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Current Affairs 2017

General Studies has now become the core area for testing the abilities of the Civil Services aspirants. There are two parts of General Studies, one is the topics related to the different subjects, and the other is Current Affairs. While subject related topics are static, the Current Affairs is the dynamic aspect of the General Studies.

So the study and analysis of current affairs has to be given more emphasis because significant portion of it is dedicated to it both in the civil services mains and the prelims exam.

Even at the interview stage awareness about current affairs is very important as it decides the rank of the candidates.

In such a scenario the preparation of current affairs topics related to India and the world is an important part of your preparations. The students have to be aware of the happening in India and around the world as this portion is an integral part of the general studies paper.

In order to make you ready for the challenges of the Current Affairs preparation, we are covering the current affairs topics on a regular basis.

Our current topics are categorised in such a way that it includes; political affairs, current news, science news, general knowledge, government's scheme and policies and international affairs.

We provide you comprehensive topics of preparation that covers not only India's current scenario but also international events. We also cover Indian news headlines and other important international events under the current affairs segment.

For the very purpose of getting you ready for the challenge that is current news and views in India, we are covering the current affairs 2015 on a regular basis. Our hot topics are categorised such that they include political affairs, current news, science news, general knowledge, current government affairs and international affairs. Only studying India's current scenario or political affairs is not sufficient as you have to cover international events and affairs along with the Indian newsspace, as well as important and current events in the field of science and sports.

Current Affairs


Current affairs books and magazine

IAS Academy Bangalore

Current Affairs September 15th to September 21st 2017

National Current News

  • 18% - this percentage of annual net bank credit is to be given to the farm sector by the banks as per the stipulation given by Reserve Bank of India. Total cost of loan waivers in 2016 and 2017 is about Rs.1,30,000 crore (0.8% of GDP). Outstanding loans to agriculture and allied activities stood at Rs. 9,924 crore as on 31st March 2017. During 2016-17, the volume of short term crop loans stood at Rs.6,22,685 crore surpassing the target of Rs.6,15,000 crore. The growth of bank credit to agriculture and allied activities accelerated to 15.4% between 2000-01 and 2016-17 from 2.6% in the 1990s with subsidised and directed credit flows along with various fiscal incentives.
  • 80% -it is the rebate in patent fees which will now be offered to start ups as per the amended Patents Rule 2003 which was notified recently. Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion (DIPP) will bear facilitation cost on behalf of start-ups. It will provide rebates on statutory fee for filing applications. Under faster clearance route application fee for individuals & start up is Rs. 8,000 while for older cos fees is Rs.60, 000. To avail of intellectual property rights-related benefits, a start-up is required to obtain Certificate of Recognition from DIPP. The amended rules seek to cut the time taken for granting patents to two-and-a-half years from five to seven years immediately and to one-and-a half years by March 2018.
  • IIP - it stands for Index of Industrial Production is an index for India, which points out the growth of various sectors in an economy such as mineral mining, electricity and manufacturing. It measures changes in production of a basket of industrial products during a given time period, compared to a base year. The CSO revised the base year of IIP from 2004-05 to 2011-12 to reflect changes in the industrial sector. It is now aligned with the base year of other indicators like the PI and GDP. Eight core industries comprise nearly 40.27 % of the weight of the items included in the IIP: Electricity, steel, refinery products, crude, coal, cement, natural gas and fertilizers. IIP is a good indicator of industrial activity, especially manufacturing. It is a lead indicator of corporate earnings as it measures production and thereby sales and revenues.
  • State Bank of India - it is the bank which recently announced its plan to raise $3billion in the country’s biggest overseas green-bond issue, tapping the likes of BlackRock, International Finance Corp and JP Morgan-backed entities for funding projects that will achieve the government's commitment towards sustainable growth. Green bonds offer relatively lower rates than usual securities. These bonds are gaining momentum globally as proceeds will fund green energy projects. Some latest green bonds from India are Renew Power, Ireda & Greenko.
  • 0.2% - it is the percentage push which can be effected on permanent basis on inflation due to the farm loan waiver amounting to Rs 88,000 crore likely to be released in 2017-18 by seven states, including Uttar Pradesh and Maharashtra as per the information given in a recently released Mint Street Memo released by the RBI. Farm loan waivers have been announced intermittently by both the central and state governments to provide relief to farmers facing distress due to natural calamities/crop failure. Based on stylized assumptions, the total loan waiver amount that is likely to be released in 2017-18 by seven states is around Rs 881 billion (0.5% of Gross Domestic Product, GDP). Mint Street Memos (MSM) are in the form of brief reports and analysis on contemporary topics, prepared by the staff of RBI and Centre for Advanced Financial Research and Learning (CAFRAL), or drawn from one of the recent publications of the Bank. Andhra Pradesh and Telangana had announced farm loan waiver in 2014; Tamil Nadu in 2016; and Uttar Pradesh, Maharashtra, Punjab and Karnataka in 2017.
  • Pradhan Mantri Urja Ganga Project – this was inaugurated by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in his constituency Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh on 24 October 2016. A pipeline of length 2540-km is planned to be laid across the states from Uttar Pradesh to Odisha. The scheme is directed to provide piped cooking gas to the households of Varanasi within next two years and to millions others in neighbour states after one more year. The state of UP gets the gas line of length 338 KM. Bihar state will get about 441 km long line. Jharkhand, a state in east India, gets 500 KM long and another state in eastern India, West Bengal, will have the pipe line of length 542 KM and Odisha gets benefited by 718 KM pipe line as per the specifications of project details issued in public.
  • 4 - it is the number of Indian states which share its border with Myanmar. These states are Arunachal Pradesh, Nagaland, Manipur & Mizoram. The India-Myanmar border stretches 1,643 km. About 3 lakh people live in over 250villages within 10km of the border. Villagers can cross the border through 150 small and large, formal and informal border crossings.
  • NIC - it stands for National Informatics Centre is organizing the government hackathon which is an effort to reach out to students, academia and start-up firms to develop apps and solutions which benefit people in sectors ranging from sanitation to education. The hackathon will be held in seven cities countrywide and it aims to support and showcase potentially implementable ideas. The participants will primarily use the data from government website data.
  • Rs.20 lakh - it is the amount of gratuity which has been proposed by the government for all formal sector employees. The legislation-Payment of Gratuity(Amendment) Bill 2017 which was approved by the Union Cabinet recently will now be introduced in Parliament. The amendment will put the maximum limit of gratuity of employees of the private sector as well as public undertakings and autonomous organisations under the government who are not covered under Central Civil Services(Pension) Rules, at par with central government employees which is Rs.20lakhs. The current upper ceiling on gratuity under the Act is Rs.10lakhs.
  • 11th September 1893 - the historical date on which Swami Vivekananda addressed the World Parliament of Religions in Chicago. This was in the news recently as a convention was organized to mark the 125th anniversary of this event was addressed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi where he called upon the youths to let their creativity strengthen the nation and the aspirations of the people.
  • Rs.1.8 lakh crore - it is the estimated capital requirement of PSBs (Public Sector Banks), against which the government is providing Rs.70, 000 crore until FY19. The remaining Rs1.1 lakh crore will be raised by banks from the market for which the government is planning issuance of Capitalisation Bonds. The government followed a similar strategy in 2008 when it sold bonds worth Rs10,000 crore to subscribe to 60% of State Bank of India's right issue. The bonds are mostly bought by financial institutions and are not eligible for statutory liquidity ratios.

Sports Updates

  • Rafael Nadal - he defeated South African Kevin Anderson to win the US Open men’s single tennis title. He won his 16th major title and is just three titles behind Roger Federer record of 19th Grand Slam championship.
  • Fauf du Plessis - the player of South Africa who was the captain of the World XI team that played three T-20 match series with Pakistan in Lahore recently marking the revival of international cricket country in Pakistan. The Pakistan team was led by Sarfaraz Ahmed.
  • MS Dhoni - he became the first wicket-keeper to complete century of stumpings in ODIs, in his 301st game, when he stumped Akila Dananjaya for 4 off Yuzvendra Chahal in the 50th ODI against Sri Lanka in Colombo recently.
  • Priyanka Panwar - she is the Indian athlete who was recently banned by the National Anti-Doping Agency(NADA) for a period of eight years after she tested positive for a banned performance enhancement drug for the second time. She was part of women’s 4x100m relay gold medal winning team at the 2014 Asian Games in Incheon.

