Prime Minister confers Shanti Swarup Bhatnagar Prizes for Science and Technology
- Prime Minister conferred Shanti Swarup Bhatnagar (SSB) prizes for the years 2016, 2017 and 2018 in New Delhi today.
- The SSB prize is awarded each year on the basis of conspicuously important and outstanding contributions to human knowledge and progress, made through work done primarily in India during the five years, preceding the year of the prize.
- The SSB prize, comprising a citation, a cash award of Five Lakh rupees and a plaque is given to each person selected for the award.
- The award is given in the following disciplines viz. Biological sciences, Chemical Sciences, Medical Sciences, Physical Sciences, Mathematical Sciences, Engineering Sciences and Earth, Atmosphere, Ocean and Planetary Science.
- The Shanti Swarup Bhatnagar (SSB) Prize for Science and Technology was instituted in the year 1957,in the memory of late Dr (Sir) Shanti Swarup Bhatnagar, the founder director of the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research(CSIR).
- Any citizen of India engaged in research in any field of science and technology up to the age of 45 years is eligible to be nominated.
India-Korea Startup Hub Launched
- India Korea Business Symposium was hosted by Invest India and Korean Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KCCI) in Seoul on 21stFebruary 2019.
- The Symposium was organized to felicitate the Korean business community on their success in India and to present more opportunities for Korean business in India.
- Prime Minister of India addressed the business gathering on the way ahead to further strengthen bilateral ties between India and the Republic of Korea.
- Prime Minister launched the India-Korea Start-up Hub and Start-up Grand Challenge. The Hub is hosted on the Start-up India digital platform, the world’s largest virtual incubator with over 300,000 registered start-ups and aspiring entrepreneurs.
- The Hub will enable access to resources for market entry and innovation exchange between India and the world.
- The Start-up Grand Challenge, on the India-Korea Start-up Hub, will channelize the entrepreneurial capacity between Indian and Korean Start-ups to work together and build solutions for the challenges facing the world.
AIIB and INDIA sign US$ 455 Million Loan to improve Rural Connectivity in State of Andhra Pradesh
- The Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) and the Government of India signed a USD 455 million loan in New Delhi to finance the Andhra Pradesh Rural Roads Project.
- The objective of the Project is to improve road transport connectivity in previously unserved communities by providing all weather rural roads in all 13 Districts of the State of Andhra Pradesh.
- Andhra Pradesh Rural Roads is the Third Project being signed by the AIIB in the State of Andhra Pradesh, the other two being in Power Sector and Water Sector.
- The Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) is a Multilateral Development Bank, headquartered in Beijing, which began operations in January 2016. Republic of India is the Second Largest shareholder in the AIIB and its Largest borrower.
- About AIIB
- This is an international financial institution.
- It aims to support the building of infrastructure in the Asia Pacific region.
- It is an initiative of government of China.
- AIIB has Started operation in Its headquarter is in Beijing.
- The capital of the bank is $100 billion, equivalent to 2/3 of the capital of the Asian Development Bank and about half that of the World Bank
- China is the largest shareholder with 26.06% voting shares. India is the second largest shareholder with 7.5% voting shares followed by Russia (5.93%) and Germany (4.5%)
- AIIB is regarded by some as a rival for the IMF, the World Bank and the Asian Development Bank (ADB), which the AIIB says are dominated by developed countries like the United States and Japan.
India and Brunei sign Agreement for the Exchange of Information and Assistance in Collection with respect to Taxes (TIEA)
- The Agreement enables exchange of information, including banking and ownership information between the two countries for tax purposes.
- It is based on international standards of tax transparency and exchange of information and enables sharing of information on request as well as on automatic basis.
- The Agreement also provides for mutual assistance in collection of tax revenue claims between both countries.
- The Agreement will enhance mutual co-operation between India and Brunei Darussalam by providing an effective framework for exchange of information in tax matters which will help curb tax evasion and tax avoidance.
Public Sector Banks are lifeline of Indian economy
- The Union Minister of Finance said the Public Sector Banks (PSBs) are the lifeline of Indian economy.
- If their health is not good, then economy at large will also suffer.
- The Finance Minister was speaking at the Conference on Reforms Journey for EASE in Public Sector Banks (PSBs) which was organised by the Indian Banks’ Association (IBA)
- Insolvency & Bankruptcy Code (IBC) has brought back close to Rs. 3 lakh crores back into the banking system. All institutions have played a role in the success of the IBC.
- For the last two or three quarters, the NPA curve is going down. The NPA didn’t go-up because banks made some strong decisions in the recent past. The NPA went-up because of truthful disclosure.
- Praising the right environment for growth available with the PSBs, he said that with the functional autonomy available with PSBs, the future years will see a far greater contribution by PSBs as far as the national economy is concerned.
- The PSB banks are now functioning under a competitive environment. From a commercial point of view, PSBs are still bound by certain restrictions. Their public and social responsibility is much higher than what the private sector competitors have with them.
- PSBS don’t enjoy the same level of freedom that private sectors banks enjoy. Despite these obvious restraints, these EASE norms will prove to be an important milestone as far as PSBs are concerned.
Agreement for Bilateral Swap Arrangement (BSA) between India and Japan and provides for India to access 75 billion in US dollars.
- Reserve Bank of India and Bank of Japan have completed signing of the Agreement for Bilateral Swap Arrangement (BSA) between India and Japan.
- BSA was negotiated between India and Japan during the visit of PM Modi to Tokyo on 29.10.2018. This BSA provides for India to access 75 billion in US dollars whereas the earlier BSA had provided for US $50 billion.
- India can access the agreed amount of USD 75 billion for its domestic currency, for the purpose of maintaining an appropriate level of balance of payments or short-term liquidity.
- A part of the BSA can be accessed at the discretion of India. India has comfortable level of foreign exchange reserves presently. The BSA provides India flexibility to use these reserves if at any point of time, in its judgment, there is need to use the resources available under BSA.
- What is a Currency Swap?
- A currency swap involves exchange of principal and interest in one currency for the same in another currency. It is considered to be a foreign exchange transaction.
Major Currency Swap arrangements of India:
- Under BRICS
- With UAE
- With Japan