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Current Affairs Today – February 18 2017

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SC Introduces Middle Income Group Scheme to Provide Legal Services at Affordable Rate
i. The Supreme Court has introduced the Middle Income Group (MIG) Scheme for the middle income group people whose gross income is not exceeding Rs. 60,000 per month or Rs. 7.5 lakh per annum. 
ii. The MIG Legal Aid Scheme is a self-supporting scheme which aims to provide legal services to the middle income group who cannot afford the expensive litigation in the Supreme Court.
iii. Under the scheme, middle class people who have the desire to avail the benefit of the Scheme shall have to fill up the form prescribed and accept all the terms and conditions contained within and thus can avail the services of the society for a nominal amount.
Key Features of the Scheme
♦ Under the scheme a Supreme Court Middle Income Group Legal Aid Society (SCMIGLAS) would be set up as a governing body.
♦ The society will have Chief Justice-of-India as Patron-in-Chief, Attorney General for India as Ex-officio Vice-President, Solicitor General of India as  Secretary and other senior advocates of the Supreme Court as its members.
♦ The applicants will have to pay a sum of Rs 500 to the Supreme Court Middle Income Group Legal Aid Society (SCMIGLAS) as service charges.
♦ Besides, the applicant shall also have to deposit the fee as indicated by the Secretary which will be in accordance with the schedule attached to the scheme.
♦ The Secretary will also be responsible to register the case under the MIG Legal Aid Scheme and further proceed to forward the papers to the Advocate-on-Record or the Arguing Counsel or Senior Counsel for opinion.
♦ If Advocate-on-Record is satisfied with the case to be proceeded forward then only the Society will consider that the applicant is entitled to legal aid.
♦ If the advocate who is appointed under the scheme is found negligent in the conduct of the case entrusted to him then he will be required to return the brief together with the fee received by him from the applicant under the scheme.
♦ The society will not be responsible for the negligent conduct of the case and the entire responsibility will be that of the advocate. The name of the Advocate will be struck off from the panel prepared under the scheme.

HRD Ministry Mandates Aadhaar to avail Scholarship Benefits by University and College Students
i. The Union Ministry of Human Resource Development (HRD) has made it mandatory for the College and University students to have possession of Aadhaar Card issued by UIDAI to avail benefits under the Central Sector Scholarship Scheme.
A Historic moment! ! UIDAI produced 100 crore Aadhaarsii .Further, the applicants eligible for these scholarships but not having an Aadhaar card can apply for the enrolment by June 30, 2017. However, the rule will not apply to Jammu & Kashmir.
iii. Similarly, the Ministry has also notified that students who wish to avail the National Means-cum-Merit Scholarship Scheme will also have to apply for Aadhaar by June 30. This will not be applicable in the states of J&K, Assam and Meghalaya.
iv. The Ministry has also notified similar provision related to the Means-cum-Merit Scholarship Scheme for schoolchildren.
v. The notification shall come into effect from the date of its publication.
vi. The decision aims to bring in transparency in providing scholarships and also enable beneficiaries to get their entitlements directly in a convenient and seamless manner.
vii .However, till the time Aadhaar is assigned to the students they may get scholarships on the basis of documents like Aadhaar Enrolment ID slip, Aadhaar enrolment application, voter identity card, PAN card etc.

2-Day South Asian Speakers’ Summit Begins In Indore
i. The two-day South Asian Speakers’ Summit was inaugurated by Lok Sabha Speaker Sumitra Mahajan in Indore, Madhya Pradesh on February 18, 2017
ii. Speakers of six countries includes Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Sri Lanka, Maldives and Nepal attended the meeting to deliberate on ways to achieve sustainable development goals.
iii. The summit will have a plenary session on ‘Identifying Resources for SDGs Implementation in South Asia: Opportunities for Parliamentary Cooperation’
iv. A working session on ‘Gender Equality As A Critical Factor For Sustainable Development’ will discuss opportunities that the SDGs present to strike a better gender balance and to determine the gender impact of sustainable development policies.
v. This will conclude with the adoption of an ‘Indore Declaration‘ at a closing ceremony on February 18, 2017


National Regulatory Authority of India Gets Highest WHO Ratings
i. The National Regulatory Authority of India (NRAI), the vaccine regulating authority of India, has been given the highest ratings by global health body World Health Organization for vaccine regulations on February 17, 2017.
ii. A team of international experts led by the World Health Organisation, declared that the National Regulatory Authority of India (NRA) and its affiliated institutions meets the WHO Global Benchmarking Tool requirements for a functional vaccine regulatory system.
iii. The WHO team of international experts conducted a comprehensive review from February 13 to 17 to measure the maturity of the system in India against WHO NRA Global Benchmarking Tool (GBT).
iv. The team comprised of leading experts in different areas from WHO Headquarters Geneva, WHO India Country Office, experts drawn from the regulators of USA, Italy, Germany, Netherlands, Indonesia, Thailand and Egypt.


