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- Current Affairs 2017 April
Beneficiaries of PM’s Ujjwala Yojana crosses 2 crore mark
i. The number of people benefitting from the Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana for providing (Liquefied Petroleum Gas) LPG connections to Below Poverty Line (BPL) households has crossed 2 crore mark. This feat has been accomplished in less than a year’s time since its launch.
ii. This unparalleled success has been attributed to serious efforts made by Govt. authorities in implementing the scheme.
Haryana to provide one-time grant of Rs. 21,000 to families for third girl child
i. In its ongoing efforts to combat the problem of declining child sex ratio in the state, Haryana State Govt. has announced to provide one-time grant of Rs 21,000 to all those families whose third girl child was born after August 24, 2015 under the currently operational ‘Aapki Beti Humari Beti’ scheme.
ii. As per the scheme, the first girl child born in the families belonging to Scheduled Castes (SC) and Below Poverty Line (BPL) category will be eligible for a grant of Rs. 21000/-
iii. Similarly, second girl child, twin or multiple girl child born on or after January 22, 2015 in any family will also be eligible for a grant of Rs. 21000/- (per girl child).
National conference on Communicating India 2017 held in New Delhi
i. The national conference on Communicating India 2017 held in New Delhi on April 5, 2017.
ii. The conference was organized by the Vivekananda International Foundation in collaboration with the India Media Centre, University of Westminster, London, Nehru Memorial Museum and Library and the Indian Institute of Mass Communication with the association of Prasar Bharati.
iii. A day-long conference was based on the three main themes
1.Telling India’s story to the world
2.Communicating via Journalism and
3.Dialogue with Diaspora
iv. Union Minister Venkaiah Naidu , Jay Panda-Member of Parliament Jay Panda,Journalist Sanjay Baru , Dr Daya Thussu-Professor of International Communication, University of Westminster, London are participated in the conference
v. Venkaiah Naidu highlights the importance of communication and also he adduce that PM Modi using social platforms Twitter and Radio to share his thoughts with people.
Gadkari announces first express highway project Rs.40000 Cr in northeast
i. Union Minister for Road Transport and Highways and Shipping, Nitin Gadkari has announced the first North East Express Highway project at the closing ceremony of the ‘Namami Brahmaputra’ festival on April 4, 2017.
ii. This 1300 Km highway project will be implemented with an outlay of Rs 40,000 crore in Assam
iii. Assam government, the National Highways Authority of India and the Inland Waterways of India have signed a tripartite agreement to construct the highway in Assam along the banks of Brahmaputra.
♦ Mumbai Pune Expressway- first six-lane concrete, high-speed, access controlled tolled expressway.
♦ Yamuna Expressway – Longest six-lane controlled-access expressway stretch.
India and UK Economic and Financial Dialogue held in New delhi
9th UK-India Economic and Financial Dialogue held in New Delhi which was led by Finance Minister Arun Jaitley and UK Chancellor of the Exchequer, Philip Hammond
♦ Aim: To combat cross border tax evasion, enhance cooperation in financial services and boost investments by encouraging Indian companies to raise funds through masala bonds.
i. Green Growth Equity Fund :
1.Finance Minister Arun Jaitley announced that India and the UK has decided to set up Green Growth Equity Fund to finance clean energy projects
2.Both contribution will contribute 120 million pounds to fulfill the energy needs in India
3.This is considered as sub-fund of National Infrastructure and Investment Fund (NIIF) and it will be raised to 500 million pound.
ii. India and UK have agreed to work together to ensure effective implementation of the Financial Action Task Force’s (FATF) anti-money laundering and counter-terrorist financing standards globally.
iii. Both countries have agreed to explore the possibility of regulatory cooperation agreement between the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) of the UK and the Reserve Bank of India in the April-June quarter of 2017.
iv. Both the countries have also agreed to set up a forum comprising representatives from the RBI, Sebi, the Ministry of Finance and the Bank of England, among others, to share experiences and best practices on issuance of green and masala bonds.
v. The Ministerial India-UK Energy for Growth Dialogue also held to identify further opportunities for the UK to engage in the India’s highly successful green finance sector.
