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CURRENT AFFAIRS 18 JUNE 2017

NATIONAL AFFAIRS

PM Modi inaugurates Kerala’s first metro line
On June 17, 2017, Prime Minister Narendra Modi inaugurated Kerala’s first metro line in Kochi.PM Modi inaugurated the first phase – 2 km of the total 25 km stretch – of the Kochi metro from Palarivattom station.
i. The Kochi Metro is the first in India to use Communication Based Train Control technology to maximise frequencies and minimise errors.
ii. Each station will showcase a theme, such as maritime history, Western Ghats as well as the local history of the city, among others. Moreover, each station on the Kochi Metro will have solar panels, which will focus on producing 35% of the total power usage.

President Mukherjee to inaugurate Green Line of ‘Namma Metro’ in Bengaluru
On June 17, 2017, President Pranab Mukerjee inaugurated the Green Line of Phase I of ‘Namma Metro’ in Bengaluru, Karnataka.
i. The 5-km stretch of the Green Line will connect Nagasandra in the north to Yelachanahalli in the south.
ii. ‘Namma Metro’, also known as Bengaluru Metro, is a metro rail system serving the city of Bengaluru. It is the second longest operational metro network in India after Delhi Metro.

Varsity in TN to offer free education to transgenders
The Tamil Nadu government has announced free education for the transgender community in all the colleges of state’s Manonmaniam Sundaranar University.
Key Notes:
i. The decision will be implemented from this academic year.
ii. The Manonmaniam Sundaranar University is the first in India to offer free education to the transgenders.
iii. One seat in every course of all the colleges affiliated to the university has been reserved for the transgenders.
iv. Transgender activist and founder of Sahodari foundation is Kalki Subramaniam.

Govt sets up GST facilitaition cell in DIPP
The industry department has said that it has established a GST facilitation cell on 17th of June 2017.
Key Notes:
i. It has been set up to address any tax issue that can come up in sectors related to the DIPP.
ii. The GST facilitation cell is headed by Sudhansu Sekhar Das, an Economic Adviser of the department.
iii. The Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion (DIPP) looks after policies related to sectors including leather, cement, paper, salt and explosives.
iv. The Department of Commerce has set up a similar cell and a help desk to help exporters and importers.
v. It will include central excise, service tax and state VAT among other indirect levies on manufactured goods and services.
vi. According to DIPP it would be in constant touch with the major industry and business associations relating to the department.
vii. The new indirect tax regime GST will be rolled out from July.
About DIPP
♦ Department of Industrial Policy & Promotion was established in the year 1995, and in the year 2000 Department of Industrial Development was merged with it.
♦ DIPP is working under the Ministry of Commerce and Industry, Government of India.





INTERNATIONAL AFFAIRS

World Summit on Information Society (WSIS) Forum 2017 held in Switzerland
The World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS) Forum 2017 was held from 12-16 June 2017, in Geneva, Switzerland.
More Information about World Summit on Information Society (WSIS) Forum 2017:
i. The World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS) Forum 2017 represents the world’s largest annual gathering of the ‘ICT for development’ community.
ii. The annual WSIS Forum is a global multi-stakeholder platform facilitating the implementation of the WSIS Action Lines for advancing sustainable development.
iii. The Forum was co-organised by ITU, UNESCO, UNDP, and UNCTAD, in close collaboration with all WSIS Action Line co-/facilitators and other UN organizations (UNDESA, FAO, UNEP, WHO, UN Women, WIPO, WFP, ILO, WMO, ITC, UPU, UNODC, UNICEF, and UN Regional Commissions).
iv. It provided an opportunity for information exchange, knowledge creation and sharing of best practices, while identifying emerging trends and fostering partnerships, taking into account the evolving Information and Knowledge Societies.





BANKING & FINANCE

Switzerland ratifies Automatic Exchange of Information with India
On June 16, 2017, Switzerland ratified an automatic exchange of financial account information with India in order to facilitate immediate sharing of details about suspected black money.
i. The decision was reportedly taken under the guidance of G20, Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) and other multilateral organisations.
ii. Swiss Federal Council said that the implementation of the information exchange is planned for 2018 and that the first set of data exchange would happen in 2019.