Current Affairs September 8th to September 14th 2017

International Current News

  • 5 - it is the number of category in which the hurricanes are classified according to wind speeds. Category I is for speed between 119-153kmph, Category II is for speed between 154-177kmph, Category III is for speed between 178-208kmph, Category IV is for speed between 209-251kmph and Category V is for speed above 252kmph. This categorization is technically not used for cyclones or typhoons. A hurricane is a swirling storm that produces wind speeds above 119kmph. It typically forms over warm seas and pushes water ashore-called storm surge-which along with heavy rain can cause flooding. Hurricanes, typhoons and cyclones refer to the same weather phenomena-the naming changes according to the region where the storm has occurred.
  • Pluto -the planet on which two mountain ranges have been named after Tenzing Norway and Edmund Hillary by the International Astronomical Union. The Indian/Nepali Sherpa and New Zealand mountaineer were the first to reach the summit of Mt. Everest in 1953 and return safely.
  • NHC - it stands for National Hurricane Centre is the agency which assigns names to the major tropical storms in the Atlantic and Gulf of Mexico. These names are drawn from an alphabetical list made by the US National Hurricane Centre (NHC), which prepares 21 names per year seven years in advance. The first major tempest of the June-November 2022 season, in other words, will be Alex, and the 21st — if there is one — will be Walter. If the list is exhausted before the season ends — which at this pace could happen in 2017 — Greek letters are pressed into service, starting with "Alpha". But naming tropical storms that may morph into killer hurricanes is serious business, which is why the UN's World Meteorological Organization (WMO) maintains veto power. The practice of assigning proper names in the Atlantic basin began in the early 1950s "to help in the quick identification of storms in warning messages, because names are presumed to be far easier to remember than numbers and technical terms," the WMO explains on its website. Older identification methods based on latitude and longitude were cumbersome and subject to error — especially given the fact that storms rarely stood still. The denomination of typhoons, as tropical storms in the western North Pacific are called, is more recent and far more complicated, based on the input of 14 nations in the region. Each submits 10 candidate names — animals, plants, astrological signs, mythological figures or just about anything else — which are reviewed by the WMO's Typhoon Committee, based in Tokyo. Once adopted, nations can still opt out in their national weather reporting. To be on the safe side and avoid confusion, the storms are numbered as well. For tropical cyclones in the Indian ocean, the naming process involves — in alphabetical order — Bangladesh, India, Maldives, Myanmar, Oman, Pakistan, Sri Lanka and Thailand. The WMO also keeps an eye on this process, which began in 2000.
  • 8th September - this day was recently celebrated as International Literacy Day. International Literacy Day, celebrated annually on 8 September, is an opportunity for Governments, civil society and stakeholders to highlight improvements in world literacy rates, and reflect on the world's remaining literacy challenges. The issue of literacy is a key component of the UN's Sustainable Development Goals and the UN's 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. The theme of this year's International Literacy Day was ‘Literacy in a Digital World’. The UN's Sustainable Development Goals, adopted by world leaders in September 2015, promotes, as part of its agenda, universal access to quality education and learning opportunities throughout people’s lives. Sustainable Development Goal 4 has as one of its targets ensuring all young people achieve literacy and numeracy and that adults who lack these skills are given the opportunity to acquire them.

National Current News

  • 55.3% - it is the share of BJP in collection of funds in 2015-16 which is more than the combined share of other six national parties put together and is also better than that of 51% in the previous year. Though the volume of donations to the national parties fell 41% from Rs.1869 crore in 2014-15 to Rs.1033 crore, BJP and Congress mopped up over 80% of contributions, with CPM being the only other national party with more than Rs.100 crore funding, data collated by Association for Democratic Reforms (ADR) shows. Monsanto –it is the famous US biotechnology major which recently announced its exit from cotton seeds business in India. It pioneered the use of genetically modified (GM) technology. However, the firm would remain invested in segments such as corn seeds, crop protection, vegetables and Bollgard II technologies.
  • 70,000 crore - it is the amount of capital which was promised to the banks by government under the 2015 Indradhanush plan. This was to be spread over four years starting with Rs.25,000 crore in 2015-16 and similar amount in 2016-17 and further Rs.10,000 crore each in 2017-18 and 2018-19.
  • TOT - it stands for The Toll-Operate-Transfer model which monetizes publicly funded highways that have been completed. Under TOT, for an upfront payment, the government will transfer projects (mainly national highways) to private players or investors for a specific time period which can be extended up to 30 years for tolling and maintenance. There are two distinct advantages for acquiring projects through TOT route. First, the model is asset light since the highway is already constructed. Secondly it means the acquirer will not face the hassle of obtaining land parcels and regulatory permissions necessary while undertaking a road project. Rs.2000 crore –it is the corpus of credit guarantee fund for budding entrepreneurs announced by Prime Minister Narendra Modi as part of Startup India action plan in January 2016. The fund is managed by Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion (DIPP). Only startup recognized and certified by DIPP can access the credit guarantee fund. Startups, once certified by the government, can avail of income-tax exemption for three consecutive assessment years in a block of seven years. A ‘fund of funds’ of Rs.1000 crore managed by Small Industries Development Bank of India has committed Rs.623 crore to alternative investment funds.
  • 30 - it is the number of rivers that are planned to be linked under the government’s plan f interlinking of rivers. The river-linking initiative was envisaged during the Atal Bihari Vajpayee government when a pan to connect 14 Himalayan and 16 peninsular rivers was unveiled. The plan envisaged the construction of 30 canals and 3,000 reservoirs to irrigate 87 million hectares of land and produce 34 gigawatt of hydroelectricity. The national river linking project will ease the water shortages in western and southern India while mitigating the impacts of recurring floods in eastern India. Vajpayee had formed a task force on interlinking of rivers under chairmanship of Suresh Prabhu.
  • 3 - it is the number of levels under which unruly behaviour of passengers have been categorized under the new aviation rules that came into force recently. The rules are part of the government’s rollout of the national no-fly list to crack down on people misbehaving during air travel. Level 1 is for Verbal harassment where the penalty is 3 months of flying ban, Level 2 is for physically abusive behaviour where the penalty is 6 months ban on flying and Level 3 is for Life threatening behaviour where the penalty is flying ban of two years or more.
  • $398 billion - it is the foreign exchange reserve of India as on 1st September 2017 as per the data with Reserve Bank of India. The gold reserve also climbed almost $750 million to reach $20.6 billion.
  • Asbestos - it is the material whose roof is believed to putting people to the risk of cancer. The National Institute for Health and Family Welfare estimates exposure to asbestos has resulted in higher incidence of cancer among those living under asbestos roofs. Asbestos causes mesothelioma (cancer of the thin membranes that line the chest and abdomen) and cancers of the lung, larynx and ovary. India's National Institute for Health and Family Welfare estimates secondary exposure to asbestos used in construction has resulted in higher incidence of cancer among those living under asbestos roofs. Although mining of all kinds of asbestos is technically banned in India, according to the Indian Minerals Yearbook published in December 2015, import of white asbestos from Russia, Kazakhstan, Brazil and China continues. It endangers the public health of present and future Indians. Large reserves of asbestos are located mainly in China, Kazakhstan and Russia. The world production of asbestos was 1.9 million tonnes in 2013.Russia was the leading producer and accounted for 53% production followed by China (21%), Brazil (15%) and Kazakhstan (13%). So far countries like Brazil, China, India, Indonesia, Mexico, Russia and the US are yet to ban asbestos.

Current Affairs September 1th to September 7th 2017

International Current News

  • The Gallup index –it measures the countries on the basis of least and most acceptable towards migrants. As per the index about 50% of the world believes an immigrant as their neighbour is a good thing, while 44% say an immigrant marrying a close relative is also good. The world’s average index is 5.3, with 77 countries scoring higher, hence more accepting of migrants. Iceland and New Zealand are the most accepting countries for migrants in the world, according to the Gallup poll. The least accepting countries are Macedonia, Montenegro and Hungary. Worldwide, acceptance rises with education. Those with at least four years of education after high school or with college degrees are the most likely of all education groups to be accepting, with an index score of 5.67. Macedonia, Hungary, Serbia and Slovakia — countries on front lines of Europe’s migrant crisis — are among the least accepting for migrants. India came in at 90 among the 138 countries surveyed. With an index of 4.90, it is among 61 countries that scored lower than average.
  • The Gini coefficient- In economics, the Gini coefficient (sometimes expressed as a Gini ratio or a normalized Gini index) is a measure of statistical dispersion intended to represent the income or wealth distribution of a nation's residents, and is the most commonly used measure of inequality. It was developed by the Italian statistician and sociologist Corrado Giniand and published in his 1912 paper Variability and Mutability. The Gini coefficient measures the inequality among values of a frequency distribution (for example, levels of income). A Gini coefficient of zero expresses perfect equality, where all values are the same (for example, where everyone has the same income). A Gini coefficient of 1 (or 100%) expresses maximal inequality among values (e.g., for a large number of people, where only one person has all the income or consumption, and all others have none, the Gini coefficient will be very nearly one). However, a value greater than one may occur if some persons represent negative contribution to the total (for example, having negative income or wealth). For larger groups, values close to or above 1 are very unlikely in practice. Given the normalization of both the cumulative population and the cumulative share of income used to calculate the Gini coefficient, the measure is not overly sensitive to the specifics of the income distribution, but rather only on how incomes vary relative to the other members of a population. The exception to this is in the redistribution of wealth resulting in a minimum income for all people. When the population is sorted, if their income distribution were to approximate a well-known function, then some representative values could be calculated. The Gini coefficient is usually defined mathematically based on the Lorenz curve, which plots the proportion of the total income of the population (y axis) that is cumulatively earned by the bottom x% of the population. The line at 45 degrees thus represents perfect equality of incomes.
  • Hurricane Harvey –it is the name of active tropical cyclone that caused unprecedented and catastrophic flooding in southeastern Texas, USA and was the first major hurricane to make landfall in the United States since Wilma in 2005, ending a record 12-year period with no hurricanes of Category 3 intensity or higher making landfall in the United States. In a four-day period, many areas received more than 40 inches (1,000 mm) of rain as the system meandered over eastern Texas and adjacent waters. With peak accumulations of 51.88 in (1,318 mm), Harvey is the wettest tropical cyclone on record in the contiguous United States. The resulting floods prompted more than 13,000 rescues, displaced more than 30,000 people, and inundated hundreds of thousands of homes.

