NATIONAL AFFAIRS

Recent Approvals by Central government – June 14 2017
On June 14, 2017, Union Cabinet chaired by the Prime Minister Narendra Modi approved following bilateral agreements and initiatives:
i. The Central Government will provide interest subvention of 5% per annum to all prompt payee farmers for short term crop loan up to one year for loan up to Rs. 3 lakhs borrowed by them during the year 2017-18.
ii. Union Cabinet has given its ex-post facto approval to the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between Ministry of Agriculture & Farmers’ Welfare and the Ministry of Agriculture in the State of Palestine on agriculture cooperation. 
iii. On June 14, 2017, Union Cabinet was apprised about an Memorandum of Understanding which has already been signed in April 2017, between India and Armenia for cooperation on youth matters.
iv. Union Cabinet has approved the proposal to introduce a Financial Resolution and Deposit Insurance Bill, 2017.
v. Cabinet was apprised about an Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) which has already been signed in April 2017, between India and Bangladesh for promoting cooperation in the field of Information Technology and Electronics (IT&E).

Ministry of Railways launches Mission Retro-Fitment
Minister of Railways Suresh Prabhu has launched Mission Retro-Fitment to enhance the passenger experience by upgrading the existing fleet of coaches.
Key Notes:
i. Mission Retro-Fitment is a program of railways to upgrade the level of furnishing & facilities in the coaches of Indian Railways.
ii. It aimed at providing a safe and comfortable travel to the railway passengers.
iii. The refurbished coaches will have the following features will be World class ambiance, Enhanced Passenger Safety, Caring for the Environment, Enhanced Passenger convenience.
iv. The mission will be carried out without affecting the traffic operation.
v.The mission will be one of the largest retro fitment projects in the world.
vi. Under Mission Retro-Fitment, 40,000 coaches will be refurbished and retrofitted in the next five years.
vii. The mission aims to induct about 40,000 coaches with upgraded interiors by 2022-23.
viii. The cost of refurbishing per coach will be approximately Rs 30 lakhs.

‘Anuyatra’, an empowerment programme for the differently abled launched by Kerala government
The Kerala government has presented ‘anuyatra’, an empowerment programme on June 12,2017
Key Points:
i. It aimed at bringing the differently abled to the mainstream and making the state differently abled-friendly.
ii. The project would be implemented as an awareness campaign for managing disabilities.
iii. The programme will include 23 differently abled children who were given special training in magic were declared as the ambassadors of ‘anuyatra’, which means walking together.
iv. The use of magic willbring out their inherent talent.
v. It is a creative way to convey to the world that they are not disabled or differently abled but are specially abled.
vi.The programme was launched by Vice-President Hamid Ansari.
vii. Vice President said to media these children can be the best ambassadors for this ambitious campaign.
viii. The scheme was launched by the state government to make Kerala a differently abled-friendly state.
ix. These children were given three-month training in magic at the Thiruvananthapuram-based Magic Academy.
x. It is led by magician Gopinath Muthukad.

CSO to change GDP base year to 2017-18 from 2011-12: D V Sadananda Gowda
The Central Statistics Ministry is set to change the base year of national accounts to 2017-18 from 2011-2012.
Key Notes:
i. It is set to change after completion of the household consumer expenditure survey and labour force data by the end of 2018.
ii. According to the Statistics Minister D V Sadananda Gowda the preparatory work for this exercise has been started.
iii. Anant said that the new labour force survey and household consumer expenditure survey will be available by 2018.
iv. In 2015, the Central Statistics Office (CSO) under the Statistics Ministry had changed the base year for of Gross Domestic Product to 2011-12 from 2004-05.
v. CSO has changed the base of Index of Industrial Production (IIP)to 2011-12 from 2004-05.
vi. The base year of Wholesale Price Index (WPI) has also been changed to 2011-12 from 2004- 05.
vii. In 2017-18, NSSO will undertake surveys on household consumer expenditure and household consumer expenditure on education and health.





INTERNATIONAL AFFAIRS

India ratifies two child labour conventions at the International Labour Conference in Geneva
On June 13, 2017, India ratified two important core conventions on child labour – pertaining to minimum age for admission to employment and worst forms of child labour – at the International Labour Conference in Geneva, Switzerland.
i. The two core conventions signed by India are Convention 138, which sets minimum age for admission to employment and Convention 182, which penalises and prohibits the worst form of child labour.
ii. The Instruments of Ratification were handed over to ILO in Geneva by Union Minister of State for and Labour and Employment (Independent Charge), Bandaru Dattatreya.

