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CURRENT AFFAIRS

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Current Affairs June 24, 2017

1. India-Russia Inter-Governmental Commission on Military Technical Cooperation Held:

  • This is the 17th such military cooperation between the two countries recently held in Moscow, Russia.
  • In the meeting, both sides agreed to a roadmap for bilateral defence cooperation for which a protocol has been signed.
  • In the roadmap, specific activities are included to be concluded by both nations and this will enhance political and military dialogue, exercises, exchange visits, military cooperation and training of military personnel.
  • Both sides also agreed to restructure the Intergovernmental Commission to enhance military to military cooperation.

2. POSOCO-IMD launched Weather Portal for Power Sector at the meeting of the Forum of Regulators:

  • This portal is launched to help DISCOMS to get suitable information on weather changes as the weather put strain on energy requirements e.g. during weather conditions increases energy consumption and it also make physical damage to the infrastructure.
  • The portal provides weather forecasting information to help State Discoms to take proactive steps
  • Weather Portal provides the following information:
    • Regional Weather Summary from current to 7 days like Nowcast - which gets updated every 3 hours, Weather Forecast – for the current day to next six days and Weather Warning – Warning issued for the next 3 hours.

3. Union Minister of State for Power launched new portal ‘MERIT’:

  • The portal Merit Order Despatch of Electricity for Rejuvenation of Income and Transparency
  • The portal displays the merit order of electricity procured by States.
  • The objective of the portal is to provide electricity at lower cost to consumers by providing the information to state Discoms regarding electricity procurement so that they can procure power in an efficient way.
  • It will also promote green and clean power more transparently

About POSOCO:

  • Power System Operation Corporation (POSOCO) is a wholly government owned Public Sector Enterprise which regulates Power Market.
  • It consists of Five Regional Load Dispatch Centres and one National Load Dispatch Centre (NLDC).
  • It has headquarters in New Delhi and its current Chairman is IS Jha.

4. ‘City Liveability Index’ of 116 cities to be released by Ministry of Urban Development:

  • This index is a Common Minimum Reference Framework which enables the cities to know their position about their living standards and to inform them the pitfalls so that they can improve upon them.
  • The study will include the following cities:
    • Smart Cities
    • Capital Cities
    • Cities with population above one million
  • It will be first of its kind of study introduced in India which will assess cities based on 79 parameters like infrastructure, roads, education, healthcare etc.

5. Ministry of Urban Development announced the incentive for 16 states:

  • The incentives announced are based on their performance in implementing urban reforms during 2016-17
  • The reforms include e-governance, Audit of accounts, Tax revision policies and extent of tax revenue collection, Energy and Water Audit, Establishing State Level Financial Intermediaries for resource mobilization, Credit Rating etc.
  • Andhra Pradesh topped the listOdisha, JharkhandChattisgarhMadhya Pradesh, TelanganaRajasthan, Punjab (8th rank), Chandigarh etc.

6. RBI widens scope of Banking Ombudsman:

  • RBI put M-banking under Banking Ombudsman Scheme 2006.
  • The complaint can be lodged against the bank for non-adherence to instruction related to mobile banking as well as e-banking services.
  • Now the jurisdiction of banking ombudsman can pass an award up to Rs 20 lakh which was earlier Rs 10 lakh.

7. Autobiography by Ruskin Bond: ‘Lone Fox Dancing’:

  • The book presents the life of Anglo Indian writer Ruskin Bond living in Dehradun and is known for his writings on the lives of Himalayan foothills.
  • He was awarded with Sahitya Academy Award for his writing ‘Our trees still Grows in Dehra’ in 1992.
  • He received Padma Shri in 1999 and Padma Vibhushan in 2015.
  • The hindi film Junoon (1978) is based on his novel ‘A flight of Pigeons’.

