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- Current Affairs 2017 April
Government withdraws subsidy to mild hybrids under FAME scheme
i. As per a notification issued by Ministry of Heavy Industries and Public Enterprises, benefits to given to mild hybrid vehicles under FAME India scheme have been withdrawn with effect from 1st April 2017. The notification also clarified that decision does not apply to sales of mild hybrid vehicles made to retail purchasers up to 31st March 2017.
ii. This news has negatively affected Maruti Suzuki – the largest car maker in India, whose popular models ‘Ertiga’ and ‘Ciaz’ use hybrid technology and were eligible for benefits under FAME India scheme.
Government sets up National Board for Electric Mobility
i. In a bid to promote electric mobility and manufacturing of electric/hybrid vehicles and their components, Central Government constituted National Board for Electric Mobility (NBEM) on 3rd April 2017.
ii. Chairperson: Secretary of Department of Heavy Industry
iii. Members: Senior Bureaucrats including Secretaries in the Department of Revenue, Department of Economic Affairs, Ministry of Road Transport & Highways, Ministry of Power and Ministry of Petroleum & Natural Gas
South Asia Subregional Economic Cooperation (SASEC) Finance Ministers’ Meeting held in New Delhi
i. Union Finance Minister, Mr. Arun Jaitley chaired the South Asia Subregional Economic Cooperation (SASEC) Finance Ministers’ Meeting on 3rd April 2017 at Taj Palace Hotel, New Delhi. Along with Finance Ministers from Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Maldives, Myanmar, Nepal and Sri Lanka, officials from Asian Development Bank (ADB) were also present.
ii. From this meeting onwards, Myanmar has become the 7th nation to join SASEC as a member country.
Malaysian Prime Minister Mohd Najib Tun Razak’s five day visit to India
i. Mohd Najib Tun Razak, the Prime Minister of Malaysia was on an official visit to India from 30th March 2017 to 3rd April 2017.
ii. Seven MoUs that were signed in presence of Malaysian Prime Minister Mohd Najib Tun Razak and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi in New Delhi
iii. Out of the 7 MoUs signed between India and Malaysia, the most significant was the one between Andhra Pradesh Economic Development Board and MIGHT Technology Nurturing Sdn. Bhd (MTN) for implementation of 4th Generation Technology Park in Andhra Pradesh.
Polythene manufactured below 50 microns is banned by Jammu & Kashmir Government
i. The Jammu & Kashmir state government has banned the usage of polythene bags which is manufactured below 50 microns from April 3, 2017.
ii. The ban was officially announced by Minister for Forest, Environment and Ecology, Choudhary Lal Singh.
iii. The government also stated that each plastic carry bag and multilayered packaging must have the name, registration number of the manufacturer and thickness of the material printed on it in English.
iv. Violator of the Act will be liable for punishment up to one month in jail or fine of Rs 5000 or both.
v. The awareness camps were also organized to educate masses about ill effects of non-biodegradable products.
vi. New guidelines and regulations were also formed that would facilitate proper recycling of plastic waste, reducing its impact on the ecology.
vii. Street vendors must get registered with the concerned Municipal body for trading in the products of polythene and has to pay a fee of Rs 48000 annually
Berhampur Thakurani Yatra Festival Begins in Odisha
i. The festival of Goddess Budhi Thakurani called Berhampur Thakurani Yatra begun in southern Odisha on April 3, 2017.
ii. The month long festival will be celebrated by the weaving community, known as Devangiris
iii. The festival was organized by P Durga Prasad Desibehera, whose family has been conducting the festival for generations.
iv. The Goddess Budhi Thakurani will be placed near her parental house in Desibehera Street and from there she will be taken to different streets.
v. The festival will be conducted till May 1, 2017 which accounts to a total of 29 days.
vi. On behalf of this festival, devotees will be dressed up as mythological characters from Mahabharata and Ramayana besides Asura kings and will ride around the city.
vii. Berhampur is called the Silk city of Odisha. The festival has been celebrated in Berhampur from 1672.
♦ Capital: Bhubaneswar with 30 districts.
♦ Chief Minister: Naveen Patnaik.
♦ Governor: S.C. Jamir.
