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Current Affairs 2017

A monthly round up of Current Affairs for the year 2017. You can get the Current Affairs 2017 in Pdf format if you register for our monthly emagazines.
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Current Affairs - January 2017


Current Affairs January 02nd to January 08th 2017

National Current News

  • Schemes announced on 31st December 2016 - Nation-wide scheme for financial assistance of Rs.6,000 to pregnant women, 3 crore farmers who have Kisan Credit Cards to be given RuPay debit cards within three months, Underwriting loans to small enterprises upto 2 crore by banks and NBFCs, Increase of working capital loans by banks from 20% to 30%, for enterprises that transact digitally are some of the major announcements which were made by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in his address to the nation on 31st December,2016.
  • NEXT - it stands for National Exit Test is the exam in which all the medical students completing the five-and-a-half-year medical course will have to clear to use the 'doctor' title. The draft Indian Medical Council (Amendment) Bill 2016, unveiled by the Union health ministry recently, said they will have to pass NEXT. The test is expected to create a level-playing field in medical education. It is believed that NEXT would improve the quality of medical education in the country and help benchmark students.
  • Section 8(1) (g) - it is the relevant section of the RTI Act,2005 by which the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) reserved the right to keep mum on the money it disbursed after demonetization. The section bars "information", "the disclosure of which would endanger the life or physical safety of any person or identify the source of information or assistance given in confidence for law enforcement or security purposes".
  • Rs. 4500 per day - it is the limit of cash withdrawal from ATMs with effect from January 1, 2017. The RBI has decided to increase the cash withdrawal limit from ATMs to Rs 4,500 per day from the present Rs 2,500 with effect from January 1. However, there is no change in the weekly withdrawal limits, which stays at Rs 24,000.
  • Agni IV - it is the intercontinental ballistic missile which was successfully test-fired by India recently from a road-mobile launcher on the Abdul Kalam Island off Damra village on the Odisha coast. The Agni IV is an intercontinental ballistic missile with a strike range of 4,000 km. It is being developed by the Defence Research and Development Organisation under the Integrated Guided Missile Development Program. Agni IV is nuclear capable, with a payload capacity of one tonne of high-explosive warhead. It is the fourth variant in the series of medium to long range Agni missiles. Agni I, II, III have already been inducted for military use. Last month, Agni-V was successfully launched in its final phase of canisterised testing.
  • BJP - it is the ruling party in Arunachal Pradesh after 33 of the 43 People's Party of Arunachal MLA's including CM Pema Khandu joined the party. The BJP now has 47 MLAs in the House of 60. It's the second time in 13 years that the BJP is in governance in this border state.
  • 500 crore or more - it is the amount above which the list of corporate loan defaulters will soon be made public, as the Supreme Court directed the Centre recently to provide a compendium of corporate entities, who owe such amount to banks, in four weeks. A bench of Chief Justice TS Thakur and Justices A M Khanwilkar and D Y Chandrachud brushed aside the RBI's objections in October against making public the list of big loan defaulters, which was submitted in a sealed cover.
  • Rs. 5 - it is the amount of discount being offered per cylinder if one book and pay LPG refill online. This is the latest in a series of incentives that the oil ministry has announced to promote cashless and digital payments. Customers can make payment through existing online modes i.e. net banking, credit and debit cards at the time of web- booking their refills. On doing so, customers will get the discounted amount displayed on their screens. This net amount payable will be retail selling price minus incentive amount of Rs 5 per cylinder.
  • 5 poll bound states - Uttar Pradesh, Punjab, Goa, Manipur and Uttarakhand are the states which are going to be polls in 2017. The Election Commission recently announced the poll dates for these five states.
  • New features of election process - colorful voter guides will be distributed to each family, Height of voting compartment raised to ensure complete privacy, Separate polling stations for women in certain areas, Ballot paper will have photo of candidates are some of the new additional features announced by the Election Commission which will be implemented from the forthcoming assembly elections in 5 states.
  • Rs.20, 000 - it is the amount above which all the expenses by the candidates have to to compulsorily to be made by way of cheque. Candidates will be required to open bank accounts and expenses over Rs 20,000 will be by way of cheque from this bank account. The limit of expense is Rs 28 lakh per candidate in Punjab, Uttarakhand, UP and Rs 20 lakh in Manipur and Goa is Rs 20 lakh.
  • Bengal Chemical and Pharmaceutical Works Ltd. - it is India's first pharma company whose strategic sale was recently approved by the Union Cabinet recently. It was set up by eminent scientist-entrepreneur P C Ray in Kolkata in 1901. Union government took over the management of the company in 1977 and nationalized it in 1981. Chloroquine and paracetamol are among the well known drugs produced by the company. The cabinet also approved the closure of Indian Drugs and Pharmaceuticals Ltd. (IDPL) and Rajasthan Drugs and Pharmaceuticals Ltd. (RDPL).
  • State Bank of India - the bank which recently signed an agreement with Coca-Cola India and Hindustan Coca-Cola Beverages to enable over 2.6 million retailers and 5,000 distributors in conducting business transactions digitally. Arundhati Bhattacharya, Chairman, SBI and T Krishnakumar, Chairman & CEO HCCBPL & Region Director (South Asia) signed the MoU to forge the strategic partnership. It entails initiating the digitisation process among the retailers by on-boarding them into the SBI's digital payment options such as Buddy P2P, Buddy Merchant App, SBI Pay. To aid a smooth transition process, Coca-Cola and SBI will provide training to the retailers on new and evolving digital business transaction solutions.

Sports Updates

  • Mahendra Singh Dhoni - the Indian captain who has led his team in highest number of international matches (Tests, ODIs, T20Is) than any other captains of the world. Dhoni has been victorious in 331 matches and Ricky Ponting is at second place with 324 wins. Mahendra Singh Dhoni was in the news as he stepped down as limited overs captain of the Indian cricket team, thereby drawing curtains to his glorious leadership career. Under Dhoni's leadership India have won the ICC T20 World Cup in 2007, the ICC ODI World Cup in 2011, ICC Champions Trophy in 2013 and let the team into the semi-finals of the 2015 World Cup.
  • David Warner became the first Australian since Donald Bradman to smash a century before lunch on the first day of Test match. It was also the first time a batsman has scored 100 in the first session of a Test match in Australia, with Warner only the fourth Australian batsman to achieve the rare feat. Don Bradman was the last to do so with 105 in Leeds in 1930 on his way to 334, with Victor Trumper hitting 103 in Manchester in 1902 and Charlie Macartney scoring 112 at Leeds in 1926. The only other player to post a Test century before lunch on the first day of a Test was Pakistan's Majid Khan (108) against New Zealand in Karachi in 1976.
  • Destanee Aiava -the teenager of Australia created a slice of history when she became the first player born in the 2000s to win a main draw of the WTA tour. The 16-year old Aiava beat fellow qualifier Bethanie Mattek-Sands of the US in the first round of the Brisbane International.

Current Affairs January 09th to January 15th 2017

International Current News

  • Mesentery - the name of the new organ which has been discovered hiding in plain sight inside the human body. It was previously thought to be just a few fragmented structures in the digestive system. It has been discovered by J Calvin Coffey, a researcher at the University Hospital Limerick, Ireland.
  • La La Land' -film which swept away the Golden Globe Awards 2017, which was held in Beverly Hills on January 8 this year. The Damien Chazelle-directed film won the top honours and created Golden Globe history with seven wins. 'La La Land' won the Best Motion Picture (Comedy or Musical). The film's leading actor Ryan Gosling won the award for Best Actor in a Motion Picture (Comedy or Musical) for his act as a jazz pianist. Emma Stone walked away with the Best Actress in a Motion Picture (Comedy or Musical) for her portrayal of an aspiring actress in 'La La Land'. Damien Chazelle too bagged the Best Director and Best Screenplay Award for the love story. The film also won in the Original Score Department with the award going to Justin Hurwitz. The film's song 'City Of Stars' won the award for Original Song.
  • Tintin - the fictional detective character which was in the news recently after it completed 88 years. Tintin created by renowned Belgian cartoonist Georges Remi, better known as Herge, appeared for the first time on January 10,1929 in the comic strip called Le Petit Vingtieme.
  • Amazon - the E-commerce giant which was in the news recently after it pulled off from its site the sale of doormats with Indian flag. They also expressed regret for hurting Indian sensibilities, a day after Sushma Swaraj, India's foreign minister threatened to deny visas to its officials if it didn't take doormats depicting the Indian flag off its site.

National Current News

  • Digital Unlocked - the name of training programme launched by Google recently for Indian small business owners, to empower them with essential digital skills. Along with this it also launched a free website builder called Google My Business app. These are aimed at empowering nearly 51 million small and medium businesses SMBs) in the country. Under Digital Unlocked, Google will hold 5,ooo offline training workshops, in partnership with FICCI and the Indian School of Business over the next three years across 40 cities. The internet giant also launched a new mobile app, called Primer, which will impart similar training to businesses in an interactive manner.
  • BEML - the defence equipment manufacturer company in which the government decided to sell 26 % stake, making it the first major PSU to be sold through strategic disinvestment which may fetch exchequer over Rs.1,000 crore. Cabinet recently gave an 'in-principle' approval for strategic disinvestment of 26% equity shares in BEML out of government's shareholding of 54.03%. Air India -the airlines company which in a first-of-its-kind move in the aviation industry recently announced to reserve six seats for women on its flights operating on domestic routes. It has been decided to keep all the six seats in the third row of the economy class on Airbus A320 reserved only for women from January 18, 2017.
  • Khanderi - the name of submarine which was recently launched by India. The second Kalvari class, this Scorpene-class submarine has superior stealth and can use guided weapons - torpedoes and tube-launched anti-ship missiles -- on enemy subs from surface or underwater. Besides warfare, its varied functions will include intelligence gathering, mine laying and area surveillance etc. Khanderi is named after the island fort of Maratha forces, which played a vital role in ensuring their supremacy at sea in the late 17th century.
  • Airtel - they launched its first payments bank in the country. The company has rolled out the service in all the 29 states of the country. Airtel Payments Bank, a fully digital and paperless bank, aims to take basic banking services to the doorstep of every Indian by leveraging Airtel's vast retail network. Airtel retail stores across the country will also function as banking points, and customers will be able to open savings accounts, deposit and withdraw cash across any of these banking points. The Payments Bank will not charge any processing fee from its customers and merchants partners for digital transactions. The company has also rolled out an app for the Payments bank, which is available for both Android and iOS users. In November last year, the company rolled out a pilot of its banking services in Rajasthan aimed at testing systems and processes ahead of a full scale pan-India launch.
  • World Bank - they has cut India's 2016-17 growth estimate to 7% from 7.6% due to the impact of demonetization. It expects the economy to recover and post a growth of 7.6% in 2017-18 and 7.8% in the following year due to reform measures.
  • Political parties - they will continue to enjoy income tax exemption for the funds they collect, with the Supreme Court ruling recently that there was no illegality in the exception granted to keep parties out of the tax net. The bench of Chief Justice J S Khehar and DY Chandrachud dismissed a PIL challenging the constitutional validity of Section 13A of the Income Tax Act which grants exemption to political parties.

Sports Updates

  • 129 - the new rank of India according to the latest rankings released by FIFA which is a huge jump of 42 places in less than two years. It is also India's best ever ranking since August 2006. The Indian football team had an encouraging 2016, winning nine of their last 11 international matches. A win against Peurto Rico, a side ranked 114 much higher was the highlight of the year.
  • Cristiano Ronaldo - he received the FIFA's best player award for the fourth time recently, after Portugal and Real Madrid won both major European titles in 2016. He beat runner-up and rival Lionel Messi and Antoine Griezman to complete sweep of top individual awards.
  • 48 - the number of countries that will participate in FIFA World Cup from 20206 onwards as FIFA recently voted to expand the World Cup to 48 teams from its current 32, brushing aside concerns that the expansion would lower the overall standard of the tournament, and make it too long and unwieldy. Soccer's governing body said on its Twitter feed that the FIFA Council, its decision-making panel, had voted unanimously in favour of the change which will be introduced at the 2026 tournament. The new format will include a first round of 16 groups of three teams, FIFA said, with further details to be given later. FIFA president Gianni Infantino, who replaced the disgraced Sepp Blatter in February, had made World Cup expansion one of his promises during his successful electoral campaign. The inaugural World Cup in Uruguay featured just 13 teams and 17 matches. Sixteen teams took part from 1934, eight more were added from 1982 onwards and, finally, another eight in 1998.

Current Affairs January 16th to January 22nd 2017

International Current News

  • Bumblebee - the first bee species in the US to be declared endangered after suffering a dramatic population decline over the past 20 years. Bumblebees are social insects that form colonies with a single queen. The colonies are smaller than those of honeybees, growing to as few as 50 individuals in a nest. Bumblebees have round bodies covered in soft hair (long branched setae) called pile, making them appears and feel fuzzy.
  • Xiao Nan - the robot who recently made its debut as a journalist. The robot journalist made its debut in a Chinese daily recently with a 300-characters-long article written in just a second. The article, published in the Guangzhou-based Southern Metropolis Daily, focused on the Spring Festival travel rush. Its author took only a second to finish writing the piece and is able to write both short stories and longer reports, according to Wan Xiaojun, a professor at Peking University who leads the team studying and developing such robots.
  • Republican Party - the party to one which Donald Trump belongs to who took over as the 45th President of America. He was administered oath by Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts.

National Current News

  • 5.7% - the percentage to which the industrial activity rose up in November 2016, 13-month high, belying expectations of an adverse impact from demonetisation. It had contracted 1.8% in October, revealed the Index of Industrial Production data released recently. However, the sharp rise was also due to a statistical illusion -- low industrial numbers in November 2015, called the base effect (the IIP fell 3.4% last November), and sharp reversal of a 12-month declining trend in capital goods, helped by highly volatile cable and insulated rubber. If capital goods are taken out, IIP rose 4.7% in November, against 2.1% in the previous month.The sharp rise in IIP in November could also be gauged from the fact that the index rose just 0.4% in the first eight months of the current financial year (April-October), against 3.8% in the corresponding period of the previous year.
  • 7th September 2016 - the cutoff date from which the investors/depositors whose unpaid dividends, matured deposits or debentures etc. were transferred to Investor Education and Protection Fund(IEPF) under Companies Act 1956/2013 can now claim refund of the amount transferred. These refunds can be taken by submitting the claim in form IEPF-5 which can be downloaded from the website of IEPF (http://www.iepf.gov.in).
  • Rs.10000 - the amount of daily cash withdrawal from ATMs which has been allowed as per the new directives of Reserve Bank of India (RBI) from the present Rs 4,500 with immediate effect. However, there is no change in the weekly withdrawal limits, which stays at Rs 24,000.The limit on withdrawal from current accounts has been enhanced from the current limit of Rs 50,000 per week to Rs 1,00,000 per week. This also extends to overdraft and cash credit accounts.
  • Cooperative banks - they were recently barred from accepting deposits under the Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Deposit Scheme(PMGKDS). This notification comes after income tax department spotted irregularities in deposits. The deposit scheme is part of the Taxation and Investment Regime for Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Yojana(PMGKY), 2016 under which a declarant has to deposit 25% of the declared undisclosed income in an authorized bank as notified by the government.
  • State Bank of India - it is the leader of the consortium of banks which was recently ordered by the Debt Recovery Tribunal(DRT) to start the process of recovery of Rs.6203 crore at an annual interest rate of 11.5% from embattled tycoon Vijay Mallya and his companies in the Kingfisher Airlines case.
  • Arbitrage - is an investment strategy which is used to take advantage of the price differential between two or more markets to earn a profit. This activity of buying and selling the same security can happen on different exchanges or between spot prices of a security and its future contract. Cross selling across exchanges is not allowed in Indian markets, so one has to reverse the position before the end of day as trade needs to be squared off on the same exchange.

Sports Updates

  • Gujarat - the team which won their maiden Ranji Trophy cricket title when they won the 2017 Ranji Trophy tournament. This was only their second appearance in a Ranji Trophy final. They defeated Mumbai by five wickets, who had won the title 41 times.
  • Mahendra Singh Dhoni - he became the first ODI batsman to hit a double ton of sixes(200 sixes) when he scored 134 against England during the second one day international at Cuttack recently which India won by 15 runs recently.
  • Yuvraj Singh - he along with Mahendra Singh are the only the second pair over 35 years to score tons in the same innings when they scored centuries against England during the second one day international at Cuttack recently. Sri Lanka's Kumar Sangakara and Tilakratne Dilshan are the best pair over 35 years to score tons in the same innings.

Current Affairs January 23rd to January 29th 2017

International Current News

  • Doomsday Clock - the symbolic instrument designed by scientists informing the public when the Earth is facing imminent disaster. It was in the news recently after scientists moved its minute hand from three to two-and-a-half minutes before the final hour, the closest it has been since 1953. The Chicago-based Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists reset the clock to its closest time to midnight in 64 years recently, citing threats such as nuclear weapons, climate change and Donald Trump's election as US president. The bulletin was founded by scientists who helped develop the United States' first atomic weapons. It's Science and Security Board, which includes Nobel laureates, nuclear and climate experts, meets biannually to discuss where the clock's hands should fall in light of world events. The clock was last set this close to midnight in 1953, when the USSR tested the hydrogen bomb, marking the start of the nuclear arms race between the United States and the Soviet Union. The clock had then read two minutes to midnight.

National Current News

  • Flipkart - the ecommerce giant whose payment application PhonePe was recently in the news as it was blocked by ICICI Bank had blocked payment originating from this application citing security-related concerns. The National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI) thereafter ordered ICICI bank to open up Unified Payments Interface (UPI) -based transactions immediately for PhonePe.
  • UBI - it stands for Universal Basic income which was in the news after the government is mulling cash transfers, a form of UBI to help end poverty. UBI is a form of social security that involves payments to anyone without work or means of livelihood without conditions. This will allow more focused action against poverty. As per Socio Economic and Caste Census(SECC),2011 there are 24.49 crore total household in India out of which rural households is 17.97 crore and there are 7.07 crore households that need no benefits(automatically excluded). The households that may need help would be 8.89 crore( 0.16 crore identified poor households and 8.73 households that face some deprivation). Rs.1.6 lakh crore will be the cost if every deprived rural household is given Rs.1500 a month. The case for UBI are -Best way of addressing poverty by providing subsistence dole, it can help cut down on multiple welfare schemes, direct cash transfer will reduce pilferage and social inequality will be reduced. The case against UBI are-Too costly for government to implement, discourage people from seeking employment and temptation to withdraw other benefits.
  • General insurance - the public sector companies of this sector will now hit the market to raise capital. The Cabinet recently gave in-principle approval to a proposal to list state-owned general insurance companies, by issuing fresh equity or through the offer for sale route. The proposal was first announced by finance minister Arun Jaitley in last year's budget. The companies include New India Assurance, Oriental Insurance Company, National Insurance and United India Insurance, besides re-insurer General Insurance Corp of India (GIC). The government holding will gradually come down from 100% to 75% in all these companies.
  • BHIM - it stands for Bharat Interface for Money is the umbrella organisation for all digital payments in the country which was launched by government with the support from National Payments Corporation of India. It is an instant payments application meant for sending money as well as requesting for payments. BHIM can be used across android smartphones with versions 4.0 and above and also it will be made available on iPhones and Windows smartphones very soon. The feature phone users need to use the USSD feature by dialing *99#.
  • CMBA - it stands for Cash-Mukt Bharat Abhiyan is the name of helpline running from December 15,2016 to help users understand digital payment systems. 14444 is the number being dialed for grievance redressal on specific digital payment platforms. The idea was Nasscom's and the suggestion came from NitiAayog. 6 BPOS,2telcos and a consultancy is running the helpline for government for free. The companies will run the helpline free till March31,2017. It is a one-of-a kind effort in which the IT industry-perhaps for the first time has come together and provided support to the government free of charge.
  • Nine - the number of indicators which are considered for computation of the Business Expectation Index(BEI) by the Reserve Bank of India. BEI is a composite indicator calculated as weighted (share of GVA of different industry group) net response of nine business indicators. These are: 1) overall business situation, 2) production, 3) order books, 3) order books, 4) inventory of raw material, 5) inventory of finished goods, 6) profit margin, 7) employment, 8) exports, 9) capacity utilization. It gives a single snapshot of business outlook in every quarter. BEI lies between 0 to 200, and the 100 is the threshold separating expansion and contraction. It was in the news recently after RBI said that BEI declined in the 3rd quarter between Oct- Dec'17.
  • 30 January - the date observed as Martyrs' Day at the national level. The date was chosen as it marks the assassination of Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi in 1948. On Martyr's Day the president, the vice president, the prime minister, the defence minister, and the three Service Chiefs gather at the samadhi at Raj Ghat memorial and lay wreaths decorated with multi-colour flowers. The armed forces personnel blow bugles sounding the Last Post. The inter-services contingent reverse arms as a mark of respect. A two-minute silence in memory of Indian martyrs is observed throughout the country at 11 AM.

Sports Updates

  • Jamaica - the country which lost the 4x100 metre relay gold medal which it won from 2008 Olympic Olympics due to doping charges on one of the members. Nesta Carter one of the Jamaican runner tested positive for methylexaneamine, a banned stimulant after which the entire team comprising Usain Bolt was disqualified.
  • Roger Federer - he defeated Rafael Nadal to win his fifth Australian Open and clinch a first Grand Slam title in four and a half years recently. The 35-year-old capped his triumphant return from knee surgery with a record-extending 18th Major title after a vintage battle with his Spanish rival, who had won all three of their previous meetings at Melbourne Park.
  • Serena Williams - she defeated Venus Williams 6-4, 6-4 in straight sets to win seventh Australian Open title. The 35-year-old American won her 23rd Grand Slam title recently at the Australian Open, breaking the open-era record she held jointly with Germany's Steffi Graf.
  • Saina Nehwal - the Indian ace badminton player who defeated Pornpawee Chochuwong of Thailand to win the Malaysia Masters Grand Prix Gold with a hard-fought victory in the summit clash in Sarawak, Malaysia recently. The 26-year-old world No 10, who had been desperately looking for a title that boosts her confidence after recovering from a knee surgery last year, was squaring off against a rival ranked more than 50 places below her at 67th.
  • Virat Kohli - the Indian cricketer who has been awarded the Padma Shri award this year.
  • P V Sindhu - the Olympic silver medallist who won the women's crowns respectively at the USD 120,000 Syed Modi Grand Prix Gold badminton tournament in Lucknow recently. The National champion Sameer Verma began the new season on a resounding note by winning the men's singles crowns. Top seed Sindhu, brushed aside Indonesia's Gregoria Mariska in the summit clash, while Sameer, defeated compatriot B Sai Praneeth in the final.

Current Affairs January 30th to February 05th 2017

International Current News

  • TPP - it stands for Trans Pacific Partnership is the mega trade agreement forum from which America withdrew itself on the first day of office of new President, Donald Trump. TPP started by Barack Obama comprised 12 Pacific Rim countries including the three North American states, Australia and New Zealand, Japan, four members of Asean and two Latin American countries. Its goal was to write the rules of economic engagement covering trade, investment protection, governance, dispute settlement, environment, labour standards.
  • Metallic hydrogen - the new most valuable material on the planet. Nearly a century after it was theorised, Harvard scientists claim to have succeeded in creating the rarest and potentially one of the most valuable materials on the planet -- atomic metallic hydrogen. In addition to helping scientists answer fundamental questions about the nature of matter, the material is theorised to have a wide range of applications, including as a room-temperature superconductor. To create it, researchers squeezed a tiny hydrogen sample at 495 gigapascal, or more than 71.7 million pounds-per-square inch -- greater than the pressure at the centre of the Earth. At those extreme pressures, solid molecular hydrogen breaks down and the tightly bound molecules dissociate to transform into atomic hydrogen, which is a metal. While the research offers an important new window into understanding the general properties of hydrogen, it also offers tantalising hints at potentially revolutionary new materials. The material could also provide major improvements in energy production and storage - because superconductors have zero resistance energy could be stored by maintaining currents in superconducting coils, and then be used when needed. Though it has the potential to transform life on Earth, metallic hydrogen could also play a key role in helping humans explore the far reaches of space, as the most powerful rocket propellant yet discovered, researchers said. The research was published in the journal Science.
  • SARA - it stands for Socially-Aware Robot Assistant is a computer screen that interacts with someone with a camera in front and asks the questions. It can look at the persons face, eyebrows and from his smile detect his mood and have conservation with him. It was used at the World Economic Forum in Switzerland where it surprised the participants by understanding their words and non-verbal behavior to build a relationship.

