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Current Affairs Today – April 24 2017

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Current Affairs April 24 2017

INDIAN AFFAIRS

Bihar assembly passes GST Bill
Bihar State Legislature has ratified the Constitution Amendment Bill on Goods and Services Tax (GST) on April 24, 2017
Key Notes:
i. The GST Bill needs to be ratified by at least 15 state legislatures before the President can notify the GST Council, which will then decide the new tax rate and other issues.
ii. According to the constitutional provision the Bill has to be passed by at least 50 per cent of the state Assemblies.
iii. Under it, a single rate of GST will replace various taxes to ensure seamless transfer of goods and services.
iv. The GST Bill is aimed at bringing a uniform tax regime in the country by subsuming state levies.
v. The government intends to reach the golden number of 15 states in the coming month.
National Park & Wild LifeSanctuary in Bihar
Valmiki National Park, Bhimbandh Wild Life Sanctuary, GautamBudha Wild Life Sanctuary,
Udaipur Wild Life Sanctuary, Pant (Rajgir) Wild Life Sanctuary and Nagi Dam Wild Life Sanctuary

India Post releases Coffee scented stamps
On 23 April 2017 “The India Post”has released a Commemorative Postage Stamp on Coffee as bring aFragrance Stamp in Bengaluru.
Key Points:
i. The stamp was released by Union Minister of State for Commerce and Industry Nirmala Sitharaman and Union Minister of State for Communications Manoj Sinha.India Post releases Coffee scented stamps
ii. India is a major producer of coffee and specialized flavours of the beverage bean.
iii. Nirmala Sitharaman mentioned that such cross coordination between the Coffee and Postal Departments would go a long way in promoting coffee
iv. Nirmala Sitharamanhas released the stamp and printed 1 lakh stamps in the denomination of Rs 100.
v. After the date of its release these fragrance stamps will be available for sale at Bengaluru GPO, Mysuru, Mangaluru and Belgaum Philately Bureaus and other head post offices in the state.

Andhra Pradesh sets up welfare board for transgenders
Andhra Pradesh has now established a welfare board for transgender persons in the state.
Key Points:
i. Andhra Pradesh has launched Hijra Transgender Welfare Board at the Sri Venkateshwara University in Tirupati.
ii. The welfare board will be run by direct democracy by the community, with special voting rights for the minorities.
iii. The move was welcomed by the Trans community in Andhra.
iv. Rachana Mudraboyini, transgender rights activist who was a part of the inauguration ceremony.
v. To help the members of the transgender community and have access to the government welfare schemes.
vi. Other states like Tamil Nadu, Kerala and West Bengal have set up welfare boards and policies for transgender persons.
vii. This is the first time that Andhra has formulated a policy to help transgender persons get education and jobs, and also provide economic assistance to them.

One of Asia’s largest church inaugurated in Nagaland
The Sumi Baptist Church Zunheboto (SBCZ) is in the northeastern state of Nagaland, India. It is finally set for dedication after almost a decade since its construction began.
Key Notes:
i. It is the largest church building in Asia, the Sumi Baptist Church Zunheboto.One of Asia's largest church inaugurated in Nagaland
ii. It stands tall at 1864.9 m above the sea level and measures 23, 73,476 Sq.ft.
iii. Its budget is Rs 36 crore.
iv. Seating capacity is of 85,000 people.
v. Its length is 203 feet breadth is 153 feet and height is 166 feet.
Brief history of churches 
Se Catedral de Santa Catarina, known as Se Cathedral, is known to be the largest in Goa and one of the best in the world.
♦ Saint John the Baptist is the oldest church in North India
♦ The Christ Church of Shimla is the second oldest church in North India. It was built in neo-Gothic style in 1857 and is situated on The Ridge.