India ranks 3rd in WADA doping charts for the Year 2015
i. India has been ranked 3rd in the doping violation report published by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) for the year 2015. The report stated that, 117 athletes from India have been punished after testing positive for banned substances.
ii. India held the same position in the year 2013 and 2014. The urine samples taken from Indian athletes were used by WADA to find out the violation. The top spot is held by Russia followed by Italy
Indian Army Chief conferred with Nepal Army honorary title in Kathmandu
i. General Bipin Rawat, the Chief of Army Staff (COAS) has visited Nepal and Bangladesh from March 28, 2017 to April 2, 2017 on his first foreign visit.
ii. On his visit to Nepal, the Army Chief was presented with Honorary General of the Nepalese Army title by the President of Nepal on March 29, 2017.
iii. The historic tradition is continuing uninterrupted since its inception in 1969 which shows special relationship between the Indian and the Nepalese Army.
iv. When Chief of Army Staff of Nepalese Army, General Rajendra Chettri visited India, he was presented with Honorary General of the Indian Army on February 3, 2016.
v. Bipin Rawat also met the Chief of Army Staff of Bangladesh Army, General Abu Belal Muhammad Shafiul Huq after his visit to Bangladesh on April 1, 2017.
vi. The main aim of this visit is to strengthen India’s defense cooperation.
♦ Capital: Dhaka. ♦ Capital: Kathmandu.
♦ Currency: Taka. ♦ Currency: Nepalese rupee.
♦ Prime Minister: Sheikh Hasina. ♦ Prime Minister: Pushpa Kamal Dahal.
BANKING & FINANCE
ICICI Bank and Axis Bank sold Rs 1800 crore of loans of Ballarpur to Edelweiss Asset Re-Company
i. Market leaders ICICI Bank and Axis Bank sold Rs 1800 crore worth loans of paper maker Ballarpur Industries to Edelweiss Asset Reconstruction Company.
ii. This is the first time, a potential bad loan being sold off to an Asset Reconstruction Company at book value.
iii. Axis Bank sold loans of Rs.1200 crore and ICICI Bank sold loans of Rs.600 crore.
iv. The loan sold is under 15:85 structure where 15 per cent is paid in cash and the balance 85% is paid in securities receipts.
v. The bond is prepared as the amount will be repaid over five to seven years depending on the rate of recovery.
vi. In February, 2017, India’s credit rating agency downgraded Ballarpur Industries debt by assigning it a D-rating, which led to the selling of loan to Edelweiss.
♦ Headquarter: Mumbai.
♦ Tagline: Badhti ka nam zindagi.
♦ CEO: Shikha Sharma
Industrial Credit and Investment Corporation of India (ICICI) Bank
♦ Headquarter: Mumbai.
♦ Tagline: Khayaal Apka; Hum hai na.
♦ CEO: Chanda Kochhar
New Rs 200 denominated notes proposal cleared by RBI
i. India’s central bank, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has cleared a proposal to introduce new currency notes of Rs 200 on April 3, 2017.
ii. The proposal was cleared during the RBI board meeting held in March, 2017. The information was passed by officials from RBI.
iii. The process of producing the Rs 200 notes will begin after June, if the central government officially approves the new denomination.
iv. The move was made to reduce the cash crunch after demonetization and Rs 200 will be the 2nd new denomination after Rs 2000.
v. As per RBI governor Urjit Patel, 9.2 lakh crore worth new notes were introduced into the economy after demonetization.
Policy rates (As per January 14, 2017)
♦ Bank Rate – 6.75%
♦ Repo Rate – 6.25%
♦ Reverse Repo Rate – 5.75%
♦ Cash Reserve Ratio (CRR) – 4%
♦ Statutory Liquidity Ratio (SLR) – 20.5%
♦ Base Rate -9.25%–9.65%
♦ Savings Deposit Rate – 4%
♦ Term Deposit Rate – 6.50%–7.00%
New set of surface-to-air missiles for Navy- Central Government clears proposal
i. Central government has approved the procurement of a fresh batch of Barak surface-to-air missiles for its naval warships on April 3, 2017.
ii. The proposal was approved during a meeting of the Defense Acquisition Council (DAC), chaired by Defense Minister of India Arun Jaitley, in New Delhi.
iii. The missiles will be procured under buy global category from Rafael Advance Defense Systems Limited of Israel at an approximate cost of 77 million USD.
iv. DAC has proposed to approve capital acquisition proposals of 133 million USD.
v. All ships of the navy will be equipped with these missiles as said by Defense Minister.
vi. Defense Acquisition Council (DAC) is highest decision making body of defense ministry for capital acquisition.
Defense Acquisition Council (DAC)
♦ Formation: October 11, 2001.
♦ Chairman: Arun Jaitley.
