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Current Affairs Today – May 3 2017

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Current Affairs may 3 2017

INDIAN AFFAIRS

MP first to switch to Jan-Dec fiscal year
Madhya Pradesh became the first state in India to switch to the January-December financial year from existing April-March cycle.
Key Points:
i. It will break a 150-year old tradition of adopting the financial year from April to March.
ii. This practice of April-March financial year was adopted by the British Government in 1867.
iii. Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan decided to shift the financial year to January-December.
iv. It is mentioned the Budget session of the next financial year will be held either in December 2017 or January 2018.
v. A decision to this effect was taken at the state cabinet meeting held in Bhopal.
vi. CM also give direction to all cabinet ministers to prepare a quarterly, half-yearly and annual road map of works so that all works are done within a fixed deadline.
vii. Shifting of the financial year will need amendments to different statues and tax law during the transition period, like tax assessment year, changes in infrastructure and more.

Prabhu Flags Off Ahmedabad-Chennai Humsafar Express
On May 2, 2017, Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu flagged-off Western Railways’ first Humsafar Express between Ahmedabad and Chennai at a function held in Udvada town in Valsad district of Gujarat. Full-fledged operations of the train will start from May 8, 2017 from Ahmedabad and from May 10, 2017 from Chennai.
About Humsafar Express:
i. Humsafar Express, are completely 3-tier air conditioned trains which provides a luxurious travelling experience to the common man.
ii. Humsafar Express is particularly meant for long overnight journey.
iii. More comfortable berths, vending machines for tea, coffee and milk, LED screen to display information about stations, Bio-toilets, refrigerating box and enhanced safety measures in compartment are some of the features of Humsafar Express.
iv. The first Humsafar Express was introduced on December, 16 2016 between Gorakhpur (Uttar Pradesh) and Anand Vihar terminal in Delhi.

Chhattisgarh auctions India’s most expensive limestone block
The Kesla-II limestone block in Raipur district of Chhattisgarh with an estimated reserve of 215 million tonnes has been auctioned at 96.15 per cent of Indian Bureau of Mines (IBM) prices, thereby becoming India’s most expensive limestone block.
i. Auction went on for 24 hours during which 600 bids were received. Four prominent cement makers, including Dalmia (Bharat) Cement, Adani, UltraTech and Mangalam Cement submitted the bids. The block finally went to Dalmia (Bharat) Cement.
ii. This deal will fetch revenue of Rs 11,894 crore to the Chhattisgarh government over the lease period, which is more than Rs 8,215.8 crore raised by the auction of Ghoraburhani-Sagashi iron ore block in Odisha, the highest revenue earner till date.
iii.  In terms of per cent of IBM prices, this deal has broken the national record held by Rajasthan at 67.94 per cent of IBM prices for its limestone block of Nagaur District.

Odisha’s Sualgiri, Swalgiri communities notified as scheduled castes
Odisha’s Sualgiri and Swalgiri communities have been notified as Scheduled Castes. It is followed by the President Pranab Mukherjee’s assent to a new law
Key Point:
i. The Rajya Sabha had passed the bill and it was cleared by the Lok Sabha in March.
ii. These communities will come under SC category status and get the benefits in government jobs and admission in educational institutions and also some other financial benefits.
iii. The president gave the signal to the Constitution (Scheduled Castes) Order (Amendment) Act,2017.
iv. As per the modified list for Odisha, the “Sabakhia, Sualgiri, Swalgiri” are notified Scheduled Castes.
v. The new law has also replaced the term Union Territory of Pondicherry to Puducherry in the Constitution (Pondicherry) Scheduled Castes Order, 1964.
vi. Some of the major schemes for the scheduled castes include post-matric scholarship, national overseas scholarship, Rajiv Gandhi national fellowship and many more.