National Current News

  • ASEAN nations -it stands for Association of South East Asian Nations are the countries with which India’s trade relations can be improved by 69 ways as suggested by a parliamentary committee recently. The committee comprising 31 MPs, including former ministers Kamal Nath and Kapil Sibal, headed by BJP MP Bhupendra Yadav submitted its report recently. The report stated that India should “engage Asean for giving better market access to Indian goods where we have an edge over them like leather goods, pharmaceuticals, etc that trade balance may be improved”. The committee has made 69 recommendations, including early ratification of India-Asean trade agreements, better market access in Asean countries and safeguarding textile and pharmaceutical exports. The committee had met the representatives of 15 ministers for this issue. The panel notes that Asean countries are not making much investment in India’s manufacturing sector. Hence, it has recommended that CEO forums should interact regularly. The panel has recommended that the government should be vigilant against the safeguard measures being imposed by Asean on textile exports. It has also taken note of the non-tariff barriers coming in the way of exports of pharmaceutical products to Asean and recommends that the department of commerce should come out with appropriate remedial measures. It has also asked that steps be taken to improve Indian banking facilities in these countries.
  • Direct tax to GDP forecast: 5.8% -FY18, 6%-FY19, 6.3%-FY20 is the direct tax to GDP forecast made by Niti Aayog. This as better than 5.6% in FY17. This was in the news recently after Niti Aayog in its Three Year Action Agenda said that several reforms including demonetization would have a durable impact on the direct tax revenue. According to the Aayog, the indirect tax to GDP ratio will rise progressively to 5.7%, 5.8% and 5.9% in FY18, FY19 and FY20 respectively against 5.6% in FY17. The government has taken several steps to curb black money, such as disclosure of foreign assets, Benami Property Act and amendments in double taxation avoidance pacts with Mauritius, Singapore and Cyprus.
  • NITI-IDFC study is the first in-house nationwide survey on ease of doing business in India. India’s first in-house nationwide survey has suggested over half a dozen reforms to improve the business climate here as firms were taking a longer time to set up business than estimated in a similar survey carried out by the World Bank. It called for quick reforms to improve the current situation. The World Bank’s ‘Ease of Doing Business’ survey which ranked India at 130, is confined to just two cities of Delhi and Mumbai whereas the NITI-IDFC Survey covers 3276 manufacturing enterprises spread across India, including 141 early stage firms and covering 23 manufacturing sectors. Labour constraints, difficulties in scaling up and information gap, among others are impediments in creating an enterprise-friendly regulatory environment, said the NITI Aayog commissioned survey-‘Ease of Doing Business: An Enterprise Survey of Indian States’. It called for enhanced flexibility of labour laws, bridging the information gap, accelerating power sector reforms, facilitating entry and exit of firms, providing level playing field for small and larger firms and improving access to finances.
  • 25% -it is the maximum share which ecommerce players like Flipkart and Amazon can have from one vendor in each financial year as per the 2017 FDI circular released recently. India unveiled a new foreign direct policy framework that for the first time comprises provisions specific to start ups and list them as a separate section and spells out provisions that allow them to raise foreign money from venture capital funds and other investors through instruments such as convertible notes.
  • Operation Clean Money: Accepting cash of Rs.2lakh or more in aggregate from a single person in a day or for one or more transactions relating to one event or occasion, Receiving or repaying Rs.20, 000 or more in cash for transfer of immovable property, Paying more than Rs.10, 000 in cash relating to expenditure of business/profession are prohibited under Operation Clean Money by Income Tax Department.
  • Agri Ventures: Vodafone-Kisan Mitra, IFFCO-Kisan Sanchar, IARI-M-Krishi are the tech enabled agri ventures that are offering farm-related services via ubiquitous mobile phone. Vodafone Kisan Mitra provides weather updates, mandi prices, government subsidy details and other farm related information. IFFCO Kisan Sanchar provides weather prediction, soil management, one-minute audio crop alerts, market rates, plant protection, livestock management while IARI M -Krishi provides SMS alerts and call options to discuss plant health, seeds, farmer fair info, marine fisheries management and livestock management. Similar types of services are being offered by RML Agtech, Cropin, Crofarm, Handygo, Agrostar and FrontalRain.
  • Rs.15.28 lakh crore –it is the amount of demonetized notes deposited with banks as per 2016-17 Annual Report of Reserve Bank of India. The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) recently said that Rs 15.28 lakh crore --or 99% of the Rs 15.44 lakh crore demonetised by withdrawal of Rs 500 and Rs 1000 notes on November 8, 2016 --has been deposited with banks. In its annual report, the RBI said that the number of returned notes does not include the money collected by district central cooperative banks and from the notes deposited by citizens and financial institutions in Nepal, which are likely to be accepted. The central bank's printing costs have more than doubled to Rs 7,965 crore in 2016-17 from Rs 3,421 crore in the previous year and its interest income was hit due to demonetisation. RBI's interest income dropped 10% to Rs 66,051 crore from Rs 73,543 crore in the previous year. RBI said income from domestic sources fell 17% to Rs 43,232 crore as it had to pay out more interest on the money that it mopped up from banks as part of liquidity management post demonetisation. As a result, RBI's dividend to the government for 2016-17 halved to Rs 30,659 crore from Rs 65,876 crore in the previous year. Dividend was also lower because RBI chose to transfer Rs 13,000 crore to its contingency fund — a first in three years. Unearthing of fake currency through demonetisation has also turned out to be muted. RBI said that 3.7 lakh pieces of Rs 500 fake notes (old design) were detected and in the case of Rs 1,000, currency notes 2.56 lakh pieces were detected. While this is 345% more than the previous year, this represents only 0.0007% of the Rs 1,000 notes in circulation and 0.002% of Rs 500 notes. Overall only 0.0013% of the Rs 15.4 lakh crore of demonetised currency was found to be fake. Surprisingly, RBI said that 199 pieces of fake Rs 500 notes in the new design were also unearthed. While the demonetisation exercise may not have resulted in black money being destroyed in the form of unreturned notes, it may help in tracing unaccounted wealth, RBI said. "The trail of deposits of specified bank notes into bank accounts may provide valuable information to the revenue authorities in tracing unaccounted money," said RBI in its annual report.
  • The Goods and Service Tax (GST), Loan waivers & Pay revision –these are the three immediate effects as per the Annual Report 2016-17 of Reserve Bank of India which may threat the fiscal consolidation. While a normal monsoon and the lowering of bank lending rates should support investment demand, RBI warned that an offsetting impact on aggregate demand could emerge if state governments rein in capital spending, keeping in view the objective of fiscal consolidation. GST was rolled out across the country on July 1. The central government has already shifted its deadline for achieving a fiscal deficit target of 3% of GDP to FY19 from FY18, a deviation from the roadmap proposed by the Fiscal Responsibility and Budget Management (FRBM) Review Committee. RBI said that near-term uncertainties with regard to revenue mobilisation, following the implementation of the single tax structure along with rising committed liabilities of states could led to the breach of fiscal deficit targets. “In the fiscal sphere, while the gains to growth, efficiency and tax buoyancy over the medium term from the recent implementation of GST are unequivocally recognised, near-term uncertainties with regard to revenue mobilization therefrom – which could impact fiscal consolidation at both centre and state levels – cannot be ruled out as this fundamental reform gains pan-India traction,” RBI said in its annual report for FY17 that was released recently. State finances have also deteriorated on account of the UDAY (Ujwal Discom Assurance Yojana) scheme aimed at reviving ailing power distribution companies (discoms) and revenue falling short despite cutbacks in capital outlays. Additionally, four state governments – Uttar Pradesh, Maharashtra, Punjab and Karnataka -- are likely to face several challenges in FY18 due to farm loan waivers derailing fiscal discipline, RBI said. The committed liabilities of states may rise in case they decide to implement the recommendations of their own pay commissions in FY18. The existing high level of state government guarantees constitutes a major fiscal risk while their interest liabilities due to financial restructuring of discoms (through UDAY) will increase in the years ahead, RBI said. Thus, even as the central government makes significant efforts toward fiscal consolidation, the higher debt burden of the states could push up overall government debt, RBI said. At the corporate level, rising input costs may prove a drag on profitability, pulling down the overall growth in general value added (GVA). A bigger threat is the so-called twin balance sheet problem—over-leveraged companies and stressed banks—which may delay any revival in private investment demand. The expected normal monsoon and the resultant replenishment of reservoirs, policy initiatives of the government such as a hike in minimum support prices (MSP) and rising crop insurance coverage are likely to help in boosting agricultural production and supporting rural demand. The implementation of increases in the house rent allowance (HRA) as per the recommendation of the seventh pay commission for central government employees starting July and the possibility of this being effected at the state level as well should however strengthen urban consumption demand.
  • 2.0-3.5% -it is the Consumer Price Index based inflation in the first half of fiscal 2018 and 3.5-4.5% in the second half as per The Reserve Bank of India. It said that favourable domestic factors such as a pick-up in discretionary consumer spending and robust government spending will quicken economic growth in the current fiscal. The central bank’s annual report reiterated its forecast for gross value added (GVA, a measure of economic output) to grow at 7.3% in the current financial year compared to 6.3% in fiscal 2016-17. However, at the same time, the report flagged risks such as over-leveraged corporate sector and stressed banking sector, because they could delay private investment demand revival. It also noted that farm loan waivers could add to upward pressures on inflation. The central bank has projected Consumer Price Index-based inflation at 2.0-3.5% in the first half of fiscal 2018 and 3.5-4.5% in the second half. The RBI said the announcements of farm loan waivers and the implementation of housing rent allowance, recommendations of the pay commission by states could lead to fiscal slippages and this poses an upside risk to the future trajectory of headline inflation. Farm loan waivers are a major fiscal risk over the medium term, impacting credit discipline and vitiating credit culture, the report noted. As per initial estimates, the total loan waivers announced during 2017-18, till 2 August, amount to 0.4% of GDP, it added. Interestingly, the mid-year Economic Survey prepared by the finance ministry had flagged farm loan waivers too. The RBI report said that the central bank expected an increase in overall food inflation as unfavourable base effects set in from August 2017 even though inflation in pulses is seen to be muted. However, it added that with the likely progress of the south-west monsoon, food prices may remain moderate over the subsequent months as long as the seasonal price pressures of select vegetables such as tomatoes dissipate. In the fiscal first quarter, CPI was around 2.2%. However, it rose to 2.36% in July, reducing the probability of any near-term interest rate cut, according to economists. The RBI’s Monetary Policy Committee, which cut repo rate by 0.25 percentage points on 2 August, is mandated to keep CPI at 4%, the mid-point of a 2-6% target range. On the health of the banking sector, the report said that the RBI will continue to monitor and respond to asset quality issues. It added that initiating the process of insolvency is expected to significantly improve the resolution of stressed assets, particularly where many banks are involved. Following the RBI’s direction, banks have initiated proceedings under the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code against 12 large borrowers, of which 11 cases have been admitted so far by the National Company Law Tribunal. The central bank has sent a second list of defaulters, directing banks to finalise a resolution before 13 December, failing which these borrowers will also be proceeded against for insolvency. Apart from asset quality, implementation of Indian Accounting Standard (Ind-AS) and the Basel III framework will remain the areas of focus in the current financial year, RBI said.
  • Things not considered as capital assets in India: Any stock, consumables or raw material held for the purpose of business or profession, Personal goods such as clothes and furniture held for personal use, Agricultural land in rural India, Gold deposit bond issued under the gold deposit scheme (1999) are the things which are not considered as capital assets in India. Some examples of capital assets: land, building, house property, vehicles, patents, trademarks, leasehold rights, machinery and jewellery. Any profit or gain that arises from the sale of a ‘capital asset’ is a capital gain. This gain or profit is charged to tax in the year in which the transfer of the capital asset takes place. Capital gains are not applicable when an asset is inherited because there is no sale, only a transfer. However, if this asset is sold by the person who inherits it, capital gains tax will be applicable. The Income Tax Act has specifically exempted assets received as gifts by way of an inheritance or will.
  • 5.7 percent –it was the GDP growth of India during April-June 2017 which was at three year low -- lagging China for the second straight quarter -- as manufacturing slowed ahead of the GST launch amid demonetisation effect. China clocked a record 6.9 per cent growth in January-March as well as April-June quarters. The expansion in gross domestic product was 6.1 per cent in the preceding quarter and 7.9 per cent in the same period last fiscal. The previous low of 4.6 per cent was recorded in January-March 2014.Gross value added in the manufacturing sector fell sharply to 1.2 per cent, from 10.7 per cent year on year, as the businesses focused more on clearing inventories rather than production ahead of the July 1 launch of GST. Uncertainty about new indirect tax rates under GST prompted a host of industries, including carmakers, FMCG companies and garment manufacturers, to clear their stocks. Demonetisation of high-value currency notes in November last year impacted economic activities in the January-March quarter as GDP growth slipped to 6.1 per cent and further to 5.7 per cent in the three months to June. Chief Statistician T C A Anant attributed the fall to the decline in inventories ahead of the rollout of GST as businesses re-labelled existing stocks and fashioned new ones in accordance with the new tax regime. The data released by the Central Statistics Office came in below market expectations, which predicted it to be at least a tad higher than January-March growth figure of 6.1 per cent. According to the data, there was a slowdown in the agricultural sector, too. GVA in the first quarter was 2.3 per cent compared to 2.5 per cent in the similar period last year.

