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2100 HRS.

24th November, 2017


  • Global rating agency Standard & Poor's keeps India's sovereign rating unchanged with a stable outlook.
  • US asks Pakistan to arrest designated terrorist Hafiz Sayeed and charge him for terror related crimes.
  • Winter session of Parliament to begin from 15th of next month; To continue till the 5th of January.
  • Centre says, it will make 24 hour power supply to consumers mandatory for all state DISCOMS.
  • Government to restructure Sports Authority of India; involve more professionals; reduce staff strength to half by 2022.
  • In Egypt, at least 200 people killed and 130 injured in a bomb explosion near a mosque in North Sinai region.
  • IN SPORTS: 3 Indians - Jyoti Gulia, Shashi Chopra and Ankushita Boro enter the finals of Youth Women's World Boxing Championship at Guwahati.
  • P.V. Sindhu enters the semi-finals of Hong Kong Open Badminton Championship.


Global rating agency, Standard & Poor's (S&P) today kept India's sovereign rating unchanged, at 'BBB minus' with a stable outlook. S&P said, the ratings reflect the country's strong GDP growth, sound external profile, and improving monetary credibility. It said, the country's strong democratic institutions, and its free press promote policy stability and also underpin the ratings. S&P added that these strengths are balanced against vulnerabilities stemming from the country's low per capita income and relatively high general government debt stock.

The rating stance taken by S&P comes days after Moody's Investors Service raised India's sovereign rating for the first time in over 13 years. Moody's had said that India's growth prospects have improved with continued economic and institutional reforms.


The Finance Ministry has termed the S&P rating for India as cautious but  hoped that the reforms will reflect in a ratings upgrade next year. Briefing reporters in New Delhi Economic Affairs Secretary Subhash Chandra Garg said,  the assessment of the global rating  agency is same as that of Moody’s ratings which had upgraded India's sovereign ratings. Mr Garg said, the government will take a final call on fiscal situation next month and expressed hope that S&P will have clearer picture by next year and have a more favourable view.


Finance Minister Arun Jaitley today launched a new Yono App of State Bank of India which will offer its all financial services and products to the customers. The digital service platform 'You Only Need One' (Yono) will offer everything related to financial services and lifestyle.

Speaking on the occasion in New Delhi, Mr Jaitley said, post demonetisation, people have moved excessively towards digitisation. He said, in the last one year, investment in insurance sector, mutual funds and IPOs has increased as anonymous cash which was floating in the system has slowly become part of the formal economy.


Cabinet Secretary P K Sinha has asked Prabhari officers to work in team spirit with State representatives and bring convergence in their effort to rapidly transform the identified 115 backward districts by 2022. Addressing the first meeting of officers for rapid transformation of backward districts in New Delhi today, Mr Sinha said, funds are not a constraint in the programme.

CEO, Niti Aayog Amitabh Kant emphasised that transformation of the backward districts is urgently required for improvement in Human Development Index.

Home Secretary Rajiv Gauba said, there would be tremendous improvement in security environment if the districts are transformed.


The United States asked the Pakistan government today to make sure that Hafiz Saeed is arrested and charged for his crimes, following the release of the 26/11 Mumbai attack mastermind and JuD chief from house arrest. JuD is believed to be the front organisation for the banned Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) which is responsible for carrying out the Mumbai terror attacks in 2008 in which 166 people, including six Americans, were killed. State department spokesperson Heather Nauert said, the US is deeply concerned that LeT leader Hafiz Saeed has been released from house arrest in Pakistan.

India yesterday reacted to Sayeed's release order saying Pakistan has been exposed once again. It said, India and the entire international community is outraged that a self-confessed and UN proscribed terrorist is being allowed to walk free and continue his evil agenda.  


The Winter session of Parliament will be held from the 15th of next month to 5th of January. Parliamentary Affairs minister Ananth Kumar announced this after the meeting of Cabinet Committee on Parliamentary Affairs, chaired by Home Minister Rajnath Singh, in New Delhi today. Mr Kumar said, parliament session and assembly election date should not overlap. He said, several times  earlier too, Parliament session has been scheduled, considering assembly elections in states.

The Minister said, Government requests and seeks cooperation from all parties, including the opposition, for smooth functioning of both Houses to make the session fruitful.

The Minister said, key bills on triple talaq and constitutional status to the backward class commission will be taken up for passage, during the session.


In Gujarat, for the first phase of assembly polls on the 9th of December, today was the last day for withdrawal of nomination papers. With this, the picture of contestants remaining in the fray for this phase has become clear. According to the office of the Chief Electoral Officer, 1280 nomination papers have been found valid after the scrutiny of total 1703 nomination papers submitted for 89 seats of first phase poling.