India’s current account deficit narrowed in fiscal year 2016-2017, says RBI
On June 15, 2017, Reserve Bank of India said India’s current account deficit (CAD) narrowed during the last fiscal due to a contraction in the country’s trade deficit.
i. CAD for fiscal year 2016-17 narrowed to 0.7% of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) from 1.1 per cent in 2015-16 on the back of the contraction in trade deficit.
ii. India’s trade deficit for the same period narrowed to $112.4 billion in 2016-17 from $130.1 billion in 2015-16.
Important Terms:
♦ Current Account Deficit: Net difference between inflows and outflows of foreign currencies.
Trade Deficit: Amount by which the cost of a country’s imports exceeds the value of its exports.

IBBI notifies fast track Insolvency Resolution Process for Corporate Persons Regulations
The Insolvency and Bankruptcy Board of India (IBBI) has notified the Fast Track Insolvency Resolution Process for Corporate Persons Regulations on 16th of June 2017.
Key points:
i. These regulations will provide the process from initiation of insolvency resolution of eligible corporate debtors.
ii. The process in these cases shall be completed within a period of 90 days, as against 180 days in other cases.
iii. The Adjudicating Authority if satisfied, extend the period of 90 days by a further period up to 45 days for completion of the process.
iv. A creditor or a corporate debtor may file an application, along with the proof of existence of default, to the Adjudicating Authority for initiating fast track resolution process.
v. After the application is admitted and the interim resolution professional (IRP) is appointed.
vi. If the IRP is of the opinion, based on the records of corporate debtor, that the fast track process is not applicable to the corporate debtor, he shall file an application before expiry of 21 days from the date of his appointment.
vii. He shall file an application to Adjudicating Authority to pass an order to convert the fast track process into a normal corporate insolvency resolution process.

SBI, Tirumala Milk Products tie up for providing loans to dairy farmers
State Bank of India has entered into a tie-up with Tirumala Milk Products on 17th of June 2017.
Key Points:
i. It is a South- based company which was acquired by GroupeLactalis in 2014.
ii. Its main aim is to provide loans to dairy farmers who supply milk to the latter.
iii. Under its scheme for financing dairy units, SBI offers loans for, among others, construction of shed, and purchase of milch animals, milking machine, and chaff cutter.
About SBI
♦ HQ: Mumbai
♦ CEO: Arundhati Bhattarcharya
♦ MD: Dinesh Kumar Khara
Taglines :
♦ Pure banking nothing else , With you all the way, The Nation banks on us ,A Bank to the common man and A banker to every Indian





BUSINESS

Government increases MSP of pulses, oil-seeds and cotton to support farmers amid price fall
Amid unrest among farmers for multiple reasons in different states, the Central Government has increased the minimum support price (MSP) of pulses, oil-seeds and cotton for the 2017-18 crop year.
♦ Objective behind this move is to provide remunerative prices to farmers when the prices are under pressure due to abundant supply.
♦ The decision to increase MSPs is based on the recommendations of theCommission for Agricultural Costs and Prices (CACP).
New Minimum Support Prices (MSP):
i. The MSP of tur (arhar) has been increased from Rs 5,050 per quintal (including bonus) in 2016-17 to Rs 5,450 per quintal (including Rs 200 bonus) in 2017-18.
ii. MSP of Urad increased from Rs 5,000 (including bonus) per quintal in 2016-17 to Rs 5,400 (including bonus) per quintal in 2017-18.
iii. For Moong Dal, MSP has been increased from Rs 5,225 (including bonus) per quintal in 2016-17 to Rs 5,575 (including bonus) in 2017-18.
iv. Revised MSP for oilseeds: groundnut-in-shell (Rs 4,450 per quintal), soyabean (Rs 3,050 per quintal), sunflower seed (Rs 4,100 per quintal), sesamum (Rs 5,300 per quintal) and nigerseed (Rs 4,050 per quintal).
v. Prices of various varieties of cotton have been fixed keeping in view the normal market price differentials between their staple lengths and other technical parameters.





