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Current Affairs Today – April 21 2017

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Current Affairs April 21 2017

INDIAN AFFAIRS

Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad launches Pro bono Services, Legal Aid Schemes, Nyaya Mitra
On April 20, 2017, Union Law Minister, Ravi Shankar Prasad launched following 3 three initiatives for providing legal aid to marginalised and vulnerable communities:
i. Pro bono legal service is a web-based initiative through which lawyers who want to volunteer for ‘pro bono’ services can register on the justice department website: doj.gov.in.
ii. Tele Law litigants from marginalised communities can avail legal advice from expert panel of lawyers stationed at State Legal Services Centres (SLCA) by video conferencing through the common service centres (CSCs).
iii. ‘Nyaya Mitra’ Scheme aims to reduce pendency in lower courts of selected districts. Cases which have been pending for more than 10 years will be accorded priority.

India develops National Action Plan to combat Antimicrobial Resistance(AMR)
‘Inter-Ministerial Consultation on Antimicrobial Resistance (AMR) Containment’ was held on April 19, 2017 in New Delhi. At this meeting, Union Health Minister J P Nadda announced the finalization of India’s comprehensive and multi-sectoral National India develops National Action Plan to combat Antimicrobial Resistance(AMR)Action Plan to combat Antimicrobial Resistance (AMR).
i. ‘Delhi Declaration’ for collectively strategizing to contain AMR was signed by all the ministers present at the meeting.
ii. AMR is the evolutionary ability of microbes such bacteria, virus and parasite to become resistant to medicines which treat the diseases caused by them.

Punjab Govt. to set up ‘Book Banks’ in school
Punjab Govt. took a decision to set up ‘Book banks’ in all schools .The old students would be asked to submit their old books which would be afforded to needy children free of charge.
i. This is very helpful to the needy students who couldn’t purchase the books every academic year and also to save the spending of considerable amount for books.
ii. Punjab Education Minister Aruna Chaudhary stated that the Education department decided to initiate book banks in all schools of the state to prevent the paper wastage, precious time and money of the students.
iii. Book bank is to be started on the motive of voluntary initiative and is not compulsion on any student.

Supreme Court sets alimony benchmark: 25% of ex-husband’s net salary
The Supreme Court (SC) of India in April 2017 set a benchmark for maintenance to be paid by a husband to his former wife.
Key Notes:
i. The court has mentioned that 25% of his net salary to be given to his ex-wife for maintenance.
ii. Amount of maintenance or permanent alimony must be sufficient to ensure that a woman lived with dignity after separating from her husband.
iii. The court has mentioned there was nothing wrong in the order of the high court but Supreme Court has reduced the sum by Rs 3000 on the ground that the man had remarried and was responsible for his new family.
iv. The court also mentioned thatit seems that the decision of the apex court has an inclination towards protecting the claims of women in matrimonial disputes that affects the financial status of the couple.

NDMA Conducted first Mock Exercise on forest fire
The National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) has conducted first-of-its-kind State-level mock exercise on forest fire in Uttarakhand.It is a 3 day event and started on 18th April 2017.
Key Points:
i. It was conducted on the basis of principle of Incident Response System (IRS)
ii. It identifies stakeholders and clearly attributes roles and responsibilities to each one of NDMA Conducted first Mock Exercise on forest firethem.
iii. The exercise is significant as almost 70 per cent of the State’s geographical area is under forests and incidents of forest fires are commonplace.
iv. The exercises were conducted in coordination with various agencies, such as fire, forest, Army, health, police, National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) and State Disaster Response Force (SDRF) and civil defense.
v. NDMA has conducted more than 550 mock exercises in different States and Union Territories.
vi. To improve preparedness and response mechanisms for various disaster situations.

INTERNATIONAL AFFAIRS

Modi, Paytm founder among Time’s 100 most influential people of 2017
This year Margot Robbie has been featured in Time’s 100 Most Influential People Of 2017.Margot Robbie is an Australian actress. She started her career in his late 2000s.
i. In Time’s 100 two Indians are on the list Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Paytm founder Vijay Shekhar Sharma.
ii. This is the second time when Donald Trump has made the list.

Australia announces sweeping changes to Citizenship laws
Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has made broad changes to Citizenship laws for new applicants.
Major Highlights:
i. Under this announcement the removal of 457 visa program for foreign workers that was used majorly by the Indians.
ii. It was done to tackle the growing unemployment in the country.
iii. To get the citizenship a person must be a permanent resident for at least four years, Australiawhich is three years longer than the present requirement.
iv. The applicant should not have got involved in criminal activity, including family violence.
v. The applicants have to pass an English test which will focus purely on respect for women and children.
vi. A person should respect the country’s law and Australian values.
vii. At present, there is no restriction on the number of times an applicant can fail.
viii. In addition, applicants will be automatically disqualified if they are found cheating during the citizenship test.

