Wednesday, 16 March 2016 03:39


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16-MARCH- 2016



India and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) signed an agreement to set up a South Asia Regional Training and Technical Assistance Center (SARTTAC) for training officials in dealing with macro-economic and financial issues.

A memorandum of understanding (MoU) to set up the centre was signed by Finance Minister Arun Jaitley and IMF Managing Director Christine Lagarde in New Delhi in the presence of Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

The SARTTAC will become the focal point for planning, co-ordinating and implementing IMF's capacity development activity in the region on a wide range of issues.

The Center will help address existing training needs and respond to the demand for IMF training in India, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Maldives, Nepal, and Sri Lanka, while bringing the region’s training volume on par with those of other regions.

SARTTAC will offer courses and seminars for policymakers and other government agencies from the six countries of SAARC, namely India, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Maldives, Nepal, and Sri Lanka. It will also build upon the IMF’s in-depth experience with capacity development by drawing on the experiences of the IMF’s Regional Technical Assistance Centers and Regional Training Centers, which have a proven track record of delivering technical assistance on economic institution building.

India, Australia and the Republic of Korea have pledged financial support for the centre.


The IMF offers technical assistance and training to member countries in addition to economic and financial surveillance, and lending operations. The IMF’s technical assistance helps member countries develop institutions that are more effective and legal frameworks and policies that can be used to promote economic stability and growth, while training strengthens the capacity of member countries’ officials to analyze economic developments and formulate and implement effective policies.


India and the US launched the Fulbright - Kalam Climate Fellowship. The fellowship programme will enable Indian research scholars to work with American institutions in the field of climate change.

Under the fellowship will 6 Indian PhD students and post-doctoral researchers will be sponsored to work with US institutions for a period up to one year.

The first call for applicants was announced for the fellowship jointly funded by both the governments. The fellowship will be operated by the bi-national US-India Educational Foundation (USIEF) under the umbrella of the prestigious Fulbright programme.

Named after late Indian President Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam, the fellowship is part of a commitment made by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and US President Barack Obama to build long-term capacity to address climate change-related issues in both the countries.


Services won the Santosh Trophy National Football Championships title. In the summit clash at SEC Railway Stadium in Nagpur, Services defeated host Maharashtra 2-1.

Arjun Tudu, a national camper for the SAFF Cup in 2015, scored twice in the space of 11 minutes (26th and 37th) to help Services clinch their fifth title overall.

Services took away 5 lakh rupees for winning the tournament while Maharashtra got 3 lakh rupees for finishing runners-up.

Santosh Trophy

Santosh Trophy, started in 1941, is an annual Indian football tournament. It is contested by states and government institutions. It was the premier football competition in the country before the National Football League started in the year 1996. The first winners were Bengal, who also leads the all-time winners list with 31 titles to date.

The trophy is named after the late Maharaja Sir Manmatha Nath Roy Chowdhary of Santosh (now in Bangladesh) who had been the President of the Indian Football Association, the football organisation of Bengal and the donators of the trophy.

The runners-up trophy, Kamla Gupta Trophy, was also donated by late Dr. SK Gupta, ex-president, IFA in the memory of his wife. Third place teams receive the Sampangi Cup which was presented by the Mysore Football Association (now KSFA) in 1952, in the memory of Sampangi, a renowned footballer from Mysore.


The fourth edition of the joint exercise Garuda Shakti between India and Indonesia commenced at Magelang, Indonesia.

The joint training exercise will see an Indian Army platoon strength contingent carrying out cross training with a platoon from the Airborne battalion of the Indonesian Army. The selected Indian unit has had varied operational experience in Counter Insurgency and Counter Terrorist operations in the Northern, Western and Eastern theatres.

The Garuda Shakti IV will be a 13 days long exercise, which will conclude on 23 March 2016 at Magelang.

Features of Garuda Shakti IV

The exercise is being conducted as joint Counter Insurgency operations exercise in urban and rural scenario and encompass various facets of tactical Counter Insurgency operations.

The aim of the exercise is to build and promote positive relations between the armies of India and Indonesia and to enhance the ability of Indian and Indonesian Army to undertake joint tactical level operations in a Counter Insurgency environment under United Nations Charter.

The scope encompasses visualization of insurgency related crisis situation in rural/urban setting in Counter Insurgency environment, learn each other's Counter Insurgency doctrines, tactics and share experience of Counter Insurgency operations.

It also includes the ambit of identifying areas of expertise/specialization of each other, evolution of combat tactical drills for conduct of tactical Counter Insurgency operations and to undertake combined training for neutralization of insurgency threat.

