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Current Affairs Today – July 19 2017

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Current Affairs July 19 2017


Maharashtra govt approves revised policy of ‘Majhi Kanya Bhagyashree’ scheme
The Maharashtra government has approved a revised policy of the ‘Majhi Kanya Bhagyashree’ scheme who have a yearly income of upto Rs 7.5 lakh will be benefited from this scheme.
Key Points:
i. According to the earlier provisions, the ‘Majhi Kanya Bhagyashree’ scheme is for those girls who come under Below Poverty Line (BPL) families and those whose annual income was upto Rs 1 lakh. Maharashtra govt approves revised policy of 'Majhi Kanya Bhagyashree' scheme
ii .According to the revised provisions, families having an income upto Rs 7.5 lakh will be eligible for the scheme.
iii. As per the revised provisions after having the first girl child, if the mother or the father undergoes a family planning operation, a sum of Rs 50,000 shall be deposited in a bank in the name of the girl child.
iv. If any of the parents undergo a family planning operation after having the second girl child, a sum of Rs 25,000 shall be deposited in the name of both children.
v. The scheme will be valid only if there are a maximum of two girl children born. In case a third child is born, the scheme shall become invalid for the first two as well.
vi. The girl will be able to withdraw the interest money twice – once she attains 6 years of age and when she turns 12. 
vii. The girl will be able to withdraw the principle money plus the interest when she turns 18, provided she has completed her education upto Standard 10 and is unmarried.
viii. The scheme has been launched by the state government on 1st April 2016 in place of ‘Sukanya’ scheme.
ix. It is aimed at improving the skewed girl child ratio, prevent sex determination and female foeticide, and support female education.
Maharashtra National Park:
Chandoli National Park, Navegaon National Park and Sanjay Gandhi (Borivilli) National Park

Shala Siddhi Prohatsan Yojana started in 25,000 MP schools
Madhya Pradesh’s school education department is going to start programmes such as ‘Hamari Shala Kaisi Ho’ and ‘Shala Siddhi Karyakram’ in all government schools of the state.
Key Points:
i. It aims to provide qualitative education to the government school students.
ii. The State Education Centre has also started Shala Siddhi Prohatsan Yojana under the programme in 25 thousand schools of the state to encourage best works.
iii. A time table has also been fixed for the award process going by the time table, the district core committees would be required to form block-level selection committees by 22nd July.
iv. The selected schools will be required to forward their applications for Shala Siddhi Karyakram to Sankul Principals by 28 July.
v. The selection committee will then forward applications of 3 primary and 3 middle schools for awards to the District Institute for Education and Training (DIET).
vi. On the occasion of Independence Day Celebration programme the selected schools at block level will be awarded at District Head Quarters.
vii. The District Core Committees will be required to select 3 primary and middle schools.
viii. The chosen schools will be awarded on Teachers’ Day, on 5th of September.
About Madhya Pradesh
CM: Shivraj Singh Chouhan
♦ Governor: Om Prakash Kohli
♦ Capital: Bhopal

Patnaik dedicates to nation Odisha’s longest bridge
Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik has dedicated to the nation the state’s longest bridge. The longest bridge is named it after Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose.
Key Points:
i.The 2.88 km bridge over the river Kathajodi will connect the state capital of Bhubaneswar with Cuttack.
ii.It will reduce the distance between the two cities by 12 km. Patnaik dedicates to nation Odisha's longest bridge
iii.According to Patnaik it will stand as a symbol of our constant efforts towards development of modern infrastructure for growth and progress of the state and our people.
About Odisha:
Capital: Bhubaneswar
CM: Naveen Patnaik
Governor: S.C. Jamir


US imposes new sanctions against Iran over ballistic missile program
The administration of US President Donald Trump is imposing new economic sanctions against Iran over the Islamic Republic’s ballistic missile program.
Key Points:
i. The US Departments of Treasury and State announced they are targeting 18 Iranian individuals, groups and networks.
ii. According to the Associated Press the restrictions ranged from a company that allegedly aided Iran’s drone program to a Turkey-based provider of naval equipment and a China-based network that provided electronics to Iran.
iii. The new sanctions freeze any assets the targets may have in the US and prevents Americans from doing business with them.
iv. The Trump administration certified to Congress that Iran is in compliance with the 2015 nuclear agreement, which lifted nuclear-related sanctions imposed against Tehran.
v. The certification that Iran is technically complying with the nuclear agreement clears the way for sanctions to remain lifted.
vi. Tehran insists its missile tests do not breach any UN resolutions.
vii. These missiles are solely for defense purposes and not designed to carry nuclear warheads.
viii. The Islamic Republic has also said that it will spare no effort to meet its national security needs, and does not allow any party to interfere in the imperative.
About Iran
Capital: Tehran
♦ President: Hassan Rouhani
♦ Currency: Rial

