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Army to Get 6 Apache Attack Helicopters in Deal worth Rs 4,168 Crore
On August 17, 2017, India’s Defence acquisition council (DAC) gave the green light to a proposal to buy six Apache AH64E attack helicopters for the army from the United States. The approval was given at a meeting of Defence Acquisition Council (DAC) chaired by Defence Minister Arun Jaitley.
i.The six Apache AH64E attack helicopters along with weapons systems from American giant Boeing at a cost of Rs 4,168 crore will be Indian Army’s first fleet of attack choppers.
ii.It will be a follow on order to the deal India had signed with Boeing and the US government for 22 Apache helicopters and 15 Chinook heavy-lift choppers in September 2015.
iii.After the government finalised the deal for 22 Apache helicopters for the Indian Air Force, the Army had been pushing for follow on orders of 11 choppers for it, arguing that the ground forces need them considering the changing security scenario in the region.
iv.Army sources said the attack helicopters, which are expected to be delivered by 2020, will significantly enhance armored division and will strengthen the Army’s capability to carry out combat operations in border areas. ……Click here to view more details
Central govt approves nearly Rs.32k crore plan for boosting Coast Guard capabilities
Central Government has approved a nearly Rs 32,000 crore “definitive five-year action programme” for the Indian Coast Guard to enhance its capability in maintaining vigil on coastal waters.
Salient Features of Action Plan for Indian Coast Guard:
i.The action plan to give a boost to the Coast Guard in terms of infrastructure and equipment like offshore patrol vessels, interceptor boats, helicopters, aircraft and critical operational infrastructure was cleared at a meeting chaired by Defence Secretary Sanjay Mitra earlier this month.
ii.Coast Guard currently has 130 “surface units” in the shape of 60 ships (offshore patrol vessels, fast patrol vessels and pollution-control vessels), 18 hovercrafts, and 52 smaller interceptor boats/crafts. The “air units”, in turn, are limited to 39 Dornier maritime surveillance aircraft, 19 Chetak choppers and four Dhruv advanced light helicopters.
……….click here to view more detail
“Champions of Change” initiative organised by NITI Aayog
The Prime Minister has interacted with Young Entrepreneurs at the “Champions of Change” initiative organised by NITI Aayog at Pravasi Bharatiya Kendra.
i.The Prime Minister described the “Champions of Change”initiative as one effort to bring together diverse strengths for the benefit of the nation and society.
ii.Six groups of Young Entrepreneurs made presentations before the PM on themes such as – Soft Power: Incredible India 2.0; Education and Skill Development; Health and Nutrition; Energizing a sustainable tomorrow; and Digital India; New India by 2022.
iii.This initiative would be taken forward and institutionalized in the best possible way.
iv.The team of senior officers in Union Government is keen to explore new avenues and ways for the betterment of people.
v.PM also encouraged the entrepreneurs to continue their ideation in their respective groups.
vi.Several Union Ministers, Vice Chairman NITI Aayog Shri Arvind Panagariya, and senior Union Government officers were present on the occasion.
vii.Theevent was coordinated by CEO NITI Aayog, Shri Amitabh Kant.
Environment Minister Launches “Harit Diwali, Swasth Diwali” Campaign
Union Minister for Environment, Forest and Climate Change, Dr. Harsh Vardhan has launched the “Harit Diwali, Swasth Diwali” campaign on 17th August 2017.
i.About 800 children from schools of Delhi and NCR have participated in the campaign.
ii.The Pledge will be widely circulated to the schools and colleges and other educational institutions and the school administration will be requested to administer the said Pledge during their school assembly up to Diwali.
iii.Children have taken on the leadership role in combating air and noise pollution caused by burning of fire crackers during Diwali celebrations.
iv.Dr. Harsh Vardhan also administered a Pledge for a Green and Healthy Diwali to the gathering of students.
v.Students presented ‘Nukkad Nataks’ (street plays) and also sang “PrakritiVandana” on the occasion.
vi.The message of celebrating “Harit &Swasth Diwali” will be taken across the country. The children should buy earthen lamps and other such environment-friendly products.
vii.As a part of the campaign, the Environment Ministry will undertake various activities to create awareness among various stakeholders and encourage people to participate in combating air pollution.
viii.Some of the activities to promote Green Diwali among school children include stickers/logo distribution, poster competition, advertisement on public transport systems, public appeal using Radio/FM, involving industry associations and other stakeholders.
ix.As a part of the social media campaign, an online competition will be conducted, where any individual or organisation can make a video or audio clip on the theme ‘Pollution Free Diwali’.
x.The best of these clips will be used officially to promote the theme across the country.
