The 56-year-old, who was battling kidney and liver problems, breathed his last on July 20, 2016 at a Gurgaon hospital. He was part of the Vasudevan Baskaran-led Indian team that clinched the gold medal at the 1980 Moscow Olympics. India’s hockey legend Mohammad Shahid was one of the greatest players of all time, was known for his excellent dribbling skills. Shahid, who was born in Varanasi, made his first appearance for India in 1979 at the Junior World Cup in France. Hockey historian K Arumugam quoted The Indian Express, “India won all but one match to Pakistan during 1984 and 1985. The only time they lost was the Asia Cup final in Dhaka where five Indian players were suspended”. Shahid made his first senior team appearance the same year in a four-nation tournament in Kuala Lumpur under Baskaran, after his inclusion in the team following his impressive performance in the Aga Khan Cup. His skills and love for the game was noticed by his seniors and coaches. It was said that on the hockey field, if he was one of the most feared one, off it he was the most humble and down to earth person. During his playing days, besides his dribbling skills, Shahid was also known for his running ability and push which was as fast as a hard hit. His attacking partnership on the field with Zafar Iqbal was known to one and all. He was awarded the ‘Best Forward player’ at the 1980 Champions Trophy in Karachi. He was a member of the team that won the gold at the 1980 Summer Olympics in Moscow, silver at the 1982 Asian Games and bronze at the 1986 Asian Games. He was able to make place in the Asian All-Star team in 1986 through his practice and skills. He also captained the Indian national team during the 1985-86 season. He was also awarded the Arjuna Award in 1980-1981 and Padma Shri in 1986. Later on, he became a sports officer with the Indian Railways in Varanasi. He is survived by his wife Parveen Shahid and twins Mohammad Saif and Heena Shahid.
Eminent poet, litterateur and Jnanpith awardee C. Narayana Reddy, popularly known as CiNaRe, passed away in the early hours of June 12, 2017, aged 85. He was taken to a hospital following health complications and was declared dead. CiNaRe, born on July 29, 1931 in Hanumajipet of erstwhile Karimnagar district, studied till his graduation in Urdu because Telugu as a medium was not available during the Nizam’s rule. However, because of his intense love for the language he taught himself Telugu and it was only during his degree that he took the option of Telugu as a paper. CiNaRe went on to do a post-graduate degree and a Ph.D on ‘Modern Traditions of Telugu’.
It was the late N.T. Rama Rao, who wielded the megaphone in film Gulebakavali, who gave CiNaRe his break as a lyricist. He wrote all the songs in the film, including the hit ‘Nannu dochukunnavate .. Vannela Dorasani.’ CiNaRe was known for his use of Telugu in its pure form, and would not be swayed by filmmakers on the use of the language.
He was awarded the Padma Shri in 1977 and the Padma Bhushan in 1992. His compilation of poems, titled ‘Viswambhara’, got him the Jnanpith award in 1988. In 1997, he was nominated as a Member of the Rajya Sabha. His academic distinctions include serving as a professor of Osmania University and as Vice Chancellor of the Telugu University.
The 2017 Wimbledon Championships,a Grand Slam tennis tournament, took place at the All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club in Wimbledon, London, United Kingdom. The main draw matches commenced on 3 July 2017 and concluded on 16 July 2017. Roger Federer won the Gentlemen’s Singles title for a record eighth time. Garbiñe Muguruza won the Ladies’ Singles title.
The 2017 tournament was the 131st edition of the championships, the 50th in the Open Era and the third Grand Slam tournament of the year. It is played on grass courts, organised by the All England Lawn Tennis Club and the International Tennis Federation and is part of the ATP World Tour, the WTA Tour, the ITF Junior tour and the NEC Tour.
Andy Murray was the defending champion in the Gentlemen’s singles but lost to Sam Querrey in the quarter-finals. Two-time defending Ladies’ singles champion Serena Williams did not defend her title, having ended her season in April due to pregnancy.
Roger Federer achieved his record eighth Wimbledon and 19th Grand Slam men’s singles title, defeating Marin Čilić in the final, 6–3, 6–1, 6–4. Federer thus became the only male player to win the Wimbledon singles title eight times, as well as only the second man in the Open era, after Björn Borg in 1976, to win Wimbledon without losing a set.
