NATIONAL AFFAIRS

Recent Approvals by Central government – June 28 2017
On June 28, 2017, Union Cabinet chaired by the Prime Minister Narendra Modi approved following bilateral agreements and initiatives:
i. Cabinet approves 7th Pay Commission recommendations with 34 changes, to benefit 48 lakh employees
ii. Cabinet approves MoU between India and Israel on National Campaign for Water Conservation in India
iii. Cabinet approves signing of a Memorandum of Cooperation between India and theUnited States of America on Homeland Security
iv. Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs has given its approval for development of six laning of Chakeri-Allahabad section of National Highway (NH) – 2 in Uttar Pradesh.
v. Union Cabinet has given ‘in principle’ approval for strategic disinvestment of Air India and five of its subsidiaries based on the recommendations of Core Group of Secretaries on Disinvestment (CGD)

Dr Jitendra Singh launches new training programme ‘COMMIT’ for State Government officials
On June 29, 2017, Dr. Jitendra Singh – Minister of State for Development of North Eastern Region, Prime Minister’s Office, Personnel, Public Grievances & Pensions, Atomic Energy and Space, launched a new training programme Comprehensive Online Modified Modules on Induction Training (COMMIT) for State Government officials.
About ‘COMMIT’:
i. The objective of this training programme is to improve the public service delivery mechanism and provide citizen centric administration through capacity building of officials who interact with the citizens on day-to-day basis.
ii. COMMIT is cost effective and has the potential to cover about 3.3 lakh officials annually, compared to 10,000 officials under existing 12-Day Induction Training Programme (ITP).
iii. COMMIT will be launched in 6 States of Assam, Haryana, Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu, Telangana and West Bengal initially on pilot basis during the current financial year 2017-18 and within next year it is expected to cover all India level.
iv. COMMIT programme has been developed by Department of Personnel and Training (DoPT) in collaboration with United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).

Aadhaar-PAN linking mandatory from 1 July
The Government has issued notification to all those who have Permanent Account Number(PAN) should link to  their existing Aadhar card from July 1 in accordance with the provisions of sub-section (2) of section 139AA .
i. Under the Finance Act for 2017-18 both Aadhar card and PAN became mandatory  for filing tax returns, opening of Bank accounts and financial transactions over Rs.50000.
ii. The 12-digit identification number or Aadhaar enrolment ID is compulsory for those who are applying for new PAN.
iii. Go to incometaxindiaefiling.gov.in to link your Aadhaar with PAN and click on the tab ‘Link Aadhaar’ on the left-hand side of the website. After this first enter your PAN and Aadhaar number; then enter your name exactly as mentioned in Aadhaar and then submit it.
iv. After verification of details from the Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI), the linking will be confirmed.





INTERNATIONAL AFFAIRS

US issues new visa criteria for six Muslim nations
On June 27, 2017, Trump administration set new criteria for visa applicants from six Muslim nations and all refugees that require a close family or business tie to the United States.
Background Information and Details about New Criteria:
i. The move came after the US Supreme Court partially restored President Donald Trump’s executive order that was widely criticized as a ban on Muslims.
ii. Instructions issued by the US State Department say that new applicants from Syria, Sudan, Somalia, Libya, Iran and Yemen must prove a relationship with a parent, spouse, child, adult son or daughter, son-in-law, daughter-in-law or sibling already in the United States to be eligible.
iii. The same requirement, with some exceptions, holds for would-be refugees from all nations who are still awaiting approval for admission to the U.S.
iv. Grandparents, grandchildren, aunts, uncles, nieces, nephews, cousins, brothers-in-law and sisters-in-law, fiancees or other extended family members are not considered to be close relationship.
v. As far as business or professional links are concerned, the State Department has insisted on a legitimate relationship that is formal and documented.


BANKING & FINANCE

Government issues notification, countdown begins for GST Rollout
Union Government has notified roll out of Goods and Services Tax (GST) from July 1, 2017. GST will replace 16 current levies (7 central taxes and 9 state taxes), consequentially creating India as one market with one tax rate.
Special Programme for Launch of GST:
i. A special programme will be held in Central Hall of Parliament tomorrow midnight for the launch of GST.
ii. President Pranab Mukherjee, Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley and a host of Senior Ministers and bureaucrats will attend the programme.
iii. Finance ministry has set up a war room where government officials can find solutions to urgent queries related to problems on GST.
iv. The GST feedback and war room is equipped with multiple phone lines and computer systems. It will be operative from 8 am to 10 pm.
v. GST war room will act as a quick resource centre for central and state government officials to address their queries.