India’s first World Peace University inaugurated in MIT, Pune
Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis has inaugurated Dr.Vishwanath Karad MIT World Peace University (MITWPU).
i.At the inauguration function he emphasized on the importance of values in education.
ii.MIT World Peace University is an entirely new concept and a model for moulding global citizens.
iii.The inauguration ceremony was held at the Swami Vivekananda Mandap at the MIT World Peace University’s Kothrud Campus.
iv.It is to be the first of its kind in India, was inaugurated by chief minister of Maharashtra Devendra Fadnavis, on 12th August.
v.It is a two-day ‘Global Summit Science and Spirituality for World Peace’ issues were discussed on national and international importance and how a different outlook towards education could solve many of them.
vi.On education as the solution, G Madhavan Nair, former ISRO chief has said that the responsibility lies with the academic community to solve the problems of the country.
vii.Education is the only solution for all the terrorist activities and the ill happenings around us.
viii.With this opportunity provided by the Maharashtra Universities Act, it has given a chance to universities from Pune to create a world class education complex.
Government bans Export of Gold Items Above 22-Carat Purity
The government has banned exports of gold jewellery, medallions and other articles above 22- carat purity in a bid to check round stumbling of the precious metal.
i.India is the world’s second-biggest gold consumer after China. The imports mainly take care of demand by the jewellery industry.
ii.The Directorate General of Foreign Trade (DGFT) has mentioned certain provisions of the foreign trade policy (2015-20) are amended:
iii.To allow export of gold jewellery (plain or studded) and articles containing gold of 8 carats and above up to a maximum limit of 22 carats only from domestic tariff area and export-oriented units, electronics hardware technology parks, software technology parks and bio technology parks.
iv.According to an official of the Gems and Jewellery Export Promotion Council (GJEPC), some exporters were availing of export incentives by claiming export of gold items of above 22 carat purity with some value addition.
v.Export of gold jewellery, medallions and other articles of the precious metal above 22 carat purity is not permitted by any exporter, including from these parks, which are meant for sector-specific shipments.
vi.The DGFT also stated that only those exporters can avail of incentives who are shipping gold jewellery and other articles containing gold of 8 carats and up to a maximum limit of 22 carats and not beyond.
vii.This decision will not impact shipment of gold jewellery as there is significantly less demand for these items in the international market.
viii.The decision came at a time when Indian gold jewellery traders have raised concerns over a surge in gold imports from South Korea.
ix.Gold import from South Korea jumped to USD 338.6 million during 1st July and 3rd August in 2017. The import in 2016-17 stood at 470.46 million.
x.Imports now attract only 3% integrated GST.
US, Japan vow to boost defence cooperation with India, S Korea, Australia
The US and Japan have agreed to advance their multilateral security and defence cooperation with countries like India, South Korea and Australia, amidst Chinas growing assertiveness in the Asia Pacific region.
Highlights of Defence Cooperation Meeting between US & Japan:
i.On August 17, 2017, US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson,US Defence Secretary James Mattis, Japanese Foreign Minister Taro Kono and Japanese Defence Minister Itsunori Onodera jointly addressed a news conference in Washington, US.
ii.US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson mentioned that US and Japan will cooperate to advance trilateral and multilateral security and defence cooperation with other partners in the Asia-Pacific region.
iii.During the meeting the ministers underscored the importance of cooperating to promote a rules-based international order, taking note of the United States continued commitment to maintain a strong presence in the region and Japans initiatives demonstrated by its “Free and Open Indo-Pacific Strategy”.
…….Click here to view more details
Saudi Arabia to open Salwa border point to Qatari pilgrims for Haj
Saudi Arabia is going to open up its border and airports for those attending the annual Haj pilgrimage announced on 17th of August 2017.
i.Saudi Press Agency (SPA) announced that the Salwa border point would be open for Qataris performing the Haj, which this year runs from late August to early September.
ii.About 120 Qatari pilgrims had entered Saudi territory through Salwa, which was opened for the first time since the four-nation boycott of Qatar began.
iii.Qatari pilgrims can cross the frontier without the permits usually needed to be obtained in advance for the haj.
iv.The Saudi king has ordered the dispatch of a Saudi Airlines plane to fly Qatari pilgrims to Jeddah at his own expense.
v.Qatari pilgrims would also be able to pass through two of the kingdom’s airports.