Indian Warships reach Australia to take part in Bilateral Maritime Exercise AUSINDEX-17
Three Indian warships reached to Australia to participate in a week-long naval exercise off the Western Australian coast.
Key Notes:
i. Exercise Australia India (AUSINDEX) is a regular bilateral maritime exercise which aimed at developing a deeper understanding and cooperation between the two navies.
ii. AUSINDEX 17 was a concrete example of India and Australia working more closely together to increase maritime security.
iii. AUSINDEX is a terrific opportunity to increase our interoperability and enhance the professional interaction of two great navies.
iv.AUSINDEX is the centrepiece naval exercise held between Australia and India.
v. It is an important component of this year’s fleet program.
vi. Australian and India share a commitment to a stable and prosperous Indian Ocean region Rear Admiral Mayer said.
vii. The Royal Australian Navy is represented by HMA Ships Newcastle, Waller and Clearance Diving Team Four.
Australia
♦ Capital: Canberra
♦ Currency: Australian Dollar
♦  PM: Malcolm Turnbull


BANKING & FINANCE

RBI selects 12 accounts, accounting for 25% NPAs, for Insolvency and Bankruptcy code
On June 13, 2017, Reserve Bank of India identified 12 non-performing accounts representing 25% of gross NPAs in Indian banking system, which will be immediately taken up under the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code (IBC).
i. The Indian banking sector has accumulated gross non-performing assets (NPAs) worth over Rs 8 lakh crore, of which Rs. 6 lakh crore is with public sector banks.
ii. On June 12, 2017, an Internal Advisory Committee (IAC) of RBI comprising majorly of central bank’s independent board members held its first meeting to consider cases under the new IBC.

SEBI permits options trading in commodity futures
Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) has permitted commodity exchanges to launch options trading in commodity futures. Introduction of options trading is expected to enhance the depth of the commodity markets for hedgers and traders.
i. As of now, SEBI has permitted each exchange to launch options on futures of only one commodity.Options contract of only those commodities that are among the top five in terms of total trading turnover value of previous 12 months will be permitted.
ii. Commodity derivatives exchanges have to set up Investor Service Fund (ISF) for providing minimum facilities at various investor service centres. At the initial stage, the exchange should contribute at least Rs 10 lakh towards the fund. Later, the bourse should transfer one per cent of the turnover fees charged from its members on monthly basis towards

IDBI Bank only PSB to get ‘high’ rating for code compliance
According to the Code Compliance Rating of banks done by the Banking Codes and Standards Board of India (BCSBI) 2017, out of 26 public sector banks and 8 out of 17 private sector banks got ‘high’ rating for their adherence to code compliance.
Key Notes:
iIDBI Bank was the only public sector bank that got ‘high (H)’(85 and above score out of 100) rating in two successive surveys.
ii. The eight private sector banks that got ‘high’ rating are — Axis Bank, DCB Bank, HDFC Bank, ICICI Bank, IndusInd Bank, Kotak Mahindra Bank, RBL Bank and YES Bank.
iii. The three foreign banks — Citibank, HSBC and Standard Chartered Bank — that were surveyed got ‘high’ ranking.
iv. The code compliance rating, which is based on five parameters:Information dissemination, transparency, grievance redressal, customer-centricity, and customer feedback.
v. A total of 51 banks were surveyed for code compliance in 2017 and in the latest round, five urban co-operative banks were included.
vi. The survey is based on a sample size of 2.5 per cent of the branch network of 51 major banks.
vii.12 banks got ‘high’ rating in the survey, 29 got ‘above average (AA)’ rating (70 to less than 85 score) and 10 got ‘average (A)’ rating (60 to less than 70 score).
viii.The public sector banks, the ratings of which improved in the latest round, are: Central Bank of India, Corporation Bank, UCO Bank and Union Bank of India, with their rating going up to AA from A.
ix. The public sector banks, the ratings of which came down a notch, are: Andhra Bank and Bank of Maharashtra (to A from AA).
x. In the private sector banks category, while DCB Bank’s rating improved to ‘H’ from ‘AA’, Dhanlaxmi Bank’s rating declined to ‘AA’ from ‘H’.
xi. BCSBI chairman: AC Mahajan
IDBI Bank :
♦ Headquarters: Mumbai
♦ CEO: Mahesh Kumar Jain

Emkay and DBS Ink Pact For Equity Research Distribution
Emkay Global Financial Services has entered into an exclusive pact with DBS Bank arm DBS Vickers Securities (Singapore) on 13th of June.
Key Notes:
i. The pact has signed for co-branding and distribution of equity research to the latter’s global clients.
ii. The agreement involves sharing of knowledge, co-branding of research and its distribution to the global clients of DBS Vickers.
iii. The agreement involves Emkay and DBS Vickers to jointly organise, arrange and participate in events to showcase and market India Research Reports and India Equities.
iv. Emkay Global Managing Director is Krishna Kumar Karwa.
v. The alliance will enable both DBS and Emkay to expand their horizon and benefit from each other’s knowledge and expertise.
DBS Bank :
♦ Headquarters: Singapore
♦ CEO: Piyush Gupta





