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CURRENT AFFAIRS 26 MAY 2017

 

NATIONAL AFFAIRS

Recent Approvals by Central government – May 25 2017
Union Cabinet has been apprised of the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between India and Bangladesh on cooperation in the peaceful uses of outer space.
i. Cabinet has given its approval to raise Bonds of Rs. 2360 crores for renewable energy through the Indian Renewable Energy Development Agency (IREDA) during the 2017-18.
ii. Cabinet approves Joint Declaration of Intent between Germany and India regarding cooperation in the sector of alternative medicine
iii. Union cabinet has approved phasing out of Foreign Investment Promotion Board (FIPB).
iv. Cabinet has approved the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between Directorate General of Health Services under Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare National Transplant Organization, Ministry of Health, Social Services and Equality, Spain on cooperation in the organ and tissue procurement and transplantation services.
v. Union Cabinet has given its approval for establishment of new All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) at Kamrup, Assam.

Pondy CM Presents Tax-Free Budget For 2017-2018
On May 25, 2017, Chief Minister of Puducherry, V Narayanasamy presented Rs.6945 crore tax-free budget for the fiscal 2017-2018.
Highlights of Puducherry Budget 2017-18:
i. Total budget outlay of Rs.6945 crore comprises Rs. 4,445 crore for non-plan head and Rs. 2,500 crore under plan.
ii. Puducherry Government will contribute Rs.4022 crore from its own resources, while Central assistance will be of Rs.1411 crore.
iii. Grants under the centrally-sponsored schemes (CSS) including the Central Road Fund (CRF) has been estimated at Rs.361 crore.
iv. 1151 crore would beraised through open market borrowing and from other financial institutions.
v. During fiscal 2016-17, Puducherry Government incurred expenditure to the tune of Rs.6144 crore, which is the highest ever spending in the history of the Union Territory of Puducherry.

J&K agriculture minister launches e-plant clinics
The J&K government has launched an e-clinics service for farmers on 24th of May, 2017
Key Points:
i. It is being launched with an aim to double farmers’ income by 2022.
ii. The Department of Agriculture, in collaboration with Centre for Agriculture and Biosciences International (CABI), has set up 15 plant clinics in Samba, Kathua and Jammu.
iii. By setting up of these clinics will also help in achieving the goal of doubling the famers’ income by 2022.
iv. It also helps in protecting the crops from diseases.
v. Under the ‘Plantwise’ programme of CABI, 22 officials have been trained as plant doctors to diagnose various plant diseases in the Jammu region.
vi. These officials will upload the data on Plantwise Online Management System (POMS), which can be assessed by experts worldwide.
About Jammu & Kashmir
♦ Capital :(Summer) Srinagar & (Winter) Jammu
♦ Governor: Narinder NathVohra
♦ CM: Mehbooba Mufti

India’s first underwater rail tunnel completed ahead of schedule
India’s first underwater rail tunnel has completed ahead of schedule.
Key Highlights:
i. India’s first underwater rail tunnel was being constructed  under the Hooghly river.
ii. The construction of the tunnel was jointly undertaken by Afcons Transtonnelstroy and Kolkata Metro Railway Corporation Ltd.
iii. The deadline for the completion of this underwater tunnel was of July 2017.
iv. It got completed on 23 May 2017, ahead of the scheduled time.
v. The project connects Howrah to the west and Salt Lake to the east.
vi. It is constructed for establishing metro link between Howrah and Kolkata.
vii .The machine was brought from Herrenknecht AG plant in Schwanau in Germany.
viii. The entire project is 16.6 km long, out of which 10.8 km runs under the ground and out of this 502 meters is under the water.
ix. The total project cost is around Rs 5000 crore.





INTERNATIONAL AFFAIRS

Mumbai, Kota among world’s most crowded cities says WEF
According to World Economic Forum (WEF) citing UN Habitat data the list is topped by Dhaka.Dhaka has a population density of 44,500 people per square kilometer.
i. Mumbai has a population density of 31,700 people per square kilometre at the second place.
ii. Medellin in Columbia ranked third with 19,700 people per square kilometer followed by Manila at the 4th place with a density of 14,800.

