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Recent Approvals by Central government – April 12 2017
The Union Cabinet, chaired by PM Narendra Modi has approved signing of Framework of Understanding (FoU) on Cooperation in the Hydrocarbon Sector with Bangladesh.
i. A Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on cooperation in the field of justice between India and the North African country, Tunisia has been approved by the Union Cabinet
ii. The judgment pertaining to Target Plus Scheme (TPS) under Foreign Trade Policy (FTP) 2004-09 was passed by Supreme Court on October 27, 2015.
iii. Indian Institute of Petroleum and Energy (IIPE)will be built at a cost of over Rs. 655 crore.
iv. Cabinet approves setting up of a Special Purpose Vehicle to be called Government e-Marketplace (GeM SPV)
v. In order to safeguard the economic interests of Jute farmers, Govt. has hiked the Minimum Support Price (MSP) for raw Jute from Rs. 3200/- per quintal in previous season to Rs. 3500/- for 2017-18 season.
Australian PM Turnbull arrives in New Delhi on 4-day visit
Australian Prime Minister, Malcolm Turnbull was on an official visit to India from 9th-12th April, 2017. This was Turnbull’s first visit to India after he assumed office in September 2015.
i. India and Australia inked six pacts after comprehensive talks between PM Narendra Modi and visiting Australian PM Malcolm Turnbull in New Delhi.
ii. Australian PM Malcolm Turnbull and Indian PM Narendra Modi, jointly inaugurated TERI-Deakin Nanobiotechnology Centre (TDNBC) through a video conference.
iii. Vijay Goel – Union Minister for Youth Affairs and Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull launched Sports Partnership in Mumbai with an aim to increase cooperation in sports among India and Australia.
Government to launch Rs 6000-crore ‘SAMPADA’ scheme for food processing
Union Food Processing Minister Harsimrat Kaur Badal has announced that her ministry will soon approach the Cabinet for the approval for an umbrella programme ‘Scheme for Agro-Marine Produce Processing and Development of Agro-Processing Clusters (SAMPADA).’
i. Financial Outlay: Rs. 6000 crore
ii. To be implemented by: FY 2019-20
Andhra Pradesh CM Chandrababu Naidu relaunches Adarana
The 191st birth anniversary of social reformer Mahatma Jyotirao Phule. It is being celebrated for the first time as a state function. Andhra Pradesh CM relaunches Adarana.
i. Chandrababu Naidu announced the re-launch of ‘Adarana’, a scheme for improving traditional occupations.
ii. It includes modern tools, technology, marketing, and financial support that are for the artisans.
iii. It also provides employment in the rural areas those pursuing traditional occupations to raise their income levels.
Petrol and Diesel prices to change everyday from 1st May
The Pilot Project has been launched by State-owned fuel retailers Indian Oil Corp (IOC), Bharat Petroleum Corp Ltd (BPCL) and Hindustan Petroleum Corp Ltd (HPCL), for daily price revision in five select cities from May 1 that owns nearly 58,000 petrol pumps in the country.
i. Firstly Oil companies will implement pilot project in 5 cities Puducherry, Vizag in Andhra Pradesh, Udaipur in Rajasthan, Jamshedpur in Jharkhand and Chandigarh.
ii. If successful than it will be implemented in whole India.
iii. Currently, State fuel retailers revise rates on 1st and 16th of every month based on average international price of the fuel in the preceding fortnight and currency exchange rate.
iv. Now, Instead of using fortnightly average, pump rates will reflect daily movement in international oil prices and rupee-US dollar fluctuations.
v. Aim is to bring market linked rates on a daily basis at all pumps across the country.
vi. Daily price change will remove the big jump in rates that and it will be affected at the end of the fortnight and consumer will be more aligned to market dynamics.
Andhra to introduce ‘Ammaku Vandanam’ in Schools
A unique programme“Ammaku Vandanam”will be launched by the Andhra Pradesh in the government schools to pay tribute to mothers.
i. Under this programme the school children will take the blessings of their mothers and also do ‘paada pooja’ (washing her feet) called Mother Worship.
ii. The government also decided to implement the programme in 5,000 high schools across the state from academic year 2017-18.
iii. Under this programme the mothers would be invited to the schools on a specific day every year for the special function.
iv. Cost allocation of this programme will be Rs 2.50 crore.
v. While the government would provide Rs 1.25 crore, the remaining amount will have to be collected by the headmasters and teachers from alumni or donors.
vi. It would be a voluntary programme, aimed at paying tributes to mothers and respect motherhood.
vii. It would bring respect for mothers in students and sensitize them towards women and gender equality.
viii. Programme would be organized 15 lakh students in government and Zilla Paris had high schools.