National Current News

  • Social Registry System - the new system proposed by the government to monitor welfare schemes. It will allow government to monitor the well being of beneficiaries under various central rural welfare schemes. The idea is to expand the scope of the Socio Economic Census (SECC) of 2011 by regularly updating the data for each household covered under the survey. The Sumit Bose Committee has suggested one register for all programmes. The SECC data provides for automatic exclusion of beneficiaries on the basis of 14 parameters, automatic inclusion on the basis of five parameters and grading of deprivation on the basis of seven criteria.
  • Central Industrial Security Force's (CISF) - theirs Republic-Day contingent, which was adjudged the "best marching contingent" among para-military forces and other auxiliary marching contingents that participated in this year's Republic Day parade. This is the fifth time CISF contingent has been adjudged as the best, the earlier occasions being in 2007, 2008, 2013 and 2015. The CISF contingent this year comprised 148 officers and jawans, including 3 lady sub-officers, and was led by Assistant Commandant Prabh Simran Grewal.
  • ISB(Indian School of Business), Hyderabad - it was recently ranked as the best B-school from India and 27th in the world in the Financial Times Global MBA Ranking of the best 100 management programmes for 2017. INSEAD was ranked the best B-school in the world for the second consecutive year. Other than ISB, IIM-A, IIM-B and IIM-C were the other top schools finding a mention among the best 100 management programme worldwide.
  • India Posts - they recently launched the pilot services of India Posts Payments Bank (IPPB) at Raipur and ranch recently. India Post, which got the permit to launch banking operations on January 20,2017 is only the third entity to have received the central bank's approval to start operations, after Airtel Payments bank and Paytm. Payment banks can accept deposits of up to Rs.1 lakh per account from individual and small businesses. The new banks will confine activities to acceptance of deposits, remittance services, internet banking and other specified services.
  • 79 - the rank of India among the 176 countries in the anti-corruption watchdog Transparency International's 2016 report. Denmark and New Zealand were ranked as the least corrupt nation while Somalia and South Sudan was ranked as the most corrupt nation in the report. The index is an indicator of perceptions of public sector corruption i.e. administrative and political corruption.
  • Major recommendations made by Chandrababu Naidu - headed high level panel on digital payments - Banking cash transaction tax on transactions of Rs.50,000 and above, a cap on the maximum allowable limit for large-size cash transactions, creation of an authority to promote adoption of digital payments and abolition of charges on card payments are some of the major recommendations made by Chandrababu Naidu-headed high level panel on digital payments which submitted its report to government recently. The recommendations seek to make digital transactions more cost effective and attractive than cash transactions.
  • RBI ( Reserve Bank of India) - they recently removed limits placed on daily cash withdrawals from automated teller machines from Feb. 1 and also lifted all curbs on branch withdrawals from current account, cash credit and overdraft accounts. The RBI, however, allowed banks to use their "discretion" in placing their own daily cash withdrawal limits at ATMs, as was the case prior to Nov. 8, when the government had announced its move to abolish all high-value notes that accounted for 86 percent of the bills in circulation. Cash withdrawal limits for over-the-counter savings bank accounts however stands at 24,000 rupees a week.
  • Financial inclusion, social schemes and women power -they were the major themes of the President Pranab Mukherjee speech before the start of the Budget session of Parliament recently. Kicking off the session, President Pranab Mukherjee called the move to merge the Railway and Union Budgets this year as historic. The major big takeaways from his speech were- Resilience demonstrated by our countrymen particularly the poor in the fight against black money and corruption is remarkable, various steps taken by government to transform the lives of farmers ,start of the Indian Postal Payment Bank , Mission Indradhanush commited to vaccinate "every child everywhere" against preventable diseases etc.
  • GDP growth for next fiscal - it was pegged at 6.75-7.5%, Farm sector to grow at 4.1% this fiscal, up from 1.2% last year, Growth rate of industrial sector to moderate to 5.2% this fiscal, from 7.4% last fiscal,Service sector estimated to grow at 8.9% in 2016-17 are some of the highlights of Economic Survey 2016-17 which was tabled in Parliament recently.
  • Standard & Poor's - the rating agency whose methodology was questioned in the Economic Survey 2016-17 presented recently. It questioned the complex methodology that global rating agencies use while assigning sovereign ratings to countries. In a hard-hitting analysis, the survey said if the per capita GDP is a key to upgrading sovereign rating - as is suggested by Standard & Poor's while maintaining status quo on India's rating in November, 2016 - then poorer countries might be provoked into saying, Please don't bother this year, come back to assess us after half a century." The Standard & Poor's ruled out any ratings upgrade for India for a considerable period, mainly on the ground of its low per capita GDP and relatively high fiscal deficit. The survey talked about 'contrasting experiences' of change in sovereign ratings assigned by rating agencies to China and India over the past couple of years. Comparing India with China, the survey noted that Chinese credit expansion in 2009 pushed the credit-to-GDP ratio higher by 63 percentage points of GDP. This was much larger than the India's credit-to-GDP ratio. "At the same time, Chinese growth slowed down from over 10 per cent to 6.5 per cent. How did S&P react to this ominous scissor's pattern, which has been acknowledged universally as posing a serious risk to China, and indeed the world? In December 2010, S&P raised China's rating from A+ to AA and it has never adjusted it since, even as the credit boom has unfolded and growth has experienced a secular decline," the survey pointed out. "In contrast, India's rating has remained stuck at the much lower level at BBB-, despite the country's dramatic improvement in growth and macro-economic stability since 2014," it added.
  • Rs.1 lakh crore - the corpus of the proposed 'Rashtriya Rail SanrakshaKosh' (National Rail Safety Fund) announced in the Railway Budget, merged with General Budget 2017-18. "For passenger safety, a Rashtriya Rail SanrakshaKosh will be created with a corpus of Rs 1 lakh crores over a period of 5 years. Besides seed capital from the government, the Railways will arrange the balance resources from their own revenues and other sources. The government will lay down clear cut guidelines and timeline for implementing various safety works to be funded from this 'Kosh'. Unmanned level crossings on Broad Gauge lines will be eliminated by 2020. Expert international assistance will be harnessed to improve safety preparedness and maintenance practices," as announced by Finance Minister Arun Jaitley.
  • Passenger safety, Development work , Cleanliness, Reform in Accounts - they are the four major priorities for railways which announced by Finance Minister Arun Jaitley in his Railway cum General Budget 2017 recently. 500 stations will be made differently abled friendly by providing lifts and escalators. It is now proposed to introduce 'Coach Mitra' facility, a single window interface, to register all coach related complaints and requirements. By 2019, all coaches of Indian Railways will be fitted with bio toilets. Pilot plants for environment friendly disposal of solid waste and conversion of biodegradable waste to energy are being set up at New Delhi and Jaipur railway stations.
  • SANKALP - it stands for Skill Acquisition and Knowledge Awareness for Livelihood Promotion Programme will be launched at a cost of Rs 4,000 crore to provide market relevant training to 3.5 crore youth as per the announcements made by Finance Minister Arun Jaitley in his Budget 2017. He said the government proposes to extend Pradhan Mantri Kaushal Kendras to more than 600 districts across the country, from 60 districts at present. Moreover, 100 India International Skill Centres will be established across the country to offer advanced training and also courses in foreign languages will help those of our youth who seek job opportunities outside the country.
  • STRIVE - it stands for Skill Strengthening for Industrial Value Enhancement will be launched in 2017-18 at a cost of Rs 2,200 crore. STRIVE will focus to improve on the quality and the market relevance of vocational training provided in ITIs and strengthen the apprenticeship programme through industry-cluster approach.
  • Five percent - it is the income tax which the people earning income up to Rs.5 laths will have to give as the announcements made in the Budget 2017. The cut in the tax rate for the lowest slab will also save up to Rs 12,500 for incomes in other slabs, increasing disposable income of the middle class that can provide a spur to the slowing down economic growth. The present super rich tax in the form of 15 per cent surcharge will remain for those earning income over Rs one crore. However, those earning above Rs 50 lakh and up to Rs one crore will have to shell out an additional 10 per cent surcharge.
  • Rs. 3 lakh - the amount above which all cash transactions have been banned as per the Union Budget 2017-18 which was tabled recently in Parliament. This will be effective from April 1, 2017. The decision to ban cash transactions beyond a threshold is based on the recommendation of the Special Investigation Team on black money that was set up by the Supreme Court. The SIT, headed by Justice M B Shah (retired), in July had submitted its fifth report to the Supreme Court on steps needed to curb black money.
  • FIPB - it stands for Foreign Investment Promotion Board, a body that clears proposals envisaging foreign investment up to Rs 5,000 crore (Rs 50 billion) was recently abolished by Finance Minister Arun Jaitley in the Union Budget 2017. The minister also announced that further liberalisation of Foreign Direct Investment policy is under consideration. He said that FIPB has successfully implemented e-filing and online processing of FDI applications. He said that country has reached a stage where FIPB can be phased out. So it has been decided to abolish the FIPB in the year 2017-18. The roadmap for the same will be announced in the next few months. Investments in sectors that are not under the automatic route require approval of the FIPB. Over 90 per cent of the foreign direct investment (FDI) is coming through automatic route. Currently, FIPB offers a single window clearance for applications on FDI in India that are under the approval route. The sectors under automatic route do not require any prior approval from FIPB and are subject to only sectoral laws. FIPB was initially constituted under the Prime Minister's Office (PMO) in the wake of the economic liberalisation drive of the early 1990s.The Board was reconstituted in 1996 with transfer of the FIPB to the Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion (DIPP). It was again transferred to the Department of Economic Affairs, under the Ministry of Finance, in 2003.
  • National Testing Agency - the name of the new agency proposed by Finance Minister Arun Jaitley in Union Budget 2017 to conduct all entrance examinations for higher education institutions. Unveiling the budgetary proposals for 2017-18 in Parliament, Jaitley said the government proposes to establish a National Testing Agency as an autonomous and self-sustained premier testing organisation to conduct all entrance examinations for higher education institutions. This would free Central Board of Secondary Education, All India Council for Technical Education and other premier institutions from these administrative responsibilities so that they can focus more on academics, he said.
  • Rs 2000 is the maximum amount of donation which the political parties can receive in cash from one source as per the announcement made In the Union Budget 2017 by Finance Minister Arun Jaitley. For any donation above Rs 2,000, parties will have to disclose the identity of the donor. This is a sharp drop from the Rs 20,000 limit that the political parties were so far allowed to receive as anonymous cash donations. Political parties can receive donations in cheque, electronic mode; electoral bonds to be issued by the RBI. Jaitley said the government has accepted the Election Commission's recommendation to bring in transparency in political funding and political parties can take donations from donors through cheque and digital payments. He said as an additional step, the government proposes to amend the Reserve Bank of India Act for issuing electoral bonds that can be bought through cheques and will be redeemable in the registered account of a political party.
  • AT1 bonds - they are additional Tier 1 bonds, which is a combination of debt and equity and interest on these bonds are paid provided banks have adequate profit to service them. It was in the news as Reserve Bank of India permitted banks to use statutory reserves for payment on AT1 bonds if free reserves are not sufficient which will prevent loss-making banks from defaulting on these bonds which were raised to boost their capital adequacy ratio-the minimum capital that banks keep as a cushion against default on loans.
  • CERT - it stands for Computer Emergency Response Team is the initiative announced by government in Union Budget 2017 to check cyber attacks in the financial sector. Reserve Bank of India has asked banks to report any cyber security incident within two to six hours and also warned that any delay in reporting and flagging loan frauds could result in banks and bankers being charged for abetting the criminal offence. RBI has also created a specialized cell(C-SITE) within its supervision department to conduct detailed IT examination of bank's cyber security preparedness, to identify gaps and monitor the progress of remedial measures. These steps comes at a time when the government is pushing e-payments in a big way.
  • Carbon credits - they are incentives given to industrial undertaking for reduction in emission of GHGs(Green House Gases),including carbon dioxide, which is done through several ways such as switching over to wind and solar energy or installation of energy-efficient machinery. The Kyoto Protocol commits certain developed countries to reduce their GHG emissions and for this they will be given carbon credits. A reduction in emissions entitles the entity to a credit in the form of a Certified Emission Reduction(CER) certificate. The CER is tradeable and its holders can transfer it to an entity that needs carbon credits to overcome an unfavourable position on the same. Though from 2012 new applications for grant of credit have not been entertained under the UN framework however those companies which have applied for it before this date continue to accumulate credits. It was in the news after the government in the Union Budget 2017 proposed a levy of 10% on transfer of carbon credits and such a tax will be levied on the gross income, without allowing for any deductions.
  • FAME - it stands for Faster Adoption of Manufacturing of Hybrid and Electric Vehicles is the government initiative to encourage production of electric, hybrid and mild-hybrids vehicles by providing subsidy to them. These are aimed at improving air quality in a nation that is home to some of the world's most polluted urban centres.
  • REER - it stands for Real Effective Exchange Rate. REER is the exchange rate arrived at after adjusting for inflation in 36 countries whose currencies comprise the basket that compete with India. It was in the news after Economic Survey 2016-17 highlighted that Rupee remained competitive in REER terms.

Sports Updates

  • Vinod Rai - the former CAG was recently appointed by Supreme Court to head Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI). The Supreme Court of India recently appointed him to head BCCI along with noted historian Ramachandra Guha, former Indian cricketer Diana Edulji and IDFC official Vikram Limaye. SC in its hearing declined Centre's request to appoint secretary of sports ministry as the member of the committee. SC referred to its earlier judgement debarring ministers and govt servants from holding office in BCCI.
  • Yuvraj Singh - the only Indian cricketer to be in the top six hitters of sixes in T20 internationals. He entered this list with his three sixes in a Chris Jordan over in the T20 match against England recently played at Bengaluru taking the total sixes to 74. The list is led by Chris Gayle of West Indies with 98 sixes. Yuvraj is the only batsman to hit six sixes in one over in T20s which he hit against Stuart Broad in 2007 during the inaugural T20 World Cup.
  • Kolkata - the place where India's first multi sports museum was inaugurated recently. The museum, spread over 6700 square feet was inaugurated by Sachin Tendulkar, Sourav Ganguly, Abhinav Bindra, Deepa Malik and Devendra Jhajaria recently. It has gloves owned by Sachin Tendulkar who wore it while scoring his 100th hundred, a boot owned by Lionel Messi and a chess board signed by Vishwanathan Anand.

Current Affairs February 06th to February 12th 2017

International Current News

  • Qatar Airways - the recently launched the world's longest scheduled commercial services with its inaugural flight from Doha to Auckland. The Boeing 777 flight will take 16 hours and 20 minutes, pass over 10 time zones, five countries and travel 14,535 km before reaching Auckland in New Zealand.
  • Erithacus - the name of new species of new shark with rabbit-like buckteeth and a bulky head which was discovered recently. It is the 50th 'ghost' shark species known to science reported in 'Live Science' magazine. At nearly one metre in length, the new creature is the second-largest species of ghost shark ever discovered.
  • TPS - it stands for The Micra Transcatheter, recently approved by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA),is a new type of heart device that provides patients with the most advanced pacing technology at one-tenth the size of a traditional pacemaker and is the only leadless approved for use in the US. This world's smallest pacemaker, which is about as big as a large vitamin capsule and provides the most advanced pacing technology, has been successfully implanted for the first time in a patient in the US.

National Current News

  • PARA - it stands for Public Sector Asset Rehabilitation Agency is the agency proposed by government in the Economic Survey 2016-17 which will be set up to buy bad loans from state-run banks. This will allow these banks to focus on lending and government can focus on recovery rather than recapitalizing banks.
  • UBI - it stands for Universal Basic Income is the new scheme proposed by government in the Economic Survey 2016-17 that ensures citizens to have a right to a minimum income to cover their basic needs as a long-term solution to reduce poverty in the country. The survey admitted that financial inclusion and well functioning financial system are crucial to implement a universal basic income.
  • CISCE - it stands for Council for Indian School Certificate Examinations, which is a private Council was recently brought under the purview of the RTI Act by the The Central Information Commission (CIC). Under the new rules, students will be able to get copies of answer books and also apply for re-evaluation. "An examining body like CISCE might have an intellectual property right over the question paper, but they do not have any such right over answer sheets of students," the CIC said in its order. "Without sharing evaluated answer sheets, the board cannot assure justice to students who, at times, might be victims of unreasonable evaluation. It is not proper on the part of this prestigious council to leave students remedy-less in such situations of injustice," the order said. This order follows two high court judgments holding that CISCE was not a public authority. "The issue is not whether it is a public authority but whether it should be accountable or not," the CIC order stated. The Supreme Court had earlier directed the CBSE to share answer sheets with students who seek re-evaluation.
  • Rs. 3 lakh - the amount above which the cash transaction ban has been proposed in the Budget for 2017-18. In a bid to check generation of black money, a steep penalty awaits those accepting cash in excess of Rs 3 lakh, beginning April 1, to settle any transaction. Finance Minister ArunJaitley had in his Budget for 2017-18 proposed to insert Section 269ST in the Income-Tax Act to state that "no person shall receive an amount of Rs 3 lakh or more by way of cash in aggregate from a person in a day; in respect of a single transaction; or in respect of transactions relating to one event or occasion from a person". However, the restrictions will not apply to the government, any banking company, post office savings bank or co-operative bank. A panel of Chief Ministers headed by Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Chandrababu Naidu had in its interim report just days before the Budget recommended a cap on cash transactions beyond a threshold and a tax on payments of over Rs 50,000 as a way of discouraging people from using physical currency.
  • Ujjivan Small Finance Bank - it opened its first set of branches for public transactions from 6th February, 2017. The bank is backed by UK's CDC Group whose holding after the IPO came down to 48.32%,below the maximum 49% they can hold in a small finance bank.
  • Neutral - the stance which was taken by Reserve Bank of India in the recently announced Monetary Policy. RBI kept the rates unchanged and shifted its policy stance to neutral after one-and-a-half years of accommodative stance, signaling a possible end to the downward interest rate cycle. The shift to a neutral stance signals the end of the downward interest rate cycle though governor Urjit Patel said that it gives the monetary policy committee the flexibility to 'move in either direction'.
  • Review threats inherent in innovations in fintech space - this along with adoption of security protocols, check interface with stakeholders and suggest policy are the major functions suggested for the inter department Standing Committee on Cyber Security constituted by Reserve Bank of India as announced in its sixth bi-monthly policy statement for 2016-17 announced recently. It will be cross functional and have industry experts as well as government representatives. The standing committee was constituted following the recommendations of the Expert Panel on Information Technology and Cyber Security headed by RBI executive director, Meena Hemchandra.
  • TPS - it stands for The MicraTranscatheter, recently approved by the US Food and Drug Administration(FDA),is a new type of heart device that provides patients with the most advanced pacing technology at one-tenth the size of a traditional pacemaker and is the only leadless approved for use in the US. This world's smallest pacemaker, which is about as big as a large vitamin capsule and provides the most advanced pacing technology, has been successfully implanted for the first time in a patient in the US.
  • 6.9 percent - the economic growth forecast for the country given by the Reserve Bank of India which is a reduction from 7.1 per cent estimated earlier. "GVA (gross value added) growth for 2016-17 is projected at 6.9 per cent with risks evenly balanced around it. Growth is expected to recover sharply in 2017-18 on account of several factors. GVA growth for 2017-18 is projected at 7.4 per cent, with risks evenly balanced," the RBI said in its 6th bi-monthly monetary policy statement recently. In its last monetary policy on December 7, the central bank had cut growth forecast to 7.1 per cent, from its earlier projection of 7.6 per cent for this fiscal. The RBI projection of 6.9 per cent GVA growth for the current fiscal comes on the back of the Economic Survey last week forecasting economic growth of 6.5 per cent. The Central Statistics Office, in its advance estimates for 2016-17 on January 6, placed India's real GVA growth at 7 per cent for the year, but it did not take into account the impact of demonetisation on economic activity. The growth forecast of 7.4 per cent in 2017-18 is on the upper end of the 6.75 to 7.5 per cent band estimated in the Economic Survey.
  • 6.25 percent - the present Repo rate, Reverse Repo rate at 5.75 percent were the major highlights of the interest rates which were kept unchanged by the Reserve bank of India in its latest Monetary Policy. The repo rate is the rate at which it lends to the system while the reverse repo rate is the rate at which it absorbs excess liquidity from the system. The Reserve Bank has kept key interest rates unchanged saying it wants to assess how the transitory effects of demonetisation on inflation and the output gap play out. The monetary policy committee said it is "committed to bringing headline inflation closer to 4.0 per cent on a durable basis and in a calibrated manner" and this requires further "significant decline in inflation expectations, especially since the services component of inflation that is sensitive to wage movements has been sticky.
  • Peugeot - the French carmaker company which is buying the iconic Indian car brand, Ambassador. The C K Birla Group-opened Hindustan Motors formalized the deal for Rs.80crore recently. Production of Ambassador car had stopped around three years ago.
  • 2018 - the year from which the centre has approved a proposal for a single entrance exam for engineering and architecture at the undergraduate level. It will be on the lines of the national eligibility and entrance test for medical colleges. The test will be conducted multiple times a year, as is the case with college admission tests like SAT in the US and is intended to bring uniformity in academic standards and reduce the influence of donations. The test will, however not include admission to IIT,which will continue to hold their own entrance exams.

Sports Updates

  • New Zealand - the country which was defeated by India in the Davis Cup Asia/Oceania Group I tie recently. India will now play second round tie at home in April against Uzbekistan, who got past South Korea in their first round away tie. The resounding victory for India also signaled the end of Anand Amritraj's three-year reign as the team captain as he will be replaced by Mahesh Bhupathi for the second round tie againstUzbekistan.
  • 4 -the number of consecutive Test series in which Virat Kohli smashed a double century including 204 against Bangladesh recently. It is a world record beating Don Bradman and Rahul Dravid's landmark of scoring double centuries in three successive series. Virat Kohli is the only cricketer to average above 75 in all three versions (Tests: 83, ODIs84, T20:77) of the game since January 2016.
  • Wriddhiman Saha - the first Indian wicketkeeper to score a hundred at home as well as outside the subcontinent. He scored century against Bangladesh in the Test match at Bangalore recently.
  • India - the country whose team became the first team to post three successive scores of 600-plus as they piled up 687/6 declared against Bangladesh in the Test match at Bangalore recently.
  • Kheleao is the name of the official mascot of the FIFA U - 17 World Cup India 2017 mascot. It was unveiled recently by Union Sports Minister Vijay Goel at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium. Kheleao is clouded leopard which is an endangered wild cat whose habitat extends from the Himalayan foothills to mainland Southeast Asia.

Current Affairs February 13th to February 19th 2017

International Current News

  • Granddad - the name of longest living fish in a zoological setting- a lungfish which was euthanized recently. The lungfish was acquired by the Shedd aquarium in Chicago from Australia in 1993. The exact age was unknown but it was believed to be in his mid-90s and was euthanized after losing interest in food and showing signs of organ failure. Lungfish are native to the Mary and Burnett rivers in Queensland, Australia and have a single primitive lung and are among the few fish that can breathe air.
  • The Smurf characters - the cartoon character which has been brought on board by UN to encourage children, young people and adults to make the world happier, more peaceful, equitable and healthy, via a campaign. The Small Smurfs Big Goals campaign is designed to encourage everyone to learn about and support the 17 Sustainable Development Goals which were agreed on by all 193 member-countries of the UN in 2015.

National Current News

  • Zoom Air - it is India's newest airline which had its inaugural flight from Delhi-Durgapur route. The move makes Zoom air the tenth national carrier in the country. The airline, which will start daily scheduled operations on the Delhi-Kolkata-Durgapur from February 15, 2017, is marketing itself as a premium commuter airline with on-board snacks and beverage service.
  • Sardar Jokes - they were in news recently after the Supreme Court ruled out blanket ban on them saying that the judiciary couldnot lay down moral guidelines for citizens and that it should not pass orders on how people should conduct themselves. The court said that it was part of the fundamental duties, as laid down in the Constitution that people should respect each other and no particular community should be joked about, but expressed its reservation on passing an order to ban the jokes.
  • 104 - the number of satellites which were launched by an Indian rocket successfully at the Sriharikota rocket port in Andhra Pradesh.The rocket Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV) blasted off from Sriharikota on 15th February 2017 with major cargo being the 714 kg Indian Cartosat-2 series satellite.The co-passenger satellites comprise 101 nano satellites, one each from Israel, Kazakhstan, The Netherlands, Switzerland, United Arab Emirates (UAE) and 96 from US, as well as two nano satellites from India. The total weight of all the satellites carried on-board by 44.4 metre tall PSLV rocket weighing 320 ton is about 1,378 kg.
  • 5 - the number of subsidiaries of State Bank of India which will be merged into SBI after getting the necessary approval by Union Cabinet recently."The cabinet approved the merger into SBI of its five subsidiaries, namely, State Bank of Bikaner and Jaipur, State Bank of Hyderabad, State Bank of Travancore, State Bank of Mysore and State Bank of Patiala. However the proposed merger of Bhartiya Mahila Bank into SBI is still under consideration and the cabinet did not take a decision on the matter. Last year, SBI had announced that it would merge its five subsidiaries and Bharatiya Mahila Bank on receipt of government approval for the same.
  • Pre-loaded SIM cards - these will be given to tourists arriving in India on e-visa as per the latest announcements by Union Tourism Minister. These SIMs, which will be provided by Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited, will have Rs 50 talk time and 50 Mb internet data at free of cost. Tourists can get information in their own language using our 24x7 Tourist Helpline, which provides service in 12 foreign languages. These facilities would be initially available at Indira Gandhi International Airport in Delhi, which will later cover remaining 15 international airports in the country. The e-visa service is being provided to citizens of 161 countries and 10 lakh e-visas were issued in 2016.
  • 0.40% - it is the MDR (Merchant Discount Charge) proposed on debit card payment from April 1, 2017 for small merchants with annual turnover of Rs.20 lakh and special category merchants like utilities, insurance, mutual funds, educational institutions and government hospitals. The MDR charge would be even less at 0.3% if the transaction is through digital point of sale (PoS) (QR Code) as per the RBI draft circular on rationalization of MDR for debit card transactions. The existing MDR is capped at 0.75% for transactions up to Rs.2, 000 and 1% for over Rs.2, 000. However, there is no RBI cap on MDR on credit card payments. Post-demonetisation, the RBI has reduced the charge till March31, 2017. The new charges, as per the draft, would come into effect from April1, 2017. The draft also proposes that banks will ensure that all merchants display the signage 'No convenience or service charge is payable by customers'.

Sports Updates

  • Hashim Amla - the South Africa cricketer who recently entered into a grand club of 50 international centuries when he scored a century against Sri Lanka recently. He became only the second South African batsman after Jacques Kallis to enter this elite club which is led by Sachin Tendulkar with 100 international centuries. This tally includes tons in Tests, ODIs and T20s.
  • Caster Semenya - the South African athlete, whose silver medal of the 800m at the 2012 London Olympics would now be upgraded to gold medal. Russian Mariya Savinova-Farnosova who won the gold medal was stripped of her title when the Court of Arbitration for Sport imposed a four year ban saying there was 'clear evidence' that she used performance enhancing drugs. Semenya is now set to become a double Olympic champion after her victory in Rio de Janerio last year.
  • Alastair Cook - the cricketer who resigned as captain of the England Test cricket. He resigned after England lost the five-Test series 0-4 to India. He has led England in 59 Tests. He will be succeeded by batsman Joe Root.
  • Usain Bolt - the world's "greatest" sprinter pipped the likes of Cristiano Ronaldo and LeBron James to win the 'Sportsman of the Year' trophy for a record-equalling fourth time, while gymnast Simone Biles clinched the top honour in the women's category at the Laureus World Awards held recently. Bolt, who won this award in 2009, '10 and '13, walked away with the 'Oscar of Sports' for the fourth time, thereby joining tennis legends Roger Federer and Serena Williams, and surfer Kelly Slater as four-time Laureus award winner. Bolt received his award from legendary Michael Johnson.
  • The most decorated Olympian of all - time; Michael Phelps bagged the 'Comeback of the Year' award after returning to the swimming pool and scooping five more gold medals. After the 2012 Olympics, Phelps retired from swimming but came out of the retirement and subsequently at the Rio Games last year he bagged as many as five gold medals and silver.
  • Ravichandran Ashwin - the Indian off-spinner who recently became the quickest bowler to claim 250 wickets in Test cricket. The 30-year-old created history during the fourth day of the ongoing one-off Test match against Bangladesh when he dismissed skipper Mushfiqur Rahim in Hyderabad. By reaching the 250-wicket mark in 45 matches, Ashwin has also surpassed Australian bowling legend Dennis Lillee's record, who achieved the feat in 48 matches. With the feat, he joins Anil Kumble, Kapil Dev, Harbhajan Singh, Zaheer Khan and Bishan Bedi as six Indians to reach the landmark.
  • Arjun Madathil Ramachandran - he partnered with Ramchandran Shlok to win men's doubles title at the 26th Iran Fajr Badminton Tournament, in Tehran, recently. The second seeded Indian pair defeated fifth seeded Indonesian duo of Kenas Adi Haryanto and Muhammad Reza Pahlevi Isfahani 11-8, 11-8, 11-9 to lay claim to the crown. The World No 66 pair became the first Indian combination to win the title at the International Challenge event. The duo had won the Nepal International and finished runners-up at the Tata India International last year.
  • India - they defeated Pakistan to successfully defend its Twenty20 World Cup title for Blinds for the second straight edition which was played at Bengaluru. The two teams had clashed in the 2012 edition final as well with India emerging triumphant.