BANKING & FINANCE

RBI, Bank of Guyana sign MoU for supervisory exchange of information
The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has signed an MoU with the Bank of Guyana on “Supervisory Cooperation and Exchange of Supervisory Information”.
Key Points:
i. It was signed by Dr Gobind N. Ganga, Governor on behalf of Bank of Guyana and Dr Urjit R. Patel, Governor on behalf of Reserve Bank of India.
ii. RBI had signed 40 such MoUs, one Letter for Supervisory Co-operation and one Statement of Co-operation.
iii. The MoU was signed with an aim to promote greater co-operation and share supervisory information.
Guyana :
♦ Capital: Georgetown
♦ Currency: Guyanese dollar

AU Financiers converts to small finance bank from a NBFC
Au Financiers India is a non-banking finance company that has converted into a small finance bank and called AU Small Finance.
Key Points:
i. AU obtained a fresh certificate of incorporation from the Corporate Affairs Ministry on April 13.
ii. It also got license from RBI on April 19 for the commencement of operations of this small AU Financiers converts to small finance bank from a NBFC'finance bank.
iii. Au Financiers has engaged in the business of extending commercial/personal vehicle loans, micro, small and medium enterprise (MSME) loans and SME loans, serving primarily the low-, middle-income, and under-served customer segments.
iv. AU NBFC had a network of 300 branches spread across 10 States — Rajasthan, Maharashtra, Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh, Punjab, Delhi, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Chhattisgarh and Goa

Fino Paytech to help NABRAD digitise rural banks across 5 states
Payment Technology company will going to launch Payments bank FinoPaytech.It helps to facilitate NABARD to help the rural bank digitization drive in the states of Haryana, MP, Bihar, Gujarat and Maharashtra.
Key points:
i. Fino will provide over 5000 Aadhaar enabled micro ATMs.
ii. Its main motive is to help rural masses with Aadhaar enabled micro ATMs as they facilitate eKYC, paperless and instant banking.
iii. It also provides financial inclusion gateway services to district central cooperative (DCC) banks and Primary Agricultural Credit Societies (PACS) across these states.
iv. Payments Banks are planning to utilise the large nation-wide UID (Aadhaar) coverage.
v. It helps in faster opening of bank accounts and enabling cashless transactions either by using RuPay cards or Aadhar Enabled Payments System (AEPS).

BUSINESS

India and Republic of Korea sign Inter Governmental MOU for Defence
India and the Republic of Korea (RoK) have signed an Inter-governmental Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) for Defence Industry Co-operation in Shipbuilding.
Key Points:
i. The MoU was signed by Secretary (Defence Production), Shri Ashok Kumar Gupta and Minister of Defence Acquisition and Programme Administration (DAPA) Chang Myoung-Jin
ii. It is valid for a period of 5 years.
iii. It helps in Developing and strengthening defence industry co-operation between Republic of India and the Republic of Korea.
iv. The MoU will help the Make in India initiative of the Government of India.India and Republic of Korea sign Inter Governmental MOU for Defence
v. The organisations recommended for co-operative projects that conclude separate agreements between them to implement the specific projects.
About Republic of Korea:
♦ Capital: Seoul
♦ Currency: South Korean Won
♦ Official Language: Korean
♦ President Of South Korea: Hwang Kyo-ahn

AWARDS & RECOGNITIONS

Aamir Khan and Kapil Dev to get Dinanath Mangeshkar Award
The Dinanath Mangeshkar Awards has been given to Actor Aamir Khan and kapildev cricketer.It is the 75th Master Dinanath Mangeshkar Award. It will be held on 24th April.
i. Aamir Khan will be honoured with the Vishesh Puraskar for Best Film Dangal
ii. Kapil Dev will be honoured for his outstanding contribution to Indian Cricket.

National Safety Council’s NSCI Safety Awards 2016 presented to 70 Organisations
National Safety Council’s ‘NSCI Safety Awards’ for the year 2016 were presented by Mr. Bandaru Dattatreya  – Minister of State (Independent Charge), Labour & Employment on April 20, 2017 in New Delhi.
i. 434 organisations (307 factories from manufacturing sector, 87 establishments from construction sector and 40 MSME units) were in the race for NSCI Safety Awards 2016.
ii. Out of 434 organisations, 70 organisations have been selected for NSCI Safety Awards 2016 in four categories viz. Sarva Shreshtha Suraksha Puraskar, Shreshtha Suraksha Puraskar, Suraksha Puraskar and Prashansa Patra. In addition to this, 12 client organizations from Construction Sector have also been awarded.

