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CURRENT AFFAIRS 24 JUNE 2017

NATIONAL AFFAIRS

Government announces 30 smart cities, Thiruvanathapuram tops list
On June 23, 2017, Central Government announced another list of 30 cites for development as smart cities under Smart Cities Mission. The names were announced by Union Urban Development Minister M Venkaiah Naidu.
List of 30 Smart Cities selected in the 4th Round of Selection:

Serial NumberCityState/UT
1ThiruvananthapuramKerala
2Naya RaipurChattisgarh
3RajkotGujarat
4AmaravatiAndhra Pradesh
5PatnaBihar
6KarimnagarTelangana
7MuzaffarpurBihar
8PuducherryPuducherry
9GandhinagarGujarat
10SrinagarJammu & Kashmir
11SagarMadhya Pradesh
12KarnalHaryana
13SatnaMP
14BengaluruKarnataka
15ShimlaHimachal Pradesh
16DehradunUttarakhand
17TiruppurTamil Nadu
18Pimpri chinchwadMaharashtra
19BilaspurChattisgah
20PasighatArunachal Pradesh
21JammuJammu & Kashmir
22DahodGujarat
23TirunelveliTamil Nadu
24ThootukkudiTamil Nadu
25TiruchirapalliTamil Nadu
26JhansiUP
27AizawlMizoram
28AllahabadUP
29AligarhUP
30GangtokSikkim

Recent Approvals by Central government – June 22 2017
Union Cabinet has approved Amendment of the bilateral Social Security Agreement (SSA) between India and the Netherlands by incorporating the “Country of Residence” Principle into the agreement .
i. And also approved Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between Ministry of Water Resources, River Development and Ganga Rejuvenation and the Ministry of Infrastructure and the Environment of the Kingdom of the Netherlands for bilateral cooperation in the field of water resources management.
ii. Cabinet approves Memorandum of Understanding between India and Portugal on Cooperation in the field of Public Administration and Governance Reforms
iii. Cabinet approves MoU on cooperation in the textiles, clothing and fashion sectors between India and Australia
iv. Union Cabinet was apprised about a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on cooperation in the peaceful uses of outer space between India and Armenia.
v. Cabinet approves Memorandum of Understanding for cooperation in Traditional Systems of Medicine and Homoeopathy between India and Sri Lanka
vi. Union Cabinet as approved constitution of an organized Group ‘A’ Engineering Service, namely Indian Naval Material Management Service (INMMS) and consequent changes in cadre structure of existing Group ‘A’ cadre of Naval Store Officers of the Indian Navy.

India’s biggest municipal bonds programme launched in Maharashtra
On June 22, 2017, Pune Municipal Corporation launched India’s biggest municipal bonds programme. The project looks to raise Rs 2,264 crore in five years.Union Urban Development Minister Venkaiah Naidu launched the programme at Bombay Stock Exchange on June 22, 2017.
i. In its first tranche, the Pune Municipal Corporation raised Rs.200 crore through the Bombay Stock Exchange’s bond trading platform at a coupon rate of 7.59% for ten years.
ii. The issue received a good response with bonds being over-subscribed by six times.

A commemorative postage stamp released on completion of 50 years of Passport Act
A commemorative postage stamp has released on completion of 50 years of Passport Act on 23rd of June 2017.
Key Notes:
i. On 24th June,1967 the President gave assent to the Passports Act 1967 and it marked an important milestone in the history of passport issuance in India.
ii. The Passports Act provided a robust legal framework for the issue of passports and travel documents and regulation of the departure from India of Indian citizens.
iii. It has been decided to set up 235 POPSK in two phases 86 in Phase-I and 149 in Phase-II. 52 POPSK of Phase-I have been operationalized.
iv .The entire process of citizen service delivery has been re-engineered, standardized and automated.
v.T he Ministry of External Affairs and the Department of Posts (DOP) have agreed to utilize the Head Post Offices in the country as Post Office Passport Seva Kendra (POPSK) for delivering passport related services to the citizens of our country.
vi. The pilot projects for this joint venture between MEA and DOP were inaugurated on 25 January, 2017 at Mysuru in Karnataka and at Dahod in Gujarat.
vii. Those who apply for their passports online through the passport portal can now schedule an appointment and then visit the designated POPSK to complete the formalities similar to those at the PSK necessary prior to the issue of the passport.
viii. The passports will now be in both Hindi and English and 10 per cent reduction in passport fee for applicants who are under eight and over 60 years of age. This was announced by External affairs minister Sushma Swaraj