Current Affairs February 20th to February 26th 2017

National Current News

  • 1991 - the year when India's only live volcano, the Barren Island Volcano, located 140km north-east of Port Blair, last erupted. It was in the news recently after it started spewing ash and lava again. The volcano started spewing ash and lava on January 23, 2017 in small burst that lasted five to 10 minutes according to researchers at Goa-based National Institute of Oceanography.
  • Diwali - the theme on which India and Canada will issue their first-ever joint postage stamps in September 2017. An announcement to this effect was made after a meeting department of posts secretary B V Sudhakar and Canada Post President Deepak Chopra. These stamps will be in celebration of Diwali and of Canada's 150th anniversary.
  • Air Asia - the airlines with which whose collaboration the Odisha government is planning to formulate a policy to promote tour packages to Southeast Asia. Recently, the state government signed a memorandum of agreement with Air Asia to start direct international flight operation to Kuala Lumpur.In addition to this Odisha government is planning new tour packages like Jagannath Trail, Coastal Trek, Coastal Cruise, Cycle Tours, Food Festivals and Weekend Gateways to be organised under the Odisha Tourism Development Corporation.
  • Olive Ridley turtles - the variety of turtles which are known their eggs on the Odisha coast. It was in the news recently after the endangered Olive Ridley turtles have laid a record 3.55 lakh eggs on Odisha coast within a span of one week of mass nesting in Rushikulya river mouth of Ganjam coast, which is an all-time record. The turtles had laid 3, 09,000 eggs last year. The egg laying may touch four lakh this year as the Sunday night calculation was yet to be completed.The Odisha Forest Department has arranged high security for smooth and safe egg laying of the endangered turtles like including establishing observation camps, fencing coast with nets and patrolling in sea for protection of the sea turtles and their eggs during their mass nesting. The Forest Department has deployed speedboats and trawlers with staff to guard the coast and restricted entry of fishing trawlers into the zone.After laying eggs, the female turtles go deep into the sea without waiting to see the hatchels, which generally emerge around 45 days of nesting.
  • CSK - it stands for Cyber Swachhta Kendra, is a new desktop and mobile security solution for a secure cyber space in the country which was launched recently by government. The Cyber Swachhta Kendra is part of the government of India's Digital India initiative under the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY).The new solution will notify, enable cleaning and secure systems of end-users to prevent further infections. This centre will work in coordination with the internet service providers (ISPs) and Industry. This Kendra will also enhance awareness among citizens regarding botnet and malware infection along with measures to be taken to secure their devices. The government also announced that the National Cyber Coordination Centre will be operational by June 2017 and that it would set up CERT-Ins at the state level as well.Part of the solution, USB Pratirodh is a desktop security solution that controls the usage of removable storage media like pen drives, external hard drives and other USB-supported mass storage devices. M-Kavach tool offers a comprehensive mobile device security solution for Android devices addressing threats related to mobile phones. AppSamvid is a desktop solution which protects systems by allowing installation of genuine applications through white listing. This helps in preventing threats from malicious applications.The move comes at a time when over 50,300 cyber security incidents like phishing, website intrusions and defacements, virus and denial of service attacks have been observed in the country during 2016.
  • Skype Lite - the new version of Skype developed by Microsoft with the help of Microsoft's development centre in Hyderabad. It is an attempt to challenge the popular WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger apps. Not only does it occupy just over a third of the storage space of the original Skype, it also consumes far less data and has features that are not even available yet on the richer version. Skype Lite needs just 13 MB of storage space, compared to 36 MB of the regular version. It understands when it is using the cellular network and when Wi-Fi, and consumes less data when it is on the former. Skype Lite will be available in seven Indian languages.
  • Sangam - the skilling-cum-job-search/hiring platform for low-skilled people in India developed by Microsoft. The platform combines Microsoft's cloud, video and other technologies with LinkedIn's assets. Sangam is an open platform that will allow any training content provider to offer their courses over the cloud. A training aspirant can go through all the options available and choose the one she wants. When the candidate joins, the system will create a LinkedIn-like profile of her, and this profile will be updated appropriately as the candidate enhances her skills. At the other end, companies wanting to hire, say, hospitality, retail or construction staff, can upload their requirements. Sangam will match these requirements with those of the trained personnel and offer options to both sides. Sangam will allow them to reach out to candidates in remote locations, and it will even allow for remote learning through Skype, which is also integrated into the platform. Candidates can use their Aadhaar authentication to sign into the system.
  • 1 crore - the amount of cost involved for approaching the National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission (NCDRC) otherwise, complainants begin at the district consumer forums , as per the Consumer Protection Act. It was in the news recently after the Supreme Court allowed flat owners to join hands to directly approach the National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission (NCDRC) against realtors. The SC's rejection of Amrapali Sapphire Developers' technical plea will come as a boon to middle-class flat owners, who find it easier to come together to fight rich realtors who have deep pockets and employ top lawyers to find legal loopholes to frustrate flat allottees from making claims against them. On August 30 last year, NCDRC member Justice V K Jain had ruled in favour of the 43 flat owners in Amrapali's Sapphire housing project and said that they could form an association to achieve the pecuniary limit of Rs 1 crore for approaching the NCDRC directly.
  • TCS - this company has announced an Rs.16, 000 crore share buy-back, the biggest in the Indian capital market. The board of the company approved buyback of up to 5.61 crore shares, or 2.85% of its share capital, at Rs.2, 850 apiece. The buyback if successful, will surpass Reliance Industries'2012 share buyback of Rs.10, 400 crore.
  • Bharat QR - the world's first nationwide interoperable payments service developed by National Payment Corporation of India (NPCI), Visa Inc. and Master card Inc. which can be used for making payments by storing debit or credit card details within a mobile app. Soon the code will also enable payments using the Unified Payments Interface and Aadhar-enabled payments.

Sports Updates

  • East Zone - they defeated West Zone by eight wickets to win the Syed Mushtaq Ali T-20 trophy and also became the only team to have won all their league games in the tournament.
  • Afghanistan - the country whose cricketers were selected for IPL for the first time in the auction held recently. Sunrisers Hyderabad bought leg spinner Rashid Khan for Rs.4 crore and all-rounder Mohammad Nabi for Rs.30 lakh.

Current Affairs - March

Current Affairs February 27th to March 05th 2017

International Current News

  • 12 - the number of families of bacteria that are present today that pose the greatest threat to human health according to the WHO which recently published the first-ever list of antibiotic-resistant "priority pathogens", to guide and promote research and development of new antibiotics. The Geneva-based World Health Organisation (WHO) said that list was drawn up as part of its efforts to address growing global resistance to antimicrobial medicines.According to the global health body, the list is divided into three categories according to the urgency of need for new antibiotics: critical, high and medium priority."The most critical group of all includes multi-drug resistant bacteria that pose a particular threat in hospitals, nursing homes, and among patients whose care requires devices such as ventilators and blood catheters. They include Acinetobacter, Pseudomonas and various Enterobacteriaceae (including Klebsiella, E. coli, Serratia, and Proteus). The second tier which includes antibiotics of high priority includes for Enterococcus faecium, which is vancomycin-resistant, Staphylococcus aureus which is methicillin-resistant, Helicobacter pylori which is clarithromycin-resistant, Campylobacter spp which is fluoroquinolone-resistant, Salmonellae which is fluoroquinolone-resistant, Neisseria gonorrhoeae which is cephalosporin and fluoroquinolone-resistant. The third tier which includes medium priority includes Streptococcus pneumoniae which is penicillin-non-susceptible, Haemophilusinfluenzae, which is ampicillin-resistant and Shigellaspp which is fluoroquinolone-resistant.
  • Sun - the celestial body to which the NASA plans to send its first robotic spacecraft next year that is slated to get within six million kilometers of the blazing star to probe its atmosphere. The unmanned spacecraft Solar Probe Plus which will travel to the sun will have special heat tubes called thermal radiators that will radiate heat that permeates the heat shield to open space, 'so that it does not go to the instruments'. The mission will hopefully unveil why the surface of the Sun called the photosphere is not hot as its atmosphere called the corona.
  • FORPHEUS - it stands for Future Omron Robotics Technology for Exploring Possibility of Harmoniseda Utomation with Sinictheoretics, is the name of the first robot table tennis tutor developed in Japan which made its entry into the Guinness World Records recently. It is easily able to act as a coach thanks to cutting-edge vision and motion sensors it can use to gauge movement during a match.
  • Trappist-1 - the name of the planetary system that has been discovered by NASA recently. A NASA telescope has detected the first known system of seven earth-size planets around a single star. This exoplanet system, is named for the Transiting Planets and Planetesimals Small Telescope (TRAPPIST) in Chile. The planets have no real names. They're only known by letters, 'b' through 'h'. 'A' refers to the star itself.

National Current News

  • SPARSH - the life size model of a green building which was inaugurated in India recently. Launched by the Green Rating for Integrated Habitat Assessment (GRIHA), SPARSH has been designed to enhance the user experience of a "green building". According to a statement by the GRIHA Council, SPARSH "is an effort to bring an economically viable and structurally sound green building option to the masses. The cost of building a structure of any size on the SPARSH platform would be much less than the cost of traditional building of an equivalent size with similar amenities". GRIHA, developed by The Energy and Resources Institute (TERI) together with the New and Renewable Energy Ministry, has been endorsed as the national rating system for green buildings in India in 2007. It is an indigenous green building rating system developed specifically to suit Indian climate and construction practices.
  • Antyodaya Express - the long distance, fully unreserved, superfast train service which has been started by Indian Railways. Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu recently flagged off the first Antyodaya Express between Kochi's Ernakulam Junction and Howrah Junction. The 22-coach train will cover a distance of 2,307 kilometres in 37 hours. Antyodaya Express is a long distance, fully unreserved, superfast train service, for the common man to be operated on dense routes. Prabhu also flagged off Humsafar Express between Rajasthan's Sriganganagar and Tiruchirappalli in Tamil Nadu. Humsafar Express is an all-AC 'affordable' luxury train for the common man and was announced in the Railway Budget 2016. The train has air-conditioned 3-tier coaches.
  • Dabfi - it stands for Digital Asset and Blockchain Foundation of India is the name of the body that will work as a self-regulatory organisation for Bitcoin start-ups. Bitcoin start-ups Zebpay, Unocoin, Coinsecure and Searchtrade have jointly launched Dabfi, with the aim of orderly and transparent growth of the virtual currency market. They have appointed Nishith Desai Associates, an international law firm, to develop self-regulation norms for the segment.Dabfi will prepare self-regulatory regimes for trading of bitcoins and other block chain-based digital assets, and, standardise Know Your Cusotmer and anti-money laundering norms for member companies.It is to also build credibility and create awareness about the benefits and risks, liaise with regulators and get clarity on taxation, attract investment and set up incubators to promote start-ups, build global relations and actively engage with the global community in this regard.And, create a public website and regularly print reports on and around bitcoins and block chain, the body said. Bitcoin is not yet legally recognised in India.
  • Alibaba - the international firm that has joined hands with India's firm Paytm and has launched Paytm Mall, a consumer shopping app, to take on local rival Flipkart and global rival Amazon in the country. The Paytm Mall, an Android app for smartphones is modelled on TMall, China's dominant e-commerce platform. Alibaba is stepping up investments in the online commerce market in India. The Chinese firm has already infused around $200 million into Paytm, valuing the company at around $1 billion making it a unicorn.It has expanded its offerings from over 0.14 million local sellers, across products to consumers and has set up 17 fulfilment centres for speedy service as the company aims to dominate the Indian online shopping market.
  • BBC - the network which along with its journalist Justin Rowlatt has been banned for five years by the National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA) that governs all tiger reserves in the country. This was done following a BBC documentary questioning India's aggressive protection measures at Kaziranga national park in Assam. BBC's South Asia correspondent Justin Rowlatt's documentary titled `One World: Killing for Conservation' on Kaziranga's rhino conservation methods came in for sharp criticism from the Union environment ministry for being "grossly erroneous". The documentary had claimed forest guards in Kaziranga had been given powers to shoot and kill anyone they think was a threat to rhinos. It has asked chief wildlife wardens of all tiger range states and field directors of tiger reserves to disallow filming permission to BBC for five years.
  • Tropex - it stands for The Theatre Readiness Operational Exercise, is the name of a month-long naval exercise put to test the combat readiness of the Navy, the IAF and the Army with over 45 ships and 70 aircraft taking part which was completed recently. It started on January 24 and concluded on February 23. It was conducted along the Western seaboard. Tropex, in complete coordination with the Army and the Indian Air Force, took place in phases to test the various facets of war-fighting and joint combat capabilities of the armed forces. The previous edition of the exercise was conducted in January 2015.
  • Kalvari - the first of indigenously-built submarine from which the Indian Navy recently successfully test-fired an anti-ship missile in the Arabian Sea. This missile launch is a significant milestone, not only for the Kalvari, which is the first in a series of Scorpene-class submarines being built in India, but also in enhancing the Navy's sub-surface warfare capability. All six Kalvari submarines will be equipped with the missile, with a proven record in combat, to neutralise surface threats at extended ranges.
  • Thamirabarani - the river of Tamil Nadu which was in the news recently after the Madras High Court order allowing Pepsi and Coca Cola to draw water from this river for their bottling plants for manufacturing soft drinks. In opposition to this order a large number or persons stood in knee deep water in the river to express their ire. The protesters also shouted slogans against the state government for not taking necessary steps to prevent the carbonated water companies from drawing water from Thamirabharani, when the farmers in the was facing acute water shortage for their farming activities. The Thamirabarani River is a perennial river that originates from the famous Agastyarkoodam peak of Pothigai hills of the Western Ghats, above Papanasam in the Ambasamudram taluk. It flows through Tirunelveli and Tuticorin districts of the Tamil Nadu state of southern India into the Gulf of Mannar.
  • Jawaharlal Nehru University - this university bagged the annual 'Visitor's Award' for the best varsity in the country. JNU has been hogging limelight for all the wrong reasons since last February when three of its students were arrested on sedition charges in connection with an event on campus during which anti-national slogans were allegedly raised.
  • World Bank - the international organization whose CEO Kristalina Georgieva visited India recently. She praised India's Prime Minister Narendra's Modi decision to ban high-value banknotes as part of efforts to stamp out corruption which she said will have profound and positive impact on India's economy.
  • Rs.50,000 - the expected savings made by government due to Direct Benefit Transfer(DBT) over the last three years as on 31st December 2016. This amount is equivalent to the subsidy paid put under DBT in this financial year, implying nearly a year's subsidy was saved. This savings figure is expected to significantly rise further in the next financial year as the government will be bringing a total of 533 central payout schemes in 64 ministries under the DBT mechanism by 31st March, 2018-Rs.14,000cr saved in PDS & deleting 2.33cr ration cards, Rs.7,633crore saved in MGNR EGS & Rs.26408cr savings in LPG PAHAL, Rs.399cr saved in National Social Assistance Programme.
  • 12th - it is the rank of India in holding of the US government securities at the end of 2016, with exposure of $118 billion. With holdings of $1.09 trillion, Japan remained the largest holder of these securities followed by China with exposure to the tune of $1.06 trillion.
  • Liveability Index - the index which was recently introduced for India taking a leaf out of international practice of rating cities on liveability. Beginning with 100 smart cities, the liveability index would rank all Indian cities on 77 parameters including how they fare in terms of grievance redressal of citizens, pollution, availability of water and power, online citizen services, upkeep of historical buildings, increase in tourists footfalls, crime rate, extent of crimes recorded against women, children and elderly, availability of traffic surveillance system and education. Presently Hyderabad is the most liveable city, but ranks 139 globally. Vienna has been topping the survey for the past 4 years.
  • IFC - the World Bank arm which is planning an aggressive foray into startups at Series-a level, as part of its recent push towards early-stage investing in India. As part of the programme, IFC will invest between $1-3 million in early stage focused venture funds and accelerators. Till now, it has backed more mature startups like Byju's, Lenskart, Bigbasket and Blackbuck, with ticket sizes upwards of $5 million at Series-B stage and onwards.
  • Rs.20lakh - the amount of gratuity which will now be exempt from taxes for private sector employees after the Centre decided to amend a law and bring them at par with central government staff. Currently, private sector employees can get tax exemption up to Rs.10 lakh in gratuity after five years of continuous employment.
  • 4.5% - the percentage of India's population which is suffering from depression, which is similar to global percentage, which stands at 4.4%, as per the latest World Health Organisation (WHO) data. The number of people in India suffering from depression is roughly about 5,66,75,969. Also,3% of India's population(3,84,25,093) is living with anxiety disorder. Depression is ranked by WHO as the single largest contributor to global disability and anxiety disorders is ranked 6th.India also has the highest cases of depression in the WHO's South East region(WHO-SEAR)- Pakistan(4.2%), Bhutan (4.2%) etc.
  • Indian nationals - they accounted for nearly 60% of the skilled work visa granted by UK last year according to the new figures released by the British government recently. Indians accounted for 53,575 of the 93,244 skilled work visas granted by Britain-or 57%- for the year ending September 2016. This was followed by US nationals with 9,348 visas or 10% of the total.

Sports Updates

  • Steve Smith - the Australian captain who consolidated his position at the top of the ICC Player Rankings for Test Batsmen following his outstanding batting effort in the opening Test against India recently. The 27-year-old right-hander reached a career-high 939 rating points which is the sixth best ever after Don Bradman (961), Len Hutton (945), Jack Hobbs and Ricky Ponting (both 942) and Peter May (941).Gary Sobers, Viv Richards and Kumar Sangakkara all had career-high ranking points of 938, the International Cricket Council (ICC) announced recently.
  • John - John Dohmen- the skipper of Belgium who guided the team to silver medal in the 2016 Rio Olympics was adjudged the international hockey federation(FIH) male player of the year at the gala FIH Hockey Stars Award ceremony held recently at Chandigarh. It is for the first time that a ceremony was held to honour the best outfield players, goalkeepers, rising stars, coaches and umpires by FIH. Belgium's Arthur Van Doren was named the male 'Rising Star of the Year' and Argentina's Maria Granatto the female Rising Star of the Year. Naomi van AS, the player of Netherlands who was part of the Rio Olympics silver medal winning women's team was adjudged the international hockey federation (FIH) female player of the year at the gala FIH Hockey Stars Award ceremony held recently at Chandigarh.
  • Kalinga Lancers - they defeated Dabang Mumbai in the final to clinch their maiden title in the Coal India Hockey India League (HIL) played at the Chandigarh Hockey Stadium recently. Uttar Pradesh Wizards beat Delhi Waveriders 5-4 in the bronze medal match. Kalinga's goal-scorers, Turner and Furste shared the maximum goal-scoring chart with 12 goals each in the successful campaign.
  • Harika Dronavalli - the Indian Grandmaster who won the bronze medal after a heartbreaking defeat against Tan Zhongyi of China via the tie-breaker in the semi-finals of the FIDE World Women's Chess Championship in Tehran. Harika had to settle for a bronze medal for the third time. In 2012, Harika had lost the semi-final against Antoaneta Stefanova of Bulgaria while in 2015 she had lost to eventual winner Mariya Muzychuk of Ukraine.
  • Heena Sidhu - she partnered with Jitu Rai to win the 10m mixed team air pistol event of the ISSF World Cup held recently. However, since the mixed event is being used on a trial basis in line with IOC's aim to achieve gender equality in its 2020 Tokyo Olympics program, medals are not being awarded even though the International Shooting Sports Federation (ISSF) executive committee has ratified the recommendations. The recommendations to include mixed gender event was given by the AbhinavBindra-led ISSF Athletes Committee and the world governing body soon approved the proposal.
  • Jitu Rai - he clinched the gold medal while compatriot Amanpreet Singh bagged the silver in men's 50m pistol event at ISSF World Cup, in New Delhi, recently. He shot a total of 230.1, a world record, to finish on top of the podium, while Amanpreet, who was leading for a major part of the final, had to be satisfied with the silver medal after aggregating 226.9. Iran's Vahid Golkhandan took away the bronze with a score of 208.0
  • Virat Kohli - he became the first Indian sportsperson to strike a Rs. 100 crore endorsement deal with a single brand. He signed an eight-year contract with sports lifestyle brand Puma that's worth about Rs.110 crore. He joins Usain Bolt and Thierry Henry, among others, as Puma's global ambassador. Sachin Tendulkar and Mahendra Singh Dhoni have been in the Rs.100-crore club through multi-year contract with sports and talent management agencies.

Current Affairs March 06th to March 12th 2017

International Current News

  • 0.637 seconds - the new record set by a robot in solving the Rubik's cube with 21 moves in Germany which is a new Guinness World Record. The Sub 1 Reloaded beat a previous record of 0.887 seconds which was achieved by an earlier version of the same machine using a different processor. 4.904 seconds is the official record for a human set by a 14-year old boy in 2015.
  • 6 - the number of countries from which the migrant's entry will be banned in United States as per the new executive order signed by US President Donald Trump. The new order, aimed at getting around the legal smack down that spiked the first presidential decree on the subject, drops Iraq from the list of seven countries that includes Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, and Yemen. US Green card holders will be exempted. About the six countries identified for the travel ban, the new order said that each of these countries is a state sponsor of terrorism, has been significantly compromised by terrorist organizations, or contains active conflict zones. Any of these circumstances diminishes the foreign government's willingness or ability to share or validate important information about individuals seeking to travel to the United States.

National Current News

  • 40,000 MW - the new capacity for the scheme for development of solar parks and ultra mega solar projects, recently revised by the government. The capacity of the solar park scheme has been doubled from 20,000 MW after considering the demand for additional solar parks from the states. The solar parks and ultra mega solar power projects will be set up by 2019-20 with financial support of Rs.8100 crore from the centre. Production of 64 billion units of electricity per year will lead to abatement of about 55 million tonnes of carbon every year. All states and union territories are eligible for benefits under the scheme which is up to Rs.20 lakh per megawatt or 30% of the project cost.
  • 1% - the proposed Tax Collected at Source(TCS) on ecommerce companies under the Goods and Services Tax(GST) as decided recently by the GST Council. The GST council also approved the Central GST(CGST) and Integrated GST(IGST). The government plans to roll out GST from July 1,2017.
  • M3 - the latest avatar of the Electronic Voting Machine(EVMs) which the Election Commission is looking to ramp up its production ahead of the 2019 Loksabha polls. The plans are to replace all pre 2006 EVMs with M3-the more sophisticated machine with built in self diagnostics, minimal chances of machine failure and the ability to shut the moment any tampering effort is made. The M1 and M2 are the older versions of the EVM with M1 being kept out of use. The first EVM was used in 1982 by poll election and came to be used on a larger scale starting in 1992.
  • 30th June 2017 - the deadline set by government for the people to get biometric identification document-Aadhaar. The government has made Aadhaar mandatory to avail of benefits under nearly three dozen central schemes apart from the midday meal scheme at schools and Sarv Siksha Abhiyan. People should apply for card by 3oth June and till then other documents will be sufficient to get the benefits.
  • 58% - the percentage of the Indian kids below five years are anaemic as per the recently released family health survey (NFHS 4). This means that they suffer from insufficient hemoglobin in the blood, leaving them exhausted, vulnerable to infections and possibly affecting their brain development. The survey which was carried out in 2015-16 covered six lakh households, also showed that around 38% of children in the same age group were stunted,21% were wasted and 36% underweight. Kids with low weight relative to their height are considered wasted, those with low height relative to age are stunted and those with low weight relative to age are underweight.
  • 2017-23 - the period for which India launched its latest plan to phase out a key refrigerant, hydrochloroflurocarbon (HCFC), under its efforts to end the use of ozone-depleting substance (ODS) that harm the environment and human wealth. Though the plan is meant for the period 2017-23 , the goal is to phase out consumption and manufacturing of HCFC by 2030. HCFCs are currently used in sectors including refrigeration, air-conditioning and foam manufacturing. India being a signatory of Montreal Protocol in 1987 has successfully phased out CFCs and halo well in time. After phasing out HCFCs, India will have to work on to phase out Hydro fluorocarbon(HFC). Though HFC is not an ODS, it has climate-damaging potential. India has to phase out HFC by 85% by 2047 over the 2024-26 level(baseline).
  • INS Viraat - the longest-serving aircraft carrier which was decommissioned from the Naval dockyard in Mumbai recently. It was commissioned in 1959 and had worked with the British Royal Navy and the Indian Navy.
  • 'Lipstick Under My Burkha' - the Indian film which won the audience award at Glasgow Film Festival recently. Director Alankrita Shrivastava received the award from 'Doctor Who' star David Tennant during the fest's closing ceremony. This film was in the news after it was denied release in India by censor board. The film, which stars Ratna Pathak Shah and Konkana Sensharma in key roles, resolves around the lives of four Indian women seeking more from life than docile domesticity.
  • DFS - it stands for Double Fortified Salt will be distributed in Uttar Pradesh to help end anaemia. The DFS augments iodised salt with iron, vital to countering anaemia. Professor Levente Diosady, an emeritus professor in the department of chemical engineering and applied chemistry at University of Toronto, is the man behind the salt.
  • 2% - the number of world millionaires which are in India as per the recently released Knight Frank Global Wealth Report 2017. As per the report India was sixth in 2016 in terms of growth rate in the number of ultra high net worth individuals(UHNWI) and is likely to move up to third rank over the next decade out of 89 countries. In the last 10 years, India added about 500 new UHNWIs annually and over the next decade this number is expected to double with 1,000 new additions every year.
  • 40% - the percentage increase witnessed in institutional births in all Empowered Action Group(EAG) states(Bihar, Jharkhand, MP, Chhattisgarh, Odisha, Rajasthan, UP and Uttarakhand) and Assam, according to the National Family Health Survey-4. A rise in the number of institutional deliveries is crucial as it helps reduce maternal and infant mortality, besides ensuring better health for women and children in the long run. Kerala, Lakshadweep and Puducherry are the best states in institutional birth with 99.9% while Rajasthan is worst at 29.6%.
  • 26 weeks - the weeks of paid paternity leave, which will now be granted to women working in the organised sector which is up from earlier 12 weeks, a decision which will benefit around 1.8 million women. The law will apply to all establishments employing 10 or more people and the entitlement will be for the first two children. For the third child, the entitlement will be 12 weeks. With this, India becomes the country with the third highest maternity leave. Canada and Norway grant 50 weeks and 44 weeks respectively as paid maternity leave. The Maternity Benefit (Amendment) Bill, 2016 was passed by Lok Sabha recently. Rajya Sabha had passed it in August last year. The Maternity Benefit Act, 1961 protects the employment of women during the time of her maternity and entitles her full paid absence from work to take care of her child.
  • Among other things, the bill provides for 12 weeks of maternity leave to a woman who legally adopts a child under three months of age and a commissioning mother (defined as a biological mother) who uses her egg to have a surrogate child.
  • The bill also requires every establishment with 50 or more employees to provide creche facilities within a prescribed distance. The woman will be allowed four visits to the creche a day. This will include her interval for rest.

Current Affairs March 13th to March 19th 2017

International Current News

  • CAL - it stands for Cold Atom Laboratory, which NASA is planning to create at the International Space Station (ISS) to provide new insights into gravity and dark matter. Inside that box, lasers, a vacuum chamber and an electromagnetic knife will be used to cancel out energy of gas particles, slowing them until they are almost motionless. CAL instruments are designed to freeze gas atoms to a mere billionth of a degree above absolute zero- more than 100 million times colder than depths of space. The suite of instrument is set to ride to space in August 2017 aboard the SpaceXCRS-12.
  • Qatar Airways - the airlines which is planning to launch India's first foreign-owned airline. Qatar Airways is planning to tie up with Qatar government's investment arm, Qatar Investment Authority to launch this airline which will be first fully foreign-owned airline after the Indian government allowed 100%FDI in this sector in June 2016. While the foreign carriers will be required to have up to 49% stake, they can get a foreign partner, like sovereign wealth fund or an institutional investor, and not look for an Indian partner to put in the remaining 51%.
  • Jupiter - the planet whose moon Europa will be probed by NASA's 'Europa Clipper' which is set to be launched in 2020. The ultimate aim of Europa Clipper is to determine if Europa is habitable, possessing all three of the ingredients necessary for life: liquid water, chemical ingredients and energy sources sufficient to enable biology. Europa has long been a high priority for exploration because it holds a salty liquid water ocean beneath its icy crust.
  • Intel - they will buy Israeli car tech firm Mobileye for more than $15 billion (14 billion euros), in a deal signalling the US computer chip giant's commitment to technology for self-driving vehicles. The deal worth approximately $15.3 billion was the largest ever cross-border acquisition for an Israeli tech firm. It comes with Intel and Mobileye previously collaborating with German automaker BMW to develop self-driving cars. Intel and Mobileye expect to combine to become a global leader in "autonomous driving" that could provide the technology at a lower cost.

