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- Current Affairs 2017 February
Centre frames infrastructure policy to check challenges of urbanisation
i. The Centre has formulated the infrastructure policy to promote living close to mass public transport corridors like metro, monorail and bus rapid transit (BRT) on February 26, 2017
ii. Aim: To addressing the challenges of urbanisation.
iii. The new Policy seeks to promote Transit-Oriented Development (TOD).
iv. The Ministry of Urban Development is also incentivising the TOD under new Metro Policy and Green Urban Mobility Scheme that seeks to create non-motorised transport infrastructure in cities like footpaths and cycle-tracks.
v. The Ministry’s initiative comes in the context of over 300 km of metro lines being operational in seven cities, while another 600 km of metro line projects being under construction in 12 cities and over 500 km projects under consideration.
vi. TOD policy is being taken up in Ahmedabad, Delhi, Naya Raipur, Nagpur and Navi Mumbai.
What is TOD ?
♦ A transit-oriented development (TOD) is a type of urban development that maximizes the amount of residential, business and leisure space within walking distance of public transport.
♦ The densest areas of a TOD are normally located within a radius of ¼ to ½ mile (400 to 800 m) around the central transit stop
Rajasthan Inaugurates Medical Project RAHAT for Prompt Treatment of Heart Disease
i. Rajasthan Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje inaugurated a medical project Rajasthan Heart Attack Treatment programme (RAHAT) on February 25, 2017 at the Eternal Heart Care Center Hospital in Jaipur.
ii. Raje also flagged off an ambulance fitted with equipment and trained paramedical staff required for treatment of heart disease.
iii. RAHAT programme aims to provide people in remote and rural areas with timely treatment during heart attacks. It has been launched by the private hospitals in the state.
iv. Under the programme, the patients facing heart attack would be provided with emergency ambulance service and telemedicine service through Eternal Heart Care Centre Hospital.
v. Patient would be given the basic treatment in the ambulance on the way to the nearest Heart Hospital and the same would be shared with the Hospital’s Command centre through GPS.
vi. Rajasthan has become the second state in India after Tamil Nadu to launch proragmmes against Heart Diseases.
vii. Rajasthan has launched several initiatives to boost the medical and health sector of the state such as Arogya Rajasthan, new medical colleges and Bhamashah Swasthya Bima Yojana etc.
Mumbai Named Richest Indian City with Total Wealth of $820 bn According to New World Wealth Report
i. According to the New World Wealth report released on February 21, 2017, Mumbai, the financial capital of India has been named as the Richest Indian city with a total wealth of $ 820 billion.
ii. The South Africa-based market research group, New World Wealth has reported that Mumbai is home to 46,000 millionaires and 28 billionaires
iii. Mumbai is followed by Delhi at second place with a total wealth of $ 450 billion and having 23,000 millionaires and 18 billionaires.
iv. Besides, Bengaluru stands at third place with a total wealth of $ 320 billion and houses 7,700 millionaires and 8 billionaires.
v. The report estimated about 11,000 millionaires moved to Australia in 2016 which marks the highest such inflow in any country. Besides, 10,000 moved to the US and 3,000 moved to the UK.
BANKING & FINANCE
NCAER Lowers India’s GDP Growth Forecast to 6.9 per cent for FY17
i. An economic think-tank, National Council of Applied Economic Research (NCAER) has lowered India’s GDP growth to 6.9 percent for the fiscal 2016-17 compared to previous estimation of 7.6 percent.
ii. The decline in the growth forecast is based on the demonetization effect.
iii. According to NCAER, the growth rate would rebound to 7.3 percent for 2017-18.
iv .Besides, it also predicted the Gross Value Added (GVA) at basic price would grow at 6.3 percent in 2016-17 and 7 percent in 2017-18.
v .Real Agriculture GVA is estimated to grow at 3.7 percent, Real Industry GVA at 5.5 percent and Real Services GVA at 7.3 percent in 2016-17.
vi. Wholesale Price Index (WPI) inflation is projected at 3.6 percent for 2016-17. However, the inflation is projected to accelerate in 2017-18 due to rising crude oil inflation.
National Council of Applied Economic Research (NCAER)
♦ National Council of Applied Economic Research (NCAER) is a non-profit think tank of economics.
♦ It was established in 1956 with financial support from the Ford Foundation, Finance Ministry and Tata Sons. Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru laid the foundation stone of NCAER campus on October 31, 1959.