About Andhra Pradesh
Andhra Pradesh is a state bordering India’s southeastern coast.
♦ Largest city: Visakhapatnam
♦ Capital- Hyderabad, Amaravati
♦ CM- N. Chandrababu Naidu
♦ Governor- E.S.L. Narasimhan
Girdhar Malviya committee submits its report to Uma Bharti
The committee constituted to prepare draft Ganga Act submitted its report to the Union Minister of Water Resources, River Development and Ganga Rejuvenation to Uma Bharti in New Delhi.
i. The Chairman of this committee is Justice Shri Girdhar Malviya.
ii. The committee has recognized the various challenges that are being faced to maintain the (Nirmalta and Aviralta) of National River Ganga.
iii. Due to over stressed water demand from agricultural, domestic and industrial sectors, with no possible increase in availability of water in river comparison to the increasing demands.
iv. Decreasing flow owing to climate change affects.
v. The committee has adopted certain strict provision to increase accountability and responsibility for use of resources made available by National River Ganga.
vi. The option and provision made in suggestive bills available with National Mission for Clean Ganga (NMCG) were also considered and discussed by the committee.
*Uma Bharti Constituency: Jhansi (UP)
Government constitutes an Inter-disciplinary committee chaired by special secretary (Economic Affairs) to examine existing framework regarding Virtual currencies
Department of Economic Affairs, Ministry of Finance has made an Inter- Disciplinary Committee chaired by Dinesh Sharma, Special Secretary (Economic Affairs) and representatives from Department of Economic Affairs.
i. A committee of government and central bank officials in India is set to propose new regulations related to digital currencies or virtual currencies
ii. It includes representatives from NITI Aayog a government think tank and the SBI the country’s largest bank.
iii. The committee will take stock of the present status of Virtual Currencies both in India and globally.
iv. It also examine the existing global regulatory and legal structures that governs Virtual Currencies
v. It also suggests measures for dealing with such Virtual Currencies.
vi. The committee will prepare a report recommending policies related to money laundering and consumer protection for many areas.
vii. The Committee has been tasked to submit its report within three months.
PM Modi most followed world leader on Instagram
Prime Minister Narendra Modi has now become the most followed world leader on photo-sharing app Instagram with a massive 6.9 million followers, Donald Trump has emerged the second most followed leader with 6.3 million followers.
i. Pope Francis is in third place with 3.7 million followers, ahead of the White House account with 3.4 million followers. Currently, Modi’s account shows that he has 101 posts and Trump has 1687 posts.
ii. The activity of around 325 Instagram accounts of heads of state and government and foreign ministers over the last one year
iii. Trump, who occupies the second spot, has 6.3 million followers while Pope Francis is in third place with 3.7 million followers, ahead of the White House account with 3.4 million followers.
iv. Don Baer, CEO of Burson-Marsteller, stated that the leaders are creating to convey global social and political context while also sharing a sense of personality and creativity and also added that seventy-three heads of state, 38 heads of government and 28 foreign ministers maintain personal pages on the platform.
v. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs India has secured the sixth rank in the category of World’s most active leaders.
♦ It is a global public relations and communications firm headquartered in New York City. Founders are Harold Burson & Bill Marsteller.The worldwide CEO is Burson-Marsteller.
♦ Founded on – 1953
BANKING & FINANCE
Amazon gets RBI nod for e-wallet in India
RBI has given an approval to Amazon India to launch its own digital wallet or pre-paid payment instrument (PPI) in India. This move by the RBI is believed an Amazon to enter India’s fast-growing digital payments business.
i. Amazon had launched its Pay Balance service in order to boost cashless transactions.
ii. Amazon mentioned that their focus is providing customers a convenient and trusted cashless payments experience.
iii. It will allow us to help customers adopt digital payments at scale and contribute towards making India a less-cash economy.
iv. The company recently launched Amazon Pay in which customers can fund their pre-paid balance using internet banking and credit or debit card for smooth purchases and payments.
v. Customers can go cashless and enjoy fast and easy checkouts, quicker refunds and with a secured shopping experience only on Amazon.in
vi. Focusing on improving customer experience and increasing digital payments.
Amazon.com is also called Amazon. It is an American electronic commerce and cloud computing company.
♦ Founded- on July 5, 1994,
♦ Founder- Jeff Bezos
♦ HQ- Seattle, Washington
Cisco Launches 5th Global Cyber Range Lab in Gurugram
US-based tech giant Cisco has launched its fifth global cyber range lab in Gurugram, Haryana with an aim to train Indian firms and government agencies on real-world cyber attacks. The facility was inaugurated by National Cyber Security Coordinator Gulshan Rai.
i. Cisco has four other such labs in Australia.Cisco will also launch a Security Operations Centre (SOC) in Pune , its fourth after the US, Poland and Japan in the next few months to provide a broad range of services, including monitoring of threats and its end-to-end management for enterprise needs.
ii. It will be linked to other Cisco SOCs across the world.
iii. These centres are part of Cisco’s USD 100 million investment commitment to India.