Government launches VAJRA scheme to attract Indian scientists abroad
The Department of Science and Technology (DST) has launched a scheme named ‘Visiting Advanced Joint Research Faculty’ (VAJRA) on 22nd of June 2017.
Key Points:
i. It has been done to bring the Indian scientists abroad and India-based researchers together for conducting joint researches in India.
ii. This initiative would boost research work and lead to newer, cutting edge technologies, which was needed in India.
iii. Under this scheme, scientists or senior researchers abroadof Indian origin or otherwise can collaborate with faculties.
iv. The foreign researchers would also receive endowments at par with those in their own countries.
v.Under the scheme the broad areas of research like energy, health, advance material and others would be promoted.
vi.According to the Harsh Vardhan the endowments for faculties would be US $15,000 in the first month of residency and US $10,000, for the remaining months





INTERNATIONAL AFFAIRS

Saudi Arabia imposes heavy family tax on dependents
Saudi Arabia has decided to impose a family tax of 100 riyals per dependent per month on expatriates. 
Key Points:
i. The“dependent fee” will be implemented from 1st July and is expected to pose a financial burden on the over 41 lakh Indian families living in that country.
ii. As per today’s exchange rate, the 100 riyals fee amounts to Rs 1,723 for each dependent.
iii. It would mean that for a family of 4 with one working member, an amount of Rs 5,169 would have to be paid to the Saudi government.
iv. In addition, families are required to pay the entire sum in advance if they wish to renew their resident permits.
v. The family tax will increase every year for each dependent until 2020, taking the net sum to 400 riyals per dependent for each month.
vi. The number of jobs made available to non-citizens in Saudi Arabia has seen a rapid decline with crashing oil prices.
vii. With the imposition of the family tax and the subsequent return of NRIs, the Indian economy is expected to feel the impact of the excess labour force.
About Saudi Arabia
♦ 
Capital: Riyadh

♦ Currency: Riyal





BANKING & FINANCE

World Bank, AIIB to grant $380 million to Andhra Pradesh power project
The World Bank and Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) have granted $380 million of loan to Andhra Pradesh for Power Project.
Key Notes:
i. It aims towards helping the southern state and will build a reliable, quality and affordable power supply to citizens.
iiAIIB has signed a $140 million loan, which is considered the first such project in India to be co-financed by it.
iii. The World Bank and AIIB will provide loans in a 60:40 ratio for all the components of the project.
iv .It will provide 24X7 power for all. 
v. The agreement was signed by the union finance ministry’s joint secretary of economic affairs Raj Kumar and Andhra’s energy department advisor K Ranganathan.
vi. It brings modern technology solutions such as automated sub-stations and network analysis and planning tools to provide reliable power supply and enhance customer satisfaction.
About AIIB
♦ Formation on 16 January 2016 (Open for business) and 25 December 2015 (Entry into force Articles of Agreement)
♦ Headquarters: Beijing, China
♦ President: Jin Liqun




BUSINESS

Commerce and Industry Minister Nirmala Sitharaman launches the Startup India Virtual Hub
The Commerce & Industry Minister Nirmala Sitharaman has launched the Startup India Virtual Hub. It is an online platform for all stakeholders of the entrepreneurial ecosystem in India to discover, connect and engage with each other.
Key Notes:
i. Nirmala Sitharaman has mentioned that Startup India Virtual Hub aims to create a marketplace where all the stakeholders can interact, exchange knowledge, and enable each other to grow.
ii. It is to bring the entire ecosystem together on one platform and it will provide potential startups, helping them access the right resources at the right time.
iii. The portal will host startups, investors, funds, mentors, academia, incubators, accelerators, corporate, Government bodies and more.
iv. The Hub attempts to solve the problem of information asymmetry and lack of access to knowledge, tools, &experts, especially in the nascent ecosystems across Tier II and III towns.
v. The Virtual Hub is a dynamic & interactive platform that will facilitate learning & development, networking, mentorship, funding,for startups.
vi. The Hub will act as a nodal platform and will enable users to connect with stakeholders, access free learning resources, tools & templates on legal, HR, accounting & regulatory issues and discussion forums.