♦ Created under insistence of Reforming the National Security System
♦ Constituted for overall guidance of the defense procurement planning process.
APPOINTMENTS & RESIGNS
Mahesh Kumar Jain named as IDBI bank MD and CEO
i. The Former MD and CEO of Indian Bank, Mahesh Kumar Jain took charge as the MD and CEO of Industrial Development Bank of India (IDBI) Bank on April 4, 2017.ii. The former MD and CEO of IDBI Bank, K Kharat has been transferred to Indian bank.
iii. The move was focused mainly on retail lending and resolution of bad assets if IDBI bank which were the key priorities.
iv. On his first address to the employees, Jain said, maximum efforts should be put on the resolution and recovery from stressed assets of the bank.
v. IDBI bank booked a net loss of Rs 1958 crore in April-December 2016. The losses were Rs 3665 crore in the year 2015-16.
vi. Jain was also a member of the steering committee on Risk Management of Indian Banking Association (IBA) and was also the secretary and coordinator to Basant Seth Committee.
Industrial Development Bank of India (IDBI) Bank
♦ Headquarter: Mumbai.
♦ Founded: July 1964.
♦ Tagline: Aao Sochein Bada.
Indian Cricketer MS Dhoni named CEO of Gulf Oil for 1 day
i. The former Indian cricket team skipper MS Dhoni became an acting Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Gulf Oil India just for a day on April 3, 2017.
ii. He took charge of Gulf Oil India at the Mumbai head office. He was named CEO of the day by the company.
iii. The news was announced by Arun Pandey, Dhoni’s close friend and commercial interest manager
iv. As a CEO of the company for the day, Dhoni has attended all the special meetings of the company.
v. Mahendra Singh Dhoni was also named as the brand ambassador for Gulf Oil in the year 2011.
♦ Formed in the year 1901.
♦ Headquarter: Framingham, Massachusetts.
♦ Chief Executive Officer (CEO): Sahibzada Muhammad Farooq Nizami.
Brayan Jimenez banned for life-time by FIFA
i. Brayan Jimenez, a former member of the FIFA Committee for Fair Play and Social Responsibility was banned for life-time by Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA) from April 3, 2017.
ii. He has been banned for offences which include bribery and corruption. The information was shared by FIFA ethics committee.
iii. It has been stated that, Brayan Jimenez was involved in the biggest corruption scandal in the history of the global soccer body.
iv. Brayan was also a Former Guatemalan football club chief. He headed the Guatemala FA from 2009 to 2015.
v. The Guatemala FA has been found to have violated six articles of FIFA own code of ethics.
vi. The total bribe collected by Jimenez was hundreds of thousands of dollars as per the statement given by U.S. district attorney.
♦ Capital: Guatemala City.
♦ Currency: Quetzal.
♦ President: Jimmy Morales.
DGP Geetha Johri – Gujarat’s first woman police chief
i. Director General of Police (DGP) Geetha Johri was appointed as Police Chief (in-charge) of Gujarat on April 4, 2017. By this, Johari has become the 1st woman IPS officer to be appointed as the Police Chief in Gujarat.
ii. The minister of state for home Pradeepsinh Jadeja officially announced the appointment of Johri.
iii. Johri had replaced PP Pandey, who resigned as the DGP after his appointment was challenged by former Police Julio Riberio in the Supreme Court.
iv. Johri, a 1982 batch IPS officer, is slated to retire on November 30 this year, giving her a short tenure of less than eight months.
v. She was posted as managing director, Gujarat Police Housing Corporation, Gandhinagar before this appointment.
vi. In 1990, Johri raided the den of slain underworld don Abdul Latif in the highly sensitive Dariyapur area of Ahmadabad and managed to arrest one his key aides.
♦ Capital: Gandhinagar with 33 districts.
♦ Chief Minister: Vijay Rupani.
♦ Governor: Om Prakash Kohli.
SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY
BS-IV Grade Fuel launched by Central Government after BS-III ban
i. Dharmendra Pradhan, Minister of State (I/C) for Petroleum and Natural Gas officially launched the low emission Bharat stage (BS)-IV Grade fuel in Bhubaneswar on April 1, 2017.
ii. The launch was made on the special occasion of Utkal Diwas which is the foundation day of Odisha.
iii. Bharat stage (BS)-IV Grade fuel was introduced after BS-III compatible vehicles sales and registration were banned by Central government from April 1, 2017
iv. The launch was made in 12 cities of India. They were Varanasi, Vijayawada, Durgapur, Gorakhpur, Imphal, Bhopal, Ranchi, Madurai, Nagpur, Patna, Guwahati and Shillong.
v. Oil Marketing Companies (OMC) are spending Rs 90000 crore on phase-wise up-gradation to BS-IV fuel production.
vi. The ultimate aim of this launch was to achieve BS-VI fuels production in India by April 1, 2020.