National Current News

  • IISc, Bangalore - which stands for Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore recently became the first Indian educational institute to make it to the top 10 of the global university. The Times Higher Education (THE) recently revealed that India is home to one of the world's best small universities, as it made public the 2017 edition of the rankings. Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore, has been ranked eighth at the 'THE's Best Small Universities in the World 2017'. IISc, a public university for scientific research and higher education, was established in 1909 with active support from Jamshed ji Tata and Sir Krishnaraja Wodeyar IV, the Maharaja of Mysore. In 2015-16 it became the first Indian institute to be ranked among the top 100 in THE World University Rankings for engineering and technology at 99th position.
  • Features of Digital Locker - Allowing citizens to sign up for a Digital Locker account via web based portal or mobile app, Allowing accessing of documents from issuers using document references available in the Digital Locker account, Allowing access to requesters to access issued documents by providing document references are the services which will be offered by the Digital Locker Portal which is being set up the government. The government is planning to give license to public and private agencies to provide Digital Locker Services for which the government has set up The Digital Locker Authority which will provide licenses to Digital Locker Service Providers (DLSPs). The first Digital Locker service Provider called as Digi Locker (https:www.digilocker.gov.in) was launched by Hon'ble Prime Minister on 1st July 2015. In July 2016, Ministry of Electronics & Information Technology notified Information Technology (preservation and Retention of Information by Intermediaries Providing Digital Locker Facilities) Rules, 2016 under Information Technology Act (2000) and further amendments rules on 8th Feb.2017. As per provisions of these rules government has planned to issue licences to public and private agencies for Digital Locker Services.
  • Major points of the new definition of ragging - Any act of physical or mental abuse on the ground of colour, race, religion, caste and ethnicity; Any gender specific abuse; Any abuse related to sexual orientation, appearance, nationality, regional origins, linguists identity, place of birth, place of residence or economic background are the major points of the new definition of ragging which were issued by AICTE recently. The notification holds for all engineering and technical colleges-government, government-aided and private-across the country. This is the first expansive definition of ragging by AICTE after it came out with asset of rules in 2009 to check the widespread menace.
  • Main features of The Trade Infrastructure for Export Scheme Budgetary - Allocation of Rs.600 crore for 3 years, Annual outlay of Rs.200 crore are the main features of The Trade Infrastructure for Export Scheme which will be implemented from April 1, 2017. The scheme will provide assistance for setting up and upgrade of infrastructure projects with �overwhelming exports linkages� such as border haats, land customs stations, quality testing and certification labs, cold chains, trade promotion centres, dry ports, export warehousing and packaging, special economic zones, ports and airports. It will provide grant-in-aid up to half of equity being put in by implementing agencies, with a ceiling of Rs.20 crore per project and 5% of the grant approved will be used appraisal, review and monitoring.
  • 35 - the number of clusters, accounting for half of all freight movement, which have been identified for building multimodal logistics parks (MLPs) to improve transportation and warehousing in the country. Out of this, 15 would be developed across Punjab, Haryana, Gujarat, Maharashtra and Uttar Pradesh. The proposed parks would reduce transportation cost by a tenth for industries in the 35 clusters, enabling freight movement on higher sized trucks and rail. Locations for development of MLPs have been prioritized based on the level of production and consumption activity in a particular city, as measured by freight flows, quality of road and rail connectivity to there and its importance in international trade, he said. National Highways Authority of India would be the nodal agency for development of the first set of MLPs. It would form a Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV) with state governments. Within the SPV, states are expected to provide land for the MLPs.

Sports Updates

  • OPPO - the mobile manufacturing company became the new sponsor of the Indian cricket team, replacing broadcasting giants Star India. The mobile manufacturing giant OPPO's association with BCCI will start from April 2017 for a period of five years. Star India had made it clear that it would not seek a renewal of its sponsorship deal, which was to end next month. The company had cited differences with the Board on the commitments sought from them as the reason for its decision. Star India took over as the Indian cricket team's sponsor in 2013 from Sahara, which was declared ineligible by the Board. The team sponsor gets to have its commercial logo on the both the men's and women's kits.
  • R. Ashwin - he along with Ravindra Jadeja were ranked joint-first on ICCs list of best bowlers in Tests. This is the first time two bowlers of the same country have share the top spot. The last time the top Test bowler's spot was shared was between South Africa's Dale Steyn and Sri Lanka's Muttiah Muralitharan in April 2008. It is also the second time that the top two bowlers are Indians-Bishan Singh Bedi and B Chandrasekhar were top two in 1974.
  • Shashank Manohar �he resigned as ICC chairman after merely eight months in office citing personal reasons. The 59-year-old Manohar mailed his resignation letter to ICC CEO Dave Richardson without clarifying the exact reason for this sudden move to end what was to be a two-year-tenure.
  • Steve Smith - the captain to score highest runs by an Australian captain in Tests in India. He achieved this feat when he scored 178not out during the first innings of the Third Test match which was played at Ranchi recently. He is only the eighth Australian captain to score a century in India. He is the only Aussie captain to have scored two centuries in India.

Current Affairs March 20th to March 26th 2017

International Current News

  • Whanganui River - the river of New Zealand which recently granted legal status as a 'Person.' The river gained its own identity with all the corresponding rights, duties and liabilities of a legal person, after a 170-year battle. The river is a sacred and revered waterway to New Zealand's Maori Iwi people and its interests will now be represented by an indigenous group.
  • LHAASO - it stands for the Large High Altitude Air Shower Observatory which is being set up about 4,410 metres above sea level in the mountainous Sichuan province of China which will attempt to search for the origin of high energy cosmic rays. The observatory aims to study the evolution of the universe and high energy celestial bodies. The construction of the LHAASO is set for completion in January 2021. It will be a key frontier project for cosmic ray research internationally. Cosmic rays are particles that originate in outer space and are accelerated to energies higher than those that can be achieved in even the largest man-made particle accelerators. LHAASO will be mankind's first attempt to hunt for the highest energy Gamma ray, which is the burst of radiation thought to be produced alongside cosmic rays in our galaxy.
  • 22nd March - it was celebrated as World Water Day recently. World Water Day is held annually on 22 March as a means of focusing attention on the importance of freshwater and advocating for the sustainable management of freshwater resources. An international day to celebrate freshwater was recommended at the 1992 United Nations Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED). The United Nations General Assembly responded by designating 22 March 1993 as the first World Water Day. India has 14 principal acquifer systems and 42 major acquifers. Alluvium is an acquifer that covers 31% of the country and is predominant in U.P, Bihar, West Bengal, Assam, Odisha and Rajasthan.
  • Kea parrots - the parrots from New Zealand which have a human-like infectious laughter-a 'play call' that puts other birds around them into a playful mood as per the new research from the Messerli Research Institute in Australia. The findings make Kea the first known non-mammal to have such an 'emotionally contagious' vocalization, joiningthe ranks of humans, rats and chimpanzees.
  • Article 50 - the article of the Lisbon Treaty I is the one under which Britain will have to officially notify of its decision to leave the European Union. It will begin the two-year exit process under Brexit after officially issuing the notification under this Act.

National Current News

  • CDSL & NSDL - they are the depository organization in India which works as a link between listed companies and the share holders. The Depository Act of 1996 pave the way for the establishment of the two depositories in India, namely national Securities Depository Limited(NSDL),promoted by the National Stock Exchange, Industrial Bank of India and Unit Trust of India among others. The other depository is the Central Depository Services Limited (CSDL), which is promoted by the Bombay Stock Exchange, State Bank of India and Bank of India among others.
  • 148th - the rank of India in the world for the number of women in Parliament, according to a report prepared by Inter-Parliamentary Union and United Nations Women. The report reveals that it will take 50 years for number of women to equal men in legislative bodies in India. Rwanda is ranked 1st and Bolivia is ranked 2nd in this ranking.
  • CBM - it stands for coal-bed methane whose free pricing was recently approved by Union Cabinet which will boost the output of this barely tapped source of energy in the country. Contractor's can sell CBM, the natural gas extracted from a coal mine,at arm's length prices in the domestic market. Of the 33 CBM blocks awarded to companies at various times, four are currently producing a total volume of about 1.17 million standard cubic metres. Many blocks have been relinquished by companies. Free pricing can help tap domestic CBM resources estimated at about 92 trillion cubic feet. This is the latest in a series of reforms in the oil and gas sector over the past two-and- a half years. Earlier the government deregulated fuel prices and allowed higher prices for natural gas and introduced a new exploration policy.
  • Bhim - the name of the country's first indigenous superpower drone developed by a research group at IIT Kharagpur. BHIM can create a Wi-Fi zone within a nearly 1 km radius when it flies overhead. BHIM's special ability lies in maintain long flight times and dropping emergency supplies by accurately using parachutes. It can be also be used for rescue operations in remote areas.
  • Vodafone - they recently announced its decision to merge with Idea Cellular to create the country's undisputed leader in the world's second largest telecom market after China. The combined 394-million subscriber base of India's second and third largest telcos will eclipse Bharti Airtel's 270 million - and catapult the merged company to No 2 spot globally. The mega-merger will create a company that will be No. 1 or a strong No. 2 in all telecom circles except Jammu & Kashmir. Voda's 204 million subscribers and Idea's 190 million (at the end of 2016) will give them a combined market share of 35%.
  • National Testing Service (NTS) - it will conduct majority of tests conducted by Central Board of Secondary Education from 2018. Once the Cabinet's nod is given, the agency will start with the National Entrance Examination for Technical Institution (NEETI) for admission to engineering courses from January 2018. According to sources, entrance tests for courses in higher education and other professional tests conducted by the CBSE will come under the NTS fold making it the country's largest exam conducting body. Apart from Class X and XII Board exams, CBSE conducts five other tests which include Joint Engineering Entrance (JEE), NEET, UGC's National Eligibility Test (twice a year), Central Teacher Eligibility Test (twice a year) and the entrance test for JawaharNavodayaVidyalayas. While the Board exams are taken by over 27 lakh candidates, the four professional tests are conducted for nearly 40 lakh aspirants.
  • BMB - it stands for Bharatiya Mahila Bank which is the bank whose merger was recently announced with State Bank of India(SBI) in order to ensure greater banking services outreach to more women. SBI group already has 126 exclusive all-women branches across the country while BMB has only seven. In the three years since BMB was set up in 2013, it has extended loans of Rs 192 crore to women borrowers. The SBI group has provided loans of about Rs 46,000 crore to women. SBI has more than 20,000 branches. Out its workforce of around 2 lakh, 22 per cent are women.
  • NSEBC - it stands for National Commission for Socially and Educationally Backward Classes is the name of the new constitutional panel formed by government. It will look into requests for inclusion of any class of citizens as a backward class and hear complaints of over-inclusion or under-inclusion. The union cabinet, chaired by Prime Minister, approved the proposal of setting up of new commission recently. It will replace the existing National Commission for Backward Classes (NCBC) that looks into inclusion or exclusion in the OBC quotas. The new panel will have a constitutional status. It will have much wider ambit to deal with caste and class related issues than the existing ones, which only looked at possible exclusions or additions of classes in the OBC category.
  • ATAS - it stands for Alternate Train Accommodation Scheme is the new scheme announced by Indian Railways to provide confirmed births to waitlisted passengers in an alternate train without any extra charges. The scheme which will be operational from 1st April 2017 will optimize berth utilization across all the trains. In order to give boost to cashless economy the scheme will be initially available for e-tickets only.

Sports Updates

  • Ravindra Jadeja - the Indian bowler who after his superb bowling effort in the 3rd Test against Australia in Ranchi, is now the sole member of the top spot in the ICC Test ranking for bowlers. The left-arm spinner has become only the third Indian after Ashwin and Bishan Bedi to top the bowling charts on his own.
  • Ankur Mittal - he delivered India's nine-member contingent its first medal at the International Shooting Sport Federation World Cup (Shot Gun) in Acapulco, Mexico by shooting gold in the men's double trap on Wednesday. Mittal, who won silver at last month's ISSF World Cup in New Delhi, beat the gold medalist at that event, Australian James Willet.
  • Dharamshala � it recently became India's 21st city/town and the 27th venue to host a Test match cricket. The Himachal Pradesh hill station at an altitude of 1,317m became of the highest Test venues.
  • Bangladesh - they created history by securing its first win against Sri Lanka in 100th Test when they pulled off a historic four-wicket win over Sri Lanka in the second Test in Colombo recently. The rare win for Bangladesh is just their fourth away from home and first against Sri Lanka in 18 attempts.

Current Affairs - April

Current Affairs March 27th to April 02th 2017

International Current News

  • Bumble bees -it became the first wild bee in the continental United States to gain federal protection when it was added to the government's list of endangered and threatened species recently. Bumble bees are key pollinators of crops such as blueberries and cranberries, and are almost the only insect pollinator in the United States, according to the U.S Fish and Wildlife Service. The population of the bee, named for the reddish blotch on its abdomen, is believed to have declined by more than 90% since the late 1990s owing to disease, pesticide, climate change and habitat loss.
  • Evolocumab -the name of the new powerful drug against heart disease as per the report published in the New England Journal of Medicine. It can prevent heart attack and strokes by cutting bad cholesterol to unprecedented levels. It has been designed to target a protein in the liver with the name PCSK9.
  • European Union -they celebrated 60th anniversary of their founding treaty at Rome recently. In their solemn declaration ending the summit, the 27 leaders sought to end paralysis that has gripped the bloc on several issues and enshrined the notion that some member states will be able to move ahead on some issues while others remain on sidelines.

National Current News

  • 2,500 crore -the number of digital transactions which the India should target to achieve during this year. This target was announced by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in his latest version of Mann Ki Baat on 26th March 2017. He called upon all to take up the fight against black money and corruption to the next level and try to achieve the target of digital transactions in just six months.
  • 0.3% -the target percentage of blind people compared to total population which India has to achieve as per the targets set up 'Under Vision 2020'. Under this India is set to change the40-year old definition of blindness. A person unable to count fingers from a distance of six metres is categorised as 'blind' in India, against the WHO's stipulation of three metres. This change in definition will bring down the number of blind persons by 4 million in India.
  • BS-IV -the norm for vehicles which will come into force from 1st April, 2016. The Supreme Court on recently banned the sale of BS-III vehicles, saying that the health of citizens is more important than the commercial interests of auto manufacturers. The apex court directed that no BS-III vehicle shall be registered from April 1 and turned down the plea of automobile manufactures to allow them to dispose of 8.2 lakh such vehicles.
  • Aadhaar Bridge Payment System(ABPS) - this along with Aadhaar Enabled Payment(AEPS) & Aadhaar Pay are the major types of prevalent Aadhaar Enabled Payment Systems. ABPS is meant for direct benefit transfer and subsidy from the government to the beneficiaries. AEPS is used at the level of business correspondents or 'bank mitras' where bank customers can use Aadhaar to access various services like cash withdrawal, account opening and fund transfer even without going to a bank branch. Under Aadhaar Pay, merchants can accept payments through Aadhaar identification of their customers.
  • Central Goods and Services Tax Bill, 2017- this along with Integrated Goods and Services Tax Bill, 2017; Goods and Services Tax(Compensation to States) Bill,2017; Union Territory Goods and Services Tax Bill,2017 are the 4 GST related laws which were passed by the Lok Sabha on 29th March 2017 marking a major step towards the rollout of the single national tax on July 1, 2017. The major provisions are: 2.5% flat rate compounding scheme for small businesses with turnover up to Rs.50lakh, Centre can exempt some goods from CGST, Rs.20 lakh annual revenue threshold for GST, Tax rate capped at 40%( 20% central,205 state), Tax collected at source on CST capped at 2%(1%central,1% state),Registration in every state-no single state registration, Compensation to states for loss of revenues for five years, cess on luxury and sin goods to create a compensation fund, Anti-profiteering measures to ensure lower taxes passed to consumer, I-GST provides levy of tax on interstate supply of goods, Provision to set up GST appellate tribunal.
  • 5%, 12%, 18% & 40% -these are the four tax slabs which will be there after the GST regime. Farmers and small traders will be exempted from taxes. 5% will be on edible oil, tea, sugar and spice mix; 12% on Mobile phone, garments, medicines, air and rail travel and under-construction flats; 18% on Restaurants, processed food, television, microwave, refrigerators, telephones and 40% on Medium Cars, SUVs and large cars(28% on small cars).
  • 11,98,586 MW -the estimated total potential of renewable energy in the country, according to Energy Statistics2017. Rajasthan holds the highest share of this potential (14%), followed by Gujarat (13%) and Maharashtra (10%). Out of this the share from Solar sector is estimated to be 62.48%,Wind 33.78 %, Small-hydro 1.65%,Biomass power 1.46%, Bagasse based cogen in sugar mills 0.42% and Waste to Energy 0.21%.In 2016, the total installed capacity of grid interactive renewable power had gone up to 42,849,38MW which amounted to 3.6% of the total renewable generation potential.
  • 10% -the import duty which the government has imposed on wheat and tur or arhar dal (pigeon pea) with immediate effect- move which is aimed at protecting interests of farmers as pricing of pulses fell below the minimum support price(MSP) across key producing states with expectation of record food grain production in this crop year ( July 2016-June 2017). This is for the first time in a decade when the government has imposed import duty on tur or arhar dal, as it had been pursuing zero duty on imports of pulses since 2006.
  • Rs.50 lakhs -the income up to which individuals can file income tax return in the one page ITR Form-1(Sahaj) introduced from FY 2017-18. This form is valid for one residential property and other income such as interests. This will cover most tax payers.
  • Aadhar Number, Details of aggregate cash deposits if exceeding Rs.2 lakhs during demonetization -these are the two major inclusions in Income Tax Return(ITR) forms for FY 2017-18 notified recently.
  • Senior citizens of age 80 years or more- this along with Individuals or HUF with income of less than Rs.5 lakh and no refund are the only categories who have been granted exemption from electronically filing of income tax returns.
  • 500m - the distance across national and state highways, within which the sale of liquor has been banned across the country except for the hilly states of Sikkim and Meghalaya. The Supreme Court said that its order covers all hotels and restaurants. The judges reduced the benchmark to 220 metres for highways passing through municipal councils with population of less than 20,000, a rule that would also apply to Himachal Pradesh.

Sports Updates

  • Bhubaneswar - the Indian city which will host the Men's Hockey World Cup 2018. The Kalinga Stadium will host the two of hockey's biggest events, Men's Hockey World League Final 2017 and Men's Hockey World Cup 2018. The venue successfully hosted the 2014 Men's Hockey Champions Trophy. It is also home to the current Hockey India League champions, the Kalinga Lancers. The Men's Hockey World League Final in 2017 will take place between December 1-10, 2017. The Men's Hockey World Cup 2018 will take place in late November/early December and will see 15 teams join hosts India at the event.
  • Kolkata -this place will host the summit clash of the U-17 World Cup football on October 28,2017 while Navi Mumbai and Guwahati were chosen to stage the semi-finals of the prestigious FIFA tournament the country is hosting for the first time. The announcement of the tournament schedule came after a seven-day visit by an eight-member FIFA team led by its head of events Jaime Yarza. The FIFA officials, along with Local Organising Committee members, inspected all the six cities - Kolkata, New Delhi, Guwahati, Margao, Kochi and Navi Mumbai - which will host the tournament.
  • West Bengal -they won the Santosh Trophy for the 32nd time after a 1-0 win over Goa, extending their domination in the premier domestic football tournament. Playing in front of a vociferous home crowd, five-time winners Goa tried their best and controlled the match, but ran out of steam in the extra time. The hosts had their chances to score but the rival keeper pulled off some great saves. West Bengal, thus, ended a six-year wait having last won the title in 2011. Goa last won it in 2009. Goa, who had host the tournament thrice, lost to West Bengal in the semifinal in 1972 and the final in 1996, while winning against Kerala in 1990.
  • Kuldeep Yadav- he became the 1st Indian left-arm male wrist spinner to play in test match when he was included in the playing squad of India in the 4th Test match against Australia at Dharamshala recently. In 2006, Preeti Dimri became the 1st Chinaman bowler in Indian woman's team.
  • Ajinkya Rahane -he became India's 33rd Test Captain when he led India during the 4th test match against Australia at Dharamshala recently. He was handed the captaincy after sat out of the fourth Test since he wasn't 100% fit.
  • India -they became the third nation to win Test series against all their opponents at the same point of time. Australia had recorded the distinction in 2004-05 and 2006-07 and South Africa in 2012-13. For the first time, India have won seven consecutive Test series -- from 2015 till date. With their victory in the Dharamsala Test by eight wickets, India have achieved a rare distinction of winning four consecutive Test series vs Australia in India since 2008.
  • Ravindra Jadeja -he was adjudged the Man of the Series in the recently concluded India Australia Test series which India won 2-1.This was for the first time that Jadeja was adjudged the Man of Series.
  • Virat Kohli - the Indian cricket captain has become the highest paid celebrity in India. Kohli recently increased his endorsement fees to Rs.5 crore a day for new contracts recently which was earlier Rs.2.5 crore-Rs.4.00 crore per day.

Current Affairs April 03th to April 09th 2017

International Current News

  • 12 -the number of new types of clouds have been recognized for the first time by the International cloud Atlas. The atlas, which dates back to the 19th century, is the global reference book for observing and identifying clouds. Last revised in 1987, it now has a new fully-digital edition. New entries include the wave like asperitas, the roll-like volutus, and contrails, clouds formed from the vapour trail of aeroplanes. The world Meteorological Organisation(WMO) publishes the atlas and also has the final say on the contents, including the addition of "new" clouds and cloud features.
  • GJ 1132b-the name of the 'super-Earth' planet which has been recently found by scientists and for the first time has its own hazy atmosphere. The discovery represents a major leap forward in the hunt for a planet like our own that could support alien life. The planet, which is 39 light years from us has a hazy atmosphere that could have a 'water world' beneath it.
  • 7th April 2017-this day was recently celebrated as World Health Day.World Health Day, celebrated on 7 April every year to mark the anniversary of the founding of the World Health Organization, provides us with a unique opportunity to mobilize action around a specific health topic of concern to people all over the world.Mental health is integral to our well-being and as important as being physically healthy. The growing incidence of mental health issues is a reflection of the reality that confronts us today. That is why the theme for this year's World Health Day campaign is depression.

National Current News

  • 60 days- the revised duration of stay which has been allowed under the e-visa scheme. The window for application under the e-visa scheme has also been increased from 30days to 120 days. The e-visa has now been sub-divided into three categories-e-tourist visa, e-business visa and e-medical visa- with the facility now being extended to nationals of 161 countries for entry through 24 airports and three ports of Cochin, Goa and Mangalore to tap into the potential of cruise tourism from different countries.
  • 9km-the length of the India's longest highway tunnel between Chenani & Nashri which was inaugurated recently by Prime Minister Narendra Modi. It will reduce distance between Jammu & Srinagar by 31km. It is equipped with the most modern safety systems namely-integrated tunnel control system, ventilation, fire fighting, radio communication etc.
  • 6.25%-the repo rate which was kept unchanged by Reserve Bank of India during the latest monetary policy announced recently. The Reserve Bank of India kept its repo rate at 6.25 per cent for a third consecutive policy meeting on Thursday as it continues to guard against any potential flare-up in inflation and an uncertain global economic environment. The reverse repo rate however has been increased to 6 per cent. RBI projected inflation at 4.5 per cent for first half of 2017-18 and 5 per cent for second half. The GDP growth projected to be 7.4% for the current fiscal, up from 6.7% in 2016-17. The bank said that several indicators point to modest improvement in microeconomic outlook. It also said that risk are evenly balanced around inflation trajectory, however there is an upside risk from uncertainty about monsoon. RBI Governor Urjit Patel said the bank had to absorb a surge in liquidity in the system after demonetisation, and the focused is on removing the liquidity overhang.
  • Rs. 100 crore-the revised capital requirement for asset reconstruction companies as announced recently by Reserve Bank of India. Reserve Bank of India recently hiked the capital requirement for asset reconstruction companies to Rs 100 crore from Rs 2 crore now.In a note accompanying the monetary policy statement the central bank said that the enhanced capital requirements were necessary because of the higher amount of cash required to buy bad loans from the current fiscal. The change in the capital requirements comes after new norms notified by Reserve Bank of India (RBI) in September said if security receipts (SRs) make more than 50% of the value of the asset under consideration, banks have to continue to provide for these loans as if the loans continue in the books of the bank. These norms were aimed at forcing banks to sell more NPAs at cash.
  • Twitter-the social networking site which launched a lighter version of its platform -- Twitter Lite -- in India, which is among its top five audience markets globally.The browser-based product, which will also be rolled out in countries like Indonesia and Philippines soon, uses 70 per cent less data and loads 30 per cent faster compared to the app.It will be available in 42 languages, including six Indian languages (Hindi, Bengali, Tamil, Kannada, Gujarati and Marathi).Twitter has over 319 million users globally. It does not give out country-specific numbers.Twitter, which allows users to engage with peers, corporates and government using 140 characters, is also betting heavily on visual content like emojis and videos.Twitter has also partnered Vodafone to provide a customised timeline of top cricket related tweets via Twitter Lite to the telecom major's 200 million subscribers throughout the T20 season.
  • Neerja- the film which was declared as the Best Hindi Feature Film at the 64th National Film Awards which was announced recently. Akshay Kumar bagged the Best Actor award for his act in 'Rustom' while Ajay Devgan-directed 'Shivaay' won the award for Best VFX. Sonam Kapoor also got a Special Mention for her performance in 'Neerja'. Over 300 films vied for the honours this year. The process to choose the best from Indian cinema began in mid-March. Filmmaker Priyadarshan was the chairperson of the jury in feature films category, while nationally acclaimed cinematographer and writer Raju Misra was the chairperson in non-feature category.
  • Best Actor - Akshay Kumar (Rustom) , Best Actress - Surabhi Lakshmi (Minnaminungu) ,Best Film on Social Issues - Pink & Best Supporting Actress - Zaira Wasim (Dangal) are the winners of the 64th National Film Award winner in their respective category's which was announced recently.
  • Rs.200- the denomination whose note will be introduced soon in India as decided by the Reserve Bank of India. The RBI board recently approved this proposal to plug the paucity of paucity of lower deominations. The mints are likely to start the printing the new notes from June 2018. The central banks want to circulate the new notes only through bank branches similar to the way Rs.50 and Rs.10 notes are circulated.

Sports Updates

  • 101- the rank of India in the latest FIFA ranking which was released recently. The Indian football team achieved its best ever FIFA rankings in over two decades as it jumped to 101 in the latest list released. This is the teams best ever ranking since May 1996- they were ranked 101 then also. India have jumped 31 places from its last rank of 132nd in the previous month. India are now ranked 11th in Asia. The highest FIFA ranking achieved by India ever is 94, which was attained in February 1996.

