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Current Affairs Today – April 18 2017

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Current Affairs April 18 2017

INDIAN AFFAIRS

PM Narendra Modi’s two day visit to Gujarat
Prime Minister Narendra Modi was on a two-day visit to Gujarat on 16th and 17th April, 2017. During this visit, he inaugurated many projects across the state.
i. On April 17, 2017, PM Modi inaugurated the Kiran Multispeciality Hospital and Research Center in Surat
ii. At Bajipura village in Tapi district of Gujarat, PM Modi inaugurated a fully automated cattle feed plant of SUMUL Dairy.He also inaugurated an ice-cream plant and laid the foundation stone for dairy products plant at Nava Pardi.
iii. In Botad district of Gujarat, PM Modi inaugurated Phase-I of Link 2 pipeline canal of the ambitious Saurashtra-Narmada Avtaran Irrigation (SAUNI) Yojana by formally releasing the Narmada water in Krushna Sagar Lake.

Centre launches training program for women panchayat leaders
The Centre launched a training programme for Women Panchayat leaders to skill and Centre launches training program for women panchayat leadersadministers them so that they can give special emphasis on efficient usage of funds for achieving their overall development.
i. The National Commission for Women (NCW) with the help of Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Mumbai, has developed training modules for empowering these elected women.
ii. They will get training under experts from the National Institute of Rural Development and Panchayati Raj (NIRD and PR) in Hyderabad.

‘Advanced Farming – Enriched Farmer’ scheme announced by Maharashtra Govt
Maharashtra State Govt. has announced ‘Advanced Farming – Enriched Farmer’ scheme, with an aim to increase farmers’ income by cutting production cost and increasing the output.
i. The scheme will be launched in the upcoming kharif season.
ii. Major Tasks to be executed under ‘Advanced Farming – Enriched Farmer’ Scheme
1.Raising production of major crops (up to the level of its genetic yield potential)
2.Diversification of crops
3.Introducing marketing techniques
4.Uniting farmers through farm producers’ companies and making them financially stable
iii. Additional measures under ‘Advanced Farming – Enriched Farmer’ scheme:
♦ Maharashtra Govt. will spend 60% of the fund available for mechanisation of farming on tractors, power tillers, transplanters, and machines for polishing, grading, and packing the produce.
♦ Maharashtra Govt. has also announced to increase grants for construction of green houses, onion shades and shade nets, among others.
♦ A farmer outreach campaign will also be launched from May 25 to June 8 2017, to inform farmers about the techniques to be used in agriculture ahead of the kharif season.

President inaugurates Global exhibition on services in New Delhi
On April 17, 2017, President Pranab Mukherjee inaugurated 3rd edition of the Global Exhibition on Services (GES 2017) at Rashtrapati Bhavan, New Delhi. Finance Minister Arun Jaitley also addressed the inaugural session.  GES-2017 is being held at India Expo Mart in Greater Noida, Uttar Pradesh. It will continue till April 20, 2017.President
i. Objective: To highlight India’s potential to boost its services exports across sectors.
ii. Organisers of GES 2017: Ministry of Commerce and Industry together with the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) and Services Export Promotion Council.
iii. Participants: 550 exhibitors from 70 plus countries
iv. Overview of India’s Services Exports:
1.India’s services exports increased from $52 billion in 2005 to $155 billion in 2015, with a share of 3.3 per cent in global services exports.
2.In the first 11 months of 2016-17, services exports stood at $146.5 billion, growing at 3 per cent.
3.IT and software services contribute to over 48 per cent of India’s overall services exports.
4.India’s services trade witnessed a surplus of $59 billion in April-February 2016-17 with imports rising 12.1 per cent to $87 billion.

Kerala government to give pension to circus artistes
The CPI (M)-led LDF government in Kerala has decided to provide pension to former circus artistes in the state.
i. Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan had recently visited Kannur district which is considered to be the cradle of Indian circus. During this visit, group of circus artists met the CM and briefed him of their plight.
ii. Kerala State Govt. has allocated Rs 1.13 crore for this purpose.