This was Federer’s 70th appearance at a Grand Slam, tying the record for male players and a record-breaking 11th men’s singles final at the same Grand Slam tournament. In addition, by virtue of his third-round win over Mischa Zverev, Federer won his 317th Grand Slam singles match, surpassing Serena Williams’ record of 316 match wins and giving him the all-time record for the most Grand Slam singles wins by any player, male or female. The tournament marked the fifth time that Nadal and Federer won the French Open and Wimbledon respectively in the same year.
This was also the first Grand Slam tournament since the 2009 French Open in which Murray, Nadal and Djokovic all failed to reach the semifinals, and the first time since 2004, that no player will be able to reach all 4 quarterfinals in a year. With his win over Murray, Querrey became the first American man to reach a Grand Slam semifinal since Andy Roddick at the 2009 Wimbledon Championships. Andy Murray was the defending champion, but lost to Sam Querrey in the quarterfinals. Despite his loss, Murray retained the ATP No. 1 singles ranking at the end of the tournament, as Rafael Nadal, Stan Wawrinka, and Novak Djokovic all failed to gain enough ranking points to surpass him.
Garbine Muguruza blasted past five-time champion Venus Williams in the ladies singles 7-5, 6-0 to add her name to the winners’ roster in 2017. Garbiñe Muguruza won her second Grand Slam singles title, defeating Venus Williams in the final, 7–5, 6–0. Muguruza became the second Spanish woman to win Wimbledon after Conchita Martínez in 1994. Muguruza also became the first player to defeat both Williams sisters in Grand Slams singles finals.
Williams was the oldest player to reach the final since Martina Navratilova, also in 1994, and played her 100th singles match at Wimbledon when she defeated Jeļena Ostapenko in the quarterfinals. Johanna Konta became the first British woman to reach the semifinals since Virginia Wade in 1978, and Magdaléna Rybáriková became the first Slovak woman to reach the semifinals at Wimbledon.
Despite losing in the second round, Karolína Plíšková attained the WTA No. 1 singles ranking at the end of the tournament, after Angelique Kerber and Simona Halep, the other contenders for the top ranking, lost in the fourth round and quarterfinals, respectively.
Lukasz Kubot (Poland) &Marcelo Melo (Brazil) beat Oliver Marach (Austria) & Mate Pavic (Croatia)
Ekaterina Makarova (Russia) & Elena Vesnina (Russia) bet Taipei Chan Hao-Ching (China) & Monica Nicunescu (Romania)
Jamie Murray (United Kingdom) &Martina Hingis (Switzerland) bet Henri Kontinen (Finland) & Heather Watson (United Kingdom)
In a forecast update in June 2017, the India Meteorological Department (IMD) forecasted higher monsoon rainfall during the year than its forecast in April 2017 because of favourable developments in global conditions, particularly the lower prospects of rain-busting El Nino conditions in the Pacific Ocean. IMD’s optimistic forecast was corroborated by the widely respected Australian weather office, which said the El Nino phenomenon, associated with abnormal warming of parts of the Pacific Ocean, had stopped developing, although it has still not been ruled out.
The updated forecast of 98% of normal rainfall was expected to bring cheer among farmers and policy makers. It is believed that if Monsoon would be better, it will help control food inflation, which is a key input in the Reserve Bank of India’s stance towards interest rates. The India Meteorological Department (IMD) also forecasted good monsoon activity in the crucial months of July and August, when rainfall casts the biggest influence on the growth of crops and output. But Monsoon also wrecks havoc by causing floods in some states of India.
Sixty persons have died due to the floods in Assam over the last couple of months. Nearly 10 lakh people in 21 districts of the State have been affected. The South Salwara district is the worst hit. The districts of Lakhimpur, Karimganj and Biswanath have also been severely affected by the flood. According to State officials, about 435 roads, seven bridges and 30 embankments have been damaged in the floods. Hundreds of houses were submerged as the Brahmaputra has been flowing above the danger level.
Assam Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal directed July 17 all Deputy Commissioners to ensure that families affected by the floods were provided with relief materials, irrespective of whether they were staying in relief camps or not. He asked authorities in the five districts covered by Kaziranga National Park — Nagaon, Karbi Anglong, Golaghat, Biswanath Chariali and Sonitpur — to take steps to safeguard wild animals affected by the floods in close cooperation with the police and the forest department.
