Justice Abhay Manohar Sapre of the Supreme Court has been appointed as the chairman of the Cauvery Water Disputes Tribunal, succeeding Justice Balbir Chauhan who resigned from the post. Chief Justice of India Justice J.S. Khehar nominated Justice Sapre on his post. In December 2016, the Union Cabinet gave its nod to a proposal to set up a single, permanent Tribunal to adjudicate all inter-state river water disputes subsuming existing tribunals.
Senior Journalist Raj Chengappa was unanimously re-elected as the President of the editors’ Guild of India at the Annual General meeting of the Guild on February 18, 2017 in New Delhi. Prakash Dubey was named the General-Secretary of the Guild while Kalyani Shankar became its Treasurer. Chengappa is currently the Group Editorial Director of ‘India Today’.
The union cabinet on February 15, 2017 gave its approval to the merger plan of the State Bank of India with five of its associate banks. State Bank of Bikaner & Jaipur (SBBJ), State Bank of Travancore (SBT), State Bank of Patiala (SBP), State Bank of Hyderabad (SBH) and State Bank of Mysore (SBM) will be merged with the State Bank of India with the aim of creating a globalized bank, increasing operational efficiency at a reduced rate of expenditures.
The Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) on February 15, 2017 scripted history by successfully launching a record 104 satellites in one shot onboard its reliable launch vehicle, the Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle at the Satish Dhawan Space Centre, Shriharikota. The PSLV called PSLV-C37 for this historic mission successfully placed a payload of total 1378 kg into space in its 38th consecutive successful mission. ISRO bettered Russian space agency’s feat of launching 37 satellites at one shot in 2014 and set a new world record.
Eminent Hindi Litterature Surendra Verma was selected for the prestigious Vyas Samman for 2016 in February, 2017 for his novel ‘Kaatna Shami ka Vrksha : Padma Pankhuri ki Dhar Se’ which was published in 2010. The Vyas Samman, instituted by the K. K. Birla Foundation in 1991 to honour annually the outstanding literary work in Hindi of past 10 years by an Indian writer, carries a prize money worth Rs 2.5 lakh, a plaque and a citation. Surendra Verma was honoured with the Sangeet Natak Akademi Award in 1993 and the Sahitya Akademi Awards in 1996. Verma is the 26th recipient of the Vyas Samman.
Veteran journalist Vijay Joshi assumed charge of the Editor-in-Chief of the Press Trust of India on February 10, 2017, replacing M.K. Razdan on this post. He has experience of more than three decades as a journalist working in numerous positions in numerous news agencies including PTI. Prior to this new assignment, he was with the Associated Press as director of news for Southeast Asia. He has served as journalist in Singapore, Egypt, Malaysia, Thailand and the Middle East with many news agencies.
India has approved a deal to develop jointly a medium range surface to air missile (MR-SAM) system for the army in a Rs 17000 crore deal. This is the latest in a series of other variants of SAM system for the Navy and the Air force being jointly developed with Israeli help under deals estimated at billions of dollars. The Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS), headed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, which met on February 22, 2017, gave the go ahead for the deal to be executed by the defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) and Israel Aircraft Industries (IAI).
After Vietnam, Singapore and other countries, India is taking military cooperation with Indonesia forward. The two countries have decided to conduct joint air combat exercise and deepen maritime security cooperation. Vietnamese sailors are already being trained in India in comprehensive underwater combat operation. India has also renewed its air force training programme with Singapore. India provides facilities to Singapore for exercise of mechanised force and artillery at different defence location in India.
The Indian Air Force (IAF) on February 14, 2017 inducted its first indigenously developed airborne early warning and control (AEW&C) system, mounted on a Brazilin Embraer-145 jet, ramping up its capability to detect enemy aircraft and missiles. The Netra AEW&C system has been developed by the Defence Research and Development (DRDO) and has a range of around 200 km. The aircraft was handed over to the IAF on the opening day of Asis’s largest airshow Aero India 2017 at Bengaluru, more than six years behind schedule. Over 550 defence and aeropshace firms, including 279 foreign companies, took part in the biennial event held at the Yelanka airforce base.
South Asian speaker summit was held on February 18-26 in Indore, Madhya Pradesh. Lok Sabha Speaker Sumitra Mahajan on February 18, 2017 said that South Asian countries must work in tandem to achieve the goals for peace and prosperity of their people. “We South Asia vhave not only a shared history, a contiguous geography, but also a shared destiny,” Mahajan said in her inaugural speech. She stressed that Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) have set global priorities for the progress of humanity.