The Government today said, the Centre will soon make it obligatory for all State DISCOMS to ensure 24 hours power supply to all consumers. Minister of Power and New and Renewable Energy R K Singh said this while unveiling a  roadmap of bidding of solar and wind energy capacity at a function in New Delhi. He said, there is adequate availability of power in the GRID and transmission systems are strong and so there is no reason for not making it a mandatory obligation. The Power Minister said, the Central government is also supporting the State power distribution system to strengthen them for the purpose.

Mr Singh said, the government will easily achieve 200 Giga Watt renewable energy capacity against the  targeted capacity of 175 MW.  He said, the roadmap  will help industrialists plan for bidding to generate power through sources of renewable energy.


Government will restructure Sports Authority of India to streamline it and involve more professionals in the body. Talking to reporters in New Delhi today, Sports Minister Col Rajyavardhan Rathore said, fifty percent of its staff will be reduced by 2022 and several services will be outsourced. The Minister said, the word "Authority" will be removed from the name of the body as sports is a service.

Listing the initiatives being taken by the government to promote sports, Col Rathore said, Khelo India School Games will be organized in different disciplines to broadbase the sports and identify talents at junior level. The Minister also said, the Centre will organize talent hunt programmes across the country for the children of 8 to 14 age group in the coming summer vacation.


Scientists and engineers are working to further accelerate the speed of Brahmos, the world’s fastest supersonic cruise missile. The Director General, Brahmos, Dr Sudhir Kumar Mishra said his organization will be able to increase the current speed from 2.8 to 3.5 with perfect strength accuracy and range. In an exclusive interview to AIR, Dr. Mishra said, work is also in progress to develop the hypersonic version of the missile. He expressed confidence that the new version will come out in a few years with 7 to 8 times more than the speed of sound.$AF51EC28-FABB-40DB-9FFA-86C9CAD73B62$

The supersonic missile developed under the India Russia joint venture was successfully test fired from  Sukhoi 30 fighter jet of the Indian airforce two days back. The interview can be heard on the FM Gold Channel and additional frequencies of AIR at 9.15 tonight.


The Film Bazaar, which has been an integral part of the International Film Festival of India (IFFI) over the past 10 years, ended this evening at Panaji in Goa. Organised by the National Film Development Corporation (NFDC), Film Bazaar began on the 20th November. It is a platform for filmmakers to present their stories to the international film fraternity.

Our correspondent takes a look at major events of the day:

" The first part of Open Forum, organised by the Federation of Film Societies of India in collaboration with IFFI and the Entertainment Society of Goa, also drew to a close today. The second part of Open Forum, to be organised by Indian Documentary Producers’ Association (IDPA), will begin tomorrow. At a press conference, academy award winning sound designer Craig Mann said, Indian cinema is at par with global cinema in terms of sound technology. A panel discussion on Tagore on Celluloid was held involving film personalities Vani Tripathi, Pablo Cesar and Moon Moon Sen and journalist Shoma Chatterji.With Ashok Sukla, Saikat Sarkar AIR News, Goa".


In Egypt, at least 200 people were killed and 130 others injured when a bomb exploded near a mosque during Friday prayers in restive North Sinai region. State media reported today the bomb, which was planted near al-Rowda mosque in Al-Arish city, went off during the Friday prayer.  Security sources said, gunmen also opened fire on the people who tried to exit the mosque after the explosion.  No group has claimed responsibility for the attack so far.

Egypt has announced three days of mourning, even as President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi was set to hold an emergency meeting with officials to discuss the incident.



Three Indians - Jyoti Gulia, Shashi Chopra,  and Ankushita Boro have entered the finals at the AIBA Youth women's World Boxing Championships in Guwahati.

Neha Yadav,  the fourth Indian who figured in the semi-final today, settled for a bronze medal after losing to Kazakhstan's Dina Islambekova in the Plus 81kg category. 

Three more Indian boxers will compete in the semi-finals tomorrow.  They are: Nitu in 48 kg, Sakshi Chaudhary in  54 kg and Anupama in the 81 kg division.


P V Sindhu has advanced to the semi-finals of the Hong Kong Open Super Series Badminton tournament. In the quarter-final today, the Indian shuttler upset World No. 2 Akane Yamaguchi of Japan in straight games 21-12, 21-19.


In the second Cricket Test at Nagpur, India bundled out Sri Lanka for a meagre total of 205 in their first innings on the opening day today. Skipper Dinesh Chandimal was the top scorer with 57. For India, Ravichandran Ashwin claimed four wickets for 67 runs.  Ishant Sharma and Ravindra Jadeja took three wickets each.

At close of play, India were were 11 for One in eight overs in their reply. The first Test of the three-match series at Kolkata had ended in a draw.


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