About Saudi Arabia
Currency: Saudi Riyal
Qatar launches new direct sea route to Pakistan
Qatar has launched a new direct route between the country’s Hamad Port and Pakistan’s port of Karachi.
i.Thenew route was launched on 12th of August 2017. It will boost trade between the two countries.
ii.It will also offer “fast and secure” corridor for importers and exporters, with transit time of six days from Qatar to Karachi and eight days back.
iii.It will cover new important ports from around the world and will play an important role in supporting trade between Qatar and its partners of the world.
iv.The new shipping line provides more options for customers, exporters and importers from both countries.
Official Language: Arabic
Nobel Laureate Malala Yousafzai to study at Oxford
Pakistani Nobel Prize winner MalalaYousafzai will study at Oxford University.
i.The 20-year-old will study philosophy, politics and economics. In April, she became the youngest-ever UN Messenger of Peace.
ii.Malala was nearly killed by the Taliban in Pakistan for campaigning for girls’ rights to education in 2012.
iii.She became internationally known after the incident and relocated with her family to Birmingham for further rehabilitation.
iv.In 2014, at the age of 17 Malala became the youngest person to be awarded the Nobel Peace Prize and has since become a symbol for the fight for human rights and education.
v.Notable Oxford alumni include Pakistan former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto and Myanmar’s pro-democracy campaigner Aung San SuuKyi as well as former British Prime Minister David Cameron and his one-time Labour opponent Ed Miliband.
About Oxford University
The University of Oxford (informally Oxford University or simply Oxford) is a collegiateresearch university located in Oxford, England.
Chancellor: Chris Patten
Vice-Chancellor: Louise Richardson
Banking & Finance
Axis Bank to waive 12 EMIs on home loans under Shubh Aarambh scheme
Under the new scheme Shubh Aarambh Home Loans Axis Bank will waive 12 equated monthly installments (EMIs) on regular repayments of loans of up to Rs 30 lakh.
i.The lender has introduced ShubhAarambh Home Loans, in which 12 EMIs are waived 4 EMIs each after the fourth, eighth and 12th year from the date of the first disbursement.
ii.The waiver will be in the form of reduction in tenure.
iii.The loans can be used to purchase an under-construction, ready, resale house, self-construction, and a plot plus construction.
iv.Customers also have the option to transfer existing home loans to Axis Bank without additional cost.
v.Earlier, the bank had introducedAsha home loan for low-income groups. 35,000 families have availed of the scheme.
About Axis Bank
Axis Bank Ltd is the third largest of the private-sector banks in India offering a comprehensive suite of financial products. The bank has its head office in Mumbai and Registered office in Ahmedabad.
MD & CEO: Shikha Sharma
Awards & Recognition
Dr Nanda Kumar Jairam bags FICCI’s Healthcare Personality award
Dr Nanda Kumar Jairam, CEO, Chairman and Group Medical Director, Columbia Asia Hospitals, India, has been awarded the ‘Healthcare Personality of the Year’ award.
i.The Healthcare Excellence Awards by Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI) is an attempt to recognise the contributions of those who have set benchmarks of excellence in the healthcare space.
ii.Dr Jairam was given the award at the ninth Healthcare Excellence Awards instituted by the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI). The programme is supported by the Quality Council of India.
5 Indian-origin persons in Fortune’s annual ‘ 40 Under 40’ list
Five Indian-origin persons, including Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar, have featured in Fortunes annual list of 40 young and influential people in the field of business inspiring others with their work.
i.Fortunes 2017 40 Under 40 list is an annual ranking of the most influential young people who are under 40 in business.
ii.The magazine calls these people as “disruptors, innovators, rebels and artists.
iii.The list has been topped by French President Emmanuel Macron. He is 39 years old.
iv.The Indian-origin persons on the list including Leo Varadkar are 26-year-old Divya Nag, Rishi Shah (31) and ShradhaAgarwal (32) and CEO and founder of non-profit Samasource 31-year-old Leila Janah.
v.The list also includes Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg on the second spot.
