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- Current Affairs 2017 April
Centre to revive ambitious North Koel irrigation project in Jharkhand
Union Govt. has decided to revive its 45-year-old North Koel river irrigation project with an objective to provide irrigation facilities to over one lakh hectare of farm land in Jharkhand, specifically in Daltonganj and Palamu region along with neighbouring districts of Bihar. The pending work on this project will be completed at an estimated cost of Rs 1,622 crore.
i. The project was conceived in year 1972 and the construction work started in 1975.
ii. The construction work stopped in 2007 due to pending clearances from Environment Ministry. Till then, 90% of the work was completed at the cost of Rs. 800 crore.
Two-day national TB summit held in Dharamshala
Two-Day National TB Summit, for raising awareness and increasing momentum to fight against TB is being held in Dharamshala, Himachal Pradesh on 7th and 8th April.
i. Governor of Punjab VP Singh Badnore and Himachal Pradesh Health Minister Kaul Singh Thakur inaugurate the summit.
ii. This is the first such summit on TB which will bring together Central & State Ministers, Members of Parliament (MPs), celebrities, bureaucrats, donors, corporate partners, health experts and organisations working to eradicate TB. All these stakeholders will pledge their support for ‘TB free India by 2025’.
Haryana sex ratio touches 950 for the first time
This was for the first time in the history of Haryana , the sex ratio has touched the 950 mark. Haryana CM Manohar LalKhattar said that the sex ratio at birth stood at 950 girls to 1000 boys.
i. In 2016 for the first time Haryana sex ratio at birth crossed the 900 mark.
ii. In the past Haryana sex ratio was 879 females per 1000 males which is very doleful matter for a state.
Center declares Kerala drought-hit, announces Rs. 24000 crore relief to eight states
The union government declared Kerala as a drought hit state along with 7 other states and announced a drought relief package of Rs 24000 crore to drought affected areas as well.
Major Key Points:
i. Government has allowed 50 additional working days under The NATIONAL RURAL EMPLOYMENT GURANTEE SCHEME.
ii. Seven states which are included along with Kerala are Tamil Nadu, Karnataka,Uttarkhand, UttarPradesh, AndhraPradesh, Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh.
iii. Kerala government declared 14 districts as a drought hit areas.
iv. As per the report 8400 farmers has lost their crops before harvesting and estimated loss would be Rs 3.25 crore.
v. Tamil Nadu declared all 32 districts as a drought affected area and seek assistance of Rs 39,565 crore.
Short View of Kerala:
Kerala is an Indian state in South India on the Malabar Coast. It is basically famous for spice, tourism and most important is it has highest literacy rate in India that is 87.7%.
♦ Governor of Kerala- P Sathasivam
♦ CM of Kerala- PinarayiVijayan
♦ Language- Malayalam
♦ Major Festival of Kerala- Onam
♦ Major Dance- Kathakali
India-UK Agree on New Areas of Economic Cooperation
India’s Power and Renewable Energy Minister Piyush Goyal and UK’s Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy Greg Clark agreed on important areas in the energy sector.
i. During the visit of Prime Minister Modi to the UK in November 2015, MoU on cooperation has been signed between India and U.K in the energy sector.
ii. Both the nations already agreed to set up a Green Growth Equity Fund (GGEF) to finance energy needs.
iii. The below areas are agreed to focus on
1.Innovation in smart technology to improve performance
2.Reduce losses in Indias power sector
3.Financing for clean energy
4.Decentralized energy scale up and sustainability
5.Support to states in renewable energy planning and deployment.
iv. The two countries will also agreed to involve in accelerate deployment of renewable energy and its integration with the grid; support for increased energy efficiency
Malala Yousafzai to become the youngest UN messenger of peace
Nobel Peace Prize winner from Pakistan, Malala Yousafzai is set to become the United Nations’ youngest-ever ‘Messenger of Peace’. She has been selected for this honour by United Nations current Secretary General Antonio Guterres.
i. The designation ceremony will be held on April 10, 2017 at the UN’s headquarters in New York, United States.
ii. Post designation ceremony, Malala and Antonio Guterres will have a conversation with youth representatives from different parts of the world on the theme of ‘Girls’ Education’.