8. Indian players won the final of Challenger tennis tournament in Fergana in Men’s doubles event:

  • Sriram Balaji and Vishnu Vardhan won this title over Shuchi Sekiguchi anf Yuya Kibi by 6-3, 6-3.
  • It is the seventh and biggest title of the season of this pair.
  • Fergana is the ancient city in Uzbekistan.
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Current Affairs June 23, 2017

1. ISRO successfully launched 40th Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle from Sriharikota:

  • 40th flight of PSLV launched from First Launch Pad of Satish Dhawan Space Centre, Sriharikota.
  • The flight named as PSLV-38 carried 31 satellites from 15 countries including India to place them in 505 Km polar sun synchronous orbit (an orbit which places the satellite in constant sunlight which makes it useful for imagery purposes). It is the second highest number of satellites launched by ISRO in a single flight after the successful launch of 104 satellites by PSLV-C37 in February this year.
  • It is the 17th flight of four stage PSLV XL rocket.
  • Cartosat-2 is the primary payload (satellite) of this mission.

About Cartosat-2 and other satellites:

  • Cartosat-2 is an earth observatory satellite in a sun synchronous orbit built by ISRO (India) which weighs 712 kg. It is an advanced remote sensing satellite which carries advanced panchromatic camera that take black and white photos of earth. It is used for Cartography (map making), regulation and use of coastal land, road network monitoring, water distribution, land use mapping and the applications for other geographical information system.
  • The 30 other satellites are nano satellites, out of which one is of India and 29 from 14 other countries including Austria, Japan, USA, UK to name a few.
  • One Indian nano satellite NIUSAT is designed and built by Noorul Islam University campus, Tamil Nadu. NIUSAT has the application for crop monitoring and disaster management.
  • Other important nano satellites include PEGASUS/AT-3 of Austria to measure plasma temperature and density in the thermosphere (4th layer of earth’s atmosphere, above Mesosphere and below Exosphere), CE-SAT1 of Japan and CICERO-6 of USA.
  • All 31 satellites weigh 955 Kg.

2. Ministry of Urban Development announced 30 more new smart cities:

  • The new cities were added to the Smart City Mission with a total investment of Rs 57,393.
  • These are announced on the second anniversary of the launch of Smart Cities Mission.
  • Total 45 cities participated for the remaining 40 spots but due to feasibility the Ministry selected only 30. With these 30 new entries to smart city, the number reached to 90. Total 100 cities are to be selected for the Smart Cities Mission.
  • In this latest round, Thiruvananthapuram of Kerala topped the list and out of the rest eight selected are capitals of various states such as Amaravati, Patna, Srinagar, Bengaluru, Shimla, Dehradun, Aizawl and Gangtok.

3. US State Department cleared sale of 22 ‘MQ-9 Reaper’ drones to India:

  • The deal is estimated to be around $2-3 billion which includes the sale of 22 Guardian drones.
  • However, this is not still officially announced by US but communicated to India and the drone manufacturer. It is seen as the significant step taken by US ahead of Indian PM Modi’s visit to Washington for his meeting with Trump expected to happen this month.
  • US assigned India as a ‘major defence partner’ in the Obama Administration.
  • The deal is vital for India as Indian Navy has recently requested for this intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance platform.

About MQ-9 Reaper or ‘Guardian Drones’:

  • Predator Guardian Unmanned Aerial Vehicle is manufactured by General Atomics Aeronautical Systems – a Washington based defence contractor specialized in Nuclear Physics.
  • It is a variant of Predator B drone and is used for wide area and long endurance maritime missions on intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance.
  • The maximum altitude at which it can fly is 50,000 feet and can stay in the air up to 27 hours.
  • It is an unmanned version and its name is MQ-9 Reaper.
  • It is an naval variant drone.

4. Facebook added more security features for the profile pictures:

  • The social networking giant Facebook has added more security feature to its website with an objective to prevent crime against women and security theft.
  • With the new feature in place, the users can block non-friends to share, download and tag them.
  • Even the screenshot of the profile picture can be prevented. This particular security feature is initially launched only for android users.
  • India is the second largest user of Facebook. Around 160 million people has their profiles over this website.
  • Facebook has its HQ in Menlo Park, California, US.

