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CURRENT AFFAIRS 02 JULY 2017

NATIONAL AFFAIRS

India’s largest Fresh water aquarium has opened by Raghubar Das,Chief Minister of Jharkhand
Raghubar Das, the Chief Minister of Jharkhand, has recently inaugurated the India’s largest fresh water aquarium “Ranchi Machchli Ghar” at Bhagwan Birsa Munda Biodiversity Park in Ranchi .
Key Notes:
i. It has been launched to encourage tourism in the state.
ii. The aquarium is spread over in 36,000 sq feet area and it has 58 fish tank, where 120 species of 1500 fishes have been displayed.iii. Besides Indian breeds, rare and popular species have been brought in from Bangkok, Malaysia and Singapore.
iv. Ranchi Machchli Ghar is the country’s biggest fresh water aquarium.
v. Hundreds of varieties of fish and several rare species have been kept at the aquarium which had been named “Ranchi Machchli Ghar”.
vi. Das also laid foundation stone for an eco-park which will include rose garden, children zone, bhul-bhullaya, waterfall and fountain.
vii. The eco-park will be developed in an area of 4.99 acres at a cost of Rs 5.67 crore.
viii. A butterfly park is also being established, where different varieties of butterflies would be kept.
About Jharkhand
♦ Capital: Ranchi
♦ CM: Raghubar Das
♦ Governor: Draupadi Murmu

Railways, NBCC to redevelop 10 railway stations
Rail Land Development Authority has joined hands with National Building Construction Corporation(NBCC) for redevelopment of 10 railway stations across the country on global standards.
Key Notes:
i. An MoU was signed between RLDA, an arm of the Railways for commercial exploitation of rail land, and NBCC, a PSU of urban development ministry for implementation of station redevelopment projects for the 10 identified stations.
ii. NBCC has now been given 10 stations in first phase for redevelopment and more stations would be given to them in subsequent phases.
iii. RLDA and NBCC shall form a Special Purpose Vehicle in the form of a joint venture company to execute the station redevelopment project.
iv. The Railways has embarked on an ambitious project to redevelop 403 stations with the participation of private players, public sector and foreign agencies.
v. The identified stations to be taken up initially by NBCC for redevelopment are Tirupati, Sarai Rohilla (Delhi), Nellore, Puducherry, Madgaon, Lucknow, Gomtinagar, Kota, Thane (New), and Ernakulam. 
vi. Urban development ministry had launched a mega project of developing 100 cities as smart cities, joined the Railways in redeveloping stations as smart stations.
vii. The Railways has taken up this programme of station redevelopment and adopting a multi-pronged strategy to accomplish the huge task.

Mizoram celebrates 31st anniversary of Mizo peace accord
Mizoram celebrates  31st anniversary of the  Mizo Peace accord on 30th of June. Mizo peace accord is signed between the Union government and the Mizo National Front(MNF).
Key Points:
i. All government offices and educational institutions remained close as the day was declared as a public holiday.
ii. The MNF organised meetings in different parts of the state.
iii. A press statement issued by the Peace Accord MNF Returnee Association (PAMRA) mentioned that of the 572 MNF cadres who came overground due to the accord, 150 people have died since 1986 till date.
iv. The Mizo Accord was signed on 30th June 1986 help in an era of peace after 20 years of violence and disturbance in the state.
About Mizoram
♦ Capital: Aizwal
♦ CM: PU Lalthanhawla
♦  Governor: Lt General Nirbhay Sharma





BANKING & FINANCE

GST comes into force after 17 years of debate
Goods and Services Tax (GST) regime officially came into force from July 1, 2017. Government launched the Goods and Services Tax (GST) at a special midnight meeting in Central Hall of Parliament.
i. President Pranab Mukherjee and PM Modi pressed a button in a specially crafted box at the stroke of midnight and formally launched GST.
ii. As per an order issued by Central Board of Excise and Customs (CBEC)July 1 will be known as ‘GST Day’ and will be celebrated in all offices of CBEC just as Central Excise Day and International Customs Day.

