Current Affairs: 1 March 2017

Ruchi Ghanashyam appointed Secretary (West) in MEA

  • Senior diplomat Ruchi Ghanashyam was appointed as the Secretary (West) in the Ministry of External Affairs.
  • She has been appointed in place of Sujata Mehta, who has recently taken over as a Member in Union Public Service Commission.
  • The Appointments Committee of Cabinet has approved Ghanashyam’s appointment to the post.
  • As the Secretary (West), Ghanashyam will be responsible for looking after the country’s diplomatic affairs with the UK and other European nations.
  • She is at present the High Commissioner of India to South Africa.
  • Before that, she worked as the Additional Secretary in the Ministry of External Affairs
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MEITY to promote digital transactions in place of NITI

  • The government has shifted the responsibility of promoting digital transactions in the country to the Ministry of IT and Electronics (MEITY) from NITI Aayog. 
  • The central government has already changed the business transaction rules to enable MEITY to promote digital transactions, including digital payments
  • The decision has been taken in view of the core competence of MEITY to promote digital means for various transactions.
  • Government is of the opinion that NITI Aayog -- which is a think-tank -- should focus on monitoring and suggesting ways to improve various government schemes rather than getting involved with implementation. 
  • The IT ministry is responsible for promotion of e-governance for empowering citizens as well as promoting inclusive and sustainable growth of electronics and IT in the country. 
  • It is also responsible for encouraging the growth of IT-enabled services industries. Earlier, the government had set up a committee under the chairmanship of NITI Aayog CEO Amitabh Kant to push adoption of e-transactions amid the cash crunch faced by citizens due to the note ban.

Nand Kumar Sai is new chairman of National Commission for Scheduled Tribes

  • Senior tribal leader from Chhattisgarh and ex-parliamentarian Nand Kumar Sai has assumed charge as chairman of the National Commission for Scheduled Tribes (NCST). 
  • The 71-year-old Sai succeeds Rameshwar Oraon, whose tenure had ended on October 31 last year. Taking charge.
  • Sai would work to protect the rights of the tribal people living in far-flung areas of the country.
  • The term of office of chairperson, who is given the rank of Union Cabinet Minister, is three years from the date of assumption of charge.
  • Sai was elected to the Madhya Pradesh legislative assembly in 1977, 1985 and 1998. He was also elected to the Chhattisgarh legislative assembly in 2000 and was the first leader of opposition in the House.
  • The NCST is empowered to investigate and monitor matters relating to safeguards provided for STs under the Constitution.
  • The Commission is also authorised to inquire into specific complaints relating to the rights and safeguards of STs and to participate and advise in the planning process relating to their socio-economic development.

India’s Radhanagar beach in Andaman Islands features in top 10, ranks 8 in the world

  • Radhanagar on the Havelock Island in the Andamans has featured among the top 10 in TripAdvisor’s ‘World’s Travellers’ Choice Award-Winning Beaches’. 
  • The Radhanagar beach has secured No 8 position in the world and first spot in Asia. 
  • TripAdvisor has honoured 343 beaches, including the top 25 in the world and local lists for Africa, Asia, Australia, Caribbean, Central America, Europe, South America, the South Pacific, the UK and the US Award.
  • The Baia do Sancho Fernando de Noronha in Brazil topped the list followed by Grace Bay Providenciales in Turks and Caicos, Eagle Beach in Aruba, Playa Paraiso Cayo Largo in Cuba, Siesta Beach Siesta Key in the US, La Concha Beach in Spain and Playa Norte Isla Mujeres in Mexico. Elafonissi Beach in Greece secured No 9 position and Galapagos Beach in Ecuador was at No 10 in the list.

Country's first integrated heliport inaugurated in Delhi

  • The country's first integrated heliport was inaugurated in the national capital with Civil Aviation Minister A Gajapathi Raju saying it is the first of its kind facility in South Asia.
  • Built by state-owned Pawan Hans Ltd, the heliport consists of a terminal building, having a capacity of 150 passengers, four hangars with parking capacity for 16 helicopters and nine parking bays.
  • The heliport also has a maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO) facility for the upkeep of Pawan Hans fleet as well as for the third-party maintenance work.
  • The commencement of services from the heliport is also expected to reduce congestion at the Delhi airport, which currently handles about 40-50 helicopter arrivals and departures on an average per day besides the large-scale fixed-wing operations.