About Garuda Shakti

Indo-Indonesia Joint Training Exercise Garuda Shakti is conducted as part of military diplomacy between Indian and Indonesian Army alternatively in India and Indonesia respectively.

The exercise is conducted on a reciprocal basis and its first edition was conducted in the year 2012 in India.

The second edition was conducted in Indonesia in 2013 and third in India in 2014.

The exercise is aimed at building and promoting positive relations between the two Armies of India and Indonesia.


To coordinate modalities of training of the exercise, an Exercise Planning Conference was held at Yogyakarta, Indonesia on 22 September and 23 September 2015.

During the conference, both Armies finalized the modalities of conduct of joint training and signed an agreement.

The operational part of the exercise commenced with individual Armies training in respective countries and this would translate in exchange of expertise during the Joint Training Exercise in Indonesia.

The opening ceremony for the exercise was conducted on 11 March 2016 at Magelang, Indonesia.


China’s Lin Dan earned his sixth All England badminton title. In the summit clash in Birmingham, Dan defeated compatriot Tian Houwei 21-9, 21-10.

Dan, also a five times world champion and double Olympic champion, secured his sixth championship 12 years after his first and four years after his last.

Lin, nicknamed Super Dan by his fans, added the title to his collection of wins in 2004, 2006, 2007, 2009 and 2012.

In the women's final later, Nozomi Okuhara of Japan defeated two-time champion Wang Shixian of China 21-11, 16-21, 21-19.


Kerala Tourism's campaign on responsible tourism bagged the prestigious Golden City Gate Award at the world's leading travel trade show Internationale Tourismus-Borse Berlin (ITB-Berlin) 2016.

The multimedia campaign, titled New Worlds, won the silver prize of 2016 Das Golden Stadttor or Golden City Gate, also known as the Oscar of tourism communication, at the ITB-Berlin 2016.

The winning campaign that contained three short films was directed by Malayalam filmmaker Anwar Rasheed.

Wolfgang Jo Huschert, President, Jury of the Golden City Gate Award presented the award to Abraham George, President, Kerala Travel Mart.

Kerala Tourism had earlier won the Ulysses Prize of the United Nations World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) for its contribution as a global leader to sustainable tourism.

About New Worlds campaign

The New Worlds campaign was launched internationally by UNWTO Secretary General Taleb Rifai at the World Travel Mart in London.

New Worlds portrays the importance of Responsible Tourism initiatives, which have led to several life-changing stories that have become the heart of the campaign.

The film has common people instead of actors and models and the stories are set in the actual locations in Kerala.

The film, which shows tourists visiting local communities, sharing home-made meals, and watching and engaging in cultural performances, demonstrates the vision that when the world comes to Kerala.

The film attempts to present in a real and authentic environment a set of true stories of transformation and preservation involving tourism and the local communities.


A Palestinian primary school teacher from a refugee camp, Hanan Al Hroub, won one million dollar Global Teacher Prize. She was awarded for her outstanding contribution to the profession.

Hroub, who runs the Samiha Khalil High School in Al-Bireh, Palestine, defeated nine other finalists from around the world, including India’s Robin Chaurasiya to win the award.

The 2016 Winner of the Global Teacher Prize was announced by Pope Francis in a ceremony held at the Atlantis Palm Hotel in Dubai.

Hroub uses a specialist approach in her school, which she developed, detailed in her book 'We Play and Learn' to overcome tense environments of the region under the shadow of the Israel-Palestine conflict. Hroub's approach has led to a decline in violent behaviour in schools where it was a frequent occurrence. She has also inspired her colleagues to review the way they teach and their classroom management strategies.

Robin Chaurasiya runs a not-for-profit school in Mumbai for girls from the city's red light district of Kamatipura.

Top ten finalists for the award included

Hanan Al Hroub from Palestine

Aqeela Asifi from Pakistan

Ayub Mohamud from Kenya

Colin Hegarty from United Kingdom

Joe Fatheree from Unites States of America

Kazuya Takahashi from Japan

Maarit Rossi from Finland

Michael Soskil from Unites States of America

Richard Johnson from Australia

Robin Chaurasiya from India

About The Global Teacher Prize

The Global Teacher Prize is a 1 million US dollar award presented annually to an exceptional teacher who has made an outstanding contribution to their profession.

The prize serves to underline the importance of educators and the fact that, throughout the world, their efforts deserve to be recognised and celebrated. It seeks to acknowledge the impacts of the very best teachers – not only on their students but on the communities around them.

The prize was set up by Kerala-born entrepreneur and educational philanthropist Sunny Varkey, to recognise one exceptional teacher who has made an outstanding contribution to the profession as well as to shine a spotlight on the important role teachers’ play in society.


