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  • India's financial capital Mumbai, with a total wealth of $950 billion, is among the top 15 wealthiest cities globally, while New York tops the list, says a report.
  • According to a report by New World Wealth, the economic hub of India is the 12th wealthiest city, followed by Toronto with a total wealth of $944 billion, Frankfurt ($912 billion) and Paris ($860 billion).
  • Total wealth refers to the private wealth held by all the individuals living in each city. It includes all their assets (property, cash, equities and business interests) less any liabilities. Government funds are excluded from the figures.
  • Mumbai also features among the top 10 cities in terms of billionaire population. The city is home to 28 billionaires, individuals with $1 billion or more in net assets.
  • Regarding Mumbai, the report said, "Total wealth held in the city amounts to $950 billion. Mumbai is the economic hub of India. It is also home to the Bombay Stock Exchange, the 12th largest stock exchange in the world. Major industries in the city include financial services, real estate and media."
  • Going forward, Mumbai is expected to be the fastest growing city (in terms of wealth growth over the next 10 years), it added.
  • The list of 15 wealthiest cities was topped by New York with a total wealth of $3 trillion. "Home to the two largest stock exchanges in the world, areas around New York such as Connecticut and Long Island also contain a large amount of wealth that is not included in this figure," the report said.
  • London ranked second in the list with $2.7 trillion, followed by Tokyo ($2.5 trillion), and San Francisco Bay area ($2.3 trillion).Among the 15 cities listed, San Francisco, Beijing, Shanghai, Mumbai and Sydney were the fastest growing in terms of wealth growth over the past 10 years, the report said.

  • PM Narendra Modi entered the last leg of his three-nation tour on 11 feb, landing in Muscat to visit India's closest ally in the region, Oman.
  • Before he flew on to Muscat, the PM, wrapping up a state visit to the UAE, reiterated strong cooperation on combating terrorism and a defence partnership that will see the Indian Navy conducting an exercise in the Gulf waters.
  • Addressing the World Government Summit in Dubai, Modi highlighted the importance of assimilating technology with governance to ensure equitable growth, a key message relating to his government's programmes promoting inclusive growth through banking and DBT.
  • He also met Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, the Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and the ruler of Dubai.
  • A joint statement issued at the end of Modi's visit focused substantially on a joint approach to tackling terrorism and radicalisation. Indian institutions will cooperate with Sawab and Hedayah of the UAE, two entities that are actively addressing radical thoughts and actions at the level of religious places, schools and among the youth.
  • With defence and security moving up in importance, the joint statement said, "Joint Defence Cooperation Committee (JDCC) formed under the existing defence cooperation agreement has been meeting regularly.
  • The two leaders welcomed the decision taken during the latest round of JDCC held in New Delhi in December 2017 to conduct the first bilateral naval exercise during 2018." This is the first time Indian Navy will be exercising in the Gulf, going beyond the Arabian Sea. Modi told his audience that India aspired to assume leadership position in Artificial Intelligence, nanotechnology, cyber security and cloud computing.

  • Air traffic controllers handling the Vistara and Air India flights that came dangerously close in Mumbai airspace last Wednesday (Febraury 7) have been suspended.
  • Investigators are probing if in those tense seconds when the two planes with 261 passengers on them had to be pulled apart, there was some confusion in the controller's coordination with the two cockpits which were both manned by women at that time.
  • AI's Airbus A-319 was enroute from Mumbai to Bhopal as AI 631 and Vistara's A-320 Neo was flying from Delhi to Pune as UK 997. "The planes were barely seconds away from each other. Vistara was descending from its assigned level of 29,000 feet to 27,100 feet where an AI flight was coming in the opposite direction.
  • There may have been confusion between the ATC and Vistara cockpit which at that time had a woman co-pilot at the controls and the captain had taken a toilet break. The AI flight had a woman commander, Captain Anupama Kohli. Maybe there was a mix-up in communication in those tense seconds like what altitude instruction is being given to which lady. This has to be seen," said sources.
  • Amid this confusion, AI's Captain Anupama Kohli a senior commander of A-320 family with experience of over 20 years saved the day. "She saw the Vistara aircraft approaching in her direction and could hear the ATC asking UK 997 'why are you on this level?' The Vistara lady pilot told ATC that 'no, you told me to come to this level'.

  • The Indian Union Muslim League (IUML) has unanimously elected its new state office bearers and for the first time in the history of the party provided women and dalit representation in the 63- member party state secretariat.
  • The state council meeting of the party held at the League House here on Sunday saw party state president Panakkad Syed Hyderali Shihab Thangal and state general secretary K P A Majeed retaining their posts. Former minister Cherkalam Abdullah has been elected as the new treasurer replacing P K K Bava.
  • Marking a first in the history of the party, three women leaders- Womens League general secretary Adv. Noorbina Rasheed, president, Adv K P Mariyumma and past president Khamarunissa Anwar have been elected to the secretariat.
  • The dalit members in the secretariat are U C Raman and A P UnnikrishnanParty general secretary KPA Majeed said that the decision to induct three women into the state secretariat will mark a new beginning in the party.
  • "The number of youth, workers and women have proportionately increased in the party and the state committee has increased representation for them in the secretariat," he said adding that the party has 20,41,650 members after the recently concluded membership campaign, including five lakh new members.

  • Prime Minister Modi and Crown Prince Sheikh Mohammad bin Zayed al Nahyan held bilateral talks after a ceremonial welcome at the Presidential Palace in Abu Dhabi.
  • It was straight down to business after Prime Minister Narendra Modi landed at Abu Dhabi airport on his second visit to the United Arab Emirates. Prime Minister held delegation-level talks with Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi. The two sides inked 5 agreements related to energy & railway sectors, manpower and financial services.
  • In a first:MoU between a consortium led by ONGC and Abu Dhabi national oil company for acquisition of 10 percent stake in offshore concession was inked
  • MoU aiming to institutionalize employment of Indian workers in UAE to safeguard their interests was also signed
  • MoU aiming at technical cooperation in rail sector between Ministry of railways and Federal transport authority and maritime of UAE signed. This will facilitate development of Joint Projects, Knowledge Sharing, Joint Research and Technology Transfer. In the area of financial services, MoU between BSE and Abu Dhabi Securities exchange was also inked.
  • MoU between Government of Jammu and Kashmir and DP World was also signed to establish multi-modal logistics park and hub in Jammu comprising warehouses and specialized storage solutions.
  • Prime Minister Narendra Modi will be laying the foundation stone of the first Hindu temple in Abu Dhabi on Sunday. Members of the temple committee met PM Modi and the Abu Dhabi Crown Prince and presented them with mementoes to express their gratitude.
  • Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi also hosted a grand Banquet dinner in honour of Prime Minister Modi and the Indian delegation. Day one of Prime Minister Narendra Modi's UAE visit saw substantial outcomes with ties between the two countries surging ahead.

  • Prime Minister Narendra Modi has been conferred the 'Grand Collar of the State of Palestine', the highest Palestinian honour for foreign dignitaries, recognizing his contributions to promoting relations between India and Palestine.
  • The Grand Collar is highest order given to foreign dignitaries - Kings, Heads of State and persons of similar rank.
  • It’s a historic visit for more than one reason. The first visit by any Indian Prime Minister to Palestine is turning into a moment of great pride for a nation of 1.3 billion.
  • Prime Minister Narendra Modi is the first Indian to receive the 'Grand Collar of the State of Palestine', the highest Palestinian honour for foreign Heads of states or Royalty. The award is given for statesmanship and quality amply displayed by PM Modi.
  • The commendation reads "In recognition of his wise leadership and his lofty national and international stature, and in appreciation of his efforts to promote the historic relations between the State of Palestine and the Republic of India; in acknowledgement of his support to our people's right to independence and freedom so that peace prevails in the region.
  • " President Abbas described the award as a reflection of Palestine's respect for Prime Minister Narendra Modi's vision towards establishing peace and stability in the region and the world
  • Prime Minister Modi is internationally known for his vision and decisive leadership. Prior to PM Modi, the Grand Collar of the State of Palestine' was awarded to King Salman of Saudi Arabia, King Hamad of Bahrain, President Xi Jinping of China.

  • A consortium led by Oil and Natural Gas Corp (ONGC) will sign a contract on 10 feb to acquire a stake in Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (ADNOC)'s offshore oil concession, sources familiar with the matter said.
  • The group headed by ONGC will be the first party to secure a stake in the offshore concession.
  • Other members of the consortium are Indian Oil Corporation and Bharat Petro Resources Ltd, an upstream arm of refiner Bharat Petroleum Corp, one source said.
  • Sources told Reuters that the ONGC-led consortium would get up to a 10 per cent stake in one of the areas of the concession. Participation fees for the deal are valued at $600 million, they added.
  • An official announcement is expected later on Saturday, the sources said. N.K. Verma, managing director of ONGC Videsh, the foreign investment arm of ONGC, is in Abu Dhabi. He did not respond to calls seeking comment.
  • In August, state-owned ADNOC said it would split its ADMA-OPCO offshore oil concession into two or more areas with new terms to unlock greater value and increase opportunities for partnerships.

  • India has “increased substantially” its score in the latest international Intellectual Property (IP) index released by the US Chambers of Commerce on 8 feb, ranking 44th out of 50 countries
  • India’s overall score has increased substantially from 25 per cent (8.75 out of 35) in the 5th edition of the Index to 30 per cent (12.03 out of 40) in the 6th edition, according to the annual report prepared by the Global Innovation Policy Center (GIPC) of the US Chambers of Commerce.
  • Despite improvement in the score, India continues to remain towards the bottom of the ladder. It now ranks 44 out of 50 countries.
  • Last year, India ranked 43rd out of 45 countries in the index, with an overall score if 8.4 points. India’s ranking, the report said, reflects a relatively strong performance in the new indicators as well as positive reform efforts on patentability of computer-implemented inventions (CIIs) and registration procedures for well-known marks.
  • The US tops the list with 37.98 points, followed by United Kingdom (37.97) and Sweden (37.03). The annual report notes that India in July 2017 issued ‘Guidelines on the Examination of Computer-Related Inventions’ which significantly improved the patentability environment for technological innovations.
  • Additionally, the government created IP awareness workshops and technical training, programmes for enforcement agencies, implementing key deliverables of the National Intellectual Property (IP) Rights Policy. “However, India’s score continues to suggest that additional, meaningful reforms are needed to complement the policy,” he report said.

  • The defence ministry, in a statement, said that unfounded allegations are being made regarding the 2016 Inter-Governmental Agreement to procure 36 Rafale aircraft in fly-away condition from France.
  • The statement further stated that the approximate acquisition cost of the Rafale aircraft has already been provided to the Parliament.
  • Provision of exact item-wise cost and other information will reveal, inter alia, details regarding the various customizations and weapons systems specially designed to augment the effectiveness and lethality of the assets, impact country's military preparedness and compromise the national security. Such details would also come under the ambit of the security agreement signed in 2008.
  • Thus, in not revealing the item-wise details of the contract, the government is merely following in letter and spirit the confidentiality provisions of a bilateral India-France Agreement of 2008 signed by the previous government.
  • It also asserted that the present NDA government completed the negotiations in just one year.

  • The Cabinet on 7 feb accorded approval to the protocol amending the agreement between India and China for the avoidance of double taxation and the prevention of fiscal evasion with respect to taxes on income, an official said here
  • The protocol amending Double Taxation Avoidance Agreement (DTAA) aims to update the provisions on exchange of information of the DTAA to the latest international standards, said an official statement following the Union Cabinet meeting here.
  • "Further, the Protocol will incorporate changes required to implement treaty related minimum standards under the Action reports of Base Erosion and Profit shifting (BEPS) Project, in which India had participated on an equal footing," it added.
  • In 2016, India signed a multilateral convention to implement measures to prevent shifting of profits by companies to low-tax nations as a way to avoid paying taxes.
  • The convention is an outcome of the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD)/G20 Base Erosion and Profit Shifting (BEPS) project.
  • The convention will tackle base erosion and profit shifting through tax planning strategies that exploit gaps and mismatches in tax rules to artificially shift profits to low or no-tax locations where there is little or no economic activity, resulting in little or no overall corporate tax being paid, the statement said

  • Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) has reiterated that Aadhaar letter or its cutaway portion or downloaded versions of Aadhaar or mAadhaar are perfectly valid.
  • It said people should not yearn for the so-called Aadhaar smart card as it may make them fall to the ploys of unscrupulous elements who are printing Aadhaar on a plastic/PVC sheet.
  • UIDAI said in a statement that plastic or PVC Aadhaar smart cards are often not usable as the QR code commonly becomes dysfunctional during such unauthorised printing.
  • The Authority also cautioned unauthorized agencies not to collect Aadhaar information from general public for printing of Aadhaar card.
  • It said collecting such information or unauthorized printing of Aadhaar card or aiding such persons in any manner amounts to criminal offence punishable with imprisonment.

  • Gold demand in India is likely to remain below its 10-year average for a third year in 2018 as higher taxes and new transparency rules on purchases may cap last year's rebound in buying, the World Gold Council (WGC) said on 6 feb.
  • India is the world's second-biggest gold consumer and lower demand there could rein in global prices that have risen 8 per cent since mid-December, although a drop in imports of the metal would help India reduce its trade deficit.
  • Gold consumption in 2018 will likely be between 700 and 800 tonnes versus 727 tonnes last year, Somasundaram PR, the managing director of WGC's Indian operations, said on Tuesday. Indian demand has averaged 840 tonnes over the last 10 years.
  • Gold demand will lag because of a higher goods and services tax (GST) on bullion purchases imposed in 2017 and measures to track gold purchases, he said.
  • In July, the GST on gold was raised to 3 per cent from 1.2 per cent. India has also made it mandatory for customers to disclose their tax code, or Permanent Account Number (PAN), for high-value gold purchases.
  • The government moves have disrupted the business of the small jewellers that account for nearly two-thirds of India's total sales, Somasundaram said.
  • India is the world's second-biggest gold consumer and lower demand there could rein in global prices that have risen 8 per cent since mid-December, although a drop in imports of the metal would help India reduce its trade deficit.

  • The Supreme Court (SC) today had harsh words for 'khap' Panchayats taking the law into their own hands with so-called honour killings, and strongly urged the Centre to protect couples from such 'khap' actions.
  • The apex court also told the 'khaps' they cannot become "self-appointed conscience keepers" when there is a law and there are courts to deal with marriages that may be prohibited by law
  • The SC further said when two adults get married , it was for the law to declare the marriage null and void and khaps cannot resort to violence against the couple.
  • The top court said it is considering appointing a high-level police committee to devise ways to protect couples who get married in inter-caste, inter-faith, or similarly "opposed" alliances.
  • The committee will be mandated to keep couples safe from any violence directed by 'khaps', Panchayats, parents and relatives.

  • From a distance, it might appear as if hyacinth has consumed the Neknampur Lake in Hyderabad city. But a closer inspection will reveal that there is more to the water body than meets the eye. Gently floating on the surface is an artificial ‘island’ made of meticulously chosen plant species.
  • “The island is a floating treatment wetland (FTW). Several plants on this FTW help clean the lake by absorbing nutrients such as excess nitrates and oxygen present in the water. They thus reduce the content of these chemicals,” says Madhulika Choudhary, who heads Dhruvansh, an NGO.
  • The FTW on Neknampur Lake was inaugurated on February 2, World Wetlands Day. Measuring 3,000 sq. ft., the FTW is a joint effort of Dhruvansh, the Hyderabad Metropolitan Development Authority, the Ranga Reddy district administration and other organisations. It has already been recognised by the India Book of Records as the largest FTW in the country.
  • Based on the soil-less hydroponics technique, the FTW comprises four layers. Floatable bamboo forms its base, over which Styrofoam cubicles are placed. The third layer consists of gunny bags. The final layer is of gravel. “Hydroponics permits plants to grow only on sunlight and water.
  • There is no need of soil. There are small holes at the bottom which facilitate the flow of nutrients from the water to the plants (biological uptake process), which are held upright by the gravel layer,” Ms. Choudhary says.

  • IPS officer Sudeep Lakhtakia took over as the Director General of the black cats commando force National Security Guard (NSG) on 1 feb.
  • The post fell vacant after incumbent chief S P Singh retired on 31 jan.Lakhtakia, a 1984-batch Indian Police Service (IPS) officer of the Telangana cadre, was till now serving as Special DG in the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) headquarters here.
  • The Appointments Committee of the Cabinet (ACC), headed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, had issued orders for his appointment as the NSG chief on January 19.
  • Lakhtakia, a post-graduate in Business Administration, will hold the top post of the elite counter-terror force till July next year, which is also his scheduled retirement.
  • The officer, apart from serving at various positions in his home cadre and the elite commando force Greyhounds, has also worked with the Special Protection Group (SPG) for over nine years.
  • The Special Protection Group guards the prime minister, former prime ministers and their immediate family members.The NSG was raised as the federal contingency force to counter terrorists and hijack-like incidents in 1984.
  • The commandos of the force are based in five hubs across the country, apart from their main garrison in Gurgaons Manesar. They also render personal security to some of the most high-profile VVIPs like Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh and some chief ministers.

  • Indian Navy on 1 feb launched the third Scorpene class submarine in Karanj at Mazagon Dock in Mumbai.Navy Chief Admiral Sunil Lanba was also present during the launch of Karanj.
  • Karanj is the third of the six Scorpene-class submarines being built by Mazagon Dock Shipbuilders Limited - MDL under the Project 75 programme.
  • The first one, INS Kalvari, was commissioned on December 14 last year. The second one, Khandari, has already been launched and is undergoing sea trials.
  • The contract for the construction and transfer of technology for six Scorpene submarines in series has Naval Group, formerly called DCNS, of France as collaborator and are being built by MDL.
  • The technology being used for construction of the Scorpene class submarines has ensured superior stealth features such as advanced acoustic silencing techniques, low radiated noise levels and hydrodynamically optimized shape.
  • The submarines also have the ability to launch a crippling attack on the enemy using precision guided weapons. The attack can be launched with both torpedoes and tube launched anti-ship missiles, whilst underwater or on surface.

  • Dr Dinesh Srivastava, distinguished nuclear scientist, took over as the chief executive of the Nuclear Fuel Complex (NFC) here on 31 jan.
  • The incumbent chief executive, G Kalyanakrishnan, demitted office on superannuation. Dr Srivastava will also be the chairman of the NFC Board. Prior to this assignment, Dr Srivastava was holding the position of deputy chief executive, NFC.
  • Dr Srivastava had worked for three decades in Bhabha Atomic Research Centre (BARC), Mumbai. He is also a senior professor in Homi Bhabha National Institute (HBNI), Mumbai.
  • He has contributed exclusively in the development of advanced structural materials of extreme strategic value for nuclear energy program in India.
  • The target of his work has been on self-reliant development of critical nuclear components for the Department of Atomic Energy (DAE).
  • His basic research studies on physical and mechanical metallurgy, thermo-mechanical processing and irradiation damage of zirconium, titanium and low alloy steels led to successful processing of these materials. Some of them are high creep resistant pressure tube, high burn-up fuel cladding tube and reactor pressure vessel.

  • Indian Railways' first non-working foreign tour is under way - not for senior officers but for gangmen, trackmen and other non-gazetted employees.
  • In a first for the national transporter, 100 non-gazetted workers of South Central Railway flew to Singapore and Malaysia for a six-day vacation on January 28, said a statement.
  • While 25 per cent expenditure of the tour is being borne by the employees, 75 per cent is from the Staff Benefit Fund (SBF), M. Umashankar Kumar, SCR chief public relations officer, said in a statement.
  • "The 100 strong group of employees... comprised of Group C and D category employees, with preference given to employees from lower cadres and those nearing retirement. Allocation of number of slots for each Division, Workshop and Headquarters was given on the basis of their sanctioned strength," he said.
  • Secunderabad-based SCR has taken the lead in "optimising welfare activities for its non-gazetted workforce, by organising the first-of-its-kind 'Employees Overseas Camp' on Indian Railways", he said.
  • The itinerary covers tourist sites such as Universal Studios, Sentosa and Night Safari in Singapore and includes the Kuala Lumpur City Tour, Petronas Towers, Batu Caves and Genting Highlands in Malaysia.

  • The Economic Survey 2017-18 highlighted that there has been a rise in the number of taxpayers post demonetisation and implementation of Goods and Services Tax (GST) regime. This also led to increase in the household savings.
  • The Economic Survey sets the stage for Finance Minister Arun Jaitley's annual budget on Thursday (February 1). The survey was prepared by the finance ministry's Chief Economic Adviser (CEA) Arvind Subramanian and his team.
  • The survey pointed out that "GST has given a new perceptive of the Indian economy and new data has emerged. There has been a 50 per cent increase in the number of indirect taxpayers." It added that "there has been an addition of about 18 lakh in individual income tax filers since November 2016."
  • It further stated that "the share of financial saving is already rising in aggregate household saving - with a clear shift visible towards market instruments - a phenomenon that has been helped by demonetisation."
  • Taking into account the pre-existing trend growth in new tax filers through regression analysis, the survey carried out a rigorous assessment of the impact of demonetisation.

  • Drug major Cipla today said it has received final approval from the US health regulator for tenofovir disoproxil fumarate tablets, used to treat HIV-1 infections in adults.
  • Cipla in a BSE filing said it has received final approval from the United States Food and Drug Administration (USFDA) for tenofovir disoproxil fumarate tablets, 300 mg.
  • These tablets are AB-rated generic equivalents of Gilead Sciences' Viread Tablets, 300 mg, and are indicated in combination with other antiretroviral agents for the treatment of HIV -1 infection in adults and paediatric patients 12 years of age and older.
  • Citing IMS Health data, the company said Viread Tablets, 300mg, had US sales of approximately USD 725 million for the 12-month period ending November 2017.The company's stock was trading 0.55 per cent higher at Rs 621.55 per scrip on the BSE.

  • India is ranked second only to South Africa as the cheapest country to live or retire, according to a recent survey of 112 countries.
  • The survey by GoBankingRates ranked nations on the bases of four key affordability metrics provided by online pricing database Numbeo. The metrics are: Local purchasing power index, rent index, Groceries index, and Consumer price index.
  • With the second lowest rent index among the 50 cheapest countries (after neighbour Nepal), living in India can be cheaper compared to most of the countries.
  • India also has some of the lowest prices for consumer goods and groceries, with typical monthly expenses for these priced around $285 for a single person living in Kolkata.
  • The survey says that India, home to 1.25 billion residents, is the most populous among the 50 cheapest countries. Its major industries include textiles, chemicals and food processing. India also has a relatively high local purchasing power in the major cities that were surveyed.
  • India's local purchasing power is 20.9 per cent lower, rent is 95.2 per cent cheaper, groceries are 74.4 per cent cheaper, local goods and services are 74.9 per cent cheaper, the survey said
  • India is cheaper than its neighbouring countries like Colombia ranked at 13, Pakistan (14), Nepal (28), Bangladesh (40).
  • The local purchasing power index measures the relative purchasing power of a typical salary in that country, compared to New York City. A lower purchasing power buys fewer goods, while a higher purchasing power buys more.

  • Overcoming a hiccup, India and Seychelles signed a revised agreement that will allow India to build military infrastructure on Assumption Island, that will expand its strategic reach in the Indian Ocean.Foreign secretary S Jaishankar signed the agreement in Victoria on 27 Jan.
  • In a statement, Jaishankar said, "India and Seychelles have drawn up a cooperation agenda that covers within its purview joint efforts in anti-piracy operations, and enhanced EEZ surveillance and monitoring to prevent intrusions by potential economic offenders indulging in illegal fishing, poaching, drug and human trafficking.
  • The cooperation is further exemplified by the operationalisation of the Coastal Surveillance Radar System in March 2016, and our commitment to augment Seychelles' defence assets and capability.
  • After meeting Jaishankar, the island nation's President, Danny Faure, said "on 28 Jan we will sign a revised version of the Agreement for the development of facilities on Assumption Island.
  • This project is of utmost importance to Seychelles, and it attests to the kinship and affinity that exists between our two countries. We are proud to have India as a partner in realising our development aspirations."
  • The agreement had been signed in 2015 during the visit of PM Modi but it ran into trouble because it had not been ratified by the Seychelles parliament by the previous president, James Michel.
  • The first sign that the agreement was in trouble came in August 2017, when Faure said in a press conference that it would have to be re-negotiated. "We would like to relook at the agreement which does not have a legal statute on the Seychelles side. But for India, it has a legal statute. We have to go back to the drawing board."

  • Overwhelmed with the love and support she gets from Indians, young Pakistani activist Malala Yousafzai has said she wants to visit the country and work for the girls there.
  • Twenty-year-old Malala, who was shot at by Taliban at the age of 15 for defying the ban on girls going to school and went on to get a Nobel peace prize and become the UN Messenger of Peace, said she has already learnt a lot about India and is a big fan of its movies and drama and wants to learn more about its culture and values.
  • She was here to participate in the World Economic Forum (WEF) Annual Meeting, held from January 22-26, and during her visit met a number of global leaders and CEOs to seek their support for girl education.
  • She has co-founded Malala Fund that seeks to invest in girl education across the world, while one of its initiative Gulmakai Network - named on Malala's pen name that she used while writing blogs against Taliban regime - supports the work of education champions across the world.
  • In an interview here with PTI, Malala said she is very excited about expanding her Gulmakai Network to India, where she would want to work with the local people as they best understand the local issues and can suggest necessary solutions as well

  • A foreign player has expressed interest in acquiring 49% of soon-to-be-privatised Air India. Aviation secretary R N Choubey said this company has given an "unsolicited expression of interest for AI's airline arm."
  • While the identity of this player is not being revealed at the moment, Singapore Airlines (SIA) is among the foreign airlines that have shown interest in AI's disinvestment process.
  • Qatar Airways is the other big airline that wants to start a domestic airline in India and has for long wanted to pick up a stake in IndiGo.
  • Incidentally, IndiGo has given a formal expression of interest for AI's airline arm, especially the international operations of AI and AI Express.
  • "As of now it will not be possible to say who this foreign player is and whether it is a foreign airline or some other company. We need to check with them if they are okay with their identity being revealed at this stage," said a senior ministry official.

  • Stock of soured bank loans shrank slightly in the quarter to September last year, the first pullback since a drive to clean up record levels of bad debt began in 2015 and signalling that tighter rules and a new bankruptcy code may be starting to show results.
  • Stressed loans which include non-performing as well as restructured or rolledover loans eased 0.4% from three months earlier to Rs 9.46 lakh crore ($148.3 billion) at the end of September, according to unpublished central bank data reviewed by Reuters.
  • The last data seen by Reuters showed soured loans hit a record Rs 9.5 lakh crore as of end-June last year, accounting for 12.6% of total loans. The new data shows that the ratio declined to 12.2% in the period to end-September.
  • That would be the first decline in soured assets since at least 2015. On an annual basis, stressed assets have risen steadily since the year to March 2006. Banks have seen their soured loans nearly double in the past four years as a prolonged economic slowdown took its toll on the ability of companies to repay debt.
  • Profligate lending and poor due diligence have also been blamed for the surge. In late 2015, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) began a major asset quality review amid allegations that banks were hiding the extent of the bad debt on their books.
  • The central bank last year ordered banks to push some 40 of the country's biggest corporate defaulters into bankruptcy proceedings through greater powers given to it as part of the government's banking sector reforms programme.
  • The government has also announced a $33 billion recapitalisation of the state-run banks that account for the bulk for the soured loans. "The view is that the stressed assets ratio will not go up sharply from current levels. We expect asset-quality parameters to stabilise in due course before moving lower," said Jobin Jacob, an associate director at Fitch Ratings.

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Council of Ministers

  • Prime Minister Narendra Modi: Personnel, Public Grievances and Pensions; Department of Atomic Energy Department of Space; All important policy issues and all other portfolios not allocated to any Minister
  • CABINET MINISTERS

    1. Rajnath Singh: Home Affairs
    2. Sushma Swaraj: External Affairs, Overseas Indian Affairs
    3. Manohar Parrikar: Defence
    4. Suresh Prabhu: Railways
    5. Arun Jaitley: Finance, Corporate Affairs, Information & Broadcasting
    6. M. Venkaiah Naidu: Urban Development, Housing and Urban Poverty Alleviation, Parliamentary Affairs
    7. Nitin Gadkari: Road Transport and Highways, Shipping
    8. D.V. Sadananda Gowda: Law & Justice
    9. Uma Bharati: Water Resources, River Development and Ganga Rejuvenation
    10. Dr. Najma A. Heptulla: Minority Affairs
    11. Dr. Harsh Vardhan: Science and Technology, Earth Sciences
    12. Ramvilas Paswan: Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution
    13. Kalraj Mishra: Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises
    14. Maneka Gandhi: Women and Child Development
    15. Ananthkumar: Chemicals and Fertilizers
    16. Ravi Shankar Prasad: Communications and Information Technology
    17. Jagat Prakash Nadda: Health & Family Welfare
    18. Chaudhary Birender Singh: Rural Development, Panchayati Raj, Drinking Water and Sanitation
    19. Ashok Gajapathi Raju: Civil Aviation
    20. Anant Geete: Heavy Industries and Public Enterprises
    21. Harsimrat Kaur Badal: Food Processing Industries
    22. Narendra Singh Tomar: Mines, Steel
    23. Jual Oram: Tribal Affairs
    24. Radha Mohan Singh: Agriculture
    25. Thaawar Chand Gehlot: Social Justice and Empowerment
    26. Smriti Irani: Human Resource Development

