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Software company Zoho has tied up with private lender ICICI Bank to provide accounting and banking on an integrated platform. Claiming to be the industry-first integration of accounting and any bank, the partnership will deliver a streamlined digital banking experience to customers using Zoho's cloud accounting software.

This will also help businesses eliminate data entry, automate reconciliation, provide multiple payment options to their customers, request working capital loans, and pay suppliers directly from their accounting platform, a joint statement by both the companies said. It would also allow micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) in India the contextual banking experience, by connecting their banking and accounting, which was once available only to large companies and corporations with large IT and infrastructure budgets.

Zoho and ICICI Bank have come together to democratise this technology for all businesses, right from a one-person company to larger corporates. This partnership allows businesses to execute bank transactions right where the context is fully present - your accounting system.Provide multiple payment options to customers: Right from credit cards, debit cards, Net banking, NEFT, RTGS, to the latest UPI, businesses that have current accounts with ICICI Bank can now offer multiple payment options to their customers through Zoho Books. In addition to online options, now they can also offer offline payment options to their customers, including cheque and challan. These offline payments can also be seamlessly recorded and reconciled in Zoho Books.

Request for working capital loans: ICICI Bank current account holders can now request for working capital loans from within Zoho Books at the click of a button. The account holder can make the request while looking at their cash flow statement or while making payments to vendors in Zoho Books, when they can see that there is a need for such a loan.

Kannada litterateur Chandrashekar Kambar has been elected as president of the Sahitya Akademi in the election.Hindi poet Madhav Koushik has been elected as vice-president.

Prof. Kambar is the third Kannada writer to head the country’s premier literary institution, after Vinayak Krishna Gokak (1983) and U.R. Ananthamurthy (1993).According to sources in the Akademi, Prof. Kambar secured 56 votes, while his nearest contender and Odia writer Prathiba Ray got 29 votes. Marathi writer Balachandra Nemade, who was also a ‘symbolic’ contestant, secured four votes.

This is the second time election was held in the history of Sahitya Akademi, after Ananthamurthy’s election to the post.Kambara is the first Kannada writer to be elected president of the Akademi in the past 25 years.

Prof. Kambar has served as member of the Akademi executive board for over 10 years and was vice-president for 2013-18.

National Highways Auority of India (NHAI) launched a countrywide drive on 10 February, 2018, to address issues that affect highway users, such as ease of tolling, electronic tolling/FASTag lane, cleanliness at toll plazas, behavior of the toll plaza staff, deployment of marshals, cleanliness of toilets, functioning of Highway Nest (Mini), wayside amenities and availability of ambulance and cranes in case of any emergency on the highway. 

Chairman, NHAI Shri Deepak Kumar directed all field Highway Operation Unit officers through video conference on 09 February, 2018 to visit at least two toll plazas each across the country and check the above facilities personally to improve the users convenience. Accordingly, a massive drive was launched on more than 300 toll plazas simultaneously across the country by the Highway Operation Division on 10th Feb 2018. The Highway Operation Officers visited toll plazas and addressed issues of user convenience and took feedback from the people.

Shri. Deepak Kumar has also said that NHAI is going to launch a ranking system of the toll plazas. Every quarter, the three best toll plazas will be identified and their names will be published on the NHAI website. He said he was confident that the competitive atmosphere created by the ranking of toll plazas will improve the amenities and overall convenience for  highway users.

February 13 is World Radio Day – a day to celebrate radio as a medium. The day was proclaimed World Radio Day at  the 36th session of UNESCO’s General Conference.

UNESCO’s Executive Board recommended to the General Conference the proclamation of World Radio Day, on the basis of a feasibility study undertaken by UNESCO, further to a proposal from Spain.

Radio is the mass media reaching the widest audience in the world. It is also recognized as a powerful commuaniction tool and a low cost medium. Radio is specifically suited to reach remote communities and vulnerable people: the illiterate, the disabled, women, youth and the poor, while offering a platform to intervene in the public debate, irrespective of people’s educational level. Furthermore, radio has a strong and specific role in emergency communication and disaster relief.

There is also a changing face to radio services which, in the present times of media convergence, are taking up new technological forms, such as broadband, mobiles and tablets. However, it is said that up to a billion people still do not have access to radio today.

The date of 13 February, the day the United Nations radio was established in 1946, was proposed by the Director-General of UNESCO. The objectives of the Day will be to raise greater awareness among the public and the media of the importance of radio; to encourage decision makers to establish and provide access to information through radio; as well as to enhance networking and international cooperation among broadcasters.

The consulted stakeholders also proposed ideas for the programme of celebration: extensive use of social media, annual themes, a dedicated website enabling virtual participation, special radio programmes, radio programmes exchange, a festival involving key partners, and so forth.

On 14 January 2013, the United Nations General Assembly formally endorsed UNESCO’s proclamation of  World Radio Day. During its 67th Session, the UN General Assembly endorsed the resolution adopted during the 36th session of the UNESCO General Conference, proclaiming 13 February, the day United Nations Radio was established in 1946, as World Radio Day.


