05 , October 2017

Rajnish Kumar appointed as new Chairman of SBI

Rajnish Kumar will be 25th chairman of the country’s largest lender and succeeds Arundhati Bhattacharya who retired from the service.

Soumya Swaminathan appointed as Deputy DG of WHO

The World Health Organization (WHO) has appointed Dr. Soumya Swaminathan (58) as one of two deputy directors general. This is first time such second-highest position created within WHO and highest post held by Indian in WHO. Dr Swaminathan will replace Dr Anarfi Asamoa-Baah from Ghana, who joined WHO as senior policy adviser to director-general.

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1.Cabinet approves renaming of Kandla Port as Deendayal Port
Source: PIB

The Union Cabinet has approved proposal of Union Ministry of Shipping to rename of Kandla Port in Gujarat as Deendayal Port, Kandla. The port was renamed after BJP ideologue Pandit Deendayal Upadhyay who had dedicated his entire life for public service and was epitome of simplicity, honesty and selfless service for poor and down-trodden. It was renamed as part of Upadhyay’s 101st birth anniversary celebrations.

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2.Turtle Sanctuary to be set up in Allahabad
Source: PIB

The Union Ministry of Water Resources has approved project to set up Turtle sanctuary in Allahabad along with River Biodiversity Park at Sangam in Allahabad, Uttar Pradesh under Namami Gange programme. The purpose of the Turtle sanctuary is to protect the rich aquatic biodiversity of river Ganga from escalating anthropogenic pressures.

The approved project includes development of River Biodiversity Park at Sangam (confluence of Ganga, Yamuna and mythical Sarasvati Rivers), establishment of Turtle Rearing Centre (Permanent nursery at Triveni Pushp and makeshift annual hatcheries) and awareness about importance of Ganga River and imperativeness of its conservation has been approved.

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3.Submarine Khanderi begins sea trials
Source: PIB

The second Scorpene Khanderi began its sea trials last week. Khanderi, named after an island fort of Maratha ruler Chhatrapati Shivaji, was launched in January and had undergone some testing.

  • The Navy formally took delivery of the first submarine Kalvari on September 21 and is awaiting its induction. The remaining three are in various stages of outfitting and expected to roll out tentatively in nine month intervals.
  • The Mazagaon Docks Ltd. (MDL) is constructing six Scorpene conventional diesel-electric submarines under Project-75 with technology transfer from Naval Group, formerly DCNS of France, under a $3.75-billion deal signed in October 2005.

However, the project has seen steep delays and all six submarines are expected to be inducted by 2020-21.

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4.Tourism Minister Briefs on ‘Paryatan Parv’ to be Organized Nationwide from 5th to 25th October, 2017
Source: PIB

Shri Alphons Kannanthanam, Minister of State (Independent charge) for Tourism has said that the Ministry of Tourism, Government of India in collaboration with other Central Ministries, State Governments and Stakeholders is organizing a “Paryatan Parv” across the country from the 5th to 25th October 2017. The programme is being organized with the objective of drawing focus on the benefits of tourism, showcasing the cultural diversity of the country and reinforcing the principle of “Tourism for All”.

The Minister informed that the Paryatan Parv will have three main components:

  • Dekho Apna Desh:  To encourage Indians to visit their own country.
  • Tourism for All:  Tourism Events at sites across all States in the country.
  • Tourism & Governance :Interactive Sessions & Workshops with Stakeholders on varied themes

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5.  8 out of 10 Indians have faced online harassment
Source: The Hindu

Highlights of a new survey commissioned by cybersecurity solutions firm, Norton by Symantec. The online survey was conducted in the summer of 2017 with a sample size of 1,035 respondents drawn mainly from Tier 1 cities

Objective: understanding Indian exposure to online harassment.

Eight out of 10 people in India have experienced some form of online harassment, with 41% of women having faced sexual harassment on the web.

