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IFMR Capital initiates first capital market transaction for MUDRA
- IFMR Capital has facilitated the first ever capital market transaction for MUDRA (Micro Units Development & Refinance Agency), which focuses on providing low cost loans to microfinance and non-banking financial institutions.
- IFMR Capital has exclusively structured and arranged a securitisation transaction Mjolnir IFMR Capital enabling Mudra to invest Rs 50 crore in the A (-) rated senior tranche of securitised MSME loan portfolio of Janalakshmi Financial Services, the Bangalore-based micro finance company.
- This will be a short term transaction with tenure of 1.5 years. IFMR Capital also participated as investor through their investment in the subordinated j tranche. This marks the first of many such capital transactions for MUDRA, which in turn will gain exposure to over 100 high quality MFIs and NBFCs in the country that IFMR Capital currently works with.
- Small enterprises across the country continue to lack access to institutional credit. This is despite nearly 80% of the total estimated demand of Rs 32,50,000 crore originating from the informal sector, said IFMR.
India widens Preferential Trade Agreement with Chile
- The Union Cabinet, headed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, on Wednesday approved the expansion of the Preferential Trade Agreement (PTA) with Chile, a move that will help in doubling of exports to the Latin American nation in the future.
- As per the expanded PTA, Chile has offered concessions to India on 1,798 tariff lines with margin of preference (MoP) ranging from 30-100%. India has reciprocated on 1,031 tariff lines with MoP at 10-100%.
- A PTA between India and Chile was signed in March 2006 and came into effect from August 2007. In 2006-07, Chile was ranked 51st export destination for India. With bilateral trade at $2.3 billion.
PFS inks pact with US Energy Association
- PTC India Financial Services said on Wednesday that it has signed an agreement with US Energy Association to conduct training programmes for hydropower projects under United States Agency for International Development (USAID)’s South Asia Regional Programme for Energy Integration.
- As per the agreement, PFS and US Energy Association will jointly conduct capacity building training programmes for senior executives from the SAARC nations on techno-economic appraisal and financial analysis of hydropower projects.
JK Tyres acquired Cavendish Industries for 2200 crore rupees
- JK Tyre and Industries Ltd on 18 April 2016 announced that it had completed the acquisition of tyre, tube and flap maker Cavendish Industries, a unit of Kesoram Industries Ltd, for 2195 crore rupees. Kesoram Industries is a B.K. Birla Group company.
- JK Tyre will fund the deal through a mix of internal accruals and debt raised by JK Group associates, such as Bengal & Assam Co. Ltd (the holding company) and Valiant Pacific LLC, a trading firm.
- JK Tyre will hold a 64 per cent stake in Cavendish, while the rest will be held by Bengal & Assam and Valiant.
India to sign Paris pact on climate change in New York
- India will sign the Paris Agreement on climate change, adopted by more than 190 countries in December last, on Friday in New York.
- The Union Cabinet Wednesday aopproved the signing of the agreement, adopted during the 21st Conference of Parties held in the French capital.
- Environment Minister Prakash Javadekar will sign the agreement on behalf of India on April 22 at a high-level signature ceremony convened by the Secretary-General of the United Nations Ban Ki-moon.
- India had advocated a strong and durable climate agreement based on the principles and provisions of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and the agreement addresses all the important "concerns and expectations" of India.
Government nod to MoU on technical cooperation between India, Bhutan
- The government today approved signing of a Memorandum of Understanding with Bhutan on technical cooperation in the field of capacity building, benchmarking and bilateral exchange in infrastructure engineering.
- The MoU aims at taking forward India-Bhutan friendship treaty and provide an umbrella for educational, scientific and technical research and environment protection.
- Through this Memorandum of Understanding (MoU), the Central Public Works Department (CPWD), a construction major under the Urban Development Ministry, will gain experience in construction of roads on hills which will be helpful in Jammu and Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand and various States of North-East Region.
- The CPWD also expects to garner some road construction projects in Bhutan, the release said.
Panasonic and US-based AES inked agreement to install energy storage project in Haryana
- Panasonic India and AES India Private Limited on 18 April 2016 announced an agreement to construct a 10 MW energy storage array at Panasonic's Technopark manufacturing facility in Jhajjar, Haryana.
- This joint project is the first large-scale battery-based energy storage project in India.
Key highlights of the project
- The storage will provide daily reliability and back-up to the manufacturing facility, while demonstrating grid stability and renewable integration services in the region.
