Current Affairs for IAS Exams - 18 May 2017

Current Affairs for IAS Exams - 18 May 2017

:: National ::

Indigenous pressurised heavy water nuclear reactors cleared by Govt

  • The Union Cabinet cleared the proposal to construct 10 indigenous pressurised heavy water nuclear reactors with a total capacity of 7,000 MWe.

  • Piyush Goyal said each of the reactors would have a capacity of 700 MWe. “We already have 6,780 MWe of operational nuclear power plants and about 6,700 MWe of plants under implementation, which will be set up by 2021-22.”

  • The decision comes against the backdrop of recent troubles for India’s international collaborations in nuclear projects.

  • While the U.S. deal, involving Toshiba Westinghouse for six reactors in Andhra Pradesh, is floundering after Westinghouse filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy, the deal with French company Areva for reactors in Jaitapur remain mired in negotiations over costing.

  • Minister said these 10 plants would create Rs. 70,000 crore worth of business for domestic manufacturers and generate about 33,400 jobs, he did not provide a timeline for their completion.

  • “The design and development of this project is a testament to the rapid advances achieved by India’s nuclear scientific community and industry. It underscores the mastery our nuclear scientists have attained over all aspects of indigenous PHWR technology,” it added.

  • India generated 37,674 million units of nuclear energy in 2016-17, according to the Nuclear Power Corporation of India, at a capacity factor of 80%.

  • The two major projects under construction at the moment are located in Rajasthan and Gujarat, of 1,400 MWe each. Both plants, comprising two units of 700 MWe each, are under review.

Visakhapatnam railway station has been declared as the cleanest

  • The Visakhapatnam railway station is the cleanest, followed by Secunderabad, among the 75 busiest stations in the country.

  • As per a survey report released by Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu, the Jammu railway station occupied the third spot, while the New Delhi station was ranked 39.

  • The survey was carried out by the Quality Council of India. The Darbhanga railway station in Bihar was the dirtiest among the busiest stations.

  • Clean toilets at platforms, clean tracks and dustbins at stations were some of the criteria. This was the third survey on cleanliness done by the railways to keep a tab on rail premises as part of its ‘Swachh Rail’ campaign.

  • The Anand Vihar station was ranked 5th, while Nizamuddin and Old Delhi stations got the 23th and 24th positions.

  • The railway station in Varanasi, the Lok Sabha constituency of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, was ranked 14th.

  • The survey was carried out for 407 stations, out of which 75 are in the A-1 category or busiest stations and 332 are in the A category.

  • The Beas station was the cleanest, followed by Khammam, in the A category. Ahmedanagar station was ranked 3rd.

  • While the Darbhanga railway station was at the 75th position in the A—1 category, Jogbani was the dirtiest in the A category.

India balancing Israel and Palestinian situation (Register and Login to read Full News)

NTRO listed under The Intelligence Organisations (Restriction of Rights) Act (Register and Login to read Full News)

:: International ::

Relations between China and Japan improved through Belt and Road forum

  • The recently concluded Belt and Road Forum in Beijing has triggered a cycle of diplomacy between China and Japan, which could yield a summit between Chinese President Xi and Japanese PM, as well as Tokyo’s participation in the AIIB.

  • Japan reported that China’s top diplomat, Yang Jiechi, is heading for Tokyo next month to lay the groundwork for a possible summit between the two leaders. Mr. Abe said he hoped to meet Mr. Xi on the sidelines of the G20 summit.

  • But there are also fresh signals that a dialogue between the two could materialise in their respective capitals. Japan decided to send a delegation, notwithstanding contested sovereignty with China over a set of reefs in the East China Sea.

  • The Global Times reported that in his meeting with Mr. Nikai, President Xi said Tokyo is welcome to discuss cooperation with China under the framework of the Belt and Road Initiative.

:: Business and Economy ::

Highest ever mobilisation through corporate bonds

  • The financial year 2016-17 witnessed the highest ever mobilisation through corporate bonds on private placement basis of Rs. 7.04 lakh crore by 661 institutions and corporates, an analysis by Prime Database shows.

  • The surge was primarily due to higher mobilisation by the private sector.

  • When compared with the previous financial year, FY17 saw an increase of 43% over FY16’s Rs. 4.92 lakh crore.

  • Incidentally, the share of the private sector, currently pegged at 47%, has been rising steadily. Six years ago, the private sector share was 23% in the overall segment.

  • The analysis showed government organisations and government financial institutions together mobilised 40% of the total amount, lower than the 42% in the previous year.

  • Within the segment, all-India financial institutions/banks led with a 69% share, followed by a 24% share by public sector undertakings and a 7% share by state level undertakings.

  • The highest mobilisation through debt private placements in the year was by HDFC (Rs. 44,546 crore) followed by PFC (Rs. 41,115 crore), NHAI (Rs. 33,118 crore) and LIC Housing (Rs. 26,874 crore).

  • The maximum amount — 30% of the total — was raised in the 3-5 year maturity bucket followed by the more than 10 years bucket, whose share was pegged at 27%.

  • In terms of coupon rates, 35% of the total amount raised was in the 7-8% coupon range and 32% of the amount was in the 8-9% per cent coupon range.

  • Interestingly, this was in contrast to 2015-16, when only 6% of the amount was in the 7-8% coupon range while 48% was in the 8-9% range.

GST will pare the cost of transport and logistics, formalise the sector (Register and Login to read Full News) 

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