The Assam State Disaster Management Authority said 1,102 villages were underwater at present and nearly 41,000 hectares of crop areas were inundated.
In Odisha, the State government rushed relief materials to villagers in the Rayagada and Kalahandi districts, a day after flash floods wrought havoc. About 4,000 people were evacuated and lodged in 15 temporary shelters, where cooked food was being provided to them at free kitchen centres. Five bridges were washed away and four major roads were damaged in the floods. The twin cities of Cuttack and Bhubaneswar faced heavy waterlogging. In 18 major localities in Cuttack, residents had a tough time stepping out of their houses as the lanes and by-lanes were submerged in water. Cuttack received 154.5 mm of rainfall over the 24 hours till July 17 morning.
Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik directed on July 17 all departments to work on a war-footing to restore road and power connectivity to the flood-hit villages. The flood-related death toll in Gujarat rose to 11 as two more persons died in the last 24 hours.
Other states are also facing the havoc of flood. Many parts of Gujarat are also facing difficulties due to flood. Rescue operations are on in Jamnagar district, where several people are still stranded. The Umergam and Kaprada taluks of Valsad district received the highest rainfall of 99 mm and 98 mm, respectively. West Bengal too received isolated heavy downpour. A man was swept away by flash floods triggered by a cloud burst in the Chama district of Himachal Pradesh, as rain lashed many parts of the State.
Understanding El Nino and La Nino
El Niño is the warm phase of the El Niño Southern Oscillation (ENSO) and is associated with a band of warm ocean water that develops in the central and east-central equatorial Pacific (between approximately the International Date Line and 120°W), including off the Pacific coast of South America. El Niño Southern Oscillation refers to the cycle of warm and cold temperatures, as measured by sea surface temperature, SST, of the tropical central and eastern Pacific Ocean. El Niño is accompanied by high air pressure in the western Pacific and low air pressure in the eastern Pacific. The cool phase of ENSO is called “La Niña” with SST in the eastern Pacific below average and air pressures high in the eastern and low in western Pacific. The ENSO cycle, both El Niño and La Niña, cause global changes of both temperatures and rainfall. The following picture depicts EL Nino.
Developing countries that are dependent upon agriculture and fishing, particularly those bordering the Pacific Ocean, are usually most affected. In American Spanish, the capitalized term “El Niño” refers to “the little boy”, so named because the pool of warm water in the Pacific near South America is often at its warmest around Christmas. The original name, “El Niño de Navidad”, traces its origin centuries back to Peruvian fishermen, who named the weather phenomenon in reference to the newborn Christ. “La Niña”, chosen as the ‘opposite’ of El Niño, literally translates to “the little girl”.
India’s weather forecasting system
The India Meteorological Department (IMD), also referred to as the Met Department, is an agency of the Ministry of Earth Sciences of the Government of India. It is the principal agency responsible for meteorological observations, weather forecasting and seismology. IMD is headquartered in New Delhi and operates hundreds of observation stations across India and Antarctica. IMD is also one of the six Regional Specialised Meteorological Centres of the World Meteorological Organization. It has the responsibility for forecasting, naming and distribution of warnings for tropical cyclones in the Northern Indian Ocean region, including the Malacca Straits, the Bay of Bengal, the Arabian Sea and the Persian Gulf.
Causes of flood
Floods are caused by many factors (or a combination of any of these): heavy rainfall, highly accelerated snowmelt, severe winds over water, unusual high tides, tsunamis, or failure of dams, levees, retention ponds, or other structures that retained the water. Flooding can be exacerbated by increased amounts of impervious surface or by other natural hazards such as wildfires, which reduce the supply of vegetation that can absorb rainfall.
Periodic floods occur on many rivers, forming a surrounding region known as the flood plain. During times of rain, some of the water is retained in ponds or soil, some is absorbed by grass and vegetation, some evaporates, and the rest travels over the land as surface runoff. Floods occur when ponds, lakes, riverbeds, soil, and vegetation cannot absorb all the water. Water then runs off the land in quantities that cannot be carried within stream channels or retained in natural ponds, lakes, and man-made reservoirs.