INTERNATIONAL AFFAIRS

India becomes world’s fifth largest military spender
As per figures revealed by Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI), India has become world’s fifth largest military spender in year 2016. India’s military expenditure for 2016 was $55.9 billion, which marks 8.5% growth over 2015 figure.
Top 3 Military Spenders in 2016:

Country Amount Spent in 2016
US $611 billion
China $215 billion
Russia $69.2 billion

NASA Astronaut Peggy Whitson breaks US Spaceflight record
Peggy Whitson is the first woman to command the space station twice. She holds the record for most spacewalks conducted by a female astronaut.
Key Points:
i. Peggy Whitson is set to extend her mission with an additional three months at the International Space Station.
ii. NASA and the Russian space agency Roscosmos signed an agreement to extend Peggy Most Spacewalks by a Woman - US Astronaut Peggy Whitson Breaks Sunita Williams RecordWhitson’s stay on the space station into Expedition 52.
iii. Landing is targeted for September.
iv. Whitson’s third long-duration stay onboard the space station
v. She launched on Nov. 17 with 377 days in space on April 24.
vi. It will break Jeff Williams’ standing United States record of 534 cumulative days in space.
vii. In 2008, Whitson became the first woman to command the space station and on April 9 will become the first woman to command it twice.
viii. She holds the record for most spacewalks by a female.

BANKING & FINANCE

Sovereign gold bonds priced at Rs 2,901 per gm, issue opens on April 24, 2017
First tranche of Sovereign Gold Bonds Scheme for the year 2017-18 has opened for subscription from April 24, 2017.
Details about Sovereign Gold Bonds Scheme 2017-18–Series I:
1.Subscription Date: 24 -28 April, 2017
2.Bonds Issue Date: May 12, 2017
3.Issue Price: Rs. 2901 per gram of gold – includes a discount of Rs. 50/gram on nominal value.
4.Tenure: 8 years
5.Interest Rate: 2.75% per annum, payable every 6 months on initial investment.

SBI, CREDAI ink MoU for concessional loan for housing projects
SBI and CREDAI have signed an agreement to provide loans at a concessional rate to builders as well as customers for affordable housing projects.
Key Highlights:
i. SBI and CREDAI have signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) to collaborate and work towards the development of the real estate sector.
ii. The duration of the agreement is for a period of three years.
iii. SBI is a major player in home loans segment with 25 per cent market share.
iv. Memorandum of understanding has signed for the affordable housing and green housing projects.
v. SBI will provide 10 basis points concession to home buyers and 10-35 basis points to CREDAI’s developer members.statebankofindia
vi. CREDAI’s members are launching 373 affordable housing projects comprising 2.33 lakh units with an investment of over Rs 70,000 crore.
vii. SBI and CREDAI have also tied up for development of green real estate projects.
Keys People:
♦ CREDAI President : Jaxay Shah
♦ CEO of SBI:Arundhati Bhattacharya

BUSINESS

India replaces Japan as no 2 LPG importer
India has replaced Japan as the world’s second-largest importer of liquefied petroleum gas (LPG).
i. China has retained its position as world’s top LPG importer.
ii. Import of LPG, which is mostly used as cooking fuel in India, during 2016 -17 was 11 Million Tonnes. This marks a growth of 23% as compared to previous year. During the same period Japan imported 10.6 million tonnes LPG, marking a 3.2% reduction as compared to previous year.

Australia to Import Indian Mangoes for first time
Indian mangoes will be imported to Australia for the first time after protocols were revised to allow the Asian-grown fruit into the local economy.
Key Notes:
Australia to Import Indian Mangoes for first timei. The fruit would be allowed into Australia as long as they were treated with irradiation before leaving India.
ii. This meant that Australians would be able to enjoy the fruit long after the local season ended.
About Australia
♦ Capital: Canberra
♦ Currency: Australian dollar
♦ PM: Malcolm Turnbull

India imposes anti-dumping duty on a chemical import from Thailand
For a period of five years India has imposed an anti-dumping duty of up to USD 135.40 per tonne on imports of a chemical used in foam making from Thailand.
Key Highlights:
i. To ensure fair trade and provide a level-playing field to the domestic industry these are some measures which are taken.
ii. The application for the anti-dumping investigation was filed by Manali Petrochemicals Ltd on behalf of the domestic industry.
iii. This move has been taken to protect domestic players from cheap imports of ‘Flexible Slabstock Polyol‘ from the South- East Asian country.
iv. The chemical is used in the foam industry, which is used in mattresses, pillows, transport seating and packaging.
v. The government has also imposed anti-dumping duties on several other products including steel items and certain chemicals

