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- Current Affairs 2017 February
Two Day ‘Momentum Jharkhand’ Global Investor Summit 2017 Concluded in Ranchi
i. The two day Global Investors’ Summit (GIS) 2017 was held at Khelgaon in Ranchi, Jharkhand from February 16-17, 2017 with the brand name ‘Momentum Jharkhand’.
ii. Aim: To promote industrial activity in Jharkhand and establish the state as one of the prime investment destination of Eastern India.
iii. The Summit was inaugurated by the Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley while Prime Minister Narendra Modi addressed the summit through video-conferencing.
iv. A Flying Red Elephant was the mascot for the Jharkhand’s Global Investors Summit (GIS) 2017.
v. On the concluding day of the 2017 Global Investors Summit on February 17, 2017, 209 MoUs were signed between nine departments of the Jharkhand government worth Rs 3,03,987 crore with different companies.
Science Express’ Train Flagged off to Create Climate Change Awareness in India
i. A ‘Science Express’ train named ‘Science Express Climate Action Special’ was flagged off from Safderjung Railway Station in New Delhi on February 17, 2017 on a seven-month journey to spread awareness about climate change.
ii. The train was flagged off jointly by three minister including Minister of State (Independent Charge) of Environment, Forest and Climate Change, Shri Anil Madhav Dave and Union Minister of Science and Technology, Dr. Harsh Vardhan who were present at the railway station while Union Railway Minister, Shri Suresh Prabhu, flagged off event through videoconferencing.
iii .The Science Express is on a seven-month journey and will cover 68 stations across the country, including Agartala and Lumding in the northeast. The journey will conclude at Gandhinagar station on September 8.
iv .The 16 coach express is a collaborative effort of Ministries of Railways, Environment and Science and Technology and will travel to Tripura and to the north bank of the Brahmaputra initially.
v. Out of the total coaches, 8 coaches are devoted to information, caste studies and materials related to various aspects of climate change. It will also showcase the underlying science, impacts, adaption activities, mitigation solutions and policy approaches in a manner that is easy to understand.
vi .A kids’ zone is also set up for children from Class 4 and below to participate in fun-filled activities, game and puzzles in science, mathematics and environment.
vii. The remaining 8 coaches will display exhibits and activities of the Department of Science and Technology and Department of Biotechnology.
viii .Three coaches are fitted with solar panels on the roofs. The train will stop at each station for students and others to visit the exhibitions in coaches.
UAE Unveils Plan to Build First City on Mars by 2117
i. The United Arab Emirates (UAE) has unveiled plans to build the first city on Mars by 2117.
ii. The announcement was made by Sheikh Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai and Sheikh Mohammad Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Abu Dhabi Crown Prince and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces on the sidelines of the World Government Summit in Dubai on February 14, 2017.
iii. As a part of the long term Mars Plan, the UAE engineers presented a virtual presentation depicting a preliminary concept for the city on Mars for guests to explore which is expected to be about the size of Chicago.
iv. For the 100-year national project, the UAE government would collaborate with specialised international organisations and scientific institutes.
v .The Mars 2117 Project is a long-term project and the first step towards it would be to make appeal to young Emiratis to make space travels and set up special programs in space sciences at universities in the UAE.
vi .Under the project, an Emirati scientific team would be set up to implement the plan and later the team would also include international scientists and researchers.
vii. The team would work to develop action plan to facilitate the transport of people to-and-from the planet over the next decades.
viii .They would also research as to what the settlement would look like and how it will be sustainable in terms of food, energy and transportation
ix. Besides, under the Mars Probe Mission announced by UAE in 2015, the Arab world’s first spacecraft would be send to the Red Planet in a scientific exploration mission that will land on planet in 2021
United Arab Emirates (UAE)
♦ Capital: Abu Dhabi
♦ Currency: United Arab Emirates dirham
♦ President: Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan
BANKING & FINANCE
Government Increases the Cash Credit Limit For MSMEs To 30 %
i. The Union government has increased the Cash Credit (CC) limit for Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) to 30 percent of turnover from the existing 20 percent to encourage them to conduct businesses digitally.
ii. Through digital means of conducting the business, the balance sheet of companies would be clean and this would help MSMEs to get loans from banks and promote Ease of Doing Business.
iii .Presently the taxes for MSMes are calculated at 8 percent for revenue of up to Rs 2 crore. With digital transaction, tax liability will be reduced from 8 percent to 6 percent.
