1. RBI Governor has surprised with 50 bps cut
i. Most people expected a rate cut, but the expectations were for a 25 basis points cut. As many times in the past, the RBI Governor has surprised the markets.
ii. This surprise is pleasant with the announcement of a 50 bps rate cut. But the message is clear. Banks need to pass on this rate cut to industry and consumers.
iii. The RBI Governor is also indicating an easier posture going forward from RBI. It bodes well in terms of the timing of the decision. Since the US rate hike has been deferred.
iv. It is important to take advantage of this. Multiple factors have driven the decision, including the Government's ability to handle the fiscal deficit right now.
2. Strong Evidence of Liquid Water on Mars: NASA
i. New findings from NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO)provide a strong evidence that liquid water flows intermittently on the present-day Mars. The findings were published in the journal Nature Geoscience on 28 September 2015.
ii. The researchers detected signatures of hydrated minerals on slopes where mysterious streaks are seen on the Red Planet using an imaging spectrometer on MRO.
iii. These darkish streaks appear to fade and flow over time. They darken and appear to flow down steep slopes during warm seasons, and then fade in cooler seasons. They appear in several locations on Mars when temperatures are above minus 10 degrees Fahrenheit and disappear at colder times.
3. INS Kochi commissioned into Indian Navy
i. Indian Navy has commissioned INS Kochi, a Kolkata-class Guided Missile Destroyer in its contingent to showcase India’s indigenous efforts in the field of underwater warfare. The ship was commissioned by Union Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar in Mumbai.
ii. It is a second ship of the three ships Kolkata-class Guided Missile Destroyer to be inducted. Earlier in 2014, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had commissioned INS Kolkata. The third and last ship of Kolkata-class Guided Missile Destroyer INS Chennai is expected to join Indian Navy in 2016.
iii. The ship drives its name from the port city of Kochi (Kerala) which had distinct maritime character and culture and symbolises the special bond between the Indian Navy. It has been built at Mazagaon Docks (MDL), Mumbai and it is the 10th destroyer in India’s combat fleet.
iv. It is loaded with state-of-the-art weapons, sensors and advanced stealth features including long-range BrahMos surface-to- surface missile. It has AK 630 Close In Weapon System (CIWS) and 76 mm Super Rapid Gun Mount (SRGM) designed to take on air and surface targets.
v. Its anti-submarine arsenal consists of indigenously built Twin-tube Torpedo Launchers (ITTL), Indigenous Rocket Launchers (IRL) and bow-mounted new generation HUMSA Sonar Dome. INS Kochi is also equipped to operate 2 Sea King or Chetak helicopters.
4. India-Sri Lanka Joint Military Exercise MITRA SHAKTI 2015 begins in Pune
i. India-Sri Lanka joint military exercise MITRA SHAKTI 2015 has begun at Aundh Military Station in Pune, Maharashtra. It is third edition of the joint training exercise between both countries that seeks to build Military to Military co-operation and interoperability.
ii. Aim of MITRA SHAKTI 2015 Exercise is to share the best military practices between the two Armies and promote healthy military to military relations.
iii. It also seeks to develop joint strategies between the two Armies by sharing expertise of conducting operations. The 14 days exercise’s basic objective is to enhance confidence and trust between the two militaries and engage in anti-terrorism operations including those under the UN mandate.
iv. It will contribute immensely in developing mutual understanding and respect between armies of both nations. It will seek to tap the rich repository of experience of each other and extract maximum learning value from the joint training.
5. Reliance Defence inks strategic partnership MoU with Emirates Defence Industries Co.
i. Reliance Defence has signed a strategic Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with Emirates Defence Industries Company (EDIC) in defence sector. The MoU seeks to boost partnership between both countries for manufacturing, knowledge transfer, services and technology development from the United Arab Emirates (UAE).
ii. Both companies will partner to jointly explore the opportunity for manufacturing and building capabilities in Aviation, defence vehicles and associated areas.
iii. It will also include manufacturing and building capabilities of defence equipment, armament manufacturing, defence electronics, MRO of Military Equipment/Platforms commercial and naval Ships etc.
iv. The partnership between both companies will aim to bring synergy in order to bring down operational costs and leverage each other’s’ capabilities. It will also seek to leverage the partnership to explore the opportunity in the UAE defence industry.
6. Ministry of Railways launched Indian Railway Knowledge Portal
i. Minister of Railways Suresh Prabhakar Prabhu on 28 September 2015 launched Indian Railway Knowledge Portal for dissemination of detailed information on Indian Railways.
ii. It is an initiative of the National Academy of Indian Railways (NAIR) which allows the user to access most of the available knowledge about Indian Railways at one location due to linkage of websites, documents and much more.
iii. The portal was launched through video-conferencing established between Ministry of Railways, Rail Bhawan and NAIR Headquarters at Vadodara.
iv. The portal has made it easier for users to access information about Indian Railways, Railway Research and Development, use of ICT in Indian Railways, major International Railway Journals, existing Indian Railway Libraries and World Railways from a single web page.
v. Indian Railway Knowledge Portal also provides e-access to existing libraries of Railways. Also, National Informatics Centre (NIC) has clustered all the libraries to a single interface via e-Granthalaya. Besides, information regarding fan clubs, heritage, and rail museums across the world can also be accessed from the portal.
