By: D.K Choudhary
Bharat QR code launched to push less-cash economy
i. Bharat QR code the world’s first inter-operable payment acceptance solution, was launched as part of efforts to move towards less-cash economy at an insignificant cost, according to RBI.
ii. Payment networks such as MasterCard and Visa have joined hands with NPCI to launch Bharat QR, a common Quick Response(QR) code that would enable seamless digital payments without card swiping machines.
iii. Built under the direction of the Reserve Bank of India in September 2016 . This Bharat QR code is expected to be convenient for those who are into mobile banking and do not want to use debit or credit cards for small ticket payments. Bharat QR code is seen as a better alternative to physical Point-of-Sale (PoS) machines which involves capital costs.
International Mother Language Day
i. UNESCO celebrates International Mother Language Day (IMLD) on February 21, 2017 under the theme “Towards Sustainable Futures through Multilingual Education”.
ii. To foster sustainable development, learners must have access to education in their mother tongue and in other languages.
iii. It is through the mastery of the first language or mother tongue that the basic skills of reading, writing and numeracy are acquired. Local languages, especially minority and indigenous, transmit cultures, values and traditional knowledge, thus playing an important role in promoting sustainable futures.
BHIM downloads at over 17 mn, a world record
i. Bharat Interface for Money (BHIM), a mobile app pushed by the government to make digital payments a mass movement in India, has seen over 17 million installs (downloads), a world record, Amitabh Kant, CEO, NITI Aayog, has stated.
ii. The Centre will also soon roll out a cash-back scheme to give a further boost to the use of BHIM
Buying jewellery over Rs 2 lakh in cash will attract 1% tax from April 1, 2017
i. Cash purchases of jewellery will attract 1% TCS (Tax Collected at Source) from April 1, 2017 if the amount exceeds Rs 2 lakh,as against the current threshold of Rs 5 lakh.
ii. Once the Finance Bill 2017 is passed, jewellery will be treated on par with generalgoods which attract 1% TCS on cash purchase of above Rs 2 lakh. The Bill seeks to do away with the threshold of Rs 5 lakh on jewellery purchases for applicability of TCS because the Union Budget 2017-18 has proposed to ban cash dealings of over Rs 3 lakh andmake violations punishable with a penalty of an equivalent amount to be paid by person receiving the cash.
India as the World’s Largest Arms Importer in the Last Four Years
i. According to a report released by Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) India emerged as the world’s largest importer of major arms during 2012–16.As per the report, India accounted for 13% of the global total sales.
ii. The total volume of international transfers of major weapons has grown continuously since 2004 and increased by 8.4 per cent between 2007–11 and 2012–16 According to the data in Asia,India increased its arms imports by 43 percent between 2007–11 and 2012–16 which is far greater than the imports by its rivals China and Pakistan.
iii. Between 2007 and 2011, India accounted for 9.7% of global imports which is still more than any other country.Major arm suppliers to India include Russia, USA, European states, Israel and South Korea.
State Bank of India website gets a new avatar
i. Country’s largest lender State Bank of India (SBI) has rebranded its corporate website as “bank.sbi” from the earlier sbi.co.in. Bank.sbi is the highest domain protocol, known as generic top level domain (gTLD).
ii. The adoption of gTLD enables an organisation to use its corporate name .sbi as their website’s top-level identifier instead of using a more traditional “.com” or “.co.in” domains
iii. The existing web address will remain active till customers become familiar with operating through the new address.With this, SBI has become the first banking organisation in India to use a gTLD for its internet presence. This is expected to provide enhanced security to its customers.
Apollo Hospitals Foundation signs agreement with WWF-India
i. Apollo Hospitals Foundation will provide medical support to forest department employees and local communities in the areas where WWF-India operates for conservation.
ii. The two organisations have entered into a memorandum of understanding (MoU) in this regard.The medicare will be available to over 27,000 staff and people in about 17 states of WWF-India operations.
iii. They will be provided with medical treatment, including air ambulance services in critical and emergency conditions.