Australia joins International Solar Alliance led by India and France
On July 19, 2017, Australia became the 35th country to join the International Solar Alliance (ISA), an initiative launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in November 2015 in Paris.
i. ISA is co-led by India and France.
ii. The larger aim of ISA is to mobilise over $ 1000 billion by 2030 towards promoting solar power on all fronts – generation and storage.
iii. India is contributing $1 million to the ISA fund the Indian Renewable Energy Development Agency (IREDA) and Solar Energy Corporation of India (SECI).
About International Solar Alliance (ISA):
♦ The International Solar Alliance is an alliance of countries which are located completely or partly between Tropic of Cancer and Tropic of Capricorn.
♦ It was jointly launched by the Prime Minister of India Narendra Modi and the then President of France Francois Hollande in November 2015 in Paris, on the side lines of COP21.
♦  In January 2016, PM Narendra Modi, and the then French PresidentFrançois Hollande jointly laid the foundation stone of the ISA Headquarters and inaugurated the International Solar Allianceinterim Secretariat of the ISA at the National Institute of Solar Energy (NISE) in Gurugram, Haryana, India.
Quick Facts About Australia:
♦ Capital: Canberra
♦ Currency: Australian Dollar
♦ Current Prime Minister: Malcolm Turnbull


MoU Signed Between Department of Defence Production and GSL, HSL,GRSE, BDL
1.BDL :
i. A Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) has been signed between Bharat Dynamics Limited (BDL) and Defence Public Sector Undertaking (DPSU) for the financial year 2017-18.
The MoU has been signed between Secretary (Defence Production) Shri AK Gupta on behalf of the Ministry of Defence and the Chairman and Managing Director (CMD), BDL Shri V Udaya Bhaskar.
iii. The revenue from operations, as per the MoU, has been targeted at  Rs 5300 crore.BDL has planned to spend an amount of Rs 140 crore for modernization and Capital expenditure.
i. A MoU has been signed between Hindustan Shipyard Limited (HSL), a Schedule ‘B’ Central Public Sector Enterprise (CPSE) and a Department of Defence Production, Ministry of Defence for the financial year 2017-18.
The annual MoU was signed between Secretary (Defence Production) Shri Ashok Kumar Gupta on behalf of the Ministry of Defence and Chairman and Managing Director HSL Rear Adm (Retd) LV Sarat Babu.
iii. The revenue from operations has been targeted at Rs 600 Crore.
i. Goa Shipyard Limited (GSL), a miniratna Defence Public Sector Undertaking (DPSU) signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) for the financial year 2017-18.
ii. The annual MoU was signed between Secretary (Defence Production) Shri Ashok Kumar Gupta on behalf of the Ministry of Defence and Chairman and Managing Director (CMD), GSL Rear Adm (Retd) Shekhar Mital.
iii. This year’s MoU target for Revenue from Operations has been set at Rs 1150 crore.
i. During the current financial year GRSE has set a target to develop Indigenous Capability and Infrastructure for Assembly, Test and Trial of Marine Diesel Engines, at its Engine Plant at Ranchi.
ii. A Memorandum of Understanding was signed between Defence Production Secretary Ashok Kumar Gupta and Garden Reach Shipbuilders and Engineers Limited Chairman and Managing Director Rear Adm (Retd) VK Saxena.
iii. The company has targeted to achieve a turnover of Rs 1350 crore in 2017-2018. 

India food grain output up 8.7% at record 273.38 MT in 2016-17
As per Government data released on July 18, 2017, India’s food grain production has increased by 8.7% to a record high 273.38 million tonne during 2016-17. India last had a record output in food grains of 265.04 million tonne during 2013-14.foodgrain production
Food grain Output Data:
i. Rice output increased by 4.5% to a record 109.15 million tonne.
ii. Wheat production was up 5.6% at all-time high of 97.44 million tonne.
iii. Coarse grains production rose 15.2% to highest ever 44.39 million tonne.
iv. Output of all major pulses jumped 37% to 22.40 million tonne.
Expected Benefits from increased food grain output:
♦ A record high output of grains, which contribute about 12.4% to the consumer inflation (CPI) basket, will increase supplies and moderate prices in coming months.
♦ It will also help farmers tide over losses suffered during the demonetisation drive that squeezed the demand for food items and lowered their prices.