Embraer, Air India to set up MRO facility in Secunderabad
Brazilian aerospace major Embraer has partnered with state owned Air India to maintain its brand of private and business jets in the entire South east Asian region.
Key Highlights:
i. This partnership has done to set up maintenance and to repair MRO facility.
ii. It will come up at the Begumpet airport in Secunderabad in Telangana.
iii. According to leading consultancy KPMG Indian carriers expected to increase their fleet size to 1,740 planes in the next 20 years.
iv. Embraer will provide training as well as ‘heavy discounts’ to Air India Engineering Services on tools and equipment.
v. The policy also allowed foreign aircraft brought to India for MRO work to stay for a period of six months, which can be extended after permission from DGCA.Embraer, Air India to set up MRO facility in Secunderabad
vi. The domestic MRO market is projected to be worth $5.2 billion by 2026.
vii. It also projects over tenfold increase during the next ten years in MRO industry’s revenues from the current $92 million to $975 million.
About Telangana
♦ Capital: Hyderabad
♦ CM: K. ChandrashekarRao
♦ Governor: E.S.L. Narasimhan

AWARDS & RECOGNITIONS

Goldman Environmental Prize for Prafulla Samantra
65 year-old social activist, Prafulla Samantra has been announced as one of the six winners of 2017 Goldman Environmental Prize.
i. The award ceremony was held on April 24, 2017 in San Francisco, US.
ii. The Goldman Environmental Prize website describes Prafulla Samantra as “An iconic leader of social justice movements in India, who led a historic 12-year legal battle that affirmed the indigenous Dongria Kondh’s land rights and protected the Niyamgiri Hills from a massive, open-pit aluminium ore mine.”

P C Chandra Puraskaar awarded to Kailash Satyarthi
P C Chandra Puraskar has been given to Nobel laureate Kailash Satyarthi on 23 April 2017.
Key Notes:
i. He was honoured with the award for his global campaign against child slavery and exploitative child labour.
ii. Satyarthi was handed over a citation, a trophy and a cheque of Rs 10 lakh at an awards ceremony in Kolkata.
About Kailash Satyarthi
i. Kailash Satyarthi is an Indian child’s rights and education advocate.
ii. He was born on 11 January 1954.He founded the Bachpan Bachao Andolan.
iii. He has acted to protect the rights of more than 83000 children from 144 countries.
P C Chandra Puraskaar awarded to Kailash Satyarthiiv. In 2014, he was honoured with the Nobel Peace Prize, which he shared with Malala Yousafzai of Pakistan.
v. He is the fifth Nobel Prize winner for India and only the second Indian winner of the Nobel Peace Prize after Mother Teresa in 1979.
vi. It was given because of his work and activism that the International Labour Organization adopted Convention No. 182 on the worst forms of child labour, which is now a principal guideline for governments around the world. 

Rajkummar Rao’s ‘Newton’ Wins Best Film At The Hong Kong International Film Festival
Actor Rajkummar Rao-starrer film ‘Newton’ in April 2017 won the best film honour at the 41st Hong Kong International Film Festival (HKIFF).
Key Highlights:
i. The film has its world premiere at the 67th Berlin Film Festival where it won the International Federation of Art Cinemas (CICAE) award in its Forum segment.
ii. It is directed by Amit Masurkar.
iii. The movie revolves around Newton Kumar, a rookie government clerk, who is sent on election duty to a naxal-controlled town in the conflict-ridden jungles of Chhattisgarh
About Hong Kong Film Festival
The Hong Kong International Film Festival is Asia’s oldest international film festival.
♦ It was founded in 1976.
♦ The 41st Hong Kong International Film Festival was held from 11 to 25 April 2017.
♦ The festival screens over 250 titles from more than 55 countries in over 11 major cultural venues across the territory every year.