  • The National Democratic Alliance government hopes to press the accelerator on reforms and pass the landmark Constitution (122nd Amendment) Bill for a national Goods and Services Tax (GST) and a separate bill for Bankruptcy and Insolvency Code, 2015.
  • The current session of Parliament has already seen the passage of one landmark legislation the Aadhaar (Targeted Delivery of Financial and other Subsidies and Services) Bill, 2016.
  • The legislation meant to provide statutory backing to the unique identification number.
  • FM said “We are trying to have special emphasis now both in terms of legislative changes and resources being put to strengthen the banking system. Next few months, in bringing about structural change, are going to be extremely important.”
  • Mr. Jaitley said that the constituency within India supporting reforms is much bigger than its opponents. He also said that exhibiting determination to move on the reforms path, India can provide a significant amount of growth to the world.
  • The GST Bill was passed by the Lok Sabha but is stuck in the Upper House, where the ruling NDA does not have a majority and is dependent on the support of the Congress for its passage.
  • The Constitution amendment Bill needs two-third majority or 162 votes in the 242-member Rajya Sabha. After it clears the Rajya Sabha, the legislation will have to be ratified by at least half of the 29 States.
  • Also speaking at the Conference, IMF Managing Director Christine Lagarde said that the world had lots to learn from India’s Aadhaar initiative that would affect revenue generation in a big way.
  • Ms. Lagarde also told reporters she didn’t see much of a downside from the global economy to India’s growth rate since the country has a “solid” growth model, a growing population, scale of market and was pursuing reforms.


  • At its annual meeting, the RSS’s highest decision-making body, Akhil Bharatiya Pratinidhi Sabha, made a pitch for social justice, passing a resolution on the need to end caste discrimination.
  • RSS general secretary Suresh (Bhaiyyaji) Joshi said that while Hindu thought was supreme, many discriminatory practices had come up over time for which Hindus should take responsibility.
  • He added that harmony was a must and caste discrimination must end.
  • Taking a progressive yet cautious line on the recent controversy over temple entry for women in a Maharashtra temple, Mr. Joshi said that regressive thinking of gender segregation needed to be addressed, but through dialogue rather than agitation.


  • After declaring reservation for women in constabulary in paramilitary forces, they can now also be inducted as officers in combat roles in all five Central Armed Police Forces.
  • The Union Home Ministry recently published new rules allowing women to apply as direct-entry officers in border guarding force Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP), the only paramilitary which hitherto did not allow women to join in supervisory combat roles owing to its task of guarding the difficult Sino-India border.
  • Among five of the Central Armed Police Forces, the Central Reserve Police Force, the Central Industrial Security Force, the Border Security Force and the Sashastra Seema Bal have been allowing women to apply as direct-entry officers.
  • Now, by allowing women to apply as direct-entry officers in ITBP, all restrictions have been lifted on women.


  • Just days after government said it wouldn’t criminalise “marital rape,” a top U.N. official said that the issue is one of consent, not culture, suggesting that India would be violating the Sustainable Development Goals if it did not amend the law accordingly.
  • UNDP made a significant pitch for all countries that had not made domestic abuse and marital rape criminal offences to do so at the earliest.
  • This is significant because the United Nations Development Programme is monitoring the implementation of the SDGs by 2030.
  • On March 10, in a written answer to a question by an MP, Government had submitted the government’s position in Parliament, saying that the “concept of marital rape, as understood internationally, cannot be applied in the Indian context due to level of education/illiteracy, poverty, customs and values, religious beliefs, mindset of society to treat the marriage as a sacrament, etc..”


  • India-born former Goldman Sachs Director Rajat Gupta has been released after completing his two-year prison term, weeks after a U.S. court agreed to rehear his appeal to throw out his 2012 insider trading conviction.
  • While Gupta’s prison term was to end on March 13, but since the date fell on a Sunday, he was released on Friday, four years after he lost his insider trading trial and suffered multiple legal setbacks to overturn his conviction.
  • Apart from the two-year prison term, he was fined $5 million and the Securities and Exchange Commission also slapped a $13.9 million penalty against him.
  • Gupta started out his prison term in 2014 at FMC DEVENS, an administrative security federal medical centre with an adjacent minimum security satellite camp in Ayer, Massachusetts.