Sports Updates

  • Sardar Singh & Devendra Jhajharia –they were awarded Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna for 2017, India’s highest sporting honour instituted in 1991-92. Sardar Singh is the ex-hockey captain of India and India won 2010 bronze medal and 2014 gold medal in hockey under his captainship. Devendra Jhajharia is the Paralympian to be awarded the gold at Athens Paralympic Games (2004) and the Rio Games (2016).
  • August 29 –this day is celebrated as National Sports Day in India. August 29 marks the birth anniversary of India's hockey wizard, Major Dhyan Chand. A phenomenal athlete, Dhyan Chand put India on the map back when the world continued to be plagued by wars and political bloodshed. In honour of Dhyan Chand, August 29 is also celebrated as National Sports Day. Dhyan Chand is regarded as the greatest field hockey player of alltime.

Current Affairs August 21th to August 27th 2017

International Current News

  • USS Indianapolis –it is the name of US warship whose wreckage was recently found after 72 years. The World War 2 cruiser was torpedoed by a Japanese submarine. The wreckage was found in the Philippine Sea 5.5km below the surface. Paul Allen is the philanthropist who headed the civilian research crew that located the ship. The ship was hit in the final days of World War 2 just after completing a secret mission delivering parts of the atomic bomb used in Hiroshima.