Uruguay to Become First Country to Fully Legalize Marijuana
Uruguay is set to become the first country to allow recreational marijuana to be sold in pharmacies in July. The country is trying for nearly four years to legalize the production, sale and consumption of marijuana.
i. The country has stockpiled 400 kilograms (880 pounds) of marijuana so far.
ii. Uruguayan citizens and permanent residents who must be 18 or older will be allowed to purchase marijuana from a pharmacy.
iii. People must enroll in a national registry of marijuana users before purchase.
iv. They will be limited to purchasing 40 grams (1.41 oz) per month and 10 grams per week. When pharmacies first start selling marijuana, users can only purchase it in 5-gram containers at $1.30 (1.22 euros) per gram.
v. Non Resident Uruguayans or Foreigners will not be allowed to purchase marijuana from pharmacies in Uruguay.
vi. The law also allows Uruguayans to grow their own marijuana at home or with marijuana clubs.
About Oriental Republic of Uruguay
♦ Capital – Montevideo
♦ Official languages – Spanish , Portuguese
♦ President – Tabaré Vázquez
♦ Currency – Uruguayan peso (UYU)
US, China agree to pursue 100-day plan for reducing trade deficit
US President Donald Trump and President of the People’s Republic of China & Chairman of the Central Military Commission, Xi Jinping have agreed to pursue a ‘100-day plan’ aimed at reducing the US trade deficit with China.
i. The presidents agreed to the plan to correct the trade imbalance. It includes the boosting of US exports to China.
ii. It is designed to cover 4 fields. They include law enforcement and cyber security, as well as the economy.
iii. At the end of their meeting US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson held a news conference and said Trump told Xi that the US military had fired cruise missiles against a Syrian government airfield in response to Syria’s use of chemical weapons.
BANKING & FINANCE
RBI allow banks to invest in REITs And InvITs and enables faster money transfer by finetuning NEFT Network
i. Banks will be allowed to invest in Real estate investment trusts (REITs)and Infrastructure investment trusts (InvITs) by RBI. These trusts are a structured business model for entrepreneurs and corporates to convert their capital locked in assets through issue of units to investors.
ii. Banks which are currently allowed to invest 20% of their Net-owned funds in equity, mutual funds, venture capital funds, and stocks may invest in these trusts within this limit.
iii. RBI enables faster money transfer by finetuning NEFT (National electronic Funds Transfer)network by increasing the number of cycle to 23 from current 12 to allow faster settlement of funds and more funds to settle in a day.
Ban on cash transactions of over Rs 2 lakh not applicable for withdrawals
The Income Tax Department clarified that the Rs 2 lakh cash transaction limit will not be applicable on withdrawals from bank, cooperative bank or a post office savings account.
i. Section 269ST in the I-T Act, the Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) said the restriction shall not apply to withdrawal from banks and post offices.
ii. To control black money all over India , the government has fixed the top limit of Rs 2 lakh on cash transactions, which is lower than the Rs 3 lakh proposed in Budget 2017-18. The penalty for violating this is a fine equivalent to the amount of transaction.
iii. This was aimed at curbing black money by discouraging cash transaction and promoting digital economy.
HDFC Bank launches its UPI on India’s first multi bank payment app, Chillr
Private Sector Lender. HDFC Bank Ltd., announced the launch of its Unified Payments Interface (UPI) on Chillr. Henceforth the HDFC Bank UPI will be available on Chillr, in addition to the bank’s Mobile Banking app.
i. Nitin Chugh, Country Head- Digital Banking, HDFC Bank launched its UPI on Chillr with Mr. Sony Joy, Co-Founder and CEO, Chillr, in the presence of senior officials of HDFC Bank in Mumbai.
ii. Functionalities of the UPI – like linking a mobile number on contacts list to a bank account, sending money out, collect requests etc.
iii. Chillr will be allowed to link bank accounts from 44 banks which are on the payments platform due to this deal.
