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CURRENT AFFAIRS 18 MAY 2017

NATIONAL AFFAIRS

Recent Approvals by Central government – May 17 2017
Union cabinet has approved the proposal to establish Indian Agricultural Research Institute (IARI) – Assam with 100% outlay of central government.
i. Cabinet has given ex-post facto approval to the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between India and Australia on Cooperation in Combating International Terrorism and Transnational Organized Crime
ii. Cabinet approves Agreement between India and Tajikistan on Cooperation and Mutual Assistance in Customs Matters
iii. Cabinet approves Faculty Exchange Agreement between National Defence College, New Delhi and National Defence College, Dhaka, Bangladesh
iv. Cabinet approves Amendment of the Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Sites and Remains Act, 1958
v. Union Cabinet has given ex-post facto approval to Pan-India implementation of Maternity Benefit Program which was announced by PM Modi in his address to the nation on December 31, 2016.

AP amends Act to appoint PV Sindhu as Group-1 officer
The Andhra Pradesh Legislature on 16th of May has passed a Bill to appoint Olympics winner shuttler PV Sindhu as a Group-1 officer in the government by amending the state public services Act.
Key Points:
i. According to the state Finance Minister Yanamala Ramakrishnudu introduced a Bill to amend the Act and it was passed unanimously in the Assembly.
ii. Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu announced in the state Assembly to appoint Sindhu as the state’s sports ambassador.
iii. The Andhra Pradesh Cabinet had passed a resolution on August 22, 2016 and offers a Group-1 (gazetted officer) post to Sindhu.
iv. The government also gave a cash reward of Rs 3 crore and a residential plot to Sindhu in Amaravati.

Country’s first ornamental fish park to come up at Chennai
India’s first Aquatic Rainbow Technology Park (ARTP) will be set up in Chennai.
Key Notes:
i. The park will include an ultra-modern facility for ornamental fish equipped with multi-species hatchery and live feed culture units.
ii. Tamil Nadu is the second largest exporter of ornamental fish after West Bengal.
iii. The facility is being developed by Fisheries College and Research Institute, Ponneri in Tamil Nadu.
iv. It will become operated in the next three months.
v. It will fulfill a major requirement of the industry for mass production of high value aquarium fish.
vi. Centre has recently launched a pilot project on ornamental fisheries under the National Fisheries Development Board.
vii. It will bear total cost of Rs 61.89 crore.

Bandaru Dattatreya launches EPFO’s Citizens’ Charter 2017 & e-court management system
Shri Bandaru Dattatreya the Minister of State for Labour& Employment(IC) has launched an EPFO’s Citizens’ Charter 2017 and e-court management system in Bangalore.
Key Points:
i. Citizens’ Charter 2017 is aim to bring transparency and accountability on the part of EPFO.
ii. Its vision is of social security coverage to all employees as well as implementation of policies for benefit of all stakeholders.
iii. It will make service delivery system and grievance redressal mechanism more efficient and effective.
iv. Todelivers goods and services to its all stakeholders in a time bound manner.
v. The objective of the project is a transparent and electronic case management system.
vi. In case of grievance redressal management the timeline will be 10 to 15 days.
vii. All the parties can now file all their paper, evidence, documents online and all the details alongwith status can be accessed online.It is a step towards paperless court system.






INTERNATIONAL AFFAIRS

Mukesh Ambani tops Forbes list of Global Game Changers
Mukesh Ambani, a Reliance Industries Chairman has topped the Forbes list of ‘Global Game Changers’.
i. The top 3 spots in the list have been occupied by: Mukesh Ambani of India (1st), Ziv
Aviram, Amnon Shashua of Israel (2nd), Stewart Butterfield of United States (3rd).
ii. The oldest person to feature on the list is Christo Wiese, 75, who is credited for creating Africa’s largest retail empire.

Mt Lhotse records first successful ascent after three years
Anshu Jamsenpa from Arunachal Pradesh on 16th of May scaled the world’s highest peak, Mount Everest for the fourth time.
Key Points:
i. Anshu reached the ‘top of the world’ at 0900 hours.
ii. She had scaled Mount Everest twice in May 2011 and again on May 18, 2013.
iii. The officials at the Everest Base Camp and Kathmandu spoke to Anshu over satellite phone from highest peak of the world after unfurling the Indian Tri-colour and clicking testimonial photos.
iv. Indian climber Debasish Biswas and a woman climber from New Zealand were the first to successfully climb Mt Lhotse.
vMt Lhotse is the fourth highest mountain in the world.
vi. Mt Lhotse (8,516 meters) in the world after Mt Everest, K2 and Kangchenjunga.


BANKING & FINANCE

India’s GDP Growth Forecast for 2017 Revised Downward by UN
As per United Nations’ “World Economic Situation and Prospects as of mid- 2017” report, India’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) growth forecast for FY 2017 has been revised downwards to 7.3% as compared to 7.7% projection made in January 2017.
i. However, GDP growth forecast for FY 2018 has been revised upwards to 7.9% as compared to 7.6% projection made in January 2017.
ii. The report mentioned that stressed balance sheets in Indian banking sector, will restrict the restoration of investment cycle in the country.

Kotak Mahindra Bank enables blockchain based trade financing operation
In a first of its kind transaction in India, Kotak Mahindra Bank enabled end to end trade financing for one of its clients by applying the blockchain technology.
i. By utilising the blockchain technology, time for processing the letter of credit (LC) reduced from 20-30 days to few hours. For this transaction Kotak Mahindra Bank had partnered with Deloitte. JP Morgan Singapore was the partner bank.
ii. LC is a written commitment to pay by buyer’s/importer’s bank to seller’s/exporter’s bank.The LC guarantees payment when prescribed list of documents are provided by the seller/exporter within the stipulated timeframe.