Appointments & Resigns
Vishal Sikka resigns as MD & CEO of Infosys;U B PravinRao takes over as Interim
Vishal Sikka has resigned from his post as Managing Director and CEO of Infosys on 18th of August 2017.
i.His resignation was accepted during a board meeting on 18th August.
ii.U B PravinRao has been appointed as the interim MD and CEO of the company.
iii.U B Pravin Rao, is currently the chairperson of Infosys BPO and have an experience of 30 years.
iv.He oversees the key functions of global sales, global delivery and business enabling functions.
v.Rao is also the chairperson of Infosys BPO and he joined Infosys in 1986 and has held a number of senior leadership roles.
vi.He is also a member of the national council of Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) and the executive council of National Association of Software and Services Companies or Nasscom.
Infosys Limited (formerly Infosys Technologies Limited) is an Indian multinational corporation that provides business consulting, information technologyand outsourcing services. It has its headquarters in Bengaluru, India.
Founded:7 July 1981.
Neymar named goodwill ambassador for Handicap International
Neymar,his first win with Paris St. Germain and his world-record signing for the club became a goodwill ambassador for Handicap International on 15th of August 2017.
i.He pledged to work for millions who are “less visible” but deserve equality.
ii.NeymarJr from Brazil is the world’s most expensive footballer.
iii.The first action of Neymar Jr. as an ambassador of Handicap International was to send a message of support to people with disabilities across the world.
iv.He went on the top of the 39-foot Broken Chair monument and called for more inclusion of people with disabilities in society.
v.Broken Chair is the work of the Swiss artist Daniel Berset. It was erected 20 years ago by
vi.Handicap International in front of the United Nations headquarters in Geneva to call for a ban on antipersonnel landmines.
vii.Neymar is Handicap International’s first International Ambassador.
Science & Technology
BSNL launches digital wallet powered by MobiKwik
State-owned Bharat Sanchar Nigam Ltd (BSNL) went digital by launching a bespoke mobile wallet (mobile payment App)on 17th of August 2017.
i.This digital wallet was launched at an event by Manoj Sinha, Minister for Telecommunications in the capital.
ii.The wallet has been developed and issued by MobiKwik on behalf of BSNL.
iii. It would enable its existing 100 million customers to make Bill payments and transact on e-commerce platforms.
MobiKwik is an Indian company founded in 2009 that provides a mobile phone based payment system and digital wallet.
Customers add money to an online wallet that can be used for payments.
In 2013 the Reserve Bank of India authorized the company’s use of the MobiKwik wallet
In May 2016 the company began providing small loans to consumers as part of its service.
Founded on April 2009
Founder:Bipin Preet Singh, UpasanaTaku
Headquarters: Gurgaon, India
NHAI launches mobile App MyFASTag and FASTag Partner
National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) has launched two mobile Apps, MyFASTag and FASTag Partner on August 17 2017.These mobile apps will be useful for Electronic Toll Collection (ETC).
MyFASTag is a consumer App that can be downloaded from the App Store for both Android and iOS systems. A consumer can purchase or recharge FASTags on this App and also used to keep track of transactions.
i.From 1st October 2017, FASTag will be enabled in all lanes of all 371 NHAI toll plazas.One lane in every toll plaza will be a dedicated FASTag lane where no other form of payment will be accepted.
ii.The other lanes, though FASTag enabled, can accept other forms of payment too .The dedicated FASTag lanes will become operational on all 371 NHAI toll plazas from 1st September 2017.
The App can also be used to activate the Radio-frequency identification (RFID) tags.
iii.FASTags can also be bought from sale points of Common Services Centre (CSC) to be set up near toll plazas. CSC has a proven track record of making 20 crore Adhar Cards.
About Electronic Toll Collection (ETC)
- To eliminate the delay on toll roads by collecting tolls electronically.
- ETC determines whether the cars passing are enrolled in the program, alerts enforcers for those that are not, and electronically debits the accounts of registered car owners without requiring them to stop.
FASTags are an electronic toll collection system. Once the tag is scanned by a radio frequency identification scanner the amount will be automatically deducted from one’s bank account.
About MyFASTag Partner:-
‘FASTag Partner’ is for those who vend/sell the tag. Banks, including mobile wallets, provide FASTags.