India’s first multi-bank payment app, Chillr that lets users send and receive money to/from anyone in their phone book .
♦ It’s running on the IMPS platform and had 11 banks which could carry out outgoing transactions, while customers of other banks could only receive money.
♦ Chillr differentiates from online wallets as all fund transactions are between bank accounts.
♦ In August 2016, Chillr launched a product called Mass Pay which allowed corporate customer to push out payments to multiple vendors and disbursements.
♦ Founded – 2014 in Mumbai, India
♦ Founder – Sony Joy, Anoop Sankar, Mohamed Galib, Lishoy Bhaskar
♦ Headquarters – Mumbai, India
RBL bank opens IFSC banking unit in GIFT city
RBI has allowed PUBLIC and PRIVATEsector banks to open an IFSC banking units at GIFT cityto undertake foreign exchange transactions with residents and non-residents Institutions.
Major Key Points:
i. RBL bank announced the opening of its IFSC banking unit at Gujarat International History of RBL Bank Finance Tec-city called Gift city.
ii. Under this system IFSC banking units (IBU) will give RBL bank access to international financial market and bank will offer a range of products and services to their clients.
iii. Through this system RBL will raise foreign currency funds to meet its requirements in IBU and fund offshore subsidiaries of Indian companies.
iv. IBU offers a range of financial services including foreign currency funding to resident and overseas entities.
v. It opens the opportunity door for our clients and can show their potential growth overseas.At present GIFT IFSC has already crossed the $2.5 billion.
Short view of Ratnakar Bank Limited
♦ Formation- August 1943
♦ HQ- Kolhapur Maharashtra
♦ MD & CEO- VishwavirAhuja
APPOINTMENTS & RESIGNS
L&T names S.N. Subrahmanyan as new CEO replacing A.M. Naik
Larsen and Toubro Ltd (L&T) has appointed with the current president & deputy MD S.N. Subrahmanyan became company’s new CEO replacing A.M. Naik who will now take charge as non-executive chairman.
i. S.N Subrahmanyan, currently the deputy managing director and president, to the position of managing director and CEO with effect July 1.
ii. Subrahmanyan also takes charge at a challenging time—private investment demand in India hasn’t taken off, there is a slowdown in West Asia because of depressed oil prices.
About Larsen and Toubro Ltd (L&T)
Larsen & Toubro Limited, commonly known as L&T, is an Indian multi-national conglomerate headquartered in Mumbai, Maharashtra.
♦ Founded – Bombay, Bombay Presidency, British India (1938; 79 years ago)
♦ Founders – Henning Holck-LarsenSøren , Kristian Toubro
Former Supreme Court judge Shiva Kirti Singh to head TDSAT
Retired Supreme Court judge Shiva Kirti Singh has been appointed as the chairman of the Telecom Disputes Settlement & Appellate Tribunal Telecom Disputes Settlement and Appellate Tribunal(TDSAT).
i. The position had been vacant for since June 2016, post the retirement of the previous chairman, Justice Aftab Alam.
ii. He was served as the chief justice of Allahabad High Court
Mukta Dutta Tomar appointed as New Ambassador of India to Germany
Mukta Dutta Tomar (IFS: 1984), presently Additional Secretary in the Ministry of External Affairs has been appointed as the next Ambassador of India to the Federal Republic of Germany.
i. She is expected to take up the assignment shortly.
ii. Among other positions, Tomar has been Consul General of India in Chicago.
SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY
Discovers protein called PorB that increases effectiveness of vaccines against cancer
Scientists have discovered a protein which helps to make vaccinations provide protection from diseases such as cancer, HIV, and influenza before they have a chance to establish within the body.
i. Researchers from Boston University School of Medicine (BUSM) purified a protein found on the exterior membrane of bacteria (neisseria meningidis) and were able to utilize it to create better vaccine response.
ii. Vaccines can either increase the amount of antibody production or they can stimulate cells (called cytotoxic T cells) to directly kill the offending agent that protein, called PorB
iii. The antigen formulation with PorB activate the sequence of cellular events at the periphery and in lymphoid tissue that are critical for the establishment of protection to a broad array of infectious diseases, and maybe for other diseases like cancer.