- The project combines Panasonic’s capabilities as India’s leading lithium-ion battery supplier with AES Energy Storage’s Advancion® platform.
- While AES operates 116 MW of energy storage projects around the globe, this project signifies AES’ entry into the commercial and industrial energy storage market.
Haryana Government notified Affordable Plotted Housing Policy 2016
- The Haryana Government on 1 April 2016 notified its Affordable Plotted Housing Policy 2016 for low and medium potential towns also known as Deen Dayal Jan Awas Yojna.
- The policy is intended to encourage the development of high density plotted colonies in Low and Medium Potential towns of the State wherein small plots are made available through a liberal policy framework.
Salient Features of the Policy
- This policy will enable the creation of additional affordable housing stock in the low and medium potential towns of the state.
- All projects are being required to be completed within seven years from the date of granting the license.
- Not more than 30 per cent of the net planned area under residential zone, inclusive of 20 per cent area limit for group housing projects, can be allowed for projects under this policy.
Beti Bachao Beti Padho Scheme extended to 61 more districts with low Child Sex Ratio
- Union Government on 19 April 2016 extended the Beti Bachao Beti Padho (BBBP) Scheme in additional 61 districts across 11 States and Union Territories. The scheme was extended in the districts with low Child Sex Ratio.
- Women and Child Development Minister Maneka Gandhi who extended the scheme into 61 more districts informed that out of hundred, 49 districts are doing extremely well. She said, the child sex ratio of the other districts remain stable.
- Apart from this, she said that for the monitoring of pregnancy, Sarpanch of the village should be made nodal person and district collector have been asked to show the data of number of boys and girls in every village through a board.
- Superintendent of police in every district will nominate one woman Police Volunteer to monitor security situation of women.
Kadambot Siddique named ambassador for International Year of Pulses
- Indian researcher and professor, Kadambot Siddique, was named Ambassador for the International Year of Pulses in the Asia-Pacific region at a ceremony in Marrakesh on Tuesday.
- Siddique is a leading scientist in the field of legumes and currently serves as a professor of agriculture and chair and director of the Institute of Agriculture at the University of Western Australia.
- As Ambassador for the International Year, Siddique will work to raise awareness on the important contribution of pulses to food security and their positive impact on health and the environment, the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) said in a statement.
- Besides encouraging new connections throughout the food chain to better use pulse-based proteins in our food and address trade challenges, Siddique is also tasked with seeking out opportunities for dialogue on these nutritional legumes and efforts to ensure more people have access to information on pulses.
Discovery's Rahul Johri joins BCCI as CEO
- Rahul Johri, who recently stepped down from his post as Discovery Networks Asia Pacific’s executive vice-president and general manager for South Asia has joined the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) as chief executive officer (CEO). His stint will start from June 1 and he will report to BCCI Secretary Anurag Thakur.
- This marks a first for the BCCI, which until now did not have the post of a CEO.
- Johri had been with Discovery for 15 years before stepping down earlier this year. During his time, he oversaw the growth of the network in India to an eleven channel bouquet. For the past eight years, he led the South Asia operations of the network.
Indian-American Geeta Pasi nominated as US envoy to Chad by Obama
- US President Barack Obama on 19 April 2016 nominated Indian-American Geeta Pasi as the country's next envoy to Chad, a landlocked country in northern Central Africa.
- At present, Pasi is the Director of the Office of Career Development and Assignments in the Bureau of Human Resources at the Department of State.
- Pasi, who served as the United States Ambassador to Djibouti from 2011 to 2014, is a career member of the Foreign Service. Earlier, she has been the Deputy Chief of Mission at the US Embassy in Dhaka, from 2006 to 2009, and Deputy Principal Officer at the US Consulate in Frankfurt, Germany from 2003 to 2006.
Awards & Honors –
President presented Hindi Sevi Samman Awards
- The President of India, Pranab Mukherjee on 19 April 2016 presented the Hindi Sevi Samman Awards for the years 2012, 2013 and 2014. The awards were presented at a function at Rashtrapati Bhavan.
- The Hindi Sevi Samman Awards were instituted by Central Hindi Institute, Agra in 1989. Fourteen scholars receive this award in seven different categories every year for their contribution in the field of Hindi language and literature.