GNFC wins the Golden Peacock Award for Innovation of Cashless Township
The Gujarat Narmada Valley Fertilizers & Chemicals Ltd (GNFC) won the prestigious Golden Peacock Award.It was given on 19th April 2017.
Key Points:
i. Rajiv Kumar Gupta (IAS), the managing director of the GNFC, was given the award at a ceremony at the 27th World Congress at the Dubai Global Convention.
ii. The Golden Peacock Awards has been established by the Institute of Directors (IOD) in India in 1991.
iii. It won in the category of Innovative Product/Service for pioneering a cashless township transformation model.
iv. The award recognizes the company’s contribution to innovative frameworks.
v. They are now widely acknowledged as a benchmark of Corporate Excellence worldwide.
vi. GNFC won from among 313 applicants for Golden Peacock Global Award for Innovative Product/Service

APPOINTMENTS & RESIGNS

B.N. Mohapatra appointed as Railway Financial Commissioner
B.N. Mohapatra has been appointed as the new Financial Commissioner (FC) of Indian Railways. He took charge on April 17, 2017.
♦ Prior to this posting, B.N.Mohapatra was posted as Additional Member (Finance) November 1, 2016.
More information about B.N. Mohapatra:
i. N. Mohapatra has completed his graduation in LLB and post graduation in Political Science
ii. He is an officer of Indian Railway Accounts Service (IRAS) – 1980 batch
iii. During his career, Mohapatra has worked on various higher and middle level management posts on the Indian Railways like DRM/ Tinsukhia, NFR, Assistant General Manager (AGM) on East Coast Railway.
iv. In Railway Board, he has worked in various directorates like Pay Commission, Establishment, Expenditure and Accounts as Executive Director and Advisor.

SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY

Amazon launches Fire TV Stick in India
On `April 19,2017  Amazon.com Inc. launched its content-streaming Fire TV Stick in India.
i. Amazon Fire TV vice-president Marc Whitten stated that India is the fifth market Amazon launches Fire TV Stick in Indiawhere Amazon Fire TV Stick has been introduced after the US, the UK, Germany, and Japan.
ii. The Fire TV Stick runs a customized version of Android and has support for Android apps and games.
iii. It is capable of 1080p video output and comes with the Alexa Voice Remote allowing you to search for content using voice commands.
iv. Online video library will replicate on television with the help of a working wi-fi connection.
v. The Fire TV Stick also has support for streaming services such as Netflix, Hulu, HBO Now, YouTube, ESPN, Spotify, Pandora, and Vevo.T.

China launches first unmanned cargo spacecraft
China has launched its first unmanned Cargo Spacecraft named Tianzhou 1.
Key Points:
i. It is programmed to conduct scientific experiments after reaching China’s second space station.
ii. Powered by a Long March-7 Y2 carrier rocket Tianzhou-1 roared into the air from the Wenchang Space centre in the Southern Hainan province.
iii. The tube craft measures 10.6 metres in length.It can carry over six tonnes of cargo as well as satellite.
iv. China aims to build up permanent space station by 2022.
v. China will become the 3rd country besides Russia and US to master the techniques of refueling in Space.
vi. Tianzhou-1 is larger and heavier than Tiangong-2 with a maximum diameter of 3.35 metres and its weight is 8.6 tonnes.

Malaysia Airline has become the first to use new satellite-based real-time global aircraft tracking  
Aireon and Flight Aware announced that Malaysia Airlines will be the first SITAONAIR airline customer to benefit from a revolutionary flight-tracking partnership.
i. On March 8, 2014 Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 had been disappeared from radar somewhere above the Indian Ocean with 239 people.Malaysia Airline has become the first to use new satellite-based real-time global aircraft tracking
ii. This service will have access to minute-by-minute, 100% global, flight-tracking data, delivered by SITAONAIR’s AIRCOM® Flight Tracker.
iii. Aireon , SITAONAIR, and Flight Aware are the three companies will be operated the satellite- tracking system. It uses a constellation of 72 communication satellites operated by US firm Iridium.
iv. The flights will be tracked using an industry-wide standard known as “automatic dependent surveillance – broadcast” or ADS-B, which usually shares data on flight location via ground-based receivers.
v. The first ten satellites were launched in January, 2017. Fifty-six more low-earth-orbit satellites will follow.

OBITUARY

Veteran journalist Nora Chopra no more
Due to the multi – organ failure, veteran journalist Nora Chopra who was 64, and is survived by two sons passed away on April 21, 2017.
i. Chopra was esteemed for being a adoring, spirited and combative journalist. She was inspired and admired by all other journalists.
ii. President Pranab Mukherjee , Information and Broadcasting Minister M Venkaiah Naidu , Congress president Sonia Gandhi , number of senior journalists and other people from different walks of life expressed their condolences over Nora Chopra’s death.
iii. Ms Chopra had started her career with the Pioneer in Allahabad, and later worked for Northern India Patrika, the Asian Age and Tehelka.

IMPORTANT DAYS

Union Home Minister inaugurates 2-day Civil Services Day
On April 20, 2017, Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh inaugurated the two-day 11th Civil Services Day function in New Delhi. This function was organised by the Department of Administrative Reforms and Public Grievances (DARPG) under Ministry of Personnel, Public Grievances and Pensions.Union Home Minister inaugurates 2-day Civil Services Day
i. On April 21, 2017, Prime Minister Narendra Modi presented awards for Excellence in Public Administration
ii. PM Modi also released two books at the function:
1.“New Beginning” on Innovations
2.“Fostering Excellence” for initiatives under identified Priority Programmes.