NATIONAL AFFAIRS

BHIM app crosses 17 million downloads: NITI Aayog

BHIM is a platform designed to make payment through UPI and USSD modes simpler. Indigenous digital payments app BHIM, which the government launched in December 2016 for fast and secure cashless transactions, has recorded 17 million downloads so far, said Niti Aayog CEO Amitabh Kant. The Bharat Interface for Money (BHIM) app was launched on the iOS platform earlier this month. It is also available on the more popular Android platform.


Arunachal govt to raise pension for differently abled persons:

Arunachal Pradesh Chief Minister Pema Khandu has announced raising pension for differently abled people under Chief Minister’s Disability Pension Scheme. The ensuing budget will see substantial increase in funds for their welfare. Voicing regret over concerned government department’s failure to fully implement the 5 per cent job quota for the disabled persons.


India launches ‘Cyber Swachhta Kendra’ to protect citizens:

Ravi Shankar Prasad launched Cyber Swachhta Kendra in New Delhi for Botnet cleaning and Malware analysis as a part of digital India initiative Cyber Swachhta Kendra.

Aim: To create a secure cyber space by detecting botnet infections. He launched two mobile apps.

(i) Mkavach to protect smart phones and tablets from hackers

(ii) Samvid to protect Desktops from suspicious applications from running.


Online course in child protection launched with UNICEF help:

An online course in child protection aimed at capacity enhancement of stakeholders and widening of horizons of those working in the field, with the help of information technology, was launched in Jodhpur, Rajasthan. The course module was evolved with the help of the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF). The Centre for Child Protection in Sardar Patel University of Police, Security and Criminal Justice has launched the course in collaboration with the UNICEF. It would be offered free of cost to everyone interested in promotion of child rights.


Raise retirement age of varsity teachers to 65 years: Panel to Haryana govt:

A five-member committee set up the Haryana government to review the standard of higher and technical education in the state has proposed to increase the retirement age of university teachers to 65 years. It has also suggested that the tenure of vice-chancellors be increased from three years to five years or till they attain the age of 70. The panel has also recommended that work be carried out in all the universities in the state in a uniform manner in accordance with a single Act.


INTERNATIONAL AFFAIRS

India, China hold strategic dialogue:

China and India today held their upgraded strategic dialogue to shore up bilateral ties amid hectic parleys to resolve differences over Beijing’s reluctance to support India’s Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) bid as well as a UN ban on JeM chief Masood Azhar.

Foreign Secretary S Jaishankar from India held talks with Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi during this meeting.


India, Rwanda sign aviation, visa deals:

India and Rwanda have concluded a bilateral air services agreement enabling direct flights between the two countries. This is among the three memorandums of understanding (MoUs) concluded during Vice-President Hamid Ansari’s visit to the African nation.

Rwandan Airways will begin direct flights between Kigali and Mumbai in April. The other two MoUs pertained to the setting up of an entrepreneurial development centre in Rwanda and exemption of visa for entry of diplomatic and official passports.


China finishing South China Sea buildings that could house missiles – U.S. officials:

China, in an early test of U.S. President Donald Trump, is nearly finished building almost two dozen structures on artificial islands in the South China Sea that appear designed to house long-range surface-to-air missiles.

China claims almost all the South China Sea, which carries a third of the world’s maritime traffic. Brunei, Malaysia, the Philippines, Taiwan and Vietnam also have claims. Trump’s administration has called China’s island building in the South China Sea illegal.


BANKING & BUSINESS

Dish TV partners with ICICI Bank for digital payments:

Direct-to-home operator Dish TV has tied-up with private lender ICICI Bank for digital payments. This will enhance a new payment method which is another customer-oriented initiative in the DTH industry to recharge through unified payment interface (UPI) transactions by Dish TV India Chief Executive Officer Arun Kapoor.


India, Japan ink pact on rail safety:

India signed an agreement with Japan on enhancing railway safety in the Indian Railways with focus on railway track and rolling stock safety. The Memorandum of Cooperation was signed between Railway Board Chairman A.K.Mittal and Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism of Japan Vice-Minister Hiroshi Tabata.

The areas of cooperation include rail inspection, rail wielding and providing automatic railway track safety inspection, maintenance of rolling stock with the aim to prevent major rail accidents.


Acharya sets timeline on NPAs:

Newly appointed Reserve Bank of India deputy governor Viral Acharya, said on the way lenders approached the problem of bad loans and set a timeline to resolve the issue. For resolution of stressed assets, he suggested a Private Asset Management Company (PAMC), which would be suitable for sectors to overcome this problem.

In terms of timeline, the banking sector will be asked to resolve and restructure, say its 50 largest stressed exposures in these sectors, by December 31, 2017. The other model he suggested is that of a National Asset Management Company (NAMC), which would be necessary for sectors having economically unviable assets in the short to medium-term. He also suggested that ‘surgical restructuring’ to strengthen bank balance sheets.


Government’s plan to create an integrated oil company may see ONGC taking over HPCL or BPCL:

The government’s plan to create an integrated oil company will likely involve Oil and Natural Gas Corp taking over either Hindustan Petroleum Corp (HPCL) or Bharat Petroleum Corp (BPCL) but won’t result in a mega merger leading to the creation of an industry giant. By combining the two in a single company, the overall profit of the undertaking becomes more stable. Investors benefit from reduced volatility of profits.


APPOINTMENTS

Trump Names Lt. Gen. HR McMaster As National Security Adviser:

H.R. McMaster, an active-duty Army general, will be President Donald Trump’s next national security adviser, according to an announcement . McMaster isn’t exactly a household name, but he’s well-known among observers of the US military — and has a sterling reputation as a strategist, leader, and intellectual.


Cauvery Tribunal gets new head:

The government has appointed Justice Abhay Manohar Sapre of the Supreme Court as chairman of the Cauvery Water Disputes Tribunal. He was nominated for the post by Chief Justice J.S. Khehar. The post fell vacant following the resignation of Justice Balbir Singh Chauhan.


New Tata Sons chairman N Chandrasekaran to focus on shareholder returns, fund allocation:

N Chandrasekaran, who took over as chairman of Tata Sons, the holding company of the $103-billion Tata group, he will focus on boosting shareholder returns and tightening capital allocation rules. Chandra, as he is popularly known, is the first non-promoter, non-Parsi and non-shareholder Chairman of the 150-year old group.


SPORTS

Diwakar Prasad turns professional:

Olympian boxer Diwakar Prasad has decided to turn professional. Diwakar was among the 13 boxers, also including Commonwealth Games medallist Amandeep Singh and WBC Asia welterweight champion Neeraj Goyat, who were signed up by IOS boxing Promotions.


R Ashwin, BCCI hail India eves for World Cup qualifier final win: