1. Mukesh Ambani India’s richest person for 9th consecutive year: Forbes
i. Industrialist Mukesh Ambani has been named as India’s richest person for ninth consecutive year in a row with a net worth of 18.9 billion dollars in the 2015 Forbes magazine’s India rich list.
ii. Presently, Mr. Ambani is the Chairman, Managing director (MD) and largest shareholder of Reliance Industries Limited (RIL). It should be noted that RIL is India’s second most valuable company by market value after Tata Consultancy Services (TCS).
iii. The combined wealth of India’s 100 richest persons remained largely unchanged at 345 billion dollars in 2015 as compared to 346 billion dollars in 2014.
iv. Flipkart’s co-founders Sachin and Binni Bansal have made their debut in this edition of list. They are placed at 86th position with a net worth of 1.3 billion dollars each. There are 12 newcomers in this edition of list including Flipkart’s founders, IndiGo’s co-founder Rakesh Gangwal.
v. Forbes magazine has compiled the list using shareholding and financial data obtained from individuals and families, stock exchanges, analysts and regulators.
2. RBI draft proposes allowing cos to tap SWFs, pension funds for external debt
i. In order to encourage overseas funding, the RBI on Wednesday proposed to allow domestic companies to borrow money from pension funds, sovereign wealth funds (SWFs) and insurance funds as part of the ECBs.
ii. The draft framework on External Commercial Borrowings (ECBs), however, proposed to lower the all-in cost borrowing by 0.50 percent to ensure that the funds are borrowed from abroad at a reasonable interest rate.
iii. The modification in the ECB guidelines on which the RBI has invited comments till October 1 are aimed at replacing the ECB policy with a more rational and liberal framework, keeping in view the evolving domestic as well as global macroeconomic and financial conditions, challenges faced in external sector management and the experience gained so far, the draft guidelines added.
iv. The basic thrust of the revised framework, the RBI said, is to retain more qualitative parameters for the normal (foreign currency-denominated) ECB and to provide more liberal dispensation for long-term borrowings in foreign currency.
v. The framework for the rupee-denominated bonds will be announced separately, it said, adding the real estate investment trust and Infrastructure Investment Trust will be permitted to raise funds through these instruments. The currency risk with regard to the rupee denominated ECB lies with the lender or investor and hence the modified framework provides for minimal control for these borrowings.
3. Union Government gives nod to IAF’s Integrated Air Command & Control System
i. Union Government has given its approval for implementation of Integrated Air Command & Control System (IACCS) project of Indian Air force (IAF) with allocation of 8,000-crore rupees.
ii. Decision in this regard was taken by Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS) chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on the proposal forwarded by the Defence Acquisition Council (DAC). Earlier in November 2014, DAC had given its nod for addition of 4 more nodes IAF’s IACCS.
iii. IACCS system is an automated command and control system for Air Defence (AD) which integrates different air sensors and radars to protect Indian airspace. Presently, India has 5 IACCS nodes. The addition of four more nodes will help IAF to cover isolated islands thereby providing a security umbrella to the entire country.
iv. On completion of this project, the air headquarters will get a composite air situation picture as it is going to integrate Air Force, Army, Naval and civilian radars. IACCS will help IAF to connect all of its air, space and ground assets quickly for total awareness of a region and facilitate real-time transport of data, images and voice amongst aircraft, satellites and ground stations.
4. Marathi film ‘Court’ selected as India’s official entry to Oscars
i. Critically acclaimed Marathi film ‘Court’ has been selected as India’s official entry to the Best Foreign Language category of the 88th Academy Awards 2016 (popularly known as Oscars).
ii. The film was shortlisted from 30 other films by a Film Federation of India (FFI) jury headed by film-maker and director Amol Palekar. It should be noted that Court is third Marathi film to be shortlisted for India’s official entry to Oscars. Other two films are Shwaas (2004) and Harishchandrachi Factory (2008).
iii. Court is a courtroom drama film that examines the Indian legal system through the trial of an aging folk singer in a lower court in Mumbai. The film is directorial debut of Chaitanya Tamhane who also has written story of the film.
iv. It has been produced by Vivek Gomber and cast includes Vira Sathidar, Vivek Gomber and Geetanjali Kulkarni etc.The film also has won the Best Feature Film award at the 62nd National Film Awards in 2015.
5. Arvind Panagariya replaces Suresh Prabhu as G20 sherpa
i. Arvind Panagariya, vice-chairman of Niti Aayog, has been appointed as the sherpa for G20 negotiations, a key responsibility at a time when India is asserting its presence on the global stage.
ii. A sherpa represents the government or the Prime Minister at Group of 20 countries meetings and helps articulate the official position on critical issues. Panagariya will replace railway minister Suresh Prabhu, who has been the sherpa for G20 talks, sources told TOI.
iii. Prabhu was appointed as the sherpa when he was not a minister and continued to hold the position after he was named to head the railway ministry. Prabhu represented India in several vital summits and forcefully articulated New Delhi's stand on economic and other crucial policy challenges.
iv. Traditionally , the sherpa's position has been held by the deputy chairman of the erstwhile Planning Commission.Montek Singh Ahluwalia played the role of sherpa during the UPA regime and accompanied the then PM Manmohan Singh in key G20 summits.
6. Uninor re-branded as Telenor India
i. Telenor Group on 23 September 2015 announced that it had changed its brand identity along with legal company name from Uninor, its subsidiary in India, as Telenor India Communications Pvt. Ltd.
ii. Telenor in its release said that the renaming will not change its commitment to bring the best value to its 40 million customers.
iii. Telenor Group is one of the leading mobile operators in the world, with 189 million mobile subscriptions. It has mobile operations in 13 markets, as well as an interest of 33% in VimpelCom Ltd., operating in 14 markets.
iv. The company headquartered in Oslo, Norway provides tele, data and media services in the Nordics, Central and Eastern Europe and Asia. In Asia it is operational in Thailand, Malaysia, Bangladesh, Pakistan, India and Myanmar.
v. Launched in 2009 under the brand name Uninor had emerged as a preferred mass-market brand. It captured the fourth position in most of its operating circles.
7. India-US Ministerial Energy Dialogue 2015 held
i. The India-US Ministerial Energy Dialogue was held on 21 September 2015 at the US Department of Energy, Washington. Indian delegation was led by Piyush Goyal, Minister of State for Power, New and Renewable Energy and US delegation was led by Dr Ernest Moniz, the US Secretary of Energy.
ii. During the Dialogue, both the sides reviewed the progress made by the six Working Groups of the Energy Dialogue and identified new areas for cooperation.
iii. The six Working Groups included Working Groups on
(b) New Technology and Renewable Energy
(c) Petroleum and Natural Gas
(d) Power and Energy Efficiency
(e) Sustainable Development and
(f) Partnership to Advance Clean Energy-Research (PACE -R).
iv. The focus of the meeting revolved on various dimensions of clean energy in order to ensure that people have access to adequate and affordable energy for better quality of life and sustainable livelihood.
v. It was also agreed to significantly scale up Promoting Energy Access through Clean Energy (PEACE) and develop innovative mechanisms to encourage participation of private sector investments for off-grid solutions.