Shurhozelie Liezeitsu elected new Nagaland CM
i. Nagaland People’s Front (NPF) president Shurhozelie Liezeitsu will be sworn in as the state’s eleventh Chief Minister.
ii. As Nagaland Former Chief Minister T R Zeliang stepped down from the post on February 19, 2017 facing revolt from his party MLAs against the decision to reserve 33% seats for women in urban local bodies.
EDII wins International Mercury Award 2016-17
The Ahmedabad-based Entrepreneurship Development Institute of India (EDII), an acknowledged national resource institute for entrepreneurship education, research, training and institution-building, has received the prestigious International Mercury Awards (IMA) for the year 2016-17 for the best overall presentation of its 2015-2016 annual report.
Tata Steel’s Katamati Mine wins Best Green Award
i. Tata Steel’s Katamati iron mine has been honoured with the the Best Green Organisation of the Year Award at the Global Green Future Leadership Awards in recognition of its environmental protection measures.
ii. The award was presented at a function organised by World CSR Day on February 18, 2017 in Mumbai.
Britannia Industries signs non-binding MoU with Chipita
i. FMCG major Britannia Industries has signed an MoU with Greece’s cakes and confectionery major Chipita and is in advance stage of discussion to finalise definitive agreements, including a joint venture.
ii. Chipita is already operating in India. The company has been operating outside Greece since 1995 by setting up manufacturing plants in Bulgaria, Portugal and Egypt, followed by Poland, Romania, Russia and Saudi Arabia and more recently India, and Turkey.
V Ramakrishnan appointed as TCS CFO, N Chandrasekaran named TCS Chairman too
i. Tata Sons Chairman designate Natarajan Chandrasekaran will also hold the chairmanship of the group’s crown jewel Tata Consultancy Services .
ii. The country’s largest software services provider has also named V Ramakrishnan as its Chief Financial Officer to succeed Rajesh Gopinathan, who will take over as the CEO and MD of the Tata Group company.
Russia to begin military helicopters deliveries to India in 2018
i. Russia will start initial deliveries of military helicopters to India in 2018, with assembly and manufacturing to follow in Asia’s fastest growing economy.India and Russia signed an agreement in October, 2016 to jointly manufacture 200 of the KA-226T helicopters for the Indian Armed Forces.
ii. Both countries have agreed to cooperate in energy and defence as India seeks to modernise its armed forces and build a nuclear industry and sanctions-hit Russia looks for investment and new markets.
US President appoints Lt. Gen. Herbert Raymond McMaster as new National Security Advisor
i. US President Donald Trump has appointed Lt Gen Herbert Raymond McMaster as his new National Security Advisor following the ouster of Michael Flynn last week.
ii. Making the announcement at his residence in Florida, Mr Trump described McMaster, currently Director of the Army Capabilities Integration Center, as a man of tremendous talent and experience.
SpaceX Falcon 9 Rocket Successfully Launches From NASA launch Pad
The California-based SpaceX onboard its Falcon 9 rocket launched a robotic Dragon cargo ship with about 5,500 pounds (2,500 kg) of supplies and science experiments toward the International Space Station on February 19, 2017 from Launch Complex 39A of NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida.
Noted bureaucrat V. K. Srinivasan passes away
i. V. K. Srinivasan, noted bureaucrat, columnist and director of the Institute of Economic Studies passed away after a prolonged illness in Hyderabad.
ii. He was 76 and is survived by a son and a daughter.
Hindi novelist Ved Prakash Sharma passes away
i. Famous Hindi novelist Ved Prakash Sharma was passed away in Meerut, Uttar Pradesh on February 18, 2017 . He was 62. He has written nearly 176 novels includes “Qaidi No 100” and “Vardi Wala Gunda“.
ii. He had also written scripts for about half-a-dozen Hindi movies.