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Current Affairs Today – July 17 2015

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Indian Affairs 

Union Government brings 39 more Pharmaceutical drugs under price control

  • The National Pharmaceutical Pricing Authority (NPPA) has brought 39 more Pharmaceutical drugs under price control.
  • The drugs brought under this price control includes the drugs which can be used to treat diseases such as diabetes and digestive disorders.
  • Now, 652 drugs are under the price control list of Pharmaceutical drugs.

India and Canada sign MoU in the field of Civil Aviation

  • India and Canada have signed a Memorandum of Understanding in the field of Civil Aviation.
  • This will help in deepening the bilateral cooperation and enhancing the experience and technical knowledge in the field of Civil Aviation between India and Canada.

Features of the MoU are:

  • An appropriate platform shall be formalized for exchange of views on the possibilities of fostering greater commercial/economic cooperation between the two countries in the areas of civil aviation.
  • The two countries shall have a cooperation programme in the areas of safety of aircraft operations and related issues.
  • Indian firms could also be benefited from the exchange of technical knowhow with Canadian companies as the aviation industry

INS Astravahini decommissioned after 31 years of service

  • Indigenously built Torpedo launch and recovery vessel (TLRV) ‘INS Astravahini’ has been decommissioned after almost 31 years in service to the nation.
  • ‘INS Astravahini’ was decommissioned at a ceremony presided over by Commodore K A Bopanna, Naval Officer-in-Charge ( Andhra Pradesh Division) at the Ship Building Centre.
    The vessel was developed by Naval Science and Technological Laboratory (NSTL)
  • Astravahini was auxiliary vessel of TLRV class, the ship was commissioned on November 5, 1984 at Visakhapatnam, the headquarters of Eastern Naval Command
  • The only one of its class the ship was extensively used by NSTL as a test platform to launch and recover experimental torpedoes prior to their induction into the Navy.

Union Cabinet approved redevelopment of 400 railway stations through Swiss Challenge method.

  • Union cabinet chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi has approved a proposal to redevelop 400 railway stations using a contract method called the “Swiss challenge”.
  • Under this model, interested parties coming through open bids would develop the stations with their designs and business ideas while commercial development of real estate would be allowed by the Zonal Railways
  • These 400 stations are to be developed by leveraging real estate development of land and air space in and around the stations
  • These categories of stations are generally located in metros, major cities, pilgrimage centres and important tourist destinations across the country

What is Swiss Challenge ?

Any person with credentials can submit a development proposal to the government for the development of classified railway stations. That proposal will be put on the Internet and a second person can give suggestions to improve or beat that proposal. An expert committee will accept the best proposal and the original proposer will get a chance to accept it if it is an improvement on his own proposal.The Swiss method, however, is already in use in states such as Karnataka, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Gujarat for road and housing projects.


Indian-American woman Sunita Viswanath honoured with ‘Champion of Change’ award


  • Indian-American woman Sunita Viswanath is one of the tewlve eminent persons who has been honoured with ‘Champions of Change’ award by the White House for her effort in protecting environment and communities from the effect of climate change.
  • Sunita Viswanath was the only Indian American to figure in the list, and was selected for her work in encouraging Hindus to take care of the environment
  • Viswanath, has worked in women’s and human rights organisations for almost three decades she is the co-founder and active board member of the 14-year-old front-line women’s human rights organisation, Women for Afghan Women.She is also the co-founder and board member of ‘Sadhana: Coalition of Progressive Hindus’.
  • Sunita Viswanath was born in Chennai , currently she lives in Brooklyn in New York with her husband Stephan Shaw and their three sons Gautama, Akash and Satya.
  • Viswanath was a 2011 recipient of the “Feminist Majority Foundation’s Global Women’s Rights Award” for her work with WAW.
  • One of the project of Sadhana is Project Prithvi, a grassroots green project as part of Project Prithvi, Sadhana is involved with cleaning up a beach in Jamaica Bay, Queens which is a place of worship for Hindus.


Prashant Pathrabe appointed as FTII director

  • Ministry of Information and Broadcasting (I&B) has appointed Prashant Pathrabe, as the new director of the prestigious Film and Television Institute of India (FTII).
  • He was former head of the National Film Archives of India (NFAI).
  • He is an IIS officer of 1990 batch and was formerly Director of the Press Information Bureau in Pune before taking over as Director, NFAI.
  • He is an IIT Kharagur and IIM-Ahmedabad alumnus is also a member of the rock-pop band ‘The Aryans’.

