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- Current Affairs 2017 August
Swiss president Doris Leuthard is on a three-day visit to India
Swiss president Doris Leuthard will begin her three day visit to India on August 30 2017. She will be received gladly by India’s president Ram nath govind and PM Narendra Modi. These talks will strengthen bilateral ties and it will ramp up trade and investment ties.
Issues to be discussed in the meet: –
i) The visit is significant as Switzerland is the chair of the Nuclear Suppliers Group where India has been seeking membership.
ii) Both countries will sign trade agreements and a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on railway infrastructure.
iii) India and Switzerland will try having new investment protection agreement.….Click here to view for complete detail
Delhi LG Anil Baijal bans dumping of solid waste at Ghazipur
On September 2 ,2017 Delhi lieutenant governor Anil Baijal banned dumping of waste at the Ghazipur landfill site because on September 1 ,2017 a mountain of waste collapsed into a canal, killing two people. Baijal ordered immediate halt to dumping of solid waste at the landfill and clearing the site within two years.
i.The landfill has reached as high as 15 storey building putting people’s like at risk. A day after torrential rain, the heaviest in three years lashed Delhi, a section of the pile in a landfill slumped over a car and three two-wheelers, pushing the vehicles off the road and into a canal
ii.The order was passed after the meeting held by L-G with the East municipal body commissioner, general manager of the National Highway Authority of India(NHAI) and senior bureaucrats. NHAI stated that this solid waste will be used in construction of roads.
Karnataka to give free education to all girls till graduation
The Karnataka government has decided to make education free for all girls from Class 1 to graduation level in all public and aided private schools and colleges from the next academic year announced on 2nd Sept 2017.
i.Karnataka govt. is expecting around 18 lakh students whose parents’ income would be less than Rs 10 lakh to opt for this scheme and are planning to earmark Rs 110 crore for this scheme.
ii.The scheme will apply to all private aided and government schools and colleges.
iii.Under this scheme, student must pay the fees first at the time of admission and later get it reimbursed by the government.
iv.The main objective is to provide free education to underprivileged girls who generally drop out of school after Class 10, especially in rural areas.
v.Similar schemes have been launched in Telangana and Punjab.
vi.While Telangana has announced free education for girls from kindergarten to post graduation and Punjab recently fulfilled a key poll promise by extending the scheme till PhD.
Governor: Vajubhai Vala
CIPAM-DIPP launches social media campaign to promote Geographical Indications
CIPAM, which works under the Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion (DIPP) in the ministry, has started an “#LetsTalkIP” initiative.
i.Cell for IPR Promotions and Management (CIPAM) has launched a social media campaign to promote Indian Geographical Indications.
ii.It has been launched to make more people aware about the importance of intellectual property rights (IPRs).
iii.A Geographical Indication (GI) is a sign used on products that have a specific geographical origin and possess qualities or a reputation that are due to that origin.
iv.Some of the examples of GI are Darjeeling Tea, Mahabaleshwar Strawberry, Blue Pottery of Jaipur, Banarasi Sarees and Tirupati Laddus.
v.GI products can benefit the rural economy in remote areas, by supplementing the incomes of artisans, farmers, weavers and craftsmen.
vi.GIs plays a vital role as they are an integral part of India’s rich culture and collective intellectual heritage.
‘Ye India ka time hai’ event organized at NIT Raipur
‘Ye India ka time hai’ event was organized at National Institute of Technology, Raipur Chhattisgarh on 3rd of Sept.
i.The event was held as per the directives of HRD ministry to mark India’s 70 years of independence and 75 years of the Quit India movement.
ii.On the occasion of ‘Ye India ka time hai event’, students of NIT Raipur participated in a session on ‘New India Manthan’.
iii.Under the event there was discussion about views on ‘what kind of India do they imagine for the year 2022’.
iv.This was followed by a music concert by a rock band.
v.The students and teachers also took the ‘Sankalp Se Siddhi’ pledge, vowing to make India free from menaces like corruption, casteism and communalism.