Quick Facts about CISCO:
♦ Formation Year: 1984
♦ Headquarters: California, US
♦ Current CEO: Chuck Robbins
AWARDS & RECOGNITIONS
Abdulqadir Rashik wins top prize at UN challenge for open source tools
An Indian software engineer Abdulqadir Rashik has won the top prize at a global challenge for an open-source tool.
i. Abdulqadir Rashik, also an entrepreneur, won the ‘Unite Ideas UNGA Viz Textual Analysis and Visualisation Challenge’ for his ‘Global Policy’.
ii. Rashik’s prototype will be made public and shared with United Nations bodies and member states.
Dilip Kumar honoured with Living Legend Lifetime Award by Punjab Association
Veteran actor Dilip Kumar was honoured with the Living Legend Lifetime Award by the Punjab Association.
i. The actor was also honoured with the Dadasaheb Phalke Award in 1994 and the Padma Vibhushan in 2015 for his contribution to the Indian cinema.
ii. He is known for films like Devdas, Mughal-e-Azam and Karma.
iii. The Pakistani government had also honoured him with its highest civilian honour – Nishan-e-Imtiaz, in 1998.
Himachal bags Krishi Karman Award 2015-2016
The Union Ministry of Agriculture has selected Himachal Pradesh for the Krishi Karman Award 2015-16 for increase in food grains production.
i. It had been achieved because of the dedicated efforts of the department in technological inputs and services to the farmers which resulted in increase in food grains production.
ii. The total food grains production has increased from 14.94 lakh tone to 16.34 lakh tone.
iii. The department has also done the work in promoting poly-house cultivation, crop diversification, micro irrigation, organic farming and soil health management.
iv. The award would carry a trophy, citation and cash prize.
v. The state was also awarded the Krishi Karman Award for 2011-12 for increase in wheat production and in 2014-15 for increasing food grains production.
vi. The award was received by Agriculture Minister Sujan Singh Pathania.
About Himachal Pradesh:
Himachal Pradesh is a northern Indian state in the Himalayas.
♦ Capital- Shimla
♦ CM- Virbhadra Singh
♦ Governor- Acharya Dev Vrat
APPOINTMENTS & RESIGNS
Mahabaleshwara MS appointed as new MD and CEO of Karnataka Bank
Karnataka Bank, one of the leading private sectors banks in South India,MS Mahabaleshwara is appointed as MD and CEO of the bank.
i. Mahabaleshwara become MD and CEO of the bank for a period of three years as per the approval received from Reserve Bank of India (RBI).
ii. Mahabaleshwara mentioned that the bank would continue to be stronger and more efficient in terms of socially responsible and commercially viable vibrant entity.
iii. The shareholders being the owners of the Bank and number of shareholders have increased from 72,000 in 2009 to 1.42 lakh at present.
♦ M S Mahabaleshwara Bhat( 54)is a post graduate in agricultural sciences.
♦ He has over 29 years of banking experience both at operational and administrative levels.
♦ He started his career as researcher and teacher at University of Agricultural Sciences, Bangalore and joined the bank as agricultural field officer in 1984.
UN Chief Guterres names Achim Steiner as new administrator of UNDP
Achim Steiner was become the new administrator of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) by the UN chief Antonio Guterres.
i. Achim Steiner was born on 17 May 1961. He has served the United Nations at the UN
Environment Programme (UNEP) from 2006 to June 2016.
ii. He is also an expert in the environmental issues and politics.He also headed the UN office in Kenya.
iii. He had also served World Commission on Dams as Secretary General.
iv. He is director of the Oxford Martin School in September 2016.
v. He was born in Brazil in 1961 and holds German as well as Brazilian citizenship.
♦ UNDP focuses on helping countries build and share Sustainable development Democratic governance and peace building and Climate and disaster resilience.
♦ Formation 1965
♦ HQ- New York
Justice Gita Mittal set to take over as acting Chief Justice of Delhi HC
Justice Gita Mittal, the senior-most judge of Delhi High Court has been appointed as the acting Chief Justice of the Delhi High Court. She will assume charge of the Delhi High Court with effect from April 14, 2017, a day after current Chief Justice Gorla Rohini retires.