Eminent Pulmonologist Dr. Randeep Guleria was on March 24, 2017 appointed the new Director of the All India Institute of Medical Science (AIIMS) by the appointments Committee of the Cabinet chaired by PM Narendra Modi. Dr. Guleria is the first Indian to get a Doctorate of Medicine in Pulmonary and critical care Medicine. He will have a five year term as AIIMS Director. He succeeds Dr. MC Mishra on this top AIIMS post. Dr. Guleria joined AIIMS in 1992 as Assistant Professor in the Department of medical science.
President Pranab Mukherjee inaugurated the World Conference on Environment on March 25, 2017 in New Delhi. The National Green Tribunal, the premier environment watchdog of India organized the two days conference which was attended by Chief Justice of India, CJ of numerous high courts, union ministers and many other dignitaries. The emphasis of the conference was on the tools that need to bring into service for dispansation into environmental justice by different courts and tribunals across the worlds.
Indian Golfer SSP Chawrasia registered a seven shot comprehensive win to lift the Indian Open Golf crown 2017 on March 12 at the DLF Golf and Country Course in Gurugram. Chawrasia became the second Indian and third overall to successfully defend the Indian Open Golf crown after his fellow Indian Jyoti Randhawa (2006 and 2007) and Japan’s Kenji Hosoishi (1967 and 1968) after this litle win. He received US $291,660 as the prize money. Chawrasia also became the second Indian golfer after Jeev Milkha Singh to claim four European Tour titles. This was Chawrasia’s sixth win on the Asian Tour and overall sixth international victory.
Hydrabad for the third year in a row emerged as the best city in terms of living standards among Indian cities in the Mercer 2017 Quality of Living Index, released in March 2017. However Hydrabad suffered five place loss this year from its 139 position in the last year index. This year it was ranked on 144 place. Pune and Bengaluru secured second and third places respectively among the Indian cities; however worldwide ranks in the Index are 145 and 146. Vienna has been ranked at the top globally in the list of Mercer.
The Union Government on March 20, 2017 announced its decision to merge Bhartiya Mahila Bank (BMB) with State Bank of India (SBI) to ensure greater banking services outreach to a large number of women at a faster pace. SBI has a large outreach of more than 20,000 branches. BMB’s merger with SBI will make the advanced banking system accessible to BMB customers as BMB has only seven all women branches while SBI group has already 126 exclusive all-women branches across Indian with a 22 per cent women workforce out of the total 2,00,000 work force of SBI.
Bollywood superstar Shah Rukh Khan was honoured with the 4th National Yash Chopra Memorial Award for his outstanding contribution to Indian Cinema. Veteran actress Rekha presented the honour to Shah Rukh at a ceremony in Mumbai on February 25, 2017 in the presence of Maharashtra Governor C. Vidyasagar Rao. Lata Mangeshkar, Amitabh Bachchan and Rekha herself are the previous recipents of the award which was instituted by TSR Foundation in memory of legendary filmmaker Yash Chopra who passed away in 2012. The award carries a gold medal and a prize money worth Rs 10 lakh.
India and the United States of America are set to further strengthen their bilateral ties under the Trump administration with the two countries deciding to continue to exchange programmes on hostage crisis, teror crime scene probe and cyber crime. The cooperation is to be undertaken under the Anti Terrorism Assistance pact between the two countries. Under the joint training programmes Indian Police Officers will undergo training in US training institution. The course conducted are an intregral part of the bilateral cooperation on internal security between the two countries.
India and Russia on March 17, 2017 signed two agreements for long term supply of spares for the Indian Air Force’s Sukhoi-30 fighter jets, a fleet plagued by engine troubles and poor serviceability. The IAF has contracted 272 Su-30 MKI fighter aircraft out of which nearly 240 have been delivered and the remaining planes are likely to be inducted over the next three years. The two-pact were signed and the two-day India-Russia Military and Industrial Conference jointly inaugurated by defence minister Arun Jaitley and Russia’s minister for industry and trade Denis Jaitley and Russia’s minister for industry and trade Denis Manturov. Seven Su-30 jets have crashed since 2009, including the fighter that went down in Rajasthan on March 15, 2017.
The Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) on March 1, 2017 successfully carried out a test of an interceptor missile, further validating the reliability of the under-development, two-layered Ballistic Missile Defence (BMD) in shooting down enemy missiles. According to defence source, the endo-atmospheric missile, which can intercept missiles at ranges of 15-30 km from the vAbdul Kalam Island odd the Odisha coast in response to an incoming ‘enemy’ missile which was launched from the Integrated Test Range (ITR) on Chandipur.
The Lok Sabha on March 14, 2017 passed the Enemy Property (Amendment and Validation) Bill, 2016, which denies inheritance rights to heirs of individuals who left the country for Pakistan and China, completing the process after Rajya Sabha gave its assent to the long pending legislation earlier a week before. The amendment was necessitated by the claim made by the Raja Mahmudabad of Uttar Pradesh on properties belonging to his father which were declared enemy property and seized by the government of India following partition.
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