National Current News

  • 5%-6% -It is the new range of fat content in milk, down from a minimum of 3% before as per the revised standards introduced by top food regulator-Food Safety Standards Authority of India (FSSAI). The country will get new national standards after 60 years that will standardize outdated benchmarks for determining adulteration. Solid non-fat (SNF) content including vitamins and minerals must now range between 6% and 9% for toned and full cream milk from buffalo, cow, goat or sheep. The standards were revised because of the change in environment conditions, quality of fodder, water that cattle consume.
  • Distinctive geology, Well-defined area, Crust much thicker than that found on ocean floor –These are some of the criteria which are applied for a continent and the same have been applied to Earth’s seven continents. This was in the news recently as scientists are now arguing the existence of a new 94% submerged continent-Zealandia. The arguments being given in favour of declaring Zealandia as a continent are Gravity maps of the sea floor have proved it is a continuous piece of continental crust, covers 1.9m sq.miles, about half size of Australia large enough to be a continent and the rocks beneath the ocean floor are ancient rock types found only on continents. If it is declared a continent, Zealandia will be the eighth and smallest continent.
  • 137th –It is the rank of India in the Global Peace Index 2017, released by the Institute of Economics and Peace which has found that the global level of peace has improved slightly, by 0.28 per cent in score. A total of 93 countries improved, while 68 countries deteriorated. Iceland remains the most peaceful country in the world, holding the position it has occupied since 2008. It is followed by New Zealand, Portugal, Austria and Denmark. At the other end, Syria remains the least peaceful country in the world, joined by Afghanistan, Iraq, South Sudan, and Yemen. The study used 23 indicators to gauge ongoing domestic and international conflict, safety and security in society, and the degree of militarisation in countries and territories. As per this, Syria was ranked the least peaceful country, with Afghanistan, Iraq, South Sudan and Yemen completing the bottom five. The study shows that India is ranked at 137 out of 163 countries with a global peace index score of 2.541. India has moved up four positions in the overall ranking from 141 to 137.
  • SECC data – it stands for Socio Economic and Caste Census is the data for which the government is developing a mobile application to ensure that this data which forms the basis of selection of beneficiaries under various schemes is updated regularly and expeditiously to ensure that all deserving are covered. The mobile app is being developed by NIC and the authorized person will upload data following all safeguards and laws. The government has already set up a committee of secretaries to look into the process to be followed for updating the SECC data and it will decide the frequency at which SECC data needs to be revised. SECC 2011 provides the government the names and numbers of families in each panchayats and details their status on seven deprivation parameters. The advantage of SECCC is that it provides for programme-specific customized priority list to suit programme objective and budget space to address specific deprivation. The Sumit Bose Committee formed to study validity and efficiency of the SECC 2011 data in identifying the poor in its report spoke in favour of using the data for rural development schemes coming up with a formula to use some of the deprivation parameters to identify the beneficiaries for specific schemes. The World Bank is providing technical assistance to the government for this project.
  • Rs.1000 –it is the maximum amount a merchant can receive monthly under the BHIM cash back scheme. This was in the news recently after the government extended this scheme to March 2018. Under the scheme, a merchant can get cash back of Rs 50 for 20-50 transaction, Rs 2 for every transaction thereafter till Rs 950. The monthly limit of BHIM cash back scheme is Rs 1,000. The scheme was launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on April 14, 2017 for a period of six months for promoting cashless payments through the BHIM app. Under the scheme, a merchant can get cash back of Rs 50 for 20-50 transaction, Rs 2 for every transaction thereafter till Rs 950. The monthly limit of BHIM cash back scheme is Rs 1,000.The condition for availing benefit is that at least 20 transactions should have been accepted by the merchant during the month from unique users of the BHIM (Bharat Interface for Money) with each amounting to minimum of Rs 25. The app user can make transaction by using UPI address, ISFC code and bank account of the recipient and by scanning QR code that can be generated in the app itself. Unlike mobile wallet, users are not required to store money in the BHIM app.
  • State Bank of India –it is the bank whose 1762 willful defaulters owe an amount of Rs.25, 104 crore of bad loans as on 31st March 2017 which is 27% of the total amount owed to public sector banks by willful defaulters. Punjab National Bank is next on the list with 1,120 wilful defaulters having outstanding non-performing assets or bad loans of Rs.12, 278 crore Together , these two banks account for Rs.37.762 crore or 40%-of the total outstanding loans of Rs92376 crore due to public sector banks by willful defaulters according to finance ministry data. This is more than 20% higher than Rs.76, 685 crore at the end of the previous fiscal 2015-16.
  • MUSKit stands for Madhyamik and Uchchtar Shiksha Kosh is the new fund approved by the Cabinet which cannot be voted upon by Parliament. There are already seven schemes that the government shields from Parliament scrutiny by placing these outside the Consolidated Fund of India, as government Budget papers show. MUSK will be the eighth on the list. Article 266(2) of the Constitution allows the government to provide this cover. At one time, this cover, known as Public Accounts, was mostly meant to house small savings schemes such as the Public Provident Fund and postal savings schemes where the government basically acts like a banker. So, the shield from Parliament voting to, say reduce rates, was necessary to ensure people had the confidence to invest in those funds. In recent years, this cover has expanded massively to include mega schemes such as the Central Road Fund, Clean Energy Fund, Rashtriya Swachhata Kosh, and Krishi Kalyan Fund. This will ensure that the finance ministry will have a little monitoring role in the spending on MUSK from now. The human resource development ministry can also add more areas to what it feels would qualify as secondary or as higher education.
  • Six areas on which PM addressed 200 young CEOs: Doubling Farmer’s income, Creating cities of tomorrow, Make in India, Reforming financial sector, World Class infrastructure and New India-2022 are the six areas on which Prime Minister Narendra Modi addressed 200 young CEO’s recently who attended a NITI Aayog organized programme where they were divided into six groups to deliberate on how to take the country forward on the six identified areas. The six groups can be attached permanently to the concerned ministries.
  • FSDC -it stands for Financial Stability and Development Council comprising market regulators that met under the chairmanship of Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley recently agreed to be in state of preparedness to manage any vulnerability in the Indian economy. The Council also took note of the progress of Financial Sector Assessment Program for India, jointly conducted by the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank. FSDC took note of the developments and progress made in setting up of Computer Emergency Response Team in the Financial Sector (CERT-Fin) and Financial Data Management Centre and discussed measures for time bound implementation of the institution building initiative. CERT-Fin will be the key to ensuring a comprehensive cyber security framework for the financial sector. The Council also discussed the central KYC registry (CKYCR) system and also deliberated on strengthening the regulation of the credit rating agencies (CRAs).
  • NISAR -it stands for Nasa-Isro Synthetic Aperture Radar will help the country accurately map the movement of earth before a landslide and help prediction of landslides. NISAR will make global movements of the causes and consequences of land surface changes for integration into earth system models. The world’s most expensive earth imaging satellite, whose expected launch is expected in 2020-21 from Indian soil will provide a means to measure and classify processes ranging from ecosystem disturbances to ice sheet collapse and natural hazards including earth quakes, tsunamis, volcanoes and landslides.
  • Some of the factors taken into consideration for merger of Public Sector Banks: Business Mix, IT Platform and Geographical spread of branches are some of the factors which will be taken into consideration for merger of Public Sector Banks. The Union cabinet recently gave in-principle approval to let group of minister decide on consolidation process. The decision to create this alternative mechanism would facilitate consolidation among the nationalized banks to create strong and competitive banks.
  • Article 340 -the article under which the government has decided to appoint a commission to examine demand of quota within OBC quota. The commission would examine the extent of inequitable distribution of reservation benefits among caste and communities included in the broad category of OBC with reference to the central government services, work out mechanism, criteria and parameters scientifically for sub-categorisation and identify respective castes/communities/sub-castes/synonyms in the central list of OBCs and classify them into their respective sub-categories. At present, there is no sub reservation in OBCs and 27% reservation is a monolithic entity. Article 340 deals with the appointment of a Commission to investigate the conditions of backward classes. It reads ‘The President may by order appoint a Commission consisting of such persons as he thinks fit to investigate the conditions of socially and educationally backward classes within the territory of India and the difficulties under which they labour and to make recommendations as to the steps that should be taken by the Union or any State to remove such difficulties and to improve their condition and as to the grants that should be made for the purpose by the Union or any State the conditions subject to which such grants should be made, and the order appointing such Commission shall define the procedure to be followed by the Commission. A Commission so appointed shall investigate the matters referred to them and present to the President a report setting out the facts as found by them and making such recommendations as they think proper. The President shall cause a copy of the report so presented together with a memorandum explaining the action taken thereon to be laid before each House of Parliament
  • Rs.200 -the denomination of note for which the centre recently issued notification for allowing its distribution. In exercise of the powers conferred by sub-section (1) of Section 24 of the Reserve Bank of India Act, 1934, the centre issued the notification in this regard. The currency note is expected to address liquidity issue and reduce the burden on the Rs.100 note. It carries the Sanchi Stupa and slogan of Swachh Bharat logo on the back.
  • Article 21 - the article in Part-III of the Indian Constitution under which Right to privacy is protected as an intrinsic part of right to life as per the recent verdict of Supreme Court. The 9-judge bench of Supreme Court unanimously declared Privacy a Fundamental right and said that it’s intrinsic to right to life & personal liberty.
  • Renard series –it is system of preferred numbers proposed by French army engineer Charles Renard which has application in industry and design and has been found useful in determining currency notes denominations. This was in the news recently after Reserve Bank of India argued that Rs.200 note is needed to provide the missing link in the Renard series among various currency note denominations.
  • 3 year - the period for which the action agenda was unveiled by the government recently which proposes substantial expansion in spending on education, health, agriculture, rural development, defence, railways, roads by 2019-20. The NITI Aayog document proposes linking central government expenditures to future priorities. It suggests shifting the composition of expenditures by allocating a larger proportion of additional revenues that become available over time to high-priority sectors. The government had tasked the NITI Aayog to prepare a 15-year vision document, a seven year strategy and three year action agenda to replace the Soviet-era five year plans. The 3-year action agenda has the potential to guide states in taking action towards radical transformation. The agenda said that there are good prospects for the economy to return to 8% growth in the next 2-3 years. It focusses on seven key areas that include revenue and expenditure, economic transformation in major sectors, regional development, growth enablers, reforms in governance, social sectors and sustainability. The action agenda strongly backed setting up of coastal economic zones for large labour intensive industries to create jobs. It said that these zones should have more liberal and economic environment and should have liberal labour laws as in the case of Gujarat’s special economic zones, special investment regions and National Investment and Manufacturing Zones (NIMZs).
  • 98.7% -the percentage of Rs.1000 note worth Rs.6.86 lakh crore was deposited with Reserve Bank of India as on 31st March 2017 as per the data put on its website by Reserve Bank of India after demonetisation. 1.3% of Rs.1000 worth Rs.8925 crore was not deposited with Reserve Bank of India.
  • IBC –it stands for Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code is believed to give a boost to credit growth in India by the experience of other countries that have brought in similar laws as per study by State Bank of India. Germany experienced a tenfold jump in credit growth just after code implementation, China witnessed 30% growth in third year while in Kazakhsthan and the UAE the credit growth jumped immediately the year of implementation.
  • Severe under-employment –it is the main problem facing the country as per the document issued by Niti Aayog recently. The government think-tank in its three-year action plan, released recently, has said that a focus on the domestic market through an import-substitution strategy would give rise to a group of relatively small firms behind a high wall of protection. Contrary to some assertions that India's growth has been 'jobless', the Employment Unemployment Surveys of the National Sample Survey Office have consistently reported low and stable rates of unemployment over more than three decades. "Indeed, unemployment is the lesser of India's problems. The more serious problem, instead, is severe underemployment," the Aayog said in the Three-Year Action Agenda for 2017-18 to 2019-20. "What is needed is the creation of high-productivity, high-wage jobs," it said further. Citing examples of top manufacturing countries like South Korea, Taiwan, Singapore and China, it said, "The 'Make in India' campaign needs to succeed by manufacturing for global markets." Noting that with Chinese wages rising due to an ageing workforce and many large-scale firms in labour-intensive sectors currently manufacturing in that country are looking for lower-wage locations, the Aayog said, "with its large workforce and competitive wages, India would be a natural home for these firms." "Therefore, the time for adopting a manufactures-and exports-based strategy could not be more opportune," it added. The Aayog in its Three Year Action Agenda also recommended for the creation of a handful of Coastal Employment Zones, which may attract multinational firms in labour-intensive sectors from China to India. "The presence of these firms will give rise to an ecosystem in which local small and medium firms will also be induced to become highly productive thereby multiplying the number of well-paid jobs," it observed. Making a case for reforming labour laws, the Aayog also noted that recently fixed-term employment has been introduced in the textiles and apparel industry. "This option may be extended to all sectors. The change will encourage employers to rely on regular fixed-term employment instead of contract workers, especially when hiring workers for specific projects or for meeting seasonal demand," it said. Besides, the Aayog pointed out that unifying the existing large number of labour laws into four codes without reform of the laws themselves will serve little purpose. "Unless we bring about substantive change either by amending the existing laws or rewriting them afresh, we cannot expect to change the current situation where low-productivity and low-wage jobs dominate the landscape" it observed.
  • 30 crore families – the number of families which have been linked to Pradhan Mantri Jan Dhan Yojana in the last three years and Rs 65,000 crore deposited in their accounts as per the address of Prime Minister Narendra Modi in his "Mann Ki Baat" radio programme. PMJDY completed three years on August 28, 2017. He said PMJDY has connected 30 crore new families to it, opened new accounts and this number is more than the population of several countries. He said the poor had become part of the mainstream of national economy, and the poor were saving money and feeling the security that comes with it. Modi also referred to the poor benefiting from the insurance schemes -- Pradhan Mantri Jeevan Jyoti Yojana and Pradhan Mantri Suraksha Bima Yojana. The Prime Minister said millions of youths had got loans under the Mudra Yojana which had helped them stand on their feet and created employment opportunities.

Sports Updates

  • Akila Dananjaya -the Sri Lankan spinner who took six wickets and his maiden ODI five wicket haul in the second one-day international against India at Pallakele in Sri Lanka.
  • Glasgow –this place in Scotland was the venue of the World Badminton Championships where India’s PV Sindhu's gallant effort to become India's first ever World Champion ended in a heart-wrenching defeat against Nozomi Okuhara in an epic final. In a nerve-wrecking final, which tested the physical and mental strength of both the players, Sindhu lost 19-21, 22-20, 20-22 after battling hard for one hour and 49 minutes. Nozomi Okuhara became the first shuttler from her country to win the World Championship. For India, it still was a historic edition since for the first time country's shuttler won two medals. Saina Nehwal won a bronze after losing her semi-final. India had one silver and four bronze in the World Championships before this edition. Prakash Padukone was the first Indian to win a medal when he took a bronze in the men's singles in 1983 before the women's doubles pair of Jwala Gutta and Ashwini Ponnappa bagged another bronze in 2011.

Current Affairs August 14th to August 20th 2017

International Current News

  • 3 billion tonnes - the amount of carbon released in the atmosphere due to El Nino effect from 2014-16. This was announced by scientists after they analysed data collected by NASA’s Orbiting Carbon Observatory-2(OCO-2) satellite, which measures the level of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. El-Nino is a periodic climate event that causes waters to warm up in east-central Pacific Ocean which turn causes huge changes in wind direction bringing less rain to South-East Asia and the Indian subcontinent, while increasing rain in other parts of the world.