5. RBI warned Banks to solve 55 identified NPA cases within 6 months:

  • The Central Bank announced that if the banks failed to resolve these 55 high value Bad loan cases then these cases would be transferred to Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code (IBC).
  • Earlier RBI has identified 12 accounts having NPAs (Non Performing Assets) for more than Rs. 50,000 crore to be referred to IBC. These 12 Bad Loans cases accounts for 25% of total NPA of Banks in India.
  • Currently total NPA of India stands at Rs 8 lakh crore in which Public Sector Banks shares Rs 6 lakh crore of NPA and rest with private ones.
  • If the case would be referred to IBC then according to the procedure:
    • 14 days time for rejection or acceptance of such case by National Company Law Tribunal.
    • If accepted by NCLT then 180 days are given to the creditor (in this case banks are the creditors) to hire insolvency practitioners and to complete the entire process. The project can be either liquidated or revived.

6. RBI Oversight committee expanded to 5 members:

  • RBI has expanded its Oversight Committee and increased the strength of its members from 2 to 5.
  • The three new members are:
    • MBN Rao – Former Canara Bank Chief
    • S Raman – Former Canara bank Chief
    • YM Deosthalee – Former Landamp;T Finance Holdings Chairman

About Oversight Committee:

  • It advice banks on stressed assets resolution
  • It is Chaired by former Chief Vigilance Commissioner Pradeep Kumar.
  • The fifth member is Janki Ballabh – former SBI MD.

7. Opposition parties nominate Meira Kumar as their Presidential candidate:

  • Meira Kumar was the five time Lok Sabha MP.
  • She is the first woman speaker of Lok Sabha in India.
  • She was also the Union Cabinet Minister.
  • She hails from Bihar.

8. ICC granted Test status to the two associate members:

  • Both Ireland and Afghanistan are granted with ‘Full Time Members’ status by ICC.
  • With this the list of ‘Full time members’ reached 12.
  • As per ICC rules, this status is not only limited to Men’s team but also to Women and U-19 teams.
  • Total 37 countries are in the list of ‘Associate Members’ of ICC and only four out of them are granted ‘Associate Members with ODI’ status and these are Hong Kong, Papua New Guinea, Scotland and UAE.

About Full Time Members:

  • England, Australia and South Africa are three founding members of ICC and got ICC full time membership status on 15 July, 1909.
  • India, West Indies and New Zealand got their membership on 31 May 1926.
  • Other nations received this membership in the following years:
    • Pakistan in 1952
    • Sri Lanka in 1981
    • Zimbabwe in 1992
    • Bangladesh in 2000.
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Current Affairs June 22, 2017

1. Defence Minister of India addressed plenary session at Technoprom-2017 in Russia:

  • Minister of Defence, Finance andamp; Corporate Affairs Arun Jaitley addressed this forum and called on various initiatives taken by them which strengthen the Indo-Russian ties during the establishment of 70 years of diplomatic relations between the both nations.
  • Technoprom-2017 is the 5th international forum at Novosibirsk, Russia for Technological Development. It is a three day event.
  • The objective of the forum is to increase competitiveness of Russian economy against the backdrop of new industrial revolution.
  • The city of Novosibirsk is the science and technology capital of Russia.

2. All the Indian States and UTs except Jandamp;K approved the state GST Act:

  • Except Jandamp;K, the GST is ready to roll out from July 1, 2017.
  • The two states Kerala and West Bengal has issued an ordinance whereas others have passed a law in their respective legislative assemblies to approve the State Goods and Services Act.
  • Only the UTs with legislative assemblies are required to approve the State GST Act for its smooth functioning. Out of total seven Union Territories in India, only New Delhi and Puducherry are the two UTs having their own assembly.