Bharat Stage (BS) emission standards
♦ Bharat stage emission standards instituted by the Government of India to regulate the output of air pollutants from vehicles.
♦ The standards are set by Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB).
♦ Four stages of emission standards has been achieved till now.
Clean Environment with the help of Fungus that eats plastic
i. Researchers from the Chinese Academy of Sciences have identified a soil fungus which uses enzymes to rapidly break down plastic materials. The research was published in the journal called Environmental Pollution.
ii. Aspergillus tubingensis is a fungus, which ordinarily lives in the soil. In laboratory trials, the researchers found that it also grows on the surface of plastics.
iii.The fungus secretes enzymes onto the surface of the plastic, and these break the chemical bonds between the plastic molecules.
iv. The research team also found that, the plastic-eating fungus was found in a rubbish tip in Islamabad, Pakistan.
v. The researchers took samples of soil and various pieces of rubbish with fungi that could feed on plastic waste in the same way that other fungi feed on dead plant or animal material.
vi. Using advanced microscopy and spectroscopy techniques, the team found that the fungus also uses the physical strength of its Mycelia to help break apart the polymers.
vii. Currently, the researchers are working to determine the ideal conditions for fungal growth and plastic degradation since there are several conditions that slow down the degradation.
♦ Captilal: Beijing.
♦ Currency: Renminbi.
♦ President: Xi Jinping.
Kishori Amonkar a Hindustani classical vocalist passed away
i. Classical singer Kishori Amonkar passed away at the age of 84 at her house in Mumbai on April 3, 2017.
ii. Amonkar body was kept at Ravindra Natya Mandir in Prabhadevi for people to pay their last respects.
iii. The funeral was held at the Shivaji Park crematorium on April 4, 2017 evening.
iv. Born on April 10, 1932, she learned music under Ustad Alladiya Khan Saheb and Kesarbai Kerkar.
v. Beside a singer, Amonkar was also a popular speaker and traveled throughout India giving lectures, most notably on the theory of rasa in music.
vi. Amonkar received Padma Bhushan in 1987 and Padma Vibhushan in 2002.
vii. In 2010, she became a fellow of the Sangeet Natak Academy, the national academy of music, arts, and dance. She also received Sangeet Natak Academy award in that year
Gilbert Baker – The LGBT rainbow flag creator passed away
i. Gilbert Baker, a gay rights activist and the creator of the iconic Rainbow Flag passed away on April 4, 2017.
ii. Baker was born on June 2, 1951 in Kansas, USA. He was a part of a gay rights community in San Francisco in 1970.He had also served for the U.S Army for two years.
iii. Baker was well-known for being the first openly gay man to hold public office in USA.
iv. The rainbow flag debuted at the Gay Freedom Day Parade on June 25, 1978 in San Francisco. It was designed for the movie named Milk.
v. The flag was created with the help of 30 volunteers and a budget of USD 1000 which was measuring 30 feet by 60 feet.
vi. In 1994, Baker created a mile long version of the flag for the 25th Anniversary of the Stonewall Riot of 1969. It was carried by 5000 people and measuring 30 feet by 5280 feet.
viii. The flag took place in the book of records for its massive length.
* LGBT – Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender
United States of America
♦ Currency: United States dollar
♦ President: Donald Trump.
♦ Largest city: New York City.
International Day for Mine Awareness and Assistance in Mine Action – April 4, 2017
i. The International Day for Mine Awareness and Assistance in Mine Action was celebrated on April 4, 2017.
ii. The theme of this year was “Needs driven. People Centered”
iii. The International Day for Mine Awareness and Assistance in Mine Action day was declared by the General Assembly of United Nation on December 8, 2005.
iv. In Iraq, the Mine Action day is marked by with speeches and a photo exhibition at the Royal Tulip Al Rasheed Hotel, Baghdad.
v. The United Nations Mine Action Service (UNMAS) has been serving for past 20 years to save lives, to facilitate deployment of UN missions and the delivery of humanitarian assistance and to protect civilians.
vi. The North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) marked the International Day for Mine Awareness to highlight the deadly threat that mines pose to civilians ’ lives and nations’ development.