National Current News

  • Highlights of the second volume of the Economic Survey for 2016-17: GDP growth in 2017-18 retained in at between 6.75 and 7.5 percent, the dangers of farm loan waivers which could reduce aggregate demand by as much as Rs 1.1 lakh crore or 0.7 per cent of GDP, Cash holdings being Rs 3.5 lakh crore (20 per cent) less than pre-demonetisation trends are some of the highlights of the second volume of the Economic Survey for 2016-17, which was released recently. Chief Economic Advisor Arvind Subramanian argued that the Indian economy faced significant short-term concerns, saying it was subject to strong deflationary pressures. The growth outlook was more subdued than when the first volume was presented just before the Union Budget for 2017-18 in February. The Survey said all indicators 'pointed to a deceleration in real activity since the first quarter of 2016-17, and a further deceleration since the third quarter. The Survey also warned that current growth would be difficult to sustain given underlying factors. The Survey argued that the deflationary trend was part of a broader paradigm shift towards lower inflation, driven by a structural change in the global oil market and transformation of domestic agriculture.
  • Blue Whale Challenge –it is the online game which has been banned by India keeping in view its suicidal characteristics. It is an online game which urges players to fulfill self-harming challenges resulting in suicide, has already claimed a few victims across the country, alarming the authorities. In a bid to stop it, the government has directed social media and internet companies such as Facebook, Google and Microsoft to immediately remove the game, which has claimed 100 lives across the world, from their platforms. The ministry directed the companies to ensure that any such link of this deadly game in its own name or any similar game was immediately removed from their platforms and the proponent of this game should be reported to law enforcement agencies.
  • SEBI –it stands for Securities Exchange Bureau of India which is the watchdog of capital markets in India. It was in the news recently as it has started cracking down on misuse of stock market for money laundering and has stepped up "focused inspection" of suspected brokers and other entities leading to action against hundreds of them. The capital markets watchdog has also enhanced its cooperation with other regulators and agencies in India as well as abroad for investigations. Regarding the surveillance measures taken during last year, Sebi said it regularly conducts meetings with stock exchanges and depositories to keep track of market movements and surveillance activities. To deal with increasing instances of bulk fraudulent SMSes to investors at large, action was taken in a few cases to send a message to the market, while the depository alert system has been strengthened.
  • 22 carat -the value above which the export of gold was banned by India recently. This was done amid high imports of gold from South Korea. In a notification, the Directorate General of Foreign Trade(DGFT) allowed export of gold jewellery up to maximum limit of 22 carats only from domestic traffic area and export oriented units, electronics hardware technology parks, software technology parks and bio technology parks.
  • 4% -it is the ultimate interest which the farmers will have to pay on short term farm loan of one year up to Rs. 3 lakh as per the recent notification by Reserve Bank of India. The government has approved an interest subvention of 2% for crop loans up to Rs. 3 lakh during the current fiscal year ending March 2018. As a result, banks will be able to offer short-term crop loans up to one year at 7% per anum. Farmers paying back their loans promptly will be offered another 3% subvention reducing their interest further to 4%. But the subvention will be only for farmers who have linked their Aadhaar number with their accounts.
  • The main highlights of Prime Minister Narendra Modi speech delivered on the occasion of 71st Independence Day: Farmers will grow his income two-fold by 2022, Significant attention to eastern India - Bihar, Assam, West Bengal, Odisha and the Northeast, Launch of slogan 'Bharat Jodo' (Bring India together) were the main highlights of Prime Minister Narendra Modi speech delivered on the occasion of 71st Independence Day. PM Modi concludes his speech with chants of "Bharat Mata Ki Jai ... Vande Mataram ... Jai Hind". He said that by 2022 let us create an India, where the young women get opportunities in every field. An India, which is free of terrorism, corruption, dynasty politics, communalism and casteism. And finally, an India which is clean and healthy. Let's move together in this path of development. He also said that Black money worth Rs 2 lakh crore was recovered post demonetization and cancelled the registration of as many as 1.75 lakh companies. He called upon the people to leave this 'Chalta Hai' attitude and think of 'Badal Sakta Hai'- this attitude will help us as a nation. One of the other highlights of speech was that, 1st January 2018 will not be an ordinary day as those born in this century will start turning 18 and they are Bhagya Vidhatas of our nation.
  • New Metro Rail Policy –it is the main policy related to transport infrastructure which was approved recently by government. The government recently approved a new metro rail policy for expanding the metro network across various cities in the country. The new policy was approved by the Union Cabinet chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi. The metro policy will talk about standardising norms and developing a procurement mechanism for implementation of the projects. It will also talk about funding and financing. At present, metro projects with a total length of more than 350 km are operational in eight cities -- Delhi, Bengaluru, Kolkata, Chennai, Kochi, Mumbai, Jaipur and Gurugram. Metro projects are also under way in Hyderabad, Nagpur, Ahmedabad, Pune and Lucknow. $10b –it is the cost which India has to bear annually due to climate change and it is projected to impact agricultural productivity with increasingly severity from 2020 to the end of the century. As per the information released by agriculture ministry productivity decrease of all major crops will be marginal in the next few years but could rise to as much as 10-40% by 2100 unless farming adapts to climate change-induced changes in weather. ICAR-National Institute of Agricultural Economics and Policy Research has projected food demand of 345 million tonnes by 2030-almost 30% higher than in 2011 and 65 million tonnes more than the expected production in 2016-17.
  • 275.68 MT -the expected production of foodgrains in India for the 2016-17 crop year. The government recently revised its previous figures upward by 2.3MT and the new figure is 4% higher than the previous record production achieved in 2013-14. The production in 2016-17 is significantly higher by 24.1 MT (9.59%) than the output of 2015-16 which was a drought year. The revised figures released recently are part of the agriculture ministry’s fourth advance estimate for the year 2016-17. In its third estimate the ministry had put the estimated production at 273.38MT. The ministry releases four advance estimates followed by final estimates of production of major agricultural crops every year (July-June). The fourth advance estimates are considered as the final estimates. The final estimates are released about six months after the fourth advance estimates. No revision in the state-level data is accepted after release of final estimates by the agriculture ministry. India had recorded its previous best in the year 2013-14 when the country produced 265.04 MT of food grain, backed by good and well distributed monsoon rainfall. The ministry attributed the all-time record of food production in 2016-17 and various policy initiatives taken by it. Record output has been achieved in all major crops of food grain basket like rice (110.15 MT), wheat (98.38 MT), and pulses (22.95 MT).
  • Major features of the new 50 Rs. Note : The base colour of the note is fluorescent blue, The note has portrait of Mahatma Gandhi at the centre, It has motif of the Hampi chariot on the reverse are some of the major features of the new 50 Rs. Note which has been introduced by Reserve Bank of India. The notes issued by the RBI in the earlier series will continue to be legal tender. In addition to the above features the note carries the Swachh Bharat logo with its slogan and the denominational numeral is also inscribed in Devnagari script.
  • MoU between EESL and Oil Companies: LED bulbs will be available at Rs.70, LED Tube lights will be available at Rs.220, 5-star fans are now available for Rs.1200 at all the petrol pumps from 16th August 2017. This was made possible after signing of MoU between EESL (Energy Efficiency Services Limited which is a JV of PSUs under the Ministry of Power) and Indian Oil, HP and Bharat Petroleum.
  • 85 lakh -the number of animals which have been tagged with Aadhaar like unique ID and the information uploaded on the database. Data of the identified animals is being uploaded on Information Network on Animal Health and Productivity (INAPH) data base. 300mn is the number of bovine population in India out of which 88mn is the number of milk producing animals (cows and buffaloes) and out of this only 8.5mn is the number of milk producing animals identified and tagged so far. Tagging is done using polyurethane tags with 12-digit unique identification number (UID). It carries identification details like age, breed, sex, lactation, height, body colour, horn type, tail switch and special marks.
  • 17 state and central taxes and 23 cesses –these were merged into a single levy called GST from 1st July 2017. The one-nation, one-tax principle that underscores GST aims to ensure that all commodities across the country will have one rate and can be moved without any state border checks.
  • Gram Seva --the name of the programme under which State Bank of India under its new CSR initiative will adopt at least 500 villages over the next three years. The initiative is launched by SBI Foundation with the aim to develop villages in collaboration with the Gram Panchayats. The focus areas are health, education, environment, women empowerment, livelihood, skill development and local infrastructure. The aim of the project is to link specific government schemes to the individual in villages.

Sports Updates

Current Affairs August 07th to August 13th 2017

International Current News

  • 10th August -this day every year is observed as World Bio-Fuel Day in a bid to create awareness about non fossil-fuels (Green Fuels). Significance of Day: On this day in 1893, Sir Rudalph Diesel (inventor of the diesel engine) for the first time successfully ran mechanical engine with Peanut Oil. His research experiment had predicted that vegetable oil is going to replace the fossil fuels in the next century to fuel different mechanical engines. Thus to mark this extraordinary achievement, World Biofuel Day is observed every year on 10th August. This year World Biofuel day is being celebrated in 100 districts of the country from 10-13th August 2017.