  • In a breakthrough for energy-efficient computing, engineers at the University of California-Berkeley have shown for the first time that magnetic chips can operate with the lowest fundamental level of energy dissipation possible under the laws of thermodynamics.
  • The findings mean that dramatic reductions in power consumption are possible — as much as one-millionth the amount of energy per operation used by transistors in modern computers.
  • This is critical for mobile devices, which demand powerful processors that can run for a day or more on small, lightweight batteries.
  • On a larger industrial scale, as computing increasingly moves into ‘the cloud’, the electricity demands of the giant cloud data centres are multiplying, collectively taking an increasing share of the country’s — and world’s — electrical grid.
  • Magnetic computing emerged as a promising candidate because the magnetic bits can be differentiated by direction, and it takes just as much energy to get the magnet to point left as it does to point right.


  • In an attempt to bring in more synergy in coordinated border management, border-guarding forces of Bangladesh and India conducted their first-ever joint exercise in the riverine borders of the Sundarbans.
  • The exercise between the Border Security Force (BSF) and the Border Guard Bangladesh (BGB) commenced with troopers, including dog and bomb squads, from both the forces carrying out joint searches of cargo vessels on the Ichamati river.
  • Congratulating both the forces on the successful conduct of the drill, senior BSF and BGB officers said the exercise would become a “regular affair” in the future.
  • The drill can be a big deterrent to smugglers and criminals who will have to deal with the combined efforts of both the forces.
  • The officials said the joint exercise would be extended on land as well to make it part of a coordinated border management plan.
  • Speaking about cross-border smuggling, both BSF and BGB officers pointed out that smuggling of cattle has come down by nearly 60 to 70 per cent in the recent times.
  • BSF officials also flagged concerns about smuggling of Fake Indian Currency Notes (FICN).
  • Regarding concerns about smuggling of Phensedyl from India to Bangladesh, BSF officials said the recent decision to ban on the cough syrup would help the forces to stop smuggling.


  • As part of the government’s three-part plan to address stressed assets of public sector banks, structural issues would be dealt with to avoid recurrence of these problems, whether wilful or due to policy paralysis or business challenges, in future.
  • Last week, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley told Parliament that Rs. 1 lakh crore of stressed assets were added in the first nine months of the current financial year itself.
  • In the case of the largest public sector bank, State Bank of India, loans worth Rs. 11,700 crore have been reported to be locked up as non-performing assets with nearly 1,160 defaulters wilfully deciding not to repay.
  • The list includes Winsome Diamonds & Jewellery which owes Punjab National Bank (PNB) Rs. 900.37 crore and Zoom Developers (owing Rs. 410.18 crore to PNB).
  • The state-owned PNB has declared 904 borrowers who owe it a combined Rs. 10,889.71 crore as wilful defaulters. Of these, 140 companies were added to the PNB’s list of wilful defaulters in the December quarter alone.
  • Separately, speaking also at the Advancing Asia Conference, International Monetary Fund Managing Director Christine Lagarde said that Reserve Bank Governor Raghuram Rajan’s move to address bank balance sheets “head-on” is the right approach.


  • In a major clampdown, regulator SEBI has debarred over 1,000 entities from the capital markets after they were found to be misusing stock exchange platforms for tax evasion to the tune of more than Rs 15,000 crore.
  • SEBI has also suspended trading in shares of as many as 167 companies, while the regulator has written to the Income Tax Department in nearly 100 cases where more than 1,800 entities are suspected to have traded in shares valued beyond their disclosed income.
  • Such activities were mostly happening through shares of shell companies or thinly-traded penny stocks. There has not been any instance of a blue-chip stock being used for generating bogus profits or losses to evade taxes.
  • An analysis of the enforcement and surveillance measures taken by Sebi since August 2014 shows that 167 stocks have been completely suspended for trading and trading has been restricted to a lower price band of 2 per cent for 123 others.
  • SEBI has also written to Income Tax Department with details of 1,854 entities who have provided exit to preferential allottees for trade value of nearly Rs 3,900 crore.


  • India Ratings and Research revised its outlook for telecommunications services to stable-to-negative from stable for 2016-17 as it expects the introduction of Reliance Jio to intensify competition, squeezing market share and operating profitability.
  • Data tariffs will also see a major correction due to the launch of Reliance Jio, it said, adding that the benefits from higher data volumes as well as subscriber growth will be “back-ended.”
  • Additionally, the operators’ debt profile will deteriorate as they are likely to incur high capex on network expansion and acquisition of additional spectrum through trading, largely to compete with Reliance Jio.
  • Further, spectrum is expected to drive consolidation in the sector, helped by recent guidelines allowing spectrum sharing and trading transactions within industry participants.
  • This will help smaller players to monetise their spectrum assets while bigger players enhance their spectrum holdings, it said.



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Last Updated on Thursday, 17 March 2016 03:35