World’s highest rail bridge taller than Eiffel Tower on Chenab to be completed in two years
World’s highest railway bridge that is expected to be 35 metres taller than the Eiffel Tower will be built on Chenab River in Jammu & Kashmir within next two years.
Specifications of Highest Railway Bridge to be built on River Chenab:World's highest rail bridge taller than Eiffel Tower on Chenab to be completed in two years
i. The arc-shaped bridge will have a height of 359 m above the river bed.
ii. 1.315 km long bridge will connect Bakkal (Katra) and Kauri (Srinagar).
iii. Estimated cost of construction is around 1100 crore.
iv. Over 24,000 tonnes of steel will be used for construction.
v. It will be able to withstand wind speeds of up to 260 km per hour
vi. Once completed, it will surpass the record of the Beipan river Shuibai railway bridge (275 m) in China.

 

INTERNATIONAL AFFAIRS

World’s first quantum computing machine made in China
A team of Chinese scientists led by renowned quantum physicist Pan Jianwei have announced that they have built the world’s first quantum computing machine that is 24,000 times faster than its international counterparts.
i. Researchers believe that quantum computers in some ways may dwarf the processing powers of current day supercomputers.
ii. Analogy to explain the power of quantum computing: Conventional computing is like reading a book in the library one at a time, whereas quantum computing is like reading all books in the library at the same time.

BANKING & FINANCE

India to clock 7.1 per cent GDP this year, 7.5 per cent in 2018: UN report
As per ‘The Economic and Social Survey of Asia and the Pacific 2017’ released by UN Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP), Indian economy is expected to register 7.1% GDP growth in 2017 and 7.5% in 2018.
i. The survey was launched by ESCAP Executive Secretary Shamshad Akhtar in Bangkok.
ii. The survey has forecasted 7.1% growth for Indian economy in 2017. The growth will come on the back of increased Government spending on infrastructure projects and remonetisation activity by Reserve Bank of India, which is expected to restore consumption patterns.

Fitch affirms India’s sovereign rating at ‘BBB-‘
Global agency Fitch Ratings has affirmed India’s long-term foreign- and local-currency rating at ‘BBB.
Key Points:
i. The agency has revealed “stable” outlook for the country’s ratings.

ii.
Fitch forecasts India’s real gross domestic product (GDP) growth to accelerate to 7.7% in FY17 and FY18, from 7.1% in FY16.
iii. The agency expects India’s current-account balance to narrow to -0.9% in FY17.
iv. Fitch also mentioned that Indian government’s budgeted INR 700 billion capital injection into banks between FY16 and FY19 will be sufficient.
v. Foreign reserves to build up to 8.4 months of current external payments.
About Fitch
Fitch Ratings Inc. is one of the “Big Three credit rating agencies” the other two being Moody’s aGlobal rating agency Fitch has maintained the Forecast of India’s growth at 7.5nd Standard & Poor’s.
♦ Founded in 1914.
♦ Founder John Knowles Fitch
♦ HQ New York city US
♦ It is one of the three nationally recognized statistical rating organizations (NRSRO) designated by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission in 1975.

FinMomenta launches peer-to-peeronline lending platform Tachyloans
Singapore based Fintech startup FinMomenta has announced the launch of Tachyloans. It is a first digital lending platform in India for individuals as well as businesses.
Key Points: 
i. Tachyloans is a credit scoring model which is used to assess the creditworthiness of applicants.
ii. It provides the fastest digital lending platform in India.
iii. Borrowers can avail loan at lower interest rates starting from 11.5 percent per annum.
iv. The company’s innovative platform will electronically verify the borrower information.
v. It verifies by using the KYC (Know Your Customer) documentation provided, and qualifies them through their credit decision model.
vi. It provides products like education loans, medical loans and wedding loans besides personal loans.
vii. In Tachyloans the entire registration, application and documentation procedure is simplified for both borrowers and lenders.
viii. The stronger the credit profile of an individual the lesser the credit or default risk for the company.
ix. The company allows individuals to avail loans and provides instant approval to borrowers.Tachyloans will plays a very crucial role in India’s burgeoning fintech sector and it is forecasted to touch USD 2.4bn by 2020.
x. Tachyloans offers both consumers and businesses significant advantages.The platform is currently open for all resident individuals looking for loans in 50 cities across India.
♦ Its aim is to create the most user-friendly and accessible P2P lending marketplace that will be completely automated.