About Justice Gita Mittal:
i. Justice Mittal graduated from Campus Law Centre in 1981. She was appointed as Additional Judge of the Delhi High Court in 2004 and was made permanent in 2006.
ii. Since August, 2008, Justice Mittal has been a member of the Governing Council of the National Law University.
iii. She is also a member of the Governing Council of the Indian Law Institute, New Delhi since 2013 and has been nominated to its Administrative Committee.
iv. She is presently chairing the court committees on the Delhi High Court’s Mediation and Conciliation Centre as well as the committee monitoring the Implementation of Judicial Guidelines for Dealing with Cases of Sexual Offences and Child Witnesses.
SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY
NASA releases new global maps of Earth at night
NASA scientists have released a new global composite map of planet Earth at night as observed in 2016. These maps show the clearest yet composite view of the patterns of human settlement across our planet. Satellite images of Earth at night are referred to as “night lights”.
i. Utility of ‘night lights’: By studying images of Earth at night, researchers can investigate how cities expand, can monitor light intensity to estimate energy use and economic activity, and aid in disaster response. But such maps are produced at intervals of ten years.
ii. NASA-NOAA Suomi National Polar-orbiting Partnership (NPP) satellite was launched in 2011. It observes every location of Earth twice within 24 hours.
iii. Using the data from this satellite, researchers are now on the verge of providing daily, high- definition views of Earth at night, and are targeting the release of such data to the science community later this year.
Quick Facts about NASA:
♦ Formation Year: 1958
♦ Headquarters: Washington, D.C., US
♦ Administrator (Acting): Robert M. Lightfoot Jr
Global collaboration project Belle-II moves a step forward
The High Energy Accelerator Research Organization (KEK) completed the experiment of the Belle-II Tsukuba, Japan.
i. This experiment is designed to study violations of the Standard Model of particle physics.
ii. It is a huge collaboration of 700 scientists from 23 countries.
iii. Belle-II has a significant Indian participation on experimental and theoretical sides.
iv. The fourth layer of the six-layer, highly sensitive particle detector, which is at the heart of Belle-II, has been built by Indian scientists,
v. It is led by Tariq Aziz and Gagan Mohanty from Tata Institute of Fundamental Research, Mumbai.
vi. Several Scientists are participating in this research.
Veteran Malayalam actor Munshi Venu passes away
Veteran Malayalam actor Munshi Venu, who was popular in the industry for playing supporting roles, passed away on April 13, 2017 at Chalakudy, Thrissur.
i. The 63-year old actor was suffering from Kidney failure and was undergoing treatment for the same. Venu aka Venu Narayanan is a native of Trivandrum.
ii. Debut: He made his debut through Director Kamal’s comedy drama ‘Pachakuthira’ and later was part of many big-budget films.
iii. Achievements: Venu has acted in 75 Malayalam Films. He will be remembered for his comic roles, especially for his role of a toothless Panchayat member in Asianet News’ ‘Munshi’, a socio-political satire.
BOOKS & AUTHORS
Dalai Lama releases book ‘Ocean and Blue Mountains’
The Dalai Lama released a book named – ‘Ocean and Blue Mountains’ published by department of Karmik and Adhyatmik Affairs (DoKAA) in presence of Chief Minister Pema Khandu and other dignitaries.
i. The book title refers to ‘Ocean’ as His Holiness and ‘Blue Mountains’ as the people of Arunachal Pradesh, and is a collection of memoirs of the special bond shared between the two.
ii. The Dalai Lama also released a book titled – ‘Crossing of the Frontiers’ describing his exile route from Tibet to India, published by Losel Nyinje Charitable Society and Monyul Social Welfare Association.
About Dalai Lama
♦ The Dalai Lama is a monk of the Gelug or “Yellow Hat” school of Tibetan Buddhism, the newest of the schools of Tibetan Buddhism founded by Je Tsongkhapa.
♦ The Dalai Lama title was created by Altan Khan in 1578. The 14th and current Dalai Lama is Tenzin Gyatso.
Salman Khan releases Asha Parekh’s autobiography ‘The Hit Girl’
Salman Khan launched the autobiography of Asha Parekh, The Hit Girl, with well known author and journalist Khalid Mohamed who was the co-author of the biography
i. Salman gave a speech and insisted that today’s girls need to learn from these legends “We make friends but they (longtime besties the late Sadhana and Nanda, Asha, Waheeda, Shammi, Helen) have stayed close throughout.
ii. Our generation has lost that quality while they have supported each other. Their generation lived the cleanest life possible; professionally and personally.
iii. All of her co-artists Dharmendra, Jitendra, Helen, Waheeda Rehman and many more renowned artistes from Bollywood’s glorious era – the 60s and 70s made as special evening.