Canara Bank Inks MoU with HRD Ministry to Start Higher Education Financing Agency
i. Bangalore based Public sector Canara Bank has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Human Resource Development (HRD) Ministry on February 17, 2017 to operationalize the Higher Education Financing Agency (HEFA).
ii. The establishment of the Higher Education Financing Agency (HEFA) was approved by the Union Cabinet in September 2016.
iii. Through this MoU, HRD Ministry and Canara Bank will jointly promote the HEFA with an authorised capital of Rs. 2,000 crore.
iv. The objective behind the establishment of HEFA is to enhance and create high quality capital assets and infrastructure in the premier educational institutions.
v .All the centrally funded higher educational institutions would be eligible for joining as members of HEFA. HEFA would finance the civil and lab infrastructure projects through a 10-year loan.
vi. HEFA would leverage the equity to raise up to Rs. 20,000 crore for funding infrastructure and development projects for world class Labs in IITs/IIMs/NITs and such other institutions.
vii. HEFA would also mobilize CSR funds from PSUs and corporate and use it for promoting research and innovation in these institutions on a grant basis.
viii. The principal portion of the loan will be repaid through ‘internal accruals’ which is earned through fee receipts, research earnings etc. by the institutions. The interest part would be paid by the Government through regular Plan assistance.
♦ Founded: 1906
♦ Headquarters: Bangalore, Karnataka
♦ Chairman: Shri T. N. Manoharan
♦ MD & CEO: Shri Rakesh Sharma
Mastercard to Provide Payments Processing Solution for Airtel Payment Bank
i. Leading global payments and technology firm, Mastercard is set to provide payments processing solution to Airtel Payments Bank.
ii. The payment processing platform will enable the Airtel Payment Bank in providing various payment services like switching, card management along with support for reconciliation and dispute management processes.
iii. As per the announcement by Mastercard on February 17, 2017, Mastercard and Airtel Payments bank have also launched India’s first online debit card along with a prepaid card, both of which is accessible through the Myairtel App.
iv. The online debit card will enable Airtel Payments Bank customers to make digital payments at over 100,000 online merchants.
v. The collaboration will enable Airtel Payments Bank to offer a safer, innovative and faster payments experience to its customers through globally proven expertise and technology solutions of Mastercard.
vi. Airtel Payments Bank launched its services across 2, 50, 000 banking points in all the 29 states on January 12, 2017.
♦ Mastercard is a leading global payments & technology company that connects consumers, businesses, merchants, issuers & governments around the world.
♦ CEO: Ajaypal Singh Banga
♦ Headquarters: New York, United States
♦ Founded: 16 December 1966
Karnataka Bank Launches National Pension System in Mangaluru
i. Mangaluru based private sector lender Karnataka Bank Ltd launched National Pension System (NPS) at its corporate office in Mangaluru on February 16, 2017.
ii. Aim: To provide financial security at old age by giving regular income in the form of pension.
iii. Under the scheme, one can contribute to NPS while earning and eventually start receiving pension on his/her attaining the age of 60 years to meet their financial needs.
iv .To avail the benefit, any individual between the ages 18-60 years can register their name with the bank branch to contribute and to get pension benefit.
v. Besides, the investor can avail of the exemption to the extent of Rs 50,000 under section 80 CCD 1 even though they are contributing towards any other pension schemes.
vi. Initially the bank has introduced this scheme at select branches and plans to introduce it in a phased manner at all of its branches.
Karnataka Bank Limited
♦ Headquarters: Mangalore
♦ CEO: Polali Jayarama Bhat
♦ Founded: 1924
♦ Motto: Your family bank. Across India
NALCO signs MoU with TERI for sustainable rehabilitation
i. Odisha based National Aluminium Company Limited(NALCO) has signed Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with The Energy and Resources Institute (TERI) in New Delhi on February 16, 2017
ii. Objective of the agreement: Scientific, technological and educational activities in the area of mining rehabilitation.
iii. The agreement will further strengthen initiatives being undertaken under Sustainable Development Framework (SDF).
iv. It will will cover mining rehabilitation methods and technologies, sustainable rehabilitation on red mud areas, capacity building, workshops and preparation knowledge documents on mining rehabilitation.
♦ National Aluminium Company Limited( NALCO)has units in Odisha at places like Angul and Damanjodi. It was incorporated as a public sector enterprise of the Ministry of Mines, Government of India in 1981.