US approves sale of 22 Guardian drones to India
The US has cleared the sale of 22 unmanned Guardian drones to India on 23rd of June 2017.
Key Points:
i. The deal, estimated to be worth $2 to $3 billion and has been approved by the State Department.
ii .The sale of 22 predator drones are being manufactured by General Atomics and it reform the US-India relations as it operationalises the status of “major defence partner.”
iii. Mr. Modi’s first meeting with Mr. Trump has been scheduled to take place at the White House on 26th of June.
iv. As per the government the decision was communicated to the Indian govt and the manufacturer by the State Department.
About USA
♦ Capital: Washington D.C. (D.C. means District of Columbia)
♦ Currency: US Dollar
♦ President: Donald trump
♦ VP: Mike Pence

Amazon ties-up with ClearTax to make e-sellers GST ready
E-commerce giant Amazon has tied up with ClearTax to help sellers on their platform. It can make a seamless transition to the GST regime and also help them file their tax returns with ease.
Key Notes:
i. ClearTax Biz and Cleartax Biz+ are the two software launched by the ClearTax.
ii. It will be available to the sellers free of cost for the first two months after sign-up.
iii. After that it will be provided at a 30% discount for sellers registered with Amazon India.
iv. The product aims to be a one-stop GST solution for sellers on Amazon’s marketplace.


AWARDS & RECOGNITIONS

Lalit Mohan Das gets Biju Patnaik Award for Scientific Excellence
Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik has conferred the prestigious Biju Patnaik Award for Scientific Excellence to Lalit Mohan Das for his outstanding contribution to science and research on 23rd of June.
Key Notes:
i. The chief minister also felicitated Pradeep Kumar Chand, Swati Mohanty and Ajay Parida with Samanta Chandra Sekhar award. 
ii. In the young scientist category, Biswaranjan Paital, Samanta Mohapatra, Milan Kumar Biswal and Swarup Kumar Parida were awarded with cash prize of Rs 25,000 for their contribution in the field of science.
About Odisha
♦ Capital: Bhubaneswar
♦ Chief Minister: Naveen Patnaik
♦ Governor:S.C. Jamir





SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY

ISRO launches earth-observation Cartosat-2E and 30 nano satellites
On June 23, 2017, Indian Space Research Organisation’s (ISRO) launched Cartosat-2E satellite and 30 nano satellites from Satish Dhawan Space Centre located at Srihrikota in Andhra Pradesh.
i. 712 kg Cartosat-2E satellite and 30 nano satellites together, weighing about 243 kgwere launched using ISRO’s Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle(PSL-C38).
ii. Cartosat-2E is a remote sensing satellite and is similar in configuration to earlier satellites in the series. Its objective is to provide high-resolution scene specific spot imagery.

Maharashtra Govt launches ‘My Plant’ Mobile app on Tree plantation
Maharashtra forest minister Sudhir Mungantiwar has launched a mobile app named ‘My Plant’ on 23rd of July 2017.
Key Notes:
i. It would help in recording data about tree plantations in the state and would be launched on 1st of July.
ii. The forest department has set a target of planting 4 crore saplings through public participation between July 1 and 7July.
iii. Using this app, people and organisations can feed the data about the saplings they have planted with the forest department.
iv. This app would help in creating a database of trees.
v. This app makes it possible to upload information of all the tasks given to the government departments in the tree plantation programme, the name of the tree species being planted and the status.
vi. After downloading this app, people and organisations can record the data about tree plantation with the Forest Department.
vii. Information on this app will be automatically recorded on the department’s website.
viii. The minister is planning to prepare a database of the tree plantation drive, which would assist them in achieving their mission of planting 13 crore trees in 2018.
ix. According to the forest secretary Vikas Kharage the preparations for 4 crore tree plantations this year has been completed and 4.41 crore pits have been dug and over 16 crore saplings have been made available.
About Maharashtra
♦ and largest city: Mumbai
♦ Governor: C. Vidhyasagar Rao
♦ CM: Devendra Fadnavis

Shri Piyush Goyal launches POSOCO-IMD Weather Portal for Power Sector & Web Portal ‘MERIT’ 
Piyush Goyal, Union Minister of State (IC) for Power, Coal, New & Renewable Energy and Mines has launched a Weather Portal for Power Sector in association with POSOCO and IMD on 23rd of June 2017.