♦ President: Nandan Nilekani
♦ Director General: Dr Shekhar Shah
♦ Headquarter: New Delhi
India To Remain Fastest Growing Economy Among G-20 Nations Despite Demonetization: Moody’s
i. Moody’s Investors Service report released on February 23, 2017 states that despite the currency demonetisation drive by Government of India, the country will continue to be the fastest growing economy among G-20 countries in 2017.
ii. As per the report titled ‘Modest Acceleration in the Global Economy, but Shifting US Policies Inject Uncertainty’, India is expected to have the fastest-growing economy among all G-20 countries with growth rate at 7.1% for 2017, though lower as compared to previous expectation of 7.5%.
iii. With respect to the global growth, G-20 countries is expected to have a growth rate of 3 percent in 2017 and 2018 from 2.6 percent in 2016.
iv .The report also observed that China’s economy of 6.7% in 2016 may continue to decelerate to 6.3% and 6% in 2017 and 2018 respectively.
v. Moody’s has revised the US’s GDP growth forecast to 2.4% from 2.2% in 2017 and 2.5% from 2.1% in 2018.
DIPP Reports FDI Inflow Grows by 18% to USD 46 billion in 2016
i. According to the data by the Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion (DIPP), the Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) in India grew 18 percent during 2016 to attract $46 billion as compared to $39.32 billion in 2015.
ii. The main sectors which attracted the maximum foreign inflows include services, telecom, trading, computer hardware and software and automobile.
iii. Besides, the major FDI contributing countries were Singapore, Mauritius, the Netherlands and Japan.
iv. To boost foreign inflows, the Finance Minister had announced in the Budget 2017-18 to further relax foreign investment norms and also phase out the Foreign Investment Promotion Board (FIPB).
Foreign Direct Investment (FDI)
♦ A foreign direct investment (FDI) is an investment in the form of a controlling ownership in a business in one country by an entity based in another country.
Foxconn and SoftBank Forms $1.2B Joint Venture
i. Japan’s SoftBank Group Corp (SBG) on February 24, 2017 entered into a definitive agreement with Foxconn Technology Group (Foxconn) of Taiwan to establish a joint venture through Softbank Group Capital Apac Pte Ltd at an estimated cost of $1.2 billion.
ii. Softbank Group Capital Apac Pte Ltd is a wholly owned subsidiary of SBG. The deal is expected to take effect on March 1.
iii. Under the agreement, Foxconn would buy 54.5% stake in SoftBank Group Capital Apac Pte Ltd for $600 million while the remaining would be controlled by SBG.
iv. Under the partnership, investments would be made in initiatives that will integrate SoftBank’s expertise in investments and the Foxconn’s manufacturing and technology services to maximize the profitability of the venture. Foxconn will also be responsible for management of the operation as a whole
SoftBank Group Corp
♦ SoftBank Group Corp. is a Japanese multinational telecommunications and Internet corporation with operations in broadband, fixed-line telecommunications, e-commerce, Internet, technology services, finance, media and marketing, semiconductor design, and other businesses
♦ Founded: 3 September 1981
♦ Headquarters: Minato, Tokyo, Japan
♦ CEO: Masayoshi Son
Gorb Partners with Ola Cab to Offer Food at Discounted Rates to Riders
i. Food technology start-up Gorb has partnered with online cab aggregator Ola on February 24, 2017 to offer food to consumers at discounted rates in Mumbai.
ii. Under the deal, with every booking of Ola cab, the rider will receive a code via SMS and mail which can be availed on the Gorb app or website to order food at discounted rate.
iii. The offer will be valid till April 30. Under it a discount of Rs 100 would be provided on a minimum order value of Rs 200.
iv. The aim of the partnership is to make available the meals at affordable prices to consumers in Mumbai.
v. Gorb is a food-tech startup launched in 2016 with a tagline ‘Jaisa Mood Waisa Food’.
♦ ANI Technologies Pvt. Ltd. operating under the trade name Ola, is an Indian online transportation network company.
♦ Founded: 2010
♦ CEO: Bhavish Aggarwal
♦ Headquarters: Mumbai, Bengaluru
TCS Ranked Among Top Three IT Services Brands Globally by Brand Finance
i. India’s largest software services firm Tata Consultancy Services (TCS) has been rated as one of the top three most-valuable brands in the information technology (IT) service sector by Brand Finance, the leading global brand valuation firm.
ii. However, the overall global position of the company dropped down by one spot to 25th from 2016 when it was 24.
iii. TCS was also rated as Tata Sons highest brand strength of AA+ and generates 69 percent of the total revenue of the parent company.
iv. Other Indian origin IT services companies that made it to the top 10 of the brand value list are Infosys at number 6 and HCL Tech at number 8.
v. The global top 3 most valuable brands in the list includes Google, Apple and Amazon.com respectively.
About Tata Consultancy Services Limited (TCS)
♦ Tata Consultancy Services Limited (TCS) is an Indian multinational information technology (IT) service, consulting and business solutions company. It is a subsidiary of the Tata Group and operates in 46 countries.