SBI ties up with Greenply to offer financial services to its dealers
i. Mumbai based State Bank of India(SBI) has signed Memorandum of Understanding(MoU) with India’s largest interior infrastructure company Greenply Industries to grow its channel financing business of Greenply Industries on electronic platformon February 18, 2017.
ii. SBI will extend financial services to Greenply dealers to grow further on a very competitive pricing.SBI
iii. It has also taken initiative to stop use of paper from its branches for end-to-end digitisation.
♦ State Bank of India (SBI) is an Indian multinational, public sector banking and financial services company.
♦ Chairperson: Arundhati Bhattacharya
♦ Headquarters Mumbai, Maharashtra

RBI Permits Multilateral Financial Institutions to Invest in Masala Bonds
i. The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has permitted Multilateral Financial Institutions (FIs) to invest in rupee denominated bonds commonly known as ‘Masala Bonds’ issued by Indian entities.
ii. As per the notification by RBI on February 16, 2017, the move will enable the Indian entities issuing rupee denominated bonds abroad to have wider choice of investors.
iii. The Multilateral and Regional Financial Institutions where India is a member country can only invest in the rupee denominated bonds for example Asian Development Bank, BRICS led New Development Bank etc.
Masala Bond
♦ Masala bonds are the new type of rupee dominated bonds which are issued by Indian entities in offshore market to raise funds in terms of Indian rupee only. The major benefit of this bond is that there is no currency risk.
♦ These bonds are traded on London Stock Exchange instead of being traded in India.
♦ International Finance Corporation (IFC), a World Bank Group, issued the first masala bonds in London in November 2014 to attract international investment for infrastructure in India.

OMA Emirates Enters Indian Market, Acquires MobiSwipe
i. In an effort to extend the services to neighboring countries and enhance market share, leading United Arab Emirates (UAE) payments solutions provider OMA Emirates has entered the Indian Market, beginning with the acquisition of mobile point of sale (mPOS) firm MobiSwipe.
ii. MobiSwipe allows merchants to accept payments via Credit and Debit card by using the mobile application. The acquisition will help MobiSwipe to be offered in countries outside India also.
iii. As per the announcement made by OMA Emirates on February 17, 2017, the company will begins the Indian operations from Mumbai and eventually plans to open offices in other parts of the country beginning with Metros and Tier 1 cities.
iv. Presently, OMA Emirates have presence in Middle East, Europe and select parts of Asia. In India, the firm will begin with providing services like business development, sales and marketing.
v. The aim of OMA Emirates is to increase its sales and market share in by extending its operations to neighboring countries. It will also help to increase the product line of the firm by way of partnerships, alliances and investments.
vi. OMA Emirates is a technology centric company and provides solutions like electronic funds transfer (EFT) POS application, mobile e-top-up solution, EMV card personalisation solutions, central issuance solutions, branch issuance solutions, among others.
United Arab Emirates
♦ Capital: Abu Dhabi
♦ Currency: United Arab Emirates dirham
♦ President: Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan


BEL Unveils Communication Radio for Indian Army
i. The Indian aerospace and defence PSU Bharat Electronics Ltd (BEL) has launched a new communication radio for the Indian Armed Forces, called STARS-V Mk III, at the Aero India 2017 show on February 16, 2017.
ii. The radio is completely designed, developed and made in BEL.
iii. The state-of-the-art radio is a multi brand, high data rate, software intensive IP radio with mobile ad hoc networking (MANET) functions supporting up to 64 notes
About Bharat Electronics Limited
♦ Bharat Electronics Limited is an Indian state-owned multi-product, multi-technology, multi-unit aerospace and defence conglomerate.
♦ It provides over 350 products in the areas of military communication, radars, naval systems, C4I systems, weapon systems, homeland security, telecom & broadcast systems, electronic warfare, tank electronics, electro-optics, professional electronic components and solar photovoltaic systems.
Headquarters: India
♦ Founded: 1954