Key Points:
i. The information available in the Portal regarding weather forecast shall help State Discoms to take pro-active steps regarding short term and medium term management processes.
ii. Information available in the Portal shall help State Discoms to optimize their power procurement in more efficient way leading to lower cost of power to consumers.
iii .It helps in supply planning requirements and also for better planning for infrastructure availability to ensure cost effective and reliable supply.
iv. Shri Goyal has launched another portal ‘MERIT’ (Merit Order Despatch of Electricity for Rejuvenation of Income and Transparency).
v. It has been developed by Ministry of Power in association with POSOCO and Central Electricity Authority.
vi. The web-portal give information regarding reasons for deviation from merit order such as must run conditions, transmission constraints etc.
vii. The Web Portal can be accessed at “http://vidyutmode.in/”
viii. The advantages of “Merit” Portal are as follows:
(a)Empowerment of the Consumer and participative governance.
(b) Transparent information dissemination pertaining to marginal variable cost and source wise purchase of electricity.
(c)Promotes economy and efficiency in operations.
(d)Demystifies the utility portfolio and its complexity.
(e)Optimization of the power procurement costs.
(f)Facilitates renewable integration and handling of the variability and uncertainty of renewables.
(g)Indication of supply side reliability, adequacy, and cost of power procurement.

NASA launches world’s lightest satellite designed by 18-year-old Tamil Nadu student
India has launched the world’s lightest satellite weighing 64 grams called Kalamsat. Kalamsat was the only Indian payload in the NASA mission.
key Notes
i. The satellite was designed by 18-year-old Tamil Nadu student Rifath Sharook and his team.
ii. The tiny satellite is named after Abdul Kalam and was flown by a NASA sounding ro cket.
iii.It has been lift-off from the space agency’s Wallop Island facility around 3pm (IST).
iv. The total flight time of the rocket was 240 minutes and the satellite, assembled atT.Nagar residence in Chennai, separated from the rocket 125 minutes after lift-off.
v. Its structure is fully 3-D printed with reinforced carbon fiber polymer.
vi. It is equipped with a nano Geiger Muller counter which will measure radiation in space.





SPORTS

Kavita Devi becomes first Indian woman wrestler to compete in WWE
Former Indian powerlifter and South Asian Games gold medal winner, Kavita Devi will become the first Indian woman to appear in WWE. 
Key Points:
i. Kavita has been selected to compete in the Mae Young Classic.
ii. It is the first-ever WWE tournament for women.
iii. Kavita was selected after taking part in the WWE Dubai tryout.
iv. She is from Haryana and has undergone training to be a professional wrestler under the guidance of former WWE Champion.
v. WWE Talent Development Vice President is Canyon Ceman.
vi. The event is set to take place on July 13 and July 14 in Full Sail Live in Orlando, Florida.
vii. The tournament is named after WWE Hall of Famer and one of the greatest WWE Superstars in history, Mae Young.





IMPORTANT DAYS

International Widows Day  – June 23, 2017
The International Widows day is observed on 23rd of June 2017.
Key Notes:
i.This day was established by The Loomba Foundation to raise awareness of the issue of widowhood.
ii. Theme of International Widows Day 2017 is”Empowering Women for Greater Achievements“.
iii. The significance of 23rd of June is that it was on that day in 1954 that Shrimati Pushpa Wati Loomba, mother of the foundation’s founder, Lord Loomba, became a widow.
iv.This day is a United Nations ratified day of action to address the “poverty and injustice faced by millions of widows and their dependents in many countries”.

World Public Service Day –  June 23, 2017
World Public Service day is observed on 23rd of June 2017.
Key Notes:
i. This day is dedicated by the United Nations to “celebrate the value and virtue of public service to the community”.
ii. The Theme of World Public Service Day 2017 is ‘The Future is Now’.
iii. Since 2003, this day is marked with UN Public Service Awards Ceremony wherein works of public servants are recognised and they are awarded for their contributions in the field.

International Olympic Day – June 23, 2017
The International Olymic day is celebrated on 23rd of June 2017.
Key Points:
i. This day was introduced in 1948 to commemorate the birth of the modern Olympic Games on 23 June 1894 at the Sorbonne in Paris.
ii. The goal of this day is to promote participation in sport across the globe regardless of age, gender or athletic ability.