List of Agreements/MoUs signed on the occasion of the visit of Prime Minister to Oman 

1. Agreement on Legal and Judicial Cooperation in Civil and Commercial matter

2. Agreement on mutual visa exemption for holders of diplomatic, Special, service and official passports

3. MoU on Cooperation in the field of health

4. MoU on Cooperation in the peaceful uses of outer space.

5. MoU on Cooperation between Foreign Service Institute, Ministry of External Affairs, India and Oman Diplomatic Institute.

6. MoU on Academic and Scholarly cooperation sectors between National Defence College Sultanate of Oman and the Institute for Defence Studies and the Analyses.

7. MoU in the field of Tourism cooperation between India and Oman.

8. Annexure to the MoU on Military Cooperation.

The Minister of Road Transport & Highways, Shipping and Water Resources, River Development and Ganga Rejuvenation Shri Nitin Gadkari released India’s first ever Highway Capacity Manual in New Delhi.The manual, known as Indo-HCM, has been developed by CSIR – CRRI on the basis of an extensive, country-wide study of the traffic characteristics  on different categories  of roads like single lane, two-lane, multi-lane urban roads,  inter-urban highways and  expressways and the associated intersections on these roads. The study involved seven academic institutions including IITs at Roorkee, Mumbai and Guwahati, School of Planning and Architecture, New Delhi, Indian Institute of Engineering and Science and Technology, Shibpur, Sardar Vallabhai Patel National Institute of Technology, Surat and Anna University, Chennai.

The manual lays down guidelines for when and how to expand or manage different types of roads and their intersections and the level of services to be put in place.   It is designed to be a useful tool for guiding road engineers and policy makers in the country. It has been developed based on the unique nature and diversity of traffic on Indian roads. While countries like USA, China, Malaysia, Indonesia, Taiwan developed their own Highway Capacity Manuals long time back, this is the first time that the manual has been developed in India.
 
Speaking on the occasion Shri Nitin Gadkari expressed hope that the long awaited manual would help in the scientific planning and expansion of road infrastructure in the country. Calling upon the scientific fraternity, as well as the designers, policy makers and executioners of highways projects the Minister said that India urgently needs to catch up with the world’s best technology and practices being used in the sector so that we are able to build world class infrastructure that is safe, cost effective and environment friendly. Shri Gadkari also underscored the need to popularize the use of new material like fly-ash, plastic, oil slag and municipal waste in road construction, saying that scientists and the media should also play an active role in this regard. He also called upon researchers and engineers to expedite formulation of a good design for safe and effective speed breakers for Indian roads.

About 2,300 Army personnel are leaving for South Sudan to join the UN peace keeping mission in the war-torn African country.The Army personnel, joining the UN mission, are from Infantry battalion of Garhwal Rifles regiment. 

According to official figures, India is the largest cumulative troop contributor, having provided almost 200,000 troops in nearly 50 of the 71 UN peacekeeping missions over the past six decades, including 13 of the current 16 missions. Last year, a total of 7,606 Indian peacekeepers were deployed in UN missions. 

The sixth edition of World Government Summit (WGS) 2018 was held at Madinat Jumeirah in Dubai, United Arab Emirates (UAE) from February 11 to 13, 2018. 

Jamaica’s Ambassador to the United States, Her Excellency Audrey Marks, is in Dubai representing the island at the sixth annual World Government Summit.The country is being represented at the conference for the first time by Mrs. Marks, who was invited by the Government of the United Arab Emirates.

The summit is a global platform dedicated to the enhancement of governments around the world and will bring together more than 3,000 participants, including world leaders, policymakers, representatives of international organizations and experts from over 130 countries.Mrs. Marks will have the opportunity to interact with a number of world leaders who are involved in work aimed at advancing their nations’ development.

Previous speakers at summit include: former United States President, Barak Obama; United Nations Secretary-General, António Guterres; World Band President, Jim Yong Kim; and International Monetary Fund Managing Director, Christine Lagarde.


The 4th meeting of the Economic Advisory Council to the Prime Minister (EAC-PM) was held on 12thFebruary 2018 under the chairmanship of Dr BibekDebroy, Chairman, EAC-PM & Member, NITI Aayog.

Keeping in view the National Health Scheme announced by the Government in the Budget for the year 2018-19 presented in the Parliament on 1st February 2018, EAC-PM discussed the possible modalities of implementing the scheme.

Dr Shamika Ravi, Part-Time Member of the EAC-PM made a presentation on “Health Reforms”. Another Part-Time Member of the EAC-PM, Dr AshimaGoyal made presentation on the draft “The Indian Fiscal - Monetary Framework: Dominance or Coordination?”. Ms Poonam Gupta, Lead Economist - India, World Bank made a presentation on “World Bank Report on Indian Economy”.