Taiwan court rules in favor of same-sex marriage, first in Asia
Taiwan’s constitutional court has declared that same-sex couples have the right to legally marry.
Key Points:
i. This is first such rule in favour of same sex marriage in Asia.
ii. The court gave the country’s parliament a period of two years for laws to be amended to allow same-sex marriage.
About Taiwan
♦ Capital: Taipei
♦ President: Tsai-Ing-wen
♦ Currency: New Taiwan Dollar


BANKING & FINANCE

SBI launches national hackathon
State Bank of India (SBI) has launched a National Hackathon for developers, start-ups and students.
Key Notes:
i. The main aim to launch National hackathaon is to come up with innovative ideas and solutions for the banking sector.
ii. Hackathon which will start from June 6, 2017 and ends on June 20, 2017.
iii. The hackathon has named ‘Code For Bank’.
iv. It will focus on the business value driven by technologies like predictive analytics, fin-tech, blockchain, digital payments, IOT, artificial intelligence, machine learning, BOTS and robotic process automation.
v. In the phase 1, participants can register their ideas during May 20-29

RBI allows co-operative banks to issue mobile wallets
On May 25, 2017, Reserve Bank of India announced that it has decided to permit all licensed co-operative banks having their own ATM network to issue semi-closed prepaid payment instruments PPIs like mobile wallets.
♦ A notification has been issued by RBI which enlists strict norms and conditions to be followed by co-operative banks before permitting them to issue wallets for utility bill payments and other activities up to a limit of Rs 10,000.
Besides, RBI has also laid down following criteria:
i. Banks should be core banking or CBS compliant
ii. The net non-performing assets should be less than 3%
iii. The bank should be profitable in the previous financial year.
iv. There should be no monetary penalty being imposed on the entity during the last two financial years
v. A comprehensive customer grievance redressal mechanism should be set up.
vi. The bank should have internal and audit inspection processes both for its branches as well as the head office.


BUSINESS

BHEL commissions 270 MW thermal unit in Maharashtra
BHEL has commissioned a 250 mw thermal unit in Maharashtra.
Key Notes:
i. The project is owned by Maharashtra State Power Generation Company (Mahagenco).
ii. The unit has been commissioned at Parli Thermal Power Station (TPS), located in Beed district in the Marathwada region of Maharashtra.
iii. BHEL has been a major partner in the power development programme of the state.
iv. It has commissioned 16,000 mw of power generation capacity in Maharashtra.
About BHEL
♦ BHEL was established in 1964.
♦ Bharat Heavy Electricals Limited (BHEL) is owned by the Government of India.
♦ It is a power plant equipment manufacturer and operates as engineering and manufacturing company based in New Delhi, India.

FSSAI allows up to 5 per cent vegetable fats in chocolates
Solvent Extractors Association, premier vegetable oil Association, said FSSAI has issued notification dated 15th May, 2017, permitting addition of vegetable fats (from sal, kokum, mango kernel, palm oil, mahua oil dhupa, phulwara, dharambe, etc) to a maximum 5 per cent of the finished product.
i. The association has been pursuing the authorities for over two decades to treat vegetable fats as coco butter equivalents for the purpose of making chocolates, arguing that it will boost local collection of tree borne oilseeds and support the livelihood of tribals.
ii. Vegetable fats have physical properties similar to coco butter and are widely used by chocolate makers in Europe.
iii. Vegetable fats were not permitted for chocolate manufacturing in India till now.
About Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI):
Objective: To protect and promote public health through regulation and supervision of food safety
Established under: Food Safety and Standards Act, 2006
Establishment Year: 2011
Headquarters: New Delhi
Parent Entity: Ministry of Health & Family Welfare, Government of India
Current Chairman: Ashish Bahuguna

Twitter introduces customizable Direct Message Card for businesses
Twitter has introduced a new customizable Direct Message Card for businesses.
Key Notes:
i. It is used to promote and share bots and other customer experiences built in Direct Messages.
ii. This new card will help businesses to drive discovery of experiences both through Promoted Tweets and Organic sharing.
iii. By using a Direct Message Card, businesses can capture people’s attention with image or video creative.
iv. It also includes four fully customizable call-to-action buttons.
About Twitter
♦ Founded: 21st March 2006
♦ HQ: San Francisco California U.S.
♦ CEO: Jack Dorsey