India’s economic growth rate at 7.3% in 2017-18 – RBI report
As per Reserve Bank of India’s (RBI) Financial Stability Report 2017, released on June 30, 2017, reform initiatives like goods and services (GST) and continuing political stability will push the economic growth scale to 7.3% in terms of gross value added (GVA) in 2017-18.
i. Lower fiscal deficit at 3.2% for this year down from 3.5% in 2016-17, increasing public capex and support to poorer households, small businesses and the rural sector have been cited as reasons for a better economic outlook.
ii. CPI inflation is expected to be in the range of 2-3.5% in the first half of the year and 3.5-4.5% in the second half. Retail inflation, excluding food and fuel that remained sticky during H2 of FY17 at around 4.9%, dipped to 4.3% in April and 4.2% in May 2017.

India contributes USD 500000 to UN Peacebuilding Fund
India has contributed USD 500,000 to the UN Peacebuilding Fund, expressing hope that more funding by nations will boost efforts by the world body to build and sustain peace.
About UN Peacebuilding Fund:
i. In October 2006, UN Secretary-General established a Peacebuilding Fund (PBF) for post-conflict peace building initiatives following a request from the General Assembly and the Security Council.
ii. The fund was launched to support activities, actions, programmes and organisations that seek to build a lasting peace in countries emerging from conflict.
iii. The United Nations Peacebuilding Fund (PBF) is currently supporting more than 120 projects in 25 countries by delivering fast, flexible and relevant funding.
iv. India has been a member of the Peacebuilding Commission since its inception in and has so far contributed USD 5 million to the Peacebuilding Fund. 

Govt lowers interest rate by 0.1 % on small saving schemes for July-Sep quarter
The government has lowered interest rate on small saving schemes like PPF, Kisan Vikas Patra and Sukanya Samriddhi by 0.1% for the July- September quarter.
Key Points:
i. The rates have been lowered by 0.1% across the board compared to the April-June quarter. 
ii. The Interest rate  on savings deposits has been retained at 4% annually. The interest rates for small savings schemes are to be notified on a quarterly basis.
iii. Investments in the public provident fund (PPF) scheme will fetch lower annual rate of 7.8%.
iv. Kisan Vikas Patra (KVP) investments will yield 7.5% and mature in 115 months.
v. The one for girl child savings, Sukanya Samriddhi Account Scheme, will offer 8.3% annually, from 8.4% at present.
vi. The investment on 5-year Senior Citizens Savings Scheme will yield 8.3%. and the interest rate on the senior citizens scheme is paid quarterly.
viiTerm deposits of 1-5 years will fetch a lower 6.8-7.6% that will be paid quarterly while the 5-year recurring deposit has been pegged lower at 7.1%.
viii. Since April last year, interest rates of all small saving schemes have been recalibrated on a quarterly basis.





BUSINESS

India launches $250 mn National Biopharmaceutical Mission
On June 30, 2017, Science and Technology Minister Harsh Vardhan launched National Biopharmaceutical Mission. This programme has been named Innovate in India (i3).
i. National Biopharmaceutical Mission is the first ever Industry-Academia mission to accelerate biopharmaceutical development in India.
ii. It is a $250 million dollar initiative that includes a $125 million loan from the World Bank.

Eight core sectors growth slips to 3.6% in May
The growth of eight core sectors slowed to 3.6% in May due to fall in output of coal and fertilisers.
Key Points:
i. The growth rate of eight infrastructure sectors coal, crude oil, natural gas, refinery products, fertilisers, steel, cement and electricity was 5.2% in May last year.
ii. In April, these eight sectors had recorded a growth rate of 2.8%.
iii. As per the government data Coal and fertiliser productions recorded negative growth of 3.3% and 6.5%, respectively.
ivSteel sector growth dipped to 3.7% last month as against 13.4% in May 2016.
v. Slow growth in key sectors would also have implications on the Index of Industrial Production (IIP) number as these segments account for about 41% to the total factory output.
vi. However, growth in refinery products and electricity output grew by 5.4% and 6.4% in May as against 3.3% and 6.2%,respectively in the same period last year.
vii.Natural gas production too grew by 4.5% in May as against a negative growth rate of 6.5% a year earlier