♦ As on 2012, TCS was placed among the ‘Big 4’ most valuable IT services brands worldwide.
♦ Headquarter: Mumbai, Maharashtra
♦ Founded: 1968
♦ CEO & MD: Rajesh Gopinathan
AWARDS & RECOGNITIONS
Three Poets From Maharashtra Conferred with Vishakha Awards
i. Three poets from Maharashtra have been conferred with the Vishakha Awards on February 26, 2017 at the Kalidas Kalamandir Hall in Maharashtra during the occasion of Marathi Bhasha Gaurav Din.
ii. The first prize of Rs 21,000 was given to Dr Yogini Satarkar-Pande from Nanded for her book ‘Janivanche Hirve Komb’. She is an English professor at Swami Ramanand Teerth Marathwada University.
iii .The second prize of Rs 15,000 was given to Mohan Kumbhar from Sindhudurg for his book ‘Jagnyache Gatha’. He is a professor at B V Desai College, Kankavli.
iv .The third prize of Rs 10,000 was given to Vishnu Thore of Nashik for his book ‘Dhulpera Usvata’. He is a farmer and an artist from Chandwad tehsil town and has designed over 450 book covers.
v. The award which also has a memento and a certificate of honour was presented by senior litterateur Uttam Kamble in key presence of chief guests MLA Balasaheb Sanap, MLA Prof Devyani Farande and registrar Bhonde.
About ‘Vishaka Puraskar’
♦ The ‘Vishaka Puraskar’ was instituted by Yashwantrao Chavan Maharashtra Open University (YCMOU).
♦ It was instituted in the memory of the late poet Kusumagraja alias V V Shirwadkar and is given every year to the best three maiden poetic compositions.
Japan Creates Guinness Record by Launching World’s First Robot Table Tennis Tutor
i. Japan has unveiled the world’s first robot table tennis tutor FORPHEUS (Future Omron Robotics Technology for Exploring Possibility of Harmonised aUtomation with Sinic Theoretics) which has the ability to play the game better than humans.
ii. It has been listed in the Guinness World Record for being the First robot table tennis tutor for its unique technological intelligence and educational capabilities.
iii. The robot has been developed by the team led by Taku Oya from Omron Corporation. The FORPHEUS aims to create a harmonious environment between humans and robots through teaching the game of table tennis to human players.
iv. The machine has been equipped with sensors and cameras that will help the robot to detect the movement of the ball during the match to better guide as a coach.
v. It also allows human student to see a projected image as to where the return ball will land so that they may improve their skills.
♦ Capital: Tokyo
♦ Currency: Japanese yen
♦ Prime minister: Shinzo Abe
APPOINTMENTS & RESIGNS
Normani Kordei Named American Cancer Society Global Ambassador
Fifth Harmony star from USA, Normani Kordei has been named a global ambassador for the American Cancer Society on February 26, 2017
Aim : To raise awareness about breast cancer screenings and HPV (human papillomavirus) vaccines.
American Cancer Society
♦ The American Cancer Society is a nationwide voluntary health organization dedicated to eliminating cancer.
♦ CEO: Gary M. Reedy
♦ Headquarters: Atlanta, Georgia, United States
Former CM T R Zeliang appointed Finance Advisor to Nagaland government
i. Former Nagaland Chief Minister T R Zeliang was appointed as Finance Advisor to the Nagaland government in the rank of a cabinet minister by the Nagaland governor P B Acharya on February 25, 2017
ii. Zeliang has resigned from the chief ministership on February 19, 2017.He was replaced by Shurhozelie Liezietsu.
♦ Nagaland state borders with Assam in northwest, Arunachal Pradesh in north and Manipur in south. It also shares international boundary with Myanmar
♦ It is also referred as “Falcon capital of the world”.
SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY
Researchers at IIT Kharagpur Develops Prototype to Protect IoT Devices
i. A team of researchers at the Indian Institute Of Technology, Kharagpur (IIT Kgp) have designed ‘Physically Unclonable Functions’ (PUF) based on fingerprint generator circuits to protect Internet of Things (IoT) infrastructure from being hacked.
ii. The PUF are light weight and require little power. They can be easily installed in any electronic device.
iii. The fingerprint generator circuits will enable the receiving device to read the command, verify the authenticity of the sender and then operate.
iv. It will help to uniquely identify each object and thus enable authenticating the commands sent to connected IoT devices
Indian Institute of Technology Kharagpur
♦ The Indian Institute of Technology Kharagpur (IIT KGP) is a public engineering institution established by the government of India in 1951. It is the first of the IITs to be established and is recognized as an Institute of National Importance by the Government of India.