National Current News

  • DELTA -it stands for Data, Evaluation, Learning, Technology and Analysis is the technology backed data intensive development flagship project of Tata Trusts-one of India’s oldest, non-sectarian philanthropic organization. DELTA has impacted 17 lakh people across 1248 villages through data-driven governance in select districts of Andhra Pradesh, Maharashtra, Odisha and Jharkhand. As part of the initiative, Tata Trusts has conducted tablet based data collection with over 300 data points which policy makers can use to make effective decisions.
  • The major highlights of the Monetary Policy of RBI–25 basis points reduction in Repo rate, Economic Growth forecast retained at 7.3% and Inflation projection lowered marginally to just above 4% from 4.5% forecast earlier are some of the major highlights of the Monetary Policy announced by Reserve Bank of India on 2nd August 2017. It is the lowest repo rate in 7 years as the last time Repo Rate of 6% was on September 16, 2010. The six-member Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) headed by RBI governor Urjit Patel decided to lower the policy repo rate by 25 basis points to 6%. In the previous meeting of the MPC in June, the policy rate was left unchanged at 6.25%. The central bank considered a change in its policy stance “opportune” considering the downtrend in consumer inflation, normal monsoon, lower oil prices and smooth roll-out of the Goods and Services Tax (GST).
  • Rs.15.41 lakh crore -the amount of currency in circulation as on 28 July, 2017 as per the Reserve bank of India. This is about 86% of Rs.17.97 lakh crore of the amount as on 4 November 2016, 4 days later , the government had announced the decision to pull Rs.500 and Rs.100 notes out of circulation to eradicate black money, counterfeits, corruption and terror funding.
  • 25 Paise–the amount by which the prices of kerosene is going up every 15 days in an effort to gradually reduce subsidy on kerosene. This fortnightly hike is since July 2016 and the consumption has gone down a fifth in 2016-17. The demand for kerosene is further falling sharply because villages are being rapidly electrified and the government has supplied cooking gas connections to crore s of poor people in the past three years. Delhi and Chandigarh are already kerosene free cities.
  • RBI–they are planning the creation of a panel to consider creation of Public Credit Registry(PCR), which is one of the development initiatives announced by RBI recently. The central bank has also asked for credit bureaus to provide more comprehensive reports and take further steps to develop the corporate debt market. The PCR will be near real-time and will aid credit assessment not just by lenders but of the lenders themselves. The PCR will be an extensive database of credit information for India that is accessible to all stake holders. The idea is to capture all relevant information in one large database on the borrower’s entire set of borrowing contracts and contracts and outcome. In India, as of date, there exist four credit bureaus-CIBIL, Equifax, Experian and CRIF Highmark
  • NPL–it stands for National Physical Laboratory is the CSIR department with which ISRO recently signed a MoU to develop a desi GPS. The ISRO Telemetry Tracking and Command Network (ISTRAC) and CSIR-National Physical Laboratory (NPL) have signed MoU to make indigenous positioning system-NavIC independent from the US clock system. Until now, the satellites on NavIC (Navigation with Indian Constellation) managed by the ISRO relied on the US GPS to ensure that the clocks aboard were working at the high-precision required in satellite-based communication. The MoU will help the NAVIC to get formally synchronized with the Indian Standard Time (IST) which is being maintained by the Delhi-based NPL – the timekeeper of India. It will also help in making NAVIC to get fully operational in the market for commercial purposes as time synchronisation is essential for all kinds of services such as financial transactions, digital archiving, stock handling, time stamping, national security or prevention of cyber-crimes etc. NavIC, formally called the Indian Regional Navigation Satellite System (IRNSS) is designed to provide accurate position information service to users in India as well as the region extending up to 1500 km from its boundary. NavIC System consists of constellation of seven satellites (namely IRNSS-1A, 1B, 1C, 1D, 1E, 1F and 1G) of which three are geostationary and four are non-geostationary. National Physical Laboratory (NPL) is part of the Council of Scientific & Industrial Research (CISR). It is the measurement standards laboratory of India. It maintains standards of SI units in India and calibrates the national standards of weights and measures. It is only agency in India authorised to maintain Indian Standard Time (IST) and hosts most accurate clocks in the country with accuracy in India authorised to maintain Indian Standard Time (IST) and hosts most accurate clocks in the country with accuracy of ±20 nanoseconds through the Primary Time Scale (PTS), an ensemble of five caesium clocks and one hydrogen.
  • SECC 2011 data–this data will now be the main source of data to target individual beneficiaries for all social schemes. The move is in line with the recommendation of a committee formed to study validity and efficiency of the SECC 2011 data in identifying the poor. The panel headed by former finance secretary Sumit Bose, in its report spoke in favour of using SECC data for rural development schemes and suggested a formula to use some deprivation parameters to identify the beneficiaries for specific schemes. SECC data provides for automatic exclusion on the basis of 14 parameters, automatic inclusion on the basis of five parameters and grading of deprivation on the basis of seven criteria. According to the SECC data released in July 2015, more than 62% of rural households in the country qualified as deprived. Of the total 17.9 crore households,13% or 2.37 crore households, still live in houses with only one room with temporary makeshift walls and roof. More than four crore households have no literate over 25 years of age, while 65 lakh are without any adult member between age 18 and 59.
  • 272 Votes–the victory margin is the biggest victory margin in the last 30 years for the elections of Vice-President of India. Former Union Minister M Venkaiah Naidu got elected as the 13th Vice-President by defeating Mahatma Gandhi’s grandson Gopalkrishna Gandhi by 272 votes. Naidu got 516 votes while Gandhi secured only 244. He will replace Hamid Ansari, the two-time vice-president since 2007.
  • Article 35A- the article of the Constitution of India which empowers J&K legislature to define state's "permanent residents" and their special rights and privileges, unknown to the public domain till recent times, has raked up an intense debate in the country. It was added to the constitution through a presidential order of 1954 with the then J&K government's concurrence. After J&K's accession, popular leader Sheikh Abdullah took over reins from Dogra ruler. In 1949, he negotiated J&K's political relationship with New Delhi, which led to the inclusion of Article 370 in the Constitution which guarantees special status to J&K, restricting Union's legislative powers over three areas: defence, foreign affairs and communications. However, under the 1952 Delhi Agreement between Abdullah and Nehru, several provisions of the Constitution were extended to J&K via presidential order in 1954. Article 35A was inserted then. An NGO, We the Citizens, challenged 35A in SC in 2014 on grounds that it was not added to the Constitution through amendment under Article 368. In another case in SC last month, two Kashmiri women argued that the state's laws, flowing from 35A, had disenfranchised their children.
  • Four Members–the number of members of a family who are counted under the three-unit based formula to fix minimum wages presently. This includes family -- husband, wife and two children. It has no provision to count dependent parents, if any, or even if there are more than two children. The three-unit formula gives the husband a full unit, wife 0.8 unit, and 0.6 units for each of the two children. Based on the three-unit formula, the minimum wage is worked out taking into consideration the calorific value requirements of 2,700 each, certain length of cloth requirement, housing rental value, education and medical expenses etc. This was in the news after the labour ministry recently formed a committee that will look afresh at the minimum wage fixation formula keeping in view the cost to maintain a minimum living standard and also the size of an average family. Now the trade unions are saying that the three-unit system are not sufficient to decide minimum wages because the children continue to stay with the family for longer periods. After the 2010 Supreme Court ruling that dependent parents are to be taken care of by children, it is believed that two more units should be added and the formula be based on six-unit formulae than three.
  • Bharat-22–the name of newly created exchange-traded fund (ETF) -that will comprise shares of 22 central public sector enterprises, state-owned banks and some holding in SUUTI. Bharat-22 will cover six sectors. It will feature four banking stocks -- SBI, Axis Bank, Bank of Baroda and Indian Bank -- other than CPSEs such as Nalco, ONGC, IOC, BPCL and Coal India. Besides, there will be nine other PSUs as well as REC and PFC. SUUTI's holding in ITC has also been included. Ninety per cent of the equities included are traded in futures. ICICI Prudential will manage the fund.
  • Reserve Bank of India–this agency promoted platform is the place through which the new priority sector lending certificates (PSLCs) are being traded. Banks, with deficit in priority sector loans, can buy PSLCs from banks with surplus priority loans to bridge the gap for of a fee and without any real transfer of assets. This instrument, introduced last fiscal, has substituted the complex securitisation or direct assignment structures for buying or selling priority sector loans. PSLC is being traded exclusively between banks while non-banks aren’t allowed to do so. Last fiscal, about Rs 49,800 crore of PSLCs were traded between banks — bypassing the securitisation and IBPC routes — to meet their priority-sector lending mandate. Despite this, securitisation volume last fiscal grew 47% year-on-year to Rs 1,02,500 crore, riding on transactions of non-priority sector loans. Securitisation, on the other hand, is done through pooling of loans and selling them to another lender by issuing pass through certificates issued by trusts or special purpose vehicles, or selling them bilaterally via a process called direct assignment of loans. PSLC is preferred over other instruments, as they allow banks to leverage on their strength in a particular segment of priority lending such as agri lending, small farmer financing and MSMEs. It also incentivises banks having surplus in their lending to priority sector categories by way of earning premium on selling the PSLC. No capital provisioning is required as this is an off-balance sheet investment, whereas IBPC, securitisation and DA require capital provisioning. Furthermore, the transactions are completely digitalised and enables market dynamics to decide on the pricing of the instruments. The Crisil study showed that around 55% of the PSLCs traded are related to loans to small and marginal farmers.
  • Article 80(3)–the article of the Constitution authorizes the President of India to nominate (on the advice of the Government) 12 members to the Rajya Sabha. These members are people from outside the realm of politics and elections. These are people who have excelled in their respective fields and whose expertise and vision can help shape legislation in the country. This was in the news as many of the presently nominated members of Rajya Sabha of this category are not contributing to the development of legislature and participating in meetings.
  • 2022–it will be the 75th anniversary year of the 'Quit India' movement by which t Prime Minister Narendra Modi has called for the creation of a "new India" free of corruption and poverty. The next five years could be as important as the five years between 1942, when the 'Quit India' movement was launched, and 1947, when India got its Independence, the Prime Minister said in the Lok Sabha recently.He urged people to take a pledge to end corruption, poverty, malnutrition and illiteracy, besides ensuring gender equality.The house later adopted a resolution for the creation of an inclusive and prosperous India of the dreams of freedom fighters by 2022, the 75th anniversary of India's Independence.
  • PMRPY–it stands for Pradhan MantriRojgarProtsahanYojana, is the scheme launched in august 2016, under which the government is obliged to pay the entire employee pension scheme (EPS) component of the employer’s Employee’s Provident Fund (EPF) contribution for worker’s with a salary up to Rs.15, 000 per month for the first three years of their employment. Of the employer’s share of EPF kitty 8.33% goes to EPS, 3.6% to EPF, 0.65% towards administrative charges, 0.5% to Employees Deposit-Linked Insurance scheme and 0.01% for EDLI maintenance. Under the PMRPY, the EPS share is provided by the government so that firms are encouraged to recruit unemployed persons and also bring informal workers into the payroll. Under the Pradahan Mantri Paridhan Rojgar Protsahan Yojana for the textile sector the government bears the entire 12% employer’s contribution to the retirement fund for the first three years-against 8.33% for other sectors under PMRPY.
  • Rs. 30,659 crore–it is the amount of annual dividend transferred to the centre by Reserve bank of India in 2017. This was in the news recently as it is almost half of Rs.65,876 crore paid in 2016. Analysts believe that this must have reckoned the unusually high logistics cost of printing currency post-demonetisation and dollars it expended to stem the rupee rally in recent times.
  • The advantages of the merged SBI-Merged SBI will now be the 45th top bank of the world, The customer base of merged SBI will be 37 crore, Merged SBI will have a deposit base of Rs.26 lakh crore and advance of Rs.18.50 lakh crore will be the advantages of the merged SBI which was approved by Lok Sabha recently. The Lok Sabha passed the Bill to repeal the SBI (Subsidiaries Banks) Act, 1959 and the State Bank of Hyderabad Act, 1956 and to further amend the State bank of India act, 1965. Following merger SBI will have 24,000 branches and nearly 59,000 ATMs.
  • Invest India–it is the official Investment Promotion and Facilitation Agency of the Government of India, mandated to facilitate investments into India. It is envisaged to be the first point of reference for potential investors. A team of domain and functional experts provide sector-and state-specific inputs, and hand-holding support to investors through the entire investment cycle, from pre-investment decision-making to after-care. They assist with location identification; expediting regulatory approvals; facilitating meetings with relevant government and corporate officials; and also provide aftercare services that include initiating remedial action on problems faced by investors. All facilitation and hand-holding support to investors under the “Make in India” programme is being provided by Invest India. Invest India is promoted by the Department of Industrial Policy & Promotion (DIPP), Ministry of Commerce and Industry, Government of India.
  • The four major steps played by banks in the successful implementation of DBT and DBTL-(1)Opening of accounts of all beneficiaries (2) Seeding of bank accounts with Aadhaar numbers and uploading on the NPCI mapper;(3)Undertaking funds transfer using the National Automated Clearing House -Aadhaar Payment Bridge System (NACH-APBS). (4) Strengthening of banking infrastructure to enable beneficiary to withdraw money are the four major steps played by banks in the successful implementation of Direct Benefit Transfer (DBT) and Direct Benefit Transfer for LPG (DBTL).The objective of DBT Scheme is to ensure that money under various developmental schemes reaches beneficiaries directly and without any delay. Direct Benefit Transfer (DBT),the scheme was launched in the country from January, 2013 and was rolled out in a phased manner, starting with 25 welfare schemes, in 43 districts and extended to additional 78 districts and additional 3 schemes from 1st July, 2013. Presently DBT in 35 schemes have been expanded across the entire country.Direct Benefit Transfer for LPG (DBTL) was rolled out in 291 districts in the country from 1stJune 2013 in six phases.
  • PMVVY –it stands for Pradhan Mantri Vaya Vandana Yojana is the new scheme of government to provide assured pension to senior citizens. Based on the success and popularity of Varishtha Pension Bima Yojana 2003 (VPBY-2003), Varishtha Pension Bima Yojana 2014 (VPBY-2014) schemes, and to protect elderly persons aged 60 years and above against a future fall in their interest income due to the uncertain market conditions, as also to provide social security during old age, the government decided to launch a simplified scheme of assured pension of 8% called the ‘प्रधानमंत्री वय वन्दनायोजना’. This is implemented through Life Insurance Corporation (LIC) of India. As per the scheme, on payment of an initial lump sum amount ranging from a minimum purchase price of Rs. 1, 50,000/- for a minimum pension of Rs 1,000/- per month to a maximum purchase price of Rs. 7, 50,000/- for maximum pension of Rs. 5,000/- per month, subscribers will get an assured pension based on a guaranteed rate of return of 8% per annum, payable monthly.