♦ Capital: London
♦ Currency: Pound sterling
♦ Prime minister: Theresa May
Uttar Pradesh chief minister Yogi Adityanath waives Rs 36,359-crore loan for UP farmers
i. Uttar Pradesh chief minister, Yogi Adityanath declares Rs 36,359 crore farm loan waivers at its first cabinet meeting on 4thApril 2017.
ii. The U.P government planned to waive off crop loans of up to Rs 1 lakh of small and marginal farmers and the cabinet also decided to write off Rs 5,630 crore in non-performing assets (NPAs) of 700,000 farmers in the state.
iii. About 92.5% of the state’s farmers fall in the small and marginal categories.
iv. U.P waiver set demands in other states like Punjab, Maharashtra and Tamil Nadu. Already, in Tamil Nadu, the Madras High Court has asked the state government to waive loans of all farmers and restrained cooperative societies & banks from recovering their dues.
v. The Yogi Cabinet has decided to set up a three-member committee headed by Deputy Chief Minister Keshav Prasad Maurya to analyze how the potato farmers could get sufficient remuneration on their produce.
India’s is the world’s 7th largest tourism economy in terms of GDP, says WTTC
i. According to a new report released by World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC), India’s travel and tourism sector ranks 7th in the world in terms of its total contribution to the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP).
ii. WTTC has forecasted 7% growth for the sector in 2017. Visitor exports are expected to grow by 5.4%in 2017.
iii. Over the past few months, Indian Govt. has made significant changes in visa facilitation with a view to encourage international arrivals and thereby increasing visitor exports.
WTO sets up panel to resolve steel dispute with India, Japan
i. On April 3, 2017, the Dispute Settlement Body of World Trade Organisation (WTO) agreed to set up a panel for resolving a dispute pertaining to imposition of safeguard duty on imports of Japanese steel products by India
ii. Indian authorities have put forth an argument that imposition of duties were warranted by the prevailing circumstances and is consistent with WTO norms.
Germany ‘1st NATO member’ to launch cyber command
i. Germany is the first NATO( North Atlantic Treaty Organization ) state to launch a “self-contained” cyber command unit to protect from growing attacks. The Bundeswehr’s Cyber and Information Space (CIR) boasts a status of army, navy, and air force.
ii. The military’s computers are attacked from online sources thousands of times each day. To improve defense, has now launched its own cyber command
iii. Lieutenant General Ludwig Leinhos, CIR’s new commander said ,”The Army, Navy and Air Force, the new Cyber and Information Space (CIR) command will be created and CIR will start off with 260 IT specialists, but will grow to 13,500 military and civilian personnel by July.
iv. German Defense Minister Ursula von der Leyen announced the creation of the cyber command two years ago in a bid to protect the military’s own IT infrastructure and computer-assisted weapons systems, and tackle online threats.
♦ Headquarters: Brussels, Belgium
♦ Secretary General: Jens Stoltenberg
Launched Awareness against the fake news spread global wise
i. As a part of its ongoing effort to curb the spread of fake news and fabricated articles, leaders from Tech industry and academic organizations joined together with $14 million to create an awareness of news literacy and make trust in social media.
ii. These organizations expose the plan on Monday of their latest step to control over the spread of fake news and create a positive approach of journalism over public.
iii. The News Integrity Initiative will launch with $14 million from Facebook, the Ford Foundation, Mozilla and others, based at the City University of New York’s journalism school. Face book has enlisted fact-checking organizations to help to monitor the stories flagged as fake and to a set of principles including transparency and non -partisanship.
iv. Jeff Jarvis, who heads CUNY’s Tow-Knight Center for Entrepreneurial Journalism added that to initiate an effort to help our public to identify between fraudulent news and serious journalism.
v. Though Face book isn’t a news site, 66 percent of Face book users rely on the platform to access news, a 2016 study found.