Aero India 2017 concluded in Bengaluru
The 11th biennial edition of International Aerospace and Defence Exhibition – Aero India 2017 was held at the Air Force Station, Yelahanka in Bengaluru, Karnataka from February 14-18, 2017.
♦ The five day event was inaugurated by Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar. It has been organized and conducted by the Defence Exhibition Organisation (DEO).
MoUs Signed at Aero India 2017
Alpha Design Enters $30 million deal with Elbit to Upgrade IAF’s MI-17 Helicopter
i. Bangalore based defence manufacturer and technological services provider Alpha Design Technologies Pvt. Limited (ADTL) signed a USD 30 million deal with Israel’s Elbit Aero India 2017Systems on February 17, 2017 at Aero India 2017.
ii. The contract was signed between the two to jointly upgrade 90 MI-17 ‘Hip’ helicopters of the Indian Air Force (IAF).
iii. The Elbit Systems is the prime contractor for the programme and ADTL is the major offset partner which will manufacture all the key sub units at its facility in Bangalore for upgrading the 90 Mi-17 helicopters.
iv. All 90 Mi-17 helicopters belong to the IAF’s older batches of Mi-17s and Mi-17-1Vs.
v. The upgradation programme includes manufacturing sub-units such as radar warning receivers (RWRs), countermeasures dispensing systems (CMDSs), missile launch detection systems (MILDSs), global positioning systems (GPSs), identification friend-or-foe (IFF) systems, multifunction colour displays, weather radars, radio altimeters, Doppler velocity sensors, and traffic collision avoidance systems (TCASs).
vi. The MILDS will be indigenously manufactured by Alpha Design in technical collaboration with Airbus as part of DRDOs DARE project for upgradation of helicopters.
Reliance Aerostructure Limited Forms JV with Dassault Reliance Aerospace Ltd
i. Reliance Aerostructure Limited (RAL) has entered into a Joint Venture with Rafale fighter jet manufacturer Dassault Reliance Aerospace Ltd (DRAL) to become the key player in the execution of offset obligations between India and France for the purchase of Rafale jets.
ii. The Joint Venture was announced at the Aero India 2017. RAL will have 51percent shareholding in the JV while DRAL will have the remaining 49 percent.
iii. Eric Trappier, Chairman of Dassault Aviation France, will be the Chairman of the venture, while Anil Ambani, Chairman of the Reliance Group, will be the Co-Chairman of DRAL.
iv. The deal has been signed between India and France to implement the purchase agreement signed in September 2016 for supply of 36 Rafale fighter jets for 7.87 billion euros or Rs. 60, 000 crore.
v. The contract also includes a 50% offset obligation about Rs. 30,000 crore. DRAL will aim to grab a major size of the offset business including components and parts for the jets.
vi .DRAL will develop infrastructure at Dhirubhai Aerospace Park at Mihan, Nagpur and construction of the Greenfield facility will start in May 2017 and production by end-2017.
vii .Phase I of the DRAL’s programme is expected to generate over 700 highly skilled direct jobs and 2,800 indirect jobs and will support Government of India’s “Make in India” and “Skill India” policies.
Raytheon Company Signs MOU with Tata Advanced Systems to Co-Produce Stinger Air Defence Missiles
i. US-based defence technology and research leader Raytheon Company has signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Tata Advanced Systems on February 17, 2017 to jointly produce Stinger air defence missile components.
ii .As part of this new collaboration agreement, Tata Advanced Systems could produce components of the Stinger missile in India.
iii. Stinger Missile has both surface-to-air and air-to-air applications against a variety of airborne targets.
iv. Stinger Missile is a Man-Portable Air-Defense System that operates as an infrared homing surface-to-air missile (SAM). It can be deployed to fire from a wide variety of ground vehicles and helicopters.
v. Stinger has extraordinary capability against all other classes of helicopters, UAVs, cruise missiles, and fixed-wing aircraft due to combination of supersonic speed, agility, highly accurate guidance and control system and lethal warhead.
Tata Advanced Systems Limited
♦ Tata Advanced Systems Limited is a wholly owned subsidiary of Tata Sons which deals with providing integrated solutions for Aerospace, Defence and Homeland Security.
Raytheon Company
♦ Raytheon Company is a US based defence technology and research leader specializing in defense, civil government and cybersecurity solutions. The 95 year-old company offers products and services, sensing, effects, and mission support for customers in more than 80 countries.