Sports Updates

  • Jamaica -the country of famous athlete Usain Bolt who announced his retirement recently. Bolt, the fastest human in history won 8 Olympic and 11 world gold medals over a glittering career

Current Affairs August 01th to August 06th 2017

National Current News

  • 7.4% -it is the growth rate for India as forecasted for fiscal 2017 by Asian Development Bank (ADB). ADB forecasted a growth rate of 6.7% for China for 2017. ADB upgraded its growth outlook in the Asian region from 5.7% to 5.9% in 2017 and from 5.7 to 5.8 for 2018. The smaller uptick in the 2018 rate reflects a cautious view on the sustainability of the improved more than expected export demand in the first quarter of 2017.
  • She-Box–it stands for Sexual Harassment electronic Box is the name of the online complaint management system launched recently by central government against sexual harassment at work place in the central government. The portal is an initiative to provide a platform to women working or visiting any office of the Central government including central ministries, departments, public sector undertakings, autonomous bodies and institutions to file complaints related to sexual harassment at workplace under the SH(Sexual Harassment at workplace)Act.
  • Features of Payment Banks -It is bank with differentiated license and not universal license like commercial banks. It can take deposits up to Rs.1.00 lakh per account. It can issue debit cards but not credit cards are some of the features of Payment Banks. The main objective of these banks is to further financial inclusion by providing small savings accounts and payments/remittances services to migrant labour workforce, low income households, small businesses and other unorganized sector entities. RBI has mandated the minimum capital up equity capital for payment banks at Rs.100 crore.
  • 304–it is the biggest overseas victory margin achieved by India in Test cricket. This margin was achieved on July 26, 2017 when India defeated Sri Lanka by 304 runs during the first Test match at Galle. Before this the biggest margin of victory was of 279 runs against England on June 19, 1986.
  • Muntra–it is the first unmanned tank developed by India. Defence Research and Development Organisation(DRDO) has developed an unmanned, remotely operated tank which has three variants: surveillance, mine detection and reconnaissance , for areas with nuclear and blowweapons. Muntra-S is the country’s first tracked unmanned ground vehicle developed for unmanned surveillance missions while Muntra-M is for detecting mines and Muntra-N is for operation in areas where there is a nuclear risk or bio-weapon risk.
  • Support Two sisters–it is the programme was recently launched by government on the occasion of Rakshabandhan. The first sister referred to sister known to one while the second sister referred to unknown sister who weaves the Khadi fabric. This campaign was to support the sale of Khadi Gift Coupon in India.
  • Kisan Sampada Yojana–it is the scheme under which financial assistance for creation of infrastructure for agro processing clusters are provided by Government of India. Preferably these clusters must be set up near the identified agri-horti production clusters in the country. SAMPADA( Scheme for Agro-marine Processing and Development of Agro-Processing Clusters) have been renamed as Kisan Sampada Yojana with an allocation of Rs.6,000 crore for the period 2016-20 coterminous with the 14th Finance Commission cycle with the following schemes: Mega Food Parks, Integrated Cold Chain and Value Addition Infrastructure, Creation/expansion of Food Processing & Preservation Capacities, Infrastructure of Agro Processing Clusters, Creation of Backward and Forward Linkages, Food safety and Quality Assurance Infrastructure & Human Resources and Institutions.
  • NEFT, RTGS & UPI–these are the major digital payment gateways catering to the customers in addition to the e wallets in India. NEFT stands for The National Electronic Fund Transfer and is the most commonly used method to transfer funds from one bank account to another. RTGS stands for the Real Time Gross Settlement and is used to transfer large amounts of money. UPI stands for Unified payments Interface and enables funds transfers through smartphones using lesser number of steps, free of cost. The transfer interface for NEFT & RTGS are the Bank’s Website or App while for UPI it is only App. In NEFT the money is transferred after a time lag while in RTGS the transfer is in real-time and in UPI it is instant. In NEFT there is no minimum amount but not more than Rs.10 lakh can be transferred while in RTGS a minimum of Rs. 2 lakh with no upper limit can be transferred while in UPI there is no minimum amount but upper limit is of Rs.1 lakh. In NEFT & RTGS there is a transaction cost while no cost in UPI. International transfers can be done in NEFT & RTGS but not through UPI. In NEFT & RTGS the details required are Beneficiary’s name, account number and IFSC code while in UPI only Beneficiary’s VPA is required. NEFT & RTGS are easily accessible and is available across all banks but there is limited availability for UPI.
  • CERT-In- which stands for Indian Computer Emergency Response Team, is the agency at national level in India, where any cyber security threat has to be reported. It was in the news recently as it witnessed more than 27000 cyber security threats incident in the first half of 2017. In 2016 nearly 50,362 incidents were reported while the number was 49,455 in 2015 and 44,679 in 2014. Threats reported include phishing attacks, website intrusions and defacements or damages to data as well as ransom attacks. The Reserve Bank is planning to launch Fin-CERT to deal with the financial sector breaches on apilot basis.
  • Rs.4 per month–it is quantum increase in cost of domestic LPG cylinder which has been suggested by the centre with an aim to hasten to bridge the gap between subsidized and market rates of domestic LPG. The gap with the market price is now just around Rs.86. Each household is entitled to 12 cylinders of 14.2 kg at subsidized rates in a year and pays market rates for refills beyond this cap.
  • Lithium, Antimony, Mercury, Arsenic and Lead–these are the substances which will have been banned from use in fireworks by Supreme Court recently. Lithium is a metal used to impart red colour to fireworks and antimony is used to create glitter effects. Similarly, lead oxide is used to provide a crackling effect which if enhaled in high concentration could damage the nervous system. The court also directed Central Pollution Control Board(CPCB) and Petroleum and Explosive Safety Organisation(PESO) to lay down standards with regard to composition of chemicals in firecrackers.

Sports Updates

  • Caleb Dressel -the swimmer of US recently created history by winning seven gold medals in one edition of World Championship when he won 7 gold medals at the Budapest World Championship,2017. Phelps achieved this feat in Melbourne in 2007 while Mark Spitz won seven gold at the 1972 Olympics at Munich