AWARDS & RECOGNITIONS

Kannada playwright Shivaprakash honoured with Kusumagraja
Kannada poet and playwright H S Shivaprakash has honoured with the prestigious Kusumagraja Rashtriya Puraskar and Latur-based Menka Dhumale was presented YCMOUs Baburao Bagul story writing award for year 2016 for her book “Korda Paus”.
i. Shivaparakash has given prestigious Kusumagraja Rashtriya Puraskar for his outstanding contribution to social and educational fields.
ii. The award is constituted by the Nashik-based Yashwantrao Chavan Maharashtra Open Universitys (YCMOUs) Kusumagra jaadhyasan (Chair), carries a cash prize of Rs one lakh, a memento and a citation.

Vivid Sydney breaks Guinness World Record for maximum number of light installations
Vivid Sydney breaks the Guinness World Record for maximum number of light installations. It is the world’s largest festival of light, music and ideas.
Key Points:
i. Guinness World Records, the global authority on record breaking, has awarded Vivid Sydney installation Dreamscape with the title for the ‘Largest interactive lighting display’.
ii. It is made of 124,128 lights, Dreamscape, created by Vivid Sydney veteran 32, Hundred Lighting.
iii. It allows participants to decide the color, texture and pattern of the lighting across the cityscape via 3D interactive modelling in a control room in Circular Quay.
iv. It links the entire Circular Quay precinct from the iconic Sydney Opera House to the Sydney Harbour Bridge into one cohesive canvas of light.
v. This year, the addition of the Cahill Expressway to the installation adds an additional one kilometer of lights to the record.
vi. CEO of Destination NSW and Executive Producer of Vivid Sydney is Sandra Chipchase.

IIT Kanpur to confer doctorate on PT Usha
The Indian Institute of Technology(IIT), Kanpur awarded the degree to P.T. Usha at its 50th convocation in Kanpur on 16th of June 2017.
Key Points:
iThe ‘Golden Girl’ of Indian athletics now became a Doctor of Science.
ii. The Kannur University had conferred the Doctor of Letters (D. Litt) on Usha in 2000.
iii. Director of IIT, Kanpur is Indranil Manna.
iv. The degree, Doctor of Science (honoriscausa), is given for pioneering achievements as an athlete and for significant contribution in the national and international arena for the promotion of sports, especially among women.

Salman Khan’s ‘Sultan’ to be screened at Shanghai Film Fest
Bollywood superstar Salman Khan’s “Sultan” is to be screened at the 20th Shanghai International Film Festival.
Key Notes:
i. The gala is to be held June 17-26, 2017 in Shanghai, China
ii. The movie features Salman in the role of a wrestler and is he paired with Anushka Sharma. Th movie is directed by Ali Abbas Zafar




APPOINTMENTS & RESIGNS

Serbia President names Ana Brnabic its first openly gay and first female Prime Minister
Serbia’s President has nominated the minister Ana Brnabic as Prime Minister on 17th of June 2017.
Key Points:
iAna Brnabic is the first woman and first openly-gay politician to become the PM of Serbia.
ii. President AleksandarVucic has announced Ana Brnabic is his official nomination as Prime Minister-designate.
iii. Her government needs formal approval by Serbia’s parliament next week.
iv. Her appointment into government last year was hailed by human rights groups as historic for the country whose gay community continues to face discrimination, harassment and violence.
v. Ms Brnabic is currently government minister of public administration and local government of Serbia.
vi. The 41-year-old new Prime Minister is a former “businesswoman of the year” in her country.
vii. She was educated partly in the UK and in the US and speaks both English and Russian.
About Serbia
♦ Capital: Belgrade
♦ Currency: Serbian Dinar





ACQUISITIONS & MERGERS

Amazon to buy Whole Foods Market in deal valued at $13.7 billion
Amazon is buying Whole Foods in a deal valued at about $13.7 billion. Amazon already offers grocery-delivery services in five markets, but the Whole Foods purchase would let it expand to many more.
Key Notes:
i. Amazon could cut costs if the technology gets good enough to deploy at Whole Foods locations.
ii. Whole Foods will keep operating stores under its name.
iii. Amazon has been expanding its reach in goods, services, and entertainment.
iv. The store uses sensors to track items as shoppers put them into baskets or return them to the shelf.
v. The shopper’s Amazon account gets automatically charged.
About Whole Food Inc.
♦ Whole Foods is founded in 1978.
♦ HQ: Texas USA
♦ Founders: John Mackey and Renee Lawson Hardy