Gopal Baglay appointed as new Ministry of External Affairs spokesperson

  • Joint secretary Gopal Baglay was appointed the spokesperson of the Ministry of External Affairs
  • Apart from spokesperson, Baglay would also occupy the post of joint secretary of external publicity.
  • Baglay joined the Indian Foreign Service in 1992 and has served as the deputy high commissioner to Islamabad from 2011 to 2014. Since 2015, he acted as joint secretary dealing with Pakistan, Afghanistan and Iran in the foreign ministry.
  • He has also served as joint secretary (States) from October 2014 to December 2015, and was tasked with creation of a separate department in the ministry to facilitate international outreach of the Indian states.

National Science Day: 28 February

  • National Science Day is celebrated in India on 28 February each year to mark the discovery of the Raman effect by Indian physicist Sir Chandrashekhara Venkata Raman on 28 February 1928.
  • For his discovery, Sri C.V. Raman was awarded the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1930.
  • National science day is celebrated as one of the main science festivals in India every year during which students of the schools and colleges demonstrate various science projects and national and state science institutions demonstrate their latest researches.

American Express launches 'Buyer Initiated Payments' to eliminate cheque, draft payments

  • Global leader in payment solutions American Express announced the launch of Buyer Initiated Payments (BIP), an electronic payment platform linked to corporate card that reduces processing costs and offers extended payment terms compared to traditional invoice payments.
  • BIP enables companies to increase the Days Payable Outstanding (DPO) while still paying vendors on time.
  • This web-based tool linked to Corporate Card fits and works within existing processes and includes reconciliation reporting that simplifies tracking vendor payments. 
  • BIP also helps organizations and their vendors to participate in the trading cycle digitally thus avoiding payments through cheques and drafts.
  • BIP will help both corporate and vendors to streamline their payments process and move towards the vision of a digital economy
  • BIP also ensures that vendors receive and track their payment as per the agreed terms. Traditionally, the exchange of goods and services between organizations and vendors, involved a tedious task of completing financial enquiries and a period of minimum 60 days to clear payments

Sanjiv Singh appointed Indian Oil Corporation chairman

  • Sanjiv Singh was appointed chairman of the Indian Oil Corporation Ltd (IOCL), the country’s largest commercial enterprise.
  • The Appointments Committee of Cabinet approved his appointment to the post for a period of five years, an order issued by the personnel ministry said.
  • Singh is at present the director of Refineries at the IOCL. He was selected for the top job after government headhunters Public Enterprise Selection Board (PESB) interviewed eight candidates.
  • He will be assuming the charge on or after 1 June

World Bank to provide $63 mn loan for 'Tejaswini' project

  • The World Bank will provide USD 63 million loan to India to empower 6.8 lakh adolescent girls in Jharkhand under the 'Tejaswini' project.
  •  A Financing Agreement for International Development Association (IDA) credit of USD 63 million (equivalent) for the "Tejaswini: Socio-Economic Empowerment of Adolescent Girls and Young Women Project" was signed between the bank and the government.
  • The project seeks to empower the adolescent girls with basic life skills and thereafter provide further opportunities to acquire market driven skill training or completion of secondary education, depending on the inclination of the beneficiary
  • The project will be delivered in 17 districts of Jharkhand. It has three main component -- expanding social, educational and economic opportunities; intensive service delivery; and state capacity-building and implementation support.
  • The closing date for the project is June 30, 2021.

Rangaswamy Becomes First Woman to Be Honored BCCI Lifetime Achievement Award

  • Former Indian women's cricketer Shantha Rangaswamy has become the first female cricketer to be nominated for the BCCI Lifetime Achievement Award. 
  • Rangaswamy will receive the award at the BCCI Annual Awards 2016-17 on March 8. 
  • Rangaswamy was the first Indian women's cricket team captain and the first woman cricketer to win the Arjuna Award.

RBI sets up panel to review cyber threats

  • The Reserve Bank on Tuesday announced setting up of the inter-disciplinary standing committee on cyber security to review the threats inherent in the existing and emerging technology.
  • The 11-member committee will also study adoption of various security standards and protocols, interface with stakeholders and suggest appropriate policy interventions to strengthen cyber security and resilience
  • The committee headed by Meena Hemchandra, executive director, RBI, can co-opt more experts and also operate through a framework of sub-committees to examine specific issues

M C Chauhan appointed GM of North Central Railway

  • M C Chauhan was appointed as General Manager of North Central Railway, Allahabad.
  • Chauhan, an officer of Indian Railway Service of Electrical Engineers (IRSEE), is at present GM of Metro Railway.
  • The working of railways is divided into zones. Three crucial divisions of Agra, Allahabad and Jhansi are under the NCR zone.
  • Rightly referred to as heartbeat of Indian Railways, North Central Railway span over parts of Uttar Pradesh, Haryana, Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh with about 3,062 route kms of broad gauge comprising predominately, double line- electrified sections defining the sides and diagonals of the golden quadrilateral.

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