BANKING & FINANCE
Aditya Birla Group gets RBI licence to start payments bank
i. Aditya Birla Idea Payments Bank Ltd. has become the seventh entity to receive a final licence from Reserve Bank of India (RBI) for carrying out the business of payments bank in India.
ii. Aditya Birla Idea Payments Bank Ltd. will be launched in the first half of year 2017.Its headquarters is in Mumbai
iii. On 19th August 2015, Reserve Bank of India gave “in-principle” licences to eleven entities to launch Payments bank.
Japan officially recognises Bitcoin as currency from April 2017
i. The currency of the Internet, Biticoin and other digital currencies have recognised as a payment method by Japan with effect from its new fiscal year
ii. It was recognised under new banking law of Japan but it is not a legally-recognized currency.
iii. Bitcoin exchanges will come under additional regulatory scrutiny. They will be required to comply with strict anti-money laundering (AML) and Know Your Customer (KYC) requirements, along with annual audits.
iv. Financial institution can make Bitcoin exchange after registered with the government with the minimum capital of 10 million yen.
v. This new payment system expected to increase the usage of cryptocurrency in Japan.
♦ Bitcoin is a form of digital, created and held electronically.It is also known as first decentralized digital currency.
♦ Bitflyer is the largest exchange in the bitcoin market by volume.
APPOINTMENTS & RESIGNS
Twitter’s VP of Asia Pacific, Aliza Knox quits
i. Followed by Carolyn Penner , head of product communications at Twitter and now twitter loses its head of Asia pacific , Aliza Knox. She decided to quit after her successful near five -year tenure with Twitter.
ii. After her dedicated four and half years at Twitter, she hand over her leadership responsibilities to Maya –Hari , Managing Director of India & southeast Asia of Twitter.
iii. Twitter has also confirmed Knox’s departure from the company. Due to this realignment and costs cut, Twitter had reduced nine per cent of workforce globally
Prithika Yashini from Tamil Nadu become India’s first transgender police officer
i. Prithika Yashini’s application for the police post was initially rejected and tried hard to become the India’s first police officer from the transgender community( gender does not correspond with their birth sex (i.e ) to transition from one sex to another).
ii. Prithika was born and raised as Pradeep Kumar. The 25 year-old computer application graduate underwent sex change surgery to get the new face of Prithika.
iii. The Madras high court has directed Tamil Nadu Uniformed Services Recruitment Board (TNUSRB) to appoint a transgender as sub-inspector of police
iv. The first bench, comprising Chief Justice Sanjay Kishan Kaul and justice Pushpa Sathyanarayana, also directed TNUSRB to include trans genders as a “third category” by the next recruitment process is carried out.
Short view of TNUSRB
The Tamilnadu Uniformed Service Recruitment Board was constituted to select suitable personnel in various categories for the following departments:-
|i)||Police Department||:||a) Sub-Inspectors of Police (Men & Women)|
b) Grade II Police Constables (Men & Women)
c) Sub Inspectors (Technical) (Men & Women)
|ii)||Fire & Rescue Services||:||Firemen|
|iii)||Prison Department||:||Jail Warders (Men & Women)|
The Board is manned by a Superintendent of Police, a Deputy Superintendent of Police and a team of ministerial staff.
ACQUISITIONS & MERGERS
ICICI Venture invest $20 to buy stake in Theobroma
i. ICICI Venture is planning to do a new project by investing $20 million to acquire a considerable stake in Theobroma, owned and managed bakery, patisserie and chocolate based in Mumbai, India.
ii. The investment will mark the third transaction from ICICI Venture.
iii. Early last year, ICICI Venture announced its first close of $190 million, subsequently reached $350 million.
iv. ICICI Bank consolidated total assets stood at $ 144.7 billion at September 30, 2016.
Short view of ICICI venture
ICICI Venture is a specialist alternative asset managers in India and established in 1988. ICICI Venture, a fund management company under ICICI Bank, the largest private sector financial services group in India.
♦ H N Sinor – Chairman of ICICI
♦ Prashant Purker -Managing Director & CEO of ICICI
Short view of Theobroma
♦ Theobroma was launched by Kainaz Messman Harchandrai, a former pastry chef at the Oberoi Udaivilas hotel in Udaipur in 2004 at Mumbai,India.