RIL leads 58 Indian firms in Forbes Global 2000 latest list
Mukesh Ambani-led Reliance Industries Ltd.(RIL) is the highest ranked Indian firm in 2017 Forbes ‘Global 2000’ list. Total 58 Indian companies have featured in this list.
Ranking in 2017 Forbes ‘Global 2000’ list is based on following metrics carrying equal weightage:
1.Sales 2.Profits 3.Assets and 4.Market Value
2017 Forbes ‘Global 2000’ list:
i. Reliance Industries ranked 106th on 2017 Forbes ‘Global 2000’ list
ii. Among Indian companies, Reliance Industries was followed State Bank of India at 244 and ONGC at 246.
iii. Indian private sector banks HDFC Bank (258), ICICI Bank (310), Axis Bank (463) and Kotak Mahindra Bank (744) are among the top 20 Indian companies in the overall list.
iv. 40% of companies in 2017 Forbes ‘Global 2000’ list are from China and US.
v. Industrial and Commercial Bank of China (ICBC) topped the 2017 Forbes ‘Global 2000’ list.






APPOINTMENTS & RESIGNS

P V Sindhu elected to Badminton World Federation Athletes’ Commission
On May 24, 2017, Indian badminton player P.V. Sindhu became the second Indian to be inducted in the Badminton World Federation (BWF) Athletes’ Commission. India’s Saina Nehwal is already in the BWF Athletes’ Commission.
i. In the election which took place on the sidelines of the Sudirman Cup in Gold Coast, PV Sindhu topped the ballot with 129 votes.
ii. PV Sindhu, along with Marc Zweibler of Germany and Kristy Gilmour of Scotland will serve a four-year term in this role.

Google’s Rajan Anandan is now IAMAI Chairman
Google Vice-President Rajan Anandan is the new Chairman of Internet and Mobile Association of India (IAMAI).
Key points:
i. Deep Kalra, Chairman & Group CEO, MakeMyTrip, is the new Vice Chairman of IAMAI.
ii.He will replace Kunal Shah, Co-founder & Chief Executive Officer, FreeCharge.
IAMAI:
♦ Headquarters: Mumbai
♦ Founded: 2004

Government makes 129 ‘non-performing’ officers retire in Public interest
According to Union Minister Jitendra Singh, the government has forced 129 government officers to retire for non-performance in the past few months.
Key Points:
i. In total 30 officers from Group A and 99 officers from Group B has been forced to retire in the past few months.
ii. The government analyzed the service records of over 24,000 Group A officers and 42,251 Group B officers for performance.
iii. As per the government sources, the government will further look into the service records of another 34,451 Group A officers and 42,521 Group B officers.
iv. The review has been done by the central government to check the performance of its officers

Socialist Lenin Moreno sworn in as President of Ecuador
Lenin Moreno was sworn in as President of Ecuador on 24th of May 2017.
Key Notes:
i. The Lenin Moreno is a socialist and he is 64 year old.
ii. Moreno is one of the world’s few paraplegic heads of state and he said in his speech that he will continue anti-poverty programs.
About Ecuador:
♦ Capital: Quito
♦ Currency: United States dollar (USD)
♦ President: Lenin Moreno


ENVIRONMENT

After 84 years, cobra lily rediscovered in Nilgiris
The Cobra Lily is rediscovered in Nilgiris after 84 years.
Key Notes:
i. The incredibly rare Arisaematranslucens commonly known as the cobra lily.
ii. It was last collected in 1932.
About Cobra Lily:
i. Cobra Lily can be found only in a small area measuring less than 10 square kilometres in the Nilgiris.
ii. This is probably the only member of the Arisaema family to have a translucent spathe.
iii. The Toda tribals of the Nilgiris have an embroidery motif known as the ‘podwarshk’, which resembles it.







SPORTS

Egyptian Omar becomes first amputee to swim across Red Sea’s Gulf of Aqaba
Egyptian swimmer Omar Hegazy has become the first amputee to swim across Red Sea’s 20 kilometer Aqaba Gulf from Egypt to Jordan.
Key Points:
i. Hegazy, a 26 year-old banker who lost his left leg in a motorcycle accident.
ii. Aqaba Gulf is a large gulf at the northern tip of the Red Sea.
iii. Its coastline is divided between four countries: Egypt, Israel, Jordan, and Saudi Arabia.
Some More Points about Egypt:
♦ Capital: Cairo
♦ Currency: Egyptian Pound
♦ President: Abdel Fattah el-Sisi
♦ PM: Sherif Ismail