Climate change costs India $10 billion every year: Government
Union Agriculture Ministry in its recent report to a parliamentary committee has revealed that extreme weather events are costing India $9-10 billion annually and climate change is projected to impact agricultural productivity with increasing severity from 2020 to the end of the century.
Climate Change & Its Impact on Agriculture in Future:
i.The agriculture ministry said productivity decrease of major crops would be marginal in the next few years but could rise to as much as 10-40% by 2100 unless farming adapts to climate change-induced changes in weather.
ii.Wheat, rice, oilseeds, pulses, fruits and vegetables will see reduced yields over the years, forcing farmers to either adapt to challenges of climate change or face the risk of getting poorer. Adaptation will need different cropping patterns and suitable inputs to compensate yield fluctuations.
iii.The possibility of a further dip due to climate change will be particularly worrying as it could turn India into a major importer of oilseeds, pulses and even milk.
iv.Extreme weather events are not always linked to climate change but research shows that their frequency and severity is increasing and this is being increasingly read as fallout of climate change.
Asteroid Florence to pass safely by Earth on September 1: NASA
As per National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), a large near-Earth sized asteroid named ‘Asteroid Florence’ will pass safely by our planet on September 1, 2017 at a distance of about seven million kilometres.
About ‘Asteroid Florence’:
i.Asteroid Florence – named in honour of Florence Nightingale (1820-1910), the founder of modern nursing – is about 4 kilometres in size, according to measurements from NASA’s Spitzer Space Telescope and the asteroids and comets hunting NEOWISE mission.
ii.Asteroid Florence was discovered by Schelte “Bobby” Bus at Siding Spring Observatory in Australia in March 1981.
iii.Florence is the largest asteroid to pass by our planet this close since the NASA programme to detect and track near-Earth asteroids began.
iv.Florence will brighten to ninth magnitude in late August and early September, when it will be visible in small telescopes for several nights as it moves through the constellations Piscis Austrinus, Capricornus, Aquarius and Delphinus.
v.The 2017 encounter is the closest by this asteroid since 1890 and the closest it will ever be until after 2500.
Indian athletes bag record 37 medals at World Dwarf Games
On the 7th World Dwarf Gamesthe 21-member Indian contingenthold a record of 37 medals. It was held in Toronto, Canada.
i.India had won 15 gold, 10 silver and 12 bronze medals in the World Dwarf Games.
ii.All the 21 members of the team were dressed in the blue national kit on Independence Day.
iii.There was total participation of nearly 400 athletes from 24 countries.
iv.The 7th edition of the World Dwarf Games was held over a week at the University of Guelph in Ontario.
v.Joby Matthew is one of the Indian athletes at the World Dwarf Games, where he won six medals, including two golds three silvers and a bronze.
vi.ArunachalamNalini, who won five medals, including one gold.
vii.CVRajanna won the gold in the 200 metre sprint event.
viii.Devappa More won the 100 metre race and becoming the fastest man at the event.
Indian Shuttler Lakhsyasen wins Bulgaria Open International Series
Young Indian shuttlerLakshyaSen has won the Bulgaria Open International Series title on 16th of August 2017.
i.He has defeated Croatia’s ZvonimirDurkinjak in the Men’s singles final in Sofia, Bulgaria.
ii.He has won over Zvonimir by 18-21 21-12 21-17 points in a 57-minute match.
iii.He had beaten Sri Lanka’s DinukaKarunaratna by 21-19 21-14 points in the semi-finals.
iv.In 2016, the Indian had won the India International Series and clinched a bronze at the CPB Badminton and Sports Science Training Center in Thailand.
v.In next month time, he will be playing Vietnam Grand Prix and then it would be junior World championship.
About Bulgaria Open International Series:
The Bulgarian International in badminton is an international open held in Bulgaria since 1985. The tournament belongs to the EBU Circuit
Veteran photographer S Paul passed away
S Paul, a veteran Photographer has passed away in Patparganjon 16th of August 2017. He was 88.
i.Hewas born in Jhang in Pakistan in 1929. He moved to India after partition and his family shifted to Shimla.
ii.Paul was a self-taught photographer who discovered his passion as a teenager.
iii.Hejoined The Indian Express in the 1960s and retired from the newspaper in 1989.
iv.Paul received recognition and fame as a professional photographer when his pictures were selected for publication in three renowned British publications Amateur Photographer, Miniature Camera and Miniature Camera World.