Joint India-Nepal army exercise begins in Saljhandi, Nepal
Nepal India Joint Military Exercise Surya Kiran has launched and it is to be held from September 3 to 16. This is the 12th edition of the exercise.
i.Joint military exercise, Surya Kiran Nepal Army Battle School at Saljhandi.
ii.It will have around 350 troops from each side, focusing on counterinsurgency and counter-terror operations.
iii.Surya Kiran series of exercises are held alternately in India and Nepal.
iv.The aim of this exercise is to conduct battalion level joint training with emphasis on Counter Terrorism in mountainous terrain.
v.Aspects of Disaster Management have also been included in the exercise.
vi.The Joint Battalion Level Exercise will enhance defence co-operation and relations between the two nations.
President: Bidhya Devi Bhandari
VP: Nanda Kishor Pun
PM: Sher Bahadur Deuba
Currency: Nepalese Rupee
Nepal signs UN development assistance plan
Nepal has signed UN assistance package for a USD 635 million for 2018-2022. The UNDAF lays out the development strategy for the UN Country Team for the next five years.
i.The package will involve 26 individual UN agencies, spans interventions and it also aimed at assisting in four broad areas:
(a) Inclusive economic growth
(b) Social development
(c) Resilience, climate change adaptation and disaster risk reduction
(d) Governance, rule of law and human rights
ii.The National Planning Commission, apex advisory body of the Government of Nepal, and the United Nations Country Team (UNCT) in Nepal signed the United Nations Development Assistance Framework (UNDAF) on 2nd of Sept 2017.
iii.The strong alignment of the UNDAF with the national plans, international conventions, and the Constitution of Nepal help in supporting the Government of Nepal’s efforts in ensuring that no one is left behind as laid out in the Sustainable Development Goals.
The United Nations (UN) is an intergovernmental organization tasked to promote international co-operation and to create and maintain international order.
HQ: New York
Secretary General: Antonio Guterres
General Assembly President: Peter Thomson
Seychelles ratifies international solar alliance framework pact
Seychelles ratifies the ISA Framework Agreement and became the ninth member of ISA framework agreement announced on 3rd sep 2017.
i.The ISA will need the ratification of just six more countries to become a recognized inter-governmental body.
ii.The ISA aims to get at least six more countries on board before October-end.
iii.Once recognised, the ISA can embark on its task to channelise $300 billion in 10 years to promote renewable energy projects under a global mega fund for clean energy.
iv.Till now India, France, Nauru, Niger, Fiji, Mauritius, Tuvalu and Bangladesh have ratified the ISA Framework Agreement.
i.ISA was instituted to connect 121 solar-resource-rich nations for research, low-cost financing and rapid deployment of clean energy.
ii.These countries lie within the Tropic of Cancer and the Tropic of Capricorn.
iii.On August 30, Costa Rica became the 39th signatory to the list that already has Australia, Brazil, Cambodia and Peru.
iv.Benin, Burkina Faso, Democratic Republic of Congo, Comoros, Cote d’Ivoire, Djibouti, Dominican Republic and Ethiopia are also signatories to the agreement.
v.It is expected that these countries will eventually ratify the ISA Framework Agreement.
Banking & Finance
First project of BRICS development bank starts operation
On September 2,2017, the first project funded by The New Development Bank, set up by India and other members of the BRICS grouping of emerging economies, has started operation in Shanghai. The $76 million loan with a maturity length of 17 years was granted to Shanghai Lingang Distributed Solar Power Project, under an agreement signed in December 2016.
About NDB: –
i) Headquarters: Shanghai
ii) first regional office of the NDB will be opened in Johannesburg, South Africa
iii) The New Development Bank (NDB), formerly referred to as the BRICS Development Bank, is a multilateral development bank established by the BRICS states (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa). It was established as an alternative to world bank. The initial capital was shared among the nations and voting power will be equal to the number of its subscribed shares.
iv) It’ll fund infrastructure projects in BRICS and other developing countries. Four of the bank’s loan projects are in China.