Neeraj Kumar appointed chief security advisor for ICC World T20 2016

  • BCCI has appointed Neeraj Kumar as the Chief Advisor of Security and Anti-Corruption Unit (ACSU) for next year’s T20 World Cup.
  • He was former Delhi Police Commissioner.

FlipKart appointed Eric Lange as Vice President of Product Management

  • Flipkart has appointed former Yahoo Inc. executive Eric Lange as Vice-President of Product Management for its customer experience division.
  • Previously Lange has worked as the Vice President of Product Management in the Ads division for Yahoo and spearheaded Yahoo’s acquisitions of the mobile advertising and analytics company.
  • He also spent seven years at Google, where from 2010 to 2012 he was Head of Monetization for Asia Pacific, leading product development and strategy for the company’s advertising business.

Banking & Finance 

RBI inks pact with Sri Lanka’s Central Bank

  • The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) signed a currency swap agreement with the Central Bank of Sri Lanka.
  • This agreement assist countries during periods of tight liquidity or balance of payments and liquidity crises. According to which Sri Lanka can draw a maximum of $1.1 billion for a period of up to six months.
  • There is an existing framework on currency swap arrangement for the SAARC member countries by which SAARC members can draw currency$100 million-
  • $400 million, with a total limit of $2 billion, from an RBI financing facility set up for this purpose.
  • In in March 2015, India and Sri Lanka’s central banks signed a currency swap agreement under the SAARC Framework.

Ottappalam in Kerala to have India’s first Defence Industrial Park

  • The Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion (DIPP) has approved a proposal from the Kerala Industrial Infrastructure Development Corporation (Kinfra) to set up the country’s first defence industrial park at Ottappalam.
  • The park will be developed as a part of Make in India and will have modern common infrastructure facilities aimed at attracting component manufacturers in the defence industry.
  • The Union government has agreed to bring it under the Modified Industrial Infrastructure Upgradation Scheme (MIIUS).


New species of bird-like dinosaur discovered in China


  • A newly identified species of feathered dinosaur in China, is a close cousin of ‘Velociraptor’ made famous by the Jurassic Park films and is the largest ever discovered to have a well-preserved set of bird-like wings, scientists say.
  • Paleontologists working in China unearthed the fossil remains of the winged dinosaur named Zhenyuanlong suni, a close cousin of Velociraptor.
  • Researchers said its wings, which are very short compared with other dinosaurs in the same family, consisted of multiple layers of large feathers.
  • They found that the species’ feathers were complex structures made up of fine branches stemming from a central shaft.


Mohammad Hafeez fails ICC bowling test, banned for a year

  • Pakistani All Rounder Mohammad Hafeez has been banned from bowling in international cricket for 12 months by ICC.
  • He failed an independent assessment of his suspect action was carried out at the Sri Ramachandra University in Chennai.
  • His bowling action came under question by the match officials during Pakistan’s first Test victory over Sri Lanka.

ICC ODI Rankings: India retain 2nd spot after clean sweep over Zimbabwe

After a clean sweep victory by 3-0 over Zimbabwe, India have retained their 2nd spot in the ICC ODI team rankings.

Top 5 teams are:

  1. Australia          129
  2. India                115
  3. New Zealand   112
  4. South Africa    109
  5. Sri Lanka         105

Top 5 ODI Batsman are:

  1. AB de Villiers – South Africa
  2. Kumar Sangakkara – Sri Lanka
  3. Hashim Amla – South Africa
  4. Virat Kohli – India
  5. Tillakaratne Dilshan – Sri Lanka

Top 5 Bowlers are:

  1. Mitchell Starc – Australia
  2. Trent Boult – New Zealand
  3. Sunil Narine – West Indies
  4. Dale Steyn – South Africa
  5. Imran Tahir – South Africa


Veteran Telugu playback singer V Ramakrishna died

  • Veteran Telugu playback singer V Ramakrishna passed away on 15 July 2015 after battling cancer. He was 68. He is survived by wife, a daughter and a son.
  • Born in 1947, Ramakrishna sang about 5000 songs in a career spanning nearly four decades. He had done huge hit songs in films like Andala Ramudu, Alluri Sitarama Raju and Mutyala Muggu.