    MINISTERS OF STATE

    1. General V.K. Singh: Statistics and Programme Implementation (Independent Charge), External Affairs, Overseas Indian Affairs
    2. Inderjit Singh Rao: Planning (Independent Charge), Defence
    3. Santosh Kumar Gangwar: Textiles (Independent Charge)
    4. Shripad Yesso Naik:AAYUSH (Independent Charge), Health & Family Welfare
    5. Bandaru Dattatreya: Labour and Employment (Independent Charge)
    6. Rajiv Pratap Rudy:Skill Development & Entrepreneurship (Independent Charge), Parliamentary Affairs
    7. Dharmendra Pradhan:Petroleum and Natural Gas (Independent Charge))
    8. Sarbananda Sonowal:Youth Affairs and Sports (Independent Charge)
    9. Prakash Javadekar:Environment, Forest and Climate Change (Independent Charge)
    10. Piyush Goyal:Power (Independent Charge), Coal (Independent Charge), New and Renewable Energy (Independent Charge)
    11. Dr.Jitendra Singh:Development of North Eastern Region (Independent Charge), Prime Minister’s Office, Personnel, Public Grievances & Pensions, Department of Atomic Energy, Department of Space)
    12. Nirmala Sitharaman: Commerce and Industry (Independent Charge)
    13. Dr. Mahesh Sharma: Culture (Independent Charge), Tourism (Independent Charge), Civil Aviation
    14. Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi: Minority Affairs, Parliamentary Affairs
    15. Ram Kripal Yadav: Drinking Water & Sanitation
    16. Haribhai Parthibhai Chaudhary:Home Affairs
    17. Sanwar Lal Jat: Water Resources, River Development & Ganga Rejuvenation
    18. Mohanbhai Kalyanjibhai Kundariya:Agriculture
    19. Giriraj Singh:Micro, Small & Medium Enterprises
    20. Hansraj Gangaram Ahir:Chemicals & Fertilizers
    21. G.M. Siddeshwara: Heavy Industries & Public Enterprises
    22. Manoj Sinha: Railways
    23. Nihalchand: Panchayati Raj
    24. Upendra Kushwaha:Human Resource Development
    25. Radhakrishnan P.: Road Transport & Highways, Shipping
    26. Kiren Rijiju:Home Affairs
    27. Krishan Pal:Social Justice & Empowerment
    28. Vijay Sampla:Social Justice & Empowerment
    29. Dr. Sanjeev Kumar Balyan:Agriculture
    30. Manuskhbhai Dhanjibhai Vasava:Tribal Affairs
    31. Vishnu Deo Sai:Mines, Steel
    32. Sudarshan Bhagat: Rural Development
    33. Prof. (Dr.) Ram Shankar Katheria: Human Resource Development
    34. Y.S. Chowdary: Science and Technology, Earth Science
    35. Jayant Sinha: Finance
    36. Col. Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore:Information & Broadcasting
    37. Babul Supriyo: Urban Development, Housing and Urban Poverty Alleviation
    38. Sadhvi Niranjan Jyoti:Food Processing Industries

    केंद्रित मंत्रीमंडळ

  • पंतप्रधान नरेंद्र मोदी: कार्मिक,जनतक्रार निवारण आणि पेन्शन,अणुउर्जा,अंतराळ विभाग,सर्व महत्त्वपूर्ण धोरणात्मक व्यवहार,आणि इतर कोणत्याही मंत्र्यांना विवक्षितपणे नेमून न दिलेले विभाग किंवा विषय
  • कॅबिनेट मंत्री

