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♦ Urjit Patel steps down as RBI Governor
- Dr. Urjit Patel on Monday announced that he was stepping down from his position as the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) Governor.
- “On account of personal reasons, I have decided to step down from my current position effective immediately. It has been my privilege and honour to serve in the Reserve Bank of India in various capacities over the years. The support and hard work of RBI staff, officers and management has been the proximate driver of the Bank’s considerable accomplishments in recent years. I take this opportunity to express gratitude to my colleagues and Directors of the RBI Central Board, and wish them all the best for the future.” Dr. Patel, was appointed the Governor of the RBI in 2016. He was previously the Deputy Governor of the central bank.
- Prior to his term as Deputy Governor, which began in January 2013, Dr. Patel was with the Boston Consulting Group as an advisor on energy and infrastructure.
♦ Arundhati Bhattacharya appointed SWIFT India Chairman
- After joining the boards of two leading companies, Wipro and Reliance Industries Limited, in October, former SBI chairman Arundhati Bhattacharya is now ready to take on a new challenge. She has been appointed the chairman of SWIFT India Domestic Services, the local unit of SWIFT (Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication) global, The Economic Times reported.
- “The venture has a huge potential to contribute significantly to the financial community in many domains,” Bhattacharya told the daily, confirming the development. SWIFT is a messaging network that facilitates international payments functions for financial institutions.
- Bhattacharya will be stepping into outgoing chairman MV Nair’s shoes. Nair, who was instrumental in forging the joint venture between SWIFT, and leading public and private sector banks in India and its launch in March 2014, will be retiring after about five years of heading SWIFT India.
♦ Nuclear-capable Agni-V successfully test-fired off Odisha
- India successfully test-fired nuclear-capable long-range ballistic missile Agni-V on Monday. The missile was launched from a canister on a road mobile-launcher from Dr. Abdul Kalam Island off Odisha.
- “This is the third successful launch of Agni-V this year and the fifth launch of the missile in a canisterised form,” an official source said. The missile was earlier tested in January and June this year.
- Agni-V is an Inter-Continental Ballistic Missile (ICBM) with a strike range of over 5,000 km and can reach most parts of China. The mission critical avionics were indigenously designed and developed by Research Centre Imarat (RCI), Hyderabad.
- “All the mission objectives were successfully achieved. This launch comes after a series of successful launches of the missile. It further strengthens the country’s deterrence capability, which has been developed indigenously by assiduous efforts of scientists,” the Defence Ministry said in a statement.
♦ Walmart India COO quits; Sameer Aggarwal appointed chief business officer
- US retail major Walmart India Monday appointed Sameer Aggarwal as its chief business officer and Anuj Singh as head – category merchandising.
- The announcement follows the resignation of executive vice-president (EVP) and chief operating officer (COO) Devendra Chawla.
- Chawla had joined Walmart India in July last year from Future Consumer — a part of Kishore Biyani-led Future Group.
- “Devendra Chawla, EVP and chief operating officer -merchandising, marketing, and e-commerce, has decided to move on to pursue other opportunities outside Walmart India,” Walmart India said in a statement.
- Walmart India elevated Sameer Aggarwal its EVP, chief strategy and administrative officer as the chief business officer with immediate effect.
♦ RLSP chief Upendra Kushwaha resigns from Union Council of Ministers
- A day before counting of votes for Assembly polls in five States, the NDA received a setback with one of its allies leaving the fold. Upendra Kushwaha, leader of the Rashtriya Lok Samata Party (RLSP), announced his resignation from the Union Council of Ministers and his party’s exit from the NDA. He was Minister of State for Human Resource Development.
- In a two-page resignation letter and in a press conference held at his residence in New Delhi, Mr. Kushwaha said that he had been gradually disenchanted with the Narendra Modi government of which he had been a part for four and a half years. He said he felt humiliated by the actions of the BJP which was more keen to cultivate his arch rival – Janata Dal (United) – rather than his own party and was substantially reducing his share of seats in the NDAs kitty for Bihar.
- The JD(U) and the BJP are to fight equal number of seats in Bihar for the Lok Sabha polls, the BJP announced recently, with no assurance to Mr. Kushwaha on whether he would be fighting on at least the number of seats he had contested in 2014.
♦ Former U-19 Footballer, Prathamesh Maulingkar Becomes First Indian To Win Mr Supranational
- After participating and winning back-to-back preliminary rounds of Mister Supranational pageant, Prathamesh Maulingkar became the first-ever Indian to be crowned Mister Supranational. Maulingkar won the third edition of the pageant that aims to “discover new talent for the modelling and television industries and to produce instant celebrities”. The first-ever Mister Supranational title was won by Mexico’s Diego Garcy in 2016 followed by Venezuela’s Gabriel Correa in 2017.