AIIB grants $160 million for Andhra Pradesh power project
Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank has approved $ 160 million loan for a power project in Andhra Pradesh.
Key Points:
i. India is the second largest shareholder of Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) after China.
ii. Its aim is to strengthen the power transmission and distribution system in Andhra Pradesh.
iii. DJ Pandian is the Vice President and Chief Investment Officer of the AIIB.
iv. Andhra Pradesh is one of the first states to be selected for this programme.
v. It helps in improving system reliability and also helps in improving the commercial performance of the state’s distribution companies.
vi. AIIB promotes the improvement of energy efficiency, such as upgrading the existing transmission and distribution networks
vii. The Power for All programme in Andhra Pradesh will be the crucial project for AIIB.
ix. It also helps in extending its assistance to other countries in Asia moving towards ‘Energy for all’ initiatives.
x. The AIIB has 57 founding members and authorised capital of $ 100 billion. China is the largest shareholder with 26.06 per cent voting shares. India is the second largest shareholder with 7.5 per cent followed by Russia with 5.93 per cent and Germany 4.5 per cent.

$770 billion Worth of Black Money entered into India during 2005-2014: GFI
As per a latest report titled ‘Illicit Financial Flows to and from Developing Countries: 2005-2014’ compiled by US-based think tank Global Financial Integrity (GFI), an estimated $770 billion in black money entered India while $165 billion exited the country during 2005-2014.
i. The report stated that during 2014 alone, the inflow of black money was about $101 billion while the outflow was $ 23 billion.
ii. The inflow of $ 770 billion was 14% and outflow of $165 billion was 3% of India’s total trade of $ 5,500 billion during the 10-year period.
iii. This is the first global study to place equal emphasis on illicit outflows and inflows. In the backdrop of this report, it is to be noted that India does not have any official assessment on the quantum of black money in the country and abroad.

BUSINESS

Wipro launches new brand identity
Wipro has disclosed its new brand identity. The new brand identity addresses its business requirements and drive future opportunities in this digital era.
Key Points:
i. The new brand identity marks the company’s emergence as a trusted digital transformation partner to clients.
Wipro launches new brand identityii. This new brand identity has two key attributes refer by clients as unique to Wipro’s brand.
iii. Wipro brings across multiple industries, technologies and geographies
iv. Its ability to deliver innovation in ways that are useful for clients.
v. It delivers at global scale and helps in bringing advantage in hyper-automation, robotics, cloud, analytics, cognitive and emerging technologies.

Uber’s food delivery service UberEATS starts in Mumbai
Uber Technologies Inc. has started its food delivery service UberEATS in Mumbai.
Key Facts:
i. The company has appointed Bhavik Rathod as the head of the food delivery business.
ii. Allen Penn is the Asia-Pacific head of UberEATS.
iii. UberEATS will also allow consumers to schedule a delivery up to a week in advance.
iv. Uber has partnered with about 200 restaurants in Mumbai and allows payment only through Paytm.
v. It enable restaurants to connect with more consumers and make eating effortless, everywhere and for everyone
vi. UberEATS,was first introduced in 2014 in Los Angeles.
vii. The service has since been expanded to 78 cities in 26 countries, including New York, Paris, Seattle, Bangkok, Singapore, Tokyo and Hong Kong.
viii. The company has also launched an analytics tool called Restaurant Manager for the eateries.
ix. It provides the businesses with insights into service quality, customer satisfaction and sales among others.