India becomes 1st country to give to UN Tax Fund with $100000 contribution
India has contributed $100,000 to UN Trust Fund for International Cooperation in Tax Matters (UN Tax Fund) and has thereby become the first country to make the contribution.
About UN Tax Fund:
i. The UN Tax Trust Fund aims to support the work of the Committee of Experts on International Cooperation in Tax Matters (the UN Tax Committee).
ii. Voluntary contributions for the fund have been called for by theUN and the committee since its establishment in 2006.
iii. The call for contributions was also emphasised in the Addis Ababa Action Agenda adopted at the third International Conference on Financing for Development in 2015.
iv. The contribution to UN Tax Fund is dedicated towards ensuring greater support for developing countries’ participation in the sub-committee meetings of the UN Tax Committee, which are currently unfunded.
v. UN Tax Committee, a subsidiary body of theUN Economic and Social Council (ESOSOC), has provided guidance on current issues such as double taxation treaties, transfer pricing (profit shifting) taxation of the extractive industries and taxation of services.
UN :
♦ Headquarters: New York City,United States
♦  Secretary general: António Guterres





BUSINESS

AP CM Chandrababu launches MSME Corporation with Rs 100 cr
On June 27, 2017 Andhara Pradesh CM Chandrababu Naidu launches the establishment of Micro, Small, Medium Entrepreneurs (MSME) Development Corporation at Vijayawada with fund of Rs.100 crore on the occasion of International MSME Day.
i. Around 15 acres would be allotted for MSME bhavan in Amaravati for research, development and training programmes.
ii. MSME bhavans would be constructed in all the 175 Assembly constituencies and Industrial Promotion Councils are being set up, headed by a Minister, in all the districts.
iii. MSME parks would be developed in 100 to 150 acres of land at various districts. Chief Minister asked Small and Medium entrepreneurs to extend a helping hand to SC,ST, BC and minorities to grow as entrepreneurs.
iv. Minister D Umameshwara Rao were also present in the event and Chief Minister gave away awards to 17 enthusiastic MSME entrepreneurs.

Govt. unveils new hydrocarbon policy
On June 27, 2017, Petroleum Minister Dharmendra Pradhan introduced Open Acreage Licensing Policy (OALP) – a new oil and gas block licensing policy and the National Data Repository
About Open Acreage Licensing Policy (OALP) and the National Data Repository:
i. The new policy is expected to open up 8 million square kilometres of sedimentary basins to exploration and production activities.
ii. OALP, a part of the government’s Hydrocarbon Exploration and Licensing Policy (HELP), gives exploration companies the option to select the exploration blocks on their own, without having to wait for the formal bid round from the Government.
iii. Pradhan mentioned that the lack of seismic sedimentary basin data has been hampering the oil and gas exploration and production sector and that 52% of India’s sedimentary basins have not been appraised yet. The National Data Repository is expected to improve this situation.
iv. Initially the applications and related bids for the blocks would be held twice a year —in January and July — thereafter it would become more frequent as the industry becomes used to the new model.

BHEL signs pact with Japanese firm for manufacturing coaches for metro trains
On June 29,2017 Bharat Heavy Electricals Ltd (BHEL) has made an agreement with Kawasaki Heavy Industries Ltd (KHI) of Japan for manufacturing of stainless steel coaches and bogies for metros.
i. This technology collaboration agreement will be helpful to establishing design, engineering and manufacturing facilities at BHEL.
ii. BHEL used to supply diesel locomotives, EMUS, electric and propulsion system for Indian Railways.
iii. Kawasaki Heavy Industries manufactures heavy equipment/products and its Rolling Stock Company has supplied EMU (Metro/Commuter) train sets to various countries like US, Singapore, Taiwan, Hong Kong etc.
BHEL :
♦ Headquarters: New Delhi
♦ CEO: Atul Sobti


AWARDS & RECOGNITIONS

Adi Godrej, Andrew Liveris bag USIBC Global Leadership Awards
On June 28 2017 Liveris and Godrej were presented with the prestigious annual award at the USIBC’s annual gala.
i. Godrej Group Chairman Adi Godrej and Dow Chemical CEO Andrew Liveries bag Global Leadership Awards of the US-India Business Council (USIBC) for their role in integrating India in the global supply chain.
ii. USIBC president Mukesh Adhi certified the two leaders with making tremendous stride in their businesses.
iii. Both were honored for creating inclusive business environments and their advancing skills in manufacturing, innovation and scale in tough market conditions.
Dow Chemical Company
♦ Dow Chemical Company, commonly referred to as Dow, is an American multinational chemical corporation headquartered in Midland, Michigan, United States. Dow manufactures plastics, chemicals, and agricultural products.
♦ Founder – Herbert Henry Dow
♦  Founded In – 1897
Godrej Industries
♦  Godrej Industries is an Indian manufacturer of oleochemicals. It also manufactures edible oils,vanaspati and bakery fats. In addition, it operates real estate. Godrej Industries has its headquarters in Mumbai.
♦  Founded in – 1963