7. Union Ministry of Tourism launched new initiatives on World Tourism Day
i. The Union Ministry of Tourism on 27 September 2015 launched several new initiatives to augment tourism related infrastructure and manpower in the country. The initiatives were launched in New Delhi to mark the World Tourism Day.
ii. It goes into the challenges for the sector and details the way towards Vision 2030. It has been commissioned by the Experience India Society and prepared by KPMG.
iii. It is part of the HRD division of India Tourism Development Corporation Ltd.,(ITDC) a PSU under Ministry of Tourism, Govt. of India. It provides the students with a world class contemporary education to have an edge over others in the field.
iv. The courses offered will be a blend of the rich heritage and culture of India and hospitality management education system. It will be operated from Hotel Samrat in New Delhi.
8. Indo-British van driver Dee Patel honoured with Pride of Britain Award
i. Prince Charles of Britain on 28 September 2015 awarded Indo-British van driver Dee Patel with the Pride of Britain Award. Patel had risked his life to save others. Daily Mirror newspaper organised a ceremony at the Governor House in London where Patel was given the award in the outstanding bravery category.
ii. When Patel set off for his routine job on 18 May 2005, he noticed a car ahead of him that was dangerously out of control on the M25 motorway. Soon, he realised that the driver of the car, a young woman, slumped unconscious over the steering wheel. It was when Patel, without wasting any time, came for the rescue of the woman.
iii. The Pride of Britain Awards was founded by Peter Willis in 1999. It is an annual award ceremony which takes place in the United Kingdom. The award is given to British people who have shown immense bravery in the hours of crisis.
iv. The winners for the awards are chosen by a panel of distinguished judges. The awards are organised in association with the Daily Mirror, Lidl, Good Morning Britain and The Prince’s Trust.
9. India signed 123.51 Million US dollar Loan Agreement with Asian Development Bank
i. India on 28 September 2015 signed a 123.51 million US dollar loan agreement with Asian Development Bank (ADB) to upgrade tourism infrastructure and services in Punjab, Uttarakhand and Himachal Pradesh.
ii. The agreement was signed by M Teresa Kho, Country Director for ADB in India and Raj Kumar, Joint Secretary (Multilateral Institutions), Department of Economic Affairs, Union Ministry of Finance.
iii. The loan will be used for development and conservation of the places of tourist attractions. It will also be used to improve basic tourism facilities and to build the capacity of sector agencies and local communities in the States of Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand and Punjab.
iv. It will also support conservation of important heritage structures including some century-old structures, new facilities including centers for arts and crafts in the three states. Eco-parks and eco-tourism will also be developed to help the states attract more tourists.
v. This is the third tranche loan agreement and it is a part of the 250 million US dollar multi-tranche financing facility named Infrastructure Development Investment Program for Tourism that was approved by ADB in 2010.
10. Railways to get $30 billion World Bank aid: Prabhu
i. The World Bank has promised $30 billion financial assistance to the Railways, said Railways Minister Suresh Prabhu.
ii. Maintaining that funds will not be a problem for completing infrastructural projects for the Railways, the Minister said the capital expenditure for this year will surpass the budget estimates.
iii. The Minister was talking to reporters here on Monday on the 11th edition of International Railway Equipment Exhibition (IREE), scheduled from October 14 to 16 at Pragati Maidan. The IREE is organised by the Railway Ministry and the Confederation of Indian Industry. Prabhu said almost 89 per cent of the budget announcements made by him have been fulfilled.
iv. The Minister announced that the Railways has taken an ambitious programme of electrifying about 10,000 km of railway lines in the next five years. When asked for details of the funding, he said the government will announce it at the appropriate time. “Discussions are still taking place,” he added.
v. Prabhu said discussions with Japan and South Korea have progressed to build water-less odour-less toilets in trains. He said Google has offered cooperation to set up WiFi connectivity in stations and platforms.
11. Maharashtra Government declared 2017 as Visit Maharashtra Year
i. The Maharashtra government on 28 September 2015 declared the year 2017 as the Visit Maharashtra Year to promote tourism in the state and thus to attract more tourists.
ii. The government also launched international tourism promotion project Maharashtra International Travel Mart 2015 (MITM).
iii. For attracting more tourists, the ministry of tourism of Maharashtra planned a lot of new initiatives to put Maharashtra on the global tourism map. One such initiative is an international Buddhist Conclave, which will be a B2B exhibition and will be held in March 2016.
12. Governor of Meghalaya V. Shanmuganathan gets additional charge of Manipur
i. President Pranab Mukherjee has appointed Governor of Meghalaya V. Shanmuganathan to discharge the functions of the Governor of Manipur.
ii. He was given additional charge of Manipur after previous Governor Dr. Syed Ahmed passed away. Thus he will discharge additional functions of the Governor of Manipur along with his own duties, until regular arrangements are made. V Shanmuganthan is a prolific writer and had written three books related to culture and social aspects in Tamil.
iii. He was member of Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) and had joined it in 1962. Later he had joined Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) where he had served in many party positions. He was appointed as Governor of Meghalaya in May 2015 succeeding Keshari Nath Tripathi.
iv. It should be noted that Article 153 of Constitution says that there shall be Governor for each state. But the 7th Constitutional Amendment Act, 1956 has facilitated the appointment of the same person as a governor for two or more states.