AWARDS & RECOGNITIONS

Shabana Azmi starrer The Black Prince awarded at film fest in Houston
On the occasion of the 50th annual world fest houstan international film festival awarded the special jury remi award to Indian actress Shabana Azmi and singer-poet Satinder Sartaaj on 3 May 2017.
Key Highlights:
i. Shabana Azmi got the award for her starring role in Hollywood film ‘The Black Prince’.
ii. ‘The Black Prince’ is a life story of the last king of Punjab – Maharajah Duleep Singh.
iii. Maharajah Duleep Singh was also named as the Black Prince of Perthshire.
iv. Satinder Sartaaj, who marks his acting debut with this film.
v. Shabana Azmi portrays Rani Jindan, the exiled King’s mother.
vi. The film depicted his fragile relationship with Queen Victoria, who was Godmother to his children.
vii. ‘The Black Prince’ is filmed widely across the Britain and India.
WorldFest :Shabana Azmi starrer The Black Prince awarded at film fest in Houston
The WorldFest – Houston International Film Festival is the world’s largest independent film festival.
♦ The mission of WorldFest is to recognize and honour outstanding creative excellence in films.
♦ Founded in 1961.
♦ Founder Hunter Todd

Bengaluru FC skipper Chhetri wins Hero of I-League award
Bengaluru FC (Bengaluru Football Club) skipper Sunil Chhetri, who scored seven goals in the recently concluded edition of the I-League football tournament, has won the most coveted Hero of the League award.
Other Winners of Hero I-League 2016-17 Awards:

Award Awardees
Best Goalkeeper Debjit Majumder of Mohun Bagan
‘Jarnail Singh Best Defender’ of the league Award Anas Edathodika of Mohun Bagan
Best Midfielder Alfred Kemah Jaryan of Aizawl FC
Best Striker Aser Pierrick Dipanda Dicka of Shillong Lajong
‘Best Emerging Player of Hero I-League’ Award (awarded for the first time) Jerry Lalrinzuala of DSK Shivajians FC
‘Syed Abdul Rahim Best Coach Award’ Khalid Jamil of Aizawl FC
‘Fairplay Award’ of Hero I-League 2016-17 Churchill Brothers FC Goa
‘Best Organiser Award’ DSK Shivajians FC and Bengaluru FC

APPOINTMENTS & RESIGNS

Mallikarjun Kharge appointed as new chairman of PAC
Mallikarjun Kharge is appointed as the Chairperson of the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) of the Parliament.Mallikarjun Kharge appointed as new chairman of PAC
Key Highlights:
i. Mallikarjun Kharge replaced K.V. Thomas.
ii. The Public Accounts Committee PAC has 14 members from Lok Sabha and seven from Rajya Sabha.
iii. The Chairman of the PAC is appointed by the Speaker of Lok Sabha.
iv. The PAC’s main function is to examine the audit report of Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) after it is laid in the Parliament.
v. The term of office of the members is one year.

Braj Bihari Kumar to succeed economist S K Thorat as ICSSR
Braj Bihari Kumar has been appointed as the chairman of the Indian Council of Social Science Research (ICSSR). He succeeded economist S K Thorat.
Key Points:
Kumar is appointed for 3 years.
He has been serving as the editor of the two quarterly journals, published by a society called Astha Bharati.
He is a founding member of a society called Astha Bharati.
ICSSR :
♦ Established‎: ‎1969
♦ Location‎: ‎Aruna Asaf Ali Marg, New Delhi

SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY

Indian Army successfully test-fires advanced Block-III version of Brahmos cruise missile
On May 2, 2017, Indian Army successfully test-fired Block III version (an advanced version) of the Brahmos land-attack cruise missile in the Andaman and Nicobar Islands.
i. In the test, Block-III version successfully hit the land-based target with desired precision in a “top attack configuration”. This test fire has matched all the parameter of the canonical BrahMos supersonic cruise missile test-firedtextbook, involving high level and complex manoeuvring by the missile.
ii. Earlier, in April 2017, the Indian Navy had successfully conducted its first test-firing of the sea-to-land attack version of its advanced supersonic cruise missile Brahmos.
About Brahmos:
♦  Brahmos missile is developed by a joint-venture between India’s Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) and Russia’s Mashinostroyenia.
♦  BrahMos is a blended name coined from Brahmaputra River of India and Moskva River of Russia.