BUSINESS

India to be Co-Partner Country in ANUGA 2017
India is to be a co-partner in a global food and beverages trade ANUGA to be held in Cologne, Germany from October 7-11, 2017.
Key Notes:
i. The 34th edition of ANUGA is being organised by Koelnmesse GmBH and 7,200 exhibitors from more than 100 countries are likely to participate in the event.
ii. Indian exhibitors at ANUGA have been on rise since 2005 and around 135 companies and individual traders had participated in the event last year.
iii. Harsimrat Kaur Badal also invited Germany to participate in the forthcoming global food investors trade fair to be held in November this year in the national capital.
iv. Foreign investment and interest in India will also grow many times and therefore the country has to become an important partner of these events

Google ranked as the world’s most valuable brand in 2017
Tech giant Google has topped the 2017 BrandZ Top 100 Most Valuable Global Brands list with a brand value of over $245 billion.
Key Notes:
i. US tech giants Apple, Microsoft, and Facebook were also among the five most valuable brands.
ii. Netflix, Snapchat, and YouTube all made the top 100 for the first time this year.
iii. Amazon rose three places after achieving the highest dollar value growth, increasing by $40.3 billion to $139.3 billion.
About Google:
♦ Founded on 4th September 1998
♦ Founders: Larry Page & Sergey Brin
♦ HQ: California USA
♦ CEO: SundarPichai


AWARDS & RECOGNITIONS

NASA Honors Comet Science Pioneer Michael A’Hearn
NASA has conferred the Exceptional Public Service Medal to Michael A’Hearn. He is one of the world’s leading comet scientists, posthumously on 12 June 2017.
i. He was awarded posthumously at the Small Bodies Assessment Group (SBAG) meeting at the Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland.
ii. The exceptional service medal is for his fundamental work on comets and small bodies of the solar system, leadership in space missions and ensuring public access to data from NASA missions and related projects.


APPOINTMENTS & RESIGNS

Tata Motors appoints Girish Wagh as CV unit head
GirishWagh is an engineer who led the team that developed small car Nano and micro truck Ace, has taken charge of the commercial vehicle business at Tata Motors.
Key Notes:
i. Wagh replaced Ravindra Pisharody who resigned earlier this month.
ii. He joined Tata Motors as a young graduate engineer via campus placement and rose through the ranks, having spent his entire career spanning 25 years in the company.
iii. The company had set a target to break into the top 3 commercial vehicle makers in the world by 2019.
iv. Wagh will become a member of the Executive Committee (ExCom) and work closely with Pisharody for a smooth transition

India appoints Envoys to Italy, Denmark, Belgium and EU
The government has appointed ambassadors to three European countries, Italy, Denmark and Belgium.
Key Points:
iGaitri Issar Kumar is a 1986-batch Indian Foreign Service (IFS) officer, has been appointed as India’s next ambassador to Belgium.
ii. According to the external affairs ministry she will also be accredited as India’s ambassador to the European Union (EU).
iiiReenat Sandhu, a 1989-batch IFS officer, will head India’s diplomatic mission in Italy.
ivAjit Vinayak Gupte from the 1991 batch, who is presently joint secretary in the ministry, has been appointed as ambassador to Denmark.
Denmark:
♦ Capital: Copenhagen
♦ Currency: Danish krone





SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY

DRDO successfully test fires anti-tank guided missile ‘Nag’ in desert ranges of Rajasthan
The Defence Research and Development Organisation(DRDO) has successfully test fired anti-tank missile ‘Nag’ in a desert in the western sector of Rajasthan. 
Key Notes:
i. According to the defence sources the missile successfully has destroyed the target in today’s mission.
ii. The tests, which were witnessed by scientists from the DRDO, Defence Lab, Jodhpur, senior officials from armed forces among others has concluded on 14th of June.
iii. The “fire and forget” third generation anti-tank guided missile ‘Nag’ is equipped with the highly advanced Imaging Infrared Radar (IRR) seeker with integrated avionics, technology which is possessed by very few nations.
iv. The successful flight test has strengthened the country’s defence capabilities.
v. DRDO chairman Dr S Christopher has congratulated the team who were a part of the mission.


IMPORTANT DAYS

World Blood Donor Day – June 14 2017
The World Blood Donor Day is an event to thank the blood donors and to spread awareness about the requirement for blood and blood products.
Key Notes:
iWorld Blood Donar Day is observed globally on 14th of June.
ii. World Blood Donor Day was initiated by the World Health Organisation, the Red Crescent Societies and the International Federation of Red Cross.
iii. World Blood Donor Day 2017, theme is What can you do? Give blood. Give now. Give often.
iv. World Blood Donor Day is celebrated to thank blood donors across the world and to raise awareness about the requirement of safe blood and blood products.
v. Every year, the campaign focuses on one main issue and this year the focus is on blood donation in emergencies