♦ Headquarters Bhubaneswar, Odisha
♦ Chairman & Managing Director Dr.T.K.Chand
AirAsia signs MoU with Odisha Government for two-ways Direct Flights
i. Malaysia-based low-cost airline AirAsia has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Odisha government on February 17, 2017 to start two-way direct international flights from Bhubaneswar to Kuala Lumpur.
ii. The agreement was signed between Nitin Bhanudas Jawale, Director of Tourism Department in Odisha and AirAsia Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Aireen Omar.
iii. The airline will begin its flight service from the Biju Patnaik International Airport by end of March 2017.
iv. AirAsia has been selected through competitive bidding. The state government had invited an Expression of Interest (EoI) from the scheduled air carriers for running flights to destinations in South East Asia like Singapore, Bangkok and Kuala Lumpur.
v. Earlier in 2016, the Odisha government had allowed AirAsia to receive subsidy support of 1 lakh 70 thousand per round trip for starting air service operations from Bhubaneswar to Singapore/Bangkok/ Kuala Lumpur.
vi. Further, the Odisha government has reduced Value Added Tax (VAT) on Aviation Turbine Fuel to zero percent for direct international flights.
♦ AirAsia is a Malaysian low-cost airline headquartered near Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. It is the largest airline in Malaysia by fleet size and destinations, and Asia’s largest low-cost airline by passengers carried and jet fleet.
♦ Subsidiaries: AirAsia X, Thai AirAsia, Indonesia AirAsia, AirAsia India, Thai AirAsia X, AirAsia Philippines, Indonesia AirAsia X
JLL Named to FORTUNE’s 2017 World’s Most Admired Companies List
i .Leading professional services firm JLL has once again been named to FORTUNE magazine’s World’s Most Admired Companies list of 2017 based on their reputation for innovation, top talent and global competitiveness.
ii. JLL is an American professional services and investment management company specializing in real estate and investment management and helps real estate owners, occupiers and investors achieve their business ambitions.
Top 5 Companies in the List
About Fortune World’s Most Admired Companies
♦ The World’s Most Admired Companies list is a major list of authority on corporate reputations compiled each year by FORTUNE and Korn Ferry Hay Group through a survey of top executives, directors and financial analysts.
♦ FORTUNE’s list of World’s Most Admired Companies determines the companies with the strongest reputations within and across industries. Nine key attributes are measured to compile the rankings, which include investment value, quality of management, innovation, products, social responsibility and ability to attract tale.
AWARDS & RECOGNITIONS
Veteran Hindi Scholar and Novelist Surendra Verma Selected for 2016 Vyas Samman
i. Renowned Hindi litterateur and playwright Surendra Verma has been selected for 2016 Vyas Samman for his novel Kaatna Shami Ka Vriksha Padma Pankhuri Ki Dhar Se. This novel was published in the year 2010.
ii. Mr Verma would be presented a cash prize of Rs. 3.50 lakh a citation and a logo for the prestigious award instituted by K K Birla Foundation.
iii. Surendra Verma will be the 26th recipient of the honor.
South Indian Bank bags award for tech security practices
i. Thrissur based South Indian Bank(SIB)’s MD and CEO of the bank, V.G. Mathew has received the ISO 27001: 2013 certification from Venkataram Arabolu, Managing Director, BSI Group India for Information Security Management System (ISMS) of SIB on February 16, 2017
ii. SIB had already received ISO 9001 Quality Management certification for its Credit Department, Personnel Department and Data Centre.
iii. The bank received this certification for security best practices with international standards.
Information Security Management System (ISMS):
An information security management system (ISMS) is a set of policies and procedures for systematically managing an organization’s sensitive data
Corporation Bank Bags 2017 National MSME Excellence Award
i. Mangalore based public sector lender Corporation Bank was awarded the 2017 National MSME Excellence Award on February 10, 2017 at a function in New Delhi.
ii. D V Subramanya Varma, General Manager of Corporation Bank received the award from Union Minister of State for Micro Small and Medium Enterprises, Haribhai P Choudhary.
iii. The award is instituted by the Federation of Industry, Trade and Services (FITS).
iv. Corporation Bank provides various facilities to MSME sector like online loan facility for MSME borrowers, online facility for revival and rehabilitation of MSME, Concessions and collateral free loans up to Rs 2 Crore under Credit Guarantee Scheme.
v. Concessions in interest rate are also offered to women beneficiaries and rated MSME units. Besides, the bank has also organized campaign for growth of MSME sectors.
Federation of Industry Trade and Services (FITS):
The Federation of Industry Trade and Services (FITS) is a national industry body working in the form of a bridge between the industry and the state and central governments.
♦ Headquarters: Mangalore
♦ Founded: 1906
♦ CEO: Jai Kumar Garg
APPOINTMENTS & RESIGNS
Banks Board Bureau Appoints Eight Executive Directors in Various Banks
Eight Executive Directors (EDs) have been appointed in various public sector banks on the recommendations of Banks Board Bureau on February 17, 2017.
♦ Initially, they have been appointments for a three-year period.