3. India-Russian signed an MoU to promote Indo-Russian Randamp;D cooperation for start-ups and SME sector:

  • The agreement was signed between Department of Science and Technology of India and Foundation for Assistance to Small Innovative Enterprises (FASIE), Russia.
  • The objective of the agreement is to improve global competitiveness of start-ups and SME sector.
  • It will be done through international cooperation, innovative activities and technology transfer by linking the Indian and Russian organizations and institutions.
  • Under this MoU, the companies and research entities will be assisted to set up joint projects and they will also work jointly to develop technology.

4. Second edition of Slum Daud announced by Sports Minister:

  • Slum Daud includes various racing events including marathon engaging the youth living in slums.
  • The event is organized by Ministry of Sports and Youth Affairs.
  • Former Tennis player Vijay Amritraj is the chief guest for the second edition of Slum Daud.
  • It is a part of ‘Adopt a Slum’ campaign for the development of people living in slums and to make them aware about various government initiatives (esp meant for masses) including Swacchta, Digital India, Girl Child education etc.
  • Adopt a Slum campaign includes the assistance of young volunteers from various institutions like NSS, public schools, NGOs, rotary clubs etc for the overall development of slums.

5. Rajiv Gauba is appointed as new Union Home Secretary:

  • Rajiv Gauba is currently working as Secretary, Ministry of Home Affairs is shifted to Ministry of Home Affairs. He will replace Rajiv Mehrishi whose 2 years tenure will end in August this year.
  • Apart from him, Subhash Garg is appointed as Secretary, Economic Affairs. He is currently working as Executive Director of World Bank.
  • In India, the Secretary is the administrative head of Ministry or Department.
  • He is appointed from the civil services rank by the Appointments Committee of the Cabinet of India which is headed by Prime Minister of India as its Chairman.

6. Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia changed:

  • King Salman of Saudi Arabia installed his son Mohammad bin Salman as his new heir and the crown Prince.
  • He ousted his nephew from the position of Crown Prince.

About Saudi Arabia:

  • It is an Arab Sovereign country in the Western Asia which is the second largest nation in the Arab World after Algeria.
  • Geographically it is only nation in the world which borders along both Red Sea and Persian Gulf.
  • It is an Islamic conservative country where the government is run by Monarch.
  • Its capital is Riyadh and currency is Riyal.

7. Karnataka state government waive-off crop loans:

  • Karnataka now becomes the fourth state which waive-off crop loans of farmers amid high tension in all the agricultural belts of India.
  • The state government announced to waive-off crop loan amount up to Rs 50,000.
  • However it is only applicable to the loan amount lend by state run cooperative banks and does not include loans taken from nationalised banks and RRBs.
  • The state will bear the total cost of Rs 8175 crore and claimed to benefit around 22.27 lakh farmers of the state.

8. Aadhaar Card made mandatory for TB patients to get benefits:

  • Union Health Ministry announced a notification that the TB patients, hospitals and healthcare workers will need to register with Aadhaar database by August 31 to get cash assistance from the government.
  • They now require either Aadhaar number or the enrollment slip of the Aadhaar application.
  • However they clarified that no TB patient will be deprived from free treatment if he does not furnish details related to Aadhaar and requires only verified identity card e.g. PAN, Voter Card or Driving Licence etc.
  • All such cash benefits given to patients will be directed to Aadhaar linked bank accounts which would reduce the instances of such benefit leakages.
  • This step is taken to ensure that such benefits would be delivered to patients and put an end to corruption.
  • The cash assistance in case TB are provided to:
    • cash benefits to patients who are tribals
    • transport alliance to Multi Drug Resistant (MDR) TB patient
    • private doctors who treat TB patients and assist them with drugs or DOTS (Directly Observed Treatment, Short Course).
  • Currently there is also a proposal with government to provide cash benefits to all the TB patients.