The awardees in different categories include:
Ganga Sharan Singh Award
For work in the field of promotion and training of Hindi
- M. Venkateshwar
- V.D. Hegde
- Deven Chand Das ‘Sudama’
- Beena Budki
Ganesh Shankar Vidyarthi Award
For work in the field of journalism and creative literature
- Devendra Kumar
- Shatrughan Prasad
For work in the field of Science and Technology literature and Machinery growth
For year 2014
- Suresh Kumar Jindal
- Suresh Tiwari
Padmabhushan Dr. Moturi Satyanarayan Award
Awarded to people of Indian origin for promotion and training of Hindi outside India
For year 2013
- Sneh Thakur
Chinese professor Ge Fuping honoured with George Grierson prize for promoting Hindi
- President Pranab Mukherjee on 19 April 2016 honoured the Chinese professor Ge Fuping with the George Grierson prize for his remarkable works done for the propagation of Hindi abroad.
- Ge has made commendable efforts for the promotion of Hindi language abroad. Besides him, Alka Dunputh (from Mauritius) and Shichiro Soma (from Japan) were also given the George Grierson award by the President.
- These awards were instituted by Central Hindi Institute, Agra in 1989. 14 scholars receive this award in seven different categories every year for their contribution in the field of Hindi language and literature.
India's Durga Thakur promoted as International Umpire by International Hockey Federation
- India's Durga Thakur was on 19 April 2016 promoted as International Outdoor Umpire by the International Hockey Federation (FIH). The decision was taken after watching her performance at the Hawkes Bay Cup that was held in April 2016 in Hastings, New Zealand.
- With this, Thakur became an addition to a crop of young Indian umpires currently officiating at the international level. FIH’s list currently has 14 Indians in the elite league of international umpires (10 men, 4 women).
English Snooker legend Steve Davis retired
- England’s snooker great Steve Davis announced his retirement from the game on 17 April 2016 after 38-year career. He is 58.
- His last match came on 10 April 2016 where he lost against Fergal O'Brien and failed to qualify for 2016 World Championship.
- Starting his snooker career in 1978, he went on to win six world titles in 1980s and was world number one from 1983 to 1990. In fact, he was World number one for seven consecutive seasons.
ICC and Emirates Airline renewed deal for additional seven years
- The International Cricket Council (ICC) and Emirates Airline on 19 April 2016 renewed their deal for an additional seven years. With this, Emirates Airlines became the Global Partner for all ICC events from 2016-2023.
- The ICC and the Emirates relationship date back to 2002, when the award-winning airline came on board as a sponsor of the ICC. The partnership was strengthened with Emirates becoming the ICC’s official partner for the 2007-2015 events cycle.
Iran unveiled S-300 Missile System parts at Army Parade
- Iran on 17 April 2016 unveiled S-300 missile system parts at army parade in Tehran. It was a long-awaited air defence system ordered from Russia.
- The S-300 system was on order since 2007 but Russia postponed the sale three years later after the UN Security Council (UNSC) passed a resolution relating to Iran's nuclear programme.
- A deal between Iran and six world powers over its nuclear activities which led to lifting of sanctions in January 2016 removed the barriers to delivery but the fully operational system is still awaited.
Books & Authors –
The Making of India: The Untold Story of British Enterprises authored by Kartar Lalvani
- The making of India: The untold story of British Enterprises authored by Kartar Lalvani was in news in the third week of April 2016. The book discusses the British rule and its role in creating a unified India.
- The book supposedly brings out the many positive aspects of the colonial rule that remained hitherto untold.
- The story of the book open in the 17th century when a small seafaring island despatched sailing ships over 11000 miles on a five-month trading journey in search of new opportunities.
World Development Indicators 2016 released
- The World Bank Group on 11 April 2016 released the 2016 edition of the World Development Indicators (WDI). WDI is the most widely used dataset and provides high-quality cross-country comparable statistics about development and people’s lives around the globe.
- WDI now includes 1400 indicators for over 200 economies.
Key features of WDI 2016
WDI has gone from the MDGs to the SDGs
- The 2016 edition includes indicators to help measure the 169 targets of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The SDGs build on the 8 goals and 18 targets of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) that were focused in the previous editions.
WDI 2016 includes 1.90 US dollars/day extreme poverty line
- WDI 2016 now includes the estimates of global and national extreme poverty rates at the international poverty line of 1.90 US dollars/day per person. These show that 13 percent of the global population lived in extreme poverty in 2012, down from 37 percent in 1990.