IIT Kharagpur to introduce Vastu Shastra
The country’s oldest IIT (Indian Institute of Technology) is going to introduce Vastu Shastra classes for its architecture students.Classes will be introduced from August, 2017
Major Points:
i. Vastu Shastra will be introduced to architecture students from the next academic session.
ii. It will be introduced to undergraduate students as part of courses on basic design and history IIT-Kharagpurof architecture.
iii. It will open up new avenues and concepts for students.
iv. Projects and Tests on Vastu Shastra will also be a part of the curriculum.
v. For undergraduate students at IIT Kharagpur will study the basics of VastuShastra.
vi. For post-graduate and research scholars they will study in more detail.
vii. According to the faculty members at IIT Kharagpur believe that students who are studying architectural concepts prevalent in the West should also know and learn about ancient Indian architectural traditions.
viii. It includes principles, nine-circuit placements, sacred altars design semiotics and semantics for the post graduate students.
* VastuShastra has its beginnings in Rig Veda.

INTERNATIONAL AFFAIRS

Australia abolishes 457 visas programme largely used by Indians
Australia has abolished a visa programme that is used by over 95,000 temporary foreign workers and majority of them are Indians.Its objective is to tackle the growing unemployment in the country.
Key Highlights:
i. Australia will adopt a new ‘Australians First’ approach to skilled migration.
ii. The new “Temporary Skill Shortage Visa” programme will comprise two streams—Short Term and Medium Term
iii. Short-term visas will be issued for two years and medium-term visas will be issued only for more critical skills shortages and for up to four years.
iv. The programme known as 457 Visa which permits business to employ foreign workers for a period up to four years in skilled jobs where there is a shortage of Australian workers.
v. The 457 visa will replace new work visa that will require foreign workers to have better English language and job skills
vi. In order to fill critical skill gaps this programme has been launched.It includes mandatory criminal checks and tighter English language requirements.
vii. This new programme will be implemented soon and completed by March 2018.
viii. These changes will give Australian job seekers more opportunity to find work and prosper their business growth efficiently.
About Australia:
♦ Capital: Canberra
♦ Currency: Australian Dollar
♦ PM: Malcolm turnbull (29th PM)
♦ Official Language: Australian English

BANKING & FINANCE

SBI surpasses ONGC to become most valued PSU stock
State Bank of India (SBI) surpassed ONGC to become the most valued public sector undertaking (PSU) state-owned firm in terms of market valuation.
Key Facts:
i. The shares of SBI rose by 2.33 per cent to Rs 296.40 and ONGC lost 1.36 per cent to Rs 180.60.
ii. SBI surged almost 16 per cent while that of ONGC fell by over 4 per cent.
iii. SBI m-cap stood of Rs 239,808 crore and ONGC having m-cap of Rs 236,003 crore.
Key points:
♦ SBI headquarter is in Mumbai and it was founded in 1955.
♦ SBI chairman is Arundhati Bhattacharya.
♦ SBI slogan is “The Banker to Every Indian”.
♦ ONGC chairman is Dinesh K Sarraf.
♦ ONGC headquarter is in Uttarakhand and it was formed in 1956.

PNB launches new products for customers on its foundation day
Punjab National Bank (PNB) has launched three new products for its customers on the occasion of 123rd foundation Day.
i. PNB MD and CEO UshaAnanthasubramanian launched the three products.
ii. The three new products which are launched by PNB are automated electronic toll collection to facilitate hassle-free toll payment collection, a Credit card Mobile App and a scheme for financing a grid connected Roof Solar Power Project.
iii. To assist PNB employees to do their HR-related operations through their mobile phones.
* PNB Headquarter is in New Delhi and was founded on 12th April 1895.

RBI, Royal Monetary Authority of Bhutan ink MoU to share information
A new Memorandum of Understanding has signed between The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) and the Royal Monetary Authority of Bhutan.
Key Points:RBI
i. It was signed by RBI Deputy Governor S SMundra and Royal Monetary Authority of Bhutan Deputy Governor PhajoDorjee.
ii. It was signed for ‘Supervisory Cooperation and Exchange of Supervisory Information’ with few countries.
iii. RBI has signed 39 such MoUs One Letter for Supervisory Co-operation and One Statement of Co- operation.