UBS lowers India growth forecast to 6.6% for Financial Year 2018
On September 3,2017, Global brokerage firm UBS has lowered India’s GDP growth forecast to 6.6 per cent from 7.2 per cent. The brokerage said that the growth is expected to rise in coming quarters as the economy is getting normalised post implementation of the GST.
i. According to official data, India’s economic growth slipped to a three-year low of 5.7 per cent in April-June as disruptions caused by demonetisation spilled to the third straight quarter amid slowdown in manufacturing activities. The report said reforms like implementation of GST, adoption of inflation targeting, a new bankruptcy code, liberalisation of FDI, measures to curb black money and encouraging digitisation would help in improving the productivity dynamics of the country and lay the foundation of a sustainable growth.
ii. Tanvee Gupta Jain, an economist with UBS, said that though the implementation of GST has resulted in temporary disruption in economic growth, it is a significant structural reform that could add 0.6-0.9 percentage point to India’s GDP growth in the medium term.
DBS becomes second bank to get in-principle nod to operate as wholly-owned unit
On September 4,2017, Singapore based bank DBS has got final approval to operate as a wholly-owned subsidiary (WOS) in India.Diesel
DBS was the first foreign lender to apply for the new operating WOS model two years ago and its approval was delayed due to lack of precedent. The application has been pending with the finance ministry. Now as the problems got sorted out DBS is the second bank after State Bank of Mauritius to receive the nod for its operation in India .
What’s WOS (Wholly owned subsidiary)?
A wholly owned subsidiary is a company that is completely owned by another company. The company that owns the subsidiary is called the parent company or holding company. The parent company will hold all of the subsidiary’s common stock.….Click here to view for complete detail
India despatches First Diesel Consignment to Myanmar
The first consignment of 30 MT of High Speed Diesel was sent on 4th of Sept from India to Myanmar by land route.
i.Numaligarh Refinery Ltd. (NRL), which has been supplying HSD to Bangladesh, despatched the first diesel consignment through NH 37 across the Moreh Custom Check Point on the Indian side and Tamu Custom Check Point on the Myanmar side.
ii.It is to enhance hydrocarbon synergy with neighbouring countries as well as promoting India’s Act East Policy.
iii.NRL refinery, situated at 420 km from the India-Myanmar border, is suited to supply diesel to Northern Myanmar.
iv.NRL has entered into an agreement with Parami Energy Group of Companies for the supply of diesel and collaboration in the retail petroleum sector of Myanmar.
v.NRL has already exported 1700 MT of Paraffin wax to Myanmar.
President: Htin Kyaw
Awards & Recognition
Karnataka Bank bags IDRBT award
Karnataka Bank has bagged the ‘best bank’ award among small banks for the use of technology for financial inclusion announced on 3rd Sept 21017.
i.It is the 13th IDRBT Banking Technology Excellence Awards 2016-17.
ii.Mahabaleshwara MS, MD & CEO of the bank had received the award from Sudarshan Sen, Executive Director of RBI, in Hyderabad.
iii.Mahabaleshwara said in his speech that this recognition will further motivate the bank in implementing its IT strategies more effectively in promoting financial inclusion.
About Karnataka Bank
HQ: Mangaluru Karnataka
Tagline: Your Family Bank, Across India.
Science & Technology
TRAPPIST-1 planets likely to have water
Astronomers had discovered seven Earth-sized planets orbiting a relatively nearby dwarf star. The system is called TRAPPIST-1. It is especially appealing because it has three planets in the habitable zone it means that these worlds could potentially support liquid water and perhaps even life announced on 1st sept 2017.
i.TRAPPIST-1 has become one of the most studied exo-systems in the relatively short history of exoplanets.
ii.An international team of astronomers used the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope to estimate whether there might be water on the seven planets orbiting in the nearby TRAPPIST-1 planetary
iii.The results suggest that the outer planets of the system might still harbour substantial amounts of water.
iv.This includes the three planets within the habitable zone of the star, lending further weight to the possibility that they may indeed be habitable.
v.This makes TRAPPIST-1 the planetary system with the largest number of Earth-sized planets.
vi.Scientists used the Space Telescope Imaging Spectrograph (STIS) on the Hubble telescope to study the amount of ultraviolet radiation received by the individual planets of the system.