ENVIRONMENT

NASA records May 2017 as second-hottest month in 137 years
According to monthly analysis of global temperatures by NASA scientists , May 2017 was the second warmest May in 137 years of modern record-keeping.
Key Notes:
i. The two top May temperature anomalies have occurred during the past two years as May 2016 was the hottest on record.
ii. May 2017’s temperature was 0.05 degrees Celsius cooler than May 2016.
iii. According to NASA statement it was just 0.01 degrees Celsius warmer than the third warmest May, which occurred in 2014.
iv. The monthly analysis by the scientists at NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies (GISS) in New York is assembled from publicly available data acquired by about 6,300 meteorological stations around the world.
About NASA
♦ NASA: National Aeronautics and Space administration
♦ Formed: 29th July 1958
♦ Administrator: Robert M. Lightfoot





NECROLOGY

John Avildsen, Oscar-winning director of Rocky, dies aged 81
John Avildsen, the Oscar-winning director of Rocky had died on 16th of June in USA. He was  81
Key Notes:
i. Avildsen had made Hollywood’s essential underdog story in 1976 boxing saga “Rocky” with a then-unknown Sylvester Stallone.
ii. He had been suffering pancreatic cancer at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center.iii. He won the Academy Award for best director for “Rocky”.
iv. He directed seven actors to Oscar nominations.

Helmut Kohl, father of German reunification, dies at 87
Former German Chancellor Helmut Kohl, the architect of German reunification, passed away on June 16, 2017. He was 87.
Political Career of Helmut Kohl:
i. Helmut Kohl has been Germany’s longest serving post-war Chancellor from 1982 to 1998.
ii. He was a driving force behind the introduction of the Euro currency, convincing Germans to give up their cherished Deutschemark.
iii. Kohl formed a close relationship with French President Francois Mitterrand in pushing for closer European integration.
iv. He is regarded as the father of German reunification, which he achieved after the 1989 fall of the Berlin Wall.
v. Shortly after leaving office, Kohl’s reputation was tarnished by a financing scandal in his centre-right party, the Christian Democratic Union (CDU), now led by Chancellor Angela Merkel.
vi. Kohl mentored Angela Merkel early in her career, appointing her to her first ministerial post.
Germany :
♦ Capital: Berlin
♦ Currency: Euro




IMPORTANT DAYS

World Day to Combat Desertification and Drought – June 17 2017
The World Day to Combat Desertification and Drought was observed globally on 17 June 2017
Key Notes:
i. The World Day to Combat Desertification and Drought theme is ‘Our land Our home Our Future’.
ii. Its aim is to promote public awareness of international efforts to combat desertification.
iii. The World Day to Combat Desertification and Drought is examined the important link between land degradation and migration.
iv. The day reminds everyone that land degradation neutrality is achievable through problem-solving, strong community involvement and co-operation at all levels.
v. Desertification means, the degradation of land in arid, semi-arid and dry sub-humid areas.
vi. It is caused primarily by human activities and climatic variations.
vii. Over 250 million people are directly affected by desertification, and about one billion people in over one hundred countries are at risk.
Some More Points:
♦ In 1994, the United Nations General Assembly declared 17thas the World Day to Combat Desertification and Drought.
♦ Through resolution is to promote public awareness and to implement United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification.
♦ It is especially to those countries which are experiencing serious drought and desertification particularly in Africa.

2017 ASEAN Dengue Day
The ASEAN Dengue Day (ADD) is observed every year on 15th June.
Key Points:
i. The ASEAN Dengue Day is observed to raise awareness on dengue and to mobilise resources for prevention and control involving private and public sector stakeholders.
ii. The 2017 ASEAN Dengue Day theme is United Fight Against Dengue.
iii. This day is to highlight innovative and effective strategies in the prevention and control of dengue.
iv. The day observed as a collective advocacy event to restate calls on all sectors of society to unite against dengue.