Forms of online harassment

  • Abuse and insults (63% of respondents).
  • Malicious gossip and rumours (59%),
  • Malicious comments/threats on a social media site (54%),
  • Trolling (50%), and attacks/abuse from a coordinated group (49%).
  • The occurrence of more serious forms of online harassment were quite high, with 45% having experienced threats of physical violence, and 44% at the receiving end of cyberbullying.

The study also found that of the four countries from the Asia-Pacific region which were surveyed (India, Australia, New Zealand, and Japan), India recorded the highest level of online harassment, with 45% of the respondents having experienced cyberstalking. In 42% of the cyberbullying cases and in nearly half of all instances of cyberstalking where the victim was a woman, the perpetrator was a stranger.

Key Point:

  • With Indians spending more time on social media platforms and mobile applications, it is important that online users take basic precautions to protect their safety and security to avoid unwanted contact
  • While the survey revealed that men and women reported similar experiences of online harrassment, people with disabilities and poor mental health were more susceptible to some of the more serious threats.
  • Seventy-one per cent of people with disabilities or poor mental health reported receiving threats of physical violence, while 67% people were cyberbullied.
  • Threats of physical violence experienced by the respondents was highest in Mumbai (51%), followed by Delhi (47%), and Hyderabad (46%). Similarly, online sexual harrassment was reported to be highest in Delhi and Mumbai (43%), followed by Kolkata (37%) and Bengaluru (36%).

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6.RBI flays banks for keeping rates high
Source: The Hindu

An internal RBI group also suggested switching over to an external benchmark in a time-bound manner so that better rates are available to borrowers. The group was constituted by RBI to study various aspects of the MCLR system from the perspective of improving the policy transmission. 

The Reserve Bank flayed lenders for keeping interest rates high and flagged concerns over base rate and marginal cost of fund-based lending rate (MCLR), saying these have not improved monetary transmission.

The RBI study group observations:

  • Internal benchmarks such as the base rate/MCLR have not delivered effective transmission of the monetary policy.
  • Arbitrariness in calculating the base rate/MCLR and spreads charged over them has undermined the integrity of the interest rate setting process.
  • The base rate/MCLR regime is also not in sync with global practices on pricing of bank loans.
  • Proposed three possible external benchmarks to which such lending could be tied to going forward.

Suggestion: the interest rate resets, which are right now at an annual frequency, creating potentially a one-year lag in transmission, can be changed on all floating rate loans to quarterly resets so that transmission would be much faster once the monetary policy changes

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7.Sibir: World’s biggest and most powerful nuclear icebreaker ship launched by Russia
Source: IE

Russia launched Sibir (Siberia), the world’s largest nuclear-powered icebreaker ship built under Project 22220 into the water at the Baltic Shipyard in St Petersburg. Sibir is second of three icebreakers of new class of biggest nuclear powered icebreakers ever constructed under Project 22220. The first one was Arktika (Arctic) was put in service in June 2016. Third icebreaker Ural is set to be completed in 2019.

Sibir

  • Sibir is powered by two next generation RITM-200 nuclear-reactors. These reactors will be supplied with nuclear be produced by the TVEL fuel company.
  • It is 173 meters long and 34 meters wide. It has displacement capacity of 33500 metric tons. It has dual-draft design that can break through 13 feet (3 metres) thick ice, enabling it to use it in Arctic waters and in estuaries of polar rivers.
  • Sibir is designed to transport cargo along the Northern Sea Passage, a naval route near Artic has which has become recently more accessible due to climate change.
  • It is 12 to 15 days shorter than than traditional commercial routes through the Suez canal. It will help Russia to maintain control in Arctic waters due to drilling opportunities, minerals and strategic importance.
  • Russia is only country in world that produces nuclear-powered icebreakers. The new series of icebreakers underProject 22220 are meant to ensure year-round navigation in western Arctic, and their makes possible to use them in Arctic Ocean as well as in rivers.

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