Current Affairs April 10th to April 16th 2017

National Current News

  • 1st June-31st May -the period of annual insurance under Pradhan Mantri Jeevan Jyoti Bima Yojana (PMJJBY) and Pradhan Mantri Suraksha Bima Yojana(PMSBY). Under PMJJBY life insurance is provided of Rs.2 lakhs for an annual premium of just Rs.330 and is available for all account holders aged between 18-50 years. For subscribers enrolling for the first time on or after 1st June 2016, insurance cover shall not be available for death (other than due to accident) occurring during the first 45 days of enrollment and during the lien period no claim would be admissible. Life insurance cover is valid up to 55 years. Under PMSBY accident insurance is provided of Rs.2 lakhs for an annual premium of just Rs.12. This scheme is for all bank account holders between 18-70 years and insurance covers death and permanent disability due to accident.
  • 5,525 MW -the new solar power capacity which India added in 2016-17 according to the latest figures provided by the ministry of new and renewable energy (MNRE). In comparison, India had added 3,010 MW of solar capacity in 2015-16, which means that the growth nearly doubled over the past year.Cumulative solar capacity currently stands at 12,288.33 MW against 6,762.85 MW at the end of March 2016. The JNNSM had initially set a target of 20,000MW of solar capacity by 2020. However this was scaled upwards by Prime Minister Narendra Modi after he took over in 2014, raising it to 100,000 MW of solar power by 2022. Among the states, Andhra Pradesh added the maximum solar capacity in 2016-17 followed by Karnataka and Telangana.
  • Samsung -this brand emerged as the most trusted brand in India in 2017, according to a recent report released by brand analytics firm TRA Research. Samsung climbed 17 ranks over the previous year to grab the top spot. Sony was at Number 2 and LG was ranked Number 3 in the brand trust ranking.
  • Indian Institute of Science (IISc), Bengaluru -this institute bagged the top position in the top 100 university ranking released by the centre recently. Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Madras came in a close second. The ranking of 100 institutes was conducted by the National Institutional Ranking Framework (NIRF) which comes under the MHRD. This year the ranking was released under five categories -- Overall, Colleges, Universities, Management and Engineering. IISc figured at the top in 'Overall' and 'Universities' categories. The ranking was decided on the basis of teaching-learning-resources, research-professional practice-collaborative performance, graduation outcomes and outreach of an educational institution.
  • International North South Transportation Corridor (INSTC) -the corridor being planned to connect India with Russia and Europe via Iran. A dry run of container movement via the green corridor (smooth customs facilitation) may be conducted soon, marking the 70th anniversary of Indo-Russian diplomatic ties. INSTC will substantially reduce time taken and cost for transport of goods between India and Eurasia once fully functional and increase economic activities between India and the resource-rich Russia as well as markets of Europe. The INSTC has moved closer to implementation after India decided to join international customs convention TIR following cabinet approval. The modalities of making INSTC functional was discussed at a multi-stakeholder meeting recently, people familiar with the developments told ET. INSTC is one of corridors that Delhi is working on as part of connectivity initiatives parallel to China's 'One Belt One Road' strategy.
  • 30th April 2017 -the last date of submission of KYC (Know Your Customers) & Aadhaar details to banks and financial institutions for accounts opened from July 2014 to August, 2015 and self-certify them to comply with FATCA regulations (Foreign Tax Compliance Act). In case the account holders are unable to furnish details and provide self-certification by the new deadline, banks and financial institutions have the option of blocking the accounts. Once the details are furnished they can operate the accounts. The provision applies to accounts which come under the ambit of FATCA regulations. Banks and financial institutions were asked to obtain self-certification and carry out due diligence for all individual and entity accounts opened from July 1, 2014 to August 31, 2015 to comply with the Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FATCA) pact signed by India and the United States. In July 2015, India and the US signed a tax information sharing agreement under a new US law, FATCA, aimed at bolstering efforts for automatic exchange of financial information between the two nations about tax evaders.
  • 7.2% -the expected growth rate India is expected to achieve by 2017 as per the World Bank report released recently. India's economic growth is expected to pick up speed from 6.8% in 2016 to 7.2% by 2017 after a modest setback due to weaker than expected investments and effects of withdrawal of large denomination bank notes. It said growth is expected to further gather momentum by 2019 when the Indian economy is expected to expand by 7.7%. Several multilateral agencies have raised India's growth prospects as the impact of demonetisation has waned. The report also said possible protectionism in advanced economies should not deter export-oriented growth in South Asia, including India, a region that could benefit from the backlash against globalisation. The report also confirms that South Asia remains the fastest-growing region in the world, gradually widening its lead relative to East Asia. Regional GDP growth is expected to rise from 6.7% in 2016 to 6.8% in 2017, and 7.1% in 2018.

Sports Updates

  • Virat Kohli- the Indian cricket captain was recently named as the 'Leading Cricketer in the World' in this year edition of the Wisden Cricketers' Almanack. Australia's Ellyse Perry was named the world's leading women's cricketer. Kohli is the third Indian, after Virendra Sehwag (2008, 2009) and Tendulkar (2010) to have won the honour.
  • Chile -the country which was defeated by India in the Women's hockey to win the Women's Hockey World League Round 2 at West Vancouver recently. It helped India to qualify for the World League Semi-final. The match went into the shoot-out after both the teams were locked at 1-1 at the end of regulation time. In the shootout, Indian goalkeeper Savita came up with a stunning display to help her side emerge winners. Savita was adjudged the goalkeeper of the tournament.
  • Uzbekistan -the country which was defeated by India in the Davis Cup tennis to qualify for the World Group Play-off to be held in September. India defeated Uzbekistan 4-1 in the Asia/Oceania Group I second round tie.

Current Affairs April 17th to April 23th 2017

International Current News

  • 2.6 billion metrictonnes-the amount of cereal crop harvested by human beings in the world-the largest ever in history-in 2016-17, according to the latest estimates of the UN affiliated Food and Agriculture Organisation(FAO). This includes all-time records for wheat, rice and coarse grains. As a result, the year is ending with the largest ever global stock of food grains in history, some 682 million tonnes. India's cereal production for 2016-17 is also estimated to be nearly 250 million tones, crossing the record of about 246 million tones set in 2013-14.
  • Enceladus- a small icy moon of Saturn that is a billion miles, farther from Sun than earth, has nearly all the ingredients for supporting life, as per statement made by NASA recently, pointing as evidence to surface plumes observed by its Cassini mission. Scientists have determined that nearly 98% of the gas in the plume is water and 1% is hydrogen and the rest is a mixture of other molecules including carbon dioxide, methane and ammonia.
  • Moabosaurus-the new species of herbivorous dinosaurs discovered by scientists in United States that lived 125 million years ago. The 32-foot long Moabosaurus belongs to a group known as sauropods, which includes giants such as Brontosaurus and Brachiosaurus, who had long necks and pillar-like legs. Moabosaurus is most closely related to species found in Span and Tanzania which tells researchers that during its time, there were still physical connections between Europe, Africa and North America.
  • GBU-43-the name of the massive bomb, which was dropped by the United States in eastern Afghanistan recently against a series of caves used by Islamic State militants. It is the largest non-nuclear bomb US has ever used in combat. It was the first time the United States has used this size of bomb in a conflict. It was dropped from a MC-130 aircraft in the Achin district of Nangarhar province close to the border with Pakistan.
  • H-1B-the visa programme, the most sought by Indian IT firms and professionals, whose rules were tightened by the signing of the executive order by United States President Donald Trump.Acting on his 'Buy American, Hire American' pledge, Trump signed the order that calls for tightening the rules of the programme at the Kenosha, Wisconsin, headquarters of tool maker Snap-on Inc recently. According to the executive order signed by Trump, the Secretary of State, the Attorney General, the Secretary of Labour, and the Secretary of Homeland Security shall suggest reforms to help ensure that H-1B visas are awarded to the most-skilled or highest-paid petition beneficiaries.
  • 946mn-the number of people who are estimated to practice open defecation in 2015 as the World Bank Atlas of Sustainable Development Goals. 500mn of these people were accounted by India, Nepal and Bangladesh. As per the report 90% of the world's people now have access to improved water resources and 2.1 bn people gained access to improved sanitation facilities in the past 25 years.
  • 22 April 2017 this was recently celebrated as World Earth Day. Each year, Earth Day�April 22�marks the anniversary of the birth of the modern environmental movement in 1970. Earth Day 1970 gave voice to that emerging consciousness, channeling the energy of the anti-war protest movement and putting environmental concerns on the front page. The idea for a national day to focus on the environment came to Earth Day founder Gaylord Nelson, then a U.S. Senator from Wisconsin, after witnessing the ravages of the 1969 massive oil spill in Santa Barbara, California.
  • 3 percent-the economic growth rate which is targeted to be achieved by UNITED States with the support of tax reforms and regulatory relief as per the recent announcement by US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin. He called the IMF's forecast for US growth "a little conservative", saying that the country's economy could grow by 3 per cent or higher with the support of tax reforms and regulatory relief. The IMF forecast the US economy to grow by 2.3 per cent this year and 2.5 per cent next year.

National Current News

  • Aadhaar Pay-the new system which was launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi recently at Nagpur on the 126th birth anniversary of BR Ambedkar, which will allow cash transfers using biometrics even without phones. The biometric-based indigenous payment solution will enable real-time bank-to-bank money transfers even for those without a phone and no additional cost. A customer has to link his bank account with his Aadhaar number and the merchants will be given a biometric reader that can be attached to a mobile; will also have to download an app. Customers will have to key in his Aadhaar number, the amount to be paid and then authenticate using biometric reader. A customer will pay no charge for using BHIM-Aadhaar. The merchant and the bank deploying PoS machine will each get an incentive of 0.25% of transaction value. The government has provided an outlay of Rs.495 crore for 6 months for the scheme to be paid from Digital Inclusion Fund.
  • 60 days-the period, as per the draft guidelines issued for prepaid payment instruments (PPI) by Reserve Bank of India, within which they will have to move to full KYC after issuance of PPI license. Currently e wallets and other such pre paid payments instruments can hold monthly up to Rs.20, 000 per user with minimum KYC. Existing semi-closed PPIs that require minimum details from customers have to convert to full KYC PPIs by June 30th 2017.
  • BBB-it stands for Banks Board Bureau, is an autonomous body set up by the government in April 2016 with the prime objective of improving governance standards in public sector banks (PSBs) and financial institutions. BBB also has the power to recommend names of people who could head PSBs and financial institutions. It is also tasked to help PSBs to put in place sound business strategies and also in their plans to raise capital. It is presented headed by Vinod Rai and it has six more members to assist the chairman. Of these, three are serving government officials while the other three are experts from the field of banking and finance.
  • 405-the number of business process reforms on which the states will be ranked on ease of doing business this year as per the list prepared by the Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion along with World Bank. The states will have to implement these reforms by October 31, 2017. The government will then gather feedback from users to access the action taken on the ground. The reforms have been classified into 11 broad areas including labour regulation, contract enforcement, registering property, inspection enablers, single window system, land availability and allotment and construction permit. States were ranked on 340 reforms last year.
  • PCA-it stands for Prompt Corrective Action are the set of action announced by Reserve Bank of India to get failed banks back on track. Though PCA have been around since 2002 but recently RBI came up with its new trigger points in this regard. According to norms, the RBI gets into action when the capital adequacy falls below a certain level. The central bank has said that a shortfall of the common equity tier I capital by 3.625% from prescribed limits would identify a bank as a likely candidate for resolution through tools like amalgamation, reconstruction or winding up. The current minimum requirement of common equity tier I capital is 6.75%. Under the new trigger points, banks with net non-performing assets between 6% and 9%(risk threshold 1) will face restrictions on dividend payments with promoters being asked to bring in more capital. Those with net NPAs between 9% and 12% would not be allowed to expand branches.
  • 27.6%-the percentage by which India's exports grew in March 2017, the fastest pace in five years on the back of rising shipment of petroleum products, engineering goods and marine products. Data released recently showed that exports rose to $29.2 billion compared to $22.9 billion in March 2016.However, overall exports during 2016-17 rose 4.7% to $274.6 billion compared with $262.3 billion in the previous year. This has been a difficult year for the country exports given the sluggish global economic environment.
  • 7.2%-the projected growth of India's GDP by IMF for 2017. Citing the impact of demonetization, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) recently reduced the India's 2017 GDP growth forecast by 0.4 percentage points to 7.2 percent. Earlier the Central Statistics Office (CSO) estimated that India's GDP growth for the full fiscal 2016-17 at 7.1 percent, which marked a sharp fall from the 7.9 percent recorded for the fiscal 2015-16.
  • 96 percent-the average rainfall which is expected to take place in India during this year monsoon as the recent announcement made by the India Meteorological Department (IMD). The actual status of the overall rainfall in India would however depends on the future status of 'El Nino' and 'Indian Ocean Dipole (IOD)' activities.'El Nino' is a climatic phenomenon which is the warm phase of the cycle of warm and cold temperatures in the Pacific Ocean that also impacts the monsoon. A high El Nino has a negative effect in terms of the weather, agriculture and economics.Similarly, IOD is a climate event occurring over the equatorial Indian Ocean. A positive dipole is associated with warming over the western Indian Ocean and cooling over the eastern Indian Ocean.The IMD data suggests that a moderate or strong El Nino and a positive IOD results in good rainfall. In 1997, the country experienced 102 per cent monsoon when both phenomenon were optimal.According to the IMD, 96 per cent is however averaged over the country as a whole, while the regional forecast will be done in June and the date of the monsoon's onset into Kerala will be announced in late May. IMD will issue the updated forecasts in early June as a part of the second stage long range forecast of monsoon rainfall.According to the weatherman, below 90 per cent rainfall is considered deficient and at 95 per cent, it is considered below normal. In 2005, the nation saw only 86 per cent of All India monsoon rainfall (per cent of LPA).A figure between 96 and 104 per cent of rainfall indicates a normal monsoon and between 105 and 110 per cent above normal.
  • The Brabo-the country's first locally designed and manufactured robot which was launched recently in Mumbai. The robots, which can increase productivity by up to 30%, have payloads of 2 kg and 10kg and are priced at Rs.5 lakh and Rs. 7 lakh respectively.
  • 14th May 2017- the date from which, fuel outlets in eight states will be shut every Sunday following Prime Minister Narendra Modi's call to conserve oil. It is estimated that nearly 20,000 outlets in Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Karnataka, Puducherry, Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Maharashtra and Haryana would be shut for 24 hours on Sundays, starting May 14.
  • 1st May 2017-the date from which the government has banned the use of red beacon on vehicles attached to dignitaries, including the central and state ministers and other VVIPs.It is reported that five categories would be allowed to use the red beacon --President, Vice President, prime minister, Chief Justice of India and the Lok Sabha speaker.The ban applies to Union ministers, chief ministers, state cabinet ministers, bureaucrats and judges of the high court and Supreme Court.
  • 1lakh per family-the amount the government is planning to lend to pull rural households out of poverty under its redrawn micro-credit programme. The proposal is to lend up to Rs 1 lakh per family in the next three to five years, with the loans coming collateral-free and with subsidised interest rates. Nearly 8.5 crore poor households identified in the Socio Economic and Caste Census will be linked to the plan by 2019. The government wants to double bank linkages to lend Rs 60,000 crore per year for creation of livelihood for deprived rural households by 2019. The aim is to reduce their dependence on local moneylenders and microfinance companies who charge usurious interest rates as against 11 per cent by banks. Under the new proposal, the interest burden on the borrower is much lower due to subvention. The rural development ministry has signed a memorandum of understanding with the agriculture and animal husbandry ministry to enable lending to such households for activities including tilling and setting up of poultry farms and goat sheds. The rural development ministry will provide an interest rate subvention of 4 per cent to make loans available at 7 per cent. Households in 250 backward districts will get an additional interest subvention of 3 per cent on prompt repayment, making their effective interest rate at 4 per cent.
  • Brahmos- the land attack supersonic cruise missile which was successfully test-fired by Indian Navy in the Bay of Bengal, joining an elite club of navies to have capability to strike on land targets from sea.The long-range missile was fired from guided missile frigate Teg on a target on land and it yielded desired results. The Brahmos Missile has been jointly developed by India and Russia, and its anti-ship variant has already been inducted into Indian Navy. Navies of the United States, Russia, Britain and China have similar strike capabilities.
  • 25%-the amount of the net salary is the amount which has been set as benchmark by Supreme Court for maintenance to be paid by a husband to his estranged wife citing this as 'just and proper' amount as alimony. In its recent judgement the Supreme Court said that the amount of maintenance or permanent alimony must be sufficient to ensure that a woman lived with dignity after separating from her husband.
  • 'Operation Indra'-the name of first tri-service war games which will be organised between India and Russia in October-November 2017 to crank up the military-to-military ties between the long standing strategic partners. It will include assets and manpower from the Army, Navy and Indian Air Force.
  • 3 years-the period for which the NITI Aayog Vice Chairman Arvind Panagariya recently presented a draft action agenda for the nation's development at the planning body's Governing Council meeting here. NITI (National Institution for Transforming India) Aayog incorporated inputs from the states as well as central ministries and subject experts in the agenda. Panagariya said that apart from the action agenda, there would be a seven-year strategy and a 15-year long-term vision that will replace the erstwhile Five-Year Plans for the nation's planning framework.The 12th Five-Year Plan ended on March 31.Panagariya said the 15-year vision document pegs the Indian economy's growth from Rs 137 lakh crore in 2015-16 to Rs 469 lakh crore by 2031-32 at 2015-16 prices. This projection is based on growth estimate of 8 per cent per annum.
  • Seven- the number of parts in which the three-year agenda of NITI Aayog has been divided into, with each part having a number of specific action points. Over 300 specific action points have been identified covering the whole gamut of sectors. in part one, a revenue and expenditure exercise is undertaken to illustrate how we can begin to shift our expenditure based on set priorities within a three-year period -- like increasing expenditure on health, infrastructure, agriculture, and rural economy. The subsequent parts deal with major sectors, growth enablers, governance, social sectors and sustainable development. Part two deals with agriculture, industry and services; part three with transport connectivity, digital connectivity, public private partnership, energy, and science and technology. Part four focuses on innovation and entrepreneurship; part five on governance, tax policy and administration, rule of law, and pro-competition policies and regulations. Part six deals with health, education and building an inclusive society; and part seven on environment and forests, and sustainable management of water resources.
  • January -December-the period of Financial Year which was proposed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi while delivering the closing remarks at the third meeting of the Governing Council of NITI Aayog recently. He said that in a country where agricultural income is exceedingly important, budget should be prepared immediately after its receipt for the year. He said there have been suggestions to have the financial year changed to January-to-December -- in place of the existing April-to-March -- and urged the states to take the initiative in this regard. The Prime Minister said that because of poor time management, many good initiatives and schemes had failed to deliver the anticipated results. He also reiterated the idea of holding simultaneous parliamentary and state assembly elections, saying that the country had suffered from economic and political mismanagement for long now, and that a constructive discussion had already begun on the subject. He also called upon the state governments to work with the Centre as to build "the India of the dreams of our freedom fighters" by 2022, the 75th anniversary of Independence. He urged states, local governments and all government and non-government organisations to decide goals for 2022, and work in mission mode towards achieving them. He called upon the states to use the GeM (Government e-Marketplace) platform to reduce corruption and increase transparency in government procurement, adding that the use of technologies such as BHIM and Aadhaar would result in significant savings for the states.

Sports Updates

  • Chris Gayle-the batsman from West Indies who became the first batsman to score 10,000 runs in T20s. He took 11 years, 215 days to reach the milestone playing for 20 teams in T20s. Sunil Gavaskar was the first to score 10,000 runs in Test cricket while in ODIs it was Sachin Tendulkar
  • B Sai Praneeth- the Indian shuttler clinched his maiden Super Series title at the Singapore Open after defeating compatriot K Srikanth in a historic all-Indian final in Singapore recently. World No.30 Praneeth, who had won the Canada Open Grand Prix last year and reached the Syed Modi Grand Prix Gold final this year, outmaneuvered Srikanth 17-21, 21-17, 21-12 in the summit clash of the US$ 350,000 event. It was the first time in the history of international badminton that two Indians were playing a Super Series final and it turned out to be a thrilling contest.
  • Sanju Samson-the player of Delhi Daredevils became the first player to hit a century in this year IPL-10 when he hit a 63-ball 102 against Pune Supergiant. Samson became the 12th Indian to hit an IPL century.
  • Rohan Bopanna-the Indian tennis star who partnered with his Uruguayan partner Pablo Cuevas to defeat the Spanish team of Feliciano Lopez and Marc Lopez to win the men's doubles title at the Monte Carlo Masters tennis tournament Roquebrune Cap Martin (France) recently. This is the first title that the Indo-Uruguayan combination have won since they teamed up earlier this year.

Current Affairs April 24th to April 30th 2017

International Current News

  • EUSO-SPB-the name of the football-stadium-sized, super pressure balloon which was successfully launched by NASA from New Zealand. This will help detect cosmic rays from beyond our galaxy as they penetrate the Earth's atmosphere. The 18.8-million cubic-foot super pressure balloon lifted off NASA's new launch pad adjacent to Wanaka Airport carrying a suspended payload of 2.495 kg. The mission will run for 100 or more days floating at 33.5 km in the southern -hemisphere mid-latitude band.
  • Project Owl- the name of the project started by Google to curb fake news in its search. It gives consumers two new ways to report what they perceive as problems in the search suits. Google ha incorporated a way by users can tell the company to tell Google if you encounter something wrong or objectionable. The tool now comes with little lines that says 'report inappropriate predictions.' If a new user clicks on the line, a box pops up that lets the user tell Google that the predictions are hateful or violent and so on.

National Current News

  • PCA-it stands for Prompt Corrective action is the framework under which the Reserve bank of India can penalize public sector banks if they slip either on asset quality, profitability or leverage or capital. RBI can use its discretionary powers to sack the bank management, supersede the board, restrict access to deposits, staff expansion, capital expenditure or restrict lending altogether. The first risk threshold under PCA would be triggered if any bank's capital adequacy ratio falls below 10.25% with further action if it slips below 7.75% and 6.25% respectively. The threshold for net NPA is 6%,rising to 9% and further to 12%, a level at which strictest RBI action can be invited.
  • Key action points of Niti Aayog's road map- Reduce fiscal deficit to 3% by FY2019, Cut revenue deficit to 0.9%, Reform APMC, Increase productivity via precision agriculture are some of the key action points which were included in Niti Aayog's Road Map for 3 year which was unveiled recently. The sector wise key action points are: Revenue and Expenditure Framework:Reduce fiscal deficit to 3% by FY2019, Cut revenue deficit to 0.9%; Doubling farmer's income by 2022:Reform APMC, Increase productivity via precision agriculture; Job creation: Create costal employment zones, enhance labour market flexibility ; Education and Skill Development: Revisit automatic promotion up to eighth grade, Create tiered regulation of universities; Urban Development: Reduce land prices for affordable housing, Reform Rent Control Act, release land of sick units; Governance: Recalibrate role of govt. with focus on health, education, Implement road map on closing select PSEs; Energy: Reduce cross subsidy in power sector, Reform coal sector, set up regulator.
  • 17-25%-the percentage reduction in solar power yield which is caused by air pollution as per a new study, the first of its kind in India and one of the handful globally. The study has found that dust and particulate matter (PM) may be reducing the energy yield of solar power systems in north India by 17-25% annually. Half this reduction comes from dust and particles deposited on the surface of solar panels and which forms a physical barrier to light entry as per Duke University Professor, Mike Bergin who led the study. Most importantly, half the decline in energy yield came from ambient pollution-haze that reduces the amount of sunlight reaching the ground, a phenomenon known as solar dimming.
  • 136 - the rank of India in the World Press Freedom Index 2017, a report released by global media watchdog Reporters Without Borders. India has slipped three notches in the report that has cited the "threat from Modi's nationalism". In the list of 180 countries mapped, India stands at 136, down from last year's 133, colour-coded again in red to show the situation as "difficult". Norway came out the top of the index with the world's freest media. It took over from neighbouring Finland which had held the title for six years. At the other end of the scale, North Korea took the bottom place. United States also lost two points this year as compared to 2016, to be ranked 43 in the Index.
  • 18-the number of cities in which The Reserve Bank of India launched the May 2017 round of inflation expectations survey. The result of this survey is used by the RBI as one of the input for policy formation. The survey aims at capturing subjective assessments on price movements and inflation, of around 5,500 households, based on their individual consumption baskets, across 18 cities viz., Ahmedabad, Bengaluru, Bhopal, Bhubaneswar, Chandigarh, Chennai, Delhi, Guwahati, Hyderabad, Jaipur, Kolkata, Lucknow, Mumbai, Nagpur, Patna, Raipur, Ranchi and Thiruvananthapuram. The survey seeks "qualitative" responses from households on price changes (general prices as well as prices of specific product groups) in the three month ahead and in the one year ahead period. Also, it seeks "quantitative" responses on current, three month ahead and one year ahead inflation rates. Households will be approached by the Hansa Research Group Pvt. Ltd and the selected households are requested to provide their response. Other individuals, who are not approached by the agency can also participate in this survey by providing their responses on the RBI website. The survey seeks response on inflation expectations for general, food products, non-food products, household durables, housing and services.
  • 26th April 2017-the historic date when the Sensex closed above the 30K mark for the first time in its 31-year history. Stable domestic economic fundamentals, steady buying by local and foreign funds and strong global cues helped the Sensex to finally close above the 30K. After a strong opening backed by index heavyweights ITC, HDFC, ICICI Bank and HDFC Bank, the Bombay Stock Exchange's bellwether index of 30 companies scaled an all-time high at 30,167 and overcame a bout of late selling to close at 30,133, up 190 points. The Nifty on the NSE too closed up 42 points at 9,352, also an all-time high.
  • Agriculture and Livestock- the sectors for which the Centre recently unveiled a model law and urged states to adopt it at the earliest. The model Agriculture Produce and Livestock Marketing (Promotion & Facilitation) Act, was released at a conference of agriculture-\marketing ministers of states recently. It seeks to create a barrier-free market for agricultural produce and livestock across the country. The proposed reform intends to bring farmers closer to consumers through a hassle-free system and ensure remunerative price for their produce. If all the states adopt the Model Act, it will eventually lead the country towards a unified agricultural market with one trader license and allow private players to set up wholesale markets by breaking the monopoly of traditional 'mandis'. At present, farmers can sell their produce only at regulated APMC (Agriculture Produce Marketing Committee) mandis. If the state governments implement it diligently, farmers will be empowered to decide who to sell and at what price to sell their produce. This Model Act also offers an investment opportunity in the market infrastructure from both private and public sectors. Since agriculture is a 'state' subject, only states can implement laws related to the farm sector. The existing regulatory framework under the existing APMC Act of states does not support free flow of agriculture produce and direct interface of farmers with processors, exporters, bulk buyers or end users. It, therefore, resulted in creating a chain of intermediaries which is neither good for farmers nor serves the interests of consumers. Levy at multiple points, the need to have separate licences for different markets, selling of even perishable items like fruits and vegetables within limited notified markets (mandis) and non-availability of markets near farms are some of the difficulties which obstruct free flow of farm produce and livestock including cows (for milk), buffaloes, bullocks, bulls, goats, sheep, poultry and fish.
  • 150th Anniversary of Allahabad High Court & One Hundred Twenty-fifth Year of National Archives of India-they are the image which will be depicted on soon to be issued new Rs 10 and Rs 5 coins by The Reserve Bank of India (RBI). According to the RBI, the central government has minted new Rs 5 coins to commemorate the "150th Anniversary of Allahabad High Court" and Rs 10 coins on the occasion of "One Hundred Twenty-fifth Year of National Archives of India". Besides, the Reserve Bank said that the existing Rs 5 and Rs 10 coins shall continue to be legal tender even after the issue of new coins.
  • Venus-the planet on which the ISRO is planning its next mission. This week, India's mission to Venus moved a step closer to reality with Isro inviting proposals for space-based experiments from scientists across the country. According to Isro, the payload capability of the Venus-bound satellite is expected to be 175 kg with 500W of power. The orbit will be 500 X 60,000km around Venus, which will gradually reduce over several months. The focus of the mission will be atmospheric and surface studies, Sun-Venus interaction, biology experiments and technology demonstration.
  • 1 day- the period in which government has made possible the incorporation of a company and starting a business in India. The government has established Central Registration Centre (CRC) to provide speedy incorporation related services in line with global best practices. The government has launched SPICe( Simplified Proforma for Incorporating Company Electronically), reduced fees from Rs.2000 to Rs.500 and has integrated MCA21 system with Central board of Direct Taxes(CBDT) for allotment of PAN and TAN at the time of issuance.
  • FATCA-it stands for Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act, has to be complied with all individuals and entities who have opened mutual funds folios between July 1, 2014 and August 31, 2015, need to submit the FATCA-a self-certification by April 30, 2017. The purpose of FATCA is to encourage better tax compliance by preventing US citizens from using financial institutions outside their home country to avoid domestic taxation laws.