APPOINTMENTS & RESIGNS

Mridul Gehlot elected as president of kabaddi federation
On April 24,2017, Mridul Gehlot and Dinesh Patel elected unanimously president and general secretary of Amateur Kabaddi Federation of India (AKFI) in Jaipur.
i. The elections were held here under the supervision of justice I S Israni.
ii. Indian Olympic Association, International Kabaddi Federation and Asian Kabaddi Federation,  observers from the Sports Ministry were also attended for the elections.

ACQUISITIONS & MERGERS

HCL to acquire US-based mortgage BPO provider for $30 mn 
HCL Technologies ,India’s fourth largest software services will acquire US- based Urban Fulfillment Services (UFS) for up to $30 million (over Rs 193 crore) in cash to boost its mortgage business process outsourcing(BPO) business.
i. The total cash transaction is up to $30 million, including contingent payments subject to certain financial milestonesHCL to acquire US-based mortgage BPO provider for $30 mn
ii. HCL Technologies Corporate Vice President and Global Head – Business Services Anoop Tiwari noted that the attainment of UFS strengthens HCL’s capabilities in mortgage BPO services, loan fulfillment and debt servicing space.
iii. It added that the deal is expected to be fulfilled by June this year, subject to certain closing conditions including transfer of licenses and approval of the customers.
Urban Fulfillment Services(UFS)
♦ US- based Urban Fulfillment Services (UFS) is a provider of mortgage business process and fulfillment services.
♦ It founded in 2002, the company has over 350 highly skilled professionals. It has three centers in the US.
♦ The target company posted revenue of $48 million for the financial year ended 31 December 2016, up from $39 million the year before and $18 million in 2014.

SPORTS

Nadal wins Men’s Singles and Bopanna and Cuevas Lift men’s doubles in the Monte Carlo Masters
Rafael Nadal has won the Men’s Singles title of Monte Carlo Masters Tennis tournament on April 23, 2017. He defeated Albert Vinolas in Monaco.

SR. No. Category Winner Runner Up
1 Men’s Single Rafael Nadal Albert Vinolas
2 Men’s Double RohanBopanna Pablo Cuevas Arneodo and Hugo Nys

Haryana Champion in National Youth Athletics
Haryana beats Kerala at the National Youth Athletics Meet at Hyderabad Kerala was at the top place for the last five years but now Haryana emerged champions with 166.5 points.
Key points:
i. The National youth athletics championships were held at the GMC Balayogi Athletics Stadium, Gachibowli.
ii. It was held from April 21 to 23.The meet saw the participation of about 505 athletes.
iii. RohitY adav improved his personal best in javelin throw and has a set a new meet record.
iv. The National youth athletics meet is a selection meet for selecting Indian teams to participate in the Asian Championships in May in Bangkok and the World Youth Championships in Nairobi in July.
v. Kerala managed to retain the team crown for girls while Haryana boys topped and won the boys’ title.

IMPORTANT DAYS

Commemoration of the National Panchayati Raj Day on 24th April 2017
National Panchayati Raj (PR) Diwas has observed on April 24 every year.
Key points:
i. Significance of the day: It marks the passing of the Constitution (73rd Amendment) Act, 1992 that came into force with effect from 24 April 1993.
ii. Every year on this day Union Ministry of Panchayati Raj organises National Conference to commemorate the National Panchayati Raj Diwas.
iii. Best performing Gram Panchayats are conferred with Rashtriya Gaurav Gram Sabha Purskar by the Union Ministry of Panchayati Raj.
iv. This year Minister of Panchayati Raj, Shri Narendra Singh Tomar is commemorating Commemoration of the National Panchayati Raj Day on 24th April 2017“National Panchayati Raj Day” at Lucknow Uttar Pradesh .
v. The Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh, Shri Adityanath Yogi inaugurate the conference.
vi. The Kuther Gram Panchayat of Himachal Pradesh will also get this award for its best works.
vii. This Gram Panchayat was the first to become open defecation free (ODF) and was awarded sum of five lakh Rupees.