- Upon his return, Maulingkar said in a statement
- “I was surprised when they announced my name as the winner. I knew I had it in me but frankly, the win was unexpected. But as they say, and now I firmly believe it too, that hard work definitely pays.”
♦ Tennis academy opened at govt school
- Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia on Sunday inaugurated five tennis courts and a tennis academy at Sarvodaya Kanya Vidyalaya No. 2 in Punjabi Bagh as part of the Delhi government’s policy that allows private academies to use the premises of schools run by the government.
- These academies are given land for free and can use it commercially on two conditions — half of all enrolments should be from Delhi government schools and that these students are not charged a fee.
♠Vocabulary (The Hindu)♣
- PRY (VERB):interfere in someone else’s business
Synonyms: poke, bug
Antonyms: close, neglect
Example: I don’t mean to pry, but you seem on edge.
- RANSACK (VERB): turn inside out in search; ravage
Synonyms: raid, pillage
Antonyms: ignore, offer
Example: If you don’t have an emergency plan for power outages you’ll have to ransack your home for candles and matches.
- FERRET (VERB): dig, uncover
Synonyms: beat, break
Antonyms: cover, dirty
Example: She would face that fear — ferret it out and destroy it.
- RUMMAGE (VERB):search
Synonyms: forage, poke
Antonyms: arrange, organize
Example:The dog will rummage through the garbage for food when it gets hungry.
- HAPLESS (ADJECTIVE):unfortunate
Synonyms: unlucky, woeful
Antonyms: happy, fortuitous
Example: It is always good to help the hapless people.
- WINTRY (ADJECTIVE): cold, snowy
Synonyms: bleak, chilly
Antonyms: warm, pleasant
Example: The weather was too wintry for me to go outside.
- ANIMOSITY (NOUN):extreme dislike
Synonyms: acrimony, animus
Antonyms: friendliness, good will
Example: Why do you have such animosity towards me when I have done nothing wrong to you?
- EMPATHY (NOUN): understanding
Synonyms: affinity, appreciation
Antonyms: disdain, hatred
Example: Because her parents immigrated to the United States to give her a better life, Maria has empathy for illegal aliens.
Death in the air: on tackling air pollution
As an environmental scourge that killed an estimated 1.24 million people in India in 2017, air pollution should be among the highest policy priorities. But the Centre and State governments have tended to treat it as a chronic malaise that defies a solution. The deadly results of official apathy are outlined in the Global Burden of Disease 2017 report on the
impact of air pollution on deaths, disease burden, and life expectancy across the states of India, published by The Lancet. Millions of people are forced to lead morbid lives or face premature death due to bad air quality. India’s national standard for ambient fine particulate matter, or PM2.5, is notoriously lax at 40 micrograms per cubic metre, but even so, 77% of the population was exposed to higher levels on average. No State met the annual average exposure norm for PM2.5 of 10 micrograms per cubic metre set by the World Health Organisation. If the country paid greater attention to ambient air quality and household air pollution, the researchers say, people living in the worst-affected States of Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Rajasthan and Jharkhand could add more than 1.7 years to their life expectancy. Similar gains would accrue nationwide, but it is regions with low social development, reflected partly in reliance on solid fuels for cooking, and those with ambient air pollution caused by stubble-burning, construction dust and unbridled motorisation such as Delhi that would benefit the most.
Sustainable solutions must be found for stubble-burning and the use of solid fuels in households, the two major sources of pollution, and State governments must be made accountable for this. The Centre should work with Punjab and Haryana to ensure that the machinery already distributed to farmers and cooperatives to handle agricultural waste is in place and working. A mechanism for rapid collection of farm residues has to be instituted. In fact, new approaches to recovering value from biomass could be the way forward. The proposal from a furniture-maker to convert straw into useful products will be keenly watched for its outcomes. A shift away from solid fuels to LPG in millions of low-income homes has provided health benefits, The Lancet study says, underscoring the value of clean alternatives. The potential of domestic biogas units, solar cookers and improved biomass cookstoves has to be explored, since they impose no additional expenditure on rural and less affluent households. Such measures should, of course, be complemented by strong control over urban sources of pollution. India’s commitments under the Paris Agreement on climate change require a sharp reduction in particulates from fossil fuel. Fuels may be relatively cleaner today and vehicles better engineered to cut emissions, but traffic densities in cities have led to a rise in pollution. Real-time measurement of pollution is also lacking. There are not enough ground-level monitoring stations for PM2.5, and studies primarily use satellite imagery and modelling to project health impacts. Rapid progress on clean air now depends on citizens making it a front-line political issue.
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