    1. राजनाथसिंह: गृह
    2. श्रीमती सुषमा स्वराज: परराष्ट्र व्यवहार,प्रवासी भारतीय मंत्रालय
    3. मनोहर पर्रीकर: संरक्षण
    4. सुरेश प्रभू: रेल्वे
    5. अरुण जेटली: वित्त,कंपनी व्यवसाय,माहिती व प्रसारण
    6. एम.वेंकैय्या नायडू: नगर विकास,गृहनिर्माण व शहरी दारिद्र्य निर्मुलन,संसदीय कामकाज
    7. नितीन गडकरी: रस्ते वाहतूक व महामार्ग,जलवाहतूक
    8. डी.व्ही.सदानंद गौडा: कायदा व न्याय
    9. श्रीमती उमा भारती: जलसंसाधन,नदी विकास व गंगा संरक्षण
    10. श्रीमती नतमा हेपतुल्ला: अल्पसंख्यांक विकास
    11. डॉ.हर्षवर्धन: विज्ञान व तंत्रज्ञान,भूविज्ञान
    12. रामविलास पासवान: ग्राहक आणि अन्न व सार्वजनिक वितरण
    13. कलराज मिश्र: सूक्ष्म,लघु व मध्यम उद्योग
    14. श्रीमती मेनका गांधी: महिला व बाल विकास
    15. अनंतकुमार: रसायन व खते
    16. रविशंकर प्रसाद: दळणवळण व माहिती तंत्रज्ञान
    17. जगत प्रकाश नड्डा : आरोग्य व कुटुंब कल्याण
    18. चौधरी वीरेंद्र सिंह: ग्रामीण विकास,पंचायत राज,पेयजल व स्वच्छता
    19. अशोक गजपती राजु: नागरी उड्डाण
    20. अनंत गिते: अवजड उद्योग व सार्वजनिक उपक्रम
    21. श्रीमती हरसिमरन कौर बादल: अन्न प्रक्रिया उद्योग
    22. नरेंद्र सिंग तोमर : खान व पोलाद
    23. ज्युएल ओराम: आदिवासी विकास
    24. राधामोहन सिंह: कृषी
    25. थावरचंद गेहलोत: सामाजिक न्याय व संक्षमीकरण
    26. श्रीमती स्मृती ईराणी: मनुष्यबळ विकास

    राज्यमंत्री

    1. जनरल व्ही.के.सिंग: सांख्यिकी आणि कार्यक्रम अंमलबजावणी (स्वतंत्र प्रभार),परराष्ट्र व्यवहार,प्रवासी भारतीय मंत्रालय
    2. इंद्रजितसिंग राव: नियोजन (स्वतंत्र प्रभार), संरक्षण
    3. संतोष गंगवार: वस्त्रोद्योग (स्वतंत्र प्रभार)
    4. श्रीपाद नाईक:आयुष (स्वतंत्र प्रभार),आरोग्य व कुटुंब कल्याण
    5. बंडारु दत्तात्रेय: कामगार व रोजगार (स्वतंत्र प्रभार)
    6. राजीव प्रताप रुडी:कौशल्य विकास व उद्यमशीलता(स्वतंत्र प्रभार),संसदीय व्यवहार
    7. धर्मेंद्र प्रधान:पेट्रोलियम व नैसर्गिक वायू (स्वतंत्र प्रभार)
    8. सर्बानंदा सोनवाल:क्रीडा व युवा कल्याण (स्वतंत्र प्रभार)
    9. प्रकाश जावडेकर:पर्यावरण,वने आणि हवामान बदल (स्वतंत्र प्रभार)
    10. पियुष गोयल:ऊर्जा,कोळसा,नवीन आणि नवीकरणीय ऊर्जा (स्वतंत्र प्रभार)
    11. डॉ.जितेंद्र सिंग:पूर्वोत्तर विभाग विकास (स्वतंत्र प्रभार)
    12. श्रीमती निर्मला सीतारमण: वाणिज्य व उद्योग (स्वतंत्र प्रभार)
    13. डॉ.महेश शर्मा: संस्कृती (स्वतंत्र प्रभाव),पर्यटन (स्वतंत्र प्रभार),नागरी उड्डाण
    14. मुख्तार अब्बास नक्वी: अल्पसंख्यांक,संसदीय कामकाज
    15. रामकृपाल यादव: पेयजल व स्वच्छता
    16. हरिभाई चौधरी:गृह
    17. सांवरलाल जाट: जलसंसाधन,नदी विकास व गंगा संरक्षण
    18. मोहनभाई कुंदरिया:कृषी
    19. गिरीराज सिंह:सुक्ष्म,लघु व मध्यम उद्योग
    20. हंसराज अहीर:रसायने व खते
    21. जी.एम.सिद्धेश्वरा: अवजड उद्योग व सार्वजनिक उपक्रम
    22. मनोज सिन्हा: रेल्वे
    23. निहालचंद: पंचायत राज
    24. उपेंद्र कुशवाहा:मानव संसाधन विकास
    25. राधाकृष्ण पी.: रस्ते वाहतूक व महामार्ग,जलवाहतूक
    26. किरण रिजिजू:गृह
    27. कृष्णपाल:सामाजिक न्याय व सक्षमीकरण
    28. विजय सांपला:सामाजिक न्याय व सक्षमीकरण
    29. डॉ.संजीवकुमार बालयान:कृषी
    30. मनसुखभाई वसावा:आदिवासी विकास
    31. विष्णुदेव साई:खाण व पोलाद
    32. सुदर्शन भगत: ग्रामीण विकास
    33. डॉ.रामकृष्ण कथेरिया: मानव संसाधन विकास
    34. वाय.एम.चौधरी: विज्ञान-तंत्रज्ञान, भूविज्ञान
    35. जयंत सिन्हा: वित्त
    36. कर्नल राजवर्धनसिंह राठोड:माहिती व प्रसारण
    37. बाबुल सुप्रियो बराल: नागरी विकास,गृहनिर्माण व शहरी दारिद्र्य निर्मुलन
    38. साध्वी निरंजन ज्योती:अन्न प्रक्रिया उद्योग
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