♦ Theobroma means ‘Food of the God’ in Greek and is also the botanical name of the cocoa plant.
SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY
Online tax filing portal ClearTax.com – tech platform for GST
Online tax filing portal ClearTax.com announced that it has developed a technology platform to help businesses comply with the provisions of GST law.
Highlights of tech for GST
i. It’s a multi GSP (GST Suvidha Provider ) taxation solution and it helps to monitor one billion invoices which will be generated once the GST comes into action.
ii. GSTN will become the world’s biggest and complex tax framework with shortlisted 34 companies to be the GSP.
iii. It becomes user friendly among taxpayers and other stake holders to upload the invoice details to filing of returns.
iv. ClearTax.com Founder & CEO Archit Gupta said that Clear Tax will be available on mobile apps, desktop which used to work in both offline & online .In addition to these upload and download of million invoices , filing on time will become easy while you access from GSTN via Clear tax.
Morocco King Launches Final Stage of Largest Solar Plant in The World
i. The final stage of the world’s largest solar plant Noor Ouarzazate has been inaugurated by Mohammed VI, King of Morocco in Ouarzazate.
ii. The plant is based on photovoltaic (PV) technology, which spanned over an area of 137 hectares (1.37 square km).The cost of this plant is nearly 75 million U.S. dollars
iii. It will be built as a part of a partnership involving the Moroccan Agency for Sustainable Energy (Masen), and a consortium of private operators led by the Saudi Arabian Acwa Power group and German development bank KfW.
iv. It is scheduled to start operating in 2018 and it is expected to generate 582 megawatts
♦ Capital: Rabat
♦ Currency: Moroccan dirham
♦ Currency: Moroccan dirham
Mashrafe Mortaza announces retirement from T20Is
Mashrafe Mortaza(33) who led the Bangladesh international cricket team for One day and Twenty20 international matches has announced retirement from T20Is in Colombo
♦ He played his last T20I series against Sri Lanka on April 6, 2017 at R Premdasa stadium, Colombo.
About Mashrafe Mortaza :
i. Mortaza is nicknamed as Narail Express for his fast bowling .
ii. He has has played 52 T20Is .Out of 52, he captained Bangladesh team in 26 T20Is and won 9 T20I series.
iii. He has taken 39 wickets and score 368 runs.
Virat Kohli named Wisden’s Leading Cricketer in the World for 2016
A right handed Indian international cricketer Virat Kolhi(28) was named as the Leading Cricketer in the World for the year 2016 by Wisden India Almanack
♦ Kohli also features on the cover of the 2017 edition of the Wisden Cricketers’ Almanack
♦ He became the third Indian cricketer to receive this honour after Virender Sehwag and Sachin Tendulkar
Wisden Cricketers’ Almanack honours:
i. Leading Cricketer in the World: Virat Kohli
ii. Leading Woman Cricketer in the World: Ellyse Perry
iii. Cricketers of the Year: Misbah-ul-Haq, Younis Khan, Ben Duckett, Toby Roland-Jones, Chris Woakes.
iv. Two Pakistani cricketers Misbah-ul-Haq and Younis Khan have placed in the list of the Cricketers of the Year for the first time after 20 years
National Maritime Day Observed on April 5 2017
i. 54th National Maritime Day is celebrated on 5th April 2017 since 1964 to mark the day when the first voyage of the SS Loyalty, the first ship of Scindia Steam Navigation Company towards United Kingdom from Mumbai on this day in 1919.
ii. The special programme was organised at various ports across India to highlight the importance of maritime trade in the country.
iii. The maritime day flag was hoisted at the ports and Port Trust chairman took salute of the Sail Past.
Important Facts :
♦ World Maritime day is observed every year on last Thursday of September(September 28, 2017)
♦ International Maritime Organization(IMO) is the United Nations’ specialized agency responsible for improving maritime safety and preventing pollution from ships.
♦ HQ: London, UK