Lata Mangeshkar Honored with 2017 Legendary Award by Brand Laureate
i. Melody Queen and Nightingale of India, b has been conferred with the 2017 Legendary Award by the Brand Laureate for giving a unlimited memorable hits and soulful melodies in Hindi film music.
ii. The Brand Laureate Awards recognize world-class achievement in branding amongst Lata Mangeshkar Honored with 2017 Legendary Award by Brand Laureateindividuals and companies. It is presented by the organization jointly with the Asia Pacific Brands Foundation.
iii .Lata Mangeshkar started her career in 1942 with songs in Marathi. Her first Hindi song was ‘Paa lagoon kar jori’ for Vasant Joglekar’s movie Aap Ki Seva Mein in 1946. Her first major break was in 1948 with the song ‘Dil mera toda’ in Majboor.
iv. The 87 year-old nicknamed as Didi by Hindi cinema has contributed over 30,000 songs in the Indian cinema.
v. In 2012, Shah Rukh Khan was honoured with the Brand Laureate Legendary Award for his unmatched contribution to Indian Cinema.
vi. Some other prominent receivers of the award include former South African president Nelson Mandela, Nobel Laureate Mohammad Yunus, Indian businessman Ratan Tata, late Apple co-founder Steve Jobs, Facebook CEO Marck Zuckerburg and F1 ace Michael Schumacher.


Government Cuts SEBI’s Chairman-Designate Ajay Tyagi’s Tenure by Two Years
i. The Union Government on February 17, 2017 reduced the tenure of the next Chairman of Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI), Ajay Tyagi by two years without giving any reason behind the decision.
ii .Now the 58-year-old Tyagi will join as the SEBI Chairman for an initial period of three years instead of five years after the tenure of Sinha ends on March 1, 2017.
iii. On February 10, 2017 Ajay Tyagi’s name was approved by the government to be appointed as the next Chairman of SEBI with a five-year term to succeed incumbent U K Sinha.
iv. Tyagi, a 1984 batch IAS officer of Himachal Pradesh cadre is presently posted as Additional Secretary (Investment) in the Department of Economic Affairs.
Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI)
♦ The Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) is the regulator for the securities market in India.
♦ SEBI also supervises various kinds of market entities including brokers, mutual funds, FIIs, rating agencies and investment bankers, as also thousands of listed companies.
♦ Formed: 12 April 1992
♦ Headquarters: Mumbai, Maharashtra
♦ Chairman: U.K. Sinha

Renu Pall concurrently accredited as Ambassador of India to Montenegro    
i. Former IFS officer Renu Pall has been concurrently accredited as the next Ambassador of lndia to Montenegro, with residence in Vienna (Austria)
ii. Currently he is working as the ambassador of lndia to Austria.
Montenegro :
♦ Capital: Podgorica
♦ Currencies: Euro, Euro sign


Sailboat INSV Tarini Inducted into Indian Navy on 18 February 2017
i. The second ocean going sailboat of Indian Navy “Tarini” was successfully inducted by the Navy on February 18, 2017 at a ceremony held at the INS Mandovi Boat Pool in presence of Admiral Sunil Lanba, Chief of Naval Staff.
ii. It is the second sailboat after INS Mhadei of Indian Navy. INSV Tarini had been conceptualized to promote ocean sailing activities and to encourage women empowerment.
iii. Tarini provides a platform for the first Indian circumnavigation of the globe by all women team of the Indian Navy. 
iv. INSV Tarini has been built by M/s Aquarius Shipyard Pvt Ltd at Divar, Goa.The trials of the newly built INSV Tarini were successfully completed on 30 January 2017.