About 30 percent of all precipitation becomes runoff and that amount might be increased by water from melting snow. River flooding is often caused by heavy rain, sometimes increased by melting snow. A flood that rises rapidly, with little or no warning, is called a flash flood. Flash floods usually result from intense rainfall over a relatively small area, or if the area was already saturated from previous precipitation.
Flood Management in India
Flood control as a subject is not included in any of the legislative lists of India be it the Union List, the State List or the Concurrent List. However, embankment and drainage are mentioned specifically in Entry 17 of List II or the State List. Thus, it can basically be said that it is the state’s responsibility to deal with the floods. In fact, several states have already created laws that have the necessary provisions to deal with these issues, while the national government, in these cases, mainly plays the roles of an advisor, promoter, and catalyst.
The flood management mechanisms that exist in India at the moment is operational at two levels – central level and state level. The state level mechanism is made up of the water resource department, the Flood Control Board, and State Technical Advisory Committee. The central level mechanism is made up of bodies such as the Central Water Commission (CWC), the Farakka Barrage Project Authority, the Ganga Flood Control Commission, the National Disaster Management Authority, and the Brahmaputra Board. Over the years, the Indian Government has also taken the following initiatives in order to deal with floods:
- Policy Statement 1954
- National Flood Commission (Rashtriya Barh Ayog) 1980
- High Level Committee on Floods – 1957
- Expert Committee to Review the Implementation of the Recommendations of National Flood Commission – 2003 (R Rangachari Committee)
- Policy Statement of 1958
- National Water Policy (1987/2002/2012)
In general, the flood management measures that are being used in India can be broadly classified into engineering or structural measures and administrative or non-structural measures. The engineering measures comprise the following:
- Drainage improvement
- Diversion of flood waters
- Channelization of rivers
- Watershed management
- Channel improvement
The administrative measures can be broken up into flood plain zoning and flood proofing. The CWC also performs the responsibility of forecasting floods through the CWC National Flood Forecasting Network. The work of the various agencies, which are part of the central mechanism to manage floods in India, tends to differ from one another considering the unique challenges they face within their jurisdictions. The main responsibility of the Farakka Barrage Project Authority is to protect the river bank and make sure it is not eroded. Its area of jurisdiction is the area near the barrage.
On the other hand, the Central Water Commission, set up in 1945 by the national government, works toward developing more and better flood control measures, using, and conserving water resources, and promoting them as well. It also caters to areas like using water beneficially, in irrigation, and generating hydropower, apart from river conservation and flood management.
India-born legendary sitar player Ustad Rais Khanpassed away in Pakistan on May 6, 2017. He was 77. He was reportedly diagnosed with an ailment and had been bedridden for quite some time. He breathed his last in Karachi.
He is survived by his wife, renowned singer Bilqees Khanum, and four sons. Ustad Rais was born in 1939 in Indore, India in a family of musicians. He belonged to the Mewati Gharana of Indian classical music. His maternal grandfather Inayat Ali Khan was also considered one of the finest sitar players in the subcontinent.
He learned music from his father Muhammad Khan. His uncle Vilayat Khan was also a legendary sitar player.
Rais Khan gave his first performance at the age of 5 in Bombay’s Sunder Bi Hall. The performance was attended by the governor and maharaja of India, who appreciated the his talent.
Renowned Hindustani classical vocalist Kishori Amonkar died on April 3, 2017 night at the age of 84. According to reports, she died in her sleep in her central Mumbai house. Kishori Amonkar was a leading Indian classical vocalist. She is considered to have been one of the foremost singers in the Hindustani tradition and is an innovator of the Jaipur gharana, or a community of musicians sharing a distinctive musical style.
Amonkar was the leading singer of the Jaipur-Atrauli Gharana. Born in Mumbai on April 10, 1932, she trained under Anjanibai Malpekar of the Bhendi Bazar Gharana and her mother Mogubai Kurdikar, who herself was trained by Alladiya Khan Saheb, a leading exponent of the Jaipur Gharana. She was a performer of the classical genre khyal and the light classical genres thumri and bhajan. Amonkar trained under her mother, classical singer Mogubai Kurdikar of the Jaipur gharana (musical tradition of Jaipur), but experimented with a variety of vocal styles in her career. She is considered one of the pre-eminent representatives of Hindustani classical music.