Sports Updates

  • Man Kaur-the 101-year-old person who won the 100 metres sprint at the World Masters Games in Auckland recently, the 17th gold medal in the Indian athlete's remarkable late-blooming career. Kaur clocked one minute 14 seconds as a small crowd cheered her on -- ending a mere 64.42 seconds off Usain Bolt's 100m world record set in 2009. Kaur already has a swag of gold medals that would rival Michael Phelps' haul and also plans to compete in the 200m sprint, two kilogramme shot put and 400-gram javelin in Auckland, taking her tally to 20.
  • Younis Khan- the veteran batsman has become the first Pakistani cricketer to complete 10,000 runs in Test cricket. He recently became the first Pakistani batsman and just the 13th player overall -- and the oldest -- in the history of the game to scale that summit.His career batting average of 53.02 is also the best by any Pakistani batsman and the third best by any batsman from Asia.India's batting legend Sachin Tendulkar tops the list of scorers in Test cricket, retiring after accumulating 15,921 runs in 200 Test matches. Former Australia captain Ricky Ponting is next with 13,378 from 168 Tests, followed by South African all-rounder Jacques Kallis who scored 13,289 in 166 Tests. He has already announced that he will retire from international cricket after the ongoing three-match Test series against West Indies. In January, Younis also became the first cricketer in Test history to score centuries in 11 countries when he smashed his 34th hundred in the third Test against Australia at the Sydney Cricket Ground (SCG), tying him with Sunil Gavaskar, MahelaJayawardene and Brian Lara in the all-time list at sixth place.

Current Affairs - May

Current Affairs May 01th to May 07th 2017

International Current News

  • NROL-76-the name of secretive US government payload which was blasted off by Space X recently. This is the first military launch for the Californian-based aerospace company headed by billionaire tycoon Elon Musk. The payload for the National Reconnaissance Office, which makes and operates satellites for the United States, roared into the sky atop a Falcon 9 rocket recently.
  • OBOR -it stands for One Belt One Road, is the initiative by China with 50 projects which is aimed at putting existing surplus capital & finished products to better use. OBOR also known as the New Silk Road initiative,is designed to build an intercontinental infrastructure, expand connectivity to Europe, Central Asia, South Asia and South East Asia through both land and sea.
  • C919-the name of China's first domestically built large passenger jet by the Commercial Aircraft Corporation of China(COMAC). The C919, China's answer to the Boeing 737 and Airbus 320, signals the country's entry into global aviation market as a strong competitor.

National Current News

  • 2032-the year by which NitiAayog has drawn a grand vision for 'New India' in which nearly everyone will have houses with toilets, two-wheelers or cars, power, ACs and digital connectivity. The Vision 2031-32 document was unveiled by NitiAayog Vice-Chairman Arvind Panagariya to the Governing Council, chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi recently. The presentation-India-2031-32: Vision,Strategy and Action Agenda-made before CMs also visualizes a fully literate society with access to health care. It also calls for having a much larger and modern network of roads, railways, waterways and air connectivity and clean India where citizens would have access to quality air and water.
  • $469 lakh crore or $7.2 trillion-this will be the size of India's economy by 2030, growing at an average rate of 8% as per the NitiAayog's 15-year vision document. This would be more than three-fold expansion from $137 lakh crore or $2.1 trillion in 2015-16. The increase of $332 lakh crore ($5.1 trillion) in 15 years compares with the addition of $8.1 trillion in China's GDP over the past 15 years. India's economy grew by 7% in the third quarter of 2016-17 compared with 7.4% in the second quarter. The Central Statistical office retained its projection of 7.1% growth in 2016-17, slowing from 7.6%, in the previous financial year. The IMF estimated India's GDP growth at 7.2% for 2017-18.
  • 7 pillars of the 3 year action plan unveiled by Niti Aayog- Forecast for revenues and expenditure, Transformation of key sectors, Regional development in addition to Growth enablers, governance reforms, social sectors and sustainability are the 7 pillars of the 3 year action plan which was unveiled by NitiAayog recently. The key areas of Forecast for revenues and expenditure are Resources & allocation; for Transformation of key sectors are Agri, industry & services; for Regional development are Urban & rural transformation; for Growth enablers are Transport, digital, PPP, science & tech, energy & for Governance reforms are Tax policy & rule of law; for social sectors are Health, education & skill development and for Sustainability are Environment, forests & sustainable water usages.
  • Foreign travel-this for the first time has become the number one reason why Indian individuals spend money overseas. Until last year, the top reason forremittances was Indians spending money abroad for maintenance of close relatives and for studies. These remittances are made under the RBI's Liberalised remittance Scheme under which individuals are allowed to spend up to $ 250,000 annually. The forex remittance limit was brought down from $200,000 to $70,000 in 2013 when the rupee went into a free fall. This limit was restored and then restored to $250,000 in May 2015.
  • 2%-the increase in deficit of GDP predicted by Chief economic advisor Arvind Subramanian if the practice of waiving of farmers' loans by state governments in India is carried out nationwide. In an interactive session at the prestigious Peterson Institute, United States recently, on the sidelines of the annual Spring meeting of the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank, he said actions like this pose a big challenge to the Centre's effort towards fiscal consolidation.
  • Need for consolidated approach and Adherence to strict timelines-these were the two major attributes underlined by Prime Minister Narendra Modi during his review of infrastructure projects. The meeting was told that the highest ever average daily construction rate of 130 kilometres has been achieved for rural roads under the Pradhan Mantri Gram SadakYojana. This has led to an addition of 47,400 kilometres of PMGSY roads in 2016-17 and 11,641 additional habitations have been connected with roads in the same period. Over 4000 km of rural roads have been constructed using green technology in FY17. In the highways sector, over 26,000 kilometres of 4 or 6 lane national highways have been built in FY17. In the railways sector, 953 kilometres of new lines were laid in 2016-17, as against the target of 400 kilometres. Track electrification of over 2000 kilometres, and gauge conversion of over 1000 kilometres was achieved in the same period. More than 1500 unmanned level crossings have been eliminated in 2016-17. In the aviation sector, the Regional Connectivity Scheme will connect 43 destinations, including 31 unserved destinations. The passenger capacity in the aviation sector has reached 282 million passengers per annum. In the ports sector, under the Sagarmala project, 415 projects have been identified with investment of Rs. 8 lakh crore, and projects worth 1.37 lakh crore rupees have been taken up for implementation. All 193 lighthouses are now powered by solar energy and digitisation of land records has been completed in all major ports. In the coal sector, rationalisation of coal linkages and movement yielded an annual saving of over Rs 2500 crore in 2016-17.
  • 273 million tonnes-the amount of food grain production in the 2017-18 crop year beginning July, is the target government is aiming to achieve anticipating goo monsoon. Food grain production is estimated to touch a record 271.98 million tonnes in the current year (July-June), as per the second estimate of the agriculture ministry. According to the agriculture ministry, there is sufficient supply of seeds for the forthcoming kharifseason. Fertiliser requirement is estimated to be 28.99 million tonnes for the season.
  • 4th-the rank of India in terms of online security breaches accounting for over 5% of global threat as per a Symantec study. The US and China occupy the top two slots and together make for almost 34%, followed by Brazil and then India. The year 2016 saw a resurgence of the email as an attack channel, multi-million-dollar virtual bank heists, ransomware and new frontiers like IoT and cloud getting exposed to threats. While China has managed to bring down hacks from nearly 24% in 2015 to under 10% in 2016, India saw instances of fraud increase from 3.4% in 2015 to 5.1% in 2016. Symantec uncovered evidence linking North Korea to attacks on banks in Bangladesh, Vietnam, Ecuador and Poland. Yahoo's data breaches grabbed maximum eyeballs in 2016, after the company said in September that 500 million of its user accounts were compromised in 2014. Symantec data reveals that in the last eight years, more than 7 billion online identities have been stolen in data breaches. In 2016, more than 1.1 billion identities were stolen in data breaches, almost double the number stolen in 2015 (563 million stolen identities).
  • ISRO-they recently demonstrated a solar hybrid electric car, designed and developed using in-house resources, at Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre (VSSC) in Thiruvanathanapuram. Isro made an announcement about this environment-friendly car recently. VSSC is Isro'scentre for making various types of rockets like the Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle and the Reusable Launch Vehicle. The car is run using high-energy lithium ion batteries, which can be recharged using sunlight, said sources. The main challenges in developing the vehicle included designing a solar panel on top of the car and also control electronics for the battery and solar panel interface and, what is known as, "drive electronic" to run the car smoothly.
  • Major proposals recently approved by Union Cabinet-NPA clean -up package, Approval to New Steel Policy, MoU with Malaysia on urea plant along with modifications in the 7th Pay Commission for pensioner's benefit are some of the major proposals which were approved by Union Cabinet recently. The cabinet cleared the nonperforming asset (NPA) resolution package that includes an ordinance to empower the Reserve Bank of India to more effectively deal with bad assets, a move that will kick off a long-awaited initiative aimed at cleaning up the balance sheets of banks burdened with bad debt. The cabinet also approved a new policy to boost consumption of locally produced steel and modifications to recommendations of the Seventh Central Pay Commission with respect to pensioners. The government also proposes to issue an ordinance to amend the Banking Regulation Act, which will empower Reserve Bank to deal much more effectively with stressed assets. Changes are being made to Section 35A of the Banking Regulation Act as also certain provisions of the Bankruptcy Code. These changes will empower RBI to give directions to banks to effectively resolve NPAs.
  • 31st July 2017-the last date up to which the builders can continue the marketing of their ongoing projects, even if they are not registered with the Real Estate Regulatory Authority (RERA). However, no new project can be launched without it being registered with RERA. According to the Real Estate (Regulation and Development) Act (RERA), existing ongoing projects need to file for registration with their respective regulatory authority by July 31. Till then the developers can continue their marketing and other activities like construction and securing the approvals from the existing authorities.
  • Dev Bhoomi-the feature film by the renowned Serbian director Goran Paskaljevic with actor Victor Banerjee in the lead which clinched the Best Film Prize in the International Panorma contest at Bari film festival (BIFEST) in Italy. The Hindi/Garhwali/English film was shot in the Garhwal regions of Uttarakhand and deals with social issues such as gender inequalities and caste prejudices. Banerjee is known for his roles in David Lean's 'A Passage to India' and Satyajit Ray's 'Ghare Baire'.
  • 60% of the creditors by value and 50% creditors by numbers- the new criteria by which one can now reach at a decision in a joint lender's forum when approving the restructuring plan as per the new directives of the Reserve Bank of India. Banks will have to implement that plan agreed upon without any additional conditions and there would be a monetary penalty on those who veer away from the decision. The new corrective action plan covers restructuring of project loans, change in ownership under strategic debt restructuring and the scheme for sustainable structuring of stressed assets. The earlier rule required approval of 75% of creditors and 60% by numbers.
  • Section 35 AA & Section 35AB-the new sections which have been added by ordinance to 35A of the Banking Regulation Act, 1949 in a move aimed at breaking current logjam on stressed assets and expediting commercial decision-making by lenders. 35AA authorizes RBI to direct banks to resolve stressed assets through insolvency process. 35AB allows RBI to issue directions for resolution of stressed assets, set up committees or approve appointments for the same.
  • GSAT-9-the satellite which was put in space by GSLV-F09 which is meant to boost connectivity among Saarc nations, minus Pakistan. The South Asia satellite was launched atop a 50-metre tall rocket, the Geo-Synchronous Satellite Launch vehicle on its 11th flight. It weighs 414 kg and will use an indigenous cryogenic engine. The satellite will provide telecommunication links among India, Nepal, Bhutan, Bangladesh, Maldives, Sri Lanka and Afghanistan. Each country can beam its own TV programmes while there will be the possibility for a common South Asia programming.

Sports Updates

  • Manpreet Kaur-the shot putter from India who won the gold medal of the Asian Grand Prix in Jinhua, China. Manpreet's gold medal winning performance of 18.86 m turned out to be a world leading throw which helped her to take No.1 spot in the world ranking.

Current Affairs May 15th to May 21th 2017

National Current News

  • Maruti Suzuki-this company recently pipped global car majors Audi, Hyundai, Subaru and Renault to enter the club of top ten auto makers by market capitalization. The high double digit volume growth last month catapulted Maruti's market cap to Rs.2 lakh crore ($31.55 billion) recently, a first for an Indian auto company. It has also emerged the second most valued stock after Tesla on the basis of m-cap to sales ratio.
  • Net assets of more than Rs.25 crore, Gross NPAs less than 7% & No monetary penalty imposed on the bank for two financial years-these are the conditions which a co-operative bank must fulfil to deploy their own or third party point of sale (PoS) terminals. Reserve Bank of India recently permitted co-operative banks to deploy their own or third party point of sale (PoS) terminals with an intention of increasing digital transactions but only if they fulfil the above mentioned conditions.
  • 50,000-the amount up to which market regulators, SEBI, recently allowed investors to buy mutual fund schemes through digital wallets in order to promote digital payments in the MF industry and channelize household savings into capital market.
  • 273.38 million tones-it is the revised estimates for food grain production for 2016-17 made by agriculture ministry, marking 2016-17 as the best crop year in country's history. The latest estimates are higher than the 272 million tonnes forecast by the ministry in its advance estimates released in mid-February. It is 0.51% higher than the second estimate and 8.67% higher than last year's output. The record food production is 8.7% higher than the 252 million tonnes produced the year before (2015-16) when a drought cut output, and 8 million tonnes (3.2%) more than the previous record of 265 million tonnes in 2013-14. The production of rice, wheat, pulses, coarse cereals, oilseeds, cotton and sugarcane was 104.4 MT, 92.3 MT, 16.4 MT, 38.5MT, 25.3MT, 30MT, 348.5MT in 2015-16 respectively.
  • IDBI-the bank which was recently for which the Reserve Bank of India initiated Prompt Corrective Action (PCA) in view of the 'high net non-performing assets and negative return on assets. PCA are loss-control measures aimed at preventing the weak banks from bleeding further by increasing curbs on lending and expenses. Banks can escape the watch list if they are able to improve profitability or get fresh infusion of capital. While revising the PCA guidelines in April, the RBI had said that if a bank's common equity tier-I capital falls below the threshold of 3.625%, the bank could either be amalgamated or taken over by another entity.
  • Food and Beverages-the sector where the percentage share of spending in India at 44.63 % and the world consumer at 40.88% is the highest. This sector is followed by Housing, Energy, Clothing& Footwear respectively. The figures comes from the Global Consumption Database of the world bank, the most comprehensive data source on consumer spending patterns in developing countries. The database provides a starting point to understanding consumer spending in emerging market. The data set is based on nationally representative household surveys, covering 92 countries and spending across 12 sectors.
  • Mustard-the crop which is likely to move towards being a genetically modified (GM) crop in India. GM Mustard will the second crop that could potentially get an approval for commercial release. The first to secure approval was Bt cotton in 2002. First developed in 2000, GM mustard was one of the first genetically modified food crops to be considered. However Bt cotton secured the first approval for commercial release in 2002 and GM mustard now awaits its turn.
  • Environment Affairs-the ministry which was being looked after by Union Minister Anil Madhav Dave who passed away recently. Science and technology minister Harsh Vardhan will now hold additional charge of the environment ministry. He took charge as Minister of State for Environment, Forest and Climate Change (Independent Charge), in New Delhi on July 6, 2016. He hailed from Madhya Pradesh. Dave is the second Union minister of the Modi government to have died in office. Gopinath Munde died in a car accident in 2014.
  • 10-the number of indigenous atomic reactors whose approval for construction was cleared by Union Cabinet recently, the largest ever approval for such facilities in one go. Once completed, the 10 reactors of 700 MW each will give much needed fillip to the domestic nuclear industry. The Pressurised Heavy Water Reactors(PHWRs) will be developed by the Department of Atomic Energy. India currently has installed nuclear power capacity of 6,78 MW from 22 operational plants. Another 6,7 MW of nuclear power is expected to be added by 2021-22 when currently under construction projects go on stream in Rajasthan, Gujarat and Tamil Nadu. The 10 reactors would be built at Mahi Banswara (Rajasthan), Chutka (M.P), Kaiga (Karnataka) and Gorakhpur (Haryana.)
  • 25 per cent-the total number of 'banking outlets' opened during a financial year should be located in unbanked rural centres as per the new mandate issued by The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) recently. The RBI mandated this in its notification -- "Rationalisation of Branch Authorisation Policy- Revision of Guidelines" -- issued recently. Domestic scheduled commercial banks (other than RRBs) are permitted to open, unless otherwise specifically restricted, banking outlets in tier 1 to tier 6 centres without having the need to take permission from RBI in each case.
  • Major decisions approved by the Cabinet recently- Approval for signing of BEPS Convention, New law to evict unauthorized people staying in govt. residences, Amending the law to allow public-oriented construction in forbidden zone near monuments, Country wide implementation of maternity benefits are the major decisions which were approved by the Cabinet recently. BEPS Convention is aimed at plugging gaps and mismatches in tax low or no-tax locations, resulting in little or no overall corporate tax being paid.
  • M777s - the artillery guns which were received by India recently. India received its first artillery guns in almost 30 years after the Bofors scandal unfolded in the late 1980s. The two M777s that arrived in New Delhi are part of a $750-million contract with the US for 145 ultra-light howitzers. The howitzers weigh only 4,218 kg providing them superior tactical mobility. The two guns are part of the 25 ready-built weapons that will be supplied by the US over the next two years. The remaining 120 howitzers will be produced in India. Manufacturedby BAE Systems, the guns will be built in India in collaboration with Mahindra Defence.

Sports Updates

  • Great Britain-this country won the Sultan Azlan Shah Hockey title played at Ipoh, Malaysia. They won the title after a gap of 23 years with a rousing 4-3 final against defending champion Australia. India defeated New Zealand 4.0 to win the bronze in the 26th Sultan Azlan Shah cup.
  • Anthony Joshua-the boxer of Britain who defeated Ukrainian Wladimir Klitschko to be crowned IBF, WBA and IBO world heavy weight champion at Wembley Stadium in London recently.
  • Alexander Zverev- the German youngster pulled off the biggest win of his career recently when he beat world number two Novak Djokovic 6-4, 6-3 to win the Italian Open tennis title. Zverev, 20, was on top from the moment that he broke Djokovic in the very first game as he became the youngest winner of a Masters 1000 tournament since the Serb himself in Miami in 2007.
  • Aizwal FC-they played a draw match with Lajong at Shillong to win their maiden I-League football title recently. Mohun Bagan finished second and East Bengal third in this year edition of I-League. Dempo SC of Goa have won the I-League thrice, Churchill Brothers of Goa and Bengaluru FC have won twice each and Salgaocar and Kolkata giants Mohun Bagan have won it once each.
  • Mumbai Indians-they snatched an incredible one-run victory from the jaws of defeat against Rising Pune Supergiant in a thrilling final of the Indian Premier League, in Hyderabad recently to win the 10th edition of IPL. This was Mumbai Indians' third IPL trophy in 10 editions and more special for their skipper Rohit Sharma, who is the only captain to win a hat-trick of titles. He has in fact won four IPL titles, including the one for Deccan Chargers in 2009.
  • The Bordeaux Challenger trophy-the title which was recently won by Divij Sharan and Purav Raja, their first title of the 2017 season and maiden on the clay courts. They won the trophy with a straight sets win over Santiago Gonzalez of Mexico and Artem Sitak, in Bordeaux recently. The third seeded Indians defeated the fourth seeded Mexican-Kiwi combination 6-4, 6-4 in the summit clash that was over in 67 minutes.This year Divij and Raja have mostly played on the ATP World Tour and it was only their fourth tournament on the Challenger Tour.Reaching the final of the ATP Chennai Open has been their best show so far.
  • India-this country competing as a team for the first time, defeated 10th seeded Colombia's Camilo Cardona, Daniel Munoz and Jose Carlos Ospina 226-221 to clinch theCompound Team gold medal to conclude their Archery World Cup Stage 1 campaign in Shanghai recently. The non-Olympic compound section brought back smiles in the camp with a superlative show from fourth seeded Abhishek Verma, Raju Chinna Srither and debutant Amanjeet Singh. The fourth seeded India, ousted Vietnam, World Champion Iran and top-ranked USA to make the finals against Colombia.
  • India- the women cricket of this country defeated South Africa to win the Quadrangular Series, in Potchefstroom, recently. Poonam Raut and Mithali Raj shared an unbeaten 127-run stand as India women steamrolled South Africa by eight wickets in the finals. The other teams in the tournament were Zimbabwe and Ireland.Captain Raj not only guided the team to a resounding win but also became the first Indian captain to lead the side in 100 ODIs.The tournament also turned out to be good preparation for India ahead of the World Cup, which begins in the UK next month.
  • Bengaluru FC-they beat Mohun Bagan 2-0 to win the 38th Federation Cup football tournament.Bengaluru FC also booked their berth for next year AFC Cup by virtue of winning the blue riband tournament.For Mohun Bagan, it was a case of so-near yet so far finishing second best in both I-League and Federation Cup.

Current Affairs May 22nd to May 28th 2017

National Current News

  • Tejas Express-the name of the train, which boasts several modern facilities on-board like LED TV and tea, coffee vending machine, was flagged off from Mumbai to Goa by Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu recently. The train has got all the ultra-modern amenities like on-board infotainment, Wi-Fi, CCTV, fire and smoke detection facilities, tea and coffee vending machine etc.India's first premium train will run at an average speed of 130kmph.The train, manufactured at the Rail Coach Factory in Kapurthala, will have automatic entrance door, a first in non-suburban train in Indian railways. The graffiti proof, vinyl-wrapped specially designed exterior has a bright colour theme of orange and yellow. Tejas Express has a dust-proof/sealed inter car gangway.The Tejas Express would operate between Mumbai and Karmali (Goa) five days a week during non-monsoon period and three days a week during monsoon by halting at Dadar, Thane, Panvel, Ratnagiri and Kudal stations.The high-speed train has all the safety measures like suppression system, fire suppression system, smoke detection and fire detection. A GPS-based passenger information display system and a digital destination board has also been installed for the convenience of the passengers.
  • 2011-12-the new base year from which the new series of Index of Industrial Production (IIP) of India was launched recently. The new series for IIP captures industrial activities on monthly basis. A high-level panel had firmed up the methodology for the IIP with the new base year of 2011-12. Currently, the IIP is calculated on base year of 2004-05.The Central Statistics Office (CSO), Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation, revises the base year of the macroeconomic indicators, as a regular exercise, to capture structural changes in the economy and improve the quality and representativeness of the indices. In this direction, the base year of the all-India Index of Industrial Production (IIP) has also been revised from 2004-05 to 2011-12 to not only reflect the changes in the industrial sector but to also align it with the base year of other macroeconomic indicators like the Gross Domestic Product (GDP), Wholesale Price Index (WPI). Revisions in the IIP are necessitated to maintain representativeness of the items and producing entities and also address issues relating to continuous flow of production data. In the past, such changes were effected at the time of a revision in the base year. With the release of the new series of IIP (base 2011-12), an institutional mechanism has been established for facilitating dynamic revision of the item list of products and the panel of factories, through a Technical Review Committee, chaired by Secretary, Ministry of Statistics & PI. This Committee will meet at least once a year for identifying new items that need to be included in the item basket and removing those that have lost its relevance in the industrial sector or are no longer being produced.
  • Oversight Committee- the committee which will be reconstituted to operationalise the banking ordinance for resolving the issue of non-performing assets (NPAs) by Reserve Bank of India as per its plan to deal with the mounting problem of banks' bad loans. The existing OC, which has two members, was constituted by the Indian Banks Association (IBA) in consultation with the RBI. The government earlier this month passed the Banking Regulation (Amendment) Ordinance, 2017, that allowed more power to the RBI to tackle the NPAs' issue. It has been empowered to issue directions to commercial banks to initiate insolvency proceedings for recovering bad loans. The NPAs, or bad loans, of state-run banks at the end of last September rose to Rs 6.3 lakh crore (almost $100 billion), as compared to Rs 5.5 lakh crore at the end of June 2016. The RBI said it is also working on a framework to facilitate an "objective and consistent" decision-making process for cases that may be referenced for resolution under the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code, 2016.
  • Paytm-the entity which launched its payment bank in India recently. Paytm is the third entity in the country to launch a payments bank after Airtel and India Post.Targeting 500 million customers by 2020, digital payments firm Paytm on 23rd May 2017 launched its payments bank with 4 per cent interest rate and cashbacks on deposits, zero fees on online transactions and no minimum balance requirement. Backed by Chinese firm Alibaba and Japanese conglomerate SoftBank, the company has earmarked an initial investment of Rs 400 crore to build its banking network over two years. Paytm plans to roll out 31 branches and 3,000 customer service points of the bank in the first year.Paytm will offer virtual Rupay debit cards to customers immediately and physical cards on request for withdrawing cash from any ATM in the country.
  • 3rd-the rank of India among nations most affected by internal displacements due to disasters and conflicts as per the recent report released by Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre. In India 2.85 million people were displaced as per the report (2.4mn displaced due to disaster and 0.45mn displaced due to conflict & violence). China with 7mn and Phillipines with 6mn are the two top worst hit nations affected by internal displacement.
  • 50% or more-the value addition done in India which will qualify a good to be defined as local goods as per the new policy titled 'Government Procurement preference to Make in India order, 2017' which was approved by Cabinet recently. The policy involves purchases of at least Rs.2 lakh crore a year and also covers autonomous bodies, government companies and entities under the government's control. Small purchases of less than Rs.50, 000 are exempt from the policy, procurement of goods and services worth Rs. 50 lakh or less where the nodal ministry determines that there is sufficient local capacity and local competition can be made only from local suppliers. For procurement of orders worth more than Rs.50 lakh or where there is insufficient local capacity or competition, local suppliers or competition will get 20% margin of purchase preference.
  • FIPB-it, which stands for Foreign Investment Promotion Board was recently abolished by government in a major decision aimed at further easing doing business in India. The Union Cabinet recently abolished the 25-year-old Foreign Investment Promotion Board (FIPB), obviating the need for prior clearance for Foreign Direct Investment in more than 90 per cent cases. After this only 11 sectors would require prior approval for Foreign Direct Investments (FDI).The Union Budget 2017-18 presented in February had announced the proposal for abolition of FIPB. The FIPB was set up in the early 1990s as an inter-ministerial single-window for allowing FDIs that need government approval. The government relaxed FDI norms in June 2016 in single brand retail, civil aviation, airports, pharmaceuticals, animal husbandry and food products, whereby investors in these sectors do not need to seek approval from the FIPB.
  • Rs.225 per quintal- the new fair and remunerative price (FRP) of sugarcane for 2017-18 which was approved by The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) recently. The CCEA gave the approval for fixing FRP of sugarcane at Rs 255 per quintal for sugar season 2017-18 linked to a basic recovery rate of 9.5 per cent subject to a premium of Rs 2.68 per quintal for every 0.1 per cent point increase in recovery above that level. The approved FRP reflects an increase of 10.87 per cent over the FRP of sugar season 2016-17.The recommended FRP has been arrived at by taking into account factors like cost of production, overall demand-supply situation, domestic and international prices, inter-crop price parity, terms of trade prices of primary by-products, and likely impact of FRP on general price level and resource use efficiency. FRP or the minimum price that sugarcane farmers are legally guaranteed, has been determined on the basis of recommendations of Commission for Agricultural Costs and Prices (CACP) and after consultation with state governments and other stake-holders. Cane price arrears for the current sugar season 2016-17 is the lowest as compared to last five years of the corresponding period. In order to address the current sugar season's shortfall in production and any possible adverse price sentiment, the Government has allowed import of only 5 lakh MT of raw sugar at zero duty. However, to protect the Indian farmers, import quantity has been restricted along with zonal restrictions so as to make it available only in actually deficient areas and safeguard the interest of cane farmers. The sugar industry impacts livelihood of about 50 million sugarcane farmers and around 5 lakh workers directly employed in sugar mills, apart from those employed in various ancillary activities.
  • e-Sanad-the name of programme which was launched by government for digital attestation of documents. The government recently announced a service to digitise the process of attestation of documents for those going abroad, so that they are spared the trouble of visiting government offices for the purpose. 'e-Sanad' -- an initiative of the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA), in association with two other ministries -- will initially be hosting school leaving certificates with the help of Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE). In subsequent phases, the portal will also host documents from central universities.'Parinaam Manjusha', the CBSE repository of documents like mark-sheets and migrations certificates, has been integrated with e-Sanad for this purpose.
  • State Bank of India (SBI)-they launched a national hackathon for developers, start-ups and students to come up with innovative ideas and solutions for the banking sector. The hackathon, named 'Code For Bank', will focus on the business value driven by technologies like predictive analytics, fin-tech/block chain, digital payments, IOT, artificial intelligence, machine learning, BOTS and robotic process automation. In the phase 1, participants can register their ideas during May 20-29 followed by hackathon which will start from June 6, 2017 and ends on June 20, 2017.
  • SIMBEX-17-the name of joint week-long mega maritime exercise between the Indian Navy and the Republic of Singapore Navy which recently came to a close. It also displayed the maiden participation of Singapore's F-15SG fighter jets. Hosted by Singapore, the exercise was held on land at the now renamed "RSS Singapura - Changi Naval Base" and at a sea phase in the South China Sea. This year's exercise was the 24th iteration of the annual bilateral exercise held since 1994. Over the years, SIMBEX has grown in scope and complexity, expanding beyond its traditional emphasis on anti-submarine warfare to incorporate elements of maritime security, anti-air and anti-surface warfare.
  • Mora- the name of the cyclone which affected areas around the Bay of Bengal. Under the influence of the Cyclone 'Mora' over east-central Bay of Bengal, conditions became favourable for further advance of southwest monsoon into some parts of southeast Arabian Sea, southwest Bay of Bengal and east central Bay of Bengal, remaining parts of southeast Bay of Bengal and some parts of west central and northeast Bay of Bengal.