9. Guinness World Record of most number of people performing yoga together at one place:

  • Around 55000 people performed Yoga together under the guidance of Yoga Guru Baba Ramdev in Ahmadabad at third session of International Yoga Day.
  • It break the previous record of 35,985 people performing Yoga together in New Delhi led by PM Modi in 2015.
  • Guinness World Records is the US based primary international authority on the cataloging and verification of huge number of world records. The book is published by Jim Pattison Group.
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Current Affairs June 21, 2017

1. Department of Science and Technology developed mobile app ‘Celebrating Yoga’:

  • The mobile app ‘Celebrating Yoga’ is launched for the occasion of International Yoga Day 2017 with objective to popularize Yoga and encourage people to participate in the event.
  • This platform provides the sharing of information and experiences of people who participates in the activities of International Yoga Day 2017.
  • Department of Sandamp;T has also launched a research program named ‘Science and technology of Yoga and Meditation’ (SATYAM).
  • Department of Science and Technology works under Ministry of Sandamp;T.

2. PM’s Award for Outstanding Contribution to Promotion and Development of Yoga 2017 announced:

  • Ramamani Iyengar Memorial Yoga Institute, Pune wins the award for the inaugural year.
  • The award was announced last year by PM Modi on the occasion of Second International Yoga Day 2016 at Chandigarh.
  • The institute was selected by the Evaluation Committee (Jury) formed for this purpose.
  • Cabinet Secretary of India acts as the Chairman of this Committee.
  • Currently Pradeep Kumar Sinha is the Cabinet Secretary of India.

3. MoU signed between India and Portugal in the field of Archives:

  • The agreement was signed between National Archives of India and Minister of Culture of Portuguese Republic at Lisbon.
  • As a result, the Portugal handed over the digital copies of 62 volumes of collection known as ‘Moncoes do Reino’ (Monsoon correspondence).
  • This record is originally a part of Goa State Archives from the period 1568-1914 which is important to understand the Portuguese expansion in Asia.
  • National Archives of India is an attached office of Department of Culture under Ministry of Culture.
  • Raghvendra Singh is the current Director General of the National Archives of India.

4. A loan agreement was signed between Government of India and Asian Development Bank for the development of Madhya Pradesh:

  • A $275 million loan agreement is signed between GOI and Asian Development Bank for the development of Urban services in the towns of Madhya Pradesh.
  • It will cover total 64 small towns in Madhya Pradesh.
  • This project aims to provide Continuous piped water supply for safe drinking water by
  • $124 million will be contributed by MP state government in this project which would run for the five years and slated to completely in June 2022.

5. Biotechnology International Convention 2017 starts at San Diego:

  • This convention is organized by Biotechnology Innovation Organisation and is to be held from 19 to 22 June 2017 at San Diego, California.
  • It is the largest global event for biotechnology industry where many companies related to this industry participates and the first was held in the year 1993.
  • The convention is vital for networking and partnering opportunities for Biotech companies and also provides insights and inspiration on the major trends affecting the industry.

6. Mega event on the occasion of International Day of Yoga:

  • This year the Mass Yoga Demonstration event is organized in Lucknow on the occasion of International Day of Yoga 2017.
  • This is the 3rd edition of International Day of Yoga which is celebrated every year on June 21.
  • The theme of the this day in 2017 is ‘Yoga for Health’.

7. Indian Navy’s first indigenously built floating dock launched:

  • It is built by Larsen and Toubro Ltd. for the Indian Navy and is named as FDN-2
  • It is the second floating dock of Indian Navy.
  • It will be based in the Andaman Nicobar Islands to enhance the Navy’s technical repair and maintenance infrastructure.