Sheikha Lubna Al Qasimi tops poll of most powerful Arab women
According to Forbes Middle East the UAE Minister of State for Tolerance Sheikha Lubna Al Qasimi has topped a poll of the most powerful Arab women in government this year.
Key Points:
i. Forbes has also released a list of the top 100 most powerful Arab businesswomen for 2017.
ii. The UAE represents the highest number of women, with 18, followed by Egypt, with 16.
Sheikha Lubna Al Qasimi tops poll of most powerful Arab womeniii. Ms Qasimi was followed by two women from Egypt:
(a) Sahar Nasr, the country’s minister of investment and international cooperation
(b) Ghada Wali, the minister of social solidarity.
iv. According to the Forbes women in the Arab world were pioneering in the banking sector.
v. Women in this industry represents 28% of the 2017 businesswoman list.


Nagaland Governor PB Acharya appoints T.R. Zeliang as new CM
On July 19, 2017, Nagaland Governor PB Acharya dismissed the five-month-old government of Shurhozelie Liezietsu, and appointed Naga People’s Front (NPF) legislator, TR Zeliang as 19th Cheif Minister of Nagaland.
i. R. Zeliang, who had staked claim to form a new government, was present in the House on July 19, 2017 with his supporters — 35 NPF legislators, four BJP legislators and seven Independent members. It is to be noted that Nagaland has a 60-member Assembly.
ii. On Governor’s invitation to form new government, Mr Zeliang took oath as new Chief Minister of Nagaland on July 19, 2017.

Bharat Arun appointed Team India bowling coach until 2019 World Cup
Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) has appointed Bharat Arun as the Indian Cricket team’s bowling coach until 2019 World Cup.
Key Points:
i.Sanjay Bangar will be an assistant coach  and R Sridhar as fielding coach till the 2019 ODI World Cup.
ii.Ravi Shastri is the newly appointed coach of Indian Cricket team.Bharat Arun appointed Team India bowling coach until 2019 World Cup
iii.The confirmation of their appointment came after newly appointed Indian coach Ravi Shastri met the four-member committee.
iv.The four member committee comprises of acting president CK Khanna, acting secretary Amitabh Choudhary, BCCI CEO Rahul Johri and Committee of Administrators member Diana Edulji.
v.Australia’s Patrick Farhart and Shankar Basu also retained their positions as physio and trainer respectively, for the same two-year period until the conclusion of the 2019 World Cup.


US Navy tests world’s first Laser Weapons System LaWS
U.S. Navy recently tested the world’s first-ever active Laser Weapons System (LaWS). It is $40 million system which is currently deployed on board the USS Ponce amphibious transport ship in the Persian Gulf.
i. The system has special materials that release photons at the speed of light that silently hits a target, burning it to a temperature of thousands of degrees.
ii. Each strike travels 50,000 times the speed of an incoming intercontinental ballistic missile(ICBM).

UIDAI launches ‘mAadhaar’ app
UIDAI, which issues Aadhaar numbers, has launched mAadhaar app for mobile users. It will allow users to carry unique identification profile on mobile.
Key Points:
i. A user can download Aadhaar number profile through their smartphones and will therefore not require hard copies of the card.
ii. It allow users to carry their Aadhaar demographic information, i.e. name, date of birth, UIDAI launches 'mAadhaar' appgender, address and the photograph linked with their Aadhaar number, on their smartphones.
iii. At present, it is launched only for Android users and the app is currently available for download on Google Play.
iv. A Person can also lock/ unlock their biometric details linked to Aadhaar to secure their personal data.
v. mAadhaar app users can also update their profile via QR code and share eKYC details with service providers such as telecommunications companies. 
vi. UIDAI has currently launched a beta version and some of the features will be made available post future updates.