RBI opens new Ombudsman office for Chhattisgarh and Jammu
The Reserve Bank has started a new office at Raipur for Chattisgrah and for Jammmu.Focus is to look into the grievances of residents and entities.
Highlights:
i. File complaints ranging from non-payment or delay in payment or collection of cheques/drafts, failure to provide or delay in providing a banking services, on-adherence to prescribed working hours, non- acceptance of small denomination notes or coins, delays or non-credit of proceeds to parties’ accounts to non-observance of RBI’s directives on banking services.
ii. Raipur office will have jurisdiction over the entire state of Chhattisgarh earlier it was under the jurisdiction of Bhopal office of the banking ombudsman.
iii. Those People who are having grievances about banking services can lodge complaints at the banking ombudsman office.
About RBI:
♦ RBI is India’s central bank institution.
♦ HQ- Mumbai, Maharashtra
♦ Established 1 April 1935
♦ Governor Urjit Patel

BUSINESS

ISRO, BHEL tie-up for lithium-ion batteries to have buyback agreements
The MoU has signed between  Indian space Research Organization (ISRO) and Bharat Heavy electrical Limited (BHEL) to develop low-cost lithium ion batteries for electric vehicles and also an agreement of buyback commitment for such batteries.
Key Highlights:
i. The main objective is to promote commercial production of lithium ion batteries that uses in electric motor vehicles.
ii. ISRO will provide support for scale-up, joint effort in cost optimisation, research and development.
iii. ISRO will provide support for scale-up, joint effort in cost optimisation, research and development.
iv. BHEL will develop the battery for commercial applications.
v. Develop cells for commercial applications and use in low-cost electric vehicles.It has been done to manage the waste generated at the end of battery life.
vi. Thiruvanathapuram-based Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre (VSSC) has developed four types of lithium-ion batteries — 1.5 Ampere (Ah), 5Ah, 50 Ah and 100 Ah.
vii. Out of these1.5 Ah and 50 Ah have been used for space applications.
viii. It has been successfully tried in two and four wheelers batteries by the Automotive Research Association of India (ARAI).

AP red chilli farmers to get Rs 1500 more per quintal above market price
The Red chillies farmers of Andhra Pradesh has to suffer a lot due to the price crash of chillies from Rs 12000-14000 per quintal last year to below Rs 5,000 per quintal this year at the Guntur Chilli market yard.
Key Points:
i. Chilli prices crashed from Rs12000-14000 per quintal last year to below Rs5,000 per quintal for this year
ii. Under this scheme the government of Andhra Pradesh has mentioned that every farmer can get an Red Chilliesadditional benefit of Rs1500 per quintal subject to a ceiling of 20 quintals.
iii. For availing this benefit farmers should produce photostate copies of their Aadhaar cards and bank accounts.
iv. The price per quintal should not exceed to Rs8000 inclusive of the Rs1500 per quintal being offered by the government.
v. The scheme is applicable to the occupant farmers as well.
vi. The decision taken by the government that the chilli stocks lying with farmers would be bought at the price fixed by the government has given a ray of hope to the farmers.

AWARDS & RECOGNITIONS

Shamabhavi Puraskar awarded to Mr. Hari Sankar Rout
Shambhavi Puraskar, 2017 has been persented to Hari Sankar Rout for his noteworthy contribution towards social change. The award was presented by Chief Guest, Rajiv Pratap Rudy – Union Minister of State for Skill Development & Entrepreneurship (Independent Charge) and Guest of Honour Prof. Swapan Kumar Datta, Pro-Vice-Chancellor of the AwardVisva-Bharati University at a function held on April 16, 2017 in Bhubaneswar, Odisha.
i. This was the 4th edition of Shambhavi Puraskar.
ii. Hari Shankar Rout is an engineer by profession. He has been working on natural resource management and livelihood promotion of marginalised communities in remote areas in Kandhamal district of Odisha

Gururaja Bhat Award conferred on historian A.V. Narasimha Murthi
On April, 17, 2017, D.V. Sadananda Gowda – Union Minister for Statistics and Programme Implementation, conferred the Dr. Paduru Gururaja Bhat Memorial Award 2017 on historian and archaeologist Prof. A.V. Narasimha Murthi in Udipi, Karnataka
i. A.V. Narasimha Murthi is the Chairman of Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan (BVB), Mysuru and former Head, Department of Ancient History and Archaeology at University of Mysore.
ii. This award has been conferred upon him to recognise his contribution to Indian Archaelogy, Ancient History and Numismatics.

SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY

INS Chennai dedicated, Chennai to become hub of Naval activities
INS Chennai a P 15A Guided Missile Destroyer of Indian Navy was dedicated to the city of Chennai on April 17, 2017.The ship has a complement of about 45 officers and 395 personnel.
Major Points:
i. The ship is under the command of Captain CR Praveen Nair.
ii. Ceremony includes Shri Edappadi K Palaniswami, Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu, Dr D Karthikeyan IAS, Commissioner of Chennai and Vice Admiral HCS Bisht.
iii. The Indian Navy is ready to meet the challenges at sea due to potent weapon platforms like the Chennai.
iv. He announced the Navy’s commitment towards the Government of Tamil Nadu and provides help to INS CHennaithe people whenever called for.
v. After completion of ceremony the Chief Minister presented a memento to the ship which finds a suitable place and also remind of the association the ship has with the city of Chennai.
Keys :
♦ Chennai is the capital of Tamil Naidu
♦ CM- K.Palaniswami
♦ Governor- C. Vidhya Sagar Rao

Gupshup launches bot-to-bot communication platform ‘InterBot’
Leading bot platform Gupshup has announced the launch of ‘InterBot’, a first of its type platform that enables bot-to-bot communication. Ability to communicate will give bots human-like capabilities to transact, co-ordinate, compete, collaborate and negotiate with each other.
i. Interbot communications will unleash following new possibilities:
1.Shopping bots can negotiate with merchant bots to find the best prices
2.A taxi bot can ask the cafe bot to have the coffee ready by the time the user’s taxi arrives
3.Personal assistant bots can schedule meetings on behalf of humans
4.Bots can form groups and hierarchies to improve decision-making within the enterprise
ii. To use InterBot, bots will first have to publish themselves on this new platform. These bots can exchange services and learn from each other.

OBITUARY

Guitar Pioneer Allan Holdsworth dies at 70
The rock and Jazz fusion guitar pioneer Allan Holdsworth has died at the age of 70 in USA
i. Holdsworth’s 11th and most recent studio album was 2001’s Flat Tire: Music for a Non-Existent ObituaryMovie. In 2009 he released the live album Blues for Tony – a tribute to drummer.
ii. He first appeared on a record in 1969 and released his sole album with the Igginbottom’s Wrench in 1969.
iii. He was working on a new solo album at the time of his death.

Former Andhra Pradesh minister Devineni Rajashekhar passes away
Telugu Desam Party (TDP) leader Devineni Nehru and former Andhra Pradesh minister had died.
i. Nehru began his political career as a student union leader and founded the United Students Organisation.
ii. He served as the minister in N.T. Rama Rao’s cabinet from 1994 to 1996.
iii. He was made the Education Minister in the NTR Cabinet in 1994.
iv. He won the state elections in 1985, 1989 and 1994 as a TDP candidate from Kankipadu constituency in Krishna district.
v. He was elected to Andhra Pradesh assembly from Kankipadu in 1983 and retained the seat in 1985, 1989 and 1994.

IMPORTANT DAYS

World Heritage Day – April 18 2017
World Heritage day is celebrated on 18th of April every year.It’s been chosen to tie in with the UN’s International Year of Sustainable Tourism for Development.
♦ Theme of the World Heritage day is Cultural Heritage & Sustainable Tourism.
Important Highlights:
i. On 18 April 1982 on the occasion of a symposium organised by ICOMOS in Tunisia, the holding of the “International Day for Monuments and Sites” to be celebrated throughout the world.
ii. On November 1983 recommending that Member States examine the possibility of declaring 18 April each year “International Monuments and Sites Day”.
iii. ICOMOS, the International Council for Monuments and Sites makes a number of suggestions on how to celebrate the World Heritage Day:
iv. It is celebrated to raise awareness of the importance of protecting and preserving various World Heritage Daysites around the world that have achieved world heritage status
v. Awards has been given to organizations or persons who have made an outstanding contribution to the conservation and promotion of cultural heritage or produced an excellent publication on the subject.
vi. Promotion of World heritage site has been done by giving Special awareness raising activities amongst school children and youth.
vii. Inviting local and foreign experts and personalities for conferences and interviews.
viii. Visits to monuments and sites, and restoration works, possibly with free admission.
ix. Organising discussions in cultural-centres, city halls, and other public spaces.