AWARDS & RECOGNITIONS

2 Indian-Americans Shantanu Narayen and Vivek Murthy to be honoured with Great Immigrants award
Two Indian – Americans Shantanu Narayen (Chief of Adobe) and Vivek Murthy (Former US Surgeon General) will be honoured with the prestigious ‘Great Immigrants’ annual award on US’s Independence Day on July 4.
i. Shantanu Narayen and Vivek Murthy are among 30 honorees for 2017, representing more than 30 different countries of origin, a wide range of personal immigration stories, and a high-level of professional leadership in numerous fields.
ii. Canadian-origin social entrepreneur Jeff SkollPayPal cofounder of Ukrainian origin Max LevchinIranian-origin philanthropist and entrepreneur Hushang Ansary are among the other honourees for 2017.

Former India defender Subrata Bhattacharya set to be awarded with Mohun Bagan Ratna
Former India defender Subrata Bhattacharya will get the ‘Mohun Bagan Ratna’ for this year. It was announced on 30th of June 2017.
Key Points:
i. Balwant Singh will also bag the best footballer of the year.
ii. The awardees will be honoured on the club’s foundation day on 29th July 2017.
iii. Bhattacharya has also coached East Bengal and Prayag United.
iv. Mohun Bagan, was hired as city-based outfit Bhowanipore FC coach almost a month ago 
v. Bhattacharya will be the 17th recipient of the award, which was instituted in 2001, with late Sailen Manna being the first recipient.
vi. Debabrata Das will get the best cricketer prize.
vii. Indian women’s cricket team fast bowler Jhulan Goswami, middledistance runner Lili Das and Mount Everest conqueror Shaikh Sahabuddin will be given special awards.
viii. Bhattacharya was captain of Mohun Bagan’s ‘Class of 1977’ when the Mariners won a treble – Durand Cup, Rovers Cup and the IFA Shield – and also played against a New York Cosmos team that had Pele in it. The match ended in a 2- 2 draw.





APPOINTMENTS & RESIGNS

KK Venugopal replaces Mukul Rohatgi as new attorney general of India
Senior lawyer in the Supreme Court of India and constitutional expert K.K. Venugopal has been appointed as a new 15th Attorney General.
♦ Venugopa has replaced Mukul Rohatgi. President Pranab Mukherjee has approved Venugopal’s appointment.
♦ He was appointed by the Royal Government of Bhutan to serve as the Constitutional adviser for drafting of the Constitution of Bhutan.

Rajiv Kumar appointed as new Chief Secretary of Uttar Pradesh
The Uttar Pradesh government named Rajiv Kumar as the new Chief Secretary of the state on 29th of June 2017.
Key Points:
i. He replaced Rahul Prasad Bhatnagar, who was appointed by the previous Samajwadi Party (SP) government .
ii. The Bharatiya Janata Party government also affected three other changes in the bureaucracy.
iii. Bhatnagar, the outgoing chief secretary, has been appointed as the new Chairman of the Greater Noida Authority and also theInvestment Commissioner of Uttar Pradesh.
ivPrabhat Kumar, the Divisional Commissioner of Meerut, who was holding the additional charge as the Chairman of Greater Noida Authority, has become the Chairman of the Yamuna Expressway Authority.
v. Debashish Panda, who served as the Principal Secretary (Home) during the Samajwadi Party  currently posted as the Investment Commissioner and Resident Commissioner in New Delhi.
vi. He also holds the charge of Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Greater Noida.
About UP
♦ Capital: Lucknow
♦ CM: Yogi Adityanath
♦ Governor: Ram Naik


SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY

Reliance Jio launches 25000km-long submarine cable system
Reliance Jio Infocomm has launched the Asia-Africa-Europe (AAE-1) submarine cable system 
Key Points:
.It is the longest 100Gbps technology based submarine system, will stretch over25,000 km from Marseille, France to Hong Kong, with 21 cable landings across Asia and Europe.
ii. Due to its advanced design and route, AAE-1 provides one of the lowest latency routes between Hong Kong, India, Middle East and Europe with the fewest hops.
iii. Jio provides the Network Operations & Management for AAE-1 Cable System. 
iv. The AAE-1 NOC, managed by Jio, leverages the state of the art facility in Navi Mumbai along-with its advanced tools and automation.
v. Project is the combined work of leading telecom service providers from Europe, the Middle East, and Asia.
vi. AAE-1 links seamlessly with other cable systems and fiber networks to deliver direct access to all global markets.
vii. AAE-1 will provide the requisite flexibility and diversity for carriers and their customers.





NECROLOGY

Simone Veil, iconic European feminist politician, dies at 89
Simone Veil an iconic European feminist politician, dies at 89.
Key Points:
i. Simone Veil  was the French politician, women’s rights champion and Holocaust survivor.
ii. She known in France for her instrumental role in legalising abortion in the 1970s.
iii. She became one of the 40 immortals of the Academie Francaise in 2010. It is a great honour in France.
iv. She went on to serve as the first President of an elected European Parliament.
v. Ms Veil, a liberal, later re-entered French politics, returning to the cabinet in the 1990s.

Noted Odia Actor Minaketan Das Passes Away
Noted Odia actor Minaketan Das, well-known in Odisha’s film and television industry for his negative roles, passed away on June 30, 2017 after a prolonged illness.
About Minaketan Das:
i. Das had carved a special place among the theatre, cinema and television audience with his talent and performance, particularly through portrayal of negative roles.
ii. Das was known for his acting in a number of Odia films including ‘Balunga Toka’, ‘Jianta Bhuta’ and ‘Most Wanted’. 
iii. Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik and Union Petroleum Minister Dharmendra Pradhan have condoled his death.





IMPORTANT DAYS

International Day of Cooperatives 2017
Each year, first Saturday of July is observed as International Day of Cooperatives to increase awareness on cooperatives, as well as strengthen and extend partnerships between the international cooperative movement and other supporting organizations including governments.
i. 2017 slogan of the International Day of Co-operatives is “Co-operatives ensure no one is left behind“.It complements the priority theme of the 2017 High-level Political Forum for Sustainable Development: ‘Eradicating poverty and promoting prosperity in a changing world’.
ii. The slogan was selected by the Committee for the Promotion and Advancement of Co-operatives (COPAC).

National Doctors Day  – July 1 , 2017
National Doctor’s Day is celebrated to commemorate the contributions of the gods on earth.India observes doctor’s day on 1st of July in honour of former West Bengal Chief Minister, Dr Bidhan Chandra Roy, who was also a physician.
Who is Bidhan Chandra Roy?
i. Roy was born on 1st July 1882 and he was a renowned freedom fighter and a highly respected physician, who completed FRCS and MRCP simultaneously in two years and three months. 
ii. He is the main architect behind turning Durgapur, Kalyani, Bidhannagar, Ashokenagar and Habra into key cities.
iii. He also served as the second chief minister of West Bengal.
iv. He is the one who established Medical Association and Medical council of India in 1928.
v. Mr Roy also played an important role in establishing the Kolkata’s first post-graduate medical college and Indian Institute of Mental Health, the Infectious Disease Hospital.
vi. He was awarded Bharat Ratna in February 1961 for his works in medical field.
vii. On behalf of his memory Indian Medical Council instituted Dr. B. C. Roy Award in the year 1962.
viii. B.C. Roy Award is given every year by the President of India 1st of July on National doctor’s day in six categories.
ix. These categories are as follows: Eminent person in Science, Statesmanship of the Highest Order in India, Eminent Medical Person, Eminent person in Arts, Eminent Medical Person, Medical man-cum-Statesman. This year also practitioners will be awarded in Delhi.