Sports Updates

  • South Korea-they won the badminton's Sudirman Cup for the first time in 14 years with an emotional 3-2 victory over 10-time champions China at Australia's Gold Coast recently. The victory - their first in the biennial tournament since Eindhoven in 2003 - ended China's 14-year grip on the Sudirman Cup. South Korea, who also won the Sudirman Cup in 1991 and 1993, fought back from 2-1 down in the final to claim victory
  • Ravichandran Ashwin-the Indian off-spinner who won the coveted International Cricketer of the Year award at the CEAT Cricket Rating International awards 2017. The award was presented to Ashwin by former India skipper Sunil Gavaskar at a function held at the Cricket Club of India in Mumbai recently. Ashwin was the wrecker-in-chief during the home season, where India won 10 of their 13 Tests played against New Zealand, England, Bangladesh and Australia. The off-spinner has picked up 99 wickets in the past 12 months. Meanwhile, young batsman Shubhman Gill won the Young player of the year award for his superb performance during the India-England Under-19 ODI series, played in Mumbai.
  • C A Bhavani Devi- the Indian who recently won the gold medal in the sabre event of the Tournoi World Cup Satellite Fencing Championship held at Reykjavik in Iceland recently. In the final, she beat Sarah Jane Hampson of Great Britain 15-13 on points. Bhavani Devi became the first Indian to win a gold medal in an international fencing event. She had previously won a silver medal in a satellite event.
  • PV Sindhu- the Olympic silver medallist who became one of the members of the BWF Athletes' Commission after the end of voting for the four places on the representative body. The 21-year-old Indian topped the ballot with 129 votes as she led a trio of women onto the BWF Athletes' Commission. Apart from Sindhu, Kirsty Gilmour of Scotland was placed third overall with 103 votes and Lithuania's Akvile Stapusaityte (25 votes) was the third woman elected to the Commission. Sindhu, Gilmour along with Germany's Marc Zwiebler, who received 108 votes, will serve four-year terms. These three will replace Yuhan Tan (Belgium), Hans-Kristian Solberg Vittinghus (Denmark) and Greysia Polii (Indonesia) who have concluded their four-year terms. The new Athletes' Commission members will join Shintaro Ikeda of Japan; Koen Ridder of the Netherlands; and India's Saina Nehwal on the players' representative body.

Current Affairs May 22nd to June 04th 2017

National Current News

  • KELT-11b-the name of potentially habitable Earth-like planet discovered by scientists, located just 21 light years away which may host liquid water on its surface. Scientists from Instituto de Astrofisica de Canarias(IAC) in Canary Islands found that the planet, with a mass between two and three times the Earth, resides at the edge of the habitable zone of its host star GJ625(Gliese 625). This is the sixth super-Earth closest to our solar system in the habitability zone of its star.
  • Marocail-the deciding word which helped the twelve-year-old Ananya Vinay to win won the 90th Scripps National Spelling Bee. The sixth-grader from Fresno, California, won by spelling 'marocain', a French word for dress fabric made of ribbed crepe. She got more than $40,000 in cash and prizes .Runner-up Rohan Rajeev missed the word 'marram', a Scandinavian-derived word for beach grass. Ananya's victory was the first time since 2013 that the bee has declared a single champion. It ended in a tie for three consecutive years. Competitors age 6 to 15 emerged from early spelling bees involving more than 11 million youths from all 50 US states, US territories from Puerto Rico to Guam, and several countries, from Jamaica to Japan.
  • 'Connecting People to Nature'-the theme for World Environment Day 2017 which implores us to get outdoors and into nature, to appreciate its beauty and its importance, and to take forward the call to protect the Earth that we share.World Environment Day is the biggest annual event for positive environmental action and takes place every 5 June. This year's host country Canada got to choose the theme and will be at the centre of celebrations around the planet.World Environment Day is a day for everyone, everywhere. Since it began in 1972, global citizens have organized many thousands of events, from neighbourhood clean-ups, to action against wildlife crime, to replanting forests.
  • 3.5% of GDP-this was the target of fiscal deficit for 2016-17 which was achieved by government for the year as the recent release issued by the Controller General of Accounts. For 2017-18, the government aims to further bring down the fiscal deficit- the gap between expenditure and revenue-to 3.2%.
  • 116- the rank of India in the global index of places where childhood is most and least threatened- the index is part of a new report 'Stolen Childhoods, from Save the Children, which assesses children missing out on childhood. The index scores reflect the average level of performance across a set of eight indicators related to child health, education, labour, marriage, child birth and violence. India lagged behind many of its neighbouring countries like Myanmar (112), Bhutan (93), Sri Lanka (61) and Maldives (48).
  • 7.1%-the GDP growth in 2016-17 which was almost at 2 year low. India's growth slumped to a two-year low and the country ceded its top ranking as the world's fastest growth economy back to China in the March 217 quarter, suggesting that the effects of November's note swap were rippling through economy.
  • INAM-Pro+-the first of its kind web based platform for procurement of various kinds of infrastructure materials and machinery by Construction agencies engaged in implementation of infrastructure projects. The platform www.inampro.nic.in has been developed by the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways, Government of India through National Highways Infrastructure Development Corporation Limited.
  • 31st May-this day was recently celebrated as World No Tobacco Day to spread awareness about the use of tobacco which can help in prevention of cancer and heart disease. There are about 1,200mn total tobacco users in the world out of which around 274.9mn are in India.
  • 7.5%-the expected rate of growth of Indian Economy in the fiscal year 2017as per global ratings agency,Moody's Investors Service. It will grow by 7.7% in 2018 and will reach 8% in 3-4 years.The agency said that the negative impact of last year's demonetization on the economy has been limited in size and duration.Moody's said the government has been successful in pushing through several key reforms including liberalization of foreign direct investment rules in a number of key sectors, including defense, railway infrastructure, civil aviation and insurance; the Direct Benefit Transfer scheme for food; fertilizer and kerosene subsidies; the goods and service tax , which is expected to come into effect in July; and a national bankruptcy code,together these will help reduce inefficiencies and improve trend growth over the long run.
  • DIPP -it stands for The Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion (DIPP) is the nodal department for managing the Fund of Funds (FoF) created by the government for pumping money into startups. This was in the news as the nodal department has asked the finance ministry for an additional allocation of Rs.1600 crore in the current financial year. The fund announced by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in January 2016 has a total corpus of Rs.10, 000 crore to be released till 2025. The FoF has committed Rs.623 crore to 17 alternative investment funds(AIFs) set up under it and these AIFs have further invested in 62 startups as on March 2017.The FoF is being managed by Small Industries Development bank of India (SIDBI).
  • 6.8%-the expected GDP growth of India in 2016-2017 as per the World Bank bi-annual India Development Update released recently. India's economy was slowing down in early 2016-17, until the favourable monsoon started lifting the economy, but the recovery was temporarily disrupted by the government's demonetisation initiative. As a result, a modest slowdown is expected in the GDP growth in 2016-2017 to 6.8 per cent as per World Bank report. The report attributes it to coping mechanisms, including greater usage of digital transactions, higher rural incomes, and robust public consumption. The pick-up in rural wages in November and December, 2016, and the growth of agricultural output suggests the positive impact of the monsoons substantially dampened the disruption from demonetisation.The report said that demonetisation has the potential to accelerate the formalisation of the economy in the long-term leading to higher tax collections and greater digital financial inclusion.It also said that the country's growth is expected to recover in 2017-2018 to 7.2 per cent and is projected to gradually increase to 7.7 per cent in 2019-2020.The World Bank also noted that India remained the fastest growing economy in the world with strong economic fundamentals and ongoing reform momentum.
  • GCMMF-it stands for Gujarat Cooperative Milk Marketing Federation (GCMMF) which recently signed an agreement with ISRO for fodder acreage assessment using satellite observation and space technology.GCMMF markets its products under the brand name of 'Amul'.Under the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU), ISRO will help in identification between food crops and fodder crops at village level and also locate suitable areas of current fallows and cultivable wastelands at village level for green fodder cultivation. Amul and Space Applications Centre (SAC), ISRO, had earlier carried out a joint pilot, which found that to assess green fodder availability for dairy livestock at district and village level through remote sensing is feasible. Fodder acreage estimation would act as a decision making tool for monitoring and planning of fodder development activities by the stakeholders in the dairy sector. Amul is currently procuring around 150 lakh litres of milk daily from around 35 lakh milk producer members from over 18,500 villages. The milk producer farmers of Gujarat will get benefit of fodder cultivation by using this technology.
  • Prithvi-II- the indigenously developed nuclear-capable missileof India which was recently successfully test-fired from a test range in Odisha as part of a user trial by the Army. The trial of the surface-to-surface missile, which has a strike range of 350 km, was carried out from a mobile launcher from launch complex-3 of the Integrated Test Range at Chandipur. The Prithvi-II missile is capable of carrying 500 kg to 1,000 kg of warheads and is thrusted by liquid propulsion twin engines. It uses advanced inertial guidance system with manoeuvring trajectory to hit its target with precision and accuracy.
  • Trin-the name of the India's first public bicycle sharing (PBS) system, which was launched recently in Karnataka by chief minister Siddaramaiah, bringing Mysuru on the list of select global cities which already have bicycles as a commuting option. A total of 450 bicycles (430 regular and 20 with gear) can be borrowed for a nominal fee from 48 automated docking stations set up at major tourist destinations, universities and offices. The users have to obtain a smart card which they can swipe and take a bicycle from a docking station, and return it at any other station, where a user fee would be deducted from the smart card. The initiative has been jointly funded by the World Bank, Global Environmental Fund and state directorate of urban land transport. While Mysuru City Corporation owns the bicycles, the project is being operated by Green Wheel Ride, a city-based manufacturer of eco-friendly bicycles. While the city's cycling enthusiasts had a joyride, more people, particularly foreigners, are expected to opt for the green transport mode in the coming days.
  • World Bank-they projected a strong 7.2 per cent growth rate for India for 2017 against 6.8 per cent growth in 2016.They have also said that India remains the fastest growing major economy in the world as for now. The growth projections for China remains unchanged at 6.5 per cent for 2017 and then 6.3 per cent for the next two years, 2018 and 2019. The World Bank in its latest Global Economic Prospects, projects India's growth to 7.5 per cent in 2018 and 7.7 per cent in 2019.
  • Block level-this would be the base level of weather forecast systems under the National Monsoon Mission (NMM) from 2019 as per the recent announcements by Union Science and Technology and Earth Sciences Minister Harsh Vardhan recently.The Rs 400 crore National Monsoon Mission will be a revolutionary step in weather forecasting and it would help the farmers, policy makers, administrators and all concerned alike. Further to make weather forecasting with higher accuracy in the mountainous northeastern region, most modern Doppler weather radars have been installed in Cherrapunjee in Meghalaya, Mohanbari in Dibrugarh (Assam) and Agartala (Tripura). Rs 475 crore project has been set up two mega centres at Koyna in Maharashtra and Shillong in Meghalaya for the study of earthquake prediction.

Sports Updates

  • Yuvraj Singh-he won Man of the Match award during the ICC Champions Trophymatch against Pakistan. Defending champions India started their campaign with a resounding 124-run victory over Pakistan. Yuvraj smashed 53 off 32 balls.
  • B Sai Praneeth-the Indian player won the Thailand Open Grand Prix Gold men's singles title in Bangkok recently. The third seeded Indian prevailed 17-21 21-18 21-19 over fourth seeded Indonesian Jonatan Christie in a contest that lasted an hour and 11 minutes. This was Praneeth's maiden Grand Prix Gold and second consecutive overall title win, following the Singapore Open victory.

Current Affairs - June

Current Affairs June 05th to June 11th 2017

International Current News

  • European Union Commission-the group whose President Jean-Claude Juncker recently urged its member nations to boost their defence spending. EU members are spending an average of 1.3% of GDP on defence much less than the United States, Russia and China. The EU unveiled a new defence fund recently to provide a total of Euro 500million in EU money in 2019 and 2020 to help buy and develop military equipment.
  • 8th June 2017-this day was recently celebrated as World Ocean Day.World Oceans Day is a global day of ocean celebration and collaboration for a better future. This site serves as the central coordinating platform for World Oceans Day, with free resources and ideas for everyone - no matter where you live - to help expand the reach and impact of World Oceans Day on June 8 and year-round. Overall theme for World Oceans Day 2017 is: Our Oceans, Our Futurewhile thefocus ofConservation action is Encouraging solutions to plastic pollution and preventing marine litter for a healthier ocean and a better future

National Current News

  • NPCI-it stands for National Payment Corporation of India which is planning to ask banks not to charge for transactions made through the Unified Payments Interface (UPI) to promote digital payments and prevent consumers from going back to cash payments. The value of UPI transactions has gone up from value of Rs.90 cr (Volume-0.3m) in November 2016to Rs.2, 200crore (Volume-6.9m) in April 2017. As per banking estimates the cost for digital payment through UPI comes to Rs.2.5 per transaction.
  • Major three benefits of Atal Pension Yojana- Minimum guaranteed pension between Rs.1000-Rs.5000 from age of 60, Same pension to spouse after death of subscriber after 60 years, Return of pension corpus between Rs.1.70 lakh to Rs.8.50 lakh to nominee after death of subscriber & the spouse are the major three benefits of Atal Pension Yojana. More than 54lakh people have already subscribed to Atal Pension Yojana (APY).
  • 2 percent- the percentage higher than the previous forecast is the latest forecast for monsoons in India by India Meteorological Department (IMD) which will boost farm incomes and economic growth. India's crucial monsoon rains are expected to reach 98 percent of the long-term average this year. The monsoon delivers about 70 percent of India's annual rainfall, critical for crops such as rice, cane, corn, cotton and soybeans because nearly half of the country's farmland lacks irrigation. Monthly rainfall across the country is likely to be 96 percent of its long-term average during July, and 99 percent of the average during August, both with a model error of 9 percent, the IMD said in a statement. India is likely to receive higher monsoon rainfall than previously forecast as concern over the El Nino weather pattern eased.
  • SahithiPingali- the student from Bangalore who will be sharing the space with other luminaries in the Milky Way by having a minor planet named after her. This milestone is part of her winning streak at the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair (Intel ISEF) in Los Angeles. Earlier this month at ISWEEEP (The International Sustainable World Engineering Energy Environment Project) Olympiad held in Houston, Texas, Sahithi won the Gold Medal for her research on 'An Innovative Crowdsourcing Approach to Monitoring Freshwater Bodies' which was based on city lakes. She has also researched on Varthur Lake with her school team especially. The Lincoln Laboratory of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), which has the right to name minor planets, decided to name a planet after her.
  • Main features of GSLV MkIII-D1-It is a three-stage vehicle with indigenous cryogenic upper stage engine , It is the heaviest rocket to be launched from our own soil, It has two solid strap-on motors (S200) and a core liquid booster (L110) are the main features of GSLV MkIII-D1 which was successfully launched from the spaceport in Sriharikota. Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle Mark-III (MkIII D-1) injected the 3,136-kg GSAT-19, the heaviest satellite to be launched from the country yet, into Geosynchronous Transfer Orbit about 16 minutes later. GSLV MkIII can orbit payloads or satellites weighing upto 4,000 kgs into the GTO and 10,000 kgs into Low Earth Orbit.
  • Major highlights of the second bi-monthly monetary policy for 2017-18- Repo rate unchanged at 6.25%, Reverse repo unchanged at 6%, Statutory Liquidity Ratio cut by 0.5% to 20% were the major highlights of the second bi-monthly monetary policyfor 2017-18recently announced by Reserve bank of India. The policy lowered projections for inflation while striking a less hawkish tone in a policy statement.
  • Major highlights of the 'TB Cough'campaign- It warns people of increasing risk of TB associated with smoking cigarettes or bidis, It warns people of increasing risk of TB on being exposed to second-hand smoke are the major highlights of the 'TB Cough', the campaign launched to spread awareness against TB by Ministry of Health, Govt. of India on World No Tobacco Day on May 31. With this India has become the first country to launch a national mass campaign establishing the link between smoking and tuberculosis(TB) in a bid to raise awareness and encourage smokers to seek medical opinion when they have persistent cough.
  • El Nino-the phenomenon which affects the normal monsoon in India. The south west monsoon began on strong note in 2017 as El Nino is not likely to effect Indian sub-continent this summer.
  • Main of issues of conflict between India and China-Sovereignty issues, NSG issues and terrorism issues in neighbouring state as the main of issues of conflict between India and China. Both the countries which saw worsening of ties over these issues recently talked of managing their differences as Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Chinese President Xi Jinping met in Astana, capital of Kazakhstan, recently to discuss the impact of mega connectivity projects such as OBOR among other issues. The two leaders were meeting for the first time since India skipped Xi's mega show-a summit on One Belt One Road project in Beijing in May 2017.
  • 23-the number agricultural commodities for which the government fixes minimum support prices or MSPs. The Commission for Agricultural Costs and Prices (CACP) is required to give recommendations to the government regarding MSP. The commission assesses demand and supply by sending questionnaires and holding discussions with government agencies and various trade and industry bodies. These prices are announced at the beginning of each sowing season. The government essentially guarantees to buy any of the harvest that is offered to it at this price. The assurance of remunerative prices are supposed to encourage farmers to invest more and hence increase production of these crops.

Sports Updates

  • ViratKohli- the sole sportsperson from the country to feature among the world's 100 highest paid athletes in the latest Forbes list topped by soccer star Cristiano Ronaldo. Kohli, 28, has been ranked 89th on the 2017 Forbes list of 'The World's highest paid athletes' with a total pay of USD 22 million that includes USD three million from salary and winnings and another 19 million from endorsements. Describing Kohli as the "Indian cricket Phenom", Forbes said the sports star has "for good reason" already drawn comparisons to all-time great Sachin Tendulkar.
  • Leander Paes, Mahesh Bhupathi,Sania Mirza & Rohan Bopanna-these are the only four Indians who have won Grand Slam trophies for India. Rohan Bopanna lifted his maiden Grand Slam title by winning the French Open mixed doubles trophy with Canadian partner Gabriela Dabrowski, becoming only the fourth Indian ever to clinch a major, recently

Current Affairs June 17th to June 25th 2017

National Current News

  • Main agriculture produce of states- Turmeric-Telangana, RedChilli-Andhra Pradesh, Onion-Maharashtra, Soyabean-Madhya Pradesh along with Sunflower of Haryana and Wheat of Uttar Pradesh are the main agriculture produce of the respective states. This was in the news recently as the each of the produce has suffered price crash in the light of bountiful production. The glut and the plunging prices are believed to be the sum total of the crisis staring at farmers across the country.
  • STEM subjects -it stands Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics subjects. This was in the news recently as due to complete domination of boys in this sector there is a move by joint admission board of IITs to recommend an increase of 600 seats- a hike of 14%-in number of seats allotted to women, taking the quotas to 1440 seats. Currently, women make up to just 8% of the student strength at the 23IITs. The IITs are among India's best institutes and rank high in global surveys but are plagued by a paltry number of women students, seen as society's belief that women are more suited for technical jobs.
  • Tax Invoices after GST-All GST taxpayers are free to design their own invoice format, Only certain fields must mandatorily be in the invoice are some of the facts about Tax Invoices which would be in vogue after the implementation of GST from 1st July, 2017. Other highlights of the tax invoice are that for small transactions up to a value of Rs200 per transaction for unregistered customers no need to issue invoices for each transaction, Taxpayers with annual turnover of Rs.1.5 crore need not mention the HSCN Code of the goods in the invoices.
  • Major decisions taken in the first quarterly performance review of PSBs- Consolidation of state-run banks on the anvil, Financial computer emergency response team for cyber threats, States to bear the burden of farm loan waivers are some of the major decisions taken in the first quarterly performance review of PSBs in the presence of Union Finance Minister, Arun Jaitley recently.
  • The major estimates in internet usage of India as estimated by Cisco- 829 million internet users(59% of population in 2021),up from 373 millon(28% of polulation in 2016); 2 million networked devices in 2021,up from 1.4 billion in 2016; 67% of all networked devices will be mobile connected by 2021 are the major estimates in internet usage of India as estimated by Cisco. It also estimated that mobile data traffic will grow seven-fold from 2016 to 2021, a compound annual growth rate of 49% and the mobile data traffic in 2021 will be equivalent to 88 times the volume of all india's internet traffic in 2005.
  • Clauses under which the cash transaction of Rs.2.00 lakh or more is prohibited from 1st April 2017: In aggregate from a person in a day, In respect of a single transaction, In respect of transactions relating to one event or occasion from a person are the clauses under which the cash transaction of Rs.2.00 lakh or more is prohibited from 1st April 2017. Section 269ST has been inserted in the Income-tax Act, 1961 w.e.f 1st April 2017 which restricts acceptance of cash of Rs 2 lakh or more by any person. This section applies to all persons receiving cash of Rs.2 lakh or above however this restriction shall not apply to any receipt by the government or any receipt by or from any Banking Company, Post Office Savings Bank or Co-operative Bank.
  • Pulses, Oilseeds and cotton -they are the crops for which the government recently increased the MSP(Minimum Support Price) for the 2017-18 crop year and also convinced seed associations to curtail prices of hybrid seeds by 10%. The maximum hike in MSP is fixed for pulses whose output is estimated to be a record 22.40 million tonnes (MT) in the 2016-17 crop year ending June as against 16.35 MT in 2015-16. The record production was attributed to good monsoon, higher MSP and better procurement arrangement. The MSP of tur(arhar) was increased from Rs.5,050 per quintal(including bonus) in 2016-17 to Rs.5450per quintal(including Rs.200 bonus) in 2017-18- hike of Rs.400 per quintal. Similarly the support price for Urad has risen from Rs.5000(including bonus) per quintal in 2016-17 to Rs.5400(including bonus) per quintal in 2017-18. In case of Moong,it stands increased from Rs.5225(including bonus) per quintal in 2016-17 to Rs.5575(including bonus) in 2017-18. Among oilseeds, the government has increased the MSP of groundnut-in-shell(Rs. 4450 per quintal), soyabean(Rs.3050 per quintal), sunflower seed(Rs.4100 per quintal), sesamum(Rs.5300 per quintal) and nigerseed(Rs.4050 per quintal).
  • 4% -it is India's share of global water resources, Over 80% of rural and urban domestic water needs in India is served by groundwater, India has no national law on water , Water is state subject are some of the key facts related to groundwater resources of India. India has no national law on water unlike countries like Israel, South Africa, Australia etc. which has national water laws. In India water is a state subject which means that states are free to deal on their water issues like irrigation, drainage etc. Centre has powers only to regulate and develop interstate rivers.
  • AICTE & AITMC -they have combined together to launch Earn While Learn initiative to create 1.5 million jobs in rural India in one year. The All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE) and non-governmental organization AITMC recently launched 'Earn While Learn' to educate and develop the skill set of over 1.5 million youth and provide them assured livelihoods. 'Earn While Learn' initiative was recently announced at the 'Global Summit 2017' and will be implemented in collaboration with industries and business owners.
  • Seekho aur Kamao, USTTAD, Nai Manzil, Gareeb Nawaz Skill Development Program - these are the major skill development schemes for inclusive development of minorities in India. In last 3 years, including 40% women, more than five lakh minorities (Muslims, Christians, Sikhs, Buddhists, Parsis & Jains) were extended opportunities of skill development and education through employment oriented skill development schemes.