List of Appointed Executive Directors
i. Neelam Damodharan and Atanu Kumar Das have been appointed as EDs in Bank of India. Presently, Damodharan serves as the General Manager in Bank of Baroda and Das is General Manager in Vijaya Bank.
ii. K Swaminathan, the General Manager in Indian Overseas Bank, has been appointed as ED in Indian Overseas Bank.
iii. Ashok Kumar Pradhan has been appointed as the ED in United Bank of India. Presently he serves as the Chief General Manager with State Bank of Bikaner and Jaipur.
iv .P Ramana Murthy will be Executive Director of Central Bank of India. He is GM of Allahabad Bank.
v. Fareed Ahmed Khan, General Manager of Corporation Bank, has been appointed as the ED in Punjab and Sind Bank.
vi. M K Bhattacharya, Chief General Managers of State Bank of Mysore has been appointed as the EDs of Indian Bank
vii. S Harishankar who serves as Chief General Managers of State Bank of Travancore has been appointed EDs of Allahabad Bank.
ACQUISITIONS & MERGERS
Havells India to buy Lloyd Electric’s consumer business for Rs 1500 crore
i. An electrical equipment company, Havells India has announced to acquire Lloyd Electric & Engineering for its consumer durables business for around Rs 1200 -1500 crore on February 17, 2017
ii. Lloyd’s other business divisions includes heat exchangers, original equipment manufacturing and packaged AC business
Havells India Ltd is one of the largest electrical equipment companies in India. It is the country’s leading Fast Moving Electrical Goods (FMEG) manufacturer, producing a wide range of world class industrial and consumer electrical products.
♦ Founded :1983
♦ Headquarters: Noida
♦ Founder & Chairman: Qimat Rai Gupta
SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY
Scientists Develops High-Quality Graphene Using Soybean
i. A team of Scientists at Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) in Australia have developed the world’s strongest material, Graphene using soyabean to make it commercially more viable.
ii. The research was published in the journal Nature Communications.
What is Graphene?
♦ Graphene is a carbon material that is one atom thick. Due to its thin composition and high conductivity, it is used in applications ranging from miniaturised electronics to biomedical devices.
♦ These properties are also used to make thinner wire connections for providing extensive benefits for computers, solar panels, batteries, sensors and other devices.
About the Research
i. Till now graphene production was very costly process. It required highly controlled environment with explosive compressed gases and long hours of operation at high temperatures and extensive vacuum processing for its production.
ii. However, the CSIRO scientist used a novel “GraphAir” technology which eliminated the need for such a highly-controlled environment thus making the process of the production very cost effective.
iii. GraphAir transforms soybean oil which is a renewable, natural material into graphene films in a single step.
iv. The technology grows graphene film in ambient air with a natural precursor, making its production faster and simpler.
v. With heat soybean oil breaks down into a range of carbon building units that are essential for the synthesis of graphene.
vi. GraphAir technology results in good and transformable graphene properties as compared to graphene made by conventional methods.
Sea Ice in Antarctica reaches record low value.
i. The sea ice floating around the Antarctica has contracted to the smallest value as compared to the past years. This area is smallest when compared to all available data in satellite records dating back to 1979.
ii. As per the data received from U.S. National Snow and Ice Data Center (NSIDC) the sea ice area contracted to 2.287 million square kilometres on 13 February 2017. This area is a bit smaller than the previous low of 2.290 million square kilometres that was recorded on Feb 27, 1997.
iii. Every year towards the end of February the floating ice melts to its lowest value. But this year it reached all time low. However the director of NSIDC, Mark Serreze said that he would wait for a few more days to confirm the record low measurement.
PV Sindhu Attains Career-Best Rank at No. 5 in BWF Rankings, Saina Placed at No. 9
i. Indian ace shuttler PV Sindhu achieved her career best Badminton World Federation (BWF) women’s single ranking by being placed at 5th spot on February 15, 2017.
ii. Previously the top seeded player was placed at sixth position. She has moved a place ahead of Akane Yamaguchi of Japan, to attain her career best ranking.
iii. The only second Indian to be placed among the top 10 spots is Saina Nehwal who has been placed at No. 9.
iv .The BWF women’s single ranking has been topped by Tai Tzu Ying of the Chinese Taipei.
v. The only non-Asian to be listed in the top 10 spots of the BWF women’s rankings is Carolina Marin of Spain.
vi. Among BWF men’s singles rankings, none of the Indian players have made it to the top 10. Ajay Jayaram (18) is the highest ranked Indian on the men’s singles list followed by Kidambi Srikanth (21), and HS Prannoy (23).