Breakthrough Listen Project detects 15 radio bursts from dwarf galaxy
Breakthrough Listen project detected 15 Fast Radio Bursts (FRBs) coming from a dwarf galaxy about 3 million light years away from earth.
i.The new detection was made with help of Green Bank Telescope (GBT) in West Virginia.
ii.FRBs are radio signals from somewhere in deep space that last for just milliseconds and a bright pulse of radio emission from distant galaxies.
iii.It was emitted from FRB 121102, a mysterious source associated with the galaxy in the distant universe.
iv.It was first detected in 2007 with help of Parkes Telescope in Australia.
v.The team is part of the Breakthrough Listen project, set up by Professor Stephen Hawkingand Russian billionaire Yuri Milner, to discover whether we’re alone in the universe.
vi.In the new experiment, scientists from University of California, Berkeley, scanned the same galaxy at a higher frequency than which had been used to see the original bursts, and found 15 more.
About Breakthrough Listen
Breakthrough Listen is a $100 million global astronomical initiative launched in 2015 by Hawking and Milner which has teams around the world using their telescopes to look for evidence of life.
The initial 10 year programme will survey the 1,000,000 closest stars to Earth, scanning the entire galactic plane of the Milky Way.
Beyond galaxy it will listen for messages from the 100 closest galaxies at 10 billion different frequencies.
India’s Divya Deshmukh wins gold at the Under-12 Chess Cadet Championships in Brazil
Nagpur-based Divya Deshmukh clinched the gold medal in the the girls’ U-12 category at the World Cadets Chess Championship at Pocos de Caldas, Brazil.
i.She scored a total of 9.5 points to give India its only medal in the championship this year.
ii.She topped the table by beating her compatriot and the top-seeded Rakshitta Ravi.
iii.It is Divyas second world title after her victory in the under-10 World Youth Chess Championship in Durban in 2014.
iv.She had previously won the U-10 Asian blitz event in early 2014 and won the rapid and standard formats in the Asian Schools Championship in 2012.
v.In 2013, she had become the youngest woman FIDE Master.
vi.She had won gold in the blitz section, silver in rapid and bronze in the classical version in the Asian Youth Championship held in Uzbekistan in April 2016.
vii.Rakshitta Ravi finished eighth with seven points. Bhagyashree Patil finished 15th with 6.5 points. Dhayana Patil scored 6 points to finish 18th.
US poet John Ashbery dies at 90
Pulitzer-prize winning poet John Ashbery, a post-modern American trailblazer, has died at age 90 in Hudson, New York.
i. Ashbery received the National Humanities Medal in 2011 by President Barack Obama.
ii.Ashbery, who was first associated with the New York school of poetry in the 1950s and 1960s, won the Pulitzer Prize for “Self-Portrait in a Convex Mirror” in 1976.
iii.He graduated from Harvard University and went to France as a Fulbright Scholar in the 1950s.
Marathi poet, activist Shirish Pai passes away
Noted poet and activist Shirish Pai had passed away on 2nd sept 2017. She was 88.
i.She started writing Haiku in 1975. She studied Japanese Haiku, its origin and nature and published five Marathi Haiku books.
ii.She was born in 1929; Pai was the daughter of noted writer-journalist Acharya Pralhad Keshav Atre.
iii.She had also translated some Japanese Haiku from English to Marathi.
iv.She also worked as a journalist in the Maratha newspaper and participated in the Samyukta Maharashtra (United Maharashtra) movement.
TMC MP Sultan Ahmed passes away at 64
Former Union minister and Trinamool Congress MP Sultan Ahmed had passed away on 4th of Sept. 2017. He was 64.
i.He was elected to the Lok Sabha from Uluberia constituency on a TMC ticket.
ii.Ahmed had served as the Union Minister of State for Tourism in the UPA government.
iii.He was elected to the West Bengal Assembly twice.