Fast Patrol Vessel of Indian Coast Guard Ship ICGS AYUSH Commissioned at Kochi
i. Fast Patrol Vessel ICGS AYUSH built by Cochin Shipyard Limited (CSL) was commissioned at the Naval Base in Kochi on February 18, 2017 by the AVSM Flag Officer Commanding-in-Chief of Southern Naval Command, Vice-Admiral A R Karve.
ii. The ICGS AYUSH is intended to help in anti-smuggling and search and rescue operations to secure the Indian waters by patrolling within the Exclusive Economic Zone and also help in fisheries protection.
iii. With this, the CSL Shipyard has completed construction of 20 Fast Patrol Vessel series for the Coast Guard.
iv. The shipyard was awarded the work of constructing 20 Fast Patrol Vessels on October 20, 2010. CSL delivered the first vessel in September 2013 and subsequently delivered vessels at about two months interval.
v. ICGS AYUSH is the 20th and the last in the series of the Fast Patrol Vessel. These vessels are smaller in size as compared to the larger ones that CSL had been building.

ISRO Successfully Tests C25 Engine for GSLV Mark III rocket
i. The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) successfully conducted the final ground testing of its indigenously developed Cryogenic Upper Stage engine (C25) for GSLV Mark III rocket at ISRO’s Liquid Propulsion Complex at Mahendragiri in Tirunelveli district of Tamil Nadu on February 17, 2017.
ii. The ISRO Chairman AS Kiran Kumar informed that the test was last in the series before going for an actual rocket launch. The engine will be put into use in April 2017.
iii. The C25 stage is the most powerful upper stage developed by ISRO and uses Liquid Oxygen and Liquid Hydrogen propellant combination.
iv .It will better serve the next generation GSLV rocket to launch 4-tonne class satellite in the Geostationary Transfer Orbit (GTO).
ISRO Successfully Tests C25 Engine for GSLV Mark III rocketv. The completed rocket will take on board the GSAT-19 satellite, which is an experimental communication satellite.
Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO)
♦ Headquarters: Bengaluru
♦ Founder: Vikram Sarabhai
♦ Founded: 15 August 1969
♦ Director: A. S. Kiran Kumar


India Bags Silver Medal At The Asian Women’s Rugby Sevens Trophy
i. India won the silver medal at the Women’s Asian Rugby Sevens Trophy on February 18, 2017 held at Vientiane, Laos.
ii. South Korea won gold medal by beating India 29-0 in the finals. India won five matches and lost in one.
iii. The Indian team participated under the aegis of the Indian Rugby Football Union (IRFU) the governing body for the sport of Rugby in India and supported by Societe Generale, the financial partner of Rugby India.
iv .Total seven countries from across Asia including South Korea, Philippines, Malaysia, Nepal, Pakistan, India and Laos participated in the Asian Rugby Sevens Trophy.
v. The tournament was played on a Round Robin basis.
vi. India defeated Laos by 22-7, Philippines by 12-5, Nepal by 43-0 and Malaysia by 26-12 on the first day of the competition.
vii. On the second day India defeated Pakistan by 5-0. However, in the last match India was beaten by South Korea by 29-0.


Senior Journalist Yudhisthir Joshi Passes Away
i .Veteran Marathi journalist Yudhisthir Joshi passed away on February 17, 2017 at his residence in Mira Road in Mumbai. He was 81
ii. He was editor with leading Marathi publications such as Lokmat, Nagpur Patrika, Janawad and Gavkari.
iii. Joshi was also a former member of the Mumbai Marathi Patrakar Sangh.

Former MP Jambuvantrao Dhote passes away
i. Former Nagpur MP and firebrand leader Jambuwantrao Dhote passed away at Yavatmal, Former MP Jambuvantrao Dhote passes awayMaharashtra on February 18, 2017. He is 78.
ii. Dhote is Popularly known as “Lion of Vidarbha” because he always stood for the cause of separate Vidarbha
iii. He was also a legislator for two terms from Yavatmal district. Ge started his political career with the Forward Bloc and later moved to the Congress in the late 70s before joining the Shiv Sena.

Veteran RSS Activist Gangadayal Awasthi Passes Away
i .Eminent social worker and RSS activist Gangadayal Awasthi passed away on February 17, 2017 at his residence in Thane, Mumbai. He died at the age of 100.
ii .Awasthi belongs to Uttar Pradesh. He moved to Thane nearly 30 years ago.
iii. He was recently honoured by Jagadguru Shankaracharya of the Kashi Sumeru Peeth Swami Narendrananda Saraswati.
iv .He was very close to some of the senior RSS leaders including Guru Golwalkar, Shyamaprasad Mukherji, Deendayal Upadyaya and A B Vajpayee.