Home Minister Rajnath Singh launched ‘Bharat ke Veer’ web portal – contribute to martyr’s families
Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh inaugurated the web portal and mobile application named “Bharat ke Veer” to enable the willing donors to contribute towards the family of soldiers who sacrificed his/her life in line on duty.
i. The Minister of State for Home Affairs Kiren Rijiju and cine actor Akshay Kumar would also participate in the function.
ii. The donated amounts will be credited to the account of ‘Next of Kin’ of those Central Armed Police Force/Central Para Military Force soldiers. This domain allows to anyone who is willing to support the soldiers’ family financially.
iii. National Informatics Centre (NIC) will support technically and powered by State Bank of India.
iv. The donors would be alerted if the amount exceeds fifteen lakh rupees so they can choose to divert part of the donation to another soldier account or to the “Bharat Ke Veer” corpus.
About National Informatics Centre (NIC)
The NIC is a part of the Indian Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology’s Department of Electronics & Information Technology.
♦ It is the premier science & technology organization of India’s Union Government in informatics services and information and communication technology (ICT) applications.
♦ Formed on -1976
♦ Headquarters – New Delhi
♦ Director General – Neeta Verma
RCB, Nazara tie up to launch online cricket game
The IPL team owned by Royal Challengers Sports Private Ltd, Royal Challengers Bangalore(RCB) joined hands with the gaming entity Nazara Games have announced the launch of online cricket game named RCB Star Cricket on April 7, 2017
i. RCB Star Cricket game become the first cricket franchise to have a game off the field and on the screen for 3 to 6 months
ii. The game can be played in two modes Reward mode and Career mode. It will enable the player to play as their favorite stars like Virat Kohli, Chris Gayle and AB de Villier
iii. It will available for download on Google Play Store from mid-April 2017.
Boxer Shyam Kumar wins gold at Thailand International
India has finished the Thailand International Tournament with two medals includes 1 gold medal and 1 bronze medal in Bangkok on April 8, 2017.
i. Indian boxer K Shyam Kumar (49kg) won a gold medal for the second time in Thailand International Tournament.
ii. Kumar faced the Olympic champion Hasanboy Dusmatov from Uzbekistan in the men’s Light Flyweight (49kg) final.
iii. In 64kg category, Rohit Tokas has cliched a bronze medal after he lost in the semi-finals
Name of the Indian boxers participated in Thailand International boxing tourney
K Shyam Kumar (49kg), L Devendro Singh (52kg), Mohamed Hussamuddin (56kg), Shiva Thapa (60kg), Rohit Tokas (64kg), Manoj Kumar (69kg) and Vikas Krishan (75kg).
Pakistan’s Younis Khan to retire after West Indies Tests
Former captain of the Pakistan cricket team Younis Khan(39) has announced to retire from international cricket matches after the 2017 test series against West Indies which will be ending on May 14 in Jamaica
i. Khan become the second Pakistani cricketer to announced his retirement after Misbah-ul-Haq in the same month.
ii. Under his capitancy, Pakistan cricket team won the World Twenty20 title in 2009
iii. He became the first player in the history of Test cricket to score centuries in 11 countries
iv. Till today he has scored 34 Test centuries in 115 matches and secured totally 9977 runs.He also expected to become the first Pakistani and 13th batsman in the world to score 10,000 runs
BOOKS & AUTHORS
Pranab Mukherjee releases book on Draupadi by Veerappa Moily
President Pranab Mukherjee has released the book on Draupadi authored by Veerappa Moily in New Delhi on April 7, 2017
i. The book titled ‘Flaming Tresses of Draupadi‘ was written in both English and Kannada and it is published by Rupa.
ii. The book gives new perception into the Draupadi’s life and traces the life journey of Draupadi from her birth to her marriage with the Pandavas.
iii. Veerappa Moily’s other work :
♦ Shree Ramayana Mahaveshanam – 5 volumes
♦ The edge of time – Novel
♦ Unleashing India – 4 volumes