Amonkar was known, and sometime criticised, for breaking out of the rigid classicism of the Jaipur Gharana and tempering it with influences from other schools of Indian music. Her repertoire was diverse. She could deliver thumris, bhajans and even Hindi film music with the same skill as the more raag-based khayal songs. She received a plethora of awards, including the Padma Bhushan in 1987 and the Padma Vibhushan in 2002. She was also honoured with the Sangeet Natak Akademi Award for 1985 and the Sangeet Natak Akademi Fellowship for 2009.
Jan Dhan deposits touch Rs 64,564 cr
Jan Dhan deposits touch Rs 64,564 cr; Rs 300 cr added during demonetization – According to Government data, Deposits in Jan Dhan accounts have touched a new high of Rs 64,564 crore, of which over Rs 300 crore came in the first seven months of demonetization. Of these, 23.27 crore accounts were with public sector banks, 4.7 crore with regional rural banks and 92.7 lakh with private ones.
Ministry of Skill Development and Entrepreneurship to train 5 lakh graduates
Ministry of Skill Development and Entrepreneurship to train 5 lakh graduates to be trained for Goods and Services Tax – Minister of state for skill development and entrepreneurship, Shri Rajiv Pratap Rudy stated that with the demand for tax professionals increasing in the country in view of Goods and Services Tax (GST) coming into effect from July 1, the ministry of skill development and entrepreneurship will train 5 lakh graduates for GST. The commerce graduates will be trained in 100 GST training centres across the country.
NDMC Smart City projects timelines
NDMC Smart City projects has given timelines; Rs.1,240 cr worth works to begin in October – New Delhi Municipal Council (NDMC) has been asked by the Ministry of Housing & Urban Affairs to ensure completion of smart city projects ahead of time so as to lead by example in smart city making across the country. Of the Rs.1,800 cr Smart City Plan of NDMC, work on a range of major impactful projects will begin in phases by October this year, for which tendering is in progress.
No (GST) tax on second hand goods if sold cheaper
GST implementation: No tax on second hand goods if sold cheaper – The buying and selling of second hand goods will not attract Goods and Services Tax (GST) if sold at a price cheaper than the purchase price. Rule 32(5) of the Central Goods and Services Tax (CGST) Rules, 2017, provides that where a taxable supply is provided by a person dealing in buying and selling of second hand goods or used goods, the value of supply shall be the difference between the selling price and the purchase price and where the value of such supply is negative, it shall be ignored.
No breach of farm subsidy limits, India tells WTO
India has informed the World Trade Organization (WTO) that it did not breach the permissible farm subsidy limit between 2011-12 and 2013-14. India recently submitted its farm subsidy details for these three years to the multilateral body. Putting to rest doubts of developed countries that India’s farm subsidies have been on the rise, it has been told to WTO that input subsidies that include those for fertilisers, irrigation and electricity fell to USD22.8 billion in FY2014 compared with USD29.1billion in FY 2011.
Proposal for states to make their own Aadhaar Acts
Centre makes proposal for states to make their own Aadhaar Acts – The state government may soon enact their own “State Aadhaar Act”, as the central government has made a proposal for the same. Though a five-judge Constitution bench of the Supreme Court is set to hear challenges to the Aadhaar Act, the Centre put up the idea at the national conference of state chief secretaries, organised by NITI Aayog.
Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath-led Uttar Pradesh government presented its first annual budget for 2017-2018 fiscal which is claimed that it will take the state forward onto a higher trajectory of growth. The Budget focuses on villages, poor and farmers.
The current budget, presented by Finance Minister Shri Rajesh Agarwal, is 10.9% higher as compared to the last fiscal. The Uttar Pradesh government revealed its allocation of funds for various sectors that will affect the development of the state. He said that the focus of the government is on rural development as well as ensuring overall development of the state.
Highlights of UP Budget 2017-16
- The 2017-18 annual budget is pegged at Rs 3,84,659.71 crore and it is 10.9 per cent higher than last fiscal’s. UP budget provides for Rs 55,781.96 crore for new schemes.
- Uttar Pradesh government has allocated a sum of Rs 21.12 crore for free education up to graduation for girls under ‘Ahilyabai Kanya Free Education Scheme’.