Underwater ‘ghost nets’ posing threat to marine ecosystem off Kerala
The underwater ghost nets is posing threat to the marine ecosystem off Kerala coast. It may become major threat to the natural habitat and breeding ground of underwater fish.
Key Points:
i.These ghost notes may have detrimental implications for marine life if no proper effective action has taken place.
ii.Ghost nets have destroyed many of the underwater reefs identified with flourishing fish stock because of its ‘stifling cover’.
iii.There are four types of ghost nets that penetrate the bottom of the seas:
1.The first are the large fishing vessels that stray into the territorial waters and deploy large nets.
2.The second type of ghost nets are smaller and are used by fishermen, but are cut off by a passing vessel.
3.The third type of ghost nets are those that get caught in violent currents and swivel down to the ocean floor, where they get stuck.
4.The fourth type are ghost nets are those which get abandoned at sea after three or four uses.
About Kerala
Capital: Thiruvananthapuram
Governor: P. Sathasivam
CM: Pinarayi Vijayan


Kerala emerge champs at 57th National Inter-State Championships
Kerala emerged champions with 159 points at the 57th National Inter-State Kerala emerge champs at 57th National Inter-State ChampionshipsChampionships that was held from 15th – 18th July, 2017 in Guntur, Andhra Pradesh. Tamil Nadu finished second with 110 points followed by Haryana with 101 points in overall team rankings.
i. Anu R. (400m, Kerala) emerged as the best woman athlete at 57th National Inter-State Championships with 1105 points.
ii. Haryana’s Sandeep Kumar won the gold medal in the men’s 20000m race walk on Day 2 of the National Inter State Championships athletics meet, in Guntur on July 16, 2017.
iii. Soumya B won the gold medal in the women’s 20000m race walk on Day 3 of the National Inter State Championships athletics meet, in Guntur on July 17, 2017.

Indians win gold and bronze at first global robotics Olympiad
A group of seven Indian students has bagged two awards at a robotics Olympiad organised by ‘FIRST Global’ in Washing D.C., US.
i. The students, who hail from Mumbai, won gold for Zhang Heng Engineering Design Award The Indian team also won a bronze for Global Challenge Match.
ii. There was a proud moment for all-girl team from Afghanistan as they won the Rajaa Cherkaoui El Moursli award for courageous achievement.

Football legend Francesco Totti confirms retirement
Francesco Totti, a footballer legend from Italy confirmed his retirement on 17th of July Football legend Francesco Totti confirms retirement2017. The Roma legend had announced he will take a directorship role at the Serie A club.
Key Points:
i. Totti played 786 matches for Roma in total, scoring a club-record 307 goals, and won the 2006 World Cup with Italy.
ii. New Roma sporting director Monchiand recently-appointed coach Eusebio di Francesco.
iii. He played his final game for Roma in May after 24 years

Mumbai teens Joshi, Ananya Dabke win Dutch Open
Mumbai teens Neel Joshi and Ananya Dabke has bagged the under-15 boys and girls titles  in the Dutch Open Junior Squash Championship.
Key Points:
i.The Dutch Open Junior Squash Championship was held in Amsterdam, Netherlands.
ii.Joshi beat 5/8 seed Khalil Alhassan of England 9-11, 11-4, 11-5, 11-6 in the boys final.
iii.In the corresponding girls title round Dabke beat Serena Daniel of the US by 11-7, 11-4, 12-10.
iv.In the semi-finals that featured three Indians, he beat compatriot Arnaav Sareen 9-11, 11-6, 8-11, 11-6, 11-7, after trailing 1-2.
v.In all-India final Alhassan with a 11-9, 11-9, 12-10 win over Kanhav Nanavati in the other semi-final.


‘Save public sector banks’ day – July 19 2017
The United Forum of Bank Unions has decided to observe 19th July as ‘Save public sector banks’ day. It is the 48th anniversary of nationalisation of major banks.
Key Points:
i.On this day, all members will wear a commemorative badge display posters in front of all branches, distribute leaflets and hold rallies/demonstrations at all centres across the country.
ii.According to the general secretary, All India Bank Employees Association CH Venkatachalam said these banks need to be defended and saved.
iii.They are nation-building institutions and must remain so. Social banking has to be strengthened and expanded.Banks cuts lending rates, home, corporate loans to be cheaper
iv.The major challenge that bank is facing today is the alarmingly increasing bad loans known as non-performing assets.
v.These have crossed all acceptable proportions and have reached a dangerous level threatening the very sustainability of the banks.
vi.The government took stringent measures to recover the bad loans and take bold action against the big defaulters.

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