visit to India, Earlier India and Japan exchanged RoD (Record of Discussions) on civil aviation cooperation with respect to open sky.
      Background of the pact :-
      The open sky agreement was signed as a part of (NACP)National Civil Aviation Policy, 2016. The NACP allows government to enter into ‘open sky’ air services agreement on reciprocal basis with SAARC nations as well as countries with territory located entirely beyond a 5,000 kilometre radius from New Delhi.
      So far, India signed open sky agreement
      1. Greece Finland
      2. Jamaica Spain
      3. Guyana Sri Lanka
      4. Czech Republic 8 .US(2005) and ASEAN(2003)
      Significance of the pact:-
      1. i) Improves connectivity between two nations
      2. ii) Reduction in air fares.
      V) India, Japan ink MoU set up India-Japan Act East Forum.
      On September 14,2017 ,India and Japan have signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) to set up India Japan Act East Forum. It is one of the 15 agreements signed during Shinzo Abe’s visit to India .
      Significance of the Forum :-
      i. The forum will enhance connectivity and promote developmental projects in India’s Northeast region in an efficient and effective manner.
      ii. The purpose of forum is to converge India’s Act East Policy with Japan’s Free and Open Asia-Pacific strategy in the backdrop of China’s One Belt One Road initiative.
      iii. It can complement India’s connectivity initiatives in Bangladesh, Myanmar and beyond, besides BBIN (Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Nepal) and BIMSTEC (Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation) Motor Vehicle Agreements.
      VI) Japan and North East
      Japan will extend a loan of Rs 2,239 crore to India for ‘North East Road Network Connectivity Improvement Project’ to improve the National Highway 40 (NH-40) and construct a bypass on NH-54 in the Northeast. The project is expected to contribute to the improvement of the intra-regional and international connectivity through regional economic development.
      North east is a of strategic importance to India .Accepting this loan is also a part of India’s Act East Policy. Japan has also placed a special emphasis on cooperation in the Northeast for its geographical importance of connecting India to Southeast Asia 
      Japan quick facts :-
      Capital                  Tokyo
      Currency               Japanese yen
      Prime minister      Shinzō Abe

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