- The government allocated Rs 800 crore for development of infrastructure in cities of Ayodhya, Varanasi and Mathura under ‘Prasad Yojana’.
- The government announced recruitment of around 33,200 police officials in the state.
- A fund of Rs 3000 crore has been allocated for Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana (PMAY), Rs 200 crore has also been given out for Bundelkand special provisions while Rs 800 crore for Prasad Yojna in Ayodhya-Mathura-Kashi regions.
- A special budget of Rs 36,000 crore has been allocated for farm loans waiver in the state. The Finance minister also announced the launch of groundwater conservation mission in this budget along with a new policy for solar power in the state.
- An amount of Rs 500 crore has been allocated under annual budget for preparation of ‘Ardh Kumbh’ to be held in Allahabad.
- Metro network expansion, construction of expressway in the state and job creation are key focus areas of the government.
- A special budget of Rs 3,255 crore has been allocated for construction of toilets across the state. Rs 1,000 crore funds has been announced for Swachh Bharat mission in Uttar Pradesh cities.
- The Uttar Pradesh government has also allocated Rs 142 crore budget for scholarship upto class 10th and Rs 50 crore for WiFi in degree colleges and universities of the state.
These initiatives will help the state in, improving the socio-economic conditions, enhance the standard of living of the people and this will further lead help in achieving a double digit growth.
Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti said that the violence in the Valley was the “handiwork of external forces” and “now unfortunately, China is trying to meddle in it.” She also reiterated that the attack on Amarnath pilgrims, which left seven dead, was to create “communal tension” in the country. Ms. Mufti’s statement followed her meeting with Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh at his residence to discuss the law and order situation in the State and security arrangements for Amarnath pilgrims. Explaining her remarks, Ms. Mufti later told The Hindu that she had referred to China’s recent remarks indicating that “a third country” could take action in Kashmir to support Pakistan in the same way India had supported Bhutan on the Doklam plateau.
The latest Consumer Price Index data show headline retail inflation has decelerated to a record low of 1.54% in June. That the reading has slid below the 2% lower bound of the Reserve Bank of India’s medium-term target for CPI inflation has understandably led to calls for the RBI to support economic growth by cutting interest rates. Economists, including Chief Economic Adviser Arvind Subramanian, have openly questioned the assumptions made by the majority of the members of the RBI’s Monetary Policy Committee with regard to prices and have urged a reboot of the policy rationale.
Core inflation, which strips out the relatively volatile food and fuel prices, has also trended lower and eased below 4% for the first time in at least five years. And with the latest industrial output data from May reflecting weaknesses in key sectors like capital goods and consumer durables, the reasoning behind demands for monetary action that could help spur both investment and consumer demand is evident. Others have also flagged concerns about “deflationary trends” and the risks of relying too heavily on forecasting models. The voices exhorting the central bank to reduce interest rates are only going to grow ahead of its next bimonthly policy review at the beginning of August.
For the six members of the RBI’s rate-setting panel, including Governor Urjit Patel and his deputy overseeing monetary policy, Viral Acharya, the data pose a conundrum that is going to test their sagacity. For one, the beneficial base effect will begin to reverse after peaking in July. Also, the majority of the risks to the inflation outlook that the committee’s participants had flagged collectively and individually at the last meeting in June, when they had opted to sit pat while retaining a neutral stance, are still largely relevant and yet to play out. The impact from the July 1 introduction of the Goods and Services Tax, for instance, will begin to feed into prices only over the coming months — based on the initial anecdotal trends in the prices of various services, there could be upward pressure on core inflation. Similarly, the payment of increased allowances under the Seventh Central Pay Commission’s award, which came into effect from the beginning of this month, could also start to transmit into price gains. As Mr. Acharya had pointed out at the last meeting, fiscally expansive measures taken by several State governments to address farmers’ demands for debt relief could pose a “tail risk” by triggering generalised inflation over time. And the restoration of the health of the banking sector, a key caveat for ensuring effective transmission of monetary policy, is as yet far from being close to a fruitful outcome. Ultimately, the RBI will have to weigh whether the current trend in inflation is likely to remain durable enough for it to make a move that doesn’t end up proving to be a costly error in the long run.