Sports Updates

  • Mixed relays in athletics and swimming, Three-a-side basketball -they are among new events which were recently approved by the International Olympic Committee(IOC) for inclusion in the Tokyo Olympic Games in 2020. The IOC's executive board also agreed to add mixed doubles in table tennis, mixed team events in judo, shooting and archery and a mixed team triathlon.

Current Affairs - July

Current Affairs July 01th to July 16th 2017

International Current News

  • Some of the reasons for several Arab countries breaking their diplomatic ties with Qatar-Growing tension between Qatar and its neighbours, Accusation that Qatar is backing Islamists movements in the Middle East, Important influencing role played by Doha-funded Al-Jazeera news channel, Publication of story questioning fate of Donald Trump's presidency by a Qatar news agency are some of the reasons for several Arab countries breaking their diplomatic ties with Qatar.
  • MSCI-EM-it stands for The Morgan Stanley Capital International Index which captures large and midcap stocks across 23 emerging markets like Brazil, Chile, India, Colombia, Russia, South Africa and China and tracks $2 trillion worth of assets globally. The index serves as a representation of each country's market as it covers up to 85% of the free-float-adjusted market capitalistion. It is closely tracked by global investors and a country's inclusion in the index can attract foreign money into it.
  • 19- the number of individual countries which are members of G20. It was in the news recently regarding the recent G20 summit which was held at Hamburg, Germany. The G20 is an international grouping of 20 of the world's biggest economies, comprising 19 individual countries and the European Union. Founded in 1999, the body aims to ensure global financial stability by promoting high-level discussions and review of policies.

National Current News

  • Two major changes in election to President of India introduced in 1997-The number of proposers and seconders for any nomination paper was increased from 10 to 50, the security amount was increased from Rs. 2,500 to Rs.10, 000-these are the two major changes in election to President of India which were introduced in 1997.
  • The World Bank-they cleared a $250-million loan for making Indian youth more employable through reskilling, in a move that is seen to aid the Skill India mission.The multi-lateral lender is keen to support the Indian government in its efforts to better equip the young workforce with employable skills. It said the support will help the youth contribute to India's economic growth and prosperity.The $250-million Skill India Mission Operation (SIMO), approved by the World Bank board of executive directors, will increase the market relevance of short-term skill development programmes (3-12 months or up to 600 hours) at the national and state level. Under the programme, adults in 15-59 years of age, underemployed or unemployed, will get the skill training. It will also include the 1.2 crore youngsters in the age group of 15-29 years who are entering the labour market every year.Theprogramme has a mandate to provide placement and entrepreneurship opportunities to women and increase their exposure to skill training.The Washington-headquartered World Bank's SIMO is a six- year programme in support of the Indian government's National Policy for Skill Development and Entrepreneurship (2017-23).SIMO will be implemented through the National Skill Development Mission and will specifically target labour market entrants.
  • Food grain production-in 2016-17 it has touched a new record of 273.4 million tonnes, Projection for the country's economic growth to 7.6 per cent for the current fiscal, The level of water storage in the country's main reservoirs in 2017-18 is better compared to last year are some of the estimates made in the quarterly review of the economy by economic think-tank of the country,NCAER.Recent estimates show that food grain production in 2016-17 has touched a new record of 273.4 million tonnes or 8.7 per cent higher as compared to last year. Economic think-tank NCAER has revised up its projection for the country's economic growth to 7.6 per cent for the current fiscal, compared with the earlier prediction of 7.3 per cent on forecast of normal monsoon.In its quarterly review of the economy, NCAER said prospects for the agricultural sector in 2017-18 remain optimistic on forecast of good rains.Also, the level of water storage in the country's main reservoirs in 2017-18 is better compared to last year. In fact,better than the average storage over the last ten years.The forecast for growth of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) at market prices in 2017-18 was also made at 7.6 per cent at constant (2011-12) prices bythe National Council of Applied Economic Research (NCAER).The agency has also revised upward its forecast of GVA (Gross Value Added at Basic Prices) growth at 7.3 per cent for 2017-18 from its February estimate of 7 per cent.The quarterly report further said Wholesale Price Index (WPI) inflation is projected at 6.7 per cent for 2017-18.
  • Some benefits of GST-Easy Tax Compliance, Boon for House Hold, Creating One Economic India, Simplified Tax Structure, Benefits to Economy, Advantages for Trade & Industry are some of the benefits of GST which was launched at midnight of 30th June 2017 in the Central Hall of Parliament as part of the single biggest tax reform in the history of the nation.
  • Slabs of GST-Unpacked food grains, Fresh vegetables, Unbranded atta/maida/besan, Gur, Milk, Eggs, Curd, Lassi, Unpacked Paneer/Natural honey, Palmyra jiggery, Salt, Kajal, PhoolJharo, Children's Drawing and Colouring Books, Education services, Health services-0%; Sugar, Tea, Roasted Coffee Beans, Edible Oils, skimmed Milk Powder, Milk Food for babies, Packed Paneer, Cashew Nuts, Raisin, PDS Kerosene, Domestic LPG, Footwear(up to Rs.500), Apparels(up to Rs.1,000), Agarbatti, Coir Mats-5%; Butter, Ghee, Almonds, Fruit Juice, Packed Coconut Water, Preparations of Vegetables, Fruits, Nuts or other parts of Plants including Pickle, Murabba, Chutney, Jam & Jelly, Umbrella,Mobiles-12%; Hair Oil, Toothpaste, Soap, Pasta, Corn Flakes, Soups, Ice Creams,Toiletries,Computers,Printers-18% are the major categories of tax slabs for the households under the GST.
  • 'Ani SemyaMayodhLehiyot Po'-which means 'I am delighted to be here' is the language of Israel which was in the news recently for the historical visit of India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi in July 2017, the first visit by Indian PM to Israel. Pranab Mukherjee became the first Indian President to visit Israel in 2015.
  • Indus OS-it is the name of the Indian mobile operating system. This was in the news after Indus OS launched the first OS-integrated United Payments Interface(UPI) platform in partnership with YES Bank. This will bring UPI directly to the phones of 8 million Indus OS users across eight smartphone brands that the mobile operating system has integrated with.
  • RE - thismeans Resource Efficiency is the ratio between a benefit and the natural resource required for it. This was in the news recently after NITI Aayog strategy paper prepared under supervision of its principal advisor Ratan P Watal mooted tax incentives and viability gap funding for eco-labelled products as part of the governments green procurement policies to substantially improve resource efficiency in the country. There is a global commitment to achieve resource efficiency in order to establish sustainable consumption and production patterns. It is also a priority for the government and is reflected in various policies and programme announcements such as Make in India, Zero Effect-Zero Defect Scheme, Smart Cities, Swachh Bharat and Ganga Rejuvenation Mission.
  • Article324(2)-this article of the Indian Constitution was in the news recently which deals with appointment of Election Commissioners(ECs) was in the news recently after the Supreme Court asked the government to frame rules for appointment of ECs. Presently Article 324(2) of the Constitution says that President on the advice of the Council of Ministers headed by the Prime Minister would appoint ECs, the process of appointment would remain subject to the law made by Parliament. SC questioned government that till date why no law has not been enacted for appointment of ECs.
  • Railways- the sector in which the government is planning to introduce the 'Give-It-Up' campaign requesting the passengers the option to voluntarily forego the subsidy on tickets. Presently the Railways bears 43% of the cost of all rail fares even as it incurs a loss of about Rs.30, 000 crore every year. The biggest drain on the railways exchequer is subsidy on suburban travel segment. Suburban passengers pay only 36% of the travel cost.
  • 7-the number of MoUs which were signed between India and Israel on the first visit of India's Prime Minister to Israel in July 2017. The list of MoUs are-1) Department of Science & Technology (India) and National Technological Innovation Authority Israel to set up India-Israel Industrial R&D and Technological Innovation Fund(I4F) 2) Ministry of Drinking Water and Sanitation and Ministry of National Infrastructure, Energy and Water Resources of Israel sign MoU on National Campaign for Water Conservation in India.3) UP Jal Nigam, Government of Uttar Pradesh and Ministry of National Infrastructure, Energy and Water Resources of Israel sign pact on state water utility reform in India 4) India Israel Development Cooperation-Three Year Work Programme in Agriculture 2018-2020 5) Plan of Cooperation between Isro and Israel Space Agency(ISA) for cooperation in atomic clocks 6) MoU between Isro and ISA regarding cooperation in GEO-LEO optical link 7) Isro and ISA pact on cooperation in electric propulsion for small satellites.
  • Olly-the mascot of 22nd Asian Athletics Championships is an Olive Ridley turtle. The 22nd Asian Athletics Championships was organised from 05-09 July 2017 at Bhubaneshwar. The Olive Ridley turtles endure thousands of miles of journey for nesting in the sands of Odisha's coast so a mascot for the game being held in Odisha has been selected accordingly.
  • 3 days- the specified date within which customers will not be liable at all if they report financial losses on account of frauds. The Reserve Bank of India in a major step to protect customers from large financial losses on account of frauds has capped the customer liability at Rs.25, 000 if they reportunauthorized transactions within seven working days. These rules will be applicable for third party breach-were the deficiency lies neither with the banks nor with the customers but lies elsewhere in the system. It has however given banks the freedom to determine the customer liability if such transaction is reported after seven working days. The RBI has placed the onus of informing about the fraud on the customers but the burden of proving it lies with the bank.
  • What is voting- Voting is a right, Voting is a not a duty are the correct statement in the context of India. This was in the news after the Centre told the Supreme Court recently that exercising one's franchise is the fundamental right of every citizen but not a duty. The government relied on the 255th Law Commission Report, which says 'electoral right' of the voter includes the right to 'vote or refrain from voting at an election. 'The Representation of People Act, 1951 too talks of 'right to voter rather than a duty to vote. The idea of compulsory voting in India has been rejected time and again on the grounds of practical
  • PRAGATI -itstands for Pro-Active Governance and Timely Implementation is the monthly web based interaction of Prime Minister Narendra Modi with bureaucrats. This meeting was in the news recently after the Prime Minister set a five year deadline for completing all pending projects and said that all incomplete projects should be completed by 2022 when the nation would be celebrating 75 years of India's independence.
  • The main predictions about India as per the OECD-FAO Agricultural Outlook 2017-2026-It will be most populous country by 2026, It will be world's largest milk producer by 2026, It will account for the biggest increase in wheat production globally by 2026 are the main predictions about India as per the OECD-FAO Agricultural Outlook 2017-2026.The report said the world's population will increase from 7.3 to 8.2 billion over the course of the next decade with India and Sub-Saharan Africa accounting for 56 % of total population growth. India's population will grow from 1.3 billion to 1.5 billion, an increase of almost 150 million. India will overtake China and is projected to be the most populous country in the world by 2026.The report said that given their strong population growth, India and Sub-Saharan Africa will also drive a large share of global demand. Global production of wheat is projected to increase by 11 % over the outlook period of 2017-2026, while the wheat area increases by only 1.8 %.The increase in wheat production is expected to occur through higher yields, most notably in Asia and Pacific, which will account for 46 % of additional wheat production.
  • BCCC -it stands for Broadcasting Content Complaints Council is the independent self-regulatory body set up by The Indian Broadcasting Foundation (IBF) to examine the content-related complaints relating to all non-news general entertainment channels. This was in the news recently after former Supreme Court judge Justice Vikramajit Sen was appointed as the new chairperson of BCCC.
  • 40 million-it was the quarterly target for the first quarter of 2017-18(April-June) for the Unified Payments Interface (UPI), the flagship digital payment instrument launched by the Reserve Bank of India. It was in the news recently as the number of transactions under UPI was around 26 million in the first quarter of the financial year, 35% less than the quarterly target set by the finance ministry as per the data received from the National Payment Corp of India (NPCI) which manages the railroad. Payment railroad is used to describe the pathways through which the digital payments move which in the case of UP is managed by NPCI.
  • 39th-the rank of India among a 46-country study by Stanford University for the lazy people. The researchers using step-counters installed in most smartphones to track the walking activity of about 700,000 people in 46 countries around the world. The least lazy, according to the study published in the journal Nature, are the Chinese, particularly those in Hong Kong, where people averaged 6,880 steps a day. India is ranked at 39, with people averaging just 4,297 steps a day. The worst nation was Indonesia, where people walked nearly half as much, averaging 3,513 steps a day. The worldwide average is 4,961 steps, with Americans walking an average 4,774 steps. The top half of the chart includes Hong Kong, China, Ukraine and Japan walking over 6,000 steps daily while the countries at the bottom of the rung include Malaysia, Saudi Arabia and Indonesia who walk less than 3,900 steps.
  • New initiatives launched by Indian Railways-Launch of SAARTHI, Additional facilities for Divyang, 365 Days Advance Reservation for Foreign Tourists are the new initiatives which were recently launched by Indian Railways. SAARTHI is an integrated mobile application which stands for 'Synergised Advanced Application for Rail Travel Help & Information' for passengers.
  • 100metre- the distance area on either side of Ganga between Haridwar (Uttarakhand) and Unnao (Uttar Pradesh) has been declared as no-construction and no-development zone by the National Green Tribunal (NGT) recently. It also ordered a green compensation of Rs.50, 000 on anyone dumping waste in the river. The NGT also directed that no dumping or landfill could come up within 500 metres of the river or its tributaries in the Haridwar-Unnao stretch. The tribunal imposed a complete prohibition on disposing of municipal solid waste, electronic waste or biological waste on the flood plains or its tributaries in the same stretch.
  • Features of Sovereign Gold Bonds Scheme-Can be used as collateral for loans, Capital Gains Tax Exempted on redemption for individuals, Exempted from GST are some of the Sovereign Gold Bonds Scheme which were issued recently. The other salient features of scheme is that the minimum investment is 1gm and maximum investment is 500gm and its tenure is 8 years with exit option in 5th, 6th, 7th year also and is tradable through NSE & BSE and is available in Demat and paper form.
  • FLDG-it stands for First Loan Default Guarantee. It protects interests of lenders to MFIs or NBFCs and the magnitude of cover depends on bank's risk appetite. It was in the news recently after the Reserve Bank of India in its preliminary paper on P2P lending is learnt to be wary of peer-to-peer lending platforms offering any FLDG or first loan default guarantee cover to institutional lenders for nay lending they do through these technology start ups.

Sports Updates

  • Afghanistan and Ireland-these are the two countries which were granted Test status by International Cricket Council recently. The two countries now are the 11th and 12th member of the Test Status club. The last time Test cricket welcomed two new entrants was in 1930s.Test status is conferred upon a country or group of countries by the International Cricket Council. Teams that do not have Test status can play in the ICC Intercontinental Cup, specifically designed to allow non-Test teams to play under conditions similar to Tests. Test matches are the highest level of cricket although, statistically, their data forms part of first-class cricket. Matches are played between national representative teams with "Test status", as determined by the International Cricket Council. As of June 2017, twelve national teams have Test status, the most recently promoted being Afghanistan and Ireland on 22 June 2017.Zimbabwe's Test status was voluntarily suspended, because of poor performances between 2006 and 2011; it returned to competition in August 2011.
  • Mithali Raj- the Indian women cricketer who recently became the first player to cross 6,000 runs in women's One Day International. The Hyderabad girl is the youngest centurion in women's ODIs(114 vs Ireland in 1999 at 16 years). She has scored 5 centuries in ODI's, the most by an Indian woman. India now has the highest run getter in ODIs among both women(Mithali Raj) & men(Sachin Tendulkar). India also has the highest wicket-taker in women's ODIs-JhulanGoswami

Current Affairs July 17th to July 23th 2017

International Current News

  • Green, Amber & Red -these are the common references to the boxes as categorized in terminology of World Trade Organisation(WTO).In WTO terminology, subsidies in general are identified by "Boxes" which are given the colours of traffic lights: green (permitted), amber (slow down - i.e. be reduced), red (forbidden). The Agriculture Agreement has no Red Box, although domestic support exceeding the reduction commitment levels in the Amber Box is prohibited; and there is a Blue Box for subsidies that are tied to programmes that limit production. There are also exemptions for developing countries (sometimes called an "S & D Box"). The agricultural package of the Uruguay Round has fundamentally changed the way domestic support in favour of agricultural producers was treated under the GATT 1947. A key objective has been to discipline and reduce domestic support while at the same time leaving great scope for governments to design domestic agricultural policies in the face of, and in response to, the wide variety of the specific circumstances in individual countries and individual agricultural sectors. The main conceptual consideration is that there are basically two categories of domestic support - support with no, or minimal, distortive effect on trade on the one hand (often referred to as "Green Box" measures) and trade-distorting support on the other hand (often referred to as "Amber Box" measures). For example, government provided agricultural research or training is considered to be of the former type, while government buying-in at a guaranteed price ("market price support") falls into the latter category. Under the Agreement on Agriculture, all domestic support in favour of agricultural producers is subject to rules. In addition, the aggregate monetary value of Amber Box measures is, with certain exceptions, subject to reduction commitments as specified in the schedule of each WTO Member providing such support..

National Current News

  • Saraswati -the name of an 'extremely large super cluster of galaxies' in the universe which was recently discovered by Indian scientists, the first ever achievement in this field in the country. This ultra large structure is on the direction of constellation Pisces and 400 light years away from Earth. These findings were published in the latest issue of The Astrophysical Journal, the premier research journal of the American Astronomical Society.
  • 10 percent -the percent of agricultural production which is the de minimis level for developing countries like India. De minimis is the minimal amount of trade-distorting subsidy (classified as Amber box) the WTO permits at 1986-88 prices. India recently submitted details of its domestic support programme in agriculture to the World Trade Organisation and asserted that it is under no obligation at the moment to cut any of its subsidies. On its minimum support programme (MSP) for various food grains such as rice, wheat and coarse grains, which is continuously being questioned by the US and Australia, among other members, the notification points out that the outgo for each item was below the ceiling level. For cotton and sunflower, too, the outgo on MSP is much below the permitted level. The domestic support numbers provided by India are for the years 2011-12 to 2013-14.The notification also gave details of input subsidies for farmers for items such as fertilizers, pesticides which, at $22.82 billion in 2013-14, was much higher than the MSP support, but New Delhi pointed out that these were permissible under WTO rules as the beneficiaries were resource-poor farmers."As per the agricultural census for 2000-01, 98.97 per cent of farm holdings are of low-income or resource-poor farmers, which has increased to 99.15 per cent as per the census for 2005-06," the notification said. The breakdown of expenditure for general services such as pest and disease control, training services, extension and advisory services, market promotion services and buffer stock operations were also provided. These are covered under the 'Green box' of permissible subsidies as these are not viewed as trade-distorting. New Delhi is trying to get subsidies under its MSP programme treated as Green box (permissible) subsidies, but is facing resistance from a number of developed countries and some developing countries that import food. The present rules and commitments on agriculture are often called the "Uruguay Round reform programme" - they were negotiated in the Uruguay Round and they include reductions in subsidies and protection as well as other disciplines on the trade.
  • Sessions of Parliament- Budget Session, Monsoon Session & Winter Session are the three major sessions of Parliament in India. The period during which the House meets to conduct its business is called a session. The Constitution empowers the president to summon each House at such intervals that there should not be more than a six-month gap, between the two sessions. Hence the Parliament must meet at least twice a year. In India, the parliament conducts three sessions each year: Budget session: February to May, Monsoon session: July to September, Winter session: November to December.
  • WEST -which stands for Wheebox Employability Test is the name of the India's largest employability skills test which was recently launched launched across 29 states and seven Union Territories. It will test employability of fresh graduates and share scores with prospective employers. The test, by employability assessment company Wheebox, was launched to mark "World Skills Day" in collaboration with the All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE), Confederation of Indian Industry (CII), UNDP, Association of Indian Universities (AIU), Pearson Education and HR technology outsourcing firm People Strong. It will be open to students who are final year graduates, post-graduates or diploma holders from engineering, polytechnic, Industrial Training Institutes (ITIs), and state-run colleges or management schools, the company said in a statement. The test is available in both Hindi and English. The70-minute test will measure an individual's numerical and problem-solving skills along with English language, basics of information technology (IT), and behavioural traits. It aims to give the students a snapshot of their capabilities. It will also provide an initial transcript and detailed scorecard for each module to the candidate, highlighting strengths as well as improvement areas. The scores will be then shared with 110 organisations across 10 sectors to help employers to shortlist candidates using the scores.
  • 30th June -the date on which Reserve Bank of India closes its book for the accounting year. This was in the news recently as for the first time RBI's weekly disclosures failed to divulge its asset-liability figures as on June 30- a move aimed at avoiding an indication of the amount of demonetized currency turned in. The RBI discloses its asset-liability figures under its Weekly Statistical Supplement (WSS). This WSS data is part of the information the central bank has committed to disclose as a signatory to the International Monetary Fund's Special Data Dissemination Standards (SDDS).
  • Project Connect -the name of the initiative launched by Bank of India to revive the bank that has suffered huge losses for two consecutive years due to a sharp rise in bad loans. It is called Project Connect because the Connect between internal staff and clients is not as strong as it was in olden days. The new initiatives are aimed at reducing bad loans, improving the share of low-cost deposits and retail credit. Bank of India has posted huge losses for two consecutive years and has run up total bad loans of close to 13% in FY17 before making provisions. So far, RBI has initiated prompt corrective action (PCA) on six banks - IDBI Bank, Bank of Maharashtra, United Bank of India, Central Bank of India, Dena Bank and Indian Overseas Bank - by putting restrictions on their banking activity. Further, the bank has opened a new vertical 'Premium Client Care' which will cater to the needs of the 1,000 top customers identified from the top five centres of the country.
  • IITs -it stands for Indian Institute of Information Technology are the institutes which were recently declared institutes of national importance and were thus allowed to grant degrees. There are presently 15 IIITs established through public-private partnership. The cost of each IIIT is Rs.128 crore and is contributed by the Centre, state government , and the industry in the ratio of 50:35:15 sustainable within five years of commencement.
  • Antrix -the name of commercial arm of The Indian Space Research Organisation's (Isro). This was in the news recently after it earned has earned 6.1 million Euros from the launch of 29 nanosatellites from 14 countries on June 23, 2017, adding to the 157 million Euros it earned from foreign launches in the last four years. While the space agency has launched 130 satellites in the first six months of 2017, all the foreign satellites it has launched have been small in size. Presently Antrix only sells additional space-that left after India's main satellite is accounted for-available on launch vehicles to foreign customers. The launch that earned 6.1 million Euros, for instance, had India's Cartosat-2 as the main passenger and all the foreign satellites were co-passengers. The satellites belonged to Austria, Chile, Belgium, France, Finland, Czech Republic, Germany, Italy, the USA, Latvia, Lithuania, Slovakia and the UK. Antrix earned revenue of 76.5 million Euros and $4.5 million from launching foreign satellites in just the past two years (2015-16 and 2016-17 up to February). In 2013, it earned 6.9 million Euros from foreign launches, and the same was 18.2 million Euros and 55.5 million Euros in 2014 and 2015.
  • 2017-18 -the target year for completion of all projects sanctioned under the Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana(Urban) for construction in years 2015-16 and 2016-17. In order to ensure housing for all by 2022, Prime Minister Narendra Modi has asked states to "accord priority" to its implementation and send a detailed roadmap to the Prime Minister's Office. The Centre is providing money to implementing agencies and urban local bodies through states to build nearly 20 million affordable houses for the urban poor in 4,025 cities by 2022. Since 2015 till March 2017, only 1.7 million houses have got nod from the Centre in about 2,000 cities, with central assistance of Rs 27,879 crore and total investments of Rs 95,660 crore, based on the proposals sent by the states. The nod from the Centre for construction of affordable houses is dependent on the states sending a verified list of beneficiaries - a count on which many states are not up to the mark. It is not known that how many houses have been constructed so far by various states. All states have been asked to send the roadmap to the 2022 target to the PMO so that the same can be closely monitored at the level of the cabinet secretary.
  • NDDB -it stands for National Dairy Development Board's launched quality mark logo which dairy cooperatives can use after complying with quality norms. This was recently launched by Agriculture Minister Radha Mohan Singh. The 'Quality Mark' logo will be valid for three years and surveillance audit for checking compliance with quality norms will be held once every year by National Dairy Development Board (NDDB), an apex dairy sector body. An 11-member management committee will oversee the activities of Quality Mark. The panel comprises members from agriculture ministry and managing directors of four dairy federations as also representative of food safety regulator FSSAI and two dairy experts.
  • PMVVY -it stands for The Pradhan Mantri Vaya Vandana Yojana is the name of the pension scheme which was launched recently by Finance minister Arun Jaitley. The pension scheme for the elderly comes with 8% fixed rate of interest on their savings. It can be purchased offline as well as online through Life Insurance Corporation (LIC) of India which has been given the sole privilege to operate this scheme. The Pradhan Mantri Vaya Vandana Yojana (PMVVY) is a pension scheme announced by the government exclusively for senior citizens aged 60 years and above -- available from May 4, 2017 to May 3, 2018.The scheme provides an assured return of 8% per annum payable monthly (equivalent to 8.30 per annum effective) for 10 years. Pension is payable at the end of each period, during the policy term of 10 years, as per the frequency of monthly, quarterly, half-yearly, yearly as chosen by the pensioner at the time of purchase. The scheme is exempted from the Goods and Services Tax and loan up to 75% of purchase price shall be allowed after 3 policy years to meet the liquidity needs. Loan interest will be recovered from the pension installments and loan to be recovered from claim proceeds and the scheme also allows for premature exit for the treatment of any critical or terminal illness of self or spouse. On such premature exit, 98% of the purchase price will be refunded. On death of the pensioner during the policy term of 10 years, the purchase price will be paid to the beneficiary. The shortfall owing to the difference between the interest guaranteed and the actual interest earned and the expenses relating to administration shall be subsidised by the government and reimbursed to the LIC.
  • 7 days -'the silent period' before and after the rate decision which has now to be observed by the members of the powerful Monetary Policy Committee (MPC). The six-member MPC constituted in September 2016 has three persons appointed by the central government while the rest, including the Governor are from Reserve Bank of India (RBI). Now they will also be paid Rs.1.5 lakh per meeting along with air travel and other reimbursements. The panel is required to meet at least four times in a year and the RBI has been convening a bi-monthly meeting of this committee. Chetan Ghate, Professor of the Indian Statistical Institute, Pami Dua, Director at Delhi School of Economics and Ravindra H Dholakia Professor at the Indian Institute of Management are the three government appointed members. The appointment is for a period of four years or until further orders, whichever is earlier. Apart from RBI Governor Urjit Patel, Deputy Governor Viral V Acharya and Executive Director M. D. Patra are also part of the committee. Each member of the MPC has one vote and in case the numbers are equal, the governor has the casting vote.

Sports Updates

  • Spain -the country to which Garbine Muguruza, the winner of 2017 Wimbledon belongs to. She defeated five-time champion Venus Williams to win the Wimbledon Trophy tennis women's singles title. She became the first Spanish woman to win the Wimbledon singles title since Conchita Martinez in 1994.
  • Anya Shrubsole- is the player of England who was adjudged Woman of the Match during the final match of the Women's World Cup Final played at Lord's which England won by 9 runs. She took 6 wickets for just 46 runs.
  • Roger Federer -he won the Wimbledon men's tennis singles title 2017. The main features of this victory were: Record 8 titles by a male player in Wimbledon history, At 35 years he became the oldest male player to win at SW19 in the Open Era, After 41 years a player won Wimbledon without dropping a set in the entire tournament

Current Affairs - August

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.
  • MUSK it 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 + or - 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