♦ Founded: 1951
♦ Chairperson: Srikumar Banerjee
Air India’s New Fuel-Efficient Airbus A320 Neo Makes Maiden Flight
i. Government owned airline firm Air India started the maiden flight of its newly leased aircraft, Airbus A320 Neo on February 23, 2017 which took off from Indira Gandhi International Airport, New Delhi to reach Chennai International Airport with 161 passengers on board.
ii. The latest fuel-efficient aircraft was leased by the national carrier from European aviation major Airbus on February 16, 2017.
iii. The A320 New Engine Option (Neo) aircraft consists of total 162 seats including 12 business class seats.
iv. The Airbus A320 Neo aircraft is fuel-efficient and highly environmental-friendly. It has reduced noise levels and emits 50 percent less carbon.
v. Air India has plans to induct a total of 29 A320 Neos into its fleet by March 2019 out of which it has planned to induct 13 planes by 2017 calendar year.
vi. The airline has already tied-up with three lessors namely ALAFCO, GECAPS and CIT for 22 planes and is underway to select a bidder for the remaining seven.
♦ Air India is the flag carrier airline of India and the third-largest airline in India in terms of passengers carried after IndiGo and Jet Airways.
♦ It is the third domestic airline after IndiGo and GoAir to have A320 Neo aircraft.
♦ The national carrier is also the first domestic operator of A320 Neo plane that is powered by CFM engine.
♦ The IndiGo and GoAir are using the aircraft having Pratt & Whitney engine.
♦ CEO: Ashwani Lohani
♦ Headquarters: New Delhi
R Ashwin Breaks Kapil Dev’s Record to Become Highest Test Wicket Taker in Home Season
i. Indian off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin surpassed India’s former legendary allrounder Kapil Dev to become the highest wicket-taker in a home Test season
ii. Ashwin has scored 67 wickets from 10 Tests in 2016-17 season played in India. Former Indian captain Kapil Dev took 63 wickets from 13 matches in the 1979-80 season.
iii. Ashwin achieved the feat when he dismissed Mitchell Starc of Australia in their first innings on the second day of the ongoing first Test against Australia in Pune at the Maharashtra Cricket Association Stadium on February 24, 2017.
iv. Meanwhile, Sri Lankan spinner Muttiah Muralitharan holds both the No.3 and No.4 spots with 54 wickets in 2001-02 and 2003-04 seasons respectively.
Gopi & Athare Wins Men’s and Women’s Full Marathon in New Delhi
i. Rio Olympian Thanackal Gopi won the Men’s Full Marathon title in the second edition of the IDBI Federal Life Insurance New Delhi Marathon on February 26, 2017. He finished the marathon in 2:15:37.
ii. Bahadur Singh Dhoni clocked 2:16:09 to finish second while T H Sanjith was third by covering the 42.195 km distance in 2:17:20.
iii. All of them have also qualified for the World Athletics Championships to be held in London in August 2017.
iv. In Women’s category, Monika Athare from Nashik won the full marathon by completing the distance in 2:39:08 to bag her maiden title. She too has qualified for the World Championship.
v. Besides, Jyoti Gawate finished second with a timing of 2:53:48 and Ranjan Kumari clocked 3:08:04 to finish third.
Other Category Winner
|Half Marathon Men||G Lakshamanan (1:04:29)|
|Man Singh (1:04:39)|
|Kheta Ram (1:06:15).|
|Half Marathon Women||Manju Yadav (1:21:02)|
|Arpita Saini (1:25:34)|
|Neetu Singh (1:27:11).|
|10K Run Men||Mohan Saini (31:08)|
|Dinesh Kumar Bind (31:17)|
|Somong Raman (31:17).|
|10K Run Women||Reeta Bisht (42:13)|
|Jayanti Thapliyal (42:35)|
|Nikki Rai (45:22).|
Saina Nehwal to Represent IOC Athletes’ Commission in BWF
i. Indian Badminton ace Saina Nehwal has been named to represent the panel of International Olympic Committee’s Athletes’ Commission (AC) in the Badminton World Federation (BWF).
ii. She would join the BWF Athletes’ Commission as a representative of the IOC AC.
iii. Saina was appointed as a member of the IOC Athletes’ Commission soon after the Rio Olympics in 2016.
iv. The IOC Athletes’ Commission is chaired by Angela Ruggiero and it comprises nine vice presidents and 10 other members.
International Olympic Committee (IOC)
♦ IOC is an international, non-profit, non-governmental organization with the mission to support the development of competitive sport by ethical and environmentally sustainable means.
♦ Headquarters: Lausanne, Switzerland
♦ President: Thomas Bach
♦ Formation: June 23, 1894