APPOINTMENTS & RESIGNS

Trump picks Indian American Krishna R. Urs to be ambassador to Peru
On June 28 2017  ,US President Donald Trump has nominated Indian American Krishna R. Urs to be the ambassador to Peru after James Costos, who was appointed by former President Barack Obama`
i. Urs, a 30-year veteran of the foreign service was earlier the Deputy Chief of Mission in Spain. He is currently Charge d’Affaires of the US Embassy in Madrid. Urs can speak Spanish, Hindi and Telugu.
ii. Meanwhile last week Trumph nominated Kenneth Juster, the President’s Deputy Assistant for International Economic Affairs and Deputy Director of the National Economic Council, to be the Ambassador in New Delhi.
iii. Urs has specialized in economic issues and has developed extensive policy experience in the Andean region of South America.
iv. Trump has appointed Indian-American Nikki Haley as the US Permanent Representative to the UN and it was the highest levels of the State Department.
Peru :
♦ Capital: Lima
♦ Currency: Sol





SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY

ISRO’s GSAT-17 successfully launched from French Guiana
Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO)’s latest communication satellite GSAT-17 was successfully launched on board Arianespace rocket from Kourou in French Guiana on June 29, 2017.
i. GSAT-17 with a lift-off mass of about 3477 kg carried payloads in normal C-band, extended C-band and S-band to provide various communication services.
ii. It also carried equipment for meteorological data relay and satellite based search and rescue services being provided by earlier INSAT satellites.
iii. GSAT -17 was approved in May 2015 with an outlay of Rs. 1013 crore, including its launch fee and insurance.

China commissions biggest new generation destroyer ship for its navy
On June 28, 2017, China’s Navy launched its biggest new generation destroyer weighing 10,000 tonnes as part of its ambitious plans to become a global naval power.
About Chinese Navy’s New Generation Destroyer Ship:
i. Chinese Navy’s new destroyer, a domestically designed and produced vessel, was launched at the Jiangnan Shipyard (Group), Shanghai.
ii. The vessel is the first of China’s new generation of destroyers.
iii. It is equipped with new air defence, anti-missile, anti-ship and anti-submarine weapons.
iv. Tests will be carried on the vessel, including equipment operation, berthing and sailing.
v. The biggest naval destroyer was an addition to two aircraft carriers which China is in the process of deploying to compete with other naval powers liked the US and India, especially in the India Ocean

Petya ransomware attack hits India’s Jawaharlal Nehru Port
A new cyber attack similar to WannaCry has hit a terminal operated by AP Moller-Maersk at the Jawaharlal Nehru Port Trust (JNPT). It is to be noted that JNPT is India’s biggest container port.
Petya Ransomware Attack:
i. Owing to the attack, Gateway Terminal India, can’t identify which shipment belongs to whom.
ii. The attack is being carried out by the Petya virus, with users being told to pay $300 in cryptocurrency per infected computer to unlock their systems.
iii. As per Kaspersky Lab analysts about 2,000 users had been attacked by this virus as on June 26, 2017, in North America.
Jawaharlal Nehru Port Trust (JNPT) :
♦ Jawaharlal Nehru Port, also known as Nhava Sheva, is the largest container port in India.
♦ Located east of Mumbai in Maharashtra, the port on the Arabian Sea is accessed via Thane Creek

NASA completes milestone toward quieter Supersonic X-Plane
NASA has achieved a significant milestone in its effort to make supersonic passenger jet travel over land a real possibility by completing the preliminary design review (PDR) of its Quiet Supersonic Transport or QueSST aircraft design.
♦ QueSST is the initial design stage of NASA’s planned Low Boom Flight Demonstration (LBFD) experimental airplane, otherwise known as an X-plane.
More Details about X-Plane:
i. NASA partnered with lead contractor, Lockheed Martin, in February 2016 for the QueSST preliminary design.
ii. Last month, a scale model of the QueSST design completed testing at NASA’s Glenn Research Center in Cleveland.
iii. Recently senior experts and engineers from NASA and the Lockheed Martin Corporation concluded that the QueSST design is capable of fulfilling the LBFD aircraft’s mission objective to fly at supersonic speeds, but create a soft thump instead of the disruptive sonic boom associated with supersonic flight.