APPOINTMENTS & RESIGNS

Dish TV India appoints Anil Dua as Group CEO
Direct-to-home operator Dish TV India has appointed Anil Dua as group Chief Executive Officer.
i. He is an alumnus of IIT-Delhi and IIM-Ahmedabad, has worked in several companies including Unilever, Gillette and Hero MotoCorp.
ii. Dish TV India and Videocon d2h Ltd had filed a scheme of arrangement for amalgamation of Vd2h into Dish TV.






SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY

Naidu announces 24×7 DD channel for Jharkhand
Venkaiah Naidu a Union Information and Broadcasting Minister has announced a round-the-clock Doordarshan channel for Jharkhand.
i. Jharkhand has been given the most film-friendly award by the National Film Awards.
ii. Naidu also ordered to set up a film city in the state, assistance will be taken from the National Film Development Corporation and the Satyajit Ray Film and Television Institute in Kolkata.

IIEST creates India’s first smart grid project
IIEST has created the country’s first smart grid project that will generate power from renewable sources of energy.
Key Points:
i. The smart grid will help in generating power from solar, wind and vegetable waste resources, and it will depend on the weather conditions and availability of waste products.
ii. It is the first smart grid project in the country.
iii. The project will be inaugurated by President Pranab Mukherjee.
About IIEST
♦ The Chairman of IIEST is Dr. Kopillil Radhakrishnan.
♦ Indian Institute of Engineering Science and Technology, Shibpur is a national engineering and research institution located at Shibpur, Howrah district, West Bengal.

Arun Jaitley, launches Operation Clean Portal
Arun Jaitley the Union Minister of Finance has launched the Portal of Operation Clean Money https://www.cleanmoney.gov.in. in New Delhi.
Key Points:
i. Its aim is to tab dishonest citizens hiding their income to the authorities and Government.
ii. There have been 18 lakh people who have been identified by the Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) after demonetisation with respect to irregularities in tax payment and income band.
iii. The features of the Operation Clean Money Portal are as follows:
(a) Providing comprehensive information at one place.
(b) Creating a tax compliant society and Enabling Transparent Tax Administration by sharing status reports.

Indian Teen from Tamil Nadu develops the world’s smallest satellite for NASA
A18-year-old boy from Tamil Nadu has created the world’s smallest satellite named ‘KalamSat’.
Key Points:
i. It is developed by Riftah Sharook.
ii. He is from Pallapatti town; Tamil Nadu.
iiiKalamSat weighs only 64 grams and is named after former President APJ Abdul Kalam.
iv. The main role of the satellite will be to demonstrate the performance of 3-D printed carbon fibre
v. The project was funded by an organisation called ‘Space Kidz India.


ENVIRONMENT

Henderson Island: World Heritage-listed site most polluted place on planet
Henderson Island is a remote place in the South Pacific that has been found to be the most polluted place on the planet. It will have 37 million pieces littered on its beaches.
Key Notes:
i. According to the research the beaches of the World Heritage-listed Island – littered with an estimated 37.7 million pieces of plastic.
ii. It is a part of the UK’s Pitcairn Islands territory.
iii. The debris weighed 17.6 tonnes and it is the highest density of plastic rubbish in the world.
iv. There was 671.6 items of debris per square metre on Henderson Island, which lies between Chile and New Zealand in the South Pacific.
v. As per Research more than 200 species are known to be at risk from eating plastic.
vi. The 55% of the world’s seabirds including two species found on Henderson Island are at risk from marine debris.







SPORTS

Mohd Anas breaks 400m National Record Qualifies For World Cships
Mohammad Anas from Kerala has breaked the national record in men’s 400m race and won a gold medal at the third leg of the Indian Grand Prix Athletics Meet in New Delhi.
Key Points:
i. He finished the race in 45.32 seconds at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium.
ii. He also qualified for the World Championships to be held in London in August.
iii. Rajiv Arokia and Sachin Baby were second and third in 46.32 seconds and 47.18 seconds respectively.

ICC hikes prize money for Champions Trophy 2017
The International Cricket Council (ICC)has hiked the prize money for 2017 Champions Trophy by $500,000, making it $4.5 million with a winner’s share of $2.2 million.
Key Notes:
i.The runner-up of the tournament will get a cheque of US $1.1 million, while the other two semifinalists will earn US $450,000 each.
ii.Teams finishing third in each group will take home US $90,000 each, while the teams finishing last in each group will get US $60,000 each.
ICC :
♦ President: Zaheer Abbas
♦ Chairman: Shashank Manohar
♦ Headquarters: Dubai, United Arab Emirates






IMPORTANT DAYS

World Telecommunication and Information Society Day 2017
The World Telecommunication and Information Society Day has observed on 17th of May 2017.
Key Notes:
i. The World Telecommunication and Information Society Day theme is “Big Data for Big Impact,” focuses on the power of Big Data for development.
ii. Its aim is to explore how to turn imperfect, complex, often unstructured data into actionable information in a development context.
iii. It highlights the technological developments that have facilitated the emergence of Big Data and developed standards related to Big Data and will identify sources and uses of Big Data.
iv. Activities will contribute towards building political momentum to embrace Big Data and leverage insights to identify new opportunities to creatively address sustainable development challenges.