1. India ranks 54th in terms of domestic policies supporting innovation

(i) As per a recent report developed by a global technology think tank, Information Technology and Innovation Foundation (ITIF), India ranks 54th in terms of its domestic policies supporting worldwide innovation.

(ii) The report undertook a study of 56 countries, comprising close to 90 per cent of the world’s economy. It analysed the extent to which on a per capita basis, their respective economic and trade policies contribute to and detract from innovation globally.

(iii) The report urged policy makers and economist to consider innovation as vital as trade for enhancing growth and called for clearly disguising between policies which promote world’s innovation ecosystem and those which do not.

2. Mercer’s Finding – Hyderabad best city in India in terms of quality of living 

(i) As per the recently released Mercer’s Quality of Living rankings 2016, Hyderabad for the second time in a row remains the best city in India in terms of quality of living.

(ii) Internationally Vienna has topped, as the city with the best quality of living for the third consecutive time.

(iii) Though Hyderabad has made it to the list as best city for the second time, it has slipped one rank from last year’s 139 of the overall ranking.

(iv) This slip is largely attributed to the harsh weather conditions and increased power disruptions.

(v) Vienna tops the list, other countries in the top ranks include Zurich (2), Auckland (3), and Munich (4).Vancouver (5) is North America’s highest ranking city, and Singapore is the highest ranking Asian city, holding 26th place.

3. Karnataka to set up agency like Singapore’s IDA to attract investment

(i) Recently, Karnataka state government announced its plans to set up a holding company along the lines of Singapore’s Infocomm Development Authority (IDA), with participation of corporate leaders, to attract investment.

(ii) While speaking on this subject Karnataka Industries Minister, R V Deshpande said, “We not only need help in getting investments, but also in promoting government-industry relations.”

(iii) The proposed body would expand the role of Karnataka Udyog Mitra which is the existing state-run agency to promote investment.

4. ICICI Bank takes over Rs 1800 cr. land from Jaypee group

(i) Recently, ICICI Bank took over about 275 acres land, worth an estimated Rs1,500 -1,800 crore in Noida and Greater Noida from Jaiprakash Associated Ltd (JAL), which is a flagship company of the Jaypee Group.

(ii) The transaction is expected to reduce JAL’s debt servicing obligation to a more manageable level, and also reduce bank’s exposure to the company as well.

(iii) As per reports, ICICI Bank’s total exposure to JAL is Rs 6,600 crore as of March 2015 and the transaction was necessitated since the company could not service its debt on quarterly basis.    

5. Shinjini Kumar to join as CEO of Paytm’s payment bank

(i) In a recent development, Shinjini Kumar, a former Reserve Bank of India (RBI) executive and current Director at research and consultancy firm PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) has been appointed as the chief executive officer at Paytm’s payments bank. She is expected to join in March and will look into overall business from revenue to regulatory aspects.

(ii) Her broad experience is expected to benefit the company and also add value to the payment banks which are fairly new and niche concepts in India.

(iii) Paytm is a mobile wallet and E-commerce company which received in-principle approval from RBI to set up Payments bank in 2015. The company is expected to launch its bank in the second half of 2016.

6. Empowered group of state transport ministers formed to advice on road policy

(i) While addressing the 16th meeting of the National Road Safety Council 37th meeting of the Transport Development Council in New Delhi, the Union Minister of Road Transport and Highways and Shipping Nitin Gadkari announced formation of an Empowered Group of State Transport Ministers to advice the government on policy issues.

(ii) This Group will be headed by Yunus Khan, the PWD and Transport Minister of Rajasthan.

(iii) This idea of empowered group of ministers was proposed to help develop transport policies in India in an integrated and also to increase the revenues of states.

7. Kumaravel Prem Kumar bags a silver in long jump

(i) Recently, Indian long jumper Kumaravel Prem Kumar bagged a silver in long jump at the Asian Indoor Athletics Championships held in Doha.

(ii) Kumar, performed 7.92m in his final attempt to bag the silver, missing the gold to China’s Zhang Yaoguang who performed his best at 7.99m.

(iii) The bronze was bagged by Hong kong’s Ming Tai Chan.

8. Indian women cricket team defeats Sri Lanka in first T-20 

(i) The Indian women cricket team recently defeated Sri Lanka by 34 runs to claim the first T-20 International Cricket match in Ranchi. 

(ii) With this victory the Indian women team took a lead (1-0) at the T- 20 in the three matchT20 series.

(iii) India chose to bat and made 130 for six wickets and managed to contain the Sri Lankan team at 96 for 7 in 20 overs.

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