SPORTS

ICC T20 rankings: India drop to No. 4 in ICC T20 rankings
Annual update of ICC Twenty20 International team rankings was released on May 1, 2017. India has dropped two places to slip to fourth position.
♦ With 118 points India is behind Pakistan (121 points), England (121 points), and New Zealand (125 points). Pakistan is behind England by fraction of a point and is positioned at No.3.
ICC T20 Rankings – Top 10

Rank Team
1st New Zealand
2nd England
3rd Pakistan
4th India
5th South Africa
6th Australia
7th West Indies
8th Sri Lanka
9th Afghanistan
10th Bangladesh


ICC T20 Rankings and 2020 ICC World Twenty20 Qualification:
i. Australia and the next nine highest-ranked sides on the T20I Team Rankings will qualify automatically for the 2020 ICC World Twenty20 Tournament, which will be hosted by Australia.
ii. The bottom eight teams on the rankings will get a second chance to qualify for the 7th of the tournament when they will join the regional qualifiers in the ICC World Twenty20 Qualifier 2019.
iii. Six teams will qualify from the qualifier to complete the 16-team line-up.

Soumyajit Ghosh wins singles & doubles gold at Chile Open
Indian table tennis player Soumyajit Ghosh has bagged both the singles and doubles gold at the Seamaster 2017 ITTF Challenge Chile Open in Santiago, Chile.
i. Men’s singles final was contested between two Indian players, Soumyajit Ghosh and Anthony Amalraj, in which Soumyajit clinched the title.
Soumyajit Ghosh wins singles & doubles gold at Chile Openii. Soumyajit became the third Indian to win a men’s singles title at an ITTF Challenge Series or ITTF World Tour tournament.
iii. In the past Sharath Kamal had won the Egypt Open in 2010 and G Sathiyan had won Belgian Open in 2016.
iv. In men’s doubles final the Indian pair of Soumyajit & Amalraj defeated Philipp Floritz and Hunor Szocs. This is the first time India has won a men’s doubles title on either the ITTF Challenge Series or ITTF World Tour.

OBITUARY

Ex-Madhya Pradesh minister Pratap Singh Baghel passes away
Congress leader and former Madhya Pradesh minister Pratap Singh Baghel had passed away. He was 70.
Key Points:
i. He was also elected Member of Parliament from Dhar in 1985.
ii. Pratap Singh had served as minister in MP twice.
iii. He was elected MLA from Kukshi in 1972, 1977 and 1980.

IMPORTANT DAYS

UN marks first World Tuna Day with calls to conserve it
The United Nations marks the first World Tuna Day on May 2, 2017
Key Highlights:
i. To protect one of the globe’s most popular fish to be caught and eaten.
ii. Tuna plays a vital role “in sustainable development, food security, economic opportunity, and livelihoods of people around the world.”
iii. It is celebrated to recognize its importance to nations around the globe.
iv. Increasing threats for these species are overfishing impacts of climate change and ocean acidification.
v. These species are highly migratory. It accounts for 20 percent of the value of all fish caught and over 8 percent of all internationally traded seafood.
UN: 
♦ Headquarters: New York City, United States
♦ Founded: 24 October 1945

World Press Freedom Day – May 3 2017
World Press Freedom Day is celebrated on 3 May 2017.It celebrates the fundamental principal of Press Freedom.
Key Point:
i. Theme of the World Press Freedom Day is ‘Critical Minds for Critical Times: Media’s role in advancing peaceful, just and inclusive societies’.
ii. It was began on 1 May would conclude on 4 May 2017.
iii. The main objective of establishing this day is to celebrate the fundamental principles of Press Freedom.
iv. This year marks the twentieth anniversary of the World Press Freedom prize.
v. The day was established by the UN General Assembly in December 1993, following the recommendation of UNESCO’s General Conference.World Press Freedom Day – May 3 2017
vi. UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres give emphasis on the importance of having leaders who will defend the free media and stop the rampant misinformation.
vii. He also passes the message like to end all the abolitions against journalists and can give peace and justice for all.
viii. It was jointly organised by UNESCO and the Government of Indonesia along with the Press Council of Indonesia in Jakarta, Indonesia.
ix. The prize is named after Guillermo Cano Isaza, a Colombian journalist who was assassinated in front of his newspaper’s office in Bogota on 17 December 1986.

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