ENVIRONMENT

China has officially started building the world’s first ‘Forest City’
China is constructing for the 175  the world’s first “Forest City “ in Liuzhou and it designed by Stefano Boeri Architetti, a team that develops green projects all over the world.
i. Liuzhou Forest City will be situated along the Liujiang River in the northern part of Liuzhou. This will be planned to complete in 2020.
ii. This forest city will provide home to nearly 30,000 people and it covered with almost 1 million plants of more than 100 species.
iii. This forest includes 40,000 trees  that helps to absorb 10,000 tons of carbon-di-oxide, 57 tons of pollutants and will produce 900 tons of oxygen annually.
iv. Liuzhou Forest City will be self-sufficient, running on renewable energy sources such as geothermal and solar energy. Forest City will be connected to Liuzhou by a fast rail line for electric cars.

Scientists develop new variety of groundnut
A new summer variety of groundnut has been developed by agro-scientists of the UGC-affiliated Chandra Shekhar Azad Agriculture Technology University (CSA) at khanpur in Uttarpradesh.
i. The summer variety of the groundnut crop is disease-free as pests cannot attack the crop because of high temperature in the atmosphere.
ii. After this , during summer people will not have to consume stored groundnuts grown during the winter season. They can taste the fresh groundnuts which will be grown in summer.
iii. CSA scientist Jitendra Singh said, the summer variety of groundnut could be sown in Kanpur, Fatehpur, Allahabad and Kaushambi areas which are known as the potato belt.
iv. Singh claimed that with an investment of Rs 30,000 per hectare, a grower can earn up to Rs 75,000


SPORTS

Kidambi Srikanth climbs up three spots to re-enter top-10 of badminton rankings
Riding on his back-to-back Super Series triumphs, India’s top badminton player Kidambi Srikanth broke back into the top-10 at eighth in the latest World Badminton Rankingsreleased on June 29, 2017.
i. By winning successive titles at Indonesian Open and Australian Open, Kidambi Srikanth now has 58,583 points in his kitty.
ii. He is the only Indian shuttler to figure in the top-10 of men’s singles ranking after climbing up three places.
iii. Among other Indian male shuttlers, B Sai Praneeth has moved up a position to be 15th, while Ajay Jayaram lost a spot to be 16th.
iv. HS Prannoy also dropped two places to be 23rd
v. In women’s singles, PV Sindhu dropped to be world no. 5, while Sania Nehwal has gained a spot to be at 15th.





NECROLOGY

Legendary Singer Sabita Chowdhury dies at the age of 72
Legendary singer Sabita Chowdhury, died at her residence on June 29, 2017. She had done many playback for Bengali and Hindi films.
i. Sabita Chowdhury, 72, leaves behind two sons and two daughters.She was a widow of legendary composer Salil Chowdhury.
ii. She was suffered with cancer of lungs and thyroid. Her famous songs are “Oi jhilmil jhauer boney”, “Jaare jaa jaa mono paakhi”, “Jhilmil jhilmil opaarero monjil” and “Du chokhey aashaar nodi chhalachhal”.


IMPORTANT DAYS

National Statistics Day – June 29, 2017
June 29, is celebrated as National Statistics Day in India to mark the birth anniversary of Prof. Prasanta Chandra Mahalanobis, a renowned and eminent statistician.
i. National Statistic Day is celebrated to acknowledge the outstanding contributions made by Prof. P.C. Mahalanobis in the fields of economic planning and statistical development.
ii. P C Mahalanobis was one of the members of the first Planning commission of free India.
iii. He made pioneering studies in anthropometry in India. He founded the Indian Statistical Institute, and contributed to the design of large-scale sample surveys.
iv. India’s Second Five-Year Plan was framed on a model suggested by Mahalanobis which emphasised rapid industrialisation.

International Day of the Tropics – June 29, 2017
United Nations General Assembly adopted resolution on 14 June 2016, which declared that 29 June of each year is to be observed as the International Day of the Tropics.
i. The date is the anniversary of the launch of the inaugural State of the Tropics 2014 report, the first major output of the State of the Tropics
ii. State of the Tropics Report was launched on June 29, 2014 by Nobel Laureate Aung San Suu Kyi.
iii. The international Day of the Tropics was designated to raise awareness to the specific challenges faced by tropical areas, the far-reaching implications of the issues affecting the world’s tropical zone and the need, at all levels, to raise awareness and to underline the important role that countries in the tropics will play in achieving theSustainable Development Goals.