8. India re-nominated Dalveer Bhandari for the post of Judge in ICJ:

  • India filed his re-nomination with UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres.
  • The election for the post of Judge for ICJ will be held at next UN session.
  • Earlier Dalveer Bhandari was elected in 2012.
  • ICJ is the principal organ of UN to resolves disputes between the sovereign states and it also serve as the legal expert for the principal organs of the UN. It is open to all UN members.
  • It consists of 15 judges who serve for the period of 9 year in the organization. They are elected by UNGA and Security Council.
  • ICJ has headquarters in Hague, Netherlands.
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Current Affairs June 20, 2017

1. BJP declared Ram Nath Kovind as its Presidential candidate:

  • Ram Nath Kovind is the current Governor of Bihar, who is the BJP’s choice for 14th President of India.
  • He hails from Kanpur, UP and had served as Central Government advocate in Delhi High Court in the years 1977-79. In 1978 he was the advocate-on-record in Supreme Court.
  • He was a Central government counsel in Supreme Court (1980-83).
  • He was a member of Rajya Sabha and had also addressed UN General Assembly in October 2002.
  • This year 13th President Pranab Mukherjee’s five year term will end next month.

2. Lockheed Martin signed pact with Tata Advanced Systems Ltd to make F-16 fighter jets in India:

  • Indian Air Force is going to start the selection of single engine fighter aircraft to replace Russian MiGs. IAF will sign deal for more than 100 fighter aircraft.
  • This deal will be made under Strategic Partnership model of the Defence Procurement Procedure which has four segments namely:
    • submarines
    • single engine fighter aircraft
    • helicopters
    • armoured carriers/ main battle tanks
  • Apart from F-16, Swedish company SAAB’ Gripen fighter aircraft is also a top contender for the deal.
  • The production of F-16 in India would strengthen PM’s Make-in-India initiative to develop manufacturing sector in India.

3. Punjab becomes the 3rd state to waive off farm loans:

  • After UP and Maharashtra, now Punjab government has decided to waive off farmers loan.
  • According to the announcement, the government will completely waive crop loans up to Rs 2 lakh of both small and marginal farmers who own agriculture land of up to 5 acres.
  • For marginal farmer (less than 2.5 acres of land), Rs 2 lakh of flat relief will be provided to them irrespective of their loan amount.
  • However, the government has not clarified the criterion of deciding the loan amount for waiver for small and marginal farmers who owns agricultural land of up to 5 acres. It only said up to Rs 2 lakh but nothing beyond that is mentioned.
  • According to the Punjab government’s claim, it would benefit 10.25 lakh farmers of the state including 8.75 lakh of those who own up to 5 five acres of land.
  • Apart from crop loan waiver, the relief amount of Rs 2 lakh is increased to Rs 5 lakh to the suicide affected families of farmers.
  • The waiver will be provided for only those loans which were availed from financial institutions.
  • The decision was taken on the recommendations of T Haque Expert Committee

4. President of Ramakrishna Mission passed away:

  • The President of Ramakrishna Math and Ramakrishna Mission Swami Atmasthanandaji died at the age of 98.
  • He was the 15th President of this spiritual Mission who was elected to the post in 2007.
  • Ramakrishna Mission propagates the teaching of the Bengali spiritual guru Ramakrishna Paramhansa. Swami Vivekananda is the disciple of Swami Ramakrishna.

5. Shashi Shankar is chosen as New Chairman and MD of ONGC:

  • He is selected by Public Enterprise Selection Board which selects heads for Public Sector Enterprises.
  • Shashi Shankar currently serving as director (technical and field services), ONGC.
  • Oil and Natural Gas Corporation is an Indian multinational oil and gas company. It is India’s biggest oil and gas producer.
  • ONGC is headquartered in Dehradun, Uttrakhand.

6. AU Small Finance Bank to launch IPO on June 28:

  • The issue will open on June 28 and closes on 30 June.
  • RBI granted small finance bank license to AU in 2015.
  • AU small finance bank has started operation from this year in March.
  • It is headquartered in Jaipur, Rajasthan

7. Karun Chandhok finish 10th in Motorsports race in France:

  • The former F1 driver secured 10th spot at the world’s oldest endurance sports car race.
  • The event is known as 24 hours of Le Mans held in France.
  • He is part of the team Tockwith Motorsports where he accompanied Nigel Moore and Phil Hanson.

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